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June 2016
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Ordinary household items sometimes sound like monsters because they are the base from which audio technicians build the illusions of monsters.

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Haven't had much space to write in. Work has been keeping me busy (when I finish tomorrow and finally get a few days off, I will have been working for 22 of 26 days) and I am so behind on school I've been trying to put all my home energies into that. Been neglecting story-writing, cooking and cleaning, personal projects, near any entertainment I can't leave in the background without demanding focus. Not that it does me much good. Still behind, possibly even farther behind than I was.

Until the end of the month when the last of this work is due. Then, either way, I might be a little more free.

Today impulsively decided to try and drop social media at least until I am finished with this semester. An act which had been on my mind recently but I'd concluded I couldn't go through with. That I am too lonely in myself and my current circumstances to go through with it, and it is not a goal I can succeed until some lack in my life has been resolved.

So I don't know why I did that this morning (in pain I guess?), but I did not promise to vanish. Just declared I am trying to minimise my presence on twitter and tumblr at least until I have school out of the way. They are too easily habits of constant distractive stimulus and while that can be valuable when I need to escape myself, I definitely need to do my best to not fail these classes. Which means I also can't go replacing them with something of similar distractive quality, such as the RSS feeds I've been neglecting to read.

Actually the reason I wanted to write this post is to describe a couple of similar happy moments at the library today. Twice I had someone contact me trying to get hold of a book they had reserved. In both cases I went to look for it for them and returned empty-handed. One was a novel supposedly held in the Premiere's Reading Challenge collection, which I had been searching for yesterday to satisfy that hold. Did have a new inspiration about where to find it that got me nowhere, and tried looking up a few other libraries for its seeker to no avail. Not too long after ey left, though, whilst shelving I found the novel wedged into the picture book where someone must have stuffed it days ago at least. Tried calling to let em know, as ey'd said it was needed soon, but no answer and no option to leave a message.

The other was a phone call from someone expecting a book in delivery within the network. Ey had been advised to check today, as this reservation had supposedly been in transit the past three weeks and not yet arrived. Had the spark of checking if it had been received, processed incorrectly, and placed on the shelves instead of to be picked up, but no such luck. There were no other copies in the system, so I advised em it was likely missing and we could not fill that request, cancelling it with consent.

But, after my tea break in the afternoon, I found it sitting in one of the boxes to sent back to its home next delivery. I am fairly sure it was not there earlier, and I can't trace how it came to be there, but I put the hold back on and set it on the shelf to be collected. Although now my memory tells me I set it on the wrong shelf - it will be easily found for collection, but it will need to be brought back to the desk where it should be, instead of taken for self-checkout, where it shouldn't be.

Oops. But two people will get notified overnight they can collect something they thought was unavailable to them, and maybe they can think it was a bit silly of me to tell them there was nothing to be done when clearly there must have been. But I hope they get good use out of those books.

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Something I forgot to mention in my previous post, which carried over to the following two days, is that it seemed I got to do most of the front desk library work by myself. Everyone I was paired with seemed to have other things to do, on other floors or otherwise inaccessible, for much of my shifts. It was busy enough, but not too busy, so this suited me fine.

I wonder sometimes if I prefer working alone to working with others, and worry that I talk little enough to make the other staff resent working with me. Think I tend to be politely responsive though, even if I would rather not.

Today and tomorrow are the first pair of consecutive days off work I've had since April 14 and 15 and I feel very relieved to have some time for myself. Or sort of for myself. I'm doing terribly at school and trying my best to catch up, although it is difficult to keep focused enough. Only so much I can get done in any single day before I run out of attention or start hating myself too much to keep going. Which is why for the last hour tonight I'm typing this instead of pushing through another two chapters of two different textbooks. I do need to go faster though, or, I don't know, accept failure and lay down?

Today was also interrupted by a long-awaited consultation about getting wisdom teeth extracted. Was supposed to have that last week but they had to postpone because the doctor was in surgery (kind of a worrying reason, I guess?). Got it finally done today and relieved to find I only need one of the four wisdom teeth removed. The others seem to be behaving well enough.

Still very nervous but it will be nice not to have pain along one side of my mouth. Will need to contact them to arrange a date, and to choose between having it done under local anaesthetic, sedation, or under general anaesthetic at a hospital. That is going to be a tough choice, although the people at the surgery seem to favour the middle option, sedation.

Tomorrow I get to just be home. A rare treat which I hope I will get to enjoy, although I need to make sure to get as much schoolwork done as I can. I miss doing more focused fun activities but I can't afford to while I'm so far behind. Telling myself if I can catch up on school I'll be able to relax again, and hoping I don't waste my chance.

Wore a tank top there, and despite on the cancellation call having been asked about my name and if it should be Ms rather than Mr, got misnamed and misgendered anyway. Part of that possibly my 'fault', in that they checked with me about what name to use in communicating back to my regular dentist, who has not been told about the change of name. I'd been prepared when I last visited to collect my referral, but they said they didn't have need for any of the information I'd brought, so it did not come up despite my expecting it to.

Would like to muse more, but trying to store up those thoughts as for now I only feel to have enough time for writing down things that happened, and not so much the meandering thoughts those happenings inspire.

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Feeling rather tired today. According to my phone I was very active, so no surprise this is one of those days I come home from work and find it painful to walk or stand until the next morning. The morning started quiet but from about noon onward it kept getting busier.

There's about a half-dozen new casual staff starting at the library over the next two weeks and today was the first, so we were supposed to leave off the shelving to give him something easy to do on the first day. And also to leave us a bit bored because it was quiet to start with, although I had my lists of various kinds of missing items to work on. Even I set aside a couple of other miscellaneous tasks to use as demonstrations – damaged book from the returns, book with missing RFID tag, library card that had been lost in the library a few days previous.

Unsurprisingly this story ends with none of those happening. He had an orientation at the council for about the first hour, and then meeting with the manager and being shown around by her for a while, followed by my co-worker being assigned to further get him up to speed on the actual library systems and processes. About a half hour before lunch I realised where this was going and ran around getting as much shelving done as I could before the next shift took over.

On the bright side I seems all the new starters are going to be issued a copy of the checklist myself and another part-timer worked on over Friday and Sunday so that is a) something to be pleased about and b) something to leverage into pay increases and future job applications. Although I also thought of some things today which likely should have gone onto that document, which demonstrates why at least when you have me do it such things are better built over a longer period of time than a day and a half.

Yesterday after work I went shopping to try and get a more explicitly feminine work wardrobe, I guess, to force a contrast with what my co-workers had been seeing me in for the past most of a year. Was unhappy with how those clothes were sitting on me and after several unpleasant months of failed searches that left me dismal and defeated.

The main, main thing I had been looking for was new pants, as the ones I'd been wearing kept sitting unpleasantly low on my hips. Felt very uncomfortable wearing that. So, finally fixed, and got a bunch of surprisingly cheap new tops to wear to work or with my recent skirt acquisitions, which had been very lacking. Very relieving.

Wore such fresh outfit to work today, was nervous. Went okay though! No unexpected uproar, and the manager said the colour (of the top) looks good on me. In passing on her way out to lunch. So, yay!

I get to exist in some spaces and that is an improvement.

So, busy day today. Let's leave off with two notable things about today.

I made lunch this morning but forget to pick it up on my way out the door, so ended up buying fish and chips for lunch. Was worried about the delay when busyness kept me 7 minutes late from starting my lunch break but managed to eat without rush and be done in good time. And a little progress on the book I'm reading too.

A caller midway through the morning, saying ey got a notice about items being due and ey returned them all several days ago. Ey seems liable to repeat and emphasise this point a few times so I interrupt and ask for the card number they were borrowed under.

“I'm driving at the moment. I think I better call you back in about 10 minutes.”

“Yes, I think you had better.”

“Goodbye.” “Goodbye.”

Addendum: so far as I am aware, ey has not called back.

That should be enough journal for now. Got to save some time for book non-reviewing and scholarship.

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My appointment got cancelled for yesterday so I did not go out. Was nice having a whole day at home. Got to do laundry and make my bed and talk with people, and it was a good day but I got hardly any studying done so it is hard not to feel like I continue to contribute to the wretched waste that is my life.

Insurance company finally caught up with me on the phone and ate about 90 minutes. Also finally finally spent a while looking for conferences to attend for the professional development component of my degree, which I've had reminders poking me at for months now. Never seemed to have a good time for that, but forced myself anyway this time. Found some candidates, giving myself time to sit on that before acting.

Appointment cancelled because the doctor was in surgery, was not going to be available for the appointed time. New appointment next week in the afternoon. Thinking about seeing a hairdresser earlier in the day, as I've been wanting to have my hair done for months and never finding the time.

Today my co-worker and I got asked to put together a checklist for what the new casual staff who are starting over the next two weeks need to be trained on. We'll need to finish that Sunday morning so it can be ready in time.

I'm very stressed about school. Very far behind. Will be shocked if I don't fail this semester but going to keep pushing until it is over – if I withdraw at this point it will be an automatic failure anyway.

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Filter: sadsad

Today was the first time I wore a skirt to work. My hand was forced, somewhat, with my only pair of work slacks being in the wash. Could have worn jeans but those aren't strictly dress code and even though I was going to be working at the isolated little branch library there is always the possibility someone from the upper or senior echelons of council management would appear around to a) notice and b) care.

I got a bit of help from Ami last night in picking which skirt and what top to put with it, as my selection is currently extremely limited and badly suited to any sort of professional appearance. But it managed and we all went okay. Was only working with one person today, but she did not say anything, and there was indeed a surprise cluster of management types using a meeting room, which we had not known about in advance as the process of keeping library staff informed about the use of our facilities had broken down.

And although it is always a quiet place, I helped a few patrons through the day, some of whom were entirely new and some definitely recognising me from the past, and none seemed surprised or put out by my attire so despite my nervousness that was a big relief. Even though I have the support of the library manager ever day I do not need to call upon that is a day that is better than it might have been.

 

Relieved to get to exist for now.

 

Tomorrow I have a consultation about the when and how of getting my wisdom teeth removed. This is something I am very nervous – probably scared – about but it gets easier the more and the more often they hurt. It becomes something to look forward to, being able to eat again without pain, or even to exist in the times between eating. Must remember to bring my referral and x-rays with me or it will be a bit pointless as an outing.

I feel a bit of an urgent need to go clothes shopping as well, after, and hope I find something that works for me. I thought I had solved the question of clothes for work a year ago but I was mistaken. Continuing to be trapped in the tension between wanting something that is good enough ASAP, and wanting to be slow and careful in getting clothes that work especially well for me. Assuming those exist. But for now I definitely find myself in need of work slacks that actually fit and are not half falling off my hips (and which do have decently sized pockets if possible because pockets are useful!) and at least a couple of presentation-shifting tops as well. The ones I bought last year are all the buttoned sort I was used to, and I feel it is worth off-setting my presentation a bit further from what my co-workers probably incorrectly internalised as masculine.

What I want may be too simple to be readily attainable.

 

There is a lot of more stressful things going on and upcoming too, but I will leave those for another time. It is getting late and I want to be done with this, to get I hope at least a little more study done tonight before sleep.

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[wrote this two days ago. no less true now]

     Been feeling more self-conscious about my voice recently. Pretty sure that is from being 'out' at work and somehow feeling like I am letting myself down more when I don't get interpreted as a woman. Relatedly, worrying my co-workers are expecting a bit more of a transformation on my part when there isn't really anything left for me to do – getting my documentation updated and informing my employer was just about it. I've been on hormones for years, I've had hair removed, I've been wearing clothes I bought in the women's department… there isn't really anything left for me to do. Perhaps I should be used to letting people down by now.

A week ago (maybe 2? time is difficult and I have been trying to focus on school) my podcast listening project got to the end of playlist #12, which covered the span from 2005-07-10 to 2005-10-01. That meant it was time to download and catalogue + compile episodes for playlist #15, spanning 2005-12-18 to 2006-01-21. Obviously I ran into problems or I wouldn't have words to be typing about it. Old episodes from Universe Today are still no longer available for download, although the articles they were published in are still up. That is something I can get around for a while by having episodes already downloaded from the last time I tried to embark on comprehensive podcast up-catching. That was already a problem, and I emailed them about it a month or two back asking about it.

This time I find also that Slacker Astronomy is giving a 403 error when I try to access its feeds. Not totally unexpected, as they have not had a new episode since 2011 but I had very much been hoping to get through listening to the archives before the site did eventually go offline. Playlist #15 also included the premiere episode of another podcast, that of Science magazine, and I was disheartened to find that episode no longer downloads either. Actually, even though the old podcast archive page for that site still exists, it doesn't seem to be accessible on the Science magazine website except via the link I have bookmarked. The new site navigation only gives an archive stretching back to about 2012. They have not taken all the old episodes offline though; the September 2006 episode still loads, and presumably the ones after it do too.

I do not have time because there is a lot of studying and school-work I need to prioritise first, but if and when I can, this provokes in me a desire to download the old episodes of various podcasts while I still can, and to save offline copies of their web pages as well so those can be used to apply metadata to the episodes when it comes time to compile them into playlists for listening.

This is likely a bad idea. For Science as well as Universe Today I have episodes previously downloaded that bridge most of but not all the gap to where more reliable archives begin again (in the case of Universe Today, when it is replaced by Astronomy Cast. In the case of Slacker Astronomy I also have episodes from their main feed into 2006, although not from their Extra feed which holds some interesting interviews.

I should reconcile myself to the fact some things are lost beyond my reach, and I will have to make do with what I have and can get. As I had to do when despite the good fortune of finding old radio episodes on archive.org of Are We Alone? they still were a spotty record which did not cover the whole span, and leaves a gap before the officially available archives commence. If we pretend I really have dropped any fretting over that entirely from my heart, which is lies.

Ironically last night I was listening to an episode of Slacker Astronomy Extra, “Getting Astronomy News Online” which toward the end touched on the importance of long term information storage and access, including format standardisation and using such resources as archive.org to preserve information into the future, but archive.org does not in this distant future preserve episodes of Slacker Astronomy against disappearing. Perhaps also ironically, the following episode on my playlist was one in which Fraser Cain performed an interview on behalf of Skepticality while Derek was in rehab. We have this record of the work he performed for others but can no longer access his own podcast (Universe Today) which Swoopy referred to in its introduction.

 

Or perhaps that is not irony. Despite fancying myself a writer I have never had better than a slippery grasp on that concept.

 



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Don't have time to type much. Tonight at work a (presumed) parent was thanking me because, with encouragement, I was apparently the first stranger their shy kid had been willing to talk to. Ever, according to em.

So that was a bit of surprise nice, being somehow safe or approachable enough for a small child to be interested in?

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Saw some folk talking about the forgiveability or lack thereof of Darth Vader, particularly wert the murder of children.

The prequel films had not been made at the time Return of the Jedi had been released, and I don't believe Lucas' claims of having planned the whole thing out from the beginning, so usually I am not interested in judging the first three Star Wars films on the basis of actions or emotions depicted in the prequels. I also don't recall Luke saying at any point that he forgave Vader for his past actions, prequel or otherwise. What I remember is Luke saying he still senses good in him, which I interpret as the potential or desire to turn away from evil and to do good.

My feeling is the idea of Vader being redeemed is not that his single act of casting down the emperor, but that it represents an internal change and a commitment on his part. That, had Vader survived, he would have devoted himself to doing good and to make what restitution he could for the evils of the empire. But his single act in the throne room doesn't make him good in itself, doesn't undo the evils of his past. It is a symbol of the change in the character and the new path he is taking, as is his ghost's appearance as Anakin later on.

I don't think it's a matter of having been forgiven and I don't think the evil Vader did in the past is or can be undone.

I do think there's a potential term collision between redemption as in 'how fans feel about a character' and redemption as in 'character internals reflected in externals'. I also suspect these opinions of mine are strongly influenced by the surrounding Christian cultural context; certainly I've had to work at not using Christian-sourced terminology in the writing of this post and probably missed some nonetheless.

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For a while I have been thinking about the fact the people I am emotionally close to are rather geographically dispersed, and do not seem inclined to address this error for my convenience. And it is long since I gave up my ambitions of selling my stories and being a 'successful' author. The odds are against anyone who tries, and I think the sorts of stories I want to write are not so much those liked by the science fiction or fantasy markets anyway[1].

I'm thinking more about trying to make some money from my writing in the future because it would help to have a source of income that doesn't tie me down from spending time with people I love. I can't yet write anything worth being paid for, but I'm practising again and maybe I will get there. These days even if I can't or don't sell to a traditional market there are other options, such as setting up a patreon or similar - assuming I show myself well enough that enough people like what I do enough to put some money into one. That is a lot of enough, and no guarantee it can be done even if I do improve my skill a lot and manage to produce stories on a regular basis. But if I could, even if it were not much, it might help.

I also write smut stories as well as adventure stories, and wonder whether I would be best served, or if it is even practically doable, to make those into distinct identities with their own subscribers. I don't know whether those audience-support sites let you split your work like that, but I do worry there wouldn't be much crossover in audience interest, and that the one might complicate the other. And on the topic of potential complications, I've been more interested in writing fan-fiction works the past few years but I suspect it would be inadvisable to take money for writing any such thing, so I might have to do those 'off the clock' or twist the inspirations into something I needn't worry about making available.

We'll see after I'm done with school, whether any of this can go somewhere or if it is just idle dreaming. In the meanwhile, practise and get better.

[1] Plus, and don't tell this to all the world but, they are so far not very good or interesting either.

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Programming: Sure is the Risk Made - conelrad

So I check back in on dreamwidth after a couple of weeks of being swallowed by school and there's posts again? That's pretty exciting.

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Filter: chipperchipper

[This post is talking about the DCI Banks episode "Friend of the Devil" and anyone reading who wants to avoid spoilers for that story would be advised to avoid reading this post. Also, the subject of the crimes is mostly violent rape and murder.]

Last night I watched an episode of DCI Banks which struck me as very pro-police. I mean, you could probably safely assume that any mystery series in which the protagonists are police who solve crimes is going to be pro-police but in this case it seemed quite thematic in favour of police handling crime and against vigilantism.

We have a father ranting about the police not helping and 'dragging the family's name through the mud' after the rape and murder of his daughter. Who then is arrested for assault in attempting to get revenge for it, and just as well he didn't get up the nerve to use the knife he'd bought for that purpose, as it turns out that guy was innocent.

We have more vigilantism when the murder in another case turns out to be a revenge killing of a woman (Lucy Payne) convicted for being complicit in the rape and murder of other women, our Mr Banks being upset that justice has now been denied. Finally, misguided vigilantism sees the killing of an innocent police officer, having mistaken him for the man who raped and murdered the woman mentioned in the previous paragraph when he was actually worked up in excess distress over her death and patrolling out of duty to protect women.

Early on Banks asks a forensic examiner if there were signs of struggle and she leaps to remind him that lack of such signs do not mean it was not rape, when in fact he was just wondering if there might be DNA obtainable from skin under the fingernails. But it's okay that she was overly-defensive of the integrity of rape victims like that because as it turns out she is a serial killer! Murdered Lucy earlier, killed the police officer earlier, mistaking him for a bad man instead of a good man, and murdered the guy who raped her many years ago instead of cooperating with police to bring him to justice.

It all felt a bit heavy-handed. Vengeful dad insults police, assaults the wrong man. Vengeful woman lies to police, murders already-sentenced convict, kills a cop in error, finally takes her own life when confronted with this. Normally I just want a mystery solved with detecting, not so much of the karmic leave it to police.

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Falling in love is a lot like being sick

  • First there's the denial phase, refusal to admit the possibility
  • Then the sleepless, feverish nights, thoughts in chaos
  • Finally you emerge, thought processes reconfigured for the new reality
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Don't know how long I can keep this up. I'm lonely still and could expect to be for a long time to come. Wishing I had people of approximately similar timezone so I wasn't having to choose between doing things and company. Or even could have both at once?

This hurts. Everything hurts. Just gotta choose from a selection of pain? I wanted to escape watching people and being wounded by seeing them have happinesses I have not been able to have. I wanted to stop feeling worthless for what I lack, by ceasing that exposure and by seeking something of my own.

Well. I haven't been able to chase anything because I've been at work; this is my one day off out of a ten-day span so I'm just existing. And still obsessing. Maybe I just need longer to get out of it.

It hurts less, I'm sure, but I still want to tear my throat out in strips. Or feel compelled to. I don't know if I can tell the difference between desires and urges. It feels like the revolutionary, the device which was used to kill Thecla in The Shadow of the Torturer. Since first reading that I always felt it to be a good literalisation of the desire, the compulsion to destroy oneself. When one has to fight continually the subconscious motions of one's hands to do damage, to be wary of what one touches and how it might be used. But I have hope, and fear to guard me.

I realise I am going to give this up, to go back. I say it is because I am weak and maybe that is true but I just do not know. I do not understand myself. Almost I am a passenger observing this vessel. I can know sometimes what it is going to do before I consciously come to the actual decision, but the inner workings are opaque to me.

Why should I work so hard to preserve a resolution which was come to in a state of greater suffering? Was it not to hurt myself? And thereby in keeping to it am not persisting in hurting myself further? But I still believe there was wisdom in that pain and if only I could bring myself to escape, to work hard and to find something I want, to pursue it and to do and to be, and to find friendships that are not so lonely.

I don't know, I don't know, and I don't know.

It isn't going to work. Should have acknowledged that from the beginning. I am weak; I am not sufficiently driven. That is how I came to be here.

I remain confused. I don't know how to end this. Still clouded. Perhaps it was all a trick, to succeed in driving people away and leave me wanting them still. I don't know what to do. Should I go back? Keep going? Am sure that I will go back because that is what I feel in my future and have felt the whole time. Which means it was all for nothing.

I must find something. I must find something. Unfortunately I have never been real. Perhaps I cannot become real.

Perhaps if I turn to the logic of stories and tell myself that, had it been the right decision, I would have felt a clarity and a lightness. Maybe I even did at the start? Who knows - the past is a mystery. But I cannot solve myself.

At least I haven't lashed out at anyone this time. Vaguely I remember years back making an incoherent rant on my journal and cutting most people out. I think that happened; I've carried the memory a long while. Which I have refused to acknowledge - despite its whispering at the edges - that this is a cyclic collapse, despair and isolation. I should remember that I have done this even in the home of those I have pledged to marry, and it does no good. Perhaps next time I will.

But then how can I get better? How can I make it stop hurting? Just have to endure this every time? That is a dreadful prospect. At least I remain functional. But I will never... perhaps just have to last long enough to move... but no. I just established that even in a household of people who love me, and who I love, still I shred myself so.

Maybe I need to allocate more time to the therapist voice that has recently emerged, listen to her / em. Maybe I need a chemical solution. Maybe I need to- but no, we don't listen to that voice if we can help it.

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I don't want to be writing or posting any thing but I suppose I ought to because big and complicated things are happening and I do not understand. And because a journal is supposed to be at least in part a record of one's self and past in its significances and insignificances. Or so I would wish mine to be though for a long time it has been dreadfully sparse.

Today was complicated and busy, but not as much as I had intended it to be. Studying in the morning, short work shift before training - a formality of a shift in order to be present and paid for the training. Think most of the marks on my arms are gone now - had to dig in with nails a bit to keep focused, was surprised they lasted at all that long. Had to keep backing off after deciding to experiment with drawing blood because I lacked the courage for that much of that pain, so I expected them to be gone after a few minutes. I should have been satisfied with distracting myself into focus because now am disappointed by not being able to follow through.

Collected a package I had ordered, a gift for my sister. Filed the paperwork to get my name changed. I don't know what I am doing with that. Felt sick. Wondering. Why am I doing this? Is it right? I feel like I never analyse possible actions and come to conclusions, I just act. Without clear head or heart. When it gets back I will put it through to get my passport and driver licence, etc. updated. I don't understand what I am doing. I don't understand why. I'm just going to keep going because I am terrified of death and not living. Felt sick to be giving up my birth certificate

I feel very confused. Not the sort of thing one should be saying, for fear it would be used against, but that is not relevant. I just don't know what I am or what I want. I have no particular skills, abilities, talents. So I don't know who I am.

Trying out withdrawing from people so I have space for school, space to work on myself. Maybe get to be someone? Maybe I could learn some skills, get good at something. Learn how to exist as a person. If I can manage school maybe even try and meet some local people.

I see people having and being things I wish I could have, like social activities and identities and goals, and it hurts. It has been very difficult so far to cut off contact from the people I normally talk to, to avoid twitter. My habits are very entwined around that contact and I wish I had someone to talk things over with but my head feels quieter than it has for days, I think. Reduction in visions of killing myself (I think); I don't want to but it feels like I need to, like a pressure bearing down on me. But I don't want to and I won't. If I can hold firm then maybe I will be able to make something of myself, have something to bring back.

I don't like to leave people without explanation but I can't talk to them to explain because I know my weakness and that if we start talking I will keep talking and all my efforts will be undone. I will drift back into my social habits and lose all my days, all my focus that I am trying to capture. For now it is just dividing between works and leisure. Maybe I can keep that up. I hope so. It is hard and I want to go back to company even though that hurts too.

Everything hurts and there is no release. I remind myself that death is no freedom of pain, it is an absence of existing entirely. There will be no future lives, there will be no me to appreciate and feel that lightened relief and because I am terrified of nonexistence that helps. I have never been able to surrender my grip on this world or self so that is an anchoring incentive. There is a dangerous thought which says that is a lie planted to keep me from discovering I won't die, but will escape this world created to torment me, or have its truth revealed. But that is nonsense and anyway might be a bluff to goad me into the attempt. It is an idea to be disregarded.

I perhaps should delete the above paragraph if I am going to post this, although that may be difficult as words written have weight. But to post this has been partly the intent in writing, for as I said above I cannot talk to people without being undone. I must take care of myself but it would be cruel to abandon people without notice or information, and having realised this I must act in some way to inform or else am driving them to worry about me. I suppose they will still worry reading this, which cannot be helped from any true or even perhaps untrue account I would give, but at least with honest information people might be diverted from terrible imaginings.

I am okay. Am fairly sure the pain is less, although my thoughts still are not clear. But this is analogous to a detoxification period with many habits and recurrent topics of thought still pulling back on me. Very easy to fall back in, and I might end up doing so. It is a struggle and I have been so long without myself. I just don't know what I will do. I hope I will find something good. Something to be proud of.

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I do not mean a fearsome fire-breathing slayer of knights.

Rather, I mean a reclusive hoarding creature who is fond of wordplay.

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Programming: Fallen Icons - Delerium

[Wrote this on Wednesday; some additions before posting Friday due to the passage of time]

I think I must have mentioned the acquisition of fragmentary older archives of SETI Radio (now Are We Alone?) previously because memory says I have written of starting the podcast listening over again and going through an initial set of Planetary Radio alone.

It continues to irk me that I do not have access to the full, original run of Are We Alone? from 2002 because I do remember seeing those listed in iTunes back in 2005-06 or thenabouts but of course at the time did not have the bandwidth - or possibly even the storage space - to download them then. The same is true for some other shows like Planetary Radio, but at least they still have their entire run available on the website.

But since then, as I have been distracted from writing by school and workplace commitments, we have moved on successively to first a truncated second playlist where The Naked Scientists originally came in, and then a third beginning at the point where the earliest available episodes of Are We Alone? from https://archive.org/ begin.

Probably I mentioned that early Planetary Radio featured heavily guests and projects connected with the Planetary Society, such as SETI@Home, before moving on to a strong Mars focus for the historic close approach of Earth and Mars in August 2003 and the launches of several robotic missions to Mars; that focus has continued to where I am currently at in listening, late January 2004 when the second of two rovers (Opportunity) has only just landed on that planet.

I feel like my insistence on pinning these podcasts as near as I am able into a chronological order is vindicated by occasions such as the landing of the Spirit rover (and now Opportunity) when I have each of these three science shows reporting on the same events from their own particular perspectives and sources. It gives me an enjoyable feeling of synergy, a sense of time and place that these programs really do relate to each other in some meaningful way.

The current list, Playlist 3, is I am sure by far the longest that will be in at least terms of span covered. It starts at the beginning of November 2003 and extends to January 2005, when Playlist 4 will begin with the addition of The Philosopher's Zone from ABC Radio. To that point, every single podcast in my list which extends so far back in time is one also broadcast by radio, which seems odd to me. The first which exists purely as a podcast (and I suppose in that sense as an entirely amateur production[1]) is the one following, Slacker Astronomy, which is also the earliest podcast on my list to no longer be active.

It continues to be strange to me that The Naked Scientists hosts a call-in contest “Science Fact or Science Fiction” wherein callers are presented with a claim and asked to judge whether it is true or made up, because there is a similar game in the podcast The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe [2], Science or Fiction, in which the hosts are challenged to pick the fake science news stories from the genuine ones.

Nearly finished the book I'm reading[3] at the moment and have nearly a week to wait until I can get hold of the sequel at earliest. In the meanwhile as well as working on that placement report I can hopefully make sure to get some more writing done on what I think of the various books I've been reading over the past year. Most of them do have partial or complete notes written up already, it's just a few gaps that need filling so I can finish off and actually put them up in the order they were read. Am quite looking forward to getting that done because I do tend to enjoy talking about what I am reading and what I think of it, even if this is mostly awful.

So, objective for the next few days: work on placement report, work on not-reviews, also hopefully put together a nice meal for people which will likely involve fish.

Getting up to date on not-reviews and on my reading database are the two main personal projects I feel backlogged on currently. Maybe after those are up to date I will feel free to write more and to play games, both of which I feel I am missing out on. Therefore, the perpetual cry of diligence and energy!

[1] Although of the four which precede it, two are on public, non-profit broadcasters and the other two, as I understand it, rather rough or humble beginnings before acquiring their polish.

[2] Which doesn't start until 2005 but due to more extensive RSS availability I listened to a lot of in my first attempt at podcast catch-up – it was nearly the oldest one available by that approach.

[3] Now actually finished, during a lovely lunch in a café yesterday after my endocrinologist appointment.

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Programming: Plush - Stone Temple Pilots

[Wrote this on Wednesday; posting now on Friday]

Last week finally finished my placement so now theoretically have a bit more time for living in. In truth of course I am rather bad at that. Too easy to let time-passers from when I cannot do much else filter into the spaces when I could be making more use of myself

Been feeling listless and hurt, selfishly no doubt. But as so often it feels like the appropriate solution is to distance myself from others. Perhaps especially with both work and school going on it feels as if I have a choice between being social in my free time or 'doing things'. And I am not very good at either.

Too much I want company.

The placement was good, very different sort of library to any I had prior experience of. Learned lots about corporate library activities handling also records and archives. Plus, the place was not only going through a record system changeover, but also an upcoming library management system upgrade, so I got to experience some of how those happen in practice.

I was a bit sad to have to leave, ultimately, but also relieved to get back to what are supposedly my usual part-time hours, though I'd not the time to enjoy them long before commencing the placement. Trying to preserve income meanwhile meant requesting and accepting additional weekend shifts from my employer and effectively working 6+ day weeks. It was rather tiring.

For the last week I baked and brought in first gluten-free brownies and gluten-free, low-sugar biscuits. Neither were vegan or dairy-free, however, and the latter recipe especially was 'compensating' for lacking added sugar by having a profusion of nuts. So they were not as minimally allergenic as I had been hoping to achieve, but were received quite well. On the last day my supervisor gave me a lovely pop-up card and a deck of an author card game, which I have not quite opened to the extent of understanding how it is supposed to be used. I am under the impression it can also be used as an ordinary deck of cards.

Finding myself very tired as I write this at work the following Wednesday, longing for sleep. I still have to write a report on that placement, which is due by about 2015-11-20 - so I must soon get to work on that (rather, to continue from what I managed to write during the placement itself) before it will become a last-minute desperation and before I forget the relevant information to include. But I wanted to get through my work week first, of which this is the last day. I will finally have two contiguous days off for the first time since September, although the morning of the first will be taken up by an appointment with my endocrinologist. Better than nothing.

Currently checking up on information for school, the last week's worth of learning material for the other class I'm taking this semester, and verifying the subject outline for my summer class is not yet up (most likely it will be available from Monday).

Also trying to look for any information to present to my endocrinologist about potentially changing my dosages / medications - had seen rumours that the form of progesterone I am on is not ideal. Have asked around on twitter a few months ago for any useful information I could present but not had a useful response.

I think actually I am too tired now to be fit for gathering and evaluating such information; I may be better off waiting a few months for my next appointment. Feeling on the verge of tears at the thought of trying to get that done by the end of the work day here, which it would have to be if I want to print anything off and have it with me to show.

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Programming: Everybody Hurts - R.E.M.

Just finished the first week of my student placement. Going okay except for being very tired of an evening, and needing to sleep early in order to be rested and wake early enough to get there - am not used to working full-time hours. Which would not be a problem except I have an assignment due Monday next week and little energy to be working on it. Hope I will manage anyway.

Is nice to be taking public transport again - getting a lot of reading done on the buses and trains - but that is always a trade-off with driving and podcast listening. So far this week has mostly been getting oriented and reading through policies and historical stuff concerning the organisation but yesterday I finally got to get started on cleaning up the shelves. That will likely be done by the end of next week, with lots of other stuff going on. There is a big archival conversion project going on, and library management software migration, so it feels like I am getting potentially a lot of valuable familiarity with environments and circumstances different to my prior experiences. Which is really what I was after in enquiring at this place.

Now I better get back to that assignment because it unfortunately is not going to write itself. Otherwise would try and write a lengthier update.

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