Careful there! Getting awful close to Thanksgiving!


Self-portrait of the artist on Halloween, goofy hat, tamale stained lips and all.


Eet begins…

First day of NaNoWriMo 2013:

Words written (as of this blog post): 2268
Stuffed toys having to be gently taken away from pug: 2
Number of alerts about dangerous levels of blood in caffeine system: 0
Friends seen: Too many to count.

How will they remember me?

(Patricia van Casteren / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

So, as a lot of you know, I’m a diehard Cal football fan. (It’s awful. Don’t ask.) And so, like any Cal fan, I want to know more about my team that I support, and I fell in with the crew at California Golden Blogs. One of the features of CGB that really lets the zaniness show is what’s called the Daily Bear Dump (yes, Cal fans can be both clever and immature), and it’s sorta the daily links/random commentary post.

I hang out in there sometimes, although I’m gone an awful lot more than I’m present, and there’s a core of regulars. One of my favorites went by the moniker CalBandGreat, who seemed to have a warm sense of humor and was always friendly. He was also known for his great tailgates, which, sadly I had never made it to.

I never will now. He passed away last Thursday.

I just got looking at his LinkedIn account, and I see that he’s a fellow member of what I refer to in my sig on the site as the Lost Tribe of Mooch — that is the Cal fans who started school in 1996, the one single year Steve Mariucci was our coach. This makes it hit even harder, and I don’t know how to talk about it.

One of the thoughts swirling in my head about the whole thing, one of them is simply “how will I be remembered?” Let me say very clearly at this moment that I am not suicidal. I do not want to die. I am merely thinking about what would happen if I were to die, due to natural causes or being hit by a bus or struck by falling space debris or whatever.

And it haunts me deeply that I do not think I will be missed. Now some of this could be depression speaking. It’s not exactly a rational response to it all. All this struggle, all this fighting, and nothing to show for it. It does not help that I’m reticent by nature and prone to disappearing.

I don’t even know where I’m going with this. Just — a good guy is dead, and now I’ll never get the chance to meet him. Yet, he has his small piece of immortality — the gang at CGB remember him.

How will they remember me?

How will any of the communities I am in remember me?

Science. It’s amazing.

From Expanding Earth, the latest from xkcd‘s What If? section:

After the initial jolt, one of the first effects you’d notice would be that your GPS would stop working. The satellites would stay in roughly the same orbits, but the delicate timing that the GPS system is based on would be completely ruined within hours. GPS timing is incredibly precise; of all the problems in engineering, it’s one of the only ones in which engineers have been forced to include both special and general relativity in their calculations. (emphasis added)

And I use it to find tupperware in the woods.

Science. It’s pretty amazing, and damn near magic.

adventures in microsoft tech support

So, I have a problem. I have two live accounts, one under my usual email and one under my old hotmail address. I wanted to merge them, or barring that, kill the one under my usual email address so I can reassociate the old account with my new address.

So I contact Microsoft support.

Here is our conversation:

Pedz: Welcome to Microsoft Customer Service Chat. Please give me a moment while I review your question. Would that be alright?
me: sure
Pedz: Hi Katrina.
me: Howdy.
Pedz: You can delete the other account but it will be on that account’s process since it’s not a Microsoft product.
me: Hmmm.
me: Well, I’ve tried closing the [usual email] one, once I disconnected the new computer from it.
me: But it won’t let me.
me: SOmething about making sure I’ve stopped all billing transactions. But I don’t have any.
Pedz: Please contact the email client, retstak.org.
me: Uh. That’s my personal domain.
Pedz: I see.
Pedz: We can only provide links if it’s a Microsoft product.
me: yes.
me: but that’s the email address I have a live account under.
me: I have two live accounts. One under the retstak.org domain, and one at the hotmail one.
Pedz: I understand but that’s not a Microsoft account.
Pedz: You only associated a Live account under that email, right?
me: Okay. So who do I talk to about Live accounts?
me: yeah.
Pedz: You can still access your Live account separately, right?
me: yes.
me: that is, my login for the live account is that email address, but it gets me into a microsoft live area.
Pedz: Try this link.
Pedz: That’s the direct link to close an account.
me: Okay.
Pedz: I hope the above information would be beneficial to you in resolving this issue. Did I fully address your question?
me: I think so.
me: :)
Pedz: Thank you for using Microsoft Customer Service Chat. Please feel free to come back again. We are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

I really love technical support…

Sysadmin’s friend

There are many tools in a system administrator’s arsenal. But none are quite as awesome as the bent paperclip for manually popping CD drives. :)

Fallen Bears

It’s always a bit sad for me when I discover that an alum of my beloved alma mater has passed on. It is doubly sad when the death in question is connected with the horrible events in Benghazi on Tuesday.

The Ambassador to Libya was J. Christopher Stevens, Cal ’82. He majored in history, the same major I would graduate with eighteen years later. I know there are Berkeley alumni around the world, doing amazing and fantastic things, but we’re all connected in some crazy way. I was already sad over the events in Libya (and throughout the rest of the Middle East), but this just adds another small connection to the event and a reminder that we’re all connected to each other in ways we may fail to realize or understand.

The life of Ambassador Stevens represents everything we hope for in our students. He majored in history to learn about the world, and then he used that knowledge to make the world a better place. We are proud of his career. His death is a tragedy, and we mourn his passing.
History Department Chair Ethan Shagan (link)

(I have other degrees of separation to another man killed in the attack, and that one is also bothering me because I’ve thought seriously about joining the diplomatic service as an IT professional. I may or may not write about that later.)

Rhyme & Paradox #1½ out now

Yep, another fanzine. You can get it here:

Rhyme & Paradox #1½ [PDF]

Or if you want to read past issues, you can go here: Rhyme & Paradox main page

My thanks, as always, to Bill Burns, for hosting.

yes, i’m actually producing a fanzine

Here’s a teaser of the cover:

lonely man under tree, rhyme one and a half

The photo is credit Patrice Dufour, and can be found here on stock.xchng, a nifty free for non-commercial projects stock photo site. When I saw this one, I knew it would be perfect for this issue of Rhyme.

Now to get the rest of the layout done.

Rings and shadows

So, we’re at my uncle’s house, passing around my welder’s goggles I bought to keep my eyes protected during the height of the eclipse. It wasn’t my turn, so I turn around, away from the sun, and suddenly gawp. “Look at the rocks!”

Here’s what they looked like — click through, it’s definitely more obvious on the Flickr page, especially on the back of my uncle’s shirt:

They looked like that, because they were under a tree, and the sun looked something like this:

Dots within dotsPhoto by retstak

(That’s shot on a cellphone camera through a pair of welder’s goggles, so my apologies for the size.)

Yeah, it was definitely worth it to go to Redding this weekend to see an annular eclipse.

Self-Portrait, May 16, 2012

There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create
And time yet for a hundred indecisions
And for a hundred visions and revisions
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

(And this is here only to keep LJ from completely munging up the text when I post it…I hope it will work.)

My totally awesome hat

Something showed up in the mail today.

It is a totally awesome hat. It keeps my head warm. It is in my favorite color. It slouches quite admirably. It has a sweet band design. And it was made by the completely amazing , whom I heart so very much and wish I lived much closer to.

(And the instructions which came with hat were hilarious too.)

I’ve spent all afternoon wearing it despite the fact that the house is way too warm for a wool cap. :) I feel pretty darn special right now.

PS: I don’t think I’ve shared a picture of me wearing my new glasses yet either, so well, that’s me in my new glasses as well.

If it were a museum exhibit, it’d be kinda nifty

Since it’s my car, it’s a fracking pain in the rear.

Yeah, some $#*(&(*#$&@ went and spraypainted my car. There’s also a streak of orange down the passenger’s side, and some lovely green on the driver’s side, but the headlights are the worst victim, and the most frustrating part of the whole thing.

That said…it’s spraypaint. I don’t know what they’re going to have to do to fix it. *sigh*

Popping the question.

It’s a sweet gesture, Sobe Bottle, and I appreciate it, but…I think the relatives would be a bit freaked out by the idea of my marrying a drink beverage bottle.