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

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

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

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

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

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

    Quote of the week:

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

    A few good links in the notes.

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

    Oh, good grief! This is going to be hard to summarize, isn't it? Maybe I should just throw up my hands and refer you to the notes? Maybe not.

    Lots of stuff going on: I had a prostate biopsy and got back a clean bill of health. My nose is back on steroids. Colleen is getting more mobile -- she can walk about 20 steps (with walker, of course), and transfer in and out of her power chair.

    We took delivery of Naomi's new commute car (a Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid). Naomi's massage therapy license finally went through, so the household's massage studio is now fully armed licensed and operational.

    Lots of good links: see especially ysabetwordsmith's poem: "The Crystal Inside the World", a nice riff on my song The World Inside the Crystal.

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

    So the govenrnment is shut down because the Republicans don't want to accept the fact that the ACA is the law of the land, and that on the whole people are benefiting from it. Idiots. Meanwhile their popularity is sinking like a proverbial rock, and one can only hope that the voters have long memories. They don't, of course.

    There's good news in the household, though. The YD has broken up with her unsuitable boyfriend, on the advice of her best friend. Yay! It's going to be hard on her for a little while, but it's a very good thing. He's a creep.

    And Colleen finally saw her doctor, who cleared her to put full weight on her formerly-broken ankle. This should clear the way for the PT to work on getting her walking again.

    We spoke to somebody from a financial management firm about my rollover IRAs; we almost certainly need management, but it's likely not to be Fisher Investments.

    So, on the whole, things are looking up.

    Details and a few links in the notes.

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

    Or anyway, the last ten days of last month. I finally got around to doing some much-needed maintenance on the computers and their configuration... and figured out why the UPS kept turning itself off -- it must have been doing its periodic battery test... on a totally dead battery. :P

    I also got the backup scripts back in operation. I now have a complete, almost-ready-to-boot mirror drive as well as my traditional incremental backup. What, me paranoid?

    The Shuttle box I've been using as a desktop system is dead; it runs for a few minutes, then kernel panics. Possibly memory. Not going to worry about it; it's had a good run. I seem to be doing ok with just the netbook for most purposes.

    Colleen's caregiver turned in her resignation on Monday, after leaving early Saturday for a family emergency, and not showing up at all on Monday. That's ok; today was going to have been her last day anyway. We've doubled Emmy's allowance.

    The YD is just as good a caregiver as May was, and more concerned with cooking things the whole household would like to eat. I'll miss the occasional spicy dish, but that's what sriracha's for.

    Colleen is mostly doing better, gradually getting her strength back. The YD is more willing to be firm with her about exercise than May was, so that's a plus, too. Of course she did spend the week with a fever of 102, not eating, and ended up spending most of the weekend in the hospital. (With a UTI, low blood pressure, dehydration, and messed-up blood chemistry.) She's better now, as I said.

    The LG washer/dryer combo arrived last Saturday; they couldn't actually install it because there wasn't a 110V outlet within reach. Got that taken care of, and finished the install myself. Not as tight against the wall as it should be, but it'll do. It's nice to have the extra laundry capacity.

    Somebody, probably May, didn't close the door to the deck firmly enough, and it blew open. Naturally, out little cat burgler found it and went outside. She hadn't gone far, though; after I tracked her down Naomi coaxed her back inside, looking wet and bedraggled. I doubt she's learned anything from her little adventure, though.

    Oh, and the idiot Republicans let the government go into shutdown. Again. The problem with coming up with a string of lies aimed at getting stupid people to vote the way you want, is that eventually they end up voting in stupid people who believe the lies. Oops. Did I mention idiots?

    Links in the notes.

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

    Well, I have Nova (the file server) back online, though not fully configured. I also reconfigured the network, adding another WAP. This lets me drop the main SSID, rainbows-end, down to 802-11G. Trying to run G and N on the same network turns out to be a serious mistake. I resurrected the Netgear WNR3500L from Starport for the purpose, so it's running rainbows-end-N and functioning and providing 4 ethernet ports over in the desk area.

    Meanwhile, Colleen is making progress -- she gets into her power chair on a regular basis, though she's still not too good at unassisted transfers.

    Desti, our little feline escape artist, managed to let herself out onto the roof via the bathroom window, which was open because the mis-drilled holes in the tub had been repaired, and the workman hadn't bothered to close the door. I know, it's expecting a lot, and my little bear-like brain kept thinking up ways to make it my fault, including not remembering to mention the possibility to Naomi, and not having cat-proofed the door to Naomi's bedroom. Desti had, in fact, been put in there, but she was out the door before Naomi could get across the room to stop her.

    Fortunately, "The Cat Came Back, the very next day" -- Curio stood on the kitchen counter meowing out the window, and I heard an answer. Opened the front door and there she was. She was very clingy for the next day or so.

    Think she's learned not to leave the house? Nawwww. Not likely.

    We also had our new instant hot water tap installed. But it didn't work. Spent about an hour tracing tubes and verifying the installation before finally figuring out that it was plugged into the same outlet as the garbage disposal. Both outlets are swtched. :P

    We'll have to have an electrician out to re-wire it; it's not a job I feel like tackling myself. While he's here he can install a 110V outlet upstairs in the closet -- the washer-drier combo doesn't take 220. Naturally, nobody sells an adapter. :P

    A good collection of links in the notes, as usual.

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

    Tried to log in on my file server last week and found out that the hard drive was dead. Finally went to Fry's yesterday, and bought a couple of Western Digital red (NAS) 2TB drives. Designed for continuous duty, which would be a good thing. Disassembled the lock on the docking bay I had the backup drive in (and promptly found the key, lurking in what had been my nightstand).

    Confirmed that the backup works and the old main drive doesn't, and installed the latest Debian. Which only took about an hour. It boots fast as a bat, and ships with a driver for the Realtek ethernet controller on my motherboard. So I can free up the PCI slot for something more useful, like maybe an ESATA/USB-3 card, if I can find one.

    Now begins the tedious process of restoring (done, as of this evening) and reconfiguring. Which will take time because I want to make some long-overdue changes in the config.

    It looks like the last time a backup was made was June 25th. I don't *think* I did much, if anything, since then except maybe add a couple of passwords to the keychain. And of course I've lost a lot of email. If you sent anything to steve at thestarport.org in the last couple of months, I haven't seen it. (It is now forwarded to my gmail account, along with steve at savitzky.net which I've been doing pretty well at keeping up with.)

    It's possible that some of the transient stuff can be rescued from the old drive -- it seems to run ok for a few minutes before suddenly going offline. Not entirely clear that it's worth bothering with.

    Apart from that... Colleen has been getting physical therapy three times/week, and is now able to stand up and transfer into her power chair. Progress. Her caregiver is an excellent cook -- Thai, Chinese, and Japanese, with an emphasis on lean and low sodium. Yum!

    Links in the notes, as usual. One, found by a coworker after I'd mentioned something to that effect, is one of my favorite stats: iPad 2 as fast as Cray 2 supercomputer. I also dropped a donation on YsabetWordsmith's poem, "Part of Who I Am". Some great links there, too.

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

    The big news is that COLLEEN IS HOME!!. The bad news is that she still is nowhere near being able to walk (despite PT twice a week), and can't even transfer reliably from the bed to her power chair. Getting her into bed the evening she came home was hard enough; she made several attempts to get back in the chair the next day, but couldn't.

    It's going to be a long, difficult, expensive month. We have someone coming in during the day to take care of her and cook, but I still have to change her at least twice/day, and usually more. Ouch! I'm too old for the amount of bending-over required, and even with the suggestions that Naomi made about body mechanics, there's still a fair amount of it.

    At least the cats are getting along better, and Curio seems to be especially fond of Colleen. Of course: the bed smells like me, and has someone in it all the time who's happy to pet him.

    Having cats around is a Very Good Thing.

    In other news, the disk in my file server is dead. And I haven't pulled the backup drive to check it -- that was supposed to be particularly easy because it's in a dock. It's not easy because the dock has a key, and I can't find it. So I'll have to pull the whole damned thing, or else install a new main drive.

    If the backup drive is also hosed, I won't have lost too much -- most of the really important stuff is off on the web host. It's ironic, though, that I discovered this by trying to log in in order to convert my main website from CVS to git. I'm not sure the CVS repo is uploaded. I don't think the copy of my password keychain on the laptop is up to date, either. And I'll lose most of my audio -- ripped CDs and concert recordings.

    And our TV is still dead. Its problem seems to be thermal -- it runs for a couple of hours, then turns itself off. I went to Fry's and got another -- smaller (29" as opposed to 32"), but newer and lighter.

    I've also written an article about git: Why and How To Keep Your Master Happy. It's work-related -- all of our new hires and many of my other coworkers seem to be unfamiliar with git and how to keep their changelog nice and tidy. Should have written it six months ago -- I wrote a rather sketchy wiki page, but it didn't go into the motivation for any of it.

    Other links, as usual, in the raw notes:

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

    My tax refund finally showed up in my account on Thursday. So I get to spend the holiday weekend paying the medical bills I've been ignoring for the last year or so. The refund is so large because I forgot to arrange for my 401K plan from Ricoh to be rolled over, so they sent me a check with about $40K taken out for tax withholding. I promptly rolled it over, so I get the withholding back.

    Unfortunately, it's a one-time thing.

    We had a going-away lunch on Friday for our group's summer intern. Nice kid, but unfortunately I was never able to get through to her about the importance of clean commits (amend and rebase are your friends) and running all the unit tests outside of Eclipse. I spent the afternoon cleaning up. Fortunately, it's the kind of mostly-mindless fiddly stuff that I enjoy every once in a while, and it wasn't nearly as bad a mess as it could have been.

    I need to write an article about that, don't I?

    Less than a week until Colleen comes home! The house isn't as ready as it should be, but it's getting there. I spent much of yesterday shopping, at Home Depot and Bed, Bath, & Beyond. And Staples -- we were almost out of printer paper.

    Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

    The big news this week: Colleen has been ok'ed for full weightbearing on her formerly-broken ankle, and my tax refund finally showed up. (I found out about that today, but they post deposits at 11:30pm so technically it counts. Or something.)

    The downside, of course, is that I get to spend the entire weekend writing checks for the many (mostly medical) bills that I've been ignoring for the last several months. And making the house ready for Colleen to come home to.

    Apart from that...

    We have a huge new cat tower in the Great Room. The cats mostly ignore it, of course, in favor of hanging out on the floor. Though Desti does like curling up on top of the old tower, which is now in the master bedroom.

    The guinea pigs' cage fell off its table; I suspect the cats. I managed to recapture the two that fled the scene. Whew! We moved the cage downstairs to the basement, which is a cat-free zone because G. is allergic.

    ("G." is of course ambiguous; as well as being Naomi's daughter, she shares her initial with our housekeeper, and her name with the housekeeper's daughter. Fortunately, the youngest G. (g.?) has a nickname.

    I "fixed" the YD's old laptop, by first dual-booting it with Ubuntu, then booting up the restore partition and doing a nuke-and-pave on Windows. Surprisingly, the operation didn't affect Ubuntu's Grub bootloader, so I won that round.

    It took six hours to install all the updates. Vs. about half an hour for Ubuntu.

    I bought a double-edge safety razor. Fairly expensive, but I'll save it on blades over the course of a few months. It also gives a very nice shave.

    I spent a lot of time last weekend puttering, and managed to get several boxes emptied, and brought several more down to the garage for storage.

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

    I really ought to update more often, oughtn't I?

    Well, the news from this month is that my health insurance stopped paying for Colleen's nursing home after 10 weeks; we moved her to a much less expensive (~$4K/month, vs. 400/day) place nearby. I also bought her a power wheelchair off Craigslist.

    She moved the weekend my Mom came out from N. Carolina (by way of my brother's place in Logan, Utah), and the weekend that Naomi's massage school graduation took place. I rented a wheelchair van for the weekend. It proved to be something of an adventure -- nasty, uncomfortable things. Though not in the full hobbit sense of also making one late for dinner; things worked out pretty well in that respect.

    ... so Colleen actually got to come home last weekend! Not to stay, of course :P -- she still can't put full weight on the broken ankle. But it was a good visit. And she made it to N's graduation. And it was good.

    ... and this last week I finally got after the IRS about my tax refund that they've been sitting on, and set the wheels in motion to get $10K out of my IRA in the mean time. Next week I may finally get almost sort of caught up on bill-paying. Sort of. For a little while.

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

    I hadn't realized just how comforting petting a cat can be. Our cats are wonderful. Especially Curio, who spends most of every night in my room.

    Lots of puttering around the house over the last couple of weeks -- that's largely because other things are something of a trainwreck. In particular, Colleen's situation. Our insurance stops paying for her nursing home stay at the end of next week. We'd been told weeks ago, but at the time 10 weeks seemed like plenty of time. At her appointment last week, though, she was told that she could only put 10% of her weight on it. Gleep!

    Most of the obvious options are out -- it's unlikely she could get the level of care she apparently needs at a group home or assisted living place. Which would be close to $6K for a month's stay, in any case.

    We may be able to have her at home. If she can handle a commode, and transfers in and out of a wheelchair, it'll work. We will almost certainly need to have someone come in in the daytime to care for her, but between me, Emmy, and Naomi we can probably handle night-time. Hopefully.

    I haven't been doing all that well. I don't really register stress, but it's there. Between that and depression (even with drugs), and a general low energy level, I'm probably pretty close to the edge. Can't be helped. The feeling of helplessness doesn't help, either. Help?

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

    Last Saturday I bought my tablesaw -- specifically, the Ryobi 10 in. Table Saw with Wheeled Stand-RTS31 at The Home Depot. It works. Getting it into the garage was something of an operation, because I don't have a ramp on that door. But I managed, with a couple of boards and a fair amount of wrangling.

    It's by far the best saw I've used, though that isn't saying much; I'm particularly fond of the sliding crosscut table. It doesn't have the "no tool blade change" the spec sheet says it has, but that's the only downside so far. It even came with a carbide blade, so I was able to get started immediately.

    We had some more excitement with the cats. Both of them got out last night, via the vent window in the upstairs bathroom. Naome heard them (thanks to their nice new collars with bells and nametags) and managed to get them back in from the roof. But... sheesh! We love them, but they're a handful and a half. Each.

    We're gradually learning to be more careful. But we decided last night that it's ok to leave them out as long as we don't have contractors in the house. It's good. The house needs cats.

    Colleen's orthopedics appointment got rescheduled by the doctor; his next opening was two weeks out. We're working on getting her something sooner, because Good Grief! She has a new roommate as of yesterday, who mostly speaks Estonian.

    I've been fighting depression. At least I can sometimes notice it; that's something.

    Oh, and Amazon renewed my contract until the end of August. By which time I hope to have something permanent lined up. Anyone in Seattle need a Java or Perl hacker?

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

    An eventful couple of weeks. Also stressful.

    We nearly lost our Curio cat -- twice! The first time, on the 3rd, he managed to get himself through the unpatched hole (it used to be a laundry chute) in the master bedroom closet, and under the floor of the bathroom! After N and I tried unsuccessfully to lure him out, Naomi's daughter G managed to coax him out. He apparently comes when called. Calling him is something we all have to practice, it seems -- good skill to have.

    G is officially the Cat Whisperer.

    Then, only this last Friday, we made the mistake of leaving the cats loose in the house while the painters were in. No Curio. We started getting worried when he didn't come up to my room at night. I looked all through the house, and outside. Twice. I left some food for him next to the front door, but no luck.

    Finally, after spending a lonely night and a heartbroken morning, and after reading up on lost-cat behavior, I took the food bowl down to the garage in hopes of luring him in through the cat door. Not expecting anything, I called to him... and there he was coming from behind a pile of boxes.

    Did I mention that he's a smart cat, who comes when you call him? But that was stress I didn't need.

    It's surprising to me how fast and hard I've fallen for that cat. But then, I always was a little slow about these things. Curio came up to me about 30 seconds after I came into the room at the shelter, and announced that he was My Cat.

    I seem to recall something similar happening with me and Colleen 30-odd years ago.

    I also got shelf ceiling track and standards up in the master bedroom closet, and puttered about organizing stuff various places around the house. It's looking quite habitable now, mainly thanks to our housekeeper, Giselle.

    It took the whole two weeks, but my leg (which you might remember I tore a muscle in), is finally back in usable shape. I walked around the West Seattle street fair with Naomi yesterday, and held up pretty well. More a matter of being out of condition than anything else; the leg didn't give me any trouble.

    Oh, and Doug Engelbart died. He was a friend of Colleen's mother; she was his favorite editor at SRI, where they both worked.

    Links, as usual, down in the notes.

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

    Last weekend was Pride, and Naomi took me to the Capitol Hill block party on Saturday -- fun! I took Colleen's rolling walker, which has a seat. That meant that while N was talking to someone, I could sit down -- that made it all possible.

    My leg is healing -- right now all the pain is coming from the muscles that are compensating for the damaged one. I'll probably continue using the cane for the rest of the week.

    I spent most of Sunday on move-related stuff, clearing out the last of what was in the laundry room and fridge. Fortunately I had Chaos and N's ex to do the sorting and carrying. So, not as much fun as Pride would have been, but it needed doing.

    At work, I moved back into the building I started out in. Meanwhile, I've gotten pretty good at using the cane to push the wheelchair access buttons.

    Links in the notes, as usual.

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

    The last of the moving is done! The garage full of stuff moved Monday. I came back home about noon, and promptly tore a muscle in my left leg running to catch a bus. OWWW! It is now considerably better, but I've been walking with a cane all week. It doesn't hurt (unless I move wrong), but the muscles that are compensating are another matter entirely. And walking like that is *hard*.

    We have cats! Naomi and I went out to a shelter in the U district called Cat City, and came back with Curio and Desdi. Curio walked up to me in the shelter, headbutted my hand, and announced that he was My Cat. I am so owned. Or is that "pwned". The cats are mostly staying in N's room, though Curio has spent a couple with me. He doesn't like my CPAP, though, which makes sleeping with him kind of impossible.

    ... and my server's power brick appears to be dead. That makes, what? Three? Off two different UPSs. Not Pleased. I never had a bit of trouble in San Jose; there must be something weird about Seattle power.

    ETA: no, it wasn't the power brick. It had, apparently, simply shut down. Possibly from getting a power fail signal, but possibly not. Just plain weird.

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

    It's been a l o o o n g month. But we're moved in! Naomi's move was today; there's still a garage full of boxes, but the main part of it's done. And we have a *tub* upstairs. A *big* tub. We won't be needing a hot tub.

    We also have bookshelves. The Elfa set that I installed in the "office corner" of the Great Room, the Elfa in the MBR and the YD's bedroom, and now (at last) Naomi's bookcases. They look rather empty at the moment, but that will change. We also have boxes of books. Two households worth.

    There's even a low bookcase/credenza in front of my desk, so I now have someplace to put the printers. OK, my "desk" consists of a piece of plywood on sawhorses at the moment, but it's the principle of the thing.

    In other news, Colleen has been off her feet for three weeks now. It looks like she's in for another four. :( At least Park West is a hell of a lot better than White Blossom, where she stayed in San Jose.

    I'm finding it a little hard to believe that Rainbow's End is home now.

    I should post more often, shouldn't I?

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

    We're moved. I moved the last two van-loads of stuff out of the apartment Friday (twice as much as I'd anticipated), and turned in the keys. Exhausted. I ended up working only about a half week last week.

    Saturday, Colleen moved (or was moved) from the hospital to a nursing home: Park West, on California Avenue in W. Seattle. It's about 5 minutes' drive from the house.

    The cost of 6 weeks in a nursing home, even with insurance, is terrifying. I am all out of spoons, and right on the edge of overload. If I sound snappish, please forgive me.

    In other news, Rainbow's End is full of boxes. A pot of gold would come in handy, but I don't think we packed it.

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

    It's been a long, rough month this last week. It started last Monday with Colleen's endoscopic procedure to clean out her bile duct. That was apparently successful, but left her very bloated (they pump air in to give them space to work). She couldn't burp it up, because she was hurting too much to sit up or move around. And did I mention the mobility issues?

    As a result, she couldn't keep much of anything down. Friday she fell in the bathroom, having missed the scooter by inches. The EMTs arrived only 15 minutes after the movers.

    Did I mention that we moved Friday? Yeah. Stressed much?

    The EMTs helped her up, but her pulse was racing, and they were unable to get a good blood pressure reading. They called an ambulance and took her to Northwest, where they immediately started pumping a very dehydrated Colleen full of fluid. Oh, and did I mention the diarrhea?

    In the afternoon, I got a call at work from Naomi - the movers couldn't get either of the recliners up the stairs. I called Acorn's tech support to find out how to get the seats off the stairlift, and then had to explain how to take the back off the smaller of the two recliners to get it in through the bedroom door. :P

    Sometime that afternoon, Colleen was transferred from Northwest to the UW main hospital. Not clear why.

    Saturday, Colleen's pain levels finally subsided to the point where she was able to notice the extra pain in her right ankle. She'd broken it in the fall.

    The "holiday" weekend was spent alternately moving (we'd cleverly had the movers take only the furniture, figuring that we'd take the boxes and electronics in the van) and visiting Colleen in the hospital. There was more stuff left in the apartment that I'd realized. Growf. I was only able to manage two loads/day.

    Yesterday we found out that Colleen's ankle is broken in such a way that she can't have a walking cast. So she's going to need 24-hour care until it heals enough to walk on. Great.

    <whinge>

    Devon went home this morning. The dishwasher appears to be broken. There are still a couple of van-loads up at the apartment; fortunately we don't have to be out until Friday. One of our sets of apartment keys is missing. My depression is back, enough that I'm walking slowly enough to notice. Did I mention that my left ankle hurts? My tax refund hasn't arrived yet, and I need it.

    I miss Colleen. The compensation, such as it is, is that the house still isn't in good enough shape for her to come home anyway.

    </whinge>

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

    The last week was dominated by the prep for my colonoscopy on Monday. This involved a week's worth of a low-fiber diet, which was highly annoying. The procedure itself went as well as could be expected, and I was able to have Naomi pick me up about the time they let me go. I understand perfectly why they don't allow people who have been drugged into unconsciousness to drive; after I got home I put the dirty laundry into the drier and came within a second or so of adding the soap.

    Mom says that after 85 they don't bother, so assuming I don't need one more often than once every decade or so I only have two more to look "forward" to. The results will come back in a week or so.

    Friday the stairlift arrived, and on Saturday I took Colleen down to check it out. She loved the master suite, especially the shower. I expected her to like it, but it was nice to have that confirmed.

    The yard work was pretty much done by then except for the last of the planting -- it looks fantastic. Work inside the house is progressing; there's a lot of dust. It's going to be a bit dicey with credit until my tax refund comes in.

    Lots of good links, many of them from the footnotes in ysabetwordsmith's latest serial fanfic, "Coming Around", and her (related) "three weeks for dreamwidth" posts.

    More, as usual, in the notes.

    Side note -- I'm considering putting my "done" posts somewhere else, in favor of somewhat irregular postings with more substance. Anyone not bored by the detailed notes? Inquiring minds need to know.

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

    Somehow it doesn't seem as though much happened. A quick look at the house shows that this is not entirely true -- huge progress has been made on the improvements, tens of thousands of dollars have been flung around with abandon (including a 50% down payment on the landscaping, and starting a household checking and savings account), the front yard, massage studio, and lower front bedroom have been torn apart, several new holes have appeared, and so on.

    None of this was my doing, of course, except for the financing. I have merely been plugging along at my job, filing the inevitable extension on my taxes, and generally muddling along considerably more slowly than I would like.

    This week's quote/self-observation comes from Friday: "Middle-sized bears are extremely timid creatures, but are occasionally so oblivious that it doesn't matter."

    Meanwhile, Seattle has been declared #2 among the 12 best places to live in the U.S.. San Francisco is #1. I think the Twin Cities cheated, with Minneapolis nabbing 12th place and St. Paul coming in 10th. (The differential doesn't surprise me -- St. Paul is a university town.)

    Other good links amongst the notes, as usual.

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

    So... this update includes the entire month so far, and my first full week at Amazon. Don't expect me to say much about that; they're sticky about that kind of thing, with good reason. I can say that it's a very steep learning curve.

    I've been carpooling with Naomi a couple of times a week; her school is an easy walk from work. It also forces me to get out of the apartment earlier, which is a Good Thing even if it does mean that I have to leave some of my blog-reading for evening.

    Nothing like feeling overwhelmed at work, plus having unpaid bills come home to roost, to make me feel stupid. I know, that's the depression talking. But it'stalking really loudly! Which makes it kind of hard to ignore.

    Hmm. OK, so here's the problem. Thinking about an expense like a parking ticket, some bills, etc. reminds me of how stupid I was to have incurred that expense in the first place. So I don't want to think about it. Which means that it goes unpaid for a little longer, which makes me feel even more stupid... See how that works? Feedback. :P

    I've also been chronically sleep-deprived for most of the last couple of weeks. The fact that I *hate* going to bed early isn't helping.

    Links in the raw notes, as usual.

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

    Long month, the last week and a half. Let's see. A week ago last Thursday I got an offer of a 3-month contract at Amazon, which I took immediately. Since it's through KForce again, I had very little paperwork to do and everything continues much as it has been. Colleen got her diagnosis of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, which is associated with immunosuppressant drugs, hypertension, low K and Mg. All of which she had.

    Friday I cancelled my Norwescon concert -- I really wasn't ready, and was already under too much stress.

    Saturday it looked as though Colleen was coming home, but by the time I got there her blood pressure had gone up to really scary levels, and they decided to keep her until it stabilized.

    I spent most of the weekend shuttling back and forth between North Starport, Rainbow's End, and the hospital in between. I slept at RE, with Naomi and I keeping one another company.

    Monday I picked up Chaos and Emmy, and went out to dinner for Emmy's 21st birthday. Blue C Sushi, which was expensive but able to satisfy the YD's craving for plum sake. I have two drinking-age children now.

    I didn't notice any hill.

    Tuesday Colleen came home. KForce called and told me I was supposed to start Wednesday.

    As it turned out, my boss at Amazon had been expecting me to start on Monday the 1st (i.e., today), so things weren't quite ready for me. More or less ok, though; they were at least able to get me a badge and a laptop. (A Thinkpad T400, which isn't half bad.)

    Last weekend was Norwescon. The "surprise open mic" that took the place of my concert was Saturday night, and I gave a perfect demonstration of exactly why I cancelled. GAAK. I should know better than to try to sing anything off book. Especially when I'm unprepared and stressed.

    I was plagued by charger problems all weekend, but at least my computer charger worked most of Saturday when I really needed it to. The "geek toys" panel was a lot of fun. I read off the specs for the Cray 1 from the web browser on my phone, which had it beat by orders of magnitude. (How many orders of magnitude depending on which spec you looked at. 8MB of RAM? How... quaint.)

    Sunday we had dinner at Romio's in Kirkland, on the way to take Chaos home.

    Aha! moment -- I figured out that apologizing (which drives Colleen crazy) is my way of trying to make myself feel better after screwing up (especially in a way that hurts somebody else). It mostly doesn't work very well, and if Colleen tells me to stop, or I'm afraid she will, I can spiral downhill very quickly. (Started to write "downhell", which is actually a pretty good description of it. What was I doing in that handbasket, anyway?)

    Didn't do a lick of open filking, but I enjoyed the concerts, and spent a fair amount of quiet time in the Green Room. Which was good for (introvert) me, even though I didn't realize at the time that it was what I needed.

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

    I had a long week the last two days. Tuesday evening, Colleen scared the heck out of me, driving off the path in her scooter, and reporting blurry vision and headache. She seemed really confused, as well. I gave her some aspirin, sudafed (she's been fighting a cold all week), and nose spray. It passed in about an hour, and she seemed perfectly normal by the time we went to bed, except for the headache.

    I woke up at 3:30 am and was scared enough to dial 911.

    TMI, possibly triggery. Enter at your own risk. )

    (TL;DR:) The most likely diagnosis at this point is something called Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (PRES) - a rare side effect of some immunosuppressant drugs, including the one she'd just increased the dosage of for her Crohn's disease, augmented by hypertension and low magnesium and potassium levels.

    She's recovering well, and is currently in room 341 of Northwest Hospital in Seattle. She can have visitors. Norwescon is iffy.

    But I was able to take a phone interview in the waiting room, and the interviewer said that he was going to recommend hiring me. So I have a 3-month contract at Amazon, Starting sometime next week.

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

    So... last week was both relaxing and stressful. It was my first full week after my contract ended, and included our second weekend in the new house. Saturday, in fact, we had our first event, a tea party catered by Friday Afternoon Tea.

    I had several interviews, and one in-person interview. That was pretty good; my job search was really starting to heat up. I spent quite a lot of money on and around the house, some of it rather inadvisedly. We did save rather a lot by switching from a curved stairlift from Ameriglide (which we found out doesn't actually get permits or use licensed installers in Washington) to a pair of straight ones from Acorn. Saved $4k.

    The house has a secret passage! Well, ok, it's a laundry chute. But it was a secret from me, anyway.

    I'm going to cut this short (if you really want details, you'll find them in the notes) to get to the last two days, which were kind of harrowing.

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

    WE GOT THE HOUSE! It was really down to the wire; I think the underwriter got the last little detail confirmed with my bank on Friday morning, then closed at 11am. The realtor came by to drop off the keys at about 2:30, and I left Disney at about 3:30, having gotten my last bit of work signed off and my timecards put in.

    Big sigh of relief.

    Backing up to the previous weekend, I spent a lot of time at Consonance catching up with friends, doing a very little singing, and showing off pictures of the house while continuing to worry about whether we'd actually get it.

    At Saturday's open filk I sang "Middle-Aged Bear" (it was a good follower to something else with a bear in it), and swan-songed on QV. Quite a few people didn't seem to have heard it before. Some of them looked kind of stunned, and Colleen sent a box of tissue around.

    We discovered Saturday that Colleen's scooter charger had a broken wire in the connector -- I went to Fry's Sunday morning to get a battery-powered soldering iron and some assorted tools, including a nice little Gerber multitool with pliers.

    Spent a lot of time Monday doing laundry. I'm pretty sure I don't have the stamina -- or the budget -- for flying to more than one con/year with Colleen. It's a much bigger production than going solo.

    Tuesday through Thursday passed in something of a blur. Friday Naomi picked me up after work, with her kids, and we spent some time in the house. Our house.

    Saturday involved a lot of driving, between getting three loads of stuff down to the house, taking Emmy down to Seatac for a Norwescon staff meeting, picking up her and Chaos afterwards, driving Colleen down... Susan made dinner for us, all very improvised, and Colleen and I, our kids, and Naomi spent our first night at Rainbow's End.

    Colleen declared afterward that she wasn't spending another night there until it's all accessible -- that won't be for another month at least, when the stairlift gets installed.

    More in the notes, as usual.

    raw notes )
    mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

    Did I mention that I hate roller coasters? This last week has been one.

    Tuesday started out great -- Naomi picked me up and drove us down to Cortiva, her massage school, which was having a free clinic day. I had two lovely massages, concentrating on my back, shoulders, arms, hands, and calves. N's new GF was there, too. We had a couple of nice talks.

    Then at 4pm I was in a suspiciously small meeting with Ryan, the manager in charge of the Disney ID group, who had hired me back in October. Sure enough, there had been a surprise budget cut. My last day will be March 8th.

    Same day as the house closing. Oops.

    From there it was all downhill; I gave the bad news to our real estate broker, who at first said to go through with it anyway, and then had second thoughts. Thursday I spent packing, trying to work from home, fielded a phone call from a headhunter and a phone interview with Limelight Video Platform. (I now have three headhunters and one company recruiter working on the problem, and it looks as though there won't be much more than a few weeks of gap between jobs.)

    I also spent Thursday getting more and more fragile and frazzled; by the time we got to the airport I was pretty much a wreck, and by the time we finally got in to the hotel and got to bed I was seriously depressed.

    Sometime Friday morning, while I was out at Fry's buying a new power brick for the netbook (I'd brought one; I just didn't realize that it was still set up for Colleen's Dell), I got a call from the mortgage broker, Kathryn, who said that the deal was still on. She'd explained to Dave that, although Disney had terminated my contract early, I was still employed by the contract agency, KForce. SHE UNDERSTANDS!

    Now, if only the underwriter understands. That's still a risk, and I'm not going to be comfortable until I have the keys in my hot little hands. It could make my last day at Disney rather interesting.

    And we could still end up with no house, and a pile of new furniture in our living rooms. If that happens, Naomi wants to build. I think that could work, but only if we can figure out ways to cut the price drastically; a first cut put the construction costs at around $700K, which is about twice what I'd feel comfortable with.

    This old spectacled bear is, I'm afraid, also a skeptical bear.

    But, after spending much of Friday afternoon chasing down pay stubs and bank statements and emailing them to Kathryn, I felt much more relaxed. Margaritas, prime rib, and hugs from friends completed the process, and it looks like I'll actually be able to enjoy the con.

    Did I mention that I'm at Consonance this weekend? I apparently hadn't mentioned it before, leading to several people wondering whether we'd show up this year. There were times when I had my doubts.

    raw notes )

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