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Archive for November 2017

Flushed with Success

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IMG_0373We were supposed to be putting up our Christmas tree today, then getting a good start toward decorating the house inside and out over the weekend. And I’d wanted to get back to cleaning up a few PotCPMCA odds and ends.

But late last night the master toilet — or as today’s OED WotD quite by predictive chance would say, our “chanty” — went broken beyond all tinkering. A trip to Home Depot for a repair kit only taught us that we maybe should have disassembled the entire chanty before shopping. But then a second trip to a nearby plumbing supply store gave us most of the parts we needed. So even before the Navy v. UH game was over, I was back in front of my TV set in need of another home fixit project to have for procrastination excuse on that Christmas tree thing.

Together, SuziQ and I managed to do some major plumbing repair on a Kohler chanty!! Watch out, Operations Committee, I might start thinking I know how to fix things!!

bumper sticker [] - homeowner

Aftermath Afterlife:

Written by macheide

24 November 2017 at 1:28 pm

Posted in homeowner

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More Is Less

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Took me near two months, but I’m finally back to keeping myself lying down 6+ hours at night, trying to get myself some decent sleep.

For about two months before the election and well past a month after, 2-3 hours was the standard for me. Stress . . . mind racing . . . too much to get done . . . garden-variety insomnia . . . plus all sorts of strange diversions. I had every reason not to sleep; and when I ran out of all those reasons, I made up new ones.

One of my current doctors — a key doctor who kept me alive through my shenanigans — was not amused. He scratched my annual check-in appointment and required me to see him again after 6 weeks, giving me a few health-related assignments for that stretch. Then when I didn’t do quite as well as I was supposed to for that check-up, set my next appointment 3 months out, still not giving me that 1-year free rein. And if I don’t get cracking, he might take me back down to a monthly appointment the next time I see him.

Because although I’m getting better hours in the bed, I’m still not back to good sleep yet. This morning I could have just as well been up after 3am: my chart’s confusion about what happened after that hour is hiding that I lay mostly awake for over 4 hours, very still while meditating, but quite awake, very much awake.

And I only put up with my CPAP for 3.3 hours after around 11:30pm last night, another night failing to reach the 4-hour quota the doctor wants. And the equipment registered an AHI of 14.5 during that period, half the level I was averaging a few years ago, but still triple where the doctor wants me to be.

Eh, maybe it’s time for me to resuscitate some of my old sleep routines.

//] - sleeper

Written by macheide

24 November 2017 at 8:23 am

Posted in Adrien, sleeper

Tagged with , , ,

By Any Other Words, No Knows

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I’ve launched yet another personal project that I’ll never finish. And is like so many of my other projects, insofar as it will serve no practical purpose, other than to indulge in some fun that rather likely will be unique to me.

I am going to learn to say “I don’t know” in as many different languages as I can.


So far, I know how to say the phrase in three beyond my native tongue: Spanish, French and Albanian. I used to know how to say it in Russian — so that will be the first I’ll add to my list, resuscitating it from a brief college flirtation with maybe learning enough to get me into some good chess manuals, alas to no avail.

This personal project actually began back in high school, as I gradually lost just about all the Spanish they forcefed us hoping to encourage Latin American relations in the 60s back before immigration issues cast its shadows. By the time I gave up trying to stop the erosion in my brain, I had retained only a few useless words like albondigas and the final two phrases that got me by: “Tengo que ir al baño” and “No lo sé.” And it’s long been a matter of inconsequential personal pride to me that confessing my ignorance remains the only scrap from any language I’ve given any time.

Only now, 50 years after not knowing in Spanish, has it occurred to me that it might be fun to not know in a bunch of other languages. That, and giving myself some variation, like learning how to say “I know nothing.”

I’ll build this via pages like I’ve done with other posts. So call this first page Not Knowing English

  • “I don’t know.” — If I had an automatic counter installed, I’d begin keeping track of how many times I admit this out loud, and what I do about it. With the goal of making the incidence high, and accelerating. But with a proactive strategy of working to know.

And then —

  1. Not Knowing Spanish
  2. Not Knowing French
  3. Not Knowing Albanian
  4. Not Knowing Russian
  5. Not Knowing Finnish
  6. Not Knowing German
  7. Not Knowing Italian

Next? Give me a few years at this little diversion, and I’ll seriously be able to speak my piece, then ask that old rhetorical question, “Which word did you not understand?”

bumper sticker [] - undone

Written by macheide

23 November 2017 at 12:15 pm

Posted in Adrien, undone

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Those Days

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//] - unfit

I’ll be walking again. Seriously. To morrow. You’ll know when I arrive.

Written by macheide

23 November 2017 at 7:27 am

Posted in Adrien, unfit

Tagged with ,

Most Dangerous Time

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Weight 2011-2017.11.22

It’s the most dangerous time of the year.

For my weight, that is. Last year on the day after Christmas, I weighed in more than 52 pounds more than I weighed yester morning. But a year ago today I was only 40 pounds higher. So last year, the month between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas I put on 12 pounds!

At least this year I would be bouncing up from a floor instead of busting through a ceiling. But I want to stop bouncing up and down. At my current level I am almost exactly the target weight set for me by the doctors about 20 years ago and within a pound or two of where I was at my wedding with SuziQ. But as the chart on this post shows, the past 6 year since the month before my shenanigans have rarely seen this level, more often floating too high above.

Besides, I don’t really want to have to fight to regain the progress I’ve made this past year. Better to enjoy the festivities for the joy of family and friendship, I think, than to indulge in feasting more than I really need to.

//] - cruiserweight

Aftermath Afterlife:

Written by macheide

23 November 2017 at 4:04 am

Posted in cruiserweight

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Thanks To Morrow

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Today while getting around to delivering that donation I’ve been holding, I will check my in-box, too easily forgotten during this relaxing holiday week away from most of the maelstrom into which these past two months have been thrown. To morrow, watch for some degree of regularity to return to my routines. You’ll know what to look for.

Today I will complete my first draft of a certain actuarial review, correcting the most egregious of the numerous critical errors in a so-called “reserve study” recently sold to an unsuspecting victim. To morrow, watch for other errors to be corrected, including the dangerous void in which companies that hawk such studies operate. You’ll known when they stop asking what I think.

Today I will give up waiting for someone else to say something, so will investigate certain aspects of our e-mail policy. Watch for me to not be at all amused. You’ll know when it stops.

Today I will add a few more companies’ annual updates to my pension disclosure database. Tomorrow, watch for an early prediction of aggregate pension cost for the year that will come closer than the flawed guesses made by all the major consulting firms. You’ll know whom not to believe.

Today I will know the second verse of Baby It’s Cold Outside as well as I am now familiar with the first. To morrow, watch for me to get serious on my own way with it. You’ll know when you hear it.

Today I will address the envelopes for several dozen more Christmas cards. To morrow, watch for the tree to go up in our living room. You’ll know when we’re lit.

Today I will begin a Lifelapse series of sunrises down the fairway of our Hole #4. Tomorrow watch for a new morning. You’ll know it’s with you.

Today I will wind up massive reorganization of my private stationery store. To morrow, watch for my electronic versions to race to catch up. You’ll know it when you see it.

Today I will walk more than 10k steps, if I have to get lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood doing so. To morrow, watch for me to launch another virtual walk up to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, this time with hopes of making it there and well enough beyond. You’ll know when I get there.

Today I will write a villanelle, having recently dusted the rust off some memories of how I was taught how to at least make a knowing stab at it. To morrow, watch for a recitation to emerge. You’ll know where to look for it.

Today I will play my first game of chess in decades, even if only against my iPhone’s Play Magnus app . . . and of course, will lose. To morrow watch for me to at least think about doing the same for Gomoku, then eventually back to Go. Watch for me to pass Go running. You’ll know what that gets me.

Today I will skim the front pages of both sections of Wall Street Journal that landed in our driveway this morning. Today I will read their “What’s News” column and dip into stories that catch my eye. Today I will walk through all pages on a search for articles that would matter to a pension research actuary. Today I will read one article beginning to end, maybe two, maybe even three. Today I will follow up with research down yet another hallway. Today I will ink in a few words on the WSJ crossword puzzle. Tomorrow watch for a second reading as the Journal takes the day off. You’ll find today’s beaten copy folded up in my main satchel.

Today I will begin a new Bic ballpoint sketch. Tomorrow watch for it to pick up depth. You’ll see through it.

Today I will do whatever I can to help with the cooking. To morrow watch for me to do whatever I can to keep from eating myself back up to where I was last year this time. You’ll know when I’m back on the floor.

Today I will study the Homeowner’s Manual for our Lennox thermostat. To morrow watch for reestablishment of the connection with my iPhone. You’ll feel all warm inside.

Today I will make the bed. Today I will get the trash and recycling out to the street for Wednesday pick-up. Today I will again use that new attachment we got for our vacuum cleaner. To morrow watch for me to start my choreography early and end late. You’ll know it’s never done.

Today I will draft another post for aftermath. Tomorrow watch for it to walk into the room with a pencil in its hand. You’ll know something is happening, but you won’t know what it is.

Today I will remember Mrs. Bean being told The News. To morrow watch for us to forget our history all over again. You’ll know when it repeats.

Today I will look for another place to dump the garbage. To morrow watch for me to have another Thanksgiving dinner that can’t be beat. You’ll know what I’m singing a bar of and walkin’ out.

Today I will add three new actions to my task list for every one I complete. To morrow watch for me to do the same. You’ll know it’s me.

bumper sticker [] - to morrow

Written by macheide

22 November 2017 at 5:17 am

Posted in Adrien, to morrow


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Friday mornings, from 10am through 12 noon, at the Lake View Lodge — weekly chess is coming on the community calendar!

I promised when we moved here five years ago that I would get involved. Naturally, the first activity I looked for was chess. Finding it surprisingly absent. So I wandered off to the Special Projects Group (despite being no handyman) and the Ragtimers (despite then not having a clue how to play the ukulele). But always swore that when I retired, I would launch a community chess club.

Chess was once an addiction of mine. An obsession. A passion. I used to own every issue of Players Chess News and accumulated a chess library with over 300 good chess books. Most days after putting in my time past 8pm down on Wall Street, I would ride the subway uptown to watch or play at the Manhattan Chess Club. A landmark knowledge system that I designed and built for the actuarial profession was fashioned after early computer work I did for myself keeping track of chess games. And one of my fondest memories was collaborating with Bernie on a board in a simul against Bent Larsen back the summer Bobby Fischer defeated Spassky. I’ve often observed that the family life I eventually chose over my chess life was my greatest chess sacrifice. But I swore that after the family had flown the nest and I had retired from my career, chess would join poetry and a few other private pursuits in making a comeback.

So sure enough, although my retirement this past year was closely linked to a campaign for an HOA office certain to grab as much time and attention as a family, my promise to myself was kept: within weeks after retirement, I had formally requested permission from our HOA Programs Director to set up a chess club. We needed to survey the community for interest, and of course the election and the past two months of office have made life rather hectic. But soon – perhaps as soon as December – we will be launching our club.

I myself anticipate resuming my atrocious losing record. My chess is like my poetry: I’ve read tens of thousands of poems and have an extensive knowledge of poetry, but have myself written no more than maybe a hundred poems, if that; similarly, I’ve played no more than maybe 50 chess games in any formal tournament, and could count on both hands how many of those were wins or draws. I never made it much past a 1600 rating back in the day, and I have no reason to expect that I’ve gotten any better through two decades away from the board.

Oh sure, I’ve played a few games notable enough to remain vivid in memory. Perhaps my most memorable experience being a club tournament game in Manhattan. I lost that one, but had fun pulling a double-knight sac playing the black pieces against a near-master. Our game drew rather a nice group of spectators that included several masters, who were curious enough to analyze the game with me after I went down in flames. Turned out that my instincts had been correct, and they showed me that I actually could have won the game, if I had known how to follow through. I had an open line and a very active rook, so I sacrificed the first knight to blow away my opponent’s pawn down the attacking file. Several moves later, finding no better purpose for my other knight and having opened up the adjacent line from my end, I sacrificed again, again to remove his pawn protection down that file. Within several moves I had both rooks and my queen bearing down against those two files, with my opponent holding only minor pieces between my attackers and his king. Suffice it to say that with his knights and bishops serving essential blocking duty, I didn’t much feel the loss of my own knights. And it was a perfect sacrifice: giving up material for open lines and an attack. Eh, but in the typical way I always played back then, I could see such things, but was never any good at calculating the final attack.

So don’t expect anything phenomenal out of my chess resuscitation. Even so, it will feel great to be pushing the wood once again.

bumper sticker [] - 64

Written by macheide

21 November 2017 at 7:36 pm

Posted in 64

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