Flood and Mac updates

Flood update: Today I checked on my stuff in storage and was happy to find that there is apparently no damage inside any of my instrument cases; they just got a little bit of dirt on the outside. Yay!

Mac update: Even after having done all the stuff to make it stable, it continues to be unstable. Ugh. So I decided to just go ahead and buy an M1 Mac mini (512GB storage, 16GB RAM), monitor, external NVMe m.2 enclosure, and a 2TB drive for it. I won’t have the new computer until January 15. Normally I wouldn’t be so eager to do a first-gen new-architecture Mac but the reviews of it have been great and meanwhile this 2017 iMac has always given me a lot of trouble with stability and reliability and mysterious problems; Big Sur made it worse, but it was never a particularly great computer to begin with.1

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Current state of affairs

I’ve been on Wellbutrin for a couple of weeks now and the effect has been interesting. I’m definitely finding it easier to focus on things like chores (and heck, my kitchen is the cleanest it’s been since the remodel got finished, and my dining room is well on its way to not being a disaster), but on the other hand it’s disrupting my sleep a lot and I end up feeling tired throughout the day. My dreams have also been way more intense.

Right now I’m feeling sick with my usual winter sinus crap, so I’m a bit wobbly and a lot nauseous.

Between the Wellbutrin and playing DDR my pain levels are a bit lower but still not amazing, and I’m still finding it easy to hit a fibro wall™. Tomorrow I have a followup with my pain doctor to try to finally get on low-dose naltrexone. I also have the next two weeks off from work and hopefully I won’t end up just working too hard on personal projects instead. (That said, I have a couple of creative output gift swaps with deadlines coming up that I really should start on at some point.)

Anwyay I guess I don’t have a lot else to say. Oh well.

More meat boxing

The box o' meat progresses nicely.

Since the last update I’ve completed all of the meats that were underway, and have finished 1 of the pounds of ground beef (which made very good burgers) and the chili relleno pork sausage. So what remains:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • venison hot dogs
  • 1.25 pounds of flank steak

So, this turned out to not be an entirely excessive amount of meat. And Crowd Cow does seem to be a pretty good deal in general.

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DDR/Stepmania fun times

Yesterday I finally got ArrowVortex working; originally I was running it under WINE on my Intel NUC over xrdp to my Mac, which was kind of janky but functional, but after that stopped working (and was too obnoxious with latency) I just tried out Crossover WINE again and it worked like a charm.

Incidentally, Crossover’s gotten way better in the 10 years since I last used it and I might end up paying for it again!

Anyway, you can see the results of this: I have a very much work-in-progress song pack that you can check out if you’re so inclined. Beta feedback is appreciated as well. I’ll be adding artwork eventually but right now my effort is primarily on getting more songs and charts in.

If there’s any songs of mine you think would be a good DDR track, let me know!

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Updates

Had an appointment with my psychiatrist today. Turns out I was supposed to get a drug screen some time ago, oops. But I’m not that interested in stimulant-based meds anyway. For now we’re going to try Wellbutrin, which is I think what we were talking about last time anyway and it doesn’t need a drug screening. So that starts tomorrow morning.

DDR pad arrives sometime tomorrow as well. Just in time, too, the pad I’m borrowing from Spud has decided that the down button doesn’t really need to work right.

I hope all this stuff helps me to get motivated at work, because holy crap I am having a hard time finding the energy to actually, y'know, work.

Feeling better already

Today my copies of DDR for PS2 arrived. Also Spud mentioned that he still had some soft pads from back when my enthusiasm for the game got him into it as well and offered to lend one to me, so I picked that up from him.

Before I started playing I felt tired, depressed, and dismal.

Then I played for half an hour and already felt so much better.

The pad I’m borrowing isn’t anything special, and the button response isn’t great and it slips around a bit much, but even bad DDR is pretty good. And I think this is a habit I’ll be able to keep up, and which I’ll feel really good about.

I can’t wait for the L-Tek pad to arrive in (probably) a week or two, but in the meantime it’s really nice being able to play the game again.

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Box o' meat status

A coworker asked how far along I am in my big box of meat, and so now my brain is distracted with taking an inventory.

Completed:

  • 1 pound ground turkey (used in the meatloaf)
  • 2x lemon-pesto salmon fillets (prepared as provided)

Underway:

  • Wild boar hot dogs (2 of 7 consumed)
  • Five-pepper sausage (1 of 4 consumed)
  • Dill smoked salmon (halfway consumed)
  • Tenderloin tips and tails (thawing to make mushroom beef stew)

Not yet started:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • Chili relleno pork sausge
  • Venison hot dogs
  • 1.25 pounds of flank steak
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DDR update

I ended up just ordering one of the pads from Poland, with the intention of modding it to work with the PS2, and then I ended up installing Stepmania on my old, generally-useless Mac mini and downloading all of the songs from the PS2 games that I’d rebought, making the PS2 entirely redundant anyway. Rumor has it that the Polish pad manufacturer is working on a native PS2 control box and when that comes out I guess I could buy one but jeeze, Stepmania on the Mini looks and plays so much better than the real thing on the PS2 anyway, so why even bother?

Plus, Stepmania has a huge community of people adding more music all the time, and maybe this’ll encourage me to make some packs of my own stuff. I bet Sliced by a Mandolin would make a great DDR track.

Oh, and even after shipping, the pad from Poland still ended up cheaper than any of the domestic options I could find, DIY kits included.

Pain, music, and DDR

I’m fully off the nortriptyline and I haven’t had withdrawal side effects for several days now. On the other hand, my persistent fibro dizziness is back, and when I hit a wall with a pain flare I really feel it. I’d forgotten just how much more intense that was before nortriptyline. (Of course, while on nortriptyline it’s not like the end result was any different so I don’t feel like I’ve made a big mistake getting off of it.)

My pain doc recommended trying low-dose naltrexone, which is something my previous pain doc had scoffed at1, but anyway I’ve sent a message to my GP asking about getting on it, and if she can’t take care of that then maybe my psychiatrist can, or maybe the pain doc can (but unfortunately he’s really busy and appointments with him are booked to well over a month out at this point).

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Audio software for sale

I just upgraded to Native Instruments Komplete 13 Ultimate, which means that I now have redundant licenses for a number of NI products which I’d bought individually while trying to justify not upgrading to Ultimate (spending much more than the upgrade differential in the process, of course). Fortunately, NI makes license transfers really easy.

So, if anyone’s interested in any of the following pieces of software, let me know:

I also have a license for NI Akoustik Piano which takes some doing to get it to work in a modern environment, but is still pretty darn good. It’s basically the predecessor to the definitive piano collection. (Although honestly the Definitive Piano Collection is well worth the $100 if you’re looking for some virtual pianos, and is my go-to piano selection these days.)

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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