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

It's been an exhausting week; moderately productive at work. But a bit more physical work than I've done in a while, plus anxiety and depression, which are tiring on their own. Naomi occasionally tells me to "act my age", usually when I've pushed my body to do something that was easy when I was about thirty years younger. Or fifty. So, yeah. That.

There's a great line in James Keelaghan's song "Small Rebellion" -- "... the job that was your life becomes the job that slowly beats you." That, too.

It doesn't help that my confidence in my ability as a programmer was completely shattered about a year and a half ago, with a series of projects that I completely failed at. OK, maybe just partially failed at -- the first was, fortunately, cancelled, and the second (which would have been trivial if I'd known what I know now) was eventually finished by someone else. The one I'm on now is following a similar pattern. I never learned to estimate, and part of that is the fact that I keep finding pieces that got left out of the design. It's possible that not all of that is my fault -- other people had plenty of input. But it feels like my fault, and because I've been the most senior engineer on all of these projects, one can easily argue that the disasters are at least my responsibility.

In all those cases a contributing problem was procrastination -- that, at least, is undenyably my fault. I've gotten really good at not doing stuff. More generally, not even thinking about stuff that I'd rather not be doing. And here I am, nearly seventy years old, planning to retire in less than a year, with a household that needs to be downsized drastically so that we can move out of the house we love but won't be able to keep. I hate it. I hate myself for the decades of bad decisions that made it necessary.

The next year is going to be rough. The next decade is going to be rough. I'll probably make it through, but I'm not going to like it.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Um... yeah. Been a while. I'd originally planned to post Monday after last weekend's house con, Rainbow Con 1. But I didn't. I'll post an actual con report later; for now I'll just say that it was amazingly wonderful. We had around 30 people, and everybody had a great time.

Work has been rough. Things are falling through cracks at an increasing rate. I should leave. I can't afford to, but it'll probably kill me if I don't. If someone dropped half a million dollars in my lap, I could pay off most of the house and get by on social security and pensions. As it is, ... It's a constant reminder of how much the situation is of my own making.

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

Here are last year's goals (I'm too irresolute for resolutions). Let's see how I did.

  1. Music. I'm going to lump recording, songwriting, and making music together, not so much because they're all aspects of the same thing as to give me a goal that I'm more likely to meet parts of. Mostly fail -- I didn't write or sing nearly as much as I wanted to, and didn't record anything at all. But I did write two songs: Windward (in January) and Ninety-Five Years (in December). And I gave a couple of good performances, but stupidly didn't record them.
  2. Writing. I'd settle for one post a week that isn't one of the two scheduled ones, though I'd like to do more. Almost complete failure on this one.
  3. Exercise. Keeping up the walking on weekdays is kind of a minimum; I'd like to walk a little on weekends, and maybe even get my bike back in working order. Between injuries and laziness, even my weekday walking declined. Mostly fail.
  4. Food. As a minimum, get back to serving salad with dinner on most of the days that I cook. Fail.
  5. Software. Get the household intranet back into shape. Finish revising my music-publishing toolchain. Set up a blogging toolchain. Bring my websites into the 21st Century, maybe. Write that HTML5-based lyrics app that I've been thinking about. OK, that's at least five sub-goals; six if you figure that the app and maybe the websites will require getting profficient in Javascript. I'll give myself 45% on this one: the household's network is back, including internal DNS. The music-publishing toolchain works pretty well, and it's part of a complete make-based toolchain that's been revamped from top to bottom. I did a fair amount of research into HTML5 and CSS, but didn't actually get anything deployed.
  6. Organization. Do more of my 15min items, get my taxes filed on time, and hack my way through the piles of envelopes on my desk and the piles of boxes in the garage. Stick to my damned budget, now that I have one. Hmm. I think I met this one. The garage clean-up was a side-effect of turning 3/4 of it into a second master suite. Taxes got done, my budget was stuck to, and I ended the year no more in debt than I started it. The piles of mail are pretty-much gone -- as of yesterday. Did I mention that I procrastinate? Might have to make that a goal for next year.
  7. Health. This is a stretch goal, but I need to do something about my depression. Or whatever it is. Find help. This was another win. After a harrowing six months or so, I finally got help in the form of regular sessions with a therapist, got my depression more or less under control (thanks to the above plus Good Drugs), and I lost on the order of 15 pounds. (On the other hand, the initial weight loss was a side effect of the severe anxiety over the effect my depression and procrastination were having on my work.)

It's been a harrowing year. Between injuries, some of which could have been fatal (I'm including the rest of the household here, but my nose-dive into a sidewalk definitely counts); months of depression that, in retrospect, could also have been fatal; the death of a beloved pet; and five figures worth of repairs to Rainbow's End -- well, let's just say that I won't be sorry it's over.

What got us through it was the love and mutual support we have for one another, scary amounts of money, and a great deal of help. But we got through it. We got through as a family. There were times when I honestly didn't expect to. But here we are, at the end of another year.

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

Reasonably productive at work. Somewhat productive at home. Booked air travel for Mom's birthday (which I was able to pay for with points! Go me.) and OVFF. (Membership and hotel for OVFF were already booked.)

Practiced. Some days not all that much, but every day.

Lots of puttering around the house, but there's still a lot -- mostly paperwork and coordination -- that isn't getting done. Still employed, but worried. When I stop working, whether it's now or in a couple of years, things are going to go to hell very quickly. N and I are starting to brainstorm other things I could do, but it's still not going to be enough to keep things together.

I hate this.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

On my way home from work on Monday I started noticing flu symptoms; by evening they were in full force, and I spent the rest of the week working from home. Yesterday I was feeling almost normal modulo a cough, but still too easily tired. Will probably be up for work on Monday. I hope so.

The washer/dryer that Home Depot couldn't install has been hauled away, and the refund is in my account. They shouldn't have left it here in the first place -- we should have refused the shipment and had it taken back. I'm still looking for the repair receipts for the old one; that's probably hopeless.

I didn't go to my 50th high school reunion. Sad about that, but it meant that I'll be able to afford OVFF. And with my case of the flu, I would almost certainly have had to cancel anyway -- I was in no shape to travel. So it goes.

Mostly I've been worried about money. As usual. There's a reason why one of the tags on this post is "Trainwreck". 30 years of lousy financial decisions will do that.

I've been studying CSS and SVG. My website-building skills are basically 20th Century, and need to be brought up to date. Some of the things people are doing with CSS are impressive.

Details and links in the notes.

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

Kind of a rough week? I'm not really sure.

On the plus side, we got the washer repaired (a little over $320 for a new drain pump), and I switched the network over from Comcast to CenturyLink. Which was exactly as easy as I expected it to be: swap the router and the extension WAP, and it's done. Sometime I should swap SSIDs back, but it doesn't matter all that much much.

Our group moved over the weekend; the move puts us in the center of $A's main campus (with a nice small caffeteria next door, and the main one only a block away). My hard drive didn't survive it. All my code was backed up, but that still left a huge amount of configuration that should have been but wasn't. Fixed now.

Tapered off my antidepressant. Not much of an effect on my mood; not clear whether it has affected my supply of cope or my weight.

Kind of late, but I've started practicing for Orycon. Not entirely clear what's going into my set -- Millennium's Dawn, Keep the Dream Alive, and QV for sure. That may actually be almost enough, since it's only a half-hour set.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: a locomotive engine dangling from a hole in a building (trainwreck)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

Rough week.

Low point: asking for help on the financial trainwreck. Maxing out another credit card Monday kind of drove it home. Naomi is of the opinion that I need a keeper. She's right. She's also of the opinion that I'm worth it; this is less obvious but I've learned that she's usually right, so I guess I'll take her word for it.

High point: going out with Naomi to see A Chorus Line last night.

Adventures along the way: the Shellshock bug (quickly patched on the systems I use regularly), and updating the household's random laptops. We (ok, mostly I) have a *lot* of old laptops. I remember when a gigabyte was a lot of disk.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

Not all that bad a week, I guess. Lots of cat cuddles, and a day off for Labor Day. Not all that good, either. Joe Bethancourt died (only a year older than me!), I had to work from home two days to take Colleen to appointments, and as usual I'm broke until the social security payment arrives a week and a half from now. I do not like it, Sam-I-Am.

This coming week looks just as bad, if not worse. And it all goes back to stupid financial decisions I made twenty years ago (and continued making), so now it's basically not fixable. Which doesn't improve my self-image or my mood, either. Nor does my current antidepressant, which I don't think is helping much. Or rather has side-effects that tend to make things worse. GAAH!

Well, there are always the 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)

*sigh* Another week of not enough money, not enough rain, not enough sleep, not enough time, not enough done, not enough interest in buying the Starport... I mostly just want to crawl into a hole and pull it in after me.

Here. Have some links. Real unicorns have curves.

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)

I actually did some yardwork this week. I hate yardwork. Especially since a lot of it involves bending over, which is bad for my back. But I do it when I have to. Or when it involves gadgetry, like hose quick-connects.

I'd ordered some quick-connects from Amazon to supplement the ones I got at Home Despot on Sunday; quite predictably they disappeared when our housekeeper tidied up the Rainbow Room. I searched for quite a while. They finally turned up in the first place I'd thought to look: in their own box, hiding under the invoice. *facepalm*

Speaking of quick-connects, I recommend brass. The plastic ones I bought last year didn't make it through the winter. Admittedly, this was because I let water freeze in the hoses -- not something I had to deal with in San Jose. But still.

Naomi and I finally got ourselves into the hot tub, for a good soak and good conversation.

A couple of bad moments, mostly thinking about finances -- I use the "trainwreck" tag for a reason. I'm usually able to get past them quickly, and that probably isn't entirely a good thing. It would be better if they were an incentive to get things done rather than causing paralysis. Grumph.

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

Hmm. I see it's been two weeks since I last posted a "done" post. I've been mostly stressed and depressed, though today has been pretty good for some reason.

I've been doing quite a lot of puttering and other housework. It probably helps my mood -- at least in the short term: it's clearly a distraction from the really nasty problems. Most of which involve money, and are going to get worse until we can sell the Starport. Offer me 800K and it's yours.

Two weeks is too much to summarize. Looking back over it, I've actually done a fair amount. Just... not so much in comparison to what still needs doing. And not enough to make me feel good about myself.

{Stop it, Bear. You're not helping.}

Don't know which of my inner voices that was, but it's right.

Last night's Vixy and Tony concert was good, and Colleen has been walking more.

Links and a little commentary in the notes.

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

Short one this time, to close out the month. Sunday I fired up the Mac Mini, loaded up the software that I still think of as TaxCut even though H+R Block renamed it several years ago, and did a rough cut. Ouch. I haven't touched my taxes since Sunday, but it really improved my mood to find out that I could pay in installments. Improved it temporarily, anyway. Dysthymia never really goes away. I still need to track down the rest of my deductions, but I have the biggest ones in, so the bottom line won't change more than a couple of grand.

Quite a few good links. Go for it.

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

I guess there's something about knowing how bad it's going to be. Also knowing that I can pay off my tax bill in installments, because it's going to be bad. Really bad. There's a reason why my financial posts are tagged "trainwreck".

I finally got off my arse and sorted my piles of receipts and the like, and this morning (so it's not in the notes yet -- you'll have to wait until next month) installed the software (which I still think of as TaxCut) and did the preliminary data entry. There are still some sizeable pieces missing, but I've been making progress.

I also got a couple of phone calls made -- I hate making phone calls.

I was depressed and anxious most of the week. At least I noticed -- for someone with alexithymia, that's an improvement.

On the up side, we watched Frozen last weekend -- excellent. Passes the Bechdel test.

Links in the notes.

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

Like it says on the label. I'm having a hard time feeling much of anything right now, I think.

Anyway, I'm thankful for...

  • The ability to pay bills online.
  • Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.
  • Credit. Are we sensing a theme here?
  • People who get after me to get stuff done.
  • People who know me well enough to be able to tell me what I'm feeling. See Alexithymia
  • Cats. Both two- and four-legged.
  • Gin.
  • Cuddles.
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)

Hey, it's Thursday! Today I'm thankful for...

  • A well-timed first paycheck, with welcome sign-on bonus. I'll have to save most of it; I'll probably need it for taxes.
  • Paid vacation.
  • Cats, and especially Curio-snuggles.
  • Kitties and bears and goats, oh my!
  • My younger daughter's new boyfriend. I love seeing her happy.
  • 38 wonderful years, as of tomorrow.
  • A party here on Saturday. See the Rainbow's End site for directions.
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)

So the govenrnment is shut down because the Republicans don't want to accept the fact that the ACA is the law of the land, and that on the whole people are benefiting from it. Idiots. Meanwhile their popularity is sinking like a proverbial rock, and one can only hope that the voters have long memories. They don't, of course.

There's good news in the household, though. The YD has broken up with her unsuitable boyfriend, on the advice of her best friend. Yay! It's going to be hard on her for a little while, but it's a very good thing. He's a creep.

And Colleen finally saw her doctor, who cleared her to put full weight on her formerly-broken ankle. This should clear the way for the PT to work on getting her walking again.

We spoke to somebody from a financial management firm about my rollover IRAs; we almost certainly need management, but it's likely not to be Fisher Investments.

So, on the whole, things are looking up.

Details and a few links in the notes.

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

My tax refund finally showed up in my account on Thursday. So I get to spend the holiday weekend paying the medical bills I've been ignoring for the last year or so. The refund is so large because I forgot to arrange for my 401K plan from Ricoh to be rolled over, so they sent me a check with about $40K taken out for tax withholding. I promptly rolled it over, so I get the withholding back.

Unfortunately, it's a one-time thing.

We had a going-away lunch on Friday for our group's summer intern. Nice kid, but unfortunately I was never able to get through to her about the importance of clean commits (amend and rebase are your friends) and running all the unit tests outside of Eclipse. I spent the afternoon cleaning up. Fortunately, it's the kind of mostly-mindless fiddly stuff that I enjoy every once in a while, and it wasn't nearly as bad a mess as it could have been.

I need to write an article about that, don't I?

Less than a week until Colleen comes home! The house isn't as ready as it should be, but it's getting there. I spent much of yesterday shopping, at Home Depot and Bed, Bath, & Beyond. And Staples -- we were almost out of printer paper.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

The big news this week: Colleen has been ok'ed for full weightbearing on her formerly-broken ankle, and my tax refund finally showed up. (I found out about that today, but they post deposits at 11:30pm so technically it counts. Or something.)

The downside, of course, is that I get to spend the entire weekend writing checks for the many (mostly medical) bills that I've been ignoring for the last several months. And making the house ready for Colleen to come home to.

Apart from that...

We have a huge new cat tower in the Great Room. The cats mostly ignore it, of course, in favor of hanging out on the floor. Though Desti does like curling up on top of the old tower, which is now in the master bedroom.

The guinea pigs' cage fell off its table; I suspect the cats. I managed to recapture the two that fled the scene. Whew! We moved the cage downstairs to the basement, which is a cat-free zone because G. is allergic.

("G." is of course ambiguous; as well as being Naomi's daughter, she shares her initial with our housekeeper, and her name with the housekeeper's daughter. Fortunately, the youngest G. (g.?) has a nickname.

I "fixed" the YD's old laptop, by first dual-booting it with Ubuntu, then booting up the restore partition and doing a nuke-and-pave on Windows. Surprisingly, the operation didn't affect Ubuntu's Grub bootloader, so I won that round.

It took six hours to install all the updates. Vs. about half an hour for Ubuntu.

I bought a double-edge safety razor. Fairly expensive, but I'll save it on blades over the course of a few months. It also gives a very nice shave.

I spent a lot of time last weekend puttering, and managed to get several boxes emptied, and brought several more down to the garage for storage.

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

I really ought to update more often, oughtn't I?

Well, the news from this month is that my health insurance stopped paying for Colleen's nursing home after 10 weeks; we moved her to a much less expensive (~$4K/month, vs. 400/day) place nearby. I also bought her a power wheelchair off Craigslist.

She moved the weekend my Mom came out from N. Carolina (by way of my brother's place in Logan, Utah), and the weekend that Naomi's massage school graduation took place. I rented a wheelchair van for the weekend. It proved to be something of an adventure -- nasty, uncomfortable things. Though not in the full hobbit sense of also making one late for dinner; things worked out pretty well in that respect.

... so Colleen actually got to come home last weekend! Not to stay, of course :P -- she still can't put full weight on the broken ankle. But it was a good visit. And she made it to N's graduation. And it was good.

... and this last week I finally got after the IRS about my tax refund that they've been sitting on, and set the wheels in motion to get $10K out of my IRA in the mean time. Next week I may finally get almost sort of caught up on bill-paying. Sort of. For a little while.

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

I hadn't realized just how comforting petting a cat can be. Our cats are wonderful. Especially Curio, who spends most of every night in my room.

Lots of puttering around the house over the last couple of weeks -- that's largely because other things are something of a trainwreck. In particular, Colleen's situation. Our insurance stops paying for her nursing home stay at the end of next week. We'd been told weeks ago, but at the time 10 weeks seemed like plenty of time. At her appointment last week, though, she was told that she could only put 10% of her weight on it. Gleep!

Most of the obvious options are out -- it's unlikely she could get the level of care she apparently needs at a group home or assisted living place. Which would be close to $6K for a month's stay, in any case.

We may be able to have her at home. If she can handle a commode, and transfers in and out of a wheelchair, it'll work. We will almost certainly need to have someone come in in the daytime to care for her, but between me, Emmy, and Naomi we can probably handle night-time. Hopefully.

I haven't been doing all that well. I don't really register stress, but it's there. Between that and depression (even with drugs), and a general low energy level, I'm probably pretty close to the edge. Can't be helped. The feeling of helplessness doesn't help, either. Help?

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

I finally made the call to my benefits people that I should have made two months ago, to find out what the options and prices were going to be to keep my medical and dental COBRA coverage going. I was not expecting the total to be more than the mortgage on the old house! $2100. I am *so* *screwed*

And I actually have a gap in coverage, between the end of this month (when Ricoh stops paying for it) and the time I pay my first bill. At which point they cover me retroactively. I went ahead and got my crown started before I knew the details, but that'll be ok.

I still have a month, I *think*, to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan. Anyone have recommendations re: GroupHealth vs. Blue Cross/Blue Shield? If I can get into that now, I can drop my COBRA coverage and just go with Colleen and the YD.

On the job front, $A3 looked at my resume and said "other candidates are more qualified". So much for that. $A also rejected me -- that was actually a relief. On the other hand, my interview at $D was the easiest so far -- I think I have a good chance at that.

And on the gripping hand, the CTO at $T wants to talk to me on Wednesday. Looking at the company and what they do, I *really* *really* want it. And I think I'm a good fit. And it's a cool product -- I signed up for a month's free trial, and at $40/year may very well keep it. Unlimited file sharing from your own computers, with nothing stored in the cloud.

Only problem is the overlap with $D, which I expect to hear about next week. They'll probably want me to start on the 15th. Tight.

I went to my interviews by bus again. I *love* being this close to the bus line and downtown.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

My mindspace continues to be largely occupied with day-to-day stuff: unpacking, installing shelves, shopping, cooking... Life is starting to settle into a routine, though, and I'm enjoying it.

We finally got over to a DOL (Department of Licensing -- WA's partial equivalent of the DMV), where the YD and I got new IDs and driver's licenses respectively. Colleen has to come in for a driving test (!), which is a major incentive for her to exercise. She has about 2 more weeks; I suspect she still won't be ready, but would be delighted to be proved wrong.

We also got in to the bank and updated our information there. And I rolled over my 401K -- I had misread the mail they sent me, so ended up with an actual check. Unfortunately I won't get the withholding back until I do my taxes next year. :P Too bad -- could've used it NOW.

A couple of phone screens, but no in-person interviews yet. Growf! Several online resume submissions, but I have low expectations from those.

On the home computing front, I pulled my laser printer out of storage (for resumes), and finally fixed Starport's DNS (which turned out to be a bad forwarder). It works fine now. Much better than CenturyLink's WiFi, which keeps crapping out on me.

The bedroom shelves are nearly done -- all the tracks and standards are in place, and most of the shelves (except for a few near the bed, and in the laundry closet). The dining room is next.

The usual collection of links and details in the raw notes, below.

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

Finally posted my itinerary/tentative schedule for the next couple of months. And, as usual, didn't do all that much else. Well, there were some things accomplished. Including the phone interview with EDD, which I'd been worried about. It looks as though my pension won't affect my unimployment insurance, because Ricoh stopped paying into it in 2010.

I'm continuing to putter, and got a fair amount of book triage done in the office. Most were immediately snapped up by folks in the Wednesday crowd, which of course was the whole idea. The old turntable, too -- now that we've gotten rid of all our vinyl, we really don't need it. End of an era.

I called PODS and got a quote: about $3200 for a 16' pod. The move will be complicated by the fact that we want some of the stuff to go into N's garage; I'm thinking of PODS or some other container company for that. We'll see. Unfortunately doesn't seem to have any way to compare prices; I'll have to call them all separately. The salesdroid at PODS was rather pushy.

Link of the day, after a nod toward Richard Lugar's statement, is Rachel Held Evans | How to win a culture war and lose a generation. The money quote:

When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was “antihomosexual.” For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith. The same was true for 80 percent of young churchgoers. (The next most common negative images? : “judgmental,” “hypocritical,” and “too involved in politics.”)

Now, I'm part of that 91%; as an atheist and a Democrat I don't see a major shift away from religion as a bad thing. But if you do -- if you're one of the many progressive Christians I know are reading this -- you might want to do something about it.

When I was in college, the churches were hotbeds of radicalism, solidly on the left. They fed the poor, opposed the war in Vietnam, ... Where in Hell are they now?

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

Hmm. I hadn't thought it was a particularly productive couple of days, but looking back on them I've done a fair amount. Even a walk.

I've finally started to get some traction on the job search, including talking to a couple of recruiters and my coach at LHH, and filling in some of the background. Actually, the most encouraging thing was looking at salary ranges and cost of living for Seattle. The latter is about 24% lower than San Jose, and my pension (which starts in June) accounts for another 12% or so. Social security, next March, will be another 12%. So not even counting downsizing and tighter budgeting, I'll be able to maintain my current profligate lifestyle on a comparatively modest income.

The really scary thing is still health care. Especially if we can't get Colleen on Medicare early. My cousin Caroline, who has a degree in social work, has offered to help with that, but it's still scary.

Spent quite a while fielding calls from moving companies, after requesting quotes via Told them all to call back in June after we've done more triage.

I keep waffling about whether this is a good move, but right now I'm feeling pretty optimistic. Monday was a bit down. Uncomfortable things. Make you late for dinner.

Lots of links in the notes.

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

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

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

In other words, not a very productive weekend. Goal for today is to finish the self-assessment around career change. insists on a full street address. This means that they're always going to be showing me jobs in the San Jose area. Foo.

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

I still don't know my bottom line.

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

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

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

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

Yay! [personal profile] pocketnaomi is here visiting!

I have a new tag: "quest". It's intended to cover the job search, housing search, and moving. It's also intended to recognize that this is more than any of those separately, reframing it as a major life change. "Adventure" might have done, too, but I don't like adventures. Nasty, uncomfortable things. Make you late for dinner. Oh, wait.

Took a webinar about changing careers on on LHH's website, added "mentoring" and "technology transfer" to my lists of skills, and started to research green and ethical companies by chasing links from, which has received awards in both areas.

I've been waking up horribly early, mostly worrying about finances, and especially about the effect of the move on the YD. Monday I managed to get back to sleep, and slept through my alarm as a result. Yesterday I woke up somewhere around 4:30, and gave up and got out of bed around 5:15. Slept well last night, so maybe I'm more-or-less reset now. Hope so. Though I could do with a couple of hours less sleep.

Some good conversations last night about the move. Sort of encouraging.

A couple of links in the notes; nothing extremely noteworthy.

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

Feels like it's been a long week. Um... ok, it's been a long, tiring week. Not enough self-care -- I need to walk more, and practice. Like most things that I know I'll enjoy and I know will be good for me, I don't do enough of them.

Spent quite a lot of time expanding my connections on LinkedIn and Facebook. I can see how that kind of thing can easily become an addiction. Neither, unfortunately, will import connections from LJ; I find myself duplicating a lot of effort. On the other hand, I'm finding people from my past. Can't complain, except about the number of hours in a day. At least this isn't Jupiter.

Also in the job search direction, took a lot of online courses on the LHH web, and one onsite.

Friday and Saturday we talked with people at our bank about our rollover IRAs. We can certainly get better yield on one of them; they're looking into the other. The side conversation proved that it's not just me -- salaries in general have not kept up with inflation since around 1970, and of course taxes have gone up at least twice as fast as inflation. So my buying power is probably only 75-80% of what it was when I entered the job market. :P

See all the pretty links.

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

I spent most of yesterday on job-search-related stuff, and although that includes a lot of time looking for people on linkedin and creating an account on facebook, it also included a webinar on effective networking. No, those are not unrelated. Several job sites tap your facebook network to find contacts.

Yes, I'm way out of my comfort zone. I'm still waiting for my Wile E. Coyote moment.

Also went to a presentation on 401K plans; only mildly useful, but I can still probably make some helpful changes. And set up three medical appointments for early June.

Hmm. I see no links in the notes today. Must have been busy.

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

It's been a week. More specifically, a week in Seatac (Norwescon) and Shoreline (apartment hunting and hanging out with Chaos and Naomi). I really have to set things up so that I can easily post from my netbook, don't I?

I had a good con. Nothing on my schedule except a handful of concerts and hanging out. Met Naomi's friend C, who is a delightful person. Bought little posable polymer dragons for me, Colleen, the YD, and Naomi. Our rooms were across the street in the Coast Gateway; I think there are parts of the Doubletree that are actually farther from the convention's function space.

We kept N's room until Monday so she could get some rest, but actually checked out Sunday night. Worth it. Monday we looked at apartments, and talked about job-hunting over dinner with [ profile] egoldberg. Tuesday I looked at more apartments, and had lunch with Chaos at a Chinese restaurant that's walking distance from her new apartment in Linwood. A couple of good prospects on that front.

All in all a good visit. I'm still getting used to the idea of moving up there. To the idea of moving at all, after 36 years in the same house, and 43 years in the Bay Area. It's a lot of change to be taking on all at once, but... It was going to happen in the next five or six years anyway, and I was both dreading it and planning for it.

I've spent all morning going through a week's worth of mail and two days' worth of email; I'll spend the rest of today on my resume and my taxes.

There are plenty of links in the notes; go for it. Have a great Yuri's Night!

raw notes )
mdlbear: (distress)

This isn't a Songs for Saturday. It's important, it's political, it's inspiring, and you ought to go watch A Message to All Police Officers From Occupy Wall Street, delivered in an extremely powerful speech by an LAPD officer.

Hat tip to [personal profile] pocketnaomi

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

A strange day. Expected, of course. I spent the morning, and a couple of hours in the afternoon, wrapping things up: final backups, setting up email and voice mail forwarding, writing my farewell letter, taking the boxes and my desktop computer out to the car... Then the two rounds of goodbyes, in Cupertino and Menlo Park. I got a nice card, and an expense check for some USB microphones I bought last year. (16-bit. Don't want them. I kept the cables and stands.) Abandoned a fair amount of nice hardware that I don't have room or an immediate use for.

Goodbyes bittersweet, of course. Got hugs from several long-time coworkers; one (our IP person) seemed on the verge of tears, though I could have been reading that wrong. Alexithymia and citalopram have their uses; I stayed upbeat if not always cheerful.

I realized, somewhere in the course of the day, that although I've never had to move a whole house before, I've moved my office four times over the last two years, and our two remodels counted for almost a move each. Still, it'll be rough -- there's a lot of attachment here.

I found out, going over one of the brochures I picked up at the Social Security office, that if I start collecting before my full retirement age (66, next year) my payments will get reduced to almost nothing because of the money I've already made this year. So I'll go back to plan A and fire up the Ricoh pension, which doesn't have that problem.

Added "master toolmaker" to my LinkedIn profile; I'm going to spend some time today tweaking my resume to reflect the fact that I consider myself a writer, craftsman and toolmaker rather than an engineer or scientist.

Of the items added to my file over the last three weeks, I appear to have flagged 55 as completed, and 40 unfinished. It's actually a little better than that, since some of those 40 are categories, and about a dozen are WIBNIfs. I'm reasonably satisfied with my progress.

A couple of links in the notes. I was looking for images of me on Google, and ran across this cartoon that mentions "Vampire Megabyte".

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

... so, today I'm thankful for:

  1. Colleen and her sense of adventure
  2. Friends
  3. Pensions
  4. Medicare
  5. The compensations of getting old
  6. "Every silver lining has a cloud around it"
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

So... back to "work". Quotes, because (as it has been for the last couple of weeks) it was more about leaving than getting anything new done. I have 19 years worth of files to triage, after all. Meanwhile, Colleen is triaging her cookbooks, which is an equally gargantuan job.

The next -- and quite possibly the last -- party at the Starport will be Saturday, June 9th. There's a move to Seattle in our near future. It's rather hard to wrap my head around.

I installed the new-to-the-house 1900x1200 monitor. Very nice, though it uses more power than its 1900x1080 predecessor, and has less contrast. On the plus side, along with the extra inch or so of vertical pixels, it stands taller so more of it is visible without having to look down.

Several links in the notes. Most of them are political :( If you prefer horror with entertainment value, try this gorgeous retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, using silhouettes.

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

It's Forgetful Friday, because I forgot Wishful Wednesday and Thankful Thursday. We'll get to the Furious part later. Before I forget again...

... I could really use a job in the Seattle area, that uses my skills, pays well, and will pay for relocation. Or half a million dollars. I can't afford to be picky, though I'd greatly prefer the latter. (And if wishes were horses, we'd all be up to our necks in manure by now.) (And no, I don't want my Mom to die and leave me the money; I love my Mom, and you can take that damned monkey's paw and shove it up...) But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I'm thankful for...

  • My friends
  • Colleen
  • An occasional sense of adventure (though mostly I'm of Bilbo's opinion on the subject)
  • The difference in rent between San Jose and Seattle
  • Being almost far enough out of middle age to retire
  • Good benefits

I would grateful to the company that manages those benefits, but that's where the Furious part comes in. (I told you we'd get to it.) Both my 401K and my defined-benefit pension plan are managed by the same company, AON Hewitt. The part of Hewitt that manages the 401K also manages my other benefits; and apart from having one of the crappiest websites in the known universe I can usually get things done there. (Part of the fury is about their recent redesign, which leaves me with no obvious way to find out what documentation they want for the stupid FSA. Another part is spending 10 minutes on the phone going through menus and listening to idiotic messages telling me that I could use the web, and by the way did I want to stay logged in?, only to get to the part where they tell me they closed for the weekend half an hour ago.)

That bit came after finding out that the other part of the company, the one that manages my pension, has my social security number wrong. Now they want me to mail them a copy of my card. Which I haven't seen for two decades. So I'll have to apply for a new one. For which I'll need either a birth certificate (which might be in the stuff I got from Mom a dozen years ago), or a passport (which expired a year ago and might be lost somewhere on my desk waiting for me to renew it).

Furious doesn't BEGIN to cover it.

This all happened between 2pm and 2:30; I am still not really back to normal, eight hours and a glass of gin later. Oh, and add an hour or two of something that felt a lot like depression, between 4 and 6. Probably was depression, considering. Ya think?

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

It was a weird but basically good weekend. Basically, I hit the ground running after receiving my layoff notice on Thursday. Somebody at our party on Saturday (you probably missed it) asked me whether I was planning to take a couple of months off before I started job-hunting. My answer was a very cheerful "Hell no! Would you like a copy of my updated resume?" I can't afford to gather any moss.

Because of the combination of a rather large refinance and a serious drop in the housing market, I am no longer planning to stay in Grand Central Starport after I retire, whether that's six months or six years from now. That realization has been extremely liberating (can you say "albatross"?); I am now looking for work both in the South Bay and in the Seattle area. The ideal, of course, would be finding someplace near Seattle that's willing to pay for relocation expenses. Many thanks to my dear sister-of-choice, [personal profile] pocketnaomi, for the conversations that helped me realize what I had to do.

The selfsame moment I [let go]
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.

Link of the day: House of Cards - James Keelaghan - YouTube (via philkmills' comment on my S4S post).

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

This week's song is James Keelaghan's "Boom Gone To Bust", for reasons that should be obvious.

And I headed west when I had turned twenty
When the foundries and factories had closed
And in my minds eye I thought I might settle
Out here where my father was raised and was born
I worked as a jug-hound a rough-neck a bouncer
I worked where I wanted, I drew damn good pay
Saw no end to our luck and so we just pushed it
But O.P.E.C. and mortgages ate it away.

This recording is from Lookingglass Folk's "Trinitite" concert at Conflikt 2012.

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

It doesn't look as though I got much done yesterday. That would, however, be somewhat misleading. I applied for Medicare (which should kick in next month), spent a lot of time talking with Naomi and Colleen (and a while on the phone with my Mom, who is very supportive and encouraging), and made some tough decisions largely as a result of those conversations. Not time wasted by any means.

On the other hand, my left wrist hurts. Don't know what I did there. And no walk. Self-care is going to be important over the next few months, so I'll have to work on that.

Oh, and I made up a new tag: 8.3% (which, in case you're wondering, is the current official unemployment rate). And several to-do sub-lists. And sent email asking which of several items in my office that I want have depreciated enough for me to just take home. And started going through my home directories on various systems, doing triage.

As Samuel Johnson said, "The knowledge that one is to be hanged in the morning concentrates the mind wonderfully."

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

Hmm. Pretty decent, I guess; some music, a walk, and some reading. On the other hand, my netbook flaked out twice, and I ended the day feeling rather restless. More on that later.

On my walk I tried out the Cardio Trainer app on my phone. It immediately started talking at me, and playing the one song I'd downloaded as a test to see if the phone could play oggs. But once I'd gotten it properly configured, it seemed to work ok. Expect better walking stats, on those days when I remember to use it.

The phone's AMOLED screen is bright enough to use outdoors in the shade; that's a major win, and makes me glad I went for the Pantech over the HTC.

I've started reading The Language of Emotions by Karla McLaren. It's rather odd. I alternate between little "aha" moments, and wondering what language she's writing in. It's going to take some serious work, but will probably be valuable.

I'm hoping the netbook's flakiness turns out to be Firefox and flash. However, it just occurred to me that a memory test might be in order.

And, ok, about that restless feeling. I'm wondering whether it's bleeding over from my economic trainwreck, where I'm feeling trapped by a lifetime of inaction and bad decisions. Not much I can do at this point, hence the trapped feeling. It would make some kind of sense, but I'm not sure that rationality really applies here.

It is, perhaps, appropriate that the song I've been working on lately is "Landscapes": "In your heart and your mind/I am traveling blind..." Something like that. Only it's my heart, too.

raw notes )
mdlbear: (flowers for you)

Mostly not such a good day? Something like that. Not terribly productive, no walk (it was raining), and some bad news. I wasn't particularly depressed, mind you; just somewhat down.

I got a call from the person at the bank who had called me a couple of weeks ago suggesting that I could get a better rate by applying for a new equity line of credit. The appraisal came in -- about $40K under the last one. So... no. Another $42K and the place will be underwater. So much for that.

And Mom called to say that Tom, one of her dearest and closest friends, had died. He'd been in declining health for several years, but still...

So... not a good day, on the whole. I did book my hotel room for Norwescon, and buy a membership. So that's ok.

And it's Valentine's Day. Or Lupercalia, which some people apparently call Horny Werewolf Day, if you prefer. Here's wishing you love and joy for the year ahead.

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

It seems to have been a busy day at work, mostly spent on monitoring software IIRC. Oh, and dealing with a server that had run out of disk. Turns out that was due to a 5GB (!) nohup.out file from a daemon that should have been started with its output going to /dev/null. According to the logs, activemq generated 500MB of logging output in five minutes flat.

Apart from that bit of excitement, it was a quiet day. I did take a walk, but only a mile because my right knee was still bothering me. Still is, for that matter. Growf. And I left my alarm off and slept until 8am. I guess I needed the sleep, and going to bed at 1am the day after the time change certainly couldn't have helped, but grump anyway.

On the way home I stopped at Guitar Showcase and bought a Kyser classical capo, which is designed for guitars with flat fretboards. Like Plink. Duh. I can now put the capo on without having to retune. And because it's designed for wider fretboards, I had room to cut a notch so that I can get a "drop E" by shifting it down a quarter of an inch. Go me!

I also finished the process of validating my accounts for online transfers, and moved $2000 (the daily limit) from my savings account to my credit union. Alliance's online banking site seems pretty annoying compared to Union Bank; I'm not planning to shift everything just yet. (And see Why Bank Transfer Day actually helped banks - But symbolism is important -- $4G isn't going to affect the megabanks' bottom line much either way, but it's going to get people's attention. In the long run, consumers are moving to credit unions in droves.

In other links we now have Google+ Pages, which basically let you make a G+ account with any name you want. Haven't started that process yet.

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

Hmm. Not as good a day as its two predecessors, though the morning included a really good, useful meeting on the web-services side of $PROJECT. But that and the switch to cold weather made for too many excuses not to go out for a walk.

And I made progress toward setting up a transfer from my bank to my credit union, but didn't get started soon enough for it to count toward Bank Transfer Day (which is today). I tend to get down on myself about the obvious negative effects of procrastination, but of course by then it's too late to fix them.

One of the good parts was figuring out -- remembering, really -- one of the last bits of magic required to make ssh port tunneling work. Still having trouble with X forwarding, though; it worked fine with Lenny.

As for links, I was pleased to note that Occupy rigs up human-power after generators are confiscated

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

Was I just complaining about not having enough entries? Admittedly, there are a lot of links and bits of puttering (indicated by the 15min: tag), BUT there were a few major items, too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A good day -- I finished packing my office (grand total: 15 items, including 10 boxes and 5 assorted other things) and had several good conversations. I will miss my coworkers, and many have told me they'll miss me. I'll try to keep in touch, but I also know how that usually goes.

I'm a little concerned about the future. The new project is also destined to turn into a product -- will I ever find my way back to something more like research? Is such a thing even possible at this point?

The coworker who took me out to lunch (Thanks, Dr. Bob!) mentioned that his brother (who I'd worked with at Zilog three decades ago) just got a job teaching at DeVry; teaching could be a good way of augmenting my retirement income. I need to start thinking about that.

Quite a few links, many of them depressing. What comes of having the afternoon free with no more tasks to work on.

Good, but with an undercurrent of sadness.

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

Even though it got off to a very shaky and stressful start, yesterday got much better. I basically did nothing but sit on my arse with my netbook, had a few short but nice conversations, went to the Bohnhoffs' concert (after coming in toward the end of Fred and Robin's), had dinner with the family, and sang WItC outside the con suite. We left around 9:15, just as I was debating either going up to the parties or into the filk room, after hanging out with Colleen outside the filk room (where she had space and I had power).

I was reasonably well-relaxed by the time we got home, but not worn out the way I had been the day before; I didn't have any trouble picking the YD up at 11:30. Colleen went to bed about 10pm, which is early for her. (She's up now, which is very early for her these days.) Healing takes a lot of energy.

I spent some time in the morning filing "flexible" health spending account paperwork. While on the benefits site I pushed through a lot of my long-standing avoidance issues and looked at the state of my retirement account. "To eliminate the income gap when you retire, you'll need an additional $2,200,000 in savings." Yeah, right. I turn 65 next year. Things look notably better if I retire at 70; it's an extra 60%. I'd only need around 1.5M to close the gap.

It would work out fairly comfortably if it weren't for the recent refinance and our lack of long-term care insurance. You can see why financial stuff is tagged "trainwreck".

It's easier to roll Chami with Minnie slung "over the shoulder", which gives the combination a lower center of gravity. But Minnie has a tendency to slip off at that point. But it's easier (i.e., possible) to get at Chami's zippers, and her top handle is usable. Perhaps a strap or carabiner would help.

A couple of links from the morning's browsing, up in the notes.

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

A good day. I noticed this a couple of times -- some favorable feedback on a blog comment, a woman walking by in the grocery store complimenting Colleen on her (all purple) outfit, our drive on a sunny afternoon.

Kind of made up for it at night, when I woke up about 2:30 thinking about finances and couldn't get back to sleep until 4:30 or so. Not fun.

Plus a lot of tax data-entry; by the end of the day I had everything entered except the stuff from the credit-card year-end summaries, and I'd downloaded those.

Several good links, including articles on goodlifezen and 17000-days.

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