Archive for October, 2013

Medical staff

Thursday, October 31st, 2013


Here’s the staff at LRN4’s doctor’s office. That’s her doctor there in the front row with the big square thing over his head. The nurse who gave LRN4 her chemo this morning is the one with the pink hair. They’re very good medical people. Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam, taken this morning, and part of my famous Las Vegas and Event series.

The doctor took off his beekeeping hat for our visit. The nurse left her hair in place.

Happy Halloween! We had a nice, quiet, peaceful day, followed by an enjoyable evening with the in-laws. Everybody in their cul-de-sac gets together every Halloween and sets up tables with candy for the visiting kids and food for the resident adults (and their guests). It was fun! LRN2 came over with us, of course.

LRN4’s doctor visit went well again today. She doesn’t need any red cells or platelets, which is fantastic. Her white cell count is down slightly to 0.7. Now that the next round of chemo is underway, I expect it will drop again pretty substantially within the next few days. I’m hoping for a number extremely close to 0.0. She’s looking and feeling quite good. Her feet hurt like crazy, which makes it a bit difficult to walk around much, but she’s able to do pretty much everything else she wants to do and she has comparatively a lot of energy. Things are going pretty well right now.

I spent some time working on the Machine Learning class I’m taking remotely at Stanford. It’s free and it’s worth may more than it costs. These are the same people who brought me my cryptography class this past summer and I’m quite impressed with how they do things. Speaking of cryptography, I’m starting the second class in that series sometime in the next few weeks. Busy, busy, busy.

I think there might be some interesting mobile applications of machine learning, so I’m hopeful it will turn out to be a good investment of time. I’m convinced that pretty much all education is worthwhile, of course, and this work-related stuff ought to be doing me some good, even if it’s only to get my creative juices flowing. Or maybe to get my thinking cap on. Or something like that.

Anyway. Speaking of mobile apps, LRN31 told me tonight she has some more ideas for me. I’ll be taking her suggestions extremely seriously. There’s got to be some gold for me in iOS apps. I just need to figure out what part of the money tree to shake.

Time for bed. I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: arrest-evading piglets!

See you tomorrow.

Detroit zoo

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013


Here’s the Detroit zoo. Not exactly all of the Detroit zoo, of course. But it is a sign. Bears and giraffes and great apes, oh my! Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam (the old 3G exclusive iPhone-cam, that is), taken during a vacation to Detroit in June 2011, and part of my famous Vacation series.

I’m not going with my famous Statue series on this one. Even I have standards. A sign is not a statue. Well, I guess it could happen, assuming the sign maker is a true artiste. Okay, what the heck. Also part of my famous Statue series. And while I’m at it, the sign does mention a train and food service, so it’s part of my famous Train and Food series too. But that’s it.

Been a good couple of days since I last posted. LRN4 is now three days into her current ten-day round of chemo and we’re hopeful for continued improvement. She’s feeling great. As of Monday, her white cell count was still at 0.8, so we’re hoping this round drops it even lower. She has upped her Nexavar intake to two pills a day and she’s doing just fine with that quantity. So things are going very well.

I’m still worried about my beloved pickup. As I may have mentioned before, it runs very rough for the first minute or so after startup when it’s been sitting for three or four days. There’s no smoke and no check engine light. I decided to call the shop that installed the new engine and discovered that they’re no longer in business. Fortunately, I believe my engine warranty is good at other shops. Need to dig it out of the file cabinet and check. My current theory is that there’s a slow coolant leak into one of the cylinders, which is a very bad thing indeed. It could be something else, but I’m struggling to guess what that might be. Very, very bad.

I have an 1.5 terabyte external drive made by Seagate. It works perfectly with a PC, but not at all with a Mac. I’ve been struggling with it for years. After doing some internet research, I discovered that Seagate external drives have some circuitry that automatically shuts the drive off after 10 or 15 minutes of non-use. This seems to work fine on a PC, but it makes a Mac eject the disk every time. Seagate has released two or three different attempts to make the drive play nicely with a Mac, but none of them work. How can the drive manufacturer not be able to figure out how to disable or override that feature? Well, they can’t. It turns out the only solution is to buy a different enclosure, [amazon text=which I did&asin=B0065DUJ0C]. The price was great and reviews were at least decent. It came today. Installation of the drive was simple and very quick, and it has been working perfectly so far. Finally, that drive appears to be reliable. Note to self – no more Seagate drives. Ever.

LRN4’s chemo/doctor visit appointment is at 7:45 tomorrow morning, so that’s it for tonight. I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: whipped cream assault!

See you tomorrow.

More hoodoos

Thursday, October 24th, 2013


Here’s LRN4 in front of a bunch more hoodoos in Bryce National Park. Wasn’t it a beautiful day? It wasn’t really as cold as LRN4’s bundled-up appearance might make you think. She was just feeling cold that day. Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam, taken at Bryce National Park during our recent vacation there, and part of my famous Vacation series.

It was a bit cold that day; just not quite as cold as you might think. At least it was sunny. On the other hand, it was windy. Otherwise, it was perfect.

Good day today. We saw LRN4’s third-string doctor, who is a lady we both like very much. Our normal Las Vegas doctor was on vacation. Her white cell count is down to 0.8, so it continues to improve. Chemo resumes on Monday, undoubtedly pushing the white cell count even lower. Things are going as they should at this point. Three cheers!

We leave for Salt Lake City early tomorrow morning. Not that I particularly love getting up early, but it has to be done. I got the Taurus filled and washed it and my beloved pickup today. So the car is ready to go. Still need to pack tonight. Also need to do a few dishes, pick up the mail, and finish this blog post. I’m really looking forward to a nice weekend. Bloggage might not happen tomorrow, just for my Loyal Readers’ information.

I got some excellent news on the beloved pickup front this morning. Due to the truck’s age, the driver’s seat bottom cushion has torn. I went to my local Ford dealer a few weeks ago to see about ordering a new seat cover. Sadly, they told me the part has been discontinued and is no longer available at any Ford dealer in the country. I didn’t know what to do. LRN4 mentioned to me today that she had seen an automotive upholstery shop very close to our house. I went over there and had them check it out. It turns out that there’s a company that makes exact duplicates of pretty much every automotive upholstery fabric ever made. He quoted me a very reasonable price and I ordered it. The fabric should arrive in a couple weeks and it will take one day to do the work. I’m really excited to get that done!

I know I shouldn’t get that excited about automotive upholstery, but it is my beloved pickup, after all

I got an email from Apple today telling me that developers can download a free copy of OS X Server. So I did. I installed it on Shemp, my old MacBook from 2009. That’s the machine I originally bought for LRN1 to use before he went to Guatemala. When he left, it was handed down to LRN4. When he got back, we got him a newer machine, so LRN4 kept it. When I bought New Curly in June of this year, I gave LRN4 Old Curly (now named Shannon) and she gave me Old Shannon, which I renamed Shemp. Got that, Loyal Readers?

Anyway. The old machine has plenty of power to run OS X Server, so that’s what it’s doing. I retired Larry, my FreeNAS-based power-sucking server this evening and put Shemp in its place. Larry will hang out in a closet somewhere until he’s either permanently retired or repurposed yet again. Don’t know where to put it, which is a great motivating factor for getting rid of it.

So now Shemp is serving a Time Machine volume and I’m getting ready to set it up as a regular file server also. I can also set up a calendar share server, a web server, a mail server, a local wiki server, and a whole bunch of other stuff. And it’s so easy! And it just works! I love it.

Okay, it’s time to get all that other stuff done. I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: baboon burglar!

See you tomorrow.

Big digger

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013


Here’s a big digger. A really big digger. It used to dig for iron. Now it digs for tourists. Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam, taken at the Frontier Homestead State Park, and part of my famous Machinery and Vacation series.

I felt like [amazon text=Mike Mulligan&asin=0395169615] while I was exploring that thing. It’s electric, not steam, but the effect was the same.  Fun.

Pretty good couple of days. LRN4, LRN2, and I went to Los Angeles on Monday. Because LRN4 needed some transfusions in the afternoon, we weren’t able to leave there until after 8:00 PM, so it was a little bit longer than a 16-hour day, but it was a good one anyway. LRN4’s white cell count is down to 1.1, which is good. Everything else is looking pretty good blood-wise too. We’re just hanging out until they can finish the second round of chemo (starts next Monday!) and get us into the DLI transplant. We still don’t know when that’ll happen, but it may start in December.

I walked LRN2 all around the City of Hope campus while LRN4 was getting her transfusion. We saw pretty much everything. We were a bit surprised to learned that they have gotten rid of almost all their koi and turtles in the Japanese garden. On one hand, almost all the fish were black, which is a bit less attractive than most koi, so nobody really misses them. On the other hand, the feeding frenzies are now quite subdued. So there’s good and bad. But it’s still pretty in there.

We saw our old neighbor in the Village, which was nice. Unfortunately, his wife hasn’t been released. On a positive note, they hope to be going home in December. So we may not see them when we get back. I hope so, anyway, for their sake.

Not much work progress. I spent some time on the phone with my associate John last night and got a bit more education on writing tests. I hope to put some of it to use Real Soon Now.

Speaking of travel, LRN4 and I are going with Ken and Melanie to Salt Lake City for the weekend. We leave Friday morning and come home Sunday morning. LRN4 and Melanie (why isn’t she a Loyal Reader yet?) have both been feeling like they want to visit their father, who is now 92-ish. Friday is a holiday here in Nevada, so the in-laws both have the day off. We’re looking forward to the trip and the visit with family. I’m hoping LRN4 can handle all the travel.

My new computer (well, it’s actually four months old now and already obsolete) doesn’t have an Ethernet port. I’ve been living with wifi only up until now, but I just bought a [amazon text=Thunderbolt adapter&asin=B008ALA6DW] for it. It got here on Tuesday. I’m not sure I see a whole lot of speed difference, but the hardwired connection is a bit more reliable, I believe. In any case, I love my new adapter.

And I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: Jolly Rancher football injury!

See you tomorrow.

Kolob canyons

Friday, October 18th, 2013


Here’s LRN4 at Kolob Canyons. You can tell it’s Kolob Canyons because that sign there says Kolob Canyons. So I guess that’s what it is. Pretty place, like all the other pretty places we saw during our recent trip to Southern Utah. Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam, taken at Kolob Canyons in Zion National Park a few weeks ago before the National Parks Service people became all evil, and part of my famous Vacation series.

Wonders of WordPress again. It’s not that I can’t write every day. It’s just that I don’t. But my Loyal Readers must stay informed and entertained, so we soldier on.

LRN4’s doing quite well. She reports that the nasty effects of the Nexavar seem to be easing somewhat. She’s been taking a quarter of the dose her doctor prescribed because her body just wasn’t tolerating it. She’s now toying with upping it to a half dose. We’ll see if she is able to do that.

No other real news on the LRN4 front. She continues to feel a little better and do a little more every day. She’s even been working a bit on the back yard – she had wanted to tie a few plants up to the back wall to make a bit of a green wall effect – and she’s been working on a new post for her blog. She recently had to back off a bit on the frequency of blog posts, but she’s not giving it up entirely.

Not a lot of work got done today. Maybe tomorrow. I have a couple of things I’m working actively on for the medical application and I’ve started updates on my Morse Trainer iOS app, so there’s plenty to do. I only got one response to my question about the school tech conference (thanks, LRN16!) and it was a positive one, so I’ve decided to at least contact the school people and find out what my $350 gets me.

I’m very reluctant to spend marketing dollars because of my inexperience in that area and my desire to not learn the hard way, but I’m quite sure that if I do nothing to try to bring people to my work, they’ll never find it. I just have to convince myself that my work is worth buying and overcome my reluctance to ask people for their money. I was speaking on this subject with my non-Loyal-Reader brother-in-law Ken, who is an outstanding marketer/salesman, and he pointed out that he doesn’t look at it as asking people for money. He says I should merely present it to people as a possible way to solve a problem they’re facing. When I think of it that way, I can see his point. I made the app because LRN31 had a real problem and I believe the app helps address that problem for her. I also believe there must be many other people with the same problem and I believe my app addresses that problem in a meaningful way. So I just need to do a bit better job to put it out there to more people as a possible solution.

But I’m still worried that I’ll spend a whole lot of marketing dollars without seeing a meaningful return. Why do I see my own work as having less value than that of others? Does everybody have this problem?

Anyway. Nothing else to report today. So I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting food-related Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: turtleburger!

See you on Monday.