At the end of March I posted a list of things I accomplished that month, in order to quiet the voice in my head that says "You never finish anything"; I liked that, so I'll keep doing it. Here's stuff I did in April:
- Completed my eight-week anxiety class. Since then I've several times caught myself at the beginning of an anxiety/depression/doom spiral and been able to say "Hold up, I know where this well-trod neural pathway leads, I'm going to choose to do something else instead".
- I did some really difficult work as part of therapy. One of the most difficult was to write a 'hope scenario', that is, a writing exercise to simply imagine a future I'd actually want to live in, regardless of how unlikely it is to come about. Since my attitude toward the future has oscillated between "abject horror" and "avoid thinking about it" for several years, this was A Challenge. I discovered I had developed an aversion against even daring to hope for good things to happen, as if I've been afraid that hope will be punished somehow, or afraid that imagining a better world will just make me more depressed to be stuck in this one instead. Anyway. It was hard but I did the assignment. I might decide to share what I wrote, at some point. I might decide to keep it private.
- found a non-prescription hand medicine that keeps my soap rashes under control. (My hands have been very rash-y this year, because I wash them like ten times a day in addition to doing dishes, giving the kid baths, etc. So I've always got dried-out itchy skin from all the soap. Regular lotion doesn't do a thing for me, in fact it makes it worse. I'd been using a prescription medication called fluocinonide, which works great, but every time I ran out I'd have to go beg a doctor for more (picture me a desperate drug addict but for hand rash medicine). After a lot of experimentation I determined that hydrocortisone, available over the counter, works almost as well. So that's good!
- I stood on a scale and saw a number I didn't like one bit, so I decided that in addition to stepping up my exercise program from last month, I'd also go for a week of not snacking between meals or eating desserts. Then it turned out the scale doesn't work right when it's on top of carpet, so the number I saw was meaningless, but I'm feeling a lot better when not snacking, so I'm sticking with it. Strangely, I don't feel any hungrier; I guess I wasn't really hungry, and was just eating snacks because they were there?
- Got my first vaccine dose!!
- Did a decent amount of writing for this website (for example this one)
- got the garden all set up well, built squirrel protector for veg trug and reflector; all the infrastructure is built and almost all the plants are where they need to be, now. There's just some seedlings to thin out and transplant.
- made a lot of progress on songwriting. Hope to have something ready to share soon. A process discovery I made is that I can't compose in Ableton. Ableton is good for creating the sound of a song once I've got the rythym and melody decided, but if I go into Ableton without those things decided, I'll just noodle around indefinitely with tambres and sound effects. No, for composing I need to go for a walk first (because I form musical ideas best in relation to the steady beat of my footsteps) then come home, get my accordion out, play what I hear in my head, then turn it into sheet music notation with MuseScore (creating a reference I can play from later). Only when the staff notation is solidified should I open Ableton to mix a track. Starting in Ableton is like jumping straight to inking and coloring a comic without thumbnailing or penciling first.
- Finally got a laptop with a bigger hard drive, (mostly) set it up as my new work computer.
- Work had a "retreat" this month, something we'd normally do by going offsite as a group and doing extracurricular activities, but since we're still remote-only, we stayed home and did a bunch of extracurricular activities over video call. I was afraid this would be awful but it was pretty good. One of my coworkers organized a very short Game Jam, with judges. My team designed a strategy board game about de-carbonizing the Texas electric grid without allowing extreme weather events to cause blackouts (topical!) We didn't have time to playtest it or anything, but I'm proud we got it to the point of being playtestable in about 2 hours. I like what we designed, I think it has potential; I might actually want to follow up and playtest it?
- Also part of the "retreat", I taught a drawing class to my coworkers. It was focused on perspective drawing (I figured that constructing drawings with precise mathematical rules would be appealing to a bunch of engineers) and also focused on constant-learning and not-judging-yourself. The drawing lesson went well and I was pretty happy with it. I might turn it into a post here.
- Got my py3.7 presentation all set to go. This is for teaching the rest of the company what we need to do to upgrade from the (already obsolete) Python 3.5 to Python 3.7. (Why are we still on 3.5? It's a long story...)
- Got some good habits going with regards to staying focused on work, and not falling into an internet hole. Two steps forward, one step back on this one. This probably deserves its own post.
- Called more old friends I haven't seen in a while. I highly recommend doing this, it always makes me feel the opposite of regret.
- Made plans to visit Mom once we're all vaccinated.
- Had a good visit with my cousin, who was traveling down the west coast. We met up at a ranch house in the Santa Cruz mountains and had a real nice hike + cookout.
- Didn't paint as many minis this month as in March, but I completed custom sculpting on a bunch to paint next month. I also painted six Kossite Woodsmen which have been languishing on my shelf, primed but unpainted, for TEN YEARS (since 2011)... because they're the worst unit in the game. But even if I never play them, it feels good to reduce my unpainted minis backlog.
- played Brawlmachine in an online league. (Had a nearly perfect 8-game losing streak, marred only by a single game that I technically won because my opponent ran out his clock.)
- played "There Is No Game", an indie adventure game (not-game?) for Switch. I was expecting it to be a one-joke gimmick game, but it surprised me with how good its not-puzzles and not-story are. It's hard to describe, and I don't want to spoil it, so let's just say it involves doing things like breaking off pieces of the user interface of the "non-game" program and using them to solve puzzles. If you're the kind of person who laughs at jokes about user-interface design (as I am), this has some good ones.
- read the first part of Psycholonials, Andrew Hussie's new non-Homestuck-related work. It's, uh... it's weird as hell, and I have no idea where it's going. It's a reminder that Homestuck being popular with teenagers was a fluke, and the fundamental Andrew Hussie experience is to be trolled, to repeatedly stop reading and yell "HUSSIE! WTF DID YOU JUST TRICK ME INTO READING?"