The L-Shaped Beast

The new desk is now largely operational, although it’s going to be a while before a proper chair mat arrives.

It’s amazing having the room to pull the desk out enough to be able to access cables. Not to mention, you know, having an actual study instead of a tiny ass desk crammed next to a couch or a bed.

I’ve made use of my host of binder clips to help secure cabling and keep it mostly out of sight, while taking advantage of the space to have a much easier time swapping cables between Rimuru (desktop) and Shion (laptop). Unlike my old desk, the monitor arm even has enough room to clamp on the desk instead of getting all edgy, lol.

Amusingly to me, Rimuru doesn’t connect to Wi-Fi despite it being a feature of the replacement motherboard. So for right now the gaming focus will likely remain on Steam Deck. In any case, Shion is happy as a clam and gets decent 5 Ghz everywhere in the building. In the long term, I might see if my aging Asus plays nice with younger models since it supports their mesh mode or just wait until Wi-Fi 7 is a thing.

Anyway, I’ve rather missed having an actual desk space with mouse, monitor, and keyboard. Shion and Nerine serve me well for most computer tasks outside of gaming, but there are times where the dire lack of places to sit and work is irksome. For bonus points the L-shaped beast provides ample room for all my stuff and provides a similar layout to my space at work.

Watching this, Iā€™m reminded that Caroline is both crazy and awesome.

Also the beginning of the video is pretty damned perfect.

It also covers quite a few areas, worth watching IMHO. Different people will react in different ways and pressure points when living alone, like for example one of mine is the side effect of having to do everything yourself. It causes me to put more focus on cutting up house work into smaller tasks and in my experience, often makes for more negativity when life is closer to hurricane mode than pouring.

Actually, this reminds me: I should probably buy some shorts for working around the house šŸ˜….

Fine print

In taking a gander at the fine print on my home insurance, I’m honestly not sure if it’s genius or horrifying, some of the details that have been encoded about the perils insured against and those excluded. In any case, I’m really glad it covers the things I’d be interested in, and that I didn’t grow up to be a claims agent or something like that because I’d go crazy Catch-22 style.

For example, if a passing drone was to malfunction and fire off an anti-tank missile at the dwelling, this should be covered in the sense of ‘Aircraft’ including both space craft and self propelled missiles and other text on the subject. But pretty much anything that can be construed as an act of war is not, so if it was an invading power or civil war instead of a accident the insurance company could say tough.

And then there’s the whole definition that the discharge of a nuclear weapon is excluded and even an accidental discharge of a nuke will be considered a war like act for insurance purposes. On one hand, I’m not sure you can blame folks for encoding that in a policy this side of the Cuban missile crisis but on the other hand, I kind of giggle snorted from the horror. But to be fair while “Explosions” are an insured against peril, a nuclear discharge may be a bit much. Also I’d like to think most people would have bigger problems in the event of such an incident than filing claims.

I can never tell if the world is better or worse off that I can’t doodle the strange and random funny junk that my mind can visualize…..


There is nothing like the sweet bliss of coffee in the morning. I almost wish I had brought my phone downstairs, I’d grab one of my smile šŸ˜„

With a big gap between the beginning and the end of moving stuff, since transferring operations I’ve spent the nights camped out in my new bed room sleeping on the floor. All of the blankets turned into a sleeping mat and my woobie for a blanket. Kind of like how it was the first night where I grew up, how we spent the night on the floor because nothing was unpacked yet, except without a mattress and this was quite a bit longer than one night.

While I was surprised how little my back was bothered by sleeping on the floor, tonight now that I have my bed, I realize that I’ve missed it quite a bit. It’s not so much the floor itself as it is the getting up and down from it that’s exhausting. Ahh, that bliss of laying back and feeling an actual bed underneath!

In retrospect, given the tiny rooms I tended to have growing up, I kind of think if Japanese style futons were actually a thing in the west, I might have found that more pragmatic as a kid than an actual bed. Not that the dogs would have been happy without their favorite nappy spot, lol.

But in the world of having to get up in the middle of the night to go get a drink of water, take a leak, check a text message, and so on, it’s just easier for me not to sleep on the floor….

Hoozah for movers!

New chapters and new homes

Lately, I’ve had a lack of free time and probably enough pressure to take a few years off my life expectancy, but I’ve finally hit that sweet spot where I’ve handed over my apartment’s keys and all my crap is now moved to my new home, although I suspect it will be closer to Labor Day that anything resembles sanity.

Thanks to a friend putting me in touch with an awesome realtor, I was able to find where this new chapter of my life is taking me. I think, I’m officially in debt up to my eyeballs now, but at least it’s for good reasons. Especially as cost of rent is effectively my largest cost of living, and retirement is another thirty years out, the timing works. It’s just not what I had expected to be doing for a few more years, but life decided on other plans.

I now find myself experiencing something that I’ve rarely experienced in a home: having space! It’s technically little things that make me feel this, but they add up. Things like having enough bathroom drawers to organize things instead of everything on the counter. Being able to create a separate study to use as my computer and game space instead of a desk that’s either crammed next to my bed or into a living room. Things like that really add up after a while especially when you’ve spent most of your life with space as a pure premium in fairly tiny apartments.

When I moved last time, I felt like Paul Atreides in the arc of Dune where he notes that they have entered the time where many will come and seek their life. This time, I feel more like I’ve arrived at Sietch Tabr, an orderly place of refuge. Actually, I’m tempted to incorporate an Atreides banner into my decor, if I can find one I like.

Moving is a process full of many little things. But I’ve generally found it a positive opportunity to revisit how I do things and let my inner pain in the ass out. Yeah, I’m the kind of nut who will go around measuring rooms and planning where things should go and building a vision of what the space should look like and how to mold it to fit desired use cases. I have a feeling, if I ever had a wife she would need to be patient to put up with me, or the same kind of pain in the ass that I am who enjoys bringing order to the chaos of “How will I use this space?”, enough not to stab me with a tape measure šŸ˜‚

Ahh, it’s going to be fun having a study šŸ™‚

Last box

Finally finished going through what seems to be the last box of “Get around to it”. Mostly some of ma’s stuff, or more likely some of her things that I didn’t have time to shift through when I moved. I had considered having it hauled off with some old furniture that I’m getting rid of, but decided it better to go through it and trash stuff. Walking to the dumpster is both good exercise and cheaper, lol.

Glad that I decided to sort through it because of all the things I didn’t expect to find. Most valuable, photos that never made it into the family albums or that have been missplaced over the years. A handful from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s that probably have copies or related photos in the family albums. But also some dating back to the ’50s and ’40s, those kind where you recognize your grandparents and go “Wow, they were young back then!”. There’s even a few of what looks to be grandpa’s masonry work on their house way back when. At least one, I’m guessing dates back to the first generation in America from the look of it. These need to be moved into the albums or perhaps an annex to them.

This is also weighed out by the number of junk found in the box. I’m pretty sure that I just threw out enough refrigerator magnets and little souvenirs from like every vacation ever and countless documents from courses my mother had done over the years that were filled under, “Hmm, might be interesting” and set aside. A few recipes I had wanted to keep. Etc. Probably all the DVDs I knew I had but haven’t found. Not to mention the damn paper shredder that I’ve been looking for for the last 6 or 7 years! Less thrilled of course is when I found the Tribbles we bought back in the ’90s. But nothing is perfect.

Between the patio storage area being cleaned out and the various inside boxes, I think I’m finally caught up with cleaning out my mother’s things. It’s only been 7 years, lol.

digiKam databases

Well, this is nifty. According to the documentation, digiKam supports using MySQL/MariaDB as a backend as an alternative to local SQLite files. Plus it documents the constraints relevant for using digiKam across multiple computers with respect to databases and collections.

On the whole, I’ve found the documentation pretty good and comprehensive. Sometimes the English feels a little off once in a blue moon. But the docs are pretty solid. I guess between 17 years of active development and growing professional grade feature sets, I should have expected the docs to be worth more than five minutes.

Good on you, digiKam contributors!

Thoughts on photo management

Along with taking the day for mental health and generally trying to be sane. I’ve been thinking about the future of how my photos are managed and how that needs to evolve.

The present system is pretty much this:

  1. Photos are cached to preferred cloud storage (+2 copies).
    • One is cleared periodically ‘en mass’ after draining.
    • One is cleared periodically during ‘archiving’.
  2. Photos are archived to my file server (+3 copies).
    • Master copies under my Plex media library.
    • Periodically backed up to another local location.
    • Entire file server is backed up locally.
  3. Photos are archived unfiltered to cloud storage (+1 copy).

Now, there’s a few problems with this scheme. Aside from getting off my butt closer to quarterly or yearly than monthly to drain cached images into the master. Over the years the definition of 3 has changed a bit. Another problem has been the evolution of format: I’ve generally migrated from classic JPEG to HEIC, as I’m seeing on the order of 50% disk savings. But of course Plex doesn’t speak HEIC, and therefore viewing outside of mounting the network drive hasn’t worked in years!

I don’t think there’s a good solution to how often I process photos through this pipeline, relative to any other habitual behavior.

There’s also the fact that whether I am draining the cache or actively looking for images, such as building my ‘Remembering Corky’ or ‘Photo Frame’ albums, that doing this at OS level kind of sucks. Explorer and Finder have actually gotten pretty good at dealing with photos since circa 2000, but aren’t exactly fun. More than once I’ve wished for something like Geeqie that my previous Unix machines had. In suffering the native tools, I found that building my Photo Frame album was really damn painful in finder’s gallery view, until I decided to just copy everything to a memory card and go through a process of deleting whatever I don’t want to move.

Actually, the general work flow and process has sucked enough that I’ve considered writing a bit of software to help compensate, or transitioning my master copy into something more cloudy and photo centric. Something that can offer better navigation / movement than a file-centric manager and a little bit more database goodness than my Photos/${YEAR}/${COLLECTION}/ approach to on disk storage.

Then in putzing around Steam Deck, taking its desktop mode for a test drive made me remember an old KDE application called digiKam. It has features for basically everything but pulling free disk storage out its digital back oriface.

In the old days, I never messed around with digiKam. Partly because it and KDE, were kind of heavy weight on my laptop back when I was a KDE user. Partly because by the time digital cameras and smartphones were part of my life, I had no KDE systems and an increasingly heterogeneous computing environment.

I’m thinking that digiKam may be a good solution to the solvable problems. It certainly should be able to handle my photos archive, which is over 40G and 14,000 image and video files. Actually, when the heck did this get so large? It feels like just a lustruum ago, I could fit everything on one Blu-ray layer šŸ˜†. Actually, maybe I should run WinDirStat or Grand Perspective over that. On the flip side, digiKam will probably offer much of the goodness I remember Google+ Photos having back when I used that. For me personally, being both cross platform and open source are huge pluses. It’s also helpful that it is one of the more cross platform KDE applications, as KDE off Linux/*BSD has become a thing.

As far as I can tell, there’s two problems to this plan.

Problem one is the file wrangling. My photos will remain on my file server with its redundant 8 TB of storage, and the SQLite databases of digiKam are best kept locally. This means that it will need its own backup management. A simple path is using my Mac and its Time Machine destination for that. How well sharing digiKam’s database files across different systems, I’m not sure, but in any case the trend has been for me to prefer one set of muscle-memory.

Problem two is transient image management. See, most of what I do with images fall under two categories: either my master repo, or some pipeline stage denoted above; or ‘a directory full of stuff I want to peruse’. I’m not sure that digiKam really handles that perusal factor. One of the things that I liked about running Debian and FreeBSD on my laptops, was being able to throw geeqie at that problem. Although, it might be viable to just create a staging area and export things.

In any case, it’s looking like digiKam is probably the best non-proprietary solution for the photo management hoopla that doesn’t involve me writing code to scratch itches.

A strong cup of coffee

Last year, I had ordered a French press and a nice burr hand grinder. Made a dandy cup of coffee, but I found that typically, it took too long to grind up a few cups worth of beans. So, sadly, it hasn’t seen much use lately.

Well, given my recent temptations to either buy an espresso machine or a new Keurig, I decided to try investing in an experiment. See, the problem with the hand crank is after a few minutes of dire need for coffee it’s exhausting, lol. The problem with an electric of course is defined in dollars.

In looking for a decent grinder that doesn’t cost too much to dub an experiment, and carefully avoiding several espresso machines, I came across a Shardor based grinder that was both cheap enough to at least call an expensive experiment at about $40, plus on sale for about 40% off (~$24) making it about as cheap as any coffee grinder with a motor in it. It’s even a Burr based model and small enough for an afternoon or weekend supply of coffee. While it arrived yesterday, I’ve been too busy and frankly, after dark isn’t a great time for a cup of cafinated joy.

This morning, I basically had to skip food and drink for other errands. Needless to say, I was pretty ready to try out the new grinder.  About 8 spoonfuls of beans and about 800 ml later, I have me some pretty good coffeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Damn, that’s a nice cup of coffee!