Coding day and a lucky find

I wrote some truly horrible code today which I’m embarrassed will see daylight, but at least it works now. Getting the trains to report the time till arrival accurately posed some weird problems. There is surely a less clunky way to write it. BUT IT WORKS and I never want to think about it again. (Until I do, then will refactor mightly.)

Briefly went out in the sun and cold to do an errand and feed yatima’s cats. On the way home there was some pretty nice free furniture out on the curb. I have been meaning to replace the kids’ desk with a nicer one (which means a bunch of measuring and a time consuming errand and a conumdrum of getting a desk delivered). Their old desk is a very janky thing that is not quite a desk. Maybe it was a side table? It has a shelf underneath that stops you from putting your legs properly under the desk. And I had to repair one side of it with duct tape. But it was free and was on the sidewalk a block away.

And!!!! Now!!!! Another free desk just across the street from our house, a much better one, solid, sturdy, with one small drawer, very desky, just the right size (bigger) and painted a pleasant, not too childish, bright blue. It is in good shape but not so nice that you would need to worry about messing it up. As you may guess I got Danny to carry it with his mighty muscles across the street and then we both shoved it up the stairs. It looks super nice now. As usual, I forgot to take a “before” pic.

My feeling of triumph! The desk is good! I have arranged it beautifully in the room! I hope the kids will be impressed with me but of course mostly I just hope they like it and use it.

Danny has been livestreaming on Code Therapy a bunch today talking with someone named lambda malformation and some other …. probably Lisp nerds…. It’s soothing and he doesn’t seem to mind if I suddenly start cursing my screen or talking to the cat in the middle of his livestream.

My game is getting a little more fun and playable. I’m filling out 24th St. Mission station and its surroundings and I’ve started on 16th. Some of the puzzles are now in place. Next I might add conversations or more complex behavior with the NPCs (currently a tamale lady (not THE tamale lady), a flower seller, a street preacher, and a raccoon.

blue desk in a little room

Random encounters in the rain

Little bursts of heavy rain and the streets nearly deserted in the evening. Walking out of La Taqueria (the quality has sadly fallen off lately) we went by a couple of people huddled in a doorway, me hunkering down under 3 different scarves looking miserable. “Unnnnnnnnngh!!!!” said one of the huddled people, in a comradely way. “NNNNNNNGHHH!!” I answered, cringing back at them as we fought nature, red in tooth and claw or at least brutal in trickling wetness down the back of your neck.

A bit further on a guy came out of The Knockout just another spate of giant raindrops clattered down. “Nooooooo! Cold!” I shrieked. “Wet!!!!” “RIGHT!??????!!!!!!” said the guy, sharing the general outrage and dismay, a terrible sense of betrayal.

We ducked into the bar hoping it would pass. Emerging again 5 minutes later into slightly less of a downpour, we passed a girl in a woolly hat coming out of Pizza Hacker. She looked around as if she could not believe what was happening to her. So unfair!

How can our city do this to us!

I think it’s a thing now to play up our surprise as if we never fucking experienced rain before. It’s kind of cute.

Bus encounter of the day

I got on the bus just before a very old lady with a walker and a fancy hat, as the driver let the ramp down first and it makes more sense to park my chair before her walker, kind of shrugging and smiling a little and she nodded and smiled back. I am so relieved she isn’t annoyed. She is very beautiful, her skin drawn very fine over her high cheekbones. On the bus she asked me some questions about my chair. How much… What was the cause… She would like one maybe but feels she needs the exercise. She has a nice accent, faintly British sounding but African or Caribbean, I can’t tell. I talked about my free tai chi class at the senior center. Another lady got on with a very large wide walker and could not get past. “Mira….” she said, grabbing the first lady’s walker to fold it. “No, you can’t…” The walker was not foldable because the basket underneath was full of stuff including Michele Obama’s book. No, no, I’ll go back here (I slowly trundle further back on the luckily uncrowded bus) and turn around, then there’s room. The first lady didn’t want to scoot down a seat. So the one with the large walker was now able to go around and sit next to her. “What does that mean, Cowwwwwmoooca?” “….?” Comooooooca over there on that sign? I peer around the front of the bus. “Cumaica. I ummmm I don’t think that’s a spanish word it’s probably from some indian language like the name of a place. Maybe it’s Mayan? Or like, sounds more like an um, Taino or Arawak sort of language? I don’t know” THe spanish speaking lady nods when I sum this up as “una palabra de los indios?”. Well you can find out. Tell me what it means. “Ok… ok yeah I can look it up right now. (thumbing my phone) I love the internet. OK uhhh it’s definitely gonna be a place name. Yes! It’s a place in Nicaragua.” But what does it MEAN. I don’t know…. I’d have to dig a little more. Another lady gets on the bus, sparkly eyed, about my age, in a cute scarf. “Oh! You! You are so pretty. You look so familiar. You look beautiful, just like my mother!” “Well what a nice compliment. I like that. Thank you!” “Yes, you could be from my village. It is not really a village but it was. In Ethiopia. Where are your people from?” “I can’t really, we don’t really know a lot but actually I’m researching my geneology and making my family tree. ” “Well you can get the DNA” says the Ethiopian lady. “Yes I’ve been thinking about doing it. I’m going to do it. Did you know you can go to the place, in the East Bay they have a big place, the Mormons, and look up a lot of that history. I don’t know why the Mormons have it but they do.” I chime in. “It’s because they think everyone in their records goes to their heaven.” “They really think that?” “I guess so.” “Well…. huh. ” We all laugh at this.

The Spanish speaking lady with the big walker has to get off the bus. We prepare to do our do-si-do dance in reverse but the bus driver is angry. She is grabbing the Ethiopian lady’s walker but she’s holding onto it tight. “No! You don’t have to do that. She is going to move back there and then she is going around. ” MA’AM…. MA’AM… YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO ME says the grim bus driver lady. MA’AM YOU HAVE TO LISTEN. We are all arguing with the bus driver and trying to explain we have it under control. The bus driver wrestles the walker away from our dignified friend. “She took it. She didn’t have to do that. Well!” We all look at each other. The lady with the large walker gets off, ducking her head in apology at stirring up a problem. The bus driver gets back onto the bus with the walker. “YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO ME” she scolds. “YOU SEE HOW EASY THAT WAS? YOU SEE HOW EASY THAT COULD HAVE BEEN? YOU ALMOST GOT THAT LADY FALLING OVER. YOU CAN”T BE TRIPPING THAT OTHER LADY.” “That isn’t how it was, you see, we were going to move back and let her get off.” she said firmly. I spoke up as well and said, that’s how she got on, we just moved for her and it was fine! But, we shrugged and let the driver keep talking. She finally went back to take the wheel. Behind the partition out of her sight, I stick out my tongue like a child, playing to my sympathetic audience so we can get a laugh out of our sadness. “What are you going to do. The truth is the truth.” says our queen. “She has a hard job. But she could have had more respect,” I say. We all laugh kind of like we just did at the Mormons’ database of heaven.

“My mother would like you.” our friend resumed. “The place where my village, not really a village, it is a PROVINCE, well, it was good, and the people were so friendly and good. Well, now, you could not even buy a house, a place just the size of this, this front of the bus, just so little, is 300 thousand dollars! You can’t live there.” “Well…. Someone sure got rich off of that,” I say. “They did, and you know who got rich from it…. ” No… who? “The ones who came to power. They got rich.” We all are thinking on that as the lady my age who looks like the 90 year old Ethiopian lady’s mom gets off the bus waving to us. “I am going to the doctor. The new one isn’t as good, because, they aren’t by the ferry building, so I don’t get as nice of a lunch.” We discuss the pleasures of the Ferry building and then I have to go. Sometimes the ephemeral nature of these bus friendships gets to me. I think that I will have a good old age someday. There will be moments of indignity but also we will have solidarity and a good time.

NERT graduation and a couple of hours in dressing rooms

Got my certificate, hard hat, vest, gloves, and ID card signifying that I have gone through Neighborhood Emergency Response Team training. Tonight was fun – it was all exercises like doing a search & rescue and triage, setting off a fire extinguisher (in the street, on a gasoline fire in a big metal box) and rescuing a CPR doll trapped under a pile of debris by shoring up a plank and levering it off her.

I also did a bunch of stuff for Firefox 66 beta 8 and then went shopping with a friend in the late afternoon, had a blast taking her to my favorite mens consignment shop then to a thrift shop on Market where there was a VERY drunk blonde lady (size 4) trying on pants while my friend was trying on shirts in the dressing room next door and I was just chilling out on a bench. Blond lady would come out and strut around and shake her butt in my face “These pants are totallly sexy they’re a yes! don’t you think!” I would agree and she would go “HOTTTTTT” and I’d go “yes, totally HOTTTTTTTT with TTTTTTTTTT on it” And then alternately admire or mildly disparage the fit of the button down shirts on my friend. Then at one glorious point the drunk femmy lady came out in a punky jacket, rejected it, but intersected with my friend and was like NO… YOU need this… this would look GREAT on you. And it did! High fives all around. She kept coming out of her little cubbyhole only in underwear to see what my friend had on next.

Very entertaining! I was really feeling like a fabulous fairy godless-being and very knowledgeable about pocket squares and so on. Super reminded of this, the best thread: https://twitter.com/trans_tho/status/999924229624639488

Bad Invention: Menstrual Sneezing Powder

There is nothing like a hearty chain sneezing bout to bring on a flood. And there is nothing more annoying than days and days of bleeding all over the place. OPPORTUNITY!

Why not help your Aunt Flo leave town faster by administering my latest and best invention, MENSTRUAL SNEEZING POWDER. Just snort it copiously on day 1 of your period and maybe the blood will fall the hell out of you, all at once.

It can be a cute little kit with the powder and a pair of maroon underwear and hipster packaging. I can see the cartoon art now as the adorable mascot sneezes herself all the way into space on a big flaming red rocketship. & an old-timey, scrolly font on it kind of like you’d imagine would be on a Victorian era box of snuff.

Also great during labor!

We shall make ONE MILLION DOLLARS with this genius invention. (I have to split it with Beth.)

Coughing works for this too, I bet! So get those sheep-sized tampons ready and smoke a bowl, remembering to inhale mightily.

You’re welcome!!!

A warm woolly bed

Dashboard the Cat likes her new warm, woolly, felted bed that looks like a rock. She hasn’t much taken to cat beds in the past but she seems to like this one! It’s so cute!

Cat in a felted bed

I’m tired from a very long work day, so that’s all! I didn’t even leave the house today, omg. At beta 7 of…. 13 I think, plus another release candidate or two in the last week. The pace is starting to feel hectic.

Road trip songs

On the drive back Danny played me some of a new Pet Shop Boys album in which they sing about social media (rhymed with Wikipedia, and greedier). They were so bad that we started making up new lyrics like “Get off my lawn” and “I used to be in a disco, now I’m on the city council”, “It’s so irritating when people don’t use their turn signals on these horseless carriages” and “Just let me sing another didactic bad internet song”.

“I was hoping for something more dreamy and poetic,” I complained.

Danny explained that Britain is too upset for that right now. Makes sense I guess.

We then played “It’s a Sin” to get back into the proper Pet Shop Boys loving frame of mind.

Highlights of this lovely day!

Up betimes!

We set off in my (washed) trusty FMINISTmobile, in the unexpected sunshine, packing everything into the trunk carefully, stopped to gawk at the ocean, I enjoyed driving a lot, can’t remember everything we talked about but it was fun whatever it was, stopped at Bean Hollow beach and hunted pebbles (I hid in a cave) thinking it was using all my extra walking juice for SOME TIME. The drive was so beautiful! Everything very green from rain, lowering clouds off in the distance but sunny for us, sparkling ocean, enticing roadcuts, no traffic, just the open road. 2 hours later we got to Milo’s college and began to unpack the car. But wait….. my powerchair battery….. was definitely not in the car. Must have been still in the garage where we disassembled the chair! My heart sank but I quickly recalibrated my plans and expectations. Everyone just rolled with the changes of plan.

I could drive around to an illegal parking spot like a loading zone by Milo’s dorm, walk in and hang out in his room. My mom took the car back to a legal spot. We stayed there a while and then I stayed in bed there while everyone else went off for a tour of Stevenson College. No zooming around for me but the rest was nice.

We drove to lunch in town instead of going to Milo’s dining hall (since I could not get there without my wheelchair.) Saturn Cafe was awesome (brunch!) and just as nifty as I remembered from 1991 or so. Then drove Milo and Ada back up to campus and dropped them off, talking a mile a minute – they were going to Milo’s D&D game which Ada was going to join as Sloan the Black Thief (with his Hibernian Wind Flute).

We had a look at the Arboretum though I could not go far from the car. Basically I sat on a bench in the succulent area for a bit & then we drove through the parking lot slowly & had a look around. Then to the bed & breakfast place which was mercifully accessible and easy to get around in (1st floor, like 2 steps from car, small, lovely beds.) We crashed out a bit. Mom & I then had a small adventure driving out on the wharf to the end, got out to have a look at the ocean, and realized there were a zillion giant sea lions under us, orking loudly. So much fun! Dorky sea lions! Blorping around on a little pier ! What luck! We were grinning like fools as we photographed the sea lions & then got in the car to warm up. Slowly driving out… rain started up again…. then a GIANT RAINBOW was suddenly going all the way across the sky from the Boardwalk into the ocean. At the boardwalk it was a double rainbow for a while. More wild and enthusiastic photos! & back to our B&B which was just a few blocks away for another rest before dinner.

The kids cabbed to meet us. Some not so great luck, the restaurant I picked form the internet had an enormous freaking flight of stairs. OK I’m just going to do it because I’m hungry and I can’t walk anywhere else without going there in a cab! Fuuuuck! There was an elevator but to get to it i woudl have had to walk all the way around the block to the back, which I could not do. (cab???? lol …. omg…. ) So I grimly hobble up sideways. The guy at the top tells us that they had a party of 12 and then a party of 20 and were understaffed and it might be an hour before anything would come from the kitchen. I did not care at this point just give me a drink!!!! Hot whiskey arrived. They came back suddenly and said that it was all okay again and the kitchen was Producing and we could order food! Huzzah! Our luck (?) held.

The kids then showed up & regaled us with the story of their game. Dragon island, ruled by a tyrant, they’re hired as mercenaries to help rid the island of dragon problem. The players sounded hilarious and clever! Too much detail to repeat here though. Milo = Jack the Giantkiller, a gnome ranger. (Everyone was a giant to him.) A druid in a forest … a burning city… a redemption Paladin riding her elk up a cliff, etc.

At the ending battle Ada (aka Sloan the Black Thief) says I whip out my Hibernian Wind Flute (remember that?) to play a song to hearten the paladin (who is taunting the dragon) And Ada literally pulls a bright orange kazoo out of her jacket pocket & started playing The Final Countdown. The players all lose it at this brilliance. I think she also rolled a natural 20 (because of course.) Everyone except milo was surprised as hell.

At another point in the fight she decided to mock the dragon & played the sort of uh, whatever you call the clint eastwood theme from the good, the bad, and the ugly. Another point she healed the paladin by playing All Star. And when the DM looked up and said in shock that the dragon had 1 hp left (and it was charging at Milo) Ada played some sort of special dragon slayer theme from Skyrim which I wouldn’t recognized but the players did, and I think Milo also rolled a natural 20, then jumped inside the dragon’s mouth screaming I’m Jack the Giantkiller, how do you think I got my name! and killed the dragon by cutting his way out through his throat. The end! This sounds like an incredibly good game and it entertained us all the way through dinner. Milo is also in a weekly salsa and bachata class, and a hip hop class, and is taking discrete math, a 2nd calculus, and a data structures class. We will go hang out with him a little more in the morning — then back to the city. I hope my legs survive. it is more walking than I have done in a long time, I was surprised I could do it, and I will likely be feeling the extra pain for a bit but totally worth it. It has been working well to do slow ankle strengthening exercises (I had to give up trying to walk a block and back from the end of December, and do more strengthening, for example.) If I come out of this trip fairly OK then I will wait at least a week before trying anything walky again (like that 1 block plan) but maybe I’ll be ready? Unsure till it happens.

Busy day and a trip to Oakland

Lots of work today, got my car washed, then took BART over to the Oakland museum to hang out with my mom & sister & nephew for a couple of hours. It was great.

Bus ride to BART, I have to note that a guy yelled sarcastically when I got on “Great job driver make sure everyone gets a seat now” as he was asked to move back, I guess. He kept talking to himself loudly about it but I was only going like 10 blocks, and there were a lot of people between us so I didn’t pay attention. Then when i got off he yelled “GOOD RIDDANCE KICK IT OFF THE BUS. GET OUT OF HERE” and I looked back at him, furious. “I was just talking about MYSELF” he said, with all the quick wit of a badly lying 3 year old. The bus driver and I exchanged kind glances and we wished each other a good afternoon, wearily.

Oh… well….. At least the rest of my transit journeys were peaceful, quiet even, and pleasant. I got some stickers and a BART hat at Lake Merritt station! and… They still have some socks! The guy in line before me bought like, 5 pairs. Lake Merritt station should totally build a little gift shop with mugs and tshirts and junk. It would be so popular.

The tile in this station is a funky irregular hexagon pattern, dark red, and it has a very cool and beautiful glass elevator from the platform to the concourse.

On the train, I thought of some more good stuff for my game and took notes.

At the museum I loved pretty much everything. I need to spend several days there. I especially liked the giant trippy mural in the museum cafe, Ode to California by kozyndan. I took this pic of one of my favorite bits but I had so many favorite parts of it. This one has tiny naked people riding segways and a guy reading a book under a tree in the background while giant fish float around nearby and a kelp stipe and holdfast are wrapped around a rock.

Detail of mural with segways

Here’s an image of the full mural from a site that sells prints of it:

ode to california mural.