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Dec. 31st, 2037 11:59 pm
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This is the preserved remains of my LiveJournal, 2004-c. 2012.

Some of the content may no longer be available due to web rot, especially old Youtube videos. Some of this stuff may be plainly outdated. This is just for reference of who I once was.

So, proceed with caution.

I do not plan to regularly update this thing.
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A few notes on this journal:

- I only leave public entries open for a specific amount of time. Every few months or so they're switched over to "friends only" to keep old and possibly unwanted entries from lingering around the web forever.

- Sometimes, I post stuff that may take a while to load on slower connections or may be a bit wide for some browser windows. Usually I stay below the 1000 pixel mark, plus LJ has an option to turn off image loading for those who are screen size impaired. All modern browsers also allow temporary shrink-to-fit for web sites. Any griping therefore is your own fault and will cheerfully be ignored.

- If you have something to say, do comment.
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Throughout my life, I've learned to live with the unfortunate predicament of having my birthday on New Year's Eve. It's a bit like with those poor souls who have their birthday on Christmas, as it tends to both get ignored by others -and- I usually get shafted with regard to presents.
However, with a birthday like that, the calendar year and another year in your life fall neatly together as well, making the usual end-of-year ponderings twice as hard.

This year, I'm turning 35. Time to reflect.

As I am writing these lines close to midnight on the day before my birthday, I'm treating myself well - I'm rested comfortably on the bed of a four-star hotel room on the 12th floor, having travelled here in 1st class. A Mercedes saloon is available for me to pick up at the car hire facility at the nearby international airport tomorrow afternoon, after which I will swiftly transfer to attend an exclusive party with eighty guests taking place in a mediaeval location, returning home the next morning in my luxury hire car after another night of sleep in a comfortable hotel room, and I'll still have enough money in the bank to pay for January's food and bills. Yep, I'm definitely treating myself well.

However, if you'd have happened to follow my old blog over at LiveJournal, around, say, 2004, you'd know this hasn't always been the case.
In my early 20s, I went through a long period of mind-numbing joblessness after a cruel twist of fate that left me deeply in debt and I didn't manage to pull myself out of it until the age of 27, so I effectively lost the better part of a decade. The bankruptcy proceedings involved took six years to go through and only cleared in 2013. When the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, the last remnants of court orders that still linger around at the various credit bureaus will expire at last, so I'll be a clean slate again, nearly fifteen years after originally getting into this mess (I lost a very well paid IT job due to a car crash back in 2002).
Yet the psychological situation did leave its scars - just when I was getting out of the whole debt thing in 2013 at last, I flipped a lid and lost it in a relatively mundane situation. I'll spare you the details, but the other party involved was a cop and tried to pull all the stops when I went ballistic on his poorly parked car. I even made it into the local tabloid rag back then.
It took me another two years, about five grand in legal fees, punitive damages and court fees to get this thing sorted out, which set me back -another- two years. Thankfully I had a very good lawyer who managed to defuse the criminal case nearly completely, so in the end this was just money lost. Still, I just paid off the last bits of it in September 2015, and I spent the past three months getting out of the red again.

Only a few close friends have previously known about this. It isn't entirely sorted out yet, but I haven't given up the hope to get some proper psychotherapy at some point in my life. It's just so damn difficult when you live out in suburbia, work shifts and generally you're stuck in the most soul-crushing job imaginable...

I've been diagnosed with strabismus two years ago, which means either an operation with doubtful outcome or frivolously expensive special glasses for the rest of my life. Recently, my knee has been acting up. Sometimes, my shoulder just hurts for no apparent reason. There are many things left in my life that I need to tackle, and they're all building blocks stacking on top of each other. Physical disability reduces my chance of finding a new, better job. So does the anxiety toward going back to living on my own. Obesity decreases the likeliness of... well, geting laid. And so on, and so on. I'm still trying to figure out which one of the many Jenga pieces I have to pull out to make the whole thing come crashing down in the end without too much collateral damage. That's the battle I'm fighting today.

If things don't go well, I might have another 35 years left to live. If I'm extremely lucky, another 60. If fate decides to strike again, I might get hit by a bus when trying to cross the street tomorrow morning. Who knows at this point? I won't be as daft and claim that I've seen death in the eye and laughed at it, but I've certainly been bruised by the Grim Reaper's scythe at this point. Until it is inevitably time for me to go, I might as well try to live life as good as I can. It's physically impossible to go on at 100% all the time, but there's something itching in me, a burning desire to prove I'm not done yet. I want to do all the fun things I've postponed, go the places I've wanted to see, meet the people I may have overlooked in the past. And, at least I hope, one day wake up on my birthday next to the man I love, whoever that one may turn out to be. I'll keep looking...

Bochum, Thursday the 31st of December 2015.
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Just in case anyone is still using the P.O. box address I gave out here years ago to send me Christmas cards, please don't. I cancelled that box nearly three years ago.

You can ask for my current address in a private message, if you need to update your lists. Thanks.

2014 Canary

Feb. 1st, 2014 11:05 pm
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Still here.
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Since there's that 140-character limit on Twitter, a brief explanation to whomever it may concern.

There's been a series of events in the past months that made me seek medical help. I won't discuss the nature of these events for now, but they were disturbing enough to me that I went out and saw a doctor about them.

From today, September 1, I am on antidepressants and will be entering psychotherapy soon.
I don't know what these pills will do to me. However, for the moment I feel this is the only way out of the misery that has built over the past years.


I have just started fighting the biggest fight of my life so far.
Please bear with me.
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Still missing you.
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So another year comes to an end, and I'm about to complete another revolution around the sun - enough that I can still count them, but they're certainly starting to add up.

2012 was a year of ups and downs for me - I had to deal with numerous injuries and mishaps, and spent a good number of days in maintenance mode. There's stuff I've tackled that I didn't get to finish, and work is piling up already for 2013.

On the other hand, an end to my debt proceedings is in sight for the middle of the year - sure, there'll be the court fees to pay off and settle for good, but once I'm through I'm a free man again, if you say so. That gives me a positive outlook at least that things will change for the better next year.

Also, in the second half of 2012 a a number of very special people became important my life and gave the nudge into the right direction - it's been a wild trip at times, but it's been a true revelation to learn that I'm not alone with certain feelings.
I guess even when you're an old fart like I am, you can still find out things about yourself you didn't know yet, and your support and encouragement has helped me greatly. Thanks to you all.

For everyone else, have a wonderful new year, no matter how you intend to celebrate, and see you all in 2013. :)

(Oh, and the best bit of 2012? I got laid. :P)
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Due to illness in the early part of December, I couldn't send out my usual seasons greetings cards in time this year.

However, that shouldn't prevent me from wishing you a happy christkwanzamashannukah or whatever rows your boat here, and thanks for the nice cards from all over the world. :)

Now, to sleep off the food coma...
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A British Transport Film film made in 1972 for the UIC following the story of three ladies travelling across Europe...a rather nice showcase of the technological outlook at the time, and with lots of contemporary footage (including Ludwigshafen Hbf, which was brand new at the time, and an utter failure..)

Nice to watch - if slightly sexist today. ;)






Xmas cards

Dec. 4th, 2012 12:47 am
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It's so difficult to keep track of everyone's adress..
I _should_ have some from last year, though not all of them, and folks have moved... so if you want one, leave a comment here (comments are screened).
I'll get to send out the cards around the 10th. ^^

My address remains unchanged, still the same P.O. box as the past five years.
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I'm so not looking forward to ... pretty much anywhere on the internet during the next few months. :P

(The only positive thing is that the 2012 RNC is held while EF18 takes place, so I'll be cut off from most news media during that week. ^^)
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I swear, I don't know how I end up finding all that stuff. :P
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So, while everyone's in Pitsadelphia or something like that, another dip into the vast pool of library, this time a bit more electronic-progressive stuff from 32 years ago. Lots of blip-de-bleeps in it, but that was the way they did that sort of thing in the years between Disco and New Age. Parts of that track practically scream "current affairs programme", too.

*snrk*

Jun. 12th, 2012 02:37 pm
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The original 1%.

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Recently, Confuzzled happened somewhere in the sticks of Leicestershire (that's in the big nowhere between Birmingham and... uh, nowhere). Me being crazy, I decided to TAKE ALL THE TRAINS!! and set off on an epic journey of massive dimensions.

My connection from the Continent unfortunately involved leaving home at ten in the evening and a four hour layover in Cologne in the wee hours of the morning, but it was... well, bearable. Managed to get a bit of a nap on a nice 1960s-vintage former 1st class car in the German night train at least. That was probably the most comfortable train of the entire journey though. After lots of coffee, the usual Eurostar triage (this time with an exit barrier check in London, thanks to the Olympics) and some wrestling with my phone to get a working data service, I made it into the little town-ish place where Confuzzled was supposed to happen by the early afternoon. I was lucky enough to run into one of the staff members at the station, so hitched a ride to the hotel. Checkin was swift, thankfully, as I barely managed it to my room, and then... well, a few hours went missing. I guess running on caffeine for most of the day didn't really do my circulation any good - all that I know is that I apparently had a shower and woke up with a wet towel around my head. :P

Having booked early arrival, I could enjoy a single room on the first night, after that, a somewhat odd Polish gentleman that never really communicated with me, as if they had an oath of silence, and spent most of their time sitting in the room on a laptop. Oh wel, not my loss, I've had worse randomly assigned roomies in the past.
The main grumble I carried with me all con was that my hotel room had no aircon, and so got overly and awfully hot during daytime. Apparently there was a "hot" spell going on (a laughable 23°C) — but the fact that the windows did open just a mere 3 centimetres did very little to ventilate the room, so it was fucking sweltering in there by lunchtime. And of course I hadn't brought my multitool, so there was no way to bypass the little hinges that prevented it from opening. Seems every time I go to the UK, their ridiculous Health & Safety bullshit bites me in the ass at some point. I could never live in that country, really.....

Apart from these somewhat unfortunate happenings on the sidelines, I must say the rest of the convention went by relatively smoothly, considering that it was just their 5th one. In the past, we've often had a laugh or two at the seeming inability of the British to establish a permanent convention of their own *cough* BritFur *cough* but I think with Confuzzled's current team, it might well stick around for a considerable time to come. Since I'm doing Con Ops on EF, it's hard to shed the Ops view when you're on a con where you're not working, but besides the occasional crowd control situation (the hotel has rather narrow corridors, especially when they put up Tensabarriers in inappropriate places) I could hardly see either staff members or room for improvement, and that's usually a good sign, meaning that they're working their asses off. ;)

Food prices were reasonable too. They had a buffet running in the restaurant, which I didn't take on the first 3 days, and luckily read Twitter before going down there on day 4, when the cook had fallen ill. They had a complimentary (British) breakfast included, which became sort of meh after a while because there really _only_ was cooked breakfast, toast and marmalade.... the hotel had the continental breakfast spontaneously disappear during the convention. Meh.
Still, one could live well off the various moderately-priced bar food items and pints of various alcoholic liquids; overall I think I spent £100 on food and drink for the whole con, which is pretty reasonable for a three-ish star hotel.

Most events I didn't attend; I'm usually more for socialising than cramming oneself into a tiny overheated room together with dozens of others. I'll usually make an exception for [livejournal.com profile] unclekage because he's funny; and he had something interesting to tell this time because they fucked up his flight. I guess he'll re-tell that story at Anthrocon. :)

All in all, a nice, sociable con that went smoothly. The trip back home happened during daytime, and for timetable reasons I had an overnight stay in Hanover. The leg from the convention to London was nice, London-Brussels-Cologne is.... uh. It's the bloody rat race of Eurostar and ICE International, where you have losers in suits and ties left and right. Especially Brussels – I'll be glad when the German trains finally run through to London and I won't have to deal with the change in Belgium anymore.
All went well once I was in Cologne though; however picking a certain hotel in Hanover was a mistake - it was close to the train station, but "privately owned".... the night receptionist was a jerk and absolutely insisted on a CC deposit despite my booking saying "cash on departure". I really don't need to deal with that shit at quarter to one in the morning. The room was tiny (but, unlike the room in the UK, at least had windows that -opened-!) and the whole hotel had this feel of "We were good once, but couldn't be arsed to invest in the past ten years". I mean, seriously, an 8m² room that's €80 a night and has wired LAN for €6 an HOUR? Which decade is this?

Nice breakfast though, made for a change after all these days of beans and bacon. I checked out at 11, and since it happened to be payday, put my bags into storage and went into town for a few hours, eventually ending up discovering a rather nice sushi place deep in the bowels of Hanover station. Might be worth re-visiting in the future. After lunch, I left for the last bit of the journey and arrived home at five-ish.

While I must say it was well worth having done it once, I've found that doing the Eurostar/ICE combo BOTH ways is a bit too stressful - I might cut myself back to flying into the UK and taking the train back home until DB manages to run through trains to London.
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