Week of 6 July, 2020

The anxiety medication has been hitting me hard this entire week, making me feel drowsy and tired pretty much 24/7. I feel markedly less anxious, though, so maybe this is progress?

My brain is slush, and this is just about as much as I can manage to write today. I’m hoping next week will be better, as my body gets used to the SSRI.

Learning Mandarin, Japanese, and Russian Through Hindi

I recently discovered several resources for learning foreign languages through Hindi, which I found intriguing. Some of these resources are decades old, others are from the Internet age.

Mandarin: https://avtans.com/2020/07/04/learning-chinese-through-hindi/

Japanese: https://www.nhk.or.jp/lesson/hindi/

Russian 1: https://ia801603.us.archive.org/13/items/in.ernet.dli.2015.482818/2015.482818.Roosii-Praambhik.pdf

Russian 2: https://ia801602.us.archive.org/15/items/in.ernet.dli.2015.482819/2015.482819.Roosii-Praambhik.pdf

Week of 29 June, 2020

  • My anxiety has been making it incredibly hard for me to function normally. In the past few weeks I’ve either been a giant ball of nerves, or walking around like a zombie because of mental exhaustion.
  • It has been impossible for me to maintain focus for long enough to type coherent sentences, which is why I’ve skipped writing weeknotes for the last two weeks.
  • The good news is that I’m finally speaking to a therapist!
  • Yay!
  • On the recommendation of my therapist, I’m also speaking to a psychiatrist. They’ve put me on an SSRI for a few months. Turns out I’ve had Generalized Anxiety Disorder for pretty much my whole life, which explains a lot of things.
  • To keep better track of my moods and medication, I’ve started keeping a Bullet Journal. I’d already been using a method that was pretty close to what BuJo prescribes, but BuJo gives my notes a little more structure.
  • As my anxiety has worsened, my ability to read fiction has deteriorated. I can understand the stories just fine, but I’ve completely lost the ability to visualize things in my head. I need to take my mind’s eye to an optometrist. I’m hoping things will improve as the SSRI and therapy start to work their magic. In the meantime, I’m welcoming suggestions for non-fiction books that (a) are comforting, and (b) can be parsed and understood by this drug addled brain of mine.
  • I’m staying away from everything political for the moment. I hope one day I can be politically engaged without damaging my mental health, but for now I need to take care of myself.
  • I’ve bought myself an adult coloring book. While it doesn’t help me feel more relaxed, it does keep the anxiety spirals in check. Whenever I’m feeling agitated, I can go and color for a while until I calm down. It also keeps me away from screens, which is always a win in my book.
  • SAWAYAMA is a 10/10 album. It’s currently tied with how i’m feeling now as my second favorite album of the year, with the top spot taken by RTJ4.

Week of 8 June, 2020

  • I didn’t post a weeknote last Sunday. For the last two weeks, my mental health has been at its lowest point in almost a decade. I’m better today, but some days it gets so bad that I can barely move.
  • On my worst day, when I was walking around the house in a kind of brain fog, I couldn’t even understand the dialog in one of my favorite TV shows.
  • The good news is that I’m finally speaking to a therapist. Yay?
  • Needless to say that I haven’t been cooking very much, but I did manage to make a great paneer butter masala on one of those rare days when I felt a bit like myself. Cooking continues to be a source of joy, an unlikely outlet for creative energies, and a way to connect with my friends.
  • I’m taking a break from the Earthsea books — not because I dislike them, but because I want to step out of that world for a little while. I’ve started reading Gideon the Ninth, which is sheer insanity. In a good way. I expect to write a lot more about this book in the future.
  • I discovered a game called Children of Morta through a Steam sale. It’s quite similar to Diablo 2 in terms of gameplay. Since my brain refuses to think straight anymore, this has been a good way for me to forget about the world while mindlessly slashing through skeletons, spiders, goblins, and unnameable blobs.
  • I’ve found that if I really want to have fun, I should really only be playing one game at a time. There just isn’t enough time in the day. So, I’ve decided that I’m not going to move on from Children of Morta until I finish it or get bored.
  • RTJ4 dropped, and it’s as flawless and magnificent and sublime as I imagined it would be. Please go listen to it. Now.

Catch-22

“You mean there’s a catch?”

“Sure there’s a catch,” Doc Daneeka replied. “Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn’t really crazy.”

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. If he flew them, he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to, he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Rust: Structuring and handling errors in 2020 (from Nick Groenen)

Everything I’ve built with Rust so far has been tiny in both scope and size, so writing out my error handling code by hand hasn’t been much of a hassle. However, I’ve been meaning to look into some of the popular error handling crates so I don’t have to write a ton of boilerplate every time I want to introduce a new type of error in my applications.

Nick Groenen covers two such crates in his blog post on error handling in Rust: https://nick.groenen.me/posts/rust-error-handling/

This reddit thread has further suggestions: https://www.reddit.com/r/rust/comments/gj8inf/rust_structuring_and_handling_errors_in_2020/

Week of 25 May, 2020

  • America is burning. India has been burning for months. Unable to contribute much to what’s going on, I’m educating myself. The only thing I really know how to do is read and write, so I’m reading. Maybe one day I will write.
  • I cooked a giant pot of creamy, buttery dal bukhara and I’m unreasonably proud of this achievement. I’d make a great house-husband.
  • Darkest Dungeon was free for the weekend, so I’ve spent the last two days gleefully getting my ass kicked by eldritch horrors. I’ve been wanting to play this game for months, and I’m happy to report that it lives up to the hype.
  • Tehanu is incredible. You can tell within the first few pages that Le Guin was an entirely different person by the time she got around to writing it.
  • Work has been frustrating. I’ve been spinning my wheels trying to build a thing that should be straightforward, but isn’t. It’s been making me not want to even look at my IDE. I’m close to a solution now, so hopefully this period of reduced productiveness will only last a few more days.
  • Charli still on repeat.

Basic Garlic Hummus

There are tons of recipes for hummus online, but this is a super basic one that I like to use.

If you feel like eating something fancier, you can try adding red chili powder, roasted cumin powder, beetroot, black pepper, or spicy ground beef/lamb to this hummus.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry chickpeas
  • 6-8 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup olive oil (1/4 cup for the tahini, 3/4 cup for the hummus)
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1.5 tablespoon salt
  • A lemon

Recipe

  1. Soak the chickpeas in water for 8-10 hours.
  2. Rinse the chickpeas and put them in a pressure cooker with 3.5 cups of fresh water. Add a tablespoon of salt and pressure cook for 12-15 whistles. Let the pressure settle on its own.
  3. While the chickpeas are cooking, heat a pan on medium heat. Spread 1/2 cup of sesame seeds evenly on the pan and roast them until they’re golden and fragrant. Make sure the seeds are evenly roasted.
  4. Let the seeds cool for a few minutes and transfer them to a blender. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and blend until the seeds form a paste. You can reduce the amount of oil if you want a thicker, dryer tahini.
  5. Open the pressure cooker and separate the chickpeas from the water using a colander. Save the water for later.
  6. Put the chickpeas in the blender with 6-8 cloves of garlic, 3/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons of tahini, juice from half a lemon, and some of the drained chickpea water. Blend until the chickpeas form a paste, slowly adding more of the saved water if necessary.
  7. Taste the hummus and add more salt if necessary. You can also add another tablespoon of tahini and more lemon juice according to taste.
  8. Put the hummus in the fridge and serve it when it’s slightly cool.