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An Overdue Update

Since the beginning of November (or thereabouts) I've been undergoing one of my periodic mood downswings. Which is why things have dropped off somewhat. Essentially, I've been spending just about every day for the past forty days waking up, realising I'm not dead (and cursing when I realise this, because it's been a massive disappointment at times) and working my way through life as though I'm walking through chest-high treacle in a cold climate. On top of this, I've had an impromptu rent inspection (sprung on us with about 7 days verbal notice - the real-estate agent decided to take advantage of an opportunity and get a look at the place to make sure we're not destroying the joint) which has necessitated cleaning the place to inspection-ready standards, and also a minor meltdown over my partner hiring someone to get the windows done. Currently I have a knee-rug to assemble before Saturday (7x9, I have 4 of the 7 strips already joined up; I'm finishing assembling the final one of the remaining 3 this morning. Then it's just tidying up ends, which is long and fiddly and takes forever; joining them to the main rug; and making a border for the whole thing) as a Christmas present for my father-in-law, as well as a batch or two of biscuits for my mother-in-law.

Fortunately, I managed to beg off going to my parents' place for the evening meal on Christmas day (I've been doing a lot of therapy lately, which has stirred up one heck of a lot of unresolved anger at the 'rents) and will instead be just knocking it down to a quick trip to drop off their presents and pick up ours. But that means at least another two or three batches of biscuits to bake next week (in time for Christmas) to cover my parents, my brother, and my two nieces; not to mention a quick plunge into the joys of the local shopping mall at Christmas time in order to purchase something fancy to pack them all into.

All of this while, as mentioned previously, feeling as though I'm doing everything through chest-high treacle in the middle of winter.

To add to all of this, the depression makes me as irritable as all get-out, so I currently have a temper shorter than a wet cowpat, and a fuse which is best measured in micrometres. I've been taking care of myself by avoiding the political news and the political blogs as much as possible, as well as walking away from a lot of stuff that I'd otherwise be wading into.

So, that's why I've been fairly quiet (for me) this past month or so.

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Current Mood: depressed depressed
So, How Was Your Week?

How's my week been? Ooh, let's see.

1) Physically, I'm breaking in a new mattress (as in new-new, never been used before). We swapped out my previous queen bed for a single bed (so we can manage to fit more than just the beds into the bedrooms of whichever place we move into next) and as part of this I'd purchased myself a new mattress to go with it. New mattress is very firm (designed for kids to be jumping on it, I suspect) and thus I tend to be not getting quite the same quality of sleep I'm used to. Plus the single bed with my queen-bed continental quilt on it is a lot warmer than the queen bed used to be, so I spend a lot of the night overheating. Not helped by item 2) on the agenda, below.

2) This year, Perth looks to be having a lovely wet winter, which we desperately need in order to get even a little more water in the dams (this graph gives a picture of where our water storage levels are at present). However, while I love to see the rainfall, I'm not so keen on the small problem where we have absolutely zero undercover drying space for our laundry. It means I spend a lot of time frantically monitoring the weather radar (to tell whether the rain is likely to be falling/clearing up soon); the washing gets hung out in frantic bursts of hope, then hauled back in and spun dry again (well, drier than dripping wet, anyway); and smaller items get hung up on the clothes airer which is now occupying one of the few patches of clear space in our main room.

3) Just started with a new psychologist yesterday. She's based out at the old Fremantle Prison (built back in the convict days of the early 1800s - our colony was founded in 1829 - and still being used as a prison within my lifetime) which now has at least some of the cells being used as office space by a small business development group. Let's just say I can now understand why the prisoners used to riot. That office/cell was crowded with two women in it. I'd hate to think how cramped it would have been with three big boofy blokes in it. Standard first appointment - "tell me about yourself" - which has stirred up the mud at the bottom of the psyche. Consequently feeling a little flattened at present.

4) Second installment of a short course on MYOB happening tonight (six week course, 3.5 hours per week). I'm having my usual problem with all of these sorts of things, namely that I could probably have blitzed through about two weeks worth of content inside the allowed time for one week, and thus spend a lot of the time reading ahead in the book and getting everything done quick smart. Last week I spent a lot of the unused time writing up an explanation of the difference between closing down a program using its own exit routine (File -> Exit on most Windows programs) and letting the operating system take care of things (click on the X in the upper right corner, for Windows), and why it's wiser to let the program handle the closing routine if you're working on a slow system, or a system using networked file storage, or if you're using large data files. Formatted it a bit when I got home last week, and I'll print it out today and take it in for the fun of it. Wonder what I'll wind up with this week? Maybe I should take along a few bits of fanfic to work on.

5) Picked up some more acrylic yarn from the Red Dot store in Fremantle (they had 100g balls of 8-ply acrylic going for $2 a ball; I grabbed some in black, which I plan to use as joining/edging yarn for rugs, and some in dark purple and white, which I plan to use to create a "Fremantle Dockers" knee rug for my father-in-law). This has now brought my yarn stash to two 50L roller bins bulging at the seams. I am now no longer allowed to buy any more yarn until I've used up some of the stuff I already have. Which may well necessitate me making an effort to turn some of the half-bin (another 50L roller bin) of granny squares sitting in waiting into rugs.

6) Replaced the pair of jeans which blew out an inner thigh a couple of weeks ago. $30 at Best and Less, and unfortunately it appears it is no longer possible to find larger sizes jeans which don't have some form of "tummy trimming" panel in them. Which is annoying - if I wanted to wear a girdle, I'd fecking well buy one. I don't need the designers of my clothing making the decision for me. They're currently in the wash basket, waiting for Himself to get home tonight, so I can put his current hi-vis shirt through the wash with the rest of them (and any other blue or green articles of clothing which are waiting on washing).

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Current Mood: drained drained
Cranky and Bitchy. Beware

So yesterday was Australia Day, or as I am now nicknaming it in my head, the Bogan Festival of Flags. Some bright spark in our area decided they were going to have a home fireworks display. Which they started doing at about 1pm, and carried on irregularly throughout the afternoon until about 7pm. Some other little darlings decided that our cul-de-sac street was a good one to hoon up and down on their dirt bikes at irregular loud intervals.

I react badly to unexpected loud noises. They rattle inside my head, and I wind up getting very stressed by them. If it's been a stressful week for me already (which it had been - re-enrolling for this year at uni had required three separate visits and a very angry performance in the student centre to get things sorted out, which I was not impressed by; then I went shopping on Friday which was more stress again) that kind of thing catapults me into full-on overload mode, and I go straight to depressed and stay there. It was one of the things I disliked about living in Canbrrra (where private fireworks are permitted on certain public holidays), and one of the things I was quite happy to leave behind when I left the place.

Never mind that private usage of fireworks in Western Australia is something which is illegal since 1967 (and was made so due to bushfire risk - a fireworks event permit refers to the Bush Fires Act of 1954, which probably has something to say about it all). Never mind that this street we're living on is close to a couple of small "nature strips" which are currently tinder-dry, due to the prolonged drought.

I called in the performance to the police last night, and wrote an email to the council reporting the whole business. I suspect the idiots who were doing it didn't have a permit from the council, and quite frankly I hope they enjoy the fines and the charges.

So, I'm still cranky, I'm still bitchy, and I'm still annoyed despite having got an extra few hours sleep (slept in until 10am today, which is unusual for me in summer). I still have the beginnings of a headache, and I'm still not in a fit mood to deal with anything else sentient. Sounds like the perfect time to go thump kobolds in D&D Online.

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Falling Off The Edge Of The World

Soooo...

Tuesday night, we had a bit of a storm around our place. Or, to put it more bluntly, our area received a lake via air drop (always fun).

Long Story Below )

However, as a result of all the futzing around, and the lightning flying everywhere and all the rest, our old gateway server had decided it was all too much, and died on us. So yesterday, I had the fun chore of testing the two older PCs my partner had sitting around waiting to be turned into something, and finding out whether they'd boot at all (the original plan was to switch out the power supply from one of them into the existing gateway box).

EDITED TO ADD: Mumblefrotz, gotta remember not to hit enter on the autocomplete for the tags - Dreamwidth isn't LibreOffice.

Anyway, we wound up finding one of the boxen worked just fine (it used to be my PC, but the USB ports started playing up on it, and when I got my former laptop, it sort of went by the board) and with the addition of an extra network card (one to connect to the network, one to connect to the router) it should work just fine as a gateway box itself. All we had to do was install a copy of the gateway software on it (which was an adventure in itself - would you believe the boot loader for the gateway software didn't recognised USB keyboards as existing, even though the BIOS for the machine did, and the eventual software itself does? Fortunately Himself has an old keyboard with the PS2 connectors - the round ones which only work one way up - rattling around in his pile of miscellaneous PC junk) and get it up and running.

Installation last night, final configuration touches today, and now we're back onto the internet.

In between times, I've written approximately 10,000 words of a D&D campaign novelisation. How did people procrastinate successfully before there was an internet? I've forgotten...

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Current Mood: relieved relieved
I Still Aten't Dead

I'm still alive and well and living in suburbia. Himself is employed again (starts the new job on Monday), so we have income (or at least, income greater than the dole) to look forward to. Mostly I've been wandering around making comments on other blogs.

I've taken to playing Echo Bazaar again - they're letting people create accounts even without Facebook or Twitter accounts to link to them. If you're on there, have a look for Hepzibah Murgatroyd - that's me. At present, I'm busy dealing with an invasion of rats in my lodgings, which is leaving me quite nicely set up for a few other storylines (for a start, I'm looking at having accumulated at least half the purchase price for a route to another part of Fallen London).

I've stopped reading certain online periodicals - mainly the ones from the "Gawker" stable (so Jezebel, Kotaku etc), and any others which insist I have to have Javascript turned on in order to be able to view content on their website. Yes, I'm a web purist - I have this insane notion that I should be able to see web content using an HTML viewer (such as a web browser) without needing to enable fifty gazillion different add-ons (or run through a list of approximately twenty different JS hosts in NoScript in order to figure out which ones are going to need to be enabled so I can see what's on the page). It's quite easy: they aren't going to show me something worthwhile in plain HTML, I'm going to take it as a declaration that they don't have any worthwhile content.

So far that seems to work just fine as a sorting algorithm.

Hmmm... other things, other things. I've been reading through this post by Nick Mamatas about Geek Pride and Geek Culture, wherein he points out that, among other things:

"Yes, a fascination with the strategies of Pokémon or Magic: the Gathering is just like someone else's fascination with RBI averages. That doesn't raise your interests up; that helps let us know how silly too minute an interest in professional sport is.

Which makes me think about my latest bit of statistics neepery. I've long realised I like playing with numbers and statistics. I enjoy compiling huge reference sheets of this, that and the other thing, and usually I'll do that with things from role-playing games (you should see the spreadsheet I have for the monsters in Eyangband!). It's something which keeps me happy, and gives the more neepish side of my personality something to do. This year, I've decided to go back to a tried-and-true old favourite source of statistics, namely the AFL football. It's fun, really. I "watch" the game via the ABC's Grandstand AFL Scores app, refreshing every so often and updating the spreadsheet and the text file I have with summary stuff as required. It's interesting coming up with a "story" for what I'm seeing (for example, my ongoing explanation for long periods where there's not been a scoring kick made by either side is that the umpires have confiscated the ball; if one side hasn't scored for a long period in the first quarter, maybe they're not sure where the ground is) and it's a lot more fun for me than watching a bunch of blokes run around a muddy paddock to the sound of other blokes telling me what's happening right in front of my eyes, with regular interruptions for commercials for beer.

(This round's match to watch is going to be the West Coast Eagles vs the GWS Giants. Top of the ladder vs bottom of the ladder, and the previous two matches the Giants have been in they've pretty much been walked over. However, they do have a few chances of winning. Possible strategies include: telling the Eagles that the game's been moved to a different ground, whoops, sorry, didn't you know?; locking the Eagles players out of their changing rooms; or locking the Eagles players into their changing rooms and "losing" the keys until about three-quarter time. I should explain for non-AFL fans that GWS are the newest kids on the block, they're from a non-traditional AFL state, and they're not really expected to do more this season than try their hardest and walk away with the wooden spoon anyway.)

Oh, and it all gives me numbers to play with. Which is also fun.

We have a rent inspection coming up (sigh) which means this weekend we're cleaning the place up so it looks nice and shiny for the nice person from the real estate company when they visit on Tuesday. At present, I'm tackling the kitchen and the main family areas, and my system is fairly simple - thirty minutes straight of work, followed by one hour of futzing around doing whatever else I fancy.

I find this works better for me than just ploughing in with a sustained cleaning frenzy does. For a start, it means I'm allowed to stop and rest for a time, and it's not "giving up" - and "giving up" is something which inevitably kills off my cleaning frenzies. Also, thirty minutes is a nice, comfortable time interval. It's long enough to get several tasks done (for example, I can dry up one load of dishes, wash a new load, and move on to clean up bench space or wipe down the stove or whatever) and see some progress. It's long enough that I can feel like I can take my time on things and do it Right (whereas fifteen minute bursts make me feel rushed - gotta do it all NOW!), and I can also feel like I've achieved something at the end of the thirty minutes. The one hour gaps in between the thirty minute bursts mean I don't feel put upon or martyred by having to do the jobs, and it also means I'm not storming into Himself's den to demand he does something too (so he can be as miserable about the whole mess as I am). Contrariwise, having the bursts of activity between the breaks for other stuff mean I'm not feeling guilty about not helping out with the cleaning. Plus, it means I have enough energy left at the end of the day to do things like cook dinner (an important consideration).

The fanfic is still going up at AO3, although I'm starting to run out of stuff to post to plump things out to the 10 items per week thing. Oh dear, I may have to either slow down posting, or start writing again. Oh noes.

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Current Mood: calm calm
Because I can't be meaningful all the time...

These past few days I've been feeling like crap. Hence no post yesterday. I'll try to get one out for tomorrow.

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Current Mood: blah blah
A brief comment on the chest cold and cough I appear to have picked up

It sucks. I hurt. Could it please go away right now, kthanxbye?

[A slightly longer comment: I've been coughing now for about three days, my chest aches, and I really didn't need to wind up with a trapped nerve in my right arm overnight just to add to the fun. Feeling very sore and very sorry for myself, but not emphasising this because Himself has been barking away for about two weeks straight with this while attempting to carry out his job and find us new rental accommodation. I may not be dead, but boy, it's starting to sound like a fun alternative at this point.]

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location: Agony
Current Mood: sick sick
So, Was It Rapturous For You, Too?

It's May 22. I'm still here. So are my neighbours. So is New Zealand.

But then, I had a problem with Mr Camping's figures from the start - they were based around the whole business of "years from Christ's birth", and the assumption this occurred at some fictitious Year Zero. Now, there's a few small problems with this: firstly, and most importantly, there wasn't a Year Zero at all - in fact, at the time Christ was supposed to have been born, there were two calendars his birth might have been reported on, and one of those was the Hebrew calendar which (at that time[1]) counted years since Seleucus I Nicator returned to Babylon after his Egyptian exile (because Galilee, Judah and surrounding territories fell firmly into the Seleucid empire). The other was the Roman imperial calendar, which counted years since the city of Rome had been founded by Remus in memory of his brother.

The second big problem is that the timing of the birth of Christ wasn't noted in any contemporaneous historical documents (there are three gospel references, all of which post-date the death of Christ by at least 100 years[2]) and therefore it can't be fixed. The best most biblical and historical scholars can do is guess - to a greater or lesser degree of accuracy, depending on the premises they use.

The Anno Domini (or "Year of Our Lord") dating system wasn't actually devised as a way of counting years until approximately 525CE. It was originally created as a way of dating Easter each year, as a replacement for the Diocletian epoch (Diocletian being the the last Roman emperor to go in for serious persecution of Christians, and mass production of Christian martyrs). The only thing which has come down to the present day is the actual conversion table from Diocletian years to AD, and there's no notes available to provide any cross references to other dating systems, or any indication of the calculations used.

Historical research has since been conducted to try and figure out when the actual birth of Christ occurred[3], and the results of this are rather interesting. In effect, the dates for various biblical cross-references can put the date of Christ's birth anywhere in the period between 18BC and 7AD (depending on which of the gospels you believe to be accurate). The most widely accepted figures tend to be between 9 and 6 BCE.

Now, given this, even if we accept every other part of Mr Camping's mathematics to be exact, divinely inspired and absolutely correct, the best guess is that the end of the world would have begun sometime between 2002 and 2005. If this were the case, then clearly we were just all too busy to notice - or there were a lot of people who were expecting to be Raptured who were clearly not as good at this whole Christianity thing as they thought they were.

But hey, dating Christ's birth is an imprecise science. If we take the latest figure possible for Christ's birth (putting his birth at the time of the census of Syria and Iudaea in 6 - 7CE[4]) then we should be looking out for the end of the world in 2017 or 2018. If it hasn't already ended in 2012, as per the Mayan calendar.

[1] The current Hebrew calendar counts the years since the founding of the world as per biblical record, but it's only been doing so since about the 3rd century CE.
[2] Thus they post-date his birth by at least 133 years.
[3] I haven't yet heard of any research into whether it occurred at all - but then, I'm not a theological or archaeological scholar.
[4] Although this is slightly inconsistent with the same gospel writer's record of Christ's conception occurring during the reign of Herod the Great, which ended in 4BCE. Of course, if this is at all accurate, I can understand why the (previously) Virgin Mary is regarded as a saint - an eleven year pregnancy would be trying for anyone, let alone a first-time mother!

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Current Mood: quirky quirky
Current Music: The complete lack of angelic choirs
Holy Crap! I Found My Desk...

And the kitchen table. And the receipt for the new printer and the expansion drive which didn't work. And a whole heap of paperwork from the past three years.

The thing which triggered all of this was installing a new printer (well, all-in-one device really - it scans and it prints and it photocopies and although it doesn't fax things, it's connected to a computer with an internet connection, so it can perform the equivalent of faxing too) and discovering that the only place I had where the printer would actually fit on my desk was (at that point) covered with an ever-increasing stack of paperwork. So, I got the printer installed (and working very nicely, thank you) and then realised I really had to do something about the piles and piles and piles of stuff which had been occupying the space on my desk where the printer had been. Mostly because it was now occupying the space on the kitchen table where the eating spaces had been, and I really did want to sit down and enjoy a proper dinner at some point in the next couple of days.

So, I decided to get started by clearing a bit of space to put down my little hand-crank shredder (handles 2 pages at a time, and is also capable of chewing through credit cards and CDs) and started shredding all the obvious crap as it all came to hand. End result (before I got bored) was two plastic bags of hamster bedding. Then I pulled out the ring binder/portfolio I'd been using to store all my corro and stuff from a couple of years ago - it was a system which had worked for me right up to the point where I stopped being dilligent about it, at which point the backlog took over and it disappeared under the mess. So, pull out everything for the past couple of years from that, and grab three envelope-style folders from the storage cupboard - one for 2009, one for 2010, and one for 2011. The 2009 and 2010 stuff just got dumped into the folders, and the folders go into the filing cabinet for further action later. The 2011 stuff got put into the appropriate categories in the portfolio binder (and I wrote up a new index for this binder, so I can find what I'm looking for).

Meanwhile, I looked at a couple of file trays I had on top of the filing cabinet, and decided they could be re-used in a more constructive manner. One now has a pile of stuff in it which needs to be shredded - and a label saying "to shred". The other is currently empty, but there's a (smaller) pile of stuff to sort on top of the filing cabinet, and I figure I may as well use the capabilities of my nice new scanner to scan those things which I want to keep, but which I can't figure out a decent "away" for. So it has a label saying "to scan". My eventual aim is to get to and scan all the hundreds of recipe leaflets I've collected over the years, so I'll have a permanent record of them, and then I don't have to bloody well keep the silly things! Yay! More storage space!

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Current Music: Best of Queen (now on the HDD).
State of the Meg - Breakdown

I've finished my contract, and it's just about finished me. )

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Current Mood: exhausted exhausted
Yeah, still here

I'm in my second-last week of the contract down in Bunbury, and I'm starting to really get fed up with travelling to and fro for five days out of every seven. I'm also tired as, and I've been missing my meds because it just slips my mind. Aside from all of that, I'm fine.

I'm trying to think of something witty (or at least interesting) to say here, but my brain isn't working at this hour of the morning, so all I can say is that I'm fine, and our little corner of the world hasn't experienced anything catastrophic lately. Gods willing, I'll be able to keep saying that for a while longer.

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Current Mood: tired tired
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