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Attention span exercise: elevator

I work on the 15th floor, and there are elevators on both sides of the hall. To practice focus I try to remember which side of the hall my car is on, so I know exactly which way to turn as I exit the elevator. It's harder than you'd think.

This entry was originally posted at http://memnus.dreamwidth.org/409988.html.

Mindfulness examination one

I've been reading a lot of feminist or otherwise social-justice-adjacent blogs. They're full of powerful stories, justified anger, and palpable pain, and the least I can do is listen... but reading them is also reading their explanation of who's doing the oppression. And of all the major privileged groups in the US, "Christian" is the only one that I can't make a claim to or easily pass in. That's seductive.

My mind sometimes feels like an echo chamber. Thoughts are words or sentences, represented basically in audio form, but instead of leading one to the next they loop back to themselves and repeat, bouncing over each other and going nowhere. Most of them are petty and trivial, but dangerous, hurtful thoughts bounce there too, getting into shouting matches with sense and/or compassion. Neither surrenders, neither relents, despite knowing which I want to favor. So I keep my mouth shut and try to listen to love.

This entry was originally posted at http://memnus.dreamwidth.org/409797.html.
Bicycle helmet and motorcycle helmet on a cat tree
No flash. The reflective tape works too well.

Frances and I went shopping for motorcycle gear this weekend. It turns out there is exactly one helmet manufacturer that makes anything approximating the shape of my head, so I didn't have a lot of options — black it is. In jacket and gloves, however, I'm a much more common size, and those are available is "high-visibility". Think of the greenish yellow that's supplanted boring yellow on crosswalk signs, brighten it up a couple shades, and you have the color of my new clothing. (Not to leave the helmet out of the fun, I got some darker green retro-reflective tape for accents.) The jacket is pretty much single-purpose, but the gloves are quite a bit more waterproof than my old gloves so I've also adopted them for bicycling. They're almost overkill, but I'm much more confident about my hand signals actually being seen.

I also tried to find a new biking jacket, to replace my ten-year-old rain jacket, but had much less luck with that. You'd think it'd be a much more common thing in this town, but maybe my timing is off? I only had lunch to look, but tomorrow I'll cast a wider net. If I still don't find anything, I'll go back to the generic rain jacket I almost bought.


This entry was originally posted at http://memnus.dreamwidth.org/408576.html.

Like primitive man used the whole beet

I took a final look at dinner and decided that it wasn't so much a salad as a vegetable soup without liquid. Chopped pecans, sunflower seeds, leeks (chopped fine and cooked down hard), beet flesh and greens, shredded cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, probably some other things I'm forgetting now. Definitely best eaten with a spoon.

That title almost implies I'm going for a paleo diet. I'm kinda against the paleo thing in general -- it's expensive and unbalanced, takes more prep work for less food, plus doughnuts are delicious. But when you're trying to use up the contents of a CSA box before you get the next one, meals like this are kinda inevitable.


This entry was originally posted at http://memnus.dreamwidth.org/408499.html.


Dammit, noscript!

  • I just filled up this box, then turned off NoScript which promptly reloaded the page. It may have also been preventing the page from saving drafts.
  • As far as the State of Washington is concerned, I'm fully qualified to ride a motorcycle! On a whim, Frances and I took the (state-subsidized) Basic Rider Safety Course, the one that assumes no experience on anything heavier than a bicycle. Despite the rain, and despite my dropping the bike just before the actual test (oooooooops) we both passed! Now I keep looking at Craigslist to drool over bikes that I'd be too terrified to ride. No way in hell will my first bike be something I'll feel guilty about putting a few dings in.
  • After having it pointed out that my lunches were a bit skimpy, I've added "eat enough food at all costs" to the self-care list. So far the only difference I've noticed is not getting hungry at 4:30 every day, which is probably actually a pretty big step. It does lead to unfortunate things like last night's Cheese Bomb Lasagna, but at this point (especially coming into the winter) that beats the alternative.
  • I kinda want a script that picks one of my blog tags and throws it at me as a prompt. It could lead to some interesting things.
  • I started knitting a hooded scarf, and eight rows in decided it was too boring. So I'm learning cables on the fly. And buttonholes. I keep doing projects like this, and the only thing I've actually learned is not to do them on a deadline. Those damn curtains...
  • How is trolling not considered a sociopathic act? (And how does the Firefox spell check not recognize "sociopathic"?) It is literally hurting someone -- as many people as possible -- for your own amusement, because they're funny when they're hurt. Yes, offense and anger are pain responses. When did this become okay? Is it just never framed in that context?


This entry was originally posted at http://memnus.dreamwidth.org/408072.html.


There's nothing quite like sports to get a bunch of self-identified nerds to start competing about who can be the most ignorant.

  • If you value knowledge (doubly so for obscure or trivial knowledge) it seems ridiculously petty to start arbitrarily deciding some knowledge is Good and some knowledge is Bad.
  • Really, people: football, basketball, and hockey are no more similar than Halo, Warcraft, and Civ.
  • I don't see how it's possible to stay in touch with local current events (that will affect your life much more directly than national ones) without hearing about the two or three local favorite teams. Failure to at least recognize those shows that you're either out of touch entirely, or willfully ignorant (see first point).
It seems like people forget that little knowledge of the overculture goes a long way towards successfully navigating it.

(Not prompted by anything in particular, just a thing I've been noticing...)


This entry was originally posted at http://memnus.dreamwidth.org/407847.html.


  1. I was laid low by a stomach flu last week. Spent about twelve hours wishing for death, another twelve terrified of water, and the next twenty-four cringing at the thought of solid food. So, so grateful to [personal profile] quartzpebble for staying home to take me to the doctor. I have no idea where I picked this up, but I don't seem to have passed it along, so yay?
  2. At work I've been writing code way outside of my comfort zone: kernel code that reads and writes directly from the silicon. This is a strange new experience, and kinda terrifying. On the plus side, it's GPL code, so I'll be able to point to it from anywhere and say LOOK I DID THAT.
  3. Qualcomm is changing its name to "Qualcomm Technologies Incorporated". Or maybe it's Qualcomm CDMA Technologies that's changing its name. I've never been clear on all the weird divisions within the company, except that it has something to do with compartmentalizing IP.
  4. I've been going to a Crossfit gym for the last six months, and the difference since then is pretty remarkable. Then again, I'm also starting to wonder if some exercises actually start to hurt less, or if you just stop interpreting those signals as pain.
  5. Lori has two new kittens this week - Ellie, four months old, and Kilo Jack, two months. They're still getting used to the house and to us, and are beyond super adorable. Kilo in particular is half the time a bundle of pouncy energy and half the time just wants to sleep on you.
click This entry was originally posted at http://memnus.dreamwidth.org/407685.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Stew. Well done, me.

Totally easy, and I want to remember it for the future. I think this counts as comfort food.

1 large onion, coarsely chopped
5 large cloves of garlic, minced
1.5 lb stew beef (in the future, consider lamb)
Three cans beans (black, pinto, kidney)
One box tomato soup
One bag orzo (in future, consider barley)

In giant soup pot, cook onions and garlic in olive oil. Once translucent, add meat, cook until browned. Add beans (don't drain) and soup, bring to a boil, simmer for an hour. Add orzo, simmer another ten-fifteen minutes. Serve with fluffy sourdough bread.

This entry was originally posted at http://memnus.dreamwidth.org/406090.html. Please comment there using OpenID.



I haven't often done this. But it's a legitimate idea: air one's intentions, so the expectations become someone else's and more important to live up to. None of these is particularly life-changing, but I think that's a sign I'm close to an ideal life already.

  • Be active. Bike from work at least three times a week; once there's an actual shower in the office, bike to work as well. If the weekends aren't too rainy, bike then too. At least occasionally, pick up something heavy and put it down again.
  • Archery. Did you notice that's among the first things everyone asks if you're still doing? Yeah. Make the answer 'yes'. Get up to Montlake Terrace at least every other week. Figure out an actual way to set up a target in the backyard and use that too. And enter at least one FITA or similar tournament this summer.
  • Play more games. Take at least an hour a week to use that computer taking up space upstairs, and catch up on all the stories that are being told.
  • Be out. Don't go out of the way to protect others' comfort zones. "It's complicated" is a cop-out, all relationships are complicated, and hiding the unconventional ones does no one any favors.
  • Be political. Don't let cynicism turn to despair, and call out bullshit. And done be afraid to release attachment to your own bullshit - pay at least as much attention to your own failings as others'.
  • Make time for chosen family. You've lucked into an arrangement that you could only have dreamed of, so build on that and make it keep working. it will take work, but it will be worth it.
  • And of course, blog more.

Is that too much to ask?

click This entry was originally posted at http://memnus.dreamwidth.org/405542.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Sometimes, Perhaps, and Nevermind.

Turns out there's a clause in the lease at Madhouse-At-Camelot that specifically forbids running any sort of business from this address, including those businesses that are specifically allowed in residential zones. Oh well. I'm focusing more on my giant projects than anything sellable, anyway. My pants got a major field test at GeekGirlCon. Lessons learned:
  • There is absolutely no sneaking up on anyone in those. Each step sounds like kicking a bag of dimes. As ways to muffle that go, I'd like to be able to knit yarn through the links for padding, but it's slower and fiddlier than my patience can handle.
  • Fifteen pounds is a lot to hold on the hips. I don't notice for an hour or two, but the bruises didn't fade for nearly a week. Plan B is isomorphic to suspenders, but that will require further adjustments to weight-bearing elements.
  • Again I didn't notice at the time, but the rings and scales at the toes scraped much of the polish off my boots. The solution to this may actually be the same as the solution to the noise, a knit or leather pad between.
  • As it turns out, a single set of compression pants is not 100% proof against getting hairs caught. Also, not strictly warm enough. Next time, I'm doubling up the tights.
I had plenty of people asking for pictures, but I never actually got any of my own. If anyone has run into pictures of that outfit, can you pass me a link? click This entry was originally posted at http://memnus.dreamwidth.org/404129.html. Please comment there using OpenID.