June 2023


With the desert heat kicking into high gear this week, I needed to abandon the practice of sunset walks around the neighborhood as a form of exercise. Even though the sun is setting around 7:30 PM (1930) MST, it’s still well over 100F when this is happening and the walks are just not enjoyable for me. One of the things I realized back in 2021 when we first moved here was that summer was the indoor season here in the Sonoran Desert, versus our summer experiences back east.

I can live with it. I can easily live with it.

In order to keep my calories burned counts up I have gone back to playing Beat Saber on my Oculus Quest 2 VR headset. The experience has been good for the most part, aside from my aging headset occasionally glitching as it’s trying to update or something in the background. It’s still stuck on Chicago time because Meta offers absolutely no way to change the time zone on the unit after it’s original setup. So I play Beat Saber in the future when I’m in the present. I find this highly disconcerting due to my OCD-like tendencies, but I deal with it.

I think of Beat Saber as just an overblown version of Super Breakout from my Atari 2600 days and that’s probably why I enjoy the game. I tend to keep the same playlist for the experience; my favorite song on the platform is “Boy With Luv” by the South Korean boyband BTS. There’s one maneuver in the “hard” level that’s fun, because you get to throw the sabers in the air and then the colors change and it’s just a feel good moment. Plus, the song is written in a major key and we all need more major key experiences in the world.

Things needn’t be discordant all the time.

Graphic from a random marketing message somewhere on the InterTubes.


A couple of months ago I purchased new keycaps for the mechanical keyboard I use for work. I’m particular about the keyboards I use, much to the chagrin of my husband. My fussiness around keyboards comes from the fact that I’m a fast touch typist, averaging 100 words a minute and creeping higher on a good day. I’ve also been a touch typist for a long time, and I grew up with electric typewriters and the mechanical computer keyboards of the 1980s. I like to bang along when I’m working, and to keep things calm during my team meetings, I employ a quiet keyboard that I keep to the side when I’m taking notes. I don’t want folks thinking there’s machine gun fire in the office when there’s not.

I’m also particular about keycaps and the aesthetics of the keyboard. When I replaced the keycaps on my mechanical keyboard earlier this year, I went for the retro terminal look of the early 1980s. I have been quite pleased with the results, and the new keycaps provide the exact clackity-clack feel I enjoy on keyboards, especially when I’m writing long presentations, emails, or writing a lot of code.

Older shot from May, can you tell which keycap I installed upside down by mistake? I’ve fixed it since then.

The folks at Drop.com occasionally have a sale on keycaps sets, so I ordered another set of similarly styled keycaps for the Linux computer used for gaming, flight simulator, and the like. They are slated to arrive this weekend and I’m looking forward to seeing how they hold up. I decided to step away from the Dasher terminal blue and went with an orange theme that will compliment the Starfleet accessories I have around the computer.

I’ll be sure to share a photo when I get things set up.


The key to happiness is through a man’s stomach. Or something like that. One of my grandfathers highly recommended to me that I marry someone that can cook and I did just that. There’s a reason I have a dad bod. My husband is an excellent cook.

Chris and Mike made steak, broccoli, and rice bowls for the family and it was absolutely delicious. Not only did I marry an excellent cook, we have plenty of skilled folks in the kitchen in the family.

The dad bod shall continue.


I’ve been working from home for 10 years. I love this arrangement and I really appreciate the fact that technology allows us to regularly use video conferencing instead of dialing into a conference bridge and listening to tinny voices. Being able to see folks is important to me because I never know when it’s my turn to talk.

The cheap headset shown in the photo works well for this purpose. I picked it up from Amazon for less than $30. I also purchased a USB extension cord so I can move around a bit, especially when I have my desk in a standing position.

I’ll eventually move to a wireless earbud arrangement, much like what’s shown in Microsoft’s vision of the future back in 2009. I’m particular about this sort of thing, as in ear earbuds give me weird sinus pressure and the inability to hear my own voice the way I want to hear my voice.

Microsoft woman from 2009 in the future.

I like a lot of things about that Microsoft vision of productivity in the future, even though that future is suppose to be now. We use a lot of Microsoft products at work, and they do the trick, even though they’re much clunkier than Microsoft would like to admit.

I wish AI would make things more productive instead of things like ChatGPT bringing us erroneous facts like the population of Mars being in the millions. They fixed that last point, but there’s a lot of folks relying on “AI”, which is actually not Artificial Intelligence at all and more of a Large Language Model, just pulling words from various sources and putting them together coherently. Some folks think ChatGPT is magic. It’s not. It’s not Samantha from “Her”.

As I ramble through this blog entry with no end in sight, I should probably bring this to a close by once again mentioning where I think AI and collaboration should really be going, and that’s in the direction of the vision of Mercury OS. If you’re interested in the possibilities of AI really doing something compelling, take a look through the Mercury OS website.

It’s a shame the big companies like Google, Microsoft, or Apple don’t seem inspired to try something new. Must be not enough money in it.


I’m lucky to work for a corporation that embraces diversity. Our company has an active LGBT+ ERG, or Employee Resource Group. It’s great to have this representation and it reminds me of when I worked for Digital (DEC) back in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Back then we had a couple of similar organizations and it helped make me feel comfortable with my sexuality back in the day.

As part of Pride month, there have been some articles and videos on the company website about the topic, particularly from allies of the gay community. Like some mainstream news outlets, various literature from the LGBT+ groups across the country, and the language of the younger ones, these folks have embraced the word “queer”. I often hear the likes of “we are reclaiming this word!” and people running around calling themselves queer.

I still very much cringe when I hear that word. As a gay man in my mid 50s, I’ve heard that word from too many people and when that word was used it wasn’t used in a festive, celebratory context. Occasionally it was punctuated with a continued verbal assault and once in a great while a physical interaction.

I know the younger ones like to run around doing their own thing, expressing themselves freely and openly and I think that’s great. Good for them. Everyone has the right to be themselves as long as it’s not hurting other people. And personally, for me, the word “queer” has a lot of sting and psychologically still packs a punch. I will not embrace the word. I tried a few years ago but it just didn’t fit. I won’t use the word in a jolly context. I’m not discouraging others from doing the same, again, you be you, but don’t expect me to run around like Rip Taylor, shooting off sparkler cannons and throwing my toupee around screaming about being happily queer. Because I’m not.

I’m happy as a gay man.

Years ago my Twitter profile stated, “More guy than gay” and I caught quite a bit of cruft from the gay “community” around that statement. Today my social media profiles usually say something like “Just a guy with a husband” because that’s how I see myself. I’m just a guy with a husband. To me being gay is just a part of who I am, “part” being the keyword. Loyal, honest, loving, caring, determined, funny, patient, portly, nuts and eccentric are also all words that could probably be used to describe me, but that would make for an out-of-control alphabet soup of character traits and I don’t enjoy all those letters either.

I joke this makes me a bad gay man in the 21st century.

Perhaps I should be compared to the Chevrolet Impala that came out the same year I was born: big, available in manual or automatic, and complete with a choice of sedan, sport coupe, or fastback.


Yesterday my husband and I went on a wonderful flight from Tucson to Casa Grande and back. I had flown this route several times last year during my instrument training out of Ryan Airfield; this was one of the first times I got to actually see the scenery along the route. During instrument training we use “foggles”, or view limiting devices, so we can only see the instruments in the cockpit. We don’t get to see outside.

Earl took a bunch of photos that he’s shared on various social media outlets.

It’s getting hotter in the Sonoran Desert and the best time to fly at this time of year is in the early morning. After 10:00 a.m. or so thermals start rippling about and makes the ride a bit bumpy. We were back home and on the ground by 9:45 a.m. after the 150 mile (or so) round trip. We did a touch ‘n go at Casa Grande Municipal Airport before landing on runway 11R back at our home base of KTUS Tucson International.

I really like being based at KTUS. The procedures are a bit more inline with “big pilot” ways and it’s neat holding short for our turn to take off with a Southwest 737 right behind us.

We’re going up again in a couple weeks. I’m going to find us another fun destination.


Truman seems to ask “what?” with his look while relaxing in the kitchen. As he gets older he gets a little more set in his ways.


So yesterday I wrote a brief blog entry around the discovery of the OceanGate submersible “debris field”. The shorter version of my blog entry is this, “Stupid decisions sometimes lead to stupid results”. The whole thing is so unfortunate.

I’ve been watching the coverage of this tragedy all week and there’s a part of me that finds it a little coincidental that they found a debris field just as the figurative “countdown clock” of remaining in the air in the craft came to zero. I feel like the news media was stringing this along for ratings and I know that sounds very cynical of me. I own the cynicism.

I will say that no one “deserves to die”. I’ve read comments online around the drama; “well it’s just a bunch of billionaires” or “they knew better” or “they got what they deserve”. That’s harsh. People with money in those digit ranges can do what they want, just like someone that makes minimum wage can blow their hand off with fireworks in a couple of weeks. It’s all about personal responsibility.

Since the sub imploded I really hope they never knew what happened and they just quickly passed onto the next thing. I wouldn’t want anyone to suffer.

But I do hope OceanGate is as a company is a thing of the past.


I’m going to keep this brief: do stupid things, sometimes end up with stupid, unfortunate results.

The dark depths of the ocean, much like the dark depths of space, are not forgiving.


The key to a successful workday lunch experience is supporting your husband’s desire to retire young. When Earl made this proclamation years ago, I knew one of the drawbacks would be my weight gain.

Because the man knows how to put together a meal.

We have been trying to eat healthy in June. This was my lunch yesterday and it was wonderful.