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

Wednesday Clea, our guinea pig, died. She was a simple soul -- piggies aren't renouned for their intelligence -- but affectionate as guinea pigs go, and very calm and laid-back. She joined N's household in November of 2011, half a year before I did, and was eventually joined by Shona and Marieke, both of whom died earlier this year, before we left Rainbow's End. Clea and her herd moved from N's house to my apartment, from there to Rainbow's End. Clea, the last of them, moved from there to the U-District apartment and finally here on Whidbey Island.

Guinea pigs are herd animals, but Clea seemed to handle the loss of her companions calmly. I think by that time her herd included the household humans and even the cats. She would calmly move to another corner when one of the kittens reached into her cage; I admonished them more for my comfort than Clea's.

We buried her in the back yard where she can grow some of the hay she loved to eat, and later some carrots and celery. It seems appropriate.

School starts next week. N's son, j, wants to try home-schooling; I'm teaching science, math, and programming. It's a little daunting; the last time I taught programming I was in grad school, teaching Algol-W (which later became Pascal). I'm rather unsure about which language to teach; Scratch (based on Smalltalk) is an obvious place to start, but I think I'll give him a taste of Scheme and maybe Python as well, and let him decide. Suggestions welcome.

I've also spend an inordinate amount of time on the phone with OnStar/GM/whatever-they-call-themselves about the problems in their website (can't contact the car), email reports (linked to blank page), and phone app (wildly incorrect mi/kwh value). They may make good cars, but the tech support for their software is on a par with AT&T and Comcast. Maybe worse than Comcast. Caveat emptor.

Notes & links:

  * Up 5:30ish; W=198.8;
  @ F.D.C. Willard - Wikipedia t(kyburg)
    " was the pen name of a Siamese cat named Chester, who internationally published under
      this name on low temperature physics in scientific journals, once as a co-author and
      another time as the sole author. "
  : The kittens are rampaging.  I decided to lock Ticia in to give her a break.
  @ REAL MOD: Closet Storage Systems: Elfa vs. Rubbermaid vs. Closetmaid
    -> Closetmaid is PVC-dipped, not powder-coated like Elfa or Rubbermaid
       Rubbermaid shelving is significantly cheaper
    -> I can install shelf supports for any company on any one of the vertical hangers.
    Doesn't look like anyone sells 5' wire shelves anymore.  {Closet,Rubber}maid sell 6',
    Elfa sells 2 and 3.
  * 15min:  brought up one of the stubby mic/music stands and transferred the Stagg desk.
  * 15min:  Colleen went ballistic because at that point there were three music stands in
    front of the couch.  N came out and together we not only took the extra stands down to
    the garage, but the box of antique boxes and the walking sticks, cleared a lot of
    stuff out of the walkway, moved Snuggles to my closet, etc.
  @ Der Spiegel's New Magazine Cover: The True Face Of Donald Trump
  : G arrived with Desti -- we're boarding her while his apartment is being randomly
    inspected.  They went out for pizza, and brought us back one.  Yum.
  @ Piphilology
    Not A Wake
  * up 8:10; ; shower
  @ Alan Turing Papers (Additional) - Archives Hub (ysabetwordsmith)
    Collection of letters by codebreaker Alan Turing found in filing cabinet
    First recording of computer-generated music – created by Alan Turing – restored
    Sounds like the AM radio trick.
  @ How Artists Are Bypassing Their Dealers and Selling Directly to Collectors (ysabetwordsmith)
  * Golden ratio - Wikipedia dive
  * 15min:  shelf standards up in LR.
  * call references for Tina
  : call from onstar re: the very negative survey I put in for their website.  They
    couldn't actually do anything because the problems aren't with the car.  Why they have
    a survey on the website that isn't responded to by anyone having to do with the
    website is an open question.
  * 15min:  I now have three 6' shelves up in the living room.  More would require
    either cutting or purchase.  Excuse to go up to Oak Harbor?
    ! productive
  @ Canons of page construction - Wikipedia pleasing proportions for pages
  @ Major Ku Klux Klan and Nazi Website Stormfront Has Been Kicked Offline 
    "  While that’s probably a good thing, it’s also quite possible that the sudden deluge
       of hate-group account deletions could serve to strengthen a budding white power
       movement in the U.S., which is already premised on the idea that they, the white
       people in America, are under attack. "
  * 15min:  large plastic bin in MBR taken out; printer stand next to brown chair in MBR
    shoes out of banker's box and into closet.  Banker's box from Amazon cleared.
  @ On Uranus and Neptune, it can rain diamonds | New York Post (ysabetwordsmith)
    Sounds like an album title.
  * 15min:  hung some pictures:  Drenched Draggit, Rainbow Man, Winter Tree, Picnic Spot.

  * Up 6:30; ;
  * responded to Drewslist request for a Linux mentor
  @ Meet Warmed-Over Flavor, the Phenomenon That Turns Leftovers Funky | Serious Eats
  : replacement debit card from Union Bank arrived.
  : system flush, so no water for most of the day.  I vaguely remember seeing something
    about this, but it didn't get on the calendar.
  @ Humble Book Bundle: Electronics & Programming presented by Make maybe
  : N saw a deer dead by the side of the road near here.  Very much hoping it wasn't one
    of the ones that frequents our house.  Sad anyway.
  : j's laptop and instructional materials arrived
    Stupid windows having problems seeing the touchpad.  Actually, BIOS doesn't see it
    either, so probably a cable.  Fortunately a trackball works.

  * up 6:30; W=196.8;
  : We lost (guinea pig) Clea.  N got her the week after breaking up with -C in 2011-11;
    we moved up here in May of 2012 and the piggies moved in with us around October.  We
    all moved into RE the following May.  When Colleen and I moved into Split End at the
    end of March of 2017, Clea moved with us, and from there to Whidbey Island (Skybird
    Nest?  Rainbow's End North?) in early July.  She was always very sweet-tempered and
    seemed contented.
    -> a simple grave and farewell in the back yard.  We'll plant carrots and celery in
       the spring.
  * school starts 8:30
  ~ 1:30 Colleen UNW (G")
  * Homeschooling j starts.  assemble bed; orientation
  : Yet another survey fron GM; this time regarding the "customer engagement center",
    which presumably is the group that called me Monday about the negative survey I
    completed _last_ week.  I'm getting tired of this.
  @ Pegasus Awards final ballot
  @ Zabar's for dinner

  * up 6:16; W=198.2;
  * G" got a teaching job -- long shot application and apparently she heard on short
    notice.  Hours are incompatible with C's needs and j's teaching schedules, so
    we'll have to find someone else for the caregiver position.
    % Colleen crying; I'm stressed.  We'll make it, I think.
  * Finished setting up j's furniture (the futon frame).
  * pay trolls: call 866-936-8246 for one-time forgiveness of penalties.
    * set up online account.  ssavitzky is partially set up; may need to be deleted or
      merged into srsavitzky.
  : another damned missed call.  This time, I was able to call from the landline
    That was, however, after I had checked my voicemail.

  * Up 0630; W=196.8;
  @ siderea | [med, healthcare, anthro, Patreon] The Other Medicine, Part 1
  @ UA Alumna Creates ‘Artificial Pancreas,’ Open-Source Blueprint
  * (house cleaner) Tina's first day; (caregiver) Gina's next-to-last
  * 15min: cleared the good rolling crate (the one with a lid) -- may get repurposed
    The UPS probably ought to go with Nova.
  * 15min: started cleaning out the litter box
  * lots of space where the piggy cage was.  It's now out on the deck waiting to be hosed
    down and scrubbed.
  * 15min:  most of the clutter of envelopes and so on from the kitchen counters and a few
    other places has been put in a banker's box.  Need to spend some concentrated effort
    over the next few days dealing with it.
  : Another two packages of j's school materials arrived.  I think that's all of it.
  : The package with the hanger strips and shelves, which was supposed to have arrived
    today, has been delayed until Tuesday.  Will have to use wooden shelves in the
    bathroom for now.
  : C made some chicken-sort-of-Stroganoff, using yogurt instead of sour cream.  Tasty.

  & Awake 3am; managed to get back to sleep
  * up 7:15; W=197.6
  : Bronx took a leap onto the top of a trash can.  Unfortunately, it was empty.  He stuck
    the landing and scampered off.  "I meant to do that."
  @ NASA and Iconic Museum Honor Voyager Spacecraft 40th Anniversary | NASA 
  * 15min:  (*n) brought sewing stuff from garage (~6 boxes).  Still no scissors, though.
    	    Brought the white task chair down because C says it's too small.
  * 15min:  brought up the remaining camp chair for front deck - it has a metal tray.
  * left-over dinner for lunch for me and N.  Definitely a hit.  C had a roast beef
    sandwich on rye with horseradish.
  * Grocery shopping.  Asparagus beef for dinner.

Date: 2017-09-04 04:44 am (UTC)
archangelbeth: Sad female face, with horns. (Sad Eyes)
From: [personal profile] archangelbeth
Condolences on the loss of a small one.

And good luck doing the teaching thing!

(My spouse is going to have the OnStar/whatever-the-Subaru-equiv-thing-is disconnected in his new car. He doesn't like having it there to track and/or as an intrusion vector. Which at least eliminates troubleshooting it! Good luck on that, too.)

Date: 2017-09-04 05:11 am (UTC)
acelightning: purple glowing candle (candle)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
I grieve with thee... though the little creatures' lives are so short, they leave paw-prints on our hearts...

Date: 2017-09-04 02:08 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman

While I grok the reason for a teaching language, especially one strongly typed, Python is *useful*... it's pretty much supplanted Perl as the underlying glue language of the Net... Ansible and Salt are both written in it, it plays well with others, and it's *readable* (unlike Perl)... you need a good smart editor to work with it, though; the indents will drive you batty if you don't. (Emacs FTW!)

Both will run on about anything save a Chromebook... and I wonder about that...

Date: 2017-09-04 06:51 pm (UTC)
kyrielle: A photo of kyrielle, in profile, turned slightly toward the viewer (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyrielle
Agreed. By the time he is older and seeking work, the best/important/focus languages of the next stuff will probably have changed over once or twice in most sub-fields, so something that will engage him is primary, with showcasing principles a close second. But an actual "use it now" language for a real project, maybe not such a big deal. (If his skills are or get to the point where he can contribute to open-source projects, and he wants to, then the projects that interest him might be another driving factor.)

Date: 2017-09-04 08:14 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
I'm sorry about Clea.

Teaching Python

Date: 2017-09-11 03:48 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] andyheninger
Regarding teaching programming, Python seems to me like a reasonable place to start. Or, I like the language, anyway.

Berkeley CS started with Scheme at the time Nadia was there (15 years ago now!), but she says they have since switched to Python for introductory courses.

Maddie has been showing interest in learning something of programming and CS, so we looked around and settled on starting with this free course from MIT:

She seems to be enjoying going through it. Comes with video lectures, notes and problem assignments. Not knowing j's background, I don't know whether this course is a potential fit or not.

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