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mdlbear: a locomotive engine dangling from a hole in a building (trainwreck)

Not such a good week. Productive, but not fun.

I did have some good times with Colleen, going for a drive last Sunday, and to the Northwest Tea Festival yesterday. Colleen's favorite vendor, Silk Road, was a no-show, so she used the money she didn't spend there to buy us lunch. A really great outing.

I spent last Sunday updating old laptops -- they're all old and the ones capable of running Windows 7 really suck at it, but they all make good Linux boxes. I spent the rest of the day working my way through the piles of accumulated bills. Yesterday I spent the evening switching online accounts off of credit cards and onto debit cards.

Today I'll tackle the medical bills, which I've been ignoring for way too long.

Naomi pointed out, rather sharply, that my biggest problem isn't being stupid (though I've done a lot of that), but my habit of ignoring the hard stuff and hoping it will go away. Which, of course, is massively stupid, since ignoring things like that only makes them progressively worse. Which makes them harder to face. And so on.

This is what's called a vicious circle. With BIG SHARP TEETH. I think I need an icon for that.

Oddly, the fact that I've cut back on my antidepressant doesn't seem to have made much of a difference. This leads me to suspect that I should drop the SSRI altogether and switch to something with a different mechanism. Possibly tryptophan.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

Well, well. An entire week. Which just happens to coincide with the end of the month, this time.

Did a little work on the network configuration, aimed at making things more stable in the DMZ (the area between the Internet modem/router (polaris) and the inside gateway/router (stargate)). In particular, I got rid of an obsolete DHCP reservation for cygnus, that was conflicting with stargate's static IP address. Gleep! No wonder stargate's WiFi dropped out every so often.

Also for computer geeks: I got Colleen a 7" tablet. It's a Jazz, on sale at Office Depot for $70. Markedly inferior to my Nexus 7, but it does what she wants it to: web browsing and email. The only problem right now is printing; that's going to require setting up Google cloudprint. Which is kind of stupid for talking to a CUPS printer, but...

I *finally* got autoraise back -- turns out that the compiz window manager doesn't actually listen to the desktop config items anymore; Ubuntu has hacked them up to accomodate the Unity desktop. Which is Unbearable.

A number of other geeky items that I ordered during the last week dribbled in, including a case and USB-OTG cable for the Nexus, a really tiny 32-GB USB drive, a couple of uSD cards and adapters (16- and 32-GB), and a couple of other items that suggest that I probably need to stay off of Amazon for a while.

We got Chaos a microwave oven (hers had died). Colleen got the amethyst necklace she'd commissioned at Orycon -- this involved a trip to Wayward.

Moving on, ... I don't really like the way my weight has been going. I think that much of the recent increase was due to going off my diuretic. It was an interesting experiment, but my BP's on the high edge of normal right now; it may be worthwhile going back on the meds.

Of course, my BP would probably go down if I lost 30 poumds, too. Which would be better for me in other ways as well.

The last time I successfully lost weight was my senior year in college. Over 40 years ago.

Humph. One of the things I really like about commuting by bus is that it gives me time to read. I'm not a particularly fast reader, a trait which is better adapted to poetry than to novels. I am, nevertheless, reading two books right now. The one on my Nexus (via Kindle) is Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking by E. Gabriella Coleman -- an anthropologist's view of hacker culture. Fascinating.

The other, on my phone from Gutenberg via Cool Reader, is Pride and Prejudice, which has been highly recommended to me but was something I was always leery of. It's... ok, I guess. Perhaps someone more familiar with the genre could tell me whether it's meant to be funny -- there's an undercurrent of what appears to be wry amusement on the part of the author. Perhaps one problem is simply the lack of characters I can easily identify with. I'm curious, but not involved.

Anyway... details in the notes, as usual. I should probably try to get back on a twice/week schedule, shouldn't I?

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

Saturday Colleen and I took a drive around Lake Washington (getting somewhat lost in a side trip to West Seattle), and when we got home I cooked probably the best salmon dish I've ever made -- pan-fried with butter, olive oil, and garlic, then added a little wine to steam it until done. Took a leftover portion over to Naomi's, and did a little music. And some thinking about my Orycon set, assuming I have one. Just finished the rest of the leftovers this morning. Yum!

Colleen said "This is what a Northwest dinner is supposed to taste like."

And I broke a tooth somehow - nice big chip off the side of a much-filled molar. Doesn't hurt, fortunately, but it'll probably need a cap I can't afford. Grump. My severance pay runs out at the end of the month (i.e., Friday), and with it their portion of my COBRA coverage. Grouch. Scared Bear. Set up a dental appointment for tomorrow.

Applied to three different positions at $A2 and one at $T; haven't heard yet. Finished coding homework for $D, and got an interview scheduled for Friday.

$D is going to present a difficult decision if I get it. It would be a great company to work for, but I wouldn't be working for them -- I'd be a long-term contractor, going through an agency, $K. $K's health care options look pretty poor, compared with what I've had and what most direct hires get. It might not cover either of Colleen's non-generic drugs. There may be workarounds, but if they don't work we'll be really screwed. TMI maybe later if comments ask for it. Sucks. Still, I'll probably have to take it. Both that and $A look like they're likely to be more pressure than I want, but...

If I hadn't been stupid over the last 20 years, I'd be able to retire comfortably now. As it is, I'm starting to think about how soon I can get away with it. Not now, though. Not yet.

I know, I know. Life sucks. Deal. Do I haveta?

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

Well.... I got all the health care receipts sorted into envelopes by month. That's something. Plus quite a few assorted odd chores, and a nice drive. No walk, though, and no music.

Colleen complained, jokingly, about my not having a sense adventure. One of us has to. The fact that we're moving is still pretty hard for me to wrap my head around, even after having it in the back of my mind for a couple of years. But Colleen has started triaging cookbooks. That sort of drives it home.

Determined that Google has offices in both Seattle and Kirkland. And that they're hiring.

Seeing that Anonymous is declaring independence made me think of this old essay of mine. Need to dust it off and put it up on my website. There's a glitch in the online copy.

xkcd: s/keyboard/leopard made me laugh out loud, especially when I noticed the figure caption in the background. I love my keyboardleopard. ESR's Holding up the sky is inspiring.

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

Pretty good week so far, actually. A lot of my mindspace early in the week was taken up by a River post on telling your friends what they need to hear, which replaced a previous post with, let's just say, more heat and much less light.

But I mostly kept up the momentum from the latter half of last week, and got quite a lot done. In particular, I managed to get some music-related work done every day, three walks and a drive with Colleen, and a lot of small but important tasks at work. Breaking things down into tiny steps really seems to work for me, and while there aren't all that many items here tagged with "15min", there probably should have been.

Sunday's drive was glorious. We reversed our usual route and drove up I280 to 92, then south along the coast via Highway 1 to Santa Cruz, and back by way of 17. This gave us a better view of the ocean than usual, and we saw a gorgeous effect that I'd never seen before -- bits of sunlight streaming through gaps in the clouds and making bright patches far out on the ocean, made more visible by the contrast. Just... wow.

I made chicken soup with rice for dinner. From scratch, using the chicken bones I'd saved from Saturday's broccoli chicken. Yum.

Monday I finally put two and two together and realized that the fact that my (AT&T) cell phone signal at work had gone from unusable to 100% and the fact that a group from Apple had moved in next door might possibly be related. Ya think?

Tuesday morning I had a nice conversation with the YD -- every once in a while she gets up early. Later that evening, I worked on the blackout code for steve.savitzky.net, lookingglassfolk.com, tempered-glass.info, tres-qique.com, and pocketpoems.net, using code from SopaBlackout.org. (I understand that PIPA won't be brought to a cloture vote today as previously scheduled. The net can kick ass sometimes.)

Wednesday I woke up remembering a dream mostly about plumbing. No idea what that signifies. Thursday I finally got printing back online for the netbooks and the YD's laptop. The latter also required booting from the "startup repair" partition and waiting for an hour or so while it cranked away, fixing what appeared to be a corrupt filesystem. Pretty slick, actually. F12. It would be nice if the boot screen actually mentioned that feature, though.

Note to self: make a restore disk first thing when configuring a new Windows machine.

I don't know whether batching up my daily updates like this is a good idea or not, but I do seem to have a little more time on days when I forget. I thought briefly of doing a "Wednesday Wrap-up", but I'd forgotten by the time I got home. They say your memory is the second thing to go.

I've forgotten the first.

Quite a few links, on a wide range of topics. I'm going to signal-boost [livejournal.com profile] moon_fox's Character Art Jam, in part because I left a prompt there (and a tip).

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

A good, quiet day. After taking the [personal profile] chaoswolf to the airport, I woke Colleen a little after 8am so we could watch the Rose Parade. Some amazing stuff this year.

We went out around 3:30 on a shopping expedition that ultimately turned into a drive through downtown Los Gatos, Saratoga, Los Altos, and Menlo Park, ending with dinner in Iberia. We arrived a couple of minutes before it opened, on what turned out to be a very slow day, so we got excellent service to go with the excellent food. So we had our 37th anniversary dinner a day early.

Today's link is for computer geeks, woodworkers, and artists: Jeffrey Stephenson's handmade wooden computer cases. I've been admiring this guy's work for a long time.

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

Another calm but unproductive day, I'm afraid. A fair amount of puttering around the house. I finally tracked down the WiFi dropouts on Cygnus to incompatibility between 802.11N and G -- mixed networks basically don't work. So I turned off N on the WAP, and everything's cool now.

I also re-strung one of the living room ethernet cables with Cat-5e, enabling a gigabit hardwired (almost typed hardweird) connection. SPEED! I love it.

Went for a drive with Colleen, all the way down to Gilroy. Picked up dinner from Famous Dave's BBQ, which has been recommended. For good reason -- it was excellent. Still is; we had a lot of leftovers because we couldn't wake up the YD. Her sleep schedule has been pretty weird lately.

Just realized I forgot to post a Songs for Saturday yesterday. Here's one: Cat Faber's "Axial Tilt" (the real reason for the season).

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

A pretty good day, mostly spent puttering. Colleen needed to buy some fabric and patterns, so we went to Jo-Ann's and added a drive and a trip to Ross. I was sorely tempted by some very lightweight luggage, but had doubts about its durability. We did re-arrange Colleen's scooter bags, moving the black-and-purple shoulder bag to the front, and moving her supplies to the purple SwissGear mini-duffel in back (where they'll be much more accessible).

I also moved the folding cup-holder from her cane (where it wasn't particularly useful) to her scooter.

I spent much of the evening sitting out in the living room with Colleen, watching the news and cleaning out my netbook so I can give it to the Wolfling. I inadvertently deleted more than I intended, but no harm done: I just restored the deleted config files from git and my home directory on the fileserver.

Thinking about my experiences in junior high seems to raise my anxiety level. A lot. It wasn't exactly a geek-friendly environment. Or maybe it's anger; I got a similar reaction from Police officer pepper-sprays seated, non-violent students at UC Davis

More links down in the notes.

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

Yesterday was ok, though ultimately not really satisfying. There's always too much to be done, and I don't do most of it. But...

I went out for a drive with Colleen; we bought ripe jalapeno peppers at the produce stand, than looked at the new Whole Foods on Blossom Hill on the way back. Dinner consisted of guacamole, rice, cauliflower, and bay scallops. We also had bagels and lox for breakfast.

Saturday I saw a tennis racquet bag at Sports Basement, and came close to buying it for Plink (the travel guitar). It would have room for the songbook and even for Minnie, my shoulder bag. Six inches or so of Plink's neck would stick out, but that could be handled with a padded sleeve. Tempting.

I also made hotel reservations for Orycon. I'm a little reluctant to go, because it's been an expensive year for travel and next year looks likely to be almost as bad. We'll see.

raw notes )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Was I just complaining about not having enough entries? Admittedly, there are a lot of links and bits of puttering (indicated by the 15min: tag), BUT there were a few major items, too.

The biggest, I think, was the fact that Colleen was able to stand up and take 6 steps without holding on to anything. That's a total distance of about 3 feet, but still! Progress!

I set out for my walk in the morning, but stopped in at a garage sale two doors down and found a queen-sized futon couch for $20. The lovely young woman selling it helped me haul it to the house and into the living room, whereupon I decided that I'd had my exercise for the day.

We went out for a drive in the afternoon -- Highway 9 to Santa Cruz, then south on Highway 1, getting off at the exit labeled "harbor", because Colleen didn't want to be so close to the ocean without seeing it. We wandered around for a while, eventually finding ourselves on Cliff Drive between Santa Cruz and Capitola, which was simply lovely. I figured, correctly, that it would be difficult to get too lost in the little sliver between the ocean and Highway 1.

We remarked on how we should come back and explore Capitola on foot/scooter some time, and how it would be a nice place to retire to (though probably way too expensive). The fact that we're starting to consider moving, and actually talking about it, is a major step.

When we got home, I made a lovely guacamole (brightened by a ripe jalapeno and half a habanero pepper), and eventually posted my second Songs for Saturday. And Colleen repaired the pair of pants that's been sitting by the sewing machine for half a year. So I'm feeling pretty good about the day.

I went splat at 11, after feeling sleepy for about an hour and a half. (I got up at 8:15 this morning, so apparently I needed the sleep no matter how much I resent having to spend so much of my day unconscious.)

Quite a few links up in the notes, including several about ebooks. Most of those were related to seanan_mcguire's Across the digital divide. I may have something to say about that in the near future.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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No walk, but it was a productive day at work, and I feel as though I'm starting to settle in. Met two more of the team members in the afternoon meeting.

Evening was dinner at El Torito with Colleen and the YD, who actually wanted to come along this time. The parking lot was crowded, but apparently all the action was in the bar; we got a table quickly enough. Afterward we dropped the YD off at home and took a short but pleasant drive. It's been a while since we did that.

Several good links in the notes. Another video for Đóa hoa vô thường - same singer as yesterday's, but I love the imagery in this one. There's a (not terribly good) translation here. Scroll down past the Vietnamese and French versions. More tomorrow.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A fairly productive day at work, and a drive after dinner with Colleen. I also wrote some checks that I've been procrastinating for no good reason, and put in for dinner reservations at the Herb Farm during RainFurrest. More on that later, when/if I get the confirmation back.

But... I don't know. Sort of unsatisfying, on the whole. (Or maybe it's just the fact that I haven't had my coffee yet.)

Some links under the cut, and a reminder that if you're in the SF Bay Area, the Starport has air conditioning, a good net connection, and a Colleen who likes company.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Colleen requested cooked baby shrimp and fresh mozzarella for dinner, for a salad. I found wild-caught, fresh shrimp from the Pacific Northwest at Whole Paycheck, and also picked up a cluster of tomatoes. The resulting salad had no lettuce; it was more like a Louie/caprese blend, which really sounds like a good name for a Mafia boss or something.

We went out for a nice drive after dinner.

Things are still unsettled at work. Most people seem to want me to stay until FCS, but I'm not sure I'm being all that useful. On the other hand, my current view of my job is more like mentor, troubleshooter, and toolmaker. None of that is terribly visible. Even to me.

On the gripping hand, some of my coworkers...

I amused myself in between meetings and firefights by converting several projects in my home directory from CVS to git. Then did the same when I got home.

I found my Baycon schedule in the mail, so I posted it. I'M NOT READY! You mean I'm supposed to have a set list? Oh.

A decent collection of links up there; I'm not sure whether to highlight the failed end-of-the-world predictions, Amazon’s ebook sales surpassing print, or the fact that the Zombie Apocalypse crashed the CDC. All of the above?

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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It was Mother's Day. I called my mom around 11; Chaos called around noon; a few of our kids-of-choice also called. Always nice.

I gave Colleen her new Kindle 3, which she loves. It seems to have problems, though; some books don't seem to have synced completely. Grump.

Colleen had gotten a huge slab of smoked salmon at Costco, so we had bagels and lox for brunch. One of the few things guaranteed to get the YD out of bed. While I was out for bagels I went across the parking lot to Whole Paycheck, where I found some nice rockfish for dinner. With a caprese-type salad and baby asparagus sauteed in butter with a little mint (Colleen's idea). Yum, on both meals. The wine with dinner was a Columbia Valley reisling, very big and fruity. Also yum.

We took a nice drive out to the coast on Highway 9, and back via 17.

Glanced at the nameplate on my external backup drive's power brick -- it's rated for 65W on the input side. The outputs only total about 25, and I know that the drive is about half that. So... yuck. OK, it's probably not pulling nearly that much, given that it spends most of the time asleep, but the inefficiency is annoying. An internal hot-swappable mount would be nice.

Did a little noodling on the guitar, and later called Naomi and sang to her and Colleen.

No links. Must have been busy, even though it didn't feel like it.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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OK, guess it was a pretty good day at that. It felt very unproductive, but between a st/roll with Colleen in the morning and a drive with Colleen in the evening, I managed to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the two of us, do a load of laundry, and make substantial headway toward cleaning up the office.

Also a little singing, and some (fiction) reading. And news shortly before going to bed.

rm -f /bin/laden

Other links up in the notes.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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I managed a half-hour walk at lunchtime, and had a really nice drive with the Cat after dinner. We'd eaten at the New India Chaat Cafe, so we just kept going east on Hostetter Road to Piedmont, north to Milpitas, and back west via Calaveras. We continued west via McCarthy and Tasman, south on Great America/Bowers/Keily/Saratoga to Blossom Hill, then back home via Leigh. Nice, and we spent some of the time talking than we usually do.

Of course, much of the conversation was about how to get the YD's boyfriend out of the house now that he's been rejected for the apartment he applied for for. Anyone who wants to put up with a couch surfer for a couple of weeks?

Would have been a good day except for the worries.

A few links in the notes.

mdlbear: (g15-meters)
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The two things on the schedule yesterday were working on taxes, and acquiring a new UPS to replace the one whose battery died on Friday. The taxes aren't done yet, but I did get most of it entered. At this point only dividends and deductions remain. The Schedules C were easier than I expected, thanks to better tagging during the data-entry phase. I'm still running late, though.

I picked up the UPS, an APC BX1500G, at Fry's on the way home from taking the YD to her modeling class. It's taller and narrower than the older 1500's; I put it in the bedroom because it has an explicit mute button; it also has more outlets, which allowed me to replace the old power strip as well. It just barely fits on the shelf, though; I may want to move it to the floor. It also has a master-slave arrangement that allows something like a computer to control power to other devices like monitors. I'd really like that for the desktop, at some point.

The fileserver now has 170min of runtime, up from 11. Whee!

I appear to have no more serial-port UPSs in service; even the little 320VA unit by the phones is USB connected.

How to be Happy (the free e-book from 17000 Days that I finished yesterday) has a section on flow, starting p. 51. It points out that happiness comes after the flow state; while you're in flow you're totally absorbed in what you're doing. Wow, does that ever resonate! Especially with this last week at work. C.f. "The Little Computing Machine".

Several excellent links up there in the notes.

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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The main thing was the YD signing a 3-year modeling contract. She gets a couple of months of training, which costs just south of $3k, but is one-time and includes free photo shoots. After that... it turns out there are a lot of modeling jobs in San Francisco.

I also picked up an Epson Artisan 50 printer at Fry's, and got in a half-hour walk. The Artisan 50 prints on CDs and has very fast-drying, water-resistant ink. I installed it on my work MacBook, which runs the CD-printing software. Eventually I'll find, or make, templates for the Gimp; this was quick.

In the early afternoon I went out for a drive with Colleen -- everything was clean and beautiful after the rain. In between I did a lot of puttering, mostly in the office.

I faded out rather quickly -- by 9:30 I was falling asleep in my chair. A round of dishes woke me up enough to take a bath; I went splat around 10:30.

Aside from the printer, the only link under the cut is from MoveOn.org: Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP's War on Women.

So... a good day. It wasn't quite enough to lift me out of my current mild depression for more than a few hours, but I'll take what I can get.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Weird. For once I have no links at all. Must have been, um... doing things? OK, mostly reading webcomics -- I've recently discovered Questionable Content. But...

So let's see -- formatting a 500GB drive for the YD, going out to a Baycon staff party, shopping expedition to Walgreen's and Central Computer, putting together the YD's external drive, and going out for a drive to look at the lights. And a little guitar noodling. OK, I guess that all counts.

Christmas isn't my holiday, but I do like looking at the pretty lights. They're very cheerful at this time of year (Northern hemisphere winter).

I ended the day with a painfully tight muscle in my right shoulder; sometime during the night it apparently gave in to the combination of a hot bath, cyclobenzaprine, and a shoulder rub from Colleen that hurt like anything but apparently was as worthwhile as I hoped it would be.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Good grief! I've heard that time flies when you're having fun, but that's not exactly how I'd describe a week that included stress at work and at home, back pain, a couple of out-of-bandwidth moments, bizarre symptoms, and a trip to the ER before breakfast.

On the other hand, it also included a really nice drive on Hwy 9 to look at the redwoods in the rain, the madness of unexpected trip planning, the joy of giving one of my CDs to a lovely young woman, and the relief of having it confirmed that the temporary numbness in my left arm that woke me up at 5:45 in the goddamned morning was almost certainly due to sleeping on it the wrong way, and not a mini-stroke. (The extravagant bill for the ER visit and CAT scan won't hit until sometime next year.)

Quote of the week, when explaining a bandwidth overload to Colleen: "I can get peopled out in five seconds flat in the kitchen with only one other person. Does that make sense?" It probably didn't. It made her cry, though she said it was "... relief -- I thought I'd done something wrong." Oh.

Some links.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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OK; reasonably productive at work; very tired and sleepy all evening. Possibly due to being very congested; I still am. Finally resorted to sudafed this morning, in spite of the fact that it's not good for people with high blood pressure. Have to do something -- I'm kinda addicted to breathing.

A little website maintenance, and a shorter-then-usual drive with Colleen. Short practice session; my throat started getting scratchy after only two songs. Grump. I hate my nose.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A pretty good day, despite starting with nightmares about money. Odd; I don't usually remember those.

A longish drive with Colleen, 17 to Santa Cruz, then up 1 to Half Moon Bay. Not all that much farther than taking Hwy 9 instead of 17, but about an hour faster. (I found out later that the silly thing had spent most of the drive trying to figure out how to tell me that I don't talk to her enough. I don't think I bite. But I'm a clumsy, literal-minded old bear, and don't pick up on things that people don't come out and tell me.)

A conversation with N via IM, which involved yet another missed implicit message. This is getting to be a theme; it's intensely frustrating to know that other people can pick up on subtle social cues that I simply can't detect at all. I'd settle for getting good enough at it that I can get by without constantly making other people frustrated and uncomfortable.

Much trouble with Audacity, which turned out to be due to it's reluctance to play and record simultaneously on different soundcards. And of course I have two. Easy to fix, fortunately. And click tracks work in the latest build. Recorded a scratch of Emerald Dreams.

Hmm. I'm obviously going to have to post more regularly about album progress. With a tip jar?

A few links under the cut.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Not such a good day. I was oddly depressed, for no obvious reason. Dwelling on... what? Changing health care plans? Changing corporate culture? Retirement? Money in general? Don't know, but do not like.

A drive after dinner with Colleen helped a lot, as did some good snuggle, but...

And then there was that pressure/pain from something seemingly in or behind my right eyeball. What's up with that? (Nothing visible, no effect on my vision; still a lingering feeling of slight pressure but not hurting. More like an odd, slight headache at this point.)

A couple of links under the cut.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A pretty good day. Very nice drive with Colleen after dinner -- it was especially nice on the way out, in the gathering twilight. Companionable and peaceful. Colleen took her walker out to the car rather than the scooter. Much easier on me.

And a good shopping expedition, where stopping by Starving Musician got me a pair of CAD GXL2400 microphones for $50 each. They're missing their shockmounts, but for that price I'll improvise.

On the other hand, I didn't take a walk, nor a bike ride, and didn't get any of the scratch tracks put down that I wanted to have done by now. Grump.

On the gripping hand, I have a note up there to the effect that my sister of choice [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi is amazing.

Good links under the cut, as usual.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A good day, though I got a lot less done over the weekend than I wanted to. But I did get in a bike ride, plus a walk on Saturday. So that's good, right?

Plus dinner, and laundry, and an expedition to BevMo at the end of a drive with Colleen, and singing a few songs for Colleen. OK, I guess it's not surprising I don't get as much done as I want to. But some of what I don't get to is stuff I want to do, and some of it is stuff I hate but that has to get done anyway. Gaah.

C: You're a very strange stuffed creature to be going to bed with.
Me: Was that addressed to the wombat, or to me?
C: Both.

Links under the cut include two about gay marriage, and one about polyamory. You don't have to click if that bores you.

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Family visits tend to center around food; Mom's visit this weekend is no exception. Lunch was lamb, onion, and chutney open-faced sandwitches (Mom's recipe); dinner was at Arya, our favorite Persian and Italian place. (The YD was the only one who took advantage of the Italian menu. Silly child.)

A drive after dinner, showing mom the lovely Victorian houses in Los Gatos and Saratoga.

Lots of links under the cut, mostly from an extended explore of non-computable functions on Wikipedia. Bears are easily amused.

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Sunday's main accomplishment was finishing the bedroom makeover by putting up the shelves on Colleen's side of the bed. Go me! Also some configuration work on Argo, the newer of my two Thinkpads.

My pedometer turned up -- it appears to have been found amid the clutter next to Colleen's chair, so it must have fallen off my belt during a kiss. So there's an umimpressive step count again.

River content: a random observation, a month or two after the conversation that it would have been in context in: I'm not so old that sex doesn't matter to me, but I'm old enough that love and companionship matter more.

Mom bought herself an iPad. She downloaded and printed the 150-page manual; it's apparently pretty useless. I'm not surprised.

A couple of links under the cut, as usual.

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A pretty decent day. Did backups and decided that the slower network really didn't make much difference in the time, so I can put off getting a new gigabit switch for a while. What I spent on shelving for the bedroom more than made up the difference, of course. Grumpf.

I combined my walk with making hotel reservations for my Mom's visit in mid-May. So that's done. It's a 20-minute walk, and scootable.

A nice drive after dinner, which was gluten-free pasta with the household's standard red sauce (a 2:1 mix of mild and hot Italian sausage, mixed with Classico spaghetti sauce from jars).

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Another productive day at work, plus a good walk around the pond. I'll miss that little park after we move; there's a park in the Cupertino area too, but it doesn't have koi, or very many trees. Ah, well.

ETA: it's my work group that's moving, not my family! The Starport isn't going anywhere.

We went to El Torito for our date night, and took a drive afterward, out San Thomas Expressway to the end of Camden, and back via Almaden Expressway and Blossom Hill. Nice. We both went splat around 11pm. Might have been just a little too early for me; I woke up at 2:45.

The pedometer seems to be gone for good. It was useful, but I'm better-calibrated now and can probably get by without one.

Lots and lots of good links, many from LWN.net. Plus another of [livejournal.com profile] kaath9's healthcare myth posts: Myth #5: Those systems are too “foreign” to work in the US.

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A very good day. Lots of good Valentine's Day snuggle and greetings, made a tasty lunch and dinner, and went out for a long, happy drive with Colleen. And didn't get depressed, anxious, or flaky. Go me!!

Good links. The most interesting to me were: Be lucky - it's an easy skill to learn (2003) (From this post by [livejournal.com profile] theferrett) and this Happy Valentine's Day post by [livejournal.com profile] danceswthcobras. Relevant quote from the latter:

If you start with the assumption that anyone you trust enough to be intimate with is your best friend, and you treat them as such with honesty, personal transparency, respect and consideration, that's a pretty good foundation for a healthy relationship.

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Odd day; something of a rollercoaster. To start things out, the coffee maker failed halfway through the pot. One cup for me, one for Colleen, and that's it. Time for a new one, I guess; I'm tempted to get one that grinds the beans...

There was an all-hands meeting at work; big news but not bad news, about how our lab is having an impact on the company. The only part that affects me is that one of the four people in my group is one of the two people moving to a different group. Fortunately, his part of $PROJECT is nearly done, so the timing is good.

I walked down to the pond, but with two stops. Stopping or slowing down while I'm out for a walk is usually a sign that something is wrong -- that's me and my inability to feel emotions except from their physical effects, again. This time it closed the loop, with the question "if I can't detect emotions directly, does that mean I may never experience happiness? Joy? Are those even meaningful concepts for me?"

Or, on the other hand, are those even meaningful or useful questions to be asking? Probably not. That's just where I'm starting from. So I was discouraged and disappointed, but mostly puzzled. I was mostly back up to calm and neutral by the time I got back to the lab, but the puzzlement remains. It's going to take some research, of a sort that I don't really know how to do.

On the gripping hand, I came up with a new affirmation: "It's perfectly ok to be an introvert. It may sound as though everyone is an extrovert, but that's because we introverts don't talk as much."

Transcribing my notes from the walk, I ran across two more: "I am an interesting person" and "People enjoy talking with me."

I also remembered that N. had told me on Wednesday that she didn't think I looked particularly fat, or old. So obviously my self-image needs a lot of work, along with my self-esteem.

The evening was much better: we went out intending to try a new restaurant that turned out not to be open yet, so we diverted to Arya because we were close. Yum. For an appetizer we had a plate of little rice crisps with three different sauces. Gluten-free and delicious.

Took a drive on the way home.

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Yesterday was a pretty good day; a nice way to put me back into the groove of "done" posts.

I got in a proper walk, and a fair amount of actual work.

"Date night" consisted of a huge salad and leftovers at home, followed by a pleasant drive, and ended up in bed with a particularly sensual cuddle. I slept very soundly, for once.


Today's link sausage includes the Karmic Koala release of Ubuntu, and Scott McCloud's comic about Google Chrome.

Some of my poly friends might be interested in [livejournal.com profile] theferrett's recent three-part series. The middle one, The Vital Skill Of Jealousy - is particularly interesting and a little more generally applicable than the others.

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Any day that ends with pon-pon chicken, yu-shiang eggplant, szechuan beef, dry-braised green beans, and an hour-long drive to noplace in particular with my lovely Cat has to be a good one, right? It was.

It also included a walk, with a little meditation and the koi emerging mysteriously out of the murky depths of the pond like gilded and silvered submarines.

And I got a new toy at work -- the next generation of the eWriter device we've been working on. The hardware is a bit ramshackle, and the software is still rather flaky, but Oh! it's sweet. (I can only say that much because a paper's been presented.) My demo, on the older hardware that went to Japan with $grandboss last week, will be going to New Orleans with $boss next week.

On the other hand (literally), washing dishes is not kind to my right shoulder: I tend to hold pots in my right hand and sponge them with my left. Oh. Right.

On the gripping hand, I finally talked myself into buying a new 1.5TB hard drive for the file server, instead of using the three existing .5GB drives in a RAID. Simpler, and much lower power. Between California's outrageous power rates and my current tax bracket, it has about a one-year payback.

And here's a fascinating wikipedia article on "disaffectation", which may be the best description yet of what "my main problem" is.

So, yeah. Good day.

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The day was mostly taken up with two shopping trips. The first was Fry's, where I found that, not surprisingly, the $89 1.5TB drive advertised in their flier had sold out by 11am on Friday. Got a couple of other useful items, made one more stop on the way home, and got home very low on blood sugar. It was, evidently, a good thing I hadn't gone for walkies first.

The YD wanted to bake; we sent her across the street for eggs. She came back with 5 dozen.

After lunch Colleen suggested a Costco run -- her first with the scooter. That was fun. I never did get a walk in, but we probably did a mile or so in the store. Go Rocket-Snail!

By the time we got back, the YD had made two dozen yummy, if slightly small, gluten-free cupcakes. I win. She also offered to make devilled eggs for dinner, if I boiled them. Colleen suggested making 2 dozen, which was probably excessive for three people. But pretty tasty.

I probably don't need to wonder why my triglycerides are too high.

We went for a drive in the evening; very pleasant. More conversation than usual.

An IM from [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi telling me that she simply can't make it to OVFF this year. She was afraid I'd be upset over losing my backup singer; I was much more concerned about how disappointed she is. She charged me with running the "Just Plain Folk" circle. Must remember to pack a copy of Rise Up Singing.

I am so ready for this last year to be over. Going by the Jewish calendar it already is; by the usual pagan one we'll be sending it out the door at out Halloween party. I'll take one of those, thanks.

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A pretty good day, or at least a moderately productive one. Colleen had originally wanted to get up early and go to Tapestry In Talent downtown; I figured that if she doesn't wake up with a kiss, she needs the sleep.

While she slept I did the dishes, cleaned the pots, partitioned the fileserver's new drives, made breakfast, and made my hotel reservations for OVFF.

What I actually ended up doing with Colleen was going for a drive, and stopping at the large Whole Foods in Cupertino. Scored a 25-pound bag of brown basmati rice and some gluten-free English muffins, among other yummy things. Win.

I went out for a walk around the Rose Garden, and made burgers for dinner. I ought to show the YD how to make hamburger patties properly so they cook thoroughly and don't fall apart. Colleen's and mine had blue cheese in them. I can haz (blue) cheeseburger!

Ended the evening running through my concert set for Naomi (via phone) and Colleen; we added Chaos via skype about halfway through what ended up being a 90-minute session. We really need to get streaming and conferencing set up, and do it more often.

I'm not sure why music gets pushed aside so often. Some kind of coping strategy gone awry, I suppose.

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A good day; relaxing. My service rep at the Honda dealership called about 9:20 to say that my car was (finally!) done; a quick check of Google Maps confirmed that it was only a little over three miles. So after a reasonable-sized breakfast of leftover Mexican, I put on my walking shoes. The trip took about 1:10; not terribly scenic, but a good walk.

There were quite a few vacant buildings along the route. These are not good times for business. Also a good number of curb cuts missing, which is something I tend to notice these days.

I can haz concert at ConChord. Yay! Did some brainstorming with Colleen about the setlist, and how best to showcase my songwriting talents. So probably not Riverheart or Ship of Stone, much as I like them.

We took a very pleasant drive up Highway 9 to Santa Cruz, and back on 17. A little over 2 hours, if I remember correctly.

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A pretty good day, though not too productive. A good talk and a productive meeting at work, and a drive with Colleen in the evening. Colleen used the walker, not the scooter, to get to and from the car.

I meditated in the morning just after waking up; it got rid of essentially all of my neck pain and tension. Big win. I'm probably going to have to re-arrange things once I start having to take the YD to school in the morning, but for now it works.

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Spent the day deep in the code mines, and finally determined that the reason my new feature wasn't working was that something earlier in /etc/rc.local was failing. Moved it to the top and it worked. :( Learned about logger(1), which was useful. In any case, the machine in Japan can now tell me its IP address every time it boots, so I won't have to ask for help.

On the other hand, I've spent about 2 days more on this than I intended to. I may have to do some work over the weekend, depending on how things go today. The demo is Thursday.

The last couple of days I've been making about 2/3 my usual amount of coffee, since I've developed a habit of taking a cup to work and forgetting about it. And it's not an insignificant expense.

For our evening out we went to El Torito; service was unusually slow, but I'll put up with that for enchilladas de pollo con salsa mole. The YD came along, having cancelled her usual game night because she wasn't feeling well. A short drive afterwards; just as well as I was getting sleepy. Which reminds me: leftovers for breakfast. :)

Link sausage:

  • Gizmodo and Engadget both pointed me at www.eternaleds.com, where I placed an order for a couple of LED lightbulbs. They're the only place I've seen that has LED replacements for halogen bulbs.
  • Wired Magazine: How to Behave: New Rules for Highly Evolved Humans. Most of this "advice" should probably be taken with a few tablespoons of salt, but it does point out the kind of etiquette issues one should think about these days.

My morning routines seem to be taking about 2 hours these days. Grr.

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The main thing I did yesterday was to finish replacing the shelf bracket in the bedroom, and putting up new shelves. There are now three or four more than there once were, and a lot of the junk and clutter has been dealt with. There were a few treasures, like a picture of the YD taken at Baycon X, the year she was born.

I got in a 3-mile walk by Los Gatos Creek; my calf muscles were a bit sore, and were still a little tight when I got to the park, so I turned back. They were fine when I got back to the car. I should stretch more.

An unexpected call from Callie and a drive with Colleen ended the day on a calm, happy note. I should also mention that, in between other things, I ripped about a dozen CDs over the course of the weekend.

A lot of things still aren't getting done. Grumble.

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Found out yesterday morning that Colleen can now stand up for about a minute without holding on to anything! Makes getting dressed a lot easier. She'll be walking with a walker for quite a while yet.

Last night was our first "weekly evening out" -- we went to the Pruneyard, a local shopping mall that we used to enjoy. It's changed a lot, of course. We made note of a couple of interesting-looking restaurants, and had a nice dinner of assorted meze at the little Greek place. Went for a drive afterwards.

We also went to Barnes & Noble; the original plan was just to window-shop, but how could we possibly resist a cookbook with the title The Veganomicon? I picked up an on-sale copy of Body Language by Julius Fast; probably not all that useful, but maybe worth reading. Anyone familiar enough with it to know where the pitfalls are?

Pidgin 2.5.7 fixes the bug caused by Yahoo's protocol change; there seem to be some minor issues with the latest sources, but it runs fine from the build tree. It does not build on Etch -- there are some missing dependencies. One more reason to upgrade my desktop box at work.

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Woke up in fair shape this morning, going rapidly downhill when Colleen got up and while I took her to a doctor's appointment to check on her fistula site, which appears to have become re-infected. She was on the edge of panic, I think. We both calmed down after getting a prescription for (a different) oral antibiotic; the infection started up after her week on the previous prescription ran out.

Note: positive feedback is bad. When Colleen is panicking, I get weird and either panicked or depressed. Or both; I have no idea what to call that state.

After Kaiser we went out for a longish drive: quality time is always good for both of us. We're now back at home waiting for a pain pill to kick in so I can change her wound dressing. After that I'll go out for my walk.

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The morning went by far too quickly, scouting medical equipment stores and making a few essential purchases. The coffee and gin will have to wait.

Picked up Colleen at 1:30 for an outing. We bought a wheelchair -- a Nova 22" folding transport chair, with 12-inch rear wheels, handbrakes, and removable arms. It's significantly lighter than the standard chair we've been renting, and a little narrower; it'll be usable on trips as both a wheelchair and a walker. With a little significant amount of tinkering it might even be possible to electrify it, but it would be inadvisable to count on that.

After that we went out for a drive: out Leigh to Camden, out Camden until it ends, looping around via Harry and Almaden, and back to Leigh. Bookmarked the long paved path that runs along outer Camden as a good place for me to take her for a walk. Or rather, for me to walk and her to ride in her shiny new chair.

At home briefly for her to catch up on LJ and hug the kids, then back to White Blossom. Was informed that my right headlight was out, so back home to swap cars.

Then I went to pick up Joyce to go to the $COMPANY holiday party at Il Fornaio in Palo Alto. High-end, and delicious. Good company, good conversation. Must take Colleen there some time to make it up to her. Very strange not to have her there; it's the first company party that I've gone to without her.

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Colleen and I went for a nice long drive yesterday; around the long loop up the coast and home through Half Moon Bay. It was mostly good, but some disturbing things came up toward the end and I'm afraid my mood crashed pretty badly. Yes, my baseline mood has improved recently (Colleen confirms it, and ordered me in no uncertain terms to stay away from gluten from now on). But the amplitude and frequency of the swings has also increased considerably.

This will be briefer than I would have liked; details have already started to fade. But some of it is very important, at least for me.

Somehow, probably in response to me asking her to clarify something, we got back on the subject of my attempts to get her to answer questions when I didn'tunderstand or didn't hear the original answer. She blew up at me. You may remember a post upstream titled Why I asked. Yeah, that again. Plus something that triggered memories of last March and April when she feared she was losing me (which I've touched on under the title of The Silicon Mistress). And didn't believe me when I said she wasn't, because she was paying more attention to my attitude than to my words.

The combination sent me into a tailspin, wondering whether our relationship had deteriorated to the point where she no longer wanted to talk with me about it. From further conversation, I don't think so. I hope not. She also came up with a fascinating bit of information. It raises more questions than it answers, unfortunately.

She was under psychoanalysis for years, from a very young age; it left her with a lifelong hatred for and distrust of the whole profession. It hasn't stopped us from getting the kids help when they needed it, but she reacted vehemently when I asked whether we would benefit from counseling. I wouldn't know -- I've never done it.

But apparently my way of asking questions, multiple times with different wordings to try to come to an understanding of what she said, sounds to her exactly like what a shrink does. No wonder she rejects it.

Question: what in Hell can I do about this? I can't stop asking her for clarification: if it was important enough for her to say something to me, it's important for me to understand it. Is there a way of asking for clarification that doesn't make me sound like I'm trying to psychoanalyze her?

Public service announcement #1: When I ask you a question I am not trying to psychoanalyze you. Nor am I trying to see whether you know something, the way I would with a kid drilling for a test. I'm just trying to get an answer. When I ask a question it's because you know the answer and I don't. If I ask again in different words, it's because I didn't understand the first answer, or because it sounded like the answer to a question I didn't ask. If I paraphrase your answer and ask you to confirm it, it's because I want to make damned sure I understood what you said, because it seemed to be important.

Public service announcement #2: Please listen. I will usually tell you why I am seemingly asking a question again. If I do, I mean exactly what I say. Please listen to the exact words of the question, too. Don't respond with the answer to the question you think I was going to ask: it will only confuse both of us.

I don't know how I can make this more clear. Suggestions welcome.

mdlbear: (smith-lightsails)

Sunday (yesterday, assuming I get this post finished in the next five-and-a-half hours) was reasonably well-filled with Good Things. I'm not complaining.

I woke up long before Colleen, as usual; eventually she noticed and sent me out, first for an English muffin with butter (so she could take her meds), then for a walk. I walked from the motel to the little shopping center at the corner of Pony Express Trail and Sly Park Road; about 45 minutes round trip.

After I got back it didn't take long to load out; we headed back to the Buttercup Pantry in Placerville. I had a seafood omlette this time, with hollandaise sauce. Made of yum. Hollandaise seems to be particularly good on egg dishes.

Placerville is an old gold-mining town; it got the name "Hangtown" (as in ... Fry) from, obviously, the numerous hangings it was host to.

The drive home was uneventful, but pleasant. I love taking long drives with the Cat, and with gas prices what they are these days it's good to have an excuse.


After an hour or two to catch my breath, I headed up to Berkeley for [livejournal.com profile] donsimpson's 70th birthday party. Fewer people than I expected, and it's a good thing Colleen didn't go; she wouldn't have been able to handle the stairs. I sang The River, Wheelin', Quiet Victories, and (obviously) Don's Ship of Stone. Which remains my all-time favorite song.

Decided I wasn't up to unwinding the directions in the dark, especially since I was on a street far too narrow to turn around on, and parts of the route I'd come in on didn't look particularly reversable. A look at the map showed that I was close to SR13, so I took that, heading South. South SR13 merged smoothly onto East I580 (which heads South from Berkeley); I turned off onto North SR238, just before 580 finally heads East, to go West to South I880. I love the Bay Area. It was a fun explore.


This is, by the way, another data point on panic and being lost. I had one look at a Google maps printout, which only got me as far as SR13. From there I was, essentially, lost. I was not in a state of panic -- what I was feeling was the sort of calm curiosity I feel when I'm solving a problem, or taking a walking tour of a city I've never explored before.

I think that there's a lot of history with Colleen -- she has seen me panic in the car, about 25 years ago. The kids have seen me get (mildly) lost and flustered, and have seen what happens when my memory of a map or a previous trip disagrees with the directions I'm hearing. There are several feedback loops that happen when somebody else is in the car, either trying to be helpful, or teasing me because I'm lost again, or maybe just counting on me to know what the heck I'm doing. They're not there when I'm by myself.

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It's been a weekend of conversation, puntuated occasionally by snuggle, sleep, food, and a little music. Many things left undone, though the few important items, plane tickets to OVFF and a second room for Loscon, finally got taken care of. On the whole, I'd rather spend time talking with friends than almost anything else.

Mostly talk with M.S., up from Southern Cal for a funeral and staying with us for friendship and lack of drama. A good little walk in the Rose Garden yesterday, and two lovely mornings of bacon, eggs, coffee, and conversation. Mostly about relationships, hers and mine. I showed her the Royal Amethyst rose and explained that, yes, it's OK to talk about Amy. Grieving isn't about forgetting the past but about coming to terms with it, and remembering is my way of doing that.

A brief interlude yesterday to take the Y.D. to an interview for possible travel next summer, and [livejournal.com profile] rowanf's 25th anniversary party in the afternoon. They'd requested music and poetry on the theme of love in lieu of gifts; I sang The River, of course, and got some good reactions. Longish talk with [livejournal.com profile] spikeiowa afterward.

This morning, M gave me a voice lesson -- extremely useful. More on that later, perhaps. A drive with the Cat in the afternoon -- the conversation continues. I love my friends, and I love talking with them. I love my Cat the best of all, and even when we have little to say, the silence between us is alive with conversation.

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Breakfast was an omelette with leftover pesto -- Colleen made wonderful fresh pesto last night for dinner.

Spent my time alone in the morning (I get up much earlier than the [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat) doing some much-needed but basically uninteresting maintenance on my email foldering system, and going through most of the unread mail in my "misc" folder. Added a "friends" folder.

After breakfast, the Cat and I went up to San Francisco for the Chihuly exhibit at the de Young Museum. Amazing. Indescribable. If there's one near you, go see it. Also some amazing paper art by Jane Hammond. Lunch in the museum cafe; tasty (we both had the lamb curry), but the rice was underdone--they're clearly running a bit beyond their capacity with the Chihuly crowds. No problems with the wheelchair, though I need to remember to ask whether she's ready to roll after she's been in one place for a while; sometimes she puts her feet down.

Nice drive back by way of the Great Highway, State Route 1 past Devil's Slide to Half Moon Bay, and 92 back to I280. Tempting to take 1 down all the way to Santa Cruz, but we really didn't have the time.

Walked around the Rose Garden. You know that pain in the ball of my foot that I mentioned yesterday and the day before? Had it again, even with my Keen hiking boots. Something bruised, I think. The running shoes seem to have the best padding; may have to use those plus an ankle brace for a while.

Spent the evening puttering, and attempting to diagnose Colleen's dual-boot desktop machine in the bedroom, and Kat's HP Ubuntu box. Oddly enough, both worked fine for me (though the HP doesn't seem to recognize the monitor size through a KVM switch even when X is restarted; it may have to boot with the monitor switched in). Loose connections, maybe. That, or I scared them into working.

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

Yesterday Colleen and I took a long drive -- our first in several months, given the recent rise in gas prices. The long loop via Highway 9 to the Coast, up Highway 1 past Devil's Slide and through Pacifica, and back on 35 and I-280; about 135 miles and four hours. It was still significantly cheaper than dinner out, and there's a produce stand just south of Half Moon Bay where we got fresh tomatoes and white corn.

It was also our first long drive since I started getting serious about the river posts; the conversation was fascinating, and occasionally intense.

I had just posted Talking long distance; I went over the next few posts in that series, ending with "Crosstalk", about my inability to do anything else but listen or read if there are voices in the background that I can hear. She said, "I wish I'd known that 30 years ago!" Me too.

That led naturally to the fact that she now turns off distractions when I get home, so that we can be together in the living room for a while. Then to broken promises, and her grumpiness over the fact that the River has taken over a lot of the time and creative energy that she feels I should have been using for the CD I'd originally planned to have done by now wasn't even started yet.

I pointed out that I'm a very different person now from the one who made those plans, and that a lot of the time that would have gone into music was now spent with her. I like the trade-off in general, but she thought for a while and told me that the hour between 9pm and 10pm was for me to work on music without her -- recording, and the kind of intense practice and songsmithing that drives her crazy to listen to. A million thanks, Love!

Mornings, before she gets up, are for writing and editing. It's 7:45 now. When did I become a morning person?

We talked about my poor memory for words; the fact that I often ask her to repeat things, and my inability to deliver a simple verbal message without writing it down. I came up with an analogy: "Do you remember all the dialog of a movie the first time you see it?"

"Depends on the movie."

"Well, I never do. After I get out of the theatre I'm lucky to remember a quarter of the scenes and a dozen lines of dialog. To me, life is exactly like a movie that I'm seeing for the first time." (The quotes are as close as I can remember, of course, and not exact -- I have a better memory for the scenes with intense emotion attached, and Colleen had some tears in this one.) I might add that it's a particularly boring movie, for the most part, and the amateur actors keep flubbing their lines.

We had a couple of weepy meltdowns, but even those led to insights and places that need to be explored and worked on. That will be another post sometime; for now I'll just report that Colleen says that they happen when I "snap at" her, when I disagree with her, and when I "don't listen to" her. They also happen when we hit on a topic that's emotionally loaded for her, including unfinished projects.

I realized later that there are three cases that get confused, and get a similar reaction:

  1. The case where I understand what she's saying, and genuinely disagree with whatever she said.
  2. The case where I understand what she's trying to say, but the words mean something else. This usually happens because she's using technical terms that she doesn't quite understand; in this case it was operating systems and the difference between the OS in her sewing machine and the OS that her embroidery-design software runs under on her PC.
  3. The case where I understand what she said, but it wasn't what she meant.

I tend to approach all three of these cases the same way, trying to clarify her words until I understand exactly what she meant, and then (in the latter two cases) trying to get her to understand the difference between what she actually said and what she meant. It's during that dialog that she often melts down, accuses me of snapping and "not listening", and thinks that I'm disagreeing with her and arguing for the sake of arguing. I really don't know what either of us can do about this, but we'll continue to work on it.

The other place where I don't know whether there's anything either of us can do is the fact that I'll often miss the first word or two of a sentence, and ask her to repeat. This is because my attention was elsewhere; either on a task or, in the middle of a conversation, on composing a reply. I don't think she understands the extent to which I find listening, thinking, and talking incompatible; I always have to compose what I'm saying before I can say it. If I don't know exactly where I'm going with a thought, I have to pause in mid-sentence to figure it out. Which is about where we started the discussion, somewhere around the location of the old Dead Cow tannery. Which was being torn down and turned into condos or a strip mall or something.

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

On the whole it's been a pretty productive day on the website; in particular, the new Songs page is basically complete, and the Makefiles are fully functional. Still a little less automation than I'd really like. Managed to do much of it out in the living room with the [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat.

Still a fair amount of work left to do, which I'll have to get done before I write another song (setting up directories for new songs is one of the unfinished spots) but the basic structure is there. It should be possible now to create a completely customized page for every song.

Went for a drive with the Cat before dinner, and got some welcome cuddle time after taking the kids to their 7pm game. She went to bed about an hour and a half ago; time for me to join her.

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

Just got back from a drive with the Cat. Smoke from the fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains made the sky an odd, dirty blue-gray as we were setting out.

Good walk this afternoon, after tasty shrimp wonton soup in our building's little deli. I love their soups. I like to eat at my desk from about 11:30, and then go out for a walk at noon.

My weight was 180.5 this morning! Even as the low end of a +-1 swing, it's an improvement.

I'm writing this in the living room on Matrix, our ancient Thinkpad. For the first time I've killed my IM client in the office and am running it here, sitting next to a sleepy [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat. Works. The screen, 800x600, is cramped, but at least it has a decent keyboard. It's so much like coming home that I'm unlikely ever to use any other kind of laptop anymore.

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