A Decent Start To The Week

Song: “Skyliner” by Charlie Barnet

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

This past weekend was pretty good. J and I both got lots of stuff done and still had some time for relaxing around the house. I had a couple of nightmares on Friday and Saturday nights but none last night.

Quite the storm passed through on Friday night after the crazy heat during the day. Fortunately, the worst of it missed us but there was some damage done not too far from here. I don’t think anyone got hurt, though, which is good. I like a good thunderstorm, but it’s harder to appreciate them in the city – out in the country you can see the big anvil head clouds forming and approaching and you can hear them rumbling toward you.

I haven’t been playing very much Star Trek Online lately because I’ve been keeping so busy but I fit some in on the weekend. I got a different ship for one of my characters, played a bunch of maps, earned some crystal… all kinds of fun. I enjoy it but I don’t count computer games as productive time. Granted, most of the other stuff I do doesn’t even earn me stuff at the level of fake crystal in a computer game, but I like to think that tasking my brain with stuff in the real world is better in the long run.

I fixed the weather station over the weekend, too. It was a very simple solution that I arrived at after a great deal of muttered cursing, flop sweat, and over three hours of my life. But… we can now see what the temperature is at night, and don’t have to stand right in front of it during the day!

Oh! J and I watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind on Friday night, too (while the storm was coming through). I don’t think she minded it too much, and now she knows where that little ditty I used to whistle all the time came from.

Today was not a half bad day. I got a call from the clinic in the morning with an appointment to get a bone scan, and it was gorgeous outside – the perfect temperature, the perfect breeze, and the perfect amount of sun. The weather gave me absolutely no reason to complain while I was out for my walk, and I spent some time in the garden this afternoon weeding, planting some more onions and sunflowers, and watering. Check this out:

Carrots!

HERE BE CARROTS

I spent a lot of time tinkering again today, both with electronics and with the printer. I’m designing a garden hose nozzle, and there’s a bit of trial and error. I thought I’d get ahead of everything by printing one with a 10mm exit and one with a 5mm exit. Turns out neither of them were good so now I’m printing one with a 7mm exit. I bet it’s going to be perfect…

My sister called this evening and we talked for almost an hour. I can’t remember the last time we talked, I think it’s been a few months. She’s doing pretty well, although she has so much stuff going on she’s not sure where one day ends and the next one starts. She also has to go to the dentist and get a root canal, which suuuucks.

The new blood pressure medication that Dr H switched me to two weeks ago seems to be doing great things for my numbers. Unfortunately, it also seems to be taking a bit of my steam away – I find I’m puffing a bit when I get home from my walks now. J joked that maybe I was accustomed to having high BP and now that it’s normal I feel weird, but I’m actually kind of curious about whether that could be the case. I have a follow-up with Dr H in a couple of weeks so I’ll mention it to her then, but who knows – it may only be another day or two before things are back to normal. I’m not worried.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with Dr C. I think we are going to work on memory confidence again. I’ve been doing my homework and while I’m not entirely sure how much it’s been helping, I’m positive it hasn’t been causing any problems. Aside from that, I want to get that hose nozzle thing dialed in and sort/clean up my stuff on the dining room table (so I can make room for more stuff). I have a very patient wife!

Stay safe.

How Helpful!

I got a comment today on my previous post (blfghrrrghhh), and it was remarkable because it consisted of only a single word:

albendazole

Yep, that’s all it was. Even less useful than all the “erectile pills china” comments that have been flooding my inbox lately. I had the sweats today, not pinworms.

Come on, bots – you can do better than this.

Stay safe.

Stuff Bouncing Around In My Head

Song: “Skyliner” by Charlie Barnet

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

I didn’t sleep that well last night. Woke up quite a few times worrying about things, so it took me a little longer than usual to heave myself out of bed this morning. That aside, I’m not sure if I’m imagining things or if it’s just a fluke, but I think that since my quetiapine was reduced, my morning fog hasn’t been lasting as long. I’m not sure but I’ll keep an eye on it.

Today was a very thinking-intensive day. J’s aunt stopped by briefly on her way out of town to pick up some stuff just before noon, and I went for my walk shortly after that. It’s difficult for me to ponder stuff while I’m walking because all I want to do when I leave the house is get back home, but I’ve had some thoughts bouncing around in my head over the last few days and I found myself thinking about them a few times while I shuffled along. That was a long sentence.

Anyway, after I got back home I went out and looked at the garden and made sure it wasn’t parched. We got some rain yesterday so things looked okay, so I went back inside, did some grounding, and started working on things again. I designed another part and started it printing, then sat down and hammered away at an electronics problem I’ve been trying to figure out for a few days.

It probably wouldn’t have taken as much time as it did, but I finally figured it out. Two things kept interrupting me, though – chasing ghosts (which wasn’t as bad today as it has been the last little while), and my mind kept wandering to those other ideas and projects that I’ve been thinking about. I’ve got a couple of ideas for DA’s cottage that I need to get down on paper, and I’ve been thinking a lot about electronic-y stuff around the house. We have a little digital weather station that I really like but the backlight isn’t working properly so we can only see the numbers at night. It doesn’t owe us anything but if I can’t fix

[Looks like the backlight is completely dead now]

it, I was thinking of making one. One of the modules that FA let me borrow is a temperature and humidity sensor, and I’ve been able to get it working. One of those inside, one outside, a digital barometer, a screen, and a radio transmitter and receiver, and BAM – instant weather station! Aside from the barometer, I’ve had all of those components working in other projects at other times, so it’s just a matter of stitching the right things together.

I’m also thinking of creative ways to automatically water the garden. Yes, it’s only 32 square feet and yes, it’s only ten steps from the deck stairs, but I was thinking of doing something… kind of artsy. I don’t know if I’d be able to make it work, and I don’t know if it’d even be practical even if it did work, but it’s something I’ve been enjoying thinking about.

Also, robot lawn mowers. Again, probably extremely impractical but could be fun.

I spent some time writing today, too. I don’t do it as much as I used to, but every once in a while I feel the itch to dump some of the stuff in my brain out onto a screen. It’s relaxing in its own way.

J and I watched another episode of Blue Planet (the first one, not Blue Planet II). It was made in 2001 and it’s pretty amazing how far technology has come in 18 years. The cameras in Blue Planet are shaky and grainy, and the footage in low light is pretty poor compared to the newer shows. Still, it’s a fascinating watch, and I’ll watch pretty much anything if it means I can hang out with J.

No appointments tomorrow, but I think I may have convinced J to watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind with me tomorrow evening. She watched Alien with me years ago (to be fair, she actually only watched about half of it – she had her eyes covered for the other half), so she should be okay with CE3K. Just in case you’re thinking, “Mark, that’s horrible! Why would you make your sweetie watch something so scary?” allow me to say that we, on occasion, have what we call “cultural exchanges” where we watch a movie from each others’ lists. J watched Alien and the Marvel movies, I watched Legally Blonde and the Harry Potter movies. And a movie with Harrison Ford that I can’t really remember but he wasn’t playing a space guy, an explorer guy, a police android guy, or the president of the USA.

It’s supposed to get up to 34C tomorrow. 34C! That’s almost 72 degrees hotter than the melting point of mercury! I’d better make sure I wear my hat when I go for my walk…

Stay safe.

Videos That Make Me Smile, Part VII

My browser bookmarks got way out of hand again, so I went through them to try and clean them up a bit. As usual, there were a bunch of videos in there that I’d pretty much forgotten. Maybe you’ll enjoy some of them like I did.

If you’re interested, you can find other posts like this: PART I, PART II, PART III, PART IV, PART V, and PART VI.

Here we go!

Bill Hader impersonates Arnold Schwarzenegger [DeepFake]

That it’s possible for someone with a plain old computer can, with a couple of photographs and the right software, make a reasonably realistic simulation of someone else both fascinates and bothers me. In this case, though, I think seamlessly changing Bill Hader’s face to look more like Arnold’s adds to the amusement. In the context of the video, hearing him say, “I WANNA WATCH DOC MCSTUFFINS” cracks me up.

Orson Welles Drunk Wine Commercial Outtakes + Final Dubbed Version

aaaAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh, the French…

Loz’s magnificent 7-tone fart symphony – the #1 video in the world, for one day in May 2015.

So, this guy and his brother used to record audio of their toots and send them to each other. One of them was musical enough that he built a song around it and put it on the Internet. Truly, we live in a wondrous age.

Random Acts Of Genius Vandalism

Some of these are pretty great. The X-Men sign in particular made me laugh pretty hard. The music in this one’s kind of annoying, so you may want to turn the volume down.

Atlas Robot – Swearing Mod – Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics has a couple of different robot models that are pretty neat. Every once in a while they post videos of how well their robots handle rough terrain or being knocked off-balance. Someone took one of those videos and added a voice (and appropriate bleeping) that changes a good video into a GREAT video. The very last line of the video cracked me up and reminded me of Bender from Futurama.

So that’s all for this installment. I hope you found something in there that made you smile. As an aside, I don’t like how Firefox handles bookmarks now. Remember the old days where you could create folders for your bookmarks and have everything show up when you clicked the bookmarks icon?

Stay safe.

It Ain’t Coming Back From THAT

Song: “Lonesome Road” by Dean Elliott & His Big Band

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Horde

Okay, it’s already twenty after one so this is going to be really short. Bullet point short.

  • Slept okay last night, woke up at least four times but didn’t have to get out of bed
  • Didn’t go for a walk because I was worried the tree company would show up right when I was out of sight of the house.
  • J’s aunt is taking a trip to visit J’s parents. I hope they all have a great time!
  • The tree guys showed up, and even though their stump mangler machine is on its last legs, the apple tree is now a woodchip-filled crater. It might put up suckers for the next few years, but nothing a mower won’t fix.
  • The gate is locked and it’s staying locked, whoo!
  • Did a bunch more stuff today, got out into the garden, too. We have potatoes and onions coming up!
  • Fired up the air conditioner today to make sure everything’s okay and it looks like it’s ready to go.
  • I am now more firmly fixed in my position on creationism vs evolution.
  • I now have a list of sea creatures I’d like to swim with, and a MUCH larger one of those I don’t.
  • Why are there sea horses, sea pigs, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, etc… but nothing like prairie crabs or air anglerfish or ground octopodes?
  • Anybody remember Mr Belvedere? That was a pretty good show but maybe I’m only remembering the good parts. Was it actually good?
  • A bunch more stuff I can’t remember right now.

Stay safe.

A Better Day

Song: “Daybreak” by Michael Haggins

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

I slept better last night and when I woke up, I could actually stand being in my own skin.

It was quite nice this morning when I went for my walk but it got warm quite quickly after that. For the first time since the fall, I had to close the windows to keep the house from warming up. J mentioned this evening that it may almost be air conditioning season and I had to agree.

I kept pretty busy again today. Hopefully I don’t regret saying this but I think I’ve got the printer back in working order and it’s been printing all day.

Called my folks today and had a good chat with Mom (Dad was outside, playing in the flower beds). Sounds like things are pretty calm there, which was good to hear.

I also played around with some more electronics stuff and made it past that little speedbump that I ran into yesterday. I did a bunch more soldering, too – most of the electronics that came in parcels over the last while came with the pins but they weren’t soldered in so I’m almost caught up.

DA and I have been texting quite a bit lately about his cottage concerns. I gave it some thought today and I think I may have a couple of ideas for him. The main problem is power – he has lots of solar panels and batteries at the cottage but anything that’s remote needs its own supply, so whatever it is needs to not use much electricity.

My legs feel weird this evening. It took me a while to figure out why, but it’s because I spent a good part of my day pedalling that little bike thing under the table. It needed a bit more adjustment this morning but I think it’s in a good spot now.

It’s supposed to be warm (but not too warm) tomorrow so I will try to get out for my walk early again. I don’t have much in the way of plans past that at this point.

Stay safe.

One Of Those Days

Song: N/A

Mood: 5.5

Nightmares: 1

Ghosts: Horde

A quick post because I don’t want to write anything. I had a crappy sleep last night (tent), everything I touch turns to $#@&, and I can barely stand being in a room with myself.

The printer is clogged, and the only way I can fix it is by turning it up to 200C+ and using tiny little metal tools that REALLY conduct heat so my fingers are all burned, I ruined the only nozzle cleaner I have, and I have no way to prove that I’ve fixed it – even if the next five prints work, it could clog again on the sixth. Probably 98% through a three-day print.

After the progress I’ve been making with the electronics stuff, I tripped over a speedbump and am still figuratively laying on the pavement, picking pebbles out of my teeth. I don’t think I ruined anything, though.

My phone decides to randomly stop responding for random lengths of time. I use my phone a lot, so this is pretty annoying. I should probably reset it to factory and see if that helps. Plus, I lost it around the house twice today and dropped it once. My lightning reflexes tried to move my foot into position so as to keep it from falling directly on the wood floor, but my crappy coordination made sure that I ended up kicking it halfway across the living room.

Ghosts were bad today. Early on in the day was easier because of some thundershowers that hung around for a while, but after the sky cleared I was running all over the place.

Talked to the clinic today, turns out the fractured vertebra in my back is right where my hump is. So, is my posture causing the problem, or is the problem causing my posture?

The tree guys didn’t come by again today. I tried to call them a couple of times and they didn’t answer.

Good things: got a doctor’s appointment scheduled for some stuff, some nice thundershowers this morning, the air smelled good, Lloyd was in a good mood.

I hope tomorrow is a better day.

Stay safe.

Still Pleased

Song: “Tubthumping” by Chumbawumba

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Horde

Okay, so I’m still pleased about how the driving thing went. I called my folks a while after I got home and dried up and Mom actually made a little squealing noise when I told her. I’ve never heard her make that sound before. J is happy, too, and we had a good chat about everything once she got home.

As for the rest of the day, it wasn’t too bad. I slept a little worse last night and had to get up twice to check in on the gate but I only woke J up once (sorry about that) and everything with the gate and yard and garage was fine. The lawn company didn’t show up again today so I have now locked the gate so that’s one less thing on my mind.

My appointment with Dr H was exhausting. I found it very difficult to concentrate on what we were talking about because I was not only worried about all the regular stuff but the truck, too. Was it locked? Was I parked badly? Was there a bloody patch of hair on one of the bumpers? Did I close the windows? I took some pictures of the windows and locks but I couldn’t really stare at my phone during my appointment…

I got some good news. My lung test came back normal, which was great to hear. The x-ray they took of my lungs showed nothing weird going on with them, either. Then Dr H asked me if my back hurt. I told her it hurts all the time but that’s pretty normal for me, and she said that the x-ray showed that one of my vertebrae got mushed up at some point in the past. She asked me a bunch of questions and the best guess at this point is that it’s from a motorcycle accident I was in eight years ago. Just to be on the safe side, though, Dr H is sending me to get my bones checked out. I’m sure it will be fine, but I’ve had a lot of x-rays since 2011 and nobody has caught this until now, so who knows.

Dr H was also very pleased to hear that my quetiapine dose has been lowered. Weight gain and high blood sugar are some of the possible side effects, and while I am grateful that the medication is available and would be fine with bumping the dosage back up if needed, the lower amounts of the fewer things I’m taking, the better.

Everything else was pretty routine. All of my other tests came back fine, and aside from changing my blood pressure medication and my puffer around a bit, there weren’t any changes. Dr H surprised me by either having a perfect memory or that she read my chart before my appointment. She’s a fine doctor and I am fortunate to have lucked into having her as my GP. J and I were talking about that this evening and we were joking around a bit about how my experiences with my GPs have been over the years. I had one doctor who was a great doctor but also kind of a criminal (he’s now in prison). Then, I had a doctor who wasn’t a criminal but was pretty useless. Now, I have a GP who’s that perfect mix of great doctor AND not criminal that everyone hopes for.

It was quite a bit cooler today than yesterday but I found it quite pleasant so I had the windows open today to let the fresh air in. I went outside and watered the garden and to my surprise we have five little potato plants sticking up through the dirt, and the pepper plant already has a flower on it. I hope it’s not too early for the bees – I don’t want to have to put on my bee costume and rub my butt on the flowers in the yard. I told myself that last year was going to be the final time I put on that suit…

J and I watched another Blue Planet II, and once again I was impressed. The stupid mantis shrimp startled me but I think that’s actually a good thing. I know I said yesterday that sperm whales are my favourite thing in the ocean, but I also really like rays and skates and how they seem to fly through the ocean. Oh, and there was one part where there was a huge gathering of anchovies, so predators were showing up and eating them. It started with dolphins, then seals (yes, they’re predators too), the occasional seabird… and then WHOOOMPH – fish go flying through the air all over the place and these big Jesus humpback whales break through the surface with mouths wide open. Quite the spectacle!

Anyway… so that was pretty much my day. I also did some more electronics tinkering and made more progress along those lines, too.

I’m not sure what the weekend will bring. J and I don’t have any pressing stuff going on and it’s supposed to be nice out again, so who knows.

I hope you all have an enjoyable, restorative weekend!

Stay safe.

PROGRESS!

Today marks the first time I’ve driven myself to an appointment in close to a year and a half. Check it out:

Parked At The Clinic

Yep, that’s my sneaker. And my truck.

I had to change clothes when I got home, though – it was pretty much a tsunami of flop sweat.

It didn’t even go badly. I parked far back in the lot where there was lots of space, and made sure there was lots of time for me to get to where I needed to be.

The appointment was more difficult than usual because I could barely concentrate on what Dr H was saying, but I drove the truck… by myself… to an appointment. AND I LEFT THE GATE UNLOCKED.

No guarantees I will be able to do it again next time, but I’m pretty happy with this today.

Stay safe.