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Sprung stuff

I seem to be getting in conversations about Sprung a lot lately. I’ve definitely written about it plenty in the past but those blog entries are no longer available and probably not written with the sort of voice I’d like these days, so I figure it’s time to revisit what I worked on, 100 hours a week1, 16 years ago.

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Mice

When my old kitchen was being demolished I noticed that there were signs of mouse droppings in my sink cabinet, but no signs of mice. I also noticed that there were a bunch of gaps in the drywall behind the sink, and because of the… odd construction of this historical building it seemed likely that mice were able to occasionally get in, but didn’t stick around since they had nowhere to go.

Well, last night while working at the computer I felt something furry brush against my foot, and I looked down and it wasn’t Fiona. Then a few minutes later I saw something move out of the corner of my eye, and a little mouse peeked out from under my equipment shelving system and then scurried back underneath. (Fiona was, of course, asleep nearby and didn’t seem interested in me gesticulating at said shelving system.)

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Checking in

I’m still alive, I just haven’t had a lot to say I guess. At least not publicly.

Work is work. Lots of frustrations not worth getting into. I was at least managing to get some music done which felt good, and my pain was improving until it suddenly wasn’t, so it’ll still be some time before I can work on comics again. Which is a shame because I really want to work on both Lewi and Unity, gosh I have so much more story to tell on both of them…

I’ve been wanting to do an online concert in lieu of Song Fight! Live (which was canceled due to the pandemic) but I doubt I’ll be in any position to do that either, and my ideas for how to do an ersatz performance would take a lot more effort than I’m willing to put into it right now.

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Stuff about webmention

Marty wrote a great, thoughtful essay about some of the problems with webmention right now, and I agree with it.

One of the many problems that’s emerging with webmention is it’s turned into a sort of Swiss army knife of notifications; the IndieWeb uses it not just to send responses to folks, but also for things like publishing to Bridgy Fed or syndicating content to content aggregators. It’s the basis of how notes work. It’s up to the recipient to try to disambiguate the meaning based on context and post-type discovery, and what things are can change over time, sometimes in unpredictable ways that fall apart.

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Various health updates

Two and a half weeks ago I got a COVID-19 test, and it finally came back, negative for both PCR and antibodies. So, it’s pretty unlikely that I have or ever have had COVID-19, which means that’s probably not at the root of my recent health issues.

One and a half weeks ago I finally got a followup, proper sleep study, which found that while I do have occasional apnea events, it’s not to the extent that CPAP treatment is warranted or even beneficial. Which is unsurprising; even when I was using CPAP I never found it to be very helpful, and this diagnosis means that I do not have access to my current provider’s DME1 so I can’t, like, get my equipment refreshed.

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Audio Hijack is good, actually

I’d bought pretty heavily into the iTunes ecosystem primarily because it gave me a good listening experience, but also because it had good interoperability with Apple’s AirPlay devices. But ever since upgrading to Catalina, AirPlay has refused to work for completely inscrutable reasons. I’d kind of given up on whole-home music streaming (and was thinking of getting a small FM transmitter and an analog tuner, like I did back in grad school) but then I remembered that I had a generic Bluetooth receiver that I’d bought for use in my previous car.

So, after a little bit of setup and verifying that my desktop could actually communicate to it from across my home, I was going to do the obvious thing and just set up a multi-audio output device to pipe Music.app through.

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More rants about art programs

I’ve been trying to work on comics again, now that my pain is starting to subside. As part of that I’ve decided to try relearning how to draw comics, in some of the other art programs I’ve bought in an attempt to get myself off Photoshop.

It is not going well.

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Two new things about Werner

So I learned two things about Werner today.

First, it turns out he was born either in early 2002 or late 2001, making him at least 18 years old, not 17 as I previously thought.

Secondly, the person I adopted him from is named Maelyn Dean. Congratulations, Maelyn! I’m so happy for you. I’ve been reading Real Life Comics since pretty close to the beginning, and could never bring myself to remove the RSS feed from my reader. Now I’m really glad for that.

I love how far the world of webcomics has come when it comes to trans acceptance, too. Back when I was starting out around 20 years ago, any time I brought up trans stuff in my deeply-personal comics I’d just get trolls shouting “NOBODY CARES!” at me, and I felt more comfortable just withdrawing and being evasive and metaphorical about it all. But since then, especially in the last few years, it’s become such a joyous world of acceptance and loveliness, and it’s amazing to see so many stories being told by people who are finally feeling comfortable being themselves after so long.

Comics are such a great medium for storytelling and I really want to get back into it at some point. Hopefully soon.

Disordered thinking

I have always been a night owl. Society in general shuns the night owl; waking up early is to be praised, you’re a go-getter, you’re proactive. Waking up late means you’re lazy, you’re irresponsible. Medicine is finally waking up1 to the reality that different people have different natural sleep cycles, and this is okay, but their way of describing this is by calling the late-shift folks “delayed sleep phase disorder.”

People who are trans are told they have gender identity disorder.

People whose brains process stimulus differently and have a tendency to hyperfocus on problem-solving are told they have attention deficit disorder.

These aspects are framed as being outliers, deviations from the norm, problems to be fixed.

Disordered.

All these things that are inherent to me are framed as being problems. Things to be ashamed of. Things to cure.

But they are the things that make me who I am, and which give me strength.

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Access token grants for feed readers

This year IndieWeb Summit was canceled1, and some pretty good conversations took place. As usual my biggest interest was in doing authenticated, secure sharing of private posts, which has been a huge focus in how I’ve been building Publ.

I wasn’t really able to participate in any of the development stuff (as I’m still in quite a lot of pain due to whatever the hell is going on with my chronic pain stuff interacting with whatever the hell has been going on with my shoulder for the past month), but I did join in on the ending of a discussion/dev session about AutoAuth.

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Life update whatever things I dunno

Publ survived the load test. Will fluffy survive the ego test? Time will tell.

Anyway. Today I finally had my first appointment with the new rheumatologist. It went really well. I didn’t get any real new information, but at least this rheum is way friendlier and actually treats me like a human, rather than a pile of symptoms. Plus she actually listens to me and is interested in the things I’ve learned about fibromyalgia and so on.

Since my current meds aren’t doing enough for me, she offered two immediate possibilities, either switching the gabapentin with Lyrica (pregabalin), or supplementing it with Cymbalta. Both were things that the previous rheumatologist had suggested but I loathed working with him and never felt like going back1.

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Advice to young web developers

I’ve been making websites in some form or another since 1995. After 25 years of experience I think I’ve accumulated enough knowledge to know a few things. Here’s some things I’d like younger developers to think about, in no particular order.

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A peculiar argument regarding accessibility

I was reading the article Advocating for a Compassionate UI from Rally Health, a tech company who runs a benefits portal for my insurance company. I was reading it specifically because I’ve had various accessibility issues with their website1 and I wanted to see what their thoughts were regarding accessibility.

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On content warnings

My site templates support content/trigger warnings. I took inspiration for this from Mastodon, as it’s one of the better features of that platform. It gives people the chance to opt out of reading content that might be objectionable to them, or which they don’t want to accidentally appear on-screen at a workplace or the like. Or for people who do want to read it, it gives them a chance to center themselves and prepare for what might be coming.

I do this because I have a history of trauma. Certain things, when seen without warning, have a tendency to hurt me badly. But being warned about the content allows me to prepare for it, and if I know what I’m getting into I know, from my own personal experience, that I can face it without having a panic attack.

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Current status

My neighborhood is a war zone, but all signs point to SPD abandoning the East precinct and deescalating. I am suspicious that after they do, they’re going to purposefully cause crimes to make everyone fear for their safety to try to get us to beg for them to come back. If this happens, I hope we see past it.

The next few months are going to be interesting, and not in a great way.

Meanwhile, I’m sick with yet another sinus infection, and this combined with my mental health and my chronic pain issues are making this a very bad time. I mostly slept and cried today, although now it’s 10 PM and I’m at least feeling good enough to exist.

Job-wise, the news is quite public now that my company was hosting the Blue Lives Matter site, and enough was enough and pretty much everyone at the company revolted over it. They’re shutting the site down now. I don’t know how long it’ll take, but we are going to hold them to it.

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IndieWebCamp 2020, now online

📅 RSVP: yes

I’m planning on attending IndieWebCamp West 2020, an online version of IndieWeb Summit that was originally going to be in Portland in just a few weeks. For anyone who’s interested in working towards an open, personal web, this is a pretty good place to do it.

Regular check-in

I’m personally physically all right, at least for now. The house guest also made it here safely, right before things got really weird.

I gotta say, getting an urgent group text informing my building of an incoming teargas cloud and “Close your windows” is not a thing I thought I’d ever experience first-hand.

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Checking in

Seattle has long been a powder keg, ready to explode. The last few days, I’m pretty sure a fuse has been smoldering.

I am fine, and I am safe. I live right next to where a lot of the action is taking place, and it’s been pretty surreal. Friday night there were riots within a couple blocks from me; I didn’t hear them very much, but the onslaught of sirens and riot-suppressing fire (rubber bullets and tear gas) were quite hard to ignore.

Saturday after the sudden curfew was enacted, things got eerily quiet. Later in the evening I heard more gunfire. Some of my neighbors saw people breaking into and looting the drug store next door, and called the police on them. I haven’t dared to go outside to look myself.

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