Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pool table assembly

It's under way at Castle Borepatch.  This is actually the third time I've done this, and it's surprisingly easy to do.  Other than putting the slate on the frame, it's a one man job.*

The trick is levelling the frame before you put the slate on.  When I first bought the table, I watched the guys who set it up and learned their secret - playing cards.  You keep adding cards one or two at a time between the frame and the legs until the whole thing is level.  I have two mason's levels (extra long levels) plus a normal sized one, and so this really didn't take too long.  Then bolt everything together.

I was dumb when I took the table apart at Camp Borepatch, because I folded the felt up.  Yeah, they say to replace the felt when you move the table but this is because most pool tables get moved once in a blue moon.  I only set up the table around 18 months ago, and the felt was brand new.  So I ironed it to get the creases out and it looks fine.

But the design and engineering of a pool table is really straight forward.  All you need to put it together is a ratchet set for the bolts, a screwdriver for the side pieces (and screwing down the slate), and a staple gun to make sure that the felt is taught.

And I didn't need a dining room anyway - actually, both the Queen Of The World and I like having the pool table there instead.

* Needless to say, I did the slate by myself, too.  Not sure that I'll do that again.


The weather at Castle Borepatch: 18° with 20+ mph winds.  And single digits tonight: that means there are so few degrees that we're just about out of them.

I'm going through withdrawal for Georgia winters ...

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Same song, different voices

The Grammy winning singer/songwriter Delbert McClinton:

The poet  Edna St. Vincent Millay (one of Mom's favorite poets):
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go,—so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “There is no memory of him here!”
And so stand stricken, so remembering him.
My co-blogger ASM826:

When was the last time:...I read one of them a bedtime story...We all went to the beach together...One of them sat in my lap...One of them held my hand to cross the street...I helped one of them with his homework...and so on... I dunno. Those kinds of things fade away and you don't even notice.
The music of these three voices is ancient.  It is, in fact, the voice of every person who has ever lived.

When Was The Last Time...

I was looking at photos last night. It's harder now, but I have been culling, editing, scanning, and generally making a digital archive of the pictures I want to save for several months. I want see this project through. The alternative is throwing all of it away because if they aren't digitized no one will want them.

I came across the pictures from the Appalachian Trail thru-hike my sons made in 2005 and there are a few of them from the week of the 4th of July when I was hiking with them. The section of trail we were on in 2005 overlaps a bit with the section I hiked in October of last year. The turnaround point for me in 2005 was Little Rock Pond. We stopped there and went swimming.

Michael and I swam across the pond to the large white rock you can see behind me. Mike is still swimming back in that picture. When he got back and dressed, I hugged him and then watched as he and his friends hiked away north. I returned to the truck and drove home to North Carolina.

In October of 2015, I was solo hiking and took this picture of the same scene.

I was happy to be on the trail, and one of the thoughts I had was how much I wanted to talk to Mike about his hike, my little section hike, and all the camping memories I had. I had planned to show him the pictures when we got together at Christmas. That never got to happen.

While I was looking at the pictures last night it occurred to me that the time I joined them on the trail was the last time I went camping with Mike, the last time we hiked together, and the last time we went swimming together. Since we were Manchester Center on 4th of July, it would be the last time we went to see fireworks together, too. 

We mark the beginnings of things, but very often there is no way to mark the last times. 

When was the last time:
...I read one of them a bedtime story
...We all went to the beach together
...One of them sat in my lap
...One of them held my hand to cross the street
...I helped one of them with his homework
...and so on

I dunno. Those kinds of things fade away and you don't even notice.

I remember the first time we went camping after the twins were born, though. We went to Pettigrew State Park and stayed in campsite #2. We had a couple of ratty tents and some old military mummy bags I had bought at a yard sale. We cooked over a campfire and after it got dark I built up the fire and they toasted marshmallows.

They were so excited. It was a great weekend.

Things I did not know

Eric S. Raymond (computer guru and gun nut) has a Gun Nut web page.  There's an interesting collection of links there for gunnies.

There's quite a strong correlation between people who work in tech (and especially in computer/network security) and people who shoot.  I haven't seen data on this but it is quite striking.  My guess is that people in these fields are focused on assessing and managing risk, and are used to using tools to help manage those risks.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How TOR users get busted

Here is a presentation from last year's DEFCON conference that contains a number of examples of TOR users who got de-anonymized.  The common theme?  Bad OPSEC.

If you're interested in anonymity on the 'net, this is useful information.

Over-reliance on spellcheck

Just because the word is spelled right doesn't mean it's the word you want.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

How Venture Capital works in the Internet Security market

Interesting article over at Robert Graham's blog, using a recent startup flameout as an example of how the VC work works.  My track record has been sort of all over the map - at a successful IPO, at a successful acquisition, at a long, protracted zombie existence.  Robert lays it out the way it is.

If you're interested in how capital fuels Internet Security, this is a great article.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Lawdog Has Returned

Whatever else is wrong on the internet, the Lawdog is posting again.
"... Not being entirely gormless, my body (not currently admiring the shot that started this whole episode) spun, took two steps, and flung me at the lower limbs of the nearest mesquite tree ... about those two steps ahead of the enraged pig.

So.  There I am, hanging like a panicked sloth from the lower limbs by one ankle, one hand, and one wrist, while a Paleolithic-class hog stands below, loudly opining as to my ancestry and sexual proclivities, and daring me to come down..."
Go find how he got there and how it all worked out.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


Apparently the Lord does not have favorites ....