Page Summary

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

On the whole a pretty good week, as it turns out. Busy and often frustrating at work, but things finally came together Friday afternoon and the service I've been working on seems to be working correctly. Pieces are falling into place all over.

Last Sunday I made pasta sauce from scratch, using pretty much my Mom's recipe only with turkey Italian sausage and no bell peppers. Tomatoes from our garden. The Roma bush, especially, has been insanely productive.

On a whim I did some research on statins and grapefruit juice -- it turns out that the study that showed bad interactions involved the equivalent of over 2l/day. So I've been avoiding grapefruit for no good reason all these years.

Yesterday I spent puttering, mostly around Colleen's sewing corner in the Great Room. Colleen had expressed an interest in sorting through boxes, so I brought up a couple. I also moved her sewing machine and its cabinet to the other wall and brought up what I hope is the last of her rolling stacks of drawers. We need shelves in the corner.

Hmm. If the sewing room eventually moves upstairs (combined with a library/guest room after the remodel), we could use that corner for music.

Links in the notes, of course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday I found a bunch of unpaid bills. Bletch.

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

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

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

The increased dose of SSRI seems to be helping.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

It's been a rough week. Really rough.

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

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

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

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

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

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

Um... maybe I should update that site?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It snowed last night. Emmy finally got to be outside while it was snowing -- she grew up in San Jose. Me, I'm just glad I don't have to try driving in it -- I'm long out of practice. I may walk to Trader Joe's later.

I've spent altogether too much energy trying to get Colleen's prescriptions transferred to Express Scripts. Depressing. My prescriptions transferred with no problems; I suspect that the problem with hers is that Walgreens' records have her birth date wrong. But the website(s) are miserable, and their tech support and customer support people don't know much about how they work - I got information that was manifestly incorrect from them. Bletch.

A couple of times I've just wanted to crawl into a hole and hide. Is there such a thing as a depression attack?

Meanwhile, I'm worried about this year's taxes. Very worried. I almost certainly don't have enough withholding this year, so I'm likely to be screwed. My sign-on bonus from Amazon is completely gone.

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

Oh, good grief! This is going to be hard to summarize, isn't it? Maybe I should just throw up my hands and refer you to the notes? Maybe not.

Lots of stuff going on: I had a prostate biopsy and got back a clean bill of health. My nose is back on steroids. Colleen is getting more mobile -- she can walk about 20 steps (with walker, of course), and transfer in and out of her power chair.

We took delivery of Naomi's new commute car (a Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid). Naomi's massage therapy license finally went through, so the household's massage studio is now fully armed licensed and operational.

Lots of good links: see especially ysabetwordsmith's poem: "The Crystal Inside the World", a nice riff on my song The World Inside the Crystal.

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

Tried to log in on my file server last week and found out that the hard drive was dead. Finally went to Fry's yesterday, and bought a couple of Western Digital red (NAS) 2TB drives. Designed for continuous duty, which would be a good thing. Disassembled the lock on the docking bay I had the backup drive in (and promptly found the key, lurking in what had been my nightstand).

Confirmed that the backup works and the old main drive doesn't, and installed the latest Debian. Which only took about an hour. It boots fast as a bat, and ships with a driver for the Realtek ethernet controller on my motherboard. So I can free up the PCI slot for something more useful, like maybe an ESATA/USB-3 card, if I can find one.

Now begins the tedious process of restoring (done, as of this evening) and reconfiguring. Which will take time because I want to make some long-overdue changes in the config.

It looks like the last time a backup was made was June 25th. I don't *think* I did much, if anything, since then except maybe add a couple of passwords to the keychain. And of course I've lost a lot of email. If you sent anything to steve at thestarport.org in the last couple of months, I haven't seen it. (It is now forwarded to my gmail account, along with steve at savitzky.net which I've been doing pretty well at keeping up with.)

It's possible that some of the transient stuff can be rescued from the old drive -- it seems to run ok for a few minutes before suddenly going offline. Not entirely clear that it's worth bothering with.

Apart from that... Colleen has been getting physical therapy three times/week, and is now able to stand up and transfer into her power chair. Progress. Her caregiver is an excellent cook -- Thai, Chinese, and Japanese, with an emphasis on lean and low sodium. Yum!

Links in the notes, as usual. One, found by a coworker after I'd mentioned something to that effect, is one of my favorite stats: iPad 2 as fast as Cray 2 supercomputer. I also dropped a donation on YsabetWordsmith's poem, "Part of Who I Am". Some great links there, too.

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

I'll do one of my usual "done recently" posts tomorrow, maybe. For now, the big news: Yesterday Colleen's orthopedist told her she can go back to using her formerly-broken ankle. It's healed!

She has another week and a half of fairly intensive physical therapy to go before she comes home, but I'm getting my wife back!

(For those of you just dropping in from other planets, Colleen broke her ankle the day we moved into the house, on May 24th, and has been home precisely once, for half a day, since then.)

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

Last weekend was Pride, and Naomi took me to the Capitol Hill block party on Saturday -- fun! I took Colleen's rolling walker, which has a seat. That meant that while N was talking to someone, I could sit down -- that made it all possible.

My leg is healing -- right now all the pain is coming from the muscles that are compensating for the damaged one. I'll probably continue using the cane for the rest of the week.

I spent most of Sunday on move-related stuff, clearing out the last of what was in the laundry room and fridge. Fortunately I had Chaos and N's ex to do the sorting and carrying. So, not as much fun as Pride would have been, but it needed doing.

At work, I moved back into the building I started out in. Meanwhile, I've gotten pretty good at using the cane to push the wheelchair access buttons.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

The last of the moving is done! The garage full of stuff moved Monday. I came back home about noon, and promptly tore a muscle in my left leg running to catch a bus. OWWW! It is now considerably better, but I've been walking with a cane all week. It doesn't hurt (unless I move wrong), but the muscles that are compensating are another matter entirely. And walking like that is *hard*.

We have cats! Naomi and I went out to a shelter in the U district called Cat City, and came back with Curio and Desdi. Curio walked up to me in the shelter, headbutted my hand, and announced that he was My Cat. I am so owned. Or is that "pwned". The cats are mostly staying in N's room, though Curio has spent a couple with me. He doesn't like my CPAP, though, which makes sleeping with him kind of impossible.

... and my server's power brick appears to be dead. That makes, what? Three? Off two different UPSs. Not Pleased. I never had a bit of trouble in San Jose; there must be something weird about Seattle power.

ETA: no, it wasn't the power brick. It had, apparently, simply shut down. Possibly from getting a power fail signal, but possibly not. Just plain weird.

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

The last week was dominated by the prep for my colonoscopy on Monday. This involved a week's worth of a low-fiber diet, which was highly annoying. The procedure itself went as well as could be expected, and I was able to have Naomi pick me up about the time they let me go. I understand perfectly why they don't allow people who have been drugged into unconsciousness to drive; after I got home I put the dirty laundry into the drier and came within a second or so of adding the soap.

Mom says that after 85 they don't bother, so assuming I don't need one more often than once every decade or so I only have two more to look "forward" to. The results will come back in a week or so.

Friday the stairlift arrived, and on Saturday I took Colleen down to check it out. She loved the master suite, especially the shower. I expected her to like it, but it was nice to have that confirmed.

The yard work was pretty much done by then except for the last of the planting -- it looks fantastic. Work inside the house is progressing; there's a lot of dust. It's going to be a bit dicey with credit until my tax refund comes in.

Lots of good links, many of them from the footnotes in ysabetwordsmith's latest serial fanfic, "Coming Around", and her (related) "three weeks for dreamwidth" posts.

More, as usual, in the notes.

Side note -- I'm considering putting my "done" posts somewhere else, in favor of somewhat irregular postings with more substance. Anyone not bored by the detailed notes? Inquiring minds need to know.

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

So... this update includes the entire month so far, and my first full week at Amazon. Don't expect me to say much about that; they're sticky about that kind of thing, with good reason. I can say that it's a very steep learning curve.

I've been carpooling with Naomi a couple of times a week; her school is an easy walk from work. It also forces me to get out of the apartment earlier, which is a Good Thing even if it does mean that I have to leave some of my blog-reading for evening.

Nothing like feeling overwhelmed at work, plus having unpaid bills come home to roost, to make me feel stupid. I know, that's the depression talking. But it'stalking really loudly! Which makes it kind of hard to ignore.

Hmm. OK, so here's the problem. Thinking about an expense like a parking ticket, some bills, etc. reminds me of how stupid I was to have incurred that expense in the first place. So I don't want to think about it. Which means that it goes unpaid for a little longer, which makes me feel even more stupid... See how that works? Feedback. :P

I've also been chronically sleep-deprived for most of the last couple of weeks. The fact that I *hate* going to bed early isn't helping.

Links in the raw notes, as usual.

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

Colleen came home this evening, after 12 hours shy of a week in the hospital. It took until nearly 5pm to get her discharge paperwork, and then we had to stop off at Walgreen's to get her new prescriptions filled. Some high-powered anti-hypertension stuff in there: ACE inhibitor, beta blocker, calcium channel blocker, and a diuretic. Gleep.

But she's home, with normal blood pressure and with the PRES resolving, the UTI cleared up, and the pneumonia taken care of. Gleep gleep.

I can haz Colleen. That's the important thing.

... so I can start work at Amazon tomorrow. Tired bear is tired! Gleep.

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

Not such a long week. But both productive and exhausting in its own way.

Sunday of Conflikt was pretty good, especially Jeff Bohnhoff's "Alternate Guitar Chords" workshop, and some great music. But around, what, 4pm? Colleen's scooter abruptly stopped working. Dead in its tracks, with the battery indicator happily stuck at the halfway point, where it's always been for the last several months. The YD, who was accompanying Colleen between buildings, proceeded to panic. I talked her through pushing the scooter back indoors and plugging in the charger.

As soon as I could, I got down there, to find that there was enough charge in the battery to move slowly, but not fast -- push too far and it would simply cut off. So charging helps. I had some difficulty persuading the YD to help me get Colleen all the way into the conference center and up to the Conflikt lobby, where she would be warm and have music and company while the battery charged.

At which point it developed that the YD needed to get home and finish her homework. Due Monday. Oooooookay then. I drove her home, which gave me the opportunity to drop off most of the luggage, swap vehicles, and snag a walker at Naomi's in case charging the battery didn't help.

But of course it did help -- the battery finished charging, and the scooter was just fine. I still don't trust it.

Monday was reasonably productive, plus the inevitable odds and ends of paperwork. Despite coming down with the con crud. The chills came on the way home; I went to bed early, under a pile of blankets.

I woke up feeling as though I was swimming in sweat, of course, and wisely decided to work from home. I got through two new API methods that had been scheduled for two days each.

Which was a good thing, since I wasn't quite as productive Wednesday, when I had a urology appointment in the morning and got to sit around while Colleen had an MRI in the afternoon. All afternoon, as it turned out. So much for going in and pushing my changes to the local github in mid-afternoon. I started writing functional tests.

... but all in all not that bad a week, considering.

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

It's been a * l o n g * week, bracketed by cons. Last Saturday we day-tripped Rustycon (and decided that we probably won't bother next year -- it's small. This weekend was Conflikt. Which we will *definitely* be attending next year, but probably without the YD. She went this time because she was writing a term paper on it, but it didn't really seem to be her thing.

Last Sunday we put an offer down on the West Seattle house. It was down to the wire -- when we got there after having seen two places that were obviously unsuitable, we found that they were having an open house and had already received two offers. We offered $10K over the asking price. Monday was a nail-biter, but we got it! It's gorgeous. A full 2-bedroom apartment downstairs in the daylight basement, plus a 4-car garage on that level. Three bedrooms upstairs. And a great hall on top of the garage. I forsee parties, house filks, and house concerts in our future.

Needless to say, my work productivity suffered, as I spent far too much of my time on the phone or tracking down paperwork. The loan paperwork finally all came together at 4:45 on Friday, about the same time I got my functional tests running and marked "ready for QA".

Did I mention the lack of sleep? Mostly due to waking up at unreasonable hours with house worries. So we went into Conflikt already sleep-deprived.

I may have to leave most of Conflikt until later, but the music was fantastic and the Interfilk auction was one of the must entertaining in years. Even if I did end up winning a $100 bid to give the horrid wall-hangings, Harry and Henrietta Hemp, to Seanan. Who said she'd burn them in the parking lot. (The deal with the Hemps is that the winning bidder gets to say who they go to, and somebody had fingered us as people who hadn't had it yet.)

Health. We both had follow-up appointments with our PCP, Dr. Chopra, Saturday morning. Colleen had a dentist appointment Wednesday morning, I had an appointment with the sports medicine department Thursday morning. I got my SSRI dosage raised, and was told that my assorted joint, etc. problems would be solved if I lost (rather a lot of) weight. Thanks; I knew that.

I'd probably better go splat now (10:51 pm). Before I fall asleep at the keyboard. Again.

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

So... another week. Busy. Our DVD collection fits into half of a tower. Very few of the CDs are out, but that's ok; most of them have been ripped. Of course, I haven't made the collection easily accessible yet, so that's a problem.

Things seem to be falling through the cracks a lot more often than I'd like, and I often feel pretty close to the edge. The edge of exactly what, I couldn't say. My sanity? Something like that. Do Not Like.

Colleen had her gastroenterology appointment on Wednesday; apparently UW has one of the best people in the country for Crohn's Disease. We'd heard that, it was one of the considerations in moving up here. And there's an assistance program that reduces her Humira cost to $5/month -- major win, since our insurance only covers 50% of its astronomical cost.

Some good links. Nadia Heninger Is Watching You (computer security) -- What makes this cool is that she's the daughter of an old friend and former coworker, Andy Heninger. The Wordsmith's Forge - Discussion: An Army of One, Autism in SF My Mom Was An Underground Railroad For Abused Women: What She Taught Me About Feminism And Fear | xoJane. The Tiny Transforming Apartment That Packs Eight Rooms into 420 Square Feet Still pretty cramped, but some cool ideas. The Goliath telescoping dining table is impressive. Want.

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

The main event this week was the arrival of the storage towers and lamp I ordered from Best Buy. There were also health worries, and my stuff is being moved into a new cubical over the weekend. I think about half the people in the Seattle office are getting shuffled around.

I get two nice things out of the move. First was having to leave at 2pm on Friday, which meant I could walk to REI -- about half an hour's walk, on a beautiful clear day -- and buy a hat. It's called a "Seattle Sombrero"; I'm hoping it will be waterproof.

The second is a lockable cabinet where I can stash my (non-lockable) laptop. That means I won't have to lug the darned thing to and from work five times a week. I don't need the extra weight.

My back was hurting quite a lot by the time I got home on Friday. And I've been having some sharp pains when I lift things that make me worry about developing a hernia -- this is something I *do* *not* *need* right now.

Also I'm still gaining weight, and I get very stiff in the evenings.

I got my lab results back; the doctor noted that she was worried about my triglycerides, which are 186 (normal 150 or less). When I see her next, in a couple of weeks, I will tell her that it's the second-lowest number in a decade. Probably time to increase my niacin and linseed oil. (Ok, the bottle is labeled "flax oil". Same thing. It's a dietary supplement and a furniture finish.)

About those CD towers. When I ordered them and looked at the shipping tracker it said "4 boxes, 76 pounds". Shipping was free. What I didn't realize was that the weight given wasn't the total, it was the weight of the heaviest package. Of which there were two, plus two smaller boxes of 36lbs. Gleep. The Younger Daughter was *not* pleased, even with access to my hand truck.

I took it nice and slow, and put one together over the course of three days. I had figured on it taking two people to flip the thing over and drag it into position, but it glided easily over the carpet, and was actually quite easy to lift. Yay trigonometry!

As for links, I have been eagerly following the poems from YsabetWordsmith's January Poetry Fishbowl, and especially the ones in her new series, An Army of One, which is science fiction about a society of autistic people. Very cool idea.

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

So, welcome to 2013. So far it's starting out pretty well, with three very productive days at work, and spurts of productivity at home as well. I've done some walking, though not as much as I'd like, and even a little practicing. Colleen and I went to our doctor's appointments on Saturday. I get to stay off my morning BP meds! Colleen, OTOH, needs to go back on hers.

And Thursday was our 38th wedding anniversary! We celebrated by going out for dinner-for-two at Anthony's seafood restaurant in Alderwood. Dinner consisted mostly of molluscs - a double helping of oysters, clams, muscles, and clam chowder. Plus drinks and dessert.

The free test coverage tool in Eclipse is pretty good. Fun!

We had house guests on Sunday; anyone in the Seattle area who wants to visit is welcome to come on over, given a few hours' notice.

Quote of the week:

Colleen: What are you depressed about?
Me: Depression doesn't need a reason.

As well as the year is going, I'm still apparently feeling pretty depressed and very, very stressed. I think I'm trying to do too much, but there's no helping it. I was kind of shocked to find that Colleen's last hospitalization was in 2009, only a little less than 4 years ago. It feels longer.

For you TV fans out there, here's a great write-up about the plot holes in WWII on the history channel.

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

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Well, not quite. I've had worse years, but losing my job of 19 years, turning 65 (the week after getting my notice), moving to Washington (at my own expense), and job-hunting for six months all added to my stress level. Let's just say "exciting".

After a couple of gigs early in the year, Lookingglass Folk hasn't done much this year, and I haven't done much except for a couple of concerts. No writing to speak of except for my sporadic blog updates. No programming to speak of outside of work. No recording at all.

My exercise has gone from almost-daily 2-3 mile walks to maybe 20 minutes a couple of times a week, and I've gained a few pounds, though not as much as I thought.

My dysthymia seems to be back, and I'm as unsocial as ever. This does not help when one is trying to make contacts and friends in a new city.

Enough of that.

I'm also living much closer to my older daughter, Chaos, and my sister of choice, Naomi. I can commute by bus, to a job where I'm learning a lot. My health is pretty good, and Colleen's is holding up -- she's walking a little more, though only a little. I've become a Wicked Landlord(TM).

Hopefully 2013 will be less exciting.

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

We had a good Christmas weekend. And week, for that matter, though it had its major low points as well. Monday -- Christmas Eve -- was the worst, between Colleen's temporary crown coming off, her scooter battery not charging, the fact that I hadn't bought any stocking stufers... Add back pain, sleep dep from a long night Friday (don't ask), and general grumpiness.

At least I actually noticed that I was depressed, angry, disappointed, and anxious. (And that the anger and disappointment were largely directed at myself, as usual.) Things improved from that point, thankfully. The evening and Christmas were lovely, with Naomi and her kids, Chaos and Rabbit, and Chip and Eli on Christmas.

We had roast beef on Monday, and borscht on Tuesday. I think the borscht was my best ever.

  1. Boil about 3 lbs of beef roast, an onion, two carrots, four peppercorns, and two bay leaves in water to cover for about two hours, until the meat is cooked and the veggies are nearly falling apart.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the tops and tails off three or four bunches of beets, and roast them at 350 degrees until you can push a fork through a beet. This takes an hour or so.
  3. While the beets are cooling and the beef is boiling, cut three parsnips, four turnips, and four carrots into julienne strips.
  4. Set the meat aside, and toss the veggies.
  5. Put the cut-up veggies into the broth, and start peeling and cutting up the beets. Expect to be caught red-handed.
  6. Add the beets to the broth. Shred half a red cabbage and toss that in,
  7. Cut up the beef and toss that in. Add a little more water if it looks like it needs it.
  8. Serve with sour cream and dill.

Tasty. We have, of course, been eating left-over roast beef and borscht all week. Only the YD is complaining; Colleen and I are not.

Naomi gave me a lovely REI Quantum Shoulder Bag for Christmas; it seems to want to be called "Red". I think her real name is Veronica, but she won't admit to it.

Red is about half an inch too short for my 15" work laptop -- the two corners stick out like little silver ears. Terribly cute. It can be forced into the main compartment, but my plan is simply to put a waterproof flap over it in bad weather. Other than that it's perfect; I really like having a bag that zips on top instead of having a flap, stays vertical when I swing it around to the front, and holds 9x12 envelopes without crumpling them.

A reasonably productive, if short, week at work. I made several stupid mistakes, but was able to recover fairly quickly thanks to git.

The usual collection of good links. Cringely has a post on Reagan and Newtown, about how Reagan destroyed the country's mental health system. There weren't nearly as many homeless people before Reagan, either -- there were places where crazy people could go to be taken care of. I read that Monday morning; it added to my depression.

Every once in a while I want to take a vacation -- just me, and nobody I had to be responsible for. *sigh*

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

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.

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

OK, I guess that could also have been "done this month". Felt like it, too. Between a dentist appointment (crown prep, only I think I also ended up getting a root canal out of the deal), and some unexpected errand-running, I ended up missing about 6 hours worth of work. Managed to make up most of it, but not all. PTO would have been really nice to have had.

On the other hand, it was a pretty productive week, both at work and at home. So I'm not going to complain too much. I am going to complain, though. I Do Not Need the many kinds of stress that I had to deal with. No, I'm not going into details; you can probably figure most of it out from the notes.

There were some good things, though. Went to Alderwood Mall with Colleen, Emmy, and Naomi. Oysters for lunch at Anthony's -- yum!

On the gripping hand, with several restaurant meals under my belt (literally), my weight has crept up over 200. Do Not Like. And my blood pressure is edging up into the Not So Good range; both of these are probably related to my having run out of my BP pills, which include a diuretic. (Not to worry -- I'm still on one of my two BP-related meds, and will be setting up an appointment soon to deal with the rest of it.)

Found out that one of the developers in my "pod" is 25 years old. That's younger than my older daughter! No wonder he seems a little inexperienced...

Um...

The YD's laptop wasn't charging. She was freaking out about it for a day or so, until she noticed that the charging cord was badly frayed just at the strain relief. Problem solved, since it was a 19V charger and I had another in my Big Box of (power) Bricks. Win.

Quote of the week: "[I have] started thinking about the contradictions inherent in the fact that I like learning things, but am very uncomfortable when I feel that I'm out of my depth. Fallacy somewhere, I fancy."

Link of the week: The Wordsmith's Forge - Poem: "The Formless Ones". Very powerful; possibly triggery (nightmares and PTSD following rape). Part of Ysabet's "Path of the Paladins" series; I think it stands pretty well on its own, but you might want to chase links from her serial poetry page to the rest of it.

I'm also intrigued by the idea of An asexual YA heroine? Why not?. As I said in a comment there, " I have no idea where I am on the a/sexual a/romantic spectrum -- alexithymia will do that -- but it's more on the a- side these days, and a book like this would probably have done me a lot of good when I was a YA."

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

Well, well. An entire week. Which just happens to coincide with the end of the month, this time.

Did a little work on the network configuration, aimed at making things more stable in the DMZ (the area between the Internet modem/router (polaris) and the inside gateway/router (stargate)). In particular, I got rid of an obsolete DHCP reservation for cygnus, that was conflicting with stargate's static IP address. Gleep! No wonder stargate's WiFi dropped out every so often.

Also for computer geeks: I got Colleen a 7" tablet. It's a Jazz, on sale at Office Depot for $70. Markedly inferior to my Nexus 7, but it does what she wants it to: web browsing and email. The only problem right now is printing; that's going to require setting up Google cloudprint. Which is kind of stupid for talking to a CUPS printer, but...

I *finally* got autoraise back -- turns out that the compiz window manager doesn't actually listen to the desktop config items anymore; Ubuntu has hacked them up to accomodate the Unity desktop. Which is Unbearable.

A number of other geeky items that I ordered during the last week dribbled in, including a case and USB-OTG cable for the Nexus, a really tiny 32-GB USB drive, a couple of uSD cards and adapters (16- and 32-GB), and a couple of other items that suggest that I probably need to stay off of Amazon for a while.

We got Chaos a microwave oven (hers had died). Colleen got the amethyst necklace she'd commissioned at Orycon -- this involved a trip to Wayward.

Moving on, ... I don't really like the way my weight has been going. I think that much of the recent increase was due to going off my diuretic. It was an interesting experiment, but my BP's on the high edge of normal right now; it may be worthwhile going back on the meds.

Of course, my BP would probably go down if I lost 30 poumds, too. Which would be better for me in other ways as well.

The last time I successfully lost weight was my senior year in college. Over 40 years ago.

Humph. One of the things I really like about commuting by bus is that it gives me time to read. I'm not a particularly fast reader, a trait which is better adapted to poetry than to novels. I am, nevertheless, reading two books right now. The one on my Nexus (via Kindle) is Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking by E. Gabriella Coleman -- an anthropologist's view of hacker culture. Fascinating.

The other, on my phone from Gutenberg via Cool Reader, is Pride and Prejudice, which has been highly recommended to me but was something I was always leery of. It's... ok, I guess. Perhaps someone more familiar with the genre could tell me whether it's meant to be funny -- there's an undercurrent of what appears to be wry amusement on the part of the author. Perhaps one problem is simply the lack of characters I can easily identify with. I'm curious, but not involved.

Anyway... details in the notes, as usual. I should probably try to get back on a twice/week schedule, shouldn't I?

raw notes )
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.

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

I guess the main event from the weekend was lunch with our old friends Alan and Jeanne Rognlie, who moved out of the Bay Area some 32 years ago. We met for lunch at the AFK Tavern, although no gaming ensued. Good visit.

We decided to have Thanksgiving dinner here; the fridge is now full of turkey. The living room is still full of boxes; we're going to at least move them out of the center of the room. It'll have to do. Progress is, in any case, being made.

I also wrote a poem on Saturday.

I converted my mobile phone plan to a shared-data plan. It includes unlimited voice and text, and 10GB of shared data. The way the pricing works is a little weird, with the price per phone going down as data goes up; 10GB was only $10 more than 6GB. I end up saving about $60/month.

Musical links for the weekend include this Adorably Gruesome Public Service Announcement About Death And Dismemberment, and of course "American Hostess Pie" to the obvious tune.

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

OK, a weekend short of two weeks. Too much to summarize. Elections happened. (You'll find a bit of analysis in the links.) Work happened. Looked in several of the local stores for a Nexus 7, and didn't find one. Guess I'll have to order online. Upgraded my netbook to Ubuntu 12.04, and Colleen's to 12.10 because .04 was a disaster. .10 isn't perfect, but at least it supports the Dell's stupid Poulsbo video. Sorta. Still doesn't suspend properly, which sucks.

There also seems to be something majorly wrong -- it can take up to 20 minutes to boot! I suspect disk, but it could be something even more serious. We discussed options; she may be better off with an Android tablet or chromebook. I forwarded her email to her gmail account, which pretty much takes care of the only reason for connecting to the in-house network. That's still flaky, probably because of interference.

Last weekend also included a massage from N, who is studying massage therapy at Cortiva. She's *good*, and I especially enjoyed having her talk through what she's doing and observing. It also started me off on a week's worth of link-chasing around anatomy, and especially muscles.

I ran out of my morning BP pills (lisinopril/HCTZ) on Sunday, so have been watching my blood pressure. Unfortunately I didn't get a couple of baseline readings last week. It's marginally pre-hypertensive now, but not worrisome; I'll see what happens in the next week. By which time the supply I mail-ordered from Kaiser should be here, assuming they ship to ex-members. One reason I'm not particularly worried is that I'm still on doxazosin for my BPH, and was noticing occasional dizziness on standing up. Which suggests that it may have been too much before.

Noteworthy quotes:

"Hmm... my panic attacks feed on fear, they lie all the time, they try to control me, they threaten me with dying and going to hell, and they don't care in the slightest for logic. They can be defeated by ridicule, because for all their bluster they aren't very bright, but they don't admit defeat; they just regroup with another dirty tactic and try again. Maybe they're Republicans?" --Nora Rivkis in Facebook

Colleen: I hate it when my Kindle freezes.

Me: Speak sharply to your little toy / And boot it when it freezes. / It only does it to annoy / Because it knows it teases.

All the horrible details, plus bonus links, in the notes below. Feel free to give them the tl;dr treatment. I need to start doing this more often.

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

Feeling good, and even optimistic, is something of a new concept for this old bear. I am having a little trouble wrapping my fuzzy head around it. Does that make sense?

There is still the nagging worry that, now that I've turned in the last of my paperwork, $K or $D will reject me at the last minute. I don't really believe it'll happen, but we're not talking rationality here.

The dresser arrived Saturday. It's lovely, and large, and went a long way toward organizing the bedroom. Now it's my side of the bed that's still a mess. That'll be harder, because there's noplace to put a dresser there.

Having given up on the foolish notion of putting a desk next to the bed on my side, I went over to Naomi's and gound the pieces for my old computer desk. The one I made a couple of years before Chaos was born, and put into storage when we remodeled the Starport the first time. It's now on the short wall of the living room next to the sliding door onto the balcony. I'm gong to put an Elfa track over it this morning, and have already moved the printers and strung Cat-5 over to the phone jack in the kitchen.

Putting the rolling file under the desk where it belongs naturally adds a fair amount of space -- it is now possible to walk to the gray recliner when people are sitting in both facing chairs. Which is good, because the corner by the desk is still pretty crowded.

Now I just have to move the computers: nova and the inside router (starport) to the desk, and the outside router (polaris) to the kitchen. Unfortunately, there's no phone jack in the area that is pretty clearly meant to be the entertainment corner. Not so odd, really; the apartment building predates DSL. I might be able to summon up the energy to do it this morning -- it has to be a morning when the two women are asleep so that nobody wants to use the net connection.

Oh, and I used my SAD light Monday, for the first time since the move. Maybe it'll help. I'm also trying to shift my schedule back to waking up at 6:30 instead of 7:30 or 8; I need at least an hour in the morning to get out the door in reasonable working condition. Preferably two, but that will take longer, I suspect.

Links, as usual, in the notes. Check out "It’s Opus, it rocks and now it’s an audio codec standard!" and The Wordsmith's Forge - Unsold Poetry from the October 2-3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl. I put money on two poems from this: "The Cybernetic Sorcerers" (co-sponsor because of net-lag) and "Promises to Keep" (which combines global warming and sea monsters).

raw notes )
mdlbear: (wtf-logo)

Yesterday I had a dentist appointment at 11am, to get my teeth deep-cleaned. As I was pulling in to the parking lot I got a phone call from $K (the contract agency) saying I'd gotten the contract at $D.

In spite of the fact that I think I'd probably prefer a full-time job at $T, which is a smaller company with a really cool product that I actually want to use, the timing for that just isn't likely to work out -- I haven't even had a phone interview yet (I expect one this afternoon, but still...) So my mood has been distinctly mixed -- it was something like depression last night. (I'll get to that later.)

The teeth-cleaning went very well -- the hygienist was surprised that I was able to handle it with just a topical anesthetic. Yeah, there were a couple of twinges, but I often get worse from my arthritis just getting out of bed in the morning, and much worse after sitting with my legs crossed for half an hour.

Which brings us to the evening, when I was feeling depressed, and made a joke about something I thought was unrelated that N. misinterpreted as sounding suicidal. And then couldn't get back in touch with me.

Apparently several of my followup IM messages simply got dropped on the floor between here and there. And she couldn't raise me by phone or text, apparently because I was reading a book in the Kindle app! The text, in fact, finally arrived a minute or so after I exited the app. WTF?????!!! Anyone ever encounter that one?

OK, getting back to the down mood. I don't know how much of that is due to uncertainty over $D vs. $T, how much is due to simple relief, and how much is due to the fact that I've gotten used to being "retired". Have I mentioned alexithymia lately? It means that, very often, I don't know what I'm feeling. It's a problem.

A few links in the notes, though nothing exceedingly noteworthy.

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

I finally made the call to my benefits people that I should have made two months ago, to find out what the options and prices were going to be to keep my medical and dental COBRA coverage going. I was not expecting the total to be more than the mortgage on the old house! $2100. I am *so* *screwed*

And I actually have a gap in coverage, between the end of this month (when Ricoh stops paying for it) and the time I pay my first bill. At which point they cover me retroactively. I went ahead and got my crown started before I knew the details, but that'll be ok.

I still have a month, I *think*, to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan. Anyone have recommendations re: GroupHealth vs. Blue Cross/Blue Shield? If I can get into that now, I can drop my COBRA coverage and just go with Colleen and the YD.

On the job front, $A3 looked at my resume and said "other candidates are more qualified". So much for that. $A also rejected me -- that was actually a relief. On the other hand, my interview at $D was the easiest so far -- I think I have a good chance at that.

And on the gripping hand, the CTO at $T wants to talk to me on Wednesday. Looking at the company and what they do, I *really* *really* want it. And I think I'm a good fit. And it's a cool product -- I signed up for a month's free trial, and at $40/year may very well keep it. Unlimited file sharing from your own computers, with nothing stored in the cloud.

Only problem is the overlap with $D, which I expect to hear about next week. They'll probably want me to start on the 15th. Tight.

I went to my interviews by bus again. I *love* being this close to the bus line and downtown.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

I think I'm doing a little better -- I've definitely shaken whatever virus I had on Friday, and I took a couple of short walks (not wanting to overdo it while recovering). I'm still stressed over $COMPANY -- my new interview is tomorrow. It's 10am -- I'm hoping that the new hiring manager will take me out to lunch, like the previous one did. If he doesn't offer, I think I'll ask -- it's important.

I finally did something I should have done months ago, or even last week, and pulled up the ACM's "books 24/7" page. Currently reading about Hadoop and jQuery, with a Drupal book in the queue. I was pointed at the page by an update email.

Some progress on the apartment, with a couple more boxes collapsed and the spices sorted out a little better. We'll get there. I think.

Quite a few good links in the notes, including some of the results from a link-chase on St. John's wort, which I've been considering. Not going there -- it interacts badly with too many other things. OTOH I should probably try dropping my statin for a couple of weeks before my next blood work, to see if I still need it.

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

Another week gone by. Do people prefer the weekly dumps, or daily dribbles? Inquiring minds and all that.

Worrying news on the job front -- $COMPANY, which last I heard was about to hire me as soon as they got through some back-office stuff, has re-organized. There's a new hiring manager, and apparently he has some concerns. AARGH! I have a new set of interviews on Tuesday. If this falls through I'm unlikely to get anything before my severance pay runs out.

In retrospect it's a good thing I couldn't get a Friday slot -- I apparently came down with a 24-hour virus of some sort. With luck I'm over it now, but I was pretty miserable yesterday afternoon and evening. Went to bed 10:30ish and slept for 11 hours.

In other news, I've done a little music with Naomi, and fixed a mysterious problem I'd been having with my mail reader.

I have been realizing more and more how much we'd been relying on Colleen's support network back in San Jose: Liz (and Marty and Alison before her), Safeway.com, ... Housekeeping, shopping, and driving Colleen places are nearly a full-time job. I'll be happy when the YD gets her license.

Speaking of the YD, she's an official AVON Representative now.

I want a Nexus 7 and a pair of Want. Also want Equator D5 Studio Monitors. Grump. When I get a job, damnit...

Since the Hugos were announced, I've been reading Digger by Ursula Vernon, the winner for best graphic story. Go read it -- it's amazing.

Lots of links, as one would expect for a week's worth.

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

On the job search, the week was pretty much a waiting game. $COMPANY hasn't contacted me yet, probably because the HR person was out of town last week, and the hiring manager was on vacation this week. I did meet with the headhunter on Thursday, and had a good conversation. So that's pretty good. I had phone screens Thursday (with Amazon) and Friday (with WhitePages).

The one on Friday was interesting -- the person I was originally scheduled to talk to was unavailable, so the call was from the CTO. Which was great, because we were actually able to talk about why I didn't seem to be a good fit. This probably applies to many of my other recent rejections: PopCap, Zillow, Google, and Facebook. And my apparent success with $COMPANY.

There are two factors: seen from their side, I simply don't have any experience with huge web "properties" or the technologies they use. I'm not familiar with Ruby on Rails (which WhitePages is using), have comparatively little PHP, no database experience to speak of... I'm a fast learner, but that's not the same.

... and on my side, I'm just not all that interested in that kind of work. I like building websites -- small ones. I like building infrastructure that developers can use to build the big ones. I like having my software out in the wild where I can point to it, but apparently that really means I want to work on stuff that developers can use. I want to get into working inside open-source software, not just on top of it. Or on part of some proprietary software product like a game, or the stuff Intuitive or Tableau is doing.

I want to work on cool stuff that's appreciated by my peers, not invisible behind the scenes at a website, no matter how popular and cool that website may be. And, perhaps most importantly, I want to work on stuff that I believe is making the world a better place.

... change of subject ---

Yesterday I drove down to Longview (the closest Kaiser facility) with Colleen -- two and a half hours each way -- to see if we could get our prescriptions renewed and Colleen could get her disability forms filled out for DMV and ORCA. Partial success. Colleen only got 6 months of disability, and one month of her prescriptions. Mine haven't been transfered at all, so I'll have to go down again in a week or so.

It would never have occurred to me that Kaiser wouldn't have a nationwide, unified computer system for medical records and prescriptions. But they don't. GAAAK! If I'd known how much of a nightmare health care was going to be, I might not have moved. I call it "the health don't care system" for a reason. And I have yet to get two consecutive identical answers about what I can do next.

Anyone have suggestions for Seattle-area HMOs? I know GroupHealth works with Kaiser, which might be a plus, but don't know whether they have good in-network specialists for Colleen's Crohn's disease and other problems.

We stopped in Olympia for dinner at the Oyster House. I think the last time we were there was 20-odd years ago on the way to or from a Westercon. It's gotten better.

Last Monday -- Labor Day -- we drove out to Leavenworth. Lovely drive.

I read the Hugo-winning novella The Man Who Bridged the Mist -- marvelous! And re-read "The Dead Lady of Clown Town".

... And I had a couple of bouts of depression. Not really surprising considering the health care and job situations.

Links and details below in the notes.

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

Tuesday started off with a blood draw at Kaiser for some lab work, and the results dribbled in between that afternoon and Thursday. Notably, this time everything was in the normal range, which means that my triglycerides are under control and I'm officially not prediabetic. Go me!

And I saw the Transit of Venus -- not just via NASA's live stream from Mauna Kea and the fantastic high-res images from SDO on APOD, but in person in my back yard, projected with binocular onto the side of a garbage can. I even persuaded the YD to come out and see.

I've done a lot of packing in the office -- half the bookshelves are empty now. It's progress. I have to keep telling myself that I'm making some. I finally turned up my All World Travel Pass, signed by both of Cordwainer Smith's daughters. Plus some un-deposited checks from the 1990s. Eeep!

I have two interviews scheduled for next week, but was disappointed to get a rejection from Tableau. Oh, well.

[flame] My pension paperwork has apparently not been received. I asked them to send me another copy -- it's been a month. Idiots! (This is Hewitt we're talking about, so not surprising.) Hate. I asked to speak to a supervisor and told them that their website is useless. The only response was that it's only designed to give you estimates, not to actually see the status of your account. [/flame]

The YD, by the way, has been extraordinarily helpful the last week or so. I'm delighted.

Quite a few links. Go look. Oh, and 6.5 Million LinkedIn Accounts May Be Compromised, Change Your Passwords Now if you haven't already.

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

My doctor said I appear to be in good health. My therapist said I appear to be handling the stress well. And Group Health in Washington appears to be affiliated in some way with Kaiser, so hopefully we'll be able to use them.

And I took a walk (somewhat short because it was starting to rain, but pleasant), and brought a lot of boxes, mostly old receipts, down to be sorted.

And tested Kat's old HP scanner/printer -- it fails with an "ink system failure", and might be fixable with fresh ink cartridges. Not worth the price to find out; if you want it, it'll be at the Starport now through the party on Saturday. I mentioned Our Last Starport Party, didn't I? Yes.

At the end of the day I more-or-less fell into bed.

Link of the day is NASA EDGE @ Mauna Kea, Hawaii: Live Webcast Streams - if you hit it before 9pm Pacific time today (Tuesday), the Transit of Venus will still be in progress. (Or check out Astronomy Picture of the Day for a really spectacular view via the Solar Dynamics Observatory.)

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

Progress? A lot of puttering, and two job applications. N. persuaded me to set a minimum goal of 2/week. And I re-pinged Google. Apparently I've let a couple of emails get stale on my stack, so I've gone back and replied to some of them.

Thursday's webinar on career objectives was useful -- that's one of my highest priorities, since just about anything in the IT field is going to be a career change from "software research". The other high priority is figuring out what my budget is going to be, since I'm highly unlikely to be making anywhere near the same amount after the move. I need to know what my bottom line is.

The house is looking much "better", thanks to the efforts of minions good friends Devon, Liz, and Ogg. Huge amounts of stuff have been recycled, friendcycled, donated, sold to used bookstores, or put on the discard pile. What's left is probably still too much for an apartment, but it'll go into storage until we get into a house a year or so down the road.

Some of that stuff hasn't been touched in over two decades. Three, in a few cases. Gleep!

We're running across some fascinating old stuff, though. One of the most interesting was an old self-assessment I did toward the end of my previous job. Not all of it is relevant anymore, but it's interesting.

AT&T pushed an update to my phone, but it still wasn't Ice Cream Sandwich. :( I installed Eclipse, thinking that I probably ought to get familiar with it, and do some Android development. We'll see how far I get with that, but my Java is pretty rusty and could use some work.

Naomi and I had time yesterday to work a little bit on our upcoming Westercon concert set. We discovered that I can, in fact, come up with harmonies. Not in real-time, but once I have the chords down I can pretty easily improvise a harmony line that fits them, and Naomi has a good enough memory for melodies that together we can make it work. Cool!

I'm still not walking nearly enough, though I did do a 1.4mi loop around the neighborhood yesterday morning.

Several links. Is Sitting a Lethal Activity? Probably. And I and many of my friends in filking show up in Eye On The Bay: Those Other Conventions Pt. 2

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

Pretty good day -- I think I got through my first weekend of temporary retirement ok, considering. I got a lot done on my portfolio site, including uploading source code samples and white papers, and copied the expanded summary page to my StackOverflow and LinkedIn profiles.

I also did some searching on glassdoor.com and indeed.com, thanks to a little much-needed prodding from [personal profile] pocketnaomi. That was interesting -- I found a company that had different listings, through a search firm, on glassdoor and indeed. They had yet another, under their own name, on StackOverflow. Sounds interesting, though it may be more intense than I'm looking for at this point.

I also got in a walk (twice around the Rose Garden) in the afternoon, and made dinner (salad, rice, bacon-wrapped scallops, and dover sole). And white wine, in part because we have to either use it or move it.

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

I don't think weekly updates are a good idea. This thing is a monstrosity.

The last week began with a serious case of what appeared to be the flu, and ended with a communication slow-motion trainwreck. But in between...

The Lookingglass Folk concert at Conflikt came off very well indeed. We nailed Kitchen Heroes, with Talis in the audience. The other concerts were excellent. I didn't have nearly enough time to catch up with people. I read most of The Introvert Advantage on the plane (both ways) and in various interstices.

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times? Something like that. I overslept most days (I really needed it), and thanks to the flu lost over 4 pounds over the course of the week. The concert was a real high, of a sort that I rarely get (and, I suppose, even more rarely notice). Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were incredibly overstressed and draining. Probably would have been less so if the hotel's internet connection had worth more than we paid for it. Which was nothing. And so it went.

I'm sorry the con is over -- I needed more. I'm glad the week is over -- I need a vacation, and a couple of weeks worth of writing tech reports sounds like just the thing.

OK, the write-up is pretty small. You might want to skip the notes, which are 160 lines long.

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

A pretty good day, despite a persistent feeling that I might be coming down with something like a cold. Oh, and feeling my heart pounding much of the late evening. Possibly due to the sudafed I had to take in order to breathe. Or possibly due to the difficulty breathing up to that point.

I did some practice in the morning, and took a 1.5mi walk. And did a fair amount at work. So on the whole it was a good day.

As for links, I have to give points to Time Machine Maintenance for the cool title, but the best is really Hackers plan space satellites to combat censorship (From BBC News by way of siliconshaman.) Cue Bound For Hackers' Heaven, please.

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

It's fairly easy to be productive when there's only one other person at work; they left at noon. I left around 4:30 because Lenscrafters had called to say my new glasses were in.

The only person who noticed was Chaos, and I might have said something that gave her a hint.

The new computer glasses are a major win, but different enough to be somewhat disorienting. I got used to the bifocals fairly quickly, though the reading spots are stronger, which makes for more of a discontinuity across the line. Now I have to remember to take them to and from work.

I just realized that the computer glasses are perfect for singing; the lyrics are at about the same distance as the screen. {duh!}

Meanwhile, guaifenesin actually seems to be helping with my chronic congestion, and reduces the "lump in the throat" mucus effect. So that's a big win.

A couple of good links in the notes on marriage equality, and one on free speech and Firefly, down at the bottom.

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

I guess the big news for the day was looking at my test results and seeing my triglycerides below 200 (the high end of normal) for the first time in years. Possibly decades -- Kaiser's graph only goes back to 2006. I think I can safely attribute the good results to an increase in omega-3 intake due to switching from fish oil to flax oil. OK, so I'm refinishing my arterial walls with linseed oil. Cool!

Blood sugar is up a little, though, putting it a little into the prediabetic range. Combined with the neuropathy, there is some cause for concern. And my HDL level is still low (by 1 point).

A rather frustrating day at work, trying to make a command-line SIP client (linphone) work on the Mac. Oddly, it only fails with USB microphones. I suspect some kind of buffering problem. If anyone knows something else I can use to make SIP calls from a command line, and that can be easily installed from macports or a download, I'd be grateful.

Our boxes of Christmas tree ornaments seem to have gone missing. WTF? People have been helping us clean and organize the living room, so this probably shouldn't be too surprising.

As for links, ... Does Airport Security Really Make Us Safer? NO, of course not.

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

A longish day, not least because I headed out of the house with neither coffee nor breakfast, to get bloodwork done. (The results are in -- I'm doing pretty well. Triglycerides, in particular, are in the middle of the normal range after being high for, what, a decade? Go me! Blood glucose is up a little further over the high end, though; I'm not happy about that.) Grump.

After the labwork I went over to Lenscrafters for new glasses. They had nothing with lenses as big as the ones I have; I'm losing 3mm off the bottom. Grump. OTOH, I found some nice, inexpensive half-rimless frames for the computer glasses. So that's a win.

After dinner I brought Snuggles, my Martin O-15, out to the living room because I missed having a guitar there. Played a 4-song mini-concert. I'm trying to practice more, but it's hard. More a matter of priorities and motivation than time. Grump.

Um... I suppose I have to give myself credit for actually doing the aforementioned, rather than procrastinating the way I usually do.

Lest I give the impression that I was grumpy all day, I have to say that I wasn't. I've been getting lots of nice comments about my tie-dyed shirt, and some about my post about "Fixing Livejournal". And my mood is actually somewhat better than usual. Which proves once again that I'm like King Gama -- not happy unless I have something to grumble at.

The one bright spot in a sea of mostly-discouraging links is one teacher's approach to preventing gender bullying in a classroom.

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

LJ Release 88 is out, complete with sucky comment pages. There are nearly 5000 comments on the release announcement; it'll probably be over by the time I post this. Why they did this is just absolutely baffling. What, were they thinking? Yet another triumph of "design" over usability. Them and Gnome 3.

I tried installing the lxde desktop on Cygnus; it looks ok and is fast, but doesn't seem to have a network manager applet, so it's useless. It would work well on a hardwired, low-resource machine like one of the old Thinkpads, though. I'd already given up on xfce because, for all its flaws, I like my Gnome2 layout better.

A lot of the morning was spent at Kaiser, getting a new glasses prescription and an EKG. The optometrist also noticed that I have blepharitis in my left eye. Which I'd already noticed. Have to work on that.

I also mailed a package of holiday gifts, having given up trying to gift-wrap them in favor of getting them actually, you know, in the mail. I don't know what it is about gift-wrapping, but I always leave it for the last minute -- or beyond.

I also took a walk, and got a reasonable amount done at work. So... good.

In the links, Mexico's Mayan region launches apocalypse countdown. Tom Smith pointed out that there were Only 367 Shopping Days Left -- it would be 366, now. Happy apocalypse. Hmm. Maybe LJ is celebrating it a year early?

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

Probably not such a good day, on the whole. My new netbook, Cygnus, arrived, which pretty much blew the afternoon. It took four or five reboots to get through all the Windows upgrades. When I got home I installed Ubuntu 11.04, which went smooth as glass up until the end. It took an additional two installs to figure out that (1) you have to be careful about how you install grub and (2) the proprietary video driver is buggy.

The fan stays on all the time, which is annoying, but it's not really noticable from a normal working distance. At least to me, but I already know my hearing is deteriorating. And Windows 7 may be the best one so far, but it's still Windows, and I still hate click-to-type. On the plus side, it's a dream to type on compared to the Dell, and all the hardware Just Works in Ubuntu.

I had a serious adrenaline spike about 25 minutes after reading [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi's post about what happened Monday night. It's often difficult for me to figure out what causes a spike like that; this seemed pretty straightforward. Although, from the timing, it could have been excitement at Cygnus's arrival.

I made an appointment to see my doctor about the neuropathy.

Some good links in the notes, and one bad one -- don't click over to Naomi's post unless you can handle a detailed description of domestic violence. Sorry about that.

I really want to shake [livejournal.com profile] cflute and ask "What in hell are you and what have you done with my friend?"

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

You know it's been a bad day when hearing of Anne McCaffrey's death wasn't the worst thing to happen. Or even the second worst.

The neuropathy was the second worst. Both feet, feeling like they were on fire after standing for a few minutes. Probably diabetic neuropathy, though there could be other explanations.

And then there was hearing that one of my good friends had assaulted her partner, my sister of choice [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi, in a fit of blind anger. Naomi and her kids are safe, but I was shocked and saddened. I will post more on this later. Soon.

Physical pain isn't always the worst kind.

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

Monday was pretty good, except for a couple of red flags. Productive at work, for once, with a full afternoon of coding (writing a makefile that makes RSS feeds -- hee!). That was fun.

After sleeping on it, I ordered a TASCAM US-800, which Musician's Friend has on sale this month. Linux support is a little iffy, but at that price for a USB-powered interface with six mic preamps, I figure it's worth the risk.

And a short walk (it was cold and moisty), and some music practice.

And I forgot to mention it in Sunday's notes, but Colleen has actually started sewing! Cut out a set of PJ bottoms, all by herself on the scooter.

But.

At 11:30ish I had a major adrenaline spike. Out of the blue, as far as I could tell. In some people, I suppose it would have been a panic attack; fortunately there are some major advantages to being almost completely unaware of my emotions.

And sometime in the afternoon, I started getting neuropathy symptoms, specifically a burning sensation in the sole of my right foot when I walked on it. DO NOT LIKE!

There are good links in the notes; check them out. I should get to work soon.

raw notes )
mdlbear: Franklin on the $100 bill wearing Guy Fawkes mask (transfer-me)

Hmm. I think it was a pretty good day, but mostly I kept busy and didn't notice. Which I guess makes it a very good day, in some sense. I did some chord and singing practice, recorded The Owl and the Pussycat with two microphones (the ribbon may have a slight edge, but it's really hard for me to tell -- I'll have to get someone with younger ears to help), and did a lot of work toward revamping the Makefile that builds practice, concert and album web pages.

On the other hand, I wasn't feeling all that well in the afternoon, so I opted out of the local housefilk to stay home, make dinner for Colleen, and keep hacking. And it started raining just as I was leaving for a walk. Which I wasn't feeling up to in any case.

And on the gripping hand, I did manage to post Songs for Saturday, and made two icons (for trainwreck and Bank Transfer Day).

On the fourth hand, somewhat down on myself for not starting set-up early enough to actually transfer money on the day. Which is minor in itself, but triggers a long chain of associations with other things I didn't do in time.

So... mixed, I guess.

This Bank Transfer Day poster is particularly good, and as you can see I made an icon out of it.

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

A good day? Mostly. I went up to the Menlo Park office for a meeting, and took my walk to and around the little artificial pond in the nearby park. I was struck by how many phone conversations I recalled while passing the place where I'd had them. Apparently location is a powerful trigger for me. (Now I'm finding that just thinking about the places brings back more memories. Eeep!)

I spent some time comparing netbooks -- I am now thinking of a Thinkpad X120e. The HP Pavilion dm1z has gotten better reviews, but I really want the pointing stick and middle mouse button.

I also spent some time researching laryngopharyngeal reflux (again). After rejecting the idea of using omeprazole (which interferes with citalopram metabolism), I decided to try raising the head of my bed about 10". This appears to have worked -- I woke up able to breathe and without having to constantly clear my throat. So... YAY!

Another patent with my name on it has issued. I have very mixed feelings about this: there's a sense of accomplishment, but I really hate the idea of software patents (which this is, like most of mine). I have 24 now.

A long phone call from a lonely Wolfling -- she's depressed, and I don't know how to help. I don't know what to call that feeling, but it hurts. Empathy? Maybe that's why I kept my feelings buried for so long, and so deep that I didn't know I had them.

A couple of good links: Ysabetwordsmith's Asexual Awareness Week Wrapup, Liralen on the difference between religion and faith (among other things). As a total outsider to religion, I've mostly seen its bad side; "faith" in particular has always baffled me.

Hmm. This one seems to have gone a little deeper than usual. Have to do more of that.

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

Not too bad, but I really didn't get anything done except for what I'd consider puttering. Even at work, where I did a good number of little things while not getting much done on the big ones. Story of my life?

And even though it was perfect weather for walking in, I didn't: I got busy with something and the next time I looked up it was 1:30.

I made dinner, too, since the YD was apparently indisposed. Also, as usual, laundry, replacing the failing CFL bulb in the laundry room, and assorted other little things.

I went splat about an hour early; Colleen had gone to bed ahead of me while I was in the tub, which is also unusual. I don't think either of us was feeling up to par; I know I wasn't.

Also when I got home, I found 174 tweets in my twitter feed. If you're out there expecting me to keep up, don't. Send me an email. Same goes for G+ -- the larger post limit means that even with only two dozen people in my circles, I can't possibly keep up. I read about two pages worth of each in a typical day; the rest falls off the bottom and never gets seen.

Going meta for a moment, I've been wondering why we don't get nearly as many people at Wednesday nights and parties as we used to. (I know that I haven't been terribly good at party announcements, so that may be part of it.) So if you've been staying away from the Starport for some reason, could you let me know? Send email to my user name at livejournal.com if you don't want to post it. Or should I put this in a separate post and screen comments?

The most appalling link of the day is Topeka, Kansas City Council Considers Decriminalizing Domestic Violence To Save Money. See, the county has stopped prosecuiting misdemeanors, so Topeka gets handed the domestic violence cases under a city ordinance. This, people, is what the teabaggers mean by "cutting government spending".

raw notes )

Most Popular Tags

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Style Credit

Page generated Oct. 25th, 2014 10:03 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios