Shufflin’

I’m sort of feeling guilty for taking a day off when I was feeling good, because today I had to take the day off because my back is fucking killing me. 😣 I don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about, because it seems to happen every couple of months, but I do have to be careful how I sleep tonight so that I don’t aggravate it. 😳 Odds are good that I’ll just sack out in the recliner, which rarely fails to give me a decent night sleep… at least in so far as it doesn’t injure me during the middle of the night.

I just got back from Aunt Sharon’s though, because I told her that I’d go over there tonight to work on her PC a bit. πŸ–¨πŸ–₯πŸ”πŸ€“ Someone gifted her a spare printer, so I took one of my extra USB cables over for her – and then her BIOS was reporting that one of her fans wasn’t working, so I took it all apart to check the boards and connections. Nothing looked burnt or broken, but the rear exhaust fan simply won’t spin up. πŸ€” There’s an additional exhaust fan on the front, and one mounted directly to the heat sink on the CPU, so as long as she doesn’t leave it running day and night I think she’ll be okay.

I’m walking all gimpy due to my back, and I think it accidentally made her feel bad for having me come over in that condition… but it’s not a big deal. It’s one of those pains that I’m used to having every now and then, so at least on “day one” it hasn’t got me feeling too twitchy yet. πŸ€ͺ Now that I’m back home and settling in I’m gonna grab the heating pad and start working on a to-do list of what I want to accomplish tomorrow. πŸ““πŸ–ŠπŸ€¨ It’s almost all stuff regarding medical stuff, appointments, medication approvals and such – and I’ll have time to do all of that while I sit in my car and wait for Cassi at her doctor appointment.

I know this one is falling pretty close to her mama’s appointment, but this is her first time back after quite a while – since she got her insurance activated again and wants to make the most of it. Something that I definitely encourage. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ‘±πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ I’m also sitting here looking at the list of “free slot play” on the calendar that Hollywood sent me, and it works out that a few of them combine to be a decent amount tomorrow, so I think I’ll take her there afterwards to play. πŸ˜ƒπŸŽ°πŸŽ°πŸŽ° Plus we can use up the $30 in food credit that I’ve got as well. πŸ˜€πŸ”πŸŸ That should make the drive up to Columbus feel less like a “have to” and more like a “want to” hopefully.

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I Vaguely Remember Hobbies

Accidentally allowed myself to feel a little too good yesterday. 😏 As a result I spent a good chunk of the afternoon and evening talking at length with Jim, Amy, Genesee, Ric… and here it is almost 7am the next day and I’m still wide awake. πŸ˜’ Not a big deal, I guess, since I already dealt with the pressing phone calls yesterday. I suppose I’ll just see how long I can stay up, take a nap for a couple of hours, and then hopefully get myself back onto a normal sleep schedule tonight. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ If not… meh.

I ran into Ric (online) as I was watching the Logan Police Department’s live stream. We were catching up with each others’ hobbies, or lack thereof, when he asked me if I had looked into software based radio devices. πŸ€”πŸ€“ I remember Dad talking about being able to buy cards or external devices for amateur radio use, which could be controlled by a GUI on a PC… but I realized that I never looked into it any further than that.

Well, I guess the current “big thing” is police scanners that operate in that same fashion. A few years ago, when many of the LEOs and EMTs started going to trunked or digital systems, the only real games in town were Radio Shack or Uniden police scanners that could easily run in the $300 to $400 range. 😬 But as Hong Kong has a habit of doing, there are now $25 devices (USB? Other?) that you can hook up to a PC that can do the same thing as those scanners (and more) once you find the appropriate software. πŸ˜ƒ

So yeah, that definitely perked my ears… and after I get some rest today I’ll probably get back on the laptop and start doing a little research on those things. The info comes at just the right time too, as my portable scanner is starting to show its age. I’ll update further if I end up pulling the trigger.

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.

That Doesn’t Go There

Rather than sitting around the house grumbling, I decided to focus my frustration on making some changes here. Oh, and yesterday I also got a text that my prescriptionΒ  is ready to be picked up. πŸ˜‘πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I swear they just wait to see if I’ll keep forcing this process to continue before just authorizing it. πŸ™„ But anyway, realizing that the reason I rarely use the desktop computer is mostly because it’s in the back bedroom, and that bedroom is friggin’ cold… and purple… I decided to move my desk (and the computer) out into the living room. πŸ€”

It doesn’t actually look right in the living room, at least not yet, but I made the decision based on my “I rarely have company, so I could even move my bed into the living room if I wanted to” theory. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But I enjoyed the process of setting it up and using zip-ties on all of the cords and cables to make it as neat as possible. The printer is wireless, so it can stay back in the purple room for now, and since the PC has bluetooth I can broadcast audio to the good stereo here in the living room as well. (Which might encourage me to create a new tracker tune at some point… as unlikely as that may be.)

If I could figure out where to move my bookshelf I could also bring the keyboard out of the yellow bedroom and get it hooked up to the computer as well. I’ve got a USB MIDI adapter that I’ve never put to use, so that idea has been clanking around my head too. But really I want the purple room to just be storage for stuff I’m going to sell or donate, the yellow room as a real extra bedroom, so I’m just starting to move and condense stuff as needed. It may be nothing, but it makes me feel productive.

Catching Up (More Later?)

Okay, I’ll put some effort into this entry. Things have been rough lately. Cassi and her family moved to a new apartment, and I was asked to help out where I could – and that’s all I could do, help out where I could. But basically what you had was a rag tag crew of broken people, trying to move an entire apartment’s worth of stuff as quickly as possible. 😬 I didn’t do much more than move boxes from the basement, up the stairs, and into the kitchen (what feels like 100 times) and then I did help Cassi with the actual packing of her room and taking those boxes downstairs too. πŸ˜₯ So even though what I was doing was mostly lifting dead weight, which doesn’t kill my neck and shoulder when done in moderation – of course I’m still dying today just due to the scale of what we were trying to do. (I wasn’t there for unloading day, handled by Cassi, Athena, and Athena’s new d00d.)

But anyway, I’ve done enough bitching on Twitter. We did have some other help for the bigger items, so everything that needed to get done got done. Of course we all wish we didn’t have to kill ourselves like we did, but it had to be done. One good thing though is that I’m pretty sure I’m still going to feel horrible by the time I get my MRI done tomorrow. Yes, thankfully it seems the scan has been approved – although now I’m remembering that I have a voice mail on my phone from the risk management company associated with my claim, so I can’t guarantee anything until I check that later. 😠 But the extra pain that I’ve been having, the random seizing that my neck is doing, the “different” noises it makes – I’m just really concerned that something is going bad in there. And I’m torn, because I want them to tell me that yes, it’s worse, and that it’s not just a coincidence… but of course I don’t want it to be something so bad that they start talking about another surgery. 😳

Oh, and in order to not stress Z out while they were getting ready to move, I decided to be cat-sitter again. 😺 I had her for several days, which was long enough this time for her to really start taking to me. No more hiding when I’d go down to the basement to see her – which was probably due in part to the liberal sharing of catnip and the regular “paper wad flipping” sessions. 😊 It’s nice to see that she hasn’t lost her excitement for that game.

So with all of that out of the way, after I get done with my MRI on Wednesday and hopefully get over to Aunt Sharon’s sometime today to help with her computer – then my life can maybe start going back to its normal boring-ness for a few days, and I can put my new vacuum together to see how she works… and do my laundry… and dishes… and bills… and continue packing away “get rid of” stuff… etc… 😏 I’m sure I’ll still pop up to Cassi’s a couple times in the near future to help her unpack things here and there, but thank God all of the ass-busting work has been done.