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Days of our Lives

Being unemployed is pretty great. I’m getting way more stuff done now than when I was being paid to do things.

It’s amazing how not having an 8-hour soul-sucking void every day leaves me with plenty of energy to do stuff that I enjoy doing.

For example, I’m having great time gardening (well, cultivating a meadow, really), doing pottery, and generally enjoying my life. This has had other great effects, like my kitchen is the cleanest it’s been since filming Lo-Fi Beats to Grind Coffee To, and I’m having the energy to work on music and open source stuff again (including Publ).

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A virtually good time

On Sunday I finally broke down and bought a Meta Quest 2. I’m not thrilled with having a Facebook-controlled device strapped to my face, but it’s a pretty decent bit of hardware and is an all-in-one setup that is way cheaper than most headsets, and doesn’t require me to upgrade my PC GPU (which is still a bit too expensive). And on the plus side it can also be used as a tethered headset, when I’m ready to finally upgrade my GPU.

Anyway, with all that out of the way, I’m having a lot of fun. VRChat is a fun experience, at least if you ignore most of the awful people in public spaces. (I’m fluffycritter there if anyone wants to friend me and hang out in non-public spaces.) And I’m thoroughly enjoying Beat Saber as well. It’s a heck of a fun workout, and even though I’ve only been playing for a couple days I’m already holding my own in online play. But then again, I’ve always had an affinity for rhythm games.

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Exit stage left

It’s time I sling the baskets off this overburdened horse
Sink my toes into the ground and set a different course
Cause if I were here and you were there
I’d meet you in between
And not until my dying day, confess what I have seen.

— Phish, The Horse

I’m finally doing something I should have done at least a decade ago: I am no longer going to try to be a software engineer professionally. I’m not sure what’s coming next, but hopefully it’ll be a much better life for me.

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Pottery class

Today I had my pottery lesson at Rain City Clay, namely their “sip and spin” crash-course to wheel throwing.

A while ago I’d bought a cheap learner’s wheel and while I’d had some fun trying to self-teach on it, I couldn’t quite figure out a few basic things, particularly centering, which is, y'know, pretty important. And it turns out there’s a lot of other basic stuff that I didn’t learn by watching a lot of The Great Pottery Throw Down either! Like how to test the bottom thickness, among other things.

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Stepmania in 120Hz

A bit before I got sick I finally upgraded my home theater receiver, to a Denon AVR-S760H, mostly to finally get HDMI 2 support so that I could finally get 4K video from my connected devices (especially my Playstation 4).

As an obvious bonus, this means I can also run my connected Windows PC at 4K. Its GPU (a 1050Ti) isn’t quite up to snuff for that for gaming, though, although having desktop and web browsing at 4K is quite nice.

Stepmania defaults to running in a borderless window instead of proper fullscreen, though, and so even though it only internally renders at 1080p, it then tries to upscale to 4K, and gets very laggy as a result. Running at native 4K isn’t really any slower, at least, but it’s stil laggy and unplayable.

However, I discovered that if I set the fullscreen mode to exclusive, then setting the resolution to 1080p unlocks much higher framerates, up to 120Hz, because my TV supports VRR and 120Hz. (Ostensibly it supports this on 4K as well, although Stepmania didn’t offer this configuration, likely due to my GPU.)

So anyway, Stepmania at 120Hz is ridiculously smooth — almost uncanny in its smoothness. It also makes steps register with much greater precision, and I’m actually surprised at how much more responsive the game as a whole feels now.

It still does nothing to help me with my cough or fatigue, though. But it was still nice to play for a little bit.

Bleh

Since a couple folks have asked, I’m still the same as the other day, which is to say, tired, with a mild cough and pretty bad fatigue. I’m actually able to get some work done, though.

Also, yesterday I finally got a positive COVID test, although the T line was extremely faint. But at least now I know these tests aren’t completely worthless, even if it only told me what I already knew and well in retrospect.

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Post-COVID fatigue

So, I was worried about having “long COVID” and/or protracted amounts of fatigue after this, and, unfortunately, that’s come to pass. I had pretty bad fatigue leading up to the respiratory symptoms, but in this week since the worst of the cough subsided, it’s been even worse. I’m constantly tired and fatigued and I have a bad headache that just won’t go away, and I’m barely able to do things that I need to do, much less the things I want to do.

This past weekend I did end up assembling the drum kit like I said I would, and that took a lot out of me. I played the kit for a few minutes and it was more than I could really handle. Then I decided to work on some other music, and I could barely press down on the strings on my bass, and had to stop after just a couple minutes. I tried playing guitar instead, and that was just as bad.

And the next day my body felt like I’d run a marathon or something.

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(Probable) COVID, one week post-symptom-onset

It’s now been one week since the respiratory symptoms started on what I’m still about 98% certain is COVID-19, despite the lack of a positive test.

The worst of the respiratory symptoms only lasted a few days, with the cough having mostly cleared up by Wednesday. I’m still coughing somewhat, though, and I continue to be fatigued much more than usual for me.

Being vaxxed and boosted certainly helped a lot, but it wasn’t a complete preventative. Also given my fatigue levels I can’t help but worry about long COVID on top of my already deep-seated chronic issues.

I did feel well enough to go out for a little bit today, as I had a package which I had to bring to the post office to refuse (long story which will get its own blog entry eventually, maybe). I was only in the post office for maybe 30 seconds and I double-masked, of course. Afterwards I also popped into the grocery store (still double-masked) to get a snack.

Given my negative test results and my triple-vaccination status I’m apparently at very low risk of spreading it to anyone else, but given how “low risk” it was for me to get it in the first place I’m still being cautious. And of course I’m not exactly feeling up to being around people anyway. I might still make a regular grocery trip this weekend, though. As nice as getting them delivered was, I need to do things outside of the house just for my own sanity. Maybe I could do the curbside pickup thing. I dunno.

This weekend I plan on finally setting up my new drum kit, although that will also require a lot more organizing of my basement and that feels like maybe more than I can handle right now. I also want to play DDR again but that also feels impossible.

Maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow.

Dish Dragon

⭐️ Dish Dragon

Dish Dragon is an interesting site where you tell it one or more ingredients that you have available and it recommends recipes to make with it. Pretty handy if, like me, you tend to accumulate a lot of ingredients with good intention but then never know what to actually cook for dinner. Great for meal planning and so on.

(via u/perpetual_stew on Reddit)

Illness status

Wow, yesterday I wasn’t doing so good. So much so that I forgot to actually git push that last entry, whoops.

Anyway. I slept for about 12 hours, and woke up feeling somewhat better. My cough is mostly cleared up, and the headache and fatigue that’s been affecting me for the past week or so is mostly gone as well.

I still took it easy, and also out of an abundance of caution I took advantage of QFC’s grocery delivery service, which was a pretty decent experience. Not something I’d do normally and not a thing I intend to keep on doing, but, y'know. It was helpful in this circumstance.

My refrigerator is well-stocked, at least, although I still don’t have much of an appetite. I’ve mostly been subsisting on crackers, seltzer, and cranberry juice.

I continue to test negative on at-home rapid tests. Given the symptoms I was experiencing as well as the timeline I have a hard time believing it wasn’t COVID, though. I know the at-home rapid tests only register for a certain viral load (which is pretty high with the current variants), and I’ve heard rumblings that the primer used for PCR tests is also very outdated at this point as well.

I absolutely credit the vaccine with keeping me from getting worse, though, and if you haven’t been vaccinated at this point and are able to be, please reconsider. If I hadn’t been vaccinated this would have definitely gone much worse for me, and also, please try to stop the spread, y'know?

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Test result: negative

Today I got a PCR test. It came back negative.

I’m still sick with something, though, and the symptoms are to the letter COVID symptoms. I wonder how trustworthy PCR tests are these days.

Sick again

I seem to be sick again. I’m not quite sure what it is, but I was exposed to COVID quite a lot two weeks ago (confirmed exposure at the office, probable unreported exposure at the hotel, not to mention all the other places where people have gone totally lax with distancing and face covering because I guess everyone’s given up on everything now) and a two-week incubation time is still not unheard of. Tests come back negative but apparently the current variants have a huge false-negative rate on the at-home tests.

Basically I’ve had a persistent headache and extreme fatigue (like, way more than usual for me, which is saying a lot) for the last week or so, and now I have a painful cough and it hurts to breathe sometimes. Robitussin and albuterol are helping, and I have a stash of promethazine if it comes down to it.

(Gosh I wish the war on opioids didn’t make promethazine so hard to come by…)

Even if what I have isn’t COVID-19, so many people around me are still getting it. This pandemic is far from over and I wish people would keep taking it seriously, and I wish people had been taking it seriously to begin with. Maybe if everyone had done their part to stamp it out, we wouldn’t be in this mess right now.

It sure would also be nice if Pfizer et al had actually kept their mRNA up to date like they said they would, and if the rapid tests were updated to cover new variants as they emerge. And if fucking Bill Gates hadn’t convinced the US government and WHO to not require vaccine stockpiles to be shared globally, so that maybe the breeding grounds for new variants might have not been quite so effective.

This was not a time for half measures.

IndieWeb + Tumblr = 💜

The other day, several IndieWeb developers (including me) got messaged by Tumblr’s COO about them searching for contractors to work on Tumblr-IndieWeb integration. I had to decline due to already being overextended and not really having the spoons or bandwidth to take on this work, but I offered to be available as a resource for high-level conceptual stuff, at the very least.

I’ve written a few bits over on Tumblr about my thoughts on how Tumblr can (and should) become an IndieWeb provider, and I am ecstatic that Tumblr is taking steps in this direction. I think that opening up IndieWeb to a wider audience is absolutely a good thing, and Tumblr is one of the best-positioned providers to make this a reality. In particular, Tumblr’s culture is incredibly IndieWeb-compatible, and rejects the idea that lock-in and monetization are the end goals of any social space.

I have some thoughts about how things can/should possibly work, although keep in mind that there’s absolutely a lot I don’t know about how Tumblr works under the hood. So this is going to be in extremely broad strokes.

(It’s also extremely a midnight rantle, so be warned if you’re expecting a useful technical discussion here.)

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