Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:51 am
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[personal profile] days_unfolding
I was feeling good when I left work, and was bemoaning the fact that I felt fairly energetic, but had to get up early for a dentist's appointment. But after I've eaten, my stomach is really upset. It might be the antibiotics. Or what I had previously. I'll see how I feel in the morning.

Cleaning Progress

Sep. 21st, 2017 01:28 am
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[personal profile] days_unfolding
Yesterday, I received a note from the apartment management saying that they were going to inspect the place for bugs. I stayed up late and did a bunch of cleaning, and got up early and did more. I'm thrilled with the progress that I made, although I have a ways to go. But I'm really tired.

Zara was a holy terror to get in the carrier in the morning. I had to throw a towel over her. But she had forgiven me by dinnertime, and made a big fuss over me. One thing that I like about Zara is that she doesn't hold a grudge.

I think that a good night's sleep is in order....

Better Day

Sep. 19th, 2017 12:28 am
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[personal profile] days_unfolding
I had problems falling asleep because my knee was hurting. I stuck a pillow under it for a while, which helped at first, and then became uncomfortable. When I woke up this morning, the pillowcase was off of it, and I swear that it had one last night. I can't find the pillowcase. Do I remove pillowcases in my sleep? Did Zara grab it for her "lair"? Inquiring minds want to know.

Zara's lair is a box on its side. She pulled off the top sheet from my bed and made a nest for herself. She likes to sleep in there. You know that you're a cat person have an empty box prominently displayed in your bedroom.

Mimi cracked me up yesterday. I had finished my shower, and was grabbing my cell phone before I went to work. Mimi scrunched up her face like she was smelling something bad. Apparently she didn't like the fact that I smelled like scented body wash. Ewwww.

Anyway, my knee. At first, I was feeling cranky at work because I hurt my knee there, and it hurts. But then I got involved in some interesting things, so that helped. It's not all better though. I'm refusing to put stuff in boxes at work until it feels better.

I went to the store, and forgot two things. That'll teach me to go without a list. One was cookies, which I could live without, although cookies cure a lot of ills, but the other was acetaminophen, which I need for my knee. So I need to go back after I feed the hordes. At least the store is five minutes from here.

Two Days Off!

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:03 am
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[personal profile] ranunculus
It is a foggy, but not too cold morning here in SF.
Forgot to get my name on the work list on Friday.  It is easy to forget when I'm in the middle of some long work day!  Anyway that allowed me to have Sunday and Monday off.  Tue is TBD. 
Got catfood, dogfood, tea and milk yesterday.  Staples for our household!
Had a lovely dinner with Amrit who is here visiting for a while.  Amrit was our tenant for a couple of years.  He is now working all over the world for Google.  It just so happened that he's in town for a couple of weeks, so he's staying with us - sort of.  Being Amrit he's off here and there much of the time. 
Off to help M clean his apartment (not hard).  He has strict instructions NOT to vacuum until his neck heals. 

Crappy Day

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:37 am
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[personal profile] days_unfolding
My boss was having a bunch of students come in on Friday (when I was off) and clear out some old magazines and books and such from a back area. I told him that the items to be thrown out needed to be in boxes that were closed (but not taped shut) in order for Maintenance to take them.

I came in to some items in boxes, yes, but not closed, and loose magazines piled on top of them. Maintenance won't take that. So I needed to do something with it so that Maintenance would take the mess, er stuff. Oy. I was kind of wishing that I kept a bottle of booze in my desk because I would have taken a swig. I said several choice words. It's all in boxes now or on carts.

Then my bad knee collapsed. I might have done something to it while leaning over the boxes. I can walk on it, but it hurts a little. Took ibuprofen. Now the other knee is hurting.

I forgot to sign into chat reference :( For a while, anyway.

I spilled flavored (and colored) water on the carpet at work, which might stain the carpet.

I'm feeling very emotional and fragile. I'm tempted to go to sleep now to break the cycle, but I have stuff to get done, and a history of not getting up early. Still, it might not be a bad idea to snuggle cats and crash.

New possible retirement place: Eugene, OR. Cheaper than Portland (which I love), and has lots of great hiking trails, festivals (Bach Festival!), and is very green (both literally and figuratively). Who knows how expensive it'll be by the time that I retire though. It's cheaper than Austin and Santa Fe. Another place to check out!

Retirement is sounding really good today.

Evening/Mom Report

Sep. 16th, 2017 10:31 pm
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[personal profile] days_unfolding
I didn't go pick up my prescription. I'll go tomorrow. I signed up for a webinar on how to make money blogging. Of course, the presenter was selling something, but I did pick up a few tips. I hoped that he would talk more about building traffic, but he didn't say much about it. Near the end of the webinar, I was working on my homework while listening to the webinar.

I did laundry and talked to my mom. She was still tired this week, but is starting to feel better. Neither of us had much of anything exciting happen this week, so it wasn't scintillating conversation. We're hoping that we'll have more to talk about next week.

Need to finish my homework. We need to put together a five-page Web site with images, so I thought that I'd have fun with it and create pages for places where I'm considering living. However, Mimi is insisting that she's starving (she isn't), so I'll feed the hordes soon.


Sep. 16th, 2017 01:33 pm
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[personal profile] days_unfolding
I love petting Harlee. She really gets into it, even as compared to other cats. She wiggles her entire body.

The hordes and I are fed, and I scooped the litter boxes.

I'm feeling kind of dizzy and headachy. I'm probably not completely over being sick earlier this week. I've decided to largely stay home, although I need to run to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription. I think that a nap is in order.
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[personal profile] drplacebo
It's Forgotten Masterpiece Friday!

Ma Sicong (1912-1987) was China's earliest significant composer of music for Western instruments. He was best known as a violin virtuoso during his lifetime, often referred to in China as the "King of Violinists" from the 1930s through the 1950s. Although Ma did not grow up in a particularly musical family (his father was the finance minister of the province of Guangdong in the early years of the Republic of China), he and most of his siblings eventually became professional string players; his younger sister Ma Siju was probably China's leading cellist in the 1940s and 1950s. Ma Sicong himself was introduced to the violin when his older brother, who had gone to France to study music, brought him a violin on a visit home in the summer of 1923. He fell in love with the instrument, and before the end of the year, aged just eleven, he joined his brother in France. Except for a brief return to China in 1929, he remained in France until 1932 and studied violin and composition at the Paris Conservatoire.

After returning to Asia, Ma was active as a concert violinist and composer and held a series of faculty appointments, culminating in his appointment in 1949 as the first president of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. He frequently represented China in musical events throughout the Communist bloc; in 1958 he served on the jury for the first Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow, which Van Cliburn famously won. But when the Cultural Revolution began in 1966, he and other leading music teachers in China were persecuted for teaching Western music. Upon his arrival at the Central Conservatory for the beginning of the 1966-67 academic year, he was arrested by the Red Guards and confined to a classroom for 103 days, and then brutally beaten before being released. In January 1967, he defected to the United States via Hong Kong, in a dramatic escape that involved him and his family being smuggled to Hong Kong aboard a fishing boat. He was briefly a celebrity in the West -- before the Cultural Revolution he had been China's single most prominent musician, and a friend of both Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, so his defection was seen as a major coup for the US -- and his music received a number of performances in the United States and Taiwan in 1967 and 1968. Meanwhile, after Life magazine published a first-person account by Ma titled "Cruelty and Insanity Made Me a Fugitive," he was tried and convicted of treason in absentia back in China, and all his music was banned. Ma Sicong spent the rest of his life in Philadelphia, composing only sporadically but continuing to perform as a violinist in the United States and Taiwan.

Eventually Ma Sicong was rehabilitated in China: his conviction for treason was rescinded in 1984, with Wu Zuqiang (then president of the Central Conservatory of Music) and Henry Kissinger traveling to Philadelphia to deliver him the news in person. On the Chinese New Year, 1985, more than a hundred Chinese newspapers ran front-page stories declaring that Ma Sicong was again welcome in China. In 1997, the tenth anniversary of his death was commemorated in Beijing with a concert of some of his best-known pieces, and in 2002 the Guangzhou Museum of Art opened a Ma Sicong Memorial Hall. In the United States, there was some renewed interest in his music beginning in 2012, as a number of musical organizations in the Philadelphia area commemorated the centennial of a Philadelphia resident famous in China yet largely unknown in his adopted hometown.

This week's forgotten masterpiece is Ma's second symphony, one of his few major works to be recorded. Composed in 1958-59, at the height of Ma's career in China, it was ostensibly based on Mao Zedong's poem "Loushan Pass" which commemorated the Red Army's first victory during the Long March, though the music is not explicitly programmatic in the sense of having any form of descriptive subtitles, and some of it draws more from 20th century trends in Western music such as use of medieval church modes. Although there are pauses between movements, the end of each movement and the beginning of the next are ingeniously written to form somewhat of a transition from one movement to the next. The first movement is short and in traditional sonata form, featuring a vigorous opening theme in Phrygian mode and a second theme based loosely on a Shaanxi folk song. The second movement is an anguished dirge that might represent the hardships of the long retreat, or mourning for fallen comrades. The third movement brings back the opening theme of the piece before transitioning into what might be a victory celebration featuring a number of folk dances.

I. Allegro agitato
II. Adagio maestoso (5:27)
III. Allegro (16:58)

No Rest for the Weary

Sep. 15th, 2017 11:26 pm
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Finished laundry. Fed the hordes. The problem with lounging on the bed while Zara eats is that I get sleepy. No. Must. Get. Stuff. Done.

My HTML/CSS class doesn't have a schedule with the assignments laid out. Instead, each week, he posts the assignments for the week. Usually it's a video or two with a lab. Well, this week there's two labs. Good thing that I looked at the assignments early. (They're due on Monday.) Well, I suppose that complaining isn't getting them done.

As long as I'm complaining though, he keeps having us do things in assignments that he hasn't explained how to do. He needs to update his assignments to match HTML5. Bah.

...And Back Again

Sep. 15th, 2017 08:55 pm
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Apparently the WalMart pharmacy closes at 8 PM, not 9, so I dropped off the prescriptions, and she said that she would have them done "first thing tomorrow". No rush--I can guarantee that I won't be there at 9 AM :)

Laundry is in the dryer. I spent some time looking at Facecrack, er, Facebook, the world's biggest time-waster. I almost think that I should uninstall it, but my mom uses it to keep up with me. I mostly just share articles there though.

I need to get some constructive stuff done.

Did I say that it's freaking hot? It's September! Come on autumn!

Quite a Nap

Sep. 15th, 2017 07:09 pm
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[personal profile] days_unfolding
Boy, did I conk out. Slept the whatever-that-is-that's-not-novocaine off. They said that I might feel some pain from the antibiotic treatment, but I feel fine. I just ate something, and plan to go get my prescriptions filled. I'm wondering if I should try WalMart first to see if it might be cheaper.

Harlee is telling a tale of woe. She's right; I have been neglecting her, but I need to get going. I'll make it up to her later tonight.

Back from the Dentist

Sep. 15th, 2017 02:01 pm
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[personal profile] days_unfolding
I overslept and had to scramble out of here to the dentist, but I made it on time. One good thing about Lincoln is that it's small, and nothing is far away.

The good news: I really like the dentist.

The bad news: I need a bunch of work done (but I'm not surprised, and they explained it to me well).

I had a periodontal treatment on one side of my mouth done today, so my mouth is numb. I'm novocaine-resistant, but whatever they used works well for me. I'm having a treatment on the other side next week.

I forgot to get my prescriptions filled (antibiotic and treatment for dry mouth), but I think that I'll nap for a little while and get them filled later.

Tired Thursday

Sep. 15th, 2017 01:41 am
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[personal profile] days_unfolding
Work was okay. I'm glad that it's my weekend though. I'm still fighting tiredness and, right now, I have a headache.

CNN published an editorial saying that older people shouldn't live in Florida because air conditioning is critical for them. All roads seem to lead to New Mexico. I need to work my butt off to ensure that I'll be able to go there next year. I ordered a book about the Santa Fe-Taos-Albuquerque area and a book about retiring in New Mexico from Amazon.

I read an article by an academic who has an Everything notebook in which he records, well, everything that's going on, everything that he needs to remember, planning notes, etc. It's kind of a cross between a bullet journal and a larger notebook in which to take notes. He used a spiral-bound notebook and sticky tabs to index items. I thought that it would work better for me if I got a ring binder with dividers, so that I can keep the notes for a category together. So tonight I bought a zippered binder, dividers with pockets, and reinforced 3-hole paper. I'll set up the journal tomorrow. I had something similar when I was at IBM, and it helped me stay organized.

I have a dentist appointment tomorrow morning, so I need to crash soon. I'll probably come back and take a nap afterwards.

Ex-Alta 1 — very impressive!

Sep. 14th, 2017 08:20 pm
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[personal profile] pheloniusfriar
Having worked on a CubeSat design team myself (I was working on the scientific payload), I know what a huge job it is. This is some pretty amazing work and some even more amazing troubleshooting and problem solving since it has been in orbit.

Space oddity: U of A satellite survives mission mishaps to capture super solar storm

Fyi, the Ex-Alta 1 website:

Note: As I have written about before, we never finished our CubeSat (it was an entry to the first Canadian Satellite Design Challenge and Carleton did not win)... just so you don't think I've actually built a satellite: I have not. Worked on one, yes; built parts of one, yes; finished one, nope.

Warning: video contains drug use and tattooed nuns in lingerie, somewhat NSFW I would say... but I found the video to be very creative and the cover version quite passable and as heartfelt as you get from these guys.

Mind you if you want to go full NSFW with The Flaming Lips, watch the video they did for their cover of The Beatles' "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" with Miley Cirus and Moby (really). I happen to think it's one of the most creative and transgressive videos I have seen this year (although it came out in 2014, I just saw it for the first time a couple of weeks ago), but it's pretty messed up in so many ways. It's on YouTube at the moment (but not The Flaming Lips' site, huh), but I don't know for how long given its content:

So many uses!

Sep. 14th, 2017 11:16 am
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[personal profile] pheloniusfriar
I have discovered today that Aurora Award trophies can also be used as earthquake detectors (the metal panels click together to make a very distinctive sound)!

While there was no actual earthquake, there is local shaking as they run steamrollers along the access road to where I live. As I could feel the subsonics rippling through the house (it resonated pretty well and actually kind of hurt my ears and definitely generated a feeling of discomfort... plus freaked out the cats), a weird clicking, almost glass-like sound would kick in a few seconds after the shaking started. When I went to investigate, the shaking would subside and the sound would stop. I finally had a long enough "run" of shaking just now to track down the source of the noise. A slight bend and the clicking sound was no more... for a while... as I write this, the shaking is so intense that it has started again. Oh, well.

Note: I have never received an Aurora Award, however I administered the awards in 1995 (at CAN•CON) and as such have a sample (unplated) award on the mantle in my living room [I was nominated for one, however I had to decline the nomination due to my involvement as a key administrator of the awards that year... too much ethics for my own good sometimes, heh].

P.S. The Aurora Award trophy is amazing... as you can see from the photo if you look through it sideways there is a maple-leaf cutout through all three panels that align. Also, from the side the tops of the panels look like the sweep of an auroral display (the photo does not show that very well). As a final wow, if you look at it from the top, the three panels form the letters "SF".

Farewell Cassini!

Sep. 14th, 2017 08:12 am
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[personal profile] pheloniusfriar
"Cassini, in some ways, represents the best of humanity. It's really a testament to our endless curiosity, our collective passion to continue exploring the world and the solar system we live in."

No Limits on Education

Sep. 14th, 2017 12:31 am
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[personal profile] days_unfolding
I dragged my weary butt into work today. I'm still feeling a little under the weather (I wound up lying down for a little while this morning because I had a headache), but am better than before.

I found a MOOC class (online class) on Bitcoin and blockchain technologies given by Princeton for free, so I signed up for it. It even recommends a book that I already checked out of the library. I also signed up for a series of investment courses, plus one on computational investing, starring everyone's favorite programming language, Python. It would be good to work on it while waiting for a market correction.

I'm concerned about the nursing home in Hollywood, FL that didn't have air conditioning after Irma, and several patients died. That's a point against retiring in Florida. I looked into Santa Fe, and there is some risk of earthquakes, although they haven't had a strong one, and high risk of wildfires (like most of the west). No hurricanes, of course. Santa Fe is looking more and more positive. I want to check out Albuquerque also.

My feline overlords are not happy with their staff. I must make amends.


Sep. 12th, 2017 10:51 pm
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[personal profile] ranunculus
Walked out of work last night into a thunderstorm with frequent flashes of lightning and pouring rain!!  The rain is a bit unusual for this time of year, and the lightning was by far the most intense storm I've seen in San Francisco.

(no subject)

Sep. 12th, 2017 10:29 pm
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[personal profile] ranunculus
In total it took 7 electricians more than 20 hours to load in this show.  Should have been done in 8.  Sigh. 
This morning the client was desperate for me to "get the lights focused"  So I went around in my boom lift and focused all the lights, generally on imaginary stages that might or might not move.  Another crew went around in a scissors lift (way, way easier to work out of for this kind of thing). The second crew added pipes to the trusses so the cables from the truss drop down next to the wall instead of in the seating area.  Sadly they were behind me.  The weight of the pipe rolled every single truss so all the lights were completely out of focus.  So I went BACK around with my awkward boom lift and refocused every single light.   I will just mention that the pipes should have gone on the truss while it was still down at floor level, at the same time we hung the lights. 
Eventually, at the end of the second day, the stages were placed.  At that point the client decided she hated our floor uplights and changed where they went.  Her placement left half of the 6' long striplight hanging off the edge of the stage.  The carpenters built little "legs' that we screwed the striplight feet (called trunions) to.  I thought it was a nifty solution.

Today was day three of this show.  Not much has changed, the stage manager is desperately dealing with poor equipment and problems while I'm sitting quietly making lights go on and off.  Wish I could refocus a couple of my lights....  
I swear that good, well organized shows exist.  I've seen lovely light plots, and worked for well prepared bosses.  Just not recently!
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