Wednesday, September 30, 2009

quite a night

Good morning everyone. I've had a rather strange night to tell you all about. Yesterday was pretty much a write-off. I spent most of it finishing the book Atlantis Found by Clive Cussler. I enjoyed it and can remember the story, but not as much as if I had read it while fully alert. I tried to play Tom Ward's new beta for Mysteries of the Ancients but shouldn't have bothered. My dulled reflexes didn't give me the ghost of a chance even on the beginner level. After dinner, I felt extremely wide awake for a few hours and was worried I wouldn't get any sleep at all. However, my energy level dropped off sharply at around ten o'clock and I had decided to go to bed by a little after ten thirty.

From then until around quarter after three in the morning, I slept pretty soundly free of charge. After that point, things changed. Each additional small chunk of sleep was paid for by having a creepy little vignette. I'll write them down here in case they might be useful later. Nothing has ever worked out well when I've tried to write horror stories but you never know. I'm feeling surprisingly wide awake and rested this morning and I may as well put that to good use.

*quarter past three:
I dreamt I was lying in bed when my father knocked on my bedroom door. I knew this was impossible since he's on a golfing trip at present. However, there he was in the doorway asking me if I had any slow music I could put on. I woke up with a bit of a start and checked my watch. Deciding that I really needed more sleep, I stayed in bed and drifted off eventually.

*Ten past four:

In my dream, I heard a man be murdered in a pub. He had parked his car such that it effectively blocked another man's car in. This horrid parking job enraged the second guy who saw that he would have a heck of a time leaving as a result of the first man's bad parking job. Both men were drunk by this point and got into a fight. The blocked man finally pulled out a credit card and killed the other man by shoving the edge into the front of his throat. Next, he left the bar and tried to get away in his car. However, he couldn't get out of the parking space before the police came and arrested him. He was put in jail where he literally rotted away and died from some strange disease. I woke up and checked the time. Seeing that it was still damned early, I decided to see if I could get any more sleep hoping no more bad dreams would be forthcoming. They were though.

*Five thirty-five:

I dreamt that I checked my watch and it was past seven in the morning. Deciding I had better get up, I put on my bath robe, got my electric shaver and headed into the bathroom. Things started out normally enough as I began shaving. However, there was a sudden funny click from the shaver. After that, my skin and the flesh underneath began to peel off and flap away from where I shaved. I stopped immediately as any sane man would but the rest of my scalp and face continued to curl off. My bath robe became drenched in blood with solidified so that there was no way to remove the garment. The process wasn't painful in the least somehow. I remember wondering how I could cover the mess over so it wouldn't frighten my two little nieces the next time they saw their Uncle Mike. There are moments when I've come up with some pretty grotesque thoughts but I doubt I'll ever top that one in my waking life. I don't recall exactly how the scenario ended but when I woke up and checked the time for real, it was around five thirty-five. I felt very tired and didn't have the will to get up.

*Seven ten:

This last one was by far the worst. I found myself sitting in front of a desk and a computer which weren't my own. The keyboard felt different. I discovered next that I was chained naked into a wooden chair with a long lever on the right side. The chair was on a raised platform. I had a choice to either pull the lever and effectively kill myself or not pull it and let a series of catastrophes befall an innocent family of eight people. The computer was there to permit me an opportunity to write a last message to friends and family explaining my decision. However, if I took too long, the decision would be taken out of my hands. I would die and the family would have a series of horrific events unleashed upon them. Every one of their futures was clearly etched out to me with branching probabilities and conclusions. You couldn't have orchestrated so much damage if you had an army of a hundred people in on the conspiracy. However, I was somehow utterly convinced that either I found the courage to pull the lever or every member of the family would face disaster. I had made up my mind to pull the lever and was trying to figure out what to write in order to explain my choice and provide as much comfort to those I would leave behind. A clock was ticking ominously somewhere behind me. I could also hear some sort of machinery involving gears, blades and acid which I presumed would be what did me in. The dream ended with my hand on that lever wanting to write more but fearing I was in danger of taking too long. That one woke me up quite thoroughly and I decided to get up for the day before something worse occurred to my subconscious. It was past seven anyhow. I got up to shave and was never so happy to feel only two days worth of stubble come off.

I've eaten breakfast and the energy kick from that is now starting to desert me. Today's going to be a long one. However, I think I'll get through it alright. I merely feel tired rather than the gloom I felt yesterday and the day before. I'm far from feeling in tip top condition but I believe I'm back on the way there. Under better circumstances, I might have started in on a book of ghost stories I have waiting for my attention. However, given my nocturnal musings last night, I believe I might instead read The Science Behind Sherlock Holmes. That might be a trifle safer just now.

Monday, September 28, 2009

insomnia and writer's block strike again

Hello everyone. As the title of this entry indicates, it looks like I'm in for another scrap with insomnia unless I really get lucky sleep-wise over the next while. What really twigged me to this was yesterday in church. I started to notice that my voice sounded deeper, less cheerful and more listless than it usually does to my own ears. It only hit home towards the end of my time there. Suddenly, I thought back to how often I had gotten up either much later or earlier than usual over the past week. Particularly when there's no real routine in life, insomnia has an incidious way of sneaking up on you. So many days since this whole chapter in life after Janene left me have been the same. Too damned similar and too damned solitary. I've put so much effort into changing that over the Summer but have gotten absolutely nowhere other than coming away with a few more people to email or talk to at a distance. I even tried interjecting myself into a conversation in Symposium I overheard as I prepared to head home. Big mistake. Janene seemed to do it so effortlessly but I figure there must be visual cues I'm missing there. I felt intrusive and likely just made an ass of myself. I'll still absolutely enjoy meals I have there despite the lack of company. I'm also getting to know the staff a bit better. However, I think it's safe to say that Symposium is a good place to bring people who you've somehow met elsewhere to. The next time I luck out and a woman near enough takes an interest in me, I'll have somewhere to meet her at which isn't my parent's house. That, of course, presupposes that I'll actually be noticed by someone near enough to visit and interested in at least friendship. You just really feel the irony when you meet people on the way to and from there who have all sorts of time to help you but none to get to know you. To have so many interests, be as open and outgoing as I am, and still have nobody to really share that with in person is damned frustrating and painful in a fundamental way. If there were a group of people around my age I could join even once per week for socialisation or some shared interest, it would help a great deal. There doesn't seem to be anything like that though. Everyone else on the planet seems to be too busy, already taken, or too damned far away.

This round of insomnia is definitely going to make the next while drag painfully. However, after what I went through when Janene broke up with me, the real danger is that I might underestimate it and let it get the upper hand. Nothing seems anywhere near as bad in comparison. Of course, I could get extremely lucky, have a few nights of good sleep and avoid it entirely. I'd have an easier time hoping for that were there more substance in my life. when there's nobody special who might want to go out somewhere, no job other than the massive project I've set for myself, and no real reason even to shave other than the dread of how damned bothersome it'll be after a few days of not doing so, it's too easy to slip into bored oblivion. As much as possible, I know I have to keep my spirits up and try to be ready for any unexpected experiences, people, or opportunities which God might send my way. Until I've fully recovered from this, I won't touch a drop of alcohol. Having it become the master of me is just not on. As always, I'll face my rough patches with a sober head. I doubt that having my usual maximum of one drink in an ordinary day would actually do any real damage. However, it isn't something I'm willing to chance. Fortunately, I'm very well stocked with podcasts, a couple of books, and whatever digital cable TV might have to offer over the next while. As long as I don't sink to that utterly torturous point where I can't focus my mind on anything, I ought to be able to get through this. If I'm very lucky, I might come away with ideas which rid me of the writer's block which has once again gotten me in its clutches. One can only hope and pray. I'm hopeful that I might be able to write down a concise version of my story for a person on a listserve I belong to where everyone is on ODSP. A collection of a thousand such stories is being collected in order to be sent to parliament in hopes that they might make a difference. That list is a kind of perverse comfort as most people who are on it have far bigger issues to deal with than I do. A lot of them have gotten into deep financial trouble, have obvious mental illness, and have become estranged from their families. There's a whole lot of utter misery out there which I know I've fortunately managed to avoid. My circumstances certainly constrain me and prevent me from engaging more fully with life. It's extremely frustrating but at least I know that my basic needs are covered. Some of these people might actually go off the rails and truly flip out. In fact, reading some of the stories which have been posted, a number of them actually have done so. I hope that my somewhat less dire story does somebody some good.

Rather than saving the various new rpg books I purchased in anticipation of a long, dull and lonely winter, I fear I'll have to start in on them earlier once this bout with insomnia is behind me. There's some hope that Atlantice Found and Subterainian, the two fictional books which seem interesting enough to help me through the next few days, may offer enough ideas which I can adapt for Enchantment's Twilight so I won't have to dig into books like the GURPS basic manual and other such sources until winter time.

Not a lot has happened over the past while. Dad's off golfing for the week and hopefully enjoying his yearly trip. Mom certainly has plenty to keep her occupied babysitting the grandkids, visiting friends, and doing her painting. I can only hope I'm that lucky when I'm her age. At times like this, it's all to easy to imagine the next thirty years going by without anything getting better for me. Short of resourting to the utterly absurd or downright criminal, there just doesn't seem to be any way to change life. I'm really not cut out for either the absurd or the criminal. You'd think I'd have sufficient cause for that kind of anger or disenchantment with society at large. However, there's that small issue of empathy. I want to be remembered for the good things I've managed to do, for being a good friend, and hopefully, for being there when I'm needed. That's just how i was made. I just have to keep ready, keep knocking on doors and wait for things to finally change. I know they will eventually. Over the shorter term, there's more social occasions at church and our upcoming trip to Winnipeg. That'll make for a nice change of pace. Also, after I'm back from that trip, I'm going to check out Mississauga Community Living as well as the local police to see if there might be any way I could be of use to those organisations. My brother thought that it might be a good idea for me to get in touch with the police since they'd certainly have the vehicles to get me to wherever they might be able to make use of me. I hadn't thought of that idea before. It's certainly worth pursuing once we're back. Having such things in the future helps a lot. I know I won't sink too far down. It's still damned annoying to have days like this where I feel this lethargic.

I caught the first episode of Flash Forward last week. It's good enough to give the next couple episodes a try. Robert J. Sawyer seems very happy with how it turned out. While I'm certainly happy for him, it just didn't hook me in all that profoundly. The book was ever so much better. I spent most of a day and a part of another rereading the book. I also listened to Crazy Dog Audio Theatre's The Stuff of Myth. It's a kind of musical commedy which I found mildly amusing. I've picked up a few new audio dramas from ZBS Audio in order to help pass some time. That raises the whole problem of my fear of becoming too much of a consumer. I'm spending money on things in order to pass time that I'd much rather spend in the company of others. There's just nothing else to do though. It's either that or sit there bored out of my skull with nothing at all new to occupy me in solitude. Podcasts, games, online discussions, documentaries and the like are the square pegs I'm sticking into round holes. Helpful but never entirely satisfactory. I need some way to connect with the wider community around me rather than all these people I'm never going to meet. You have that sense of actually making a difference when you're in a relationship. You also find it if you're lucky enough to have a meaningful career. As a single man limited in his ability to get places, the only time I find that satisfaction is occasionally through friends or when I complete one of my projects and hear from the people who it has made a difference for. Enchantment's Twilight will certainly have a good impact when it's at last ready but its such a large undertaking that I need to find something else in the interim.

There's a hellish kind of gloom hanging over me. I know intelectually that things must eventually get better. Affordable housing will finally come through and I'll actually have a place of my own if nothing else. This dark tunnel will at last end or change radically in character. It just seems like such a damned long walk through a thick fog which cancels out one's efforts. I've literally done everything possible to change things and have gotten nowhere. It's truly in God's hands now. I'm as ready and able to serve as I can be.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Day With Good Friends

Hello everyone. Yesterday was, without a doubt, the best day I've had this Summer. Mark and Wendy arrived earlier than expected just as I had gotten my gear together and we headed out. The trip to Symposium went without a hitch. Frank, a friendly man I met on a prior walk there pointed out a way to make the route slightly safer. It's certainly an easy enough change to make. The digital recorder performed quite well although the wind made chunks of what people were saying impossible to make out. There'll definitely need to be some editing done but I believe I have the centrepiece I need for the documentary. Perhaps, in future, I should decrease the sensitivity setting of the microphone when recording indoors. Oh well. Live and learn as they say. What I have is certainly useable. Everyone enjoyed the food. We all had omelets. I was sorely tempted to have the bacon and egg breakfast but that deluxe omelet with its myriad ingredients including bacon ultimately won me over yet again. We all had Fresh Fruit Freezies which were absolutely splendid as I've always found them to be. Each of us also tried a mocha coffee completing a meal and experience which truly made all the effort I've put in over the Summer seem utterly vindicated. In a very quick move which was absolutely vintage Mark, he ended up paying for that delicious meal despite my plans to the contrary. It was all good though. I later treeted them to dinner at Turtle Jack's which they thoroughly enjoyed.

After I managed to successfully get us back home without difficulty, we headed off to their house. There, at last, I was able to get them to watch one of my favorite movies, Stranger Than Fiction. I had lent it to them some weeks ago but Mark and Wendy aren't the type to watch all that many movies on their own. This one, I had long thought, they would both enjoy if they gave it a look. I was absolutely right about that. Each of them noticed details which I hadn't previously been aware of. Mark noted that in one washroom scene, Harold was analysing the soap dispensers and how full they were. None of the people I've seen the film with have ever pointed that little detail out to me. Both of them got a lot of laughs out of it. As for the message at the heart of the film, these two actually live it anyway. Sharing a treasured experience like Stranger Than Fiction in person with a couple of very thoughtful friends was profoundly fulfilling in a way that my solitary lifestyle doesn't let me enjoy nearly often enough. There's so much that I find in my solitary pursuits which simply has nowhere to go but into my writing and this blog.

After some post-film discussion, we headed off to Turtle Jack's. I hadn't realised that they never went to that place before. That very much surprised me as it's precisely the kind of place which you'd have thought they would have long ago gotten around to eating at. The burgers and fries there are exceedingly good. So was the Score Brownie dessert we shared. Even after spending a whole day together, we still managed to find lots to talk about as we enjoyed our second feast. Everything from comparing internet services to how very cold it can get in Vermont during nights there in the mountains. We ended the evening with a stroll through downtown Burlington before they drove me back home. I don't often walk that much during a day but my legs felt good rather than overly strained.

It's just approaching eight o'clock as I finish writing this entry. I've been pecking at it since around six AM. Breakfast just doesn't seem very essential today. I believe I'll skip it entirely. I suppose I should get around to completing the process of rendering myself presentable now. It just seemed like the right thing to do to get this posting done first. Splendid days like yesterday haven't exactly been plentiful these past five months. I know I'll enjoy looking back on it when solitude, insomnia, writer's block, or all three of the above decide to have their way with me once again. From time to time, even an optimist like me needs to be reminded that things eventually do get better.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Anticipating a fun successful excursion

Hello everyone. The heat on my shoulder tells me that it's a sunny saturday morning. In a little while, I'll be heading off to Symposium with my very good friends Mark and Wendy for a kind of victory celebration brunch. I plan to make a recording of this and use it as the centrepiece to an audio documentary about this past summer's efforts learning how to get there on my own. This will make the first time that I've actually lead my friends somewhere rather than the other way around. Presuming I don't somehow screw this up, it'll be a damned good feeling. I imagine we'll be enjoying our brunch for an hour or two and then I guess we'll see what happens after. I certainly have no plans for the rest of the day. I'll have my hat, netbook and other equipment with me so I'll be about as ready for anything as humanly possible.

Yesterday, I heard some pretty nifty stuff. The Escape Pod episode was a story called
Mr. Penumbra's Twenty-Four-hour Book Store
by Robin Slone
If ever a writer starts to feel useless and unimportant, this story will hopefully give him or her something positive to ponder. It's certainly one I'll be hanging onto. Another more poignant piece was an all too real and tragic situation. There's a tropical island out there whose population is being completely resettled since the sea will soon completely cover it over due to climate change. I think it was called Carterer Island or something like that. It was the BBC Radio4 Choice episode right before the current one that's up there. Their whole way of life is just being literally swept away by water. It certainly puts life into perspective hearing stuff like that. As eager as I am for a place of my own, I'm glad people in such a circumstance get that sort of help first. I can't imagine how painful it would be to see a place you've lived in and helped to build all your life be ruined and abandonned due to something which is completely unstoppable. Should the players fail in Enchantment's Twilight, that will be what happens to their fictional characters. Thanks to what I heard yesterday, I'll try all the harder to make the players feel an actual sense of loss.

The new small TV I got a couple of days ago is working out quite well. It's nice to be able to take advantage of descriptive audio when it's actually offered on regular cable. I can get Voiceprint on TV now rather than through the Internet. The Accessible Channel, however, is digital and I can't access that in any way unless I want to pay for a digital box. Perhaps, there'll come a time when cabin feaver compells me to do that. However, at present, I don't feel I'd get enough of a benefit to justify signing up for an ongoing expense like that. A trip out to Symposium for a good meal in good company is worth so much more to me. That's where I'm heading quite soon now so i believe I'll sign off here. Have a good day everyone.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

schooo's out!

Hello everyone. I'm back at home after my last mobility leson. I believe I've now learned the route to the Symposium Cafe as well as I'm going to. Five months, numerous batteries and something approaching three gigs worth of recorded lessons and independent practice walks later, reaching this point has been a long time coming. With Ray's help and the guidance of the Trekker Breeze, I can now go there for meals or simply an afternoon drink. It's a damned good feeling. You can check out the site for the restaurant which wil serve as my new social haven in the real world at:

Yesterday's brunch with Minnie was terrific fun. I managed to get there in plenty of time. She had no trouble finding me and we enjoyed omelets, toast and potatoes. She sounds just the same in person as she did last time we got together. Hopefully, it'll be a shorter time between visits this time. We must have been there eating and talking for a couple of hours. A very pleasant way to spend a morning. Having a female friend I found in life there to share the experience with has at last completed the process of moving on with life after losing Janene. It's been quite a long road. Near the beginning of the Summer, a neighbour sympathetically offered that cliche about being at square 1.2 rather than back to square one. At the time, I thought it was about as far from the truth as one could get. Time seemed to have be gripped in absolute stagnant frustrated despair of my life ever changing at all. If a woman could come to love me and still end up ultimately walking away, what cause did I have for hope at all? I felt so confined and discontented with circumstances that I remember being somewhat surprised at the well-meaning neighbour's remark. I figured that it must be visually obvious that I had been sent back far into negative squares. Now, at long last, I believe I really have arrived at suare 1.2. I have somewhere to actually go on my own where there's at least a chance of new developments taking place outside my family. I can come and go there on my own terms. Treeting her to brunch was an absolute pleasure. I had wanted to do that with someone all Summer.

Minnie came back with me wanting to see how my Trekker Breeze worked and how I got places. She seemed quite impressed. We sat on the patio out back for a while enjoying a cold drink. She met my father who is still getting used to being at home more of the time now that he's retired. It always feels somewhat strange having friends over. Once you've lived in your own place, one's parents' home just isn't yours any longer no matter how much they might wish that it were. My parents don't mind me having people over at all and likely wish I would more often. Yet, it just always has that sense of intruding on someone else's domain. for the foreseeable future though, it's just how things are going to be.

In the evening, I went out with Adam for a meal and gaming cession. Turtle Jack's did an excellent job of my barbecue chicken salad. Unfortunately, I had been awake since five yesterday morning and ran out of mental steam around ten o'clock or so. I believe I got a better sleep today.

In around a month, I'll be heading to Winnipeg for a trip to see some relatives. Other than that, there's really nothing else ahead of me. Life will revolve around working on Enchantment's Twilight, going to church, seeing friends, and walking over to Symposium once or twice a week to break up the stale routine. There'll be CBC Radio1, the BBc, NPR, documentaries, and podcasts as well as music to keep my ears and mind occupied. Enough, I hope, to keep me open to new ideas and interesting to other people. This Summer has certainly shown me that there's no way of fending off the ordinary other than being as ready as one can be for the extraordinary. I've at last made it out of that hellish emotional valley to a point where I can actually practice what i preach again finding the positive in life on a more constant basis. It feels very good indeed to be back in that zone of being once again.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

a morning of conversation

Hello everyone. Acording to the weather people, it's supposed to be a nice day again. I'll find that out first hand as for the first time, I'm heading out to Symposium to meet up with someone. Minnie is the only person who's kept in touch with me from the years I've spent at the Clearview CRC church. She's about as unlikely a platonic friend as you could dream up for me. She's from Trinidad originally. Her voice doesn't carry in crowds all that well and it can be a little tricky to understand her at times. She does a lot of work taking care of children, cleaning houses, and the like. Around ten years older than I am, she's just now starting to get into computers. While she doesn't think of herself as all that educated in the formal sense, she's living proof of how life is the ultimate classroom. This will be the first time we've gotten together in something like three or four years outside of those brief encounters after church services. She seems to value my opinions and thinking on various topics. In a very real sense, she's like a penpall who you keep in touch with occasionally. Strange to think that she's all who remains from a seven-year ongoing relationship with a church. Here's hoping I find a way to do better this time around.

At long last, now that my time on EHarmoney is nearly expired, it has coughed up two women who found me interesting enough to at least start communicating with. I believe that both of them are too far away to get together with but I might be wrong about that with one of them. I certainly hope so. A hundred bucks is a lot to throw down for a couple more people to exchange emails with. It turns out that while I can at least choose my answers to multiple guess questions effectively, I couldn't tell which answers I was given to the questions I sent. Thank goodness things got to the point where you could write out answers to each other. I can now say that I've completed their "guided" communication process. My ultimate conclusion is that it absolutely sucks. Turning the search for love into so mechanistic a venture as EHarmoney does is just not where it's at for me. I'm thankful I haven't walked away completely empty-handed. Who knows? Perhaps, something will develop eventually. This seems to be the summer of finding women who'll make very interesting email friends but are too far away for me to hope anything more comes of it. "Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink." Still, things are at last feeling better for me. I can enjoy my time again even when it's spent alone. My work on Enchantment's Twilight is still somewhat prone to stalls but I'll take that over a complete stop any day.

Last Sunday was a terrific day worthy of note here. I joined Joseph for his birthday lunch at Tucker's Marketplace. Two other friends plus a guest of their's joined us as well. A very good group to get to know better and splendid food to boot. It doesn't get much better than that. After lunch, Joseph and I went to the "games night" which absurdly takes place over a period from mid-afternoon to early evening. I didn't meet any new people but Joseph and I had quite the game of Monopoly on my netbook. He also tried Jim Kitchen's audio version of Pong. It took him a while to get the hang of that but he did it eventually. It certainly drew the attention of a few people who came over to ask the odd question. I hope to eventually snag more of a group of people to have a go at Monopoly, Talisman, or perhaps Tenpin Alley from PCS and Draconis Entertainment. That would be fun despite my being utterly out of practice with it. I hope that as more people see me join in things like that, they won't be quite so hesitant to get to know me.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Trip to Canada's Wonderland

What a busy day it's been. Our expedition to Canada's Wonderland ultimately turned out to be a moderately positive experience. I guess Ava and Amia are still a bit too young to fully enjoy the place. They were too short to pass the requirements for most rides even in Hanna Barbara Land. As a result of that, the trip was rather more full of disappointments than expected. There didn't end up being anything their Uncle Mike could do about that. I couldn't really even carry on much of a conversation with them as they were too absorbed in what they were seeing around them. Particularly for Amia, it must have been daunting. There were still numerous enjoyments however. Just being there again brought back a ton of memories. Honestly, I felt more like I had returned to fimiliar surroundings today in Canada's Wonderland than I did returning to Erindale Campus where I got my degree. Mark and Wendy took me back there earlier this Summer. Ultimately, it was certainly still a worth-while trip. They certainly had a very interesting visual experience. As they get older, I believe I'll be able to add more to excursions such as that one.

After all the walking and fresh air, I'm feeling rather tired this evening. Having awakened at five AM again, it's been quite a long day. A very good day though. I got some work on Enchantment's Twilight done. Also, you'll be pleased to hear that Eldrex had quite a good day of adventure in Dragon Tavern today. Thorebar is also reincarnated once again and slowly progressing towards fame and fortune. I'll try to play him a bit more conservatively this time around and see if I can't keep him alive. Not one of the hundred odd emails I've received today has proved the least bit interesting. Also, Plenty of Fish was distinctly lacking in progress in the quest for a special lady. Nothing too surprising there, but none of the latest batch of forum topics were all that compelling either. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day. A day with nothing at all in it. Doubtless, I'll feel differently after a good sleep, but at the moment, that's not such a bad prospect. I have this month's magazine service from the CNIB awaiting my attention. Reader's Digest and Mclean's are always worth a checking out. There's also the list of new books added to the collection. Dare I hope they've gone and added something of interest to yours truly? I believe I actually have enough optimism in stock for such as that. Presuming my legs have recovered sufficiently from today's walking, I may pop down to Symposium for an afternoon fruit drink. That would go down very nicely on a hot day like today was. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

a good day winding down

Hello everyone. I've just had a most enjoyable Thursday morning. The weather is about as good as it gets. a beautiful morning to head down to Symposium for a relaxed brunch. As always, the food and drink didn't disappoint. I tried their deluxe omelet which was absolutely splendid with home fries and toast. It came with coffee. The thought of coffee on a hot day has never struck me as all that brilliant. I've heard that stuff about how it actually helps keep your body cooler drinking something hot but that line of logic just doesn't quite ring true. Nonetheless, it's still quite counter-intuitively enjoyable provided a colder drink is at hand. I filled that requirement with a delicious pineapple strawberry fruit freezy. The atmosphere was quite enjoyable. There will probably always be a sense that someone ought to be there with me to talk to across the table. Being able to listen around a place hearing bits and pieces of other peoples' lives does take some of the edge off the sense of isolation I've dealt with since the break-up. I take my netbook along in case I happen to hear something which sparks a good idea. No luck yet on that score but I'd hate to not be ready again when that happens. There have been one too many such agonizing times in my nearly thirty-five years of life. Whipping out my digital recorder and saying the idea just doesn't work as well for me. It's good for getting peoples' phone numbers or instructions but the act of typing something down seems to help me clarify them at least a little. There's more of a chance of the idea eventually coming in handy if I'm able to edit and clarify it. For obvious reasons, a pencil and notepad just doesn't cut the mustard for me. A netbook turned on and left in standby mode with Jarte loaded, on the other hand, is about as close to perfect a tool for a travelling writer as humanly possible. If I ever want to read anything I produce publicly, I would need a Braille display. However, at present, one of those is well beyond my means to acquire. Netbooks are just the right size. Not too small to work with like one of those pocket-sized cell phones that are the modern equivalent of the Swiss army knife. Not so large that you feel like you're carrying enough equipment to set up shop for the day. You actually are, but unlike a full-sized laptop, one doesn't get that impression.

Going there and back went without any problems whatsoever this time. I met a security guard who came over to see if I needed any help getting there. It was wonderful to be able to say that I actually didn't. Hopefully, over time, people will see me as someone who would be interesting to get to know rather than just someone who might need help. What i really need help doing is connecting with such people who are geographically close enough to change the tambour of my life. I had a wonderful chat earlier in the morning on:
There's a fairly consistent group of folks who cybernetically congregate in "the coffee shop", one of several chat rooms open to registered members. They're mainly scattered all over the US. They're pleasant and interesting folks, most of whom are somewhat older than I am. It makes for a pleasant enough start to a day. Not as good as enjoying brunch with a group of regular attendees would be, but for the present, it's what I'm going to have to make the best of. Slowly, I'm adjusting to that reality. Acceptance, grudging though it might be, is lifting away the cloud which has hung over me all Summer. I don't dread the Autumn or even the Winter. Hopefully, I might even have two or three months to enjoy the fruits of my labour and further solidify my first true victory in the area of mobility which directly benefits my own interests before snow and blustery winds make the walk too dangerous.

Yesterday, I had my second-last mobility lesson for now. The next one will be a mere formality to have him watch me do the route there and back and impart any last tips or other thoughts Ray might have. He's been a superb instructor. Very patient and always up-beet. Nevertheless, I'm pretty much burnt out for now in terms of learning how to go places. For me, learning that route was about equivalent in terms of time and effort to passing a third-year course in university. Not something to be undertaken lightly. Think about it. If you had to put in that much to learn how to get somewhere even relatively close, how many places would you get to on your own? I've essentially done two of those back to back. For the first one, I was just approaching mastery of that route to see Janene when she up and left me. It was a complete waste of my time as well as two interns and one of the CNIB's best instructors. I didn't even get the satisfaction of using what I had learned once before it was brutally rendered irrelevant. I'll never put myself through that again unless and until I've moved out of here and into a permanent place of residence. It has to count for more than just smoke on the wind from now on. Learning one route doesn't make learning the next one any easier for me. I won't feel at all guilty asking people for rides. Once I'm settled somewhere more permanent, thanks largely to the quirky but helpful Trekker Breeze, It'll actually be a worth-while investment to learn to get places within walking range on my own. A potential bonus from this victory might be the community centre. Presuming I can find a way to the entrance rather than merely what I presume is the rear wall, perhaps, there'll be something there that I can contribute my time and talent to or otherwise participate in. Something to investigate on an upcoming jaunt. It may be the same place where The Dam operates. I got the impression that this work happened inside the town centre mall itself on an upper level but that might have been mistaken. Wouldn't that suck if the one place I could get to and potentially volunteer at was the very same organization which has already barred me for not knowing for absolute certain that I'll be here at least two years? At least this time, it won't be my inability to get there on my own which will block me from volunteering or participating. Dare I even entertain the hope that for once, something else won't bar me from inclusion?

Prior experience certainly cautions me not to hold my breath in anticipation of success. And yet, to a profoundly surprising extent, I can't help it. Where on Earth does this endless inexhaustible hope for a better future where my abilities are actually put to more optimal use come from? "Sorry, Mike. Your good character, willingness to work and university degree don't count for shit. We'd sooner hire a secondary school dropout." "Sorry, Mike. You bent over backwards trying to make the marriage work but I'm eight years older than you and my depression-clouded judgements about life and people count for more than your more positive level-headed ones. See you." "Sorry, Mike. You've spent two years building a loving relationship and being there when I needed someone who would let me vent and not judge me by my looks. I know I accepted your engagement ring and said at the time that you were foolish to entertain any worry that I'd say no. However, you're ultimately not worth marrying. Have a nice life willing to do your part but trapped on the cusp of adulthood anyhow." "Sorry, Mike. I know you paid a hundred bucks to give Eharmony a chance like the rest of us but you're not even worth the mindless effort it takes to return your introductory volley of multiple guess questions let alone actually go out to dinner with." Now *there* was a case where I would have done better buying up a hundred bucks worth of lottery tickets. As astronomical as they are, my odds of success would probably have been greater. You'd think I would have learned by now. God knows why I haven't given up the ghost of hope yet.

Hey! Come to think of it, he *does* know. It's *his* fault entirely! He made me this way and then stuck the good friends and supportive family in place to make certain I felt compelled to cheerfully jump down each and every well which might possibly hold the refreshing water of life experience despite having the intellect to expect the stony bottom of rejection. Said people now include two adorable neaces who I'll be spending tomorrow with on a trip to Canada's Wonderland followed by a swim and visit back here at my parents' home. I at least have the title of Uncle Mike firmly under my belt. Regardless of what fate has in store for me, I'll do my best to be the wise, ever resourceful, creative, fun and loving uncle they both deserve. He also produced whoever came up with the game which has helped me get through the profoundly long and lonely Summer.

Yes, folks. Who would have thought that I, a man who detests games of pure random luck, would grudgingly admit that I'm grateful for a game nearly as mindless as Bingo or a slot machine? I'm talking about:
for those foolish or profoundly bored enough to follow in my digital footsteps. Basically, you create a character and use your daily allotment of action points to send him or her on completely random adventures where you have absolutely no control over the outcome. The only things you decide are the level of risk, how best to invest resources and skill points as well as when to use an action point to return to the tavern in order to sell loot and heal up. Essentially, taking away the fantasy trappings, you're left with a glorified game of Chicken. Whenever my creative engine stalls for lack of live experience upon which to draw, I've turned to this pastime. My main character Eldrex is a warrior slowly approaching level 40 who I sadly sent into danger once too often earlier today and died as a result. Fortunately for him and me, that merely accrues a fairly hefty debt of experience to be painfully paid off over the next couple of days worth of mindless fun. All the investments of equipment, skill points, and dearly bought advantages are safe and secure. Thorebar, my "hard core" character, has gone and snuffed it countless times since his original creation. I keep thinking he's ready for one too many risks and get him killed off yet again. He has to start from scratch every time. It's a pure ego thing but I keep starting him over for the pure random heck of it. He gets fifty action points per day. Combined with my main character's twenty-five action points, this forms a healthy daily dose of nearly brainless chance-driven chaos. I hereby swear by the two hapless six-sided dice which have resided in my desk drawer for well over a decade, that I'll make a grand thing of these two digital beings. They will stand shoulder to shoulder as testament to society's unswerving ability to waste the time, love, and talents of a man who still remains eager for more of what life has to offer. Let those numbers, hidden away in an obscure, inanely simple but nonetheless addictive game, be the extent of my virtual vengeance for reducing me to such a stupendous low point over these five months. I suppose I may as well go and attempt to reincarnate poor dead Thorebar and begin his journey to hard core glory once more. I have nothing better to do.

Fortunately, this Sunday after church is looking less dull than usual. I'll be going with Joseph to Tucker's Marketplace for a lunch. I believe other people are going as well but am not certain of that. After that, it looks like the church is having its first games night from mid afternoon to early evening. Perhaps, I can attend that also. Weekends have been quite good lately. I just need to fill up the weeks. A trip or two to Symposium will help a little, but you'd really think there would be more scope for at least social action or volunteering if not actual employment for someone like me. A lot of folks are praying and rooting for me online. I literally find myself hoping to God that it does some real-world good. I've done absolutely everything I can think of now. If more inspirations come my way, I'll certainly entertain them. However, my future truly rests in his hands. There's a certain relief in that but also a tremendous frustration.