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!

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?

Weekly status update [0004/????]

Adulting: Minimal.

Videogaming: Maximal.

Able to breathe like a normal human being? Nah.  Apparently that’s not in the cards.

Bored? Never.  Never!

Further details:

  • After speeding up roughly 2wpm a day since I started learning Colemak, I’ve hit something of a plateau over the last couple of days in the mid-50s.  I’ve spiked to 58wpm a couple of times, but never over.  My low accuracy rate is killing my momentum; I haven’t internalized the new keyboard layout anywhere near the level of QWERTY, and that lack is finally showing through.  I’m trying to force myself to not hit keys until I’m sure they’re the right ones, but the back of my mind is all GOTTA GO FAST, and so I typo all over the place.  Only having Backspace on Caps Lock is keeping me from still being in the low 30s.  I realize that 58wpm is well above average, but it’s roughly half of my old typing speed, which is just. too. slow.  And “a word a second” is so tantalizingly close…
  • I continue to work through Transparent and The Expanse, albeit at a slower rate than I would normally go.  I’m not even managing an episode a day.  That’s because of…
  • Videogames.  Mostly Let It Die.  So much Let It Die.  But also quite a bit of Gems of War, which is a free-to-play match-3 game made by the people who made Puzzle Quest back in the day.  It’s definitely the sleaziest of the four F2P games I’ve played heavily (the other two are Spelunker World and Warframe, if you’re curious), but the match-3 gameplay is just so good that I’m willing to overlook its flaws.  I actually put small sums of money this week into all of them other than Spelunker World.  Unsurprisingly, the best dollar-to-value deal was Let It Die.  If you own a PS4, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
  • I read my first novel of retirement, Version Control by Dexter Palmer.  I recommend it.  More here.
  • I should probably do something about the car before the wheels all fall off at the same time, like in a cartoon.
  • Can’t write.  Gotta learn how to type first!  (Are they buying it?)

Butterfly in my eye

I just finished reading the first book of my retirement, Version Control by Dexter Palmer.  It was complicated.  Very good, but complicated, a mix of literary and science fiction that took me a while to find the rhythm of; once I did, though, it made me stay up until 2am last night and then power through the rest today.

I don’t read nearly as much as I used to, though.

One reason is that I actually find it physically difficult; since I’ve developed allergies, my eyes water a lot, and extended reading sessions are a sure way to have me weeping constantly.  I put up with it when the reading’s good, but if it’s merely “okay” it’s easy to make excuses and just do something else that won’t entail me wiping my eyes every few minutes.

Another is a sort of cyclical issue that I find myself dealing with at almost all times.  Biorhythms are complete and total nonsense, but I find that my tastes for “things what I do with leisure time” follow these sort of boom-bust cycles that last days, weeks, or months.  I’ll go three months without turning my PS4 on, then (like right now) find myself having to sleep with wrist braces because I’m spending so much time playing vidja.  I won’t touch a puzzle book for a few weeks, then power through half of one in three days.  And I’ve been in a long, long drought of can-be-arsed energy when it comes to reading fiction, particularly novels I haven’t read already.

That distinction is important.  Right now I really, really want to reread the entire Culture series by Iain Banks for the… fourth? fifth? time, even though there’s a stack of unread novels sitting on my kitchen island.  The only reason Version Control happened is because it’s a library book and I already had to renew it once.  Now that I finished it, I may allow myself to dive back into that world of dry wit and unparalleled futuristic utopia as a bit of an escape.  But it’ll only take me a couple of weeks to reread all nine books, and then I’ll be right back where I started.

I wonder if it’s at least partly a move away from passive entertainment.  I don’t watch many movies or TV shows either, and limit myself to a single episode per day even when I’m in the middle of an excellent show, like The Expanse right now or Altered Carbon a couple of weeks ago.  Reading is more pleasurable, the mindscape always more powerful and expressive than a moving picture, but it’s still linear consumption of someone else’s work.

I’m not sure.  What I do know is that I want to write more, and to write well I need to read more, even if that means upsetting my own… mediarhythms, let’s say.  We’ll see if forcibly pushing myself out of that lack of desire works, or if it just makes things worse.

Weekly status update [0003/????]

I continued to make a good go of minimizing the amount of adulting this week.  In fact, I was rewarded for doing so; I got the notice in for getting my car inspected so that I can update its registration. This means that the maintenance procrastination I’ve engaged in for the last month and a half retroactively became time-saving genius.  Good job, me!

I’m up to 42 words per minute of typing with Colemak.  Median typing speed according to Google is 41, so in less than a week of using a completely new keyboard layout I’m already at a functional level.  It’s a painfully slow and error-ridden functional level, mind.  I’m actually at an ugly point where I’m still not great at all with the New Thing, and my ability to do the Old Thing is much worse due to overwriting those synapses in my brain.  I’ve taken to doing a few QWERTY typing tests every day just to make sure I don’t become a hunt-and-peck typist when I sit down at any keyboard that isn’t mine.  Thankfully the keyboard that is mine supports changing layouts on the fly in the hardware, so I don’t have to mess with operating system jankiness when I bounce back and forth.  I haven’t had to do that much either; it’s just long passwords that are more muscle memory of patterns than actual characters I remember that send me scurrying back to QWERTY.

Other than that, I’ve:

  • taken to watching both catsonurhead and Landail on the regular on Twitch; the former is a super-friendly speedrunner and the latter is on an insane quest to play through every console RPG ever;
  • started streaming on Twitch myself at http://twitch.tv/sunfalltoennien, mostly Let It Die but also some random other stuff that no one watches;
  • finished the fifth season of The Americans and the second season of Transparent, both of which were amazing;
  • gone to dinner twice with old coworkers at the same restaurant, because it has bacon wrapped cheese stuffed jalapeños and is therefore automatically the best restaurant in town;
  • used the whole slow typing thing to push off coding and writing yet another week.

I also played some board games early in the week, which I already wrote about here.  I both do and don’t look forward to giving gaming in a public space another try.

Lastly, bored status: still definitely no.