It was themum's birthday recently; she would have turned 75. I called thedad to commiserate (slash) celebrate and he told me he'd sung "Happy Birthday" to her photo that morning (1). I talked about my recent medical appointments and how I'd had to give the family history of depression from the male line. Then I thanked him for those genes; "without that depression we wouldn't have cared as much about what we did". That while the black dog stalked the boys that gave us power along with despair to make our environments better. My dad did that his entire life—volunteered to improve his community—and my brothers have done it in every place they've worked. Our black dog makes us fight for what is right and it's better to have tried to leave a mark—driven on by our brain chemistry to dare because of despair—on the world and failed than not to have left a mark at all. While my mother didn't have the gene that gave despair she succumbed to the gene that ran down the maternal line that stole her mind; she spent her last three years in full-blown dementia. But fuck me if she didn't live the snot out of her life—and she came of age in the early-'60s when to be a fully independent working woman was less common, across two continents and islandsin the process. She was driven by the desire to live as much as she could knowing her likely fate. I love that in her full-blown dementia she retreated to those golden moments from her much-lived life, telling thedad about the skiing trip she'd just taken with her flatmates from her time in Canada when he came to visit his bed-bound dementia-riddled spouse. That set of genes I can do without. So here's hoping that science cures that by the time I'm of age; sads I can cope with, the mads I cannot (2). Anyway, acceptance of being a black sheep dog for the win. (1) I later I went out and
sang "Happy Birthday" to her memorial service sheet that I have pinned
up on the shed wall from where she can proudly gaze upon me with much disappointment; "Oh, Michael". (2) Upon notifying his nephew that their aunt had died thedad found out his brother-in-law, my mother's second older brother, was still alive. He does not have dementia so perhaps it is locked to the maternal line (but we may be carriers for the gene for our female kin). He was also a cock-spankdespised by my mother. I hate that she went first and nuts while he lived on and stayed sane.
The infamous keyboard which has survived many a Mikey key pound is finally dead. I thought it had died late last year but no, it survived, and kept clicking. But today it died its final death when I pounded the I key so hard it spang out of the keyboard and could not click back in again. Poppy, thewife's dad, gave us his old desktop computer. It's set up and ready to be used in the shed—I just have to set up the dongle thing that allows it to access the broadcast router. But in the meantime I stole the keyboard from that PC and am now using it for Mr Lappy. It's nice being able to see all the characters again—the I key which died had all but rubbed away, as had half a dozen other characters—and have working front prongs to tilt the keyboard upward. Thought the desk has not much room and half the keyboard is hanging over the edge that's okay because I am a two-finger typer and it means my wrists aren't rubbing on anything as I type. It is still taking some getting used to. Vale, finally dead keyboard for Mr Lappy. You served me well—right up to the moment I pounded your I key so hard that it popped out and couldn't go back in again.
The person who owned the house before us was an elderly retired priest—our study was his study and when we did the walk around lo it was filled with all sorts of Xtian tat such as gruesome crucifixes and bookshelves of theological works. When we moved in we found he'd left a desk behind out in the small shed. The desk has a marble-patterned linoleum-on-wood top. When I cleared out the big shed I took the desk in there for the laptop.
I was sitting at the desk in a moment of oratorical anger and I discovered that pounding the desk with my fist didn't hurt as much as it should have and that was thanks to the soothing feel—and give—of the linoleum "marble finish". If I ever end up in a public speaking gig it looks like I'll be a lectern pounder. So I'll have to make sure I have a protective mat with me that retards the damage from the blow but still enables the sound of the fist pound to carry. There's a reason you're pounding on the lectern; it's for fucking emphasis because you're fucking angry and right in that moment you'll need to (pound) the fucking desk (pound) to show (pound) just how angry the fuck (pound) you are. I think there's something in that for all of us.
I am watching the Trump spectacular and they're banging away about supporting veterans. And that reminded me that Jon Stewart had stepped back out late last year to promote the need to get the 911 first responders bill passed. I didn't know what the fate of that was. It was passed, back on 16 December 2016. Now that's looking after veterans. He pushed for that when he was the host of the TDS and he came out back into the spotlight to keep pushing. I miss Jon Stewart and I crave to see what he will do next.
It took 29 goes, more like 33 if you count me closing out the game without saving. Freecell #24735, you stumped me for three days. I salute you. (Mikey returns to watching Trump's anti-debate after having watched the proper GOP debate and playing a game of Freecell that is not fucking #24735).
UPDATE: I'm up to 48 minutes into the anti-debate event and so far the mic has been free for 20 minutes. That's blank air a fan could be pitching about the Donald. The stagecraft of this fucker is woeful.
UPDATE2: The Donald is coming in at the one hour and 14 minute mark. So that was 40 minutes of dead stage with noone on it. Unbelievable. What a cluster fuck.
About this time 20 years ago thewife and I arrived in Canberra to study at the University of Canberra. If 20 years ago someone had told me my life's path up to now I would have barked they were insane and in need of treatment. Oh the delish irony of that statement. Twenty years; holy fuck. I never thought I'd be in Canberra for life but it turns out I am. Canberra for the win.
My see-saw tilted and I found myself locked back in a pattern of angry yelling and pacing under the patio, my bare flat feet leaving wet imprints on the brick from the rain. I suppose I was due for an angry yell. I'll be returning to work soon but thinking of that meant I started down the path of angry introspection and next thing I knew I was yelling into the rain about my still bleeding hurt. That's okay; it's all part of the recovery journey. These moments come but they come less and with less severity. Once I am back at work, with the uncertainty of the future resolved, then my stress will come down and there will be less of these moments of recurring anger and hurt. It's stormy. I'm in the shed, listening to to the rain sheet on the roof and the rumble of thunder above and marvelling I am still here and that soon I will be back to worthy toil.
There, I got myself back to focusing on my future and not my past. WFTW.
I woke about 9 am then sharted. I was naked. I had to then shower myself clean, get dressed, strip the bed, find the stains, put washing liquid on said stains and throw it all in the wash. It's a bit ignominious to be 40+ and shit your own bed—well, shart, But I guess my IBS was in flare and decided to give me a little aftertaste with the bed shart. I didn't eat anything bad so perhaps it was the nightmares I had before waking and the previous day's painful introspection. Ha! My memories and dreams are so bad they literally give me the bed shits. I don't know why I am gloating. Who am I competing against for "worst mental injury"? Myself, it seems. I felt weak and useless when it happened and I had to clean myself up. But then I remembered I am mostly ambulatory and can clean myself up and my bedding—there are literally hundreds and thousands of Australians who don't even have that capacity. I can imagine what it's like to have soiled yourself then have to sit waiting for someone to help you—and how degrading that must feel, even if you're accepting of your body. So I sharted the bed. But, guess what? Still here, still mobile and still soon back to work. WFTW.
UPDATE: It happened again, bust this time I was prepared—undies and PJ pants. Didn't get through the first layer, either. Nice try, nightmare-spawned bed sharts.
UPDATE2: I took the bus to and from the shops. When I got in I was sweaty, shaking and nauseous. I dry retched for 10 minutes until I finally threw up bile. I stayed swaying, swimming in sweat, blind because I can't throw up without risking my glasses sliding off and into the toilet, waiting for the nausea to pass. The toilet button was stuck and I had to get a knife to lever it back up. I had a shower, shivering in the heat, then dried enough to lie on the big bed to recover. So it may have been a bug, not just anxiety-spawned unpleasantness. Ormaybe both. Anxiety exacerbates my IBS and my fibro; so it's not a reach to think it can induce or exacerbate nausea too. Stupid injury.
UPDATE3: Next morning it happened again, but again only one layer taken out. Then it happened in the shower. Then I had some pills and it seems to have stopped. For now...
It's Australia Day. While I don't think we should celebrate our national day being the start date of white settlement of Australia—and am on the record of promoting Jan 2 as the day we should have to stack on Federation with New Year's Day—nonetheless it is our "national" day and it's when awesome people get recognised for being awesome. Last night our original-to-the-house skylights got smashed in by hail. Today, a State Emergency Service (SES) crew turned up to cover and tape up the skylights until we can get tradespeople in to fix them. They were from NSW. They all had plans for their day off as normal people but they instead spent their public holiday doggedly driving around Canberra helping people with damaged rooves. I hung out for a bit and asked about previous jobs and their kewl truck and they told me rescue stories, including one where the couple rescued from a tree ended their relationship in the boat after the rescue because it had been his idea to take an air mattress to a flood-swollen river in the first place. Some of crew had been in the SES for nearly 20 years. Now that's a proper Australia Day—people from a nearby community helping their neighbours in distress. Not a bunch of bogans hanging on the piss scaring up aggro by waving signs demanding passers by be an Ozzer. I got helped by a bunch of strangers who dedicate part of their lives to helping people in need.
It's a universal human value, to help those in need, and how awesome I got to experience that on Australia Day itself, a day when the country celebrates those people who give to their community. Being helped by strangers for the win—and thanks, SES peeps, for giving up your Oz day to help Canberrans.
UPDATE: A self-pat to me. It got to 1 pm and I took our ladder out to see if I could at least see the damage, and, what if I tried to gaffer tape it up? It can't be that hard. I leaned the ladder against the wall—it was heavy—and re-thought my decision; you are a man with multiple disabilities who once fell off a wii balance board, and that was two centimetres high. I wisely returned the ladder to the shed and waited for the professionals. I recognised my inability, reminded myself there is no shame in not doing manly things when you're not physically equipped to do manly things, then went back to lying in the dark and picking at my cheek scar. And that is nowwhy I am not in casualty or stuck in the middle of my roof with a femoral bleed. I really am growing as a person. UPDATE2:The hail storm was intense, I think it lasted ten minutes. The sound on the roof was like incoming machine gun fire. But my anxiety didn't trigger—I was more worried for thewife outside trying to save the chickens (who had saved themselves under the eaves of the roof). Afterwards theboy was impressed that I didn't freak out at the overwhelming noise—"You're getting better!" So not am I only growing as a person my mental fortitude is restoring itself. Double WFTW.
UPDATE3: I sent a thanks email and they emailed back to say thanks for the thanks. That was nice. That's another gold patch for me to hang on to.
I found a Tenacious D concert on YouTube and, given the recent mostly stable internet connection, I risked playing that as my distraction from the pain of riding as I rode SoTPC. The concert went for an hour an eight minutes and I actually managed to beat the clock, knocking out the 20 kays before they finished. Tenacious D at Live @ Rock am Ring 2012 in Germany. Hilarious and awesome.
We sat at a café near the pirate-themed play area at Woden plaza when a child started screaming—a great panicked 180db yell for their mother. Their mother was nowhere. The screaming was like a chainsaw had carved through the top of my head. I dropped tools and ran and could still hear the screaming a hundred metres away. I trekked back to a chemist on the far side of the complex, bought some ear plugs, then made my way back. The child apparently still arcing up now and then but with no sign of the parent. Our table had been relocated well away from the pirate ship to inside the café but I had to keep the ear plugs in just in case. My fibro flared, then my IBS kicked into high gear with shrieking pain killing me inside as we drove speedily for home. I clutched the Jesus bar for dear life just trying to mind blank through the agony. I got in, made it with green water and spasms the result and now I am sitting in front of a fan recovering. Probs fuck, that was a nasty one. Other people were afflicted—no one likes a screaming child screaming for an absent mother—but I presume they lacked the anxiety that caused me to bolt. I had Valium, I've had codeine and other meds and my body aches like it ran a race. I'll now need some dark time, where I lie in the study, curtains closed and white noise on as I recharge from it all. I might sleep, I might not. My psychologist said that psychological injury is a see-saw, in that you end up in some wild swinging states and the idea is to get the see-saw just lightly rocking up and down within bounds of normalcy and coping. If this was a real-life see-saw then some arsehole just thudded down on the other end and threw me into the air.
The Dr Evil chair has lived in the shed since 2013 when I needed a seat for the old desk belonging to a former inhabitant of our house, the desk being where my laptop sits. The chair keeps sinking. I flipped it over and saw there's a great, livid crack running down the shaft (1). So no matter if you pull the lever to lift the chair to your preferred height once you sit upon the chair it sinks back down almost, as it felt yesterday, lower than it can physically go. I yelled at the chair as it slowly sank asking if it was taking me on a journey to the centre of the fucking earth. It did not reply save to go as low as it can, like it was in a limbo contest. Probs wept. So it's time for the Dr Evil chair to go into a skip and for me to get a new and improved Dr Evil chair.
New and improved Dr Evil chair? I like the sound of that.
UPDATE: Dr Evil chair rolled to skip. Old solid wooden chair that's still damp from months of exposure to the elements has been bought in as a replacement. There's no more relaxing at the laptop. I have to keep a private school boy seat posture in this fucker. I shall henceforth call this chair "The Drowned Chair" like it belongs to that messed up sea god priesthood from Game of Thrones who, in the books, ritually drown aspirants then resuscitate them with CPR. Those that stay dead obviously lacking the sea god's favour.
UPDATE2: The Drowned Chair had to be swapped out with one of the three others because the backrest was tilted and jabbed into your back if you leaned back. This one has most of its varnish peeled away from months outside in the sun and rain. I won't be able to sit on this bad boy without pants. Not that I ever did; that's nasty.
Our washing machine at full spin can be a terrifying thing. It thrashes about, rocks side to side and threatens to advance upon you and pin you to the wall. I was passing it at the start of one of its moments and I reached out to steady it. "Woah, " I said in an Antonio Banderas voice, "steady on, my little friend". The machine in that moment seemed like an upset droid from Star Wars and I, the human, was acknowledging both its sentience and emotion. I was watching Space Jam with my son today. I'd never seen it before. The basic premise is Michael Jordan leads Looney Tunes characters in a game against aliens using talent stolen from real-life basketball players. Jordan is snatched from the real world via a golf ball hole and into the Looney Tunes world where Bugs Bunny begs Michael to both train and play with them. So it's nice to know that if I end up in the Star Wars universe stolen from real-life via I presume a rip in space-time (1) that I will not only be soothing for the droids but that I will have a kewl Bandaras voice.
I'd like to think I'd be in the resistance, what with my idealism and all, but, well, it's complicated, sweetheart. Now go to sleep and try not to think where Daddy's money comes from.
(1) That originally said "a rim in space-time". Delightful.
My tablet is black with a black screen when the screen is off. The tablet is about 7 mm thick. So it blends in with its surrounds. I spent 10 minutes looking for it only to find it was atop the black PC tower in the study. I'd searched that room three times before I found it. Is there an app where you can yell "Tablet, where are you?" and it starts trilling like a pre-gremlin or something? If not, why not? Get onto it, nerds!
UPDATE: Have just realised that would require app to be listening to everything you said in case it heard the coo-ee call. That's probably a privacy fail.
After meetings I tend to fixate on what I said or how I performed. A kind of mental post-match review. I had one just then about a recent meeting where the meeting went fine—more than fine—and I shined like an un-crazy diamond, even though I had to talk about going crazy. It's a mixed up, mingled up, shook up world and I'm stoked that even in the depths of that ow I shined all bright and sparkly. And how awesome that I can reject 30 years of self-doubt and self-critique and confront my psych with 30 years of evidence of worthy toil for others.
What a grouse start 2016—soon I'll be cruising back within normal Mikey parameters of total awesome. WFTW.
Feather fall—it's a useful spell for if you fall. You land gracefully then prance on your way.
In one D&D campaign I ran I inserted into the game a +1 rapier that could cast feather fall, expeditious retreat and jump each once a day. It was for Lotharios who, upon being discovered by an irate husband and his muscular guards, could flit off in style to safety over rooftops and what have you, leaving the anti-romance posse well-behind. The rapier ended up in the hands of a player half-elf thief who was exactly that sort of rogue. I love a good magic item that sticks in the mind.
I am well into my 40s and the parent of a single child. A child I am forever telling off for raging on inanimate objects. In my case it was a perfect blend of pain, stress, anxiety and admin that, when combined with the router dropping out, meant I dropped my shit. I screamed a great long yowl as I slapped the top of the router about 68 times in three seconds—a hummingbird of rage against the machine. Turns out, after thewife called to sort it, it was a network-wide issue. With all my recent appointments done my body went back a step and I woke in pain—IBS, fibro and arthritic bursts out of various joints—had a pain-wracked afternoon sleep, crawled atop the SoTPC and rode for an hour plus then into the shower. I was then freshly dried and dressed when I attempted admin, reset the router three times to no success then had my hummingbird moment. Obviously it's working now. After the rage attack I yelled some more at the router, screamed at it, called it the worst things I could think because right in that moment it had tipped me over the edge because it didn't work. Then logic Mikey took over, recognising slapping the bad thing that won't work and fretting wasn't helping and took himself off to the shed to play Freecell in front of an oscillating fan. I hate that about anxiety when it's up. That you can tip over or cook off with high emotion if your ability to cope has been reached or because a trigger just pulled because you got dragged screaming into your pain. But then I hate anxiety—irrespective of severity—even if it's part of that hottest fire that makes me the strongest steel.
Like any normal human I get excited by big round numbers. I reset the Freecell stats count before Christmas and now, after a solid few weeks, I cracked 1000 games, having won 465. So trending less than 50 per cent success. Have I gotten better for my mass playing of Freecell? I like to think so.
It's certainly therapeutic. It's a game you can lose yourself in and idly think to if you're not filling the air with music or radio. I image it's like what playing the pokies is like except I'm not losing all that money and I do it in the comfort of my shed. Ha, take that, pokie palaces. Mikey's humble shed and Freecell got you beat down pat.
UPDATE: I do, however, hate the "hint" function when it gives you a hint that ends the game. Fucktard.
With the third appointment done I elected to walk home instead of waiting for the bus to catch another bus. My doctor's surgery is in the next suburb and even though walking distances causes pain and discomfort if I go slow enough that pain and discomfort is minimised. With speed not an issue I ambled. I sweated and ambled. It was a nice day out, rich with bird song and my transition lenses had kicked into sunnies mode. Even though I was favouring my good leg by about half way, with my remaining still natural right leg starting to drag, it was still okay. It took about an hour to get home. The danger of a long walk is introspection but I found myself more in the moment—listening to birds, admiring the scenery or feeling the air on my body—instead of painful musing. Then, when I was introspecting, it was about the future and not the past. At the meeting I was able to talk about recovery. That my sensitivity to fight (slash) flight has dropped and incidences of heightened anxiety are less in frequency and scale.
My focus now is what's next and not what happened—I embrace the heal. WFTW.
Canberra, Australia: Area Man, Mr X, was awarded today by the bee community for his recent safe wafting of a bee to safety from inside his shed where there was both no pollen and, with the door closed, no means for the bee to egress the shed. "I saw her dilemma," said Mr X, correctly identifying that worker bees are sterile females, "and leaped into action. I braced open the door of my shed then used a yellow number plate NO ENTRY sign to gently waft the bee to freedom." The bee, #456788-990-4, was overheard to say at the ceremony that actually it was terrifying to be advanced upon by a half-naked human waving a giant air-disrupting rectangle of yellowblack but in the interests of bee-human relations the elder bees tried to spin it into a positive moment. "The bee being wafted to freedom was a sign diplomacy is working," said Spokesbee #122999-899-5 after presenting the award, "and we will ensure that our bees don't stray into Mr X's shed in the future."
"I love the bees," said Mr X, "and they love me." "Remember," Mr X added, somewhat cryptically, "free the bees."
#456788-990-4 later remarked it was both an unusual and ominous statement because bees worked collectively and a lone "free" bee was in fact seriously mentally ill and a likely indicator of potential colony collapse disorder.
A bee had inadvertently entered, you see, my domicile of man domesticity. So I braced open the shed door with a folded-up chair then gently flapped my NO ENTRY sign to encourage the poor, deluded bee to fly to bee freedom.
As I wafted my NO ENTRY I said encouraging, calming statements like "come on, little
fella" and "you can do it, mate, out you go."
I was very supportive of that bee in its necessity because you see within each bee burns the desire to just be free. Free the bees. Something to think about.
UPDATE: theboy hid the NO ENTRY sign in the hiding tree, a tree in our yard that he can both hide in and climb. He 'hid" it in a spot I cannot reach. He told me about it as I had not noticed. I like the idea the sign is up there to tell would be roosting birds, in essence, to fuck off. Except, theboy had the sign turned the wrong way ahead and unless they're scared of a rectangle of grey metal then otherwise it's a tree that's a hotel for birds. Interesting concept, failed execution.
UPDATE2: Used the grabber—a pick up claw—to grab the NO ENTRY sign out of the tree. Ha! Now I'm going to see if he notices. Advantage, themikey.
I was on the hunt for why the router kept dropping out and in the end determined the most stable combination of phone and router was the router plugged into a splitter box but with no phone sharing the splitter box. Which is annoying. We keep a landline A) for ADSL2 and B) for 000—an ambulance can't find where a smartphone is but it can find an exact address from a landline. So this combo means there's no point having a landline phone if it's going to knock your internet out. I am going to have to teach theboy to plug the phoneline into the splitter box before dialing 000 otherwise it's not going to work if one or both of us goes unco and he needs to call the amboes. In the process of testing the best combination at one point I used my iphone to call the landline to watch the router to see if any of the green lights went red. As I spoke to myself into the landline and into the iphone I heard the results of the speech in both devices, one held to each ear. It sounded like a god would sound should a god manifest and start gabbing with humans without dialing down the god part of their voice control and accidentally shredding the pure mortals in 30 feet or less. It was pretty kewl. In a recent assessment I was asked if I had feelings of grandiosity. I answered "Well..." implying a "Yes, but...". The assessor did not seem impressed at my answer. I said I was an unusual person who had done unusual things and I wasn't a normal and therefore the grandiosity statement deserved the ellipsis.
The assessor was still not impressed. thewife had warned ahead of time to dial back the the acute self-belief. That while I may logically be able to convince people I am a superhero in all but actual supernatural ability to attempt to do so with medical people is fraught with peril. So it made for a difficult encounter, knowing I mattered like no-one else but having to suppress that part of me for the interview because otherwise I could, without that critical background, sound batshit nuts.
For those kidz out there, with their music (shakes fist), you might not understand this trope but, when depicting then institutionalized people (1), popular culture like movies, TV and comics used to show at least one person in the mental institution setting with one hand tucked into their shirt and staring into the distance because that depicted Napoleon, one of the most earth-affecting peeps in world history. The hand-in-shirt was a visual shortcut to depict a nutcase with delusion of grandeur.
The danger was, if I attempted, was achieving the verbal equivalent of that infamous gesture of hand-insert-shirt. So I had to dial it back, and tried to soft explain the "...", but I am not sure I did it justice. Oh well, I guess I will find out. Recovery and WFTW. (1) Once upon a time incapable people with mental illness lived in mental hospitals. They got booted out in the '70s because it was thought family care plus rigorous meds (equals) same care level plus savings for no hospitals. It did not work. That's why 50 per cent of people in jail have mental illness—they should be in hospital instead.
Another fun part of the Mikey adventure is the honking up of goobs, chunks of mucus unpleasantness from within my lungs that then, unless thwarted, project through the air to land with a splat. With some effort I can expectorate a goob on command so I try to honk them out when in the shower so the half-slug of lung batter can slip away down the shower-slicked wall and into the drain. But, alas, I do not always choose the time nor place when a goob honk must happen. It happened. It happened to my laptop yesterday, the goob landing between the 8 and 9 key and the I key below them, and it happened just now—the goob honked on the laptop monitor with an audible wet impact. Fortunately the goob clings to flesh more than machine and it's easy to finger up the goob so you can then wipe it away somewhere out of use or sight. I know my Mikey adventure comes loaded with disads but, really, the goob honking—it's just unpleasant. Frankly, I'm surprised you asked about it.
I had my second assessment, the most challenging one. It was a teleconference and there were the usual suspects of dropped audio, frozen image and, at one point mid-assessment, a patch had to be downloaded from Skype then Skype had to be reloaded. We ended up 30 minutes over time. It was the sort of meeting where both what was said and body language was important and the attempted telemedicine blew telechunks. In all he made three tech support calls during the assessment. I felt for him. There were clients banking up behind me around Australia I have no doubt. It was brutal and I semi-crawled away from it but I feel better for it being done and I am looking forward to the next one. WFTW.
UPDATE: IBS has flared, fight (slash) fight is heightened but I slept well and I had an awesome morning just hanging out with theboy doing storyverse then playing with kinetic sand. [RECOVERY IN PROGRESS]