A question of time and space

We had our second “folks from work” game night last night.  This time it was where we wanted to have it the first go-round, Fercott Fermentables.

The difference was striking.  Fercott has a fantastic, laid-back vibe; we played in the far back last night, but the next time I think we’re going to colonize the nice wooden table in the front, which has more room for a larger game like Power Grid or Concordia, and more seating for the more casual games that we could play as well.  They have lots of beers, if that’s your thing, but also a surprisingly solid selection of what I call “hipster drinks,” only half-snarkily.  I drank two Shirley Temples and a really good root beer.

I’m glad that my discomfort the time before came from the circumstances of venue and not just a general “I can’t handle playing games in public” sort of situation.  I should have known better; I used to spend almost every evening at the local game store, after all.  But I’m now actively looking forward to our next game-playing venture, something I couldn’t say the last time.

Also, Power Grid continues to hold up, more than a decade after its release.  Also also, I won, I think for the first time.  I promise that that’s not why Fercott left such a positive impression.  Well, mostly promise.

Weekly status update [0006/????]

Weekly adulting level: High.

End-of-week energy level: So low.  So, so low.

  • I spent most of the week avoiding full day binges at the computer and PS4 in an attempt to baby my wrists given my long-running issues; it’s helped quite a bit, but I’m going to keep it up for another week at least.
  • Because of that, I haven’t been typing very much.  I’m still in the low 60s typing speed wise, which is simultaneously more than fast enough for… anything, really… and still so much slower than my traditional typing speed that it’s driving me nutso.  I wanted to start properly drilling this week with the help of gtypist, but I’ve only done a bit of that thanks to the whole wrist thing.  In a couple of weeks, though… yeah.
  • The visit to the ENT went really well, and I recommend seeing Dr. de Neef at Carolina Ear, Nose, and Throat if you need to see someone and don’t have a regular.
  • The other big bit of adulting was me getting all of my stuff together and bringing it (digitally) to H&R Block for that most dreaded of American traditions: taxes.  I did that yesterday, and found out today that I owe… a lot.  Nearly forty grand a lot.  The raw number was a bit shocking, but I knew it was going to be a huge tax bill, since I sold almost all of my tech company equity at the end of last year.  Still, ouch.
  • That said, with all three of those essentially done, I can now start planning for a multi-week road trip to Arkansas and Louisiana to visit friends and family.  I’m actually pretty excited about this!  Which is rare for me, because as I’ve mentioned before travel is most definitely not My Thing.  I’m looking forward to the languid “go whenever, leave whenever” possibilities for visits that being retired affords me, though.
  • I finished the second season of The Expanse, which was even better than the first.  Still working on Transparent, although I’m close to the end there too.  I really want to start on the second season of Jessica Jones next, but my completionist tendencies mean that I have to watch Punisher first.
  • My other big “not gaming, not computing” time sink has been a reread of Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels.  I made it through the first two this week, and am already about 20% of the way into Use of Weapons, which remains the hardest one to reread.  (I’ve done this “read them all” thing a few times already.)  After Weapons, though, the rest of the series is smooth sailing.

…that’s a lot of text, and my arm is tweaking a bit, so I’ll stop there and settle back down with my book.  But, hey: progress on actual life things!

Breathing, simplified

My new COBRA insurance card came in yesterday, and so I called to book an appointment with an ENT so that I could get some more montelukast before the final bits of my stash from last year ran out.  At the doctor’s office, I learned something that is obvious in retrospect, although it surprised me at the time.

I had been planning on getting a full suite of allergy tests, so that I could figure out what it is I’m allergic to here in western North Carolina that clearly isn’t back in Louisiana.  My strong suspicion is that the main culprit is dogwood, a tree we don’t really have where I’m from, but which is utterly ubiquitous here.  Nevertheless, the doctor convinced me that getting tested would be a waste of time and money.

Why?  Because I’m not planning on staying here long term.  The tests are only really useful if you plan on following them up with shots to overcome your allergic reactions, which is usually a three- to five-year process.  It’s the sort of thing you do when you’re settling down somewhere for a long time, not when you’re thinking about leaving on any sort of short- to medium-term time horizon.

And I definitely am; while I really love the weather here, and will of course miss the people when I leave, I don’t think that Lenoir is my “forever” home.  It’s not Louisiana either, for that matter.  I’m not sure where it is, to be honest, although my current leanings are in the Colorado/Wyoming area more than staying in the South.

The other key discovery from Dr. de Neef (pronounced duh naïf, as it’s Dutch) was that they only test for allergens in the immediate area.  This was the thing that seemed so obvious in retrospect; of course there are hundreds, thousands of potential allergens, and so you’d minimize the testing to things that people are most likely to encounter.  Moving exposes you to a completely different sets of plants and molds trying to have sex with your sinuses, which your body may or may not take a dislike to, and a completely new battery of tests.

So: montelukast it is, for the time being, until I figure out what the hell it is I’m doing long term.  And one more thing popped off of the adulting queue.

Slow moves day

I’ve had problems with my wrists for years.  A lot of it comes from bad keyboard hygiene in my youth, and, well, all the way into adulthood; switching to Colemak is mostly an attempt to stave off those problems as long as I can.  There’s no question that it’s helping, but there’s also no question that I’m playing more games, and typing more, than I did when I was still working.  (Turns out workdays have lots of interruptions–meetings, lunches followed by board games, hallway chats–that you just don’t have when you’re home alone all day.  Who knew.) And that additional wear-and-tear is causing issues.

I’m wearing my wrist braces every night now, a habit I used to follow religiously and then gave up for the most part during my most recent job tenure.  My wrist problems are definitely exacerbated by the fact that I’m also a hand-curler in my sleep; I often wake up in strange positions, limbs twisted unnaturally and with various extremities going bzzzzzzzz from a lack of blood flow.  I’m also wearing them a lot during the day too, particularly when I’m doing a marathon game session.  They help, but still.

I think I’m going to have to simply start going easier on all the tech.  More reading, which is good; probably a bit more passive television watching, which is less good, but it’s not like there isn’t a ton of stuff for me to catch up on.  It’s frustrating, of course.  Having your body fail you slowly but surely is part of growing old, but I can’t imagine what I’d do if I could no longer use my hands.  So I’ve got to be careful, play it safe, and listen to when my body is telling me it’s time to quit.

Speaking of which: enough typing for now.  More later this week.


Weekly status update [0005/????]

Hey, I adulted this week!  Just a bit, but still.


  • Nearly a thousand dollars of work on my car–four new tires, new front brakes, further brake work–but hopefully that’s all it’ll need for the next couple of years.  I’ve been driving my Scion xD now for a decade and it’s never had a single actual mechanical problem, knock on wood.  Let’s keep that trend going.
  • More Transparent and The Expanse, although I’m almost done with the latter.  I’m delighted that they finished the adaptation of the first book halfway through the second season; they let the material breathe more with those extra episodes, and it paid off.
  • Still playing way, way too much Let It Die.  I need to beat it so I can put it aside.
  • I’m over 60wpm with Colemak.  Improvements are much slower now, but I’m already a faster typist than the majority of the world, so I’ll take it.
  • Turns out that montelukast (brand name Singulair) actually works when Claritin doesn’t, so I have a sense of taste again.  That’s nice.
  • Watching a lot of Twitch.  Mostly Landail and catsonurhead still, but also one of my old coworkers who streams Spelunky on Thursday nights, and…
  • …various folks streaming Prismata.  I backed it on Kickstarter years ago, and it finally hit Steam Early Access yesterday.  Several biggish streamers have been sponsored to play it; those streams are generally awful, with lots of people whining about the streamer not playing Gwent or Hearthstone or whatever.  What’s been much better are the random small streamers jumping in and having fun.  It’s been neat to see this from the side of someone already very familiar with the game.

I’m overdue for a longer form retrospective, given that I’m five weeks in.  I’ll try to write one this coming week, along with a bit more besides.  I still haven’t figured out a review-discuss format I’m happy with, which is stymieing my writing some, and as I’ve mentioned before my life isn’t exactly action-packed, so it’s hard to come up with topics that won’t bore most of you out of your skull.  I’ll work on it, though.

Procrasti nation

I have a confession to make: I’m really good at procrastinating.

Cue a wide array of shocked faces.  What?  No shocked faces.  Oh, well then.

I still haven’t taken my car in for the tires-oil change-inspection combo deal.  I haven’t started searching for a tax prep person either; normally I do them myself, but with me selling a ton of company stock last year I think the right thing to do is to get someone else to handle it this one time.  (Speaking of which: any of you Western North Carolinians have a good recommendation for tax prep?)  And I finally called the ENT today to try and get a refill on my Singulair prescription, to find out that I have to schedule an appointment to get it renewed.  I hung up rather than dealing with that this morning.


Wait But Why has an excellent pair of articles on procrastination that I can’t really add much to, other than to talk about what triggers it for me.  And that’s uncertainty.

I don’t handle uncertainty well.  I delayed early retirement for two years because I was scared of the changes it would bring, the level of turmoil to my finances and daily routine and “what do I do if something horrible happens and my cush tech safety net isn’t there” and and and

It’s a big part of why I hate traveling as well.  What if I don’t make it to the airport on time?  Or if I do but I’m delayed at security?  Or if the flight is delayed?  Or or or?  I can’t sleep well the night before any travelling because my head is spinning with all of the ways everything can go wrong.  It even makes me feel a bit physically ill.

So procrastination is my coping mechanism, in the grand tradition of mythical (but not real) ostriches, is to bury my head in the sand.  As long as I’m not actively doing A Thing, that thing can’t twist around on me, can’t be a source of new uncertainty, and that makes it easier.

That’s all wrong, of course.  There’s nothing to say that my car won’t break down tomorrow, or that my allergies won’t get worse.  But my brain is more easily satisfied by doing as little as possible, by keeping the active uncertainty down, even if that means just a different level of uncertainty.

It’s annoying, and frustrating, and putting voice to it and being aware of it hasn’t done much to make it easier for me over time.  But, hey: I’m on the phone with the Toyota dealership in Hickory right now, trying to schedule all the maintenance I need.  That’s a start, right?