Listenin' for bats (Learning Things: July 24, 2023)

green halftone collage of an angel statue and a flower

I hope everyone's getting through the dog days of summer alright. Hey, you know something that I learned last week? Apparently the phrase "dog days of summer" has astrological roots and is a reference to Sirius, the dog star. Who knew? Not me.

I'm going to be doing some travel soon, so I'm going to take a little mini-break from blogging and podcasting these next few weeks. But I'll be back later in August.

Paranormal research

Listen, I've not had the best month. And when I'm having a bad time, I either read a ton or not at all. So the good news is that I've read 35 books so far this month (if you include the 25 manga omnibuses that I've read, which I do, because a lot of those are like 200+ pages long.) The bad news is that none of this reading has been non-fiction. So it's been a research-light month.

The closest I've come to reading (all of) a paranormal-related book this month has been the excellent Heart, Haunt, Havoc by FreydĂ­s Moon. I mentioned it a few weeks ago too; it's a queer horror/paranormal/romance novel about an exorcist. But it's not exactly research. Though I did learn some actual occult-type stuff from it, such as what an esszettel is. (It's a folk medicine practice of writing things on paper and swallowing them with the hopes that they'll cure you; a schluckbildchen is like that but with a drawing instead. Look at how cool they are.) I love learning about those sorts of oddities.

Tech and/or DIY paranormal gear

The only real "update" I've got on the DIY paranormal gear front is that I acquired kits to make two silly lil devices: a solar-powered magic 8 ball and a bat detector.

I mostly ordered 'em for soldering practice, but the bat detector's interesting to me because it picks up on ultrasonic sounds and converts them to a frequency that humans can hear. It caught my eye because 1) I'm charmed by the concept of a bat detector and 2) I seem to recall some connections between UFOs and ultrasonic frequencies being made in a bit of Operation Trojan Horse that I can't say I completely understood. Still, seems like it'll be a fun thing to play around with.

Oh, and in speaking of tech, if you've been following the (absolutely riveting) saga of my Framework laptop's RTC/CMOS battery issue: I still haven't actually made any (permanent) repairs, and I'm not gonna replace the mainboard until I absolutely have to. But! I've been using my laptop more than usual these last few weeks (I've been working while lying down a lot, see: depression), and because of that, I think I've figured out the pattern of its quirks.

I'm mostly just writing this down on the off chance that it might be helpful to anyone else who's having RTC battery issues but also can't be bothered with doing a real repair right now. Here's the rundown:

  • As long as I keep the laptop plugged in when it's not in use, it generally turns on fine (even when used on battery power).
  • But if the laptop hasn't been used in a week or so, it won't turn on. In those instances, the charging indicator light won't turn on even when it's plugged in (even if I haven't unplugged it the entire time). So I just use a crappy USB-C cord to get it started charging until the indicator light appears (I use a cheap cord from AliExpress; it's not actually that bad, but it doesn't do PD charging). Once the light's back and I know things are happening, then I plug in a PD charger instead to actually fill up the battery. (If the main battery is low, which sometimes it isn't.)
  • If I keep the laptop unplugged for more than, maybe . . . half a day? Overnight? then it won't turn on at all without being plugged it (even if the main battery is full). Once it's plugged in (even if it's just connected to a portable power bank for a couple minutes), it'll typically turn on just fine and stay on. I dunno, a lot of people refuse to do anything before they've had their coffee; the laptop just needs a sip of power (because the CMOS battery just ain't doing its job at all).

So we'll see how it behaves when I go on vacation. When I traveled last month, I couldn't get it to turn on for the life of me. But I'd like to think I'm older, wiser, and better at troubleshooting now. We'll see if I can get it to work during my upcoming trip. So suspenseful!

By the way, I did find the replacement CMOS battery that I ordered months ago (the one that temporarily went missing, which so many battery-related items seem to do in my apartment). So I do need to try that out and see if the problem is just the battery itself. But I don't think it is. Pretty sure the issue is the battery's connection to the mainboard. But we'll see. It'd be a helpful thing to rule out.

Art and paranormal investigation

Surprise surprise, no updates here.


Honestly, most of my spare time and attention (what little there is) has been going into writing at the moment. That being said, I don't have any particularly interesting updates. Just got my nose to the grindstone, etc.


There we have it. A slightly-more-chaotic-than-usual weekly update.

Anytime I take a break from blogging/podcasting, I'm always extra self-conscious about my last update before the break, since it gets more views/listens than usual. Makes sense, since the piece will spend a longer-than-average amount of time as the first thing new people see when they find my stuff. So I should really try to put my best foot forward in those instances.

I've emphatically not done that here. Oh well.

I suppose I'll close by saying that if you, like me, are in the doldrums, might I recommend this delightful YouTube video in which two friends visit every Margaritaville restaurant in the US and Canada? (It's a sort of sequel to this video, in which they visit every Rainforest Cafe.) It has nothing to do with any of the ostensible subjects of this blog, aside from the nostalgia factor of themed restaurants. But it really hit the spot for me today. The spot being: media that is engaging but not upsetting at all. And, you know, it's got a summer-y vibe.

About the art for this post: I put together this lil collage of photos that I took the last time that I visited the city I'll be visiting. You know. To be thematic.