Today’s frustrations and/or wins

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Here’s the stuff going on with me I guess.

Warning: ornery and cantankerous.


So, since I was taking a break from VR I decided this would be a good time to RMA my left controller, because the thumbstick was being janky and drifty and random. Unfortunately, Oculus' RMA process requires sending the defective controller back, and then waiting for them to decide it really was defective in order for them to send a new one to me.

I sent it a week ago, and they haven’t acknowledged receipt of it yet (even though it arrived yesterday), and I’ve heard so many horror stories of it taking 2-3 months. And of course just buying a replacement controller takes forever too, and they’ve gotten quite expensive.

Virtual Desktop ostensibly lets you emulate controllers with hand tracking, but as far as I can tell it only emulates triggers and pointing, no buttons or thumb stick. There might be a way to configure it, but there’s absolutely no docs beyond “join our Discord.” I am not joining yet another fucking Discord. And if you ask for help on any of the relevant Subreddits, the only answer they give is “join our Discord.”

What’s wrong with just putting shit on the web?!

Anyway, meanwhile I also bought another USB adapter for my Kinect (which I already had an adapter for but I can’t find it) and set up KinectToVR to try to get full-body tracking. Unfortunately, I need a left controller to properly run the calibration process (since autocalibration isn’t working in my relatively small playspace), so I can’t even have fun with full-body tracking while standing in place in VRChat.


I fired three bowls. Only one came back.

Or rather, they all came out well, but someone else walked off with two of them. I’m hoping it’s just an honest mistake and that this gets sorted out. It’s super frustrating trying to find out what happened, though.

The folks running the kiln had never notified me that my bowls were ready, so I went in on Saturday to just pick them up on my own. I only found one. So I emailed the studio, asking where the other two were. I almost immediately got a response saying that all three were fine but they didn’t bother to email me because I’d “already picked them up” by Friday.

I think that was a very optimistic viewpoint they took on that…

Anyway, the studio primarily runs classes and has students firing work and picking it up, so I’m hopeful it was just a student picking up the wrong things.

It’s still very disappointing and frustrating, and the studio’s closed for a month and apparently nobody’s checking the email either. So they haven’t, say, sent out a message to the student Slack or mailing lists saying “hey if anyone picked up pots, please make sure they belong to you.”

I can take some comfort in the fact that my bowls were nice enough for someone to take, I guess.

Chronic pain

Pain fucking sucks, why does pain fucking suck so much, why am I always going to be in it, god damnit

Recording studio

I finally built a new desk for my studio, and replaced my large 15U rolling rack with an 8U desktop rack. It’s a very nice setup. I have so much music I want to be working on, but, y'know. Pain.

VRChat dev

Because of the lack of working VR setup and the pain I haven’t done much to work on my VRChat projects. Also with the VRChat debacle, I’ve been uncertain how much stuff I should be doing for VRChat specifically, although all of the work I’d been doing should be largely transferable to other engines anyway (since it’s mostly modeling work that should be fairly portable, aside from the particle system in void* which is easy to transport between Unity things — the original thing was on our own Unity-based app, after all — but would almost certainly need to be reimplemented on anything non-Unity).

The gallery space itself was just built from Unity builtin meshes and I kind of want to model a proper space with rooms and usable UV coordinates. I’m at about the level of Blender proficiency where I can do that.

Anyway, because VRChat’s build-and-test cycle absolutely sucks (read: doesn’t even run) on macOS, I decided I should set up a Windows machine in my office. Fortunately, I have an Intel NUC, which I’d bought as a dev server for three jobs ago, and continued to use two jobs ago, but ended up just running personal server stuff after I moved, and keeping the services running on it got more and more annoying so I migrated more and more over to Docker packages on my NAS, so anyway at the end of the day this was an expensive decently-specced machine that was just running Octoprint, and my 3D printer is out of service and I’m replacing it with a better printer that has a built-in print server anyway, so… Yeah, the NUC is now a Windows machine, mostly for running Unity and maybe Blender.

It’s not even remotely powerful enough for running VR on, and my Mac mini is also much better for Blender and texturing work, so it’ll probably only be there for doing Unity integration. But I can also use it for other gamedev tasks that were a bit obnoxious on macOS. So it’ll probably be more useful for that.


To make up for reducing my Linux machine count by 1, I ended up setting up an Elementary OS dual-boot on my Lenovo laptop. Elementary is a nice distribution, but it has a few rough edges. They can be worked around, at least, but for a distribution that’s all about user-friendliness they sure do make it hard to figure out a few things.

I see where they’re coming from with some of their hardline notions on how the UI should be, but completely throwing away the system tray isn’t really feasible given how many Linux apps require one now. So, it’s helpful to work around that.

Also, there’s a lot of audio notifications that are incredibly invasive and annoying and happen even in do-not-disturb mode. The secret to that is to go to the sound preferences and disable “play sound” for event alerts.

I can’t get the email client to talk to my email server. No idea what’s going wrong there, because its error reporting is “friendly.”

I also can’t get alt-shift-up/down to work in Discord for flipping between unread channels. It’s like those key combinations are being eaten by the window manager, but there’s no configured shortcut keys for those things so I have no idea what’s going on. (alt-up/down, for switching between all channels, do work, so I’m pretty sure the issue isn’t with Discord itself.)

Elementary has some nice ideas but I might end up just going back to Windows 11 on this machine. Which is not a sentence I’d have ever thought I’d write.

Oh also: It’s worth noting that Elementary’s initial install doesn’t exactly make it easy to set up a dual-boot; they clearly want people to switch to Elementary entirely. I also find it a bit strange that they make pretty much no mention of it being based on Linux (and really just being Ubuntu with a very specific desktop environment setup). I wonder what long-term game they’re playing here. There were also a few other annoying things with first-time setup, like setting the time zone was much more difficult than it should be; it claims to set automatically “based on location” but no, I am not in UTC…


My house has been overrun with bugs lately. Flies everywhere. It turned out to be that they were breeding in the pots of my coffee plants. For now I’m trying a combination of spraying them with bug spray and powdering them with diatomaceous earth. It sure was “fun” seeing dozens of small millipedes and fly grubs squirm around as they died, I tell you what.

Originally I wanted to just keep them outside during the summer but even this time of year, it gets too cold outside at night for the plants to survive. So, it comes down to managing issues. I should build a greenhouse.

Other plants

Having a yard full of wildflowers is nice, especially when they all bloom. Except, oh right, I’m allergic to basically everything. Oops.

Other stuff

Today after the pottery debacle I decided to at least go to Home Depot and buy stuff to re-stain my deck. $200 and a few hours later, my deck was re-stained (somewhat half-assedly). Then I took a nice nap.

When I woke up I had some notices that some of my websites were throwing a lot of 500-class HTTP errors. Turns out that my server’s Python installation had some jank in it which made an upgrade break everything, and even things like pyenv weren’t really helping. Very annoying.

For now I’ve just switched everything to using the system Python 3.8 (I actually have 3.9 installed but I can’t get poetry to use it for some reason). Python deployment suff is still a bit of a nightmare and sometimes I wish I’d built Publ in PHP after all, despite my misgivings. It’d certainly make it easier for other folks to run.

On that note I should also finally try out Nearly Free Speech for serving Publ.

While diagnosing the Python issues I also saw a whole bunch of system log messages that indicated my computer was trying (and failing) to send spam. After flailing to figure out how anything was getting past my restrictive relay configuration, I finally figured out that my dad’s account had been hacked (because, despite my insisting he not set a weak password, he set a weak password) and my outgoing mail queue had thousands of messages that were just deferred retries. I dropped the deferred mail queue and also deleted all of the unread messages on the account (over 2 GB of spam bounce messages! jfc), because my dad only uses my server for web hosting anyway. I also, of course, reset his password, and if he wants to log in again I will once again insist he use an ssh key and not a password, because he can’t be trusted not to use a six-letter all-lowercase word like he uses literally everywhere1. It’s a wonder his accounts don’t get hacked constantly.

It’s a little annoying that my server is now in a billion RBLs, and also why didn’t anyone, like, email abuse@[my email domain]? Oh well. I use mailgun for my outgoing MTA anyway. There’s one other person who might be impacted by this and I’ll get in touch with them to make sure they’re using a better MTA setup. Linode isn’t great for email deliverability anyway.

Anyway, dealing with all that had me putting off lunch until like 4 PM (which only intensified the anger/hanger), and then I didn’t have dinner until well after 9.


I’m back to getting my coffee via Trade. I just finished up a bag of Common Voice Perennial Decaf which is pretty good, and next up is Alma Slumber which I’m not expecting a lot out of (because in my experience, roasters who make a big deal about how the decaf “lets you sleep” aren’t very good at making decaf). The one after that in my queue is Caffe Vita Novacella Decaf which I have mixed feelings about whether I should skip or not; they’re local to me, and I’ve never been very impressed with their decaf, but the last time I tried it was during their previous ownership and was several years ago so maybe they’re better now? I also don’t think I’ve ever tried their “novacella” blend anyway. So maybe it’s fine, and if I like it, hey, that’s something I can buy locally without needing a subscription. Heck, I can get it while grocery shopping.

Also, you know what’s even better than espresso tonic? Espresso kola.


Theoretically my condo will be selling soon (if my tenant stops dragging her feet on making a formal offer, anyway), and then I will have a lot of money for doing a bunch of projects I’ve been putting off (as well as, you know, basic survival).

In no particular order:

  • New kitchen
  • Backyard workshop/shed
  • Upgrade my recording studio setup; I want a Mac Studio2 and maybe a Presonus Quantum 2626 although my Scarlett 18i8 is working fine, especially now that I have the offboard ADAT ADC. (I’d consider an 18i20 except that’d also require a patchbay to actually make the ports accessible and so that doesn’t really solve any of the issues I have with my current setup.)
  • Facial feminization and/or top surgery
  • A greenhouse

What I’ve been cooking

  • Beans and rice
  • Salmon
  • Meatloaf
  • Something with Hatch green chilis which are fresh at QFC right now, maybe chiles rellenos? I think I’ll make chiles rellenos.
  1. The reason I even know he was still using that fucking password on my server is because some of the non-bounce emails he’d received (which were all addressed to the username at the raw machine name, so it’s not like this would have come from a website breach) were the usual Bitcoin-seeking “here is your password, I caught you looking at porn” scam messages. And the word was something I’d known him to use as his password everywhere else, so why would I be surprised he was using it there too? 

    It’s a wonder that people were only sending out spam on his SMTP account and hadn’t, like, logged in to hack his websites to serve up malware or run a warez server or proxy or whatever (although I also have his sites set to only serve static HTML, no PHP or CGI or the like, so they wouldn’t have had much luck with that anyway).

  2. My current recording machine, a 13" M1 MacBook Pro, is fine, but the lack of Thunderbolt ports has been a problem and it’s kind of unstable with certain things. Also I’d really like it to replace the Lenovo in the living room because its keyboard and UI are so much nicer than the Lenovo’s offerings, and I think that’s been a huge contributor to my current pain issues. 


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