An unfond farewell to 2019

I don’t normally write year-end posts, but the last few months have been exceptional. (In case you’re wondering, I’m not going to discuss politics, so as to avoid existential despair.)

Oh, the first part of the year–pretty much up to November–was fine. Did GOA4 (there’s the first half of the year), then started reading more books and the like–and made a probably overdue decision to shut down Cites & Insights, setting in motion a series of cleanup essays.

It’s the last two months that made 2019 so very special:

  • In mid-November, I wound up in the hospital for 11 nights, thanks to a roaring staph infection that had probably been building for months and apparently slowing me down for at least a few months. (I finish the antibiotics course on January 1…it’s a 60-day process *after* hospital release.)
  • In early December, I was back in the hospital, this time for four nights thanks to an intestinal blockage. No surgery required, but spent most of three days with no food or liquids, just intravenous fluids.
  • As a side note, I had not been in a hospital for more than one night in perhaps 50 years. Yes, I’ve been lucky.
  • Turns out both probably had something to do with the robotic-assisted prostatectomy of roughly two years ago: around 30% of the time, this faster and safer form of prostatectomy leads fluid sacs and/or adhesions.
  • By the way, the prostatectomy itself seems to have been wholly successful: PSA numbers since have been consistently too low to measure.
  • While the staph infection has no long-term consequences, once I get enough Activia in me to restore the biome, the same is not true for the obstruction, since no surgery was done: it means changing my diet, probably permanently, in a number of annoying ways (which, among other things, make it difficult to get enough calories: I was 160lb. before the hospitalization, 148lb. when I came out, and after 20+ days am struggling to get above 15o–aiming for 155lb, but that may take months). I’ll miss cashews and other nuts, Clif bars and anything else with rolled oats, raw carrots, raw spinach, raw… oh, and raw fruit with skins on in general. An ongoing learning process…
  • I shouldn’t forget that my spouse has been absolutely wonderful through all of this. We’ll celebrate our 42nd anniversary on 1/1/2020…
  • The web host on which this blog, and, and Cites & Insights all reside is shutting down in April 2020. Turns out that, as I’ve gotten older and more retired from a lifetime of technology work, I’ve become wary: specifically, I can’t even bring myself to start the necessary migration process. Anyone want to help?
  • Finally, just as lagniappe, the day after Christmas the keyboard on my 4-year-old Toshiba laptop went wonky: all any key would yield is l, q, – or the Windows key. After finding out that a repair, if feasible, would be at least $250 for a notebook that only cost about $400, I am now the proud possessor of a 17.3″ HP notebook, one of very few 17″-screen notebooks still available. Better CPU (8th generation Core i5 instead of, what, 2nd generation i3?), 8GB RAM–and only 250GB of storage rather than 500GB, but with a huge difference: the 250GB is SSD. (I never used more than 150GB on the old machine: I don’t do video or heavyweight photo work. Indeed, as I found when migrating data, if it wasn’t for 50GB of FLAC music files, I’d have about 6GB total to move over: text just doesn’t take much space.) I think I’ve re-established credentials at most websites I use (at least in Firefox), and I’ve reinstalled or redownloaded almost all of the programs I actually use–and the transition from Office 2015 to Office 2019 seems painless so far. (Although, when my wife finally gets a new laptop, Office 365 may be tempting: I don’t like subscription software, but a terabyte of cloud storage would make backup painless.)
  • One bit of good news here: Just as people have told me, SSD makes the new laptop a LOT faster than the old one when starting programs or doing file-based operations. I mean, three seconds to load either Word or Excel–I’ve timed it–and a second to load the 14,000-row GOA5 spreadsheet. Seems like the daily Malwarebytes scan is much, much faster as well. So yes, if you’re buying a new PC, absolutely look for SSD storage.
  • Oh, and of course I’ve now lost access to my websites, so that’s something more to work out besides the need to migrate…

So yeah, I’m hoping 2020 is less eventful than the last two months of 2019…

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