Wednesday, June 24, 2020


I've given up on my so-called computer glasses--damn things have never focused right unless I have ape arms--and gone to my nighttime reading glasses for work. I just sit closer to the screen. My distance glasses have never been right, either. I'd love to try a new doc and see if they can get my prescription right for once. It's been years since I've had a really good one. But with the virus still around, it's not a good idea. I can get along for a while.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Journal of the Plague Year

(With apologies to Daniel Defoe.)

It has been a surreal three months since COVID-19 hit. We (my University office) started to hear rumblings in February that the latest bug to go around the world was not a benign creature, and that it might affect our students. We've all heard of schools shutting down for a few days at a time in the winter when a bad flu is going around and so many students are out sick. But the whole Uni shutting down? The whole world of schools?? And businesses and everything else??? That was trippy. But it happened. Toward end of March, the bosses were making plans for a rotating work schedule when, BOOM!, our governor (and almost every other state's guv) issued a stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the coronavirus. I started working at home on March 25th.

Gotta admit--I'm loving it.

Not the 101,000 U.S. deaths (357,000+ globally) or the nearly six million cases worldwide. Just the me-working-at-home part. The rest is godawful.

On top of the horrible number of infections and deaths is the fucking insane political wrangle that passes for our national response to COVID-19. No way in hell would any other President in American history respond to a global health hazard the way that orange blight in the White House has. I don't need to go into it here--plenty of people have been there before me. It just boggles the (sane) mind.

Places are starting to open up now--some way too fast, especially without widespread testing. My Uni's planning to have in-person fall classes (after a lightning-quick transition to remote learning, in which my department, eLearning, was a key player), but that depends on what happens between now and then. Ditto every other school in the world. Personally, I can go on working at home until I retire (in 3.34 years, not that I'm counting).

Monday, December 2, 2019


"How was your break/Thanksgiving?"

What I felt: "I had to put my cat down Monday afternoon and spent the rest of the week moping and cleaning cat bowls and dusting out the marks where her nerve-damaged tail dragged when she walked and giving away her food and missing my furry little hot water bottle."

What I said: "Fine. Restful. Ate a lot."

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Tabby is gone--I had her put down yesterday. She was 14.5 years old, skin and bones, kidney disease, terrible arthritis, and had stopped eating. Still, I feel like I could have let her go on for a bit--she did eat a smidgen yesterday. But when I picked her up to put her in the carrier, she didn't even weigh as much as a sack of flour. It was time.

My bed looks naked without her ramp beside it.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Money and cats

Overstepped my financial bounds again, goddamnit. What is wrong with me?

On an unrelated subject (well, except that her food is expensive), my cat isn't eating much, except to lick up the gravy.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Had some down time...

Almost two months later, I'm starting to get back to my project. I discovered browser compatibility problems, and I was seriously feeling the time crunch. My boss agreed that I could do a more conventional project for the title upgrade and raise, so I knocked that out in two days. (Haven't heard anything about the title/raise yet, or even whether my project was acceptable; will ask soon.)

With that out of the way, I can relax a little and take time to learn what I need to learn to create interactive apps for our online courses.

This doesn't come naturally to me. I'm an artist--or I was, before I burned out or whatever it was that happened. Anyway, that was a right-brain gig, and coding really isn't, or at any rate, it's a very different type of creativity. I can do it, though--it's just going to take me time to get a handle on programming, and a bit more effort than might be required of your average regulation computer nerd.

There was a further interruption in April, of course--on the 19th, my mother died. She had been in misery with a bastardly infection called Clostridium difficile, or c.diff, for months. I forget how many weeks she spent in hospitals or a rehab center, in and out, home for a bit, then back to the hospital when the damn infection got a foothold again. It was awful for her. She spent her last week in at-home hospice, telling two of my sisters what all she wanted done and who got what and so forth. I'm glad she had that much control of the situation. Her mind was sharp to the end, thank goodness. She was 92 years old.

Arlene Fern Smith
January 24, 1926 - April 19, 2018

So I took some time to rest, did that quick ID project, then started looking around for more help learning Javascript. Found a more thorough course on Udemy and started that yesterday. Also did some more research on Adobe Animate and found out how to incorporate Javascript libraries into the file so I can still use KonvaJS, if that turns out to be the best solution.

And on we go.

Friday, April 6, 2018

We have text inputs and button controls

Unfortunately, they interfere with the polygon mouseover/click events in the layer below the text layer. So far, I've found a way to disable listening in individual text nodes, but the invisible textarea on the textlayer still blocks access to the polygons. This is a big problem for tiny country/polygons like Luxembourg (on my map of Europe). I've put in another question on Stack Overflow and Gitter, hoping for help.

I also need to figure out how to better position the textareas. The x/y values in KonvaJS don't correspond to the map in Animate CC at all, so that's no help. I still want to be able to position the textareas relative to the polygons, so I'll experiment with that while letting the other problem percolate for a while.