Static

I’ve been having static trouble lately. Both kinds.

Type 1 Static: Sheer bloody inertia. Putting on clothes, brushing teeth, making coffee… too much effort. Nope. None of that. Going to sit perfectly still and play Farm Mania and watch Play School with the ninja until my brain liquefies.

Type 2 Static: Annoying fizz between ears that inhibits creative thought. Nothing shifts it – playing stimulating music, watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, hot showers, all the usual things? No, they will not be working now. Now all your creative neurons have collectively rolled onto their backs, making an irritating fizzing sound and refusing utterly to cooperate.

Type 1 is linked to depresssion and anxiety, and I’m following the prescribed steps to deal with it. But Type 2 Static is just… argh. I don’t even know what it is, sometimes it just happens and it’s the most irritating thing in the world because I can’t think and I can’t imagine anything and I get so very bored. I really don’t realize how much time I spend creating stories in my head – original, fan-fiction, silly songs, whatever – until I can’t do it and suddenly the walk to the train station or the shops is twice as long and so very, very dull because there’s nothing going on in my head and nothing going on outside my head and I get so bored.

I was having trouble with that yesterday – usually I enjoy pacing up and down at the station waiting for the train, listening to my music and creating a Tyrion and/or Zuko fanvid to Lion King 2‘s ‘One of Us’ in my head. Just for a random example.  But yesterday I couldn’t kick my imagination into gear at all, so I was getting bored and frustrated as I paced, and then this guy showed up to wait for the train too, and he was just… standing there. At the edge of the platform. Just standing, doing nothing.

I really, really wanted to ask him how he could stand it. I was moving around. I had my music. And I was still bored out of my skull because of the stupid static. And he was just standing there staring at the train track. I can’t do that even when I don’t have static!

I didn’t ask, of course, because it would be rude. And maybe he was just absorbed in the My Little Pony/ Gargoyles epic crossover he was writing in his head, I don’t know. Maybe he was reviewing football scores or composing a breakup speech. Who knows?

But he looked bored. And yet he was just standing there.

Does anyone else ever look up from their book or their game of solitaire or whatever on a train or in a food court or something and see people just sitting and think ‘aren’t you so bored? how can you stand it’? I do, all the time. I’d really like to know, actually, so if you do know, fill me in please!

Stupid static. I’m going to go make myself more coffee and see if it budges anything.

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Missing Milestones

I had intended to make some sort of note of my hundredth post, but apparently I missed it, as this is my hundred and second. This is absolutely typical of me, as I am notorious for missing important milestones (including my own birthday).

I mean, not the *really* important stuff. For example, Free Comic Book Day is this weekend, I know that. And it therefore follows that the Buddha Birthday Celebrations are also on. This is a family tradition for us – we go get lots of free comic books and cheap manga (my favourite store usually celebrates FCBD with a manga sale) and then we cross the Brisbane River into South Bank for vegetarian food, bathing of the Buddha and other fun.

The Buddha Birth Day Festival is a big deal here in Brisbane. It’s not only the biggest multicultural festival in Brisbane, it’s also, according to its own website, the now recognized as the biggest celebration of the event in the world, with hundreds of thousands of people attending. There is dancing, a Baby Blessing Ceremony (which the ninja underwent two years ago), dozens of vegetarian and vegan food stalls, calligraphy lessons, activities for kids and a hundred other things. If you’re anywhere near Brisbane on this or any other first weekend in May, I really recommend going.

I’m trying to come up with something witty and interesting to say, but Angelina Ballerina is playing beside me and that little dancing mouseling is a brain-sapping idiot.

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting a lot lately. Life outside the computer has been taking a fairly massive dump on me of late. But I’m still hammering away at it. And I’m kind of proud of making it to a hundred posts. Thank you to every single one of you following me – it means a lot!

If there’s any subject anyone would like me to write about, or something, let me know! I would love to get requests!

Being An Adult Is Tiring

So apparently I was so tired yesterday that I forgot to post at all. My only excuse is that I’ve been being a responsible adult all week and it wore me out. Sorting out unemployment payments, parenting payments, a rent assessment, a job-center interview and trying to budget for the Big Girl Bed my daughter needs and the new trampoline mat we’ll all go mad without took it out of me.

If you are the parent of a hyperactive toddler, or know one, may I recommend the backyard trampoline as an unbeatable aid to sanity? They can wear themselves out bouncing around, and pavement chalk works a treat on the mat, so they can draw up there too. This is excellent for the child whose creativity you don’t want to stifle but who cannot be permitted access to crayons, pens or pencils due to an uncontrollable urge to draw on the walls.

One thing I noticed as I was rushing around was the way that most of the people I was dealing with seemed to be willing to go out of their way to help me. Especially since in at least a couple of cases, I’d screwed up on providing information I was responsible for, so the problems were at least in part my fault. Most of the credit goes to the genuinely lovely employees of the various organizations, of course. Working for Centrelink and the Department of Housing has to be pretty thankless, most of the time.

But it did help, as one woman I talked to confirmed when I asked, that I have a good reputation with these organizations. I always overpay my rent a little to the DoH to build up a cushion for emergencies, which they love. I’m always pleasant to Centrelink employees, thank them for their help, and don’t complain about the long waits or hoops they make me jump through (at least, not to their faces or in any way that could get back to them). I try to get appropriate information to them on time. So when I screw up they’re understanding about it, rather than assuming I’m trying some sort of scam.

I am constantly baffled by the number of people who throw fits at Centrelink or scream curses at the receptionist at the DoH office. Surely if there was ever a time to try to attract civil servants with honey, not vinegar…! Anyone who’s worked in customer service knows that customers as a group are grasping, rude and deceitful, but it’s even worse when you’re providing a necessary service rather than a product they can take or not as they like. (This may explain why most Centrelink/unemployment offices appear to be staffed with a combination of tired, flustered saints and former prison guards discharged for unnecessary cruelty to prisoners.)

I cannot too strongly recommend being nice to people providing you with a service. Not only is it the decent thing to do anyway, but a little good-will built up with your landlord or your unemployment officer can go a long, long way if you run into trouble.

Now I have to go pay the electricity bill and oh crap I owed a write-up on choose-your-own-adventure stories to Kess two days ago.  (Revelations in real time! That’s the kind of raw honesty this blog has!)

Calling in semi-conscious

I’ve been sticking to the regimen – up at six every morning, in front of the computer by six-thirty, theoretically ready to kick some textual butt.

In practice… yeah, not so much. In practice I spend at least an hour staring at the screen, trying to remember how to play Candy Crush because it’s just so complicated when I’m half awake, remembering I haven’t had coffee yet and maybe that will help, looking at Tumblr then forgetting I was looking at Tumblr and spending ten minutes asking myself what I was doing, remembering again that I should have some coffee, playing with my phone,  looking at a couple of comic strips, finally getting up to get coffee…

Well. You get the idea.

I hadn’t realized how completely I’d lost my early-morning mojo. I used to be a total early-morning badass, getting up at four or five AM every morning before school, then later having little trouble cruising to my 7 AM start at work. Then I married a night owl, who kept encouraging me to stay up late. Then I birthed a night owl spawnling who at two and a half freaking years old cannot be induced to sleep before ten PM for love, money, or cookies. And now I lurch out of bed at six AM and can suddenly no longer function during mornings.

I’m going to keep at it. It took years for me to lose the knack, it’s going to take more than a few weeks for me to get it back. But I am too sleepy to be interesting today. I’ll try again tomorrow.

 

 

Wouldn’t It Be Cool If….

I missed my first post yesterday. Which bothers me, since I wanted to at least get out of January before letting the side down, but I’m kind of okay with why I did it. Not having had more than two hours straight sleep at a time in forty-eight – and only having had eight and a half hours *total* in that time – left me kind of unable to mash words together in any coherent fashion.

Which was the reason for the other day’s paean in praise of sleep, too. But yesterday I couldn’t even manage that.

Back on topic, though!

I was attempting to edit my own work the other day, always an exercise in anguish, when I stumbled across a major clanger that actually is one of my most treasured pet hates (I call him Steve). After I was done writhing in embarrassment that I had perpetuated Steve myself, instead of merely deriding his presence in the works of others, I had to do a major patch job on an entire chapter because Steve is not a guest any narrative should welcome.

Steve is the bad side of the ‘wouldn’t it be cool if’ phenomenon, and Steve is not cool at all. Because while ‘wouldn’t it be cool if’ is a great starting point for writing, when you start doing things just because they *are* cool, at the expense of characterization, they become Steve.

Steve is ‘wouldn’t it be cool if the zombies attacked in a tank’ after two seasons of establishing that a zombie can’t work complex mechanical devices. Steve is ‘wouldn’t it be cool if this character tried to seize command of the ship’ after 200 pages of having no personal ambition whatsoever and no current reason to change that. Steve is a Doomsday Device that can only be thwarted by an average high-schooler with a paper-clip. Steve is Marvel Comics and their repeated jumping of the Death Shark (LET’S KILL ALL THE CHARACTERS THEN BRING THEM BACK IN THREE ISSUES is not a sales plan I would recommend). Steve  is the sacrifice of plot logic or characterization for a Cool Thing.

I was so mad at myself for doing this, although I am claiming NaNoWriMo haze for forgetting not only the local geography, but what time-period the book was set in. These things happen at around day 20. At least my visit from Steve happened in a first draft, where he can be safely excised before he’s pooped on the carpet in front of guests.

Sleep

Sleep! Oh glorious palliative

for daily care. Bringer of comfort

to those ground down by toil and strife

ease to the bruised and broken heart.

The mother rising for a third time

in a single night, as her child wails

and sees the dawn breaking once more

cries out inwardly for sweet Sleep.

The insomniac whose eyes burn,

and body aches with weariness,

curses and loves Sleep, courts and spurns

his fickle lover both by turns.

Heart-ache is sweet Sleep’s enemy

and yet Sleep soothes the wounded heart.

Brings comforting oblivion

and passing ease from grief and loss.

Sleep, cruelly shunned by busy folk

and replaced with coffee, deceitful

and enticing mistress who claims

to be a substitute. Yet Sleep

forgives and takes us in her arms,

when coffee can no longer turn

aside grasping, dull weariness.

Sleep, unvalued by those who sleep

well, uninterrupted and calm

yet treasure beyond rubies to

those who cannot close weary eyes.

Gentle but capricious goddess,

comforter and tormenter both,

I beg you to return to me,

and take me once again into your arms.

 

I am so tired. That is all.