making plans

We have a trip scheduled.

It’s not the road trip to Edmonton that we’ve been trying to take since 2017 and have been foiled each time by the planet (smoke from fires, landslides, unseasonable winter conditions, COVID, radioactive Q-supporting yeti, etc), although that is tentatively penciled in for August – no, we have a Actual Trip planned.

We’re going* to New York in September.

Folks, I am basically beside myself with excitement. Not because we get to fly somewhere, not because we get quality time with excellent friends we haven’t seen in 18 months, not because it’s somewhere other than my beloved balcony – no, I am super fucking extra bouncy excited because of EATING.

Fuck my complicated fat girl relationship with food, I am 100% going to eat my way through New York the entire time we’re there and oh my god I cannot wait. Yeah, we have some non-food related plans while we’re there – there’s a Kusama exhibit I’ve been dying to see, and I really want to go to Coney Island and ride the Wonder Wheel again – but the rest of the time? We will be walking and eating and wearing masks and eating and also there will be a lot of eating and Diet Coke from Chipotle because fuck Chick-fil-A forever.

We get in on Friday night and my plans involve taking off my pants and ordering Chinese food (or as my people call it, “food”). That’s it. No pants and white rice all night long.

The last time we were in NYC was November 2019 as a consolation prize for that whole “no-Japan-because-Super-Typhoon” thing, and it was the first time we’d ever had Chinese food in New York. It was fucking incredible – like, I was very sad that I was full. It was probably the best Chinese food I’d ever eaten – suddenly, all the sitcoms talking about Chinese food in New York made sense. I’ve been patiently waiting for our triumphant return to the city so I can eat all the food I didn’t eat during the pandemic, and I cannot fucking wait. I don’t even feel guilty about how much I’m looking forward to food in New York, that’s how excited I am.

Everything is paid for and planned, but the actual “going” part is the only question mark at the moment. The border between US and Canada isn’t open yet, but it’s actually always been open for flights – we just can’t drive there (and I really want to). Only remaining complication is the America’s refusal to acknowledge the Astra-Zenica vaccine as valid, and unfortunately that’s the one most Canadians have – Ed’s rocking a half AZ, half Moderna life, whereas I’m a Pfizer baby through and through. Will it be resolved before we go? We’re more than two months out, so while it’s obviously time to start packing, we don’t know what’s going to happen. As of Tuesday, double-vaxxed Americans can come to Canada, but we can’t go down there until at least August 21st – and there’s no guarantee that this’ll be worked out before then. Hell, Québec is even offering AZ-vaxxed folks the opportunity to get a THIRD shot so they’ll be allowed to cross the “No AZ” border. Not entirely sure why a third untested shot has more protection than the proven-everywhere-except-the-US AZ shot has, but .. well, America. Nothing makes sense there, including why the Chinese food is so good in New York. Is it drugs? I hope it’s drugs.

I’m probably getting ahead of myself here, but I’m also trying to book .. something. I don’t know where or when, but something. I have a large credit with Lufthansa that has to be booked before the end of August, and used before the end of July 22 .. but where do I want to go? Will MWC happen next year? Would Ed even get to go to it if it does? Or should I just throw all these unknowns in the trash and book a comforting and long-overdue trip to London? The UK is terrifying right now, but surely it’ll be better before next July .. won’t it? I don’t know. I hate not knowing.

I’m going to practice wearing a bib!

this makes me uncomfortable!

operation overkill

This may be the dumbest thing I’ve set up yet.

So, some backstory. As you might know, I spend most of my free time on my balcony, cultivating my new lifestyle as a cannabis aficionado. While the actual weed part is all fine and good, I find I’m far more excited about all the collecting and categorizing and displaying I get to do: tiny jars are absolutely my jam, and there are a lot of them. Not every provider labels products the same way, so I’m left with a disorganized assortment missing the important information that goes into making an informed choice about the strain you’re about to enjoy. This lessens my fun a little, because I like order. Organized order, with shelves and codes and coloured jars, and shit.

I also like electronics, and needlessly complicated solutions to problems that aren’t really problems at all.

Yeah, you know where this is going.

Over the past week, I’ve been wracking my brain to think of how I can display information about what strains are currently being smoked, which bong they’re in, and what’s in the grinders, in addition to knowing what is in each unlabelled stash jar, and what’s on hand as part of our (Ed started it, I’m just here to complicate things) collection.

I have the Raspberry Pi and Hyperpixel display I set up as a Sonos album cover display last summer, but I couldn’t find any projects online that would do what I want. I thought about making a Twitter account that just tweeted the weed information I sent to the account, but nothing seemed quite right. The following list of ideas were tried and discarded:

  • Setting up the Raspberry Pi as a Twitter board
  • Setting up an Android tablet as a Twitter board
  • Using iPhone widgets to display a single Twitter account
  • Use a whiteboard
  • Set up a wall iPad that displayed a Google Doc

.. none of those worked. The Twitter account idea seemed solid, but when I tried it I didn’t like the character limits – and I’d have to mentally remember which tweets were out of date and which were still valid. Using a whiteboard was probably the easiest solution, but I don’t like easy and I have ridiculously large handwriting so I’d have to basically make a chalk wall that Ed would just draw dicks all over so that idea was out. Also, it turns out there ARE no iPhone widgets for Twitter, and the ones I tried (Aviary and Twidget) weren’t great: one wants to show a random selection of your entire timeline, and the other made me log into the separate account I made (@halfwackhoots, although I’m probably going to delete it soon) every day. Using Twitter as a public message board would technically work, but it wasn’t the most attractive application of my idea.

I needed to think bigger.

Like, digital signage bigger.

Obviously I don’t want a billboard for my balcony, but what about a small screen? All I really need is something that can play a slideshow of images, and accept them from a wireless source. Something like .. a digital picture frame.

Welcome to my cafe, apparently.

I found a small, wireless digital photo frame that I can send pictures to with an app. I’ve been spending most of my free balcony time not smoking cannabis, but making little posters of our collection and what we’ve been using, so there’s no more guess work about what you set up last night but can’t remember in the light of day. I have minimal graphic design skills, but I have another app that provides me with thousands of templates so I just pick something that looks cute and then waste an evening making dumb little signs:

It’s not a perfect system. These cards have a limited shelf life in that the text expires, so when we’ve finished with a particular strain or bowl and change to another, I need a new poster. I can’t imagine I’ll be doing this every single time, but for now that’s exactly what I’m doing and it’s the stupidest thing ever but it makes me laugh every time.

Stop on by the Halfwack Smoke Shack! We have a great selection, no prices, and many cats to pet!

I really need to teach myself Swift so I can make the organization apps I want but don’t exist. I’d like an app that allows you to track the strains you’ve tried and how you liked them, then suggest other strains you might enjoy based on your list. This exists for craft beer and wine, but not for cannabis. I’d also love an app that I could insert some text and have it generate me a poster and automatically send it to the frame. I can’t control the contents of the frame remotely, so when it’s time to hide a poster because it’s no longer in use, it’s a manual process to hide it via the frame’s UI.

I’m still working on a poster that shows the contents of the unlabeled stash jars, and one for the No Fun Box (we don’t often find strains that are a no-go but there are some. they’re kept in the “polite company” airtight container.) At this rate, I’m going to get really good at early Web 2.0 graphic design. If this whole tech writing thing doesn’t work out, maybe I can fall back on posters.

I’d say I need a new hobby, but that’s what led to this. At least it’s not a spreadsheet.

but i get up again

Disastrous Failures for Thursday, July 8, 2021

  • My skin thinks we’re 15 years old and every trauma – and there are a lot of them – gets a new celebratory pimple
  • Half the contents of the fridge fell out and I broke one of the bowls we already didn’t have enough of
  • I COMPLETELY FUCKED my dev environment and needed to call in the big guns to unfuck my dev environment
  • I tried to be sneaky and put a file where there ought not be files and that probably did not help with the fuckening
  • CUSTOMERS ARE CONFUSED AND I’m pretty sure it’s all my fault for not anticipating people not knowing what an expand icon does I mean the first thing I would do is click on it to see what happens but maybe that is why I am made of disastrous failures and not rich with retail successes
  • I’ve been annoyed at all four cats at different times this morning because it is apparently Love Cats, Not GitHub Thursday and I was caught unaware
  • We ran out of creamed corn.

Relative Successes for Thursday, July 8, 2021

  • I didn’t exactly FIX my dev environment, but I did create a workaround that resolved everything nicely
  • Then I pushed a patch to fix something I missed, but everything is where it should be now
  • Ran into a Documentation Emergency and was prepared for it and have fixed things to an appreciated degree
  • I got a new hat and it is great
  • I thought I lost a couple of videos we took on motorides out to Fort Langley but I remembered the existence of a second SD card and there they were
  • The cats still love me even if I had to push them off my desk around 18 times
  • When I order another set of bowls to replace the one I broke we will then have 7 bowls which is much better than 4
  • An Adventure is planned for the weekend!
  • I got more creamed corn.

*explode*

the famous variant

One of my variants is super famous for some reason, to the point of having a dressing room rider to ensure their/my every desire is met before and after a performance/event/coup/insurgency/orgy/etc.

This is our rider:

  • 12 x 2 litre bottles of cold Diet Coke with an expiry date no sooner than 2 months out of the current date
  • 6 coolers full of ice (4 for bottle storage, 2 for ice for drinks)
  • 6 large bottles of ice cold Dasani water
  • 4 bottles of Cherry Blackberry Mio water enhancer
  • 2 party-sized bottles of Mott’s Clamato (Extra Spicy)
  • 2 tins of Matt and Steve’s Caesar Rimmer
  • 1 large bottle of Tabasco sauce
  • 1 large bottle of Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 limes cut into wedges
  • 12 large drinking glasses
  • 12 reusable straws
  • 4 fresh fruit platters
  • 1 x large bowl of baby carrots
  • 1 x large bowl of cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 x large container of jalapeno ranch dressing
  • Random selection of adult items from this site only
  • Bouquet of dahlias in random colours
  • Electronic charging station with lightning, USB-C, and mini-USB connections (x4 each)
  • Peanut M&Ms in a serving dish shaped like a pineapple (not an actual pineapple)
  • Secure, fast wi-fi
  • 2 x Flopping sofa, for flopping
  • 3 x pairs of scissors

It’d be nice to demand this stuff, but let’s face it – I’d be mortified to make demands of anyone, let alone a list of things I need for my own comfort. Don’t get me wrong, I love to be comfortable .. but this is all stuff I’d bring myself so no one else would have to worry about it. I don’t go anywhere without my own Diet Coke, reusable tumbler/straw, and emergency Mio supply. If I want a Caesar while I’m out of the house, I’ll get it myself. Ditto M&Ms. When I was in the hospital last, I got in trouble for doing my own medication injections and tech support on the devices they left plugged into me. What? I’m very self-sufficient, until it comes to spider removal and phone calls.

What’s on your rider?

the house on myrtle street

Remember that time I worried my mother was a scheming murderess straight out of an Agatha Christie book?

The plot has thickened to the point that people are trying to market it as the next evolution of oatmeal. Tired of steel-cut oats? Try some racism!

Backstory is probably important. TL;DR:

My mother is Chinese, and as soon as she is introduced to the rest of the family as a companion to Gentleman X (first wives are always out of the picture, and all children are hella grown), everyone assumes she is a gold digger. They tell their father/brother/uncle to “be careful” and not let my mother out of their sight for fear she might .. steal their millions? There are never any millions. These are just old, lonely dudes who appreciate her company for some weird reason. If my mother was a gold digger, she’s terrible at it. She also has the patience of a saint, because there’s the long con and then there’s my mother being in a “relationship” with these guys for decades before there’s any kind of payoff (which doesn’t exist). It’s weird – these guys always have family, but they’re nowhere in sight to help care for their elderly relative. When my mom steps in, they’re suddenly all concerned about ol’ dad and whatever fortune he is obviously squandering on this gold digging temptress who wears men’s jeans and 5 layers of sweaters from 1983 because she is arthritic and cold.

Also, this:

In between complaining about lottery numbers and asking about my cats, my mother mentioned that her companion was going to add her to his will and not tell the rest of his family about it. Oh, good. That won’t cause any potential problems AT ALL down the road.

My mother’s companion (the same one in the post above) suffered a fall in his home several weeks ago. He’s fine and he’s out of the hospital, but he’s also 92 years old and was living in a large house all by himself. My mother would help him out daily, but just as a friend.

After his fall and hospitalization, they moved him to a nursing home so he could get medical care and support around the clock. He’s very happy there and I believe he’s allowed to have his cat, which is awesome.

What’s NOT awesome is that his family – some daughters, I think – are contacting a lawyer to look into my mother and his will, to see if she’s getting anything of value and to investigate whether she coerced him into leaving her things/money/the house. He told someone my mother was “his girlfriend” and it got back to his family, and they decided to take this information and be racist fucking assholes with it.

My mother doesn’t want his house. She doesn’t want his stuff, or his tools, or whatever they think holds value in the house. She’s never claimed to be his girlfriend or partner, just a friend she helps who gives her money (like, $20 – $40 at a time) to buy groceries for the both of them, not just her.

I am FUCKING LIVID at his family for being unbelievably racist motherfuckers who are siccing lawyers on a 92-year-old man – their father – and his friend because he might have left her something in his will. We don’t even know that he DID leave her anything, although he has hinted at it from time to time. My mother had nothing whatsoever to do with his will – I don’t even know that he gave her Power of Attorney as planned, because she certainly didn’t have anything to do with getting him into a nursing home – she just brings him food and things he wants from his house and visits.

But she’s clearly after his money.

FUCK THOSE RACIST CUNTS for making my mother worry about lawyers, being racist assholes who think my mother is a gold digger based on the fact that she’s Chinese, for making me want to DEFEND my mother when I don’t even really like her all that much, and for not keeping my mom’s friend’s last name so I could hunt them down easily on social media and send the wolves after them.

I AM SO MAD. If my mother ends up needing to pay (or ask me to pay) for a lawyer to deal with this bullshit, I AM GOING TO PUNCH HIS FUCKING FAMILY RIGHT IN THE GODDAMN UTERUS. You fucking despicable cunts.

It is too motherfucking hot for me to be this mad right now.

As of tomorrow, my mom is two weeks out from shot #2. I might have to pay a visit to Victoria, in my most threatening clothing (which tends to be rather warm – no one looks dangerous in a frilly sundress) and delinquenty-looking hat, and just .. be angry.

Luckily, hanging out with my mother makes me angry. I may not be very good at physical damage, but I am very good at being angry.

Angry.

i’m on it, seagull.

how to help

Ed and I thrive today because our ancestors came to Canada to work on stolen land. Even today, we live on the unceded territory of Kwantlen, Á,LEṈENEȻ ȽTE (W̱SÁNEĆ), S’ólh Téméxw (Stó:lō), Semiahmoo, and Coast Salish nations.

I love Canada, but Canada is not a place worthy of celebrating this year. To that end, Ed and I are donating our Canada Day wages to the Indigenous Residential School Survivors Society and True North Aid. We are privileged to be in a position to do this, and we are only in this position because of our ancestors and the stolen land they were given. I am reading, and learning, and listening. If you’re able, please help in any way you can. We are ALL thriving – whatever your level of thrive may be – because of our ancestors and the atrocities committed to build this country.

Here are some resources that friends have shared with me.

There is so much work to do, and it’s on all of us to help.

bad kitten cam

All four cats like the balcony, but Roary LOVES IT. He would live out there if he could. He (and Sunny) love hunting and eating bugs, and I’m sure if Roary were an outdoor cat he’d be doing some serious harm to the local bird population. He hasn’t tried to go over the balcony railing (yet), but he’s had a few close calls when chasing after a bug that goes over the side. It hasn’t helped my anxiety.

Unfortunately, Roary has somehow figured out how to get past the screen door on the balcony. Both kittens have been climbing the screens since they got here, no matter how hard we try to dissuade them. They’re both at least 9 months old now, but where Sunny is a squat little round potato, Roary is a Large Cat: he’s all wiry muscle and weighs around 13 pounds. He’s discovered that if he climbs to the top of the balcony screen, his weight causes the door to sink just enough for the track wheels to retract and the screen pops out enough for him to jump through the gap and escape. Since yesterday afternoon, we’ve done near-hourly head counts on the cats and four times now have found Roary (and once, his sister) outside on the balcony even though the door is mostly closed and the screen barely askew.

This morning, we did a test. The screen was shut completely tight and the door left ajar several inches. All cats inside and accounted for. Not long after I went upstairs to start work, I heard some scrambling noises and then suspicious silence so I went downstairs to check: Roary was on the balcony railing, digging in the flower box. He at least had the good sense to look guilty when I found him. Only issue (other than the fact that my cat is fucking Houdini): this time, he hadn’t popped the door out of the track. The screen was completely in place. How did he get outside?!

I don’t know how he does it. I don’t know what he wants. If he’s looking for bugs, I can tell him I don’t have any available. But what I do have are great deal of internet-connected devices, devices that will detect motion, devices that will record his every move. If he leaves the screen door alone, that’ll be the end of it. I will not scold him. I will not post the video of his escape. But if he doesn’t, I will yell at him, I will take pictures of him being a Very Bad Cat, and I will post them online for everyone to laugh at.

I will also shamelessly crib text from a movie because I am too annoyed to come up with my own words to convey the Liam Neeson-esque measures I am taking to deal with this.

There’s a camera set up on the floor with full view of the balcony door. A motion sensor has been set up just outside the door to alert me if it detects motion, which will be recorded on the camera. The video feed is streaming to my phone, and when I need to use my phone (or Roary is on my chair chewing my head so I know the coast is clear) I send the feed to my Alexa Echo. I WILL figure how he’s doing it, and then I WILL set up an elaborate and needlessly complicated solution to stop him (or at least watch).

this is a Very Bad Boy

insufferable? stereotypical? completely valid?

This may come as a shock to some of you, but I have problems with anxiety.

*snort*

No, really. I know I’ve had major anxiety episodes in the past, but in my head I had equated “anxiety” specifically with those actual, textbook panic attacks. I think there was even a paper bag involved, once.

It’s only recently that I’ve realized I’ve suffered from some significant anxiety this ENTIRE TIME – like, if I thought I’d been going from 0 – 10 to rate those attacks at a 6 or 7, but I’d actually been going from 5 – 14 the entire time – and I’m just starting to understand how and why I’ve been feeling so .. introspective lately. This is going to sound exactly how it sounds, but I’ve been figuring out the insanely buried truths behind some fundamental aspects of who I am, and it. is. fucked.

Two specific examples from the last 3 months sort of kicked this all off. I have had full-on sobbing in a heap ugly cries borderline hysterics that were really unusual even for me lately, and I’d been thinking about them: a) when my bloodwork came back from a routine checkup was so bad that I was sent to Every Specialist including a cardiologist and had to do multiple overnight tests and my upcoming echocardiogram, and when I received the letter from BC Health saying I qualified for an early COVID vaccine because I’m extremely clinically vulnerable. Both times, I melted the fuck down entirely. I sobbed so long and hard I gave myself the hiccups. I was a snotty, horrible, mess for hours. It sucked.

It wasn’t until I read this article that it dawned on me that my extreme reactions to potentially unsettling – like, not even actually unsettling, but something that might turn out that way later – medical things isn’t just a run of the mill worried about the spectre of death sort of thing, but actual PTSD from my 2.5 Major Medical Issues in the last several years.

I know I pretend to be a smart person, but I am really quite dumb. The article and existence of medical trauma make perfect sense to me, but I legit thought I was having some sort of psychotic break. I was scared by and of my reaction, which was to a reaction in the first place, so this was like Inception-levels of meta brain shit.

That stunned epiphany has actually changed how I handle these things. I can tell when I’m about to lose my shit, and either calm myself down knowing that I am not actually this scared, or warn Ed I’m about to erupt in a totally non-pornographic way and to please help me cope.

It’s not always successful, of course. Right now, I’m worried and anxious af because I’ve had NO reaction to the second Pfizer dose I received on Friday afternoon. Everything I’ve heard from friends and internet strangers alike is that the first Pfizer dose is pretty mild but the second one knocks you on your ass. I didn’t have much of a reaction to my first dose, so I prepared for a thorough ass-knocking – like, did groceries, got my affairs in order (look, it’s a work in progress), made sure Ed had enough things to eat over the weekend, stored up an ample supply of Diet Coke and chicken noodle soup – and yet I’m fine. Went out yesterday afternoon, did a bunch of errands, made neighbourhood queso. Okay, maybe day two is the worst and I’ll really feel it tomorrow? So far today I’ve made blueberry pancakes and bacon for breakfast, cleaned out two kitchen cabinets and two drawers, ate some queso leftovers in my balconic oasis to the tune of a Broadway showstopper, wrote up some self-serving psychobabble, and made several smaller, less life-changing epiphanies about Greek yogurt and Tupperware lids. I’m supposed to be sick and miserable. Why am I not sick and miserable?!

What if I didn’t actually get the vaccine at all? What if I’m not actually protected from covid?

What if my slight headache and extreme weariness ARE my symptoms, and I’ve been having them all along?

That doesn’t seem right, as I’m not suffering all that much so I must have done something wrong and I’m still vulnerable.

.. and why am I worrying about whether I’m suffering enough to be deserving of the label of “having symptoms”, anyway? This is one of the reasons I also didn’t think I “deserved” to think I was suffering from PTSD, I’m just a stupid broken baby who can’t handle minor life stuff.

Yeah, it’s been an interesting few months.

Did I say interesting? I meant exhausting.

I honestly can’t tell if I’m just being good ol’ Insufferable Kimli, if this is a stereotypical stoner line of thinking, or if it’s a valid realization.

Up next: why I can’t watch TV, and why I hate sharing my age!

i am

  • Waxed
  • Double vaxxed
  • Full of snacks
  • Fully stacked
  • Listening to Basement Jaxx
  • Overtaxed
  • Aware of nymphomaniacs
  • surviving cutbacks
  • Pretty relaxed
  • A lover of knickknacks
  • Unable to fax
  • a fan of Drax
  • Enjoying my pax
  • A geocentric parallax

Facts.