February’s Fantabulous Sausage

(This post went to my Patronizers at the beginning of February, and the public at the beginning of March.)

Last month, I made plans. Immediately thereafter, life gave me a surprise.

Since my last doc visit in June, seems my blood pressure has doubled. It’s been 80/110 my whole life. Suddenly it went to 130/190.

What changed?

I had my first bout of covid, that’s what.

Fortunately high blood pressure is a well understood problem. I am resistant to the medication, but it’s been dragged out of “holy crap your brain is gonna explode” territory down into “well, that ain’t right” and we have hope it’ll reach normal before too much longer. The long term impact is real. The effort to arrange my life so I can be properly productive remains in place, though. I’ve had to slow down a bit. The drop in blood pressure has left me with orthostatic hypotension, which is great fun for a martial artist who specializes in throws and falls. Been focusing on tai chi and physical relaxation.

In some ways, that physical relaxation will be most difficult. The hip-height split keyboard works well for pure word production. I’m using them right now. I carefully placed them at a height where they only work if I relax my shoulders. Using them involves a tiny bit of knee flexion, but that’s actually preferred. It ensures I don’t lock my knees for eight hours straight. The problem is, “relaxed arm dangle” height corresponds with “tense your shoulders the way you shouldn’t, and hunch the way you also shouldn’t.” Martial arts practice has given me a decent posture, which in turn has helped me avoid myriad health problems caused by desk jobs, and I need to maintain that.


I’m still planning to publish a crapload of books this year, though. I might publish more than were on last month’s plan, if certain things work out. I totally forgot about one book that’s damn near ready to go to production. I need to finish the mail book first.

And how goes the mail book?

It’s my only writing project at this time. I’m cranking on rspamd. Rspamd is a seriously complicated program, mainly because people are complicated. It requires tuning. Some useful features are disabled for privacy reasons, and enabling them means explaining more than I had hoped. Rspamd has no single consistent management interface: some tasks can only be accomplished in the web interface, while others are limited to the command line. Technically, fetch http://localhost:11334/symbols is on the command line, but it gives you a file of compact JSON. Trying to grep that for a symbol name is not productive. I’ve been pointed at jq as a solution, but that’s another daft thing I need to figure out. It’s all a process of figuring out what I need to explain so I can explain what I need to explain, sigh. I’m spending the time to dig up solutions for command-line-based management wherever possible.

I’m still hoping to finish the first draft before family matters drag me to Las Vegas mid-February. I don’t know if I can do it. The blood pressure meds leave me a little woozy. Not sure if it’s because of the meds themselves, or if I’m acclimated to high pressure and returning to normal is destabilizing. Either way, it’s costing me time. Dealing with spam takes time and experience. While I use rspamd elsewhere, never before have I used it methodically. But once I finish that, the rest should be a matter of spewing the words onto the paper.

At least I have my email entirely switched over to the shiny new host, which is a good line to cross.

If you happen to live in Las Vegas, by the way, you’re welcome to have gelato with me on the 17th. 7PM. Details will be posted on my blog.

And if you don’t follow my so-called blog, I finally have an index of all my titles. It’s sortable by title, year of publication, fiction or non-fiction, and even length. I don’t know why you’d want to sort by length, but it was easier to leave that option than turn it off. Building this served as a double-check of all the titles on my site. No, I didn’t do the work myself: this is the first public-visible project completed by my Competent Assistant, and it’s something folks have begged for for years. I wasn’t ignoring y’all, I just didn’t have the information.

Dang. I’m hunching again. Stop it, dude.

I’ll blame WordPress. Because blaming wordpress is not always correct, but it is never wrong. Not as fiercely “never wrong” as always blaming Oracle, but never wrong.

I submitted a few talks to my usual conferences, Penguicon and BSDCan. Some of them involve email. It gives me a deadline for getting the book in people’s hands. If I can’t manage print by then, I at least want the Kickstarter going for Penguicon. Or a Kickstarter. I’m running enough of the damn things.

That’s all the news. Seriously. No big business decisions, no projects ready to announce. I’m just keeping on.