Jul 04 2020
I have no idea how long I've been in quarantine. I've stopped counting because the numbers were just making me twitchy. Life is going about as well as one could reasonably expect. We're all save and sound in northern California, as much as we can be during a pandemic. Working from home is working from home. To minimize risk we're getting as much stuff delivered as we can, modulo periodic trips to the local pharmacy to pick up filled prescriptions and suchlike. I wish I could say the same of things back home in Pennsylvania, but I'd be lying and I'm really not ready to talk about that right now.
I keep thinking of stuff that I want to write about, but everytime I sit down at a keyboard state-dependent memory kicks in and I forget all of it. It is equally annoying and frustrating when that happens. So I think I'm just going to ramble a bit and see what pops out.
Jun 15 2020
Hanson's Razor - Never attribute to stupidity that which can be adequately explained by (unconscious) malice or selfishness.
Jun 15 2020
Lizardman's Constant - A rough heuristic of the population of people who troll data collection polls. Comes from asking the question "Do you believe that the President is a shape-shifting lizard person?" and consistently getting a roughly 4.5% "yes" response.
Apr 05 2020
All of March and most of February were spent in lockdown in the Bay Area. I've no idea what's still open or not because the last time I was able to go anywhere outside of the house was two weeks ago. The walk I'd planned for last weekend was cancelled on account of rain, and all things considered I'd rather not risk lowering my immune system a couple of points with cold and damp if I can help it. Plans for the next 12 to 18 months have been unilaterally cancelled. I've already sold my Thotcon 0x0b badge even though the conference has been rescheduled, and I've unfortunately had to cancel on HOPE as well. The reason is this: Even though both conferences are supposed to happen after the covid-19 lockdown is (theoretically) over, there probably won't be a usable vaccine inside of 12 to 18 months. (one) (two) (three) As the being in the house in the fewest risk categories this means that there is a good chance that I might contract asymptomatic covid-19, bring it home and give it to everybody else. That's no good (as if that need be said).
There's really no point in watching the news for additional coronavirus news. The pandemic is here and finding out the latest bad thing isn't going to do anybody any good. Additionally, there's enough bad information being deliberately spread (one) (two) (three) (four) (oh, fuck it) that it takes way more processing power than a lot of us have to sort it out. Just knowing that misinformation is being deliberately spread is disheartening. I strongly advise that everybody take Samuel L. Jackson's advice.
Mar 22 2020
We're rapidly nearing the end of our first month of quarantine due to the covid-19 pandemic. I've been working from home since the last week of February, which isn't anything particularly new to me because we have mandatory work-from-home days at least once a week at my day job. Coincidentally, a few days in was when our landlord's scheuled demolition and renovation of the kitchen began. This meant that we were down three rooms in the house - no kitchen, no dining room, and no living room - due to having to relocate everything. Lyssa and I also had some amount of stuff in our respective offices, which made life less than fun for a while. However the kitchen is back online, so we've been cleaning up the aftermath of the construction work and shaking down the new appliances. Not only do we have more room in the kitchen, but we now have a dishwasher and a sink that's not painfully tiny. The first pot of coffee and the first dinner were made in our new kitchen on Saturday.
Shopping for supplies in the Bay Area has been both easier and harder than expected. Easier because people have on the whole been pretty cool toward each other. No pushing, no shoving, only one instance of almost-violence and that was some weeks ago. On the other manipulator, it's been harder because just about every shelf has been completely denuded of everything from toilet paper (the butt of many jokes which write themselves) to cleaning agents to vitamin supplements. It's one thing to hear people talk about this happening, but it's quite another to actually see it in every store you visit. It's a vicious cycle. While I don't know for sure I think I can reconstruct the overall pattern of thought here: People are afraid that there will be runs on everything essential, from food to distilled water to stuff they might be running low on (such as salt or dishwashing detergent). They don't want to get caught out. So they flock to the stores to stock up on everything before there is nothing left. Unfortunately, this is the very cause of those shortages.
So it goes.
Feb 16 2020
Obligatory disclaimer: This is not medical advice. Consult your regular physician. Use at your own risk.
Empty one envelope of vitamin C supplement powder (I like Emergen-C) and one envelope of Knox unflavored, unsweetened gelatin into a mug. The Emergen-C is to make it taste better..
Fill with cold water, stirring briskly with a spoon.
Do this two (ideally) or three (maximum) times a week.
Feb 15 2020
I'm sitting in yet another coffee shop as I write this. Once again it's my birthday and I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing with my life and where I'm going. I've just turned 42 which, as Douglas Adams would have it means I now have the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Or I am the answer. Or something like that. I don't even know what I'm having for dinner tonight, let alone know what life is or is for so I'm probably not the best person to ask.
No, I'm not going to post a link to the video for Birthday this time, though it would be appropriate. I figured I'd give something else a try for once.
Looking back I don't feel noticeably different since last time. I've got less hair on my head these days because most of it's migrated to my ear canals. The hair that I still have is steadily turning silver and it's the first thing I see every time I look in the mirror. I don't particularly think that I need to take better care of my joints but it never hurts, right? Mostly it's my perception of Time that's changing. Days seem to go by a little faster regardless of whether I'm actively doing something or just screwing around. Weeks certainly seem to fly by these days. I still don't know what happened to the holiday season of 2019.ev, and the last HOPE seems just as close as the one coming up this summer. Things happen, and then they don't, and then something else happens. I still don't know how I feel about that.
I've been reading in the car less and looking around more. I'm not sure why.
Folks I've known for multiple decades aren't just married anymore, their kids are growing up and doing cute things (as children are wont to do). Somewhere in between the two events, in the blink of an eye, children were born.
Fixtures of my life - favorite coffee shops, conventions, book stores - are steadily going away. Most of them aren't being replaced with anything new, they're staying closed, silent, slowly decaying. I've been looking elsewhere for things.
Jan 01 2020
Well, Happy New Year, everyone. It's now 2020.ev, we're into the third decade of the twenty-first century.
I'm not sure what we're supposed to do now. Hell, I'm not even sure of what to do with myself this afternoon. I guess grab whatever downtime we can get before going back to work/school/whatever.
There have been quite a few people joking about bringing back the roaring 20's, with all sorts of memetic payloads (some silly, some not). Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing the the Invisibles' take on the 1920's make something of a comeback, but what do I know. Me being me, of course the first thing I thought of was embracing a little more of the cyberpunk in our world because, hey, why not, anything to stay afloat in a world where getting sick for a week can make the difference between having a roof over your head and destitution.
I know, I'm on a bit of a downer right now. One part being at loose ends, one part feeling age in my hearts, one part... how in the hell did we make it to 2020?
I don't know. I don't have one of those "best of 2019" or "best of the 201x's" playlists that folks have been passing around. I don't have any sort of brilliant evocation to give, or inspirational words to say. No major announcements to make. I don't even have any public wishes of "please don't let this year suck" because those do about as much good as thoughts and prayers. I'm just some schmuck trying to figure out what to do with my life, and maybe make the world a little better in the process.
Happy New Year, everyone. Let's try to do things a bit better.
Dec 29 2019
evolving situation - noun phrase - A situation where, if all hell hasn't broken loose yet it's well on its way.
Aug 31 2019
It seems as if another summer is rapidly coming to an end. The neighbors' kids are now back in school, school buses are now picking their way down the streets, and due to Burning Man coming up it's now possible to eat in a real restaurant in the Bay Area for the next couple of days. I've been pretty quiet lately, not because I've been spending any amount of time offline but because I've been spending more time doing stuff and just not writing it up. I've been tinkering with Systembot lately, adding functionality that I really have a need for at home, namely, remotely monitoring a wireless access point running OpenWRT in the same way that I watch the rest of my stuff. Due to the extreme system constraints on your average high-end wireless access point (2 CPUs, 128 megs of storage, 512 megs of RAM) it's not feasible to install Python and a Halo checkout, so I had to figure out how to get the system stats I need remotely. What I wound up doing was standing up another copy of the standard OpenWRT web server daemon and writing a bunch of tiny CGI scripts which run local commands and return the information to Systembot for processing and analysis. It wound up being a fun exercise in working with tight constraints, though I think there are still some bugs to be shaken out.