There is a community pool just down the way. Taken up in college, swimming is a favorite mental break for me, as and upper body exercise. It's exercise not requiring mental vigilance.

It took some trial and error, but I figured out that if it is overcast and rainy, right around 10:30am, I could get into the pool.

Other swimmers did far more work than I did; most of them leave for work late or take off early or other convulsions and swim at the same time on the same day every week, and any new comer pushes the completely booked up pool past the breaking point, in addition to being exceedingly unpleasant for the new comer.

But on rainy days, enough people are tipped over the edge of not swimming, that I can get. Today is overcast. There are effectively not rainy days during summer; this is the best I can do. I went for it.

Screaming children, as I approached. Oh, %&#!. Peered through the fence. Pool not completely full. Realized that all of this time I'd swam there, or attempted and failed to swim, there was a second pool that's been unused and covered; the kids must be there. Maybe it's okay. Screams must be coming from there... oh, and from the locker room. Going for it.

Cashier informs me lap swims ends at 12:30, just over an hour away. Winter, it's open until 2pm usually, but public pools have schedules that change by the minute. Whatevs. Go in. There's a wall of children with no path through. Like a truck on a road full of sheep, I inch through them, trying to make loud "excuse mes" in the hope that some attendant adult with shoo them off or at least not call the police on me for trying to the hell by. Children are completely oblivious.

Approach the locker room. Screams are still coming from the locker room. Approach. Kid blocks the door and starts asking me questions. Try to be nice but also don't want to get in trouble for talking to someone else's kid. Keep it short. Tell the kid I'm going to swim and I'm going to change and gesture to go in. Kid is oblivious. Panic. Move to run him over. He moves. Inside, father is screaming for that kid to come back, two more are running around. Go to change in one of the changing booths I don't normally use but quickly discover all three are occupied. As soon as father has the first three children under control, he goes over to the changing booth and starts screaming at the booths which are full of children who are playing and apparently have been playing and refusing to exit the booths since before I approached the complex. Stand there dumbfounded for a few minutes clothes half off staring at the wall of lockers while screaming children chase each other around and try to interact with each new adult who comes in. Eventually father coaxes one kid out of the changing booths while two others just go running off into the pool area.

Swim. It's lovely. As it gets close to closing time, I have the lane to myself. Then boom! I crash into someone. Someone entered my lane without alerting me first. Convention, everywhere I've swam, is you stick a limb or something in to get the attention of a person swimming alone then ask "mind if I join?" and they say yes and then they know that they're splitting or circle swimming or whatever you figure out. You don't establish circle swimming or lane splitting by jumping in and going for it. Stop, gawk, dumbfounded again, mumble something, decide I should have fled along time ago and promptly jump out of the pool and run for the locker rooms.

Shower, quickly. Man enters and starts trying to talk to me. Doesn't notice I'm not responding. Keeps talking to me. Go to change after drying my hair; family with kids came in and he left his shower on and left and the shower area and is walking around the locker room naked which is normally not a big deal. Trying to put clothes on; completely swarmed; get my pants on shirt on then grab everything else from the middle of the cluster of children and flee the locker room; fuckit, I'll put stuff in my bag and put my shoes on in the parking lot. Naked guy is peeing naked and making inappropriate loud noises.

I'm guessing lap swim hours are reduced during summer when the kiddie pool is open because no one in their right mind will attempt the locker room unless they have their own chaos entourage.

Swing by 7-11 for a tallboy to calm my nerves. Cashier attempts to short change me a $10.

California is a lot of fucking work.

Misc

Jun. 20th, 2017 02:03 pm
Rebeccmeister posted this in other channels:

http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20170612-why-you-should-manage-your-energy-not-your-time

Some random comments:

Other things written about WWII efforts support the basic idea. Fatigue sets in and errors multiply and labor becomes counterproductive at a point.

Clients who "don't know what they want but know when they want it by" run directly against this... and then eventually you become desensitized to the constant state of emergency. Progress and success vanish from the realm of things that exist.

Double-shifts at the movie theater are far easier than double-shifts programming. Problem solving requires a sort of adaptive learning that destabilizes given too many scenarios and networks. The article seems to assume a certain sort of problem-solving-oriented work.

Writing about outside approaches to creativity always reminds me of Pirsig, who recently passed.
Every site I blog on seems to die. atariage.com is doing fine for now but livejournal.com imploded like use.perl.org before it. I vaguely recall that there were several others I was trying to use. Text should really just go on slowass.net, with everything I can salvage from elsewhere there.

I peaked early.

http://rebeccmeister.dreamwidth.org has been blogging for me so I don't have to.

Feeling pretty private after a lot of difficult social interaction that I threw myself in to in the non-profit realm. Regardless of whether I was fucked over repeatedly by a revolving cast that my socially inept brain couldn't keep up with, I'm feeling fucked over and lied to by a revolving cast, so basically not telling anyone about anything going on in my life is a safety blanket.

I can't really talk shit about anything or anyone until I wrap up the Kickstarter. I'm in moral limbo.

I want to publish research results, not just opinions. Among them is ambitions with the Tempe Bike Count data and GIS data. Similarly, I want to talk about things I've learned from doing things, like finishing my Atari 2600 game. People in CA have graciously taken me in, and they're nice and cool people, but quiet spaces are virtually non-existant, and I'm having concentration/interruption PTSD from Tempe then here. Interruptions always seem to scale in proportion with my resolve to get things done. The other morning, I woke up at 4am with my brain busy with shit I really, really needed to get done. Yesterday was a holiday. Slightly earlier, client shit was seriously on fire, like potential massive critical data loss on fire, but I was essentially in middle of party. Trying to go to a coffee shop in CA, quite often I find that there are no seats in multiple coffee shops. It's easy to spend all of your time in CA just walking around. Going across the bay is far worse. People guard the restrooms in coffee shops to make sure you have a recent receipt or you're not allowed to pee. If you're there too long without buying something, you're asked to leave. I was told that programmers in coffee shops in SF got recruited but everything I've seen suggests a hostility quite opposite of that. Programming is time consuming and concentration dependent. Merely 9 hours in the day with normal holidays enforced is too little time. Other programmer on project was probably doing 14 hour days with fewer forced vacations. Then I wind up in a battle to even hold on to a project to pay the bills but I can't really blog about (with a few "Microsoft SQLServer needs to burn in hell" Tweets lobbed out anyway), nevermind doing other things. Lack of quiet means not getting interesting things done so I have nothing to talk about. I think other programmer on project is likely the major bread winner, but CA costs more, and I'd have to have those 14 hours a day to move into major breadwinner role, so there's a chicken and egg problem there. Cowork spaces in Tempe were all hijacked by an individual who went there to have a captive audience to narrate the banalities of their life to at high volume. I don't know what they're like here, but the libraries blow and the cowork spaces cost a heck of a lot more.

In Tempe, towards the end, I was sleeping opportunistically when it was loud; it was easier to sleep through an impromptu party that formed at 3:30pm than to try to code through it. So I'd more or less stay up all night and take advantage of the lack of quiet after TV and yelling stopped at night, nap a bit in the morning, then wing sleep and work during the day. That let me grind on classes, work, and non-profit stuff, but if you don't hang out and do nothing enough with your roommates, you're not building that social goodwill.

I've been trying to reserve judgement on California, but I've decided that everyone here is just all tweaked out. LA is worse, but a lot of that spilled over to the Bay. There's a contractor working on a house across the street who comforts himself by setting off his car alarm repeatedly during the day. His car is right by the house he's working on, yet he keeps setting the alarm off, opening the car door, looking satisfied as it goes off, fucking around with his car for a bit, sitting in it, getting out a minute or ten later, then turning it off. Or looking over lovingly at his beat up old Honda while he's working, reaching in to his pocket, pulling out his car keys, and hitting the panic button, then turning it off. Maybe there's some developmental disability there, but it reminds me of taking Amtrak through LA, where everyone has to have their phone's message alert on max volume even though they barely set it down for even a second. The lonely disconnectedness of living in a place with so many people where it's so hard to connect with other human beings pushes people into a bizarre peacocking behavior. Californians can't cope with silence.

Unrelated, but everything is full here, too. The BART train system is at capacity, but Californias are so used to things being at capacity that they don't even wonder what life would be like if there was enough capacity. Being full is normal. The state and national parks here are full. Roads and parking is full. Grocery stores pack in so there's no room to move. No one reads labels on things; you'd get annihilated. You have to get into a slow moving current of people and grab things you recognize as they go past. So people generally stay in and watch TV rather than going out to bars that are physically at capacity and have insanely expensive beers anyway. I wrote a long time ago that the LA airport gave me flashbacks to _Stand on Zanzibar_, but Berkeley has shades of it.

The one thing in life that really stresses me out is not really having a plan. I was thinking I'd take classes at UMN online and get a degree -- they have a Health IT thing that looked like a fun mix of biology and CS prereqs I'd already done at UMN TC ages ago. That would potentially make me employable in hospital IT, which I had done before. Hospitals have a special quality of going far out of their way to avoid chemical pesticides. Bolted on fees that far exceeded tuition itself and Tempe ending for me aborted that. Being good enough at a cool enough technology again that I could telecommute is looking unlikely.

Speaking of pesticide, San Francisco has a serious pesticide problem, which is unsurprising given that inequality is driving squalor.

There are certainly a lot of possibilities and opportunities, but with fewer of them viable for me and not being marketable, it's too real of a possibility that nothing viable pans out before I run out of time.

So I guess the last and major reason I'm not blogging about stuff is tech is a big part of it, but I'm not really part of that any more.

I do want to talk about my experience with UoPeople and I'll try to find time for that. Maybe some day I'll talk about seriously harebrained schemes to find quiet.

... that was the last hour odd of my day there before roommates started to coagulate in an exovocally reaction.

Taxes

Apr. 17th, 2017 11:43 am
IRS rejected the efile, launching me into investigating what's wrong with my PIN. I was able to log into an account on irs.gov using a username and password (they've been through a lot of iterations of concepts of accounts or access control) but it wasn't associated with anything. Trying to make a new account errored on already having an account, after going through the initial prove-its-you thing which errored out on not being able to validate any of my phone numbers as belonging to me because none of them are AT&T/T-Mobile/Sprint/Verizon non-prepaid. Post-paid numbers are other companies. Having five devices none of which work is a theme. So the IRS is validating me with mail to the PO Box after I exceeded max attempts on a phone number. The PO Box hadn't quite lapsed yet (days away) but I've overshot my max allotted one year forwarding window. I can't change my address with the IRS unless I go through the new account procedure which I had apparently started to do before but didn't get so far as discovering address verification which only pops up after enough failed phone number entries. Renewed the PO Box for $37.

taxactonline.com claimed it was free for people making less than $65,000 but at some point it magically decided it wasn't free for me anymore, despite me taking care not to agree to anything at any point. 1099s/ind contract wasn't listed on the info page about who gets free stuff. So my tax return got held hostage until I paid them $100. If this avoids problems with the IRS, it's worth it, but I still can't help feel duped and robbed here. As consumer protections are dropped, things get shady quick. That would be less annoying if Tax Act Online wasn't far more painful than the IRS forms themselves.

I'd be sorely tempted to work for Bitcoins at a reduced rate just to avoid the hell that is taxes but coinality.com, the Bitcoin job board, has been perpetually broken for me since it started. Like with Google Apps, which I beta tested, part of the problem might have been that I was one of the original users and my account just got corrupted. This isn't just a doesn't-work-in-my-browser, but the server vomits errors at me, whose content and location changes.

Nothing works. Everything is broken. Trying to unfuck things takes forever.

I hope CA has an extra day or two for filing their returns because I can't cope with this shit any more right now.

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scrottie

August 2017

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