More ancient history…

My last remaining Pennsylvania ballcap from 30+ years ago, and one of the ubiquitous EAB dust caps that we submariners tend to use as keychains.

Ship’s hull number ball caps were regulation while in dungarees back in the 80’s (might still be, I dunno), so I had a wide selection of these ball caps… If I wasn’t wearing a dixie cup or a hardhat, these were my daily wear while onboard the Pennsylvania and at E.B. there in Groton.

The downward folds on the brim weren’t terribly regulation, but no one cared.

The easy way to tell the real-80’s-deal from a more modern hat is that the ship’s name, the dolphins, and the hull number are all separately embroidered onto the hat. The modern hats appear to be a patch attached to the cap or the ship’s info screen printed onto it – and they just look cheap in my opinion.

The EAB dust cap in the photo is a newer model of the brass ones we used back in the 80’s. I lost my original one some twenty years ago and replaced it with a newer one for old-time’s sake… It’s a hell of a conversation starter. 🙂


While taking this stroll down memory lane, someone had asked me “What’s the oldest thing you own?”

I’m taking this to mean personal item and not some antique I acquired because it was an antique.

I think it would be my pencil…

Ye olde Staedtler Mars 780 lead holder and optional sharpener.

To the uninitiated this will look like the bog standard 2mm 780 lead holder you can buy right now at your local art store; Staedtler has been making the 780 for like 50 years after all. But for those in the know – they will recognize this as being the late 1970’s incarnation.

The holder and the sharpener were part of a kit that also had a compass, this cool three-sided ruler, and some other pieces. My mother bought the set for me when I entered junior high in my 7th grade year – or 1981.

And I’ve used the pencil as my ‘daily driver’ ever since.

Yes, there are 12 year old me fingerprints on this thing. It has written roleplay worlds and rules my neighbor and I used, homework that I never turned in, old BASIC programs that ran on my ZX-81 and VIC20, my Navy rating exams, notes for my qualifications at test depth on a submarine, artwork that I did in the 80’s and 90’s, code and design work for the Sticker Station in the 2000’s, my resume in 2004 for where I currently work, and most recently some security notes for Apple.

Lots of miles on this thing, and lots of memories as well.

While we’re on the subject of old pencils, here’s a collector’s item I’ve had since 1990:

The Tombow Monotech 500 0.3 limited edition “black”

This is a super rare Japanese mechanical pencil designed for animation work. I picked it up for myself at an art store where I was dropping a couple hundred on art supplies for my ex… And while I’ve never done animation with it, it’s an incredible tool to draw with.

This pencil stays in the box it came with when not in use, because it would be frighteningly easy to bend the tip on it.

I also have a collection of Rotring ArtPens and technical pens, but those aren’t as interesting. 🙂

Website Update

After some fiddling I think the website here is acceptable now.

I like simplicity, so the WordPress site here will always be easy to render on a toaster, but I also have certain requirements for style. I think the current incarnation hits the sweet spot.

Today’s Windows Tip

get-provisionedappxpackage -online | remove-provisionedappxpackage -online -allusers

The above, when run from an elevated powershell session, will surgically remove any “provisioning package” content from your Windows 10 install.

“Provisioning Packages” are collections of information (apps, settings, account information, etc.) that are typically found on pre-built computers. For example, the Omen 30L I recently bought included a half dozen or so HP applications of dubious worth along with MacAfee and other assorted cruft.

If you mix this with the DeBloater script found (here), this will make Win10 a lot more livable.

The above script removes the following “super useful shovel-ware” from your Win10 installation:

3DBuilder, ActiproSoftware, Alarms, Appconnector, Asphalt8, Autodesk SketchBook, MSN Money, Food And Drink, Health And Fitness, Microsoft News, MSN Sports, MSN Travel, MSN Weather, BioEnrollment, Windows Camera, CandyCrush, CandyCrushSoda, Caesars Slots Free Casino, ContactSupport, CyberLink MediaSuite Essentials, DrawboardPDF, Duolingo, EclipseManager, Facebook, FarmVille 2 Country Escape, Flipboard, Fresh Paint, Get started, iHeartRadio, King apps, Maps, March of Empires, Messaging, Microsoft Office Hub, Microsoft Solitaire Collection, Microsoft Sticky Notes, Minecraft, Netflix, Network Speed Test, NYT Crossword, Office Sway, OneNote, OneConnect, Pandora, People, Phone, Phototastic Collage, PicsArt-PhotoStudio, PowerBI, Royal Revolt 2, Shazam, Skype for Desktop, SoundRecorder, TuneInRadio, Twitter, Windows communications apps, Windows Feedback, Windows Feedback Hub, Windows Reading List, XboxApp, Xbox Game CallableUI, Xbox Identity Provider, Zune Music, Zune Video.

It also stops the XblGameSaveTaskLogon, XblGameSaveTask, Consolidator, UsbCeip, DmClient scheduled tasks, which serve no real purpose for the average user and in fact increase the data privacy of the OS if they aren’t running.

Labor Day

It’s Labor Day already; the last hurrah of summer and the turn of the season to Autumn.

I’ve had a few days off – just enough to get to sleep in a couple of days… It takes about three days off work for me to unwind enough to not automatically get up at 5am, so I took Thursday and Friday off to make it a 5-day weekend.

Saturday I pulled the grill out from under the cover and got it all cleaned up for steaks on Sunday. The grill hasn’t been used since I moved, so it needed about a half an hour of intensive care to be acceptable for cooking by my standards.

The steaks were great, and I grilled a brat today for lunch… I got some authentic German bratwurst, sauerkraut, and course ground mustard, and some hoagie rolls, on Friday to make some comfort food. It was a really nice lunch.

Otherwise I’m still plodding along and trying to have some sort of work / life balance.

I’ve been playing “Fallout 76” here and there again – Bethesda fixed a lot of the broken bits finally, and added a lot of really fun stuff to the game. I’ve also been spending time in Second Life doing sim designs and whatnot for people.

Here’s the fall colors for “Unexus”, a sim I rent to an old online friend of mine from the 90’s…

And here’s my island. I think I’ve finally got it to a place I’m happy with…

Oh, and I spun up a sim for someone I know who hasn’t been in SL for years – so there’s someone else to talk to now. 🙂

And that’s about it for this update… Not a lot of news, but given the way things are out there these days; no news is truly good news.