In which I am falling apart

I had my first dentist appointment since before the pandemic started yesterday morning, and while I don’t have any new cavities or anything worth talking about– it was just a cleaning, after all– it was a cleaning after about a year and a half when normally my hygienist likes to see me every three months so that she can keep an eye on my gums. She did not quite resort to a circular saw to clean my teeth, but it bloody well felt like it, and then I fucked around and had a chicken sandwich for lunch that ripped up the roof of my mouth, so I spent all day yesterday with my teeth and the inside of my mouth aching in a way that wasn’t necessarily bad— like, on that 1-10 scale they like, it’d have been a one or a two– but in terms of sheer persistence was making me absolutely nuts. I had cottage cheese and some loose deli meat last night for dinner last night because the notion of eating anything I’d have to spend much time chewing just seemed entirely unacceptable.

Today I had an eye appointment; those I’ve stayed current on, since they don’t require people to stick their hands in my mouth, which seems safer, but I’m starting to think that I need to go back in time and prevent myself from getting LASIK. The punch line is, at least according to my eye doctor, who was the person who did the LASIK, this was probably coming anyway, and at best might have been faintly aggravated by the LASIK, but I’m having annoying issues with keeping my tear films properly hydrated, despite the fact that I spend half my day every day pouring liquids into my eyes. She flat-out admitted that she doesn’t quite understand what’s going on with me right now, because my vision is varying widely depending on, well, something, but we don’t know what. Like, on one visit I’ll be corrected to 20/10, and then on this one I was at 20/40, and I was at 20/30 on the last one, and the only things that seem to be consistently different are the tear film thicknesses. Today ended with me walking out with two new sets of eyedrops (one medicinal in a fashion that I’m not 100% clear on, another simply an upgrade to the artificial tears I was already using) along with a heat mask that I’m supposed to wear for 15 minutes before bed every night and tiny little plastic plugs inserted into my tear ducts, which were supposed to help me in some way that she explained perfectly clearly at the time and I can no longer repeat. So all day today my eyes have been bugging me.

She was also horrified that my insurance company turned down the sleep study, which … yeah, that’s a whole separate other thing. I feel like I’ve got enough medical issues going on right now without tossing sleep apnea on top. (And suddenly I’m wondering if you can just buy a CPAP, and how expensive such a thing is.)

Anyway, my point is that my everything aches right now and maybe spending all day staring at screens isn’t the smartest move I could be making with my life right now, but, well. We all know how good I am at making decisions.

First World Problems

This is not a post about my stupid YouTube channel, although I’m not gonna lie: it’s related. Part of the reason I started the channel with Little Nightmares II specifically is that LNII is a game that isn’t especially challenging on either my PS5 or my computer. I wanted to start off with Sekiro, but I couldn’t get the Elgato and the computer to play nice with each other, and any time I tried to stream or record anything complicated it came off really blurry and ugly with tons of frame drops and stuff like that. Little Nightmares II recorded very smoothly, so I figured I’d start with that, and then I embarked upon this ridiculous stream of minor and major upgrades to my system to get everything working the way I wanted. New HDMI cables were the first move– I have learned so much about cables in the last two weeks that it’s flat-out absurd. I had already been looking for an excuse to upgrade my desktop’s memory, since it shipped with only 8gb, so I fixed that next, upgrading to 40gb. When that didn’t make any difference, I spent last night researching the USB standard.

And … Christ.

Long story short: there are a mess of overlapping standards for USB, both the ports and the cables, and then there’s Apple’s own answer to USB, which is the Thunderbolt standard, and even that has a couple of different versions out there. As it works out, my computer has a spare Thunderbolt port available, which supposedly can push 40gb a second? That’s … a lot, so I decided to upgrade the USB cable today.

And I don’t think the story’s funny enough to recount in full, but doing that required the following steps:

  • Ordering a proper 6′ cable from Target to pick up in-store, then getting an email an hour later that they didn’t have the cable after all, sorry about that;
  • Ordering the same cable in 3′ length from Target to pick up in-store, then getting an email an hour later that they didn’t have the cable after all, sorry about that;
  • Ordering a 6′ cable from Staples to pick up in-store, then buying it and noticing in the parking lot that it was clearly not the right cable, as it advertised “up to” 500mb per second, and I don’t know how much you know about computer measurements but 40gb is literally eighty times faster than that;
  • Deciding I did not have the willpower to return the cable today (I’ll do it tomorrow) and checking Target again to see if they had a specifically Thunderbolt cable, as I realized that that was going to be something completely different;
  • Getting a yes, according to their website;
  • Going to Target and discovering that 1) they did have the cable I wanted; 2) the cable I wanted wasn’t the cable I wanted, as Apple sells both a USB-C male-male cable that isn’t rated for Thunderbolt speeds and one that is, and that one of those is called a USB-C cable and the other is called a Thunderbolt (USB-C) cable;
  • Ordering one from the Apple store on the other side of town for pick up in-store, then realizing they want appointments for in-store pick up and calling the store to 1) make sure they had the cable before driving across town and 2) making sure that I can actually come get the damn thing before my appointment, because I was doing all this while the boy was at camp and the earliest available appointment was right when I’d have to be picking him up;
  • Driving to the mall and picking up my cable, and then getting home and having just enough time to make sure it worked and did what I wanted it to before having to go pick the boy up. I’m quite happy to report that it looks like I’m going to be able to stream and/or record basically anything I want now, although there’s still some weird color issues with Sekiro that I haven’t figured out yet.

Slightly separate issue: the Apple store also has curbside pick-up, and in fact has designated parking spots in the mall parking lot for same, but the Apple store itself is deep enough inside the mall that getting to it from (I think) the closest available external door(*) is a 5-minute walk. Not a lot in the long term, but I wouldn’t want to be the employee who got tasked with spending all fucking day lugging shit from the store to those two parking spots. Not without, like, a Segway or something like that. It’s not remotely as hot here as it is in a lot of the country (particularly the West Coast) right now, but it’s about as humid as I’ve ever experienced, and that would be an “I quit” moment real quick for me, particularly since you know those curbside pick-up people are going to be impatient as hell.

(*) I mean, it would have to be, right? That’s where the parking spaces were. Surely they wouldn’t put their designated curbside spots next to the second closest door, although that might be giving mall management too much credit.

Oh dear God that’s enough

Okay, we’re up to like four rearrangings of the office now, and I’m done. I have to be done. Everything’s hooked up except for the supplementary lights (not really necessary any longer, unless I go back to full-time online again) and the microphone, and the microphone might be a bit of a challenge, since it needs to be positionable for both the computer and the TV.

Also, I was stupid enough to move everything around without repositioning the stuff hung on the wall first, and … fuck it, it’s gonna stay covered up by things for a while, because I’m annoyed and tired.

More later, possibly. I have Thoughts about the book I’m reading, but I probably ought to finish it before I write them up, and I’m only about halfway through the book. It’s probably not fair to write the piece just yet, but it’s all that’s in my head at the moment, so the only thing to do is to finish reading it.

In which my mood still needs improvement

This is a serious question: is there any other organization or genre of organizations out there other than package delivery where you can pay for a certain service, not receive the service you paid for, and then just … nothing happens, and if you complain about it the explicit response from the company is to try and make you feel like a bad person?

Yes, of course I’m waiting on a FedEx package, again, and according to the tracking it’s been in my city since early this morning, just sitting around somewhere unable to be picked up by me, and it shipped two-day air on Wednesday and right now I’d lay a small amount of money that I don’t see it until Tuesday. Which will mean I paid extra to have something in two days, it will not be here until the sixth day, and my recourse will be … nothing. Sorry, we were busy. Unexpected delays. You impatient piece of garbage, you.

Today has not helped with my misanthropy problem. I have continued to be a snarly mess all day, and my disposition has not been improved by the repeated reminders that there is a store in Nashville, a store that I dearly hope has been burned to the ground by now, selling yellow fabric stars with the words “Not Vaccinated” on them. I don’t care anymore; I want these people to die, I want them to die of Covid, and I want them to be alone and in endless, unspeakable pain when it happens. Hint, maggots: if you have to buy the fucking yellow star to put it on yourself, it’s not oppression, it’s fucking capitalism.

I haven’t had the words for how much I hate these people for a while, and they keep getting worse every single day. I’m tired of everything I do and hear being dominated by the worst people in the Goddamned world.

Fuck.

In which we have a problem

On the one hand, something has finally dragged me away from Skyrim, although I’m not remotely close to finishing the game and will be going back to it sooner or later. Skyrim is just that big, if you’ve never played it, that a month of four or five days a week play has gotten me maybe halfway through it. If I’m lucky.

On the other hand, the game that has dragged me away from Skyrim is Returnal, otherwise known as the game where you can’t save, and I just had a pretty successful run (I finally found the sword, and I beat the first boss for the first time) that took nearly two hours, on a night where I legitimately had a handful of other things I would like to have done. I was having fun, mind you, and I don’t necessarily begrudge the game the time, because it’s immensely satisfying to play– but I would like to have quit after, say, an hour of that successful run to go do something else, and come back to the game at some other time. I’m only typing this now because I finally got killed a bit of the way into the second level and thus was able to get up and walk away.

They’re gonna have to fix this, I think, for this game to be viable. The basic gameplay loop is a hell of a lot of fun, and I’m going to get more efficient at it as I play more and get better, but tonight was about as long as I ever have to play at a stretch (he said, ignoring the imminence of summer vacation) and they’re going to have to build in a viable way to put the game down and walk away or I’m really not going to be able to play this for much longer.

I had a whole thing planned here as a follow-up to yesterday’s post, but it’s almost Goddamned nine already, and I guess I’l let you wait until tomorrow and tell you how my Cheating Solution went. I expect to leave work tomorrow with every student I have angry with me.