LoriB.me

Rambling On…

Sad Robot — 05/01/2018

Sad Robot

I am in a bad place. Not the worst place by far, but it keeps getting worse. My brain is starting to shut down and it is getting harder to come back. It happens whenever there are too many things. It has always happened, and no matter what kinds of medicines I take, or therapy I do, I am pretty sure that there is nothing that can stop it. Except for the obvious, which is to not have too many things. I don’t think that is possible. Life is things.

Sometimes, writing helps to sort out the things. I have not written here much in a while, but have many spreadsheets and Evernote notes filled with attempts at making order out of the things. Somehow, my attempts at figuring this out have led to more things, such as working with the Maryland DORS to get help finding a job working for someone else instead of myself. I don’t know if I even want that, or would be able to do it if given the chance, and going through this process is stressing me out. I am pretty attached to my business, even though it drives me crazy.

I want a business partner. I can’t seem to give up that idea even though I can not figure out how to make it happen. It is a miracle that I make money each year. It is not much, and no matter how much better I get at making estimates and charging the right amount of money, I still end up working all the time for very little in return.

Sometimes, I think finding a few other people and starting an agency would be better than finding a single partner, but that is even more confusing. I have no idea how to make that work. There are so many details — the same details that I already can not figure out in my own business, only more so.

I am a coder, and when necessary, a designer, but a web business needs more than that. Thankfully Karen helps me with billing. Having a project manager on retainer has also helped a lot, but it is very hard for me to be organized enough to even give the PM what she needs to be able to organize my projects. I would not need to do that if I worked with other people. We would all do what we were skilled at.

I am so tired of trying to do all the things all the time. It is wearing me down and it makes me tired and it is hard to sleep and I dread the next day. Stupid money.

I don’t know what to do. There are too many things and I have a ton of work to do and I can’t think. I need to send estimates for projects, and do research for other projects, and work on my current projects. I spent half the day working and then had to escape. Went to the PO Box to check for checks. It was empty, but it was nice to take a walk and listen to my new favorite podcast of the moment for a while. Now I should work again, but I am here rambling. That is what I come here to do.

I will stop rambling for now. Some things are good. Awesome even. Karen and the cats and my family They are the best, and they make me very happy, and I am lucky to have them all!

The Autistic Freelancer :: Autistics Speaking Day 2011 — 11/01/2011

The Autistic Freelancer :: Autistics Speaking Day 2011

I have been running my freelance web development business for over 15 years, the last 8 of which have actually involved a business license, paying taxes, and making money. Each year, I do a little  better than the last.

Running a business can be challenging to everyone, and as with most things, can provide extra challenges for autistic people. Also, as with most things, we may have skills and abilities that give us a greater chance of succeeding despite the extra challenges.

In honor of Autistics Speaking Day 2011, I will write about my personal experience of running a business with these challenges and benefits. I have been very lucky and have had a lot of help along the way and would be very happy if I could help someone else looking to follow a similar path.

First, a  few words about luck:

I do not have the business skills to run my own business. Before Karen was my billing manager, I often forgot to bill people and could not keep track who had paid even though I use software to keep track of such things. Software is useless if you forget to supply the needed data. Every month, Karen makes sure that clients are billed and follows up when someone has not paid. Needless to say, this has had a huge impact on the success of my business!

I have also been lucky to have a community of web designers and developers that send work in my direction. Most of this community is in the San Francisco Bay Area and I miss them a lot. I have not yet met that community in Baltimore, but I have met some really great developers at local PHP and WordPress meetups. I have been especially lucky to meet one woman who has welcomed me to Baltimore with open arms, sent great jobs my way, and shares her office space with me!

For the most part, when I work with other internet professionals (designers, developers, consultants, marketing people, copywriters, etc.), I have much less client contact than I do when I am working directly for a client. If I had my way, I would have a partner who takes care of the business and non-technical client management side of things all the time.

Challenge/Benefit #1 – Communication

When I was a new freelancer, I did not yet know about the client phenomenon known as “one more thing”. “One more thing” is when a client thinks a task is very simple, when in fact it may take several hours or days to complete. “Can you just [insert complicated time-consuming job here]?”. I am often expected to do this for free, because it is part of the website that I am building for them. No, I can not just do that. It will add 3 days to the project time and cost $1000.

It is a skill to communicate to clients what is involved in creating the things they are asking for. In most cases, it is best not to be too technical because most people do not understand the jargon of web development. Why should they? By attempting to simplify things into terms that a client can understand and relate to, the amount of time and work necessary to complete a project can seem like it would be much less than it actually is.

I like to have honest relationships with my clients. I do not generally ‘read between the lines’ and I never speak between them. I am autistic. My communication skills are limited, yet for the most part, my clients seem to like and respect me a great deal. Some will become frustrated with me at some point or other due to a communication (or lack of communication) issue, but all have appreciated my honesty, attention to detail, and dedication to giving them the best site possible within their budget.

Challenge #2 – Organization

Every morning, I look at my todo list, get overwhelmed, and start my work day. The list is always long. I use software to prioritize tasks and to view them in very focused ways. Otherwise, I would not have any idea what to do first. If I have to think, I am doomed to spend hours in a state of confusion while rapidly alternating between hundreds of things for 30-60 seconds each. Very bad for productivity to say the least.

Challenge #3, Benefit #2 – Hyperfocus

When I am not serially uni-tasking at rapid speeds, I can usually be found doing the exact opposite, hyper-focusing on one thing for hours at a time, usually code. In general, this serves me well, but sometimes there is a need to come out of the code and attend to something else. I find this very hard to do at times, to the point where I can not give my full focus and attention to something because I can not let go of the code. The amount of confusion that occurs while trying to shift can be very painful and disorienting to me and very annoying and frustrating to a person trying to pull me back.

Hyperfocus can also be a benefit when learning new skills. I work in an industry where there is a need to be constantly learning new technologies and keeping up with older ones. The ability to become so engrossed in something that it becomes all-consuming makes it much easier to keep up.

Benefit #3 – Helping Each Other

At some point, I would like to work with an autistic intern/apprentice and teach them the skills that I have learned in a way that they can understand and in an environment that they can be comfortable in. I have a similar wish to teach karate to autistic people someday.

In the past 5 years, the autistic community on the internet has grown exponentially and brought thousands of people together. This has expanded to “real life” communities, government action, education, and many other areas, but it is still not enough. It is our voices that will lead the way to a better future, whether those voices be vocal or assisted by a device or person. It is our voices that will allow us to reach out to one another, help each other, and share our unique views of the world with the people who’s world is sometimes a mystery to us. It is our voices that will tell the world that we have voices.

Busy Bee in Baltimore — 05/19/2011

Busy Bee in Baltimore

Baltimore Row Houses
Baltimore Row Houses - Photo by mariozama

Things got off to a rough start, but I think I am starting to get used to living here. I thought I was busy in Oakland, but somehow seem to have gotten way busier here. It is wearing me out.

Business has been great since I got here. Working on 2 projects now, one from a new local business woman I met here and one from San Francisco. I still have not found the geek/webdev community here. It makes me kind of sad, but hopefully I will find it eventually. There is a WordPress meetup that I would really love to go to, but it doesn’t seem like anyone is organizing any meetings.

Besides from my todo list being about a mile too long, I think I like living here. It is a beautiful city with lots of things to do. I love all the bricks. I found a karate school that I really like. The pizza is much better than in California. My friend Kim lives here. Karen’s friends are great and the people here seem to be very friendly in general. K likes her job. It is also nice to live so close to Washington DC.

I am glad we can be near K’s folks and help them out. Also nice to live much closer to my family. I think I will adapt to living here someday. Right now, still feels kind of surreal. There is not much time to explore. Walking around aimlessly is how I usually adapt to new places, but even though there is hardly any time for that, things are starting to become more familiar and I am feeling less lost in general.

Have to get back to work. One of these days I will post some links, videos, and code snippets that are hanging around in my ‘things to post on lorib.me’ list.

BeeDragon.com 2010 — 09/03/2010

BeeDragon.com 2010

BeeDragon Web Services2010 has been the most successful year yet for my business, BeeDragon Web Services. I have been getting a lot of work from other web developers and designers. It is very exciting getting to work with talented people who do similar work. When each person combines their unique skills, we make each other’s work shine.

With the growing popularity of open source software, I have been able to focus on building sites with WordPress and Drupal, and to greatly increase my skills in taking these platforms to the next level for my clients.

Once again, my business site has become outdated. The web development business is incredibly fast moving. One of my favorite things about this job is that I am continually learning new technologies. 2010 has been an especially exciting year for web development with the growing browser support for HTML5 and CSS3, as well as new releases (or near releases) of both WordPress and Drupal.

I am still working on the site, but for the most part it is done. I would like to thank Sallie Goetsch (aka The Author-izer) for helping me with much of the copy that fills the site, and as always, Karen, for being supportive, helping with the words, editing, and helpful suggestions.

An Updated History of BeeDragon.com* (Original History):

  • 1995 – version 1.0 – No layout at all, not even a table. All text is centered. Animated GIF of a dragon flying across the screen repeatedly.
  • 1997 – v2 – Table based version of the same site. Graphic page title images. Presentational CSS added. <FONT> tags removed.
  • 1999 – v3 – Template Monster template with Flash header. Need I say more?
  • 2004 – v4 – Mambo/Joomla CMS. Nice for 2004, but too boxy and modular for 2007. Very web 1.0. Hardly anyone has ever heard of a blog, so long detailed explanations were necessary but confusing.
  • 2007 – v5.0 – Customized WordPress site. Reflects what I do. Updated prices. Simple. Pretty. Tables for data only.
  • 2010 – v6.0 – WordPress 3.0. Once again, updated to reflect the work that I do. New design, focus on WordPress development, All-in-one website and hosting packages added, Portfolio updated.

* Fine Print: Technically, this is not really a history of BeeDragon.com. BeeDragon.com was registered in 2002. Before that, my “web design business” sites lived on aol, compuserve, and home.attbi.com.

Baltimore — 09/25/2008

Baltimore

LB and K at the party

LB and K at the party

Mon 9/22/08 10:46am

On the plane from Baltimore to Oakland, stop in Denver. Had lots of fun in Baltimore. We went to an overnight birthday party for a couple of K’s friends that were turning 40 and had a great time. I really like K’s Maryland people. I am strangely comfortable around them. They remind me of people from Buffalo. The party went all night. At some point, I got tired of people and went to read in the living room. Most of the people were outside. I was happy that I had a book I could read. Got a Robert Ludlum book at the airport. The Ambler Warning. It’s a fast reader that does not require a full attention span. Other people started coming in and reading too after a while. I thought that was pretty funny. There were some books on the coffee table. K kept bringing people over to say hi and hang out for little bits of time. That was fun too. Little spurts of party.

The next day was fun too. Lots of people had slept over and others came back in the morning. After the party, we went to Kim’s place and then out for a drink. On the way home, she gave us a great tour of her neighborhood. I love tours with stories and she know a lot about her neighborhood. It was great to get to see her again after such a short time.

The first night we went to a restaurant/bar that a couple of K’s friends are opening soon. The place was amazing! Huge. They were building most things themselves, including booths and other assorted furniture from old church pews. It was fun to hang out there. Can’t wait to go back when it is open. We also helped K’s folks with their new fiber optic tv system. It was nice to be able to do that. Some stuff that is very hard for them is very easy for us. K will help them some more tomorrow. She is not coming home until Thursday.

I am looking forward to being home. Have work to do. Server was down for a while yesterday. Of course it has to happen when I am out of town. Got stuck in a loop and was overloading the CPU. A reboot fixed it, but today I got an email that the main hard drive partition might be dying and needs to be repaired or replaced. The server will need to be down for 1-4 hours. Crap. I told the techs to monitor it and reboot if it goes down again, but to wait until 3am US eastern time to take it down. I think it will affect the least amount of people at that time. Update: It did not go down again and is repaired now.

I met with the business consultant again before I left. New plan is to meet twice a month for 2 months, 2 hours each time. We covered a lot of ground in 2 hours. Got the basics of a contract written for my next project. Should be able to easily adapt it for other projects. We spoke some about pricing and how I need to raise mine and also about some other ideas I have that will bring in some steady income.

I am trying a new system of tracking hours. Only got to try it once before I left, but it actually worked. I was reading an article by David Seah that described a system where you set a timer to go off every 15 minutes and then fill in ovals on a piece of paper to track what you are doing when the timer goes off. I don’t do well with paper systems and the online version was alpha and not quite my style, so I combined some programs that I already had to do a similar thing. I set up a spreadsheet in Numbers with a sheet for each project, then set a calendar alarm to open up a 15 minute repeating timer in Alarm Clock Pro every weekday morning at 8am. The timer is set to make the spreadsheet pop up every 15 minutes. When it pops up, I just check a box for the project I am working on. The spreadsheet keeps track of how many hours I have worked on each project for each month by counting the checkboxes and dividing by 4 to get time in hours.

Turbulence. Hate it. The lady who was sitting next to me at the beginning of the flight kindly gave up her seat to another lady with a baby. She got free drinks for doing it. I usually don’t like being near kids on planes because they are loud, but I don’t mind it so much at the moment. Cute kid. Nice mom. Some screaming when they first got settled, but quiet now. My ears are clogged anyway. Enough writing for now.

Thu 9/25/08 3:54am

I never did get around to posting that. It is nice to be home. K is coming home tomorrow. I can’t wait to see her 🙂 We both have a little time off before going back to work. I am hoping to use the time to do some business stuff that I hardly ever have time to do. Today I set up an online project management system to make it easier to communicate and share files with clients. It is very similar to Basecamp, only open source, free, prettier, and hosted on my own server. Currently, I am using it to manage my hosting affililate program project. The affiliate system is ready to go, but still needs a couple of web pages, graphics for banner ads, and text ad copy. I am also thinking of starting a newsletter to send to clients and other interested people every few months. I would like to announce the launch of the affiliate program in the first one. Hopefully I can get that done this week because I have a big project starting soon.

It is 4:06am. I think I should go to sleep. Jetlag.

Taking Care of Business — 09/12/2008

Taking Care of Business

I have officially given up on voc rehab to help me with my business. I’ve been working with them for over 3 years and am tired of not doing other things because of waiting for them to help.

The last straw was when I was going to do a 10 week business program in my community. I got approved on the condition that I had a tutor to help me process the information. Karen was willing to do it, but since she works full time it would be best to find someone else. The rehab people acted like they could help find one but kept putting us off. By the time we gave up and decided to do it anyway, there were no more spots left in the program.

I did some research and found a business consultant who I will meet with for a few months. Her job is to help me structure my business so that I make more money. I met with her last week and she had some great ideas. Seems to think my case is easy because I already have clients. I hope she is right! I am excited about it.

Last month, I finally had time to fix Aspieland and the Autistic Planet Store. I will probably move the store away from printfection when I have some time because I don’t like that they charge more for larger sizes and there is no way to equalize it. Still, better than no store at all.

Soon I will start a hosting affiliate program. I have the backend set up where affiliates would log in to their accounts, but need to make some banner ads and publicize it. I will post an announcement when I get it all together. It will be a good way for me to get more hosting clients and for whoever becomes an affiliate to make some extra money.

My friend Kim was here last week. It was great to see her and we had lots of fun wandering around San Francisco. By strange coincidence, me and K are going to Baltimore next week and will see her again!

Done uploading files now. Time to get back to work.

Work, WordCamp, Dolly, Autiblogger, and .me — 08/14/2008

Work, WordCamp, Dolly, Autiblogger, and .me

WordCamp 2008This week started out kind of insane. Nearly all of my clients wanted things at once. It hurt my brain pretty bad, but somehow I managed to get almost everything done. To make matters worse, my work environment has become somewhat of an ergonomic nightmare. I fixed my wrist problem by switching to a trackball, wearing a brace, and putting the arms back on my chair. Unfortunately, the chair arms led to bad pain in my shoulder. Oy.

I worked all day Tuesday without a break and by evening, I was in some pretty bad pain. I fantasized about taking ibuprofen all day, but it makes me tired and I had too much work to do. Fortunately, I am married to a genius! Karen started rubbing my shoulders and I could feel huge relief spread though my whole body. She suggested that I get a real massage. Suddenly, I was filled with hope. I could get relief! We called a place that has relatively cheap massages and booked the 2 appointments they had for 9pm.

Turns out that you get what you pay for, but even still it was great and fixed my pain. Only problem was that neither of our massagers listened to what we asked for. K’s kept doing things too hard even after repeated requests to stop. My person asked if I had any specific requests. I told her the parts that hurt and asked her to concentrate on those parts and ignore the rest. My main request other than my painful shoulder was my hands. My hands almost always hurt. She did not even touch my hands. Suddenly it was over and my whole body was relaxed except for my hands. They were still in pain and in a total state of tease, still tingling from the anticipation that they would get some relief. Oh well. The rest of my body still feels good.

Wordcamp is this Saturday! I am very excited. Wordcamp is tied with Macworld as my favorite geek event of the year. Perhaps not so coincidentally, those are the only two geek events that I can afford to go to. Always nice to be around other geeks and share in the WordPress love.

Me and K saw Dolly Parton at the Greek last week. She was totally awesome and played about 12 different instruments over the course of the show. She also told lots of stories and laughed a lot and generally made it impossible not to have a great time.

I finally updated Autiblogger yesterday from WordPress MU 1.3 to WPMU 2.6. Had a few problems with the .htaccess file which were pretty easy to fix and blank admin pages all around due to a plugin incompatibility, but the upgrade was pretty smooth otherwise. Hopefully it will help with the splogs.

The last exciting bit of news is that I got a few more .me domains. I think I am done for now, especially considering I am not completely sure what to do with the five I now have:

  • lorib.me
  • beeis.me
  • killerbee.me
  • primarykey.me
  • whatiswrongwith.me

I am considering changing the name of this site to either lorib.me, beeis.me, or primarykey.me. The name LBnuke is kind of outdated considering it was named after software that is no longer used on this site (PostNuke). primarykey.me cracks me up, but will be lost on non-database geeks, and possibly even on them too. K hates it. lorib.me is appropriate but kind of boring. beeis.me is nice because saying it makes me happy.

killerbee.me and whatiswrongwith.me were just too good to pass up. Hopefully I will find a good use for them someday.

If anyone has any thoughts on a new name for this site and/or what to do with the other names, please leave a comment.

Idiot — 03/25/2008

Idiot

Maybe that is an unfair title. I think that most of the time, I am not an idiot. But there are a few things that I am repeatedly stupid about and no matter how many identically bad experiences I have, I do the same thing over and over again.

The first thing is having too many things going on at once. It does very bad things to me, but I think it is unavoidable. To stop it, I would need to stop working and learn how to be happy being even more broke than I already am. I am lucky to have help from people and be able to live a good life, but I want to be able to contribute my fair share. Plus, I am a geek and geeking costs money.

The second thing is insanely undercharging for my work. I learn things from one time to the next and try to avoid past mistakes, but it still happens almost every time. I am working on a project now that has easily taken 10x as long as I thought it would, and I was already providing a huge discount. I love the site and I really enjoy working with the client, but I am making about $2/hr. again. It is my own fault too. I was happy to provide the discount. In a short amount of time, the site was created and most of the content entered.

The organization had wanted a lot of features but did not have the budget for them. I provided a list of things that could be done for their budget and all was good.

Right around that same time, I started working on another site for an organization of a similar size and with similar needs. This organization had found a great online solution that would do everything my client wanted for a relatively small monthly fee. I told him about it and we switched the project over to the new system. My job was to design the site, build the template, and add content from the old site.

This is where I become an idiot.

I did not charge extra for this even though the site was practically finished in the original system. Why not? Because I thought that it was my “fault” that we switched systems because I suggested it. I am pretty sure that does not make any sense.

As I look at the itemized estimate that I sent, I realize that I had completely forgotten about it. The estimate was great. Stated exactly what was included and what was not and how much it would cost for things that were not included.

Since the price was so low, template customization was not included beyond the very basics. This was reinforced under the ‘Assumptions’ part of the estimate which states that the design is not custom. Since then, I have customized several templates heavily and built the final one from scratch, including custom images. I also threw in a flash slideshow.

I am very happy with the site and so is my client. There is still more work to be done, but it is near the end. I did not charge him extra for anything. I had told him that I would let him know if something would cost extra. Somehow, it never occurred to me to do this.

I like my client and his organization and knew they were on a budget. There is a part of me that really wants the site to be as good as possible with whatever system we are using, and that part of me took over the job. I could have stayed with the first system and never even mentioned the new one. The site would have been exactly what he contracted for. I also could have suggested converting to the new system as a separate project with a new estimate. I did not do either of those things.

I am confused. At this point, I am sure that the only chance I have of working is to work for myself. I am lucky to love what I do and to be good at it, but how long will I keep working for $2/hr.? All of my clients make way more money than I do and I doubt any would consider working for that price. I don’t know what to do. Everybody I talk to has tons of “Why don’t you just…” solutions. They make it sound so easy, but it is not. If I could just… I would!

Rehab might pay for me to take a 10 week business course with a “tutor” to come with me and translate afterwards. I wonder if that will help. I can barely imagine being in a class for 3 hrs. twice a week plus time with the tutor, but I feel like I have to try if given the opportunity.

K is very busy at work too. We have 4 sets of houseguests coming in the next 4 months. More things, but it will be nice to see everyone. I hope I can get all of my work done by then. Not likely since my folks are coming on Friday. Oy. I better get back to work now.

if $brain >= $fried ? ramble : $code; — 12/01/2007

if $brain >= $fried ? ramble : $code;

I am too busy. I suck at being busy. It is my worst thing and it always ends badly. I am not sure how to not be busy. It is a vicious cycle. As soon as I start feeling better, I want to do things. All the things that I can’t do when I am sick. I want to work. I want to play. Sometimes, I even want to see people.

I was sick for so long. First a year of bad meds and then cat scratch fever. I was lucky that the meds thing got straightened out before the CSF, but it is only very recently that I can enjoy it. Suddenly, I find myself feeling great! I still get tired and confused, but that is ok. It is part of how I am. After such a long time of not being able to do things that I wanted to, I feel like it is a race for time to do them now that I am feeling good. I would love to think it will always be like this, but the truth is that it is not and never has been.

The thing is, I think it could be like this most of the time if I didn’t have stress. I know that is impossible, but it would be possible to have much less stress. Only problem with that is I would be stuck not doing anything I want to do again. I am stressed by working. I am stressed by traveling. I am stressed by being around people. My brain gets overloaded and bad things happen. I get sick. The screaming in my head that is kept in the background by the meds gets louder. My brain shuts down. I twitch like crazy. I become miserable and useless.

I have no idea what to do about this. I want to work so badly. I love what I do. It is like being paid for doing puzzles and arts and crafts. When I code, my brain is in a happy place. Everything makes sense. It has to. As an added bonus, I get to take that code and turn it into a (hopefully) beautiful thing to look at. I am not a graphic artist by any means, so even the art part is like a puzzle. I combine graphic art made by actual artists, with photoshop skills and an eye for detail, and create an entirely new thing that never existed before. What’s not to love?

I was wanting to go to Florida to see my niece Hannah and the rest of my family for a whole year, but couldn’t because of being too sick. Then all of a sudden, I was okay to travel. It is a rare and beautiful thing. There was no way I wasn’t going to Florida. The trip (airplane, etc.) went pretty well thanks to Dramamine and, as always, being with Karen made everything better and more fun. Being in Florida was even okay. I love my family, but I hate Florida. I can’t deal with the hot and humid weather. We completely lucked out with that. Not insanely hot or humid. Last time I was there, I couldn’t even stand to be outside for more than a minute. Got instantly exhausted and dizzy.

It was really great to see my family. Hannah is beyond the legal limits of cute. It was so nice to get to know her better and see her sweet smile. I really loved getting to see her with my brother, sister-in-law, and parents too. They are a family. I am so glad they live so close to each other. Sometimes it is hard living so far away. Sometimes I wish Florida was in Nevada. My cousin Eric was there too. It is always nice to see him and my aunt Wilma and uncle Pat too. Sarah’s (sister-in-law) family was there too. It was nice to see them too. So nice, that we brought her sister Sam back with us. She will be going to acupuncture school in Berkeley starting in January and has been staying with us this past week. She magically found a great place to live in Berkeley on her fist try and will be moving in today.

Bad Apples

Haven’t had enough rambling yet? Then on to the saga of the bad imacs. Me, my dad, and my brother all got new aluminum imacs last month. 2 out of 3 of them were duds. There was a problem with the ATI graphics cards. The whole computer was unstable because of it. Black screens, blue screens, strange graphics, freezing, etc. Windows X 10.5? There has been a firmware update for the graphics cards released that appears to fix the problem for most, if not all, people. Thankfully, my brother’s was fine from the start. Both me and my dad returned our computers and got brand new replacements. All is good now.

The new imac came with Leopard and now that it works, I have been loving it! The screen is huge! Not only is it 24″, but I have been using Spaces, a new feature of Leopard where you can have several “desktops” and easily switch between them. For example I can have photoshop open in one desktop, giving it the entire screen to itself, mail and safari open in another, Firefox and BBedit in another, etc.

Time Machine is totally cool too. I can’t even believe how easy it is to back up. You plug in the external drive and the mac asks if you want to use it for Time Machine. You click ‘yes’. That is it. Your hard drive is being backed up every hour and saving daily, weekly, and monthly backups for as far back in time as the drive will allow. When it gets full, it asks if you would like it to delete the oldest backups to make room. Unbelievable! I will still make daily clones as soon as super duper is Leopard ready, but Time Machine offers a different kind of backup that is easier to use, automatic, and frequent.

Just a few more things to ramble about before I go…

K – I am so very proud of K! She has been saving the world as always. In recognition of her hard work, she has gotten a promotion at work and is now a supervisor, which is the direction she has been wanting to go. Congratulations K! It makes me happy to know that people will have an opportunity to learn from her and benefit from her years of experience.

WarcrackShikibee has joined a new guild and is about to ding level 50.

Rehab – I am meeting with someone once a week who will help me research if there are jobs available where I can do contract work from home or with a very flexible schedule. I would really like that. Freelancing is great because I set my own hours and don’t have to answer to anyone except my clients, but I work all the time and barely make any money.

If I did contracted work instead, someone else would be dealing with the clients, setting the prices, and all of the other business related things that I can not do. Even splitting the money with an agency or other company, it is very likely that I would make more money than I do now. I hope something like that could work out. I was hoping that I could keep my current clients and stop taking new freelance jobs if there were contract jobs available instead.

WordPress 2.3 Update – This one went much more smoothly than the last two. I wish there was a way to manage tags, but from what I understand, the dev team is waiting to find out what people want rather than starting with a ton of features that people may or may not use and then having to change them later. I am looking forward to 2.4 and the new admin changes.

Joomla 1.5 – I am working on a new client site with Joomla 1.5 RC3. It has been very stable and the code is MUCH cleaner than before. I love the new templating system and look forward to its final release and the updated extensions that will follow. If you are planning to integrate any kind of forums into your site, stay with 1.0.x for now.

phpBB3 – Love it! Tons of improvements over phpBB2. Current release is RC8. This update has been a long time in the making. I am hoping that converting from older version will not be total hell.

I have finally run out of things to ramble about for now 🙂

Too Many Things — 08/21/2007

Too Many Things

I am starting to wonder if it is possible for me to really have a “normal” life. Things are so much better than before and my meds are finally working again, but even though I can do so many more things now, I am realizing that my limits and tolerance are still pretty low.

Things that have been very hard or impossible to do for the past year:

  • Reading
  • Working
  • Doing martial arts
  • Leaving the house
  • Playing warcrack
  • Being around people
  • Traveling

Almost all of those things are easier now, but I still can’t do that many of them without getting overwhelmed. When I get overwhelmed, I can’t think and when I can’t think, I am back to not being able to do anything anymore. It is occurring to me that this will not change. I am not sure why I keep thinking that it will. Things have always been this way as long as I can remember, no matter what meds I am taking and how well they are working.

The things that are hardest sometimes change from one med to the next, but there is never a time when I can really do things like other people can. It can be argued that there are things that I can do better than a lot of people can and I am very lucky for that, but no matter how much I have learned to appreciate my ‘different’ brain, there is still a part of me that is very jealous of how easy it is for most people to do things that completely wear me out or that I can not do at all. I wish I didn’t feel like that, but it is hard not to.

I wish I could be around people without getting confused and exhausted trying to figure out what to do, what to say, when to say it, all while paying attention to and remembering what is going on around me and what everyone else is saying, and how everything everyone is saying relates to the things that other people are saying. People do this every minute of every day as though it was not complicated at all. I don’t understand. I can’t understand. I hate not understanding.

I want to work. I have to work because we need money. We have a house and 4 cats and I have an expensive computer habit to pay for. I love what I do, but don’t even have any idea if I am making money, losing money, or breaking even. I want to do martial arts, but am still finding it too hard to be around people doing something so intense. I keep trying to think of other ways and places to do it, but I can’t think of a way to do it without other people. I wish it was like in the old days where some kind Sensei would take me under their wing and I would wash their car for them. Mr. Miyagi, where are you?

If I work all day, or even worse, try to work all day and don’t get anything done, then I can’t even get out of the house. If I don’t get out of the house, I can’t think. If I can’t think, I can’t do anything. It is a vicious cycle that repeats forever in some form or other.

Lately, there are so many things going on and it is getting harder and harder to do any of them. It is not the meds this time. It is just my brain being itself. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to have less things. There are work things and house things and cat things and travel things and people things and non-work website things and computer things and all of the other random things that seem to pop up every day.

I can work, but it is very hard to concentrate. I have been able to read a little. I have been able to get out of the house much better, but it has been getting harder and harder as there are more and more things. I get too confused. I can’t do anything in the house and can’t leave it. Sucks.

It is not all bad. One very fun thing has been teaching Karen to play warcrack. She is on a 10 day trial account and we have been wandering Azeroth together as a gnome mage (K) and a dwarf rogue (me). I think we are level 7. It is fun to play with K. Today she sent me a funny description of how she described what playing is like to a friend of hers:

“I draw the enemies out by frostballing them, then I fireball them while Lori is stabbing them and then she beats them to death.”

Good clean fun 🙂