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(no subject) [May. 18th, 2013|02:37 pm]
All day I've been out back, pulling weeds, watering, and then for hours laying with an iced towel over my face soaking up the sunshine. Reading and napping. Bees were buzzing around the roses near my head, keeping me awake, I pulled large armfuls of sage off from where it was growing over the path and burned them in the fire pit. Sage smoke poured around and up into the sky and all the insects left except the moths and butterflies. With my eyes closed, for hours, light coming through my eyelids and through the soaked white towel, the white wisps of smoke against the bright blue sky were enough to seem like shadows. Through the smoke I could still smell my angel's trumpet and the night-blooming cereus right next to me. Now I smell like sage and am burnt some, I just pulled two large, juicy leaves from my aloe and will slice them open and rub their beautiful gel from between the spines into my skin.
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(no subject) [May. 4th, 2013|11:42 am]
My cousin Teresa killed herself yesterday in St. George, Utah.
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(no subject) [Apr. 4th, 2013|10:53 pm]
Lonely, drunk night.

Not me, the night.
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(no subject) [Aug. 4th, 2012|07:56 am]
Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my credit in this World much wrong:
Have drown'd my Glory in a shallow Cup
And sold my Reputation for a Song.
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10 years ago [Jul. 1st, 2011|09:48 am]
I realized last night that 10 years ago I was in the middle of the action of leaving my job in DC, packing, and driving across the country.
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the grep that saw my soul [Apr. 20th, 2011|11:30 am]
10:36 <@rch> good morning
10:36 <@gene> morning all
10:36 <@gene> and robert
10:43 <@rch> i am already thinking ahead to the croissant i am going to get on my way to the office
10:55 <@gene> I am already at the office hearing about your planned croissant
10:56 <@rch> i miss working in downtown oakland
11:53 <@gene> grep -r 'rch' ~/.purple/logs/irc/* | grep -i 'i miss' | sed -e "s/^.*font>//g" -e "s#<br/>##g"
11:54 <@gene>  man i miss my headphones
11:54 <@gene>  man i miss working with you guys
11:54 <@gene>  man i miss working with you guys
11:54 <@gene>  man i miss alys
11:54 <@gene>  i miss the foos channel
11:54 <@gene>  man i missed it
11:54 <@gene>  i miss working in downtown oakland
11:54 <@gene>  i miss home
11:54 <@gene>  i miss the boat
11:54 <@gene>  i miss seq
11:54 <@gene>  aw :| sorry I missed it
11:54 <@gene>  you know who i miss? the whole old-school bloglines eng team
11:54 <@gene>  i miss capoeira, i think about it every day
11:54 <@gene>  i miss cathy's kids calling me a nub
12:07 <@gene> what nothing? alright, i'll just quietly bask in how clever I think I am
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(no subject) [Apr. 14th, 2011|09:52 pm]
  Tonight I walked home from MacArthur along MLK up to 45th so I could stop at the corner store there. Then I walked home along 45th. A block away, I passed by a huge gathering of people around a bunch of candles burning on the sidewalk, mostly those virgin Mary candles, they were standing around silently or on cell phones or in cars. I didn't bother any of them, but I did stop at the corner store at Market and ask what had happened.
  "There was an asian guy a couple years ago who lived there, he got shot, it's his birthday today."
  I love my neighborhood.
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My grandmother [Jan. 20th, 2011|08:16 am]
   My grandmother passed away this morning. I just found out. It's strange for me to think about that; I was just with her in Utah last weekend. She was alive, she didn't seem sick, she was just very tired, and had trouble eating or drinking, but she was doing it, little by little. She knew who I was and was glad I was there, but we didn't talk as much as I'd hoped, she seemed distracted by how she was feeling. When I asked her how she was feeling, she said "Fine!" or "Oh, all right," and she laughed at my jokes a few times, we talked a bit, but mostly she just wanted to rest. I'm so glad I went out to see her. I'm so glad she knew I was there, and I'm glad we got to talk and I got to tell her I love her. There was a story she'd told me once that I wanted to talk to her about, but I think I know what she would have said. I love my grandma.
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(no subject) [Jun. 16th, 2010|02:27 pm]
   I realized recently that I've been working full-time for 6 years. Hardly any breaks in there: 2 weeks in the UK, a week in Oklahoma, a week in New Orleans, a week in Portland, 3 weeks or so between Ask and Yahoo. No time at all between Mobzilla and Ask. Pretty much constant work for 6 years. Until this week I haven't taken a day off since Christmas. This explains a lot in my life.
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(no subject) [May. 29th, 2010|11:31 am]
Coffee, a Bloody Mary each, and DJ Screw. Now we're chilling out with our laptops and slowly finishing the drinks that destiny has set out for us. Who knows, later may be time to confront the sunshine.
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This came by surprise yesterday [May. 1st, 2010|09:50 am]
   I now have a Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo arcade cabinet. A bit of soldering and heavy lifting (thanks Colin!), and it's ready to go. According to the on-board memory, it's taken almost 37,000 quarters since 1996. The days of working for a living are over now though.

   In a way, the console is perfect. It's a machine whose only purpose in life is to play Super Puzzle Fighter, like me. Now I just need someone to play.
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Every day is a little road trip [Jan. 21st, 2010|09:14 am]
   "Actions must be followed through to their completion. Whatever the beginning, the end will be beautiful. Only inaction is infamous."
—Jean Genet, Journal du Voleur
   Driving on the 880 has changed my sense of the road. Instead of tracking individual other cars around me for many miles like I used to, I look at the thick bunches of cars and see the shape of traffic ahead of me, and just let the 880 pull me ahead. It's good to have this feeling, especially in huge storms like this week.

   Even though my new car isn't a stick, and I still haven't worked out a few quirks with the stereo, I enjoy driving it, it's comfortable and feels like a part of me; but driving less than 100 miles a day doesn't compare. I remember, I used to not even feel settled in on the road until I'd been going five to eight hours. I wish I could go back and drive all my old trips again, a bit more comfortably, or I wish I'd had it back then, even all through college. I'd have driven all of you all around.

   I wonder what else about my new life is like that, an objective improvement over what used to be. Last week Becci was in town and she and Alys helped me re-pot my 4 smallest cacti. That task has been waiting for years. I'm starting to feel more moved in. I wonder what else I can do now. Oh well, I need to leave soon. I'm going to be a little bit late.
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Catching up [Dec. 20th, 2009|01:41 pm]
   I moved to 45th Street in Oakland proper, 4 blocks away from my old place. I have more news than that. My sister Dawn got married in July, and it was great; it brought my whole family together. My sister Jennifer recently got her Master's and came home to stay with my folks for a while. I personally am pleased with that, but she has mixed feelings; she thinks she should have been able to go straight from grad school to employment with no lifestyle changes. I bought a car in August, and since then I've been driving to work every day, working later hours, working more. Twelve-hour days are normal now. My average daily commute time has gone from 4+ hours to 2 hours, and I've put about 8000 miles on my car, almost completely on the 880.

   I should have mentioned all this when it happened. Life is not only a vale of tears and a trial, as you might think from what I post. I've had trouble talking about things when they happen. It would be nice to make some coffee, talk about books, and keep up that way; you could probably tell what's up from looking at me better than I could tell you myself. The easiest things to say are specific and concrete, not that I wish there were more of them. It's also easier to talk directly with someone; I do wish there were more chances for that. There are people I'd like to tell specific things to; I hope they know what they are anyway.

   It's been almost a year since my coworker Nate died. We didn't have a chance to be great friends, but I liked and respected him a lot; and obviously, I work with his code every day. He was a really smart guy. We're all thinking about him at work. All of us went out to Kennedy's in North Beach the other night and talked nonsense for a few hours. The nights are shorter now but there's more nonsense to talk.

   I feel like I've reached a point in the progression in my life where appreciating and really getting to know the people I care about is so important. I want more time for it. I want to keep every promise I've ever made and forgive every debt. That's appropriate for the time of year.

   One of my neighbors on the west side just dropped by with a "Welcome to the neighborhood!" card and a gift, a box of peppermint bark. Her name is Sujatha and she seems real nice; she told me some stories and suggested we get coffee sometime. Now it's for doing things. I was going to try to go to this BBQ place I haven't tried yet, Doug's - but it seems like it closed recently so I may have missed my shot. KC's up on SP in Berkeley seems closed too, and of course Flint's is gone. That seems to leave E&J's or Uncle Willie's for barbecue I haven't had recently.

   There's so much to do today.
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Erskine Childers [Feb. 9th, 2009|09:40 am]
   The other week I was distractedly browsing a bookstore and picked up a pulp novel from the shelf where it had been sitting among a bunch of similar looking titles, all apparently by the same author.

   It looked okay so I took it home, and got really into it. Victorian-era fop goes on uncomfortable yachting trip, a comedy of manners ensues, he learns about himself, and emerges a spy. Great stuff. Fantastic writing and perfect structure. The dialogue of maps and shifting sands is entrancing.

   I went back to the bookstore for the rest of them, only to discover that those other novels didn't exist and the one I picked up wasn't on the shelf like I remembered, either. It was all differently shelved and tucked away, and I have to figure out how I got so confused. It seems the author, Erskine Childers, never wrote any other books. Maybe he would have if he hadn't been executed for gun-running.

   I'm totally disappointed. I was increasingly drawn in to that novel, and as my enjoyment deepened I looked ever the more forward to reading all the other ones, but now there are no other ones.
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(no subject) [Jan. 20th, 2009|09:47 am]
This is a good day. I liked the closing benediction.
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My cat [Oct. 18th, 2008|11:49 am]



   I got a call from my mum this morning with sad news to relate. My childhood cat Fluffy died on Tuesday. She was coming up on twenty-one years old. The last winter was hard for her, she stayed mostly in my folks' garage. I figured this winter would be hard on her too.

   Lately her meow had become a quiet squeak and she hadn't been hearing too good, and I guess her teeth hurt a little, but she'd seemed fine really, happy and loving. Still at the back door looking in and meowing.

   She loved the sunshine. Summer after summer I'd go out to my folks' place to lay in the sun in the backyard and read. Hot sunlight and fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden and she'd always keep me company. Sometimes my sister Dawn would hang out in the hammock and make tuna sandwiches and smoothies. Fluffy would nap in our shadows. The backyard then was a little-known corner of heaven.

   I guess she was a little scrawny there, on towards the end. Looking back at old pictures and videos ... she'd changed a lot since she was a kitten. She was always good though. She was out back there almost my entire life.
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Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist [Aug. 28th, 2008|09:17 pm]
   I've been reading Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and I can't put it down. I got to recommend it to anyone who enjoys young adult fiction. It cheered me up after working far too long and taking bart back from Fremont at 8pm. I could barely focus my eyes when I started but it made me happy. I have no idea about the movie but the book is good.
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Flowboard [Aug. 26th, 2008|09:02 pm]

Do I still remember how to skateboard? No. It's been years.

Isn't my ankle sprained? Yep.

And yet. This is my new commuting plan. I've wanted one of these since I first saw one, outside the library on Venice Beach in August 2001, while I was teaching reezy to rollerblade. Now I can have one.

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Entre nous [Aug. 24th, 2008|03:50 pm]
   Ice helps lots, but sometimes it's too cold. This morning has been Gossip Girl and now Top Hat, with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I did get one phone call, from Amy, but she hung up and I must assume it was a mistake. This ice is very cold.

   Ginger Rogers is the real powerhouse. Though her dresses are quite frilly. So far my favorite dance scene was on the pavillion while she was wearing riding clothes. And she has a swooping bedframe with a lightswitch built-in.

   And now she's making the plot quite complex. Wow, this is getting weird. Oh goodness, now she's marrying the wrong man. I hope this all works out somehow.
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Watching movies [Aug. 22nd, 2008|11:15 pm]
"And now that I've sufficiently confused you, I've got to get going."
   Tonight's movie is "In a Lonely Place" (1950, Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame). Dinner is Amazona's pizza, large, with jalapenos and pineapple. And Tecate. I don't know why anyone would tolerate the protagonist, Dixon Steele. The events in the film are disturbing, but he's cold, bloodless, he doesn't care. His bed's headboard is made of padded leather. And he's a terrible driver. His spooky love interest, Ms. Gray, has the same Diego Rivera print on her wall as I do.

   I don't even want to think about this can of Tecate. I keep telling myself it's okay, it's not high fructose corn syrup. Someday all this has got to change. Movies are nice but this isn't a lifestyle. I was walking better today. For a little bit in the office I was really zooming around.

   Wow, this movie is getting horrifying. Wow, the ending.
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Beyond the High Himalayas [Aug. 21st, 2008|09:41 pm]
"If you could only see youself. Sitting around looking out the window to kill time is one thing, but doing it the way you are ..."
   I'm watching Rear Window tonight. It's not bad. I'm munching on Manchego cheese and potato leek soup, and sipping grappa. I've got it pretty good for a guy with a sprained ankle. Though I have trouble appreciating the grappa.

   I remember when I said I was moving to San Diego to prepare the way for something. It didn't work out. Maybe San Diego left me the worse off in all regards, except getting to write interesting code. And I could have done that at home.

   That was a long time ago, but I'd reason the same way about what I'm doing now, if you asked me. My days have been short recently. I have just a glimpse of a personal life in the evenings. Not enough for what I want to do. I have to hope for that time later.

   This movie is pretty good. I didn't appreciate it as a kid. If I've got to sit alone and motionless of an evening, I could do worse. When I can walk good again I'll take advantage of it.
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first day [Jul. 21st, 2008|07:40 pm]
 gretchen: bus has wifi?
 me: yes
  ow my whole being
  commuting will take some suffering used to
 gretchen: how does this commute work?
  where is your yahoo place
  i don't think it's called an office anymore
 me: when it's that big
  it's called the belly of the beast
more chatCollapse )
   I've been home 43 minutes, just putting off going to Wally's. Wally's is friendly and it's the only place I'd dine alone, I'm too tired to do anything at home, but I'd so much prefer not to go out by myself. Gretchen says, "i think you should have sushi and pretend to be an 80s japanese business man. drink sake. maybe wear a suit." But alone I can't brave the marble and disco and neon of Miyozen, however much verisimilitude.
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(no subject) [May. 28th, 2008|09:57 pm]
 jennifer: want to hear something strange?
 robert: sure
 jennifer: it used to be that when I got very tired, I'd start to think only in spanish
 robert: haha
 jennifer: now that i'm very tired a lot and watching anime...
 robert: haha
 jennifer: the other day someone greeted me in spanish, and I answered in japanese
  then I tried to think of how to say it in spanish, and I couldn't
  and I don't even know that much japanese
 robert: wow
  weird
 jennifer: isn't it a paradox that the mind is something we will never understand?
 robert: sort of?
  that kind of paradox is used a lot in computer science
 jennifer: it must be evolutionarily beneficial for our minds to be so misunderstood
 robert: well, the inverse of that
  introspection has very little evolutionary payoff
 things that make life more beautiful in general have very little evolutionary payoff
 jennifer: I'm not sure I'd agree w/ that last statement
 one of the principles of evolution has to do with why mates choose each other
 but I guess you weren't talking about that kind of beauty
 robert: yeah i meant subjectively
  like for the experiencer of the life
  like i don't think butterflies get a kick out of how pretty their own wings are
  they don't sit around and go, man, i'm pretty
 jennifer: they can't even see themselves
 robert: =] exactly
  they never even know how pretty they are
 jennifer: which, for me, makes them more pretty
 robert: me too
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(no subject) [May. 22nd, 2008|07:02 am]
   Anyone want to go see Mates of State tonight at Slim's in SF?
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Bad moves [Apr. 22nd, 2008|12:52 pm]
   Maybe I won't go to the Go tournament this Saturday. Every game I've played since last Saturday, I've been making really bad moves. I've won a few but it's discouraging anyway. It's funny to me that I can't detect when I am going to play much worse than normal; my mind feels the same; and yet I perform terribly.

   But then, what would I do with my weekend?
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(no subject) [Apr. 19th, 2008|01:32 pm]
I still have roses from Alison and Colin's wedding, and the scent is still lovely.
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"have you heard of adenylyl cyclase?" [Apr. 18th, 2008|04:06 pm]

jennifer: did you know that 5-HT stands for serotonin?

robert: umm?

jennifer: isn't that funny?, w/ 5-HTP as a precursor

robert: huh that is funny
i never thought of that before
From wikipedia: Isolated and named in 1948 by Maurice M. Rapport, Arda Green, and Irvine Page of the Cleveland Clinic,[19] the name serotonin is something of a misnomer and reflects the circumstances of the compound's discovery. It was initially identified as a vasoconstrictor substance in blood serum – hence serotonin, a serum agent affecting vascular tone. This agent was later chemically identified as 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) by Rapport, and, as the broad range of physiological roles were elucidated, 5-HT became the preferred name in the pharmacological field.
Interesting

jennifer: that is interesting

robert: it's pretty much everywhere though
or similar chemicals to it
it is like the primordial neurotransmitter
all organisms use it or something like it, even single celled ones I think

jennifer: really?

robert: it's all over the place
for example that's what plants use to communicate to other cells in the plant where the sunlight is coming from

jennifer: what?, like a housekeeping gene?

robert: i wouldn't go that far
but neurotransmitters are weird and complex, man
and they serve a pretty unique role in that they are pretty much just messengers
they don't have like a function based on their shape unrelated to hitting their associated receptors

jennifer: don't tell the people on antidepressants who think serotonin is a miraculously special molecule
you know the cAMP signal transduction cascade?
Of course!Collapse )

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Everything is connected [Apr. 2nd, 2008|09:53 pm]
   A few days ago I received a check from the Multnomah County Circuit Court for $7.72. Apparently it is a restitution payment from when one STEWART, COLIN REED broke into my car and stole my stereo and subwoofer (and amplifier, of course). Thankfully he left my guitar and the clothes I was traveling with.

   That night I was parked in northwest Portland, sleeping soundly on a wide couch on the first floor with a large window facing out into the plum tree I parked underneath. Or, maybe it happened while we were at the nightclub, and I failed to notice when we got back.

   I was in Northwest that night rather than Lake Oswego, where I'd been staying for some time, because I'd been driven out. The breakdown of two friends' marriage had reached a pitch I couldn't witness. So I went to Northwest and walked around and ate matzo ball soup, and found a place to sleep, and friends to keep me company and comforted.

   That week the flowering trees were in bloom. Portland has many, and they fill the air with their scents even on cold days. They scatter their petals over everything. Their incidental and careless beauty created a suitably bittersweet background for what I was thinking.

   I miss my friends. I felt the impending loss, then, that tragedy could take my friends away from me. Even while they were still alive. I'm loyal and I have a long memory for debts that I must or can never repay. I've had too-long a memory for things that have gone wrong. The explanations are complex and nothing is as simple as holding something against someone. I no longer care. I want to forgive everyone. I need to for my own sake. I need to let go.
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(no subject) [Feb. 26th, 2008|05:25 pm]
   The US Go Congress is in Portland this year, from August 2nd to the 9th. This could be a great excuse to visit Portland and play some go, but it lasts a whole week—a lot to take off work! And my birthday is that week. And if I were going to take a week or more off, I might prefer to just play capoeira, since work is more of an obstacle to that. A week of capoeira sounds nice. Or a trip to Brazil.

   Time off seems to be in such short supply. I need a new lifestyle. Meanwhile I can go to a go tournament in April.

   The sun is setting. Looks windy. I suppose I should hurry home. Light is nice, riding on San Pablo.
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(no subject) [Feb. 7th, 2008|12:06 am]
   I haven't had glasses in 10 years. I didn't realize what I was missing; I guess my vision unnoticeably degraded, from the 20/10 it was corrected to, to the 20/65 it is now.

   Before my surgery, I was around 20/700. I don't remember what that was like; I don't remember ever having worse vision than I do now. When I take off my new glasses, everything is a little blurry, and I get a headache when I read. I can't imagine what it used to be like, though I suppose I should remember.

   I'd thought, this whole time, that when it came time to get my eyes checked, I would just make another appointment with my surgeon and get refreshed back to perfect. Now my optometrist doesn't think my vision is quite bad enough to warrant that extreme step.

   I just want another 5 years to bounce and run and roll around without constraint; to be able to see out of the corners of my eyes. Meanwhile, though, I'm glad to be able to see and read and drive without strain.
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