trixtah: (Default)
God, I loathe loathe loathe loathe clothes-shopping. Yet another futile expedition to the mall today. The only stuff I'd contemplate wearing in the shops at the moment is all menswear. And while I like some menswear styles, I a) have be feeling quite robust to shop for men's clothes in Canberra; and b) only expect to actually be able to wear a tiny proportion because I do have a woman's body. Which I'm about 80% pleased with; almost the only time I have vague inklings of thinking it'd be handy to be a man is on these shopping expeditions.

Also, embarrassingly enough, I think I actually prefer to go shopping with someone else, if they are across my style, such as it is, and have sufficient patience for my angsting (I can't do more than a couple of hours anyway, at the best of times). I do reciprocate by quite enjoying girly-type shopping (as long as it isn't high-maintenance shopping).

Anyways, the reason I was looking is that I've been invited to a Women in IT convention thingie in Melbourne, with a keynote address to be given by Julia Gillard. I was feeling pretty reluctant to go in any case, since hanging out with a room full of complete strangers fills me with horror at the best of times (there are other people going from work, but not from my area). However, now that I actually have nothing to wear - and I don't have anything suitable (I don't even have a proper boring business suit right now) - that pretty much puts the kibosh on it. Meh.

trixtah: (Default)
While I don't think I'm particularly more grumpy at certain times of the month - frankly, who can tell? - the filters definitely wear a bit thinner, both incoming (in terms of being able to filter out stuff that isn't normally much of a big deal) and outgoing (while judging what and how to say something can be problematic at the best of times, let's just say that aspect is not enhanced).

I did a nice big rant to the CDL and the Bear the other day, about my dislike of the album Bat Out of Hell by Meatloaf. There are a couple of reasons for that dislike. One is that, sad to say, it's a class thing. Over-dramatic white trash emoting-via-screaming doesn't really give me warm fuzzies at the best of times. It reminds me of dire parties in smoky drafty garages, shitty loud music playing (at least predominantly Maori parties had better food and decent music), with a bunch of boozed-up men trying to out-macho each other, while their women gossip viciously on the margins, or attempt to outdo each other in swapping turgid tales of their life fuckups. There is a reason I'm mainly attracted to middle-middle or upper-middle class more-rational-than-me (yet sufficiently sensitive) educated types (not that the middle classes are not capable of being dramatic, but they express it less, hm, "messily", and I do duck the more out-there type).

I actually don't mind the track Heaven Can Wait, or the music from the track Bat Out of Hell. Although how anyone can listen without rolling their eyes at such lines as "You're the only thing in this whole world that's pure and good and right" or "And the last thing I see/ Is my heart, still beating .../ Breaking out of my body and flying away/ Like a bat out of hell." Oh, I know every word of this album, believe me.

But, you know, I feel that way about much mid-late 70's macho (although what's so macho or "hard" about a bunch of men screaming in falsetto has always been beyond me) rock. No, I have a special animus for that album because it reminds me of my stepfather... and that's been stirred around a bit subconsciously, as it turns out, by events in the news this past week.

The song I particularly dislike from that album is Paradise by the Dashboard Light. It's apparently supposed to be hilarious, but the tale of a woman pressuring a man into marriage (that he will "love her till the end of time") before she'll let him fuck her is fairly low on my list of humorous topics. And the penultimate lines "So now I'm waiting for the end of time to hurry up and arrive" certainly sums up my view on my mother's first marriage (I'd come along before she married, alas).

cut for long and personal blurge on child abuse )

Also, it'd be nice to learn to recognise what stirs up rant-prone behaviour before going into rant mode, or having to put up with several nights of horrible dreams before having a light-bulb moment. Heh. At least I get there eventually, at sufficiently frequent intervals.

And thank god that I can vent here when I figure it out... I might actually get some work done now I'm no longer quite so much in the Slough of Despond.
trixtah: (Tattoo)
Despite people's first impressions on meeting me (so I've heard), I'm actually fairly shy by nature. Once I get to know people, I'm fine, but being put into a new situation and/or with new people is not one of my fortes. However, I'm still functional in the social sense, so it doesn't bother me as much as it did when I was younger (and trying to go out and pick up gurlz in dark smoky clubs - thank god for those women who didn't assume that butch = extrovert).

Related to that is a more pathological tendency to stage fright. I started playing a number of wind instruments in my teens... up until the point that I'd either have to perform in public, or do exams with external assessors. No thank you. Again, it's dealable-with, but the greatest number of people I've had to present to at once is less than a dozen (and that was about work, an area in which I'm not terribly lacking in confidence). I do still tend to avoid situations where I feel put under the spotlight. I have a fairly strong distaste for being observed and possibly judged wanting. The worst thing you can do to me is embarrass me; I actually cope much better with outright abuse.

So, tonight was the first night of tai chi lessons after a brief hiatus. We have a new instructor, which is hunky-dory. Being in the front-left corner is the equivalent of wearing the gimp suit in some of the sequences, and guess where I ended up this evening? I actually aimed for the middle of the room, but everyone hid behind me, the buggers! That was fine, until we got to the part where we had to go through the form and basically get checked out for our progress. No worries, until someone to the front of me (we were turned to the right) got in a knot and put me off. Normally that's ok (actually, normally I don't get put off), but I couldn't pick up the sequence again. Three more times I tried to continue with it, and each time I got flustered and lost it again, until I gave up altogether. Buggery. I slunk to the back of the room and hid for the rest of the lesson.

Now, the sequence was the last few moves that we had learned most recently. It wasn't super-familiar, but I'm fine with it, and I'm actually better than half the class... as long as I'm not screwing it up for myself. It wasn't a question of my feeling especially inadequate in the circumstances, but I've not felt that degree of flusterment in years, actually, especially not over something so trivial. So I've been kicking myself for the hour about why the fuck I got myself in such a knot on that occasion.

It seems to be - and this is why I'm bothering to write about it -  an accumulation of tricky situations that makes me more prone to getting excessively self-conscious about stuff. Today at work was reasonably rotten, to be frank. It wasn't a disaster, but there was an extremely complicated situation which could not be anticipated, and which involved a group of users being without email for a few hours. The fact that they deal with external customers directly added extra fun to the mix. The fun was enhanced when it turned out that the issue made obvious an area in which some of our network settings weren't correctly configured. Then I managed to individually screw up the settings of the group's director... and I didn't catch that error for another couple of hours (a typo - funnily enough, mail can't be delivered if the address is wrong, even by only one letter). Only that last was something I mucked up myself, but all the other stuff had to be implemented or co-ordinated by me anyway. Other than my one screw-up, everything was fixed in reasonably short order (at least I knew how to go about it), the punters are all happy, and I got to go home at the usual time.

Following on from that, I think it was feeling very put on the spot work-wise today (I'm not even going to start about the tricky report I've been avoiding writing all week) that made me much more prone to feeling self-conscious in an area in which I'm not so confident. It doesn't really seem like all that much of a stimulus, but I suppose in the areas in which we are weak, that's where we get pinged. And, well, better to get all in a tangle in tai chi than do it at work.

I'm glad I figured it out, rather than continuing to beat myself up. OMG, perhaps this is maturity coming on me at last!
trixtah: (Default)
Sometimes one has to believe there is something in what Jung said.

I learned today that the young WLI is going to be baptised as a Mormon tomorrow. For some strange reason, she didn't want to share the news with me directly. And while I know people choose religions for reasons that are utterly incomprehensible to me, I really don't think that the LDS church is the best choice for a young kinky bi woman with poly tendencies (well, the last part would have been fine in early LDS history). I know she wants to get away from some aspects of her past, and she genuinely wants to get married and have babies with a good reliable Christian man. I also know that being Christian, even of the LDS persuasion, is not a guarantee of "reliablility" or even "goodness". But hell, it's her life and her trainwreck.

Anyway, getting back to the synchronicity thing, I went to the Wikipedia main page to have a bit of a browse and found this article on Joseph Smith as the featured article of the day. Well, it's not engraved on Golden Plates, but it seems like I'm getting a message here. That's just dandy.
trixtah: (Default)
So, I had a dream about one of my exes last night.

TMI, but not graphically so )

But, you know, that doesn't justify or explain the dreams and associated emotions. I wish to fuck it would stop. Maybe I'll grow out of it. :-)
trixtah: (Default)
I hate being on the other side of the world and waking up to horrific news like this bombing of London. I hate being worried about my friends, none of whom have checked in yet. That's the trouble with intermittent communication via email, you don't know what their schedules are, or where they are likely to be.

Two of the bombs were near where I used to work. I often ate lunch in Russell Sq, where the tube train was blown up. We had work dos at the Tavistock hotel, near where the double-decker was bombed. My old workplace was used as a staging area for some of the wounded. I have ex-colleagues and a couple of friends who could have possibly been on one or the other of the tubes. Luckily most of them would have been in the office before 9, but I've emailed one ex-colleague who should be able to update me on how everyone there's getting on.

I'm just hoping my lovely ones who work centrally are ok.

Sydney fun

Apr. 24th, 2005 11:07 pm
trixtah: (Default)
I had an excellent trip to Sydney (other than moderately annoying work stuff), and had excellent fun hanging out with [ profile] damned_colonial, who is a tour guide par excellence. Expecially considering she's only been living there for a couple of months. We did some shopping for meaty electronic gadgets (vicarious gadget shopping is excellent), and my wee vee-hickle came in handy for transporting the swag. We got a ferry to Manly beach, and I got to inhale tons of salt air, which made me feel more "myself" than I have felt for a while. There was also a successful Hornblower pimping exercise, so I'm looking forward to reading some nice juicy slash with a finer appreciation of the characters involved. Yay!

So, I toodled off home a couple of hours later than I was expecting, no problem, around sunset. That was when the (heavy irony alert) "fun" really started. In Sydney, on the main highway from the east, you pay tolls coming and going. So, going, I got to the toll gate, paid the nice lady my $3.20 and attempted to put my car into first gear so that I could drive off. The attempt failed. Oh dear. And continued to fail; I could not move the gear stick in ANY direction whatsoever. This particular car has a 3-speed (+ reverse) gearbox, mounted on the steering column, so driving it is normally pretty fun. Not today, alas.

After quite a bit of cursing and bashing (well, a couple of minutes' worth), I told the nice lady that I would attempt to get out of her lane and go to the carpark on the left. I was stuck in third gear, thank god, not neutral, so there was motive power available. Luckily there was only one other lane to the left of the one I was in, and there was no problem stopping traffic through there for a couple of seconds. Even more luckily, there is nothing wrong with the clutch, so after much revving and clutch-riding, I was able to manoeuvre to the parking space.

I sat and ruminated on things for a wee while (as one does), and considered the fact that getting a tow somewhere in Sydney would mean that my car couldn't be fixed for at least a few days (tomorrow being a public holiday), and there is no way in hell that I can afford to have a couple of days away from work with our Exchange rollout beginning next weekend. I also considered the fact that, after the toll gates, it is entirely highway all the way to Canberra, my flat is one block off the main road into Canberra, and there are only a few sets of traffic lights on that route, on a flat stretch of road, thus no need for anything resembling a hill start.

With all those ruminations done, I thought "what the hell" and drove off. Now, the nice thing about these cars only having three gears is that it is entirely possible to drive the 280-odd kms from Sydney to Canberra only using one of them. I could start off in third, and of course, top gear is also third, so I was quite happily tootling along at about 110km/h all the way back. If I had been stuck in first, well, that would have put paid to my plan, since there was no way I was going to drive back at 20km/h, while burning out my gearbox in the process (leaving aside the fact that I wouldn't have the faintest idea how to get from Sydney to Canberra via back roads, if they exist). Granted, being in third meant that getting from 0-110 took a minute or so, but I wasn't racing on a dragway.

The challenge began when I reached Canberra, where there is one of Canberra's famous roundabouts (roundabouts are great, but really, Canberra specialises in them). Luckily, there was no-one else on the roundabout, so I was able to cruise through there about about 40-50km/h (a little fast, but really, I wasn't caring so much then). I had almost a clear run with traffic lights, by some miracle; I only had to stop twice, and both stops were on a slight downward slope. Turning into the side street into my house was a similar situation, and I decided that the Give Way signs were really "slow down and hope like hell that no-one decides to come now", which worked. I arrived in one piece, and while my clutch was smelling hot, it isn't burned out.

So, well, despite the fact that the car is so old made this mechanical failure more likely, I am glad that I was driving such an old car. There aren't many modern cars where, say, fourth gear has a long enough ratio where you can comfortably negotiate a set of traffic lights from a standing start within the required time. Or that third gear is comfortable enough to drive at around 100km/h for three hours. I'm hoping it's a reasonably simple case of the gear levers heading into the gearbox getting their knickers in a knot, in much the same way as old typewriter keys did if you mashed a whole bunch of them at once. If it's the innards of the steering column, it's bound to be a more costly exercise, although I could get them to renew the steering bushing at the same time, since the steering in general is somewhat loose (and I've been kind of putting off getting it done).

So, that is my excitement for the weekend, it's been a good'un!
trixtah: (Default) I was a couple of entries ago, I'm wondering if I should get something done about it. As I said, I did it about two years ago, and while it's much better than when it initially happened, there hasn't been any improvement to it in the last year or so.

I went to the doctor shortly before I left NZ, and, as he happened to specialise in sports medicine, asked him to have a look. He said it was either the anterior cruciate ligament or the lateral meniscus, but most likely the latter. What it means to me is that I still walk with a slight limp, and if I try to walk normally, the knee pain flares up. I get pain down the outer side of my knee joint (extending slightly to my thigh) if I walk too far, walk too far with a heavy load (walking home with 15kg or so of shopping gives me twinges), or walk downhill for reasonable distances.

All this is enhanced and magnified by the effect that my ankles are horribly weak after multiple sprains. The tendons and ligaments are so loose in my ankles that I don't feel myself "going over" if I have a slight slip, which means it's too late to recover, and so I generally go all the way. Which is why I cocked up my knee in the first place. I tripped over a loose paver in London, couldn't recover, went over and landed heavily on my right knee joint.

Unfortunately, the doc said he couldn't tell precisely without going in via surgery. It apparently didn't help when I kind of got rigid as he was trying to articulate the knee joint to see what the range of movement was and where the pain was. While not as bad as being told to "relax" when having a Pap smear (yeah, right!), it was intrusive enough for my bodily boundaries. But it appeared that my joints are wobbly in general, since my left knee was all over the place too, while he was testing. Not that I'm in anyway flexible either - that might have been a bonus. Or maybe I hold myself fairly rigid because of the wobbliness overall...? hm.

The reason this is an issue is that I generally consider myself to have excellent health. Other than having moderate asthma up until 5 or so years ago (I think I killed it off with homeopathy), I've not previously had anything physically incapacitating wrong with me. I hate the fact that I have to think about going for long walks over rough ground. I don't think I could go tramping. The aforementioned dancing attempt wasn't painful per se, but my knee has been aching all day. There are some things I can't do so well at the gym, especially since it seems my balance overall has been majorly disrupted. It's a big reason as to why I hadn't been to the gym since having the injury, and since going back, I find it subtly and distressingly gives me less physical confidence. I don't want to lift the big weights with my legs or do the squats that my muscles are probably capable of. Well, at least the mission to get my upper body strength back is paying off!

So. I feel like someone who has a chronic condition (in that it has a daily impact on my life), but yet it's so slight that it seems stupid to be concerned about. I think (quasi-guiltily) about all the other people in the world who have real chronic conditions, and have huge urges to kick myself up the arse. Also, if I get somewhat worked up about something so trivial, how the hell am I going to cope if something serious happens to me? Not very well, I suspect, since I'm not great if I feel less than 100% in other ways. And have "ishoos" about being looked after, just to top it off.

The other thing is that whatever-it-is is probably fixable. But it would involve knee surgery. I am not a professional athlete (obviously!), and having full-on surgery for intermittent pain seems like complete overkill. It's not even guaranteed that the surgery could fix everything. But I would like to be able go on my long walks and hit the gym with more confidence. I would like to have a whole week go by without hobbling around for a day because I've overdone it slightly.

It boils down now to whether it's enough to warrent drastic steps (I consider any surgery to be "drastic steps"), or whether I should just fucking get over it and deal with the fact I can't do certain things so well any more.

[Thank you for listening to Trix's whine-of-the-day]


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