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

On the whole a pretty good week. (I was going to say, "not a bad week", but it may actually qualify for good this time. I'm really bad at evaluating subjective stuff like that.)

I got my taxes done. Probably still some things missing, but since I only owed $117 over what I estimated back in April I'm not going to complain. Much. I'm still in a world of trouble over the lack of withholding on some of the pensions. That's going to bite me. Well, I'll put in an estimated payment for the quarter; that will help.

Naomi came home Sunday with the scooters, and we got one of them out of the van. (G and I got the other out last night with the help of my folding ramp.) And yesterday on the way home from dinner out we stopped at the bike shop in Bayview and ordered Colleen a (purple, of course) helmet.

Meanwhile, I have reconfirmed my dislike for the Mac user interface (Windows would be worse). The main reason is the inconsistent bindings for control, meta, and super (the "logo" key). It's almost tolerable with a Thinkpad keyboard and x2vnc, but the key bindings in Emacs are wonky and cut-and-paste doesn't work between the two systems.

Also, of course, Raven's handling of its external monitor is broken, and the desk isn't wide enough for it plus the monitor anyway. (It is wide enough for Cygnus to the left of the monitor, so I may end up doing that.) I have Raven on a tray table to the right of the monitor, which isn't ideal because, oh, yeah: my newest Thinkpad keyboard has started dropping keystrokes. Basically unusable at this point, and it's only a year old. Lenovo's QC has really tanked -- I miss IBM. And I can't find the box with my other keyboards :P Unlike the drill and the router, I know that one is in the garage because I saw it there. I blame the cats.

The cats are all doing okay. Even Bronx, who remains a bit fragile and isn't eating all that well.

We are making progress toward making the room over the garage into a usable living space. By not making large structural changes, and not making it an official ADU, we can probably save a lot.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Rough week. Especially yesterday, when N and I took a very sick Bronx to the emergency vet in Seattle. He had a fever of 106; apparently I can't tell at all from his nose and ears. He was also throwing up and not eating, and wasn't anywhere near his usual rambunctious self.

Note: apparently a virus. He's recovering well, and we'll be taking him home tomorrow.

The house seems very quiet and lonely without our Bronx boy. Brooklyn and even Ticia are rambuncting as best they can, but it isn't the same. Meanwhile, apparently cats really are liquids. Or should I say that cat is a liquid?

Thursday, one of our neighbor's cows got loose in our yard. One of those things that's very funny in retrospect. We've also been having a hard time finding a caregiver for Colleen.

As I said, rough week.

Two public service announcements:

  1. Breach at Equifax May Impact 143M Americans; How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Security Freeze
  2. If you happen to be on Whidbey Island next Sunday (the 24th, a week from today), drop by our house for music and food. "The usual potluck bash", as we used to say of the Starport.

I'm trying to establish a schedule, so that I actually get things done, have some time for Colleen, and don't spend all my spare time online. 9-11 on Tuesdays and Thursdays are earmarked for "Unpleasant Chores" - unpacking, cleaning litter boxes, finishing up the taxes, taking out the garbage, and so on. Tag "UC:"

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Somewhat eventful week, and I see that I didn't get it posted yesterday. Grumph. And today is a busy one, so this will be worked on only in the interstices.

This was our first week of school for both of N's kids, and in particular of homeschooling for j. N and I are taking turns, with N on Tuesday and Thursday, and me on Monday and Wednesday (when C has a caregiver in, although it's a little more hectic right now because we're between caregivers). Friday is for catch-up and projects. J also got the first weekly call from his teacher, where we were able to determine that we have a lot more freedom to choose which activities (e.g. science experiments) we actually do. It's still a bit of a scramble.

This weekend (ok, last weekend -- I'm finishing this up on Tuesday at this point) one of our neighbors, Dean, threw a huge party. He apparently does this every year for his birthday. He's 67, and has been building his house and "landscaping" his property since sometime in the '70s. It's awesome. "Landscaping" in quotes because landscaping doesn't normally include secret tunnels, grottos, and water slides. I only found out about it because I was standing behind him in line at the grocery store. Fairly large amount of music. He's a fiddler! We have a lot of songs that could use fiddle. He also repairs pianos.

The hash I made of "Wheelin'" on Saturday afternoon prompted me to finally reprint the LgF songbook -- two-sided, using my new style definitions. Worked great. There are still a few glitches, but on the whole it's a big improvement.

I made fudgies for the party. Recipe in the notes.

We hired a new caregiver for Colleen. As soon as we saw her purple hair we knew she was going to be a good fit. She'll start on the 25th, after giving two weeks' notice at her previous job.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Wednesday Clea, our guinea pig, died. She was a simple soul -- piggies aren't renouned for their intelligence -- but affectionate as guinea pigs go, and very calm and laid-back. She joined N's household in November of 2011, half a year before I did, and was eventually joined by Shona and Marieke, both of whom died earlier this year, before we left Rainbow's End. Clea and her herd moved from N's house to my apartment, from there to Rainbow's End. Clea, the last of them, moved from there to the U-District apartment and finally here on Whidbey Island.

Guinea pigs are herd animals, but Clea seemed to handle the loss of her companions calmly. I think by that time her herd included the household humans and even the cats. She would calmly move to another corner when one of the kittens reached into her cage; I admonished them more for my comfort than Clea's.

We buried her in the back yard where she can grow some of the hay she loved to eat, and later some carrots and celery. It seems appropriate.

School starts next week. N's son, j, wants to try home-schooling; I'm teaching science, math, and programming. It's a little daunting; the last time I taught programming I was in grad school, teaching Algol-W (which later became Pascal). I'm rather unsure about which language to teach; Scratch (based on Smalltalk) is an obvious place to start, but I think I'll give him a taste of Scheme and maybe Python as well, and let him decide. Suggestions welcome.

I've also spend an inordinate amount of time on the phone with OnStar/GM/whatever-they-call-themselves about the problems in their website (can't contact the car), email reports (linked to blank page), and phone app (wildly incorrect mi/kwh value). They may make good cars, but the tech support for their software is on a par with AT&T and Comcast. Maybe worse than Comcast. Caveat emptor.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Even at 95% or so the eclipse was pretty spectacular -- the twilight was deep enough that the owls started hooting, and it was noticably cooler. Actually the best part was watching Naomi -- it was her first solar eclipse, and she was enthralled.

We are not going to miss 2024 if we can help it -- we'll start planning and make reservations in 2023.

We are still having problems with the cats. Cricket simply won't tolerate having Ticia in "her" space -- N's room -- and Ticia attacks when she's hissed at rather than backing off like a sensible creature. It may be a couple of weeks before we can let the two of them share common space again, and it would have to be with both bedroom doors locked so that neither of them feels like their private space is being invaded. Even then it might not work.

Bronx is a troublemaker.

Other than that I've mostly been puttering; taking boxes out of the garage, putting up shelves, etc. G" took out the recycling yesteday, so we no longer have a huge box of flattened cardboard in the middle of the kitchen. I took the two boxes (so far) of donations and a box of G's stuff out to the garage. The hallway, living room and bedroom are still pretty cluttered. I have ordered more shelving components from the Container Store.

Mentally, I don't think I'm doing all that well. Lots of anxiety, mostly about the cats, finances (especially medical expenses, which are a lot higher than I'd expected), and Colleen. My self-confidence is completely shot, and my self-esteem doesn't seem to be much better.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Very domestic this week. Mostly, putting up shelves and getting stuff unloaded from the pod and unpacked from boxes. Some things are still in the pod. I do, however, have the shelves up behind the beds, modulo a couple of missing brackets. Nothing much on them yet, but it's a start. I also got Colleen's pole set up, so that she has something to grab onto when she wants to get out of bed.

Cricket and the kittens were sick, so a lot of time and worry went into their care. They have spent a couple of nights in with me and Colleen; we have been a little short on sleep as a result. It's amazing how few kittens it takes to constitute a thundering herd.

Not much going on, other than that. We are gradually finding out how friendly people are here -- that's nice. Several nice little conversations with total strangers.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: Welcome to Rainbow's End (sign) (rainbows-end)

So, it was a week.

I actually got in a couple of walks, so that's good. Half an hour takes me to the bus stop at Goss Lake and E. Harbor, so it makes a nice turnaround. It is, unfortunately, uphill coming back. But a nice walk. I've also been making progress with shelving, and the last pod arrived, with our mattresses, so I could put the beds together. And I have Flame and Snuggles, my guitars, back.

That was the good stuff. On the other hand, ...

I also paid the outrageous copay for Colleen's humira, and (after something like six hours on the phone spread across multiple calls) got what I hope is correct information about how much I'll be paying before the "catastrophic" coverage kicks in. The whole system isn't designed for patients -- it's designed to transfer money from the large corporations that pay for their employees' insurance, to "insurance" companies, and from there to drug companies. As soon as one transitions to Medicare the "copay assistance" card goes away, and your copay goes from $5 to $1400.

Meanwhile, two of our four cats had pretty serious upper respiratory infections. They responded to antibiotics, thank goodness! but...

And it being that kind of a week, one of our toilets isn't draining properly, and I can't reach the problem with a snake. So tomorrow we'll have to call a plumber. Oh, joy! And, it being that kind of week, I got confused about the beds and swapped the head and foot ends. This doesn't work so well with adjustable beds, because the ends adjust differently. Fortunately they roll, but I may still have to do some extra work.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: Welcome to Rainbow's End (sign) (rainbows-end)

Somehow I appear to have missed posting last week. We've moved. (Looking at the notes for last Sunday, I'm guessing that the reason I missed posting was sheer exhaustion -- that was a busy day, and I'd done more lifting than is good for me.)

We moved into the new house on Wednesday. The movers, from Two Men And a Truck, were fast and efficient - we were out of the apartment in an hour and a half. Highly recommended.

My new phone, on the other hand, is not highly recommended. It's a great phone, except that because it was factory unlocked it doesn't support HD Voice and, hence, WiFi Calling. That's bad, because the cell signal here is rather spotty. It could be worse, except that I actually have a signal in the house, albeit a weak one at times.

I spent hours on chat with AT&T's tech support, and hours in their store, and a little while in the T-Mobile store, trying to get the damned thing recognized by the network. No dice. Now it won't even work as a WiFi hotspot, which sucks. I'll have to swap it again. I hate phones. I hate phone companies. H8 H8 H8. (Basingstoke.)

We are mostly moved in, except that our beds are in the second pod, which isn't arriving until next week. Oops. So we're still on the sofabed, which is in the living room because we didn't want to try to deal with moving it out of the bedroom. It's not merely heavy, it's huge, and won't fit vertically through a doorway.

The house is going to take some getting used to. The kitchen is lovely and open, but doesn't have as much storage as we expected -- in particular, there's only one rather narrow set of drawers. So that will take some refactoring.

The biggest problem, though, is the cats. Ticia is no longer being aggressive toward Cricket, but she's curious. Cricket, however, is terrified, and just hides. That's going to take some work -- it's not the usual case where one cat is being aggressive, so the usual procedures for reintroducing cats don't really apply.

Other than that, though, I like it here. There are a few other assorted inconveniences, but the place itself is lovely -- calm and quiet.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

I spent pretty much the whole week, during "working hours" anyway, working on a project that's been on my queue for years: getting my lyrics to print two-sided and ensuring that if songs occupy two pages that they span an even-odd two page spread. It's working, as of this afternoon.

There are a couple of subtleties. Notably, if you're just printing a whole bound songbook, you don't care which side of the page a one-page song goes on. If you're printing individual songs to go into a looseleaf binder, on the other hand, you need a cover sheet on the first (right-hand) page to force both pages of a two-page song onto the correct page. And of course if you're printing lyrics to go on a song's web page, you don't want the cover page. But I have it working.

I also got Father's Day calls from both of my kids, got the keys to the new house (in a little party Monday afternoon), scheduled our move out of the apartment (for Wednesday July 12th, which will give us a little time to pack), got in contact with the various utility companies, and, ... I'm not sure there was much else. That's probably enough.

I still have the persistent feeling of not getting much done, and I'm constantly appalled at how much has to be done before we can move into the new place, and how little time we have. I'm still scared about how little money we have, and worried about the amount of stuff we still have to do to the new house to make it work for our family.

Not to mention whether we'll have anything at all left after Trump and his goons get through destroying our social safety net, not to mention the planet.

And speaking of global warming, it's in the 90s this week. For Seattle, that's scorching.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

The only major news is that we have a firm date for when the previous owner of our house gets all his stuff moved out: June 30th. That's about three weeks sooner than the original worst-case plan, so Colleen and I will have the entire month to get moved in, rather than a week. Yay!

I don't seem to have done much this week. I did get the car charged, and deposited a bunch of checks (including some old enough that I'm not sure they're still good -- I need to get a lot better at that). Mostly I sat around the apartment exploring an assortment of math topics on Wikipedia and YouTube.

It turns out that, thanks to a paper I wrote back at Carleton with one of my math professors, it can easily be determined that my Erdős number is officially 7. Unofficially, if one includes patents as well as actual math papers, it's 4. That still probably exceeds the number of people reading this who knew what an Erdős number is before reading this. The official value almost certainly does.

I did some actual programming yesterday (which I made more progress on today), aimed at bringing my song formatting and typesetting into the 21st Century. Mostly that means switching from postscript files to PDFs everywhere, upgrading to LaTeX2e, and simplifying the build process. There are still a few formatting issues that need to be dealt with; I will be having some fun this week refactoring my horrible old style files into classes.

There was some discussion in comments elsewidth about finding a therapist; I did a little link chasing. Not going to do anything about it until after we move.

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)

Big week. The sale of Rainbow's End (now "Rainbow's Ended"?) closed on Tuesday, after a marathon clean-up session. (The buyers had done a walk-through Monday evening, and called with a list of things that had to be cleaned up. If they weren't done by EOD Tuesday, they were going to hold up closing. Since the closing for our purchase was scheduled for Wednesday, that was a non-starter. Cleanup had to be done.)

First (realtor) Chris and I cleaned up the messes left by the movers who ghosted on us last week, the housekeeper, and me when I came by both Thursday and Sunday and simply ran out of spoons. I think some valuable things may have been hauled off by the guys from 1-800-GOT-JUNK, but I was pretty low on spoons at that point.

After that, (this is still Tuesday!) I met G at UHaul to rent a truck so that we could get his motorcycles out of the garage. Fortunately, our housekeeper (G', if you've been following the details of my notation) offered to store them at her house. We probably came within inches of dropping a bike, more than once.

After that, I came back to the house (no longer ours, since they did close on time) to pick up the hazardous materials we'd taken out of the garage, since GOT-JUNK doesn't do hazmat. I came around to the front after that, and took a blossom and a bud from the Royal Amethist rose. Then I sang "The Mary Ellen Carter" on the way home to keep from losing it.

Wednesday, the purchase of our new house on Whidbey Island closed. I also learned that 1. the household hazmat site on Aurora Avenue is closed on Wednesdays, and 2. latex paint is not considered hazardous, so they won't take it. I was, and still am, too short on emotional cope to react significantly to either event.

Thursday I bought cat litter for solidifying the paint. I was kind of out of it, and didn't do much except reading (see links).

Friday I found out that C had not gotten signed up for Medicare. Damnit, she was positive that she had; if I'd known we could have done it when we visited the office to deliver our marriage license. Weeks ago. Shit. I also took care of the nine cans of paint that actually had room for cat litter to be added.

Saturday I tried to get C signed up for Medicare, and failed. (I failed again today.) There's still a lot of other stuff I've been neglecting.

Meanwhile, I've been doing paperwork mostly connected with health care, utilities, you name it. If I'd been under any illusions that retiring was going to be less stressful than working, well, ... Maybe it gets better? Damned if I know. I've also been reading a lot, mostly math and computer science, probably because it gets me into a flow state where I'm not really aware of anything else. Not being aware of anything mostly sounds pretty good right now.

Oh, yeah; I ought to schedule an appointment with my therapist. Not that that's been doing any noticable good lately. I have difficulty imagining how it could do any good, which may be part of the problem. (That's not a new thing; except for learning about CBT and getting me on the first of a series of drugs that may or may not still be working it didn't do a whole lot for me back in California, either.)

And don't get me started on politics.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

It's been another rough week. This week it's been mostly health care -- I found out Tuesday that Amazon hadn't continued my health care as they said they were going to, so I was unable to order Colleen's humira. (Which, at $1800 for two doses, isn't something one wants to pay for out of pocket.) My HR contact is looking into it, but it took several days to get through; meanwhile I went online and signed up for Medicare Part D and identified a Medigap provider (ExpressScripts and Premera Blue Cross; both for continuity and because they seem to get top reviews. Who knows how long that will last under Trump(Doesn't)Care.)

I know there's something called compassion fatigue. Is despair fatigue a thing? Or is that just another phase of despair? I find myself incapable of being surprised at whatever outrageous thing Trump and the "Republicans" have done each day. (I put "Republicans" in quotes because they are rapidly turning this country into a right-wing dictatorship. I feel powerless to stop them.)

Onward. Had a really good trip with Colleen up to Whidbey Island; we went up the whole length of it and came back by way of Deception Pass. It's been a very long time since Colleen and I went out for a drive that long that was just a drive -- our occasional loop drives along the California coast were probably the last ones. It was a little too long, but it went ok.

I've been spending much of my spare time catching up on my reading. For some reason I'd stopped reading LWN (Linux Weekly News) sometime around the first of the year; in the last two weeks I've completely caught up. You can see the results in the links, most of which came from LWN, or indirectly by way of Sacha Chua's awesome Emacs News. I've also been finding Whidbey-related links. At some point I need to go back through my to.do archives, extract all the links, and aggregate them. They're kind of useless scattered across blog entries the way they are.

I've even done a little walking (not quite every day, and not much because I seem to be walking at about half my old 3mph pace), a little music, and a little hacking (almost entirely cleanup tasks). On the whole, I appear to have been keeping myself busy in a relaxed kind of way, though I haven't yet fallen into any kind of routine. Later, hopefully.

But.

My last few trips down to the house we used to call Rainbow's End (should we call it "Rainbow's Ended" now?) have been increasingly sad and discouraging. We put a lot of ourselves into that house; it was a large part of what we were as a family. Now we're scattered. We'll come back together, mostly, on Whidbey Island in a little over two months; it may very well be wonderful -- I hope it will -- but it won't be the same. I can't keep from thinking of what I might have done differently, over the last few decades(!), that might have made it possible to stay there. Hell, we all made decisions that seemed like the right thing at the time. Can't be fixed.

"I can't fix it!" is probably what I say most often when things are going badly. It always feels like my fault. I don't think I can fix that, either. I should shut up and go for a walk with Colleen.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

So. My first full week of retirement. I want to say I haven't gotten much done, but in fact I seem to have been fairly busy. I've done some work required for selling the old house, and quite a lot of research and discussion around whether we can live the way we want to in the new one. I've taken several walks, including a few st/rolls with Colleen. I've ordered and installed a new keyboard for Cygnus, my main computer. I've started catching up on my reading -- back issues of Science and Linux Weekly News. Pulled out my guitar a couple of times for noodling. I haven't had any panic attacks.

It still doesn't feel like all that much. Apparently I was well on my way to burnout, judging by the amount of pleasure reading I haven't been doing -- I hadn't read LWN since the beginning of the year -- plus the amount of other stuff I haven't been doing. Although one could easily argue that most of that is due to my hatred (fear?) of paperwork.

There is an enormous amount of paperwork (including bill-paying) that still needs doing, and I'm having a lot of trouble getting started on the projects I want to do. But there is, presumably, time.

This coming week will be busy -- Naomi and the kids are moving out of the Seattle house, and I'm still needed to help pack up the garage. Sometime this week we should hear back from the seller about our inspection response; if they accept that it will take a big load off all of us.

I still worry.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

It's been a week. Not only are we moving house, a large number of people are moving from LJ to Dreamwidth. I'd already mostly moved, and since I have a permanent account I'm not likely to leave completely, but I've been reducing my exposure -- the entire journal is marked "adults only" and I've taken off all of my interests and most of my personal details. I also gathered together and posted a few notes on the process, under the tag ljexit. Feel free to crosslink, and to use the tag yourself.

Monday was a bit rough, both emotionally and physically exhausting, from spending all day at Rainbow's End organizing and sorting. I did some finishing-up Tuesday night, taking advantage of a dentist appointment and the resulting personal day, when our mover failed to show up. (We found out later that he'd been in an auto accident on the way up.)

Tuesday night was miserable and mostly sleepless, and I woke up on Wednesday with a queasy stomach and muscle aches. It was a close enough match for flu that I called in sick. As it turned out, though, it's more likely to have been physical overwork, lack of sleep, dehydration, and low blood sugar from having been thinking about things other than self-care for much the previous two days.

Thursday at 1pm our listing went live: 4126 37th Ave SW, Seattle, Washington 98126 | The Warmack Group. If you're reading this and interested, the open house is this weekend, and you only have a couple more days to get an offer in.

Friday I got in to work late, having gone with N. to look at another house. I very much wanted to get in to work for the last meeting of the day, with $BOSS and $HR_PERSON. Um... yeah. I've been offered an "early" retirement package. (Scare quotes because it would be only a couple of months before my target date.) I may very well take it. The emotional roller-coaster ride one might expect from having to look reality in the face from up close, but at this point I think I'm ready.

Saturday -- yesterday -- Naomi and I went to look at The Dome House in Monroe. It was magical. Almost perfect for us -- EXCEPT: it's isolated as heck, at the end of a mile of twisty, narrow, gravel road. Haul the garbage to the dump yourself. Lots of unpermitted, unfinished construction in the barn. It would have been perfect for who we were 20 years ago. *sigh* I wouldn't have missed seeing it, but it makes me sad to have to pass it up. N called it the other end of the rainbow. Had a great talk with the owner, who is moving to someplace dryer for health reasons.

So that's the week. I'm glad it's over.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

This was a week of settling in to life at Split End -- our apartment in the U District. Unfortunately, we took pretty much everything that was in the kitchen -- even after taking two boxes back there's much more than we have room for. Yeah, the boxes fit in the apartment, but...

Much sadness about leaving Rainbow's End. Yes, it's an adventure, and Naomi says that she likes the way that I almost always say "yes" to adventures. I grumble about them while they're in progress, but then find that they were worth while. And she's basically right. I worry, and I get down on myself for the decisions that seemed like good ideas at the time, and freak out occasionally, but apparently I keep doing it. So here we are.

I have, however, been having a pretty rough time of it emotionally. Near as I can tell, because alexithymia. (Which is to say that emotions are happening, but I can't usually tell what they are. Only that they hurt.)

We are preapproved for a $300K mortgage on a second home. We will probably make any offer we make contingent on selling RE just so we don't get stuck with two mortgages if it doesn't sell right off or the buyers back out after the inspection. But still.

We can haz internet. Went with Comcast, because they do service with no contract. Had the devil's own time getting connected, in spite of the fact that Comcast could see and provision my modem just fine. Turns out that the only way to get a DHCP lease is to *reset* the modem! Remind me to stay away from TP-Link equipment in the future. (It also took me a long time to set my router up -- apparently you have to reboot it after a hard reset. Otherwise it just hangs in the boot loader, possibly waiting for a TFTP load.

Saturday we went to look at houses in Snohomish. The first was amusing; we were basically run off the property after the owner drove by our van to let us in, and saw our Obama bumper sticker. Ooooookay then. Thanks for telling us what we needed to know about the neighborhood.

The second place was superficially attractive; it even had a ramp--in the pictures. They had apparently removed it. It was, however, in pretty poor shape, with water damage to the floors and foundation issues. So we'll keep looking.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Nasty, uncomfortable things!

As my dedicated readers (all three or four of them) are probably aware, Rainbow's End is being sold. It goes on the market, in fact, in a couple of weeks. (BTW, if you want a superb 6-bedroom house in West Seattle, complete with concert hall, ...) In order to present the place in the best light, we have vacated the top two floors, replaced the carpets, and removed the stair lifts. Colleen and I have been sleeping on our sofabed in the Rainbow Room.

Saturday, we moved. Or, rather, went out to a terrific Japanese restaurant in Port Townsend to celebrate the Younger Daughter's birthday, while our moving crew hauled what turned out to be three truckloads of stuff to the apartment. The plan was for us to drive home; pick up (cat) Ticia, (guinea pig) Clea, and (guitar) Plink; come back to an apartment full of boxes; and get settled in. Um..., not quite. In retrospect, leaving Clea at home was the best decision I made all day.

Because the keys, with the all-important fob that gets one into the building and then the elevator, slipped off a box and went through the crack between the elevator and the floor.

Meanwhile, I was driving home. Attempting to follow slightly confusing directions, on a phone that suddenly did not have a visible display! It was particularly confusing because I had missed a turn, and the phone was trying to direct me to turn around. But I didn't know that, either. I pulled off at an intersection in Kitsap that had a convenience store where I could use a bathroom, and switched to Colleen's phone. Fighting, again, with Google Maps, that wanted to direct me to a route it thought was faster, using a ferry. The last thing I needed was to wait an hour or two if I missed the ferry. Of course, I spent nearly that long in a traffic jam in Tacoma.

The traffic jam in Tacoma was where N called me to give me the bad news about the keys. The backup plan was to get buzzed in using the building manager's door code. Which worked fine until I used it too many times figuring out how to keep the garage door open, and said building manager started sending it to voice mail. (I'd thought that it was automated. Nope.) Leaving me outside in the cold, Colleen and Ticia inside waiting for an elevator, and both our phones, plus the litter box that actually had litter in it (we'd sent an empty one ahead), in the van.

After some kind person finally let me in, we proceeded to the apartment. Which is where we determined that we had no phones, no cat litter, and no way of getting back into the elevator after getting them. After meltdown, panic attack, or whatever it was, I proceeded to knock on doors until I found someone who actually opened the door and said they would buzz me in. I arrived downstairs just about the same time as the police, who were investigating an apparent intruder who was knocking on peoples' doors. This is apparently a standard MO for homeless people in the area.

Fortunately, at this point I was well beyond the panic and able to see the humor in the situation, so I had a pleasant conversation with one cop while another went upstairs to knock on my door to confirm with Colleen that we actually lived there.

It wasn't until I got back to the apartment that I took a good look at the phone and realized that the screen wasn't dying, it had just had its brightness turned all the way down. I also figured out that setting up my phone to let people in couldn't be done without having an account set up on dwelo.com. And we had a nice visit from the young lady who had called 911 to report me.

I've lost track of how many anxiety meltdowns I had; at some point I got over the panic and had a nice bout of acute depression.

We have spent the rest of the weekend in the apartment, finding out what's missing and what we have to send back to Rainbow's End to go into the storage pod after all.

Today has been cozy and domestic, sorting through boxes and figuring out which things we actually have room to keep in our apartment's tiny cabinets. And eating veggie, because while I was able to find two cans of crabmeat, the only can-opener we had was a battery-powered one that Colleen had just purchased. Batteries not included.

Oh, and did I mention the scratches I got as I attempted to corner a terrified Ticia and get her into her carrier? Those too.

Meanwhile, here we are.

Notes & links, as usual )

posted late because my emacs client is flaking out. Probably due to the HTTPS redirection.

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

It's been a busy week here at Rainbow's End -- last weekend was g's Bat Mitzava and the associated parties; this weekend my Mom is visiting, and we had a few of the local cousins visiting yesterday. In preparation for last week's parties, we had the Great Room almost completely cleared out.

That, of course, made things interesting for this week's party, especially since many of our folding chairs are also in the pod. But between the purple sofabed, my desk chair, what was once Colleen's sewing chair, N's old recliner, and a couple of clunky metal folding chairs that had been languishing on the porch, we managed. We used three of our folding tray tables as a makeshift buffet for cheese and crackers, the blue coffee cups as wineglasses, and had a great afternoon and evening of food and conversation. Never found an opening for music, but...

We are trying, so far without success, to find an apartment for Colleen and I to move into for the next couple of months. Furnished apartments rented month-to-month are mainly for corporate clients, which can afford to pay hotel-room prices: 3-4K/month is typical. There's one place for about 1600, but the rooms are small, the "kitchen" is a tiny microwave, and they don't allow pets. We could manage unfurnished, though it would mean hauling our beds and Colleen's chair.

I was on call this week at work; I found someone to swap with for the weekend, so I'm off the hook until some weekend in May. $PROJECT officially launches (dialed up to 1%) on Monday, which is my actual birthday. So there's that.

I'm not in the best shape physically -- anything that requires me to bend over, like cleaning the floor or changing the bed, is likely to be very bad for my back. Bringing in the desk chair from the Great Room, however, is definitely helping. At least half my problems were caused by trying to use a computer from a folding chair. It also helps that the desk chair lets me use my heating pad.

I'm almost certainly not in terribly good shape emotionally (modulo alexithymia, of course). Leaving the house is hard. Well, grief counseling is one of the Middle-Sized Bear's job functions. I should probably re-read "Mark Elf" to remind myself of that.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

I was on vacation this last week. Which means that it was extremely busy, but in a different way from work. That's not a bad thing. There were two major events, so we'll take them chronologically.

Monday Naomi and I went out looking at houses with (realtor) Chris. There was one place that we found that looked intriguing, and two that we thought were worth trying for. The intriguing place, the third one we looked at, was a five bedroom place for about 280K, the high end of our range. It had two usable sections, plus a huge unfinished basement. It would have cost us about another 100K to remodel to the point of usability. (Another place, less interesting, was an absolute dump, but had a large back yard that we could have easily put a tiny on.)

The first place we looked at was a great-looking mobile, fairly new, for an astounding price. I figured, correctly, that it would be selling for considerably over the asking price. When we saw the place in Maple Valley, we pretty much didn't care. We took G, Colleen, and the kids out Thursday evening. They loved it as much as N and I did.

I'm not going to say much about it until after we have an offer in, and there could still be dealbreakers in the inspection and feasibility study, but it's basically everything we were looking for: a piece of land with an existing cottage for me and Colleen, and space for a tiny house for N and G. (One kid in each.) The price is right on the edge of what we can buy for cash (and we'll have to) after our present house sells.

OK, that's the first thing.

The second was g's Bat Mitzva. It was wonderful, and g basically blew people away. It was followed by a small party for the visiting family members on both sides -- we provided the space, and g's dad and step-mom provided the rented equipment and food. Those are getting used today as well, for the kids' party.

I'd forgotten (or never knew) how wonderful the music was -- it's been over 50 years since the last one of those I'd been to, and for that matter they may not have been that musical. The entire Hebrew portion was chanted. I never learned the language, despite my heritage, but it didn't matter. I just let myself be carried away on the music.

Wish us luck on the house transactions!

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Long month this week. Colleen started feeling ill Monday, and didn't eat anything to speak of; she spent most of the day dozing in her chair, and decided to sleep there at night. About midnight she called -- she'd fallen out of the chair; no telling whether she'd slipped when getting up, or accidentally hit the lift button. Called 911 for help. In retrospect, we should have had her taken to the ER at that point.

I decided to work from home Tuesday, which was a Good Thing. About 3:30 when I went up to check on her she was incoherent -- "out of it". Called 911; she was too weak to walk to the lift, so they had to carry her down in a stair chair. She had about three different bladder infections and was severely dehydrated; it was the low blood pressure from the latter that accounted for the weakness and incoherence.

Harborview's cafeteria is actually pretty decent.

She was discharged Friday; was good to have her home.

Meanwhile, since being with a sleeping person in a hospital leaves one with lots of time, I'd managed to get in about 2.5 days worth of work, and finally got the CR I'd been working on shipped Friday. I went in to work Thursday afternoon after establishing that C wasn't going to be discharged that day, and had my annual review conversation with $BOSS.

I'd been very skeptical about the new annual review process, which is absolutely freaking weird. Peer reviews have two questions, with a 60-word limit for each:

  1. What is this person's superpower? (required)
  2. Do you have any growth ideas for them? (optional)

The manager's part of it is the same two questions, only I think without the 60-character limit. The self-evaluation part has four questions.

As I said, skeptical. But it actually seemed to go very well: it's designed to highlight your strengths, and completely ignore past performance. The feedback I got from my peers (my manager could see who wrote which one, but one gets them unedited) was basically dead on. The fact that $PROJECT was in "friends and family" testing and stalled due to something that wasn't my fault (fixed by Friday) helped a lot.

My favorite superpower was "CraftWeaver". Others mentioned my willingness to mentor and answer questions from newer devs. Someone specifically mentioned the fact that when someone sends out a question in email to a wide audience, I'm usually the one who jumps on it with an answer. The most common growth idea was that I should speak up more in meetings.

Of course, the other thing going on in the household is moving. I got the tools sorted on Sunday, and with several peoples' help got the art sorted, mostly Sunday and yesterday. N's criterion for keeping art is pretty loose, based on the fact that it stores flat and can be rotated. Chaos and the Dwarves also took quite a lot of it; there are comparatively few pictures left in the discard pile. Most of the furniture is gone from the Great Room; the only things left are the klic-klacs (which we're keeping), the blue sectional (which we're keeping through next week), and the piano. Want a free piano?

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Did I mention that we're moving? We got a portable storage unit just a week ago. It's pretty big, but we're downsizing a lot, too. We might make it. Naomi has hired an Organizer to help; I got to work with her yesterday and she is indeed fantastic.

At this point I have my desk cleared and ready to go away, and pretty much everything in boxes and bins. I have a big stack of hard drives to wipe, about the same size stack to wipe or repurpose, and a huge stack of laptops to go through. Friday I helped N clear out the area downstairs that needs to be repaired; Travis started yesterday. I'm tired and pretty much brain-fried.

We've been making progress at work, but there are still problems. I'm on call next week, at least until I can find a substitute. That will be complicated by the 6" of snow predicted for tomorrow.

I've been hating having to move, but I have to say that actually clearing out the junk and downsizing radically is rather cheering. Don't know whether that's because it's doing something, or something more specific to what we're doing, but whatever it is, I'll take it.

I have a fair amount of stuff that should go to a good home. A really nice tower PC in an Antec P150 case -- it's nearly silent. A 12-string guitar. Some recording gear. A 15" Gem PA speaker (Musician's Friend has them on sale every so often). A piano.

Oh, and a really awesome house. 6 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, two living rooms, two kitchens, and a great room/concert hall that seats 70, all fully handicap accessible. Going to miss this place.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: (distress)

This last weekend was Conflikt, our local filk convention. GOH was the incomparable Judi Miller; Vixy and Tony were the toast-band, Mark Peters was Interfilk guest, and there was the usual assortment of other guests, including Mary Crowell doing a concert and album release party.

Mark's guest panel was unusual -- he's the sound person for OVFF, so it was a combination talk and live demo. Fun! Judi, in addition to being a simply amazing sign-language interpreter, has a beautiful singing voice as well.

I only sang a few songs: Windward, plus helping Chaos with Filk Inside the Circle (her filk of World Inside the Crystal) Saturday; The Bears and Millennium's Dawn on Sunday while the brunch was going on elsewhere.

Some lovely catching up with people, and I met a couple of new people (Halley and Becca)

I've been stressed all week about the impending move (impending -- that's what doom does, right?) plus the impending (see above) live tests that our project really isn't ready for. Last night was particularly bad; a combination of con drop, frantic sorting, and some highly stressful cleanup. When I finally got to bed I just curled up into a ball for a while. Cat therapy helps some.

Sorting is hard. There are a lot of old memories that I'm having trouble processing, not to mention just plain grieving. Still, there are bright spots. For a while now we've been tossing some items into boxes labeled "Interfilk". There were three of them. It took me an hour and a half to unpack everything and put bid sheets on it; I think we amounted to about a third of the items. *Sigh* a lot of history there. But when something's been in a box for the last five years, or ten, and you haven't missed it, there's really not much point in hanging on to it.

Doesn't keep me from wishing I didn't have to.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: (crowdfunding)

Ysabetwordsmith's Poetry Fishbowl is Open!

Go feed the fish!

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

(Just as an aside, I note the fact that I think it necessary to put a question mark after my mood whenever it's "ok" or better. This says something about me, but I have no idea what.)

The week was bracketed by two excellent celebration meals -- brunch at Salty's last Sunday to celebrate Colleen and my anniversary, and dinner at 13 Coins to celebrate N's birthday.

Within those brackets were car problems. Our new van ran out of gas while parked on a hill; we have not been successful in restarting it, so it's going to require towing. That's complicated by the fact that there's a car parked in front of it that hasn't moved in weeks, so that will require knocking on the owners' door and talking to them. Our old van needs to have its right rear tire replaced -- that's scheduled for Monday. I do have to give myself credit for making the call, but mostly I just want to crawl into a hole and hide.

One of the guinea pigs died. We've had them for almost five years; she apparently passed quietly in her sleep after a day or two of lethargy. Poor little critter.

Moderately productive at work. Less so at home.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

So 2017 started with an inch of snow on the ground, and the entire week has been unseasonably cold. Welcome to global warming? I spent most of last week trying, with limited success, to catch up on the things I'd fallen behind on over my week of vacaton. I may survive the month.

Now that LJ has moved its servers to Russia (dropping HTTPS and at least a hundred pro-Ukraine blogs in the process), it seemed like a good time to disable comments on my crossposts and direct all comments to Dreamwidth. If you're reading this on LJ you can comment there with OpenID as [yourname]@livejournal.com. But I think you'd be better off making yourself a Dreamwidth account, importing your LJ, and crossposting. Just ask if you need help -- I've been giving out lots of advice.

The other news is that we (N and I) bought a new (to us) car -- it's a 2004 Honda Odyssey which (who?) seems to be going by the name Rosie.

We have also done quite a bit of cleaning-up and downsizing; first order of business is to get the downstairs cleared out so it can have a new floor and kitchen cabinets installed. Needs doing.

... and yesterday I transplanted my storage server into a small case. It's back on the mini-ITX board I'd had it on for the last couple of years; the smaller case makes a lot more room on the shelf. Downsizing.

Looks like it's going to be an interesting year. Lots of adventures. Nasty, uncomfortable things.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: (flamethrower)

It was a long year last week. 2016 is dead and buried; it wouldn't be hard to do better, but I don't expect 2017 to make the effort.

I was going to put a summary of the year here. I'm not up for it. See my previous post for a wrap-up of what I mostly didn't do. I can't think of any major accomplishments to report, except maybe living through it. That may have to do.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Moderately productive, though not as much as I needed to be. Story of my life, I guess.

Plans have firmed up: I am retiring next year; we are putting the house on the market in Spring, and moving to New England. We will probably buy a house there, unless things look so bad that we think we'll have to leave the country within the next year. I hate this. At least I can't blame myself for Trump and his gang. I can and do blame myself for the financial trainwreck. I was in denial for a loooooong time. We all were. I still am, to some extent.

Colleen, Giselle, and Naomi have done a lot of decluttering in the sewing corner, cubhouse, downstairs, and some of the books. It's a start. I've started, too, clearing off the clutter from the Great Room hearth, starting to sort through my boxes. I'm still attached to a lot of things; I need to be more ruthless. There are boxes and boxes of little things I never used, kept because there might be a use for them someday. Or that turned out to require more effort than I wanted to spend, and hung around until they were totally obsolete. (A lot of little Linux boxen in that category.) We still haven't started on the garage. For the second time, or is it the third?

Did I mention that I hate this? I hate this.

I've been having a little fun with the guitar I brought in to work last week. That, at least, has been ok. And my family is awesome. And we have cats.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Moderately productive week. I am still not entirely confident about the project I'm on at work, but there's a chance we may pull it off. Some work on improving my websites. Some good progress (mostly on Colleen's part) at downsizing the household. Plans for the next year are firming up.

I have decided to retire next year. And many decades of shortsighted and stupid financial decisions mean that we won't be able to keep this house after I stop working. So... downsizing. It's sad, but also liberating: for the first time in years I am not terrified of losing my job. "The realisation that one is to be hanged in the morning concentrates the mind wonderfully," and it was the looming prospect of possibly having to flee a Nazi-occupied country within the next few years that made us decide to do it now rather than later.

Meanwhile, listen to Songs That Help Ease Anxiety, and go read Catherynne M. Valente's The Beasts Who Fought For Fairyland Until the Very End and Further Still --

We must say Yes to the story where, after a long battle, the dark lord is cast down into infinite nothingness or burnt to a crisp or at the very least sent to bed without supper, and everyone cheers and dances and has a party afterward. But most of all, we must say Yes to the truth and the speaking of it. We must say No to silence.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Almost productive this week. The weekly design meeting brought some much-needed clarity to my current project, and provided the justification I needed for the simplest design, which I had already partly implemented. Win. Also Q4 scaling. The service I'm working with is one of the easy ones -- it's old, deprecated, and most of the use cases have been moved to its replacement. So it's already massively overscaled.

I've started practicing for my concert at Orycon - late as usual, but I'll get there. Also as usual, it will take a day or three for my finger-calluses to come back.

Reading: finished Mindline and Family, completing the Dreamhealers series by M.C.A. Hogarth. I should keep better track.

Not getting much housework done. That could be a problem. Something about motivation?

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: (flamethrower)

Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for literature. I am still kind of blown away. I mean... He's one of my personal heroes, and I've always known that there's a difference between a songwriter and a poet who sets their poems to music. The latter are quite rare. Most -- all? -- songwriters know which side of the divide they fall on. But... But... Nobel Prize!

Meanwhile, here I am on Desolation Row. Our predicted storm of the century wasn't even the storm of the decade; but it still did quite a lot of damage. The zipper on my pants broke -- again. We have a crack in the floor of our basement, which of course water is coming up through. I cut a corner too close and badly scraped the side of the van. What's left of my self-confidence is somewhat in tatters.

They're spoon-feeding Cassanova
To get him to feel more assured
Then they'll kill him with self-confidence
After poisoning him with words.


Ok, so at least I don't have to worry about that. Also on the plus side in no particular order, we never lost power, we can see the crack because I have been procrastinating getting the floor re-done since our flood last year, our second tenant has moved in, and all the damage to the van was cosmetic. So there's that.

Rather an unproductive week at work.

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)

2016 can go hang itself. In the last week the filk community has lost Lucy Stern, Kira Heston, and JoEllyn Davidoff. Colleen's friend Bev lost her fiance. The folk world lost Oscar Brand. Enough!

The rest of it seems kind of lame. I'll try. Meanwhile, there's this infographic of the stages of grief vs reality.

I successfully replaced the USB port on Colleen's tablet -- I am now feeling fairly confident of my ability to fix modern computing devices. Meanwhile, though, Colleen had expressed an interest in replacing both her tablet and her kindle with a Kindle Fire, so when I spotted a used Fire HD 6 on sale at, well, a fire sale price, I got it for her. So now I have a Kindle paperwhite. I may go back to reading books on the bus instead of news. It would be good for my blood pressure.

My hypertension also provided a convenient excuse for not watching the presidential debate. I already know who I'm voting against, thanks. First election I can remember where Darth Vader and Cthulhu dropped out early.

At work, my sit-stand desk showed up over the weekend. Having a desk that goes down to a proper typing height, which for me turns out to be 25.5 inches, is wonderful. Tried standing a couple of times -- it hurts to do more than a couple of minutes. I'm supposed to work up to 15 minutes out of every hour. Probably not happening, but we'll see.

Also got my Microsoft ergonomic keyboard; it took me most of the week to get used to it, but it may work. If not, I can always go back to the Thinkpad keyboard. I bought one of the newer ones for home, which means that I could swap the older one I'd been using there for the one at work, which had developed a dicey space bar.

Finally got around to paying a few bills. I suck at that kind of thing.

My depression and anxiety numbers were down -- 5 each -- at my session with my therapist on Tuesday. I'm not sure the therapy is doing me much good except as a way of getting something of an objective reading on my mental state, but that's probably a good thing in its own right.

Somebody sent me a link that his daughter found and suggested putting on Interesting Places for Kids. Which I did, but it's so horribly out of date that most of its links are broken, including all of the links to it, now that I've dropped the places.to domain. (Tonga raised the rent, and I didn't think it was worth it.) Oh, and also the build system, which relied on the no-longer-maintained cPIA: XML Macro Processing in C for templating. Need to put that on GitHub. Thought I had, actually.

Oh, yeah: the link:

As the father of two 6th grade girls (twins) I've been looking for weather resources to help them with their natural disaster project in their Earth Science class! Your weather guides have been a big help. As a thank you, I wanted to send you this page that one of my daughters found: http://www.aaastateofplay.com/staying-safe-outdoors-in-severe-weather/.

And I'm primary oncall next week. Oh, joy! It's probably going to be a busy one, though hopefully not as rough as the last one.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

At work, we finally ran the numbers again and figured out that, no, $PROJECT is not going to be finished in October. Current target is mid-December, but even that may be a stretch. The good thing is that it isn't all my fault, though I still blame myself for most of the bad planning.

At home, I finished pulling up the bindweed. There are some stragglers, but at least it's no longer covering 50' of walkway.

I finally put in my passport renewal - I found the one place in the area that's open on Saturday, after trying on Wednesday at the courthouse and balking at the metal detector because I knew I was carrying a knife. The process of applying in person has gotten a lot quicker since the last time I did it, but I'm still down on myself for procrastinating past the point where I could have renewed by mail.

It looks like we'll have a second tenant, so we'll be getting a little more rent. Because of initial clustering, she'll be referred to as C''. Our current tenant is C'. (I've picked up that notation from Haskell, in which "'" (pronounced "prime") is considered a letter. Haskell gets it from math, of course, but it's gone out of fashion in CS because programming languages are always hungry for quotation methods.)

I finally ordered one of the newest Thinkpad (KU-1255) keyboards -- it's still good. In some ways, slightly better than my older and much-beloved XK-8855s -- the one I'm using at work has developed a flaky space bar. (Too many aliens hanging out in it, presumably.) I like the fact that it has the page-up and page-down keys in the empty spaces above the left and right keys. Not only does that make the best use of available space, but it means that if I shove the keyboard under the monitor stand to protect it from cats, I can still navigate effectively in the browser. I don't like that the function keys are smaller and require a "FnLk" keystroke, and that it has a stupid micro-usb cable instead of one built-in with a compartment on the bottom you can curl it up in.

Otherwise, not too much to report. Some links on depression, though as I note on Monday, five of the ten symptoms of major depression start with the word "change", which is kind of useless when you can't remember a time when you've been that way for as long as you can remember. (You have to have 5 to be diagnosed as having it.)

awesome-awesome: A curated list of awesome curated lists of many topics is indeed awesome. So is Make a Lisp, which is a collection of Lisp implementations in dozens of different programming languages. The idea of implementing Lisp in make makes (recursion intended) my head hurt. In a good way -- I love GNU make.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Back to work after a nice but too-short staycation. I got a little over half of my list done, and a few more started; that's about what I expected. (The actual list is in the notes, between Sunday and Monday.) I also spent all day Saturday (see last week) reconfiguring my household server after some hard drive corruption. So Nova has been switched from Debian to Ubuntu, and is being used as both the file server and my main workstation. Which has some advantages.

The vacation definitely reduced my stress level, though I think I'm still way behind on things at work. That wasn't helped by my swapping my secondary oncall, originally scheduled for the second week in October. However, I found the memory leak that's been blocking one of our deployments for weeks, so I'm feeling fairly pleased with that.

The charging port on Colleen's tablet finally got to the point where no cable in the house was making good enough contact to reliably charge it; I ordered a new part and some tools. Then ordered more tools, because the kit I ordered didn't include decent spudgers. (I love that word!)

I'm still spending too much time on Quora. Their user interface continues to suck, though, and I gave up on cross-posting to Facebook because they insist on posting an irrelevant image with a picture of the first few words of the question, instead of actual text. Still cross-posting to Twitter, and getting a little feedback there, but I don't actually read Twitter so I don't much care what it looks like. I put links here in the notes when I write something I'm reasonably pleased with.

In spite of my expertise in programming, I find myself mostly answering dating and relationship questions. I figure that 40-odd years of marriage at least indicates some familiarity with the subject, and in most cases the answers are pretty obvious. "How do I know whether X likes me?" "You ask them." "What should I do after she (always she -- funny thing aout that) rejected me?" "Leave her alone and go look for somebody else." I also do it because many of the other answers I see are not only clueless but amount to recommending harassment.

I think the real reason I do it is that it counteracts my near-total lack of self-confidence in my social skills. Not that I can actually apply those "skills" in the field, of course. Not that I take my own advice and, um, practice. Oh. Right.

If you're looking for something fun to read, Lúthien: Tolkien’s Badass Elf Princess is a great retelling of "Beren and Lúthien in "Badass of the Week" style.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

This post covers most of my week-long vacation, so while it's not quite time for a wrap-up of my goals, I can say that I met about half of them. Which was about what I expected.

The big accomplishment for the week, without a doubt, was posting my one-line Linux setup/configuration package up on GitHub. (I then spent much of the rest of the week debugging and tweaking, but that's also to be expected.) It's called Honu, after the Hawaiian name for the green sea turtle, because a turtle carries its home around with it. The README starts off with this quote from my song, Windward, because I just couldn't resist:

Where the wind takes us next year no turtle can tell
But we'll still be at home, come high water or hell,
Because home is wherever you carry your shell.

The implied puns on $HOME and sh(1) are, of course, entirely intentional.

Honu is meant to be fairly general; it's expected that any user -- including me! -- is going to want to customize the heck out of it. To that end, there's a sample customization package, also on GitHub, called Myrtle. Of course. (My own customization package, which you will not find on GitHub, is called Mathilda, after LookingGlass Folk's name for the narrator of "Windward".)

It hasn't been all roses and rainbows, however. I've spent an inordinate amount of time coping with the bindweed (morning glory's evil twin) that has overgrown the walkway along the south side of the house, sorting a year or two's worth of mail, and recovering from last week's disk crash on the server. I've been doing quite a lot of writing, though a lot of that has been on Quora, so I'm not sure whether that counts toward my daily writing goal, or away from it.

I'll say one thing for Quora, though -- it makes me appreciate my own knowledge and social skills. Being able to answer questions is a real boost to my self-confidence in both those areas. Who knew?

Psychologically, well, ... mixed. I've definitely been less stressed out the last two days of the week than the first two -- I was able to handle a trip downtown that turned out to be a total write-off, due to things being closed/not where I expected, quite calmly and even with a little wry humor. The check from last week's stock sale arrived on Tuesday, which helped. On the other hand, it still apparently doesn't take much frustration to put me back over the edge.

I was a total wreck on Sunday. I seem to handle stress a lot better when I'm by myself. With Colleen around, especially, I get into a horrible feedback loop. By the time I got home I could probably have used an Ativan, but my prescription on those has long since expired. I settled for reading and gin. Low blood sugar may have contributed; I'm not sure I can tell the difference between anxiety and hunger. Alexithymia in action.

I am not ready to go back to work tomorrow. I may never be ready. I'll do it, but it won't be pretty. Notes & links, as usual )

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

Moderately productive. Two "publishing events".

  1. Sex and the Single Link is up on my "formal" website, Stephen.Savitzky.net. This is, despite the clickbait title, an article about the joy of singly-linked lists.
  2. MakeStuff is up on GitHub. This the first of several projects I intend to put up there; it's the collection of makefiles and scripts that powers all my websites. You can see it in action here.

Apart from that, and a bunch of Quora answers, not a whole lot going on. One my Quora answers led to a good discussion on the comment thread. Fairly prodctive at work, though as usual not quite as much as I wanted to be.

One particularly interesting article for the programmers in the audience, Developer Differences: Makers vs Menders, which seems to describe me fairly well.

Also of note, the first episode of the Lesbian Historic Motif Project Podcast: Ordinary Women by Heather Rose Jones ([livejournal.com profile] hrj on LJ) is up.

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)

ysabetwordsmith | Poetry Fishbowl Open!

Go feed the fishies.

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

Done with my taxes. I owe quite a lot, but it's less than last year and about half what I was afraid I was going to have to pay based on what the software was showing me when I started. Not complaining.

I fastened a large cardboard box to my desk and lined it with a towel. The cats love it. Hardly any trouble anymore with cats walking across my keyboard. In addition, Desti is a great lap cat, especially when I'm sitting in the Rainbow Room with Colleen.

The work downstairs is almost done! There's still some electrical work left in the garage, but other than that it's basically habitable. Movers come tomorrow at noon for the big stuff, i.e. furniture.

xmonad is still cool, though not quite as much so on my work laptop due to downrev versions of xmobar and dzen2, the auxiliary status bar programs. Neither of them works well enough to give me clickable desktop names. But the only time I really care about being able to navigate without the keyboard is when there's a cat on my desk, and that only happens at home.

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

I seem to have mostly switched to xmonad as my window manager. This is a Good Thing -- I seem to be better able to concentrate with a less-cluttered screen. (On the other hand, I'm less productive while I'm still hacking on the configuration. That may be less of a good thing. There are, unfortunately, still a few things that don't work well in it.

Meanwhile, despite being fairly productive at work, I have gotten behind on a couple of longer-term things -- namely taxes, and a presentation that I'm supposed to be giving next Friday. (It's more fun to read Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!.)

It was quite warm several days this week. That is not expected to last, but it does indicate that Spring may be on its way. Not to be confused with the Spring Framework. Which I am not happy with.

I am also starting to do yard work again, after neglecting it for almost all of last year. (Partly because depression; not clear on the rest.)

Sigh. Too many things have fallen by the wayside. I, perhaps, am one of them.

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

A good week for Sanders supporters. Last Sunday we went to the Bernie Sanders rally at Key Arena, and yesterday was the Democratic caucuses. (There was another rally Friday evening that G and N went to, but I didn't.) As you probably know, Bernie won big in all three of Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii yesterday.

The rally was amazing. He's an electrifying speaker, with a message that resonates deeply with this old radical's values. We need him in the White House.

This was the first time I've been in a caucus, and despite the reference in Alice it wasn't dry at all. Mostly fun, with some boring bits and too much standing.

Inspired by the Functional Programming Principles in Scala course that our team's reading group is taking, I have branched out into Haskell and started to set up xmonad, the tiling window manager that rocks. The main reason for that is the way it handles multiple monitors, which looks like a great match for the way I use my work laptop, always switching between stand-alone at meetings, and plugged into multiple monitors on my desktop.

Still trying to wrap my head around monads and category theory in functional programming. Multiple Wikipedia dives on that one.

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

The week started with my 69th birthday, continued on through Pi Day and Colleen's birthday, and ended with dinner in Port Townsend celebrating Emmy's birthday a week early (to keep from being out of town for caucus day).

It was also a busy and productive week at work. Finally. Winding up in a corner with a window in front of me after the move seems to have helped; there is also more space in the new layout, and fewer TPMs, both of which reduce the cross-talk. I started working on my taxes, which probably won't be quite as bad as last year.

Pretty good week, considering.

Considering that I'm well over half a million in debt, in a house that is just what we want but which we won't be able to afford if I lose my job, which seems likely because I'm neither enjoying it much nor performing as well as I need to. I'm depressed and anxious, both with good reasons.

Looking back over years and decades of horribly bad decisions, and wondering whether there's any way out of the hole I've dug for myself. Probably not.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: a locomotive engine dangling from a hole in a building (trainwreck)

How the fuck did I get to be 69 years old? I'm still busy misspending my youth!

Speaking of misspending, I managed to scare the heck out of myself by transferring money for the mortgage payment to the household account, then paying it out of my personal account because I didn't think the transfer would post quickly enough. Wrong on both counts. No lasting harm done, but still...

In other news, although I've been a little more productive than usual, I'm seriously concerned that it isn't enough.

Taxes are in progress. It's probably going to be a trainwreck again.

Not really a good year. I think that, from about March through September, I was basically out of my mind with depression and anxiety. I may have my meds stabilized now, but I'm still having to deal with the fallout from what I screwed up.

The last few days I've been swinging between despairing (finances) and whatever state I'm in when I have a purring, blissed-out cat next to me. I don't think it's either happy or contented, but whatever it is it's better than the alternatives.

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

Not a great week -- they rarely are -- but not too bad. Reasonably productive. As I wrote on Wednesday, hopefully that's the new normal for work. Quite a lot of laptop updating and some upgrading, cascading from N's disk failing to boot. Not clear whether the data is recoverable, but meanwhile she has a couple of options for laptops that work.

Our team's reading group has started taking Coursera: Functional Programming Principles in Scala. Which inevitably kicked off a couple of days' worth of Wikipedia dives into functional programming. And category theory, because monads. I'm going to have to learn Haskell next.

I want to get back into recording; so far the only thing I have to show for that is picking up my guitar twice to get back into practice. We'll see how far that goes.

Sometime on Friday I apparently noticed that my self-talk has gotten increasingly negative and self-critical, especially while walking. Which may have something to do with not walking as much as I used to. (The fact that the factual content is, as far as I can tell, accurate is NOT HELPFUL.) I did manage to reschedule the appointment with my therapist that I had to put off a couple of weeks ago. So that's something.

Your attention is drawn to the following music-related links:

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

It's only been two days since my last "done" post, but I wanted to finish off the month, and in any case it's been a fairly eventful couple of days.

Lots of Linux configuration stuff (and more today), much of it triggered by the hard drive to SSD upgrade I did on my laptop. Tweaking is still ongoing, but mostly it's done (for example, I'm posting from it). And Sunday I nailed a configuration problem (having to do with locales, but showing up only as inability to start gnome-terminal over ssh). Fun!

Yesterday had been set aside at work for doing or learning something new. I spent the day learning the Go programming language. It has a lot to recommend it: fast as a bat, first class functions, real closures, duck-typed interfaces, coroutines and channels, documentation done right (i.e. simple, ordinary comments). A few things to dislike, but I'm likely to try some small projects in it.

I could still have gotten more done. Notes & links, as usual )

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

Mixed. Good week in some ways -- Thursday's basement-cleaning exercise with Giselle and N went a lot better than I expected. Getting rid of considerably more than we're keeping, which is good. Still need to do something like that in the garage.

My back hurts.

My back was not helped by spending all of yesterday sitting in uncomfortable chairs -- first at Lenscrafters while Emmy got her eyes examined, then at Harborview where they sent her for a CAT scan because her right optic nerve was swolen. *sigh* This happened back when she was 18; at that time the diagnosis was pseudotumor cerebri (which means that the pressure inside your head is high for no obvious reason), and she was told to lose weight. That's almost certainly the case this time, too. Not how I'd been planning to spend my Saturday, and not my favorite way of getting father-and-daughter time. Grumpy bear is grumpy.

I have not gotten much done at work this week. Grump.

Notes & links, as usual: )
mdlbear: (valentined)

Productive? I'm not sure. Probably. Progress at work, though not as much as I would have liked, and a fair amount of clearing in the garage. Found many things that have been missing for years, including my box of good chisels. Also, an ENT appointment (follow-up to my faceplant; see 20151124Tu.)

Also, any week that includes Scalia leaving the Supreme Court is pretty good in my book. Impeachment or even retirement would have been better, but this was the only way given the current political environment.

We nearly lost Ticia, who bolted out when someone left the Great Room sliding doors open; fortunately she hadn't gone far, and Naomi and I make a great cat-retrieval team. Whew!

I've also been getting re-acquainted with LaTeX, which has evolved quite a lot since I wrote my filk-formatting macros. I'll be rewriting those shortly. Meanwhile I've also been doing some work in my Config package. Partly that's because I've been working on the equivalent package at work in preparation for getting an upgraded laptop.

Plenty of links in the notes. GOOD links! Your attention is drawn particularly to the first detection of gravitational waves (more links in the notes), this amazing music video, and this news article, which features some kids who people who know us will recognize.

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

A fairly busy week, but also full of frustration. Both because my bank's transfers to other banks appears to be broken, and because work seems to be two steps forward and one and a half steps back. Grumble.

I have, however, done a decent amount of cleanup in the garage -- mostly a matter of consolidating, but I've eliminated an entire row of boxes, and discarded quite a lot of junk. That must count for something.

You may note, however, that I'm not doing much else -- basically just working, reading, and sleeping. Not terribly exciting. Though I have shifted a lot of my time into the Rainbow Room with Colleen -- apart from the smaller screen it has no disadvantages except when she's watching a video I'm not interested in.

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

Conflikt was this last weekend; I'm posting on Monday so as to get in the whole con, as well as the end of the month. It was a pretty good con, though I ended up doing very little singing. Missed the smoked salmon (dead dog) filk -- Colleen was fading and neither of us was willing to spend much more money on hotel food. Dinners were bar snacks, because they were cheaper.

I had conversations with two new (to me) people, and did a little catching up though not as much as I often do. I actually spent much of my time listening to concerts and working on my lyrics-to-html conversion. Which looks really good now, since it no longer relies on monospaced fonts. Not on the site yet, though.

Also not on the site yet is my Sasquan concert, which I finally got the audio for.

In other news, there are lots of good links, mostly related to tiny houses. If it wasn't for the possibility of eventually moving into someplace we can actually afford I would have no hope at all. Even with that, it will probably come too late, and our house will take too long to sell. I've been making some progress at work, but it's like slogging through mud.

Financial ruin is only a paycheck away, and despair is never far from the front of my mind. I have noone to blame but myself, of course.

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

Ironically, my copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering has gone missing. In the clutter. Probably in the Great Room. I did, however, do a pretty large amount of decluttering in the garage. In the process, I found four boxes of missing Christmas ornaments and, best of all, the box containing my block plane, jack plane, chisels, and soldering irons! I've been looking for that one for over a year.

I was especially happy to find my Oryx 50 Temperature controlled soldering iron, with its home-made stand. The fact that I'd already bought replacements for the planes and the soldering iron doesn't matter -- these were old friends, and I'm happy to be reunited with them.

About the only thing to be happy about. I'll take what I can get.

It's also the start of annual review season; I did the two that were due on Friday, including my self-review. Nothing like a self-review to show me how little I've accomplished this year. And I still have to write up the reunion debacle. I think I spent a lot of this year out of my mind.

Lots of reading, mostly about tiny houses, and lots of nice cat cuddles, mostly from Ticia.

Lots of links in the notes. You know the drill.

raw notes, with links )

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