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

Mixed productive and un-, but I got a few things accomplished and I'm still employed, and that's something. A fairly eventful week. I've put off posting so as to get the end of the month in. Last week I delayed posting to get in the last day of Sasquan. I am not a stickler for unvarying periodicity.

Last Tuesday (that is, a week ago) our new washer/dryer was delivered. They didn't install it because I hadn't taken the stairlift carriages off the rails. (So I'm working from home today so that I can do that.) (...and have done that, as of posting time. I'm on my lunch break.)

My server, nova, has been throwing errors on sda; I went and ordered a new drive. Sunday I also did some long-delayed system administration work, and got the intranet web server up. The main advantage of this is that now I can preview web pages that I'm working on without having to deploy them. Started working on the DNS configuration, but haven't gotten back to it.

Saturday there was a serious wind storm. Trees down, power out in many places (not at Rainbow's End, thankfully). Including many places on the way to the Tricky Pixie concert in Kenmore. We'd planned on getting dinner at Third Place Commons, but their power was off. We headed on up the road, and finally landed at the Bothell QFC, where we bought cold cuts. Had ourselves a picnic in the van while waiting for the doors to open.

The concert itself was spectacular.

My back, knees, etc. seem to be back in working order, which is to say that I have occasional twinges, but not enough to keep me from walking or lifting things. Managed Colleen's scooter just fine on Saturday.

Links in the notes. Best one is this wonderful spoof of a drug commercial [video].

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

I didn't post Sunday because I was still at Worldcon. And yesterday I was just too wiped out. But here I am, days late (and thousands of dollars short, but that's another complaint).

Sasquan made a pretty good filk con. That's literally all the programming I got to. The concerts, mostly; not even much open filking. I had a half-hour concert slot; it went well. Riverheart, For Amy, The Stuff That Dreams are Made Of, Where the Heart Is, Windward, Toolmakers, Keep the Dream Alive. Most of my most intensely emotional repertoire; my voice broke a little on everything but Riverheart and Toolmakers, but not so much that I couldn't keep singing.

If you have a recording of it, I need a copy. Thanks. I'll mail you a thumb drive, or you can share it on Google or Dropbox. No processing necessary -- I can handle raw .WAV or (better) .FLAC files.

Until this year I rarely did much more than choke up a little. The last time I remember really having trouble making it through a song without crying was 1986. (See last song in the set.) I seem to be more open to my emotions -- my grief, anyway -- and that's a good thing. It's worlds better than being numb.

The smoke -- much of central Washington is on fire -- was particularly bad Friday night. Saturday was almost clear, but it came back Sunday.

I spent a lot of my time, including most of my time sitting in concerts, writing. Mostly, the Rainbow Bridge page, and Curio's page under it; the latter is still in progress, so I won't link to it yet. It's hard.

Links and more details in the notes, including a couple of Wikipedia dives and the preliminary setlists.

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

So the big things this week were getting the drains fixed (for somewhere north of $10K), and getting word from Safeco that they'll cover a good part of the water mitigation. Though not all of it, and none of the reconstruction afterward. But that's still something in five figures that we won't have to deal with.

We will still need a loan.

Last Sunday I finally started practicing for my half-hour set at Sasquan (Friday afternoon). First time I've had to stop singing because I was crying -- For Amy followed by The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of just hit all my buttons, but I even choked up some on Where the Heart Is and Windward. Losing a home is also a trigger right now - that's still a danger, if anything happens that makes me unable to work.

Oh, yeah; about work. It seems that the part of the late project that I thought was simplest, isn't (for non-technical reasons -- basically office politics). I was, apparently, relying on old information when I made the estimate. :P

I was able to get through my entire set last night without even choking up. There are still some rough spots in the chords, but that's something I can work on.

My back is pretty much back to normal (meaning it aches a little when I over-use it, but I can mostly take it for granted). Now, of course, my right knee is giving me trouble. Cane GOOD.

My mood is now merely down, rather than severely depressed and anxious. I'll take it.

Some interesting reading -- links in the notes.

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

Rough week, though not as bad as the week before. It scares me how close I am to the edge -- in several ways.

On the good side, the potential trainwreck at work has been averted (or possibly just postponed; too early to tell for sure). N has given me a firm talking-to (because she noticed that I respond best to a firm talking-to when I think I deserve it), assuring me that we're family even if I screw up completely, and that we'll find a way to make things work. On good days, I can believe it. Mom was also very encouraging when she called me on Sunday. My back is just about back to normal (which of course is dangerous, since I might be tempted to do too much and re-injure it).

On the bad side, the downstairs is still a disaster. We're going to have to take out a loan for the repairs, which are going to be extensive (and expensive) due to the long-standing water damage. Jeff, the guy from (water mitigation company)Servpro, was very helpful and informative. He arrived just as the plumber was leaving -- the plumber was not helpful.

On the gripping hand, the loan will mean that we won't have to worry too much about the construction budget. We decided to try to make the kitchen into a spare room. Can't be officially a bedroom because it doesn't have an alternative fire exit, but we don't use it as a kitchen.

I completely failed to notice that Tuesday was also Ame's birthday; I only remembered on Thursday when the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing reminded me. She would have beem 25 years old. (She assured me that it was ok, and besides, she has Curio now. Yes, some of my ghosts talk to me. It's comforting even though I know, intellectually, that it's all in my head. The grief is also in my head, so it works out.)

Links in the notes.

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

Bad week. Everything is falling apart at once.

The house has water damage in several places -- insurance will hopefully cover the immediate damage from the washer with the broken door seal, but the ancient drain pipes have also out, and the pre-existing damage *isn't* covered. And the upstairs washer is so full of wadded-up lint that it's not worth fixing; not clear whether a stuffy or something came apart in there, or it's just the same lint we've been gettig. Flawed design. The appliance guy didn't help, by not showing up TWICE, and not telling us about the problem on either of his two previous visits.

We brought Curio's ashes home yesterday. He's now sitting on the top shelf of the (appropriately enough) curio cabinet -- he can finally stay there as long as he wants. They also gave us a little clay tablet with his pawprints, and his name stamped into it. That's in the cabinet with his collar and the little packet of his fur, under the watchful eyes of the ceramic flying pig.

I'm secondary oncall at work this week (my first time; I somehow managed to avoid it so far), and feel like I've been falling farther behind every day despite working flat-out. I feel like I'm failing.

Not to mention the fact that I stupidly locked up my work laptop by typing my home machine's password at it, too many times, before I'd finished my coffee this morning. Because I stupidly set my screen background to the same picture of Curio as my home computer. I'm going to have to go in and get my account unlocked. (Added: the desktop worked -- apparently only the laptop was locked, because it wasn't on the VPN at the time -- so I was able to do the deployment I had scheduled, which went encouragingly smoothly; I'll get the lappy dealt with when I go in tomorrow morning.)

The fact that my psych meds were ineffective until we changed them a month ago didn't help, either. I was walking around in a fog of depression and apathy.

I'm burned out. I long to retire -- it would also help a lot to have somebody at home -- but don't see how I can afford to at this point. It will be next to impossible to get a new job at my age, no matter how much I need one, but I'm working on it, because $A is killing me.

The only good news is that my back seems to be pretty much back to normal, though I still have to be careful. And that, after I spoke with my TPM, I'm going to get some help with my late project. Things might not be as bleak as I feel. Might. Dinner and a talk with my Mom helped, too.

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

Rough week. I made it through only with help from Emmy and her friends, who were able to do the lifting I needed. Drove to work Thursday and Friday. Got a fairly large amount of work done, including yesterday and today. I'm continuing to lose weight; not entirely clear whether that's due to anxiety or the fact that I've been skipping breakfast. Initially that was because of the back, but now I seem to have gotten used to it.

I'm like a cat. When something is going wrong my first instinct is to crawl off in a corner and hide. Doesn't work.

I suspect that the depression has been killing my ability to focus; now that I'm finally coming out of it I can see the damage it's done, and work to mitigate it. Hopefully.

It's very clear that what makes me vulnerable to QL muscle problems is my love of shoulder bags (and to a lesser extent any unbalanced load). I have switched to backpacks. I have two rolling backpacks, but neither is especially comfortable as a backpack; I'm using the Lenovo backpack I got from $A. On the other hand, my back continues to improve; the last couple of days it's been down to an easily-ignorable ache most of the time. Walking helps, standing hurts. Taking the bus Monday was marginal due to the rough ride; I should be ok now that the pain is down to a manageable level. I've gone from being unable to move without the cane, to finding it more of a hindrance most of the time.

Posted Curio: Memories, pictures, and resources last Sunday, partly in response to a request for links. The raw links are in the notes, slightly updated from what I posted.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: A brown tabby cat looking dubiously at a wireless mouse (curio)

Long month this last week. Last Sunday, when I st/rolled to the West Seattle street fair with Colleen and G, and swapped songs in the Great Room with N, G, and G's friend Ed, seems like it happened to somebody else, long ago.

It's now four days since I helped my dear friend Curio cross the Rainbow Bridge, and learned that I could cry again. Three days since I pulled my left QL muscle again, walked an agonizing third of a mile home from the bus stop, and re-learned how to use a cane. Less than two days since our friend Jim Pearce died.

My sister Naomi was there for me with Curio, and again after my injury. Colleen and I have cried on one another's shoulders more than once. Desti, our household incarnation of Bast, has sat with me and comforted me. Friends have written condolences. My back feels better this morning, but there are too many empty places in my heart, and they ache.

Please, Universe: I understand that life and health are fragile things. You don't have to keep reminding me.

Links and more in the notes, as usual.

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

L o n g  week. Nevertheless, it feels as though a whole lot of things didn't get done. A lot of things did, though.

Monday after work we went up to Mukilteo for Kat's 30th birthday dinner at the local Mongolian Grill. Um... does that mean my daughter is 30 years old? Eeeep! Also the drain pump on the upstairs washer died. Again.

Tuesday I had an appointment with the therapist at UW Shoreline Clinic. Possibly helpful. Now reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Also took Colleen to a dentist appointment in the afternoon.

I didn't get around to calling the repair place about the washer until Wednesday.

Thursday G came home from the hospital. I worked from home. We'd been planning a celebratory dinner, but everybody was just too wiped out, so we ordered pizza.

Friday the repair guy came out and made the obvious diagnosis, but didn't have a new pump on the truck. :P I went out to Trader Joe's and bought a pile of steaks for the delayed celebratory dinner.

Yesterday I was mostly a vegetable. Except for two loads of laundry (and four drier loads) -- thank goodness for the downstairs laundry room -- making dinner, a load of dishes, a not-entirely-successful PT session with G, ...

OK, I guess I've been doing things. I haven't been all that productive at work, though, which is a potential problem. I think I'm suffering from the fact that $WORK, like most workplaces these days, is explicitly set up only for extroverts. Not only is it open seating, without even cubicles, but you can't get anything done at all without interacting with other teams, and asking for help frequently. No wonder I seem to be burned out. I just hope I can make it to the end of the year, when my next batch of stock vests.

Oh, did I mention the back pain? Back pain. Left QL muscle.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

Not a great week, but not terrible. The new antidepressant seems to be helping, and I've been moderately productive. Well, at work, anyway. Wasted all morning Friday on chat with CenturyLink trying to figure out why gigabit internet is available for new accounts (like for our basement "apartment") but not for the line we already have. I'm most likely to simply open the new account and drop internet from the house phone. Having a hardwired phone is good for emergencies anyway.

Thursday I finally got over 10,000 steps; first time since I got the new phone, which includes an always-on pedometer app.

Went out to buy fans yesterday. Home Depot sold out two weeks ago; so did Target. Bed Bath and Beyond had them, but most were expensive. Ended up spending 40 on a stand fan for the Rainbow Room, and 30 for a table fan for Emmy. Really wanted box fans, but there were none to be had.

Colleen and I watched the fireworks on livestream from one of the local stations.

Lots of anxiety, still some depression, and a fair amount of back pain. The latter may be related to the chair I've been sitting in in the Rainbow Room -- it has inadequate back support. Will probably have to do something about that, because I need to spend more time with Colleen there. As for the depression, my overall mood seems to be up a little, but it may be more variable. Still get overwhelmed, and I seem to have gotten worse at functioning through it. We'll see whether the ramped-up dose improves things.

Lots of good links in the notes:

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

Mixed. Very mixed. Mostly bad.

The good stuff first, I think: we managed to recapture the cats when they escaped on Tuesday, and I had a couple of fairly productive days at work. Maybe that should be "at", since several of them involved working from home. And, of course, the recent Supreme Court decisions. My feeds are still full of rainbows.

OTOH, it will take about $5K to get gas turned on for the house, unless we can figure out a way to install a furnace. Which will cost even more, though it will be more efficient our current electric heating, and save money in the long run. And the really bad news: G was in an accident. Not nearly as bad as it could have been -- just a badly broken left arm (humerus), and a hairline fracture of the left fibula near the ankle. The fact that it's hairline means that he will be able to walk on it as soon as he can tolerate the pain. The fact that the broken arm is on the same side means that he can't use crutches.

OTGH, I'm on a new antidepressant (bupropion, which I've heard good things about), and should know in a week or two whether it's helping. Meanwhile, I'm stressed, still very anxious about work, and altogether not all together.

A LOT to be thankful for, but still not a very good week for the family.

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

Rough week. My depression seems to have gotten worse (I have a doctor's appointment scheduled for Thursday and will discuss medication changes), stress from work has been high, my weight is back up after decreasing for a couple of weeks, and, and, and...

It doesn't help that last Sunday was Colleen's mother's birthday, and that today is Father's Day.

On the other hand, Colleen and I had a nice st/roll last week, to the local Farmer's Market about a mile away, which we plan on repeating today with the kids. Because Father's Day.

Pope Francis's much-anticipated encyclical, Laudato si' (24 May 2015), was an interesting read. Beautiful, though I found the theological parts baffling and a little disturbing. Clearly, I'm not part of the target audience; I hope it has a good effect on the people who are, though I don't have much hope. The Catholic Church has gone way the hell to the right since the '60s, when it was a prominent presence on the left.

Links and details in the notes.

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

A much better week than it could have been. (That may not be saying all that much, but...) I've been dreading my first one-on-one with my new boss (formerly grandboss, but boss moved to a different group about a month ago and hasn't been replaced yet), because I haven't been nearly as productive as I should be. My best guess is that it's due to depression, which has been getting worse, but knowing that doesn't really help.

This article in The Atlantic cites research to the effect that deadlines, especially externally-set deadlines, help with procrastination. Duh. Also not particularly helpful.

LookingGlass Folk, on the other hand, got in two more practice sessions; things are going pretty well musically.

Elseweb, meanwhile, Bloomberg Business Week devoted an entire issue to a 38Kword article by Paul Ford titled What is Code?. The web version is interactive (with coding exercises, simulations, and other fun stuff), and a behind-the-scenes article elsewhere, What Is 'What Is Code?', points to the whole thing on GitHub. Ford's article is aimed at managers with no technical background; it's entertaining, highly readable, and highly recommended. I suspect that a certain bright middle-schooler would enjoy it.

More links in the notes.

raw notes, with links )

...a n d ... a trivial edit to get it crossposted after updating my passwords.

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

Another rather unproductive week; this has (finally?) started to worry me enough to put two and two together. Yup -- depression is a disability. Need to get my meds adjusted, I think.

Meanwhile, I lost my phone; it apparently fell out of my bag as I was getting off the bus on Wednesday. Bought a new one on Friday, since it was eligible for an upgrade. So I got the Samsung S5 Mini, which is the next version after the S3 Mini I lost. It's noticably faster, and has better battery life and some interesting features, but it's highly annoying to have to waste hours and hours changing passwords and configuring the new phone. Bletch. Oh, and I couldn't get into my AT&T online account, nor reset the password. After two long (the second was just short of an hour) phone calls, what finally worked was basically deleting the online account and re-registering. Good grief!

They're the phone company; they don't have to have good customer service. Neither, apparently, does Olejo, the company I ordered Emmy's new futon frame from.

On the gripping hand, we had a couple of good band sessions.

Links and more in the notes.

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

Lookingglass Folk has started getting back into regular band work sessions (around noon on Sundays), and had a good discussion last week about playlists. And I posted a s4s (Songs for Saturday) post yesterday. So that's good. And I got some nice, and much-needed, cat time from Curio and Desti.

On the other hand, a lot of depression, anxiety, and overload this week. I'm... ok?... at the moment, but have very low expectations. The fact that depression can be counted as a disability is interesting, but it doesn't actually help -- I can't use it as an excuse for not getting stuff done. Even though work has often seemed like more than I can handle, even though I don't seem to be operating at anything close to the level I need to be at. Which, of course, feeds back into the depression and anxiety.

Help! I'm being attacked by vicious circles!

Links, and more, in the notes.

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

Rough week, mostly. Especially from Sunday through Tuesday; Naomi speculated that I may have been fighting off a bug. It's also possible that it was due to hypoglycemia or something else. Colleen's health is better, so that's something. The recent changes are, finally, working.

Curio's weight is back up -- almost to where the vet said it should be -- and I've been getting some good cat therapy from him and Desti. Cricket, though, has been a little escape artist. We're having to make sure she's locked up if more than one person tries to go out.

My workgroup is moving, so I worked from home Thursday and Friday -- that helps. I'm not enjoying work much, though; that's a problem.

Form CC-305 OMB Control Number 1250-0005 [pdf] "Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability" came by at work, and it lists major depression under "Disabilities include, but are not limited to". So (after sleeping on it) I checked the damned box. The label says "YES, I HAVE A DISABILITY (or previously had a disability)", so it doesn't matter whether I can handle it now. Not clear that I can, really. The label on the box is amusingly reminiscent of "Are you now or have you ever been..." -- which I guess is one of the reasons I hesitated.

Links in the notes.

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

The week's notable events were Mother's Day (including an expedition to the Burke Museum with the Younger Daughter), and Rika's house concert on Thursday. The latter was very thinly attended, but we had fun anyway. We have seating for 25-30 people. I found a couple of folding camp chairs on sale at Walgreen's for $10; used one last night for a couple of songs.

I turned up several long-missing items in the course of re-arranging furniture and looking for other missing items (which of course were nowhere to be found -- there may be a conservation law in effect here). Emmy put the Great Room into concert configuration and back; she's kind of unobtrusively amazing.

In the software area, I now have a workable 2-monitor configuration using x2x(1) between nova (the "server", running Debian Jessie) and trantor (the "desktop", running Ubuntu Trusty Taur). It's a very usable setup, if slightly odd-looking.

I'm back with my own group at work, though still working on some of the stuff I've been on loan to. I'm not really happy there, but it's a job.

ETA: and I somehow managed to post this a day early. :P

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

Hmm. Long week. The week included a lot of moving stuff around setting things back up after the wedding; that's probably what's behind my current back problems. (See QOTD from yesterday.)

My loaner project at work is winding down, though not as quickly as I'd like. Not feeling very good about work right now.

On the gripping hand, the Great Room looks fantastic, with much more room in its new configuration (blue couch in the SE corner). And Colleen's new baker's rack nightstand has been installed, and looks great. And I upgraded Nova to Debian Jesse, which rocks. (Not entirely clear what I'll do with the extra monitor space; possibly mostly devote it to the to.do file, which I usually edit on Nova anyway when I'm at home. x2x rocks, too.

I have to tell you about x2x(1). (For those of you still stuck on legacy operating systems, the equivalent is synergy or, if one of your machines runs linux, x2vnc.) It's the exact opposite of a remote desktop application (which you get for free in Linux) -- it lets you share a mouse and keyboard between multiple computers. You just sit their displays side by side, tell x2x which edges are next to one another, and your mouse slides smoothly between them, taking the keyboard with it. Cut and paste work perfectly. Indispensable. I also set it up at work, between my desktop and laptop.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

Long week. Long day yesterday. Contented bear, but my back hurts and I'm not as conscious as I might be.

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way: things continued to go full speed sideways at work, and the car was in fact totalled in the accident. I cleaned it out Tuesday and spent some time grieving -- I really liked that car, and it had served us well for a decade.

Apart from that, it's been awesome. I finished the maypole on Sunday - literally, with sandpaper and Watco Danish oil. Had fun showing it off to the builders and friends. Wedding guests started arriving Wednesday.

The Great Room was cleared out (mostly onto the balcony) and decorated with billows of rainbow-colored fabric hanging from the beams. It made a really amazing space. It still makes an amazing space; we'll be leaving the fabric up for the forseeable future even after the furniture is brought back in.

The ceremony itself, officiated by Heather Dale, was one of the most moving weddings I have ever attended. Not just the musical part ("As I Am", which was a wonderful choice and worked perfectly with the choreography), but the vows they made not only to one other but to the children.

The music afterwards was also pretty amazing.

The technical aspects -- the maypole and my admittedly minimal but functional PA setup -- came off perfectly.

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

Productive week. Very. Also a very bad week. Let me explain.

On the productive side, we -- mostly I, actually -- did some final clearing-out and organizing in the garage, and Kat and Glenn got their piles of stuff out. The maypole's cross-section went from a square with rounded corners to an actual circle, and it looks remarkably Polish now. Colleen got her catheter and bag, so we have a greatly-reduced laundry and garbage load. A lot of the framing in the addition has been done, and the garage portion is a couple of feet bigger than I expected it to be. It was also a pretty productive week at work.

On the bad side, I got into a fender-bender -- my own stupid fault -- so we don't have the Honda right now. And I could have used it yesterday. And Colleen's new prosthetic bladder means that she can't take baths. Which means no walk-in tub. And a screw vibrated loose on the router, which could have been drasticaly bad but wasn't. And my back was hurting for much of the week.

On the in side (where every silver lining has a cloud around it), not getting a walk-in tub means saving tens of thousands on the upstairs remodeling. And it's practically impossible to be depressed while wielding a jointer plane. Found that out last night.

Links in the notes as usual.

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

Mixed? L O N G week. I got my taxes filed (at almost the last minute, with glitches), and got the router jig finished (with some problems, which I hopefully fixed yesterday). But I've also been a lot less productive than I need to be at work; that's potentially a huge problem.

Yesterday we got the garage cleaned out (to the extent necessary) with the help of a couple of day laborers that N. hired. They did a fantastic job, in about half the time we'd expected. There are still huge piles of boxes and things that will have to be moved eventually, but it's all in the area that's going to become a garage, and there's space around it. (There's also a huge pile of lumber stacked on the workbench that's going to be moved into the garage after they're done. And the playroom and downstairs hallway are full of boxes, waiting for the shelves that haven't been put up yet. And and and...)

Links in the notes as usual.

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

As often happens, I managed to end the week feeling frustrated and unproductive despite getting, actually, quite a lot done. Past failings have the most to do with it, as in I didn't restart working on taxes until Saturday evening, at which point I got around to noticing that the printed returns from the last two tax years have gone missing. And I couldn't find the final sale documents from the Starport, either, so made do with the estimates. Doesn't matter because everything but the depreciation I took last year was excluded. And of course I hadn't yet gone through my charity and business receipts. AAARGH!

Clearly, my record-keeping sucks. And I haven't been practicing. And things are somewhat behind at work. I need to work on these things.

On the plus side, though, I did make progress on my work project, and even got one of my more questionable design decisions validated (so that's work I *don't* have to redo). And I made a phone call I've been putting off for months, and got the thing done, and it wasn't as bad or as embarrassing as I expected it to be. And I've gotten a lot done on house projects (because anything is more than fun than taxes, including shifting boxes around and taking out the garbage).

And my laptop is fixed. Also in the computer area, I'm getting pretty good at configuring new Ubuntu installs. :/ And I found a ThinkPad USB Keyboard w Integrated Touchpad on eBay, at a price way too good to pass up. (I've been seeing them going for over $400!) Unlike more recent versions, this one has a built-in 2-port USB hub, and a small touchpad that recognizes 2-finger scrolling. (But not, ironically, on a Mac. Though since it doesn't have a logo key, it's useless on a Mac anyway.) I'm not expecting to get the leather carrying case, since this is a used item.

And my family is, as usual, awesome. Including the four-footed members. My health is holding out pretty well. Physical health, anyway. (Notice how I resisted the temptation to add a string of qualifications that amount to me not taking as good care of myself as I could.) (Notice how I used "could" in that sentence instead of "should".) That's progress, of a sort. I'll take it.

On the whole, looking at the above, I think this has been a pretty decent week, even with the taxes unfinished. Links in the notes, as usual.

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

The perceptive reader will have noticed that as of April 1st I have stopped putting a space between the numerical date and the day of the week. This saves approximately 10ms/day, and may be the most productive thing I've done all week.

Or else not. I took Cygnus in for repairs, set up a desktop computer to replace it, got the remodeling contract signed, went to appointments with the dentist and the urologist, picked up Colleen's repaired sewing machine, built the jig for turning the maypole, fixed the Honda's bumper, paid some bills, and set up a laptop in the Rainbow Room for watching livestreams.

It is a measure of how much stuff I'm not getting done that this can still be considered lazy and unproductive. The main problem is taxes, but there are others.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: (tsunami)

Not a good week. Nightmares and (almost entirely silent) meltdowns. Mostly panic over taxes and other money problems, though the fact that Curio isn't eating well doesn't help, nor does ongoing work stress, nor taxes.

On the other hand, I did (finally) go out and get the wood for the Maypole; it was a great deal more expensive than I expected, but... ok. Nobody has redwood, and nobody has cedar longer than 12'. N. suggested using a Christmas tree stand; that will probably work and has some distinct advantages. Like, not putting a hole in the lawn.

I wasted several hours yesterday and today booting up (or trying to) several different old computers, because my laptop is in poor shape. I'll take it in for service on Tuesday. Also wasted a lot of time and spoons fighting with the mac mini. MacOS is almost unusable as of Yosemite; they even turn off scrollbars by default! IDIOTS! Back to using the laptop today, because I decided to do a thorough backup before taking it in. So far it seems to be behaving itself.

Also wasted a great deal of time looking for tax info, which I was too careless and/or stupid to keep track of. That's looking to be another nightmare, what with selling the Starport.

At least the Honda has its mirror and is otherwise working pretty well; service came in well north of two grand, which is about what I expected. They didn't fix the bumper -- I'll probably have to go to a body shop for that. Unless I can fix it myself, which isn't impossible. I think all it's going to need is a few whacks with a deadblow hammer.

My mood hasn't been improved much by getting unfriended over a FB post. Wouldn't mind much except that I liked the person in question, but her posts have been getting more stridently conservative lately, and I'd been getting more and more uncomfortable reading them. My post was a re-share of the link she'd shared and agreed with, with my comment:

Re: Superintendent Stands Up In A Big Way For Principal Facing Atheist Backlash This has attracted a lot of highly predictable agreement from conservative Christians. Ask yourselves this -- would it still be ok if the principal had been quoting from the Koran? How about the Satanic Bible? Do you imagine, even for a moment, that he would still have his job in that case? Because what you would think about that is *exactly* what an atheist thinks about his bible quotes.

Well?

I'll admit that the second paragraph is a bit gratuitously confrontational, but I don't think it's out of line considering the article and the massively approving reactions it got from the original poster and her friends. *sigh*

Looks like I won't be going to Indiana for a while, either.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

Very mixed week. On the positive side, I had a terrific birthday brunch at Salty's with Colleen and Emmy, my weight is down (and about time!), I've been sleeping less, we got the rest of the garage cleared, and the garden is being professionally worked on (Naomi's birthday present to me). On the negative side, I got very little work done, I went into a full-on depressive meltdown Wednesday night, my health insurance company announced a major data breach, I've been sleeping less, and the garage work hurt more than it did two weeks ago, when I actually lifted more.

The observant reader will note that sleeping less is in both categories: I like the extra time in the morning, but it probably isn't good for me and I end up being pretty useless earlier in the evening.

I finished reading Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky last night. Very informative about the bad effects of stress, and how it works. Very little about how to manage it -- pretty much the only concrete suggestion is exercise, and that only helps if you want to do it (forced exercise is stressful). Which I don't. Except for walking, and even that often hurts too much to be enjoyable. Possibly because of stress. This is called "being attacked by a vicious circle". Vicious little feedback loops with big sharp teeth.

I may need to think should be thinking seriously about finding a less stressful job. The problem with that is that I probably can't afford to. Meanwhile, I get angry at the idiot headhunters who keep offering me jobs in Silicon Valley, and try to keep my head above water while swimming madly upstream in the Amazon. Which is less metaphorical than I'd like.

Lots of good links in the notes.

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

Strange week. The first half, at least, was terrific -- I was in New Orleans for a symposium at Pittcon | Conference & Expo. The symposium itself, sponsored by my mother in honor of my father, was Monday morning. Since everyone else arrived Sunday evening and I got in late Saturday, I had all day Sunday to myself to explore the French Quarter. Which I did.

I ended up walking six or so miles, which was surprisingly easy. Of course, it was all completely flat, but still. Spent about $50 buying CDs from street bands. I hadn't brought a guitar, and didn't need it -- didn't do any singing at all. Lots of good conversation, though. People I haven't seen in a decade and a half.

The symposium, Chemical Heritage Foundation - New Perspectives on the History of Infrared Instrumentation, was Monday morning. The high point was Foil Miller's talk: Anecdotes Involving Some Infrared Pioneers. At 99, he's "old enough to have known many of the pioneers of infrared spectroscopy personally", as it says in the abstract. It was followed by a luncheon at the Bourbon House. New Orleans is mostly about the food and the music.

Friday was my birthday. I turned 44 (hexadecimal), a number which contains two "1" bits, so I suggested that my cake have two candles on it. Saturday was, as everybody reading this probably knows, "The Pi Day of the Century"; I managed to get posts out at 9:26 on DW/LJ, Twitter, and Facebook.

The work week was short, frustrating, and unproductive even for a short week. The team I'm on loan to wants me to do my work in a new framework, which was only explained to me last week, and isn't even fully implemented yet, let alone documented. :P

I've been wondering why I always have so much pain when I get home from work, but not from walking all day in New Orleans. I'm beginning to think it's stress. Bletch.

And of course Terry Pratchett died. He was two years younger than me.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

Really stressed and depressed most of the week; I suspect it's because I was thinking of my father, who I miss terribly. Mom is funding a symposium in his honor at Pittcon, which is why I'm in New Orleans. I've spent most of today walking around the French Quarter and buying CDs from street musicians. Which I'll probably talk more about later this week, or next week.

Yesterday was the travel day. My 24" Travelpro suitcase turns out to be the perfect size for a carry-on; it's probably the biggest that will fit in the overhead bin on a 747 without forcing it. Need a name for that one. I took Max (the sling bag) and a collapsable duffel that's perfect as a second, under-seat bag -- it holds Max plus a stack of magazines plus a snack, with room left over. Wouldn't have worked if I'd decided to take Plink, though. That'll probably require a custom gig bag.

Lots of puttering in the garage and around the house, and I put new batteries in Colleen's power chair. The old ones were practically dead; the new ones were expensive but should last a good while.

... and it looks like CC&S qualifies me for an associate membership in SFWA; at around 7000 words, it falls a little short of the qualification for full memership. Think I should go for it?

Links in the notes, as usual. Bear should go splat.

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

Pretty good week, actually, though things are going more slowly at work than I'd like. Meanwhile, we had the organizers (from a company called Eliminate Chaos) in on Monday; they (with me and Naomi) got through half the garage. More, really, because there's more empty space in the half we didn't get to.

About 40 boxes of books, a lot of luggage, and several boxes of fabric were brought into the house for later. I'm going to have some shelf-building to do. Fortunately we also have a lot of shelving components. And a sizeable pile of stuff for Chaos(wolf) to haul off.

Perhaps inspired by this, Emmy arranged with our housekeeper to get her room cleaned, which makes room for the futon that's in the garage. Whee!

Meanwhile, I have been trying various stress-reduction techniques. The hot bath I took on Wednesday did a great job of un-knotting my back. Have to do that more often.

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

Actually a pretty good week, modulo dysthymia, stress, and back pain. Productive. We found a great garden sculpture company at the home show, and I did a lot of work in the garage yesterday. Including bringing up the hanging lamp that used to be in our kids' room (later the sewing room) at the Starport, and hanging it in the Rainbow Room to replace the floor lamp I broke on Tuesday.

We had music Thursday night, which was also a big win. Details in the notes. I need to sing more.

The L-tryptophan appears to be working. In other mood-related news, I took an online test to see whether I'm experiencing stress. High is 19+; I scored a 30. Ya think? I'm under orders from my massage therapist to research ways of reducing/managing stress. Helpguide.org is one of the best sites I've found so far.

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

I have been a Productive Bear this week, mostly in the garage, though I also wrote and posted a poem. (The first version was typed into the comment box on LJ, which may not be the best way to work, but whatever gets words onto silicon is ok.)

I also dealt with repair people -- we now have a functioning washer, scooter, and lift chairs.

Wednesday I read the recently-republished "Vanishing Act" in Lapham’s Quarterly, and so encountered The House Without Windows by Barbara Newhall Follett. I finished it yesterday. Simply amazing. A brilliant fantasy, written by a nine-year-old girl, that... I don't know. Just go read it.

I also had to deal with a fair amount of pain, especially in the evening. No fun. And Tuesday the stream of bad news and idiocy on Facebook got to me, to the point where I wrote "I am too cynical and depressed to continue reading facebook tonight.". Bah! There are better things:

Yesterday was, of course, Valentine's Day; I spent most of the day in the Rainbow Room with Colleen listening to music, and made a most excellent dinner consisting of lobster tails, beef Wellington, crab-stuffed mushrooms, and asparagus. All for roughly the price of a rather cheap dinner out. I'm not complaining.

Links in the notes, of course.

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

The two big items this week are my new song, and the apparent success of L-tryptophan in treating my depression. The song is definitely a keeper. I think it's probably too early to tell for sure about the tryptophan.

Music was big even without the song -- the week was bracketed by the last day of Conflikt at the far end, and last night's Tricky Pixie concert at the near end. Both were amazing.

The Wolfling recorded our debut performance of Travelers: you'll find her videos on YouTube. Watch Where The Heart Is and Windward. It came off surprisingly well for a brand-new song.

More links, as usual, in the notes.

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

So, yeah. This week's big news is that I wrote a song (see previous post, and maybe the next one as well). It feels good -- I should do it more often. We also did some more garage-clearing. There's now about a three-foot strip cleared -- only about 17 more to go :P.

Apart from the post-songwriting high I've been pretty depressed, and my back has been giving me trouble. Makes for bad evenings. At least I've been able to get out of going on call while I'm on loan to another team, so that took a little pressure off. And my L-tryptophan arrived, which may help my mood. (One of the reasons for stopping my SSRI was to see whether an alternative would work better. Too early to tell.)

Oh, yes. Conflikt. As is usual for cons I was frazzled and unhappy right up to the last minute before leaving, compounded this time by having to rent a scooter. Spinlife will be getting a bill for that, though I doubt they'll pay it. Not much singing so far -- we've been too tired to stay up for the circles. We will get to the Smoked Salmon this evening, though, since it starts at a sane time. And we have a song to sing.

Anyway. Links in the notes, as usual.

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

Unlike many previous weeks, this one appears to have gone from bad to good (see mood). This is almost entirely because of yesterday -- I got the pot rack up (finally), found a replacement post for the broken one on the cat tree, had a pleasant conversation with a stranger, and noticed that I was cheerful on the way back from getting dinner.

That's the big one -- I wasn't depressed, and I noticed that I wasn't depressed. At the time. And even had a fairly accurate name for it. I fully expect to go back to dysthymia and alexithymia tomorrow, but for now, I'll take it.

We had two technician visits -- one for the phone (which had become unreliable due to the rat's nest of wires in the garage), and one for Colleen's medical equipment. It looks like Spinlife will make good on the bungled orders and repairs, but it's still taking altogether too long.

I've been fairly productive, even apart from the pot rack, with garage-clearing.

Notable quote from a week ago: "Villain's cat. Because if I can't feel good about myself, I can at least feel *evil* about myself." Which probably sums things up pretty well for the week.

Links in the notes.

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

It's been a week of not liking myself much. In part this is due to working on a self-assessment and peer feedback at work; this is not conducive to a good mood.

Friday was pretty good -- I had my first 1-on-1 since my boss got back from a month's vacation, and he was at least not discouraging. And when I stopped by my desk (I'm on loan to another group for a few months; this was my first week there) to pick up the power brick for my new laptop, I discovered that there was a party going on. Gin, hard cider, and an interesting new person went a long way toward improving my mood.

(Saturday was, of course, back to depressingly normal, and today's been discouraging. Especially since it included waking up at 3am. Does that count for Saturday? I'm going to say "Yes": the day doesn't start until I've had coffee.)

As I mentioned, I'm on loan to another group for a while. Same building I was in before our last move; closer to the bus stop. I tried working remotely, but a Windows laptop sucks for that. The HP EliteBook they gave me in trade is less capable on an objective basis, but it's running Ubuntu, which is a major win. Plus, it's about half the weight of my old Dell, and fits in my sling bag. So... also win.

Realized Wednesday night when I found myself doing dishes that I do dishes in order to feel useful. Being useful is one of the few ways I can reliably make myself feel less bad about myself, so I'll take it. And I can usually control it, which I suppose is why I take it so hard when I try to be useful, but fail. Like this afternoon.

Oh, and the new tech from Spinlife will be out tomorrow to work on Colleen's lift chairs, scooter, and power chair. It will probably take another visit, because the tech who came out over a month ago was an idiot. Spinlife will eat the difference in cost for extra visits and mis-ordered parts, hopefully without my having to hire a lawyer to shove it down their throats.

Links in the notes.

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

Not a particularly good week. One of my self-observations yesterday kind of sums it up: "Too much stuff, too many things that need doing, not enough cope, no motivation." Not to mention Congress, Charlie Hebdo, depression comix, two dead computers (which, fortunately, I didn't have much invested in to begin with), starting my self-assessment at work, and starting to clear out our garage.

Self-assessment. Yeah; nothing like working with brilliant, productive, experienced people to make me feel stupid, lazy, and incompetent. Especially when many of them are younger than one of my kids.

Some really fascinating stuff in the links.

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

Well, our anniversary weekend passed without a party -- somehow I'd had the impression that we were having one, but everyone else had the impression that the one the Saturday after Christmas counted for both. So... ok. I went out and got salads, cheese, sausage, scallops, and bacon. Bacon-wrapped scallops, and cheese boards for two. Yum.

Thursday we ordered Chinese from Yen Wor Village -- not as good as Yu Shan, but better than any of the other local places that deliver.

Lots and lots of decluttering, both in my to-do lists and, to a lesser extent, in the house.

I finally found a canned cat food that Curio likes! I've been worried about him. It's made by Natural Balance, and the same duck and green pea combination that's in the dry food he likes (but that we're trying to get him off of, because apparently dry food isn't all that good for cats).

And we finally have a static IP address again -- it's only $5/month from CenturyLink. The tech support person who set it up was completely clueless; I had to go to her supervisor to find someone who knew what reverse DNS was (and how to find it on their damned website, which is slow, poorly laid out, and doesn't trim spaces in input fields).

Finished reading Lauren Ipsum, which will get a separate post later. You'll also find an entry in the notes tagged "ursine", which will get expanded into the start of a planned post series if I can finally get off my tail and write it.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

Well, the last few days of last year, anyway. I did a sort of review post yesterday, and should probably do something more cheerful and forward-looking today. But for now...

I also posted my borscht recipe, and sent it to Mom (who's been looking for one for decades).

Dealt with brokenness in LinkedIn that, as I should have realized, was easily solved by tossing its cookies. But, you know, it's not hard to build a website -- even one that uses redirect links -- that doesn't break when its cookies go stale. Amazon and Google do it quite well, thank you.

Managed to get checks sent to a couple of charities. Two got left on my desk, but it turned out that those were among the ones I sent money to over two months ago. Apparently my memory is even worse than I remember it being. Or something like that.

Links in the notes.

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

It's been a nice, relaxing week - I took Friday off as well as Thursday. Won't be able to do that again for a long while, sadly.

Glenn made roast beef and proper Yorkshire pudding for dinner on Christmas; I made borscht yesterday. We had a few guests over; not many. But the borscht came out well. Next time we'll have to make a much smaller batch, though. Recipe to follow, though you can deduce much of it from the timeline in Saturday's notes.

Despite feeling relaxed, I also feel as though I should have been doing more. I am, as usual, going to have to scramble to get all the charities paid by year's end, and there are probably still some lingering bills and other items. GAAK!

On the other hand, my web resources are in pretty good shape. The whole thing is amost completely deployed with git, the rest with rsync, and "make deploy" works on both. I'm pretty happy about that -- it feels good to get back into toolmaking again.

On the gripping hand -- or is that the griping hand -- I still don't feel particularly happy about myself. This is mainly because, even when I know what needs to be done, I still prefer to waste time reading or puttering rather than do it. Not even the prospect of giving myself a little star in my notes -- which is what that file is for -- is enough to get me off my arse when it comes to writing checks or sorting through envelopes.

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

A lot of puttering this week. Got the hallway bookcase moved downstairs; it's now much easier for Colleen to make her way to the Rainbow Room. Looks good, too. Emmy set up the tree, and moved the cat tree into the nook under the stairs. The cats seem to prefer it there. This was Wednesday; last Sunday I put in shelves there, which also helps with the clutter.

I've also been decluttering my website working directories, fixing broken symlinks, re-arranging the tree in a more sensible way, and assorted other housekeeping. Still some messes there that I have to tackle.

Curio has been a darling; he likes sitting on my desk, on a pad of folded-up fabric, and usually sleeps next to me. Cat therapy for the win. We have excellent cats. Cricket exactly matches the description in Cat Faber's song Villains's Cat, and I expect she'll make a very good one when she grows up. Curio is pretty much already there.

I've been experimenting with luggage; most recently I've gone back to Max, the REI Agility sling bag. Not big enough for my work laptop, but that's an advantage. Tomorrow I'll see how well it works alongside a laptop bag.

Mood's been mostly ok, but occasionally still fragile. Tuesday and Wednesday evenings were particularly bad.

Links in the notes.

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

I haz apparently been a Productive Bear, at least some of the time. I finally got around to putting grout into the seam where the arch was cut in between the kitchen and the Rainbow Room, and I now have a fourth working UPS and a functioning git-based web deployment system (for everything but the audio files, of course).

On the other hand, we had a one-hour power outage last night that revealed the fact that the server was plugged into the surge protector outlet on one of those UPSs instead of a battery-backed-up outlet. *headdesk*

I transferred my stuff from the shoulder bag I've been using for the last couple of years, to a rolling backpack. Which is clumsy as heck, but more comfortable to use. The major win, though, was putting my wallet and a couple of other essentials into a little shoulder bag (Eagle Creek Sidekick) so that I can just grab that and go out to lunch, or shopping with Colleen. Major win -- it's practically weightless by comparison with the old one. Of course, it can't carry a laptop, cane, rain hat, phone backup battery, coin purse, ... -- which is all rather the point of the exercise.

I have also been coming home hurting, and emotionally fragile from depression and anxiety. So there's that.

On the whole, though, not too bad of a week. I'll take it. Links in the notes as usual.

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

So. A reasonably productive week, at least at home, where I've been cleaning up my server so that I can use git for most deployments and backup, instead of my clunky old rsync system (which worked pretty damned well, but a large USB hard drive represents a pretty big single point of failure, and it did). That doesn't keep me from doing a nightly mirror, but I'll be relying on git for history.

In the process, I wrote the website deployment git hook and make targets, so I can say "make deploy" on my laptop and have the changes checked in, pushed to the server, and pulled onto the web host with no further interaction.

There are still some remaining tasks around asset management, since my audio files are way too big to be flinging around with git.

At work... not so much. I feel as though I'm not being as productive as I should be.

Also on the down side, I managed to tweak my left QL muscle getting into a car on Wednesday. Naomi managed to get it mostly relaxed, but says that I have to start acting my age and learn to move like an old man instead of assuming that my body will just do what I tell it to. Grump.

And we nearly lost our ninja cat, Desti, who snuck out an insufficiently-closed door. She was, of course, wet and miserable and scared, but that probably won't keep her from trying to sneak out. Because ninja cat.

Oh, and two of Colleen's three lift chairs are broken. She's going to have a repair person come out this week. Fortunately the chairs, her power wheelchairs, and her scooter (which also need attention) are all made by Pride, so she can get them all looked at at once.

To end on a high note, and a link, we saw a preview of the first two episodes of the HBO/American Museum of Natural History mini-series Saving My Tomorrow, about young environmental activists. N's kids were interviewed for it, although they didn't appear in the episodes we saw.

More links in the notes, of course.

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

On the health front, I may finally be learning to relax the muscles in my lower back that make it hurt when I walk. Maybe. It also seems to have a lot to do with how heavy my shoulder bag is, so that's going to be an ongoing problem. A backpack would be better, except that it's hard to get off when I take a seat in the bus, and unlike a shoulder bag I can't swing it around when I want to get at something like my wallet.

I've finally started doing some serious system administration/scripting work to get my website working directories the rest of the way under git control. That's done -- I can now say "make deploy" in a web directory and have it committed, pushed to the remote repo, and pulled into the website with no further attention.

In the process, I had to write a script for converting a directory from CVS to git. There are a couple of challenges in that process because the old CVS repositories were in pretty bad shape, with stuff not having been checked in consistently. Not like a well-maintained software project, in other words. Bad bear. No cookie. My websites don't use cookies anyway.

The associated asset archive is going to be harder, because some directories have large media files in them. Like, um... the audio. The goal is to eliminate the use of rsync snapshots for backups (for reasons I will probably go into in more detail in a later post).

Detail in the notes, as usual.

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

A bit of a rough week, but with several high spots. The first of which was brunch with Colleen and Emmy at Salty's -- a local seafood place with a fantastic buffet on weekends. Turns out I get a senior discount. :P

I am cautiously optimistic about my mood, between selling the house and starting on l-tryptophan. I think it's generally better, but it's also more volatile -- I run out of cope and go into overload. Not good. Especially because it upsets Colleen, which sets up a positive feedback loop. (Positive in the feedback sense -- it has negative consequences, of course.)

Another high point was music night, Thursday after dinner. The original plan had been for a new friend of N's to come join us, but she ended up canceling. We had fun anyway -- playlist in the notes. We've decided to do it more often, and N is setting things up to spend more time in the Great Room. Which means I have to fix the control on the broken lift chair that we parked there.

To which end I tracked down a soldering iron. The one I bought because I couldn't find my good one, which is still in a box somewhere.

Looking at the notes, I seem to have been pretty productive this week. So... ok.

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

Well, escrow closed Friday on the Starport. My mood has been extremely volatile, and mostly in the bad direction, all week; took me until Friday to recognize that I was grieving. Knowing me, that probably means I'm in for a long run of it. Maybe I'll write something this evening.

Our hotel experience at Orycon was pretty poor, to the extent that we may very well not be back for the Westercon in 2016. (Ory is moving -- Yay!) But they gave us half a night off the bill, so there's that.

I spent yesterday puttering. The money from the Starport still hasn't shown up; if it doesn't hit my account Monday I'll hit the panic button.

Lasting Relationships Rely On 2 Traits tl;dr: kindness and generosity. Well, yeah. More links in the notes.

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

Between network problems (which I caused), the disastrous US elections, being off my antidepressants (which may have been helping a little after all; it may just be too subtle an effect for this alexithymic old bear to have noticed), pain issues, and just generally feeling harried, it was kind of a bad week.

I threw my set plans out the window, and put together what turned out to be a pretty good little set at the last minute: "Bigger On the Inside", "Someplace In the Net", "World Inside the Crystal", "Millennium's Dawn", "Keep the Dream Alive". Recordings (thanks to Rick Weiss) later this week.

I pretty much nailed the lyrics. A lot of missed notes, but the nice thing about the guitar is that as long as you have the right chord fingered it's going to sound ok no matter how sloppy the playing is. Got comments from a couple of people after the set, so that was nice.

The hotel was a distinct disappointment -- they'd overbooked the handicap rooms (the king room we're in is ok, but it would have been nice to have more manoevering room in the bathroom), and the restaurant didn't have a regular dinner menu. (The bar did have something more like a dinner menu, but it was expensive.) The breakfast buffet was no more than adequate. I see it's in a different hotel next year.

I have so far failed to connect with any of the people I'd been hoping to connect with; this is not unusual but does little to improve my mood, which I think is still somewhat volatile.

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

Kind of a rough week? I'm not really sure.

On the plus side, we got the washer repaired (a little over $320 for a new drain pump), and I switched the network over from Comcast to CenturyLink. Which was exactly as easy as I expected it to be: swap the router and the extension WAP, and it's done. Sometime I should swap SSIDs back, but it doesn't matter all that much much.

Our group moved over the weekend; the move puts us in the center of $A's main campus (with a nice small caffeteria next door, and the main one only a block away). My hard drive didn't survive it. All my code was backed up, but that still left a huge amount of configuration that should have been but wasn't. Fixed now.

Tapered off my antidepressant. Not much of an effect on my mood; not clear whether it has affected my supply of cope or my weight.

Kind of late, but I've started practicing for Orycon. Not entirely clear what's going into my set -- Millennium's Dawn, Keep the Dream Alive, and QV for sure. That may actually be almost enough, since it's only a half-hour set.

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

A couple of dizzy spells, which felt a lot like a return of the orthostatic hypotension I used to get rather frequently before I changed my blood pressure meds, only more severe. Turns out that they could be exactly that, as a side effect of cutting down on my SSRI antidepressant.

Worked from home Friday and half of Thursday due to our office move. Spent Monday (and will probably spend most of today) setting up my desktop box, whose hard drive didn't survive the move. :P Grumble. Only things I'll actually be losing are a couple of little scripts in ~/bin, my .zshrc customizations, and my browser config. Everything else is in git.

Stupidly tried to upgrade the OS on my laptop. Stupid, because it left it practically unusable. A clean reinstall of 14.04 fared better, but there are still some oddities here and there.

Working from home today, too, because I'll be waiting for the washer to get repaired. :P It broke on Saturday. The backup drive on Nova has apparently been broken for a *long* time -- read is ok, but write fails. This may be a timing thing, but switching it from USB to eSATA renumbers the drive letters, so that's kind of a non-starter.

On the positive side, the CenturyLink internet connection is on, and the new modem arrived yesterday. Hopefully today I'll be able to get our network configured -- it may be a simple matter of swapping two routers.

The new building is significantly farther away from the bus stop -- there are closer ones, but it's actually faster to walk than to wait for a transfer. So if it's not raining, I'll do that.

Kind of a rough week. Oddly, the fact that I've cut back on my antidepressant doesn't seem to have made much difference that I can perceive, which says that either it wasn't doing much good, or I'm still bad at detecting my mood. Or both.

raw notes, with links )
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 )

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