Feb. 14th, 2017

mtbc: maze H (magenta-black)
I awoke rather prematurely this morning. If I am sufficiently awake then it is not worth my trying to get any more sleep: I am not a easy-napping kind of person. Lying in bed I found myself being bothered by thoughts about odd matters like employment contracts' terms regarding contact with the press for people whose jobs put them much in the public eye.

If I had a useful amount of willpower I would have used the opportunity of an early start to get the day's exercise out of the way. But, it is cold and dark outdoors and the cross-trainer is in the garage and I am more pathetic than I ought to be, so here I sit with coffee and laptop computer. In the US it is far easier to find a home with enough of a cellar to be useful extra in-home space to keep items like exercise equipment but I need to be better at enjoying where I am instead of missing where I am not.

It is not any colder outdoors than times I have previously gone out to exercise: I am just short of willpower and enthusiasm. I do cope with various things: I actually managed to get back to writing a little Haskell at home last night, though on a project I now recall might be rendered useless in a few months by others; our washing machine is broken again; I am unjoyfully battling Hibernate interceptors at work while editing code I only half-understand to make it support new behavior; I got more things stowed in the attic for now; I caught up with my neglected filing of paperwork. But there are limits and I am not managing to push them enough to get ahead in any meaningful sense. I do not even want to work on that bit of Haskell code right now. I have background irritation at living in a small cluttered house, earning barely enough to support us in our modest lifestyle, and the weather having been generally gray and cold and damp lately: small problems by the standards of many and I need to be better at seeing past them, at having them motivate me instead of wear me down.

This morning I learned bad news about somebody who I had thought a good presence in the world, and I don't think that lightly. I did not know them well yet I can all too easily turn it into an excuse why I should not be expected to get much done today. In practice it does work best for me to just continue as normal but I shall think of them nonetheless.
mtbc: maze A (black-white)
Many news stories evoke negative emotions in me, a current instance being the UK defence secretary suggesting removing the duty of care that the armed forces owe to their members when deployed. This morning I thus appreciated a pleasing piece of local Scottish news: the Humanist Society Scotland's permission to marry couples has been solidified. Holyrood is good for something after all.

I do not have strong opinions about marriage: I never managed to believe in God and have moved only further from doing so. Having grown up comfortably in a somewhat Christian environment I do think many positive things about religious communities and would be content to make do with some legalistic civil union arrangement for us heathens while leaving marriage for the churches. The Humanist Society Scotland are perhaps a bit French in how aggressively secular they are but I am happy to take their being granted clearer authority to conduct weddings as a sign of liberal tolerance in society. In these times such signs are most welcome.
mtbc: maze I (white-red)
When I looked at the headers of e-mail getting through my spam filtering this morning I spotted a common IP range and contacted the relevant colocation provider. A pleasant surprise was that they actually responded promptly and helpfully. I know that abstractly it can make sense for them to care because if I put an IP block in at my end then that might also catch their legitimate customers to their loss but when I bother to mention these issues at all I wonder if I am one of the last few who have any hope of it having any useful effect whatsoever. Though, this was a US-based provider: usually I end up blocking IP ranges from east Asia.

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Mark T. B. Carroll

September 2017

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