Time Is Galloping By

Song: “Walter, Walter, (Lead Me To The Altar)” by Gracie Fields

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Horde

It’s already quarter to one in the morning and I have no idea where the entire day went. I wasn’t zoned out or anything, it’s just that everything I worked on either took longer than I was expecting, or it sent me off on a wild goose chase in some random direction that could take hours before I got back to where I was. So… bullet points it is.

  • The only things I noticed last night that may (or may not) be due to my quetiapine reduction were that it took quite a bit longer to get to sleep, I’ve had a weird headache where my eyes feel like they’re not fully attached all day today, and I got flustered a lot easier today, too. Not bad, and what I’m experiencing may not have anything to do with the reduction at all.
  • It sounds like FA is coming over tomorrow afternoon and there will be some serious geeking-out going on when she gets here. I’ve got a bunch of stuff I’d like to show her and she’s bringing over a bunch of stuff too. It’ll be interesting and fun!
  • I spent some time outside and planted the pepper plant out on the deck. Fresh air and sunlight will be good for it.
  • Killed whatever was living in the drain but it started to come back after the dishwasher ran. Looks like I need to do something about the dishwasher drain hose.
  • Saw the trailer for the new Star Trek show – Picard. It’s definitely got my attention. I still haven’t seen any episodes of Discovery yet. Hopefully it comes out on disc or ends up on a service that I’m actually already subscribing to.
  • Worked on cleaning up the kitchen today. Made great progress. Took out the word processor to shred five pounds of cheese. It took 90 seconds but the kitchen now looks worse than it did first thing this morning. I cannot $@($#&* believe it.
  • Took the plunge, opened a ticket with my hosting provider, and I now have a new domain and very, very fancy website with nothing on it.
  • I’ve been looking to set up a standing or treadmill/stepper desk but they just weren’t practical for the spaces and purposes I had. So, I ordered one of those under-table bikes and it arrived today. Didn’t take long to install and it actually looks like it’s going to do the job. There are a few kinks I have to work out but otherwise I think it’s going to work very well.
  • J and I watched the “behind the scenes” episode of Our Planet. I had assumed that some of their shots were staged or used trained animals, but it took them FOUR YEARS to get the footage, the crews had to work for long periods in anywhere from difficult to intolerable conditions, and some of the stuff they were hoping to get didn’t even work out. I’m very impressed with that show – so much amazing stuff. I highly recommend it.

So tonight is night two with the lowered quetiapine. Hopefully I’ll be able to get to sleep faster tonight and be awake and coherent early enough in the morning that I can have the house whipped into shape for when FA arrives.

Stay safe.

Reduction!

Song: “Fun, Fun, Fun” by The Beach Boys

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

Today was one of those days where I’m not sure where it went. It was very dark and gloomy this morning, and around mid-morning it started to rain. Drizzle at first, then a steady but light rain for most of the rest of the day. Cool and damp. I still wore shorts, though!

I went through my morning routine, had breakfast, and sent out a round of texts, then put on some music and started puttering around the house again. I thought today was Thursday so I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t get all of the printing that I want done for Friday, but it’s going to work out.

I spent some time tidying things up around the house (good gawd there’s something stinky growing in the kitchen sink drain pipe) and did up a couple of lists. I did an online grocery order last night so I checked it again this morning to make sure it still looked good.

Then I got to tinkering again. I had to chase some ghosts today but it wasn’t as bad as some of the other days recently have been. Most of the stuff I’ve been tinkering with can sit for a while with no problems, too, so even though I was standing in the basement trying to figure out where a particular sound was coming from, the thing I was working on would still be there when I got back.

A couple more parcels came today. I now have more shirts, whoo!

So, today’s big news – I had an appointment with Dr W and we have officially started reducing my medications! We talked about it for a while today and I decided I was okay with taking the plunge. First up is the quetiapine, which tonight I’m taking 300mg of (down from 400mg). This represents not just a lower dose, but the lowest dose of this drug that I’ve been on since I was started on it in 2016. We will see how things go over the next few days but I hope that this is the beginning of a new trend.

Aside from the big news, the appointment was a long one. Usually they go for about five to ten minutes, but today was about 40. I had some questions for Dr W and he had a lot of questions for me. He was pleased to hear that I’m playing around with stuff I’ve been afraid to touch since I bought it 15 years ago, and he encouraged me to keep going. He is a staunch proponent of using physical and mental activity to help treat mental illness, and he is very encouraging when it comes to activity (sitting is better than laying down, listening to music is better than staring at a wall, walking is better than standing… that sort of thing).

I also asked him what he thought about me doing some more writing/blogging and told him my concerns. His response was pretty much exactly what Dr C said. He told me that he very strongly encouraged me to do it, and that I should try not to worry about my insurance being cancelled. I have his support and if anything happens with my coverage, he will contact the company. So… I’m still a little wary about it but I think I’m going to give it a try. J and I talked about it a little while and, as usual, she had some very down to earth, common sense thoughts on the matter.

This evening J and I were both so occupied with the things we were doing that we lost track of the time, so no TV show tonight. It’s still nice to just be in the same room as she is, though. She brightens up the room and makes the world a better place just by being around. I’m a very lucky fellow.

I texted a bit with FA and she might be coming over Friday afternoon. That’ll be fun, I would like to show her some of this stuff I’ve been working on, and she’s always got good stories and/or capers up her sleeve.

Tomorrow is Thursday, and I don’t have any appointments. I plan to get a bunch more stuff done around the house, do some more cleaning, figure out what’s growing in the kitchen sink and kill it… that sort of thing.

I think tonight is going to be a good night. Fingers crossed!

Stay safe.

Getting Ready To Send The Parcel

Song: “The Happening” by The Supremes

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

It looks like that great sleep I had the other day was an anomaly – I haven’t slept nearly as well since. Not a big deal, and if I sleep really well, say, once or twice a year, I can handle that.

Today was another busy day. I’ve been making some stuff for my nephews for months now, and every time I give myself a deadline for when to send the parcel, it passes by because I keep thinking of something else I should make them or I’m worried they will think it’s all garbage. I have now set this Friday as the day the parcel will be going out, and now I’ve put it here so if I renege again, the four of you who actually read this site will know. I have been working on some lithophanes for the frames that I made last week (which I’m still quite happy with), and I want to print them both up a claw gripper thing, but that’ll be the end of it. If it turns out they like the stuff, I can always make another batch later.

While the printer has been whirring away in the basement, I’ve been keeping quite busy. I started in on the garden this past weekend and planted the potatoes; if the weather looks good I will put the rest in later this week or maybe over the weekend. It’s a tiny little garden so it’s not a huge effort, but it’s still something on my list.

I’ve also been steadily going through my stash of electronics parts and have made good progress. Some stuff is in the junk bucket, but what’s surprising me is how much stuff I’m actually able to get working. Some of it I’ve had for a very long time, some of it for not as long, but so much of it actually works. It makes me happy when something lights up or beeps or moves like it’s supposed to, but at the same time it bums be out a bit because I can’t help but think of all the time I wasted sitting at my workbench and staring at these things but being unable to hook them up (or even unwrap them).

I’ve been thinking about setting up another blog. There’s nothing wrong with this one (it will always be my main blog), but the thought of writing up some of the things I do during the day (like the electronics or the microscope for example) is appealing to me. Dr C and Dr W have told me repeatedly that keeping busy with hobbies is very important, and the more, the merrier. I also like the idea of posting things that I’ve figured out (some of the electronics stuff has taken several days because there aren’t any datasheets for it out there anymore) because it might help someone else, too.

What keeps me from trying something like this, though, is that I’m afraid that my insurance company may look at it and say, “Look – he’s playing with computers again! We can stop paying him now!” This scares the hell out of me, and before you tell me I’m overreacting, take a look at this:

https://psychcentral.com/blog/woman-loses-sick-leave-benefits-for-depression-thanks-to-facebook-pics/

See what I mean? There was another one about a cancer patient getting cut off that came out in the last month or two but I can’t find it right now.

I asked Dr C at my appointment today if she still thinks I should go about doing this kind of thing and she is certain I should. She’s reluctant to provide me with written instruction, though, because she is concerned that this may be another facet of my OCD shining through. She is, however, willing to communicate with my insurance company that this is stuff that I should be doing. I see where she’s coming from about the OCD, but I’m pretty sure that the company is more inclined to just cancel things and have J and me and Dr C and Dr W jump through a million hoops again to restart it. So I don’t know. I’m going to talk to Dr W about it (I have an appointment with him tomorrow), and I’ll see what he says. It will probably be something similar to what Dr C said.

I just really, REALLY don’t want to screw everything up again. I wish someone would tell me what to do.

Stay safe.

A Good Sleep

I think I slept better last night than I have in five or maybe even more years. I went to bed far too late and woke up only about half an hour ago, but I slept for a solid nine hours. No nightmares and I don’t even remember waking up for any reason. No worries, no bathroom breaks, nothing!

It would be great if this is the harbinger of something new. A good sleep like this once or twice a week would be wonderful!

Stay safe.

Late Again…

Song: N/A

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

I’m starting this post even later than I usually consider late…

Slept pretty well last night, I only remember waking up three times, none of which got me out of bed.

I was a little surprised by the air this morning – it looked a lot warmer than it was so my shuffle outside was faster-paced than usual.

I put the thing I’ve been working on for the last while aside and spent some time designing a lithophane box for my nephews, and I started printing something else, so the printer was back to doing its weeeeee-wooooo-weeeee song again.

With all the electronics stuff I’ve been doing lately, I can feel some of my confidence in it coming back. I took advantage of that today and finally figured out how I’m going to use those COB LED strips I got from those light switch things a few months ago. It’s going inside the aforementioned lithophane holder, and I ran it off my bench supply all day to make sure it didn’t start pulling more current than it should or heat up. So that’s figured out now, and I’m comfortable with the numbers. For now, anyway.

I also had a pleasant surprise today with the Arduino stuff. I got it to read and write from an SD card, which doesn’t sound like a big deal but it opens up entire new branches of possibilities. I didn’t have the proper parts so I cobbled it together out of an old micro-SD card adapter and a logic chip. I fully expected smoke, stinkiness, melting, or fire, but it worked. I’m afraid to hook it up and try it again in case I was dreaming earlier…

I topped up the water in Lloyd’s tank today and he and the shrimp seem to be quite happy. The first thing I do every morning after I get out of bed is say hi to Lloyd and feed him, and every morning he swims over to the side of the tank and waits patiently.

Tomorrow J gets done work early and then we have a long weekend. I’m really looking forward to J being home, and not just because I’m greedy – there’s another round of drama unfolding at her workplace and I think a long weekend will be a good thing for her.

Stay safe.

News Creep

Song: Soundtrack from Curse of Monkey Island

Mood: up and down, but around 6.5 now

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Swarm

Just a quick post tonight, it’s already pretty late.

I didn’t sleep all that well again last night but I kept myself busy again today. I haven’t run the printer for a couple of days (which is weird) but it’s because I’ve been spending a lot of time fiddling around with a design I’m working on. I have a lot of other things I want to print so I should probably print them while I’m working on this but nobody has ever accused me of being very smart.

I also tinkered with more electronics today and threw out more stuff. Some of it makes me think that in a parallel universe, I’m a hoarder. Consider this:

Transistor drawersI’ve got a couple of drawers of plain old small-signal transistors, organized by type. So far, not a problem. Look over a bit, though, and there’s this:

Junk DrawersI have no idea why I kept these or why I wasted batteries and labels (and likely J’s time, since she is the Keeper of the Label Maker). Who actually labels junk as “junk”?

Junk transistorsI distinctly remember buying the transistors with the coloured stripes on them. I bought them at Radio Shack, probably between 1998 and 1990. They came in a pack of 20 and were just a bunch of random transistors with different part numbers. I saved up my allowance and thought I was all fancy-like when I bought it. As for the metal can transistors with mangled legs, when I was a kid I used to collect old radios and circuit boards to salvage parts; those transistors are from them. They’re even junkier than the ones with the stripes on them.

It rained today but it was still warm enough to open some windows. The air smelled wonderful, and I think I could hear the grass growing. Speaking of hearing things, today was another rough day as far as my jumpiness and sounds went.

I also need to back away from some of the news stuff again. A lot of it is bothering me and despite setting up little circles of what sites I go to, horrible news seems to be leaking in more often nowadays.

Tomorrow… I’m not sure what’s happening tomorrow. I need to get outside and

[I just remembered why I kept some of those metal can transistors. I have a very old and very worn electronics book by Forrest M Mims III that says if you cut the top off the metal cans and expose the silicon transistor junction without damaging it, you can use them as radiation detectors. I tried a few times back in the day but was never able to open one up without wrecking it. In my defence, all I had were tin snips and a hacksaw.]

check under the shed to make sure there aren’t any rabbits under there, then replace the damaged (chewed?) mesh to keep them out. Beyond that, I’m not sure.

Stay safe.

Hauling Stuff With The Truck

Song: “Black Denim Trousers” by Vaughn Monroe

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Swarm

I didn’t sleep all that well last night. No nightmares but I was up to check in on things a lot more than usual, and I couldn’t help but get up three times to try and calm my brain down. Not the end of the world, but I’m a little more tired than usual.

Today was alright. I got up, had some breakfast, and fought to keep myself from sitting on the couch and zoning out for a couple of hours until my usual morning fog lifted.

I spent quite a bit of time today playing around with electronics. I’m still going through my stash of old and not-so-old parts, and I’ve had a lot of success getting them to work. The Arduino is a handy little machine for this kind of work and (I’m afraid to say this but) I’m enjoying puttering around with this stuff again. I’m still a little leery about hooking something up and wrecking it (ever since I was a kid, even the faintest smell of hot electronics makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up) but so far the only thing that’s melted on me is an old LCD that I suspect I’d already melted 15 or so years ago. Anything that I can’t get working or starts smoking gets tossed out (or extinguished and then tossed in the garbage if necessary).

My folks called today and we had a short chat. Nothing fancy going on but it was nice to talk with them.

It was gorgeous outside today – check this out:

Thermometer +25C!I opened a bunch of windows and spent some time outside. If the rest of the summer was like this, I wouldn’t complain.

We have nine bags of lawn clippings, tree branches, and dead leaves that needed to be put out for collection. I was weighing my options for getting them from behind the house to the curb, and my laziness won out over my discomfort. I went outside, gave the truck a once-over, hopped in, and backed down the driveway enough so I could just put the bags in the truck bed. Once the truck was loaded up, I backed it the rest of the way down the driveway and unloaded the bags at the curb. It sure beat carrying them.

Since I was already in the truck and down the driveway, I went out and drove around for a while. I learned a few things. One, the roads in my area of town are in really rough shape. Two, the truck is running like a champ. Three, there are a lot of retired men in my neighbourhood and while some of them are mowing and some of them are playing around with shrubbery or flower beds, they’re all outside wearing the same thing: sunglasses, a white polo shirt, khaki shorts, and sneakers.

I spent about 20-25 minutes out driving around and went farther west than I have for a while. Out past the mall and everything. It’s frustrating, because the actual job of driving the truck doesn’t bother me at all – it’s everything that’s even a tiny bit related that keeps poking at me while I’m driving. If I could just turn the rest of that stuff off, I think I’d be fine. I used to be able to do this, so why is it now still so difficult?

Speaking of the truck, I finally called my local dealership about the recall letter I got a while ago. When the guy in the service department answered, I said, “Hi, I got a letter from Ford saying that they accidentally installed murderbags instead of airbags in my truck and I need to get them replaced.”

There was a very long pause.

I gave up waiting and said, “I got a recall letter about the airbags in my truck.”

“Oh, okay,” he replied. We had a nice little chat after that, and long story short, I have an appointment to get the murderbags replaced with airbags in a couple of weeks.

I had a lot of trouble with ghosts today. Now that we’re firmly into spring, everything sounds different. There’s no snow to muffle sounds, more and different animals are out and about, lots more people are out walking or on bikes, people are out with their mowers or whipper-snippers, men with tiny weenies are out with their giant smoky trucks and clapped-out Mustangs, and even the house makes different sounds and noises. I hope to get used to it quickly this year and not have to go back to the earbud and ear defender scheme I’ve used (quite successfully) in the past.

No TV shows today. J and I ran out of Brooklyn Nine-Nine episodes to watch so we’ve seen a few episodes of Our Planet. It’s pretty good but David Attenborough’s narrating and walruses falling to their death don’t have quite the same comedic value that Scully and his 12 different kinds of diabetes do.

I heard that it’s supposed to be pretty nice again tomorrow. If it is, I will spend more time outside.

Stay safe.

Talking About Billy Joel

J and I were just having a conversation about Billy Joel and the songs he won’t play anymore because they either didn’t age well or don’t evoke the emotions in him they once did. Then, J mentioned that he can “see” sound.

“Oh, he’s got phlegmatosis,” I thought. Fortunately, J corrected me before I said anything.

Apparently, it’s “synesthesia”. Billy Joel has synesthesia.

Phlegmatosis sounds cooler, but after a quick search it seems that it’s not a real medical condition. Or a real word.

I bet if it was a medical condition, it’d be really sticky.

Stay safe.

Already Really Late

Song: “Livin’ In The Sunlight, Lovin’ In The Moonlight” by Tiny Tim

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Pack

Really quick – it’s already almost 1AM. J and I were having a good talk after we ran out of Brooklyn Nine-Nine to watch, and the time got away on us.

Today was a decent day. I didn’t sleep as well last night as the previous night but it wasn’t too bad – four times that I remember, and I had to get out of bed once.

I’ve been spending a lot of time going through my old electronic parts and seeing if I can get them talking with the Arduino. Some of the stuff is so old… like, decades old. Some of it still works, though:

HD44780 LCD and DS18B20 temperature sensor

Those are supposed to be smileys at the bottom

My Dr C appointment was alright. J drove me there and home (THANK YOU!!!) and she came up to finally meet Dr C face to face before my appointment. The appointment itself was, as usual, quite a lot of thinking. We’re still hammering away at the OCD and anxiety that makes me miserable when I leave the house.

No appointments tomorrow for either J or myself. I’m not sure what we’re going to do but hopefully it’s nice enough out that we can open some windows again.

Stay safe.