In which I’m not there yet

If you have never seen someone wearing a CPAP mask, be aware that it is impossible to overstate just how completely fucking ridiculous they look. Prince couldn’t look cool in one of these fucking things. Bowie couldn’t look cool in a CPAP mask. It’s just impossible, and it’s driven home by the fact that if you Google the masks you get a bunch of pictures of attractive people and models and they still look completely ridiculous– none of them are dressed for bed, and critically, none of them are giant, hairy fat men, which by my understanding are the main clients for these things, as our bodies are tired of us and thus try to strangle us in our sleep.

Anyway, you might be wondering why I haven’t given an update for the CPAPpery yet, and the reason is that I haven’t got one to give. I’ve got my machine, but the mask they sent me … isn’t working. At any size. It is absolutely impossible (I’ve said that a lot in this post already, but it remains true) to get the mask they sent me, at any size, to seal properly– my unit will work for no more than five to ten minutes before stopping because of a “major airflow leak” and tell me to reattach my hoses, which have never been detached and do not have any holes in them, nor are they attached improperly.

We’re trying a different mask of another style, one that is close to the diagram to the right but I think doesn’t feature the idiotic top-of-the-head air tube attachment, and I fully expect to find out when that gets here that there’s something wrong with my machine. Looking forward to it, even, because when you try three different versions of the same mask with three different people, two of whom do not have beards, and remain entirely unable to achieve a proper seal even once, it’s probably a sensor issue somewhere and not the mask’s fault.

I get the new masks on Thursday next week, supposedly, because they are apparently being sent by camel. I feel like given that the insurance company is already hassling me for “noncompliance with my therapy,” which I currently can’t do because my shit doesn’t work, and my respiratory therapist was supposedly going to take care of this exact problem, they maybe could have shipped the equipment faster. Maybe just, like, a guy, on foot. He could have gotten it here before next Thursday, I’m certain of that.

Anyway, if I ever get to attempt to sleep in one of these things, I’ll tell you all about it. It hasn’t happened yet.

New hotness alert!

Forgive me, for I have sinned; I spent money on Black Friday, the fruits of which arrived today in the form of that pretty-ass new 27″ monitor on the right there. The one it replaced was, in general, a capable device (and will continue in service, but on my wife’s desk) but was so old that I literally don’t remember when I bought it; it may well date to the computer before Apple switched to the current iMac setup, where the computer and the monitor are one piece. It’s possible that it dates back to my Chicago years, although I think it might be too thin for that.

Thing is, I have a new desk coming– it’s backordered, but it’s coming– and that desk is a bit wider and deeper than my current one, and has a spot underneath it where I can put the PS5. So I decided that meant it was okay to become the ultimate in geekery: a three-monitor person. And Amazon had these fuckers on sale steep on Black Friday; I saved about $220 on the two I ordered, one of which is just going to sit in the box until the new desk arrives in a couple of months and, when I install it, might go in oriented vertically. Why? Why the fuck not?

Also, it’s curved, and I don’t know if you’ve ever used a curved monitor before? I hadn’t, and while I can’t quite explain why I like it as much as I do, it’s kind of amazing, and between the curve, a more efficient stand, and the smaller bezels compared to the old monitor, it actually really doesn’t take up much more room on my desk– so even the one drawback I’d managed to come up with regarding spending the money & upgrading really didn’t pan out.

Next trick: figure out why the colors on that picture look so supersaturated. Which I think is the phone and not the (main) monitor.

In which I am very, very, very dumb and not smart

This showed up on my porch this afternoon, apparently because I purchased it? I don’t know why the hell I might have purchased a 3D printer, I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do with a 3D printer, and I don’t know why I went out and bought a little table for it or why I’m putting it together in my office right now, but apparently my lizard brain took a look at the number in my bank account and realized that I’d survived the school year (my kids are gone GONE gONe GoNE) and decided that this was a thing that should happen.

Super. I look forward to printing six more things that will sit pointlessly on a shelf somewhere in my house because I definitely don’t have enough stuff like that.

Fuck.

New hotness, again

Pictured above: my original, loyal Das Keyboard, which provided me with seven years of service before something underneath the left half of the keyboard cracked while I was trying to fish a piece of debris out of it. Underneath: its replacement, which arrived today and is effectively the 2022 model of the same keyboard, except specific for my Mac and also featuring Cherry MX Brown switches instead of the Blues that were in the original keyboard. While I am a big fan of clicky keyboards, and Blue switches are the clickiest keys currently on the market, the fact that my wife and I are still frequently in the office together when one or both of us is in a meeting means that my preferred kind of keyboard is actually kinda rude compared to the standards of way back when I purchased it.

(Discovers, accidentally, that the crescent moon button in the upper right actually puts the computer to sleep. Whoops?)

Anyway, the media stuff has been moved to the top right there, away from the function keys, and I think I actually prefer the volume wheel, and the top layer of the keyboard is actually aluminum instead of plastic, and the riser that lifts the keyboard up to a proper angle is magnetic and has a ruler molded into it for some reason, but other than that, it’s still a keyboard! I’ve only typed the words you’re seeing on the screen right now with it, so it’s not like I’ve put the thing through its paces, but it’s not like it takes a lot of breaking in to decide if you like a keyboard. Mechanical keyboards are still the way to go for me, and I hate wireless keyboards– this one also has a USB 3 hub built into it, so that’s an improvement too, but it means the wire is required– but the key travel and bounce are both pretty damn good and the sound, while not as loud, is still pretty pleasing, and I don’t feel like I’m making a lot of errors while I’m typing, so everything’s doing what my fingers expect them to be doing. I just took a couple of typing tests and they came out at 85 and 91 wpm, which is a trifle slower than I’m used to, but it’ll do.


It is possible that I have made my last student loan payment. Not guaranteed yet, mind you, but possible. My loans have officially been consolidated, meaning that the current worst case scenario is that my payments are eventually around $330 a month instead of the $545 I’ve been paying since 2005. Since the government has my loans now, I’m automatically part of the suspension of payments program that’s been going on for the duration of the pandemic, so I won’t have to make that first payment at the new amount until May.

However, my application to have my loans forgiven through PSLF has already been submitted, too, and that’s supposed to take no more than 90 days for the full review, and once that review happens they’ll find that I’ve made well more than the 100 required qualifying payments. Loan payments start back up on May 22 (assuming that the program isn’t extended again) and that’s more than 90 days away. So while on paper I still owe a shitton of money, I’ll be saving those payments for the next couple of months (and putting them toward my car, which I expect to have paid off very soon) and the loans may very well be officially gone before I actually hit the day where I’d have to start paying the reduced amount.

This … is a real big deal. Real, real big.


Juuuuust in case you’re somehow not aware of it yet, I’ve got this little streaming the video games thing going over on YouTube, and I just started this cool little game called Dandara: Trials of Fear, so if you haven’t checked the channel out you have an exclusive chance to click on this link and then go be my 115th subscriber. C’mon, you know you want to. Even if you don’t really use YouTube all that often. Hell, especially if you don’t use YouTube all that often, because then it doesn’t even throw annoying videos you don’t want into the feed you’re not looking at. Go check it out.

In which you aren’t supposed to suck

I am a fanboy, I admit it: I am typing this post on the most advanced iMac that was available when I bought it; my last several phones have been iPhones, my watch is an Apple Watch, there are at least two if not three iPads in the house (I’ve lost track of one, and we may have recycled it) along with at least two Apple TVs and, if I had brought my work laptop home, which I never do, there would be two MacBooks in the house as well, even though my non-work one needs replacing.

I am so stuck in Apple’s ecosystem that it would require wholesale overhauling of a number of significant aspects of my life in order to properly escape from it. And I mostly don’t want to. But, y’all … this weekend my people got in my damn nerves, and I haven’t quite escaped from Minor Inconvenience Tech Hell just yet and I’m still peeved about it.

To start (and I mean “minor inconvenience” when I say it) Apple Maps decided that it was going to choose a different route to get to my brother’s house than the one I picked. He lives in the northern suburbs of Chicago, and your options are basically “through the city” or “not through the city,” both of which take about the same amount of time because one is long but fast and the other is shorter but, well, takes you through the city, which means you’re guaranteed to encounter some bumper-to-bumper bullshit on 90/94 somewhere. I haven’t lived in Chicago for going on fifteen years, and there are still some things about living in the city (which I loved, and still do) that I miss damn near every day.

Traffic is not one of them.

Anyway, I realized too late that not only was my phone trying to direct me through the city but it was trying to send me to Lakeshore Drive for some reason, which if you know the city will cause you to raise an eyebrow and if you don’t, well, that’s wrong no matter what route you’re trying to get north with, trust me. At that point I decided that, fuck it, I was going to go rogue, only it turned out that 1) my memory of the city’s highways wasn’t as great as I thought it was and 2) even if I wasn’t heading to LSD just yet I was beyond the point of no return to stay on the Dan Ryan, which meant we got a fun little detour through Chinatown.

I mean, it cost 15-20 minutes, maybe, while I got back on the highway I wanted to be on, so again: minor inconvenience, but I didn’t want to be driving through the West Loop yesterday one way or another, and if my phone had taken me though the route I chose rather than the route it thought was a good idea, this wouldn’t have happened.

The second thing was an ongoing sync issue with Apple Music and iTunes, and if you’ve ever had to deal with that particular slice of bullshit you can probably understand the vast aggravation and high dudgeon I’ve spent most of the last two days in whenever I had a moment where fuck with my phone became a possibility; ie, any time I was not covered in flour or sleeping. I think I’ve solved that problem finally as of about 20 minutes ago, but we’ll see if it shows up again tomorrow where the only tracks I can listen to from this album are the three preorder tracks. (This happens every time I preorder an album, which I’m done doing. It’s digital files. You can’t run out. No more preordering.)

Anyway.

There’s some more Elden Ring live-streaming coming tonight, from 10:00 until 1:00 AM or until I have the sense to go the fuck to bed, whichever comes first, with a full post of my thoughts coming probably tomorrow. The short version: Don’t expect to talk to me in March. I have shit to do.