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Current state of things

So let’s see. It’s been a few days since I decided to stop going to social media (specifically, Twitter and Mastodon) and things are feeling pretty okay. I’m still getting plenty of chatter, but it’s with groups of friends instead of the entire Internet. All of the bad news still manages to make its way to me but I’m not, like, immersing myself in it, and when I have conversations about stuff it’s with actual people and not a gigantic abyss of torment.

It’s helpful that right now Song Fight!’s chat is being fairly active due to the not-quite-live stuff taking place, and it’s nice having real conversations with these people I’ve known for so long. In some ways I feel like the pandemic is the best thing to happen to Song Fight!; the in-person live events were starting to feel like we were all just going through the motions, for the most part.

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Song Fight! Live(stream) Night 3

Two major things happening Song Fight!-wise:

  1. At 10 AM PDT today (that’s in about two hours!) I’ll be participating in a game show called Masoquiztic; the contestants will be me, Glenn Case, and Spud, and the host is a songfighter from days of yore who’s recently returned to the community
  2. Tonight’s livestream is at 5 PM PDT; tune in on YouTube for the full live chat experience.

Social media break

Yesterday I decided to take a break from social media. This was for a number of reasons, but they all boil down to my increasing frustration with how interactions occur in rapid-fire quick-sharing spaces, and this has been growing for quite some time.

The microblog format significantly changes the way people interact. Every post is short and taken out of context (while everyone expects everyone else to have the full context already), which makes it impossible to have a as meaningful conversation especially when a short notion spreads far and wide. I feel that it is a big part of what’s dividing everyone in a never-ending search for clout that devolves into a shouting match.

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Song Fight! Live: Social and Distanced 2020

Every year, Song Fight! does a live show where a bunch of folks come from all around the world to perform for a couple of nights. Of course, because of current events this year’s show had to get canceled.

But this was the 20th year, so we couldn’t let such an important milestone go. So instead we’re doing it online.

I didn’t perform on night 1 but I was interviewed by Glenn Case, which was a lot of fun.

On night 2, I produced the stream and video (and did a bunch of simple bumper animations, which was fun!) and also one of my music videos got played. And it was cool to see responses to it from people who hadn’t seen it before!

Anyway, I have recorded a live set along with most of the other members of Sockpuppet, and hopefully that’ll get broadcast this week on night 3. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

My ever-increasing storage pool

I remember around 15 years ago being impressed with the fact that the total amount of hard drives in my home had crossed the 1TB threshold.

Nowadays I have around 25TB worth of spare hard drives just sitting in a box. And quite a lot of capacity actually in use, too. Jeeze.

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Finally have iTunes Music.app + iPhone concordance

Somewhere along the line, iOS device sync started working again.

Smart playlists still don’t sync correctly (they end up getting reshuffled when they end up on the phone), but I have a simple workaround:

  1. Have a smart playlist called Entropy Mobile with the shuffle rules I like
  2. Have a regular playlist called Entropy Queue, which is synchronized to the iPhone
  3. Occasionally copy the contents of Entropy Mobile into Entropy Queue

The nice thing about this is it’s also easier for me to curate stuff, like albums which got partially played, or where I want to move an album to happen later or whatever.

It’s still not perfect and there’s still some asinineness of smart playlists where they’re always incorrectly-shuffled when I first launch Music.app, but clearing out the list and letting it refill means it’ll be shuffled correctly. I guess the main downside is that I need to be a bit more deliberate about populating my phone with music, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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Incremental progress

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of criticism about the IndieWeb movement based on the notion that everything that comes out of it is biased towards people with technology privilege; that it’s all well and good for people who know how to run a website to build their own thing, but that the vast majority of the Internet is made up of people who’d have nowhere to begin. And that it follows that the IndieWeb movement is inherently flawed.

I agree with the issues of tech privilege and access, but I disagree with the conclusions.

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The sorry state of medication reminder software

I use an app called Medisafe to give me my medication reminders. It’s useful because it tracks my doses and also tracks how much I have left so I know when to order refills and so on. I’ve been using it for years.

Unfortunately it has a critical problem in that it only sends three easy-to-miss reminders spaced ten minutes apart with no way of configuring it. So often I’ll end up taking my medication a few hours later than the scheduled time, because I head to bed and notice the pending reminder that I meant to fulfill.

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Healthcare followup

Today I had a followup with my doctor after the cessation of gabapentin. My blood pressure is the lowest it’s been in years (118/75!) and she was really happy to see how much less stress I’m under. After discussing the current medication status we agree that I should stay on the nortriptyline for now, and she’s glad that physical therapy has been helping me a lot, as well as me getting better at mindfulness and other stress reduction things.

She also encouraged me to get going with a psychiatrist again so that I can possibly get back on Adderall or to try something else. I think before I do that I’ll see how well I tolerate caffeine. Which I’ve had a bit of over the past few days and it’s not been hecking me up at all, so this seems really promising.

Anyway she gave me a lot of words of encouragement and is also grateful that I’m taking such an active role in trying to make my own life better on multiple fronts. Hopefully this trajectory can continue.

Gonebapentin

Thursday night was my last dose of gabapentin; I am now off it entirely.

Today I mostly just napped a lot, and had occasional dizzy spells when I was active. I feel no different in terms of pain levels. My blood pressure seems to reliably hover around 120/80. Hopefully it’ll stay that way.

Between the physical therapy I’ve been doing and some lifestyle stress-reduction stuff I’m feeling pretty good. I need to just keep remembering to do my stretches and not let work affect me emotionally.

Two PSAs regarding IndieAuth

IndieAuth is starting to get some traction in the greater Internet space, which is really cool! I’m glad to see a protocol finally emerging around distributed/federated identity, managing to get some traction where OpenID more or less failed (despite a few hangers-on still supporting it).

There are two issues that implementers of IndieAuth clients (i.e. websites which use IndieAuth for authentication) and endpoints (i.e. the things which do the actual authentication) should be aware of.

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Medication conflagration

Gabapentin has been raising my blood pressure (and weight) pretty steadily since February, and it hasn’t actually been helping me with my pain issues. Back before I started on it my blood pressure was generally around 115/85, and as of last Thursday my rest blood pressure was 144/98. Which is, you know, pretty darn high.

So on Friday I decided to cut my dose from 200mg/day to 100mg/day, and see what that did to me.

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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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