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mdlbear: (lemming)

So... I've seen this several places. Snippets from three works in progress.

Here you go )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Unlike many previous weeks, this one appears to have gone from bad to good (see mood). This is almost entirely because of yesterday -- I got the pot rack up (finally), found a replacement post for the broken one on the cat tree, had a pleasant conversation with a stranger, and noticed that I was cheerful on the way back from getting dinner.

That's the big one -- I wasn't depressed, and I noticed that I wasn't depressed. At the time. And even had a fairly accurate name for it. I fully expect to go back to dysthymia and alexithymia tomorrow, but for now, I'll take it.

We had two technician visits -- one for the phone (which had become unreliable due to the rat's nest of wires in the garage), and one for Colleen's medical equipment. It looks like Spinlife will make good on the bungled orders and repairs, but it's still taking altogether too long.

I've been fairly productive, even apart from the pot rack, with garage-clearing.

Notable quote from a week ago: "Villain's cat. Because if I can't feel good about myself, I can at least feel *evil* about myself." Which probably sums things up pretty well for the week.

Links in the notes.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: Wild turkey hen close-up (turkey)

Closer... Today I'm thankful for

  • Friends who come over and cook.
  • Left over rice == fried rice for breakfast!
  • X11, gnome-panel, and the ability to work remotely.
  • More generally, good tools.
  • Being able to answer "50 years" when asked how long I've been in the (software) industry.
  • ETA: Being able to answer "over 50 years" when asked how long I've been playing guitar.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

It's been a week of not liking myself much. In part this is due to working on a self-assessment and peer feedback at work; this is not conducive to a good mood.

Friday was pretty good -- I had my first 1-on-1 since my boss got back from a month's vacation, and he was at least not discouraging. And when I stopped by my desk (I'm on loan to another group for a few months; this was my first week there) to pick up the power brick for my new laptop, I discovered that there was a party going on. Gin, hard cider, and an interesting new person went a long way toward improving my mood.

(Saturday was, of course, back to depressingly normal, and today's been discouraging. Especially since it included waking up at 3am. Does that count for Saturday? I'm going to say "Yes": the day doesn't start until I've had coffee.)

As I mentioned, I'm on loan to another group for a while. Same building I was in before our last move; closer to the bus stop. I tried working remotely, but a Windows laptop sucks for that. The HP EliteBook they gave me in trade is less capable on an objective basis, but it's running Ubuntu, which is a major win. Plus, it's about half the weight of my old Dell, and fits in my sling bag. So... also win.

Realized Wednesday night when I found myself doing dishes that I do dishes in order to feel useful. Being useful is one of the few ways I can reliably make myself feel less bad about myself, so I'll take it. And I can usually control it, which I suppose is why I take it so hard when I try to be useful, but fail. Like this afternoon.

Oh, and the new tech from Spinlife will be out tomorrow to work on Colleen's lift chairs, scooter, and power chair. It will probably take another visit, because the tech who came out over a month ago was an idiot. Spinlife will eat the difference in cost for extra visits and mis-ordered parts, hopefully without my having to hire a lawyer to shove it down their throats.

Links in the notes.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: Wild turkey hen close-up (turkey)

Well, not quite as late as last week -- that's something. Today I'm thankful for

  • Getting our net/phone wiring fixed. The former rat's nest has been simplified; it'll cost us $89 for an inside-wiring job, but it was worth it.
  • An Ubuntu laptop at work. I needed it because I'm on loan to another group, and working remotely through Windows is a nightmare. Sweet little HP EliteBook; not as capable as the Dell I've had for the last year, but without Windows it doesn't need to be; it's half the weight and fits in my sling bag.
  • Maybe doing better at work than my own self-assessment led me to believe.
  • Gin, hard cider, and new friends.
  • My family.
  • Our house. I still miss some things about the Starport, but Rainbow's End is truly wonderful.
  • added: Wikipedia, source of the new wild turkey icon.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Yeah. So...

  • Salvageable parts.
  • My family. My cats. A roof over our heads and enough to eat.
  • Finding things that Curio likes to eat. Who knew that he would prefer cat food that has veggies mixed in with the meat?
  • "Comix" that aren't always funny, but that speak to me anyway.
  • Goodwill.

NO thanks to:

  • Extremists.
  • Depression.
  • Tight finances.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Not a particularly good week. One of my self-observations yesterday kind of sums it up: "Too much stuff, too many things that need doing, not enough cope, no motivation." Not to mention Congress, Charlie Hebdo, depression comix, two dead computers (which, fortunately, I didn't have much invested in to begin with), starting my self-assessment at work, and starting to clear out our garage.

Self-assessment. Yeah; nothing like working with brilliant, productive, experienced people to make me feel stupid, lazy, and incompetent. Especially when many of them are younger than one of my kids.

Some really fascinating stuff in the links.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Well, our anniversary weekend passed without a party -- somehow I'd had the impression that we were having one, but everyone else had the impression that the one the Saturday after Christmas counted for both. So... ok. I went out and got salads, cheese, sausage, scallops, and bacon. Bacon-wrapped scallops, and cheese boards for two. Yum.

Thursday we ordered Chinese from Yen Wor Village -- not as good as Yu Shan, but better than any of the other local places that deliver.

Lots and lots of decluttering, both in my to-do lists and, to a lesser extent, in the house.

I finally found a canned cat food that Curio likes! I've been worried about him. It's made by Natural Balance, and the same duck and green pea combination that's in the dry food he likes (but that we're trying to get him off of, because apparently dry food isn't all that good for cats).

And we finally have a static IP address again -- it's only $5/month from CenturyLink. The tech support person who set it up was completely clueless; I had to go to her supervisor to find someone who knew what reverse DNS was (and how to find it on their damned website, which is slow, poorly laid out, and doesn't trim spaces in input fields).

Finished reading Lauren Ipsum, which will get a separate post later. You'll also find an entry in the notes tagged "ursine", which will get expanded into the start of a planned post series if I can finally get off my tail and write it.

Links in the notes, as usual.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

So. Some goals for 2015.

  1. Music. I'm going to lump recording, songwriting, and making music together, not so much because they're all aspects of the same thing as to give me a goal that I'm more likely to meet parts of.
  2. Writing. I'd settle for one post a week that isn't one of the two scheduled ones, though I'd like to do more.
  3. Exercise. Keeping up the walking on weekdays is kind of a minimum; I'd like to walk a little on weekends, and maybe even get my bike back in working order.
  4. Food. As a minimum, get back to serving salad with dinner on most of the days that I cook.
  5. Software. Get the household intranet back into shape. Finish revising my music-publishing toolchain. Set up a blogging toolchain. Bring my websites into the 21st Century, maybe. Write that HTML5-based lyrics app that I've been thinking about. OK, that's at least five sub-goals; six if you figure that the app and maybe the websites will require getting profficient in Javascript.
  6. Organization. Do more of my 15min items, get my taxes filed on time, and hack my way through the piles of envelopes on my desk and the piles of boxes in the garage. Stick to my damned budget, now that I have one.
  7. Health. This is a stretch goal, but I need to do something about my depression. Or whatever it is. Find help.

Seven. Same as last year. We'll see.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Let's get the party announcement out first: we're having our usual "sometime around New Year" party this Saturday, the 3rd. It's actually on our anniversary this year, but we're not expecting presents, just presence. And food. It's a potluck -- food is always welcome.

OK, now the Thankful Thursday: Today I'm thankful for...

  • Having gotten a few things done off my list from last year
  • Software, gin, and a few other things that aren't exactly addictions but are nice to have.
  • Coffee, which is an addiction.
  • Rainbow's End.
  • Cat therapy.
  • Colleen. How -- and why -- she puts up with me I'll never know, but I'm grateful.

And finally, an annotated look back at last year's goals (not resolutions -- I'm too irresolute for those).

  • Get back into recording. I don't think I can manage a whole album, but I can probably manage a lot of scratch tracks and a few complete mixes, and maybe build up momentum that way. Total fail.
  • Eat better. I may not lose weight, much as I'd like to, but nothing says I can't have more salads for lunch. Total fail. Gained 7 lbs.
  • Similarly, walk more. I've gotten horribly out of shape, but my new office is farther from my preferred bus stop than the old one. (The 70 stops only a block away, but I'd have to stand around at 3rd and Pike waiting to change busses. I'd rather walk.) I mostly succeeded at this one.
  • Get the medical bills taken care of. I've been ignoring a lot of them. My sign-on bonus will probably go for that and taxes, mostly. Sort of. The sign-on bonus got squandered, but the taxes and -- I think -- the medical bills eventually got paid, out of the meager proceeds from the Starport.
  • Bring some better order to my motley collection of blogs and web sites, with as much of the content as possible deployed using git hooks. Only if you count what I've done in the last week.
  • Write more! Songs, fiction, essays, whatever. I haven't done any writing to speak of for, what? Two years? Mostly not. I've done written a handful of metafics and a recipe or two.
  • Sell the Starport. Mostly. It did get sold, but a lot later and for less money than we needed.

So, out of seven goals, two total failures, one moderate success, and four "successes" that were mixed enough to feel like failure anyway.

May this year be better.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Well, the last few days of last year, anyway. I did a sort of review post yesterday, and should probably do something more cheerful and forward-looking today. But for now...

I also posted my borscht recipe, and sent it to Mom (who's been looking for one for decades).

Dealt with brokenness in LinkedIn that, as I should have realized, was easily solved by tossing its cookies. But, you know, it's not hard to build a website -- even one that uses redirect links -- that doesn't break when its cookies go stale. Amazon and Google do it quite well, thank you.

Managed to get checks sent to a couple of charities. Two got left on my desk, but it turned out that those were among the ones I sent money to over two months ago. Apparently my memory is even worse than I remember it being. Or something like that.

Links in the notes.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

2014 has been stressful, expensive, and occasionally harrowing, with few high points that I can remember, plenty of anxiety and mild depression, and no major accomplishments that I can think of.

On the plus side, we're all settling in pretty well at Rainbow's End, the Starport has finally been sold (for a lot less money than we expected or needed, of course), I still have a job, neither Colleen nor I have been hospitalized, a major financial trainwreck has been averted, and a couple of enormous bills have been paid off.

Not feeling very celebratory. I guess it will have to do.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Or at least well-known borscht. It was a feature of Christmas dinner at Grand Central Starport since the earliest days.

I first encountered a recipe for Ukrainian hot borscht in, of all places, a flier that came with my electricity bill from Pacific Gas and Electric, back when I was still in grad school. Somewhere along the line I lost it, and started using a recipe iPlease to the Table: The Russian Cookbook by Anya Von Bremzen, an excellent cookbook which is now lamentably out of print. This year I just winged it.

This is more of what [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith calls an "algorithm" than a recipe.

You will need:

  • A Very Large Pot. It is difficult to use too large a pot. When our older daughter was two years old, she used to play in ours. We could have gotten the lid on. A wooden spoon long enough to reach the bottom of the pot while you still have a good grip on the handle -- you're going to need it.
  • A large lump of meat. 3-4 lbs of beef chuck roast is a good place to start. At various times we have also added a ham shank, marrow bones, and ribs. Yesterday I used about 5 lbs of chuck roast and the ribs left over from the Christmas roast beef.
  • Root vegetables. Beets, of course, but also parsnips, rutabagas, and turnips. Sometimes we add potatoes, but not this year. We had 9 rather large beets, 3 rutabagas, 3 turnips, and 2 parsnips this year. We have sometimes used as many as 6 bunches of small beets.
  • Onions, garlic, and carrots, which of course are also root vegetables.
  • A head of cabbage.
  • Seasoning: 6 peppercorns and 3 bay leaves. (I couldn't find the bay leaves this year.) Sour salt, optional.
  • Sour cream and fresh dill, for garnishing.

Start by cutting up the onions, chopping the garic, and sauteeing them in olive oil. Meanwhile, brown the meat in a little more olive oil, in the bottom of your Very Large Pot.

Combine the onion/garlic mix with the meat, and add water to cover. If desired, throw in a whole onion and a couple of whole carrots. Put in the peppercorns and bay leaves.

Cut the tops and tails off the beets, and put them on a baking sheet. Turn your oven to 350 and put the beets in to roast.

Take a 45-60 minute break.

Take the beets out of the oven. Cut the rest of the roots into 1-inch cubes. Toss the parsnips and carrots into the pot -- they take the longest to cook.

After you've cubed the raw roots, the beets will be cool enough to handle. Peel them (with a paring knife) and cut them into julienne strips.

Fish the meat, bones, and whole vegetables out of the pot and put in the rutabagas and beets.

Take another break -- about an hour. Put in the turnips (and potatoes if you want them). Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes.

Put the meat back in the pot. Shred the cabbage and add that. Stir, if you can. You may need to add water, too; it depends on whether there's any room left in the pot and whether you want your borscht to be more like a thick soup or a stew.

Let it cook for another hour or so. Drink some vodka (or gin -- I prefer gin). If you're anything like me, your back will be hurting at this point even if you had sense enough to sit down while chopping the roots.

About an hour after you added the cabbage, it's done. If it's too sweet, add sour salt to taste. Add ordinary salt to taste, if you like.

Top with a glop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chopped, fresh dill. Enjoy.

Serves a dozen or so. For a smaller family, it provides enough leftovers to last all week.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

It's been a nice, relaxing week - I took Friday off as well as Thursday. Won't be able to do that again for a long while, sadly.

Glenn made roast beef and proper Yorkshire pudding for dinner on Christmas; I made borscht yesterday. We had a few guests over; not many. But the borscht came out well. Next time we'll have to make a much smaller batch, though. Recipe to follow, though you can deduce much of it from the timeline in Saturday's notes.

Despite feeling relaxed, I also feel as though I should have been doing more. I am, as usual, going to have to scramble to get all the charities paid by year's end, and there are probably still some lingering bills and other items. GAAK!

On the other hand, my web resources are in pretty good shape. The whole thing is amost completely deployed with git, the rest with rsync, and "make deploy" works on both. I'm pretty happy about that -- it feels good to get back into toolmaking again.

On the gripping hand -- or is that the griping hand -- I still don't feel particularly happy about myself. This is mainly because, even when I know what needs to be done, I still prefer to waste time reading or puttering rather than do it. Not even the prospect of giving myself a little star in my notes -- which is what that file is for -- is enough to get me off my arse when it comes to writing checks or sorting through envelopes.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I'm not going to enumerate my presents here -- that's not the point. Today I'm thankful for

  • My wonderful family.
  • A nice, relaxing day at home with them.
  • Excellent food and drink (many of the otherwise-unmentioned presents were alcoholic). A Christmas dinner that couldn't be beat, courtesy of Ursa Minor.
  • One of my rare posts on G+ that, I think illustrates this crazy place pretty well.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

A lot of puttering this week. Got the hallway bookcase moved downstairs; it's now much easier for Colleen to make her way to the Rainbow Room. Looks good, too. Emmy set up the tree, and moved the cat tree into the nook under the stairs. The cats seem to prefer it there. This was Wednesday; last Sunday I put in shelves there, which also helps with the clutter.

I've also been decluttering my website working directories, fixing broken symlinks, re-arranging the tree in a more sensible way, and assorted other housekeeping. Still some messes there that I have to tackle.

Curio has been a darling; he likes sitting on my desk, on a pad of folded-up fabric, and usually sleeps next to me. Cat therapy for the win. We have excellent cats. Cricket exactly matches the description in Cat Faber's song Villains's Cat, and I expect she'll make a very good one when she grows up. Curio is pretty much already there.

I've been experimenting with luggage; most recently I've gone back to Max, the REI Agility sling bag. Not big enough for my work laptop, but that's an advantage. Tomorrow I'll see how well it works alongside a laptop bag.

Mood's been mostly ok, but occasionally still fragile. Tuesday and Wednesday evenings were particularly bad.

Links in the notes.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

... and I think I missed last week, too. *sigh*

Anyway, today I'm thankful for...

  • A cat who loves me and likes to sleep next to me. Cat therapy is good for me, apparently.
  • Music.
  • People who love me, too. Damned if I know why, but I'm not complaining.
  • Caffeine and ethanol, my drugs of choice. (And occasionally Irish Coffee, which gives me both at once.)
  • Tools of the trade: bash, sed, git, make -- and learning some new (to me) ones, like cut.
  • The occasional burst of productivity.
  • Spread-spectrum radio, as in WiFi and cell phones. Hedy Lamarr.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I haz apparently been a Productive Bear, at least some of the time. I finally got around to putting grout into the seam where the arch was cut in between the kitchen and the Rainbow Room, and I now have a fourth working UPS and a functioning git-based web deployment system (for everything but the audio files, of course).

On the other hand, we had a one-hour power outage last night that revealed the fact that the server was plugged into the surge protector outlet on one of those UPSs instead of a battery-backed-up outlet. *headdesk*

I transferred my stuff from the shoulder bag I've been using for the last couple of years, to a rolling backpack. Which is clumsy as heck, but more comfortable to use. The major win, though, was putting my wallet and a couple of other essentials into a little shoulder bag (Eagle Creek Sidekick) so that I can just grab that and go out to lunch, or shopping with Colleen. Major win -- it's practically weightless by comparison with the old one. Of course, it can't carry a laptop, cane, rain hat, phone backup battery, coin purse, ... -- which is all rather the point of the exercise.

I have also been coming home hurting, and emotionally fragile from depression and anxiety. So there's that.

On the whole, though, not too bad of a week. I'll take it. Links in the notes as usual.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

So. A reasonably productive week, at least at home, where I've been cleaning up my server so that I can use git for most deployments and backup, instead of my clunky old rsync system (which worked pretty damned well, but a large USB hard drive represents a pretty big single point of failure, and it did). That doesn't keep me from doing a nightly mirror, but I'll be relying on git for history.

In the process, I wrote the website deployment git hook and make targets, so I can say "make deploy" on my laptop and have the changes checked in, pushed to the server, and pulled onto the web host with no further interaction.

There are still some remaining tasks around asset management, since my audio files are way too big to be flinging around with git.

At work... not so much. I feel as though I'm not being as productive as I should be.

Also on the down side, I managed to tweak my left QL muscle getting into a car on Wednesday. Naomi managed to get it mostly relaxed, but says that I have to start acting my age and learn to move like an old man instead of assuming that my body will just do what I tell it to. Grump.

And we nearly lost our ninja cat, Desti, who snuck out an insufficiently-closed door. She was, of course, wet and miserable and scared, but that probably won't keep her from trying to sneak out. Because ninja cat.

Oh, and two of Colleen's three lift chairs are broken. She's going to have a repair person come out this week. Fortunately the chairs, her power wheelchairs, and her scooter (which also need attention) are all made by Pride, so she can get them all looked at at once.

To end on a high note, and a link, we saw a preview of the first two episodes of the HBO/American Museum of Natural History mini-series Saving My Tomorrow, about young environmental activists. N's kids were interviewed for it, although they didn't appear in the episodes we saw.

More links in the notes, of course.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

On the health front, I may finally be learning to relax the muscles in my lower back that make it hurt when I walk. Maybe. It also seems to have a lot to do with how heavy my shoulder bag is, so that's going to be an ongoing problem. A backpack would be better, except that it's hard to get off when I take a seat in the bus, and unlike a shoulder bag I can't swing it around when I want to get at something like my wallet.

I've finally started doing some serious system administration/scripting work to get my website working directories the rest of the way under git control. That's done -- I can now say "make deploy" in a web directory and have it committed, pushed to the remote repo, and pulled into the website with no further attention.

In the process, I had to write a script for converting a directory from CVS to git. There are a couple of challenges in that process because the old CVS repositories were in pretty bad shape, with stuff not having been checked in consistently. Not like a well-maintained software project, in other words. Bad bear. No cookie. My websites don't use cookies anyway.

The associated asset archive is going to be harder, because some directories have large media files in them. Like, um... the audio. The goal is to eliminate the use of rsync snapshots for backups (for reasons I will probably go into in more detail in a later post).

Detail in the notes, as usual.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Thanksgiving again! My third in Seattle.

Today I'm thankful for...

  • Rainbow's End and all the people (and cats!) in and around it. I could not possibly have made it through the year without you.
  • My family. Special thanks for Colleen and Naomi, who push me to do the hard stuff. That's a pretty thankless task, so thanks again.
  • My friends, close and distant.
  • Music. Family music nights, when we remember to have them.
  • Seattle, my beautiful city, with its excellent transit system, comfortable weather, and zoning that allows us to keep livestock.
  • Amazon.com -- both as a store and as an employer.
  • A buyer for the Starport. I will miss our old house, and we won't see our San Jose friends nearly enough anymore, but I am very glad to be rid of that albatross and its mortgage.
  • ... and, as last year, the fact that things aren't nearly as bad as they could be.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

A bit of a rough week, but with several high spots. The first of which was brunch with Colleen and Emmy at Salty's -- a local seafood place with a fantastic buffet on weekends. Turns out I get a senior discount. :P

I am cautiously optimistic about my mood, between selling the house and starting on l-tryptophan. I think it's generally better, but it's also more volatile -- I run out of cope and go into overload. Not good. Especially because it upsets Colleen, which sets up a positive feedback loop. (Positive in the feedback sense -- it has negative consequences, of course.)

Another high point was music night, Thursday after dinner. The original plan had been for a new friend of N's to come join us, but she ended up canceling. We had fun anyway -- playlist in the notes. We've decided to do it more often, and N is setting things up to spend more time in the Great Room. Which means I have to fix the control on the broken lift chair that we parked there.

To which end I tracked down a soldering iron. The one I bought because I couldn't find my good one, which is still in a box somewhere.

Looking at the notes, I seem to have been pretty productive this week. So... ok.

raw notes, with links )

Breakfast

Nov. 22nd, 2014 07:56 am
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

2 slices of bacon, 2 eggs, some cooked grain...

OK, fried rice for breakfast.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

So, after another lenghty break, we finally come around to the Thursday before Thanksgiving. We'll see whether I can get two weeks in a row. But for now, I'm thankful for..

  • Having finally sold Grand Central Starport. An era has well and truly ended, and I'm still somewhat in shock. But still.
  • Rainbow's End.
  • My wonderful family.
  • Cat therapy.
  • ssh -Xf $MYBOX gnome-panel

ETA: The first sentence would probably have been more effective if I hadn't posted this on Wednesday.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Well, escrow closed Friday on the Starport. My mood has been extremely volatile, and mostly in the bad direction, all week; took me until Friday to recognize that I was grieving. Knowing me, that probably means I'm in for a long run of it. Maybe I'll write something this evening.

Our hotel experience at Orycon was pretty poor, to the extent that we may very well not be back for the Westercon in 2016. (Ory is moving -- Yay!) But they gave us half a night off the bill, so there's that.

I spent yesterday puttering. The money from the Starport still hasn't shown up; if it doesn't hit my account Monday I'll hit the panic button.

Lasting Relationships Rely On 2 Traits tl;dr: kindness and generosity. Well, yeah. More links in the notes.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Between network problems (which I caused), the disastrous US elections, being off my antidepressants (which may have been helping a little after all; it may just be too subtle an effect for this alexithymic old bear to have noticed), pain issues, and just generally feeling harried, it was kind of a bad week.

I threw my set plans out the window, and put together what turned out to be a pretty good little set at the last minute: "Bigger On the Inside", "Someplace In the Net", "World Inside the Crystal", "Millennium's Dawn", "Keep the Dream Alive". Recordings (thanks to Rick Weiss) later this week.

I pretty much nailed the lyrics. A lot of missed notes, but the nice thing about the guitar is that as long as you have the right chord fingered it's going to sound ok no matter how sloppy the playing is. Got comments from a couple of people after the set, so that was nice.

The hotel was a distinct disappointment -- they'd overbooked the handicap rooms (the king room we're in is ok, but it would have been nice to have more manoevering room in the bathroom), and the restaurant didn't have a regular dinner menu. (The bar did have something more like a dinner menu, but it was expensive.) The breakfast buffet was no more than adequate. I see it's in a different hotel next year.

I have so far failed to connect with any of the people I'd been hoping to connect with; this is not unusual but does little to improve my mood, which I think is still somewhat volatile.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I've been reminded that this is the 25th anniversary of a very special newsgroup called alt.callahans. My own first post came a couple of weeks later, after I finally persuaded our sysadmin to add it to our news feed.

I have a lot of history with that Place.

I wrote a song, too: "Someplace in the Net". I probably need to totally rework my set list for Orycon. :P

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Kind of a rough week? I'm not really sure.

On the plus side, we got the washer repaired (a little over $320 for a new drain pump), and I switched the network over from Comcast to CenturyLink. Which was exactly as easy as I expected it to be: swap the router and the extension WAP, and it's done. Sometime I should swap SSIDs back, but it doesn't matter all that much much.

Our group moved over the weekend; the move puts us in the center of $A's main campus (with a nice small caffeteria next door, and the main one only a block away). My hard drive didn't survive it. All my code was backed up, but that still left a huge amount of configuration that should have been but wasn't. Fixed now.

Tapered off my antidepressant. Not much of an effect on my mood; not clear whether it has affected my supply of cope or my weight.

Kind of late, but I've started practicing for Orycon. Not entirely clear what's going into my set -- Millennium's Dawn, Keep the Dream Alive, and QV for sure. That may actually be almost enough, since it's only a half-hour set.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: (flamethrower)

Advisory 01/2014: Drupal - pre Auth SQL Injection Vulnerability

A "highly critical public service announcement" from Drupal [LWN.net] "Automated attacks began compromising Drupal 7 websites that were not patched or updated to Drupal 7.32 within hours of the announcement of SA-CORE-2014-005 - Drupal core - SQL injection. You should proceed under the assumption that every Drupal 7 website was compromised unless updated or patched before Oct 15th, 11pm UTC, that is 7 hours after the announcement."

Impressive. I think this is an appropriate place to quote one of my father's aphorisms: "A locked car with an open window is NOT a locked car."

If PHP is your open window, you may as well leave the keys on the dashboard where they're easy to see.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

A couple of dizzy spells, which felt a lot like a return of the orthostatic hypotension I used to get rather frequently before I changed my blood pressure meds, only more severe. Turns out that they could be exactly that, as a side effect of cutting down on my SSRI antidepressant.

Worked from home Friday and half of Thursday due to our office move. Spent Monday (and will probably spend most of today) setting up my desktop box, whose hard drive didn't survive the move. :P Grumble. Only things I'll actually be losing are a couple of little scripts in ~/bin, my .zshrc customizations, and my browser config. Everything else is in git.

Stupidly tried to upgrade the OS on my laptop. Stupid, because it left it practically unusable. A clean reinstall of 14.04 fared better, but there are still some oddities here and there.

Working from home today, too, because I'll be waiting for the washer to get repaired. :P It broke on Saturday. The backup drive on Nova has apparently been broken for a *long* time -- read is ok, but write fails. This may be a timing thing, but switching it from USB to eSATA renumbers the drive letters, so that's kind of a non-starter.

On the positive side, the CenturyLink internet connection is on, and the new modem arrived yesterday. Hopefully today I'll be able to get our network configured -- it may be a simple matter of swapping two routers.

The new building is significantly farther away from the bus stop -- there are closer ones, but it's actually faster to walk than to wait for a transfer. So if it's not raining, I'll do that.

Kind of a rough week. Oddly, the fact that I've cut back on my antidepressant doesn't seem to have made much difference that I can perceive, which says that either it wasn't doing much good, or I'm still bad at detecting my mood. Or both.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: (space colony)

She called me "Mel". Nobody's called me that since Geoff died -- he was the only one. Just like Lex was the only one who calls me "Mom". I'm Lady Melody to everyone else; that's what I'm used to.

She asked if she could play me! Asked! All formal, as if we hadn't been talking online for more than a year.

"My Lady -- please. May I play you? I brought you strings." Martin silk and steel, all the way from Earth. I had no idea they were still making them. And that song!*

I think I'm in love again. It's been so long.

* Silk and Steel

(First posted as a comment in the October Crowdfunding Creative Jam in response to a prompt by zeeth-kyrah.)

Just filling in a little more back-story. I hadn't really been thinking of Lady M's second lover as female, but it seemed to fit. I haven't worked out the timeline details yet; I may have to change "seven" to "many" years in the lyric to make it work.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Lots of puttering this week -- sorting unpaid bills, re-arranging shelves, a little cooking, a little cleaning, lots of mostly-uninteresting work.

Cat cuddles. I really think the cats are better antidepressants than my SSRI, which I've been cutting back on without noticable effects. So far.

And I wrote a poem! Go read: Shifts (also on DW and LJ; follow the linkies). It's already gotten some interesting reactions. I obviously need to update my Lit pages -- there are only three poems there, and I know I've written more than that!

Links, as usual, in the notes.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
There's that moment when everything changes,
But really it's just you,
Seeing things differently.

When you realize that the solid bench you're sitting on
Is mostly empty space between particles.
When you learn that even the particles
Aren't really particles, and that light isn't entirely waves either.

When you see the way special relativity views velocity
As simple rotation in four-space, 
And you study general relativity and realize
That it's geometry all the way down.

When you suddenly get recursion,
Reading the Algol 60 Report, with its crystalline prose
And elegantly compact rules.
When Goedel blows the top of your head off,
And you understand that some things simply can't be proved.
When you see how elegantly Turing applies the same trick.

When you realize that a little of the Unknowable
Isn't part of the Unknown anymore,
Because now you know why you can't know it.

First published in a comment in the October 2014 Crowdfunding Creative Jam, on the theme "Paradigm Shifting Without a Clutch."

This is entirely autobiographical, though the sequence has been messed with a little to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.

Mirrored from steve.savitzky.net. My poetry there is in really rough shape; hopefully I'll get a little work done on it soon.

Also adopted by [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith as part of her Schrodinger's Heroes series, which makes it unintentionally canonical fanfic for an imaginary TV show. Talk about shifting without a clutch! At least it has synchromesh. Or was that synchrotron?

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

On the whole a pretty good week, as it turns out. Busy and often frustrating at work, but things finally came together Friday afternoon and the service I've been working on seems to be working correctly. Pieces are falling into place all over.

Last Sunday I made pasta sauce from scratch, using pretty much my Mom's recipe only with turkey Italian sausage and no bell peppers. Tomatoes from our garden. The Roma bush, especially, has been insanely productive.

On a whim I did some research on statins and grapefruit juice -- it turns out that the study that showed bad interactions involved the equivalent of over 2l/day. So I've been avoiding grapefruit for no good reason all these years.

Yesterday I spent puttering, mostly around Colleen's sewing corner in the Great Room. Colleen had expressed an interest in sorting through boxes, so I brought up a couple. I also moved her sewing machine and its cabinet to the other wall and brought up what I hope is the last of her rolling stacks of drawers. We need shelves in the corner.

Hmm. If the sewing room eventually moves upstairs (combined with a library/guest room after the remodel), we could use that corner for music.

Links in the notes, of course.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

It's actually Thursday! I'm thankful for

  • My family.
  • Broccoli beef, made by my Brother Bear.
  • Rainbow's End.
  • Good Drugs.
  • Happy lights.
  • Credit counseling.
  • git and gpg
mdlbear: (g15-meters)

... in [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's Poetry Fishbowl! The theme is "Mad Science".

mdlbear: a locomotive engine dangling from a hole in a building (trainwreck)

Not such a good week. Productive, but not fun.

I did have some good times with Colleen, going for a drive last Sunday, and to the Northwest Tea Festival yesterday. Colleen's favorite vendor, Silk Road, was a no-show, so she used the money she didn't spend there to buy us lunch. A really great outing.

I spent last Sunday updating old laptops -- they're all old and the ones capable of running Windows 7 really suck at it, but they all make good Linux boxes. I spent the rest of the day working my way through the piles of accumulated bills. Yesterday I spent the evening switching online accounts off of credit cards and onto debit cards.

Today I'll tackle the medical bills, which I've been ignoring for way too long.

Naomi pointed out, rather sharply, that my biggest problem isn't being stupid (though I've done a lot of that), but my habit of ignoring the hard stuff and hoping it will go away. Which, of course, is massively stupid, since ignoring things like that only makes them progressively worse. Which makes them harder to face. And so on.

This is what's called a vicious circle. With BIG SHARP TEETH. I think I need an icon for that.

Oddly, the fact that I've cut back on my antidepressant doesn't seem to have made much of a difference. This leads me to suspect that I should drop the SSRI altogether and switch to something with a different mechanism. Possibly tryptophan.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Today I am thankful for

  • People who love me enough to be angry at me when I deserve it, and still love me afterwards.
  • A life insurance policy I can borrow against.
  • Getting off my ass, hopefully.

... and not for

  • Old, bad habits.
  • Avoiding the stuff I loathe, but have to do anyway.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Rough week.

Low point: asking for help on the financial trainwreck. Maxing out another credit card Monday kind of drove it home. Naomi is of the opinion that I need a keeper. She's right. She's also of the opinion that I'm worth it; this is less obvious but I've learned that she's usually right, so I guess I'll take her word for it.

High point: going out with Naomi to see A Chorus Line last night.

Adventures along the way: the Shellshock bug (quickly patched on the systems I use regularly), and updating the household's random laptops. We (ok, mostly I) have a *lot* of old laptops. I remember when a gigabyte was a lot of disk.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: a locomotive engine dangling from a hole in a building (trainwreck)

Hmm. Late again, I see.

  • A sister willing to be her brother's keeper. (Because I apparently need a keeper.)
  • A trip to the theater to see A Chorus Line.
  • My family.
  • Help with the Trainwreck.
  • Employment.
  • Backups, with extra git.
  • Timely upgrades, and apt-get.
  • Cats.
  • Ethanol.

And NO thanks to:

  • Our no-good realtor.
  • Shellshock.
  • Uncooperative body parts.
  • Bad habits. Especially expensive bad habits.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Ok; today I'm grateful for:

  • Financial advice.
  • My family.
  • The ability to borrow against my life insurance policy.
  • Checks arriving just in time.
  • People who tell me I'm not as stupid as I feel.
  • Still being able to help Colleen get around.
mdlbear: (space colony)

From the Jargon File, Hacktown 2138 memorial edition:

History/Herstory/Doc

Originally consisting of only the titular rhyme, this document was added to the History/ section of the Hacktown wiki in 2039 by Lex Kalman and immediately became a repository for children's rhymes, teaching poems, short (usually humorous) scripts, and the like. Write access is restricted to human children aged 8-15, and it is traditional to make an entry on every birthday in that interval.

 

From History/Herstory/Doc

0

History Herstory Doc
Time overflowed the clock
Remember the date,
2038,
History Herstory Doc.
-- LexiKal@

 

52

if (age.base(8).size()==1 || age.base(16).size()!=1) deny(write)

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Not really a terrifically good week, though Colleen's friend Bun-Bun has moved up from central CA, which brightened things considerably. And Colleen spontaneously told me how much she loves the house -- it helped a lot.

The main stressor is the fact that I'm basically broke. The San Jose house (I'm starting to not think of it as the Starport anymore -- that's a good thing) is a drain on our resources, my credit cards are mostly maxed out, and my checking account is in the red. (The bank kindly pays up to about $1500 in overdrafts, but still charge me a $33 fee for each item. It helps, but not quite enough.)

It's depressing to think about, especially knowing that it's all because of a long series of stupid financial decisions on my part. Plus a lot of letting things ride instead of making a decision. As I remarked on Facebook, this probably wasn't the best week to start trying to cut back on my SSRI in hopes of reversing the weight gain.

I got a lot of good, and encouraging, feedback from that post. Thanks, folks! It helps.

I've basically spent all weekend puttering, which at least accomplishes something. Still a lot to do, mostly paperwork-like things that I hate. Grumph.

Links, as usual, in the notes. Including Radio3, which I might be able to use to simplify logging links.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Today I'm thankful for...

  • Dental insurance.
  • Smiles from random strangers. (Baffled, but thankful anyway.)
  • Overdraft protection.
  • The ability to work from home and still be productive.
  • Having sense enough not to read the news today.
  • Kid hugs and kitty cuddles.
  • Chinese food to go.
  • git reset --hard (One of my coworkers has a t-shirt that says "Keep calm and git revert", but reset is better if you haven't pushed your commit upstream yet.)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Not all that bad a week, I guess. Lots of cat cuddles, and a day off for Labor Day. Not all that good, either. Joe Bethancourt died (only a year older than me!), I had to work from home two days to take Colleen to appointments, and as usual I'm broke until the social security payment arrives a week and a half from now. I do not like it, Sam-I-Am.

This coming week looks just as bad, if not worse. And it all goes back to stupid financial decisions I made twenty years ago (and continued making), so now it's basically not fixable. Which doesn't improve my self-image or my mood, either. Nor does my current antidepressant, which I don't think is helping much. Or rather has side-effects that tend to make things worse. GAAH!

Well, there are always the links.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

So, today I'm grateful for...

  • Cuddly cats and capering kittens.
  • Ninja cat burglers. It seems Cricket has been taking lessons from Desti.
  • Friday. Both the day and the tea purveyor.
  • The ability to work from home occasionally.
  • Family.
  • Lox.
  • Gin.
  • git rebase --onto ...

NO thanks to...

  • Another buyer backing out.
  • Social anxiety, or whatever it is.
  • Dysthymia.
  • Weight gain as a side effect of antidepressants.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Long, busy week at work; nothing much done at home. We are, however, making progress on Colleen's medical issues, thanks to her new urologist. And the new buyer signed off on our counter-offer, so we're good there as long as they don't find any deal-breakers in the inspection. We'll know by next week.

The cats have been very entertaining. Curio and Desti still aren't particularly fond of Cricket, the new kitten, but I think they're learning to get along.

A lot of anxiety gone, having arranged for an extension on my tax payments and determined that I have more time than I thought to take care of a couple of parking tickets. Money is still tight, though. Something about carrying two mortgages, and having a bunch of credit card payments due at the end of the month, a couple of days before my paycheck arrives. :P

My Samsung phone and tablet upgraded to KitKatt (4.4.2; my Nexus was already at 4.4.4). Took 'em long enough! Hopefully the phone will be a little more stable.

Good links.

raw notes, with links )

Thankful

Aug. 29th, 2014 08:46 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

So...

  • Surviving.
  • A buyer for the Starport, hopefully.
  • Not being too horribly late on some payments.
  • Overdraft protection.
  • My family.
  • Recordings of musicians who are no longer with us.
  • Cats! (Including the new kitten, Cricket.)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Another rough week. But I put out three posts with actual content -- one informative (The Justin Case file), one River post (Empathy) and one demifiction (Introducing the Melody/Rose 'verse). So I should be feeling accomplished. I'm not, particularly.

Mostly what I'm feeling is broke, and worried about money. The house in San Jose still hasn't sold, so I'm carrying two mortgages as well as a horrendous amount of other debt. Not good.

Links below, many of them depressing.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: (space colony)

So, I guess I'm finally going to do it. Things have come a long way since I wroteSilk and Steel in 1988, and The Rambling Silver Rose in 1992, and I'm going to have to change a lot of the earlier back-story to catch up. *sigh* So here I am, revising in realtime without a backup. We'll see how far that gets me.

 

From The Backworlds Guide to the Solar System, 2188 edition
The Golden Cockroach $$ ****

Assuming one can get to Hacktown (which, depending on the whims of its inhabitants and the configuration of the Interplanetary Transport Network, could easily be anywhere between the orbits of Venus and Jupiter), and assuming it is open to visitors (which is usually a reasonable assumption), the Golden Cockroach is not to be missed.

The 'Roach, as it's usually called, is the oldest restaurant in space, having opened for business in early 2039 shortly after Hacktown was founded. It is still run by descendents of Frank and Susie Wong, who originally ran the Golden Dragon in Sunnyvale. Their Hacktown Fry, still served the traditional way in the center of a sphere of guests with chopsticks, is justly famous, as are the Egg Foo Bar and Hacked Chicken. Note that living in zero G dulls the sense of taste, so don't be afraid to ask for "spicy".

 

Open Mike's $/$$$$$ ***

Across the main sphere from the 'Roach you'll find Open Mike's Saloon. Mike's is, of course, best known as the home of Lady Melody, who has been been running the joint -- and hosting its legendary song circles -- since the death of her partner Geoff Kalman in 2042. However, it is almost as legendary in other circles for its booze, a collection which ranges from the ordinary to the esoteric. The best of the everyday brews is undoubtedly the locally-made Hashtown Pale Ale, made from malted hemp seeds. The cellar, by appointment only, is the most extensive anywhere off Earth, mainly because Mike's accepts bottles in trade.

 

Notes:

Mike's is named after the fictional proprietor of the alt.callahans newsgroup, one of the earliest and most influential "virtual places".

The Interplanetary Transport Network is a network of gravitationally determined low-energy paths connecting the L1 and L2 Lagrange points of the planets and their satellites.

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