Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mum and Dad: away for over four months

Yay! The un-updated Blogger is back!

Mum and Dad came up last Thursday and spent three nights here. We got on pretty well. They were very helpful even if they insisted on rearranging my flat when I was out. I’d like to see their reaction if I moved virtually every item of furniture in their house. They’re flying to London the day after tomorrow and won’t be coming back till late September.

On Friday I saw Blackadder III at the Repertory Theatre. I’m glad I did. I never found Blackadder hilarious and I wouldn’t say Friday’s performance was side-splittingly funny either, but it still got enough laughs out of me to make it worthwhile. Getting a Chinese bloke to play Baldrick worked surprisingly well.

On Saturday my cousin and her family came round to my flat for a pizza as I finally made use of the Hell vouchers that Tommy’s gave me in “celebration” of my big purchase. So for a couple of hours my flat’s population had swelled to eight. I only have three seats, or four if you count the one that’s supposed to be outside.

I bought one of those chairs on Trade Me. Picking it up from Newtown last Wednesday was quite an effort involving unscrewing the legs in the pouring rain using the seller’s screwdriver so I could get it in the car. I then had major difficulties driving back: I could hardly change gear or see where I was going. Luckily I didn’t have to go far.

I now see Julie in Hataitai every Tuesday night. She needs someone to talk to. Last Tuesday I was able to make sense of some of my problems during our chat. I don’t need a diagnosis – I know what’s wrong with me, even if I’m unsure of the root causes. What I don’t know is how to fix my problems.

The middle of last week was a struggle for me, particularly at work. Wednesday afternoon was my low point; at least I resisted the temptation to bang my head against the toilet wall. Sometimes my anxiety and depression almost totally dominate my thought processes, to the point where nothing else matters. That’s what Tuesday, Wednesday and most of Thursday were like in the office.

Ten years ago I was in the middle of my final exams (all nine of them) at university. I studied a lot for those - up to twelve hours a day. Looking back I wonder where all that motivation came from. It had nothing to do with graduate jobs (which I thought were mostly crap), I know that much. Really it was the feeling that I hadn’t achieved as much in my academic life as I should have, and here was my one big chance.

We didn’t have our usual facilitator at Monday’s autism group. Because of this, the session turned into an even bigger free-for-all than it usually is. Adam, the rotund chap who likes all things Texan, seemed to think he ran the show. Towards the end of the evening the subject of pi came up. Tracy could remember the first however many digits of pi thanks to a cleverly-crafted poem in which each digit is represented by the number of letters in the corresponding word. But how does it deal with zeros, I asked. Tracy then said that there are no zeros in pi. I was willing to bet her a virtually infinite sum of money that the decimal expansion of pi does in fact contain zeros. It would be quite remarkable if it didn't; there would be huge implications for all kinds of stuff, though exactly what I’m not sure. Plus I would have been on a pretty good wicket with my bet: it’s easy to prove that there are zeros (look, there’s a zero!) but mighty difficult to prove that there aren’t (even if none of the first million digits is a zero, the million-and-first might be). Tracy then used her pi app on her phone (maybe it was just the internet) to find that pi does indeed contain zeros, which are represented in that poem by ten-letter words.

The Premier League football season ended in dramatic fashion last weekend, with Man City scoring twice in injury time to steal the title from United’s grasp. Some of the pictures on TV of supporters of both sides seem almost laughable: how can this be so important?
Birmingham City, in spite of an action-packed 62-game season, missed out in the race to make it into the top flight. The top two teams in the Championship go up automatically with the next four fighting it out for the third promotion place. Birmingham finished the regular season in fourth place and faced Blackpool (who finished fifth) in a two-legged play-off. It sounded like Blues had a bit of a shocker, both in the away fixture (where they were lucky only to lose 1-0) and for most of the home leg. In the second game Blues conceded either side of half-time to go three behind overall. They replied with two goals but couldn’t find the elusive third which would have forced extra time.

Greece might be about to leave the euro and it’s an absolute calamity. How will anybody, in Greece or the rest of the euro zone, possibly cope with this? I lived in France in 2000-01 during the last days of the franc. Posters were put up to tell people which countries would join the single currency, what the new notes and coins would look like, how many francs equal one euro and so on. Some time in 2001 an extra country – Greece – appeared on these posters without anybody batting an eyelid. Since then five more countries have been admitted. If even the idea of leaving the euro is causing such mayhem, perhaps it shouldn’t have been quite so easy to join in the first place.

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