Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ah, youth.

Sometimes I envy the young. When I look at them, I see such
piles of potential. Even people into their late 20's, are still
so full of energy and dreams. What will they become? What can
they achieve?

As you get older the energy is so much less. The dreams either
happened or they didn't, and the shining potential is long
in the past. There are still many years ahead but they
seem more limited. The feeling that you can do anything is
gone.

Can I break the mold? Do I have to be a typical middle ager?
I tried to do so for many years. But now I'm tired. If I
had the energy, could I do more great things?

I'm afraid I may fail, at that. And just go out with a whimper.
How unlike me.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Brain Circles.

My brain is spinning in circles and going nowhere. I'm not
unhappy, but my brain is worrying away at really trivial things.
Kind of without me. I'm not aware I was even thinking about
anything, until I notice what my brain is doing. Weird.

I really have to reconnect with myself, occasionally.
I think it is due to doing so much reading at work. I'm taking
in vast amounts of information in a short time. So I just keep
shoveling in the manuals and the papers, as fast as I can go.

When I'm not studying, I think my brain just starts doodling
with whatever inconsequential thing it is immediately
stimulated by. The weather. The color of something. Setting
up an appointment. What to eat. And I'll think about one
boring thing for hours.

It's hard to shut my brain off to sleep. I'm really good at
learning difficult things really, really fast, but it sends
my brain into overdrive, and I have to but up with the fallout.
Brains are so strange.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dog Days of Summer? The dog feels better than me....

Not the best of days. I had asthma most of the day, so I
couldn't exercise, or do much of anything I had wanted to
do today. It was 93 degrees, so it was sort of hot, anyways.

So I read stuff online for most of the day. Still not
feeling all that great, very wiped out. Nothing for it but
to start the next Garth Nix book.

It is supposed to be hot all week with high pollen and
not so good air quality. I hope I have some good days
in there, and feel like working out. I haven't made any
progress on the diet for 2 weeks.

It is nearly August, and around here that is the month
when all the fairs and festivals take place. Art fairs,
Irish fair, Greek fair, Japanese fair, State Fair,
Renaissance Festival. I don't know how people can be so
active in August. The heat just makes me tired.

I wish I could enjoy summer more.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bookworm

I do seem to be on a reading jag now. I read Grim Tuesday
by Garth Nix today, having finished the first book yesterday.
They are so wonderfully weird. Sort of like Harry Potter meets
Narnia, meets Oz.

And I still have to remind myself to breathe while reading
them, so I don't have sympathy asthma, every time the main
character has a bad asthma attack.

So reading, exercising, and paying bills, was pretty much my
entire day. The weekends are too fast. I can see why people
look forward to retirement, so you can have weekend everyday.
Except I don't think I'll ever be able to retire, even if I
live that long.

One would have to have saved some money. Savings. What an alien
concept.... Everyone on both sides of the family tended to die
young, from all the heart problems and diabetes. It never
occurred to me to save any money for later, since there
wouldn't be a later. It will be a shock if I do live longer,
I never planned for being old.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Reading in the afterlife

My head hurts. I am studying grid computing or high
performance computing for a project at work, and it is
a tough subject. I'm glad a friend at my last job used
to talk to me about the subject, (he was interested in
it) or I wouldn't have a clue what I am reading.

Power was restored at my house around 9pm last night.
I finished the Harry Potter book, and am satisfied with it,
but I was hungry for more.

So I picked up Mr. Monday by Garth Nix, which was laying
about the house. I was captivated immediately and couldn't
put it down. It is very offbeat and amazingly imaginative.
The hero is a boy with severe asthma, and whenever he had
an attack in the book, I could feel my lungs seizing up
in sympathy. Maybe asthmatics shouldn't read about other
asthmatics!

Of course, only the first 5 books are out, so I'll have
another series that I have to wait a year between each
of the last two books. I figure I'll have to live at least
that long. I have a friend who died of cancer a couple of
years ago, and she was mad that she wouldn't get to see
how Harry Potter turned out.

Makes me really hope there is an afterlife, and you get
to read there.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Power-less!

I was going to go home and finish the Harry Potter book,
and write my blog and read email - however -

There was a little storm ahead of the cold front (which still
isn't actually here) right over our neighborhood - and it
took out part of the neighbor's tree, which fell on the
power lines that runs behind our houses. So, we have no
power.

That was hours ago, but the power company still hasn't even
come out to look, so probably no power tonight.

The good news is it should cool off shortly (heat index
has been over 100 degrees the last few days). So we should
be able to get some sleep, even without fans or air conditioning.
(I hope!)

I can cook diner on the gas stove, and finish the book by
flashlight, so I'm set!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In with the new

Heigh-ho! I just put up a new Uncomfortable Questions podcast
show! (Finally). It's been a month since the last one, but
here it is: Drew Interview

I seem to have run out of volunteers, so I interviewed my roommate.
How is that for lazy? Actually, he really wanted to do it. I've
now had all 3 members of his band, MC/VL on my show.

I now have to actually go find some interviewees if I want to
do anymore shows. This is the first time in 2 years that there
hasn't been any. I have a couple of local people I could
probably get to do it. I think I'll ignore the whole thing
for a week, and then go do something about it. I need the
rest where I don't have to think about the show.

Work was surprising today. I got put on a new project, I
knew nothing about it. It makes sense, and is a good thing -
I think it shows they really trust me. It's just that I've
been working on this other account for 2 years. I guess it's
running so well that others can do it now.

I'm off to start a whole new endeavor. Always exciting, but
a little unsettling at first. There is a huge learning curve
ahead, but it is always like that. Somehow I always figure it
out. So there is an awful lot of study and reading ahead.
Not the worst way to spend a summer.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What world? I have a book...

I should have my next show edited by now - but I'm only
half done. I keep stopping to read another chapter of the
last Harry Potter book. Yeah, me and 10 million other
people.

Some meditators believe that if enough people get together
and meditate, it can change things. So what are we changing
in the world if 10 million people read Harry Potter at the
same time? Is more evil conquered? Does crime go down?
Does a little magic creep into the world? Do people love
their friends more?

Who knows? I'm too busy reading to check....

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I am the fairy godmother of computers

And I leave laptops in the Christmas stockings of good
girls and boys. It turns out that I actually had two working
old PC laptops that I was wondering how I was going to get
rid of them.

Last night my roommate tells me that their booking agent
needed just an email computer, and the band mate of my roommate
(also a friend of mine) was in desperate need of something
better than what he had, to write music on.

It turns out my two laptops were perfect for each of them.
My roommate fixed the screen connectors on the 3 year old one,
and I spent the entire day checking out the computers and
cleaning out all of my files, passwords, and such, and running
virus scans, making sure the software was all up to date.

One was around 7 years old but the darned thing still works fine.
Even the battery! I was amazed. It is an old Armada, and it
earns it's name. What a trouper that machine has been. And
now it goes out to do good works again.

So in my own geeky way, I have donated time and equipment
to the help with the success of the band. I like it when my
things can help people who will make good use of them.
I really must have a fairy godmother complex.... I suppose
there are worse things to be!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Living in the Now

Is it summer? Is it the sameness of the days?
Time seems to be flowing so strangely. Like a dream.

Time doesn't seem to progress, it is just a day and another.
There is work and activities, goofing off and working on the
house. Things are fine, the weather is warm, but it is like
I "come to" occasionally, look around and think "Well,
everything is alright" and go back to sleep.

All time passage could be a false memory, I only pay attention
to the now, to whatever is in front of me. I have no real
hopes or desires or plans. I don't dwell on the past, or
the future much.

I am leading my life, but almost indifferently.
It isn't bad at all, but weird. I've heard you are supposed
to live in the "now". But it isn't very interesting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Work Stuff

Work's been good. I keep getting interesting in what I am doing
and forgetting to come home until late. Messes up my exercise,
though. I missed 2 nights, but back at it tonight.

I'm giving a class on security in a couple of weeks and have
been working on slides for class. I gave a class a few weeks
ago and had about 25 people show up! It is a bit unnerving to
teach that many people at once. But fun.

Work is moving to our new location in less than 3 months, and
it is starting to dawn on us what a huge job that is going to
be. We have to move several labs worth of equipment, in addition
to our offices. They were asking people today if we were
physically able to lift heavy equipment, to see how much help
we have to hire.

I said I couldn't lift much. Mostly because the pins in my
arm holding the tendon on. It works fine, I can even do light
weight lifting, but I don't want to push it over 30 lbs.
I'm starting to get excited about the move, they post pictures
of the new building every couple of weeks. It is beautiful
compared to the current place.

It will add 10 minutes to my drive (only takes 15 minutes
to get to work now), so I probably won't like it so much in
the winter. Bleah, I have work on my mind - it's all I have
to talk about.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

The weekend is gone already. It was a fun one. Lots more
Guitar Hero II, the roommate's band recording in the basement,
picking out paint (we are under the impression we are going
to finally fix up the basement), playing all my pinball
games. I wasn't ready for it to be Monday.

I've lost 5 lbs in the last month, so the Alli diet pills
did help. But now I'm at a weight I keep returning to. If
I can break through this, and keep going - I'll declare the
pills worth it.

Nothing else of merit going on.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

We Is Guitar Heros!

Toys

The ceiling fan in the dining room broke so it was off
shopping for a new light. (Decided against a fan because
they are too hard to put up.) Cay and I found an unusual
halogen light, and bought that. It was way cheaper than I had
planned, so there was a little cash burning a hole in my
pocket.

So, time to buy toys! I had wanted Guitar Hero II for the last year.
I'm not very good at video games, but this looked like something
even I could do. They had a demo at the store, and I was laughing
and playing in about three minutes. They also had a cheap 2nd
guitar controller that you could buy, so we got it too. I can't
afford an X-box 360 yet, so I got the Playstation 2 version.
(Though I hear the X-box version of the game is even better.)

We came home and played and played! We switched off lead
guitar and bass parts, and laughed and shouted. I can't wait
until the roommate gets home - probably play again. My hands
absolutely ache, but I love it. No it wont really make you
into a guitar player, but for a moment, you absolutely feel
like you were really in a rock band.

It's a rock band fantasy for klutzy musicians. Who cares if it
is "virtual reality". I am so there!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Frustrations

Working on some tough problems at work that I just haven't
solved yet. Very frustrating and tiring. Every time I think
I know what I'm doing, the next humbling experience appears.
I don't think it is possible to get a fat head in this
industry.

Thinking about my show. I am starting the edit on show #55.
I once thought I would interview 100 people and then stop.
I'm a long way away from that, and I don't have anyone lined
up for the next show. I would have to go find someone.
Why have I lost my motivation? I don't have any plans for
what to do next. I'll either continue or not. Or just coast
until something happens. Sigh.

Where do others get their tremendous willpower? The power
to create miracles, to build rockets to the moon, to
build themselves into super humans - the best they can be?

Why don't I have that?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The doctor insists that I am alive...

I had my big yearly check-up at the doctor today. They took
8 blood tests from me last week, and the results were good.
I thought I would get out of there without being stuck again,
but she still got me with a shot for tetanus, diphtheria, and
whooping cough. What a strange combination...

My doctor seems very determined to keep me alive and healthy.
Maybe she is just battling for me, determined as I am that
the diabetes and asthma wont get me. At least I like to
think of it that way. Maybe she just likes giving me shots.

Some tiresome health things ahead. She didn't like the
look of a couple of moles, so I have to have them checked
next month for skin cancer. I don't think it is, though,
I don't think they have changed. But I'll make her happy
and do it. Then there is the "interesting" procedure to
check for colon cancer. Who thought that one up?

You have to go on a special diet for a week, and then drink
all this weird stuff, and don't eat for a day and get
sedated and stuff. Luckily they are so booked up, they can't
do mine until next March! Good. I don't have to deal with
that one for a long time.

But it seem I am alive, and will stay that way for awhile!

Monday, July 09, 2007

The coolest thing ever!

Exceeding Cool

My roommate gets to bring home cool audio equipment and
evaluate them for his job. Tonight he brought home a Korg mixer
that we all howled at, and declared it the Coolest Thing Ever!
Every knob is also a button, the screen is also a chaos pad,
and when it boots the white and red and blue lights strobe
in a landing pattern.

We call ourselves The Monkey House because all three of us
were born in the Chinese year of the Monkey, but I think we
should really be The House o'Geeks.

All three of us went totally ape over this cool piece of
technology. So maybe we are really The House of Monkey Geeks. :)

See picture above of Drew pouting with his true love, because he
knows they will soon be parted.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Soggy Sundays

It hit 98 degrees today, but mid-afternoon a huge storm came
through. We could hear it coming, the thunder was a continuous
rumble for nearly a half hour before it got here. Very weird,
none of us had ever heard anything like it.

When it hit, Cay, Drew, and I sat on the glass back porch and
watched the storm. It rained buckets, and the lightning made
us jump a few times. Kind of fun, in a wild sort of way.

Now the temperature is down to 74, but it is soggy, humid.
I went for a walk, and it wiped me out, it was just too
oppressively humid. Darn, I thought I was stronger than that.

I finally dropped some more weight after going back up
last week, and discouragingly hanging onto it for a few
days. (My body is so greedy, it doesn't like to let go
of anything - "Mine, that my weight!" - stupid body...)
So now I'm down 4 1/2 pounds in a little over two weeks.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Hiding from the heat

It is 99.2 degrees out, now that is just too hot. So it is
a lazy day trapped in the house. I went outside for about
5 minutes and the sweat was running off my body. I think
I'll stay inside! I'm very happy I bought that air
conditioner for the 1st floor.

It's been a slow week all around. Many people took off
from work, so it was really quiet. I didn't make any more
headway this week on the diet, and didn't increase my
exercise. I suppose I'll push harder next week (after
this darned heat breaks...)

I did start researching what it would take to get back to
London. Wow, the plane fares have gone up! Last time I
looked they were about $500 to England. It is closer to
$1000 now. I will have to save up for a lot longer than
I thought.

So now all the fun goals seem rather far away. :(

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fireworks in the driveway

Perfection on the 4th of July

Ahh, what a pleasant 4th of July it was today.
Slept in late. Leisurely morning. Our 4th of July lunch was
my favorite meatloaf and corn on the cob. Not exactly
traditional 4th food, but good!

Then I got in this huge organizing phase, and went and got
several types of shelves and storage boxes, for cheap from
Target. Came home and put all the shelving together while
listening to the last three CD's by my favorite band,
3 Blind Mice, an amazing group from England.

Then I arranged my office with the new storage, and now it
looks quite nice. To finish off the celebration of the 4th,
we set off fireworks in our driveway, lots of pretty multi-
colored fountains of sparks. I'm glad they are finally legal
(the last couple of years) in Minnesota.

It was a great day. Everyday should be a holiday!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

When I grow up, I think I'll be....

If you could be anything, what would you be?

I used to have so many answers to that, and now about
all I can think of as an answer to that is "alive".

Everything else just stopped mattering so much.
As long as I'm alive, I can change direction, or not.

I can't be young or pretty, but beyond that I'm somewhat
free to pursue whatever goal I might have in mind.

But I don't pursue much at all.

How human, to totally waste the gift of life.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Life from the sidelines

I feel like I'm sitting in the stands, watching life happen
to my friends in their 20's. Lots of not so nice things
going on, to more than one of my friends. It won't help
to tell them, it won't matter so much in 20 years, and
I trust they will make it through and go on to better
things.

That doesn't help people in pain, now!

In some ways I'm glad I'm out of it all, and I don't have
those traumas anymore. (Probably due to a complete drop in
estrogen - peaceful, but passionless...) I feel for you guys.
it will get better. Be the strongest you know how to be.

Bah! What I think doesn't matter. Be well, my friends.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Summer Perfection

Yesterday was one of those perfect summer days. We grilled sweet
corn and shish-kabobs in the backyard, in near perfect
temperatures - sunny and 80 degrees with a nice breeze. The
sounds of the band recording in our basement wafted out
occasionally.

Did some random, lazy shopping, and after 8 years of looking,
stumbled across a solution for the the ugly kitchen drop-in
ceiling. They make these gorgeous tin ceiling panels and grid
covers that look real, but are actually a thermal treated
plastic. And it is way cheaper than a tin ceiling. Measuring
the kitchen to get the order together!

Stopped at Axe-Man and found a ton of stuff! Axe-Man is a
weird surplus/discount store, and when they have something
you need, it is amazing. I needed new coffee mugs, the others
have all gotten broken, and I found big, solid, white
mugs (with the year 2000 in raised letters on them), a case
of 36 mugs for $8.95. They are quite elegant, and we can just
keep celebrating the year 2000 :)

Picked up a lot of other nice things too! Heavy bookends, a
cool red German military beret with neat pins, a tall, brass,
bullet style wastebasket for the kitchen (I've been looking
at that kind for years but they were over $100) but I got it
for only $19, and a brass waste/ashtray unit for out front of
the house (so the roommates and band members can smoke out
on the front steps).

Finding so many bargains of really nice stuff really appeals
to the primal hunter-gatherer instinct, I guess. I get this
grand rush of success! when I score a lot of neat things for
little money.

I'm so glad I have the 4th of July off from work, this weekend
is going too fast, and I want more time to play! Studying Japanese
again, exercise, getting caught up on web stuff - and the
day is gone.

I also think the Alli diet pills might be working. I lost more
weight. So that is 2-1/2 pounds last week! I did loose 1 and 1/2
pounds on my own the week before, so I'm down 4 lbs. I haven't
been able to do that in ages. I sure hope it continues, and this
isn't just some fluke....