mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
Based on the information in this article: I'll be moving entirely over to Dreamwidth for my daily journaling.

In summary, we all know that LJ was purchased by a Russian company in 2007, but the servers remained in California and thus were (supposedly) protected by US law and the 1st Amendment. The servers have been moved to Russia, and thus no longer enjoy such protections. Given the country's recent history of meddling and its suppression of communication with its own people, it's time to move out.

I'm archiving my blog (again) so there will be some duplicates over at Dreamwidth until I get everything cleaned up and current. Then I'll be coming back here and systematically deleting all my blog entries, except for this one.

See you at
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
It took me about twenty-four hours, but I finally got a pet project finished for the DayJob.

Anytime you finance a vehicle, there's about a dozen forms that have to be filled out, right? Since all that information is already in our system, we have a PDF of each form and the system fills them out automatically.

The pet project is an interface that allows us to map recordset data onto a PDF form by clicking and dragging and then saving the new file. Before you could click and drag and it would give you the x/y coords, but you had to copy and paste them into the file yourself. Now it's all automatic. Probably the most useful interface I've ever designed, and I'm pretty happy. It will save oodles of time, where "oodles" is any number greater than zero and less than infinity. It's a fairly large number, I'm thinking. Using it, I was able to make adjustments on a 50 point form in just about half an hour. It would have taken at least two hours the old way.

Go me.

Other than that, I'm sorry to say, today wasn't a good day.Courtesy snip so you can avoid aspergers angst if you want to... )

Tomorrow will be better. Friday, right?
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
So, yeah, I've got health problems. A couple, anyway. Minor. Annoying. My hands hurt, my knees and hips hurt. That's pretty much all the time, so I'm used to it. I move slower in the morning, wait for the joints to warm up. I'm real careful getting out of a car. Not so long ago, I could spelunk through the trusses in the attic like a gibbon swinging through familiar trees. I used to be able to throw a side-snap-kick to the height of an average person's forehead, but no more. Thankfully, I don't have to do so much of that anymore. I get along.

The worst is chronic gastritis. In terms of all the things that could be wrong, it's relatively minor. Think bad heartburn and you've about got it, though it's a deep, deep hurt that no antacid will touch. The scary thing about it is that it feels very much like a heart attack. The two big, noticeable differences are a lack of referred pain - no pain in the arm, neck, or back - and the fact that my sternum hurts to the touch. The sternum thing, that's unique, but the arm and neck pain? Look, I hurt there anyway, so when the chest pain settles in at first I have to ask myself, is the pain in my arm different than usual? Is the neck pain radiating down into my shoulders or the same old tension? Am I short of breath? Oof.

It lasts three to four days. It's miserable, but not life threatening.

So I guess what I'm saying is I'm annoyed. Otherwise, my day's gone great so far. I'm going to have to turn off the music and actually get some work done. Shakira is good and motivational, but hard not to watch when she's on screen #3. Hoo boy is that woman hard not to watch.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
I didn't know I was thinking this way, but I really did want a Christmas tree. I was cleaning and rearranging my office area a little bit - trying to find a permanent, out of the way home for the laser printer, an 18" square behemoth that I love as much as I can love any office tool - and ended up clearing a space large enough for our small pre-lit tree. I made a clean spot, stared at it for a couple minutes, and it came to mind that nothing else would do but to fill it with a 4', table-top tree.

We haven't decorated it, no balls, no tinsel, no candy canes. We'll see what Booplesnoot does with it, and if she can mind her manners, we might throw some tinsel on and see how it goes. For now, it's enough to have the glow of the lights and a place to put presents.

Ho ho ho. 
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
Tonight's first was a chuck roast in the crock pot with carrots, celery tops, onion, a sprig of fresh rosemary, and red wine. Yeah, yeah, with everything else in my well thumbed mental cookbook, I've never had much success with pot roast. Tonight's was really...really good. Mushroom gravy over biscuits. I may have to do this again.

Tights tonight. I still haven't looked at the replacement dye together with the sample fabric, but I've invested just about as much into the project as I'm willing to so I'm shooting for "acceptable" rather than "perfect." I'm comparing cotton-lycra to satin anyway, so they'll never match exactly. Too many variations based on which direction the light's coming from.

EDIT: The color is perfect, better than any of the tests. Some light striations, but shouldn't be enough to cause anybody any heartburn.

Michelle met with a pain psychologist today, a first step required by the insurance company to determine her elegibility and fitness for brain surgery. The procedure they're looking at is a series of subdermal implants that will electrically stimulate the affected nerves and hopefully let her live, if not completely pain free then in less pain and more able to function. No word yet on when that will be. The wheels turn slow.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
Not bad, not bad. Nothing to write home about, and I can barely remember yesterday, but not bad.

If there is one downside to having my office upstairs and in the center of the house, it's that I am obliged to suffer through whatever is on the TV. Since Michelle is unable to do much else day-to-day, the TV is on a lot. I only work half days in the office so I'm home for a lot of it. Over the last winter it was British crime dramas. This summer, all seven seasons of Supernatural. These Hallmark holiday movies that Michelle has been wading her way through since Thanksgiving are kinda like campaign promises: completely interchangeable, formulaic, insincere, poorly delivered, cynical, and ultimately forgettable.

We're not precisely weather-bound, I just have no real motivation to go out. Groceries I handled on the way home from the kids' performance yesterday and I don't need anything at this point for the dye machine. Driving yesterday was no fun. I rarely have any trouble getting around, age has taught me caution and patience.

I think I managed to salvage the dye jobs. There's something about the dark brown dye, I've never gotten a job that wasn't splotchy. I keep it on the shelf for marble jobs, and used it mixed with camel for the latest job - camel is tough to get smooth, too. It was a match made in hell. For the overdye/correction, I subbed in a different brown and it seemed to do better. The two jobs together streaked in different places, and on average came out okay. Maybe. I haven't seen it in daylight yet.

Back to work tomorrow. Not looking forward, but for no reason in particular. Just don't wanna, Need a break. It's cool, though, I'm just whining.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
Twenty-three unauthorized transactions in ninety seconds.

A little less than a week later, twenty-three emails in ten minutes, saying, in effect: "yep, fraud alright. We'll refund you money."

It'll take a few days, but still, hoorah. Go PayPal.

Even though DataGuy doesn't really work here anymore, he still manages to be annoying. I get copied on every email that comes into the sytem, and yet he forwards them all to me like he can't see perfectly well that my name is in the CC field and has been for ten fucking years. He continues to mother-hen me. I can only hope he mellows out in a few weeks. I'm fifty years old. I think I can handle it without constant supervision.

The only part of it that I truly dislike is now I have to deal with all the annoying people that would have been his when we was here. If there was one good thing to be said about working with him, he was adept at filtering what reached me so I could stay focused (though he could never filter himself.) There aren't but three or four, so it could be worse, I suppose, and I'm happy to ignore any phone call from a number/name I don't recognize on the caller id.

Must grocery shop on the way home today. With our bank account being $3000 in the hole, I've been putting it off, but we're got a bad case of the Outs, so I grabbed a hundred dollars out of the "egg money" can. Gotta have milk. Without milk, there can't be latté. Without latté, there can't be working.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
When I learned about our PayPal account being hacked, I immediately filed a case with PayPal (or twenty-three, their system only takes them one at a time) and got on the USBank website looking for the number for their 24 customer service and fraud department. I called the number on the back of the card, but that was - haha - bankers' hours and I wasn't about to wait.

Read more... )
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
23, $200 charges on my empty PayPal account, which means the money was taken out of my business checking, which didn't have that much money in it, which means that even if the charges are reversed, we're going to get hit with nearly $1000 worth of overdraft fees.

My hope is that USBank will waive the charges because I called in the fraudulent transactions the second I found them. This is assuming that PayPal is honest and finds in my favor, which I have little confidence they will. Their track record isn't stellar. If they don't, I can prove fraud and sue: twenty-three separate transactions in less than 90 seconds?, sent to an email address similar to mine that I don't own? That's actionable, I would think.

However it comes out, me and PayPal are quits. I only started using that account for a couple of Seamlyne customers in any case. I've already called the bank: they've cancelled the card that was on file though they can't do anything about the charges because I've done business with PayPal in the past, so as far as they're concerned the transactions are as likely to be valid as not.

Best case: $0 and three to ten days of having the money tied up. Worst case scenario, we're out by nearly $6000. That's going to hurt, but we'll absorb it and get through. Probable case: out a grand in bank fees.

Thankfully, in the short term, I've got a couple hundred dollars in cash and a pre-loaded gift card, so we won't starve.

Now to spend the next few days changing every password I have.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
Quite the weekend. I'm exhausted, so I'll sum up.

Performance Saturday night. Was more "on" than I have been in a long time. Very sparsely attended, no surprise there; so discouraging. May try an online concert after the first of the year, see if removing geographical/travel barriers helps.

My voice needs more exercise. I'm losing my range as I get older.

Productive day, today, but not in the way I thought. The dining room carpet get vacuumed and shampooed and vacuumed again, and the room got a general dose of cleanup.

I've just about had it with the kitchen floor. The old tile is so damaged it's hardly worth cleaning anymore. Sheet lino as soon as I can find one I like and can afford.

Big, big meltdown/tantrum with Jami tonight. He started threatening self-harm, but I don't think he was serious but just grabbing for attention, and by sonny jesus he got it. We've told him that we have a limited - read: zero - tolerance for that, and that should we ever suspect him serious, into the hospital he goes. All this over requiring him to read a fiction book - any fiction book. He'll read dictionaries and encyclopedias all fucking day, but just try to get him to read Laura Ingalls Wilder or Terry Pratchett. We were considering putting him in public school, but that's put quit to that.

Anyway, internet is gone until he reads a chapter of something fiction. I guess that's how it's going to have to be: he can buy internet time by doing the reading he's assigned. I hate doing it that way, but if that's what it takes, that's what it takes.

I can watch horror movies and walk away unaffected because they're not real and they don't matter. My son is real, he matters, and now I have a migraine. Yee haw.

Tomorrow starts six months of being the only tech guy with Day Job. DataGuy has taken a contract assignment elsewhere until our business improves. DayJob just can't afford to pay us both, and most of the work needing to be done now is mine. This will likely mean not having to drive to Liberty every day if at all, and I'm totally cool with that. Just have to work it out with MoneyGuy so I can get paid via some other means than paper check. Shouldn't be an issue.

So very tired. 


Nov. 21st, 2016 10:54 pm
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
The way to shop at thrift stores and bargain bins is to be willing to look and not find.

I visit the Liberty Savers about once a week. It's on the way home. I go in with a mental shopping list of things I want: a coffee grinder; a new two quart saucepan; a heavy frying or sauté pan with a metal handle that can survive going from stove top to a 500° oven; t-shirts in good shape. I peruse the women's belts looking for interesting buckles and hardware, even entire belts I can markup a little and sell on the website. I walk out with something (or a few somethings) every third or fourth visit. Last time, it was three brand-new t-shirts, same brand and generously sized, in three colors I wouldn't normally wear but can dye. I'm going to hit them all with the same color and see how the different base colors affect the finished product. Bonus. They were two bucks apiece. 80% off retail.

Anyway, I do the same thing at Hy-Vee. There are always one or two baskets at one end of the checkouts with markdowns, closeouts, clearance items, and unsellable, wouldn't-touch-it-with-a-ten-foot-coupon crap. I usually don't find anything, and I'm content with that. Today, though, was a rare find, especially considering my last LJ entry.

Two bags of pre-ground Starbucks Pike's Peak Roast coffee for $5. Unopened, unmarred so far as I can tell, with an expiration date of several days from now (for my purposes, then, still good), I bought one and left the other, knowing I couldn't possibly get to the second bag before it went completely stale.

I'm willing to look and not find, because when I do find, it's something good.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
If you have to drink instant coffee - and at the office, that's the best option since my coffee grinder died - then you can do a whole lot worse than Starbucks' Via. It's almost indistinguishable from a regular old brewed pot, and while spendy, it's worth it.

I was shocked this morning when DataGuy asked me how The Machine was coming along. I sent him a link to a YouTube video where I give the overview, a sort of "so, this is my current hobby" and he shared the link with MoneyGuy. I'm not sure why, but it caught in both their imaginations. As I was chatting with DG about it, I was again struck how much fun I'm having with the thing.

It's just been one problem after another, to be sure, but I'm under no deadline except my own and so I can take my time with each one that comes along. My deadline is that I Really Want This Machine Done, and that's good motivation. It's allowing me to be creative without pressure, to problem-solve without oversight. It's one of the reasons I started writing software twenty-five years ago: mental challenges, logic puzzles, problem solving...

and coffee.

In my experience, you can't have one without the other.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
Next week is Thanksgiving. Between the two kids and their various health issues keeping them out of dancing seriously, we're not going to Oireachtas, a fact for which I am very grateful. I hate travelling on holidays, I just hate being away from home over Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's not any sort of a "Oh, this is a sacred time!", it's "I've got to spend a four day weekend driving?" and the fact that the weekend of Thanksgiving is when we decorate the house for Christmas. I've no idea if we're going to decorate, I don't care one way or the other. I imagine the kids will want to.

Progress on The Machine is, well, progressing. I've done two wet tests, each one very instructive. I figured out it needs two speader rollers, one for each side of the photo, and my goal for today was to get it built and installed, but it didn't happen. Jami's been particularly anxious about his mother's health and his lack of relationships with other boys his age, and he's been especially demanding. He dragged me away from the work several times today. The plastic cement I need to make the roller is old and gelled, and I neglected to get a new can when I was at the hardware store today. Got everything else.

I've been listening to some of the music I composed on the keyboard lately. The old Roland XP80 I used (it's also the piano and bass for "Walkin' There") is really showing its age, and one of the circuit boards on it is shot. It includes the transpose and mode functions, and you can't exactly effective use the device without them. The keyboard was new on the market and state of the art when I bought it from St Anne's School of Music's North Kansas City store in 1996 - still is state of the art, really - a $2500 (retail) piece that I bought because the piano sound on it was absolutely indistinguishable from the real thing - and was discontinued at least ten years ago and to replace it would cost at least a thousand dollars.

Anyway, it didn't really occur to me that I could fix the thing until just lately when I started wanting to make some new music. Replacement parts are hard to come by, but I did manage to find a replacement circuit board from a company in California. The cost is a little painful, but far, far cheaper than purchasing a new keyboard and let's face it, there's some sentimental value there, too. Not to mention the fact that it's a damn fine piece of equipment.

I once gave a CD of songs from the Roland to a musician friend to listen to. She was hesitant, and I could see in her eyes that she didn't want to, and I think I know what she was anticipating: a collection of twangy, ever-so-electronic tunes with pre-programmed rhythm tracks and very little polyphony to even begin to make it interesting. I pestered her about it until she finally listened, and she was shocked. Her first comment was, "I just didn't expect it to be so lush!" (referring to the texture of the music.) I have always cherished that description.

If you want to hear a couple, give a listen here, in the "New Age Jazz" and "Music Recreation" sections.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
Once I got over the shock of the election and got the poetry and anger out of my system, I fell back on a saying I took from Terry Pratchett's Nightwatch:

"You do the job that's in front of you."

The election can't be changed. It probably won't affect my family very soon if at all - as I said on Facebook the machinations of kings and princes usually have little effect on the commoners. My country will survive, we'll have the opportunity to fix our mistakes in four years, and in the meantime?

I have a job. There's software to write, and tights to build. I have a home and food on the table. These circumstances are likely to continue without significant interruption.

Besides, we can't move to Vancouver until the bankruptcy is discharged, anyway.


Nov. 6th, 2016 10:24 pm
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
About an hour into the drive back from Sioux Falls, Michelle said that if I wanted to just go home, we could visit The Homeplace some other time. I was good with that. When the 680W exit came up, we cruised right on by. I'll admit there was a little pang when the Nebraska City exit - marked by the giant Sapp Brothers coffee pot/water tower - slipped by, and I gazed down Highway 2 as far as I could before our speed took us out of view. I kind of feel bad for not stopping to make my manners, but there's no one there alive to regret having missed the visit. My last reason not related to simple nostalgia died in 2005, and if I'm to be perfectly frank, it was a relief when she passed.

Sorry mom, much as I loved you, you were a hell of a heavy weight to carry.

Katie did very well, and I'm quite proud of her. Her field of competitors was very small, so small in fact that the awards don't mean anything in the grand scheme of Irish dance, but they meant a lot to her, and that's what matters. The feedback from the judges was positive, more like constructive advice than critique, the first time that's ever happened.

The dog did well, about like I expected in fact. She barked once, at a pair of small dogs in the hotel parking lot, and that was it. With the head collar on, Brigid is all business. Even though she alerts Michelle when her blood pressure starts to rise - usually a harbinger of a coming migraine - she's mostly an emotional support dog, and even served as such to some other dancers at the feis. One, who said she'd never seen a service dog she could pet, attributed her better placement to being able to come pet the dog to help her calm down and settle. Brigid took it all in stride, and after all the Giving and attention received was exhausted by the end of the day. Like us, she is very glad to be home.

The cats are glad we're home, too. Boop has barely left me alone for five minutes, wanting to be held and petted, though for brief intervals only as usual.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
We're in Sioux Falls, SD, for a feis. It's a very small event - about two hundred dancers - which is perfect for Katie, who hasn't competed in a while and who hasn't been doing well since her hip injury. She did very well today, taking first place in two dances, though neither had enough dancers registered to count toward moving her up to "prize winner." (There must be at least five competing or it doesn't count.)

Even so, she's happy. It was a good confidence booster and motivator for her. We thought earlier in the week we wouldn't come, but it was an easy drive north - straight up I29 - and she needed it.

On the way home, we'll detour through Nebraska City and environs, visit the ol' family homestead in Weeping Water. I haven't been there since...2011?...when we passed through on our way to Oregon to visit Frank B., and I feel like I ought to pay my respects at mom and dad's and David's graves, give our daughter a review of who's who and who they are to her. One of her maternal great-g-grandfathers is responsible for founding the town, after all. I more or less grew up there, though I was officially raised in Independence I have at least as many memories of south-eastern Nebraska as I do Missouri.

We've seen very litle of Sioux Falls, the town. The feis wasn't done until mid-afternoon and Michelle crashed pretty much the minute she got back to the room. Fine with me - there isn't much to see except the falls and we saw plenty of them when we were passing through on the way to Oregon. Our hotel is in an industrial area on the NW corner, and there are no eateries within a twenty minute drive in any direction. Took me half an hour to find a Starbucks, and I can usually sniff out one of those in under five minutes.

Katie spent an hour or so in the hotel pool - more of an indoor water park for the kiddies, so nothing deeper than 3'6". She took the water slide three times and on the third scraped her big toe - shallow damn pool! - bad enough to leave a rather impressive trail of blood on the tiles. She wisely got out of the water, I found a first aid kit and a clean rag, and we got it taken care of. The kid in charge of the area was completely unphased. Grabbed the spray botle of disinfectant cleaner and wished us a better day.

To be honest, I slept most of the day away myself. I can't decide if there's something wrong making me sleep so much (blood sugar or something) or if I just have my days and nights turned around. I need to see my doc about it, but she'll just order another sleep study or prescribe another sedative that I can't take. There's no such thing as "no rebound effects" when it comes to me and tranqs. A quarter of a pill she said she gives to her five year old daughter knocked me for a loop for two days. No thank you.

I need to meet with her anyway, do a med review and physical. I am now the age my dad was when he started showing symptoms of the brain tumor, and given the number of headaches I get a week it'd be nice to have a clean CT scan on my chart. Took the man six years to die and it was grueling for him and everyone around him, including me. It's one of the few things I truly fear.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
I am three orders away from having a completely empty Seamlyne queue. That hasn't happened since April or so. That nice warm feeling is tempered a bit by the knowledge that one of the orders completed tonight for shipping tomorrow missed its deadline. Still four orders out in an evening, three more to go, that's not bad.

Soooo looking forward to getting back to work on The Machine. I think I've got everything I need to build the working prototype except time, and that's coming.

The ice under the day job is getting thin. The finance company we more-or-less partnered with was badly managed enough that they lost a million dollars last fiscal year. It's under new management but they let their four best producers all go on vacation for two weeks: their revenue plummeted and they didn't have enough money to pay us for our services this month. We only have 90 days of reserves, and MoneyGuy has sworn to lend no more money to the company. The plan is to white-label and sell our financing product. Hoping to have that project done in the next few weeks.

Glasgow/Boop is now social enough to be a pest, especially at dinner time. Still won't let me hold her for any length of time, but we're practicing a little every day.

Jami is done dancing until he can get his GI issues under control. Any bouncing at all and he starts spitting up. His esophagus is so irritated that there's usually a little bit of blood mixed in. Moving up to the next strength of PPI med.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
Exhausting day, though I've hardly risen from my chair for most of it. The morning was spent fixing bugs after a code move - there always seems to be so much of that. Our customers use the system in ways that we never think of, so there's always a ton of catch-up to do. It was bad enough this time I had to roll back the code completely. Thankfully, I'd made a complete backup so the rollback was just a matter of renaming the base folder. High, high stress.

Add to that the need to get an order of four tights done and shipped for a deadline it'll be a bloody miracle if they meet. I had hoped to shift my day around, do the sewing early and the programming late, but no such luck. I ended up dropped them off at the post office today, but too late for the final pick-up of the day. At least I can say they shipped.

So, brain and eyes are fried. The positive part is that I'll end up getting to bed much earlier than I would have otherwise. I'll go out and see if I can get some crickets for the lizard, then it's shower and off to bed.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
The gig Saturday night was better than I expected it to be, given how long it's been since I played any of those songs. There's a weird minor chord that I use in a couple of songs that I just absolutely couldn't get my fingers to do. Obviously, I need to get my hands back in shape.

Had a great surprise that night as well when some folks from Weeping Water that I've been very fond of since I was a child came to hear me perform. Doris' daughter lives in Independence and she and her husband Bill were down to visit, so it worked out. It was good to see them, if a little surreal. I've only ever seen Doris in the context of Weeping Water, so it took some mental adjustment.

I've been playing with colors and ways to use up fabric scraps. Anytime I make a pair of tights with no codpiece I waste about half of the fabric. I'm experimenting with patchwork and I like the look a lot. The piecing takes time, but it's easy work and will hopefully decrease our fabric costs by allowing us to sell more of it.

Katie and Michelle had allergy testing and both came out allergic to, among other things, gluten and dairy. I have no idea how to cook without butter, or cream, or buttermilk, and I certainly can't afford gluten-free products. I'm frustrated with that situation, though I know it'll get better as we adjust. If past patterns are any indication, I'll have to make the changes on my own for everyone else, that Michelle will help only insofar as she keeps me informed of what she and Katie can't have. Menu planning and shopping will likely continue to fall to me.

For the first time in months, I have some breathing room in the shop. There's still plenty to do, but no drop-dead-tomorrow deadlines.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (music at the coffee shop 2)
Festival tomorrow. Cooler weather - may need to wear gloves in the morning to stock the shelves at the wagon. My absolute favorite time of the year.

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