Tuesday, March 23, 2010

the beach

On Saturday (20th March, 2010 to ground this temporally), we went down to the Gold Coast. This was prompted by the forecasts of unusually (indeed, spectacularly) high seas because Tropical Cyclone Ului was buzzing around in the Coral Sea, about a thousand kilometers to the north.

The swell was a tad disappointing, although it got better in the afternoon as it swung more nor-easterly. I even got a couple of reasonable photos of significantly more athletic people than me taking advantage of it. They're on flickr (the photos, not the people as far as I know).

But what was much more interesting to me was how being by the ocean made me feel. It was an almost primal connectedness. So much more than I feel "at home", in the city - or the 'burbs, to be more precise. And so much more than in the bush, or rainforest, or pretty much anywhere else.

There's something visceral about the sound and feel of the ocean beating itself to death against the shore, the sight of waves breaking in green crystal tubes, the smell of the water and the taste of salt spray on my lips.

It's that way for me at least - I dunno about anyone else. It's probably because when I was a kid we had all our holidays (and/or vacations, depending on where you're reading this) at the beach. My parents owned a house at the Gold Coast (which would now be worth a fortune - damn them for being selfish and selling it to house us and things *sheesh* :)), and we packed up everything (including a quite large TV - black and white of course) every Christmas and headed down there for a few weeks of carefree bliss. Or, at least, so it seemed to me at the time. I remember, with some irony now, watching the breaking story of Harold Holt, then Prime Minister of Australia, disappearing in the surf in Victoria. I was wearing swimmers and a towel and it was background noise for me and had my Mum and Dad glued to the screen. I just wanted to go to the beach.

I'm old now (dammit), and know that there were cares and concerns that I knew nothing about, but they don't matter now. We all had a wonderful time and Santa invariably worked out where we were. Once he paid a visit in person - unfortunately my Grandfather had been urgently called back to work so he missed it, but we told him about it when he came back just after Santa left. Amazingly bad timing.

But he (Santa) gave me a camera. My first camera. It was a cheap 120 plastic thing and it was magic. We couldn't afford to buys gobs of film so I didn't get to use it much. But I loved it, and it mixed in with the goodness of the holidays.

And then we went to the beach. The sand was white and clean and pure and just right for digging holes, building cities then playing Godzilla. And when it got hot, the surf was there. Crashing up the beach, calling us to come play. We got to know what a rip looked like, we got to know what happened when you tried to body-surf on a dumper (and managed not to drown or break anything more important than pride) and laughed a lot.

So good times and the beach got inextricably linked in my mind, and in my soul. There's nowhere like the beach and, sadly, the Gold Coast. I feel at home there like nowhere else - even now, 40-ish years later, and with the tackiness that has evolved on so much of the tourist strip.

Because the ocean's still there, the sand's still there and the sun's still there. And for a while on Saturday, I could pretend that that's all the matters and be a li'l kid again. Now I've got a not inexpensive digital camera setup and can shoot like there's no tomorrow - and I did on the weekend. But that didn't matter. I was a kid again, and the sun was on my face and the salt was on my lips and life was good.
And it took a cyclone to show that to me. Life's weird sometimes.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ok, I lied

I'm back again.

Which, obviously, implies that the last post wasn't, in fact, the last post.

It may, however, have indicated the oncoming bout of depression that, over the last couple of weeks, has done its best to turn my life into a reasonable semblance of heck. It's probably done the same thing to those around me to, a for that I'm really sorry.

I don't know what kicked it off. There's a whole bunch of possible things, some so stupidly trivial that they wouldn't even be noticed by someone with a brain that actually worked. Others that I can do nothing about, but which are wrong - at least to my moral compass. Others that I probably could have done something about if I'd realised what was happening. But I didn't until it was, really, too late. None of them really matter, because they were all external and not within anything I can do to control. But they, I guess, just built up slowly over time. And then the world caved in.

This, of course, feels particularly trite and self-serving because while I'm typing this, there's a very, very large number of people in Haiti whose world has, in fact, literally caved in. My heart (and the pathetically few dollars I can spare) goes out to them. Now, and via a few charities I support in an ongoing way, into the future I hope -'cause it'll take way longer than the news keeps interested to actually fix what happened.

Which is where I am, I suppose, lucky. I'm getting fixed. Or I'm fixing me. Or something. I don't know. All I do know is that by Tuesday morning this week (errr that'd be the 12 Jan, I think) I couldn't function in any meaningful way. I couldn't (as opposed to didn't want to) go to work. Just couldn't. It was all I could do to not take a very, very large does of something nicely toxic and just go sleepy byes. But that wouldn't be fair to those who are (for reasons I still don't understand) willingly attached to me. So I just disappeared from the world. I stayed home -

Hiding in my room, safe within my womb. I touch no one and no one touches me.

As so eloquently sung by Simon and Garfunkle.

And, slowly, the blackness lifted. To the point where I can almost function like a real person again. I hope.

I don't know if this is anything like anyone else's experience of clinical depression. I've had it (or at least been diagnosed with it) now for years, and this is the worst single incident I can recall. So my absence from everything - particularly anything social - is entirely due to that. I don't know how common it is for it to suddenly incapacitate someone totally and completely. Hopefully not very, 'cause I'd rather not have that happen every other week/month/year/lifetime, thank you very much.

It's not anyone's fault. There's nothing anyone can do, as far as I know, to either stop it happeneing or make it go away quicker. Short of giving me a .44 magnum, which would be messy, so they probably shouldn't. But otherwise, it's just one of those joyous things that make you realise that even going to work isn't all that bad. There's much blackness - no, really it's more of a dirty grey/brown/nothingness.

And hopefully that's going away. Quickly. With drugs to help. Oh Seratonin, where are you when I need you? Or Pethedine. Or even a good stiff scotch (being a non-drinker, that'd probably have as much effect as a good jab of Peth, I expect.

So, ceiling cat, take note. Thank you for adding to my life's rich list of experiences, but once was enough. I've ated by pillz so leaf meez alonez now - kthxbye.

*This post brought to you via BigPond Cable internet which was broken today but magically fixed by a nice man in India/Pakistan/or somewhere similar within 8 minutes of me dialling the general Telstra support number. That was, truly, awesome service. Yay Telstra. You're getting it right at last.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Yet more months

As with the last missive, it's been ages since I've actually had anything to say. '

That's not to say that I've anything mind-bogglingly interesting to convey this time either. Indeed, I have nothing that's worth anyone's time to read. If that says that I'm a boring on sh*t, so be it - that's probably not a bad summary, actually.

Which has led me to conclude that even pretending that this thing is worth continuing is, in reality, a total waste of my time, and more importantly, yours.

So bye. At least you'll have better things to do now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's been months

That may or may not be a good thing, depending on how you look at it of course. The good part is that nothing particularly blog-worthy has happend; the bad part is, equally, that nothing particularly blog-worthy has happened.

Well, until last weekend, when I managed to - without actually trying - become devil-spawn or something closely related there to.

To set the scene, 3 of the major theme parks hereabouts are running a pay $99 once and get in as much as you like till the end of June, 2010. Not a bad deal considering it's, like, $69/go normally. Adam (my short-ish person) and I got a couple when we last visited Movie World (one of the 3 parks included in the deal), and we figured that Marg and Matty could likewise get some ASAP by visiting a park of their choice - which turned out to be Seaworld. Now Movieworld's way more ride-focussed, while Seaworld lets you get up-close and personal with many things aquatic - different strokes and all, but both fun in their own ways.

Seaworld, though, do have some rides - and the most recently shoved in is the "Jet Rescue" in which you pretend to be riding a jet ski at up to 100Kph and get whipped around a track with enough force to break several bones. Additionally, they have rides that've been there for years such as the "Viking's Revenge Flume ride", which is a nice peaceful little ride in a boat until the inevitable drop off a waterfall at the end - much funness if you're into that kind of thing, much terror if you're not. Adam likes to pretend he falls into the first group, Matty's not at all ashamed to declare that he falls into the second. I, being a roller-coaster maniac, love the end bit but the whole slow gentle boat ride bit gets a bit old.

Anyway, it was decided that Adam and I'd go on the Flume ride while Marg and Matty minded cameras, bags and such things that don't really appreciate getting wet (as you do when you hit the bottom of the aforementioned waterfall). So we joined the queue. Which went nowhere for 5 minutes.

Being aware that Marg and Matty were cooling their heels waiting for us to get this whole ride thing over so that there could be more up-close and personal with sea creatures time, I chose to skip the line for the Flume ride and check out the JetRescue situation.

It looked to be waaay better (as in shorter) than the Flume queue, although there was a requirement to put things like phones and hats and glasses and the like into (non-free, of course) lockers before joining the queue. So, being good little sheep, we did what we were told. It was at this point, I think, that things started to go seriously down hill.

Having disposed of things that could cause serious bodily harm, we joined what appeared to be a short and fairly quickly moving line (the whole ride takes about 60 seconds, so how long could it take??) We moved forward. A bit. And then another bit. And then we passed a cleverly concealing barrier which should have a sign over the top of it saying "abandon all hope of doing anything else today", because it's at that point that you see that the queue turns into the equivalent of a food queue at an ethiopian aid station, only with fences to try to keep some sort of order.

This would not have been quite such a negative development, except that I had no way of communicating with our erstwhile companions and now doubtless bored-witless bag and stuff minders, suggesting that they go do something else or at least come on down and we could sort it out. Adam, by this stage was all g'd up to go on the thing, and I didn't want to dissapoint him any more than I wanted to leave Marg and Matty literally holding the bag. A dilemma was thus posed.

Anyway, time passed....more time passed....more time passed....we finally got to sit on the ride for the 60-ish seconds it takes to get hurled around in a way that real jet-ski riders would never even contemplate, impacted several vertabrae and probably broke my neck, and got off. Following which, we staggered over to the lockers to retrieve the stuff that we'd left only to be confronted by a Seaworld staffer who was trying to get them open (there seemed to be a bit of an issue identifying who had stored what where). We identified ourselves to her satisfaction and she duly let us retrieve our stuff, at which time we hot-footed it back to where I figured we'd find Matty and Marg building sand castles, playing noughts and crosses or counting bits of stone in the pavement.

On the way back, however, a phone call from Marg fairly clearly announced that whatever we'd been up to it'd obviously taken more than the alloted time (whatever that ws), we were in more trouble than Ned Kelly, and that they were a little tired of waiting for us to get on/off the ride.

Now, it is here that recollections differ, because I think that I apologised for the length of time it'd taken, explained that we'd done the other ride and had just exitied it and asked where they were. There are other recollections of the conversation, so don't take mine as anything like gospel.. Suffice to say it ended with a "beeep beeep beeep" in my ear, rather than the more usual "well, we'll see you soon then", or words to that effect - and no, the connection didn't drop as a result of a telco black hole or anything of the sort. Being quick of mind, I figured that the level of poo I was in was rather higher than normal.

This was confirmed when we actually met up a couple of minutes later, where if looks could kill this this wouldn't be being written. At this point, of course, it should be made perfectly clear that the entire incident was, almost entirely, my fault - there's no question of that, or at least no question in my mind. Admittedly there were arguably a couple of extenuating circumstances, but I done da wrong thing, and shouldn't have.

In a (potentially) misguided attempt to avoid being thrown to the sharks (and they have some quite large ones at Seaworld) I kept my own counsel for the remainder of the day, offering few if any opinions or suggestions that might add fuel to an already quite clearly well established, if somewhat internal, fire.

We saw dolphins do dolphin-ish things, sea lions do sea-lions-ish things, various corals and fishies and sharks and penguins and all kinds of other "life's better when it's wet" creatures, Marg and Matty spent half an hour or so getting processed for their $99 tickets while Adam and I watched the lack of goings on on the ex-ski lake and consumed donuts and coke, and then we headed home.

This was a, shall we say, quiet trip. We dropped Matty off at his place, then went back to ours to pick up Adam's plethora of playstation-related stuff and I dropped him at home too.

The kids disposed of, I returned to what for all intents and purposes felt like an arctic winter before global warming, so figured (again) that doing and saying as little as possible was probably the wisest course of action.

Some discussion of the event (starting with the easy to respond to "What you did yesterday was shitty") followed after coffee the next morning, and resulted in my attempt to explain the above. This was greeted with at best initial scepticism and finally a walk-off to work without so much as a by-your leave.

Some email correspondence then was then exchanged, which I don't propose to include here, but was followed by a tweet to the world which said "I give up. So not worth the effort or stress." While this may be unrelated, I think not. So, having been ignored, walked off on and basically told I wasn't worth the effort or stress, I was a tad on the down side. Anti-depressants can only do so much after all, and when there ain't no serotonin left, serotonin re-uptake inhibitors really don't have all that much to do I'd imagine.

Got home to a similarly chilly and monosyllabic reception and, truth be told, was too emotionally and physically exhausted to stay awake much past 7:30 - so I want to bed. At "normal" bed time, 8:30-ish, the following was tweeted: "
Should care..but (strangely) doesn't.", which I read the following morning.

So, all in all, I am at a loss. Did the wrong thing (while trying to do the right thing). Have apologised. Feel like I'm being treated like a pariah and am having to walk on (very thin) egg shells to prevent the outbreak of open hostility which would make George W's "Shock and Awe" look like a school fete fireworks display.

So far, at least, I've had better weeks.....but I guess it's only up from here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nothin' much

I've (I think) managed to avoid being swine flued, although I have had some other mystery lurgy which has been less than wonderful.

Still, life goes on.

Had to have blood tests today. I think the doctor that ordered them was drumming up business, rather than actually believing that anything was seriously worth testing for. Results next Tuesday evening. I didn't study or anything, so I'm not expecting to pass.

It's Friday night. That's good, because it means that there's a whole, currently unplanned, weekend stretching out in front of us. Dunno what's going to be the go, but I'm thinking going out and taking a few photos might be the go.

Otherwise....I've got nothin....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gastro, according to my just-visited local medical fiend friend, is usually viral and therefor effectively only symptomatically treatable. So have some more maxalon and call me in the morning, or words to that effect.

I did find out, however, that (following some significant poking, prodding and generally sticking fingers where fingers should not be stuck by anyone with whom you're not on a more intimate basis than he and I were) my blood pressure was 156/95 or some such.

Which is apparently a bit high.

Why, then, don't they take it before poking you in all kinds of unpleasant ways. I'm sure that all that fingering can't possibly have a lowering effect, now, can it. And it doesn't really matter how intimately acquainted you are with the poker.

Anyway, I'm supposed to "keep an eye on it" - which no doubt means "come back and get poked some more and then we'll see if we can get it even higher". Damn silly, if you ask me.

Anyway, because it's all viral (as in disease, not marketing which is (arguably) different), I'm not allowed to actually do anything tomorrow either. So sleepy-in-y time again.

With luck, I'll have something way more interesting to talk about when next we meet....

Ok, so I've done absolutely nothing of value today at all.

This is primarily due to the unfortunate fact that at about 3:20 or so this morning (or about 14 and a half hours ago) I woke up feeling like hurling most, if not all, of everything I'd ever eaten somewhere as far away from my stomach as is possible.

This is, needless to say, an unpleasant way to greet the world, and one that I attempted to put right with a quick whack of maxalon. While it rumbled around in the firezone, I typed up a quick email to work explaining that I'd potentially not actually be there bright and early - or bright at all - due to said impending explosive decompression.

Then went back to bed.

Now, when most of the content of your insides has decided that it'd rather be on your outside, lying down isn't necessarily the most comfortable position in which to pass the time, what with gravity suddenly being at best neutral in the whole in-out battle. It being 3:20-something am, though, my mind wasn't necessarily as razor sharp as it usually is (particularly as it was busily trying to tell the rest of me that it was really all a dream and to quit being such a wuss and get back to sleep because 3-anything am is so not an appropriate time to be doing anything). So lie down I did. This was, potentially, not the most effective way to get the maxalon to actually quieten things down so, but being determined to be a total idiot, I stayed there until, despite all indications to the contrary, it did in fact manage to settle the nether-region-based-unrest and I fell back into dreamland.

From which, only seconds later, I was awakened by a particularly unpleasant squealing coming from the general direction of the alarm clock. I used that brief moment of consciousness to announce to anyone that was listening (fortunately, my nearest and dearest was) that I was unlikely to be stirring any time soon and fell back into a drug-induced coma.

Some time later, I awoke and rang the Salt Mine to tell my boss that I had, in fact, not been dreaming when I sent the email some hours earlier and that I'd likely not be making an appearance. This was followed by an extra-strong dose of a concoction specifically designed to ensure that any explosive decompression that is going to happen does not happen orally, if you get my drift.

Then went and dozed some more.

Then got up and checked mail and discovered that much to my visa's disgust there'll soon be a nice shiny new version of Sony Vegas Pro out, and decided that that was quite enough excitement for one day and went and dozed again.

Then went and did nothing some more.

Note that there has been no further mention of decompression, explosive or otherwise. While there is obviously, and at times painfully, quite a large chunk of what may well be C40 plastique explosive or its equivalent now occupying my increasingly large middle section, nothing has actually made any attempt to move in any particular direction.

This bodes not well.

It also means that my abandoning any pretence at seeking medical assistance due to the perceived need to stay close to the smallest room in the house (a wise contingency, I thought) seems now to have been somewhat over zealous.

So I shall call the local "we're open till forever" local doctor and see if I can get in there this evening, and hope that the ride down there doesn't set off some terribly unpleasant Chernobylesque chain reaction. If it does, I'd suggest that a large swathe of Southern Brisbane may be uninhabitable for quite some time.....

Stay tuned for more. Pictures at 11.