Things, present and future
A real smorgasbord of things to ramble about/catch up on.
A real smorgasbord of things to ramble about/catch up on.
I’ve been realizing for a while that, despite my savings and ambitions, I need a day job. It’s more for my mental health than any specific need for an income or the like, although having an income would be nice.
As usual, the tech industry landscape these days is pretty dismal, and I’m not actively seeking tech jobs out (what with always saying how I’m done with working in tech). I don’t even get responses to my applications for non-tech things I apply for, though; having 20+ years of experience as a software engineer doesn’t seem to map well to getting gigs as a sound designer or a composer. Go figure.
But, I’ve had an interesting lead for a while with a well-established financial services company that’s looking for a principal engineer/tech lead, and it feels like a pretty good mix of tech work in a non-tech company. So far my interviews and conversations have gone well, and I have a full interview on Monday. Hopefully something good comes of it.
If I do get the job I’ll probably end up renting a coworking space, because I need way better separation between home/projects and work than I’m able to maintain with just my small home office.
So, back in January I had that health scare, which led to me seeing a cardiologist, which led to me getting a bunch of heart health tests done.
I definitely have genetic factors that lead to high cholesterol and high triglycerides, and unfortunately the test found that this has in turn led to me having what looks like coronary artery disease. At present the risk of immediate heart attack is pretty low but I definitely need to find medication that will lower my LDL and triglycerides, and there’s an ongoing conversation with my insurance to get one possible treatment approved. The current denial from them isn’t a hard “no,” they just need proof of medical need, and I think that’s easy to prove. I’m still waiting to hear from my cardiologist on that.
Meanwhile, my cardiologist wants to do an angiogram and potential angioplasty, sooner rather than later. I’m not sure it’s quite warranted at this point, but given how much anxiety this diagnosis has given me, I probably will go for it. I’m just not a fan of doing surgery-first interventions due to the potential for things going very wrong. (Yeah, yeah, I know.)
Anyway it isn’t helping that I’ve been having caffeine more often lately. On the plus side, caffeine isn’t giving me immediate/massive panic attacks, but it does stay in my system all day long and over the course of the day I do get progressively more anxious.
Another thing I’ve done for my health is I’ve cut out most carbs, especially sugar, from my diet. It’s not like I’ve been a non-stop glucophage or anything but it’s pretty amazing to realize how many carbs I could still remove from things. And y'know what? I’m feeling a lot better overall, and not really having any cravings for things either. The rare time I do have anything sweet I’m just overwhelmed by how that tastes.
I’m due for another round of bloodwork soon, and it’ll be interesting to see what the last few weeks of low-carb living will have done for that. I’m also in a lot less pain than usual, which at least potentially tells me something about the whole fibromyalgia-triglyceride link.
I’m really enjoying Ship Full of Jerks, the science fiction podcast my friend Mark is making (and which I wrote the music for). It’s from that how I learned that Gerald Fried, one of the series composers for Star Trek: The Original Series, recently passed away. I’d actually met him several years ago; he was friends with my mom through a path I don’t quite recall, and he happened to be visiting Albuquerque at the same time that I was. It was a real pleasure to talk to him about my aspirations as a media composer and to get his insight about employability in that field. The main piece of advice I got from him is that you should take whatever work you can; selling out means putting food on the table.
I do wish I’d been able to get more advice from him about how to actually get the work that you can take, though. I haven’t had a whole lot of luck with that aspect, aside from doing random occasional things that come up. I’m really bad at selling myself, though.
Anyway, my own podcast is also going pretty okay, and what little response I’ve gotten from it so far has been very positive. I need to work on the third episode. I already have maybe five or six more planned out and I’m coming up with new ideas all the time. But focusing on actually writing and recording them is hard, especially this week. Because, y'know.
I keep on telling myself that I’m going to work on some 3D modeling again. I’ve done a bit of random tweaking of my extant VRChat avatars but I can’t seem to commit to doing the major amounts of modeling I really want to do, mostly because I’m having trouble figuring out what the best things to work on would be.
I have some fun ideas for a pair of robot characters that I really want to make, but I can’t focus on that.
I’m also working a bunch more on my critter/fursona avatar, but I keep on running into walls that are basically, like, it was literally my first Blender model and I’m running into stuff where I know better about how to do it but redoing that stuff means a ripple effect of a lot more work that I don’t want to take on right now. And I kind of feel like I want to focus more on making the customized Winterpaw rodent more to my liking; I feel like overall it’s a better shape, but there’s so many tweaks I want to make to it, too, and I keep getting overwhelmed by that and all the work that involves too.
I think maybe I’m just due for redesigning my fursona instead.
I also have so many other avatar ideas that I’m just having a hard time just Sitting Down And Doing.
It’s also been way too long since I’ve drawn any comics.
I feel like I’m stuck in this gravity well where I feel like I need to get everything accomplished all at once and I have a hard time starting on something if I don’t know how long it’ll take to finish it, so as a result I never start, and therefore never finish. It’s such a destructive cycle and a mind trap.
That’s another reason why I need a day job that I work at outside of the house; having something I can come home to and work on is a lot more energizing than just working on the thing all day long.
I can have a little art-making as a treat.
I decided to upgrade my VR setup, and after obsessing over all the various VR headsets out there, I ended up going with a Pimax 5K Plus (on sale for $480) and getting Valve’s Index base stations and controllers (costing around $580 total). This felt like a better deal than buying the Index bundle at $1000.
So far it very much isn’t.
The hardware is okay, although the right eye’s panel has a weird “halo” around the edges, and Pimax tech support is taking their sweet time in trying to determine if I’m eligible for a replacement. It’s very clearly defective, but they don’t seem to see it that way.
But the software, oh my god, so awful. It’s fussy and unreliable and half of it is in Chinese, and it crashes so much, and also it turns out the Pimax doesn’t implement Bluetooth quite correctly so it’s unable to automatically turn the base stations on and off, and the base stations interfere with the IR receiver on my TV. The most common fix to that appears to be buying smart outlets and controlling those from HomeKit or the like, which is also silly to have to do, and I can’t get any of the various third-party Bluetooth control hacks to work either.
The Pimax head strap is also garbage and so I’ve already had to spend another $50 to get a replacement strap (and 3D print an adapter to make it work), and the face shield does not accomodate my big honkin' schnoz, so it kind of hurts to wear (although I hope the replacement strap will get it at a better angle), and because I can’t quite line it up right with my eyes, there’s a weird swimmy distortion that surrounds me, which is especially bad with the wide FOV.
The user experience on the Quest is so much better. I wish the Quest didn’t have such crappy controller tracking or such a limited field of view, and if there were a way to get video directly to it from the computer instead of going through a compressed/laggy video stream. Like, yeah, Virtual Desktop works okay, but it still introduces a little lag, and even the slightest bit of lag in VR is very obvious, especially when playing Beat Saber or other rhythm games.
I really should have just bought an Index, although I keep on hearing that the Index also has Problems.
Maybe when I am employed it’ll feel easier to spend another $1000 or whatever on a Big Screen Beyond, which has way better optics, is lightweight, and is custom-molded for the owner’s face. (Although I have to wonder if there’s any way to get it remolded, in case I finally get FFS or the like (EDIT: Looks like they do allow you to order replacement/additional facial interfaces). It doesn’t feel all that likely I’m ever going to, but it’d be nice to keep the option there.) Although the FOV is only about the same as a Quest 2.
Or there’s also the Shiftall MeganeX, if that ever stops being vaporware. And no word on what its FOV is, either.
The choir is going well. We’re gearing up for our participation in Considering Matthew Shepard, with our final rehearsal on π day and the actual performance on the 18th.
We’re also doing a fund-raiser talent show and craft sale, and I’d love if local Seattle-area peeps could come and attend and also buy stuff that’s going to a good cause. As part of the fundraiser I’m selling a bunch of my enamel pins, comics, and some 3D printed succulent planters, and there’s a whole bunch of other amazing stuff that’ll be available, not to mention some hopefully excellent performances.
If I end up getting that job I’ll probably be upgrading my car, too. Despite everything I wrote in my mostly-bitter guide, I’m really tempted to get an Ioniq 5 or an Ariya. They’re both such nice, fun cars. They’re just not something I can justify spending that much money on without an income or any significant daily-driving needs.
But even with an income and significant daily-driving needs it still seems kinda pointless? I mean, the Leaf does everything I need it to do and then some, and it’s not like I’m hauling large amounts of cargo or doing a lot of long-distance driving, and the dang thing recharges pretty quickly with my level 2 charger.
I keep feeling like not having CCS means it’ll be way too easy to get stranded, but, c'mon. When do I ever drive 100 miles in a single day?
Basically I need to stop watching so much electric vehicle YouTube that keeps filling my head with lust for things that would make my life sooooo much better if only I were living a completely different life than the one I have right now.
Writing this blog entry while lying in bed with my laptop has reminded me that, despite my pain levels being lower than usual lately, they’re still not zero. Oops.
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