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Changing cars

I’ve had my current car, a Mazda3, for nearly 6 years. It’s a great car. I like it a lot.

But, there’s a few things I’ve gotten somewhat fed up with on it:

  • It doesn’t have all the safety features I want (especially lane departure notifications and collision avoidance)
  • It costs a lot to maintain given how little I drive it
  • Its cargo space isn’t very flexible (since I have the sedan version)

For a while I’ve been thinking about getting an electric vehicle, and recently I got the idea planted in my head that it would be worth switching to a Nissan Leaf.

Anyway, on Carvana, I found a 2018 Leaf SL with all of the safety features I want, and also it still has around 135 miles of range (supposedly) and its battery is still well under warranty, and the cost was only a little bit more than what Carvana said the trade-in value on my Mazda3 was.

So maybe a bit impulsively, I bought it. It will arrive on Friday.

My cost after trade-in is around $1000, and it only raises my insurance premiums by around $8/month. So, yay.

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Better sleep through technology

I’ve always had issues where I’ll stop breathing in the middle of the night, but I don’t snore. Sometimes I wake up gasping for air. I’ve suspected central sleep apnea for a long time.

Several years ago I had an in-home sleep study, where they hooked up an SpO2 meter to me and recorded it overnight. There were a number of drops throughout the night, indicative of apnea in general, and as a result I was provided a CPAP machine (on the assumption that it was obstructive, rather than central, apnea).

The CPAP machine didn’t really help much (if at all) and I kept trying to make it work over the next few years. Then due to a change in insurance I needed to get another study to get authorized for continuing the prescription, and they said that the CPAP machine wasn’t helpful for whatever my sleep issue was. I ended up selling it on the used market.

But I was still having apnea issues, and a lack of restful sleep.

Over the past few weeks it’s gotten especially bad, and after someone was evangelizing the Oura ring, I looked into continuous monitoring solutions. I’ve had a cheap finger monitor for years, which has been helpful for spot-checking but is uncomfortable to wear to bed, and also doesn’t record a log, making it less useful for diagnosing issues.

Oura is pretty expensive (and now requires a $6/month subscription plan) and doesn’t do continuous SpO2 monitoring (it only does momentary checks, similar to the current Apple Watch), but perusing other reviews and half-remembering a few videos I’d seen years ago, I eventually came across the Wellue O2ring, which is a continuous monitor which logs SpO2, heart rate, and movement all night long, and can also send a little vibration to your finger whenever the SpO2 drops below a configurable threshold.

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Novembeat 2021: The Movie premiere

Tomorrow at 2:30 PM Pacific Standard Time I’ll be finally premiering the hour-long music video for my Novembeat 2021 album. If you head to the YouTube page you can set up a reminder/notification for when it starts, and during the premiere we’ll all be able to chat live!

This is by far the largest, most ambitious video project I’ve ever done and I’m really excited to share it with the world. I hope y'all will join me!

2021 in review, 2022 goals

Here’s some stats and thoughts maybe. I dunno.

Stats

Things posted to this website: 196 (171 public)

Things posted elsewhere:

  • Bandcamp: 4
    • 2 albums
    • 1 single
    • 1 game OST
  • YouTube videos:
    • Music channel: 20 videos, mostly music videos, holy hell how did I actually do that
    • Personal channel: 8 (mostly shitposts and cat reminiscence)
  • Social media posts: E_TOOMANY
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Hopefully the last time I beg for coffee grinding footage

Remember that silly project of mine? I’m still inching ever closer to being done.

I have space for two more random grinders in the video for The Grind, and I could still use a lot more Comandante C40 footage, which I am really surprised has been so hard to get more of because that’s a very popular grinder.

Historically, I’ve gotten a lot of people promising footage which never appeared. Early on in the project I got plenty, quickly, which is how I was able to produce the vast majority of the videos on the same day as the song, or soon after. But these last two tracks have taken so very long to fill out.

So I mean, if you’re interested, now is the time to do it, and don’t let the belief that it’s already covered or that you’ll be beaten to it stop you from recording things. And if I do somehow end up getting more than I need, I’ll still find a use for whatever comes in!

Anyway. I was really hoping to have this done by the end of December; heck, I was hoping to have it done by the end of November. But, y'know. Life happens, and especially right now a lot of folks are traveling for the holidays. So I’ll take what I can get.

I just really want to have this silly hour-plus-long music video finished soon. It’s the most ambitious video project I’ve ever done and I really like how it’s turned out, and I just have these fairly small sections where it’s just a black screen, waiting for some coffee to be ground.

Also I don’t remember where I’ve mentioned it, but everyone who contributes footage gets a download code for the album and a credits screen on the full video.

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Things I learned today

  • White Center streets don’t get plowed, at least not this early into a blizzard
  • My Mazda3 doesn’t have nearly enough traction to drive on unplowed streets
  • The streets I live on are hillier than I realized
  • I do not have it in me to walk a mile to Target just to find out if they have snow chains in stock
  • I also do not have it in me to walk a mile to get groceries
  • I can absolutely make do with whatever food I have on-hand
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How to restore a SOMA Connect without having to re-pair everything

In my bedroom I have some SOMA smart shades and a SOMA Connect to control them from HomeKit. This setup works pretty well, except every now and then the SOMA Connect will stop working entirely; being a Raspberry Pi it’s easy enough to hook up to a monitor and see that it’s kernel panicking on startup.

I suspect there’s an automatic update mechanism that simply doesn’t work right.

Anyway, when this happens, the fix is to just reflash the MicroSD card… but this also wipes out all your settings, and in HomeKit that means having to set everything up again, including scenes and automations. Very annoying.

But, if you have a Linux machine (or a Linux VM) it’s possible to save the setting files for later.

  1. Mount the MicroSD on a Linux machine
  2. Open the rootfs partition
  3. Copy the contents of var/soma-connect/ somewhere safe; there should be three JSON files (at least, that’s what was on mine)
  4. Reflash the MicroSD normally
  5. Remount the MicroSD and copy those JSON files back into the now-empty rootfs/var/soma-connect/ directory (you might have to do this as an administrator)

If all goes well, the device should come back online and HomeKit should see them as the exact same bridge and accessories as before.

Deeply-weird privacy people update

So folks finally figured out what was behind that weird series of privacy emails I got: it turns out it was a privacy study being run at Princeton. It is not being run very well.

Here’s a pretty good Twitter thread about it and with more links to read:

Also something to make clear:

  1. This is a research study being presented as a legal inquiry and not a research study
  2. The preamble of the email is an active lie
  3. There are many better ways that they could have run this study

I do not appreciate having my time wasted by this nonsense.

On the origins of Sad Crab

Every now and then I come across the Sad Crab (aka “This Kills The Crab”) meme, or a reference to it. Like most memes there’s a Know Your Meme page. Their history on the page has changed a few times, but the history is incomplete, at best.

The first link that took it from Gourmet Magazine to the Internet was, well, me.

My mother had given me a gift subscription to Gourmet Magazine, and while reading their article on how to prepare crabs, I thought this one panel was hilariously awful, so of course I posted a scan of it (entitled “sad crab”) to the POE News (an offshoot of Portal of Evil) forums on March 11, 2010. It was hosted at http://beesbuzz.biz/crap/sadcrab.jpg and it became a minor meme there, and from there it got hotlinked to a bunch of other places, including the Spaceghetto image board, and then eventually it got copied and rehosted elsewhere.

It’s also possible that other people found the source image and scanned their own copies, although pretty much every image I’ve seen online has the same printing defects and paper wrinkles from my scan, which seem incredibly unlikely given the way physics works.

Anyway, I had no idea it was a meme until several years later; I was on a forum that was comprised mostly of other Portal of Evil refugees, and we had a reminiscing thread, and I posted the Sad Crab which was still sitting in my /crap/ directory. Someone who wasn’t there in the PoE days said, “Oh, I remember that meme.”

“What meme?”

“This Kills The Crab!”

Somehow I had completely missed my stupid post’s spread as a meme for years. Gourmet Magazine even noticed and tried to cash in on it themselves (to be fair, it was their image to begin with), and what few things had any sort of attribution for it didn’t actually know about the poe-news origin.

The lesson to take from this is that “authoritative” sources on the Internet often have a very short, limited memory of the actual history behind things, and establishing provenance1 is really difficult, and probably not worthwhile anyway.

So, Hired is pretty good, y'all

When I got the job with Hover it was via Hired, which made the actual recruiting and interviewing process way better than any other job search site I’ve ever seen.

LinkedIn used to be pretty okay but the whole process there has gotten overwhelming and awful, and they’ve tried to turn into yet another Social Media Experience™ but don’t have any actual tools for managing the interview process itself. Hired just focuses on everything about the recruiting and interview experience: you put your information on your profile (and can include things like “I never want to hear from these companies” or criteria for the sorts of companies you’d like to work for), and you can manage your availability for interview slots and be in control of all the contact and timing and so on.

I found the experience to be pretty darn great, and way less stressful than any other job search engine I’ve ever used.

Anyway, if you use my referral link and get a job with Hired, I also get a kickback, so obviously I’m biased in espousing the benefits of Hired. But I do sincerely believe that it’s been by far the best candidate experience I’ve ever had, and led me to jobs I’d not have known about otherwise (and, in particular, the two I interviewed for and the one I accepted).

Deeply-weird privacy people

Every now and then I get what feels like a bad-faith form letter from someone who I’ve never heard of before, has probably never even come to this website, and is probably a privacy lawyer out to make a quick buck.

UPDATE: The mystery has been solved.

Here’s the most recent one:

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is [REDACTED], and I am a resident of Norfolk, Virginia. I have a few questions about your process for responding to California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) data access requests:

Would you process a CCPA data access request from me even though I am not a resident of California? Do you process CCPA data access requests via email, a website, or telephone? If via a website, what is the URL I should go to? What personal information do I have to submit for you to verify and process a CCPA data access request? What information do you provide in response to a CCPA data access request? To be clear, I am not submitting a data access request at this time. My questions are about your process for when I do submit a request.

Thank you in advance for your answers to these questions. If there is a better contact for processing CCPA requests regarding beesbuzz.biz, I kindly ask that you forward my request to them.

I look forward to your reply without undue delay and at most within 45 days of this email, as required by Section 1798.130 of the California Civil Code.

Sincerely,

[REDACTED]

My response is to just direct them to the privacy policy for this website which is a weird thing for me to even need for, y'know, a personal blog.

Maybe I should just not respond and see if they try to sue me for data that I don’t have and have no reason to keep, though.

Incidentally the letter is always exactly the same except for the name and the cited law; they’re always from Roanoke, Virginia, and the wording is otherwise identical each time. They also always come from the same email domain.

So I mean it’s probably a bot, but… to what end? Other folks have been receiving these as well, and the prevailing theory is that it’s people trying to sell GDPR/CCPA compliance packages, but my responses have gone unanswered. So strange.

Goodbye Moz, hello Hover!

Today was my last day at Moz. Moz is a great company full of great people, but the work just never quite clicked for me, and it was time to move on.

Fortunately, moving on involved getting a job at Hover, a company that specializes in augmented reality home renovation tools. I will be doing graphics research and development, and a lot of the work will be directly related to my graduate research, as it turns out. I also have high hopes for Hover as a company; Moz was a high water mark in terms of culture and while Hover will have a hard time living up to it, all of my interactions with people there have been amazing and positive.

In one’s career there’s the idea of the “golden triangle,” where you can have a great environment (coworkers, company culture, etc.), great work (job duties, projects, responsibilities), and great income — pick two. It’s very rare to get all three, and it seems like Hover might actually be that for me.

I definitely hope to keep in touch with my coworkers from Moz, though. They’re all such great people.

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Bathroom: Not perfect, but Good Enough™

Today the work on the bathroom finished up. All that’s left is some minor cleanup stuff, and a few things I need to do (like installing the towel bar and hanging more of my art back up).

It isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough for now, and the stuff that needs fixing can wait, I think.

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Osteopathy

Today I had an appointment with an osteopath, which is basically a chiropractor but with a basis in actual medicine instead of weird quackery. It was an… interesting experience. An overall positive one, though.

She mostly worked on my neck and shoulders, which are feeling somewhat better, and also popped a couple of my vertebrae, which was a strange experience, but a good one. I’m not sure if it’s placebo or what but I definitely feel a lot better now than I did this morning, at least.

She encouraged me to keep seeing my current massage therapist (who I’ve found very helpful) and to wait a few days to see how I feel before scheduling another appointment with her. Unfortunately she (like most medical practitioners) is ridiculously overbooked and the next available appointment isn’t until February (I’d actually booked this one around two months ago, incidentally) but right now I’m at least feeling very encouraged.

It definitely hasn’t cured my pain but it at least feels way more manageable now.

Back in White Center

Yesterday the contractor insisted that the shower would be usable by Wednesday, so today I moved back to White Center. As usual it was the worst possible thing to happen that my cats had to endure the car for a whole 20 minutes, but now they’re back home and back to their usual shenanigans. They’re definitely happier here than in the barren condo with no view.

The bathroom is indeed coming along quite nicely. I’m skeptical that it’ll be shower-ready tomorrow, but it’s definitely getting close. The shower is almost done being tiled, and then after that it just needs grouting and hardware installation, and it seems like Thursday is a more realistic target.

Supposedly the toilet will get reinstalled today, too, so maybe I won’t have to use the outhouse anymore? We’ll see.

My house is very much a disaster area right now but at least it’s a comfortable disaster area. And it was nice to get a proper shot of espresso again. (I mean, okay, it’s not like that would have been hard to come by in freaking Capitol Hill, but it’s nice to get espresso from my own setup.)

Meanwhile, the replacement kitchen faucet arrived, and it seems in the past few months they changed the design of the sprayer head a little bit, hopefully in a way which will prevent future clogs from happening. Thankfully it’s still compatible with the old faucet, so it was just a simple swap out, and now I have a working kitchen sink with good water pressure once again.

Still seeking grinder footage!

So hey my lo-fi beats to grind coffee to project is still going, but I’m very short on usable grinder footage to move forward. One of the big reasons why I haven’t ended up doing a song every day this year is because I wasn’t sure if I’d even be able to make videos for all of them, and not having a source of inspiration for specific grinders hasn’t been helpful for my forward velocity either. (Of course, being displaced from my home didn’t help any either.)

Any grinder footage that people can offer would be incredibly helpful.

There’s also a few specific grinders I’d particularly like footage of:

  • Comandante C40 (I got some footage for it but my video idea would benefit from having as many people using one as possible)
  • Fellow Ode (I’d especially like some footage that involves pressing the button and spinning the adjustment dial in addition to the rest of the filling/grinding/brewing process) Done, thanks Emma!
  • Turin DF64

but any and all grinders are welcome; if I get enough footage for a specific one I’ll try to give it its own video, or otherwise it can go into the final “The Grind” track where I cover everything miscellaneous and sundry.

This includes blade/mill grinders, too! And whatever weird random grinders you have hanging around. I just want a nice wide variety.

Thanks!

Things are going well

  1. All the plumbing issues in my house have been resolved
  2. The actual bathroom renovation is proceeding to plan and should be done by next Friday (I’ll believe it when I see it of course)
  3. I just accepted a job doing graphics R&D at Hover and I will be starting in January
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Settled in Seattle

Today I got some last few things taken care of down in White Center and moved my cats back to Seattle. Fiona was very grumpy to be back in the condo without the outdoors. Tyler was pretty weirded out by the change. But now they’re both sleeping peacefully next to me on the couch.

The plumbing in my house is all working, at least, and everything can finally move forward. The contractor believes the project will be done by next Friday. We’ll see.

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Back in Capitol Hill for now

Today I decided to call it per yesterday’s rantle and moved (minimally) back to my Capitol Hill condo, since it hadn’t sold yet anyway and there was only like 1.5 weeks left on the listing time. (I have also requested cancellation of the listing, of course, not that there were likely to be any scheduled showings this or next week due to Thanksgiving.)

I loaded up my car with basic necessities for the next week — clothing (namely my last two weeks' worth of dirty laundry), work and personal laptop, a very minimal recording setup, my Apple TV, and my Nintendo Switch, as well as my old cable modem and router. Also an air mattress and sheets and pillows for it. I refilled the cats' water and food dispensers and bade them adieu for another day.

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Current situation

So, the bathroom remodel keeps on hitting some pretty bad roadblocks. And I’m not entirely sure what to do next.

Basically, the plumber started a week ago, and has been trying to get the house plumbing working again. But something keeps going wrong, but I have no idea what, because the plumber only speaks Vietnamese. But the short version is that even after over a week and multiple complete re-dos of the plumbing, I still have no running water, and all that the plumber can tell me is that it doesn’t work, but can’t specify what he means by “it” or “work.”

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