stumbling through the holiday season

We’re almost at mid-December, and I’m really stumbling through the holiday season this year. I got a bit sick last week, and had some trouble making it through the work week. I worked from home on Wednesday, but then decided to go into the office on Thursday, and I think that was a bad idea, because it left me really drained on Friday, enough that I had to take a half-day. My intention for Friday afternoon was to fall asleep on the sofa, but, of course, they started playing Christmas music outside at noon, and that made it impossible for me to fall asleep. Instead, I watched the latest episode of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters on Apple TV+ and several episodes of Godzilla Singular Point on Netflix. Nothing drowns out Christmas music quite like Godzilla!

The Christmas music thing this year has been a pain, but it could be worse. They’re only playing it on certain days. I guess it’s just when there’s some kind of Christmas thing happening on Main Street. And it’s generally just been noon to 6 PM. (And no one has screwed up the timer this year, so there haven’t been any surprise midnight Christmas music incidents. Yet.) But it’s been noticeably louder this year. Hence the necessity for Godzilla shows to drown it out.

I think I’m now over whatever it was I had last week. I was still pretty bad yesterday, but I have a lot of energy today, so far, for some reason. I just came back from a 30 minute walk, after getting zero exercise Friday and Saturday. (The reason I have so much energy this morning might have something to do with the fire alarm we had at 6:45 AM. Nothing gets the blood pumping like having to throw on your clothes and run outside early on a Sunday morning!)

This coming week is going to be interesting, I think. My boss at work is retiring at the end of the year, and there’s a lot of uncertainly about what’s going to happen to my group next year. I got an email late Friday from the guy I assume I’m going to report to. The email was a heads-up that the transitions that would have happened in January have been moved up, so I should expect an email from our “talent team” next week with my new assignment info. He didn’t come out and say exactly who I’d be reporting to, but I guess it’s either going to be him or somebody under him. He works out of our Austin office, but will be in NJ next week, and I have a one-on-one meeting scheduled with him. So I think I’m going to need to stay healthy next week, and make it into the office on all the days I’m expected to be in, so I can get some “face time” with the new guy.

Meanwhile, I haven’t sent out Christmas cards this year, and I’m not sure if I’m going to. It’ll be the first time in a while (or maybe the first time in my adult life) that I haven’t. If I can work up some Christmas spirit this afternoon, maybe I’ll do it. I only really want to sent out a half-dozen or so, so it shouldn’t be too hard to manage.

One other work thing: We’re supposed to be doing a company-wide Windows 11 upgrade this month. They’re sending out weekly status emails, and apparently we’re 90% done. But I have a Windows 10 laptop, desktop, and VM, and I haven’t seen any sign of the update getting pushed down to any of them yet. And there’s no way to “force it” on my own. So, on top of all of my other anxieties, I’m also worried that they’re going to push out the update to me at the worst possible time, and it’s going to fail and screw up one of my machines or something. Oh well.

I have a bunch of other stuff I want to blog about, including:

  • my efforts to figure out if I can upgrade my personal desktop PC to Windows 11, despite it being unsupported, and whether or not that’s a good idea.
  • some notes about shopping around for a new Windows 11 PC.  (And thinking about a Mac Mini instead.)
  • my mixed feelings about the three new David Tennant Doctor Who specials.
  • my thoughts about starting a reread of Jaime Hernandez’s earliest Love & Rockets stories, in Maggie the Mechanic.
  • Instapaper doubling their price to $60 per year, and getting me to rethink read-it-later services.
  • more thoughts about the Godzilla shows mentioned above.

That’s all going to have to wait though. This post was probably useless to everyone but me, but felt necessary, just to clear my head today.

Bah, humbug

It’s the last day of the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, and I’m having mixed feelings about things. I realized today that this is my longest stretch of time off from work this year, except for my five days off with COVID, and that definitely doesn’t count as a vacation. And I haven’t done much with the time.

It’s been a mostly relaxing four days. I had a bit of a wobble yesterday, when they started playing Christmas music here in Somerville, too loud, and I started getting the shakes. I’m half-kidding about that, but the multiple “Christmas music playing all night” incidents here on Main Street have definitely scarred me a bit. So any holiday spirit that had started percolating up in me was quickly tamped down.

I’ve read some actual, printed, standard size, physical comics this weekend. I haven’t touched my “to be read” comics box in quite a while. From my notes, it looks like I might not have read any “real” comics since… Halloween 2021? (That can’t be right.) Well, either way, it’s been a while. (I’ve read some digital comics this year and last year, and some physical graphic novels, though.)

I read all twelve issues of Brian Bendis’ Legion of Super-Heroes run earlier in the weekend. I’d been looking forward to that. It was… OK. I was disappointed with certain aspects of it, and found it overall a bit frustrating, but there were some fun bits. I guess that, if I want to read Legion comics like the ones I read when I was a kid, I should just go back and re-read those.

Today, I read the first six issues of Warren Ellis’ The Batman’s Grave series. I’ve always really liked Ellis, but I haven’t read anything by him since mid-2020, when all the… unpleasantness came to light. At that time, I’d already bought about half the series, and was pretty much committed to buying the rest of it. I don’t think he’s done any comics work since this, so this might be his last long-form comics work? It’s pretty good, honestly. I’m a big Batman fan, but sometimes I get tired of of the character. I don’t think I’ve read any Batman books since this one, around two years ago. (And I notice I mentioned “Batman fatigue” in my review on that one, so I’ve really been cutting back on the Batman stuff, apparently.) Anyway, I’m finding this series a lot more satisfying than the previously-mentioned Legion series. It’s a lot of fun, with some nice banter between Bruce and Alfred, and some great art from Bryan Hitch.

I just googled Bryan Hitch to see if I was spelling his name right, and found out that he’s one of the founders of Ghost Machine, a new comics company that I was vaguely aware of, but hadn’t paid any attention to. It looks interesting, but of course the last thing I need is more comics!

The search also turned up some news about the recent casting of the actor who is going to play The Engineer in the next Superman movie. Again, I was kind of vaguely aware of this, but hadn’t given it any thought. I’d forgotten that The Engineer was created by Ellis and Hitch. I imagine the movie folks will want to play down Ellis’ role there. I can’t say I’m too excited about the movie, but maybe it’ll be interesting. It’s been hard for me to work up any enthusiasm for DC-related movies lately.

And, as usual, that search got me off track from whatever it was I was meant to be writing about here. I think I was going to mention that I had drowned out the Christmas music yesterday by watching Netflix’s Bodies mini-series. I was going to mention that it’s based on a comic that looks interesting, and that I’ve added to my Amazon wish list. I noticed that the comic isn’t available digitally, which is kind of unusual. I have no clue why that is, but I may give in and buy a physical copy at some point.

I’ve noticed that reading comics this weekend has caused me to add a bunch of other comics to my wishlist, and has also moved me to buy a handful, via Amazon/Comixology. Some of that is from books related to the ones I’m reading, and some is from seeing stuff in house ads in the comics, and thinking “oh yeah, I wanted to buy that.” I think the problem here is that I went (mostly) cold turkey on new comics in mid-2020 or so, and that’s when these books I’m reading came out. (And Amazon has some big sales going on this weekend, so I can get stuff cheap.) The Legion books led me to Future State: Superman, which was on sale for $3. The whole Future State thing is one of the reasons I stopped buying comics. I wasn’t opposed to it, per se, but it made for a good jumping off point. But for $3 for a 400+ page book, why not give it a try? I also bought N.K. Jemisin’s Far Sector collection for only $2. I’d actually wanted to pick that up, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. I saw a house ad in one of the comics I read today, so that reminded me, and got me to check the price on Amazon. I also bought a few more books that were on sale for $2 or $3. I don’t feel too bad about any of that, since I’ve bought so few comics this year. Still, my Comixology “to be read” list has 239 items on it right now…

It’s 1:30 PM right now, and I don’t hear any Christmas music outside, so I might be lucky, and yesterday’s music was just a one-time thing  for Small Business Saturday, and not a daily thing that I’m going to have to put up with until December 25.

Black Friday

Well, it’s Black Friday and I have the day off, and nothing in particular to do, so here I am writing another pointless blog post.

Social Media

It’s been just about a year since I created my Mastodon account, and a few other new social media accounts, in an effort to move off of Twitter. So I thought it might be a good time to check in on that.

I gave up on Twitter quite some time ago, but there were a lot of people still hanging on. Elon’s most recent shenanigans have finally caused a lot of those folks to abandon ship. It seems like Threads has become the de facto replacement for Twitter. The White House set up Threads accounts recently, so that’s a good sign. And it seems like most media companies have moved to Threads. The NY Times, Washington Post, and NPR are all there.

I really wish a better alternative than Threads had “won” the “Twitter replacement” lottery. Threads is owned by Meta, and while they’re not as bad as Elon, they’re not great. Threads currently has no ads, but I’m sure they’ll start running ads there eventually. And they’ve talked a bit about adding an API and/or supporting ActivityPub, I’ll believe that when I see it.

My preferred social network at this point is Mastodon. It’s wonderful, but there aren’t enough “normal” people/organizations on there. It’s great for tech folks, scientists, and random weirdos, but it’s hard to find major media outlets on there, or anyone talking about the NFL, for instance.

Checking in on some of the other alternatives that I tried out over the last year:

  • Counter.Social: I gave up on this one pretty quickly. I checked my account there this morning, and it still exists. I don’t think it ever really got enough traction to be a viable Twitter alternative. I still see some interesting folks on there though.
  • Post.News: I gave up on this one too. But they seem to have made steady progress, and it looks like it could be an interesting way to get my news. I should keep an eye on them, I think.
  • Hive seemed promising when I first set it up, and there were a few interesting people on there, but it seems like everybody has given it up in favor of Mastodon and/or Threads.
  • Bluesky: This one had a lot of buzz as a Twitter replacement earlier in the year, since Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is involved. But it’s still in beta, and there’s a wait list to get in. I put myself on the wait list in May, and only just got my invite a few days ago. I set up the account, but it’s maybe too late for them. I think that most of the folks that would have wanted to migrate to Bluesky have already migrated to Threads, and are happy enough there. But we’ll see what happens with it.

So, for me, I’m currently browsing both Mastodon and Threads daily. I’m not posting a lot to either. I’m trying to be careful not to “doomscroll” on either, and not to get dragged into the trap of mindlessly scrolling through either one, but I will admit to a bit of that. With Mastodon, I avoid the infinite mindless scrolling thing for two reasons, I think. One is that there just isn’t enough in my timeline to allow for that, and the other is that my preferred Mastodon client, Toot!, will only load a certain number of posts, then it’ll leave a space with a “load more” button. And that’s usually enough to wake me up and realize that I should stop and go do something else. Threads is worse though. There’s a lot of little funny posts on there, and it’s easy to just keep scrolling through them. And the default feed is their algorithmic “For You” feed, which will have posts from folks you’re following and other posts they think you’ll like. So that tends to promote mindless scrolling.

I’m following some of the same people on both Mastodon and Threads currently, and I’m thinking that I should try to sort that out, maybe, and reserve Threads for mainstream media and mainstream people, and use Mastodon for the weirdos. (And I mean “weirdos” in a loving and not judgemental way.) At some point, maybe Threads actually will support ActivityPub and I can just use a Mastodon client to get myself a mixed timeline from both accounts. I’m not holding my breath though.

Black Friday sales

Wow, that was more than I expected to write about social media. My next topic is Black Friday sales. I’m trying not to spend a bunch of money on dumb stuff, but of course I’m going to spend a bit. I try to spend money on stuff from good people, independent creators who I can support and feel good about supporting. Here are a few things I bought today:

  • I bought the full bundle of Wizard Zines from Julia Evans, in PDF format. I’ve always thought her stuff was interesting, but a bit pricey. For 50% off, I decided to just go ahead and get them all today. I’m not sure I have much use for most of them, but I may print out the “Oh Shit, Git!” one and keep it on my desk at work. I probably need to leave it face-down though, in case anyone gets offended due to the salty language in the title.
  • I bought PCalc today, because it was 50% off, and because I’ve often thought about buying it. I don’t really need it, but having a better-than-average calculator app ought to come in handy occasionally.
  • I also bought Play by Marcos Tanaka today. It’s kind of a bookmark app specifically for videos. It looks much like his MusicBox app, which I use to keep track of stuff that I want to listen to in Apple Music. I’ve been getting a lot of use out of that one. I have more than 600 albums in there now. (And, as is typical for me, I’ve got 500 on my “new” list and 100 on my “played” list. So now I have a queue of music I’ll never get through before I die. But that’s a good problem to have, right?) Interestingly, Play has an Apple TV app. I’m not sure how it works, but if there’s any chance that I can bookmark a video on my phone, then watch it later on my Apple TV, that would be great. I’d really like for there to be a good consolidated watch list app for Apple TV, that can open videos across multiple streaming services. The built-in watch list is almost there, but not really. There are a lot of issues with it. It’s fine for Apple TV+ content, but bad at almost everything else.

And, wow, I’ve now wasted quite a bit of time writing up this blog post. And I haven’t even bloviated about the latest OpenAI shenanigans! Oh well. I guess part of the point of taking Black Friday off is to waste time on meaningless pursuits. I should go out for a walk now. It’s a little cold, but it’s actually sunny out right now.

Software changes – Edge, Apple Music, Windows 11

I thought I’d post a follow-up today on a couple of software items I’ve blogged about recently, plus one new one.

Microsoft Edge

First: my switch from Firefox to Edge at work. I’m not having any real problems with Edge, though I’m missing a few things I had in Firefox. And I’m experimenting with some Edge features that look interesting. One thing I tried to figure out today is the difference between tab groups, collections, and workspaces. (And whether or not it was worth using any of them.) In Firefox, I used to use the OneTab extension to take groups of tabs and save them off to the side. That extension is available for Edge too, though it’s not on our “officially approved” list. So I thought I’d see if I could just use a built-in Edge feature for that. Here’s what I figured out:

  • Tab groups are a simple way to group a bunch of tabs together. You can’t really do much with them other than group them together. Tab groups seem to survive closing and reopening Edge. I’m not sure if they’ll sync between my laptop and desktop, but I suspect they will.
  • Collections are a little more flexible than tab groups. You can add open tabs to a collection, and you can also add text notes and images apparently (though I haven’t tried). Collections definitely survive closing and reopening Edge, and I’m pretty sure they sync. You can dump a collection out to a new OneNote page too, so that’s potentially useful. And you can copy all of the URLs in a collection to the clipboard, which is similar to something I used to do in Firefox with a specific extension. (I can’t remember the name on that one, but OneTab replaced it, really.)
  • Workspaces looked promising, at first, but I think they’re mostly useful for sharing a group of tabs/pages with a group. There are limitations on using them that, I think, make them less useful than tab groups or collections for my purposes.

So, in a nutshell, I think I’m going to start using collections for the stuff I used to use OneTab for.

Apple Music

I mentioned last week that I’d installed the Apple Music Preview on my PC. It’s working out OK, I guess, but I had been assuming that I could switch back and forth between Apple Music and iTunes. That turns out to be incorrect. If I launch iTunes now, it shows me a message saying that it can only be used to manage podcasts and audiobooks now. Once you install Apple Music, you can’t use iTunes for music anymore. And, on top of that, you need to install Apple TV Preview if you want to manage your movies and TV shows. So I went ahead and did that too.

If I knew that there was no going back to iTunes, I don’t think I would have installed Apple Music. But now I guess I have to get used to it.

Windows 11

I got an email today saying that my work machines would be upgraded to Windows 11 soon. (I have a laptop and a desktop, both on Windows 10 right now.) They’re going to push the upgrade out through Windows Update. I’m a little unclear on timing, but I think they might be pushing it out over the Thanksgiving weekend.

It occurs to me that I’ve never actually done a Windows 11 upgrade. At home, I have a Windows 10 desktop and a Windows 11 laptop. The desktop can’t be upgraded to Windows 11, unfortunately. It meets all of my needs, otherwise, so I’ve just stuck with it. But if my work machines are all going to be running Windows 11, I probably need to ditch the old desktop at home and buy a new one that can handle Windows 11, so I’m running it everywhere.  And if I do that, it’s going to push me into a bunch of other upgrades, I think. Like maybe getting a new monitor that actually uses HDMI instead of whatever old standard my current monitor uses. And probably buying an external DVD burner, since new machines don’t ever seem to come with built-in optical drives anymore. Oh well. I got this old PC in 2016, and I’m not sure how old the monitor is. So it’s probably time for some new hardware.

AI chaos

It figures. On Friday, I decide to finally buy in to the whole ChatGPT thing, first trying to sign up for ChatGPT Plus, then, when I couldn’t do that, signing up for a paid Poe subscription instead. Then, the whole thing starts falling apart. Last time I checked, Sam Altman is probably working for Microsoft now, and most of OpenAI’s employees are threatening to quit if the board doesn’t resign. Or maybe the Microsoft thing isn’t final, and Altman could still go back to OpenAI (according to one article I read about five minutes ago)… It’s all very confusing.

There are a LOT of articles out there about this stuff, of course. I’ve tried to find a couple of good/useful takes, and I think this one from Ben Thompson is probably useful, and this one from Jeff Jarvis is interesting and at least a little funny.

I’ve been getting into all this stuff maybe a little too deeply lately. I should probably leave it alone this week, and see what it looks like after Thanksgiving (assuming this stuff will shake out by then).

no more Comixology app

It was announced recently that the Comixology app is going away, and the Kindle app will be the only way to read comics purchased from Amazon. I kinda knew this was coming, of course. But it still seems worth making note of it and blogging about it a bit.

Earlier this year, the layoffs at Comixology were big news, and in early 2022, the revamped Comixology app (based on the Kinde app) was also big news. Amazon has been slowly absorbing Comixology, like a gelatinous cube, oozing slowly down a dungeon corridor. (I tried to get ChatGPT to give me a few funny sentences comparing Amazon to a gelatinous cube, but it didn’t give me anything worth including here.)

I haven’t been reading a lot of comics lately. I’ve been spending most of my leisure reading time working on the Wheel of Time books. I just finished the fifth book, The Fires of Heaven. I started reading the series in March, so it’s taken me about eight months to get through five books. Not bad, really, considering their length and my limited reading time.

But it’s really killed my Goodreads reading goal for the year, which was 75 books. (I’ve only read 28.) I’m thinking about devoting the rest of the year to reading comics. I read two interesting graphic novels this weekend: one from Harvey Pekar and one from Alex Ross. Very different viewpoints in those two, but I noticed that they both briefly mention Sacco and Vanzetti, which makes me think that my next read should be Rick Geary’s book about them, which I bought from him at a con around ten years ago.

I own all three of the aforementioned graphic novels in hardcover, so I haven’t had a reason to open up the Comixology or Kindle app this weekend, but I should do that soon, before they shut down the old app for good, just to make sure I understand what’s going on, and don’t lose track of anything.

Apple Music annoyances

I’ve posted about my issues with using Apple Music on my PC before, back in June. Since then, I’ve just been living with the fact that iTunes occasionally locks up and I have to kill it in Task Manager. (And, after the first lockup, it’ll keep locking up until I reboot.) Sometimes, I switch over to Cider, and that works, but today, Cider was acting up too.

So I decided to finally go ahead and install the Apple Music Preview for Windows. The preview version was released way back in January, but it’s still labelled as a “preview” and I haven’t seen any word about a final release. It works well enough, I guess. My main problem with it, so far, is that I can’t figure out how to turn on the column browser. The column browser had disappeared in earlier versions of the Mac Apple Music client, so maybe it’s just something they haven’t added to the Windows client yet. It’s hard to tell. The help link in Apple Music goes to a page that doesn’t exist. And searching for help on this topic is mostly fruitless. I did find the official Apple Music for Windows discussion board, and posted a question there. But I don’t have much hope of getting it answered.

Yes, I know I’m really picky about my music software. But I’m old nerd, and I have a big library, and I like to be able to navigate my way through it effectively.

It occurs to me that the Apple Music client probably doesn’t have the ability to rip or burn CDs, which is something iTunes can still do. I really don’t need to burn music CDs anymore, but I do still need to rip them occasionally. I guess I’ll have to find a new way to do that, eventually.

Mildly amusing side note: I was listening to a podcast earlier this week that included this radio spot, for the Beatles’ movie Help. It starts with the line “attention adults”, which immediately tickled something in the back of my brain. I knew that line from somewhere, but I couldn’t figure out where. Eventually, I figured out that it was sampled in the Pizzicato Five song Baby Love Child, which is semi-famous for it’s use in a very good episode of Futurama. I actually mentioned the song on this blog, back in 2008. I hadn’t listened to it in a long time. So now I’ve listened to it about a dozen times this week. Interestingly, the song doesn’t seem to be available on Apple Music at all, and the Pizzicato Five YouTube page doesn’t seem to have an official video for it. (Mind you, all the song titles there are in Japanese, so maybe I just missed it.) But there are plenty of unofficial versions on YouTube, including a good live one from a performance at KCRW. The version in my own music library is an MP3 that I probably bought from eMusic, back when that was my primary way of acquiring music.

.NET Conf, and yet more on AI

.Net Conf was this week. I caught a few sessions here and there, but not much. Maybe I can check the playlist and catch up on anything good that I missed over the weekend. The main point of the conference was to push .NET 8. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s… fine. But there’s nothing there that makes me want to jump on it and start moving older projects over to it.

Meanwhile, I’m continuing to try to learn more about ChatGPT and other generative AI / LLM topics. I finished a LinkedIn course called ChatGPT for Web Developers this week, and that was kind of useful. I’d reached the point where I was ready to sign up for ChatGPT Plus, so I could play around with GPT 4 and other advanced stuff, but now there’s a waitlist. I guess there was so much interest from the DevDay stuff, that they couldn’t keep up. (I wonder how much money/hardware/etc. it takes to keep ChatGPT running. I know it’s a lot, but…)

So, since I couldn’t give OpenAI any of my money, I threw some at Poe instead. I gave them $200 for a year’s subscription. I’m not sure if Poe is worth that much, but at least I can now use GPT 4, albeit only through Poe’s interface. Maybe I’ll experiment with Poe’s bot creation tools, though I don’t know if I have any compelling bot ideas. Oh, and of course, as soon as I paid for Poe, I noticed that work started blocking it. So I guess work is committed to blocking all AI chatbots except our internal one, and the Bing/Copilot one. (Which is fine… Bing/Copilot chat works well enough, I guess.)

I actually used the Bing/Copilot chatbot a lot over the last few days, as I was trying to figure out how to solve a specific problem with a project I’m working on. It was useful, but I could probably have gotten just as far with old-fashioned internet searches. It might have taken a little longer though.

some follow up on grammar checking and AI

First, a bit of follow-up on my post about Grammarly and other grammar checkers: I missed one obvious alternative, Microsoft Editor. It’s a little confusing. It seems to be available as a free browser extension, but only for Edge and Chrome, not Firefox or Safari. And the “premium” features are part of Microsoft 365, which I do subscribe to. I guess it also works in MS Word, so I could theoretically copy my blog posts into Word, check the grammar there, then paste them back into WordPress, but I know that won’t work well. Or I could switch to Edge, but that’s only on Windows. Or I could switch to Chrome, which will work on Windows and Mac, but I’m really trying to avoid that. So… I guess I’ll think about it. Probably not my best option.

And, in general AI news, I liked this snarky article from Gizmodo. Sam Altman and OpenAI are certainly fascinating. I’m not sure if the company is going to change the world, or if it’s a load of B.S. and it’s going to fall apart a year from now. There are a few good lines in the article, like this one: “So far, ChatGPT is very good at writing limericks and telling lies.” Which is basically true. I’m pretty sure that we’re still a long way from AGI, if such a thing is even possible. (Though it’s pretty hard to even nail down what would count as AGI, at this point.)

I’m not sure about the whole “effective altruism” thing. It’s been getting a lot of negative press lately. The article says “Effective Altruism posits that the solution to humanity’s problems is for people with good intentions to get extremely rich and then donate the money to good causes,” which is… not exactly correct, but probably close enough, in practice. I’m not sure if I trust folks like Sam Altman to effectively redistribute his wealth once he decides he has enough to do that. Or for other effective altruists to make all the right decisions for the rest of us…

Something else I saw recently reminded me of the concept of fully automated luxury communism, which I remember some folks talking about on Twitter a few years ago, in a generally jokey way. My naive understanding of that, at the time, was that it was basically describing a post-scarcity future, like Gene Roddenberry‘s conception of what Earth would be like in the future, as envisioned in Star Trek.

And of course I just asked ChatGPT to compare and contrast Effective Altruism and Fully Automated Luxury Communism, and it came back with a pretty good summary. And then I asked it what Gene Roddenberry would have thought of FALC, and it came back with, again, a pretty reasonable answer. So maybe this ChatGPT thing isn’t just good for limericks and telling lies.

A rambling Sunday post

OK, so having gotten the previous Grammarly post out of my system, and having gone for a walk, I’m now watching the early-morning Frankfurt game on NFL+, and ready to write the long, rambling post I mentioned in the Grammarly post. (Side note: I like this short ESPN article about Belichick’s experience in Germany. I almost feel bad for Belichick this season, but not really. I mean, well, he’s still Belichick.)

Ever since I got COVID, things have been a little shaky for me. I keep getting a little sick, then a little better, then a little sick. I don’t think I’ve gotten COVID again (since that first rebound), so that’s good. I was fighting these low-level cold symptoms this past week, culminating with enough nasal congestion on Friday that I risked taking pseudoephedrine. I say “risked” because I often get some side effects from that. It definitely helped me get through the day Friday, but then I had some trouble sleeping. I was OK on Saturday morning, and got through my usual Saturday morning tasks: laundry and grocery shopping. But, after that was done, I sat down at my computer to pay some bills, and started getting a migraine aura.

I haven’t had serious migraine problems since 2016, but I’ve gotten a couple of mild ones this year. Looking at my notes in Day One, I see that I had one on June 1, and might have had one in May too.  (Day One is great for logging this kind of stuff so you can identify patterns.) This one was bad enough that I had to give up on the computer and lie down. I had planned to spend some time Saturday finishing up a LinkedIn course on more AI stuff, and to maybe finish watching season five of Dragon Prince, but that all went out the window. Instead, I listened to some podcasts and audiobooks. I listened to a bit more of the Locke & Key audio drama that I’ve been listening to on & off for about a year now. (I can never get myself to stick with it and finish it. Maybe I’ll get it done before the end of this year…) And I started listening to Neil Gaiman’s Warning: Contains Language, which I got as part of a Humble Bundle about ten years ago.

Eventually, I got to the point where I could sit up and watch TV. But I didn’t feel like I could deal with anything too challenging, so I settled on college football, which I haven’t watched at all in the last several years. I watched most of the Florida State vs Miami U game. That was the kind of game that could have been a blowout, but was actually a pretty close game and kind of fun to watch. (I’m still a little iffy on the whole Seminoles thing, but apparently the actual Seminole tribe is OK with it, so who am I to argue?) I don’t know that I’m going to get back into watching a lot of college football now, but maybe it’s an option for Saturdays when my brain isn’t working well enough for anything else.

Anyway, I managed to get a good night’s sleep last night, and feel like I could handle something more challenging than football today if I had to. But I’ve gotten used to spending Sundays watching NFL football this year, and I’m enjoying that, so I think that’s what I’m going to be doing today. I probably won’t be paying a lot of attention though. The Giants are playing at 4, and the Jets are on the Sunday night game. The Giants are terrible right now and they’re playing Dallas, so that game should be a blowout. The Jets are playing the Raiders, and both of those teams are mediocre, so that game might be competitive, but not that interesting. So I’ll probably go with having football on in the background all day while I do other things that don’t require too much concentration. So: writing rambling blog posts, catching up on email newsletters, and that kind of stuff. Maybe I’ll mute one of the games and finish that LinkedIn course I mentioned above.