180 Minutes

As usual, knowing that I have things that I want to do today, my brain decided to screw my sleep last night. πŸ˜’πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Strangely enough, even after getting only three hours of sleep this morning, I actually woke up without much pain and feeling pretty good. πŸ˜§πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Perhaps it was a positive product of not being in pain when I went toΒ sleep as well… and the early rising was likely due to my subconscious thoughts being all “BLARGHARRGGH STUFF TO DO TOMORROW ARGGHHBLAHH” thanks to the plans floating around in my head.

I’m not mad though… I mean, there’s not much I can do about it anyway. 🀨 I’m not even feeling stressed, so I don’t know why my brain decided to cut my sleep short, but I’m actually glad that it did. Because, first,Β I plan to spend all of this morning and some of the afternoon just being lazy, while also working on some bills – and second, it should work wonders for getting me on the right schedule for my upcoming appointment with my neck doctor. β˜ΊπŸ‘πŸ» I’m sure I’d feel differently if I hadn’t been gifted this inexplicable yet reasonably good mood upon opening my eyes.

While I’ve been sitting here at the laptop, I used the time to download several different RTL-SDR programs for use with the NESDR SMArt USB tuner that arrived the other day. πŸ€“ I’m still amazed that it, along with a handful of antennas, only sets a buyer back twenty-five bucks shipped. 😯 The build on this thing feels solid, too… with them having spent the extra money to put these things into brushed aluminumΒ housingsΒ rather than using cheap plastic. The drivers installed without issue when I plugged it up to the laptop, so as soon as I’ve got an hour or so of uninterrupted time ahead of me I’m gonna start figuring out what all she can do. 😎

Now, if I was smart I would use this extra “awake time” to stop by my doctor’s office and make an appointment regarding my thyroid. But, at least for today, I’m not claiming to be smart. πŸ˜” I’m already planning to stop by and see Mom and Dad late in the afternoon, and I don’t really wanna drop the “unknown” of scheduling an appointment to find out what’s wrong. πŸ€• I know, making an appointment todayΒ wouldn’t mean I’d be seen any sooner than in a couple of weeks, but I’d rather just not plop it in with today’s events – especially when I’m feeling better than average at the moment. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Okay, I better get my ass off of here and get busy chilling. (And bills. Don’t forget the bills. 😏)


Comes At You Fast

So, just since this morning I’ve learned that I’ve got some kind of growth on my thyroid that I need to have checked out, one of my best friends… I’ll save the gory details, but his mom’s cancer has progressed to where they’re pretty sure the time is coming soon, and then another one of my friends flipped her car and is in the hospital as we speak. πŸ˜” And that’s just the bad stuff that I know about. I hate to think about whatever awful news I’ve missed due to not being on FB for a couple of weeks.

Merry Christmas, Ya’ Filthy Animal

After watching a couple Christmas specials last night, before it reached midnight I got into the shelf with my DVDs on it and dusted off “Home Alone” for us to watch as well. 😊 Surprisingly, and I have no ideaΒ how she managed this, but Cassi said that she remembers watching it within the first couple of years of it coming out – but that she hadn’t seen it since then. πŸ€”πŸ€¨ At least not as in sitting down and watching more than a few minutes of it at a time. πŸ™‚ So that was kinda neat, watching a movie that me and everyone else on the planet have seen dozens of times, and seeing her experiencing it with new eyes.

Since neither of us had any obligations to wake up to, we both ended up sleeping in. I slept unusually soundly in the bedroom, while she slept out in the living room – where Maven decided to wake her up just a couple of times, probably like “Hey. I know who you are, but why are you in my house right now?” 😼 We didn’t set any alarms, and just figured that I’d end up taking her home whenever we got up and around.

But before we really had a chance to put that non-plan into motion, her grandma decided that she was going to do a real Christmas dinner in the evening and asked if I’d like to join them as well. πŸ˜³πŸ™‚ Even though Cassi and I aren’t together anymore it was nice that her grandma thought enough about me to include me, and since I’d be taking Cassi back up there anyway I accepted the offer. πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ» So we spent much of the afternoon just watching Netflix until it was time to go up and get the evening started. By the time everything was said and done I didn’t end up getting back home until almost 10pm.

On the way home I was thinking about what a difference time has made. When Genesee and I were together, my family had gatherings for nearly every other holiday on the calendar each year. πŸ˜‹πŸŽ‰ And for Genesee, it wasn’t something that she was used to, but in a good way… my family became her family and she looked forward to every gathering we had. This year… this year was the first year since I’ve been alive, I believe, where there was no multi-family Christmas get-together in our family. 😐 (I’m sure it was killing Toni. She tries so hard to keep things like they’ve always been.)

Now, folks in Cassi’s family don’t always get on well. 😏 I don’t mean it in a bad way, but just in a way where I wouldn’t necessarily count on them having a family gathering for Christmas. So that’s what made me smile, originally thinking that it was just going to be like any other Monday today, yet there I was eating an awesome dinner with all of them. For a moment it made me think about how Genesee appreciated our family doing that sort of thing, and now that my local family is no longer doing it, it was me that was appreciating being invited to someone else’s family holiday thing. πŸ™‚

But I’m ending Christmas Day feeling better about things than I thought I would. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I had company for the eve and day that I hadn’t expected, some neat presents from Genesee (πŸŽ…πŸ»)Β that I’d never even seen before but were perfect for me, I got to sleep for about 10 hours straight, and then I was surprised again with the family dinner when I had projected that I’d be back home and just moping around the house by myself by that point.

‘Twas The Night…

A little bit of down time here on the evening before Christmas, so I figured I’d go ahead and throw up a blog entry. I’ve currently got “Twas the Night Before Christmas” playing via YouTube on the TV (Frosty is next) and Cassi is napping in the recliner next to me. πŸ˜‹ Surprisingly I don’t have that one on DVD, so I’m stuck with the slightly sped-up, angle skewed version here… but it’s one of my “must play” shows, so I’ll take what I can get with only a few hours left until Christmas.

Having company wasn’t in the original plan, but it’s nice to have her here. While I’ve been able to help out with their move and then run back home away from the stress, she’s basically been stuck in it… so Athena decided to spend time with her boyfriend, Leona went to stay with her mom, and I went to pick up Cassi so she could spend time with me and vice versa. πŸ™‚ I’m hoping the current nap status isn’t a reflection on me, but rather just relief of getting away from the chaos for a while.

It’s nice to have someone in my bubble for today and tomorrow, because like the past several years – I’ve just been struggling to grab hold of any Christmas spirit. I don’t feel awful or even bad… I just miss how I used to feel, but I suppose the older everyone gets the harder it is to hang on to the feeling we had as kids. πŸ€” In fact, I’m probably lucky to have held onto it as long as I did – probably longer than most, because I think my Christmas experiences as a kid were better than most. πŸ˜€ Yes, I’m probably biased, but they really did it right when I was little. πŸŽ„πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦

It’s been difficult this year to listen to our traditional family holiday music. I still haven’t figured out how to not let it make me sad… sad that things are so dramatically different than when I was a kid… but the way it goes is a) listen to old carols, b) feel good for a few seconds, remembering, then c) feeling shitty because this isn’t how everything was supposed to end up. Yes, everyone in the family is getting older, and getting older brings various forms and levels of suck – and it’s something that should be expected and therefore able to be prepared for, but yeah… that’s not how it goes for me. 😟

It’s okay though… like I said, I’m not miserable… I’ve got surprise company that I’m glad to have with me, and Genesee made sure that Santa didn’t forget me and Maven when it comes to having some little surprises on Christmas morning. Things could be a whole lot worse, and I have to remember that. 😌 I don’t wanna seem ungrateful for what I’ve got, but it’s hard not to feel selfish when I think about the things I wish were better/different. But at least I’ve got lots of “good” to be sitting here missing, eh?

Merry Christmas everyone… make the best of it.

Latest Animation Rendering

Well, here’s the finished product. I’m pleased with it… all of the added touches are there to be seen – it’s just a shame that animation is sort of an afterthought with this modeling program, so the camera movements are a bit jerky and unnatural looking. But for anyone who had visited this house prior to me moving in, I think you’ll agree that it’s pretty faithful to the original… particularly the living room. πŸ™‚

These are the things that I believe I’ve improved since I made the first animation:

  • Fixed paint colors, correcting walls and making the ceilings white
  • Adjusted color and texture of all the doors
  • Updated the textures of the floors for more natural hardwood look
  • Changed sizes (particularly in the bedroom) of furniture for more accurate scale
  • Added lamp, clock, and ceiling fan w/light in bedroom
  • Added lighting, shower curtain, curtain, and changed bathtub/fixtures in bathroom
  • Also added more accurate texture for vinyl flooring and shower tiles in the bathroom
  • Picture window changed to wood w/more accurate sheer curtains in living room
  • Changed lamp on round table and square coffee table changed to oval in living room
  • End table lamps changed / now functioning, cuckoo clock now present in living room
  • Console record player under big mirror changed, vase/flower and newspaper added

In each room I also tweaked all sorts of things when it comes to object shading, colors, levels of reflection (matte/glossy), and lighting levels (spot/ambient)Β in a way that I think makes the whole thing look slightly closer to realistic and accurate to the way things were here in the past. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things that I changed or adjusted, but yeah… there ya go. 😏

Oh, and I know – both times that I’ve created one of these animations, it’s been done where the house is assumed to be lit by dawn / pre-dawn light. I do that because I prefer to see how the internal man-made illumination sources and shadows are handled by the program, although I suppose one day I could render it out in broad daylight with fake ceiling lights (just a source light w/no visible fixtures) being activated in every room. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I’mma Ramble For A Min

I don’t know if I’m going to have to deal with that nonsense every thirty days, but at least yesterday I was finally able to get the situation resolved. πŸ˜’ Everything ended up getting approved and paid for (after I got a refund for what I paid the day before) by the workers comp insurance. Everyone that I spoke to on the phone was super nice and helpful, which was almost disappointing – since I was really needing to shout at some people by that point. 😐 But yeah, it’s all settled for this month…

Now I’m sitting here in the house, living room floor covered with cat hair, wondering when my new vacuum cleaner is finally going to ship from Amazon. 🀨 I got it as part of a Black Friday / Cyber Monday/Week sale, but it wasn’t in stock at the moment and was advertised that it would ship in about a week. (It’s been about a week.) Meh… at least I don’t have any company coming over to see my furry carpet. πŸ™„

Outside, nothing has changed. It’s cold now, so stuff has stopped growing, but I never did get around to hiring someone to trim back all the hedges and other shit around the yard. πŸ™ It doesn’t look that bad, but it stays in the back of my mind that it needs tended to. πŸ˜’ That’ll probably be a “spring thing” to deal with before the lawn even requires mowing for the first time.

This house. I really don’t know what I want to do about it. It’s way too much house for one person, but it’s never been lived in by anyone other than a Batina. Grandparents, Dad, Aunt C, and now me. 😳 Lots of memories here, both good and bad… and it will/would be hard to not feel a little bit guilty about selling it and moving somewhere else. 😟 It shouldn’t be that way, but you know me – and how much memories / history / nostalgia / etc plays into my life. Plus, it’s the last thing that acts as “established Batina history/presence” and man would it feel weird to not have it around anymore to keep me feeling connected to my past. Hard to explain… but anyway…

Thankfully, now that I have all of my required meds in my system I’m feeling pretty good. Neck is still feeling more funky than it has in a long time, but I’m trying not to complain. I’m still waiting to see if the MRI is approved… and I’m hoping that if it’s not, that maybe I can use my Medicare insurance to cover most of it. Because I’m not doing it just to do it… something feels different, not good, and it’s making me a bit anxious. 😬 It’s been a decade since my cervical fusion surgery, so I don’t think it’s that far fetched to think that things may have changed in there since then.

Then and Now

I’m gonna make an effort to feel Christmas this year. Without going into details, the past several years have thrown a lot of stuff at me, Mom, Dad… hell, most folks in the family, as well as many of my friends. It just seems like the past several years have gone out of their way to shit all over everyone. πŸ˜• Whether it’s on Facebook or from what I see and hear during the rare personal appearances that I make with friends and family – life just has this gloomy film all over it, that even the best “fake happy” can’t camouflage.

I’m glad that most folks are better able to get through the gloomy times than I am. I mean, I’m glad for them… heh… that they aren’t like me. 😏 But some of my friends and acquaintances… some of them I really worry about. I’ve watched as a couple friends have essentially become alcoholics, a couple others who frantically cling to awful relationship partners, and some who have just stopped trying over the past couple of years. πŸ™ Facebook is great for introverts like me, who don’t regularly “hang out” or whatever, but it sure gives you a window into people’s lives that even they might not realize they’re giving. (Yeah, I know… “… says the guy with the endlessly rambling personal blog.”)

Anyway, my point is that the more “bleh” a person is exposed to, the more difficult it is to be resistant to it. (Obviously)Β I don’t want to completely miss Christmas again this year though, so once I get my medication situation taken care of I’m gonna focus my efforts on that. I don’t think I even put up any decorations last year… I’m not even sure I still have a tree, as strange as that sounds.

It helps that recently I was going through some old family boxes and found a bunch of Christmas decorations and stuff from when I was little. Each significant ornament or decoration has some sort of good memory attached to it, and I need to keep reminding myself that just because things are “how they are” now – I can’t let that stop me from thinking back to all of the better times. Just because me and a lot of other people have countless reasons to feel miserable, it doesn’t mean that we can’t allow ourselves to feel good about the things that are worth feeling good about. πŸ€”πŸ™‚

Granted, this is something that non-screwed-up people already know and do… but right now it just doesn’t come naturally to me, hence the constant reminders to myself. 😏 I’m sure that in the 19 days between my birthday and Christmas there will be plenty of things that will challenge my efforts, so I just hope that they’ll be mild.

I want this Christmas to feel like Christmas.