There is additional content you may be able to see if you log in.

Heart schmeart

Today I had a followup appointment with the cardiologist following the incident. He said that most of the lab results from the ER were good, but there’s a slight concern from my EKG, and of course he’s concerned about my high cholesterol and triglycerides (as well as borderline A1C), as well as with my family history.

For diagnostics, he’s having me do a treadmill stress test in a couple weeks, and also get an echocardiogram to measure the thing the EKG indicated as a potential issue.

For cholesterol and triglycerides, I told him about my history with statins and fenofibrate causing massive systemic pain problems and muscle failure symptoms, so he’s putting me on Repatha, which is a rather interesting treatment option that involves a biweekly injection of monoclonal antibodies, and which shouldn’t have any bad health effects.

Read more…

Trying to ramp up

Right now I seem to be in a situation where my brain is fired up about a whole bunch of different things, and I’m trying to figure out how to get myself actually working on any of it in a nontrivial capacity.

First, I was inspired to rewrite/flesh out the next little chunk of Lewi, and I’d like to get to drawing it.

Second, yesterday I had a great idea for a pair of VRChat avatars, which I have a lot of fun ideas for how to do them (especially with how the facial animation systems are going to work).

Read more…

Plans and Execution

Once upon a time I used to be hyperproductive. I’d spend 8 or more hours a day writing code, then I’d go home and draw comics for hours, and then on the weekends I’d write and record music. I’d have pain symptoms as part of it but that just felt like a badge of honor, and that it’d all be worth it someday.

Now I can’t hold down a job at all, I can barely focus on any of those things, and even holding a pencil to start drawing just feels like too much. I have so many ideas in my head and so much shit I want to be doing with my time, but every time I start to work on anything it just hurts too much.

Anyway, I figured I’d talk about a bunch of the stuff I wish I could be working on right now.

Read more…

In defense of WebP

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of Discourse, especially on Tumblr and Cohost, about how awful webp is and how nobody should ever, ever use it.

You know what other file format I’ve seen this about?

PNG.

Yes, PNG, the beloved format that everyone can’t live without now and which is a constant “standard.” Which only came into existence after the web was a thing, and getting web stuff to support it was hard.

Read more…

Electric vehicles in 2023

I’m a pretty unabashed fan of battery electric vehicles.

Well, I am slightly abashed in the fact that I feel like it’d be much better if mass transit were more accessible in more places, and even the most efficient BEV still has some pretty severe ecological issues associated with them (lithium refinement, impact of manufacturing the vehicle itself, parking space, road space, externalities of power production, etc.), but as a form of harm reduction in the society that we are stuck in within the vast majority of the continental US, they’re still way better than internal combustion engine cars, for those whose lifestyles require a car and can accommodate the (vanishing) limitations of a BEV. Even in areas where most electricity is generated by fossil fuels, the environmental impact of charging a BEV (with emissions generated in a centralized location) is much lower than the impact of carrying a little inefficient fossil fuel combustion source everywhere you go.

So, BEVs are an improvement. The thing is, the state of BEVs is pretty abysmal in general, at least in North America. In other parts of the world there’s some pretty compelling vehicles available (such as the MG4) but the US auto market is currently emphasizing large “crossover SUVs” and pickup trucks, and combined with the fascination of maximizing the car’s range, most BEVs coming out here are forced into a situation of having a gigantic battery, raising the overall vehicle price, and therefore meaning that every electric vehicle ends up being some ultra high-end luxury car.

Update (1/16/2023): Added some stuff about the Hyundai/Kia duality that I’d missed previously. Also a change of opinion on the EV6.

Read more…

Reconditioning

So, a few hours after I posted that last entry, I woke up in bed feeling a squeezing in my chest, pain in my jaw, and a few other heart attack symptoms. I got out of bed, did my best to calm my nerves, and called 911.

The EMTs evaluated me and said they didn’t see anything wrong offhand but my blood pressure was extremely elevated and with my medical history they felt that it would be best if I went to the ER. So, I let them convince me to go in the ambulance, which will probably cost me quite a lot.

At the hospital they did a bunch of work-ups, including blood tests for heart attack markers and a chest X-ray, and nothing turned up. Out of an abundance of caution they put me on an IV saline drip and gave me some aspirin in preparation for whatever other tests might have been necessary.

Within half an hour I was feeling totally fine, and my BP and heart rate returned to their usual levels.

So, I’m pretty sure I was just dehydrated.

I’m not looking forward to the bill, but I’m glad that I’m not dying. The ER nurse recommended that I convince my doctor to refer me to a cardiologist (like I’ve been wanting for quite some time anyway).

Anyway, I guess this is a good reminder to stay hydrated, gosh darnit. One can of seltzer and a decaf cappuccino per day isn’t enough to live on.

Deconditioning

For the last few days I’ve been feeling anxious and having an elevated heart rate. That’s not just subjective, that’s what my heckin' Apple Watch has recorded. I keep on waking up in the middle of the night with a pounding heart, too. It’s hard to tell if it’s anxiety raising my heart rate or the other way around, but either way, something’s got to change.

The last few months I’ve been particularly sedentary due to a bunch of things (mostly chronic pain but also generally just feeling Meh and not wanting to do anything) and time has been slipping away from me very quickly.

Read more…

It sure would be nice to not be in pain all the time

There are so many things I’d like to be doing with my time, except every time I start on any of them I get a major pain flareup. And that makes it really hard to get into what I’m doing, and then the moment I have any minor setback (such as a problem with the tool I’m using) that just makes the pain explode even further and then all I can focus on is how much I’m hurting.

I’d love to be making 3D models for VRChat or drawing comics or making music, but all of those things just feel so inaccessible to me right now. And even playing games hurts, and even hanging out in VRChat can be pretty painful too because even standing up for an hour at a time is awful (and doing VRChat while sitting down has its own share of issues).

I’m grateful that I don’t have to worry about money so much, but gosh, there’s more to being productive than making a living. Quality of life is important and that feels just so lacking right now.

I just feel like so much stuff is locked inside my head and screaming to get out, and I sure wish I could just like. Not be like that.

Native Instruments Intel/Silicon Update

Previously I’d posted about an update to Native Instruments' Komplete Kontrol plugin wrapper that made it no longer work with Intel plugins on Apple Silicon machines. After I’d posted that, Jeremy from Native Instruments posted a link to download Komplete Kontrol 2.7.2 which can be used as a temporary workaround to fix the issue, with a warning that it’d be better to update KK and then run Logic under Rosetta instead.

I failed to notice this update from them since NI’s forum never manages to actually send me notification emails for some reason, but in any case, this is a nice solution to keep things working until Reaktor and Battery get updated for M1 (hopefully in just a month or two).

Anyway, hopefully this is helpful for folks who need it.

Relaunching my Patreon

I continue to not be a fan of Patreon but it’s, unfortunately, the easiest way to try to get recurring support from folks for the things I do. So, if you’re interested in throwing a few bucks my way every month, here you go. $1/month gives you access to the subscriber-only section of my Discord, and $3/month gives you downloads of all the things I release digitally (albums, comic collections, etc.) going forward. I’ll also probably backfill my existing releases there at some point.

I also of course have a ko-fi. It currently doesn’t support the exclusive-access downloads thing (because ko-fi charges $6/month for that ability) but I’ll definitely enable that if I have a few people sign up there. I’d definitely prefer folks to support me via Ko-Fi rather than Patreon, if they can; it’s a much nicer company.

But regardless, I appreciate whatever support people feel like sending my way, and any suggestions people have for what I should be doing with my time (within my abilities and interests, of course).

Estradiol, patch form

Back in November of 2017 I had a pulmonary embolism, the result of a DVT which was the result of a combination of risk factors. At the time that it occurred, the insistence from the hematologist was that I’d have to cease the use of estradiol entirely, and this led to the worst month of physical and mental health that I can remember. I was basically going through menopause. A month later, a different hematologist said there was no reason I couldn’t keep taking estradiol, especially since I was on a course of warfarin to clear up remaining clot.

A couple years after that I had another minor DVT, and this led to needing to be on blood thinners, so now I take Xarelto daily, and likely will for the rest of my life.

Read more…

on GPT-3, and my discontinuation of its use

I just learned that OpenAI, the company behind GPT-3, is founded and funded by Elon Musk. I mostly feel foolish for having not looked into the company at all, especially given that this isn’t exactly a hidden fact or anything. Very much my bad for not doing even the remote bit of due diligence when it comes to a piece of tech that seems to be completely changing how people think about… well, everything.

I’ve mostly been using it for shitposts, but I’ve also been playing with it for iterating on song lyrics. All that now feels tainted.

I have taken down my GPT-3 posts from this site, and I will be discontinuing my use of it going forward. The one song I’ve finished that had any GPT-3 involvement will stay in my catalogue (as it’s a somewhat personal song to me and GPT-3 only helped with a couple of lines in the end) but as interested as I was in experimenting with new tech (knowing fully well the ethical concerns with how its training set was generated) this has brought into perspective how I was participating in something I don’t want to encourage.

I apologize for playing any part in normalizing this.

Questions answered easily

On the subject of the cabinet door, Oliver says that there is one, he just keeps forgetting to bring it but it will arrive sometime soon.

On the subject of the button on my faucet, he had no idea about it and had no idea where it could have gone, and said it was probably lost forever. Then he noticed a little black round thing on the floor by the door and picked it up, and wouldn’t you know… it was the button! Phew.