Sunday, 1 January 2017

Princess Partings, Posters and Pounding Hearts

The word of the week is simplicity.

Dec 26 – Carrie Fisher

She's gone. I can't believe it... so suddenly, and her mother a day later, too.

The world reacted today with shock, followed by an outpouring of grief and love for the loss of the outspoken actress, writer and mental health advocate.

Princess Leia's dead, and the world is the less for her passing.

For playing the original Kickass Princess, Carrie Fisher will always have my gatitude, as she showed us all that women are more than capable of doing the rescuing and being leaders in the world.

For becoming a no-holds-barred writer, Carrie Fisher showed us that we can use our torments to help others, and not wallow in them: the honest truth can hurt, but does far less harm out in the open if we have the courage to drag it there to see.

For being someone who has struggled with additction and mental health issues and beaten them, Carrie Fisher showed us that our demons can be beaten... and that even the best of us should not be afraid to ask for help if needed.

Fare well, Carrie: millions mourn the loss of your unique voice this year.

For me personally today, I feel like crap, and have no energy.

So, instead of getting a whole lotta Things Done today on my second day off, I instead tried to focus on just relaxing, which is about all I can manage right now. Whatever this cold bug is, it's got me good: starting with my migraine yesterday, a stuffy nose and a racing heart as my body tries to fight it off, despite my having had the flu shot in early November.

Not the ‘relaxing’ week I’d hoped to have…

Dec 27 – 3am Surprises

I woke after 3am this morning with my heart racing.

Really racing: pounding in my chest and myself all in a sweat - what the heck???

After 15 minutes, my heartrate hadn't dropped; it was a far-too-fast 165bpm, as though I was running a sprint simply sitting there on my bed. So I dialed BC Health, and the nurse there said to call 911 - which I did.

The ambulance crew who showed up 10 min. later and ran an EKG were also worried enough to take me to the hospital, where the Emerg folk put me into a separate room with a hydrating IV. They checked my heart again, and noted that while things had calmed down to around 120bpm, it should be half that at rest, if I wasn't sick. Unfortunately, there was only a single doctor on duty and he was swamped, so I spent the next 5 hours awake on the bed, moderating my breathing and listening to Marconi Union to help keep calm in a strange place with a needle in my arm.

I had a nice corner to myself at first, but it didn't last.

What didn't help at all was a guy who arrived around 5am and appeared to be a dug user off his stuff: he continuously complained, at full volume, that he was in pain and needed ‘something’ for it. I felt rather sorry for him, at first, but after 3 straight hours of listening to him say the same 5-6 things over and over, without care for how he was affecting all the other people present, I got over it. He was belligerent enough that security had to cuff him to a bed in a separate room around 6am and from there he continued to rant until the doctor saw him after 9am.  Even then, he told the doc off, too: talk about being stuck in your own reality... but then I don't know his story, just the effect he had on everyone around him.

Speaking of which, the doctor had little new to tell me at 9am, apart from that I'd done the right thing to come in and get checked out: my heart had been working far too hard the last few days, at 120bpm continuously since Christmas Eve. Thankfully, simply being in the hospital and knowing help was at hand was somewhat calming, and the IV helped rehydrate my body on top of all the water I'd been drinking. He said that it was normal for the heart to work harder during illness to move antibodies around, but that I'd been on the edge due to the severity of whatever I'd picked up and could have worsened in the morning if I hadn't come in to be treated. No antibiotics are necessary, just rest, hydration and regular meals of nutritious food.

So, good on me. I was home by 10am, with a total of 2 hours sleep.

Oddly, I didn't feel tired at all, perhaps due to my heart working as it has been: the last 2 days has been the equivalent of me jogging in place for 48 hours straight. I spent the rest of the day simply resting, managing to fit in some short naps on and off for a few hours... but I didn't feel rested when I woke, unsurprisingly.

However, by the evening, the bug's grip on me appeared to have lessened somewhat: my heartrate had dropped to under 100, which was pretty good in my eyes. My normal for bedtime is about 60bpm, and though tonight it was 75bpm, that was a far cry from more than double that at 3am today.

I'll take it, I thought, and slept.

Dec 28 – Fbook Chance Creations

I stayed home from work today: no sense in spreading around what I still have, which is lingering: a runny nose every 5 minutes is no fun for anyone.

While I was looking around the SciFi Blueprints group I'm in on FBook, I noticed someone had uploaded a picture of the poster that hangs above my bed:

A few comments later and I realized that the uploader was none other than the designer of the poster himself, Chris Cushman, who went on to say that he's kept an infrequent blog about his experiences as a Star Trek poster designer. You can find him at this link, and it's a fascinating read about how how someone got involved in the Star Trek universe. His poster still hangs above my bed, and has for two decades now:

That's a treehouse on the left, yes.

What I took away from this, apart from slightly-giddy childlike glee, was that FBook is a wonderful place where people of like interests and get together to discover that perhaps they're closer to the things they love than they realize.

Dec 29 – Animaniacs

They're catchy... be warned.

Those crazy Warner Brothers( and sister, Dot! )were darn entertaining back in the 90's, and still are today. Specifically, their songs are ones that stick in our heads and refuse to give way... but until now, it wasn't clear as to why. Take this particular gem, "Yakko's World," which lists every country on earth in 2 minutes flat so perfectly:

Did I say until now? Yup. There's an incredible in-depth article all about how the songs for the show were created, along with a wealth of other inside information about Animaniacs that any fan of the show won't want to miss here.

You may now continue singing the songs in your head all day.

Dec 30 – Financial Bump

Today was a pretty good day, despite being sick.

Some funds that I've been out for a good part of the year finally came back to me in full today, which means that I'll be handing the year 'in the black' in part, for once. It's a great feeling, in that I won't be penny-counting for the next few months as tightly as I have been; rounding up to dollars, but still... it's a start back on the road to getting my feet under me to walk a better financial path.

I still need to get my business running, but with the GlowForge now delayed until a May or June 2017 delivery date, it's not going to be the financial helper I thought it would for 2017 - at least not the first half, that is.

Speaking of weighting: on a whim, I weighed myself tonight, and was rather surprised: in the last week, I've lost over 7 pounds... and there's not much of me to begin with. Being sick and in not-so-great shape has really taken it out of me, so I need to take care of myself in the coming year - this latest illness has again shown me that with stark clarity.

Note to self: no trips to the hospital in 2017.

Dec 31 – Venturing to Stay In

Last New Year's Eve was far more exciting than the previous 5 before it, but tonight was definitely low-key, due to the week-long illness I've had to deal with. My pounding headache-cum-migraine I've suffered all week finally left me today too, none too soon: if I'd popped any more Tylenol, I think my liver might have complained.

Neither my lady nor I wanted to join the over 20,000 people who packed the Inner Harbour here in Victoria to celebrate New Year's Eve in the biting cold, which honestly I just didn't have the energy to commit to - I can barely keep warm at home as it is even with the heat on.

So instead, we stayed in and watched The Venture Brothers.

For those of you who don't know, The Venture Brothers is animated series that came out in 2004 and is a sendup of the old Johnny Quest cartoon series, among many other things. It's smartly written, well-plotted and just plain fun to watch - not to mention downright funny on multiple levels all at once. We both really enjoyed the four episodes, a far better way to spend the evening in both our eyes.

As it happens, I did manage to make it to midnight unintentionally, as I wasn't able to fall asleep; my mind is like that sometimes, refusing to wind down despite how tired the body is feeling.

I think I just wanted to see 2016 out the door, because as soon as the clock hit 12:01am, I wished everyone I knew a Happy New Year, and immediately fell asleep thereafter.

Jan 1st 2017 – Welcome!

Welcome to a new year.

Of all the things I hope for this year, I want to see my writing take precedence and prominence to bring it to completion in several ways: finish my first two novels and the revisions, then get them out there to agents were they belong.

Along those lines, the words of Neil Gaiman seem most appropriate to keep in mind this year for me:

Evening 'fun' - I'm feeling better( about 80% of normal, with some sniffling and coughing still )so I spent part of the afternoon with my lady relaxing at a coffee shop or two, then watched the sun set in a glorious blaze of orange under the clouds.
I got home and turned on the electric heater... which blew a fuse in our panel. For the circuit powering the hall lights... and the living room TV.

( insert swearing here )

It's the first fuse that I've blown in this apartment since moving in 4 years ago, and because of that I discovered that I don't have any spares: it's not something that I think about. My lady very kindly drove me a few places to try and find the particular fuse type needed, but after an hour search of the places that were still open, only Walmart carried spares... and even they didn't have the old-school type that I needed. The stores that might have had it( Canadian Tire )were all closed today, and the real irony? My landlord was in this week measuring the fuse box for a replacement in a week or two with an updated breaker box: argh.

( insert disappointed / annoyed verbiage here )

But, in the end, it's only one fuse, and I swapped out one from my bedroom to enable me to complete the blog this evening. More irony: there's a windstorm blasting the island tonight, and a good number of homes are without power, line is not one of those... and my place has 2 UPS systems running things, one of which needs replacement batteries as they're past their 4-year service life. Naturally, it's the one that runs the TV... but, so it goes: timing is everything.

I think I'll go to bed early tonight; it's been a long week.

A week spent being sick was a rotten way to end the year, but in hindsight, it was a heck of a lot better than trying to work while I was laid low by whatever monster bug got me, despite my flu shot. I was happy that I could just stay home and rest, though the lack of energy( and killing kleenexes continuously )meant I accomplished previous little else - so much for spending the week writing and catching up various tasks I wanted to complete. But I'm better: my heartrate's back to normal, I feel tied but otherwise fairly ready to resume work on Tuesday, so that's an accomplishment, I think.