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A Sort of Apology.

I feel I owe everyone who's read anything I've written for the past week or so a rather profound and massive apology. Unfortunately, the best you're getting at the moment is an explanation.

Lengthy stuff under fold )

So, apologies for the rather frequent brainos I've been having over the past week. I will try to do better, but first I need to get my brain back...

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/107530.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: stressed stressed
Meditations on the Past Week or So

Am I odd because I tend to see things like the Damore memo (the "Google manifesto", the thing which got James Damore sacked from Google for creating an unfriendly work environment) and the Charlotteville terrorism as being manifestations of the same principle?

The principle being "The only Real Human Beings are white men".

As a woman (and a person with a disability) I tend to find this somewhat frightening. I find it more frightening when people treat all of this as some kind of intellectual exercise, rather than the very real attempt at dehumanisation, at objectification and at rationalisation for actual violence it is. As a woman who would have had to fight to have her very humanity recognised a century ago, I find this reversion to a perceived historical mean to be deeply frightening. I can't imagine how upsetting it must be for people of colour in the USA, and for indigenous people here in Australia to be seeing this.

We need to speak up. We need to speak out. We need to oppose this principle in all its manifestations - in the supposedly "civil" ones like the Damore "memo" (query: how "civil" is a multiple page ramble which boils down to "I am not willing to behave in a respectful way toward a large number of my co-workers and managers because I don't think they're Real Human Beings like me, and I strongly believe I shouldn't have to work alongside them"?); in the virulently obvious ones like the Charlotteville march. In all its manifestations, in every space (including the police forces, the public service, the private sector and the rhetoric of our politicians) we need to oppose this principle, because we have seen what happens when it is allowed to run free. We have seen it in so many different circumstances - in the extermination camps of Germany; in the slavery of the American South; in the so-called "off-shore processing" camps on Nauru and Manus Island; in the Intervention; in the massacres down through the ages; in the Trail of Tears; in all the little slings and arrows of colonialism, of racism, of sexism. We know this principle is socially toxic.

So why do we keep allowing people to spout it as though firstly, it's something new and radical, and secondly, as though it's a valid point of view?

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Current Mood: coldly furious coldly furious
Dear Brain (IV)

Dear Brain,

Yes, okay, I was stupid today. This is not a reason to haul out the Failure Tapes and play them in full 3D and surround sound in the main auditorium of the Grand Ol' Embarrassing Recollection. Even if it were a reason to do so, we know, through extensive experimentation over the last forty-six years, hideous embarrassment and post-facto regret do not serve the same function as a time machine and make stupid things never have happened.

It will, however, make me feel very inclined toward things like opening up my own skull and removing you, piece by piece, using an ice cream scoop.

Extremely sincerely,

Meg

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/107034.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: cranky cranky
Weekly Update 29 JUL 2017

Gearing up for the start of classes next week, which means this week I've been practicing getting up at 5am (mostly to find out whether I am going to be able to get up at 5am, or whether I'm going to have to shift things even earlier in the morning). Good news: I can get away with a 5am start on the mornings I have 8am classes (8am class means I need to be ready to leave the house by 7.30am). Bad news: by about October, I'm going to have to shift my wake-up time back to 4.30am, because I'm still working on extending my writing time each month, and I don't have too much to spare at present. Today I have plans to clear last semester's readings and work off my uni laptop, and make sure its battery is all charged up and ready to go, and then I'm all set to go.

So this week I'm going to get a bit political.

Ranting below the fold )

Okay, so, spleen vented. How's everyone else this week?

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/106569.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: cranky cranky
Weekly Update 22 JUL 2017

Good grief, the inter-semester break is nearly over. It's O-week for the mid-year starting students next week (good reason to stay away from campus, in my opinion) and classes start again the following Monday. Back to the grind again...

I went down to campus on Thursday for a couple of reasons. One was meeting up with the wonderful [profile] princesskessie, the other was finding out where all my classes are being held (two of my classes are starting at 8am, the other two are starting at 9am, and quite honestly, I was less than enthused about the idea of trying to find a lecture theatre I've never been to before on a crowded campus at 7.45am in the morning in the pouring rain (it's winter here, plan for rain) when I'm only running on 1 cup of tea at best. Much easier to locate the classes ahead of time, and be able to pootle along there without too much stress.

I'm lucking out this semester - so far, no stairs for any of the classes I'm involved in. Might have to go up a couple of rows in the lecture theatres, but I suspect that's going to be easy enough. Which means my cranky knees (one of them doesn't like going up stairs, the other one isn't fond of going down them) will not have anything to annoy them this semester.

The jaw is healing up on schedule - I've finished the course of penicillin the dentist gave me to avoid infection, and I've also stopped needing to take Nurofen every day. Things are still a bit owie, but not seriously enough so that I'm needing pain relief.

I got back to the baking this week - I made a spicy fruit loaf on Thursday, and I've been working my way through that, as well as the fruit cake I made back before my dental misadventures. I also have plans to make up a batch of citrus poppyseed muffins, just to see how it all works out (if I'm really enthused, I might treat 'em with the lemon syrup from a different recipe as well). It's a good way of working through some of the lemons and limes I have in the fridge (they've been on special lately, so I've been buying them on the regular, in the hope it'll prompt me to make things with them. So now I just have to make the things!). The spicy fruit loaf was a "rub in" method cake, which showed me how little strength and stamina I had in my thumbs (when rubbing in butter hurts, it's a sign I need to do it more often. Time to start looking out scone recipes, I suspect).

Aside from that, and the housework, of course, I've not really been doing much. How's everyone else?

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Current Mood: calm calm
Weekly Update 15 JUL 2017

This week I had a tooth crack on me on Wednesday. This resulted in a trip down to the local government dental clinic "emergency" sessions at 8.15 in the morning on Thursday, and a third tooth extracted. I'm sitting here with a hole in my jaw which is throbbing at me, but recovering pretty much on schedule.

Gory dental details under the fold )

I feel inclined to send the dentist a thank-you card, and the hope the rest of her day's work wasn't anywhere near as frustrating.

I'm currently on a diet of soup, pasta, and other such mush until my jaw heals up enough that attempts to chew aren't interpreted as a direct assault on and by every tooth in my head. It's not actually the socket which hurts when I chew, it's the other teeth near the socket, all of which got jostled around in the process. Clenching my jaw is not likely to happen for at least another fortnight at this rate. I'm taking nurofen (ibuprofen) on a regular basis to deal with the pain (down from every four hours on Thursday to about every six hours today, I think) and hoping things will clear up soon. I'm also on a course of antibiotics (amoxicillin) to prevent any infection, so one of those three times daily, plus rinsing 4 times a day with warm salt water.

I trust I don't need to point out this is a good reason to keep up with brushing your teeth? Trust me, this stuff isn't fun.

Hopefully I'll wind up on their maintenance schedule, and I'll be able to see about things like replacements for the three teeth which have been removed so far (as well as maybe getting a bit of work done on my right-hand incisor, which is also gradually chipping away).

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Current Mood: sore sore
Weekly Update 08 JUL 2017

So, week one of getting up at 5.30am, because I have to get into training for a 5am start during the semester (and it's easier for me to make a half-hour shift than it is to make a full hour shift) and I've managed the new wake-up time six days out of seven (I wound up sleeping in on Thursday because I'd just got too tired for a 5.30am start that morning). I'm also getting a fair bit of work done on the two main writing projects. I'm adding about 300 words a day to the large fanfic piece I'm working on, which isn't a huge amount, but is definitely better than the 0 words per day which was being added before I started working on it on a daily basis. In addition, I'm spending 5 minutes a day working on a plot outline for an original piece - I have a certain amount of stuff written for this already, and I figure what I want to do is get a workable plot outline done, so I can shove the whole thing into Scrivener and start writing the first draft. Again, there's a limit on what I can do at five minutes a day, but it's more than I was accomplishing before, when I wasn't working on it at all. More than zero words is good, in terms of progress.

The weather has been getting colder here, which means I've started baking again, mainly because putting on a cake to cook is a good way of heating up the house using the oven. The oven leaks heat like nobody's business through the base of the grill space, so having it on and the grill bay door open means the house gets warmed past the standard 1 - 2C difference from the external temperature. It can even get discernibly warm in there, if I have something like a fruitcake cooking and all the doors leading off the main area closed. Which is a bit of a plus. However it does mean we're having lots of cake sitting around needing to be eaten (I'm busy working through a boiled fruit cake I made on Sunday, and I made up a coffee cake yesterday, so that's going to be started next).

Also, for low-spoons (in terms of energy expended) cake making, I can recommend the Women's Weekly "Quick-Mix Cakes" cookbook - it's got heaps of recipes, and most of them are things like "one bowl cakes made with an electric mixer, blender or food processor", "melt and mix cakes" (melt together most ingredients in a saucepan, mix in flour and eggs once the melted stuff has cooled to the point where you're not going to cook the eggs straight away), "cake mix cakes with a twist", "rub in the butter to the flour" cakes and muffins, "beat it with a wooden spoon" mixtures and so on. All fairly simple, and there's also suggestions for decoration and recipes for icing up the back of the book. It's one of the generation of Women's Weekly cookbooks from before the point where they decided home cooking was effectively in competition with high-end restaurant chefs. It's basically arranged around the idea cooking is something you have to do on a regular basis to feed the family; it can be a bit of a chore; and quick, easy, simple recipes with a minimum of ingredients are more likely to be made than complicated show-pieces. The version of the cookbook I have is a reprint from back in 1999, which I picked up in one of those discount books pop-up stores, possibly while I was living in Canbrrra.

To be honest, I prefer these older-style cookbooks to the newer ones - mainly because at some point between about the mid-1990s and today, it seems like home cooking suddenly turned into this massive competitive wank-fest, requiring professional quality equipment and professional-level skills out of even the most everyday home cooks. Cooking for the family isn't just about getting a nutritious and/or filling meal on the plate any more, it's all about displaying your skill at plating things and creating an attractive display. Given I have all the artistic skill of a particularly isolated rock, this rather annoys me, because I cook food to be eaten, rather than looked at. The meals I cook are never going to look like the ones on the page. Meanwhile, the older cookbooks are more about a form of perfection achievable on a budget and without specialist equipment and training, which suits me far more.

Tonight we're heading out for dinner with Himself's parents, a much-delayed celebration of Himself's birthday back in early June. We're also going to count it as a slightly early 20th anniversary dinner (we officially got together at about the end of July 1997, so yeah, twenty years).

So that's where I am at the end of this week. How's everyone else?

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Current Mood: cold cold
Weekly Update 01 JUL 2017

It's a wet, grey, miserable day with lots of rain falling. Perth winter, in other words (we appear to have had a long-delayed delivery of same). As those who have been reading along for the week know, my brain has been busy trying to make me depressed (not succeeding, fortunately, but managing to irritate me a fair degree with its efforts) and we had the washing machine break down on Tuesday (repaired the same day - I have nothing but praise for the repair person).

I managed to choose my classes for next semester (after much puzzling at the whole interface, which is possibly the least intuitive thing I've run across in years - it doesn't show potential classes for more than one subject at a time, which makes it very difficult to figure out whether you actually have a potential clash). This coming semester is going to involve visiting campus a lot more often (I managed to get everything down to two days last semester - this semester it's four) and a lot more early mornings. I have a one hour lecture on Tuesday at 9am, another on Wednesday at 8am, a two hour tutorial on Thursday starting at 8am, and another two hour tutorial on Friday with a 9am start. Given I've just bumped up my writing time each day to about 45 minutes total (30 minutes on my journal, 10 minutes on fanfic, and another 5 minutes working on original stuff with the beginning of the new month) I think I'm going to have to switch my waking up time to a bit earlier in the mornings on Wednesdays and Thursdays (maybe 5am or even 4.30am, depending on how long it's going to take me to get moving) so I can make it to classes on time. I don't want to drop the writing time, because I've worked so hard at building the habit of doing this writing in the mornings first thing, but I doubt I'd get anything done if I tried to schedule it in after finishing classes. I know the way my brain works with regard to that sort of thing.

The housework is starting to settle down into a bit of a routine (up to a point - the moment there's any disruption to said routine, my brain throws a tanty and sulks, but I'll work on that later). I have a system where I alternate thirty minutes of sitting in a chair noodling around the internet with a period of getting up and doing chores, and this seems to be very effective in getting things done.

So yeah, things are going pretty good this week, actually. How's everyone else?

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Current Mood: awake awake
Dear Brain (III)

Dear Brain,

Yes, I know I've been horrible for the past couple of days. I haven't done the Right Things in the Right Order, because on top of everything else I didn't get functional early enough this morning to be able to do the dishes before the water got cut off[1]. Yes, Steve did the dishes. It wasn't because I am a Horrible Person Who Can't Do Things Right. It was because it was 8.30am, and the water was going to need to be turned off at 9, and I hadn't even started my breakfast by then, much less finished it. It wasn't in any way a critique of my ability to do the task in general, but rather a reaction to the way things were happening on this specific day.

Yes, I know there wasn't any laundry to do today. Steve did it all yesterday. Again, a reaction to one particular day, not a critique of my ability to do things ordinarily.

Yes, I decided to go shopping for groceries. Yes, the mall was noisy, and you were feeling on edge, so you decided to go straight to one overload, no waiting, and make me as cranky as all get-out. No, buying the Tim-Tams wasn't a Bad Thing to do, it was a reaction to the fact we're wanting comfort, and Tim-Tams are comfort food. Yes, I did have to spend more than $20 on fruit and vegetables, and no, this isn't going to bankrupt us. There were a lot of things which needed to be replaced (you may have noticed?) which is why this week it was a big spend. No, that isn't a critique of the fact it's been a bit over a week since we last shopped for anything. Things happen, and those things happening is not a judgement on us specifically.

Now, if you could just settle down and stop throwing a tantrum about everything under the sun, I would greatly appreciate the peace and quiet inside my skull so we can have a much-needed nap.

Sincerely,

Meg
(owner of a brain which is currently a cranky toddler)


[1] The pipes in our area are being replaced, and the water board has asked us to please shut off the water to the house between 9am and 3pm, as well as drawing any water we felt we needed before that earlier.

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Current Mood: tired tired
Update on the Washing Machine

The nice man from the washing machine repair firm found he had time enough after finishing his last job of Tuesday to come out and deal with our washing machine yesterday evening, about 4-ish. Which means we now have a working washing machine again. No idea why it wasn't working, but apparently unplugging all the leads inside the machine and plugging them all back in again seemed to do the trick, so I suspect what happened is it essentially shook something out of contact. For a nearly twenty year old machine (we got it when we were in Canbrrra, so it's heading on for "old enough to vote") it's doing quite well.

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Current Mood: calm calm
Dear Brain (II)

Dear Brain,

Yes, I know I wasn't able to do the laundry. However, I contend that having the fscking washing machine break down is an acceptable excuse for not doing it. I have called a repair person, they're coming out on Thursday, and it was Steve's decision (completely unprompted by me) to pick up all the existing laundry and wash all of it at the laundromat. I've checked: he wasn't doing it to say "You're Useless And Should Be Ashamed Of Yourself (And Also Dead)". So do you think maybe you could kindly shut the fsck up on the matter?

I swear, that icepick is starting to seem attractive. Steve is suggesting I see about taking you back to the shop for a refund.

Sincerely (and exasperatedly)

Meg

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Current Mood: exasperated exasperated
Dear Brain,

Dear Brain,

Yes, I know I haven't Done All The Things and it's coming up for 8am. However, I have achieved far more than I would have this time two weeks ago, where I wouldn't have even got out of bed by this time. So how about you stop nagging me about stupid stuff, and I'll stop wanting to remove you with an icepick, okay?

Sincerely (oh, so sincerely)

Meg

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Current Mood: irritated irritated
Weekly Update 24 JUN 2017

I made a bit of a change to my routine this week - instead of staying in bed until I was ready to wake up on my own (which was about 8am, if not later) I set an alarm to get me out of bed at 6am. Why? Mainly because I was finding the 8am wake-up time meant I felt as though I was getting nothing accomplished in the day - I was having trouble getting dressed before 10am, having trouble getting the housework completed before my spoons ran out at about 2pm, and overall just feeling as though I wasn't getting anywhere. Since the switch to a 6am wake-up, I've been feeling much more positive about the amount of stuff I'm getting accomplished in the day (same amount as previously, it has to be said - I just feel more positive about it), particularly since I'm managing to get a certain amount of it done before 10am, and most of the housework completed prior to noon. My spoons still largely run out around 2pm, but I feel better able to manage things before then.

In the wake of the (much-delayed) delivery of an actual Perth Winter this week (cold, wet, grey, windy) I got all enthused and bought a new tarpaulin to cover our clothesline. The previous one had deteriorated to a set of holes, loosely held together by blue raffia, over the course of the past twelve months (well, a bit less than that, actually - maybe about ten months all up?), and it wasn't doing the necessary job of keeping the clothesline dry during rainy days. Given we don't have decent facilities for drying clothes inside the house on rainy days (we don't own a clothes dryer, and we can't afford to have a heater running all day in order to dry things off) we need the cover provided by a tarp over the clothesline. There are other reasons for the tarp as well - our clothesline is situated under the overhang of a neighbour's jacaranda tree, and jacarandas, while being lovely trees for the most part, drop leaves in late winter, purple blossoms in late spring, and are favourites of the local bird life all year round (who drop things I don't want on my nice clean laundry at all). So we pulled off the old one yesterday and lashed down the new one, and since I bought a good quality one which is UV-stable and has a 4-year warranty, it should hopefully work to keep things dry and clean for at least the next year or two.

What else happened this week? Oh, we got the renewal on the lease, which I have to print out so we can sign it and initial all the pages, before returning it to the real-estate people. So I'll probably do the printing out today, and we can get all the signing and initialling done over the course of the next couple of days and hand the wretched thing in on Monday.

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/104324.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: calm calm
Weekly Update 17 JUN 2017

This week the weather has been playing merry hob with my temperature sense at night. Early in the week I was throwing off the quilt in the middle of the night because I was overheating, and I wound up pulling the crocheted rug off the bed because it was just making the overheating worse. Then from Thursday onwards, I've been cold enough at night that I suspect I'm sleeping in the one position all night rather than lose heat (and consequently winding up with a strained shoulder and neck) - the crocheted rug is back on the bed, and I'm starting to consider whether bringing out the summer-weight quilt as well would be a useful move. Or I can give this a week and see whether our weather decides to flip back to comparatively warm nights.

A quick look at the weather forecast says it's possible we might get double-digit night time temperatures around Wednesday and Thursday next week, but single digits for the rest of the week (7 - 10C range for minima). Which, I think, means pretty much more of the same.

The house is cleaner than it was, and probably cleaner than it has been since about mid-March, really. I have free time, and lots of it, and I can now schedule things like cleaning the house as part of my daily routine without running out of spoons for other things. The dust doesn't know what hit it!

Aside from that, most of what I've been doing this week is noodling around on the internet reading things. I haven't even been playing games all that much, which is generally an indicator for me that I'm going through a bit of a depressive slump (which, yes, I am - reaction to not having the week full of uni stuff to deal with). I'm starting to get a bit better at dealing with things. I'm pulling out some old self-care habits, like alternating internet activity for thirty minutes with getting up and doing chores; something which made me more productive yesterday than I had been for most of the week. But it's all a work in progress.

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Current Mood: calm calm
The Ballad of Lucy Jordan

I've been having this run through my head lately as a bit of an earworm - I blame an article from the Guardian which linked me to a video clip for it (a very early seventies video clip, it must be said - be warned). But in a way, this song has been haunting me on and off since I first heard it when I was about five or six, on the radio. It's such a frightening song.

Why is it frightening? Well, go have a look at the lyrics. Think about the sort of life they're describing - when a person's daily options are limited to "cleaning the house for hours, or rearrange the flowers, or run naked through the shady streets screaming all the way" there's not much in there. It almost makes remaining in bed dreaming about fantasy lovers and singing nursery-rhymes sound like a reasonable alternative. And then of course, there's the final verse and chorus.

You know, I'm not quite sure what becomes of Lucy Jordan, but I don't really feel the options are particularly positive either way. I mean, as far as I can tell, the options are she either walks off the roof and dies; or she escapes completely into psychosis and hallucination, and gets carted off by the nice men with the hug-me jackets.

(I love that the lyrics were written by Shel Silverstein - the man behind things like "Cover of the Rolling Stone" and "A Boy Named Sue". A prolific lyricist and a man with a very sharp and satirical pen).

I suspect part of the reason it's been haunting me lately is because I'm feeling in a sort of "Lucy Jordan" situation at present - it's the inter-semester break for me, so there's no real reason to visit campus. Instead, I'm sort of trapped in the pseudo-agoraphobia I wind up in sometimes, where I want to leave the house and Do Things, but I can't think of an adequate justification for doing so. This is part of why I'm always an on-campus student at universities - having the routine of lectures and tutorials means I have a reason to get out of the house, and something to kick me out the door on a regular basis. But without a Good Reason, I tend to remain in the house, in front of the computer, noodling around the internet. So, if there's anyone in my reading list living in Perth, Western Australia, who would like to meet up for coffee/tea or similar, just let me know and we'll set a date. (Semester 2 starts on 31 July. Any time before then is my own - and I'd really appreciate any help people can give in filling it up with at least a few reasons to leave the house around once a week!)

(For those who have already been in touch, don't worry, I'm keeping you in mind!)

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Current Mood: indescribable indescribable
New on AO3

I've just put up a consolidated post of various bits of Final Fantasy VII meta-fic and so on.

Available here: Various FFVII Meta Pieces

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Current Mood: accomplished accomplished
Weekly Update 10 JUN 2017

Well, I finished editing the short story I needed to submit for my Introduction to Writing unit, and I submitted that on Tuesday (due day was Thursday, so I'm getting in ahead of deadlines, which is a nice habit to be building). Which means my study requirements for the first semester of 2017 are now officially complete, and I'm done.

The owner of our place came out on Wednesday to measure up the kitchen for new cabinets (from Ikea), and he also cleaned out the gutters while he was here. This involved a lot of rather wobbly work on top of a ladder, but at least we now have nice clean gutters which will hopefully not overflow onto the front verandah (front of house) or the bathroom window (rear of house) in the next heavy rainfall. Now all we need is the heavy rainfall to test things. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as though we're going to get one of those any time soon. Best bet this week is possibly Wednesday, which is offering a 40% chance of about 0.4mm of rain. It's looking to be a dry winter this year.

In the wake of having finished all my study, I'm currently in a bit of a quandary about what to be doing with myself. I've wound up re-starting Villagers and Heroes (a free MMORPG) in the hopes of being able to use up a bit of the Copious Free Time I currently find myself endowed with (the problem with being on the dole is you wind up with lots of time, but not really enough money to actually do anything with it), although I'm running into my typical problem with these things - I've done the initial stages enough times to find them boring, but I can't be arsed to continue past the boredom to the point where I get to the interesting stuff. I may well start allocating myself a set number of hours of work in V&H per day, just to keep myself going through the dull bits.

Now, before anyone starts suggesting things I could be doing with myself during my downtime, can I just point out I'm a grown woman, and I'm posting these things more as an observation of how things are than a request for help. My inter-semester downtime will be lasting until the end of July, which means I have about a month and a half before I'm going to be back at uni again (classes start again on July 31). Don't panic, I think I can figure out how to entertain myself. If nothing else, there's two shelves of books waiting on their farewell re-read, and another few boxes of books in the storeroom which need to be opened and culled. I have plenty of stuff I can do. What I don't have (due to brainweasels and similar) is the impetus to do any of it. My brain is currently in mopey teenager mode at me, saying I'm boooored, there's nothing to dooooo, and when I suggest anything, it makes it very clear to me I've done the equivalent of suggesting cleaning my bedroom. Given I'm fast reaching saturation point with the inner teenager, I suspect things are going to be picking up soon-ish.

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Current Mood: lazy lazy
Update 03 JUN 2017

Well, I've finished classes for the first semester, I just have to finish editing the short story (which is due on Thursday coming up), which mostly comprises minor tweaks to try and make it a little less "stations of the canon" and "cast of thousands", and then I'm done. I have completed a semester at university (again). I've come out of this one feeling a lot more positive about things than I have in a while - I genuinely feel I could keep up study with this level of support and assistance, and I do think it's helpful having the Access Plan in the background, so I know if everything comes collapsing down at once, I just have to wave that and I can get the help I need. Having my specialist support group mentor to talk with as well was a great help - just knowing I have someone else I can vent to about things if necessary was a great relief. Means if I get to the point where my brain is tying itself into knots and trying to do Weird Shit with my executive function, I at least have someone I can reach out to and say "okay, help!" and I know they'll do that, to the best of their ability. It's such a reassurance.

The rental inspection passed without a hitch - our property manager is familiar with the place and with us, and knows we're not likely to try and knock the place down without provocation. She was okay with the idea of us requesting another twelve months in the property (she asked us to send her an email about it, so she had a record - so I did that), and hopefully some time in the next few weeks, we'll start dealing with all the paperwork needed to ensure the renewal goes forward. If we're really lucky, we won't see an increase in the rent, either - we're in a declining rental market, so I doubt the rent will increase by much (if at all). Also we have the owner coming around on Wednesday morning to measure up the kitchen for Ikea cabinets (the ones from the carpenter apparently cost too much or something). So, we may be getting a better kitchen out of all of this ... or not.

Eating and food related stuff below the fold )

What else has been happening? Oh yeah, I've been writing up a chapter by chapter summary of a particularly long story for another author - something to use as a writer's reference for what happened when, who appeared at what time, etc. Oh, and the weather continues wintery - cold and clear, rather than wet and miserable. Although we are in with about a 40% chance of wet and miserable today. But other than that? We're all fine here. How are you?

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Update 27 MAY 2017

This week everything happened at once.

I've known for a while that I had an essay due, a rationale and reflection document due, a short story to write (1500 - 2000 words) and a rent inspection due at some point this month. This week, the uncertainty bubble surrounding the date of the inspection collapsed, and we discovered when it was going to happen: this coming Wednesday (it's due in May, Wednesday is the 31st of May, it apparently counts).

For those of you not ensnared in the morass of the Australian rental market, let me describe the joys of a rental inspection to you. Firstly, you get told the inspection is happening at some time on a given day - usually with about a week's notice. The current real estate agency are nice enough people - they narrow it down to "some time between 12pm and 5.30pm", which is positively generous. Before this happens, you need to have the property in a condition which would satisfy either your mother, or your mother-in-law (depending on who has the more rigid housekeeping standards - if neither of these qualify, pick your unfriendly local germophobe). You also need the gardens (if there are any) looking good as well - the local mowing places do a lot of good business out of people who have inspections due! So, once you have the property in pristine condition (including things like cleaning off light switches, wiping down walls and cleaning the oven) you wait for the property manager (if you're renting from a real-estate agency) or the owner (if you're renting directly) to come in and have a look over the place. Now, technically, they're not supposed to be judging you on your housekeeping standards - but we all know this is so much horse elbows, so yeah, they are. If it's a property manager, they come in and often (these days) take photos of the interior of the place, in order to prove you've left the walls where they were when you came in, and to prove the roof hasn't spontaneously fallen in or similar. This, of course, means they're usually taking photos of your goods and chattels as well. Anyway, they come in, do their walk through, make sure you haven't knocked the place down since they were last there, then breeze back out again after making a report for the owner. The whole business takes about fifteen minutes to half an hour tops, but it requires about a week's solid effort in preparation because the place needs to be pristine for them.

This happens every three months, by the way (four a year).

We had the tradesman come around to have a look at the kitchen cupboards on Friday at about 7.30 in the morning. He brought the owner with him, which I would have appreciated knowing about beforehand (while the house wasn't in "complete dog's breakfast" condition, it wasn't quite at "suitable for unknown strangers visiting" levels of cleanliness). Basically, the owner and the tradesman consulted with each other, and I suspect the outcome is going to be a replacement of at least some (if not all) of the kitchen benches. Now, when this will happen (and whether we'll be in the property when it does) is currently all up in the air - our lease expires on the 21st of July, and while I'm going to be talking to the property manager about getting another twelve months in the place nailed down, what may wind up happening is the owner might decide (in the interests of "not disrupting our lives", gods help us[1]) to give us our notice to quit at the end of this current lease, so he can get the tradies in to do things uninterrupted. Now, I don't know whether this is certain, probable or merely in the range of possibilities out there, but it's something I've added to the list of potential worries coming up.

I've mostly finished all the uni assessments - I finished off the editing of my major essay for one of my units this morning (it's been sitting there waiting to be done like an albatross around my neck for the last three or four days, but when I try to do it in the afternoon, my brain basically throws up an "Out of Spoons" error and refuses to parse the wretched thing). I just have the short story to write a first draft of (for workshopping purposes) by Tuesday. Which should be fun, right? But once I've submitted that short story (due the 1st of June) I've finished for the semester, and all I have to do after that is wait for my results.

Of course, this also means I have to go and speak to AtWork regarding Work for the Dole, since at present my university study qualifies as my Work for the Dole activity - and technically they have me on the books as needing to do Work for the Dole until about August or thereabouts. So I need to find out whether I'm going to be breaching my mutual obligation requirements if I don't immediately start doing something else (like picking up litter, sorting rags, washing bottles, or picking oakum) immediately the moment I've handed in this last assignment.

Still going on MFF, have deleted Avengers Academy from the tablet (since it wasn't going anywhere, and was crashing on a regular basis every time I tried to open it) and I'm getting very fond of Final Fantasy Record Keeper, which I've been playing for over a year now, and which hasn't crashed, glitched, or demanded money from me in all that time. Why can't there be more games like that?

[1] The logic here being that having renovations done around us would be disruptive. Which, yes, it would. But having to move out on short notice, and find another place to live in for the amount we can afford (preferably close to uni - that's the main qualifying feature of this place, by the way - it's close enough to the university that we can basically be there within 15 minutes of leaving the house) would be even more disruptive.

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Current Mood: rushed rushed
Update 20 MAY 2017

This week's fun thing was starting to play Möbius Final Fantasy on my tablet. I'd originally got interested reading about it on Steam, and tried downloading it for the PC, but got a message saying "this isn't available for your platform" (presumably the PC version doesn't work on Windows 10?). So I decided, sod this, I'll get it on the tablet instead.

Ramble/review of FFM beneath )

Other than that: winter continues apace - it started raining yesterday, and is forecast to keep raining for most of the next week or so. I've regained a lot of my spoons from the past few weeks - I'm back to cooking again, and I'm starting to get back into the routine of housework. Given we're forecast to have a rental inspection at some point this month, that's just as well, really. Oh, and one of the cabinet doors for the cupboard beneath the sink fell off - the weight of the door pulled the screws holding the upper hinge out of the wood they were anchored in. Given the doors have been falling out of alignment for a while now, to the point where closing them meant lifting them up and into position, I wasn't particularly surprised when it happened. Again, this place doesn't appear to have had any serious maintenance or non-urgent repair work done since my age was in single digits, so it's not surprising that when you put a couple of hefty doors onto a door-frame which is designed for something much lighter, the blasted things work themselves off in less than a year.

(For my non-Australian readers: welcome to the joys of renting in Australia, where asking the landlord for maintenance on the property can be essentially asking to find a new landlord - landlords evicting tenants for requesting maintenance is a known Thing here. Judging from the string of names - never the same name twice - we've noticed on the mail coming into the mailbox, it seems rather unlikely most tenants in this place stayed longer than about the standard six to twelve months of a fixed-term tenancy. Oh yes, that's another thing about renting in Australia - maximum fixed-term tenancy is twelve months at a stretch).

We're still continuing with the Caterpillar Cull, although the numbers are dropping somewhat. Their latest point of entry into the house is the bathroom, apparently through a finger-width gap in the skirting board down near the bathroom cabinet. Himself sprayed the area with surface spray yesterday, so we're going to see whether that works as a deterrent (it seems to, up to a point, in my room) and just keep picking them up and drowning 'em. These past couple of days, it's mostly been in the twenties per cull, so there's that. I've wound up buying a separate dustpan and brush set for the front verandah, so I can scrub the caterpillar guts off the existing one for inside the house.

We've also had the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos coming by for their final shot at the under-ripe berries from the Cape Lilacs - which means the trees, which are starting to drop their leaves for winter, are starting to look just a tad bedraggled as a result. I hauled up a sucker from one of the front Cape Lilac trees earlier in the week, and I'm going to have to go and have a look around for any others.

Uni continues apace. I have one essay to finish, one five hundred word rationale and reflection to write, and a 1500 - 2000 word short story, personal essay, or feature article to write. The essay and the rationale/reflection are both due Monday week (29th of May), the short story is due the following week (8th of June). All of which is within my ability to do in the allotted time, so I'm not particularly worried about it. The more irritating item is being expected to find a feature article from a newspaper for my "Introduction to Writing" tutorial on Tuesday - mostly because I tend not to buy the newspaper on the grounds of it not being worth the money one spends on the wretched thing. Given the standard of Australian print journalism these days, I rather doubt there's going to be a feature article in the wretched thing anyway. Wonder whether my tutor would accept something from the online Grauniad - I know they do feature articles - quite a few of them, in fact.

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