Sunday, May 22, 2016

Relaxing, Reorganizing and Raham's Reminiscing

The word of the week is whimsy.

May 16 – Four Years Already?

I moved into my current place four years ago this week.

Hard to believe, really, that I've shared this space with my sister for that long and we still get along so damn well. There's probably some sort of Guinness World Record in there somewhere, when I think about it, and I'm grateful for it. I can't imagine what it would be like trying to interview roommates, living with strangers or even friends to try and make or things work. For all of our differences, my sister has been the best roomie I could ever have asked for.

Living here has been interesting, and more than challenging a few times: crazy-loud upstairs neighbours, sleep deprivation, unemployment, a road full of motorcycles outside my front window, bouts of pneumonia and cellulitis and chronic wrist pain... I've dealt with all of these and more and I'm still here, still sane and( mostly )healthy.

Nothing stays the same forever; I know this well.


My current apartment, for all its warts, has been pretty good overall in terms of places that I've rented - the more recent two years far more than the first two years. Job stability and improved health helped balance that equation somewhat.

I find it interesting that I don't know where I'll be living four years from now. I'm almost certain that it won't be in this building, given my need for a more quiet locale to practice my writing craft( hear that, motorcycles? )in the future. Ideally, I'd like to have a place somewhere in the city, on a quiet suburban street well back from any main roads, hopefully without too many idiots in the immediate neighborhood.

Here's hoping!


May 17 – Rude Writing?

It was an odd critique group tonight, in that I didn't have anything to contribute of my own.

As I mentioned in last month's blog note, I've only finished half of Book 2, and last month I ran out of the current batch of first-draft chapters for critiquing.

On the bright side, it means that our critique nights are taking all that long, about 2 1/2 hours in total and we can get into more detail for each person's chapter under review since we have less overall material to go through of the night. We've been doing this now for over three years and I'm eager to start generating more new material for Book 2 in a few month’s time so that I can get feedback on it.

On a related note, we had a bit of skulduggery in our writing group today.

Thanks to the way Meetup.com is set up, anyone can join our group. Someone new did just that a week ago, then created a new Meetup meeting under the auspices of our writing group... without asking any of the administrators, or even having met any of the group members.

I understand this is the age of the electronic social group, but this behavior smacked to me of rudeness and also a form of hijack: it's was akin to a stranger showing up at a well-established local group meeting, handing out business cards for another meeting and then leaving immediately.

My fellow admin and I are going to handle this quietly, which I think is called for as it's not really a big deal but we don't want to set a problematic precedent. The next time this person creates a meeting, we're going to cancel it and immediately message them to the effect that if they want to use our membership, they should show up to a few meetings first; our writing group has been around a while and have certain standards to maintain with the use of the groups name, minor though that point is.

If they don't like that, they can form their own group. Easy enough.


May 18 – Move, Move Again?

Another sign that I should be moving on...

I learned today that work will likely be moving me to another department, still within the same office. I'll probably be doing one of a few familiar tasks, but not administration... which is a good thing, actually.

This time last year, when I was just doing invoices, I was able to listen to music all day long which I found inspiring to my creative side. It's perfect timing to be going back to that, in a way, as I need to spend this summer editing Book 1... and what better way to keep my creative juices bubbling all day then with inspiring music, just like last year?

I had it so good... and now it's no longer My Spot.

In the meantime, I've moved desk twice since I was turfed out of my 'corner condo' at the beginning of the month. As you can see from the pics above, I was gloriously ensconced in a corner spot of the office, with no glaring overhead lights and the sort of privacy that you get only after years in the same office.

Where I am now is likely to change again, as I get pushed over to the other side of the office were all the invoice folks live. Unfortunately, I'll only get two monitors( not the 3 currently enjoyed by the Admin team )and I'll be in a  space probably half the size of my current desk area... which will take some getting used to, I think.

But who knows? 3 to 6 months from now, I may be located at another office altogether, if one of my recent job applications bears fruit. A bump in pay is certainly worth some desk-size reduction, or other minor disruptions in one's daily worklife.

Change can be a good thing, especially if you're half-expecting it...


May 19 – Landing Life

I don't do sale flyers anymore.

It used to be that I'd seek out the occasional good deal on things Needed, or sometimes even things Wanted, by regularly visiting sites such as RedFlagDeals.com, NCIX.com, Newgg.ca and so forth. It was fun and interesting to see how good a deal one could get, before stock ran out or other factors came into play. Over the years, these sites have netted me many a good deal, but one thing has always remained the same: they involve spending money.

Given my current finances, it's just smarter not to even look.


If I keep things simple and avoid temptation of any kind, I think I'll do just fine. I'm not lacking in anything in my household by any stretch of imagination: I have more accumulated gadgets then I probably need, even after clearing out some of the more obsolete things last fall. By removing the temptation of "Hey, that looks cool, I could probably use that" from my vocabulary altogether, I'll be able to better concentrate on what Needs Doing for the rest of 2016, and ensure that I lower my anxiety levels by going very easy on my wallet.

Tonight I also attended a 'learning session' at the invitation of a family member, who thought that it might prove useful in my life as it has in theirs. This program is known internationally and has been around for several decades, with the distinction of costing a fair penny to get into while providing meaningful results for thousands of people needing focus in their lives.

Interestingly, while I was there for three hours listening to the speakers, my thoughts during the session all ran along the same lines: I don't need this in my life right now, as I have a pretty good idea of where I'm going and what I need to do to get there.

It was quite freeing to be able to sit there and listen, without feeling as though my life needed to be turned upside down in order to make it better. I felt grounded and relaxed, confident in the decisions I've made in the last couple of years to bring myself to the point where I am now and continue onwards with my life.

Good things are coming my way; some of them are already here.


May 20 – Long Weekend!

Thanks to good timing, today was my day off and combined with the holiday on Monday, I get a four-day Victoria Day weekend!

I made good use of it today, by doing a lot of cleanup with my papers. Usually around this time of year, I make a point of going through all of my old files and receipts to toss whatever's no longer relevant or useful or timely. I make sure to shred all the private documents and bills however; no sense in giving information to use by ID thieves these days.

It's a good feeling to get rid of a lot of the old to make room for the new. I especially enjoyed going through some of the folders and seeing things that triggered fond memories of days gone by, like this flyer from Rahams:

25 years on, it's still in my heart...

Raham's was my go-to place for RPG and boardgames in Grades 7 and 8, as well as throughout high school. It was located in downtown St. Catharines, in the basement of Raham's Office Supply, down a short set of stairs in the front of the store - I don't think I ever bought a single thing from the office supply store upstairs, in all the years that I went through their front door.

Downstairs was a wonderland.

They had it all, in the 80s and early 90s: RPG games, miniatures, boardgames and even computer games in their later years, including the Amiga system that would become my favorite personal computer of all time. It was a magnificent place to explore, even on a student's budget, as you could so many things of interest there and there was always something new coming in week to week. I was sad to see the store close in the 1990s and while a former employee opened up a spiritual successor store down the road, it was never the same. Rahams was where my imagination was given license to buy, a toy store for my purely creative side. 

It's sad that such a big part of my growing up hasn't a single mention anywhere to be found on the Internet today... save for today's entry.

In the evening tonight, my lady and I got a taste of the 2016 Victoria Kite Festival!

Tonight, after sunset from 9 to 11pm, there were night-flying kites galore! It was a cloudless night with a full moon and the lighting was just perfect, as you can see from this video:

video

There was a fair crowd out, despite the cool wind and it was simply magical there in the bright moonlight, with all the LED-lit kites in the sky floating high above:

video


May 21 – Busy Day, Relaxing Night

Today I continued organizing my papers from yesterday, and finished by midafternoon with a feeling of satisfaction for job well done.

I also seemed to have slightly injured myself - again.

Yesterday, while I was making changes to the A/V equipment under my TV, I was kneeling and standing a fair bit over the course of an hour. Apparently that stretching movement re-injured the muscle tear in my left leg, so that my thigh now burns painfully if I move it in certain ways or put too much weight on it.

So I'm possibly back to where I was last summer: not riding my bike. Argh.

It's a real bummer, as I was looking forward to getting out on my replacement bike this year, after spending the last nine months diligently not hurting myself to allow time to recover after last summer's painful experience. I can only hope it's a temporary setback.

In the evening, my lady and I went out to dinner and a movie.

We went to see The Jungle Book, a cgi tour-de-force with special effects by none other than WETA, who did all the work on Peter Jackson's Lord Of the Rings and Hobbit movies. The story, adapted by Disney from the classic story by Rudyard Kipling, was a solid entertaining 90 minutes from start to finish, with very few slow spots at all. The principal actor, a young unknown by the name of Neel Sethi, put in a solid performance throughout, with a few minor spots noticeable where he's acting to the green screen - quite forgivable in light of the rest of the pictures quality, I thought. Having Bill Murray voice the character of Baloo the bear was a pure delight...




May 22 – Soaring Skies!

Today, we flew some kites!

Well, actually we went to see quite a few kites in the sky, down at the Victoria International Kite Festival at nearby Clover Point. There were dozens of kites in the sky, small and large:


My girlfriend and I arrived there in the late morning, walking about 20 minutes from a quiet breakfast in Cook Street Village down to the ocean. We joined a fair crowd of folks walking along the shoreline paths of Dallas Road towards Clover Point, following the bright glimmering of colored kites in the sky ahead, then flying our own brilliant skysailer:



We stayed for a couple of hours, admiring the various kites appearing and disappearing in the skies around us as time went on. We left shortly after noon, just as a layer of cloud slid across the sun and dimmed the temperature a fair bit.

The rest of my afternoon was kind of quiet, which was exactly what I needed. I worked on my blog and catnapped here and there, while the day marched on outside. I did take time to meet my lady for dinner at Foo downtown, where we sat outside on the patio to enjoy the perfect late afternoon weather under the once-again sunny skies.

I caught a movie in the evening with my sister, choosing to watch Safety Not Guaranteed, a solid time-travel romantic movie from 2012. It's based on a classified ad that appeared in a CA paper in 1997 and quickly became a phenomenon, enough so that the movie almost felt familiar in some ways:



It was good in to a busy three days, leaving me in the great room to sleep in tomorrow, which is Victoria Day. Lately I've been waking up around 5 AM and having trouble getting back to sleep, but I'm trying to train myself out of it by going to bed a little bit later each night and with an ultimate goal of getting about seven hours sleep on average. That means staying up most nights until at least 11 PM and trying to sleep through until well past dawn's early light that manages to peep through my blackout curtains.


That's about all I have for this week. Looking ahead, it's just work, enjoy the summer with my lady, and edit Book 1... nothing else big planned, save getting more sleep. Doesn't sound all that exciting, but it sure does sound like I'll get a lot accomplished!