This photo is both not exciting at all and one of the most exciting photos I’ve taken in months.

The corner of a room with bare walls.

This is our basement without the carpet pulled back, carpet pad removed, and large chunks of wall cut away to expose the concrete foundation wall that was leaking and soaking the floor in that corner of our basement.

Instead, this is our basement with the leak repaired, the walls patched, mudded, sanded, textured, and painted, and the carpet pad replaced and carpet re-laid down and put into place.

  • In late January, we discovered the wet patch of carpet in the basement corner.
  • In early February, we frantically moved everything out of this room so that the first round of contractors could start looking at the issue to figure out what needed to be done; everything that was in this room got piled into the other half of the basement. With the piles of stuff everywhere making the dry half of the basement unusable, and with our own desire to isolate the part of the house that would have people coming in and out of it in the midst of a pandemic and at a time when vaccines were just starting to become available to the most needy, at this point we declared our basement off limits, and resigned ourselves to only having 2/3 of our living space available to us. Prairie moved her workspace up into the living room.
  • Because this was an external problem affecting the interior, the bulk of the repairs were handled by the property management company through our HOA. While our HOA is generally pretty good and doesn’t lend itself to the horror stories I’ve heard from other HOAs, the simple fact of having extra administrative levels (us ↔︎ HOA ↔︎ property management ↔︎ contractors) meant that through February, March, and April, we had short periods of things actually happening, and long periods of anger and frustration as we waited to hear back from the property management company about when the next step would happen.
  • In late April, when the exterior work was done, we finally decided that we were tired of the back-and-forth, and told the HOA we’d handle the rest. Two weeks later, we’re finally done with the reconstruction work. It’s amazing how much faster things go without those extra steps in the middle!
  • Now, we take the next week to re-assemble the room (on a much more relaxed time scale than the frantic, one day “throw everything in boxes and stack them wherever we can” process of disassembling the room) and move Prairie out of the living room and back into her office space, and by sometime this weekend, we’ll finally have a fully useable home again, without us constantly tripping over each other or the workarounds we’ve had in place to make the living room workable as a temporary office for her.

If you’re ever tempted, I do not recommend chopping out 1/3 of your living space for three months in the midst of a pandemic when you’re not leaving the house. Just so’s you know.

Having a hard time this morning.

My usual optimism and hope is extremely shaky.

I keep reminding myself that several important states are still in play and that there’s still a decent (maybe even good) chance that Biden will win.

But even if he does, it’s far too close.

I keep reminding myself that many of the races are being heavily affected by gerrymandered districts, limited opportunities to vote, restrictions on when and how votes can be accepted, and other voter suppression tactics primarily concentrated in minority and Democract-leaning areas.

But even so, it’s far too close.

There are so many people in this country who are willingly voting for hate. For fear. For oppression. For racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia, and every other -ism and -phobia out there. Against science. Against compassion. Against care for others. Against their own best interests.

McConnell, who has made a career of doing nothing, has been elected for another six-year term. We don’t know if we’ll even be able to hold the Senate to an even split, let alone take control; if the Republicans keep control, then even if Biden wins, McConnell will continue to make sure that nothing of import makes it through. The confirmation of Barrett made it clear how fast things can move when allowed to proceed, even while hundreds of bills aimed at actually helping the American people sit ignored, because they were passed by a Democrat-controlled House, and so they aren’t worthy of consideration in McConnell’s eyes.

I just, on a very fundamental, moral, and ethical level, do not understand why so many are so willing to actively support harming themselves and others.

And it’s really hard to hold on to my usual hopeful nature right now.

Because…well, why not? My Amazon wish lists are more a way for me to keep track of things I’d like to pick up someday, and not really kept with any expectations that some random person out there will spend money on me. But I’ve been surprised a time or two in the past. So here, in roughly ascending order from “most likely to be reasonable gifts” to “not at all likely”, here are my lists:

Random Nifty Bits: A catch-all list for stuff that catches my eye but doesn’t fit into one of the other lists.

Print Media: Books; things to read.

Movies: Movies and TV shows; things to stare at while sitting on my butt.

Lego: Little colored plastic bits to assemble.

Electronic Gagets and Gizmos: Right now, just a DJ controller.

Photography Bits: Cameras, lenses, and other accessories.

I’d also be quite happy to hear of donations to organizations like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the EFF, the SPLC, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, or other such groups.

This year’s Thanksgiving break was just what was needed: four days of virtually nothing of import whatsoever. We spent the weekend relaxing at home, reading books (I finished four over the four days (all of which were old Star Trek novels…yes, it’s escapist fluff, but that’s the point, especially as the Star Trek universe is based on optimistic ideals, which is just what I need these days), and in doing so completed this year’s Goodreads challenge, which I’d had set at 52 books), watching Netflix shows and upbeat movies from our personal collection, and eating lots of good food. We didn’t even leave the house for three of the four days, only venturing out on Sunday to do our grocery shopping for the week and a little Christmas book shopping at Goodwill.

I did spend some time tweaking Eclecticism, now that I’m paying attention to it again. I removed somewhere over 1,600 posts from a period where I was mirroring every tweet I posted to my blog…it seemed like a good idea at the time, but just ended up dumping a lot of noise into the archives here. I’ve also re-enabled Google Adwords advertising. I’m keeping it minimal, as I don’t want to unduly annoy any visitors, but it’d be nice to get back to making a little bit of money off of my years of babbling (at one point a few years back, I was pulling in about $100 every three months…nothing major by any means, but enough to cover my hosting costs, which was all I was really concerned with).

And that’s it for now.

[Note: This was originally written back when I was hand-coding my pages. Original entry is here.]

Well, Christmas has come and gone. Didn’t get much on my wish list, but then, that was expected…especially when the first item was a $2700 computer. (grin) Hey, I can dream. Did get some good books, hair clippers, a Sex Pistols t-shirt, and some other cool stuff. Let’s see. Well, no big surprise here…there are a few more cd’s in my collection. Um…not much else at the moment. (shrug) Don’t feel like working on anything else. Gerf.

[Note: This was originally a post to the IRN, run by Royce for a few years in the early ’90s. I’m including it here for completeness. Originally archived here.]

#074 ACAD2A::ASRDW1 Thu 17 Oct 1991 10:39:16 ( 7/ 255) M

From: Royster
Subject: TA-DA!!!! The First Question!!

Okay, same rules as before – answers are taken until a week from today, when I send the next one out – but try to have them in by next Tuesday so we can get back onto the old schedule

Here’s the question:

“What’s it like being you?” (Please elaborate)

#05 ACAD2A::ASMDH Thu 17 Oct 1991 12:18:11 ( 8/ 551)

From: The Woodmeister
Subject: Re: TA-DA!!!! The First Question!!

Being me…I blindly stumble through an undending maze of color, shape, and sound. Some of it makes sense, some of it doesn’t, all of it is amusing. I often wonder if these shapes control themselves, or whether I subconciously control them, creating the world around me as I go. If so, I have one hell of a sense of humor, for I currently find almost everything at least slightly amusing, and often laugh for what most people see as for no reason at all. However, as long as the world around me continues to amuse me, I see no reason to complain.