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

A rather boring week bracketed by great music. Last Sunday we had Heather Dale and Ben Deschamps at Rainbow's End's first house concert. And this weekend we're at Norwescon, with both concerts and filking (see notes)... and the high point was, definitely, Glenn proposing marriage to Naomi during the intermission. She said yes. Heather had ended her first set with "As I Am".

The second set was all about love and marriage. (Not both together, necessarily -- it included "The Devil and the Farmer's Wife".)

On the flip side, I continue to be arthritic and mildly depressed. The low point of the week was filing for an extension on my taxes. Which was a mistake -- I should have filed and then filed an amended return when I finally get all the deductions and business expenses together. It was, of course, horrendous: I sold a lot of stock to buy and renovate Rainbow's End.

I haven't been enjoying Norwescon all that much. Mostly hiding in a corner reading on my laptop. Grump. Grumpity grump. Oh, and the hotel's wifi is seriously overloaded, and the restaurant service is slow and barely competent. *sigh*

There are links in the notes, as usual. The perceptive reader may also notice an item at the end of the notes that will, hopefully, turn into a post sometime soon.

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

So... today I'm thankful for...

  • Music and musicians.
  • A room big enough for house concerts!
  • Kids and cats.
  • Gin.
  • The ability to hold things more or less together in public.

I'd add "getting the taxes done" except that I didn't. Bit of a short list today. Sorry about that.

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

The big news here at Rainbow's End is the first of our house concerts -- Heather Dale is singing here tonight! Doors open at 7:30, and there's still space. Probably.

The big news everywhere else on the internet is the Heartbleed Bug. Yes, it's bad. Most banking sites, fortunately, aren't affected, but Google (for example) is. Wait until a site has installed patches before you bother changing your password. And if you're using the same password on multiple sites, Don't Do That Anymore! -- you know better, don't you?

Essentially no work on the taxes. Ouch! I'm going to overestimate, put it on installments, and file for an extension. Though, every deduction I can find today and tomorrow will help.

Lots of links in the notes.

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

Lots of puttering. In part because we're getting ready for Heather Dale's house concert this coming Sunday (contact me or Naomi if you're interested in attending), and in part because it's a way of feeling that I'm doing something useful while avoiding the taxes.

I was on tap for jury duty Wednesday and Thursday -- had to go in, but didn't get picked, or even assigned to a case. Oh, well. I've only been on a jury once -- very educational. The people running the jury assembly room were very competent, and did their best to make it a good experience. Successfully, in my opinion.

Three of Colleen's roses arrived on Tuesday; they finally got planted today.

A little noodling -- I need to practice more. And we need to encourage Colleen to sing more.

Links, as usual.

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

What do you know? Thursday! I'm thankful for...

  • A well-run jury waiting room.
  • An easy commute.
  • Family.
  • Geeks in the house.
  • Walking more than a mile without getting tired or sore. Two days in a row.
  • Eggs and tofu.
  • Musicians.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Short one this time, to close out the month. Sunday I fired up the Mac Mini, loaded up the software that I still think of as TaxCut even though H+R Block renamed it several years ago, and did a rough cut. Ouch. I haven't touched my taxes since Sunday, but it really improved my mood to find out that I could pay in installments. Improved it temporarily, anyway. Dysthymia never really goes away. I still need to track down the rest of my deductions, but I have the biggest ones in, so the bottom line won't change more than a couple of grand.

Quite a few good links. Go for it.

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

I guess there's something about knowing how bad it's going to be. Also knowing that I can pay off my tax bill in installments, because it's going to be bad. Really bad. There's a reason why my financial posts are tagged "trainwreck".

I finally got off my arse and sorted my piles of receipts and the like, and this morning (so it's not in the notes yet -- you'll have to wait until next month) installed the software (which I still think of as TaxCut) and did the preliminary data entry. There are still some sizeable pieces missing, but I've been making progress.

I also got a couple of phone calls made -- I hate making phone calls.

I was depressed and anxious most of the week. At least I noticed -- for someone with alexithymia, that's an improvement.

On the up side, we watched Frozen last weekend -- excellent. Passes the Bechdel test.

Links in the notes.

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

Like it says on the label. I'm having a hard time feeling much of anything right now, I think.

Anyway, I'm thankful for...

  • The ability to pay bills online.
  • Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.
  • Credit. Are we sensing a theme here?
  • People who get after me to get stuff done.
  • People who know me well enough to be able to tell me what I'm feeling. See Alexithymia
  • Cats. Both two- and four-legged.
  • Gin.
  • Cuddles.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Mostly a good week, though you may note that I have little report on work-days. Friday noon was the kick-off for a recruitment drive at work -- my team is hiring in Seattle, and I'll be happy to give you a referral if you find an interesting-looking posting for a different location. We're looking for all sorts of people, not just developers.

Yesterday I sort of fell apart. My alexithymia means that I don't know exactly how I fell apart -- the morning bit definitely felt like depression, while the afternoon (possibly triggered by working on taxes) felt more like anxiety. Naomi and Glenn said that I appeared to be having an anxiety attack when they saw me around bedtime. Can one have a depression attack? It was fairly brief.

I don't think my current antidepressant is getting me anything but the weight gain listed as a side effect.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

Oh. Right. I started working on this an hour or so ago and got distracted when my Mom called. So.

Last Monday was our return from Consonance -- I'd booked the latest flight, which allowed us to do some visiting and talk with the realtor. It seems many people are sad about losing the Starport -- it has, after all, been a fannish landmark for over three decades. *sigh* Keeping two houses just isn't feasible. I just hope the proceeds are enough to cover the new construction.

Naomi's friend Rika flew up with her and spent the week; we had quite a lot of music at the house, and visitors most nights. No complaints from me! The week ended with Colleen's birthday party yesterday. We still haven't built up a good list for these things; we'll have to work on that. Also a household calendar and mailing list -- probably means I have an excuse to learn Wordpress, or something like it.

Yesterday, along with the party, I installed a pair of powerline ethernet dongles. Took me forever to do it, partly because the house has two breaker boxes (meaning there are outlets that can't talk to one another), and partly because I misunderstood how the "sync" button works. It really means "rotate keys", not "synchronize" :P. The extension router is now installed in the coffee niche.

The gadgets are advertised as "500MHz", but only have 100MHz ethernet; 500 must be the aggregate across all nodes in the network. We definitely need to install some cable. *sigh*

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

So today I got a filk circle at Rainbow's End for my birthday. So... that.

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Music
  • 67 years
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

The main event this last week was, of course, Consonance . Fun! I signed Lookingglass Folk up for a 2x10 on Sunday, along with international guest Rika Koerte, who is one of N's dearest friends. We sang "Lord Of the Buffalo" -- we'd been planning to sing The Fox as well, but the sound crew had an incredible amount of trouble setting us up. No idea why.

I also got a surprise 2x10 slot on Saturday, because they were short on sign-ups. Did a quick solo of "Bigger On the Inside" (with an extra Rainbow's End verse scribbled down during the previous two songs) and "Wheelin'".

Both sets were well-received. I also had a long conversation/song-swap with a guy named Ashton (no relation to the UXBF), a Mills College grad student working on a paper on filk as an oral tradition. Many songs, including QV, Ship of Stone, World Inside the Crystal, and Keep the Dream Alive. Others.

I re-packed for the trip, going from the JanSport backpack/shoulder bag (itself a re-pack from the old REI shoulder bag) to the new rolling backpack that I picked up a few weeks ago. Both modes proved extremely useful. A couple of things didn't get packed, though, including a small power strip, which would have been handy in the airport.

The con was back in the Milpitas Crowne Plaza (which calls itself the San Jose/Silicon Valley CP, because who's heard of Milpitas); recently remodeled. The changes are mostly a win -- there are more power outlets in the lobby, and our (accessible) room had a door that opens outward, which is a major win. The toilet, not so much, and the bed was as usual way too high for Colleen. Wait staff spread seriously thin.

Anyway, good con.

We also met with our realtor -- the Starport should officially go on the market sometime around the end of May.

I also got my WiFi extension hooked up, via a dumb travel router; it has a bridge mode, but won't connect to a secured network in that mode. I promptly ordered a set of high-speed power-line Ethernet interfaces, but haven't set them up yet because they don't work through surge suppressors. Which we have on both ends, because electronics.

  • The other small router, the DIR-505, would have worked better except its receiver sucks -- it couldn't make a connection with either of our access points, despite the fact that my laptop had no problems only 2m away. :P
  • raw notes, with links )
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    So today I am down in San Jose for Consonance, and thankful for

    • Air travel.
    • Filk cons.
    • Old friends.
    • New family.
    • Our architects. It's going to be awesome!
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Well, ... not much done. Colleen thinks my recent depression is due to proximity to Dad's death-day -- but that was most of a month ago (Feb. 5 -- I always have to look it up). SAD may be a factor, too, but the days have been getting longer. So... damned if I know. I suspect my current antidepressant may be losing its effectiveness. Faster than the last one.

    I've been busy at work, but nothing to write about.

    So... yeah. Links, as usual, mostly from last Sunday.

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

    Not a lot going on. I've been mildly depressed, so basically not wanting to do anything but sleep, eat, work, and read. You will observe that making phone calls, paying bills, and getting ready to do my taxes are not on that list, which adds anxiety to the depression.

    All is not entirely bleak -- I did get the mac mini fired up so I can run the tax software on it, and I got a few boxes emptied in the garage. And Colleen and I went out to lunch (Mexican) on Wednesday on the way back from the dentist, and to dinner last night (Salty's, a seafood place on Alki Beach that we'd been wanting to try). Salty's was pricey, but good, and they had oysters.

    On the gripping hand, I managed to destroy another of our non-stick pans, by leaving the burner on after serving myself. Unlike a gas stove, where leaving the burner on is immediately obvious, it isn't on this one. So that sucks.

    Our van got a "move it or else" ticket Friday, so most of yesterday afternoon was spent jump-starting it, driving over to the dealer in Issaquah, and taking the bus home. Our usual dealer, in Lake City, doesn't have a service department that's open Saturdays. So... Anyway, I'm not going to count that as either a positive or a negative -- it was a hassle, and it's going to come out somewhere north of a grand to do all the work, but it needed doing.

    The usual collection of links.

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

    For the first time in a couple of weeks. Anyway. Today I am thankful for...

    • My financial advisors.
    • Employment.
    • Rainbow's End.
    • The people and cats of Rainbow's End.
    • IEEE 802.11N
    • RFC 1149
    • Whimsy
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    I've been mostly feeling rather distressed this last week, but I remember that yesterday at the Seattle Home Show when people asked me how I was doing, I answered "good" without hesitation. Soooooo... damned if I know. It's likely that I was feeling anxious about taxes, but that for the last couple of days (since meeting our architects on Thursday) I've been optimistically thinking about the upcoming remodel. Whatever?

    The meeting with the architects was fun -- they said "Tell us who you are" and I said "I think this is where I burst into song" and sang "Bigger On the Inside". Whee!

    ... and then, as I mentioned, we went to the Home Show. Naomi and Glenn went early; Colleen and I followed later. Colleen and I bought pillows (memory foam with bamboo outer sleeves) and a couple of ozone generators, and Naomi found us a fabulous deal on a floor model Softub. It'll be delivered after the show. WIN.

    Links, as usual, in the notes.

    raw notes, with links )
    mdlbear: (valentined)

    OK, so it's a day late. It's still a good day to be thankful for

    • Love.
    • Family.
    • Friends.
    • Cats.
    • Rainbow's End.
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    It snowed last night. Emmy finally got to be outside while it was snowing -- she grew up in San Jose. Me, I'm just glad I don't have to try driving in it -- I'm long out of practice. I may walk to Trader Joe's later.

    I've spent altogether too much energy trying to get Colleen's prescriptions transferred to Express Scripts. Depressing. My prescriptions transferred with no problems; I suspect that the problem with hers is that Walgreens' records have her birth date wrong. But the website(s) are miserable, and their tech support and customer support people don't know much about how they work - I got information that was manifestly incorrect from them. Bletch.

    A couple of times I've just wanted to crawl into a hole and hide. Is there such a thing as a depression attack?

    Meanwhile, I'm worried about this year's taxes. Very worried. I almost certainly don't have enough withholding this year, so I'm likely to be screwed. My sign-on bonus from Amazon is completely gone.

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

    Hey, it's actually Thursday this week! I'm thankful for...

    • A city that knows the difference between a victory parade and a riot, and goes with the parade.
    • Mudita, especially for the local sportsball fans.
    • Occasionally being able to identify feelings. Especially when they're not the familiar ones, e.g., depression.
    • Commuting by bus.
    • Weather.
    • Cats.
    • Cuddles.
    • Peculiarity.
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Late again. But anyway, I'm thankful for...

    • Pete Seeger's music, which will live on for a long time.
    • Allie Brosh
    • People willing to take on some of my execrable paperwork. (Which still leaves me with (x-2)ecrable paperwork, but it's something.)
    • Medical insurance, even if it's part of the x-2.
    • Income.
    • Silliness.
    • Bacon. Eggs. Bacon and eggs. More ba--sorry about that.
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Lots of paperwork: getting ready to the Starport, transferring Colleen's prescriptions to Blue Cross's mail-order pharmacies (yes, plural), transferring my rollover IRA to a new account, and all that. I am incredibly bad at paperwork. My idea of hell.

    Worrying about money on top of this has not helped with my depression.

    Did I mention that Pete Seeger died? So... yeah.

    Did some singing Friday evening with Danica Dixon, who came down with Chaos. She wants to work with more musicians besides her father. This was the Wolfling's idea, but I had fun.

    raw notes, with links )
    mdlbear: (rose)

    Damn. Pete Seeger died yesterday. It's hard to imagine a world without him. He held Colleen when she was a baby, and each of our kids in turn. One of my fondest memories was of my father and I sneaking in to a sold-out Seeger concert at MIT during intermission -- I was about 12. We sat on the steps in back of the auditorium and sang along with the rest of the audience.

    Pete was the best ever at getting the audience singing along. I'll miss him.

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

    This weekend's main event was Conflikt. The music was amazing. I may have time to put together a con report.

    Colleen bought a catnip tribble in the dealer's room. Unfortunately, my poor little brain noticed that "catnip tribble" has the same scansion as "Plastic Jesus". The cats haven't destroyed it yet.

    As has become usual, I didn't do much singing. "When I Go" and "The Rambling Silver Rose" Saturday night was about the extent of it. That's ok; I mostly go to cons to meet up with friends (which I also didn't do all that much of) and listen to music (which I did lots of).

    Links in the notes.

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

    Ysabetwordsmith's Poetry Fishbowl is open!. I posted a prompt there.

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

    Not a whole lot going on last week. I installed a new main drive on nova; it's still not fully configured because I'm lazy, but at least it's running. And able to boot. Because I'd installed a SATA card, which I discovered that my motherboard wouldn't boot from. :P Ended up putting the optical drive on it.

    I don't seem to post much, if anything, on work days. This says something about work/life balance. Or work/internet balance, which may or may not be the same thing.

    Loads of links.

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

    Today I'm thankful for:

    • Progress (work and real estate, mostly).
    • Family.
    • Truffles. The Herb Farm. Sense enough to book us a room for the night.
    • A *lovely* room.
    • Coffee. Gin.
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Wow.

    Wednesday the 1st I booted the server from the mirror drive, after a little rescue work. It took the rest of the week before I got around to ordering a replacement, but... Whew.

    Friday the 3rd was our (actual) 38th anniversary. The party was Saturday; pretty good, though far smaller than our usual parties. We need to do more publicizing. Especially among my relatives and the filk list.

    Our anniversary dinner was this Friday, the 10th, because the Herb Farm was closed on the 3rd. Just as well, really, since we were able to get a room at the Willows Lodge across the parking lot, and spend a lazy evening before and morning after. The room was huge, and had a really cool feature: an opening between the bedroom and the bathroom, so that someone could sit on the bed and someone else in the tub, and they could have a conversation. It could be closed off with a sliding screen, but we didn't. The toilet and roll-in shower were in another room beyond the tub and vanity, with a sliding door. Neat.

    Dinner was *amazing*. The truffle theme was wonderful -- better even than the Mycologist's Dream dinner we went to last year. But the best part was the dessert wines. We ordered a glass of the 2001 Chateau d'Yquem (if you want a wine for the cheese course you have to order it separately). And then they brought us a glass of the "Golden Slumber" 1993 Tokaji Esszencia as an anniversary present! Oh. My. God. The Sauterne was sort of like honey made out of sunlight. The Tokaji was more like what a muscat becomes when it goes to heaven and turns into an angel. I mean, wow.

    After brunch in the Barking Frog, which is the restaurant associated with the Willows, we hung out in Alderwood Mall for the afternoon, had dinner at Claim Jumpers, and trundled down to the Kenwood Community Center for Betsy Tinney's album release party. Oh. My. God. It was the musical equal of dinner at the Herb Farm. The sheer energy up on stage -- wow.

    Burble.

    Lots of good links in the notes.

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

    Hey, it's Thursday again! I'm thankful for...

    1. Colleen, and 38 years (plus 6 days).
    2. Finding a great financial advisor. If anyone knows a great realtor in San Jose, let me know -- I need one of those, too.
    3. Good food.
    4. Backups. Which reminds me...
    5. Cat cuddles. Both tabby and Cheshire.
    6. Things that really suck, when they happen to be vacuum cleaners.
    7. Better living through chemistry.
    mdlbear: (river)

    It's a pretty low-key "party", so I'm sitting here watching most of the guests playing scrabble with Colleen and thinking about goals for the new year. I don't do resolutions -- I'm totally irresolute. But a couple of things to shoot for? I can do that.

    • 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.
    • Eat better. I may not lose weight, much as I'd like to, but nothing says I can't have more salads for lunch.
    • 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.)
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Write more! Songs, fiction, essays, whatever. I haven't done any writing to speak of for, what? Two years?
    • Sell the Starport.
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Hey, it's Thursday! Today I'm thankful for...

    • A well-timed first paycheck, with welcome sign-on bonus. I'll have to save most of it; I'll probably need it for taxes.
    • Paid vacation.
    • Cats, and especially Curio-snuggles.
    • Kitties and bears and goats, oh my!
    • My younger daughter's new boyfriend. I love seeing her happy.
    • 38 wonderful years, as of tomorrow.
    • A party here on Saturday. See the Rainbow's End site for directions.
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Short one this time, because I want to wrap up the year. We had a power outage Monday that apparently hosed my server -- again. Not happy about that. I am happy about fixing both our non-sucking vacuum cleaners by the simple expedient of cleaning their filters.

    So, Happy New Year, and here's hoping it's a good one for all of us.

    Links in the notes, as usual.

    raw notes )

    Tha' Tha' That's all, folks. Welcome to 2014.

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

    I have this feeling I should post something for the end of the year, which is fast approaching (and probably well past for most of my readers by now).

    It's been a year. Or maybe a decade. I had three jobs, which is as many as I had in the previous two decades. I/we bought a house and moved into it -- last time I did that was 38 years ago. We have cats -- last time I had a cat was, I don't know, about 60 years ago? Something like that. Colleen spent months in hospitals and nursing homes.

    I'm looking forward to a couple of years of being settled. I'm not likely to get them, of course. Next year I have to sell the Starport, add on to Rainbow's End, catch up on a hellacious number of medical bills, get the cars repaired, go to my 45th college reunion, ... Well, we'll see. Tomorrow is another year.

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

    Last week we celebrated our first Christmas in Rainbow's End -- Colleen, me, and both of our kids; Naomi, Glenn, and her kids. The pile of presents under the tree was impressive. We never did find the ornaments, lights, and stockings from the apartment -- they must be there someplace. In a box.

    Afterwards a succession of friends and relatives came by. Fun, and cozy. I set up the old TV in the Great Room (where the fireplace used to be), and put on a fireplace video (from YouTube, of course). Eventually we'll move the screen up to the master bedroom. The new one is a 38" Westinghouse that Office Max had on sale for an improbably low price the week before last.

    It was also my first paid Christmas in Seattle -- I started work as a full-time employee at Amazon on Monday. This meant a week's worth of breaking in a new laptop (easy, since I don't use Windows for much of anything) and desktop (hard, because persuading Ubuntu to play nice with a guest VM turns out to be non-trivial, especially if, like me, you prefer focus-follows-mouse and raise-on-focus.

    I also made reservations at The Herbfarm. And, last night, reservations at the Willows Lodge next door, since I finally figured out that I'd be in no shape to drive home after a 9-course dinner with wine. Pricey, but it looks wonderful. It's still cheaper than a weekend at a con, with hotel and meals. Which is kind of scary. Hmm.

    We finished off the week with last night's concert at Wayward Coffeehouse -- Sunnie Larsen, Betsy Tinney, and Kaide Tinney. Fun! We went to the Indian restaurant next door for dinner.

    ... and some lovely cat cuddles with Curio when I was awake at 4am and couldn't get back to sleep. I am so pwned.

    Links in the notes, as usual.

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

    The next party at Rainbow's End in West Seattle will be Saturday, January 4th. It's the usual (well, if you consider it as a continuation of Grand Central Starport's tradition, it's usual) potluck bash: kids, friends, musical instruments, and ingredients for stone soup welcome.

    It will run roughly from noon until midnight. Allergy alert: we have cats and guinea pigs. The cats will be confined upstairs during the party, but normally roam throughout the two upper floors -- don't forget your antihistamines if you need 'em.

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

    Hmm. This is getting to be more of a Friday thing -- I'll have to work on that. Anyway,...

    • Family.
    • Our first Christmas in Rainbow's End. Tremendous fun!
    • Rainbow's End.
    • Music.
    • Amazon. In more ways than one.

    There's undoubtedly more, but I'm sleepy.

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

    The Joy of Tech comic... The Cat Carol Have Kleenex ready; you'll probably need it.

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

    Lots of puttering around the house -- the holiday season is always good for encouraging that kind of thing. Especially since we're *still* missing a couple of boxes of Christmas lights and ornaments. Gaak!

    Some good links; this time I'm going to talk about a couple of them.

    I bought a poem from The Wordsmith's Forge - 2013 Holiday Poetry Sale. Today is the last day, so act fast if you want to buy a poem at half price. The poem in question is "The Last Rose of Winter", a rather unconventional love poem. Somehow I knew it would be something I wanted to read.

    The other interesting link was to an article with the somewhat less than informative title The boy whose brain could unlock autism It's actually about the "intense world" theory: that autism is a defense mechanism against sensory and social overload, caused by too much empathy rather too little. Oh. Right, then.

    Indeed, research on typical children and adults finds that too much distress can dampen ordinary empathy as well. When someone else’s pain becomes too unbearable to witness, even typical people withdraw and try to soothe themselves first rather than helping—exactly like autistic people. It’s just that autistic people become distressed more easily, and so their reactions appear atypical.

    Many of the other symptoms are due to withdrawal during the time when children are usually learning things like reading body language and other social cues. So, yeah -- my self-diagnosis of mild Asperger's may have been correct after all.

    More links, as usual, in the notes.

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

    So, today I'm thankful for:

    • Snow!!
    • A job with flexible hours that I can commute to by bus. See above.
    • Employment.
    • Home and family.
    • Colleen doing better, even if only a little -- sometimes that's all it takes. She's well enough and strong enough for car trips and shopping, which is *fantastic* for her morale and my budget.
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Somehow it feels as though I haven't been doing very much lately, and a glance at my notes for the week tends to support this. There has, nevertheless, been some progress cleaning up and organizing the house, and I went out for a shopping expedition with Colleen yesterday. Six car transfers, which is exhausting for both of us. (For me because they involve getting the scooter in and out of the trunk.)

    She had a blast, though -- our first stop was Metropolitan Market, a high-end grocery store that she'd never been in before. Cheshire Cat heaven. We also went to Staples, intending to buy her a chromebook to replace her ageing Dell mini, but ended up with a Samsung Galaxy Tab III instead. It's about 2/3 the weight, and with Android instead of Chrome OS it has more apps available.

    The only two downsides are that it was about $100 more expensive, and that now I want one too. :P

    This was Colleen's first shopping trip since she broke her ankle back in May; it's a huge step for her.

    My big news for the week is that my offer from Amazon came through on Monday, just after I got back from a good morning of interviews at the Seattle Times. It was high enough that I was able to give the Times a definite "no". Tough choice -- that could have been a fun job. But it could also have been a disaster: a job I was barely qualified for, at comparatively low pay, in a dying industry, at a privately-held company with a recent history of near-100% turnover. Did I mention that I'm risk-averse and have low self-confidence? Right.

    Meanwhile, of course, Google came out of the woodwork wanting to schedule interviews, and Socrata pushed the possibility of interviews out far enough into January that it wouldn't have been feasible. It never rains but it pours, which seems like a particularly apt maxim for Seattle.

    The intermittent scraping noise on the Honda finally became continuous last Sunday. After a somewhat harrowing trip up to fetch Chaos I took a look and found that a big plastic piece had come loose. Easy fix with the Wolfling's aviation snips. It'll need to be replaced, but it's not critical. The Honda's due for its 140K service soon.

    The van's battery isn't holding a charge. So that needs to be added to its growing repair list.

    The YD passed her catering class, and has decided to set herself up as specialist in gluten-free and related niche markets. Her gluten-free Russian tea cakes last week were spectacular, and the sour cream sugar cookies she made for N's work holiday party (today) included 2 dozen GF ones. I can attest to their yumminess.

    We are still missing about three boxes of Christmas lights and ornaments. We did find our artificial tree, and a box of plastic ornaments -- because cats. Tipping the thing over seems to have cured Curio of perching in it, so it now seems comparatively cat-safe.

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

    A little late, but no less heartfelt. Today I'm grateful for:

    • A little cluster of things nice things around Amazon, starting with the fact that they decided to hire me full-time. And a rather generous sign-on bonus, coming at a time when I really seem to need it.
    • Good advice on hard choices.
    • My wonderful, whacky, amazingly awesome extended family.
    • Weather. I kind of missed it in California.
    • Music. And getting back to making it, a little.
    • Cats. Cuddly cats.
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Hmm. Is tonight's major psychological breakthrough the fact that I'm feeling contented, or the fact that I actually noticed it?

    My major news for the week is definitely that I had an interview for going full time at Amazon. And scheduled an interview and a phone screen for tomorrow. One way or another, I expect to spend the next few years as a full-time employee. Somewhere.

    My major news. THE major news is Nelson Mandela's death. Sadness.

    Links in the notes, as usual.

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

    I'm still having a little trouble getting back into the swing of Thankful Thursdays, but fortunately Colleen reminded me a few minutes ago. So today I'm thankful for:

    • Colleen, first and foremost.
    • An adjustment in her medication, going back to something that worked before and finding that it still does. The rest is TMI.
    • Sleeping in Our Own Bed again.
    • The stairlift, and warranty repairs made promptly and easily.
    • Hugs.
    • Cat cuddles. Cuddles in general, actually.
    • Emmy taking a cooking class and doing her homework for the family.
    • Interviews that appear to have gone well; interviews scheduled.
    • Commuting by bus.
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    All in all a pretty eventful week. Not clear whether the big event was Thanksgiving -- which the YD did much of the work for, thankfully -- or Colleen moving upstairs. And I did a huge amount of puttering around the latter, including (in no particular order) a lot of laundry, installing grab bars, moving the support pole, folding up the couch and putting the carpet back down, and no doubt a lot of thngs I've forgotten.

    Some of our king-sized sheets appear to have gone missing. Grump. But it's really nice to be back in our own bed, in our own bedroom. Wow.

    Hmm. More visits with Uncle Ken, Susan, and company, including dinner at a local pizza joint called Talarico, where we met Susan's daughters. She hasn't met Chaos yet.

    Some good links in the notes.

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

    Thanksgiving seems like a good day to re-start Thankful Thursday posts; I have a lot of catching up to do, so here goes...

    Today I'm thankful for:

    • FAMILY. Blood and chosen, near and far. I have an amazing, wonderful family. I especially have to mention my love Colleen, our kids, Emmy and Kat, who just keep getting even more amazing with time, my sister of choice Naomi and her kids, and my Seattle relatives, with whom I'm finally getting back in touch.
    • Friends and friendship. Friends online and off, near and distant. Friends becoming closer friends. I love you all.
    • Rainbow's End. We -- my crazy extended family and I -- found ourselves a wonderful house in West Seattle this year, and it has become our home.
    • Employment. I've been employed here in Seattle for a little over a year, after far too long a gap since I lost my job in San Jose. A skill set that continues to keep me employable.
    • Our cats. I hadn't realized just how much of a cat person I was until Curio walked up to me in the shelter and told me "Hi there. I'm your cat." Naomi had to translate for him, but I'm learning.
    • Medical insurance. The American health doesn't-care system sucks, but I shudder to think of what Colleen's tab would have looked like if I hadn't had insurance through my employer.
    • A kitchen big enough for more than one person to work in, and a Thanksgiving dinner that came out amazingly well.
    • A lot of little and not-so-little things. Backups. Good tools, both hard and soft. Colleen's PT and other support people.
    • ... and most of all, the fact that things haven't turned out nearly as bad as they could have. I've been lucky, and I know it. (I've also been incredibly stupid at times, but that's another post.)
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    High point of the week: Colleen managed a car transfer in her PT appointment on Tuesday, so we scheduled a drive for Saturday. It was lovely. We spent nearly two hours in the Honda, driving around West Seattle, with me pointing out the sights. First long drive together in ages. Half a year at least.

    Also yesterday morning, I was awakened by the doorbell. When I come to the door at some insane hour of the morning and see a woman holding a book, the first thing I think of is not long-lost relative. But it was, in fact, my cousin Susan, who lives here in Seattle. Her father, Dad's brother Kenneth, is visiting for Thanksgiving; he came later with her husband Dan. So... yay!

    We exchanged phone numbers, so she can call ahead next time. We'll definitely have to get together a couple more times this week while Uncle Ken is still here.

    I was a Useful Bear last weekend; I finally got around to installing new showerheads, and the adjustable shower-cum-grab-bar that's been sitting around since April or so. It was taking forever to drill through the tile in the shower stall, so I went down to Home Despot Sunday morning and picked up a Ryobi hammer drill and some new bits. Never did get around to trying the hammer feature (which works best on concrete and brick -- I'll be needing that this weekend), but tile/glass bits and a lower speed setting made all the difference.

    I need to walk more. I did manage a couple of walks over the course of the week, and my walking speed seems to be up a little (probably thanks to the daily trek to and from the bus stop), but it really isn't enough. My weight has also gone up, in spite of being back on BP meds. Grumph.

    I have set the wheels in motion for an interview loop at Amazon; I'm hoping to interview at a couple of other places as well, though that's by no means certain.

    Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

    The big news: Friday Colleen went upstairs (supervised by two PTs -- they'd originally been planning to do car transfers but it was raining). They marked out where I should put grab bars; I got one of them in yesterday.

    Lots of puttering, last weekend and this. Finally got new showerheads installed. The new hand shower has a vertical bar that can be used as a grab bar; it turns out that drilling tile is a bitch, so it's only held on by two screws at the moment. I'll work on that some more this afternoon. Brought up a box of cookbooks. Etc.

    Friday came over yesterday (yes, Friday was here on Saturday) and made curried chicken. There are leftovers; not entirely sure what we're having for dinner tonight. We also had pizza (last Saturday) and Chinese (Friday).

    I got some work done on the Steve.Savitzky.net and Rainbow's End Massage websites, though not all that much.

    I had some notion last week of dropping the "Done" posts back to one per week, and doing occasional posts with real content in between. Well, I got halfway there...

    Lots of links in the notes; you can read about the Autism Speaks kerfuffle, perfect forward secrecy and other security matters (Hi there, NSA), and Avengers AU fanfic with cats, among many others.

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

    Dad never talked about his experiences in WWII. I found out from his obituary that he had run radar operations in England.

    (eta) Thanks, Dad

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

    So I came out (last) Friday morning to discover that the van's driver-side side mirror was missing -- apparently somebody had driven by and scraped it off. Growf. Came out this morning to find the battery dead, but that's another blog post.

    In spite of that, I discovered that my mood was unexpectedly good on Friday. No idea why. It apparently lasted for a couple of days. I also seem to be bouncing back pretty quickly from back stress; that's a good thing, too.

    Saturday we had Rainbow's End's first official party, organized by Emmy. Went very well, though we could have used more people. Fun! Our chili went over pretty well, but I'm thinking that maybe we should do Stone Soup next time.

    We decided to drop Orycon this year -- Colleen simply isn't ready for travel.

    I started using my phone's exercise app again (CardioTrainer). I *really* need to lose weight. So far it's not working.

    ... and the big news -- we got the "final" version of Naomi's website (delivered on CDROM -- how 20th Century!), and I put it up: Welcome to Rainbow's End Massage. It needed a few tweaks (and still does), and I had to email her designer to get the (Adobe Illustrator) source for the images. It still doesn't show up on Google (though the designer's test site does :P); I'm hoping that a couple of blog links will help in that regard.

    Links in the notes, as usual.

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

    I'd originally wanted to clear this out a week ago, and do a separate post for OVFF. Well, ... not so much, I guess.

    OVFF was very good. I went into it very concerned over leaving Colleen with Emmy for the weekend -- if I'd known when I made the reservations just where she was in her recovery, I wouldn't have. But she had a good time without me anyway, and the YD really outdid herself taking care of her and keeping her company. So I was able to relax and enjoy the con after all.

    And it was a good con; I'd missed it a lot. As usual, I spent most of my time either in concerts, or talking to people. Met a couple of new ones, which is always nice.

    Also as usual, I didn't have time to do nearly as much catching up and song-swapping as I wanted to. Not sure what can be done about that, except maybe trying to keep up my blogging.

    We got a reasonable number of Trick or Treaters for Halloween, but still had a lot of candy left over for the party.

    Quote of the week:

    Colleen, as I was getting comfortable in bed beside her: Now you have your pussy.
    Me: I'd rather have your pussy.
    Curio: picked exactly that moment to pounce in between us. Perfect timing.

    A few good links in the notes.

    raw notes )

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