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

Because I'm thinking about it, and am too tired about what to post, I thought I'd post my Mom's recipe for cranberry relish.


  • A bag or two of raw, whole cranberries.
  • Apples. One or two per bag of berries, depending on size.
  • Oranges. Maybe one per two bags.

Chop everything up coarsely in a food processor. Even better, if you can find it, is an old-fashioned hand-cranked meat grinder, because that mashes the ingredients rather than simply cutting them.

Put it in the fridge overnight. The next day, add sugar if it seems to be necessary -- don't do it before then because the flavors won't have blended.

I have no idea where Mom found the recipe, and I don't think I've ever seen an "official" printed version -- it's all seat-of-the-pants. Colleen and I have been making it for the last forty-odd years.


NaBloPoMo stats:
  12751 words in 22 posts this month (average 579/post)
    169 words in 1 post today

Fast Food

2018-05-14 08:06 am
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

(From a comment elsejournal:)

When I have left-over rice I make fried rice, usually for breakfast (egg, grain; it works). Cook garlic and any other non-rice ingredients in oil, add rice and stir until coated with oil, shove to one side and scramble two eggs in the pan, mix, garnish with green onions if you have them. Total time about 10 minutes.

I don't know how you feel about tofu, but half a block of tofu, cubed, drizzled with soy sauce and sesame oil, and some wasabi or horseradish on the side is a great high-protein lunch.

Melt some butter in a frying pan, grind some pepper onto it, add fish (I used red snapper yesterday). Squeeze half a small lemon on top, add more pepper, flip. Squeeze the other half of the lemon onto the top.

Brush chicken parts (I like skinless, boneless thighs; YMMV) with mustard or barbecue sauce; bake. This is the only recipe in this batch that takes more than 10 minutes, but it's under five minutes of prep.

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

Not a bad week, I guess. Right now I'm feeling pretty down and hopeless, partly because of this article about Trump plus the fact that my family's economic future depends largely on Social Security and Medicare, which Trump's government seems hell-bent on destroying; and partly... I don't know what. I don't think depression and anxiety need a reason.

I did manage to figure out approximately what I should have been withholding for taxes; I also found out that the deadline for the second quarter's estimated tax payment was last month, so I'm slightly more screwed than I thought I was. Only slightly. That adds to the anxiety, of course.

N. and the kids have been away since Wednesday morning, with N and g at OVFF. It's been a bit lonely. I have, however, been getting things done, including putting up shelves and a little artwork, and setting up my desk with what amounts to a dual-monitor setup with the external monitor above Cygnus. I'm using the traditional makeshift monitor stand: a ream of printer paper. I actually did find my other Thinkpad keyboards, but with Cygnus on the desk I don't need them.

Our second week of prepared menus has worked out pretty well, though I did end up going out shopping Tuesday for some things that I'd missed on Sunday, and a little bit on Friday. It does seem as though we're spending less. I've also determined that I have to go grocery shopping alone -- it's impossible for me to stick to a list if there's someone else along. I really have difficulty saying "no" to anybody, and it's stressful.

Yesterday Colleen and I went to the Bayview farmer's market after picking up the bike helmet we'd ordered. Bought lunch (samosas) and some jam. See above about saying "no".

I did manage to say "no" to the life insurance agent. Yes, it's great that I was able to qualify for the lowest possible rate, which means I'm a lot healthier than most septuagenarians. But my financial advisor, who I consulted last Friday, pointed out that since my social security, IRA, and pension between them are enough to keep us going; unlike the situation in Seattle, we're not relying on my salary to pay the mortgage. (Colleen's SS payment is half of mine and will go away after I die; it does make a difference but the family would still get by without it.)

The thing that still scares the hell out of me is what would happen if I don't die, but simply get incapacitated, or if either Colleen or I end up needing more expensive care. Then we're hosed.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

After last week on call, almost anything was bound to be an improvement. But my oncall ended at 11am Monday; Sunday night and Monday morning managed to cram in nearly as many pages as any two-day period the preceeding week. By Monday at 11 I was a total wreck. (While I was deep in work on one or two other tickets, the two daytime SEV2's timed out and paged me at 10:30. At which point $BOSS came by. I was almost totally nonverbal at that point - it was all I could do to get out a couple of words to indicate that I was working on it.)

Monday afternoon was predictably unproductive. Since I had two medical appointments on Tuesday I had already planned on taking the day as vacation. I needed it. I was still pretty stressed on Wednesday; almost anything could trigger an immediate adrenaline reaction, and I was snappish and probably no fun at all to be around.

Thank the gods for gin, hot baths, and cats.

It took me all day Wednesday and most of Thursday to get my commits from the week before rebased on top of the stuff S had pushed in the mean time. I finally did make some actual forward progress on Friday, and finally got the workflow to go through the final stage that it had been hanging up on before. (Intentionally vague and generic, I know.)

Even with (and to some extent because of) ten workspaces and who knows how many browser tabs, I still wasn't able to keep things organized. I kept forgetting which tickets went where and what I had done on them, and found several of them open in multiple places. No surprise there.


Have I mentioned dishes? We have dishes. Yesterday around dinner time the kids (Kat and Alex, not g and j) brought down roughly a full dishwasher load from their room. I did one load last night, put one in this morning, and there will be at least another by nightfall.

I finally brought up the rack that I'd had the dishes stacked on in the Starport, and rearranged the shelving to put the corelle conveniently on the lower shelf. I'm tempted to put most of the blue dishes away where they won't get used; one of the problems seems to be that nobody (else) notices that dishes have to be done until they can't find a clean one.

I think I cooked three or four meals this week.


Writing and music. Um... (Posted by accident before I could fill in this part. TL;DR no music to speak of -- ripping CDs doesn't count. Broke 1000 words of writing, so technically met the 500-words-twice-a-week goal, but spread over three days. I'll take it anyway.)

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: "Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness" - Terry Pratchett (flamethrower)

The only writing I did last week was last Sunday's weekly post. I'll try to do better; hopefully I won't be feeling as harried this week. I did get in some music time -- last Sunday, and yesterday. And some walking with Colleen and Kat, also on Sunday.

Quite a bit of back pain. It's been mostly ok in the morning, but tends to get worse on the way home. Probably something to do with being tired, but also possibly stress. Have I mentioned having trouble identifying my mental state? It's called alexithymia.

The alexithymia also bleeds into problems identifying physical state, because of course they're related. I have trouble distinguishing the physical symptoms of anxiety and hunger, for example. Not to mention distinguishing between wanting food, and needing food. The latter barely registers, and certainly not as hunger, until I suddenly start feeling the symptoms of low blood sugar. Which I have learned to recognize. Or until Colleen notices that I'm starting to snap at people.

Stress is, apparently, another of those states that I don't start noticing until it's been going on too long. And then it bleeds into burnout and depression. (And, no, depression doesn't register as sadness. At all. It's best described as a combination of apathy and despair.) I think I'm noticing a trend here.

I'm getting better at noticing. Look in the notes for an exclamation mark in column 3 -- that means I've actually noticed an emotion while it was happening. They're rare -- the only instance this last week was Sunday.

Speaking of stress, I'm oncall this week. With pages including 6am Tuesday morning -- Prime Day -- and midnight last night. This morning. Whatever. One thing I've noticed is that I don't have enough mental bandwidth. I can't multitask. At all. Period. Things get lost track of.

If a page comes in, I completely lose track of whatever I was doing, including dealing with another page, and it takes me a while to get my context back. Which leads to things like having something like 10 different browser windows open in 8 workspaces, with multiple tabs in each, many of which refer to the same tickets. Because context. And, of course, re-investigating the same thing multiple times because I've forgotten what I was doing an hour ago.

I'm getting a little better at going up to people I don't know and asking for help. But, of course, I'm even worse at remembering names than I am at multitasking, which leads to things like waking the wrong person up at six in the morning. (And forgetting that I had an email in my inbox telling me who the right person would have been. See multitasking.)

(Brief pause -- my desk is being catted on. The absolute best thing I've done for my mental health in years was putting a cardboard box on my desk, attaching it with a couple of screws, and lining it with a towel.)

Back to reaching out and talking to people. I don't think my reluctance to do that has anything to do with what I afraid people will think of me. So, this doesn't seem to have the characteristcs of social anxiety. No, it has more to do with what I think of me, and in particular feeling stupid and at a loss for what to do. Plus total lack of self-confidence, which leads to (or somehow relates to) an unwillingness to "disturb" people.

It's not just at work. Even at home, I take a closed door as a "do not disturb" sign even when I'm pretty certain that the person on the other side (usually N) would be happy to see me. It's hard enough when I know they're expecting me, though I'm getting a little better about that.

In a slightly different direction, some links from [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith about emotional self-care (see Monday, below) proved unexpectedly triggery and anxiety-provoking. So we're talking low self-esteem here, maybe. (Maybe?! Let's get real here.)

It's been a long month this week.

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

I am actually breaking at Friday evening, one day over the month boundary, so as to group all the practicing together here, and the con and concert in the next entry.

So, yeah; this week's big surprise was finding out Thursday morning that I had a concert coming up Saturday evening. I hadn't asked for one, but apparently Colleen did. Um... thanks, I think. (Spoiler -- it actually went surprisingly well, though not quite as well as the run-throughs. Nervous.)

I hadn't asked for a concert or answered my participant questionaire because up until two weeks before the con I was still waffling about whether or not to go. I knew it would be stressful, and I knew it would be fairly expensive (though driving, skipping Friday, and coming back Monday instead of Tuesday helped a great deal). I also knew I'd regret it if I didn't go. On the whole I'm glad I went (especially since I got to meet [personal profile] alatefeline). But I'm exhausted. I must be more introverted than I was even a few years ago.

Made Boeuf Bourguignon on Sunday -- came out quite well, though I think not quite as well as the Stroganoff the night before. I made a stupid mistake with the pepper, but managed to skim off most of it and didn't get anyt complaints. I have not, unfortunately, been keeping up very well with the dishes.

While on the subject of food; Monday around 12:30 I noticed that my blood sugar was getting low. It didn't feel like what I usually label as hunger, i.e. wanting food. Something is definitely miswired there. If there's food around and I'm not deeply engrossed in something, I'll want to eat it. If I'm in a flow state, which I was a couple of times this week (Yay!), I won't notice food, and will eventually run out of energy. The situation is probably not helped by the amount of coffee I drink.

Friday some idiot came within inches of getting herself killed when she started ambling across the street against the light, with her nose in her phone, and in front of the bus I was riding to work in. (It's not exactly a street -- it's a bypass lane on the left-hand side of 4th Avenue. To get to the island where one can board the bus, one has to cross that lane. But, still...) That's one of the reasons I don't try to read -- or text -- while I'm walking.

Only a little writing -- just one day with over 500 words. But two solid practice sessions, so that's good. Put up shelves in N's closet -- that was good, too. I have to keep reminding myself to feel accomplished after that sort of thing. (Like last week, the only emotion I actually noticed while I was feeling it was despair. I'm altogether too good at that one.)

Close enough to 500 words -- I'm going to stick a fork in it.

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

Well, our anniversary weekend passed without a party -- somehow I'd had the impression that we were having one, but everyone else had the impression that the one the Saturday after Christmas counted for both. So... ok. I went out and got salads, cheese, sausage, scallops, and bacon. Bacon-wrapped scallops, and cheese boards for two. Yum.

Thursday we ordered Chinese from Yen Wor Village -- not as good as Yu Shan, but better than any of the other local places that deliver.

Lots and lots of decluttering, both in my to-do lists and, to a lesser extent, in the house.

I finally found a canned cat food that Curio likes! I've been worried about him. It's made by Natural Balance, and the same duck and green pea combination that's in the dry food he likes (but that we're trying to get him off of, because apparently dry food isn't all that good for cats).

And we finally have a static IP address again -- it's only $5/month from CenturyLink. The tech support person who set it up was completely clueless; I had to go to her supervisor to find someone who knew what reverse DNS was (and how to find it on their damned website, which is slow, poorly laid out, and doesn't trim spaces in input fields).

Finished reading Lauren Ipsum, which will get a separate post later. You'll also find an entry in the notes tagged "ursine", which will get expanded into the start of a planned post series if I can finally get off my tail and write it.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

Or at least well-known borscht. It was a feature of Christmas dinner at Grand Central Starport since the earliest days.

I first encountered a recipe for Ukrainian hot borscht in, of all places, a flier that came with my electricity bill from Pacific Gas and Electric, back when I was still in grad school. Somewhere along the line I lost it, and started using a recipe iPlease to the Table: The Russian Cookbook by Anya Von Bremzen, an excellent cookbook which is now lamentably out of print. This year I just winged it.

This is more of what [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith calls an "algorithm" than a recipe.

You will need:

  • A Very Large Pot. It is difficult to use too large a pot. When our older daughter was two years old, she used to play in ours. We could have gotten the lid on. A wooden spoon long enough to reach the bottom of the pot while you still have a good grip on the handle -- you're going to need it.
  • A large lump of meat. 3-4 lbs of beef chuck roast is a good place to start. At various times we have also added a ham shank, marrow bones, and ribs. Yesterday I used about 5 lbs of chuck roast and the ribs left over from the Christmas roast beef.
  • Root vegetables. Beets, of course, but also parsnips, rutabagas, and turnips. Sometimes we add potatoes, but not this year. We had 9 rather large beets, 3 rutabagas, 3 turnips, and 2 parsnips this year. We have sometimes used as many as 6 bunches of small beets.
  • Onions, garlic, and carrots, which of course are also root vegetables.
  • A head of cabbage.
  • Seasoning: 6 peppercorns and 3 bay leaves. (I couldn't find the bay leaves this year.) Sour salt, optional.
  • Sour cream and fresh dill, for garnishing.

Start by cutting up the onions, chopping the garic, and sauteeing them in olive oil. Meanwhile, brown the meat in a little more olive oil, in the bottom of your Very Large Pot.

Combine the onion/garlic mix with the meat, and add water to cover. If desired, throw in a whole onion and a couple of whole carrots. Put in the peppercorns and bay leaves.

Cut the tops and tails off the beets, and put them on a baking sheet. Turn your oven to 350 and put the beets in to roast.

Take a 45-60 minute break.

Take the beets out of the oven. Cut the rest of the roots into 1-inch cubes. Toss the parsnips and carrots into the pot -- they take the longest to cook.

After you've cubed the raw roots, the beets will be cool enough to handle. Peel them (with a paring knife) and cut them into julienne strips.

Fish the meat, bones, and whole vegetables out of the pot and put in the rutabagas and beets.

Take another break -- about an hour. Put in the turnips (and potatoes if you want them). Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes.

Put the meat back in the pot. Shred the cabbage and add that. Stir, if you can. You may need to add water, too; it depends on whether there's any room left in the pot and whether you want your borscht to be more like a thick soup or a stew.

Let it cook for another hour or so. Drink some vodka (or gin -- I prefer gin). If you're anything like me, your back will be hurting at this point even if you had sense enough to sit down while chopping the roots.

About an hour after you added the cabbage, it's done. If it's too sweet, add sour salt to taste. Add ordinary salt to taste, if you like.

Top with a glop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chopped, fresh dill. Enjoy.

Serves a dozen or so. For a smaller family, it provides enough leftovers to last all week.

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

It's been a nice, relaxing week - I took Friday off as well as Thursday. Won't be able to do that again for a long while, sadly.

Glenn made roast beef and proper Yorkshire pudding for dinner on Christmas; I made borscht yesterday. We had a few guests over; not many. But the borscht came out well. Next time we'll have to make a much smaller batch, though. Recipe to follow, though you can deduce much of it from the timeline in Saturday's notes.

Despite feeling relaxed, I also feel as though I should have been doing more. I am, as usual, going to have to scramble to get all the charities paid by year's end, and there are probably still some lingering bills and other items. GAAK!

On the other hand, my web resources are in pretty good shape. The whole thing is amost completely deployed with git, the rest with rsync, and "make deploy" works on both. I'm pretty happy about that -- it feels good to get back into toolmaking again.

On the gripping hand -- or is that the griping hand -- I still don't feel particularly happy about myself. This is mainly because, even when I know what needs to be done, I still prefer to waste time reading or puttering rather than do it. Not even the prospect of giving myself a little star in my notes -- which is what that file is for -- is enough to get me off my arse when it comes to writing checks or sorting through envelopes.

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

A bit of a rough week, but with several high spots. The first of which was brunch with Colleen and Emmy at Salty's -- a local seafood place with a fantastic buffet on weekends. Turns out I get a senior discount. :P

I am cautiously optimistic about my mood, between selling the house and starting on l-tryptophan. I think it's generally better, but it's also more volatile -- I run out of cope and go into overload. Not good. Especially because it upsets Colleen, which sets up a positive feedback loop. (Positive in the feedback sense -- it has negative consequences, of course.)

Another high point was music night, Thursday after dinner. The original plan had been for a new friend of N's to come join us, but she ended up canceling. We had fun anyway -- playlist in the notes. We've decided to do it more often, and N is setting things up to spend more time in the Great Room. Which means I have to fix the control on the broken lift chair that we parked there.

To which end I tracked down a soldering iron. The one I bought because I couldn't find my good one, which is still in a box somewhere.

Looking at the notes, I seem to have been pretty productive this week. So... ok.

raw notes, with links )


2014-11-22 07:56 am
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

2 slices of bacon, 2 eggs, some cooked grain...

OK, fried rice for breakfast.

mdlbear: "Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness" - Terry Pratchett (flamethrower)

We got a little rain this last week -- nice. I also Got Stuff Done, for certain values of stuff -- put up some 1x2 battens to hold up the bamboo screen around the deck, and paid some long-overdue bills. And made dinner on Monday. But as usual not nearly enough.

We have an(other) offer on the Starport; we'll see whether this one sticks.

On the down side, Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall died. The former set off the predictable post-celebrity-suicide followup; both good and bad. Mostly good, as in advice for both the survivors (no, it's not selfish) and the depressed (see particularly Boggle-the-owl's post, I don't like the phrase "a cry for help"...). Here, have a stick.

The Shooting of Michael Brown by a cop last Saturday also had the predictable fallout, and triggered an acute case of deja vu. I've seen it before, in the '60s (civil rights protests) and '70s (Vietnam War protests). Back then we called them "Police riots". I am not feeling very optimistic right now.

Links in the notes.

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

Mostly a good week, though you may note that I have little report on work-days. Friday noon was the kick-off for a recruitment drive at work -- my team is hiring in Seattle, and I'll be happy to give you a referral if you find an interesting-looking posting for a different location. We're looking for all sorts of people, not just developers.

Yesterday I sort of fell apart. My alexithymia means that I don't know exactly how I fell apart -- the morning bit definitely felt like depression, while the afternoon (possibly triggered by working on taxes) felt more like anxiety. Naomi and Glenn said that I appeared to be having an anxiety attack when they saw me around bedtime. Can one have a depression attack? It was fairly brief.

I don't think my current antidepressant is getting me anything but the weight gain listed as a side effect.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

The usual collection of links.

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

Lots of puttering around the house -- the holiday season is always good for encouraging that kind of thing. Especially since we're *still* missing a couple of boxes of Christmas lights and ornaments. Gaak!

Some good links; this time I'm going to talk about a couple of them.

I bought a poem from The Wordsmith's Forge - 2013 Holiday Poetry Sale. Today is the last day, so act fast if you want to buy a poem at half price. The poem in question is "The Last Rose of Winter", a rather unconventional love poem. Somehow I knew it would be something I wanted to read.

The other interesting link was to an article with the somewhat less than informative title The boy whose brain could unlock autism It's actually about the "intense world" theory: that autism is a defense mechanism against sensory and social overload, caused by too much empathy rather too little. Oh. Right, then.

Indeed, research on typical children and adults finds that too much distress can dampen ordinary empathy as well. When someone else’s pain becomes too unbearable to witness, even typical people withdraw and try to soothe themselves first rather than helping—exactly like autistic people. It’s just that autistic people become distressed more easily, and so their reactions appear atypical.

Many of the other symptoms are due to withdrawal during the time when children are usually learning things like reading body language and other social cues. So, yeah -- my self-diagnosis of mild Asperger's may have been correct after all.

More links, as usual, in the notes.

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

All in all a pretty eventful week. Not clear whether the big event was Thanksgiving -- which the YD did much of the work for, thankfully -- or Colleen moving upstairs. And I did a huge amount of puttering around the latter, including (in no particular order) a lot of laundry, installing grab bars, moving the support pole, folding up the couch and putting the carpet back down, and no doubt a lot of thngs I've forgotten.

Some of our king-sized sheets appear to have gone missing. Grump. But it's really nice to be back in our own bed, in our own bedroom. Wow.

Hmm. More visits with Uncle Ken, Susan, and company, including dinner at a local pizza joint called Talarico, where we met Susan's daughters. She hasn't met Chaos yet.

Some good links in the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We had a good Christmas weekend. And week, for that matter, though it had its major low points as well. Monday -- Christmas Eve -- was the worst, between Colleen's temporary crown coming off, her scooter battery not charging, the fact that I hadn't bought any stocking stufers... Add back pain, sleep dep from a long night Friday (don't ask), and general grumpiness.

At least I actually noticed that I was depressed, angry, disappointed, and anxious. (And that the anger and disappointment were largely directed at myself, as usual.) Things improved from that point, thankfully. The evening and Christmas were lovely, with Naomi and her kids, Chaos and Rabbit, and Chip and Eli on Christmas.

We had roast beef on Monday, and borscht on Tuesday. I think the borscht was my best ever.

  1. Boil about 3 lbs of beef roast, an onion, two carrots, four peppercorns, and two bay leaves in water to cover for about two hours, until the meat is cooked and the veggies are nearly falling apart.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the tops and tails off three or four bunches of beets, and roast them at 350 degrees until you can push a fork through a beet. This takes an hour or so.
  3. While the beets are cooling and the beef is boiling, cut three parsnips, four turnips, and four carrots into julienne strips.
  4. Set the meat aside, and toss the veggies.
  5. Put the cut-up veggies into the broth, and start peeling and cutting up the beets. Expect to be caught red-handed.
  6. Add the beets to the broth. Shred half a red cabbage and toss that in,
  7. Cut up the beef and toss that in. Add a little more water if it looks like it needs it.
  8. Serve with sour cream and dill.

Tasty. We have, of course, been eating left-over roast beef and borscht all week. Only the YD is complaining; Colleen and I are not.

Naomi gave me a lovely REI Quantum Shoulder Bag for Christmas; it seems to want to be called "Red". I think her real name is Veronica, but she won't admit to it.

Red is about half an inch too short for my 15" work laptop -- the two corners stick out like little silver ears. Terribly cute. It can be forced into the main compartment, but my plan is simply to put a waterproof flap over it in bad weather. Other than that it's perfect; I really like having a bag that zips on top instead of having a flap, stays vertical when I swing it around to the front, and holds 9x12 envelopes without crumpling them.

A reasonably productive, if short, week at work. I made several stupid mistakes, but was able to recover fairly quickly thanks to git.

The usual collection of good links. Cringely has a post on Reagan and Newtown, about how Reagan destroyed the country's mental health system. There weren't nearly as many homeless people before Reagan, either -- there were places where crazy people could go to be taken care of. I read that Monday morning; it added to my depression.

Every once in a while I want to take a vacation -- just me, and nobody I had to be responsible for. *sigh*

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

We had eight people for Thanksgiving -- the three residents, Naomi and her kids, and Chaos and her BF. I made the turkey; the kids and Chaos peeled the potatoes, the YD cut them up, I mashed them, and Colleen made the dressing. The YD had made pumpkin pie the night before. Yum. We have a fridge full of leftovers; a 20-lb bird, a huge bowl of dressing, and a 10-lb bag of potatoes will do that. That's ok.

We do have to remember that the turkey takes more like 10 minutes/lb when it's not stuffed. I used the meat thermometer and cooked it to 165; there were a cuple of spots that were just barely not umdercooked, but it was all tender and juicy.

Gratitude in the next post.

Having to squeeze 8 people into the living room made for a good excuse for cleaning. I put several boxes of books onto shelves, and stacked the remaining boxes (mostly not books) along the walls, with only a smallish tower left standing at the end near the desk. We set up our folding chairs, and it worked.

I worked 3 hours from home yesterday, which was enough to compensate for the time I took off Monday for a dentist appointment, but not for the two days' worth of unpaid vacation. :(

Working from home will get easier, now that I have the RSA software token working for VPN access. It uses Wine, but the app works, so I'm not complaining. VPN isn't working yet, because I neglected to bring home the how-to documents. but I'm hopeful.

I've been sleeping altogether more than I'd like, and not all that well. Thursday night especially -- I crashed a little before 10pm, woke up at 1:30 with my left knee painfully locked up and covered with sweat; went back to sleep and didn't get up until 9. Apparently I needed the sleep.

My Nexus 7 arrived Wednesday, and was waiting for me when I got home. Cool. A little heavy, and I'm not certain it's going to be readable enough to serve as a phone book, but definitely a slick piece of gear. I'm loving the soft keyboard, which combines click and swipe action; I'm going to install the backport on my phone.

That reminds me; I still have to upgrade the phone to Android 4.0 (ICS).

I really should spend the rest of the day sorting stacks of paper, some of which is important. Donwanna.

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

On the job search, the week was pretty much a waiting game. $COMPANY hasn't contacted me yet, probably because the HR person was out of town last week, and the hiring manager was on vacation this week. I did meet with the headhunter on Thursday, and had a good conversation. So that's pretty good. I had phone screens Thursday (with Amazon) and Friday (with WhitePages).

The one on Friday was interesting -- the person I was originally scheduled to talk to was unavailable, so the call was from the CTO. Which was great, because we were actually able to talk about why I didn't seem to be a good fit. This probably applies to many of my other recent rejections: PopCap, Zillow, Google, and Facebook. And my apparent success with $COMPANY.

There are two factors: seen from their side, I simply don't have any experience with huge web "properties" or the technologies they use. I'm not familiar with Ruby on Rails (which WhitePages is using), have comparatively little PHP, no database experience to speak of... I'm a fast learner, but that's not the same.

... and on my side, I'm just not all that interested in that kind of work. I like building websites -- small ones. I like building infrastructure that developers can use to build the big ones. I like having my software out in the wild where I can point to it, but apparently that really means I want to work on stuff that developers can use. I want to get into working inside open-source software, not just on top of it. Or on part of some proprietary software product like a game, or the stuff Intuitive or Tableau is doing.

I want to work on cool stuff that's appreciated by my peers, not invisible behind the scenes at a website, no matter how popular and cool that website may be. And, perhaps most importantly, I want to work on stuff that I believe is making the world a better place.

... change of subject ---

Yesterday I drove down to Longview (the closest Kaiser facility) with Colleen -- two and a half hours each way -- to see if we could get our prescriptions renewed and Colleen could get her disability forms filled out for DMV and ORCA. Partial success. Colleen only got 6 months of disability, and one month of her prescriptions. Mine haven't been transfered at all, so I'll have to go down again in a week or so.

It would never have occurred to me that Kaiser wouldn't have a nationwide, unified computer system for medical records and prescriptions. But they don't. GAAAK! If I'd known how much of a nightmare health care was going to be, I might not have moved. I call it "the health don't care system" for a reason. And I have yet to get two consecutive identical answers about what I can do next.

Anyone have suggestions for Seattle-area HMOs? I know GroupHealth works with Kaiser, which might be a plus, but don't know whether they have good in-network specialists for Colleen's Crohn's disease and other problems.

We stopped in Olympia for dinner at the Oyster House. I think the last time we were there was 20-odd years ago on the way to or from a Westercon. It's gotten better.

Last Monday -- Labor Day -- we drove out to Leavenworth. Lovely drive.

I read the Hugo-winning novella The Man Who Bridged the Mist -- marvelous! And re-read "The Dead Lady of Clown Town".

... And I had a couple of bouts of depression. Not really surprising considering the health care and job situations.

Links and details below in the notes.

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

Yesterday Colleen, the YD and I went to the local Greek Festival and dropped a sizeable wad of cash on yummy Greek food, while listening to Greek music. No formal walk, but I was on my feet for about an hour.

I also packed up a lot of the science books and most of my "to be read" stack. Triaging books is hard.

Lots of links. Including How Downsizing Gave Us More, which would be apropos except that it's entirely a "we did it" article, not a "here's how." It mentions the 1-year rule, but I'm not sure how well that applies to some of our stuff. For example, the 2x2 space frame from our old apartment, that let us put up shelves without driving screws into the walls. It's been 36 years, but that's going to be useful again.

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

OK, not all that productive. I spent much of my computer time converting more of my websites to the new Makefile scheme. Which, though somewhat tedious, was About Time. The largest and oldest are still to be worked on, of course.

About 2pm the family went out to the Great Mall for a st/roll. Kinda fun having the YD along. Made for a nice, relaxed, and inexpensive (since we didn't buy anything) Mother's Day, especially when combined with bagels and lox for brunch and a roasted leg of lamb for dinner.

Not all that many links, but a couple of pretty awesome ones. George Lucas takes revenge on rich neighbors - they won't let him put in a movie studio, so he's going to build low-income housing instead! And Marak/The-Git-Rap is just what it says on the label: a rap about my favorite version-control system. On GitHub, of course.

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

Some work on self-assessment, more tweaking of the resume and various profiles, conversations about hard topics, and some tasty cooking. Wonderful hang-out time with Naomi and Colleen. One walk, and a lot of puttering. Lots of links. Which means I spent too much time on the web.

Saturday night I went out on the porch with Naomi to look at the "super moon". It was gorgeous and serene.

In other words, not a very productive weekend. Goal for today is to finish the self-assessment around career change.

Dice.com insists on a full street address. This means that they're always going to be showing me jobs in the San Jose area. Foo.

We sat down and realized that we really can't afford to maintain the YD down here for a year while we're up in Seattle. So we're back to looking at 3-bedroom apartments. If we'd had a chance to think it through, we might not have decided to move -- but that would have required finding a job quickly. The money will stretch farther in Seattle.

I still don't know my bottom line.

Amazingly enough, I keep running into people on my flist who haven't read The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino. Go read. It's about hidden disabilities, and I guarantee you know somebody who's dealing with that stuff; for whom counting spoons is a daily challenge. And along those lines, here's How To Illustrate Wheelchairs In Comic Books

WANT: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. First Android tablet I've seen that really does what I want at a price I can afford.

Anybody using Huntsy: A Dashboard for Your Job Search? Looks interesting, though I haven't decided yet whether it's worth the trouble.

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

I went out for a walk -- the Los Gatos Creek Trail out-and-back -- in the afternoon. For a while I was worried: it was starting to get mildly painful around 1.5mi; the endorphins kicked in at around 2.75 and I ended the walk with a distinct high. Perfect weather, too.

I made sangria (from scratch, using one of our lemons and 5 of Ken's oranges), and "chili dogs" for dinner. Actually, hot-dog sized Polish sausages split in half, with leftover chili, onion, and cheese on top. Yummy.

A great deal of progress is being made in the garage attic.

On another day, my highted link might have been More on DRM and ebooks in Charlie's Diary, but today Permission to Live: Unwrapping the Onion trumps it easily. You'd think an extreme fundamentalist couple's marriage would be blown sky-high by the revelation that the husband would rather be a woman. This is a heart-warming exception. 9 parts and well worth the read.

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

Spent almost the entire day on taxes. Got almost all the preliminary data-entry done (this morning I found a whole other set of receipts I hadn't entered). But no walkies.

I'm missing the LAC 2012: Linux Audio Conference. Growf. But I really needed to get the taxes done.

I made chili for dinner, and even the YD proclaimed it tasty. Go me!

Several links down in the notes: take your pick.

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

Pretty good day -- I think I got through my first weekend of temporary retirement ok, considering. I got a lot done on my portfolio site, including uploading source code samples and white papers, and copied the expanded summary page to my StackOverflow and LinkedIn profiles.

I also did some searching on glassdoor.com and indeed.com, thanks to a little much-needed prodding from [personal profile] pocketnaomi. That was interesting -- I found a company that had different listings, through a search firm, on glassdoor and indeed. They had yet another, under their own name, on StackOverflow. Sounds interesting, though it may be more intense than I'm looking for at this point.

I also got in a walk (twice around the Rose Garden) in the afternoon, and made dinner (salad, rice, bacon-wrapped scallops, and dover sole). And white wine, in part because we have to either use it or move it.

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

Just Friday I wrote "ideal would be to rent the house to fans/hackers. It's perfect - server closet, 2 physical phone lines, shelf space... By Saturday evening we had a household lined up. They're fans, and want to carry on the Grand Central Starport traditions. The rent will cover the mortgage and insurance, and if we're lucky the market will bounce back a little over the next few years.

I spent a goodly amount of time Saturday working on my LinkedIn profile, and a little on my resume and portfolio site (at Stephen.Savitzky.net), and updated some of my other sites.

I took a walk on Friday -- a full three miles. Felt pretty good. And Saturday, after looking at quite a few alternatives, we ordered Colleen a new scooter, the Pride Go-Go Elite Traveller Plus HD. It's about an inch longer than her current scooter, and the deck is about four inches wider in front, which means she can get into it more easily and have a place to rest her feet. The wheels are bigger, too, so it will have less trouble with the kind of obstacles one encounters indoors and on the sidewalk.

Did I mention that I finally dealt with the $1K denied claim in my FSA account last week? It'll help.

We have started to friendcycle cookbooks. Fiction, and the nonfiction books in the office, will have to be tackled soon.

For today's link, see ysabetwordsmith's poem: "Ari and the Atheist" What does it mean to be an atheist in a world where everyone can see that the gods exist?

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

Yesterday was a going-away lunch for me and fellow laid-off coworker [livejournal.com profile] rowanf, at Rowan's favorite Indian buffet. Yum. Apart from that, not much done at work.

I was able to request a password on the pension website, so that's progress. They were supposed to get in touch with me if they got my SS# straightened out, but I'm not counting on them not to screw that up too. On the whole, though, I'm not being as productive as I need to be.

My last day at work is a week from tomorrow. Ya think that has something to do with it?

Checkin at my Avoid Avoiding group was, of course, considerably longer than usual -- the last two weeks had been cancelled, for different reasons. But that took me from the Consonance concert, through the layoff, to my birthday. Um... yeah. Interesting times.

Colleen has been triaging cookbooks. She found dust rhinos lurking on the shelves behind them. Quite a few found new homes last night, but we still have huge piles. Colleen reads cookbooks like novels and, as with novels, not all of them are worth re-reading. We still have to do the fiction. And the books in the office. And the art books. And the boxes of my late mother-in-law's books in the attic. And the CDs, videos, and vinyl. And...

Eeep! Here's a review of Robots Around the House, but I don't see any that would help with moving. We need a packing bot.

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

A pretty good day. I even took a walk, albeit a short one because the weather looked dicey. I felt a few stray drops, but stayed dry. (In fact, it did rain, hard, in the evening, and I got wet taking the garbage out.) I walked over to Savers in search of dress pants, and found a pair of dark gray ones that will work nicely with the darker of the silk jackets and the gray-and-black striped shirt that I'm wearing now.

Hey, I'm a fan. Dressing up for an interview is cosplay. Easy.

I made a yummy pot roast for dinner, using most of a bottle of cheap red wine and two bottles of non-alcoholic beer (left over from the last party, because nobody would actually drink the stuff). I had some of the broth in a mug -- it made lovely soup. And a cole slaw, with half a head of cabbage and a Granny Smith apple.

I got the Mac Mini, Whitewood, installed on the desktop to the right of the main monitor, and got x2vnc installed and working. That'll be my machine for doing taxes.

And I got through about 2/3 of the pile of papers to the left of the desk, turning up my (expired) passport, two uncashed checks, a renewal notice from AARP, some still-valid Office Max discount cards, ..., and some sore muscles in my left side from reaching back to throw stuff in the recycle bin.

In a separate search, I found a photostat of my birth certificate and the stub from my social security card. So that's good.

In other news, the move to Seattle is looking more and more feasible. Colleen spent several hours thinking about what books she wanted to keep, and searching for restaurants and museums. Naomi and I talked about housing options. Moving is going to be somewhat hellish, but we'll manage somehow.

I am encouraged by the fact that an albatross, metaphorically a dead weight hung around one's neck as a penance, is a beautiful and far-traveling seabird when it's alive.

And finally, Colleen made it through the entire day without using her scooter -- I think that's the first time in months.

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

A pretty good day, including a nearly 2-mile walk, and a full day of work on technical reports. Not just writing them; I'm also maintaining the group's document repository and web page. Kind of mindless, but fun.

Bears are easily amused.

On the way home I stopped at Whole Paycheck for dinner, and made coho salmon (baked with butter and lemon), mixed veggies (carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower, stir-fried in butter with garlic and crushed red pepper, then left to steam with a little white wine). Tasty. Then I fried up the salmon skin for a snack, and we had fried bananas for dessert.

And I left a prompt on ysabetwordsmith's Poetry Fishbowl, which ended up as one of the inputs to "A Song for the Road". I like it a lot -- go read.

Lots of links.

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

Yesterday was a pretty good day, despite some setbacks. I got a little "carpentry" done in the morning, making a back-spacer for Colleen's recliner to keep it the right distance from the bookshelves. The necessary 30" looked shockingly far, but was of course exactly right. I had measured it, after all.

Then we went up to San Francisco, to visit the DeYoung Museum, which the YD wants for her art history class. She is, finally, getting interested in going to museums. Naturally, the DeYoung is closed on Mondays, never mind the fact that it's a holiday. Headdesk. Fortunately, the California Academy of Sciences is right next door (ok, across the concourse, but in any case close enough). It turns out that the YD had never been to a planetarium! Never been interested in going, before, but she loved it.

I managed to lose the parking-lot ticket, so it cost $25 for parking. In addition to making me feel particularly stupid for having put the ticket in the same pocket as my phone.

We took Highway 1 down to Half Moon Bay; a pleasant drive that we don't do very often. There's a fish market just after the turn onto 92, where I picked up some ahi tuna, which we had as sashimi for a late lunch when we got home. The guy at the counter also sold me three more chunks, at a reduced price, which I'd been planning to use for dinner. When dinner time came, though, they tasted "off" and didn't smell all that good; I dumped them and made sausages instead.

I spent the rest of the evening kind of zoned out and apathetic, though I did do some more reading in The Language of Emotions. It's fascinating, but difficult, and I can't tell whether it's just my alexithymia making it difficult, or whether it's totally bogus. One of the things I'm having trouble with is her notion of "boundaries", which is absolutely central to to all of the visualization work the book is based on. She actually equates it with "aura". It doesn't seem to be all that closely related to what Wikipedia says about "personal boundaries":

Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for him- or herself what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how he or she will respond when someone steps outside those limits.

... which it also distinguishes from "personal space". And McLaren doesn't. So...

I understand personal space, sort of, I think, but either version of "personal boundaries" seems to be a concept I have trouble grasping. That probably needs to be a full-bore River post at some point.

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

Hmm. Mixed. Distinctly mixed. Had bagels and lox for brunch (well, actually, Colleen had bagels and lox, I had my lox on a gluten-free "English" muffin, and the YD had hers neat. Then we headed up to San Francisco, intending to go to the DeYoung Museum, which the YD needed to visit for her art history class.

The parking lot was full, and most entrances to Golden Gate Park were blocked; there must have been something going on there. So we fell back to Plan B: the Cantor Museum at Stanford. The Cantor has a huge collection of Rodin sculptures; I love it. Colleen and I had a blast.

The YD was bored. And unfortunately, I misinterpreted her sitting down and saying "I'm done" as meaning *"done with the museum" rather than "done with this gallery", so Colleen and I left her there while we explored the upstairs. This proved to have been a big mistake; she was in tears at having been abandoned.

We took her out to dinner, partly as compensation, and partly because I was starving and didn't want to cook. We went to Jasmine, our favorite local Chinese place. We hadn't been there in several months; they seem to have a new chef and a slightly different menu. Yum.

But I didn't get much else done. A little work toward replacing the audio on the Conflikt concert page with a better recording, but didn't actually get it done. Blarg.

I also found out that the Westercon 65 web site is out of date and woefully short on contact information. Anyone out there know who I should contact about a filk concert gig? (Hint: not Rick Weiss; that's part of the "out of date" thing.)

A few links in the notes.

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mdlbear: (river)

It was a good day, though slightly strange, and very much a day "on the River".

Most of my mindspace was taken up with working on another "difficult" email. The word is in quotes not because it wasn't, but because that's really an understatement. But she asked what it would take, for the sake of our old friendship. N and I had to give it all we had, and we did.

The day was well-spend indeed, but draining. As you may know, I'm not very good at "feeling" my emotions; I mostly have to go by the physical symptoms. I can tell you that I felt a heck of a lot more exhausted after hitting the "send" key than I did after my 3-mile walk in the afternoon. (It was perfect walking weather, BTW.)

I finished the day by making crab lasagne for [personal profile] chaoswolf's last dinner at home. A pound of crabmeat, a box and a half of rice noodles, a quart and a half of cottage cheese, two pounds of grated cheese, and a quart and a half of bechamel. Go me! (Next time I'll go back to ricotta, though; the cottage cheese is a little too moist.)

Only one link: Public Domain Day 2012: Five things we can do in the US. It celebrates the works entering the public domain this year. But not in the US, thanks to the latest extension our idiot congress passed. Opposite of progress.

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

A quiet day. Not productive, but I had a very nice 3-mile walk, so that's ok. And went out for sushi -- I'd forgotten how expensive it is for four hungry people to have sushi, but it was well worth it. As always.

More on the "dumb bear" side, I rebooted the fileserver, forgetting that I'd moved DHCP to it after discovering that the router doesn't stay up very long in a power outage. Need to set up a secondary server somewhere. Or maybe move it to the WAP.

Ah, well. I now have another book recommendation to chase down: The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Olsen Laney. If that's not your thing, how about this "Gamer Girl Manifesto"?

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

Yesterday we did our usual Christmas/Newton's Birthday thing, making a huge pot of Ukrainian borscht and telling our friends they were welcome to come over. About a dozen of them did, and we now have only about 1/3 of the borscht left.

This was probably my most successful borscht yet; it was much more of a stew than a soup and had more beet (six bunches) and more beef than usual. Very much to yum.

I did a fair amount of singing, and generally managed to stay out in the living room being sort of social a little more than usual.

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

Moderately productive at work, though not so much at home. Some practice time, and no disasters.

No walk, either -- met Chaos, Colleen, and Justin at Mongolian Barbecue for lunch. Yummy.

Speaking of yummy, here are naamah_darling: I am a ginger slut (crystallized ginger and "ginger slut" cookies), and The traditional Christmas dinner in many parts of western Europe: Roast Goose.

Plenty of other good links; just go look. No wonder it wasn't a very productive day!

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

Sometime Thursday morning I found myself wondering how in blazes it had gotten to be December. I think I left most of my brain somewhere in August. If you happen to see it wandering around looking lost, could you please return it?


Thursday was windy and cold; I decided to do my walking in Trader Joe's and Fry's. Bought a Belkin "Mini Laptop Carrying Case" which comfortably holds Cygnus plus most of its accessories, and even a clipboard and a fair amount of letter-sized paper. It fits nicely at the top of my carry-on suitcase, Chamie, and provides easier access and more protection than the shoulderbag. In a separate expedition yesterday I got notebook dividers and "book rings" -- the case won't hold a regular binder, but I can fake it.

I also installed Colleen's new scooter batteries, which are a huge improvement. It's annoying that the old ones lasted less than a year, but since they came unboxed from a local store they might conceivably have been used.

Friday I did take a real walk, somewhere over 2 miles, and last night we went out to the office holiday party. That was tasty. Chantilly, in Redwood City. It's on our anniversary list.

Quite a few links in the notes, though nothing stands out immediately.

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

I can haz new band! Lookingglass Folk is on its way to reality -- I spent some time last night rough-drafting the website, and we're having our first rehearsal as a duo the weekend after next. I'm excited.

I spent quite a lot of time out in the living room with Colleen -- Cygnus's larger screen and full-sized IBMish keyboard makes that a lot more comfortable than it was with the Dell. I'm also liking the four-and-a-half-hour battery life.

We also went out for an extended shopping expedition: Barefoot and BB&B, REI and Petco, Ross and CVS. So... three stops plus the end-points means lifting over 100lbs of scooter parts a total of 8 times. Plus three hours on my feet. Not a walk per se, but I think I got my exercise.

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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)

Yesterday was the first Thanksgiving we've spent at home in 12 years. It came off pretty well. Everyone cooperated on dinner: the YD cut the potatoes for mashing, made cornbread and salad, and the mincemeat and pumpkin pies. (The gluten-free crust, found frozen at Whole Foods, was excellently flaky.) Colleen made the stuffing, at least up to the point of adding the liquid ingredients. I cooked the turkey, boiled and mashed the potatoes, and made the stuffing and gravy. Yum.

Oh, and a rather bright guacamole for a snack.

Oddly enough, I actually enjoyed cleaning up, too. Kind of mindless and soothing. Which I needed.

It felt like a very long day, somewhere in the middle of the evening, but it also felt like I hadn't gotten much done. I don't think either was true, but that's how it felt. Not a bad day, I guess.

Maybe I'm just worried about my friends.

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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 pretty good day. The main event was the Lamplighters gala, which was steampunk-themed this year and gorgeously silly as usual. I was particularly amused (as in laughing out loud) by some of the musical references.

This was preceeded and followed by food -- brunch at El Torito (no chili rellenos; grump) and a rather late dinner at Buck's. I felt that the YD was something of a drag on the mood, but she claimed to be enjoying it. My ability to read people's moods (including my own) is still highly unreliable.

She was definitely angry over brunch, which led to my feeling very discouraged (details in notes).

I ended the gala in a far, far better mood than I went into it with; I really have to be dragged to things sometimes. (Colleen would probably say "most of the time".) Should have gone to Saturday's housefilk, too, I suppose. But I did get a lot done on the makefile revamp. Didn't get nearly as much done on Sunday, but it's getting there.

A couple of links.

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

A pretty good day -- spent the afternoon at the Tech Museum with Colleen and the YD. Colleen was mostly bored but really enjoyed the exhibit about technology for the Third World. So we got some good family time. Then we dropped the YD off at home and went for a drive.

It was also a good day for food -- we started with bagels and lox a little after noon. On the way from getting bagels, I stopped off at Office Max (which is in the same shopping center) and picked up an 8GB SD card for the H2 recorder. The 4GB card that I've had in it wasn't enough for the weekend; I could have put the whole thing on an 8.

I made guacamole for dinner, using 3 avocados, , 2 garlic cloves, 2 limes, a habanero, 1/4 onion, cumin, and some smoked sea salt. Came out yummy, and not too hot for us. (Would have been too much for the YD, but she doesn't like it.)

After dinner I went through the lyric sheets for the Conflikt set and made the last of the edits. And I did more work on the Nagios config. So all-in-all it was a good, productive day.

But no walk.

If you've been following the #OccupyEverywhere movement as it goes international, you'll want to give a listen to talis_kimberley's Steps of St. Paul's. Lyric here. Heck with that -- even if you haven't been following it.

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

Good day, good party. More people than I was afraid would show up, including (former coworker) Jake. The folks at EWS are working all weekend trying to get their release out; I sang The Mushroom Song for him. He bought a CD :). I may need to package up some more of the Limited Edition; if people are going to insist on paying $20 for a $15 CD, I have to have something extra to sell them.

I made two pots of chili for dinner, since the amount of ground beef Colleen had purchased didn't fit in one pot. The larger pot was a straightforward batch of Caroll Shelby's chili kit -- ~5 lbs of meat with onions, red wine, and a little extra cumin, ancho chili, and Penzey's Chili 3000. The smaller pot had ~2.5 lbs of meat, 5 Serano peppers sliced into little circles and sauteed with the onions, the aforementioned spices in larger quantity, and cider vinegar as well as the wine (2-buck Chuck, of course). Both came out yummy. Some left over, of course; one partly-filled 1-quart ziplock bag of each.

I was out in the living room and social for a fair amount of time (including two bouts of singing), and had conversations in both the office and the kitchen. In between, I worked on configuring Nagios for monitoring the Starport's network infrastructure. Took me a while to figure out whether I wanted to do it as a separate git repo (which I could then pull from for updates), or put just the changes into a subtree of starport/Config and install with make and rsync. I eventually settled on the latter, because that's what I'm doing with all my other config files. This also lets me install things differently on different systems.

Only one link, to Irregular Webcomic! #3198, which marks the end of an era.

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

Mixed. I took a nice 3-mile walk, to McClellan Ranch Park and along a little creekside trail that seemed very much in disrepair. Plenty to explore.

On the other hand, dinner was a disaster. I threw it together on short notice when the YD didn't come down to cook; a couple of pieces of frozen hallibut that didn't come out all that well. Not to mention the brief but impressive grease fire. Very, um... flashy. Right.

It seems clear to us that the YD is very depressed, but she won't talk about it and won't seek help. Maybe one of her friends can get through to her. ETA: she seems ok this morning; said she was just exhausted last night. we'll see.

A few good links mixed in with a number of catalog references that are just there so I don't forget them. The TakStar ST-2 Adjustable Height Folding Desktop Microphone Tripod Stand is somewhere in the middle -- it's the desktop stand that came with the u37 mics, and folds up to a very science-fictional looking ray-gun type thing. Fun!

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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.

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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A pretty good day. I got taken out to lunch by the new (to me -- he's been on board for over a year) lab director, Vikas. Half a sentence into his description of the restaurant he had just discovered last week (when he had lunch with my returning coworker Ed), I knew it had to be Arya. The "mix of Persian and Italian" was a dead giveaway. Yum. (Of course, I weigh 2 pounds more this morning...)

I asked Vikas what his hobbies were, and he said his only hobby was playing tennis. *shakes head in disbelief* I really don't understand people like that. Am I really that weird? {Of course, silly bear! You're in fandom -- it's a simple matter of sampling bias.}

I am now checking and reformatting the flaky partition on the gateway. This makes me somewhat grumpy. It doesn't seem to be flaking, though, so I'm guessing that a couple of sectors got corrupted, perhaps in a power failure. I am thinking seriously of moving to a flash drive, though.

I also did a little decluttering in the office, pulling out a couple of 50-foot Cat-5 cables that were no longer being used. And had a lovely, whimsical IM conversation with [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi.

And I booked my next flight to Seattle. Of course, Southwest's $49 sale is over :(.

A few links.

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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Yesterday was a day of puttering. I spent almost the entire day alternating between cooking, tidying moving things around in the office, cleaning up moving things around in my to.do file, and making a couple of shelves to go under my desk at work (the office has a huge desk, but no shelves).

I made one of my best versions yet of guacamole, including half a habanero pepper. I thought it could have used the other half, but Colleen liked it as it was, with just a hint of brightness. Dinner was corned beef -- a surprisingly lean one -- with corn cooked in the same pot after the beef came out. Yummy.

I gained four pounds. :P Though I expect hope would like to believe that most of that is due to salt intake and water retention.

So I'm going to call it a pretty good day, despite the lack of a walk and the cramps in my right calf muscle in the evening.

A smallish collection of links; check out this awesome kinetic sculpture of San Francisco Built Out of 100,000 Toothpicks!

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.

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