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Happy surprises on the road: A Public Piano in Moab, UT 🗺

Road trip wheeee! Traveling post-vaccine feels like being let out of jail. 🗺

Cheri smiles happily in front of a red rock formation in Arches National ParkThe south window arch at Arches National Park. Red stone over blue sky.A bumpy looking red rock formation, 8-10 stories tall, against a dusky blue sky

I woke up sore today after getting my second shot.

Meanwhile, my immune system is like:

Neo from the matrix says: I know Kung Fu

Springtime views from today’s walk. Lake Union to Ship Canal Trail to the Sculpture Park.

A tall bridge arches over lake union. Many boats in the distance.Pink blossoms fall off a beautiful cherry tree near a walkway.A residental sidewalk is caked with pink and red petalsA long sidewalk wth grasses on both sides.

Activity is returning to the waterfront! 🥰 We ate ice cream in the sun. Life is good.

A dozen people walking along the seattle waterfront in the sunshine

Today in Seattle politics: Bureaucrats ban ducks from pond for too much pooping. A mesh fence is erected. Ducks, who can fly, outwit bureaucrats. Locals angrily demand equal access to the pond for ducklings.

🦆 🦆 🦆

“One Year Closed” signs are popping up on arts venues around the city.

Jazz Alley's sign says they are one year closed 3/11/20 - 3/11/21

Coffee of the day: Vanilla latte from Moore Coffee.

A latte with a stern-looking owl drawn in foam

If you need a foot-long latex cockroach, a yodeling pickle, or squirrel underpants, we have a store for that.

Progress on the InstaSwear. The gadget that only insults those who provide an authorized RFID card. 🤓

I hooked up the RFID reader and used if/else statements to print a message in the serial monitor.

I had lots of help from P & the internet. ☺️

A computer monitor showing the Arduino IDE. Two ID numbers are shown. One that says I tip my cap to you and another that says you filthy shitgibbon.

Coffee of the day! (Turkish latte with cardamom & vanilla bean.)

A paper coffee cup from Fonte in soft light.

Learning linux has opened up a whole new world of memes.

A penguin accuses someone of being

It’s warm enough to drink coffee outside! ☀️ ☕️ ☀️

A yellow coffee cup on an aluminum table

Befriending Linux (3 Weeks Later)

Today’s missive is for the Linux curious!

I’ve been on Linux for three weeks, and I like it enough that I don’t want to use Windows any more. This doesn’t mean it’s easier than Windows. I feel nervous when updating software. Given the sheer variety of Linux distributions and the lack of MegaCorp testing infrastructure, the risk of an update throwing my machine into chaos is always in the back of my mind. But it’s been manageable. I had to “roll back” a Libreoffice upgrade because of a persistent bug only a few other people are seeing, and I survived.

But the UI is much more pleasant and intuitive, and I’m loving the built-in privacy.

My Linux Software

My new “daily driver” programs are:

  • Libreoffice Writer for fiction
  • Libreoffice Calc for spreadsheets
  • Zettlr for all non-fiction writing and research
  • Firefox for browsing (same as Windows)
  • Kmail & KOrganizer for Email & Calendar (it’s a bit clunky, but I didn’t care for Thunderbird)
  • OSS (VS Code) for interfacing with Git for blog/website updates
  • Arduino IDE for my electronics hobby

I’m especially happy with Zettlr. (Thanks for the recommendation, @herself!) It’s basically a nice-looking UI that lays over top of folders and markdown files.

I have no good Linux replacements for:

  • Photoshop (I’ll give GIMP a try once they have CYMK color management)
  • PublisherRocket (A tool I use for generating ebook keywords)
  • Text to Speech for Proofreading (I’ve found a few solutions, but they all stink for listening to longer works)

Nifty Features

And here are a few ways Linux (Manjaro KDE) is making my computing more pleasant:

  • I love the easy-to-use Emoji Picker
  • Screenshots and screenshot editing are super quick and easy.
  • I installed my first piece of software from the command line and I felt like I was getting away with something. Seriously? I can just type a phrase and get new software? So neat.

The Learning Curve Continues

Three weeks in, I’m feeling competent in using Linux in a day-to-day sense. Of course, there’s still a ton I don’t know, but I’m enjoying the process of learning new things, week by week.

Linux software requires a different mindset, I think. Often times it arrives unconfigured, waiting for you to decide what to do with it. For example, when I installed Zettlr, it was just an ugly white box. And I was confused: why would anyone want to use this stupid thing? Even after I opened a few folders and files, I still didn’t get the appeal. But after watching a few videos and seeing a few examples, I tried out some different ways of using it. Before long, it clicked.

Oh, and did I mention Linux can be pretty?

A Space Themed Linux Desktop with dark mode and blue folders.

The city is transformed in the snow. ❄️ Steep hills are closed off and people are skiing, snowboarding, and getting into snowball fights.

A friendly snowman in a downtown parkA woman in an inflatable raft slides down Lenora street towards the waterfront.

Wow! We have about a foot of snow in downtown Seattle. A rare treat. The bike lanes are filled with happy pedestrians and very confused dogs. ❄️❄️❄️

Snow is a foot high atop outdoor furniture  on a downtown rooftop deck.

Micronauts and word nerds: Can anyone tell me what a zucchini is called in British English? My internet research says courgette or marrow. Are those equivalent?

green zucchini, some sliced.

Covid signage reminds me we’re living through a historically significant event. I can visualize textbooks of the future describing these strange times, showing the ways we lived through it.

My feet next to a yellow sidewalk marker. The numeral 6 is next to the line.A code of conduct sign for responsible shoppers. I WILL avoid touching products! I WILL ask a vendor for assistance. I WILL look for markers and signs.

I’m disassembling LEGO sets to make more room. My Doctor Who set is still my favorite.

A LEGO tardis, daleks, and a weeping Angel minifig

Merry Christmas, micronauts. If Robot Santa put you on his naughty list, run!

We ran into Santa today! Nordstrom has him inside the store like a turtle in a terrarium. 🎅

Cheri turns back to look at Santa. He's behind the glass inside a display area at Nordstrom department store

I’m celebrating one month without Twitter. 🥳 May my streak continue!

A meme. A man (me) whistles at a girl (Peace & Mental clarity) while his horrified girlfriend (Twitter) watches.

We saw dozens of people fishing for small squid on the waterfront this afternoon. Not a typical sight.

Two men fish on a concrete pier. A small boat out on the bay has fishermen in the back.

LOL. My sweary private investigator is getting flagged by the Word police.

A word processor pops up an "offensive language" warning for the phrase: And I was done with that shit.

I have the cooped-up pandemic blahs today, but a walk helped. 🚶‍♀️

Looking down on Western Ave near pike place market beneath cloudy gray skies.

We took the day off to go hiking at the arboretum. It was chilly but beautiful. 🙂

A messy tangle of evergreen trees and bushes. Shade and sun intermixed.

Zero words! It’s NaNoWriMo day one, and I’m mostly awake. Let’s dooooooo it.

Zero words showing on the Scrivener Manuscript Tracker.

We’ve reached the time of year when sunshine feels fleeting and the big dark is on our doorstep. Quick! To the out-of-doors! ☀️

A section of the Seattle skyline is painted with sunshine. Slanted autumn shadows fall off the buildings. The sky is blue with a smear of gray.

Photo of the day: Let there be light! Yes, my resistor is in the wrong spot.

An electronics breadboard with a single yellow LED lit. Red and black wires connect the breadboard to a small circuit board.

Amazonland. When we first moved downtown, none of this was here.

A spherical glass building filled with trees is flanked by tall steel and glass towers.

I voted today, and I’ve been thinking about the people I met at the Womens March in DC back in 2017. Today feels like the culmination of a promise we all made. Not to any candidate, but to one another. ❤️

A teenage girl holds up a sign that says womens rights are human rights.A young black man holds up a sign that says Women's lives matter.A crowded field of protesters with "love army" signs and pink hats.A man wears a paper sign with the inscription from the Statue of Liberty "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free..."Cheri, smiling, holds up her ballot. (Wearing a biden harris hat)

P & I have our get-out-the vote letters ready to send out tomorrow. Let’s get out the vote! Check in with your friends. We’ve got this.🗳 🇺🇸

80+ envelopes fan out from Cheri’s hand.

My friend D in Chicago made me a scarf! 🙂 I’m all set for November weather.

Cheri, wearing a brown knit scarf and a Biden-Harris hat

The Woodland Park Zoo has a nice setup. Timed tickets, limited occupancy, one-way walking routes, and watchful staff directing traffic.

Four giraffes and three gazellea hanging out in a hilly meadow with one impressive leafy tree.

When one pier falls, another one rises. Today, we had afternoon coffee on the brand new Pier 62. So roomy!

The Seattle skyline is blue and gray against a gray sky. A large concrete pier, very clean and flat is dotted with tables. To the far right, the water of Elliott bay is choppy. The Great Wheel is a round feature in the distance.

Photo of the Day: We found Colonel Mustard! 🕵🏼‍♀️

A BMW mini car, mustard yellow, with an image of Colonel Mustard from Clue on the side.

From yesterday’s city hike: The Fremont Troll. 🚶‍♀️ 🚶‍♂️

A twenty foot tall troll sculpture crawls out from beneath a bridge in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood. His eyeball is painted silver and he has a VW beetle crushed in one long-fingered hand.

Until today, I’d never seen a praying mantis in Washington State. Cool little creature. Very alien looking.

A praying mantis hides well on a stubby brown and green plant, blending in like a fat stick.

We’re moving out of the purple. Well, that’s something!

Outside, I can hear a man howling like a wolf. ARROOOOOOOOOOOO…

2020, man. 😂

An air quality indicator shows red, or "unhealthy" air. Purple is worse than red.

That awkward moment when the pets you’re sitting say, “You’re not my real mom!”

A tabby cat and an orange tabby cat face away. the orange tabby has a cone collar around his neck.

A photo from today’s walk. ☀️ Ah, the sun! It BURNS.

Yeah, Texans. I know I’m a heat wimp. 😉

A path in the shrubbery opens up to a rocky beach. Distant skyscrapers blend into the blue sky.

Well. It seems we’re entering the home stretch, America. So Joe and Kamala can…

Fry says: Shut up and take my money!

Writing tip: Email yourself those “brilliant” late-night ideas so you don’t forget. 😂

An email to myself with the subject line "Space Weevils."

I don’t like being stationary for too long. And Traveling Bear likes it even less.

Discovered on today’s walk: Angels among the rocks. 📷

On a bed of small round rocks six larger angular rocks sit. each one is painted with a stylized angel with white wings and a halo.

We filter the world through our perspective and reject much of what we hear out of hand. Art is sneaky though. It’s hard to argue with a painting.

Humor isn’t black-and-white but sarcastic street stickers usually are. 📷

A sticker of Trump's face on a street pole. the text says "Bunker Bitch"A large sticker on a blue dumpster proclaims: "That's Fucking Bananas"

I can’t complain about the view from today’s walk!

#mbaug 📷

zig zagging cement stairs below. Older concrete buildings on the left and right. Four skyscrapers in the center, reflecting in the sun.

We couldn’t go to Paris for our 20th anniversary so we settled for daytripping to a French bakery. 🇫🇷

#mbaug 📷

A quaint bakery with glass cases, white walls, and chalkboard signage.

I’m always chasing that Flow state while I’m writing.

#mbaug 📷

Cheri's desk. With a blue filing cabinet and framed book covers on the wall.

Bug-sized humans. Also, I miss traveling!

#mbaug 📷