word salsa

Feb. 8th, 2016 11:42 am
the_siobhan: (goatse)
Am still sniffly and tired and can't seem to catch a full breath. But I'm back to work and mostly walking around.

Man, were colds this brutal when I was a kid, or was I just too distracted by all the other shit I hated about my life to notice how terrible I felt?

***************


Somebody who lives in one of the slumlord apartment buildings behind my house had an actual Nazi flag hanging from the balcony yesterday. Who the fuck does that? A couple of my neighbours called the cops but I have no idea if they actually did anything about it.

There was an article in the Torontist last week about the history of Toronto's Chinatown neighbourhoods. Some of the hand-wringing over Asian immigration is depressingly reminiscent to the current gnashing of teeth in the comment section of every article ever about Syrian refugees. At one point the Province passed an actual law against white women working in Chinese laundromats lest they be sold into white slavery. Seriously.

The more things change, the more they stay the same I guess.

***************


There are two grocery stores right by my work, in the heart of the downtown business & condo district. I don't normally shop there because they are ridiculously expensive, but occasionally we will run out of something so I'll pop in on my lunch hour. And they are so weird. Tiny little things squished between the food court and the luggage shops, they manage to have a massive section of organic vegetables and imported cheeses and an extensive hot ready-to-eat food counter. And almost nothing else that I associate with grocery stores. Like on different occasions I have gone in there looking for pasta sauce or dish soap or freezer bags, and nope. Very odd.

***************



Something to get pissed about when Yet Another streetcar has passed me by too packed to get on. The first plan for a downtown relief line was in 1910.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0e/A_1910_subway_plan_for_Toronto_-a.jpg
the_siobhan: (flying monkeys)
For those of you reading this on Dreamwidth, LJ had a Question of the Day yesterday about whether or not modern musicians are less talented than the musicians from "Back in the Day". (Hint as to where the rest of this post is going: I said No.)

I think when people look back they remember the good stuff they enjoyed and tend not to remember how much of the truly bad and boring was also out there. I remember when I was high-school age with a radio in my room, flipping from station to station whenever a song came on that I hated - and I spent a hell of a lot more time knob-fiddling than I did listening. Eventually somebody turned me on to an independent station in Brampton that I could just barely pick up with a wire coat hanger taped to the back of my radio. That was where I first heard the Stranglers. the B-52's, Stiff Little Fingers, The Jam - so many bands that became 80's icons.

That radio station still technically exists, but it was taken over long ago by one of those big media conglomerates and now it plays the same crap that you hear on every other corporate station in North America. I did some research about a dozen years ago and I think out that outside of Universities there were a total of four independent stations left in the US and Canada combined. I wouldn't be surprised if even the last of those have since been bought up or pushed out.

I had just started University when Much Music started up. (MTV was launched only a year or two earlier.) The cool thing about the early days is that music videos were still a pretty new thing and so the station programmers were scrambling to find content, especially Canadian content. If you were a nobody just-starting-out band that had a friend with a camera you could get your video on the air, and they used to play some seriously weird shit, especially in the wee hours. Things settled down a bit as it became obvious that music videos were where record labels should be spending their marketing dollars, but there was still plenty of room for some creative programming.

Now that's all gone too. The station that used to own Much was taken over by some big entertainment giant. They don't play much music programming at all any more, and what they do is all the same mainstream shlock.

And I think that's where people in my age group get the idea that there is no good music around any more. They look at the music programming that used to have so much much variety and they think that since that's all crap now, that must mean that that's the music that's out there. They forget how the same thing happened to FM radio just a few years earlier.

I remember at some point in the 00's deciding I was going to find a bunch of new music to listen to - and I actually found a lot. On MySpace. Today when I want to do the same thing I go hunting for podcasts. I don't even know if that's the best route to take, it just happens to be the one I know about. If corporations do eventually succeed in strangling the Internet, creative people will just go do their thing somewhere else. And eventually somebody will tip off the old lady to where that is, and I'll go tagging along behind them.

And if previous patterns hold true, I'll do it about once every ten years.
the_siobhan: (shock and awe)
In honour of winter finally arriving in Toronto, D and I went to the surplus store near my work and got me a ridiculously massive parka. It is now officially the warmest thing I have ever worn and it's big enough to wear another coat underneath it if I really want to. The first day I wore it I bounced around to everybody I knew and told them it was warmer than my house.

On Friday Axel took me to MEC and I got some winter hiking boots. Given last week's incident with the stationary bike, it's pretty obvious my vertigo is never going to go completely away. And after a dozen years it's become equally obvious that nothing I do will ever shame my neighbours into cleaning the ice off their sidewalks, so the combat boots just do not cut it any more. I wore the new boots for the first time yesterday while the snow was belting down and They. Are. Awesome. There is a tiny little hill between my house and the streetcar stop that is that bane of my existence and I stormed it like it was the Bastille.

This is what it takes to get me excited about life these days. Not falling down. Mind you, after four years or whatevertimeit'sbeen, falling down can get to be really tedious.

Archery is one of those things that is supposed to require good balance, which probably explains why I suck at it so badly. (OK, not that badly. But still. I AM NOT HAWKEYE YET and that's a completely unreasonable situation in my mind.) I am still in love with it and I have buying my own gear on my short-list, but man. I did not pick a cheap hobby.

There is supposed to be a bow-making class coming up in the next couple of months, which I have signed up for. I'll post a picture when it's finished.
the_siobhan: (What Would Julia Child Do?)
Something I had intended to post about but forgot until [livejournal.com profile] a_carnal_mink just reminded me by mentioning Auslan. BC took me to Signs Restaurant for my birthday.

It was a pretty cool experience. The hostess seated us and introduced to our server and they walked us through some basic signs. (Yes and no are the only ones I remember.) The menu has the signs for ordering all the food and there are also flashcards that give you the common allergens and instructions like spicy, medium-rare, etc. There were framed pictures on the walls that showed numbers and the alphabet. The hostess was available for translation if we needed her, but we ended up just using our phones to look up any gaps. (How do I say, "I'd like another wine please"?)

BC has a little ASL, but I have had zero exposure prior to this. But I was able to communicate with no problem and the server was entirely good-humoured about teaching me words and correcting my pronounciation. And the food was excellent - I was completely stuffed when I left.

If I have a single complaint about the place it would be that it is very brightly lit. Which makes sense in an environment where all communication is visual but my eyes were very tired of it by the time we left.

So highly recommended if you are local.
the_siobhan: (What Would Johnny Cash Do?)
So I ended up ditching twitter. I ended up finding the format too awkward - any serious discussions end up taking multiple posts and the back-and-forth to see comments was just a pain. So I ended up getting bored and just dropping it.

I ended up signing up for tumblr, mostly because I like reading other peoples'. So if you have a tumblr, let me know in the comments. (I've found a few of you already.) I can't promise I will post much that's original so don't feel like you have to add me back. I'm greymohawk if you do.

And of course I'm still here.
the_siobhan: (blank)
New Year's Eve party was a ton of fun. I managed to drink enough - and enough different things - to give myself a good solid hangover to ring in the year. It's been a while since I've done that. In my case hangovers are always accompanied by the lingering fear that I was a complete twat to somebody, but people keep coming back to my parties so I hope that means that maybe there is some selective memory going on.

I won't lie, the last year and a half has been tough. I don't think grief ever really gets smaller or goes away or that we ever get any better at dealing with it. (Or at least, I don't get any better at dealing with it. Maybe you all have a better handle on these things.) I think for me it just gets to be the new normal or something.

Anyway.

I know it's moving towards normal because lately I have been feeling that it's time to start becoming more of an active participant in my own life. So I guess that's my resolution for 2015.

We'll see what happens with that.
the_siobhan: (vagina dentata)
There was a point at the pigroast last summer where I was talking to somebody about how I'm trying out that menopause trend that is just so popular these days. I looked around to suddenly realize that there was a small group of women clustered around me listening. "You're the first one to go through it," one of them explained. "So we want to know what to expect when it's our turn."

Well I'm here to tell you that it fucking hurts.

I just assumed it was the arthritis because that's such a day at the circus when it decides to poke it's metaphorical head above ground. But my last doctor visit included bloodwork that came back well within normal limits and she assured me that joint pain is very much a part of the process. Fortunately that seems to be normalizing, because holy shit I was ready to stab somebody some mornings. You ever get those hot twinges in your knee from going down stairs when maybe you just land wrong or something? Imagine those in every single joint resulting from every single motion. For months. It made me cranky.

The hot flashes appear to be done with too but I don't think I really ever suffered too badly from those. I got them 3-4 times a day for about four months. They were mostly just weird, a sudden wave of heat that felt it like unfurled up from the ground to turn my face red and leave me fanning myself with whatever I had sitting on my desk at the time. Most of what effect I did get was just not being able to cool off if I ever got even a little bit too warm - wearing an ill-advised sweater on my way to work meant I spent the whole day feeling like there was a balloon of hot stuffy air encasing my body. I think that's starting to normalize too, although yesterday I was walking across the company parking lot with my coat swinging open while my co-workers were huddling inside their scarves and rushing to the door.

here comes the TMI part )

Back when the brain issues were really bad I found it useful to record what was going on so I could look back and identify trends. This is me pretty much saying, "that was mildly sucky but it seems like the worst of it is over" and crossing my fingers.

Also, vertigo is letting up a lot compared to where I was last year. So I am very hopeful I'm done with that shit soon too. A friend had pointed me at some papers that suggested vertigo was common in menopausal women because estrogen is involved in how the body handles & stores calcium. So I wouldn't be at all surprised if that was a factor in how long it took to get sorted. Either way, I'll be glad to see the back of it.
the_siobhan: (dinosaur)
Who has two thumbs and left her phone on the bus yesterday morning?
the_siobhan: (ball python)
So I signed up for that Ello account, and I think I've posted it to it once. I haven't really been doing any social media much lately. Twitter hasn't really held my interest and although I've tried to stay caught up on at least reading DW and LJ the latter managed to completely break my friend feed for a good month. I think I have it fixed now, but I probably missed a lot in the interm. (For values of "lot" that are smaller than they used to be, granted.)

I have to say though, giving up reading Facebook was the best idea I've had since dumping the Evil Ex. The news about their "experiments" on users broke shortly after I abandoned the place and it explained an awful lot about the lift in outlook I've experienced ever since. Good riddance to 'em and fuck Zuckerberg completely.

I feel like I haven't posted much outside of book lists for a while, and I rationalize that as not wanting to repeat, "I went to work. I worked like a dog. I came home exhausted. There are mouse turds on my stove." five times a week. But it's not like I haven't done other things - shit, I went to Switzerland! I went to Germany! I went to New Orleans. I went to see Nick Cave and Stiff Little Fingers. I just haven't written about it.

Maybe it's like when you have a bad breakup and you decide you don't want to date for a couple of months after? I dunno.

One thing that is certain is that I will not be NaDruWriNing on the actual date - this weekend is just too damn busy. So on the side of Lake Erie it is. Maybe that will pull some kind of a cork out.
the_siobhan: (Dufferin station)
Jesus, I'm sick of fucking painting.

The walls in the stairwell are done, the stairs are done minus some touch-ups and the front foyer just needs the trim & the doors to be finished as well. Then I can put the rollers down for a while. There are still some touch-ups I want to do, but they are comparatively minor jobs. And now that the walls are done I can get around to hanging the remainder of the art.

It is so humid the paint is drying incredibly slowly, which is making the entire process twice as dragged out. But I feel like if I can just get it finished before I bugger off to holidays I won't have it hanging over my head waiting for my return. And maybe I can also get some actual cleaning done before I go as well, so I won't be coming home to filth. (That bathroom. Oi.)

OK, break is over. Everybody back on your head.
the_siobhan: (on fire)
I am trying to figure out if I'm feeling depressed, or I'm just re-examining every single one of my life decisions.
the_siobhan: (blank)
Vertigo has been kicking my ass lately. I thought it was due to the cold I had a couple of weeks ago, then I thought it was due to the sinus infection I developed after the cold, now... I have no idea. I guess it's time to start the pain-in-the-ass process of cycling through medical professionals again.

Yoga continues to be brilliant and my back is stronger than it has been for years. Which makes me want to do additional physical stuff. I'm trying to figure out what that's going to look like, given that whole tipping over thing. It's been two years since I've been able to ride my bike. The gym is out because the vertigo makes me really anxious around crowds of people - lots of bodies moving fast and randomly around me make me want to stand very still until all the distracting visual input goes away. (I careened into some poor woman at the grocery store last week. That kind of shit can make me want to lock myself inside the house for a month.)

Oddly enough, I do occasionally fall over during yoga and don't have a problem with that. I think because everybody there is a regular who knows it's an issue so nobody gets weirded out about it when it happens, and it's a given that I will sometimes move more slowly and carefully than everybody else or just get up walk over to a wall if I feel like I need to hang onto/lean against something. Plus the class size is so small I know I'm in no danger of taking anybody else out on my way down. i think being chill about it actually means it happens less often than it otherwise would, given all the gravity-defying positions I find myself twisted into. (Although I am rocking one seriously deep bruise on my right calf from where everything went ass over teacup and I landed across my block.)

Anyway. This past weekend I packed up my vertigo and went to Montreal. It was fantastic to hang out with E again for a length of time that did not include any funerals. I spent far too much money and slept way too little and found myself at one point propped up against a wall in a goth club so I wouldn't tip over. Do you know how long it's been since I went to a goth club? A long fucking time. They have not changed one iota, which I found hilarious.

Next time I need to figure out a way to do the people part more often without doing the money part quite so much. Still. Totally worth it.

So you know. Trucking along.
the_siobhan: (bonsai kitten)
It appears that I am adopting a cat.

Since this will be an older cat, and not in the best of the health to start off, any local people have recommendations for excellent vets? Close to Parkdale prefered if possible but I'll travel further afield if you happen to know Dr Doolittle.
the_siobhan: (What Would John Cleese Do?)
Axel's party was a lot of fun. From all reports people had a good time. Axel had a blast, so mission accomplished.

I have so far done six loads of washing up and I'm not done yet. Holy shit. That's the one downside of homebrew - all the reusable beer bottles that have to be cleaned and stored. On the plus side the decorations are cleaned and packed away and I think we've located all the places where empty beer bottles were hidden. I also spent two days hacking through all the leftover pig and seperating out the meat for sandwiches(lots) from the meat that's going for dogfood (four big bags of it!.


******


I have moved from the "gentle" into the "intermediate" yoga class at the back clinic. I am very sore as a result. But it's the good kind of muscle sore that you get from doing a billionty squats as opposed to the "oh shit, I fucked something" sore, so I'm pretty happy about it.

I continue to be crap about doing my homework. But I'm getting better anyway.


******


Only one!(1!) medical date this week. So I'm making up for it by having two appointments with banks and a follow up at the vet. Just in case I should ever get the mistaken impression that my time is for spending on shit that I actually want to do.


******


I was in a work session yesterday with people from various departments talking about what can be improved in our job processes. I mentioned to the instructor how I had come up with a bunch of ideas for my role during the session and normally I struggle with that. "Because I work by myself so I'm not talking with other people as a part of my day to day job. I find it's the back and forth with other people that makes these things really bubble to the surface."

Later on in the day the instructor was talking and she looked at me and said, "and as you said earlier, you don't have time in your daily job to think about making improvements..."

I find little incidents like that interesting. My best guess is that she gets so many people saying they have no time that that particular more common complaint just wrote right over the one I actually made.


******


I am so tired. I am doing nothing productive this weekend and anybody who tries to make me will get bitten on the nose.
the_siobhan: (What Would Kompressor Do?)
  • Last night: Hung out with BC.
  • Tonight: Yoga/physio. Possible meetup with Axel and one of the Heathers[1] if I'm not tipping over afterwards.
  • Wednesday: Hang out with Darrell
  • Thursday: Axel goes for pints with work people to say goodbye.
  • Friday: Chiro. Then I'm hiding in my house for the rest of the night and introverting. And probably doing laundry.
  • Saturday: Dentist. Maybe house stuff. Night of the Living Dead with bunch of folks. Pints afterwards.
  • Sunday & Monday. Definitely house stuff - possibly attacking the back yard. Also BC is buggering off to Wiscon so if I want to hang out with her before she goes away it will have to be one of those days.
  • Tuesday: Yoga/physio
  • Wednesday: Hang out with Darrell
  • Thursday: Axel's official last day of work so he might want to pint afterwards.
  • Friday: Introvert
  • Saturday May 26 to the end of the month: Axel is between jobs for the whole week so I put in a vacation request. The plan is to get as many of the house big tasks done as possible. Painting the kitchen & decontaminating the chest freezer are both on that list. So is cleaning the basement. Seeing other partners that week will be wholely dependant on how exhausted/filthy/wanting to kill people I am on any given day.
  • Friday May 31: Stranglers gig
  • Monday June 3: ENT appointment. Finally! Must remember to book a half-day for that.


    [1] That movie they made in the 80s? All true.
  • the_siobhan: (fortune)
    I've been thinking about what I want to do about my job.

    I'm still pretty happy working for Big Evil Corp, but I've been in this particular role for 3 years and working in this centre for 7 so I think it's time I moved on to something new. I've been keeping a lazy eye on the job boards but I'm not really building any exit ramps right now.

    But I was talking to Axe about this yesterday and I'm thinking I should maybe take some courses. I like the idea of doing it online, because the idea of spending however many hours in a class every week on top of my job is the exact opposite of appealing.

    It also hasn't escaped my notice that it's highly unlikely that I will ever be able to afford to retire completely. So putting some time in now that will put me in a better position to pick up the occasional contract work later seems like a really good investment.

    I'm leaning towards Project Management or something related. What do y'all think? And do any of you have any experience with online colleges you'd be willing to share?
    the_siobhan: (Mistgeburt)
    So sore these days. Ugh.

    My sister D has flat feet. I remember somebody telling me (I think it was my sister herself) that the reason for this was a missing bone somewhere in her arch. Her feet hurt if she stands too long in crappy shoes.

    I, on the other hand, have an extra bone in each foot. Right at the top of my arch, where the upper surface of my foot forms a crest so pronounced it's almost a point. It throws off the way my weight is distributed across my feet to concentrate too much of it into my arch so as a result I snap or crack the top bone on a semi-regular basis. Tripping, hyper- or hypo-flexing, even landing too hard when I run or jump will pop it. I had to give up on Tae Kwon Do because of how much it depends on the kicks.

    The joke of course, is that I got greedy and stole a bone from my sister.

    It doesn't really impact my life all that much to be honest, other than the occasional, "Ow, fuck, not again." It's such a small bone that breaking it is no more than an annoyance. On the Siobhan-adjusted pain scale it doesn't even register. I does mean that I need longer shoelaces than normal people. And it also means that my feet get sore if I stand arund too long in crappy shoes.

    *****************************


    I'm always bitching about my immune system because I catch Every Little Frigging Thing. I think the real problem is that I don't catch colds any more than anybody else, it's just that my immune system is actually OVER active and so it just goes into hysterics every time time it encounters a virus. The plus side to this is that every time I have a test for my blood titres of specific antibodies they read way up there in the badass range even for innoculations I got as a child. On the down side, I have allergies, asthma, and a distinct immune-system-goes-bugfuck stage for even the smallest scratch.

    Still, I know I'm the one who got off easy. I do complain sometimes about how often I get sick, but every time I do it I hear myself and I feel like a complete asshole. See my other sister, F, has an immune system so aggressive that it attacks her own organs.
    the_siobhan: (Run For The Cure)
    So I'm doing the shave-my-head for charity again this year. I have dyed my hair neon pink, dug my pink high-tops out of storage and started pestering my co-workers to give me money.

    The fundraiser organizers have been trying to find somebody willing to challenge me. But the men don't want to dye their hair, and the women don't want to shave their heads[1]. Bankers are wussies, yo.

    This is my pic from the last time I did it in 2009. I'll try and get a new one up soon.

    If you feel like contributing to the cause my donor page is here.
    Run For The Cure.

    [1] There is actually one woman who said she would consider it except that she doesn't want to have to spend the next two months answering dumb questions about the tattoo on her skull. She's pretty cool.
    the_siobhan: (flying monkeys)
    So I haven't been posting much that isn't either complete fluff or "wow, the drugs make me fall down" posts. I'm definitely feeling a lot less overwhelmed and open to social interaction these days, but I'm also kind of being cautious at spending all this new mental currency, if that makes any sense. I haven't completely figured out my new limits yet.

    I promise you that more substantial rants will be forthcoming at a later date.

    Ontario had an election yesterday and we elected a Liberal minority government. I can live with that. Right now we have a conservative federal and municipal government and I was dreading the possibility of the PCs getting in on the provincial level as well. [personal profile] the_axel was a lot more blase about it, pointing out to me that he grew up under Thatcher. Of course he left England and I don't want to have to leave Canada because I really do like it here regardless of it's flaws. (Like for example the flaw of electing complete fucking incompetents like the Honourable Wife-Beating, Drunk-Driving, Racist, Homophobic, Illiteracy-loving Mayor who is currently running our city.)

    Prior to the election I took a "who you should vote for" test on the CBC website. It pegged me as waaay to the left of the NDP. I thought that was pretty funny.

    Tonight is the D.O.A. gig with [livejournal.com profile] tristam08 and [livejournal.com profile] 50_ft_queenie. This ought to be cool, I haven't seen those guys play in years.

    The renos are moving along fantastically. We have wiring! We have walls! The drywall needs to be mudded, sanded and primed and the next major stage is the floor. Then the closet and window frames have to be finished and Charlie has to build the half-wall that will stop pre-caffeinated people from falling into the stairwell. Tentative prospective date for being finished is the weekend of the 29th. We're hoping we can get some volunteers (hint, hint) to help us move our stuff to the top floor and then break out the last of the remaining plaster-and-lathe on the ground floor so he can get started on the framing and insulation there. The timing isn't great since it's the Halloween weekend but we're going to pack up as much as we can realistically live without and stash it in the basement ahead of time so there shouldn't be too much to haul. And of course smashing holes in things with sledgehammers is just great fun any time.

    Physical stuff is going really well. Work is going just great. Partners are amazing. I'm going to Haiti next month with [personal profile] bcholmes. And we are just about to start a three-day weekend.

    So everything is looking pretty good from here right now.

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