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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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

raw notes, with links )
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.

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

Fairly productive this week. Still feels like I'm getting farther and farther behind.

Lots of network administration -- I now have all three of the household's routers upgraded to dd-wrt. By the way, the fact that now Microsoft pushes Windows 10 upgrade to PCs without user consent gives you yet another reason to upgrade your computer to Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

Emmy had some lovely 4x6 prints made of "cat and mouse", and I finally got Curio's Rainbow Bridge page to a state where I don't mind posting the link. I cried while I was working on it. (This is not a bad thing, on the whole. Tears are better than being numb.)

More links in the notes.

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

This week was marked by total failure to get our new washer/dryer installed. Also total failure to find the breaker that controls the outlet, so that I could re-install the 30A outlet that it had originally. In order to get the damned thing installed we would have had to remove the stairlift rail. Not happening. Two different crews tried. I suspect that a team of house-movers might have been able to do it. We'll get in touch with Home Depot on Tuesday (the appropriate person is gone for Labor Day weekend) and work out a swap.

I'm still employed, and have both help and a plan for the missing piece of $LATE_PROJECT. I still screwed up badly.

I got a new hard drive to replace the one with bad sectors in Nova, but haven't done the transfer yet. It's less urgent now that I've moved the files containing the bad blocks aside.

In other network news, I have DNS up (after much procrastination). The household's domain is, of course, "rainbows.end". Fortunately, ".end" isn't a valid TLD. (This morning I installed my spare router, running DD-WRT, in place of the stock Netgear that I couldn't persuade to serve more than one name server from DHCP.)

I still don't feel as though I'm getting much done. I am starting to work through (CCI) Put Off Procrastinating! -- CCI is an awesome resource.

Links and details in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

The concert itself was spectacular.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We will still need a loan.

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

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

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

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

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

Some interesting reading -- links in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links in the notes.

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

Bad week. Everything is falling apart at once.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links and more in the notes, as usual.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lots of good links in the notes:

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

Mixed. Very mixed. Mostly bad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links and details in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

More links in the notes.

raw notes, with links )

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links and more in the notes.

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

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

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

Help! I'm being attacked by vicious circles!

Links, and more, in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

Links in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The music afterwards was also pretty amazing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links in the notes as usual.

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

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

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

Links in the notes as usual.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: (tsunami)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

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

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

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

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

Lots of good links in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

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

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

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

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

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

raw notes, with links )
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 )

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