Ouya as a Set-Top Box, part 2

I really appreciate that this last hotel had a media box hooked up, so that external devices could be connected to the room TV. It had composite, S-video, and HDMI, as well as a 3.5mm audio in jack.

I hooked up the Ouya, which survived another trip as carry-on in my backpack, and the video came right up. The audio was the obnoxious guy from the menu channel, and I couldn’t get it to go away. After a bit of fiddling, I double-checked the labels on the media box ports.

HDMI was labeled as “Digital Video.”

A quick call to the front desk confirmed that it was video only. There was always the audio in jack, but the Ouya doesn’t have a matching output. That left specialized cables or adapters and now I was moving into “too much work” territory.

I did have a work-around. The speakers on my laptop are excellent, and it has an HDMI out port. I hooked the laptop up to the TV, muted the TV, cranked the volume on the laptop, and used my trackball as a remote for Netflix and YouTube goodness.

Conclusion – Leave the Ouya at home as the really cool Android gaming console that it is.

To Do – Figure out how to avoid Laptop Neck while traveling. Maybe something like this?

I’m in a bad place

Photo on 7-9-15 at 10.28 AMLast night, I ate a metric butt ton of carbohydrates, and very little protein, which tends to send me into a funk. Oh, boy, did it ever. I was so depressed, I forgot to take my anti-anxiety meds when I went to bed. My own mistakes built on themselves, and I have been in a very bad place this morning, filled with depression and anxiety.

I’m taking everything personally and wrong, it feels like the kids’ voices are under my skin, and I’m groggy as hell from taking my meds late. I am gradually improving, but it feels S-L-O-W.

I’m making a lunch that’s heavy on the protein, but added some honey to my coffee so as to not shock my body. Once I carb-o-load, I continue to crave bad, cheap carbohydrates for a while. The siren song of high fructose corn syrup lures me, and I can’t stop thinking about pop and candy and white bread and all of the other things I’d weaned myself off of. As long as I eat less crappy carbs in small doses, the temptation will fade and I will be back on track.

It should be noted that these kind of siren songs are amplified, for me, by depression and anxiety. Quick endorphin boost, is what my brain tells me. Route to happiness, even if it is momentary. It’s something, right? No, brain. Shut up. I want a long-term fix, not a short-term distraction. Come back when you’re done being broken. When the meds have kicked in.

Exposing my mental health

Thanks to this post, I want to write a blog post about my anxiety issues. On the other hand, I really don’t want to write a blog post about my anxiety issues. So, instead, I’m going to write a story about a party that may have involved quite a bit of anxiety. So there.

Yesterday, we hosted a graduation party for my brother-in-law. It wasn’t a large deal, maybe twenty or thirty people over.  Some of Nikki’s and the graduate’s family, some of his friends, some of our friends who are also his friends. There was good food, good company, nerdery, and crazy children.  No big deal.

I’d spent the morning, since the time I woke up, cleaning. I focused on the kitchen, but putting stuff where it goes can sometimes branch out to other bits of cleaning. I helped Nikki out when she needed help with what she was cleaning. My brother-in-law picked up one of the tasks that was on my list, and did a great job on getting the deck and outside furniture ready.

I had taken my medication, so my baseline anxiety level was improved. By the end of the cleaning, and before anyone showed up, I was exhausted. The kids were excited, and therefore insane. Maybe I spent too many spoons too early. In any case, when people started to arrive, I was able to keep myself calm, but I was changing rooms whenever too many people entered, and eying the exits of wherever I was (even though it was my own home, and I damn well knew where I could go if I needed). By the time food was served, I ducked out of the back deck, headed around the house, and ate on the front porch swing, alone.

I had felt the gradual build-up of that familiar suffocating panic, recognized it for what it was, and knew that Bad Things were imminent. I removed myself from the environment, and recharged as I wolfed down far too many delicious carbohydrates.

I’m feeling twitchy just remembering it.

I rejoined the party afterward, and I was able to enjoy myself, more or less. My brother-in-law had a graduation party, I didn’t have any meltdowns, and everyone seemed to leave happy and full. It was a successful gathering, without a doubt.

A gathering of people to celebrate a high school graduation seems like it should be such a small, easy thing. As far as I know, it is for most people. I’m at a loss to explain why it’s so difficult for me, why it seems to get worse as I get older, or why my brain is broken in this particular way. I keep coming back to a set of lyrics from Soul Coughing:

I don’t mind the worry following me like a dinosaur
I don’t fear I am descending into the molten core
So far, I have not found the science
But the numbers keep on circling me

To Trunk or Not To Trunk

There’s this thing that writers do, and the word for it is a bit old-timey. Way back when, where did you store your stuff that you put away for later? In a trunk, of course. What do writers do with works that need to be put away for a while (or longer)? We trunk them.

I’ve never felt a need to trunk a work. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’ve held onto my old works with a clawed fervor that would surprise… no one.

Like in some other aspects of my life, I’ve made some recent decisions that surprise me. I’ve decided to use my trunk for the first time. In it, I’m placing, with the utmost care, the following works:

  • The Remembrance (Dragon City, book 1)
  • The Glass Crown (Dragon City, book 2)
  • The Purple Heart (Dragon City, book 3)
  • Steven (both comic and prose)
  • Fight or Flight (http://davidmcrampton.com/fofcomic)

There’s nothing about trunking a work that prevents me from pulling it out and working on it in the future. To be fair, though, my understanding is that this is rare. Most commonly, stories in the trunk are mined for ideas and tweaks for newer works.

What will I focus on now? I’ve been participating in the Prompted Word, and that will likely continue. It’s been stoking my fictiony fires, and I’ve found a new world that intrigues me. I’ll be getting someone to do the cover for Too Dimensional, an urban fantasy novella that introduces us to the Adam’s Name universe. Then comes epub and mobi generation and tweaking, the release, and then posting bits of it in various and sundry digital hangouts. After that? I have the next Adam’s Name story, set in Chicago, as well as a paranormal romance idea that is teasing the hell out of me.

I should go to Chicago. For research, not for pizza and hot dogs. Okay, ALSO for pizza and hot dogs. But mostly for research.

Fitness Toys

I’ve been replaced by a pod person.  That’s the only explanation.  Wait, is 38 too young for a mid-life crisis?

I woke up one morning and re-installed MyFitnessPal on my phone.  I mean, sure, I’ve been doing morning walks, and enjoying the hell out of them.  But I have always maintained that tracking what I eat sucks the joy out of eating.  Worrying about numbers, worrying about whether or not I’m hitting some kind of goal, sends me into an obsessive depression cycle wherein all I can do is think about the numbers.  The amazing, awesome, yummy food ends up being nothing but math.  The joy of eating, of tasting, is gone.  That’s how I always reacted.

Always.

And then I didn’t.  I installed the app, tracked the food, and it still tasted just fine.  I didn’t obsess.  I added my weight, measured daily, to the list of tracked stuff.  Nikki advised against it, but I wanted to see my daily fluctuation.  I wanted to collate data, as they say.  I turned on the pedometer function of my phone, until I got birthday money from my parents.  Then I went out and bought a Fitbit Flex, adding my sleeping patterns to what I was tracking.

The momentum kept going (as momentum is wont to do).  After a week of looking at my sleep patterns – or lack thereof – I dug out my year and a half old prescription for a new CPAP mask, took it in to my doctor, and had it updated.  (I really want one of these.)

I get excited to use my new lawn mower, and to haul things around in the yard.  I’m taking the kids out on evening walks ON TOP OF my solitary morning ones.  They love it.  I love it.  Who am I?

Is it that I’m playing with toys?  Is it that I’m internalizing the big data component of work?  Am I having the healthiest mid-life crisis ever?  Pod person?

I’m not quite sure, but I’m going to keep going.  I’m enjoying this and I’m feeling good.