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Werner updates

Werner was unable to keep his liquid antibiotics down so yesterday I got him pills instead, at least for one of them (unfortunately the other one was liquid-only). He’s of course been lethargic but generally happy most of the time, and during my birthday party yesterday he mostly just hung out in my bedroom, but occasionally said hi to people — very uncharacteristic for him, and towards the end I even took him around to everyone to get pettings.

Anyway, today he’s been feeling a bit better, and I had a cheeseburger for lunch, which he got really interested in and wanted some of. So I decided that he can, in fact, haz cheezburger, and he’s enjoying it quite a lot, and eating way more than I’ve seen him eat lately. Really going to town on it. (I tried taking a picture for the memeā„¢ but he was way more interested in snarfing it down than waiting for me to manage to get any shots in. Oh well.)

He’s such a good little guy.

Testing assumptions

There’s still a lot of MSG discourse happening in certain pockets of the Internet; right now it’s mostly on food YouTube, where folks are primarily saying that people who claim an MSG sensitivity are racist and/or relying on bad pseudoscience. And, as usual, using the same two strawmen of

  1. Lots of foods have glutamate in it
  2. Did you know that American junk food has MSG in it too?

For 1, yes, lots of foods have glutamate in it, but not bound to sodium.

For 2, yes, that’s why it was eating junk food in college (Doritos and the chili-flavored Fritos, specifically) that led me to realize what was causing my near-daily sensory overload migraines.

Anyway, recently I bought some “country style” bulk sausage at a local butcher which ended up having MSG in it, and rather than throw it out or try to return it, I figured I’d use it to perform an (admittedly extremely unscientific) experiment. Namely, a couple days ago I fried up a small amount and ate it, and while I felt a bit of the classic MSG effects it seemed like it might have been psychosomatic. So today I made a full patty of it and ate it for breakfast… and holy hell that was a bad time. I’m still recovering from it a couple hours later.

So, yeah, I’m still pretty sure MSG causes me problems, and I’m still gonna keep avoiding it.

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Resin printer updates

I’ve finally gotten a handle on my resin printer and have gotten some successful prints! Here’s some of what I did to get it to a good state:

  • Replaced the stock FEP sheet with an nFEP sheet (although that’s mostly because the stock one was leaking a little)
  • Added some PTFE lubricant to the LCD screen (to aid with cleanup in particular)
  • Increased the exposure times; first layers went from 30s to 45, and subsequent layers went from 2.5s to 4
  • Started using Chitubox on Linux because it performs way better than the Mac version (not really anything to do with the printer itself, but, y'know)
  • Ground down the build plate some more
  • Figured out a better way of angling prints
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The sorts of spam I attract

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of spam comments from people (really, probably just one person) trying to pedal Kratom, an herbal hallucinogen which has extremely bad side effects.

I hope that it’s obvious that I am not, in fact, going to allow my site to be used as a vehicle for advertising this shit, so stop trying to post comments on every mental-health-related article about it, thanks.

My smart house addiction continues

Today my Switchbot curtain robots arrived. They work pretty well, but getting them to the point of working well was a bit tricky. Here’s some notes, in case they help others:

  • The instructions for how tightly to clamp the robot to the rail are frustratingly vague. My recommendation is that if you have a telescoping rail, gently attach the robot to the thinner part of the rail, then while calibrating, increase the tension by one click at a time until it can move freely.
  • The telescoping rail shim works a LOT better if you make sure that the seam is on the back of the rail, rather than on the top or bottom (where it sometimes interferes with the motion of the wheels); at least this is the case with my grommet curtains. (This also happens to reduce the drag from the grommet ring to the shim, which is also quite important.)
  • The instructions and app don’t make it AT ALL clear about how to group two curtain units together! The answer is to set the curtain’s open direction to “open from the middle;” if you’ve already set them up as individual units, you can go into one curtain’s settings and change the opening direction.
  • Grouping curtains has pluses and minuses; on the plus side, it makes managing scenes easier, and it also fixes the asymmetrical delay issue that Techmoan ran into. On the minus side, it means that there’s no way to control them individually in HomeKit, if that’s a thing you want to do.
  • On that note, to get them to work with HomeKit (rather than using the “Siri shortcuts,” which suck), you need to enable the “cloud service” mode on the curtain(s), and run something like Homebridge and the homebridge-switchbot-openapi plugin to get HomeKit to see the device. And yes, you need a Switchbot Hub and a bridge to do this, and annoyingly enough, this all goes through Switchbot’s cloud servers, meaning if they ever go out of business, the dang things will probably stop working entirely. Why the hub can’t just talk locally is beyond me.

Anyway, having this set up was a lot of fun when my neighbor came by to help me finish hanging up my new TV; he suggested closing the curtains before verifying the TV tilt angle, so I said, “Hey Siri, close living room curtains,” and he said “No way!!!” and then the curtains closed.

And now I have a bunch of automations, like:

  • If I say “Hey Siri, game time,” the curtains close and all the living room lights turn on and the air purifier turns off
  • If I say “Hey Siri, movie time,” the curtains close, and the lights and air purifier turn off
  • In the morning, the curtains automatically open

I also have a few other automated lighting changes throughout the day, and the awesome one will be when my bedroom shades finally arrive — I’ll be able to automatically close them at midnight and open them at 8 AM, and maybe I’ll stop getting woken up at 6 AM by the sun shining on my face!

Save the date!

Hey folks! That time of year is coming up… it’s my birthday in June! And what’s more, I have a new house to celebrate it at!

My plan this year is to have an outdoor cookout in my lovely new yard in White Center (a small town nestled in between Seattle and Burien) the afternoon/evening of June 13, 2021. I’m trying to get a headcount to see who’s going to be able to attend. Please register your interest by emailing me or posting a comment or RSVP webmention or whatever, and I’ll try to get a more formal invite when details start to coalesce better (ideally in a better format than a public blog post, obvs).

The format will probably be potluck-esque; I’ll definitely be providing a bunch of meat and veggies for grilling and some sides and drinks but it’d be great if other folks could bring stuff to grill and serve too! Also, due to COVID still being a thing I’d ask that people still maintain social distance and masking, and for non-vaccinated folks to limit their time indoors.

Regarding transport to my place, there’s a decent (but not unlimited) amount of street and on-property parking, and there are technically buses nearby but they aren’t the most convenient thing for folks coming from anywhere other than West Seattle or Burien or whatever.

But anyway it’d be lovely if folks could come! I’ve missed seeing everyone, and what better way to try to fix that?

Resin printing adventure

So far I haven’t gotten a fully-successful resin print, but I’m inching closer and closer.

The current issue I keep running into is that it’s very difficult to separate a print from the bed, and I think I need to give up on having a good clean bed-adhered surface. It’s better to give all prints lift and support, probably, even if that means having more tiny surface defects on the side facing the build plate (which is better than having an entire shattered print when I inevitably resort to a hammer to separate it).

I also ran into a problem where somehow a bit of resin got underneath my FEP film (hopefully due to my own carelessness and not due to a leak I haven’t found on my vat!) and some resin got caked to the LCD. Fortunately, Phrozen’s suggestion of soaking it in 91% IPA and then using the plastic scraper to get it off worked just fine.

Anyway. For now I’m still stuck trying to sun-cure my prints, but hopefully I can figure out a decent cheap curing station setup. I’m thinking of building a curing box using UV LED strips but it’s so hard to find reliable parts for that sort of thing. I also ordered a cheap curing station off Amazon but I’m not expecting great results from it.

In the meantime, my FDM printer is working again, and now that I have a decent supply of isopropyl alcohol I can actually get prints to stick to the build plate!

I might have a problem

I haven’t even put printer #3 through its paces yet, and I’ve just bought printer #4. Fortunately it’ll be a while before it gets here, and also I’ve been wanting a ceramic printer for even longer than I’ve been wanting a resin printer.

But, jeeze.

Anyway I both bought the printer and an extra bed, and also an extra extruder assembly with the notion of possibly converting a larger-format printer into ceramic printing. Or food printing, which this is apparently usable for too!

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More updates!

  • My resin printer arrived today. It was a bit obnoxious to get a working print and holy heck it’s a messy process even when it does work, but this’ll be fun to mess with. (Yes, I now have three 3D printers. Only the resin one is actually operable right now, but the Artillery Genius has some repair parts on th eway, at least.)
  • I accepted an offer on my condo. It’s a lot less than I was hoping for but it’s still plenty of money. When that sells I can start working on building out the studio, which is the linchpin for getting a bunch of my other house ambitions underway.
  • I’m having one heck of a fibro flare and this makes it very hard for me to actually focus on work. But also there’s a stress factor involved. Hopefully that all sorts itself out soon.
  • Because of the aforementioned flare I’m also not making much progress on getting my living room or kitchen in any sort of order. But I’m still slowly chipping away at that glacier.
  • Cannabis isn’t really helping with the fibro right now, either.

Today’s accomplishments

For the past few days I’ve been having a major fibro flare so I was expecting this weekend to be a total waste. But somehow I ended up getting the wherewithal to do a bunch of things today.

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So far so good

Aside from a few hours of severe soreness last night and this morning, I haven’t had any major issues with the vaccination. Yay!

Also with my hecked-up shoulder/neck, the set of stretches I’ve been trying has been doing a good job of clearing up that pain too. If only I’d found those stretches last year instead of going through a month and a half of agony and condescention from healthcare professionals!

Also today I finally found my Wacom tablet and started poking at comics again. I also made a bunch of progress on my living room situation, and got Stepmania moved to my gaming PC (and also have my z-i-v mirroring thing running directly there, although wow Python is kind of a pain to deal with on Windows these days). I still haven’t actually hooked up my dance pad, though, but hopefully soon I’ll have the clutter mitigated to the point that I can do that.

Incidentally, I’m pretty underwhelmed by the TV stand I got. I’m not too surprised by the fairly low quality of the materials (especially given the price) but what I cannot get behind is its complete lack of internal cable management. Each of the 6 bays has a too-small hole out the back, and there’s no way to run cables internally, nor is there anywhere to reasonably stash a power strip. Ugh. I think I need to take up a furniture-making hobby so that I can eventually get to the point of making a TV cabinet that works the way I want it to. Because that’s what I need, more hobbies!

So I mean I ordered a circular saw, some saw horses, and a bunch of clamps, and most of it’s arrived already. And I’ve been watching at lot of 3x3Custom Tamar and Frank Howarth for inspiration. What I want to build actually seems pretty doable! (For that matter, Tamar did something very similar to what I want to make.)

Vaccine cache

Today I got my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Whew. I’m expecting the next few days to really suck with side-effects so I stocked up on a bunch of easy-to-make food. My dining room is still a bit of a disaster though, and right now it’s even worse because I took delivery of my new TV console today and the box is like… in the dining room. And a bunch of other boxes and stuff are on the table. Oops.

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Shoulder, unpacking, gardening, etc.

Wellp, I managed to screw up my shoulder again. Last time was probably from me using my cane on a fairly long walk, and this time was probably due to me overdoing it with my weed puller (which requires a snapping motion that does similar things to my cane). Bleah. At least this time I know stretches and things that might help, and I found a bunch more which feel like they’re helping. Hopefully I’ll still feel well enough to get my second shot of vaccine tomorrow. (Which will probably have me feeling pretty much immobile for a few days anyway.)

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Progress continues

I am pretty much done unpacking my kitchen. I’m now trying to figure out where the heck my Sodastream goes, because it doesn’t quite fit under the upper cabinets. On the plus side I finally have my coffee stuff including my Flair, and my kitchen’s been complete enough for me to start cooking again. Last night I made a rather nice steak, and tonight I’m making chili.

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A lot to unpack

Every day I put another progressively larger dent into the big pile of boxes. My bedroom is actually in pretty good shape now, my kitchen is getting somewhere reasonable (although I’m having trouble figuring out where to put my hand towels and such), and my living room and basement are… well, still disasters. I’m also still unable to find a bunch of stuff that seems like it should have been in some of the boxes I’ve opened. I really wish movers were better at packing things in a systematic way, or at least making sure that multiple parts of a thing stay together.

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Some notes on settling in

My move went pretty well. There were some random frustrations with the movers and some continuing stress with some of their particular packing decisions, and of course lots of stuff with selling my condo that I wish I didn’t have to think about, but things are feeling really good overall right now.

My neighbors are really awesome people. They gave me a bunch of eggs from their chickens and a jar of amazing raspberry jelly (from raspberries they grew themselves). They also asked me my pronouns and talked a lot about how they have several trans friends and are happy to have a trans neighbor. I’ve also met the fellow in the house behind mine, who grew up in my house, and he also seems pretty nice too. He has a gruff exterior but I can tell he’s a real softie deep down.

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Moved in!

Oh gosh the last few days have been a thing.

But hey, I’m moved in. I don’t have (proper) Internet yet, but that’s coming in tomorrow.

In the meantime, I needed to set up my new Roomba, and it can only do its full setup1 via a phone app, which requires an Internet connection and local wifi to work. Fortunately, I found my router, and I have my desktop computer set up, and macOS makes it easy to share an Internet connection from one interface to another…

… so I enabled my phone’s hotspot, connected my desktop’s wifi to the phone, shared my desktop’s wifi to ethernet, plugged the ethernet into the uplink port on my router, and then connected my phone back to the router.

Somehow it all works! It’s going through like three layers of NAT and the phone ends up doing double-duty in the most roundabout stop-hitting-yourself way, but now my Roomba is set to wake everyone up at 9 AM, probably scaring the crap out of my cats who have never seen a Roomba in their lives.

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