Category: Life

September 9, 2021

Maybe there’s something to it after all.

Interesting that I’m feeling like writing through things again. Two straight days for the first time in what, five years?

I was writing in this “Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You” book and the topic of choosing the harder path came up. Now, for context, I’m currently sick with what I suspect is the flu, but despite this being the third day of it, I’ve managed to accomplish a surprising amount of stuff around the house. I’m doing what I can to dig myself and Diana out of what I would consider a mildly serious state of neglect of the house brought on by parallel depressive episodes. It was in this context that I thought about what the harder road would look like today, and I felt like that was letting go of that momentum and listening to my body and how tired it is.

Of course, I can’t sleep. That would be too convenient. So I’m here instead, reflecting on the concept of self-care.… (More) “Maybe there’s something to it after all.”

May 4, 2020

May the 4th

…be with you, and all that.

There’s been a lot going on but the two biggest things would be that I got a new job, and that I started seeing a psychiatrist. It’s taken a bit of trial and error but I think we’ve hit on at least one useful medication with minimal side effects, something that has been more trouble than it has a right to be. One of the reasons I suspect it’s working is that I’m getting a renewed interest in things that I previously enjoyed, like writing. I have a ways to go and some more motivations I need to pick up, but for the first time in quite a while I feel like my mental health is trending in the right direction. When that’s happening in the face of a global pandemic I think it’s worth a lot more.

 … (More) “May the 4th”

July 12, 2019

Leaving Earth

It was 107 degrees today, and this evening I had the closest thing to a spiritual experience I’ve had in at least 15 years.

My weight as of late has been yo-yoing between “almost there” and “good lord, put the burrito down you absolute unit.” The triggers on both sides of the yo-yo have been really consistent. I will diet, exercise, do all of the stuff you need to do, and make awesome progress. Better than a pound a week in general. This has managed to proceed all the way to about 147 pounds (my first weight goal is 142, the second is 135, and the third is 128, each time stopping to see how I feel at that weight or if I should keep going). Somewhere along the way, I will either get sick or injured. Ankles, knees, shin splints, calf strains, flu bugs; whatever the culprit, I put things on hold. Then the yo-yo starts back up until some thing makes me realize I’ve let it get away from me again.

This time, it was those hard-fought belt loops. I’ve had the same belt for a decade, and this year for the first time I totally ran it out of holes and had it still feel loose. Now, I’ve legitimately been dealing with tendonitis in my right ankle, initially brought on by running for my life after Dad died despite not knowing how to run. That was two years ago now, maybe to the day. It still flares up every few months and then any little aggravation really weakens the stability of the ankle and also hurts like hell. One of those flare-ups put a stop to my newfound, still fledgling interest in distance running. It drove me absolutely crazy, and then it just annoyed me, and then … (More) “Leaving Earth”

January 15, 2018

T.B.D.

I’m so used to balancing good news with bad, that I’ve spent a couple minutes trying to think of bad news.

  • The good news is I’ve made it to 30 in reasonably good health.
  • The good news is I had the best birthday of my life.
  • The good news is we both have stable, well-paying employment.
  • The good news is the bills get paid every month, uneventfully.
  • The good news is I’m working through many issues in my life and I feel like I’m making good progress everywhere.

Now, here’s a thing.

  • The good news is I don’t have a plan at this point.

I really had no plan for what I should be doing at 30. Everything kind of led up to age 29 and stopped. This is a good thing. I’m left with the ability to write my own script, and it’s a feeling I’ve never really had before. I can set my own priorities, set my own goals, and it’s more than that. I can explore the things I’m passionate about, or things I think I would be passionate about if I gave them a try.

Astute readers may point out that I could do that whenever I wanted. I’d argue that’s not true though; there are expectations placed on you from every direction. Right now I think I am meeting or exceeding those remaining expectations from work and home.

There’s a psychological theory called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I don’t recall where I first heard about it, but the idea is that certain needs are more important than others, and as those needs are met, like a pyramid, loftier goals at the top become feasible to work on. The base is physiological needs: Food, Water, Shelter, Clothing. Then you have safety: Personal Security, Financial Security, … (More) “T.B.D.”

December 22, 2017

604 Days Later

Write something.

There’s been no lack of time, opportunity, or content. And yet this is feeling like an immense struggle. I’m having to really pull the words out from myself.

My dad used to read this, it was the way he followed along with what was going on in my life. Learning that he was still following along was first concerning, then comforting.

Dad died on June 22nd, and I suspect that brought the readership numbers back down to zero.

Is it strange to have the wind taken out of your sails thus? That the writing might seem less valuable for lack of an audience? Who am I writing for, here?

I never really thought about an answer to that question.

It’s always been that I just write, and then I’ve written and then it’s over.

You know what, that’s not true. Diana reads this when I update it. In fact, the times that the blog has gone the longest without updates coincides with the absolute lack of people that might give a shit to read it. So that’s interesting. The content doesn’t really change with the readership, but the lack of readership makes this feel like a waste of time.

This is getting a bit easier.

I launched three websites today, and I’ll probably talk about that some other time. But the net result as it relates to this place as a writing space is that I can use it to work through problems and generally heal. The fragrance-related stuff is going to another blog. The sysadmin stuff is going to another blog. The DDR stuff is going to another blog. The diary stuff is…here. And it’s perhaps the sensible way to go about it.

Or it’ll be a huge mistake when some future employer (or, hell, my … (More) “604 Days Later”

September 26, 2016

Terminal Tennis Elbow

Despite best efforts this morning, Diana and I got to the train station later than we hoped. All the open tables were gone, and now I’m using the new MacBook in a position that the Surface Pro was really having trouble with. Huge improvement, and this was just the test it needed with a couple of days to go in the return period.

Normally I’m working on websites in the morning. Honestly, the past few train days it was more planning and getting various tools installed, like Laravel Valet. I decided on two projects, one to be worked on at home and one to be worked on while on the train.

The home project I’m calling Rings, after the Aesop Rock song of the same name. It’s a wheel reinvention, but a necessary one. It is meant to reproduce much of the functionality of the CoreManager package, which is a web package used to manage private World of Warcraft servers. CoreManager does work, but it’s pretty ugly, very insecure, and generally in need of a full rewrite, and I’m happy to give it a try. So far I’ve got the ability to register a new account for the server, and you can log in on Rings and be taken to a dashboard that, currently, doesn’t do squat. But that’s fine, the logon was a heck of a thing to figure out since I had to replace Laravel’s authentication stack with a setup that would work with my WoW server.

The project I’m working on while on the train is called Kirby, also after the Aesop Rock song. This is a project that Diana and I discussed months ago, and was sort of tabled without a resolution. Now that she’s on a new career path, and I’ve had a change … (More) “Terminal Tennis Elbow”

September 16, 2016

Stole a Mac, Call that an Apple Jack

I’ve been out sick for the last two days, and I’m pretty sure whatever I got was contagious because there’s been a ton of people out. It’s been a lot of sitting with the dog, half-watching nature documentaries and half-hoping my head would stop pounding. Not sure what it is, but I feel mostly over it today and I’m mostly just irritated I had to burn two days of sick leave.

Went ahead and grabbed a 13” MacBook Air last night. I was hoping Diana would make use of the Surface Pro 3, but it doesn’t sound like she’s terribly interested, so I’m gonna put it up for sale I guess. I think I’m going to try to get her to use it at least a little bit, see how she likes the stylus and such before committing to that. If she doesn’t want it, it’ll offset almost all of the cost of this machine. Initial impressions are really good, I’m really happy that it’s got an SDXC slot, that simplest route to expandable storage.

I have no regrets about buying the SP3, it was the nicest laptop I’d ever owned, except for its inability to actually sit on a lap. Now that using it in that manner is more and more likely, and given the change in workload, it’s just not the right tool for the job. Not getting hung up on buying new gear to help me either be productive or relax on my own time is important. Diana pointed out that this could be seen as an extension of keeping work at work. I have a very good test lab setup on my computer at the office. There’s no reason anymore to extend that to what I’m doing on what little off-time I am afforded.

I also … (More) “Stole a Mac, Call that an Apple Jack”

September 12, 2016

I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel this chair…

We’ve managed to catch the train for about three weeks straight. Time that I’d spent in the past writing or doing malware research has instead been used to sharpen my web development skills. I don’t have any delusions of grandeur, I’m not looking to change jobs, I just enjoy it and I didn’t like that I’d eliminated it from my life.

Earlier this year, Aesop Rock released a new album, and one of the tracks really connected with me.

The drifting away from the things that you used to enjoy, used to consider part of your fabric of being, part of your soul, and that initially that drifting away was temporary, then a protracted hiatus, then you’re saying “Well, I used to do that.”

I don’t want to overdramatize my love-affair with web-design, but I built my first webpage in 1997. That’s almost 20 years ago. For comparison’s sake, I played guitar from my 13th birthday on to my first semester in college, so about five and a half years. I derive too much enjoyment from it to deny myself of it on some weird professionalism issues.

Whether I’m doing the work for myself or someone else is really secondary to the creation element. I’m learning how to do things the right way in my language of choice, and I’m building little applications that exist only on this tablet I’m writing from. They’re built for an audience of one, and they do exactly what I need, and want, and nothing more or less. At some point I’ll expand that scope, but making peace with the fact that I enjoy it for the sake of creation, has been useful. I’m not getting hung-up on justifying the hobby with being able to monetize it. If I come up with a million-dollar idea, … (More) “I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel this chair…”

August 18, 2016

It’s been a little bit, hasn’t it?

Today has Diana and I both taking the train instead of driving to work, a statement that indicates how much has transpired over the intervening months.

Diana’s job search concluded successfully in late June. She’s working with me again, in Santa Fe. Her desk is about a 30-second walk from mine. It’s a significant pay raise, plus a full 40 hours a week. Combine the effects of both and her pay has doubled. But so far, from my position, it’s well more than double the work for double the pay. It’s been a bit difficult to watch. Even if the last job was overall a crappy gig, she was at least able to largely leave work at work. That hasn’t happened with any consistency since. She tells me not to worry about it. That’s, uh, difficult.

With the increase in pay, as well as the fact that we’re now both commuting, I insisted that we get an apartment in Santa Fe to reduce commute time, while we try to find a house. We put a deposit down on a really nice 2-bed deal north of the city, and the house search began again in earnest as we waited for a spot at the apartments to open up. Then I made a mistake, or so I called it at the time.

I saw what houses go for in Albuquerque.

Diana and I will occasionally go to a good-sized park a couple miles away. It’s got a tennis court, basketball hoops, and a nice big area for the dog. It’s a good combination of open and shady. It’s a really nice park.

I could get a 4-bedroom monster of a home, with a front door that faces that park, for less than a dilapidated 1-bedroom in Santa Fe. Seriously. There’d be enough … (More) “It’s been a little bit, hasn’t it?”

June 23, 2016

It’s Been a Long Time Coming

I got to disclose the SNSLocker ransomware fully to the FBI last Friday. I caught a late break in research when someone pointed me to a software package that could decompile the virus, reversing it back to source code. So I was able to give them the attacker’s name, age, email address, IP address, password, and the source code to the virus, website, and database. They were quite impressed, and now I’ve got a point of contact there where I can quickly disclose just about anything going forward, and said agent will also be able to quickly acquire warrants to put us on the right side of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. I meet with them again in three weeks, and in the meantime I’m going to do a partial disclosure on bluesoul.me going over the tactics used.

One thing I was not factoring in while becoming more active: Becoming more tired, which leads to sleeping later, which leads to missing the train. I missed it for quite nearly two solid weeks. It’s cost me one badly cracked windshield from being on the interstate so much more. Sorry about that.

On the health front, things are going quite well. If I wasn’t drinking quite so much water, I might have a better idea of what I actually weigh right now. I got below 170 quickly, but since then I’ve hovered right around it. However, with logging food on the Fitbit app I can get a rough idea of how much fat has burned off. And I can feel a difference physically; squishy parts are becoming less so, my calves have put on a lot of muscle mass. That thing I said about hitting 10,000 steps for three out of three days, when I’d only hit it once in the … (More) “It’s Been a Long Time Coming”