At precisely 7:26PM this evening I received a Hangouts message from my wife. It said: “I’m in the bedroom… naked… eating a Snickers bar”. I immediately ran upstairs to the bedroom, of course. We don’t often have Snickers bars in the house.

Where’s My Shades?

Life is much better now that my non-circadian adventure has ended and Amethyst has been a while without emotionally transmitted diseases contracted at the Soylent Green factory which she no longer frequents. I’ve had a fairly productive week and a half, even.

It helps that one of my gigs is a full pop supporting role — I’m not really invested in the outcome at all. I wrote some software a while back that accomplishes an impressive amount of work and in so doing consumes pretty much all of the resources of the machine and/or network it’s running on, whichever is weaker. The client enlisted my aid in moving the stuff from the server it broke to a new system in another data center… where it promptly broke the network. And is now breaking the virtual machine environment that I suggested at the start would prove itself not up to the task. So now I’m getting paid to help the network engineers as they try to figure out how to make their network stronger than the program and the virtual machine gurus as they strive to understand the limitations of their favorite technology. It’s great good fun. They’re almost giggly when they ask me to start running the thing by saying, “okay, let’s go break some shit”. One of them is a middle aged Italian guy in Boston, and sounds it. When he says, “Okay, let’s go break some shit”, I get visions of movie gangsters in excellent suits with baseball bats and machine guns getting into black Lincolns.

Amethyst was in need of a workbench at which to make jewelry, and with things being so up in the air it seemed to make the most sense to just whip out something quick ‘n’ dirty that can be left at the curb when we blow down the road. Also, Dinkytown isn’t a place where the hardware stores stock dimensional lumber any better than grade 2, the kind of stuff you most often see tied up against bales of hay or cotton to secure them during transport, or holding up the plywood that keeps the weather out until the glass man arrives or the hurricane passes. It’s rarely straight, most often splintery as hell, has dimensional tolerances that would be unacceptable in even stud grade lumber, and is often cracked. It’s not intended for building things. So the plan was to whip something out that she could use for a few weeks, then drag it to the curb and never think about it again. If nothing else the firebug across the street would haul it into his back yard and burn it.

In the end, the silly thing came out square and straight everywhere it matters, level and plumb, rigid and lightweight, and massaging the many imperfections in the lumber with my palm sander gave the thing a unique charm. Amethyst wants to keep it, with a new top, one stout enough that she can hammer metal on a steel block without bouncing everything on the bench, and retaining the frame beneath. I planned for that possibility when I made it, so replacing the top will be easy. I’m glad she’s pleased by it.

What I like most about the thing is what’s in it. It was made with lumber judged inferior, and it’s actually perfectly suitable for Amethyst’s purposes. It’s got character to it. Once the top is replaced it’ll be sturdy enough that small children could jump on it without damaging it — the current top is splatterboard (as I call it; the stores call it OSB, “Oriented Strand Board”) with a rubberized fabric drop cloth cover. It’s not as shitty as it sounds. And it helps to slow those little gemstone beads when they get away, too, so maybe they don’t make it all the way to the floor.

Where Snooginator might eat them. I don’t suppose it would do her any harm, but they’re more expensive and less nutritious than dog food. Miss Awesome, well, she’s a cat, and the beads are small and round, so to her they’re toys. Cats prefer small toys that have been beneath appliances to those that have not. So, since the critter/two-leg bondings have worked out that the cat is mine and the dog is hers, I’ll do my part to retrieve from under the stove and/or refrigerator any lost beads that Autumn might discover and it’s up to Amethyst how she handles those found by Starr. Seems a naturally selected division of labor to me.

And perhaps a naturally selected bit of inferior lumber too, I think. In a strange and unexplainable way, it’s fitting. Perfect. The ultimately superior choice even though it’s impossible to explain precisely why. I look forward to experimenting some more with unconventional uses of lumber judged inferior.

Amethyst’s got her stuff in a boutique downtown now, and we’re going to take road trips to get it into boutiques in other downtowns soon. Eventually we’ll cover pretty much everywhere interesting within our extended home range, I imagine. I expect that to be major good fun. I like bumbling around mountain towns. We’ll have to hit ski resort towns, too, but I don’t really like those. They may be in the mountains, of necessity, but they are not mountain towns. Which is okay, because they’re not supposed to be. I just don’t like places that are too self-conscious. Unless we become the colorful mountain folk who come to trade with the greatly more sophisticated and worldly town merchants, it’ll be okay. I hope.

Amethyst does tend to get a mite uppity from time to time…

A kid who works at the burger joint in town thinks I’m a genius because I knew how to get a balky countertop pump-type ketchup dispenser to perform its function — by banging it flatly down upon the counter to dislodge air from around the pump inlet. He asked if I’d ever worked in fast food, to know something like that. The guy in the kitchen said that he’d never heard of anything like that before and that he, too, wanted to know how I knew it. I nearly wept in despair. Of the three of us, I was the only one capable, without prior experience or present assistance, of outsmarting an air bubble. Sometimes it’s good being in a minority.

So life is good and the future looks bright.

Ugly Cycle

Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder, with which I am blessed, comes with the curse of random non-circadian cycles. Not for everyone, but for many, of whom I am one. I’ve been in one of those for three weeks now, and it either just broke or just got crazy worse. I didn’t get to sleep yesterday until some time after I swore off looking at the clock at 7:30AM, arose around 3PM, went back to bed around 10PM, and arose this morning at 7:10. None of which are anywhere near my normal sleep period from around 3AM to about 11:30.

Our internet connection has been out of shape, too. Thirteen consecutive hours of outage a few days ago, intermittent outages since, then another outage of several hours today, and the whole town affected. Being of unsound mind and body, I decided to take advantage of today’s outage to build Amethyst her new workbench. Five trips to the hardware store without having done a damn thing yet convinced me that it’s time to accept that I don’t have brain enough to do even simple things.

Which wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t need sufficient brain to do my job. I kinda made a career out of doing difficult things well enough that I can just sit on my ass at home and people will come to me to ask me to do them, so being three weeks jet-lagged puts me in a tricky place. I don’t know how to fake it. The computers won’t be fooled. Damned things.

It’s these episodes that remind me that I’ll be 55 years old in a few months and still in a profession that is unkind to mental decline. I’m glad to feel Strange-Ri-La getting closer, with the mothership that will give us options by making life very economical. If the software gig gets beyond me after the mothership is fully operational, well, then it does. If Amethyst’s gig is doing well, I might just kick back and put all thoughts of money and commerce out of my head for a while. I could be a kick-ass house-husband.

Except during non-circadian cycles.

Hoping that mine’s just ended I must toddle off before I screw myself up. G’night, all!

 

Could it be?

Does time love a hero? Only time will tell.

Amethyst booked her first ever sale today, and the young woman was just completely thrilled. It was huge fun for me, too, as the fucking guilty bystander. I wasn’t at all innocent in the thing. I didn’t do anything to coerce or fraudulently obtain a sale or anything like that, not really. I just kinda goaded Amethyst into a little test marketing with a presumptive customer who’d been asking to see some pieces for a little while now.

So it has now been firmly established that the reasonable formula I proposed to Amethyst for the pricing of her products has the magical quality of resulting in prices that seem too high to Amethyst but perfectly and unhesitatingly acceptable to her customers. All one of them. But it was an important question and the one answer we got agreed with me so it’s the right one.

I’ve just got to believe that when a 54 year old hippie pagan chick just walks the fuck out saying to hell with you hostile bastards I’m gonna go make jewelry for uppity chicks, it’s just heroic enough that the universe has to miracle up rewards for it. That’s the romantic thing for the universe to do, anyway. Because it makes no sense but it wants very much to. The universe, that is. Uppity chicks always make sense. From a certain perspective.

 

I looked at the news, mostly just the headlines. It’s apparently becoming reality check time. Group therapy here we come. Try not to sit next to the crazy violent fuckers.

Oh, and please do try to pay more attention to who’s good people, too. That’s fixin’ to be a really important thing to know how to do, telling the difference. If we were better at it all along we wouldn’t be in this mess.

Funkin’ It Up Good

I ain’t real sure what happens next, but the whole album this one’s from is on the soundtrack:

The Strange-Ri-La we had envisioned for all those years required that my body be unbroken and at full capacity for the first several years of it, and that’s no longer how that equation balances so I’ve been thinkin’ up other ways to do it. I’ve got all kinds of stuff going on in this pointy little head of mine, and I’ve been kind of struggling with how to put it all together in the mostest bestest form-follows-function manner because I’m going to stay old and get older there so I have to approach it that way.

That’s a much harder approach to swallow than it might at first glance seem. But having got that sucker down I’m able to see how I had assumed too much in the original idea, and this new one is very attractive to me for a number of reasons. All the reasons, really, but that’s another story entirely.

A few days ago, maybe a week ago, I hit Amethyst with an idea of where the form-follows-function approach is taking the design of the mothership at present but before the math is done so the surprises might go the wrong way and scrap it, and her immediate response was to ask how we might decorate it. When I told her that decor remains her department, she said that she thought it could be as funky as it should be for us and off we went talking about those kinds of things. It was huge good fun because I’ve always admired her taste and I don’t think she quite gets yet that it’s a true go for it zone so I’m looking forward to when she does.

The thing I had just hit her with was so completely post-industrial neolithic hippie that most sane women would want a few more details before talking about placement of the patio furniture, but she just jumped right into it and pretty much said that whatever I come up with is just fine with her as long as it keeps warm in the winter. This is a woman who knows that I have all kinds of screwy unconventional notions in my head and get more of them all the time, too. And she likes them.

Things could get really interesting. As if they aren’t already.

 

Though I’d been expecting it, I’m still disappointed that Bernie proved himself to be less principled than he’d led us to believe he was.