proof of life: all the travel

Jul. 24th, 2017 05:50 pm
silentq: (post via email)
[personal profile] silentq
Since my parents emailed me to ask if I was doing okay, I figure I should update here too.

Been and will be out of town a lot. I had two busy stretches in a row that were 5 weekends travelling out of 6 (from mid May: Convergence, Saint John, western MA wedding, camping NH), then 5 weekends out of 7 (Tough Mudder, camping NH, business trip, Fantasia, camping VT). I've been spending a lot of hours training since Tough Mudder fell in there (it felt easier this year, a lot of the obstacles were scaled back, like only 1 Berlin Wall, 1 Block Ness Monster, and Arctic Enema had less ice and a gap I could squeeze through w/o going under water again) and I have a second one coming up in < 1 month.

I just got back from a week long business trip to London Ontario where I got to catch up with my high school friend L, while the other member of our trio, W., was house sitting for me in Boston (our trips lined up perfectly badly so we didn't see each other *grump*). Memorable training moments for me: pretty much kept up with L during an hour long park workout (she's in the OCR world championships, and went on to place first in our age group at her race this weekend), and finally (omfg FINALLY) completed the Fitocracy Athena Reborn quest. The 115lb barbell back squat has been my nemesis for *years*, turns out that all the skiing and running and kettlebells got me past my 100lb barrier for a PR. I'm super happy about that. :-) The hotel gym was awesome, with both KBs and a barbell set up, and it's got me reinvigorated to get a barbell set up for my basement.

Then I spent my rare weekend at home catching lots of different kinds of music:
Friday: flew home in the afternoon, then went from the airport, home to drop off suitcase, over to Brighton Music Hall for a sold out show of Dragonforce. Loved them in Austria, it was super fun to see them again with that whole crew plus some more local friends.
Saturday I spent decompressing and doing all the laundry then made a bit of a last minute decision to attend an opera fundraiser party at a cool loft space. Oh, man, being < 20 feet from an opera singer as they belt out arias is intense. I also got to dance a lot to one of my many favourite Goth/Industrial DJs, and ran into a guy who works in my building, and also pushed past shyness to talk to lots of new people. I had to bail when the heat got to me as more people arrived.
Sunday was book club, a clothing swap (new corset! and house deco bits!), then heading to ONCE to see an alternative band from Beijing, RE-TROS. Super small crowd, maybe 30-40 people, but a rockin' show, their influences of Bauhaus and Joy Division were on full display and I was bopping along to the music the whole time.

I'm working an extra hour every day this week so I can take off Friday afternoon to go to Montreal for Fantasia this weekend (flying back to maximise time there with no time to take off). Then a camping weekend in VT. Then a weekend off before Tough Mudder 2 lands. My last event is Sept 8 then I can scale back a tiny bit on training, but I'm buying a MAX pass this year and will need my legs to be in great shape for all the skiing. :-)

House wise: have fans sitting waiting to be installed (note to self: call electrician again), outside work got done while I was away just waiting for the invoice, have to fix my bathroom cold water tap, finish painting that bench, and replace the stupid refrigerator ASAP (I pulled it out and vacuumed the dust build up, but the compressor is going). On the upside, my place is super clean and organised since I got it in shape for W. to stay.

New Phone, 2 Weeks On

Jul. 21st, 2017 02:21 pm
lil_m_moses: (phone)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
Liking the new phone!

Good Stuff:
- Having a reliable GPS when playing Pokemon Go is a revelation! No more auto-wandering of the neighborhood while at home with my wifi off, though, shucks.
- I like some of the new little features in Nougat, including split-screen dual app use, and native call blocking (had it in my LG phone on Lollipop, didn't realize it wasn't a stock Android feature).
- The extra horsepower is a boon to Pokemon Go, along with everything else.
- The rounded edges and lack of magnetic charge port make it more comfortable to hold and easier to slip in/out of my pocket.
- I like not having glass on the back as well as the front (and it consequently doesn't try to slither off horizontal surfaces, either).
- I LOVE my new LoveHandle, which is firmly stuck to the back of my phone and lets me loop a finger through an elastic strap and keep the phone attached to my hand while I'm fumbling other stuff or just walking about and randomly klutzing. Should have gotten that years ago, though it wouldn't have helped in the ultimate demise of the previous phone (fell on it while it was in my pocket), and wouldn't have stuck to that glass back anyway. I still don't have a case, but I think the LoveHandle will preclude the need for one and I don't especially want one.
- Getting a new device inspired me to reevaluate and revamp my home screens' layouts for the better.
- I haven't yet had opportunity to take advantage of the additional LTE band (maybe this weekend?), but I'm sure that'll be primo.
- The built-in calculator knows order of operations now! But I still don't use it because I prefer/need a scientific calculator (I use the one in Android Army Knife, or a Graphing Calculator Pro app if I want something even more robust). EDIT: Oh hey, stock now has a little slide-out panel with some extra operations on it! Still pretty minimal, though.

The Less Good Stuff:
- The USB-C port means I'm having to get new adapters and cables, and those have some other minor issues, but it'll be fine.
- The wifi doesn't seem as capable all over my office buliding, but there could be a local router not working right.
- The lowest screen brightness is an irritating amount higher than the old phone, particularly in a dark room. (I'm also trying out the adaptive brightness again, but it's not reactive enough - too dim in bright sun, too bright in dim rooms.)
- The new version of the preloaded AccuWeather app sucks - it doesn't include the (omnipresent in Houston) heat index (except randomly sometimes), no longer shows me the expected weather for the current day/night in its widget view, and its background pictures aren't even useful for that either.
- They took away the jump-to-letter navigation in Contacts (though scrolling is better now) and the long-press save phone number option in Phone, both of which I used a lot.
- All the icons are a little bit smaller than they used to be. Somehow restoring my old profile made the folders go to a square shape instead of the default round shape, at least. No idea how to deliberately change that if I want to, but I'm sure the internet knows.

(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:14 pm
lil_m_moses: (crafty)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
This is my family-free evening (little one's at her grandparents', Josh is at tai chi), so I ran personal errands.

- I signed up for a hula class at the NASA rec center for late Sept to late Oct; I've been wanting to learn hula for years, so am very excited.
- I discovered that a delightful local pizza by the slice place closed, which was disappointing because I really wanted a slice of their mac & cheese pizza for dinner. Instead I tried the 3rd of 3 new Subway-style pizza joints in the area. It was definitely the least interesting of the 3, so...the most like Subway, I guess. ;)
- Picked up some icing tips and gel colors for the Bulbasaur cake. Decided I'm going to try the frozen buttercream transfer; I'll have to practice next weekend. Whle also quilting. Or something.
- Went to Jo-Ann and got more materials and tools for my quilt. I found a fun mottled navy fabric with constellations printed all over for the backer, and a light blue with little white stars for the framing and binding. I liked another fabric print better, but it wasn't so thematically appropriate and the color didn't coordinate quite as well. I think I'm going to quilt with a dark teal color that coordinates well but stands out a little, after doing all the piecing with a purple that blends well with all the fabrics. They only had one spool of that color, though, so I might have to find more later. I did find a square ruler in the right size to help me easily trim down my wonky star blocks to a uniform size, yay, though pricey! I found a 1/4" presser foot for my machine to help me make my seams that little bit narrower they should have been, but then they wouldn't sell me the foot because it was from a sewing machine store within Jo-Ann or something, and the sub-store was closed? Super lame - don't display it if you won't sell it to me. Amazon will take my money at any hour, I'm quite sure.
lil_m_moses: (avatar)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
I feel like expectations of parents are becoming increasingly insane. I just read an article about 2 toddlers driving their Mom's car in an effort to get to their grandfather's house down the road. Supposedly the kids found the keys under the floor mat; I wouldn't personally put them there, but I also live in a large metropolis. Regardless of that, though, the kicker for me was that "the sheriff's office is working with the county prosecutor and Child Protective Services to determine if the mother should be charged with any crime."

It seems like it's getting to the point that one can't even let your kids play in the yard while you're inside doing some work or having a moment of peace or going to the bathroom, much less let them walk down the street to a friend's house, without being at risk of child endangerment or abandonment charges. When I was 5 I would walk alone the half mile to my friend's house (tiny town) to play with her. Mom knew where I was going and would have heard from the friend's mom if I didn't show up. Third (or 4th?) graders and up at Lillian's school are allowed to walk themselves to school, but if it's raining, parents are required to go pick them up. For _rain_. And even if you choose not to drive the average half mile between neighborhood homes and the school to pick them up on those rainy days, you still have to bring your car pickup pass as if you were driving. *eye roll* I was left alone sleeping in the car while Mom ran in to buy something (but with windows down, and it wasn't a billionty degrees), but that's a no-no now too. Bah. I have more feelings on this, but they're not yet coherent. It all just amps up the parenting anxiety.

Space Station Virtual Tour

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:24 am
lil_m_moses: (NASA meatball)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
Holy crap, this is SO COOL. Google did a Street View of the International Space Station. Check it out here:

You can drag your mouse around to look around (and remember, there's stuff on the "ceilings" and "floors" too, because there's no true up and down in space!), and if you click on the little up-arrow at the bottom, you can move to different modules. In the Lab module, look for a fat orange hose along one corner (standoff), then look for a funny-shaped aluminum box sticking out over it (just left and down of where the view starts), and that's my payload (and the stuff it's attached to above and behind it)!

You can also look at this in Google Maps format:,-95.0853914,3a,75y,214.46h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1szChzPIAn4RIAAAQvxgbyEg!3e5!7i10000!8i5000 and the resolution seems a bit better. However, I had trouble getting it to move between modules.

Insectile Invaders

Jul. 19th, 2017 06:21 pm
lil_m_moses: (A is for Amy)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
Oh hey! I think I finally I identified our blue-black waspy friends, who are particularly abundant inside the house this year. They're blue mud wasps, or blue mud daubers. Not aggressive, which we inferred (particularly when one tried to fly into my ear the other day, then down my shirt in its disorientation and I was none the worse for the experience), and they eat black widow spiders (YAY).

Planning the Birthday Party

Jul. 16th, 2017 05:25 pm
lil_m_moses: (cooking)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses

She's still big on Pokemon, and loves Bulbasaur, so I'm looking at cake design ideas that aren't wildly over my very limited skill level. Here's some inspiration(s), along with the semi-profile and face-on reference pics above:

Bulbasaur mostly-round:
Homemade Pikachu (at my level of amateurness):
Flat Bulbasaur that I can't find an actual source for
Minimalist Pikachu (could do similar for Bulbasaur): (oh, and here's a tutorial:
A cool frozen buttercream applique thing I could try (though I don't have icing tools):
Cut-out Pikachu w/ buttercream star frosting:
This square Squirtle looks a lot like Bulbasaur:

I like buttercream better than fondant, but the fondant could look nicer and might hold together better for a Texas summer BBQ party that we have to drive an hour to get to. Hrm.

And related to none of this, I just think it's cool: galaxy mirror cake by a girl with a very odd affect:

One of these days I should take a cake decorating class, 'cause I'm pretty bad at it.

Technical Hand-Waving

Jul. 15th, 2017 06:05 pm
lil_m_moses: (phone)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
Hm. I got the new screen installed on the old phone (well, it's at least taped onto the frame and electrically connected to the rest of the stuff which I stuck back into the slightly broken frame), and it's working now (huzzah!), though I broke apart and then gave up on the earpiece, which was glued to shards of broken glass on the back of the old screen. I'm just going to sell it for parts when I'm done cleaning it off, so completeness is not important. Seems the battery (which is the bent part - eek!) isn't talking to the motherboard, either, as it's stuck at 50% and not showing charging when the cable's connected, though I'm getting the connection bing. I was able to recharge it a few days ago, before I took it apart, and it's been off since shortly after that, so the charge should be sufficient to do this activity even if it's not charging now.

I'm trying to transfer the data between the two phones via wifi and the Xperia transfer app, but it lost connection once, and then seemed to stall out on the second attempt and then said it lost connection while I was poking through its help file (and it had switched to the other wifi band when I looked; I consequently made it forget that one). I'm trying a third time now (maybe it hadn't been stalled, since it got through the current piece fast this time?), but if this doesn't work I'll just dump what I can via computer, and if that's not enough, I'll go get a USB OTG cable (which might be handy to have anyway) and try it that way instead of over wifi.

EDIT 1:30 AM: Ended up doing a backup of the old phone onto the SD card and then doing a restore from that onto the new phone. Then took FOREVER trying to figure out how to get my calendar data transferred. Annoyed that I bought an upgrade to my calendar program and it wasn't able to do what I needed. Did finally find a separate app that could make it work, though I'll be damned if I understand what it did and why none of the other stuff that was supposed to work did. Not sure I'll be able to import my cross stitch floss list (think I did it manually last transfer). I had a few files in a secure notes app, the app was crashing in the new phone and I needed to reinstall it, but I very foolishly did that _before_ trying to switch the SD card back to the old phone and export the files first, and now they're gone. *facepalm* If I have to recreate the files anyway *whimper* maybe I'll check Google Play for something better. I think I have everything else that contained data I care about transferred, thank goodness.

EDIT 8:45 AM: Victory! After sleeping on it, I tried another restore from the backup file, of just the apps, and it recovered my data for both those apps! I'm still fighting with the calendar a bit, though. Again.

30 Stars

Jul. 15th, 2017 12:44 pm
lil_m_moses: (crafty)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
30 Stars

Finished my 30 star blocks for the quilt. Next is the star borders, or sashing, which will help hide the unevenness of my star edges. This is all I need before the next class, though.

Not super happy with one that's reverse contrast and another that's negligible contrast, but whatever. This is my newbie quilt. Trying really hard not to make any star/sashing combo changes, though. I'm terrible at randomization, but feel like I did OK at randomizing these initially.


Jul. 13th, 2017 02:27 pm
lil_m_moses: (Michigan)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
We spent a lovely 9 days in Michigan last week and this. The weather was perfect (low 60s to low 80s, and felt like it!), and we soaked it up, spending as much time outdoors or with windows open as possible. Coming back to the sauna was not a joy. We're even more motivated to find a way to move north now. We were there for Cherry Festival, which is generally a thing for locals to avoid, but it was fun to show Josh & Lillian once. We went to fireworks (once right by the bay, once in the middle of my aunt's street, which has a straight-shot view to the bay (16 blocks away). We watched a pet show, with categories like best dressed and fattest cat. We watched a bit of a local native American intertribal pow-wow. Lillian and I rode some stuff at the midway (she's still too short for many things). We watched excited dogs run and jump into a big pool. We watched a parade. We ate wonderful sausages and an elephant ear and yummy local pie and ice cream and, of course, cherries. We went canoeing. We went to 2 barbecues. Josh and I went to see Spiderman. We got several large items out of my mom's basement and I cleared out a bunch of my old stuff (and shipped a little bit home). Josh exercised at the school playground a ways behind Mom's house. We went swimming in the local lake. I fixed my Mom's printer and tried to fix her computer (but its drive is pretty damaged). I had the aforementioned phone adventures. I talked (only semi-jokingly) with my uncle and cousin about starting an engineering firm up there so we can all move there: Mike is the idea man, I'll do testing, and Uncle Charlie is the business genius. We'd just have to decide _what_ we'd do - Mike has done laser range finding and ocean energy generation, and I do mostly space life support systems. Overall, it was delightfully relaxing and refreshing, and I'd like some more right now, thanks.
lil_m_moses: (to-do)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
I was nicely productive yesterday during my bonus vacation day, between setting up new phone, haircut, car inspection, car registration renewal and title update, short bank and grocery stops, and making a few quilt stars.

Every opportunity:
- work on applications

Read more... )

- eval from last week's minisim
- minisim 5 prep and work on MS6 script
- clean the microwave, kitchen counters, and misc. dusting
- pick Bulbasaur pic and print for frozen buttercream transfer work
- put away luggage and stuff in MI box
- arrange star blocks, sew into rows of 5, press, then sew rows together

Read more... )

Sometime These 2 Weeks (ideally, tasks to be assigned to days as I go)
- start thinking about tapas dish & drink pairing for end-August party
- make plans to hang out with J
- remake water bottle sling with webbing
- prep for Lillian's bday party on 5th (cake, gifts,, gift wrap, mac & cheese?, other?)
- call arborist to come prune dead stuff, raise canopy, trim side oak back from house
- get boxes to Sa
- call Mo's general contractor and the one I found an ad for, and maybe try that website again with a different need path, to arrange for hall bath remodel/plumbing fix/mold cleanup, and to arrange for living room ceiling mold remediation and rebuild
- schedule massage w/ gift cert - call to see if they'll even honor that gift cert
- get new passport photo taken
- more stuff off big list as inspiration/time dictates


Jul. 12th, 2017 12:06 pm
lil_m_moses: (phone)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
Hooray! UPS man came this morning, so I have the new phone in my hot little hands. It's currently doing it's second Android update, and I got a bunch of Play store apps installed/updated before it recharged enough to do the second one. I'll move my sim over from the old phone as soon as this is done, as I have a haircut and errands to run. I'll have to wait on restoring most of my personal stuff from the old phone until I can get the replacement screen and install it, hopefully this weekend. Seems I can do a direct transfer over wifi via Xperia apps, which will be helpful, but I have to be able to get the app open on both phones. Still need to get myself some USB-C converters or cables, though, since it only came with the one. My haircut is right next to Best Buy...maybe I'll just pop in and grab 1 for work for the moment, and deal with Amazon hunting later.


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