Monday, April 15, 2013

New Starts

Good Tuesday morning, everyone. I've been up for quite a while, since around five in fact. I've been awake since around three thirty but stayed in bed hoping for a tad more sleep which never came. Sleep and my lack of it have been taking centre stage lately as the day draws near for my sleep study. I'll be spending Thursday night in Credit Valley Hospital hooked up to God knows what and be expected nonetheless to sleep. Over the past while, I've had to keep careful track of when I eat, consume alcoholic or cafeinated beverages, eat anything which has cafein like chocolate, etc. I guess it's only natural to try and minimise this sort of thing when one is under a kind of observation but I've made a real effort not to change from my usual consumptive habits too much. It's a sort of microcosm of how knowing God watches us changes how we behave, hopefully for the better. Only in this case, of course, the objective is not to let the act of observation change your habbits at all. One thing's for shure. They'll certainly see that I'm not wasting their time. I've been through a lot of long days and nights lately. Plenty of time to think on pretty much everything under the sun as the seconds and minutes stretch out. Sara and I are growing ever closer in spirit if not in distance. She's got a busy month since her Easter is coming up and Lent factors into her church's calendar somewhat more promanantly than it did for my church. As choir director and because of the special services attendent on this season, it's one where she very much wants to attend her church. She feels guilty about our not getting together this month but she has also been sick recently. For me, there's no reason for guilt. During long distance relationships when you're not close enough to just pop out for coffee somewhere, that's going to happen. Our worlds have yet to fully integrate. It was wonderful seeing her in March and having her meet a good number of people who mean a great deal to me. At this point, we're very much in love. We can deal maturely with our differences and disagreements, have a lot of common interests, and a similar ethical outlook. Of course, I've felt this certain of another woman twice before. We'll take our time and build a good foundation before making any large life-altering commitments. Audioboo has been an excellent way for us to keep in contact and exchange ideas although the new app does seem a bit more prone to not upload longer messages in timely fashion. I've just finished a very nice tall Chai latte. Yes, damn it! It *was* worth the paperwork as was the beer I enjoyed yesterday! ! This is thankfully the last day of recording all the minute details of what sadly passes for my routine washroom, sleep, dinner and beverage-wise. I'm feeling quite good this morning. That's good since I'll be getting together with Linda, a lady who I've helpped in the past to understand her technology. Today, it's her new iPOD. I've never actually felt the latest generation of iPOD and never had access to Seri, one of its larger features. However, Voiceover, the appstore, and other such things are still new territory for her. These little gadgets can do an aweful lot and I'd like to be ultimately shure that she's getting the most possible bennefit from her investment. I think she has been hearing a lot about various apps and has visited Applevis. That's such a wonderful resource to have at one's disposal. As long as she knows to check on an app's accessibility first before obtaining it, she won't end up deleting a bunch of inaccessible apps. I don't mind a certain amount of clutter and am willing to stick my virtual neck out once in a while on the off chance I'll discover something worth informing others about. I get the sense that she wants to keep things very simple and uncluttered. I'm alright with that. My big thing is the awareness of one's choices. I want to make certain that people have the knowledge to share in what I've found so useful. In this case, that isn't nearly the issue that it was with the computer. People seem to have a much better sense going into the Apple universe of the kind of capabilities that their devices can attain. Change is certainly afoot pretty much all through life these days. I'll be taking on the role of disability contact person for my church. That'll be different and will better inform me of other peoples' needs and wishes. I hope to learn a lot and to help this spiritual community that has added such a rich depth to my life. I've also plunged into a new project. I'm going to design a kind of fantasy adventure trivia racing boardgame. I'll then attempt to program it using Inform7. As I'm far from certain of my ability to do this, I'll design the game so that I can run it manually if need be using my laptop and a dice rolling program. Provided I can actually program it in Inform7, it'll make for a productive way of testing many of the capabilities and procedures I'll need for Enchantment's Twilight down the road. Needless to say, running the game would be staggerringly easier if it ran itself. I also want to have a game that I can run for groups of people including possibly for fundraising events and such. There's the familiar itch to do something which has some sort of impact that doesn't look to swallow up the rest of life as I work on it. Hitting the sweet spot of still having trivia be at the heart of the game while making something substantively unique and different which adds genuine excitement but doesn't bog people down in details will be tricky. I have to keep things moving and try to have it so people enjoy listenning in to other people's turns. Game mechanics must be easily grasped as play progresses Everything has to be quick. Decisions must be important but uncomplicated. I have a basic idea of how to achieve this. It's now saturday afternoon. The sleep study has been done. It looked briefly like it would be cancelled due to technicians being sick but I got my slot back. The room I slept in was very comfortable and quiet. I ended up sleeping more than I expected to but that still didn't constitute a great sleep. Not surprising given all the wires I had attached to me. I now know what being a Borg would feel like. They ran a very quiet orderly lab at Credit Valley hospital as far as I could judge. They got enough recorded sleep time to do the study thank goodness. My technician was a kind Indian woman who was surprised to learn that I could live and manage on my own. I get the sense that she would have had many more questions for me had circumstances been different and I weren't supposed to wind down and go to sleep. She, in turn, answered some of my own. Like a lot of immigrants, she found that her medical credentials didn't count here unless she took exams. Needing to take care of her family, this career as a sleep technician was the closest she could manage given that she couldn't find time to do the exams. It must be a very frustrating choice to have to make. Do the right thing and be essentially penalised for it. How much collective good does our great and wonderful country keep stifling and throwing away? Beyond knowing that I slept for long enough for the purposes of the study, I'm just as ignorant about the nature of my sleep difficulties as I was before. I likely won't know more for the next four to six weeks. After all the data the slurped from me, this seems quite unfare. All that fuss and then, silence while life returns to what passes for normal. Still, I'm glad I got the damned thing done. Figuring I would likely need a day or more to recover, I didn't plan anything for the weekend. What ended up happenning was that I completely crashed late yesterday afternoon and slept through til around nine in the evening. I had a couple of hours of wide wakefulness and went to bed around eleven feeling tired. Of course, I woke up fully at just short of five A.M. I've been thankfully awake ever since with no erge to doze at all. I got my groceries this morning. No substitutions and nothing missing. It's all stowed away and ought to last me into May. Quite unexpectedly, I find myself with the strong desire for friends to be with and no way of whipping some up at such short notice. Online conversation will simply have to suffice presuming I find some later on. Luck just hasn't been with me on that score so far today. On the other hand, I've enjoyed four or five splendid podcasts. Two episodes of Spark and two of Under the Influence were all top-notch. I still have at least one of From Our Own Corespondants awaiting my pleasure. It's now sunday evening. The podcasts treated me very nicely indeed yesterday. Spark was particularly good as was the April 13th episode of From Our Own Corespondant which ended up with a very thoughtful reporter who visited a very special forested region of the Italian mountains where there are trees a thousand years old. It is from such places that the wood for those expensive violins is taken. A very poignant and thought-provoking ending. It was a special day for Cadets and Jems, two youth ministries of our church and presumably the wider Reformed dinomination. The kids did a terrific job and spoke of their experiences with obvious passion. This afternoon was given over to another top-notch Mosen Explosion show on Mushroom FM. Sara also tuned in so we tweeted to each other once in a while as the show progressed. Yesterday, finding myself not nearly as zonked out as I had feared I would, the absence of any company was pretty keenly felt. Today has largely made up for that. Church provided a good chunk of that sense of belonging as it nearly always has for these past years. Although still largely a connection limited to sundays, that feeling of being all but forgotten the rest of the week has faded over time. Things like the Mosen Explosion really help to take the edge off these sunday afternoons with nothing in them. However, I'll feel so much better when there's really someone else there who appreciates it too. I've longed for that and now, thanks to Sara, I find that I can really imagine a time when that dream will become real. This apartment is more than big enough for two people. She and I have found a steady kind of belonging with each other which has made itself felt far sooner than I would ever have expected. It doesn't seem like such pie in the sky thinking anymore. More like something which is almost certain to happen given the right time, effort, patience and natural process of building a solid foundation for a life well lived together. I've learned some pretty painful but necessary lessons about that over the years and thank God for giving me another chance to get things right. I have a whole lot to look forward to over the next while. This week will be pretty ordinary unless something really unexpected happens. However, saturday will see me taking my first big step into a new role as disability contact person for my church and the local area or group of churches. I'll be attending a conference on disability concerns. I expect to be getting more of the material emailed to me through the week. My laptop will doubtless see me through the day in fine style. Thanks to a nifty program called Qread, I can have all of the documents open and instantly accessible. Jarte will be my word processor of choice. That snappy little piece of code has become my writing platform of choice ever since I wrote Personal Power using it. Hard to believe that was published five years ago now. Monday morning has gotten off to an early five A.M. start. I played some more Swamp. The new version has some serious issues in terms of balance and painfully slow permanent progress. You lose everything whenever you get killed which is quite frequent in my case. It's hard to earn enough reputation to keep yourself supplied with ammunition let alone buy anything new. Character points come only when you advance a level which takes ages unless you have the rep or fuel to go on missions. Of course, in missions, there's no chance at all of finding loot. Still, there's enough of a draw for me to keep playing. It's a hard nut to crack as a game designer. You want people to really care that their character has been killed. Death simply must have its teeth. However, in a persistent multi-player game where the goal is to have people keep playing, there has to be some sense of building on prior accomplishment. Swamp gets that balance fundamentally wrong in my oppinion. It's too easy to be overrun and killed in circumstances where skill and reflexes just don't count for anything. Losing everthing you've gathered is too harsh a penalty when such fates are so likely. I think I've figured out a plausible happy medium for Land of Trivion. It's a tad brisk and not sunny but I figured it was time I cleanned off the balcony table and set the chairs back outside. EVen tucked away in a corner, it still ends up surprisingly dirty after Winter. Windex did a nice job as far as getting the dirt off goes. I won't know for certain until some working eyeballs have a look at it but it's certainly feeling smooth and clean now. If it warms up some more, I may go for a stroll around the lake or set up shop outside and enjoy the afternoon on the balcony.