Notes while ramping up fast

I'm sorry I've been so absent. This quarter has just about knocked me over already, and we're only three weeks in.

I'm taking three classes. SQL, .Net programming, and Web Authoring. I'm already behind in two of them, because I can't install the programs I need on my Mac, since they're Microsoft crap and there are no OSX versions. And I've missed classes due to sleep problems, which means missing out on lab time to work.

I'm TAing for a class I took last quarter with a different instructor. This quarter's instructor for it is one I loved when I had her for another class. She's great fun, and her sense of humor matches mine. Deeply, deeply geeky queer woman. Yay! And I love TAing for her, it's lots of fun, and I'm getting the stuff I felt like my teacher for the class (who was neat in his own ways, and I look forward to having him for other things) missed covering. But it's exhausting. I spend two-and-a-quarter hours twice a week running around the class helping different people with whatever difficulty comes up (which is always something; it's tech).

And I'm still tutoring, but where it was very slow at this time last quarter, and a typical day had more tutors than students in the lab, now I'm helping three to five people at a time, running around all over the place, trying to get people through things. Many of them are not very computer literal, are ESL students, or both, and need a lot of attention and aid. They don't necessarily know things like that bibliography and works cited are synonyms, and therefore in Word you would look under the Bibliography drop-down for a Works Cited page. I don't have time to work on my own homework in there, the way I did last quarter.

I haven't put in any time on the book since the beginning of the quarter, as much as I'd like to. I get home and I just fall over. I hardly have time to decompress. I haven't made it to any meetups or anything, either.

My personal life has gotten more interesting.

I'm struggling to maintain a daily practice at all, much less to do yoga.

Last quarter I coasted. This quarter is more challenging.


Restarting Yoga

I'm trying to start my yoga practice back up again. To aid me in that, I've been rereading my old yoga posts. In particular, the part in The Little Dance Your Body Does about dynamic balance struck me.

Now that I'm in school again, balance is more important than ever, and multiple readings over the past year and for the next year keep telling me it's going to continue to be important. Which serve merely as reminders, because of course it's going to continue to be important.

It's something I'm having trouble with, too. Trying to balance school and my spiritual life and my crafts and my writing and... everything. It's hard. Hard to have the time and the spoons to deal with everything, hard to even have enough attention span for everything. Hard to get enough sleep. I'm enjoying school but that makes balance harder, not easier.

It's hard to find the time to do yoga. I'm so tired in the morning and at night, which is when I try to do little 5-10 minute routines along with my morning and evening rituals. I'm not good at mornings, and have trouble getting out of bed at all, much less getting up another 5-10 minutes earlier so I have time for this. At night, I've already taken my sleep pill before I go up the stairs (or else it doesn't have time to kick in, and I end up lying in bed with my brain weasels in the hamster wheels), and it's starting to kick in, and I'm exhausted from my day, which makes it just as hard in the evening. It's hard to just get in my ritual many days. But I need to make the time, to carve it out from my day however I can.

One of the reasons I need to start doing yoga again is that I'm starting to get the first inklings of pain in my back and hips again, which suggests my tendinopathy is coming back. Yoga helped me rid of it last time, without me having to go to physical therapy. I'd really like to avoid it getting any worse this time.

So. Here I go.


Nietzschemanteion in the New Year

Some friends of mine have created the Nietzschemanteion, a bibliomantic oracle based on the works of Friedrich Nietzsche. I was given a hardcopy of it, an attractive little booklet.

For those unfamiliar with bibliomancy, there are (at least) two kinds. One is to take a text, usually sacred, let it fall open at a random place and plonk your finger down without looking. The section to land on it your answer.

But the Starry Bull tradition likes a different kind, that's actually a hybrid with astragalomancy. You build a collection of quotes from a text or body of work, assign each a set of three numbers running 1-6 (or whatever your favorite dice run), and then roll a set of three dice to get your answer. You typically choose 3-5 quotes in this way.

I've never read any Nietzsche before. Too busy, and honestly I'm not big on philosophy. Or even poetry. But the fragments in this oracle are fascinating and... educational... about his work. Many of them are from his letters, I think, personal ones in which he talks much of Dionysos, because the god is often mentioned. (Late in his life, affected by mental illness, Nietzsche became quite obsessed with Dionysos, even signing his letters with the name.)

It was designed as an oracle for communication with Dionysos and his Dead, but has developed a personality of its own. Rather a sassy one, at that. I did some readings for people on one of my online communities on New Year's Eve and Day, and it's been fun and interesting. The more I work with it, the more I like it. So here's a reading for the next year of this blog:

5-5-4 Excess revealed itself as truth.
5-6-1 concealed things after which the name Dionysos was added as one more question mark.
2-6-5 of a crisis like no other before on earth
4-6-5 What am I saying?
1-5-6 something never before experienced struggles for utterance

The first three build to a complete sentence, the fourth asks a rhetorical question, and the fifth answers it and sums up. "Excess revealed itself as truth and concealed things after which the name Dionysos was added as one more question mark of a crisis like no other before on earth. What am I saying? Something never before experienced struggles for utterance." A time of great trouble is coming. Dionysos makes it a question, not an answer, which means there is a chance to turn it around. Bacchism (because excess can be a kind of Bacchism) will reveal things. New experiences will be difficult to put into words, but as this is a blog, that's the goal.

It goes well with a reading Sannion gave me for the new year.

2-4-4: I had money and I had none
3-1-1: The dark one, Enterprise
5-5-4: Night is drawing near.
3-4-3: Blood is the rose of mysterious union.
2-5-1: To glory in self like a new monster

I won't give his interpretation, except to say that balance, as ever, will be key.


Rabbit Rabbit

Happy New Year, then. May 2017 be better than our fears, even if it can't be as good as our dreams.


Carrie Fisher

I knew I was going to break down, as soon as I heard. I just didn't know what would set it off. This is what did it.


What I Learned This Quarter (Fall 2016)

by Rebecca, age 39

I learned the basics of programming in C# (ITC110), including but not limited to:

  • How to write a console program

  • How to receive inputs and return outputs

  • How to use math operators

  • How to use selection, or if statements

  • How to do for, for each and while loops

  • How to populate an array and what to use it for

  • How to write and execute methods

  • How to write and execute classes

  • Some things about troubleshooting

  • The basics of how to create web forms using ASP.NET

I learned the basics of how to design databases in SQL Server, MySQL, and MongoDB, including but not limited to:

  • How to create a Requirements document

  • The basics of relational design

  • The basics of the first three normal forms

  • How to create an entry-relationship design model diagram

  • How to create a SQL database from an ERD

  • How to test a SQL database

  • The basics of what NoSQL is

  • How to create a MongoDB database

We also covered some things in Database Design class that I already knew:

  • How to create a database using SQL
  • How to populate a database using SQL
  • How to write queries using SQL
  • How to create inner join queries in SQL

I learned a lot of scattered things in Operating Systems and Development Environments:

  • How to research and write a white paper
  • What a virtual machine is
  • The uses and history of virtual machines
  • Some online virtual machines, including Cloud 9 and Amazon Web Services
  • The basics of Git and Github
  • Some things about licensing, closed- and open-source
  • The basics of agile development, scrum, and kanban
  • What stacks and frameworks are
  • About software testing and test-driven development

I learned a huge amount this quarter, and enjoyed most of it.


The Funeral Consumers Alliance needs help

As I think anybody who reads this blog knows, I've been working on funeral rituals. What you may not know is that I'm also helping people plan their own funeral, and figure out the laws in their states so they can best plan. And in this area, the work of the Funeral Consumer Alliance has been absolutely invaluable. Without the important work they do, I wouldn't have vital information on state laws, on caring for a body, on how to plan a home funeral, and many other things.

The FCA runs on a shoestring budget of about $200k a year, and are still $50k short for 2016. If you can donate, even a little, please do.


Ghost Ship

On the night of December 2, a fire broke out in a warehouse-cum-art-studio space that was hosting a party at the time. Over a hundred people were there. As of the last I heard, the known death count had reached 30, with more than half the building left to search.

A friend of mine lost friends in that fire. I grieve with my friend.

Since I was writing threnoi anyway (on which more later), I was asked by another friend to write something for the Ghost Ship dead. Here it is.

A Threnos for the Ghost Ship Dead

Let it be known
Let it be known
To mortals and gods
That the Ghost Ship dancers are dead
Their names are many
But they reached for the ecstatic
And they died in flames
May their journey be swift and sure
May they pass lightly
From the mystery of life
To the mystery of death

May the pain and fear
Of their final moments
Be washed away by Lethe
May the joy of the dance
Remain with them
As they go their way
Wherever they may go
May their journey be swift and sure
May they pass lightly
From the mystery of life
To the mystery of death

May they walk in golden lands
Or feast in golden halls
May they find what end
Calls to their deepest soul
May comfort and compassion
Be theirs for all time
May they know ecstasy in death
May their journey be swift and sure
May they pass lightly
From the mystery of life
To the mystery of death

Let their souls reach
The pinnacle of their potential
Let any judge pass them through
Let all doors and gates be open
To these dancers and revelers
May all gods be kind to them
And may peace be with them now
May their journey be swift and sure
May they pass lightly
From the mystery of life
To the mystery of death

May the Ghost Ship Dead
Dance forever as their ship
Carries them beyond the horizon
And into the Utter West
May it sail in soothing darkness
And in clean cool air
Across calm waters
May their journey be swift and sure
May they pass lightly
From the mystery of life
To the mystery of death

Rebecca Lynn Scott, 2016
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