A good life

Well, I’ve called my biological mother (answering machine), my stepmother (no answer), my ex-partner’s mother (answering machine) and my ex-mother-in-law (answering machine). Very thorough, if ineffective. I’ll email ’em.

Spent much of the day taking digital pictures of various old stuff – little porcelain animals, interesting knick knacks, toys, 20-40 year old Mad magazines, etc. – from various closets in my family’s former and soon to be former homes. I’ll be going hogwild on eBay this week and hope to rake in a bundle of cash to ease the hassle of my grandparents’ move from the central valley to the north coast.

The picture-taking was courtesy of Jeff Anderson’s loan of a digital camera. Thanks, Jeff! Now that I think of it, I may spend the first chunk of cash from all these sales on getting a digital camera of my own. It sure would come in handy as these are by far not the last things which we need to sell on eBay.

I’ve had a very good weekend. Edmond & I read and watched tv Friday night after work. He tapes various shows during the week so we saw Voyager (eh, ok) and a really great episode of Deep Space Nine – there are some excellent performers on that show and the characters and scripting are wonderful. Also caught a bit of Home Movies (or something like that), another animated show a bit in the style of Dr. Katz on Comedy Central – very peculiar, but quite funny. At some point this weekend we also saw Family Guy (or That Family Guy or something similar) which didn’t really grab me at all and King of the Hill which does for trailer trash what Garrison Keillior did for Lutherans. Oh and I think it was Friday night that we had dinner out on Edmond’s balcony or patio or whatever you want to call it. (“I used to have a deck, then I started going out with her and now I have a veranda.”) We used some of the fresh herbs I planted in the pasta sauce. It was very nice out there, but still too chilly. We’re both looking forward to eating out there more once the weather gets hot.

I could find links for all the above, but my computer is being very cranky. Netscape has been a bit flaky ever since I installed the “new version” when I got my DSL line and ISP service through PacBell. As near as I can tell the only thing special about it is that the logo in the corner changed from the Netscape logo to the PacBell logo. Not worth a huge download even at DSL speeds. (Actually, considering the lousy throughput I’m getting tonight, I think PacBell DSL wasn’t worth it).

Yesterday Edmond and I were very relaxed yet also strangely productive. After a nice breakfast, we cleaned our respective apartments. He actually mopped & dusted & vacuumed. I just picked up and put things away and took out trash & recycling. Edmond is a tidier person than I. Then we went erranding. We sold books at Bookbuyers, dropped off donations at Goodwill, bought a summer-weight comforter, dropped off the winter-weight comforter at the drycleaner’s, bought groceries & stamps, ate a late lunch in the park and dropped off the unsold books with the Friends of the Library. Wow. And then we went around for the rest of the evening feeling great because we’d gotten so much off our to-do lists. A wonderful feeling.

Today was very different from last Sunday, instead of feeling a step behind, we both felt relaxed and happy. After a lazy morning, Edmond went off to the gym and thence to work where he planned to putter around with some code, just a little stock ticker application he’s doing for fun. I took pictures of stuff. I took a lot of pictures of stuff. Tomorrow night I’ll have to get them ready for eBay posting. I’ll probably be writing eBay item descriptions all week! I’ve also made more progress wading through the records from my parents’ collection. I have quite a lot I don’t want to keep, so I’ll probably try to sell them at Rasputin’s. I find they have the best used CDs, so I’ll just go get trade credit and turn these into some music I do want. Oh and I made some soup stock.

And I updated my web journal.

Not a bad weekend at all.

Shaking out the mailbag for some loose links I’ve meant to mention.

David Weinberger has a great piece in his Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization (JOHO) called “THE LONGING: The Web and the Return of Voice“.

Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency is really quite difficult to describe, but the writing is excellent.

Well, I’m getting Out of Memory errors, so I’m going to call it a night. That’s the problem with running Windows, you have to reinstall the whole damn operating system every 6 months or things start acting goofy. Time to build a Linux machine.

Happy Home

Well, I’ve changed things around. I was looking at Peter’s site, which I really like a lot, and he appears to have realized that he spends way more time on his little “What I’m browsing” than on his essays and wisely swapped the two. This gives him much more space for his daily ramblings, and we should be glad because he finds the darnedest stuff…

I’ve also, after reading Ceej and Mary Anne’s journals [link dead as of August 2003, but I found where she moved it], decided that the whole idea of the topmost thing on the page being my latest thought (so that within a day’s entries you’re reading backwards through my day) was a stupid idea and have begun putting in time stamps instead. I’m going to go back in my archive and fix the old ones. [Except I never did, so far as I could tell when importing these into TypePad in 2003/2004] Right after I rewrite the links on the right to fit a bit better in that narrow territory. I’m cheating for the moment and making that column 200 pixels wide instead of the usual 126.

While adding the link to Ceej’s page, I took time to catch up in her journal. It’s my favorite. Ceej has a brain and she’s a much bigger geek than me. I respect that.

Thrown into severe laughing fits by this fine reference work. Thanks, Edmond.

Lest you think I live only through the web, as all my griping when I get disconnected might make you think, I will assure you all that I have a lovely little apartment and projects that do not involve computing. My latest two endeavors are bringing me a lot of pleasure.

I have a little balcony on my apartment and it looks out into a boring driveway area and at the drab apartment building next door. It also gets full sun until mid-afternoon which makes my place a bit of a furnace in summertime. To alleviate both these problems, I have purchased 3 planter boxes which go along the railing. I have run twine from the railing edge to hooks in the partially over-hanging roof so that the balcony has a sloping roof of twine strands about a foot or two apart. In these new planters, in the rich dark soil which smells so good, I planted seeds for sweet peas (noted for bright, sweet-smelling flowers) and sugar snap peas (fat delicious peas with edible pods). These will climb up the railing and twine and form a translucent wall/ceiling of green leaves and flowers. Soon I’ll have a whole other room in my apartment, one with fresh air and dappled sunlight. There are 8 sweet pea sprouts today. 🙂

My wonderful mum gave me her record collection. I’m going through it deciding what I want to keep. It’s great to hear this music I grew up with and find lost treasures. Currently playing: Vince Guaraldi and Bola Sete Live at El Matador. Great light jazz from 1966.

So, though I’ve been online since I got up this morning, answering email, providing feedback on my eBay buyers, working on this page, surfing, I’m also getting up every few minutes to look at the rain falling on the planters, to turn over the record (that’s a change from my 5-CD player!) and to look around my little place which I love so much. Someday I’ll get some pictures up of my little garden. Probably the next time I can coax Lisa into coming over with her digital camera (hint hint).

Didn’t get anything done on Inkspot. Didn’t pay bills. Didn’t do laundry. But I did dishes and had Fred & Lisa over for dinner (mmm, tacos!) and we listened to records. And I also managed to give 2 friends feedback on their web projects. So I’m pretty satisfied with my day.

The Slow But Successful Climb Out of Debt

I love Quicken. It is so wonderful. I’ve been using it for 8 or 9 years now and I just adore it. [Unfortunately, between 1999 and 2003 Intuit managed to fuck it up. It’s a buggy dog on the Mac now. How quickly they forget from whence they came!] It performed a very useful function today, for example, by relieving my depression. I was very upset and unhappy yesterday when an inexplicable delay caused my paycheck to deposit late and thereby bounce my rent check. *sigh* It’s good now of course, but such things do not enhance the landlord/tenant relationship. Well, one of the chores I did this afternoon was to make sure I had all my receipts etc entered and then I noticed that my net worth (displayed at the bottom of the accounts list) had just slid under negative $34K. Scary, I know, but this is a big cause for celebration. (Half of it is student loan, so it’s not *that* bad). Well, I ran a little report and found that since moving into my apartment last June, my net worth has actually gone up $2200, so despite setbacks and my still massive debt load, I am making progress. This restores my faith considerably. [And I’m so glad I wrote this post long ago because I was just celebrating my net worth having just dropped under negative $4K. It seemed like a nice forward step in a long journey, but it sure is heartening to realize I managed to pay off $30K in debt in 4 and a half years.]

Hooray! It’s Friday and my week of 6am alarms is over! Yay! And I even left work early today (worked extra hours last week…) so not only is it 5:15 and officially the weekend, I’ve been home for hours and gotten tons done!

Single life

Sheer laziness and the annoying knowledge that I won’t be kissing anyone tonight led me to eat sardines for dinner.

Somehow the waves of loneliness which strike most people (but probably particularly those who live alone) seem always to crash over me on my drive home. Tired and desolate feeling tonight. The dishes are too nasty to leave for tomorrow, so I’ll do them, but I mostly just want to pull the covers over my head and retreat to the dreamlands.

The Onion is particularly good today. Great lead article and infographic and Onion’s AV Club has a lovely interview with Neil Gaiman.

You know this tune…

Very tired. Came to a sad realization about a relationship I wish could work. Wrote a difficult letter. Worked 9 hours. Didn’t solve the problems we hoped to solve. Had a stressful commute home. Started laundry. Washed some of the dishes. Cried. Moved clothes to dryer. Wrapped the rest of the presents that go with me tomorrow. Tried to start a ICQ conversation with an acquaintance I’ve been trying to make friends with. Received no reply. Packed. Picked out music to drive to. Felt sorry for myself. Wrote about it on my website.

Physical Fear

I don't remember exactly the last time I was physically afraid, but I do remember one particular incident that was very frightening. I was in a canoe accident. The canoe I was in the middle of wrapped itself around a log in the river. Fortunately, none of the 3 of us was trapped between the canoe and the log. We all held on to the canoe in the cold water. I was in the water up to my neck and the current was like something alive trying to drag me away from the canoe. I was terrified; all I could do was hang on to that canoe. My friends pulled me halfway out of the water, but, since I was wearing shorts and my legs were in the water, I was still losing body heat. We caught a garbage bag we had been using in the canoe and I used it to insulate my legs. We sat on that log for an hour while the other members of our group figured out how to rescue us. We dealt with our fear by making jokes and swearing at just about everything within range, especially the canoe. The canoe was bent into a U- shape around the log so we have since referred to the disaster as "the Taco incident".

    I am often afraid in a relationship that it is not going to work out. I am afraid that for some reason we will break up. This fear I can usually overcome because I know I will survive. The fear of death is much, much worse.

[angst again]

I'm depressed today. I want to go out with somebody; but I'm worried. If I ask them will they shy off. I don't know what to do.

Greg: It might change a good friendship into something bad.

John: Might get scared off.

Nick: "    +

[older guy]: Might want one thing only.

[handwriting gets VERY bad here on:]
My glasses cost too much money and they don't even fit. I've probably ruined them already!

Solving Problems + complaints

1. I'll talk to him about what his needs are and see if we can find a way to meet both of our needs.

2. I can stay the whole year, relax and have fun. [Instead of trying to finish high school early]

3. I can get my easy homework done at school leaving time at home for anatomy.

4. My paper for American Problems is now due Monday.

5. I can go to bed earlier or just live with being tired.

6. I will see him this weekend.

7. I don't need to.

8. I don't have to decide until next month.

9. I can pick fleas in my spare time.

10. I can get it done at school.

11. I can call him.

12. I can wait until Saturday.

13. I don't "have to" do anything.

14. I can relax, slow down and enjoy life more.

15. I can stop buying candy.

16. I can change that.

17. I can pay it.

18. He doesn't have to spend a lot of money on me, I just need some of his attention.

19. My hair is still pretty.

20. I can wait 'til I get home.

21. I still have to ask my parents and talk to [current boyfriend] about it.

Problems or complaints

1. [Current boyfriend] doesn't call or write enough.

2. I need a 1/2 a unit of U.S. History. [Oh, just realized that I must at this point be in public school not the private school writing classes I've been picturing as I transcribe this old spiral notebook.]

3. Anatomy isn't easy.

4. My paper for American Problems is due friday.

5. I'm tired.

6. I miss [current boyfriend].

7. I don't know what I want to do with my life.

8. I don't know whether or not to stay the whole year here at Alhambra or not.

9. Our dogs have fleas.

10. I have homework.

11. I need to talk to [current boyfriend].

12. I need to hug [current boyfriend].

13. I "have to" do work.

14. I haven't been having enough fun.

15. I haven't got a steady source of money other than allowance and babysitting.

16. I am getting greedy about money.

17. I am going to have a big phone bill.

18. [Current boyfriend] won't (at least not from calls to Martinez)

19. I have split ends.

20. I need to take a shower, I feel grubby.

21. I want to go to the movies and the party on Halloween, but I'm not sure if I'll have time to do both or if my parents will let me go to the party.