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.

In which brain melty need stopping

It has been a hell of a day, not in a bad way but in a there is too much information in my head and I don’t know what to do with any of it sort of way. I was out and about for a couple of hours– actual hours! Not just a quick trip to the Target in my back yard!– this morning, mostly running errands for my father-in-law, and I just had a conversation with my wife that ended with not only deciding to go ahead and move forward with LASIK but I also need to look into either a home equity loan or a mortgage refinance tomorrow, and there was a lot of talk about things like new roofs and bathroom and kitchen renovations and my brain has already spent some time today trying to figure out how to rearrange my office so that the layout makes a little bit more sense and that’s a lot of work and there is some work around the house that I need to do and oh a lot of that stuff needs contractors and do we know any contractors or maybe does your dad know any contractors and I really need to repurpose my entire computer setup to be better for video editing because I’m going to have to do a lot of that this fall one way or another and oh America just had its biggest day so far in terms of new cases of COVID so let’s fall down that depressing-ass rabbit hole too while we’re at it.

I need a nap.

7:46 PM, Wednesday June 24: 2,376,263 confirmed cases and 121,932 Americans dead.

Tuesday morning thinkytimes

No particular theme for today, as there are a number of things on my mind and none of them quite rise to the level of an entire post. So expect a bit of randomness. Good morning!

I had a LASIK initial conference almost exactly two years ago, and holy shit does the post I’m linking to entertain the crap out of me, and I’ve finally gotten to the point where I think it’s something I can actually afford to do. The only question is whether it’s a good use for my money right now; part of me thinks right now is a really good time because I was thinking about switching to contact lenses anyway to keep my glasses from fogging up every time I wear a mask– if I’m heading into a situation this fall where I have to be wearing one all day, and it’s already summertime so I have time to recover, it seems like a good decision. Then again, it’s a good chunk of my existing money, and who knows what kind of bullshit could happen that could lead to me needing it for something else.

If you have any experiences with LASIK, good or bad, let me know– most of the folks I’ve talked to have told me to go for it, but still.

I had to have a talk with the boy the other day where I pointed out that it’s okay to feel like certain things in our house have gotten easier and/or better since Mizu died. I do not miss, for example, having a litter box in my Goddamned bedroom because she didn’t want to leave the room, and the fact that we no longer have to worry about the other cats bothering her means we can leave doors open in our house and don’t have to worry about ever chasing kittens out from under our bed.

Sushi, for her part, has been rather hilarious lately, as she’s been spending most of her time in our room but still doesn’t seem quite convinced that she’s allowed in there, so whenever either of us come into the bedroom she acts like she’s about to be kicked out of the room. She’ll sleep on the bed with us from time to time but sticks herself in the far corner where we’re not super likely to notice her.

I have to admit, I had a bunch of ideas for how the person in the White House’s little Klan rally was going to go last weekend, but “no one shows up” was not among them. I spent all of 2016 assuming this man was going to lose badly and we all know how that went, so I’m not letting my guard down here, but if he can’t fill a mid-sized arena in Oklahoma, pandemic or not, something’s going on.

In other news, there are two primaries I’m keeping a close eye on today– Qasim Rashid’s Democratic House primary in VA-01 and the Democratic Senate primary in Kentucky. Kentucky looks like it’s going to be a trash fire, and I’ve not seen any polling on either race, but I’d like to start sending money to someone to get Mitch McConnell the fuck out of office and I’m not going to do it until the primary is over. I’ve donated a fair amount of money to Qasim already because I thought he had gotten out of the primary– I just found out a couple of weeks ago that I was wrong about that– so hopefully he wins today as well.

Also, no force on Earth can make me pay for John Bolton’s book, nor will I read it were I to somehow acquire it for free. I don’t need any further evidence on whether this man is a criminal or not.

Bike/health update: I have, somehow, lost seven pounds already; every time I start any sort of lifestyle change there’s always a quick burst of weight loss right at the beginning, and it’s happened again. Weight Watchers continues to confuse the hell out of me. I have not touched the bike in several days, because the last time I was on it I noticed that the gear the chain was on and the actual gear shown on the gearshift didn’t match … like, at all, and since I’d already switched gears at least once by accident without realizing it I’m going to just take the thing into a shop and have them swap it out, possibly taking the derailleur with it as well. I’ve already fallen off once and I’m not about to do it again, damn it. I suspect this is probably something I could do myself but finding out I was wrong would hurt and we’ve already got one adult in the house with a broken bone.

Pseudo-vegetarianism is going predictably well, although we did have enchiladas for dinner on Saturday and I finished off some turkey we had in the fridge to keep it from going bad. Most of this week’s dinners are going to be plant-based, so we’re continuing it for a bit longer than usual.

Vidya gaemz update: my plan to watch a YouTuber play through The Last of Us 2 appears to have been a good call, as so far nothing about the first few hours of the game have made me think I needed to play it. One thing I hadn’t anticipated is that lingering Dad feelings toward Ellie are still making it difficult to watch her die, and yeah, I don’t really need that shit for an entire game. Watching people react to the game has been really interesting; I’ve never seen a game where so many people looked at the level of violence and went “Nope, not right now” before.

In the meantime, I’ve been having a good time with Desperados 3, despite my lingering suspicion that Desperados is spelled wrong. The interesting thing is that it’s also a really murdery game– hell, so was Nioh 2, and so are most video games, frankly– but it’s all about the way it’s murdery, and it doesn’t go out of its way to make you feel bad about what the game is making you do.

The dialogue around this whole issue has also put the “Are video games art?” question to bed, permanently. The answer is yes.

I feel like I had one more thing, so let’s say this space is reserved for that. As is typical with these sorts of posts, I may update once or twice more as the day drags on.

11:18 AM, Tuesday, June 23: 2,313,445 confirmed infections and 120,451 Americans dead, and Texas is starting to run out of ICU beds.

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.