Monday, September 24, 2012

Bored games? No way

My brother and his fiancĂ©e arrived last Tuesday. I just gave him a quick call; they went to Christchurch today and rented out a flat in New Brighton. I asked him about buying a car, momentarily forgetting his (second) driving ban which lasts till February. My parents arrive on Wednesday. I'll be flying down south at Labour Weekend. I hope I manage to see my brother, and my future sister-in-law, but he and I do have a knack of missing each other.

We had a wonderful weekend of Wellington weather and it continued today. It would have been nice to have had someone around to enjoy it with. Just something simple like a walk along the waterfront. Sometimes sunny weather can make me more depressed because I see people enjoying themselves in the company of others while I'm on my own.

I can't complain though. Compared to how I was feeling six months ago, well there is no comparison. Those "head-banging" days, when I couldn't see for my thick depressive fog, appear (for now at least) to be over. Changing roles at work certainly helped, even if my current environment isn't somewhere I want to be in the long term.

Last Monday I went to Tracy's flat in Kilbirnie to play some board games. Four of us (that's always a good number) played. We started off with a quick game called (I think) Tsuro, where players follow tracks laid down by square pieces on an 8x8 board. It was a fun game if a little chaotic: you could easily be whisked away to a different part of the board, and then sent off the board entirely, in which case you were dead. The game continued until only one player remained.

The main game we played was Ticket to Ride, where each player had to form train routes to and from various cities across Europe (there are several versions of the game including the European one we played). A lot of the skill in the game revolved around the decision to accept or decline routes based on their length and location, and various other features. I bit off more that I could chew, accepting pretty much everything and although I made some nice long routes, my incomplete ones counted against me in the finish and I came third.

The games were a lot of fun and I hope we can do something similar again.

The iPhone 5 is out, and will be appearing in New Zealand on Friday. Inevitably there will be snaking queues then at various stores as people clamour to get their hands on the Holy Grail. This is all good news for me because it puts us one step closer to the iPhone 10. When the iPhone 10 comes out, I'll be able to snap up a crappy iPhone 4 or 5 for under fifty bucks and finally see what all the fuss is about.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

People at my flat twice in one week - whatever next?

Last Saturday's meet-up in Petone didn't do much for me. I'd forgotten that there was a rugby game between the All Blacks and Argentina; most of our group had forgotten about it too. At half-time in the rugby (an extended half-time due to the floodlight failure at the stadium) we went to a different pub to play pool. As I said in my last post, I've never liked pool. The game is 80% social, and it's the sort of "social" that goes on in pubs, which I'm especially bad at. Even Martin, who's pretty quiet most of the time, was much better at that than me. After ten the others wanted to play Laser Strike (do you play that?) which I was hardly in the mood for, but luckily for me the same power outage that affected the stadium also put Laser Strike out of commission, and we called it a (wet and windy) evening.

The next morning I picked up four chairs that I'd successfully bid for on Trade Me. I had to collect them from a Christian camp in Waikanae, a little over 60 km from here. My car needed a run.

I couldn't decide whether to go in to work on Monday but did in the end. Then, knowing that my colleagues had seen me below my best the previous day, decided to take Tuesday off. I listened to the US Open final which was a real treat, with minute-long rallies almost the norm. Andy Murray needed every bit of the cushion he built up after two very tight opening sets, and even then he might not have won it. In the fifth set he seemed to be the fitter man, and his experience of playing his semi in similarly windy conditions certainly helped him. Perhaps Djokovic wasn't at his best in the final but it's a well-deserved victory for Murray and a huge monkey off his back. I hope he kicks on from here and wins a few more grand slams. I spoke to Bazza the next day and he felt much the same. We also had our debate - again - over who is the best player of all time; Bazza always says Nadal should be placed above Federer in that regard due to their head-to-head record; I tell him that's a logical fallacy - just because A generally beats B doesn't necessarily mean that A is better than B, and that going by that logic you could place Djokovic ahead of both of them - but he takes no notice.

Last night my cousin's husband, their three boys and an 18-year-old English exchange student who's currently staying there, came to my flat and the six of us had fish and chips (my cousin had been in the States and was about to fly back). It was a nice evening actually. The boys got a lot of excitement just from being in a new place, and enjoyed playing with cardboard boxes and sellotape, proving that you don't need to spend big money to keep kids entertained. The exchange student is a really nice easy-going guy. And my cousin's husband sorted out my wireless internet connection so I can now play badugi in bed if I so choose.
Having people round gave me motivation to give the place a jolly good tidy.

On Wednesday I went to the tramping club and signed up for a trip in two weeks. I met Danielle there; I invited her over to my flat but she only stayed for ten minutes or so. I'm still a little concerned at all the money she's spending on alternative medicine, particularly as she doesn't earn much, but she says it's doing her good so who am I to judge?

Tomorrow night's autism group has been cancelled; Tracy has invited three of us over to her flat in Kilbirnie to play one of her board games. I think it's called Ticket to Ride; you have to build train tracks that go across America. It'll be interesting to see how it goes. I hope it's not too much of a train wreck for me.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Right on cue, here comes the flu (well I hope it's just a cold)

I've picked up a cold. Yet again. Tonight's pool evening in Petone with the depression group is therefore an unattractive proposition, but I'm still going. I'm picking Martin up (he doesn't drive - yet); that's a bit of bugger because he'll probably want to stay longer than me, although at least it gives me an excuse not to drink. I've never liked pool anyway - I'm only going so that I can get out and meet people. In my experience pool mainly involves flirting, with the actual game being accidental. And I'm hopeless at it - well I seem to pot a few balls but just hardly ever the black one, at least not intentionally.

My boss and his boss already want to know our leave plans for Christmas, even though it's 3½ months away. They want someone in the office at all times (except public holidays). I'd planned to take a good few days off for our first Christmas as a complete family for eleven years, but as I'm kidless and fairly new to the team I might be forced to work between Christmas and New Year.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

September and the smell of spring

September is one of my favourite months. In the UK we would sometimes have an Indian summer (and boy could they do with one over there now) while enjoying the plums, apples and berry fruit. Here the smell of spring is in the air. In Septembers past the milder weather would give me the urge to step onto the tennis court. I clearly remember that feeling from September 2005 when I studied for two actuarial exams while listening to US Open tennis coverage on the internet. That remains one of my favourite grand slams (perhaps because Agassi made the final at the age of 35) even though I didn't see any of it. I worked hard for those exams and passed them both. After the exams I took a few days off work and went down to Dunedin with my parents. I remember Coldplay's excellent X&Y album came out at that time. I also voted in a general election for the first time (I was quite excited by this for a number of reasons - I was intrigued by the vagaries of MMP, the election would be close, I had to cast a special out-of-electorate vote, and most importantly I was still naive enough to think it might make a difference to my life who won).

Seven Septembers on, things have changed a bit. I'm no longer playing tennis, or even watching or listening to it, and I've knocked actuarial work (I hope) firmly on the head. Last night I saw my cousin and her family for the first time in five weeks. Today I met up with a few people from the depression group; I had a coffee and a beer at Mac's Brewery, then we spent an hour at the Museum of City and Sea.

I've felt two earthquakes this weekend. Yesterday afternoon's shake (a deep-focus 5.5 centred close to Rotorua) lasted a couple of seconds while the jolt at 4:10 this morning (a 4.0, much shallower and closer to Wellington) lasted only a split second - I probably wouldn't have felt it if I hadn't just woken from a weird dream.

Mum and Dad have just got back from their Baltic cruise, where they stopped off at such weird and wonderful places as St Petersburg, Tallinn and Helsinki. They'll soon be flying to Split, where they invented a popular banana and ice cream dessert as well as that manoeuvre gymnasts do where they have their legs wide apart.