• My Keyboard Journey

    Figured much that from all the doom and gloom of my life, I decided to write something fun this time. So, let’s talk about keyboards.

    Mana Pool was written on an Apple Keyboard (before it became the Magic Keyboard, but still with a cord), my 2008 MacBook nicknamed The Heat Sink until I upgraded, and an old full-size Logitech keyboard used on my old iMac (the first one, in blue). Afterward, I stuck with the Apple Keyboard through college and after moving to Tustin.

    More keyboards came through my life, including my bad luck and family deaths. With my day job, I moved to a Logitech solar keyboard I liked and bought a used one. It was a bridge between my Mac and my Gaming PC/Hackintosh/Linux test bed. And then later down the line, I discovered mechanical keyboards, an anxiety-inducing rabbit hole leading to an identity crisis as a writer. What a mouth full.

    I got one from Corsair, I think, with Cherry MX blue switches. Can’t remember the name. In truth, I hated that switch. It hurt my fingers, but also too… dang… loud. No amount of o-rings under the keys could dampen the sound. I swapped that for a hybrid mechanical-membrane keyboard, the Razer Ornata. I liked it was low-profile, but the switches were not working out. Pretty much decided I dislike loud, clicky switches reverberating through my finger joints.

    Next was going straight to linear switches with a Corsair K63, before it went wireless. Red backlight and Cherry MX Red switches. The typing speed was fast. It had this pinging sound when I bottomed out, too much air in the metal chassis, so using o-rings did some help. What I grew to dislike was the keycaps being too thick, the travel distance to press a key being too long, and the keyboard’s cable getting in the way when I want to move the keyboard to the side to write on the laptop sometimes.

    The Corsair keyboard and the solar keyboard swapped places for a few years. I added the Logitech K38 Keyboard to write on the iPad. So from 2019 to last year, that’s three keyboards in my possession.

    I added on the Corsair K65 RGB mini keyboard when living in Lake Forest for a year, this time with Cherry MX Speed switches. I loved how smooth they were, and quiet, I still had to use o-rings, and then later add a silicone layer in the body for more silence. I liked I can unplug the cable from it. But it was tall. Had to use a wrist rest for that one.

    I once tried a Logitech MX Keys keyboard, the big one, for a week, but I returned it to MicroCenter thinking, This is a pandemic. What am I thinking?

    So before the move to Nevada, we have the Logitech Solar Keyboard, the Logitech K38 Keyboard for the iPad, and the Corsair K65. Yeah. Talk about indecisiveness.

    Moving to Nevada, I saved a little more and bought the MX Keys Mini to replace the Bluetooth one. I just like how solid it was compared to the big one. The other two are still with me.

    So why this journey? Why keep searching for the “right” keyboard? This is all part of this perfectionist journey to nail down my writing setup. Having fits with my chair placement, my desk height, writing on the floor with a coffee table, or just the laptop on top of a Lapdesk while in bed. My arm placement. Upper back pain if I don’t crack it at some point. Just continuously looking for that right writing setup to not feel uncomfortable all the time when home. Just sucks having a high awareness of everything. With all the stuff happening around me and in my head, I had to find comfort from the pain. A good keyboard is one of them. And don’t get me started with handwriting and writing stories longhand. That’s a separate can of worms to deal with.

    So here I was, in Nevada, and with a recent tax refund from California, I put in an order for another mechanical keyboard. And I believe I found the right one: the NuPhy Air75 with Cherry MX Brown switches.

    I had this for a week now, both using it for my day job and writing. This keyboard has been on my wishlist for a year, and there were times when I had serious doubts this will not fulfill my needs. A lot of them. There came a time when I say, fuck it, I can return it to Amazon if I don’t like it for a week.

    Got the one with low-profile Gateron brown switches. Had to be sure that this switch was for me from a bunch of Reddit posts. I like how strong the spring is, the low profile, and the short travel distance with the keycaps attached. It’s like a membrane keyboard but not.

    I can use a single USB-C cable to my USB hub, or go wireless with up to four devices. It came with a radio dongle, but I don’t feel like using it right now.

    I can turn off all the RGB lighting. It just feels like a gimmick to me. If there’s a need in the future, I’ll turn them back on.

    The best part is the switches are hot-swappable. If a switch fails, I can buy a set for cheap and swap it out with the tool it came with. Or replace all the switches if I want to.

    I’ve yet to use o-rings, but the travel distance is growing on me. Somehow I’m not having a problem with the sound when I bottom out.

    It came with removable tilt feet. I have them on most of the time. The tilt height is not much. It’s a preference thing.

    Last, and I just found this out, I can plug this into my iPad. The iPad recognizes it. I’ve read before I needed Apple’s splitter or something similar from Amazon. No. Just one cable from the keyboard to iPad and I can type as normal. Just not with a mouse. That means I can put away the Logitech K38 Keyboard and stick with this when traveling. That is when I’m in a quiet room. I’d be annoyed if I whip out the NuPhy at a coffee shop and get some annoyed glances my way.

    So now, it’s down to the NuPhy keyboard and MX Keys Mini. The rest are to be donated soon. Sure hope this will be the end of my search.

  • Ending 2022

    Photo by Anna Bondarenko on Pexels.com

    Do different things.

    The simplest New Year’s resolution I could come up with for as long as I could remember. Last year was a life changer. Up until the holidays, it felt like it was the day after the move. Some insidious Groundhog Day in my subconscious. Visceral. A constant tick on my neck. It never went away, no matter how many times I meditated or practice yoga, or crank the music up to dislodge the constant worry from the outside world. It never settled for a few months.

    Cabin fever went up several notches for the second half of the year. I found ways to manage it. Talking about them will take some time to share.

    For Thanksgiving one weekend, then a company Christmas party and a broadway show with Mom another weekend, I drove from my new home to my Mom’s place in Seal Beach. In the dark. Driving through southern Nevada and California desert has a different feeling than daytime driving. The landscape was pitch black with no moon in the starry sky. Only the car head- and taillights on the highway lit the way. Towns and rest stops turn into havens in the darkness. It takes about four and a half hours to travel on average. For any stops at rest stops, gas stations, roadside attractions, major cities, or sudden road work, the arrival time varied. If I leave home right at 3:10PM. Arrival time is between 7 to 9 at night. Best to bring music, podcasts, people, or a radio station.

    After all the traveling, I got sick. A royally bad sinus flu overcame me two days after coming home. I turned into a mouth breather for two weeks. The number of tissues in my waste basket was horrible, yet somewhat impressive in a weird way.

    Then my Mom came to visit.

    This was pre-planned she’d spend Christmas weekend with me. We stayed off the strip at The Orleans. And this was new territory for both of us. Our family never traveled on Christmas to major destinations, let alone go anywhere with huge crowds during the holidays. We adapted quickly by going to old restaurant haunts, showed her places I frequented, watched Blue Man Group at Luxor, slept a lot, and discussed some stuff.

    The annoying bit was before I picked her up at the airport, I discovered I had a pack rat attack. The little bugger chewed through one of my ignition cables and attempted to work on another one while packing around them with furniture foam from somewhere I do not know. Luckily the EV motor wasn’t affected and I drove it to the dealer to repair the damage. $700 out of pocket. I didn’t let it bother me since I had savings AND rented a Camry for a night.

    With all the craziness of that plus the whole year for both of us, I appreciated having Mom with me.

    So here’s what I’ll have to say about 2023: yes, do different things, but stability is number one. Starting with my living situation. I need a permanent place to live. A true home base. Wood fireplace, balcony/patio, garage, and a big bathtub. Oh, and cable or fiber internet. But prices and interest rates are still high. Some say it might be in the middle of summer or late in the year for prices and/or rates to finally balance to affordable levels. I wish that to happen.

    Ain’t gonna let another living situation-related panic attack happen to me ever again. Ever.

    So, big goals this year, among other long-standing goals after this decade of depression. Hopefully, find a woman to be with me. Who knows, but I’ll make an effort.

  • Screw Cabin Fever

    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

    Hello, all.

    So uh… it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

    I will say this: living in a desert-only community than a coastal/desert community is a big difference. One I had to adjust to very slowly.

    Since I last spoke, the heat became bearable, but I became an A/C hermit for the rest of the summer. Yoga and meditation kept my sanity in check. I pushed out chapters, but the lifestyle change held my writer’s block high.

    I spent like ten to fifteen minutes a day in 100 to 110F heat (high 80s or low 90s during the night) just for going from house to car, car to grocery store or drive-thru, car to the coffee shop or cafe, and car to yoga studio. Any movement I made while the A/C stayed at 78F made me sweat. The summer months are also the monsoon months here. There will be like a day or two of rain and thunderstorms, which I loved, and enjoyed the ten-degree drop and moisture and lightning in the distance, but was aware of the floods. It’s all bare bedrock here so water doesn’t soak into the ground. All of it turns into raging rivers in certain places, which flood channels around the valley to control and collect the water.

    It’s also known that Lake Mead’s water level is dropping. That’s worrisome for me when I visualize mass migrations when the Colorado River fully dries up and puts six states in jeopardy. Las Vegas has the most advanced water retention programs in the U.S., but I still have deep seeded doubts. I lived in Big Bear. Seeing the lake dry up isn’t easy to forget.

    Not visiting the Las Vegas Strip a lot is okay with me. I think I did three or four drives just to see what’s changed, which is not much from my usual haunts. The Pinball Hall of Fame moved next to the airport and the Las Vegas sign. A rooftop brewery is opening across the Park MGM. A lot of concrete guard rails on the sidewalks. One or two new hotels I don’t see myself visiting. How much they charge parking, especially for Nevada residents, still turns me off from walking from Mandalay Bay to the Wynn in the cold after New Years. Plus years living in the hospitality business made me…spoiled, but not in a splurge kind. Just an “I’ve seen it” kind of spoiled.

    With that, I picked my usual haunts. I visit Boulder City every weekend or a day off early morning to sit and read or write at a coffee shop/bookstore, then later have breakfast at a famous cafe down the street. I visit one coffee shop in Henderson occasionally, filled with nerd memorabilia. I’m a Trader Joe’s fan now, going for some groceries and during my lunch break. I sometimes visit The Writer’s Block bookstore in North Las Vegas (I never EVER visit North Las Vegas unless it’s something very important.) I visit three restaurants every week, for having a margarita or a hearty breakfast. Seriously, I think I drank more margaritas here than ever before moving here. I found a great yoga studio ten minutes from the house, but it’s still shocking that most studios here offer hot yoga. During the summer. :/

    Now, what I was very psyched about was the weather change. Heavy winds happened in late October and all that heat just disappeared in two days. Thirty to forty-degree drop. People were telling me to understand the change, but really, I know what 40 and 50F temps felt like. I’ve visited Alaska and grew up in mountain winters. I’m built for cold weather.

    Mt. Charleston and Zion National Park are the closest camping places to visit, but I’ve yet to pick and weekend for that, not to mention go out for a hike. I’ve noticed the mountain just got snow.

    I have more stuff to say but I’ll save that when I can share it.

    As for writing, yeah, writer’s block is still high. Haven’t written much since I’ve been so busy with work. One thing after another to keep tabs on. And YouTube and social media getting worse. Twitter’s umpteenth midlife crisis and DA’s art AI screw-up is make me develop more trust issues. Just started poking around and reviewing Mastodon but haven’t pulled the trigger to use it. I’ll have to talk about that in the future. Not sure when, though.


  • Mana Pool – The Ghost Factor – Chapter 7

    New chapter is now available. Click the link below.