Monthly Archives: October 2013

My luck runs out (health-wise)

beavbuttsickWell, it’s been a while — a longer gap than perhaps any other time in my life — but I’m coming down with something again, for the first time since I was in California (and, if it hadn’t been for those foreign germs, it’d be the first time since last November).  Woke up this morning with a sore throat, which hasn’t gone away no matter what sugary placebos I’ve munched on, and although I’ve been able to go climbing with “best mate” this evening, I wonder how I’ll feel tomorrow…

So, how has this happened?  Well, there are several possible causes, which of course aren’t mutually exclusive:

  1. I spent yesterday evening at the Science Museum, surrounded by people (and it was even worse on the Piccadilly Line), and caught something from a tourist;
  2. My immune system has been negatively impacted by the amount of stress I’m under at work, especially due to noisy people in my office (both the annoying women, for example);
  3. I caught something from one of the boxes of ancient files I’m dealing with at work (I call it “the funk of 40,000 years”);
  4. I’ve got a date on Friday after work, so naturally I’ve caught something at just the right time to ruin it (Murphy’s Law);
  5. The blood donor organisation texted me to beg for some of my rare blood, so naturally I’ve caught something at just the right time to ensure I can’t donate (also Murphy’s Law);
  6. $DEITY is punishing me for doing so well at my A+ exams (especially considering my moral dilemma);
  7. Earth just passed through a comet tail, and some interstellar viruses settled through the atmosphere to infect us all;
  8. Everyone else is catching something at the moment, and even my health streak can’t protect me — basically it’s “one of those things”.  (Yes, I know, I’m being silly now!)

So, although I’m confident I can go to work tomorrow morning to do my essential weekly reports (without which a certain London borough’s child social services would fall apart, it says here), I wonder if I’ll be able to do anything else, or if I’ll find myself curled up in bed (alone, naturally), drinking Lemsip (other remedies are available) and feeling sorry for myself.

But I won’t complain about it, because tonight at climbing I managed a 12m. wall, an overhang, and a 6a (albeit a pitifully easy one, barely even a 5… what, esoteric, moi?), despite feeling generally lousy.  And if it doesn’t get any worse than this, and if the weather doesn’t totally suck over the next few days, I may be all right.

However, I fully intend to do absolutely stuff-all this weekend, because frankly I’ve earned it!

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Things are getting better

mil_water

“Everything’s coming up Milhouse!”, says everyone on the Internet — but when have I ever ignored a meme?

Don’t worry, folks, I survived the storm of 2013 on Monday, although I did see some felled trees, including one almost blocking entry to the Castle — and in fact have had a very productive day, which seems to have rounded off a generally good month of my life!  Why, turning 36 seems to have been the best decision I ever made…

No, I won’t complain about the Northern Line, since the heavy winds meant every form of public transport in the Greater London area and beyond was disrupted beyond usability; suffice to say, it was no worse than usual.  And I seem to have been a lot luckier than people on other lines, especially the London Overground, which they suspended before anything had even happened!

My luck held when I attended my second A+ exam in the afternoon: despite almost panicking at the start, when I got SEVEN simulator questions and realised I couldn’t use the /? switch to find the options for bootrec, I got an enormous 847 on the scale of 100 to 900.  Phew!  (I was also lucky that they didn’t have a power cut and force me to reschedule completely, like another incident you might recall…)  So, with my 841 for the first exam in the bag, I’m now A+ qualified… er, again, but this time at a higher level, and with the momentum to actually make use of it instead of faltering, and then getting depressed because an IT guy at work tells me it’s not worth anything because everyone’s got one… oh, sorry, I won’t dwell any more on 2011!

Anyway, despite the ongoing transport problems of the day, I was able to go home and then come out again to the Castle to see my personal torturer, who continues to be impressed by my improvements — to the point where he’s starting to find it difficult to spot for me!  I’ve even made it up to 12.5kg dumbbells for some exercises (not by choice — the set that the Castle has jump up from 10kg!), though it’ll be a while before I can start on that weight rather than round off my sets with a couple of showoff reps.  A while?  Maybe a couple of weeks at my current rate!  I am, after all, my great-grandfather’s… er… great-grandson.

(I wonder whether my maternal lineage comes in a roundabout way from Japan, and indeed whether one of my ancestors was Benkei, the powerful warrior-monk who fought alongside Yoshitsune?  It would explain why my mother loves Japanese culture, and why I seem to like Oriental women…)

rob_tracy

Never thought I’d end up missing this guy…

Unfortunately, there’s a couple of clouds on the horizon: for one thing, my weight seems to be rebouding, though this might be due to me gaining muscle mass.  Hey, everyone knows that BMI is quackery, right?  Right?  And, even worse, although I’m now on the next module for my IT studies (Windows 7), it seems that the familiar, quirky Robb Tracy has been replaced in the video material by some bloke I can only describe as a “Latin Canuck”, with an annoying sing-song voice.  Oh well, I suppose Italians and Canadians have something in common: they both say “eh” all the time…

I also built my new computer desk and dismantled the old one, but need “best mate’s” help disposing of the pieces, though I’ve found I can use some of them as hard surfaces for my scales and Wii Fit Plus balance board, to ensure I get accurate weight readings and don’t think I’m lighter than I am because of the carpet.  I’ve nearly finished ripping DVDs to hard drive, and hopefully my room reorganisation will make it easier to archive things in boxes in the weird little alcove (which is currently behind my bed).

And yes, I’m still listening to Gwar, don’t expect that to change any time soon (don’t worry, I’ll still get Eminem’s new album when it comes out).  I actually have a total of EIGHT albums now that Violence Has Arrived has arrived, and since the general shuffle on my phone went wonky the other day when I was 100 songs away from the end, I’ve decided, what the hell, Gwar on full rotation.  Which is to say, Oderus Urungus can spin on it!

(No, I didn’t disdain We Kill Everything, I thought it was fine — don’t know whether that makes me more or less of a bohab?)

Finally: yes, I’m still going to meetup groups, and I’m also still dating actual women, even though as yet I haven’t met the girl of my dreams — but it’s better to travel hopefully than arrive, and the mere fact that I’m getting asked out lifts my spirits a great deal.  (Anything else getting lifted?  “Ooh, Matron!”)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to work on my CV for my agency — unfortunately they want every single job I’ve ever had, which is going to take a while to compile!

Offences to the senses, or: The general public really grinds my gears

Peter Griffin: You sound terrible, all right?  You’re doing this thing, which is just… you know, what the hell is that?  And you look like, if I touched you, you’d be sticky, and frankly, you smell bad.  You’re pretty much offensive to all five senses.
Christina Aguilera: That’s only four.
Peter: Well, actually, you know when you smell something and it gets stuck in there and you can sort of taste it?  Yeah, well, I’m tasting you right now, and it tastes awful.  Truly disgusting, like salty garbage.
Christina: (licks armpit) Yeah, I totally taste it!
Family Guy (S2E4, “Peter’s Got Woods”)

simpsons_queue

Framegrabs from babysimpson.co.uk

I’ve been re-reading all my Isaac Asimov novels lately (as you know, I’m planning to downsize my stuff, and these will be going to a library just as soon as I enter the e-book world), and it occurred to me, as I read The Naked Sun on the Northern Line one day, that I’m becoming a Solarian: I’m perfectly happy to interact with people virtually, but I really, really can’t stand people in the real world.  It’s not reached the stage where I can’t function at all, but I’m fast sickening of public places, especially public transport — and today’s hideousness at the crowded Excel Centre, oh boy…

I’ve already mentioned my problem with sound in these hallowed pages; maybe I’m on the autistic spectrum, but sounds I can’t control really pee me off, especially when they’re coming from humans (which makes it seem somehow deliberate, or at least wilfully ignorant — can’t they tell they’re annoying me, dammit?!).  Today I had one of the worst ever: waiting for “best mate” at Willesden Green Tube station, I had to dodge to avoid a fat man who was making the most disgusting coughing sounds I’ve ever heard!  (A terrorist spreading a bioweapon?)

As for the other senses, well, I’m sure sight speaks for itself: my personal bugbear is piercings, especially those huge hoops people put in their ears nowadays… at least no-one in London seems to wear low-riding jeans, although I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.  The mere sight of a crowd also tends to put me off going somewhere (especially after today).

In addition, I grew to loathe the touch of other people during the summer, when I habitually went around in a T-shirt and found it unpleasant to feel someone else brush against my bare arms on the Tube… well, certainly if it was a bloke.  It’s not for nothing that there’s a blog called “Men taking up too much space on the train“: it always seems to be a bloke with his arm hogging the armrest, possibly because he’s reading a newspaper and hasn’t heard of folding it in half, or unnecessarily spreading his legs like an old lady on a park bench.  (Me with my novel?  Not likely to be appearing any time soon!)

Mind you, at least on the Tube you get armrests to divide your seat from that of the next person.  On the bus, however, I generally find myself crushed into a window seat as I try desperately to avoid any physical contact with the person who has crowded in next to me.  Since I generally only use buses to get from work to the Castle (either for climbing or a session with my personal torturer), I tend to have a backpack with me; I leave it on the aisle seat for as long as possible, in the hope of discouraging people from claiming the seat until it’s unavoidable.  Unfortunately, by the time I’m forced to admit someone, it’s almost always some bloke who smells of alcohol, sweat or cigarettes, like the sweaty middle-aged man in T-shirt and shorts who made me cringe one afternoon during the summer… or today, a guy who reeked of tobacco on the Jubilee Line as I joined “best mate” for a journey to east London.

Ah yes, today’s glimpse of what Hell would be like if it existed: after the coughing man, and the smelly man, I had to endure queuing at the Excel Centre in London for a comic convention.  Shuffling forward in a massive, crowded room divided into switchback lanes, jostling with strange people, frequently stopping for ages, having people behind me sounding like they were talking directly into my ear… eventually I decided to leave (since I have to study for another A+ exam on Monday, and I’ve got a new computer desk to assemble and the old one to dismantle), but even getting out of the building proved to be an ordeal of dodging around slow walkers (and people coming the other way — which also grinds my gears on Tube station staircases during the rush hour).  It’s also perhaps lucky that I eschewed the rail “replacement” buses (naturally they put this convention on a weekend when the local branch of the DLR was suspended), which would doubtless have been crowded… walking to Canning Town in the open air was eminently preferable.

(No, I won’t complain about sight in this instance: it was rather nice ogling loads of young women in cosplay outfits!)

I’m not claustrophobic as such, because I don’t mind enclosed spaces when it’s just objects in my way; but when it’s people who are blocking me, well, I get annoyed, anxious, or even close to panic sometimes.  Maybe I am some kind of high-functioning autistic, because I should appreciate that most people in the world (me included — I was hammering and playing Gwar this evening when I got home!) are wrapped up in their own stupid world and pig-ignorant of everyone around them, yet I always somehow feel that they’re doing it on purpose.

Don’t worry, though: I at least overcame my fear of heights by riding the Emirates cable car across the Thames, which made the trip somehow worthwhile…

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Result!

rob_tracy

Is Robb Tracy related to the gap-toothed model in the “Get the London Look” adverts?

Hi, hope you hadn’t forgotten about me?  I seem to be writing this once a week at the moment, which is perhaps a bit of an improvement, but I need to unburden myself here a bit more often.

For example: I confess that I did today, deliberately and with malice aforethought, get a whopping 841/900 in my first A+ exam (220-801).  Not quite as impressive as it seems, since the range goes from 100 to 900, but still a respectable >90%.  What am I confessing to?  Er, the fact that it was so easy for me because I’ve been using online question dumps, and although my IT agency positively encourages us to try them out, so many questions in my exam were exactly the same as in the online dumps that I feel like a fraud!  It’s a bit like the time when I was 14 that I overheard someone from another science set giving a boy in my set the answers to a Chemistry test, and I ended up getting 28/30 because the teacher didn’t change (or even reorder) the questions!  Everyone thought I was a cheat (perhaps because the guy actually receiving the answers got a much lower score), and the shadow has remained ‘pon my soul all these years…

Pleas in mitigation: I was reliably achieving marks of >90% in “mock” tests using these dumps anyway, and I felt cheated after failing my Windows 7 (70-680) exam in 2012 due to the questions bearing no resemblance to those in the book.  So, quite frankly, I think I deserve this — and it’s not like I’m some kind of cowboy who knows nothing about computers and hopes to blag his way through: there’s a nice man at work (an air conditioning servicer who looks suspiciously like James “Scotty” Doohan in the 1980s when he made the Star Trek movies) who’s recruited me to help him fix a laptop he’s been given, and I reckon I can do it!

(And yes, I’ve advised him to get a LEGAL copy of Windows, not a DVD-R with the name written on in felt tip pen…)

It’s not before time that I’m doing this, as I want to know I can leave my current job: one woman who helped me through the worst times of late 2011/early 2012, and whom I regard as a big sister, has just left to pursue her dream of becoming a childminder, which made me sad.  Similarly my supervisor, who has also encouraged me to get better and been a very positive influence, is also off on maternity leave now, and although her replacement is nice enough, there’s still Annoying Woman 2.0 in the office.  At least the original annoying woman is on holiday for a week, so I can justify buying Krispy Kremes for the office tomorrow.

Anyway, I’m in the process of committing another crime at the same time as “cheating” in an exam: I have been, without thought for the welfare of all those rich celebs and movie producers, ripping my movie DVD collection onto a 2TB hard drive I bought previously but couldn’t use as a main drive (because it’s too noisy).  Yes, foreign readers, it’s technically illegal to format-shift in the UK — but try and find a copper bored enough to arrest you for it when there are so many speeding drivers around!  I also now have a decent SSD as my C: drive, which means my computer takes mere seconds to start up, and my games are installed on a “normal” but good HDD (including as the Mass Effect games, which I’m replaying instead of cheating studying for IT exams at the moment).

Need to re-buy this on Blu-ray, since my DVD copy is “widescreen-in-4:3”, which means a tiny rectangle in the middle of my widescreen monitor!

With games installed and movies ripped, I can put their DVD cases into a box and hide it in the alcove behind my bed, where everything is still accessible in emergencies but fundamentally out of my way.  I don’t want to have to resort to using a storage company, like “best mate”, for whom I was keeping a big box o’ stuff in my room until this weekend (getting shot of it precipitated a massive room tidy — stop cheering, Mum!), as that’s expensive and means I can only get at my things if I can somehow get to the place, which on foot would be a dangerous journey that could rival the protagonist in Planes, Trains and Automobiles getting back from that car lot, and would probably end with a similar tirade of F-words!

I’m not just improving in intellectual terms: I’m also healthier than ever before, thanks to the minstrations of my personal trainer.  Admittedly I’ve not been so good this week, due to excessive catarrh brought on by a very unpleasant change in the weather (and one which makes me wonder if I can survive another winter, especially without a layer of insulating fat!), but I’m still lighter than I’ve been for many years, and I’m still eating relatively healthily (despite any reference to buying doughnuts tomorrow — I’ll only have one… okay, two!).

Perhaps this is why I’m occasionally getting attention from single females, and indeed, on rare and precious occasions, getting asked out through dating sites!  Admittedly I’m not a fan of these because I’d rather meet someone in meatspace (“the real world”, if you need that term defined), but it’s good to know that there are woman out there who like my profile and are brave (and modern!) enough to make the first move.  Plus, of course, I still sometimes get smiled at, though I’m unsure whether attractive women who smile at me for no apparent reason are:

  • A. intoxicated by my rugged good looks;
  • B. just being friendly in the same way they’re nice to everyone;
  • C. sensing I’m lonely and trying to give me a psychological boost; or
  • D. trying not to laugh at my ludicrous appearance.

(Hmm, yes, there’s a multiple choice question that goes from positive to negative in four options…)

Right, I’ve put this post in four categories now: does that make up for not posting more often?  I’ll write more another time, when I have something more interesting to say than “everything’s sort of all right, but not markedly different than before”!

A birthday debacle

beavbuttpc

“Dammit, why won’t this, like, A+ test program work, or something?”
“Heh heh, you said ‘testes’!”

No, don’t worry, I’m not going to complain about being “old” (because everyone tells me I look young), or still being a single thirtysomething (because I’m closer to reversing that than I was when I began writing this blog): no, instead here’s how I wasted my entire birthday — and none of it was even my fault!

Right, first of all I’d booked today off so I could take my A+ exam (220-801) in the morning, and then spend the afternoon buying an SSD for my computer.  In fact I got one of those yesterday as I was walking down Tottenham Court Road, but it became clear when I got home that I’d bought a lemon, and so today I was planning to take it back and swap it for the one the guy actually recommended for me.  Then in the evening I’d see my personal trainer, and I’d turn 36 while being put through my usual exercises (because I was born around 6pm, right?).

An upset stomach and the usual pre-exam nausea didn’t start the day well for me, but somehow I managed to get the bus over to Southgate without incident, and arrived at the exam venue well ahead of the start time, 9:30am.  And waited at reception while the lady tried, in vain, to phone up the bloke who would be in charge of my exam, but whose phone was constantly engaged.  Then I received a phone call from the company that runs the exams (and through which my agency booked the thing), asking me if I was going to turn up for this exam; he wasn’t sarcastically asking me why I was late, he actually knew that they were having problems “connecting to the server”, and recommended I reschedule for another day.

Oh, if only I’d listened… but no, I was distracted by someone from the venue leading me to the testing area, where I was introduced to an engineer who became my companion for the rest of the ordeal.  He didn’t know why it wasn’t working, so he took me to the canteen so I could at least eat something, and assured me he’d be back in half an hour, “or maybe less”.  An hour later, once I’d found the strategically-hidden gents’ toilets, he came to find me, and we went back to the test room (actually a general IT room, by the look of it), where I tried, in vain, to help him fix the issue.

Yes, that’s right, I, the test-taker, tried to help the test-administrator fix the testing apparatus so I could take the damned test!  It seems they’d upgraded to Windows 7 (probably Enterprise Edition), but has discovered too late that “Microsoft Antimalware” was interfering with the test-taking “wrapper” program (presumably some kind of virtual machine on a remote server?), and his efforts concentrated on disabling this Windows component, rather than figuring out why the program was having such a problem.  Someone from the exam company was even remoting into his computer (port 3389… what?  Oh, sorry), but to no avail.  Eventually he said I could go to sort out my SSD and come back later for the test…

So, by around 1pm I’d travelled by bus to and from Southgate, and then, after trying to relax here for a bit, I set off again for Tottenham Court Road on the Underground, only to discover that although the shop that sold me the rubbish SSD wouldn’t charge me a restocking fee, the SSD I actually wanted had just sold out this morning, and won’t be in stock until tomorrow.  Thus, more or less a wasted journey on that score — and when I went immediately back up to Southgate (via three Tube lines), I discovered that the situation hadn’t improved at the test venue, and that two other blokes were waiting for similar exams!  One was very unhappy indeed about the situation, while I was trying to be philosophical about it…

In the end I left the venue, having not even begun any exam, or even met the boss for a personal apology (he disappeared somewhere between his office and the reception area); I also decided that I wouldn’t be going back there and would ask my agency (and/or the exam company) to arrange it for me at a different venue instead.  I don’t really want to go back to the place in Holborn where I did my A+ exams in 2011 (and failed a Windows 7 exam in 2012), but I may not have the choice…

Fortunately, my personal training session went fine, and was about the only good thing to happen all day (despite some lingering stomach issues, I was able to do leg raises successfully) — but, of course, I could have gone after work anyway, so it didn’t atone for a wasted day’s annual leave!  And yes, this was worse than waiting in for a package to be delivered, only to get a call at 4:59pm to say he’s not coming — at least in that situation I’d have been at home, doing my own thing, instead of sitting in a strange place, wondeirng what the hell was going on!

So there you go: my 36th birthday was pretty much a lost cause — and if I’d gone to work, the annoying woman would have been absent all morning, so that’s gone to waste!  Oh well, at least it’s over now, so no sense worrying — I’ll have a shower and an early night, and it’ll all be forgotten.

Oh damn, now the weather’s getting colder again — boy, that really grinds my gears…!

Regrets? I’ve had a few

beavis_christmas_carolFifteen years ago today (give or take a few hours due to the time difference), on Friday, 2nd October 1998, I effectively broke up with the girl I’d been dating for a week.  This represents one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made in my entire life, and one which I really came to regret during that period in late 2011 when I grew to hate my life.

How did such a thing happen?  Well, first of all, you might be surprised to know that I, a nice guy who doesn’t smoke, drink or take drugs, insisted on making out with this sweet, innocent girl at every opportunity — making up for lost time, you might say, since she was the first girl I’d ever so much as kissed.  Wednesday had been the “worst” for this, as I’d had my room to myself and invited her over, but there was no settee, and she didn’t want to sit on my bed because it was an upper bunk, so we rolled around on the rug instead.  Oh, how I wish that instead of staying in (since I wanted to watch South Park), I’d suggested we put on our best clothes and go out on the town, making everyone jealous.

(Maybe I could have offered to watch her try on some dresses…?  Hey, come on, don’t look at me in that tone of voice!)

Because of this, on Friday she was… somewhat standoffish to me, though we still went out on a date, but back at her room, when I tried to kiss her yet again, she said she wanted us to slow things down.  Yes, not end things entirely — she said she “really liked me” and still wanted to date, but didn’t want to just neck all the time.  Which would have been fair enough, as I’d been feeling a certain shame for what we were getting up to, except I, with the arrogance of youth, decided I’d explored this particular vein (geology term) enough, and asked if it’d be all right for us to be friends and for me to see other people.

And thus we discover my biggest regret: would that I’d kept my stupid mouth shut and agreed to keep things more honourable between us, instead of mistakenly assuming she would be the “first of many” and trying to, shall we say, friend-zone her while I turned my attention to “easier” women (which also didn’t exactly work out).  Maybe then the one romantic relationship of my life wouldn’t be a week-long fling just before I turned 21, and I’d have built more confidence instead of thinking I’d had my one big chance and blown it.

But don’t worry, my regrets aren’t confined to girly action (or lack thereof).  When I was 15 or 16, my folks got me a book called Learn C Now (which we were able to use on an old Amstrad PC my grandfather had brought home from work) which, if I’d stuck at it, would have enabled me to learn a useful programming language as a teenager, and perhaps go on to study programming at university.  After all, my dream job as a child had been “to write computer games”, and learning C would have stood me in good stead.

Alas, no: despite my intelligence, I bumbled through school without any real plan or direction, and it wasn’t until late in the Lower 6th (halfway through my A-levels) that I decided I wanted to be a geologist, due to some romantic idea of studying volcanoes and finding ways of predicting eruptions and saving lives.  Thus, my other big regret is what I studied at university, because again, the choice I made led nowhere — I’m not a scientist today, and I’m now studying, at the age of nearly 36, to be an IT tech support type person instead of a programmer.

Yes, there’s some things I don’t regret as such: coming to London in 2003 to study Astrophysics (since I was well off Geology by then, but at least wanted to apply it in an astronomical context) meant that (a) I met people such as “good housemate”, “female best friend” and “other female best friend” (do I need to come up with better anonymising names for my friends?), and (b) I gained a foothold in London and am still here, over 10 years later.  Hey, nothing was gonna happen living in Worthing, right?  I haven’t exactly used my Astrophysics MSc in my various “admin dogsbody” jobs, but the fact that it got me into London stops me feeling too much regret.  Plus, my computer tinkering reached its peak in early 2004 when I installed an AMD K6-2 processor in my mother’s old PC, and got myself a better machine than the 200MHz one I’d been using for the past few years!

(Okay, it died, but death is a part of life…)

Another non-regret I have: turning down a date when I was nearly 16.  Oh, you’re all surprised now, aren’t you?  But it’s true, a girl I kind of liked, and who had known me for a year and had forgiven me for being me (yes, that’s a thing), actually asked me if I’d go out with her during an English lesson one afternoon in September 1993.  However, she couldn’t look me in the eye when she did so, which makes me wonder whether she actually wanted me to say “yes” after all!  While I turned her down out of simple “fear of girls”, the simple fact is, I was enduring bullying at the time, and if she’d become my girlfriend, it would have led to her getting it as well (it was bad enough for her in that one Chemistry lesson when she happened to sit next to me!).

There’s also things I’ve done recently that I don’t regret, like taking up climbing and personal training (which I should have done long ago).  And no, I don’t regret getting into Gwar, even if you’re thoroughly sick of me going on about them!  Hey, I was into metal already, judging from the presence of a couple of Rammstein tracks in my collection (don’t worry, I’ve bought Mutter now, so I’m not a copyright thief any more!), to say nothing of Jimi Hendrix (“Purple Haze” is widely regarded as the original metal song).

I do regret not going out more when I lived at Caledonian Road; no wonder no-one showed any interest in me on the dating sites, I was living an almost totally withdrawn life, only venturing out to go to work and Japanese classes!  On that note, I also regret letting “bad housemate” move into that place with me and “good housemate”, and would definitely have chosen someone else if I’d known how much I’d grow to loathe him; oh, if only we’d picked the guy who turned us down but then came back ten minutes later, having changed his mind — I bet he wouldn’t have slammed doors, left windows open in winter, and shouted “COCK!” whenever he came up the stairs at night.  And as I’ve said before, him going at it with his girlfriend (or possibly prostitute, or someone he met through F**kbook etc. — we can but hope) one night in October 2011 sent me into the horrible depression from which I almost never emerged, and which made me fervently wish I’d done things differently with the girl in Michigan… and so we’ve come full circle!

There are things I kind of “regret”, in that I wish they hadn’t happened, but over which I had no control, such as our moving to Worthing in 1992 — and, of course, the deaths of two male relatives 15 years apart, which I’ll go into another time (they both died in December, which seems as good a time as any to write about it).  And disasters such as 9/11 and 7/7, of course, but how could I have prevented them without telepathy and/or clairvoyance (not to mention the skills of Jack Bauer)?  No sense worrying about events outside my (or anyone’s) control, but regretting my own actions can at least guide me in the future, as long as I don’t let it overwhelm me and make me feel like I can’t possibly do any right… I’m not going down that path again!

Do I regret starting this blog?  No, not at all, it’s therapeutic, cathartic and lots of other things ending with “tic” (such as “verbal tic”, of which I’m sure I have a few).  Ah, but do I regret anything I’ve written in it?  No, unless it’s a speiling mistaik or a tpyo — I stand by everything I’ve written here, however offensive, annoying or copyright-violating you may find it.  But I often find myself regretting spending so long on a post that I’m late to bed, so I’m going to wrap this up now.  In fact, I’ll try not to spend ages proofreading, for a change!

(Have you spotted any mistakes in this blog post?  If so, write them on a postcard or sealed-down envelope and post them to: I’m One of the Three People Who Actually Reads Dave-ros’s Blog, c/o Council of the London Borough of Sesspool, to arrive no later than last night.  The first correct answer out of the hat will receive a US drone strike, so don’t forget to include your name and GPS coordinates.)

Progress update

beavbutt_buffDon’t worry, I’m still here, and still getting better by degrees.  Why, today I saw my personal torturer again, after going climbing on Thursday and Saturday, and I’m getting ever more hunk-like.  It’s getting to the stage where I may have to buy trousers with smaller waistlines yet again, as the belt I bought just before my holiday (and which was literally the only non-leather belt I could find in Oxford Street) is getting ever tighter… five notches at the moment!  I’m even starting to show signs of an incipient sixpack — and while I know everyone has the necessary structure for one of these, I’m actually closer to having it show through than ever before!

I won’t ever be Arnold Schwarzenegger, but why would I want to be…?  Though I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to going around shirtless and letting the chicks get an eyeful of my bodily particles, something I haven’t been able to do since I was at university…

In other health news, now that the downstairs shower has been reopened for business after three weeks of remodelling, I’ve vowed to bathe or shower every day instead of every other day (or worse).  It’ll mean less time in the evenings for other things, but hey, it’s part of my continual drive to improve.  I’ve still not had a cold since I was in America in May, though I am getting a bit bunged up in the current weather.  I was very low when the weather changed suddenly a few weeks ago, but not any more — I don’t want to make claims about turning a corner (since I’ve done so before and still fallen into deep depression), but I think I’m getting better, thanks to the help of three people:

  • My personal torturer, who has greatly improved my health, and encourages me to improve.  While I’d love to big him up here by name, and thus drive business his way, I’d better not — instead I’ll just recommend those of you in the north London area who are looking for a personal trainer visit the Castle and consult a poster in the minigym…
  • A certain female psychologist with a name inspired by a female villain in the Batman series (but she doesn’t have a squeaky Brooklyn accent, mercifully), who I’ve been seeing… no, let me rephrase that — consulting recently regarding my self-confidence when it comes to women.  After all, I can talk to women like they’re human beings without difficulty, but chatting them up is much more difficult for me!  I told her the story I told you guys last week, and she reminded me that all the circumstances can be recreated — the most important thing is that I had the guts to go and talk to her, and she’ll see about helping me develop that confidence on a more permanent basis.
  • The guy who runs weekly yoga classes in a converted church off Albany Street — again I won’t name him (in case his lawyers are reading), but he’s a good bloke and he’s helping me in both physical and spiritual terms, as well as organising fortnightly singles events.  I can’t always go to his weekly events because Tuesdays are rather busy, but I’ll go whenever I can… and, as luck would have it, he’s friends with the female psychologist above!

Perhaps I can add a fourth before too long, as there’s a nice trainer at the IT agency through which I’m studying, and who runs the monthly webinars; we’ll judge how well he helps me by whether or not I pass my A+ 801 exam when I (a) organise and (b) take it.  I already took the 701 version in 2011 and passed, so this shouldn’t be a problem… right?

What other things are afoot?  Well, my 36th birthday fast approaches (my personal torturer says I can have a free session that day!), and I need/want a new computer desk, a new SSD hard drive, a new mouse… well, yeah, we’ll see about all that.  I’m moving to downsize my possessions at the moment, in terms of ripping all my DVDs to an external hard drive and archiving them in a box out of the way (which I’ll also do to my video games once I’ve installed them again, after cloning my Windows install to an SSD).  I’m also still re-reading novel epics (currently on the works of Asimov) such that I can give all my “dead tree” books away, and move over to e-books.

Decluttering is my aim — pruning away the deadwood, in terms of my possessions, my flab, and my emotional baggage.  Plus it’ll make it easier to pack if and when I have to move house again, though hopefully such a day will remain far off for now…

Oh!  I nearly forgot to mention Gwar — I’ve got another album to listen to tomorrow evening when I’m studyi– <CLICK>