My cubital tunnel situation

As some of you know, I've had cubital tunnel syndrome since at least January 2017.

Short version:

It's slowly getting worse, so I'm probably going to get surgery for it, which will make it much better.

Long version:

I've been working with my OT (who is amazing at zir job) off and on since 2014 about my various hand problems. Ze suspects that I have always had ulnar nerve problems – in fact, ze suspected it even before I got the obvious symptoms of tingling and numbness in my little fingers. (Ze suspected it based on the weakness of some of my hand muscles.)

We've tried the physical-therapy approach. After it got aggravated in February 2017, I made sure to treat it nicely. I made sure to [...]

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A slight change to my blog schedule, and an update on my projects

My “post something every Wednesday” schedule hasn't been working very well for me lately. I keep putting off writing a blog post into Wednesday, then feeling lethargic on Wednesday and not wanting to write one. Now, this isn't entirely a problem – after all, it's gotten me to write some good posts, even if I didn't 100% enjoy the process. However, there's an extra issue:

A lot of the time, I've been working on some other project that I'll post here eventually, but it isn't ready to post by Wednesday. So when Wednesday rolls around, I interrupt myself from that project in order to write a blog post. My blog posts are Serious Business and take a lot of mental energy, so writing one really disrupts my flow on the other project.

So I feel like I need to change my schedule. The problem is, if I just skip Wednesdays when I need to, I'm worried that I'll [...]

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Eli status: December 2016

I've been sort of sick for a few days, so I'm not up to writing a serious blog post. So instead, I'll take this time to give an update on what I've been doing recently.

My hands

In my last status update, I mentioned that my adductor pollicis hadn't been doing its job. Since then, we've discovered that the same thing happened with my first dorsal interosseous muscle, which also helps the thumb move. Training that muscle has given me another big improvement in how well my hands work. A couple weeks ago, I actually drew for 30 minutes straight, which was manageable (although close to my limit at the time). They're not feeling quite as good now, but they are normally worse when I'm sick, so they may still be improving overall.

My projects

Writing The 23 Days Cult turned out to be a much bigger project than I had planned for. It left me pretty burnt out, and I didn't manage to get excited about another project for the month after that. I did manage to do some work on a game modding thing in Wesnoth, which is fun, but it's not one of the Great Works Of I also randomly learned how to livestream games on Twitch. Here's my Twitch page, if you're interested in that kind of thing.

But yesterday I think I finally got excited about something again – continuing work on [NSFW] Hexy Bondage. I actually made a couple changes to the rules, more than a year ago, but I never published the changes, because my original publishing process was INCREDIBLY inconvenient. So first I was thinking of improving the publishing process. But now I'm also hoping to make an online version of the game, which you could play on a computer or smartphone or whatever. I'm not sure if I'll stick to this project – we'll have to see how I feel when I'm not so sick. But I'm pretty excited about it so far.

– Eli

Eli status: August 2016

Here's a quick update on how things are going for me right now.

My hands

I've been having various problems with using my thumbs for years, since I injured them through overuse. However, 6 weeks ago, I finally figured out the cause of most of my current issues. It seems that my adductor pollicis was going completely unused (in both hands). That meant my other hand muscles had to do extra work to compensate.

For the last 6 weeks, I've been deliberately exercising the adductor pollicis, and my problems have gotten MUCH better. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to draw again within [...]

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I'm back, and with new treasures!

The story of the last three years isn't very interesting. My hand problems got better, but then they came back again. Then they got better again, then they came back again, and so on. They're still not entirely recovered, and I'm still trying to see different doctors to figure out what the real issue is. It's no fun.


Since last June, I have had working speech-recognition software. I can now do most of my work by voice, even computer programming. I've been making a bunch of interesting things this way, I just haven't shared them on this website yet.

That's because this website was hard for me to use.


I started redesigning this website in 2013, and now it's finally, finally finished. All of the old posts are still here, but I rebuilt everything else from scratch. There are so many improvements that I can't possibly list them all. Here are some of the big [...]

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I was overheated and unproductive, but now I'm not

So, I said I wanted to post an awesome thing every week. That didn't happen. Instead, I got overheated.

I don't handle heat well. If it's above about 72°F (23°C), I stop being able to focus, I become very lethargic, and I get sleepy more easily, but I don't feel rested after sleeping. If it cools down again, I get better fairly quickly. I'd say it takes about 20 minutes to change my mental state, in either direction – although it's hard to measure.

Our house is normally cooled by a heat pump water heater. The one we had was broken. Then we replaced it. But I missed about a month's worth of work between when the heat started and when it cooled off.

Now I'm better, mostly. I've been working on a Javascript game project for the last week, although I don't have anything I can show to people yet.1

I'm still tired, though. When I go for a month without being excited about anything, it takes a while to get excited again. I'm not even impatient to finish VC, although I'm sure that feeling will come back before long.

I'll try to do the “post an awesome thing each week” thing again. To start with, I've done more experiments with biscuits that I should tell you about. Stay tuned.

– Eli

  1. I'm partially doing it as a prototype for part of Lasercake. So I'm working hard to make it robust internally, rather than making showy things. back

I'm back!

I haven't blogged in more than a year, but that will now change!

A little after my last blog post, I strained my wrist by programming for eight hours and drawing comics for five hours every day for a week. For a few months, I could barely type – so I stopped blogging, and when I got better, I was busy with other things. Like college. I graduated from Colby College this year, and despite its many structural problems, I think I managed to squeeze a good education from it.

Let me tell you about some of the things I've done in the last year. Leave a comment to tell me which ones you want to hear more about!

Before this summer

Watched a lot of anime. Solved all the levels of Fish Fillets. Got paid to tutor some people in math. Did a lighting design for a short dance piece. Worked on Lasercake a lot and released a prototype. Did BDSM with a partner for the first time. Ran a tabletop RPG for the first time. Played a tabletop RPG for the first time. Learned (and invented!) some useful knots. Wrote a 10-minute play and had it produced by the Colby theater department. Participated in some student activism. Built an exellent new device to carry my stuff around in. Initiated five other people into Eli Dupree's Cult of DOOM. Designed a sexual board game, and learned a lot about Inkscape to do it.

Since the beginning of this summer (May 18)

I'm at home now, with nothing but free time to do awesome projects all the time!

Reorganized my room. Reorganized my computer stuff. Started improving my diet, inspired by Rob Rhinehart's “Soylent” project. Learned to use a sewing machine. Got back to working on my comic. Started using an EMG biofeedback device to help me draw without clenching my hand. Set up an exercise bicycle we have and improved my bicycle endurance a lot. Continued work on Lasercake and the board game. Updated a Battle for Wesnoth add-on (“Era of High Sorcery”) that I wrote years ago. Bought a used monitor, built a wooden shelf, and rearranged my workstation [picture].

Some things I'm going to do soon

I'm going to finish Voldemort's Children, finally. It will probably take me at least a month, and I'm going to do all the remaining pages as a batch (so I won't be able to post any until it is all finished). But it is coming!

I'll redesign this website a bunch. Writing it from scratch two summers ago was a great experience, but now that I've used it for a while, I've seen a bunch of flaws in its current design.

I'll leave it at that for now. I don't know what else I'll do next, because there are so many different things I want to do next! But you will hear from me soon. I will blog more, I promise! I'm going to try to post at least one awesome thing each week, possibly more.

– Eli

This is a child-friendly website

Ahem. This will be a policy of my website. I intend to make my website appropriate for all ages of viewers, or at least, all ages that are likely to be able to use a web browser. That implies a lot of different things, so I'm making this post to outline the most important ones.

#1. Words like “fuck” and “shit”1 are totally acceptable here, because nothing's worse for children than censorship.

This is hardly the most important rule, but it's a good one to set the tone of this post. Being child-friendly means treating children with respect. It means treating them as independent human beings. When an adult tells you not to say certain words, that adult is not respecting you. Ze is saying that zir own opinion is more important than your freedom to say what you feel like saying.

This can take subtler forms, too. Some adults try to [...]

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Scrutinized words: man, woman, boy, girl

“Man”, “woman”, “boy”, and “girl” are scrutinized words on this website. You're allowed to use them, but if you do, they will be marked like this: man, woman, boy, girl, men, women, boys, girls.

I encourage you to use gender-neutral alternatives, like “adult”, “child”, or just “person”, as I do. When I'm specifying someone's gender on purpose, I do it explicitly, as in “male person”.

Womyn and wymyn1 are also included for completeness, because I've seen people use them on the Internet. I wanted to include “guy” in the list, but “guy” also means a lot of other things.


Because they lump together a lot of different concepts, and lumping those concepts together is sometimes harmful to people.

Now I'm going to take a step back and explain that. The trouble is, it's not easy to do that. So I'm going to take another five steps back and [...]

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Scrutinized words: she, he

“She” and “he” are scrutinized words on this website. You're allowed to use them, but if you do, they will be marked like this: She, he, her, him, hers, his, herself, himself.

I encourage you to use the singular “they” or the gender-neutral pronoun “ze”, as I do. You use it the same way as “she”, “he”, or “they”:

Subject Object Possessive


When you call a person “she” or “he”, you explicitly assign a gender to them. Gender is important to lots of people, but these words are very short and common, so you usually read past them without thinking about them. By marking them, I make it more obvious how important they are.

Since “she” and “he” are structural components of the language, it's very hard to avoid using them unless you're willing to modify the language itself. And because they're so hard to avoid, they force you to divide all humans into two classes: The “she”-humans and the “he”-humans.

That division is called “the gender binary”. I don't like it.

If you include the gender binary in every sentence you write, speak, or think, then it becomes part of your [...]

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the epic first post

It is the year 2013, or later. You have just navigated to the earliest post of Eli Dupree's wildly popular website, which has over 100,000 regular readers. Eli has released at least one full graphic novel here, as well as dozens of short stories, songs, games, and other cool things, and is currently in the midst of an even more massive project, which ze is hoping to finish within a month or two.

That's right, I'm talking to you – you, the reader. Usually, when someone writes “now”, or uses present-tense verbs, they mean the time at which they're speaking. But in this post, the present is the time when you're reading it, which I have just claimed is the year 2013 or later. People who write blogs usually talk to the other people from the present, and I'm going to go back to doing that with my second post, but I thought it would be fun to talk to you people from the future instead, just for once. Of course, I'm making a lot of assumptions here, but it's a lot more fun to just assume I'm right than to stick a phrase like “I'm guessing that” in front of everything.

First posts weren't a thing that I thought I liked writing, back when I wrote this post in the middle of 2011. Usually, when I started to get involved in a new thing, I would try to do it a little at a time, rather than make a big, flashy entrance. After all, people usually get more skilled, not less, over time, so how can a first post, or first performance, or first musical album, ever hope to live up to what will come after it? But a good challenge is always fun, so here, the challenge was this: Make a first post that is so awesome that it will still be awesome now that you've seen everything that comes after it.

Since part of the point of this website is to advance the cause of social justice, I did consider the idea of ignoring the issue of awesomeness for this post, and dedicating it to some specific cause instead. On the other hand, I didn't want the symbolic nature of a first post to imply that I was setting up one issue as more important than the other. I wouldn't have been able to consider anything thoroughly, because I would have felt obligated to make everything perfect and even-handed, which is impossible – exactly the issue that made me reluctant to write an epic first post originally. I did make a lot of posts about various social issues soon after this one, but this one was completely dedicated to awesomeness; I didn't even bother to advocate on my own behalf by explaining the gender-neutral pronoun I used in the first paragraph!

Instead, I decided to make a bunch of ambitious claims about my future success!

It's at least 2013

The first question I had to ask myself was this: Who are you? Who will be reading this post? And that led me to a very interesting series of conclusions.

First, the way this website is set up, it is easy to go back to the beginning and read the first post. And there was really only a very short window of opportunity for this post to have been displayed on the first page; therefore, it's almost certainly true that you've deliberately looked back to read it, rather than reading it at the time it was posted.

Second, a good website's readership tends to increase exponentially over time, as more people hear about it, post links to it, and so on. What this means is that there are always a lot more late joiners than early joiners. However, the number of posts I make in that time doesn't increase exponentially, so the late joiners won't have a much harder time reading all the way back to the first post, even ignoring the readers who deliberately jump back to the beginning. This inevitably leads to the conclusion that more late joiners will read this post than early joiners. And what that means is that, assuming I keep producing this website through, say, 2016, you are almost certainly arriving after 2013, regardless of how effectively I publicized it in 2011.

That raises some interesting issues. It means that I'm talking to the majority, while the people who read my posts within a few days are the minority. Most blog posts, by using present-tense verbs to refer to the writer's time, subtly privilege their present-day audience, by placing them in the present; they allow later readers to view the record of events, but do not directly address those readers. Or worse, the present tense refers only to the author's present, ignoring the readers entirely! When a person writes something, and another person reads it, there are two people involved; why should the language establish the time of one event, the writing, while ignoring the time of the other event, the reading, entirely? When I wrote the next few posts after this one, it was only linguistic convention that made me write for the minority of readers from the present, or the even smaller minority of myself. What justification did I have for mentally privileging the present-day minority over the silent majority of onlookers from the future? Or was the future truly so limited that it was right for me to have valued my influence on my present-day readers more highly?

Let's move on.

I have 100,000 readers

Okay, this one was a bit more of a gamble. I didn't actually know for sure that my website would become this popular. But when I made that gamble, the outcomes were skewed in my favor, for two reasons: First, if I was right, then lots of people would know I was right, while if I was wrong, relatively few people would know I was wrong. Second, if I was right, then it would be very impressive that I had accurately claimed such a large readership, while if I was wrong, it wouldn't have been that much of a disappointment, since it's such a high number I was aiming for in the first place. (True, if I've ended up with ten million readers by now, the 100,000 looks like a pittance, but I don't think you'll fault me for claiming only 100,000!) And by the same logic from the last section, if I ever have that many readers, then in the long run, most of the people who read this post will read it when my claims are true!

But that paragraph makes it sound like I wasn't actually that confident about my ability to acquire a large reader base. On the contrary, I definitely was! I had lots of reasons to believe that I would gain a wide following:

1) I went into this task with the specific intention of making my posts easy to read, engaging, and thought-provoking. I wanted this to be a website that all kinds of people could both enjoy and learn from. Thus, I had reason to hope that it would spread both among people who enjoyed reading it for its own sake, and also among people who were serious activists and liked the ideas it was expressing.

2) Remember that graphic novel I mentioned in the first paragraph? I released it one page at a time, in a serial format – i.e. as a webcomic. It's a well-known fact that publishing a webcomic with a regular update schedule brings readers back over and over again. And the e-mail notification system is also an effective way to keep up with the website without having to actively reload the page, for people who have e-mail addresses that they check regularly.

3) This should probably have been the first item on this list, because it's the most important: The stuff I do is really cool. That's why my website was able to spread so quickly by word of mouth (or word of blog, or word of instant message): Lots of people read it and wanted to tell their friends about it – people just like you! Sadly, doing really cool stuff isn't always enough to become popular. History, up to and including the present, is full of examples of marginalized people who did really cool things and weren't recognized for it. But in my case, my cool abilities combined favorably with my societal privileges to bring you a product that can hopefully work towards demolishing the very injustices that created this situation in the first place!

(Yeah, I was an optimist when I wrote this post. You'd better hope I still am.)

I've done lots of massive projects

I'm afraid I went for a bit of a cop-out on this one. Of course I'm working on a massive project... I'm always working on a massive project!

Writing this website was a massive project. Just before that, I finished up a semester of college by writing a novella (which I posted on this website later in 2011). Before I wrote the novella, I was working on writing my own music composition software, and in the middle of all that, I was acting in a full-length play. And a day or two after I wrote this post, I started working in earnest on my next massive project, where I wrote my own graphics editing software – the same software I went on to use to write the graphic novel I mentioned.

So, in short, I had this very clear knowledge: I would have been walking on treacherous ground if I had claimed that I wasn't working on a massive project right now.

So keep an eye on the website, whatever year you're viewing it in, because... you know that massive project I'm doing? I'm hoping to finish it within a month or two.

– Eli