athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
Goodness. I've let this lie far too long, and I apologize -- particularly since my last post of any substance was "I'M HAVING CHEST PAINS."

I should remedy that, and shall.

First and foremost, HEALTH:

Said chest pains proved not only to be not life threatening, they weren't even a significant health issue. They were, yes, Pre-Ventricular Contractions, and, yes, I do have a family history of PVCs -- but there are no structural issues with my heart. The doctor said that I could go climb Mount Kilimanjaro were I so inclined.

The "flips" have entirely faded, at this point, and considering that they started immediately after I got back from last year's Maker Fair ... I rather suspect the high-voltage jolts I got for funsies from the Van De Graff generator a few booths down from us might have triggered a little persistent twitchery in the old timer.

(Come to think of it, that anxiety/panic attack I had at dinner that one night during Maker Fair might have been the first manifestation -- that feeling of "panic" and "trouble breathing" might have been connected to "GAH MY HEART SHOULD NOT DO THAT" ...)

WORK:

I am quite enjoying my current employment. My experience with interpreting and displaying complex, abstruse data clearly (read: "Your Obedient Serpent Knows Stupid Excel Tricks") has made me the go-to guy for our company's more esoteric reports, and while I tend to get buried in these Special Projects, I really can sink my teeth into them.

It's still a 50-mile commute, but I'm no longer carpooling with [livejournal.com profile] kohai_tiger; a few times driving solo gave me a taste for getting in and getting home earlier ... and earlier ... and earlier. When I flew out to Midwest Furfest last November, I started running on "Chicago Time" ... and really never shifted back to Pacific Time. Most days, I roll out around 0400, get to work around 0500, leave around 1400, and get home around 1515, plus or minus fifteen to twenty minutes either way.

Oddly, since I've shifted my shower-taking habits to evening instead of morning, I get up at about the same time as I did when I was carpooling and getting to work between 0730 and 0800 -- but since I seldom if ever have to contend with anything resembling traffic, I get home three to four hours earlier. Drying off becomes relaxing downtime instead of rushed getting-ready time.

I've also found that I enjoy driving in the early hours of the morning, and not just because of the light traffic. I'm very much a morning person, and those crisp, clear pre-dawn hours just seem more alive to me. I confess that I've also been prone to a bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder for the past few years -- but I never had an issue while on The Chicago Schedule. It tried to sneak back on the few days that I shifted back to a "normal" schedule during the winter months. I think a key factor is Getting Home After Dark: if you get up before sunrise, you've Seized the Day. If you get home after sunSET ... the day has seized you.

FUN:

I've been mostly keeping up with the speculative cinema; I can't believe I've let both Captain America: the First Avenger and Marvel's The Avengers slip by without comment, much less any other movies. On television, Game of Thrones is an amazing achievement, and on broadcast television, I found myself wholly engaged and impressed by Arrow.

I am down to a single game on the RPG front: the monthly Star Wars game hosted by [livejournal.com profile] rikoshi and [livejournal.com profile] tealfox. The Wednesday night game sessions alternating between Ironclaw and The Dresden Files were becoming increasingly untenable for me, and once I switched to Chicago Time, I simply couldn't continue. Honestly, I'm suffering a bit of Gamer Fatigue on that front; once the Star Wars game wraps up, I will probably gafiate from gaming for a year or three.

My chronic automotive issues were finally traced to a glitchy OBD-II (On Board Diagnostic) computer. That took nearly two months to get replaced and functioning properly; if she proves stable, I may start keeping a packed Go-Bag, so I can head out for spontaneous road trips on random weekends. I spend far too much time traveling the same hundred miles of road (I take different routes in the morning and afternoon), and spending the weekend sitting around home not going ANYWHERE only goes so far. I'm a traveller by ancestry, instinct, and long, long experience, and by golly, I need to TRAVEL.

Oh, and I've picked up a few more volumes of Raymond Chandler ...
athelind: (facepalm)
The local radio station just did a phone quiz about "frauds and hoaxes", and after questions about Milli Vanilli and the balloon-law-chair kid, the grand finale was a question about the Y2K Bug.

So here's the take-home lesson: if you identify something that might be a problem well in advance, and spend huge amounts of money and effort trying to fix it before it becomes a problem, then, when it doesn't become a problem, it's obvious to everyone that it never was a problem!

Does anyone else have a problem with that?

You didn't succeed, code monkeys of the world: you defrauded everyone. Thanks for all your hard work!

This is a radio station in Silicon Valley, mind. I guess the classic rock isn't aimed at the code monkey demographic.


Parallels between this and the effectiveness of environmental regulations are left as an exercise for the class.
athelind: (Default)
A statement like that might seem to need qualifiers, but really, it doesn't.

I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

About very nearly anything.


athelind: (Default)
A statement like that might seem to need qualifiers, but really, it doesn't.

I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

About very nearly anything.


athelind: (cronkite)
In 1989, when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit, I was in the United States Coast Guard, stationed at Coast Guard Group Monterey. Group Monterey (or Station Monterey, as it's called these days) is at Breakwater Cove, more or less at the other end of Cannery Row from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

I was flopped on my bed, lazing around with the TV on after a long workday, waiting for the evening meal. October is when Monterey gets its brief glimpse at summer, so I'd doffed my uniform and was in my skivvies. I wasn't watching the World Series; a rerun of The Facts of Life had just started, and I was on the verge of grabbing the remote when things started shaking.

My reaction:
  1. Hm. Quake.
  2. Huh. It's still going.
  3. Holy Shit! It's the Big One!

Somewhere around 2.5, the reflexes of someone born in California and raised with earthquake drills through childhood kicked in, and I was under the table. The table, it should be noted, was Military Barracks Furniture, and probably sturdier than most houses: the legs were 4x4s. If the floor had dropped out from under me, I'd have been in some trouble, but if the ceiling had gone, I was, quite literally, covered.

When the shaking stopped, the power was out. I threw on some clothes -- I can't remember if it was my uniform or my civvies -- and ran downstairs to see if I was needed anywhere on base. I wasn't, so I jogged down Cannery Row at a good clip to assess the damages, particularly at the Aquarium; those big glass tanks were a particular concern, and I figured someone from an emergency service should look in on them.

The Aquarium was fine, as it turned out, and the docents were evacuating the tourists very professionally; power was out all up and down the row, and, in fact, in most of the town.

On the way back, I checked out the Marina, right by the pier; again, no serious damage, but the currents on the harbor were visibly off, twisting and turning and flowing the wrong way.**

Eventually, we heard from our engineers. Several of them had driven up to Alameda on a parts run. Before getting on the freeway, they'd stopped at a convenience store to get drinks for the long drive home -- and that's where they were when the quake hit. They stepped outside to see the section of Interstate 880 that they were about to take... collapsed into a sandwich.

The electricity was out for the next few days in Monterey; as a result, our commander shrugged and declared liberty for everyone but the watch crews, since the rest of us couldn't do much of anything without power tools. We had a generator to keep the Operations Center running, and it had enough juice to spare for the mess hall, as well.

I felt kind of bad, really: most of the coast was in chaos, and I got a long weekend and never even missed a hot meal. Even the duty days were surprisingly light; not many people go pleasure boating after a major catastrophe, and even the professional fishing fleet was taking a few days of downtime.

The aftershocks kept coming, though, for a couple of weeks, and we'd all get hyperalert when they did -- or when a truck rolled by. In fact, I was exceptionally vibration-sensitive for several more years, well after returning to civilian life and moving to Oceanside, in San Diego County -- just long enough to get jolted awake by the barely-perceptible fringes of the Landers quake in 1992.


*A decade later, taking Geography/Hydrology at CSUMB, I realized just what kind of underwater avalanches the quake must have triggered in the Monterey Underwater Canyon.
athelind: (Default)
In 1989, when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit, I was in the United States Coast Guard, stationed at Coast Guard Group Monterey. Group Monterey (or Station Monterey, as it's called these days) is at Breakwater Cove, more or less at the other end of Cannery Row from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

I was flopped on my bed, lazing around with the TV on after a long workday, waiting for the evening meal. October is when Monterey gets its brief glimpse at summer, so I'd doffed my uniform and was in my skivvies. I wasn't watching the World Series; a rerun of The Facts of Life had just started, and I was on the verge of grabbing the remote when things started shaking.

My reaction:
  1. Hm. Quake.
  2. Huh. It's still going.
  3. Holy Shit! It's the Big One!

Somewhere around 2.5, the reflexes of someone born in California and raised with earthquake drills through childhood kicked in, and I was under the table. The table, it should be noted, was Military Barracks Furniture, and probably sturdier than most houses: the legs were 4x4s. If the floor had dropped out from under me, I'd have been in some trouble, but if the ceiling had gone, I was, quite literally, covered.

When the shaking stopped, the power was out. I threw on some clothes -- I can't remember if it was my uniform or my civvies -- and ran downstairs to see if I was needed anywhere on base. I wasn't, so I jogged down Cannery Row at a good clip to assess the damages, particularly at the Aquarium; those big glass tanks were a particular concern, and I figured someone from an emergency service should look in on them.

The Aquarium was fine, as it turned out, and the docents were evacuating the tourists very professionally; power was out all up and down the row, and, in fact, in most of the town.

On the way back, I checked out the Marina, right by the pier; again, no serious damage, but the currents on the harbor were visibly off, twisting and turning and flowing the wrong way.**

Eventually, we heard from our engineers. Several of them had driven up to Alameda on a parts run. Before getting on the freeway, they'd stopped at a convenience store to get drinks for the long drive home -- and that's where they were when the quake hit. They stepped outside to see the section of Interstate 880 that they were about to take... collapsed into a sandwich.

The electricity was out for the next few days in Monterey; as a result, our commander shrugged and declared liberty for everyone but the watch crews, since the rest of us couldn't do much of anything without power tools. We had a generator to keep the Operations Center running, and it had enough juice to spare for the mess hall, as well.

I felt kind of bad, really: most of the coast was in chaos, and I got a long weekend and never even missed a hot meal. Even the duty days were surprisingly light; not many people go pleasure boating after a major catastrophe, and even the professional fishing fleet was taking a few days of downtime.

The aftershocks kept coming, though, for a couple of weeks, and we'd all get hyperalert when they did -- or when a truck rolled by. In fact, I was exceptionally vibration-sensitive for several more years, well after returning to civilian life and moving to Oceanside, in San Diego County -- just long enough to get jolted awake by the barely-perceptible fringes of the Landers quake in 1992.


*A decade later, taking Geography/Hydrology at CSUMB, I realized just what kind of underwater avalanches the quake must have triggered in the Monterey Underwater Canyon.
athelind: (food)
Note the First: Last week, all the weather sites were reporting that we'd get a single day of rain on Friday.

The rain started Thursday night. Since then, every weather site has been insisting that the rain will clear up "tomorrow". That one day of rain has almost turned into a week now.

It's not serious rain, or even significant rain -- just intermittent spitting and sprinkling, with only occasional, passing moments where it's worth your while to turn on the windshield wipers.

Its stubborn persistence is amusing, though.



Note the Second: Safeway has surprisingly good store brands.

Their pasta sauces are excellent (especially their Arrabiata sauce). Their frozen entrees are decent.

Their sodas, however, are good enough to warrant a journal entry. Almost any supermarket will slap their store label on adequate orange or black cherry soda. Safeway's "fruit" sodas are really quite good. Their Root Beer and Cream Soda (both sold as "Parker's") are excellent, the equal of most anything in a can.

They even manage a good store-brand cola.

I've never found a drinkable bargain-brand cola before. Cola is the hardest flavor to master -- hell, Coca-Cola hasn't managed to get it right since the mid-'80s -- but even my beloved [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia, a cola connoisseur, is replacing her RC addiction with Safeway's "Go2" Cherry Cola.

Of course, this discovery occurred as I was phasing sodas out of my diet again. One can a day isn't a lot, but it's more than I usually drink.

As with anything flavor-oriented, Your Mileage May Vary.


athelind: (Default)
Note the First: Last week, all the weather sites were reporting that we'd get a single day of rain on Friday.

The rain started Thursday night. Since then, every weather site has been insisting that the rain will clear up "tomorrow". That one day of rain has almost turned into a week now.

It's not serious rain, or even significant rain -- just intermittent spitting and sprinkling, with only occasional, passing moments where it's worth your while to turn on the windshield wipers.

Its stubborn persistence is amusing, though.



Note the Second: Safeway has surprisingly good store brands.

Their pasta sauces are excellent (especially their Arrabiata sauce). Their frozen entrees are decent.

Their sodas, however, are good enough to warrant a journal entry. Almost any supermarket will slap their store label on adequate orange or black cherry soda. Safeway's "fruit" sodas are really quite good. Their Root Beer and Cream Soda (both sold as "Parker's") are excellent, the equal of most anything in a can.

They even manage a good store-brand cola.

I've never found a drinkable bargain-brand cola before. Cola is the hardest flavor to master -- hell, Coca-Cola hasn't managed to get it right since the mid-'80s -- but even my beloved [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia, a cola connoisseur, is replacing her RC addiction with Safeway's "Go2" Cherry Cola.

Of course, this discovery occurred as I was phasing sodas out of my diet again. One can a day isn't a lot, but it's more than I usually drink.

As with anything flavor-oriented, Your Mileage May Vary.


athelind: (facepalm)
You wouldn't think that the whole "obese rodent* sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter" thing would apply to California, would you?

After a brief warm spell right around Further Confusion at the end of January, we're back into 36F nights, 56F days, and rain two days out of three. In fact, we're getting more rain now than we had before GHD. Which is good; even if this keeps up until Spring really arrives, we'll still be well under our average rainfall. We need another flood year, dammit. We're due.

Yes, dagnabbit, 36F is cold enough to qualify as "winter", especially here, and especially three weeks after conversations about how "hot" temps in the mid-70s could feel in the middle of January.


*Not that obese rodent, this obese rodent. How did my LJ get to the point where I have to clarify the phrase "obese rodent", anyway?
athelind: (Default)
You wouldn't think that the whole "obese rodent* sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter" thing would apply to California, would you?

After a brief warm spell right around Further Confusion at the end of January, we're back into 36F nights, 56F days, and rain two days out of three. In fact, we're getting more rain now than we had before GHD. Which is good; even if this keeps up until Spring really arrives, we'll still be well under our average rainfall. We need another flood year, dammit. We're due.

Yes, dagnabbit, 36F is cold enough to qualify as "winter", especially here, and especially three weeks after conversations about how "hot" temps in the mid-70s could feel in the middle of January.


*Not that obese rodent, this obese rodent. How did my LJ get to the point where I have to clarify the phrase "obese rodent", anyway?
athelind: (hoard potato)
Drinkhacker.com is planning a Parade to Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition on 05 December, and they're looking for a Bay Area resident turning 75 and another turning 21 on December 5th to act as Grand Marshalls.

...if they could find someone turning 96, they'd have someone who actually was legally allowed to drink on that day!


Yes, this one gets the "politics" tag, among others. The Repeal of Prohibition marked the end of the last Big Wave Of Moralizing Religious Stupidity that screwed up this country.
athelind: (Default)
Drinkhacker.com is planning a Parade to Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition on 05 December, and they're looking for a Bay Area resident turning 75 and another turning 21 on December 5th to act as Grand Marshalls.

...if they could find someone turning 96, they'd have someone who actually was legally allowed to drink on that day!


Yes, this one gets the "politics" tag, among others. The Repeal of Prohibition marked the end of the last Big Wave Of Moralizing Religious Stupidity that screwed up this country.

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