2020 Furlough

Day 36 of 56: COFFEE!!!!!

It’s Payday Pizza Friday, y’all! Except I left the house yesterday so I’m not getting pizza today! Maybe next week! Even more important, the espresso machine I ordered last Sunday is on a truck to be delivered in the next three hours! I’M GONNA HAVE A LATTE, BB!!!!!!

This post turned into a stream of consciousness, but it might be a little funny. So here’s how my day went in real-time!

The Morning

If you can’t tell, I started writing this post MUCH earlier in the day than usual. Last night I put up the post at what, 10:30? I played some more of my zombie shooter, and both groups I joined were full. So maybe it’s a day-by-day thing where not a lot of people play. Good to know there’s still people playing. Off topic. Anyway, like my sister I had too little water and too much to drink so I’m chugging water to make this headache go away. Note to self: cutting the sangria with lemonade is both delicious and dangerous. I had six that were 50/50 lemonade, so really only three glasses. All the feeling of alcoholism but not as much alcohol. So it’s not as bad as it could have been.

Like I wrote in the intro, my espresso machine is on the truck to be delivered. UPS made the unfortunate mistake of sticking GPS in their trucks and making it available to customers. So I’ve just been watching the little dot move around the map.

I started this post on the back-end dashboard in the draft thingy (WordPress users know what I’m talking about) and I just noticed that the Google Analytics widget I have finally started reporting data. 3 impressions from Google Search? That’s nuts. Who is searching for me? Well, you found me. Sorry.

When I wrote that I went out yesterday and won’t go out today in the intro, what I mean by that is mostly I’m lazy and don’t want to leave the house. Mostly that, but also I want to be able to space out trips so it’s easier to track what I’ve done.

One of the masks I ordered arrives in the mail today, so I will go forth and retrieve it (mailbox is down the street) but I will most likely forego the usual shower and just put on pants and a hat. My rule is I can’t leave my front door without having bathed in the last 24 hours. Can’t let the neighbors I’ve never met know I’m dirty. Or that I own anything except pants. My shower yesterday was at like 7pm, so I won’t be breaking my rule. They can’t smell me, thanks social distancing!

The Afternoon

12:10 – Driver is still in the next town over. There’s three big communities between me and latte freedom. I don’t know his route, but I really hope he comes to my community before going to the big one a few streets down. ETA says between now and 3pm, maybe that will be the case

12:17 – Saved this as a draft, switched over to Facebook, friend had their guitar delivered about 20 minutes ago. Driver is near-ish their house, but either I forgot what street they live on or the map isn’t real-time. HEY FRIEND IF YOU READ THIS, WAS IT DELIVERED VIA UPS? LET ME KNOW. FOR SCIENCE.

12:22 – Now it says he’s in my area. But he moved one street over on the map. That’s still 5 miles as the crow flies. C’mon, UPS, measure in street miles. Unless it’s being delivered by drone. Which would be awesome. The map probably isn’t real-time for the driver’s safety. I get that. Still, you can make a pretty good guess and then it’d be easy to find them because of the giant brown van they’re driving. I really need to go do something else, this is driving me crazy.

1:35 – Watched Julien’s new video where he makes Pop Tarts. Was triggered. I didn’t live with a pastry chef for however long to be disrespected like that. Got up and started making chili. Right now waiting for the meat to brown so I can add it to the Crock Pot and then be on my merry way. The onion got me, hoo boy. Also the recipe called for 2 cloves of garlic, but that’s more of a suggestion. 4 cloves, BAM! Right now they’re chilling in the pot with the tomatoes and tomato sauce and spices on Warm. Spiced the crap out of the chili, but also put more on the hamburger while cooking it. Trader Joe’s Everyday Spice and some fresh ground pepper. If you’re gonna cook, cook right, yeah? UPS driver is still where he was an hour ago, just a couple streets closer.

1:50 – Okay, meat is in the Crock Pot and stirred in, set to high for 4 hours, Joe’s gonna have some chili at 6:30! WOO! But now my problem is every hour I’m going to want to stir it. That’s a bad thing because then you lose all the built up heat. I knew I should have done this last night and started it right before bed. Set on low for 10 hours, that would have been tasty. Oh well.

2:45 – I can still smell onions. My eyes won’t stop watering. Send help.
It’s starting to rain a little bit, so I wanted to edit my delivery (he’s like 4 miles away now) to say he can leave it near the street, but there’s no option for that! My driveway is long (to walk), I don’t want him getting any more wet than he has to. Racking my brain, can’t think of anything I have on-hand to make a sign or something that wouldn’t get absolutely ruined by the rain. Looks like he took a different route, gonna be a while longer. I don’t care, though, I’m making a latte even if it’s 5pm. Okay, time to stir the chili. Added a cup of water, not everything was covered by the tomato juice and it was just a little too chunky. I can get it to thicken up later, not a big deal.

4:15 – Yeah, he went to the big community first. Kinda. There’s this dirt road between us and he’s on there right now. Maybe another driver does that community? We’ll see. Laid on the bed with Athena for a while, it’s starting to smell really good in here. OH WHAAAAAT just refreshed and he’s on the other side of the road. Looks like I’m getting it REAL QUICK BB!!!!!

The Coffee

7:30 – OKAY. SO. It arrived at a quarter to 6. I yelled THANK YOU! out the open window, no response. Don’t think he heard me. Oh well, I tried.

Since this was a refurbished unit, I expected not to get all the things. Thankfully, it came with the double-shot installed, I will literally never use the single-shot filter. Didn’t come with the instruction manual, so had to download that. Did the initial priming, and this thing is a little fancier than I thought. It has a little spout thingy to go from the milk frother straight to the cup. So that’s cool. Probably won’t use that, either, we’re going into summer and why wouldn’t I want a nice refreshing iced latte?

Ground up some beans with my awesome new little hand crank thing and got to brewing! First notes, I think I ground them too fine because after it finished brewing there was still a lot of water in the filter. Trying to think back to my barista days in high school, and I think that’s the problem. But it tastes like coffee, and that’s all that matters!

This section feels a little anticlimactic. Sorry.

Heat-up didn’t take very long, and if I get a container or something I can have on the counter to knock the used grounds into then I can easily see this become part of my daily routine even after work opens back up. Make a quick coffee in the morning, don’t have to stop at The Bux, save $3! That’s $15 a week, $60 a month. Pays for itself in less than two months! This won’t stop me with my afternoon pick-me-ups, but savings are savings.

I’ve been trying to grow flowers out front since I bought this place, so I can use those used grounds I think to help with that? Need to do some research on that.

Daily Reflection

Chili finished cooking around 6:30, but the extra water I added didn’t cook out like I thought it would. So I cracked the lid and have been waiting patiently for that to happen. Still haven’t eaten. Am hunger. Turned it back on high, I’m going to give it like 15 more minutes and then screw it I don’t care if it’s soupy.

Still need to email my mentor, maybe I’ll do that while I’m waiting.

Been watching some video game playthroughs today, and it’s super frustrating because the guy operating the controls refuses to pay attention to any details. Spent 5 minutes looking for a clue and the line leading to it had a different color. BRUH. I kind of want to buy this game (only $20!) so I can play it RIGHT. Interesting story, so I think I’d have fun. Not sure if I want to do PS4 or XBox, though.

The game is “Detroit: Becoming Human” and it’s about androids in the near future. Only a few hours into the playthrough, but the whole time I’m like “I would like an android. That’d be cool, somehow to help me out around the house. Why are people hatin’ on these androids?” It would be cool to have androids.

Verdict on the chili: passable. Next time I think I’ll use less hamburger, it called for 2 pounds but I did 1.5. Little less cumin, more chili powder, and maybe some peppers. Still soupy, I’m going to let it simmer for a while longer. Also next time cut the onions up better, seeing a bunch of chunks still.

Didn’t really follow my own advice from yesterday to listen to music. But I feel good. Just watchin’ these playthrough vids, sippin’ my coffee, eatin’ my chili. Life is good.

Good vibes y’all. Good vibes.

NINJA EDIT: Okay, it’s now midnight, I’ve watched four playthrough videos, the last was uploaded two months ago, and they haven’t done any more for “Detroit: Becoming Human”. CLIFFHANGER. I’m going to have to buy this game just to see how it ends. OMG.

Day 35 of 56: Music

9:42pm: Started writing the title for this while listening to music at home for the first time in a very long time and Turnip decided to get the zoomies. Ran from the TV, the length of the house, around the couch, to the guest bathroom where he slipped on the hardwood and crashed into the guestroom/office door. Got up, zoomed to his cat tree and is now cleaning his butt. What even are cats.

Music

I discussed yesterday a bit about how much I like music. So much so I wanted to be a music teacher for a very long time. Not giving up on that dream, but for now I’m an IT guy.

Anything I say about music as an art form would be cliche at this point. It speaks to me, I can feel it in my soul, this song/album/artist describes me as a person… cliche. I almost wrote that I couldn’t understand someone who didn’t listen to music a little bit every day, but then I realized I’ve been doing that for over a month now. So I get it. But the 4 times I’ve gotten into my car you bet your ass I was pumpin’ the jams.

Today I went to the store, and it was the same. Parking lot was a little too full for my liking so I drove around just listening to music for like half an hour. It happens every week, but I felt like I was becoming more myself again after a week of monotony.

When I got home, the first thing I did besides crack open that box of wine was continue playing my playlist on my Google Home. And then I shut the blinds so I could dance while I put the groceries away.

Groceries have been put away for well over an hour, and I’m still listening to music. That’s the power of music, people. Listening to my favorite songs is making me who I was before this whole situation started, and that’s something I think we all need. So go pump those jams. You’ll feel better.

Project

This doesn’t really need to be its own section, really more of an aside. My work does this big event every year to kick off the holiday season. Last year we added a light show to it, and somehow I got put in charge of that. I jokingly complain about having to do it, but really it takes what I’m good at (computers, music, technical theatre) and rolls it all into one thing. Yeah, it sucks when it’s the middle of July and you’re listening to holiday music, but the end result is so worth it.

I bring that up because I know of at least two songs in my “Liked Songs” playlist I’m currently listening to that were strictly for this light show. They didn’t make it in last year, I only finished three songs for the whole season. My goal was like 15.

Well, last year I worked 80 hour weeks to program this thing, the extreme majority in my free time, so why not get a head start on this year and do it now? I have almost nothing but free time now. The only difference is last year I didn’t get officially started until August (was listening to holiday music in June) and it’s almost May now. Wait, that’s not a bad thing. Oops. I know the software now, and I have SO MUCH time I can spend on it. I don’t see a downside, besides listening to holiday music IN MAY. I COULD GET SO MUCH DONE.

Maybe that’ll be my thing starting Monday. My job while not having a job. And since I don’t leave the house, I can split my time between that and school work. You know, to break up the monotony.

A few of the songs on my “Liked Songs” playlist I keep listening to to see if I can build a strong enough case for a “designer’s night” where I play my favorite songs as family-friendly as I can to lights. Like Friday and Saturday as the last thing so less kids. Trying to find good songs for Diego’s Umbrella, Katzenjammer, and Walk The Moon. Leave a comment if you can think of a good family-friendly-ish song from them. I’ve already decided on Juice by Lizzo.

Daily Reflection

I finished sewing two of those shrunken daily masks together today. Not very successfully. It was good enough that I could go to the store, though, so I can’t really complain. I’ve sort of come to terms with this situation, and it’s not that I’m exceptionally terrified to catch it, I’m just scared to spread it to someone who could die, or I could get sick enough I need to go to the hospital and then who would take care of my cats? What if I died? I have too much stuff to do, I can’t die. I saw an article about an IT guy whose only preexisting condition was hypertension and he died. I have pre-hypertension. No thanks. I’ll stay home as much as possible and wear a mask.

On that note, two of my purchases from last week show up tomorrow! The espresso machine is a day early, psyched. The other is one of the masks I bought. I think once I have a professionally-made mask I will be a little more daring and not wait 8 days to go to the store. Today’s bill was almost $200, I’d like to be able to spread that into more than one trip as I need stuff. Although to be fair, I needed to buy a bunch of spices for this chili I’m going to make, and that was like $30 right there.

Since the shutdown I think the only actual vegetable I’ve eaten is onions. Tonight I made sure to get some more. Head of lettuce, package of spinach, green onions, celery, and carrots. With the lettuce, spinach, and carrots I can make a decent salad that will go well with the chili and bangers & mash I plan on making this week.

My student mentor emailed me yesterday about my plan for the next two weeks, still haven’t replied to her. I should do that. Something about having multiple anxiety attacks since I took the test and really needed to focus on me. Maybe I need to play music instead of podcasts during the day, because at this moment I’m stoked to get back on track to graduate by the end of June (still listening to music, right now is “Jenny” by Walk The Moon).

10:22pm: I saw a post on Facebook about adding lemonade to sangria so I did that and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Next time I go into town I’m going to get some sliced watermelon and add it to this super-lemonade sangria, it’s going to be outstanding.

The last 5-15 minutes are usually spent looking for images to spice up the monotony 😉

Night, all! Listen to some music! You’ll feel great!!!

Day 34 of 56: Jobs

I think I figured out the commenting system, so let’s do this one! Let’s talk about what jobs we wanted growing up! I’ll start.

If you were anything like me, Dear God why and may he have mercy on your soul, but you were convinced at different points in life what you wanted to be when you grew up.

Elementary School

We moved around a bit, but I think my first dream job was a cashier at a convenience store. I was a weird kid, shut up. Something about pressing buttons all day and beeping. If I were a writer, I’d call this foreshadowing.

We moved to Redmond in third grade, and that school district had a little more money and technology, they had a cafeteria worker at the head of the line with a computer charging you for your lunch. THAT was my new dream job! This was when computers were just starting to appear everywhere outside of school labs, so it was very exciting.

Moved back to mud puddle the next year, I don’t recall remember if that school had an electronic charge system, but this was the first school I went to that had a full kitchen. As I do, I befriended one of the workers, Mrs. Potts. I want to say there was a work rotation, but eventually I ended up volunteering as much as possible to wash the dishes. It was SO MUCH FUN. They gave fourth graders access to a working garbage disposal and this monster of a dishwasher with SO MANY MOVING PARTS. IT WAS SO SAFE. But I was good at it, and I was having fun, so I kept doing it.

The next year, same school, I think we weren’t allowed to work back there any more. Stupid child labor and safety laws. Oh well, I was well on to my next dream job: school custodian! I would stay after lunch and help Mr. Baker sweep the floor and clean the tables. He had SO MANY KEYS! I like keys! Keys let you into stuff! Plus, my grandma (mom’s side) was a custodian and that was also so cool.

Middle School

We moved back to Central Oregon and got settled in sixth grade. Back to the district that had more tech. While my previous school still had a card catalog and was slowly implementing a computer-based one, this school was all tech. You asked the librarian where to find a book, she’d tap in the name and tell you where it was, and could even tell you if they were all checked out!

This school had a smaller kitchen staffed by a rota from the district, so no dishwashing. Also the custodians weren’t as visible. I spent a lot of time in the library, helping check books in and out, and again I had fun doing it so I wanted to be a librarian! Books! Lasers and barcodes! Again, foreshadowing.

Our librarian was also in charge of the computer lab and managed the school’s website, taught an elective in FrontPage, and was super cool.

High School

Same problem as before when changing schools, the library wasn’t as friendly a place. You could work in the library, but it was considered a class and I didn’t have any room in my schedule. I had been in band for four years, so I just kept doing that in high school.

Mr. Sime was one of those teachers that really changed my life. I can’t really describe it, but suddenly it clicked and I knew for sure what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a music teacher. I was pretty good with music, it made sense, it was fun (another theme), plus I’d get to listen to music.

Some issues at home, long story, then I was going to be a chef. Took a few culinary classes, I was also working at a restaurant. Wasn’t my dream job, I still wanted to be a music teacher. Lettered in band, even with all the weirdness that was my senior year of high school.

College

Jumped hardcore into the music education program. Did it for two years at the community college to get enough credits to transfer to a state university. I was still okay, but working full time, doing theatre tech, and school meant I spent very little time sleeping or studying.

This was also right in the middle of the recession, arts programs were getting cut left and right. I then decided to go with a relatively safe profession that I was good at: computers. I’ve been good with networking, did that at three colleges, and long story short now I’m just getting my basic BS in IT. I may eventually get my teacher’s license because I’ve wanted to be a teacher for so long, but for now I have a job in my field and that’s working okay for me.

Daily Reflections

DAVID. IT IS 11:30 IN THE GODDAMN NIGHT. STOP CHOPPING WOOD. Unless it’s his brother, then: BROTHER-WHO’S-NAME-I-CAN’T-REMEMBER-RIGHT-NOW. STOP. CHOPPING. WOOD.

Played a couple good rounds of my fave zombie shooter, built a database with recipes so I’d be able to get an organized shopping list. Not a bad template I downloaded, but jeez do I need to tweak it. Can’t put in line returns? How am I supposed to put in the instructions?!

Got the ingredient list, now I have to go through what I currently have plus the other things I need, then organize it by aisle so I spend the least amount of time in the store as possible.

No new cases of the virus since Sunday, which is promising! I still want to spend as little time out and about, though. My county also has a very high recovery rate, I’d be interested to know the demographics and what we’re doing differently than everywhere else. We are pretty spread out here which is great for spreading, I’m curious what else is different.

On Saturday I ordered some legit masks, not those one-ply jersey tee burritos, it hit Portland this morning, we usually get things back from Portland the next day. So I’m looking forward to it showing up tomorrow since I tried hand-sewing the burritos and am currently failing. I’d like to have something legit for groceries tomorrow.

Day 33 of 56: Bingo

I had a great idea for today’s post to talk about the different jobs I wanted growing up (lunchroom worker?) but today was strange so you’ll just have to deal with a status update. I’ll talk about working in a cafeteria tomorrow.

The Majority of the Day

Okay, first off, my sister launched her blog today, and I got a pretty sweet shout-out. So check out her stuff and today’s post (she’s in another time zone so today for me right now is tomorrow) is ADORABLE. Following up on her lead, today I had the windows open and got to listen to the cheeseburger birds do their thing. Plus, squirrels.

Spent a bit of time helping sis get her site sorted out. I’m her IT guy, I host the site, and it was just doing some terribly weird things. We figured it out, so all is good!

Not a lot of mobile games today, which was a bit of a shocker. I did hang out on Facebook and Reddit, watched some CrashCourse and then JennaJulien on Twitch.

The Bingo

I joined a Zoom meeting of some coworkers to play Bingo tonight! That was fun! I made an account so that I could use virtual backgrounds. I have to use my almost 10-year-old Mac in my bedroom because my newish laptop can’t handle streaming anything. Go figure.

Yesterday or the day before, I don’t know what day it is, my coworker reached out to me to generate the cards because she doesn’t have Excel. Cool! Couple keystrokes, print to PDF, bam there you go. No biggie. When she texted us today to play, I had to pull out my laser printer so I could print out my cards. Not a big deal, I have some paper. But I forgot this printer is OLD and needs a new fuser. When I went to print out my cards, even on the pages that it printed decently, I still had to Sharpie in over half of the numbers.

So I either need to figure out how to fix this printer, buy a new one, or find another way to print cards ahead of next week’s game.

I also ran out of wine. I knew I was getting low, but I figured it’d be more than two glasses. Thankfully, I already planned to go to the store tomorrow.

Yeah, it was fun! We played like 6 rounds, and I won 2 of them! Bragging rights!!!

It was awesome to see my coworker’s faces.

Daily Reflection

After we finished with the Bingo, I played a couple rounds of Killing Floor 2, my favorite zombie shooter. I love that they’re still putting out new content (new bosses, new weapons, new maps) but it’s a little sad that not a lot of people still play it. I could be wrong, it could just be when I play and the server I’m on (US West), but rarely do I happen upon a full squad.

Today was nice out, I’m always happy for the days in spring when I can open the windows and get some fresh air. It’s supposed to rain here in the next few days, once that happens then I get to be Dad Joe and water the lawn and mow it. I’m such a dad and I don’t have kids.

I can’t remember if I talked about it, but Sunday I ordered an espresso machine and its various accessories. I had $100 in corporate health program gift cards, so I didn’t have to spend a lot of my own money, which was a barrier previously. They’re cancelling the program so it was either cash out now or lose $100. Got the machine, beans, a hand grinder, and syrups. Today I got everything but the machine, a week early! Score! Anxiously awaiting Saturday when I can make my own lattes. I may have lost 10 pounds in the last month, but I’m gonna gain that back once I have access to fancy coffee again.

Today was a good day overall. I didn’t do any work on my classes that I need to get done by the end of June, which makes me feel a little guilty, I didn’t do the dishes that desperately need washed, and no laundry was done. But: seeing familiar faces even for a short time was more beneficial than anything else I needed to do.

FaceTime/WhatsApp/Zoom/GoToMeeting/Messenger your friends and family. It’s pretty good for your health.

I’m out of wine and don’t want to play any more games!

Night!

Day 32 of 56: Recipes

The last few days (read: month) I’ve been watching a lot of Jenna and Julien videos. Jenna does Jenna stuff, and Julien has been doing a lot of cooking videos. I’m not vegan, and I don’t need to eat gluten-free, but dang some of those recipes look mighty tasty.

That got me thinking: next time I go to the store I should actually meal prep and shop accordingly.

Cookbooks

A few years ago I got that “Cooking Comically” book from some friends. Love it. Right amount of humor, love the illustrations, and I’ve made a few things from it. Couldn’t find it, thought I put it in the pantry, because Past Joe thought that would be a good idea, but it wasn’t there. Need to find it. Thinking about that jambalaya recipe.

After I bought my Crock Pot, I got another cookbook with a bunch of slow-cooker recipes and cook-ahead. Since I live alone, I figured I’d use it a lot. Not really.

A few months ago I got back into the home-cooking game and got a tried and true Betty Crocker book.

I also have a book from my high school’s culinary class, but we don’t talk about that book.

The Planning

Since I’ve been watching a lot of Julien’s videos, my first stop was ones that he’s done recently. Some great ideas. Like the tamales? I would LOVE to make those at home. But the country store doesn’t have the widest selection, so I highly doubt I’d be able to get the supplies. I’ll check, but that recipe may have to wait until social distancing is lifted.

Yes, I can go to the big stores that have better selection, but until we have a vaccine or at the very least a better treatment they give me too big an anxiety attack. I’ll be fine with my small store and limited products. Actually, the store at the north end of town has different selections. I needed soba noodles for something and they actually had it. It’s also not as busy, I may check that one, too.

Anyway, since Wednesday seems to be my shopping day, I figured I’d start planning for at least the next week’s worth of meals. Given that my appetite has been pretty low, making things that can be stored for a while was pretty important.

Based on the cookbooks I could find and Julien’s recipes, I settled on chili, bangers and mash, and pozole rojo.

Now the recipe I have for chili serves 8, so I can immediately freeze half of that. Bangers and mash, I can make a big thing of onion gravy and fridge/freeze a lot of it; mashed potatoes are easy, just have to cook the sausages. Pozole rojo, however, is going to be the toughy. I’m pretty sure I can get the main ingredients (I don’t want to do pork shoulder, I’d probably do sausage or something), but finding the ingredients for the adobo sauce is going to be difficult out here.

If I can find my Cooking Comically book, going to add jambalaya to the rota. That’ll also keep in the freezer.

So yeah, that was the biggest thing that happened today: I decided what I was going to cook for the next week, and figured out what could keep in the freezer for later. Since it’s only me. And I’m eating like crap.

Daily Reflections

Yeah, the cookbooks were pretty much the highlight of today.

Woke up at a decent hour, stayed in bed until like noon because Athena was giving me snuggles.

Played my find-the-thing game for way too long. Addictive.

Defrosted and cooked a cube steak I had in the freezer. Friend texted me so we played a couple rounds of Apex. Did pretty well! Top 10 the first two times, 2nd place the last. Not a bad night. Mashed a potato and reheated the steak. It was as terribly freezer-burnt as you’d expect. Next time maybe no foil just get all the air out of the bag.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a month since I was last at work. These last few weeks have been a blur. When I make my weekly trip to the store, I drive through and it’s just so eerie how empty everything is. It’s just so weird for the hospitality industry to see things empty.

But, things will settle, we’ll eventually get back to normal and I can’t wait to see guests again.

Okay, time to go to bed. Night.

Day 31 of 56: Sci-fi has lied to us

I’m a nerd. And if you’re a nerd like me, you watch Sci-fi. Today in my TED talk I will talk about some of the many ways that Sci-fi has lied to us.

Touch Screens

Touch screens for years have been the epitome of the future. You can poke a surface with your meat hooks and things will happen! FUTURE!

Even from ten years ago, we’ve made some pretty big strides, we’re getting there, but THIS IS 2020! WE SHOULD ALREADY BE THERE! IN OUR FLYING CARS! WITH OUR ROBOT BUTLERS! WHERE IS MY JOSIE.

This section brought to you by me trying to type with both hands on my iPad. My nails are a little long, not too bad, but if I didn’t type with the right position, letters would be skipped because my nail prevented contact. There’s also the missing tactile response. If you shift your hand a centimeter then you would end up pressing the wrong button, and you’re not going to know it unless you’re watching your hand. So you spend a lot of time depending on autocorrect, and the things I type don’t get caught by most autocorrect so then even more time is wasted fixing it. And you see my gripe.

No wonder on Star Trek everything took so damn long. “Sorry, Captain, it’s going to take three hours to recalibrate the neutron flow of the plasma injectors.” Bitch, if you had a keyboard maybe 15 minutes max. You and I both know you’re gonna spend 90 minutes just fixing your stupid typing mistakes, why you gotta lie to the Captain like that.

Now Stargate. They had the right outlook. Yes, there’s a touch screen, but look there’s a physical keyboard. That’s why Sam Carter got so much shit done. Because she could tell what she was typing. She was also a total badass, which didn’t hurt. This paragraph brought to you by the Sam Carter fan club.

Automatic Doors

Okay, this is one thing that actually exists and functions. Well, they don’t always function the way you want. So props to automatic doors, but step up your game a little.

In Star Trek, you can stand in front of a door and reenact the battle of Lexington, and the door stays closed until you turn around to actually head out. Where is that technology?! I go to put my shopping cart away and both sets of doors open, dogs begin to bark, and in the distance: sirens. DOOR! I’m NOT going in! Figure it out!

And yes, from a technical perspective I know they use motion detectors and they’re basic tech, but again, THIS IS 2020! FUTURE!!!!!!!

Computer! (virtual assistants)

One of my favorite movies growing up was Smart House. Katey Segal has always been a favorite. (Also, LeVar Burton directed it?!?! WHAT?!?!) The idea of a house being able to learn and interact with you was amazing. Let’s forget about the house going crazy, that’s not part of the thought.

So we go from that to like Star Trek, you just say “Computer!” and can have a somewhat normal conversation to accomplish what you need. “Computer! Reroute power to auxiliary shields.” “Unable to comply, conduits damaged in section 5G Alpha.” “Okay, use the couplers in 23A Beta to bypass.” “Complete.” See? That’s a somewhat normal conversation to get what you need. How about the voice recognition? The computer always knew who said something and correctly logged it in the record.

Let’s talk about current virtual assistants. I’ve had Siri on my phone for a while, barely use her. When I’m on my phone I can easily look what what I need. The only time I really relied on Siri was when I rented a car with CarPlay and I used her to read my text messages and reply to them so I could be safe on the road. Still looking for a CarPlay, little difficult for my current car since the dash is molded. If anyone has tips for cheap and good install, let me know. ANYWAY.

A while ago I got two Google Home devices. One lives in my kitchen because I can be in the main area and it’ll hear me, the other lives in my bathroom to play music while I shower and also morning news while I’m still in bed. Google Home does a lot more for me than Siri because I more of the smart devices I have are compatible with it than HomeKit.

HOWEVER. I have voice recognition turned on, and when I’m watching Jenna and Julien’s videos, whenever Julien gives a command MY GOOGLE HOME RESPONDS. We have nowhere near the same voice. Get your shit together, Google.

Another qualm with GHome: I can’t say, “Hey Google. Turn off the living room and turn on the bedroom” when I’m headed to bed. No, it has to be two commands. And with the delay between actions, it’s honestly much faster to use the Home app on my phone to change the lights.

All I want is to have a conversation with my house and have it respond accordingly, is that so much to ask?

Daily Reflections

Took today as another lazy day, got almost nothing done. Slept in again.

Spent a fair amount of time getting my sister’s website updated with the right plugins and stuff that’s needed. Now just have to have her pick a theme and start creating content!

I also spent a very large chunk of time installing email services on my server. I’ve done it before, but for whatever reason I was riding the struggle bus today. It’ll send/receive, but I can’t log in with Outlook. Not a big deal, I can poke at it again later. I’m going to blame me just sitting in my chair with my feet up, I always seem to not be focused in this position. Once I clean up the guest room (filled with boxes because I’m lazy!) then I can set up a desk again and hopefully be more focused on stuff.

Around 5 I had my weekly, “Oh CRAP! LAUNDRY!” moment. Less vital now since I have nowhere to go on Monday. But I can smell my BO and I’m out of pajamas, so as soon as that load is done I’m going to take a shower.

I made mac & cheese for lunch but screwed it up somehow (sauce refused to stick to the noodles) and right this very now it’s 7:30 and I’m watching Julien’s video about bangers and mash. I could make that. I’m hungry. BRB, gonna make some chili dogs because I’ve wanted them for a few days now and I’m running low on things to cook.

Okay, I’m back. Did you miss me? Heated up a whole can of chili and put it on a hot dog. Not the whole can, that’s excessive. But if I get hungry later I just need to heat up a hot dog and re-reheat the chili. My appetite’s been wonky, not sure if it’s just general anxiety/depression or because I’m not moving very much so I don’t need to eat as much.

Okay, time for some video games and then bed.

Night.

Day 30 of 56: Masks

Let’s talk about masks!

I spent a lot of money on masks today

Today I spent about $70 on masks. I bought a total of 4 from two different companies, both of which are donating a mask for every one sold. One company is based in Texas, more on them later, and the other right here in Central Oregon.

The Central OR company didn’t offer any sort of choice, they’re making them out of leftover scraps. Whatever, support local business. Chose one “male color” so we’ll see when it arrives what the pattern is.

The Texas company had some great designs. I’m legitimately excited for these to come in.

While I would love to save the suspense for two or three weeks from now when I get them in and can upload pictures, here’s the product images for the ones I bought!

Jazzy 90s Mask
BSOD Mask
Yes I Would Mask

As a child of the 90’s I am excited for the first one that is the pattern of the cups from school.

As an IT professional, I can’t wait for the other two. When I go to help someone with their computer over the next few months, I can’t wait to be instantly labeled as the IT guy. There will be no guessing who I am or what I’m there for.

I bought four so that when I get back to work I can wear one a day. Hang it up on a hook so I can take it off at my desk and then safely put it back on when I need to leave the building. Not sure how we’re going to operate until a vaccine is found, I’m going to guess one person in the office per week to prevent contamination. We’ll see. Only 26 days to find out, right? Right.

Plus, these were all advertised as washable, so with these four I can wash them and reuse within a couple days.

The other masks I bought

I bought some face covers (10 pack) a while ago on Amazon. I wore three of them on Tuesday (or Wednesday? I can’t be bothered to look at past posts). Yesterday I figured I’d wash them all, so I threw them into the washer on hot. Hot water + lots of soap = clean and sanitary, yes?!

Well, these coverings are single-layer jersey tee material. Single. Layer. Tee-shirt. Material.

If you’re better at laundry than me, you know where this is headed. They turned into little tee-shirt rolls. And when I tried one on today, turns out they all shrunk.

Long story short, that was a waste of $20.

I don’t have an iron, so I need to find a way to get them flattened out again. Open to suggestions. Since they’re only one layer, I’m thinking about cutting up half of them and hand-sewing two together. They’ll be better than nothing. Maybe I can get an iron on Amazon? I need to go to the store in the next couple days, so I need to figure something out with what I have right now. Don’t want to go back to the handkerchief.

Thoughts on masks in the US

The US is so weird. Like, Asian countries for whatever reason I can associate wearing masks in public. To me, that’s a social norm. In the US, I can’t see that becoming the norm. I think it needs to be the norm until a vaccine is found for the bug, but it’s just weird to think that we’ll have to mask it up.

I’m not opposed, especially since I can still flaunt my nerdiness and I’m all about prevention. It’s just weird. I’m going to protect myself and others as much as I can. From what I’ve read, this isn’t something I want for myself and definitely not others.

I’m going to wear a mask when in public, and I hope that the majority of people will, too. Even if it seems superfluous, if it helps at all then it’s worth it.

Reflections

I slept in until like 1pm. Went to bed last night at midnight, today was to catch up on sleep and just check-out in general.

Lots of YouTube videos, started with JennaMarbles and then somehow moved onto Julien and then JennaJulien. Considering getting some tofu, because some of the videos Julien posted looked amazing and I’m not opposed at all to vegan and gluten-free.

Two slices of pizza for food all day, no chili dogs like I planned.

Played a bunch of Killing Floor 2, I love me some zombie shooters. Then some Apex. We didn’t do very well, but we had fun and that’s all that matters.

Bought a domain for my sister, and am now starting to get that set up so she can blog. I’ll promo her site once it’s all set up.

Okay, it’s late, I have a lot of work to do still even thought I’ve been up for less than 12 hours, and I want to go to bed.

Stay safe, y’all.

Day 29 of 56: Network Stuff

I had a great idea for today’s first post of the second half of this venture, but it’s been an emotional day so instead have a nerdy post while I process some stuff.

The Nerd Strikes Again – Part 1

I go to an online-only university to get a degree in IT. I’ve been working on getting any sort of degree for almost 10 years now; I’ve been enrolled at this university for almost 4 years. Did the community college thing for a while, took some time off, did a different online university that absolutely BLEW, and now I’m with this one that works more at my speed. When I signed up my degree was in network administration, because for whatever reason networking is my passion. After a couple terms, I was informed they were no longer offering my degree. I could stay with it and get the verbiage I wanted, or move to a different program. I decided to move to the replacement program: cloud and systems administration. This was also in line with what I’m doing at work, so it seemed okay. Not ideal, just okay. A few weeks before Thanksgiving I realized that with work and projects I was just getting burned out. Doing a full 8 hours, plus time for work projects, plus cooking and normal stuff, plus school, it was just too much. Talked with my advisor, and she agreed to move me to the basic BS of IT degree.

Honestly, at this point I don’t care that it won’t have the verbiage I want, it’s been 10 years. TEN. YEARS. I just want to be done with a Bachelors. I’ve spent so much money, and for a degree that I already work in. I just want the piece of paper so I can say I did it, and just keep on my merry way.

Regardless of my degree situation, my focus has always really been networking. I just love it when I can get things to talk. My job is more systems admin and user support, and my title is net analyst, but I’m really the net admin. When routers/switches/things need configured, I’m the one that the team turns to. Which is nice.

The boss also calls me his net admin. Not in title, just in practice.

The Nerd Strikes Again – Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

So what does a net admin do when he can’t net admin? Set up his own network monitor so he can monitor his home network, that’s what.

One of the last classes I could take before got switched to the basic degree was my capstone. This is the final paper that culminates your experience. So I did my capstone in December, with a full term remaining. Whatever, let’s get it out of the way. Because my initial focus was networking, and my function at work is a lot of networking stuff, I wrote my paper on how I implemented a network monitor on the work networks.

Figured last night, but mostly today, why not do the same thing at home? I’ve got a lot of things that connect to the wifi, I like collecting data, this is the perfect idea!

Last night I installed the monitoring software, and today I’ve been poking at it to get all my things recognized. Thought if I left it overnight it’d find everything, but I messed up somehow and had to manually add everything today. Whatever, not like I have much else to do.

Now I get to figure out how to get my thermostat, PlayStation, and washer to report useful data besides just connected or not. Especially the thermostat, it’d be cool to be able to see data by minute instead of every 15 minutes like they offer by default. Data. It’s what I do.

So that’s something fun for me but not for anyone else that I can do for the next few weeks.

Daily Reflections

Woke up with a little bit of a puke feeling, only had two glasses of wine last night but apparently not enough water.

Set up the network monitor, some more Jenna and Julien videos, some water, all associate call, more videos. Drank my last Pepsi. I was mildly upset, but then I remembered that before all this I haven’t bought a pack of Pepsi in a very long time. Side note, I used to be addicted to Pepsi. Like, 3L a day addicted. I was able to bring that back to like 2 a week when going out to places. So while I may be out of Pepsi, it’s really not a big deal. I think I’m more addicted to caffeine than Pepsi itself. Another side note, work has a corporate health app that gives us money for healthy behavior, I have over $100 saved up, I might use that to get an espresso machine. I’ve lost 10 pounds since staying home, and I’m convinced it’s because I haven’t gotten a daily latte. Time for that to change. I’ll get some sugar-free syrup, maybe I’ll keep that weight off.

It was 65 today, so I opened the windows. Saw a bumblebee on the back deck when I was washing my hands, shouted “HEY BUMBLE!!!” so now I’m convinced the entire neighborhood knows I’m batshit.

Realized at like 7, after playing some of that new COD game with the guys, that I hadn’t eaten all day. Made some mashed potatoes and buffalo chicken strips.

Finished up my day so far with some more Jenna videos. Might round out the day with some zombie shooter action.

Be well, y’all.

Day 28 of 56: Dreams (literally)

We are now officially halfway through my work’s closure! We did it! The weather tomorrow is going to be very nice, and the next few days 65F! It’s also 3 weeks until my birthday, pretty stoked to have mowed the lawn some time around then. I had a couple really cool dreams last night, so I’ll talk about them, but dreams are boring unless they’re your own so this is a post in three parts.

Since last night

Warning, this section turned into a stream of consciousness. Not to be confused with my normal Reflections section.

Last night’s post went up at what, 11:50? Something like that. Fed the Turnip Monster, moved my plates to the kitchen because the Turnip Monster eats paper towels and pizza crusts. Read a chapter of a book, went to bed. Dreams in the next bit.

Slept pretty well, woke up briefly around 8 to turn off my alarm clock, felt a little crappy still, went back to sleep until 11. Got up, fed the Turnip Monster, contemplated making coffee because by this point it’s noon, decided against, sat down and turned on some JennaMarbles. I’m in a better place mentally today, and I don’t know why but she just keeps me calm. This is the first one I watched, instant calm. By accident it happened to be her video for the week.

DAMN. Oregon’s “Stay Home. Save Lives.” commercial is pretty hard-hitting. It opens with “Did you accidentally kill someone today?” and continues on with the number that you could be responsible for killing (3, 9, 27, etc. because I don’t want to math right now). Damn, Oregon, way to drive the point home.

And then I got an ad for Insight, like I don’t already use them for a lot of stuff at work. C’mon, Al Gore Rhythm… get it together…

Finished writing the dream section around 3, still watching JennaMarbles videos, still haven’t eaten anything at all. I’m thinking pizza because I still have half a pizza left. Maybe for dinner… chili dogs? I have like 4 hot dogs left and a whole bunch of chili. I think I’ll just eat the random crap until I have to go to the store again. I really should figure out some meal plans. I could make my own chili. You know how hamburger goes bad a few days after you buy it if you leave it in the fridge? I kind of want to try that Beyond Meat stuff, maybe start messing around with tofu. I think they’d stay good in the fridge longer. Or I need to not be afraid to put meat in the freezer. I think I’m afraid it’s not going to defrost right and either be damaged or not taste good. Personal problem, I guess.

Dreams

All right. Tie this post together. Dreams. I only remember vaguely three of my dreams, and even then not the whole thing. Hopefully if anybody is reading this is good at deciphering dreams they can give me some insight. Because I can’t figure out what they’re trying to say.

I know listening to other people talk about their dreams is really boring, so you have my absolute permission to skip this whole section.

Dream 1 – Athena Clone

I was living/working in a place similar to my dad’s first place, an apartment above a shop. Doesn’t really matter what my job was in the shop area, I think it was something space/science-themed, what’s important is that Athena was down there with me. So I go up to the apartment, and Athena is there. Cool, she made it there before me! And then Athena walks into the apartment and sits near Athena.

She then told me, in a man’s voice, that one of them was a clone. Somehow I was able to determine which was which, I think I had to make a mark on her leg so it wouldn’t show up on the clone? Not sure.

I actually woke up a little distressed and had to make sure that there was only one cat sleeping next to me.

Dream 2 – Subaru of the Future

So I pull into work, which is how you know this is a dream, and there’s a fancy Subaru in my boss’ spot. Like one of their taller SUV models? It looked sick. So the boss and I get in, and the interior is surprisingly roomy. But there’s no windshield? Just like a television and a screen that rolls down from the ceiling. Let’s be honest, it looked like the bridge of like the Defiant or the Enterprise but with only two seats and no stations on the side.

No steering wheel, when you sat in the “drivers” seat there were some switches and basic input. You didn’t face the forward screens, you were turned to the left to watch a screen over there.

Also where the turbolift door would be at the back-right of the bridge there was a door to a bathroom.

It was actually pretty cool. I’m putting this out in the universe right now, I may have had a prophetic dream of sorts of Subaru’s first fully self-driving car. Calling it right now. I’d buy it, it was sick.

Dream 3 – Music Competition

I had a dream a couple nights ago where I composed a song that had everyone go into a round with a really dissonant minor scale up and then down.

So in last night’s dream, I came into a large performance space where my old Music Theory professor was conducting for what can best be described as a regional band competition. There were little robots doing things, but mostly it was people with instruments waiting for their turn to play.

First up was a song written by someone I know from middle school (did I go to high school with her? Don’t think so…) and that song was AMAZING. I can’t remember anything about what it sounded like, but it was absolutely gorgeous and was moving. Even though I was in the competition I wanted her to win.

My song came up, and I was so proud of how it turned out that I tried recording it on my phone discreetly. My professor caught me but I kept recording. Then the little robot dudes started swarming near me and I had to get out of there, but not before I recorded that same discordant round from DAYS AGO.

Also I snuck a peek at both of our sheet music and they were all written in treble, no bass clef. That I’m going to chalk up to me not really knowing how to read bass notes. I mean, I do but all the instruments I played were all treble.

Regardless, I woke up feeling calm and at peace, thanks to the beautiful and at times discordant music I dreamed up.

Reflections

Would you be surprised if I said nothing happened after I finished writing the above? Well, nothing happened! More JennaMarbles, played my find-the-thing game until well after it got dark out so I was sitting in the dark on my iPad.

Had a couple pieces of pizza for lunch today, by the time I was thinking about dinner it was 9 and just not feeling making food. Plus, I want to make what I have last, so if I eat the last of the pizza before moving on to other stuff, I’ll be in good shape.

My brain has been shut off most of the day, what with the find-the-thing game, so no thoughts on anything for today. Jenna helped with that, also mostly staying off social media.

Might play some video games before going to bed at a somewhat respectable time (midnight, duh). Have an all-associates call with the GM tomorrow, looking forward to that. I should also think about working on re-taking that test. Only have like 5 classes left and until the end of June to do them. I also need to find either my graphing calculator (if I can fix it) or my scientific calculator for this stupid math class.

Day 27 of 56: Nap

Quick little post of the day that true to form ended up much longer than I thought it would.

Had a nice night’s sleep, woke up around 9. Don’t remember what I did for an hour, maybe it was Facebook and news? Normal morning stuff. Felt good.

Migrated to the living room so I could review for my test. Crap, I left ALL MY GROCERIES OUT overnight. I think the creamer will be fine, not sure about the bag salad and eggs. We’ll see. Reviewed stuff for the exam and played some games on my phone. For whatever reason when I’m focused on something I don’t breathe very deep, so around 11 when I needed to get up to do something, I was short of breath. And then I started coughing. I’m sure you can see where my mind went from there.

Yeah, thought I had the virus. Cue panic attack. Hard.

Then I started feeling like I had to puke. Oh that’s right, I didn’t eat a lot of food yesterday and had way too much wine and almost no water. Dehydrated again!

Did some deep breaths to prove to myself that I wasn’t actually short of breath, even used my little breath thingy from my appendectomy where you inhale and try to keep this little thing between lines and it shows lung capacity.

I had to logically go through my actions over the past week. A week ago today I went to the store, I was wearing a mask. I wiped down all my things with a bleach mixture, I washed my hands, I sanitized my phone. I did everything right. I only leave my house to get groceries, and I try to keep it to once a week. I live alone and the cats are both indoors, so no chances there. No, I’m just dehydrated and panicking.

Got myself calmed down a little bit, decided to stay off social media and news for the day since that definitely wasn’t helping. Took a shower, that also helped a bit with the panic.

Took my test, got 73% but apparently that’s still failing? That’s a C! C = Competent. Whatever. Emailed the instructor for next steps and laid down.

Last time I was dehydrated like this (my last week at work ☹ ) I went home, took a nap, felt better. So I figured that was what I needed to do.

Downloaded a white noise app because I wasn’t feeling podcasts like I normally sleep to, and the stream noise I picked had a sound every few seconds that sounded like there was a mouse scratching under my sink. I eventually figured it out and could stop freaking out about that, but one of the dreams I had involved Turnip putting a small mouse on the blanket next to my face. That woke me up pretty quick, I had to check there wasn’t a mouse and that Turnip hadn’t somehow gotten in my room. Got back to sleep, it was about a very poorly managed theatre production but also in a space ship. It was kind of cool but also really damn frustrating.

Had a very nice nap. I felt great, and woke up around 4. Started playing a find-the-thing game I played a couple years ago on the iPad, SO MUCH EASIER. Did that for a couple hours in bed, then moved back out to the living room. Still feeling great. No coughing, don’t feel the need to puke, cool. Had a couple pieces of pizza and played that game until about 10:30.

Couldn’t figure out what I wanted to eat. Not feeling making anything, and I didn’t want to have pizza again. So more water, I’ll just sleep and have something in the morning. I had a bagel with cream cheese this morning, and two slices of pepperoni sausage pizza for lunner, that’s enough.

Okay back to bed. Night.

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