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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)

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: 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: 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: Wild turkey hen close-up (turkey)

There's a lot to be thankful for, here at the end of 2015.

  1. I made it through. We made it through.
  2. I still have the same job I started the year with. I really didn't expect that, in the dark days of May, June, and July. I still don't expect it to last, but I'll take what I can get.
  3. I have pretty good drugs, and a therapist.
  4. It's difficult to express just how grateful I am for my family. Special call-outs to Colleen, whose love has gotten me through some of my darkest days, and Naomi, who somehow managed to talk me back from the edge of a pit of despair and to come up with the off-the-wall practical ideas that will get us through the next decade or so.
  5. Hope.
  6. Rainbow's End. (No thanks to its plumbing, however.)
  7. Tiny houses, and the people who live in them -- and blog about them.
  8. Mom. 95 years young as of Monday.
  9. Curio, who in his too-brief time with us taught me how much I needed a cat, and in the end taught me to cry.
  10. And, finally, I am most fervently grateful that things were not as bad as they could have been.
mdlbear: (river)

Here are last year's goals (I'm too irresolute for resolutions). Let's see how I did.

  1. Music. I'm going to lump recording, songwriting, and making music together, not so much because they're all aspects of the same thing as to give me a goal that I'm more likely to meet parts of. Mostly fail -- I didn't write or sing nearly as much as I wanted to, and didn't record anything at all. But I did write two songs: Windward (in January) and Ninety-Five Years (in December). And I gave a couple of good performances, but stupidly didn't record them.
  2. Writing. I'd settle for one post a week that isn't one of the two scheduled ones, though I'd like to do more. Almost complete failure on this one.
  3. Exercise. Keeping up the walking on weekdays is kind of a minimum; I'd like to walk a little on weekends, and maybe even get my bike back in working order. Between injuries and laziness, even my weekday walking declined. Mostly fail.
  4. Food. As a minimum, get back to serving salad with dinner on most of the days that I cook. Fail.
  5. Software. Get the household intranet back into shape. Finish revising my music-publishing toolchain. Set up a blogging toolchain. Bring my websites into the 21st Century, maybe. Write that HTML5-based lyrics app that I've been thinking about. OK, that's at least five sub-goals; six if you figure that the app and maybe the websites will require getting profficient in Javascript. I'll give myself 45% on this one: the household's network is back, including internal DNS. The music-publishing toolchain works pretty well, and it's part of a complete make-based toolchain that's been revamped from top to bottom. I did a fair amount of research into HTML5 and CSS, but didn't actually get anything deployed.
  6. Organization. Do more of my 15min items, get my taxes filed on time, and hack my way through the piles of envelopes on my desk and the piles of boxes in the garage. Stick to my damned budget, now that I have one. Hmm. I think I met this one. The garage clean-up was a side-effect of turning 3/4 of it into a second master suite. Taxes got done, my budget was stuck to, and I ended the year no more in debt than I started it. The piles of mail are pretty-much gone -- as of yesterday. Did I mention that I procrastinate? Might have to make that a goal for next year.
  7. Health. This is a stretch goal, but I need to do something about my depression. Or whatever it is. Find help. This was another win. After a harrowing six months or so, I finally got help in the form of regular sessions with a therapist, got my depression more or less under control (thanks to the above plus Good Drugs), and I lost on the order of 15 pounds. (On the other hand, the initial weight loss was a side effect of the severe anxiety over the effect my depression and procrastination were having on my work.)

It's been a harrowing year. Between injuries, some of which could have been fatal (I'm including the rest of the household here, but my nose-dive into a sidewalk definitely counts); months of depression that, in retrospect, could also have been fatal; the death of a beloved pet; and five figures worth of repairs to Rainbow's End -- well, let's just say that I won't be sorry it's over.

What got us through it was the love and mutual support we have for one another, scary amounts of money, and a great deal of help. But we got through it. We got through as a family. There were times when I honestly didn't expect to. But here we are, at the end of another year.

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: 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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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

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

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

Lots of good links in the notes.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: (rose)

This was the sixteenth Father's Day without my Dad. I miss him a lot.

It was also the sixteenth Mother's Day without Colleen's mom, whose birthday was yesterday.

And our old house in San Jose is on the market.

On the whole it's been a good weekend for nostalgia, but I'm not in the greatest of shape emotionally, even with antidepressants and alexithymia, and more cat cuddles than usual. Please bear with me.

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

Not a lot going on. I've been mildly depressed, so basically not wanting to do anything but sleep, eat, work, and read. You will observe that making phone calls, paying bills, and getting ready to do my taxes are not on that list, which adds anxiety to the depression.

All is not entirely bleak -- I did get the mac mini fired up so I can run the tax software on it, and I got a few boxes emptied in the garage. And Colleen and I went out to lunch (Mexican) on Wednesday on the way back from the dentist, and to dinner last night (Salty's, a seafood place on Alki Beach that we'd been wanting to try). Salty's was pricey, but good, and they had oysters.

On the gripping hand, I managed to destroy another of our non-stick pans, by leaving the burner on after serving myself. Unlike a gas stove, where leaving the burner on is immediately obvious, it isn't on this one. So that sucks.

Our van got a "move it or else" ticket Friday, so most of yesterday afternoon was spent jump-starting it, driving over to the dealer in Issaquah, and taking the bus home. Our usual dealer, in Lake City, doesn't have a service department that's open Saturdays. So... Anyway, I'm not going to count that as either a positive or a negative -- it was a hassle, and it's going to come out somewhere north of a grand to do all the work, but it needed doing.

The usual collection of links.

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

Hey, it's Thursday! Today I'm thankful for...

  • A well-timed first paycheck, with welcome sign-on bonus. I'll have to save most of it; I'll probably need it for taxes.
  • Paid vacation.
  • Cats, and especially Curio-snuggles.
  • Kitties and bears and goats, oh my!
  • My younger daughter's new boyfriend. I love seeing her happy.
  • 38 wonderful years, as of tomorrow.
  • A party here on Saturday. See the Rainbow's End site for directions.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Last week we celebrated our first Christmas in Rainbow's End -- Colleen, me, and both of our kids; Naomi, Glenn, and her kids. The pile of presents under the tree was impressive. We never did find the ornaments, lights, and stockings from the apartment -- they must be there someplace. In a box.

Afterwards a succession of friends and relatives came by. Fun, and cozy. I set up the old TV in the Great Room (where the fireplace used to be), and put on a fireplace video (from YouTube, of course). Eventually we'll move the screen up to the master bedroom. The new one is a 38" Westinghouse that Office Max had on sale for an improbably low price the week before last.

It was also my first paid Christmas in Seattle -- I started work as a full-time employee at Amazon on Monday. This meant a week's worth of breaking in a new laptop (easy, since I don't use Windows for much of anything) and desktop (hard, because persuading Ubuntu to play nice with a guest VM turns out to be non-trivial, especially if, like me, you prefer focus-follows-mouse and raise-on-focus.

I also made reservations at The Herbfarm. And, last night, reservations at the Willows Lodge next door, since I finally figured out that I'd be in no shape to drive home after a 9-course dinner with wine. Pricey, but it looks wonderful. It's still cheaper than a weekend at a con, with hotel and meals. Which is kind of scary. Hmm.

We finished off the week with last night's concert at Wayward Coffeehouse -- Sunnie Larsen, Betsy Tinney, and Kaide Tinney. Fun! We went to the Indian restaurant next door for dinner.

... and some lovely cat cuddles with Curio when I was awake at 4am and couldn't get back to sleep. I am so pwned.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

Somehow it feels as though I haven't been doing very much lately, and a glance at my notes for the week tends to support this. There has, nevertheless, been some progress cleaning up and organizing the house, and I went out for a shopping expedition with Colleen yesterday. Six car transfers, which is exhausting for both of us. (For me because they involve getting the scooter in and out of the trunk.)

She had a blast, though -- our first stop was Metropolitan Market, a high-end grocery store that she'd never been in before. Cheshire Cat heaven. We also went to Staples, intending to buy her a chromebook to replace her ageing Dell mini, but ended up with a Samsung Galaxy Tab III instead. It's about 2/3 the weight, and with Android instead of Chrome OS it has more apps available.

The only two downsides are that it was about $100 more expensive, and that now I want one too. :P

This was Colleen's first shopping trip since she broke her ankle back in May; it's a huge step for her.

My big news for the week is that my offer from Amazon came through on Monday, just after I got back from a good morning of interviews at the Seattle Times. It was high enough that I was able to give the Times a definite "no". Tough choice -- that could have been a fun job. But it could also have been a disaster: a job I was barely qualified for, at comparatively low pay, in a dying industry, at a privately-held company with a recent history of near-100% turnover. Did I mention that I'm risk-averse and have low self-confidence? Right.

Meanwhile, of course, Google came out of the woodwork wanting to schedule interviews, and Socrata pushed the possibility of interviews out far enough into January that it wouldn't have been feasible. It never rains but it pours, which seems like a particularly apt maxim for Seattle.

The intermittent scraping noise on the Honda finally became continuous last Sunday. After a somewhat harrowing trip up to fetch Chaos I took a look and found that a big plastic piece had come loose. Easy fix with the Wolfling's aviation snips. It'll need to be replaced, but it's not critical. The Honda's due for its 140K service soon.

The van's battery isn't holding a charge. So that needs to be added to its growing repair list.

The YD passed her catering class, and has decided to set herself up as specialist in gluten-free and related niche markets. Her gluten-free Russian tea cakes last week were spectacular, and the sour cream sugar cookies she made for N's work holiday party (today) included 2 dozen GF ones. I can attest to their yumminess.

We are still missing about three boxes of Christmas lights and ornaments. We did find our artificial tree, and a box of plastic ornaments -- because cats. Tipping the thing over seems to have cured Curio of perching in it, so it now seems comparatively cat-safe.

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

Hmm. Is tonight's major psychological breakthrough the fact that I'm feeling contented, or the fact that I actually noticed it?

My major news for the week is definitely that I had an interview for going full time at Amazon. And scheduled an interview and a phone screen for tomorrow. One way or another, I expect to spend the next few years as a full-time employee. Somewhere.

My major news. THE major news is Nelson Mandela's death. Sadness.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

All in all a pretty eventful week. Not clear whether the big event was Thanksgiving -- which the YD did much of the work for, thankfully -- or Colleen moving upstairs. And I did a huge amount of puttering around the latter, including (in no particular order) a lot of laundry, installing grab bars, moving the support pole, folding up the couch and putting the carpet back down, and no doubt a lot of thngs I've forgotten.

Some of our king-sized sheets appear to have gone missing. Grump. But it's really nice to be back in our own bed, in our own bedroom. Wow.

Hmm. More visits with Uncle Ken, Susan, and company, including dinner at a local pizza joint called Talarico, where we met Susan's daughters. She hasn't met Chaos yet.

Some good links in the notes.

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

High point of the week: Colleen managed a car transfer in her PT appointment on Tuesday, so we scheduled a drive for Saturday. It was lovely. We spent nearly two hours in the Honda, driving around West Seattle, with me pointing out the sights. First long drive together in ages. Half a year at least.

Also yesterday morning, I was awakened by the doorbell. When I come to the door at some insane hour of the morning and see a woman holding a book, the first thing I think of is not long-lost relative. But it was, in fact, my cousin Susan, who lives here in Seattle. Her father, Dad's brother Kenneth, is visiting for Thanksgiving; he came later with her husband Dan. So... yay!

We exchanged phone numbers, so she can call ahead next time. We'll definitely have to get together a couple more times this week while Uncle Ken is still here.

I was a Useful Bear last weekend; I finally got around to installing new showerheads, and the adjustable shower-cum-grab-bar that's been sitting around since April or so. It was taking forever to drill through the tile in the shower stall, so I went down to Home Despot Sunday morning and picked up a Ryobi hammer drill and some new bits. Never did get around to trying the hammer feature (which works best on concrete and brick -- I'll be needing that this weekend), but tile/glass bits and a lower speed setting made all the difference.

I need to walk more. I did manage a couple of walks over the course of the week, and my walking speed seems to be up a little (probably thanks to the daily trek to and from the bus stop), but it really isn't enough. My weight has also gone up, in spite of being back on BP meds. Grumph.

I have set the wheels in motion for an interview loop at Amazon; I'm hoping to interview at a couple of other places as well, though that's by no means certain.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

Dad never talked about his experiences in WWII. I found out from his obituary that he had run radar operations in England.

(eta) Thanks, Dad

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

So I came out (last) Friday morning to discover that the van's driver-side side mirror was missing -- apparently somebody had driven by and scraped it off. Growf. Came out this morning to find the battery dead, but that's another blog post.

In spite of that, I discovered that my mood was unexpectedly good on Friday. No idea why. It apparently lasted for a couple of days. I also seem to be bouncing back pretty quickly from back stress; that's a good thing, too.

Saturday we had Rainbow's End's first official party, organized by Emmy. Went very well, though we could have used more people. Fun! Our chili went over pretty well, but I'm thinking that maybe we should do Stone Soup next time.

We decided to drop Orycon this year -- Colleen simply isn't ready for travel.

I started using my phone's exercise app again (CardioTrainer). I *really* need to lose weight. So far it's not working.

... and the big news -- we got the "final" version of Naomi's website (delivered on CDROM -- how 20th Century!), and I put it up: Welcome to Rainbow's End Massage. It needed a few tweaks (and still does), and I had to email her designer to get the (Adobe Illustrator) source for the images. It still doesn't show up on Google (though the designer's test site does :P); I'm hoping that a couple of blog links will help in that regard.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

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

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

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

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

Quote of the week:

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

A few good links in the notes.

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An eventful couple of weeks. Also stressful.

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

G is officially the Cat Whisperer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links, as usual, down in the notes.

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

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

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

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

Other good links amongst the notes, as usual.

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

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

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

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

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mdlbear: (poly-heart)

Almost a week. Starting out rather rough: the YD was injured in a near-accident on the bus on Monday, Colleen had an endoscopy appointment on Wednesday (mine is this week), and in between I was very stressed and close to overload. This makes bears grumbly. Grumble.

On the other paw, the house gets closer and closer to reality. It's going to be a strange household -- strange even by Seattle polyamorous fandom standards, I suspect -- but it'll work. It'll work precisely because of its strangeness. Hmm. That really wants a separate post, doesn't it?

It's not something I ever expected. Living with kids younger than my younger brother's grandkids? Taking on over half a megabuck in debt when I'm old enough to retire? Am I crazy? Of course. And I have the prescriptions to prove it.

Quite a few excellent links, spanning much of the Space Marine kerfuffle.

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Good grief! I need to do these more often. Geekfest! New laptop at work! Fire alarms from burnt toast.

Gotta say more about that last one. Somebody in our apartment building burned their toast, then opened the door to the hallway, setting off the building's fire alarm. I was already on the bus to work; the YD and Colleen dressed hastily and headed downstairs. Elevators don't work in fires. So Colleen parked her scooter and, with a neighbor's encouragement, walked down three flights of stairs to the door, and plunked herself down in a conveniently-placed half-barrel flowerpot.

Well, she is the Flowercat, after all. I'm extremely proud of her.

Probably ought to mention the new lappy, too. It's a top-of-the-line 15" macbook pro, huge, fast, and impressively quiet. What it doesn't have is a place to attach a lock cable, so I have to take it home every night. Which, in turn, means that I've had to work out a way of using it that doesn't involve having to re-establish all my multiple desktops worth of context every morning. The best thing I've hit on so far is to set up a virtual Linux box, and run it full-screen on my large monitor. Outlook and a small number of other things run on the mac screen.

We've also had guests in the apartment. We like having guests -- ping if you want to come over; it's usually possible, given a little notice.

And among other good news, my handicap parking violation was dismissed, since I was able to prove that I do have the placard. Stupid thing had fallen off the mirror.

And the Mayan calendar rolled over, with even less fuss than when the Gregorian one rolled over a dozen years ago.

A few annoyances, mostly health related.

I've been sleeping a lot more than I want to. Annoying. I've also been gaining weight; that may be due to my going off my diuretic. Also annoying. The ongoing dental work is also annoying. And expensive.

Some -- many? -- of the annoyances are self-inflicted. I've been applying so much of my attention to work that pretty much everything else has suffered. At least the need to clear space for guests and a tree has forced me to clear out some boxes.

Links and details in the notes, as usual. Some pretties, some very moving stuff... The usual. This is your mind on the web.

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While I was on the bus to work I got an unexpected call from the YD, saying that the fire alarm in our apartment building had gone off.

Colleen parked her scooter in the third-floor elevator lobby and walked down the three flights of stairs to the exit, between the first and second floors. Whereupon she plunked herself down in a half-barrel planter (next to the door and conveniently empty) to await developments.

It turned out that someone had burnt their toast, then opened the door to the hallway. I got the news before the bus reached its first stop in Seattle, which saved me the trouble of figuring out whether to turn back.

The neighbor who had gone downstairs with Colleen, encouraging her all the way, went back and retrieved her scooter. The YD, too, kept her head and made sure to take her keys and Colleen's cane along.

More adventure than we needed, but it's good to know that Colleen can get downstairs under her own power in an emergency.

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

We had eight people for Thanksgiving -- the three residents, Naomi and her kids, and Chaos and her BF. I made the turkey; the kids and Chaos peeled the potatoes, the YD cut them up, I mashed them, and Colleen made the dressing. The YD had made pumpkin pie the night before. Yum. We have a fridge full of leftovers; a 20-lb bird, a huge bowl of dressing, and a 10-lb bag of potatoes will do that. That's ok.

We do have to remember that the turkey takes more like 10 minutes/lb when it's not stuffed. I used the meat thermometer and cooked it to 165; there were a cuple of spots that were just barely not umdercooked, but it was all tender and juicy.

Gratitude in the next post.

Having to squeeze 8 people into the living room made for a good excuse for cleaning. I put several boxes of books onto shelves, and stacked the remaining boxes (mostly not books) along the walls, with only a smallish tower left standing at the end near the desk. We set up our folding chairs, and it worked.

I worked 3 hours from home yesterday, which was enough to compensate for the time I took off Monday for a dentist appointment, but not for the two days' worth of unpaid vacation. :(

Working from home will get easier, now that I have the RSA software token working for VPN access. It uses Wine, but the app works, so I'm not complaining. VPN isn't working yet, because I neglected to bring home the how-to documents. but I'm hopeful.

I've been sleeping altogether more than I'd like, and not all that well. Thursday night especially -- I crashed a little before 10pm, woke up at 1:30 with my left knee painfully locked up and covered with sweat; went back to sleep and didn't get up until 9. Apparently I needed the sleep.

My Nexus 7 arrived Wednesday, and was waiting for me when I got home. Cool. A little heavy, and I'm not certain it's going to be readable enough to serve as a phone book, but definitely a slick piece of gear. I'm loving the soft keyboard, which combines click and swipe action; I'm going to install the backport on my phone.

That reminds me; I still have to upgrade the phone to Android 4.0 (ICS).

I really should spend the rest of the day sorting stacks of paper, some of which is important. Donwanna.

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When we left our intrepid, if somewhat reluctant, adventurer he was in the process of moving in to his new apartment in Lake Forest Park. (When the rest of the family arrived on Tuesday it somewhat inevitably acquired the name North Starport; the only other serious contender was Starport North, but that doesn't have the built-in pun that justifies the new URL.)

Tuesday the 3rd was busy. I had an interview at Facebook (that resulted in a rejection, and a severely dented passenger-side front door thanks to a concrete post in the parking garage) in the morning, came back to Shoreline for some badly-needed rehearsal time, then down to Seatac to pick up Colleen and the YD at the airport.

That's when I found out that Colleen was en route to the ER, having gashed her leg on a closing fire-door coming out of the jetway. GLEEP! (And someone dinged the front bumper of my car in the Lowes parking lot.) By the time we finally got everybody back to the apartment and got settled in, I was pretty thoroughly frazzled.

Internet turned on sometime Tuesday as well; it was supposed to have been the previous Thursday, but I'd given them the street number of the office rather than of the building. Oops. But at least I could be frazzled with a live net connection.

I'd brought up quite a lot of stuff in the van, but there were still some omissions. Like, a phone cable and a computer power cord. Minor -- I made do quite well with the netbook, though stuff like posting on DW went by the wayside. Oh, and pillows. I borrowed a set from the Wolfling, who stayed with us in the apartment Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Tuesday evening we had dinner with Chaos and her new BF, Rabbit (James).

Wednesday we made our expedition to Central Market. Thursday we had dinner with Naomi and her kids, then made our way to the Seatac Doubletree for Westercon.

Saturday was my concert. Formal setlist and recordings later, one hopes; for now, the set was The Fox, As You See, Wheelin, The River, Riverheart, Boom Gone To Bust, Kitchen Heroes, and Inherit the Earth. The first half was something of a minor trainwreck, but I felt good about the second half.

A few good conversations at the con; nothing very deep, but people are glad to see us moving up to the area.

Monday was a full day of interviews at Google's Seattle office. I really hope I get that one.

Yesterday noonish we set out for finally set out for home. Old home? The apartment -- and the PNW -- is already starting to feel a lot like home. There's nothing like a couple of drives through the desert to make one long for a place where it's cool and moist a lot of the time.

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See music: "... and I'm five hundred miles from my home." Actually more like 800. San Jose; Logan, Utah; and Lake Forest Park, Wa are at the vertices of an 800-mile equilateral triangle, more or less. Sunday the 24th I headed out toward Logan for my brother's wedding. Fortunately, I don't mind driving.

The wedding itself was Tuesday, with no less than seven granddaughters serving as flower-girls. Fun! Wednesday afternoon was devoted to a hike, with many of the grand-kids. Glad I'd packed my hiking boots.

Thursday the 28th, after having breakfast with the family (Mom paid for it), I set out on the second leg of the trip, up I84 and I82 through western Idaho and eastern Oregon and Washington to Shoreline and Lake Forest Park - a particularly pleasant drive, all through places I hadn't been before.

I arrived at the new apartment 2ish and unloaded, and finally made it to Naomi's at 4pm, just in time for a phone interview with EnergySavvy. And the Friday before the trip was a phone interview with Google, which went well enough for them to schedule me an on-site this last Monday. I'll get to that in the next installment.

Oh, and while I was traveling, I was juggling calls from moving companies coming in to give us estimates on the move. (We eventually went with one of the more expensive bids because it seemed to be the most competent and thorough.)

Lots of links in the notes, along with assorted travel notes.

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mdlbear: (river)

It's going to be a bit of a wild ride here on the River. I seem to have been drifting for a long time. (I know, I've always viewed my journey downriver as a walk along the bank, but I can damned well mix my own metaphor if I want to.)

And I know that most of what I've written about under this tag has been relationships, friendship, and the care and feeding of geeks. But every once in a while, you have to change direction. And it's happening now.

Grand Central Starport is full of boxes now -- we're moving in less than two months. (How much less is, at present, a matter for some speculation.) I'm also changing jobs. What job I'm changing to is, at present, also a matter for speculation.

I believe I've mentioned alexithymia. I have it -- a difficulty detecting and identifying emotions and other mental states. I believe what's going on now is a mixture of anxiety and stress, mostly. And although I'm getting better at identifying and dealing with anxiety, stress is another matter.

Guess I'm going to learn.

I'm not sure exactly what went into the decision to move from the Bay Area to the Seattle area; economics (cost of living's 25% less) was only part of it. And certainly the fact that I have family and close friends there was a factor. But I don't think that's all of it. Both Colleen and I were ready for a change. Big change. As I said, we'd been drifting. 36 years in the same house, 19 years in the same job... one gets stale, somehow. Complacent.

And, yes, I've always taken the hobbit's view of adventures -- "Nasty, uncomfortable things. Make you late for dinner." It takes a certain amount of concentration to look at that big bend in the river coming up and look forward to finding out what's around it.

The house is full of boxes; we're moving from 1850 square feet of house and 1600 of garage, to a two-bedroom apartment (and some storage in Naomi's garage). The bookshelves have been ravaged. There's an apartment waiting for us in Lake Forest Park, empty of everything but major appliances and potentiality. Potential energy, soon to become kinetic energy.

Is that white water up ahead?

mdlbear: (bday song)
... to my nephew [livejournal.com profile] asavitzk!!!! Have a great one!!!
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I spent the morning working on my resume, adding to the projects and publications lists, and expanding some of the more interesting projects. And I finally made an HTML version of the resume, though the formatting leaves something to be desired.

I'd originally been planning to spend the afternoon at Stanford, at the memorial for my old professor John McCarthy. But when I signed up for that I'd neglected the fact that it was the YD's 20th birthday. So instead, we went shopping at Target (we'd given her a gift card) and out to dinner at Kobe.

In between, Colleen and I went out for a two-mile st/roll. The scooter started running dangerously low on power about 3/4 of the way through, so I went home by myself and fetched the car to retrieve her. The scooter isn't in terribly good shape; I'm glad we're getting a new one.

In the evening, I started moving stacks of cookbooks to the card table. Colleen promptly rebuilt the stack with a second round of culling. And that's just cookbooks!

Linky: Record Heat Wave Grips US. But Is It Climate Change? Cute little video about trend vs. variation.

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mdlbear: (flowers for you)
...to my lovely wife [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat!!!!!!! Have a great one, love!!!!
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Yesterday was a pretty good day, despite some setbacks. I got a little "carpentry" done in the morning, making a back-spacer for Colleen's recliner to keep it the right distance from the bookshelves. The necessary 30" looked shockingly far, but was of course exactly right. I had measured it, after all.

Then we went up to San Francisco, to visit the DeYoung Museum, which the YD wants for her art history class. She is, finally, getting interested in going to museums. Naturally, the DeYoung is closed on Mondays, never mind the fact that it's a holiday. Headdesk. Fortunately, the California Academy of Sciences is right next door (ok, across the concourse, but in any case close enough). It turns out that the YD had never been to a planetarium! Never been interested in going, before, but she loved it.

I managed to lose the parking-lot ticket, so it cost $25 for parking. In addition to making me feel particularly stupid for having put the ticket in the same pocket as my phone.

We took Highway 1 down to Half Moon Bay; a pleasant drive that we don't do very often. There's a fish market just after the turn onto 92, where I picked up some ahi tuna, which we had as sashimi for a late lunch when we got home. The guy at the counter also sold me three more chunks, at a reduced price, which I'd been planning to use for dinner. When dinner time came, though, they tasted "off" and didn't smell all that good; I dumped them and made sausages instead.

I spent the rest of the evening kind of zoned out and apathetic, though I did do some more reading in The Language of Emotions. It's fascinating, but difficult, and I can't tell whether it's just my alexithymia making it difficult, or whether it's totally bogus. One of the things I'm having trouble with is her notion of "boundaries", which is absolutely central to to all of the visualization work the book is based on. She actually equates it with "aura". It doesn't seem to be all that closely related to what Wikipedia says about "personal boundaries":

Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for him- or herself what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how he or she will respond when someone steps outside those limits.

... which it also distinguishes from "personal space". And McLaren doesn't. So...

I understand personal space, sort of, I think, but either version of "personal boundaries" seems to be a concept I have trouble grasping. That probably needs to be a full-bore River post at some point.

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Some days I just don't get a whole lot done, I guess. It was actually pretty productive at work, and I left late in case I was needed during a server upgrade.

Colleen and the YD got in even later -- they had gone to the San Francisco Zoo and taken the long way home. It pleases me no end that Colleen is getting out of the house more lately.

I was able to get in a little more practice in the morning, and worked out the tentative setlist (songs, not order) for my Conflikt Consonance concert over a lunchtime IM session with Naomi. (2 weeks from tonight -- eep!) I seem to have picked up Naomi's habit of theming concerts. No walk, but I don't feel particularly bad about that; I don't want to overdo it with my hips still on the edge of hurting.

Today's link, via a review in LWN, is Open Advice: "a knowledge collection from a wide variety of Free Software projects. It answers the question what 42 prominent contributors would have liked to know when they started so you can get a head-start no matter how and where you contribute." It's a free download licensed CC-BY-SA; you can also buy a paper copy.

I really like the fact that the "download" section includes a get source link pointing to the LaTeX on GitHub.

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Hmm. Mixed. Distinctly mixed. Had bagels and lox for brunch (well, actually, Colleen had bagels and lox, I had my lox on a gluten-free "English" muffin, and the YD had hers neat. Then we headed up to San Francisco, intending to go to the DeYoung Museum, which the YD needed to visit for her art history class.

The parking lot was full, and most entrances to Golden Gate Park were blocked; there must have been something going on there. So we fell back to Plan B: the Cantor Museum at Stanford. The Cantor has a huge collection of Rodin sculptures; I love it. Colleen and I had a blast.

The YD was bored. And unfortunately, I misinterpreted her sitting down and saying "I'm done" as meaning *"done with the museum" rather than "done with this gallery", so Colleen and I left her there while we explored the upstairs. This proved to have been a big mistake; she was in tears at having been abandoned.

We took her out to dinner, partly as compensation, and partly because I was starving and didn't want to cook. We went to Jasmine, our favorite local Chinese place. We hadn't been there in several months; they seem to have a new chef and a slightly different menu. Yum.

But I didn't get much else done. A little work toward replacing the audio on the Conflikt concert page with a better recording, but didn't actually get it done. Blarg.

I also found out that the Westercon 65 web site is out of date and woefully short on contact information. Anyone out there know who I should contact about a filk concert gig? (Hint: not Rick Weiss; that's part of the "out of date" thing.)

A few links in the notes.

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mdlbear: (nike)

Most of the afternoon was taken up with a couple of outings: first to the AT&T store with Colleen and the YD, then to Santana Row with Colleen. The women got new Android phones; I didn't because none of the Death Star's phones have Ice Cream Sandwich yet. (I now know that the HTC Vivid and Samsung Galaxy S II will definitely get upgraded. Recommendations? Other things being equal I think I'd go for the Samsung, but there's a $100 difference between the two. Worth it?)

The trip to Santana Row (local very-upscale shopping street) was less successful; my hips were hurting pretty badly. Got home, took ethanol and naproxen, and decided not to go out for a walk today.

Lots of links. Playing Black Sabbath on Tesla coils with an iron guitar, standing in a Faraday suit may have to stand in for this week's Songs for Saturday.

STUNNING: When a Single Image Cuts to the Core of an American Injustice is simply infuriating: there are 24 empty houses for every homeless person in the US.

And this video -- "What Breast Cancer is, and is not" -- is a MUST SEE. Really. Mind-bogglingly good. Cue verse 2 of Quiet Victories, and tip your hat to a very brave woman.

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mdlbear: (sparkly rose)

As of noonish today (I forget the exact time), Colleen and I will have been married for 37 years. She's fond of adding "... and we haven't killed each other yet!"

Happy anniversary, Love.

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

A good, quiet day. After taking the [personal profile] chaoswolf to the airport, I woke Colleen a little after 8am so we could watch the Rose Parade. Some amazing stuff this year.

We went out around 3:30 on a shopping expedition that ultimately turned into a drive through downtown Los Gatos, Saratoga, Los Altos, and Menlo Park, ending with dinner in Iberia. We arrived a couple of minutes before it opened, on what turned out to be a very slow day, so we got excellent service to go with the excellent food. So we had our 37th anniversary dinner a day early.

Today's link is for computer geeks, woodworkers, and artists: Jeffrey Stephenson's handmade wooden computer cases. I've been admiring this guy's work for a long time.

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Odd day. I had an extremely satisfying morning at work, building the pjsua command line SIP user agent/softphone and verifying that it actually works with the hardware we're planning to use for our demo in late January. $BOSS was my assistant; he's thrilled. I'm relieved -- this close to retirement age I kinda have to keep pulling miracles out of my hat to stay employed.

I also noticed a newish (mid-2010, as it turned out) MacBook on $BOSS's desk; it had been intended for the new hire who turned us down and went to Microsoft a few weeks ago. Since my old one is ancient and obsolete, this was a major win for me. I spent the afternoon configuring it. Which was tedious in the extreme -- see the notes for details.

Macs still feel somewhat toy-like to me. Apple's keyboards have always been pretty horrid compared to IBM's, and the one-button UI gives the impression of having been dumbed-down for newbies. I mean, it's great marketing, but if you've been using computers professionally for the last half-century, ...

I spent most of the evening splitting up Tempered Glass's next-to-last practice session, so we'd have something to remember it by. I still need to do the last session, and I think there may be some concerts back there that need work. Note that the practice sessions will not be going up on the web -- at least, not yet, and maybe not ever. Nostalgic bear.

After that, I let the kids introduce me to Munchkin Cthulhu. Fun! I can see how that can be an addictive game.

When it finally wound down around 1am I did a little more Perl hacking to fix problems in the concert rendering, and remembered somewhat belatedly that pseudoephedrine is a stimulant. Well, it's better than not breathing.

raw notes )
mdlbear: (ubuntu-hello-cthulhu)

Gnomes ate my Sunday. Gnome 3, actually. Upgrading my old netbook to Ubuntu 11.04 had gone so well that I fooishly told Colleen that I'd upgrade hers "Sunday morning before [she] gets up." Yeah, right. There were three big flaws in this:

  • Colleen's netbook is a Dell mini-10; Kat's is a mini-10v. Different video. It didn't correctly identify the screen size.
  • So, based on the fact that Kat loved the shiny new Gnome 3 UI, I went ahead and upgraded to 11.10, and left it happily loading away while we went to brunch at El Torito (one of Kat's faves). When we got back I discovered that Colleen hated Gnome 3, and it still didn't recognize the screen size.
  • After restoring gnome-panel for the old Gnome 2 UI, that's when I found out that the new mail program, Thunderbird, didn't automatically migrate her email from evolution. And that evolution, which was still around, crashed on startup.

So I dropped back to 11.04 which at least had a more familiar configuration (but still had the problem of evolution crashing), and did some frantic googling to find out how to install the proper video driver and which index files to blow away so that evolution could recreate them with the proper format. And, along the way, how to configure gnome-panel in Gnome 3 (which turns out to require alt-right-click to bring up the menus, instead of right-click). :P

Then I went to bed, because it was 11:30pm.

Much of the afternoon was taken up by a shopping trip with the Wolfling, mostly to REI (luggage and camping gear) and AT&T (getting her phone, which hasn't been charging properly, looked at). Also Fry's and Office Max, but they didn't have what I was looking for there. It was a lot of fun, though. We ended up getting Kat an REI membership of her own, to take advantage of the additional 30% discount (on one REI-logo item per member).

Despite the frustrations it was a pretty good day, and I greatly enjoyed having the whole family together. We're a weird bunch, and I like that.

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

The house feels better with a Chaoswolf in it -- she arrived yesterday at about 11:30; we had bagels and smoked salmon for brunch.

After dinner (carnitas, using the pork shoulder that I'd put in the crock pot the night before), we went out to the Golden Bough concert. Fun, as always. We've gone to the last 20 or so out of 22. So, yes, the YD has been going all her life.

Other than that... Well, I did take a walk, and do some practicing. So that's a win.

Link sausage: Why Steampunk (still) Matters

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

A moderately productive day at work, I'd say. And fairly productive at home -- I figured out how to squash both comforters, my clothes, and my meds into my Travelpro suitcase. Even with vacuum compression bags and the expansion zipper, it's a very tight fit. But it'll work. I hope.

I also took a walk, somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5 miles. A little on the cold side.

The YD's Undesirable Boyfriend finally took the plea bargain he was offered months ago -- he got a month in jail and two years probation. Probably the first sensible thing he's done all year.

The Older Daughter got a 92% on her latest math quiz. Very proud of her. Math's always been her weak point, but I've long suspected that it's due more to lack of self-confidence than to lack of ability.

As for links... Is Sitting Too Long a Major Cancer Risk? Probably.

raw notes )

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