Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Puttering Through Potter and Passing Time

Hello everyone. I figured it was about time I wrote another update. Things have been pretty quiet over the past while. The weekend was pretty empty of people other than a dinner on saturday night with some long-standing family friends. The food was terrific and included some excellent beef tenderloin. I spent the majority of the weekend reading the final three Harry Potter books at long last. I wasn't ever going to bother having lost interest after the fourth book some years ago. However, seeing as I hope to be volunteering with The Dam soon, it occurred to me that I might as well find out what happened to the little rascal which has so captivated everyone else. I probably skipped as many chapters as I actually read. The books are very well-written and have some excellent morals within them. However, I learned all those lessons from other fantasies which came before. It just isn't quite my generation of fantasy heros. At least I know how it all ends now and have probably read enough to fake my way through a Harry Potter inquisition. I don't believe I'll look into Twilight. I overdosed on Ann Rice's vampire novels over a decade ago and it'll be a while longer before I look into that world again presuming I ever do. I guess I've learned over the past weekend that one can never say never.

This week is off to a good start. I had another mobility lesson yesterday. When we got to The Dam, a student who worked there was present and we got to go inside. I was glad of the opportunity to have Harpal, my instructor, go over the basic layout of the place with me. I don't believe I'll take long to become quite comfortable in there. Having a brief tour also gives me much more of a sense of the function of the facility and volunteer group. Clearly, the emphasis is about having safe clean fun and building mentoring relationships with the youth around that. They have an Air Hockey table in there. I haven't played that seriously for over a decade now. Presuming fairly quiet conditions, I can hear the puck travel over the table and used to be pretty good at it. Doubtless, I'm rusty as hell. There are still some formalities and details to finalise including that police check. I very much look forward to getting started there. If, God forbid, something stops me from working there, I don't really have a plan B. It's getting too cold out there to think about learning yet another route this year. I still have to go over the one to the church one more time with Harpal and make certain I have that down thoroughly.

Today has been a good one. The groceries came in this morning and are now all stowed away. I forgot to get some new granola bars but I'm sure I'll live without them for a spell. Everything else came. I got a couple of different kinds of tea among other things. My writer's block continues which is the only real downer other than not having friends near my own age around here who share interests other than computer games. Yes, folks. Those empty weekends and evenings are becoming well past tiresome. I'd give up a whole lot for a new love in life who was seriously in it for the long haul. The chances of that situation changing any time soon are ghost thin. The closest I'll likely come to having a bunch of friends to converse with are fellow listeners to the Mosen Explosion of Mushroom FM. Somehow, Jonathan and Julia manage to create a kind of community atmosphere which allows me to forget how far apart we all are and how empty the apartment is. It makes for a pleasant four hours on a sunday afternoon even if the music is often older than what I usually enjoy.

Thursday is Amia's third birthday. I haven't seen my two neaces in a little while what with all they've been doing. I hope she enjoys this birthday more than the last one. Dad and I picked out some Christmas gifts last week at the Dollar Store. Next year, I'll see where they're at mentally and whether to take another stab at something from the Discovery online shop. I jumpped the gun a bit with that talking globe but I'll get better at it as they get older and find more interests. Tomorrow, I'll be eating at the Symposium Cafe with my father. Wednesdays are Martini days there and it's been a while since we've managed to catch one. I haven't gone there on my own in quite some time. Lately, it's just seemed like a lot of bother to go there and then be made even more aware of the missing lover and friends who ought to be there with me but are absent from life. Financially, things have tightened up as well over the past while and I've had to re-evaluate a lot of things. I'd happily forego some of the junkfood and more expensive but excellent food I buy to eat here at home if I knew I was going to be eating out with people more often. However, there just aren't all that many activities and reasons to go out anywhere. For me, friends are what turn otherwise empty events into the stuff of good memories. Even a trip to an art gallery has the potential of being interesting if I'm with people who don't mind discussing what they see rather than just gawking at it.

This afternoon, I've been doing some listenning. Soundprint had a nifty documentary in their archives about life at McMurdo Station in Anarctica. It focussed on how people lived up there rather than being about all the science that goes on. It was pretty fascinating. After that, I started listenning to the November 21 episode of Spark. It started out with a neat segment on designing soundscapes for places and the effect of ound environment and noise polution of people. Julian Treasure, a soundscape designer, lived up to his last name for me. He tends to think of sound much as I do. He talks about how people invest so much in the appearance of places but not much at all into how they sound. I certainly choose favorite restaurants on the basis of their sonic ambience and ease of conversation with companions almost as much as the food served. It's nice to know that at least someone out there thinks about that sort of thing. I've paused the episode as I write this entry and soon will make my dinner. Chicken souvlaki plus vegies and dip and some bread seem about right. I'm going to get a burger and fries tomorrow so I'll leave my fresh bag of Yukon Gold potatoes to try another day tempting though they are. Aura, that nifty creation from a kind Russian soul, is up to its usual magnificence filling my apartment with quiet moving forest sounds. I'll hear the rest of the episode as I eat. I've fallen a bit behind with Spark and other podcasts.

I get the podcasts but often at a time when I can't listen to them right away. They'll sit around for days and sometimes weeks before I get to them. Mainly, that's happening because I've been so drained and bored due to how differently things have turned out for me socially than I had hoped. Also, being on that ODSP Fireside group had the same kind of effect that being with Rebecca was having towards the end of our marriage. She dwelled so often on the negative, on what we didn't have, on what was wrong, that I found that I began to do the same thing and ignore the blessings we had available to us. It's an awefully wasteful vicious cycle to get into. Thankfully, I seem to hit bottom and bounce out of it fairly quickly if nothing pulls me down. I don't look at ODSP Fireside trafic much at all these days but plan to keep looking in on things occasionally when I can stand the overarching negativity. Meanwhile, one of the things which has helped pull me up is that my own group, Silver Smiles, is showing some signs of life again. We're still only five members and need to grow a lot larger before anything like steady conversation develops. However, they seem fine with the settings I've come up with for our group as well as with the archives of messages being public. I've made it so that people need to be invited to join the group and can request an invitation. Also, messages from new members are moderated by me. This way, people can't just join up and start making other members miserable. I didn't really want a role of gate-keeper but it seems to have made my current members feel a bit safer so I suppose it's for the best. This isn't at all like the Audyssey community which grew quickly around my magazine. Siler Smiles is a small fragile thing which will need to be slowly coaxed into being. There's a kind of nagging dread of making some foolish mistake which will spoil everything before it really gets going. I feel partially responsible for everyone's well-being just as I did with the Audyssey community before I made the charter and turned it over to others. I take no small amount of pride and comfort from the fact that it's still going strong all these years later. Whether I manage to pull off something similar with Silver Smiles is anybody's guess at this early stage. I think it's a worthy concept and am once again hopeful thanks to today's activity.

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