Category Archives: Optimism

Worst year ever?

I’ve been here in my family home in Worthing for a few weeks, recovering from the operation I had in late November, thanks to “best mate” driving here before he departed for his homeland for Christmas, but it’s not a happy process, and I feel like I’m going to have a lot of trouble recovering psychologically, even if physically I’m doing relatively well.

Firstly, nothing’s improved for my grandmother since November: she’s deteriorated to the point that she can’t do anything for herself, and can’t help around the house (which she could do to some extent until this year), which means my mother has to transport her around the house in a wheelchair.  I’ve tried to help with this, and to say hello to her when she’s sitting alone in front of the TV while my mother’s elsewhere, but she really doesn’t seem to be herself any more.

I also love my poor mother, and wish I could help her, but even simple things like doing the washing-up have required knowledge (in terms of where to put things away in a kitchen I’ve almost never used over the past 17 years), and I worry about letting her down.  I’m careful in terms of exercise, due to how little time has passed, but I want to reduce her stress so she can live her own life as well.

I even feel a certain shameful wish that my grandmother would pass away peacefully in her sleep, so we can finally say goodbye… but that would be inappropriate — she’s my grandmother and I still love her.  However, I’ve long known it would be unendurable if my mother died and I somehow had to look after my grandmother alone, something I don’t know how to do — so, barring my grandmother somehow reducing in age to 60 (when I was 12!), the first option is the only realistic one.

(At least the dog’s happy with us all, even if she seldom shows any interest in the new toys we get her!)

The situation is complicated by the fact that (unlike in 2018, or literally any other Christmas) I can’t use my own room in this house, as my grandmother needs to be there due to it being directly opposite the bathroom.  My mother wants me to sleep in her bed, and has let me set up this Frankencomputer in here, but her own PC also sits in here due to there being no room in the lounge, where she sleeps on an inflatable mattress — because the little room where my grandmother used to sleep when I visited is too full of old relics to be useable for anything except storage.

And I can’t seem to sleep anyway, either dropping off briefly and then lying awake for hours, or not dropping off and lying awake for more hours.  The neuro-quacks reckon it’s normal and can be treated, the man I spoke to a week ago saying they can prescribe me melatonin so I drop off, but really, I find myself wondering whether it’s more down to my brain overworking pretty much all the time.  The new “Tier 4” lockdown had come the day after they’d made my meeting with them face-to-face instead of over the phone, but fortunately they were able to do it online (though unfortunately through MS Teams).

No, not coming up with amazing new theories or inventions, but just skittering around — worse than last time, when they said concentration would be harder — and on political issues, largely thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.  Remember my rant last year, about how “the left” and “the right” should try working together instead of insulting each other to score political points?  I still feel the same way, and I still find I disagree absolutely with self-styled “right-wingers” on (serious business!) Facebook.

However, the worst part is imagining, uncontrollably, that I’m having a conversation about it — and with someone who I don’t think has ever liked me.  My old ex-RAF school friend and my old ex-military American friend are both unequivocally right-wing (whatever that means any more), and have linked to far-right Facebook groups that I’ve immediately blocked, but they’ve been supportive in my surgery and recovery, and I thank them for that (well, at the same time as thanking everyone else, I’m not biased).

I still can’t believe I forgot to mention “The Princess Bride” in that original image caption — inconceivable!!!

The one who troubles me is the young man whom “female best friend” married in 2013, who is both religious and libertarian, and who is clearly a right-winger in his own terms, linking to what are unequivocally right-wing self-superior nastiness groups; thus I’ve put him on timeout on more than one occasion, so I don’t try and post a response, making things worse.

It sucks feeling like I’m stuck in a waking dream about trying to discuss the opposite point of view with someone I’ve almost never spoken to anyway (to be fair, he once posted an article on my wall about the untimely death of Dave Brockie from Gwar) — but fortunately, after writing this section last night (originally a hell of a lot more, indeed!), I was actually able to lie peacefully and not keep thinking at ten words a second, so forget him.

(Here’s hoping I didn’t jinx things by keeping this section in tonight…)

Thus, my sleeplessness seems to be medical in origin after all, and in no small part (uh huh huh huh) due to my right leg hurting a great deal, possibly due to how I’m sitting here right now, writing this blog post tomorrow evening.  I’m not supposed to take any other exercise than walking until at least the six-week mark, but my personal trainer’s agreed to do a very basic online session on New Year’s Day, and we’ll see if that helps to get my blood flowing again — personal torture has certainly evened out my aching limbs in the past!

One thing that doesn’t help is the dismal weather, as it means I can’t take the dog walkies… it’s either raining or very, very cold, and she refuses to walk to the park, which means I have to carry her there!

— — —

These events round off a year that I’ve loathed all the way through, even leaving aside the pandemic — from feeling like a clumsy idiot at work in February and March, overworking trying my best to set up laptops for homeworkers in our organisation during the lockdown, and only making myself feel worse by telling senpai that my memory may be affected by the medication after dosage was increased by my neuro-quack — a need to return to the chiropractor to deal with pain only adding to the misery.

I felt bad in April too as I homeworked and made mistakes, only being even remotely happy during the Easter break, but although things improved in May, more so in June, and amazingly so in July, it was then that two bad things happened: our organisation suffered a major breach (with senpai and “Asian Eddie Hitler” being grateful for my hard work), and the aforementioned neuro-quack told me that the “space invader” had renewed its attack, and so I’d need further work done.

I faced up to the need and vowed to get through for the sakes of others, and after a long wait, my operation went ahead and was successful — but as above, I’m still psychologically suffering, my grandmother is helpless, and my mother is overburdened with responsibility to both of us.

I wonder if we’ll even stay awake on New Year’s Eve (though in my case, I won’t exactly be sleeping when the fireworks go off at midnight), as next year’s likely to be even worse, what with Coronavirus II prolonging lockdowns and killing more, Brexit being put in place without any real competence, more online hatred of “SJW libtard snowflakes” (from the sort of people who make me think that the “SJWs” might actually have a point), and the sort of attitude that suggests anyone who dies from the disease is well rid of.

But some good things have come out of the lockdown this year: as well as staying full-time employed and thus coming to prefer homeworking (avoiding the daily commute is its own reward, and saving Oyster money is a bonus), I’ve been saving enough money to massively upgrade my London PC (and learn how Linux is better than Windows), the times we’ve spent apart have made me appreciate seeing my family more when I’ve had the chance… and a certain young lady and I spent a long time writing to each other before we finally met in person at what is now, for both of us, alma mater.

Even the worst times can lead you to the best things: I’ve been trying to find someone special since I was 18, and apart from a brief fling in Michigan, it was only in 2013 (during the lifetime of this blog) that I was finally able to go on actual dates, in no small part due to the young ladies asking me out, but nothing good came of it for a long time… and this year, suddenly I found someone new through a dating app, and have since spent more time with her over the Internet than I ever did in the real world with my other dates — all of them, collectively throughout my life!

I really hope that 2021 actually turns out to be an improvement on this year (rather than another case of “interesting times”), and that not only do things get sorted out for my family in a positive way, perhaps involving us leaving Worthing forever (and maybe adopting a second dog?), but that I’m able to meet my special someone in person at last, without worrying about pandemics (of either disease or, worse, nationalism), and we can spend time together in the real world… or have I said that before?

— — —

P.S. One thing that would be bad in any other year, but was merely annoying this year, was our useless energy company in London, E.ON, messing up my monthly Direct Debit payment and taking it on Christmas Eve, two weeks ahead of the scheduled time — and they did this to a lot of other customers as well!  I was able to convince my bank (the one responsible for my old account, which I use solely for household bills now) to cancel the payment the same day, but the leccy company will finally sort out their side of it… tomorrow!

Reasons to live through

Sorry I didn’t write throughout September — and just as I come back to WordPress, suddenly they’ve completely changed the look (to the point of not even having boxes around the text you’re editing, so this is in a big white expanse)!  Ah, wait: there’s the “classic” editor, I can write this again (protip: go to the draft in the “all posts” list, and choose to edit it that way) — and yes, assuming I get through what’s coming with sufficient wit, vocabulary, motor skills, and password recall, I’ll be posting here more after the operation as well, whenever that’s going to take place.

No firm date on “Round 2” of my anti-tumour brain surgery, but I’m caught between wanting to get it over with, and not looking forward to (at best) losing intelligence, getting frustrated trying to remember words (more than last time) and needing time off before I can work again, and probably before I can exercise again, or even learn new things out of books without reading and rereading them!

(At worst, of course, I would lose control of my right side permanently, and have no way to say or do anything at all — even death sounds preferable, with my mother as next of kin getting my money!)

It’s going to suck, no matter what happens, and sometimes I wish I could go back in time and make one change, to stop this thing from starting to grow in the left side of my head — but what could it have been?  Though it’s impossible it could have only begun growing in the past few years, there are periods in my life that could have at least enhanced growth, before my first definite symptoms at the end of May 2015:

  • Getting my first wireless signal booster for my room in early 2015, having lived in houses with Wi-Fi signals since early 2005, and first using a mobile phone (always holding it to the left side of my head) in mid-2004;
  • Doing that horrible, shift-based job in late 2014 — coincidentally just as the Beeb reported that night shifts had been associated with brain difficulties;
  • Weight training with my personal trainer from 2013 onwards, which very much increased blood flow to my brain (especially “deadlifts” a couple of weeks before the first definite symptoms, complete with a headrush);
  • Travelling by plane, above the atmosphere and exposed to cosmic rays, many times over my adult years — 2014 (Michigan), 2013 (California), 2008 (Turkey), 2007, 2006, 2003, 2001 (all Michigan), 1999 (Greek Cyprus), 1998-9 (Michigan, but eight months apart), and 1997 (southern Spain), the one in 2017 (er, Michigan) being after the symptoms began, and my last time in a plane having been 1990 (Florida) as a child;
  • As a combination of the two above, jet lag (especially in 2007 when one of my housemates had some unrepentantly noisy friends visiting at night time), and being kept awake overnight in general (especially at university, and especially during my freshman year);
  • The shock of finally kissing a girl at nearly 21 in late 1998 (as per the above, after a plane journey) — I certainly recall, as I made out with her for the first time, a subtle voice in my head, urging me to “make the most” as it might be my only chance;
  • Discovering energy drinks in 1997 at university, but really hitting them from 2008 onwards thanks to being on holiday (as per the above, in Turkey) with my friends, and only really giving up upon discovering where taurine comes from — and now there’s a vegan energy drink (caffeine-rich), which I really shouldn’t enjoy;
  • Learning Japanese from 2008, or indeed from 2005 before I started night classes (remember that the damn thing’s growing in the language part of my brain), thus explaining why I hate dubs and dumbed-down subtitles;
  • The Sun shining on my head (indeed, the left side) during a long bus ride up to Enfield from Wood Green with my housemates in 2006, which left me feeling dizzy from what may or may not have been heatstroke;
  • Head activities in 1993 (surgery in the roof of my mouth) and 2010 (my ear passages swelling shut from scraping them too much for wax).

“I vill terminate ze toomah… trust me!”

The neuro-quacks reckon it’s none of the above, and just a mutation that was somewhat inevitable — but I can’t help wondering about when it really started, as symptoms such as depression and anxiety have been affecting me for a long time, so maybe my misery late 2011 wasn’t an early symptom of this specifically, but more general, and the result of circumstance rather than entirely spontaneous.  Similarly, in late 1992 (as I wrote my diary about my first school term in Worthing), my life felt so worthless that I wished I was dead… could it be some kind of self-curse?

There have been other symptoms over the years: why did I suddenly need glasses in my first year at university?  A couple of years ago, a helper in a certain optician franchise (should I go to them?) said that it’s very unusual, and that most speccies need the extra pair of eyes either very young or very old.  Could it be that I was already coming down with something at that stage?  Any relation to how I used to get patterns in my eyes if I pushed them in gently?

Around 2008 I also started experiencing very brief patterns of lights in front of my eyes (noticeable due to how dark our front lobby at Caledonian Road was), and while that’s almost entirely absent now, and could well have been the result of stress (I didn’t exactly like my job at the time, working in Camden Town Hall Extension), it led to me being advised at the time (albeit online in a web forum) to get scanned.  Ah, if only… or would that have given me a false sense of security, if the damn thing hadn’t even started forming at that stage?

How about on a bus home from school in Worthing in the early 1990s, when Star Trek: TNG was on Sky One every evening, and I thought about it but suddenly couldn’t remember Whoopi Goldberg’s name (until I thought about it later and it came to me immediately)?  I had problems like that after my 2018 surgery (e.g. having to look up Star Trek: First Contact on Wikipedia to remember James Cromwell’s name).

“Boss lady” at work said that this kind of thing happens to us all as we get older, and others say they often have words and names on the tip of the tongue; however, it’s most certainly something I don’t want to face, whether due to age or surgery, as I’ve always been happy about my memory working so amazingly well, and my vocabulary rising above f***ing casual f***ing swearing.

— — —

Whatever happens, once again I’m determined to go on living — but why?  Well, some things are obvious: I’ve got a good and well-paid job (which I’ve been able to do from home during the lockdown), my mother and grandmother’s love and support have been there for decades (I want to ensure I can look after them when the time comes too), and people like my personal trainer and dating coach still support me in terms of physical and mental health — and, of course, “best mate” is here at least a little longer — but there are new things in my life as well:

  • The latest incarnation of my ever-improving PC (thanks to being able to work from home and save money) means I could play Doom Eternal in hi-res without slowdown, and can achieve so much more than before;
  • On that topic, there’s a new sequel to Amnesia about to come out on the 20th, so I can finally play a new scary game with the lights out (with my operation hopefully being less intimidating);
  • A new album by one of my favourite bands, Gorillaz, is coming out on the 23rd, and of course I want to hear it while not in a coma (or a coffin), especially with Elton John making a guest appearance;
  • I’m trying out the guitar again (I can just about play “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” by The Clash), and if all goes well and I retain the use of my hands, I’ve pledged to get an electric one at long last (obviously not a stupidly expensive one that goes up to eleven!);
  • I’ve still got quite a few Stephen King novels to read, and hopefully I’ll be able to take them in well enough that the neuro-quacks insist on studying me for science (note that my next phone call with them will be on the 19th day of the month);
  • I have every intention of reading other things, such as (properly this time) Judge Dredd, and something else I’ve heard of, a 21st-century reboot of the old Transformers comics (yes, I have no intention of stopping being a manchild);
  • Somehow I’ll find a new place to live, and leave behind Finchley forever (much as I hope my family can escape Worthing once and for all);
  • Both senpai and “Asian Eddie Hitler” want me to learn new IT skills, to help restore my intelligence and also earn me a higher post at work, so they can get some new Helpdesk muggins to deal with the peasantry needing to turn their computers off and on again (though the post-op learning issue would come into play there).

Most of all, though, my relationships: as well as wanting my folks to be able to stop worrying about my brain, and nurse me back to health so I can live again, and as well as Best Dog in the World 2.0 (who misses me so much that she barks at other blokes who aren’t me), there is my special one in the Far East, who I truly hope to meet in person again — maybe at last we can hug for more than a brief, lockdown-lawbreaking moment, and go for a long walk together, talking directly to each other instead of over the Internet…?

Needless to say, I’ve got another one of those bold and underlined, all-caps centred statements about determination:


Light in the darkness

Lisa: Look on the bright side, Dad — did you know that the Chinese use the same word for “crisis” as they do for “opportunity”?
Homer: Yes — crisitunity!
—The Simpsons (S6E011, “Fear of Flying”)

At which point God vanished in a puff of logic

Almost immediately after I wrote my last blog post, something happened at work: I won’t go into details (partly for legal reasons), but suffice to say, we’re one of the organisations that was recently hit by ransomware.  It’s almost as though me buying such expensive computer equipment had harmed my karma (or ka), and I was being punished with a terrifying situation.

But don’t panic!  Somehow I’ve done (more or less) everything right at work to help out, and not only senpai and “Asian Eddie Hitler”, but “boss lady” herself have been thankful for my efforts!  I even went into the office to help the former two one weekend, and have gone in alone on several other days, to make sure PCs with special software are (a) virus-free and (b) remote-onto-able by critical staff, while other people can remote onto virtual machines just to have access to internal files and databases.

I should certainly get paid for my overtime, but it’s been said that the guys are working on arranging a pay rise for me — and the only disadvantage I have in financial terms is that I can’t defer my Stupid Loans repayments another year, which should be resolved by the pay rise itself (so that I’m earning more over the monthly gross limit than the amount I’ve got to pay back monthly).

Leave has been hard to come by lately, due to both the homeworking nature of my job and the lockdown itself; however, having plenty of leave left might prove to be fortuitous, as I’m likely to need some time off work within the next month or so, according to a phone call I received at the height of getting things working again, but oddly, a whole month after my last MRI scan, ending my belief that no news was good news…

As long as I don’t end up speaking in a monotone…

Yes, it’s another issue involving the “space invader”, which has begun rallying its forces for a renewed offensive — and while, for now, it’s only conquering the equivalent of No-Man’s-Land (i.e. growing into the cavity left by the previous surgery), it’s necessary to take action now, before it’s too late.

But don’t panic!  It’s not going to kill me any time soon, and produces no additional symptoms — and most importantly, this situation offers a prospective improvement on the treatment I received in May 2018.

I’ll be having a phone conversation tomorrow to get the full story, but it seems that, far from putting me under general anaesthetic to cut my noggin open again, leaving me to convalesce for weeks or even months afterwards, they can do something much quicker, using only local anaesthetic, which might mean only a day in hospital and a week of recovery.

It won’t be the cranial screw-top technique discovered by Dr. Hfuhruhurr in The Man with Two Brains, but it will involve another hole-in-the head; the main difference this time is that they’ll keep me awake while they test bits of the tumour-ridden segment of my left temporal lobe, freezing them one by one and checking that I can still speak and understand English before deciding on removing that bit.  It’s said to have been improving over the past two years, and so, rather than a guinea pig, I’ll be a straightforward recipient of a tried and tested process.

 (But now I wonder: is there a risk of me losing my Japanese knowledge?  Should I ask them to say the word oniisan and hold up a card saying a big brother character’s name, to check whether I still hate dumbed-down subtitles?)

And finally, there’s the really bad news: “best mate”, who I’ve known since late 2012, and who has been a housemate since Easter 2015, is planning to move back to his homeland, the Emerald Isle itself, with the prospect of getting his own house (and, technically, returning to the EU).  I’ll miss him, and since I’m not fond of the other three housemates, I feel like I should move out of this house once and for all.

I’ve lived here (in terms of actually being physically within these four walls instead of just visiting occasionally) for longer than any other house in my life, and indeed longer than all my previous London residences combined.  It’s coming up to 17 years that I’ve lived in the Smoke, which is… er… more than half my life, any claims to the contrary are fake news!

(No, 42 is the number from the book that made DON’T PANIC! a famous quote, and nothing to do with my age — Stephen King’s 19 is closer to that, at least mentally!)

Well, I’ve got more than just a TV to transport to a new residence

In late 2011 I felt like giving up on London entirely out of depression, and in late 2014 to early 2015 I felt anxious that I wouldn’t be able to stay and continue doing the things I enjoy.  Nothing much happened in late 2017 to early 2018 other than the trivial matter of discovering I had a brain tumour, which led to me spending a mere five weeks back in Worthing before coming back here, but now, another three-year cycle later, I find myself wondering once again…

Apart from the Castle (which now needs pre-arranging for climbing), my personal trainer (who I see online these days anyway), and my job (for which I’m almost entirely homeworking), I feel little to keep me here — and much to drive me away.  Apart from the house being hot in the summer and cold in the winter, “ambivalent housemate” is right back to his bad ways: as well as being condescending to me (e.g. when I sold my old graphics card for “too little”), he makes a lot of annoying noises, especially when his own homeworking day comes to an end about an hour before mine, making me want to avoid him.

Sometimes it’s like “drummer-trucker” of 2017 is back in the house, only now he’s slightly more well-behaved!

(Loudly pretending to play the trumpet, singing badly (deliberately?), firing a pop-gun in the kitchen every day with one of our female housemates, listening to audiobooks at maximum volume in the hallway, knocking on doors with that infernal shave-and-a-haircut rhythm, his sneeze, his laugh… how ironic that he left his previous residence due to two unrepentantly noisy housemates!)

But don’t panic!  I think I’ll just find somewhere else in London to live, still convenient for work (perhaps even a slightly longer Tube journey, so I have time to watch a whole 25-minute episode of Japanese anime or American animation before getting off), but — despite the horrors I saw in January 2012 — I feel like searching for a single place, albeit not a studio flat under any circumstances.

Much as I’d love to live with my family again… no, I can’t say that — having it as a fallback is wonderful, and obviously I’d be happy to see the dog every day (since she’s the one family member I can’t talk to over the phone or Skype), but once again it’d be like giving up on the prospect of escaping Worthing, and resigning to us all living out our days in that cancerous polyp on the anus of Great Britain.

(An old Red Dwarf quote… ah, and just like in 2013, I still don’t want to be a boring grown-up who drives in London and only drinks wiiine — and I still listen to Gwar, and impersonate Beavis and/or Butt-head, as well as using funny sound effects on mobile phones!  But working overtime, alas…)

One thing is strangely more significant than it at first seems: I’ve bought kitchenware recently that I’m certainly not willing to bequeath to this household so soon — a wok and a frying pan — which means I still want to cook for myself, instead of burdening my folks (or the local pizza place).  That plus a big TV stand (no, really!) shows that I’m still investing in my own life, and want to continue living away from home as a responsible adult, in my own space.

Besides, do I really want my PC of Theseus in the same room as the Frankencomputer…?

Disaster averted, times two?

The last couple of weeks, I was thinking of posting here (yes, I do that occasionally, even seven years after I started this blog) about how worried I was regarding not only my job, but my life here in London — not to mention my health.  Well, it looks like at least two of those potential Chernobyls have been reduced to mere Fukushimas, which may help alleviate the third, at least a little bit…

(Yes, a Simpsons reference, except with a slightly more contemporary equivalent of “Three Mile Island”!)

I’d have said I didn’t want to worry you, but merely wanted to express my worries in written form and get them off my chest, though I imagine I’d simply have made you guys worry even more about me than I intended!  Well, don’t worry, it’s mostly over now, so I can reminisce about my problems, and how I got over them.

Above all, don’t worry about one thing: I can’t even begin to contemplate suicide!  Apart from not wanting my friends and family (and dog!) to miss me, I’ve simply come to fear death itself — simply because I have no memories of being unconscious during my brain surgery in 2018: no slumber, no dreams, not even a SCENE MISSING card — just an immediate jump from feeling drowsy and tingly on the operating table, to being asked by a nurse in intensive care whether I could understand her!

I hate the thought of my memories simply ending, and me not being there to feel bad about it, or even knowing that I’m not there — but I also can’t force myself to follow any religion, so I’ll just have to hope something good happens in a few decades, when I reach the clearing at the end of the path.

(Yes, I’d be happy to wake up in Midworld, and be asked by Roland of Gilead to join his ka-tet in search of the Dark Tower — isn’t that obvious?)

However, there have been times when I couldn’t stop myself from considering career suicide, simply giving up on my life in London and returning to Worthing to live with my folks, and never, ever returning to the Smoke for even a single visit — especially if my life depended upon it, because I’d feel like simply carrying on existing instead of truly living.  I’m over that now, though it’s hardly the first time I’ve felt this way (the early stages of my misery in late 2011 being a major example, and even 2013 having a particularly bad patch).

What brought it on this time?  Well, no matter how well I think I’m doing at work, now and then I let the team down — and not always right away, but retrospectively!  For example, do you guys know what VPN means?  Ah yes, you remember — well, it seems I’d been a little over-enthusiastic in setting up this secure connection for homeworkers, when I’d actually been told to only do so for specific ones, for whom new hardware and a new Internet connection had been arranged.

But having “boss lady” angry at me in front of the office (don’t worry, I spoke to HR) somehow doesn’t seem significant compared to letting down senpai.  We’re switching to a new electronic phone system (thanks to Micro$haft planning to do away with one of their own products), but although just about everyone’s been set up now, it turned out I was supposed to have been going round helping them simplify their statuses.  I felt worthless, and panicked into trying to make up for this… only to make things worse by doing it wrong!

And even when I thought I was doing it right, I’d still screw up little things, or forget what I’d been told (or supposed to have read in an e-mail) — and I’m wondering if I’ll ever be able to hear the funny ringtone I set up for him (see if you can guess it from this Family Guy clip), as now I associate it with him calling me to tell me off for not listening to him, again…

Fortunately, late last week he was a lot more understanding than before, and said I can always double-check things with him (something I’d become afraid to do) — but most of all, that my health is more important than supporting the team.  Y’see, I thought it might have been an issue with short-term memory, either due to the same thing that’s been causing my recent weird dizziness (the neurologist says it’s a possible side-effect of one of my medications), or just plain ol’ age.

(Then again, I can remember what happened well enough to write this, not to mention my nightly diary!)

I made up for things by discovering why a team he was trying to train with the new system couldn’t hear or be heard through their new electronic headsets — though since it involved one of those Win10 privacy (or lack thereof) options that I always find myself turning off when setting up people’s local profiles on PCs, it may not entirely have been MS’s fault… this time.  He and “boss lady” are being more patient with me as well, and looking for a new helper so I’m not overworked any more!

— — —

The other issue, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, has been “worst housemate” — the latest in a long line of female housemates living in the room originally occupied by the leaderene who sorted out our bills when I first moved here.  She’s been consistently underpaying me every month, and claiming we “agreed” a lower value (even if she didn’t need to pay for energy, she was still £4.60 down for March’s rent and council tax!).

The others — including “best mate” and “condescending housemate” (yes, that’s my new nickname for him and I’m sticking with it) — have nagged me to have it out with her, because the amount of money she owes me will only ever go up, and even our landlady (who at least seems to have dealt with the useless E.ON sending bailiffs after her long-dead husband) has gotten involved, saying she’s on my side in this, and that she doesn’t like the girl either (apparently she complained about the rent rise in December, despite signing the new contract with that value in November!).

Amazingly, though, it seems that being told she can either pay the money in full, or move out and find somewhere else, has worked: tonight she told me that she’ll start paying the full monthly amount, and catch up with what she owes me from before!  Perhaps this is because she “loves” her room, or perhaps it’s because she really can afford to pay (seeing as she buys herself coffees and takeaways, yet won’t put a fiver in the household kitty), but it’s a good sign that she’s finally taking responsibility for the costs of living in rented accommodation… in what is presumably her first time living away from home.

Or, of course, she’s got access to daddy’s (or mummy’s) chequebook in a serious situation such at this — but hey, if she moves out after all, “best mate” has offered to provide a van for her to shift her stuff!

— — —

But what of health matters?  Well, increasing my lamotrigine dose may not be helping as much as I hoped, though I doubt it’s responsible for my right arm hurting this week, especially when using a mouse (and it’s something I’ve noted in the upper arm when personal training over the past year or so).  It may well be some prelude to RSI, but if it happens even when I’ve been playing games with a joypad instead of mouse and keyboard, what can I do?  Avoid computers entirely?!

Fortunately, despite a bit of a sniffle and sore throat on Saturday afternoon (which could have been early hay fever), and indeed despite my daily commutes involving the crowded Northern Line, I’ve not (as yet) developed anything remotely resembling coronavirus!

(COVID-19?  That surely must be a Stephen King reference — I’ll set my watch and warrant on it!)

Never mind petty things like biochemistry, physiology and virology, though — it’s in psychological terms that I’m improving, as for now, not only do I still have a job (indeed, they need me to be able to work from home just in case we do an Italy), but I should be getting repaid by a housemate now willing to pay her share (or, more precisely, next month I won’t need to pay so much into the old bank account I use for gathering our household bills together).

With these two weights off my shoulders, I shouldn’t need to see the osteopath for a while…

New year, new OS?

Dammit Beavis, he’s using that, like, picture of us at this computer thing again, or something!

Looks like I’ll need to make another big jump in word processorising in order to keep writing my diary (somewhere other than on my PC at work), as Tuesday is the day that Windows 7 (and Office 2010) pass into the clearing at the end of the path — or at least lose all hope of being patched by Micro$haft (sort-of named and shamed), unless you’re a business and can afford their fees.

(They’ll still patch Win7, but not for home users?  Is that because we’re their test base for Win10, and so they want us to use that instead?)

Updating to Windows 10 isn’t a positive option — I’ve done that on the Frankencomputer at my family home in Worthing (the one upon which I installed Win7 as an experiment back in the day), and it’s just as bad as on my flock’s PCs at work — and staying on Win7 would be risky (much like WinXP when that went obsolete a few years ago), as even more bugs and backdoors may be revealed, enabling h4x0rz to extort us with ransomware, or steal our private information in a way that MS can only dream of.

Thus I’m strongly considering switching over from my May 2011 installation of Win7 (the very final aspect that lingers from May 2011 on my PC of Theseus) to a flavour of Linux, the free-at-the-point-of-use family of OSes; I’ve had the “Mint” version installed on a slow but serviceable laptop (a relic from work that they let me take home) for some time, and it seems to do all the same stuff as Windows, but (unlike Win10) doesn’t have a load of unturnoffable telemetry, and unavoidable patches that may actually screw you over — imagine if I lost my diary this way!

(Like I said: we, the home users, are their unwilling test base, so they don’t have to employ their own QA section!)

Anyway, Linux Mint — it’s an OS that stays out of the way instead of advertising and subtly installing bloatware (or limiting you to installing stuff from their quasi-Apple, quasi-Android app store), and forcing you to update with a full restart every so often… sorry, I’m still having a go at Win10 — but hey, remember my job!  It has a start menu, it has desktop icons, it has shortcuts pinned to the taskbar, it runs Mozilla Firefox (I avoid Google Chrome due to its telemetry, which MS are also looking at incorporating), it lets you actually change settings without needing to go to old and new settings screens, and it runs software — and yes, it lets you put up wallpaper… in my case, ahem, anime babes.

I’m going to look at reverting to good ol’ OpenOffice — or, in terms of forking off after (diab)Oracle took over, the superior LibreOffice — since even if it’d work under Linux, Office 2010 is also on the way out (and I have no desire to do everything online through Office 365).  This is something I’ll help my mother with too: her current PC of Theseus also runs Win7 (and Office 2007), but she wants to continue creating and editing proper Word documents that others can access, instead of some esoteric format, so I’ll need to prove to her that it can be done and nothing significant would change.

One aspect which my mother won’t need, but I certainly shall (still the old playboy lifestyle!), is video gaming — in particular, the Steam games library program, which among other things records your purchase licences.  The good news is that it’s available for Linux, and some actual games have Linux version too… but by no means all: I see there’s Borderlands 2 but not the original, BioShock Infinite but not the first two, and neither of the Rage games I’m playing through now.

(Astonishingly, all three of the most recent generation of Tomb Raider games have Linux versions, but I already played them to death in 2018 and 2019!)

It’s a while since I played Nidhogg against my mother — will it work in Linux, with two joypads?  Hmm, it works with one, that’s a good sign…

However, there’s a lot of experimentation going on at the moment, regarding the running of Windows-made programs under Linux through an emulator process called WINE, and Linux Steam itself has an option to let you install non-Linux-version games anyway — no promises of full functionality (especially in multiplayer games, though I don’t touch that side of things anyway), but I have… faith that things will improve over time, as more geeks like me (and no, I don’t find that term offensive, at least when we use it) will be ditching Windows but still wanting to use software we paid for.

I’ll look at getting a new SSD (the current one I got in late 2013, and thus one of the oldest components) onto which I can install Linux as a first step, and see whether connecting up my other two physical drives works or not.  These are a yuge SSD (a 2017 work present, same as my current CPU), with my games installed, and an old “spinning rust” one with My Documents upon it, but as long as they’re detected and NTFS isn’t treated as some freaky foreign format, my only problem could be whether I need to reinstall any of my Steam games completely from scratch (which could mean a geological age of downloading), or if they just need some extras.

(And I haven’t even begun to consider the other game installer libraries, like Uplay, Origin and — but at least Good Old Games are putting in some effort with Galaxy!)

One more aspect I wonder about, though: while I certainly should be able to play CDs and DVDs (and hopefully rip them as well), will anything available for Linux enable me to play Blu-rays (VLC apparently only works in some cases), or would I have to get an actual player to plug into my TV?  When you consider the one my folks passed down to me in Worthing doesn’t play some modern discs (and its firmware can only be upgraded with a file dating back to 2011, which needs to be burned onto a very specific format of CD-R), you can’t help but wonder about planned obsolescence…

The Walkin Dude (with apologies to Randall Flagg)

Goodbye UKIP, you’ve served your purpose… whatever that was

Guess I really was naive last time, as the Tories now have a clear majority rather than a hung Parliament — but I’ll keep going on with my life, as maybe, just maybe, they’ll live up to their promises and not keep screwing over the disabled… then again, a week or so into their next four- or five-year term, this comes up.

(At least the Post Office and Fujitsu have finally admitted that Horizon is broken, and that those sub-postmasters weren’t fraudsters — but too late for the suicide case, sadly…)

I’ve fought my way through a lot over the past few years: this whole blog began in 2012 because I was still recovering from the depression that had hit me the year before, and while I’ve had ups and downs since then, the biggest issues I faced were my unemployment crisis in late 2014 and my cerebral situation from the end of 2016 — though the surgery itself felt more like a mild inconvenience, and while I was grateful for the NHS and paid sick leave (Boris Johnson take note!), I wanted to get back to my life, and job, here in London.

Perhaps that’s why, in late 2019, I’ve been able to drag myself to work even on days when I’ve had a bad back or a severe cold (albeit in both cases with the worst symptoms coming during weekends) — I’m lucky to have what I have, and I want to make the most of the job I was lucky to gain in 2015, supporting my team and employer during a time whem we have a large amount of security-based work to do (and my counterpart’s disappearance means I have to do the daily stuff as well).

No, I haven’t gotten them a new TV, their current one’s already, like, cool and stuff!

It’s also why I’ve been getting (relatively) expensive Christmas presents for my folks, and would have willingly paid for our dog’s recent operation (don’t worry, she’s fine, and awaiting my return) — they’re precious to me, and I’m willing to face such horrors as visiting Oxford Street (and worse, Piccadilly Circus), and carrying heavy packages around, walking everywhere (Tube journeys aside) no matter the effort required or the tendency of my legs or feet to start hurting out of nowhere (as I seem to walk it off, quite literally).

Hey, I’ve been walking a great deal since coming to London — indeed, back in 2007 when I lived on Caledonian Road, there was a period in which I walked down to the Tottenham Court Road area (in search of a weekly computer fair) every weekend!  And more recently I walked a long distance in my old home town, and though I stopped using my Fitbit, I’ve still walked between Warren Street and my workplace in Marylebone (and back again) each working day — and over the years, I’ve built up the ability to walk up and down escalators (nudging smartphone users’ elbows), something which was once excruciatingly difficult and led to me standing on the other side.

(Walk on the left, stand on the right… progressive on the left, conservative on the right?  Or has that one been done to death already?  Either way, I prefer the choice — so don’t make us all stand still on the escalator, TfL!)

However, I don’t believe that just because I can get through all this, anyone who can’t is some kind of pathetic failure, in the same way that I don’t berate myself for not being fit enough to do professional sport or join the armed forces — and much as I don’t look down on people poorer and needier than me for somehow being “lazy” (and calling them all self-entitled scroungers, like some real-life Mr. Bounderby), or dream of throwing the rich off the balconies of their “ivory towers” solely out of envy (even if some lie about making it through their own hard work instead of inheritance, like, er, a real-life Mr. Bounderby).

We’ve all got our own strengths and weaknesses, and each of us is running our own one-person race, while acting as a spectator and supporter for others, cheering them on (and maybe handing over a water bottle).  I think of competitiveness as a risky course of action: it may encourage and inspire some to try harder and reach their potential, but it’s all too easy for others to say “I don’t need to do better, I just need to make them look worse”, which seems to be 21st-century politics in a nutshell (and let’s not forget BA’s “dirty tricks” campaign against their rivals in the 1990s).

To put it another way: when climbing the ladders, let’s not pull on the legs of those above to try and bring them down, and not stamp on the fingers of those below to stop them catching up… and yes, I’m still climbing, but for the exercise, the battle against anxiety, and (believe it or not) the social contact, not to look down with disdain upon those beneath me — especially since my climbing partner would be down there, holding the rope that saves me from a deadly plunge if I lose my grip!

Anyway, I’d better get some sleep, as tomorrow I’ll need to set off early in the hope of getting a train down to Worthing that (a) actually runs*, (b) has seats, and (c) delivers me in time for my mother to pick me up and drive me home without losing her parking space — because the alternative would be a long walk, dragging my heavy suitcase behind me… and while I’d do that for my folks, I’d rather keep some energy and leg strength in reserve, so I can take the dog walkies!

(* This year has the same date structure as 2013, so I’ll just have to hope…)

More losses, more gains

You’ll be sad to know I don’t have a girlfriend, but delighted to hear I’ve met a bitch… oh cripes, I, I, I shouldn’t have said that, I’m, er, not a bally idiot like Trump — ho no, I’m far more sensible and cultured than that comedy politician!  Oh, too late — yaroo, I’d better scarper before they give me the cane…

(Yes, that was a vague attempt at a BoJo impression — be thankful it’s as political as I’ll get tonight!)

I’ll keep using this meme until I’m forever not alone!

My latest attempt to get a girlfriend proved to have been doomed from the start: even though I met her through a dating app, it seems that “date no.3” was actually “friendly meeting no.3”, and she’d never been actually dating me in the first place… despite all she’d gone through to get together with me (such as walking all the way down to Trafalgar Square to join the homeless-helping event I was part of).  She was happy for me to kiss her on both cheeks, but when I tried to kiss her on the mouth, she suddenly realised I’d been going for her all along, instead of regarding her as yet another “friend who is a girl”.

I know I’ve said in the past that men and women can be “just friends”, though also that I hate the limiter “just”, as though the only people I’m allowed to be in close platonic relationships with are those not of my sexual preference (or who are, but I don’t fancy them).  However, I really wish I didn’t keep making more female friends, and could actually, y’know, find one special girl and get some action without having to pay for it through anything other than the long, hard journey to find her.

(Uh huh huh huh, “long and hard” — hey baby, wanna see my, uh, journey?)

However, I’ve still got hope that my efforts will bear fruit, and my mother’s inspired me in that respect.  No, I’m not being a mummy’s boy here, and indeed tend to go precisely against her advice (especially in political terms) out of lingering teenage parental rebellion — it’s something she achieved, after I helped her get that far through simple support… and, of course, a desire for her to achieve it because I’d benefit as well.

Best dog ever, mk.2!

Yes, you’ve guessed: finally, we have a doggy in the family again, for the first time in 20 years!  Twice I came down to visit my folks in Worthing during my two weeks off work, and while the dog we met at a rescue centre during my first visit didn’t seem appropriate to us (more interested in fetching a tennis ball than being petted), it was when I’d returned to London that she told me she’d just met another dog at the centre, which had liked both her and my grandmother — and indeed, the latter had become so willing to accept a new dog that she paid herself!

Of course we’ll always remember Scraps and the other dogs we’ve known in our lives, but who have sadly gone walkies in Doggy Heaven, but it’s time to move on and make the most of our new little friend, a Chihuahua named Lola, who insists on rolling over and having her tummy tickled at every opportunity (even grabbing your hand with her front paws and pulling it towards her).  She won’t play with toys (yet), but my folks are happy to have her as an affectionate lapdog anyway!

I’ve been through worse problems with getting a girlfriend over the past few, er, decades (which I summarised earlier this year, and probably a few times before that), but I’ve made it this far, and at least I’m still getting first dates (on the rare occasions I match with a woman who isn’t in Hong Kong or Taiwan) — maybe, just maybe, my onscreen age starting with a digit higher than 3 isn’t causing me too many problems?  I know I’ll need to continue taking the advice of my dating coach (online session on Tuesday), but if my love life has been just as frustrating as my mother’s attempts to gain canine companionship, perhaps someone special is going to appear just when, er, someone else turns out to be fun but unsuitable, just when all seems hopeless?

— — —

Just so you know, other losses and gains during my birthday fortnight include my weight heading back down towards 13 stone (something which hasn’t happened since 2018, when I was in hospital), my lamotrigine twice-daily doses going up towards 200mg, and my achievements in Assassin’s Creed III increasing (finished!) but my patience decreasing when it comes to 100% sync in each mission… and the Liberation mini-game greatly increasing the number of error events and decreasing the reliability index of both my computers (to say nothing of not actually using “the cloud” to store savegames, for no reason!).

There have also been some great additions to my stockpile of possessions: not only did my mother get me a collection of the classic comic strip Invasion 1984! (which was published at the time my grandmother taught me it was the year 1983), but I found the first eight seasons of Red Dwarf on DVD in a charity shop!  I’ll be back to commuting to and from work next week, so I’ll watch those smegging gimboids instead of reading on the Tube, and at night I’ll be enjoying the comic strip that predated Independence Day by over a decade — and since I just finished Stephen King’s The Wind Through the Keyhole before returning to work, it seems like a good time for a change.

It’s almost as though I’m returning to school (or university) in the autumn, after a summer break, ready for a new phase in my life… or it would be if the weather hadn’t sucked so badly that my shoes got soaked taking our new dog walkies in the park, and coat weather having already arrived!

Making progress 2019

Yes, this one again, it’s like, cool and stuff!

Damn, it’s been a while since I saw an old post on this blog, which I read just to make sure I’m not reusing titles (again) — but as back then, I’m posting now just to make it clear that I’m not dead, especially since I’m older and more at risk now than I was in 2013, partly due to the health situaiton that came to a head (ahem) in 2018, but also simply because I’m in my early forties mid-thirties late twenties now, and not as youthful as I was back then, when not staying up late for Family Guy meant I could get up in the mornings in time to make sarnies before setting off for work, and then climb once or twice a week, as well as going to events, instead of feeling so exhausted (physically and socially) that I spend almost every night in.

(I know, I know, it’s because I worked much closer to home, and could even commute back here to have dinner before setting off for the Castle, something I can’t do now I’m working in Marylebone!)

But still, gradually I’m making progress in ways I didn’t back then: for one thing, my immunity should now render me invulnerable to measles, mumps and rubella.  My mother’s been worried about me lately, as though I had “German measles” as a child (late summer in 1982 or 1983, I wonder?), and a measles jab when I was 17 (late 1994… no, wait, early 21st century!), I’ve never had mumps, despite two people at my school in the 6th form coming down with it at the same time.  Thus I’ve gone through with it, getting a triple-jab (no, not with three needles at once!) at a private clinic just across the road from my workplace, and naturally am feeling dizzy, albeit in a more humdrum fashion than I did when “mind static” was messing with my life.

After spending all day dealing with people at work, this is how I feel around extroverts at social gatherings

I’m improving in romantic terms (hey, only 25 10 five years late, eh?), thanks to my dating dinh (the one with the name very similar to the Joker’s girlfriend), who’s not only encouraged me to go up to women in the street purely to say hi and talk to them briefly (as a way of building confidence to be the initiator), but has also taken better pictures of me than the ones I’d used in my dating profiles before!  My luck may also be changing when it comes to dating apps, as I’m back to connecting with multiple women again (even if some of them aren’t in London but still show as being so because they visited briefly a week ago), and even had a date last week!

In a similar vein (ahem), I’m also progressing in social terms (or at least undoing my recent regression), and while I still don’t go to many events these days, and certainly don’t enjoy “getting out of my comfort zone”, I’m at least going to a few more meetups than earlier this year.  This includes a dancing event tonight, which reminded me of my days in 2013: even if I’m unhappy and anxious at the start, it’s likely I’ll loosen up a bit and feel like joining in, and maybe make new friends.

(Of course, I’m a lot happier talking to girls, or even nice old ladies, than smug male hipsters!)

But the most important progress of all: my mother’s going to sell the flat-above-shops in Worthing, and move herself and my grandmother (and, by extension, my inheritance) away from that wretched hive.  Maybe Horsham, maybe further afield — indeed, she’d rather move to a hot Mediterranean country and ditch this place once and for all, but there’s the rub: although she could care for her mother abroad, if progress is made (or regained) by my “space invader”, she’d have to look after me as well during treatment, which would mean staying here, ideally in close proximity to a hospital.

This is another reason I need to find a woman: if I had a wife and family, they could support me during the difficult times if (or more likely when) my cerebral situation flares up again, and my mother would be able to retire in more ways than one, and not have to take care of me when I should be taking care of her.  On that basis, I need to make progress on improving my diet and getting my weight back below 13 stone, so I don’t run the risk of developing diabetes…

Damn, I wish medical science would make a quantum leap, especially before the NHS is privatised — which wouldn’t be “progress” at all, except on the road to Hell!

Back on the road

Another image I’ve massively overused in my blog, except this is somewhat more upbeat

Don’t worry, I’m ending June 2019 in a better mood than I was back on Tuesday: I met “Polish female best friend” for dinner on Wednesday, and didn’t mention once that I thought I had feelings for her — because aside from her having met her current boyfriend months ago (rather than right after we’d spent time together in a homless-helping event, as I feared!), I just… wasn’t that into her.  It’s almost as though absence makes the heart grow fonder, whereas being in someone’s company makes one feel rather more sedate, in emotional terms.

It’s a bit like the reverse of my feelings towards the original “female best friend”: I’ve always regarded her as my quasi-little sister, but, after she moved out of the flat we shared with “good housemate” and we saw each other somewhat rarely (and may I say, Walthamstow is a DUMP!), I began to worry: what if she had a thing for me, and I was breaking her heart by not responding, perhaps making her feel unattractive and worthless?  Yet when we were together, I knew she wasn’t in that state of mind, and that she still regarded me as a friend and quasi-big brother… and, of course, one day she married, so I don’t need to worry about her (unless her husband is a Christian theocrat, though hopefully he’s just a right-wing commenter on Facebook).

Sadly, while I learned of on that special day in 2013, and realised that I needed to get out and socialise more, somehow everyone giving me that advice (including “Polish female best friend” herself) doesn’t make me feel hopeful — due to my full-time work that involves face-to-face interaction, and a much longer commute each way than I had back when I worked in Camden, I’ve been taking things easy and spending more and more evenings at home over the past few years.

(For your info, the video game series I’m currently enjoying working my way through is Assassin’s Creed…)

I still see my personal trainer once a week (barring illness), but going to the Castle to climb after work is troublesome: unless I’m meeting someone there (“best mate”, though we’re more likely to go at the weekend), I have to wait ages for the Session to begin — and while that gives me time for dinner, it also means I’ll have spent around two hours travelling and waiting for just over an hour of climbing, and another journey home (or more, if the Underground’s having a bad evening).  I can’t come home, eat a quick dinner and then head back out again like in my, ahem, younger days (2012-2014), and effectively lose a whole evening each time.

I do need more exercise, so it’s good that my salsa teacher’s back in the game on Mondays, and no longer solely holding classes at a pub that’s a long walk from a nearby station; my plan for tomorrow is to eat dinner near work (rather than at Euston station, as they’ve closed Ed’s and I’m a little bored with Nando’s), and then head to Old Street when the rush hour’s in decline — good, because as I said last time, that golden honey’s right back in my life again, and even if we don’t date, it’s still good to have her company!  And hey, if the new venue picks up popularity, some other actual female classmates may turn up…

One thing “Polish female best friend” tried to impress upon me is that to combat her own shyness, she does the old trick of “get outside your comfort zone”, forcing herself to attend social gatherings.  Ignoring the fact that I do this almost every day simply by getting on the Tube (I still hate the very sight of beardies), I’m going to try this in July: for the first time in over a year (maybe closer to two), I’ll go to a Japanese meetup event on the second Tuesday of the month (maitsuki no daini no kayōbi), and somehow endure the place becoming crowded and noisy, just so I can chat to Japanese people and make sure I can remember everything I learned before.  And oi, if I’m lucky and it’s not a sausage fest, kanojo ni au

I’m trying to do a little more outside the home, and not just helping the homeless (though I’ll keep attending those events as long as I can).  As in the summer of 2014, today I attended a meetup event (to which “Polish female best friend” had alerted me) in which I could pet other people’s dogs; sadly, this time around only one doggy turned up, due to everyone else’s mutts having found Saturday too hot, and thus not being up to the meeting.  It was also a hell of a long journey (Victoria Park in east London, rather than the superior Victoria Park here in Finchley, where I petted loads of dogs last summer), and lots of man-spreading (and in one case loud, drunken behaviour) on the Tube, but at least I was out there making female friends, and meeting friendly doggies!

All things considered, though, I still want some nights in to relax, so I don’t completely wear myself out — after all, it’s become difficult to get up in the mornings, almost because I go to bed before midnight instead of staying up until 1am (like in my, ahem, younger days).  Where does the time go…

— — —

P.S. Even when I have nights in, assuming I’m not aching from the previous evening’s activity, I’ll try to exercise in Wii Fit Plus — and one thing to encourage this has been creating new Miis representing others, who appear cheering me on in the background of most games (and as opponents in the snowball game).  I’ve had ones of my mother, grandmother and “best mate” for ages, but I’ve now created ones of my personal trainer, my hero Eminem… and Donald Trump!

Dave-ros lives… again!

Yes, I’m alive, and with all my faculties intact (well, no less than before I went under the knife), with my mother coming to visit me in hospital, and friends sending me good wishes separately, including over Facebook.  Unfortunately only “best mate” was actually able to come and visit: my personal trainer was too busy, and although my work senpai was going to come over on Sunday, he was diverted to restore the servers at work!

(I guess the place is already falling apart with me on sick leave?)

I’ve not lost any memories (or at least, I can’t remember losing them… ha ha, no?), and still feel mostly the same way that I did before, but the side effects for now include tiredness and a certain instablility walking, pain in the left side of the head (and need to take painkillers), an occasional “bubbling” that’s presumably in the area of the brain they operated, tightness of the jaw (as they had to impair one of the tendons), and, worst of all, a certain weirdness in hearing: some sounds, especially human speech, sound like they’re coming through a faulty speaker, or over a wonky TV/radio signal!  I first noticed this when my Polish female friend came to visit and her voice sounded strange, and my radio and TV are coming into my head in similar ways, with high pitches especially grating.

On the plus side, the lasting dizzy spells seem to have stopped for now, though the “trigger” still frequently goes off — like a momentary dizziness, or apparent memory, but not leading to a flood.  It’s as though the cause is persisting, but to no avail, as I don’t seem to suffer from “mind static” (touch wood), and everything else should subside over time.  All the issues should (should!) subside over time, as my brain readjusts to my current hearing ability (or I extract the wax that’s interfering), the anaesthetic wears off, and I relax enough to restore my strength.

I only stayed in hospital over the weekend due to the quacks needing to speak to me again on Monday (but not at the weekend, naturally), and since then I’ve come back to Finchley for a few days (with my mother staying in the area to look after me), simply because I’ve got to go back to the hospital again on Thursday for one final meeting before I can stay with my folks and my recovery can begin in earnest.  The quacks have been very cagey about what they took out of me (perhaps partly due to it taking a week to perform biopsy on the sample), only saying that the operation “went well” and advising me to continue taking the anti-epilepsy medication for another few weeks, but hopefully on Thursday they’ll make everything clear…

After that, I’ll be taken down to Worthing so my mother and grandmother can look after me for a few weeks; this will involve cutting my hair short (so it all regrows evenly, and I can wash it again once the scar’s healed), taking me for walks gradually to restore my stability, and feeding me lots of protein and other healthy food, removing my need to move around too much or worry about cooking.  Unfortunately my grandmother herself is not doing so well lately, so I’ll try to support her as well, though I doubt I’ll be able to do very much other than me polite and nice to her; it might be better to get control of myself, so my mother can take care of her mother without needing to focus on me too much.

Most importantly, of course: my computer in Worthing is half-decent, so I can play games as much as I want (I’m working my way through StarCraft at the moment) — and maybe post here as well, since I haven’t forgotten my passwords, or how to write in English!

(Unless I’ve been writing this post in bad Japanese, and not realised…?  Baka, eigo de kaku n da!)

Meanwhile, “best mate” will take care of our billing in London for June, which I’ve helped clarify for him (and paid him my shares of rent and council tax), though good luck to him getting the washing machine fixed or replaced — our landlady’s more focused on us finding a replacement for one of our housemates, who’s moving out at the end of May!

That’s all for now — next time, maybe I’ll have something interesting to say… but hopefully not of a negative aspect (e.g. “it turned out to be a Stage 5 tumour, and my head’s more likely to explode now than it was before the surgery”!).  My final hurdle is to endure rush-hour commuting to Hammersmith tomorrow morning for my meeting (with my mother by my side) for the meeting, because after that it’s a quiet taxi trip, and then I’ll be able to take a nice hot bath…

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P.S. Good news, the landlady’s ordered us a new washing machine; bad news, she needs one of us in the house next Wednesday to receive it, and it definitely won’t be me!  And senpai has phoned me to check up, and says I should be fine staying off work until July…