Pokétears

Logged into Pokémon today to send gifts to my friends’ kids. It isn’t so much fun to play it when I’m not out running around town, getting interesting pokestop gifts to send, catching weird creatures, and hatching eggs. As I then used up the rest of my hoard of gifts on other friends I felt weepy. I miss riding the bus all over town, I miss the J Church, I miss BART, feeling free & intermeshed with the map and all the people of the city.

Sent a gift to some random neighbor whose name I don’t remember but who is a tech journalist and travels around a lot (good gifts from other countries!). We met on the street as I caught him and his partner battling a gym (at the library). Sent another to my pal “yeetrio”, a young man who approached me on the platform at BART since he spotted me playing – we’re ultra friends and nearly to “best friends” months later. I saw him go to Costa Rica and then come back again! Sent one to my dad who is my top Lucky Friend. I can tell he has gone out to do his rounds in the back of Huntwick (Huntwick Stump Bear!) and Meyer Park in Houston.

It is always sweet when someone sends me an obviously cool gift (I’m looking at you Denise and Tarrant but also whoever keeps sending me “Midnight Rollergirl”.

Animal Crossing continues – today I made nearly 1 million on the stalk market by selling my turnips on someone’s island from a discord channel. The fellowship on there is very sweet as well. Sumana and Leonard and I keep visiting each other’s islands to admire the decor and flowers and trade tips.

Feeling sentimental about games – I need to gear up to work on my big game again but it has obviously taken on a different feeling now. It is set in the Before Times, but it’s actually about history and time travel and change as the Traveller deepens their knowledge of the time and place they’re in (and goes back & forward in time as well.) So, I guess that’s where my feelings about the pandemic and our city will go.

On my toes

I have a small but nice thing to report. For the first time in 10 years, I can stand on my toes.

The thing that has done the trick is a simple pull-up bar which is mounted in a doorway. I saw this in my friend Erica’s house & bought one for something like 25 bucks back in January. It’s mounted in the bedroom closet doorway, the only one in the house that has room since I took the doors off the closet.

So, every day at least once or twice I stand there and do 20 or 30 half-pullup, half toe stands. With my “bad” leg, I have to think very carefully about where the weight is balanced and concentrate on the ball of the foot. It’s also good to keep my stomach muscles engaged.

There’s no way I can do an actual pull up, and I certainly couldn’t stand on my toes, but with the combined support I can do a weird hybrid. Bonus side effect, it straightens out my mid and upper spine amazingly so now I’m doing this so that my back will crack.

Last night there were bins of clothes in front of the closet. I was too tired to put them away. But I kind of wondered… could I stand on my toes without holding onto anything?

Tried it first holding onto a bookshelf and was able to do it. AMAZING. Then …. balance difficult… bad leg freaking out and slightly-less-bad leg screeching in protest . . . I did it unsupported and held the position. Showed this off to Danny and then quit as I don’t want to be unable to walk at all the next day!

10 years ago I couldn’t place my feet flat on the ground! Fixing that took me a year!!!!

I’d like to also say that therabands drive me up the wall, not sure why, a combination of factors. I’ve never really mastered them. Probably I need the kind with handles (the elastic hurts my hands). The closet bar has been so much more helpful and less painful.

I’m also doing the world’s tiniest weight lifting project with 2 lb weights, straight up, then straight up with arms rotated, then a “tree hug” type of move. At least once a day. It is also helping my neck and upper spine.

Well, that’s all — it’s just a lovely feeling that I can make this small change through easy and gradual habits.

Culture growing in its corners

Danny sent me this music video from one of his late night expeditions through the internet and it gives me a little surge of goodness. The dancers and singers are coordinated with their faces and bodies in little boxes like a video conference call, especially well done as the song unfolds and the social motion moves from box to box.

This is so heartening. They took this piece of our reality and turned it to a perfect expression of uncertainty and determination.

Careful I’m an animal
Trap trap trap
First of the secondary class class class
You know I don’t trust you what’s the catch catch catch
Don’t you fucking touch me I will gnash gnash gash

Cause I am an old phenomenon
And I am an old phenomenon

It has been interesting too as I have been interviewing quite a lot and in early March the interviews went all virtual – phone and video rather than going to offices. I’ve been working remote for nearly 20 years so it seems normal to me, but some others weren’t used to it, nervously referring to “Brady Bunch” or “Hollywood Squares” (dating us GenXishly from our afternoons of reruns).

Friends came by on their daily dog walk today, to shout up to me on the porch from below on the sidewalk. I passed them a newly potted succulent in a bag and they gave me a Quarantini cocktail in a mason jar. This is how our social life will be for quite some time. Tonight is another friend’s birthday party via some video conferencing tool. People have planned small performances. I might dress up.

For the last few weeks I dove fiercely into Animal Crossing, and its Discord channels and reddit posts, and also have kept up my Stardew game for kids. The core is now a fairly solid group with a couple of early teens and then my son joining sometimes from virtual-college-campus of his room in Santa Cruz. Others played for a while and then went off and formed their own small groups. I can see them playing together from the Steam notifications of their games and when they earn badges. Hosting these small spaces has been comforting and good for me and I hope for them too. I’m also sending Pokegifts (when I can replenish them) to some younger kids who are newly allowed more “screen time” by their desperate parents!

I did a small amount of work with some local medical PPE maker groups. It’s amazing to see that happen, like any disaster response, small groups spring up fast. As they combine their missions & processes evolve. You can kind of see (from where I’m sitting) some people going a non-profit forming route, some trying to form business connections, either way making something more like sustainable institutions, or finding the existing ones and figuring out how to support them in a way they can handle. The usual institutional or business paths aren’t working at all, so medical staff are just going directly to hackerspace and maker folks, doing fast rounds of prototyping, testing, feedback, & then rapidly scaling up production.

Seeing some of the professional logistics people jump into this was mind blowing (I’m thinking of the guy who works in some kind of concrete/cement industry and his mojo in finding the right kinds of plastic and foam.) That’s still happening and will keep happening for months. I thought immediately of Kevin Carson’s book, The Homebrew Industrial Revolution as small local manufacturing sprang up overnight. I am on 4 slack channels and have so many spreadsheets, docs, wikis, etc. At this point just reading them and speaking up if I see someone asking a question that I know the answer to.

The couple of actual moments I got someone supplies or facilitated a connection were amazing.

The city feels tense. When I go out I’m feeling so aware of the moment between the Before Time and what might come, and trying as always to savor whatever is good and functional about it. The tense feeling, like, you can feel people’s increasing desperation and worry, The people who are out are either a bit freaked like me trying to do their thing, or are a hot mess even more than they may have been before, with less dilution by other people.

I got a mask and a bandana to Bob who lives on the street a few blocks away but the other guy (Junior) was nowhere to be found. (He will lose a mask quickly or forget about it anyway unfortunately.) I wanted to get them masks because the city has just declared them mandatory, and it seems worrisome what will happen to them if they don’t comply.

Everyone seems to be going just a little off the rails.

I’m worried about everyone.

out with mask

Feeling a bit uncreative, and dull, and stressed, but I hope that will pass, I think the stress of unemployment was really piling onto the stress of enormous pandemic and world economic collapse. Thank fucking god for Animal Crossing and my practice from various past illnesses and endurance/resilience, as I just hunkered down to get through some time till I figure out how to Actually Cope.

We are baking and like everyone else in this town I have a pet sourdough starter. Its name is Bubbles.

Our actual pet, Dashboard the cat, is extremely comforting.

I’m excited to watch the Philharmonic Baroque Orquestra’s production of Saul from last November, which I missed b/c I was sick and I was SO SAD about that. I listened to it and read the libretto a zillion times. Because of the pandemic, they’ve made it public.

Another bright spot, Ars Minerva is planning a production of a 17th century opera, Messalina, which can’t fail to be AMAZING.

Giant blockquote because it’s just too good.

Carlo Pallavicino’s MESSALINA plot:
A sex farce with teeth. Clever, lecherous Messalina turns the tables several times on the gullible Emperor Claudius, who is hardly innocent himself. Meanwhile two other couples suffer their own romantic vicissitudes. Furtive assignations, frustrated trysts, kidnappings, betrayals, sudden recognitions, a heroine and a hero both in drag, and a plot as convoluted as only 17th-century Venetian opera can put together, all lead to a reconciliation that will last only as long as Messalina can keep pulling the wool over Claudius’ eyes.

From musicologist Wendy Heller book: Emblems of Eloquence: Opera and Women’s Voices in Seventeenth-Century Venice:

“This chapter deals with Roman empress, Messalina, the adulterous wife of the emperor Claudius, who in Messalina brought to the luxurious stage of the Teatro San Grisostomo an unmatched reputation for decadence and sexual excess […] Messalina provokes the most basic sort of fear — that a woman will deprive a man of his place not only in bed but also in his public role in society. Messalina relinquishes her role in the opera, avoiding the bloody death of her historical model. She serves to reinforce an essential lesson about the dangers of female sexuality.”

This is so my favorite kind of thing!! Bring it on!!! If it has to be delayed another year, I’ll keep donating and waiting!

From the song (remember that, at the top of this post?) by Thao & The Get Down Stay Down,

Sip on joy the purest drink
Move to make
Thought to think
They can feel us from afar
Avenues and boulevards

I’ve been so politely at the bottom
Pull it tight boot strap
Strap it on and top em
I’ve been so politely at the bottom
Pull it tight boot strap
Strap it on and top em

That dull feeling, converted to fierceness, because fuck it,

liz with glitter on

From the state-wide lockdown

Next two weeks are going to be intense as the wide spread of COVID-19 becomes more obvious and hospitals get overloaded. People are upset now about just staying home, and it’s going to get so much worse/more traumatic. I hope we all are able to be kind and compassionate to each other and hold space for each other. This is just the beginning.

The California state-wide lockdown started last Thursday evening. Here’s some details.

Stay home except for essential needs

Everyone is required to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job. If you go out, keep at least 6 feet of distance.

and,

The California State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health is ordering all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence, except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.

Here’s the PDF of the description of critical infrastructureEssentialCriticalInfrastructureWorkers; it’s pretty interesting.

At our house, things are nearly as they usually are, since I’ve worked from home for years and have had long periods of limited ability to go out. Danny is WFH, and we like being around each other, and the (adult or nearly so) kids are with other parents right now. It’s pretty peaceful. I am not 100% feeling well (exhausted, headache, low fever hits me a couple of times a day) but also not super sick and not coughing. I’m getting lots of job interviews, which is great.

My morning routine is as follows, wake up around 6 or 7 and blearily read tumblr, twitter, or Hacker News or reddit, whatever, till I either doze a bit more or get up for coffee.

Coffee, toast and jam, hanging on the couch by the window, reading a book or reading news, going through my email and whatever slack-channel backlog happened in the night.

Meds, face wash (I have to specially deal with dry eye effects so that also means a hot compress and eyedrops) I’m trying to get dressed in the mornings rather than lurk in PJs till noon, but it’s inconsistent. Today I dressed nicely, put on some face goop (The Ordinary hyaluronic acid) and some cologne (Elizabeth W Vetiver, which miraculously doesn’t set off my allergies!). 2nd cup of coffee, turned on my day-spectrum light. Cleaned the litter box. Do some arm weights on the porch to greet the day. Tick off all the “morning things” boxes in Habitica.com.

I go through my calendar and make sure I know what’s happening today, writing it out on a little slip of paper to keep by my side. Today I have 3 short interviews, at 10, 11, and then 1pm.

Since it’s Tuesday, at noon I’ll be going out on the porch to howl like the SF Siren and loudly declare that This is a test!! The noon siren has been silent for the past few months and I miss it. Last week, when I did this I made some people walking by laugh really hard, exactly the goal!!

3-5 pm is my Stardew game with a crew of kids. After that, this week and last I’ve been basically going to bed early and reading as I’m tired/sick feeling and my head hurts. A little house cleaning and tidying here and there. I have joined our friend Rubin’s evening hangout over Jitsi, yesterday watching him do some sort of 3d printing project, Jarrod doing architecture work, Merlin and friend sewing masks, while I studied for systems design interviews. My Slack channels (weirdlings, disabled-techies, mozvets are the most active right now) are a beautiful lifeline.

Morning and evening I wipe down the faucets, counters, door handles etc with bleach spray for whatever that’s worth, and there is lotion by the kitchen and bathroom sinks to help with the frequent hand washing. No one is really interacting with us but Danny has been going out for minor groceries every few days and we have had food delivery and packages arrive (thank you all the workers doing this and I’m tipping nearly as much as the food cost).

Once I feel better, more gardening and organizing is on my list, and more exercise, maybe taking a little spin around the block via powerchair (we are 2 blocks from a lovely park with views of the whole city, so that is an option too)

I am grateful for our cozy house and relative security.

The bright and lovely world

I remember coming out of the house to go to the doctor one time after being ill and house-bound for something like three weeks. The vibrant activity, movement, color, all the people and buses and trees and birds and signs, moved me to tears. I still think of that moment of epiphany every time I’m going on the bus down Mission Street and feel a surge of love.

I’m not feeling super well this week, still interviewing but at a somewhat slower pace as I am getting easily tired (and sporadically running a low fever – still unsure if it is vaccine side effects, just some sort of routine sinus trouble, or a mild case of the Rona.)

Our fridge broke and we had to throw a lot of food away; I got a used fridge from a handy appliance shop just one block from us. Four guys delivered it and took out the old fridge. I bleached all the counters, fridge, and door handles before they came in to protect them, and afterwards to protect me. And tipped high in cash. So appreciating their work. It was quite stressful considering the possibility of trying to get through the quarantine/statewide lockdown without refrigeration for our food. Very happy to now have a working fridge again!

Once I feel a bit better, I have some plans to further organize and clean out our little “office” section of the living room, and to slowly repot every plant on the front porch. Work on my BART game would be nice too and I have several zine and book projects, any of which would be fun to fire up again. (They have fallen by the way as I’ve been either obsessed with jobhunting, de-stressing from interviewing, reading coronavirus news, or destressing from that by like, reading and more game playing.)

Every day I have been running a Stardew Valley game for some kids of my friends and that is now a nice part of the structure of my day.

I highly recommend unlimiting your children’s “screen time” at least for now. Minecraft, Roblox, are good choices for social gaming (and can be played in creative mode for those who don’t like combat games).

Hunkering down

As we go deeper into social distancing, I have some thoughts to share.

Danny and I both tend to read the whole internets (usually while we should be sleeping) and keep our finger on the pulse of things so it is interesting to compare notes with him about the rapidly changing situation and responses and theories and all that.

It’s been touching to see people “reaching out” to me as a possibly vulnerable person. Often folks who I have known online a while and who are worrying about me b/c I am disabled. Thanks friends. (I am fine and have a lot of social support and also sufficient money.) I also got a pneumovax shot yesterday to potentially decrease a bit of risk of getting extra lung infections on top of COVID-19. Danny started working from home (partly to protect me which I appreciated more than I realized I would once he said it).

I had some plans to go circulate letters to neighbors offering mutual aid but I find that I’m just a bit exhausted emotionally. I might do it next week. Instead, right now, I am donating cash to the Disability Culture Club (Venmo to @DJCultureClub) and am hosting a Stardew Valley group game for kids/teenagers/anyone stressed (with the Unlimited Players mod). Hosting a small online space and making it hospitable and building out a game Discord channel is something I can do, and all the kids are out of school for weeks if not months, so why not. Gaming is now my activism, lol?

Here’s more about the DJCC:

Are you a disabled person or elder in the [SF/Oakland] East Bay needing extra support during COVID19, maybe because you can’t risk exposure on public transit, your attendant called out, etc? Please share your needs with us at https://tinyurl.com/DJCCsupportform so we can try to assist. Please know we are prioritizing BIPOC, will be triaging needs, and can’t make promises (grocery stores are sold out of a lot and we are disabled volunteers of color doing mutual aid, not the Red Cross!)

If you are an ally wanting to offer support, the best way is to Venmo us at @DJCultureClub to pay for hand sanitizer, masks, gas, caregiver pay, protective gear, groceries, and to fund ongoing mutual aid projects like this. We also very much need local abled volunteers who are not in contact with those at risk to provide support. Please complete our ally form here: https://tinyurl.com/DJCCally

The job hunt continues, and all the places that interviewed me and then said “we’d love to hire you but we can’t accommodate remote work” then went the very next freaking week (or two) into their entire company going remote. I should go back to them and say they should reconsider since I’m an expert in doing tech work from home — as I’ve done it successfully for two decades.

A lot of disabled people are having that sort of feeling of half resentment, half hope (or some other proportion, maybe it’s more 90/10 or 99/1!) at society’s ability to suddenly bend and adapt and change its structures NOW, for everyone, when they wouldn’t a week ago, for us. Or, are expressing some level of eye rolling as people go stir crazy after 2 days staying at home. Hi, welcome to a lot of our realities (me and other people who have had long periods “home-bound”). Oh, it feels so sad that you can’t go to that event you had tickets for and were looking forward to for months? Yeah I know. (Also skimming over the obvious horribleness of people hoarding stuff that for some disabled/ill people are necessary daily survival supplies, like alcohol wipes, etc but let’s move on for now…)

I can’t stay in that feeling for long, and what you should try to do to move out of it and let go of the bitter or resentful feelings, is realize we have many coping skills to share. Just like you, an experienced disabled or chronically ill person, would do to mentor a newbie, (Like we do all the time!) here is where your experience comes into play, and your having gone deep into these feelings and emerged again, becomes somewhere that you shine. That can sound too much like “we exist to teach the abled a lesson” but that isn’t it — because they’re not going to necessarily stay in able-landia, the world is changing for at least the medium term, and millions of people recovering from severe pneumonia isn’t going to result in millions of able healthy not-chronically ill people. They will need us, for solidarity and to know how to live well and we will need their mass political support even if it is new and based on their own new needs. (I’m thinking free universal health care here.)

That said, hi, I’m actually a bit scared, knowing we’re all going to get this sooner or later, and having had a lot of respiratory illnesses, I’m scared of having a worse one, because it’s scary and hurts and you feel super anxious not breathing well, and it would be a heinous way to die and I don’t want to die. However, if I do, not to be morbid, at least I have the comfort that I have had a really great life.

On the hunt

After 7 years at Mozilla I am now looking for a new job. 70 of us were laid off in mid-January. I tweeted about it on the day of the layoff; my tweet was quoted in the tech press and some newspapers. For a few days, this got a lot of attention. Meanwhile, also on the day of the layoffs, we started a Slack channel for mutual aid, and a spreadsheet with our names, contact info, job titles, and links to resumes or LinkedIn profiles. From the tweet getting the attention, a lot of recruiters and hiring managers looked at our spreadsheet. And, awesomely, I found out later that when Wayfair laid off 500+ people, they copied our spreadsheet format for their own organizing! This, for me, put a healthy spin on the layoff. The solidarity we expressed was and is very cheering. The story was now about our teamwork and support for each other.

As I looked into open release manager positions it became clear that the closest role to it was Technical Program Manager, and you can think of release management as a specialty of being a TPM.

Initially I was keeping notes on what I applied for in the Mac Notes app, but that got clunky. So, I created a project board in GitHub to manage all the applications I was sending out. Each job listing became a GitHub issue, and the project board has columns for “Interested”, “Applied”, “Interviewing”, “On-site”, and “Nope”. As my applications move through these stages I simply move its card. Within the columns, it’s also useful to me to have colored labels for “Waiting for a response”, “Scheduling in progress”, “Interview scheduled” and “Study needed”. Each issue contains the job listing, a link to the listing, names of people who I’ve talked with and their contact info. And, every interview or email I have for that job gets its own comment on the issue.

Sharing that project board didn’t work as easily as I would like. I made a generic version of the repo, with blank cards and an explanation of a way to use it, but when you fork a public repo, you can’t then make it private. The project boards also don’t fork – they have to be copied separately.

So, I made the same job hunting board in Trello and have shared it for anyone to use.

It’s very helpful to have an organized system like this — it lets you apply to many jobs at once and keep all the details readily at hand.

I am actually enjoying the interviews and studying for them. To study, I read about the company, maybe looking up all the tech in the stack they use or reading about the general space they’re in, their competitors, etc. For someone like me who enjoys diving into endless Wikipedia ratholes this is a pleasure. I try to write out what I’ve learned, sometimes more than once to synthesize the information in different ways.

Another way to study and prepare is to write out my answers to various common questions. For a program or release manager role, this seems to be focused on describing situations you’ve been in and what you’ve done. For example, describe a technically complex project you worked on and how you managed it. Describe a time when you got negative feedback and how you responded. Tell about a time when you had to balance many different projects and what tools you used and describe the result. So, here I tried to reflect on things I’d done at Mozilla that I was particularly proud of and could remember well enough to describe! Writing them out in paragraphs and then as bullet points means that I won’t get stuck for answers to questions about my own experiences.

Another type of question that needs study is the “system design” problem. So, say you are starting out on a project to create a photo sharing app. WHAT DO YOU DO. Fun! At least I think so. There’s plenty of guides on thinking through problems of this sort, some general and some specific. Here’s one I really liked, Vasanth’s System Design Cheatsheet. You can take this general structure and work through some specific situations like a photo sharing app or a messaging app.

Anyway, I miss Mozilla, and working on Firefox, but I’m learning a lot and keeping my spirits up. I have plenty of interviews. Wherever I end up I’ll learn some new skills and advance in my career. Going into Mozilla, I wanted to work as part of a large collaboration alongside many other engineers. I definitely got that — I learned so much and am grateful for all the opportunities I had there and fabulous people I got to meet.

Mixed trashy and nifty reading, lately

Sometime in mid-December I paused on the J.D. Robb “In Death” binge read and moved on to cozier fields: detective novels by M.C. Beaton (aka Marion Chesney), who died in December 2019. I read the complete Agatha Raisin series, easily plowing through 2 in an evening, and am now up to book 25 in the Hamish Mcbeth series. Hamish has a Scottish wildcat, a dog with oddly blue eyes, a once-per-book longing for a cigarette even though he quit, and about 5 ex-girlfriends who all happen to show up at once for him to feel conflicted about as he discovers dead bodies. As a nice touch, he sometimes reads an amazingly exotic U.S. detective novel where everyone has guns and there are lots of high speed car chases.

In between ridiculous mystery novels, I read The Story of the Mongols Whom We Call Tartars by Giovanni Caprini, which was excellent and all too short. It’s an Italian ambassador’s account of his 13th century visit to Mongolia. He met Batu Khan and Güyük Khan, describing the journey and customs of the people he met, and rounded off the book with strategic advice on how to fight the Mongols. (Right at one of those turning points dear to writers of alternate histories as, if Ogedei Khan hadn’t died just about then, Batu would likely have overrun Europe.)

As a chaser I’m reading Ibn Fadlan and the Land of Darkness: Arab Travellers in the Far North. It’s a collection of travel narratives by Muslim writers from the 9th century to about the 14th and it’s also pretty great. There’s no way for this not to be interesting and I love a primary source SO MUCH no matter what.

Ibn Fadlan‘s story describes his 9th century journey through Kazakhstan and then up the Volga to the far north where he meets the Rus, at least writes about the Samoyedi, and describes a Viking (Varangian) ship burial.

The next section of the book promises to be good as it’s an excerpt from Abu Hamid al-Garnati’s Wonders of the World where he goes to the land of the Bulgurs and writes enthusiastically about how cool beaver dams are. I look forward to his complaints about the food, the cold, the 20 hours of darkness per day, and how gross it is when people eat their own lice.

I also have William Cobbett’s Rural Rides going in the background, as it’s perfect for when I wake up at 3am and don’t want something with a compelling plot, so I can fall back asleep in the middle. It’s just Cobbett riding around Sussex or somewhere describing the scenery (which when I look it up, no matter how dramatically he describes it, it just looks like gentle, boring hills; Hawkley Hangar, I’m looking at you) and enthusing about the soil quality, how early you can harvest the corn (ie barley/wheat) or the turnips and swedes and also continuing his obsession with anyone who plaits straw for hats. Notable in recent middle of the night hallucinatory Cobbett memories, he had whooping cough and to cure it, rode all day and most of the night in the freezing rain with his shirt off, somewhere in the South Downs. Best sort of book as you can congratulate yourself on being in a warm, dry bed, totally not riding around England with whooping cough.

A lucky find, diaries, and computer fiddling

This weekend Danny and I went downtown to gawk in the aisles of Central Computers after Compupod didn’t have the external hard drive that I wanted. We combed through everything in the store just for fun. His amazing find was a tiny wireless keyboard which uses some sort of not-bluetooth protocol, and has a tiny trackpad built in, now hooked up to his Raspberry Pi which controls the projector and some lights by the bed. The interesting thing about that is he was looking it up while in the store and realized it is only available in that specific store and was probably made by the people who own it or their relatives or close connections. But it was also lovely just reading in bed and idly watching him reboot the Pi over and over as he twiddled settings on keyboard, mouse, pi, and projector and god knows what all else, including trying to control the projector through something called HDMI CEC, which barely worked and which led to much entertaining reading of forums of people cursing CEC into the ground).

I find this soothing and also extremely adorable.

Although, do you know how many fucking keyboards we have in this house?! I have at least 3 and Danny is worse. I think there are even at least 2 mini-keyboards in tiny cases and he has TWO of those artisanal wooden butterfly shaped keyboards (with cases) from Jessie and Kaya’s startup.

The other lucky find was, somewhere right around that area of downtown we saw a little pile of still-plastic-wrapped inch-and-a-half-thick Moleskin day planners. It is hard to think of something that one would pick up off the street enthusiastically in that part of SOMA but this qualified. We took all 3 of the notebooks, and I’m using one now as a simple diary.

It’s helping me feel a sense of continuity as I’ve moved away from daily blogging, and it also reminds me in a nice way of a childhood habit of writing down what I did every day. My parents started me and my sister on this with whatever printed calendar we had that year, or in little notebooks, one parent with each of us so the entries are in both our mom’s and dad’s handwriting, alternating. Then when I was around 7 I started writing some of them myself. Entries would usually be what books I’d read that day or whether I had dessert, pizza day at school, or who I played with after school. So like “Had pancakes. Read Henry Sugar. Played at horses at Chrissy’s house.” Stuff like that. I like the feeling and hope I can keep up this habit for the year.

Meanwhile my use of Habitica is still pretty good and useful. I also construct daily to do lists/schedules/shopping lists on long slips or paper or on index cards. It helps me to jot stuff down on this list as it occurs to me and to check in a few times over the course of the day. I also can see if there’s too much on the list for one day and figure out where to move errands or chores (move to a different day, put it on my calendar, put it on a more long term list, ask for help, etc.) My long term list used to be on Remember the Milk but the expense of it seemed silly after a while, so now I use Google Keep, which handily synchronizes across desktop and phone and which is free.

My 10 years old Mac Mini (Mozilla data center surplus) is still going strong, but I am upgrading it to a newer, fancier, faster Mac Mini figuring I can easily get another 10 years from it, and I want the ports, and I also have this nice new external drive so I can back up to that drive and to our Synology thingie as well. I should think harder about off site backups, maybe even as simple as taking an external drive to my storage space every once in a while.

Zine romp

Read a bunch of zines at Rubin‘s house. He had a nice approach to recovering from surgery – invite everyone he knows to come over in about a 4 day period, more or less unstructured, to hang out with him and maybe bring food. I worked from his couch for an afternoon, admiring his smart house setup (http post to open his front door!) and then stayed for zines and all the people who dropped in after work. He has a lot of cool zines as he is collecting them to take to a queer zine archive in Hong Kong.

Breaking the MANacles: an anti-patriarchy reader. The “Are you a Manarchist? Questionnaire” is fun.

Not Trans Enough: A Compliation zine on the erasure of non passing and non conforming trans identified people. From Run Away, a poem by Taylor Heywood,

“Are you a boy or a girl?”

No!

Run away while you still can!

There is more time to escape me!

Some zines by Aisling Fae including D(N)R / O(N)R and Would you fuck me? I’d fuck me / ¿Me Follarías? Yo me follaría. Transfeminine short stories in English and Spanish.

zine pages with a cut and paste layout poem

trans panic poems /// volume 1 – an interesting group of poems assembled in a hand sewn cardboard cover

Migrantskaja Europa #1