A series of scattered thoughts here.

In the "grassroots hurrah!" vein, read Chris Ball's post on how a team of volunteers collaborated in less than a month to get Wikipedia on the XO in Spanish.

Gui pulled me into the kitchen tonight and showed me "awesome plastic," a polymer that melts at below the boiling point of water. It's not incredibly hard when it sets, but it's hard enough to hand-mold little plastic figurines, handles, and so forth from - and it can be remelted and used again as many times as you want. Dip it into a pot of hot water in the stove, smoosh with fingers/tools, drop into cold water to make it set faster... this stuff is way too fascinating.

I will miss Will when he goes to India this weekend. Bon voyage, good sir!

My socks have holes in them; my sneakers are close to having holes in them, my primary diet in the house consists of cheap noodles, frozen vegetables, and soy sauce, tupperware and reused plastic forks/spoons are not uncommon dining implements for me, and George Sass has dubbed the neighborhood of my domicile "sketch-tastic." I sleep on couches, under pillows because there's no extra blanket, on a sleeping bag in the middle of a wonky futon... and on an actual bed once during the past month. I realize that someday I will look back on this time of my life with overromanticized fondness because I will have, at that point, forgotten what it's like to actually live on Very Little Money. Right now, though, it's life, and a happy life at that.

Perhaps I'm not as good at swimming in chaos and juggling trillions of balls at once as I thought I was. How else do you learn this, though, other than trying and exceeding your limits and failing and recalibrating and doing it all over again? I have not yet learned how to be a good project manager or a good leader or community-builder; anything I do "well" in these departments is still sheer luck because I don't understand how it happens or why it's good. I need to find and learn and make new ways of understanding these things.

I'm easily rattled out of flow state when other people can interrupt and dictate the rhythm of my work. This harms my productivity immensely. A little bit is fine and fun and breaks potential cycles of tedium, but if sustained, it makes me stressed because I'm not doing what I think I'm supposed to be doing - falling into the old problem of "you help other people get their work done, but don't do yours" that's clobbered me time and time again. At the same time, I want to be available to people, and helpful, and feel bad about ignoring them or asking them to queue their questions for a more appropriate time. Mrnnnngh eternal struggle.

Along the same lines: I've found myself to work far better when I try to be fully present in whatever I'm doing and whoever I'm with. Happiness for all! Except for two things I need to work on: (1) telling people outright when I can't be fully present with them (see above) so we're not frustrated by extended periods of partial Mel, and (2) finding some way to handle it when the person I'm with isn't present with me - I used to ignore it and ghost out myself, but now that I'm preventing myself from ghosting, it makes me tremendously frustrated. Trying to be present with someone who doesn't appear to be present with you is hard, and I wonder in horror if this is what people feel like trying to work with me when I'm distracted - and it's a very good motivation for me to stop doing that.

I can trill my R's! It's choppy and I only get it half the time I try, but it's been 12 years since I started trying to learn and NOW IT WORKS! (Thanks, Nikki, Tank, and Chris!) Maybe someday I can even learn how to whistle.

I should go back and write direct responses to some of the really good comments on this blog that I haven't gotten the chance to react to properly yet.

Nihilism is depressing; I don't know a good way to snap out of it, though, other than The Once And Future King's exhortation (via Merlyn) that "the best thing for being sad is to learn something." So I'm learning - not as a distraction from that which pains me, but as an exercise in awareness and understanding of that which pains me, and eventually an acceptance of it. Learning is, after all, the only thing that never fails.

Fun tech thing of the day: bootloader configurations and the notion of a rescue root partition.