The Heart of Rock and Roll

I figured I should get on here to give an update about the chest pains that I was having the other day since I’m feeling better now. No pains at all yesterday, and only hints of it the day before. I even decided to keep my tentative plans and spun them so that it was actually beneficial to my then-current condition.

It was yet another deal where I made the agreement a while ago, and then when the day came I was less than enthusiastic for obvious reasons. 🀒❀ But Cassi’s brother Scott, he was doing a rare live performance (drums) with Rich Regal at the local Moose lodge – and since she had never seen him play live I didn’t wanna have to cancel. But when I thought about it, having someone around for a couple of days while I was feeling concerned… it would actually help put my mind at ease.

So we went to the show, which wasΒ (fortunately for my well-being… heh)Β only moderately attended while also being held in a rather large area of the lodge… so it actually ended up being a good time. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚ It wasn’t really our style of music, but it was more about showing up to see and support Scott and Rich and the rest of them.

Having Cassi around yesterday also helped with my anxiety enough that I made a trip to the Walmart in Logan and did a “monthly” style grocery trip. πŸ€— Lots of cans, boxes, and frozen stuffs… should last me a good long while. Other than that we’ve just been chilling and surprisingly doing a bunch of reading about job stuff, investment stuff, insurance stuff, doctor stuff, etc. 😁 I found one of those somewhat cheezy “Book of Secrets” books at the thrift store, which attempts to give you all sorts of tips and trips regarding almost everything you might encounter in life, so we’ve been having a good time going through that and even learning some things we didn’t previously know.

As far as I’m concerned though, whatever was going on with those chest pains… I feel like I’m most likely past whatever it was. (Touch wood) Obviously I’ll mention it to my doctor whenever I makeΒ that appointment… heh… but I’ve put “wisdom teef removal” at the top of my priority list for the moment, but after I’m starting to realize that I can’t keep putting off those routine “You’re a middle age d00d now” family physician appointments. πŸ™„


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

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…)

Hmm, This Is New

I’ve been cautiously creeping through the past couple of days, making sure that I didn’t do anything that could possibly tweak my neck (since it’s been acting up again) but the past 12 hours have been awful anyway. πŸ˜‘ Sleeping for an hour here and there, and then when I finally woke up and stayed up for good this morning at 6am – I had some serious chest pains going on. 😳

My breathing was fine, I wasn’t lightheaded, and I didn’t feel any tingling in my arms, legs, or face – so even though it caused me concern I decided to not go to the ER. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I actually went in town to get some aspirin though… a couple to chew right away, and the rest to add to my normal daily pills. Just in case. (I even sat in the parking lot at the hospital for a bit. Also just in case.) But the idea of heart troubles or a heart attack… my brain goes “You’re fine, that only happens to old people.” while forgetting that I amΒ close to being “old people” if not there already.

I caught a nap after coming back home, hoping that if I got a little more sleep that it might make me feel better, but that’s not been the result so far. 😟 I swear, it’s like I slept on my front, and someone snuck a baseball-sized rock in between the mattress and my sternum. 😣 I’m not dead so far though… heh… so I’m gonna give it one more day and if it isn’t noticeably better then I guess I’ll almost have to go to the ER.

Do the majority of folks my age (and older) always feel like they’re falling apart? 😒 I’m obviously really hoping that this is just nothing… so I’d definitely appreciate any “thoughts and prayers” that anyone may care to throw at me until it passes. β€πŸ™πŸ» Looks like I’ll be remaining in neutral for a while longer.

Let Them Words Out

Feeling a little better, even though my sleep is still really screwed up. I really do give credit to the sunlight that was coming in through the picture window all day today… until I unintentionally fell asleep for four hours in the recliner. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I had a really amazing dream though, and I did need to catch up on my sleep, so I can’t be too upset I guess. Hoping that means that I’m coming out the other end of this recent bleh, but I don’t wanna get ahead of myself on that. Heh… it’s quite the balancing act.

So anyway, probably a bit over a year ago I was dealing with a weird thing where I’d be listening to all of my favorite songs, yet not feel a damn thing. Nothing. And this was with any of the couple thousand songs on my car’s flash drive, all of which I selected to be on there for a reason – so of course I should feel something. Well, now that’s completely flipped. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I can’t listen to anything without being instantly transported back to the moment where that memory was formed with that song… and unfortunately nearly all of those times feel a whole lot happier than “now” feels. 😞

So rather than torture myself with memory-filled tunes, I’m gonna try something different. I’ve got satellite radio in my car, and it has a ton of stations and a lot of options, but it’s still like traditional radio – they play what they want, and you listen as it comes. πŸ˜’ That’s no good anymore. Not when there are cheaper options for music like Spotify. Ten bucks a month and you can basically listen to any song you can think of, within reason. So that’s what I’m gonna do… drop the SiriusXM and just use Spotify and bluetooth with the car.

Oh, and unlike XM I’ll be able to use it anywhere. (They’re really gonna have to re-think their business model if they wanna be viable in five years.) And it’s funny, the thing that finally prompted me was when I watched someone’s long-form abandoned exploration video and they had several songs that I had never heard, from bands that I’m completely unaware of, but that I absolutely wanted to hear again. πŸ˜ƒπŸ€˜πŸ» Heh… this is a new thing for me, because I’ve been so content for years to listen to the songs I already like, with maybe a few new ones sprinkled in here and there.

(It’s a shame, this deserves more than 150 views in well over a year.)

I read an article long ago that said once a person reaches a certain age, their brain is no longer “open” to new music. That’s my poorly worded summary of what they said… but they made it sound biological. πŸ€” Like true enjoyment of new music just doesn’t really happen… not like when you were a kid. I can see where is is psychologically difficult though, because when you are young you aren’t jaded or worn down by the world. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ The lyrics you hear, the hope, optimism, happiness, etc… it all seems absolutely possible. The older you get, not so much. 😏 Of course one person is different from the next, but when you’ve been through some shit – sometimes those songs with hopeful upbeat lyrics can be almost annoying.

But, and especially now due to digital media, I think it’s more that we grow up liking what we like and then as we get older we just tend to stick to that. The stuff we know, the stuff we really did feel back then. ☺ Now that everything is just a click away, I don’t know if that will continue to be the case with most people. For example, when I get Spotify and click on Fly by Sleeping With Sirens, after that it’ll probably suggest other shit like them or by them. Same thing when I listen to tracks I already know and like. It could and should keep expanding my range… giving me new shit I like, without the annoying attachment of some other place and time.

And hey, ten years from now when I hear all these new songs I discovered “back in 2018” I’m hoping I’ll look back on them with the memory of “Whew… glad I don’t feel like that anymore.”

‘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

Saying Goodbye

Yesterday was rough. 😐 I woke up and hit the road shortly after dawn, because I wanted to allow myself plenty of time to compete with rush hour traffic heading towards Columbus. I just wanted to get up there early enough so that I could spend a while with Cassi and Lily before we had to head to the vet’s office. 😞 Once we were there, I couldn’t make myself stay in the room when the time came – but thankfully Cassi was strong enough to stay in there with Lily through all of it. As I sat out in the car waiting for her, I found what I felt was the best way to think about it…

Cassi loves Lily and didn’t want her to go, obviously, but she knew that for Lily’s sake – that’s what needed to happen. And Lily… I like to think that Lily didn’t want to go, but only because she didn’t want her adoptive mommy (and the other kitties in the house) to be sad and miss her. 😒 But Lily herself, I’m sure that if she would have been able to say it, she’d have said that it was time to go.Β  Thinking about it in human terms… as all of us approach our final years, there’s a pretty good chance that we ourselves will go through days, weeks, or maybe even months where we’d probably like to ask God to go ahead take us – due to the discomfort that often comes with that old age. πŸ‘΄πŸ»πŸ˜Ÿ

We were sniffling and sobbing all the way back to the apartment, and she was telling me even more little stories about Lily and some of the other cats that I hadn’t heard before… kind of a rolling “wake” of good kitty memories. πŸ™‚πŸ˜Έ Of course I couldn’t help but start thinking about Maven’s age, wondering how I’m going to be able to face it once that day comes for her… but luckily I’ve got both Cassi and Genesee who said they’re willing (and want) to be there. I wish I could have made myself stay in the room for Cassi, but she understood – and actually said that she never expected me to. 🀨 She basically said it in a way to let me know that she stayed in the room not only for Lily, but also so that I didn’t have to.