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

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

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

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

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links in the notes, of course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

Rough week.

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

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

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

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, there are always the links.

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

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

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

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

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

Good links.

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

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

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

Links below, many of them depressing.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: (flamethrower)

We got a little rain this last week -- nice. I also Got Stuff Done, for certain values of stuff -- put up some 1x2 battens to hold up the bamboo screen around the deck, and paid some long-overdue bills. And made dinner on Monday. But as usual not nearly enough.

We have an(other) offer on the Starport; we'll see whether this one sticks.

On the down side, Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall died. The former set off the predictable post-celebrity-suicide followup; both good and bad. Mostly good, as in advice for both the survivors (no, it's not selfish) and the depressed (see particularly Boggle-the-owl's post, I don't like the phrase "a cry for help"...). Here, have a stick.

The Shooting of Michael Brown by a cop last Saturday also had the predictable fallout, and triggered an acute case of deja vu. I've seen it before, in the '60s (civil rights protests) and '70s (Vietnam War protests). Back then we called them "Police riots". I am not feeling very optimistic right now.

Links in the notes.

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

A lot of pain this week -- left foot, mostly, and some lower-back pain. Which I blame on my recent weight spike, which I blame on my recent increased dosage of antidepressant. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

We got some time with Colleen's sister of choice Bev, but not as much as we wanted. *sigh*

Yesterday Colleen and I went to the Amazon company picnic. Mainly aimed at much younger people, with kids. OTOH it was a free lunch. OTGH I gained some weight and probably stood up too much. Nice drive afterwards.

Aside from that, not much is going on. The Starport is still for sale. There are links.

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

Not really a good week. Our prospective buyer backed out, so we've wasted a month and we're going to have to put a fair amount of work into the Starport to make it more attractive. Growf!

Meanwhile, my Mom was still in the hospital; they had to put in a pacemaker.

And recent studies suggest that people who know that they're getting a placebo actually improve, because they were told placebos "have been shown in clinical studies to produce significant improvement in [...] symptoms through mind-body self-healing processes." This is great, except that it means that skeptical realists like me may be at a further disadvantage health-wise.

On the plus side, I got some good cuddles and a terrific chair massage, took some fun wikipedia dives, made some progress at work, and had a couple of good dinners.

On the whole, though, I don't feel as though I'm doing all that well.

There are, as usual, some great links in the notes. Especially noteworthy are Vantablack (which looks like it will call a bunch of goths on their "I'm only wearing black until they make something darker"), the Green Dragon pub in New Zealand, and ysabetwordsmith's poem: "Dr. Laser and the Nocturnal Emissions"

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

The main news this week is that my Mom had open-heart surgery Tuesday morning. They replaced her mitral valve, and repaired another (which wasn't in the original plan, so it went longer than expected). She was in really bad shape when my brother drove her to the hospital in the morning, and there was some debate as to whether they should do the surgery. She's 93.

We needn't have worried. They had her up and walking the next day; she called me on Wednesday sounding like her old self, and she's bouncing back much faster than her doctors expected. I'm not surprised; Mom's amazing, and she keeps on proving it.

The moon landing was 45 years ago last Sunday. Sad -- we were all sure there would be lunar colonies by now. Not to mention flying cars, robots, artifical intelligence, and free single-payer health care for everyone in the US.

Lots of good links in the notes.

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

It's been a rough week, for some reason. Possibly knowing that the Starport is about to be gone forever. And that the money we make from the sale isn't going to come close to what we need. Don't get me wrong -- I love it here, I love my family, and I love our house. It's just...

A couple of fun wikipedia dives -- details in the notes, though I don't actually log the URLs.

Colleen and I went to Seattle Optix Tuesday and got measured for new glasses. It's been three years for her, and two for me, so it's definitely time.

Thursday after dinner we watched the dvd of Company, after listening to it in the car with Naomi (who is trying to educate me on Broadway since the '60s). The staging is weird, but it works.

The week wrapped up with a nice drive with Colleen, and salad from our garden with dinner.

There are links in the notes, as usual.

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

Good grief! I think I started this post a couple of hours ago. Bears are easily distracted.

Anyway, not too bad a week except for the fact that I'm extremely low on cash. Let's see.

Sunday was my older daughter Chaos's 29th birthday. Gleep. I'm not that old! Also, Glenn ran ethernet cable from the far side of the Great Room (where the cable comes in) to the Rainbow Room and the top of the stairs. We now have reliable WiFi in all parts of the house.

Tuesday I hauled out the old box fan and installed it in one of the windows in the Rainbow Room. (A few days later I screwed the screen down so the cats couldn't push it out and escape. They like the window sill.)

Wednesday I took Colleen to see her gastroenterologist, who gave her a clean bill of health. For the first time in half a dozen years! I also (finally) got around to re-enabling my backup and mirror crontab on nova, the file server. It hasn't seemed too important since I haven't been adding much, and everything I have worked on is under git control and backed up in multiple places, including offsite.

And yesterday I went with Colleen to the local annual street fair. The only thing we bought besides food was a couple of (purple, of course) sarongs. I wore one in the evening because the temperature had gotten up into the high eighties. Comfortable, and very practical around the house.

Lots of links. I've been spending too much time on G+, FB, and Wikipedia. You can tell.

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

Yesterday being a holiday, today felt like Sunday, so I'm doing my weekly update a little early. Pretty good week, on the whole.

Naomi, who is using me as a practice dummy for her massage therapy homework, checked out my lower leg pain and pronouced it "classic plantar fasciitis", largely on the basis of it being worst in the morning. ??! Apparently the fascia in question connect to the Achilles tendon, and from there on up around the calf muscles along the back of the leg to the knee. What she did, however, worked wonderfully all week.

I also summoned up the energy to finally do my taxes (I'd filed for an extension on the 15th). They still have a lot of estimation in them, so I should probably file an amended version. And, of course, set up installment payments. Ugh.

Monday I found a bunch of unpaid bills. Bletch.

Wednesday I took a treadmill echocardiogram test. I walked there from Cortiva; about a mile and a half. (The bus would have taken about the same time, and I need to exercise more.) For the test I had to get my heart rate up to 131bpm; I got it up to 181 and called a halt not because I couldn't go on but because I was getting tired enough to worry about doing something clumsy and injuring myself. I think my heart is OK.

Wednesday evening I started having some stabbing pain in my calf muscle (soleus, according to N). On investigation it turned out to be a little, deep knot (aka trigger point); I pushed hard on it with a finger, and it loosened up. I felt very pleased with myself.

Yesterday was, of course, Independence Day. We'll actually be doing our barbecue today; yesterday was just a nice, relaxing day at home. Colleen lay on the bed and watched fireworks. There were somewhere between three and five shows visible; the sound was more or less continuous. We could only see the bursts over the trees and hills, but it worked. Next year we'll have to set out chairs on the deck.

The increased dose of SSRI seems to be helping.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

*sigh* Another week of not enough money, not enough rain, not enough sleep, not enough time, not enough done, not enough interest in buying the Starport... I mostly just want to crawl into a hole and pull it in after me.

Here. Have some links. Real unicorns have curves.

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

It's been a rough week. Really rough.

Sunday was my 16th Father's Day without my father. Monday I went in to the ER with chest pain. The fact that it was entirely due to muscle aches and anxiety only made me feel stupid, especially since it's the second or third time I've done it and I should know by now.

Busy week at work. Can't say much about that, except that interacting with people from other groups, who I don't know, is stressful. As is interfacing with poorly-documented services. And work is a service-oriented architecture.

The Starport hasn't sold yet. I'm basically broke.

On the good side, N. may have finally identified the source of my lower back and hip problems: the right QL (quadratus lumborum) muscle. That's the one that put me flat on my back for a week 38 years ago, and apparently it's been dicey ever since. We'll see -- essentially no pain walking around with Colleen yesterday, and very little doing dishes this morning.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

Hmm. Lots of links this week. Not a whole lot else, except that Curio seems to have decided -- finally! -- that my lap is a good place to hang out. He sat in it for about two hours yesterday.

Yesterday Colleen and I went up to Sky Nursery and bought berry bushes and tomato plants, which I put in today. And today is Father's Day, which I will make a separate post about later.

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

The big news for this week is that the Starport is up for sale. You can see it at 343LeighAve.com/ (which immediately redirects to 343leighave.isnowforsale.com, but it's kind of cute anyway), here on Zillow, and likewise here, here, and here. Make me a high enough offer and I'll throw in theStarport.com.

Um... maybe I should update that site?

The miserable headache I had last night turns out to have been due to dehydration. I need to drink more. Water, that is. I probably don't need to drink more coffee or gin. Beer?

Comcast has been giving us trouble all week; first a widespread outage in our area on Tuesday, then video flakiness yesterday. Thinking seriously of dumping them and going to CenturyLink and Dish. Tempting.

Work has been fairly interesting; I'm starting to work on a new (internal) service. Which means learning new things, which is fun even while being frustrating.

I've been doing a lot of puttering, including some yardwork. I hate yardwork. Grumpy bear. For some reason I like putting dishes into the dishwasher, but not putting them away after they're clean. Why, yes, I am avoiding paperwork. I disappoint myself frequently.

The usual hodge-podge of links and random notes below.

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

Hmm. Not too bad of a week, though I did spend much of it depressed. I got myself an early Father's Day present in the form of a refurb 10" Galaxy Tab 3. I also upgraded my netbook to Ubuntu 14.04. Both had glitches at first; the tablet is back to normal after I removed a couple of apps, one of which was apparently slowing it down to the point where the touchscreen became unresponsive.

Quick tip: if the touchscreen works fine for a little while after a reboot, then becomes unresponsive, blame an app that's hogging the CPU. Some of the apps out there are absolute crap.

Turns out dentists these days are making crowns by milling them out of a solid block of ceramic with a CNC mill. Cool!

Yesterday I had a pretty good session with my doctor -- or rather my doctor's substitute while my doctor is out on maternity leave. Labwork, advice, and a higher dose of antidepressant. Hopefully that will help.

Notable quotes of mine from elsenet: (wisdom from the middle-aged bear?) "Balm throwers as the opposite of bomb throwers." "#NotAllChristians sounds a lot like #NotAllMen." The latter sparked an interesting discussion on FB, with thoughtful people pointing out that whether it's meant as derailing or educational depends on the intended audience. Me, I'm not a Christian, so...

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

I actually did some yardwork this week. I hate yardwork. Especially since a lot of it involves bending over, which is bad for my back. But I do it when I have to. Or when it involves gadgetry, like hose quick-connects.

I'd ordered some quick-connects from Amazon to supplement the ones I got at Home Despot on Sunday; quite predictably they disappeared when our housekeeper tidied up the Rainbow Room. I searched for quite a while. They finally turned up in the first place I'd thought to look: in their own box, hiding under the invoice. *facepalm*

Speaking of quick-connects, I recommend brass. The plastic ones I bought last year didn't make it through the winter. Admittedly, this was because I let water freeze in the hoses -- not something I had to deal with in San Jose. But still.

Naomi and I finally got ourselves into the hot tub, for a good soak and good conversation.

A couple of bad moments, mostly thinking about finances -- I use the "trainwreck" tag for a reason. I'm usually able to get past them quickly, and that probably isn't entirely a good thing. It would be better if they were an incentive to get things done rather than causing paralysis. Grumph.

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

Hmm. I see it's been two weeks since I last posted a "done" post. I've been mostly stressed and depressed, though today has been pretty good for some reason.

I've been doing quite a lot of puttering and other housework. It probably helps my mood -- at least in the short term: it's clearly a distraction from the really nasty problems. Most of which involve money, and are going to get worse until we can sell the Starport. Offer me 800K and it's yours.

Two weeks is too much to summarize. Looking back over it, I've actually done a fair amount. Just... not so much in comparison to what still needs doing. And not enough to make me feel good about myself.

{Stop it, Bear. You're not helping.}

Don't know which of my inner voices that was, but it's right.

Last night's Vixy and Tony concert was good, and Colleen has been walking more.

Links and a little commentary in the notes.

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

Not much going on here at Rainbow's End. This is probably a good thing, on the whole. I worked from home May Day afternoon to avoid the insanity of parades and demonstrations -- I would have had to cross Fourth Avenue, the usual parade route, to get to the bus stop.

I had a nice shopping expedition with Colleen yesterday, to Home Depot and Safeway. We used the van -- which she can finally get into! -- and the stores' scooters.

I also spent some time yesterday writing up a summary of the writing projects I'm wanting to get back to. Some are pretty current; others haven't been touched in decades. So I'll probably post that later today. I'm thinking most of it will be behind a cut -- it's pretty long. The alternative would be serializing it in three or four parts. Thoughts?

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

Sunday we unloaded the U-Haul, and returned it. Then Colleen went with Liz and Ogg to Pike Place Market while I stayed home and puttered. She got into the van by herself -- first time she's used it since she broke her ankle 11 months ago.

Gad! 11 months!

It's nice to have our tools back. Both gardening tools, and some of the less-used woodworking tools. And one of our workbenches.

Not much else besides links. I ordered some books. Still fighting depression. The usual.

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

I'm going to go at this backwards, because last night's house concert was amazing. Tracy Grammer is amazing - vocalist, guitarist, storyteller, and more recently songwriter. In addition to being an all-around sweet person.

I missed the chance to socialize before the concert because I was busy trying to get the tech to work -- it was the first time in a long time that I'd used that mixer, and I was also short on cables. Managed to cobble things together, but it took longer than it should have. Grumble. Well, next time...

(Speaking of which, the next concert we have scheduled is Wax Chaotic, on August 23rd. Interested in a gig? Talk to me or Naomi.)

The week started out pretty well, too -- the morning coffeeshop service at the Doubletree was good (in contrast to the lunch/dinner service, which suffered from being seriously understaffed), and it was about the easiest load-out ever from a local con. Packing light has its advantages.

In between, of course, I was working, so there isn't much to be said about that.

I also woke up very early a couple of times. If it wasn't for the inevitable oversleeping the next couple of days I'd want to do it every day.

Links in the notes, as usual.

raw notes, with links )
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)

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)

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)

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)

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
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    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)

    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: 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)

    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: 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)

    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)

    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)

    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)

    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)

    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)

    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)

    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)

    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)

    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)

    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 )

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