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Judy Anderson (yduJ)

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Paradise Lost [Jul. 18th, 2019|05:32 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)
I hadn't been here since the big fire last year. I've been in CA but it was a long drive to get to Paradise, from any of the places I'd been, so I wasn't inclined to do it just for sightseeing. Now, however, I'm only 30 minutes away. So mom and I took a drive up there while my stepfather went golfing for the first time in months. It's amazing. There's been a lot of cleanup, so many lots are just flat, kind of graded, with all the debris removed. There are still a lot of places left to clean. A small amount of new construction. A huge number of trucks coming down the hill full of debris; apparently it's becoming harder and harder to find places to dump it. A huge number of construction (destruction?) sites with work going strong. We drove around to see both their old houses (they downsized about 5 years ago) and also my sister's house. All of them have been cleaned up. Most of the street signs are still up, so while there aren't any landmarks, you can figure out where you are.

The weirdest thing was when the fire skipped a house or two -- there would be a house standing in the middle of a swath of destruction. It must be SO STRANGE to have your house still be standing. Talk about survivor syndrome! For a few months nobody was allowed to be up in the town due to all the toxic waste, but now people can live there, if they truck in water.

There are a lot of billboards about "Paradise Strong" (I guess the "Strong" meme has gone viral since the marathon bombings -- or maybe it was already a thing and "Boston Strong" wasn't original) and "Rebuilding Paradise". My guess is that in 5-10 years it'll be a vibrant community again. My parents still have their land. Some day some developer will rebuild their development. There's a lot to be said for it---streets and utilities are already installed, so all you need to do is build the houses. Make them modular homes and it would be up in short order. But no developer has made any offers yet, and probably won't for a couple of years.

Here's their cleaned-up yard.



Meanwhile, I've been taking walks around the new neighborhood, and found some interesting stuff. In particular, there's a creek with a levee that borders the development. Along the top there's a dirt path on which we've seen ATVs and mountain bikes, and along the side there's a paved path which looks like a bike path. So I walked along the path for a while as it followed the levee, and was completely surprised when it suddenly stopped being a lovely recently-paved path, and turned into a, well, it was paved once, but nature has been busy! This would not be a useful bike path; it goes about half a mile and that's it. I took this picture in blinding sun so I couldn't really see what I was vieweing. So I didn't get the interesting part with the interface between the old and new, just the old.



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California travels [Jul. 17th, 2019|10:28 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)
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My parents move went smoothly; lots of help from my stepfather's family. Then we've been shopping til we drop, and receiving deliveries of furniture that was pre-ordered. They did manage to get beds for the first night, but every day is an adventure of "we don't have one of THOSE???" Today we went to the thrift store to see if they had a couple of chairs for their bedroom and there was an enormous teddy bear for $6. My mom had a giant teddy bear before the fire and she fell in love with this one, so we got it. And they had some perfect chairs, too. It was the best shopping trip ever.

My sister's off at the temporary house for a week, closing it up and tying up some loose ends with her business, so I'm so far keeping pretty busy doing stuff with and for my parents. Not sure if this will subside.

We got comcast today; they were here for over 3 hours setting up three TVs, internet, and phone. Interestingly, one of the TVs is connected by a wireless cable box, because the room was very far from where cable goes into the house, and hadn't been given an original wired connection by the builders. The cable guy said that would be just as high quality signal, and not require unsightly wires going everywhere outdoors. Picture quality remains to be seen -- I see some fuzzy bits periodically, but I also saw them on one of the wired sets, so maybe cable is not really up to the job of today's e-fucking-normous TVs.

But, anyway, I have INTERNET! and so I can post more easily than with my phone. My parents have been pining for TV; I've been pining for internet!

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...and I'm off! [Jul. 11th, 2019|09:00 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)
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Flight takes off at 9:50am so I have to catch the 7:34am train, which is stupidly early California time. But, my flight goes through LAX, which is not on the way to Sacramento, and I have a longish connection, and then there's renting the car and driving the 1.5 hours, so I don't actually arrive until dinnertime.

It's going to be 100 degrees. I'm sure the rental car will have been sitting in the blazing sun with its windows rolled up all day. It's going to be delightful...

There's not going to be a lot of exercising for me other than toting bales for the move, not with that heat. So I tried to make up for it this week. Managed one ride most of the way to work on Monday:

23.33 in 2:16 for an average of 10.2. Surprisingly the elapsed time, according to my watch was 2:19, which implies I only lost 3 minutes to traffic lights.

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...and she's off! [Jul. 7th, 2019|07:09 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)
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After MUCH delay. Jocelyn was scheduled for a flight from Boston to San Diego at 10:30 am, and it took off around 6:30 pm. Poor kid, sitting in the airport all alone---I took her there but left her off at security. She doesn't need "unaccompanied minor" services anymore; she's more experienced at the whole plane flight thing than most adults. She'll be exhausted when she finally arrives. At least she's being picked up at the airport by her host family so she doesn't have to navigate shuttle buses or whatnot.

She'll be gone for 7 weeks at a circus training program. Some of us might go out for the performances at the end. Details to be worked out.

Meanwhile, my trip to help my parents move is looming soon---I leave on Friday. So Jocelyn and I will be in the same state, but 500 miles apart. (California is big.)

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log base 10 milestones [Jun. 29th, 2019|09:47 am]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)
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First 100 mile week. (Just barely: 100.35)
Hit 1000 miles for the year. (Just barely: 1003.1)

Arranged an opportunity to leave the car overnight at work and bike both directions. The previous weekend there had also been some bicycling, Saturday just for fun, Sunday with many errands.

sat 14.42
sun 20.06
mon 5.63
tue 8.53
thu 26.01 from work in 2:39 for a pathetic average of 9.7
fri 25.7 to work in 2:29 for an average of 10.3

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Fun stuff at the hackathon [Jun. 20th, 2019|09:37 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)
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1: my boss took her local direct reports plus her 2 remote workers who were in town for the hackathon out for a "team building" exercise. She took us to Escape Room Boston! There were 7 of us, and we escaped with 7 minutes to spare. 7 people was too many, because a few times we sat around while one person listened to a phone message or whatever to get a puzzle to then solve, which took 2 or 3 people, and there wasn't a lot of parallelism---you had to get clues from one puzzle in order to make progress. I think there was more than one "track" through, so there was a little parallelism, and inspecting the entire area for out-of-place items which were clearly a puzzle was faster with more people. It was fun anyway, but I'd guess 4 or 5 would have been better.

2: The entire hackathon was invited to participate in two team building exercises -- though neither of these had anything to do with a specific team, unlike the above, where my boss was trying to get us to know each other better, which can foster communication. In the first case, they sorted the entire participant list by first name, and split us into teams of 9. In the second case they sorted us by last name. I was waiting for the middle name sort...

2a: the first exercise was to make a poster that embodied our new slogan (which I think is kinna dumb, "Legacy Powers Legendary" -- "Legendary" isn't even a noun!) and our values of loving the customer. There were a couple of good posters that came out of it, and it was vaguely fun, and amusing to meet a bunch of people whose names started with J and K. Maybe the marketing department will use some inspiration from someone's poster.

2b: the second exercise was completely useless from a work standpoint, but it was fun (and by the end of Tuesday we were all pretty punchy and needed the break). We did an egg drop. The materials they gave us were inadequate to protect our eggs from the drop from the second floor of the parking structure, and most teams died on their first attempt, but a couple of teams survived to go again, this time from the THIRD floor of the parking structure. One actually succeeded! A good time was had by all and it was a really good thing it rained shortly after that to clean up the driveway!

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Making up for lost time [Jun. 15th, 2019|09:10 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)
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I took Friday off from work because of being brain-dead from the hackathon. Made up for being under-exercised, first by bicycling 21 miles (20.96 in 1:53 for an average of 11.0) and then by windsurfing! The bicycle trip was supposed to have been 18 miles but I made a wrong turn in Gilbert Hills State Forest.

Windsurfing was tricky because the wind was nearly exactly onshore, and it's usually shifty enough that I kept getting blown in the wrong direction. Water's 71 degrees, as was the air. Since windsurfing is more of a form of swimming than a form of boating, I wore a wetsuit, and I was glad of it, though I wasn't really out there for all that long.

Today I had a square dance at MIT. Since we had some extra people signed up (though not as many extra as I'd originally planned as some got sick at the last minute), Ken and I split bicycling. I rode in and he rode home, each taking the car in the other direction (with bike rack and bike). It's usually a little more than 20 miles to MIT, but I'd seen an alternate route on google and thought I'd try it. Sadly, google didn't know about the locked gate at the other side of Curry College! At the bottom of a hill, no less. So I had to go back up the hill... I then tried to repair my alternate route, and ended in a busy bicycle-unfriendly area for a while before I finally got back on track, at the cost of a couple miles and a fair bit of time. 22.75 in 2:13 for an average of 10.2. The low average is expected, first because of the hills and second because of urban riding.

I'm off to a decent start on the first 100 miles in a week, but tomorrow it will rain in the afternoon, and we need to go to the brush dump, so there will be less bicycling. Then there will be rain on and off the rest of the week, so it doesn't really look likely.

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Why did the chicken...? [Jun. 14th, 2019|07:06 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)
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I have many things to blog about. I will start with the weirdest.

This afternoon, Valerie found a dead chicken in the garage. I mean, WTF? It was just lying there next to the random crap in the garage. Did it just wander in and die? I didn't think any of our neighbors had chickens. Was it a hate crime about our Black Lives Matter sign? If so, it's pretty weird. Is there some "black people and chickens" meme?

We used a shovel to put it into a trash bag and disposed of it. I put on gloves and cleaned the shovel and some of the nearby potentially contaminated things with alcohol, in case it had avian flu or something, we don't want to get sick. Though, my first thought was, "Dinner?"



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More Hackathoning [Jun. 12th, 2019|11:23 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)
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So I got roped into the big hackathon at my company. It's a huge event, with 200 people from our offices all over the world. We're all on different teams with 3-4 people per team, all working on different projects, some of them directly related to our business, some of them pie in the sky ideas.

Mine is trying to make Apache Ant work well on the IBM mainframe. It currently "works", but there are issues, first with code pages -- that pesky ebcdic -- and secondly there's absolutely no support for legacy IBM datasets, so it only works on the unix side (did you even know IBM mainframes have a unix layer?) We had 4 days, and while we had some success, there's a lot of undone and underdone bits in the code. Tonight we had demos in front of the whole crowd; tomorrow we have "one on one" demos with the CEO. What I don't know is whether we'll get to finish the undone parts afterwards, or if we'll just be back to our regular jobs. I kind of want to connect with Apache and see if they'd even take the code when we're done, and if they have any design ideas better than what we've done, before investing more time in the project.

In order to fully participate, I'm staying in the local hotel with the far-away office people. Pretty much everyone who is local is staying at the hotel. They didn't even get a very good rate. It seems like a huge waste of money, but really, I'd only be here my usual 6 hours a day if I had to commute and live my home life. The hotel is OK, just not worth what they're paying. I wrote some of this too late at night because I knocked the cord out of the alarm clock and it's one of these stupid ones where you need a degree in computer science to operate it. (But wait. I have one of those.) I was afraid it would wake me up at 6 so I just unplugged it again, but then it was hard to get to sleep after that because I was frazzled.

I'm missing out on some interesting chaos at home. Jocelyn's going, by herself, to San Francisco, where she'll visit a friend from middle school who moved there (we've visited once before), and also visit the University of San Francisco and the San Francisco Circus Center, which is one mile from USF. This trip was all planned in the last couple of days, and she leaves tomorrow! I'm sure I would have spent a lot of my home time fussing about it, rather than hacking at work.

Anyway, it's been interesting, but I hope I manage to avoid it next year. Despite the proximity ("live at work" intsead of "work at home") I feel underslept. I brought my bicycle in order to try to get exercie, but mostly only managed 20 minute rides (one day it rained, so I ran on the hotel's elliptical instead). So I also feel somewhat under-exercised.

I hope to take Friday off; I think we're entitled (considering we started all this on Sunday morning!)

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Mechanical day [Jun. 2nd, 2019|10:14 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)
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Started the day working on my bicycle, whose rear shifter has been acting up. Ken said I should replace the cable and housing. Usually I take it to the bike shop for this kind of thing, but it always seems to cost a lot, and then I can't have my bicycle for days. So, I tried (with Ken's help) to do it myself. After a lot of false starts, knuckle-barking, and grease everywhere, I was indeed successful, and it shifts very smoothly. So, was that worth $100 or $200 that I saved? I dunno. I guess I understand things better...

Followed up with a short bike ride (11ish miles), and then we dived in (literally) to putting in the next part of the dock!

I had reviewed my earlier lake blogs and seen that I often put in the dock in 66 degree water and complained of hypothermia, so this time we used 1/4 inch wetsuits instead of 1/8 inch. This was overkill, because in fact the lake was 69 late this afternoon (but it was 65.7 yesterday morning: lot of warming in 2 days!) The air was 75. My earlier blogs didn't mostly didn't mention the air temp, so I don't know if the hypothermia had been exacerbated by cool weather.

We had slightly more than the usual trouble getting the dock in the right place; it always "walks outwards" while we're screwing the feet into the lake bottom so we yank it back together with ropes, but this time it walked too far and there's a 1 inch gap. We're going to just use it this way for a while, and decide whether we want to unscrew the feet and relocate them by a couple inches (tricky, because it wants to screw back into the original hole.) We still have the final piece to install, so there will be an obvious opportunity for when to make adjustments.

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