Not Dead Yet!
I'm locked in a titanic struggle with the claims at my job. If I win, I stay employed. If I lose... well... I won't be employed. I might know the answer on Friday, I dunno. As a result of my life-or-death fight, I've adopted some... unusual... sleeping habits of late. To whit, I've been taking a nap around 8 or 9pm, getting up for an hour around midnight or so, then going back to sleep until I need to get ready for work, around 730a. It seems to be helping, I guess. Posting may be somewhat light for a few more days (chorus: "it's been light for a long time").
There are historians who believe that an interrupted or "segmented" sleep pattern like yours was the dominant sleep pattern in Western civilization prior to the Industrial Revolution. It may have a biological basis.
Posted by: flatdarkmars at March 29, 2017 06:51 PM (4KXON)
My internet connection is having a repeat of the problems I had earlier. W8 just seems to lose the ability to talk to the internet... the modem is connected and fine, but the computer says there's nothing there. Eventually it recognizes there's a modem, but pretends there's nothing hooked up to it.
Eventually, it figures things out and reconnects, for the same reason it lost the 'net in the first place... in other words, for no good reason I can see. Today, I had been browsing the web for 10 minutes, no problems at all, and then it just up and... went away.
I mention all this just on the off-chance that it disappears again when I'm supposed to be uploading the F1Update! for Australia. We'll see, won't we?
Had the exact same problems as you the next morning, with a local business. After a storm, they weren't able to get internet, but the computer said they were still connecting to some named network. In the end, it was the Internet provider; their stuff was out of whack and they had to reset everything. It can also be the broadband router...that could be going out and basically losing the ability to provider your computer with proper information.
Now of course, getting your ISP to believe anything I just said probably won't be easy...all you can do is demand a real person come look at it.
Okay, That's It...
I finished the 2017 F1 cars post. Done! Completely finished! Tons of photos, some clever commentary from me, some interesting design philosophies, all set and ready to go!
And then I went to open a new tab in Firefox.
You've undoubtedly seen an image like this millions of times. I certainly have. To open a new tab, you simply click "+". And I pressed "X". Just a few minutes ago, in fact. Minutes that have been spent staring at the screen, wondering where everything just went and why I did what I did. And there was anger. Oh yes, much anger. And somewhere off in the distance, a plaintive plea: "Mister, can I have my ball back?"
No need, it's a fresh copy. Otherwise, I wouldn't have had to post this post in the first place.
Posted by: Wonderduck at March 23, 2017 08:14 PM (UDOXQ)
Allow me to repeat my recommendation for "Text Area Cache" as a Firefox extension. I have it set to keep the last 100 text areas, which they think is a bit much, but works fine. The only site that gives me trouble with that is Facebook, because it re-uses page elements, I guess. I don't think it records the "More" area, but the main post works. And of course, comments.
Posted by: Mauser at March 23, 2017 08:55 PM (5Ktpu)
Ugh. I've done that too many times in Chrome by hitting backspace when I wasn't in the text box.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at March 23, 2017 10:04 PM (2yngH)
"Good" news, Google hears your pain, Pixy, and broke twenty years of back-compat by disabling "backspace -> history.back()".
Now, if you hit Backspace, Google says "we know what you wanted to do, but we're not going to do it."
Posted by: Rick C at March 24, 2017 08:23 AM (ECH2/)
That's something I make a point of disabling in Firefox. No unintended navigation allowed. Have to turn it off in the mouse software too.
Posted by: Mauser at March 24, 2017 06:49 PM (5Ktpu)
I had something similar happen to me when I'd just started anime blogging - undershot the minimize button and hit the tab close button. Couldn't even look at my blog for days without wanting to throw something. I got paranoid about it happening again and started writing everything out in MS Word first (with autosaving every 5 minutes turned on).
Having two completely different functions like that together is really poor design. I've stuck the new tab button all the way to the left because at some point that was the original default and I didn't like them changing things on me and now I see a really good reason why it belongs to the left of the tabs.
Posted by: steelbound at March 24, 2017 10:50 PM (vJ1Dk)
Spoke Too Soon, I Did
I should just give up on predicting when I'll have things posted. The F1 Cars post is coming, just... not tonight. Sorry. It's been a day. I need to just... not think... for a night.
To make it up to you, here's something I found. If you like Tonari no Seki-kun, you'll like this. If you've never seen the show, here's a treat for you!
Adventures In Chemical Consumption
It's been made perfectly clear to me that my current state of employment is liable to change in the not-too-distant future if my output is not increased significantly. As I have tried everything else I could think of, I made the decision to release the final set of restraints and move into less savory spaces. So, I purchased a bottle of Pepsi.
Most of you are looking at that sentence and are wondering what the big deal is. Some very few, however, knows what this means and are terrified. To clear the matter up: some 11 years ago now I had The Cardiac Incident. While I came through that more or less okay, my doctor told me to cut three things out of my life immediately: alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. The booze was the easiest, that went away almost before he was done talking.. The smokes took six years and a botched tooth extraction to go away. Caffeine took about a year of (accidentally) walking myself down... I quite dark colas altogether, intending to cold-turkey. I was drinking an orange soda instead, and it turned out it had the stimulant in it as well. Nowhere near as much, but it was there. When I switched soda brands after that, I barely noticed the lack of caffeine in my life... except for the whole "feeling dumber" thing, but let's not get into that. In any case, it's essentially been 10 years since I had caffeine in any way that wasn't "incidental." There's caffeine in chocolate, for example. Not much, and for me, not enough to even notice, but that's what I mean by incidental. But think of that: 10 years clean.
If you're thinking my head would explode, rest assured I started with small sips only. After an hour, I had only had about 1/3rd of the bottle. Not long after, I began to notice some things. One, I was breathing a little faster, and my heart was bipping along faster than normal as well. My ears felt warm. But I wasn't tired and I was working at a good clip. Success! Until early afternoon came around, and I'd killed off half the bottle. Now, my stomach hurt, there was a buzzing in my head, and my hands seemed a might unstable. There was a headache, too, but my hip was feelin' a might achy on top of it all. Fortunately a friend gave me some Excedrin... Migraine Strength. Which has caffeine in it.
The headache went away, the hip pain eased somewhat, but my knot in my stomach was such that all the sailors in the world would have given up on it. Indeed, Alexander would have gazed upon it in approval while reaching for his sword. Much to my surprise, around 330pm the neighbor to my left, who hasn't been in all week, arrived. She was obviously quite ill, and came in as late as possible to avoid getting people sick... most of our row clears out at 330pm, for example. Anyway, as she unloaded her cough medicine, and her antibiotics, and her water, and the two fresh lemons, she also pulled out a brand-new bag of pretzel rods. After downing four of those, things settled down a bit.
So what did I learn from all this? Well, for starters, I have no idea how I drank that stuff back then... it doesn't taste anything at all like I remember. While there was, I think, a small boost in production, the physiological reaction goes a long way toward negating that... or, to put it more plainly, "is feeling like crap worth it?" I submit the answer to be "ugggggggh."
I'm finishing this post at 3am, after taking very long nap... at least I didn't have to worry about being awake all night!
I look back on the days at the post office counter when I was knocking back 2-liter bottles of Barqs every day, and I cringe in horror...
Posted by: GreyDuck at March 17, 2017 07:40 AM (rKFiU)
I don't drink much coke (cola, soda, pop, etc...); or rather, it would be more accurate to say I don't regularly drink it. But I drink *a lot* of coffee every day. If I don't drink coffee in the morning, I notice by early afternoon. If I drink decaf, I notice. I am definitely less alert without coffee. Cokes, on the other hand, make me fill sick if I try to drink them all day.
Oh man, I have a serious caffeine problem. When I was young I had really, really bad ADHD. I was prescribed the standard solution at the time, Ritalin, starting in fourth grade. As I got older, the dosage started increasing, until as a sophmore in highschool I was taking 128mg of mixed stimulants each morning. Obviously, this wasn't exactly sustainable. So I did a bio-feedback training program that helped re-train my brain to be less ADHD. It worked. Wonderfully. Its been years now and I'm mostly ADHD free. I'll never be totally free of it, but it doesn't impact my daily life much anymore.
What does this have to do with caffeine? Well, people with ADHD react to stimulants differently than normal people. In general, stimulants make us able to focus, removing the fidgetiness and lack of attention that is so characteristic of ADHD. But we don't get the other physiological effects of caffeine, at least I don't. Also, at least for me, it doesn't wake me up that much. Anyway, when I discovered as a junior in highschool that I could still get all the good of caffeine, without the bad, I built myself a energy drink habit that I carry to this day. Its not as bad anymore, no where near, but I still will drink energy drinks at absolutely oddball times, for no particular reason, because it feels like there's no downside.
Posted by: Thatdude253 at March 17, 2017 03:44 PM (U/tLZ)
The empty stomach I presume, might have had something to do with it. But there isn't THAT much Caffeine in a Coke, as compared to a Rockstar or similar energy drink. but there IS a lot of sugar. I have never really adapted to my early morning shift, so I have one in the morning at the start of work. It doesn't stop my urge to close my eyes, but it makes it easier to open them again.
Continued employment at this time is an important thing. You could also try caffeine pills. They're pretty strong though, 200 mg. (For reference, a can of Coke is something like 35.)
Posted by: Mauser at March 18, 2017 05:36 PM (5Ktpu)
You say there's not that much caffeine in a thing of soda, but when you haven't had any in 10 years... agh.
Posted by: Wonderduck at March 18, 2017 11:31 PM (UDOXQ)
I used to measure my daily Pepsi consumption in gallons, and when I was working at the university, it took two cans of Mello Yello to get me from the front door to my office. Jokes about LD-50 were common.
The one time I took No-Doz in college? I was up for three days and my roommates wanted to kill me.
Posted by: J Greely at March 19, 2017 11:55 AM (tgyIO)
I used to knock back a few cans/bottles of cola drinks a day. Now, a few years into an attempt to cut back on other forms of processed sugar for various health reasons, about all I can take is a swallow or two. A whole 12-ounce bottle at one sitting brings a queasy unease to my stomach... and, later, makes my intestinal flora behave with a motility and aggression more suggestive of intestinal fauna.
Ounce for ounce, the caffeine content is only about a fourth to a fifth that of regular ol' black coffee (though I'm sure it hits you hard after ten years completely without). The sugar content, though, is a real pancreas spanker: 39 grams in the typical 12-ounce container (and of course it's easy and tempting to have the equivalent of several of those a day...)
Storytime With Wonderduck
Things here at Pond Central are not exactly what would be called "swell." You know about the knee of course. Good news is that it doesn't hurt very much regularly. Bad news is that it still feels loose in there. The worse news is that my right hip is still screaming at me. With the horrible chairs at work, eight hour shifts are misery defined. But that's okay, because that just reminds me of how awful I've been of late at my job, doing literally half the claims I'm supposed to be doing per day. Meanwhile, I'm getting paid crumbs per claim as well, due to a massive mistake a few months ago that's only now kicking in. What I'm trying to say is that The Official Bank Balance of The Pond is hovering just barely above zero, and that only because of an emergency transfusion of fundage from the folks.
However. The lack of money-like objects had a nasty, nefarious side-effect that was completely unanticipated. In essence, I had to make a decision between the Keep Wonderduck Alive medication or the Keep Wonderduck Happy meds for I could only afford one. As the term "Keep Wonderduck Alive" is that medication's actual effect, there really was no choice. So I've been off my anti-depressants for close to three weeks now. All the old problems have returned: sleeping badly, dozing off randomly, no motivation to do anything... and it's that last one that has driven the lack of posting here at The Pond. I mean, I haven't done anything F1-related, even though we're a week into testing already!
Of late, I've been coming home, eating something, then going to sleep. This is not conducive to blogging, and I'm sorry about that. I'm going to sleep right after I post this, in fact. Some small amount of good news is in sight however, as I get paid tomorrow. Sure, it's going to be ridiculously small, but at least my bank account will be above single digits.
Do you hotel, or do you have an assigned desk/cubicle/office? If the latter--and I realize with what you just said you can't do this right away, but if so, ask if you can buy your own office chair. I did at my current job, because all the existing chairs were broken-down 20-year-old things, and worse, since I'm short, were too low for me. (You might even get super lucky and find they'll buy one FOR you.)
Posted by: Rick C at March 08, 2017 09:02 PM (ITnFO)
OK, so; if I've done my research correctly, that's supposed to be Niki Lauda, right? So are those young ladies remeniscing about his 1975 Championship, his record-setting NÃ¼rburgring lap, his advocacy for improved safety in F1, or (I hope not considering the joyful looks on their faces) the fire?
To add to what Rick said, per the American with Disabilities Act, your work is obligated to make reasonable accommodation for people with injuries. An ergonomic chair is typically considered reasonable and I've seen this sort of thing help others with similar issues. Your employer is also not supposed to retaliate against you for requesting this (legally at least). How secure you feel with them is another question.
Posted by: StargazerA5 at March 08, 2017 10:22 PM (5YSpE)
Rick C, Stargazer, I have my own cubicle (look for the one with all the ducks), and after a discussion with my boss on Tuesday, she directed me to HR about obtaining a computer chair for me. I need to provide a list of chairs that, in theory, will work for me.
Ben, out of context, yes indeed that's Lauda's car. In context, that's the Oorai High School Auto Club, crew of one of the "good guy" tanks in Girls und Panzer. It's a scene from GuP: Der Movie: Das OVA, where they're dreaming about sticking a ridiculously wealthy recruit in a F1 car and joining the Circus for a season.
Yes, it's as goofy as it sounds.
...and I swear, I'm working on "teaching."
Posted by: Wonderduck at March 09, 2017 03:02 AM (UDOXQ)
Good luck on the chair-getting front (among other fronts!). I finally switched out the 15-year-old wobbly leather-clad thing that my office came with for something more modern that actually sits upright instead of featuring a permanent list to starboard, and it's made a huge improvement...
Posted by: GreyDuck at March 09, 2017 08:33 AM (rKFiU)
Holy smokes, I did not realize people could get off anti-depressants and still function, however poorly. You're amazing. Well, it's rumored that George W. Bush cured his alcoholism through willpower, but still...
Posted by: Pete at March 12, 2017 10:01 PM (XOPVE)
As far as chair goes, I had to bring my own pillow when I crashed the Formula Ford car and cracked my tailbone. It had a cutout on center. These days my wife uses it, although she needs it less after some physical therapy. She has bad hip joints, which may be relevant to your situation. Unfortunately, the pillow isn't a cure, and therapy and exercise are necessary.
Posted by: Pete at March 12, 2017 10:04 PM (XOPVE)
8I did not realize people could get off anti-depressants and still function, however poorly. You're amazing.
There are some that would suggest that I didn't function.
If I'm so amazing, why am I failing so hard?
Posted by: Wonderduck at March 12, 2017 11:05 PM (UDOXQ)
At the end of the day, if you've still got a job and you're not living on the street, you're still pretty high up on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, so try not to be too hard on yourself.
Posted by: Rick C at March 13, 2017 09:43 AM (ECH2/)
Why A Duck: The Story Of An Obsession In Five Acts, Act I.
A few weeks back, reader David won the latest mystery ship contest. As his prize, he chose to ask "why rubber ducks"? What he didn't realize is that he has opened the vault to an epic tale... and, of course, since it's about me, it'll be fun for me to write about. I mean, who doesn't think of themselves as the main character in the world? I mean, other than self-actualized individuals, that is. So grab a relaxing beverage of your choice, settle in to a comfortable chair, and enjoy The Story!
ACT I: Rise Of The Ducks
This tale begins, as so many of such things do, with a girl. I was a theatre student at Duck U, around about 1990, living in the tower dorm. Considering that I lived there, I spent very little time actually in my dorm room. Instead, you could usually find me across campus in the theatre building. At that time, the department had a thriving bunch of wannabe directors so it was a rare weekend that didn't have a student-run show going on. Since I was the only lighting design student on campus, I tended to be the guy asked to help... I had that blackbox theater wrapped around my finger by the end of the first quarter, and an excellent stock design that, with just a few changes, could handle just about any show we loaded in. All of that, however, meant that I would spend long hours over there... maybe in the drafting lab, maybe cutting gels, perhaps hanging and focussing lights, or on those really late nights, sleeping on one of the (remarkably comfortable) couches in the green room. There were, of course, mens and womens dressing rooms off the green room, with showers... I learned to keep a couple changes of clothes down there. Sometimes it was just way too convenient. None of which has to do with ducks, or the girl, except in passing. Or explaining why I came dragging out of the elevator onto the 6th floor of my dorm at 3am one late evening.
Imagine my surprise when I practically stumbled over... um... let's call her Ann, because that's not her name, sitting on the floor underneath the communal telephone, sobbing at what the person on the other end was telling her. Let's get something straight here: Ann and I were not friends, not in any way that mattered. We were both theatre people, were in the same (small) department, lived in the same dorm, went to the same parties thrown by the same people, but we weren't friends. I suppose acquaintances would be the best way to describe us. Don't get me wrong, we didn't dislike each other or anything like that. We were friendly, but not friends. I surely didn't know her well enough to intrude on her call or anything like that... but she was someone known to me, who had done me no ill in the past, and she was theatre person. So I sat on the couch across from the phone and waited. Even did a little bit of homework until she hung up the phone. I gave her a moment, then asked if she wanted to talk about it. She shook her head, said "family troubles", then gave me a surprised look... one of those "hey, this guy that I don't really know sat here for nearly an hour at ridiculous o'clock in the morning just to see if I was okay" looks of dawning realization. "Thank you, though." After telling her that if she wanted to talk, just to let me know, I went to my room and passed out.
The next few days were spent at the Old Home Pond for reasons that currently escape me, but on the way back I stopped at a grocery store to get some stuff for my "beer fridge".... soda, some nukeable food for when the cafeteria was closed, y'know, that sort of thing... and there, in the children's aisle, was a rubber duck. It was yellow, it squeaked, probably floated, and was cute. All the things a rubber duck is for were there in that one particular duck. Right there, even as I do now, I had the thought that a rubber duck is happiness. Much like you can't sing a sad song when playing a banjo, it's very difficult to be glum when you have a rubber duck in your hands. While Ann had not spoken to me of her issues, she was visibly having problems coping with them... so I bought that rubber duck and gave it to her the next day. I refuse to believe that my giving her that little yellow duck cheered her up so much that she got over her problems overnight, but she did start looking and acting better. Coincidence.
The semester carried on, blasting by, show after show, resulting in a frazzled and exhausted me by Thanksgiving. As I sat in my dorm room the Tuesday before turkeyday, sipping from a pocket bottle of cheap blackberry brandy while listening to Dire Straits' Love Over Gold cassette in the dim illumination from a string of christmastree lights, Ann walked in (I had the "c'mon in!" sign up on my door). She was leaving for home early, but she wanted me to have... this. "This" was... a rubber duck. A different rubber duck than the one I had given her, it must be pointed out. I thanked her, made sure she was doing okay, and off she went. I promptly named that duck Scooter, for reasons that have disappeared into the mists of time. Actually, that's not entirely true. That duck's name was Scooter, true... but that was not its full name. No, his full name was Scooter... (pause)... the Wonderduck. And now you, my loyal readers, know the origin of my name.
This is that original member of The Flock, Scooter the Wonderduck. He's over 26 years old now, and age has taken a toll upon him. His skin is less flexible than it was, and he's not as bright yellow as he had been nearly three decades ago. That black mark on his chest is from when he fell off the dashboard of a U-Haul. Scooter has seen a lot of stuff go down over the years, but he's still the same Duck of Happiness that he was back there in that corner room of the 6th floor of a Duck U dorm.
Scooter was not, though, the only duck. There were a few other given to me as gifts while I was a student at Duck U., too... people saw Scooter sitting there on a shelf above my bed, and thought "hey, that's a good cheap gift!" Those duckies made their way to Minnesota with me, but I have no idea what happened to them. Only Scooter made it back to Duckford. I sometimes wonder about those forgotten Ducks of the North... were they happy? Were they loved? Or were they neglected and uncared for? It's thoughts like this that trouble me at night.