PlayaStrich 2009

productive day, woohoo

So far today I've:
  • Had breakfast with lisanys
  • Went to IKEA and bought a new desk that should work a lot better than the hand-me-down I've had for many years
  • Tore down two giant boxes that were still sitting in the living room from the printer and Strich Labs packaging supplies
  • Received the delivery from IKEA of desk, bins for storage, and lighting
  • Cleared everything off of the old desk
  • Assembled the new desk
  • Installed lighting on the new desk
  • Migrated all gear from the old desk to the new one

Yay productive! Now I have a much more flexible desk arrangement with 3 vertical levels for various gear. Should work very well. The overall house-reorganizing is going well, still a lot to do in the living room, but it's getting done.

TODO: Strich Labs launch

(yes this is a boring first-post-in-6-months, i'll post something more interesting when i'm less stressed next week ;))

Strich Labs (my electronics company) launches tomorrow at 1000ET at Maker Faire. Need to get the following done today before that!
  • Buy at least 8 outlets worth of power bar capacity
  • Buy small connector storage boxes to go in storage shelving
  • Assemble 14 more VGA Shields
  • Lunch
  • QA all VGA Shields
  • Package all VGA Shields
  • Create VGA Shield code repo on Github and upload code
  • Rework 4 failed MultiSerial shields and QA/package if working
  • Pick up HackLab.TO stickers from Artik at 1800ET
  • Add paper record printing support to StrichPOS
  • Bring up web site
  • Buy commercial license for EAGLE
  • Create change/cash tracking forms
  • Finish customizing demo case and pack it for tomorrow
  • Sleep ;)

BIRD! (not the featherey kind)

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It's getting there! Revision 1 schematic is done and PCB is 100% routed (but has some messyness to clean up, thermal design to complete, and silkscreening to finish), hopefully can send it off to a board house later on this week or next weekend. Once I find a board house that can/will do 6mil traces on prototype quantities. I've normally used BatchPCB, but they can only do down to 8mil and the smallest chip on this board (the fuel gauge IC) has pins that are too close together to get away with 8mil traces. Doh! Looking at MyRO PCB as recommended by another hacklabber.
PlayaStrich 2009 2

early morning life update

I've been slacking on posting again, doh! I'm awake ridiculously early on a Saturday because of work, so figured I might as well postify.
My wrist is pretty much healed completely now (woot!) and we're back to climbing twice a week every week (woot!). Before I hurt myself we were climbing 2/3 times a week (3 when time allowed) at Rock Oasis, but since then a new gym has opened up in the north of the city nearer to where we live, True North, so we've been climbing there on Fridays instead of at Oasis. Having some motivation trouble climbing lately though (doh) and not entirely sure why, just not 'into it' a lot of the time. Really hard routes are still fun though, so trying to focus on lower harder routes. Somehow i'm just getting bored on higher easier routes, not sure what's changed. Haven't been leading lately because we only lead at Rock Oasis (not True North where we climb on Fridays) and in the summer it's crazy hot there which means my balance falls apart and I have trouble climbing on top-rope, let alone lead belaying. Hopefully my body can get used to the heat again like I did last summer, and I'll regain balance-ness.

Our house reorganization is really coming along, the living room is looking way better than it did a couple months ago. I moved the rack earlier in the week (we have an HP 42U rack in the living room to house server gear and such) to another corner and tore down a big table that we had here, and yesterday our new TV arrived. First new TV I've ever owned, and a bit of an improvement over the 10" black-and-white one that my last TV was. :) It's weird to own a TV after not for so long, but it's really more like a big monitor as we don't actually have cable/satellite/anything like that, but have/will have game consoles and a computer hooked up to it.

Work is work, not really enjoying it lately (understatement) but getting by. The last few weeks have been setting up almost exactly the same thing over and over and over and over again. Not exactly the same so I could script it, just different enough that i have to do most of it by hand. Doh. Keep pondering jobsearching again but undecided on it still. Things seem to go through better/worse periods at any job, so hopefully this worse period will end soon. Also I haven't really had a proper weekend in awhile, have maintenance pretty much every sunday morning at midnight, was in the office last Saturday for a few hours, and got woken up at 4 then 5:30 today with stupid issues that people should be able to solve on their own. Paging me at 0400 on a Saturday to ask if I'm sure I submitted all the right ports in the firewall request (not because something isn't working, just to check in)is annoying.

HRT is still completely screwed up. Post-Burn last year I decided to try to switch off of weekly IM shots and onto oral (to avoid needing to deal with weekly IM needles, for which nothing like an autoinjector is available), and it's been a lot more trouble than I'd expected. E is as high as we can make it (on this formulation anyway), and I'm still raising spiro. So far every time I raise my antiandrogen dose my T level goes up. Umm, you're doing it wrong body! Antiandrogens reduce androgens. :P Still working on it, if we reach max spiro with no major improvement then I get to decide between an orchi (which for many reasons I'm not wanting) and going back on shots. Likely will decide to just go back to shots if that's the case and see if I can work on dealing with them better in therapy. Zapping is going extremely well at least, doing half an hour a week and have been since January. It's really good to see visible progress again! Also discovered a couple weeks back that it's a lot easier for me to tolerate it without EMLA. With it my senses are dulled too much to be able to (as Lisa calls it) 'reprogram' my nervous system to interpret it as not-bad-pain, but without any anesthetic I can successfully do so, and get a lot more work done in hard areas each session.

HackLab.TO is awesome and nifty and fun. I got elected (well, defaulted as nobody else applied!) onto the board a few weeks ago, and we had our first AGM last wekeend. Fun stuff. Then, early this week, one of our members got arrested in all the G20 hysteria. Next open-house at the lab should be fun. Have been working on my BIRD project again (braille eBook reader that takes books off SD cards and displays them to a USB-connected display) which is fun, hope to get PCBs made in the next couple weeks. Have also been working on about 8 other projects which I rapidly context-switch between, which Lisa teases me about endlessly. :P

Burning Man prep is starting to get more pressing, only 9 weeks and 2 days (or so) until we're back on the playa! Soooooo excited/can't wait. The theme this year is Metropolis, so we're working on making a bunch of playa-themed street signs to put up. Found a supplier of street sign blanks which would ship to a non-municipality in Canada (us) and received them yesterday. Have cut out a bunch of stencils out of acrylic using the lab's CO2 laser cutter (which is awesome), and hopefully tomorrow will get to paint the first signs.

Eating continues to be pretty much a non-issue (in that I'm eating well, not in that I'm not eating ;P). Have been recovered for well over a year now, and my weight has been very stable for at least the last 9 months. Woot. :)

Think that's about it for now, lisanys is up so I should start my day and have breakfast and go climb things!

Project 2009: March/April 2010 Status Report

Another two month status report for March/April 2010! :)
  • Finally called my audiologist and booked/went to an appointment (and then some). Had been avoiding that for a year or so now, so it's really good to get it done. It will surprise no one (no one who's been around me lately anyway) that my hearing has declined significantly in the last 4 years (which was the last time I saw my audi). She patched me up as best she could with my existing "equipment" (plugged up the vents in my molds and reprogrammed my aids), and I should have new molds next week or the week after that. Will be a big change since we're changing to bigger tubing and bigger molds, and it's going to take a lot of getting used to. Having earmolds that actually fit well will be really nice though!
  • Saw my GP for a physical. It had been a few years since my last one (during which she triggered me badly, which started my most recent bout with anorexia), and is good to get it done with.
  • Visited a new climbing gym as a spectator at a climbing competition! Was way scary going in, but turned out to be really fun. Will have to do similar things again :)
  • Climbed at said new climbing gym with chirik and lisanys. My wrist wasn't bothering me much at all that day, which was nice! Explored the new gym a bunch, and did some really fun climbs. The new gym (True North Climbing) is very nifty, and reminds me a lot of Planet Granite. We're talking about doing one day a week there once I'm back up to a normal climbing schedule.
  • Began working on starting a small business, Strich Labs, to sell some of the electronics I've been working on. There's so much to do, even for a simple setup! Have completed a lot, and still have a lot to do before I'm ready to officially open.

Goals for the next month:
  • Work out a plan with my therp to get to an NMCA jam. Will likely involve getting there way early so I'm not trying to join a large group of people that already know each other.
  • File the last of my divorce paperwork. I've sorted out what exactly needs to be done, but need a half day off to go do it. Will see about taking a half day when I get my new earmolds, and go to court before/after that appointment.
  • Talk to my therp about the fact that I'm avoiding booking my last driving lessons, and figure out how to get back to it. I really want to be able to get to places not on transit, but it's been really, really hard to deal with driving, and I've been avoiding booking more lessons for months now.
  • Get back to climbing on a regular schedule, and start working on leading again.

Random other non-Project 2009 worthy things I've been doing the last couple months:
  • Became the Operations Offier at HackLab.TO, responsible for day-to-day running of the lab. Yay!
  • Continued to spend a lot of time at HackLab.TO working on electronics projects and the laser engraver. (thanks to owen for the photos of kitriches!)
  • Got another (unexpected) bonus at work for being an integral part of the team that completed a major Linux migration.
  • Got bloodwork done again for hormone levels (and the results are even worse than before, doh).
  • Started climbing again after recovering from hurting my wrist, pushed myself too hard, and my wrist started bothering me again. Decided one day a week is what I need to do for now, and work my way back up to 2 or 3 days a week. I miss climbing a lot!
PlayaStrich 2009 2


Decided to take today off because I've been working a lot lately and my boss told me to take some time off. Yay!
Hopefully I can get the following done:
  • (0800) Breakfast done!
  • (0845) Pay CRA $2000 more of what I owe them. done!
  • (0900) Get clean done!
  • (0945) Call CRA to get my current balance owing. done!
  • (1000) Empty dishwasher and refill with any dishes in the kitchen requiring cleaning done!
  • (1015) Go to Plastic World and pick up some coloured acrylic to see if I can make lamacoids using the lab's lazzor cutter. done!
  • (1215) Put up fire-related signage on exit and extinguishers at the lab and update Operations section of the wiki to indicate it's done. done!
  • (1230) Lunch done!
  • (1315) Pick up snacks and a new paw-squeezey-thing from MEC done!
  • (1330) Post LJ entry with the projects I've been working on lately.
  • (1345) Sort out the state machine machine required for BlinkieNet.
  • (1600) Go traverse at Rock Oasis and see how my wrist is healing.
  • (1800) Dinner

Should be a nice relaxing day off. ;)
  • Current Music
    David L. Jones - EEVblog #58 – Warm and Fuzzy FPGA Troubleshooting
  • Tags

Project 2009: January/February 2010 Status Report

The last few months have been really busy for me, and I missed the status report at the end of January. So here's one for both months! Here's the new/hard things I accomplished in the past two months:
  • Went to a workshop at Further Confusion on spinning (poi specifically). Was really, really hard to be there and was stressed and having trouble doing even simple moves I already knew, but stuck with it despite the stressyness and learned three beat weave (finally)!
  • Went back to seeing my old GP, as she is back from maternity leave and knows a lot more about dealing with HRT than my temporary doctor had. She is the one who triggered me very badly ED-wise though, which lead to me getting very, very bad anorexia-wise a couple years back. I have a much better support system in place now though, and am confident that I'll deal with it even if I do get triggered. We're working on getting my HRT sorted back out and trying to get my hormone levels back to normal again (though my body is resisting anything close to normal thusfar).
  • Stuck with lead climbing and worked continually at getting over my fear, even when it felt like I wasn't getting anywhere. I'm having similar problems lead climbing that I did at first when I started toproping, and it's been very hard for me to get far off the ground due to the distance a fall would be. I've been working almost exclusively at leading the last few times we've been at the gym, and am making good progress now! Working on 5.6/5.7 routes to get my confidence up, and actually managing to send them on lead. Will be a long process, but it's really really fun and exciting. Yay climbing!

Goals for the next month:
  • My GP should have sent a referral to my audi for a hearing test, so book the appointment and go do it. If I haven't done this by next therp session (a week and a bit away) then talk to her about how to get it done.
  • File the last of my divorce paperwork. I'm (finally) getting a couple days off this month to make up for all the OT I've been working, so I'm going to do it during one of those days.
  • Book my last couple driving lessons.
  • If NMCA gets back outside in March, go to one of the circus jams. If they don't, then it'll be next month (whenever the first outside one is).

Random other non-Project 2009 worthy things I've been doing the last couple months:
  • Completed a huge migration to Linux at work, very successfully.
  • Received my first set of BatchPCB custom circuit boards and completed assembly and troubleshooting of the first one.
  • Spent a lot of time at HackLab.TO working on electronics projects (like the MultiSerial Shield referenced above)
  • Learned to use the laser engraver/cutter at Hacklab.TO and learn how g-code works to drive it.
  • Bought tickets for Burning Man 2010.
  • Got asked to work FC2011 as Business Director again (and accepted).
  • Got a much larger than expected bonus and raise at work.
  • Got bloodwork done again for hormone levels (and the results are even worse than before, doh).
  • Hurt my wrist working on a hard climb on lead, and it's looking like I'll need at least a week off to recover. Doh!
PlayaStrich 2009 2

Project 2009: Part 2

Since Project 2009 was such a huge success, and I don't want to stop working on it, so I'm continuing it pretty much unmodified through the next 12 months. Since it's not a new project (more of an extension of Project 2009), I'm going to keep calling it Project 2009 as I have been. The changes to it will be:
  • Giving myself permission to have 'rest months' now and then, where I don't have 4 different things. This past year I've been noting months that didn't have much and kind of getting annoyed at myself about them, but I do need some rest and unstressful time now and then. I'll watch to make sure I don't get into patterns of 'rest months' in a row, but once in awhile having a month without a bunch of new things is OK. :)
  • If something stays on my 'to do next month' goals for more than a month without a good reason, come up with a solid plan to get it done (by working with whatever support systems are required to do so). A couple things stayed on my 'to do next month' list for >6 months last year, and I'd rather that not happen this year.

Other than that, same project as last year, just continued. Same end-of-month posts, same doing-lots-of-new-exciting-things.

Project 2009: Year 2009 complete!

Project 2009 came full circle as planned, spent the night at a rave organized by the same people as the one I missed last year due to not speaking my mind, and at the same venue. Despite some issues with a fire alarm (and being outside in the winter without a coat), malfunctioning power (and a temporary lack of audio because of it), and some... creative setlist choices, I had an awesome wonderful time.
Next party is the last one at the Big Bop *sad kitrich*. Very, very glad that they put one last event together before it gets closed down, though.
Happy new year all! Tomorrow I'll post about my plans for 2010, once I've had more sleep and have more with-it-ness.