Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Category: Life (Page 2 of 129)

I Can’t Think Of A Cleverly Witty Title For This One

One night back in early June I woke up in pain. My foot was sending shooting pains up my leg. It freaked me out to the point of going online and researching symptoms online, which is always such a great idea, right? Yeah. Of course the first thing I saw was something I worked hard to dismiss because, hey, self-diagnosis online is a whole entire thing where people freak out without the medical knowledge to know better.

The actually-smart thing I did that night was resolve to get myself an actual primary care physician so I could talk to a professional about this pain & numbness & so forth going on in my feet.

A couple weeks later, I met my new doctor. We had a nice chat, I got my vaccines updated, and I was directed to get a “fast lab” (well named, it was quick and it involved not eating for nine hours beforehand). One thing and another ensued with work and such which meant I didn’t get around to visiting the clinic to get the lab done until… this morning.

By late afternoon the results started coming in on the Providence “MyChart” website. At least, the good results started coming in…

Shortly after the end of the work day my doctor called me up to say, “yeah, you’re pretty clearly diabetic, and now it’s time to do some follow up tests and also get you started on medication ASAP.”

So. That’s my new life now. There’s a clear demarcation between this reality and the old one, and today’s that day.


Media Archiving Day

Did you know that a DVD case, placed label-up oriented across the width, fits perfectly in a comic book longbox? Until today I did not.

The problems with being an avid consumer of media are cost & storage. Over the decades I slowly accumulated a whole lot of books and DVDs and (more recently) Blu Ray discs and manga. What I have not accumulated is rooms in which to place shelving. Yesterday I looked around at the increasing piles of things that wouldn’t fit anywhere and decided it’s time for some archiving.

Books I don’t want to get rid of but know I won’t be reading again soon? In a box, out in the storage closet. Old comic books that were problematic-at-best when I bought them and have absolutely not held up well? Recycling. DVDs I don’t want to get rid of but I don’t need ready access to? Oh hey, look at that comic book longbox I just freed up.

I took the opportunity to get all the DVDs into Libib, thus completing the “shiny platter” portion of cataloguing my media library. (Discogs has the music, Libib has the video content and some of the manga. I haven’t decided if I’m going to fully bail from Goodreads yet so the books & manga sections are incomplete.)

Sure, there’s a “shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic” quality to all of this, but I feel better now that I’ve done something, so hey, whatever.

Summer Solstice 2020 Check-In

Now that we’re past the three month mark of this work-from-home stay-at-home wear-a-mask hope-for-survival situation, how am I doing?

Eh. In some ways I’m handling it better than at first. The routine is routine, and I really only get anxiety spikes when I have to go out and do grocery shopping, which is once a week or so. In some ways I’m falling apart, as I’m not getting nearly the walking-around exercise that I used to. (While I carpooled most days, a few times per week I could expect to need to take the train to or from work due to circumstances. Fifteen minutes of walking paired with ten minutes on the train, one direction or the other.) There’s also the fact that some parts of me may be falling apart more aggressively than others, which is why I’m going through the bewildering, frustrating process of lining up a doctor. Er, I’m sorry, that’s “primary care physician.”

George Carlin had things to say about taking simple terms and changing them into polysyllabic mush.

Let’s see… what else have I been up to? Mostly I’m trying to distract my brain with shiny things, which I shall recommend unto you:

  • Reading: I picked up the new Martha Wells “Murderbot” story, Network Effect, which is every bit as good as the other Murderbot installments. I picked up Myke Cole’s Sixteenth Watch, a near-future military-sci-fi yarn with a stellar cast of characters I want to see more stories about, please and thank you. John Scalzi’s The Last Emperox wraps up its trilogy in grand & dramatic style complete with a couple of genuine surprises. Seanan McGuire’s Imaginary Numbers is another solid entry in the InCryptid line, picking up the story of Sarah Zellaby, who featured prominently in earlier installments and gets her own focused arc now. Dipping my toe further into the imported light novels scene, I bought the first installment of both My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead To Doom and Rascal Does Not Dream Of Bunny Girl Senpai due to my enjoyment of the anime shows they inspired.
  • Gaming: I bought Fire Emblem: Three Houses for the Switch months ago and finally hunkered down to start playing. It’s good! Who knew? I bought the “early access” for Torchlight III which is… in early access, yeah. Hooboy. On mobile it’s mostly the Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross hero-collector “gacha” game, which is easily one of the best looking such titles yet. (I have… issues… with the source material but damn it makes for a great game scenario.)
  • Watching: The aforementioned Next Life As A Villainess is a dorky, ridiculous, low-budget fluffy bit of anime and I love it to pieces. We’re working our way through the new Fruits Basket series as well, hoping COVID-related delays don’t ruin the prospect of finally getting a complete rendition of the story. I re-watched the Bunny Girl Senpai series after the boxed set arrived on my doorstep; it holds up to a repeat viewing just fine, and that convinced me to pre-order the movie Blu Ray (which just shipped). Speaking of movies on Blu Ray, I now own a couple of this years GKIDS releases, White Snake and Promare, both of which are gorgeous in their own ways. Most of the rest of my viewing time is taken up by documentary shows on CuriosityStream which is proving to be a well-spent few dollars per month. (There’s a New Zealand show with a bit of a Mythbusters flair called “Nigel Latta Blows Stuff Up” that I got a big kick out of.)
  • Listening: Our household is on a huge Sawano Hiroyuki kick, with the common music library adding the latest 3-disc SawanoHiroyuki[nZk] collection boxed set as well as several soundtracks (Seven Deadly Sins, Promare, and so on). I’m also glad that the year started out with a solid Mono Inc album release, The Book of Fire, as well as a new Pet Shop Boys record worth owning, Hotspot. Now we just need that crowdfunded Assemblage 23 record to arrive…

So there you go, if nothing else I may have pointed you toward something entertaining to help get you through all of this.

Daunt say “lazy”

Another month without posts, another month without making any progress on either of the hobbies I was working on.

Look, let’s just agree that trying to carry on with creative endeavors under these shelter-in-place conditions is a daunting challenge and leave it at that. Right now I’m just glad that I haven’t completely lost my mind. My big fear now is of a hellish summer, both in terms of the virus and in terms of heat. Ugh.

I hope you all get through this okay.

The Coronavirus Lockdown Blues

Forget all the things we were going to do, all there is now is what little we can do in the time and space we have.

The original plan, of course, was to get back to working on something to do with Blender 3D and the ducks. Then my computer started misbehaving, so I can’t trust it to do renders. Another plan was to get out and do more hiking. Then the stay-at-home order arrived (shortly after my employers issued a work-from-home order). And so on, and so on. At this point we’re simply glad that we stocked up on toilet paper before the hoarders took over the grocery stores.

I barely leave my room anymore. It’s where I work, has been for a couple of weeks now, and where I play, since listening to music and playing games and whatnot (such as my ailing machine permits) involves the computer that’s at a desk in my room. This is really adding insult to injury since I was stuck in my room back in February when I came down with a cold, then I was mostly stuck in my room during my birthday stay-cation.

Am I getting tired of these five walls? Oh yes, yes I am.

But the alternative is being reckless and getting myself sick, or worse, getting someone else sick. So here I remain, with a lovely view out my window of the apartment building across the parking lot.

I hope you’re all doing well, friends.

Two Loaves For The Price Of Two

Instead of focusing on three dimensional digital fakery, I decided on my recent vacation to spend some time focusing on three dimensional edible foodstuffs. That’s right, it was time to try my hand again at making fresh homemade bread. I used a different recipe (sorry, “formula”) from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, my guiding tome. Lesson learned from the first go-around: Don’t be so knead-y.

Here’s how that panned out.

Pictured: Measured ingredients for making a couple loaves of bread

Ingredients: Assemble!

I started at six thirty in the morning on the last day of my vacation, the day after the DST change no less, because I had a movie I wanted to see shortly after noon. A madman I may be, but I’ve always worked best to a deadline.

Last time, my inaugural breadmaking foray, I over-kneaded the dough and it was a bit dry besides, so the final product came out a bit on the dense side. I did not make that mistake again, though I overbalanced a bit and ended up with too sticky of dough for a while. Luckily when I added some flour to fix the consistency I didn’t go overboard.

Pictured: A bowl containing a blob of dough.

Arise, my doughy mass, arise!

One nice thing about this hobby is that a large percentage of the time spent making bread involves waiting for proofing (rising) stages to complete. This meant that I could read, goof off a bit, and take care of other chores.

Pictured, blurrily: Two loaves' worth of dough in their baking pans

One of the minor miracles of this project? I managed to get a nearly even split of the dough into two loaves.

That (somewhat blurry) photo above shows another of the problems with this attempt: The instructions call for spraying oil lightly atop the loaves, but all I had available was a silicone brush so there’s a fair bit more oil on those things than actually intended. Whoops.

Pictured: Two damned fine loaves of bread if I do say so myself, which I do.

Two plain loaves of boring white bread, but they’re MY plain loaves of boring white bread. I did that!

I can’t complain about the results, though. Not one bit.

Lessons learned from this go-around: Get an oil misting bottle instead of using a brush, and have a small amount of flour and water on hand during kneading in case things get too sticky or too dry, respectively. Other than that? All’s well that ends deliciously.

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