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Category: Ramble (Page 1 of 41)

Week 20: Back on the up

(May 14 – May 20)

Do I finally get my internet working again? Read on and find out …

Monday

The saga of my faulty nbn continues nice and early, with the telephone company coming out to repair my phone socket—which has left me without any internet at all since they first ‘fixed’ it on Wednesday. My attitude in these situations is not to focus on the mistake–since we all make mistakes with reliable regularity–but to look at the fact that they’ve acknowledged there was a mistake made, and they’ve come out at the soonest possible opportunity to fix it.
The icing on the cake is that I plug my modem back in once the work is done and find that I’ve acquired a potential 20mbps speed boost since connecting it to the main socket!

Tuesday

I start writing a story inspired by a nightmare I had on Sunday night. I don’t have nightmares very often, but this one was intense enough for me to wake me up and leave the light on for about 20 minutes before re-attempting sleep.
The resulting story is more or less a straight translation of the nightmare—slender on the narrative, heavy on the imagery—but I’m hoping it will make for decent read when it’s done.

Wednesday

It’s Late Start Wednesday, which means two things: I have time to finish writing the first draft of my nightmare story, and we get to have breakfast at Macca’s. This is either a treat or a punishment, depending on how you view Macca’s breakfast foods.

Thursday

I start the day with a three-hour workshop, which is far from my ideal vision of how to start my day. In the end, it’s not bad at all.
When I get home the Elderbeast and I start planning a podcast we want to make together. I’ve been researching audio equipment, and he’s been planning out the shows. I’m hoping it’ll be fun, but it’s mostly way of giving him a project to work on, and devising something creative that we can do together.

Friday

A friend lends me his mic to test out—one that comes highly recommended, but is out of my price range for this probably-not-going-to-go-anywhere podcast project. I’m very excited. The Elderbeast is even more excited and immediately takes it to the PS4 to set it up for his online gaming. He has a few false starts, but his persistence eventually pays off and he is somehow able to get his gaming headset and shiny new mic to work in concert for him. I’m impressed while also being largely unimpressed.

Saturday

The Elderbeast seems determined to spend $450 on a new gaming headset (for his birthday, later in the year). I am, inevitably, determined that he doesn’t. As a compromise he finds a $40 headset, and then impresses me even further by finding it for $30.
We head to the shops to pick up said headset. On the drive there we find ourselves talking about heist movies, mostly inspired by the Elderbeast’s love of Ocean’s 11. I suggest we should look up a list of the greatest heist movies of all time and watch some of them. I do so, only to find that we’ve already seen many of the candidates. One that does jump out, however, is Inception, which I’ve only seen the once and am keen to watch again. I tell the Elderbeast about it, and the conversation goes something like this:

Me: “We should watch Inception. It’s basically a heist movie.”
Elderbeast: “Okay cool. What’s it about?”
Me: “Well, the premise is about these people who can get inside other peoples’ dreams—“
Elderbeast: “Oh dear …”

Despite his understandable reservations, primarily concerning the imminent state of his brain, we watch the movie and it is much enjoyed. I’m, again, impressed that he can sit through a 2 ½ hour movie, especially one as mentally demanding as Inception, and follow the concepts perfectly.

Sunday

We all head off to a friend’s a house for a tabletop gaming session. The kinderbesten settle [mostly] quietly with their iPads, while we adults try [and mostly fail] to work out how to play a new game about saving books from the burning Library of Alexandria.
The kinderbesten, once again, are so good that I end up staying later than planned. As a consequence I get home too late to put on my slow roast beef. Never mind. There’s always tomorrow.
The Elderbeast has been asking about the answer to life, the universe and everything of late. So, naturally, I introduce him to The HItchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. It’s a trepidatious moment—I love the show, and have been meaning to give it a rewatch for a long time. But will the Elderbeast shrug and therefore need to be escorted promptly from the premises?
The good news is he loves it, and nearly dies from laughter during the extract about poetry. He demands more after the first episode but is half asleep by the time the second one wraps up.
I do enjoy getting to introduce him to all of this

Watched

Monday Monty Python: Almost The Truth 1×03
Tuesday Monty Python: Almost The Truth 1×04
Wednesday n/a
Thursday Monty Python: Almost The Truth 1×05, 1×06
Friday The Gate
Saturday Inception
The Lorax
Sunday Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy 1, 2

Read

A little bit more of The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet, but not very much more.

Eaten

For some reason I failed to note down my menu choices for much of this week, so this one will have to remain a mystery for the ages.

Week 19: Week on/off

(May 7 – May 13)

I’m finally taking a few days off, following several weeks of dithering over when and how much leave to take, or whether to take any time off at all.
I don’t have any specific reasons for taking leave, other than to have the chance to get on with a bit of writing and maybe get a few odd jobs out of the way, such as getting the car serviced.
I had originally decided to break my week off across two weeks (a week is a decent break, but can sometimes end up feeling a bit long when what you really want is to have an extended weekend) giving me three days off this week, then Monday and Tuesday next week.
However, given how unrelaxing this week ended up being, I’ll be thinking before taking any more leave…

Monday

I’ve booked the car in for its service. I ask if it’s possible to have it back before 2m so I can collected the Elderbeast from his recently rescheduled PEAC class. They have it done by midday, which is awesome. However, the rest of the day [off] is spent going back and forth between here, there and everywhere, and isn’t particularly relaxing.
When I eventually start cooking dinner, the Kinderbesten are so noisy playing together that I resort to wearing the Elderbeast’s noise cancelling gaming headphones. They actually help, although my stress levels still reach critical levels.
After silence (i.e. bedtime) finally falls, I put my flaky internet to the test by watching the first episode of The Rain on Netflix. It’s good, but it’s constantly driven forward by characters making really, really dumb decisions and I’m not sure I can watch an entire series where I basically hope everyone will die horribly.

Tuesday

Another day off, but I have to head into work to deliver a preso. As usual I partly regret agreeing to do it, but am also incredibly grateful for the opportunity. I arrive stupidly early, but this gives me time to grab coffee and pick up a few books about fairy tales (for a possible upcoming podcast project) from the University library.
The preso goes well, although it’s a very subdued audience today. Hopefully they still got something out of it.
On the way home I have to: pick up my new jeans; buy a plunger for my blocked kitchen sink; buy Mother’s Day presents from the Kinderbesten; and buy a birthday present for the party the Kinderbeast has been invited to at the weekend.
Shopping goes successfully, and after this I finally get an afternoon of sitting and writing. Exactly what this holiday was meant to be.

Wednesday

This is, supposedly, the first (and only) proper day of my holiday; the day when I have the whole day to sit and write and relax–at least until it’s time for the school run. The phone technicians turn up at 11am to fix my phone ports (disconnecting the extra ports, and leaving just the main one active–as requested by NBN Co before they’ll look at my disconnecting connection). This ends up requiring me to move the router into the bedroom, where the main phone port is, and thus rearranging a lot of wiring and a few powerline connections. Hassle!
I then end up with No Internet At All. With my flakey NBN it’s almost impossible to test whether the socket is working properly or not, but the signs are it’s really definitely not. I call my ISP. They find nothing wrong with the line this time, and suggest it might be the modem at fault. I scour Gumtree for a decent modem I can use for testing (and that would make a worthwhile spare) and arrange to collect it after work tomorrow.
I end up spending almost the entire day trying to work out how to properly test and diagnose my lack of internet, and end up incredibly stressed about everything. The litany of tiny, inconsequential things going collectively and constantly wrong is really starting to get to me.
After school, I take the Elderbeast to see Avengers: Infinity War, which at least provides some respite. It’s exactly how I imagined it to be … and I won’t be detailing that here just in case of spoiling any late viewers.

Thursday

First day back at work. I’m tired all day, but being at the office is, perhaps predictably, less stressful than being at home—at least I have internet here and nothing breaks on me.
On the way home I pick up the router I found on Gumtree. The seller turns out to be a young, very pleasant kid. I plug the router in when I get home but the result is the same: no internet. This definitely suggests that the problem is the internet, and not with either of my routers.
I manage to survive the rest of the evening, though it passes in something of a haze. I retreat to bed as early as I can, read for a bit, then turn my light off. I’m tired and feel odd, as if I’m coming down with something.

Friday

I wake up from a dream about going on holiday with an ex-girlfriend from long ago, then returning home to my mother’s house. It’s something of a rude shock when I wake up and realise I’m living a completely different life now. The girlfriend in question was possibly my most significant relationship from my teen years. I ended up treated her pretty poorly, but I had the chance a few years afterwards to apologise, and (hopefully) to be forgiven.
I’m unable to get back to sleep after the dream, but it arrives shortly before my alarm anyway. So, I get up and write the thing that you’re reading right now. I can’t help but feel that being plunged so solidly into a semi-fictional past is intended to deliver some sort of message or meaning to me, as if dreams were sentient and not just a random whim of my subconscious.
But still … why that person? Why that part of my past? Why that fictionalised memory?

Saturday

We get to go to a new place for games today: a friend moved house in the recent(ish) past and today is the first time we’ve descended upon her abode for games. We also get to meet a couple of new people, and—more importantly—their dog.
For dinner, I decide to skip traditional #childfree dinner in favour of duck, which I’ve been craving for about a year now. It’s pretty damn tasty, but I won’t be rushing to the duck counter again—especially at those prices!
A repeat viewing of The Raid ends up being the order for my Saturday night. It remains as outstanding as the first time. Even better: it’s relatively short, so I’m able to grab an early night and finally read The Injection; an awesome graphic novel that I was given for my birthday. It’s virtually perfect: the art style of Locke & Key and the storytelling style of Alan Moore. I immediately add the other volumes to my wish list.

Sunday

My friend Seb comes over for our second Doctor Who Brunch, which is a great way to start the day. Today we get in two stories, which still leaves me time to prepare a few dinners for the rest of the week before the kinderbesten return home (I’m forever spending the week cursing myself for not preparing dinners ahead of time—this week I will not be that person!)
For Sunday Night Movietime with the Elderbeast I finally watch Predestination, which is not at all the film I was expecting, but is very excellent and completely blows both of our brains apart. I do like having my brain broken just in time for Monday …

Watched

Monday The Rain 1×01
Tuesday Monty Python
Wednesday Avengers: Infinity War
Thursday n/a
Friday Drag Me To Hell
Saturday The Raid
Sunday Doctor Who: Spearhead From Space
Doctor Who: City Of Death
Predestination

Read

Monday Aliens: Harvest
Tuesday Long way to a small angry planet
Wednesday lots of articles about Infinity War
Thursday n/a – too tired
Friday n/a
Saturday Injection
Sunday Aliens comics

Eaten

Monday Beef stir fry
Tuesday JFC
Wednesday Macca’s
Thursday Chips, eggs and beans
Friday Daal
Saturday Duck
Sunday Carbonara

Week 18: Tech fail

(Apr 30 – May 6)

The tech fail continues this week, and is incessant. It starts to feel like a conspiracy against me; as if there’s a big secret joke to show many things can stop working before I, too, break. Truly, it’s getting a bit ridiculous now.
I also have my birthday looming. I’ll be a year closer to fifty (though a few years yet until I hit this milestone) which seems a ridiculous age for me to be. Surely I’m still a teenager?! I don’t have many specific thoughts about getting older. It’s happening and there’s nothing you can do about it. I’m grateful that I still feel (and act) relatively young, even though the creakiness of my body grows steadily louder with each passing year.
I still look to my grandmother-in-law for inspiration: 82 and she’s over every week to help out with my washing and watch the kids. I feel like I have barely half her energy even now, but at least she proves that with a bit of luck, good heath, and positivity you can remain active for many years past retirement.

Monday

I wake up in the middle of the night with a random piercing headache. It messes me up enough that I decide to take the day off work. I medicate myself with sofa, coffee and old Doctor Who episodes.
When I’m up to it I call my ISP to find out what’s at the root of my ongoing NBN outages (which are largely to blame for recent tech fail). They detect a fault in the line, 29 metres from the node. Great. This means the NBN co can finally come out and fix it for me. Spoiler: they don’t.
After school I attempt to connect the Kinderbeast’s new iPad (which is, not coincidentally, my old iPad). It works by creating a local wifi network so the iPad and the robot can communicate. I’m totally unable to get it working, even though it has worked on every other iPad I’ve set Cozmo up on.
After that, having explained to the Kinderbeast that Netflix is currently no-go due to the internet issues, he elects to watch Plex. Somehow, I’m unable to get the TV to connect to my Plex server. The local network wifi is working. The Plex server is running. But nope.
After this I decide I’m not even going to bother trying to start a new series this week. Instead I go to bed and read. So far my iPad is the only device that hasn’t failed me in any way. Yet.

Tuesday

I get in the car to take the kids to school and … the car doesn’t start! Fortunately school is close enough for us to get out and walk, but this certainly puts a damper on any hope of getting to work. Fortunately I have roadside assist with my car insurance. I call up and they arrange for a tow truck to be there within the hour. I then call my local garage to make sure they are willing and able to check the car over.
My google diagnosis suggests its either the starter motor or the ignition switch. Naturally it turns out to be the battery. The garage doesn’t have a replacement in stock, but the manager drives out to pick one up and I’m back on the road by lunchtime.
In lesser news, the NBN co schedule an appointment to fix my internet connection, and then cancel it on the same day. For reasons. My ISP nobly tries to resubmit the issue, but I don’t hold out enormous hope of getting NBN to do anything this time.

Wednesday

I take the kids to Macca’s for traditional Late Start Wednesday breakfast. While there it slowly dawns on my that the 4g has stopped working on my phone. This is particularly inconvenient given that it’s my only source of internet at most times currently. Luckily I find a fix relatively quickly, and am able to drag myself out of the it of this particular tech fail.
Tech fail isn’t done with me, however. In the evening I try to download a new iOS app for the Kinderbeast. I’ve done this dozens of times, but this time I simply can’t get it to work. The Elderbeast is also completely foiled in his attempts to watch YouTube, despite my efforts to help him.
Finally, I print out a list of games for the Kinderbeast to play on his new Google Home and send him, excited, into his room to try them out. He comes back and says they don’t work. I go and try, only to find out that virtually every single on “is not available in this region”.
FFS!

Thursday

I seem to escape the clutches of tech fail for the day. What I do get to do is go to a friend’s house, with the kids, for a delicious stir fry dinner. So that was alright.

Friday

It’s Friday!. It’s my pre-birthday. I treat myself to a lie in, and we have a morning tea at work.
My Fridate friend brings me a wonderful gift: a limited sixth Doctor action figure (limited because it has a totally different costume) that I remember coveting in the day, but couldn’t justify the cost.
We then pick a film from the shelves in order to avoid tech fail. Almost immediately we agree on Sunshine. I pick it up, it’s still in the wrapping. I take the wrapping off and find that the security seal is still in place.
It’s as if someone up there doesn’t want me watching films. Ever.
I’m determined not to be beaten. We look up techniques for removing the tags on YouTube. After some failed attempts using magnets, I finally pry the box open (without damage!) using a kitchen knife and we sit down for our movie.
It’s both just as good and better than I remember. Clearly in the shadow of Alien, Silent Running and 2001, but a pretty good homage to the genre and a solid film in its own right. I always recalled the final act standing out as a disappointment, but it seems to work on this viewing. Maybe it’s because it’s Fridate Horror and we demand some horrific action.

Saturday

It’s my birthday!
I get up and open presents from the Kinderbesten (a cool LEGO creator set and some awesome jammy pants) then we do the traditional Saturday morning shop. A coupe of people drop by during the day. I, otherwise, alternatively relax and tidy up in preparation for my guests in the evening.
Guests arrive in due course and a most excellent evening is had, helped along by Exloding Kittens and Cards Against Humanity. It’s the perfect way to end the day.

Sunday

I spend the day utterly shattered, even though I barely drank anything last night and it was *that* late a night. I did, however, anticipate this and have already planned to do nothing for the whole day.
Apparently the internet had similar thoughts as it remains out for the whole morning.
Late in the evening I find out that my father-in-law has been in hospital all day and is currently undergoing surgery after collapsing earlier in the day. It’s a pretty big shock (but all turns out well in the end).

Things I Did buy

  • $47 Google Home Mini

Watched

Tech fail. Lol/sob.

Monday n/a
Tuesday n/a
Wednesday n/a
Thursday n/a
Friday Sunshine
Saturday n/a
Sunday Moon

Read

More of The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet. More Aliens comics.

Eaten

Monday Meat sauce
Tuesday Meat sauce #2
Wednesday Cauliflower cheese
Thursday Delicious beef stir fry
Friday Chicken fingers
Saturday Roast vegetables
Sunday Slow roast beef

Week 17: Cookiiiiiiiiiies

(Apr 23 – Apr 29)

Second week of school holidays brings various levels of fail, mostly technical, but I also discover a truly amazing cookie recipe.

Monday

I get to work and two people are off. Nobody likes Mondays. Or maybe we’re simply entering that stage of the year when the winter colds pick us off one at a time. There’s the makings of a very dull thriller in there somewhere.
In the evening I experience a major tech fail while trying to watch The Terror. I’ve found that I can watch the show (legally) on [Amazon] Prime Video, so I’m trying to do just that. Somewhat awkwardly, Prime Video only works on my PS4. Even more awkwardly, tonight the PS4 doesn’t want to connect to the internet. I restart the router and the PS4, but no dice.
I then resort and to watching my downloaded copies, but Plex refuses to cast to my Chromecast. I reboot both the server and the chromecast. I even reboot my phone for good measure. After this, the chromecast refuses to connect to the internet entirely, which means it won’t actually cast anything. Which is its sole purpose of being.
In the end, I somehow manage to get Plex working on the PS4, but only after a full thirty minutes of wrangling, I’m finding that my supposedly relaxing evening on the sofa is anything but.

Tuesday

I start the day with a lie in, but it really doesn’t make the rest of the day feel any better.
For the evening I decide to avoid all prospect of tech fail by playing Doom on the PS4 with the Elderbeast. It’s a ridiculously fun game, until we reach a bit that stumps both of us. It’s basically a different genre of tech fail.
I end the day more successfully by starting a new book, which is a truly momentous occasion.

Wednesday

It’s Anzac Day, so I enjoy a proper lie in and *still* have time to do some writing after I get up. My father in law has offered to come and help me resolve a leak under the sink, which I’m convinced is related to my recently blocked drains. I’m expecting the pipes under the sink to be clogged with all sorts of terrifying matter, but they turn out to be virtually clean. We fix the leak, but determine that the blockage is in the pipes somewhere under the floor. Crap.
It’s a problem for another day.
I spend the rest of the afternoon embarking on the first steps in a new project to bake the perfect cookie. The first attempt comes out damn good, and I wonder if I’ve peaked already.

Thursday

Despite the ongoing tech fail, I finally manage to finish watching The Terror. I have mixed feelings about it. It’s extremely well made, and hugely atmospheric, but I can’t help feeling it’s lost a little in the translation from the book. I’m not usually a “well, you know, the book was better” person, but on this occasion there are a few stylistic choices that (for me) take away a little of the impact and mystery. That said, I suspect there are other changes that have benefited the story and I look forward to giving the book a fresh read so I can compare.

Friday

A glorious #childfree weekend. For Fridate horror we, quite logically, watch 28 Weeks Later. It has a much better transfer, and is a damn good follow-up. I hope we get the not-so-inevitable 28 Months Later eventually.

Saturday

I did my food shopping on Thursday to make sure I had the morning free to go … clothes shopping. Yes, it’s the even less exciting kind of shopping. However, I need to get the kinderbesten some basic winter clothes, and I need to get myself some new work trousers. I achieve moderate success with the winter clothes, but rapidly run out of energy and willpower and escape for home without any work trousers.
I enjoy a pleasantly chilled afternoon of relaxing and minor tasks. It seems after my recent weeding and painting endeavours, I’ve exhausted all motivation and energy for other major household tasks. Oh well.
I decide that my movie of the weekend will be Kill Bill (both parts). I saw part one when it first came out, but have so far failed to catch part two. However, because there’s at least four hours of film to be watched, and dinner to be eaten, I need to start early. I have the unexpected benefit of awesome company for both the film and dinner, but massive, farcical tech fail (pretty much a repeat of Monday) means that I only have time for part one.
Still, it was pretty awesome and I’m even more stoked for part two now … whenever I manage to get around to it.

Sunday

It’s Pathfinder Day! I show up, kill a few things, eat yummy food, and get to hang out with friends. Pretty good show for a Sunday.
For the evening it’s time for the traditional Sunday Night movie for myself and the Elderbeast. I remain wary of tech fail, so I advise the Elderbeast to pick a bluray from the shelves. He picks Devil, an M Night Shyamalan produced thriller that I saw once several years ago. It revolves around five strangers who get trapped in a lift, one of whom may be the devil in human form. Naturally the passengers start dying off one by one, and it’s down to us to work out which one is the killer—and, possibly, the devil.
It’s a modern-day B movie, and therefore a perfect Sunday night choice.

Things I bought

  • $50 New jeans. In lieu of proper work trousers, I did at least buy myself some new jeans, which will be respectable enough for most work days. Jeanswest offering 40% off was enough incentive to get my internet, click and collect order.
  • $35 Alien comics. One of the benefits of Alien Day (April 26) turned out to be Comixology having a massive sale on Alien comics. The upshot of this is that I spent over $30 on Aliens comics, but I did get to buy almost all of them!

Watched

Monday The Terror 1×05
The Terror 1×06
Tuesday Lost In Space 1×05
Wednesday The Terror 1×07
Thursday The Terror 1×08
The Terror 1×09
Friday 28 Weeks Later
Saturday Kill Bill Vol 1
The Terror 1×10
Sunday Devil

Read

Started (re)reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, which I had attempted to read last year and stalled. This time I got into it pretty quickly. I also started reading some of my many, many new Aliens comics.

Eaten

Monday Chicken fingers, buttered potatoes
Tuesday Hasselback potatoes
Wednesday Sausages, buttered potatoes
Thursday Chips, eggs, beans
Friday Daal
Saturday Traditional #childfree dinner
Sunday Broccoli & pasta

Week 16: To holiday or not..liday?

Apr 16 – Apr 22

School holidays for the kinderbesten prompts me to consider whether I should take a holiday for myself. But obviously not at the same time …

Monday

It is Monday. I do not want to get up. I do not want to Monday.
It’s also the first day of the school holidays, which is a pain on the one hand, but makes a lot of things easier: no need to make lunches; no need to get the kids dressed and off to school on time.
Nevertheless, I start to consider taking a week off, partly to give me enough spare time to catch up with things, but also as a brief respite from the weekly routine. The release of almost the entire Monty Python back catalogue on Netflix only motivates me further.

Tuesday

I wake up, promptly turn my alarm off, and wake up again at 7am, following some odd dreams about Bunnings and home invaders. The morning writing goes slowly, as does the rest of the morning. The day, at least, is taken up with meetings which helps the time pass.
On the better side, I come home to find the kids relaxed and in the holiday spirit.

Wednesday

Yet another morning where the words struggle to come.
I end up having to leave work early to collect the Kinderbeast from a party. Along the way, I decide when I get back that we should all sit down and watch Paddington 2. I anticipate a fight to get the Elderbeast away from the Playstation, but almost the first words he says to me when I walk in are: “Can we watch Paddington 2?” Some sort of strange synchronicity.
I decide to banish the new rug I bought for my bedroom to the outside. It seems to have a particularly pungent smell to it, which I hope will pass after some fresh air and sunshine. Maybe even a downpour or two.
The best news of the day is that I’ve finally gotten ‘that book feeling’—the excitement that comes of looking forward to curling once again up with the book you’re reading. I’ve really missed that feeling.

Thursday

After several tough writing mornings I decide to turn my alarm off and enjoy a glorious lie in. It doesn’t make me feel any more lively during the rest of the day, but it was good at the time.
Meanwhile, my new carpet is still stinky. It gets to stay outside.

Friday

For Fridate horror we watch 28 Days Later. It’s a great film but I am fascinated by the truly awful quality of the bluray transfer. I’ve watched plenty films in the past that have been digitised from VHS tape, and they have all looked better than this.
Apparently the movie was filmed on DV, which isn’t even high-definition. To make up for this, they appear to have used a generous amount of sharpening (or something) which has done nothing but result in a muddy image that almost swims across the screen at times. It’s truly the worst movie transfer I’ve ever seen.
The film, however, remains excellent.

Saturday

A standard Saturday. The kinderbesten and I do our food shopping in the morning. I then spend part of the day moving furniture around (a slight rearrangement post-painting). After this I am rewarded with an unexpectedly peaceful evening when the Elderbeast is taken out to see some wrestling.

Sunday

Games day at mine. Always a good time to eat, catch up with friends and, maybe, even, play some games.

Watched

Monday The Alienist 1×06
Tuesday The Alienist 1×07
Wednesday The Alienist 1×08
Thursday The Alienist 1×09
The Alienist 1×10
Friday 28 Days Later
Saturday Lost In Space 1×03
Moana
The Terror 1×01
The Terror 1×02
The Terror 1×03
Sunday Lost In Space 1×04
The Terror 1×04

Read

I not only reached that point where I found myself looking forward to getting back into my book (still the novelisation of City Of Death), but I also finished it! Result! This is a momentous .. moment in my year.

Eaten

Monday Lasagne
Tuesday Lasagne, part 2
Wednesday Baked sweet potato
Thursday Chicken tenders in breadcrumbs
Friday Daal
Saturday JFC chicken
Sunday Leftover chicken

Week 15: Winter is coming

Apr 9 – Apr 15

I start the week with a day off, and it seems to do the trick. It ends up a fairly busy week, but a good one. No complaints. For a change.

Monday

After two consecutive weekends of painting, and little genuine rest, I’ve decided to take a pre-emptive day off to recharge. It starts of relatively poorly when I head to the bank for 9am (right after dropping the kinderbesten at school) only to find that it doesn’t open until 9:30am.
The rest of the morning and early afternoon pass acceptably but the rest period ends at 2:50pm when I have to collect the Kinderbeast from school. I then have to return an hour later to collect the Elderbeast from his CoderDojo. I then have to head out just under an hour later to take the Elderbeast to his final acting class. I return home and cook dinner, then have to leave to collect the Elderbeast from his class. On the way the Kinderbeast and I play I Spy, but I eventually have to ask him to stop talking at me as my brain has reached exhaustion point. We finally get home, eat dinner, and the kinderbesten are despatched to bed.
I decide to treat myself to the first episode of The City & The City. I read the book a few years back and am fascinated to see how they translate it to the screen. So far, the answer is: very well.

Tuesday

It’s a year since my marriage ended. It’s therefore ironically fitting and utterly surprising when the Elderbeast’s PEAC teacher tells me that I’m her example of “a single Dad who’s really got it together” It’s not a bad thing to hear.
Later in the day I realise that the weather is actually cold, and I realise with a deep level of glee that I can finally put the winter duvet back on the bed. I do exactly that and can honestly say I’ve probably never been so excited about going to bed.
I’m so old sometimes …

Wednesday

My evening plans are wrecked when episode three of The City & The City suffers critical tech-fail. It was clearly not meant to be: the kinderbesten retreated to bed later than planned, eating deeply into my TV viewing window. I give up and read. Well, browse the internet. And read stuff on it.

Thursday

We have pie for dinner. I’m so excited that it’s finally cool enough to have pie for dinner. It feels like welcoming winter in with open arms. At least until the temperature drops another few degrees and I banish the weather out in the cold where it belongs and start cursing the very thought of coldness.

Friday

It’s my #childfree weekend, but due some some unavoidable family arrangements it’s getting on for 8pm before they finally depart. I try to delay having dinner until the peace and quiet descends, but make no such allowance for my wine. The outcome is I’m perhaps a little more wobbly than usual when my Fridate friend arrives.
It being a Friday, and the 13th of the month, we watch Friday The 13th Part 2 for our Fridate horror choice. I check the calendar for upcoming Friday 13ths and determine that it would take another four years or so to see the franchise out in this chrononomically pleasing fashion.

Saturday

A pleasing day of light social activity. I meet some friends for brunch and am surprised when a waitress brings food to the table that we haven’t even ordered. Apparently this is what Dim Sum is all about. It’s my first time and I feel a bit like it’s the gazpacho incident in Red Dwarf.
Then another friend visits to help me redesign my garden. We share ideas, drink much tea, and chat.
For the evening I’m left with the dilemma of what to watch. Unusually, I have nothing in mind. After browsing my blu-ray shelves and attempting a bit of shortlisting I finally settle on Pan’s Labyrinth (on the basis that I haven’t yet seen it, and it’s supposed to be pretty good).
It’s pretty good.

Sunday

My Fridate friends come over for what I hope is merely our first “Doctor Who breakfast”. Simply put, we eat breakfast and watch Doctor Who together. And by breakfast, I basically mean we drink coffee and eat waffles.
I spend the rest of my afternoon cooking and chilling out in front of the bonus features disc from The Last Jedi. I particularly enjoy The Director & The Jedi: I’m a sucker for getting a glimpse behind the curtain. The moments with Carrie Fisher definitely bring a few tears to the eye.
For the evening I check out the first two episodes of Lost in Space with the kinderbesten. It proves a hit.

Watched

Monday The City & The City 1×01
Tuesday The City & The City 1×02
Wednesday  [tech fail]
Thursday The City & The City 1×03
The City & The City 1×04
Friday Friday 13th Part 2
Saturday Pan’s Labyrinth
Sunday Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet
The Director & The Jedi
Lost In Space 1×01
Lost In Space 1×02

Read

I start the week by finishing off a comic book, Terminator Salvation The Final Battle, which sparked my interest for two reasons. Firstly, it was written by J Michael Strazcynski, who created Babylon 5 (which was awesome). Secondly I’m a sucker for stories that try to retrofit continuity and come up with something new and different. It’s a double challenge, and this book did a fairly good job. It certainly made more sense than Terminator: Genisys, and had about twenty times the entertainment value of Terminator: Salvation.
I ended the week by returning to Doctor Who: The City Of Death. It’s an interesting one, this. It’s a novelisation of one of the few classic Who stories that didn’t get novelised back in the day, but it’s a very different beast from those old books. It’s based on a story that was originally written by Douglas Adams, and I’m both impressed and surprised at how well the author (James Goss) has evoked Adams’ style here. It’s shifted the tone of the story from classic Who to something that very much belongs in Douglas Adams’ oeuvre.
Less impressively, it surfaces the limitations Adams had when it comes to plot and narrative structure, but we can’t have it all.

Eaten

Monday Lamb Korma
Tuesday Pasta & Broccoli
Wednesday Pulled pork
Thursday Pie
Friday Daal
Saturday Salmon
Sunday Mushrooms, pasta, broccoli

 

Week 14: Begone, noise!

Apr 2 – Apr 8

An inexplicably tiring and stressful week, which starts and ends with painting.

Monday

Easter Monday, and the day [sort of] starts with an Easter brunch with the in-laws. I say sort of because me and the Kinderbesten have, inevitably, been up and awake for many hours beforehand.
Before we leave the house, I begin peeling away the masking tape from the edges of my walls, and quickly realise that the masking tape was in no way worth the effort it took to put on (and, surprisingly, to take off again).
On the way back from brunch I make a quick stop at Bunnings to buy an edging tool and a small edging brush. I then spend the rest of the afternoon tidying up the edges, which ultimately proves far more exhausting than the three previous days’ of painting.
After dinner and Kinderbesten bedtime I’m knackered. I medicate myself with a fresh bottle of wine and the first episode of The Alienist.

Tuesday

I’m still way tired. I wonder whether I can make it through the day at work, but end up having to leave early anyway to watch the kids (who, for reasons, have an extra two days off school past the Easter long weekend). They spend much of the evening being VERY NOISY which does nothing to ease my stress levels.

Wednesday

I decide that I need two more of the awesome cheap poster frames that Kmart sells, and take advantage of the lack of school drop off to do some quick shopping on the way to work. On the way home I stop off at Bunnings to pick up some new hooks for my fairy lights (which had to be taken down to facilitate the painting). I find some much smaller, better hooks than the ones I used previously, which almost makes me feel good about having to take them down in the first place.
I general, I continue to be very tired and stressed. It must be Alternate Week Syndrome at play again.
The Elderbeast tells me he has some homework due in (a powerpoint presentation on cyclones), and I spend much of the evening coaching him through it. We have the obligatory brief period where he’s persistently opposed to the very concept of homework. After I explain to him that he’s the only one who loses out through this attitude, he abruptly switches tack and declares that he is going to make the best presentation ever. He gets it done, and it is, indeed, pretty damn good. Despite the initial struggle, I remain amazed at the turnaround from last year (when it would have taken two hours to get him to even think about writing a paragraph).
In developments which I have far less patience for, my internet decides to spend the whole evening playing up. Which contributes in no way at all to the Elderbeast’s cyclone research efforts. I’m grateful for my phone, with its ridiculously easy hotspot set up, and for my mobile phone plan, which gives me a decent chunk of data to use up.

Thursday

I find myself feeling slightly better, but the illusion fades gradually through the day. Nevertheless, I have a satisfyingly productive day at work. My spirits are lifted considerably after I resolve a long standing issue which has been persistently ballsing up my efforts to keep my desktop files synced with our server files. It’s a small but significant victory over crap technology.
I do my weekend food shopping on the way home, in order to keep the weekend clear for further painting (I have decided that the front hallway now needs to be the same colour as the sitting room).
The kids continue to be noisy. The internet continues to be flakey. I retreat to bed as soon as the opportunity arrives.

Friday

I spend my early evening doing some quick prep for painting. I’ve already filled in the holes and moved the very insignificant amount of furniture in the hallway. This just leaves dusting and washing the walls down. I get that done, alongside dinner, vacuuming and showering, in good time for Fridate.
Our horror movie tonight is It Comes At Night. It proves to be not quite what I was expecting. I come away not liking it much, despite it being a pretty damn good film. It seems to have little to say other than people are awful and do terrible things when placed in terrible situations. If I wanted to watch that I’d be watching The Walking Dead

Saturday

I start the day by putting the undercoat on my hallway wall. I then break to take the Kinderbesten to Coles for some treat snackage, and to watch The Last Jedi (in quick conclusion: the first half could definitely lose some padding, but all crimes are made up for by the outstanding second half).
While I definitely intend to let my undercoat dry properly and leave the first coat of actual paint for tomorrow, I decide I can shave a few hours from my Sunday work by getting the first coat on the edges out of the way Which I do.
For the evening the Elderbeast and I watch Colossal, which is also not quite what I expected (though I very deliberately avoided expecting anything specific) and is pretty awesome. The Elderbeast approves too, and I continue to highly pleased that he’s genuinely enjoying a wide range of films, including ones that have some very worthy themes baked in.

Sunday

I get my first coat of paint done, then we have a Sunday morning film break. Today’s movie is Paddington, which both kinderbesten absolutely love. I looked forward to enjoying the sequel with them.
For the evening, the Elderbeast and I watch The Wedding Singer–which I had alternately considered purchasing and/or downloading, until I spotted the brand new, still sealed copy sitting on my shelf. The verdict is uncertain for a while, but the Elderbeast quickly gets hooked in and we get the thumbs up. I continue to be disappointed by 97.8% of the rest of Adam Sandler’s career, but The Wedding Singer is still great.
And my internet is still dodgy.

Watched

Monday The Alienist 1×01
The Alienist 1×02
Tuesday The Alienist 1×03
Wednesday The Alienist 1×04
Thursday The Alienist 1×05
Friday It Comes At Night
Saturday Colossal
Sunday Paddington
The Wedding Singer

Read

Still ploughing my way happily through the novelisation of City Of Death. I also distract myself later in the week with a Terminator graphic novel, of which more next week.

Eaten

Monday Leftover pork
Tuesday Crumbed chicken tenders
Wednesday Quiche
Thursday Chips, eggs, beans
Friday Broccoli and pasta
Saturday Hasselback potatoes
Sunday Slow cook roast lamb

Week 13: Painty McPaintface

(Mar 26 – Apr 1)

This week turned out to be all about getting ready to paint part of my house. With long weekend looming, some of it #childfree, it seemed vaguely criminal not to make a start on my modest painting project.

Otherwise, my current thing is to start watching a new show on Monday (my main TV night) and then continue to watch an episode a night, in bed, on my iPad. I’ve been surprised at how effective the iPad is for viewing. Being used to surround sound and a 46” TV, I’d always expected to find watching stuff on the iPad somewhat underwhelming, but if anything it’s even more engaging. Just you and the screen.

Or me. It would be creepy if you were there too …

This week I watched Requiem (and since it was only six episodes long I was able to watch the whole thing this week). I had high hopes for it, given that the BBC has a rich history with ghost stories but, while it kept me watching to the end, it didn’t really deliver. The main character was pretty obnoxious, and it wasn’t clear whether she’d be written that way for a reason, or simply because the writer needed her to keep butting her head in so the plot could keep moving forward. In fact, most of the characters turned out to be pretty unlikeable, which is never good.

As for the ghost story; there was something interesting and creepy in there, but it felt like it had just been bolted onto a fairly standard story of someone returning to their home town and finding all sorts of dark secrets lurking under the surface.
Not a complete waste of time, but definitely not what it could have been.

Monday

The day passes in a haze of utter tedium, and yet I still manage to get things done. We end up having cheese toasties for dinner as it’s nearly 7pm by the time I pick up the Elderbeast from his acting class. Also I have a quantity of jarlsberg in the fridge that needs to be put to good use. You know it’s the very best of times when you have cheese toasties for dinner.

Tuesday

Shortly after delivering my time management/productivity presentation two weeks ago, I got a phone call from someone on the academic side at my work. Turns out a PhD student had attended and thought it would be a great presentation for other PhD students to sit through. And so it came to pass that I spent part of this morning in a room with 50 PhD students, doing a repeat of my presentation.

In a curious quirk, I was far less nervous about this than about giving the same presentation to 10 members of staff. I went through the slides a little faster than normal, but hit my 45 minute mark almost perfectly. As far as I can tell it went pretty well. I just hope they got something out of it too.

In the other Highly Exciting News of the day, after spending many weeks trying to hunt down some Slumbies for winter, I found a full rack of them outside my local newsagents this morning. Slumbies for everyone!

Wednesday

I’ve mostly decided that I’m going to start my house painting project this weekend (tackling the ‘sitting area’ of my open plan front room first). I stop off at Bunnings on the way home for supplies. $250 and almost an hour later I come out with everything I need for the weekend.

I get home and (after dinner) start on clearing out the area I want to paint. This small amount of mild exercise leaves me knackered and I start to wonder if I’ll actually have the energy to paint over the weekend.

Thursday

Yay – it’s the end of the week! I get my weekend shopping done on the way home, so there’s nothing to stop me getting out of bed on Saturday and getting straight on with the painting.

Friday

I spend large parts of the day doing paint prep. I dust and wash the walls (with some help from the Kinderbesten), then carefully lay masking tape around the multitude of edges. That done, and the kinderbesten off to their mother’s, I’m free to relax until the real work starts tomorrow.

Saturday

I get up, make coffee, and get into the day’s painting. Today, the primer goes on. The former paint job is so poor that the paint freely peels off the walls. I’m hoping the primer coat can fix some of that. I take well over an hour painting the edges, then attack the walls with the roller—which is curiously satisfying. I quickly realise that needn’t have spent as long on the edges as I did, given that the roller can get within millimetres of each edge.

All in all it takes me about three hours, which is slightly worrying given that I need to do two coats tomorrow.

For now, however, I order myself to relax and reserve my energy for tomorrow. It’s time for waffles, more coffee, and Doctor Who.

I do allow myself a quick trip to JB, and come back with $80 of blurays. In the batch is Star Trek: Beyond, which I’ve simultaneously been wanting to watch while resolutely not going out of my way to actually watch it. I watch it. It’s pretty good: way better than Into Darkness. It leaves me hoping they get on and make a fourth one.

Sunday

I get up and repeat my coffee and painting routine. The first coat doesn’t end up taking too long. I’m just about to settle down for my waffles and Doctor Who when the Kinderbesten return due to their mother not being well. We attempt to watch The Last Jedi, but the Kinderbesten are full of energy and not in the right mood for watching films.

I leave them to play and get on with the second coat (which has had several hours to ‘cure’ by now). It goes on well and fixes the various smears and ‘gaps’ left behind by the first coat. Now I can leave it to dry, and my only job tomorrow is to move the furniture back.

As an added bonus I’m nowhere near as knackered as I expected to be!

Things I Did Buy

  • $45 Slumbies (for me and the Elderbeast: I bought a pair for the Kinderbeast, but they were way too large and had to be returned)
  • $80 blurays (couldn’t resist the combined power of 20% off *and* a Buy Two Get One Free deal)
  • $300 web hosting renewal – this was a bit ouch, but considering I used to pay about $25 per month for my web hosting, and my new hosting works out at about $14 per month I’m not grumbling. Too much …

Watched

Monday Requiem 1×01
Requiem 1×02
Tuesday Requiem 1×03
Wednesday Requiem 1×04
Thursday Requiem 1×05
Requiem 1×06
Friday Veronica
Saturday Doctor Who: The Invasion
Star Trek: Beyond
Sunday T2

Read

A week of reading fail. Read not a page of my book. Not even a word.

Eaten

Monday Cheese toasties
Tuesday Chicken satay
Wednesday Veggie korma
Thursday Sausages
Friday Leftover curry
Saturday Traditional #childfree dinner
Sunday Crackling pork

Week 12: The mild west

(Mar 19 – Mar 25)

One of those weeks where things just ticked along nicely. I finished watching season one of Westworld, which took its sweet time, but I nevertheless really enjoyed. The twists and reveals in the back half of the season didn’t feel like cheats, and I’m keen to see where they take it for season two.

I also shared my podcast demo with various people, and received some excellent feedback which mas motivated me to press on and make it a thing that actually happens.

(p.s. you can check it out at fifthquadrant.space if you’re so inclined)

Monday

Terribly unmotivated all day. Monday’s really are becoming a problem. The lack of motivation even extended into my sleep, which seemingly couldn’t be bothered to stick to the job and found me waking up frequently during the night for no good reason.

Tuesday

It’s time to buy new dishwasher tablets, as the depletion of my most recent bulk purchase looms. I know well enough now not to buy them in the supermarket, but the variety of bulk packages and prices available online overwhelms me and I have to resort to making a spreadsheet just so I can work out which option is the best value. I feel simultaneously disappointed and proud of myself.

Wednesday

Having recently transferred a credit card balance to an interest free deal, I figure it’s time to do a bit of financey stuff–mainly to remind myself which of my cards are still active, and which are either cancelled or paid off (and make sure I’ve stopped any future payments). Things aren’t looking too bad. The prospect of paying all my debt off isn’t in the immediate future, but it’s in sight.

That being done, I tinker with a logo for the podcast project. I come up with something that isn’t quite final, but still feels pretty damn satisfyingly close to the something I like.

Thursday

I spend a lot of time looking at dice, hoping to rid myself of a particularly treacherous D20. I find many, many lovely dice, all of which cost ridiculous amounts to ship over here. I give up and do some preliminary work on setting up a website for the podcast instead.

Friday

My Fridate friend has the flu, so we have no Fridate. I ask the Elderbeast if he wants to watch a movie, but we end up playing PS4 games instead. I’ve had the remastered version of Duke Nukem 3d on my wishlist for several months, and it’s finally turned up in the Easter sale at a price I like.

Imagine my surprise when I go to purchase the game, only to find that I already own it.

We play it and have a complete blast. I tell the Elderbeast that it’s one of the few games that I’ve played through (when it was originally released) and he exclaims: “You’re so much cooler than I remember!”

Not sure if insult or compliment …?

Saturday

Another reasonably productive Saturday. I’m having friends over in the evening, so I’m mindful of getting the place clean and tidy. For the most part it’s already clean and tidy, so there’s very little to do. The Elderbeast has some homework to do, and I insist that he completes it before he gets any PlayStation time. He does it with minimal complaint.

Then he remembers that I promised to buy him Subnautica as a ‘reward’ for completing his GATE exam last week. I get it downloading while he works, and he spends much of the afternoon playing it. Meanwhile, the Kinderbeast and I watch Moana.

The evening is pleasant, filled with lots of cheese fondue and a modest quantity of of wine. We watch Kick Ass, which I don’t love and I don’t think anyone else does either. It’s got some truly excellent moments, but the movie as a whole isn’t strong enough to glue them all together. Like Kingsman (which came from much the same creative team) it also has some dubious social politics which caused me to cringe as often as I laughed.

Sunday

Socialising is a game for the young. After a slightly later night than usual, and slightly more wine than usual, I feel tired all day. Luckily it’s raining, which gives me an excellent excuse to avoid using my morning to do any more gardening. We all have a relatively chilled out day.

After lunch, I insist that we all get together to watch a film and plough into some snackage. Both kinderbesten resist, but we end up on the sofa together watching 9, which is excellent, and much enjoyed by all of us. I love these occasions where we all get to discover a new film together.

In the evening, I introduce the Elderbeast to The Breakfast Club. It’s a tense moment. Liking The Breakfast Club, as a friend of mine puts it, is non-negotiable, and there’s a definite thread of randomness connecting the films that he does and doesn’t like.

We get off to an oddly good start when his mind is blown over learning that Don’t You Forget About Me was written for the film. Suitably intrigued, he gets quickly absorbed into the movie and we’re soon having discussions about who’s the ‘best’ character.

In a weird twist, the events of the movie take place on Saturday March 24. We were out by one day …

Things I Did Buy

  • $28 Contigo Snap Seal Coffee Cup – my lovely Frank Green coffee cup has leaked on me twice in the last two weeks: once on my shirt, and once on my freshly washed jeans. It’s as if it actively wants me to hate it. After a fresh wave of research, I finally picked out a Contigo Snap Seal flask as the replacement. It will arrive next week.
  • $50 dishwasher parts – I’ve also had enough of the dishwasher draws continually falling off their rails (due to worn, wonky wheels) and ordered a bunch of replacement parts. Dishwashers are expensive beasts.

Watched

I have a mid-week viewing break, which makes for a pleasant shift from the routine and allows me to catch up on … well, all the stuff you’ve just read about.

 

Monday Westworld 1×09
Westworld 1×10
Tuesday  n/a
Wednesday  n/a
Thursday  n/a
Friday  n/a
Saturday Moana
Kick Ass
Sunday 9
The Breakfast Club

Read

Managed three consecutive nights reading The Anachronist, which is not bad given my recent track record.

Eaten

Monday Homemade Boston Beans
Tuesday Pumpkin Daal
Wednesday Quiche (not homemade)
Thursday Chips, eggs, beans
Friday Prawns
Saturday Fondue

Week 11: It lurks

(Mar 12 – 18)

A week of background stress and forgetfulness, seemingly cementing the idea that alternate weeks are not great. We have the Elderbeast’s GATE exam finally happening, which feels like it’s been years in the coming. I have a presentation to deliver, which I equally look forward to and dread. Through it all, there is the theme of doing things that have been long lurking in the background.

Monday

I have a terrible night’s sleep. It is hot and humid all night. I’ve left the fan on and the window open, but it doesn’t do much. Every so often the battle between the air being blown out and the breeze trying to get in causes my curtains to rattle and shakes me from my pseudo-slumber.

At just after midnight my phone beeps with a message. It’s a Steam verification code, which makes me wonder if someone is trying to log into my account. Given that I’m awake anyway, I get up and change my password. I also finish off a tub of ice cream from the freezer.

The mild bonus is that my awake-brain keeps turning over an idea I’ve had for a short story, which is fast becoming a novella, and throwing more and more flesh on the bones. I start to write it all down the next day.

Tuesday

We have the second diabolically hot and humid day in a row. This is summer taking its last revenge on us for being so mild over the past few months. I didn’t sleep much better the night before (though I did manage to get through it without ice cream this time).

The exhaustion hits me at about 2pm. I press on through the day, with a bonus shopping trip on the way home (I’ve forgotten to get the meat out of the freezer to make lasagne, which means having to buy fresh meat).

I make it through the evening, cooking dinner, getting the kids to bed, and retreating to my own bed by 8:30. Having learned from my mistakes over the last two nights, I leave the aircon on. It doesn’t do very much, but it at least helps my room feel less like a rainforest.

At 11pm I realise I’ve left the massive pot of meat sauce (for tomorrow’s lasagne) sitting on the hob. It’s another victory for my brain. I get up and put it in the fridge, figuring that a long hot sojourn in a fiery saucepan tomorrow will sort it out.

Wednesday

I sleep better, which is good because I have to do my semi-regular presentation today. It’s about using technology to help manage your workload, and I have 12 attendees.

Given that things like talking, being the centre of attention, and being in rooms with lots of other people are among my least favourite things, you might wonder why I keep subjecting myself to this. Well, it’s because it’s good to get out of your comfort zone every now and again, and I’m lucky that I work somewhere that gives me the opportunity to run training workshops/prestos for other staff.

That said, every time I do one of these I keep wondering if it should be the last. I don’t exactly get nervous anymore, but I do get anxious, and that anxiety manifests itself in a form of mental retreat: it means I avoid focusing on anything else until the preso is over. The question for me is whether the trade off is worth it.
Doubtless, I will continue doing this, as it’s generally best to face up to your fears than to shrink away from them and hide.

However tempting that may be.

The preso goes well. There’s a few people I know, many more I don’t. Some are clearly engaged, some it’s harder to tell. All par for the course. One thing I’ve noticed, after doing this several times now, is that I literally get exhausted from talking towards the end. The words are there somewhere, but they stop making it to my mouth. I just about manage to make it to the end.

Afterwards I’m less elated about having gotten through it all, and more relieved that it’s over. I feel like a fair bit of stress has lifted away and definitely feel more relaxed and focused for the rest of the day.

On reflection, I decide that the answer is probably not to avoid doing these presentations at all, but rather to do them more often!

Thursday

Still fighting the mountain of tiredness that my sleep debt from earlier this week has bequeathed me. I’ve been getting a serious energy crash in the very early afternoon, and have spent the evenings basically waiting for the kids to get to bed so I can then go to bed myself.

Oh boy am I looking forward to the (#childfree) weekend.

Friday

The end of the week comes at least a day late, but at it comes.

Although it’s my #childfree weekend, we’ve agreed that the Elderbeast will stay over at mine so I can get him to his GATE exam at 8am tomorrow morning. We stock up on brain food on the way home: salmon for dinner tonight, bananas for snackage tomorrow. It feels like the last several years have been leading up to this exam, but we’re both pretty chilled about it. I tell the Elderbeast to simply try his best tomorrow, and if he doesn’t get through then it’s not going to change a whole lot.

Our Fridate horror film (after the Elderbeast has gone to bed) is Annihilation, which is magnificent. I already want to watch it again.

Saturday

I’m terrified of oversleeping and missing the exam. However, we both get up in good time, and wolf down some scrambled eggs before heading to the exam venue. We’re early, but it’s okay: the weather is good and some of the Elderbeast’s friends are there. Turns out there’s a hundred kids taking the exam, with a second session in the afternoon. And that’s just one of the venues. I was (naively) expecting maybe a couple of dozen.

On the way back I stop at Bunnings to look at paint, but the world’s worst customer is already at the paint counter and monopolising the assistant there (“Why did my colours look different??” “As I’ve already told you, it’s to do with the lighting in your room…”). I decide I’m not going to get paint advice today and walk over to plumbing: I’ve been needing to replace my cistern intake valve for a long time, but have never quite worked out what part I need. Fortunately there’s someone there to offer help. They find the part I need within seconds, and I’m sorted. It’s a weird sort of destiny at work.

I head home and mix a demo episode of my super secret podcast project, then head back to collect the Elderbeast. He reports, fairly predictably, that some parts of the exam were hard and some were easy. Now we just have to wait for the results. After a celebratory lunch at Macca’s, he heads over to his mother’s and I’m finally, properly #childfree.

Despite the week’s exhaustion, I have a ridiculously productive afternoon and complete two jobs that have been hanging over me for months, if not years: I replace the intake valve in my cistern (and thus remove the constant background hissing of water from my bathroom), and I give the wooden play set languishing in the garden a couple of coats of resealer. We’re at the cusp between it being too hot to work in the garden, and having constant weekends of rain and I need to seize the opportunity while I can. In the end, the job isn’t too hard—and it’s immensely satisfying to have it out of the way.

The dilemma of what movie to spend my evening watching is easily settled when I spot that John Wick 2 is now on Netflix. Just like the first one, it’s gloriously violent, and somehow elevates what should be a simple homage to straight-to-video action thrillers to near art-house status.

Sunday

We had a special games day today, with a friend of mine trying her hand at DMing for the very first time. I got to play a robot mechanic. I think. I’m never completely sure what’s going on in most of these games. In any case, it went well, was a lot of fun, and I look forward to the next session.

For the evening I had the challenge of following up A Knight’s Tale – the Elderbeast’s new Best Movie Ever. Unfortunately, there’s nothing quite like A Knight’s Tale (at least, nothing suitable for 11 year olds). I ended up giving Four Weddings & A Funeral a spin, which of course starts with a panoply of fucks.

The Elderbeast enjoyed it well enough, but retired to bed before the funeral. I stuck with the film. It’s a film that I used to enjoy quite strongly, and revisiting it gave me very mixed feelings. I still find a lot to love about–it’s as funny as ever, and the casual diversity still makes me happy. It is, however, a film of its time and harks back to an image of England that is either long gone, or never really existed in the first place. The way Carrie is written also continues to be problematic. She’s at once a strong, independent woman, and also one who cuts a ruthless swathe through Charles’s life in order to get what she wants. She’s the only character who isn’t really given the coating of affection that Richard Curtis allows all of the other characters to have.

Things I did buy

  • $150 Doc Marten’s. I’ve been needing a new pair for ages, and have predictably been dithering over it. Seeing some with a few dollars off ended up sealing the deal.

Watched

Monday Westworld 1×05
Tuesday Westworld 1×06
Wednesday Westworld 1×07
Thursday Westworld 1×08
Friday Annihilation
Saturday John Wick 2
Sunday Four Weddings And A Funeral

Read

Managed to read a bit more of The Anachronist this week, but the huge tiredness earlier in the week thoroughly confounded my brief reading run.

Eaten

Monday Green chicken curry
Tuesday Meat sauce
Wednesday Lasagne
Thursday Freezer dinner
Friday Salmon
Saturday #childfree dinner
Sunday Beans

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