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

As things become increasingly sureal for me, it's appropriate that the week opened with Salvador Dalí's Long Lost Collaboration With Walt Disney.

It has not been a good week. Naomi found a nice apartment for Colleen and me, in the U District. We will move in next weekend. The prospect of splitting the household, even temporarily, is tearing me apart, especially since we don't know where we're going to end up, or when.

We've continued to look for a new home. The Maple Valley place was magical and lovely, but between wetlands, well, and septic system it's almost impossible -- perhaps completely impossible -- to build anything new on it to replace the mobile home that's too old to be financed. When we eventually move, it would be just as hard to sell as the the present owner is finding it, so we'd be trying to buy a new place with over $250K tied up in the old one. Not good. But it was the only place we've seen that looks as if we could simply move in with only minimal work -- and we'll need to move soon.

The combination of grief, depression, anxiety, burnout, hopelessness, and guilt -- the latter over the incredible number of screw-ups over the last thirty years that got me to this place -- is getting worse and worse. I just want to crawl into a hole, and things that need doing continue to pile up.

In other news, the country I live in is rapidly becoming unrecognizable. Amazon's TV adaptation of The Man in the High Castle is horrifyingly apropos, and Trump Supporters Reaction to Amazon's Resistance Radio is both Sad and Hilarious. Have a billboard.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

It's been a busy week here at Rainbow's End -- last weekend was g's Bat Mitzava and the associated parties; this weekend my Mom is visiting, and we had a few of the local cousins visiting yesterday. In preparation for last week's parties, we had the Great Room almost completely cleared out.

That, of course, made things interesting for this week's party, especially since many of our folding chairs are also in the pod. But between the purple sofabed, my desk chair, what was once Colleen's sewing chair, N's old recliner, and a couple of clunky metal folding chairs that had been languishing on the porch, we managed. We used three of our folding tray tables as a makeshift buffet for cheese and crackers, the blue coffee cups as wineglasses, and had a great afternoon and evening of food and conversation. Never found an opening for music, but...

We are trying, so far without success, to find an apartment for Colleen and I to move into for the next couple of months. Furnished apartments rented month-to-month are mainly for corporate clients, which can afford to pay hotel-room prices: 3-4K/month is typical. There's one place for about 1600, but the rooms are small, the "kitchen" is a tiny microwave, and they don't allow pets. We could manage unfurnished, though it would mean hauling our beds and Colleen's chair.

I was on call this week at work; I found someone to swap with for the weekend, so I'm off the hook until some weekend in May. $PROJECT officially launches (dialed up to 1%) on Monday, which is my actual birthday. So there's that.

I'm not in the best shape physically -- anything that requires me to bend over, like cleaning the floor or changing the bed, is likely to be very bad for my back. Bringing in the desk chair from the Great Room, however, is definitely helping. At least half my problems were caused by trying to use a computer from a folding chair. It also helps that the desk chair lets me use my heating pad.

I'm almost certainly not in terribly good shape emotionally (modulo alexithymia, of course). Leaving the house is hard. Well, grief counseling is one of the Middle-Sized Bear's job functions. I should probably re-read "Mark Elf" to remind myself of that.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Go check out YsabetWordsmith's Poetry Fishbowl!

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

I was on vacation this last week. Which means that it was extremely busy, but in a different way from work. That's not a bad thing. There were two major events, so we'll take them chronologically.

Monday Naomi and I went out looking at houses with (realtor) Chris. There was one place that we found that looked intriguing, and two that we thought were worth trying for. The intriguing place, the third one we looked at, was a five bedroom place for about 280K, the high end of our range. It had two usable sections, plus a huge unfinished basement. It would have cost us about another 100K to remodel to the point of usability. (Another place, less interesting, was an absolute dump, but had a large back yard that we could have easily put a tiny on.)

The first place we looked at was a great-looking mobile, fairly new, for an astounding price. I figured, correctly, that it would be selling for considerably over the asking price. When we saw the place in Maple Valley, we pretty much didn't care. We took G, Colleen, and the kids out Thursday evening. They loved it as much as N and I did.

I'm not going to say much about it until after we have an offer in, and there could still be dealbreakers in the inspection and feasibility study, but it's basically everything we were looking for: a piece of land with an existing cottage for me and Colleen, and space for a tiny house for N and G. (One kid in each.) The price is right on the edge of what we can buy for cash (and we'll have to) after our present house sells.

OK, that's the first thing.

The second was g's Bat Mitzva. It was wonderful, and g basically blew people away. It was followed by a small party for the visiting family members on both sides -- we provided the space, and g's dad and step-mom provided the rented equipment and food. Those are getting used today as well, for the kids' party.

I'd forgotten (or never knew) how wonderful the music was -- it's been over 50 years since the last one of those I'd been to, and for that matter they may not have been that musical. The entire Hebrew portion was chanted. I never learned the language, despite my heritage, but it didn't matter. I just let myself be carried away on the music.

Wish us luck on the house transactions!

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: Wild turkey hen close-up (turkey)

Hey, it's Thursday! Today I am grateful for...

  • My family.
  • Colleen's fast recovery from a serious infection.
  • Health insurance (though I'd much prefer a single payer system)
  • Our realtor.
  • A much-needed week's vacation.
  • Our builder, movers, and organizers.
  • Therapy cats. Cat therapy. Cats.

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

Welcome to March 2017.

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

Long month this week. Colleen started feeling ill Monday, and didn't eat anything to speak of; she spent most of the day dozing in her chair, and decided to sleep there at night. About midnight she called -- she'd fallen out of the chair; no telling whether she'd slipped when getting up, or accidentally hit the lift button. Called 911 for help. In retrospect, we should have had her taken to the ER at that point.

I decided to work from home Tuesday, which was a Good Thing. About 3:30 when I went up to check on her she was incoherent -- "out of it". Called 911; she was too weak to walk to the lift, so they had to carry her down in a stair chair. She had about three different bladder infections and was severely dehydrated; it was the low blood pressure from the latter that accounted for the weakness and incoherence.

Harborview's cafeteria is actually pretty decent.

She was discharged Friday; was good to have her home.

Meanwhile, since being with a sleeping person in a hospital leaves one with lots of time, I'd managed to get in about 2.5 days worth of work, and finally got the CR I'd been working on shipped Friday. I went in to work Thursday afternoon after establishing that C wasn't going to be discharged that day, and had my annual review conversation with $BOSS.

I'd been very skeptical about the new annual review process, which is absolutely freaking weird. Peer reviews have two questions, with a 60-word limit for each:

  1. What is this person's superpower? (required)
  2. Do you have any growth ideas for them? (optional)

The manager's part of it is the same two questions, only I think without the 60-character limit. The self-evaluation part has four questions.

As I said, skeptical. But it actually seemed to go very well: it's designed to highlight your strengths, and completely ignore past performance. The feedback I got from my peers (my manager could see who wrote which one, but one gets them unedited) was basically dead on. The fact that $PROJECT was in "friends and family" testing and stalled due to something that wasn't my fault (fixed by Friday) helped a lot.

My favorite superpower was "CraftWeaver". Others mentioned my willingness to mentor and answer questions from newer devs. Someone specifically mentioned the fact that when someone sends out a question in email to a wide audience, I'm usually the one who jumps on it with an answer. The most common growth idea was that I should speak up more in meetings.

Of course, the other thing going on in the household is moving. I got the tools sorted on Sunday, and with several peoples' help got the art sorted, mostly Sunday and yesterday. N's criterion for keeping art is pretty loose, based on the fact that it stores flat and can be rotated. Chaos and the Dwarves also took quite a lot of it; there are comparatively few pictures left in the discard pile. Most of the furniture is gone from the Great Room; the only things left are the klic-klacs (which we're keeping), the blue sectional (which we're keeping through next week), and the piano. Want a free piano?

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: Wild turkey hen close-up (turkey)

So, today (Thursday, for sufficiently large values of day), I am grateful for:

  • Colleen being home from the hospital, where she has been since Tuesday with a severe infection;
  • the fact that she simply forgot that she hadn't retrieved her wallet from the safe, rather than (as she thought) losing it somewhere;
  • an annual review that went much better than I expected;
  • a new review process that focuses more on forward-looking strengths and growth paths than on past performance or lack thereof;
  • a project just this side of launch, with all my parts of it completed and working (a thing that no doubt made my review better);
  • downsizing, which lets me see how little I actually need;
  • a purring therapy cat;
  • a format that keeps bullet points without subjects or verbs from looking like sentence fragments.

mdlbear: Welcome to Rainbow's End (sign) (rainbows-end)

Things are getting seriously packed up now. I spent five hours yesterday with the organizers getting my papers in order; there's an apalling number of unpaid bills and even uncashed checks in there. Today's session will focus on my tools and other clutter in the Great Room, I think. A few items have gone missing; hopefully packed. N lost track of some irreplacable photos; two of the four had been packed and were ready to go out with some other artwork, but the other two turned up in the bottom of a bookcase, apparently put there by a previous organizer.

Our closet and kitchen have also been decimated. Naomi put some items up for free on NextDoor -- that seems like the most effective way to get rid of stuff that we would otherwise have to donate anyway. Cx came to take the smaller bookcases. A few antique items have been sold.

Chicken tikka masala twice this week -- last Sunday, and yesterday. It's quick and tasty, though I probably should do some other things too. (Well, I can do chili, stroganoff, stir-fry; I just don't usually.)

$PROJECT at work hit what I hope was the last snag Friday; hopefully we can get that sorted out Monday.

I still can't reliably distinguish between physical and mental symptoms resembling exhaustion or depression.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Rough week. There are going to be a lot more of them.

Almost all of the books we're keeping have been moved out to the pod, and most of the other Great Room stuff as well. So have our CDs and DVDs. The breakfront and buffet have been cleared and sorted; they'll go soon. Half of our booze is gone, as are the 12-string and the M-Audio Quattro and preamp. Our housekeeper, G', has taken the hot tub and has claimed the piano. My brother wants the musk ox (a marvelous sculpture entitled "Here I Stand") and the bound volumes of Analytical Chemistry that have Dad's articles in them.

Haven't started on the garage yet. Need to get the tools sorted and listed. Ugh. Pictures first full week in March -- that'll be tight. We basically have only 19 days left, because the final weekend will be taken up by g's Bat Mitzva.

Things are increasingly surreal. I alternate between nostalgia, regret, depression, and terror, with random, inexplicable stretches of calm and occasionally even optimism. I guess adventures are like that. Nasty, uncomfortable things.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: (flamethrower)

I opened up LJ this evening to find that the posts it's showing are out of sequence -- the top post on my friends' feed is from yesterday sometime, and there's a later one further down the page. It isn't most recent comment, either: both of those are from an account that turns comments off on crossposts.

My conclusion is that either they're using some kind of ranking system which they're not telling us about (and which I didn't see any setting for that that might fix it), or possibly that crossposts are arriving weirdly out of sequence. So...

PSA #1: If you're posting on LJ and not DW, or posting different content on LJ, I might not see your posts.

PSA #2: If you're crossposting and redirect all your comments to DW, I'm going to stop reading you on LJ to cut down on clutter. (If you allow comments on LJ I'll still go over there and read them, if I can find your post. That is, obviously, no longer guaranteed.)

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

Did I mention that we're moving? We got a portable storage unit just a week ago. It's pretty big, but we're downsizing a lot, too. We might make it. Naomi has hired an Organizer to help; I got to work with her yesterday and she is indeed fantastic.

At this point I have my desk cleared and ready to go away, and pretty much everything in boxes and bins. I have a big stack of hard drives to wipe, about the same size stack to wipe or repurpose, and a huge stack of laptops to go through. Friday I helped N clear out the area downstairs that needs to be repaired; Travis started yesterday. I'm tired and pretty much brain-fried.

We've been making progress at work, but there are still problems. I'm on call next week, at least until I can find a substitute. That will be complicated by the 6" of snow predicted for tomorrow.

I've been hating having to move, but I have to say that actually clearing out the junk and downsizing radically is rather cheering. Don't know whether that's because it's doing something, or something more specific to what we're doing, but whatever it is, I'll take it.

I have a fair amount of stuff that should go to a good home. A really nice tower PC in an Antec P150 case -- it's nearly silent. A 12-string guitar. Some recording gear. A 15" Gem PA speaker (Musician's Friend has them on sale every so often). A piano.

Oh, and a really awesome house. 6 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, two living rooms, two kitchens, and a great room/concert hall that seats 70, all fully handicap accessible. Going to miss this place.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: (distress)

This last weekend was Conflikt, our local filk convention. GOH was the incomparable Judi Miller; Vixy and Tony were the toast-band, Mark Peters was Interfilk guest, and there was the usual assortment of other guests, including Mary Crowell doing a concert and album release party.

Mark's guest panel was unusual -- he's the sound person for OVFF, so it was a combination talk and live demo. Fun! Judi, in addition to being a simply amazing sign-language interpreter, has a beautiful singing voice as well.

I only sang a few songs: Windward, plus helping Chaos with Filk Inside the Circle (her filk of World Inside the Crystal) Saturday; The Bears and Millennium's Dawn on Sunday while the brunch was going on elsewhere.

Some lovely catching up with people, and I met a couple of new people (Halley and Becca)

I've been stressed all week about the impending move (impending -- that's what doom does, right?) plus the impending (see above) live tests that our project really isn't ready for. Last night was particularly bad; a combination of con drop, frantic sorting, and some highly stressful cleanup. When I finally got to bed I just curled up into a ball for a while. Cat therapy helps some.

Sorting is hard. There are a lot of old memories that I'm having trouble processing, not to mention just plain grieving. Still, there are bright spots. For a while now we've been tossing some items into boxes labeled "Interfilk". There were three of them. It took me an hour and a half to unpack everything and put bid sheets on it; I think we amounted to about a third of the items. *Sigh* a lot of history there. But when something's been in a box for the last five years, or ten, and you haven't missed it, there's really not much point in hanging on to it.

Doesn't keep me from wishing I didn't have to.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: (crowdfunding)

Ysabetwordsmith's Poetry Fishbowl is Open!

Go feed the fish!

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

A few days ago I got a comment on my weekly post that went Oohh, you're doing what looks to me like a bullet journal? Only online. So I wrote a quick explanation. And then I realized that I might be doing something unusual, that I ought to write up in more detail. So here you are:

The Legend

Let's start off with the file called Journals/Dog/legend.do:

			       ===legend.do===

= item flag notation for to.do and to.done files:

= notation for to.do and to.done items:
  = note: keep  o to do  * done  x abandoned  ~ modified  . in progress
  & added after completion  (recurring items get * when completed)
  $ financial transaction (flagged as  o before completion)
  ? query/decision...  - choice  + chosen  ->chosen
  @ link/research
  ! emotion noted at the time, or soon after.  NOT added the next morning; 
    I'm trying to pay more attention at the time
  | body sensation worthy of note: pain, noticable change...
    (more recently replaced by %; should maybe go back to |)
  : observation or external event.  Weather, news, etc
    + external observation with positive emotional content
    - external observation with negative emotional content
  % observation/insight about myself
  # meta - flags, flist, filters, ...
  <b>...something I feel good about...</b> (may be added next day)
  <i>...something I feel bad about...</i>
  [ ... ] delete from public posts
  ... ongoing items
  " quotation
  ' interior dialog

= Notation for meetings and conversations:
  <- point to bring up.  After meeting, point to bring up next time
  *- point brought up
  x- point not brought up
  ~- point partially brought up, or brought up in different form
  &- additional point raised  
  -> information/point raised by someone else/consequence/resolution
  => action item for me
  =* action item done
  <= action item for somebody else.

===

The History

My usage has shifted a little over the years. I first started posting "to.do" items around 2006, though I'd undoubtedly been using at least the o and * flags for years before that. At first, since I was part of a support group working on procrastination and avoidance, I used it as an accountability thing: I would post a list of open items, followed (hopefully) by the items as they got checked in. It was a little discouraging, until somebody suggested just posting about what I'd done. That led to &, and my expanded use of the file as more a log than a to-do list and calendar.

Whenever the list of "done" items got too long, I would move them into a ".done" file -- the first one I have is 2006.done. In 2009 I switched to quarterly archives; by 2009/q4.done the file had most of its present features. By 2011 I was archiving monthly. I don't remember offhand when I stopped making daily posts in LJ and switched to weekly.

Sometime in September of 2011 I decided that the set of unfinished and probably never-to-be-completed items had gotten too long, and moved it to wibnif.do, as in "Wouldn't It Be Nice If..." My present Makefile plugin reports the current number of unfinished items in to.do and wibnif.do; the current numbers are 70 and 126 respectively.

The Files

So there's that. The file is called to.do, and edited with emacs. There are a couple of important marker lines in it:

=========================================================================================+
Ongoing:                                                                             89->|
recurring items and long-term goals go here
=then===================================================================================>|
this contains entries from the first of the month to the present
=now===-^-===this-month-v-==============================================================>|
scheduled items for later this month
=later===-v-===this-month-^-============================================================>|
scheduled items after this month
=sometime===-V-===later-^-==============================================================>|
items with no specific due date
=Done-v-================================================================================>|

Dates, in the form mmddWw (e.g., 0122Su), start in the first column; flag characters are indented two spaces. The marker at column 89 makes it easy to properly size the editor window when I first open it after rebooting; it's where lines wrap.

I'll put approximately-scheduled items in the this-month and later sections after the dated entries, and a few of the more important ones above =now. That doesn't keep me from procrastinating them, but it does help keep them where they'll be noticed.

Note that, except for the breakpoint at =done, entries are in chronological order from top to bottom. That makes this a log, not a blog or feed. My to.do and its associated history (see below) are one of a handful of journal-like collections under my Journals directory; the to.Do lOG is kept in a a directory called Dog.

The Archives

By now, I have a fairly well-established routine:

  • I maintain the to.do file using emacs, of course.
  • Sometime on Sunday, I move the last week's worth of entries from the working location near the top of the file, to the end.
  • At this point I still have the week's entries in the Region (emacs terminology for the current selection). I move point down two lines to scoop up the HTML boilerplate that I'll need for my weekly post, and copy (M-w).
  • Then I run lj-update, currently bound to M-L, and yank into the body. The boilerplate is arranged so that all I have to do is move back up two lines, cut, down one, and yank.
  • From there it's an easy step to go back to the first line (which is invariably the start date) copy it, and yank it into the subject line.
  • Write my summary. Edit out any [...] sections, if necessary.
  • Post.

Then,

  • Every month -- actually, on the first Sunday of the month, after making my weekly post -- I move the month's entries to yyyy/mm.done.
  • Every so often I go through and pull out obsolete entries, marking them with * or x as appropriate, and put them after the preceeding week's entries at the end of the file.
  • Every year, on New Year's Eve, I gather up my list of goals and make my end-of-the-year post.
  • The next day, I cons up my new list of goals and make a New Year's post.

Variations

I keep other, project-specific, to.do files. Most of them are much simpler, with undated items above the =done line (which is usually just a line of equal signs), and dated items after it in what I now call a "work log". It's convenient, because I can just go to the end of the file and make an entry, but it wouldn't work nearly as well if I had to schedule things.

mdlbear: (distress)

Rough week. Feeling doomed at work; things aren't coming together as quickly as they need to, and I'm not seeing things that should be obvious. Getting old, and I don't like it.

I thought leaving the Starport was hard. This is going to be worse. I guess it's like getting old -- I have to do it, but I don't have to like it.

If I haven't grown up by now I don't have to, right?

We've been doing a lot of sorting. Colleen and I have been through our closet (though there's still a lot left) and bookshelves (about half done), and I sorted books in the Great Room with Naomi. We'll probably have to do another pass.

There were a few small triumphs. I managed to track down the lyrics to Naomi's song "Staying Home Tonight", which had gone missing -- we'd performed it back in 2007. Took grep-find on my home directory (including both mail and LJ archives) to find it.

The emacs grep-find function is wonderful. Basically it searches for a pattern in the contents of every file in your current directory tree, and flags every hit the same way it flags compile errors, so that you can visit each one and do whatever investigation or fixing you need to at that point. You can run the same thing on the command line, but then you don't have the convenient integration with the editor.

Back to small triumphs -- Monday we had (new Honda Odyssey) Rosie towed down to the dealership in Tacoma where we'd bought her, to have her blocked fuel line fixed. Got her back yesterday. And I surprised and delighted Naomi last night wth The Pharos Gate, which I'd just finished reading and which she hadn't known existed. Hmm. Should do a review of the series, shouldn't I?

A comment on last week's post has inspired me to write up my journaling system. It looks like what's now called a "bullet journal", but predates the eponymous fad by at least half a decade. Hmm. Should put together an emacs mode, or see if I can tweak org-mode for it.

A Wikipedia dive starting at Irregular Webcomic! #3594 led me to the article on Slouch hat, which in turn led inevitably to the Tricorne and Bicorne hats. Does that make the slouch hat a unicorne?

Notes & links, as usual )

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

(Just as an aside, I note the fact that I think it necessary to put a question mark after my mood whenever it's "ok" or better. This says something about me, but I have no idea what.)

The week was bracketed by two excellent celebration meals -- brunch at Salty's last Sunday to celebrate Colleen and my anniversary, and dinner at 13 Coins to celebrate N's birthday.

Within those brackets were car problems. Our new van ran out of gas while parked on a hill; we have not been successful in restarting it, so it's going to require towing. That's complicated by the fact that there's a car parked in front of it that hasn't moved in weeks, so that will require knocking on the owners' door and talking to them. Our old van needs to have its right rear tire replaced -- that's scheduled for Monday. I do have to give myself credit for making the call, but mostly I just want to crawl into a hole and hide.

One of the guinea pigs died. We've had them for almost five years; she apparently passed quietly in her sleep after a day or two of lethargy. Poor little critter.

Moderately productive at work. Less so at home.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

So 2017 started with an inch of snow on the ground, and the entire week has been unseasonably cold. Welcome to global warming? I spent most of last week trying, with limited success, to catch up on the things I'd fallen behind on over my week of vacaton. I may survive the month.

Now that LJ has moved its servers to Russia (dropping HTTPS and at least a hundred pro-Ukraine blogs in the process), it seemed like a good time to disable comments on my crossposts and direct all comments to Dreamwidth. If you're reading this on LJ you can comment there with OpenID as [yourname]@livejournal.com. But I think you'd be better off making yourself a Dreamwidth account, importing your LJ, and crossposting. Just ask if you need help -- I've been giving out lots of advice.

The other news is that we (N and I) bought a new (to us) car -- it's a 2004 Honda Odyssey which (who?) seems to be going by the name Rosie.

We have also done quite a bit of cleaning-up and downsizing; first order of business is to get the downstairs cleared out so it can have a new floor and kitchen cabinets installed. Needs doing.

... and yesterday I transplanted my storage server into a small case. It's back on the mini-ITX board I'd had it on for the last couple of years; the smaller case makes a lot more room on the shelf. Downsizing.

Looks like it's going to be an interesting year. Lots of adventures. Nasty, uncomfortable things.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

I'm not going to go as far as some people, but I'm going to turn off comments on my crossposts, for several reasons:

  1. to save me the trouble of having to import them into Dreamwidth,
  2. to reduce my presence on Livejournal, now that it's wholly owned by Putin and Trump,
  3. to encourage people to move to Dreamwidth.

Apropos of that, if you have a DW account that I'm not reading yet, just comment on this post and I'll add you.

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

So now that 2016 is dead and buried -- not necessarily in that order -- let's see what we can make of 2017. Hopefully the goals will be more achievable, if not necessarily easier, because if they're not I'm going to have trouble surviving the next year.

  1. Downsize. Get rid of as much stuff as we feasibly can, so that we can...
  2. Sell the house. Preferably in such a way that we can move out somewhere around the middle of June.
  3. Retire. If possible, after the house is sold. If at all possible, after my stock vests in mid-June, because we're going to need it.
  4. Move. No idea where; we've had enough monkey wrenches lobbed into our plans that I could start a hardware store.
  5. Settle in. We will have emergency exit plans, but hopefully won't have to use them.
  6. Take care of myself. Self-care is one of my weak points. Diet, exercise, ... damned if I know -- I hate exercise.

Is that too much to aim for? I hope not. There are a few things I'd like to do, if I can:

  • Get back into recording.
  • Do a lot more writing. I wrote a book once; it's not impossible for me to do it again.
  • Do a little woodworking.
  • Do something that will bring in a little money. I'm not sure I'm up for contracting again, but writing could do it. So could an album or two. And maybe I could start a patreon.

Seventeen years ago I wrote a song, "Millenium's dawn.". It was nostalgic, and disillsioned, and had a place between the last two choruses where a verse ought to have been, but nothing seemed to fit. A year and a half ago, I wrote that verse.

Now we're out where the daylight can find us,
But our journey has hardly begun;
There are old bridges blazing behind us,
And we're drawing new maps as we run.

If we want the bright future we charted
We must chase down our dreams where they've gone,
And finish the work that we started
By the light of the Millenium's dawn.

  Yes, we'll make the rockets thunder
  To carry us up past the skies;
  We will build new cities of wonder
  To gleam in the bright sunrise;
  
  Here's hope to heal your sorrow
  Now that the old dreams are gone,
  And the past has turned into tomorrow
  After the  Millenium's dawn.

mdlbear: (flamethrower)

It was a long year last week. 2016 is dead and buried; it wouldn't be hard to do better, but I don't expect 2017 to make the effort.

I was going to put a summary of the year here. I'm not up for it. See my previous post for a wrap-up of what I mostly didn't do. I can't think of any major accomplishments to report, except maybe living through it. That may have to do.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: (chernobyl bunny)

Hippo, Gnu, Deer

two ewes

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

2016 SUCKED. Right up until the end, and it's planning to stick around for an extra (leap) second just to rub it in. I want to be up at 23:60 to watch it die. Not that I expect 2017 to be any better.

Last year at this time I wrote It's been a harrowing year. [...] What got us through it was the love and mutual support we have for one another, scary amounts of money, and a great deal of help. But we got through it. We got through as a family. There were times when I honestly didn't expect to. But here we are, at the end of another year.

Um... Yeah. That. Less money and outside help, but certainly Trump's election provided a lot in the way of outside motivation. Any plans we had at the beginning of the year were basically blown to hell in November.

So... let's look at last year's goals. Guidelines -- that's what I called them. Anyway.

  1. Music: I tried something indefinite last year, and didn't get very far with it. So this year, let's aim for an album: Amethyst Rose. The stretch goal would be to add Lookingglass Folk.
    Pretty much a total bust. And I gave two solid concerts and didn't manage to record either of them. 10% if you count concerts, 0% otherwise.
  2. Writing: Write more poetry, and aim for at least one non-fiction (software-related, most likely) article per month.
    No poetry to speak of. Between DW and Quora I managed quite a lot of writing, but very little of it was organized. Maybe 35%.
  3. Exercise: Walk on weekends. Stretch: get my bike repaired. (That's been on the list since before I moved to Seattle, so I don't have much hope.) Nope.
  4. Food: Eat better: more salads, fewer take-out lunches. Take off more weight -- I've been stalled for months. At least under 190, and preferably under 180.
    I ate a lot more leftovers this year, My weight went up ten pounds, thanks to my doctor taking me off my diuretic. I dunno - 10%?
  5. Psych: Last year's "health" goal was all about depression, but I also made a list of plausible stress-reduction techniques, a few of which I actually tried, and I'll keep working on that. But the main thing has to be procrastination. I'll get started on that... sometime? Tonight, preferably.
    Or later. I did get a fair amount done, though, and my dysthymia and anxiety were mostly under control -- at least up until November. 40%.
  6. Web: Convert the main websites to HTML-5 and CSS. Finally get around to writing the correct lyrics-to-HTML converter (using tables instead of monospaced fonts), and a good browser-based songbook/setlist viewer to go with it. Get some experience with popular CMSs: WordPress, and if possible Joomla and Drupal.
    Well, I got the lyrics converter written, if not actually deployed to the web. And my favorite emacs mode for web, html-helper-mode, has been upgraded to HTML-5. In addition, I put three projects up on GitHub. 75%?
  7. Work: Get a new job, or get unstuck at my present one. The former is more likely. If possible, something that's mostly or entirely work-from-home. If not, get started on building a consulting business (web-related, or something else in the software range) that can fill that role.
    Hmm. I did get unstuck. My present project looks dicey, but we may be able to pull it off. I may still have to jump ship, but if I can make it until next June I should be due for more stock, which the gods know will help. I'm going to give myself a 90% on this one.
  8. Household: Get the household workshop set up and, um, working. That means organizing the garage and the downstairs kitchen. Do some serious planning (as opposed to just reading blogs) toward the eventual move-out into tiny houses.
    Well, ... I'm not sure how to rate this one. A lot of organizing in the garage, to be sure. And the planning. Not the plan we expected to have, to be sure. But we have a plan.

To quote the song that has become another household anthem, "All the dreams that I had when we started, Have crumbled to dust in my hand."

Well, here's to an age that's departed,
And to pictures we drew in the sand.
All the dreams that I had when we started,
Have crumbled to dust in my hand.

Guess I'll pull a new map from my pocket
Never mind where the old ones have gone
And I'll look for a new road to follow
By the light of the Millennium's dawn







And we -- all of us together -- did. We found our new road. It looks kind of steep. OK, very steep. More next year, but the way forward involves selling the house, retiring, and moving. Hopefully in that order, because otherwise we can't afford it.

Wish us luck!

mdlbear: (flamethrower)

Just in case you were wondering just how private your LJ is now that the server's in Moscow, we have:

  : wget https://mdlbear.livejournal.com
    --2016-12-30 16:59:04--  https://mdlbear.livejournal.com/
    Resolving mdlbear.livejournal.com (mdlbear.livejournal.com)... 81.19.74.1
    Connecting to mdlbear.livejournal.com (mdlbear.livejournal.com) [...]
    HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 301 Moved Permanently
    Location: http://mdlbear.livejournal.com/ [following]
    --2016-12-30 16:59:11--  http://mdlbear.livejournal.com/

... which means they are deliberately downgrading the connection from https to http. Wouldn't surprise me if blocking Dreamwidth is next.

mdlbear: (flamethrower)

Thanks to a heads-up from [personal profile] madfilkentist, I can now confirm that LJ's servers were, in fact, moved to Moscow. The lag was presumably due to DNS propagation delay, which sometimes takes up to a week.

Geolocation data from IP2Location (Product: DB6, updated on 2016-12-5)
    Domain Name	     	  	Country		     	Region	City
    mdlbear.livejournal.com	Russian Federation 	Moskva	Moscow
    ISP					Organization	Latitude	Longitude
    Rambler Internet Holding LLC	Not Available	55.752220153809	37.615558624268
    (End of the road for LiveJournal [The Mad Filkentist])

See also my previous post on the topic, mdlbear | Dirty deeds afoot on LJ

One thing I forgot to mention: after you've set up an account on Dreamwidth, you should claim your Livejournal OpenId. That links your DW and LJ identities, so that anyone importing data from LJ will see comments as coming from your DW account even if you wrote them on LJ.

mdlbear: Wild turkey hen close-up (turkey)

So we come to the final Thursday in 2016. I am both thankful that it's nearly over, and afraid that next year will be worse. In addition, though, I'm thankful for...

  • My family. They're all wonderful people, and I am really glad they're in my life.
  • Having a definite plan for next year.
  • Therapy cats.
  • The drugs that keep us all functional.
  • My job, which I am somewhat surprised that I still have, but I'm not complaining.
  • Warm blankets.

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

Several security-minded people on my reading list have been moving from Livejournal to Dreamwidth; some have even deleted their LJ accounts. Meanwhile, huge numbers of Russians have been moving their blogs to Dreamwidth. Apparently LJ has quietly moved all of their servers from the US to Russia. That LJ availability glitch a couple of days ago? Yeah, that. A large spike in the number of new Dreamwidth accounts being created by Russians.

As for me, I'm not changing much: I don't lock posts (I think I have maybe two or three, and those are merely somewhat embarrassing), I post only to DW, and I and have it set up to crosspost to LJ. I have permanent accounts in both places, so dropping LJ wouldn't be denying them any money at this point.

There are some things you can do:

  1. Get an account at Dreamwidth.org if you don't already have one.
  2. Set it up to crosspost to your LJ account. Unlike LJ, Dreamwidth is a US-based organization that, unlike LJ, is entirely supported by its users.
  3. Every so often, back up your LJ journal to DW.
  4. Subscribe to the DW journals of all your old LJ friends. Note that DW separates your access-control list from your reading list -- none of this abuse of the term "friend" that LJ does.
  5. Don't post any secrets! Especially not to livejournal. Go back and delete anything you wouldn't want to be read by any three-letter agency on either side of the pond.

Notes from today's investigations: )

Let's put it this way: regardless of whether LJ has actually transferred your journal to a server in Russia, you should consider the privacy of your livejournal to have been breached.

Sorry to be the bear of bad news.

ETA: LiveJournal servers moved to Russia: darkoshi

As some people have pointed out, this doesn't change very much. Sure, it adds support for the notion that LJ's Russian owners are slime, but we already knew that. Move to DW, set up crossposting, delete all non-public posts, don't give LJ any more money, and carry on.

ETA 12-30 Looks like DNS updates have finally propagated:

  : Geolocation data from IP2Location (Product: DB6, updated on 2016-12-5)
    Domain Name	     	  	Country		     	Region	City
    mdlbear.livejournal.com	Russian Federation 	Moskva	Moscow
    ISP					Organization	Latitude	Longitude
    Rambler Internet Holding LLC	Not Available	55.752220153809	37.615558624268

(thanks to: The Mad Filkentist)

mdlbear: (crowdfunding)
Ysabetwordsmith has posted a Call for Themes, wherein one can suggest themes for upcoming Fishbowls. There are perks for linkbacks.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I'm taking a "vacation" -- actually a staycation with enough housework and other difficult tasks to make it more likely something I'll need to go back to work to relax from -- between now and next year. This last week was pretty relaxed at work; there was a group party on Monday, and I gave a short concert. Mostly funny computer songs, as one might expect.

We're doing the holidays a little differently this year, because N and her kids are out of town until Monday. So we had my kids yesterday, doing nothing in particular today, and doing the household celebration and gift exchange tomorrow. Boxing Day is traditional for that in some cultures, and besides it's Hanukkah, so that works anyway.

As part of the downsizing process I'm moving the household fileserver into a smaller case. I'll be going back to the Intel atom mini-ITX board, and I found the case I'd been looking for. It's just tall enough for two 3.5" hard drives, and two stacked card slots which I probably won't have much use for unless I decide to put the mirror drive in an eSATA box.

Emotionally (and it still seems odd to be writing that word, because alexithymia) it's been something of a roller coaster. A woman smiled at me and said hello on Tuesday; I noticed that I was unreasonably happy about that. Not sure why that seemed notable at the time, but it was. On the other hand I had a couple of severe anxiety attacks (or something -- all I'm really sure about are the physical effects). Actually, come to think of it, they often occur after I've been frightened, when whatever scared me has gone away. So there's that.

I'm constantly on edge, often irritated at nothing at all, and feel kind of -- is "fragile" the right word? Sometimes I scare people. I hate this.

I've gotten a little more used to the idea of retiring and moving, but I hate that too. These things are probably all connected, and connected to Trump as well. I guess it's good to have somebody to blame who's really evil enough to deserve it.

Have a happy Christmas, merry Hanukkah, or whatever else you're celebrating.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Moderately productive, though not as much as I needed to be. Story of my life, I guess.

Plans have firmed up: I am retiring next year; we are putting the house on the market in Spring, and moving to New England. We will probably buy a house there, unless things look so bad that we think we'll have to leave the country within the next year. I hate this. At least I can't blame myself for Trump and his gang. I can and do blame myself for the financial trainwreck. I was in denial for a loooooong time. We all were. I still am, to some extent.

Colleen, Giselle, and Naomi have done a lot of decluttering in the sewing corner, cubhouse, downstairs, and some of the books. It's a start. I've started, too, clearing off the clutter from the Great Room hearth, starting to sort through my boxes. I'm still attached to a lot of things; I need to be more ruthless. There are boxes and boxes of little things I never used, kept because there might be a use for them someday. Or that turned out to require more effort than I wanted to spend, and hung around until they were totally obsolete. (A lot of little Linux boxen in that category.) We still haven't started on the garage. For the second time, or is it the third?

Did I mention that I hate this? I hate this.

I've been having a little fun with the guitar I brought in to work last week. That, at least, has been ok. And my family is awesome. And we have cats.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

It's been an exhausting week; moderately productive at work. But a bit more physical work than I've done in a while, plus anxiety and depression, which are tiring on their own. Naomi occasionally tells me to "act my age", usually when I've pushed my body to do something that was easy when I was about thirty years younger. Or fifty. So, yeah. That.

There's a great line in James Keelaghan's song "Small Rebellion" -- "... the job that was your life becomes the job that slowly beats you." That, too.

It doesn't help that my confidence in my ability as a programmer was completely shattered about a year and a half ago, with a series of projects that I completely failed at. OK, maybe just partially failed at -- the first was, fortunately, cancelled, and the second (which would have been trivial if I'd known what I know now) was eventually finished by someone else. The one I'm on now is following a similar pattern. I never learned to estimate, and part of that is the fact that I keep finding pieces that got left out of the design. It's possible that not all of that is my fault -- other people had plenty of input. But it feels like my fault, and because I've been the most senior engineer on all of these projects, one can easily argue that the disasters are at least my responsibility.

In all those cases a contributing problem was procrastination -- that, at least, is undenyably my fault. I've gotten really good at not doing stuff. More generally, not even thinking about stuff that I'd rather not be doing. And here I am, nearly seventy years old, planning to retire in less than a year, with a household that needs to be downsized drastically so that we can move out of the house we love but won't be able to keep. I hate it. I hate myself for the decades of bad decisions that made it necessary.

The next year is going to be rough. The next decade is going to be rough. I'll probably make it through, but I'm not going to like it.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Ysabetwordsmith's Poetry Fishbowl is Open! This time, the theme is "All the news is dark, so light a candle." I left a prompt.

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

Moderately productive week. I am still not entirely confident about the project I'm on at work, but there's a chance we may pull it off. Some work on improving my websites. Some good progress (mostly on Colleen's part) at downsizing the household. Plans for the next year are firming up.

I have decided to retire next year. And many decades of shortsighted and stupid financial decisions mean that we won't be able to keep this house after I stop working. So... downsizing. It's sad, but also liberating: for the first time in years I am not terrified of losing my job. "The realisation that one is to be hanged in the morning concentrates the mind wonderfully," and it was the looming prospect of possibly having to flee a Nazi-occupied country within the next few years that made us decide to do it now rather than later.

Meanwhile, listen to Songs That Help Ease Anxiety, and go read Catherynne M. Valente's The Beasts Who Fought For Fairyland Until the Very End and Further Still --

We must say Yes to the story where, after a long battle, the dark lord is cast down into infinite nothingness or burnt to a crisp or at the very least sent to bed without supper, and everyone cheers and dances and has a party afterward. But most of all, we must say Yes to the truth and the speaking of it. We must say No to silence.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: Wild turkey hen close-up (turkey)

So I took the week off from work. I'd originally planned to return from Orycon Sunday afternoon, and go in to work Monday and possibly Wednesday. The best-laid plans... Monday was occupied by the drive back from Portland, Tuesday by medical stuff (including a urology appointment on short notice for Colleen), and Wednesday by waiting for the tech from Acorn to show up and do the proper inspection that the tech who had arrived early on Monday had failed to do. So.

Spent much of the week on personal software projects. Wednesday and Thursday I was mostly hacking in my .emacs file, fixing some long-standing annoyances with html-helper-mode (and incidentally lj-update-mode, which is partially derived from it). Friday and Saturday I worked on the build software for my website Songs pages -- you can see the results (so far -- there's still quite a bit of prettying-up to do) on LookingGlass Folk's Songs. The LgF page was the main motivation -- it's been a broken link on the site for years. The secondary motivation was putting my songbook on GitHub.

In the course of doing this, I finally got around to writing tests for the makefiles -- predictably, they turned up lots of bugs. By no means complete, but I now also have an easily-extensible test framework that I can use for the rest of MakeStuff and my other make-based projects like Honu.

Thursday we had a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat. Glenn spatchcocked the bird -- this was my introduction to the technique, which lets a 16-pound turkey cook in two hours with a beautifully crisp skin. Recommended. There were just Colleen and I, Glenn and Naomi, and N's kids. The YD had dinner with her boyfriend's family, and Chaos spent the day working on term papers. The tenants ate at C"'s parents'. (I may have to go to subscripts.)

Fair amount of political stuff in the links; not going to re-hash most of it because apparently Post-Trump Stress Disorder is a thing, and I haz it. I can, however, recommend moem's Cybersecurity for the Trumped series, and Tor Browser.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: Wild turkey hen close-up (turkey)

It's time for another year's worth of gratitude. On the whole, 2016 has not been a great year -- about the best I can say is that I -- and my family -- lived through it. OK, here we go: This year I'm grateful for...

  • My family. All of it -- family of blood, family of choice, Colleen, Chaos and Neko, Naomi, Glenn, the Roo and The Duchess, Mom, the relatives we hardly ever see, ... the whole crazy bunch of us. They're what's keeping me alive.
  • Our wonderful house, Rainbow's End. For all its plumbing problems, it's still a great place to live. I will miss it when, sooner or later, we can no longer afford to keep it.
  • Music. The songs that keep us going: "The Mary Ellen Carter" in particular; "Gentle Arms of Eden", "Quiet Victories", and "Kitchen Heroes" as well; and we've recently added "The Bells of Norwich" and "Millennium's Dawn" to that list. Songs of hope, determination, and defiance -- we need them now more than ever.
  • Friends. Thanks for the late-night conversations, the hugs, the blog comments, the words of encouragement and comfort, and just knowing you're there. You know who you are, and I love you.
  • Work. I'm getting weary of it, but I'm glad my employer still wants me, for the moment.
  • Hope. Pandora, 2016, you're a bitch, but at least you left us that one.
    Here's hope to heal your sorrow,
    Now that the old dreams are gone,
    And the past has turned into tomorrow,
    In the light of the Millennium's dawn.



No thanks to most of what 2016 has brought us, aptly and obscenely summarized in The 2016 Song. Not safe for work, because 2016.

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

Rough week. Even a con, with a concert that came off well, didn't help all that much. My anxiety--or whatever it is, because alexithymia--levels are through the roof, even after cutting back on coffee and Facebook time.

Getting through the concert did reduce my stress quite a bit; that effect lasted through the rest of the weekend. A couple of great conversations; the one we had Sunday evening/night reminded me a lot of the conversation I had with Naomi all those years ago at OVFF, which arguably led to a lot of what's happened since. So, yeah. Friendship is good. Making new friends is wonderful.

I'd originally planned to leave Sunday afternoon. I'm incredibly grateful to Naomi for giving me an excuse to stay on the extra day. I wouldn't have missed that conversation for anything. (That's assuming, of course, that I'd known about it ahead of time. One can't exactly schedule such things. One can, however, be open to them when they happen. I seem to be moderately good at that; it's just getting started that's so rare.)

The concert. Well. Of course, being totally frazzled leading into it, I neglected to record it. I'm hoping that the woman who recorded it on her cell phone gets back to me -- of course I neglected to get her contact info, too. The set list was drastically revised after the election; what we ended up with was:

  • Kitchen Heroes
  • Quiet Victories
  • Windward
  • Nemesis
  • Mary Ellen Carter
  • Bells of Norwich
  • The Times, They Are A Changin'
  • Gentle Arms of Eden
  • The Dreamer
  • Ship of Stone
  • Millennium's Dawn
  • Most of them had new arrangements--N has started composing harmony lines. Millennium's Dawn, with her harmony and the new last verse, worked particularly well. Bells of Norwich was new to me, as was the guitar part for Nemesis. You know things are going to be different when QV is the second song in the set.

    Oh, yeah: the bad stuff. Colleen's stairlift finally broke past my ability to jury-rig it. Much cursing, while I set up the sofabed in the Rainbow Room. (Although that was another good reason to stay the extra day at the con -- the sofabed is horribly uncomfortable.)

    ...Aaaaand the ... ugly? Maybe. N handed me a card that said "YOU MATTER". Which is something Colleen says to me quite frequently, also. That started a train of thought, because it reminded me of an article that had come by earlier in the week and that I felt... odd... about. Some initial reactions below in the notes. I know it's meant to be encouraging; to make me feel good about myself or something like that. It doesn't, though, and I can't figure out why.

    I really hate important stuff I can't figure out. If it was a server I'd be busy analyzing logs and cursing the lack of comments in the code. Come to think of it,...

    Notes & links, as usual )

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

    So here we are at Orycon. For some reason I'd forgotten to register Colleen, so we had to do that at the desk.

    Here's my schedule:

    1118Sa
        o Is Open Source Really Open? Salon C (LL1) Sat Nov 19 10:00am - 11:00am
          Blake Hutchins, Frank Hayes, Mark Niemann-Ross, *me (moderator)
        o Concert: Steve Savitsky Mt Hood (2) Sat Nov 19 1:00pm - 2:00pm
    
    1119Su
        o The Changing Face of the Computer Interface Sunstone (3) Sun Nov 20 12:00pm - 1:00pm
          *Frank Hayes, Jeff Soesbe, Matt Huntley, Matt Huntley, Rhiannon Rhys-Jones, me
    

    The concert is going to be good. Promise. The setlist was completely revised last week (for reasons that should be obvious).

    mdlbear: Wild turkey hen close-up (turkey)

    Hmmm.

    • My family. Special callouts for N, C, and g.
    • Hope. Feeling way too much like Pandora, except it wasn't me that opened the damned box.
    • Therapy cats.
    • Music. Special callouts for "The Times, They are A-Changin'", "Desolation Row", and "Julian of Norwich"; the last two being on opposite ends of something or other.
    • Ethanol and caffeine. Also toward opposite ends of a different scale.

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

    So. Trumped.

    I suppose I'll get through the next four years somehow. But the possibilities range from disagreeable to agonizing to desperate. N tells me I'm stronger than I think. I hope she's right.

    What the hell can I say? The Joy of Tech comic... National curl up in a Ball Day kind of says most of it. I'm still not uncurled.

    "I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.

    "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

    Notes & links, as usual )

    mdlbear: (flamethrower)

    Today I am not grateful for much of anything besides my family, therapy cats, #safetypin, and the fact that I have not personally seen any of the ugliness going around. Yet.

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

    My right peroneus muscle is still painful. No idea what I did to it or am doing wrong, though one article suggested that it could be plantarflection due to sleeping under heavy blankets. So maybe I should go back to sleeping on my side instead of on my back. Sleeping on my back is fairly recent, so that may be fairly simple.

    I've been doing a lot of puttering, and arguably a lot less practicing than I should, given that I have a concert in less than two weeks at Orycon. I've been practicing most days this week (see notes), and I think my calluses are back, so that's something. Need to print out my set and start doing more complete runthroughs.

    Halloween was fun, going out with N and her kids. Gave the adults someone to talk to.

    I've been taking care of the critters, since N, G, and g are away at OVFF. Cricket's been in the Great Room, mostly hiding in the Cubhouse -- at least, that's where I usually find her when I come in. Ticia's been pretty good about not trying to come in, though I still have to warn her away from the door.

    Puttering. Yeah. G' did some major re-organizing and cleanup involving the downstairs closet and playroom, and the upstairs closets. Unfortunately, this was accomplished mainly by moving things into the garage and craft room. I've been gradually moving stuff to more sensible places. Some of the decisions have been good ones, though; I'm not complaining about the kitchen cabinet re-org.

    Oh, yeah: the Cubs won the World Series. I'm not a sports fan at all, but that's pretty extraordinary. If it's a sign of the apocalypse, I'm hoping that it continues with the person the wingnuts are calling the Antichrist getting into the White House. And that's the last thing I'm going to say about politics until November 9th at the earliest.

    Notes & links, as usual )

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

    Almost productive this week. The weekly design meeting brought some much-needed clarity to my current project, and provided the justification I needed for the simplest design, which I had already partly implemented. Win. Also Q4 scaling. The service I'm working with is one of the easy ones -- it's old, deprecated, and most of the use cases have been moved to its replacement. So it's already massively overscaled.

    I've started practicing for my concert at Orycon - late as usual, but I'll get there. Also as usual, it will take a day or three for my finger-calluses to come back.

    Reading: finished Mindline and Family, completing the Dreamhealers series by M.C.A. Hogarth. I should keep better track.

    Not getting much housework done. That could be a problem. Something about motivation?

    Notes & links, as usual )

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

    As usual, a fairly unproductive week at work, made even less productive by the fact that we had to be out by noon Thursday so they could move everyone on the floor to a slightly larger floor next door. And we're only supposed to be in that location for another 6-9 months. Not that I really expect to be there that long.

    I actually got some work done after the afternoon meeting (I never turn down free food) that was scheduled after our move deadline - it was just a matter of finding a quiet place and firing up my laptop.

    I need to talk to my financial advisor. I've been putting it off -- I'm really good at that -- but it's gotten more serious now that I'm about to turn 70 and will have to start withdrawing money from my retirement accounts. Plural. And now that $A stock is up over 800. (That suggestion courtesy of my therapist.)

    Friday I tagged along with Colleen and G' while they went to C's urology and doctor's appointments. And, of course, Mazatlan, the Mexican restaurant across the parking lot from Urology Northwest. In between, C and G' went to Costco while I hung out in the UW Clinic (across another parking lot from Costco) and tried to get some work done. This was hampered by my having forgotten to bring my VPN token :P Need to pick up a spare to keep in my backpack.

    Actually, should keep one in my backpack and one at home, and stop keeping it on my badge lanyard. In fact, ... *puts token in backpack* Less likely to get wet in the rain.

    Went grocery shopping with Colleen yesterday. Exhausting.

    The big insight for the week (see Sunday) is that not only do I not multitask worth a damn, but it takes me a long time to context-switch. I'm at my most productive when I can work on one thing pretty much all day. Which is one reason why being on call sucks so much.

    Notes & links, as usual )

    Edit after discovering that I'd missed Saturday.

    mdlbear: (flamethrower)

    Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for literature. I am still kind of blown away. I mean... He's one of my personal heroes, and I've always known that there's a difference between a songwriter and a poet who sets their poems to music. The latter are quite rare. Most -- all? -- songwriters know which side of the divide they fall on. But... But... Nobel Prize!

    Meanwhile, here I am on Desolation Row. Our predicted storm of the century wasn't even the storm of the decade; but it still did quite a lot of damage. The zipper on my pants broke -- again. We have a crack in the floor of our basement, which of course water is coming up through. I cut a corner too close and badly scraped the side of the van. What's left of my self-confidence is somewhat in tatters.

    They're spoon-feeding Cassanova
    To get him to feel more assured
    Then they'll kill him with self-confidence
    After poisoning him with words.


    Ok, so at least I don't have to worry about that. Also on the plus side in no particular order, we never lost power, we can see the crack because I have been procrastinating getting the floor re-done since our flood last year, our second tenant has moved in, and all the damage to the van was cosmetic. So there's that.

    Rather an unproductive week at work.

    Notes & links, as usual )

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

    Pain levels, in particular standing for any amount of time unsupported in the evening, have been pretty high lately. Mostly hips, though there's still some pain in the right leg. Do not like, and it makes me snappish as well as lazy. Also, I was extremely congested last weekend and well into the week. In combination with the muscle aches and weakness Sunday I almost suspect flu. Almost. Some kind of virus, certainly.

    I worked a little on my setlist; most of what little practicing I did was guitar. Which is ok; my fingers were kind of in bad shape and my playing obviously needed the work as well. It's mostly going to be off my (still-planned) second album, so I thought a little about Amethyst Rose and felt sorry for myself for not marking her birthday this year.

    Quote of the week, from a T-shirt by way of G:

    Most programmers struggle with 2 things:
    0. Cache invalidation.
    1: Naming things.
    2: Off-by-one errors.


    It doesn't mention being on call or facing hard deadlines, but those are right up there. It's been an uneventful oncall this time -- the only times I was awakened at 4:30am were by Ticia. I also spent altogether too much time in meetings, when I should have been working the ticket queue.

    I continue to be wasting too much time on Quora, and quite a bit reading poetry and fiction on DW. Well, at least Q keeps my word count up, and I've been getting a little positiveifeedback via Twitter. I mostly don't try to track everything, but you'll find one of the better answers below at the end of yesterday's notes.

    Also in the notes, The What-He-Did: The Poetic Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith, and this stunningly beautiful pic for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

    Notes & links, as usual )

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

    2016 can go hang itself. In the last week the filk community has lost Lucy Stern, Kira Heston, and JoEllyn Davidoff. Colleen's friend Bev lost her fiance. The folk world lost Oscar Brand. Enough!

    The rest of it seems kind of lame. I'll try. Meanwhile, there's this infographic of the stages of grief vs reality.

    I successfully replaced the USB port on Colleen's tablet -- I am now feeling fairly confident of my ability to fix modern computing devices. Meanwhile, though, Colleen had expressed an interest in replacing both her tablet and her kindle with a Kindle Fire, so when I spotted a used Fire HD 6 on sale at, well, a fire sale price, I got it for her. So now I have a Kindle paperwhite. I may go back to reading books on the bus instead of news. It would be good for my blood pressure.

    My hypertension also provided a convenient excuse for not watching the presidential debate. I already know who I'm voting against, thanks. First election I can remember where Darth Vader and Cthulhu dropped out early.

    At work, my sit-stand desk showed up over the weekend. Having a desk that goes down to a proper typing height, which for me turns out to be 25.5 inches, is wonderful. Tried standing a couple of times -- it hurts to do more than a couple of minutes. I'm supposed to work up to 15 minutes out of every hour. Probably not happening, but we'll see.

    Also got my Microsoft ergonomic keyboard; it took me most of the week to get used to it, but it may work. If not, I can always go back to the Thinkpad keyboard. I bought one of the newer ones for home, which means that I could swap the older one I'd been using there for the one at work, which had developed a dicey space bar.

    Finally got around to paying a few bills. I suck at that kind of thing.

    My depression and anxiety numbers were down -- 5 each -- at my session with my therapist on Tuesday. I'm not sure the therapy is doing me much good except as a way of getting something of an objective reading on my mental state, but that's probably a good thing in its own right.

    Somebody sent me a link that his daughter found and suggested putting on Interesting Places for Kids. Which I did, but it's so horribly out of date that most of its links are broken, including all of the links to it, now that I've dropped the places.to domain. (Tonga raised the rent, and I didn't think it was worth it.) Oh, and also the build system, which relied on the no-longer-maintained cPIA: XML Macro Processing in C for templating. Need to put that on GitHub. Thought I had, actually.

    Oh, yeah: the link:

    As the father of two 6th grade girls (twins) I've been looking for weather resources to help them with their natural disaster project in their Earth Science class! Your weather guides have been a big help. As a thank you, I wanted to send you this page that one of my daughters found: http://www.aaastateofplay.com/staying-safe-outdoors-in-severe-weather/.

    And I'm primary oncall next week. Oh, joy! It's probably going to be a busy one, though hopefully not as rough as the last one.

    Notes & links, as usual )

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

    At work, we finally ran the numbers again and figured out that, no, $PROJECT is not going to be finished in October. Current target is mid-December, but even that may be a stretch. The good thing is that it isn't all my fault, though I still blame myself for most of the bad planning.

    At home, I finished pulling up the bindweed. There are some stragglers, but at least it's no longer covering 50' of walkway.

    I finally put in my passport renewal - I found the one place in the area that's open on Saturday, after trying on Wednesday at the courthouse and balking at the metal detector because I knew I was carrying a knife. The process of applying in person has gotten a lot quicker since the last time I did it, but I'm still down on myself for procrastinating past the point where I could have renewed by mail.

    It looks like we'll have a second tenant, so we'll be getting a little more rent. Because of initial clustering, she'll be referred to as C''. Our current tenant is C'. (I've picked up that notation from Haskell, in which "'" (pronounced "prime") is considered a letter. Haskell gets it from math, of course, but it's gone out of fashion in CS because programming languages are always hungry for quotation methods.)

    I finally ordered one of the newest Thinkpad (KU-1255) keyboards -- it's still good. In some ways, slightly better than my older and much-beloved XK-8855s -- the one I'm using at work has developed a flaky space bar. (Too many aliens hanging out in it, presumably.) I like the fact that it has the page-up and page-down keys in the empty spaces above the left and right keys. Not only does that make the best use of available space, but it means that if I shove the keyboard under the monitor stand to protect it from cats, I can still navigate effectively in the browser. I don't like that the function keys are smaller and require a "FnLk" keystroke, and that it has a stupid micro-usb cable instead of one built-in with a compartment on the bottom you can curl it up in.

    Otherwise, not too much to report. Some links on depression, though as I note on Monday, five of the ten symptoms of major depression start with the word "change", which is kind of useless when you can't remember a time when you've been that way for as long as you can remember. (You have to have 5 to be diagnosed as having it.)

    awesome-awesome: A curated list of awesome curated lists of many topics is indeed awesome. So is Make a Lisp, which is a collection of Lisp implementations in dozens of different programming languages. The idea of implementing Lisp in make makes (recursion intended) my head hurt. In a good way -- I love GNU make.

    Notes & links, as usual )

    mdlbear: Wild turkey hen close-up (turkey)

    Ok, better late than next week? Anyway, today I'm grateful for...

    • Revised schedules. Still dicey, IMO, but at least it's possible.
    • Not being the only one responsible for the schedule slip.
    • Our tenant. Rent is not to be sneezed at.
    • Rain.
    • Ubuntu laptops with SSDs
    • Thinkpad keyboards. (Just got a new one. The one I'm using at work has developed a flaky space bar. Maybe too many aliens hanging out in it?)
    • Ticia.

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

    Back to work after a nice but too-short staycation. I got a little over half of my list done, and a few more started; that's about what I expected. (The actual list is in the notes, between Sunday and Monday.) I also spent all day Saturday (see last week) reconfiguring my household server after some hard drive corruption. So Nova has been switched from Debian to Ubuntu, and is being used as both the file server and my main workstation. Which has some advantages.

    The vacation definitely reduced my stress level, though I think I'm still way behind on things at work. That wasn't helped by my swapping my secondary oncall, originally scheduled for the second week in October. However, I found the memory leak that's been blocking one of our deployments for weeks, so I'm feeling fairly pleased with that.

    The charging port on Colleen's tablet finally got to the point where no cable in the house was making good enough contact to reliably charge it; I ordered a new part and some tools. Then ordered more tools, because the kit I ordered didn't include decent spudgers. (I love that word!)

    I'm still spending too much time on Quora. Their user interface continues to suck, though, and I gave up on cross-posting to Facebook because they insist on posting an irrelevant image with a picture of the first few words of the question, instead of actual text. Still cross-posting to Twitter, and getting a little feedback there, but I don't actually read Twitter so I don't much care what it looks like. I put links here in the notes when I write something I'm reasonably pleased with.

    In spite of my expertise in programming, I find myself mostly answering dating and relationship questions. I figure that 40-odd years of marriage at least indicates some familiarity with the subject, and in most cases the answers are pretty obvious. "How do I know whether X likes me?" "You ask them." "What should I do after she (always she -- funny thing aout that) rejected me?" "Leave her alone and go look for somebody else." I also do it because many of the other answers I see are not only clueless but amount to recommending harassment.

    I think the real reason I do it is that it counteracts my near-total lack of self-confidence in my social skills. Not that I can actually apply those "skills" in the field, of course. Not that I take my own advice and, um, practice. Oh. Right.

    If you're looking for something fun to read, Lúthien: Tolkien’s Badass Elf Princess is a great retelling of "Beren and Lúthien in "Badass of the Week" style.

    Notes & links, as usual )

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