Trying to relax here…

simpsons_buddhismMerry Christmas, yes, whatever.  As is traditional at this time of year (and has happened every year except 1998, when I was in Michigan staying with my roommate’s family), I’m home for Christmas with my folks, letting them do my cooking and cleaning, and trying not to snap at them.

(Since my mother reads this, I’ll have to be careful what I say — she’s in the next room!)

After the “brain fuzz” I was getting two weeks ago, it’s not surprising I’d want to leave the hustle and bustle of London behind; my doctor (or rather, the latest in a long line of stand-in quacks) could only tell me to rest and relax, and didn’t recommend an ECG or any other checks.  Maybe I didn’t put my case forward well enough, perhaps due to trying to convince myself that it’s “no big deal” (since the alternative would be to worry about a brain tumour, CJD, a Lovecraftian mind-swap, glitches in the Matrix etc.), but her best advice was to take it easy and come back if it keeps happening anyway.

It’s true, I’ve been very stressed lately — partly because of that seven-day working week, which would have been longer but for days off before and after which were somewhat stressful themselves (gasman, Winter Wonderland), and the caffeine I ingested in an effort to keep my brain ticking over, as well as having somewhat restless nights (and I don’t sleep long enough at the best of times).

Maybe too much caffeine and not enough sleep is the equivalent of overclocking a CPU without adequate cooling… ah yes, PC-building is something that’s kept me from relaxing while I’ve been down here in Worthing.  I had no problems travelling here, having caught a Southern train that wasn’t cancelled (or even crowded), but once I started trying to build a PC for my mother, I ran into a snag: the processor (an i7-3770, as you’ll no doubt remember) isn’t compatible with the little ITX motherboard I’d bought especially for this project.

I’ve been trying to get the motherboard and casing sent back to eBay and Amazon respectively, and while the latter may not be a problem (though Watchdog worries me that I might get blacklisted anyway, with no recourse!), in the former case it looks like my only option is to send it back to the seller for him to upgrade the BIOS (which I can’t do without a compatible processor — it won’t even get to the BIOS yet!).

But still, no sense worrying, right?  If this guy’s true to his word, I’ll still be able to build Mumsy’s PC, just a little later than planned; then we can sell her old (compact, all-in-one) machine on.  If not, I’ll be £60 down (and more if I can’t send the case back), and still have to build a new PC for my mother, but the worst-case scenario is that I (with the financial aid of my grandmother) get her an off-the-shelf machine, and use these parts to build a replacement for my wheezing old Frankencomputer.

(And install Linux on it — my biggest mistake of 2016 was upgrading this machine to Windows 10, which has been nothing but trouble!)

I’m just glad I got my mother and grandmother expensive but not bank-breaking presents at Debenhams of Oxford Street (because it’s near work), as otherwise I’d have had nothing for either of them… and I’m glad I’ve still got over £2,000 in the bank, with extra coming in January for my December overtime.  I’m also glad my folks, despite having no income other than my grandmother’s pension (my mother’s stopped working to take care of her, and is currently being stiffed on the carer’s allowance for which she’s already been approved), at least have plenty of savings to rely on for now, so I don’t need to worry on their account, or give up on London to come and take care of them.

Yes, relaxing is exactly what I need to do here in Worthing: I made a conscious decision not to bring my guitar this time (though I do intend to make something of it in 2017, in honour of the rock stars we lost this year), and won’t worry too much about not “achieving” anything while I’m here.  Indeed, it’s giving me a chance to play a neglected video game that I got in January (again, in honour of someone we lost) — Omikron: The Nomad Soul, starring no less than David Bowie.

(Hey, it’s all the Frankencomputer’s capable of — my real PC’s back in London, remember?)

I also have the chance to hang around with my mother; instead of Gwar in the car, I’m now subjecting her to Eminem (someone I’m very grateful we haven’t lost in 2016, and hopefully not for a long time!), and we’re doing exercises together as well.  Unfortunately, as happened on the same day in 2015, our Christmas Day walk down to the seafront led to me developing a severe headache thanks to the cold onshore breeze, and although painkillers helped this time, I still got “brain fuzz” after lying down… what could be wrong with me?  Did it really start when I did the deadlift in personal training in May last year (widening blood vessels in my brain), or was that simply the trigger?

Whatever it is, it’s perhaps also responsible for me enjoying cider (if you know what I mean) even more than usual… especially while watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which I’m watching this Christmas (the DVDs can only be watched on a normal player like the one I have here, thanks to DRM).  Yes, this and Doctor Who are my favourite British institutions, and the only reasons I’ve spared this country from destruction!

Like most people my age, I originally saw it in 1989-90 when it was repeated on BBC2; however, as though it weren’t enough of a coincidence that I used to live in Walton (where they filmed several outdoor sequences), a sketch I’d long forgotten sparks a certain uncanny recognition in me… does my employer know about this, I wonder?

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