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

Moderately productive this week. And I've been doing quite a lot of writing, mostly on Quora. Which is seriously addictive. One of the reasons I like it, I think, is that it demonstrates to me that I know more about people and relationships than I give myself credit for. It also inspired me to get started on the article about singly-linked lists that I've been meaning to write for months. (The draft can be found here, but be advised that it's only about half finished. Look again on Tuesday or thereabouts, or wait for me to post it here.)

That raises a question: If it ends up being long (currently at a little over 1000 words), do you have a preference for long posts under cut tags, or shorter installments without cuts? What's a good length for installments? (For comparison, my current weekly posts seem to be running 250-500 words before the cut, and I haven't heard any complaints.)

I'm not even going to try posting my Quora answers here or on Facebook; I am cross-posting most of them to Twitter (@ssavitzky) -- the bandwidth there is so high that nobody is likely to feel as though I'm spamming their feed. I do link a few of the more interesting answers in the notes, so you can see for yourself.

Anyway... Moderately productive at work, though meetings have eaten up a lot more time than I allowed for. Only a couple of overloads at home. Blood pressure higher than I like, but my doctor isnt worried yet. More in the notes.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: A tortoiseshell cat facing the camera (ticia)

Not a bad week, but not very productive, either. Tuesday was a write-off, and Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday weren't much better. I've been making myself sick with worry about Ticia for some time now, because the way her abdomen looks reminded me too much of the way Curio looked when he was dying of FIP. Well, after missing Ticia's appointment on Tuesday due to traffic, I finally got her seen on Thursday -- nothing to worry about: what's distending her tummy turns out to be simply fat. So relieved.

I actually got some work done on Friday. I also had some good experiences on the bus, in both directions. Good conversation on the way home, and I got some nice smiles from people I helped with the fold-up seats in the handicapped section. Apparently not being consumed by worry makes me more easygoing in social situations. Who knew?

(Most people apparently know things like that. It's not a direction my mind usually goes. I am gradually developing more self-awareness in that direction, but it takes work -- it's not one of the things I'm good at.)

I have been learning about self-compassion, at my therapist's suggestion and following some timely links from ysabetwordsmith. Apparently it's better for one than self-esteem, which is a good thing, because I don't have a whole lot of that. Nor self-confidence. Self-compassion doesn't really help at all with that, but it makes it easier to live with.

My therapist also spoke to me Tuesday about setting boundaries. That's another thing I seem to be bad at. It gets complicated, though, because telling people "no" feels too much like being unkind and antisocial, and both of those are things I have to actively work at not being. I have my best experiences in social situations when I'm being more open (see above) rather than hiding behind a wall. Or a book, phone, or computer, which are even more effective things to hide behind. How the heck do ordinary humans balance those things, anyway?

(I'm not all that great at human, either. Let alone adult. (Both "human" and "adult" are being used as verbs there. Deal. (Why, yes; I've been coding in Lisp since 1970. Why do you ask?))) Oddly enough, this doesn't prevent me from answering questions about relationships on Quora. Them as can't do, teach? In my more self-confident moments, I try to remind myself that somebody who's been contentedly married for forty-odd years to the same woman may actually have learned a few things here and there.

*sigh* It really all comes down to self-confidence, doesn't it? I'm not even confident about my programming ability anymore -- too many recent bad estimates and missed targets. I'm hanging on by my fingernails.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I've already posted about last Sunday's medical adventure, so I won't go into that except to say that the exercises N gave me seem to be helping -- I don't seem to have much pain in my right hand beyond the usual arthritis. It has, however, taken all of the last week to get to that point.

Since the pain was most likely due to my working position, I've put in for an ergonomic evaluation at work. I need to lower my desk at home, too, by about three inches. A leg length of 25 inches should do it. Not looking forward to that, since it will mean taking everything off the top. Fortunately it's possible -- the desk is nothing but a sheet of plywood sitting on a filing cabinet at one end and a pair of 2x2s at the other.

Come to think of it, cleaning off the top of my desk is probably a good thing to do every couple of years.

Tuesday or Wednesday I saw a woman on the bus wearing a T-shirt that read "Open Source and Feelings", and had a bit of a conversation (should have spoken up earlier, because she got off at the first stop downtown). Turns out it's a conference -- I'll try to remember to go next year. The videos from last year are up, and I spent most of Saturday watching them.

A lot of the videos are about empathy, which I'm interested in and I'm told I'm good at (cf. A Talk With the Middle-Sized Bear) in spite of my alexithymia. I realized that my hanging out in a facebook group for people who've lost their cat to FIP is probably good exercise for that particular skill.

I also realized that I could be considered a member of a category -- I hesitate to call it a minority -- that's underrepresented in the tech industry: old people. Whether that insight can be turned into something useful is, at this point, an open question. A quick Google search turned up a lot of links about teaching seniors how to use these scary things called computers -- what used to be called "computer literacy" and maybe still is. I didn't see much about the people like me, who have been working with the things for the last half-century. One of the talks from last year's OSFeels was titled "Back in My Day..." -- by a fifty-year-old. Sheesh! I was working at Zilog making the stuff he talked about using as a kid.

Saw a question go by on Quora to the effect of "what should a fifty-year-old programmer do?" My answer was basically "keep writing programs." Now that I think of it, there's probably a reason why so many of the questions asked there sound naive to me.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Fairly productive at work this week, though I lost Friday to an all-day training session. (I made up some of that yesterday in between lab work and my doctor's appointment. Went in early because the appointment wasn't until 1:40, and I wanted to be able to have my coffee before noon.) I appear to be in pretty good health; my blood pressure was 129/75; which is decent.

The training Friday was a workshop on Scrum. Tl;dr: we've been doing it wrong. Which is not unusual. My impression has always been that it works best for things that can be built incrementally -- the idea is to break things down into "features" (corresponding to "user stories") that can be built in one sprint -- typically two weeks -- and end up done, in production, and demonstrated to the customer at the end of that. The theory is that the team gets more and more familiar with their product and their process, so they get better at estimating. And there's an expectation that developers are mostly fungible -- anyone can pick up any of the tasks and finish it in a couple of days. (Specialists like QA, tech writer (we should be so lucky!), and maybe a web developer, don't count.)

So let's look at the project I'm currently on: We have four developers. One is building a new service, one is working on the web front end (and just came on board), and two are working in different, pre-existing services that they've never worked on before. The work being done in the latter case is such that a sizeable number of pieces have to be in place in order for anything to work. Meanwhile, other teams are working on other parts of the same services, with somewhat different requirements. Theoretically, each of the three main developers could work on any of the tasks, but in practice there's a lot of context in each of those sub-projects that it would take a long time for anyone else to ramp up on.

It doesn't help that the manager and web developer are in Vancouver, and that most of the design was done almost a year before the work started, under a different manager, by three developers one of whom got pulled off to work on a totally unrelated project. This leaves only two of us with any real context.

On the other hand, I've been having fun with configuration files and makefiles. The latest hack was adding color-coded labels to the workspaces in my xmonad setup. You say "ws 2 to.do", for example, and you get a color-coded label at the top of the screen in workspace 2. The labels use standard resistor color codes, and include a clock (because the quick thing was to base them on xclock). Here. (Need to get this onto github soon.)

Writing: met my minimum goal of 500 words two days a week, but just barely. Both were in PJ (short for Private Journal), so not on DW or the website where you can see them. Sorry about that.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

After last week on call, almost anything was bound to be an improvement. But my oncall ended at 11am Monday; Sunday night and Monday morning managed to cram in nearly as many pages as any two-day period the preceeding week. By Monday at 11 I was a total wreck. (While I was deep in work on one or two other tickets, the two daytime SEV2's timed out and paged me at 10:30. At which point $BOSS came by. I was almost totally nonverbal at that point - it was all I could do to get out a couple of words to indicate that I was working on it.)

Monday afternoon was predictably unproductive. Since I had two medical appointments on Tuesday I had already planned on taking the day as vacation. I needed it. I was still pretty stressed on Wednesday; almost anything could trigger an immediate adrenaline reaction, and I was snappish and probably no fun at all to be around.

Thank the gods for gin, hot baths, and cats.

It took me all day Wednesday and most of Thursday to get my commits from the week before rebased on top of the stuff S had pushed in the mean time. I finally did make some actual forward progress on Friday, and finally got the workflow to go through the final stage that it had been hanging up on before. (Intentionally vague and generic, I know.)

Even with (and to some extent because of) ten workspaces and who knows how many browser tabs, I still wasn't able to keep things organized. I kept forgetting which tickets went where and what I had done on them, and found several of them open in multiple places. No surprise there.

 

Have I mentioned dishes? We have dishes. Yesterday around dinner time the kids (Kat and Alex, not g and j) brought down roughly a full dishwasher load from their room. I did one load last night, put one in this morning, and there will be at least another by nightfall.

I finally brought up the rack that I'd had the dishes stacked on in the Starport, and rearranged the shelving to put the corelle conveniently on the lower shelf. I'm tempted to put most of the blue dishes away where they won't get used; one of the problems seems to be that nobody (else) notices that dishes have to be done until they can't find a clean one.

I think I cooked three or four meals this week.

 

Writing and music. Um... (Posted by accident before I could fill in this part. TL;DR no music to speak of -- ripping CDs doesn't count. Broke 1000 words of writing, so technically met the 500-words-twice-a-week goal, but spread over three days. I'll take it anyway.)

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: (flamethrower)

The only writing I did last week was last Sunday's weekly post. I'll try to do better; hopefully I won't be feeling as harried this week. I did get in some music time -- last Sunday, and yesterday. And some walking with Colleen and Kat, also on Sunday.

Quite a bit of back pain. It's been mostly ok in the morning, but tends to get worse on the way home. Probably something to do with being tired, but also possibly stress. Have I mentioned having trouble identifying my mental state? It's called alexithymia.

The alexithymia also bleeds into problems identifying physical state, because of course they're related. I have trouble distinguishing the physical symptoms of anxiety and hunger, for example. Not to mention distinguishing between wanting food, and needing food. The latter barely registers, and certainly not as hunger, until I suddenly start feeling the symptoms of low blood sugar. Which I have learned to recognize. Or until Colleen notices that I'm starting to snap at people.

Stress is, apparently, another of those states that I don't start noticing until it's been going on too long. And then it bleeds into burnout and depression. (And, no, depression doesn't register as sadness. At all. It's best described as a combination of apathy and despair.) I think I'm noticing a trend here.

I'm getting better at noticing. Look in the notes for an exclamation mark in column 3 -- that means I've actually noticed an emotion while it was happening. They're rare -- the only instance this last week was Sunday.

Speaking of stress, I'm oncall this week. With pages including 6am Tuesday morning -- Prime Day -- and midnight last night. This morning. Whatever. One thing I've noticed is that I don't have enough mental bandwidth. I can't multitask. At all. Period. Things get lost track of.

If a page comes in, I completely lose track of whatever I was doing, including dealing with another page, and it takes me a while to get my context back. Which leads to things like having something like 10 different browser windows open in 8 workspaces, with multiple tabs in each, many of which refer to the same tickets. Because context. And, of course, re-investigating the same thing multiple times because I've forgotten what I was doing an hour ago.

I'm getting a little better at going up to people I don't know and asking for help. But, of course, I'm even worse at remembering names than I am at multitasking, which leads to things like waking the wrong person up at six in the morning. (And forgetting that I had an email in my inbox telling me who the right person would have been. See multitasking.)

(Brief pause -- my desk is being catted on. The absolute best thing I've done for my mental health in years was putting a cardboard box on my desk, attaching it with a couple of screws, and lining it with a towel.)

Back to reaching out and talking to people. I don't think my reluctance to do that has anything to do with what I afraid people will think of me. So, this doesn't seem to have the characteristcs of social anxiety. No, it has more to do with what I think of me, and in particular feeling stupid and at a loss for what to do. Plus total lack of self-confidence, which leads to (or somehow relates to) an unwillingness to "disturb" people.

It's not just at work. Even at home, I take a closed door as a "do not disturb" sign even when I'm pretty certain that the person on the other side (usually N) would be happy to see me. It's hard enough when I know they're expecting me, though I'm getting a little better about that.

In a slightly different direction, some links from [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith about emotional self-care (see Monday, below) proved unexpectedly triggery and anxiety-provoking. So we're talking low self-esteem here, maybe. (Maybe?! Let's get real here.)

It's been a long month this week.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Almost no writing this week, even counting LJ posts; I have, however, been spending time catching up with home software/ops-related tasks, so I'm going to count that as writing time, if not word count. A little more productive at work than two weeks ago, although I wasted a lot of time getting back to where I had been before a rebase.

Apart from that, though, things are going better at work than I expected them to. I'm getting things done at home, too -- notably, working with Glenn to bring Naomi's enormous new chair downstairs. Tight fit, but we did it. (It's either a huge chair or a smallish loveseat. Either way, it's gorgeous but at 32" just barely fit through the doors.)

Went out for sushi with Colleen, Rabbit, and Chaos, in honor of Chaos's 31st birthday. I'm too young to have a daughter in her thirties, right? Oh. Right.

The high point of the week, though, was going to the West Seattle Summerfest yesterday with Colleen and Naomi. Glenn on the way there, though he left early. Rather than try to load everyone into the van, hassle with parking, and load and unload the scooter, I simply made sure both scooters' batteries were charged, and we st/rolled. Fun.

There was a tiny house on display, from Seattle Tiny Homes -- the bathroom was awesome, with a walk-in tub, washer, and wall-mounted dryer. All in about 5x8 feet. We'll definitely be working with those people. Also with the solar power people. And in the more immediate future, Naomi found a builder that we might use for the basement water-damage repair.

We also bought some fun art prints. And Naomi insisted that I buy a hat, which she said fits me the way my leather jacket does; I can't say she's wrong about that. It's the 8-section style in tweed, but every section is a subtly different color and weave. Kind of awesome, actually.

I told N on the way back that it was the most fun I'd had in a long time; she said that was good, but it's unfortunate that I haven't been having more fun lately. Not sure what to do about that. I procrastinate, so I have a strong tendency to prioritize the more important things I'm not doing over the fun things I'm not doing. And figuring out what "fun" means is another problem -- I also have a tendency to dread doing things, especially new things, but to enjoy them after I get pushed into doing them. I think yesterday's expedition might have been an exception.

Westercon was not an exception -- I hadn't really expected to go, and expected it to be stressful. I enjoyed giving my concert, but hadn't expected to be doing that, either -- I only found out about it after I'd committed to going.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

So, last weekend was Westercon. It was the first we'd been to for a while -- Portland is close enough to drive to in less than 3 hours, so we were able to do it without my having to take any time off.

My concert Saturday evening went ok: Bigger on the Inside, The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of, Millennium's Dawn, Riverheart, The Toolmakers, The Bears (A Talk With the Middle-Sized Bear, A Tribute to the Middle-Aged Bear), The Travelers (Where the Heart Is, Windward), Rambling Silver Rose, QV, Ship of Stone.

There were a couple of flubs, but nothing serious -- not bad for next to no prep, but I'll have to get more serious about practicing. I had taken Plink, the little Vagabond travel guitar; that was almost certainly the right choice. Though I think the battery was dead; we ended up micing it for the concert, which got me off to a bit of a late start. Putting my phone, in clock mode, on the music stand turned out to work very well.

I didn't go to any panels -- just hung out in the filk room or the lobby with my laptop. (I'd also brought my work laptop, but never used it.) As usual, I enjoyed it more than I expected to beforehand: I've learned the hard way that it's better -- and I'm less likely -- to regret having done something than to regret not having done it. (Does that construction make sense? Probably, though it's less clear than I'd like.)

Great conversations over dinner with [personal profile] alatefeline on Saturday (or was that Sunday lunch?), and Roy and Joan Sunday. On the whole a good, fairly relaxed con.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I am actually breaking at Friday evening, one day over the month boundary, so as to group all the practicing together here, and the con and concert in the next entry.

So, yeah; this week's big surprise was finding out Thursday morning that I had a concert coming up Saturday evening. I hadn't asked for one, but apparently Colleen did. Um... thanks, I think. (Spoiler -- it actually went surprisingly well, though not quite as well as the run-throughs. Nervous.)

I hadn't asked for a concert or answered my participant questionaire because up until two weeks before the con I was still waffling about whether or not to go. I knew it would be stressful, and I knew it would be fairly expensive (though driving, skipping Friday, and coming back Monday instead of Tuesday helped a great deal). I also knew I'd regret it if I didn't go. On the whole I'm glad I went (especially since I got to meet [personal profile] alatefeline). But I'm exhausted. I must be more introverted than I was even a few years ago.

Made Boeuf Bourguignon on Sunday -- came out quite well, though I think not quite as well as the Stroganoff the night before. I made a stupid mistake with the pepper, but managed to skim off most of it and didn't get anyt complaints. I have not, unfortunately, been keeping up very well with the dishes.

While on the subject of food; Monday around 12:30 I noticed that my blood sugar was getting low. It didn't feel like what I usually label as hunger, i.e. wanting food. Something is definitely miswired there. If there's food around and I'm not deeply engrossed in something, I'll want to eat it. If I'm in a flow state, which I was a couple of times this week (Yay!), I won't notice food, and will eventually run out of energy. The situation is probably not helped by the amount of coffee I drink.

Friday some idiot came within inches of getting herself killed when she started ambling across the street against the light, with her nose in her phone, and in front of the bus I was riding to work in. (It's not exactly a street -- it's a bypass lane on the left-hand side of 4th Avenue. To get to the island where one can board the bus, one has to cross that lane. But, still...) That's one of the reasons I don't try to read -- or text -- while I'm walking.

Only a little writing -- just one day with over 500 words. But two solid practice sessions, so that's good. Put up shelves in N's closet -- that was good, too. I have to keep reminding myself to feel accomplished after that sort of thing. (Like last week, the only emotion I actually noticed while I was feeling it was despair. I'm altogether too good at that one.)

Close enough to 500 words -- I'm going to stick a fork in it.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Not all that good a week. Continued lack of productivity at work, mainly because of meetings this time, but still... I want to take a vacation after Westercon, but I have goals that I can't meet if I do. Bletch.

I haven't done much writing, either. A reasonable amount on Monday, but only a little after that. Grump. Did do more cooking than usual: chicken tikka masala on Monday, and beef Stroganoff yesterday. That was a real win. Lots of shrooms. I note in passing that while Cash and Carry has great prices, it doesn't have a very big selection, and few if any small packages.

On the plus side, I did a pretty good job of noticing and identifying my mood Friday. On the minus side, the mood in question was despair. Cat therapy helps, but not completely.

A fair amount of computer-related work -- got my raspberry pi up and running, with both Raspbian and OSMC (on different cards). OSMC (Open Source Media Center) looks like it would work well as a music and video player. Being one of the original cards, it doesn't have much in the way of RAM, so it wouldn't work as a desktop with my current workload. I also swapped my desktop machine for one of the two that have been sitting behind my desk ever since we moved in.

Moderate amount of house-project work.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Moderately productive week. Lots of computer configuration and upgrading work, which is always an easy way for me to feel like I've done something, even if it isn't all that useful. I have a new desktop computer, in a nice little Shuttle box, but haven't fully switched over to it yet. Because browser tabs, mostly. (I also got the raspberry pi booting, finally. Which mostly required looking at the installed card and noticing that, not only did it not have an OS installed, but it wasn't flagged as bootable. The Pi is one of the original 512Mb ones -- it's dog slow. Still, it has a lot of potential as either a media center or a special-purpose controller. I'm guessing that used, older pi's are dirt cheap on eBay.

My new monitors arrived at work; I took advantage of the opportunity to re-arrange my workspace (see notes for 0615We) -- and to get back into writing, with xmonad as my first topic. Xmonad really wins for this, because the physical arrangement of the monitors becomes almost irrelevant. By moving the laptop in front of me (because it has a usable keyboard for once) with the dock under the monitor, I not only freed up a sizeable amount of desk space but freed up my second thinkpad keyboard to come home with me. Win.

Last weekend also included a lot of cleanup work in the garage and the back yard -- the huge piles of junk and lumber have been hauled away. I really hated to lose the lumber, but it had been out in the rain for too long. I was, however, able to save most of the hardwood.

As indicated, I have been writing (see notes for 0614Tu). My goal is to write 500 words most days. (I missed yesterday because I was hacking on my journaling makefiles, which sort of counts in terms of time if not bytes.) This post is intended to hit today's word count, and, no, I'm not going to count the notes.

So that raises a question for you, my loyal readers. The article I'm writing on xmonad isn't done yet, but I do have two days worth of work on it. Should I post "episodes" as I go along? Maybe I should phrase that differently -- would anyone object if I did post what amount to partial rough drafts? Feedback would be useful. Because otherwise, that's what I'm going to do.

Some other ongoing projects will also be included in the word count, notably "Songs for Saturday" (or occasionally Sunday, if I'm being lazy) and the "River" posts. I will find or create a tag for the Linux-related stuff, like the aforementioned xmonad article, and probably "adventures in home computing" as well. Fiction is somewhat unlikely; I'm pretty bad at it, especially plotting. Metafiction and prose poems are a distinct possibility, though.

There. 500 words. Approximately, since wc doesn't distinguish between actual content and markup. At some point I need to do something about that, but I'm not going to worry about it right now.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: (g15-meters)

I've gotten a lot done this week, at work but mostly at the house. We have a truck coming Wednesday to haul away the pile of junk that's been sitting in the back yard getting water-damaged since last year when we sorted through the stuff in the garage. This week I've been adding to it, and especially yesterday when I disassembled the pile of wood sitting on top of the old blue workbench. The latter, and most of the wood, were in sorry shape. It hurt a lot to see how bad they'd gotten. I did manage to save most of the hardwood and vertical-grain Douglas fir, so it wasn't a total loss, but close.

Well, we didn't really have room for the workbench, anyway.

I've also been through a couple of the boxes behind my desk. Including the one labeled "tiny computers". It seems that, over the years, I've spent an inordinate amount of money on small Linux-based devices that I mostly haven't taken the time to get working. There's a list in the notes, under 0611. And then there are the laptops (all but one of which have been recently upgraded to the latest Ubuntu, so that's good), the two Linux boxes in tower cases that are still perfectly functional, but I don't need them, the old Android tablets, ...

*sigh*

I've found other "treasures", too. I'm not sure nostalgia is good for me. Too many reminders of things I haven't done, or started but abandoned. It's easy to blame depression, and I do, but that doesn't make it any easier. Or less depressing.

I think it says something -- damned if I know what it says -- that while I noticed last Sunday that I had put in a good day's work and accomplished a lot, I didn't connect that fact with a feeling of accomplishment, or any other emotion. (If "accomplishment" even counts as an emotion. I think it does, but I'm not sure. That probably says something, too.)

Music note (see 0611 -- yesterday was busy, too): At the suggestion of the guy who sits next to me at work, I looked up the Demoscene and watched a couple of videos, and a documentary, on YouTube. Mind-blowing. Especially when you consider that, say, "Chaos Theory" by Conspiracy -- the whole thing, music and video -- was entirely generated by a 64K program in real time.

The demoscene reminds me a lot of the filk community, and it makes me want to see what could be done for World Inside the Crystal that way.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Not a great week psychologically, on the whole. Frazzled. Burned out? Probably. Lots of random, depressed-sounding self-talk, and practically everything I see or think about reminds me of something I've done wrong. In most cases the mistakes are unfixable, with drastic consequences. Doomed? That's how it feels. Doomed. (Cue Imperial March from Star Wars: doom doom doom doomty doom doomty doom...)

On the other hand, I've gotten almost all of the household computers -- at least, the ones that aren't G's -- upgraded with Ubuntu 16.04. It's a fast, easy install even on modern machines with secure boot, and my bootstrap script for setting up Gnome flashback, xmonad, and the other stuff I rely on is working pretty well now. I've also resurrected Kat's Acer Aspire (which I dubbed "aspie" because, while it's brilliant, it has trouble communicating -- took me forever to find the key combination that brings up the boot menu). And Emmy's Dell, which I'd thought had a broken charging port, turned out to just need a real Dell charger. :P

G is a professional system administrator -- he can do his own upgrades.

I also bought a new washer for downstairs. It arrives Tuesday, which means that this weekend's project is clearing a path to the downstairs laundry room. Also, most likely, putting up shelves in the garage and the downstairs closet, and curtain rods on N's door.

Yesterday's amusement -- high point of the week, actually -- was Ticia waking me up and teaching me how to play fetch. Really -- she batted her crinkle ball off the bed, picked it up and brought it back, batted it off again, brought it back, ... By that time I was awake and had gotten the hint, so I tossed it for her to fetch. Did that a couple of times. She doesn't usually bring the ball back to me, so I suspect that she thinks she invented the game all by herself. And so she did.

See also, xkcd: My Friend Catherine.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Kind of a rough week. My main accomplishments, such as they were, were a result of puttering around the house: finishing the third box of shredding from the garage, clearing out a couple of boxes from the cubhouse (and finding quite a lot of stuff that I'd been looking for), things like that. Progress at work, but not as much as I would have liked. Stress is not conducive to anything that requires concentration.

More stress than I would have liked, too, though things have gotten a lot better since Monday. I think I've managed to noodle on the guitar for at least a few minutes every day -- it seems to help.

QOTD: As affirmations go, "I have not yet failed" is probably never gonna compete with "All will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well" but some days it's the one that really resonates. -- Ursula Vernon. Maybe quote of the year.

Along the way I've upgraded a couple of laptops, and (I hope!) finished tweaking my xmonad window manager configuration. Most laptops in the house are now running Ubuntu 16.04; a few are still on 15.10. Upgrading laptops and tweaking config files isn't really productive, but it's somehow comforting and gives the illusion of productivity.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Hmm. Interesting week. Mostly in the Chinese sense.

My boss seems to be somewhat more confident in my abilities than I am. It is not clear that this is entirely a good thing, especially if it tempts me to become complacent. But, yeah. Low self-esteem. I haz it.

I think I've managed to spend a few minutes noodling on the guitar every day this week. Mostly minor and suspended chords, but still. Music. It does tend to confirm that my mood is mostly minor and suspended.

My home hacking continues to be centered around xnomad. I've pretty much abandoned gnome at this point. Xmonad is blazingly fast, lightweight, works beautifully with a varying number of monitors, and seems to help me concentrate on the task at hand.

I've also upgraded a couple of netbooks to Ubuntu 16.04; not entirely successfully, but the one with hardware problems is the smaller of the of the Dell minis. The keyboard was crap when I started, and has not been helped by the fact that the hard drive is underneath it. Swapped the 16G SSD for a 100G hard drive pulled out of something a long time ago. That, and getting through a couple of boxes of shredding, has at least given me some sense of accomplishment.

The most "interesting" day was Friday, though, when I got home and it finally occurred to me to research burnout. Um... yeah. Nearly a perfect match for the problems I've been having at work over the last year, not to mention the depression, dysthymia, occasional sleep problems, and the fact that I lost ten pounds over the course of a month or so last year. (Not that I'm going to complain about that! But...)

Anyway.

I actually teared up reading, in Ten Questions for Meaningful Career Development, "2. Am I willing to believe that my efforts matter, at least to me?"

I think what I need to do, over the next year or so, is semi-retire. I can't afford to fully retire, and probably wouldn't want to for years. But something less stressful, maybe part time, ... yeah. The hard part will be finding it. There aren't really a whole lot of low-stress jobs for an ageing computer curmudgeon. If you spot one, let me know.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Monday I got my new work laptop,and spent altogether too much time (much of 2 days, spread over 3) configuring it thanks mainly to an obscure bug in my .bashrc file.

It seems that, in Ubuntu 14.04, the wrapper script that starts sessions for lightdm -- or maybe just terminal sessions -- is written in bash (rather than the safer and more usual sh), so it naturally sources the user's .bashrc file on startup. This is usually a good thing, since the user's environment ends up being configured the way they like it. When a terminal emulator like xterm or gnome-terminal starts up, it uses whatever is in the $SHELL environment variable to create its shell. This fails when one has the seemingly-innocuous like "SHELL=$0" in one's .bashrc file.

This normally does exactly the right thing, because when you start a program -- and in particular a shell -- $0 is bound to the path that was used to start the program, and all is well. Unfortunately, in 14.04, the wrapper script is started in an odd way, with $0 bound to "bash" instead of to "/bin/bash". So terminals don't start, because they can't find the shell. What hurts is that the line was put in to fix a similar bug in RedHat, where shells were getting started by Gnome with $SHELL set wrong.

Anyway, by mid-week my job-related anxiety level was sky-high, and has remained that way.

Most of what I've been doing around the house counts as puttering.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Um... yeah. Been a while. I'd originally planned to post Monday after last weekend's house con, Rainbow Con 1. But I didn't. I'll post an actual con report later; for now I'll just say that it was amazingly wonderful. We had around 30 people, and everybody had a great time.

Work has been rough. Things are falling through cracks at an increasing rate. I should leave. I can't afford to, but it'll probably kill me if I don't. If someone dropped half a million dollars in my lap, I could pay off most of the house and get by on social security and pensions. As it is, ... It's a constant reminder of how much the situation is of my own making.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: Welcome to Rainbow's End (sign) (rainbows-end)

The big news for this week is RainbowCon 1, this coming weekend. But other than that...

Colleen lost her uncle in a car crash. So not exactly a good week. Busy and somewhat rough week at work. Lots of tidying, moving of boxes, and so on. So my back hurt most evenings. Naproxen is my friend.

Finished my taxes, sort of at the last minute. Owed about the same as last year, which was a pleasant surprise, considering that before I started Sunday it was showing about twice that. I could have handled it, but glad I didn't have to.

N and G moved down to their new suite in the basement. It'll be gorgeous when they get moved in. I helped with putting up shelves, but the last two I put up weren't level. Grump.

... and when I couldn't give Naomi a coherently practical reason why I was prioritizing clearing a way to the garage, she said, "Oh. It's an emotional need then. Go ahead." Oh. Yeah; I guess I have emotions these days. And other people can still notice me having them when I can't. Which uttterly fails to surprise me.

Can't think of anything else worthy of mention.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Done with my taxes. I owe quite a lot, but it's less than last year and about half what I was afraid I was going to have to pay based on what the software was showing me when I started. Not complaining.

I fastened a large cardboard box to my desk and lined it with a towel. The cats love it. Hardly any trouble anymore with cats walking across my keyboard. In addition, Desti is a great lap cat, especially when I'm sitting in the Rainbow Room with Colleen.

The work downstairs is almost done! There's still some electrical work left in the garage, but other than that it's basically habitable. Movers come tomorrow at noon for the big stuff, i.e. furniture.

xmonad is still cool, though not quite as much so on my work laptop due to downrev versions of xmobar and dzen2, the auxiliary status bar programs. Neither of them works well enough to give me clickable desktop names. But the only time I really care about being able to navigate without the keyboard is when there's a cat on my desk, and that only happens at home.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

So.... not too bad of a week. Busy, which is good. I gave a presentation at work on Friday; it appears to have come across well despite not being nearly as smooth -- or as well-prepared -- as I would have liked. There is, of course, a strong connection between those two: I did most of the work Sunday and Monday. Still, ...

I spent most of my spare time configuring xmonad and studying Haskell. Haskell is a pure functional programming language, with a somewhat peculiar syntax. Xmonad is a lightweight tiling window manager, written in Haskell. I love it! Its use of screen space is extremely efficient, and you pretty much don't have to worry about how windows are arranged because it's automatic. (You get your choice from a wide range of possible arrangements. Configurable as heck.)

When I had to go back to gnome (while I was trying to figure out how to get a network manager applet) I found myself trying to tile windows with the mouse. Ugh. Now that it's in pretty good shape I'm going to put it on my work laptop. It's glorious on a laptop.

The latest Ubuntu upgrade seems to have done slightly weird things to html-helper-mode. At this point I'm inclined to go with the flow and stop trying to use hanging indent for paragraph tags. Not as pretty, but it actually works ok in HTML5, which gets back to human read/writeability from the strictness of XHTML.

Chaos and Rabbit are moving in. Hopefully by mid-day today. Notes & links, as usual )

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

I seem to have mostly switched to xmonad as my window manager. This is a Good Thing -- I seem to be better able to concentrate with a less-cluttered screen. (On the other hand, I'm less productive while I'm still hacking on the configuration. That may be less of a good thing. There are, unfortunately, still a few things that don't work well in it.

Meanwhile, despite being fairly productive at work, I have gotten behind on a couple of longer-term things -- namely taxes, and a presentation that I'm supposed to be giving next Friday. (It's more fun to read Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!.)

It was quite warm several days this week. That is not expected to last, but it does indicate that Spring may be on its way. Not to be confused with the Spring Framework. Which I am not happy with.

I am also starting to do yard work again, after neglecting it for almost all of last year. (Partly because depression; not clear on the rest.)

Sigh. Too many things have fallen by the wayside. I, perhaps, am one of them.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

A good week for Sanders supporters. Last Sunday we went to the Bernie Sanders rally at Key Arena, and yesterday was the Democratic caucuses. (There was another rally Friday evening that G and N went to, but I didn't.) As you probably know, Bernie won big in all three of Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii yesterday.

The rally was amazing. He's an electrifying speaker, with a message that resonates deeply with this old radical's values. We need him in the White House.

This was the first time I've been in a caucus, and despite the reference in Alice it wasn't dry at all. Mostly fun, with some boring bits and too much standing.

Inspired by the Functional Programming Principles in Scala course that our team's reading group is taking, I have branched out into Haskell and started to set up xmonad, the tiling window manager that rocks. The main reason for that is the way it handles multiple monitors, which looks like a great match for the way I use my work laptop, always switching between stand-alone at meetings, and plugged into multiple monitors on my desktop.

Still trying to wrap my head around monads and category theory in functional programming. Multiple Wikipedia dives on that one.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

The week started with my 69th birthday, continued on through Pi Day and Colleen's birthday, and ended with dinner in Port Townsend celebrating Emmy's birthday a week early (to keep from being out of town for caucus day).

It was also a busy and productive week at work. Finally. Winding up in a corner with a window in front of me after the move seems to have helped; there is also more space in the new layout, and fewer TPMs, both of which reduce the cross-talk. I started working on my taxes, which probably won't be quite as bad as last year.

Pretty good week, considering.

Considering that I'm well over half a million in debt, in a house that is just what we want but which we won't be able to afford if I lose my job, which seems likely because I'm neither enjoying it much nor performing as well as I need to. I'm depressed and anxious, both with good reasons.

Looking back over years and decades of horribly bad decisions, and wondering whether there's any way out of the hole I've dug for myself. Probably not.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: a locomotive engine dangling from a hole in a building (trainwreck)

How the fuck did I get to be 69 years old? I'm still busy misspending my youth!

Speaking of misspending, I managed to scare the heck out of myself by transferring money for the mortgage payment to the household account, then paying it out of my personal account because I didn't think the transfer would post quickly enough. Wrong on both counts. No lasting harm done, but still...

In other news, although I've been a little more productive than usual, I'm seriously concerned that it isn't enough.

Taxes are in progress. It's probably going to be a trainwreck again.

Not really a good year. I think that, from about March through September, I was basically out of my mind with depression and anxiety. I may have my meds stabilized now, but I'm still having to deal with the fallout from what I screwed up.

The last few days I've been swinging between despairing (finances) and whatever state I'm in when I have a purring, blissed-out cat next to me. I don't think it's either happy or contented, but whatever it is it's better than the alternatives.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Not a great week -- they rarely are -- but not too bad. Reasonably productive. As I wrote on Wednesday, hopefully that's the new normal for work. Quite a lot of laptop updating and some upgrading, cascading from N's disk failing to boot. Not clear whether the data is recoverable, but meanwhile she has a couple of options for laptops that work.

Our team's reading group has started taking Coursera: Functional Programming Principles in Scala. Which inevitably kicked off a couple of days' worth of Wikipedia dives into functional programming. And category theory, because monads. I'm going to have to learn Haskell next.

I want to get back into recording; so far the only thing I have to show for that is picking up my guitar twice to get back into practice. We'll see how far that goes.

Sometime on Friday I apparently noticed that my self-talk has gotten increasingly negative and self-critical, especially while walking. Which may have something to do with not walking as much as I used to. (The fact that the factual content is, as far as I can tell, accurate is NOT HELPFUL.) I did manage to reschedule the appointment with my therapist that I had to put off a couple of weeks ago. So that's something.

Your attention is drawn to the following music-related links:

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

It's only been two days since my last "done" post, but I wanted to finish off the month, and in any case it's been a fairly eventful couple of days.

Lots of Linux configuration stuff (and more today), much of it triggered by the hard drive to SSD upgrade I did on my laptop. Tweaking is still ongoing, but mostly it's done (for example, I'm posting from it). And Sunday I nailed a configuration problem (having to do with locales, but showing up only as inability to start gnome-terminal over ssh). Fun!

Yesterday had been set aside at work for doing or learning something new. I spent the day learning the Go programming language. It has a lot to recommend it: fast as a bat, first class functions, real closures, duck-typed interfaces, coroutines and channels, documentation done right (i.e. simple, ordinary comments). A few things to dislike, but I'm likely to try some small projects in it.

I could still have gotten more done. Notes & links, as usual )

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

Productive? Got a fair amount done at work, and finally went ahead and bought a solid-state drive for (laptop) Cygnus. And spent almost all day yesterday installing and configuring it. In preparation for the upcoming Ubuntu 16.04 LTS release, I installed 15.10. Naturally, a lot of things broke. Boots faster, but what I was really looking for was the self-encrypting feature.

Interestingly, you can't even get into the BIOS or boot from an external drive without giving the disk password. That's good, if occasionally annoying.

In other news, the Younger Daughter has moved out of the house, and in with her boyfriend. That feels indescribably weird. With N's kids still in the house, it's not exactly an empty nest, but... weird.

We have an extra room upstairs now.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Mixed. Good week in some ways -- Thursday's basement-cleaning exercise with Giselle and N went a lot better than I expected. Getting rid of considerably more than we're keeping, which is good. Still need to do something like that in the garage.

My back hurts.

My back was not helped by spending all of yesterday sitting in uncomfortable chairs -- first at Lenscrafters while Emmy got her eyes examined, then at Harborview where they sent her for a CAT scan because her right optic nerve was swolen. *sigh* This happened back when she was 18; at that time the diagnosis was pseudotumor cerebri (which means that the pressure inside your head is high for no obvious reason), and she was told to lose weight. That's almost certainly the case this time, too. Not how I'd been planning to spend my Saturday, and not my favorite way of getting father-and-daughter time. Grumpy bear is grumpy.

I have not gotten much done at work this week. Grump.

Notes & links, as usual: )
mdlbear: (valentined)

Productive? I'm not sure. Probably. Progress at work, though not as much as I would have liked, and a fair amount of clearing in the garage. Found many things that have been missing for years, including my box of good chisels. Also, an ENT appointment (follow-up to my faceplant; see 20151124Tu.)

Also, any week that includes Scalia leaving the Supreme Court is pretty good in my book. Impeachment or even retirement would have been better, but this was the only way given the current political environment.

We nearly lost Ticia, who bolted out when someone left the Great Room sliding doors open; fortunately she hadn't gone far, and Naomi and I make a great cat-retrieval team. Whew!

I've also been getting re-acquainted with LaTeX, which has evolved quite a lot since I wrote my filk-formatting macros. I'll be rewriting those shortly. Meanwhile I've also been doing some work in my Config package. Partly that's because I've been working on the equivalent package at work in preparation for getting an upgraded laptop.

Plenty of links in the notes. GOOD links! Your attention is drawn particularly to the first detection of gravitational waves (more links in the notes), this amazing music video, and this news article, which features some kids who people who know us will recognize.

Notes & links, as usual: )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

A fairly busy week, but also full of frustration. Both because my bank's transfers to other banks appears to be broken, and because work seems to be two steps forward and one and a half steps back. Grumble.

I have, however, done a decent amount of cleanup in the garage -- mostly a matter of consolidating, but I've eliminated an entire row of boxes, and discarded quite a lot of junk. That must count for something.

You may note, however, that I'm not doing much else -- basically just working, reading, and sleeping. Not terribly exciting. Though I have shifted a lot of my time into the Rainbow Room with Colleen -- apart from the smaller screen it has no disadvantages except when she's watching a video I'm not interested in.

Notes and links, as usual: )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Conflikt was this last weekend; I'm posting on Monday so as to get in the whole con, as well as the end of the month. It was a pretty good con, though I ended up doing very little singing. Missed the smoked salmon (dead dog) filk -- Colleen was fading and neither of us was willing to spend much more money on hotel food. Dinners were bar snacks, because they were cheaper.

I had conversations with two new (to me) people, and did a little catching up though not as much as I often do. I actually spent much of my time listening to concerts and working on my lyrics-to-html conversion. Which looks really good now, since it no longer relies on monospaced fonts. Not on the site yet, though.

Also not on the site yet is my Sasquan concert, which I finally got the audio for.

In other news, there are lots of good links, mostly related to tiny houses. If it wasn't for the possibility of eventually moving into someplace we can actually afford I would have no hope at all. Even with that, it will probably come too late, and our house will take too long to sell. I've been making some progress at work, but it's like slogging through mud.

Financial ruin is only a paycheck away, and despair is never far from the front of my mind. I have noone to blame but myself, of course.

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

Not too bad, I guess. Made some decent progress with work. Several more dives into tiny houses, and found open source design software that we can all use: Sweet Home 3D.

Somewhat relatedly, I finally tracked down and finished The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It's a skill that's going to be useful in a few years when we downsize, though I don't think it's entirely applicable.

I also installed a cat5 cable from the demarc in the basement to the corner of the living room where I keep my computers. The idea is to move the DSL router here and have a much more reliable connection to it.

My weight has been creeping up -- don't like that.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

Ironically, my copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering has gone missing. In the clutter. Probably in the Great Room. I did, however, do a pretty large amount of decluttering in the garage. In the process, I found four boxes of missing Christmas ornaments and, best of all, the box containing my block plane, jack plane, chisels, and soldering irons! I've been looking for that one for over a year.

I was especially happy to find my Oryx 50 Temperature controlled soldering iron, with its home-made stand. The fact that I'd already bought replacements for the planes and the soldering iron doesn't matter -- these were old friends, and I'm happy to be reunited with them.

About the only thing to be happy about. I'll take what I can get.

It's also the start of annual review season; I did the two that were due on Friday, including my self-review. Nothing like a self-review to show me how little I've accomplished this year. And I still have to write up the reunion debacle. I think I spent a lot of this year out of my mind.

Lots of reading, mostly about tiny houses, and lots of nice cat cuddles, mostly from Ticia.

Lots of links in the notes. You know the drill.

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

Well, it's another year. There always seems to be a lot of potential around transitions like this, but it rarely seems to get very far. A lot of my goals for this year are carry-overs from last year. I've been spending too much time beating myself up over things I regret not doing last year (last decade, last quarter-century, ...), many of which simply can't be fixed. I keep screwing myself over, and I don't really understand it. (More on that in a later post, hopefully.)

This does nothing to help with my depression. It may, conceivably, help me fight procrastination. Maybe. I'll start working on that tomorrow.

I have gotten a few more things done in the last 10 days than in most comparable periods in the recent past. A few. Largely reading and research around tiny houses and shipping container houses, and a couple of fun dives into math.

Last weekend Colleen and I celebrated our 40th anniversary by going out twice: for dinner at the Melting Pot Saturday, and brunch at Salty's on Sunday (the actual day). That, at least, was good. It was a good set of mutual gifts to ourselves -- the last thing we need right now is more stuff.

Speaking of which, my book on tidying seems to have gotten lost somewhere in the clutter. Fortunately, I found a different one yesterday at Half Price Books.

Lots of links in the notes, for those of you following along at home.

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

Short week, since I want to close out the year. Not a good year.

Not a particularly bad week, but not all that productive, either. Rather nice New Year's Eve with the Zoo -- four of Emmy's friends who have become friends with Colleen as well. Unfortunately, they live in Tacoma, so they can't come over all that often. Cheese boards for dinner.

More research and reading on tiny houses. This week the main focus was on shipping containers and bus conversions; I also finished reading Mud Ball: 6 weeks, $6000 and Plenty of Dirt. Fun. That was interesting in part because the author was 40 when she built it. Currently reading a blog, 40x28 | Building Our Shipping Container Home -- fun, but those people are a lot younger.

Last night I posted my Year-end Wrap-Up; I think there's more to be said there, but that's a start. A lot to regret, which doesn't come through, and needs more analysis.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

It's been a pretty good week. Feels like a vacation, since it included a short day (Thursday), a WFH day (originally planned for Thursday, but moved up because Colleen needed a second urology appointment on Wednesday), and one day of vacation (which wasn't much of one, since it included Colleen's and my monthly urology and psych appointments respectively.) But ok.

Sunday, I spent the morning on website administration, moving song audio files into a separate directory and fixing a lot of broken links in the process. In the afternoon, Colleen, Naomi, and I went wood shopping (to Rockler, which is pretty much the only place open on Sunday that sells exotic hardwoods). The main reason excuse was to get some wood for a sewing box/ottoman that N wanted to make, for which we scored a nice 10' piece of African mahogany. But along the way, Colleen spotted a gorgeous slice of olivewood. Obviously too expensive.

Naomi and I bought it for her as a surprise Christmas present. We win. It's going to become a little table to sit between the chairs in our bedroom.

My favorite gift was a red fluffy bathrobe from Colleen; N saw it and immediately dubbed me "Gandalf the Maroon".

Food was good, too. Christmas Eve BunBun came over; with BF, Chaos, and Alex; and cooked dinner. Christmas Glenn made Roast Beast.

I spent altogether too much time Friday and Saturday on a series of Wikipedia dives and research into tiny houses. But I finally understand the Banach–Tarski paradox. Which is something I've been puzzling over since high school. Nice to get some closure on that.

Lots o' links, as usual.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: A tortoiseshell cat facing the camera (ticia)

So... pretty good week, I guess. Not quite as productive as I would have wanted. Or needed. I did spend some time yesterday upgrading various computers, including some that hadn't been touched in quite a long time. Blackroot, the Thinkpad I took with me from Ricoh, had a Debian partition that was still on Squeeze, so it needed two upgrades. Went ok, though. The plan is to use it upstairs in the bedroom, for those times when I can't or don't want to go downstairs. E.g., cat cuddles.

Did quite a lot of singing Monday morning, for those few people still left in Mom's apartment. Travel was uneventful; I had a full hour to change planes in Midway.

Lots of good snuggle with Colleen and Ticia when I got home. Ticia is an awesome therapy cat.

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

The big event this week was Mom's 95th birthday party (her actual birthday isn't until the 28th). About a year ago, when it was still in the planning stage, she'd asked me to write a song for her. Needless to say, I was blocked. A few weeks ago, all I had were a couple of lines and a vague sketch for the rhyme scheme. I got on the plane Thursday with those two lines on a piece of paper. And no pen.

It actually went more smoothly on the netbook. By the time I got to Mom's I had two verses and the start of a bridge, minus a couple of lines. By Friday night I'd taken out the lines I was stuck on (having decided that trying to rhyme three lines in each vers simply wasn't working), finished the bridge, and added a repeat of the first verse.

The song, Ninety-Five Years, came off surprisingly well.

The plane trip was hard on my back; a hot bath and naproxen helped. (But I had neglected to refill my naproxen bottle, so I'm going to have to get through today and tomorrow on nothing but hot showers and stretches. Ouch.)

I've been having fun catching up with relatives (including several cousins once removed that I didn't even know about), and did a fair amount of singing last night after dinner.

Aside from that, it was a fairly productive week at work (what little there was of it), and I had a good night out with Colleen last Sunday).

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: A tortoiseshell cat facing the camera (ticia)

Note the mood. I try to use the first term that comes into my head, since that's less likely to be overthought and edited. So the combination of Good Drugs and a good cat seems to be working. That, and things going fairly well.

  • I am pretty much over my injuries from my run-in with a sidewalk last Tuesday; I have a referral to ENT to get the nose checked out, since it seems somewhat more congested than it used to.
  • I am a lot less worried about how little Ticia is eating: As you can see in the notes for last Sunday and yesterday, she has gained back some of the weight she lost in the first few weeks, and since she was overweight to begin with, that's good.
  • We have started brainstorming for what we're going to do after I retire (and the household starts bleeding money). Present thinking mostly involves tiny houses, and moving to someplace cheaper after N's kids are out of school.

Lots of links this time. Especially noteworthy are:

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

Rough week physically, so-so mentally. As for the physical, I can do no better than to quote from Tuesday's notes:

Clumsy bear got into a fight with a wet manhole cover and a sidewalk. The manhole cover tripped me and the sidewalk hit me in the face. Lost the fight, but got away quickly enough to escape serious injury. (Slipped, and would probably have recovered except that I tripped over the curb and did a faceplant.)

Hand apparently broke the fall pretty well, but I have some abrasions on knee and forehead, and a fair amount of bruising and a cut on the bridge of my nose. Grump. Ouch. Glasses had their nosepiece bent a little but nothing scratched or broken. Could have been *much* worse.

As it turned out, I had two small breaks in my nose; they showed up on the CAT scan. At this point everything but the nose and the abrasion on my knee have stopped hurting even a little. I got off easy.

Mentally, my current meds appear to be doing their job. I'm worried about Ticia, though. She hasn't been eating much, and has lost weight since we got her. (She was overweight, but still; I don't like it.) She is also still getting into fights with the other cats. On the other hand, she's also endearingly cuddly, especially with me.

The other biggish news is that we got the HELOC to cover the overrun on the remodel. Colleen and I went and signed for it yesterday. Of course, it makes me worry more about finances.

I've done a little practicing; need to do more, especially on the stuff I'm likely to be playing at and around Mom's birthday party.

Lots of links, as usual.

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

Morticia and Cricket have been fighting all week. Ticia is acting scared and skittish, and still isn't eating much. (OTOH she doesn't seem to be starving herself, so I'm not excessively worried.) She continues to sleep with us, though she seems a little shy of people reaching down to pet her.

Went out with Naomi on Sunday (i.e. a week ago) to look at tools and hardwood. Rockler also has CNC mills and laser cutters, in the $5K range. That said, there are some fairly inexpensive kits out there.

Went out for dinner with Colleen Saturday (i.e. yesterday) -- Anthony's in Alderwood Mall. Their menu has acquired quite a lot of variety since the last time we went there.

Did a lot of puttering around the house. The downstairs washer is broken; symptoms indicate the drive belt. Fortunately, the upstairs washer is fast and efficient.

Lots of links in the notes, on a wide range of subjects.

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

I actually got some things done this week. I see from the notes that I forwarded the insurance information to our builders for the downstairs repairs, forwarded a bunch of statements to Sound Credit for the HELOC, took Morticia to the vet (she's healthy), did some system administration (tweaking my ssh config files), and did a fair amount of research around 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC mills (links in the notes, under Saturday).

Ticia still isn't eating well, and still isn't getting along with the household's other cats. On the other hand, she loves belly rubs, sleeping with me and Colleen, and cat treats. (Note the Oxford comma.) More recently, she's gotten to like sitting on my desk -- she's turning into quite a good villain's cat.

p-0 (that's Ticia getting her paw in) Links in the notes.

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mdlbear: A brown tabby cat looking dubiously at a wireless mouse (curio)

Eventful week. After a botched delivery attempt on Sunday, the washer and dryer were finally installed Tuesday morning. I then took the bus up to the U District and met N at Cat City. We can haz cat! Morticia is a lovely 8-year-old tortie; she's friendly, cuddly, and has a very loud purr. Pictures here.

'Ticia also likes music! She was understandably upset when I carried her out to the car from the shelter, but quieted right down when the CD (Heather Dale) came on. Later, she was actually dancing with g. Fun! And she likes sleeping with me and Colleen. Actually, all the cats have done that at one time or another, but 'Ticia seems especially fond of it.

It's been a long time since I listed my mood as "happy", but I did that on Friday in my Thankful Friday post. Cats, it seems, are a very effective antidepressant.

Links in the notes, of course.

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

Home Depot was supposed to have delivered the washer and dryer yesterday. They claim that the truck broke down, and that they will be delivering this morning. We'll see.

OVFF was wonderful, as usual. I even went to the closing jam, and had a great time, mainly because it was loud enough to cover up my many chord flubs. Also of note was Kristoph's guitar workshop, which was mostly about moving chord patterns up and down the neck. He told me that he'd learned about finding the melody in the chords from me, which left me slightly boggled. But... ok. Maybe I am pretty good.

Lots of fun with git yesterday and Friday, splitting up my Lyrics directory to leave only my own songs (plus a couple of PD arrangements) in it. In the process I wrote a Useful Script for making it look like files in subdirectories have always been there, so that their history is complete when you use git filter-branch --subdirectory-filter to make them into their own repositories.

The goal, of course, is to put my lyrics up on GitHub, the way several authors already do with books. It'll be fun.

Moderately productive at work. In part thanks to a nice new set of Bose noise-cancelling headphones, which they're paying for. (Wish I could afford my own set; they're pretty amazing. Though the noise isolating phones I have at home work pretty well, and are better for recording and mixing.)

More links in the notes.

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

Well, "Ship of Stone" didn't win Best Classic Filk Song (again), but it wasn't because of my performance in the Pegasus concert -- I turned in what was probably my best single performance so far. Hopefully I'll be able to post a recording soon. I'm still mildly boggled by the amount of positive feedback I got.

I need to practice more -- the fact that I was able to perform off-book helped a lot. And record. It's time I started working on Amethyst Rose again. Past time.

Not as many conmversations as I'd like, but a few, and a couple of new people. (Whose names I don't remember.)

Uneventful trip. I ended up getting a limo because there wasn't enough room in the van for five people, their luggage, and a scooter. We did manage going to the hotel, thanks to a full-sized SUV rental.

Packing was disorganized; I managed to misplace my laptop charger (in the side pocket behind my folding cane), so I bought an overpriced one in the airport. I don't mind too much; it's one of the new, tiny iGo's that I've had my eye on for a while. It has long enough cords that I can just leave it in the rolly. Next time I need to pack either a lightweight backpack, zippered tote, or sling bag to go under the seat with my laptop, magazines, and snacks; next to the CPAP. (Which gives me a good excuse to put both Rolly and Plink up in the rack.)

On the other hand, having Rolly partly packed ahead of time helped quite a bit; I'll be making that an ongoing practice.

Links in the notes.

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mdlbear: (flamethrower)

Long, stressful week. Monday I posted In Your Arms, about my cat Curio. Yesterday, the washer we'd ordered arrived, for the second time, damaged. (Our old upstairs washer died July 6, for those of you keeping score.) In between I've mostly been working.

I've just finished compiling the timeline for the whole sorry tale of our experiences with Home Depot over the last 3 1/2 months. I'll post it tomorrow. tl;dr: buy appliances from somewhere else.

No word yet about the home equity line of credit I applied for last week; apparently the documents I sent didn't go through because their email system blocks encrypted zip files. Damned if I'll send that stuff in the clear. I'm not optimistic.

Links and so on in the notes.

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

Hmm. It's kind of late, and I haven't updated yet. I also see that many of my daily notes are sketchy, which means I've mostly been working.

I have been doing some home stuff; mainly a long-overdue overhaul of my build system (which, for those who care, is all based on GNU make). And my major accomplishment for the week: writing and posting a Poem: In Your Arms.

The washer installation has been put off again; it is now scheduled for this coming Saturday.

Links in the notes.

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

Reasonably productive at work. Somewhat productive at home. Booked air travel for Mom's birthday (which I was able to pay for with points! Go me.) and OVFF. (Membership and hotel for OVFF were already booked.)

Practiced. Some days not all that much, but every day.

Lots of puttering around the house, but there's still a lot -- mostly paperwork and coordination -- that isn't getting done. Still employed, but worried. When I stop working, whether it's now or in a couple of years, things are going to go to hell very quickly. N and I are starting to brainstorm other things I could do, but it's still not going to be enough to keep things together.

I hate this.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

Slow week? Well, at least I practiced every day -- there's that. I'm rusty, but not as rusty as I was a week ago. So far I've just been working on guitar; my voice hasn't been up to singing after last week's flu. It's about time to start.

A search for rainbow bridge images set me off on a reading binge around SVG, HTML5 and CSS3. Also CSS2, because I had never used much of it. Fun! Plus a talk by, and conversation with, one of our web designers. I obviously have a lot to learn. (Can you tell I'm still worried about my job? I was secondary oncall this week.)

N keeps giving me turtles. And, last night, a gorgeous little print on canvas of a cat that looks just like Curio. (She got one that looks just like Desti, too.)

I bought my OVFF membership and made my hotel reservation. I'll book the flights and request the vacation time today.

Links in the notes.

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

On my way home from work on Monday I started noticing flu symptoms; by evening they were in full force, and I spent the rest of the week working from home. Yesterday I was feeling almost normal modulo a cough, but still too easily tired. Will probably be up for work on Monday. I hope so.

The washer/dryer that Home Depot couldn't install has been hauled away, and the refund is in my account. They shouldn't have left it here in the first place -- we should have refused the shipment and had it taken back. I'm still looking for the repair receipts for the old one; that's probably hopeless.

I didn't go to my 50th high school reunion. Sad about that, but it meant that I'll be able to afford OVFF. And with my case of the flu, I would almost certainly have had to cancel anyway -- I was in no shape to travel. So it goes.

Mostly I've been worried about money. As usual. There's a reason why one of the tags on this post is "Trainwreck". 30 years of lousy financial decisions will do that.

I've been studying CSS and SVG. My website-building skills are basically 20th Century, and need to be brought up to date. Some of the things people are doing with CSS are impressive.

Details and links in the notes.

raw notes, with links )

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