10 September 2012

Post England

It's only a couple days now since I made it back home from my trip to the UK. After the first day, I got over the stress of the trip and started enjoying myself. I hope I wasn't too much of a drag on my companions.

As hoped, I only felt real despair a couple brief times while on my trip. Now I'm back, and it's full force again. I don't know what I want to be doing, but it isn't this.

My trip started in Manchester, first full day was spent at the Imperial War Museum (North), neat exhibits of 20th century conflict with a focus on the WWs. We eschewed the Man. U. game happening concurrently as we'd stick out like sore thumbs, and it might be a worrisome atmosphere considering that bars across the whole city only serve drinks in plastic cups on game days.

Next stop was the Hat Works museum in "where are you going? But where after that?"Stockport. Inside a former milliner's factory, the museum included a lovely tour by the plant's former engineer who taught us about the whole felting and hat-making process. The building's chimney had only been struck by 6 lightning bolts the night before, no big deal. Depending where you worked in the factory, your job involved mind-numbing boredom with any number of potentially fatal machines and boiling water. Just one more job I couldn't do... pile it with all the others.

That evening kicked off the first of several in York, a lovely town for those with a hankering for history. From Roman emperors to Viking traders to medieval plots for the throne, York has a little of everything ancient Britain. Especially rain. Yikes. My feet stayed wet for about 60 hours in a row. But I did climb the tower of York Minster Cathedral for an unrivaled experience of rain and cold wind from several hundred feet above the ground. I also learned that Vikings pooped. Like, a lot. Man, you might think you know a thing or two about pooping, but you're no Viking, I can tell you that. The life of a Viking was equal parts poop and degenerative joint disorder. One strange sideline in old York was holding an owl on my arm.

The end of our time in York brought us to the main event, the 158 Squadron Association Reunion. Very few men are left that did the same operations as my grandfather, but it was still a remarkable time with remarkable people that all share a reverence for the sacrifices that were made for our freedoms. Easy to forget about your freedoms in England though, with your every move on CCTV camera.

Liverpool is a city markedly in transition. Renovated hip pubs and a vibrant art scene contrast with rat-infested ,abandoned brick buildings. But the Beatles were from there, and I saw all their old houses and took the tour and bought the T-shirt.

And then back again. Little enough justice done here for the trip of a lifetime, but so it goes.

21 August 2012

News post

By this point, my page stats tell me that no one really gives a shit what I write here, so I'm going to go ahead and just treat this like a diary.

Going on a trip, tomorrow. I've never been gone longer or farther. The inherent unknowns are, of course, terrifying. There would be less unknowns if I had paid attention to the planning phases, but I've been spending so much time trying to numb myself to my existence that the time just wasn't there. At the same time, the caring is not so much there either. Parts of me care, perhaps even a majority, but the insurgency of my intense depression has hampered efforts at all but the smallest personal gains.

You can read everything they've put in the textbooks about depression and still be no clearer on what it actually feels like, what it means to a person. It means sometimes not having the energy to climb the stairs, let alone get something done in your life. It means not expecting anything good to happen to you in the end, based on previous experience. It means watching friend after fiancĂ©e after friend abandon you for no reason you can understand. It means a daily struggle with the temptation to off yourself, to stop hurting in the only way you can imagine possible.

Maybe while I'm away I can get in a few consecutive hours without miming a gun to my head or a rope around my neck. That would be a relief.

10 August 2012


A new study revealed that depression is a leading factor in suicides. What kind of fucking moron did it take to reach this conclusion and how many thousands of dollars of federal funding did they get?

07 August 2012

Give 'er Snoose

When your every accomplishment is associated in your mind with the stink of stress hormones and agonizing anxiety, is it any wonder why you learn to avoid thinking about them? Oh yeah, I remember doing that, I was worried sick! Fun times!

27 July 2012


Yeah, I know I've been quiet.  I've been seeing the Doctor. So, just give this a listen, will ya?

24 May 2012

Rainy Day People

Perfect on a cool grey day, this one goes out to all of Gordon Lightfoot's "Rainy Day People," and especially to someone I once knew that turned out to embody the exact opposite of everything in this song.

15 May 2012

I'm Not Calling You a Ghost, But...

You're just the gift that keeps on giving, sweetling. Even in my dreams you come to remind me how happy you are without me. Thanks for waking me up early though, that's awesome too.

09 May 2012

Pediform Pedantry

If you make a fool of yourself but no one is around to see, does it really count? So, I'll tell you about it.

Today, I left the house without wearing socks for probably the first time since I left the neonatal unit. I bought sandals the other day, and it feels like a great adventure. They're actually quite modestly covered so you don't have to see my feet, but still provide all the fresh air and comfort that a sockless shoe promises.

As I've been lax in exercising, I also brought gym clothes with me today, fresh from the laundry. You may see where this is going.

It occurred to me just now that to don my gym shoes without any socks would be uncomfortable at best, and at worst a leading cause of plantar fasciitis. Luckily, I thought of this before I made it to the locker room only to stare in dismay at my unshod feet.

So there you have it: life is never dull if you set the bar low enough. And can laugh at yourself. Tonight will finally be nice enough out to take my new shoes for a spin around the neighbourhood.

Neighbor. Neighboor. Loud neighbors are neigh-boors. I won't Google that to find out I wasn't the first-- you shall not dull my triumph!

03 May 2012

Don't Be Scared, I've Done This Before

They're installing potted plants in the building now. About damn time. The yet-empty pots filled with freshly turned soil fill the building with the aroma of earth. Remarkably refreshing, it is. I look forward to planting time, getting my hands dirty. It's tempting to imagine that my bare skin grants something of me to the soil, to the roots. Maybe we all just want to be God.

The last month went by quickly. Didn't make the gym much lately. Was sick, and spiraled out of control a little bit. Trying to drag myself there this afternoon, through the haze of lethargy and not enough sleep. Then we'll find out if my ID card will still work to get me in there, heh.

The other morning I heard "American Woman" playing on the radio. In abstract I had always agreed with it, so it's odd to find myself in a concrete position and thinking that maybe he was being a little premature and prejudiced.

29 March 2012

Hanging By A Moment

I put this song on my mp3 player a while ago with a bunch of other songs from a compilation CD. They're all from the early 2000s, so in my mind they're all recent even though the disc came out in '03. Anyways, I wasn't sure why I included this song, it's about falling for someone and letting go of what you had before, themes which mingled bitterly with my post-break-up mindset. Today, it rolls along in the Shuffle and it sinks its hooks deep into me. It's "me" now, partially (because no one earthly song is ever representative of the whole). I'm smiling and it's more sweet than bitter. Past me is, occasionally, kind.

Yeah, smiling. It's not like I ever stopped. There's always funny things around, even if you have to laugh at yourself sometimes. But smiling, now... it's like re-reading your prescription label and realizing it says TWO a day, smart guy. It's like discovering you've been driving in third gear the whole time-- you get there, but with more grumbling and less energy than you would have liked. It's like some kind of analogy about how good it feels to smile more often. "I'm like a shark. I've just got to... keep making analogies."

I may elaborate at some point, if my loyal following clamors for more. Or my smiles could dissolve into a dew like so much early morning frost... I don't dwell on it but that's always a possibility, and the nightmare haunting the dark corners of my mind. I trust my instincts though, and so far they just say yes. The only question I have for now is for how long smiles can trump sleep.

19 March 2012

Here We Stand

I think I sweat my words out. Not much to say at this point, except instead of a number the heart rate monitor on the bike should just show a picture of a frightened rodent. Anyways, I totally outworked Her Grace and the Kingslayer today. Also, I may have almost passed out. I'm either making myself stronger or killing myself, which in my books is a win-win.

08 March 2012

Why am I here?

There's really nothing like an encouraging seminar by your faculty to make you really doubt your life path.

To hear Dr. Ryerson tell it, your job in academia is to get your name recognized. Publish, go to conferences and mingle, win awards. There's something so callous and beauty-pageant about this view, this de-emphasis of the joys of discovery and science, and yet hearing it yesterday wasn't anything new. It's a prevailing view, I fear, in today's universities everywhere that output is more important than process. Little wonder, than, that Nature and Science are the pinnacles of modern publishing to the public eye, with their hundreds of half-page sound-byte articles that ultimately say very little.

Where do I come in to this? I've grown up wanting to be recognized for being smart, not for attaching my name to as many disparate projects as possible. Am I really signing up for a lifetime of acting as a cog in the great academic circle-jerk? Will real accomplishments in my research matter one whit if I don't use the right font on my poster?

I feel like I've been far too naive and idealistic in looking at this. I can't possibly hope to crouch beneath the establishment and shift its inertia and survive. I'm definitely not sure that I'm doing what I want to be doing. Moreover, I'm not sure of what I want to do. You're supposed to have that figured out by the time you get your bachelor's. Ugh, what an ill-omened name that degree has.

Is there still joy to be found in discovery behind these ivory walls? Is there any science done for the sake of discovery? Is there any place for this poor scholar in the game of academia?

05 March 2012

Continuing Adventures of Whats-his-name

Hit the gym again today. Mostly a brisk walk, tried the elliptical machine for about five minutes but I just could not find a rhythm on that contraption. I felt and looked lot like QWOP with a little bit of the store thrown in. Luckily, I had an apathetic audience. The happy couple arrived near the end of my 45 minute session, and unfortunately by then I was too tired to remember the advice of my friend for just such a situation: "Vomit on them! Like a turkey vulture!"

01 March 2012


Damn this mortal husk and its maintenance requirements. Toughed it out at the gym yesterday for the first time in far too long, now am sore and tired today. Is it any less commendable to self-improve if the inspiration is to try to spite Cersei and her honourless beau in person? We can ask that again, I guess, if I ever return to a fit shape reminiscent of a normal human being.

Anyways, should try and keep that anger. Use it, let it fuel me. Even if it's a little bit like putting a harness and reigns on a fusion reaction. Testosterone can be good for the depressed brain, my research has led me to believe.

BTW, "tough" as a verb is just a little bit weird. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

06 February 2012


For a while now, I've entertained grand designs of posting some huge collection of song lyrics to describe my feelings. Then, I realized what an eloquently stupid idea that is. First off, my moods are inconstant. To encompass the wide variety of feelings I actually have would require an inordinate expanse of songs that would end up having precious little to do with each other. Second, it insults whatever creative integrity I may (someday) have to just spout the works of others at you like a grade nine Livejournal account. Third, if you gave a shit what I was feeling like you'd fucking ask me, wouldn't you? Some people do sometimes. Those are the best kind of people.

The More You Know: surround yourself with awesome people that give you no reason to doubt yourself. If people you know can only complain about you without wanting to build you up, then YOUR wellbeing is likely not their motivation. If you change, change for you first. If someone wants you to change, only do it if the benefit to yourself is at least as much as it is to them.