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Small probabilities add up

Rebecca Watson made an excellent video about how the recently-released COVID-19 risk map is not particularly helpful, due to the lack of context provided and the public’s general lack of understanding about how statistics work. It’s well worth watching (and also talks about a few other things, like issues with services like 23andme’s genetic risk factor screening kits). People are apparently using this risk map as a means of justifying going to Thanksgiving gatherings based on “only a 5% infection chance” or the like, which is incredibly short-sighted.

Let’s say that 5% of the population is carrying the disease, and assume that this statistical model is completely accurate. (It almost certainly isn’t, but that’s beside the point.) This means that any time you encounter someone there’s a 5% chance that they’re infected. That seems pretty low, right? For a single encounter, sure. But that doesn’t tell the whole story.

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meat update

Oh yeah it all fit in my freezer without a problem. Also dry ice carbonation is scary, so I’m just gonna stick to my sodastream for that.

So far the only thing I’ve cooked from the box is a salmon portion, which turns out to be something that they carry at QFC for the exact same price, so, gonna skip that on future boxes (if any).

For Thanksgiving I’m probably going to make ground turkey and kale meatloaf wrapped in prosciutto. (The prosciutto came from QFC, full disclosure. And the ground turkey was just a thing I added to the box to push it over the free shipping threshold, although it was cheaper to get it that way than at QFC, to be fair!)

Nortriptyline discontinuation complete?

The taper down to 10mg/day was a bit difficult, but the final discontinuation seems to have gone pretty smoothly. I suspect I could have actually discontinued sooner, and the withdrawal symptoms I was having ont he last few days of 10mg/day was specifically because I was toggling right around some threshold for things. But I’m glad I took it slow all the same, and in any case I feel like the worst is behind me at this point.

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I have bought entirely too much meat

Thanks to seeing one too many YouTube videos where people talk about expensive, high-end meat, I decided to order a box of meat on Crowd Cow. And, wouldn’t you know it, they managed to get me to buy around $100 worth ($80 after all the piles of discounts though). It’s ostensibly a subscription box but given my usual level of meat consumption this is going to last me… well, a few months at least. So I guess I’m going to have to be very careful about making sure that I don’t end up with another big pile of meat in a month.

I have no idea if this is going to fit in my freezer. It arrives tomorrow. I also have a contractor (hopefully) finishing up my kitchen remodel. This will be interesting.

Anyway, with this Crowd Cow link you, too, can get $25 off your first box of high-end meat.

Pain management and ADHD medication

I seem to be stuck in an annoying situation.

Short recap: I have both ADHD and fibromyalgia. These two conditions tend to have a lot of overlap (they are both thought to essentially be dopamine dysregulation issues), and both of them have a “let’s try different things out” treatment regimen.

Because of ADHD I have great difficulty in focusing on my work.

Because of fibromyalgia I have great difficulty in focusing on anything other than pain.

The medications which help me with fibromyalgia preclude me from being prescribed medications which help me with ADHD.

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Back in Seattle

This morning I decided to leave the AirBnB at around 9:30, and I got home at around noon. My new iPhone 12 mini was waiting for me (along with an extremely needy Fiona, who needed a couple hours of lap time), and after getting the iPhone set up I went for a nice long walk, and ironically got more exercise today than I did the whole time I was in Port Angeles (a city I ostensibly went to in order to get plenty of outdoor exercise). Oh well.

After dinner I realized I’d left my fancy Nalgene bottle in the fridge at the AirBnB. Dangit. Not really worth trying to get it back (shipping probably would cost more than just getting a new one, I think?), although I let the hosts know in case they want to figure out how much it would cost to ship it or if they just want to keep it for themselves. It’s mostly frustrating because it was a gift from someone around 10 years ago (when my major health issues were starting up and it seemed like better hydration would be the key), but they gave me two of them and I still have the other one. Plus a pile of other water bottles I’ve picked up over the years. Mostly I hate accidentally losing thoughtful gifts.

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Port Angeles day 4

My last full day in Port Angeles was just like… okay I guess. I went out for breakfast and got a decent eggs benedict at a café in the industrial district. The weather was pretty nice so I started looking into other hikes I could do but all of the trails that were both open and not expert-level were a two-hour drive away, and I was feeling pretty tired, so I took a nap to mull it over.

When I woke up it was raining, so I just stayed at the AirBnB and worked on some more music and just generally hung out and relaxed. Then for dinner I went to a barbecue place (the one I had planned on going to turns out to be only open for lunch) which was pretty decent. There was also a huge print of their “mascot” on the wall, which looked suspiciously furry. I posted a photo of it to my Discord and right away a friend recognized the original art. (Update: For once, it turns out it was properly licensed. Good on them!)

Anyway. Tomorrow I check out and head back to Seattle. I’m not sure I feel substantially better than when I left, but at least it was nice to get away for the first time in well over a year, and to have my first actual not-actually-an-unpaid-job-in-disguise, not-a-family-disaster vacation in a long time.

Port Angeles day 3

Today the weather cleared up so I finally went hiking for an hour or so. Only one trailhead I could find was open from the Port Angeles side of the forest (most of the roads into the forest were closed due to snow), and when I got there the parking lot was filling up. I wandered around a bit and took a bunch of photos and audio recordings, but quickly found that my camera’s battery did not like the cold (or maybe it’s just getting old and needs to be replaced). According to the trail map I made it maybe a third of the way up before my legs were telling me that I was in no way fit enough to keep going, and then after I turned back I found that the parking lot was overflowing and a whole bunch of people were now on the trail. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

Hopefully tomorrow I can go to a different trailhead but the weather report is saying it’s going to be raining again, so my last day here might be like all the others.

Also I really should have worn thicker socks, as my feet were pretty cold the whole time. If it isn’t raining I’ll definitely bring the thick pair I brought for this very reason.

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Port Angeles, day 2

Last night I couldn’t fall to sleep until 4 AM due to how much my ears were ringing (plus the bedroom got really cold), and at 7 I woke up with very cold feet due to the thermostat in the bedroom automatically going to 62°F. I found some warm fuzzy blankets and doodled some music until I fell back to sleep and didn’t get up again until like… 11. And I was still heckin' tired.

It was also raining all day, so I didn’t end up going hiking at all. Instead I just worked on music for most of the day, and had a late lunch wherein I went to the grocery store and bought some bread and cheese, which was pretty good. When the rain cleared up a bit at around 4:30 PM I decided to walk around the neighborhood, but I quickly ran out of sidewalk. Oh well, at least I got 20 minutes of exercise-ish in.

For dinner I got some rather underwhelming sushi and a pile of constant misgendering. Now I’m back at the AirBnB and will just work on some more music.

Tomorrow I’m going to check out some more local restaurants; I have rough plans to go to a steakhouse for dinner, and probably a sandwich place for lunch, and hopefully get some actual hiking in during the hours between. I mean, that is why I came here, right?

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Caution regarding file synchronization and macOS

Last night a couple of my projects got messed up by a bad interaction between Nextcloud and the macOS auto-save mechanism. In particular, I was working on a couple of projects that were stored in Nextcloud, and due to the way that they both work, macOS kept on seeing Nextcloud as having changed the files, so it would save out a backup copy, and then Nextcloud would see macOS as having changed the files, so it would issue a sync. At one point things got out of sync and led to a bunch of conflicts, which then in turn resulted in things getting into a very weird state where many of the files were just plain not syncing, and others were replaced with older versions.

I think to complicate matters, one of the projects may have also been open on my machine at home, judging by how the Logic project file had been spammed/overwritten with backup versions that reflected the project state before I left home, so while all my recordings were still present, they weren’t on my timeline at all. Nope, I just managed (after a lot of finagling) to get my VPN back home working, and Logic wasn’t open at all. This was purely a problem with sync between my laptop and the server, with no remote meddling taking place.

Fortunately they were just rough recordings that I was planning on replacing anyway, but if I’d lost some actual work I’d have been rather upset.

Presumably this would happen with any filesystem-based sync mechanism (such as Dropbox or Google Drive). So, if you’re going to work on bundle-style projects from apps which use macOS version management (such as Logic, Final Cut Pro, and probably a bunch of others), it’s best to move or copy them outside of your sync folder when you work on them, and only move/copy them back in when you want the saved version to actually synchronize to your other computers.

Port Angeles, day 1

Today I drove out to Port Angeles, which was pretty uneventful. I’d been deliberating whether to deal with the stress of driving South on I-5 through Tacoma or the stress of dealing with the ferry to Bainbridge, and decided to just go whichever route Siri put me on. She ended up doing a third option, using the Kingston ferry, which ended up being both a very pleasant drive to the terminal (aside from a couple of near misses due to construction changing the lanes in unanticipated ways) and a much faster option. I guess Apple Maps knows the ferry schedule and is able to just like… figure out what’s the best at any given time? Neat.

The Kingston ferry is also a lot shorter than the Bainbridge one, and I got lucky enough to have a very good view of the trip from my car; the whole thing got recorded on my dashcam, as well, which is perfect for a music video (and cover song) I’m going to be making over the next few days for Song Fight!.

Anyway I guess it turns out that it’s not that I’m bad with driving, I just don’t do well in downtown or South Seattle.

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Template refactoring

I’ve done a bunch of refactoring/simplification on my website templates. I think everything still works but if you see something funky, please let me know.

There’s also a lot more I need to fix, especially redoing the CSS to be cleaner and on the comics subsection (which has an entirely different set of templates that aren’t built on HTML5 semantic containers at all), but that can definitely wait.

(I also really want to redo novembeat at some point since I have a better idea of how to structure it now, but that also will wait.)

Still a ways to go

Things are definitely looking up right now, but we certainly aren’t out of the woods, and the fight is still to come.

Note: I am going to be discussing American politics here, which butts up against the comment policy. Keep in mind that this is my own personal site and not a public platform (so the first amendment doesn’t apply), and neither bigotry nor conspiracy theories will be tolerated, regardless of which “side” you’re on.

Also I’m just some random software engineer with a blog and a tendency to ramble and no real background or credentials in politics. Take this for what it’s worth.

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Ugh no I need to get off nortriptyline

Nortriptyline helps me with pain and brain stuff but it also has been making my blood pressure steadily go up. These problems I’m having are a repeat of why I tried getting off of it the last time around. Constant dizziness and headaches and tinnitus and feeling like crap.

I appreciate how much it helps me with my anxiety and my insomnia and pain, but I need something else.

Nortriptyline updates

I’ve been at 30mg of nortriptyline for 6 days now, and I’m trying to figure out if this is how I felt on it before. Going through my nortriptyline tag I see that I actually was up to 40mg on my initial tapering, and after sitting there for a while I decided it wasn’t doing enough for my pain and that’s when I tapered down to 20. In one entry I complained that it wasn’t helping my sleep at all, and how it was making me constantly dizzy and tired and headachey.

This time around it’s definitely helping my sleep, and I’m not dizzy, although I am quite tired (despite actually getting a full 8 hours of sleep every night, for once!) and today I had a headache all day. Also plenty of nausea. But at least I got a nice long walk in.

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Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts Season 3

So, this isn’t a spoilers post at all, it’s just some gushing about how amazing the final season of Kipo was. It’s a perfect ending to the series, and I’m glad that Kipo was able to tie everything up so well.

What’s frustrating about it was apparently the showrunners had to guess about Netflix’s intentions and, as such, they decided to make the first three seasons as a self-contained arc rather than risk cancellation in the middle. Which Netflix ended up doing anyway.

If Netflix would just like say “Hey, your show is great but we’re not going to keep it going past this next season, so please wrap it up,” like, okay, that still sucks, but at least it lets the shows end properly. Unlike so many of their other shows where they take a wait-and-see approach and then cancel it after leading the show creators along about whether there’s a future for it.

Anyway. Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts is not a show that’s going to disappoint by being cut off before it gets a chance to end. So, if you were enjoying it, please finish enjoying it.

Meanwhile, tthe creators' hope is that if the show gets enough attention, Netflix will bring it back for a second arc because they have many ideas for future stories in the setting, and that would be fabulous.

Also, I had no idea it was originally a webcomic; from the mirror it looks like it originally got two chapters before it was picked up by Dreamworks. And it was also rather different! I hope Sechrist picks it up again.

ADHD and fibromyalgia and nortriptyline

Yesterday I finally met with a new psychiatrist (having lost access to my previous one back in, oh, March), with the intention of figuring out what to try next in terms of ADHD medication.

As a recap, the first medication I tried (Concerta) just made me irritable and gave me tachycardia, and the second one I tried (Adderall) worked really well for my brain but also made my blood pressure skyrocket.

Anyway, on Tuesday I had also met with my pain doc and the decision we came to was that we should try increasing the nortriptyline again, since 20mg is doing something but not enough, and I couldn’t really remember why I felt like 30 was too much. He wants me to target 40-50mg for my eventual long-term dosage.

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pain management update

Today i had a followup appointment with the pain clinic. Unfortunately, as soon as I started working again my pain flareups came right back. But the doctor was able to pinpoint a few things which are probably the underlying causes, and gave me some more exercises to try. We also decided to try increasing my nortriptyline dose again; I’m on 30mg for the next week then going up to 35 after that (update: and mentioned an eventual target of 40-50, forgot to mention that).

It’s also pretty clear that stress is a huge factor, and boy howdy have I been under a lot of it. Fortunately my new workplace is hugely into giving generous vacation benefits and making sure people actually use them, so in a couple weeks I’m taking a trip out to Port Angeles and staying in a tiny house for a week. I’ll probably bring a guitar and my iPad and try to just, like, decompress, and Be, and spend a bunch if time in the olympic peninsula and enjoy the small town vibe.

Everything I’ve seen about Port Angeles indicates it is a pretty good place with a lot of comfort potential. Maybe even the sort of town I’d want to retire to. And apparently it’s even pretty trans-friendly! I look forward to seeing this year’s Clellam county election results.

Getting fail2ban working on Ubuntu 20.04

Any Linux system that’s exposed to the world tends to get a lot of hack attempts at it. I’ve typically run fail2ban on mine to try to mitigate this, but on Ubuntu 20.04 I was unable to get it to actually detect various attempts.

There are a lot of tutorials out there for fail2ban in general and even several on older versions of Ubuntu, but there’s one slight change on 20.04 (or maybe even an earlier version) which makes them not work. After a lot of hair-pulling I found one particular tutorial which had, buried almost in the marginalia, the magic thing I needed to get it working: basically, you need to use the systemd log scanning backend, as none of the others seem to actually have access to the logs themselves, at least not without a lot of hassle.

So, the short version: add backend = systemd to the [DEFAULT] section of /etc/fail2ban/jail.local. But read on for some sshd configuration notes as well!

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Server rebuild status

So the nice thing about cleansing fire is it makes me realize that I had a lot of websites that I didn’t really need to keep going, just because I, like, never touch any of them or they’re just for fun.

For example, I was the only user of Reminder Me, and I’ve been moving all of my chore reminders over to the iOS Reminders app anyway, now that it does a better job of it than my crappy little RSS “app.” Given that it was one of the first Python things I wrote (and was a Python CGI, no less) and I’d been planning on rewriting it entirely if I decided I needed it anymore anyway, it doesn’t seem like it’s worth the effort of getting it working with nginx. Plus, it was on Python 2, which is a major pain to even deploy anymore.

It was fun having a “band” website but I hadn’t substantially updated it since the release of Refactor back in 2015. So, I’ll just make it redirect to my bandcamp. I’ll probably want to get my static large-file storage bit up separately though.

Similarly, I don’t really see any point in putting my professional audio portfolio back online at this time; it was woefully outdated and never got a lot of traffic from people looking for what I was offering anyway. So, meh to that one.

I was hosting a couple of small websites for my parents and another for a friend, and I unfortunately didn’t think to back them up in advance. It would have made my life a lot easier if I’d not been going so impulsively. Impulse control, what even is it? Anyway, hopefully all that content still exists elsewhere.

Mostly I’m just noticing just how many heckin' domains I have and how pointless most of them are. Especially now that most browsers don’t allow emoji domains anymore.