flexagon: (fabulous-caterpillar)
I'm in Oregon, having flown out on Saturday, and this morning saw a total solar eclipse -- my first. We had eclipse glasses, clear skies over my in-laws' street, and a good social environment, with neighbors out and about but no overwhelming crowds. [personal profile] heisenbug was doing camera fussing, so I got to experience almost all of it pretty independently.

At first it was just a tiny bite removed from the sun, at about 1:00 or 1:30, and my stated hypothesis involved a tiny, nibbly sky-mouse. Sky-mouse was hungry though, and the bite kept growing. I couldn't have told without the eclipse glasses, though, for quite a while; everything was bright and hot, like before. After a while I made a pinhole device with foil, a roll of tape and a safety pin, just to make sure science was still working, but there wasn't much in the way of being awestruck. Yet.

Half an hour later, the half-gone sun was bright, but not so hot and burning: maybe what it would be like if the planet were a bit further away, but not as far as Mars. I started to spot the phenomenon I'd most been looking forward to: crescent dapples on the sidewalk, as leaves on the trees formed natural pinholes. I took photos, led people to the best trees creating the effect, and, prosaically, ran to the bathroom as totality approached.

Back out on the street with a few minutes left to go, it was definitely less bright and less hot. It got rather cool, in fact, and the sunlight quickly got weak and strained. Through the eclipse glasses, the crescent was thin, and getting shorter rapidly. I heard someone say "this has a name, this flickering", and yeah, without the glasses there were ripples in the light of the sun. I could see the street flicker and it was really, truly, eerie. If one thing could have made me think the sun was going out for good, it would have been those flickers.

I put my glasses back on, and there came a moment when the tiny orange crescent winked out. "That's it, it's gone" people said, and I took off the glasses and there was a giant hole hanging in the sky. It was stunning, just as stunning as they say. The corona was HUGE, forming a giant trapezoid around the sun instead of the thin ring I might have been expecting, and I never remembered to look around the horizon for sunset colors everywhere because HOLE IN THE SKY OH MY GOD. I'll never see anything blacker than that. The world hadn't really ended, but it had stopped. It was all on pause.

After some time I managed to hit send on the "OMG totality" email draft I had prepared earlier to send to [personal profile] norwoodbridge. And [personal profile] heisenbug came running over from his tripod, and I hastily said "Kissing under an eclipse is good luck" and we had a quick smooch. But the sky, the sky, hole in the sky oh my god.

People started counting down to the end of totality. I stared to the very end, and had a momentary flash of the "diamond ring effect" as light burst through at one searing point. I quickly got my glasses back on and the effect was gone, replaced by a tiny crescent (through glasses) and the eerie flickers lighting the street again for thirty seconds or so (around the glasses).

The rest was a rewind, as the sun gained brightness again and, later, its heat. We showed more people the crescent-dotted shadows, which are quite extreme right after totality, and waited, and the world got back to normal.

This event had a fierceness that a lunar eclipse can't match. For one thing, the heat of the sun being cut off is more important than the light. For another, with this there's something blocking the eclipsed body; it's not a mere shadow, something is physically interposed and in the way. For a third, those flickers, like a light bulb about to burn out. For a fourth, day turning to night, which is far more affecting than night turning to slightly darker night. I didn't have any deep spiritual experiences or get totally incoherent, but I was awestruck, and certainly don't regret the plane ticket it took to get here.
flexagon: (putt putt putt)
Yesterday I marched in the Boston Women's March! Estimates are now that 125,000 people were there. It was my first such event ever, which is why I'm posting about it -- so I can tag it with my "firsts" tag -- and I did in fact find it worthwhile and uplifting. I went out because I knew attendance would be counted (at least estimated) worldwide, and I wanted to be in the count, in the Inauguration-attendance-crushing count. It was a "show up and be counted" kind of day, in a more literal way than any since Nov 8 of last year. And some of the signs were excellent.

Today, already, the internet is full of scolding, scowling reminders: to people who marched about not sitting on self-congratulatory laurels now, to white women who marched about how white women voted for Trump, to everyone everywhere (or so it feels) about how we haven't yet done ENOUGH.

Okay, internet, but my house needs cleaning now because of the march yesterday. Can we have just a minute to breathe, here? Preferably without an accusation of "white tears"? I need to fold my laundry. Then do some work. Then I will do some other political thing.
flexagon: (racing-turtle)
Re-entry to work has, thus far, been pretty brutal. Who are all these people (oh, they're my team) and why are they looking at me like I'm going to do something for them? (Fuck, I'm their manager.)

In a spasm of self-defense, the one thing I did on my first day back was to move three of my people under another one of my people. In one stroke this made him a manager, and gave me three indirect reports.

I'm a boss's boss!
flexagon: (racing-turtle)
Last week I said: With the other half [of my time] I mostly want to slack off, not hurry, chill out, walk my Dratini, maybe even get bored.

This I have mostly accomplished. I only got bored once, while watching the first half of Into Great Silence, and I stopped walking my Dratini after successfully evolving a Dragonite. I did a bunch of small, gratifying things without hurrying, and loved it.

Oh yes, and I walked my Bulbasaur a mile and a half to City Hall to vote early for the first female President of the United States. Details, groundbreaking little details, the fad of the year blending seamlessly with the stuff of future history books. While I was filling out my ballot I heard one of the organizers cry "First time voter, everyone!" and the whole room broke out in applause for someone I never saw.

My dad, in deep-red Montana, sent this in a letter:

I had not fully appreciated the burden of being a woman really is. I would never have dreamed that millions of voters will not vote for a woman. One person told [my wife] she could not vote for Clinton because nearly all leaders in the Bible are male. Do people really think like this? The idea of God having a gender is way over my head.


When I was a teenager in 1992 and Bill Clinton was running for President, I could never have conceived of my disciplinary, conservative father voting for Hillary ever. But there it is. He's going to do it on Tuesday. Pantsuit Nation, me, and my dad.
flexagon: (racing-turtle)
Today I tried microdermabrasion for the first time! It felt scratchy, like a rapidly vibrating pencil eraser (the gritty kind) being dragged across my face with some force in little strokes. Then the loose crystals and dead skin were vacuumed off me with a little vacuum; the esthetician told me this was strong enough to suck blackheads out of people's noses, though my nose was pretty clear already.

This is definitely good -- and affordable, given that it's a procedure they're only recommending I do twice a year. My skin isn't red at all, and I look like I've been polished. It remains only to be seen whether the next two weeks bring either the extra sun sensitivity or the collagen regrowth that I've been promised. I keep daydreaming about how intensely satisfying that scratchy feeling would be on my back... it's so thorough, I'm sure it would leave no itch behind. Mmm. :)

I went from there to a semiprivate handstand lesson, with a teacher I don't usually see and a fellow student who went off to NECCA a while back and was visiting. This teacher does a lot of having students tuck up from kneeling, which is a drill I have NEVER EVER once succeeded at... until today. Yes. Today I did it twice -- all on my own with no spot, even! Cartwheeled out both times, but that's not a concern.

A victory

Oct. 15th, 2016 12:06 pm
flexagon: (1upcake)
Working at Zillian is like living in one of those action movies where there's no villain; the slopes of Everest, or a runaway train, or the harsh landscape of Mars, is enough to provide drama. So here is my primal scream of "still alive" victory: that best engineer who was denied promotion, who I sweated out a comprehensive appeal for with the help of many others, was approved by the appeals committee on Thursday and, unless lightning strikes in the form of an executive overturn within the next few days, will be promoted to my level.

This is huge for my team and, unequivocally, could never have happened without me. For once I really did something. I found out yesterday morning, and spent the entire day in delirious celebration. My engineer gets his due, and, well, nobody will be concerned now about their chances of growing to staff level under me. This can't hurt my standing in the eyes of the new bossboss, either.

Between this, doing some actual email catch-up last week, and having a confirmed new hire starting in January to shore up my down-by-one logging config team, it feels like a streak of difficulties at work is at last turning around.

I raise my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world!

P.S. Why I'm just fine posting this on LJ )
flexagon: (racing-turtle)
A new experience, definitely one of those things I've always wanted to try, and I did swim with the fishes and corals and neat-looking seaweeds. It was not especially habit-forming though, with all that gearing up and the constant (noisy!) reminders of the disturbingly bulky stuff keeping me alive. Water in my ears.

I'm guessing it would have been a bit better with more food beforehand, with being less cold, with not losing my left contact lens when they made me practice getting water in my mask, and maybe with getting my bouyancy adjusted better so that I wasn't always sinking like a rock and biffing dejectedly into the sea floor. I'm dense and could probably do without a weight belt entirely.

Would try again if all the above were adjusted and I was in an area known for amazing dives. Otherwise, it's probably more fun to listen to the people who love it and experience it differently... flying over an alien landscape says Norwood. How lovely, tell me more. :)
flexagon: (putt putt putt)
On the plus side, I got my performance review back at work (it covers the last six months), and Work friends, don't click if you prefer to avoid spoilers here ) That didn't actually take me any longer than it did at my previous level. I guess it makes enough sense... the things I'm doing now would absolutely blow the mind of 2012 [livejournal.com profile] flexagon. I mean, staffing? Pulling projects from the mothership to my office? HELLS YES. Fearless like a weasel.

I also succeeded in getting two of my people promoted (out of two attempts this fall). Oh sure, they got there on their own merits, but the work of the promo process is a serious team effort and started with me identifying good projects for them. It ended with my throwing a party for them with mimosas and brownies. I got them each a fancy cupcake and put a "4" candle on one and a "5" candle on the other, for their new levels. I have to wonder if this played into the rating I got? Probably. Growing people is serious work; they demand so much watering, and all on their own individual schedules too.
flexagon: (you are here (galaxy))
I was sick today in that sleepy, tired way I sometimes get, so I marked myself "out of office" and then sat around working all day, because that seemed reasonable or something. No stress though, for the most part. I got some manager tasks done. I've had less pleasant workdays.

The most lovely thing since my last post was probably seeing a full lunar eclipse, at full moon at perigee (Supermoon!). I got to see part of it, the deepest half-hour, with [livejournal.com profile] norwoodbridge, and another part, where the shadow was coming off again, with [livejournal.com profile] heisenbug. Given the totally reasonable evening hour, and easy viewing angle, and nearness and brightness and fullness... well, that could EASILY be the best view I have of a lunar eclipse in my lifetime.

It is also rather lovely that some men showed up today and sprayed a lot of insulation into my attic. Will this at last quiet the horrible, guilt-trip letters from my energy company? They always show me, then my neighbors, then my efficient neighbors, in increasing order of moral rectitude.

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