Author: Lisa

To Mike Ditka

There may not have been oppression, of which you were made aware, in the past hundred years. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. I haven’t been pulled over for driving while black either. My melanin-challenged heritage probably has a lot to do with that fact, not the absence of racially motivated traffic stops in the twenty plus years since I started driving. So maybe do some research of your own, talk to some people, before fobbing off the experience of a rich old white dude as typical for all races, classes, and genders in America.

I’ve also had a police officer come up to me whilst I was breaking into a car in the middle of a car park and ask if he could help (yeah, it was my car but he didn’t know that and I had no way of proving it until the car was unlocked). This was before cell phones had widespread distribution, and he offered to have someone ring a locksmith to open my car for me. Didn’t have the money, I replied honestly, and continued to force the frame-less glass window down until I could reach through and unlock the door. Now some of that is demeanor. It was my car and I wasn’t freaked out because a cop rolled up behind me. I was also familiar enough with the car’s window mechanism to know a good bit of force would lower the window. The cop didn’t even ask to see some ID and the registration paperwork once I got the door opened. I have darker complected friends who have been stopped while driving a car with keys in it and accused of stealing the thing. Followed by a demand for ID and vehicle registration to prove the vehicle wasn’t stolen.

The added irony is that Ditka was discussing protests within the NFL – protests that are designed to bring attention to racial injustices around the country. He exemplifies the need for these protests.


Actual quotes: “There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of.”

“Now maybe I’m not watching it as carefully as other people. I think the opportunity is there for everybody. Race, religion, creed, color, nationality — if you want to work, if you want to try, if you want to put effort into yourself, I think you can accomplish anything.”

Peppermint Swirl Dress

I absolutely adore the peppermint swirl dress pattern, and would love to make one with a rainbow skirt. I haven’t the slightest idea what to do for the top … another colour looks out of place, but using one of the skirt colours in the top looks odd too. Then I saw a rainbow skirt where seven of the fourteen panels were black with a black top. It was an awesome look. Then I saw black stripes with a rainbow stained-glass. I would have made it, but the fabric was a limited run that became unavailable at the end of lat month.

So I thought about designing my own rainbow fabric for the dress. … split out with black strips, it looks like this:


For those keeping score at home …

For those keeping score at home, taking a knee (or linking arms) in protest during the national anthem should lead to immediate employee termination because the flag has been so disrespected. Walking out in protest during the national anthem? Absolutely the right thing to do.

The most ironic aspect of Pence’s worst-fake-spontaneity-in-memory protest is that it essentially proves the point Kaepernick was making. Racial inequality is a thing, and not a trivial little thing that inconveniences a few people a year. It’s a big thing that causes hundreds if not thousands of people to DIE, maybe hundreds of thousands more to be incarcerated, and who knows how many embarrassed and inconvenienced each year. If you’re an old white dude, you can walk out on the anthem. If you aren’t … you’re fired!

Corporate Expense Reduction Strategy: Procurement

We have a 3D printer, and have an evolving list of things to 3D print. Custom design work comprises most of the list now. Originally, I anticipated printing a whole bunch of little plastic bits that are seriously overpriced in retail stores. The bobbins for embroidery thread come to mind — 20 cents a piece (although I’ve subsequently found them at Walmart for 10 cents a piece). They weigh practically nothing. 3D printer filament runs between one and a half cent per gram and four cents per gram (not getting into pricey exotic stuff which doesn’t make sense to use as a base for winding embroidery threads!). I can print six for Walmart’s super cheap price!

And then I thought to check AliExpress – two cents a piece. I can buy 100 for less than the price of 28 at Walmart. Material cost would be a little lower printing with the cheapest filament. But there’s electricity and time to consider as well. I ended up ordering the things shipped from China.

But in the process started wondering if companies use either of these techniques for reducing expenses. 3D printing would be an interesting endeavor – include the company logo, make items the *exact* size needed for an application. But direct ordering from overseas manufacturers has a larger opportunity for expense reduction. Pens for a cent or two each. Ten thousand staples for five bucks. Paper clips, wires and cords, clip boards … there are all manner of random little consumable things companies buy. Start running low on staples, order another ten thousand. So what it takes six weeks to arrive? You’re just refilling a supply closet.

Lion Costume – Mask

I started making Anya’s costume – this year, she wants to be a lion (took a while explaining that once we order fabric and stuff you cannot change your mind) with a mask on her face. Specifically, she wants a mask. Very important. So I had to figure out how to make a lion mask. I used Pepakura Designer to create a 3D model of a lion face and then unfold it into a series of printable shapes.

After printing the design, I clipped the paper to half-back (thin cardboard) that I use to store fabric. A straight-edge and x-acto knife helped in accurately cutting the pieces. They’re still a pain to assemble – a couple of extra hands would have helped. Problem is it needs so much tape to keep its shape, I have no idea how to paint the thing.

I’m thinking of using the cardboard mask as a base to apply papier-mâché. Then we’ll have a consistent surface to paint.

Equal Time

Before Trump decides to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine (mind you Reagan is the one who eliminated the thing in the first place) … maybe he should consider the practical implication. You wouldn’t have two different late-night shows where the liberal dude had even days and the conservative dude took odd days. Market demand drives what we get – and, yeah, there’s enough of a market to sustain one conservative channel (see: Fox News). What you’d get is a fairly liberal guy eviscerating conservatives for their logically inconsistent and hypocritical positions.

No one, under any circumstances {except my mistress, that’s another story} should abort a pregnancy. Now, you’re on your own paying for medical care during pregnancy. People gave birth at home all the time, so hospital care is a luxury you should not anticipate. Immunizations and checkups for your kid? You’ve got to be kidding. Fund public schools and job training programs so you kid can get a halfway decent job? Seriously?!?

OnStar Basic

We used the free OnStar that came with our Chevy Volt for the first time today. Anya had brought the snack for her preschool class today, so I had a large metal serving tray and container of apple cider along with the other phones / bags / purses / random junk I usually carry. Set stuff down on passenger seat, and she wanted food now. Conveniently, I had sent a few extra little tangerine pumpkins — so we had two left over.  So I handed her one and opened her door. “I cannot eat in the car” says the kid who has no problem eating all manner of other things whilst in the car. But I didn’t really want to get sticky juice all over the car either. Shut her door and went to open the front door again to retrieve my stuff. Except BEEP and the car locked itself. Ack!

So here’s the first problem with OnStar — you need to communicate via the Internet. And for some reason my phone has been going into emergency call only or no Internet but weak cell signal in the preschool carpark for the last week or so. D’oh. So I called Scott – three password resets later (and a whole new app, the My Chevy wasn’t letting us log in even with a reset password so he got the OnStar app. Once that was installed, logged onto, and verified … WooHoo, one click and the car is unlocked.

Back when I worked for a cellular company and cellular data was just becoming a thing, it was slow. But I remember the sales guy saying getting online and doing whatever on your super slow phone connection was going to be way quicker than driving back to the office, getting on your computer there, doing your thing, getting back out to the site … yeah, he had a point. I’m sure it won’t be a thirty minute ordeal if we get locked out again … but even if it is, it would be about the same amount of time as waiting for a locksmith to come jimmy the thing. Or for someone to drive the spare key out.

Random Trivia

Anya randomly asked how many footballers it would take to make the weight of the Earth. Well, that’s quick enough to calculate. Average footballer is just under 80 kg … rounded up because the number is going to be so huge anyway.

That would be just over 74 sextillion footballers.  74,650,000,000,000,000,000,000! Which is a lot of people. To get an idea of order of magnitude, I divided by the population of Earth. We’re talking ten trillion times more people that we’ve got today.

The moon, on the other hand, is a mere 123 billion times more people than we’ve got today.

Alternative Fact: Compassion

Alternative Fact: Courtesy of Trump at some meeting with military sorts and discussing North Korea: “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm”

Real Fact: It is literally after the storm in several devastated areas of the country. Trump’s comment was irresponsible viewed from a military or diplomatic perspective. But from the perspective of a compassionate person whose memory spans two news cycles? Probably better not to mention storms at all.

Setting Up DNSSEC

Last time I played around with the DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC), the root and .com zones were not signed. Which meant you had to manually establish trusts before there was any sort of validation happening. Since the corporate standard image didn’t support DNSSEC anyway … wasn’t much point on either the server or client side. I saw ICANN postponed a key rollover for root a few days ago, and realized hey, root is signed now. D’oh, way to keep up, huh?

So we’re going to sign the company zones and make sure our clients are actually looking at zone signatures when they exist. Step #1 – signing our test zone. I do this in a screen session because it can take a long time to generate a key. If the process gets interrupted for whatever reason, you get to start ALL OVER. I am using ISC Bind – how to do this on any other platform, well LMGTFY 🙂

# Start a screen session
screen -S LJR-DNSSEC-KeyGen
# Use dnssec-keygen to create a zone signing key (ZSK) – bit value is personal preference
dnssec-keygen -a NSEC3RSASHA1 -b 2048 -n ZONE
# Then use dnssec-keygen to create a key signing key (KSK) – bit value is still personal preference
dnssec-keygen -f KSK -a NSEC3RSASHA1 -b 4096 -n ZONE

Grab the content of the *.key files and append them to your zone