mdlbear: (cthulhu-santa)

I've been rather ambivalent about the holiday season for the last several years -- heck, the last several decades, probably. This morning, I finally noticed, and immediately realized why.

I like having friends around, but I really can't handle more than one person at a time in a conversation, and I'm easily overloaded and "peopled out". I love seeing the kids enjoying their presents, but I'm lousy at selecting them. I like festive meals, but I end up doing all of the clean-up, and these days a lot of the prep and even a lot of the cooking. The cooking is fun, but it's tiring. So... yeah.

Here at the Starport we're happy to have our friends feeling free to drop in. I'm happy to have friends dropping in. But there's a good reason why I'm typing this post in the office. The door's open, though. And I spent most of the afternoon between the living room and the kitchen.

I'm actually having a happy Christmas; one of the best in years. Now that I know what the problem is, I can work with it.

A happy holiday season to you all, whatever you celebrate.

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

I think I may have to congratulate myself a little on this one: I spent basically the entire day interacting with people, both one-on-one and in groups, and got through it without any immediate problems. I was wiped out by evening, but how much of that was being peopled out and how much was the stronger than usual reaction to the flu shots is not clear. Both appear to build up gradually.

The big news from my doctor's appointment is that the moles on my back that Colleen's been worried about for several months are just moles, and not a cause for concern. I also had my left knee x-rayed; there's a possibility that there's a bone spur there. I am, in other words, pretty healthy for an old fat guy.

On the whole a pretty good day.

The hot links are a good page on Well, what IS wrong with ebooks? (from this post), and a lovely little video from [livejournal.com profile] shadowe_wraithe.

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

A good day. I continued to be cheerful -- it's been a week now that my mood has been noticably above neutral. I'm told I should simply enjoy it and not worry about the reasons; I suppose the Centipede's Dilemma is a good reason for that.

I took a walk that was considerably shorter than usual, but also faster: fast enough for what I think was a decent cardio workout. I had to slow down toward the end, because I was definitely feeling it in the legs. The book Fitting In Fitness, which I finished a couple of days ago, suggests taking one's exercise in three 10-minute chunks instead of a solid half-hour. Hmm.

My weight was down, too, for the first time in over a week. Probably either the increased exercise, or the lighter-than-usual lunch (prunes and beef jerky). I'm not complaining.

(9:45) Almost forgot -- I got up and tried to distract a crying baby in the Kaiser waiting room while her mother was signing in. I was only partly successful, but had a nice little conversation with the mother. Fun!

Two insights. The first was that what I've spent on family members' air travel this month has been less than I'd been paying on my Honda (which I finally paid off a few months ago). The second, much geekier but more amusing, is that you can fit three SHA-1 hashes and some type information into a Twitter post with room to spare. So you can implement LISP.

(defun cons (a d)
  (let (c (concat "(" a "." d ")"))
       (post twitter (concat c "=" (sha1 c)))
       (concat "cons." (sha1 c))))

The definitions of intern, equal, and eval are left as an exercise for the reader.

The day's hot links are Linux Owns 1/3 of the Netbook Marketshare - Gizmodo, Memories of a paywall pioneer (from If You Make A Mistake With A Paywall, It Can Linger For A Long Time on Techdirt), Resources for Introverts & Fighting Loneliness, and The Eensie-Weensie Spider (TTTO "The Mary Ellen Carter").

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

Apropos of my upstream post about watching people work, it isn't just confined to the kitchen. Watching professionals in some unfamiliar field do their job can be a revelation.

If you'd told me a year ago that my geeky younger daughter was capable of going to a professional photo shoot looking calm, poised, happy, comfortable in her skin, comfortable in front of the camera, and drop-dead gorgeous, I would have asked you for a toke of whatever you were smoking.

If you'd told me that after seeing her senior picture, I might have believed you. I'm still somewhat blown away. I was pretty sure that J.R. Powers was going to be good for her when I signed her up. I mean, ... WOW! (She's not a professional model yet, obviously, but I now think that she can become one if she wants to. I wouldn't have believed it two months ago.

It wasn't just the photographer and her assistant who were fun to watch this afternoon. My Younger Daughter was damned impressive in her own right.

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

I was suddenly reminded, while doing the dishes of all things, that I get an odd sort of pleasure out of watching other people work. Not because they're working and I'm not, but because I like seeing how other people do the same kinds of tasks that I do. Sometimes I end up liking my way better; sometimes I decide to change.

I was reminded of this because I'd observed [livejournal.com profile] cflute washing a pan by dribbling a little soap on it and then attacking it with a sponge. I do the opposite, putting the soap on the sponge first. It was from C, also, that I rediscovered how much better bacon is when you fry it rather than microwaving it.

In the other direction, I remember how surprised [livejournal.com profile] jenkitty was to learn that I scramble eggs in the pan instead of in a bowl. I enjoy hanging around, chatting and occasionally helping, while people in a household I'm visiting go about their daily chores. I don't think this is weird, but I suppose it might be. I don't get out much.

Anyone else? Actually, I expect this is pretty common, especially among geeks. Is there anyone out there who doesn't like to see how other people do things? Or who prefers to be left alone while they're doing chores?

mdlbear: (hurricane)
When Tornadoes Attack: What a Tornado Taught Me About Our Stupid Obsession With Gadgets (And Why We Still Love Them)
Two weeks ago today, a tornado ripped through Illinois. At points it was up to a quarter mile wide, and it did enough damage, cracking giant powerlines like toothpicks and yanking old-growth trees right from the ground, that it completely closed the major highway I57 for a 35-mile expanse south of Chicago.

I was lucky enough to be traveling that day (on the way to the airport for WWDC) and pulled off the road just in time to intersect with the tornado at its worst. Inside a gas station with no basement and plenty of active fuel lines, it was the first time in a long time—maybe ever—that I genuinely feared for my life, that I thought things were over. Watch that video above. Then know that I was a lot closer.

But as I've played the scenes back in my head over the last several days, it's not the storm that’s proven to be the most haunting. It's the way the people reacted. Because in the gas station, I watched a group of 20 scared people not take shelter, but stand in front of a wall of glass to record the event—to make some YouTube clips.
Well worth a read, and rather touching in places.

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