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mdlbear: (e8)

I'm really glad we got Colleen's medicare coverage straightened out (or mostly -- her Part D (drug) coverage is not fully functional yet, nor is her supplemental policy). Because she went in to Shoreline Clinic for lab work on Tuesday after her visit to the SSA office, and Wednesday we got a call telling her to go to the ER and get IV fluids, because her creatinine level was high. That's related to kidney function, and in this case indicated a problem with her catheter.

So she spent the rest of the week in Northwest Hospital; she was discharged Friday. And Medicare covers it. I spent much of the week doing medicare-related paperwork; being retired may be relaxing once you get to actually do it -- retiring sure isn't. I'm still not done with Colleen's.

Meanwhile, I've been reading. I finished Counterexamples in Analysis, which is a really fun read. It had been used as the textbook for Advanced Calculus up until the year I went to Carleton, so there were enough copies lying around for me to get intrigued by such perverse creatures as "a space-filling curve that's almost everywhere almost nowhere". In the process, supplementing it with Wikipedia dives, I've finally gotten a little more comfortable with ring theory.

Last night, between John Baez on the number 24 on YouTube and a bit of digging on Wikipedia, I also started getting the hang of the Monster Group and E8. They turn out to be related to the Binary Golay code, a 24-bit error-correcting code invented by Marcel Golay, who I knew of because he'd collaborated with my father on the Savitzky–Golay filter!

I've also been reading Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces - it's mostly review for me, but it's a good presentation and there are a few good nuggets in there. The Codeless Code, a collection of software-development koans, is also worth of note, and of everything I've mentioned here is probably of the most interest to people casually interested in the sociology of software development. Or possibly Zen Buddhism.

I've also been looking around Don Knuth's home page -- Don was my favorite professor at Stanford -- which eventually led me back to Surreal Numbers. I see that I don't have a good set of links for those.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Big week. The sale of Rainbow's End (now "Rainbow's Ended"?) closed on Tuesday, after a marathon clean-up session. (The buyers had done a walk-through Monday evening, and called with a list of things that had to be cleaned up. If they weren't done by EOD Tuesday, they were going to hold up closing. Since the closing for our purchase was scheduled for Wednesday, that was a non-starter. Cleanup had to be done.)

First (realtor) Chris and I cleaned up the messes left by the movers who ghosted on us last week, the housekeeper, and me when I came by both Thursday and Sunday and simply ran out of spoons. I think some valuable things may have been hauled off by the guys from 1-800-GOT-JUNK, but I was pretty low on spoons at that point.

After that, (this is still Tuesday!) I met G at UHaul to rent a truck so that we could get his motorcycles out of the garage. Fortunately, our housekeeper (G', if you've been following the details of my notation) offered to store them at her house. We probably came within inches of dropping a bike, more than once.

After that, I came back to the house (no longer ours, since they did close on time) to pick up the hazardous materials we'd taken out of the garage, since GOT-JUNK doesn't do hazmat. I came around to the front after that, and took a blossom and a bud from the Royal Amethist rose. Then I sang "The Mary Ellen Carter" on the way home to keep from losing it.

Wednesday, the purchase of our new house on Whidbey Island closed. I also learned that 1. the household hazmat site on Aurora Avenue is closed on Wednesdays, and 2. latex paint is not considered hazardous, so they won't take it. I was, and still am, too short on emotional cope to react significantly to either event.

Thursday I bought cat litter for solidifying the paint. I was kind of out of it, and didn't do much except reading (see links).

Friday I found out that C had not gotten signed up for Medicare. Damnit, she was positive that she had; if I'd known we could have done it when we visited the office to deliver our marriage license. Weeks ago. Shit. I also took care of the nine cans of paint that actually had room for cat litter to be added.

Saturday I tried to get C signed up for Medicare, and failed. (I failed again today.) There's still a lot of other stuff I've been neglecting.

Meanwhile, I've been doing paperwork mostly connected with health care, utilities, you name it. If I'd been under any illusions that retiring was going to be less stressful than working, well, ... Maybe it gets better? Damned if I know. I've also been reading a lot, mostly math and computer science, probably because it gets me into a flow state where I'm not really aware of anything else. Not being aware of anything mostly sounds pretty good right now.

Oh, yeah; I ought to schedule an appointment with my therapist. Not that that's been doing any noticable good lately. I have difficulty imagining how it could do any good, which may be part of the problem. (That's not a new thing; except for learning about CBT and getting me on the first of a series of drugs that may or may not still be working it didn't do a whole lot for me back in California, either.)

And don't get me started on politics.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: Wild turkey hen close-up (turkey)

It's been an eventful week. I'm thankful that it's over. That's probably enough.

  • We sold our house in West Seattle. Done. It required a marathon cleanup session the day of the closing (Tuesday!) after the buyers' walkthrough Monday night. Why the *bleep* couldn't they have done it Friday evening? But they didn't, and our agent and I spent all day Tuesday cleaning out the stuff that I'd been too tired to deal with last Thursday, and the stuff that the movers dumped on the side path after they ghosted on us Friday. And G and I rented a UHaul and hauled his two motorcycles -- that the aforesaid mover had said he wanted to buy on Monday but never showed up -- over to our housekeeper's house in Auburn. But we did it.
  • In the end, after dropping off the truck, I went back to the old place to collect the paint cans the buyers had complained about, drove around to the front, and picked a bud and a flower off the Royal Amethyst rose. Thank you, Ame.
  • ... and sang "The Mary Ellen Carter" as loud as I could on the way back over the West Seattle Bridge. Thanks, Stan -- I needed that.
  • Our purchase of our new house on Whidbey Island went through without a hitch. That was a long search, and a lot of anxiety and research, but that too is done. Special thanks to our agents, Rob and (especially) Leif.
  • Also somewhere in there my final payment from Amazon came through. Less than I'd been expecting because I hadn't allowed for Social Security and Medicare taking their cuts, but welcome just the same. I note in passing that they have not come through with my promised health care, so no thanks are due in that direction.
  • Thanks to my family, too, the whole crazy lot of us. Special thanks to the Younger Daughter, whose new phone plan and health coverage through her employer have taken several additional worries off of my mind.
  • Thanks, too, to you, my readers. Your occasional comments and encouraging words have meant a great deal during this, um..., adventure? Something like that.

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

I spent most of the week sick, miserable, and barely able to breathe at times, but got quite a lot done regardless. Everything is now out of the West Seattle house, which I suppose could be called "Rainbow's Ended" now; the third and final pod has been taken away, and all of the paperwork for both the sale of the old house and the purchase of the new one has been signed, in sessions with the respective traveling notaries. The respective closings are Tuesday and Wednesday.

In other news, my final payment from Amazon arrived -- less than I expected because I hadn't allowed for social security and medicare -- but my promised health care still hasn't. Should have just started COBRA and asked them to pay for it, which is probably what's going to happen.

Oh, yes -- our sink fell down. It had apparently been glued to the underside of the counter with a thin bead of silicone; the maintenance guy came by and propped it up with 2x4s. I feel like I'm living on Desolation Row.

Yes I received your letter yesterday, about the time the doorknob broke,...
When you asked me how I was doing -- was that some kind of joke?
Right now I can't read so good; don't send me no more letters, no
Not unless you mail them from Desolation Row

OK, so it was the sink and not the doorknob. My poetic license hasn't expired yet.

I do seem to be experiencing less anxiety this week, and I'm starting to look forward to living on Whidbey Island. I still don't feel as though I'm getting as much done as I should, but I do note in passing that I've updated my resume and three of the five websites that most needed it. I've gotten out of the apartment at least five of the last seven days, though not necessarily on foot. The other two did include something that might count as exercise, however.

BTW I'm feeling quite a bit better (physically) today, though still not up to par. Psychologically I'm still having problems. It's like a break-up, or losing a pet -- I keep wondering whether there was anything I could have done differently. It's going to be a rough couple of months, until we can actually move in -- we gave the present owner a 60-day leaseback, though it's not entirely certain that he'll use all of it.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

It's been a long month this last week.

  • We are very close to buying the house on Whidbey Island. Just a couple of things we have to check.
  • As of Friday, I am officially a Retired Person. (I've been a member of the AARP for 20 years. It's still weird.
  • I had a couple of panic attacks. The fact that I know what they are, how they work, and how to deal with them is helpful, but they're still something of an ordeal.

I had a very nice send-off party from the team at work; another team member was moving to another team, so it was a combined affair, and of course combined with the weekly Friday "Beer 30". I will miss those people. Naomi was able to come up for the party, so we were able to do a little singing (set list in the notes). Damned good thing, too -- I had greatly underestimated the amount of stuff I would be bringing home. I would have had to call a cab.

For some reason I'm not seeing all that many events this week outside the house-related stuff. Oh, well. Maybe that's enough.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Another long month this week. Guess we're going to keep having those for a while. Didn't finish doing my taxes, but figured out an upper bound and filed for an extension. OK, that was the easy part.

Wednesday, on short notice, Naomi and I went to Whidbey Island to look at houses. The first was quirky and magical, especially the land, but it would have taken quite a lot of work to make it habitable. The second was move-in ready and a safe bet, but it's never going to be much better than what it is now. The safe one was going to be looking at offers Thursday, so we put in a bid for asking price. We got it.

Thursday, in addition to finding out that our bid for the Whidbey Island house had been accepted, we got the counter-offer from the buyers for our Seattle house. We now have the choice between getting the work done ourselves, which would get us more money but has some risk, and giving the buyers a price reduction. It may come down to cash flow.

Saturday, Colleen and I decided to go out for dinner... and found the elevator broken. You can read about that little comedy of errors (none of them ours) downwhen in my previous post. A few things stand out:

  1. An SOP that includes "call the fire department" for after-hours elevator maintenance is clearly wrong.
  2. If you're going to have maintenance people "on call" but don't have an SLA for them, you have a problem.
  3. If the only contact information on your website is a phone number, a twitter handle, and a facebook name, something that would otherwise result in an annoyed email is instead going to make you look stupid in public.

Still worried.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

It's been a week. I accepted my retirement package. It's the same amount of money as if I kept going until my original target date; if the notice is too short, they should have thought of that earlier. They are going to have to do a lot of scrambling -- there's a lot left to do. My teammates are probably going to be shocked -- I think my boss was, too; he apparently found out about the deal only days before I did -- and I'm rather sorry about that. Not sorry enough to keep working for two more months without any financial incentive for it, though.

In other news, we got two offers on the house, and accepted the higher one (25K over asking price) with the second as backup. We will have to make some concessions; it looks as though there's some $30K worth of sewer damage. Hopefully it will still come out in the neighborhood of our asking price.

Notable among things that went missing during the move to the apartment were my Android tablets. I'd meant to pack the 7" Nexus, at least. And I packed at least two bluetooth tablet keyboards. Oh, well. With two extra netbooks (blackbird and purple), the mac mini (whitewood), the server (nova), and a spare laptop (raven), it's not as though I'll lack for compute power. Networking in the apartment is incredibly slow; not sure how much of that is interference, but both ethernet and the A band work a lot better. Unfortunately neither Cygnus nor Raven seem willing to talk 802-11a.

On the other hand, I found my missing ORCA card (in my wallet in the one compartment I had overlooked) and the missing tax forms (in a separate folder, so thin that I thought it was empty). Still missing at least one form, with the interest from my HELOC.

I finally (on Tuesday) started working on my taxes. For that I use my old Mac mini, in part because unlike the Windows 7 partition on my laptop it's still receiving updates. Next year is going to be something of a nightmare; I may finally have to send them to an accountant. For now, TaxCut works fine.

Yesterday we went out to look at houses again. Another dome -- I like them, but it was at the top end of our price range and would have needed another $50K to make it work for us. The other place, in Auburn, was perfectly respectable and undoubtedly the best we can find that close to Seattle. But do we really need to be that close?

I also spoke to a (different) lender - this one is a long-time friend of our realtor - about the change in plans around retirement. Looks ok -- my credit is excellent (for the first time in years, I think), and I'll be making somewhere between 70 and 80K/year. More if one counts N's contribution to the household as rent.

The major omission of the week was following up on C's humira -- they were supposed to have called me back Monday. I was also very late getting in a call to my financial advisor -- that will have to wait for Monday, since "Good" Friday was a holiday.

The idea of retiring is beginning to be a little less surreal, though I don't think I could actually call it real yet.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: (flamethrower)

Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for literature. I am still kind of blown away. I mean... He's one of my personal heroes, and I've always known that there's a difference between a songwriter and a poet who sets their poems to music. The latter are quite rare. Most -- all? -- songwriters know which side of the divide they fall on. But... But... Nobel Prize!

Meanwhile, here I am on Desolation Row. Our predicted storm of the century wasn't even the storm of the decade; but it still did quite a lot of damage. The zipper on my pants broke -- again. We have a crack in the floor of our basement, which of course water is coming up through. I cut a corner too close and badly scraped the side of the van. What's left of my self-confidence is somewhat in tatters.

They're spoon-feeding Cassanova
To get him to feel more assured
Then they'll kill him with self-confidence
After poisoning him with words.

Ok, so at least I don't have to worry about that. Also on the plus side in no particular order, we never lost power, we can see the crack because I have been procrastinating getting the floor re-done since our flood last year, our second tenant has moved in, and all the damage to the van was cosmetic. So there's that.

Rather an unproductive week at work.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can't think of anything else worthy of mention.

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

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

My back hurts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links in the notes, of course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

More links in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links and details in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

The concert itself was spectacular.

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

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

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

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

We will still need a loan.

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

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

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

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

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

Some interesting reading -- links in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links in the notes.

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

Bad week. Everything is falling apart at once.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

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

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

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

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

Links in the notes as usual.

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

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

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

Links in the notes as usual.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pretty good week, actually, though things are going more slowly at work than I'd like. Meanwhile, we had the organizers (from a company called Eliminate Chaos) in on Monday; they (with me and Naomi) got through half the garage. More, really, because there's more empty space in the half we didn't get to.

About 40 boxes of books, a lot of luggage, and several boxes of fabric were brought into the house for later. I'm going to have some shelf-building to do. Fortunately we also have a lot of shelving components. And a sizeable pile of stuff for Chaos(wolf) to haul off.

Perhaps inspired by this, Emmy arranged with our housekeeper to get her room cleaned, which makes room for the futon that's in the garage. Whee!

Meanwhile, I have been trying various stress-reduction techniques. The hot bath I took on Wednesday did a great job of un-knotting my back. Have to do that more often.

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

I haz apparently been a Productive Bear, at least some of the time. I finally got around to putting grout into the seam where the arch was cut in between the kitchen and the Rainbow Room, and I now have a fourth working UPS and a functioning git-based web deployment system (for everything but the audio files, of course).

On the other hand, we had a one-hour power outage last night that revealed the fact that the server was plugged into the surge protector outlet on one of those UPSs instead of a battery-backed-up outlet. *headdesk*

I transferred my stuff from the shoulder bag I've been using for the last couple of years, to a rolling backpack. Which is clumsy as heck, but more comfortable to use. The major win, though, was putting my wallet and a couple of other essentials into a little shoulder bag (Eagle Creek Sidekick) so that I can just grab that and go out to lunch, or shopping with Colleen. Major win -- it's practically weightless by comparison with the old one. Of course, it can't carry a laptop, cane, rain hat, phone backup battery, coin purse, ... -- which is all rather the point of the exercise.

I have also been coming home hurting, and emotionally fragile from depression and anxiety. So there's that.

On the whole, though, not too bad of a week. I'll take it. Links in the notes as usual.

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

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

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

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

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

The usual collection of links.

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

Short one this time, because I want to wrap up the year. We had a power outage Monday that apparently hosed my server -- again. Not happy about that. I am happy about fixing both our non-sucking vacuum cleaners by the simple expedient of cleaning their filters.

So, Happy New Year, and here's hoping it's a good one for all of us.

Links in the notes, as usual.

raw notes )

Tha' Tha' That's all, folks. Welcome to 2014.

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

I have this feeling I should post something for the end of the year, which is fast approaching (and probably well past for most of my readers by now).

It's been a year. Or maybe a decade. I had three jobs, which is as many as I had in the previous two decades. I/we bought a house and moved into it -- last time I did that was 38 years ago. We have cats -- last time I had a cat was, I don't know, about 60 years ago? Something like that. Colleen spent months in hospitals and nursing homes.

I'm looking forward to a couple of years of being settled. I'm not likely to get them, of course. Next year I have to sell the Starport, add on to Rainbow's End, catch up on a hellacious number of medical bills, get the cars repaired, go to my 45th college reunion, ... Well, we'll see. Tomorrow is another year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The big news: Friday Colleen went upstairs (supervised by two PTs -- they'd originally been planning to do car transfers but it was raining). They marked out where I should put grab bars; I got one of them in yesterday.

Lots of puttering, last weekend and this. Finally got new showerheads installed. The new hand shower has a vertical bar that can be used as a grab bar; it turns out that drilling tile is a bitch, so it's only held on by two screws at the moment. I'll work on that some more this afternoon. Brought up a box of cookbooks. Etc.

Friday came over yesterday (yes, Friday was here on Saturday) and made curried chicken. There are leftovers; not entirely sure what we're having for dinner tonight. We also had pizza (last Saturday) and Chinese (Friday).

I got some work done on the and Rainbow's End Massage websites, though not all that much.

I had some notion last week of dropping the "Done" posts back to one per week, and doing occasional posts with real content in between. Well, I got halfway there...

Lots of links in the notes; you can read about the Autism Speaks kerfuffle, perfect forward secrecy and other security matters (Hi there, NSA), and Avengers AU fanfic with cats, among many others.

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

The big news is that COLLEEN IS HOME!!. The bad news is that she still is nowhere near being able to walk (despite PT twice a week), and can't even transfer reliably from the bed to her power chair. Getting her into bed the evening she came home was hard enough; she made several attempts to get back in the chair the next day, but couldn't.

It's going to be a long, difficult, expensive month. We have someone coming in during the day to take care of her and cook, but I still have to change her at least twice/day, and usually more. Ouch! I'm too old for the amount of bending-over required, and even with the suggestions that Naomi made about body mechanics, there's still a fair amount of it.

At least the cats are getting along better, and Curio seems to be especially fond of Colleen. Of course: the bed smells like me, and has someone in it all the time who's happy to pet him.

Having cats around is a Very Good Thing.

In other news, the disk in my file server is dead. And I haven't pulled the backup drive to check it -- that was supposed to be particularly easy because it's in a dock. It's not easy because the dock has a key, and I can't find it. So I'll have to pull the whole damned thing, or else install a new main drive.

If the backup drive is also hosed, I won't have lost too much -- most of the really important stuff is off on the web host. It's ironic, though, that I discovered this by trying to log in in order to convert my main website from CVS to git. I'm not sure the CVS repo is uploaded. I don't think the copy of my password keychain on the laptop is up to date, either. And I'll lose most of my audio -- ripped CDs and concert recordings.

And our TV is still dead. Its problem seems to be thermal -- it runs for a couple of hours, then turns itself off. I went to Fry's and got another -- smaller (29" as opposed to 32"), but newer and lighter.

I've also written an article about git: Why and How To Keep Your Master Happy. It's work-related -- all of our new hires and many of my other coworkers seem to be unfamiliar with git and how to keep their changelog nice and tidy. Should have written it six months ago -- I wrote a rather sketchy wiki page, but it didn't go into the motivation for any of it.

Other links, as usual, in the raw notes:

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

The big news this week: Colleen has been ok'ed for full weightbearing on her formerly-broken ankle, and my tax refund finally showed up. (I found out about that today, but they post deposits at 11:30pm so technically it counts. Or something.)

The downside, of course, is that I get to spend the entire weekend writing checks for the many (mostly medical) bills that I've been ignoring for the last several months. And making the house ready for Colleen to come home to.

Apart from that...

We have a huge new cat tower in the Great Room. The cats mostly ignore it, of course, in favor of hanging out on the floor. Though Desti does like curling up on top of the old tower, which is now in the master bedroom.

The guinea pigs' cage fell off its table; I suspect the cats. I managed to recapture the two that fled the scene. Whew! We moved the cage downstairs to the basement, which is a cat-free zone because G. is allergic.

("G." is of course ambiguous; as well as being Naomi's daughter, she shares her initial with our housekeeper, and her name with the housekeeper's daughter. Fortunately, the youngest G. (g.?) has a nickname.

I "fixed" the YD's old laptop, by first dual-booting it with Ubuntu, then booting up the restore partition and doing a nuke-and-pave on Windows. Surprisingly, the operation didn't affect Ubuntu's Grub bootloader, so I won that round.

It took six hours to install all the updates. Vs. about half an hour for Ubuntu.

I bought a double-edge safety razor. Fairly expensive, but I'll save it on blades over the course of a few months. It also gives a very nice shave.

I spent a lot of time last weekend puttering, and managed to get several boxes emptied, and brought several more down to the garage for storage.

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

Last Saturday I bought my tablesaw -- specifically, the Ryobi 10 in. Table Saw with Wheeled Stand-RTS31 at The Home Depot. It works. Getting it into the garage was something of an operation, because I don't have a ramp on that door. But I managed, with a couple of boards and a fair amount of wrangling.

It's by far the best saw I've used, though that isn't saying much; I'm particularly fond of the sliding crosscut table. It doesn't have the "no tool blade change" the spec sheet says it has, but that's the only downside so far. It even came with a carbide blade, so I was able to get started immediately.

We had some more excitement with the cats. Both of them got out last night, via the vent window in the upstairs bathroom. Naome heard them (thanks to their nice new collars with bells and nametags) and managed to get them back in from the roof. But... sheesh! We love them, but they're a handful and a half. Each.

We're gradually learning to be more careful. But we decided last night that it's ok to leave them out as long as we don't have contractors in the house. It's good. The house needs cats.

Colleen's orthopedics appointment got rescheduled by the doctor; his next opening was two weeks out. We're working on getting her something sooner, because Good Grief! She has a new roommate as of yesterday, who mostly speaks Estonian.

I've been fighting depression. At least I can sometimes notice it; that's something.

Oh, and Amazon renewed my contract until the end of August. By which time I hope to have something permanent lined up. Anyone in Seattle need a Java or Perl hacker?

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

It's been a l o o o n g month. But we're moved in! Naomi's move was today; there's still a garage full of boxes, but the main part of it's done. And we have a *tub* upstairs. A *big* tub. We won't be needing a hot tub.

We also have bookshelves. The Elfa set that I installed in the "office corner" of the Great Room, the Elfa in the MBR and the YD's bedroom, and now (at last) Naomi's bookcases. They look rather empty at the moment, but that will change. We also have boxes of books. Two households worth.

There's even a low bookcase/credenza in front of my desk, so I now have someplace to put the printers. OK, my "desk" consists of a piece of plywood on sawhorses at the moment, but it's the principle of the thing.

In other news, Colleen has been off her feet for three weeks now. It looks like she's in for another four. :( At least Park West is a hell of a lot better than White Blossom, where she stayed in San Jose.

I'm finding it a little hard to believe that Rainbow's End is home now.

I should post more often, shouldn't I?

raw notes )
mdlbear: Welcome to Rainbow's End (sign) (rainbows-end)

Just a gratuitous icon post, to show off the sign on our gate.

Don't be alarmed by the location -- Colleen is just in for another endoscopy, having a gallstone removed. She should be waking up soon.

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

It's been a long month so far, but not nearly long enough. We've been packing the apartment, and running a van-load of boxes down to Rainbow's End nearly every day -- we're just having the movers take the furniture from the apartment. We'll have the Memorial Day weekend to clean up. Oh, did I mention the movers? Right.

Moving day for North Starport is this coming Friday. GLEEP! House! Move! Yard! The other reason I've been down at the house nearly every evening is to water the newly-sodded lawn. It's gorgeous. And the deck. And...

At the same time, I'm worried. There's no turning back from here -- this had better work. I think it will. That doesn't keep the late-night doubts away completely, but it helps. I'll probably still miss the Starport from time to time, but Rainbow's End is wonderful.

Lots of great links; I don't really have time to go over the list. That's what happens when you don't post for nearly three weeks -- I have to get *out* of that bad habit.

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

Rainbow's End, in West Seattle, is hosting its first housefilk today, with special guest Alexa Klettner, from Germany. Starts nominally around 2pm, but show up any time.

From the West Seattle Bridge turn right on Genesee (one block past the first traffic light, which is 35th Ave), take the second right onto 37th, and park. Look for the sign on the fence; you can't miss it. If you get lost, call me: 408-896-6133.

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

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

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

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

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

Other good links amongst the notes, as usual.

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

Long month, the last week and a half. Let's see. A week ago last Thursday I got an offer of a 3-month contract at Amazon, which I took immediately. Since it's through KForce again, I had very little paperwork to do and everything continues much as it has been. Colleen got her diagnosis of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, which is associated with immunosuppressant drugs, hypertension, low K and Mg. All of which she had.

Friday I cancelled my Norwescon concert -- I really wasn't ready, and was already under too much stress.

Saturday it looked as though Colleen was coming home, but by the time I got there her blood pressure had gone up to really scary levels, and they decided to keep her until it stabilized.

I spent most of the weekend shuttling back and forth between North Starport, Rainbow's End, and the hospital in between. I slept at RE, with Naomi and I keeping one another company.

Monday I picked up Chaos and Emmy, and went out to dinner for Emmy's 21st birthday. Blue C Sushi, which was expensive but able to satisfy the YD's craving for plum sake. I have two drinking-age children now.

I didn't notice any hill.

Tuesday Colleen came home. KForce called and told me I was supposed to start Wednesday.

As it turned out, my boss at Amazon had been expecting me to start on Monday the 1st (i.e., today), so things weren't quite ready for me. More or less ok, though; they were at least able to get me a badge and a laptop. (A Thinkpad T400, which isn't half bad.)

Last weekend was Norwescon. The "surprise open mic" that took the place of my concert was Saturday night, and I gave a perfect demonstration of exactly why I cancelled. GAAK. I should know better than to try to sing anything off book. Especially when I'm unprepared and stressed.

I was plagued by charger problems all weekend, but at least my computer charger worked most of Saturday when I really needed it to. The "geek toys" panel was a lot of fun. I read off the specs for the Cray 1 from the web browser on my phone, which had it beat by orders of magnitude. (How many orders of magnitude depending on which spec you looked at. 8MB of RAM? How... quaint.)

Sunday we had dinner at Romio's in Kirkland, on the way to take Chaos home.

Aha! moment -- I figured out that apologizing (which drives Colleen crazy) is my way of trying to make myself feel better after screwing up (especially in a way that hurts somebody else). It mostly doesn't work very well, and if Colleen tells me to stop, or I'm afraid she will, I can spiral downhill very quickly. (Started to write "downhell", which is actually a pretty good description of it. What was I doing in that handbasket, anyway?)

Didn't do a lick of open filking, but I enjoyed the concerts, and spent a fair amount of quiet time in the Green Room. Which was good for (introvert) me, even though I didn't realize at the time that it was what I needed.

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

I had a long week the last two days. Tuesday evening, Colleen scared the heck out of me, driving off the path in her scooter, and reporting blurry vision and headache. She seemed really confused, as well. I gave her some aspirin, sudafed (she's been fighting a cold all week), and nose spray. It passed in about an hour, and she seemed perfectly normal by the time we went to bed, except for the headache.

I woke up at 3:30 am and was scared enough to dial 911.

TMI, possibly triggery. Enter at your own risk. )

(TL;DR:) The most likely diagnosis at this point is something called Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (PRES) - a rare side effect of some immunosuppressant drugs, including the one she'd just increased the dosage of for her Crohn's disease, augmented by hypertension and low magnesium and potassium levels.

She's recovering well, and is currently in room 341 of Northwest Hospital in Seattle. She can have visitors. Norwescon is iffy.

But I was able to take a phone interview in the waiting room, and the interviewer said that he was going to recommend hiring me. So I have a 3-month contract at Amazon, Starting sometime next week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

WE GOT THE HOUSE! It was really down to the wire; I think the underwriter got the last little detail confirmed with my bank on Friday morning, then closed at 11am. The realtor came by to drop off the keys at about 2:30, and I left Disney at about 3:30, having gotten my last bit of work signed off and my timecards put in.

Big sigh of relief.

Backing up to the previous weekend, I spent a lot of time at Consonance catching up with friends, doing a very little singing, and showing off pictures of the house while continuing to worry about whether we'd actually get it.

At Saturday's open filk I sang "Middle-Aged Bear" (it was a good follower to something else with a bear in it), and swan-songed on QV. Quite a few people didn't seem to have heard it before. Some of them looked kind of stunned, and Colleen sent a box of tissue around.

We discovered Saturday that Colleen's scooter charger had a broken wire in the connector -- I went to Fry's Sunday morning to get a battery-powered soldering iron and some assorted tools, including a nice little Gerber multitool with pliers.

Spent a lot of time Monday doing laundry. I'm pretty sure I don't have the stamina -- or the budget -- for flying to more than one con/year with Colleen. It's a much bigger production than going solo.

Tuesday through Thursday passed in something of a blur. Friday Naomi picked me up after work, with her kids, and we spent some time in the house. Our house.

Saturday involved a lot of driving, between getting three loads of stuff down to the house, taking Emmy down to Seatac for a Norwescon staff meeting, picking up her and Chaos afterwards, driving Colleen down... Susan made dinner for us, all very improvised, and Colleen and I, our kids, and Naomi spent our first night at Rainbow's End.

Colleen declared afterward that she wasn't spending another night there until it's all accessible -- that won't be for another month at least, when the stairlift gets installed.

More in the notes, as usual.

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

Today I am thankful for...

  • OUR HOUSE! Well, ok, the bank's house, but it's ours as long as we keep paying them. It closed today, and I have keys in my pocket.
  • A fantastic real estate agent, Dave Reith, and mortgage broker, Kathryn Seymour of Evergreen Loans.
  • My former coworkers at Disney. The timing of my contract's ending, which kept me employed exactly long enough for the house to close.
  • A lender who understands about how contracting works, and who let the loan go through anyway.
  • Overestimating the closing costs by $15K.
  • Colleen, Naomi, and our kids.
  • Feeling at home.
mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

Did I mention that I hate roller coasters? This last week has been one.

Tuesday started out great -- Naomi picked me up and drove us down to Cortiva, her massage school, which was having a free clinic day. I had two lovely massages, concentrating on my back, shoulders, arms, hands, and calves. N's new GF was there, too. We had a couple of nice talks.

Then at 4pm I was in a suspiciously small meeting with Ryan, the manager in charge of the Disney ID group, who had hired me back in October. Sure enough, there had been a surprise budget cut. My last day will be March 8th.

Same day as the house closing. Oops.

From there it was all downhill; I gave the bad news to our real estate broker, who at first said to go through with it anyway, and then had second thoughts. Thursday I spent packing, trying to work from home, fielded a phone call from a headhunter and a phone interview with Limelight Video Platform. (I now have three headhunters and one company recruiter working on the problem, and it looks as though there won't be much more than a few weeks of gap between jobs.)

I also spent Thursday getting more and more fragile and frazzled; by the time we got to the airport I was pretty much a wreck, and by the time we finally got in to the hotel and got to bed I was seriously depressed.

Sometime Friday morning, while I was out at Fry's buying a new power brick for the netbook (I'd brought one; I just didn't realize that it was still set up for Colleen's Dell), I got a call from the mortgage broker, Kathryn, who said that the deal was still on. She'd explained to Dave that, although Disney had terminated my contract early, I was still employed by the contract agency, KForce. SHE UNDERSTANDS!

Now, if only the underwriter understands. That's still a risk, and I'm not going to be comfortable until I have the keys in my hot little hands. It could make my last day at Disney rather interesting.

And we could still end up with no house, and a pile of new furniture in our living rooms. If that happens, Naomi wants to build. I think that could work, but only if we can figure out ways to cut the price drastically; a first cut put the construction costs at around $700K, which is about twice what I'd feel comfortable with.

This old spectacled bear is, I'm afraid, also a skeptical bear.

But, after spending much of Friday afternoon chasing down pay stubs and bank statements and emailing them to Kathryn, I felt much more relaxed. Margaritas, prime rib, and hugs from friends completed the process, and it looks like I'll actually be able to enjoy the con.

Did I mention that I'm at Consonance this weekend? I apparently hadn't mentioned it before, leading to several people wondering whether we'd show up this year. There were times when I had my doubts.

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

It's been a long month this past week. Our mortgage broker failed to get us a loan -- we didn't get this finally confirmed until Thursday, but it had been crumbling for a week. Our realtor, who obviously has a considerable interest in our closing the deal, found another mortgage broker. She claims, on the company website, to have a 100% success rate. Still waiting.

(Meanwhile, interest rates have gone down a little. Every silver lining has a cloud around it?) And my tenants at the house formerly known as the Starport asked whether I might be interested in selling the place. To which the answer was hell yes! (I'm looking at adding over a half megabuck to my debt. Yes, I can use it.)

This Saturday we went to the Seattle Home Show with Naomi and her new GF Susan. Lots of fun, and a trifle expensive. But we found what looks like the right gardener, and spoke with what looks like the right contractor. And found what looks like the perfect power lift recliner. Now all we need is the house to put them in...

Sunday I actually got in some good walking -- home from N's after taking the Honda back.

There are links in the notes, as usual. I'm going to post this and try to get to bed; I've been sleeping badly recently.

raw notes )
mdlbear: (wtf)

... so it looks like the loan will go through for buying our dream house, Rainbow's End. This last week was rather hellish -- among other things, the appraiser transposed some digits, and came in with an appraisal for 434 Leigh in San Jose, rather than 343. Cue huge kerfuffle and a quick-turnaround re-do. It was still lower than we needed, apparently, so we can't count the rental income toward my income, and my required mortgage insurance will be higher. We'll refinance when we sell the Starport; hopefully it will be worth more by then.

In other news, I had a colonoscopy (routine screening; nothing to worry about; recommended for anyone over 50) which will have to be re-done because I was too full of sh*t. I.e. the laxative didn't work well enough. WTF?

As usual, there are some links in the notes.

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

I finished my sales tax (a big zero) on Monday, and told the county assessor's office about the end of my owner-occupied home property-tax exemption. As it turned out, I needn't have worried about getting dinged with penalties on my last payment -- it runs to the end of the year.

Realized that I'd be stuck paying CA income tax on the Starport, until I sell it. At least I won't have to file two state returns!

I've been sleeping too much. On the other hand, my mood is mostly good except when I'm overloaded or worried. Both of which happen pretty easily. I'm probably not as resilient as I used to be. I feel like I've been stretched way too thin.


The weekend was fun. Saturday we (Colleen, Naomi and I) went furniture shopping. N had found an astoundingly inexpensive dining set at Don Willis's -- beautiful dark wood; 8-person table, four chairs, and a bench for under $1K. Three more chairs turned up; we bought them all. The factory has gone bust -- there won't be any way to get more. N. found a dresser she liked that matches the one Colleen and I had bought there over the summer.

After splitting up for dinner, we met again at the Heather Dale concert. Fun, although there was a lot of overlap with Conflikt.

Sunday Colleen and I went to the West Seattle farmer's market, and explored a couple of blocks up and down California Avenue. I really love our new neighborhood.

raw notes )

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