luckycanuck: (convicts rugby)

I arrived in Manchester on the Monday and met the Convicts.  They had me in a room with another straight guy, and within the first ten minutes of us checking in I was in the early stages of aspie stress.  He talked all the time, had no sense of personal space (within the first hour he had taken a shower in my ensuite bathroom ) and generally gave me the impression that I was going to have very little personal space during the week to come.

Things got worse at our touch rugby warmup.  I wasn’t wild about playing touch rugby, and the fact that some of the guys were screwing around during the game and the briefings that surrounded day one complicated things further.  I know people were just trying to relax and have a good time, but I wasn’t in the mood for it.

My coach asked how I was doing, and I told him that I didn’t think I was going to make it through the tour if things continued like this.  The forced (or presumed) chumminess of rugby tours was never my thing.  I had a meltdown in 2007 on a rugby tour to France when the joking and bravado became too much.  Overall the coach understood, and another teammate told me that this was my tour too, and that I shouldn’t ever feel pressured into doing something that is going to make my tour miserable.

Tuesday was fine.  We trained, and people were more focused (although there was still some screwing around.)  There was a pub crawl which meant more social interaction, but I had the mental bandwidth deal with it this time.

Wednesday was another low day.  There was more training, but afterwards preparations were made for a series of short skits in groups.  I was tired from training and travel and the like, and the forced fun of acting out the sexual indiscretions of a teammate were not going to appeal to me.  In the end, what forced me over the edge was something relatively trivial.  My job was to make a chef’s hat out of two room service menus.  That’s what made me snap.  Being required to wreck two perfectly good menus caused me to curl up in a ball on the sofa in my room and have a panic attack.  I hadn’t had one since last July when I was still working in Parliament.  I recovered, but went to skit night with the rest of the team in a dazed state.

The club president took me aside and asked if I was ok.  I was frank about my concerns, and he basically gave me permission to do my own thing.  I’m an adult and I already had permission, but it was nice to know that I wasn’t letting anyone down.  I went off and did my own thing for dinner and left the rest of the team to their bonding exercise.

I appreciate that this kind of exercise is good for most of the guys and they enjoy it, but it can easily become too much for me.  The pressure to have fun, and to have fun in officially sanctioned ways becomes too much, and when I feel like I’, not having a good enough time, I feel like I am letting the team down.  That is absurd, I knew it, and they knew it, it just took some time for me to accept it.

The next morning the club president came to visit me at breakfast and we talked more.  Again, he said I should never feel pressured to do anything that is going to set me off, and that I should tell him or a coach or one of the tour staff if I was getting close to my freakout point.

All rugby clubs are a bit blokey.  I’m mostly not.  The Convicts are the least blokey rugby club I’ve ever played for and I can’t imagine any other clubs that I have played for or toured with being quite as understanding about someone who wanted to break the routine of forced fun.

I am happy to be a Convict, and I took that attitude into the tournament.

Wet weekend

Mar. 7th, 2012 01:16 pm
luckycanuck: (convicts rugby)
There has been plenty of rain. Parts of Sydney and Canberra flooded, my burns are being cancelled, and it was a wet day for the Mardi Gras parade, though it dried up by the time we got going as we were near the end.

I spent a fair amount of the parade shirtless, and a girl I met described me as being "body arrogant" in part because I was doing pushups during the parade and continued to do so after she sat on my back, and because I demonstrated wife carrying techniques.  (She was part Estonian and I had to demonstrate the Estonian Carry.)  She also used the same term to refer to her.  There are currently pictures of me tagged on Facebook that I am thinking of untagging.  I was in a really good mood that night, and my actions suited that, but I am not sure if I want hundreds of people seeing them.  Then again, once a few hours pass, comment tends to die off so there is probably not much more interest to be had.

There was also a birthday for Italian Sushi where I dozed off on Sunday night, and a sense that I may have been making my relationship with another friend all about me.  In my recent state I have been more self-involved than I would normally be, and the asperger's often means I miss cues from other people or simply forget to ask how they are when I have my own things going on.  Nobody is upset, but the people I let into my circle are important to me and I want them to be aware of it.  I just don't always know how.

My plan was to stay in Sydney all week as I have another engagement on Saturday, but I got a message on Monday offering me trivia gigs on Wednesday and Thursday, so I drove back.  Tonight I am going to Queanbeyan, having spent the morning working out my sound equipment and reading through the quiz to work out any problems that may crop up.

I've also got an interview with another agency, though to be honest, I am becoming pretty jaded with the whole thing.  I don't expect to work in the public service this financial year.  I am, however, going to apply for a private sector job doing media work for a charity.  It would be a permanent job which is different from most of the work I've been looking for, but I think it's worthwhile to look at something else.
luckycanuck: (Mr Happy)
I'm doing Black Dog Pushups again tomorrow.  This time it will be a target of 2,000 in two hours at lunch time in Garema Place, and there should be some pretty good exposure.  I rejigged the media release and sent it to local TV, radio, and the Canberra Times, who are sending a journalist and a photographer to cover the story.  I've also been hyping BDP on Twitter and today I was retweeted by two rugby league players, an ABC journo, a comedian, a judge on Australia's Next Top Model, and an Olympic swimmer, which means hundreds of thousands of people have been told about my project.  After a good retweet, for an hour there was a surge in people following me.  At times it was on the cusp of going viral.

I had a session with my psychologist yesterday and it was the first time there was more positive than negative talk.  Plenty of talk about BDP.  Excepting some frustration with Coffee Snob and work and one of the agencies, it was all good stuff.  And to improve things further, while I was in session the frustrating agency rang and set things in motion to resolve my frustration over being knocked back from the DoHA job.  Later, Coffee Snob dropped the Spartan Death Race advocacy, so I'm running out of things to complain about.

I was advised to think in terms of "and" rather than "but".  Instead of saying, I have x, y, and z but I don't have a real job, I can say I have x, y, and z and I would also like a real job.  I've also started thinking that I've been living with the gloom for a long time.  Far longer than this year when I really started to notice it.  I've long felt aimless and like I don't quite fit.  It's only recently that this started to wear enough on me to make things break down.  It could be that the gloom has been with me a long time and will remain with me for a long time, and it just needs to be managed.  Much like the Asperger's perhaps.

Gym, fire, possums, markets and more behind the cut. )
luckycanuck: (convicts rugby)
I had my second experience with roller derby yesterday and it was quite something.  My friend Bikerchick was competing in the curtain raiser to the grand final, which wound up being a tremendously compelling match (or bout as they are called.)  I was highly impressed with the athleticism of many of the players, and compared it to professional wrestling, except not the least bit fake.  The similarity derives from the theatricality of the sport.  It was a lot of fishnets and violence based puns, and it's a sport I now appreciate much more now that I understand the rules better.  I'm sure I will see it again.

I wound up at the after party with a number of the players including Bikerchick whose attempts to get me to arm wrestle one of her teammates fell flat.  I did enjoy being in the background keeping mostly to myself, though often this is mistaken for not enjoying the festivities.  I was fine until a group of people wound up heading to one of Canberra's gay bars (or possibly the only one.)

I've been in more than my share of gay bars with the Convicts, and I am fine in the environment.  This, however was not my environment.  It was loud and crowded and by this point in the evening I had not a lot of bandwidth left, but the problem started before I even went inside.  When I am out with the Convicts, I am amongst friends, and I am in places I know.  This was not the case last night.  I may as well have been on the dark side of the moon I felt so out of my element.  I felt I had no business being there like I do with the Convicts, and I was nervous even as we walked there.  I would have thought I was fine with gay bars, but maybe I'm not.  Maybe I'm just ok with Convict bars, or maybe I'm just not ok with night clubs generally unless I have a good reason.  Whatever the explanation, I quickly went into aspie stress mode, was unable to look anyone in the eye, had to sit down, and wound up being led to a spot where I could do so.  I was right next to the dance floor in a loud and crowded room, and apparently I was sitting on broken glass but was too close having a panic attack to notice.  I didn't last long, and Bikerchick led me outside where I was slowly able to come down from my near freakout.

We wound up having a nice chat about my aspie tendencies and her own struggles, and I dozed off on her sofa while watching True Blood.  I awoke to her cat headbutting me repeatedly in an effort to get fed.

Today was a quieter day, though I did get to the gym and did an arm and chest oriented workout.

TW: 5 rounds - 10 bench press, 10 hanging pullups.  Then 10 rounds - 15 HR pullups, 15 bicep curls.

Yesterday was more tire fun and a go at Fran (3:12).  I'm getting better at thrusters but it will probably be a long road since anythign squat related is an awkward movement for me.

Tonight I dined with Bakerypenguin and family and then watched the rugby world cup final while wearing black.  It wasn't the most satisfying match and it ended with a close 8-7 result for the All Blacks.  They were the best team in the tournament and I am glad for them given what has happened to the country recently, but all the same they seemed to be trying to lose it at times.


Oct. 10th, 2011 11:42 pm
luckycanuck: (Mr Happy)
Another review post.

Investing: There seems to be more confidence in the market now, and some of the stocks that people were shorting are now on their way back up.  I like to imagine that the people who were pushing the price of my shares down are now scrambling to close their positions and losing money.  Aurora, Billabong and ERA are gaining momentum, and I've got orders out to pick up more as I think they seem to have turned a corner with plenty of buyers waiting in the wings.  Service Stream looks like it has been oversold and I picked up more today now that there is finally support, and I got more Eureka last week.  It seems drastically undervalued.

Gym: I managed a workout on Friday that involved 25 calories of rowing, 25 marine pushups, 25 pullups, and 25 burpees repeated 6 times.  It took me 52 minutes and I had a real thousand yard stare going from the burpees.

Pushups/Gloom: I've also been doing large numbers of pushups on a regular basis so I can get freakishly good at them.  The idea of taking some time next year and doing Pushups Across America to raise money for charity is gaining steam.  I think I may have found a charity that might be suitable for this project of mine.  It's called To Write Love On Her Arms and it is a group that tries to fight depression by setting up intervention programs and funding crisis hotlines.  Apparently they are quite switched on, and they have contacts and chapters all over who may be able to help me out too.  It's early on and I would have to do a lot of investigating, but it might be especially appropriate for me.  Pushups, and working out generally is a great help for me when I get the gloom.

Church: To Write Love On Her Arms is a vaguely Christian charity.  It chooses not to identify itself that way because a lot of people find the term alienating (I can well understand that) and they have discontinued links with some questionable Christian groups some time ago, but the founder is personally religious as I am.  It has been a long time since I felt particularly religious (or even spiritual) and in the year to date I've only been to church for services twice, and even that is contingent on counting my attendance on Easter Sunday at an airport chapel for fifteen minutes before my flight in Orlando.  I really haven't felt like it.

On Sunday I got up early and drove up to Young because Renaissance Priest's daughter was being baptised.  It all went very well, the sermon given by a priest I know in Canberra was excellent and was all about a very difficult passage (those are so often the best), and given the circumstances and the atmosphere, I was glad to be there.  It was the first Eucharist I've had since Ash Wednesday.  I'm not going to be a regular at church all of a sudden, but it was good to be back.

Rugby: On Saturday I donned a Wales jersey and watched the Wales/Ireland match in an Irish pub.  There was me and one other red shirt in a sea of green, but luckily rugby is the kind of game where you can do that without getting glassed.  In fact, if I could have faked a Welsh accent I could have had half a dozen drinks bought for me after Wales won.  If I had been wearing England gear I doubt I would have been as well received.  People really don't like England.  I think it's excessive.

Friends: I wound up meeting a couple of guys at the pub, one of whom is an old friend of Helga (small world) and had a couple of drinks with them.  I've not been much for going out for drinks for quite a while, but I felt up to it this weekend.  It was as though I had a lot of mental energy and could stand going out after the Wallabies/Springboks match (or maybe I was just in a very good mood given the result.)  I've not been out for drinks with the guys for a long time.  I've not even had "the guys" for a long time.  That's not to say these guys are the guys, but for part of the weekend they were.  We wound up out at a bar in the city that had an overabundance of fake tan and ridiculous hair on excessively muscular wankers, and the "I want to be a reality tv contestant" women to match.  Normally that atmosphere would have sent me into an aspie tailspin, but for some reason I had a good time.  I really can't account for it.

Odd Dreams

Sep. 26th, 2011 11:35 am
luckycanuck: (Mr Lazy)
I've had three of them in the space of a week, and all of them seemed quite telling.  I made a special effort to remember them.

On Wednesday morning I woke up from a dream based on Inglourious Basterds.  I was the Bear Jew and another basterd and I had just taken out the guards outside Hitler's cinema box.  Before we could charge in and do some Fuhrer shooting, a friend of mine came around the corner with nothing on.  She wasn't a Nazi, but she was going to interrupt our plans and I couldn't have that, so I tied her up with some twine that happened to be nearby.  She didn't fight back or struggle and I managed to tie her up pretty well but I woke up before we could go in to kill Hitler.  Throughout, I had an vengeful attitude, just like the Bear Jew in the movie.  I was angry and quite determined to finish my job, killing Hitler and as many Nazis as I could, and bringing down the Third Reich.

On Saturday morning I woke up from a dream that was set in New York.  I was visiting a friend of mine where she worked, and afterwards we went to a park where there was some gym equipment.  This friend of mine has recently been working out more, and we decided that I would do some personal training and we would work out together.  I put together a Crossfit workout that involved pushups, kettlebell swings, and sprints across the park and back.  We were about to begin when a tall, drunk guy came by and started harassing her, making suggestive comments and getting quite grabby.  She got angry, and so did I.  I wound up applying my rugby skills and tackled the guy to the groud before pounding on him Ultimate Fighting style.  Again, it was a dream where I was angry and violent.

Last night I had another dream, this time that involved me visiting a new church for the first time.  I was in a wistful state and didn't want to talk to anyone.  One of the regulars asked me if I was ok, and I said I didn't want to talk about it.  Someone next to him asked the same thing and said I was welcome to chat with them, but I pointed out that this would mean talking about it, and that I had already gone on the record as not wanting to do that.  Immediately, someone else made a joke about getting me to talk, and I snapped, asked "are you deaf? I said I didn't want to talk about it."  Then I got up to leave, aspie stressed beyond my tolerance level.  As I was walking out, I started having trouble breathing (much like I did once back at work on a bad day.)  I had a panic attack and collapsed on the steps outside.  I don't know what I was so wistful about in the first place, but I had noticed that it's been a long time since I went to church.  It used to be rare that I would miss a Sunday, but now I rarely attend.  I have noticed that my increasing gloom has come at a time when I have been going to church less and less, but I also remember that I stopped going because I so often found myself annoyed and/or frustrated at services.

So there you have it.  Three dreams, all of them quite vivid, and all of them unpleasant, or negative, or full of anger and violence.
luckycanuck: (SPARTA!!!!!!!!)
Right now, Australia and the USA are playing a preliminary match in the rugby world cup.  I am at home instead of watching it at the pub.

Also, I am in a really strange mood.

I turned up just before kickoff, ordered a beer, and found myself an uncrowded spot in a nearly empty pub to watch.  My intended workout for they day was to do ten pushups for every point the Wallabies scored.  I've done it plenty of times.  Last Sunday I did the same thing while watching Canada v France in a pub and there were no objections.

But as I finished my second set of post try pushups, I was told that nobody was allowed to be on the floor and that pushups in the pub were out of the question on accout of health and safety regulations.

F*cking health and safety regulations!  I wasn't in anyone's way, I wasn't doing pushups on shards of broken glass, I wasn't hurting anyone, I was just patronising their pub and watching the rugby in my own way and they decided they would rather I left than stay for the rest of the game and most likely for dinner.  Damn you Surf Rock Hotel!!!  Damn you I say!  If you thought I was going to hang around for the atmosphere you are wrong.  I was there to watch the rugby and do pushups, and if you take either of those away from me I have no reason to stay.

So I finished my beer in one gulp and walked out, making sure they knew why I was leaving.  I marched home with a scowl on my face.  My plans had been interrupted and I was fuming.  I had been looking forward to the rugby and my pushups all day and now I couldn't enjoy either.

Now I'm home, and with my original plan dashed I am all aspie stressed and struggling to think of something else to do.  I feel paralysed with frustration.

MCat and I had another long Skype chat this afternoon and I told her that I felt broken, that I had no idea how to fix myself, and that I had virtually no inclination to do so.

I'm not well.
luckycanuck: (Mr Lazy)
I was out late on Saturday night and had a bit of a lie in on Sunday, though I did stock up on supplies for my week in the Collaroy Castle and went to the gym.  I was really looking forward to playing with the ginormogantuan tractor tire they have at one of the gyms here.  I had a whole thing planned and was all set to go when I turned up and found the tire was gone.  I've not been to the Mona Vale gym for a while and asked one of the employees when it had gone.  She said she saw it there just a few days ago.

I tried to put together a new workout but the rings there weren't spaced at a point where I could do dips or ring pushups.  I had been looking forward to tire work so much that when that went I was unable to put anything else together.  It was in a moment of aspie stress that I wrote in my workout book where I record my workouts "F*CK IT! No tire. What the hell happened to the tire?"  I did some heavy farmers walk with 32kg in each hand and some power cleans, and later did 100 marine pushups in the sauna where it was 96 degrees (over 200F).

TW: 500 hand release pushups for time. 23:38.  Now I can feel the fatigue.

I spent the day at home, only going outside briefly to get something out of the car.  Tomorrow I think I will go out more, possibly for a swim.

We have found a new housemate, who will be known as Ginger Harpist, because that is an apt description.  She is the one who plays the harp professionally and also gives lessons.  The fact that she will be teaching lessons from home and rehearsing long hours is an issue, but it need not be a problem if we all approach the whole thing as reasonable people (and we are all reasonable people.)  I had the best feeling about her and I think she will fit into the culture of Chez Canuck better than anyone else we saw.

Today the market dropped a lot, but I didn't lose much.  SNL went ex-dividend, and all orders were scrapped so I took the opportunity to put in a sell order at 74.5 cents for some of my holding and a buy order at 51 cents.  I spent part of the morning bidding the buy price up with someone else before they left.  As it is, I currently have the highest buy price at 56 cents and the lowest sell price.  This means that if anyone wants to buy or sell SNL right now, they will have to do so at my price.  I am setting the market.  It's not a hevaily traded stock (no trades were made on it today) but for the time being, and until a normal market returns from all the orders being purged, anyone who wants to sell will have to sell to me at my price and anyone who wants to buy will have to pay a premium to get my stocks.  This window will close I am sure, but at the moment I really am defining the market in this stock.
luckycanuck: (SPARTA!!!!!!!!)

I put some margin loan money into a coal seam gas operator that has been tipped for strong growth and that is being accumulated and so is also rumoured to be a takeover target.  BOW has slipped back a bit so I got a bit more today while it's cheap.  ERA and my favoured AUT have slipped back a bit with the selling that gripped the market yesterday but I will hold on to them both.  I did think about moving AUT into other operators in the same oil fields with smaller market caps, but it come with lower risk and it is currently providing a lot of the security for my margin loan so I think I will keep it as it is.

I did apply for an increase in my credit limit while I am still in full time employment, and they gave it seemingly without a second thought.  Maybe I should have applied for more?  No.  I've got enough to enable me to capitalise on opportunities when they arise.

Ok enough dull stuff.

Alleluia's leaving day is getting closer.  She has been packing a lot and her removalists will come and cart her stuff away on Friday.  That means we need to replace some things, so the rest of us went out yesterday and picked up some sofas.  There was some aspie stress as we drove around trying to find the place and I was advised to turn far too late, but I did manage to carry both sofas into the house single handedly, which made me feel much better.  Then we rejigged the lounge room to fit everything and it's actually much better now I think.  We had our last household chocolate and wine evening before the changing of the guard.

Late last night after setting up the TV to replace the one Alleluia is taking with her, I came across the Facebook status of someone I know from the election campaign last year.  It read: Australia is holding a Census next week. Don't leave the “religion” section blank. Be sure to at least mark Christian (or your own faith). 1 million Muslims will mark their box. 10,000,000 Australians will leave it blank then wonder why Christmas carols are being banned in schools as well as Easter hat parades! It's not about religion, it's about keeping our way of life.

That pissed me off.  The relationship between Islam and the west is a perfectly legitimate subject for criticism.  There are legitimate issues related to the clash of civilisations if you want to call it that, but this is pure fiction and it adds nothing of value or intelligence to the debate.  It's the kind of pandering that stirs up people I am really sick of hearing from, and I wouldn't be surprised if we got correspondence on this subject as a result of this.

For my part, I posted this as my status in response: Luckycanuck thinks people should answer the religion question on the census honestly. Answer all the questions honestly. But 10 million people leaving the religion question blank? You really think roughly half the population is going to leave that question blank and that this will pave the way for a mosque on every street? There are reasonable things related to Islam in the west that can and should be debated. You don't need to make stuff up or repost things that are alarmist or inaccurate.

This morning I dropped off the trailer we used to cart the sofas, and then spent over an hour on a commute that would normally take about 15 minutes.  Apparently a body was found outside a block of flats along the way, so the police shut down all three lanes of a major traffic artery for the whole of peak hour traffic.  The body wasn't found on the road.  There wasn't a crash.  There was just a body outside of a building next to the road.  So the whole road gets shut down.  I almost feel like calling the police to complain, but that wouldn't accomplish anything.  Bad traffic brings out the worst in people at times.  As I took a detour on a side street, I saw one guy bypass about twenty cars and then pull into the intersection and drive on the wrong side of the road.  As he sped away I actually shouted him that if I ever found him I was going to stab him right in the throat.

On a happier note, I give you the cat video to end all cat videos.

luckycanuck: (Default)

Yesterday I went to a film being screened by the Israeli Embassy on the anniversary of their independence.  It was called Turn Left at the End of the World.  You can watch the trailer and guess what it was about.  Dialogue was in English, French, and Hebrew.  Afterwards I stopped by some drinks that were being put on by a prominent lobbying firm for Parliamentary staff.  I don't know how much they spent, but I can't imagine they got value for their money.  There were heaps of staff drinking away, but I didn't speak to a single person from that firm.  Maybe they were just trying to spend money before the end of the tax year.  I was perfectly willing to help them by having a Heineken and some finger food.

I was able to handle the crowd there which suprised me a bit, though my eyes did glaze over when I got stuck conversing with a guy who is outstandingly dull.

I managed to get some song lyrics quoted in Parliament today.  W was making a speech and I gave him some words to drive the point home.  On the one year anniversary of the current Prime Minister pushing the former Prime Minister, W was making the point that things have gotten worse, and he chose to paraphrase a song that I recall my maternal Grandfather singing when I was very young.

"One year of this Prime Minister, and what did we get?  Another year older and deeper in debt."

He cited him Tennessee Ford rather than Tennessee Ernie Ford, but other than that, I grinned a bit when I heard it.

Parliament is going to be sitting later than normal for a Thursday tonight, though I don't really have to stay for it.  The politicians may be back tomorrow morning too, and there will be a work lunch afterwards that I might find some excuse not to attend.

This weekend I am committed to going to Sydney.  No waiting until the last minute to decide.  I'm going this time.
luckycanuck: (Mr Strong)

There was the possibility of going to roller derby yesterday but the tickets were sold out.  I did meet up afterwards with a friend of mine who was involved.  The initial plan was to end up at a gay bar in Canberra.  I've been to plenty in Sydney with the Convicts and at first I thought I would be ok, until someone questioned whether or not I would get in with the shoes I had on.  That quickly sent me into aspie stress.  I went from being fine to rocking and handwringing mode with low bandwidth.  In that state with what has been going on, my desire to be around friends was outweighed by my desire to avoid being in a loud and crowded space filled with people who may impugn my footwear.  So I drove them there and went home instead.

There were some good workouts had though.

YW: 20-1 pullups; 1-20 kettlebell swings.

Towards the end the middle finger on my left hand began to hurt and I had a hard time gripping anything.  I was going to quit the workout but I decided to continue on and managed to finish by putting more weight on my right hand.  This morning my middle finger was kind of purple and cold.  It's getting better.  I must have done something minor to it.

TW: A focus on legs and core to avoid contact with the purple finger.  100 openers, 100 closers, 100 leg presses, 15 minute core, then 5 rounds run 600km, 20 burpees, 20 pushups.

I weighed myself at the gym today and either the scales were broken or I actually have negative mass.  I prefer to explain this phenomenon as the result of working out so hard that my body spontaneously transformed into anti-matter.

This morning I had brunch with [ profile] bakerypenguin  and discussion was had about the frustration and injustice of the sale of the Collaroy Castle, and about what happens when you see a psychologist for depression.  I've been through a lot of thoughts about the Collaroy situation some of which have been of the annoyed and pissed off variety.  I still don't understand why there is a sudden desire to sell.  As for the psychologist visit, I am looking forward to it.

luckycanuck: (Default)

First thing this morning I noticed a job posting through an agency that I thought suited me.  I rang them, and they almost immediately asked if I could come in for a chat.

Then within half an hour, a package arrived.  It was my new suit, which had just arrived from Hong Kong.

With a waistcoat and all.  Suit therapy is very helpful, in the short term at least.

I felt much better with a job interview set up and wearing a new bulletproof suit for the first time.

Then, just before heading out, I got some bad news that brought me right down.  I was on the phone with Canada, and my father told me they are planning to sell the Collaroy Castle.  That knocked everything else out of my head.  I wasn't able to articulate an answer to anything he asked after that.

It makes sense.  It's owned by two men aged 67 and 72, neither of whom live on the same continent as the house.  I am the only one of my cousins who lives anywhere nearby, and holding on to it benefits me far more than anyone else.  I suppose there is the option of buying everyone else out, but that would mean going into a huge pile of debt bigger than I am likely to be able to get out of.

I've been in Australia for six years and the house probably won't go for a couple of years.  It means a lot of other things besides losing a beachside pad.  In a manner of speaking, I will be homeless.  My car is registered there.  I am on the electoral roll there.  That is where I officially live and it is where I first lived when moving to Australia.  I've bounced around plenty of places in Canberra and one place in inner Sydney in my first year, but the Collaroy Castle was always an anchor.  Most people my age have a place like that, and in a couple of years I won't.  After being in the family for nearly a century, the property will be a place where someone else lives.  No more anchor for Luckycanuck.  I have no family in Australia.  I've adjusted to that and I'm fine.  This house is the closest thing I have to family and it's going away.

I also wonder if my parents will come by Australia now that there isn't a place to stay.  It had been proposed that if I settled down with a family they might come out to live once in a while so they could help me out like they helped my sister.  I guess that is off (perhaps on account of my telling them a family is hard for me to imagine.)  Is this a way of encouraging me to buy a property of my own as they have frequently encouraged me?  (Almost certainly not.)  Where will I stay when I go to Sydney.  Will this prompt me to leave Australia now that there isn't somewhere I can always go?  Will I move back to Sydney to get more Collaroy time in while I can?

And as evidence that I'm probably the son of an aspie spectrum type, dad hit me with this news just after I told him I was going to see a psychologist for depression.

So I had my stunned and vacant expression on my face as I left the office to go to my interview.  Luckily, it went well.  I feel like I hit it for six.  They are going to pass on my CV to the Food and Grocery Council, and they have plenty of contract work that would suit me.  It buoyed me up after the Collaroy Castle shock.

I haven't been to Sydney for a while and I was planning on going this weekend but the week has taken its toll.  Once rugby was cancelled I felt that the trip was becoming less necessary (despite my desire to spend time in Collaroy) especially when I have to head right back into another full on sitting week.  I've had a tough time making decisions and deciding to take a trip was always going to be tough.  I can plan further ahead to next weekend now and be calm.

I did meet Helga's new guy and drove Roxy to a Harry Potter party to spare her from having to take public transport while dressed as the Golden Snitch.

luckycanuck: (Default)

Today has been the worst day yet of this current downward trajectory.

Yesterday was frustrating given the letters sent in to me.  I have now come to compare them to being shouted at by people on the street.  Nothing is accomplished in sending them, nothing is accomplished in responding to them, and most of them are badly thought out and badly put together.  In short, this part of my work (and there isn't much else) basically reduces to me responding to people's uninformed ad-hoc reckons.

I went home last night without going to the gym.  I didn't feel like it and State of Origin was on anyway.  I did do some core work at home and Helga and I had a chat over oranges.  She's been quite helpful through this period.

This morning I drive into work and sat in my car for a couple minutes in the car park before deciding to move.  I was all wistful and frustrated and struggling to make decisions, even as simple as getting out of the car.  This weekend I was thinking about going to Sydney, but I can't decide whether or not to do that either.  Every option seems negative.  If you were to ask me what I wanted for lunch, I probably couldn't tell you.  Even simple decisions are suddenly onerous.

Around mid morning I was called upon to go with W to a meeting he was attending.  That meant walking with him to and from the meeting which was profoundly uncomfortable, especially when he expressed his desire to respond to more of the correspondence sent to us rather than referring it to others.  To be honest, if you send him an e-mail or a letter and it comes across my desk, I will probably find some excuse not to respond.  I can't say the pressure of overwork is getting to me, because... what overwork?

The meeting itself was as pointless as my attending it.  After I got back to the office, I found myself sinking further into discomfort.  The division bells rang with alarming regularity.  The phone went off again and again.  The guy I share an office with during sitting weeks was talking on the phone in whispers which makes me think he was talking about me (he wasn't.)  I got up and walked outside with a vacant look on my face and rang Minou.

It was at that point that the simple act of breathing became difficult.  It's not as though I was choking to death, but I was sufficiently uncomfortable that breathing in and out was a hassle.

I'm considerably better now.  I had a coffee with one friend and a further chat with another, and I will make it through today.  (More than one person has suggested going home early given that I am now feeling physically strained and have nothing vital to do, but I don't think I am able to leave.  Such is the difficulty I have in making even obvious decisions.)  Tomorrow will be much easier with no Parliament sitting, and then there are two more weeks before the winter break.  I think I can do that.

After that, I think I need to speed up my departure, even if I don't have something else to land in.  This is not good.
luckycanuck: (Default)

But our CoS did call me into his office this morning to talk about things.

He mentioned that if we had won the last election and W had become Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport, I would have found myself as an advisor responsible for W's legislation.  The way things went that didn't happen, and I am in the same role as I've been in for the last three years.

I was told that it would probably be better if I didn't just hang aroud getting bored for the next two years.  At the moment I've reached the top of the possible career trajectory in this office for the time being.  There is no other positions they can slot me into until there is another election.  So given that I can't "just hang around as the lowest paid employee in Parliament (which isn't true) and the lowest guy on the totem pole in the office" I was advised to look for employment elsewhere.

I'm not yet sure how I feel about this.

One thing I think this means is that my dissatisfaction with work has probably been noticed.  I spoke to the director of the party before going overseas and perhaps word has spread.  Apparently more complaints have been received regarding my being rude, which does not surprise me.  Under current circumstances with my current mindset, I don't feel like being pleasant with people who contact us.

They have brought on a new advisor to do more partisan work, a job that I suspect pays more and which I am sure I could have done.  If they didn't want me to be the lowest guy on the totem pole they could have mentioned that this job was open before bringing someone in from outside to fill it.

It could be that this is a catalyst in getting me to move on to something better.  I kind of felt like it might be a similar situation to be being kicked out of a previous Chez Canuck.  I had time to find a new place to live then just like I have time to find a new job now, and perhaps things will work out for the better as before.

Looking for a job may also be easier now because there is absolutely no reason I can't be completely shameless about looking for work.  I will get a dynamite reference and need not be coy about my job search without facing awkward questions surrounding what I'm doing.

I think I will make an informal list of things I can do and start asking around.  I will most likely stay in Australia as the vast majority of my life is here, but the prospect of moving back to Canada (as I mentioned to an approving CoS this morning) is much more interesting now.

Oh yes, and I twisted my ankle playing touch rugby this morning and got a bit snippy when nobody else in the office would get up to greet a visitor at the front desk forcing me to get up and limp to the door.

There has been a lot of turnover recently after we've had a lot of stability since 2008.  So far I don't get along with the newbies nearly as well as I did the oldies.  Our political advisor smells of nicotine and snorts when he laughs.  Our portfolio advisor is several years younger than me.  Our new media guy is not our old media guy and he let me limp right past him on a gimpy ankle earlier today.  I'm mostly just not used to these people yet, but it could be that it's time to leave.  I bet they replace me with someone a decade younger than me who is straight out of university and isn't surly.

luckycanuck: (Mr Lazy)
But mostly in a good way.

I had solid workouts on Saturday and Sunday.

SatW: Farmer's walk stairs 20kg each hand, pullups, 24kg kettlebell swings, 32kg SDHP, burpees, situps, leg raises. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.  The farmer's walk was really tough and I can still feel the soreness now.

SunW: Run total 9km to and from the gym.  Bench jumps, pushups, situps - 20,19,18...1

My legs are still sore.  I've done harder workouts but this was the most consistent effort I'd come up with since coming back from overseas.  I had three tough workouts in as many days, which was good as I kind of wanted to smack myself around.  Virtually nobody spoke ot me the whole time, which was also good.

I also went into work on both days of the weekend.  I did some work preparing and printing off letters for W to sign and giving him the impression that I'm on top of things, but it was also a relief to be able to shut myself into a place with no people.  Dealing with people has been taxing since Friday.  Earlier today someone came into my office to introduce herself and I could barely look her in the eye.  Aspie stress has been close to the surface at all times.

But it hasn't been all bad.  As much as dealing with anyone new was likely to be tough, I finally got to visit Cupcake Goddess at her new pad and meet her new guy.  The following day I was there to take a photo of her at the beginning of a 5k run and another one of her powering through the finish line with her shoulders ahead of her hips.  Well done CG!

I had some happy drinks with Helga and Alleluia before they went off to girly drinks (which I was mercifully spared) and settled in for a quiet night.  I did hear Roxy come home and she settled into her room before I could get up.  It turned out that she had just arrived home in a taxi after spending six hours in hospital after being hit by a car and knocked off her bike.  She is ok with a black eye, one stitch in her chin, and some scrapes on her cheek, but nothing that won't heal.

Apparently she had been trying to contact one of us for a lift, and while I was home and would have been more than happy to pick her up, somehow she didn't have my number.  I really felt bad about that.  I hadn't done anything wrong, but the idea that one of the girls I live with spent six hours alone in hospital before having to take a taxi home bothered me.

That meant that a few minutes after midnight when Alleluia rang asking if my earlier offer to pick her up if excessive drinking had been done was still valid, my answer was a firm yes.  I drove a friend of hers home and swung through Macca's for so she could get some late night sustenance before getting her home without her having to resort to taking a taxi driven by a stranger.  She was very pleased.

So I found myself getting all stressed about having to deal with other people.  (I also went shopping for shoes to a discount warehouse that was closing forever and lasted about ten increasingly stressed minutes surrounded by legions of people scavenging for deals that frankly weren't all that good before leaving with a shellshocked look on my face.)  Dealing with my friends, however, was easy.
luckycanuck: (Kokoda tractor)
I had breafast out this morning and the eggs and bacon and blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup took me through most of the day. After a walk around some more Ottawa sights and a crossover to the Quebec side of the river, I went down to the Greyhound station and just got on a bus that got me à La Belle Province by about 16h30.

I tried getting a ticket for the Métro but wound up getting one that wasn't vailid until 18h00 and had to get another one. It worked out well though, as I put the evening ticket to extensive use for the rest of the night.

Dinner was had along with a brief trip to Mile End as suggested by a girl a l'auberge where I came across Montréal's first bagel bakery. The nice Jewish girl there blushed when I told her I was using her bagels to measure against New York's bagels.

Ottawa is a city that is almost 50/50 on language use. There is plenty of French spoken there but somehow it always surprised me to hear it. Montreal is more Francophone but there is still plenty of English spoken. Here, however, I instinctively want to parle Francais. Hearing English somehow sounds odd. This really is a bilingual city and I'm never quite sure which language to lead in with.

So far Montréal has a bit of a Melbourney feel, that is if Melbourne spoke French.

I went with a group of people from the hostel to a tour of microbreweries tonight, but after we got to the first pub I realised that I really didn't care to spend a night with the others. Nothing personal, I just didn't really care if I spent an evening with them when I could go off on my own. So I did just that and had a drink at a place suggested by my old friend in Ottawa before returning home to plan for tomorrow.

Maybe I will run to the top of Mont Royal before checking out in the morning.
luckycanuck: (Kokoda tractor)

I felt a tiny bit odd yesterday while being dropped off at the backpackers where I stayed.  Nothing was implied, but part of me wondered if I could be seen as too old to be staying at a backpackers.  At any rate, I moved to new digs today.  It's another backpackers and it's located in the old Ottawa Jail.  I am staying in a cell.Cut for pics )
No political work was done today.  I'm not sure if I will get into the central campaign HQ.  Obviously people have bigger priorities than me.  It would be great to get in and there is stil a chance, but I'm not sure if PP will come through with this networking opportunity.  On the other hand, if I can even meet some of these people socially outside of their workplace it would still be useful.  I'll probably do a bit of work tomorrow afternoon.  I'm on holiday, sure, but this is a key reason I came to Ottawa specifically and I would like to see it through.

I had dinner tonight with a friend of mine from university who now works for the Department of Foreign Affairs and has had her share of postings overseas.  It was good catching up but I do kind of wish her brother hadn't come along.  He's a nice guy, but I don't know him and it complicated social interaction and meant I couldn't be as frank and comfortable as I would have liked to have been.  Also I had bubble tea for the first time ever.  I'm not sure what the big deal is.  The place was crowded with quite a few annoying hipsters and I'm pretty sure the guy making the tea was high.
luckycanuck: (Default)
My fancy dress night last night consisted of me wearing my "My Name Is Inigo Montoya..." t-shirt and a sword I picked up late yesterday afternoon.  It was a good night and plenty of the nerds there were delighted and squeeful about my shirt.  The low point of the evening was when someone tried to steal my sword.  A mini wrestle followed and my sword snapped in two.  Fine, it was a $2 sword from a discount shop and I didn't really need it, but it still pissed me off and I had to go off on my own to cool down and avoid an aspie snap.

Today I knocked on some doors for the campaign.  Plenty of people home and plenty of positive receptions.  I do like doorknocking, at least in little bits.  It was a day off for me (Canberra Day, which is about the lamest name for a holiday, but who's complaining) but it was ok spending part of it pounding the pavement.  I've done very little on this campaign and I feel as though this counts as me being a part of things.

I'm on my old laptop, but I picked up a new one yesterday that I've not yet set up.  I wanted to get one before the end of the tax year and was able to find one with a great deal.  Under $500 and it has 4 times the memory of my current one.  It was about time.  But I always feel odd about buying new things when I already have versions of the same.  What do I do with the old one, when I also tend to get sentimental about objects from time to time.

YW: 100 chest contractions and 100 pushups mixed together.  Also a bunch of other stuff.

TW: Appetiser: 15-1 up and down dumbell shoulder presses and bicep curls.  Main course: 30 situps, farmer's walk 3 flights of stairs - 5 rounds.  Dessert: Row 10 calories, 10 pullups - 5 rounds sprinted.  Coffee: 10 heavy bag get ups.

Helga came home today and showed me all her shopping (except for the bras.)  She also decided to strike back against my "manification" of our DVD collection by bringing home "Eat. Pray. Love." which we are watching now.  And yet my manliness is undiminished.  I guess I just don't mind given the right company.  And as a return, she has expressed an interest in watching The Godfather.
luckycanuck: (Default)
My friend Lectio commented on my recent sense of detachment by mentioning the possibility that I am depressed.  I hadn't considered it at all, but I wonder if there might be something to it.

I've been feeling irritable and unmotivated for around a month and a half, not all the time but in more environments than I normally do.  In that time I have accomplished very little at work (without anyone noticing) and have loathed anyone coming into my space there, I have been disinterested in contact with anyone who doesn't already know and understand me, I haven't been out much, and I've frequently felt like everyday is just another day of nothing happening.  None of this necessarily translates into actual depression, but it's not going away and I can't think of any way to make it go away.  I'm not having problems sleeping, I've not been using drugs or alcohol to get through the days, I'm getting exercise like I normally do, I'm certainly not on the brink of self harm, and I haven't spent a whole day in bed during this period.  Still, there is this nagging sense that I may as well not be here.

On top of that, every option for my future seems to be cloaked in negatives.  Staying at my current job means more of the same.  Getting a new job means a whole slate of new people to piss me off.  Cutting myself off from new people means I can't expand my circle of friends, but being socially active means potentially exhausting mental work.  The sort of things that people my age generally get into, marriages, families, mortgages, are huge obligations that I feel as though I can't handle, especially when I am getting frustrated by a life that is objectively pretty soft.

And that leads to feelings of guilt.  Who am I to be depressed.  I've got a job that pays me more than I need, I have got friends who care about me, I'm healthy, I've really got very little to complain about and I can't rationalise why I am in such a bad mood all the time.  I haven't told my parents, mostly because I can't explain it.  (On another note, I feel more and more detached from my family.  I'll be happy to have them on my support crew for my run, but overall I have very little interest in them being here.  Again, there is a reason I have chosen to live on a different continent from them.)

I've got some friends who have experience with actual long term depression, and I don't think that is what is happening to me.  At the same time, I can't just say it's a passing phase, because it's not passing.

My parents flew in on Friday and I spent the weekend in Collaroy but to be honest, I think I would rather have been in Canberra on my own.  They are travelling this time with a guy who grew up with my mum.  He's 50, but has the mind of an 8 year old on accout of being deprived of oxygen at birth.  He's not doing anything bad, but I find him annoying to the point where all of my answers are monosyllabic and I can't make eye contact.  I suspect that my current state of mind might be making this worse.  I wonder if they will ever travel to Australia on their own without bringing someone who makes me want to avoid them.

There is a state election coming up in March, and I hope I will be staying in Canberra and periodically working on the campaign across the border in Queanbeyan.  If I get sent off to Tamworth or Dubbo or Port Macquarie I think I will be dangerously close to snapping and doing something stupid.

I am now resting in preparation of my run.  My support crew is taking shape but some people who have expressed interest in helping are not committing.  I know I can be alone for parts of the run, but it would be nice to have people for the tough hours.  Also, I'm hoping to get photos of every hour and someone will have to be on hand to take them.

Off to trivia now.  I'm not sure how this will turn out.
luckycanuck: (Default)

I've moved house.

The new place is really taking shape.  We finished up yesterday around 5pm after moving nearly everything from the old house and I discovered that the restaurants and shops of Dickson are just a ten miinute walk.  We went to bed in the unseasonable cold last night with boxes still strewn around the house and virtually nothing set up.  This morning we set up almost everything before noon, and planned on making a run to the old place to pick up the rest and to haul some things to the tip, but rain intervened and we decided it would be better to wait.  It rained on us periodically on moving day but we managed to avoid getting anything that was in the trailer that was attached to my car wet.

Overall, the move went pretty well.  I and everyone else were in a pretty good mood, even though with all the stress I had too little bandwidth to be nice and sociable with the guys that Helga and Alleluia have been dating.  The apsie stress dropped considerably once we had finished for the day and I was able to be friendly with the one who had stayed on for dinner.

I think the new place will work out fine.  Alleluia is taking a day off tomorrow to settle some moving things around the house and we still have some more things to move.

The three of us who stayed last night (Roxy has flown off on holiday) spent pretty much the whole day together, finding breakfast in Dickson, setting up the house, doing some Christmas shopping (though I stole away to do about 8km of rowing) and later watching a dvd of "The L Word".  And my work colleagues joke about me living in a lesbian collective.  HA!

My first guest was Cupcake Goddess this evening.  She came over in a subdued mood, but agreed that the new place is looking positive.


luckycanuck: (Default)

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