Wednesday, February 23, 2005

LOTR meme...

You scored as Gandalf. You are Gandalf! This wise, old mage is loyal and brave. He is known for his counsel and advice to his friends and allies during tough times. "All you have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to you."

Gandalf
75%
Samwise
69%
Frodo
63%
Arwen
56%
Eowyn
56%
Aragorn
50%
Faramir
44%
Pippin
44%
Gollum
6%

Which LOTR character are you?
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Monday, February 21, 2005

Crash, and update...

I am now finally weaned from Efexor, as of a few days ago. The skips have been extremely bad during the last couple of days, although they are seeming to occur less often today. Perhaps they are slowly disappearing. My mood swings have been terrible, with all the stress of not getting enough tutoring work to cover rent/bills/medical/food, and my computer continually playing up, I broke for the first time yesterday. It had been building up over the past couple of years, with my health continually deteriorating, cutting ties with family, work screwing me around, the unpaid overtime I had to work, and being very angry at myself for not being able to do any honours study in the past few years.

I found out last week that an ex-AL has been offered (and accepted) the position of lecturing CSE1303 part A, the exact subject I lectured 5 times. No-one mentioned to me that they needed someone to do it, and I'm very upset that they didn't ask. Everyone who was organising lecturers/subjects knew I was desperately looking for tutoring work, and not getting enough hours, yet they pick someone who has had no experience lecturing, let alone lecturing the hardest first year CSE subject. *bah* I'm still very angry. Still, I do have the 'head tutor' position for that subject (the faculty decided they did need people to do the AL's tasks, thus they invented head tutor positions, which include all the old AL tasks, except for paying the tutors).

The huge coughing fit also showed exactly how much gunk is on my lungs (fluid), so I need to be much more strenuous in coughing and more consistent in taking my vitamins. I now understand why I've been so exhausted recently - fluid of any kind in the lungs, with or without infection, is horribly tiring. I had noticed it was painful to breathe at times, and simply put it down to costochondritis, and didn't push myself to cough/breathe deeply.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Computers hate me

Just set everything up at home, having returned from house-sitting, and the power supply was not working fully (it was missing interrupts from the keyboard/mouse through the KVM). Grr.

Discovered yesterday when I turned it on for the first time that the BIOS had forgotten everything and refused to boot before we went through and checked all the settings. However, an extra $18 got me a lovely strong silent power supply.

So here I am, with music playing, and not being able to hear the computer without really listening for it. Ahhhhh, bliss! I'll never want to use my noisy Windows machine again.

Study is fairly cat proofed - the windowsill is now clear, and the old Valhalla cinema posters have been thrown (they were decorating the desk under the glass surface, and really bugging me). Shelves got re-organised so I can easily get to my herb collection, and no longer need the third desk in the study.

That will give me a bit more room to set up a good area for meditation, as well as give me room for dressmaking, because the second desk is also completely clear.

Am much happier in this space now!

The shelves in my bedroom also got a small re-organisation, books got compressed into taking up two fewer shelves so I can put my vitamins/oils/etc in an easy to reach spot that will also remind me to take them when I get up in the morning, and use the oils to help sleep at night.

I'm busy washing/drying curtains so I can pack them away (cats love climbing curtains - I've had to pull back my bedroom net curtains to save them). This will make the house seem lighter and less dingy (think 60's/70's greens, browns, creams, mmm).

Grr.... looks like the power management is screwing up again... time to scour the linux config...

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Chronic pain musings...

I have just been catching up on a few of the email support groups for various types of chronic pain that I have subscribed to, and have been shocked at the number of 'abusive' stories there are in the members' backgrounds. It seems that nearly every member of the various groups has had abusive childhoods or relationships. This seems to suggest a very strong link between chronic stress and chronic pain conditions. I'd like to know if there have been any studies of this, especially at what average age the conditions develop (due to early childhood trauma).

My chronic pain started before I was a teen (sciatica), and then endo pain kicked in shortly after that, and progressively got worse over the years. Costochondritis flared about the same time as sciatica, as did the migraines. CFS, adeno, sinusitis and recurrent bronchitis happened later, shingles and various other problems occured sporadically throughout my school years. When I actually stop to really think about it, due to the 13+ UTIs and kidney infections I had each year for as long as I can remember (I've since been told it was directly due to the abuse), I have had to deal with a lot of pain at a much younger age. Hmmm...

The various groups support endometriosis, adenomyosis, fibromyalgia, CFS, back and joint problems, multiple sclerosis, fibroids, PCOS, costochondritis, you name it, someone in at least one of the group has it, and nearly everyone suffers with depression and many (most?) are overweight (exercise is difficult, it hurts like crazy and in many cases, is impossible).

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Series...

For some reason I was musing about what makes a good series.

Obviously this is a very subjective measure, but for me, it's the same reason that I get lost in some books - depth. Depth of story, depth of characters, depth of acting, and the amount of effort put into wardrobe, effects, makeup and music.

Although the series that I've got into recently don't have as much in the realm of effects/plot arcs/etc, they definitely have their moments.

Criminal Intent has some really twisted story lines, and the lead actor projects depth of character really well. It helps that one of the DA's (I think that's what his character is) looks like my ex-boss.

One series that I have really started to like is NCIS, mainly due to the characters and their interactions. There's the stereo-typical punk-goth Abby, who is quite geeky and has some fantastic quips (paraphrased): "I've some good news and some bad news. Bad news, the victim had a burger and fries for his last meal, probably everyone else on the base had the same. The good news - I know what's in the 'Special Sauce'! *bounce*"

It's so rare to see such a 'realistic' portrayal of a goth on TV. (I'm sure I will be flamed for this one!)

The characters are quite stereo-typical, but played so well that it just works. The geek, who makes a great hacking team with Abby, the scientist/mortician/forensics expert who has an incredible memory for details and strange anecdotes, and likes to talk the ears off anyone who'll listen. The all-American-Jock, who I although haven't figured out why he is on the team, is rather useful for getting things done, and for having his mind broken by the rest of the team. Leaving the profiler, who hasn't shown much depth yet, and the team leader, who delights in tormenting his team (and shows his delight when they do well - a good boss).

Another series that I've gradually warmed to is the Gilmore Girls. Yes, yes... very unlike me to like such a show. I wish I had Lorelai for a mum! It's unbelievable that there exist people such as these - everything is too fast paced. Then there is the town and the townsfolk - a very odd bunch. Maybe similar people do exist, but I've just never met them. Neat show all the same.

Of course there are my favourites, which most people can guess - Babylon 5, Crusade, Star Trek:DS9, Dark Angel, Xena, SG1, Buffy, Angel and Farscape. All of these have decent depth of story, engaging characters, neat special effects and makeup, and typically great costumes (and some appalling ones too!)

Monday, February 7, 2005

Diet Tree and various resolutions

I recently found a cute description of the diet tree, which is a lot more approachable than many 'diet' or body image descriptions.

Speaking of diets.. I need to lose 35kg. So... one of my resolutions this year, is to lose it all.

Unfortunately, at the moment I'm in a down cycle - looks like student numbers have at least halved again, which means hardly any classes that need tutors. This is Not Good (tm), as I need at least 22 contact hours to pay rent/bills/food/medical/etc, and was hoping for at least 30 (pay off visa). So far I've only got 6 contact hours, and I'm panicking. And craving pizza (doubly bad with all that cheese - I'd end up in lots of pain, or rather, lots more pain).

I will be applying at various libraries for part and full time positions. I'd prefer to work close to home, as I'd like to continue walking (hmm... must do more of that). Pain levels are very bad at the moment, and I'm having a lot of trouble opening jars/bottles and reaching/stretching for anything (doesn't help that my back has been continually cramped for a couple of days).

Another resolution.. stretching - every day, and yoga at least twice a week. Obviously weight can't be lost easily without some form of exercise, but unfortunately I'm not really able to at the moment. Still, stretching is good, as is rolling around on my back with legs tucked in (helps with sciatic pain).

I should focus also on stress-reducing activities, the hives have come back with a vengeance because I am stressing over the lack of tutoring (I should look at other universities, it's not like I owe my workplace any loyalty after the way they have treated me in the last year).

So, that brings me to yet another resolution - regular meditation/relaxation sessions. It will be easier when I am home, as it works best with candle flames (and my huge collection is obviously not with me while I'm house-sitting). Smokey has taken a liking to attacking candles - especially stealing tea-lights out of their holders. Silly cat! I've been missing my boys heaps. The two cats I'm cat-sitting are definitely not kittens, very placid and boring. However, they do have blunt claws, so there is an upside.

I've been able to get some cross-stitching done, but not as much as I would have liked. I need to focus more on my hobbies - I'm sure that would reduce stress.

So... regular writing, drawing, stitching, gardening, cooking, belly-dancing, knitting, patch-working and reading, here I come. I certainly have been reading loads and loads of fiction, magazines and non-fiction.

I am toying with the idea of starting a monthly or semi-regular stitch'n'bitch/pamper/cook-in/garden/music/wine'n'dine/something 'thing'. Don't know who would be interested though, or who I'd feel comfy with. Pain/depression is a difficult thing for others to deal with, and is also uncomfortable for me to see others struggling to deal with seeing my pain. Of course, if I get a high-contact time job, it's likely I'll be too dead and/or bedridden, at least for a few months. It's easiest for me if people just treat me as normal when it's obvious....

There is the established Tuesday Settlers night - nearly 8 years now of weekly Settlers! Of course, these regulars use the German version - 6 player with Seafarers and Cities & Knights, and is very competitive. This bunch have proven beyond a doubt that their dice are biased, although the exact form of the bias changed when they started using an actual wooden table instead of a tablecloth covered, rickety plastic one.

And there is the brilliant regular video night, which over the past 4 years, has plowed through all of Bab5, Buffy, all but the last season of Angel, loads of movies, and nearly a season of Dark Angel. We should be getting the final season of Angel within the month - yay! As I don't get out much, this is really the extent of my contact with humanity (the comfort of home, where I have heat packs, pain-killers and various other remedies on hand is mostly why I don't get out much), unless you count online stuff.

Having detached from my family, especially while house-sitting by myself, I'm feeling very remote and lost. Am feeling quite desperate to get home, to try to resurrect my garden from the deadness that has occurred due to the horrid weather, and to be around my stuff. All my herbs and oils are at home, and I'm itching to toy with some new herbal teas.

 Ahh, well, less than a week to go now. I'm going to stop rambling now, and get something healthy to eat (mmm... salad :-\), play with Tiger (he's bored and chasing his tail on the chair next to me as if it isn't part of him, and yes - he's a cat, albeit nothing like my crazy kitties), then get some more xstitch done and watch Totoro again...

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Another site update (new section)

I've added a section for listing the services I provide (tertiary, secondary, primary and piano tuition; writing and professional services; web development; piano accompaniment; massage & aromatherapy consultation and products; and various other sundry things). I need to get myself registered as a business and get an ABN, as I am hoping I can sustain myself working from home do various things in the near future.

Buffy character meme

Why am I not suprised? (equal Buffy/Tara similarity)

You scored as Buffy Summers. You are a very strong individual. You do, however, have some trouble admitting how you truely feel. You've experienced a lot during your life, but you more than manage. Always willing to help, you're a great friend.
Tara Maclay
83%
Buffy Summers

83%
Rupert Giles

67%
Willow Rosenberg
54%
Anya

46%
Xander Harris
33%
Dawn Summers
21%
Spike
17%

Which Buffy The Vampire Slayer Character Are You Most Like!?
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PS - Flash treatment of Sinister Ducks - *giggle*

Thanks !

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Power outage

This is one of those days... I set everything up this morning to have dinner ready sometime around 7, using the crockpot and bread machine. So of course, at 5pm, the power goes out for nearly an hour! The bread had already been started, so I've had to manually set it, guessing at what stage it lost power. At least the crockpot wasn't all the affected. *grrr*

Back Spasms

My back is doing it's best to become a solid seperate entity. It's absolutely killing me - I am having a lot of trouble breathing, and the chest/intercostal muscles are threatening to join in because of the tension. *bah* I've put a concoction in the crockpot, the breadmaker is on the timer, the cats have had breaky and will hopefully leave me alone for a bit, so I'm going to take loads of pain killers, heat my heatpacks and try to sleep it off. *OW*