A Great Long Weekend

Song: N/A

Mood: 7.5

Nightmares: 0

Song: “Apache” by The Incredible Bongo Band

Ghosts: Few

Just a real quick post – I’ve got a bunch of things on the go and hope to get at least a few of them done before I go to bed.

I’m feeling pretty well. Haven’t slept all that great the last little while but at least part of that is my fault (I fell asleep on the living room couch a couple of times). No nightmares since that one last week, and between feeling better and J being around, I’ve found myself chasing very few ghosts. It’s really quite nice.

One of the things I’ve been sliding on a bit is my nighttime medication. I used to be quite firm with the time I took it but lately I haven’t been consistent, so I’m trying to get back in the habit of taking it the same time each night. That may make sleep and mornings a little easier to predict, too.

I think I mentioned it last week, but J took a couple of extra days off and turned the weekend into a five-day holiday. It was wonderful! We got a ton of stuff done, fit in lots of relaxing, and J got out to see her parents, too.

It was pretty warm out – we had this for two days in a row:

Hot Day!… but it’s not humid and it cools down at night, so it’s not too bad.

[Craaaaap, I just realized I forgot to water the garden today… need to do that first thing tomorrow!]

I got that big antenna working outside and it pulls in a lot of stuff, I was listening to conversations from what I think was a rail yard about 20km away.

No appointments so far this week but it looks like FA is going to swing by tomorrow!

Stay safe.

Good Appointments This Week

Song: “The Thing” by Phil Harris

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

Yesterday and today went pretty well. The weather was pleasant, I got some stuff done, and the ghosts weren’t too bad, either.

J worked from home today which was great, too. I did my best to be quiet and sneak around so I wasn’t too disturbing:

I spent a lot of time on electronics and SDR stuff, and things are moving along quite nicely.

We watched more of the first Librarian movie, and I’m happy to say that it ended. Two more to go – we’ll see what happens after the studio had two years to carefully consider audience feedback and make the appropriate adjustments. Fortunately, they don’t have to do much – just completely change the casting, story, characters, effects, dialogue, wardrobe, lighting, sound, music, editing, photography, directing, producing, makeup, hair, stunts, art, grip, gaffer, best boy, and catering. If they fixed that, the next movie should be a lot better.

My Dr C and Dr W appointments this week went well. Both of them are pleased with how things are going and I was glad to be able to tell them things are still going better. Dr C and I talked quite a bit about mindfulness and meditation and she gave me some very useful information. At one point we were talking about Stranger Things – I’m not 100% sure how that happened, but it somehow worked into the conversation.

Dr W was looking at reducing my medications again but I asked if we could hold off until our next appointment. The last time we reduced the quetiapine was more difficult and things have been going pretty well lately so I was hesitant to change things. We talked about it for a bit and he agreed, saying that I was “in the driver’s seat”, although to be honest I’m afraid to change anything without his okay.

So both appointments went well and I won’t see either of them for the next few weeks – Dr C is away and I’ve gone to monthly appointments with Dr W. Which reminds me… I really need to write down the things I want to talk about. At both of my appointments I forgot a lot of the things I wanted to mention or talk about.

J is heading out to visit her folks tomorrow morning and will be back Friday evening. My only plan at this point is to rig up a connector to that big antenna and set it up in the back yard to see what kinds of things I can pick up with it. Hopefully I don’t creep the neighbours out too much…

Stay safe.

Reupholster-O-Rama

Song: “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

The weekend went pretty well. Nothing too exciting happened, except that we had to pick something new to watch (or old to go back to). J picked up a three-pack of movies, which included The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines, and The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice. We started in on the first one and made it almost an hour in before we had to stop and go do something else – it’s… bad. Noah Wyle is trying to channel Nathan Fillion, the movie piles trope upon trope upon trope, and the effects are about as good as you’d expect for a low-budget made-for-TV-movie from 2004. We’re going to go back to it but we’ll probably watch it in metered doses.

Since we were on the theme of “bad”, I thought we could try the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 and see what it was like. I watched a few of the older episodes back in the 90s and thought it was awful (but that’s the point of MST3K). Sure enough, it’s been pretty (awesomely) bad so far, with the first movie in it being Mac & Me. J actually laughed at the show a few times, which I take to be a good sign.

Today was a decent day. It was lovely outside so I spent some time out in the yard and in the garage. Some of the chores on my list got checked off today, too – I cleaned out some drawers, did some tidying, printed some stuff up, did some writing, listened to some records, and puzzled over a broken chair to see if I could fix it (the jury’s still out on that one).

A little while ago, J thought it was about time we replaced the cushions on the dining room chairs. Personally, I didn’t see the problem – years of butts had flattened them to where sitting on them felt like falling onto an old church pew, and they were stained and discoloured… but isn’t that how most dining room chairs are? Anyway, we discussed it and decided to redo them. J did all the hard work: picking up fabric and foam and that $@*^% batting, taking the old covers off and removing most of the staples, cutting things to the right size, that sort of stuff. I just provided some muscle and a hammer stapler. We started out pretty slowly because neither of us knew what we were doing, but we figured it out.

Tonight we made the final push and finished up the last three chairs. So the reupholstering is done, it looks pretty good and is waaaay more comfortable. J picked some nice looking and sturdy fabric that should last a long time. Plus, all that stuff is now out of the living room and, with luck, I won’t have to cut (or be around) another piece of that cursed batting for a while. Stupid little floating filaments got everywhere.

This evening, we watched a bit more of that MST3K episode and hung out, chatting about all kinds of stuff.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with Dr C. I don’t know what the weather is supposed to be, but if it’s like today I’ll be happy.

Stay safe.

It Only Took Seven Times

Song: N/A

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Pack

Quick post, so it’s time for… BULLET POINTS!

  • No nightmares last night and I only remember waking up twice, neither of which got me out of bed.
  • I was pretty busy today and managed to focus on things a little better. It’s a lot more rewarding when a day goes by and I can see that I made some progress on things.
  • Speaking of progress, I struggled today with finding a thread that would fit the base of that antenna. Turns out the thread gauge I bought recently has metric and Whitworth sizes in it, and neither of them match the antenna. So I went and printed my own threads one at a time until I figured it out. Version 7 did the trick.
  • I left the SDR running last night and recorded what happens with the bus drivers in the morning. Turns out most of them call in first thing because their bus has damage that wasn’t listed on the sheet, while some of them call in because their bus won’t, you know… work.
  • Didn’t go for my walk today but I spent a lot of time running around inside and out, downstairs and up.
  • Got an appointment to see a cardiologist. They advised me to trim or shave anywhere they’re going to stick an electrode. Based on previous experience, I will definitely take that advice.
  • Looks like one of the shrimp in the main fish tank kicked the bucket. It’s hard to tell – looks kind of like a tiny piece of lobster meat that’s been gnawed on from both ends. The other two shrimp I could find looked kind of guilty.
  • Tomorrow’s Friday. I don’t know where the week went…

Stay safe.

Need To Stay Focused

Song: “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 1

Ghosts: Lots

My day didn’t get off to a great start. A nightmare (tent) woke me up this morning right around the time J was getting up. I sat hunched over on the side of the bed while she talked to me and rubbed my back, then held on to me for a while until I calmed down. I know I’ve said this many, many times, but she makes so many things so much better so often.

After a while I managed to get back to sleep and got up a while later. I then spent a few hours vacillating between searching the house for my phone and telling myself that it was fine, I didn’t need to have it with me all the time. I guess I’m more attached to that thing than I thought, because I found myself firing up my computer to look something up or grabbing a calculator to do some figuring a lot more than I expected. I eventually found it after lunch, under the bed. No idea how it got there – usually when it goes missing it’s between/under couch cushions or under a pile of stuff in the basement.

Outside the whole phone thing, I worked on a lot of things today but found myself flitting between tasks/hobbies/projects to the point where I got almost nothing done. It may have been because of the morning or whatever, but I just couldn’t focus on any one thing for more than 15 or 20 minutes.

I did get the antenna cleaned up and painted, though. I wanted to paint it white but couldn’t find the white paint so I painted it black. Of course, as soon as I had it half painted I found the white paint, but I think it looks ok in black. Now I just need to figure out a stand for it and how to put a connector on it.

While I was outside looking for paint, J got home and came outside. I set up the hose to soak the garden and grabbed another chair from the shed and we sat outside and enjoyed the breeze in the shade and talked about our days.

I also spent more time playing with the SDR and found more interesting stuff. I also did some writing and gave some more thought to my display cabling problem.

J and I didn’t watch any TV this evening either but we hung out while tinkering with our various hobbies.

I don’t have any appointments tomorrow, so assuming I can keep my brain pointing at the same thing for long enough, I would like to finish some stuff. We’ll see how it goes.

Stay safe.

The, Uh… Hmm. That’s QUITE The Deal…

Song: N/A

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

That I’m starting this post at 12:53AM speaks to how today went.

J is doing much better. She went to work this morning at the regular time but started to wilt in the afternoon so she came home a little early – a good decision I think. She looked pale when she got home but after she sat down for a while the colour returned to her face.

As for me, I slept pretty well last night. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but having that pan and hose underneath the hot water tank has pretty much taken it out of the things I worry about, which has been wonderful. I don’t think I’ve had to go downstairs or tell myself that the tank is fine once since it was replaced.

I forgot to water the garden this morning so I went outside at around 2PM and watered the garden. The soil was so dry that I just hung the sprinkler on the side of the anti-lagomorph barrier and let it soak an area while I did some weeding. I find that weeding is a lot easier to do if you let the weeds get at least thigh high – waist high is even better. That way, they’re easy to see and you don’t have to bend over to pull them out. It was bloody hot out today and there I was – fat guy dressed in black again – with my eyes starting to cook. But the garden has been watered and the weeds have been vanquished. The pepper plant has eight peppers on it!

I’ve been pretty busy with a lot of electronics stuff. Right now I’m working on making a nice little package that contains a Raspberry Pi, a little screen, and the SDR receiver so I can easily move it around or go outside without carrying a loose connection of wires and parts and batteries. I keep running into some tiny little thing that ends up being a showstopper, then figuring out a way through or around it, just to run into another tiny little thing. Right now, the problem is that there’s no easy way for me to connect the screen to the Pi. I have a cable that does it, but it’s three feet long and pretty thick, so it won’t fit nicely in a box.

This evening I figured I’d look around at some of the stores and see if they sold cables that had a 90-degree end and were nice and short. The first few store sites had some cables, but were crazy expensive. Just for kicks, I thought I’d try out Walmart. Turns out, they have an awful lot of HDMI cables and adapters. I scrolled down a bit… then a bit more… and some more… and stumbled across this:

Walmart HDMI Cable "Selection"

I’ll take one of those, and one of those, and one of those…

Look at that! I bet they’re throwing that tacky winter sweater in with the HDMI adapter, which would already be a pretty great deal, but it’s even marked “Reduced price”, what a deal! You can’t go wrong with HDMI parts that come with a, uh… sweater. Yeah, sweater.

Had a good chat with my parents. They’re doing well. Poor Dad has to go for yet more dental work, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel now, so that’s good. Dad’s pretty interested in the SDR radio stuff so I think I’ll record some more of it and send it to him and we can try to figure out who’s talking and what they’re talking about.

Years and years ago, Dad gave me an old, beat-up sectional antenna. I thought I’d lost it but I dug around some more and found all the pieces in the basement. It’s over nine feet tall when assembled, and it has a very old-looking connector at the bottom that I think I will just use to screw into a support base. It needs a bit of cleaning and a coat of paint, and I’ll tack on an adapter to it at or near the bottom so I’ll be able to use it with the SDR. Who knows what kinds of other wondrous things I’ll be able to pick up!

I also tuned into the local Transit radio traffic and let it play all afternoon, and it was really interesting! One driver was over nine minutes ahead on his route; an audibly annoyed control person had to explain to him why that was a bad thing to do. Another one got a ticket stuck in the transfer dispenser or something, and there were lots of bus problems. Brakes, overheating, check engine lights, the digital signs on one of the buses weren’t working… it was fascinating.

J and I just hung out and took it easy this evening. Didn’t even watch a show. She’s feeling even better now, though, so I’m glad she came home early and got comfortable on the couch. Which reminds me – we’ll need to pick something else because we just ran out of Brooklyn Nine-Nine episodes to watch.

Okay, I should really end this here, I have now been working on this for over an hour. Plus, I should really check to see if Walmart has put any new HDMI cables on their website. Just to be thorough and to get the best deal I can, of course. Tomorrow should be a pretty quiet day so I will tidy up some of my stuff and try to get some more things done.

Stay safe.

Poor J…

Song: N/A

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

Just a quick post today because I’m pretty pooped. Things are going alright but last night J was up sick so I stayed up and tried to help her as best I could. We’re guessing it was some bad berries but yeah… barf city. I felt so bad for her – what a horrible feeling, and why does it always happen at night so you’re not only ill, but tired as heck?

I’m happy to report that she’s doing a lot better now – mostly tired and sore. Her diet today has been almost entirely saltines and sport drinks.

Oh, and her voice is all deep and gravely, she sounds kind of like Tom Waits. It’s a neat blend of cute and kind of disturbing.

I had a follow-up appointment today with the urologist. Everything is great and unless I have any concerns, I don’t have any further appointments with him for this stuff.

J and I have been talking about doing some volunteering, there’s an opportunity in the area that we are considering investigating. I’m not sure how or what or when but we’re going to talk about it some more, maybe send an email or two.

I know there’s a bunch more to talk about but it’s all escaping me right now. No more appointments this week so I’ll have time to do… something. I can’t remember.

Stay safe.

Miss One Day, And…

Song: N/A

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

So this morning when I went to take my medications, I discovered that I’d run out of one of them. I called the pharmacy and they were very helpful and had it ready in the afternoon and J picked it up after work (thank you!!!).

Unfortunately, the medication is the one that I started taking recently that, along with its therapeutic use, had the pleasant and unexpected side effect of eliminating that “lung-y” feeling I was getting in the afternoons and evenings. I had thought this morning that missing one dose wouldn’t be the end of the world, but… yeah. Good times.

It’s interesting how unpleasant something feels when you haven’t experienced it for a while and it shows back up.

Aside from that, I kept pretty busy again today. Dad liked the handle I printed up so I’ve got the second one printing now. My antenna cover design turned out to not work very well because the plastic makes for a slippery surface and the clamp can’t keep things straight. I know how to fix it but I haven’t changed the design yet – I plan to work on it tomorrow. I also spent a lot of time on electronics, listened to the SDR again, and spent some time chatting with Lloyd, who seems to be in a really good mood nowadays, too.

I ordered a little SDR kit for myself, along with a small Raspberry Pi display. My plan is to make a small, portable, battery-powered SDR receiver that I can use outside or take to the park or whatever. I haven’t had much luck running the current setup with one of those USB battery packs but I think I have a solution.

Oh, and the lawn company showed up again today and sprayed the lawn with whatever magic juice that’s in the big tank in the back of their trucks. I can’t believe how well the stuff has been working – I don’t think we have any weeds in the front lawn (haven’t checked the back but it could be weed-free too) and the grass hasn’t been this thick in… 12 years?

No plans for tomorrow other than the stuff I hope to do around the house. I tidied up the kitchen today and will try to keep on top of it.

Stay safe.

Moving Right Along

Mood: 8

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

Just a quick post tonight. Things are going well, these last two days have been good and I’m really enjoying how it feels!

My Dr C appointment yesterday went well. I still took a cab but while I was there I wasn’t constantly distracted by thoughts and worries so I was able to focus a lot more than normal. Dr C mentioned that I looked happier and more relaxed and that I was making a lot more eye contact than normal.

I’m still keeping myself quite busy and it’s really nice to be busy because I’ve been enjoying it, not because I’m forcing myself to. More designing, more printing, more electronics, more radio stuff, more writing… it’s all been good.

J has embarked on a project to reupholster the dining room chairs. We got the first one done last night and it looks and feels a lot better than the old padding and fabric did. I think she picked a great fabric and foam.

I spoke with my folks yesterday and today and they’re doing well. One of my uncles is in the hospital for some surgery but he’s in good spirits and should be back home soon. Dad asked if I could make him some new handles for his shed, he sent me some pictures and measurements and it looks like it’ll be no problem at all.

We got some more rain today. Not a huge amount but enough to water the garden. I’m amazed at how big and fluffy and green everything is!

I went outside today just before it rained and noticed that there were bird calls coming from all over the place. Aside from crows, I haven’t heard many birds up until now. I like the birds and the more that are fluttering around, the better.

The rest of the day today I left the SDR on, tuned to the local airport tower. I found it very interesting and pleasant – the airport here isn’t like Heathrow or O’Hare, so there are breaks between the conversations. The voices are also always very professional and calm… considering it’s traffic between the tower and aircraft, I should hope it is.

No appointments tomorrow but I have another project to hopefully spit out of the printer and some cleaning to do around the house. I’d also like to sit outside for a while and watch the tree branches and leaves sway while listening to the birds. Hopefully it’ll be cool with a low enough humidity that I can open the windows and let some fresh air in.

I know that life has ups and downs and at some point I’m going to have a crappy day/week/whatever, but I’ve been really enjoying how things are going this last little while. I sure as hell am not taking any of it for granted!

Stay safe.

Another Really Good Day

Song: Theme From Lazy Jones (Commodore 64 Game) by David Whittaker

Mood: 8

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

I woke up this morning when the power went out and came back on – quite the storm was going on outside with a lot of lightning, thunder, and an awful lot of rain. It was only about half an hour before my alarm was set to ring so it wasn’t a huge deal and from what I can remember, I enjoyed the storm. Unfortunately, a house in town got struck by lightning, which wasn’t so good, but nobody got hurt.

J headed out into the rain to go to work and I stumbled around in a haze for a while, doing some tidying and trying to get myself together. I got a text a little while later from J saying that she was on her way home because the neighbourhood where her office is lost power during the storm and it was going to be hours before it was restored so her boss sent everyone home.

So it was a nice start to the day – a storm AND my sweetie ended up having the day off!

After J got home we hung out and talked and did some more tidying. I’m not 100% sure what order everything happened in, but I remember zoning out on the couch for too long and then rushing to de-stinkify myself before FA arrived.

Fortunately, FA ended up being just late enough for everything to work out perfectly, and when she arrived, the three of us chatted for a few minutes before she and I headed out to the hardware store.

Despite (or maybe because of) the weather earlier in the morning, the air was hot and thick with humidity, so it was a nice relief when we walked through the doors into the store and the cold, dry air hit like a big bag of frozen waffles. FA likes it when it’s disgustingly hot out but even she commented about how swampy the air was.

We did a slightly modified aisle crawl – usually we start at one end of the store and work our way through the whole thing, but today I needed to pick up some staples so we went to that part first, then meandered through the rest of the store. As always, there were a few weird/neat/fascinating things there that had us scratching our heads and trying to figure out what they were or why on earth someone would make something like that, which is one of my favourite parts of going to that store.

We left the store bags in hand and headed over to the burrito shop, picked up burritos (and one for J), and then came back to the house. The three of us talked and enjoyed lunch (man those burritos are good) and had a good time hanging out.

A while later, J headed out to do some things and FA and I started puttering around with stuff. I had hoped to show her that I got the software defined radio working with the new Raspberry Pi board that I got last week but – despite working fine the previous day – it decided to be stubborn and didn’t work very well at all, so I ended up hooking up my regular computer and we listened to some weather broadcasts, some traffic from the airport, and even some traffic from the local transit authority.

We also puzzled over the best way to make new handles for a trophy that badly needs them. You wouldn’t think that there would be a lot of figuring for something like that, but in this case there definitely was, and after J got home again the three of us stared and tilted our heads and squinted at it for a while before we figured it out. At least, I think we figured it out. FA has access to one of those new resin 3D printers so she’ll be able to print stuff at a crazy high resolution that doesn’t have the layer lines or support blemishes that the more common printers leave behind.

As usual, we also spent time talking about all kinds of things. Everything from expensive pantyhose, to dolphin-safe tuna and salad kits, to the merits and disadvantages of playing goal in soccer.

I was very surprised when I looked at the time and it was almost 6:30PM – the day had run away from me again. We chatted for a few more minutes, then FA picked up her stuff and headed home.

After she left, J and I put together some supper and talked for another stretch of time before heading downstairs. I set up another job to run on the printer and then we watched another episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Now I’m just wrapping up my day and thinking about tomorrow.

It has been a really good day. I wish I could sweat how good I feel so I could collect it in a jar and smear it all over myself when I’m having a crappy day. Kind of gross, but I bet you can’t honestly say you wouldn’t do the same thing if you could.

I have an appointment with Dr C tomorrow afternoon but other than that, there’s not a lot going on. I have several things I’d like to print, and I think I’m going to rebuild that Raspberry Pi.

Stay safe.