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Cables

Trying out a new USB-C to USB-mini cable that just arrived today, bought specifically so I could hook one of my mechanical keyboards 1 to my iPad and use that for writing. It sounds silly to say that I’m trying out a USB cable, but until now I only had a USB-C cable, singular, and now I’ve got a few:

  • two USB-C to USB-mini cables (one for this keyboard + one for connecting my camera to my iPad when traveling)

  • two USB-C to USB-A cables for charging

  • one USB-C to HDMI cable for entertainment

In other cable news, this past Sunday I arrived home to see the end of my street blocked off by a few Verizon trucks and they appeared to be splicing cable down a manhole through much of the night. I’m hoping that they were doing something to help me get Fios as it’s been almost a year since I saw conduit deployed in my neighborhood – including right up a telephone pole just outside my window – and yet I still get “Fios is unavailable in your area” notices when I try to check online, even though it appears that houses on the next block over have it or can get it. What makes me pessimistic about them setting up new fiber is that they were doing it until well past Sunday midnight on a holiday weekend, which has me think that maybe they were fixing a break or other issue. My cable bill is too expensive and I’d much rather have gigabit download and upload speeds, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the next week or two that I might finally be able to sign up.

  1. One, in the sense that I have two, and the other is already connected to my computer. 
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Virality

Went back to work Monday afternoon and felt like I caught a cold by Tuesday. Not sure exactly how that happened since I teleworked from home once we got our stop-work order rescinded, so it’s not like I caught it from someone at the office.

I was interviewed by CNN on that first day back to work, which was pretty cool. One of their reporters saw on Twitter that I was a government contractor and emailed me asking if we could chat a bit on the phone about what it’s like, so late that afternoon I gave him a call and we talked for 10 minutes or so about what the first day back had been like. I had talked with some friends during the shutdown how contractors like myself weren’t guaranteed any sort of backpay and how I had to use up my PTO and take leave without pay for much of the shutdown, and how the media didn’t really make it clear that Federal employees were getting backpay while contractors wouldn’t, so when CNN reached out to me I took it as my obligation to set the record straight, haha.

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How I’m spending my winter furlough

I was already taking vacation time from Christmas Eve through New Year’s, so even though the government has been closed since December 22 I’ve only been not working as planned since January 2. As a government contractor I’m using my paid time off so I can continue to be paid while the government is shut down, but later this upcoming week I’ll be out of paid time off and will be taking advantage of my company letting us go negative on our time off balance. So, at least I’m still getting paid, but I don’t know how much of a negative vacation balance I’ll be able to accrue or what I’ll do if the shutdown lasts longer than my company wants to keep floating us time.

In the meantime I’m trying to keep myself occupied. So far, including the time that I was on vacation, I:

  • Took my girlfriend to Rehoboth Beach to visit with her family
  • Had a board game night with my girlfriend and her friends
  • Flew down to Texas to visit my sister and niece in Houston for Christmas
  • Visited the Houston Zoo
  • Went to a friend’s place for a board game party
  • Went to brunch with my girlfriend and her family
  • Went to the National Building Museum
  • Watched the HBO art documentary “The Price of Everything”
  • Went to another friend’s place for New Year’s Eve and to play more board games
  • Took a 4-mile hike
  • Started studying PHP and am learning how to give a database and shell script project of my own a web front end
  • Reconciled a spreadsheet I use for tracking my paid time off for work with my actual PTO balance
  • Cleaned out my inbox of papers and documents
  • Triaged my OmniFocus inbox of tasks
  • Reviewed and updated my website’s Apache settings to reflect the access control changes in httpd 2.4
  • Took out my girlfriend’s Christmas tree and sawed off the bottom stump to later be made into an ornament
  • Fixed my girlfriend’s bathtub
  • Read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”
  • Removed an ethernet cable that had been set up to provide a wired network to a (now dead) iMac in my parents’ basement
  • Deployed a new Mac mini at my colocation facility as my new production webserver
  • Cleaned out my living room closet
  • Cleaned out my kitchen cabinets of unwanted dishware
  • Removed everything from my kitchen countertops and gave them a thorough cleaning
  • Tossed expired food from my kitchen cabinets
  • Cleaned out my toaster oven
  • Polished my stainless steel appliances (dishwasher, oven)
  • Updated my résumé and LinkedIn profile
  • Read “Shackleton’s Boat Journey”
  • Went swimming at my neighborhood rec center’s indoor pool for the first time

Further bulletins as events warrant…

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World War One-der

Last night I watched the movie “Journey’s End”, about soldiers during WWI waiting for an impending German attack. I always think of films about WWI more as curiosities than anything… I guess most of the war films I’m familiar with are set during WWII. I can’t really think of any film that’s the WWI equivalent of “Saving Private Ryan”, for example, and other than “Journey’s End” the only WWI films I can recall seeing off the top of my head are “Wings” and “Paths of Glory”.

Speaking of “Wings”, the other day I told Siri to turn on my bedroom lamp and her response was “All set”, so of course I had to reply “OK!”

…if you’ve seen “Wings” you’d have gotten that reference. Maybe.