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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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, there are always the links.

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

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

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

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

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

Good links.

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

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

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

Links below, many of them depressing.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: (flamethrower)

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

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

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

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

Links in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lots of good links in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are links in the notes, as usual.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday I found a bunch of unpaid bills. Bletch.

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

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

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

The increased dose of SSRI seems to be helping.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

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

Here. Have some links. Real unicorns have curves.

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

It's been a rough week. Really rough.

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

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

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

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

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

Um... maybe I should update that site?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links and a little commentary in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gad! 11 months!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

A rather boring week bracketed by great music. Last Sunday we had Heather Dale and Ben Deschamps at Rainbow's End's first house concert. And this weekend we're at Norwescon, with both concerts and filking (see notes)... and the high point was, definitely, Glenn proposing marriage to Naomi during the intermission. She said yes. Heather had ended her first set with "As I Am".

The second set was all about love and marriage. (Not both together, necessarily -- it included "The Devil and the Farmer's Wife".)

On the flip side, I continue to be arthritic and mildly depressed. The low point of the week was filing for an extension on my taxes. Which was a mistake -- I should have filed and then filed an amended return when I finally get all the deductions and business expenses together. It was, of course, horrendous: I sold a lot of stock to buy and renovate Rainbow's End.

I haven't been enjoying Norwescon all that much. Mostly hiding in a corner reading on my laptop. Grump. Grumpity grump. Oh, and the hotel's wifi is seriously overloaded, and the restaurant service is slow and barely competent. *sigh*

There are links in the notes, as usual. The perceptive reader may also notice an item at the end of the notes that will, hopefully, turn into a post sometime soon.

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

The big news here at Rainbow's End is the first of our house concerts -- Heather Dale is singing here tonight! Doors open at 7:30, and there's still space. Probably.

The big news everywhere else on the internet is the Heartbleed Bug. Yes, it's bad. Most banking sites, fortunately, aren't affected, but Google (for example) is. Wait until a site has installed patches before you bother changing your password. And if you're using the same password on multiple sites, Don't Do That Anymore! -- you know better, don't you?

Essentially no work on the taxes. Ouch! I'm going to overestimate, put it on installments, and file for an extension. Though, every deduction I can find today and tomorrow will help.

Lots of links in the notes.

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

Lots of puttering. In part because we're getting ready for Heather Dale's house concert this coming Sunday (contact me or Naomi if you're interested in attending), and in part because it's a way of feeling that I'm doing something useful while avoiding the taxes.

I was on tap for jury duty Wednesday and Thursday -- had to go in, but didn't get picked, or even assigned to a case. Oh, well. I've only been on a jury once -- very educational. The people running the jury assembly room were very competent, and did their best to make it a good experience. Successfully, in my opinion.

Three of Colleen's roses arrived on Tuesday; they finally got planted today.

A little noodling -- I need to practice more. And we need to encourage Colleen to sing more.

Links, as usual.

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

Short one this time, to close out the month. Sunday I fired up the Mac Mini, loaded up the software that I still think of as TaxCut even though H+R Block renamed it several years ago, and did a rough cut. Ouch. I haven't touched my taxes since Sunday, but it really improved my mood to find out that I could pay in installments. Improved it temporarily, anyway. Dysthymia never really goes away. I still need to track down the rest of my deductions, but I have the biggest ones in, so the bottom line won't change more than a couple of grand.

Quite a few good links. Go for it.

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

I guess there's something about knowing how bad it's going to be. Also knowing that I can pay off my tax bill in installments, because it's going to be bad. Really bad. There's a reason why my financial posts are tagged "trainwreck".

I finally got off my arse and sorted my piles of receipts and the like, and this morning (so it's not in the notes yet -- you'll have to wait until next month) installed the software (which I still think of as TaxCut) and did the preliminary data entry. There are still some sizeable pieces missing, but I've been making progress.

I also got a couple of phone calls made -- I hate making phone calls.

I was depressed and anxious most of the week. At least I noticed -- for someone with alexithymia, that's an improvement.

On the up side, we watched Frozen last weekend -- excellent. Passes the Bechdel test.

Links in the notes.

raw notes, with links )

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