dmilewski: (Default)
I've always been a hard one to fit in. I've always seemed never to be enough of anything, although these days I think that my own inability to make a place for myself work against me just as much.

So, way back when I was an English major. One day in college, while waiting for the bus, I noted in the apartment behind me, up on the third floor, faces that I recognized. Apparently, some English major classmates were having a party. Only after some time did the host notice me down there and invite me up. You know that type of invitation, where the host feels guilty, and is only inviting you up because she doesn't like feeling on the spot, nevermind that she didn't talk to me much in the first place, nor invite me. I knew a self-serving invitation when I heard one. Imagine going up to a party where you weren't invited and are only tolerated, not welcomed.

By the time that I graduated, I had no friends in the English department.

I'm not blaming them for not being my friends. Nobody is required to be my friend. I also admit that I was (and still am) bad at making friends, especially given the constant and unrewarding effort added on because I did it badly. (When you make friends badly, other people raise the bar on you significantly, so significantly more effort is required to yield any benefit.) Yet the point remains that given my own major, I couldn't find a place for myself. I'm not sure if that's a failure in me, or a cumulative failure of the community. 

I did some poking about some old yearbooks looking at the Silhouette literary magazine staff. I don't remember any of those faces. I remember no relationships with them. Given their pictures, I could not identify them. So, we'll call that part a failure within me. 


Jul. 20th, 2017 10:15 am
dmilewski: (Default)
We took a trip to NJ over last weekend. Here's the real world mileage report

214 miles each way (approximately)

So for both ways, that added up to 430 miles and 2/3 a tank of gas. The car estimated that I was getting 31 mpg. I figure that I used 13 gallons, so that comes out to 33 mpg. That's fair agreement with the manufacturer's 35 mpg. (My car's self-reported local mileage is closer to 19 mpg, which includes many lights and much stop and go.)

This real world measurement gives my car a range of over 460 miles, possibly up to 500 miles.

As for handling, the car behaved steady at real world highway speeds.No problems. It had power when necessary, and I feel confident could have gone substantially faster without issue. However, driving that fast exceeds my real world requirements and my practical reality, so I don't see doing that any time soon. I found a video of someone taking the Sonata up to 130 mph on a closed course. That's respectable for a 4-cylinder family car that gets 35 mpg.

In comparison, my old Outback 1996 had a limiter of 110 (I never hit near that), and my Honda Civic 1989 had its limiter at 90. 
dmilewski: (Default)
We went up to the Jersey shore, Long Branch, to spend a weekend with Jenny's mom and Ed, her brother and family (sans Chu Li), and Ed's son Jamie and family.

All in all, the weekend went very well.

We drove up Thursday afternoon and drove back on Monday morning, arriving home in the afternoon. The drive each way went very smooth, with only some stop and go getting out of town. We didn't see similar stop and go on our return, so maybe it was just the day? I don't know. Midday traffic around here has slowly been getting worse.

Jen's mom rented a beach house to hold the whole crew. DesignGirl and her cousin, thick as thieves, seized the top floor bedroom for themselves.

We got there in the rain, just before the skies opened up, easing up eventually but lasting all through the next day. We played many games. The biggest game hit for the weekend was the venerable Talisman. All the kids loved it, even my six year old nephew. It wasn't a fast game to play, but that was a feature as a much as a bug.

I only did one day at the beach as I'm only so much of a beach person. I'm not so brave in the water any more and I don't like the cold experience. The ocean really wasn't that bad. I was just a coward.

I did get rather frustrated with getting grill duty again. When it comes to charcoal grills, I feel rather incompetent, and getting stuck with that duty as if I'm the expert really pisses me off. After several rounds, I don't feel quite so incompetent, but I'm not at all skilled. (Take away my man card now.)

I did some document wrangling during some quiet hours. I have a project to sort out some files for a friend. I produced a fairly long spreadsheet just to figure out which are the most likely, best versions of about a zillion files. That worked very well, and fortunately there appears to be very little out of linear sequence editing. I figure that I'm at 80%+ of what the author intended, perhaps as high as 90%. Getting better than that will be work.

We expected Jamie and Mary Clair with one daughter, but they wound up bringing two more of their kids. The girls wound up playing Flux late into the evening. (We brought the color version of the game, not my old monochrome version.)

Surprisingly, we only ate out once. I cooked breakfast for two days (pancake, then biscuits.) If I had brought a waffle iron, I would have cooked breakfast for three. Much beer was consumed, with only much happiness occurring once when I was on an empty stomach. There was a bottle in the house called Cachaca 51 Gold (I think). It sipped too strong, so I put it over ice and it eased up to a vanilla like flavor. Very tasty. 

The beach book was "The Dolphins of Pern." Yes, it's a good beach book. 
dmilewski: (Default)
As I was driving home yesterday, I spotted a huge yellow pickup truck. The thing had to be a custom vehicle. The base of the pickup was a semi-style cab, complete with back seat, while the pickup bed came from one of those big pickups. On this thing, it looked too small simply because the cab was so big.

Why would anyone make that? Aside from "it's cool."

I have two guesses. One is that somebody had a really big boat, as in, "a really BIG boat." The only way to move it around is by using really big truck.

The other possibility is that other people have really big boats, so this guy has a custom truck for moving really big boats. Since there were no advertising on the truck, I assume that he gets paid under the table to move really big boats in the summer months, and does other things on the winter months.


Jul. 10th, 2017 08:36 am
dmilewski: (Default)
My daughter's swim team continue their division domination. Go team!

The bread for this week is banana bread. My daughter is happy.

We've finally got a line of credit on the house. The paperwork took two months, digging through all my finances. Shit, this stuff used to be easy. You walked in and the bank just gave you too much money because you had a house. Now they required that you aren't money laundering and lying to them or otherwise up to no good. Can you believe that?

The upshot of the credit line is that we can get something fixed around the house fixed if it breaks. I've also got my ass covered if the government goes full dysfunctional and nobody gets paid.

We had dinner over Xpioti's house. I saw her new Mini Cooper and drooled. Yet, I also felt somewhat smug that in that I didn't have such a whiz-bangy car. In the end, I truly prefer simpler. I want cloth seats, a speedometer, and a radio. Everything else is gravy. (Okay, the heating/cooling isn't gravy.) The last thing that I need while driving is a distraction. Give me big, manual controls, baby. Things like fancy roofs don't give me much payback because it's either the wrong kind of weather outside, or I forget that I left the roof open in it thunderstorms because I don't have a garage.
dmilewski: (Default)
So far, our swim team is dominating our division, 3-0, and we took the relay carnival. So about half the weekend was taken up just with swim team.

We went to see fireworks by heading to King Farm, watching them go up in a park a little further on. We got to see the show, but we didn't have to deal with the parking or the loud bangs.

My wife finished the primary edits on Maid of Shadow. Now I get to wade through that hot mess. If I hit the book steadily, I can get a finishing edit done on it and hopefully hit publishing around the beginning of August. I may be better off delaying the launch until September.
dmilewski: (Default)
The speedometer on my car goes to 160 mhp. I cannot fathom any reason why. Where in the US am I going to drive my car at 160 mhp? Even 80 mph is the practical top speed of most highways. I doubt that anyone wanting to go 160 mph will choose a Sonata. So why do it? Why compress the useful speed of a speedometer into half a dial if it provides no practical benefit.

I can see the utility in racing, but relatively few people race. Those folks can buy after-market speedometers [unless they can't]. And as I noted above, they won't be racing in Sonatas. 
dmilewski: (Default)
Being swim meet season, we had a home swim meet. DesignGirl, who had a fantastic week last week, did slightly less well this week, but still way better than time trials.

We had Aggie over for an extended play date after far too long a gap.

This week, DesignGirl will go to the local maker space for a camp on making videos. She's been wanting to make YouTube videos, so getting a class will help her along. Lords know, I can't, because I know almost nothing of video editing.

This week's bread is white with golden raisins instead of dark raisins. The bread turned out pretty well.

I continue playing too much Ticket To Ride on my Kindle.

I continue liking my new Hyundai. On the highway, it's not quite as stable and even as the Ford had been. In that respect, the Ford's lack of responsiveness worked in its favor. That is more than offset by the everyday, about town handling and significantly better mileage. I can now fit in most parking spaces again, easily. 

We're getting to the end of blueberry season, round 1. Certainly by the end of the week, we'll have picked everything. The rabbit's eye won't be ready until the end of July. Meanwhile, the cherry tomatoes are just hitting ripe. At the back fence, the honeysuckle keeps growing like mad, so I need to figure how to trace down the roots.


Jun. 20th, 2017 08:36 am
dmilewski: (Default)
Last night, I dreamed that I got my hair cut, and I was left with white hair with pink highlights. I thought it was cool, but I also knew that I'd look like a fag for it. As I could already see my brown roots, I thought that clipping my hair off would solve the whole problem.  


Jun. 19th, 2017 08:28 am
dmilewski: (Default)
This weekend ended school and began swim team season. DesignGirl swam in freestyle, backstroke, and breast, dropping significant time in every stroke since last week's time trials. Freestyle improved by almost seven second which is huge in swimming. Our team went on to decimate the opposition, winning by a 100 point spread.

On Friday, the my women folk baked me a cake. Two, actually. I had asked for a Portal cake, a cake like the one at the end of Portal. They delivered. Not only that, they produced a second cake, a companion cube, made of fondant. Once again, my family cake decorators hit it out of the park.

For Father's day, we went to Nick's for breakfast. We didn't get there early enough, so we had to wait about for a table, but the diner food was diner food, and that's what I wanted.

Meanwhile, my Crohn's disease decided to flare up, making my digestion rather a more interesting subject that it deserves to be. Tender is the main word here. I wound up laying down at random intervals, amusing myself with the tablet version of Ticket To Ride. 
dmilewski: (Default)
I bought another waffle iron. I've been so good, but the temptation finally grabbed me. $6 for a Cuisnart Classic Round iron, used. (I don't have the exact model/serial number in front of me.) I haven't tested it yet, but I do look forward to it. While I was at the second hand place, I saw a big Belgian style that also tempted me. I want to go back to see if the plates flip and if it turns into a griddle or something like that.

For those who don't know, I am fully convinced that one day I'll become a hoarder of waffle irons. 

In many ways, I'm late to this waffle iron collecting. When I should have been buying was during high school and just after college. Back then, getting those wonderful stainless steel type irons from the 50's was easy peasy. Now you don't see them around any more. Fortunately, my wife found a nice one somewhere along the line and we still use it. It makes waffles of a useful size and shape.
dmilewski: (Default)
Yesterday morning, I spotted the cat stalking a box turtle of some sort. It was wandering through the side yard and the cat was stalking it at a close, but not too close distance. As the cat hadn't pounced, I assume that it already knew that hunting turtles was impossible. It wasn't getting through that shell. The turtle would take a few steps and stop, and so would the cat. Eventually the cat just watched as the turtle galumphed across the side yard, towards the fence. 
dmilewski: (Default)
You don't want kidney stones.

This time passing kidney stones, I could tell that they were moving, so I opted to stay home rather than visit a hospital. At the hospital, the main things that they can do is to give you medical grade painkillers and hold your hand. From experience, I know that the medical grade painkillers don't work against kidney stones, and they don't hold your hand. Quite the opposite, they put you into these stupid back-opening gowns and put you into a room visible from the work area, and as you toss and turn with the stone, you stick you bare butt out at everyone. To make matters more challenging, they put IVs into you to keep you hydrated, which prevent you from tossing and turning. In short, they make an already horrible experience worse. 

At home, I could toss and turn as needed, changing to whatever position was least awful, add clothing to stay warmer, find some measure of comfort in my comfortable places, and when the pain finally subsided, fell asleep on the bathroom floor. That might not be sexy, but I didn't have to pay for it. 

Hard Night

Jun. 8th, 2017 03:46 pm
dmilewski: (Default)
Last night was hard. I passed three kidney stones between 1am and 4am. Sucks does not begin to describe the experience. As a result, I took the day off, napped, and generally let my inside knit themselves back together.
dmilewski: (Default)
This weekend was the annual church retreat to West River. The weather cooperated marvelously, giving us two wonderful day. With my daughter now being old enough, I could simply ignore what she was up to, trusting that she'd wind up in the right places at the right time.

I used my free time to wrap up the edits on Pabi 2. Yay. It's almost in the bag. Meanwhile, I've switch my wife to editing Pabi 1. Pabi 3 needs its ending rewritten.

I also worked on a son for the Saturday night variety show. I learned "Junk Food Junkie" from 1976. Well, I sorta learned the song. I needed the words held up, and the actual performance was something of a rolling train wreck, but the audience laughed, so it wasn't all bad. I found that whoever did the chords was smoking pot, and I had to redo them. Also, the words of the song were rather challenging as they didn't necessarily respect the musical beats. Yeesh. 

Jenny and DesignGirl, along with the Mansons, did a "Little People" performance. That's where the speaker is themselves, but their arms actually belong to somebody else. In this case, the kids provided the arms. It turned out catastrophically funny.

Jenny also sang "Life's Too Short to Fold Underwear" by Zoey Mulford.

In gardening news, Jenny put in a hoop and tulle system to protect our blueberries, which are now coming in. We got our first harvest on Sunday. The new system makes getting in under the tulle far easier than last year's system (which was just throwing tulle over the bushes). We're weighing down the tulle with short sand-filled garden hoses. 

dmilewski: (Default)
With a cold that wouldn't go away, and a headache to back that, this weekend turned into a futon-fest for me. Depending on how well the meds were working at any particular time, I was either working on a project or laying down.

I rescued a chair on Friday. The front leg was loose and the previous owner had scrawled all over it with paint markers. Fixing the leg required gluing together the anchor back together, as the wood had split. The structure of the leg itself was perfectly good. For the rest of the chair, I sanded it down to bare wood, stained it a rather dull brown, then hand rubbed it with four or five layers of quick drying polyurethane. The results work and look kinda blah, but I didn't spend a nickel. Hopefully, as the wood is exposed to light, it will acquire a golden undertone, in which case it should look fairly gorgeous in about a year.

Jenny''s been working on the blueberry beds. She's manufactured hoops from PVC pipe (bought on super-sale), made some weights from an old  hose and sand, and is now busily dealing with the tulle to cover the whole mess.

I've finally hit the edits for Maid of Memory, and I've been blasting through them pretty quick. Now I'm too rereading my way through the mess, and I'll hit the last few editor notes at the end when I have a better idea of what's going on. Overall, it's looking pretty good. 

My latest distraction is a tablet version of Talisman, just perfect for distracting myself while sick. It didn't cost much and itched that Talisman itch. Now I'm done with it. 
dmilewski: (Default)
 I drove a white, 2012 Hyudai Sonata last night. Very nice car. Manager special. I might just buy this thing. I'm 90% there.
dmilewski: (Default)
For Mother's Day, Jenny wanted home made croissants. That made me pause, and I was right. With a little research. we found that making croissants is quite the process. Over this week, I will make croissants.

Instead, I made Belgian waffles and bacon. If I had woken up early, I would have made yeast based waffles, but I made baking powder based waffles instead. 

I presented the usual Mother's Day song to my wife. It was based on Fire by Arthur Brown (1968). I revised it to be about Harry Potter and how it distracts my daughter to no end. 

We spent a while looking for my old Mother's Day songs. I now have most, and very importantly, I found the Duckling Song Redone. It's quite a charming revision and I'm glad to have found it. As I composed them by hand early on, and delivered hand-written copies, and Jenny can't find hers, we're rather aching over some of the missing titles. I checked all my notebooks again and still didn't find the notes.

My slow war against the back area continues. I hacked and dug out more crud. I did save a few a few hydrangeas and a cluster of ornamental grass. I now believe that more grass is better, and that I want to mow everything to death. Simple.

The blackberries are loving the weather. We got a bundle of nice berries growing merrily along. The fig tree is happily producing figs, and they should be ready on time. Jenny just planted tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. The apple trees seem happy. Some of the inkberries are looking sad. I think that the soil must be changing PH.

The front flower bed has slowly become overgrown by both queen anne's lace and grass. I'm letting the grass win this year, and just mowing over the danged thing. 
dmilewski: (Default)
Last year, the upside-down game with my daughter consisted of me lifting her up by her legs (where was now heavy enough that I needed her hooking her legs over my shoulders), and as I carried her along, she would take off her shirt. To her, this was hilarious. This summer, I don't see that happening again. My mostly undressed suburban primitive is now far more aware of her nakedness and not quite likely to idle about so undressed again. (At least, not while her father's around. That's a good thing.)
dmilewski: (Default)
The weekend went just fine.

It rained Friday-Saturday. Lots. That's normal for this time of year and very, very good.

On Sunday, I mowed the back yard, which is still partially occupied by the detritus from the freshly murdered azaleas and rose of sharon. There's still lots of roots to get dug out, but I did find two more hydrangeas that need replanting, along with some ornamental grass. The front yard is getting jungle fever.

We also did the mulching this year. Jenny got brave enough to get the compost out of the composter and the hoses out of the soffit beds, while I did the turning.

This week, I discovered The Room 3, so I've been playing that wickedly well designed game.

Jenny's college friend Zoey Mulford, a folk singer, was in town giving a concert, so we drove down to Mount Renier to see the show. She plays both guitar and clawhammer banjo (with lots of drop thumb). She's a pretty damned clever singer-songwriter, and I developed quite the professional respect for her way with lyrics. She'll be over the house today visiting Jenny, but she'll likely be gone before I get home from work.

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