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What I've been up to

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Been a while since I've posted anything about what I've been doing.

Not really sure where the first half of last week went, so I'll pick up with the second half:

Thursday, I took CalTrain and BART up to the City for dinner with Debbie N at the Ethiopian place next door to Borderlands. Great to see her as always. And glad I can now get to SF by public transit pretty easily and reasonably quickly—though next time, must remember that CalTrain runs infrequently at night.

Friday, I had lunch at work with my uncle Paul and his friend Susan; gave them a tour, chatted. Was good.

Friday evening was dinner and boardgames with Kam, Stacy, Dave, Lori, and Monica. Monica joined us for a quick game of Tsuro (which she and most of the others had never played before, and which I thought would be very kid-friendly), and that seemed to be fine right up until the end, when we explained to her that she didn't have any choice but to play near the edge of the board, and then on my next turn I ran her off the edge of the board (I thought at the time that I had no choice about that either, though I later realized that there was one way that I could have sacrificed myself to keep her playing for one or two moves longer), and she took it poorly. "So, what did you do with your Friday evening, Jed?" "Oh, nothing much, just made a first-grader cry." I've had some interesting discussions in the past few months about how best to play games with kids, but in this case I seriously misjudged her mental/emotional state.

(I felt even worse about that because it reminded me of my father trying to teach me to play go: he would tell me what my best move was, and I would make that move, and then he would make a better move for himself. Really frustrating despite his best intentions, and it's one reason I never got into go. But I'm guessing Monica will have forgotten all about this Tsuro incident by the next time I see her.)

Had lunch again with Paul on Saturday, and we wandered around downtown Mountain View for a while, and I showed him my house.

Sadly, I got very little done this weekend; had intended it to be a weekend focused on cleaning things up and putting things away, but none of that happened. I'm not really sure where most of Sunday went; I was kind of in a daze, and/or dozing, for much of the day.

I'm making some significant progress at work on the project that I should have finished a month ago, which is good. My intended new project, though, has run into a snag: it turns out a colleague (who's much better-known than I in the community) is already doing something very similar to what I'd been planning to do. Remains to be seen how/whether I can adapt my plans.

Other assorted stuff from the past couple weeks:

  • Received the Beatles box set I'd ordered. Been meaning to write about that. Ripped all the CDs to iTunes; have been listening to them in order. Very pleased.
  • Have been running a network backup of all my files to a remote location. Very slow, but a relief to finally be back to this project after having abandoned it over a year ago.
  • Finally read some emails I'd been putting off reading for too long, and did some other stuff I'd been putting off. Also a relief, even though there are still a bunch of things I'm still putting off.
  • Assorted instances of hanging out with Kam since her return from Burning Man.
  • Finished reading Consider Phlebas, which I'm sorry to say I didn't much like. Hapless and not terribly likable characters stumbling into one disaster after another. I might have liked it more if it'd been the first Culture book I'd read, but by now all the worldbuilding and tech were familiar to me (from Use of Weapons, Player of Games, Excession, short stories, and various web resources about that universe), so they couldn't distract me from the plot not working for me.
  • Have finished watching the first two discs of season 7 (the final season) of Gilmore Girls. Only fourteen episodes left in the series; I imagine I'll be done sometime around two to three weeks from now. Which will be sad. I'm still liking it, though I was very nervous about the creators leaving the show at the start of this season. And I've received many ambiguous hints from friends and other sources about whether the series ends the way I want it to. I still don't want to know for sure, but it's nervous-making.
  • Just bought plane tickets for yet another trip: a weekend in Seattle seeing family in early October. I hate the thought of leaving home yet again this year, but it's been too long since I've seen everyone.
  • Having dinner with Catie & Beth & kids tomorrow evening; will finally get to meet baby Sarah!
  • Miss Mary Anne.
  • Been reading The God of Small Things.
  • I've been in SWAPA (an APA founded by Swarthmore people) for 23 years this month. Unfortunately, I managed to completely fail to send in a 'zine this month. It would've been my 150th 'zine, and I had written half of it early for once, but then forgot about it despite reminders. So instead of celebrating my 23rd anniversary, I got minaced. (Minimum Activity requirement of one 'zine per three months.) Feh. I think that's the first time that's ever happened to me. But I'll likely rejoin next month.
  • Various tech stuff in the wake of installing Snow Leopard on my MacBook, but I've posted most of that in one entry or another.
  • Been getting by on about five hours of sleep most nights, for no clear reason. Think I'd better go to bed instead of reading submissions as I'd planned to do.

I think that's about all.

1 Comment

In my limited experience, B. became a better game player--both for personal interaction and strategy--when we explained the best moves for each player (in the early stages of teaching the game). Now, she is a better player because she reads the rules over and over and plays right hand against left before she asks to have an adult play her. But the important thing was that we have raised a kid who 1) likes to play games and 2) is a firm believer in the MFQ (maximum fun quotient).

Your 1st grade friend is unlikely to even hold your play against you when you play the game again. Memories are short and resilient at that age (at least for games).

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