Sunday, 29 January 2017

Waiting, Weight Loss and H.G. Wells

The word of the week is insightful.

Jan 23 – Steady On...

I'm doing better today.

A few hours after I got to work this morning, I had a talk with one of the team leads and he was extremely helpful in allaying my trepidations about working this week after yesterday's panic attack. He said that the two people noticed last week, himself included, that I was having trouble focusing at work and he was relieved that I had chosen to talk to him this morning to fill him in on what was going on with me over the last month, as well as my noticeable rapid weight loss.

It was calming to speak with him, as he's also experienced difficulties at work, including a heart attack years ago and he specifically went into some detail about his experience in order to put my own recent chest-related anxiety to rest. After talking with him for good half-hour, I was able to go back to work and put in a solid day of effort without feeling defocused or otherwise anxious.

Not GREAT, but better.

Once I got home and after dinner, I also spoke with a good friend of my sisters at length, whose life experiences have paralleled my own in several interesting ways. Again, it felt good to just speak face-to-face with someone who could directly relate to my own difficulties in addition to just listening to them, as it indicated the level of understanding beyond the norm which I felt I really needed right now. I also take comfort in knowing that if I need to talk some more, my friends will be there for me if I reach out. I'm a lucky guy...

AND, If there's one thing I've come to understand over the years, it's that talking helps, and today I got a double dose, enough that I slept rather well and peacefully.

Jan 23 – Weight Reset

Seems I was right: I have been starving.

With being so ill over Christmas, and the resultant stress over the few weeks since then, I've lost a full 10 percent of my total weight, the lightest I've been since leaving high school - yikes!

Which may be a good thing, after a fashion.

In 2017, I'm looking to reset things, to move forward and well, losing weight I didn't need to leave room for gaining good weight could be exactly what I needed right now. While my meals in the last year have been decent, they could have stood to be better and in these last two weeks I've gone all-out on making that happen. An energy shake for breakfast, salad or soup for lunch and dinner along with snacks of fruit and nuts every few hours has meant that I've been eating nonstop with smaller meals more often that all keep my energy levels topped up.

It seems to be working.

I'm no longer feeling cold all the time; my hands and nose are warm no matter how lightly dressed I am at home and I don't feel sluggish anymore. While I haven't gained any weight in the last few days, I feel like I've turned a corner mentally and physically and I'm heading towards a better place overall.

I do want to get back to being able to eat wheat and dairy though, in whatever quantities that won't cause problems, as I would like to be able to go out now and then for dinner with my girlfriend, family or friends. I don't see that happening in the next month however, as that's when I have to start reintroducing those foods into my diet to see if they actually will cause any issues.

I'm kinda cheesed just thinking about it...

Jan 25 – Blueprints for Success!

You just have to be patient and persistent.

I happen to be both, but when it comes to finding things on the Internet, sometimes there's a bit of luck involved as well: take for example, my ten-year search for blueprints.

Not just any blueprints, but Battletech blueprints.

These were released over 30 years ago, in June 1986, and I saw them first in Raham's soon afterwards. While I liked Battletech at the time, I could only afford to keep myself in D&D books, and so never picked up the hobby. All the same, I loved blueprints, and for around $20 CDN ( $40 nowadays )at the time I should really have just bought the dang things... but by now, they'd likely be a bit tatty.

However, I've been unable to find them for a reasonable price in the last decade of looking, due to their rarity... and I mean rare; have a look at some recent prices:

As you can see, when available, they've varied from a 'low' of around $150 USD to a high of nearly $2000, which is obviously WAY WAY WAY out of my budget. And so I'd resigned myself to looking once a month or so, just out of habit... then:

A set was listed for sale for $60.00 USD today!

I hopped onto Amazon and grabbed it so fast that I think I left skidmarks on my keyboard... unbelievable! As it happens, the seller wouldn't ship to Canada, but fortunately my lady's parents have allowed me to ship the occasional item to their place in WA, an option I've not had available before... and today, it made all the difference! While I won't be able to get down there for a few months, at least, I'll do so knowing that this rare treasure will be waiting there for me...

Happy dance: my ten-year search has ended in success!

Jan 26 – Cents Comprehension

New year, new ideas... and old facts to get straight.

As I've said already, 2017 is looking to be a decent year for me in many ways, compared to previous years, and the financial and is actually looking solid. Not that I can't improve that of course, but I'm certainly not scratching around the couch right now for spare change... though I'm not stashing extra cash there, either.

What I am doing is continuing to educate myself about finances in general, and while I'm certainly not in a position to throw money at investments, I certainly do want to make sure that all the basics right. Ask yourself if you know these basic ones front and back:

Number six from the article should be pretty obvious, but when you're stressed and not thinking about the future, buying something Neat and Cool to make yourself feel better is often a fallback for people; it's only human nature. I've done it and quite honestly, I've had to get rid of more things over the years than I care to admit that simply don't hold their appeal for me anymore despite many good reasons for buying them initially.

As well, I'm ensuring that I know about the small things I can do regularly to keep more money where it's needed rather than frittering it away because I'm feeling less worried about the future. Making choices that are 'good enough' is something that I still need a good deal of practice in, as I tend to overthink things in order to stretch my monthly budget. This article at LifeHacker is an excellent primer on just that very subject, and I recommend it to anyone who - like me - tends to overthink purchases both large and small.

To me, money's there to be used wisely, not just spent: know the difference.

Jan 27 – SciFi On The Mind

Of late, I haven't been writing much.

To be honest, 2016 was mostly a writing-wash for me, as you may have guessed from my blog entries for the year: too much going on for me to get a handle on my creativity to produce, and almost too much to do more than just keep the pilot light going.

Yet, I managed to sneak in reading of more than a few books during the year and to my non-surprise, most of them were science fiction. My fantasy book reads have declined drastically over the last 10 years, to the point where I can't remember the last 'pure' fantasy book I read, as I tend to gravitate towards the ‘funny fantasy' genre when the mood in has struck me in the last long while.

I think it's because I just love sci-fi, for so many reasons, as Zoe puts it:

As anyone who has watched Star Trek will tell you, science fiction has helped to shaped our reality, and continues to do so. Modern technology has been advancing at a rapid rate and many things considered 'fictional' only a few decades ago are now commonplace, such as the cell phone, Internet and personal computer. I could write an entire blog post about this, but for now I recommend starting with just this article and keeping tuned for future ones as I come across them.

Back to the future I go...

Jan 28 – Making Lists...?

People in the USA are NOT happy right now.

I won't get into the why, as you would have to have been living under a rock last few months to not know the effect that Strumpet has been having on the world.

Hand adjusted for correct size.

All that political idiocy aside, I've noticed a small trend on my newsfeeds, something that disturbs me: people keep mentioning lists they're making.

Here and there, I've seen people say "Oh, I've added a lot of people to my list this week" and the phrase has stuck with me, as it implies drastic action to come.

What does that mean, exactly?

Thinking about it, I've realized that the smarter folk out there, many of them liberals or Democrats or basically every anti-Strumpet person out there, is taking note of those who are vocal in their support of the new POTUS. Carefully.

Everyone who shouts out support of the racist, fascist, authoritarian and corporate-loving POTUS is just adding their names to these lists, one ill-considered short-or-long rant at a time.

At this point, I think it's not yet past the point of no return, but it makes me wonder what will happen to the people on those lists when it does reach that tipping... and what the consequences will be, for the USA, and for the world.

Jan 29 – Giving In, not Up

Well, that's better...

A week of steady, non-stop small healthy meals has seen me gain back about 6 lbs, which is significant compared to where I was standing a week ago. I still have a little ground to make up, but I feel that I'm back on track health-wise, at least when it comes to my weight - I'll be getting to the exercise again this coming month, I hope.

Today, I just ate, read and relaxed for a good few hours out of the day.

Considering that Friday and Saturday were both extremely busy days for me , I felt I needed at least one day of the weekend to just take it easy. I finished off reading The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter, which is an ambitious hard-scifi sequel to H.G. Wells' original The Time Machine story, which Baxter takes and runs with spectacularly. It's a thick book, but I managed to finish it off in about two weeks, and it was certainly worth the effort: it sets a high standard for imaginative / speculative sci-fi that I can apply to my own work this year.

In the evening, I decided to make some meals for the week in the form of a cauliflower / butternut squash curry. Like most of the meals that I try to make, many of the aspects tend to get away from me and I ended up spending about two hours from start to finish to create about 10 meals worth of food, which isn't bad but it was rather stressful and tiring. However, experience certainly will serve me well for next time I want to make something similar and the end results look to have been worth the effort despite the extra time it took, so there's that.

I can't just eat quinoa every week, so I have to keep my options open, at least until I find out about gluten and dairy through some small experimentation in the next few weeks.

My heart's been beating a steady metronome-like pace all week, and that alone's been a GREAT sign that whatever stress I needed to shed of late, I did last Sunday, albeit in a spectacular and body-shaking fashion - I'd rather NOT do that again! I've started to use a meditation app on the recommendation of a friend, and combined with better eating / exercise( common sense, really )I should see positive gains across the board in the next while, because - as always - once I am able to FOCUS my mind, good things start to happen...