Life Review Oct 2021

Something I do with Jen nearly weekly is a weekly review.

But what I haven’t done recently is document it, let alone publicly.

I’m not going to do a full review, this will be a bit more a stream of consciousness. At least at the start.

Yesterday was my Birthday and I’m now 37 years old of 13,515 days.

My baby boy Xavier is now 652 days old (1.8yrs) and Jen and I have been together for 1,234 days (3.4 years) with me living in the Philippines for 2.7 years of that.

Jen and I regularly say how we will be together for 50 years. It’s in our unofficial contract. We aren’t married and don’t intend to (although might if we need to for legal reasons more than anything else).

In July I transitioned to working with some clients directly on my own instead of being a contractor. This came with a pay bump from AUD$50/hr to AUD$80/hr which is nice, but I’ve got more responsibility now as well.

I did a project from July to August for 100 hours and that was great. I then started the next project which was also meant to be for 100 hours and well, life got in the way and I’ve still not completed it.

Firstly after having gotten paid I then spent a week working on my own project, Gather Together. I’d started it nearly a year before and after lots of issues with Dropbox and other integration issues I switched to a locally run command line system and it worked really well. I can now get keywords for video files. It needs a lot of work and refinement before I can provide it as an auto-keywording service, but it’s already helped Jen do the curation for a whole lot of Stock footage clips.

I’ve since had to jump onto a different side project that my Sister is especially excited about. More on that once I’ve got something to show.

After the week working on my own project there was then nearly a month of getting sick with our house keeper (Yaya) giving me a stomach bug because she didn’t wash her hands properly before making the family breakfast. I eventually needed antibiotics. Just as I was getting over that Jen then got a cold and a few days later Xavier got it, I had to look after them as our Yaya had left for another island in the Philippines due to a death in the family. Then I caught the cold.

Our dog had also gotten ticks during this time and being around his fur so much caused me to get some bad hay fever as well. His ticks were an absolute pain. They were by the carpets in the house, up the walls, in his bed. We spent an hour or two nearly every day removing ticks from him using tweezers until finally using some Detick which really helped… For the next 2 weeks.

I got over the cold and discovered I had some Zyrtec (Cetirizine) anti-histamines. The tablets are meant to last for 24 hours and make you a little drowsy. But they made me REALLY drowsy for the whole 24 hours. I’m glad I took it and was affected over the weekend. But a week later I needed to take it again.

I also got my first AstraZeneca Covid vaccination dose. Jen was still sick at the time and couldn’t take it. By the time she got better they ran out of doses, then we had to go travelling.

During this time Jen’s nephew Mac Mac came down to help out around the house and look after Xavier, helping replace our Yaya.

Then things started to get better. I got back into running, I was working full time hours again and smashing out some good work. I’d finished a migration from AWS’s Elastic Beanstalk AMI v1 to Linux 2 and a whole bunch of other changes that brought with it.

Jen’s Mum’s Stroke

Then around 5pm on Friday the 8th of Oct I walked into the bedroom to find Jen and Mac Mac crying, looking at a video call on her phone of her Mum who’d had a stroke that day and her Sister was about to take her to the hospital.

Within 10mins of knowing what had happened I said “We are going to go visit” and I started packing. I also said that instead of doing a trip for my Birthday, like we usually do, this was my birthday trip. Jen organised the hotel and transport. It took pretty much 24 hours until we got in a car and another 10 hours of travelling to get up to the hotel. But I’d organised for the friendly neighbour to help look after our Dog Maui and another friend to feed the fishes occasionally. Thankfully Xavier slept most of the trip going up there, although Jen was a bit car sick at one point. Jen had maybe 2hours sleep and I had maybe 4 hours sleep on Friday night and then only a few hours sleep in the car on the way up. But we got there.

Jen and Mac Mac went to visit the hospital early Sunday. Then a typhoon hit. OK, not an actual typhoon, but Tropical Storm Maring which included gale force winds and flooding which lasted the whole week we were there.

Some Drone footage of the flooding

The night of the storm I remember staying up a bit, but eventually going to sleep. I woke up when the sun had started to rise and saw the flooding and rain and thought “Ohh, I’ve got to get out there, but I’m really tired” Jen then motioned me to get back to bed and I did. Only to wake up hours later and it seemed like I’d missed the chance and there was almost no flooding. But a few hours later the flooding was back and it seemed like it was tidal flooding.

Some more up close footage of the flooding

Jen’s Mum had an ischemic stroke and hadn’t been treated for many hours. She couldn’t chew, swallow or talk. She can now do those things but 2 weeks later still can’t use the left side of her body.

On the Monday Jen’s Mum got a CT scan and on Tuesday we picked up the results, it was done at a different hospital and on Wednesday morning Jen left the house feeling sick, not having slept well and with only a tiny bag thinking she’d just go for a basic visit. But the Drs discharged her. The hospital had a high number of Covid19 cases and it was more dangerous for her Mum to stay there. As it was on Wednesday Jen and myself started coming down with a cold, likely something she brought back from the hospital the first night she visited. The face masks and face shields only do so much.

I was worried for Jen a lot on Wednesday. So many days with so little sleep and now a cold and she wasn’t messaging me much. Turns out she was dealing with having to pay for the hospital stay, organising Philhealth (Philippines Health, their equivalent to Medicare in Australia), and she went to her Sister’s place where her Mum was now staying.

That cold lasted weeks. I’ve still got a bit of a cough from it and after returning from our trip was still sick for half a week before being able to really get back into work. But I have managed to pretty much get over it.

Wednesday night we slept fairly well and Thursday a lot of the family, her Sisters and their kids, came in a big van Jen had organised and we all went to the beach for the day. It was good, positive fun and Xavier really loved it.

Friday we went home. With Jen, Xavier, Mac Mac and myself. But also her Mum and Step Dad. So now there’s 6 mouths to feed at home (7 if you include our dog).

Talking about our Dog, we’d noticed the day before we left that he had ticks again and came back to find a bunch of decent sized ones on him. The next day I went out and got some Frontline and bam. He’s been fine since. So I’m glad of that.

We were pretty much out of normal funds before the trip and that trip drained our emergency fund to the point we haven’t even been able to cover rent. Thankfully with a nice gesture from our landlord they agreed to take the month’s rent out of our initial bond. Obviously a 1 off thing, but it’s helped us a lot.

We still can’t afford all of the medication and testing for Jen’s Mum. I’ve got a bunch more work to do before my big pay day and well, I spent most of this week stuck with a bug.

We are receiving emails, converting them to PDF and then doing some machine learning processing on them. But instead of selecting the first page it was now selecting the last page. I spent 3 days on the bug. I was going crazy trying to test the different steps, only to find that the newer version of Image Magick was now using the -flatten command to get just the last page of the PDF file and I was already uploading a PDF document. Anyway, I can finally move on and hopefully with a day or two’s work I can finish this current section and then have about a week’s more work.

Programming Work

Here’s a chart of my productivity since August. It’s not nearly as steady as I’d like. I’m looking forward to life getting back to normal.

BlackBox (Stock Footage)

In total, over the last 3 years Jen and I have submitted 870 clips to BlackBox the stock footage platform. Mostly Drone clips, plus some timelapses with my DSLRs, some GoPro underwater footage and more recently I’m starting to upload clips from my phone using a Gimbal.

As I was writing this post I got an email that we’d just had another sale. Yay!

Obviously this is a very tiny amount of passive income. But we are looking forward to expanding the number of submitted clips a lot more now I’ve got the auto-keywording system to help with an initial set and Jen can start doing some work again when not looking after Xavier or her Mum.

The Future

I’ve got a number of things I’m looking forward to.

I’m obviously looking forward to getting paid. Although pretty much all the money will be going to paying off our debts and re-establishing some savings.
I’m looking forward to completing the script for my Post-Scarcity Podcast on Cradle to Cradle.
I’m looking forward to working on a Minecraft hardcore video project.

I’m interested in doing a Kubler Codes Twitch stream maybe an hour a week when I’m working on my own programming projects. The idea came to me this week as I’ve been listening to the podcast Compressed FM.

On the topic of Podcasts. I HIGHLY recommend the You are Not So Smart podcast, episode 217.

YANSS 217 – How brains turn noise into signal, chaos into order, electrical spikes into meaning, and how new technology can expand subjective reality in ways never before possible

This is a seriously good podcast episode. It explains why we dream!
The David’s discuss how the brain is always rewiring itself based on inputs and how after only 60-90 minutes of being blindfolded your visual cortex can start being rewired for use in processing touch, sound and other senses.
So we dream in order to stop our brain from rewiring itself!
That’s crazy, but cool. It’s also interesting how you can learn new senses relatively easily.
David Eagleman has developed a vibrating wrist watch like device where you can program it to provide a new sense.
Maybe have it vibrate according to stock market trends or the weather forecast or if there’s aircraft nearby, or the state of a factory or your Minecraft player that you’ve left AFK.
Maybe you want to wire it up to social media hashtags and get a sensation of society.
Your body will soon learn to feel this new sense and you’ll have ESP!!
I thought it’d be a long while before such tech exists but our brains are so good that most developers like myself could be writing code that’ll give you a new sensory perception today!
That’s epic and awesome. But they keep going and discuss even more. Like how our brains are running in a simulation but there’s different parts of the brain running with different ideas and they can clash. I knew that part from a book I read some years ago, back when I was still living in Australia. But still seriously, nearly everyone should listen to this awesome episode!

By Michael Kubler

Photographer, cinematographer, web master/coder.

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