marsden_online: (Cat Yarn)
2017-08-15 12:19 am
Entry tags:

Pay day thoughts

Last pay day I posted this to my Facebook
By some coincidence the amount I have earned this week (after tax) is within $5 of the bill I have to pay pretty much as soon as that money lands in my account.

It quickly occurred to me that this might be read as a bit "tone deaf" or "or the nose" by many of my less-well-off friends and an explanatory comment was in order.
I realise this situation or worse is the weekly reality for a great many people, without the buffer I have to meet other expenses over the coming week. It does me no harm to think more carefully about their experience and my spending for a bit.

It is important to me to examine and remember this experience and this feeling for better empathy with those around me; hopefully this privileged self-indulgence doesn't come over too badly.

snip )
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
2017-08-06 10:08 pm

Things about my involvement with the Hall

Whenever I get overwhelmed by life people suggest I should cut my ties to Antonio Hall. I'm not sure why this is the first thing that comes to mind for them, over say gaming or work both of which often come with similar proportions of frustration to reward.

I am well aware that at some point the decision is going to be taken out of my hands. The Hall will be sold or the owners will decide to develop the site themselves or some other condition will arise which puts and end to the work we are doing there. (Here actually,as I type this between groups of photographers on a beautiful warm autumny day in the middle of winter.) At that time I will grieve then move on to some other project. But for now it does fulfill several important needs in my life.

Enforced down/quiet/me time
Away from the computer and stream of internet where I can let my brain just settle, or read, or write, or prep for games. With advance warning I have my laptop and phone charged, one for writing (one of those things I mean to do more of) and the other for reading through the backlog of email newsletters a few at a time (and still being reachable and checking FB every 30 minutes or so for that sense of connection). This is good for me on multiple levels.

Meeting new and interesting people and building something together
- I enjoy witnessing the amazement at and enjoyment of the Hall. Even for those who simply come through once on a tour (number beyond count now) I know I have played a small part in bringing some amount of wonder into their lives, and that's a good feeling.
- Breaking out of my social limits and meeting new people was one of the reasons I got myself involved in organising more than just a few visits for my friends in the first place, and it still stands. Some of these people have gone on to become valued friends in their own rights.
- Another good feeling is at the end of a working bee day (or other fix-up session) when we look and see what a difference has been made. Nowhere else in my life do I get this feeling of actual physical achievement as part of a team. Work - independent projects. Gaming success (RPG but also team board/card games) are great, but they lack the sense of having made a (short but) lasting impact on the real world. Which brings us to ...

The opportunity to make a real difference
Much as I enjoy the activity, "work" rarely presents me with the opportunity to really make things better for people. Many of my "good deeds" are very much stop-gap measures backed by the belief that things can and will get (or be made) better for people in the medium/long term. House projects will have benefits for people after me, but that's a very long term payoff which I will probably not see in person.

The people whom we enable to come to the Hall - many of them take away something lasting. More than just memories and amazing photos but /experiences/ ... often experience and progress towards an assessment or goal of theirs. And just maybe a little more inspiration to step up somewhere and make some other part of the world better.

And if not me, then who? (Not entirely a rhetorical question, perfectly willing to share responsibility :) )
It's hard to explain how important that fundamental idea of making a positive difference is in my approach to the world. I can usually only make very small differences now-and-again, but here and now with the Hall it is possible to make a whole lot of them. The benefits as I see them almost always outweigh the cost to me. (It's just that the bill sometimes comes due unexpectedly).
marsden_online: (camera2)
2017-08-05 11:54 pm
Entry tags:
marsden_online: (camera2)
2017-08-05 10:53 pm
Entry tags:
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-08-04 10:04 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for July(ish)

Produced 114 units
Exported 25 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 89 units (saving 30.11c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $28.80
marsden_online: (skull)
2017-08-03 03:36 pm
Entry tags:

The field in which I grow my fucks is nourished by my flesh and blood

My brain agreed that writing this post was part of an acceptable plan for what to do after getting out of bed. Now that I get to it it doesn't want to cooperate :(

My ability to get out of bed has been swinging wildly the past few weeks; sometimes early enough to do 6 hours at work, sometimes so late I only get 3-4 hours. It's been averaging out OK as far as my earnings go.

After a pretty bad day Tuesday when I ended up just doing a few hours from home, yesterday (Wednesday) I had what would have been a really good day. Somehow stayed out of bed from a bathroom trip at half-past-six, was at work about 8, did 6 and a half hours and could have done more /except/ I was booked to show a film group around the Hall at 3pm because they want to use the location on Friday. They only asked on Monday and really I should have said no sorry, too short notice; but I am unfair on myself like that.

This was after another group whom I had agreed to give a tour on Tuesday because they couldn't do weekends had cancelled and asked to come in on Sunday instead ... I mean the cancellation was good it was the only reason I got any work done instead of having to take the whole day off. (I had of course planned to use the afternoon commitment as motivation to be at work early Tuesday.)

Anyway after yesterdays early start and a variety of errands and chores after work and the Hall I went to bed in good time hoping for a repeat. I even had multiple alarms set with a positive message.

My brain lied me into snoozing the first alarm twice before turning it off, then turning the second one off and despite feeling positive while touching base by txt with a friend about 8am then dragged me under again. Executive dysfunction then continued to keep me in bed until after midday - a good 14 hours - and was perfectly willing to keep me there the rest of the day, bladder notwithstanding. It was very nice there, I would have liked to be able to just do that.

Eventually I reached the understanding that I was not going to be permitted out of bed without taking the rest of the day off for some sort of "me" time, no significant amount of which is on the horizon and all recent attempts at which have been interrupted by people in need of helping out. (For example Sunday had been completely free except for gaming in the evening but I ended up showing a pair of photographers around the Hall so they can use it for a bridal shoot this coming weekend, then hosting some friends who don't currently have a working washing machine for several loads through mine+dryer and cooking them a hot meal.)

It is a thing which I have known for some time, that one of the reasons I have difficultly getting out of bed is because it is my only "me time". Once I am up and at the computer my world becomes at least 40% about other people most of the time. Today I made a list

Things in my life mostly for me

- Sleeping, eating, showering, lighting the fire
- game prep when I'm not fitting it in at the last minute
- computer gaming which I haven't done in months
- certain types of reading which I haven't done in weeks
- gardening which hasn't happened in weeks
- writing, which also hasn't been happening

Things 30-70% for or about other people

- Gaming, work, most household chores
- keeping up with current affairs and technology
- parties, photos

Things mostly about other people

- almost everything I do at the Hall
- other good works

Things on the above lists that I sometimes do-not-want but do anyway
- some household chores
- some Hall time. Increasing amounts of Hall time actually as I'm not feeling very supported in the use-oriented intentions I have there.

The irony is that being kept in bed such long hours ("off" time) means I have to spend my other hours ("on" time) tending to outside commitments and rarely get far enough through those to do the things for myself. Although of course actually having time to or for with myself usually comes with the sharp edge of being reminded that I am not /by myself/ from choice and I would rather be doing things with (or as) selected company.... which brings us back to one reason so much of what I do do is oriented as a distraction from those feelings. Which leave me so drained that depression and executive dysfunction mean I can't get out of bed....

I know even if I do get out of bed "early" or "on time" right now the extra hours will just get eaten usually by work in the first instance followed by the Hall or chores or other backed-up spoon-using activities on my to-do list. And while I do enjoy work and the money is nice ... the work is not adding much to the world and I'm not spending the money on myself at present (and even when I do that brings only mild satisfaction) ... the other things are generally break-even or worse; even the things "for" me.

This is all ground I have been over before. I've been going over it for years. I mean I've learnt some ways of making better use of what I have in that time, but when I stand back and look at the results most seems to have been about making the ground more fertile for /others/ (and I in no way regret what I have achieved there); I'm still no closer to being able to water my own roots.

I do not know if this post has achieved anything. I do know that I am running out of time, and this afternoon hasn't actually left me feeling any more refreshed.
marsden_online: (camera2)
2017-07-26 09:20 pm
Entry tags:
marsden_online: (camera2)
2017-07-26 09:03 pm
Entry tags:
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-07-14 09:00 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for June(ish)

Produced 101 units
Exported 16 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 85 units (saving 30.11c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $26.87
marsden_online: (write)
2017-07-05 10:45 pm
Entry tags:

NZ does not have a *youth* drinking problem..

These evening I posted a lengthy comment on a Stuff.co.nz opinion piece titled Andy Towers: New Zealand doesn't have a culture of youth drinking, my words stewing overnight and this morning after the first wave of commenters apparently failed to read and comprehend even the first two paragraphs. I'm happy to say some more intelligent voices had arisen in the meantime.

Quoting substantial chunks of the piece because I don't expect the above link to last forever...
I'm tired of headlines in recent years declaring New Zealand has a "youth drinking culture".

I'm tired because this claim is a lie. Not the part about youth drinking; that definitely happens. The lie is that we have a youth drinking culture. Drinking is not a 'youth culture' issue; it's a New Zealand culture issue.

A potted history of New Zealand shows we've always had an alcohol problem...
...
In 2012 we had an opportunity to change. The Law Commission had reviewed our history of drinking and it recommended substantial law changes to reduce alcohol-related harm. These recommendations were wholeheartedly supported by much of the general public, many community groups, and almost all health professionals and the police.

What happened? The politicians we voted for decided against change. All of the evidence-based recommendations for change were ignored, including those that would reduce harmful outcomes in youth.

At no time have any of today's youth voted on legislation that has given rise to our current binge drinking culture...
...
Is there any light at the end of this tunnel? Yes. Recent statistics show youth appear to be changing our country's drinking culture by themselves. Ministry of Health statistics show the proportion of past year drinkers among those aged 15-24 dropped from 84 per cent in 2006 to 76 per cent last year, with the most substantial drop among those aged 15-17 (from 75 per cent down to 57 per cent).
...
Youth drinking culture should not be something we complain about anymore. We should instead complain about New Zealand's drinking culture. We are responsible for the drinking culture that our youth are navigating but they at least appear to be contemplating change.

Should current trends continue, youth in the 2020s might well be correct to complain about the appalling drinking culture of middle-aged and older New Zealanders.

My comment:

No one denies we have a problem with young people unable or unwilling to match their drinking to their limits, and the strain this puts on our health services and communities. But to blame them for following in the footsteps of older relatives, to somehow "know better" despite their constant exposure to this being the way things are done when you reach a certain age is to deny our own responsibility. It is to pass it off with a genial, perhaps nostalgia tinted "well that what I was like at that age" instead of standing up responsibly and saying to the next generations "I did these things and they were /stupid/ things, please be better."

To draw parallels with another article* I read very recently (on another site) it is like blaming tenants for the state of the countries cold, damp housing stock when it is ...
- landlords and
- a succession of governments who put the least-well-off in our society last, backed up by
- a cultural belief that living in an icy or mould-infested flat is a rite of passage that happens to everyone when they go out on their own so people just need to harden up
... which keep it in that state.

[* link was not included in original comment to improve the chances of making it through moderation but I will put it here The Spinoff: The other housing crisis]

Preloading has been mentioned ... this is known to have increased alongside tighter regulation about who can be served and the growing expense of bar drinks compared to buying from the supermarkets or bottle stores. Without addressing the /reason/ people are drinking (I suggest because it is one of the few socially accepted/sanctioned ways to be seen to rebel) making it harder for them to drink in what should be safe spaces simply moves the activity elsewhere. Much like passing a law forbidding the homeless to take shelter in a particular area does nothing to address the actual social ills which have left them not even looked after by our so-called social welfare system, simply lets people feel that something has been done. The problem still exists, it has just been moved "out of sight, out of mind".

Until we (and that umbrella is going to be pretty much include everyone reading this article) stop implicitly or explicitly allowing intoxication to be used as a social get-out-of-jail-free card to excuse abusive (self or other) behaviour, *whatever the age group* young people are going to continue going through their growing years immersed in the idea that it's OK to drink heavily and do stupid shit once you hit a certain age, and the problem is not going to go away.

Fortunately as the author of the piece notes the generations coming through now may be on the way to changing that culture for their kids, who may be our grandkids ang great-grandkids. Will you help or hinder them?
marsden_online: (camera2)
2017-06-23 08:48 pm
Entry tags:
marsden_online: (camera2)
2017-06-21 08:09 pm
marsden_online: (Sisters)
2017-06-19 06:19 pm

Stumbling to the beat of a broken drum(mer)

Depression and anxiety have taken advantage of the lack of energy stemming from a week or two plagued to launch a resurgence and start kicking my ass again. Today was particularly bad, brought on by pushing myself beyond reasonable limits dealing with everything at the Hall working bee yesterday. Despite every intention I did not make it into work, and when I had finally given up on the idea and checked into my work mailbox at 2pm it was to find two urgent items from this morning requiring my attention. Which I was able to attend to from home, but one stemmed from a project I had done the week prior to sick-week and the fix was something I explicitly thought I had done at the time.

I did also manage to solve the problem which had me stumped at the end of Friday, which I what I had actually dragged myself out of bed with the intention of doing.

Sometimes I think the little voice inside my head which says "you can do/fix this" actually belongs to a little gremlin with a big hammer who is really looking forward to breaking things more.

I find myself just wanting to walk away from almost everything ... but that is not a feasible option.
marsden_online: (camera2)
2017-06-14 09:36 pm
Entry tags:
marsden_online: (camera2)
2017-06-14 09:08 pm
Entry tags:
marsden_online: (write)
2017-06-11 10:52 pm

Compulsive Behaviours

Complusion com·pul·sion (kəm-pŭl'shən) n.
- An uncontrollable impulse to perform an act, often repetitively, as an unconscious mechanism to avoid unacceptable ideas and desires which, by themselves, arouse anxiety.
- an irrational motive for performing trivial or repetitive actions, even against your will

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is something I have never given much thought to, beyond the common or pop-culture awareness and a vague undefined annoyance when perfectionist friends claim to "be a little OCD". But the post "OCD is not your quirky fun friend from Sarah Wilson at WriteHanded detailing some of the behaviours associated with her OCD prompted me to take a closer, if still superficial look at the definitions and diagnostic criteria, and from there to compulsion in general.
OCD is not just perfectionism, and for many people, it won’t present that way at all. It’s not “being a neat freak.”
...
Telling myself I am experiencing OCD is of little to no help. I feel itchy at best, suicidal at worst, until I allow myself to complete the behaviour that will stop the anxiety. Sometimes, that behaviour isn’t anything that will look unusual from the outside. It might be getting some work done. It might be taking a shower. It might be going to the supermarket with a very specific list. But what people don’t know or see is that work isn’t even due for another four weeks, but I couldn’t let it sit undone. That I’ve already had two showers today, but I feel like i’m unclean and I need to wash again. That I’ve already been to the supermarket, but an intrusive thought keeps telling me I’ve missed things out or got the wrong ones, so I need to go again.

I am quite confident in saying that I would not personally be diagnosed with OCD. I do have a variety of anxiety-linked behavioral compulsions, what I consider a susceptibility to addictive behaviours, and something of a fixation on doing things the "right" way; none of which take anywhere the amount of time out of my life an OCD diagnosis would require.

Following my curiosity I googled for /other/ compulsive disorders but did not turn up any helpful results with the time and energy I had available. I'm sure they are out there; just drowned in the sea of OCD-related results which resulted even trying (failing) to filter out results containing "obsessive". Probably I am stuck in the catch-22 of having to know what the disorders are called before I can find out what they are ....

of/for myself )
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-06-07 10:38 am
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for May(ish)

Produced 143 units
Exported 40 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 103 units (saving 29.79c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $33.88
marsden_online: (skull)
2017-06-06 09:53 pm

Buckets of Dice weekend 2017

Reading back over the past few years entries I notice a clear pattern of going in already exhausted and not getting nearly as much gaming done as I would like. This year was no exception; various issues at work have triggered emotional breakpoints and seen me push myself harder than is safe. To boot a head cold which has been threatening for the past fortnight arrived with a vengeance, leading to me wearing a flu mask Sunday and Monday; arguably I should also have done so Saturday or even not attended at all. However I had a friend down from Wellington staying with me and commensurate responsibilities to make sure she was able to be there.

Despite my efforts to keep the Hall calendar clear it had two entries; the Saturday morning one was a no-show and the Monday afternoon one arrived an hour late and then was un-prepared and spent half-an-hour doing make-up. I was able to leave them shooting with someone else on site but both instances meant time spent waiting around in cold wet weather when I could have been gaming. An alarm call out just after midnight on Saturday morning did not help matters.

My brain is blanking on some of the games I played and when
- Saturday had at least four games, starting with Betrayal at the House on the Hill which I had to abandon to get to the Hall, but apparently the Haunt won two rounds later (although we'd seemed to be in a good position), late afternoon was Kingsburgh, later in the evening a quick 2-player learning game of Fairy(Faery?)Tale and then ? . I was also able to purchase enough card sleeves of appropriate size from the Comics Compulsion table to kill time sleeving my copy of DC Heroes.
- Sunday I had two long, 3-player games of DC Heroes Crisis with different people where we lost at the very end, the first time to the final crisis and the second time by the stack running out when we had only to defeat the final super-villain two more times. I must have played Roll for the Galaxy because we discovered one of the cups missing. Jamaica because I noticed one of our often-indecisive players was quite quick at it.
- Monday had Castles of the Mad King Ludwig (which someone kindly stepped out of to let me play when I arrived as it was being set up) followed by Egizia. After getting back from the Hall I managed a game of DC Heroes before helping a little with pack up.

Today I called into work sick and have spent it napping / doing chores around the house / a delivery/groceries run / coughing a lung out. I would have liked to go along to Saga tonight for a couple more games but by about 4pm I had to admit to myself that wasn't going to happen.

~~~
Three times during the past few days I have teetered on the brink of emotional collapse. One was Saturday morning trying to get out of the house on time after oversleeping, and that was pure exhaustion.

The second was when I wandered upstairs on Sunday night to try and take some discrete photos of the LARPs in progress (trying to keep myself occupied and stable between running out of gaming options myself and my guest finishing up) to be shooed off. The shooing off wasn't entirely unexpected but the way it made me feel was. The third was being called out on possibly having taken photos including someone without permission - I haven't actually looked at the photos yet but yeah likely. I was sick, tired and probably sloppy with my judgement/recall/asking.

I'm still trying to figure out the reason the last two hit me so hard; I can't tell right now whether I'm feeling hurt by the criticism, upset with myself for not being more careful / not holding myself to high enough standards, or because I caused upset to someone I care about. In any case all there is to be done is apologise and attempt to not repeat the mistake.

Probably also time to book another psych appointment.
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-05-10 09:01 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for April(ish)

Produced 178 units
Exported 60 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 118 units (saving 29.79c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $39.95