Sunday, 13 November 2016

Election Regression, Dreams and Fish

The word of the week is inchoate.

Nov 7 – Fish Fatality

It's the little things you remember.

For the last month, we've had a new guest in the apartment: Tobiko, a Betta fish, swimming in a bowl in the living room. He was the first fish that I've had in my living space for decades, though we had a large 10 gallon fish tank full of fish when I was just a young boy which I recall being a lot of work as well as entertaining.

He looked just like this the last week or so: unhealthy and sad.

Unfortunately, Tobiko gave up the swim this weeked, despite our efforts.

After the first few weeks, he'd become lethargic and wasn't eating much at all compared to the first few weeks. We tried what we could, including raising the temperature of the tank to a more comfortable level and providing him more places to shelter/hide if needed, but it didn't do any good.

Though he's gone now, what I'll always remember is the excitement he showed as soon as I approached his tank and started speaking to him. He obviously recognized my voice and presence and knew that it meant food... and so he fluttered around the nearest point of the bowl in anticipation of being fed. It was touching to see how just my voice could induce incitement in a small creature and I'm honestly sad that he wasn't able to adapt to his new home so he could be with us still.

Safe travels, little buddy - you'll be missed.

Nov 8 – And the winner is...?

I have no words...

Well, no, that's not true: I have a metric crap-ton of words, and few of them are complimentary, but I'll boil it down to just a few to string together:

What the F*ck, America?

Okay, I know, it's not my country, but as a Canadian there's an old saying: if the USA catches a cold, Canada sneezes. Maybe not the most apt analogy, but it'll do for now, because in my eyes, the USA just took a flying leap often unknown cliff. I sat down tonight to see by how much of a margin Hillary Clinton would win, and I was up well past midnight with wide eyes as her misogynistic, eminently unqualified-to-be-president opponent took the lead - and won.

How, you might ask, did this happen?

Not asking 'why' along with that question would only give you half the answer, which is complicated: voter apathy, repressed anger, and campaign errors compounded by the media all added together to give Trump the US presidency.

It's shocking to me, and to millions all across the globe.

To also have seen a great candidate like Bernie Sanders knocked out of the race early was just rubbing salt in the wound, but I'd hoped that reason would swing the vote in Hillary's favour - not because she was a perfect candidate, but because she was qualified to be the US Ppresident, unlike Trump.

Well I don't think it's the apocalypse, as a President is not a dictator under the way the US Constitution works, but it certainly not going to be a fun ride by all early accounts. I do find it interesting that a similar situation was posited when Ronald Reagan came the presidency in the 80s, in that that as a retired actor, few people thought he was qualified to be president, but it turned out to be a solid presidency of moderation that resulted in a decade of swift economic growth both for the USA and the world.

I'm reserving my judgment for now, and I'm going to let the hysteria pass me by: I want to see what positive things Trump is capable of rather than focusing on the negative things that everyone assumes he's going to force on the US people. You can read some excellent opinions on the situation here in this New York Times article, which contains points from both sides and has far less hysteria then you might have seen in the media this week.

Let's just hope this isn't the beginning of something else altogether...

Nov 9 – Stepping Back

For the next 3-4 months, I won't be doing much at all: rather, a lot of a little.

I've been distracted too long, worried about too many little things with too little result, because I'm being pulled mentally in so many directions at once.

That has to stop.

In my experience, worrying about something doesn't generally produce a solution: you have to sit down and set aside the time to just think about things honestly and after that, don't keep pouring time and energy into worry.

My books aren't going to write themselves and with that in mind, I have to focus my admittedly-reduced energies of late on fewer things, one of them being my writing. A little bit every day will make a huge difference in the long run.

Getting a better position at work will also help, and to that end I've been working on getting some additional technical certifications, though again that takes time to do properly. Applying for positions for the last year and not getting anywhere has been frustrating, so I'm being careful not to fall into the trap of thinking "I'm just not good enough, that's why nobody's bothering to get back to me," which isn't true. I do know that I've plateaued at my current position and while it's great to go to work without being majorly stressed, it's also quite apparent that my position( that I've held for two years now… )isn't going to do much to advance me financially or challenge me professionally.

It's past time to move on and move up in some of the bigger aspects of my life.

Nov 10 –  Am I... ?

I had a dream last night that I was one of my characters: Niishe.

This was the first time I've ever dreamed about being a character from one of my stories, and it caught me off guard, as it wasn't a dream about Adventure or action or anything to do with the story she hailed from.

Instead, it was a dream about helping people.

Waking up this morning, that thought was still with me, that I dreamed about being someone other than myself but that I knew very well... and whose actions I understood. In some way, I was dreaming about myself, in that I also highly value helping others, as part of my own moral center that I can count no matter what.

In dreaming that I was Niishe, I was perhaps reaffirming that the center of her character contains a pillar founded on helping others, which she is much more qualified to do than I am, given her gifts and abilities.

I also think it's presicent that I dreamed of being her this week, after feeling so helpless watching the election events unfold in the USA a few nights ago. I wonder what it would be like if we lived in a world where superheroes existed, where people had to abilities far beyond the norm...

Though I wonder: how many of them would use those abilities for good?

Nov 11 – Arrival

The movies are back, and better than ever here in town!

Three years ago, a unique cinema location in Victoria closed down: the Capitol 6 Empire Theatres that has been on the corner of Yates and Blanshard since 1981. It's striking and unique architectural design, including its huge corner-glass sloping canopy made it a landmark of downtown Victoria and many were sad to see it's close it's doors due to the parent company wanting to sell the property.

Old exterior, new COMFY seats!

Fortunately, that never happened, thanks to Andrew Golin VP of Regency Theatres from the USA and son of the famous projectionist Harry Golin. He purchased the theatre and installed luxury reclining seats with motorized controls, repositioning the theater as a luxuryvenue for Victoria - well done!

My lady and I went to see the new movie Arrival today at the theatre, which I'd only ever been to see a movie at once( and that for free, as it happened ). It was great to be on the other side of the doors that I've been walking by for the last few years, with the lights on and smiling people inside walking up the unique spiral lobby ramp.

Arrival was a fantastic film, well-written and well-acted, with special effects that complemented to the story instead of dominating it's as many sci-fi films tend to have happened. It was a smart and solid experience, made all the better by the extraordinary comfort of the reclining seats in the theater and the fact that it cost only $10.00 to see the film, which in this day and age is remarkable in itself.

I'll be back, to support the continued operation of this unique and classic theater.

Nov 12 – Gaming in the Clouds!

My lady and I had a great day together, gaming in a lounge, on top of Victoria.

I should explain: we'd wanted to play some boardgames this afternoon, but didn't want to spend the day inside at either of our places... nor did the idea of being stuck in a noisy, crowded cafe` or similar public place have its appeal, either.

The solution? Go up!

We headed to Vista18, a restaurant on the 18th floor of a hotel in the downtown... which, after lunch at 1:30pm, was about as busy as a library at midnight - perfect! We ordered some drinks and sat down to enjoy a few hours of gaming together, which continued until a little past 4:30pm, when the evening crowd began to arrive and we had to call it quits due to the nois and bustle.

Still, we managed to get in three games of Hive, two games of DragonWood( my fave! )and even a game of Castellan, at which I still admittedly am terrible. Next time we decide to make it a games day, we'll take a table around the corner instead of by the bar, away from any potential loud travelers who decide to take in a mid-afternoon drink, of which there were an unfortunate few today - but not many, or too loud overall.

And, while it's still more than a few years in the future until I have a house to call my own, but I think I'd like to have one of these rooms available to game in when the mood strikes:

So... fantastic...

Nov 13 – Rainy Day Games!

Continuing the trend this weekend, I went in the afternoon today to a friend's place to play Munchkin and Exploding Kittens!

Guess which colour I am? :-)

I ended up winning 2 of the 3 games of Munchkin through some good strategy with a little luck, as well as a game of E.Kittens, so it was an afternoon well-spent: fun and victory combine well in my books, especially when it's kinda yucky out. So relaxing...

Also, this morning I FINISHED reading SOTDC( Shadows Of The Dark Crystal )which is the new novel I received last week, written by my friend! It was so good! I wish I could tell you about it here, but as I don't want to give out any spoilers, all I can say is: go read it now. I'll be doing a roundtable on the podcast Trial By Stone in early December, so you can hear my thoughts on the novel along with a few other folks... but again, best that you've read the novel beforehand.

To boot, tonight I updated my novel's website, as I've done every month for the last 2 years... but I'm a little odd in that I like to keep that site separate from my blog: business versus personal, you know. It's good though, in that a search of my author pen-name will to date not pop up any link to my personal blog... and the novel's website usually doesn't come up until the 5th page of Google's results, which I have to admittedly work on. Though I get very few hits per month, I still do the updates, because they function as a reminder of where I've been while producing the novel.. also incentive to get some BIG updates in there soon.

More time spent writing, less time spent blogging... focus. I'll leave you to ponder with the words of Kurt Vonnegut, one of the better scifi writers of the last century:

I am definitely walking better this week, using my cane mainly for balance... and it's working, as my legs only ache slightly at the end of each day, as long as I'm careful about what I do / how fast I go about things. I won't many any preductions for this coming week, just that I hope it's going to be the best week yet for getting back to normal...