I often find situations that my father would balk at as being inconvenient and uncomfortable to be quite desirable regardless. Clearly, he and I are valuing different factors for these. A very typical one is going for a walk in the winter. He suggests that it is too cold for such an expedition, but I think it is too beautiful not to adventure out.
I miss snow already.
I am having a nice weekend. I feel like I am being personally productive.
I've worked extra hours for most days of the last two weeks. I'm on a custom team and we have our core product, and I was asked whether I could complete a couple development items for the core product's quarterly release. I've done it before and I did it again gladly. However, the work should only be done in over time, because custom team already has their hours dedicated to a client. I also have taken on two side projects. One which I think I might have to defer, and one that I'm really excited and happy about, and makes my day job easier and more fulfilling. It is nice the initiatives I feel I can tackle once I'm confident in what I'm doing.
I like to read a lot about current events. I don't usually mean the news, though I have followed that thing that just happened quite a bit. Mostly I enjoy reading interesting or informative posts at a variety of blogs or news blogs. To prevent myself from nickle and diming my time away through the week, I now concentrate my great consumption of textual media to the weekend. The earlier in the weekend, the better, before I drag it out like a weekend-long birthday party where the only reason people don't leave is because I swallow the only key that would let them out of the basement. There are usually about 600 items, most of them a paragraph long, but quite a few a couple pages. Some people go to the trouble of writing full-blown essay length posts, and I usually go to the trouble of ignoring them and hoping I'm not greatly deprived by abstaining from their thought candies. And that's a problem.
I read things under the misguided hope that I will get to rot my brain on these thought candies. That they'll leave impressions like gaping cavities in my once confident understanding of what is and show me what actually is. However, with about 600 items, and many of them very brief and shallow, I end up getting easily saturated by simple, light treats and end up unable to digest or even attempt the large, worthwhile, rich and large bon bons which promise the best experiences. I spoil my appetite. So, I defer. I defer these delicacies until Later, where Later is a mythical time oft spoken of by We Who Lack Time (but we know we'll find it again some day). Of course, that's a crock. What ends up happening is that it ends up at the bottom of the food pile and stagnates and rots there for weeks and, like sweet food-ons that you might delay on eating for a more convenient moment, it gets thrown out after a month.
However, I have revolutionised the way I do my reading now, As Seen On TV. When I read this string of candied beads, I have been doing it in LIFO when I should have been doing it in FIFO! And, there's a real difference as to why. (LIFO is Last In-First Out, where you read the newest stuff first; FIFO is First In-First Out, where you read the oldest stuff first; it's fundamental queuing theory!) When I read the newest things first, I will effectively always have spoiled my appetite by the time I get to the cake from weeks gone by, and I will probably have added additional cakes from this week as my sweet tooth became overwhelmed and my senses dulled, my brain numbed, my mind wandering. So, now my articles are sorted by Oldest First. This way, last weeks cake is still fresh in front of me when I am hungriest! A lot more cake assuredly gets devoured now (unlike before, where I left it all to go stale). After after the cakes, I still have room for all the light, fluffy icing that constitute the majority of the 600 articles. I am full of win and winful mind pastries. Yum!
Now that I'm actually reading more of the French desserts, I ended up spending a bit more time today reading than in previous weekends. About 6 hours. I accredit that in part to having a backup of stale cake to read under my new method; something which should be avoided in future weekends by at least an hour. I'll always leave something over for next week; a lot of the creamily-filled chocolate surprise-thoughts won't appear until I've gorged on quite a few wafers first, and I won't be able to fit it all. But at least they'll be the first ones I'll encounter when my appetite is built back up. Yum!
There is so much to think, so much to say. I've wanted to write about a lot of things, but I take a lot of time to go about and I lose interest in the words. Hmm.
One issue was that Flesherton this year feels like an echo of my youth. My father's house wasn't decorated for Christmas and dinner wasn't planned. I went about setting up the tree myself and ordering Christmas pizza. The meal went well, there was a lot of food (salad, garlic bread, wings for the omnivores). My brother, his fiancee, and their recently-born daughter made it. Christmas Eve church service and Cliff and Vera were absent. For the first time, really, Christmas celebrations depended in large part on my active participation. I will try to be more prepared for next year.
A lot of my friends have left their homes in search of life, freedom, careers, and school. However, they almost all managed to make it back to Grey County for a Wahoo! I haven't seen Danielle or Emily yet, but Ashley made it over for breakfast, snowballs and Dutch Blitz. Shane visited his family, and I visited them all. They're a good family that is very welcoming. I persuaded them to play Dutch Blitz as well, though Shane's brother's girlfriend had protested. Frank and his first sister came to Flesherton for a few days around New Year's Eve. We visited them twice and had Frank over for a supper once. We got in a lot of conversation, tea, an episode of Get Smart, and a viewing of the anime Origin which I gifted to him. Also, popcorn, chocolate turtles, ice cream, and ice cream bars. Also, two sessions with the twins, with movies, driving, pizza, East Side Marios, and board games.
The case of Frank emphasised the feeling of this Christmas holiday being a faint echo of those that came before. Only he and his first sister were present in a house that hasn't been properly lived in for months, and which has been cleaned largely bare of its former life and activity. It seems somewhat like social states can be establish where annual deviation is relatively small, but only for a certain period, after which breaks need to be made. Over the course of Schwarting-family Christmases starring my father as Dad, there has been a rather great deviation from the first to the last, but between any two Christmases the deviation has seemed smaller. The actual deviation between this one and the previous one doesn't seem great, but it feels great. I'm very grateful that Frank was able to visit Grey County and that we could enjoy New Years with him. I'm glad that Shane was pleasant and Shane-as-usual. I'm glad to be able to toss a snowball in Ash's face. I'm glad that my father, despite having a great deal of complaints recently about pain, has seemed to be as Ox-strong as ever during my visit, willing to drive several times for the same egg-breakfasts in Markdale.
The twins, oddly, seem like they'll never change. Things seem to be improving, rather than deteriorating, as well. They seem to be investing a little more in their home, which makes it all the more pleasant to visit in. At its worst, it's been cold and uncomfortable, but nothing that could really deter me from visiting them. Their media collection seems slightly more organised and consequently more impressive. Their family bond seems a bit tighter than in recent years. We got to play Scattergories with them, and Settles of Catan. Liv won a game of each and I won a game of the former. Liv's quite good :) We also saw with them Yes Man, National Treasure, and the new The Hulk. They have a tradition of funding my entertainment during excursions some times, given their workingness and my education-induced poverty. I am not sure whether that was appropriate this time, given my recent period of payed work :)
So, that about sums up a report on How Life Has Changed. It seems shallow. I'm concerned anew with shallowness, since Liv introduced me to the Daria movie. Sigh :)
(update: the battery died three months later)
Liv is now the proud owner of a tablet. An IBM Thinkpad X41, used. General piece of advice for the future: do not acquire 3rd party batteries. Yes, they are less expensive. And they may be equally safe. However, both replacement batteries that I have tried to acquire for this have had their capacities over-advertised and are notably less than Lenovo's replacement. (Though, it more or less matches the price.) Almost more alarming is that they do not fit well. The first replacement battery was Very Difficult and needed to be forced against its will into the laptop. The second didn't enter smoothly but was better. Neither fit in the laptop when using the dock. Which will prove a great inconvenience. The laptop will always have to be hibernated or shutdown to be transferred to the dock which contains the DVD/CD-RW. Sigh. However, the stylus works nicely.
Her acquisition of a tablet got me working on improving the tablet experience for myself as well. I've installed software that does some handwriting recognition (hurrah!). The updated version of the Silicon Motion graphics driver for my tablet is the first that has enabled me to rotate my screen. I've learned a bit about the xsetwacom application that lets me reconfigure what the buttons are for the stylus (I now have a right-click instead of a middle click!) and rotate the stylus for when I've rotated the screen. (Which unfortunately introduces an offset over time, and should be done automatically and correctly anyway.)
I am still waiting to acquire an updated laptop myself at some point. My RAM is at its maximum of 256MB(!), the processor is a PIII at 800MHz. It has no USB 2.0 ports (so any USB devices like external hard drives are 10x slower or worse). It supports 802.11b at best (802.11g is about 5x faster, 802.11n is faster still). Except by ethernet, data moves at about 1MB/s off my computer at best. I'm often better off connecting a USB device to one of Liv's computers and transferring data there via ethernet. It's rather amusing :D It's case is deteriorating somewhat rapidly now. I'm not particulary harsh with it, either, I think.
I suppose I should start creating a list of candidates for Skedge's replacement.
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