YULE!

Dec. 26th, 2011 09:25 pm
athelind: (Default)
Your Obedient Serpent flew his mother and stepfather up for the holidays. They're currently staying with his sister.

A very pleasant holiday was had, and festive viruses passed around. Yes, I've caught my mother's cold, and it's settling in very nicely, thank you.

Hopefully, it will have run its course ere week's end and the parental return to desert climes; at some as-yet-unspecified time, the clan is going on a cruise out the Golden Gate to the Farallons. 90 minutes at sea in December isn't much by Coast Guard standards, but it's been many a decade since I could lay claim to that banner.

Yule is passed, however, and today is known in some demesnes as "Boxing Day", so I should wish you all tidings appropriate to the occasion:




WEDDING!

Oct. 24th, 2011 07:54 am
athelind: (Default)
I guess you shouldn't say a wedding went off "without a hitch", because the whole point is getting hitched, right?

Be that as it may, [livejournal.com profile] jirris_midvale and [livejournal.com profile] moredena got themselves hitched yesterday, and the ceremony went off almost flawlessly.1

It was my honor and privilege to serve as Best Man on this happy occasion, and I have never seen a ceremony so full of love and joy and beauty. They are a marvelous couple, and I am pleased and proud to have known them, and to have seen their relationship grow from their first meeting to this wonderful, inevitable day.


1 Almost flawlessly. As Best Man, it is also my obligation to preserve the memories of that happy day. All the memories, including the one that I shall tactfully summarize here as "oop ack ring herp derp". If you were there, you remember.
athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
And so, another year ends, and Your Obedient Serpent will be more than happy to be shed of this one. I bid 2010 adieu with two upraised middle fingers and a shout of defiance.

It's time to face forward.

I've mentioned that sometimes, the radio talks to me, that the station I most often tune to has a tendency to play certain songs over and over again, and sometimes, the songs that cycle into that repetitious rotation are ones that directly address my moods and circumstances.

Back in November, as I was preparing to move a lifetime of belongings out of [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's garage, this one played nearly every day.

I was going to post it tomorrow, but it played again, just minutes ago.

This, then, is my New Year: No Resolutions, Just Resolve.

I've got a world and a life and a future in front of me.

And it's mine.






I know what it means to walk along the lonely street of dreams ... )

Happy New Year, one and all!

athelind: (Default)
Despite the events of the last year, I still have a lot to be thankful for.

If you're reading this, you're probably included in that list.


athelind: (Default)
Today was the day I went over to [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's garage and separated the contents into three categories: Definitely Mine, Somebody Else's Problem, and Contents Must Be Sorted Item By Item. Items in the first category got put into a U-Haul and taken to storage; items in the third category will be sorted through tomorrow, which will be ... emotional, to say the least. Those are Boxes Full of Memories.

I cannot believe how much crap I own. I have something on the order of 16-18 proper comic short boxes full of comics, plus a few more random boxes also brimming with comics waiting to be properly housed. Those are high on my list to Just Plain Go. I've got far too many bins of costumery, too; the contents of those may be up for grabs soon.

Many, many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] paka, [livejournal.com profile] kohai_tiger, and [livejournal.com profile] kaysho; your assistance today was invaluable. [livejournal.com profile] kaysho, coming along to help us unload at the storage shed was above and beyond the call, nigh unto the "... helps you move bodies" level.

And thanks as well to [livejournal.com profile] gatewalker and [livejournal.com profile] quiet_rain, for making me feel like I'm still family.


athelind: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] quelonzia recently wrote:

Those of you who know me, know that this separation, and now this divorce, is hitting me very hard. I thought I knew what kind of relationship I've had for the last 13 years, and realizing that I never knew it at all has been devastating.


I feel exactly the same way. Try as I might, I can't phrase it any more eloquently.

I will always, always cherish the years we had together, and love for her still fills my heart.

But I can see a future ahead of me now that I couldn't see a year ago, possibilities that simply weren't there.

I only wish that she would come with me.


athelind: (Howitzer)
The phrase "crawling from the wreckage of my life" has been running through my head today.

It has an oddly positive tone that seems at odds with the words ...

... but when you realize that the alternative is "trapped in the wreckage of my life", then the upbeat tone all makes sense.


athelind: (eco-rant)
Okay, one reason, and one alone:

The United States of America consumes a disproportionate amount of the world's resources, and produces a disproportionate amount of its pollution. Even a massive socio-economic catastrophe isn't going to do more than moderate that, at least over the next half-century or so. this is an issue that I can't run away from, because the ripples affect the entire world, and not just economically.

I am an Earth Systems Scientist.

If I have any hope of having an effect on this globe-threatening situation, it's gotta be here.

I've got my lever, rusty as it may be, and I think I'm narrowing down my places to stand.


athelind: (politics)
This was originally tacked on as a footnote to my last post, but I think it needs to stand on its own.

For the record, the "Divided States of America" is only a "worst-case scenario" if the Balkanization is violent. That's not unlikely, because we're all pretty pissed at each other right now, and we do like our guns.

On the other claw, the Soviet Union managed to spin off its component without devolving into all-out war, though, even if there were border skirmishes; if the U.S. pulled off the same trick, California might wind up better off than we are now, with the Federal Government funneling money out of the eighth-largest economy in the world and into Red States who rant against taxation, welfare and government interference.


athelind: (prisoner)
Mostly for my own reference: some thoughtful and measured words about emigration.

I'll tell ya: ever since reading Toffler's predictions for the future of the two "Second Wave" superpowers in 1990's Powershift, and watching it come true in the Soviet Union less than a year later, there's a part of me that's been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Yes, I'm fully aware that this kind of apocalyptic paranoia has contributed to the paralyzing stasis of my life since graduation.

Still, there's an important truth in play: things aren't getting any better in the Untidy States, and the best-case scenario is to hope that the continual erosion of our rights and freedoms will be sufficiently gradual that we won't notice.

And the alternatives ... well, we seem to be using all the worst clichés of Cyberpunk as a road map as it is, why not that one, too?*

I would really like to convince myself that this is just pessimism due to the latest economic downturn, but even during the boom years of the '90s, I saw the "New Democrats" quietly and casually continuing the trends of restricting the rights of biological individuals and increasing the freedoms of "corporate persons". Some oppressed groups have made a few advances in acceptance, but really, it's just welcoming them to the same Village that the rest of us live in. One step forward, two steps back.

I'm in the process of reevaluating my life, realigning my goals, and trying to get a better grip on how the "real world" works.

And around here ... it doesn't. Not very well. Not in ways that will do me any good, now or in the future.

Realistically, if I'm trying to reconstruct my present to make plans for my future, "emigration" needs to be one of my options—even and especially if I land the elusive "Real Job" locally.

The big issue, of course, is that the other Anglophone nations don't really want more USian expatriates.


This is not a post about pessimism or defeatism. This is a post about options.
*See next post.

athelind: (Eye of Agammotto)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

If you were given a life do-over card, would you keep it or give it to a friend? If you kept it, would you prefer to be born to the same or different parents? Would you want to keep your memories?

I'd keep it, most definitely. I can only think of one friend who's managed to screw up his life anywhere nearly as badly as I've screwed up mine.

I wouldn't trade my parents in for anyone. I would definitely keep my memories; that's the whole point of a do-over, right? "Putting things right that once went wrong", as they used to say on Quantum Leap.

If I had to limit myself to one, specific change, I'd have stayed in the Coast Guard and gone to Marine Science Tech school. I could have spent the last two decades actually doing Real Science That Made A Difference instead of pissing around struggling to get a science degree that I don't know how to apply.

If I kept my memories, I could still meet the people who mean the most to me.

And the one who made me happy.


athelind: (hope)
I had a very pleasant Christmas with my family.

I got dress shirts and a splendid tie! They're wonderful -- my sister managed to guess my size from memory better than Quel and I have ever managed with me standing right there (XL, size 17 collar).

Dinner was excellent -- scallops something-or-other over pasta. And, of course, a wide range of alcohol.

Most of the day was spent introducing my stepfather to the wonders of YouTube as a source for music and film footage of old stars; he's a serious jazz aficionado, and kept coming up with more and more obscure performers to hunt down. The only times we couldn't find anything were when the performers in question had names identical to some other individual, more recent or better-known -- a very short-lived ensemble called "Matrix" was a good example.

We also watched a few seasonal treats, as well, including this duet between Bing Crosby and David Bowie; Bowie's lyrics have, to me, always captured what this time of year really means, and why my family of atheists, agnostics and pagans still celebrate Christmas -- it's not the religious aspect, but the mythic.







I departed around 19:30, though I was invited to stay another night. I probably should have; yes, I work tomorrow, but not until 14:00. Ah, well. Second thoughts are better served at the other end of a 50-mile drive.

Whatever you celebrate this time of year, I hope you had the best of the good and none of the bad.

Peace be with you, and with us all.

athelind: (Default)
I had a very pleasant Christmas with my family.

I got dress shirts and a splendid tie! They're wonderful -- my sister managed to guess my size from memory better than Quel and I have ever managed with me standing right there (XL, size 17 collar).

Dinner was excellent -- scallops something-or-other over pasta. And, of course, a wide range of alcohol.

Most of the day was spent introducing my stepfather to the wonders of YouTube as a source for music and film footage of old stars; he's a serious jazz aficionado, and kept coming up with more and more obscure performers to hunt down. The only times we couldn't find anything were when the performers in question had names identical to some other individual, more recent or better-known -- a very short-lived ensemble called "Matrix" was a good example.

We also watched a few seasonal treats, as well, including this duet between Bing Crosby and David Bowie; Bowie's lyrics have, to me, always captured what this time of year really means, and why my family of atheists, agnostics and pagans still celebrate Christmas -- it's not the religious aspect, but the mythic.







I departed around 19:30, though I was invited to stay another night. I probably should have; yes, I work tomorrow, but not until 14:00. Ah, well. Second thoughts are better served at the other end of a 50-mile drive.

Whatever you celebrate this time of year, I hope you had the best of the good and none of the bad.

Peace be with you, and with us all.

athelind: (Default)
I'm here in Berkeley, at my sister's place. My folks are here. This is the first time we've all been together for the holidays since -- 1982, at least, when my grandmother died right after I went off to college. My middle sister isn't here, but, still, with two of the three of us, it's a quorum.

Stopped off at [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's place before work tonight, just to say hello to everyone who's crashing THERE for the holiday.

This is our first Christmas apart since we were married.

I miss you, beloved. Merry Christmas.

And to all our friends: don't worry about us. We'll work through this. Have a happy holiday, and blessed be.


athelind: (Default)
I'm here in Berkeley, at my sister's place. My folks are here. This is the first time we've all been together for the holidays since -- 1982, at least, when my grandmother died right after I went off to college. My middle sister isn't here, but, still, with two of the three of us, it's a quorum.

Stopped off at [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's place before work tonight, just to say hello to everyone who's crashing THERE for the holiday.

This is our first Christmas apart since we were married.

I miss you, beloved. Merry Christmas.

And to all our friends: don't worry about us. We'll work through this. Have a happy holiday, and blessed be.


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: (GRIN)
After spending yesterday talking and laughing (and drinking) with family members, some of whom I haven't seen in twenty years, I'm feeling more positive about everything. The car? A setback and an annoyance. The job hunt? I've got prospects and directions I've never even tried before, because I didn't think I could do them.

I've spent far too much of my life not trying stuff because I didn't think I could do it. The only things I've ever done right were the times I dove right in despite that.

Joining the Coast Guard. Running off to Texas to move in with my Internet girlfriend. Going to a brand-new school that had only opened four years previously.

In the words of Virgil (and Scrooge McDuck), Audaces fortuna iuvat!


The secret, you see, is to
KEEP

SMILING!

athelind: (Default)
After spending yesterday talking and laughing (and drinking) with family members, some of whom I haven't seen in twenty years, I'm feeling more positive about everything. The car? A setback and an annoyance. The job hunt? I've got prospects and directions I've never even tried before, because I didn't think I could do them.

I've spent far too much of my life not trying stuff because I didn't think I could do it. The only things I've ever done right were the times I dove right in despite that.

Joining the Coast Guard. Running off to Texas to move in with my Internet girlfriend. Going to a brand-new school that had only opened four years previously.

In the words of Virgil (and Scrooge McDuck), Audaces fortuna iuvat!


The secret, you see, is to
KEEP

SMILING!

athelind: (Default)
I just realized that I kind of left folks hanging after this post, so here's an update:




  • The Grape came back from the shop, a week ago Wednesday. The bumper is refurbished, the headlight replaced, and all is well. The hood kinda rattles a little when I idle, so I should probably give the body shop a call about that.
  • If you're in Silicon Valley, I highly recommend Kuykendall's Auto Body for body work. They were fast, efficient, and the car looks great.
  • Poppa spent two nights in the hospital as they ran a battery of tests. They offered to let him go home, but previous experience has shown that the same tests that get ordered immediately in the hospital will take a couple of months to clear insurance red tape if they're done on an outpatient basis. He's fine; the doctors gave him a relatively clean bill of health (the only anomalies were things they already knew about, and sum up to, "Dude, you're two weeks shy of turning 80!"). The surprise party is a go; my folks are already up there.
  • After getting the car back on Wednesday, last Thursday was spent with an early-morning doctor's appointment and a mid-afternoon dentist appointment. My cholesterol and related blood numbers are back in the target range, and I've lost a bit of weight, so I'm getting my health back on track.
  • Last Friday, I went ahead with the Santa Cruz Resume Run. I hit three places in Santa Cruz, and everyone was cordial. One civil engineering firm said that they'd actually been talking about getting a GIS guy in, in part to scan and convert old plans and records over to modern formats (something I've done in the past) -- of course, with the current state of the economy, they're not hiring at the moment, but they'll give me a call when they are.
  • I was thinking about heading out today and hitting some firms in San Jose and Santa Clara, but then I remembered what day it was. As amusing as it would be to say "Trick or Treat!" when I hand out resumes, I know people often dress up for Halloween in a lot of work places -- and sometimes even have active parties. The whole point of these hand-carry runs is to make personal contact; I don't want the memory of my First Impression getting lost 'midst costumed confusion. I'll spend the day emailing resumes and getting a better assortment of targets to visit before work on Monday.



athelind: (Default)
I just realized that I kind of left folks hanging after this post, so here's an update:




  • The Grape came back from the shop, a week ago Wednesday. The bumper is refurbished, the headlight replaced, and all is well. The hood kinda rattles a little when I idle, so I should probably give the body shop a call about that.
  • If you're in Silicon Valley, I highly recommend Kuykendall's Auto Body for body work. They were fast, efficient, and the car looks great.
  • Poppa spent two nights in the hospital as they ran a battery of tests. They offered to let him go home, but previous experience has shown that the same tests that get ordered immediately in the hospital will take a couple of months to clear insurance red tape if they're done on an outpatient basis. He's fine; the doctors gave him a relatively clean bill of health (the only anomalies were things they already knew about, and sum up to, "Dude, you're two weeks shy of turning 80!"). The surprise party is a go; my folks are already up there.
  • After getting the car back on Wednesday, last Thursday was spent with an early-morning doctor's appointment and a mid-afternoon dentist appointment. My cholesterol and related blood numbers are back in the target range, and I've lost a bit of weight, so I'm getting my health back on track.
  • Last Friday, I went ahead with the Santa Cruz Resume Run. I hit three places in Santa Cruz, and everyone was cordial. One civil engineering firm said that they'd actually been talking about getting a GIS guy in, in part to scan and convert old plans and records over to modern formats (something I've done in the past) -- of course, with the current state of the economy, they're not hiring at the moment, but they'll give me a call when they are.
  • I was thinking about heading out today and hitting some firms in San Jose and Santa Clara, but then I remembered what day it was. As amusing as it would be to say "Trick or Treat!" when I hand out resumes, I know people often dress up for Halloween in a lot of work places -- and sometimes even have active parties. The whole point of these hand-carry runs is to make personal contact; I don't want the memory of my First Impression getting lost 'midst costumed confusion. I'll spend the day emailing resumes and getting a better assortment of targets to visit before work on Monday.



athelind: (coyote drives)
So, the plan today was to hop in the car, head first to Campbell and then to Santa Cruz, and personally deliver resumes to some likely employers. The hand-carry trick is what landed me the Schaaf & Wheeler contract back in 2007, after all.

I had everything carefully mapped out, via Google. I had minimaps of all the twisty, curvy confusion of Santa Cruz streets. I was steeled and ready for Hwy 17 -- brand new tires! What better time for it?

Naturally, I rear-ended another car on the El Camino onramp to Lawrence Expressway. For those taking notes, this is the major intersection closest to my house.

What happened? I'm still not entirely sure. There was a line of six or seven cars; I think I was at the back. We were all accelerating smoothly; the two onramp lanes had merged together, I was deliberately taking it easy because I had a long drive ahead.

I checked my side mirror, looked up, and SHIT CAR STOPPED BRAKE BRAKE BRAKE skreeeeeee slam.

We both pulled off to the side, and were immediately apologizing to each other and making sure everyone was okay.

According to the folks in the other car, someone three or four cars ahead of them had stopped abruptly, and, well, dominoes. They were, themselves, right behind a motorcycle, so they really slammed on the brakes to avoid taking him out.

Nobody was hurt, though the passenger in the other vehicle hit her head against the headrest on her seat. She seemed okay, though I know better than to assume that in such cases, and told her that, if she was still having problems later, she needed to get checked out. The other car had no visible damage.

The Grape's snoot is visibly crumpled, and the hood is popped on one side. At least one headlight looks misaligned.

The CHP arrived on scene after, oh, maybe half an hour after we called, since there were no injuries reported. Since we had no problem exchanging insurance information, they said they didn't need to write up a report.

This is, for the record, my second vehicular accident in my driving career -- the last one was twenty years ago, or more. As I said to the officers, if this happens so seldom that I'm never quite sure what to do, I must be doing something right.

Because the Grape is kind of old and scroddy, however, we don't have collision coverage, so this is all gonna be out of pocket.

Note, however, that Coyote does, indeed, love me: "For all the bad luck we have, we have a lot of good luck." On a day that I'd planned a drive over Highway 17, a twisting, turning route over the Santa Cruz mountains, with long stretches that have no access or egress, and traffic reports regularly show extensive blockages because accidents and mishaps can jam up the whole route for miles... my accident happened a block and a half from home, and nobody was hurt.



Meanwhile... my stepfather's in the hospital today, getting tests run. He had some dizziness yesterday, and the doctor sent them to Urgent Care, who in turn started running tests. When I talked to mom this morning, they'd done an EKG and were scheduling an MRI. Hopefully, it was just a head rush, and neither heart nor stroke.

Poppa turns 80 on the 29th. My sister's been planning a surprise party for him on Halloween, since that's the closest Saturday.


athelind: (Default)
So, the plan today was to hop in the car, head first to Campbell and then to Santa Cruz, and personally deliver resumes to some likely employers. The hand-carry trick is what landed me the Schaaf & Wheeler contract back in 2007, after all.

I had everything carefully mapped out, via Google. I had minimaps of all the twisty, curvy confusion of Santa Cruz streets. I was steeled and ready for Hwy 17 -- brand new tires! What better time for it?

Naturally, I rear-ended another car on the El Camino onramp to Lawrence Expressway. For those taking notes, this is the major intersection closest to my house.

What happened? I'm still not entirely sure. There was a line of six or seven cars; I think I was at the back. We were all accelerating smoothly; the two onramp lanes had merged together, I was deliberately taking it easy because I had a long drive ahead.

I checked my side mirror, looked up, and SHIT CAR STOPPED BRAKE BRAKE BRAKE skreeeeeee slam.

We both pulled off to the side, and were immediately apologizing to each other and making sure everyone was okay.

According to the folks in the other car, someone three or four cars ahead of them had stopped abruptly, and, well, dominoes. They were, themselves, right behind a motorcycle, so they really slammed on the brakes to avoid taking him out.

Nobody was hurt, though the passenger in the other vehicle hit her head against the headrest on her seat. She seemed okay, though I know better than to assume that in such cases, and told her that, if she was still having problems later, she needed to get checked out. The other car had no visible damage.

The Grape's snoot is visibly crumpled, and the hood is popped on one side. At least one headlight looks misaligned.

The CHP arrived on scene after, oh, maybe half an hour after we called, since there were no injuries reported. Since we had no problem exchanging insurance information, they said they didn't need to write up a report.

This is, for the record, my second vehicular accident in my driving career -- the last one was twenty years ago, or more. As I said to the officers, if this happens so seldom that I'm never quite sure what to do, I must be doing something right.

Because the Grape is kind of old and scroddy, however, we don't have collision coverage, so this is all gonna be out of pocket.

Note, however, that Coyote does, indeed, love me: "For all the bad luck we have, we have a lot of good luck." On a day that I'd planned a drive over Highway 17, a twisting, turning route over the Santa Cruz mountains, with long stretches that have no access or egress, and traffic reports regularly show extensive blockages because accidents and mishaps can jam up the whole route for miles... my accident happened a block and a half from home, and nobody was hurt.



Meanwhile... my stepfather's in the hospital today, getting tests run. He had some dizziness yesterday, and the doctor sent them to Urgent Care, who in turn started running tests. When I talked to mom this morning, they'd done an EKG and were scheduling an MRI. Hopefully, it was just a head rush, and neither heart nor stroke.

Poppa turns 80 on the 29th. My sister's been planning a surprise party for him on Halloween, since that's the closest Saturday.


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