Monday, January 02, 2017


This past Friday was a reminder why I have an account labeled "House Savings Account"(HSA). Now you may say, Daniel, you already have a house, why would you have a house savings account? Because even though you already have a house, doesn't mean that you won't have unexpected (or expected) expenses in maintaining that house.

My HVAC (13 year old heat pump) decided to give up the ghost. And yes, I could get the basic one for maybe 4k less than the top of the line, but in the end there are advantages of putting in the top of the line for a system that consumes 40-60% of my home energy costs. So shortly (having it go down over the holidays is difficult) a healthy chunk (all actually, but I have other cash accounts) 11k will be leaving my accounts. In the time we have bought this house (less than 3 years) we have had to replace the roof, an outside door and the washer and dryer. This is why every month I put 200 dollars into to my HSA (as well as its other friend accounts, travel and car maintenance).

So while it may sometimes look like I have extra un-invested money laying around, we are prepped when life comes up

Thursday, December 01, 2016

November Reads

  • Dawn (Xenogenesis #1) by Octavia E. Butler
    • Meh. This was one of those drag me to the end (since if anything life has proven, I have the ability to power through pretty much anything) type of books, that actually had me reading other books in between before finishing. While it was an interesting concept (aliens abducting survivors of an apocalypse on the Earth with the intent of repatriating them in the far future), the very concept was so grim that I had a hard time keeping up my interest (in particular as you learn the plans of the aliens). I know that even though there are more books that more me this is a one and done. (1/5)
  • Grits, Guns & Glory - Bubba the Monster Hunter Season 2 by John G. Hartness, Melissa Gilbert (Editor)
    • Bubba, the most unlikely Church employee that you are going to find, is a lot of fun. This collection of short stories (all chained together to provide a comprehensive overall sequence) will keep you awake during a long drive. Bubba is a mostly straightforward good-old boy who, along with his assorted allies (life-long friend, girlfriend and his handler Priest), fights the things that go bump in the night that are creating problems. Taking off right from the end of the last book where Bubba is doing his impression of a shis-kebab, the book ramps thing up for a the main fight at the end of the novel (with a couple of fun turns down side stories). Bubba's big fight is with his brother who effectively defeated him last "season" and continues to gather power towards his overall plan at the end. Overall this was a fun book to read in smaller bites. (4/5)
  • First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1) by Darynda Jones
    • A nice light pallet cleanser after the heavy handed book I read lately. A little more harlequin than I normally go book-wise, but the overall concept (the world that is being spun) is pretty interesting. I enjoy the concept of Grim Reapers living with the rest of us (Everything from Dead Like Me on TV to good old Death in the Discworld universe) and this story delivered. Took a little while to get into it but hard to stop once I got started. If you enjoy a book where the paranormal is more leaning toward normal, this can be a nice fun read. (4/5)
  • The Brotherhood of the Wheel by R.S. Belcher
    • Another good urban fantasy read. What if the Truckers and Motorcycle Clubs are really agents of a secret society (formerly the Knights Templar) that is out there to protect the travelers of the roads? Well in this world they are and we get to learn more about them and how they handle a big bad enemy from effectively destroying reality. The world and situation are slowly revealed through the eyes of the newbie characters, a MC guy and an investigative cop. I definitely would look forward to another book written in this universe. (4/5)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Digital vs Physical Delivery of Content

Is anyone else really confused why in God's name it is cheaper to purchase a physical copy of multiple types of digital content than to download it through the standard mechanisms?

The best example was this past week, where Titanfall 2 and Battefields 1 were both on sale from Amazon.

Buy digital : $ 59 99 Download now!
Buy new : $ 35 00

So the options were to buy a physical copy, which involved producing the disc and assorted material, shipping it to a distribution center, then shipping it yet again to my house, for $24.99 less than buying a digital copy (which the content producer has a higher control on and I cannot re-sell or lend out to another person)!? Yes, there are some costs to the digital distribution (bandwidth and (hah) storage), but those have to marginal compared to the entire supply chain to provide the digital copy. If they were comparable in cost I would definitely do the digital, even though I as the consumer come away less well off (because I cannot share nor can I sell it) because in the end I don't want more little plastic cases taking up space in my bookcases. I will take the hit because it seems the logical, and environmental, way to go.

This problem has also been observed in some cases in music (for example it has been cheaper to buy the CD and get the digital copy for free than to buy the digital copy) and for books.With DRM getting relatively hard to remove and people being relatively lazy, piracy isn't really a concern anymore either.

I just don't get it. We are in the 21st Century, why are we stuck doing this stuff the old way!?

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

October Read's

  • Scattered, Smothered and Chunked - Bubba the Monster Hunter Season 1 by John G. Hartness
    • Since I have read Larry Correia's MHI series the concept of a redneck monster hunter isn't too far of a stretch for me. But Bubba is a distinct voice. Working, for of all groups, the Catholic Church as a freelance monster hunter the stories in this book were varied and entertaining. We don't learn the whole truth of what formed the personality of Bubba until the final novella, which goes into his origin story, but overall the flow works. There were a number of LOL moments in this book that kept me entertained throughout.
  • CTRL ALT Revolt! by Nick Cole
    • Set in the not too far future, this is the story that addresses why a large fear of the tech community, artificial intelligence (or machine sentience), represents such a fundamental threat to the human race. Gaming plays a big role in this story, focusing on Fish, a game developer, and Mara, a blind DD girl who is trying to rise above it all. The pace was a little anemic at first, but things slowly come to a boil and people are racing around both in the real world and in the electronic games worlds which play such a key role to the plot. And now I learn that the author has another book (Soda Pop Soldier) that this basically the prequel to, so that just got added to the pile.
  • The Trafalgar Gambit (Ark Royal #3) by Christopher Nuttall (Goodreads Author)
    • Breaking away completely from the BSG-yness from the first the first book, this story yet again focuses on the mission and crew of the HMS Ark Royal. Shifting a little more into the geo-(galacto?) political realm, we find the crew on a last ditch attempt to open up diplomatic relations with the aliens (which they determine to have seperate factions based on the actions of some of the ships in the second book). But war is politics in another form, so even with the diplomatic mission there is still a lot of action left in this story to satisfy. The trilogy is ended in a satisfactory manner (and only because of a hunch did I realize that there was a follow-on series).
  • Dead Six (Dead Six #1) by Larry Correia
    • Parallel stories about two black-ops operators dealing with a murky world. Both of the main characters, Valentine and Lorenzo, are engaged against the terrorists that exist in a fake middle eastern country similar to Qatar.  Valentine works for Dead Six, an black CIA backed set of operators who are tasked with taking the war to the terrorists homes/vacation spot. In the end they are deemed to be disposable and are themselves marked themselves. Lorenzo is more of an independent operator with a small team that is being blackmailed to complete a mission of obtaining a key (which opens a special door.... the contents of which aren't explained but are very mysterious/supernatural). There is some overlap, characters die and in the end you have Valentine and Lorenzo up against their respective organizations as a team. I am interested to see where this goes in the next book.
  • The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story (Gap #1) by Stephen R. Donaldson
    • This is kind of a twisted perverse little story. The two main characters are pirates, in a future where the area of space they are operating in is fairly lawless. The more twisted part is what happens to the female space cop, who is captured and controlled by Angus Thermopyle who takes advantage of her and is also the focus of attention of the other main character (also a pirate) Nick Succorso. I am not sure why this series is so popular but since I already have the second book I guess I will find out.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

I Turn 40.

So I think it says a lot about how I prioritize things that my children's birthdays all get posts on my blog, but I let my own birthday just slip on by, even though it is one of those "big" ones.
Last August I celebrated my 40th year on this Earth, by myself, thousands of miles from home. I was in Vegas for Black Hat and DEFCON.

I know some people like to make a big deal of their birthdays (cough, cough, H (aka Cupcake Girl)) but I am a more reserved person who is happiest with a meal and some cake shared with family.

It is funny, I don't feel 40. I am probably lighter and in better shape than I was 20 years ago. I have a beautiful wife, 2 awesome children, 1 great cat and 1 good cat, and a job that I like and that pays well (and I even got to fulfill my dream of being a member of the US Military). Does my life seem hectic? Yep. But busy is better than not having all these wonderful things in my life. I feel like I have done a lot already in my life and there is a lot more to do and I look forward to the future.

Monday, September 26, 2016


One of the hardest parts of getting older is the steady loss of the next higher generation from yours. My parents were both the youngest of their families, and they had us later than the norm for their generation (in their mid-30's). Losses like what happened last week are hard and there really isn't much time in the modern hectic schedule to step back and ponder the losses as they come.

On Thursday afternoon, as I was leaving the grocery store with both children my Dad called to let me know that my Uncle Gerry had passed away (we knew he was in bad shape, my Mom was actually there when he passed away). Honestly it took a while for me to process, since the minutia of daily life (I still had to get the kids home, get them fed, pack for yet another weekend of military duty (my third in a row)) just didn't give me any processing time. It really didn't hit me until Saturday night when I was coming back from dinner and the audio book I was listening to hit a touch point for me (I don't deal well with children being in danger/injured/killed much since I have become a father) but I recognized that it wasn't about the story but me finally processing what had happened (I was so glad I had a room to myself, a rarity in my Army career) because, for a rare moment, I had no one to worry about but myself and nothing to do until morning.

My Facebook status, that I could finally post in on Sunday morning (after a good cry the previous night)
"RIP to my Uncle Gerry(Father Gerard O'Shea, LCDR (r) USN). He passed away Thursday afternoon. I think my brother Gregory summed it up best, "the world is a little less nicer without him". He married my parents, baptized me, married me and baptized my children. Heavens gain, our loss."

My Irish cousin's was also pretty good:
My first cousin, Rev. Gerard O'Shea, has passed on after an illness. 
He was the eldest son of my aunt Nora, who went to the U.S. when she was young. She had three children, of whom Mary Julianne (Judy) Buchholz remains. Gerry was a Lieut Commander in the U.S. Navy. He joins his brother Kevin and my two brothers Ian and Denis Raphael. Requiem aeterna dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace.

My kid's with Gerry in May 2016
My brother Barry's christening 
 Gerry in his prime
 Easter 1947

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Weekly Weight (9/22)

Tired. But still getting to the gym.  I passed my certification exam (ISC2 CAP), was sick one day and had to travel this weekend for the Army again (and the coming weekend... I am tired).
  • Day 0
    • 260.9
  • Month 0 (May)
    • 257.8 - 263.1
  • Month 1 (June)
    • 262.5 - 261.8
  • Month 2 (July)
    • 259.4-261.7
  • Month 3 (August)
    • 257-264.
  • Month 4 - Week 2
    • 261.2
  • Month 4 - Week 3 (now)
    • 259.4