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Posts published in “The Cats”

Adventures of the feline kind.

[twenty twenty-four day fifty-two]: master of all he surveys

centaur 0

When we finally get superintelligence, I want it to explain to me what cats are thinking. Loki clearly wants something, but it isn't clear what it is. He wants your attention, he wants to go outside, he wants to go somewhere not too far from the house, but he doesn't seem satisfied with you just standing there, nor with you bending down to scratch him, nor with you going anywhere else.

What do you want, for me to just stand here, so you feel safe rolling in the dirt?

There's no pleasing some people.

-the Centaur

Pictured: Loki, in the external cat condo which we got as part of our successful "cat sitting solution".

[twenty twenty-four day forty-eight]: he haz a comfort

centaur 0

When it rains, it pours. I missed a few meetings last week due to work on the Neurodiversiverse - we were working through edits, and needed more time, and decided to extend our meeting, ultimately taking three and a half hours. But I had an afternoon meeting I was supposed to schedule - we hadn't put it on the calendar yet, and were going to schedule it over email after my Neurodiversiverse meeting. But since that scheduling hadn't happened yet, I didn't see it on my calendar when we were deciding to extend the NDV meeting, and since that meeting didn't end for several hours, I completely missed the window my colleague and I were planning to meet in.

What's worse, I forgot what evening of the week it was, and completely spaced on the Vestry (church board) meeting scheduled for that night. I've added a recurring meeting for that, but the damage is done - and cascading. Since I missed that meeting, I missed the discussion at the Vestry meeting of when we were supposed to meet with the bishop - a retreat that I just found out is scheduled in just thirty minutes, when I had already booked this time to work on Neurodiversiverse edits, which are time urgent.

Sometimes I think it would be easier to be a cat.

However, I feel the need to point out that our capabilities often exceed our estimation of them. I was wondering how I was going to get everything done. Well, now, I am still going to get everything done - I'm just, somehow, going to do more than I thought I was capable of. Funny how that happens. We often imagine that we have less resources available to us than we do - this is an adaptive self-defense mechanism that keeps us from burning out. But it can make us feel that we can't handle things - when we can.

-the Centaur

Pictured: a cat, in comfort. Actually Loki had a very terrible, no good, bad night as he wanted out around midnight, right when I went to bed, and was forced to sit on his warm heating pad, unable to get crunchies for SEVERAL HOURS while his human slept. Imagine the injustice! When FINALLY let in, Loki went to every bowl in the house in turn, sampling each one, before finally settling down to warm and fuzzy sleep.

[twenty twenty-four day twenty-six]: make up your mind

centaur 0

Cat, when it's raining: "Let me out! Let me out! But not this door, it's wet. Let's try another door. And another! Or another! I gotta get out! Just hold the door open until the rain stops!"

Also cat, when it is nice and sunny: "Who cares about going outside? Ima gonna havva nap."

-the Centaur

Pictured: the cat-shaped void, Loki, actually using his void-colored cat tree for once. Image taken in infrared bands and color enhanced by NASA to show surface detail.

no, seriously, i can help

centaur 0

Yeah, right, buddy. You just want my dinner, after not eating yours.

Lots of news, much of it good - particularly, a new way to structure projects with a literature review, book document and manuscript doc. But workmen arrive in the AM, so you just get a picture of a cat.

-the Centaur

Pictured: He is determined.

[eighty-seven] minus one-two-one: can i help? i think i can help

centaur 0

So, in case you don't own this cat, the little brow-furrowed face Loki is currently making is his "I really want your food but you're not letting me eat it, so I'm going to sit just at arms length and fume" face. He thinks if he waits long enough, he'll be able to sneak in and try some. My long arm thinks otherwise.

Anyhoo, while I said I wanted to put blogging at the first of the day to make sure it got done, it turns out that I was way more interested in making sure that I didn't fall grievously behind on my Camp Nano project, Dakota Frost #7, SPIRAL NEEDLE, nor miss any of my other responsibilities.

I'm mostly caught up now, so I'm trying to put blogging back on the queue. Interestingly enough, after my rant about blocks, the WordPress folks have reached out to talk to me about blocks. Talk about customer service! So I'm also blogging trying to replicate the bugs I observed the other day that set me off.

So far, I cannot replicate the cut-and-paste error, where trying to select all the text only copied part of it - it is entirely possible that the system had just gotten into a cruftly state, which can happen to any program of sufficient complexity.

I can, however, replicate the cut-and-paste problem I had, where trying to re-order sentences introduced new paragraph breaks in a way that's not standard for Word, Google Docs, or TextEdit. This is probably most directly attributable to the text being in blocks, but it might be fixable.

I also reproduced the "Where's Waldo" interface issue where I could not easily inject new blocks - though now I see that can be fixed with a carriage return followed by a slash, which is documented in the interface, it is also possible that at the time something was just wrong with my editor.

I also debugged the problem I had with the interface. In TextEdit, Word and Google Docs, the first line of your document is the first line of your document. In WordPress, it is invisibly a title, as opposed to the Classic Editor which distinguishes this with a different text entry box. This is also probably fixable.

But there are other strange errors. Like, the sidebar that let you change the properties of the post are normally present when I blog, but had disappeared when I started this post. Weirdly, not even the button to show them was present - I had to toggle several other buttons and then it appeared, just where I remembered it. Not sure what's going on there. Since I restarted my computer recently and re-logged into WordPress, perhaps this is a "sticky" setting that went away when I cycled my browser. Still investigating.

-the Centaur

Pictured: Loki, trying to help me study generative AI.

[eighty-seven] minus one-oh-six: be kind to yourself, but prioritize

centaur 0

Last week, frankly speaking, I was feeling kind of low. I had launched a major paper to arXiv (an event which I tweeted et al, but somehow haven't blogged yet) and had a big opportunity to get caught up on stuff. But I couldn't seem to get rolling, not even on my Camp Nano project, Dakota Frost #7, SPIRAL NEEDLE.

I met with my buddy Jim Davies and came up with the idea of restructuring my day, which worked well and I blogged about last week. But when Monday rolled around, and a lot of stuff wasn't done, I decided that I needed to throw away that script and make sure that the important "hanging tasks" got done.

And I did. Maybe not a third of the ones I wanted to get done, but I chewed through a lot of them. And I realized that, after spending a year and a quarter on that big arXiv paper and the Embodied AI Workshop, that I probably needed more recharge time than I had given myself.

But I had felt I didn't have time, as I had to roll into Camp Nano on July 1st and there were other tasks, like managing the repair of our air conditioning system and disbursing awards to the winners of Embodied AI Workshop challenges, that also couldn't wait. Things often just start when they are scheduled to start.

But whether I had that time to take off, I needed that time, as you can maybe see above. The first week of Camp Nano, I was running below full power. After a week's worth of the motor sputtering on 50%, giving me a forced recharge, you can see my writing rate start to climb up again, as it should be.

But the lesson isn't just that it's important to be kind to yourself - the modern phrase is "self-care" - because, as I said, things often start when they wanna start. And this includes planned things, like Camp Nano, and unplanned things, like lightning taking out your A/C. And even emergencies, like a sick cat.

So, I had put blogging aside a bit until Camp Nano was rolling again and my business were taken care of, and was getting ahead on both this morning, just prior to going to lunch with my 90-year-old uncle, when our cat Loki started yowling, puking, and trying to go to the bathroom without success.

The little guy has a history of urinary tract infections, which can kill a cat in hours and almost killed him three times, and had gotten the zoomies after trying to use the litterbox last night. His condition didn't seem bad then, but it was markedly worse today, and reluctantly I called Uncle Paul to cancel, then called the vet.

It often seems that I'm called to do the most just when I've "run out of spoons" dealing with some other problem, but, somehow, God provides enough spoons in the clinch when I need them. Less than an hour after canceling with Uncle Paul, I was pulling into the vet's office, who worked us in to their lunch hour.

Blessedly, the surgery Loki had after his previous urinary tract blockages prevented any buildup this time; in fact, the doctor suspected this was possibly a simpler case of a gastrointestinal infection - kitty food poisoning - and gave him antibiotics / anti-inflammatories to help Loki's system calm down.

Within hours of getting home, he was eating and drinking again, and soon returning to his alternately lovable/needy, grumpy/jerky self. And I got yet another lesson that the resources you need to solve your problems are often there, even if you don't always feel like they are.

Be good to yourself. But put first things first when you have to, and often, it will all work out.

-the Centaur

Pictured: Loki, after recovery (but looking like he looked when he was sick), Camp Nano progress, Loki at the vet, and Loki definitely in recovery mode with his medicine in him. And may I complain again about the Gutenberg editor making simple operations like selecting text an exercise in frustration?