Smacked Upside the Head With Another Tag!

tagged

I was sitting here minding my own business when Sandra over at Quirkybooks reached right out and smacked me upside the head with another blogging tag! OUCH!

Seriously, I have to thank Sandra for thinking of me (I will get you back! *evil laugh* heh, heh, hehhhh.) Kidding aside, I always feel two things when I get tagged or nominated; 1) Surprised, and 2) happy. I should also mention that I feel a great deal of trepidation as I tag or nominate just a few out of everyone that I follow.

This particular exercise in sharing the WordPress love (pronounced lurve) is fairly simple, you answer the 11 questions posed by the “Tagger” and then set another 11 questions for the 11 bloggers you “Tag.” And how many times can you get the number 11 in one sentence. I feel like the Count from Sesame Street! You probably should link back to the blogger what “brung ya.” Aka, who tagged you and maybe thank them? Just a thought.

So here are Sandra’s 11 questions:

  1. Have you ever been made redundant from your job and how did you feel about it?
  2. If you were interviewing someone for a writing job, what 3 qualities would you look for and why?
  3. What is your favourite board game and why?
  4. When you look at the stars, what do you see?
  5. When you look at the ocean, what does it remind you of?
  6. How do you overcome writer’s block?
  7. If you could say 3 encouraging things to another person, what would they be?
  8. Do you prefer to write your stories/books/poetry/prose/articles on paper first, then type them up and edit them, or do you like to type them straight into your computer to edit?
  9. Do you like writing in one genre or more?
  10. As a writer, do you think actions speak louder than words?
  11. What is your favourite quote and why?

And here are my answers:

  1. Yes. But like the CNA Wing Commander once said, “I’ve been fired before and I’ll probably be fired again. Well, I’m still here!
  2. Vocabulary, spelling and personality (both in their writing and their self presentation).
  3. Scrabble, even though I always start off huge and wind up losing by the end of the game. Just a glutton for punishment I guess.
  4. Blurry images! My eyesight leaves a lot to be desired in the dark! Also how small we are compared with the cosmos.
  5. Jaws, salt, and Capt. Ahab.
  6. The last time I had writers block was years ago and it took years to get over, I did this by writing a blog, sort of a detour.
  7. Don’t take life too seriously; Don’t sweat the little sh*t, and Don’t worry about life, you’ll never get out of it alive!
  8. Always on computer/word processor. Before that, on typewriter. When my mind cranks up, long-hand is too slow and if I try to keep up, I cannot read what I’ve written!
  9. Horror and westerns (although to be truthful, I haven’t started writing my western yet).
  10. Yes, especially in a short story, which is my favourite type of story to write…hmmm, should that have been included in 9?
  11. “Sure life is hard. It kills you.” – Katherine Hepburn. She had the same attitude to life that my grandpa did.

Now here’s the part that I always dread. I think that to save time and energy (and a whole lot of guilt) I’ll pick 11 names out of a metaphorical hat (a la Bullwinkle) and the blogs are:

  1. Benedict Inman: Living and Learning
  2. Crazy Goblin Magazine
  3. True Mister Six
  4. Andy Watches Movies
  5. Written in Blood
  6. Cinema Schminema
  7. Films and Things
  8. The Cinema Monster
  9. this man’s journey
  10. The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger
  11. Mr Rumsey’s Film Related Musings

That concludes my random picks. If I missed you out, “I’m sorry!” There’s just so many of you who I’d like to choose!

Still, I hope to learn more about the great folks who follow me and it just remains for me to say, “I’ll be reading you later!

PS: It’s now 2158 GMT and I only just found out that I sent this puppy out missing a little something! I inadvertently deleted my cheeky statement that said, “Due to laziness and the fact the the questions that Sandra asked were damned good ones, the 11 folks I pick should just answer those.” That should have come after the “save time and energy and before Bullwinkle! Now that’s sorted.

Cheers, all the best!
Cheers, all the best!

The Fickle Finger of Fate

With a speed that would make Superman himself envious, my life continues its rapid dervish-like decent into the realms of possible disaster. After a month-long wait, I finally got to see the Citizen’s Advise Bureau (CAB) today. With visions of all things positive running through my mind I answered when the lady called my name. We went into a little room and got down to business.

And business…was not good.

It turns out that the little light that I was envisioning at the end of the long dark tunnel was not an exit, but the train. All that was missing was the rope necessary to tie me helplessly to the railroad track. I think though, if I’d waited long enough, the rope would have been delivered…with a bow on it. But all allegories aside (or is that metaphors) I can now proudly claim membership to the “It so totally sucks to be me, right now” club.

It seems like my only options are to starve to death quickly or just to starve to death. My pension is not enough to house me or clothe me never mind feed me. If I take a lump sum, said lump sum will reduce the amount of my yearly pension drastically; and the worst bit is that the lump sum will get gobbled up by creditors. I will have to move because not only do I have “too much house” but I cannot afford to pay the rent any longer.

Here’s just one fun bit.

As I am renting on the private sector, no one will want to rent to me as my pension is too small and I don’t have a job (yet). Lack of job equals lack of stability, never mind how I got into this predicament. The prospective landlord will not care about my personal circumstances and that is their right. He (or she) is in the business of making money on their property, not doling out charity on a case by case basis. All my joking about cardboard boxes isn’t quite as amusing as it once was.

But part of the problem with today’s information gathering episode was me. I placed far too much importance on the CAB visit. I had pumped myself up to believe that they would answer all my questions in a way that would benefit me. They did answer all my questions, but not how I wanted them answered. The answers, when they came, only made the situation seem worse.

I am sitting here feeling slightly nauseous, partly because I haven’t eaten today and partly because of my current state of mind, and not a little depressed. On the plus side, I am not panicking (yet) and I’m not even hyper-ventilating; I think my daughter Meg is doing that for me. I think I am still in the same state of mind I was in before I went to see the kind folks at CAB. The only difference is that now I have a better idea of what I won’t be getting in the area of financial support.

The only thing I can do right now is not let the future override my present. I have to believe that no matter what happens, I will survive and thrive. I’ve had a lot of people (my family for example) say, “What you’ve got to remember is that you’re alive. You almost died; you need to hold onto that.”
I do hold onto to that thought, but, another thought tailgate’s the first one and that thought has to do with the irony of being saved from death only to starve or sleep on the street.

But I have learned a very valuable lesson today. Don’t place too much importance on thinking ahead when the future is so uncertain. Focus instead on the short-term and keep a flexible attitude. It’s okay to plan for tomorrow when you know the facts and not so okay when you don’t. Sometimes you just have to live each day and take comfort in the fact that you did at least one thing that made you happy whether that one thing was just getting up or something more esoteric.

So despite feeling a bit like the fickle finger of fate has given me a prostate exam sans lubricant, I can take a certain amount of pride in the fact that I can actually “trot” up the stairs (a feat I was not capable of last week). I take great comfort in the fact that I can walk to and from the Metro twice in one day and not collapse from exhaustion afterward. Okay, both trips were not end to end, so to speak, but not a whole lot of time had elapsed between trips.

I’ve been put off my stride, again, and I will face more obstacles as this little scenario plays itself out. I refuse to let it get me down though and the CAB did give me some brilliant websites to access for more information. The main problem with today’s session boils down to me trying to plan ahead for things that have not happened yet. Oh some of them had, but not all, and it was that problem that led to my depressing meeting.

I do know that just writing this blog post for the second time (the first draft was so full of depressing information that I could see myself being blamed for an increased suicide rate) has improved my low mood no end. I don’t feel like I can take on the world just yet, but I feel like I can at least dodge that damned train.

Evading the Chattanooga Choo-Choo…

Waiting for Freshly Pressed: A Timeline

Sat, 25 August 2012 1554 – I  post a pithy post (say that fast three times, I dare you) on Freshly Pressed and have a moan about my comments not showing up in the Freshly Pressed comment section.

Sat, 25 Aug 2012 15:59:40 –  Get an email from Cheri Lucas telling me that my urban exploration post had been picked for Freshly Pressed.

Huh?

Sat, 25 August 2012 1600 I try to tell my daughter that I’m going to be Freshly Pressed. She is playing a game on her vita and has her earplugs in. I decide not to wait for her to get to a save point and start playing MOW3 to keep me occupied.

Sat, 25 August 2012 1700 I try re-reading the email and inadvertently delete it. In a state of panic I almost hurt myself trying to retrieve it and re-save it.

Sat, 25 August 2012 1730 Back to MOW3 and reading the odd blog on WordPress. I make a few comments and read a suggestion from Andy about changing my email address as it might solve my spam problem.

Sat, 25 August 2012 1800 My daughter and I make tea (that’s dinner if you live in the US) and decide to watch old episodes of Spaced with the brilliant Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and co.

Sat, 25 August 2012 2359 I decide to go to bed and stop checking the Freshly Pressed page every two minutes. Despite my excitement and paranoia about my post not going up yet, I drop right off to sleep.

Sun, 26 August 2012 – 0630 I wake up early because the temperature has dropped and I am freezing to death. I go downstairs for a drink and a quick look at my laptop. My post isn’t up yet, as I am half asleep, I don’t spend too long on the site. I opt to go back to sleep.

Sun, 26 August 2012 – 1030 I wake up for the second time of the morning. Warmer and better rested I go downstairs to see if I’ve been posted yet. Checking the page and no, not yet.

Sun, 26 August 2012 – 1100 I decide to check the Freshly Pressed page again and see that a new post has been added, but, it’s not mine.

Sun, 26 August 2012 – 1130 I start hyperventilating slightly as I look for the fourth time at the Freshly Pressed page. I decide that it was a mistake or a practical joke (who says I’m paranoid, who?) which I decide would serve me right after my ‘snarky’ post about not being Freshly Pressed.

Sun, 26 August 2012 – 1200 I make the decision to not check the FP page every half hour. I decide that I’ll just relax and not get so impatient, a trait that after 53 years of living I still cannot rid myself of.

Sun, 26 August 2012 – 1230 I totally disregard my earlier decision to not check the FP page half hourly and check again. I go upstairs and talk to my daughter for a half hour in an attempt to keep my mind off of the fact that another post has been put on the wall and again, it’s not mine.

Sun, 26 August 2012 – 1300 I now decide that I probably should have replied to Cheri’s email. I set down and because of my increasing paranoia that this is some kind of horrible karma or bad joke it takes me 14 minutes to write a simple email.

Sun, 26 August 2012 – 1330 I go outside and sit with my daughter in the lovely sunshine. My contribution to the conversation is minimal. Why? Because I’ve seen another post on the wall that is, again, not mine.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1400 I finally decide that this whole thing is a wicked joke, serendipity, or just ironic. I finally decide that it must be the real deal. Hyperventilating slightly, I check to make sure that I sent an email to Cheri thanking her and expressing my excitement.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1430 I make a snack and while I am eating it, I compulsively keep checking the Freshly Pressed wall for my post. I discover that I’ve given up the ‘not checking every half hour’ and I am now checking it every few minutes.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1500 I finally decide that I am a truly sad individual to keep checking the bloody page. It will get posted when it gets posted, so stop checking dammit.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1515 I decide to do this timeline and about halfway through I mistakenly hit the wrong key and lose half of the timeline. cursing wildly I try to find an earlier draft. There isn’t one so I have to re-write half the post over.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1557 Pausing for a moment to give my poor fingers a break, I notice I’ve gotten another email notification. I check it and it’s from Cheri. She tells me it will be late this evening or early tomorrow when my post will be added to the wall. I relax, a bit, and send a hasty email back thanking her.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1600 I am now more relaxed and a bit calmer. The excitement is still making me a bit giddy (giddy?? Did I just say that a 53 year old man was giddy?? I must be if I’m describing myself that way) but now that I’ve had a ‘confirmation’ email from Cheri, I’m hoping that my pithy whiny post has been forgiven.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1700 Get another email from Cheri, so now I’m definitely feeling like this is going to happen. I still cannot stop looking at the FP page and then refreshing it to see if my post is up yet.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1800 Finally decide to make tea or at least to think about making tea. As we are both peckish it seems like a good idea. I check the wall yet again.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1830 We put Dario Argento‘s Suspiria in the player and watch while we eat our meal. My laptop is closed for the first time today.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1900 –2230 Put the dinner dishes in the kitchen, watched the rest of the film and talked about it for a long while after eating. We then load up Netflix and then Lovefilm and start watching Crazy Eights, a low budget horror film.

Sun, 26 August 2245 – 2330 I put the dishes in the sink and start washing up, still haven’t looked at the FP page. I am very proud of myself.

Sun, 26 August 2359 – 0100 I fall asleep in my chair after doing the dishes and ‘old man’ thing that drives me to distraction. I check the page again and find that four more posts have gone up. Again none of them mine. Decide to go to sleep and not look at the FP page till later this morning. I feel like a kid at Christmas waiting to open up my presents, excited and just as impatient.

Mon, 27 August 0930 – Get up and stumble down stairs half asleep and thirsty. Turn on the laptop and gulp down some squash. I come in and click on my WordPress link. My post has exploded! It’s finally happened, it is up!! Now I am too excited to do anything else but keep checking the view counts and follower counts (which I need to keep track of so I can follow back) and ‘likes’ and comments.

Thanks Cheri Lucas and Word Press! You’ve made my day! 😀

Balloons and confetti By tamara.craiu courtesy of FLICKr

Hop, Skip, Shimmy, Jump

I seem to be suffering from a combination of ADHD of the brain and a curious type of lethargy. How the two can co-exist in the same grey mass of brain is puzzling and not a little irritating.

I have thought processes that slowly start to work and wham! The thought that was creakily making it’s way to the front of my mind, hops off into a different direction. Before it can land though, it will skip sideways and then shimmy off to the left. Aha! I think, I’ve got you now. Only to have it jump off into another area altogether and in doing so, causes another thought process to germinate.

It appears that, today at least, I am incapable of grabbing a single idea and riding it to a satisfactory destination. The ADHD part of my brain is finding it impossible to hold still while the thought or idea is forming. It is sort of like taking out a bowl of Jell0 before it’s ready and finding yourself looking at a semi-congealed mess.

Normally, I can juggle several ‘half-started’ ideas at once. I can then control which idea I want to hop on or skip. I can also shimmy a bit to the left or right of the idea and either  choose to stay with that one or to jump to another idea. However it winds up, I am usually in control.

Or at least I think I am in control. That might just be an illusion caused by my believing that I am in charge of my shotgun pattern of synapses.

I can always try to make myself feel more important by thinking, Yep got too many irons in the fire.  Of course the reality is, I have no irons in the fire, not one. I don’t even really think I have a fire to put an iron in.

Oh well, until I can catch a proper thought or idea, I’ll just stay here and let my mind scuttle and scurry like a mouse on  speed. A metaphorical Speedy Gonzales that is zooming from brain cell to brain cell.

Hopefully tomorrow when I wake up in the morning my brain will have relaxed into a more Slow-poke Rodriguez rhythm. That way I can actually grab an idea and see it to a discernible end.

Until then, it’s  ándele, ándele, arriba!