Brief updates

  • 10:43 @lisbet Actually, I found that reading books from the Baen Free Library on an Apple Newton was fairly pleasant. Don’t know about the Kindle. #

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Order of Battle

I’ve been sick for the last two days – sinus congestion, stabbing stomach pain, sore throat, fever… same old same old midwinter bug. Reluctantly, I took Tuesday off, which I think cut a couple days’ duration off this bug; it’s fading away as I sit here, leaving me with a scratchy throat and headache. I should be fine for the weekend; good thing too, as I had to do a bit of finagling to make MarsCon.

On the other hand, it means I’m woefully behind on my prep. I managed to get some studying in for the panels in which I’m involved, but my costuming took the hit, and I don’t know if I’ll have anything ready for the weekend. Since I’ll be leaving directly from work tomorrow, I have to get packed and otherwise ready tonight. Good thing I managed some laundry.

Sometime Friday afternoon, I will have to find time to take a nap if I want to do late night stuff. This is unaviodalbe, as my internal clock these days is currently set to a 5:30am – 10:30pm waking shift, and cons don’t run on that time. Considering that my Saturday panels hover around 10pm and midnight, I’ll probably need to do the same that day as well.

I need to do some restructuring of my life schedule anyway. One reason for my dryness of prose output in 2008 was that I had not made much time to sit, off by myself, and actually write something – the most I’ve gotten done in that regard is hiding in people’s offices scribbling on the Newton while monitoring their OS X Leopard installs. (Up to three hours of glorious undisturbed concentration!) It’s easy to journal in 5-minute increments at work, but I have not yet mastered the art of focusing on plot and character in those tiny chunks.

On the other hand, I’m slightly pleased with my attitude towards the problem. I’m doing better these days with creating plans of attack for my roadblocks instead of just whining about them and using them for excuses. I’m decades overdue on developing this skill.

Dongle is fun to say

The other day, I found the serial port dongle for the Newton, which I figured I’d keep around just in case one of the special keyboards popped up cheap on eBay. Then today, while unpacking… I discovered that I already HAD one of those keyboards, and somehow never even knew it.

trenn and I used to joke that the federal government had hidden the Ark of the Covenant in a cardboard box in his living room, it being less likely to be found there than in Warehouse 23. But now I’m actually finding undiscovered technology in my stuff. Any chance that there’s a brand-new desktop Mac stashed anywhere in there?

(Oh, and of course after I discovered the keyboard, it took me another 45 minutes to re-find the serial port dongle. Working great, though!)

The Obligatory Holiday Post

I can think of several things for which I’m thankful today:

Everything is out of the apartment now except for some random cleaning supplies, and a couple of lamps and a vacuum cleaner that wouldn’t fit in the car last night. This will be taken care of this weekend when I drop off the keys. For this I am very thankful to Starr and, well, me. We’ve both put no small effort into all these boxes.

I am thankful to Starr for many things, in fact; but they’re all mushy and I’ll save that for some other time.

I am thankful to Starr’s parents for allowing us to use their house for the next year or two. We’ll be very comfortable here, and we’ll be able to save up some money which we’ll need to get our own place. (Midori is thankful to them for the gas fireplace, which is one of the best things the furless monkeys have invented since domesticated catnip and the chewy kitty treat.)

I’m thankful to NASA for giving me the opportunity to show me what I could do for them, and to rattrap for encouraging my developing Macintosh skills in the first place. I’m also thankful to the designers of the Apple Newton, whose long-cancelled product inadvertently provided me with some “hardcore Mac expert” cred in the most recent planning meeting.

I am thankful to the grocery store owners and workers who allowed their stores to be open this morning, so I could acquire the remaining bits of a quiet Thanksgiving surprise dinner to serve Starr, who once again works a holiday.

I’m thankful to the creators and operators of LiveJournal, without whom I’d never be able to keep track of what’s going on with all my friends. My peeps are a complicated, intelligent, opinionated, goofy bunch – which is exactly how I like it, and my life would be horribly diminished without them.

I’m thankful to all the people that I like and love that my emo side is awfully disappointed this holiday. I’m supposed to be, and fully expected to be, horribly dissatisfied with my life at this age. Problem with that is, there’s so much good in my life right now… how can I let the few speed bumps slow me down?

AllerGEE, AllerGAA

(This would have been posted this morning were it not for the LJ downtime)

If I should pass away from exhaustion and allergy-caused asphyxiation, I just want you all to know that I died the way I lived: semi conscious and sniffling. Seriously, this morning I was so wobbly, I thought I might wreck my car on the way into work… and tonight I’ll be putting my back into it again and hauling more boxes.

QQ, I know, but I’m honestly having some trouble coping at the moment. I’ll manage, of course, but oy. I’m in a closed office for the next hour, doing a software upgrade and tapping away on the Newton, and it’s awfully tempting to take a nap. Bad Idea.

On the good side of things, I played some PS2 Fatal Frame on a five-foot plasma flat panel TV last night. That was kinda fun.


In a perfect world, I would have an e-book or three loaded on the Newton right now, or have an iPhone with web access. Instead, I am sitting on Rt. 664, as I have for the last hour, waiting for them to clear a major accident from the Monitor-Merrimac tunnel. The good news is that I’ve got a nice calming trance podcast on the iPod.

I tried first to write some notes for fiction projects, but while a thought or two leaked through, I’m generally blocked; so I am journaling on this Apple notepad instead. I need to scrawl less sloppily; the handwriting recognition on the final OS rev was pretty good, but there’s only so much of my bad penmanship it can take. Lowercase ‘f’s keep coming out capital, for some reason. I’m adding more curve to the tops.

Car behind me just stalled out, guy asked for a jump start. No problem. Asked three times which terminals he had the jumper clamps on… after impressive display of sparks from my battery terminal, went and checked myself. Reversed them. Thank goodness that didn’t kill the Hyundai.

Just remembered I could send email from my work Blackberry; updated everyone there on my status. It seems I’m not the only NASA employee trapped here. I wonder if the accident was mechanical failure, or one or more people being idiots? I’ve been cut off twice in the last 24 hours by rude drivers trying for a single-car position advantage; Hampton Roads drivers can be brutal. On the other hand, I certainly hope no one was seriously hurt… as the cliche goes, “been there, done that”.

Whoops. We’re moving. Will post this from work.

Sun, sea, and soreness

Someday I will learn to keep a stash of ibuprofen at my desk.

Saturday I wanted to do anything but sit on the couch and stare at the DVR. Handily, there was plenty going on in the area, and we ended up catching a free blues festival at the 17th Street oceanfront. Less handily, we ended up parking at the 23rd Street oceanfront and I got my exercise for the weekend in 95-degree weather. I can’t believe I’m not sunburned. But, the music was excellent.

Add in that walking to yesterday’s five-hour cleaning spree in the apartment (2.5 rooms done, yay!) and I am an achy Borg today. Still, I’m pleased with the reasons I got that way, so I’m calling it a win.

Saturday night we ended up as guests of Starr’s parents at a mildly pricey Italian restaurant. The kitchen messed up my order once, and delayed the second attempt; the manager finally comped me the dinner and I think overdid my dessert as apology. With two large cannoli on a plate before me that evening, I’m pretty thankful for all the unplanned exercise.

Today is my mom’s birthday, At first, I was fretting over whether she’d even want to talk to me, but that’s not the right attitude. I want to talk to her, and I’m still commmitted to getting this whole situation worked out in a way that gets her as much of what she wants as is sane.

Good news for today? I just found a bottle of ibuprofen in my glove compartment; and these 90-minute OS X Leopard installs give me lots of time to tap away at the Newton.


I finished Harry Potter 7 on Monday. You’ll find no spoilers in this entry – I’ll just say I found the book satisfiying, and leave it at that.

Both the forums for World of Warcraft and my LiveJournal Friends had to declare spoiler bans, and I’ve had to politely interrupt friends and co-workers to avoid hearing too much. I still accidentally read a leak or two, though nothing to ruin my fun. (I had decided that even a complete spoil wouldn’t kill it for me – little of the book truly surprised me – I felt more curiosity about the journey than the destination, if you get my meaning.) Still, it took effort to avoid knowing more than I wanted. Somehow, my separate worlds of WoW, LJ, NASA, and my local friends circles all became united by this series finale, and there was Potter discussion in every direction.

As the days move forward, it seems to become harder and harder to keep separate all the little facets of my life. Without my involvement, my separate friends groups are merging, my interests are crossing over, my worlds are colliding. I think that the Borg used to be terrifying (pre-Voyager) because we know we are headed in that very direction; a race of minds linked instantly to each other, sometimes even when we’d prefer not to be; a race increasingly unable to escape our dependence on the tools we’ve created without drastic, unpleasant changes in who we are and who we want to be.

I’m not saying it has to be a horrible thing. It’s less stressful, in a lot of ways, to be able to avoid keeping up these compartments in my mind. As well, I’ve gained access to new opportunities and experiences this way. I don’t at all think that we must lose all we treasure about our humanity and become a race of blotchy drones with frickin’ laser beams on our heads; but still, every time I see someone reading e-mail on her Blackberry while talking into her Bluetooth earpiece, I wonder how close we are to the line at which Resistance Will Become Futile.

P.S. Wrote this up on the Newton, moved it to the laptop when I got home, then posted it to LJ. Beep.

Steve Jobs is calling

I really don’t want to sound like an Apple fanatic, but frankly the iPhone is exactly what I’ve been waiting to hang on my belt.

Putting aside the widescreen iPod thing for a moment (I have a nice video iPod, thanks), what I’ve been looking for is a handheld cell network / Internet terminal, and this thing appears to have the goods. Voice calls, voice mail, text messaging, POP3, IMAP, and HTML. I further suspect that, depending on the sophistication of the web browser in the thing, there’s a lot of potential for useful or fun Flash and JavaScript applications. Imagine being able to access the office suite Google’s supposed to be working on – from your cell phone.

Two issues for me; Cingular (I have good reasons to stick with Sprint for the moment) and $499 for the base model. Not to mention that it’s a v1.0, and we all know the fun that can happen there.

Still, this is the device that might finally get my Newton fully retired.

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