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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Gene Catlow's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, January 20th, 2011
2:52 am
FurtherConfusion: goes up to 11, as Spinal Tap would say
This last weekend was one of the best old-fashioned-con-type convention experiences I've ever had, that is, basically just getting to meet up with old friends, make a few new ones, and in general just hang out in a convivial atmosphere and have a good time. FurCon 2011 was less crowded, less hectic and more enjoyable than any convention I've been to in quite a while. And given everything that happened with me last year, this was a good way to start off this one. First and foremost at every FurCon, for me, is getting to see the eternal eaglepal again and spend some quality time this time! Last year I barely got to say hello - which bites. And I didn't see Sennard at all last year, which is even worse! Made up for that this year, added a new button to my collection of his creations. I always see Patchy at FurCon, this time he had a new signature vest. Kendall went by me several times, he's out here on vacation so he knew he'd have time later. Got to hug the marvelous MammaLlamaDevil, a littls sad to see her this time because she's starting on a new career path and won't be doing cons any more. -_- She personally rescued my book from Plan Nine! Chip Unicorn was there, very glad to see that he and Eli were okay! Disappeared from the Bay for the wilds of Seattle.. as did Kevin J... I wish I knew how to get him to feel some sense of accomplishment. As much as he's created, the work doesn't seem to be anything he can feel good about. Whereas with me, my body of work is a constant source of satisfaction (some days, almost the only one O_O). I almost wish I could transfuse Kev with some of the elan that The Gneechy One has. I finally got to personally give him my suggestions for new direcions that his Brigid and Greg stories could be going in. He delightedly dismissed my ravings - he knows what he's doing! Ryan and Candy's baby daughter was stealing so much of the show that con security was after her. But she was costumed as a Cthullu, so they dared not make a pinch. Fuzzybear breezed through the con between acts of his play. I gotta make one of his performances. The Daz crept through the con between a rock and a hard place. I'll skip *his* shows. Graveyard Greg sat quite still so that I could hit him on the head with my umbrella. More stuff happened than this, but I could go on for hours and it's late, so thanks everyone who I got to see at FC '11 ^_^

Current Mood: happy
Monday, September 13th, 2010
9:14 pm
A little more upbeat, I think. ^_^
After the overall non-upbeatness of my last few posts, I figured it was time for something
nice. Something to like, a jellybean kicking a bitter pill out of the bottle. ^_^ That
friend of the family I spoke of last time who'd been out of the country, was out because
he's in the music business and was on different tours with different artists. He doesn't
compose much music himself any more, mostly he engineers and puts the finishing touches
on his individual client's works. Most of what he does involves digital audio workstations
(DAW'S) and high-end PC's. To him, the stuff I do, which is mostly noodling around with old
analog synth equipment, makes me seem like an anachronism (that's the nice word). This last
weekend there was a swap meet where all kinds of users, old- and new-school, were buying and
selling all kinds of equipment. The kind of gathering where you might find a laptop, an amp,
parts for a Leslie speaker, rails for a drum kit, turntable parts for DJ's, early versions
of ProTools, stuff like that. I scored some much-sought-after parts for my Moog Opus 3, and
was about to head out when I bumped into aforementioned friend. "You still play these old
things?" he joked. I nodded, and noodled a little across the Opus 3 that was set up there
(not mine, the one belonging to the guy I just bought parts from) doing a little melody
with one hand and working the resonance filter with the other. The look on his face was...

"I was just joking," he blushed. "I know," I chuckled. :)

I don't consider myself an analog elitist, but there are some things that the classic
synths can do, in the right hands, that DAW's still can't quite match. Myself, I just
like the early stuff more. I just do. ^_^

Not that the envy was all in one direction, for that matter. I asked him why he was there
in the first place - he was meeting someone who was equipping their band for a brand-new
tour. He'll be heading overseas again next month. I could be a little jealous... <=)

Current Mood: accomplished
Monday, July 12th, 2010
10:44 pm
Dang.. got so verbose with that last one, forgot to write THIS one
Just a quick question for my friends: I got into an online conversation this week
with another webcomic artist and he tells me that hardcopy versions of webcomics
are becoming a waste of time and effort. He says that there's no market in a
product that's already available online. Do any of you think this is true? I'm
preparing to get back into hardcopy publishing (my first experience was with
Plan Nine and the less said about that, the better) and though there will be a
certain amount of brand-new material the books will be primarily the webcomic
on dead trees. Would you buy such books if I created them?

Current Mood: curious
Saturday, May 15th, 2010
7:31 pm
Birthday greets, Telbert ^_^
Happy birthday to the talented trainskunk, Telbert! Keep chugging, old pal ^_^

Current Mood: content
Monday, March 15th, 2010
1:03 pm
Big birthday greets to the mighty Mako!
Wishing the gearhound great Mako a very cool birthday. You're one of a kind, sir!

Current Mood: cheerful
Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
2:48 am
Just a quick post
FurCon was just what I needed - not quite enough of what I needed, since I didn't get to spend as near
enough time as I wanted to with the mighty, mighty eagle! But still, what there was, was what I needed. I'll probably never get to spend as much time as I'd like to with soon-to-be-mom and soon-to-be dad, but I did my best. The pooch of power was in much better spirits than I thought, and this is A Good Thing. But the Fuzzybear isn't fuzzy any more! This frightens me. The programmer pooch had no buttons this year (I always get one from him) he promises to have two next year. Patchy's beloved Lion King vest has been retired, but his new one does him proud.Doodles contributed greatly to my fundage efforts, Chip hugged me greatly, and I finally got my copy of Erika's book from Brian and Tracy, and said book is full of total and indescribable awesome. ^_^ Saw Kendall briefly, will probably hang out with him later. I quite needed this con... :)

Current Mood: hopeful
Sunday, October 18th, 2009
12:24 am
Happy Birthday Catnel
And many more of them to Catnel. May only good things happen for you from now on. :)

Current Mood: cheerful
Sunday, September 6th, 2009
11:23 am
It's a boy ^_^
Just got the word: I am officially a (sort of) great-uncle. :)
Robert Abraham Harrison, 9 pounds 8 ounces, arrived at 2:45 in the morning on Sept. 5 2009
Mom and baby, both fine. New dad seems to shed a few pounds worrying, but otherwise also fine. :)

Current Mood: happy
Thursday, August 6th, 2009
12:20 am
A note of goodness
It appears that by this time or so next month, I'll be a (sort of) great-uncle. ^__^ My niece (or as close as you can be to being a niece without being actually related and in my book that's good enough) is right on schedule and in perfect physical condition pregnancy-wise.

The things they can do with ultrasound and such are incredible. You can actually see your preborn baby's facial features nowadays. It was awkward enough having your folks drag out your baby pictures - now they can have a prenatal album of you. O_o

Current Mood: content
Thursday, July 16th, 2009
4:44 pm
Birthday Wishes to the Wrestling Lynx
Happy birthday to the literary lynx who creates such marvelous fiction based upon CW and I's webcomic. You do both of us proud with your talents, sir. :)

Current Mood: calm
Saturday, July 4th, 2009
11:49 am
A comedy of errors
This will be quick since I'm pressed for time: Things have been screwed up - had to deal with with more family stuff so I missed my first flight, they changed planes so some of my luggage is lost, using my credit card out of state marked it "stolen" and I had a hassle getting that straightened out, Tawana's flights got delayed too and worst of all the person who was supposed to be helping us in PA had to back out at the last minute. How much time we'll get to spend at AC is anyone's guess but we have a rental car and we're gonna TRY to make it. See you there (hopefully)

Current Mood: frustrated
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
4:56 pm
Rollin' rollin' rollin' .. Keep them dogies rollin'...
So aforementioned parent is in hospice care now. It's officially what's called palliative care, which means the treatment is to make the patient as comfortable as possible... and that's all.

I'm beginning to see how big a job this parenting business is. Not only do they have to bring you into the world (occasionally threatening to take you out of it, as per Bill Cosby's dad), pay the bills, keep a roof over your head, help you get an education, do as facile a job as humanly possible to raise you to adulthood... but, upon their approaching the end of the road, show you how to make your exit with grace and a sense of accomplishment. Big job. Not everyone can handle it. Mine appear to be the kind that can.

There's a harsh elegance in finding out you finally can deal with seeing someone who you grew up with, someone who for years was The Layer-Down Of The Law in the house, the one you may have argued with but never disrespected even when you didn't see eye to eye, the one you occasionally ran from but always looked up to.. deflated and worn by "the years" and "the mileage" (because it's both) taking their last bow with good humor and dignity. Someone who's been teaching you lessons all your life teaching you the last one.. last one being that you too will hit this stretch of the road yourself one day - yes, YOU WILL - maybe not as hard, maybe in a different condition, but yes, you will. So try to be at least as graceful as this, okay? Make me proud I raised you. Still wishing that they'd taken better care of themselves, but maybe that too is a lesson - take better care of yourself, son - and starting to see it through their eyes... I mean, I can only imagine what it was like (from everything they told me as I was growing up) and there's issues I've had to experience, yes, but... someone who grew up on a farm, a child of sharecropper parents (both of mine were) lasting all the way to this period in history.. living to actually see everything that has happened in this period in history, which they didn't think they'd live to see... <=)

Said parent is at ease with this. And though, myself being the "fix stuff" type who can't help but have repair actions and treatment options buzzing my brain, I'm at ease with it too.

But of course I am. I mean, quality in, quality out, right?

In other news tonight, one of our slower managers at work asked me if I'd resubmitted my vacation schedule... because, after all, my job has changed. I told him that my actual manager (who he is not) told me to leave it the way it was. Slow manager hinted that I might be needed for standby this weekend. Slow manager was told by me that I had already made it clear that I'd be out of town this weekend. Slow manager chuckled that that was under my old work schedule. Slow manager was told by me that if he had any issues pertaining to this unanticipated change in my work responsibility that he could talk to our CEO, that had so graciously supported my career options in this matter. Slow manager went "Erm..." with his eyes resembling those of a freshly-caught fish, then shut the **** up and left me alone. Depending on parental events, I may not have as much time at AnthroCon as I planned, but it'll take more than that to nix the whole thing. ;)

Current Mood: contemplative
Monday, June 22nd, 2009
6:58 pm
I think we're ALL living in interesting times
First off, I had a superb Sunday getting to visit Lord and Lady Solfire and basically spend a wonderful day with them - and getting to congratulate them on the Impendingness of Parental Status. The more I think about it, Ryan would almost inevitably make an awesome dad. I brought them one of my spare B&W monitors to help repair the server that will be their onsite backup for the webcomics site (Ryan got the forums going while I was there) and I got to UStream for a bit with Candy. My word, this newfangled technology has potential, you know?

Ah, but that was yesterday and this is today. I received in my inbox the email that I was half-expecting, but still uneasy about in an ambiguous way... For those of you who might not know, the State of California is in dire financial straits. They're cutting, slashing, dollar-squeezing and penny-pinching right and left, and today it hit me where I live - or, rather, work. For the last year my company, through yours truly, has been providing contracted service for the document readers at the US Mint in San Francisco. I posted about it a year ago; I'm uniquely suited to work on these devices since I was trained on them during my years at IBM. The Mint was, basically, getting the same tech and the same service that IBM would charge, at a lower price. But, today, my company was officially informed that even that price wasn't low enough. All the state contracts the company has, all over California, have been suspended until further notice. This does NOT mean that I am out of a job - all our local-government accounts are just fine - and indeed it doesn't even mean that I won't be servicing the Mint any more. What it does mean is that every call will now fall nto a category called "Time & Materials". It means that (until further notice) there will be mo more onsite standby tech, no preventive maintenance scheduled. Every single call must be initiated, handled and completed on its own, and only the time taken and cost of parts used will be paid for. All the parts I now have in stock on-site will be sent to our branch office and I'll have to log every minute of travel time to get them, as well as every minute it takes me to fix the device. The State of California won't (or can't, it seems) pay a penny more.

So... what does this mean for me? It depends upon how long this situation lasts. On the one hand, it's going to mean less money for me - in our company one is paid according to what one does and how well one does it and the Mint was a lucrative win for us. I definitely won't have the luxury of knowing where all my calls will be on any given day - I will be going wherever the company needs me. They won't be taking my cubicle at the Mint away from me unless the contract suspension is permanent, but I'll have to move a lot of my stuff out of there for the time being. And I'll have to get permission to be there every time, instead of just badging in as I do now.

But, on the other hand... if we really do lose the contract - or have to draw up another, it frees me from the obligations I was under to the company. Part of the agreement with the Mint was that I would be allowed to train a replacement that would take over for me eventually. That got started, but they NEVER finished. If they couldn't afford full-time service, all they'll probably be able to do is work out some kind of limited service arrangement. In either case, it means I'm no longer chained to the Mint - and my original plan of being able to transfer my job elsewhere is back in place. Which makes me very happy. I was trying to maximize my earning power by taking the job at the Mint... but the fact that my training practically locked me into the position was at once flattering and imprisoning. Our company CEO even got involved, and that shows how important this was both to the customer and to our company. But that's all changed now... possibly permanantly. Since there is no longer any tech assigned there, it now means that any of our techs can take a call at the Mint, though I'll still be the lead tech, and it'll probably fall to me to help out my fellow workers if they get stuck on a problem. But now, the training issue isn't an issue any more. It's no longer just *my* account, and if it stays that way it may not even be my location, one of these days...

I remember being so flattered that my past abilities ranked me so highly. But heavy is the head that wears the crown - or, in this case, holds the skill that locks you in one place. I ought to feel a sense of failure at being "deposed" so ingratiously, shouldn't I? heh heh Hee hee HAH HAH HAHHHHHHHH! >=)

Sorry. *^_^*

Current Mood: contemplative
Monday, June 15th, 2009
5:18 pm
"Don't take life so serious. It ain't nohow permanent." -Walt Kelly
So... this last weekend I got a view of this "Life" walkway from both turnstiles again. The parent I spoke of last time (I'm being specifically vague because it's unfair to suddenly dump a lot of info on my LJ about something or someone if I haven't been writing about them all along) that the medical folks were unsure about as far as what was wrong? Well - now they are sure. Finally and decisively. The reason it took so long is because there's multiple things going wrong, and diagnosis gets complicated. But it wouldn't have been, if said parent in question had taken care of their own health a little better these past years. -_-

But - water under the bridge. And so, since things have gone that far, and since said parent is who said parent is - has spoken about this quite a few times in the past on this particular topic - said parent has decided not to take the game into overtime (metaphorically speaking) but to let the clock run out. I wish I could say I was surprised... it's one of those things one knew was practically inevitable, knew theere was no measurable odds of avoiding, but still was hoping one would not hear. But no... said parent is firmly against going for a huge spate of expensive medical activity that would only give said parent another year or so anyway. Nope... does not want. Opting for hospice care as of this moment. I could go on about how needless... how with a tiny degree of foresight... how an ounce of prevention would have been worth several tons of... Sigh. -_-

At least said parent was talked out of "leaving me on the curb in a Ziplock garbage bag". Grrr. If said parent wasn't already being measured for wings (or a pitchfork, more likely? Hey, I don't make the call)

Joking, of course. In this case, I think one has to. <=)

And after that, going to see the family member (technically not related but my family has known theirs since before I was born, in my book that makes them family too ^_^) who's With Child and proud of it. I see now why the friend whom I've known for a long time who's posting here on LJ about her own new pregnancy has spoken seriously about asking people ***Please Not To Touch The Belly Area*** because they really do have to. HAVE TO. There is something about seeing someone you've known for years, someone for whom it makes you happy just to be able to say you know her, she's very special to me.. now with a new life developing inside her - that makes you WANT to touch it. Seriously! I had to forcibly pull my hand back. At one point I had them both behind me, like an usher. Of course she knows that, and she was delighting in torturing me. But I forgave her. She's not on LJ, and in this case it's a plus. She and her husband were in tight financial straits back when they were planning to become parents, and I gave them some financial and transportational asisstance for the various fertility and medical matters that came up.

The last thing I would want is to have someone other than CW announce on LJ "Hey! Gene helped me get pregnant!" She's mischievious... she'd DO it! O_O

So... one of those hard-to-describe weekends. Getting the firsthand view of life about to leave this world and life about to enter it. What words can you put that feeling into?

Current Mood: indescribable
Saturday, May 30th, 2009
1:26 am
I think that ought to be a word. It probably already is, but I think I'm going to assign it my own meaning. I've rediscovered and reacquainted myself with some of my old experiments at making computer music. I hooked up, programmed and jury-rigged some arcane setups in the past, long before there was MIDI, just getting all those different machines to behave in sync with each other was a talent in itself. Dusting off my brain and recalling how I got all those music programs to behave together and digging up the data are the only hard parts. Once I've got it, turning it into MIDI info is easy. Then toss it into my (somewhat) newer synth setup and voila! Old tunes given new life. Almost enough for an album. Perhaps I intended to make one? :)

(Slightly related note: a floppy will hold data a LONG time if treated right! A cheap old 5 1/4 that's left out to catch dust and temperature will flake out, but a good quality one kept in its sleeve and under proper conditions will bounce those bits out as fresh as the day it was first used. You really do get what you pay for!)

What else is going on with me... hmm. AnthroCon looks like it's still a "go"... fingers crossed ^_^ Life does seem to be doing what it's been doing since its been around... haven't posted about it on LJ but one of my parents isn't going in the best direction, health-wise... nothing imminent yet (I hope) but... one has to take care of oneself, and if one doesn't, well... -_- But there's new life arriving too, both among the family and among my LJ friends too (she knows who she is. And I am mega-happy for her! ^____^)

Mostly, things are good. :)

Current Mood: cheerful
Saturday, January 3rd, 2009
1:21 am
Sorry my birthday pic was late...
..but for the one who...
..had a not-so-great birthday - hopefully this will make up for it at least a little...

Singing in the bathtub

(the idea is drawn from the name of the location of their new place ^_^)

Current Mood: hopeful
Saturday, November 1st, 2008
4:25 am
Straight outta Narrowmindfield
Lifted quietly from the Witchiebun:
Copy this sentence into your LiveJournal if you're in a heterosexual marriage, and you don't want it "protected" by the bigots who think that gay marriage hurts it somehow.

Not technically married yet, but so "not even thinking of anyone else" that it is pretty much only a technicality. I keep waiting for these pseudo-religious haters to take some remotely intelligent action to genuinely protect traditional marriage, if that's what they truly want to do. Such as encouraging couples to stay together, advocating counseling before divorce, and analysing the reasons why the divorce rate is so high.

Much more productive than trying to silence a perceived opposition.

I've been to weddings and wedding receptions that newly-enabled couples have held since their rights were recognized by law. They're just... weddings. (Well, one of them wasn't. Two ladies who'd waited almost half their lives to get hitched - that one was more pageant than wedding. Rustic location, dances, costumes, hundreds of guests. Incredibly lovely. ^_^) Not once have I seen any of these newlyweds stick their tongues out at their straight guests and go "NYAHHH! So much for your elitist status, you non-gays!"

Self-righteously fighting to prevent any two people who love each other from having their relationship officially recognized is doing more damage to the concept of marriage than those relationships are. Every couple I know who has, until recently, been denied the blessings of legality have kept their relationships going longer - far longer - than the average one-from-column-A-one-from-column-B marriage lasts. I'm not qualified to say whether that's always the case, but if it is, and if it is a continuing trend, then sooner or later (more likely, sooner) it isn't going to be a matter of whether the pseudo-moralists approve of non-traditional marriage... it's going to be a matter of whether their approval matters one way or the other.

And I really wish that didn't have to happen. But of course I'm seeing and evaluating this with my own brain and from my own perspective, and so is everyone else involved, from their own perspectives. Nowadays there are no fence-sitters to speak of; if one has an opinion, one has it - which means for all practical purposes I'm either talking to a brick wall or preaching to the choir. The tie-breaker, so to speak, is this: society has gone through, and will continue to go through, a LOT of ups and downs. But, historically, as far as personal freedoms and civil rights are concerned, the general trend is toward more of them, not less. After one of the last receptions I attended, a bunch of us went to a showing of the 60's classic, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner". Watching Kate Hepburn and Spencer Tracy deal with their daughter wanting to marry Sidney Poitier was both marvelous, nostalgic and... dated. My brain kept saying that over and over. "Boy, that's dated. This seems like longer ago than it really was."

But it only seems that way. It wasn't that long ago. Not long ago at all.

Current Mood: calm
Saturday, October 18th, 2008
4:26 am
Friday, October 17th, 2008
9:32 pm
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008
5:02 pm
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