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

Yesterday (Monday) she fell trying to go from her walker to the bed -- got herself into an awkward position and seemed confused when I tried to tell her how to get out of it. Rather than simply having the EMTs put her back in bed we decided to use the opportunity to get her to the ER and have her looked at. Which turned out to have been the right thing to do.

She's not doing all that well; but doesn't seem to be in immediate danger. Medical info under the cut. )

She'll almost certainly end up back in rehab again after she's discharged. I'm very worried about the mental confusion and the weakness, although getting more oxygen into her seems to have helped.

I'm not getting a damned thing done on $GIG the last few days; that's probably not surprising but is a matter for concern.

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

It occurs to me that I haven't given an update on Colleen, and one is due about now. Today (early afternoon) she finally got releast from the hospital, and is now in rehab. She still has almost two weeks worth of IV antibiotics; they installed a central line yesterday morning.

She can stand up (she transfered in and out of the wheelchair with the help of a walker), but can't walk yet -- that's most of what the PT team will be working on.

Her current location is Prestige Post-Acute and Rehab Center, 21008 76th Ave. W, Edmonds, WA 98026; room 313. In case anyone reading this wants to visit. The place is lovely -- has the ambiance of a luxury hotel (or maybe a spa -- I wouldn't know).

mdlbear: (river)

It occurred to me about an hour ago that it's probably not surprising that I feel like I'm under stress. Some of the most stressful events are supposed to be things like losing a job, retiring, and moving. In the last six and a half years I've:

  • Moved five times.
  • Been involved in three remodeling projects.
  • Been laid off twice.
  • Sold a house twice. (In both cases for a great deal less than expected.)
  • Bought a house twice.
  • Lost a (feline) family member.
  • Totaled a car.
  • Retired.
  • Started job-hunting again.

Not to mention other household members with life-threatening health problems. (Mine were just painful as heck -- multiple torn muscles and a broken nose.)

So, yeah. That happened.

mdlbear: (river)

Not a whole lot today. I had been expecting Colleen to get out of the hospital today; apparently that will happen tomorrow. Desti had the cyst on her shoulder removed; she was gone most of the day. I got very little else done -- I could blame worry, but really it was just being unable to focus.

My health doesn't seem to have changed much; that's a very good thing. It could be better -- Colleen seems to be planning a healthier diet, which will help -- but it could also be a lot worse.

NaBloPoMo stats:
  15457 words in 28 posts this month (average 552/post)
    110 words in 1 post today

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

Another largely unproductive week, though I did put in three job applications (it seems to take me a huge amount of mental energy to write a cover letter, not to mention a lot of time) and got a rejection for another one. One of the job applications, for GitHub, had a really fun set of additional questions. I should probably post those, with my answers, at some point.

I also wrote two (rather small) curmudgeon posts, a PSA and a DW tip, and wrote and tested an alternative method for uploading a Jekyll website using git with a production branch. (The previous methods were simply pushing it to GitHub, which is trivial but only works if it's using GitHub's somewhat restricted version of Jekyll, and uploading it with rsync.) This method, which puts the build artifacts on a separate branch, could easily be generalized to anything else that has to be built locally. I had to do something, because I don't have a good way of running Jekyll (the static site builder used on GitHub) on my web host.

I did get off my arse and make two phone calls following up on healthcare referrals (one of which has been sitting on my desk since last December). One, the PT appointment for my trigger thumb, actually had an opening for Friday. So progress is being made there -- I've been doing exercises, and my Oval-8 thumb splint should be arriving in the mail later today.

I also did some mail sorting, which turned up a fairly sizeable check that I hadn't cashed (and didn't remember receiving!). So there's that.

I was less successful setting up a home office in our unused bedroom. The problem is that the cats have been using that room, and Desti in particular quite reasonably regards it as hers. If I shut her out, she scratches at the door, and if I let her in she promptly jumps up on my keyboard, which kind of defeats the purpose. Not sure what I'm going to do about that; hopefully I can persuade her that a cat tree next to the desk is more comfortable. That may require getting a new cat tree.

Notes & links, as usual )

Long Week

2018-08-14 08:44 pm
mdlbear: A brown tabby cat looking dubiously at a wireless mouse (curio)

The little grey tabby cat who wandered into our lives on Saturday wandered back out Sunday evening, when the boy from across the street came inquiring about him. It turns out his name is Cecil. I gave the kid a brief talk about the hazards of being an outdoor cat on an island that's also home to eagles. We'll miss him, but he's back with his family now and at least he was safe indoors when the cloudburst hit on Saturday. And he's not far away if I want to visit.

Yesterday we got a call from Colleen's nephrologist, who had apparently just gotten through reviewing the results of the lab work she'd had done on Friday, telling her to get to an ER as soon as possible. Eeeep? So she's on antibiotics again, and this evening she was transferred to Providence Hospital in Everett, which is where said nephrologist practices. We probably won't know anything more until late tomorrow, but she's not in any immediate danger.

Longer term, who knows?

It's been a long week the last three days.

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

A notable bit of self-talk from last Monday, in the parking lot after buying kibble and litter at the Country Store: "Hey! I'm actually feeling okay this morning! What's wrong?" As could easily be predicted, the feeling didn't last, although my mood does seem to be averaging a little better. Maybe? It's hard for me to tell.

With Colleen still getting IV antibiotics -- her last dose was Friday -- it's been a busy week, with almost nothing in the way of job search. So that sucks. (In fairness I did get another phone interview scheduled. I also got a rejection from SUSE.)

The phone interview was scheduled after an email exchange with a recruiter at Google. The email I received was:

Subject: System.out.println("You+Google, a poem"); We're going to keep this short and sweet You're definitely someone we'd like to meet We love your Java and your C++ We want your perspective, come build with us!

So of course I replied in kind:

Return {``` My cell number is 408 896-6133 Any time 'twixt 8 and half-past-10 is good for calling me. You've clearly read my profile, which is more than many do. I'm sure I'll have a very good time talking to you. ```}

He wrote back to say that I'd made his day. And scheduled a call...

I spent most of the last three days writing a web app as a way of learning Javascript and React. Both of which are quirky and confusing for anyone used to other programming languages and toolkits. But, after working on it pretty continuously since Thursday, it's at least tolerably functional. (Before Thursday all I had was the raw data and rather a lot of reading.) It comes to about 350 lines of code (including blank lines and comments, which one could argue is cheating), which I guess isn't too bad for three and a half days' work. No tests yet except the one that came for free from create-react-app, which just checks to see whether it can render without crashing.

What it does is display and score the PHQ-9 and GAD-11 questionaires, which measure depression and anxiety respectively. I wonder why I picked those...

My left thumb is still hurting -- the problem appears to be trigger finger (for sufficiently thumb-like values of "finger"; it's also called "trigger thumb" but that just sounds wrong). A week of coddling it (including three days with my nephew j up here as an assistant, for which many thanks) has helped some. It's a little hard to tell, but I haven't been taking pain pills recently and it's not bad. I like having a little pain as a warning when I'm starting to do something stupid with it. At least my right wrist seems to have healed completely.

I have notified the Worldcon committee that I won't be coming. It hurts -- Colleen and I really wanted to see our old friends from the San Jose area -- but it just wasn't going to work. Not just the money, though that was part of it, but the fact that even with her caregiver coming along Colleen isn't up to travel by air, nor to spending all of several days sitting on her scooter and elsewhere with no way to put her feet up. It sucks.

I also blew off a local party last night -- I hadn't checked to see whether the house was accessible, but had a pretty good idea that it probably wasn't. And even if it was, I didn't want to have to wrangle Colleen's scooter with my bad hand. So that sucks too.

A lot of suckage this week. Not unusual these days.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

NOT a good week, modulo a couple of things. It started at bedtime last Sunday: I asked Colleen whether she was ready to go to sleep and she had trouble answering. I tried a couple of times and a few more questions, and after five or ten minutes decided to call 911. Good call.

Apparently mental confusion can be a side effect of a massive infection. She was released Thursday. If you're easily triggered by medical TMI, you might want to skip the notes.

After visiting Colleen in the hospital Monday, I drove up to Oak Harbor (for those of you not familiar with the island, the hospital in Coupeville is about 2/3 of the way there from home, so it made sense to combine trips) and picked up my new facehugger. It has a humidifier, a cellular modem, bluetooth, and a very comfortable mask (Philips Respironics DreamWear). First time I've had a mask that didn't leak. That was the first good thing this week.

The second was a very good singing lesson, and the third was making this post about planned projects -- we'll see how that goes.

Thursday was rough. For some reason, after taking Colleen home from the hospital, I ended up both physically and mentally exhausted, and in pain from what appears to be a torn muscle in my left arm that's been bothering me for a while. I was close to the edge, and over it a couple of times, for the rest of the day. Friday was worse.

The fourth (and last) good thing was taking another run at my taxes and finding out that I'm probably not going to owe anything. That, however, was blown all to hell by finding that the latest invoice from the builder was more than I had in my checking account (I'd known that was coming, but it was still alarming), and then taking another run at the budget spreadsheet and finding myself about $1500/month short. It went up to $1900 after I found a couple of cells that hadn't gotten added with the rest of the column of annual expenses. I don't usually have trouble with Friday the 13th; this year was an exception.

I spent Saturday mostly being desperate and despairing. I'm going to need an income, and sooner than I'd expected. And my self-confidence is completely shot at this point. N finally got me calmed down by telling me to concentrate on self-care for the next couple of days; after that we'll work something out. I remain skeptical about that. After enjoying a year not working and getting very little else done, things don't look good for finding work. The projects list was meant to improve my marketability as a freelancer, but I don't have the year or two it would take to build up a reputation and a steady income.

I'm reasonably calm at the moment, but it still feels like I'm re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Which sank exactly 106 years ago today.

In other news, the copy of The Annotated Thursday that I ordered ten days ago is scheduled to arrive... next Thursday. I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

I'm not sure how I managed it, but I seem to have coped with this week noticably better than the week before. Whatever it is, I'd like some more, please.

High point of the week was last night's concert, the release party for Betsy Tinney's Wyverns in the Winery. Cello awesomeness. Guest sets by the Bohnhoffs, Vixy and Tony, and Betsy's new group, Menage a Trio.

High point for spending was Friday, when we paid for Colleen's new hearing aids. Ferociously expensive, but they make a huge difference for her. I also had my hearing tested; my cutoff has shifted down from about 6KHz to somewhere between 4 and 5, so I'm losing some consonants on the high end, but I'm getting by. Will get re-tested next year and see whether they'd be worthwhile for me.

I imagine there was more, but my brain appears to have turned to mush. G'night.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Yeah; I missed yesterday. Yesterday was a rough week. Today was, arguably, worse, but I handled it better. Or have so far; I think I'm just about out of energy now (9:30pm, roughly). Go figure. Yesterday N had to come out and order me to bed; I was becoming incoherent.

Let's see. N came back sick from OVFF, and apparently suffered a relapse yesterday. Colleen and I went out for brunch both Sundays. Our plan to make a weekly menu seems to be working pretty well, though we invariably have to go out during the week and pick up things that hadn't made it onto the shopping list. I think that's largely a matter of training people to put things on the list when we start running low.

Kittens can make me laugh. Hardly anything else does. Ticia has been exceptionally cuddly.

Colleen got fitted for hearing aids Friday. They're ferociously expensive and of course not covered by insurance. Part of the stress yesterday was due to having one of the damned things fall off. We searched frantically around the house; then (since I had to go back to finish the shopping anyway) I looked where we had parked -- sure enough, there it was on the ground next to our parking spot. A lot of my crash yesterday was probably the adrenalin aftermath.

This is, apparently, Asexual Awareness Week. So, yeah; somewhere on that spectrum. Demiromantic gray asexual alexithymic somethingorother.

In other news, tRump is basically Illiterate. That explains a lot, but knowing it doesn't really make anything better.

Bear go splat now.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

It's been a busy week, with a lot of ups and downs. Question first:

Question: Does anyone in Oregon have the space to put up two or three travelers the night of August 20th, in or near the path of the solar eclipse? (If it's three the third would be Colleen, who needs access via ramp or at most three steps.) Thanks in advance.

Good stuff: We (me, Naomi, and Colleen) went to the Whidbey Island Fair last Sunday - lots of fun. We learned how to identify poison hemlock - see bad stuff below -- and made a couple of useful contacts. The second (of three) pod arrived and was unloaded.

We got kittens! More specifically, Naomi got kittens -- the kids and I were just along for the ride, since the point of the exercise was to get kittens that would be hers. We went to NOAH, in Stanwood, and found two adorable little boys: Bronx, and Happy, who was immediately renamed Brooklyn. The first kitten you adopt from NOAH costs $125; the second is $75. They really want your kittens to have company. Now begins the (hopefully not too lengthy) process of introducing them to the other cats in the household. Followed to re-introducing the two household cats to one another. That will be harder.

We have new floors! Instead of the icky brown carpet, we have nice wood-grained laminate similar if not identical to what we had in the apartment. Good lookingm easy to roll or slide things on, and best of all easy to clean.

I have our laser printer on the network -- it has to be hard-wired, but fortunately it turned out to be easy to set up the Client Bridged configuration of DD-WRT.

The repeal of Obamacare was narrowly averted, so that's good.

Bad stuff: The flip side of Obamacare is that I don't get it anymore -- I have Medicare. I got a call from our mail-order pharmacy, informing me that Colleen's Humira now has a co-pay of over $1000. It was $5 last month, but the free "copay assistance" card isn't available to people with Medicare. Welcome to the American health doesn't care system. There's a "patient assistance foundation", but we're unlikely to qualify now, based on our income.

Also, as mentioned above, we have poison hemlock on the property. Lovely plant, originally imported (by idiots) as an ornamental. Now a Class A (shoot on sight) noxious weed. Whee! There is also something that looks suspiciously like giant hogweed, which is also on the list, but which may not be considering the size and color of the stems. I'm going to have to learn some botany.

... and of course I got distracted making dinner, and never got back and posted this. So it's Monday morning already. :P

Notes & links, as usual )

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

I'm not sure what to say about this week. It's been very stressful; things appear to have worked out ok, most if not all of the stress-causing things are gone, but my self-confidence (what little there was of it) is more-or-less completely gone. I just don't know. Something like that.

Well, let's go for the really good stuff first: Colleen and I are now covered by Medicare part D (drugs) and a supplemental (medigap) policy. They're with ExpressScripts and Premera Blue Cross, which is what we had with Amazon, so the transition appears to have been smooth. Whew!

Now the -- damned if I know. Last Sunday Naomi and I went car-shopping, and bought a red Chevy Bolt. Beautiful car; lots of great safety features. Electric. Expensive. The cargo area holds Colleen's scooter, though just barely.

Wednesday I went down to REI, which is the closest place with a DC Fast Charge station that I can use, and discovered that the car we'd bought didn't have that feature. It turned out to be an option. Driving up to the dealership I spent the entire trip berating myself over not checking. It took most of the rest of the afternoon, but they were able to find a (blue) Bolt with equivalent features, plus DCFC, and do a swap. It was very stressful; they'd originally found me a white one, but white isn't visible in fog, and here we are in Seattle. So, ...

It's hard for me to say enough good things about Bill Pierre Chevrolet, on Lake City Way. Saying they went well out of their way to accommodate our requirements would be a massive understatement. They, and their Ford dealership next door, are highly recommended.

So now we have a blue Bolt, which we have named Molly. (Puns involving drywall anchors are not appreciated -- Molly ius a little sensitive on that point.) She's a wonderful car.

There are a couple of hopefully minor problems. The main one is that there aren't nearly as many fast charging stations as we thought there would be. I don't think that it would be possible to drive cross-country, for example. Maybe to San Jose, but it would take very careful planning. Another is the cargo space - we couldn't drive to an airport or a convention in it (which is ok; we still have a van). Another is the cost -- I've never spent that much on a car before. (In absolute terms. I still vividly remember when we bought our first minivan, a Mercury Villager, and paid more for it than we'd paid for our house a decade before.)

But the biggest problem isn't with the car, it's with me. It's mostly after I make a big, expensive decision like that that I start second-guessing myself, and wondering whether I'd made a huge mistake. It was really Wednesday (see above) that started that process. It combines with the problems I'd had last week and all through May with our health care, which I made worse by not realizing that when Amazon told me they'd continue my health care, what they meant was that they'd subsidize my COBRA benefits. Ricoh hadn't done it that way; I'd made some wrong assumptions, and my HR person at Amazon simply hadn't gotten back to me at all about it.

Hmm - both of those problems have been due to things people didn't tell me. Unfortunately, that doesn't help me feel that they're any less my fault. I think I'm supposed to think of everything. One reason I'm comfortable around computers is that if I don't think of everything, the computer will tell me (by doing what I told it to do, not what I expected it to do) and I can fix it. Real-world stuff terrifies me because I can't go back and fix most of it. But if I try to think of everything before hand, I never actually go out and do it. Can't win. (Can't break even. Can't leave the game. Laws of Thermodynamics in words of mostly one syllable.)

"I can't fix it!" is something I end up saying all too often.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: (e8)

I'm really glad we got Colleen's medicare coverage straightened out (or mostly -- her Part D (drug) coverage is not fully functional yet, nor is her supplemental policy). Because she went in to Shoreline Clinic for lab work on Tuesday after her visit to the SSA office, and Wednesday we got a call telling her to go to the ER and get IV fluids, because her creatinine level was high. That's related to kidney function, and in this case indicated a problem with her catheter.

So she spent the rest of the week in Northwest Hospital; she was discharged Friday. And Medicare covers it. I spent much of the week doing medicare-related paperwork; being retired may be relaxing once you get to actually do it -- retiring sure isn't. I'm still not done with Colleen's.

Meanwhile, I've been reading. I finished Counterexamples in Analysis, which is a really fun read. It had been used as the textbook for Advanced Calculus up until the year I went to Carleton, so there were enough copies lying around for me to get intrigued by such perverse creatures as "a space-filling curve that's almost everywhere almost nowhere". In the process, supplementing it with Wikipedia dives, I've finally gotten a little more comfortable with ring theory.

Last night, between John Baez on the number 24 on YouTube and a bit of digging on Wikipedia, I also started getting the hang of the Monster Group and E8. They turn out to be related to the Binary Golay code, a 24-bit error-correcting code invented by Marcel Golay, who I knew of because he'd collaborated with my father on the Savitzky–Golay filter!

I've also been reading Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces - it's mostly review for me, but it's a good presentation and there are a few good nuggets in there. The Codeless Code, a collection of software-development koans, is also worth of note, and of everything I've mentioned here is probably of the most interest to people casually interested in the sociology of software development. Or possibly Zen Buddhism.

I've also been looking around Don Knuth's home page -- Don was my favorite professor at Stanford -- which eventually led me back to Surreal Numbers. I see that I don't have a good set of links for those.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

I spent most of the week sick, miserable, and barely able to breathe at times, but got quite a lot done regardless. Everything is now out of the West Seattle house, which I suppose could be called "Rainbow's Ended" now; the third and final pod has been taken away, and all of the paperwork for both the sale of the old house and the purchase of the new one has been signed, in sessions with the respective traveling notaries. The respective closings are Tuesday and Wednesday.

In other news, my final payment from Amazon arrived -- less than I expected because I hadn't allowed for social security and medicare -- but my promised health care still hasn't. Should have just started COBRA and asked them to pay for it, which is probably what's going to happen.

Oh, yes -- our sink fell down. It had apparently been glued to the underside of the counter with a thin bead of silicone; the maintenance guy came by and propped it up with 2x4s. I feel like I'm living on Desolation Row.

Yes I received your letter yesterday, about the time the doorknob broke,...
When you asked me how I was doing -- was that some kind of joke?
Right now I can't read so good; don't send me no more letters, no
Not unless you mail them from Desolation Row

OK, so it was the sink and not the doorknob. My poetic license hasn't expired yet.

I do seem to be experiencing less anxiety this week, and I'm starting to look forward to living on Whidbey Island. I still don't feel as though I'm getting as much done as I should, but I do note in passing that I've updated my resume and three of the five websites that most needed it. I've gotten out of the apartment at least five of the last seven days, though not necessarily on foot. The other two did include something that might count as exercise, however.

BTW I'm feeling quite a bit better (physically) today, though still not up to par. Psychologically I'm still having problems. It's like a break-up, or losing a pet -- I keep wondering whether there was anything I could have done differently. It's going to be a rough couple of months, until we can actually move in -- we gave the present owner a 60-day leaseback, though it's not entirely certain that he'll use all of it.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Pain levels, in particular standing for any amount of time unsupported in the evening, have been pretty high lately. Mostly hips, though there's still some pain in the right leg. Do not like, and it makes me snappish as well as lazy. Also, I was extremely congested last weekend and well into the week. In combination with the muscle aches and weakness Sunday I almost suspect flu. Almost. Some kind of virus, certainly.

I worked a little on my setlist; most of what little practicing I did was guitar. Which is ok; my fingers were kind of in bad shape and my playing obviously needed the work as well. It's mostly going to be off my (still-planned) second album, so I thought a little about Amethyst Rose and felt sorry for myself for not marking her birthday this year.

Quote of the week, from a T-shirt by way of G:

Most programmers struggle with 2 things:
0. Cache invalidation.
1: Naming things.
2: Off-by-one errors.

It doesn't mention being on call or facing hard deadlines, but those are right up there. It's been an uneventful oncall this time -- the only times I was awakened at 4:30am were by Ticia. I also spent altogether too much time in meetings, when I should have been working the ticket queue.

I continue to be wasting too much time on Quora, and quite a bit reading poetry and fiction on DW. Well, at least Q keeps my word count up, and I've been getting a little positiveifeedback via Twitter. I mostly don't try to track everything, but you'll find one of the better answers below at the end of yesterday's notes.

Also in the notes, The What-He-Did: The Poetic Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith, and this stunningly beautiful pic for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Moderately productive this week. And I've been doing quite a lot of writing, mostly on Quora. Which is seriously addictive. One of the reasons I like it, I think, is that it demonstrates to me that I know more about people and relationships than I give myself credit for. It also inspired me to get started on the article about singly-linked lists that I've been meaning to write for months. (The draft can be found here, but be advised that it's only about half finished. Look again on Tuesday or thereabouts, or wait for me to post it here.)

That raises a question: If it ends up being long (currently at a little over 1000 words), do you have a preference for long posts under cut tags, or shorter installments without cuts? What's a good length for installments? (For comparison, my current weekly posts seem to be running 250-500 words before the cut, and I haven't heard any complaints.)

I'm not even going to try posting my Quora answers here or on Facebook; I am cross-posting most of them to Twitter (@ssavitzky) -- the bandwidth there is so high that nobody is likely to feel as though I'm spamming their feed. I do link a few of the more interesting answers in the notes, so you can see for yourself.

Anyway... Moderately productive at work, though meetings have eaten up a lot more time than I allowed for. Only a couple of overloads at home. Blood pressure higher than I like, but my doctor isnt worried yet. More in the notes.

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

I've already posted about last Sunday's medical adventure, so I won't go into that except to say that the exercises N gave me seem to be helping -- I don't seem to have much pain in my right hand beyond the usual arthritis. It has, however, taken all of the last week to get to that point.

Since the pain was most likely due to my working position, I've put in for an ergonomic evaluation at work. I need to lower my desk at home, too, by about three inches. A leg length of 25 inches should do it. Not looking forward to that, since it will mean taking everything off the top. Fortunately it's possible -- the desk is nothing but a sheet of plywood sitting on a filing cabinet at one end and a pair of 2x2s at the other.

Come to think of it, cleaning off the top of my desk is probably a good thing to do every couple of years.

Tuesday or Wednesday I saw a woman on the bus wearing a T-shirt that read "Open Source and Feelings", and had a bit of a conversation (should have spoken up earlier, because she got off at the first stop downtown). Turns out it's a conference -- I'll try to remember to go next year. The videos from last year are up, and I spent most of Saturday watching them.

A lot of the videos are about empathy, which I'm interested in and I'm told I'm good at (cf. A Talk With the Middle-Sized Bear) in spite of my alexithymia. I realized that my hanging out in a facebook group for people who've lost their cat to FIP is probably good exercise for that particular skill.

I also realized that I could be considered a member of a category -- I hesitate to call it a minority -- that's underrepresented in the tech industry: old people. Whether that insight can be turned into something useful is, at this point, an open question. A quick Google search turned up a lot of links about teaching seniors how to use these scary things called computers -- what used to be called "computer literacy" and maybe still is. I didn't see much about the people like me, who have been working with the things for the last half-century. One of the talks from last year's OSFeels was titled "Back in My Day..." -- by a fifty-year-old. Sheesh! I was working at Zilog making the stuff he talked about using as a kid.

Saw a question go by on Quora to the effect of "what should a fifty-year-old programmer do?" My answer was basically "keep writing programs." Now that I think of it, there's probably a reason why so many of the questions asked there sound naive to me.

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

So, in the interest of raising my word count for the day, have a post.

Please note: this post describes a medical situation that turned out not to be the emergency I thought it might have been; I'm ok and, as it turns out, was never in any danger. However, if you have problems reading about medical emergencies, scary symptoms, hospitals, or needles you will probably be best off with the cut text.

tl;dr: I'm ok. Nothing to worry about. )

Lab work, EKGs, and X-rays all looking perfectly normal, around 3:30 am they gave me my discharge paperwork, and I called G for a ride home. He was sleepy; N came instead. Have I mentioned recently how awesome my sister is? She's awesome.

Note that at this point most of the pain had gone away, but there was still a little achiness around my right shoulder, and the second joint of my right index finger was still almost as painful as it had been at the start. It still is, over 12 hours later.

On the way home N, who is a professional massage therapist, said that it sounded like a pinched nerve was the most likely explanation. Specifically, something called thoracic outlet syndrome. Which is sort of like carpal tunnel syndrome, only between your collarbone and your first rib.

When we got home, I put a sick day on my work calendar -- if I go to the ER in the middle of the night I've damned well earned a sick day no matter how much better I feel in the morning.

So here's what Wikipedia says about it: "Pain can be present on an intermittent or permanent basis. It can be sharp/stabbing, burning, or aching. TOS can involve only part of the hand (as in the 4th and 5th finger only), all of the hand, or [...] the pectoral area below the clavicle, [...] and the upper back (i.e., the trapezius and rhomboid area)." Um... right. What they said.

"The two groups of people most likely to develop TOS are [...] and those who use computers in non-ergonomic postures for extended periods of time. TOS is frequently a repetitive stress injury (RSI) caused by certain types of work environments." ... and I noticed, as I sat there at my desk with my right hand on the trackball, that my right shoulder was uncomfortably higher than my left one.

My desk at home, which consists of a sheet of plywood resting on a 2-drawer filing cabinet and a couple of 2x2 legs, is about 3" (7.5cm) higher than it needs to be. That would probably do it.

... so it looks like I need to take everything off my (cluttered) desk, disassemble the thing, make shorter legs for it, and put everything back. Grumble.

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)

Rough week physically, so-so mentally. As for the physical, I can do no better than to quote from Tuesday's notes:

Clumsy bear got into a fight with a wet manhole cover and a sidewalk. The manhole cover tripped me and the sidewalk hit me in the face. Lost the fight, but got away quickly enough to escape serious injury. (Slipped, and would probably have recovered except that I tripped over the curb and did a faceplant.)

Hand apparently broke the fall pretty well, but I have some abrasions on knee and forehead, and a fair amount of bruising and a cut on the bridge of my nose. Grump. Ouch. Glasses had their nosepiece bent a little but nothing scratched or broken. Could have been *much* worse.

As it turned out, I had two small breaks in my nose; they showed up on the CAT scan. At this point everything but the nose and the abrasion on my knee have stopped hurting even a little. I got off easy.

Mentally, my current meds appear to be doing their job. I'm worried about Ticia, though. She hasn't been eating much, and has lost weight since we got her. (She was overweight, but still; I don't like it.) She is also still getting into fights with the other cats. On the other hand, she's also endearingly cuddly, especially with me.

The other biggish news is that we got the HELOC to cover the overrun on the remodel. Colleen and I went and signed for it yesterday. Of course, it makes me worry more about finances.

I've done a little practicing; need to do more, especially on the stuff I'm likely to be playing at and around Mom's birthday party.

Lots of links, as usual.

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

L o n g  week. Nevertheless, it feels as though a whole lot of things didn't get done. A lot of things did, though.

Monday after work we went up to Mukilteo for Kat's 30th birthday dinner at the local Mongolian Grill. Um... does that mean my daughter is 30 years old? Eeeep! Also the drain pump on the upstairs washer died. Again.

Tuesday I had an appointment with the therapist at UW Shoreline Clinic. Possibly helpful. Now reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Also took Colleen to a dentist appointment in the afternoon.

I didn't get around to calling the repair place about the washer until Wednesday.

Thursday G came home from the hospital. I worked from home. We'd been planning a celebratory dinner, but everybody was just too wiped out, so we ordered pizza.

Friday the repair guy came out and made the obvious diagnosis, but didn't have a new pump on the truck. :P I went out to Trader Joe's and bought a pile of steaks for the delayed celebratory dinner.

Yesterday I was mostly a vegetable. Except for two loads of laundry (and four drier loads) -- thank goodness for the downstairs laundry room -- making dinner, a load of dishes, a not-entirely-successful PT session with G, ...

OK, I guess I've been doing things. I haven't been all that productive at work, though, which is a potential problem. I think I'm suffering from the fact that $WORK, like most workplaces these days, is explicitly set up only for extroverts. Not only is it open seating, without even cubicles, but you can't get anything done at all without interacting with other teams, and asking for help frequently. No wonder I seem to be burned out. I just hope I can make it to the end of the year, when my next batch of stock vests.

Oh, did I mention the back pain? Back pain. Left QL muscle.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

Rough week, mostly. Especially from Sunday through Tuesday; Naomi speculated that I may have been fighting off a bug. It's also possible that it was due to hypoglycemia or something else. Colleen's health is better, so that's something. The recent changes are, finally, working.

Curio's weight is back up -- almost to where the vet said it should be -- and I've been getting some good cat therapy from him and Desti. Cricket, though, has been a little escape artist. We're having to make sure she's locked up if more than one person tries to go out.

My workgroup is moving, so I worked from home Thursday and Friday -- that helps. I'm not enjoying work much, though; that's a problem.

Form CC-305 OMB Control Number 1250-0005 [pdf] "Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability" came by at work, and it lists major depression under "Disabilities include, but are not limited to". So (after sleeping on it) I checked the damned box. The label says "YES, I HAVE A DISABILITY (or previously had a disability)", so it doesn't matter whether I can handle it now. Not clear that I can, really. The label on the box is amusingly reminiscent of "Are you now or have you ever been..." -- which I guess is one of the reasons I hesitated.

Links in the notes.

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

Hmm. Long week. The week included a lot of moving stuff around setting things back up after the wedding; that's probably what's behind my current back problems. (See QOTD from yesterday.)

My loaner project at work is winding down, though not as quickly as I'd like. Not feeling very good about work right now.

On the gripping hand, the Great Room looks fantastic, with much more room in its new configuration (blue couch in the SE corner). And Colleen's new baker's rack nightstand has been installed, and looks great. And I upgraded Nova to Debian Jesse, which rocks. (Not entirely clear what I'll do with the extra monitor space; possibly mostly devote it to the to.do file, which I usually edit on Nova anyway when I'm at home. x2x rocks, too.

I have to tell you about x2x(1). (For those of you still stuck on legacy operating systems, the equivalent is synergy or, if one of your machines runs linux, x2vnc.) It's the exact opposite of a remote desktop application (which you get for free in Linux) -- it lets you share a mouse and keyboard between multiple computers. You just sit their displays side by side, tell x2x which edges are next to one another, and your mouse slides smoothly between them, taking the keyboard with it. Cut and paste work perfectly. Indispensable. I also set it up at work, between my desktop and laptop.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

me: I keep reminding my back that when I told people I was going to spend this weekend recovering from last weekend, I meant it as a joke. My back isn't listening. I think it's related to a cat.

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

On the health front, I may finally be learning to relax the muscles in my lower back that make it hurt when I walk. Maybe. It also seems to have a lot to do with how heavy my shoulder bag is, so that's going to be an ongoing problem. A backpack would be better, except that it's hard to get off when I take a seat in the bus, and unlike a shoulder bag I can't swing it around when I want to get at something like my wallet.

I've finally started doing some serious system administration/scripting work to get my website working directories the rest of the way under git control. That's done -- I can now say "make deploy" in a web directory and have it committed, pushed to the remote repo, and pulled into the website with no further attention.

In the process, I had to write a script for converting a directory from CVS to git. There are a couple of challenges in that process because the old CVS repositories were in pretty bad shape, with stuff not having been checked in consistently. Not like a well-maintained software project, in other words. Bad bear. No cookie. My websites don't use cookies anyway.

The associated asset archive is going to be harder, because some directories have large media files in them. Like, um... the audio. The goal is to eliminate the use of rsync snapshots for backups (for reasons I will probably go into in more detail in a later post).

Detail in the notes, as usual.

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

On the whole a pretty good week, as it turns out. Busy and often frustrating at work, but things finally came together Friday afternoon and the service I've been working on seems to be working correctly. Pieces are falling into place all over.

Last Sunday I made pasta sauce from scratch, using pretty much my Mom's recipe only with turkey Italian sausage and no bell peppers. Tomatoes from our garden. The Roma bush, especially, has been insanely productive.

On a whim I did some research on statins and grapefruit juice -- it turns out that the study that showed bad interactions involved the equivalent of over 2l/day. So I've been avoiding grapefruit for no good reason all these years.

Yesterday I spent puttering, mostly around Colleen's sewing corner in the Great Room. Colleen had expressed an interest in sorting through boxes, so I brought up a couple. I also moved her sewing machine and its cabinet to the other wall and brought up what I hope is the last of her rolling stacks of drawers. We need shelves in the corner.

Hmm. If the sewing room eventually moves upstairs (combined with a library/guest room after the remodel), we could use that corner for music.

Links in the notes, of course.

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

A lot of pain this week -- left foot, mostly, and some lower-back pain. Which I blame on my recent weight spike, which I blame on my recent increased dosage of antidepressant. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

We got some time with Colleen's sister of choice Bev, but not as much as we wanted. *sigh*

Yesterday Colleen and I went to the Amazon company picnic. Mainly aimed at much younger people, with kids. OTOH it was a free lunch. OTGH I gained some weight and probably stood up too much. Nice drive afterwards.

Aside from that, not much is going on. The Starport is still for sale. There are links.

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

Yesterday being a holiday, today felt like Sunday, so I'm doing my weekly update a little early. Pretty good week, on the whole.

Naomi, who is using me as a practice dummy for her massage therapy homework, checked out my lower leg pain and pronouced it "classic plantar fasciitis", largely on the basis of it being worst in the morning. ??! Apparently the fascia in question connect to the Achilles tendon, and from there on up around the calf muscles along the back of the leg to the knee. What she did, however, worked wonderfully all week.

I also summoned up the energy to finally do my taxes (I'd filed for an extension on the 15th). They still have a lot of estimation in them, so I should probably file an amended version. And, of course, set up installment payments. Ugh.

Monday I found a bunch of unpaid bills. Bletch.

Wednesday I took a treadmill echocardiogram test. I walked there from Cortiva; about a mile and a half. (The bus would have taken about the same time, and I need to exercise more.) For the test I had to get my heart rate up to 131bpm; I got it up to 181 and called a halt not because I couldn't go on but because I was getting tired enough to worry about doing something clumsy and injuring myself. I think my heart is OK.

Wednesday evening I started having some stabbing pain in my calf muscle (soleus, according to N). On investigation it turned out to be a little, deep knot (aka trigger point); I pushed hard on it with a finger, and it loosened up. I felt very pleased with myself.

Yesterday was, of course, Independence Day. We'll actually be doing our barbecue today; yesterday was just a nice, relaxing day at home. Colleen lay on the bed and watched fireworks. There were somewhere between three and five shows visible; the sound was more or less continuous. We could only see the bursts over the trees and hills, but it worked. Next year we'll have to set out chairs on the deck.

The increased dose of SSRI seems to be helping.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

It's been a rough week. Really rough.

Sunday was my 16th Father's Day without my father. Monday I went in to the ER with chest pain. The fact that it was entirely due to muscle aches and anxiety only made me feel stupid, especially since it's the second or third time I've done it and I should know by now.

Busy week at work. Can't say much about that, except that interacting with people from other groups, who I don't know, is stressful. As is interfacing with poorly-documented services. And work is a service-oriented architecture.

The Starport hasn't sold yet. I'm basically broke.

On the good side, N. may have finally identified the source of my lower back and hip problems: the right QL (quadratus lumborum) muscle. That's the one that put me flat on my back for a week 38 years ago, and apparently it's been dicey ever since. We'll see -- essentially no pain walking around with Colleen yesterday, and very little doing dishes this morning.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

The big news for this week is that the Starport is up for sale. You can see it at 343LeighAve.com/ (which immediately redirects to 343leighave.isnowforsale.com, but it's kind of cute anyway), here on Zillow, and likewise here, here, and here. Make me a high enough offer and I'll throw in theStarport.com.

Um... maybe I should update that site?

The miserable headache I had last night turns out to have been due to dehydration. I need to drink more. Water, that is. I probably don't need to drink more coffee or gin. Beer?

Comcast has been giving us trouble all week; first a widespread outage in our area on Tuesday, then video flakiness yesterday. Thinking seriously of dumping them and going to CenturyLink and Dish. Tempting.

Work has been fairly interesting; I'm starting to work on a new (internal) service. Which means learning new things, which is fun even while being frustrating.

I've been doing a lot of puttering, including some yardwork. I hate yardwork. Grumpy bear. For some reason I like putting dishes into the dishwasher, but not putting them away after they're clean. Why, yes, I am avoiding paperwork. I disappoint myself frequently.

The usual hodge-podge of links and random notes below.

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

Hmm. Not too bad of a week, though I did spend much of it depressed. I got myself an early Father's Day present in the form of a refurb 10" Galaxy Tab 3. I also upgraded my netbook to Ubuntu 14.04. Both had glitches at first; the tablet is back to normal after I removed a couple of apps, one of which was apparently slowing it down to the point where the touchscreen became unresponsive.

Quick tip: if the touchscreen works fine for a little while after a reboot, then becomes unresponsive, blame an app that's hogging the CPU. Some of the apps out there are absolute crap.

Turns out dentists these days are making crowns by milling them out of a solid block of ceramic with a CNC mill. Cool!

Yesterday I had a pretty good session with my doctor -- or rather my doctor's substitute while my doctor is out on maternity leave. Labwork, advice, and a higher dose of antidepressant. Hopefully that will help.

Notable quotes of mine from elsenet: (wisdom from the middle-aged bear?) "Balm throwers as the opposite of bomb throwers." "#NotAllChristians sounds a lot like #NotAllMen." The latter sparked an interesting discussion on FB, with thoughtful people pointing out that whether it's meant as derailing or educational depends on the intended audience. Me, I'm not a Christian, so...

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

It snowed last night. Emmy finally got to be outside while it was snowing -- she grew up in San Jose. Me, I'm just glad I don't have to try driving in it -- I'm long out of practice. I may walk to Trader Joe's later.

I've spent altogether too much energy trying to get Colleen's prescriptions transferred to Express Scripts. Depressing. My prescriptions transferred with no problems; I suspect that the problem with hers is that Walgreens' records have her birth date wrong. But the website(s) are miserable, and their tech support and customer support people don't know much about how they work - I got information that was manifestly incorrect from them. Bletch.

A couple of times I've just wanted to crawl into a hole and hide. Is there such a thing as a depression attack?

Meanwhile, I'm worried about this year's taxes. Very worried. I almost certainly don't have enough withholding this year, so I'm likely to be screwed. My sign-on bonus from Amazon is completely gone.

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

Oh, good grief! This is going to be hard to summarize, isn't it? Maybe I should just throw up my hands and refer you to the notes? Maybe not.

Lots of stuff going on: I had a prostate biopsy and got back a clean bill of health. My nose is back on steroids. Colleen is getting more mobile -- she can walk about 20 steps (with walker, of course), and transfer in and out of her power chair.

We took delivery of Naomi's new commute car (a Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid). Naomi's massage therapy license finally went through, so the household's massage studio is now fully armed licensed and operational.

Lots of good links: see especially ysabetwordsmith's poem: "The Crystal Inside the World", a nice riff on my song The World Inside the Crystal.

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

Tried to log in on my file server last week and found out that the hard drive was dead. Finally went to Fry's yesterday, and bought a couple of Western Digital red (NAS) 2TB drives. Designed for continuous duty, which would be a good thing. Disassembled the lock on the docking bay I had the backup drive in (and promptly found the key, lurking in what had been my nightstand).

Confirmed that the backup works and the old main drive doesn't, and installed the latest Debian. Which only took about an hour. It boots fast as a bat, and ships with a driver for the Realtek ethernet controller on my motherboard. So I can free up the PCI slot for something more useful, like maybe an ESATA/USB-3 card, if I can find one.

Now begins the tedious process of restoring (done, as of this evening) and reconfiguring. Which will take time because I want to make some long-overdue changes in the config.

It looks like the last time a backup was made was June 25th. I don't *think* I did much, if anything, since then except maybe add a couple of passwords to the keychain. And of course I've lost a lot of email. If you sent anything to steve at thestarport.org in the last couple of months, I haven't seen it. (It is now forwarded to my gmail account, along with steve at savitzky.net which I've been doing pretty well at keeping up with.)

It's possible that some of the transient stuff can be rescued from the old drive -- it seems to run ok for a few minutes before suddenly going offline. Not entirely clear that it's worth bothering with.

Apart from that... Colleen has been getting physical therapy three times/week, and is now able to stand up and transfer into her power chair. Progress. Her caregiver is an excellent cook -- Thai, Chinese, and Japanese, with an emphasis on lean and low sodium. Yum!

Links in the notes, as usual. One, found by a coworker after I'd mentioned something to that effect, is one of my favorite stats: iPad 2 as fast as Cray 2 supercomputer. I also dropped a donation on YsabetWordsmith's poem, "Part of Who I Am". Some great links there, too.

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

I'll do one of my usual "done recently" posts tomorrow, maybe. For now, the big news: Yesterday Colleen's orthopedist told her she can go back to using her formerly-broken ankle. It's healed!

She has another week and a half of fairly intensive physical therapy to go before she comes home, but I'm getting my wife back!

(For those of you just dropping in from other planets, Colleen broke her ankle the day we moved into the house, on May 24th, and has been home precisely once, for half a day, since then.)

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

Last weekend was Pride, and Naomi took me to the Capitol Hill block party on Saturday -- fun! I took Colleen's rolling walker, which has a seat. That meant that while N was talking to someone, I could sit down -- that made it all possible.

My leg is healing -- right now all the pain is coming from the muscles that are compensating for the damaged one. I'll probably continue using the cane for the rest of the week.

I spent most of Sunday on move-related stuff, clearing out the last of what was in the laundry room and fridge. Fortunately I had Chaos and N's ex to do the sorting and carrying. So, not as much fun as Pride would have been, but it needed doing.

At work, I moved back into the building I started out in. Meanwhile, I've gotten pretty good at using the cane to push the wheelchair access buttons.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

The last of the moving is done! The garage full of stuff moved Monday. I came back home about noon, and promptly tore a muscle in my left leg running to catch a bus. OWWW! It is now considerably better, but I've been walking with a cane all week. It doesn't hurt (unless I move wrong), but the muscles that are compensating are another matter entirely. And walking like that is *hard*.

We have cats! Naomi and I went out to a shelter in the U district called Cat City, and came back with Curio and Desdi. Curio walked up to me in the shelter, headbutted my hand, and announced that he was My Cat. I am so owned. Or is that "pwned". The cats are mostly staying in N's room, though Curio has spent a couple with me. He doesn't like my CPAP, though, which makes sleeping with him kind of impossible.

... and my server's power brick appears to be dead. That makes, what? Three? Off two different UPSs. Not Pleased. I never had a bit of trouble in San Jose; there must be something weird about Seattle power.

ETA: no, it wasn't the power brick. It had, apparently, simply shut down. Possibly from getting a power fail signal, but possibly not. Just plain weird.

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

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

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

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

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

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

More, as usual, in the notes.

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

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

So... this update includes the entire month so far, and my first full week at Amazon. Don't expect me to say much about that; they're sticky about that kind of thing, with good reason. I can say that it's a very steep learning curve.

I've been carpooling with Naomi a couple of times a week; her school is an easy walk from work. It also forces me to get out of the apartment earlier, which is a Good Thing even if it does mean that I have to leave some of my blog-reading for evening.

Nothing like feeling overwhelmed at work, plus having unpaid bills come home to roost, to make me feel stupid. I know, that's the depression talking. But it'stalking really loudly! Which makes it kind of hard to ignore.

Hmm. OK, so here's the problem. Thinking about an expense like a parking ticket, some bills, etc. reminds me of how stupid I was to have incurred that expense in the first place. So I don't want to think about it. Which means that it goes unpaid for a little longer, which makes me feel even more stupid... See how that works? Feedback. :P

I've also been chronically sleep-deprived for most of the last couple of weeks. The fact that I *hate* going to bed early isn't helping.

Links in the raw notes, as usual.

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

Colleen came home this evening, after 12 hours shy of a week in the hospital. It took until nearly 5pm to get her discharge paperwork, and then we had to stop off at Walgreen's to get her new prescriptions filled. Some high-powered anti-hypertension stuff in there: ACE inhibitor, beta blocker, calcium channel blocker, and a diuretic. Gleep.

But she's home, with normal blood pressure and with the PRES resolving, the UTI cleared up, and the pneumonia taken care of. Gleep gleep.

I can haz Colleen. That's the important thing.

... so I can start work at Amazon tomorrow. Tired bear is tired! Gleep.

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

Not such a long week. But both productive and exhausting in its own way.

Sunday of Conflikt was pretty good, especially Jeff Bohnhoff's "Alternate Guitar Chords" workshop, and some great music. But around, what, 4pm? Colleen's scooter abruptly stopped working. Dead in its tracks, with the battery indicator happily stuck at the halfway point, where it's always been for the last several months. The YD, who was accompanying Colleen between buildings, proceeded to panic. I talked her through pushing the scooter back indoors and plugging in the charger.

As soon as I could, I got down there, to find that there was enough charge in the battery to move slowly, but not fast -- push too far and it would simply cut off. So charging helps. I had some difficulty persuading the YD to help me get Colleen all the way into the conference center and up to the Conflikt lobby, where she would be warm and have music and company while the battery charged.

At which point it developed that the YD needed to get home and finish her homework. Due Monday. Oooooookay then. I drove her home, which gave me the opportunity to drop off most of the luggage, swap vehicles, and snag a walker at Naomi's in case charging the battery didn't help.

But of course it did help -- the battery finished charging, and the scooter was just fine. I still don't trust it.

Monday was reasonably productive, plus the inevitable odds and ends of paperwork. Despite coming down with the con crud. The chills came on the way home; I went to bed early, under a pile of blankets.

I woke up feeling as though I was swimming in sweat, of course, and wisely decided to work from home. I got through two new API methods that had been scheduled for two days each.

Which was a good thing, since I wasn't quite as productive Wednesday, when I had a urology appointment in the morning and got to sit around while Colleen had an MRI in the afternoon. All afternoon, as it turned out. So much for going in and pushing my changes to the local github in mid-afternoon. I started writing functional tests.

... but all in all not that bad a week, considering.

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

It's been a * l o n g * week, bracketed by cons. Last Saturday we day-tripped Rustycon (and decided that we probably won't bother next year -- it's small. This weekend was Conflikt. Which we will *definitely* be attending next year, but probably without the YD. She went this time because she was writing a term paper on it, but it didn't really seem to be her thing.

Last Sunday we put an offer down on the West Seattle house. It was down to the wire -- when we got there after having seen two places that were obviously unsuitable, we found that they were having an open house and had already received two offers. We offered $10K over the asking price. Monday was a nail-biter, but we got it! It's gorgeous. A full 2-bedroom apartment downstairs in the daylight basement, plus a 4-car garage on that level. Three bedrooms upstairs. And a great hall on top of the garage. I forsee parties, house filks, and house concerts in our future.

Needless to say, my work productivity suffered, as I spent far too much of my time on the phone or tracking down paperwork. The loan paperwork finally all came together at 4:45 on Friday, about the same time I got my functional tests running and marked "ready for QA".

Did I mention the lack of sleep? Mostly due to waking up at unreasonable hours with house worries. So we went into Conflikt already sleep-deprived.

I may have to leave most of Conflikt until later, but the music was fantastic and the Interfilk auction was one of the must entertaining in years. Even if I did end up winning a $100 bid to give the horrid wall-hangings, Harry and Henrietta Hemp, to Seanan. Who said she'd burn them in the parking lot. (The deal with the Hemps is that the winning bidder gets to say who they go to, and somebody had fingered us as people who hadn't had it yet.)

Health. We both had follow-up appointments with our PCP, Dr. Chopra, Saturday morning. Colleen had a dentist appointment Wednesday morning, I had an appointment with the sports medicine department Thursday morning. I got my SSRI dosage raised, and was told that my assorted joint, etc. problems would be solved if I lost (rather a lot of) weight. Thanks; I knew that.

I'd probably better go splat now (10:51 pm). Before I fall asleep at the keyboard. Again.

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

So... another week. Busy. Our DVD collection fits into half of a tower. Very few of the CDs are out, but that's ok; most of them have been ripped. Of course, I haven't made the collection easily accessible yet, so that's a problem.

Things seem to be falling through the cracks a lot more often than I'd like, and I often feel pretty close to the edge. The edge of exactly what, I couldn't say. My sanity? Something like that. Do Not Like.

Colleen had her gastroenterology appointment on Wednesday; apparently UW has one of the best people in the country for Crohn's Disease. We'd heard that, it was one of the considerations in moving up here. And there's an assistance program that reduces her Humira cost to $5/month -- major win, since our insurance only covers 50% of its astronomical cost.

Some good links. Nadia Heninger Is Watching You (computer security) -- What makes this cool is that she's the daughter of an old friend and former coworker, Andy Heninger. The Wordsmith's Forge - Discussion: An Army of One, Autism in SF My Mom Was An Underground Railroad For Abused Women: What She Taught Me About Feminism And Fear | xoJane. The Tiny Transforming Apartment That Packs Eight Rooms into 420 Square Feet Still pretty cramped, but some cool ideas. The Goliath telescoping dining table is impressive. Want.

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

The main event this week was the arrival of the storage towers and lamp I ordered from Best Buy. There were also health worries, and my stuff is being moved into a new cubical over the weekend. I think about half the people in the Seattle office are getting shuffled around.

I get two nice things out of the move. First was having to leave at 2pm on Friday, which meant I could walk to REI -- about half an hour's walk, on a beautiful clear day -- and buy a hat. It's called a "Seattle Sombrero"; I'm hoping it will be waterproof.

The second is a lockable cabinet where I can stash my (non-lockable) laptop. That means I won't have to lug the darned thing to and from work five times a week. I don't need the extra weight.

My back was hurting quite a lot by the time I got home on Friday. And I've been having some sharp pains when I lift things that make me worry about developing a hernia -- this is something I *do* *not* *need* right now.

Also I'm still gaining weight, and I get very stiff in the evenings.

I got my lab results back; the doctor noted that she was worried about my triglycerides, which are 186 (normal 150 or less). When I see her next, in a couple of weeks, I will tell her that it's the second-lowest number in a decade. Probably time to increase my niacin and linseed oil. (Ok, the bottle is labeled "flax oil". Same thing. It's a dietary supplement and a furniture finish.)

About those CD towers. When I ordered them and looked at the shipping tracker it said "4 boxes, 76 pounds". Shipping was free. What I didn't realize was that the weight given wasn't the total, it was the weight of the heaviest package. Of which there were two, plus two smaller boxes of 36lbs. Gleep. The Younger Daughter was *not* pleased, even with access to my hand truck.

I took it nice and slow, and put one together over the course of three days. I had figured on it taking two people to flip the thing over and drag it into position, but it glided easily over the carpet, and was actually quite easy to lift. Yay trigonometry!

As for links, I have been eagerly following the poems from YsabetWordsmith's January Poetry Fishbowl, and especially the ones in her new series, An Army of One, which is science fiction about a society of autistic people. Very cool idea.

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

So, welcome to 2013. So far it's starting out pretty well, with three very productive days at work, and spurts of productivity at home as well. I've done some walking, though not as much as I'd like, and even a little practicing. Colleen and I went to our doctor's appointments on Saturday. I get to stay off my morning BP meds! Colleen, OTOH, needs to go back on hers.

And Thursday was our 38th wedding anniversary! We celebrated by going out for dinner-for-two at Anthony's seafood restaurant in Alderwood. Dinner consisted mostly of molluscs - a double helping of oysters, clams, muscles, and clam chowder. Plus drinks and dessert.

The free test coverage tool in Eclipse is pretty good. Fun!

We had house guests on Sunday; anyone in the Seattle area who wants to visit is welcome to come on over, given a few hours' notice.

Quote of the week:

Colleen: What are you depressed about?
Me: Depression doesn't need a reason.

As well as the year is going, I'm still apparently feeling pretty depressed and very, very stressed. I think I'm trying to do too much, but there's no helping it. I was kind of shocked to find that Colleen's last hospitalization was in 2009, only a little less than 4 years ago. It feels longer.

For you TV fans out there, here's a great write-up about the plot holes in WWII on the history channel.

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

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

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

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

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

Enough of that.

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

Hopefully 2013 will be less exciting.

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

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*

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

Good grief! I need to do these more often. Geekfest! New laptop at work! Fire alarms from burnt toast.

Gotta say more about that last one. Somebody in our apartment building burned their toast, then opened the door to the hallway, setting off the building's fire alarm. I was already on the bus to work; the YD and Colleen dressed hastily and headed downstairs. Elevators don't work in fires. So Colleen parked her scooter and, with a neighbor's encouragement, walked down three flights of stairs to the door, and plunked herself down in a conveniently-placed half-barrel flowerpot.

Well, she is the Flowercat, after all. I'm extremely proud of her.

Probably ought to mention the new lappy, too. It's a top-of-the-line 15" macbook pro, huge, fast, and impressively quiet. What it doesn't have is a place to attach a lock cable, so I have to take it home every night. Which, in turn, means that I've had to work out a way of using it that doesn't involve having to re-establish all my multiple desktops worth of context every morning. The best thing I've hit on so far is to set up a virtual Linux box, and run it full-screen on my large monitor. Outlook and a small number of other things run on the mac screen.

We've also had guests in the apartment. We like having guests -- ping if you want to come over; it's usually possible, given a little notice.

And among other good news, my handicap parking violation was dismissed, since I was able to prove that I do have the placard. Stupid thing had fallen off the mirror.

And the Mayan calendar rolled over, with even less fuss than when the Gregorian one rolled over a dozen years ago.

A few annoyances, mostly health related.

I've been sleeping a lot more than I want to. Annoying. I've also been gaining weight; that may be due to my going off my diuretic. Also annoying. The ongoing dental work is also annoying. And expensive.

Some -- many? -- of the annoyances are self-inflicted. I've been applying so much of my attention to work that pretty much everything else has suffered. At least the need to clear space for guests and a tree has forced me to clear out some boxes.

Links and details in the notes, as usual. Some pretties, some very moving stuff... The usual. This is your mind on the web.

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

OK, I guess that could also have been "done this month". Felt like it, too. Between a dentist appointment (crown prep, only I think I also ended up getting a root canal out of the deal), and some unexpected errand-running, I ended up missing about 6 hours worth of work. Managed to make up most of it, but not all. PTO would have been really nice to have had.

On the other hand, it was a pretty productive week, both at work and at home. So I'm not going to complain too much. I am going to complain, though. I Do Not Need the many kinds of stress that I had to deal with. No, I'm not going into details; you can probably figure most of it out from the notes.

There were some good things, though. Went to Alderwood Mall with Colleen, Emmy, and Naomi. Oysters for lunch at Anthony's -- yum!

On the gripping hand, with several restaurant meals under my belt (literally), my weight has crept up over 200. Do Not Like. And my blood pressure is edging up into the Not So Good range; both of these are probably related to my having run out of my BP pills, which include a diuretic. (Not to worry -- I'm still on one of my two BP-related meds, and will be setting up an appointment soon to deal with the rest of it.)

Found out that one of the developers in my "pod" is 25 years old. That's younger than my older daughter! No wonder he seems a little inexperienced...


The YD's laptop wasn't charging. She was freaking out about it for a day or so, until she noticed that the charging cord was badly frayed just at the strain relief. Problem solved, since it was a 19V charger and I had another in my Big Box of (power) Bricks. Win.

Quote of the week: "[I have] started thinking about the contradictions inherent in the fact that I like learning things, but am very uncomfortable when I feel that I'm out of my depth. Fallacy somewhere, I fancy."

Link of the week: The Wordsmith's Forge - Poem: "The Formless Ones". Very powerful; possibly triggery (nightmares and PTSD following rape). Part of Ysabet's "Path of the Paladins" series; I think it stands pretty well on its own, but you might want to chase links from her serial poetry page to the rest of it.

I'm also intrigued by the idea of An asexual YA heroine? Why not?. As I said in a comment there, " I have no idea where I am on the a/sexual a/romantic spectrum -- alexithymia will do that -- but it's more on the a- side these days, and a book like this would probably have done me a lot of good when I was a YA."

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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?

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