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(no subject) [Sep. 26th, 2015|09:55 am]
Because my SQL blog will never have many readers, and I had to create this entire XML block just to get this one blasted joke out of my head....

(NB: it only makes sense if you've seen (or learned the joke within) a particular Babylon 5 episode) Read more...Collapse )
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Minor adventures [Sep. 1st, 2015|09:35 pm]
So, earlier, I thought I had crabgrass in my lawn, and this is the year I was going to master it, by grooming the good grass to out-compete it.

It turns out I was wrong.

What I have is sometimes called "Brazilian wiregrass" or, occasionally, "devilgrass".

Wiregrass spreads by root and shoot. It will burrow underground - and, if my lawn is an indication, it will form a tight root network almost an inch thick. And it will send out runners that can also spread.

It's said that you can kill it with RoundUp - apply 3x at 2 week intervals. It's very hard to eradicate.

It's also not entirely a bad thing. It's considered a good turf grass (whatever that means). Some people cultivate it because it won't grow very tall, and if watered once in a while, will keep green.

It might not be worth fighting, but I found myself deciding that I'd clear a larger-than-ordinary section of my back yard, and try to grow some plain old ordinary grass.

My main weapon is tenacity - and a willingness to use limited amounts of RoundUp. My two main weapons are tenacity and herbicide... and a realization that wiregrass lays flat, letting large patches be stripped at once.

My *THREE* main weapons are tenacity, herbicide, stripping of patches... oh, yeah, and fall is coming, and at 60 degrees, wiregrass goes dormant. Sigh.

AMONGST my weapons are such diverse elements - ah, forget it. Monty Python did it far better.

But just as I got a large patch stripped and seeded, the Seattle rainy season started. If I can keep stripping patches of wiregrass, then chopping up the root network so I have loose earth to cover the seed, and can then seed the newly chopped earth, I might be able to put in a lawn strong enough to hold through the winter, growing in some roots before the wiregrass wakes up in the spring.

At that point, keeping the grass tall, so it shades the wiregrass, might be enough to keep it going. Tall grass can usually outcompete wiregrass. And if I can do that for a season, I just might be satisfied.

This is what substitutes for excitement in the chronically fatigued. Ah well.
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So, they have a complete collection of Peanuts comic strips... [Aug. 26th, 2015|05:54 pm]
They've probably been out for a while, but I just started reading them - ordered the first four books covering way too many years of strips, and found myself binging on them all over the course of a few days.

("Way too many years" - I think it covers strips published from 1950 to 1958 - 7ish to 8ish years in a long weekend.)

I'd heard some people sing the praises of earlier strips, and they're not bad, but I think some people have a overblown memory based upon the better days they remember. Peanuts was always a pretty - not entirely, but *pretty* - safe strip. It was cute, and endearing, and human, and sure, funny, but not brilliant. (Though its hard to say - maybe it was brilliant in its day, and other comic strip artists had to clear a higher bar to be syndicated, so what seems "not *brilliant*" today was a trailblazer.)

The thing is, I fondly remember some of my favorite strips: Charlie Brown and Snoopy "mmmmMMMMMmmm"ing through three panels, before the fourth panel punchline of "chocolate creams!" - and the next,having another, mmmming through one panel, before doing a nasty take, and adding "...with a little bit of coconut".

When I was a kid, I loved it, it was so *adorable*, and hilarious. And now - now it's still adorable, and hearkens back to the day when it was so much easier to find something so adorable it would make my self and my surroundings glow. But I must confess, it now doesn't seem brilliantly hilarious. That's not a defect - human, cute, and endearing are intensely valuable things, and more than enough in their own right.

I've seen people saying the strip's quality went down hill, and maybe it did. But I think a lot of people got a bit older, grew a bit more callous on their spirits, lost a bit of the ability to glow from a single iconic bit of comic strip humor, and felt that it was the strip, not their lives, that had changed.

I don't know - I think I'll follow the journey as long as I can - the prices of the hardcovers isn't a big hurdle for me - and see if my opinion changes. At the moment, though, I don't think Charles Schulz got worse as he got older - I think, in a tiny way, *we* did.

Anyway. It's had an interesting effect on me. It's given me a nostalgia kick, of course, it's made me wonder if there's a Joe Schlabotnik bubble gum card out here... and I just ordered three Beethoven CDs from Amazon. (helpless smile) Schroeder comes in early!
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Any good news? Anything to celebrate? [Aug. 6th, 2015|09:58 am]
I was about to post another not-very-happymaking post and decide I'd rather hear if there's some good stuff going on in other people's lives.

Things aren't great in my life - I'm having a multi-day mood crash, and I *think* I'm doing all the right stuff to avoid it, but it's happening anyway. Okay, the thing is, if I write about it, that helps me wallow. I'm not sure about this, but it seems to me that *talking* out pain usually helps, but *writing* it isn't as helpful for me. It might be a more general thing too... I don't mean one shouldn't write about pain, I just mean, I think there needs to be care about not digging in deeper. Any mood seems to be vulnerable to being dug into.

So: What's going on good in your life? Besides [personal profile] ladysprite doing some amazing stuff in silks!. I mean, you can mention it and all, but I've already seen it :-).
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(no subject) [Jul. 14th, 2015|09:12 pm]
A belated happy birthday to [personal profile] wcg! Here's wishing for happiness, prosperity and wisdom in the coming year!
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Not the brightest of ideas... [Jul. 4th, 2015|04:22 pm]
So, I was going to travel to visit someone Saturday and I was going to have someone else visit me Friday, and both of those collapsed, so I decided I would do a heavier-than-normal workout, since Saturday was no longer going to be busy. I could spend the day recovering, if needed.

I found that with a lot of stimulants, I feel bad, definitely under the weather, but it is survivable. That was, honest to goodness, not what the title of this post is about.

No, I then decided to do a normal workout today.

I suppose it's good to learn limits and sometimes, they can only be learned the hard way. But, as the subject suggests, not the brightest of ideas.
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Yikes! Math horror! [Jun. 28th, 2015|07:59 pm]
Someone posted this: http://www.museum.state.il.us/muslink/pdfs/re_dice.pdf. And they suggested using it to teach probability. Which... good, but a little advanced.

Here's the idea: you paint 5 sets of plum stones - two are black on one side, natural on the other. The other 3 are white on one side and natural on the other.

If you note that there are four different totals for the white-half stones (0, 1, 2, and 3 white sides showing) and three different totals for the black-half stones (0, 1 and 2 black sides showing) you can see that there are 12 values.

Here's where the site blows it. "Students should be aware that there are 12 different
outcomes possible, the odds are 1 in 12 of any one outcome, and the different odds of scoring
8, 3, 1, and 0 points."

That's a very good statement of a basic principle of probability, and it is 100% completely wrong.

First: there are *32* combinations possible. It's true: a lot of those combinations end up being precisely the same, but that doesn't mean they have the same odds.

For example: 5 natural side stones are 1/32. One white stone showing is 3/32nds - is a 1 in 32 of getting: no black, and only the first white stone white; no black and the second white stone white; and no black, and the third white stone white. In Math, the odds of any combination is C(2,b) x C(3,w), divided by 32, where b = number of black stones, and w = number of white - and C is the "non-ordered combination" function.

One black and one white is 6/32 - there are two possible stones to be black (or natural, if you're a stone-half-natural kinda person) - C(2,1) = 2 - and three possible stones to be white (C(3,1) = 3).

What bothers me about this most is that this is *just* close enough to correct that it could confuse some teachers who insist that all colored (2 blacks and 3 whites) must occur nearly 3x as often as it actually occurs, and confuse the heck out of some kids who start to notice the statistical drift.
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Still here... [Jun. 28th, 2015|06:46 pm]
... and still holding on.

I've actually been doing relatively well, in some ways. I've been forcing myself to have some free time, and spending it in ways I choose to. Like burning through Star Trek Next Generation - I'm on Season 3 now. (I've never actually *seen* it before. I had one friend mention she didn't think it held up well, but I think it probably holds up better when you don't have to compare it to your memory of itself.)

I've also been hitting up my collection on Great Old Games (GOG.com) - specifically, the Wing Commander games. Why?

Well, Next Gen made me think of the excitement of deep space exploration, and Wing Commander made an offshoot, Privateer, which I'd never gotten very far on. So I ran through that (though I haven't succeeded on the last mission - getting there is sufficient!). Once I'd done that, I had to run through the original Wing Commander (Oh, lord, those graphics! But remember, this is what you got on a *286* unless you were rich enough to afford a 386!) and I've finally started on Wing Commander 2.

Back in the day, I was always jealous of people who could play games like that - I now realize that it was, as much as anything, the fatigue holding me back. I guess this is one of the reasons why playing through these games is more important than it should be.

I haven't been doing as much studying or tech blogging as I'd like - but I think I'm okay with that for now.

In the meantime, today I did a light workout, and I feel too-damn-tired, but my brain *is* still relatively sharp. Not sharp enough to focus intently, but it's working. I think I'm going to rest tomorrow, but I think I have to start seeing if I can do these light workouts again. It's like - if I can feel bad after working at half of my capacity, I'd better make sure that "half of my capacity" is more than I need to get through the average day.
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Oh, wow... [Jun. 17th, 2015|08:46 pm]
In case you needed to hear it, fresh salmon is most emphatically better from frozen. I'm glad I asked for a large filet....

(Frozen isn't *bad*. I'm just very glad I was tempted by the better-than-frozen price on fresh this week.)

Pan seared is especially good, though if you're shy the cast iron, I reckon baked would be quite tasty.
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Feeling scary-good (which isn't all *that* good, but...) [Jun. 15th, 2015|08:12 am]
So: changes.

I realized that I've felt worse since taking beta blockers, and saw that there are some conditions like mine where they're counter-indicated. So I stopped them. I started feeling a bit better. Then, since exercise was making my heart rate go too-high, I went back on at a low dose (25mg). I've also started taking 10 grams of fish oil a day (which is probably not a good idea) and I'm maxed on an antidepressant.

Yesterday, I did some mowing (I use a reel mower) and did a 25 minute workout on my treadmill... my eyes are dry (this happens if I work out late in the day) and I feel a bit overheated (one of my constant symptoms - just a bit too much exercise and I'll feel as warm, and sweat as much, as an ice block in the Sahara. (How warm it feels itself, I mean. To you it'd feel comfortably cool, but ice blocks are very opinionated about temperature extremes. You should see how brittle they get if the temperature drop too much!)

Anyway... it's not good news, and I've had enough false starts that I'm being cautious about thinking good things, and I could crash midway through the day (hell, midway through the *morning*), but I have a better feeling starting the day than I've had in over a year. I'll take that, at this moment, even if it's only for this moment.

Even if the good feeling lasts, I think I need to be extra careful not to exert myself today. This is where I've had an easy time triggering a crash because I think I can do more than I can.
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