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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
There's that moment when everything changes,
But really it's just you,
Seeing things differently.

When you realize that the solid bench you're sitting on
Is mostly empty space between particles.
When you learn that even the particles
Aren't really particles, and that light isn't entirely waves either.

When you see the way special relativity views velocity
As simple rotation in four-space, 
And you study general relativity and realize
That it's geometry all the way down.

When you suddenly get recursion,
Reading the Algol 60 Report, with its crystalline prose
And elegantly compact rules.
When Goedel blows the top of your head off,
And you understand that some things simply can't be proved.
When you see how elegantly Turing applies the same trick.

When you realize that a little of the Unknowable
Isn't part of the Unknown anymore,
Because now you know why you can't know it.

First published in a comment in the October 2014 Crowdfunding Creative Jam, on the theme "Paradigm Shifting Without a Clutch."

This is entirely autobiographical, though the sequence has been messed with a little to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.

Mirrored from steve.savitzky.net. My poetry there is in really rough shape; hopefully I'll get a little work done on it soon.

Also adopted by [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith as part of her Schrodinger's Heroes series, which makes it unintentionally canonical fanfic for an imaginary TV show. Talk about shifting without a clutch! At least it has synchromesh. Or was that synchrotron?

mdlbear: (space colony)

From the Jargon File, Hacktown 2138 memorial edition:

History/Herstory/Doc

Originally consisting of only the titular rhyme, this document was added to the History/ section of the Hacktown wiki in 2039 by Lex Kalman and immediately became a repository for children's rhymes, teaching poems, short (usually humorous) scripts, and the like. Write access is restricted to human children aged 8-15, and it is traditional to make an entry on every birthday in that interval.

 

From History/Herstory/Doc

0

History Herstory Doc
Time overflowed the clock
Remember the date,
2038,
History Herstory Doc.
-- LexiKal@

 

52

if (age.base(8).size()==1 || age.base(16).size()!=1) deny(write)

mdlbear: (space colony)

So, I guess I'm finally going to do it. Things have come a long way since I wroteSilk and Steel in 1988, and The Rambling Silver Rose in 1992, and I'm going to have to change a lot of the earlier back-story to catch up. *sigh* So here I am, revising in realtime without a backup. We'll see how far that gets me.

 

From The Backworlds Guide to the Solar System, 2188 edition
The Golden Cockroach $$ ****

Assuming one can get to Hacktown (which, depending on the whims of its inhabitants and the configuration of the Interplanetary Transport Network, could easily be anywhere between the orbits of Venus and Jupiter), and assuming it is open to visitors (which is usually a reasonable assumption), the Golden Cockroach is not to be missed.

The 'Roach, as it's usually called, is the oldest restaurant in space, having opened for business in early 2039 shortly after Hacktown was founded. It is still run by descendents of Frank and Susie Wong, who originally ran the Golden Dragon in Sunnyvale. Their Hacktown Fry, still served the traditional way in the center of a sphere of guests with chopsticks, is justly famous, as are the Egg Foo Bar and Hacked Chicken. Note that living in zero G dulls the sense of taste, so don't be afraid to ask for "spicy".

 

Open Mike's $/$$$$$ ***

Across the main sphere from the 'Roach you'll find Open Mike's Saloon. Mike's is, of course, best known as the home of Lady Melody, who has been been running the joint -- and hosting its legendary song circles -- since the death of her partner Geoff Kalman in 2042. However, it is almost as legendary in other circles for its booze, a collection which ranges from the ordinary to the esoteric. The best of the everyday brews is undoubtedly the locally-made Hashtown Pale Ale, made from malted hemp seeds. The cellar, by appointment only, is the most extensive anywhere off Earth, mainly because Mike's accepts bottles in trade.

 

Notes:

Mike's is named after the fictional proprietor of the alt.callahans newsgroup, one of the earliest and most influential "virtual places".

The Interplanetary Transport Network is a network of gravitationally determined low-energy paths connecting the L1 and L2 Lagrange points of the planets and their satellites.

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

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

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

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

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

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

More, as usual, in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enough of that.

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

Hopefully 2013 will be less exciting.

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

Because of the recent major increase in anonymous spam comments on LJ, I have disabled them there. Either register, or come on over to Dreamwidth where anonymous comments are still enabled. Besides, I can always use more comments on the DW side.

Also, I've pretty much stopped posting "hippo birdie" posts, in part because the LJ portal is going away, and in part because I've taken the LJ portal and home page off my "AM" list. They were pretty useless to begin with and have become more so. With the demise of birthday posts, I now have no unique content on LJ -- it's all cross-posted from DW.

mdlbear: (river)

There aren't too many mileposts here by the river, but I let one of the few slip by last Sunday without noting it. I was busy, and couldn't get to the system that I do all my posting from. (Have to fix that, but that's another project.)

Anyway, I made my first posts on LJ on June 10th, 2002.

It's been a long, strange trip.

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

Yay! [personal profile] pocketnaomi is here visiting!

I have a new tag: "quest". It's intended to cover the job search, housing search, and moving. It's also intended to recognize that this is more than any of those separately, reframing it as a major life change. "Adventure" might have done, too, but I don't like adventures. Nasty, uncomfortable things. Make you late for dinner. Oh, wait.

Took a webinar about changing careers on on LHH's website, added "mentoring" and "technology transfer" to my lists of skills, and started to research green and ethical companies by chasing links from ricoh.com, which has received awards in both areas.

I've been waking up horribly early, mostly worrying about finances, and especially about the effect of the move on the YD. Monday I managed to get back to sleep, and slept through my alarm as a result. Yesterday I woke up somewhere around 4:30, and gave up and got out of bed around 5:15. Slept well last night, so maybe I'm more-or-less reset now. Hope so. Though I could do with a couple of hours less sleep.

Some good conversations last night about the move. Sort of encouraging.

A couple of links in the notes; nothing extremely noteworthy.

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

A fairly busy day, mostly spent doing cleanup of various sorts. I started by trimming my beard. I wrote a quick but passable index.html for Stephen.Savitzky.net, with links to my resumé and patents. I did some file and desktop cleanup at work.

Colleen contributed to the spring cleaning effort by acquiring a Dyson DC-26 vacuum cleaner and a Bissel SPOTbot. The Dyson is canister-style, small and light enough for her to wield from the scooter. Fairly expensive, but she used 20%-off coupons at BB&B, and they should last a long time. When she took the old vacuum in to a repair shop last week they told her to just put it out of its misery.

I also added a new tag, albatross, which refers to the house. It joins 8.3% (job search) and trainwreck (finances).

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

It doesn't look as though I got much done yesterday. That would, however, be somewhat misleading. I applied for Medicare (which should kick in next month), spent a lot of time talking with Naomi and Colleen (and a while on the phone with my Mom, who is very supportive and encouraging), and made some tough decisions largely as a result of those conversations. Not time wasted by any means.

On the other hand, my left wrist hurts. Don't know what I did there. And no walk. Self-care is going to be important over the next few months, so I'll have to work on that.

Oh, and I made up a new tag: 8.3% (which, in case you're wondering, is the current official unemployment rate). And several to-do sub-lists. And sent email asking which of several items in my office that I want have depreciated enough for me to just take home. And started going through my home directories on various systems, doing triage.

As Samuel Johnson said, "The knowledge that one is to be hanged in the morning concentrates the mind wonderfully."

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

Wednesday was a pretty good day, though I didn't take a walk. I drove home toward a gorgeous full moon rising, with wild geese flying overhead. You know, I should have been suspicious at that point.

In the evening, [livejournal.com profile] jilara brought over the yukata that she had taken home to hem, and I found its belt tucked away at the bottom of one sleeve. It's lovely.

Thursday morning I got in to work and was greeted by $BOSS and $CFO, and the news that I'd been laid off. Along with two other researchers in my building, and at least two three people in Menlo Park. Plus two from Japan who decided to leave the company rather than go back.

Public service announcements:

  • New tag: 8.3%
  • Party tomorrow at Grand Central Starport. I will have copies of my resume.
  • I am currently looking for work in the San Jose and Seattle areas. Please address job-related correspondance to steve@savitzky.net or ssavitzky@gmail.com.
  • I will be available to start work any time after April 1st

Felt very restless yesterday evening. Should have taken a walk.

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

It was a busy day, and a good one despite doing something unpleasant to my lower back and being sleepy enough to go to bed early. I had the house pretty much to myself all afternoon, with the YD up in her room (as usual) and Colleen up in San Francisco at the orchid show.

In the morning, I set up communities to discuss [personal profile] pocketnaomi's idea for a new Underground Railroad: you'll find them at underground_rail.dreamwidth.org and undergroundrail.livejournal.com. I also followed a link in a comment to Jane: An Abortion Service. There's a book, too, which I ordered.

I did quite a lot of puttering, including moving some fabric out of the former sewing room (now a combination pantry and guest room) into the "sewing corner" of the living room. That's probably what made my back unhappy.

I went out to REI and Fry's to look for a netbook sleeve, having decided that the Belkin netbook case I'm using now takes up too much room in my carry-on. In particular, there isn't quite enough room left over for my songbooks, which is very unhelpful. I ended up getting this one at Amazon instead.

[livejournal.com profile] moon_fox finished the picture of Rosie that I prompted for at her Character Art Jam. Very cool -- kinda grows on one, which is totally the Right Thing.

I started working on dinner, which consisted of split pea soup, chili (from scratch), and rice with garbanzos. Just as I was finishing up, Colleen came back from the orchid show with an enormous plant -- a green cymbidium that she had already dubbed Arabella (apparently so as not to have it confused with Audrey). She had been there at the very end of the show, so for the $25 she'd been planning to spend on a couple of stems to make corsages out of, she got a $200 plant from a vendor who didn't want to lug it back home.

I put up my S4S post about 8:30, and by 10pm was falling asleep in my chair. Splat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

raw notes )

Growf!

Sep. 20th, 2011 08:49 am
mdlbear: (grrr)
My last couple of posts failed to come across from mdlbear.dreamwidth.org. Anyone else having similar problems this morning?

Growf

Sep. 20th, 2011 08:47 am
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

My previous post didn't cross-post to LJ; this makes me grumpy. We'll see if this one works -- I'm guessing it won't, either.

ETA: and indeed it didn't.

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

My main accomplishment yesterday was my post about Trinh Cong Son. Maybe now I can go back to working on my songs?

I also created a new tag: nse, for "New Song Energy". And if "Songs for Saturday" turns into a series, I'll have to come up with a tag for that, too. Later, if it happens.

I spend too much time on LJ and DW. But I did go out for a 3-mile walk, and worked on learning chords. Fsus2 and Am6 are still kind of shaky.

And I did a fair amount of puttering in the office, ending up with a box being recycled and its contents put away. So that's a win, too.

Oh, and cooked dinner: chili and cornbread. Tasty.

Yeah, a pretty good day.

Lots of links, too, although most of them have already showed up in the previous post. The best, clearly, is haikujaguar's "A Definition of Success":

So, I am going to bookmark this post. And when I am feeling anchorless, I will come back to this. You should too. Because if you have ever made a single thing that touched another person, you too, have succeeded.

And I got replies to my comment, which made me feel happy and accomplished. And I noticed that. Maybe I'm getting better at this "being human" thing?

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

A good day, I guess. At least, I finished the upgrade work on the router, took a 3-mile walk by Los Gatos Creek, and made a tasty chili verde for dinner (served with brown basmati rice and garbanzo beans). Colleen loved the chili, which was made in the slow cooker.

On the other hand, I didn't do much of anything else.

On the gripping hand, not doing much included going into Guitar Showcase and Fry's, and coming out without having bought anything. So... yeah. I'll take that. It was a near thing with a Belkin tote bag, though.

I'm still getting comments on Saturday's Done yesterday, which is kind of cool.

There are links in the notes, but I don't think any of them are really outstanding. This one is pretty scary, though. Be careful whose Javascript you use on pages served by HTTPS.

mdlbear: (river)

It's been a long, strange trip. It still is. The journey started three and a half years ago on livejournal, with this post and this song.

It's been quite a while since I was posting regularly on this tag, since I was looking inside and trying to understand myself. Even longer since I really used the river as a metaphor for this journey, or posted about friendship or the care and feeding of geeks. I don't think I've ever gone back and read through the whole thing. I want to change that.

I'd like to make at least one River post every week. Realistically, that's not likely to happen, but it's what I want to aim at.

About two years ago I thought of collecting the best posts and turning them into a book, which would have been called A Year On the River. "Three and a Half Years..." doesn't have the same ring to it, somehow. (No fair mentioning Two Years Before the Mast.) But that's still a possible back-burner project, maybe with crowdfunding.

And less than a week ago, I won a custom icon from the amazing [personal profile] meeks. I love the way she captured the idea of reflecting, which I hadn't even thought about but was obviously there all along. I'm using it for the first time on this post, and hope that it indicates a turning-point both in my posting habits and in my journey of reflection and self-examination.

Come walk with me again? We're about to go around a bend.

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

A pretty good day. I finished the last of my assigned JIRA (issue tracker) tasks at work, and got most of my office packed -- 9 boxes worth. Of course, several of those were never actually unpacked from the last move.

And I won a custom icon from [personal profile] meeks in her weekly drawing! How cool is that?

I had a comparatively brief session with (therapist) Dr. Rogers in the morning, where I realized that I don't seem to have any concerns that need therapy right now. I do need people to talk with who can help me explore myself (the mind of a Middle-Sized Bear is a strange and often confusing place) and how I interact with other people (rather clumsily), but that's what friends and Friends Lists are for. Expect more River posts again.

The links for the day are why pseudonymity matters (which links to the My Name Is Me project), and a wonderful obituary for Paul Metz.

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

A rather relaxed couple of days, though not without unwanted excitement due to the East Coast earthquake. Monday was vacation, but since we'd come back from Worldcon a day early to deal with a Situation, it ended up being a lot more relaxed than if we'd had to come back on Monday in time to get C&N to their flight. Basically hanging out.

Tuesday at work was pretty relaxed, too; mostly just catching up with everything I'd missed during the previous week, and thinking a little about a new feature that I will probably write up for someone else to implement a couple of weeks or a month from now.

Tuesday evening I finally got sufficiently disgusted with them to dump the two OXO Good Grips serving spoons -- the "good grip" handles are so heavy that they overbalance the bowl ends and flip the spoons onto the floor at every opportunity. After I finished cleaning the baked beans off the floor, I gave the stupid spoons the heave-ho.

I also spent some time working on the section on values and goal-setting in The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook -- that will almost certainly show up as a River post fairly soon -- I really need to get back to posting articles/essays, as opposed daily updates, on a regular basis. I'm going to aim for weekly. We'll see.

As for links, I'm going to leave you with moonvoice's fabulous totem / animal guide dictionary, and the utterly surreal PONPONPON. More, as usual, up in the notes.

mdlbear: (hacker glider)

I've made my decision: Most of my posts will start out posted on mdlbear.dreamwidth.org, and be automatically crossposted from there to mdlbear.livejournal.com. If LJ is flaky, I'll get them transfered as soon as I can.

The exceptions will be fluff like birthday posts, LJ's "writer's block" (which I do occasionally), and other memes, which will originate on LJ and get pulled back to DW somewhere between weekly and every couple of months. Weekly if I can figure out how to automate the import process.

I may stop doing the birthday posts altogether except on rare occasions; I seem to resent the time even though it's not very much. Possibly because it registers in my tiny bear-like brain as a break in my morning routine, coming well before the caffeine has hit. Let me know what you think about that.

I still want to have a "blog" on my main website, but that's still in the future. I have "blog" in quotes because it will just be for my longer articles and series like The River and Adventures in Family Computing.

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

Not a bad day, as such, but my brain was fuzzy and slow for most of it. I did get in a 3-mile walk, made a tasty seafood dinner, and made several posts in what appears to have been a transition from LJ to DW with crossposts to LJ. Most of my commenters appear to be in favor of my posting everything to both blogs, so that's pretty much what I'll do. And LJ is hosed this evening.

Ame: 21 proved to have been surprisingly easy to write. She seems to be finding her voice; I try not to block it even when she surprises me.

For there's no place as comforting, gentle, or strange
As the mind of the Middle-Sized Bear.

So, well, ... an ok day, I guess. I'm still a little fuzzy.

A couple of links up there in the notes, as usual. If you haven't encountered Tom Digby, or just haven't been keeping track, go read the latest SILICON SOAPWARE. If you think my mind is weird...

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

So... this is a test of crossposting from Dreamwidth to LJ. Assuming it works, my plan is to use DW for posting longer articles (e.g. things in the River and Adventures in Family Computing series), and continue posting my daily "Done Yesterday" posts, memes, and so on in LJ.

Every week or so, I'll import LJ back to DW. So DW will end up with the complete set of posts and comments, but the daily posts (being effectively back-dated) won't show up in your DW reading page. They will show up on your LJ friends page.

Alternatively, I could post everything on DW first. That would be simpler, of course; I wouldn't have to import as often, and my post stream would be the same in both places.

So what's more valuable to you? A place where you can read a low-bandwidth stream of (hopefully) interesting articles uncluttered by daily updates, or the ability to read my full set of posts on whichever service you prefer?

Inquiring minds want to know.

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

Another busy day at work, almost entirely bug-chasing.

By the way, Ricoh EWS, the company I work for, is hiring. See Career Opportunities at Ricoh EWS. We're located in San Jose, conveniently close to the airport.

Lunchtime was taken up by a somewhat unsatisfactory shopping trip; at least Lowes is big enough that I got a little walking in. I found their store layout to be confusing (why are lightbulbs, lighting, and electrical so widely separated?), and the automated checkout process highly annoying.

I finally got what appears to have been the last of the bugs chased down by around 6pm, at which point I came home to find Colleen waiting on the porch on her scooter. We went out for dinner at Red Lobster.

I have identified a couple more of the voices in my head: the Critic (whose name appears to be Waldorf, after one of the two annoying critics in the Muppet Show), and the Driving Instructor (whose name is probably not Statler). The DI's criticisms are always constructive and concerned with safety (not just on the road). The Critic is the one I have to talk back to.

A pretty good day, on the whole.

Watch out for low-flying bears.

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

Yesterday was a pretty good day. It included, after all, a st/roll with Colleen, dinner, and some singing for Naomi. I also added a new flag character to my raw notes: "'" (single quote) marks a piece of "internal dialog". Talking to the voices in my head, to put it more simply.

They're not really voices, of course; they're pretty-much indistinguishable from the interior narrative that goes on all the time in my head. But Naomi has, over the last couple of years, taught me the usefulness of labeling parts of that narrative as coming from different "characters". More on that later, probably. Someday.

I also noticed that I like it when people add to comment threads, especially when they answer someone else's question. I guess it makes me feel that my blog is useful?

Among the day's few links, I can recommend elf's post, Growing old fiercely

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

The items I've started tagging with 15min are part of a scheme I came up with last Tuesday for developing good habits by breaking never-ending tasks like sorting receipts, reducing clutter, and managing my websites into little (nominally 15-minute) pieces. The hope is that I'll do two or three every day, and so far it seems to be working. Another hope is that these things will become habits along the lines of taking my drugs, doing the laundry and dishes, and tracking things in my to.do list. The third hope is that I'll spend more time actually doing things rather than glumly and guiltily staring at my to.do file looking for something to do or, worse, looking for things I've already done or have long since given up on. There are a surprising number of the latter.

15min tasks are loosely categorized into "buckets", with the idea that I'll pull tasks out of two or three different buckets every day. As tasks become firm habits, some of the buckets may disappear -- for example, there are no buckets for paying bills online or doing dishes, because I'm pretty consistent about doing those. (There's no bucket for taking walks, even though I'm not very consistent about it, because those have been tracked separately for a long time and somehow don't "feel like" 15min tasks.)

The current list of buckets looks like:

  • Decluttering. This was, of course, the original meaning of the tag. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] thnidu for reminding me of this post.)
  • Receipt sorting: sales tax, income tax, healthcare, etc.
  • Paperwork: taxes, mostly, though it also includes canceling services, triaging the to.do list, and similar things.
  • Check writing: unlike regular bills, which are paid online, this includes charities, subscriptions, and other things that only get paid infrequently. I hate writing checks.
  • Web hacking: updating the website, fixing the makefiles, writing tools... It's not unpleasant, I just forget to do it.
  • Music: recording, practicing, writing and updating lyrics files... I sometimes need to be prodded to do fun things, too.

If you're following the "raw notes" section of my done posts, you can expect to see lines like:

  * 15min: declutter the office, mainly the left-hand pile.

I won't usually mention them in the narration unless there's something unusual to say about them.

Before you ask, this is just something I came up with on my own; it's unrelated to Flylady, Getting Things Done, 42 Folders, or any other formal structure; it is, however, influenced by what my friends have been blogging about, and a moderate amount of web-reading.

Comments are, as usual, welcome.

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

It's Cat Faber's idea:

You remember the Koran burning thing.

Well, I have an idea. What if we start a backfire (metaphorically)? Let's make September 11, 2010 "Stand Up For Religious Tolerance Day"

Everybody post something on religious tolerance.

That way we don't reward Koran burning trolls with attention, BUT we don't stay silent and let it look like we don't mind, or even agree.

If you think it's a good idea, please pass it on!

I do, so I did. See you Saturday.

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

I will not be cross-posting my LJ comments or links to them on twitter, facebook, or any other social network. I may conceivably cross-post my own posts between Dreamwidth and LJ, though in which direction is unclear, and I haven't done it yet. I may conceivably cross-post my twitter updates to LJ via one of the usual culprits; currently it doesn't represent enough bandwidth to be worthwhile.

I try hard never to put links to other peoples' locked posts anyplace in my LJ, even in friends-locked posts, because I know that some people don't even want the existence of their locked posts known. Similarly, I don't put links to my own locked posts anywhere except in other posts on the same filter.

If I make a comment on somebody's locked post that I think is worth making public, you'll find it here with all the serial numbers carefully filed off.

I actively encourage people to link to my public posts, and have no problem having my LJ name associated with my real one. However, when I finally get around to establishing a presence on Facebook, it will not link back here. The last thing I need is FB rummaging around in my friends list.

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

I spent most of yesterday at ESC -- it seemed smaller than it was last year, and that was smaller than the year before. VIA was showing some very nice-looking (and affordable!) small server and desktop boxes, and I had a number of good conversations.

I managed to reserve hotel rooms at Baycon (for the YD) and Westercon, and pull my ancient IRA out of Chase before they charged it an unreasonable maintenance fee. I'm probably missing a few things.

Some links under the cut, as usual.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Hmm. Not too much to report. I got disgusted at another of LJ's idiotic money-grubbing games, and ended up making myself a dreamwidth account under the same username as my LJ. I'm still not sure how things will settle out between the two.

Not much else. Probably to be expected after a tiring but productive weekend.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Pretty good day, most notable for a flurry of receipt-sorting in the morning, and a Costco run with Colleen in the afternoon. Which ended up costing more than I expected, but that's hardly surprising.

New tag: adventure - for changes at work as $research_project turns into $real_product. Resisting the Time Suck is probably going to become increasingly relevant.

More links, above, on the "HALT" (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) acronym/checklist, in which "scared" is added to make "HALTS". They all say "don't get too...", which doesn't work for me, and probably for most people. By the time I notice that I'm behaving weirdly, if I do, I'm already over that line. The checklist is a good diagnostic tool after that point.

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

... have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Or something like that.

One year ago today I posted the very first of my "done yesterday" posts, referring to the previous day's "Trying Not to Fail" by way of explanation. That, in turn, followed followed close on the heels of "totally made of fail".

The general idea was to have visible, public evidence of the fact that I was actually able to Get Things Done, even if it often didn't seem that way.

A couple of tiny steps.

  1. I added a new tag to my to-do list. Along with "o" for "to do" and "*" for "done" (and "~" for abandoned), I've added "&" for "not a to-do item but added after completion". I'm going to try to use it for, um, tiny steps like this, in order to see whether I'm actually doing anything or just marking time.
  2. I'm going to try to post the previous day's "done" items under the obvious tag, so you can either hold my feet to the fire, laugh over how little I've accomplished, or whack me with it the next time I post about not being able to do stuff. Or something.

...

Since then, my "to.do" file and the daily posts have become an essential part of my life. Thanks for listening.

 

It's also pretty close to the start of The River - a series of posts named after this song written for Valentine's Day in 2008. The actual launch post was - Landmarks, Roadmaps, and Rivers, posted on Feb. 22, but there are a few posts going back to that January that I tagged as being obviously parts of the series.

Last week I wrote a song called "The River". It was all about love, friendship, and flow.

That is what I want to work on. It's going to be a process, a journey down that river. It's going to pull in things from the Tao Te Ching, The Art of Loving, The Art of Computer Programming, and who knows what else.

If you choose to walk with me, I'll be glad of the company. I think I can promise you some interesting discussions and perhaps some interesting scenery, if nothing else.

Thanks again. I'll try to post a couple more meta posts over the next week or so, for the benefit of new friends and to remind myself what I'm doing here, and what I still have to do.

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

Productive day? Probably not so much, but my mood was basically positive except for a little while in the morning.

A good walk, about 45 minutes around the pond. Got about halfway before I had to start slowing down.

I took a closer look at bags, notably the Eagle Creak Vagabond and the Tom Bihn Ristretto for Netbooks. The former is a little too big, but about half the price and big enough to hold a magazine or a clipboard. It opens from the top, and the organizer compartment is easier to get at. The latter has a removable strap on swivel clips, and is closer to the size I want, but it also has a flap instead of zippers. Is a puzzlement. The Eagle Creek Guide Pro is closer to the right size, but appears to have a less convenient organizer.

Lots of links, but I'm lazy -- scroll up to the notes. Do people like having the raw notes, or should I just link to a separate file somewhere?

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

A good day. I actually noticed that my mood was somewhere on the positive side of neutral, though I usually didn't know exactly by how much, and have no idea why.

It was certainly relief, when I took a closer look at my Visa bill and realized that the $4000 I had seen when I'd glanced at it a week ago was the balance and not the last month's charges.

I have no word for what I felt after an IM conversation with A, who I thought could use a friendly wave. Positive, certainly, but... ?? It still surprises me sometimes that some emotions don't have names. It makes them that much harder to think about.

Thought of the day (on going out the door the second or third time): "it isn't 'just one more thing', it's an excuse for another kiss."

My copy of Fitting In Fitness, from the American Heart Association, arrived from Powells. More on that downstream.

I got in a half-hour walk (all I felt up for, given the recent leg cramps and not wanting to push my luck). The rest of the afternoon was taken up by a brainstorming session. Useful.

Also downstream, probably later today, is my post linking to [livejournal.com profile] ysabetwordsmith's recent posts: Fighting Loneliness, Part 2: Very Basic Steps, and Fighting Loneliness, Part 3: Friendship Tips for Introverts. I'm finding them incredibly useful.

More cool links: a fabulous steampunkified house, and a cute bit of flash fiction: Fluffy and the Terrorist

Yeah, a good day. Two in a row. Weird. Again, I'm not complaining.

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

Another sub-par day, this time definitely due to simply not feeling well. I cut my walk short again because of leg cramps, and felt generally achy all afternoon. And the YD was feeling the same way -- I called her in sick. Hmm.

This lead to some useful links on the flu: What To Do If You Get Sick: 2009 H1N1 and Seasonal Flu and Taking Care of a Sick Person in Your Home at the CDC, and an entire official site at flu.gov.

A couple of interesting insights, that will eventually merit their own posts on the river:

  • I often seem to avoid doing things that I know are likely to make me feel better after I've done them, like walks and music. This may be due to guilt over the less pleasant things I'm not doing.
  • A lot of my discomfort with role-playing comes from the same root as my general discomfort with social interaction: not knowing what I'm supposed to be doing in a situation I'm totally unfamiliar with.

I went to bed early, and am feeling ok this morning. So was the YD. A very mild form of flu? Possibly.

More links:

Some half-formed thoughts on one future for bookselling - Boing Boing (Cory Doctorow) Why paywalls won't help most big newspapers - Boing Boing (from Techdirt). If You're Looking For The Open Source Business Model, You're Looking For The Wrong Thing | Techdirt.

[livejournal.com profile] haikujaguar's post on realizing that she's a professional writer thanks mainly to crowdfunding. Also her link to 42 Essential 3rd Act Twists (from this post). The web comic site it lives on is very deeply strange, and I could easily spend a whole lot of time there. Probably better not to.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Again, a pretty good day. The highlight was a good hallway conversation at work about phone avoidance, which I've already posted about. A good, long walk, though I had a little pain in my hips coming back. What's with that?

The walk included Safeway, which is where I get my at-my-desk lunch munchies. I added some fish-oil softgels, in hopes that the omega-3 fatty acids will help with my triglycerides.

No, I don't think the "scrim" is entirely due to dirty glasses; I didn't wash them, but things still looked the way I've come to associate with getting out of a long down phase.

Cleared a couple of to-do items; signing up for the Conflikt brunch and buying Kat her membership have been on the list for a long time.

The day's hot links are a page devoted to the Moosylvania Jazz Festival - Jay Ward (from wcg: Meta-vignette 19: Moosylvania), and The Ferrett's Journal - Moments Of Finding Doom. The latter is about those moments when you look at a new technology and realize that it changes the game.

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

I'm not dead, and my pants aren't bankrupt, but my shirt is badly in need of a loan. I was keeping my "to.do" file on my netbook, and the data has yet to be synced up. Maybe this evening.

OVFF was a good con for me: lots of great music, conversations, and people. Only three things could have made it better; maybe next year.

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

I spent much of the morning moving directories around to put things like River drafts, my to.do file, and my new private journal all in one directory under version control. I spent some time in the evening, though not much, deciding on a name for my Dell netbook and putting it and Colleen's Eee into DNS. (The naming theme for mobile devices at the Starport is "stars with high proper motion"; the Dell is barnard.)

Got a reasonable start on sorting out the piles in the office that combine financial stuff (which I'm going to need for taxes) with the latest charity mailings. There are also two or three boxes of earlier charity mailings that I'll have to at least glance through before I toss them, and a big pile of cards and calendars and so on.

My walk, like Wednesday's, was twice around the pond, with a 20-minute meditation break. Reasonably focussed. I spent some of the walk time thinking about the new directory organization and scripts I could write to help manage it.

For Date Night Colleen and I went to Tony Roma's; I had mahi-mahi, and she had steak. Lots of things there for Callie and Naomi -- their spinach dip appetizer is based on corn chips, not the more common sourdough bread. After dinner we drove back the long way, through Saratoga and Los Gatos.

Yeah, a pretty good day.

mdlbear: (vixy-rose)

Now that she's made the public announcement, I can point you at my dear friend [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi's shiny new website, PocketPoems.net. As webmaster perpetrator, any gaffes in the layout or HTML coding are mine, as is any delay in getting it from a hastily-thrown-up single page to an intricate and beautiful site more worthy of her poetic talents.

Go and buy yourself or someone you love a poem. You'll be glad you did.

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

Standards documents generally make a big distinction between "should" and "shall" -- the first is a recommendation, the second is a requirement. It seems that I make a similar distinction.

When I use "should" or "shouldn't", as I did last night, it seems to be just a reference to an ideal or preferred state of things, without necessarily blaming myself for the present state. Essentially what [livejournal.com profile] judifilksign said in this comment.

All of your "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts" are reasonable - if you take away the self-blame that comes along with them, and make them things to keep in mind about yourself.

If I'm being consistent, I'll use something like "ought to" to mark something that I will feel guilty about not doing or not being. I'm not always consistent, of course.

So, for example, "I shouldn't need so much sleep" is a parallel construction to "the car shouldn't be making that clunking noise" -- it implies that something is broken. "I ought to go to bed now" is more like "I ought to get the car looked at tomorrow", implying that something bad will happen if I don't.

mdlbear: (sureal time)

I still haven't really gotten the hang of this "the caregiver has to take care of himself, too" thing. Nor have I really gotten the hang of doing things I "enjoy". But there are a few things I really have to find time for, not so much because I "enjoy" them -- though I suppose I do -- but because I go crazy if I go without them for too long.

Walking is one. I have to have my walk; preferably every day and preferably for an hour. I can cut that back to half an hour every other day, but not for long. It's the only exercise I get, but it's more than that.

Livejournal is another; possibly at an even higher priority than walking. If I'm at a con, or on some other kind of tight schedule, I will squeeze in time to read my friends list if I have any time for the computer at all. Email to a lesser extent. Other kinds of reading, on the net and off, if there's time -- reading is something I can do even with a lot of distraction, so it's useful for those times. But time spent on the computer interacting with people is crucial -- LJ, IM, email... I rarely see anyone outside of my family, a few local friends, and coworkers; the computer is usually my only way to feel connected with my closest friends.

Music is a little further down on the list; I'm not quite sure why. Especially music where I'm interacting with people: performing, or practicing with friends, or singing in a small, friendly circle. Just practicing by myself, or even songwriting, are less essential. I guess music is further down on the list because I can't do it whenever I want with the people I want to make music with. Too many of my friends are far away.

And then there's time with friends (including people like Colleen, and my family-of-choice, who are much more than friends). There's a reason why I'll usually drop everything else to go for a drive with Colleen (as I did tonight, in fact). But, as with music, most of the people I would like to spend time with are far away. I can't spend as much time as I'd like with most of my friends, and in some ways that's just as well, or I wouldn't have time for anything else. It'd be worth the trade, though.

Time for creativity -- songwriting, software, writing -- is important, but a lot of the secondary activities around that feel like work, and they're not as important to me as things that put me in touch with people.

(added 0713 7:53) Hot baths. Not so much for getting clean as for relaxation -- a hot bath helps me get to sleep. It's getting increasingly difficult to find the time. I really miss the days when Colleen was spry enough to get in and out of our 6-foot tub, and we could take a bath together.

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

I've never been any good at managing my time. (Or my money, but that's a matter for another post.) Caring for Colleen, with her limited mobility, has taken a large chunk out of my day. And I've recently discovered that I need more sleep -- at least 8 hours, where I was getting by on 6.

So let's add this up: a full-time job, sleep, caregiving, filling in for the things Colleen can't do now, and everything else. No wonder "working from home" is marginal, and my lunchtime walk often gets squeezed out. I seem to have fallen into the all-too-common caregiver's trap of trying to do it all.

Things have gotten a lot better in the last two months:

  • Colleen now does most of the grocery shopping online.
  • Friends now do a lot of the errand-running; we can usually find someone to take the YD places, and to go out shopping with Colleen. Colleen's making better use of her network.
  • I can work from home, especially in the mornings, and I'm gradually learning how to make that more effective and efficient.
  • Colleen has been making better use of her network of local friends, and can usually find someone to
  • The Younger Daughter can cook, though she often doesn't.
  • I can't multitask, but I can merge or overlap tasks sometimes: time spent taking care of Colleen is quality time together; I can do minor chores while she's on the commode. Things like that.
  • I go out with Colleen on Thursday evenings, so that's one less day when somebody (e.g. me) has to cook.

Still, it isn't enough, and it's discouraging.

Here are some of the things I've thought of and started implementing:

  • I've made a "reading" filter for my LJ friends list. I think that all of my current human friends are on it; it filters out some feeds, cartoons I don't care much about, and so on. A few of them are still there because Colleen and probably a few other people read my friends page. LJ and email are non-negotiable -- they're just about my only way of staying in touch with most of my friends.
  • I'm trimming the "AM" bookmark folder, which contains the things I read every morning, to the ones I've actually been paying attention to lately. I should do the same to my other bookmarks, and my link page.
  • I've started to accept the fact that I can't do everything I want to, or even everything that I think I need to.

Here are some of the things I've thought of but haven't done yet.

  • I need to shift more of the household chores onto the YD. I'll still do the dishes, but it would be nice if I didn't have to cook on days when I also have to work. Did I mention that I have trouble setting limits?
  • It would really help for the YD to learn to drive. We need to schedule driving lessons soon.
  • Probably the only way I'm going to make more time for music is if Colleen asks me to sing for her, so I have to make sure that she does that more often, and that I don't resist when she does. (Probably not on Wednesdays unless there are other filkers there.)
  • We have to get Colleen to start using Outreach for transportation when friends aren't available.
  • I have to learn how to ask for help and, perhaps more importantly, how to recognize when I need to.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Colleen has gone to bed early, after spending most of the day dozing in her chair and recovering from what appears to have been a stomach bug. I'm feeling calm, but a little lonely.

I need to get back to my River posts soon. (There are some other things I need to get back to, including website work and some long-delayed upgrades, but I'll talk about those in a separate post or three.) It's been a long time, and there have been developments (both in my life and others') that ought to be mentioned, and a big backlog of articles, some on topics that I hadn't even thought of half a year ago.

It's time.

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

The morning was pretty productive -- I got Tres Gique's Baycon concert indexed and shifted around the links under tres-gique.com to reflect the new directory organization. It all still needs to be automated, but that's a different matter. In the evening I wrote index files for the Consonance concerts, so one can now navigate around without running into errors.

Had an intensely frustrating time with Kaiser, involving five phone calls and an in-person visit to find out that their caregiver support group is more general than the blurb on the website suggests. Another visit to find out that, no, there's simply no way I could have found this out on the web or with email. Phone or nothing.

I did a little meditation scattered around in odd moments, and I've started using a new "to.done" flag, "|", to mark body sensations, much the same way I use "!" to mark emotions.

A delightful phone call from [livejournal.com profile] cflute in the evening led me to order Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat Zinn; since I also had a recommendation from two weeks ago for Wherever You Go, There You Are by the same author, I ordered that too, and found a used copy of the Caregiver Helpbook from Legacy Caregiver Services, which I'd seen earlier while looking for caregiver support groups.

We went to bed at 10pm, and I didn't get up until 9:30 this morning. That's at least 5 hours out of what I think of as a "normal" day that I didn't have. This is annoying.

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

Colleen's home at last!!!

Even going to Cosentino's on the way home I was strangely anxious. It wasn't until we got home and ate lunch that I started relaxing. The house has its Cat again, and everything feels right at last.

I'm still worried about care. But we'll deal with it.

Meta: the discerning reader will note the transition from the colleen-200904 tag, which I used for planning the Cat's return, to colleen-200905, which will be used for health-related issues now that she's home.

The second hospital bed arrived about half an hour ago. I get to sleep with my wife tonight!

Happy Bear.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
to.done 20090418 )

I don't feel as though I got very much done yesterday. Especially considering how much I'll have to do if I want to get our bedroom cleared out and cleaned up by the time Colleen comes home on Friday.

In fact, I haven't done much during the entire last week, when I had the Younger Daughter home from school to help. She did clean her room and the kitchen; that's something.

I did some cleaning, anyway -- more like puttering, but it's a start. And I researched hospital beds at Amazon. If these are the same beds I saw at ABC Medical Supply locally, I could save somewhere between $500 and $700 buying a pair of them from Amazon. If I trusted them and their third-party vendors, some of whom list "10 pounds" for both the dimensions and shipping weight of the objects in question. Nobody lists the actual dimensions or weight, which worries me. And if the difference didn't get gobbled up in shipping costs.

Apart from these "done yesterday" posts, I don't seem to be posting much. Maybe just as well given how long it takes to write one, but I really ought to get back to writing at some point.

The astute reader may notice that I'm using both colleen-200903 and colleen-200904 as tags. I change the date when something major changes; I figure coming home counts, so I'll use the 200904 tag for planning toward that event.

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

Colleen called a little while ago to say that she took eight steps in her physical therapy session this morning. She may be home in as little as a week!

She was using a walker, and had a spotter on either side and one behind her keeping the wheelchair where she could sit down when she had to, but still it's a huge step in her recovery. Next week they're going to have me come in so she can practice getting in and out of the car.

I'll be getting my Cat back!!

 

A little background, for those coming late to my friends list. Colleen (AKA [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat) is my wife. She's had arthritis since she was a teenager; over the last few years it got bad enough to seriously impact her mobility. A little over a year ago we experimented with using a wheelchair for getting through airports; we bought a nice Nova transport chair a few months ago. We'll be getting a scooter soon, too.

Careful readers may notice that one of the tags on this entry is colleen-200903, in spite of the fact that it's April already. I change the dated tag for major events; the transition from "02" to "03" happened when she moved from the hospital to the nursing home.

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

Today marks the anniversary of my first use of the River tag, riffing off the title of the song I'd written ten days before. My original conception of it was somewhat different from what it became, but that's appropriate for a journey along this particular river. I'm not complaining.

It's been a long, strange trip, hasn't it?

This was going to be a sort of wrap-up for the year. Fat chance. It's been too eventful: friendship, love, music... I have no idea how to summarize it. I've discovered things about myself: both weaknesses and abilities I never guessed I had. I've helped people. That may be the strangest thing of all.

Friends, it's been an unbelievable year. Let's keep going.

mdlbear: (spoiler)

Last night I finished reading A Girl's Guide to Dating a Geek by Omi M. Inouye. It would have been a disappointing experience if I'd actually expected it to be worth reading. Fortunately for my future as an author of self-help books for geeks and their partners, it was every bit as lame an attempt at humor as I expected it to be.

The fact that it appears to be self-published is a tip-off.

I'm not going to go into detail; quite frankly it isn't worth the time. I did find it quite inspiring, in the same way that a badly-designed user interface, broken website, or ugly but expensive piece of furniture is inspiring: Even I can do better than that!

Back to The River!

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
done 20090220 )

All in all a pretty good day; I think my mood baseline has definitely moved up. Even having to do an extra dressing change for Colleen, just before going to bed, didn't faze me.

It was a productive day, too. I topped off the morning by chording out "Riverheart". At work, I finished writing the tech reports and got them all copied into the destination directory; it'll take only a few hours next week to gather the abstracts and titles and get numbers assigned. And I finally got the Y.D.'s phone upgraded to unlimited texting, so that'll help a lot. She's paying the $20/month for it.

 

As it turns out, the hardest thing about doing these daily updates is figuring out how I feel about things, which is what people have said they really want to know. For most of my life, I've tried hard not to have feelings, or at least not to be aware of them. This is all very new. Just bolding the lines I "feel good about" is a major step for me.

(10:57) I'm going to try to pay more attention to my feelings about things as they happen, and add a line starting with "!" to record them. This will sometimes require recording external events as well as things I've done. Boldface for "things I feel good about" can still be added after the fact.

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