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

I'm taking a "vacation" -- actually a staycation with enough housework and other difficult tasks to make it more likely something I'll need to go back to work to relax from -- between now and next year. This last week was pretty relaxed at work; there was a group party on Monday, and I gave a short concert. Mostly funny computer songs, as one might expect.

We're doing the holidays a little differently this year, because N and her kids are out of town until Monday. So we had my kids yesterday, doing nothing in particular today, and doing the household celebration and gift exchange tomorrow. Boxing Day is traditional for that in some cultures, and besides it's Hanukkah, so that works anyway.

As part of the downsizing process I'm moving the household fileserver into a smaller case. I'll be going back to the Intel atom mini-ITX board, and I found the case I'd been looking for. It's just tall enough for two 3.5" hard drives, and two stacked card slots which I probably won't have much use for unless I decide to put the mirror drive in an eSATA box.

Emotionally (and it still seems odd to be writing that word, because alexithymia) it's been something of a roller coaster. A woman smiled at me and said hello on Tuesday; I noticed that I was unreasonably happy about that. Not sure why that seemed notable at the time, but it was. On the other hand I had a couple of severe anxiety attacks (or something -- all I'm really sure about are the physical effects). Actually, come to think of it, they often occur after I've been frightened, when whatever scared me has gone away. So there's that.

I'm constantly on edge, often irritated at nothing at all, and feel kind of -- is "fragile" the right word? Sometimes I scare people. I hate this.

I've gotten a little more used to the idea of retiring and moving, but I hate that too. These things are probably all connected, and connected to Trump as well. I guess it's good to have somebody to blame who's really evil enough to deserve it.

Have a happy Christmas, merry Hanukkah, or whatever else you're celebrating.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: (rose)

Unless the sound of silent thoughts carries up the Rainbow Bridge, I won't be saying "Happy Fathers' Day" to my Dad. He died a little over 17 years ago. He got me interested in computers, over 50 years ago -- I miss him every time I think "I'd love to call Dad and tell him about..."

Science fiction, and folk music -- he would have loved the filk community. He took me to trade shows and conventions back before they stopped allowing kids in; he would have enjoyed a filk convention. He would have loved my CD, Coffee, Computers, and Song!

Songs for Sunday:

  • The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of -- I wrote this a couple of months before Dad died, and sang it for him on my last visit.
  • Rainbow's Edge -- Mom had asked me to write a song to sing at Dad's memorial. I don't sing this one all that often.
  • The World Inside the Crystal -- Dad was a programmer (when he wasn't being a chemist). I don't think he ever said so, but I'm pretty sure this was his favorite.

Not exactly the playlist I'd planned, but...

ETA: as I hoist my glass of gin I'm reminded of the way Dad made Tanqueray martinis: straight gin -- there's a bottle of vermouth somewhere in the house. For a slightly sweeter version, open the bottle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lots o' links, as usual.

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

It's been a nice, relaxing week - I took Friday off as well as Thursday. Won't be able to do that again for a long while, sadly.

Glenn made roast beef and proper Yorkshire pudding for dinner on Christmas; I made borscht yesterday. We had a few guests over; not many. But the borscht came out well. Next time we'll have to make a much smaller batch, though. Recipe to follow, though you can deduce much of it from the timeline in Saturday's notes.

Despite feeling relaxed, I also feel as though I should have been doing more. I am, as usual, going to have to scramble to get all the charities paid by year's end, and there are probably still some lingering bills and other items. GAAK!

On the other hand, my web resources are in pretty good shape. The whole thing is amost completely deployed with git, the rest with rsync, and "make deploy" works on both. I'm pretty happy about that -- it feels good to get back into toolmaking again.

On the gripping hand -- or is that the griping hand -- I still don't feel particularly happy about myself. This is mainly because, even when I know what needs to be done, I still prefer to waste time reading or puttering rather than do it. Not even the prospect of giving myself a little star in my notes -- which is what that file is for -- is enough to get me off my arse when it comes to writing checks or sorting through envelopes.

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

On the health front, I may finally be learning to relax the muscles in my lower back that make it hurt when I walk. Maybe. It also seems to have a lot to do with how heavy my shoulder bag is, so that's going to be an ongoing problem. A backpack would be better, except that it's hard to get off when I take a seat in the bus, and unlike a shoulder bag I can't swing it around when I want to get at something like my wallet.

I've finally started doing some serious system administration/scripting work to get my website working directories the rest of the way under git control. That's done -- I can now say "make deploy" in a web directory and have it committed, pushed to the remote repo, and pulled into the website with no further attention.

In the process, I had to write a script for converting a directory from CVS to git. There are a couple of challenges in that process because the old CVS repositories were in pretty bad shape, with stuff not having been checked in consistently. Not like a well-maintained software project, in other words. Bad bear. No cookie. My websites don't use cookies anyway.

The associated asset archive is going to be harder, because some directories have large media files in them. Like, um... the audio. The goal is to eliminate the use of rsync snapshots for backups (for reasons I will probably go into in more detail in a later post).

Detail in the notes, as usual.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: (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: (sparkly rose)

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there, and especially my mom, Lynn, and my kids' mom, Colleen.

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)

It was rather an expensive weekend, but worthwhile. I really needed a break, and had dozens of things to do -- I'm glad I took the two days off again this week.

Saturday I ordered new batteries for Colleen's scooter. It turns out that they're available in 17, 18, 20, and 22 amp-hour in the same package. I got the big ones. Meanwhile, the old batteries are still working after a fashion. I'm reasonably certain that only one of the pair is dead.

We went out to Costco, where we bought a 32" TV. Samsung. It's only 720P; although abstractly I might have prefered 1080P, it really makes no difference at a 20' viewing distance. It fits neatly on the shelf above the printers, and I got it hooked up to both the BD player and the Mac mini. So, YAY!

Sunday, in addition to setting up the TV, I drove over to Naomi's and we went out for a walk. Nice! We'll have to do that more often. We had turkey for dinner -- Albertson's had 14lb birds for $.69/lb. There were 4lb turkey breasts in the same section that cost 50% more than a whole bird. Unfortunately, in spite of being labeled fresh, the bird was actually partly frozen. I scoched the top and set off the fire alarm. Fortunately just in the apartment; we had sense enough to open the porch door, not the hallway.

Monday, I went online and bought some furniture: two "Spinning Multimedia Tower"s, and a "Media Storage Lamp". The towers hold a huge number of disks -- over 1000 CDs each. We'll need both of them. The lamp is just the right size to stand in the space just in front of the recliners, and hopefully contain the pile of clutter that invariably accumulates there.

I went out for a walk in the late afternoon, and stopped in at Fred Myers to look at electronics. (Nominally, an ethernet switch, since I'm out of ports on the WiFi router.) While there, I saw a familiar figure heading toward the back of the store, and joined forces with Naomi. She drove me home, and stayed for a little while.

After N. left, James and Chaos arrived; I took them back to J's around 11pm so as not to have to drive with the drunks. I came back, and Colleen and toasted the New Year.

I also went online and made last-minute contributions to Planned Parenthood, Carleton College, and Heifer International. I have someone a goat for New Year's, which made Naomi (whose totem is a chamois) very happy. It was contagious, making for a particularly happy New Year's Eve.

Links in the notes, as usual. Hippo Gnu Ear, and may 2013 be a huge improvement over 2012.

raw notes )

[Crossposted from mdlbear.dreamwidth.org, where it has comment count unavailable comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only]

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

It was rather an expensive weekend, but worthwhile. I really needed a break, and had dozens of things to do -- I'm glad I took the two days off again this week.

Saturday I ordered new batteries for Colleen's scooter. It turns out that they're available in 17, 18, 20, and 22 amp-hour in the same package. I got the big ones. Meanwhile, the old batteries are still working after a fashion. I'm reasonably certain that only one of the pair is dead.

We went out to Costco, where we bought a 32" TV. Samsung. It's only 720P; although abstractly I might have prefered 1080P, it really makes no difference at a 20' viewing distance. It fits neatly on the shelf above the printers, and I got it hooked up to both the BD player and the Mac mini. So, YAY!

Sunday, in addition to setting up the TV, I drove over to Naomi's and we went out for a walk. Nice! We'll have to do that more often. We had turkey for dinner -- Albertson's had 14lb birds for $.69/lb. There were 4lb turkey breasts in the same section that cost 50% more than a whole bird. Unfortunately, in spite of being labeled fresh, the bird was actually partly frozen. I scoched the top and set off the fire alarm. Fortunately just in the apartment; we had sense enough to open the porch door, not the hallway.

Monday, I went online and bought some furniture: two "Spinning Multimedia Tower"s, and a "Media Storage Lamp". The towers hold a huge number of disks -- over 1000 CDs each. We'll need both of them. The lamp is just the right size to stand in the space just in front of the recliners, and hopefully contain the pile of clutter that invariably accumulates there.

I went out for a walk in the late afternoon, and stopped in at Fred Myers to look at electronics. (Nominally, an ethernet switch, since I'm out of ports on the WiFi router.) While there, I saw a familiar figure heading toward the back of the store, and joined forces with Naomi. She drove me home, and stayed for a little while.

After N. left, James and Chaos arrived; I took them back to J's around 11pm so as not to have to drive with the drunks. I came back, and Colleen and toasted the New Year.

I also went online and made last-minute contributions to Planned Parenthood, Carleton College, and Heifer International. I have someone a goat for New Year's, which made Naomi (whose totem is a chamois) very happy. It was contagious, making for a particularly happy New Year's Eve.

Links in the notes, as usual. Hippo Gnu Ear, and may 2013 be a huge improvement over 2012.

raw notes )
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)

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)
raw notes )

Hmm. Feels busier than it looks from the notes. Maybe that's because yesterday was such a long, lousy day.

Between the snow and N. being too sick for a road trip, Callie, Naomi, and the kids ended up cancelling their drive south. They used the money I'd sent to pay Chaos's share of the expenses to get her a plane ticket down. Shortly after that, I headed over to Kaiser for new, hopefully more effective eyedrops, followed by two consecutive appointments at different addresses.

I came home to a tasty dinner (crock-pot chicken mole). About the time I finished it I got a call from the YD, who had managed to trip over something and twist her ankle. So I drove over to DeVry, only to find that she was still upstairs in her classroom and pretty much unable to walk. So back home (roughly a 15-minute trip) for the wheelchair, which allowed me to collect her and take her to Kaiser's ER (at yet another address).

Meanwhile Chaos's plane arrived. Fortunately she'd already been planning to call a friend for a ride, so it wasn't until she got home that she found out that I was still waiting for the YD's X-ray results.

... which came in, showing no bone damage. So they sent her home with a brace and a pair of crutches. I spent the next hour or so on laundry, bedding, and other such matters until finally going SPLAT around half-past midnight.

I seem to be more resilient than I was a year or so ago. Damned good thing.

Some links, mostly from Monday when I actually had some time to accumulate them.

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

Happy Pi Day!

Google's logo is worth a look if you're reading this on 3.14.

mdlbear: (sparkly rose)

Here's wishing you a very happy and delightful Christmas, Hanukkah, Newton's Birthday, or whatever you happen to be celebrating this year. I hope you're having fun.

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

Like a lot of people on my friends list, I've been looking for inexpensive gifts to give people, and especially my kids (who are not on this filter, BTW). One of the obvious zero-cost options is lessons: guitar for the Y.D.; maybe simple Perl or Javascript programming for the Wolfling.

I've offered, of course, but I think they're a little shy of asking, and when I think of it, it's usually not convenient for them. So this year I'm going to print a couple of stacks of coupons on business card stock. That way they'll have a tangible reminder that they can ask, they can hand on to me some time when I don't look busy, and then I'll have a tangible reminder that I made the offer and should make the time for it.

Feel free to make up your own variations on this one. Of course, what you put on the coupons doesn't have to be lessons; I remember a long time ago one Valentine's Day when Colleen gave me a little coupon book for things like hugs and kisses and backrubs that I might have ben too shy to ask for. Massage, home-cooked meals, private performances...

mdlbear: (120-cell)

Today is, among other things, Newton's Birthday, which makes the [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat's gift to me of a copy of God Created the Integers: the Mathematical Breakthroughs that Changed History by Stephen Hawking particularly appropriate.

It's an anthology of some of the most important papers in mathematics, with Hawking's introductions, starting with extracts from Euclid's Elements and ending with Turing's On Computable Numbers. I'm planning to just read the introductions and skim the rest -- it's the sort of book in which I could easily lose myself for months.

Thank you, love!

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

We always have people dropping in on Christmas, and in fact during the whole week or so between Christmas and our annual somewhere-around-the-New-Year party. The latter is on Saturday the 29th this year. It's a potluck. You're invited.

And if you're in the area, drop by tomorrow -- we're putting on a pot of Ukrainian borscht. Yum.

mdlbear: (bday song)

Born this day in 1791, Charles Babbage is best known for inventing the stored-program digital computer. He failed in his efforts to actually construct what he called the Analytical Engine not (as popular belief has it) because the technology of the time was inadequate, but because he had trouble raising the necessary funds, and kept changing the specs.

I should also note that today is St. Stephen's Day, also known as the Feast of Stephen, an event to which I have a nominal connection.

In 1985 I wrote the song Uncle Ernie's (Used Computer Babbage's Birthday Bargain Bash) [ogg], mostly inspired by a surplus joint called Quinn's. Some years later we discovered that Babbage's Birthday is a miserable day on which to hold a garage sale.

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

Here's wishing everyone out there a happy Babbage's Birthday, and hoping you all celebrated Newton's birthday yesterday with appropriate levity.

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