Monday, April 15th, 2019 07:28 pm

okay but my defense, it's not so much that a lot's happened is that I am both super lazy and things happened.

In some kind of order:

1.) Saw the ENT and have another appointment after a six weeks of antibiotics and steroids because nasal infections that last this long need the shock and awe treatment.

2.) Saw Captain Marvel and realized there was indeed a hole in my life before it appeared. Seriously, I had no idea there was so much Carol AND MARIA WHY DID I NOT KNOW THIS.

3.) Learned to use a neti pot.

Okay, much like evangelists for Diva cups (divangelists?) and The Magicians (magelists?), I think everyone should Neti pot now because this shit isn't woo which was surprising. Interestingly, the most dramatic results were the second or third time and then after several days of use where I could feel the difference. So if you were on the fence, a.) head position will work out eventualy just keep tilting randomly until it works out and b.) try it. Not woo.

4.) Still not interested in Game of Thrones and still wish I could flog up the interest. This annoys me.

5.) My home network has undergone a change for teh better which I will go over at some point, including successful creation of a wireless bridge client that is basically a wifi repeater that took me only three separate tutorials to figure out how to get running using DD-WRT.

random on ddwrt )

This has been a message from Seperis' Network Feelings.
IF you haven't already, friend me on Pokemon Go! PRESENTS!

(I actually also need three people to finish this goddamn mission.)

Code: 7682 9107 1853
So growing up rural means you generally need to have at least one dog; that's just making sure rattlesnakes avoid you, water moccasins avoid you, feral dogs and cats avoid you, and a decent burglar alarm. Specifically, a dog that could survive: a middle-large to large dog.
background info: life and rural dogs )
My mother, all this time unbeknownst to me, has always wanted a small dog: a teacup poodle or--much much more--a Maltese. When we lived in the country, it wasn't practical; when we moved and kids still lived with her (multiple kids), it wasn't a good idea; now, however, she only lives with one child over the age of ten and my youngest sister. She is ready for her Maltese lap dreams to come true.

(The first time she showed interest a few years ago, things interfered, so this is technically Try Two At Maltese Dreams)

Mild digression: despite the fact she is not actually a cat person, Mom has four cats.

You're asking how. Fine.
yeah, this is how it happened )
My mission: to get my mom a tiny dog. An impractical dog. An overbred dog, even. A dog that sits on laps like animate fur and barks at a painfully high pitch and you can brush and groom and literally could fit in a purse. An adult, not puppy. I'll take a maltipoo or yorkipoo or maltiyork (not sure of name????) or shi-maltz or basically any single breed or crossbreed from a reputable breeder OR that shows up in a rescue or shelter and has been evaluated for temperament et al that involves a Maltese and/or Yorkie; it must be tiny and useless as other that adorableness. Pretty easy, you'd think.

I want to do this without having to take out a loan: not easy.

Here is what I learned about shelters: they almost never have tiny dogs except chihuahuas and vaguely impossible/unholy/wtf chihuahua crossbreeds, because rescues get them before they go public.

(Note: It's not that chihuahuas aren't awesome, I've been around them/played with them my entire life, but if you've met one, you understand that's a dog you have to want specifically for what it is, be ready for, and commit to. It's made of nothing but energy and barking, and unless you can be damn sure of the temperament, not one to be around anyone under ten at best as they get cranky. Like, yeah, there are exceptions--I've seen some zen Chihuahuas--but you really can't count on that.

Exception: one of the random dogs that appeared in my life when I lived in the country was a dachshund-chihuahua mix and broke all the laws of both breeds by being what you might consider a particularly lazy sausage-shaped, chihuahua-headed sloth of good humor who preferred to be supine above all things. People who met it were utterly baffled by its existence, and I doubt I shall ever see it's like again.)

So far, I have learned this about rescues from Mom (and from contacting them or reading their literature): it takes less effort to get a goddamn passport (and possibly, security clearance at the Pentagon) than to secure a tiny dog.

One required an application, home visit/home assessment, family assessment, and then you could meet the dog (FOR THE FIRST TIME) under controlled conditions and perhaps at some point may actually get it no promises. One also had a background check. One had super strict rules about having other pets in the home across the board, not just relative to a dog's evaluation of temperament. All required some genuinely unsettling contracts you had to sign. Some had waiting lists that apparently can take decades. Fee ranged from $300-$600. This is only the stuff I remember, by the way, and that doesn't take into account how they make you feel really super judged when no, you're not really interested in the dog with some problems with children/other animals/existence and has a speckled history when it comes to using his teeth or bladder.

So reputable breeders and possibly taking out a loan for a pet-quality dog or retired show dog: oh God and I have no idea. See, that would require them answering inquiries about their dogs (as their sites have a tendency not to want to put up prices or even vague price ranges), which seems to be something of a problem since it can take a month after I ask about the ones I saw on the site for them to tell me all their dogs are gone like months ago (so why didn't you update your goddamn site already?) or the site says 'they could have dogs please inquire' but same problem as above.

Which means I'm on craigslist, even though it makes me nervous for various reasons including but not limited to:

1.) unless they're a reputable breeder, I could be hitting a goddamn puppy mill or backyard breeder and no. Fortunately, I am not in the market for puppies of any kind so not much of a worry.

2.) if it's a rehoming of an adult (and I assume 'one' isn't true), I have no idea about individual temperament or judge the probability using the dog's parents and generally you need more than a few minutes to judge how a dog reacts to cats, children, yards, et al. Yes, the seller said it's great with pets and kids, but don't they all? Who the hell says 'dog is hostile to the Achilles tendon and eats baby toes' or 'likes to pee in snoring mouths' or 'tried to kill me in my sleep with its tiny teeth, picture of scars available on request' and expects a response, much less anyone to pay $750 for their little psychopath?

3.) fee is $300 to $900 and are you fucking kidding me?? For your used, potentially demon-spawned luxuriously furred monster??????

It's so frustrating because yes, I get this isn't serious or a huge issue, but growing up, we were working class to poor most of the time. My mom didn't get to buy new clothes for years, she didn't get to have nice things or do nice things (she had to worry about paying bills and if the phone would get turned off and how much my dad would spend whether he was employed or not), she worked full time to make ends meet while clinically depressed, with anxiety, and subject to panic attacks sometimes on a daily basis (all this while on medication), and honestly, I don't think she actually liked living in the country and that doesn't include what little but very unpleasant knowledge I have of her childhood. Yes, now she's doing wonderfully financially, she can pay all her bills and even has a stock account, is in a better place and everything, but that kind of history lingers.

So by God, I want her to get her luxury dream dog. An impractical dog. A tiny dog whose only duties are to be goddamn adorable and sit in her lap and let her brush it's fur or whatever. And for less than two semesters at a community college, please.
Escapade was no lie fucking amazing, and we'll totally get into that later, but right now, of all the things I've done both questionable and not (and only sometimes drunk), there is one I feel is the most worrisome, which is saying something, not that I'm referring to anything specific here though Christ, Orange Grove is fucking delicious.

This issue being, my propensity to do bathroom business in dark bathrooms.

Like, has anyone noticed this? I have no idea, but it is indeed a thing and I think I am successfully playing it off with an attitude of 'light is so overrated for purposes of relieving, come on' or more likely, no one noticed but paranoia is a thing, welcome to my brain.

A not entirely unexpected side effect of living it up in your low-budget Star Trek apartment: my bathroom has motion sensors and an Echo Dot for emergencies like well, that, and really trying to remember who played in a movie and Alexa wiki'ing for me from my toilet and/or shower when my phone is not available or I don't want to soak it in shower water.

So basically, bathroom lights--the turning off/on thing--is not something I think about like, at all. At work, they're always on of course, and basically at any given public bathroom sitch, the odds are multiple stalls equal always-on. The one-offs are also fine in teh given convenience store or restaurant, which is great. This issue has come up with my mom and visiting other people's houses and vacation this summer, but for reasons unclear, it did not occur to me how a hotel is not really a one-off and maybe I broke something important in the executive function zone in regard to lightswitches because I'm also kind of sitting in the dark at times trying to work out what to do when Alexa isn't there and I don't have an app for it.

Add any amount of alcohol and a sense of urgency, 'I don't care' kicks in (really, it's better that way considering the alternative) but once that last Orange Grove and the pink wine wear off, you are now able to count (on more than one hand) how many times you were in a closed dark bathroom with at least one to three people within visual range and hope they weren't paying attention or were super drunk. Does it actually matter or will anyone care? No (maybe?) but that's not the problem; the problem is I'm day four in this hotel and cannot fucking do lights.

I am not saying "Alexa, turn on the lights" but that literally is the limit of my adaptability. Strap in, folks, it gets weirder.

I cannot remember where any lightswitch is even having sought out and used it in my own goddamn room. More than once. If your next thought is "uh, by the door" well, yeah but when I'm in the goddamn room it's like I'm searching for Narnia. Did you know lamps have switches? That shit was a surprise to me, even though I do know how lamps work and indeed switches were present. Where are the lights in the room? By the doors, awesome. Lamps all have switches at the base. This is simple, we're good, right?

When I enter the room, I will promptly forget this very basic knowledge and sit down on the couch, baffled the lights aren't on, and then the search for switches begins like I was homeschooled like on goddamn Mars or something. I feel like maybe I invented an entirely new category of shame--and not like I was short on 'shame reasons' before--and while the 'inventing' part is kind of cool, can't lie, its offset by how utterly bizarre this is even in theory.

Wait for it: shit's about to just get sad.

I'm not used to not being able to control the amount of light around me, which is bad enough (I like a lot). Far worse--so much worse--I have to now adjust myself to some other (inferior) lighting situation when I literally designed my light set up to add many many many lights to my apartment specifically where I am going to sit, lounge, read, sleep, eat, I'm not kidding, and some have scripts to turn on and off at different kelvins to meet my super specific goddamn needs depending on time of day. I resent I must move where the lights are even though I'm more comfortable where I am, this is bullshit--like, 'entitlement' is almost too kind for this situation.

To give this a surreal touch it really didn't need, I feel existentially rejected by my hotel room when I enter and it's dark, because at home, the second I arrive, the lights come on in a bright "welcome home" and light my path, not unlike being a god (a really pathetic one but hey, you take what you can get).

Fuck yeah, this is funny, but I'm also kind of resentful and my brain keeps supplying "maybe next time bring Alexa with you" at which time--this has happened three times--I start listing out "and bring my smart lightbulbs because obviously adding smart switches would take too much time and also maybe the hotel wouldn't be down with that and also those are kinda expensive and a motion sensor for the bathroom, you can write a script for it easy, I have a few...." and that's how far this shit gets before reality kicks in, which is like at least all that sentence too late. And maybe the quoted bit before that, I'm actually not sure.

Oh, there's more, come on: I can't tell Alexa to change the temperature, turn on/off the air conditioner/heater; I don't even have an app for that because the hotel thermostats aren't smart--or hey, mine--and come to think, I don't even know where it is (see 'switches').

So like the bathroom thing is nothing (shame? Yes) compared to this image I want you to keep: me, sitting uncomfortably in the dark with an unwanted blanket due to inexplicable chill resenting the fuck that this room isn't catering to me before sullenly looking for lightswitches like some kind of crazy person. Over. And. Over. While feeling the room hates me and hell yes it's mutual now.

In closing: I now question the realism of every time people from Star Trek go into the past and aren't in a state of constant, low-key hostility and bafflement because I've only been doing this two years and now am unfit to live in the real world and also super sullen about it. And listening to goddamn Halsey while I sulk, because hi, you did subscribe to this journal of your own free will, and yeah, this is the kind of quality content you're here for.
While talking about smart home stuff in comments in another post, I realized that during my adventures in turning my home into its own surveillance state just so I can voice control everything and live like a Star Trek character, there are things I learned that are probably useful to everyone but not exactly easy to discover or like, realize were a thing. As we now live in the age of 'many devices and home wifi', it's possible this is one of the things you didn't know or didn't realize was a thing or even why it may or may not be important.

This one is my favorite. It just doesn't come up enough or easily (or at all) when discussing internet/router problems when you are desperately googling after the internet provider has confirmed many times it's you, not them and you kind of have to believe them at this point.


My router/wifi keeps dropping some devices/throws devices off/internet is fine though/restart fixes then all goes to hell again fairly soon/help?

Condition question: Do you have at least eight devices that could connect to your wifi at the same time?

Before you answer: Laptop, TV, kindle, tablet, Roku/FireTV, phone: that's six without thinking too hard. Playstation, X-Box, Switch, Alexa? We're at ten right now and the danger zone begins at seven.

Danger zone? For what? Yeah.

if you already know about this, feel free to correct me if I get anything wrong )

We'll now return to me packing for Escapade provided the dryer is done.
In honor of only two days of work this week as Holiday!Monday and Escapade Starts Thursday, I've been contemplating the more esoteric parts of my career, or more specifically, my least favorite part.

For those who don't know, I'm a Quality Control/Quality Analyst; my formal title is System Analyst IV, my job description is program testing, primarily, UAT, aka 'User Acceptance Testing' but have done and will do everything from unit testing to testing live in production literally during and after deployment. UAT is the last line of defense before a program is released in production, and our job is to break it with only the tools and general knowledge available to the average user of this program aka Everyman.

And when I say 'the program', that refers not just to 'one single program' but 'an entire program ecosystem that all work together to do shit'. We call the latter Integration Testing, which combines 'so breathtakingly boring even death avoids you when you have to do it' with 'astronomically high stakes'. For System Integration is literally repeating all your tests on those same damn programs (sometimes you're on your fifth repetition and resent key parts of the alphabet) but now while all programs are connected to each other.

In general, if there are problems, they're tiny; earlier testing of the individual parts of a program and then the program itself should have and generally does catch everything with a realistic chance of happening, quite a bit that realistically won't but possibly could, and some that is technically impossible but when you were on repetition three of the same set of ten to twenty goddamn tests, dev was naturally the target best suited to share your suffering. At that point, they were so goddamn tired of seeing your name on defects they didn't care if it was possible this situation would ever occur, they'd code as if it would happen every day just to avoid how rejection at end of business day inevitably meant that the first thing they'd see in their inbox the next morning would be a gratingly cheerful email that included an essay (and references) on why the defect was not only very possible but could cause the apocalypse if not fixed like right now please, sometimes with malice aforethought in thirteen point Comic Sans.

But I digress.

stress is both a constant and a variable )

...yes, I am doing integration testing this week. How'd you guess?
So I picked up my prescription for the nasal spray antihistamine and with much in the way of nervousness took my first dose this morning exactly as recommended, with the bend over gently inhale gently, tasted nightmare (this shit is foul) and then sat back in calm resignation to feeling sleepy and icky. Then--

To digress briefly to add drama: the major side effect listed is somnolence, as most antihistamines are, so I'd warned my manager I'd probably need about a week to adjust my timing etc and get used to it. Also, I determined to do it on full stomach.

I did not eat though, and to start, somnolence is not the word I'd use. More like--okay, somewhat warm, yes. And--how to put this--sort of pleasantly lethargic like after half a joint and kind-of sort-of, well, high, like mildly stoned, like dopamine which is my favorite brain chemical of all and really should be everyone's.

So short version: I had a super good day at work, where I slowly and happily did my tasks, slowly and happily wandered to the bathroom on breaks, slowly and happily ate microwave popcorn one lingering kernel at a time, and felt overwhelming affection for my co-workers, their chairs, and the floor and even mankind itself, which is pretty new for me.

When I came down a bit, I also realized there was like ninety percent less sniffling and nose blowing and felt overwhelming affection for my allergist, the medication, allergies, pollen, and weather. And somewhat more quickly took my afternoon dose.

Like I get the window for 'my wonderful new antihistamine that tastes like evil but I would die for it as it gets me high at work' is probably pretty small but I'm on this train with no regrets so wheeeee.

And also importantly, it really works which I totally appreciate but for the record: God bless that deviated septum for its help in getting me to this place.

(Azelastine hcl: you're welcome.)
So, appointment with allergist today. Wait for it. Or not, I'll just tell you.

Forty-one separate skin tests--including rabbit--have yielded the following: I may be a little tiny bit allergic to walnuts and German cockroaches. Everything else was statistically insignificant and I have pictures of my back to prove it. Or, those things could be contributory maybe? but not really. I don't even like walnuts so not a problem there.

That said.

I have a mildly deviated septum which no one in my entire life of doctors looking up my nose has noticed before and needs special equipment to explore (my nostril. To explore my nostril). I had mentioned earlier in the appointment that my upper gums got swollen or tender or really sensitive on occasion as well as the roof of my mouth and I still had problems smelling things sometimes or I smell the wrong things, sometimes unpleasant. Her expression should have warned me but whatever.

So working theory: I have had a chronic sinus infection most of my life, which apparently is true of forty-nine percent of the population who comes in for allergy tests, specifically one that reacts badly to changes in barometric pressure, humidity, temperature aka weather changes and becomes irritated and inflamed and worse and contributory to my misery. There is no season for this; it's all the seasons.

...yes. I am allergic to weather. To weather. That's a thing.

(Like, won't lie, a part of me was like "YES I KNEW IT WOULD BE SOMETHING STUPID AND WEIRD AND WHAT" but...I was joking about being allergic to the weather. I didn't know it was a thing. But it is a thing.)

Now why on earth insert concept here: no idea. I've had diagnosed sinus infections before, so that part is at least there, but the rest, no fucking clue. She added an antihistamine to the flonase for daily use that I need to take at an angle because the taste is horrific if it gets to the back of my throat. I also have an appointment with an ENT in March to do deep nostril exploration--nostril exploration--and also need to acquire and learn to use a neti pot???? and ponder universal irony.

Like, I have no idea where this goes but you'd think someone, somewhere would have said "Gosh, that's one deviated septum I wonder if shit is getting up there and infecting????" Like, any time since fourth grade?

Okay, but. Why do antihistamines work? Why does hay make me sneeze? What is the sound of one hand clapping? We just don't know.

Update: I am making two quarts of tea, three parts Yorkshire Red/one part Lady Grey to deal with my life. Extra sweet: I deserve it. Recommended for existential nasal complaints and need of high-calibre caffeine.
Friday, February 8th, 2019 03:35 pm

sleet okay????

It's now sleeting. I know this because this shit bounces, which is creepy as fuck. It's confusing to me, as it is not in its natural habitat aka a snowcone or ice chest surrounding some sort of beer and/or coke.

Side effect of living in central Texas; we are baffled by ice.

I mean, not ice where it belongs--see above, or within an ice maker or ice bag or environment in which ice forms (freezer)--but like, from the sky. It's fucking witchcraft, is what I'm saying. Like, this is the only time I sort of understand witch hunts, because there's a part of me that is extremely suspicious of this nonsense because it's just not right.

Chicago, Helsinki, New York = ice from sky.
Central Texas = months long fires and air conditioner use in early March.

February + Central Texas + ice from sky <> anything good or wholesome.

This has been a baffled weather report while all of us look suspiciously outside every so often.

(sleet falls in cleavage = holy fuck what elemental did I piss off?????)
Friday, February 8th, 2019 12:31 pm


It is graupeling in Texas right now.

graupel - precipitation that forms when supercooled water droplets are collected and freeze on falling snowflakes

I would like to thank my mom and sister for this as well as the German language for such an awesome word. It is graupeling. Graupelling? I am now sharing it with everyone in ear- and/or textshot.

It's also 34 F so it isn't sticking but is coming down in like three directions simultaneously and therefore surreal to those of us who were living it up at seventy like two days ago. I was pondering my short sleeve shirts people.

In closing: graupel.
Testing Barley, Oat, and Wheat Hay with rabbits. At minimum, it does not make me sneeze and they seem to like it. Comments stated it was the one hay that someone could use that they weren't allergic to, so here's to hoping after a few days of exposure.

I see the allergist on Monday, which will hopefully give me an idea of what I should be avoiding from now on. I would like to know what life is like when one is not constantly blowing one's nose. V. exciting.
Up to now, online grocery shopping has been pretty much the best and only way to a.) stay under budget and b.) not buy eight boxes of brownie mix (mulitple types), ten to fifteen pounds of fruit that looks interesting, six kinds of cheese I can't pronounce, and a minimum of four loaves of artisan bread, three of which I may not be able to pronounce. I could never afford to go into Central Market, Sprouts, or (sometimes) Whole Foods with a credit card; it just ended expensively with nothing that could be used for meals but lots of highly pretentious snacking.

The most important advantage in doing it online is I can do it over a period of days, specifically when I'm not terribly hungry. I sensibly go through my old grocery lists to check for things I may be running low on, add my staples to the online cart (x amount of beef, x amount of chicken, no more than one (1) pork product because my stomach doesn't like too much of it and one (1) bacon, x number of frozen broccoli, spinach, peas, mixed veggies, bread, cooking butter, eating butter, milk, cooking cheese, sandwich cheese, one (1) obscure cheese, eggs....), go to pepperplate and sensibly choose easy recipes I can make ahead of time after work with no more than two (2) that require a lot of effort. It's all very adult, and in this way, I always go above Real Budget but always below Actual Budget (actual budget is one quarter higher; that is my indulgence in fifty grain provolone bread and local full cream organic milk, out of season Ranier cherries or those super random sales on usually overpriced steak or something).

This strategy is one of the reasons I used Prime Now, specifically their Sprouts and now their Whole Foods section. I am not joyful about Whole Foods, but while they are above and beyond on Totally Pretentious Food, they had a comparatively limited selection compared to HEB (the ubiquitous grocery store of Texas and some of the south) and honestly, I picked up a taste for local and organic produce and chicke; in other words, prices made sure I was budget limited, but it did get me eating almost entirely organic and (often) local with like, step rated so I knew my chickens and cows were well-cared for and possibly more educated than I am. And healthy.

(This is why I never go live into grocery stores without a monitor (aka family or friend); my brain just stops working and wants ALL THE FOOD even though there's no way I can cook and eat that much produce and garbanzo beans. I also never go before I've done my monthly grocery shopping, ever. Just no.)

My secondary strategy for dealing with I Want All the Food (Or Things Food Adjacent) also rests on the multi-day online grocery list; fine, I tell myself grimly, you want it, lets put it on the list. Then--while again, not hungry, I'll strip it down again of all the eight pounds of cotton candy grapes, moon grapes, cherries, six of the ten cheese, you get the idea. This makes grocery shopping fun as well, with the addition the joy of self-denial when actually, twenty four hours later you really didn't want so many damn grapes. So I really am not denying myself anything but I do get a glow that maybe I'm denying past-me who really should have known the unfortunate result of shotgunning five pounds of cherries in two days (she does, she just doesn't care).

I only use Instacart rarely; it's dangerous. HEB is on there and HEB is my Paradise/Waterloo; it's just too much. I only use Instacart before holidays when I'm expecting to make dishes for family stuff or to pick up bulk canned mushrooms and butter sales or something, once, twice a year at most.

For reasons beyond my understanding, on Thursday, while hungry, I opened up Instacart. And it went downhill from there. My usual strategies? Failed. Didn't even try. The part that is now driving me nuts is that going over the list, there's no junk at all--I managed to control that--and all of this is meal or good snack related. This is a solid fucking list; really, it's unjudgeable.

It's the amounts that are the problem.

examples )

And this is where I explain Weird Food Feelings that influence me unduly and may have had a part in this (though never before like this).

boring food rules of self )

Part 2--there's a part two--I get a monthly Amazon Pantry box (it arrives Monday). I also did the order for that on Thursday night. I just went to look and am going to pretend (until Monday) that this isn't happening.

Like, what the fuck happened to me on Thursday? I did my full budget, all the math is right there, and--here we are, preparing to Tetris the fuck out of my fridge and pantry and break myself some physics.
So I've had non-stop allergies for roughly the last six months. The last month it got worse; the last week was just shitty. Being mature and responsible, I adulted the fuck out of yesterday: I made a doctor's appointment because grown-ups do that all the time and not just when they run out of oxygen and need an ambulance.

...I mean, so I've heard--never mind, yeah, I do that. Or my mother gives me a long look and shamefaced I adult-child my way to the doctor feeling resentful of my lungs. Fine.

Quick aside:

So last month I talked about the entire Thing That Happened With Anxiety and Asthma and Crazy. Now, my regular doctor at the time said it was definitely anxiety and not asthma, and the last almost-two years have sort of confirmed that. I still had my inhaler, but the only time I ever used it was when I was having very severe allergies, because albuterol is awesome, and anyway, why not split the difference? In general, it did help; it would loosen up my breathing and I'd feel about a hundred times better. So there's that.

Back to the story:

However, starting on Thursday, things got much weirder. When I say my allergies were bad, we added in not just coughing, but an unproductive one, and I was constantly coughing. It was also getting harder to catch my breath on my walk to and from work, as in, it took way too much effort to get a deep breath. So the inhaler came out and long story short, Monday, I was in 'fuck it'--which is totally the same thing as adulting--and called for a refill of my inhaler and then an appointment.

(Note: no fever, no borderline fever, not even a fake almost-fever. I was a cool 98.6 like some sort of--it was mocking me, the thermometer, I mean. It was bullshit.)

The CMA was awesome and was super concerned about my blood oxygen (which was really worrying because I actually felt like I was fine there??? Oh God am I adapting to a low oxygen environment???? In my lungs?????) Then he gave me this long tube with numbers and told me to blow into it, and recorded best of three.

...and as we all know, best of three indicates this is a score. I'll get back to that.

Anyway, my new doctor (in Austin) was also concerned, listened to my lungs, concerned some more, and gave me a breathing treatment, which I love (my mouth always feels so clean). It wasn't the dramatic improvement I expected, but as I realized while writing about this on twitter, the last time I had one of these I was in the middle of a literal asthma?/?allergy attack and of fucking course it felt like magic, I had gone from 'not very much air here' to 'like three times as much air, not all the air but boy it felt like it'. I had steady improvement almost as I finished the appointment for several hours, but that's when the tube became a problem.

I really, really needed to beat the clinic score, and set myself of in a coughing fit every time. [personal profile] cathyw assures me this is the correct behavior, so yay! So far, added 50 to that bad boy, and I have no idea how terrible my score really is, I am in the zone of breathing.

My doctor has taken a threefold approach to this. 1.) Allergist on the 11th. 2.) five days of steroids. If those don't work, 3.) a week of antibiotics. My guess is going to be steroids. I almost asked in the office for getting shot up with the high dose, but a.) honestly, I'm nowhere near needing my steroids delivered by needle for urgency-purposes, and two, they always knock me out in a weird way where I don't really feel tired but become prone and unconscious when offered some sort of relatively stable surface, not necessarily flat.

So that was the saga of how I adult. Also, I am officially to take Flonase twice a day (I stopped because I thought it wasn't working, which in retrospect might have partially led to these events but spilled milk).

I am so looking forward to the allergist, but I have realized something; about a decade ago, I was in Chicago and got this hat and scarf, which were a gorgeous mix of cashmere and angora. So, long story short, a few short hours later, I had a burn line across my forehead with welts because I'm allergic to angora.

Angora is a type of rabbit.

Now granted, that's an entirely different type of fur, and yeah, I had rabbits after that, but allergies grow, like my one to nickel where I can't even wear surgical steel or anything that may have slept with nickel's mother's sister or knew it in high school. Also, this is why you have allergy meds and everything, but. That does mean I may need to actively look to rehome maybe one or two and reduce the population at least. BUT THAT IS FOR LATER.
I am currently debating whether I can pack and take my home server to Escapade. I'll talk myself into sanity soon, don't worry. Hopefully.

Home Automation

Anyone else here use SmartThings for home automation? I just finished coding my Bathroom Automation SmartApp in the IDE. It seems to be working--benefit of being a professional QA/QC/Program Tester is that you learn how to test things properly--but half of SmartThings users who customize moved over to WebCore, which I'd need at least a long weekend to sit down with and learn. So there is a lot less code scraps now that are less than two years old.

I like hand coding, though; it's soothing. But then there's this weirdness; I finished Bathroom Automation, which uses a motion sensor, a water sensor, and three lights, in like two days. This isn't my first try, though: a year ago, I tried and completely failed to make it work or even understand it.

maybe this is how I learn? )

Okay, that's super interesting, you say (if you actually read all that), but what does that have to do with SmartThings? Did you get distracted? Yes, but also, variables.

SmartThings uses Groovy. You don't declare your variables--no wait, you do. Because everything is a fucking variable.

because variables I guess? )

I have existential coding crises. It happens.

Below cut is the full bathroom automation script if you're curious what it looks like. Those that start with 'private' are apparenty standard SmartThings for certain options that you haev to add manually if you use either multiple pages or dynamic pages for your preferences.

bathroom automation v.1.3 )

Edited to add pre and code markup.
Saturday, January 26th, 2019 04:14 am

escapade 2019!!!!, roughly eighteen years or so after first hearing of it, I am finally going to [community profile] escapade_con!!!!! [personal profile] aerialiste graciously offered to let me room with her and holy shit it's been like, eight years since I went to a con!

Escapade, 2/22/2019-2/24/2019

So I will be in LA 2/21-2/26 if anyone wants to hang out or organize some erudite discourse on the nature of textual pornography over jello shots and cheese sticks. I do not insist on discourse or cheese sticks. Erudite jello shots are fine. I've actually never had one.
So I have yet to rewrite the introduction post on how I acquired so many rabbits. In lieu, Bunny Files on tumblr.

quick update to that post )

Now, about the Seperis Warren!

Seperis Warren )

Living the rabbit life.

ETA: Augustus and Arsinoë have been returned to the Warren. Currently everything is in a sort-of armistice.
So, the last part of my week:

Wednesday - got home at six and found a notice from the manager that apartments would be inspected the next day.

Wednesday 7:00 PM - Thursday 8:00 AM - CLEANING

You are saying to yourself HOLY SHIT WHAT KIND OF NIGHTMARE STY DO YOU WALLOW IN? I make no excuse for my sheer lack of caring but not at the level of health violations or bugs. However, this wasn't the best time, it being All the Christmas Stuff Still Being Organized and Packed, Many Piles of Laundry Sorted For the Washer (I tend to do it in en masse when underwear becomes a concern), and the oven had recently undergone a gooey experience that was now char. Also, might have been a few dishes and...things.

(There was also Child's room, which the less spoken of, the better.)

There's also my totally-okay and electrically sound and somewhat sort of authorized kinda modifications to the light situation, which is uh, the addition of about twelve or maybe fourteen (fifteenish?) extra light fixtures because apartments just simply do not have enough lights for me, the only window in the living room is a giant sliding door where anyone can look inside from the road (you can look in and see my bedroom from the right angle) and my living room is painted a pale beige, which means there's literally no reflection and in fact sucks in light and I need light.

(I have three other windows: my room, Child's room, and the laundry nook. Not helpful.)

...and switching out two switches for wi-fi enabled so I could control them and the ceiling fan with SmartThings and Alexa.

(Because if it can be controlled by voice, I will make it happen.)

They showed up at 9:30 AM while I tried to look casual and immediately noted the rabbit house.

Questions about rabbits, feeding, and housing took longer than the goddamn inspection. Not gonna lie, it's a cool house but I hand-cleaned the baseboards (that maybe didn't need it) and no one even questioned the switch box or commented on the coolness of motion sensors in my closet, the hall closet, and the bathroom.

Or--you know, all the pendant lights and the sconce light and puck lights and LED light strip running an inch from the ceiling on a platform made out of hard plastic cord covers because I got creative or the routers installed at key points (because concrete and signal strength) or ethernet cable running everywhere know, normal things.

Like, yay rabbits? I'm not disappointed or anything, obviously, but I have to admit, of all the things you'd think someone coming in here would notice, all they saw were my rabbits.

OTOH, this does bode well if I say, decide to repaint this beige nightmare room white. So overall, I'm encouraged.
Tuesday, January 15th, 2019 09:34 pm

goal orientation

Child quit his job at Target, mostly due to a.) being interviewed and hired for lead position but them not giving it and b.) the new manager.

To give context, Child's worked there almost since he graduated high school (about three years) and he abruptly came to talk to me for the first time about quitting a month ago.

Me: Oh thank God. Go to school.
Him: ...not what I expected.

more stuff )
Allergies have decided I will never know joy again or an unstuffed nose. If anyone wants me, it is either at work half-conscious from non-working allergy medicine or on the couch, very unconscious from non-working allergy medicine.

Between this and my period, homicide might be on the table if I could like, move. Hating everything is so much less effective when it's punctuated with sneezing. It's terribly lowering.
Friday, January 4th, 2019 07:15 pm

scanners hate me

I have complaints. So. Many. But also just this one that rules them all.

We have new ID/keycards at work. Half the people reading this already know where this is going.

About a month ago they replaced the scanners with new improved ones that only work if you flash your card at a specific spot for an arbitrary amount of time, unlike the old ones that just let you flash your card and be done. We got used to that.

The new card requires you be a fucking wizard. There is no right angle, or correct area or anything; there is only trying at various distances and angles and levels of frustration until it briefly blips green and you can go in. Every. Scanner. Does. This. Some require nine to ten tries. Tech, dev, testers, admin, it matters not; none of us can use the goddamn door scanners. By now, someone should have gotten it on the first try; no one has.

So that was my day of low-grade frustration and rage because there is nothing more lowering that working tech in a building in which the tech is fighting us and winning.

Also of note: Child stockholmed me into watching more anime, now stuck in Seven Deadly Sins. I am seriously considering getting the manga. This can't be happening.
The mental illness cute/real contrast/compare post got me thinking about the other side of that. In general, media has two modes when depicting mental illness: cute and fucking tragic (and Monk, which is kind of both). There's a real lack of 'mundane reality' aka 'living with mental illness is actually pretty fucking boring'. Yeah, there's the drama, but most of it is basically you and your best buddy, 'coping mechanisms'.

yeah, it just goes on for a while here. unless you're super into whatever this is, you can safely skip )

I forgot: this is the result of my second resolution, along with pork pie: I will actually talk about mental illness. I will also remember to laugh more about it.
I still have no resolutions.

I have one (1) champagne, one (1) sangria, one (1) wine (type: unknown), fries in the oven, hamburgers ready for the pan, whole wheat buns because yeah, that makes up for the salt, grease, mayo, and lack of vegetables, pepsi (no matter how much I try to develop a taste for alcohol, it's literally only attractive socially and special occasions, fuck my life), vape, six (6) rabbits, one (1) Child and no (0) resolutions.

Okay, one: I am going to finally make that complicated pork pie with the name I can't pronounce or spell because French, because ever since reading Great Expectations, I really need to know what the fuss is about pork pie.

Might add more as fries develop.
Saturday, December 29th, 2018 05:53 pm

oh seriously

Note to self: if the most popular reblog you ever make on tumblr compares men unfavorably to cats and vibrators, it's pretty much what you deserve.
I'm kind of boggling at the realization I can retire before I'm fifty-five if I really want to. I mean, possibly earlier if I really make an effort.

I have a list of things I want to do then: buy a house (I mean, I think?), build voice controlled indoor and outdoor fountains and breed koi and track their mutations, get an F-1 Savannah cat and walk it regularly while wearing heels and a leather trenchcoat, install in-wall cat 7 from attic to basement with outlets in all rooms, install cool light fixtures everywhere, design and build a server room, rewire every outlet in the house to be smart, build some Pi robots and race them, that kind of thing. I don't necessarily want home ownership but I'm resigned to the fact rental limits (somewhat) what you can do. As it turns out, my complex has reservations about my indoor fountain + koi idea. And maybe space, whatever, I can make space.

(Also, Savanna F-1s are sort of on the shady side of legal in cities, and you'd want your own home for that.)

On the other hand, it feels like this could end badly (uh, not the above shit, that's gonna be great). The not-working thing.

I cannot honestly think of a worse thing for me personally to do is stop working, and I don't mean just money, though there is that. A lot of it is the occupation aspect; yes, people always say 'hobbies' or 'travel' or 'gardening' (Oh God no) or whatever, but no, you don't understand how my brain works. Occupation isn't enough because I won't do it on the strength of 'mental health'; it has to fulfill the criteria of 'necessary' and boy is that one strict and you'd be surprised how little I consider 'necessary' when left to my own devices. Hint: it's kind of upsetting when I think about it too hard.

Occupation is my only usable defense against anxiety and depression; trust me, this has been tested more than it actually needed to be to be found true.

Regularly scheduled necessary work with a medium-to-high intellectual effort requirement is a must; occupation plus stimulation or God help whoever hires me. I mean, I am the person who when I worked fast food was doing cheese architectural design in the back or tried to improve the mayo-to-milk-ratio or made honestly terrifying hamburger-esque food designs that genuinely made my coworkers wonder about my sanity. When I was in retail, I kept trying to completely change the entire layout of the women's section surreptitiously because it didn't conform to logic (and it fucking doesn't to this day) and reorganizing vast numbers of shirt and then going to other people's sections to stealthily rearrange their work because frankly, it was wrong (but hide when they appeared, like bloodhounds, it was weird). It was creepy is what I'm saying. Somewhere in the world are two to ten former retail workers who tell stories about their creepy-ass coworker lurking around looking furtive and not to steal, no, that's normal, to rearrange things in their section.

The more strictly scheduled my life is, the better I do, and I do amazing when that scheduling allows very rare but highly prized blow-offs. It can be an effort to do things I want to do. Easiest way to assure regular personal interaction with me? Ruthlessly use guilt or make me buy plane tickets: investing money means 'necessary' and I will damn well go.

My conclusion to all of this? One, I probably need to work until I die and two, something I saw on twitter that I realized I needed: a life dom.

Not kinky sexual whatever but someone to order me to stop it with the default cheese sandwiches and make a meal involving vegetables, to do my laundry before it becomes a barrier I have to fight my way through, clean the bathroom before whatever that is achieves sentience, take the ground beef out of the refrigerator before I go to work, social interaction with another human being twice weekly, do ten minutes of timed math problems, thirty minutes of word games, an hour of watching TV minimum, then I can loaf. At which time I'll have hit my limit on getting orders and fuck you, I'm not going to loaf, I am going to invent new spreadsheets, bitch. All my problems solved! Especially my vicious revolt against someone in authority over me: God I miss that.

This would so work for me. I might even fit in making my bed with that kind of motivation. Maybe even with sheets, if I can ever find them.

Note: I should probably explain the math thing.

I really like math--I know--but I'm not really a natural at most of it, all things geometry are fucking alien, but at a certain level of abstract I'm golden. However, growing up, I'd absorbed girls were bad at math and predictably, reacted not well but productively. This led to accidental academic excellence, a weird fascination for complicated graphing problems, discovering a genuinely surprising aptitude for programming, but also, math tests.

Specifically, those timed math tests for simple addition/subtraction/multiplication/division we did in elementary school. The ones to make you stop counting on your fingers, you had like x minutes (or minute) to finish twenty problems to forty problems. His name was Travis and in third grade, he got to drink a bottle of Coke in class for having the fastest time and I never got over it. A part of me never will.

Then I found out (decades later): there's an app for that. An app of nothing but simple math problems and the speed of your fingers and timing, it's beautiful. I got the pro version, of course. It's super zen, no lie, and really good for clearing my head, but discovering all that was a super cool side effect because I had a purpose first and would not be swerved.

Short version, a couple of years ago I beat his time by five seconds. Probably one of the better days in my life. If the person who invented that app didn't have their own elementary-school coke-drinking Travis-shaped demons to exorcise, I'll be surprised.
So my phone pinged me eight times for the same tornado watch, all notifications from SmartThings and the Storm App. Like maybe I wasn't paying close attention to the weather, which actually is true. I'm on the bottom floor and my front door is technically one floor below the parking lot, while my porch on the other side is two-thirds of a floor above the main road in the complex, so what the highway doesn't drown out, the cocoon around this floor of solid concrete takes care of.

So yes, it's actually possible I could be hit by a tornado and wouldn't notice until I got wet or--more likely--I saw a drop of water on my laptop and panicked, went for a towel and noticed the lack of a building no longer around me. For reference, it was a couple of minutes ago I went outside to note hey, it's raining. From the look of outside, for some time, yeah.


The Magicians, Season Four, starts January 23, 2019. The first three seasons are available on Netflix for those who need an easy to fulfill New Year's resolution that rewards you with Eliot and Penny, who I should mention is another excellent to watch and is ungodly hot. If you're into hot guys who do magic and sometimes forget to wear a shirt; it may be an acquired taste, idk.
Tuesday, December 25th, 2018 07:19 pm

i hear bells

Child came home three days ago with a fancyish paper-wrapped bottle and presented it to me like it was straight from the Fountain of Youth.

It doesn't matter how old they get: slug, preserved rattlesnake head in a jar, cream of tartar, an unsettling amount of human hair, something you hope to God isn't a very squished mouse, wtf!!!!!, it's your kid giving you something and it's automatic, you don't even think about it: "Oh, cool."

I turned it over and admired the pink paper and tried to work out what this bottle was. Shape and size meant drink, greater than two, so I decided to give us a starting point. "So wine?"

He beams at me. "Yes."

This may sound counter-intuitive, but that kind of scared me. You don't live with Child his entire life, shape his mind and go to war over DVDs and crush on the same characters (secretly), negotiate our separate fannish presences and split social media up between us like ancient potentates and have literal hard rules like "Don't bury shit in the backyard before telling me what it is" and "No, you cannot clone me when you grow up, stop collecting my hair and cackling" before age twelve and most recently, "This is my last warning, I will write min ten thousand words of your NOTP, it will be bdsm porn, and I'll blackmail every friend I have to help. I've seen two episodes, I can extrapolate, now GIVE ME THE REMOTE I WANT TO WATCH BRITISH BAKEOFF." and not be aware the simplest explanation is always the most worrying and sometimes, may require poison control, a competent medium, or a local friend who would notice my sudden disappearance on speed dial (Hi [personal profile] lillian13!)

I looked over the pink-papered bottle a little frantically; yep, that was the right shape and size, fuck my life. And he won't. Stop. Smiling. "So--just curious, why did you get me wine?"

"I got us wine, Mommy."

Jesus Christ.

For context: using "Mommy" is the verbal equivalent of a literal summoning spell or a nuclear detonation and by design is guaranteed to elicit my undivided attention. It is only used in two situations: life or death pain and fear ("I think i summoned a demon, mommy." or "I SLAMMED MY ENTIRE HAND IN THE DOOR AND IT IS SWELLING MOMMY." or "I have a fever mommy, my temperature is 98.8.") or to really fuck with my head.

Parenthood is ride or die by design; here we go. "For what?"

"Tradition," he answers so promptly and with so much certainty that for a second, I believed him and wondered how I'd forgotten about the traditional bottle of wine three days before Christmas we did every year, weird, am I right. Then I remembered: uh, we don't. It's so annoying when the manipulation skills you so carefully taught your kid are used against you, but then again, he still carries a grudge for me convincing him for nearly ten years that he always liked spinach (when he was older, I'd sometimes say "spinach from Eurasia" and then he read 1984; yeah, that was cool) and he seriously needs to get over it.

"We don't have a traditional bottle of wine for Christmas," I said, settling back to wait, because it occurred to me he'd been squirrely about his tinder and that shit may need alcohol first.

In general, I don't know and don't want to because dear God no, but as I told him, if he was kidnapped and mutilated by a serial killer or worse, had a really bad date with a guy from south Austin who owns a basement and a lot of anime, would he like the police to start the search with "I have no idea where he was going to go when he left at 6" or "His two o'clock AM check in was that bar on Fifth Street", his choice. So generally, I get a text when he has a dramatic location or group change, because it's not like we didn't both watch all the seasons of Criminal Minds.

The tinder thing however, is specific: if you didn't see my twitter about this a bit back, short version: tinder date at the drag show, he went to talk to the performers after, forgot his date--literally forgot that poor guy at their table--to go party with the drag queens and had a great time. His check in to me was "Kidnapped by drag queens" me "K", then I remembered his date and asked about it and as it turns out, he was surprised to realize he'd had one of those earlier and wasn't entirely sure where he'd been lost.

(Spoiler: There was no second date.)

"We do now," Child tells me, taking the bottle back. "We'll drink it on Christmas night."

At this moment, Child is hanging out with some friends from high school who don't celebrate Christmas so is getting fed an indecent amount of kosher-compliant/halal-compliant/vegan-compliant Chinese food and knows for a fact he doesn't get back into the apartment unless he brings me some too. I also keep looking at the refrigerator, where a pink-paper wrapped bottle of wine waits like a concrete example of the concept of foreshadowing; this shit has haunted me for three days and the worst part is?

It's just a bottle of wine. It means nothing. He just thought it would be funny.

I'm so proud of him.

Happy Insert Winter Holiday of Your Choice!
I'm going to tell you now; this is going to be the most boring post you can imagine. Just warning you; if you're out of valium, keep reading, I'm here for you.

I'm about to do my semi-annual update of my Pandora playlists, which is always fraught and weird, because in general, I have to make a new playlist entirely and that means starting with a new base. Eventually, each playlist hardens, and I may love most of the songs there now, for reasons every new song they play on one of those I will now hate.

So: new playlist, new base, and the old way--not efficient--was to go through my bought music (and...not so very bought), find the ones that combine showing up on mulitple writing playlists, grab the last five I downloaded from my Amazon subscription, and create the base from those. In general, this meant Pandora would get me new music that matched my taste, but burnout still happened; eventually, it would harden and stop giving me anything.

Which makes no sense: this is a meticulously self-curated list by me combined with an algorithm by experience I know works. And yet, the hardening, every time. Which means I have to retire a playlist--not delete--for a while before I can listen it for anything but long walks.

But here's the thing: about two thirds of the songs I don't like as it turns out I love and will die for, but not if I hear them on one of those playlists. I have to hear them somewhere else.

Examples: I hated Mumford and Sons, every song, and yet, at this moment, I have the better part of an album of them and the gold standard is four songs from an artist. Same with Florence and the Machine, Broods, Metric, Imagine Dragons, Andrew McMahon: all of them, at one time or another, got thumb-the-fuck-down in Pandora--I checked this--until I heard them in a different context. Vids are a really good way but a goddamn trailer or commercial or in a store or the mall or while surfing youtube when I am bored enough to hate myself.

There are some obvious explanations--vidding, for example, is a translation, and some songs just work by association even if they're not generally to my taste. Which I think is the explanation: for reasons unclear, this song is outside my hardened playlist, and that means my taste has hardened unacceptably and it's time for a full reboot.

This is why the playlist update has to happen, no exceptions. Hardened taste atrophies your ear; you only hear noise. That way ends with hating everything not made after 1979 or 1989 (...please tell me those people don't exist) or 1999, pick a year. Which is ridiculous because who the fuck wants to miss My Chemical Romance and the Dixie Chicks and Beyonce, are you crazy? It blows my mind; no, I don't love everything in the top one hundred, but I never loved everything in the top 100, but I guarantee you thirty I won't mind listening to, ten I like and one I will love. I honestly have yet to find a genre I hate; I may not love it, but there is always several that I like, and one thing I love.

You know that feeling you get with some songs; it's like getting a hard hit of something seriously good and likely illegal except it's better. It almost hurts; you put it on repeat one and play it forever, you hear it when you're going to sleep, your walk matches the beat. No song can do it forever, but that's the point; if I want it, I have to chase it.

It's not just music, though; it's everywhere, but it's not something you get sitting still; you have to chase it and sometimes, you have to be willing to run. It's when I'm coding and suddenly, all the pieces come together and I compile and run and it's perfect; when I'm writing and the words I was fighting flow together and become a scene, a story; when I read something--it can be the whole book, a page, a paragraph, a single line, and it stops me short because I forgot to breathe; a speech I heard once did it, that was weird; when I was lead in two plays, and the second one, at the end, everyone stood up; every basketball game I ever played and the time I got second in the four hundred that I didn't even know I was supposed to run and I almost blacked out when I reached the finish line.

Like, for that second, I get what it must have been like at the cusp of Creation, the vastness of infinite nothing. One command, given to infinity, and the first light to exist illuminated the universe in the form of newborn stars across an infant universe; this is everything. What a fucking rush.

The universe is in infinite expansion and everything is out there and we have so little time; you can't stop, not for a second. You're going to have to chase it down, and sometimes, you're going to have to run.
"Some people, when they're hurt...they remember the challenge. They grab hold of the fire once, and when they're burned, they make plans, trying to figure out how to hold live coals. [...] But some of us remember the pain. You're like that. You remember the pain, and you flinch." -- The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan

Dear Courtney,

I do not read romance or Romance to have profound fucking enlightenment at ten at night. That shit came out of nowhere; what the hell? You remember the pain and you flinch, what were you thinking? You get that shit is going to haunt me at two in the morning for the rest of my life?

This is why no one trusts Romance. Sure, you promise us well dressed men riding horses in the rain and rescuing us from Gretna Green before marrying that bounder and ruining our reputation, and then LIFE LESSON before we even lose our virginity in that convenient barn. It's bullshit.


Note: until I posted Agincourt, no one had ever called me "Sep". The first time I saw it, I loved it; it's so sharp. "Sep" is ten thousand times better than 'jenn', not least because not a literal million people aren't also using it.

Funny story on that; Child was trying to get my attention for reasons (I was ignoring him because it's good for him or I was uh, reading porn, mayyyybe Sam/Dean because nostalgia) and he went through the litany of names and belatedly, I stopped and said "...did you just say 'Seperis'?"

Him: *smug* Got your attention.

Well played, Child.

At some point, I anticipate someone at work saying "Jenn" and I absently correct them to "Seperis". I come from a long line of people who forgot their own wallet names by sheer dint of no one ever calling them that. I'm not sure they even used my dad's wallet name at his funeral. I mean, in theory, they had to have, but I don't remember hearing it.
Friday, December 21st, 2018 04:50 pm


Thirty minutes ago I got off work early, excited for five day vacation for Christmas, listing in my head on my walk home ALL THE THINGS I could do today.

I have now spent ten minutes staring blankly at my laptop, my tv, and my phone in turn unable to decide what to do.

This is going to end with me surfing wikipedia, I just know it. Somehow.
I came home at six, woke at eight from a nap, and then realized I need to bake 6 to 8 dozen cookies for work tomorrow and I am missing many of the basic elements of cookies like most of it. have not known fear until you are racing the clock to get your Prime shipment in for the 10-12 under the wire. See, I am the organizer of the Great Cookie Exchange, so I kind of have to bring cookies and also pretend I'm responsible.

And the worst part? I can't even eat peanut butter out of the jar because I need it for the cookies.
So for years I adamantly and totally refused to watch Parks and Recreation because by policy, I don't watch shows about people in public service for any reason, especially comedies. I have yet to see one that wasn't baseline mean.

(Though honestly, dramas are worse.)

Not by design, either; that's what made it frustrating, because public service is absurd. They just didn't get why. It's like someone who wanted to make a good cake but hasn't seen one and only had a list of ingredients and a blurry picture to work from. And they didn't know how to bake but had once heard their mom talk about an oven and though she meant the microwave type.

So imagine my shock when I was in Netflix and flipped it on for background noise and then accidentally six of seven seasons. Truthfully, I can't tell you what this did differently except maybe everything?

parks and recreation more meta than spoilery )

Personal Note: The story of the TANF workers above? This actually ended up super-personal.

oh the tangled webs we weave when we don't lie and are kind of excitable )
So let's say you're thinking of planning a vacation, but like, a different one. One where you do more than walk around looking at things because frankly, sometimes that ends with me being lost, abruptly super hungry with no food in sight, and also need to pee.

('sometimes' = 'it's like my special gift')

So yes maybe walking and looking at things (supervised: I got lost in a park in San Antonio within sight of five hotels and a major road right beside me. A park. By a major street. I could see the goddamn Hilton but could not for the life of me find that road sixty feet away. That happened), but also--the kind where maybe you--spend six to eight hours a day devoted to improving yourself.

(No, not misquoting Buddha because I found enlightenment breathing on a mountain and spiritual refreshment by looking at trees then write a book about it improving, though me being American, I understand why that would be of concern. No worries, though; I'm scared of heights and I'm not very good at the 'silently contemplating [anything]' thing. Or loudly contemplating, come to think)

Fine, I am pondering going on a learning vacation to India. Ideally, I'd like to spend two to three (four?) weeks learning Hindi, looking at things (of course), and eating because when your workplace is two-thirds Indian nationals/expatriates/-Americans and there are parties--well, you don't come back from that. It's paneer tikka, chicken masala, all the rices ever, and so very much naan.

(Then it's midnight, you finished making the filling for the samosas from the recipe your coworker gave you but couldn't be fucked to finish the pastry and ate it all sitting on the kitchen floor. It happens.)

I went looking and found a couple of programs in New Delhi and Jaipur and a few other places--both within the budget of a public servant if she's prudent with her money for a couple of years (because this is going to be a Multi-Year Project)--but I just don't know enough to evaluate them. I'd prefer one that's administered by the people whose country I want to visit if possible, but again, I'm not sure what I should be looking for or ask and reviews aren't easy to find.

So anyone have experience, advice, thoughts?

(So far, I have a multi-page list of every place in India I absolutely must see, according to my co-workers. New Delhi and Jaipur were on there, so excellent.)
Creating your smarthome is somewhat like embracing our eventual rule by robots in the most fun possible way while Skynet smiles in anticipation. Let's not pretend this isn't exactly where it's going and we're actually kind of okay with it.

It's also baffling as fuck combined with so easy it's almost uncanny. Right now, the biggest problem is quite literally it's updating and generationing like fruit flies and there are so many systems and so many protocols.

I took the easiest route; my laptops are Dell because they're locally founded and owned, my BFFs brother works there along with some of my friends, and I will be with them probably until the bitter crashing end, and my smarthome controller of choice is Samsung, which has a local headquarters and my ex-BIL and his son--my son's BFF--works there. Yes, Samsung makes phones that on occasion are known to abruptly explode; no one's perfect.

To break this down into pieces, I'm going to start with my smartlight review. All of these option require home wifi and a working router, and we'll get more into the router part later.

your hub light ecosystem )

your non-hub light ecosystem )

I started this entry last week and left in draft. Then I discovered on Tuesday, routers can be a problem and so held this entry until I'd solved it. It has to do specifically with wifi networks in general.

so about those routers )
I am deep in that territory we call 'homebuilding', in which I unexpectedly find myself carefully researching Edison lightbulbs for their steampunk-retro ambiance while tossing $2.50 throw blankets from Wal-Mart in my cart and calling it a day. (Also, cushions for my porch loveseat, because Christ, I'm a person who owns one of those and the matching table.)

I assumed--foolishly, in retrospect--that I'd burn this shit out once I was mostly-moved and turn my attention to higher things--Python, for example, or Plex vs Emby vs Kodi for my media server, rewrite some bash scripts to double as daemons, that kind of thing--and that happened! I went back ot my natural territory of ripping my blurays and fighting makemkv's command line interface when I couldn't make Fast Five work (fuck Fast Five) and reinstalling my entire server to prep for it's media server future.

And I was on course for just that. Then, tragedy.

me and prince hal 3000 )

So to return to the subject, I thought I was over this entire 'decorating my home' thing. Then I got paid, and oh.

me and home shenanigans )

Mattress Review

Reference: Zinus Memory Foam Green Tea Mattress, 12-Inch, Queen, review under tag.

It's been about six weeks, and I can report that this mattress is an excellent bargain and I recommend wholeheartedly, but only if you like firm, for it is not hard but it is firm. Adjustment is roughly three and a half weeks to a month, at which time you'll know for sure whether it works for you. Everything I said here is still true. I keep wanting to say it's softened, but no, it hasn't; I just got used to its give now so it feels normal.

A few concerns: I have a better idea on the heat-retention and while there may be some, it's also summer in Texas and also my life. So no better or worse than any other mattress I've slept on, but I do use only one sheet and a light blanket during summer to sleep. The lack of transfer motion--ie, anyone getting into or out of bed--does not exist. A normal legged tray is fine; steady it when you crawl in right beside it, but once you're sitting, nothing. You will also not feel your cat crawl into bed with you until it tries to eat your feet.


For those who have been wondering: her name is Fearful Symmetry, Sym for short, and boy has she earned it.

Home Improvement

My next item of business is to review wifi and hubbed lightbulbs because a.) I've bought almost all the brands that are able to be controlled by Alexa, Hue, and/or SmartThings (and therefore can be ultimately voice controlled by Alexa), and b.) I have opinions and why not. I also ran into some issues that it took me ridiculous amounts of time on google to solve and I need to record them here.

Short version: initial investment can be a little high, but provided you're willing to take the creation of your bulb network slowly, it's not ridiculous, just an item for your budget, and in this case, one that's energy conscious. A lot of this, however, won't have much to do with cheap versus quality but what you're going to use them for, where, and why. One thing that I couldn't find out easily was an answer to that question and hopefully, this will help. I'll also try to go over actual practical brightness and size as opposed to lumens and watts, which are surprisingly inconsistent even when one lightbulb matches another; I bought more than one bulb that wouldn't physically fit where I intended it and that still makes me cranky.

If anyone is specifically interested in doing this themselves, feel free to tell me what you want to know or your specific concerns. I will say the benefits of having a range are very high rather than committing yourself to one brand or system so poly is the way to go, but compatibility is required.

For anyone like me who likes that kind of thing, SmartThings jumped four levels when I discovered you can write your own SmartThings SmartApps that are used internally by SmartThings. They provide you with an online IDE, templates, documentation, examples, the code for actual internal SmartApps you use on the app already, a tutorial in Groovey, and simulator on the site to run your scirpts. I'd put this at a one-one and a half to five for challenge because you can go from copy-paste to some very cool uses of your sensors and lights to do awesome things. I'll come back to this later, but those of you who are hobby programmers or need a practical reason to learn, it's perfect and also extremely casual. The reason I go as high as five is both potential complexity and also what your setup is like. Just lights or a motion sensor and lights would be about a one and a half, but once you throw in a multipurpose sensor that can sense vibration and axis and contact, dude, it gets really fun.
So last night, the following occurred:

1.) A young adolescent cat leaps onto my porch where I am innocently reading.
2.) Child--sensing a disturbance in the Force--comes down the hall from his bedroom.
3.) Cat for no reason plasters itself against glass door.
4.) Door opens and I watch a Disney romantic comedy in progress as two--beings?--find each other like there should be a goddamn soundtrack playing featuring Mariah Carey.

a cat's tale )

Glad I got that off my chest.


1.) Got my bed set up finally, directly under the ceiling fan because it was the only way to keep my posts and holy shit recommended.

2.) My porch now boasts a rug, a patio table, and a patio loveseat. I feel very--like I have a small plastic outdoor living room?

3.) Got a wifi doorbell. Because why the hell not?

4.) Acquired a Samsung SmarthThings hub with two (2) multipurpose sensors, one (1) motion sensor, and one (1) arrival sensor because I'm not sure really and we'll get to that now.

This was going to happen from the moment I got the Echo and realized I could live in Star Trek. So let's just go with it.

home automation: the adventure continues )
The moving is (mostly) complete*.

* There is still a recliner, a sofa size painting that belonged to my grandmother, and sundry boxes of non-vital things and Christmas stuff, but close enough.

So in my last entry, I mentioned my apartment complex is on a hill. It's more clinging to the side of a hill, and the hill is a landfill just off a creek that hilariously stretches most of north Austin; ie, if it had enough water, I could paddle back to my old house. When it does have enough water, that's usually flood times, which means not recommended. Just saying, that could happen, who knows.

apartment shenanigans )

random stoneware-based digression that includes my grandmother )

continuing apartment shenanigans )
Currently on day five of the new apartment, in which about two thirds of the lights are wifi controlled and so is the thermostat. My bed is in pieces, but I can control light and weather with my voice. And when my new doorbell is installed, I can watch people outside my door from the comfort of my phone like a creep.

I think that makes me a god. Like, a really discount one, but you take what you can get.

So, two weeks with new mattress, review for first few nights here.

mattress oh mattress )
So I explained about how I ended up impulse-purchasing an Amazon Echo to avoid a huge ass 4K curved tv I would never use except as a head for my server? Good, let's start there.

Amazon Echo with Alexa

I was vaguely aware of the existence of Echo without much in the way of caring about it, which is how this story usually goes. Then I ended up looking at it one night to avoid the ridiculous TV and actually read what it did.

Summary: You can be Star Trek.
Me: *clicks Add to Cart*

So that was something. While I waited the eternity to receive my 'why am i buying this, right, i am captain kirk' (this was inevitable) I went to check out what people do with Alexa other than talk to it and no longer have to lie when someone asks if they have any friends ("Alexa was telling me about the weather in Chicago, yeah. Really cloudy with a thirty percent chance of rain. Ten days from now, possibly snow.")

...not that I do that or anything.

From this point on, I'm using Alexa instead of Echo, because this is less about the product and more about AVS (Alexa Voice Services). Also, Alexa likes that better.

Alexa's uses are probably legion, but you have to think of it like smartphones about ten years ago. Lots of potential but not a lot of apps yet, so to speak (in Alexa, we call those 'Skills'). There are entire skills devoted to such things as 'cat questions', 'random facts about India', 'how to make a lot of alcoholic drinks step by step'. This will come in handy later.

music all of it )

weather and trivia and such )

home automation, god help you )

Having said that, you're glancing at the price tag and thinking...yeah. Okay, easier, cheaper, and more moving parts):

Create Your Own Alexa Device, No, Really

This is a really good guide. I do not exaggerate, this was very, very well written and detailed.

I built one (as of three hours ago), so yes, this does work AND IT IS GODDAMN MAGIC. The only thing it can't do is be always on, like Echo is (Alexa hears all, knows all, answers "I don't understand the question"...all). It does everything else. When you're done, download the Alexa app and connect them up, then marvel at the world.

now, a word from me on many things, including what to buy, what to do, and why you should try it )
Dear internet (and ellixis): I bought a mattress online.

Just now, half of you flinched; I know. The problem is, a 512 G solid state Samsung PCIe hard drive went on sale for $99.00 and it was buy a damn mattress or resign myself to sleeping on a bed of old hard drives with an (awesome) upgraded server. Or possibly a new server: it needs refurbishing, now that I think about it.

This is my story.

and other things )
I haven't posted much--or at all--but I do have reason; abruptly in January, my job transitioned to a new testing methodology called Agile, and everything went to frantic, high stress hell. Then I entered dental hell in March, which if you know about already you just winced and if you don't, you can guess. Note: never try to do all your dental work in two and a half months: you will still be putting off the last two appointments after the horror of May. Which I will not discuss because holy shit.

However, now I am a.) in the middle of an allergy attack and b.) at home noting how rain really does exist because after the last couple of years it felt more like a legend. Also, I'm about to move.

so much moving )
On a guess, this would be the best place to post this, but I'll copy to Tumblr later:

Dear Mystery Person Who Sent Me These For My Birthday,

(Could be two of you, but my money's on one or affiliated.)

Thank you very much for the ninja swords and Kindle bookcover. I will honestly state I did not at any point see those coming (especially the swords), but I have swished those swords allll around, no lie. They are as awesome as they appeared in Amazon. I have a black leather trenchcoat my grandmother got me with her magical garage sale skills and seriously, I feel like I should star in my own anime and defeat some sort of Eldritch tentacle monster.

Really (really) don't know what to say but thank you. The last few months have not been among the best for me due to work, but there is nothing--and I do mean nothing--like swishing a sword and having small children (related to you) squeal in terror to really upgrade your mood.

(Also, the cover is already on my kindle and God it looks classy.)


Case in point:

Wandering through Central Market looking for Candycots (where are they? IT IS TIME) and bubblegum grapes, and satisfied myself with brie, pretentious bread (because Central Market), apriums, champagne mangos, and cherries were back and oh.


When I was growing up, cherries weren't delicious, they were crappy at the local grocery store, tiny and hard and vaguely blandly sour. Then I grew up and lo, the grocery stores had the good ones, the plump dark red ones with a sheen that you'd happily sell your soul for a lifetime supply (or maybe that's just me), and just as importantly, these go on sale during the summer to the point where it's a crime not to buy them. We're on the leading edge, so they're still not hitting 'five pounds of cherries every time they enter our line of sight', but suffice to say, time to get started.

Which is fine, but I always forget you kind of have to pace yourself after months without them. And by "I forget" I mean no matter how many years I've spent on this earth, I forget every time the cardinal rule of 'do not fucking buy a pound of cherries and eat them half of them on the way home after a multi-month-long dry spell waiting for cherry season.'

Body: You sure about this, Sep?
Me: *sucking cherry off the seed* Fuck off.
Body: We'll talk later. Have fun with that.

Body: I told you so.
Me: *gets rest of cherries*
Body:'re kidding, right?
Me: *sucking cherry off the seed* Fuck off.

Repeat ad infinitum.

As I once realized to my horror, I could be the first documented case of someone killing themselves disgustingly with prunes, for given a bag of them, I will eat them all; given a warehouse, I won't survive and I pity the person who finds my body. I don't just like them; I will eat until they're gone or I am.

I have very selective and stupid fruit weaknesses. I can live without apples, most citrus, pears, whatever. But Turkish apricots (dried), bubblegum grapes, east Texas raspberries, blueberries, cherries, candycots, locally grown Texas peaches, cloudberries, figs, dates, currants, prunes, I treat like Schedule One drugs. I will walk over your body after stabbing you to get to them, and given an unlimited supply, I won't ever move again from my fruit paradise.

If I were a supervillian, this is how I'd be caught; the stupidest trap in the world baited with a fruit medley. Take me to Arkham, fine, but I got a metric ton of fruit to finish and I will cut you if you disturb me before I'm done. Throw in some fried plantains in the Arkham kitchen with honey mustard and honestly, I might not want to leave.

Candycots - they're as close as you can get in this world to processed sugar in fruity apricot form and what the gods really want while miserably chugging nectar and ambrosia. These are amazing, is what I'm saying, and in Texas, they're sold in ridiculous sets of twelve in plastic because wisely, Central Market with coffee bean bar get it yourself and leaves open containers of other, lesser fruits in the fruit section for snacking knows those Candycots would all be gone--all of them--in under fifteen minutes (if I'm there, five, after considerable bloodshed, for the Candycot gods sometimes require a sacrifice to prove your love).

I'm going to warn you now; if you taste these, think the White Witch and the disappointment of Turkish Delight. If she'd offered Edmund Candycots, everyone on earth would not only completely understand but approve of Edmund's actions because Candycots.

You won't recover from this, and nothing in your life will ever satisfy you like these will; you will spend the rest of your life vaguely unsatisfied with all things for you have seen perfection and what's the point: Monet, Picasso, David, Statue of Liberty, Taj Mahal, the Wonders of the World, nice, I guess, but does the taste of them make you believe for a moment you're a god on earth and all you see is your demesne? Does spacetime warp around you and you understand the perfection which man has strived for over endless generations; did they give you a glimpse of infinity in all its vastness?

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. <--Corinthians speaketh of Candycots.

You can't taste paint and rock, you say? So the answer is no.

And by the pound, they cost more than heroin, which is no surprise at all.

These go on sale in San Francisco at the Farmers market next weekend, and by the way, fuck you San Francisco.

...someone there send me some? Please?
So the Rain

Well, it hasn't rained in a few days, so there's that. The entire backyard is all visibly soaked dirt, and I won't talk about the patio because it's beyond words. Last week we had a lot of people out of the office literally due to rain, and this week (and next) being the graduation for most of the state, it's been--well, wetly triumphant, maybe?

So More Things

So you may not know that guinea pigs have entered my life. Apparently, this has been a thing for a while, I just didn't know.

Let me explain.

They weren't mine, I want that clear. My youngest sister purchased them some number of years greater than two and less than five ago, and they came to her as small and are now super-sized guinea hogs, if you will. They were given a standard cage and toys and being low maintenance and fucking hateful--they make my former rabbit warren look loving and kind--we all just sort of existed in a detente where we moved them around as needed and fed them while they pretended we didn't exist or attacked whoever was foolish enough to try to keep their cage clean and them healthy, because they're malicious.

Here's where this gets weird.

At some point in the last eighteen months--and I can't tell you how or when, it just happened--I began buying all their food, snacks, and litter, feeding and bathing them (bathing. them.) and had been for quite a while because my sister isn't actually anywhere near them (ie, no longer lives here) and somehow, I...took over, like some kind of unholy geas and I don't know how or why.

I'm bathing them. Let me clarify this, because this is where I'm convinced I pissed off a sorcerer or a wizard and this is actually a curse.

I actually get a giant towel and Child (to distract them from going for my throat), grab each one and put them in a box (with minimal bloodshed), carry them to the bathroom, fill a tub--my bathtub--with water (not too warm, not too cold, I test this) until it reaches just their bellies and set them in there to swim and glare at them hatefully before shampooing them one by one, risking my fingers, or at least bits of them, because guinea pigs can't be fucked to do the minimum amount of work to keep themselves clean no matter how often I clean out their truly nightmarish cage and if they weren't bathed, they'd be quite literally made of fur and their own excretions. Then I rinse them, check their fur for issues--risking so much finger-flesh--towel-dry their ungrateful asses (now with shiny fur), and take them back to their fresh cage where they immediately create more filth to wallow in while I return to my bathtub and stare in horror at what I have to clean up (and that shit is deliberate, and I do mean shit. What is wrong with them?).

A couple of times a month, I do this.

I'm doing this of my own free will, and I honestly can't tell you why because I hate them, they hate me, and it makes no sense and I can't emphasize this enough, I can't work out when this started. However, I had a revelation this week while miserably cleaning out their hideous cage and resenting the fuck out of anything with fur; I don't have to live like this, this is bullshit.

Time to deal.

I hate them but at this point it can't be denied they're mine--once you carry the scars of their tiny teeth, someone is owned and it's not gonna be me--so they're going to live to a standard by which my rabbits once lived, because no pet of mine (fuck my life, I have guinea pigs) is going to look like their owner isn't creepily overinvested in their lifestyle and living accommodations.

Midwest Interactive Guinea Habitat Plus - that's eight to nine square fucking feet lined with PVC canvas containing a ramp, a care area, and is recommended by veterinarians. I'm throwing out everything they're using now; their resentful little asses are gonna experience a lifestyle upgrade. They are getting a new grass house, a grass ball, new chewtoys, a new feeder, and fuck my life, I went shopping for absorbent pads used on people beds for those who need such things for night accidents to line this sucker with and I also got them treats and snacks because reasons. I googled guinea pig food type for the most nutritious and evaluating if it would be in their best interests to start them on a Central Market and Whole Foods diet of overpriced organic vegetables and greens.

You know what guinea pigs do? They wallow. That's it. They lay there, resenting the effort it takes them to eat their own food because that requires movement. They bore the cat. You can't get lower than the cat thinking you aren't even worth watching hungrily. They're like furry rocks made of hate and a lack of motivation. They are a literal rebuttal of the theory of evolution, because selection should have wiped them out and yet, here they are, alive and forcing me to re-evaluate how trustworthy science really is.

It gets worse.

While shopping I learned; guinea pigs are neglected as hell when it comes to fun pet shit. Hamsters and ferrets, mice and rats, toys and pipes and hammocks and awesome playscapes, but guinea pigs? Do they get giant-ass playscapes I'd like in human-size? Nope. Do they get tubular extravaganzas? No. I admit, furry hate-rocks wouldn't use them, but that's not the point; this should be equal opportunity and guinea pigs are getting the short end of the stick here.

...I hate them, they loathe me, they are furry hate rocks who I genuinely think would kill me if they were less fucking lazy, but on their behalf I've been hating the entire pet industry and googling PVC piping to see if it comes in transparent so I can build them a playscape so as not to be inferior to fucking hamsters that they'll never use because they are furry rocks of hate. And I gotta bathe them tomorrow because the cage should be here when I get home from work and they are gonna go into their new home clean and this isn't happening, it can't be.

Wizard curse, it's gotta be.
So. Much. Rain.

So, Record storms in Texas and Oklahoma is a thing. Hays County is adjacent to Travis to the southwest; most if not all the bad weather is coming from the west-southwest, so they're getting hit even harder than Travis county is, where I live.

For those playing the home game, Texas, like California, has been a drought state for several years; that was a key reason for the massive Bastrop fires a few years ago that could literally be seen from space.

As most of you can guess, getting rain is awesome; we need it. Getting it at this intensity and this fast isn't. On one hand, it's raising our lake water levels, which is super important; on the other....I'm going to give a very mild, non-drama example of the problem that places that are in danger are having.

I live on what's called a hundred year flood plane (this includes about a full third of Austin, btw). We have to get flood insurance, but actual flooding simply doesn't happen unless a lot of very specific conditions are met (I mean, usually its has to be the perfect storm of shitty luck). A few years after we moved to Austin, they remodeled the gully out back (Austin is filled with these) from a muddy dry creek run-off to a limestone-and-rock quarry that would be fucking awesome to intertube and it goes for miles in our neighborhood (and the equivalent exists in many others). So when rain hits, it looks cool--seriously, I'll put up video if needed, its awesome--and we can enjoy it because the highest it gets is stil about ten to fifteen feet below our backyard.

However, we've reached saturation of the ground at this point; it's not just not dry, it's wet as in squelch even after twenty-four hours of no rain (which has happened like, once in the past couple of weeks, maybe twice).

Rough measurements:
Patio: 12 feet from door to edge by about 18-22 ft; it's wet I'm not measuring now.
Yard: 20-26 feet from patio edge to the back fence.
Back fence: one foot before drop off to watershed.

So when it rains now--and it comes down hard and fast then slow and eh then hard and fast, break, repeat--the water is immediately in puddle form and from my understanding of physics and engineering, it's still running off to the back but not fast enough. Most recently, I watched in fascination as standing water crawled about four and a half inches up the patio to quiver there before the rain let off and it slowly withdrew back to the (already soaked) ground. Right now, it's standing just short of the patio, which is about three inches above dirt level at that point and one half inch from the top of the water standing there.

Here's what I didn't even know about flooding because where I grew up--rural--we were on top of hill and everything rolled down fast: your entire backyard does not have to be flooded and your watershed does not have to be overflowing and gravity and elevation sometimes work against you when speed is involved. My backyard right now has several high spots which are just mud that are higher than my patio, but right now--the rain just started again--the water just went over the lip of my patio again at the four inch mark and is crawling toward me.

However, math! The patio--due to age and dirt and maybe God--has a slight downward inclination due to settling over the years, so the water does have to work to get to me. And it's only like, maybe a quarter inch of water right now edging toward me like very shallow doom. So most of it's running back to the yard to supersaturated dirt and I need more geometry to work out how long it might take with x hours of rain and y amount of rain per x to get to my back door (which is about three inches above the patio) or possibly wonder why I'm trying to do the math of flooding right now.

Also, I'm resenting that little island of perfectly unflooded dirt (wet, granted) a few feet from the patio right now. Seriously, what's up with that?
Okay, I give up: I need someone who knows geometry.

I'm trying to enclose a rectangle of known dimensions within an ellipse and expand the ellipse thirty feet from each angle. No, Pythagorean theorum didn't work (why????????), I tried expanding the rectangle theoretically by thirty feet at all diagonals, I tried magic.

I have Pythagged, sined, cosined, tangented and right now I could pass my junior trig and geometry with a A, but I cannot make a fucking ellipse that's perimeter entirely encloses a rectangle of known dimensions that is at least one hundred feet from the closest point in the rectangle.

What. Do. I. Need. To. Do?

Assume all measurements in feet, m is the multiplier to get the ratio to recalculate w, h to a, b for second rectangle and expanded ellipse.

Formula to calculate an ellipse: <--approximation 3

Current Rectangle:
w = 2640
h = 450
d = Sqr(x) = (w ^ 2) + (h ^ 2) = 2678.0776
p of rec = 6180
p of ellipse = 5487.4475

Increasing the diagonal by 100 at all angles
d2 = 2678.0776 + (100*4) = 3078.0776

(Corrected 30 to 100; I couldn't make thirty work at all).

I thought it was working with this formula:
New Rectangle:
m = d2/d = 3078.0776/2678.0776 = 1.1493
a = w * m = 2640 * 1.1403 = 3034.3126
b = h * m = 450 * 1.1403 = 517.2123
p of new rect: 7.103.0501
p of new ellipse = 6304.7578

It could work, but I'm not sure, because when I start expanding the rectangle itself and apply the formula to get real ellipse and new ellipse, it doesn't work and I don't know why. The only explanation I have is that I'm changing the height and width too much, but the same results occur no matter what I do.

Second group:
w = 10560
h = 24390
d = Sqr(x) = (w ^ 2) + (h ^ 2) = 26,577.9175
p of rect = 69,900
p of ellipse = 57,070.34402

Increasing the diagonal by 100 at all angles
d2 = 26577.9175 + (100*4) = 26977.9175

I thought it was working with this formula:
m = d2/d = 26977.9175/26577.9175 = 1.015
a = w * m = 10560 * 1.015 = 10718.92893
b = h * m = 24390 * 1.015 = 24757.07165
p of rect: 70952.00116
p of new ellipse = 57,747.0583

What is wrong with my brain that this isn't working? I verified my results with google and it agrees something is wrong with either a.) my brain or b.) geometry. I think it's geometry. I get ellipse calculations are complicated, but I double checked that part a few times and it's working, I think. At least, google thinks so when I enter my numbers to get the smallest ellipse but this is making no sense why I can't get that second one to work.

I'm listening to country music and not like, Girl in a Country Song but stuff like The Dance and The Thunder Rolls and Straight Tequila Night and The Bluest Eyes in Texas and I'd Be Better Off (In a Pine Box) (On a Slow Train Down to Georgia) (this is the South; we like to be detailed about how you are breaking our hearts, fucker). This is Southern wake after the death of grandma level shit here; this is when we drink Southern Comfort and Wild Turkey and a metric ton of margaritas (if your Southern is Texan), eat potato salad and fried anything, and everyone gets drunk, talks about their rifles and family scandals and at some point one to three parents have a knock-down drag out among the funeral flowers and someone hides in the closet with a brownie and...we're not talking about my childhood, right.

...this is where I am right now. Fix my geometry or I won't be understandable when I talk to anyone not in a central Texas bar; I already have too many vowels in my words and all my gerunds are missing a very important ending 'g'. I will write all my entries in the dialect of a central Texas rural farmer if I have to, and don't think I won't.

This has been a mathematical cry for help.

ETA: Oh God, I Want to Be Loved Like That just came up on rotation. Help.

ETA 2: If you saw an ealirer version, I was using '30 feet' not '100 feet'; I switched when testing the formuals to 100 because thirty simply didn't work and I wanted a dramatic change. All math here is based on an increase of 100 from all angles, or an increase of 200 of each diagonal.

ETA 3: Aded figures worked out in pencil, verified in excel and google, cited my formulas, and still WHAT.

Answered by [personal profile] edgewitch: Link to solution with proof!.
Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 06:58 pm

things that go right

So last week and this weekend were--terrible, to be honest. Mostly the weekend, actually; the week was fine, but an emergency release went out at work and I was validating one portion when they brought up the system (there was a PDF of the entire nightmare) and when my time came (late, I expected) it failed (that, we didn't).

Finally by Monday it was up, but working Saturday and Sunday even from home is just freaking stressful when it's something like this. And I do take it personally; it's like, why, app, do you hate me? I may or may not have said that out loud over several days until Monday, when the failure fixed itself (no one can figure out what the hell; we just go with it).

Three things made this weekend and week not suck balls:
1.) downtoagincourt - there is a tumblr about my fic series! FUCK YES I READ IT ALL LIKE FORTY TIMES AND FAVORITED EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING. Also, an amazing review here by bert-and-ernie-are-gay that I indeed do re-read. Like a lot.

I have no idea about the etiquette of reblogging really literate (more literate than the series, to be honest) reviews of your fic. Can you do that?

2.) Two tumblr uses liveblogged some of their reactions while reading. This is one of them.

Fireintheimpala here:
Gah, nonstop agony thanks to Down to Agincourt…maybe I should live blog my read of it for cathartic release…


Day 1,231: the destiel glacier is reported to have advanced 1.52 millimeters in the south. Scientists are being dispatched to test for possible measurement errors.

Day 3,456: the scientist have returned and bring with them exciting reports of moderate precipitation! Will this add to the mass of the glacier? Stay tuned.

Day 7,278: tragic news from the glacial front: a scientist has been killed! Though the surface of the glacier is by all measurable accounts benign–inert even!–inexplicable emissions of angst have increased. Eruption danger: Orange.

And here:
Down to Agincourt update.

Day 10,000 or so: I should have taken a break for smut, fluff, or single chapter episode codas 3,000 days ago. Now it’s too late. Now I can’t imagine these characters progressing to any sort of self awareness for at least, oh, 50 more years.

It's funny because it's true.

3.) I bought six inch heels and learned to walk in them.

My Relationship With Heels

I'm a switcher; I go through phases of wanting nothing but ballet flats or low mary sues, with various exceptions in various heels; my work encouraged it, especially when I was at the ombudsman's office where no denim allowed at all and business casual was barely casual. When I became a QC Analyst, however, the dress code was "not naked" and never again having only one pair of jeans because all my clothes income was for button ups, slacks, and skirts. Generally I devote myself to Black Widow and Batman t-shirts, hoodies, jeans, and semi-regular showering (and flats, comfy ones). I'm QC; there are very low expectations in our dress sense. Then I got a promotion (WHEE ME), and for no reason (I can't explain this), I kind of went crazy and bought dresses and tops to wear with jeans (or tights) and dragged out all my heeled sandals to gloat over (I. Don't. Know. But I now own five dresses, three pairs of skinny jeans (one glittery: GLITTERY) and two very pretty new work-appropriate sleeveless tops and adorable cardigan sweaters to wear with them.)

Which leads to the next part.

Last year, I decided to start training myself up again with heels without ending up with feet that will hate me all my life due to the purchase of a three and a half inch pair of kick-ass sandals that were viciously on sale (chunky heel, utterly gorgeous), a pair of wedges, and a cruel Fry's sale on adorable brown suede sandals. The chunky three and a half inch sandals took work, but seriously, they're adorable and had decent ankle support, and successfully did not die in them.

Last month, I saw a pair of stiletto booties and said "I'm getting me some of that."

And I also said, "And not kill myself wearing them." That part is important.

Luichiny Women's Hi N Low Boot, Size 10. Two inch platform, four inch shaft, so effective four inch elevation for my heel. They also look fucking amazing, not gonna lie, but they are not walking out clubbing shoes (my sandals, oddly enough, are).

Here's the thing; they are also my first real experience (other than at Vividcon) wearing stiletto heels and not chuck or wedges (and then I was also drunk, they were thigh-high boots, and Vividcon means miracles occurred when I jogged up and down the stairs).

Balance wasn't a problem--I'd been wearing my sandals once a week for a month to get used to the shift in my center of balance, fix my posture, and automatically align myself on top of my heels instead of the balls of my feet--but learning to walk was very new. Chunk, even with sandals, do generally allow a lot of leeway as long as my posture is correct; stilettos, I found, require perfect or nothing.

(Chunk with no platform also (gently) trained me out of one problem I have due to being a sprinter in high school and never getting over it; my weight when walking in shoes at all unless I'm thinking about it comes down on the outer ball of my foot, not the inner, around the fourth and fifth toe, and my heel doesn't come down often (almost never) when I'm walking fast, which I usually do. In flats and barefoot I still do it (and can afford to), but when I hit about two inches in a heel or any boot, I have to adjust and that takes practice to remember to do before killing myself. I still have to think about it when walking or yes, I will topple over like the saddest bowling pin in history and die or something.)

The nice thing with these boots is, they fit close; if you're not exactly a nine and a half (low end) or ten, though, the 10 will not fit (go to 11). I had to wear trouser socks to get my feet in and adjust, but they were literally a perfect fit, skin close but not painful or pinching other than foot adjustment time while walking until they shaped to the balls of my feet correctly. They also have fantastic ankle support, which I didn't realize would be so important but should have, since the entire strength of walking in them was keeping my ankle straight (and not trying to go up on my toes; it's almost impossible at this height, which helps).

After checking numerous websites on walking in heels, and trying many things to help the process of not dying (while being six fucking three in those things and gleefully staring over everyone's heads at work because I can do that), here is what I learned.

1.) Leaning backward does help like a lot. Centering my entire weight on my heel isn't really enough; without the backward lean, I pitched forward.

2.) Wearing them improves my posture one hundred thousand percent just on the strength of not wanting to topple over. Not just a straight back either; shoulders back, head up, stomach in, chest up, and I can feel the second I go out of alignment and fix it (because otherwise, death by heels).

This actually bleeds over to when I don't wear heels; I'm a slumper and sloucher and training myself out of that is almost impossible without sufficient motivation (ie, death by heels). The last two months have definitely helped in that much; I've noticed I don't slouch automatically (now it's by preference, really), and more importantly, I am aware of when my posture is bad because I know how it feels when it's good.

3.) Walking and staying alive I've mastered, but walking gracefully is still hit or miss and I usually stumble (sometimes literally) into doing it right (ie, the sweet spot). It's harder than I thought, but once I hit it, I'm fine for the rest of the day. I know it's a matter of how I'm shifting my center of balance and weight to the ball of my foot and using the heel only for balance, but it's not something I can do consciously yet. It's not a stride issue, either; long or short, something clicks and boom, I have the walk. Or it doesn't and I'm just terrifyingly tall and no one can stand against me. No one.

4.) Everything is much lower when one is six-three (I love those shoes), including people. I will not say that made me mad with power, but I won't deny it, either.
Saturday, April 25th, 2015 03:40 am

moment of zen

Fortunately, my job and how television portrays it (Quality control, aka program testing) isn't a subject for television because generally one hour drama doesn't focus on the minutia of a company building a program step by step because come on, that can be a multi-year process.

....with one exception.

I once ran across the dramatization of the dev process (montage-like) on TV and watched because it's kind of soothing to watch developers suffering (they're like a floor away from me and I've had a bad week, okay?) until we got back to real time and I promptly lost my mind.

A Summary of the Horror:
They're like "almost there after weeks of (montage) work, oh noes there's a null character mcguffin plot reason thing must get it out like right now tonight no waiting!" or something like that, how do you even know this you just finished the last line and haven't compiled it...hold up, where are the design docs, I haven't seen any since this started, how are they--and they're all scanning the source code--scanning a million lines of source code with their eyes ON SINGLE MONITOR WHY, not even using a search algorithm--who does that, what kind of fucking IDE are you using, why don't you have color enabled to make this easier, wait, that looks like microsoft notepad with the background painted black-- "OH FOUND IT FIXING IT NOW" wait, no, did you erase something and then hit enter that's a new line, but go back, problem, the mcguffin wouldn't be in there, that's in a class file, why are you--hold up, what language is this-- "Okay, compiling now!" holy shit did you just-- "Almost done!" wait, what, no, you can't do that, you don't fly edit your code (that did like magic or word processing, they weren't clear) have you ever heard of debug or like-- "Okay, done, send it--" IN TEN SECONDS REAL TIME THAT WASN'T A MONTAGE "--to whothefuckever we can start distribution like next week awesome going to hawaii!" WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING YOU DIDN'T EVEN RUN IT-- "Everyone go on vacation now bye!" NO NO YOU UNIT TEST SYSTEM TEST USER ACCEPTANCE LAST HAS TO CHECK FOR MEMORY LEAKS AND LOAD AT LEAST RUN SOME AUTOMATED SCRIPTS WHAT ARE YOU DOING DID YOU EVEN CHECK TO SEE IF IT EVER WORKED IN A REAL-TIME ENVIRONMENT BECAUSE YOU MACHINES ARE SET TO IDEAL CONDITIONS NOT THE WILDS OF PRODUCTION--

I'll spare you the rest--they say when the trauma becomes too much, the memory's blocked so sanity can be retained--but one thing's really just bothering me here.

In this ultra-tech, totally pro too many coffee cups suspiciously unstained and without chips or being shattered against the wall and no crumpled up design documents because the analysts are sadistic fucks and will give you three contradictory rules and don't understand how to use Visio or the concept of driver flow...all the super-cool computers only had one monitor each.

I get it now.

This is about a desperate dev team torpedoing the project due to hideous working conditions, inadequate equipment, lack of support personnel, and no design documents because they were set up to fail by an evil CEO who wanted to cut corners and get rid of the entire dev department to bring in an alien design team from Mars (who secretly plan to conquer the world because even aliens wouldn't agree to this nightmare unless they had another motive entirely) and now it all makes sense!

this is totally what happens next )
Expectation of the Week: I will get through the day without sending a group of mobile developers an email stating my fucking cat could do a better job at integrating web services. It's not true; my cat would fuck it up deliberately, rather than by sheer incompetence, because he's a goddamn cat.

Also, would it kill them in some unspecified way to have error messages that have meaning? All of them have the same text because they're still working on creating pop-up error messages that say what's actually wrong, and do it three times in a row sometimes. I'd take a goddamn random-ass number-letter code.

Playlist of the Week: May Kicks Ass, created from the songs used on several Women of Marvel vids on youtube. Setting May kicking Ward's ass forever to empowering music does things for me.

Note: All the TMI. I'm posting this at one thirty in the morning after three days of work related wtfery and pretty much nothing is a bad idea at this point.

so, about your masturbation habits, menstruation, and tmi like it's the end of the world and why not )

In closing: yeah, I shouldn't have stopped when I was writing this post (around playlists, to be specific) and checked my dash. That never ends well, though to be fair, it's not like anyone sane saw this coming.
I just want to say, as a Texan, we already had Rick Perry. Ebola is just salt in the wound here.

In related news:

I have never spent so much time having to fact check people on ebola and google on my phone what it does, is, and how you get it. I have never spent time fact checking anyone, to be honest--generally, listening to other people be paranoid or wrong is an enjoyable hobby and one that requires minimal effort on my part, that being "staying awake", which gotta admit can be hard. Yet I do it, because not only is it bad information and wrong information, even when it's right conversation is drifting dangerously close to "And Obama will use this to take my guns so I cant' shoot ebola when it shows up" or so I assume; I'm telling you, it's getting very weird.

I get this is a horrible disease, I do. And I get that people are afraid, which makes sense: see "horrible disease". However, I'm also lazy; I don't get having to expend effort in feeling terror before we're at minimum out of single digits for the entire US. I don't even get out of bed for a tornado warning unless something achieves three feet levitation in my vicinity. How do people have this kind of energy?

Between Wikipedia's wealth of information on the cat genome, Cracked teaching me about the pros and cons of being a pickpocket or running Afghanistan as military governor, and trying to decide if I really need to go to the bathroom now (standing up?) or can wait (no standing up!) it's like--dude. You could right now be finding out all the forms aphasia can take and how many cities in India have a population greater than 1 million. And you are spending it on a disease in single digit numbers in the US. *

You could be on reddit reading in nosleep and realizing far, far too late what a terrible idea that was, but at least your irrational fear would be of cameras and eyedroppers--seriously, that was creepy.

This has been a message from me, as it's been a very long week.

* this applies to US citizens only, especially those on talk radio who really, desperately need naps or possibly muzzles.
So just seeing how this sounds:

Vacation with entire extended immediate family including: mother, both sisters, sister's husband, sister's MIL, sister's three kids, other sister's kid, mother's parents, me, and Child.

In one house on the beach.

Okay, that does in fact look terrifying when seen in print. I was wondering. There will be the gulf and a confection store that makes their own fudge. I'm clinging very hard to that right now.

Wait, there's more:

Child in his infinite wisdom at some point in the past--who knows when--broke a tooth but couldn't be assed to tell me or care until Friday evening, when the entire left side of his face rounded out not unlike a ripe tomato. At first--not knowing the tooth sitch because who hides tooth pain? How?--I thought it was an unexpected reaction to a topical anesthetic we keep for those times you bite the inside of your cheek or poke yourself in the gum with a pencil which no, isn't something that happens to me because I have much better hand/eye coordination than that and will fight any comment to the contrary to the death if necessary or whatever. It became very clear, however, that it wasn't and he reluctantly admitted maybe there was a tooth that was bothering him maybe a little, which you don't say, ye who has lost any vestige of facial symmetry.

Saturday morning was spent frantically googling for a dentist open on Saturdays who took walk-ins or emergencies or both. Found one, who didn't have a time open and then listening to me start to dissolve into tears--seriously, over-ripened tomato Child, but not that color, it was unsettling--offered to fit him and for that will love her until the day I die. Fortunately--and this is literal--Child was still in pain and the appointment was in less than an hour, and even so, it was a bad ten minutes getting him dressed and to the vehicle while he protested--with asymmetry growing by the moment--that it didn't hurt that much and he was fine (I actually stopped to stare at him disbelievingly, wondering if the infection reached his brain already).

We shall not speak of what we discovered of Child's unbelievable lack of interest in what goes on in his own mouth (I whine when I poke my gum with a pencil, fine, judge away), but anyway, surprise, he broke a tooth and it got infected and how. So we left with antibiotics, painkillers, and a very serious speech that if he starts having vision problems to go to the ER immediately, which was one of those surreal moments where I stare at Child and Child acts totally shocked about how nature and infection work.

brief Child digression, for parents who haven't had to deal with this )

short family digression, related )

After this adventurous weekend, I wonder why there aren't more dentists who decide to specialize in 'emergency' and 'weekends' only because seriously, they could probably make a killing doing nothing else. Every weekend dentist I found (very not many) wasn't just packed, but stacking them up in the waiting room. I didn't even bother with trying to negotiate my (annoying) insurance and paid cash, I was that desperate and from the looks of those waiting with me and Child, that wasn't unique. And why isn't there a Dental ER somewhere?

Note: Child still looks asymmetrical but much better, and is hilariously following almost exactly the dentist's prediction on how long it would take for the swelling to go down and the pain to taper off.


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  • If you don't send me feedback, I will sob uncontrollably for hours on end, until finally, in a fit of depression, I slash my wrists and bleed out on the bathroom floor. My death will be on your heads. Murderers
    . -- Unknown, BTS List
  • That's why he goes bad, you know -- all the good people hit him on the head or try to shoot him and constantly mistrust him, while there's this vast cohort of minions saying,
    We wouldn't hurt you, Lex, and we'll give you power and greatness and oh so much sex...
    Wow. That was scary. Lex is like Jesus in the desert.
    -- pricklyelf on why Lex goes bad, LJ
  • Obi-Wan has a sort of desperate, pathetic patience in this movie. You can just see it in his eyes: "My padawan is a psychopath, and no one will believe me;
    I'm barely keeping him under control and expect to wake up any night now to find him standing over my bed with a knife!"
    -- Teague reviewing "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones", LJ
  • Beth: god, why do i have so many beads?

    Jenn: Because you are an addict.

    Jenn: There are twelve step programs for this.

    Beth: i dunno they'd work, might have to go straight for the electroshock.

    Jenn: I'm not sure that helps with bead addiction.

    Beth: i was thinking more to demagnitize my credit card.
    -- hwmitzy and seperis, 12/24/2003, AIM
  • I could rape a goat and it will DIE PRETTIER than they write.
    -- anonymous, 2/17/2004, AIM
  • In medical billing there is a diagnosis code for someone who commits suicide by sea anenemoe.
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  • Anonymous: sorry. i just wanted to tell you how much i liked you. i'd like to take this to a higher level if you're willing

    Eleveninches: By higher level I hope you mean email.
    -- eleveninches and anonymous, 4/2/2004, LJ
  • silverkyst: I need to not be taking molecular genetics.

    silverkyst: though, as a sidenote, I did learn how to eviscerate a fruit fly larvae by pulling it's mouth out by it's mouthparts today.

    silverkyst: I'm just nowhere near competent in the subject material to be taking it.

    Jenn: I'd like to thank you for that image.
    -- silverkyst and seperis, 1/25/2005, AIM
  • You know, if obi-wan had just disciplined the boy *properly* we wouldn't be having these problems. Can't you just see yoda? "Take him in hand, you must. The true Force, you must show him."
    -- Issaro, on spanking Anakin in his formative years, 3/15/2005, LJ
  • Aside from the fact that one person should never go near another with a penis, a bottle of body wash, and a hopeful expression...
    -- Summerfling, on shower sex, 7/22/2005, LJ
  • It's weird, after you get used to the affection you get from a rabbit, it's like any other BDSM relationship. Only without the sex and hot chicks in leather corsets wielding floggers. You'll grow to like it.
    -- revelininsanity, on my relationship with my rabbit, 2/7/2006, LJ
  • Smudged upon the near horizon, lapine shadows in the mist. Like a doomsday vision from Watership Down, the bunny intervention approaches.
    -- cpt_untouchable, on my addition of The Fourth Bunny, 4/13/2006, LJ
  • Rule 3. Chemistry is kind of like bondage. Some people like it, some people like reading about or watching other people doing it, and a large number of people's reaction to actually doing the serious stuff is to recoil in horror.
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