Thrifted Monitor!

Now that masks are required in Saskatchewan indoors again, I'm feeling much better about thrifting.

I found a 2002-made IBM 9494 monitor at the thrift store yesterday. When I picked it up and found that it was far heavier than I expected, I was intrigued. Often that indicates higher quality components. It was only $5 CAD! Other, lower quality, monitors were more expensive. I set it up this morning and the image quality and contrast ratio are significantly better than my nearly new Samsung unit. It's smaller, but at 18.1" and a 4:3, non-widescreen aspect ratio, it's plenty usable.

We humans in industrial societies rarely get to go foraging for tasty food and useful supplies in the wilderness these days, but finding good deals at thrift stores is a great runner up!
Tawas dog

New Keyboard of the Musical Variety

In the Netherlands, I had a Nektar MIDI controller for piano practice. It was usable, but the key action was pretty bad. Looking for a local deal on a used keyboard with better action, I found this Robson on Kijiji for $60 CAD, so a little under $50 USD.

I expected it to use samples rather than synthesis if it's advertised as a digital piano (and the manual *does* call it a digital piano), but it doesn't. The onboard sound is really crap compared to the Steinway concert grand sound library I was using with the Nektar. But it turns out that the Robson has MIDI onboard too! The seller just described it as a weighted-key digital piano and did not mention MIDI, so I was really happy to find the ports when I got home.

The keys are really semi-weighted at best, but the action is still a lot better than the Nektar. I had to order a USB adapter for the MIDI because it's got the classic 5-pin DIN plugs, but no big deal. The only issue is that the sustain pedal doesn't seem to have its state passed via MIDI, but I can live with that.

It's a lot bigger and bulkier than the newer Nektar. I'd guess it weighs around 30 pounds. The seller said she used it for gigs, but it's a lot of keyboard to move around!

Robson seems to be a Canadian company that there's not a lot information out there about, other than that they are still making digital pianos.

Robson Keyboard
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Tawas dog

Digging through dirt that I'd really rather just bury

Well, my ex has made it clear that she does not want to hear from me in any way or give me any information that might help for my permanent residency application. I thought that might be the case.

I'm pretty sure I have found her current legal last name anyway. Being pretty sure of her birthday, I managed to use it to find a judgment against her for driving after suspension or revocation of registration. The judgment has the name I thought, but wasn't sure, is her current one. Super annoying for her, I'm sure, to have forgotten to renew her plates, but convenient for me.

Bad Pool Caller

While going through Livejournal looking for dates for my permanent residency application, I found this from October 2010. It made me laugh again.


Windows just crashed (in the middle of writing something of course) with a "Bad Pool Caller" error. My mind went to a smirking bare-chested man with a cruel grin sitting atop a lifeguard chair. "Alright you brats, out of the pool! Adult swim time!"

"No!" chorus the fresh-faced youngsters as their game of beach-ball catch splashes to an abrupt stop. "Please sir; we've only been in for ten minutes!"

"Watch me not care!" shouts the guard, an evil glint in his eye. "Out now or you'll be down to *five* minutes like *last* time!"

With a tear gathering at the corner of his eye, the young boy with the ball sniffles, "You're a bad pool caller."


Or maybe it's just a couple of 1s and 0s out of place somewhere in the guts of this infernal thing. But I like the former explanation better.

Digital Preservation Class

For my digital preservation class, I'm determining a bunch of info about files with no format extensions. I just got distracted by reading about the history of one of them, Harvard Graphics Show format. This software is so old that the publisher was just called "Software Publishing Corporation." A quote from one of the founders about creating the company:

"Fred [one of the other founders] has worked up a business plan to start a new company, the thrust of which is that software for these new PCs would be sold like music recordings. The computer is a "player" for the "titles" you could buy. People would buy many titles and use them with the player. The idea that the software titles could exist as a consumer market separate from the computer is pretty radical. Fred suggests I try to write something inmy spare time, and an Apple II is placed in the trunk of my car before I can change my mind."
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The doctor checked my ears out yesterday and said it's not an infection. Blood pressure is good too. Seems to be a migraine.

Not being a Canadian, I do not have health coverage. The visit cost $70 and the two prescriptions together cost $50. That's not nothing, but it's also not * too* much more than copays might be in the US.

US healthcare is so broken.

That was my fourth day of head pain. This sucks so much.

I woke up around 3 o' clock today and didn't really hurt much. It's amazing how good that feels.

I could really use a do-over on the last four days.

Ear Infection?

It seems fairly likely, as of today, that the pain I've been dealing with for the past three days has been an ear infection. I managed to get necessary school stuff done yesterday, but today I've just been lying in bed all day, mostly failing to find ways to get comfortable, and watching Youtube videos. I almost never watch Youtube videos. Today, though, it was about all I've felt up to doing.

Apartment Stuff

The buzzer on our apartment is not working. I just realized this yesterday and or makes it hard to get deliveries! I just taped a note to the door asking the two drivers we're expecting today to call me if at all possible.

Question for folks who may know: our ceilings looks like this. Are they soundproofing panels maybe?

ETA: A friend on Facebook said they like concrete with a textured paint on them. I just stood up on a chair to touch it and it's definitely concrete-like. For some reason, I had assumed it was some kind of drywall-like material.

Apartment Ceiling
Tawas dog

Mental Health

I received a fantastic gift from my parents today that I'll write about later. It makes me really happy: definitely the best part of my day so far!

Today is a really high fear day. In the past, my mental illness typically manifested as anxiety or depression, but in the past while it's sometimes been fear. There's some overlap between anxiety and fear. Maybe a lot. Anxiety feels like I keep thinking about all the stuff that needs to be done and that's scary. Fear is not being able to think about the things that need to be done at all because I'm too afraid. Meanwhile, depression feels like there's all this stuff that needs to be done but I'm just never going to be able to do it. All these different flavors of related dysfunction!