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mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

It's a bit of a grab-bag today. I found myself needing to finally learn the melody to a couple of songs that I'd so far only played guitar on, because I want to do them in my upcoming concert at Consonance. You know that thing about dominos? That.

So the only recordings I could find were back in 2009. And, for some unaccountable reason, I hadn't put up the audio for that concert. It soon became clear that one reason I hadn't was that the performer tags in the audio files were wrong...

... and once I'd fixed that, I decided to put my concert index into a sensible, most-recent-first format. (It had been most recent year first, but most recent last within each year.) So that's done now. And Baycon 2008 didn't have an index.html file. It does now.

So here you go:

... and if you're still with me, there's a somewhat off-the-wall bonus. You see, this week the R&D lab I work for publicly announced a subsidiary in India called Ricoh Innovations Private Limited (RIPL)

So what was the first song that popped into my head when first I heard about it? Right. The Grateful Dead - Ripple. I've been waiting five months to post that one...

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

Odd day. I had an extremely satisfying morning at work, building the pjsua command line SIP user agent/softphone and verifying that it actually works with the hardware we're planning to use for our demo in late January. $BOSS was my assistant; he's thrilled. I'm relieved -- this close to retirement age I kinda have to keep pulling miracles out of my hat to stay employed.

I also noticed a newish (mid-2010, as it turned out) MacBook on $BOSS's desk; it had been intended for the new hire who turned us down and went to Microsoft a few weeks ago. Since my old one is ancient and obsolete, this was a major win for me. I spent the afternoon configuring it. Which was tedious in the extreme -- see the notes for details.

Macs still feel somewhat toy-like to me. Apple's keyboards have always been pretty horrid compared to IBM's, and the one-button UI gives the impression of having been dumbed-down for newbies. I mean, it's great marketing, but if you've been using computers professionally for the last half-century, ...

I spent most of the evening splitting up Tempered Glass's next-to-last practice session, so we'd have something to remember it by. I still need to do the last session, and I think there may be some concerts back there that need work. Note that the practice sessions will not be going up on the web -- at least, not yet, and maybe not ever. Nostalgic bear.

After that, I let the kids introduce me to Munchkin Cthulhu. Fun! I can see how that can be an addictive game.

When it finally wound down around 1am I did a little more Perl hacking to fix problems in the concert rendering, and remembered somewhat belatedly that pseudoephedrine is a stimulant. Well, it's better than not breathing.

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mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

My former band, Tempered Glass, has fallen apart in a shower of jagged shards. Naomi and I intend to keep making music together, and we're pleased to announce that we are now a duo called Lookingglass Folk. We are hoping to pull off our first concert at Conflikt next year, taking advantage of the year's worth of planning and hard work we put into it as Tempered Glass.

The next two months are going to be a wild ride for the two of us, but the concert we're putting together is going to be worth it. I'm going up the weekend after next for a rehearsal; we'll know then whether we can pull it off. If we do, it will be something special.

We'll see you at Conflikt. Give us a listen.

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

It rained most of the day; I stayed home and puttered. Lox and bagels for lunch; we had a bag frozen in the fridge, and Colleen had bought cream cheese, so I didn't have to go out. I made chicken quesadillas for dinner.

Notable bits of puttering included transferring Colleen's scooter supplies to the Swissgear bag, which makes them much easier to keep organized and to get at, moving the DHCP server, and dusting off Sherman (the Thinkpad T21) so Colleen can use it for her embroidery program and some ancient games. Sherman was so named by [personal profile] pocketnaomi, who borrowed him for a couple of years.

Quite a few good links. "osewalrus: Citizen Pushback Against SOPA Is Working!" is pretty encouraging. And How To Be Alone (YouTube) is beautiful and possibly healing.

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

A good, long walk, music, and signs of progress in The Case of the Unfortunate Boyfriend (henceforth tCotUBF :) sort of made up for the fact that I spent almost the entire damned day fighting with WiFi. I don't get it. It used to Just Work, but after upgrades to Squeeze and Oneiric my work laptop and home netbook seem to have trouble with some, but not all, access points. Including the one here at the Starport, unfortunately. Driver problems?

Fortunately, it seems to be ok with the WAP on my DSL modem, and has no trouble at all with a wired connection, so it's still usable. But annoying, and a waste of time. When I get home from Orycon I'm going to try dropping back to an earlier version. And look for alternative drivers.

Did I mention Orycon? Colleen and I will be up there this afternoon through Monday.

Some links. Check out naamah_darling's "Pricing Handmade Goods".

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

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

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

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

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

So... mixed, I guess.

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

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

My attempt at CARE's Live Below The Line -- eating for $1.50/person -- was something of a failure yesterday: they served pizza at work after the all-hands meeting, and dinner was the crock-pot pot roast that wasn't ready in time for dinner Sunday. (Though when I ran the numbers on the pot roast it came out to about $1/serving, and I had $.50 worth of cottage cheese in the morning, so what I actually spent was $1.50... :)

I'll do better today. I miss my coffee.

I did more work on the netbook, deleting its now-useless recovery partition (1.4GB!), and quite a bit of music work in the evening. That included the last bits of editing from last month's rehearsal, and working out the chords on one song. As of now there's only one song that needs any formatting work at all.

One of the things that happened at yesterday's all-hands meeting was getting a patent bonus, for US Patent #8,006,094. Trustworthy timestamps and certifiable clocks using logs linked by cryptographic hashes. This is number 23.

It doesn't mean I'm in favor of software patents. Far from it.

A couple of interesting links. Take a look at the charts in "It's the Inequality, Stupid". And on a lighter note, Zombies: The Safer Terrorists.

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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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It's been a short week. Busy, exhausting, occasionally frustrating, sometimes spectacularly wonderful. I don't think I can sum it up.

We flew to Seatac on Thursday, picked up our rental car -- I'd been worried about getting to their offsite lot, but one look at Colleen and they had someone drive it over for us. Total win. Drove up to Bothell for our one night at the Country Inn. Not as good as I'd hoped, but the room was huge, the WiFi was free, and the bar had bar snacks. Then we headed over to the Herb Farm for dinner.

I took a wrong turn and got us thoroughly lost. We finally pulled in to the parking lot, after an hour on the road, just as dinner was starting at 7pm. I was able to answer their call and walk in the door just moments later.

I was sorry to have missed the garden tour, but dinner's awesomeness was not really diminished by this. It was just as gloriously awesome as my last visit, but totally different. Which, as Angela (one of the staff) told me, is what they aim for. I found myself talking to Angela after dinner because she looks remarkably like a shorter version of Cat Faber. But anyway.

I only got slightly lost going back to the hotel. The breakfast buffet was free, but not really worth it, either.

I got us lost again trying to get to Central Market in Shoreline. I got us there, but it took a while. (You may start to notice a pattern here.) We were, however, in good humor, and Colleen enjoyed Central Market as much as I'd hoped she would.

I got lost again getting to the hotel. The overflow hotel, since the Hilton was full when I went to make our reservations. Only slightly lost -- I found Google's directions rather unhelpful, as they had been on the way to the Herb Farm. I was already low on spoons when we got to the Clarion and realized that Colleen's scooter was going to have problems on the hills between there and the con hotel.

Then I forgot which was the con hotel, or rather hadn't bothered to write it down. The desk clerk at the Clarion called and found a room for us in the Holiday Inn next door, which is where Conflikt had been last year. I got suspicious when the front desk hadn't heard about the con. I called over to the Hilton. They had an accessible room, and I booked it. By this time I was totally out of spoons. I had, by this time, put Colleen's scooter in and out of the trunk 5 times, at something over 100 pounds each. That's half a ton of lifting, total. No wonder I was tired!

I had a delightful, if somewhat expensive, dinner with Colleen and Chaos in the Hilton, then headed North to Promusica for two days of music. Via the wrong freeway, of course. Fortunately I was able to find my way there. Did I mention that there was a pattern?

The Tempered Glass rehearsal weekend was wonderful -- a relaxing, comfortable two days, and some amazing music-making. Amazing in part because of the speed at which we were able to pick up on the new material. I felt like I was doing a lot better than usual, and found myself getting back my old skill at figuring out chords. Wow. Some good catching-up, too; a lot has happened since Reno.

Sunday evening I drove back to the hotel for another dinner with Colleen and Chaos, and I drove the Wolfling back to Marysville in the morning. Without getting lost in either direction, I might add. We had a father/daughter breakfast, and I got to see her current digs and talk briefly with Steve Dixon.

The whole week has been kind of a blur. There was a little work in there, too.

But Colleen had a wonderful time, which is the main thing. She handled the travel much better than I'd feared she would; she really is getting stronger and more independent even though it's hard to notice from close in. I had a wonderful time, modulo a meltdown and a couple of almosts. I'm going to declare it a Good Week.

Oh, and our concert at Conflikt in January is going to kick ass. Just thought you ought to know.

There are links. A lot of them have to do with politics. Sorry about that.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Lots of puttering (though not much visible), and a good walk around the Rose Garden. Nice, relaxing day at home.

Finished looking up, and started learning, the chords to a song -- I'm being deliberately vague here because we want to surprise people with our next concert, at Conflikt. It'll be... different.

I officially declared the old backup drive toast when mkfs with extra checking crashed my system halfway through the first pass.

Lots of links, of course, including Crohn's Disease Diet, Foods & Nutrition (I copied the list of bad-for-you foods in the notes; naturally it includes a lot of Colleen's favorites) and the excellent Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult (plus a link to some commentary). That's scary, but maybe now a few more people in the media and the Democratic Party will pay attention. What's even more scary is that they probably won't.

I set my mood as "good", but actually a lot of things are looking kind of bleak.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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An interesting day. I took the van back to the Ford dealer to have the dead headlight (which they'd missed last week at the 60K-mile service) replaced, and showed how the assembly (they called it a "headlight bucket") appeared to be loose, as Callie noticed over the weekend.

It came right out. Not attached at all. The bulb wasn't burned out -- the leads were broken off at the connector.

When they called back, they said a new bucket would be a little under $500 with the 15% discount for my trouble. And that there had been some body damage in that area. WTF? We never had any body damage on the right front... Of course, the dealer we bought the van from (used) is no longer in business, and that was over 5 years ago in any case.

So... grump.

I spent much of my lunch hour (and some time in the morning) continuing to work on the values and goal-setting section of The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook; I definitely want to do more writing of that sort.

While waiting for my "Avoid Avoiding" group to start, a woman I didn't know sat down across from me in the waiting room and asked if she could tell me her problem. "I don't like myself much," she said. "Can you tell me how to like myself more?" WTF? Does my Middle-Sized Bear aspect really show that much? Weird.

After the usual disclaimer, I told her she should be a friend to herself. Treat herself like a friend, talk to herself the way a friend would. Encourage herself and praise herself for her accomplishments. Told her about How to Be Your Own Best Friend, which I read years ago. I hope it helped. I think it did.

So... interesting. Not all in the Chinese sense, but...

Only one link, to NYTimes.com on decision fatigue. So will-power is proportional to your brain's glucose level, and making decisions uses energy and lowers it. Helps explain why dieting is so hard, doesn't it?

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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So... a pretty good day. There was some good music-making in the morning, most of which I missed because I had a meeting to go to at work. I came home for a (longish) lunch, and Tempered Glass got a good rehearsal in while Colleen was out running errands. I went back to work after Callie and Naomi left for Tahoe, (several hours late).

In the evening I chorded out and scripted all but one of the songs we worked on over the weekend (I'll do the scripting on the last one this morning) and got most of my packing done.

I ought to explain song-scripting. Tempered Glass's signature style is to bounce the lead around among the three of us. (We don't always do that, of course -- we have plenty of songs with Naomi and/or me on vocals and Callie on flute -- but we do it a lot.) Naomi's the one who usually scripts the voice changes; then we tweak it in rehearsals, and I make the scripted and chorded lead sheets using custom LaTeX macros. It works.

Packing involved using Chami for the first time, and also the first time using my new Eagle Creek cube organizer. That does a fine job of holding five days' worth of shirts, socks, and underwear, and packs neatly in the Travelpro suitcase with a pair of hiking boots and the med bag. Underneath, alongside the tubes for the collapsing handle, I put a mic stand base, a folding music stand, and Cyrano (the stuffed rhino who doubles as my CPAP pillow). It's a bit tight.

I finally got to bed around half-past midnight.

Many of the day's links are about Google's purchase of Motorola Mobile. That promises to be interesting; it's pretty clear that the big win will be Moto's patent portfolio.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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It was a pretty good weekend, on the whole, but there was more friction than was good for us. That's fixable, now that we know how to plan Tempered Glass visits. I'll get to that later.

It was also tiring, with about 500mi worth of driving, and me doing a lot of the cooking, fetching and carrying. With special thanks to the Younger Daughter, who was exceptionally helpful. We took her out to dinner Sunday night, while Callie and Naomi were having dinner with old friends of N's, and Mike Whitaker was visiting the Bohnhoffs. Good times were had.

We got in some good rehearsal time, too, with four songs worked on. One of the problems, though, was trying to cram in an intensive rehearsal session every day, along with shopping expeditions (Callie and Colleen), a baseball game (Naomi and Mike), dinner in San Francisco (Callie and Naomi), and a full day of work from home (me). Yeah. Not a terribly realistic schedule.

One of the other problems was that Colleen, not being a musician herself, really doesn't want to sit on the kind of intensive rehearsals that we do when we're working on new songs. They quite understandably drive her crazy. So...

The conclusion we (well, mostly Naomi, but she's Tempered Glass's artistic director and main inspiration) came to was that, when they're visiting the Starport, it's a social visit. Talking, hanging out, visiting other friends, making music certainly, but if there's time to squeeze in an actual rehearsal it's an extra. In contrast, when I go up to Seattle, it's a "working weekend" and the emphasis will be on getting in some good, solid rehearsal time every day.

Did I mention that we'll be giving a concert at Conflikt? That's the plan. And it'll be almost all new material.

Did I mention the crab lasagne? There was crab lasagne. Also salmon. And cheesy eggs, and bacon.

Plus a surprising anmount of coding done; about an average work-day's worth in spite of being at home Friday and fitting it into the spaces between bouts of insanity.

So, ... a good weekend, but kind of stressful and disappointing because we tried to fit a week-long visit into a weekend, with predictable results. We're learning, though -- next time will be better.

Not a whole lot of links, but you'll find a few in the notes.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Um... ok. You'd think that after spending a lot of the weekend sitting on my tail with my netbook, I'd have posted something. You'd be wrong. Actually, I was mostly reading Flight of the Godkin Griffin (it starts with this post), ... and taking care of my friends.

I originally planned to go to Seattle to rehearse with the other members of Tempered Glass, Naomi and Callie. But Naomi started the weekend feeling ghastly, her daughter had health problems of her own, and Callie had a combination of chem homework and, by the time Monday morning came around, a stomach bug. Saturday mid-day was mostly spent getting the house ready for the house-cleaners who came in the afternoon, and Saturday night was spent taking care of Naomi.

Late Saturday night (early Saturday morning?) N. asked me how I managed to be so cheerful. I really didn't know, and still don't, except that helping friends is one of the things I do, and taking care of sick people is something I've gotten very good at over the last few years. And it's easier to triage somebody else's piles of paper.

We didn't do much singing. A little.

And yet it was a good weekend for me. It was a relaxed weekend with friends; plenty of time to hang out, talk, sit in companionable silence with our respective books, and talk about love, friendship, chemistry, cooking, and the uses of whimsy. Did I mention the salmon? Installing the new cable modem? The rush of happiness when they both told me they couldn't have made it through the weekend without me? (Yes, they could have gotten help from more distant friends, but it wouldn't have been the same.)

There were a couple of brief exchanges with Ame -- you'll find those in the notes, flagged with a "/". And it was a good weekend for the Middle-Sized Bear to manifest himself.

I'd been expecting it to be a working weekend. A different kind of work, to be sure, but I'm not complaining. It really was good.

But, Gods! -- it's not quite 10 pm, and I'm falling asleep in my chair. Good night, all.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Our Easter "feast" was very lightly attended -- a max of three guests. But two of them were extroverts, so I mostly hung out in the office until they left. We usually have rabbit on Easter, but it looked way too expensive this year so Colleen had gotten a spiral-cut ham at Costco. Tasty. I also hard-boiled a dozen eggs, and the YD deviled half of them.

I finally emerged from my cave to sing around 8:30; we were joined by Naomi on speakerphone half an hour or so later.

After I sang The Rambling Silver Rose, Naomi remarked that for someone who claims not to understand love at first sight, I manage to nail it in my songs. So apparently I do understand it pretty well -- from second- and third-hand accounts. N's theory is that it's a case of selective memory; the few times when instant attraction leads to something deeper are the ones that get remembered. I'll buy that.

But it was the IM conversation afterward that really went someplace totally unexpected, when my (stillborn) daughter Amethyst broke in and said something directly to N. It's true that I'm getting better at role-playing in IM, and at listening to the voices in my head and giving them labels, but... It was surprising, but felt entirely natural and appropriate. //silly bear. I told him he needs to come visit my garden more often; it's a peaceful place and he needs that more than he knows.//

Ok, I get the hint.

Links, as usual, up in the raw notes.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Last Thursday evening I flew up to Seattle for a weekend with Naomi and Callie, the other 2/3 of Tempered Glass. It was wonderful! OK, I have to admit that dinner at The Herbfarm, nominally to celebrate my 64th birthday, was the high point. But simply hanging out with my bandmates, making music and fomenting evil plans, was also good. As was hanging out with their kids, playing games, celebrating the 5-year-old's birthday, singing with the 7-year-old, and simply hanging out in the kitchen with sister-of-choice-in-law Callie.

... and helping Callie sing a concert of love songs to Naomi on Saturday, and coffee and lunch with the Wolfling on Monday. And a couple of nice walks.

Callie and Naomi's house in Shorline really comes close to being a second home for me. Naomi is very good at coming up with things that are fun to do but that I wouldn't have thought of on my own -- she masterminded the Las Vegas trip, too. It was a very good weekend.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
0317 Th
     DEPART Thursday, March 17, 2011  Travel Time 2 h 05 m 
         #1291	 Depart San Jose, CA (SJC)   7:10 PM
 	 Arrive in Seattle/Tacoma, WA (SEA)  9:15 PM

0321 Mo 
     RETURN   Monday, March 21, 2011  Travel Time 2 h 05 m 
         #862	 Depart Seattle/Tacoma, WA (SEA)  6:55 PM
 	 Arrive in San Jose, CA (SJC)	   	  9:00 PM

I'm pretty heavily booked because this is a Tempered Glass working weekend, but you can contact me via the comments if you want to spend some time with me and we'll see what we can work out.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A good talk with Dr. Reed in the morning; she told me to force my walking pace a little higher -- aerobic exercise will help my mood. (I tend to walk more slowly, or even slow to a full stop, when I'm feeling down. This drives the feedback loop in the wrong direction.)

After that I showed off the copy of Hearts of Glass, Nerves of Steel that I'd been carrying around, and ended up giving her a copy along with one of Coffee, Computers and Song. Turns out she used to play flute, before med school.

And there was a moment of shared humor at work when I playfully "volunteered" [livejournal.com profile] mr_kurt for an implementation job that we were discussing as he was walking by. I think the important factor there is knowing that the joke made me happy.

As it turns out, FILK is a Korean organization that tests fireproof tempered glass. Amazing what a casual google search can turn up. And research suggests alcohol consumption helps stave off dementia. One more link under the cut.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A pretty good day, actually. A three-mile walk by the airport, the songbook for Hearts of Glass,..., and some good puttering.

On the other hand, I was up until nearly 1am chatting with AT&T tech support about why I might be getting oly 10% of my usual bandwidth. His only suggestion was to reset the router to factory defaults. This seemed too drastic; I settled for resetting the broadband connection, which appeared to work. (I found out this morning that it only worked for about an hour; what finally did the trick was a reboot. Still less drastic than a factory reset, which would have taken lots of fiddling to recover from.)

Mixed day, on the whole. A few links (I originally typed "kinks", which I'm sure some of my readers would have preferred).

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A pretty good day; lots of puttering. Typed in Naomi's script for the Norwescon concert as the liner notes for the CD. Bid high in the Interfilk auction at Consonance -- it's worth it. Spent more time working on the website.

I also went to Southern Lumber for 1x12's, to become shelves in what once was the "sewing room". (Before that it was the kids' bedroom, and it still does double duty as a guest room.) Getting there. And I pulled down a goodly number of guided-imagery mp3's from Kaiser.

On the downside, I had a blood sugar crash on the way back from Southern, so stayed home rather than going out for a walk as originnally planned. And then cooked up some chili for dinner.

A reasonably good IM conversation and a nice drive with Colleen finished the day; I went splat somewhere around 11:30.

Lots of good links up there under the cut. I think my favorite is OpenMesh via Humans Are The Routers on TechCrunch.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Considerably better, despite the rain -- I had a good, long IM talk with [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi in the early afternoon, and a nice phone call/filk mini-circle (dot?) with her and Colleen after dinner. Booked my next trip to Seattle, for the weekend between my birthday and the YD's -- the timing couldn't have been better.

In between, I went out shopping. CD labels, and an inexpensive set of USB-powered computer speakers, at Staples; simethicone and a prescription at Kaiser; razor blades and NIMH AAA batteries (for the cordless phone in the office) at CVS; and coffee at Barefoot. Barefoot has just gotten significantly more dangerous -- Harbor Freight opened a tool store a couple of doors down. I remember getting Harbor Freight and Salvage catalogs decades ago.

I also called my Mom. And the YD made a tasty dinner of salad, chicken, asparagus, and yummy gluten-free biscuits brushed with garlic butter.

Links, as usual. Planned Parenthood has a letter you can sign to protest the house's vote to bar federal funding. Drinking Diet Soda Increases Risk of Vascular Events By 61 Percent. That kind of thing.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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I started working on a Valentine's Day CD for Colleen, based on Tempered Glass's concert at NorWesCon 2010. When I told Naomi and asked her permission to put one in the Interfilk auction at Consonance, one thing led to another and we're now up to a run of 50. It will not be commercially available -- it's all live, and very rough in spots.

I finally managed to take a walk: twice around the Rose Garden (about 3 miles). Most of it was like walking through sludge. And they say exercise is good for depression. :P

I woke up about 2:30 am last night, feeling ice cold (though the thermostat was still at 71, and my body temperature was 97.something), and with my left knee agonizingly painful when I tried to straighten it. In the end it took half an hour or so to gradually work it loose. Arthritis? Flu? I still don't trust the damned thing. Sometime toward morning I started sweating. Weird.

I think the best link of the day was a FREE e-cookbook: (5 ingredients | 10 minutes) + how minimalist home cooking can help you.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A good, even productive, day in spite of my nose continuing to be an obstructionist. Occasionally a terrorist -- I really DO NOT LIKE not being able to breath. Used afrin again because two hours after taking sudafed I still couldn't breathe through my nose.

I went out to OSH and bought a long-shanked phillips screwdriver for the scooter's battery box, but couldn't find anything obvious wrong with it. I did confirm that the silicone-rubber-dome thingie is the circuit breaker, however, and concluded that I must have reset it in the course of my various fumblings-around.

I also went out with Colleen, the YD, and the BF (collectively "the kids") to Cosentino's. Our favorite grocery store is closing in a couple of weeks, and it's terribly sad. The shelves are starting to look bare in spots. But they had booze for 25% off, and I scored some Bacardi Gold and Wild Turkey.

Meanwhile, I made excellent progress formatting songs for Tempered Glass. Six songs downloaded and formatted for the songbook; one fully chorded and three more partially chorded (first verse and chorus). Progress.

A couple of good links. The Awesome Foundation looks particularly awesome -- they give $1000 grants for "doing something awesome". Hmm.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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This last weekend we went to Las Vegas and met Callie and Naomi there, celebrating our 35th anniversary and Naomi's birthday. (The joint vacation was N's idea, of course; she's good at coming up with evil schemes.) It was mostly good. Parts were very good. As it turned out, I didn't need to worry about getting enough walking in.

No battle plan survives contact with the enemy, of course. And when an ambitious list of "things we want to do" meets the reality of low energy levels, injuries and other physical limitations, sleeping in, missed connections, and the fact that slot machines no longer have coin slots, there are bound to be some disappointments. But it was good. The buffets were tasty and cheap, some of the restaurants we ate in were very tasty and not at all cheap, the scenery (architectural, natural, and human) was fascinating, and Cirque de Soleil's Zumanity was... interesting.

Zumanity was my first contact with Cirque; it probably wasn't a very good introduction. The acts that were supposed to be funny I found painful, and none of it was what I would consider sensual. Some of it was beautiful, though. I could have done with more of that.

The official birthday dinner was at Joe's Steak, Seafood, and Stone Crab in the Forum Shops at Caesars. It didn't help that we got a late start, went in separate cabs, and C&N ended up getting dropped off at Caesar's, a good block or so away. And owned by a different organization altogether. We had to send out a search party (i.e. me). But it was yummy.

A lot of st/rolling with Colleen. At one point Saturday night her scooter simply and suddenly died, with symptoms (including inability to charge) that indicated a bad connection in the battery box. Fortunately we were already back in our hotel (the Excalibur), and I pushed her back to the room. After calling up the house engineer with a cart-full of tools only to find that his four-in-one screwdriver was hopelessly short, I set out to Walgreen's (about 2.5 blocks away) and bought their only screwdriver set. Too short. But somehow the act of flipping the box upside down and shaking it a few times knocked the connection back together, and it held up through the rest of the weekend.

And we made some good music, especially Monday afternoon -- we extended our checkout times to 3pm so that we could have more time. I'd been afraid that Colleen would have trouble keeping herself amused, but as it turned out she needed the time to catch up on her sleep. I have half a dozen new songs to learn, and it put a great cap on a busy, exhausting, but basically good weekend.

Quite a few good links. A good 6-article series on the music industry. Among other things.

So, yeah, a good weekend for the most part, and awesome in spots. And a big success at work yesterday for the team that I'm part of. Can't say much about that, unfortunately, but it took a heck of a lot of pressure off. So I'm a well-fed and contented bear right now.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A pretty good day. My eye felt better, and I could actually breathe pretty well through my nose, without the need for sudafed. It may very well have been a cold.

The main accomplishment was getting the videos from the OryCon concert up on YouTube. It was my first time uploading video; it's tedious but easy.

I also did quite a bit of decluttering, some website and filesystem maintenance, and made pan-fried red snapper for dinner.

The usual collection of links under the cut, though of course many of them are to the videos I uploaded.

mdlbear: (audacity)

I don't have all of the OryCon concert online yet -- I'm still waiting for audio to replace what my fat fingers missed. But the video of about half the concert is up on YouTube, and the audio from our songs in the KinderFilk concert is up on Tempered-Glass.info.

The best, I think, is the video of Mina's Song by Zander Nyrond. Unless you're in a tearing hurry, watch the introduction too.

I'll let you know when the rest of the audio makes it up.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)
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It was a great con. I guess a lot of it was summed up in this con report "It was sad to miss [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi, but the other members of Tempered Glass, [livejournal.com profile] cflute and [livejournal.com profile] mdlbear, kicked ass."

Not having Naomi on board made for a set that wasn't nearly as good as it could have been, but I guess we did OK. It felt like a good performance, anyway.

My recording of our concert, unfortunately, does not appear to have survived -- it cuts off mysteriously after a couple of seconds. :P Clumsy bear was probably clumsy with the buttons again. I know there were several other recordings made, though, so all is not lost, though it may be a couple of days before I can get my hands on them.

Lots of catching-up with people we don't see very often, especially Roy Torley and Joan Gaustad, who we spent several hours talking with on Sunday (and whose concert also kicked serious ass).

Travel was a lot easier than I expected; having (niece-of-choice) Kaylee along helped immesurably, since it meant that we could take all the bags while Colleen scooted. Public transit from the airport to the hotel and back was cheap and smooth.

Lots and lots of links under the cut, along with the usual details.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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That, I guess, is what happens when I have a lot of work mixed in with a good extended weekend in Seattle, and a regrettable tendency to get sleepy an hour or two before midnight.

But it was, on the whole, a good week, and I got quite a lot done both at work and over the weekend with our Tempered Glass rehearsal.

Um... right. Highlights.

A couple of good, fast walks, but no long ones.

Lunch with Callie and Chaos in Redmond. My first visit to Soul Food Books. Singing with Callie and Naomi, both separately and together. Learning a new song; showing off an old one. Ordering a new facehugger (mask) from Kaiser and receiving my new Keen boots from REI. Realizing the advantages of my oft-bemoaned inability to detect implicit messages.

Lots of things left undone.

And as you might expect for a week's worth of backup, there are quite a few good links up there under the cut.

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

This trip is mainly for Tempered Glass to practice for our gig at Orycon and talk about upcoming recording plans, but there will undoubtedly be some time around the edges for hanging out with friends. Leave a comment and we'll see if we can work something out.

   Depart: SAN JOSE CA to SEATTLE TACOMA WA   ( Travel Time: 2 hrs 5 mins )
  _ Thu Oct 14  0235   Depart SAN JOSE CA (SJC) at 6:45 PM                 
                       Arrive in SEATTLE TACOMA WA (SEA) at 8:50 PM        
   Return: SEATTLE TACOMA WA to SAN JOSE CA   ( Travel Time: 2 hrs 5 mins )
  _ Mon Oct 18  0680   Depart SEATTLE TACOMA WA (SEA) at 6:10 PM          
                       Arrive in SAN JOSE CA (SJC) at 8:15 PM             
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A pretty good day, but occasionally painful without even the compensation of a walk or bike ride. It started with the standing, bending and lifting involved in doing the dishes and putting away the groceries, and ended with overusing some arm muscles manhandling a gig bag made way too heavy with songbooks and a music stand.

In between I mostly hung out at the Ugglas' house, which they're moving out of next week, hanging out and helping pack, mostly by handing things to people. It was followed by one of their Rise Up Singing "songfests". A good day with friends, and worth the comparatively small price.

I came home to aspirin and a hot bath in the walk-in tub, which I can soak in up to my neck if I scrunch down into the footwell. The hot water triggered the same trembling that I get from a good backscratch or nestling down into Colleen's arms. So that's one more data point to triangulate from: simple physical pleasure. I'll figure it out one of these days.

The 2010 Pegasus Ballot is up online. I'm not on it, so I'll just be pushing for Ship of Stone in the classics category. That will make it even easier to trade my trip to OVFF for one or two trips to Seattle to rehearse for the Tempered Glass gig at Orycon. I'd like to do both, but there are these time and money things... (ETA: not to mention a friend's wedding that I really need to go to. So it will be good not to feel torn about it.)

A couple more links under the cut.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A good day -- very relaxing. Most of the late morning/early spent quietly, by myself, on the computer or reading. Dinner was a Crustless Crab Quiche that Callie remembered from Weight Watchers; fortunately someone else on the net did, too.

After dinner we sang -- it felt wonderful to be singing with Callie and Naomi again. I love our band. Went splat around 00:30.

A few more links under the cut, as usual.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Oh. Right. The problem wasn't so much lack of time as lack of a decently large screen, trackball, and full-sized keyboard. Or so I tell myself.

But all the details and links are up there under the cut. Hopefully there will be a real Norwescon post soon, with links to the concert audio. No love for the hotel, who came in and set the clock ahead, then made us end early without our closer. What we did get to sing (everything except Landscapes and Gentle Arms of Eden) was good.

The hotel was too spread out, and the function space too crowded. Other than that I had a pretty good time. A few good conversations.

Going back in time a little, I flew up Wednesday, which gave me some time with Callie and Naomi and the kids, for rehearsals and just plain hanging out. So that was good. There aren't any PNW cons in the offing until fall, so the next visit or two will be just visits. That's a good thing.

It was a great visit, and a pretty good con, but I'm very happy to be home.

mdlbear: (love-decides)
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I was feeling lazy and unproductive by late evening, but that just suggests that an underslept Bear is an unreliable reporter -- it was actually a pretty productive day. I did quite a lot of work in both the Starport's intranet and Tempered Glass's lyrics directory, and went out and explored Lowes with Colleen. And cooked dinner, of course. And ripped half a dozen or so CDs.

And the YD's report card shows remarkable improvement!! Only one C, one A -- it's about time. (And an F which is apparently due to the school's (Winblows-based) computer system dropping data from half the class.) Go YD! Of course, she also turns 18 on Thursday. I feel old.

I also tried out the SwissTech shoulder bag that I got on the cheap at Target a couple of weeks ago. It's frustratingly close to excellent. If it were an inch taller, had a detachable strap, and had double zippers it would be wonderful. Well, at least I know what I want.

Today's link, and it's a good one, is [livejournal.com profile] cadhla's new song, Jenny and Karen. Go read it. That's where today's userpic comes from.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A good day, and productive for a Saturday even though most of that productivity was mere "puttering". I got the 2009 receipts sorted, finally, and did some web hacking on the intranet, which has been sadly neglected of late.

Took a st/roll around the Rose Garden with Colleen. Delightful, warm weather. Finished chording out "Falling for Lancelot", and did some practicing. My voice was somewhat wrecked for some reason, so mostly chords.

Picked some sweet peas from the front garden at Colleen's request, and made dinner consisting of steak, kasha, and cole slaw, with strawberries and whipped cream for desert.

The raw notes for the day include the entire router/dsl upgrade saga, spanning roughly the last month. I'm feeling pretty good about that, even though I would have saved a heck of a lot of money if I'd done it a year ago.

I'm starting to think that I need an issue tracker for some of this stuff, rather than cluttering the to.do list with unfinished items that the format isn't really suited for. Suggestions? (Flat files, please, not a database.)

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A good day, mostly. A walk, lots of good links, and some singing -- the Wednesday after Consonance is often a good one for that.

Family Skills: Love as a Verb is the latest in [livejournal.com profile] ysabetwordsmith's ongoing "family skills" series, and a good one.

Stay away from harmony if you value your time -- it's an HTML-5 drawing program. Lovely.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Good day. Good con. Made a laundry run, retrieved my doxazosin, and got the con's 5lbs of coffee at Barefoot since it appeared to have fallen through the cracks.

Tempered Glass did "The Looking Glass" as a one-shot. Came off well.

We split up for dinner; Colleen and Callie went to Nijo Castle for sushi, while Naomi and I went to Mehran for Indian.

Tricky Pixie is pure hammered awesome.

Naomi has become the Setlist Goddess for Tempered Glass by self-selection and popular acclaim. I'll have to consult her about upcoming album tracklists.

Finally went splat at about 3am, but only because I knew I had to.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A good day, and all's well that ends better, with a little bit of practice and a lot of good Snuggle. Weight still down at 197.6, which is good, and X over ssh has usable performance from work via the new gateway. I win.

Work was taken up by a couple of meetings and a tech report.

Some good links under the cut, as usual. Who would have guessed that there would be a Y2k+10 problem, caused by confusion between BCD and binary? I remember BCD... New Yorkers and Londoners, especially, will appreciate Underskin

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Good day. Tempered Glass sang "Gentle Arms of Eden" and "The October Country" in the twofers. Tom Smith's concert rocked mightily; I can now see why Naomi wants me to learn "Rocket Ride".

Nice long talk with Runnerwolf after I left the open filking.

The thing about cons is that if I don't keep running notes, the resulting posts are going to be pretty thin. Deal.

mdlbear: (rose)
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Got a fair amount done, and had a basically good day, but no walkies. My calves were still hurting a little -- I think the elliptical used some muscles I'm not used to using. Don't want to push my luck, and besides it was raining much of the day.

Weight still trending up. Grump.

Duchess Carol of Bellatrix died of cancer. I really hate January and February -- we've lost too many friends and family in those months.

Some good shopping at Ross (on the way back from picking up prescriptions at Kaiser): a 26" Samsonite suitcase (so I won't have to keep borrowing Colleen's), and a 12" 5qt "saucepan". The latter is more of a straight-sided frying pan; it has a glass lid and looks perfect for bacon and a lot of the other things we pan-fry. I really like All-Clad's "Emerilware" line: metal handles, and a high-quality non-stick lining.

And I managed to get some work done on lead sheets for Tempered Glass. Finally!

Many good links; I want to draw some attention to [livejournal.com profile] ysabetwordsmith's Homecrafting: A Guide to Family Skills, and [livejournal.com profile] rickybuchanan's Not Done Living. Both have a lot of fantastic articles and resource links.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A good day -- I woke up to find my weight lower than it's been all year. Since Christmas, even. I am not complaining, and am trying to figure out what I'm doing differently. Near as I can tell it's a matter of low carbs and no snacking. Especially, no candy from the bowl at work. As I said, I'm not complaining.

And in the evening I came home to find a card/letter from my cousin Alice, who I haven't seen in several years and had kind of lost track of. I have a lot of re-connecting and catching up to do.

Good links, as usual, up there under the cut.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A very good day, made a little sad around the edges by having to leave Promusica, but happy to be home again. A very good Tempered Glass rehearsal -- surprisingly good, considering that the last time we were together was back in August.

The high point, really, was in the airport seeing two women come in wearing cute hats with ears, and take seats at the next gate over. Just before boarding I walked over, said "I just wanted to say that I love your hats!" I was rewarded with thanks and smiles, but I think my grin going back was bigger. Go me!

My reading on the plane was Andrew Odlyzko's Collective hallucinations and inefficient markets: The British Railway Mania of the 1840s [pdf] (found via this post by [livejournal.com profile] osewalrus). The netbook holds up quite nicely to a two-hour flight. Also, this time I remembered to sync up my to.do file before boarding, so I was able to update on the plane.

A very good trip, but it was very good to come home, to a hot bath, a warm bed and a happy snuggle.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Poking around in the Wolfling's room looking for a missing USB hard drive interface I managed to find the roll of purple gaffer's tape, a coffee mug, and a Windows XP SP2 OEM install disk that matched an envelope I found in the office a couple of weeks ago. But no interface.

A nice walk, twice around the pond, with a little meditation break in the middle. A call from Naomi in the afternoon.

And I boxed up the last of the 2008 receipts, put the tax returns in the filing cabinet, and took the box up to the garage attic. And moved enough other boxes around that someone could actually sit in the other chair, and maybe evem use a computer if I have time to set one up.

A bath and some lovely, warm cuddle, and I drifted off to sleep.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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The highlight of the late morning was an expedition to the Pruneyard mall, which has a Barnes&Noble and a Trader Joe's in close proximity. I had a blast watching Naomi and Colleen zip around on their scooters. I scored a book on sleep (30% off) and a Complete Stories of Arthur C. Clarke.

I got quite a lot of wonderful, calm, Middle-Sized Bear time with Naomi. She raised the fascinating, difficult question of "what do you get out of doing this?" It's one that Jen asked during her last visit back in April, and I still don't have an answer. I'm gradually learning that I don't really have to have an answer, but I'm still intrigued by it. Or maybe it's just the pleasure of having a lovely woman snuggled up next to me.

Gave Naomi my big suitcase (it was cheap, and has maybe two or three trips left in it) so she could take Mufasa (the new djembe) up to Seattle with her; she'll bring it with her to OVFF.

I had trouble getting to sleep. But it was a very good day, a little bitter-sweet knowing that Naomi was going home in the morning.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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You're probably not going to be all that interested in what plans I made for last weekend's trip to Seattle, my shopping list, and so on. I'll just summarize my notes:

Next time make sure "buy" items get copied to the "pack" list after they're purchased. This will prevent disasters like a half-dozen blocks of mozzerella being left behind in the fridge.

The little stuffbags I got at OSCon, about half a grocery bag's worth, are really hard to get out from under an airplane seat. If I'm going to play that game again I need something more like a stuffable dufflebag. I think I have one somewhere.

Four days -- more like three and a quarter, actually -- are nowhere near enough for a proper visit, especially with all I wanted to cram into it. Needs more like a month.

The best-laid plans...

Nevertheless, it was a wonderful trip, both relaxing and productive. I love my friends, and my Wolfling. I miss them already.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A low-key, friendly end to a great weekend. Took a walk, finally, while Callie was off at an appointment and Naomi was napping. Ended the visit with Callie's birthday picnic. I don't think N. realized that I knew [livejournal.com profile] randwolf back when he was in the Bay Area.

And at the end of the day a drink, dinner, and good conversation at home, falling into bed sometime around 11:30 and snuggling with my own wonderful Colleen.

While I was out walking I discovered that I'm starting to pay attention to what I'm saying to myself. "I am a stupid bear. No, I was a stupid bear. I'm smarter now." Don't remember what I was stupid about; that's fine.

Link sausage: xkcd's tech support cheat sheet.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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The elusive Amethyst remains elusive, but apart from that it was a very good day. A little meditation, a visit to my wolfling daughter [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf, taking her and her flatmate out to yummy sushi at Riki Riki, an evening of tasty Tempered Glass rehearsal, and deep conversation starting in the library and ending up in the hot tub. Got to bed late but very happy.

Chaos doesn't like uni. More for me.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Another good day: friends, food, and music. All good.

I managed finally to get in touch with [livejournal.com profile] _amethyst_fire_ -- we're supposed to have lunch today. It will be good to finally meet her.

Colleen called and said that she can now get in and out of her van unassisted -- no walker, and no need for someone to help with her legs. Yay!!

Before dinner we went to Snapdoodle Toys, where Naomi got her monster a couple of weeks ago. She'd seen a wonderful dragon there that she thought would be perfect for Colleen. It'll have to be a carry-on. but I can manage. It is indeed a wonderful toy store.

Dinner was at Preservation Kitchen Excellent. Definitely going there with Colleen; they have a grilled scallop appetizer and a wonderful caprese salad. Yum to the max.

We ended the evening with a fairly serious Tempered Glass rehearsal -- Gentle Arms, The River, A Healing In This Night, Hymn. We're really finding our voice as a group. Go us!

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A very good day. Relaxing. Tagged along with Callie while she ran errands, hung out with Naomi and noodled away on guitar, helping her relax while doing stressful work. Sang her QV with the new verse (Pandora) as well-earned congratulations on getting through a couple of weeks of hell. Music and conversation, and getting parboiled in the hot tub. Yeah, a good day.

Two major (to me) steps along the river. The first was that I actually noticed that I was smiling, and when I called Colleen she said she could hear the smile in my voice. Note: I didn't notice that I was happy, I noticed that I was smiling. Happiness was an inference.

The other was rephrasing a statement that "I should have (done X)" to read "I could have (done X) if I'd thought of it at the time." That goes along with the "I should stop shoulding myself" project, and means that I actually am more aware of what I'm saying to myself.

Naomi and I sang "There Is a Healing In This Night" in the hot tub with me, and afterward we sang her braided Tempered Glass arrangement with Callie.

The day ended with some Middle-Sized Bear time, Naomi and I taking turns leaning on one another's shoulders. I am loved. The only thing that could have made it better would have been having Colleen along. Next time.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A good day: an uninteresting flight, a good insight, good conversations, and music. Can't ask for much more than that. Kat's guitar, a Little Martin, was easy to carry thanks to a backpack rig, but occupies a bit more space in the overhead bin on a 737.

The main thing I forgot to pack was the six blocks of Kraft mozzerella we'd bought for Naomi. Grump -- that's going to be hard to ship up.

The aha! of the day came from realizing that being a Middle-Sized Bear probably has a lot to do with mindfulness - it's a matter of expanding centered awareness and stillness to include the other person. Cool!

On the way back from the airport with Callie I mentioned the difficulty I have in making the transition from random routine to concentrated work and finding time for geekery at home. She told me about homecoming rituals -- the things you do when you get home to leave the work day behind. Perhaps I could devise something similar that could get me into the hacker headspace. Well worth thinking about.

Spent some time with Naomi in the evening alternating song-swapping with being in Middle-Sized Bear mode. I win.

It looks as though Sunday will be my day to visit the Wolfling.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A rather frustrating day, mostly described upstream. I got quite a bit done, but not nearly as much as I meant to; I didn't get out of the house at all. No walk, no shopping.

I ended up feeling mentally and physically drained. It got better after Colleen got home, though, so maybe it was just a combination of frustration and missing my Cat.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A pretty good day. It started off with the final day of OSCon: good keynotes, fun sessions, and a couple of brief conversations. It ended early enough for me to go in to work and do some catching-up and planning, though no actual programming.

The day ended with a call from Callie suggesting a Tempered Glass practice session to help improve Naomi's mood. It worked, and helped me and Callie as well, though it did end up more like a song circle because the lag made it impossible to sing together.

I think streaming audio might work better, but it will still have to be half-duplex, with one side leading (and turning off their speakers) and the other side singing along (and maybe recording).

Naomi remarked that she often forgets how effective music can be at improving her mood. So do I. I'm going to have to try to remember, now, and make more time for it.

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