Nothing To Worry About

Song: “Particle Man” by They Might Be Giants

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

Now it’s half past midnight and I already can’t focus or type properly.

Sorry, folks. It’s far too late, I’m far too tired, and I’m making a ton of mistakes,

I will post about today sometime tomorrow.


Keeping My Brain Occupied

Song: “A Little Respect” by Erasure

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Pack

Blugh… I just looked at the clock and it’s already midnight. Guess this’ll be a short post.

I’m afraid to say anything, but things aren’t too shabby. No nightmares for a little while now, I’ve only been worrying about things three or four times a night, and I’ve only had to get up to check in on things a handful of times. I’ve also been quite busy the last couple of days, doing a lot of thinking and actually getting some things done.

Okay, I just wrote five paragraphs about a print that failed yesterday and my attempt today. In the interest of not boring everyone and trying to avoid getting carpal tunnel (I was only about halfway through the story), I decided to replace it with this helpful bullet list:

  • Mark start print
  • Print take much time
  • Mark check back nine hours later
  • Mark take two hour taking printer apart and chipping, tweezing, snipping, brushing plastic away
  • Mark check Internet for help. Internet NO MAKE UP ITS MIND. Mark give up on Internet and steps out on his own
  • Mark find and change settings he never seen before and not know how work
  • Mark try print again next morning. Mark sit by print all 11 hours just in case.
  • Mark watch old episode of Captain… CAAAAEEEVVVEEE MAAAEEEAAAEEEAAAEEEAANNNN!!!
  • Print work perfect. Mark no understand. No glob, no web, no nest, no hair, nothing. Maybe Mark lucky. Maybe Mark genius! Maybe printer lonely and want Mark nearby.
  • Unga bunga

One of the nice things about working in the basement with the printer and some music on is that it drowns out a lot of the indoor and outdoor sound that I’d normally hear and couldn’t figure out. So, ghosts weren’t too bad today, which was a nice treat.

Being downstairs gave me some time to get a bunch of other things done that I’ve been waiting for, and I have some appointments tomorrow that I need to get some things ready for.

Tomorrow will be a good day – J has the day off and I am eager to talk to Dr H about test results and things like my arm/hand and get back home, although depending on how things go, J and I may stop at a store for a few minutes. Don’t know which one, don’t really have anything to buy, I should just get out of the house more, especially with this wonderful weather.

Stay safe.

A Very Brain-y Two Days

Song: N/A

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

Just a quick post since it’s getting late. Yesterday and today went pretty well; J had today off and it was wonderful that she was around.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and figuring about all kinds of stuff. Making lots of progress in some areas, not so much in others, but it’s all good. My brain keeps trying to do that spiralling thing where I overthink something to a ridiculous degree; fortunately, I’m getting better at noticing when that happens and stopping, short-circuiting, or redirecting it.

I think I mentioned a while ago how some of my fingers get tingly and go numb once in a while. My right hand in particular has been annoying – sometimes I don’t notice anything, but sometimes the area between my elbow and the tip of my pinky finger is all tingly and weird. I’ve been wearing the brace that Dr H prescribed but it doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. Ah well… I have an appointment next week.

J got a reward for working with the company she’s at for X number of years, and she picked a bluetooth speaker/FM stereo/aux jack player. We set it up last night and it’s been pretty great so far – much better and easier to use than the old system I kludged together.

Tomorrow I think J and I are going to watch some more shows, and I plan to continue working on the projects that I’ve been thinking about and puttering with.

Stay safe.

Forgot To Post Yesterday

Song: “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

I realized last night as I stumbled toward bed that I’d forgotten to do a post. The evening got away from me, I guess. Not a big deal.

I think the biggest thing that stands out about yesterday is how warm it was. I went for a walk, wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and my faithful but tacky Crocs. I got a couple of odd looks but the air and sunlight felt very good. I also went and stood out on the deck and enjoyed the feeling of the decking warming up my feet. I also spent a lot of time working on the PIC stuff and I made a lot of progress. It’s nice but a little depressing when I finally manage to figure out something that I knew pretty well 10 or 15 years ago.

I woke up quite a few times last night to worry about things, mainly the garage door and whether the fridge door was closed. The pictures I took during my evening rounds were enough to let me get back to sleep within 10 or 15 minutes. I also woke up with a pretty nasty headache at some point, and had a very strange dream about the dishwasher door falling off and water going everywhere. It wasn’t a nightmare, though, and it didn’t wake me up.

Today went by very quickly. J was working from home today but she had to go out and do some work-related stuff around 11:30AM. With the less than stellar sleep that I’d had, I didn’t really accomplish all that much in the morning and when J got home from her work thing, I was sitting on the upstairs couch, half zoned-out.

I had an appointment with Dr C this afternoon. J dropped me off as she was on the way to an appointment of her own. The appointment was quite tiring but between some anti-flop sweat things I’ve been trying, taking some PRNs a little while before leaving, J driving (instead of me taking a cab), and being able to sit there alone in the waiting room and do mindfulness exercises while waiting, I was able to pay much better attention and actually make some eye contact with Dr C today. She is very encouraging about me trying to keep my brain momentum going and she wants me to pay attention to and enjoy the successes that I have while doing things. She also has a colleague that she is going to consult with about some different approaches for OCD treatment; she mentioned some things about memory confidence. I think Dr P and I worked on that stuff for a while but I am happy to try anything to make more headway.

Dr C just moved offices recently and this past week the whole floor got new furniture. It’s… nice… I suppose. I mean, it looks fine, but it’s not the same as the old, comfortable chairs. Things are also positioned differently and that will take a bit of getting used to. The waiting room is different now, too, but I think that’s a good thing – the way it was set up right after they moved was pretty cramped, drab, and it felt weird.

After my appointment was done, I sat out in the waiting room, put “Get Over You” by The Undertones on repeat, closed my eyes and did mindfulness exercises for about 40 minutes until J swung by to pick me up after she had finished her appointment. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to sit there for that long (calling a cab was always a possibility) but things worked out and I saved almost $40 by not using taxis at all today. Not bad.

This evening, J and I watched more Brooklyn Nine-Nine. We’re getting close to the end of what’s available online… I suppose we’re going to go back to iZombie after we’ve run out. Or maybe we’ll start at the beginning again. Or watch Community again. God, that’s a great show.

Tomorrow I will be home alone again with no appointments to worry about. I plan to go for another walk (I started wearing shorts on Monday and intend to keep wearing them until Fall), see if I can make more progress on my water detectors, play around with that Arduino that FA gave me, listen to some records, do some sewing, putter around in the truck, maybe go for a drive, tidy up the garage… there’s no way I’ll do most of those things, and even doing some of them might be a stretch, but if I don’t set any goals, I won’t get anything done.

Stay safe.

Go Ahead And Ad-Block My Site

I’ve been having an email conversation with FA about ad-blocking software, and it reminded me that I haven’t gone and changed my WordPress theme yet. I meant to do that a while ago but for some reason or other I didn’t get to it.

Anyway, I hate online ads. I didn’t mind them so much when they were off to the side, or the occasional inline ad. Nowadays, though, with the auto running videos that play sound, or being forced to watch a 30 second video before being able to watch a 12 second video, or the various other annoying pop-ups that get in the way… it gets old pretty quick. And I don’t like when company A hears from Company B that I was looking at Product C on Website D.

All that being said, please go ahead and block the crap out of my site. I don’t make any money from this site, and unless it suddenly becomes some sort of Internet juggernaut (which I’m really, REALLY not expecting), I plan to keep things the way they are. If anything changes, I will make sure to make it very obvious in a future post.

Block adverts, don’t accept cookies, block trackers… go nuts. It’s fine by me. In fact, I encourage it.

Stay safe.


Song: N/A

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

Today was an odd day. It started out with snow on the ground and by early evening it had all melted and some lightning and thunder moved through the area.

I didn’t get a lot accomplished today. My fancy new fitness smartwatch arrived and it immediately became obvious why it was twenty bucks. Plus, the app that it syncs up with is dicey at best. Ah well, I guess that’s how it goes. At least it looks nice.

I also took another run at a PIC and got it working without setting it on fire. There are still some things that aren’t working right but it’s been so long since I looked at a datasheet that I shouldn’t be surprised. Took the time to inventory my midrange PIC inventory and I have a lot of them, a few of which are actually still in production.

Talked to my mom briefly today, she very enthusiastically said how good a time she and Dad had yesterday. They’re planning to visit again but not sure about the timeframe.

I’m in a foul mood. I should probably end this here.

Stay safe.

What A Great Weekend!

Song: “Absolutely Right” by The Five Man Electrical Band

Mood: 8.5

Nightmares: 1

Ghosts: Several

This past weekend was fantastic. I didn’t sleep particularly well and was a little more tired than usual, but everything from Friday to Sunday was wonderful. I had a great time hanging out with FA on Friday, and after J got home, we hung out, watched some more episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and puttered around the house. There were no crises, no deadlines, nothing… we just hung out and had fun.

On Saturday morning I woke up from a nightmare (tent), but instead of waking up in the middle of the night like usual, I woke up around 8AM, so there was more than enough light to see where I was and that everything around me was okay. I still got out of bed for a bit, but it’s sooooo much nicer when I wake up almost in a panic and I can actually see what’s going on. I was even able to go back to bed and get some more sleep.

J went out to an art show with her mom and aunt, and I stayed home and did some more puttering. FA gave me an Arduino on Friday and I played around with it for quite a while – I wish they had been around when I was in college! I’ve decided that I’m going to make two of those water detectors that I was talking about a few days ago. One will go at the big drain in the basement, and one will go under the dishwasher. The big drain will catch the hot water heater, the laundry room, the downstairs bathroom, and eventually everything in the house if the leak is bad enough. Since we’ve had leaks under the dishwasher, I think I’m justified in putting one under there. They’re not going to be complicated, just a little microcontroller hooked up to a piece of cloth with salt in it, a 9V battery, and a beeper. The cloth gets wet, the salt turns into salt water, makes a connection, and the beeper sounds.

I decided I was going to go back to using a PIC for that, so I hooked one up, programmed it, and promptly cooked it. It’s been a while since I’ve done this stuff and I’m apparently quite rusty at it… at least I know what I did and I can try to avoid doing it again.

When J got home, she brought along some information for a 3D printer project request from my mother-in-law, and I got to work. I sure do enjoy working on this stuff, from the initial staring-off-into-the-distance phase, to scribbling out ideas on a piece of paper, making a model in the design software (which I am learning more about every day), the test prints, and then finally ending up with something that (hopefully) does the job. I was hoping to have it done by the time she left for home but I don’t think it’ll be ready – it’s been printing for 27.5 hours and still has a way to go.

J and I were both pretty tired Saturday evening. J went to bed early and I took my medication, played some STO, and watched some DS9 until I was ready to go to bed.

A bit of history… FA and I had met while we were living in the same on-campus residence at university, and we quickly became friends. When part of FA’s studies involved doing some work in the city my parents live in, they offered to let her stay there, and while she was there, they got along very well (as most people seem to do with FA). We made a couple of other trips out there, they made some trips here, and FA was part of J’s and my wedding, so my parents and FA kept in touch. After the wedding, though, things didn’t sync up very well and… I don’t think FA and my folks were in the same room for the next 17.5 years. She would ask about how my parents were, and my parents would ask how she was, but for whatever reason, the lot of us just didn’t get together.

All of this to say that Sunday was a big day – my parents were coming into town for a day visit, and FA and DM were going to come over too. I started the day off by sleeping through my alarm again, then stumbling around the house in a strange fog that was thick with dumbness and anxiety, trying to tidy up things that, really, probably didn’t need tidying. It was family and good friends, after all – people who have seen dirty plates or a table covered with junk before and still talk to us – but I couldn’t help it. I hopped into the shower to get pretty and by the time I was out, my parents had arrived and were sitting in the living room, chatting with J.

We had a very good conversation and got up to speed on how everyone is doing (the odd thing about my relatives is that quite a few of them are doing poorly but are in great spirits). It was very good to see my parents again. We talked about all kinds of stuff, J made a really amazing lunch and Mom made a fantastic apple crumble and some other kind of dessert square that I need the recipe for, and Dad and I did some investigating into a couple of house and yard projects to get an idea of how to go about it and what we’d need.

While Dad and I were out in the back yard, we met the new neighbour over the back fence. He’s not particularly new – I think he’s been there for almost a year. J met him a while ago but I’d never seen him. There’s been a chain-link fence separating our yards there since we moved in, and J was thinking about putting slats in the fence to give a bit more privacy (we had another neighbour back there up to about five years ago who we were friends with and we’d talk through the fence all the time). I was hoping to ask what the neighbours thought about it (no sense putting them in if they turn out to be the kind of people who just take them back out). We introduced ourselves, met his cute little kid and happy dog, and I asked about the slats. It turns out he was looking to do the same thing. So that worked out well!

Around 4:30PM, FA and DM arrived. Because of my own silly brain I was a little nervous, but everything went swimmingly. Lots of stories, lots of laughs, and before we knew it, the clock showed 6:30PM. I interrupted the conversation to ask if anyone wanted supper, but unfortunately, my parents wanted to hit the road and get home before it got dark. I still feel bad about that – I wasn’t trying to kick anyone out – but my folks did say earlier that they wanted to be home before nightfall. After a quick set of good-byes, my folks were backing down the driveway and drove off down the street.

J and I asked DM and FA if they were interested in staying for pizza and they agreed, and the four of us continued gabbing and having a great time until they headed out a little after 9PM.

What a day! I didn’t realize it until after their car drove out of view, but I was pooped. It was that good kind of tired, though – that fuzzy, “things are good” kind of tired. Everything had gone so well, I had such a good time, and it was wonderful to see FA and DM swapping stories with my parents. Once again, I feel kind of foolish about being nervous about everything, but that feeling is getting kind of mowed down by how good I feel about how things went and how good a time I had.

I am very, very lucky to have such amazing family and friends, and it was a wonderful thing to have family and friends together like that. I hope we can all get together again – and in less than 17.5 years this time!

Stay safe.

Let’s See What This Sphygmomanometer Can Do!

Song: “Mr Blue Sky” by ELO

Mood: 7.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

I bet that’s not a title that you see every day, eh?

I got to bed a little later than usual last night. I know I woke up three or four times worrying about things – twice was because of the dishwasher, which I was able to deal with just by looking at my normal nightly picture on my phone. Another time is a little foggier, but I think it was because of the front door and I was able to get back to sleep pretty quick. The worst one was me worrying about whether I’d left the soldering iron on, and despite not using the soldering iron at all yesterday and knowing I’d been in the room quite a few times and hadn’t noticed anything, AND knowing there’s a smoke detector in the room, I stewed and ground my teeth in the dark until I got out of bed and accidentally woke J up (I’m very sorry sweetie), and went downstairs to check in on it.

Of course it was off, both at the switch and at the power bar.

So I didn’t have the greatest sleep, but there were no nightmares or panic attacks so I still count it as a decent night.

Unfortunately, it took me a while to build up enough steam to do anything this morning. I did a mental triage on the things that I wanted/needed to get done before FA arrived, and got my priorities in order. Proud of my success in coaxing 30 or 40 brain cells to make a three-item list, I sat down on the chesterfield and promptly zoned out.

Even when I’m still half in the bag from my nighttime meds (I hate using that word but I also hate using “medications” or “pills”), a little jolt of adrenaline can get me going. Wondering why my watch was wrong… and why the clock on the shelf was wrong… and why my phone was – OHCRAP IT’S NOT THEM IT’S ME, gave me a nice kick that got me off the couch and into the shower to de-stink and get all pretty. That zap of adrenaline doesn’t last forever, though, and it certainly doesn’t make me any smarter, so I stared, mouth agape, at the kitchen and dining room for a while, before I unloaded the dishwasher, stuffed it full of dirty dishes, and went around tidying up and finding spots I could sweep crumbs under.

It wasn’t long after that that I got a text from FA saying she was going to be about half an hour late, which actually worked out pretty well for me today.

Anyway, by the time she arrived, I had the various tools and electronics and computers and wires and all kinds of stuff ready to go. FA, as always, brought delicious, delicious burritos (thank you again!!!) which we devoured after a short chat about the differences we have seen between Server/Network management and Platform Development/Support. Interestingly, had FA and I worked in the same place, we would’ve probably been the ones butting heads. Or not. Who knows!

After lunch, we talked some more about quite a few things. She brought her project device over; while it couldn’t get on the $@^&^!* network at the conference room, it did get quite a bit of attention and conversations started because of it, which is exactly what FA had hoped for. So no, it was not the utter failure I had feared, which made me feel pretty good.

The we did a little geek swap – she gave me one of her spare Arduino Leonardos and showed me how to connect it and upload programs to it (I’ve used PICs for two decades now and thought they were the bee’s knees) and I was gobsmacked at how easy it was. No dedicated programmer, tons of examples come with the software, and there are approximately eleven billion people on Earth who use Arduinos. I don’t think they’ll entirely replace PICs for me, but Arduinos are getting a drawer in a parts drawer on the workbench. As for me, I offered her two Olimex boards, which she wisely declined, and some older Raspberry Pi kit, which she took. I’m also going to replace the Pi 2 in the project device with a B+ because it doesn’t need to be fast and I don’t have a lot of the faster stuff. So that went well!

We also had a conversation about how much we had both enjoyed working on her project. I mentioned that I would be tickled if she would be interested in having me tag along on some of her other projects and I think she seemed receptive to that. It’s nice to open up my brain and geek out with FA on this stuff. And even if we’re working on our own stuff and not talking much, it’s still much more enjoyable to be in the same room where we can interrupt each other with brain farts, bad jokes, questions, or any number of other things. I do really enjoy working with FA, our brains are similar in some ways and very, VERY different in others, but I think we complement each other pretty well when it comes to generating a problem statement and coming up with a solution to satisfy that statement.

Due to my inadvertent muscle flex and subsequent blood pressure cuff explosion, J and I had a spare sphygmomanometer (minus the cuff, of course). It was eight or nine years old so we decided to get a new unit instead of just replacing the cuff. I’d never taken one apart, and I was wondering if FA hadn’t either. Plus, I had an idea last night about another project that she was hoping to do that needed a way to pump air into (and let it out of) something. We bolted downstairs to grab a bunch of tools and then went to town on the poor little Omron. Eventually, we had it broken down to the motor and valve, which we tested on the bench in the basement and they worked like a charm!

Despite the numbers on the chips being wrong/useless, FA found the datasheet for the pressure sensors that are in the meter; based on the application notes, I think we will be able to desolder one from the board, build a little circuit around it, and use it to check the pressures. Pretty cool stuff.

J got home at around 4:30PM and the three of us talked for quite a while.

Okay, I’m crashing really bad right now, I need to get to bed. Bottom line – day was good, evening was good, I enjoyed hanging out with FA, I enjoyed hanging out with J, and I rebuilt one of the RPis this evening. Not sure what’s going on tomorro yet but my parents are still coming out on Sunday. Will keep you posted.

Stay safe.

Almost Forgot…

Song: N/A

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Horde

I was just about to shut things down for the night and I realized I hadn’t done a post yet today. So… really quick:

  • I woke up four or five times last night and had to get out of bed once to check in on the dishwasher,
  • Today went pretty well,
  • It was pleasant out this morning so I went for a walk,
  • Kept busy with printing and electronics and going through old stuff,
  • Listened to some records today (I need to remember to do that more often),
  • Talked with my folks and they are still planning to visit this weekend,
  • Watched more Brooklyn Nine-Nine with J, and
  • FA is still planning to come over tomorrow.

Stay safe.

Pretty Quiet Today

Song: N/A

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

Today kind of slid by without me realizing it. I slept alright last night but it felt like it took a lot longer than usual before the fog in my head cleared today.

As soon as I could spell my name and reliably count beyond six, I started working on things again. I spent a lot of time playing with Fusion 360 and I did a fair amount of writing.

My plan with the writing is to do up a little blurb for my nephews to read about some of the cool things that are going on around them that they may not have thought much about. Water, cells, light, music, stars, magnets… I had originally planned to just do a little thing about cells but it’s grown into a few pages. I sometimes wonder if I just keep adding to it because I’m worried about what they’ll think of it. They’ve always been interested in the science-y stuff I’ve shown them before, but who knows. And I shouldn’t really care if they’re interested, anyway. They’re allowed to like different stuff!

I spent a lot of time today actively avoiding dealing with the mess in the kitchen. I don’t understand how it goes from clean and sparkling to a disaster in 20 minutes. I ended up doing some work on it; I will take another run at it tomorrow.

Oh, and another one of the things I ordered a while ago arrived today – a fancy little magnifying glass thing:

Cheap Handheld MagnifierI am surprised with the beefiness of the magnifier and how well it snaps together. The 30x magnifier works great, 60x is okay, and 90x is difficult to use. Having three different LEDs underneath for different situations is great, but I wish it didn’t take three LR44s for power. Oh well.

It was also a treat to get another package I wasn’t expecting. I wonder how long it’s going to be before the whole order has arrived… and will I have another shopping list to order by then?

I accidentally flexed my arm the other day while I was using the blood pressure machine and I exploded the cuff (I have to be SO careful about that). J picked another one up today on her way home from work (thanks sweetie!) and I set it up this evening. It’s got a really neat Bluetooth feature that… actually I don’t know what it does, because as soon as I saw the word “Bluetooth”, I looked up how to turn it off. The new machine seems to be working great so far, although I would prefer if the numbers on it weren’t quite so high. Yeesh.

I have a few things planned for tomorrow. No appointments, but lots of stuff I want to get done. I’m on revision 8 of something I’m trying to get printed, I have towels to make, I want to listen to some records, I need to think about the SBCs I gathered up last night (ten of them!) and figure out whether I want to do something with them or get rid of them. Lots of stuff to think about.

Stay safe.