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mdlbear: (audacity)

Good grief! Got so wrapped in songwriting -- or is that FAWMwriting -- that I didn't notice it was Sunday. I will attempt to rectify that error.

I managed to start FAWM (February Album-Writing Month, in case you missed the announcements) pretty well; the silly thing's been well received, I think. You can also see the lyrics on yesterday's Songs for Saturday, but you'll have to click through to FAWM if you want the audio. Which is not too bad for something that was slapped together in under an hour. It's only the one song so far, we'll see whether I can make a second song come together by tomorrow night.

Related to that, I finally got around to uploading Coffee, Computers, and Song to bandcamp

It's still snowing here on Whidbey; we're well on our way to getting the predicted 3-4 inches. I am not crazy about driving in snow, but I can do it when I have to. I parked on the street this evening; I don't know what the driveway is going to be like after the slush freezes, but I don't really want to know.

The most useful links this week are probably the ones on Monday about Data Privacy Day.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

I don't think I did much this week besides reading, but that was fun: mostly The Odyssey, in the new translation by Emily Wilson. Unless you've been reading [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's poetry elsejournal, you might be surprised to find a 12,000+ line epic poem in blank verse that reads like a Tom Clancy novel. Highly recommended; review to follow sometime this week. (I spent most of Friday and yesterday gathering quotes from other translations for comparison.)

We also had snow, both Sunday and Wednesday. Fortunately I had sense enough to take the van to my singing lesson Wednesday, so I was able to park it on the street. (Molly was already there; I'd spent a couple of hours in the morning over at the WiFire Coffeehouse charging it up.)

It was a good singing lesson -- neither N nor g was up for going, so I had the whole two hours to myself. I actually seem to be getting it.

And I actually wrote some software! Mostly Honu/flktex-mode.el, which is the start of an emacs major mode for editing song lyrics. The part I wrote last week is the command that converts a line of chords above a line of lyrics, which is the format you can usually find online, into a line of lyrics with the chords inlined in brackets. Fun! I hadn't written much Lisp recently, so it was good to dust off my functional programming skills.

So, not a bad week, all-in-all. No more than the usual amount of anxiety and depression.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

We had a power outage Monday, from about 2:30am to noon. N and I promptly went and bought flashlights, rechargable batteries, bottled water, and other emergency supplies. Given that the island is subject to high winds on a regular basis (which is why the county doesn't allow living in RVs), we have to assume that some future outage might last days.

The other news is that I have a new phone -- another LG G5, this time from AT&T. Unlike the last one (which I eventually sent back), everything works on this one. There have been a few glitches, but on the whole it's been a pretty smooth transition. Oddly, the MyChevrolet app works! Weird. (The website is still badly broken, of course.)

I've been having some trouble sleeping, or more specifically getting back to sleep after waking around 2:30am. That happened twice this week, including a full-on anxiety attack Friday. Ticia came to my rescue, lying next to my face and cuddling. We have a wonderful cat.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

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)

I am not getting on a plane for North Carolina right now. Mom called just as I was getting up, to say that the storm on the East coast was making flights into RDU dicey for today. I looked and found that Southwest was allowing no-cost flight changes, so I booked a flight for tomorrow at 1pm. It'll be getting in pretty late (10:15), but I'm a lot less likely to get stuck in Chicago. Especially since it goes through Denver. (Of course, if it snows there tomorrow I'm hosed, but that doesn't look likely.)

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

A very productive day. Go me!

There are still an unknown number of email bugs left, but I nailed a couple. I got in a short but very brisk walk (and paid for it later with some muscle aches). And got quite a lot done at work: a major decision about directory layout on the server, and some related CGI programming.

Work has just gotten very interesting and busy, but in a good way. Eeek!

I bought myself a cup of chili and a little container of raspberries and blackberries, excusing it as a reward for the weekend's system administration work.

Insight of the day: you're supposed to get out of breath when you're exercising. That's the point. Oh. Right.

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

Saturday morning started with a great call from Callie, out for a walk, while I was working on my "done yesterday" post. I reset my mood from "good" to "cheerful". It's worth noting that I picked up the phone before it woke Colleen -- a year or so ago I probably wouldn't have done that. Progress.

There was gentle rain and a rainbow -- almost a full arch -- on the way to the YD's modeling class. Pretty. I like rainbows, and not just because my Dad was a spectroscopist, though there's always a touch of bittersweet nostalgia attached to rainbows these days.

When I got back I actually did a little computer work, cleaning things up in my Private directory and adding a Makefile to commit and upload snapshots. I <3 git.

The afternoon was meant to have been a shopping expedition with Colleen, but it was drizzling, and Marty came over to sew and socialize just as we were getting ready to leave. Just as well; the drizzle turned into a downpour as I was heading back to the car. The trip was mostly a washout, too, but I stayed cheerful and had a good walk.

The New Balance store, where I'd been hoping to get some badly-needed new shoes, is gone now. Nobody has anything like the Keen hiking boots I've loved two pairs of to death. Doesn't anybody believe in ankle support anymore? Sur le Table didn't have the little cast-iron pots I was looking for (though they did have a good selection of French presses -- I'll probably go back and snag one). And I left my 30% off one item coupon for Borders at home. Grumble. It expires tomorrow.

I made chili for dinner. The YD was very put out because I'd fogotten that she wanted latkes. We'll have those tonight, I guess.

I spent the evening in the living room watching Fantasia with Colleen. I don't generally watch videos I have to pay total attention to; something with little or no dialog is easier to tune out. Has anyone seen our Animusic DVDs? They've been missing for quite a while.

I also re-filled some of Colleen's prescriptions, and spent some time going through Kaiser's health pages. The site is poorly designed for systematic reading, and has a stupidly short timeout. Fine for public terminals like the ones they have scattered around their buildings, but no good for a single-user system at home. Most of the pages I was interested in came from The Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbook by David Sobel and Robert Ornstein, so I did the obvious thing and ordered a copy from Powells.

Good day anyway.

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

It was foggy this morning and, while not warm by any means, at least warmer than the last two days. Above freezing.

The last two days saw a thick layer of frost on the car in the morning. After freezing my fingers Tuesday I remembered to put on gloves yesterday; they'd been languishing in the trunk for at least a season, and maybe several years. Casting about for a more convenient place to put them, I finally remembered...

the glove compartment.

Silly old bear!

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

A good day. I continued to be cheerful -- it's been a week now that my mood has been noticably above neutral. I'm told I should simply enjoy it and not worry about the reasons; I suppose the Centipede's Dilemma is a good reason for that.

I took a walk that was considerably shorter than usual, but also faster: fast enough for what I think was a decent cardio workout. I had to slow down toward the end, because I was definitely feeling it in the legs. The book Fitting In Fitness, which I finished a couple of days ago, suggests taking one's exercise in three 10-minute chunks instead of a solid half-hour. Hmm.

My weight was down, too, for the first time in over a week. Probably either the increased exercise, or the lighter-than-usual lunch (prunes and beef jerky). I'm not complaining.

(9:45) Almost forgot -- I got up and tried to distract a crying baby in the Kaiser waiting room while her mother was signing in. I was only partly successful, but had a nice little conversation with the mother. Fun!

Two insights. The first was that what I've spent on family members' air travel this month has been less than I'd been paying on my Honda (which I finally paid off a few months ago). The second, much geekier but more amusing, is that you can fit three SHA-1 hashes and some type information into a Twitter post with room to spare. So you can implement LISP.

(defun cons (a d)
  (let (c (concat "(" a "." d ")"))
       (post twitter (concat c "=" (sha1 c)))
       (concat "cons." (sha1 c))))

The definitions of intern, equal, and eval are left as an exercise for the reader.

The day's hot links are Linux Owns 1/3 of the Netbook Marketshare - Gizmodo, Memories of a paywall pioneer (from If You Make A Mistake With A Paywall, It Can Linger For A Long Time on Techdirt), Resources for Introverts & Fighting Loneliness, and The Eensie-Weensie Spider (TTTO "The Mary Ellen Carter").

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

... when cloudy was the weather... I took the YD to school under a pearl-grey sky, through fog that came down to the ground in some places but had lifted to tree-top level in others. In the clear patches the sun slanted down between raggy clouds; in others it turned the fog golden. The trees run the full range from deep-green palms and pines, through bright reds and browns, to a few threadbare early shedders.

It's as close as California gets to autumn. I like it.

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

A good day yesterday, though I did end up feeling a little down and maybe put-upon to find that I had to pick up a take-out dinner, and then take Colleen and the YD out shopping (after Colleen had said she intended to do it during the day). Nobody's fault; Marty, who would normally done the driving, is down with an injury.

I got very sleepy way too early in the evening, took a bath at 10pm and went directly to bed. And it was raining at lunchtime, so no walkies.

But other than that, it was a good day. A full-arch rainbow on the way to work in the morning, and some good conversation and a little music in the evening. And Google Chrome can print on Linux now, removing the main obstacle to making it my day-to-day browser. It doesn't do flash, either, but I can always fire up Iceweasel if I have to.

Today's links were largely Chrome-plated. Here we have Everything You Need To Know About Chrome OS Editorial: Chrome OS is what I want, but not what I need Google Chrome OS available as free VMWare download and What Google Needs for the Chrome OS To Succeed.

On other topics, Are You Someone's User-Generated Content? (from Don Marti, about the difference between writing a blog and posting on Facebook or Myspace) and Winner Takes All, Long Tails And The Fractalization Of Culture.


2009-10-13 09:28 am
mdlbear: (hill-of-three-oaks)

It's raining; a steady rain that marks the end of the dry season. I'm hoping that this won't be another year when the rains start early and end even earlier; we're coming off of two or three years of drought. We'll see. Every once in a while I can hear the wind howling in the trees and the wires. It's beautiful.

I managed to misplace my raincoat. It was, of course, exactly where I'd put it to get it out of the way for the dry season: hanging on the back of the office door.

Is the change in the weather a sign of other changes? The economy? Health care? It's too much to hope for, I know, but I'm going to try to be hopeful regardless, as the year winds down into winter.

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

When I went out to take the Younger Daughter to school this morning the air was cool, moist, and crystal clear; there were beads of rain on the windshield of the car. Overhead the sky was magical: grey clouds with little patches of blue-grey sky between them, edged in the East with shards and streaks of golden sunlight.

It was exactly the kind of sky that I had in mind when I wrote "Eyes Like the Morning" all those years ago.

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

There's a lot to like about a foggy fall morning: it's cool, and comfortable, and somehow very calming. But the best thing is still being able to pull out of my East-facing driveway without having the sun in my eyes.

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

The weather was cool and a little rainy in the morning; I drove through a couple of patches of gentle but steady rain on the way to work. My coworker M was still working on his side of the demo (the client side) right up until the 10am dry run, and managed to get a 3x speedup by clever caching. My side (the server) worked just fine.

After the dry run I felt oddly down -- weather, worries, or reaction? It's hard to tell; probably a mixture. M and I talked and agreed that we were both nervous, and that epidurals are scary.

Spent a contented hour walking in the warm sunlight and being guardedly optimistic. The demo went off perfectly. M and I just sat there watching while the Boss and Grandboss ran through it with the visiting HeadHoncho-san.

Our scheduled date night took us to Menlo Park, and a nice little Italian restaurant next to Kepler's bookstore. Which roughly tripled the price of the evening's entertainment, but... Bookstore. I had eggplant parmesano; Colleen had a cucumber/tomato/celery salad and gnocci. We split a plate of breaded-and-broiled oysters. Very much to yum.

We snuggled and talked for over an hour after going to bed. Colleen was also thinking of Amy on Tuesday, and I learned that she had been up and down five stairs during her PT appointment.

We decided, with considerable regret, that we'd have to go to Loscon rather than Orycon this year (a major grump to those who moved Orycon into conflict). Colleen missed it last year, and with Kat in Seattle it will probably be our last Loscon; there are people there whose health is fragile enough that it may well be the last time we see them. *sigh*

A good day, ending on a slightly down but tender and loving note.

Link sausage:

From Linux Gazette, Cisco's WRT160NL, a Linux-based 802-11N router with a USB port. 100baseT ethernet, though, so you can't really use it as a NAS. I'll probably stick with my collection of assorted MiniITX boards.

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

I made dinner in the crock pot yesterday, at Colleen's direction, because the YD didn't want to. She also didn't go to the AJA concert because she didn't want to miss a call from her boyfriend.

I took a walk by Los Gatos Creek, but cut it back to an hour not because I was tired or sore but because it was too damned hot. My mind was rather unfocussed -- too many things to think about -- but it was a good walk anyway. It's going to be another scorcher today; I'll probably walk in the evening when it's cooler.

Colleen and I went to the Alexander James Adams concert in the evening - an all-acoustic gig (so he didn't have to drive). Good, as usual. I don't think it got much publicity; it was even more thinly-attended than the last one. He mentioned the possibility of doing "internet concerts" -- I think it's a good idea.

I made a little progress fighting entropy at the Starport, and got grab bars installed on the back bathroom toilet so Colleen can use it without assistance.

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

Colleen's going to be hanging around the house all day, so if you're near the Starport and want to borrow a cup of air conditioning and internet, come on over.

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

It's been feeling like summer all weekend; it's after dark and the air is still warm. I was glad to be wearing short sleeves for my walk this morning; about four miles alongside Los Gatos Creek.

I've been reasonably productive, too, cleaning up in the bedroom. I've been taking it in short spurts so as not to spend too long in uncomfortable positions, but I've made noticable progress. (Also added noticable boxes and piles in many awkward places, but presumably that's just a temporary side-effect.)

33 1/3

2009-02-11 12:01 pm
mdlbear: (sparkly rose)

It's a nice, cool, rainy day out; fortunately I got a short walk in this morning. But it gives me an excuse to spend lunchtime at my desk and update my LJ...

... which is important, because exactly 33 1/3 years ago I accepted Colleen's proposal of marriage.

I've done a lot of things I've regretted over the last four decades, but that has never been one of them.

Happy anniversary, Love!

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

Not a whole lot done, all things considered, but I think more work (at any rate) than yesterday. The trick of keeping track and posting a "done" list for the day seems to be working for the moment. Eventually I expect it'll get onerous. Hopefully not until after I stop needing the crutch. We'll see.

Got a call from [livejournal.com profile] mangoavenger around lunchtime; it was raining when I tried to go walkies, so I took the phone into my car instead. Always fun, though a little surprising, to get a phone call from her.

Interesting observation: the odd rash on my lower legs, that starts just at the top of my socks and goes up about 9 inches, came back over the last couple of days. It had been nearly gone when I got back from Seattle. Something in the carpet at work? I tried tucking my pants legs into my socks today, and it seemed to help. They're cleaning the carpets over the weekend; depending on what I'm allergic to that could be either good or bad. We'll see.

And Colleen managed to get our astronomical cell phone bill from last month chopped down by $400 -- more than half. Loud cheers. Basically they retroactively put us on a more reasonable plan. Whatever works. There are a few more adjustments to come; AT&T has a plan that lets you put your cell phone and landline on the same bill: it gives you free calls to any AT&T phone.

On the other hand, I still have at least one bill to pay tonight, and I haven't done much toward getting email working -- it's just piling up in my inbox at rahul.net. We'll see whether any of that gets done before the end of the weekend.

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

Managed to get in a bit of a walk; turned around when it started sprinkling. If I'd started a little before noon when I actually finished my lunch, I would have missed it.

Apparently my aversion to phones hasn't improved a whole lot. Unfamiliar people and unfamiliar tasks are still difficult -- in some cases next to impossible. And I still have trouble calling even people I know if I'm not reasonably sure they'll be unbusy and able to answer, or likely to call me back.

Post-song depression? Rainy-day blahs? The huge list of things I haven't done? Damned if I know.

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

Good morning! I crashed hard last night and slept a little longer than usual; the sun appears to have returned without my assistance. It always does, fortunately.

I live in what passes for a city , so I still haven't seen the sun above the houses across the street, but there was light behind the ragged high clouds when I stood on the porch to look this morning. The pink is gone now; I think I could see the sun by now, but the light behind the clouds is far too beautiful for me to wish them away.

A merry Yule and a happy Solstice to you and yours, and may this year's sun shine upon you with love, friendship, and happiness.

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

I don't always do one of these, but...

  • Colleen. Home, healthy, and with her PICC line out as of this afternoon.
  • My family, both blood and chosen.
  • My friends. Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] andyheninger's gift of an old but servicable Thinkpad just as my old one was dying.
  • An understanding employer. Heck; an employer is something to be truly thankful for these days.
  • Beautiful places to walk.
  • Rain, and the cool, clean air it brings with it.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

It was raining gently as I went out this morning to take the Younger Daughter to school; the air smelled clean and fresh, and the light was beautiful. I love the half-light of morning and evening, and rainy days with a little sun leaking out around the clouds.

We went to bed early last night; I think that of everything I've missed in the last month I've missed snuggling the most. I've written before of being a loner, and not wanting attention when I'm sick or hurting. That doesn't apply when I'm feeling lonely. That's a different kind of pain.

I woke up around 4:30 and got out of bed at 5:00; I should know by now that if I go to bed early that's going to happen. I should just get out of bed and make use of the extra time.

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

The morning is cool and grey, made calm and beautiful by a light fog that muffles sounds and hides things in the distance. Tires hiss on the dampened roads, and pedestrians materialize out of the mist a block away.

I wrap the beautiful, gentle fog around my mind and try not to look too far ahead.


2008-11-03 09:32 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

They were giving out free flu shots in our building at work; got mine. Very mild needle-stick; I'm getting some soreness and a bit of a fever now. Apparently I needed it.

Managed to get in a walk at lunchtime, between the morning and afternoon rains. I like rain, but I'm not really equipped to walk in it anymore: that really takes a hooded poncho and waterproof hiking boots.

mdlbear: (vixy-rose)

It's raining, gently. The sky is grey and beautiful, and the air is washed clean. Driving is a little dangerous -- people forget how to drive in the rain over the summer -- but it's worth it.

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

It started to rain -- scattered drops, but big ones -- just as I was about to leave the pond-side trail and take the long way back to work. Changed course and pushed the pace to (I hope) just short of leg cramps. Didn't get all that wet.

The temperature was perfect: mid-60s, I think; just right for getting comfortably warm without overheating and dripping sweat.

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

The morning was cool, almost cold, with a vague scent of water and autumn in the air. It will rain soon; perhaps not this week, but soon.

I'd been planning to take today and tomorrow off work to get ready for ConChord. That plan will be partially foiled by our Monday afternoon group meeting moving to today, and I'll need the morning to pay my water bill in person and then go to the bank to figure out why the electronic payment didn't go through, and why their website has the wrong account number and won't let me fix it.

My weight may finally be trending downward; it was 183 this morning after a couple of months at 185. Must remember to avoid carbs, and especially ice cream.

Colleen appears to be doing much better after a change in her medication.

We're getting old. That was not part of the plan, and I don't like it one damned bit.

mdlbear: (hurricane)

...gustavbloggers.com, live from the Zipa datacenter in New Orleans. Via [livejournal.com profile] interdictor, who was there blogging Katrina.

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

Did a little project planning at work today, and had lunch with a coworker who wanted to know about online communities and how they get used by filkers. Yes, really -- has to do with niche markets and what's going on in communities of musicians and fans.

The planning was interesting, too, but I can't talk about it yet. Probably not until next year at the earliest. But both projects will be very cool. And will give good demo, so I'll back in that scene, too.

Around lunchtime, while waiting for M to get out of her previous meeting, I did a little editing on steve.savitzky.net and set up the working directory and a very rough cut at the web page for a "super-single" of Quiet Victories.

It's still hot out. Upper 90's when I went out for a short walk after lunch.


2008-07-08 09:39 pm
mdlbear: (hacker glider)

Despite temperature in the very high 90's during my walk, I've been having a pretty good day. At least my knees didn't give me much trouble.

I've managed to do three loads of laundry since last night, and got my presentation for tomorrow afternoon finished at last (in OOo Impress). The seeming obstacle from yesterday evening turned out to be a non-problem, if not a feature, once I got things properly figured out.

The one problem is that now I'll have to actually build the damned thing, and run some actual experiments on it. And, as I think I've mentioned, it's way out of my field: electronics, not programming. Luckily, I have coworkers who are much better at orking that particular cow, and one of them is already listed as a coinventer.

Actually, I'm not the one with problems. Our IP manager is going to have to find me a lawyer who can actually understand the thing.

Did I mention that our sysadmin wants to learn guitar? And that his office is across the hall from mine? We tracked down a chord chart via Google, and I've taught him D, A7, and G. Other folks have showed him Am, Em, and G7, and C. He's made more progress in three days than either of my kids did in a week, so there's hope. Thursday or Friday we'll head over to Gryphon so he can get some new strings, a tuner, and a book.

Gryphon is still dangerously close to the Palo Alto Fry's. The only thing that could possibly make it worse is if they were further apart but still within walking distance: right now I have to decide whether I want a walk or a shopping expedition.

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

The air this morning was heavy with wood smoke. It's a smell I remember fondly from my youth in New England, the fall evening air crisp and fragrent with the smoke of fireplaces and burning leafpiles. To smell it in spring on a Northern California morning was deeply disturbing.

Nevertheless I'm contented, relaxed, and alert, though quite unable to focus my attention for long. This must be what catharsis feels like: sudafed with a gin chaser.

It's been hard to focus on work today, but since I started the morning with a flash of insight that could turn into a patent I can be proud of, I'm not complaining. I'll finish the write-up tomorrow.

mdlbear: (hurricane)
When Tornadoes Attack: What a Tornado Taught Me About Our Stupid Obsession With Gadgets (And Why We Still Love Them)
Two weeks ago today, a tornado ripped through Illinois. At points it was up to a quarter mile wide, and it did enough damage, cracking giant powerlines like toothpicks and yanking old-growth trees right from the ground, that it completely closed the major highway I57 for a 35-mile expanse south of Chicago.

I was lucky enough to be traveling that day (on the way to the airport for WWDC) and pulled off the road just in time to intersect with the tornado at its worst. Inside a gas station with no basement and plenty of active fuel lines, it was the first time in a long time—maybe ever—that I genuinely feared for my life, that I thought things were over. Watch that video above. Then know that I was a lot closer.

But as I've played the scenes back in my head over the last several days, it's not the storm that’s proven to be the most haunting. It's the way the people reacted. Because in the gas station, I watched a group of 20 scared people not take shelter, but stand in front of a wall of glass to record the event—to make some YouTube clips.
Well worth a read, and rather touching in places.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

It was still daylight when I went out for my walk a little after 7pm, and it had finally cooled enough to make walking reasonable. The sun was still up when I returned around 8pm, but it was low in the sky. The air had cooled considerably thanks to a clear, if slightly hazy, sky.

I'm calm, and reasonably content.

My left calf muscle has been cramping a little the last few days; I took things easy.

Went out around 2pm to buy plywood and redwood for a wheelchair ramp. I appear to be allergic to some wood or other; my throat started tightening up a little while after I returned. Still scratchy, but the claritin seems to be fighting it with modest success.

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

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

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

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

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

mdlbear: (wtf-logo)

It bounced.

OK: Earthquake in the Midwest? Unseasonable snow in Seattle? Supreme Court justice renounces capital punishment?

Some days it's not worthwhile getting out of bed. Other days you wonder whether you actually did.

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

Death comes into it because I heard from my insurance broker yesterday; he had noticed the activity on my account. He mentioned that, rather than cashing out the policy, I could have borrowed against the death benefit instead. Right. As if the whole point wasn't to reduce my level of debt, and eliminate yet another monthly payment. There's a reason why I don't like to do business over the phone: I don't like having to make decisions like that on the spur of the moment.

Yesterday I downloaded the year-end reports from Paypal and Amex. That's all I need, since Amex is the only card I use for online transactions, and I have paper receipts for everything else. Started data-entry this morning; I'll probably have the checkbooks done today. I do my tax-related data entry into a flat file using Emacs, then compute the subtotals with a Perl script.

The next step will be going through the paper receipts for credit card (and debit card, now that I have one for my business account) transactions. I also still need to sort through this year's charity mail looking for more receipts, and do triage on last year's investment and banking statements. On the whole the shoebox method of organizing still works for me, although these days it requires a file cart and two banker's boxes.

It was raining gently when I got up this morning. Very calming.


2008-02-03 12:15 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

When I started out for my walk this morning it was overcast but basically clear. About 45 minutes later, somewhere into my third circuit of the Rose Garden, it started to rain. It was a very gentle rain, with no wind, but it did get steadily heavier. By the time I got home I was intensely aware of the fact that my raincoat needs to be re-waterproofed.

On the other hand, I don't particularly mind walking in the rain (as long as it isn't too cold or too heavy), and I needed to put those clothes in the laundry today anyway.

mdlbear: (hacker glider)

... so this morning I took advantage of the fact that installing the new UPS required me to power down the entire bloody rack to re-route a few cables and to reconfigure the "interim" gateway machine that had been my main DSL router since last April when I installed it, and make it the "interim" gateway for the old DSL line. Pretty simple; I took down the mail server because I wanted to be around when I turned it on in case it didn't work. Good thing -- there are still some pieces of configuration that have to be changed. Like the hostname? Little things like that.

I left the old gateway turned off; the final uptime was 603 days. It will eventually become the main gateway.

At that point, I headed out to Fry's to get a new DSL modem. They had a D-Link for $50. Stopped at Sears on the way home for vacuum cleaner bags; by the time I got home it was raining hard.

One of my Linux laptops, Argo, is currently the interim gateway for the DSL line. It's taken me about the last 3 hours and a support call to get the bloody D-Link configured: apparently it's not really smart enough to come up in bridge mode by itself. That's going to keep causing me trouble, I suspect. (Come to think of it, my old modem probably just needed a reset...) (Never hurts to have a spare, though.)

I also picked up a cheap ($15) 5-port ethernet switch for the Y.D.; she's been complaining about slow wireless connections on her laptop. Part of that, and I suspect a lot of other network flakiness, was almost certainly due to the fact that the boneheaded family sysadmin (yours truly, of course) had the same gateway IP addresses configured on both routers. Probably never would have discovered it if the Y.D. hadn't told me she had an internet connection at a time yesterday when I knew that the main DSL line was down.

My shiny UPS (APC BX1500LCD) is currently showing a 17% load, and an estimated run time of 34 minutes. This makes me happy. I'd be even happier, presumably, if I didn't have as many machines running in the rack. I'm getting there...

Next in line for configuration are mail on the old gateway, DNS and possibly web on the interim gateway, and a re-install from scratch on the new gateway. Which will have four ethernet ports -- Whee!

update: 17:34 ...and a couple of firewall fixes later, mail is back up. Some messages may have been lost between early this morning and now; I sometimes wonder about forwarding. I *really* need to fix email. But not today.

mdlbear: (hacker glider)

One of this morning's power glitches took out the DSL line. Grumble. The "line" light is green, but there's nobody home. The phone works, though. I put in a call to Sonic; they tested the line, didn't see the modem, and said they'd put in a call to AT&T; I haven't heard back. I'll try again later.

The only other thing I can think of is that the power surge somehow damaged the modem in some subtle way. I'll ask whether it's worth my while to buy another modem tomorrow, not that I relish the though of going out in the storm again.

The power glitches this morning convinced me that today would be a good day to take advantage of the $30 mail-in rebate on a 1500VA APC UPS that Fry's was advertising. The drive, while not as harrowing as it could have been, was still pretty bad; I ran into two non-functional traffic lights.

I scored the last of the advertised UPS in the store. Good timing. It will replace the two UPSs currently in the server rack (a 500 and a 650) and add some additional features (it has an LCD display) and better monitoring. It can also be muted -- I'll have to look for a similar one for the bedroom; it'd be good to have something quiet next to the bed for my facehugger. In the meantime I can mute the 500VA unit that's currently in the rack.

As long as I have the servers powered down tomorrow... )

This is not what I'd planned to be doing this weekend.

mdlbear: (abt)

I rarely, if ever, mention cloud pictures in my posts, but this morning on the way home the morning sky was exceptional, and there in front of me was a perfect little griffin. Sadly, it had vanished by the time I had turned the corner on Leigh and parked in front of my house, to be replaced by a somewhat unsatisfactory little unicorn. There was also a rather blurry running quadruped; it might have been a wolf if you were in the right mood.

I spent some time yesterday morning working on the track lists for the next two albums: Amethyst Rose and Hackers' Heaven; they're still extremely vague. Realized that AR was altogether too crowded already; there's going to have to be another one for most of the fantasy songs and the leftover computer and space stuff. Not sure I want to think about that just now, but part of the motivation for all this is the fact that I'm feeling particularly mortal these days.

(Note: if you follow those links (and I don't really recommend that you do), you'll find the directories on the other end to be really rough. I cut a lot of corners to get CC&S out the door; it will take me a while to glue them all back on.)

mdlbear: (healthy_fen)

(Cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] healthy_fen)

Despite the fact that it looked clear and sunny when I peered out the window before my walk, there was in fact an almost-invisible light drizzle. Decided not to let that stop me.

My shins were starting to hurt before I quite made it down to the pond; backed off a little and only went around once. By the time I was headed back to work the pain had shifted from the front of my legs to the backs, so probably about the right pace. No pain in either my ankles or my knees, but there were two very disturbing moments where my right (!) knee felt wobbly, like it was about to buckle under me. That would have been bad.

Altogether a good walk, though; I didn't even get particularly wet.

Stats: time: 37:16; average: 126; max: 143.

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

Saw the first rainbow of the season this morning; it was drizzling on my way to work. By noon, fortunately, it was cool and clear: just right for walking.

After my walk (see previous post) I spent the entire afternoon programming. This mostly consisted of taking the quick hack of a Perl program I wrote yesterday and adding some code for, basically, computing the weighted average of a list of vectors. The pre-existing code I was working from was an earlier hack written in Objective C by somebody else. Fun! No, really. I don't get in quite as much programming as I ought to for my sanity and self-respect.

Tomorrow I have to go back, figure out how I really ought to compute that weighted average instead of faking it, and then convert the guts of the code from an egregious hack into a reasonably well-documented Perl module. It will eventually be open source. Meanwhile, one of my coworkers is in Japan using the egregious hack for a demo.

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

<cross-posted to="healthy_fen">

But in spite of the fact that yesterday was sufficiently summer-like, today is starting out cold. I expect it to warm up, though. We've already switched our thermostat over to "cool".

Walked about three miles yesterday, down Sand Hill Road to the Safeway where I get most of my lunches for the week. I went for "healthy" this time, loading up on the baked snap-pea crisps that I liked last week, plus a block of firm tofu (which lasts me for two days) and a small bottle of soy sauce. In the past I've often gotten a package of pepperoni, which also lasts two days -- and costs twice as much for three or four times the calories.


<geekery /> )

mdlbear: (ccs-cover)

They may be small compared to other mountains, and the weather in California may be warm compared to winters elsewhere, but there was still snow on the peaks this morning. It was still there as I drove home, the white domes of Lick Observatory floating among the clouds on a raft of white snow. Below the snowline, the grass on the hills is green.

Walked 2.5 miles today, which makes up in part for missing yesterday completely. Things have been busy this week at work, getting ready for a week of visitors, demos, and posters next week. Most of them will be there Tuesday and Wednesday; hopefully I'll be able to get away most of Thursday. And Consonance starts Friday. I'm not ready!

Managed to get a crude but effective data-entry form mostly working; I'll have it finished this evening. Then we can start mailing confirmations and URLs to the people who preordered Coffee, Computers, and Song! during the last two months. implementation notes )

The fileserver is still freezing; there's a Debian install in my near future.

It's cold

2007-01-15 07:11 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

There was black ice on the parking lot at work this morning; from the look of it, frozen runoff from the sprinkler system. It was still there this evening. Good thing it didn't rain yesterday, or the roads would have been a nightmare.

The drive home was cold, the house is cold, and I'm cold. I see hot buttered rum in my near future mug.

On the plus side, I managed to walk for over an hour yesterday, and almost an hour today. And either my cold is tapering off, or I'm getting the meds for it under better control. In a couple of days I might even be able to sing again.

I got an extra 40 minutes at home this morning thanks to the YD being on holiday and the Wolfling getting a ride to work with a friend. I mostly spent it dragging my recording machine into the office from the bedroom, and starting to get it set up as a workstation. Another couple of hours to go on that project, but it'll give me a nice fast machine for audio editing. I can tote it back into the bedroom for recording the few remaining tracks, or do those with a laptop.

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

The rainy season has definitely started; I drove home in the rain yesterday. And [livejournal.com profile] jilara asked me to sing ''Millennium's Dawn'' last night -- the irony of

Oh I should have been watching the earthrise
From a dome on the bright lunar plain
But I took a wrong turn at the '60s
now I'm driving back home in the rain

was not lost on me. But the sky is a soft grey, the air is clean, and the mist mutes the sounds of traffic a little. I like the rain, for the most part.

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

Went to the Lamplighters production of Ruddygore, taking [livejournal.com profile] jilara along instead of our stick-in-the-mud Younger Daughter. Her loss. The Lamplighters did an excellent job, as usual, though the sets were a little too minimalistic for my taste. Basically sketch-like, two-dimensional flats; the scenes where the pictures step out of their frames was done by pulling up the flats, to reveal a distant backdrop of clouds in a night sky. I really preferred the old sets, where the picture frames held a painted scrim that was pulled away to allow the ancestors to step through.

The music, however, was completely up to Lamplighter standards. Ruddygore (that's the original name, btw, before it was changed to Ruddigore so as not to offend tender Victorian sensibilities) has some of the finest music of any G&S -- the silly songs are appropriately silly, the tender love songs are among their prettiest, and the overture and "The Dead of the Night's High Noon" are just plain awesome.

I realized sometime during the second act that the right way for me to do "I Have a Song to Sing, Oh" (from Yeomen of the Guard -- it's one I've been wanting work on for quite some time) in concert would be to open with the verses from the first act, and close with the two verses from the finale. Duh.

Driving home, we saw a curtain of slanted dark streaks coming down from a cloud, which I identified as rain that was probably evaporating before it hit the ground. Further evidence was provided about 10 minutes later as a little patch of rainbow appeared in front of the streaks. Total confirmation came as we were on our way to dinner after picking up the Y D at home -- a sprinkling of large raindrops.

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