63 Hours of Hermitage

Well, this weekend has been near maximum hermitage. Came home Friday evening, and I've only opened the door for food delivery. I reorganized the Starry Wisdom library, I've watched a lot of horror movies, read. Caught up (kind of) on sleep. Yesterday was little to no anxiety, today isn't quite as nice. Tomorrow is back to the job, with patching and probably a number of meetings about the migration. I really don't have updates from my last post on the subject. I've got a plan, and a schedule as a framework. So we'll see how it goes.

Non-work related stuff, less than 2 months til HPLFF in Portland. Looking forward to visiting Innsmouth West. This week I need to drop my car off at the dealer for general maintenance, plus the usual allergy shots. Next weekend 'Meg' gets released, giant sharks and giant squid. I'm so there. Not much of anything else in the works. Or really to talk about. So I'll call this a post.

Well I thought last week was bad

The current state of the Fox in regards to work. It's copied from Facebook, so it might not be completely coherent, or grammatically correct.

Last night:
Tomorrow morning is probably going to be interesting, in the 'may you live in interesting times' way. Cross tentacles and have kittens on standby if it goes pearshaped.

Today:
Well, I got my answers. Branch of the company I've been working at is being sold. The buyer of the branch has elected to not bring me along permanently. I will continue to work here through the migration til it is complete, or 1 year, which ever comes first. There is no guarantee I will have a position with corporate at the end of that period. If one is found, I keep working for parent, otherwise it's a severance package and a good luck in my future endeavors. .

Not doing good at all. Not one little bit. I know it's life in a big corporation, but I still feel like shit scraped off a shoe. Please no advice right now, or 'you know you're a good employee' or other well meant platitudes. The sudden reality check I just is going to be louder than anything else right now. Caring and kitten/critter pictures much more welcome.

Later today:
Working from home the rest of the day. Did figure out that these changes mean that two of my PITA projects are either going to halt or drop in scope. Also, various local people have pointed out that they're pulling for newcorp to bring me over because I'm a valuable resource (and I fit in well). So that helps. Still going to update the resume, and spend part of the new few weeks documenting out the weird stuff that only I do. In case of being run over by bus, or being thrown under the bus. *is a professional*

As for me care. Working from home for one. Ordered a cheesesteak for two. Weekend plans are probably going to be near/all hermiting because well, *gestures wildly at the last few weeks* I have shelves to put together, and the reorg of the library should be worked on, especially since I have a fancy respirator now to filter out the dust. Plus books, and movies, and probably some plotting and planning. Also, this will not affect my plans for the HPLFF. There's a mighty need for time with a large number of my tentacled tribe.

So, surviving, but frazzled.

Addendum. The powers that be at the local office are trying to convince newcorp that I'm a valuable member of the team, and to also bring me along. Which is appreciated. I'm not holding out a ton of hope, but when do I ever ? I guess we see what happens, and what I get done during the transition.

Week from Sheol

Oh elder gods and little fishies, this week has been crazy. All work foo. One, my fellow admin at Carcosa Corp was traveling for business, so 4 of the 5 days I was the lone admin. And it's patch week. And I had a large chunk of a project scheduled to go into production as of last night, with a process that i wasn't 100% comfortable with. Plus the usual daily foo. It's been rough. I haven't been sleeping solid, and I'm dragging today.

But work was pretty calm for normal sysadmin foo, my usual having to herd cats to get things scheduled for patching. And last night's big change went well. While it involved things I don't know well, databases and applications that run under Java, along with Microsoft Active Directory for the trifecta of eww, I made it all work, and I got things working faster than I estimated. So all would have been well if I'd gotten a full night's sleep. So of course I didn't. *eyeroll* At least I'm more comfortable with the whole process, now to just work out the 3rd magic step that has baffled the software vendor's support. Which I just had a small lightbulb moment about. Excuse me while I email myself.

*time passes*

Ok, note to future me sent. Will argue with it later this weekend, or Monday AM. Yay aha moments.

And with that, I think I'll end this post. Probably will be heading to bed and book early tonight. Hopefully I can get some real rest over the weekend. Night all.

Eyeballs and Books

Look, two posts in a weekend. Yesterday was the mental health day I took from work. I spent most of it watching various horror flicks, and futzing around online. Oh, and some vague chore doing at home. I'm slowly getting rid of clutter. Then I'll start on rearranging things a little better. I'm also going to pack up some of the scifi/fantasy section of the Starry Wisdom Library, and probably put it in storage. Shelf space is at a premium, and history, esoterica and Mythos has priority. (also, I have piles of books that need to be organized). Worked on that also this morning, along with more (and worse) movies.

Went to the eye doctor in the afternoon, when it was 105 out. Glad my eyeballs didn't melt. Long story short, my distance vision is a smidge better than it was, my up close vision is a tad worse. So new glasses are in my future. But otherwise my eyes are healthy, come back in year and get dilated.

Came home after that, where I ate way too many chicken tenders. I have to remember, when I have the brilliant idea 'I'll get a family meal, and I'll have 3-4 meals out of it', portion out the damn things...otherwise I keep eating them til I'm about to explode. Haven't done much else this afternoon/ evening. Rearranged a few things, made some mental notes. Found a random flat in London that is not only cool looking, but is the same building for the hero in 'The Devil Rides Out', with the same cool terrace design. But, since I haven't come into my Innsmouth gold inheritance, I don't see me relocating Château Innsmouth to the UK.

So what is Vulpine reading ? Currently I'm reading a history of the Cathars, The Lost Teachings of the Cathars by Andrew Phillip Smith. It's a reread, but given the news lately, who doesn't need a book on medieval quasi-Gnostic dualism. Enjoyable, if nothing really new to the subject. I recently finished a novella, Maniac Gods by Rich Hawkins. Unlike m y current read, this is a little more...intense. It's Lovecraftianesque cosmic horror, with the emphasis on horror. Cult does bad thing, divorced Dad tries to save his ex-wife and kid, bad things happen. Yes, this is done a lot. But Rich gleefully dives into the guts of the story and runs it at full tilt, and when you get to the obvious 'and here's more horror' he slams on brakes and does a 180 that almost hurts. Then he slowly ratchets things up...and then if you want more, go buy the book. *wink* In the bullpen is a number of other British horror novels, I may have gone a little crazy during Amazon Prime Day.

So that's about it for non-brain meats thoughts. Tomorrow I go see Denzel Washington beat people up, and then it's back to work of some stress. But I will survive. Cthulhu's told me so. (Oh yeah, and if you wonder why I have more links than usual, I changed some stuff in my ViM configuration, and this seemed a good test. Yay geeking)

State of the Fox: Brainmeats and melting.

Well, I finally finished my epic series about my trip to Innsmouth. Well, such that can be spoken without violating my oaths to Dagon *wink* Outside of my trip, there hasn't been a lot of news worthy stuff going on. My emotional foo is as it usually is, variable. I've visited the pshrink recently, and nothing much has changed from last visit. I know things aren't perfect in my brain, but I'm able to function, hold down a job, and most all the other 'normal' activities.

Work is kind of stressful. There is debate on what my role is, between local and corporate. And I'm stuck in the middle, not really knowing where I fit. Uncertainty is not my friend. It could be worse, I'm 98% sure I'll have a job either way. I just wish I knew what I'd be doing by the end of the year.

That stress, plus the way reality seems to be going, has been making my brainmeats wig out. I'm anxious, a lot. My depression is more or less the same, a little higher. I spend a lot of time at night trying to run imaginary scenarios to relax. Focus is spotty at best, even with books. I was able to focus some on playing chess, but my game has dropped rather. Luckily I can go from computer: beginner to computer: clueless, so I don't have to feel bad about being owned by a computer as much. So what am I going to do ? Well I took today off as a mental health day, got a bunch of chores done first thing this morning, and I've been watching horror flicks. Tomorrow is much the same, with an eye doctor visit in the afternoon. And Sunday is also kind of the same idea, with a viewing of 'Equalizer 2'. I'm also going to work on VM updates, low level geek stuff, remind myself that computers can be fun. Then hopefully on Monday I'm somewhere back to 'normal'.

Otherwise, life is mostly trying to survive the summer. We're in a crazy heatwave (even for Texas in July). 110 temps until next Tuesday, when it drops to a more normal 100. *eyeroll* I really wish I didn't live in crazy heat land. Though it seems that most of the US is also in crazy hot weather. I'm wondering if I could get a good internet connection in Greenland.

So that's about all I have right now. I wanted to write less brainmeats and more geek stuff, but that's what came out. I am going to try to write more often, I've even rearranged my desktop layout and vim settings to make it easier. We'll see. Via con Cthulhu everyone.

Goin’ Down to Innsmouth: Sails out of Innsmouth and home.

Final day of vacation, well not counting the day of travel coming home. And this was the heart of the vacation plan, a day long sail on a schooner. Specifically the Ardelle. I got up early, got showered and ready, and headed out. She sets sail promptly at 8, and I was NOT going to be late. The Ardelle had a crew of three, one of whom spotted my Innsmouth shirt and commented. The rest of the passengers were all sailing enthusiasts, some of whom had helped build or work the Ardelle. She's a modern ship, but built as close to the original fishing schooners used in the area as they could. I think I was only person on board who'd never sailed on sailing craft this size, (my sail boat experience is being on little 4-5 person boats), and I hadn't been out to sea on anything smaller than a cruise ship since I was a kid. Not that anyone gave me grief about being the new fish, was a very friendly bunch, crew and passengers both.

We headed away from the dock under engine, but as soon as we were out in the harbor they hoisted sail. Well one sail was hoisted by myself and another passenger. He'd done it before, and was in better shape than me. but I still managed it. Wasn't til later than I realized that it gets harder the higher the sail goes, as you're pulling more weight, not just fatigued from the effort. Really glad the sails were modern synthetics, not old fashioned canvas. Probably would make a good exercise plan...if you had the room.

So, I was on a schooner heading out around Cape Ann under sail. Sea was pretty calm, enough wind to move along nicely, and some swells to make it interesting, but not test my sea legs severely. Still don't get seasick, go me. The weather started off kind of brisk and cloudy, which felt great to me. So how did it feel to be under sail ? It was....it was amazing. Nothing quite like how it feels to go on the wind. I got lightly teased about how I was pretty much glued to the bow of the ship, just looking out with a big ol grin on my face. Pretty sure I wouldn't make the best figurehead, but who cares. Seriously, if you like water or ships, find yourself some kind of sailing tour like this and go. It's better then taking a cruise, at least in the short term.

The crew was very friendly, and relaxed. They took the ship seriously, and even when they were joking and telling stories you knew they were paying attention to everything going on. And since most of the passengers had been around the Cape Ann area, even if the crew was busy, someone was pointing out various lighthouses and islands, and history. Oh, amusement. Using the head on this ship was....tricky. Basically you pump in sea water to flush with, but there's a valve and a pump and...where you go. And the directions, while perfectly plain and descriptive, did require a few stalled attempts before I got it. It's not rocket science, but it does require some coordination and it's not like using the toilet at home. *laugh* Definitely RTFM (Read The Flushing Manual)

We stopped off in Rockport for about a half an hour. Got some snacks. Then we sailed up north to a little artist colony who's name I'm blanking on. Just stayed long enough for some of the locals to see the ship, and to get some pictures, then back out. By then the wind had died down enough that we had to go by motor. Which felt a little different, and obviously was louder. But still was a blast. Talked sailing and how he teaches sailing with the captain, basically letting the newest crewperson man the helm, without hovering, because you can't learn how these ships feel any other way, but making sure that if something goes wrong, they know they're not hung out to dry. Talked Lovecraft with one of the crew, who was the captain's daughter (No jokes please), and had just gotten back from refitting a sailing vessel in Singapore, and was working on a grant proposal to convert an old motored fishing vessel into a small research ship. Otherwise everyone mostly talked boats and ships and what to do when a fog bank rolls in when you're in a one person kayak and your forgot your compass. (short answer, don't forget your compass). Answered some questions about living in Texas, found out the unofficial state motto of Rhode Island is 'I know a guy', and had multiple people make subtle suggestions that I'd probably like living in the area better than in landlocked Dallas/Fort Worth. Very tempting thoughts there.

We then sailed down the Annisquam river, which separates Cape Ann from the rest of Massachusetts, making it actually an island. Lots of people on the water, in anything from kayaks to big motor yachts. Pretty sure we were the coolest though. *grin* Eventually we made out out of the river and into the western harbor, then sailed back to her dock. Definitely was the high point of the trip. Will seriously be going back to sail again on the Ardelle. I cannot praise this highly enough. I'm grinning now as I'm thinking about it.

Once we docked I headed back to my car. I had some vague plans to do more tourist stuff, but honestly I was pretty beat. Oh, and the clouds had broken about the time we went from sail to motor, so it got warmish. So I ended up getting some drive through and heading back to hotel. I meant to go back down to the beach, but there was a fair crowd, and I was pretty socialed out. So I spent the evening reading/listening to audiobooks, futzing around online, and playing chess. Sadly we didn't have much wind, and what we had blew the wrong way, so it was still pretty warm. Had trouble getting to sleep, as this was the first night the ocean was pretty quiet. Did go to sleep eventually...then it was morning, and I had to go home. Drove back to Boston, drove in a different way just to see more of the area. Checked in my car, (got lost trying to figure out where to check in). Took the shuttle to the terminal, got all checked in and my hair fondled by the TSA. Flight home was pretty average, and got back to my car pretty quick. Did not enjoy going back to 100 degrees. But it was nice to be home, in my own bed. Even if I had to go back to my white noise generator ocean sounds, instead of the real thing.

So, to wrap up. I had a blast. I definitely wished I had more time to explore, but I made plenty of mental (and actual) notes for the next Innsmouth visit. So many museums and points of interest in that part alone. I'm glad I stayed by the sea, even if I didn't end up swimming, there really is nothing like sleeping to the sound of waves. So yes, Virginia there is an Innsmouth, and it's pretty damn cool place. Iä Iä Dagon Fhtagn!

Goin’ Down to Innsmouth: The Other Innsmouth(s)

So yes, I said the 'Other Innsmouth'. For those not in the know, HPL based his description of Innsmouth on Gloucester, as well as the nearby port of Newburyport. I wasn't originally planning on going to Newburyport, but as I said, I had a random desire to drive so I went ahead and did it. Drove through various towns in Essex, if I'd had more time and more of a plan I'd have stopped at various museums I passed, along with various cool old buildings. Next time (and yes there will be a next time) I'll have to make more stops.

Got to Newburyport, and I got an odd vibe. Not bad, but definitely more touristy and 'hipsterish' than Innsmouth Prime. Drove around a bit, stopped to find some lunch and a bookstore, found the bookstore but nothing lunchy. Pulled out the Shining Trapezohedron and tried to find a place that didn't charge $20 for a basic cheeseburger. I was not successful. I widened the search and found a place on the way back that looked tasty, didn't use ingredients that I had to google, and was reasonably priced. So I turned back around and found the Choate Bridge Pub. Your basic local place. Got a burger than was perfectly cooked and tasty, fries were good, and the service was great. Definitely worth the driving. Then I decided to go visit yet another Innsmouth...

In the story 'Shadow Over Innsmouth', HPL doesn't say exactly where the town is, but he gives a lot of clues. There's a river, it's near Newburyport and Rowley, it's past Plum Island by some amount, and there's marshland. And I've spent more than a little time on Google Maps trying to puzzle out a location. And as luck would have it, I'm just a smallish drive from the location. So I decide to see if I can get there. So I drive down winding roads, and some nice views of the water...and my GPS says it's right ahead...and there's a sign saying 'No thru traffic, private' and a security guard/suit. Now it could just be a private community, or Innsmouth could have some secrets it wants to keep, even from a cultist like me. So I decided discretion is the better part of valor, so I turned around and drove a bit away to a public beach. Could see part of the community, but not much. Was a really nice view of the water, I will neither confirm or deny the presence of shapes in the water. Also, keeping the location to my self. First Oath of Dagon all that jazz *wink*

From there I headed down to Manchester-by-the-Sea for another bookstore that came well recommended. I also met a very friendly dog and his family. Gave pets, then said something about 'Ok, your Mom has places to go' and she came back with 'Oh no, we go on his schedule'. So more petting was had. *laugh* From the bookstore I headed back to the hotel, and had a quiet night of book, snacks, and early to bed. I had to be up early next day to go sailing.

Goin’ Down to Innsmouth: Books, books, and books

When last I went to Innsmouth, I had just gone through the tour of the Sargent House. The rain had let up, so I headed back towards Main Street. I stopped at two stores, first an antique place with lots of books. Lots of books and knickknacks and stuff, in little to no order. So I spent a lot of time shuffling around, skimming titles on spines hoping I'd catch a keyword or author name or something. Was fun, if a little crazy. The books were randomly placed, nothing by subject. I'm sure I missed some treasures because my booksenses were overwhelmed by the chaos. Picked up a couple of books and some antique postcards. Then I went further down the block and visited Dogtown Book Shop. Wow. Bookshelves groaning with books, piles of books on the floor. Books everywhere. Unlike the antique shop, they were organized. But the shop itself was a maze of shelves and nooks and stuff. Some logically, as all the histories were next to each other. Some made sense as 'well yes, after mysteries you could stick sci-fi/fantasy/horror all together...in the back of the shop...with the least light'. And some were just...best example, The erotica section was further into the back than scifi and friends, and behind part of the wall that jutted out. So pretty much you had to know where it was, or were willing to venture deep into the book-abyss to stumble upon it. Was a lot of fun to browse (the store in general, I only gave the erotica a passing glance), but I was more than a little claustrophobic and terrified I'd knock over a stack of books and start an apocalypse. Found some good books, again pretty sure I missed stuff, possibly a gateway to The Library on Celaeno. Definitely liked the hours on the door 'x to x, unless the proprietor feels otherwise.'

There was more to see and do in town, but I felt a weird urge to take a road trip. So I hopped in the rental, set the GPS and went cross Essex county to...the Other Innsmouth.

Goin’ Down to Innsmouth: Chapter Four – The Esoteric Order of Dagon

Friday dawned early. I'd left the balcony door open, and the curtains pulled, and my room faced directly to the east. Not that there was much of a dawn, it was a gray, overcast day. But still enough to wake me up early. Got up, got ready and headed back into Innsmouth proper. I'd looked up parking online, and found a place kind of center. Seemed a better idea to pay for a day's parking vs trying to find parking as I moved around, plus more fun to walk through the old streets and houses. So I did.

There was no plan as I went. I wanted to go to the harbor, and I had some landmarks, and stores I wanted to visit, but I just went as the mood and feet took me. Had breakfast at a crowded little diner called 'Sugar Magnolia'. Omelet (big chunks of tomato and bacon in it), potatoes and toast. Went from there to 'The Bookstore of Gloucester', which was a small but nice little shop with new books. As it my habit, I picked up a book about local history, and some postcards/art cards. Also met the store pup, Finn. A little snow white...something. Cute guy, gave me a sniff, got his pettings, then took his human out to pee (he peed, not the human... I think). I then walked to the harbor, stared out at the water for a long while (I did that a lot this trip). Saw the memorial to all the fishermen who'd died over the years. All the names that are known are written down, going back centuries, up until the 2000s. It's humbling.

On a lighter note, the various kinds of gulls around were yelling at each other, different calls. Really sounded like they were cursing each other out. After the harbor, I walked up though the town going towards one of the landmarks, the Esoteric Order of Dagon Hall (or American Legion Post #3, if you believe in such things). I would say of what I learned there, but I am bound by the Second Oath. Oddly, there's also a statue of Joan of Arc across the street, a memorial to those who fought in WWI. What's funny, I only just realized it was Joan of Arc. I was distracted I guess. From there I went The Sargent House, one of the original fancy homes in town. Old Georgian mansion, which is always a good excuse to get out of the drizzle. The house was built for a Judith Sargent Stevens Murray in 1782, she one was of the early feminists. I showed up just as a tour was starting, so I joined in. Beautiful house, lots of portraits on the walls, very cool furniture, and my fellow tour takers were big art and history nerds from NJ, so they asked tons of questions I didn't think to ask. Some books on display, including a family bible that was epic in size. Of course, it could have also been the Necronomicon, but I wasn't willing to risk it. Historians will have your arm off for offenses like that. If you're in the area, I highly recommend visiting. The tour takes about an hour, and it's worth it. I wonder if the local bus driver comes here a lot...

I'm cutting Friday off here because I've been writing for almost 2 hours, and I'm running out of tentacles. Tune in next time for stories of me semi-randomly going to another Innsmouth, wandering around Essex environs, and maybe actually finding where my port of dreams is...