mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
[personal profile] mdlbear

I'm not sure what to say about this week. It's been very stressful; things appear to have worked out ok, most if not all of the stress-causing things are gone, but my self-confidence (what little there was of it) is more-or-less completely gone. I just don't know. Something like that.

Well, let's go for the really good stuff first: Colleen and I are now covered by Medicare part D (drugs) and a supplemental (medigap) policy. They're with ExpressScripts and Premera Blue Cross, which is what we had with Amazon, so the transition appears to have been smooth. Whew!

Now the -- damned if I know. Last Sunday Naomi and I went car-shopping, and bought a red Chevy Bolt. Beautiful car; lots of great safety features. Electric. Expensive. The cargo area holds Colleen's scooter, though just barely.

Wednesday I went down to REI, which is the closest place with a DC Fast Charge station that I can use, and discovered that the car we'd bought didn't have that feature. It turned out to be an option. Driving up to the dealership I spent the entire trip berating myself over not checking. It took most of the rest of the afternoon, but they were able to find a (blue) Bolt with equivalent features, plus DCFC, and do a swap. It was very stressful; they'd originally found me a white one, but white isn't visible in fog, and here we are in Seattle. So, ...

It's hard for me to say enough good things about Bill Pierre Chevrolet, on Lake City Way. Saying they went well out of their way to accommodate our requirements would be a massive understatement. They, and their Ford dealership next door, are highly recommended.

So now we have a blue Bolt, which we have named Molly. (Puns involving drywall anchors are not appreciated -- Molly ius a little sensitive on that point.) She's a wonderful car.

There are a couple of hopefully minor problems. The main one is that there aren't nearly as many fast charging stations as we thought there would be. I don't think that it would be possible to drive cross-country, for example. Maybe to San Jose, but it would take very careful planning. Another is the cargo space - we couldn't drive to an airport or a convention in it (which is ok; we still have a van). Another is the cost -- I've never spent that much on a car before. (In absolute terms. I still vividly remember when we bought our first minivan, a Mercury Villager, and paid more for it than we'd paid for our house a decade before.)

But the biggest problem isn't with the car, it's with me. It's mostly after I make a big, expensive decision like that that I start second-guessing myself, and wondering whether I'd made a huge mistake. It was really Wednesday (see above) that started that process. It combines with the problems I'd had last week and all through May with our health care, which I made worse by not realizing that when Amazon told me they'd continue my health care, what they meant was that they'd subsidize my COBRA benefits. Ricoh hadn't done it that way; I'd made some wrong assumptions, and my HR person at Amazon simply hadn't gotten back to me at all about it.

Hmm - both of those problems have been due to things people didn't tell me. Unfortunately, that doesn't help me feel that they're any less my fault. I think I'm supposed to think of everything. One reason I'm comfortable around computers is that if I don't think of everything, the computer will tell me (by doing what I told it to do, not what I expected it to do) and I can fix it. Real-world stuff terrifies me because I can't go back and fix most of it. But if I try to think of everything before hand, I never actually go out and do it. Can't win. (Can't break even. Can't leave the game. Laws of Thermodynamics in words of mostly one syllable.)

"I can't fix it!" is something I end up saying all too often.

Notes & links:

  * up 6:50; W=199.8; Shower
  * TJ's for mostly fruit.  Colleen wanted flowers, and they had a lovely purple miniature
    rose -- live, in a pot, for about half the price of a bouquet.  No-brainer.
  * N came down with the kids.  Worked great, since it meant that C would have someone to
    keep her company while N and I went car shopping.
  * Car-shopping with N.  Bought a Chevy Bolt.  For due diligence we compared it with the
    Ford Fusion -- which was basically the same price, but with far fewer features.
    Dull.  We also checked on the Tesla Model 3.  The soonest we can get our hands on one
    of those is next year.  So, ...  It's gorgeous.  Red.  Named Regan, after a
    character in one of Ada Palmer's books.  There was a multi-hour wait for the finance
    guy, so we (mostly N) had a good conversation with the salesman, who turned out to be
    a history buff.
  * Came home, picked up C, and went to Saffron for dinner.

  * up 8am; W=200.6;
  : G' feeling under the weather; we'll let her stay home.
  @ Trump Just Taught The World What Native Americans Have Known For Centuries
  @ American Inst. of Mathematics (via AIM math: Representations of E8)
    4 21 polytope
    " In 8-dimensional geometry, the 421 is a semiregular uniform 8-polytope, constructed
      within the symmetry of the E8 group. "
    " The vertices of this polytope can also be obtained by taking the 240 integral
      octonions of norm 1. "
  * call insurance
  * pick up packages
  . get parking sticker
  * install chargepoint app on phone
    -> there are comparatively few ChargePoint network charging stations; making our free
       charge card less useful.  Montlake Terrace park+ride and Edmonds closest
       northbound and closest to Whidbey, Terry Ave closest southbound.
    -> there are no comprehensive maps.  Anywhere.  Public charging stations are pretty
       much all credit-card operated as far as I can see.
  @ PlugShare - EV Charging Station Map - Find a place to charge your car!
    : The 110V (standard wall socket) charger takes 50 hours to fully charge the car - 4
      miles/hour.  That would be ok for my normal usage pattern, except that there's
      noplace to plug in. 
    : A 220V charger, which is what I think most of the ones you find in local parking
      lots, takes either 19 or 9.5 hours depending on power level.  that's 25 miles/hour
      at best.  We can, and obviously must, get one of these installed at the new
      house. All or most of the public ones require a credit card; I'm going to scout
      around the neighborhood.  220V*32A=7KW; session costs look like $2/hour; that may be
      the 16A rate.
    : The DC fast charger takes 4 hours; the closest ones in the ChargePoint network,
      which is the network we have a card for, are on Terry Ave. in SLU, and the Montlake
      Terrace park-and-ride.  There are DCFC chargers in different networks at Northgate,
      Lake City Way Fred Meyer (though that's L-2 and CHAdeMo only), Alderwood, REI, and
      Woodland Park Zoo. 
  @ Seven Ideas for Electric Car Ownership Without Home Charging |     
  & up to the Chevy dealer because they'd forgotten to give us our temporary plate.  Hung
    around for an hour getting a charge; turns out they only have Level 2.  And the
    DCFT charger at Fred Meyers up the street is on the Blink network, and only has Level
    2 and CHAdeMo, so it's of limited use.
  : Regan is a dream to drive.  A couple of glitches:
    : the rear-view camera is of limited use since it requires focusing close-up.
    : There's a WiFi hotspot, but you can't change the SSID or the password.
      -* ah: you can using the myChevrolet app
    : There's an external hitch-like accessory mount, but its weight limit is 110lbs, so
      it won't handle C's scooter.
  : my set of Energy-Saving Self Care Cards arrived.  Gorgeous; cheering.  By [personal profile] rb
  @ 2017 Chevrolet Bolt Owner's Manual
    -* set charge mode to "immediate" - "departure" is only useful at home.

  * up 7:30; W=200.6;
  & major cleanup.  Quick application of paper towels limited the mess
  : as it turns out, all my searching Sunday morning for a title was unnecessary; WA does
    it all electronically.  Which makes sense.
  * create OnStar account (myChevrolet account)
    * set WiFi SSID to Rainbow Regan with the usual household password
    * OnStar Guidance plan $35/month from RE Checking account; data and Sirius separate
    * set charge mode to "immediate" - "departure" is only useful at home.
    * set up myChevrolet app
    -> is a really crappy site, and flaky.
  * order box of StatLock Foley Stabilization Device
  * pay mortgage - -> set up autopay; first payment 0701; from UBOC
  * create chargepoint account, activate chargepoint card. -> load from AMEX
  . pair phone with Regan; there seems to be a problem.  Phone too old?
  . OnStar data: has some arrangement with AT&T Wireless
  * signed up with EVgo - no account; all it needs is name and credit card apparently
    call 877-455-3833 for assistance before card arrives.
  @ Star Maker - Wikipedia
    Downloaded the book from 
  @ JuiceBox Pro 40 Electric car charger - high-power charger for your car.
  : An EV has serious inveniences, but I really like the safety features on the Bolt;
    they're worth it given that my driving isn't all that great and the kids will be
    learning soon.

  * up 5:30; W=199.8; Cuddle
  * pay rent - balance due didn't show on website, so just paid the same as last month.
  @ Comparison of Google Nexus smartphones - Wikipedia 
    : Phone comparison:  Nexus 5 has video out, microSIM; 6 and 5X don't, and have nano.
      Samsung S6 also possible.  Android 7.0 Nougat.  Unhappy with Samsung, though.
      Android:  Nexus 5: 6.0.1; 6: 7.1.1; 5X: 7.1.2; S5mini: 5.1.1; S6: 7.0
  * Sign Colleen up for ExpressScripts PDP Value (Premera was done 0531)
  ~ attempted to reorder Colleen's humira.  No info.
  * Called COBRA 877-292-6272 and found that they were waiting for a payment on the FSA,
    which *wasn't* employer-funded.  Waived it.  They put in a manual update and I will be
    able to reorder in 2-5 business days.  This is getting old.
    % I have fucked up so many times in the last month and a half that I've lost count.
  @ The 10,000 Hour Rule Is Not Real | Smart News | Smithsonian
    Why The 10,000 Hour Rule Is A Myth | HuffPost
  * I have been working my way through the pile of bills and statements.  At this point I
    think all medicare and COBRA items have been found, and all insurance policies and
    paid receipts stacked up.  Still have to go through the ones in the file crate, which
    date back to March or earlier.
  ~ go down to REI for a charge.  Possibly, buy shoes.
    -> back up to Pierre's, because I can't make the DCFC charger connect.
    -> as it turns out, Regan does *not* have a DCFC connector.  It's apparently a $750
       option which is supposed to be standard on the Premier.  But we don't have it.
    % ok, so buying a Bolt probably _was_ one of the stupidest things I've ever done.
    : plan on staying until 5pm while it charges.
  : Looks like we can trade for a blue car with DCFC.  Whew!  Might not be available until
    tomorrow, which will make things tricky with Colleen's appointment.
  : As it turns out, my phone doesn't connect with the USB ports on the Bolt!  Exhibits
    the same bouncing-up-and-down behavior that it does with my old battery.
    Iiiinteresting.  -> chatting with Samsung tech support.
    -> wiped cache partition in recovery mode:  No effect.  Safe mode:  no effect
       " if you feel the issue is persisting then please do get back to us with the same
         Chat ID:4295324305 , so that the chat history will be saved in our records and
         you need not explain the issue from the beginning and our agents will pick up
         where we left off. "
  @ In 1971, Stanford Students Did an Interpretive Dance to Demonstrate Protein Synthesis
    - Atlas Obscura (thnidu)

~ call to find out about Colleen's part D plan.  Try to set up with Express Scripts
    Medicare:  800-772-1213  see whether her part D and supplement have to be set up
    separately. -> call doesn't seem to be necessary

  * up 6:30; W=199.2; cleanup
  % It seems I really do prefer dark roasts to medium for my coffee.
  : Chrome keeps bookmarks in .config/google-chrome/Default//Bookmarks (JSON format)
  * leave about 2pm
    -> for some reason I couldn't get the scooter's motor unit to sit right; had to put
       the seat in the back seat.  WTF?
  % blood sugar crash - stopped in Office Max for candy :P
  * 3:10 Colleen Dr. Chopra
    -> renew Costco membership; update contact info
    -> check out Edmonds Nissan.  Chargepoint says it's in-network and has combo;
       plugshare disagrees but the reviews that say so explicitly are old.
  @ finished Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces
  % somewhat flaky especially driving home.  Low blood sugar partly to blame.
  @ Facebook's Ability to Target "Insecure" Teens Could Prompt Backlash | WIRED
    (thnidu | Facebook markets vulnerable youngsters to advertisers)
  * pick up car after dropping Colleen at home.
    -> left CDs with (salesman) Devo and (manager) didn't get name.
    <- Bill Pierre Chevrolet is awesome
  : Colleen was going over the Trader Joe's flyer this evening and discovered that they
    have Rainbow's End trail mix! 
  * Noodled on Plink for a little while.  Fingers out of shape.  Millennium's Dawn and Bad
    Man Medley.

  * Up 7ish; W=199.4; shower
  @ Wow! mystery signal from space finally explained (kayshapero | Wow! Twice...)
    Hydrogen clouds around comets!  Wild!
    Physicists finally have proof that two-dimensional magnets exist - ScienceAlert
  @ The First Space-Based ‘Nation’ Wants to Store Data Off-Planet, Beyond the Law -
    Motherboard (ScienceAlert)
  * Walgreen's: pick up C's prescriptions
  : various problems setting up the various accounts for Molly - probably need to be *in
    the vehicle* with laptop and phone to get it all straightened out.
  * re-order Colleen's humira.  Keep trying until one or the other of COBRA or Medicare
    comes through.  Medicare, apparently.
  * 15min: a little guitar noodling.
  * Got car (OnStar and GM (myChevrolet)) accounts straightened out.  And BT connected
    this time.
    -> Curiouser and curiouser:  phone USB charging and Android Auto works in back, but
       not in front!  Absolutely consistent.
    sirius radio id 8W5R9A4E
  * TJ's for chips and dip.  They have "Citizen's Gin" for $15/l!  At that price, I have
    to try it.  Also Rainbow's End Trail Mix, which is heavy on peanuts and M+M's.
    " me:  I am sitting here sipping gin and nibbling on Trader Joe's *Rainbow's End Trail
      Mix*.  I appear to have gotten the various car accounts disentangled.  I have been
      out of the house twice, once to Wallgreen's and once to TJ.  I think I'm supposed to
      feel accomplished now?
      N: Do you think that is something you can manage? "
    % Maybe.  It's not clear where one should draw the line between lame attempts at
      self-deprecating humor and actual self-deprecation.
  @ Axiom of choice linked from Wikipedia's Math Portal today
  & long conversation with N via Signal, mostly world-building around Rosie and (new
    character) Molly.  Takes the universe in a different direction.

  * Up 4:30ish; W=200.8;
  : I don't think I mentioned Hinkley's Hardware, which I found during a walk something
    over a week ago.  I'd seen it from outside a couple of times; this time I went in.
    Kind of amazing - huge, with both new and (mostly) used tools of all sorts.  Only
    thing I bought was a brush for cleaning the coffee grinder, but many things were
    tempting.  Looked for and did _not_ find flatware anything like our good stuff.
  : Villeroy & Boch! Finally managed to read the logo on one of our forks.
    Bingo!  Specifically the "La Coupole" style.  What we need are the teaspoon and soup
    spoon.  Over $10 each, and hard to find individual pieces.
    @ Villeroy & Boch La Coupole 40-Piece Flatware Set, Service for 8 $119
    at Replacements, Ltd
    I note with dismay that five of each kind of spoon would cost more than a set of 8.
    There are iced tea spoons, too.  Replacements, Ltd. sells on eBay, but the prices are
    higher there than at their own website.
    -> ordered a set of 8 place settings from $A.  I no longer have any self-confidence
       whatever, so I have no idea whether that was a mistake.
  & threw out the Cuisinart laminated bamboo spoon.  It had developed deep cracks which
    were not only ugly but likely to trap bacteria.
  @ chriskmanx/qmole: GNU Linux Desktop System for IPhone & IPad (LinkedIn)
  @ GNURoot Debian  Linux userspace on Android without root
    Does not appear to do X, but it looks pretty complete in console mode.
  @ Who Are the Shadow Brokers? - The Atlantic [LWN]
  @ wasamasa/firestarter: Execute (shell) commands on save [LWN/emacs news]
  * Farmer's market for tapenade, asparagus, flowers.
  % I think my vision may be getting worse.  I don't notice it indoors much; the double
    vision is mostly noticable outside with high-contrast edges.  It's there indoors if I
    choose to look for it.
  @ The watt or Kibble balance: a technique for implementing the new SI definition of the
    unit of mass - IOPscience Watt balance - Wikipedia
    referred to by an article in Science, 6-19; p.671
  % Feeling a little under the weather -- sore throat and sleepy -- so decided somewhere
    around 3:30 not to go charge Molly after all.  Tomorrow will do.
  @ Redefining the Kilogram, Silicon Spheres and the International Avogadro Project |
    NIST The Avogadro project is just plain cool.
  ~ reorder drugs at ExpressScripts
    -> had to reset the password.
    -> mine are automatic refill except the buspirone, which I may not need anymore.
       Colleen's probably need her to create a separate account.  Worth a call
  : USGS Map Name:  Langley, WA    Map MRC: 48122A4  Zoomed/cropped images for N.
  % heartburn; sore throat.  Took a benedryl earlier; at this point I think it's just the
    irritation from before I took it.
  * down ~11:30; # "down" as opposed to "up". I should probably start tracking that.

Date: 2017-06-11 09:10 pm (UTC)
amaebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaebi
It's so hard when you and they each think you understand by what you and they say, but you're wrong! :/

At best, when you're lucky, both sides come to understand that that's what happened. Unlucky and just blame you.


Date: 2017-06-12 12:24 am (UTC)
amaebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaebi
Yeah, but don't you find it annoying when the other guy also blames you?

Date: 2017-06-12 11:22 am (UTC)
amaebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaebi
Ah. I get a lot of blame in situations of conflicting silent context.

Date: 2017-06-11 09:45 pm (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri yeah this week sounds like it's been Unnecessarily Exciting. I'm glad you got the Medicaid sorted, at least, that's One Less Damn Thing!

Those self-care cards are BRILLIANT & I love them, thanks for the link!

I am pretty sure that the line between lame attempts at self-deprecating humor and actual self-deprecation are VERY VERY FUZZY.

A good local hardwarre store, though, makes many, many things better.

I hope your upcoming week is less Exciting than this one has been. o.0

Date: 2017-06-12 12:29 am (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
A vital next step.

Date: 2017-06-12 02:48 am (UTC)
archangelbeth: An anthropomorphic feline face, with feathered wing ears, and glasses, in shades of gray. (Default)
From: [personal profile] archangelbeth
If it helps, my spouse was seriously considering an 'olt -- the full-electric one, which I can never remember if it's Bolt or Volt so now they're both 'olt* -- and would've gotten one except... the wheel well intrudes into the driver's floorspace and if he rests his foot on it (which he will), it gives him serious leg cramps within a few minutes. He came home talking about it and trying to talk himself into "I can totally live with that" and I went, "Nope! You cannot live with it! And I will not put up with you fussing about it all the time and having leg cramps! VETO!" And as he then got really bad leg cramps like 5 minutes later, he agreed with me.

But that was a shame, because it was otherwise a good car and he really wanted the all-electric 'Olt. He did all the research into it, etc., etc., and it was just that physical design feature, so please feel validated in your choice of car! Hopefully there are still some rebates/tax-credit things that can be applied to it, too? Fingers crossed, anyway.

(* Not your parent's 'Oltsmobile...)

Date: 2017-06-12 03:09 am (UTC)
archangelbeth: An anthropomorphic feline face, with feathered wing ears, and glasses, in shades of gray. (Default)
From: [personal profile] archangelbeth
Yeah, having a car that feels safe and sturdy is definitely good. (I've driven old Mazdas and Nissans, and... yeah. *wry*)

Fingers crossed on the electrical stuff, too!

Date: 2017-06-12 03:45 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline

New Bolt

Date: 2017-06-13 08:06 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] markc1957
Congratulations on the new car. One question that you probably should have asked, if you didn't, is the average lifespan of the battery pack in the car and the replacement cost. Those numbers might be more...disturbing than any other aspect of the car.


Date: 2017-06-15 04:46 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] andyheninger
You got a Bolt - very cool!

If I were in the market for a new car now, the Bolt would be at the top of my short list. I've been pretty closely following the evolution of battery electric cars over recent years, and Chevy seems to have done almost everything right with this car. But my Ford is still pretty low mileage, and in good condition, so it really doesn't make sense to dump it at this point. Plus, it's also quite a nice car.

When I took a Bolt test drive, I was particularly impressed with the interior space - leg and head room - and the good visibility looking out. It was quite a contrast with the Volt, which felt cramped.

All the safety features on new cars are really good to have. The Bolt's 360 degree camera view is neat. I think you've made a great choice.

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