Stephen Michael Kellat alpacaherder@identi.ca

The Southern Shore of Lake Erie (Ohio Section)

Purported Fiction Author. Lapsed Podcaster. Amateur Radio Operator (General Class). Ubuntu Member. TeX User Group Member. Once & Future Comrade Academician. Basic Trained ICS Staffer. Occasional Domestic Missionary. Information Specialist.

  • General Update

    2021-04-16T02:16:45Z via Identi.ca Web To: Stephen Sekula, Stephen Sekula, Public CC: Followers

    In no particular order:
    • Campaigning goes oddly
      • I’ve been told to hold off for the time being. The other party’s primary isn’t concluded yet.
      • The other party’s candidates are finally doing actual campaign actions. Voter participation in the early voting and absentee balloting is exceptionally light in the ward to the point that there have been a total of two ballots cast in that party’s race.
      • I am going to focus on basically two things.
        • First is roads and their pretty bad shape in town. Fixing them would improve public perception of our community, give us better standing in pursuing economic development, and as a practical matter lead to fewer rough rides for ambulance passengers.
        • Second is getting a railroad station built somehow so that we can ask AMTRAK to have the Lake Shore Limited make a stop here. The track between Cleveland and Erie is one of the longest runs made by an AMTRAK train without a stop.
    • The Ubuntu realm sees not much of a presence by me.
      • I have been relatively busy with face-to-face life.
      • There aren’t really places on the ISO Tracker to report testing images in the Windows Subsystem for Linux.
    • Life has been weird.
      • I’m driving a new-old car after the other one died on me.
      • Weight loss work continues.
      • COVID-19 basically killed any notion of trying to venture out into dating at the moment but not due to social distancing or other protective measures. It shut things down through making so many people locally go nuts. Have I mentioned the militia and anti-vax types my local area is home to?
      • I am making it to church on Sunday mornings
      • Writing is getting done but local publications aren’t buying anything.
        • One of the local newspapers is just barely meeting the definition of a “newspaper of general circulation”
        • The other paper is a weekly newspaper and only has so much space to print so much content
      • Second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is on Monday for me


  • And we're back...

    2021-04-15T04:36:08Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Apparently Identica fell over for a little while and was inaccessible.

    Then again, nobody reads what I write here so the question becomes whether or not Identica falling over matters beyond a select few people.

    murph likes this.

    Scorpio, Scorpio shared this.

  • An Update Miscellany

    2021-04-08T08:43:21Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    In no particular order:
    • I despair of the local Republicans. With the state’s ballot access duopoly being what it is I cannot be anything but a Republican or Democrat.
      • Tests like isidewith indicate that I do not line up all that well with either party in terms of what I actually believe.
      • The current issue of The Gazette portrays our local member of the lower house of the state legislature in a very bad light. She is a Republican. I wound up quite horrified at that.
      • I am not evil.
    • “Brother RG Stair” died apparently. A financial crisis looms for the privately owned shortwave broadcast stations in the United States since his Overcomer Ministry provided quite a bit of funding to a number of them. Will WBCQ, WWCR, and WRMI have difficulty staying on the air? Will there be fire sales on airtime? I have no clue.
    • The campaign is pretty much not happening. Why? I have to wait for the present primary to finish up for the Democrats to learn who my challenger is in the general election. The primary has had no campaigning between the two women striving for the Democratic Party’s nomination. I have to tread lightly.
    • Losing weight is rough as my clothes don’t fit. Since I left the old employer I have lost 50 pounds in going from 238.4 to 188.4. I have a minimum of 26 pounds still to lose though apparently 30 or more would be better. My height is 68 inches for those keeping score with BMI calculation.

  • The Axes of Thought

    2021-04-03T16:20:05Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public, Stephen Sekula, Stephen Sekula CC: Followers

    I do find quizzes as to where you fall on the political spectrum to be interesting.  In a state like Ohio you only have the choices of being a Republican or a Democrat.  Although third parties do in fact exist the problem of wanting to be affiliated with any of them results in you showing up as "non-partisan" in the voter records.  We have some very, very tough ballot access laws. 

    I do like the quiz at isidewith at https://www.isidewith.com/political-quiz as it provides not just the US context but other countries.  I have had multiple family members try it and it gives expected results.  When it comes to me, though, the results get very messy.  Remember what I said about the somewhat strict duopoly in Ohio?  Yeah, I am officially an "R" as they are the relatively closest to where I stand on things.  Every time I take the quiz it comes up with at least one third party that I am better aligned with.

    If you take my quiz answers to the US version and then switch the localization to Australia or Canada then I end up fitting in better to a mainstream party somewhere.  That's just weird to me.  Then again my country has increasingly gone mad since I left being a fed so I have trouble recognizing it lately.
  • IMG 1006 JPG

    2021-03-30T20:47:51Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    I was out in a different section of Indian Trails Park today with the dog doing some photography. The primary campaign is shaping up to be very weird. The two ladies in the Democratic Party's primary aren't really doing anything to campaign. There is no energy being expended on their parts at all except for about ten yard signs put out by one of the two ladies.


    I don't even appear on the ballot as I technically won an unopposed race. I have to wait until May 4th to see who unofficially wins in the Democratic Party primary to know who I am up against. Assuming every presently affiliated Democrat shows up to vote and nobody new pulls a Democratic Party ballot in the primary that is an electorate of 225 people out of the ward's current registered voter total of 2,080. With numbers like this we really, really should consider allowing caucuses. After all, there are only 159 actually affiliated Republicans in the ward. All the rest are unaffiliated with any political party.


  • League of Women Voters Profile Finally Up

    2021-03-22T16:14:45Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    Since I cannot directly link to it we have to improvise, adapt, and overcome.


    First go to https://onyourballot.vote411.org/


    When asked for an address enter "4717 Main Avenue, Ashtabula, OH, 44004". You may need to click the hamburger menu in the top right to change address to that. Don't worry about this particular address as it is not mine. It is city hall.


    From there you will see the candidates in the two major party primaries. Under Ohio's restrictive ballot access laws there presently are no minor parties such as the Green Party or Libertarian Party with ballot access at this time. If you choose the Democratic Party you can see the two ladies running for that party's nomination. If you choose the other party you would see that I am unopposed and therefore am automatically on the November ballot. I just have to wait for the outcome of May's primary vote to see who my Democratic Party opponent is.


    Please bear in mind that I am not really a Trump supporter. I am not Josh Mandel who apparently is trying for the high score on that front. I miss Dubya.


    As to why I am so worried about the city finances you need merely visit the city finance department page, scroll down to the financial statements, and look at the end of month statement for February. That one shows four program accounts in major deficits. I don't know about you but having the sanitation division running a deficit is kinda sorta a big problem when you're two months into the year when it is funded by user fees rather than general fund tax dollars. American Rescue Plan Act money can't bail that out because it wasn't in the hole in January 2020.



  • Here We Go Again...

    2021-03-17T15:52:00Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    In no particular order:
    • Identica took a nap for four days apparently
    • The general practitioner set a minimum goal of losing a minimum of an additional 13 kilos beyond the 11 kilos I have lost in the last year.
      • This would put me at a total of 37 kilos down from my highest weight when I was a working civil servant.
      • I was not well when I was a civil servant.
      • She also did say that she did not recommend my returning to any gym until vaccinated
      • Ultimately the goal is to be at 70-73 kg at a height of roughly 173 cm
    • Vaccination against the coronavirus for me is still a bit of a ways off. I am still not eligible yet in Ohio. My parents are thankfully already done with vaccination and got the Johnson & Johnson shot. My sisters will actually be eligible before me.
    • The campaign for Ashtabula City Council is just weird.
      • In my party primary I am unopposed so I am considered to have won my primary by operation of law. I can’t start campaigning for the general election in November as people might get confused with the primary election in May. Since I am unopposed in May and there are no other party primaries in the ward in May the question about me won’t even appear on the ballot!
      • In the Democratic Party’s primary one of the candidates is starting putting out yard signs. The problem is that this is an economically distressed ward and is considered in the city to have more than a few “bad neighborhood” areas. Those areas are also high in minority populations. Oddly enough that candidate has yet to put any yard signs out in those minority areas but does have her signs in areas where mostly white people reside. That’s certainly not on brand for a Democratic Party candidate in this day and age.
      • Campaigning begins in earnest after May 4th for me, I think.
    • The weather is improving slowly but surely locally
    • The newspaper design project continues to be built at https://code.launchpad.net/~skellat/+git/auto-newspaper and is basically showing that something can be semi-automatically produced layout-wise in a 19th century style. If The Star Beacon doesn’t stop falling apart as a newspaper then it looks like that project has to move forward. For a daily newspaper they’ve apparently given up on reporting things on a timely basis now.
    • Finance is a weird thing right now.

  • Saturday

    2021-03-13T16:19:43Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    I had a chance to go over the numbers for the American Rescue Plan Act distributions to communities. Due to the restrictions placed on the usage of the money the whole three and a half million dollars being allocated to Ashtabula City might not actually be usable. This means the budget problems may persist here.



  • Wednesday Update

    2021-03-10T21:14:05Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Things are getting pretty ridiculous. That being said this itemized list is presented in no particular order:
    • Health improvement concerns continue
      • After losing roughly 23 kilos or so it appears that another 14 or so kilos need to be lost to get to the highest end of the “healthy” range per BMI. Getting my BMI down to at least 24.9 would be a nice achievement, I think. Right now I am sitting around 29.
      • This morning’s weigh-in was at roughly 86 kilograms if I did the conversion right.
      • A max healthy weight would be 73 kilograms or so. I wouldn’t be “beach body perfect” but I would be considered “healthy”. Somewhere like 68 kilos would be better but probably unrealistic considering other countervailing health considerations.
    • Campaigning moves slowly. The Democrats are doing absolutely nothing that is openly visible thus far. In that instance there really is nothing for me to do other than observe their actions and conduct further research on the constituency. Everything I find is pretty scary as it is.
      • Even though I am purportedly running as a “Republican” the county party is currently tying itself in knots with unnecessary drama to the point of trying to get the county board of elections placed under direct command of the Ohio Secretary of State. Am I going to be getting any support from the party at the moment in trying to run? It seems as if I am on my own.
      • Campaign literature honestly may take the form of mailing comic books to everybody on the registered voter list at some point. During a recent city council committee meeting the elected chief executive talked about how the populace here is very “visual”. Words won’t matter. Putting pictures in front them while telling a story would. Something feels sad about taking that approach.
    • If we end up getting EIP3 it would likely join EIP2 in the savings account. Once some Treasury bills mature at the end of March plus something else in play there would be capital available to try something. Whatever that may be is an open question, though.
    • The auto-newspaper development on Launchpad is stalled for the moment. For the most part I think I have the guts of layout worked out. I need to either figure out procuring a small printing press or I need to contact local printers to see about contracting out printing. Our local daily newspaper continues to deteriorate in terms of its functional quality. There needs to be something rather than the next-to-nothing that we’re getting.
    • I need to stop falling asleep at my keyboard.
    • I have been looking at realty sites about moving to Nevada once again. If I lose the election there really, really won’t be much reason to stick around in northeast Ohio. If I had an offer from somewhere to do something there then of course I would likely take it at this point.
    • The third story is now over the nine thousand word mark. I am still not happy with it. It will eventually be making its way onto Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.



  • Starting A Week

    2021-03-07T17:36:46Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    In no particular order:
    • My blog had to be catastrophically reset. It no longer runs ikiwiki. It is being built using bashblog (see https://github.com/cfenollosa/bashblog for details). The blog remains at http://coyote.works/ for the time being.
    • I am apparently a candidate for local elected office now as reported by The Star Beacon (see https://archive.is/BcU94 ).
      • The ward that I am running in is comprised primarily of “distressed areas” as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission (see https://www.arc.gov/distressed-areas-classification-system/ ). Their map shows most of Ashtabula County’s distressed areas clustered around Ashtabula City with two clustered around Conneaut City (see https://www.arc.gov/county-economic-status-and-distressed-areas-by-state-fy-2021/ ). In most cases it is only parts of five of the six census tracts that are “distressed” and one of the six tracts is entirely considered “distressed”. I live in the tract that is totally economically distressed and it is also what makes up most of the ward.
      • Running in an economically distressed area means that campaign priorities are going to be very different here compared to elsewhere. There won’t be any STEM or Linux initiatives in my campaign. Working to improve the basic quality of the roads and the road signage would be a huge thing to accomplish with the way things stand now.
      • I am unopposed in the party primary in May so I automatically advance to the general election in November. I will learn in May who my opponent from the other party will be.
      • No, I do not worship at the golden idol of the former president. Joe Biden is our lawfully elected president. I am still in shock at what happened on January 6th and want the rebels punished. If anything lately I’ll seem like a RINO or worse based upon the state of the party.
    • Since I left my former federal job I have lost about 50 pounds of body weight. Apparently the job was literally killing me albeit slowly. Therapy has helped.
    • Yes, there are some social media presences for me that are missing. The Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn profiles that previously existed are now gone. Life is okay with them gone.
    • After the events of January 6th I am reluctant to finish the third story to push to Kindle Direct Publishing. What is it about? Basically it is a look through fiction at what an attack on our orbital satellite infrastructure would do. I just don’t want to give anyone any ideas, though. There are 8,583 words written so far and by the time I am done I will likely get it over 10,000.
    • I am not Roman Catholic but the fish from the fish fry by Our Lady of Peace Parish here in Ashtabula has been good on Fridays.

  • Are You Kidding Me?

    2021-02-04T05:21:00Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    In No Particular Order:


    ☕ My state rep is choosing to work around the capitol in Columbus mask-less. Most of the state reps are doing that. They voted today to not require themselves to wear masks in the capitol buildings.

    ☕ A meeting was held by the Ohio Senate where a committee heard testimony about a bill. 200 attendees showed up and not only did they not do social distancing they did not wear masks either. One of the Democrats on the committee walked out of the session.

    ☕ Daily coronavirus cases reported are down from 8k-10k to roughly 4k-5k. People locally are claiming it is a tremendous breakthrough, coronavirus is being beaten, we don't need to wear masks, and that by spring this will all be over. I live around a bunch of crazy people. Four thousand new cases per day is still bad news. A reduction in cases for the state to just a couple hundred for the entirety of the state would be cause for celebration.

    ☕ Prevailing received wisdom is "lockdowns don't work" as I am seeing from so many sources both left and right of American origin. The funny part to that is that that doesn't make sense if somehow Australia and New Zealand manage to make it work. What's going so wrong in the USA compared to Australia and New Zealand in terms of making lockdowns work?

    ☕ Facebook's algorithms are so screwed up right now that my News Feed there is stuck. That is to say the same posts show up every time I visit Facebook. I've asked people I follow there if they've posted new things and they have since this has started. Once I have finished removing the use of Facebook for delegated logins I will likely be nuking that account.

    ☕ Windows Subsystem for Linux is fun.

    ☕ I may be very close to getting disfellowshipped at church.

    ☕ My world is shrinking again as I'm apparently "not a patriot" in a town where MAGA types are starting to come out of the woodwork and self-identify. It doesn't help when elected officials are beginning to make themselves known as patriot extremist types.

    ☕ I gotta move. I have no known potential destination yet other than to say Florida is off limits except for Temple Terrace.

    ☕ As John Ekdahl would say: "What a stupid time to be alive..."


  • Seriously?

    2021-01-06T17:23:51Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Okay, what possessed him to bring up "explosions of bullshit"?

    It is time for the Republican Party to die and be replaced by something else.
  • Bad Ideas

    2020-12-28T17:22:01Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    If I cannot figure out a way to fix the build-depends issue for the xubuntu-docs package we may wind up having to ship stopgap documentation built using latex2man. Yeah, I'll build a frakking man page at this point to buy us time. It seems to be the best way forward at this point.

  • Not Ready For Prime Time

    2020-12-24T18:34:52Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    I am not sure if I wrote this out of anger or sorrow. I do know I was not happy when I wrote it. Posting it to Coyote Works does not seem to be in the cards at the moment. My most recent post there was a miscellany.


    Let me propound a not quite straightforward problem. I am not quite sure there is even an answer to this one. Bear in mind that sometimes more complex solutions are not necessarily good solutions either.

    Ashtabula County is located on the south shores of Lake Erie and is roughly equidistant between two other Lake Erie port towns. To the west you have Cleveland, Ohio. To the east you have Erie, Pennsylvania. Cleveland is a major media market. Erie is a minor media market. Both have daily newspapers as well as multiple radio and television stations of their own.

    Ashtabula County has no television station to call its own as Nielsen places it within Cleveland's Designated Market Area. The Digital Television reception maps tool posted by the Federal Communications Commission shows that the Cleveland-area television stations provide only weak to non-existent signals to the Ashtabula area. The majority of the over the air radio stations do not air locally originated programming and instead act as conduits for programming from outlets such as Moody Radio, K-LOVE, Air1, and Bible Broadcasting Network.

    The local daily newspaper puts out print editions every weekday except Tuesday and releases a consolidated weekend edition on Saturday only. The page on Wikipedia is not accurate stating that there are editions for each day of the week. Anybody I have consulted in the wild has yet to find a Tuesday or Sunday paper from them since the change happened.

    Taking all of the above into account it could be justifiably be said that there is a problem in terms of getting information out to the public. Outside use of the Integrated Public Alert Warning System many public and private entities in Ashtabula County are relying on Facebook. Ah, yes, Facebook...the same company that the Ohio Attorney General is helping lead massive federal litigation against right now. What could possibly go wrong?

    There were technological solutions discussed at one point. A linear streaming video channel utilizing something like OpenBroadcaster was kicked about as an idea. Unfortunately there is not much support publicly for that while the county-wide broadband task force sponsored by the board of county commissioners is trying to determine what people actually want and what broadband access currently exists now. Going it alone was determined to be a bit too much and with the current stay-at-home advisory it is difficult to work with potential collaborators.

    There are some limited, scaled back matters but they are simply just too limited. You have many groups across the county scattered across YouTube with next to know way to figure out who wound up where. One of the local secondary schools tried to livestream one of its band concerts and got shut down by Facebook Terms of Service over music rights issues. St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Ashtabula City is livestreaming its services via its security camera system. I am posting church services to YouTube on Sundays as best I can working out of my detached garage at home. The various efforts locally more resemble the early days of US radio broadcasting a century ago than anything ideal.

    Now, this is not an area that can necessarily lift itself up by its bootstraps. The Appalachian Regional Commission has identified six parts of the county in the "distressed area" classification. Their map shows their working counties and also explains what a "distressed area" is. For the avoidance of doubt, the Appalachian Regional Commission states: "Accordingly, the Commission designates as 'distressed areas,' those census tracts in at-risk and transitional counties that have a median family income no greater than 67 percent of the U.S. average and a poverty rate 150 percent of the U.S. average or greater." No tech solutions involving purchases of new equipment would be prudent considering all six of those census tracts correspond to population centers of the county.

    The Ohio Opportunity Index tells a similar story but a bit more fine-grained.

    I know that I will not make any dramatic advances forward with it being the holidays. Local social attitudes are alternately breathtaking and depressing. I know I will need help to try to drive forward any positive movement and that going it alone will likely not lead to success.

    The problem I have is that I am ending 2020 stumped on the tech side. Just exactly what would work to meet mass communication needs within the socioeconomic situation? Building something bigger and more complex is not necessarily the answer when people look at me strange when I ask if they've ever heard of a Roku or Apple TV...

  • Christmas Church Services

    2020-12-23T21:05:31Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    Granted they are from Sunday but the fairly light stay-at-home church services for Christmas can be found on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/rjhyftFbCWA


    When things are less crazy I may migrate hosting elsewhere. Until then hosting stays on YouTube.

  • Why Is My Local Area So Frustrating?

    2020-12-19T21:07:11Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    From the Appalachian Regional Commission: "Census Tract 5, in Ashtabula County, Ohio, is designated as a distressed area in fiscal year 2021 because it has a median family income of $45,063 (60.9% of U.S. avg.), a poverty rate of 23.1% (164.3% of U.S. avg.), and is located in an at-risk county. It has a population of 4,406 (Census ACS, 2014-2018)."


    I had to look when somebody asked me if I had read Hillbilly Elegy.  Why would I?  I'm living in the sort of world it describes apparently...


  • There was a camera test tonight

    2020-12-19T03:19:09Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    I'm still working out how this Canon Mini Cam actually works best...

  • That’s Bad

    2020-12-17T01:01:33Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public, Stephen Sekula, Stephen Sekula CC: Followers

    Our current positivity advisory from the Ohio Department of Health discussed here: https://fox8.com/news/coronavirus/ohios-coronavirus-travel-advisory-now-for-13-states/
  • In newsprint this morning

    2020-12-16T15:27:23Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    The full infographic page in today's USA Today is 11 x 17.
  • Warranty, what warranty?

    2020-12-15T01:06:54Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    What could go wrong? No, I did not do this in any supported fashion. Installing the preview image is probably a good idea instead of continuing with this.