Closure

2022/04/06 6:01 PM 2 months ago

It has been over 10 years since the person so many of us knew as Findra passed away. I haven’t spoken much about them or the circumstances of this horrible, tragic event, which has filled me with so many complex emotions for so long, and these feelings have been destroying me. I know that Findra would not want me to be suffering in this way.

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Ketamine 3.6

2022/04/05 9:06 PM 2 months ago

Oh yeah, another thing I keep forgetting to mention is that when I feel the ketamine really kick in, it feels like the death part of a death poop from hell. Like, everything is just… ending, and I feel it first in my hands and feet and then it’s a wave that just washes over me.

It also reminds me a lot of a time back in 2005 when I got severely dehydrated and passed out on the sidewalk and got a mild concussion, like I felt like I was dead and that’s okay, everything was calm and peaceful and quiet.

The transition from waking/conscious to ego-death is a bit jarring but once you get there it’s quite lovely. The return to reality can be pretty rough though.

Ketamine 3.5

2022/04/05 3:02 PM 2 months ago

Yesterday’s infusion left me feeling a lot more wobbly than usual today, but it was also a huge increase in dose. I ended up going to Taco Bell for lunch since it’s the only place within walking distance (EDIT: not actually the only place in walking distance but the quickest and easiest option for food near my home that I don’t have to prepare myself), and I decided to get a lunch combo, and in my haze I decided to make my drink Mountain Dew Baja Blast, which is rather high in caffeine.

So, on the minus side, I now have the strongest caffeine headache I’ve had in about 10 years when I first had to go cold turkey on it.

But on the plus side it’s just a caffeine headache, and not a panic attack!

I think this is evidence that the ketamine treatments are working, and maybe this means I’ll be able to go back on Adderall when this is all over with.

I don’t know if this has done anything for my chronic pain just yet, but those things are so interrelated anyway. So this is pretty promising in any case.

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Ketamine day 3

2022/04/04 8:22 PM 2 months ago

Today was my third ketamine infusion. It was intensely cozy.

Commonalities with previous infusions:

  • Felt like I was a tiny speck and that all of spacetime was collapsing down into this liminal space that I was part of
  • I do have a physical body but it’s indistinct from everything around it
  • Lots of trees
  • Surrounded by fractals
  • Everything is impermanent and any fears about me dying were quickly dispelled by me feeling like the universe is fine and all grief is transitory
  • Everything is so out of order and I wish I could bring a video recorder inside with me so that I can review it later and share it with others
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An open letter to Gov. Jay Inslee

2022/04/04 2:05 PM 2 months ago

I have some concerns about the way that taxes are being levied against owners of electric vehicles.

I have recently acquired a used Nissan Leaf to replace my internal-combustion engine vehicle. I opted to do this replacement specifically because I don’t drive particularly much, and I wanted to reduce my environmental impact primarily for maintaining a vehicle that I only drive minimally.

It is very rare that I drive even 1000 miles in any particular year, and usually it’s more on the order of 250-500 miles. As such, I was typically buying around $50 worth of fuel in a year, as an upper estimate.

So imagine my surprise when I got my first car registration tab, and was on the hook for $150/year in a gas tax offset! Given that the Washington State gas tax is assessed at a rate of around 13% of the cost of fuel, that’s a personal increase of around 2200% for me.

On top of that, the additional $75/year surcharge for building and maintaining more EV infrastructure is a bit shortsighted. I definitely believe that EV infrastructure should be developed, but it should be as an incentive for people to switch to EVs — meaning that it should be assessed to drivers of internal-combustion vehicles, not those of us who have already invested in making the switch. Or, at the very least, should be applied to the vehicle registration fees for everyone.

This infrastructure fee is even more concerning when the proposed charging costs will be the same as the commercial stations, the reason given being that they do not want to compete with private enterprise. In that case, why even bother providing a public infrastructure option, instead of simply encouraging more private charging stations to open up, or encouraging individuals to make their infrastructure available to others on services such as PlugShare?

The current tax structure is actually disincentivizing people from making a switch to electric vehicles, and only puts even more of a burden on those of us who have decided to help the planet.

Just to be clear, I do absolutely agree that those of us with EVs need to pay our fair share in maintaining road infrastructure. But it needs to be a fair share.

Thank you for your consideration.

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Ruixin knife sharpener

2022/04/01 10:21 PM 2 months ago

Lately on Facebook I’ve seen a lot of ads for a knife sharpening system, particularly one being advertised as by “Wasabi knives.” I was interested in the product, but not $120 interested… but it turns out that all of them are just rebrands of the one by Ruixin Pro, which is a much more palatable price. I paid around $30 for mine, but the price has further dropped to $20, although it seems to vary a lot over time.

Anyway. After a couple of ordering issues (due to my payment not going through) and then a bit of a wait for shipping direct from China, my sharpener finally arrived.

I’ve sharpened all my knives with it now, and I think it’s pretty good! There’s a few things to watch out for, though.

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Ketamine day 2

2022/03/31 11:53 PM 2 months ago

Had my second infusion today. Higher dose, but it was a lot more cozy. Felt like everything is temporary and that I was a tiny speck in an infinite universe, and the universe is okay and I’m glad to be in it.

While things were starting out I realized I’d forgotten to put my phone into do not disturb mode and I was able to direct the meat puppet to ask the nurse to set it, and that worked well. The meat puppet was also able to take the shoes off when they were feeling uncomfortable.

Playlist was Ambienteer - Arrival followed by some Bonobo which started up just as the trip was ending.

This definitely gives me a different relationship with my body.

Anyway the euphoria has worn off and my pain is back. Oh well.

Banned in the UAE

2022/03/31 1:55 AM 2 months ago

The other day I discovered that my site is banned in the UAE on the basis of “pornography.” The national filter criteria are pretty fascinating, and now I am on a mission to get banned for as many categories as I can with a single blog post! So, here we go.

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Some vague thoughts about ketamine

2022/03/31 12:07 AM 2 months ago

I had my first (of six) ketamine infusions yesterday. It was at a lower dose, mostly to see how I respond to it.

The actual experience was very interesting. Because of the combination of sensory deprivation and the ketamine itself, my sensory experience was limited to what I could directly feel around me, which mostly meant feeling the inside of my mouth with my tongue, and to a much lesser extent feeling the chair I was pressed into. So I sort of felt like my “universe” was the inside of my body, but also a void of nothingness.

I felt like my body was dissolving away and was everything and nothing at the same time, and that my self in the “real world” had ceased to be and that was also okay.

The music I chose had a very strange effect. Many of the sounds were very vocal-adjacent and I felt like they were literally speaking to me, with words I couldn’t understand. For my next session I’m going to use something more abstract and ambient, probably Ambienteer’s work.

During the experience I felt like the universe was infinite and infinitesimal at the same time, like everything is nothing and vice-versa. I kept bringing back my litany to stay grounded and intentional: “I am here to reduce pain, reduce agony, and increase comfort.”

Much of it reminded me of one of my early experiences with cannabis.

At the time I felt like I experienced something extremely profound, and that it would give me plenty to think about. But my cynicism has set in and I’m not feeling like it was life-altering, just that it’s the random nerve firings that happen when a big chunk of the brain is shut off. Ketamine treatments are supposed to work by “helping to create new neural pathways” and I’m still optimistic that repeated treatments and increased dosages will maybe have a beneficial effect.

When I woke up today I had the lowest level of pain I’d had in decades. But as soon as I started working, the flare came right back.

But the lowest level of pain in decades is nothing to sneeze at, and maybe it’s a preview of things to come.

I just hope it’ll all be worth it. This is taking both a lot of time and money, and so far feels like it’s just an excuse to trip balls while calling it “medicine.”

But if this doesn’t work I have no idea what the fuck I’m gonna do.

The frustration of continued existence

2022/03/28 11:43 PM 2 months ago

My week off from work felt great. But I’m still having difficulty actually focusing at work. I have a bunch of paths of exploration to examine but none of them feel, y'know, right right now.

Meanwhile, my house continues to be a bit more work than I expected. On the plus side, I’ve successfully murdered my lawn and vastly improved my garden and started up my nice meadow. On the minus side, my heating bill is through the roof (literally) and I’ve been getting bids for finally improving the house insulation. So far I’ve had three bids which went thusly:

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Back home

2022/03/25 4:26 PM 2 months ago

I made it back home today. My cats were briefly happy to see me, then insistent that what they really missed was going outside. Okay, then.

A thing occurred to me the other day: driving in a Nissan Leaf, especially on the highway, feels less like driving and more like piloting. It’s a very different feeling for me. And I like it.

Also ProPILOT made the whole thing way less stressful and I never want a car without at least level 2 self-driving ever again.

Port Angeles II, day 4

2022/03/24 9:59 PM 2 months ago

The weather forecast for today was pretty dismal, but it was also wrong. I took a drive out to the Madison Creek Falls to have a nice low-intensity hike. It turns out the Falls trail is incredibly short, but there’s another longer set of trails (service roads, actually) that follow the Elwha river quite some ways. And that was a lovely walk.

A funny thing happened when I went back to my car, though: I went up to what I thought was my car but then had a “wait what’s going on?” moment when its interior was beige fabric instead of black leather. For several seconds I was actually thinking that maybe I’d forgotten what the upholstery on my car looked like… and then I realized that it was someone else’s black, second-generation Leaf. Oops.

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Port Angeles II day 3

2022/03/23 7:11 PM 2 months ago

Today the weather in Port Angeles was absolutely beautiful and I couldn’t enjoy any of it because I was stuck inside with a migraine all day.

Port Angeles II, day 2

2022/03/22 10:29 PM 2 months ago

Last night I didn’t sleep very well because of asthma issues due to the fabric softener the AirBnB host used. So this morning I did a load of laundry and sent a suggestion to the host about not using fragrant fabric softener; she apologized for it and said that normally she gets fragrance-free but her wife had picked up the wrong stuff and she didn’t want to waste it. Not a huge deal, at least.

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Giving vinyl another shot

2022/03/17 4:09 PM 2 months ago

Several years ago I tried using Qrates to do a pressing of Refactor. Unfortunately it didn’t hit the minimum preorder size, so the project was canceled.

Recently someone at Qrates reached out to me and was enthusiastic about the idea of me giving it another try, and since Lo-Fi Beats to Grind Coffee To has somewhat broader appeal, I decided to give it another shot.

So, if you would be so kind as to visit the Qrates crowdfunding page and maybe even consider buying a copy or two or ten, it would be greatly appreciated.