You are viewing lyndontoo

lyndontoo's Journal
 
[Most Recent Entries] [Calendar View] [Friends]

Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in lyndontoo's LiveJournal:

    [ << Previous 20 ]
    Sunday, June 28th, 2009
    6:20 pm
    Crocheting Coral Reefs and Hyperbolic Math
    I was referred to a nifty video on someone who started crocheting coral, and talks more grippingly than I was expecting on crochet, mathematics, how sea slugs and lettuce do hyperbolic space stuff.

    Good stuff! See it here:

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/margaret_wertheim_crochets_the_coral_reef.html

    More at The Institute For Figuring

    http://www.theiff.org/
    Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
    1:53 pm
    How long has this been going on? 30,000+ years
    Found a reference to Paleoperformance: The Emergence of Theatricality as Social Practice {{30,000 years ago}}

    http://bit.ly/JOYyG


    This is a bit over my price range, but sure want to get it as an Obvious Gaming Accessory for next time intrepid adventurers come across "cave men"
    Sunday, May 24th, 2009
    9:23 am
    Good start to a 21st century Sunday
    I slept through the Space Shuttle landing, but minutes later video from the cockpit was online.

    http://tinyurl.com/d4eexg
    Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
    12:01 pm
    Oh, it's an earthquake. (lack of exclamation marks)
    Closest 3 workers are also all California natives, and we saved, saw that windows weren't breaking, and waited out the long slow rolls (we're on the 16th floor) then got back to work. Actually, I heard a fair amount of typing during the quake.

    It was 5.4 some dozens of miles away, and seems to be fine at work and home. We arrange furniture (especially bookcases) to be quake-resistant.
    Wednesday, July 9th, 2008
    2:04 pm
    Not The End
    While most disgruntling and annoying the passage of the 2008 FISA trampling on respect for law is not The End ... any more than the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 (even though one of the four still haunts us), the House Un-American Affairs Committee, and a host of other bad examples.

    One of my favorite organizations working to do good and speak truth is the Friends Committee on National Legislation. They are far from the largest, but they are among the most consistently sensible good reads and cost-effective places for me to send my (currently scant) discretionary income.

    http://www.fcnl.org/index.htm
    Friday, July 4th, 2008
    1:27 pm
    Reading (etc) Road 1st steps
    Reading (etc.) Road, first steps.


    James Maliszewski shared a challenge
    “My namesake over at Lamentations of the Flame Princess has issued a challenge to "name the primary influences in your personal game, so we get a flavor not of what set of rules you decide to use, but what kind of game people can expect to play with you!"

    http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2008/06/challenge.html

    My first draft response promptly overflowed LiveJournal’s maximum comment limit, so I’m serializing this.

    I’ve met the majority of my friends, including the first friendships that lasted over two years (some over 20+ years now) directly from gaming or a step or two away .

    But first I’ll go through the reading and other influences that I soaked up. If anyone wants to talk more about kids books, Gumby, upsidsasium or worm ranching, telepathic time traveling pterandons who want to Rule The World, and a bunch of sf and fantasy this would likely be a good and cheerful thing for me.

    I don’t remember learning to read – but I vividly remember getting better at reading. Esther Averill’s books of Jenny Linsky and the Cat Club had a lot to do with this.

    Being shy since at least kindergarten, reading about a shy heroine Doing Stuff certainly had attraction. They were a fun read in first grade and several more times over the decades. I haven’t checked back this century – will do something about that this weekend!

    There are close to a dozen of these. One set of memories is tackling Jenny Goes To Sea, a late book that was * 128 pages * long. Each chapter was as long as a whole book! Several times I would dive in, and it was a bit too much. Smaller text, way more words per page. I’d back off, read a couple easier books in the series and having gone up a level (oops, Warcraft influence), tried again. Eventually the 128 page massive tome was possible, then increasingly easy fun re-read.

    I’m pleased to find that most of the books are still available, as well as something about the author. I’d enthusiastically recommend anyone that has any overlap in interests with me try some from a library to see if they are fun for them or Tastes Vary.

    http://www.nybooks.com/nyrb/jenny/averill

    Then something dreadful happened. I ran out of new Jenny books! I re-read some. I like the phrase “a good book is something I can stand to read three times” and have gotten better at focusing my reading on reading stuff that has good replay value. But eventually I looked around for other similar books.

    I found Ruthven Todd’s Space Cat books, which started a transition to looking for space books.
    I also just discovered that Ruthven Todd had written a lot more than I was aware of. Today Wikipedia is being my friend.

    To be continued.
    Tuesday, July 1st, 2008
    8:23 pm
    New Windows
    New Windows

    Our well-intentioned and conscientious landlord called Monday mid-morning that glaziers would be in Tuesday about 11 to install new windows and so “just” needed to be able to get to the windows.
    Amply met my Monday exercise goals, as after work I moved the desk which was by my bedroom window, which first involved moving everything in or around it to clear space – just 90% of the stuff in the room, and boxes of books are piled up obscuring bookcases.
    Housemate’s windows also got cleared, once ten bags of stuff were piled in the car and other rearrangement done. Also did some remedial floor scrubbing and re-arranging of snake cages. One of the snakes in her room is deeply afraid of people. Others have gone with us on education events at libraries and nature centers for umpteen years and are fine with having humans around.

    The new windows replace aged single-pane windows with double-paned ones. Cut outside noise remarkably, should help with heating and cooling. Only downside is that I need to be real sure that my alarm clock is set, because I had a reliably “organic alarm clock” from birds outside.

    The workers turned out to be delighted with the reptiles. One – Romero – was charmed with Valentine (1) a captive-hatched gopher snake, and another thought the RARN (2) Ball Python was beautiful. Romero would like to bring his six year old daughter by some time to see the lizards.

    So, this went well.


    Windows of Opportunity

    I changed temp assignments. New one doesn’t have any other former APA writers and if anyone is writing a novel in the office they are keeping quiet about it (last one had 2/3rds of office writing, and I was starting to come up with ideas). However it is quiet, and 1/3rd the commute if I drive. It in fact is close enough that I walked home twice week before last. This took a while, and I’m slower than I was a decade ago, but I was like the energizer tortoise and just kept going and going and going … Averaging 1-2 more miles of walking a day. Also have converted 6-8 hours of high-stress commute to walking and reading time – depending whether I’m on sidewalk or bus. And it’s an hour earlier in the day.

    So, gradually getting peppier and hope to write more than once every blue moon.

    To be continued.


    (1) At one sf fanish party we were both invited to someone said “You should name him Valentine because he’s being such a sweetheart.” Valentine is a brown and tawny gopher snake, fairly placid even when petting by hundreds of kids. His skin is pebbly on top and smooth on bottom, and the texture difference was a neat talking point.

    (2) RARN = Reptile & Amphibian Rescue Network, a very non-profit 503(c). Mostly work with stray sick and injured animals from shelters and Fish & Wildlife.
    Thursday, May 1st, 2008
    9:35 am
    Various Dead People's Libraries
    Library catalogs of a bunch from Benjamin Franklin to Robert Howard. This seemed of course to be an obvious rpg aid. As well as yet more books to check ..


    http://www.librarything.com/groups/iseedeadpeoplesbooks

    I See Dead People['s Books]

    Description: A group for those interested and involved in entering the library catalogs of famous readers. Also see the WikiThing page. Questions? Contact jbd1.

    Our first undertaking was the library of Thomas Jefferson, which you can read more about at his profile page.

    Other libaries-in-progress:
    William Congreve. See this thead.
    Adam Smith. See this thread.
    Benjamin Franklin
    James Joyce
    Samuel Johnson. See this thread.
    Carl Sandburg. See this thread.
    Sir Walter Scott. See this thread.
    Mather Family (Increase, Cotton, &c.)
    Charles Darwin. See this thread.
    Gerald Gardner
    Theodore Dreiser. See this thread.
    Daniel Garrison Brinton
    Rembrandt
    Eeva-Liisa Manner
    e.e. cummings
    Karen Blixen
    Rose Wilder Lane

    Other completed libraries:
    Danilo Kis
    Tupac Shakur
    Wolfgang Mozart
    Isabella Stewart Gardner
    Sylvia Plath
    Marie Antoinette
    Susan B. Anthony
    Alfred Deakin
    Walker Percy
    John Adams
    W.H. Auden
    Ezra Pound
    Ernest Hemingway
    James Smithson
    F. Scott Fitzgerald
    John Muir

    (Currently) Moribund Projects:
    William Faulkner
    Leonardo da Vinci
    Robert E. Howard.
    Monday, March 24th, 2008
    6:51 am
    Fishing be so relaxing
    I wandered off to forage for lunch, and my troll sat down and relaxed into Away From Keyboard mode.
    On returning, it turns out that fishing is so relaxing that he didn't need to stand back up for it, and kept fishing sitting down.


    Tuesday, March 18th, 2008
    6:45 am
    Comic Book review
    My supervisor loaned me a copy of Graphic Classics’ “RAFAEL SABATINI: Great tales of mystery, plus swashbuckling adventure with captain blood!”

    This was not an “other duties as assigned.”

    I’ve read and enjoyed various comical book adaptations of novels over the years, but this was a new one to me. 144 pages, including 3 pages of text about the artists and writers.

    The art, hrmmm “varies on quality.” Some was servicable, a very little was good enough I want to look at it again, but it was mostly servicable to not get in the way of the words and help carry the story along.

    This sounds like sort of faint praise. Still, it worked to introduce me to fun stories I hadn’t met before and I got a couple Sabatini books out of the library right after finishing.

    www.graphicclassics.com
    Sunday, March 16th, 2008
    8:59 pm
    Reading (one of a very continued series)
    Discovered that waffles, brownies, roast duck and birthday cake do not make ideal weight loss ingredients, but had a good time with office and old friends.

    Had sense enough to call in sick and limit out and wiped time to one day.

    Read David Bach's START LATE, FINISH RICH taking notes and talking things over with housemate. I've managed half the title.

    Unsuccessfully tried to open Roth IRA. I tried to reactive old, lapsed Ing Direct account, but got muddled enough with password and changed emails since last activity that I'm probably going to have to Talk To Someone On the Phone and send some real checks by mail to get it going again.
    And tried to open an individual account at the Friendly Neighborhood Bank that the housemate and I have a join account in. They have branches open 7 days a week in local supermarkets, and courteously opened a free checking account, which the system insisted on linking to the joint ATM card and then discovered their IRA department is only open Monday to Friday...
    I'd really like to pass them my money anyway, rather than the bank on the 1st floor of the building I work in, that's lost billions in subprime loans and other foolishness, but they're making it difficult.

    Oh, main thing is, that when still temping I need to Do Something (quite a few somethings) on purpose, and not just drift and wait for a "permanent" job to happen and drag me into a savings plan.

    To be continued
    Tuesday, March 4th, 2008
    6:14 am
    Brontosaurs not in job description
    I eventually realized that brontosaurs at work, even cheerful well-groomed ones, even if they were a massive help in major file compression (tromping down large wooden bins of files -- the files looked sort of like glittering Chex(tm) -- like tromping down grapes, but drier) was -- even if it involved data administration, probably not actually work but a dream.
    Monday, March 3rd, 2008
    7:12 am
    Post-Birthday
    Quiet birthday with old friends I've known 25-30 years. Includes those from first APA I ever read, roommate from 80's whose computer I learned WordPerfect 4.2, Lotus 2 and some more on.

    I changed schools 11 times from kindergarten through first community college. They all seemed like good ideas at the time, but as by-product of this I got used to the idea that people would just not reliably be around 2 years in a row.
    Libraries – libraries now would endure and be there for me year after year! And visited libraries last year including the one I got my first library card at, and others I remember from elementary school.

    Mi mimeographed fanzine APAs, and sf and gaming fandom have been a Good Thing to me, allowing getting conversations started and going without the awkwardness of comparatively unpracticed face to face first conversations – and supplementing in person time (usually one or less times a week) with written talk through the week.

    Some of this may have been just turning into an adult and going places by my own devices and choices (well, usually the devices were feet and bus first decade) rather than classes that were largely Sheer Coincidence. Some Fill In The Blank clubs at college might have achieved the same effect of getting me into a roomful of people sharing the same interest. (Reading way above most or the rest of the class, I just didn't have much in the way of shared interests or common vocabulary with most of my just-”peers-because we're the same age contemporaries). Work, which has the similarity that “we're mostly just here for some other reason” like paycheck, has been a poor place for finding friendships that endured outside of work.
    Though gaming and sf fan meetings found people I was happy to see at home...

    I've drifted out of local fandoms, but online games (PBEM and MMORPG with associated fora ) have been some help actually meeting new people, -- but I haven't connected with The Power of the Internet as well as I did with earlier technologies.
    Not that I'm actually * nostalgic * about correction fluid smell ...

    Anyway, I need to deliberately get out more one way or several others this coming year.

    To be continued,

    Lyndon
    Saturday, March 1st, 2008
    6:23 am
    Electric Cars
    Also while being a laboratory subject, got to read some nifty articles in Engineering & Science magazine in their waiting area, such as the nifty electric car research. The drive for batteries for cell phones and portable computers has increased the energy per pound a lot.
    Not quite prime time – Enough batteries cost umpteen thousand dollars and price is only coming down about 10% per year as of 2006 (though if they get enough demand to be able to order batteries by the ton, volume manufacturing would save a lot) – but electricity cost was about $6 per 300 miles.
    Getting closer to being economically realistic without being an independently wealthy enthusiast.

    http://pr.caltech.edu/periodicals/EandS/articles/LXIX2/EVlayout.pdf



    (still waiting on getting my car back from the shop. Battery and alternator look good, spark plugs were venerable.)
    6:22 am
    Laboratory Experiment
    I had the interesting experience of being a Laboratory Subject at Caltech briefly (3 hours).
    I didn't get any superpowers out of the experiment, but did get enough pay to cover gas, burritos and incidental book buying.

    It was for a study on autism -- needed data from people without a history of autism in family. A helmet tracked eye movements by laser as I identified emotions on increasingly messed up pictures. Early ones in series were merely as poor as if taken through fogged glass (with a few clear bits on eyes and mouth), xeroxed a few times, then kicked around the floor some. Later ones were distorted (Picassoed out with face parts spread around).

    Post-test questions included which had and foot I used for writing, catching, kicking,


    http://www.emotion.caltech.edu/autism/research.html

    How do we recognize emotion from facial expressions?
    How do we make social judgments about other people?
    How do we move our eyes when looking at people's face?
    How do we move our eyes when talking with someone?
    How do we recognize people's intentions when they interact with each other?
    How do we recognize people's emotions when they interact with each other?
    What brain areas are involved when people see and feel a caress?
    What brain areas are connected when we pay attention to visual and auditory social stimuli?
    What brain areas are connected when we imagine people and when we look at their faces?
    Friday, February 29th, 2008
    2:05 pm
    Delays
    Update: "Runs like a champ" now after throwing money at problem (well after shop threw skill and some parts at problem). Whew.

    Didn't intend to be using this at Twitter-emulation speeds, but most recent news flash is the car breaking down -- in about as convenient way as possible -- on the way into work.

    Battery light flashed and it stalled, -- 3 blocks from home, right in front of the local (and conscientious) auto shop that we had bought last battery from.
    Pushed it into lot, signed stuff for diagnostics, and caught next bus, only being a half hour late getting to work.
    6:49 am
    Fortunate and Surprising U-Turn
    For a loooong time some of eating has been a stress reaction. Could be worse – and I can often tell when I'm eating And Liking It – enjoying the yummies for their own sake – and when I'm eating as distraction and reaction to something else. (I also notice this in computer gaming, basically whether I'm going to something fun or “Shriek! Run away!” from something stressful.)

    Since 1985 I had put on an average of 5 pounds a year (don't have firm numbers before that, but it had been a problem by kindergarten). Any given month this only required about six ounces of rationalization and “That's not all that much. I'll deal with that next month when things settle down.”

    Had some good starts. One was the simple advice “Bring fork, spoon or fingers to a complete stop between bites.” This micro-change in behavior was “Spend more time doing what you already enjoy doing” and worked well (a pound a week) when I remembered.

    Also had some good results when walking 4 ½ miles to work several times a week. I LIKE long walks. Especially if a backpack load of books and a library are involved.

    But the long term slide to having Nero Wolfe as too much of a role-model continued. I didn't at all mind urges to consider how to never leave home on business, but hitting a seventh of a ton was too much emulation.

    A lot of things just don't work. I have allergies to a lot of stuff (most fish, raw carrots, soy) that poke excessive holes in a lot of diets. Keeping a food journal proved stressful and I kept promptly losing it.
    [Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<snipping [...] stuff.>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

    For a loooong time some of eating has been a stress reaction. Could be worse – and I can often tell when I'm eating And Liking It – enjoying the yummies for their own sake – and when I'm eating as distraction and reaction to something else. (I also notice this in computer gaming, basically whether I'm going to something fun or “Shriek! Run away!” from something stressful.)

    Since 1985 I had put on an average of 5 pounds a year (don't have firm numbers before that, but it had been a problem by kindergarten). Any given month this only required about six ounces of rationalization and “That's not all that much. I'll deal with that next month when things settle down.”

    Had some good starts. One was the simple advice “Bring fork, spoon or fingers to a complete stop between bites.” This micro-change in behavior was “Spend more time doing what you already enjoy doing” and worked well (a pound a week) when I remembered.

    Also had some good results when walking 4 ½ miles to work several times a week. I LIKE long walks. Especially if a backpack load of books and a library are involved.

    But the long term slide to having Nero Wolfe as too much of a role-model continued. I didn't at all mind urges to consider how to never leave home on business, but hitting a seventh of a ton was too much emulation.

    A lot of things just don't work. I have allergies to a lot of stuff (most fish, raw carrots, soy) that poke excessive holes in a lot of diets. Keeping a food journal proved stressful and I kept promptly losing it. <Snipping boring list of non-functional for me stuff.>

    Current job has some good news and some bad news. It's the job where I've laughed most during office hours. There are reasons for that, which I hope to savor in another post. But it's been the latest in the day of any job (9 to 6, when last several decades have shown I have Morning Person tendencies, and do better at 8 to 5 and even better at 7 to 4). It's the worst commute I've had this century (twice the distance and four times the stress as last one, through The Land That Turn Signals Forgot) and has been the most sednentary year I've had.

    And I've lost 15 pounds since December.

    Whee!

    A lot is simply throwing more fruit into the diet first. If I've just had a pre-emptive banana for a 10 a.m. snack there is limited scope for chips or chocolate to make a convincing “Eat me!” pitch.

    Part is initially contrarian but works for me experiments. Switching from non-fat to normal cottage cheese. And extra hundred mostly fatty calories helps convince metabolism that it's NOT starving, so no need to send out panic foraging commands, or throtle down metabolism into threat-of-winter emergency conservation. So I trade a hundred calories with substantial redeming nutritional value to find it way easier to dodge 300 calories of chips and chocalte.

    I don't know how long this would last, and I'd really like to get out and DO stuff, but in the meantime I've rolled back to working through 2005 accumulations, and if it does continue at getting through a year's fat depsoit a month, then I'll be well on track to be Lyndon Light in 2009.
    Thursday, February 28th, 2008
    7:45 am
    Update, 22 1/2 months later
    Whew!

    Well, the past couple years since last post didn't go as hoped and expected.

    My current Plan L (I'm so far beyond Plan A, Plan B, Plan C etc. ...) is to spend a couple days posting quick bits of the last couple years, so I don't feel haunted by the hiatus, and start on my birthday (March 1st) with just forward-looking or present-looking stuff.

    First, job. In early 2006 I had just left a good temp job to work a second time with one of my favorite bosses of the 21st century so far. He was setting up a department's financial system and once he got the Aha! He needed someone to “Go forth and do likewise on dozen-page spreadsheets for the next 28 products.”
    He was now at a new, rapidly growing company and had work he'd be glad to shovel over onto my desk.
    Unfortunately the company proved commitment to management by wishful thinking, and when the CEO, V.P. Of Finance, Operations Manager, and Director of Finance all resigned, I had data that I should consider moving on. -- Oh, and there was over 100% staff turnover.
    Blood pressure went down 20 points two weeks after resigning.

    I temped some. One was at a non-profit (which I went to through another agency than The Most Clueful agency). They do often great work, but the administrative back end -- well, other than having computers on my desk it reminded me of temp jobs in the 80's, including many, many xerox copies in paper files, and typing in credit card entries with one finger (as the keypad wouldn't take more, and anyway the slow, elderly modem would get confused by too much input) and have ncr paper clatter out.

    After a while The Most Clueful agency also found something, though it took them a little longer to find a better fit than the Brand X agency took to find a so-so fit.

    To be continued.
    Sunday, April 30th, 2006
    10:51 am
    Another Belated Yay!
    While doing conventional job hunting stuff (doing as close to excellent as possible on temp assignment, sending out resumes with cover letters showing I had actually read job ddscription and had some interest in that particular job, and getting the pump primed enough to get a "permanent" job interview a week while pretty near 40 hours/week temping) my plans were suddenly derailed ... in a good way.

    Jack (last name withheld as I didn't clear this with him first) was an enjoyable good boss for half a year in 2002 when he was an outside consultant setting up financial systems for a division of a Major Direct Response Company That Will Remain Nameless and needed someone to help with the sheer volume of input and spreadsheets (some of the critical "how much money are we really making anyway" info was only available in wave of the past paper printouts).
    I learned a bunch about spreadsheets and finances, and our paths crossed a bit in other departments of that company after he had successfully set up systems, trained a local person and was Done with that assignment ... and his kids thought my pets were cool and fed dandelions to one of the lizards.

    Anyway got a call that he was in a new company and would like to work with me again.
    So wrapped up temp assignment gracefully and jumped!

    It is a Smaller But Rapidly Growing Response Company That Will Also Remain Nameless. It has some of the characteristics of that industry ("Full speed ahead and plan and document later!") so presents some, uhm, potentially valuable Learning Experiences. Which has something to do with a major product launch slipping six weeks in first two months...
    Been distracted by various real life Plot Complications are keeping me from focusing on it as much as I would like, making it a bumpier ride than I had hoped for.
    On the third or fourth hand, there are a number of mitigating factors "It's 5:30, I have to go home and fix dinner for the kids!" which mitigate the frenzy.
    And, though trying for a fast pace, management also committed to do performance reviews and bonuses quarterly rather than annually.

    More data needed, but this was probably a good decision to try the job.

    Lyndon
    Wednesday, April 12th, 2006
    6:51 am
    Belated YAY! (one of several)
    I've been way behind on this but several Good Things happened, which I feel worth posting -- especially as I have the opportunity to say nice things about other people.

    Last post I had lost my job, but at least had the silver-lining opportunity to learn stuff from the experience -- including more data on what is Too Much work when additional effort will just make me sick, and what to look for in employer management prowess. -- And learned that by February they had hired and fired two more people for that position, which reduces sting further.

    But that is not a Yay!, but mainly a salvage operation.

    So I went into usual job hunting routine,
    But first a procrastination, catching up on sleep (with worry reduced by that month and following month's COBRA being paid by ex-employer), beagle and house-sitting for friends, some year end slump with rains and dark and cold, but by early January I was back to signing up at temp / employment agencies.

    Came across an unusually Clueful one. At Office Team (one of Robert Half's subsidiaries, they do a variety of other management and techie headhunting also) I filled out paperwork, and of course had brought something to read while waiting.
    Interviewer went over results, also comparing them software test scores to their average for context, and said "I see you have a Burbank library book. We also have branches in Burbank and Glendale."

    This was a characteristic manifestation of alert attention to detail and thinking things through quickly.

    Next week was at a FUN assignment helping a client convert from a haphazard of Excel spreadsheets that Just Grew (mostly from people who were no longer with the company) to a much smaller and more organized number of Access databases.

    To be continued.

    Lyndon
[ << Previous 20 ]
About LiveJournal.com