So, here we are, pretty much at the end of 2020. This year has certainly been one of the worst years I’ve experienced on multiple levels. I’m not going to be so superstitious as to say that there’s a conspiracy or pattern, but it’s very interesting that most of my worst years are in five year increments; 1995, 2005, 2015, and 2020 have all been pretty rotten.

I’m in the middle of another neurological flare-up right now. It’s difficult to type and nearly every muscle in my body is sore. The progressive nature of my condition seems to have spread the tingling and loss of feeling into the bottom of my left shoulder blade area, and it’s not an area I can actually reach to massage back into feeling.

This flare-up is also affecting my concentration more than usual. I’ve been stalled on the MAME documentation work for several days and I’m even struggling to focus well enough to play any games on my consoles or computer. It doesn’t help that I need the Baclofen doses right now, as that particular medication tries to knock me out and amplifies the other medications I take that similarly have drowsiness. All of this probably sounds a bit whiny to you, as it certainly does to me, but venting frustration constructively is generally a good idea.

This coming week has the potential to become messy with multiple doctor visits and lab tests, and the timing coincides badly with Thanksgiving and Christmas so I haven’t even been able to confirm if insurance authorized the tests yet. I won’t know until I go into the testing facility tomorrow afternoon.

Part of me really wants to save up for one of the new MacBooks. I haven’t ever been an Apple desktop owner and I stopped using iOS when I switched from my iPhone 4S to a Nexus 5X as part of switching carriers away from AT&T. What I’m seeing on the new Macs makes me think that they would be an absolutely great machine for portable development work. Or I could save up for another Surface, as the Surface Pro 4 I picked up second-hand died with a SSD failure and all attempts to resurrect it have failed. I spend a fair amount of time sitting in doctors' offices waiting, so a very thin and light machine with decent battery life would probably help.

I should probably consider taking my now-ancient 2011 i5-based laptop and seeing if I can get it back up and running. Not sure if I’d want to go Debian again or put Windows 10 on there, though. Something I should think about!

I’ve figured out what looks like the core of my long-term internet issues: By digging into my traffic with Wireshark I was able to determine that I have near-constant packet rebroadcasts– that’s the sort of thing that doesn’t appear on a speed test or anything else a normal ISP desk-jockey can test with, but will completely thrash TCP connections. I’ve sent some Wireshark-captured traffic showing the exact issue to and am now waiting for word back from my ISP’s local plant manager.

Hopefully this will give them an idea on where to start looking for the technical issues.

Think I’ll stop here for the moment. It’s getting increasingly difficult to think straight with the medications now making me drowsy and dizzy. If I can remember the rest of what I wanted to muse over tomorrow, I’ll add another post.

— Firehawke