ambar: (Default)
in no particular order:

1) succeeded in snagging back from the domain-squatting registry that had it (is now pointing to the same spot as and co, or will once the DNS updates propagate)

2) the long saga of getting the filly sold is over; final payment received and banked, signed papers handed over.

3) ... which means that for a lovely lovely change my budget is actually BALANCED omigod call the NYT immediately, and

4) it is mid-September, which means I have saved enough to buy a replacement for the laptop bag that has been crumbling for months and I do mean months and I do mean crumbling (shedding bits of black waterproofing in inconvenient spots).
ambar: (Default)
Plowed through first GTD review in *way* too long, courtesy of a bit of coaching on Twitter this morning. Surprised, though I shouldn't be, at how much I've (happily and easily) finished up since. Just blowing the cobwebs out of the brain, seems like, or oiling the gears.

My biggest takeway from the process was about the mind sweep. Once I understood that it really was about "anything I have my attention on" -- whether or NOT it's already in my system in some way -- dumping notes about it onto paper was suddenly effortless. Later I can go through and say "check, check, already here, already here, oh, *there's* a new idea", but trying to filter out things in the middle of the process just clogs it all up.

Also, it's Friday, and the wifi is working on the train, and plenty of water at my elbow. What a lovely day.
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The sirens can be heard long before the lights are visible. Three police vehicles race down Highway 26, accompanied by a helicopter.

The CHP site gives me nothing useful by way of explanation, so I call the Calaveras sheriff non-emergency number to ask why there is a helicopter over my pasture.

"Well, the CHP is working a call in that area, so we advise you to keep your doors and windows locked, and we'll notify you if there's anything to worry about."

"And how will you notify me?"

"Uh... well, the CHP is working a vehicle pursuit right now, so keep your doors and windows locked and call us if you see any suspicious persons."


(CHP site still got nuthin'.)


May. 10th, 2009 01:54 pm
ambar: (Default)
Raised bed: assembled, dragged to installation area.
Holes for raised bed supports: two inches too shallow.
Left ankle: twisted once.
Local temperature: 82F.
Toilet: not flushing.
Plumber: called.
Toilet valve: replaced.
Water pressure: unusually low.
Cause found: broken riser (#2) from yesterday's mowing adventure.
Low beams on truck: still broken, mechanics don't work on Sunday in these parts.

I think after the plumber is done, I will celebrate with a sandwich and calling my mother to wish her a happy Mother's Day.
ambar: (Default)
I don't know her; I never met her. But a photo of her hung (and may still, for all I know) in the Infinite Corridor during my time at the 'Tute. The wall text by the photo explained that she was the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate from MIT, and that she was [then] currently employed at Bell Labs.

Wikipedia expands:

Jackson's area of interest in physics is the study of the subatomic particles found within atoms, the tiny units of which all matter is made. [...]

Jackson joined the Theoretical Physics Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1976, examining the fundamental properties of various materials. In 1978, Dr. Jackson became part of the Scattering and Low Energy Physics Research Department, and in 1988 she moved to the Solid State and Quantum Physics Research Department. At Bell Labs, Dr. Jackson researched the optical and electronic properties of two-dimensional and quasi-two dimensional systems. In her research, Dr. Jackson has made contributions to the knowledge of charged density waves in layered compounds, polaronic aspects of electrons in the surface of liquid helium films, and optical and electronic properties of semiconductor strained-layer superlattices. On these topics and others she has prepared or collaborated on over 100 scientific articles.

She has also taught at the university level, headed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and is currently president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Every time I walked by that photograph, I (attending MIT on a Bell Labs scholarship at the time) got a tiny hit of encouragement. "If she could do it, I could do it," was the thought. In the event, I was wrong (if we take "earning a degree from MIT" to be the "it" involved), but I have never forgotten that photograph.

My emotional reaction to finding that googling '"bell labs" black female physicist' returns articles about her as five of the first six results is more complex, but that's probably a different posting. Personal trivia note: she is exactly a day older than my mother.
ambar: (Default)
ambar: (outlive the bastards)
[ profile] eyelessgame moved me to post something I've been working on for a month or so now.

The genealogy bug bit hard, recently. I'm fortunate to have known all four of my grandparents, and remember meeting one great-grandparent. (I was small and she was senile -- I can't say "known", really.) But could I name my 16 great-great-grandparents? No. Still can't, but I'm working on it:

My paternal grandfather is Luis Guillermo Diaz y Silva, born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. I have not yet found his maternal grandfather, but the others were born in Puerto Rico while it was still a Spanish possession. (I've heard a line about Spanish-speaking Californians that seems apropos here too: "Some of us came over the border, and for some, the border came over us.") I look a lot like Papa, modulo the Y chromosome. In a wheelchair all my life (and most of my father's), he was a sound guy, taping advertisements for local businesses that he would then deliver by driving around the square in a huge station wagon with megaphone-shaped speakers on top.

My paternal grandmother, Flor de Maria Miranda de Diaz, I am told was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and adopted as a little girl. I don't yet know her adoptive parents' names. She was not the extrovert that Papa was. I do remember the neighborhood cats would gather in the driveway for the scraps she saved for them. (This in a town where if you threw a bit of meat to a skinny dog, it would jump aside, expecting a rock.) I also know that in a majority Catholic country, she was a practicing Protestant. The woman had a spine of steel.

My maternal grandfather, Air Force Major (Ret.) John Herbert Tierney, has four grandparents who are all Irish immigrants. His paternal grandmother came from County Tipperary; the others are still enjoying a swirl of conflicting dates but are approximately Civil War era immigrants. Grandpa was born on the Indiana side of State Street, Union City, Indiana (State Street marked the state line between Indiana and Ohio). This family was machinists and railroad men.

My maternal grandmother, Pauline Marie Kohl Tierney, is from German immigrants who arrived in 1872 (her father), 1851 (her maternal grandfather), or sometime before that (sources disagree whether her maternal grandmother was born in Dayton Ohio or in Hesse Darmstadt, but it's clear her parents were born in Hesse Darmstadt in the 1820s.) I spent a lot of time with Grandma, but my favorite story is one I wasn't there for -- she was a piano teacher before she married, and chugged around Miami County, Ohio, in a Model A to get to her pupils.
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Paradoxically, I can post this particular poem because I'm feeling considerably more chipper than I have been for the past several months.

Fire And Ice

by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire;
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
ambar: (outlive the bastards)
In 2002 (or thereabouts) I signed up to beta Messagefire, [ profile] mooshjan's antispam service. Two years later, it was bought by a slightly larger company, which (from my biased point of view) apparently left the thing in a corner, running on autopilot. I've been using it for my spam filtering ever since, but when the SSL certificates expire, it's time to go elsewhere.

I just shuffled my mail flow around so that spam filtering is being done by Gmail instead.

*tips hat to [ profile] mooshjan*
ambar: (Default)
I trust that all my friends who have lately posted the traditional complaints about how California doesn't have [weather,seasons] are out dancing naked in the rain. Me, I'm watching the rain fall sideways and hoping the roof will stay on.

(I actually was brewing a longer essay about how California does TOO have seasons, you just aren't paying attention, but that would take work to write. :)
ambar: (Katja)
The fabulous Katja stars in:

ambar: (outlive the bastards)
This morning, I was enjoying having a fax machine at home. Two of the state senators on the committee currently responsible for passing or ending AB 1634 (IMNSHO a thoroughly misbegotten piece of legislation) are actually in my area, so I took the time to call and chat with their staffers, then I knocked together a quick letter, printed it out (ooh), faxed it (ooh^2), and will now stuff envelopes with the results and mail them off (ooh^3).

This next vote is scheduled for 11 July, so if you have an opinion, heat up the phone (or fax, or email, or letter) and voice it.
ambar: (neil is love)
I LOLed for real -- see cut for pic )
ambar: (Default)
The quote for grading a level 30'x90' pad out of my existing hillside came in at $5750.

Also, stall mats for 4 12'x12' stalls (11/16th thick) weigh 2400 lbs (my truck can't handle that, must bring the trailer) and cost upwards of $1500. Add the 12'x24' aisleway and we're good for $2300 or so.

ambar: (Default)
As I alluded yesterday, the cunning plan behind getting broadband (of a kind) to the house was to make it possible to work from home, courtesy of a VOIP phone. The phone in question apparently downloads software from the switch *every* time it powers up (you'd think it would check the version first, but no...) So last night around 4 I tried plugging in the VOIP phone.

The download failed, the phone reset. The download failed, the phone reset. (repeat until I gave up and unplugged the phone.) Much mourning ensued, and some googling of how to tune things for this kind of link.

This morning I woke up thinking "Wait. Peak time usage was last night. Maybe I should try again." So I plugged it in, wandered off to deal with breakfast and the landscaping guy and.... when I got back to my desk, the damned thing was UP.

Just called [ profile] elflet with it as a proof of concept. Sure, satellite delay, but it works. I am so amazed.

Now to haul trash, hay horses, and go up to HorsExpo in Sac.
ambar: (ears)
Today, I have entertained:

1) the handyman, who has fixed the entry door so the hinges are no longer coming free of the wall;

2) the exterminator, who located three separate sets of holes where the mice were getting in, and advised filling them with steel wool and expanding foam insulation;

3) the appliance repair guy, who marveled at my range and recommended a complete replacement ("I'd be afraid to use that oven the way it is right now.") Oh, thanks;

4) the blessed blessed satellite installer, who has freed me from dialup hell.

And just now the landscape maintenance guy called; I'll see him tomorrow morning at 9:30am.

Fortunately, 4) above means I can now work while flat on my bed. Or couch.
ambar: (buglet)
Have been spending an awful lot of time at Starbuck's lately, as it's the closest source of fast network until my satellite link gets installed (tomorrow!)

As a rule, I do my best to drown out the music (thanks again, [ profile] elflet, for the Etymotic headphones -- they make great earplugs). But today something soaked through that was SO WEIRD that I not only pulled out the 'phones, but asked ze barista to find out who was playing.

Turns out The Puppini Sisters have covered Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights". In a close-harmony 40s style.

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