It’s my birthday

… my first one without my mom. 44. And, frankly, it has already been a rough day and I’ve only been up for about an hour. I didn’t get to sleep until about 2:30 in the morning last night because I couldn’t shut my brain down.

Every time I say things like “I probably won’t be around much today,” it leads to a 6,000-word essay, but it’s still pretty likely that I won’t be around much today.

In which this is happening

Before I get into this: it is definitely darker in here. Turns out the reason is obvious; the corner of the room is gonna be darker than the middle. So I need a touch more light in here, one way or another.

I made an appointment yesterday; I’m having LASIK surgery on July 13th.

Am I fucking terrified? Why, yes, why would you ask? That said, intellectually I’m pretty certain it’s going to be fine; everyone who has told me they had the procedure has had either no regrets at all or, at the worst, some complaints about floaters and night driving. I expect that in ten to fifteen years I’ll probably be back in reading glasses and that’s okay so long as I can do things like see in the shower in the meantime; I dropped the soap today (shut up) and it took me a ridiculous amount of time to find it again because I was blind as a fucking bat. That sort of thing happens all the time but now that I’m scheduled to have something done about it I resent the hell out of it.

I did find one site dedicated to The Evils Of LASIK that was absolutely screaming This Was Written by Conspiracy Theorists; I don’t know if that’s a web theme or what but even the layout of the page was loudly hollering that I should disregard everything they had to say.

It’ll be fine. I expect an epic blog post out of it, but it’ll be fine.

In other news, I’ve been writing all morning, but not on a story– I’ve been putting together a D&D session for my wife and son this weekend. It’s a basic dungeon crawl that I’m basically tossing in as an add-on to a session from their Essentials kit; I’m thinking about posting it to Patreon when I’m done if that’s something you might be interested in. We’ll see how the session goes.


2:49 PM, Friday June 26: 2,444,483 confirmed cases and about to set the third “most cases in a single day” record in three days, and 124,732 Americans dead.

In which I rearrange

Supposedly the governor is going to be releasing some sort of plan on what’s going to be happening with the schools this fall on July 1, which is– Jesus— next week. I expect two things from this plan: first, that it will, in some way, have us returning to our buildings as scheduled in August, and second, that it will be thrown overboard as things continue to get worse– because one of the iron-clad rules of the last several years is nothing ever gets better— and we will not, in fact, return. Disney World just cancelled plans to reopen, y’all; we’re going nowhere.

This means that I need to start thinking about taking virtual education a bit more seriously than I did last grading period, because we got thrown into that with no planning. I have the rest of the summer to get set up properly for this, and one of the first things I needed to do was set up my office better for recording lots of videos. The desk used to be against the wall that has the diplomas on it, right under the diplomas; as a result it showed the entire rest of the room whenever I was on camera, and I got into the habit of starting any video I recorded for the kids with the words “Welcome back to my filthy office!”

I spent the morning shoving furniture around. The white table behind the desk used to be against the low window to the right of my desk, and used to be against it the long way; in addition, the small file cabinet with the printer on it used to be basically where my chair is and there was a taller file cabinet in the corner. That tall file cabinet is basically immediately to the right of the picture, off-screen.

Advantages of the new layout:

  • It gives me more work space. Even if I don’t have to shoot a lot of videos next fall, all that desk area behind me is going to make things like organizing papers for grading a lot easier. I need to keep it clean, granted, but I’m sure I can do that. Really.
  • The image the camera on my desktop now sees is this:
  • That’s a lot cleaner, and the other advantage of the desk is if I end up using something like a green screen or a stand-up whiteboard to explain things I have the table space for it. Right now the camera is pointed a little lower than I want it to be, but that’s literally just a matter of reaching my arm out to my desktop and tilting it upward. Huge improvement.
  • I can actually reach my Goddamned printer now; with where it was before, the white table and the file cabinets were really tight, and getting to my printer to turn it on or get paper off of it was actually a pain in the ass. So was getting stuff out of the file cabinets. Access to all of those things is now much better.
  • Speaking of access to things, I can actually open the low window now. It was behind the table before; I couldn’t reach it to open it.
  • I could do this before, but I just learned about it: I can stream the PS4 to my desktop. It appears to work pretty damn well, too, which means if I want to I can play games in here without taking over what is basically the only TV in the house. It also means that when I want to play the occasional game that I don’t want the boy exposed to I can do it without waiting for him to go to bed. Again, I could do this before I rearranged, but I just learned about it so it feels like a new thing.

So that’s all a lot better. There are a few disadvantages, but they’re not a huge deal:

  • Lighting. As you can see from the webcam picture, even with the light on in the room and both the windows open, in broad daylight, my current webcam (which is the internal one on the computer) makes it look really dark in the room. I’m not sure what’s triggering this, but it definitely looks darker in here now than it did with the desk on the other wall. Possible fixes for this include a better webcam and a ring light behind the desktop. Possibly both. We’ll see.
  • Putting the white table perpendicular to the wall eats up a lot of floor space in the room. This is not necessarily a big deal, though, as the room is the office and it doesn’t really need to be super spacious. I have plenty of access to the closet you can see back there, and there’s enough room for me to move my chair around comfortably without feeling trapped here.
  • Related to that, though: my wife and I talked yesterday about setting up a small desk as a homework space for the boy, particularly if we’re in a situation where he and I are both at home this fall. Putting that table where it is makes the most logical location for his desk (behind me, on the wall where the flag is now) a little too tight. There’s more room than it looks like in the picture but there’s still not a ton, even for what is just a kid’s desk. Then again, if I do something different with the boxes of comic books that are everywhere right now (that’s what all those white boxes are) I can always rotate the table out when I need it or something.
  • I assume I’ll get over this, but my secondary monitor is now to the left of my desktop, not the right, and that feels really weird.

Yay for accomplishments!


12:41 PM, Thursday, June 25: 2,388,865 confirmed infections and 122,071 Americans dead.

Happy Father’s Day

I just got off the phone with my dad (we saw him yesterday) and so far the highlight of my day has been trying to take a fatherly nap in my recliner in the living room while my son was playing video games and barking an endless series of questions at me. It was only marginally successful. But dinner is going to involve mashed potatoes, so the day is a win no matter what else happens.

…I dunno, that’s all I got for right now.

My most ridiculous product review yet

I swear to you, I’m not important enough to have been paid to write this.

I didn’t know Band-Aid Brand Adhesive Bandages Hydro Seal existed, All-Purpose or otherwise, so I feel like it’s possibly a thing I should tell other people about. I have had, for at least a few weeks, a vile mess of a sore on the top of my scalp. The problem is that it’s in a location where my hand automatically goes to whenever I’m thinking, reading, stressed, or really any reason at all, and as a result I absolutely could not stop fucking with the thing and it wouldn’t heal. I’d put a Band-Aid on it all day and in the ten minutes between taking it off and replacing it, I’d manage to screw it all up again. I tried to wear hats for a while; I’d literally take the hat off and mess up the sore without even realizing I was doing it.

And then I ran out of Band-Aids, so I went to Target to get more, and I discovered these Hydro Seal thingies. The phrase “multi-day protection” caught my eye. This seems helpful, I thought, since, well, if I didn’t have to take it off I’d have fewer opportunities to mess around with it.

Basically the way these things work is that the gel the bandage is made out of creates a moist enough environment for the wound that it encourages healing, and the adhesive is strong enough that they tell you to just leave it in place until it falls off– in my case, four days, including the customary number of showers and a couple of dips in the pool. And when it finally started to come off, there was a little chunk of dry dead skin left behind that pretty much flaked off immediately and afterward you couldn’t tell there had ever been a wound there at all. The only problem I see with these is they’re a little on the expensive side for Band-Aids (but we’re still talking about, like, four bucks for a box) and at least the kind I got was on the smaller side, although there’s a larger size designed to cover blisters that I assume would be fine for non-blistering larger wounds. If you’re like me and have a problem with wounds lasting forever if they’re somewhere you can reach to interfere with them, I really can’t recommend these damn things any more highly.

(Note that I am refraining from posting before-and-after pictures. Just trust me.)


8:35 PM, Saturday, June 20: 2,251,205 confirmed cases and 119,654 Americans dead. Yesterday was the worst day for new infections since May 1; today is worse than yesterday and there are still a few hours left.