I was so tired going to bed last night that I nearly took Wednesday off. But, there is a data conversion going on, and even if I tried to do that, I would still be on-call and would follow along on email and Slack messages. I often log on again late to check that nothing has happened between 5-9ish when I make dinner, relax a bit, and then write this blog. Which can be work or relaxing depending on how pressed I feel about writing something interesting or bright. Today I have a few stories, so I feel better about writing.
Work started at 7ish after I awoke to my alarm at 6, checked email and my meeting schedule, and saw I could rest another hour. Instead, I fell asleep and had a non-restful dream.
I dreamed that I was at some strange airport in Europe to collect Susie and other folks to get home. I was walking all over the airport trying to find everyone and then trying to find my flight. I was dreamed there were trains and subways that I had to take. Somewhere on some platform, I would find Susie and then find the flight. I needed to be on time as I needed to be at Nike to do a data conversion the next day. Not a happy dream! I was more tired when I awoke five to 7.
Tired, I started reading email and slack channels. I managed to read everything and get dressed and shiny and clean by the 8AM first status meeting. I had only an hour of status meetings.
I was now fatigued, and seeing that I was free for two hours, I rested and slept for about 90 minutes. It worked. I awoke ready. That was an improvement.
I had a new vendor patch to put in (SAP note to those who speak SAP). I then put it in but included it under the wrong general change (Change Request to those who speak SAP). There is no undo button. I manually copied the entries from one change to another, something one never wishes to do but now required. It requires hand keying and coping with all the details of a change one line at a time. It was only four lines, so I was able to quickly correct my mistake. I ran the checks, and I got it right. Even twenty-plus years of SAP applying SAP notes (patches to the non-SAP folks), you can still screw up if you are not very careful. The joke in IT nowadays is that the Intern made a mistake–No, the expert did this one.
With Covid-19 unlock, I am trying to practice lunch. It is still emotionally difficult for me to drive Air Volvo and eat lunch sit-down. After getting gas for Air Volvo and paying more than I have in a long time, I went to the nearby Round Table Pizza. They have tables to eat at, but beer and the salad bar are still not available. I tried to order a personal-sized pizza, King Arthur’s Pizza; I doubt that King Arthur did eat pizza, but it looked good, and I am not there to debate their scholarship. I added a side caesar salad and a diet Pepsi. My order created great confusion. Apparently, the incantation, sticking with the theme, was something Merlin only knew, and they could not figure out how to use the cash register to have me pay for the “lunch special.” I believe the manager, all masked and without name tags, found the correct spell to get me my lunch at the lunch price. They even used a hand calculator! Apparently, I was the first or one of the only recent customers to order at the counter. Having helped with a training moment, I was cheered. I was helping to end the stupid parts of the pandemic by just showing up.
It made them happy and excited to have a customer. My pizza and salad were good.
I then read my email on my laptop. I had re-upped my membership to the US Naval Institue, loving their books and the huge discount I get as a member. I also get their newsletter. Today, a congressional report on the China Navy and its threat to the USA was published in the newsletter with a link to the published report. I skimmed the report while eating my pizza and salad and refreshed my knowledge of the People’s Republic’s Navy. My more conservative friends believe the China Navy is a threat. I read the report and enjoyed the information–the facts are great. The comments using words like antiquated and starter-aircraft carrier were more with my viewpoint. I was impressed with the number of nuclear attack submarines in use by the People’s Navy. The largest part of the PRC navy is frigates. Like Iran and other would-be actors in conflicts with the USA, that fits with my expectation; many missiles on many different small ships are the best hope in a modern battle with a more powerful foe. While looking modern and strangely styled like existing USA warships, the PRC ships show very little electronic mounted (the report had excellent color photos of the PRC ships). USA ships are covered in a mass of devices. The report highlighted the need for modern ships to meet the threat. Still, it interestingly suggested re-architecting (the word used in the congressional report) the force structure not centered on nuclear aircraft carriers. I found it all interesting as it reminds me of other books I have read about the building of the WW1 and WW2 navies. There are choices and debates on the choices.
I ordered two new books from the Navy Institute yesterday, one on the history of the USA creating the nuclear strike force, Winning Armageddon (what a title!), and another on the creation of the great WW1 British fleet, Genesis of the Grand Fleet. It is interesting to me how today echos the past all too clearly. That is actually why the second book was written, to explain the decisions of how the first great modern fleet was created to the current generation of naval thinkers. Or, in my case, an interested computer architect. Always there is something to learn from reading today’s thoughts and reflecting on thoughts of more than 100 years ago and folks thinking the unthinkable sixty years ago.
I returned via Air Volvo to home and had more status meetings. I slipped away for an hour to rest and read my newest read. I am betting the reader will not be shocked that it is Naval History. The famous writer of historical fiction, the Hornblower series, excited young people with dreams of fighting sail for years; C.S. Forrester wrote in 1929 a biography of Lord Nelson, my fav historical figure. I found the first edition for just $12 before the pandemic at Powell’s, and I then lost it in the house. I found it under the bed last week. I forgot how much I liked C.S. Forrester and his approach to Nelson is to only state what we have evidence for. I like this, and it would have been refreshing back in 1929. I can see his writing style and demand to be evidence-based in the later books I have read. I am enjoying the story and Nelson’s disgust for Americans and Frenchmen. The book assumes you already know Nelson’s story and are reading this book for more details. It is cheap and interesting to me, I have lost count of the Nelson and Trafalgar books I have read, but I am not sure I can recommend it. I can recommend if you have the pandemic blues and need a story to get lost in, C.S. Forrester’s Hornblower series is worth it (the first book is $3.10 on Kindle).
After finishing the last status meeting at about 5PM-ish, I made dinner. Schwann’s provisioned it all. First, I defrosted their bone-in pork chops, fried them in a pan after I sprinkled them with salt and Chinese Five Spice. I finished them in the oven for 35 minutes. Next, I made Schwann’s mashed potatoes in a pan. I also microwaved their green beans and then cooked them in a saucepan with just butter and salt; I like them cooked very hot. It was well-received even with the Asain flavors. After reading about Nelson, I could not use French spices!
My last rose to bloom this summer is Mister Lincoln. It was just a stick I ordered from Heritage Roses just before the pandemic. It has flowered once. Today it has two buds on new growth. I think the extreme heat killed off the bugs and slugs that I believe were eating it. The new growth, formed as the heat-dome started (114F one day), shows no holes or brown spots from aphids. I am looking forward to seeing the bloom in a few weeks. Mister Lincoln is a hybrid tea rose and breath-taking. This is my second time trying to grow it. It forms long canes–not really a bush.
244 people in the USA died today from the virus. None are reported to be vaccinated.
I randomly turned to Go Down Moses in the Methodist Hymnal. I found this new version.