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: (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: (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: (Default)
Here's the full damage tally, as far as we can reconstruct it:

  1. Lexus comes tearing down our residential street at high speed, around half past midnight.
  2. Lexus impacts 1977 full-sized van, two doors down.
  3. Van is hit with sufficient force to hit the next-door neighbor's Toyota, in her driveway, and then rebounds off to TURN COMPLETELY AROUND and wind up on the sidewalk between next-door neighbor's house and OUR house.
  4. Lexus continues on its course, directly into my little purple car.


On the phone, my insurance company wanted as much detail about all of the accident as I could give them.

"What parts of the van were damaged?"
"ALL OF THEM."


athelind: (Default)
Here's the full damage tally, as far as we can reconstruct it:

  1. Lexus comes tearing down our residential street at high speed, around half past midnight.
  2. Lexus impacts 1977 full-sized van, two doors down.
  3. Van is hit with sufficient force to hit the next-door neighbor's Toyota, in her driveway, and then rebounds off to TURN COMPLETELY AROUND and wind up on the sidewalk between next-door neighbor's house and OUR house.
  4. Lexus continues on its course, directly into my little purple car.


On the phone, my insurance company wanted as much detail about all of the accident as I could give them.

"What parts of the van were damaged?"
"ALL OF THEM."


athelind: (prisoner)
To my great surprise, I have realized that I do indeed have a concept of the afterlife:

Just when you've settled down into a nice, well-deserved stretch of eternal oblivion, when you think all of life's nasty little jokes are, at last, over...

Rod Serling steps up and submits you for the viewer's approval, as you commence an eternity of thirty-to-sixty-minute doses of irony, forever, and ever, and ever.


athelind: (Default)
To my great surprise, I have realized that I do indeed have a concept of the afterlife:

Just when you've settled down into a nice, well-deserved stretch of eternal oblivion, when you think all of life's nasty little jokes are, at last, over...

Rod Serling steps up and submits you for the viewer's approval, as you commence an eternity of thirty-to-sixty-minute doses of irony, forever, and ever, and ever.


athelind: (Default)
About 20 minutes ago, as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard what sounded like a distant accident.

My stepdaughter then pounded on my door and said, "Some one just ran into your car!"

The drunken son of a bitch hit the FULL-SIZED VAN that parks two houses down, hard enough to TURN IT 180 DEGREES AND LAND IT ON THE SIDEWALK, and then continued on to slam into MY car at high speed.

He hit his head in the impact, but was up walking around by the time I got out there. The fire department, police, and paramedics are out there now.

The front of his car is a crumpled mess. I've seen the rear or mine -- the left rear is about a foot or so in front of the right rear.

It's destroyed. It's fucking destroyed.

I can't take any more of this. I just can't. There's just been too fucking much, in too short a time.

Trick or fuckin' treat.


athelind: (Default)
About 20 minutes ago, as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard what sounded like a distant accident.

My stepdaughter then pounded on my door and said, "Some one just ran into your car!"

The drunken son of a bitch hit the FULL-SIZED VAN that parks two houses down, hard enough to TURN IT 180 DEGREES AND LAND IT ON THE SIDEWALK, and then continued on to slam into MY car at high speed.

He hit his head in the impact, but was up walking around by the time I got out there. The fire department, police, and paramedics are out there now.

The front of his car is a crumpled mess. I've seen the rear or mine -- the left rear is about a foot or so in front of the right rear.

It's destroyed. It's fucking destroyed.

I can't take any more of this. I just can't. There's just been too fucking much, in too short a time.

Trick or fuckin' treat.


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.


athelind: (weird science)
You know, I've very quickly adapted to using a single monitor -- thanks in part to the quick-and-easy Desktop Switcher that Ubuntu has.

The whole system seems to be working much more smoothly than it has in a very long time.

After almost a full day of this, I've started to realize that all of my most blood-pressure-raising computer issues in the last few years have centered around my stubborn insistence at keeping the two-monitor set-up running.

Hell, if I recall correctly, that was what kept me from keeping that video card I got last year in the machine: it ran fine until I tried a second monitor.

Hmmmm...


athelind: (Default)
You know, I've very quickly adapted to using a single monitor -- thanks in part to the quick-and-easy Desktop Switcher that Ubuntu has.

The whole system seems to be working much more smoothly than it has in a very long time.

After almost a full day of this, I've started to realize that all of my most blood-pressure-raising computer issues in the last few years have centered around my stubborn insistence at keeping the two-monitor set-up running.

Hell, if I recall correctly, that was what kept me from keeping that video card I got last year in the machine: it ran fine until I tried a second monitor.

Hmmmm...


athelind: (coyote laughs)
I'm getting used to one monitor, but so far, that's not the most annoying thing about the glitches in the Ubuntu display editors.

No, the most annoying thing is that, now that I'm only running one screen, all of the annoying little visual flourishes like expanding windows and transparent toolbars have activated -- and I CAN'T TURN THEM OFF.

It's taunting me.

athelind: (Default)
I'm getting used to one monitor, but so far, that's not the most annoying thing about the glitches in the Ubuntu display editors.

No, the most annoying thing is that, now that I'm only running one screen, all of the annoying little visual flourishes like expanding windows and transparent toolbars have activated -- and I CAN'T TURN THEM OFF.

It's taunting me.

athelind: (clobberin' time)
Well, over the last couple of weeks, I upgraded from Ubuntu 8.04 to 9.04, with a week or so at 8.10 just to make sure everything was stable.

Annoyingly, the jump to 9.X threw a wrench in my video drivers, and the setting software was cranky.

In the proces of trying to correct a minor glitch (that made Second Life almost unusable), I've once again completely cocked up my two-monitor browser settings. The second monitor refuses to set itself at the proper 1440x900 resolution -- it's turned into a 1024x768 monitor PANNING ACROSS a 1440x900 virtual screen.

That's worse than useless.

Once again, the only hints of help I can find online involve hand-editing the appropriate config files; meanwhile, finding useful information about just how to DO that elude me.

So, to hell with it. I'll just use one monitor, like everyone else does.

Ironically, I've got the replacement Eee working just fine under Eeebuntu.


athelind: (Default)
Well, over the last couple of weeks, I upgraded from Ubuntu 8.04 to 9.04, with a week or so at 8.10 just to make sure everything was stable.

Annoyingly, the jump to 9.X threw a wrench in my video drivers, and the setting software was cranky.

In the proces of trying to correct a minor glitch (that made Second Life almost unusable), I've once again completely cocked up my two-monitor browser settings. The second monitor refuses to set itself at the proper 1440x900 resolution -- it's turned into a 1024x768 monitor PANNING ACROSS a 1440x900 virtual screen.

That's worse than useless.

Once again, the only hints of help I can find online involve hand-editing the appropriate config files; meanwhile, finding useful information about just how to DO that elude me.

So, to hell with it. I'll just use one monitor, like everyone else does.

Ironically, I've got the replacement Eee working just fine under Eeebuntu.


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