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I went to the cardiologist this morning. She said a month of heart monitor showed nothing: my heart works fine at its normal 65bpm resting rate, and just as well during an hour of 170-190bpm bike riding. The echocardiogram showed no blockages or obstructed arteries, and no weird beats.
So it's back to the original theory, that my blood pressure drops when I stand up, and then I faint.

My manager had a somewhat awful, stressful day at work, because we have a contract worth more than 3x our total revenue the whole time we've existed, so we are desperate to make it work, but they won't really tell us what exactly they want, because it's proprietary (and they know quite well that despite all the NDA's we've signed, we're developing a similar product to sell to their competitors.) My manager is in the middle of this, and is so frustrated he can barely think. I asked "want to go for a lunchtime ride?" and he replied "I might just keep riding." It turns out that when he goes hate riding, he is *markedly* faster than he usually is. This is the guy for whom I usually end up dropping off the back of the pack to ride with him for the rest of the ride. Today I had to slow down a little to get him in my draft and back with the main group twice, and he led for a lot of the ride. He was a bundle of energy. When we got back I asked him if he'd thought about work during the ride and he sat down on the floor, then flopped back on his back, and said he couldn't even remember his name. He was still there five minutes later when I went to do something else.
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I went on a solo lunchtime ride yesterday and encountered a large wild turkey in eastern Longmont. They invariably make me think, on first sight, that they are hideously disfigured Canada geese, like they've been caught in an industrial accident or something.
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Nobody wanted to go riding at lunch today because everyone was tired and there was a lightning storm outside.
Wimps.
I rode over to Xilinx and rode with them instead.
We rode down to Niwot almost entirely offroad, because Bill has a brand new cyclecross bike. I was on my road race bike, sliding all over the place on the gravel and sand.
It was exhausting.
My coworkers DO all want to go out riding tomorrow, but I don't think I'll have time.

Pirate the bunny is so blind sometimes I feel like I need to hand-feed him to get him started on new food I put in his cage.

Monty got jumped by a posse of four chihuahuas today, all loose. We ran, because I don't want to have another chihuahua eaten.

My phone updated itself and has turned into Super Naggy Phone. "I see your battery is at 30%, would you like me to turn off Bluetooth?" Which gets really annoying when it tells me about six times a day that I have the ringtone silenced and might miss calls and would I like to change that. I'd like a NO FOREVER button.

We have milkweed growing like, well, weeds. We are cheering for monarch butterflies.
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Some architecture at Regis University, mostly for [personal profile] basefinder
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A sunset for [personal profile] elusis
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I have a friend on G+ who is in an awful situation: a lesbian dying alone of lupus in her mother's basement in the deep south. She wants a lightsaber. I'm making the drive electronics for a lightsaber acting prop. This is a sample board for fitment purposes, to make sure that one channel of lighting works correctly with a control board someone else is doing, and also provides a one-shot-producing microcontroller using a hall effect sensor. The intent is that when a magnetic ring she wears gets close to the system, it detects the magnet, sends out a single pulse, and the control board handles sequencing and colors, then when her hand moves away it sends out a second pulse. (It's a silly way to handle off/on, in my opinion, but I'm working with someone else's design.) The whole works is a three channel, 1 amp per channel, LED driver with high efficiency, all designed to fit in (while not overheating) a 22mm in diameter cavity inside an aluminum lightsaber body.
I found an old body washer and bored it out to 22mm to make sure it slid snugly over the board.
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The board is only about 1/3 loaded: one channel of LED driver and the microcontroller, and one big ol' coilcraft inductor to make sure it fits in the enclosure. It's missing two more drivers and another regulator to provide high efficiency power to the microcontroller. If I get the time I may port the code over to a TI microcontroller that uses 1/1000 the power of this one and costs 1/10 as much.
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[personal profile] threemeninaboat and [personal profile] ivy and I were talking about the Myers Briggs Hell discussion, and as I couldn't remember what type I am I went and took the test and got my result.
ENFP – Every minute of the rest of your life has been scheduled for you – and it’s a long series of arbitrary, solitary tasks.

That is frighteningly accurate.
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[personal profile] ivy is staying for a couple of days. We sat up late talking about the world, which is invariably a great conversation when she's involved. We also hiked through a bog, which was equally great.
Today we had brunch in a park with [personal profile] basefinder, who gave me a neat book about thin-shell concrete structures, and talked about geiger counters a lot. We were going to play scrabble but the wind was strong enough it would have blown away the board. Instead we walked around the lake and admired red-winged blackbirds and baby ducks.
Monty did not eat any little dogs. Success is sweet.
Now I'm off to modify some bicycle pedals.

Yesterday I rode this.


I just about broke my collarbone, and now have cuts and scrapes all over.
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We walk Monty very late at night now, because there are very few dogs out wandering around loose, late at night.
Two nights ago, we were up by the water tower and she was nosing around in the gutter looking for food because we STARVE HER MERCILESSLY she's only gained 12 kilograms since she started living here after all, and we noticed her jump back and then start nosing at something.
It was a small garter snake that was stuck in the gutter: not long enough to climb up the curb.
I tried to grab it. Between the darkness and her head in the way I got something closer to its tail than its head and as I swung it up out of the gutter it twisted around and tried to bite me. Not effectively: too small a mouth. But it startled me enough that I kind of threw it. Monty thought that was a great game.
Tonight, in the same place, she started snuffling at something that I thought was a bit of trash, and it squawked. It was a fledgling, all black feathers and an enormous wide beak/mouth. I picked it up and stuck it in some bushes immediately above where it was so it wouldn't be quite as easy for the foxes and coyotes that come out at 2 AM.
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Anyone here know much about theraputic/pharmaceutical radiochemistry?
Palladium-103 decays by electron capture from an inner shell, which emits an electron neutrino, and subsequently emits an x-ray when another outer electron falls into the hole where the previous one had been.
But we are definitely detecting a ton of beta particles coming off my friend. (As in, the geiger tube with the beta window closed detects about half as many particles as when it's open.)
Scattering from subsequent impacts of ionizing radiation?
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I managed to get my Geiger counter together with my friend who is full of radioactive palladium the other day. Since we were outside, we were trying to find a slightly quieter place. There's a space between two buildings that has no windows, intended as a smoking area, so we walked into there and he stuck the counter probe pretty much down his pants and it started clattering wildly: nicely radioactive, easily detectable. Just as he did that, a guy in a suit walked out of the building and turned towards us, and my friend, in a very smooth move, swept the probe out and over towards one of the picnic benches there, and told the guy in the suit, "we're checking for radioactivity in the cigarette ashes!" He's smooth.
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I spent a chunk of the weekend reading Jason Stanley's book, "How Propaganda Works". It was tough going at points, but had a lot of insightful material. His focus was particularly on demagogic propaganda, but he spent the first chapter discussing several other types of propaganda, what purpose they serve, and why demagoguery is so particularly harmful to a democracy.
Some of the points that struck me:
A democracy is based on equality, specifically equality of voting and opportunity. A society that represents itself as a democracy but has serious inequality, particularly of opportunity, has an extremely strong incentive to rationalize that inequality as being the fault of the people who are deprived of opportunity. People who have the highest privilege are most apt to do this, but to a lesser extent, the people with the least privilege tell themselves the same, out of self-preservation.
People make assertions based on their confidence, and their confidence is heavily influenced by the risk they face by making the assertion. People who assert that the poor are lazy, for instance, have very little risk in their assertions, while people who assert that there are cultural and legal systems of oppression that create and maintain poverty get shot in Memphis. This strongly predisposes the cultural dialog towards the high-confidence assertions.
An aside: when discussions of inequality arise, in most of the places I've hung out, someone will bring up the Pareto Principle and say that 20% of the people are always going to have 80% of the resources. I wonder if the Pareto Principle is a statistical representation of the effect that confidence ratio of assertions has on culture.
The best propaganda uses implied terminology: use of an overt slur is nowhere nearly as effective as a word that is associated with a slur. Words like "welfare" have been successfully racially linked, for instance. Likewise, words like 'childlike' or 'savage' have been replaced by 'lazy' to justify lack of equality without referring directly to ancestry.
An aside, that was wholly new and surprising to me, was a quick discussion of prison gerrymandering. Prisoners in most of the US can't vote (which is specifically listed as a human rights abuse in the European Union, save for in extremely specific cases) but are listed as residents of rural areas where the prisons are located, which strongly distorts proportional representation, and strongly incentivizes those areas towards harsher sentencing policies.
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Las Vegas is weird.
It's a very windy weird, this weekend. It wasn't quite hot, but wowie was it gusty.
We went on an Ingress scavenger hunt, associated with the GoRuck tradition, albeit with only a little bit of pushups and scrabbling around under/over things. Mostly we hiked, looking for things. We didn't have the best communication with our team, but we managed to make it work out. Scavenger hunt items were things like cleaning up trash, finding a veteran and talking to the vet about war experiences. Ours told us a dirty joke instead.
I found this for [personal profile] basefinder, near the Las Vegas Central Library.
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I had grilled unicorn cheese sandwich for lunch before the hunt. Somehow I expected it would just be white, yellow, and orange. Oh, no, they went all-out, because it's Las Vegas.
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They have a ton of weird cool public art.
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(This appeared to actually be drivable.)
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We walked over to an art district about 2km from downtown. There were roughly two art galleries there. It appears to have been larger and more interesting at some point in the recent past. But the one gallery that was open was fun to look around in.
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Man, once you've (well, I've) tasted the wonder that is caramel M&M's, it's hard to eat anything else.
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There is a motion from the floor to participate in the Mongol Rally 2018. I think it was the "participating in this event may lead to serious injury or death" that clinched it. Or maybe the part where a camel was pulling a Yugo out of a stream.
[personal profile] juli & [personal profile] corvi: if this starts looking likely I'm going to have some questions!
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We went to a place called Extras!, which is a surplus building supplies warehouse, so I could get a door for the mad scientist hut.
They had a lot of doors. They even had a weird corridor down between stacks of doors.
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They had the kitchen sink.
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And cool signage.
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I installed the door, meaning the old door, with the Tyra Banks 1998 calendar on the back, now goes in the trash.
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Then I did something I should have done years ago and added a deadbolt so I can lock it without just padlocking a junky eyebolt.
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Columbine are hiding under the canopy of carrots in the front yard.
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I'm remachining a friend's mountain bike pedals, adding a bunch more cleats to them. The first step is a fixture to hold the pedals in place while I drill and tap them.
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I bought a new front door for the Mad Scientist Hut yesterday, so now I get to install it.
An RV just burned to the ground in front of the porn store down the street.
We've been to an Ace Hardware a couple km away twice now to get a chipkey duplicated for N's new car. Both times they've said they'd have the blank in next time we came in. Both times we've bought other things while we were there.
Clever plan.
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If all goes as planned, I'm meeting up tomorrow with a friend so I can stick a geiger counter in his crotch.
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I was stalled at work, waiting on an administrator of our technical documentation group to set up a top-level directory for me to work in. My manager walked by and mentioned that he had to ride his bike home (no car) to meet a sprinkler repair person. It's about 20km to his house, and he ran a half marathon yesterday, so I volunteered to come along. It's way easier to take turns leading on a long ride.
What actually happened was that he got in behind me and mostly stayed there the whole time, as I pushed at about my max sustainable power output all the way down and all the way back.
It was a nice ride, though I'm a bit sore now. When we got back we both uploaded our gps tracks. Every section we'd done is the fastest he's ever ridden that section, and this is his daily commute to work.
I walked by his office later and he had his head down on his desk, asleep.
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Due to stress I ache all over, particularly my back, in the vicinity of one of the discs I damaged in the big car crash, and the adjacent bit where ligaments attach to a vertebral process that got broken off the vertebra. It's my stress meter.
Usually I deal with this by stretching and bike riding.
So at lunch today I went cycling with my coworker.
I had TWO heart rate monitors on. Sometimes they fight, but today they appeared to work well together. (One is recording for the cardiologist, the other is recording for my geek love of instrumentation, so I can post my pulse histogram online.)
The sky was vaguely threatening as we were starting, and got crabbier as we rode. As we were about halfway down a long twisting dirt path, it started drizzling, and just as we got to an intersection where we'd been planning on going straight and doing a long climb, lightning struck quite near us, so we bailed and rode home. Shortly thereafter the clouds dabbled briefly in hail, but then gave up as we outpaced them. We returned covered in mud and glory, only not very much glory.
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The hailstorm cut the top off one of the tomato seedlings, literally just sliced right through the stem. I stuck it in a glass of water along with a similarly abused tomatillo, and am watching new roots form along the stem.
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Kind of creepy.

I was following this person down the road after work and suddenly noticed the bumpersticker, which I love.
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A lot of stuff has happened.
I remain wired up to a heart monitor, and its sympathetic magic is working perfectly: I have not had a single dizzy episode and only one possible missed heartbeat since I started wearing it.

[personal profile] threemeninaboat's car was declared officially totaled and irreparable because of water getting into the electronics and hybrid batteries. She feels that most or all modern cars are enormous unwieldy beached whales and was angry at everything so we went out and found her a ten year old Subaru STI, basically a road-legal racecar, and that, she's happy with.

My company, specifically my department, won a contract to develop an extremely complex custom chip for another company, that'll keep us very busy and very profitable for at least six years, so I'm less worried about my job vanishing for quite a while.

I've fallen behind on most of my fun projects because there's so much stuff that Just Has To Be Done. I'm going to work on the life/fun balance thing. But the hailstorm and following mid-May freeze meant some issues keeping the garden viable.
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I think there should be a word for the skill of being really good at being really terrible at something. Like, extraordinarily talented at screwing up.
We were out playing Ingress tonight, and were sitting at the library, when we heard a sort of distant noise that sounded like someone dialing a phone and then answering a 911 emergency call.
Well, it wasn't MY phone. It wasn't [personal profile] threemeninaboat's phone.
I have a heart rate monitor. It talks to a dedicated cellphone. If I push the power button on the cellphone, it'll turn on and present me with a screen where I can ask it to log information, by pushing an active area in the bottom 1/10 of the screen. In the screen after that, if I push in the top 1/40 of the screen, it'll call 911.
It did that in my pocket. Three sequential button pushes in the right places within about 30 seconds of each other.

BUT! I did learn, through playing with it, that the only way to start the sequence is to push the power button on the top. Tomorrow I'm folding up a little metal cover to go over that button, that I will duct-tape securely onto the phone such that it is physically impossible to push the power button without removing the duct tape.
Until such time as I somehow manage to figure out how to defeat that through devious pocket karate.
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