Alright Then

Ended up staying up for most of the night last night, so after seven hours of sleep it was well into the afternoon before I woke up today. But at least I woke up feeling decent. I’m responsible for screwing up my sleep schedule this time, but I’m gonna try to fix it by going to bed early tonight to stop the bleeding before my days and nights are completely inverted.

Gonna start doing some work around here in a little bit, but I’m also gonna try to use today as a jump point for getting my shit together a little better again in general. Things aren’t bad, but I just need to find a flow again, and find some purpose again, to keep my mood pointed in the right direction. That’s why I sometimes like having a significant backlog of “to-do list” stuff that I can tackle at any given moment, because sometimes I need a handful of those smaller things that I can actually accomplish and then feel decent because I “did something” that day.

The only real plan plan that I’ve yet to make for this week is when I’m gonna go over and visit with Mom and Dad. I hate going when my mood is crap, because I feel like my “meh” about things and myself will be obvious and contagious, so I’m mentally gonna aim for Friday – with today and tomorrow going towards helping me feel a little more human. But I’m gonna hop off here and see how today goes… not gonna pin myself down with a bunch of “YOU MUST GET THIS DONE!” stuff, but yeah… heh

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Trip Report: Extended Edition

This trip to ‘da boat was one of the better ones that I’ve had in recent memory, at least since the times when me, Mom, and Dad all used to go together. πŸ™‚ Great weather on the way down and back (which is more important than you’d think), awesome lightning over the Ohio River during the couple of evening thunderstorms while we were there, and Cassi and I were able to play and play and play – and I still came home with the same amount that I took to spend, andΒ she was able to go home over $200 ahead and with some comp’d jewelry and goodies from the gift shop. πŸ˜ƒ

Oh, and of course we poofed ourselves on the awesome brunch buffet. Mmm… 🀀 not just theΒ regular buffet food, but also all of the important breakfast stuff at the same time. 😁 They must be doing alright, because the entire place is in the middle of renovations. From the giant entry way, to the lobby, to the hallways, to the rooms… everything is getting cosmetic updates. 😯 They’re still in the middle of ripping up all of the faux “stone” flooring in the giant common area and laying down “wood” strips… and for the rest of the hotel, the entire color scheme has changed. The only inconvenience in all of that was that the updated WiFi wasn’t working yet. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Our time on the actual boat was limited the first day, because the machines kicked our asses. πŸ™„πŸŽ° That was okay though, because the trip was as much about “just getting away” as it was for gambling. We got one of the nicer rooms with probably the best view of all of them, looking right out onto the boat, the river, and the outdoor patio area for the indoor pool. 😎🚒 And, as it often goes, we took our swimsuits but couldn’t muster the “oomph” required to go down and actually swim with the larger-than-normal amount of assholes already in the pool. 😏 (For some of them, I think it doubled for their weekly bath.)

Day two on the actual boat was much better. πŸ˜€ I hit a big enough bonus that I was able to set back (to take home) the amount that I took with me to lose, and still have enough to keep playing and to share with Cassi so she could do the same. πŸ€‘ And it wasn’t just that one win. (I missed catching all the winning “sevens” in that video… meh) But both of us kept hitting nice “little-big” amounts that kept us going for the better part of the day. It felt like a totally different experience than the day before. πŸ’πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸŽ‰πŸ’πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸŽˆ

It sucked to wake up after that second night, knowing that we had to head back home, but the winning came at a time and in a way that it let us both come home with a decent amount money, so we sure couldn’t complain. Besides, we were both anxious to get home to our kitties… especially me, since I knew that Maven was all by herself and probably wondering if I had permanently disappeared. 😿 She was happy to see me when I got home of course, but she didn’t even act grumpy… so perhaps I wasn’t as missed as I had presumed. πŸ˜„Β We absolutely had a good time on this trip… the last one we might be able to take for a while… but it was sure nice to be home again too.

Kleeko

I made a lowball online auction bid the other day for a Colecovision system, Atari adapter, several joysticks, and about 60 games with instructions. Never thought that I’d actually win it at the price that I bid, but I did, so yesterday I drove up to Pataskala to pick it all up. πŸ™‚ I was worried I’d have to park a block away due to the small driveway being clogged with picker-uppers like me, but when we got there it was pull in, walk about 20 feet to pay the d00d, grab the goods, and then bounce. 😎 I paid around $25 for it all, and according to recently sold item checks on eBay, it’s easily worth 3x that price parted out. My first “score” in a long, long time.

Before heading up for all that I swung by and picked up Dad. Neither of us had been over towards Millersport (where I grew up) or Buckeye Lake recently, so we kind of did the fifty cent tour of the key spots after grabbing the auction goods. It’s hard to imagine that it’s been nearly 40 years since we originally moved there, with the town now being a 50/50 mix of “familiar” and “different.” 🀨 The first house we lived in looks like it’s been updated and well kept over the years, while the second house we lived in… heh… let’s just say it’s a real shame what’s been done to it, and that I’m surprised that the town’s powers-that-be haven’t had a word with whoever owns and maintains it. πŸ˜’

The drive around Buckeye Lake and Leib’s Island was more about checking out the damage done by all of the new dam work around the north shore, and whatever the hell they’re doing in the formerly peaceful bits at the entrance to the island. 😠 You can tell that once it’s done it’s probably going to be fine, not counting a few folks who used to have lakefront property who no longer do… but yeah, it looks like a giant clusterfuck at the moment, and you can’t help but feel bad for the folks that have been putting up with all the construction and mess for the past couple of years.

But the tour was a good test of our brains… trying to remember the names of all of the people who lived or worked in this house or that business as we drove down each street. I think we both had at least sparks of memories that we probably haven’t thought of for several decades. πŸ˜… It’s just weird that I’m actually old enough for so many things or buildings to have been thought of, built, used, updated, and razed to the ground… like the truck stop that Mom worked at for a while, where I used to play Star Castle and Spiders in the arcade there. 😁 At least the pizza shop is still in Millersport, where I used to play to get the weekly high scores on Pleiades and Donkey Kong Jr to win a free pizza now and then.

Visitation

I’ve been a bit distracted over the past several days. 😳 Genesee, Sarah, and one of their friends came to town earlier in the week, so I’ve had little micro-visits from them as they’ve been coming and going and enjoying their vacation here in Ohio. I knew this was a “them” versus a “Gen” visit, so I figured they’d be on the go most of the week and that I wouldn’t get as much time as I would on a solo visit. But then, due to an emergency at home, their stay got cut even shorter than expected. 😐 So their planned trip to Cedar Point, and our planned dinner at Jack’s and possible visit with Mom and Dad all wound up getting the axe.

I saw her for a few minutes when they first arrived, so she could drop off some donuts and diet shake mix things that she’s been taking so I could try them. 🀀 The next day I saw her for a few more minutes when she dropped off Nesh so they could visit Amish Country sans puppy, and then for a few minutes when they picked Nesh back up and delivered some Heini cheese (*giggle*) and a selection of cheese crowns. πŸ€” Hmm… I guess that was it. It seems that I should have taken them up on their invitation to go out to eat with them earlier in their trip.

Nesh is a big horse of a dog, but he’s really well behaved. I’ve never seen a dog that paysΒ  so much attention (along with perfectly timed head tilting)Β when you talk to him. 🐺 He missed his mommy the entire time they were gone, but he still tolerated me and my lack of knowledge on how to work a dog. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜… Maven wasn’t thrilled about our company for the day, but by the end of it she at least wouldn’t run off… and instead she’d just kinda glare at him as he’d walk around the living room or occasionally come over to sniff at her. 😾

I had a couple appointments yesterday and today, both of which went without incident, so now I’m just readjusting to “normal” and getting ready to do up my dishes and laundry, before I tackle the much bigger task of taking apart my current bed frame before assembling the new one. 😬 It’s much lower to the ground and doesn’t require a box spring, so it’s just something different to see if I can prevent my back from getting fucked on a semi-regular basis when I sleep on that mattress. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I’ve recently started (somewhat) using my email again, but their visit (despite it coming in brief chunks) had my head relatively full already, so I’ve not been checking it over the past few days. I don’t think I’ll get back into it tonight, but I’m going to give it a shot tomorrow before I really get my day started. It was nice seeing Gen, but it’ll be nicer when she (hopefully) comes back in a few months on her own, with a little more time for being a potato here at the house with me, just hanging out and really catching up.

The Future Is Now

It’s been a long time coming, but all of the public service agencies in my area have finally switched out their radios, and are now using digital transmitting/receiving rather than the old analog systems that had been in place and unchanged ever since I was a teenager. πŸ‘΄πŸ» So the old police scanners that nearly everyone in Lancaster has… they’re essentially worthless now, at least when it comes to monitoring all of the action in town.

I’m not sure if it was a financial or transparency-based decision, but while they’ve upgraded to a fully digital system, they’ve decided against using encryption. The easiest thing to compare it to is the way that television broadcasts have changed over the past 10 or 20 years. No more analog signals, but if you have a digital cable box or digital tuner you can easily pick up the new transmissions. It’s the same thing with the public service radios… it’s just a different means of broadcasting. πŸ€“ If they went with encrypted systems though, it would be similar to how wireless phones use digital signals, but they’re also encrypted so that nobody but the caller and recipient are able to hear what’s being said. 🀨

The bad news? While you used to be able to buy a $40 scanner to listen to police, fire, and rescue… digital scanners are significantly more expensive. So much so that many people can’t or won’t want to make the upgrade to continue following the activity. πŸ™ And, at least here in Lancaster, an always-running police scanner has been about as common in homes as a stove, fridge, or washing machine. 😏

I had actually been considering getting a new scanner myself, going so far as to have “shopped them out” online so that I knew what I would get if the cost didn’t make me cringe so hard… and while I made the decision then that it was too expensive, hitting that little jackpot at Hollywood the other day has changed my tune. πŸ€— Oh, I still cringed when I loaded up the page of the one I wanted, but I went ahead and ordered it anyway.

The Homepatrol-1 units are basically “Digital Scanners for Dummies.” Where most other next-gen scanners are more computer than radio (with endless programming options and tweaks accordingly) the Homepatrol-1 is more about an easy listening/monitoring experience. It has built-in memory with a database that covers the entire United States, and it is updated weekly by the manufacturer – based off of frequency information provided by the users and staff at RadioReference.com

So, with the way our local departments are still going through changes, as the current frequency information is discovered and updated on the site – all I’ll have to do (in theory) is punch up my zip code in the scanner… and all of the agencies and radio options will automagically appear before my eyes. πŸ˜€ So, along with it being one of the cheaper scanners,Β that’sΒ what actually sold me on it. The ability to start using it as soon as I get it, without having to spend hours figuring it out and programming it. It does have many advanced options though, especially through the included Sentinel software that is used for easier/quicker programming… so yeah, it’ll still be something to challenge my nerd brain as well.

I’m sure it probably seems like a frivolous purchase to a lot of people… but living by myself, outside of the city limits, away from the humans… having a scanner running gives me the sense of “staying connected” with a community that I still consider to be home, even if I’m not in the heart of it. (Plus there’s all kinds of other stuff to search for and listen to on top of that…)

You’re Not Supposed To Do That

I needed something like this to occupy my brain, to get my mind off of many of the things that have been weighing heavy on me lately – where I could just let my nerd flag fly and dig in to this project to see what I could figure out. πŸ€“ It all started when I was preparing to update the OS in my car, which got me to thinking…

I moved the entire contents of my car’s “brain” over to my laptop, originally because I just wanted to locate any default images or videos that the system uses – in case I ever decide that I want to replace those images or videos with ones of my own. But as I went through the various directories I began to see that many of the files were saved in ASCII format, no encryption, no hex code… and easily viewable with Notepad. 😧

I found things regarding navigation, flash files that make up components of the UI, buttloads of icons for the nav system (which my car doesn’t even have (yet?)), a library of text-to-speech phrases… I mean, you can see in the screenshots above. All sorts of files like that, and in multiple languages as well.

But not only does changing the default images and videos interest me, but now that I’ve found the default phrases that the system uses for various things… it’s got me wondering if it’s as simple as changing those phrases in the text file to get her to say whatever I want. πŸ˜„ Of course I haven’t changed any of it yet, and honestly I’m not likely to… not unless I talk to someone who’s discovered the same things as me, and has done it successfully.

There are a few really short animations that are displayed when opening the doors, starting the ignition, and then turning the car off. They’re just regular logo videos with a little bit of movement, but I’ve already started mucking around with ideas for replacement videos that I could use to create new, brief personalized animations for me. πŸ˜€ I used some free service, so I’d have to crop out their watermark, but the resolution on the car’s videos are so low that it shouldn’t be a problem to crop yet retain enough detail in the video. So… still debating what to do next… 😏

Well, That Was Strange

I’m only writing about this now because I think I can feel it ending. 😳 But this past week, this has been one of the better weeks in recent memory, when it comes to my mood and my ability to human and all that. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’ve done quite a bit more socializing on Facebook and through messages than usual, and for some reason it didn’t cause me to get twitchy like it often can. So that was a nice gift from my brain.

I suppose it was allowed out of a bit of necessity though… I mean, that’s how my brain may have been looking at it… because, at least visually, I’ve been snowed in here at the house for the past few days. 😬 The same d00d that mows my lawn drove by, saw that my front yard showed not even a hint of a driveway, and messaged me to see if I wanted him to plow a way out for me and I happily accepted. πŸ€— So of course it then snowed again today, although not enough to really make a difference when it comes to getting my car in and out. πŸ€” At least I don’t think it is… I haven’t actually tried it yet. πŸš—β›„

Oh, speaking of my car… I’m getting ready to install an upgrade to the current version of my car’s OS. πŸ€“ It is a package that technically hasn’t been released to the public, but after reading the reviews of everyone that have done it themselves – there seems to be almost zero problems when it comes to installation or use. So I’m gonna do that here in a bit, and I’m also going to attempt to customize some of the different screen backgrounds, just to have a different look than what I’ve been staring at for the past couple of years. 😡 Wish me luck.

Physically? I’ve been feeling miserable. With some moments that were on par with the pain that I was experiencing before I even had my surgery. πŸ˜–πŸ˜’ Thankfully it still comes and goes, so I just have to deal with it until it goes. And speaking of that disability… I finally received a date and time for the upcoming workers comp trial. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈ It’s still a month away, so that leaves time to huddle with the lawyers, or for them to get a continuance yet again for whatever reason they come up with this time.

So yeah, just wanted to pop in here real quick and report back that this has been one of the most “normal” feeling weeks for me in a long time. πŸ™‚ But like I said, I do feel something changing… not sure if it’s because the 3-day weekend is ending or what, but I’ve been feeling increasingly bleh as the hours click off today. πŸ˜• Gonna try to do some stuff around the house this evening so I feel somewhat productive, since that usually helps.