Article History

July 2011




Slept in a little more, close to 8. The first experiment with meditation wasn't a complete success. Doing it whilst fully awake and sitting up on my bed was one thing, it's a little harder to when minimally-conscious while lying on your side, curled up in bed. I could do the counting thing, but not the visualisation, and it didn't seem to do much to clear my head. Still, I feel slightly better, as I have most previous mornings. This recovery will take a while.

The morning was again sub-zero, but like yesterday, it was fairly clear and the sun quickly warmed up everything.

I took a bus into town with the roll of film I'd left behind yesterday. It was then that I realised I'd left the “customer's record” slip of paper in my bag from yesterday. I was travelling lighter today. Oh well, with any luck the same woman would serve me. And indeed she did, so getting my photos wasn't a problem. Since I had a half-hour to kill until the next bus left back to Kelso, I slowly wondered through the DVD/Blu-ray and electronics section.

As I started to make my way out of Big-W I passed Mario, Tania's Dad. We exchanged pleasantries but then he asked how I was getting home. I told him by bus, so he offered to give me a lift home and I thought “sure”. All he needed to do was find some toothpaste. We talked about a few things on the trip home, which was nicer than waiting for, and then travelling on, the bus alone.

Scanned the roll of film I picked up. Alissa was eager to see the photos since it contained photos from Sarah's birthday party.

The psychologist I‘m seeing tomorrow sent me an SMS asking me to confirm for 9:30. I texted back that I thought the appointment was for 12:30. She replied asking if 10:30 was okay. I said ’sure‘. It didn’t really matter. But this was shortly after I'd gone to bed at 6pm.


Still tired, but getting better a little bit at a time.

Had my first visit with a psychologist. I started telling her about my depression but then went off on a bunch of background info like my family situation and history from high school onwards. She told me about anxiety, said I should try to get some rigorous exercise (!?) for the endorphins, and get some bright sunlight as early as possible in the morning to help my melatonin levels.

Went for my first driving lesson! Mum took me in ‘Dads’ Holden Commodore. We first went around Kaberra blvd a few times, then Miriyan drive a few times, up Limekilns road, down Marsden lane, repeat several more times. I did go a little too close to a car in Miriyam drive, our mirrors touching. We got out and checked, even finding the owners in their home. That spooked me a bit. We drove around a bit more before heading home. It was over an hour, I think.


Got out as soon as I got dressed, to look at the sun before it disappeared behind some clouds. Hopefully this will help reset my melatonin levels.

Mum and Dad's 40th wedding anniversary! They went out for lunch, during which I went for a walk and had a shower. When they finally got back they were sleepy from wine and a big meal. It wasn't until 4 that I finally got Mum out for a driving lesson. I had washed the rear window beforehand because it was covered with ash from one of the power stations Dad had been to during the week. I had found it very annoying yesterday; every time I looked in the rear-vision mirror I firstly saw the dust before being able to focus on anything more distant.

This time I took my GPS logger to record the trip. Mum had to take something out to Kathy, Tania's mum, which meant my second lesson in the car would involve driving on the highway! But first a few roads around Kelso to refresh my memory. Then down View street to the highway. Thankfully it wasn't too busy and I didn't have anyone behind me the whole way out. I stuck around 60 Km/h, not wanting to go faster. Having the lines really helped me stay in the lane — on residential roads you just have to sort of guess from the occasional reflectors in the middle of the road.

So Mum and Kathy talked for a while, then it was back in the car. I took a few roads around Raglan before getting back on the highway. This time I picked up a few cars behind me and mum told me to pull over to let them pass. I must remember to check my mirrors and blind spots when I pull out because I thought all the cars had passed when a third surprised me. Yikes. So then it was a bunch more aimless driving around the newer housing estates of Kelso before ending up home again.

The GPS log was pretty good, although it deviates noticeably at times and even loses fix. It was on the dashboard, right up the front the whole time. It's clearly not in very good shape any more. That fall off the roof and tumble down the driveway back in September 2009 is likely the main culprit, even though it has worked fine up until more recently. I wonder if I should replace it with another commercial device or put something together using parts from SparkFun. I've seen the same model on eBay for ~$45 now, only half of what I bought it for about two years ago. I guess current GPS technology has reached a pinnacle and not until the next major advancement (L2C, Galileo, GLONASS 3rd generation, etc) will there be anything to really supersede current devices (and drive down their prices).

Just happened to catch a news item about the Tour de France. It's that time of year again! So I setup MythTV to record the early-morning live broadcasts on SBS. I've missed the first one, oh well.


Ugh, a rainy day. And the forecast is similar for most of the week. So much for getting sun first thing in the morning, and walking every day. I stared at my room light for a minute since the sun wasn't available.

Mum and Dad had the plumber over before they left for work. The sewerage from the study ensuite and master bedroom ensuite was blocked again somewhere.

My first try at putting Con out had to be abandoned when it suddenly started bucketing down while I was collecting seeds for him out the front. He got to chew on some chicken bones while the weather cleared up.

The rain cleared up in the afternoon and the sun even started peeking out from behind clouds. So I went for a walk. Usual route; long way to the high school, short rest at the bus stop shelter, then a long way back home. About a half-hour all up. On the psychologists suggestion for more strenuous exercise I am pushing myself a little harder. I‘m going faster and am a little surprised that I’m not getting as tired or puffed as I would have expected. The previous week and a half of walking probably helps. And the 5~6 Kg I lost from under-eating whilst under the worst effects of the depression probably helps as well.

Started watching this morning's Tour de France recording. A boring time trial.


Another gloomy day. Not rainy, but very windy.

Finished watching the Tour de France recording from yesterday morning and started watching this morning's.

For some reason CM7 has not been updated for three weeks now, which is strange because updates had been coming out semi-regularly every three to five days (mostly). I‘m starting to wonder what’s happened to the developer and development. So growing frustrated at this ‘old’ software running on my phone, and a little bored, I tried FroyoMod 2.9. But first I wanted to make sure I hadn't lost any phone call entries or SMS's in previous nandroid backups.

So I first backed up my current call log and SMS data with two apps I have for this purpose. I also made a nandroid backup of this CM7 RC10 installation, something I often do when updating. Then I restored a CM7 (RC6?) backup from the 6th of last month, booted into it, and made new log/SMS backups. Then it was back into recovery to restore a FroyoMod (2.8?) backup from the 15th of last month, wiped the caches, and installed the new 2.9 release over it. Once booted up I restored the log/SMS data from the two previous installations, making sure to say ‘yes’ to filtering out duplicates.

Sadly, I have lost many call logs and SMS's in the past with all of the different ROMs I‘ve installed/updated over the months. I’ll try to do a better job of saving them all in the future. I'd also like to transfer my call logs and SMS's from my previous Nokia phone, which has almost every single call and SMS I ever sent/received with it. The only missing spots would be when it started acting up on election night last year and I restored an old backup without making a new one first.

Went for a walk. Damn it was really windy! And pretty cold too. By the end my thighs were kinda numb from the insufficient protection my trousers offered to the cold wind. Some workers were doing something out the front of the Kelso shops. They'd dug a trench in the road, right in front of the gutter, and were putting cement pipes in it.

Finished watching this morning's Tour de France recording.


Another overcast day, but not as windy.

Damn, MythTV didn't record the live Tour de France coverage, probably because of a conflict. We really need a multi-tuner setup.

I restored the nandroid backup of CM7 RC10 I made yesterday. FroyoMod 2.9 wasn't working well.

Went for my usual walk. The weather was a little better. The workers in front of the Kelso shops were now filling up the trench with gravel and compacting it down with a tractor. It seemed to be something to do with the storm water drain.

Saw the psychologist for a second visit. We talked about the thoughts I continue to have and want to get rid of. Then we talked about my treatment, what I had hoped to get out of these sessions with her, what she thought she could help with, and other people/organisations I should get in contact with. She suggested a test run by The Black Dog Institute, but I'm having trouble finding the referral form for my GP.

I took a valerian tablet before bed. I seem to be getting slightly better at sleeping and I wanted to see if it would help.


Another crappy day. It's raining. At one point last night I thought the valerian had helped a lot, but then I realised that I wasn't asleep, and that it was only midnight. Damn. That's usually when I start having trouble sleeping, so it was too early to call. As it turned out, it didn't help much or at all. Why isn't valerian working on me any more? Is my brain that messed up? Should I increase the dose? I suspect it might be making my sleep worse, so perhaps I shouldn't try that.

Mum's staying home today. She stayed up late last night trying to finish decorations for Anthony's (Tania's brother) wedding.

Another day without Tour de France coverage! Bugger.

Went for my usual walk. The work out front of the Kelso shops seemed to be finished. There is now an inspection point in the road in front of an existing storm water drain.

Glenn and Tania dropped in. Tania's brother, Anthony, is getting married on the weekend in Sydney. They‘re leaving their cat at Tania’s parents place in Raglan and Mum will drop in every day to keep it fed while everyone else is in Sydney. So they had to drop off keys and give instructions.


Today started off cold, down to almost -4ºC. The sun eventually came out from behind the cloud/fog.

I took a bus into town to get Medicare refunds on the two psychologist sessions. I was going to visit Liss and the kids, so I had almost an hour between buses. With time to kill, I figured I could walk up to the Metro 5 cinema and get a new flyer to see what movies are on.

With that done I checked OsmAnd on my phone and got it to find a route to Andrew and Alissa's house. It figured it was only a half-hour walk, arriving about the time the connecting bus was due to leave. My options were: a ten minute walk back to the bus interchange and another twenty minute wait, or just walk for another half hour. So I decided to keep on walking. The weather was good and I needed the exercise. Most of the walk was good, but it got steep right at the end.

I arrived at their house a panting, sweaty mess. The kids were happy to see me. At one point I was showing the kids the Simpsons-ised drawings of Doctor Who on Springfield Punx. They liked all the characters that Dean has drawn over the years. We came across a post with Daleks and Sarah wanted to see the un-coloured version at the end. I wondered why at first, but then both Sarah and Zac (one sitting on each knee) said “for colouring in!”. Of course. So we fired up the printer and printed off two copies of the line-art Dalek. Sarah quickly got to making a very colourful Dalek but Zac stayed on my other knee and didn't colour his in.

Andrew arrived home from work and I had to get out of his chair for him to get to his computer. Then followed the usual ritual of showing me all of the cool stuff he'd seen online recently. He showed me a bunch of video clips from a small music group called “Walk off the world” or something. They were quite talented.

Mum eventually turned up to take me home, but not before talking a lot with Andrew and Alissa about having a late wedding anniversary lunch on the weekend.


A cold and windy day.

Mum took me out for a driving lesson. I drove out to Laffing Waters and went around the streets there.

Went out to lunch with Andrew, Alissa, and their kids. It was a week-late 40th wedding anniversary lunch.

Mum took me out for another driving lesson. I drove on the highway again, this time into town. I took the first corner after the bridge and made my way up to the Mount. I drove up to the top, to McPhillamy Park, where Mum had me drive all around. I did some reversing, u-turns, three point turns, and driving in between some of the trees. Then it was back down the mountain, past Bathurst, and along the highway out to Raglan. We fed and played with Tania's cat, who's stuck in the shed/garage/flat out the back of her parent's place. Then it was back home. It was mostly dark by this time, so I got my first ten minutes of night driving.

When we were coming down the mountain I had mentioned that I'd forgotten my water bottle. Mum asked why I had taken it with me on previous driving lesson trips. I explained that the questionnaire from my GP had asked about having a dry mouth and I had originally marked ‘no’, thinking it a strange symptom to have. But a few nights later, as I was taking yet another drink from my water bottle, I had realised that I had experienced a somewhat-dry mouth often during the night and had been drinking much more than usual. I think I was also drinking more during the day too. When I told Mum this she said it was a side-effect of adrenaline. So that would be the cause for my restless nights. It sounds like I have an on-going anxiety problem. I wondered if this was the reason the valerian tablets hadn't been working on me. Was adrenaline too strong for valerian? Well, a Google search for “valerian adrenaline” turned up a few pages saying (again) that valerian was a good remedy for anxiety and specifically mentioning adrenaline. So maybe I should try to increase the dosage. hmmm...


Another overcast and windy day.

Mum took me out for a driving lesson. Since the car was still low on petrol, she drove us into town to fill it up, and then out to West Bathurst. I got into the car then and drove it all around West Bathurst, even driving past Andrew and Alissa's house at one point. Then it was back up to the mount again for more of what we did yesterday evening. Then it was back down the mount and into the CSU Mitchell campus to try out some parking in a few parking lots. Then it was back past town, along the highway and home.

Dad's trying to get more tuners for Buster, our MythTV box. Yesterday before my afternoon drive I had put in the dual-tuner card that we had gotten some years ago. The second tuner in it had started acting a little funny with SBS but then came good. I asked him to try it out while I was out and he wanted it out as soon as mum and I returned home. So back to the original single-tuner card.

So now he's got his eye on the DigitalNow TinyTwin dual DVB-T tuner. The LinuxTV pages on it and the chip it uses say it should be supported by the current kernel, but that the manufacturer is working on a comprehensive driver to support the entire chip family and all the different permutations of hardware they are used in. So it's at least promising that the hardware has a (presumably) guaranteed future.

The goal is to hook up several of these USB devices to Buster so that it has a tuner for every free-to-air station (there's currently five); that way we can watch and record as much as we want and never have to worry about conflicts. Then the next stage is to make Buster purely a MythTV backend server and move it into the rack with the other servers. Simpler set-top boxes will be the frontends playing live or recorded content. And everyone will be happy.


A much nicer day after a week or so of fairly crappy weather. I managed to get some sunlight shortly after getting up but I was tired later in the day. I am going to bed a little too late.

Started compiling the Linux kernel on a bunch of machines. I found that GCC 4.6 in debian uses some instructions that make it crash out on both Pentium MMX and AMD K6-Ⅲ machines. Yeah, they‘re long overdue for upgrades. The K6-Ⅲ is due to be phased out soon now that I’ve got my new server up. I just need to transfer some more data and set up some software before I can totally decommission ‘zoe’. The Pentium MMX machine is the family's internet router. I'd like to replace it with a Ubiquiti RouterStation Pro, but that may never happen.

Also updated CM7.1 on my phone to RC11, nearly four weeks after RC10! I wonder if future updates will be this far apart.

Went for my usual walk around Kelso. The work out front of the Kelso centrepoint shops continues with the trench continuing further along Boyd street, probably heading for the new apartments next to the bottle shop.

Mum took an extended lunch break from work to take me out for a driving lesson. This meant Dad took the Tarago to work so she/we could have the Commodore. I drove over the low bridge and up into West Bathurst. I drove all around there for most of an hour before coming back to Kelso along the highway. I‘m getting better, but still not confident with speed. This sometimes causes problems with people stuck behind me. I try to speed up but on faster roads or the highway I still won’t go much past 60-ish Km/h. I don't like having a car stuck square up my backside, but I guess this is what I have to get used to when driving.

Trying to catch up on Tour de France recordings. I finished Friday night's and I‘m now halfway through Saturday night’s recording. I saw on the news that there was a bad crash last night involving a television car. I'll get to watch that tomorrow.


Went for a walk, but a different route; down to the creek, along the flood barrier, and then up Tandora st. That gave me a nice steady climb at the end.

Finally got around to showing Dad the JeeNodes and telling him about my plans for using them to take temperature readings at the solar hot water booster we had installed last month. By the end of it we'd agreed on what to get and sent off two orders — one to Modern Device in the U.S. for the 915 MHz JeeNodes and USB BUB's, and one to Jeelabs for an AA board, a room board, and some miscellaneous parts. They should hopefully arrive in two weeks time.

Glenn and Tania came over about the time I was originally planning to go to bed. They had some anniversary gifts for Mum and Dad, and Glenn filled up the remaining disk space on our server mars by trying to transfer all of the photos they had of Anthony's wedding. We need more disk space, and I need to clear off some old TV show downloads.

I took two valerian tablets. About 10-15 minutes after getting in bed I felt a kind of relaxation spread over me that I hadn't felt for a while. Was this the valerian stopping the anxiety-induced adrenaline? It seemed to help during the night, but still not completely, not like it used to do.


I took the bus into town and met with Liss and the kids. We did some shopping, had lunch in the park in front of the courthouse, did a little more shopping, then took the bus to their place. I spent the evening there and Dad picked up after he got home from work.

Dad described his plans for arranging the multiple USB tuners that we'd like to connect to buster, our MythTV box. I hadn't given it too much thought and just assumed we'd have a 3-way splitter connected to the USB tuners, which would connect to buster using the supplied USB extension cables. It'd all be external, sitting on either the coffee table that buster sits on, or maybe the floor. Or just dangling behind it. When moving buster into our server rack to operate solely as a backend, the same mess would go there too.

Dad, however, wants to put everything inside buster. The idea goes something like this:

To me it seems like a bit of overkill, and possibly raises issues of RF interference inside the PC case.

I took one and half valerian tablets. That didn't seem to do as much as two.


Bit of a lazy day.

I went for a walk again down to the creek and back up. It was a bit late in the day though.

The dual DVB-T USB tuner arrived. Hooked it up to buster and got it working pretty quickly. Now we're just trying to learn how to use two tuners with MythTV.

Took two valerian tablets again. They didn't have the same effect as on Tuesday night. In fact, they didn't have much effect at all.


Another lazy day. Maybe all the valerian I've taken over the last three nights (5½ tablets) is building up in my system, like it often does.

It looks like the new dual tuner on buster is working okay. I've got a recording of the Tour de France to watch.

Installed CM7.1 RC12 on my phone, then went for a walk down to the creek and back up.


Mum took me out for a driving lesson in the morning - A little around Kelso, before going up to the Mount for more of the same exercises as before. Then back home because her and Dad were going to a lunch with friends. In the afternoon we headed out again, this time going into town and driving up William st. and a few of the other streets in town. It wasn't that busy at the time. I tried a reverse 45º angle park on George st. We then went under the railway line on Russel st. and continued out on Gorman's Hill rd., thinking we were going to Perthville. But the road eventually turned into a dirt track, so I did a three-point turn and headed back. Mum directed me to the Rocket st. bridge and we headed out on Vale rd. But there were road works and it was getting late so we turned around before getting to Perthville. Back home again. Mum's keeping record in the log book the RTA gave me, even though I‘m not required to do the 120 hours of driving before I do my driver’s test and get my P‘s. She reckons I’ve done 8 hours of driving so far.

Oh, just as I was walking out to the car for the driving lesson in the morning, my phone chirped with a Gmail notification. Jee Labs in The Netherlands had shipped my gear. Later I checked Mum's email and saw that Modern Device in the U.S. had already shipped the stuff I ordered from them on the 14th — the actual JeeNodes and USB adaptors. Both of these orders should take about two weeks to arrive, but the Modern Device order allows me to track its progress (it cost a little more). It's still in New Jersey at a processing centre for foreign mail.


Feeling pretty tired and a little emotional again too. I need to get to bed earlier.

Mum took me out for a driving lesson in the afternoon. We drove into town and drove around the various intersections and roundabouts for a while. Then it was onto Durham/Eglington st. to drive out to Eglington, where we drove around a little before going out on Fremantle rd. We weren't sure how or where to turn around, so we kept going. Eventually we turned off onto Mount Rankin rd. and eventually did a u-turn. They had a nice view out there! So it was back through Eglington and straight on to Eleven Mile Drive to get back to Kelso. Mum suggested we drive around the poorer area of Kelso, south of Boyd st. We drove around there a bit, even having to watch out for a clearly drunk man carrying a partially-consumed goon bag. Then it was home again.


Had an appointment with my GP about the results of my blood test on the 28th of last month (he had been on holiday in between) and he came right out with what he was concerned about: Diabetes! Oh great. So now I have to have a “glucose tolerance test”; I have to eat lots of carbs (actually not much more than I usually eat) for the next three days and then have a test on Friday. They'll take one lot of blood, then give me a glucose drink, and then take one or more blood samples a few hours later to see how my body is processing it. Oh, and I have to give a urine sample in the morning just to make sure that my body hasn't packed it in after three days of carbs and the glucose drink won't put me into a coma.

I‘ve seen Dad go through this process a few years ago. In fact, it was the same GP who diagnosed him from a blood test. In all fairness, it’s not as bad as full-blown diabetes. It's not the glucose on its own that's the problem, it's how fast it's absorbed by the body. Mum and Dad have happily found that the glycemic index/load of many foods can be lowered by mediating them with fat or protein. So Dad now always has a few slices of Camembert cheese on crackers before dinner.

Dad is home the whole day because the Commodore had to be put in for service. I helped him replace the shelf in the main bathroom vanity unit, which had been irreparably damaged by a leaking tap a month or two ago (chipboard doesn't like water and it bowed a lot). He first had to trim a small amount from the end (with me sitting on it to secure it) and then drill a hole for the drainage pipe to go through. He'd picked up a hole saw yesterday, but couldn't find his drill. So lets go out and buy a new one! Oops, we didn't have a car. So he looked some more and found his drill after all. I again sat on the board to secure it while he drilled. After all that it fitted pretty well in the vanity unit. Now all the crap has to be put back in.

Played around with Luxrender. In particular, I‘m interested in motion blur and animation. The last time I’d played with it, it wasn't documented; presumably they were depending on people using the various modeller plugins to spit out the necessary scene description files. Well, now someone has documented motion blur on their wiki. So I updated to the latest source using Mercurial and set about compiling it. There's been lots of work in using the power of modern GPU's through OpenCL and I struggled to disable that in the build process.

Then I started working on a scene, using the “dispersion” scene from the test suite. I removed two of the cubes, changed the remaining cube to a red matte material, and simplified the scene in a few other ways. Then I got to moving the cube, made a little difficult by the scene being an export from Blender and the cube's position/rotation/scaling being specified by a single "transform“ statement i.e a 4×4 matrix. But still, it was blurred moving off in a direction. I wonder how the ”motion blur" feature works with all the sophisticated lighting calculations that Lux performs e.g Metropolis Light Transport (MLT).

Now the question is where to go from here? Do I a) get luxblend25 compiled and (re-)learn how to use Blender, or b) get working on some Perl code to calculate motions and spit out Lux scene description files? I made a “cats cradle” animation several years ago rendered using Radiance and generated using Mason as a simple templating system. I've been wondering about re-doing it in HD (1080p) and with better motion blur.


What a shitty day. It started out overcast, then started raining around midday. It started snowing nearby and the highway was closed. Dad and Andrew had to leave work early to get back before it was.

Compiled Lux on the AMD64 machines on the family network: taliesin (my new server made with a motherboard and CPU donated by Scott), buster (the family's MythTV box), and mars (the family's general server). Then I was able to do renders on my dual-core desktop assisted by five other processor cores (all 64-bit with SSE2). Hmmm, mars was not contributing much. It's now quite old (its motherboard and CPU were originally in buster when I created it back in... 2005?) and only single core.

Installed XBMC on Mum's Windows machine with the goal of installing the MythTV plug-in to let her watch recorded programs. The Samba share I set up on buster years ago to share the recorded programs hasn't been working lately. She can browse to the share and see the files, but can't access the files; no copying, and VLC says it can't open the file. It wouldn't surprise me at all to find it has something to do with the almost-yearly reinstalls of Windows that have to be done on her machine. It's not like she gums it up with malware or anything. To the best of my knowledge, she has probably never had a virus or trojan on her machine. It's just... I don't know. Little problems slowly add up and eventually a complete re-install of Windows is the only thing that fixes it. So perhaps the SID (or whatever) stored in Samba (or the LDAP server) is now wrong for her user account and things don't want to work.

Anyway... so I installed XBMC and then found the ‘MythBox’ add-on. I tried to add our MythTV machine as a ‘source’ in the ‘videos’ section but it wouldn't work. Some reading of documentation and google turns up the problem — the currently released version doesn't work with MythTV 0.24. There is a newer version of the add-on that does, but it's being developed with/for the in-development (“trunk”) version of XBMC. I downloaded and installed a nightly release, but it hung when I tried to browse to MythBox. Oh well. I'll look into this later on.

I felt tired all day and then had a lot of trouble getting to sleep, perhaps caused by the extra carbs I‘m consuming. So now I’m left wondering how much of my recent problems have been caused by my developing diabetes? I haven't been going for walks this week because I thought it might affect the stressing of my body with glucose. I should resume my daily walks on Friday, if not Saturday, and I'll lay off the carbs for a little while.

The other question I have is: to what degree could this glucose stress test be making my condition worse? I suppose if it leads to a diagnosis and better diet/exercise in the future, it should be worth it.


A better day. We even got some sun!

Another lazy day, except for eating lots of extra carbs. I would normally enjoy eating extra rice and biscuits, but I'm now mindful of how it may be making me feel bad; tired, bloated, sometimes thirsty, sometimes nauseous.


More carbs. Ugh.


Finally, the day of the glucose stress test. I got up a little early and Dad drove me in. Twice. I forgot the form and urine sample so we had to go back. I was invited into one of their rooms, where my urine was tested with a strip of treated paper. It was good, my body wasn't too overloaded with glucose. So I then had the first blood sample taken. It was over pretty quick because it was just a single vial instead of the three that are usually taken. Then I was handed a polystyrene cup and a small bottle of the glucose drink. It tasted kinda like flat lemonade (Sprite for U.S. readers) and I finished it fairly quickly.

By this time I was back out in the waiting room. This is where I would spend the next two hours. I couldn't drink water (I had a little beforehand) or exercise. Just sit for two hours. I had my mobile phone and earphones to listen to music, plus some “books”. I read through The Warsun Prophecies and Birds are Weird! before moving on to two big Far Side compilations. The two hours were up, I was invited into another room (they use two or three rooms interchangeably) and had a second blood sample taken. This one stung quite a lot, the nurse apologising for not letting the alcohol completely dry before inserting the needle. With that it was all over.

I left and went looking for something to eat in the nearby shopping centre (the new one). I found the Ispa Café but didn't like the look of their small range of kebabs. The old Ispa Kebab let you select your ingredients. So I moved on. I ducked into the Dick Smith to see what sort of electronic componentry/DIY stuff they had; you know, the stuff they used to sell exclusively before Dick Smith sold the chain to Woolworths. The answer? Not much. It was then that Mum rang to ask how I was going. I walked out the entrance there and across to some taxis parked near the old shopping centre. I hopped in one and it brought me home.

Here I had my first meal of the day — most of the remaining bowl of chicken burrito mix left over from a few nights ago, with grated cheese and some lettuce. I did end up having one tortilla with some more grated cheese inside it. After all of the carbs of the previous three days and the concentrated glucose drink I'd had in the morning, I wanted to really steer clear of any more high-carb/glucose foods or drinks for today and probably the next few days too. Which is a shame because Mum had bought lots of biscuits and other stuff for me to eat, and there was quite a bit left over. I did however have some chocolate-coated sultana strip (what's it called?) and a little chocolate-flavoured milk. Hopefully the fat content of those two things lowered the GI. Later I would cook and eat three medium-sized tempura fish fillets. And some more cheese.

I went for a walk too, the first in a week! And it was the new high(ish)-impact route that brings me up Tandora at the end. It was threatening to rain on me the whole way, with droplets occasionally falling on my face.

Mum and Dad had been planning to go down to the Central Coast for their regular (monthly?) visit with Grandpa. But the weather has been pretty bad lately and Dad's not feeling too well, so they think they'll postpone it till next weekend.


Mum and Dad are here for this weekend.

Still trying to avoid carbs for the time being, although I had my usual wheetbix+rolled oats breakfast. I snacked on a bit more chocolate-covered ‘fruit roll’ and chocolate milk. For lunch I had slices of lunch meat and cheese in a tortilla.

Mum took me out for a driving lesson/practice. Drove into and around town a bit; I must pay more attention at roundabouts. Twice I forged on into a roundabout when a faster car was entering from the right. It would help if Mum was a little quicker in changing her mind and telling me to stop.

Then we visited Andrew, Liss, and the kids. We got to see Sarah's new doll house, which she bought with her saved up allowance. It was quite large and took Andrew a while to put together. We ended up staying quite a while — talking, playing on their Wii, looking at stuff online, and talking some more. We eventually left close to sunset and they all came out to watch me drive off, which made me a little nervous. On the way home Mum had me pull into the parking lot of the old shopping centre. I tried parking in a few places and just driving around. It was almost empty, so it was easy and low-pressure.

Tania gave me an invite for Google+. So I now have an account on this new social network. Not having used a social network before, and not being particularly social, I‘m not sure exactly what to do with it. I’ve padded out my profile and it tried to pull in people from my address book. It also linked to my Picasa account, but not Youtube or other Google sites. I imagine they're working on that. But now what do I do?


A really lazy day. I didn't even go out for driving practice. I'm quite tired. I should have at least gone out for a walk, but the day started out really cold and was close to raining most of the day.

Go Cadel Evans! Dad was playing the recording of last night's stage — the second last stage. Mum had stayed up last night to watch most of it and had told Dad about Cadel's great performance. It looks like the Australian national anthem will be playing in Paris tonight/today!

I found something to do with Google Plus — ‘share’ some of my already-public Picasa albums. This immediately drew Glenn's ire because I was tagging him and Tania in the photos. Tania is a psych worker of some sort and has some unbalanced clients, including, apparently, one or more ‘stalkers’. So I was sure to change the photo albums containing her to being visible to only ‘Family’. Oh well.

My phone had also uploaded all of the photos it contained for me to selectively post. There were some old(ish) ones from the last two years. Nothing great or two important, but interesting I guess.

Andrew dropped in on his bike for a chat with Dad and me. He stayed quite a while too.


Yay Cadel! I checked the ABC news website on my phone around 5am when I was up for the toilet. I'll watch the recording once I get up...

Saw my GP about the results from the glucose tolerance test I had on Friday. He said I was “pre-diabetic”. I should follow the dietary guidelines for diabetes and get more exercise to avoid developing full-blown diabetes in the future. Oh fun. I should get myself a blood glucose testing machine so I can actually see how I'm doing during the day and eating different foods. I already have an app for recording the readings. He had also registered at the Black Dog website and gave me an access code for their mood assessment program. I'll do that tomorrow. I was again feeling anxious and funny in the chest so I asked if he could have a quick ‘look’ at it. He listened with his stethoscope and took my blood pressure but it was all normal. He said it was likely due to the anxiety and we could sort it out properly one I do the MAP questionnaire.

My JeeNodes from the U.S. arrived — while I was waiting for the bus to go to the doctor's. I saw the van whiz past and stop in front of our place. I rushed over and met the delivery guy and said “I live here! Can I take that?”. Thankfully he recognised me and let me sign for the box. I took it with me. I had time to kill once I got into town and had been planning to check out Leading Edge (the local Jaycar stockist) anyway. I was looking for cases, super capacitors, and small solar cells for the wireless sensor nodes I planned to make with the JeeNodes. Sadly they had none of these things. I could order them through the local store or just get similar (better?) parts through online stores. Or eBay.

I plugged one of the USB BUB Ⅱ's into my computer and spent a little time setting up a udev entry for it.


Attached the socket to the USB BUB Ⅱ and constructed my first JeeNode. It all went pretty well. The only difficulty was the antenna wire — it was too thick to insert through the hole on the board. So instead I soldered it sideways onto the ample bare copper that was there. I plugged it into my computer and discovered that I didn't in fact have a driver for the FTDI USB-to-serial converter chip. I compiled the module (it's been in the kernel source for a while) and watched as /dev/ttyUSB0 was created when I plugged it in. Oh well, I guess the udev rule I created last night was pointless.

I fired up the Arduino environment and went to the serial monitor as instructed. I set the baud rate to 57600 and up popped the output from the rf12demo sketch that comes pre-programmed on the microcontroller. Yay! It works! I set the correct radio band because it was set to (try to) use 434 MHz. Now what? I guess I have to put another together and try to communicate with it.

I went out for a walk. I checked the letter box as I was leaving and there were some letters in there, as well as a padded package. It was from Jee Labs, my other package had arrived!

So after the walk I set about making a second JeeNode and putting together the other things that had arrived. But first I burnt my finger on the soldering iron. Ouch. I put together the second USB BUB Ⅱ, a second JeeNode, the AA power board, and ‘room board’. I piggy-back mounted the AA power board on the second JeeNode.

I tested the second JeeNode on my computer and at first it didn't work. Oops! I had put the microcontroller chip into the socket the wrong way around. I managed to get it out and put it back in the right way. Thankfully it worked! Phew. Some chips are very sensitive and can be killed by such a mistake. Thankfully the ATmega328 doesn't appear to be one of those.

The RF12demo sketch on the second JeeNode worked too. So now to test the radios. I put a AA battery into it and plugged the first JeeNode into my computer. I could send a broadcast with the ‘t’ command and the other JeeNode seemed to respond. Removing the battery also removed the response. Okay. Since I now have the room board with a temperature sensor on it, how about I put the ‘roomNode’ sketch on it. No go. All I got was an error from the programmer ('avrdude‘). Same with the first JeeNode. What’s going wrong? I did lots of Googling but couldn't figure it out.


Based on a post on the JeeLabs forum, I re-soldered all of the connections on my first JeeNode. Still no programming. I posted on the forum asking for help. Someone responded, asking me to try it on a Windows machine. Ugh. So I installed the FTDI drivers on Mum's machine and then the Arduino 22 package. It still didn't work, but the error was different. That was strange. I posted this on the forum.

Went for a walk. I came back rather sweaty because I had taken my coat but it ended up being more sunny than I had expected.

The guy on the JeeLabs forum came back asking if I'd set the correct board type in the IDE. The sticker on the packets for each JeeNode says “Arduino clone with Atmega328P and Duemilanove bootloader”. So I had selected the “Arduino Duemilanove or Nano w/ ATmega328”. The forum post had mentioned that if I was using the new Optiboot bootloader I should select the “Arduino Uno” board type. So just to see what would happen, I did. And it worked. I fired off an email to Modern Device support telling them of what had happened.

Scott's in another lot of accommodation trouble. For the last year or so he's been living with his girlfriend and her family — her mother and younger sister. He's had some friction with them because they use his big TV, PS3, sound system, and even his PC; all apparently with little consideration for Scott. It's difficult to get in touch with him because they use his PC so much. At one stage the little sister was even complaining about the power used by his PC while she was running several fan heaters throughout the house (and not putting on any warm clothing or keeping doors/windows shut).

On top of which, the mother only works part time and partly depends on her daughter (Scott's girlfriend) to provide for her and her younger daughter. So a few nights ago Mum and Scott were having an IM conversation (text only) on Skype about moving out with his girlfriend and giving the mother an allowance. Well the following day the mother gets on Scott's PC and reads this conversation. Now they‘re looking to move out as fast as possible. The trip to Grandpa’s that Mum and Dad had postponed from last weekend may be postponed again if they have to help him move.


Modern Device got back to me. They said they‘ve been planning on moving everything to the Optiboot bootloader by ’fall' (i.e a few months) and must have gotten the two sets of chips mixed up.

Starting to code a 'OneWire‘ library for my JeeNodes. I found that there’s already a OneWire library for Arduino, but after reading about the multiple versions and fixes, I decided to continue working on my own. I did download “version 2.0” to look at how it does things. It doesn't actually do much beyond give you some low-level functions for sending and receiving data on the 1-wire bus. Oh, and searching for devices. I plan to go more high-level with classes for hosts, networks, and devices. Hopefully it doesn't end up becoming too complicated. Or taking too much of my time.

Mowed the lawn out the back and a bit in the front. The front didn't need much, but there was a big patch of clover and other things in the back yard that had been steadily growing over winter.

Talked with Mum and Dad about the car situation.

Mum's trying to find the Google+ invite that Tania sent her. It turned out she had sent it to Mum's gmail account, not her home email. So it sounds like we'll now have her on Google+.


Sure enough, Mum is now on Google+. So I went through my public photos and tagged her in them.

Finally did the Mood Assessment Program of the Black Dog Institute with the access code my GP gave me on Monday. It was a little difficult finding it at first. Their website isn't the easiest to find stuff on.

Went for my usual walk. I didn't go out yesterday because I did the mowing. I had a lot of trouble getting up Tandora st. I‘m wondering if my depression might be getting worse again after getting better for a while. I have been more tired recently and that was definitely some sort of lethargy slowing down my walking. My anxiety isn’t going away.

Andrew visited on his motorbike and we talked for a while about things going on.

Took two valerian before bed.


The two valerian didn't help hugely, but I think it did reduce my anxiety. I still had trouble getting to sleep, then woke up around 4am and again had trouble getting back to sleep. On Monday I need to make an appointment for my GP to talk about the results from the Black Dog MAP questionnaire I did on Friday. Hopefully then we can talk more about the anxiety and possible medication.

Mum and Dad left for Grandpa‘s, leaving me once more to look after house and pet cockatoo. I sent an SMS to Andrew about visiting them. When he didn’t respond I sent one to Alisaa too. Andrew eventually got back to me and told me to ring when I was ready to come over. A little while later Alissa rang me and said she could pick me up since she was doing shopping with Sarah and had the car. They eventually arrived and picked me up. They'd been getting stuff for the birthday of a friend of Sarah‘s, Tia, who had been at Sarah’s birthday. When we got to their place, Andrew asked me why I hadn't rung him. It turns out they hadn't been in communication with each other, as I had assumed. Alissa offered to pick me up only because I had sent her an SMS as well.

So I spent the afternoon and early evening at their place; talking, watching Youtube videos, getting climbed on by my niece and nephew, eating a freshly-baked cinnamon muffin. The usual stuff. Andrew spent a while playing a racing game, which ended up kinda boring for me. But I guess it is his weekend. Five o'clock came around and I had to head home. Andrew drove me, with both kids in the back.


I put together the last two JeeNodes, essentially simultaneously. They tested out okay.

A sunny day quickly turned into a crappy overcast day. It threatened to rain on me during my walk.

Just before I got home Mum rang me on my mobile, needing help with Vodafone. They'd gotten Grandpa another prepaid SIM/account because his old one had been cancelled; he had let it run out of credit and then not recharge it in the allowed time. They were trying to get it activated and charged but were having trouble navigating the Vodafone website. It looks like they've changed it subtly again. I told Mum to read the instructions on the receipt but she first had to find that... Oh how I hate family tech support.

Also on my way home, I saw our new neighbours out the front of the house. It looks like they have three young kids. We had seen their moving van in the driveway yesterday morning before Mum and Dad left. And then a car or two turned up while I waiting for Liss to pick me up.