Monday, 15 December 2008

Making Mountains out of Mouthbreathers

Depression has a way of making little things bigger.

And not just in a bad way such as where the smallest thing (like getting out of bed on a Sunday morning and going to church) can leave me bedridden for the day.

Somedays, little thoughts come to me and I suddenly feel that, if I could just catch this little thing, I'd get a bit better. I could decide that it might be leaving my emails until the afternoon, or just eating fruit on a Monday.

2 weeks ago, I was going into the local IGA/Foodworks/Farmer Jacks or whatever it is. I call it the Bogan Emporium, on account of me being the only person in the checkout queue not buying cigarettes.

The tiny thought came into my mind that I am kind of mean to people in my mind and that, if I was just a bit nicer to people, in my mind, then things would get better. Sort of like a bit of mental positive karma.

So I gave it a go. There was the overweight, hairy man in front of me in the queue, holding an esky which he wanted to buy. Instead of my usual thought process (Smelly fat guy with too much alcohol for one esky) I tried to think of positives, and then tried to think of nothing at all because I couldn't think of any.

Then he moved up to the checkout girl. So I tried again ... not overly attractive, looks like a nice person, could do something with her hair ... ok, it wasn't much but I didn't give her my normal label - "mouthbreather".

Quite proud of myself, I was. Until the fat guy began to talk to her.

"All those eskys smell" He said "Even this one smells though not as bad. Can you smell it?". He angled it towards the girl.

"I can't smell anything" she said "I'm a mouthbreather".

I stopped trying after that.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

The Opposite of Serendipity

It had to happen sooner or later

Something had to drag me out of my comfortable non-blogness. Things have been busy since the 2Bar holiday ... mainly trying to dodge internal audits at work, keep my job, make sure the End of Year Bonus actually happens and do various battles with denizens of GFoC*.

So I was searching for something else entirely one day this week, and I chanced upon two of the worst songs ever to be recorded. Both, while different, possessed qualities that render them similar, chief of which seems to be taking things way too seriously.

The first seems to be what wigga's find cool these days, ie nothing. Cue gratuitous swearing, autotune, pig costumes and appalling hairstyles.



The only positive I take out of viewing that video is that I know what the answer to the question "Hey Mister 2BarRiff, can my friends and I shoot a music video on your front lawn" will be.

Unless you viewed the next clip, you wouldn't have thought that medieval chicks think skinny like an AIDS patient is sexy (but then again, the Princess thinks Justin Timberlake is cute).



"Love has Enemies" ... so do crappy songs.


That is all, at least until I finish this next report.

*Generic Foreign owned Corporation, which is blessed to have me on the payroll

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

TAB - I Like!!

I WON!!!

Went and checked the ticket and I won $46.50. Not bad for a $3 ticket!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

TAB - a world of it's own!

For the first time I went to a Melbourne Cup luncheon since I finished full time work. Thoroughly enjoyed myself drinking, eating and partying with the Girls. But not in a million years will I understand placing a bet on the horses. My best mate from Ireland understood quite well so I followed her advice thinking wasn't that their national past time in Ireland to bet on the horses? How complicated was it to pick a horse then find the race number, the horse again, the amount, the place and a win. No wonder I don't place bets any other time of the year!

Twenty six dollars later (which is a lot of money considering I earn sixty for three hours work a week!) I still didn't know who I was going for! In the end I'm left with a ticket which says 10 Viewed $3 win div x1 on the back of a $3 mystery combo ticket. Suppose I should go back to the TAB to see if I won.

See you next year dear TAB!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

When two worlds collide

Wedded bliss beats all other blisses.

Can I preface this post by saying that I love Madame2Bar more than anything else in this world?

With that out of the way, I note with interest, and in a completely non-judgemental way that:

Tomorrow morning, I get to sleep in to 7.
Tomorrow morning, Madame2Bar has to get up early.

At 7.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Keep Stepping

Doesn't matter where

As is my wont, I had more to say in my last post than what I posted. Most of the time I keep the goodness to myself (mmmmm, goodnesssss, nom nom nom). Sometimes I just plain forget.

Other times, much more rarely, I'm too drunk to get out of this chair so I'll just post some crap. Bless you Glen Parker, and your Single Malt slice of heaven!

Last budget season, my soundtrack was Lynard Skynards "Live, One more from the Road".

It's amazing how a handful of beer-soaked hicks can be so damn good at their stuff. This double album rocks like a cow in the wind. Each of these guys is/was an absolute genius. Drummer - Genius. 3 Guitar players - genii. Keyboards - Same. Bass Player - Not so much, but sometimes the genius of the bass is in not really noticing it.

This year, it's been Enoch Light and the Light Brigade's Provocative Percussion Vols 1 & 2. Background music. Elevator, Lounge, tiki, cool stuff. Light like a feather but heavier than a mountain. Yeah, you may mock it but pick up your instrument of choice and you do it. This is the kind of stuff that seems so easy and so nothing yet gets deeper the deeper you go. On a par with Lynard Skynard's musicianship but galaxies apart.

Is one a step forward from the other? I don't know.

For a period of time, I was a guitar head. And I was good. I played for hours every day, my entire record collection consisted of guitar music of the 70s and 80s ... hair metal, blues, jazz - six strings and rocking. I have dozens of albums that are all instrumental guitar (and Madame2Bar will NOT listen to them).

I don't do much of that now. I don't play it because it gives me nothing back. I don't listen to it because my brain is more about family, love, work and driving a stake through the heart of my depression. The music just doesn't mean that much. Playing it doesn't mean as much either. I like knowing that I can pick it up again any time I choose, but there's no jizz in doing so.

What's different though, is that, years ago, I couldn't have listened to both albums at the same time. Now, I can. This may not mean much to the casual observer, but it's a hell of an insight.

Arrgh. It's taken 20 minutes to write this, an hour to do the links (hey, I'm drunk and distracted), many minutes of spell checking and another hour to get this far without a finish.

Let's try another way. Some of the worst times in my life have been when I have forced myself to go in a certain direction. Looking back, the times in my life where I haven't moved have seemed benign at the time but have turned out to be some of the worst times as well. So, maybe, it's about making sure I'm moving, without forcing myself into a direction. Making sure I'm stepping, no worrying whether I'm stepping forwards or not. Does that make sense? It does to me.

And Glen Parker.

Budgets and Beer


Not sure what makes my head spin more

In those two lever arch files are approximately 1,280 pages containing 16 columns of numbers (12 months, 4 totals, 1 description and 1 general ledger referance) and a minimum of 30 lines per page, meaning I've spent the last 2 1/2 months generating, checking , referencing and dissecting at least 614,400 unique numbers along with hundreds of emails & phone calls, 20 or so presentations, 2 return flights to Sydney and back and more late nights that I care (or can) remember. It all culminated in a formal presentation lasting a shade under 12 hours.

Budget time is probably the key time of the year for me, where I display all I've learned about in the last year about the 10+ businesses I'm responsible for, wrangle the knowledge and experience of at least a dozen (unco-operative) others, and cobble it all together into an 18 month prognostication upon which I will be judged at some point in the future. All while making sure my staff and department are hitting their targets.

So, as you can imagine, it is a big deal. And having depression means one is often less capable dealing with the big deals.

Being a year older and wiser (and greyer) I was able to observe myself riding the rise and fall of the depression tide. There were moments of panic and rage along with antipathy and madness, anger and humor. What was different this year, was not necessarily the emotions, but the recognition of them and the control (at the good times) and the lack of fear (at the bad times).

I learnt that all of the things that come out of me are me, not something that's happening to me or me reacting to something. I owned every one of those feelings, and if someone let me down, then I was happy to acknowledge the disdain and disappointment. I wasn't '2BarRiff - angry feeling like he was at getting out of control'. I was '2BarRiff - mad at the prick who didn't do what I was counting on them doing'.

And the best thing is that I think others in the office appreciate me for it, judging by the openness and respect I've been shown lately. The others know I have their back because they've seen me taking the bullets (METAPHOR ALERT! METAPHOR ALERT!), for the last year I've been more quiet about it.

As a manager, I've learnt more about dealing with people than ever before. It's one thing to depend on someone, it's another to really, really, really count on them - the instructions need to be precise, the stakes clearly spelt out and the abilities of the person judged against what the task is ... can they already do it, can they grow with this task, what if they cock it up, is it better or easier to stay up an hour later and do it myself?

But finally, the beer's been drunk, and the red wine, and the celebratory scotch. The reruns have been rerun, numbers recast, reconciliations posted. Tomorrow will be the finish and I have 2 weeks of holidays coming up.

I rock. I really do.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Hax0r Economist

I found some old webiste curios hiding in Firefox's Bookmarks so thought I'd share some, as opposed to writing anything sensible or worthwhile.

The first is the Hax0r Economist, casting Alan Greenspan in a whole new light (and shows the age of the link).

A favourite:

Cyxplycth, Abblefrobnok, Urrlgh!

I think a big indicator of society's downfall, not including it's inability to recognise my genius in monetary form, has been the lack of quality swear words.

Cussing has lost almost all meaning, and now a few f-bombs resound with a faint hilarity instead of an air rending shock.

New swear words are hard to come up with. Variants on themes (eg ass-hat) are ok but just don't cut it in the ear-curdling department.

The subject came to me as I was pounding out the budgets for GFoC* over the last 3 weeks (hence the lack of posts etc). I had around 10 companies to budget for and had spend 80% of the time on the first company as the formats were new and needed a LOT of fixing. So I've been spending all day, and most of the night, for the last few weeks trying to thrash out something that will work (One company alone had over 60 variables just to create the revenue model).

It wasn't until last Wednesday night, at around 1.00 am, when I discovered that instead of taking 2 hours just to format ONE division of ONE budget, I could do x, y and z instead and then the process would take about a minute.

a MINUTE ????!!!!???!! Cyxplycth, Abblefrobnok, Urrlgh!

Strangely, I felt underwhelmed.

* Generic Foreign-owned Corp

Monday, 25 August 2008

Ev'rybody wants to work

No, no, not me...

It's one of the few occasions where my life co-incides with that of Brian Mannix.

I'm a professional, moderately successful, leader of men. Yet I don't like working.

The results are fine. It's just the doing of it is a joyless exercise.

I've talked about procrastination before, and I think this is an echo from when it first arose. The first few years of my career were spent hating it. Actually, it goes back to uni when I worked out fairly early on that accounting was not something I enjoyed all that much. It was the fear of letting my parents down, I think, that kept me going at it.

The wash up is that I take very little pleasure in the day to day of my work. I've managed to ditch most of the technical, boring accounting stuff now but dealing with the mundane of my current job still brings out the bad stuff.

One of the ways I combat this is to reward myself e.g. get the report done and I'll buy myself lunch today. Problem is, I find that I over reward myself. Just last week, I worked at home till 12.30, got in before 7.00, worked 2 hours and spent the next two in a meeting. My reward was to go and get my lunch and spend a half hour on Google reader catching up on my feeds. Unfortunately, I sat there until 3 and wasted the benefits of my hard work.

A tool I'm working on from my last session is the 3 D's as used in addiction therapy - Delay, Dilute, Divert. And it's kind of worked until today. I'm away on work and had allocated the afternoon for doing some grind work for the budgets. The sheer effort of working on this crap and not giving myself a reward that would end up with me not dong anything has now left me with a headache and insomnia, which is why I'm blogging and not sleeping. Sigh.

The work wasn't hard, btw, just of the kind that seems to jerk my chain, procrastination wise.

Here's some Uncanny X-men to cheer me up:

Monday, 4 August 2008

So what's the worst sound to hear at the dentists?

Is it:

a. 'That will be $213 for today and we'll make the next booking for two week's time';
b. The dentist's favourite drill - 'the rattler'; or
c. 'I'm just puncturing the abscess now and then let the pus drain out'.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

My suggestion

I'm full of it them.

Tea's redone her blog and is looking for a clean start, so I thought, given her obvious design skillz, why not do the same thing as Deke does?



Link found courtesty of the ever-cool Lifehacker.com.

Monday, 30 June 2008

Off to the Dentist again!

Recently the Princess had surgery to remove her four front teeth as her adult left tooth came through the roof of her mouth. As her tooth came behind the baby tooth it wasn't going to fall out on it's own. Apparently the adult tooth absorbs the roots of the baby teeth hence why they fall out. And as she has such large adult teeth and a small jaw there isn't enough room for the new teeth. So off to the dentist. The Princess would not allow the local dentist to pull out the tooth so off to the paediatric dentist who has lovely fairy gas. The fairy gas got nowhere near the Princess' nose, so off to surgery we went.

The dentist recommended we do 2 or 3 years worth of dentistry work while she was under because he didn't think he would get near her mouth any time soon. OK we went ahead and had the surgery done, a mold was taken while under so a plate could be made to push the tooth forward over the bottom teeth. All goes well. We are surprised how well the Princess recovers and quite happily has the plate fitted and really enjoys wearing it. (She enjoys it because she's the only one in her class with a plate and all the other kids want one now!) We even pay the bill quite happily and thank the Lord for our private health insurance.

Last Friday night the Princess had a sleep over at a friends house. She wrapped her plate in a tissue and put it next to her dinner plate as she forgot her plate holder in the car. I guess in all the excitement she overlooked it and did the best she could to look after the plate itself. Dinner was finished and off she went. In the meantime her friends Dad cleared the table and threw all the tissues and serviettes in the fire. Yep plate and all! They looked in the fire and the next morning and not a scrap of it was left. It must of melted. Even the the metal pieces.

Great! My friend was extremely apologetic and is insisting on paying but we won't have a bar of that. It's an accident and that's all. So now on Wednesday I have to take her back and have another mold taken of her mouth. If you hear screaming and crying on Wednesday morning coming from Mount Hawthorn you can rest assured that will be me trying to get the Princess to have this mold done.... again!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's 2BarRiff!

And I am cute, too

I wasn't going to use this place, or any other, to eulogize my brother. After all the emotion and hassle of the last couple of months, I just wanted it over and done with and then get on with my own life.

One of my most enduring memories of 1BarRiff was him as a child, spending hours upon hours on the backyard trampoline. He would create vast worlds that he would inhabit as a superhero such as Super-1BarRiff, Bat-1BarRiff, Spider-1BarRiff or Wonder-1BarRiff (which was kinda creepy).

All this wasn't so bad, gender experimentation aside, until the day he started turning up at school proclaiming his super identities to all and sundry. To the other kids in the family this was mortifying as we were subjected to humiliation by association, while 1BarRiff, oblivious to our pain and his tormentors, tore around the school grounds it the classic Superman pose. Or tried to stick to walls in the classic, but doomed to fail, Spiderman pose. I'm glad he was never seen to do the old Wonder Woman, arms outstretched, twirly costume change thingy as I would have had to kill him to avoid the abuse from my classmates.

Now, far be it for me to let this website be about anything else, so I now need to segue into how this is all relevant to, and about, me.

I could never be a superhero, for two reasons:

1. I use my powers for evil at worst and self interest at best; and
2. I'm not good with lycra.

As the mornings have gotten colder, I did a major re-assessment of my running clothes and so ended up wearing bikeshorts and a long sleeve SKINS top while running. The SKINS gear, btw, gets a 2BarRiff 2ThumbsUp - they simply do a great job of, well, everything they claim it to do.

The main problem is that it takes so long to put this stuff on. Stuggling to get the gear over and under all the bits, and then getting the arms and, ahem, package, just so - all while not tearing the bathroom up as I waltz about, is a major endeavour.

And so Super2BarRiff would be a less than super hero as banks would be robbed and buildings burned down in the time it would take to put my underwear on over my pants.

I look good in lycra, though.

Depression? Oh right, I nearly forgot.

Silly me

I realised today that I haven't talked about depression much on the blog. And there's a good reason - it's because I haven't been thinking about it all that much.

(At this point in time the old self would now go back and calculate how many days it's been since
I last posted about depression. The new self now doesn't really care.)

In some ways this is good. Not having to deal with it minute by minute has shown me that I may be some way through the worst of it. Life has been a little on autopilot, aided by medication (of the non-vodka kind) and continuing therapy. I've now fallen into a pattern that's reasonably happy and easy to coast along with.

This is where the post could end. Life, as the fairy tale, ends with happily ever afters and the book is closed.

In other ways, though, I still need to work on the depression. According to my therapist, I'm
at the point where I can either take things deeper or leave them, but I'm over the worst. My
emotional development has been restarted, I'm more aware and thoughtful of things and have a
generally happy outlook.

I still live with depression, though. While the drugs do work, they haven't killed the beast,
merely cut it's claws and thrown a blanket over it. There are still fears in my life such as the fear that the beast will get loose again; the fear of failure; the fear of not having the answers and the fear of not being what I was meant to be.

My feeling now is that I have the benefit now of choosing to fight these battles, or not. So it's not a battle for my life, merely a breather while I maneuver into position.

So good point: I only stare into the abyss now, rather than teetering over the edge.
Bad point: Not much fuel for writing. I guess there's always cat-blogging.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

More running

It beats thinking about depression

I run to beat my depression or, failing that, to have a part of my week where I don't have to think about depression.

Thought I'd use the awsome power of my GPS to upload some of my runs here.

If all goes well, today's run will appear below:

Friday, 13 June 2008

Freinds don't let friends drink alone

Unless the friends are myself and a bottle of this.

While Madame2Bar is out with her mates, I'm looking after the kids and myself. Tonight's drink is my own invention called the 'Shy Martini'.

Basically, you take a martini glass from the cupboard and a bottle of your favourite gin from the freezer. Contemplate a list of ingredients (vermouth, ice, olives) but decide that your gin doesn't like mixing with others. Pour the gin in the martini glass. Drink. Repeat.

(The irony of talking about fitness and alcohol in adjoining posts is not lost on me. I choose to ignore it).

Running Update for May

May
Total Kms: 29.46
Total Calories: 3162
Average Pace: 5.57
Total Time: 2:34:37

Quite a bit down from the last 2 months as work and health (or lack of) got in the way. I finished May by getting lost in Lesmurdie looking for a way down the hills with an empty battery in my GPS watch, so there should be at least 20 slow kilometers on the tally and another 1500 calories or so.

Oh well. June isn't looking too bright either but that's because it's too freakin' cold in the mornings. I'd like to have more willpower but at 5.30 am, and with the temperature almost zero, the 2% of me that wants to run can't enforce their reign of terror over the other 98%.

The current aim is to achieve a sub 50 minute 10Km run, and to do the City to Surf this year. My training schedule has been left on the shelf a bit, but I should have the first done by the end of June and the second is at the end of August, giving enough time to do the 12 km in an hour. After that it's a half marathon. Then hopefully a full one.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Big Bucks Part IIl

Is it revenge though when I would also benefit from a $500 spending spree at Cellarbrations? I'm fairly sure there would be a few bottles of vodak, scotch and white wines in the haul.

See, I know you very well sweetheart!! Mahahahahaha!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Big Bucks Part II

Of course I wouldn't throw a fit.

I'd go and spend $500 at Cellarbrations.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Big Bucks!

Today I went to the Craft and Quilt Fair. I enjoy doing a bit of scrapbooking and occasionally make some jewellery when the mood takes me. (My passion is painting especially oils but my teacher has left and gone back to England. Anyway thats another post.) The size of this fair is huge. Over 4 days they will pack over a thousand and more women (and some token men) a day through the doors at the Convention Centre. And today I was one of them.

They had over 100 exhibitors and we had only 5hours to get through them all. We gave it our best shot and came out pretty unscathed and our purses fairly well intact. Some others did not fair so well. I witnessed women with baskets piling them up with stamps, stickers, papers, brads and all sorts of accessories. Now that would be OK if they were on special say for a couple of bucks. But when I looked most of these items were over $12 to $15 and over. They were filling their baskets! I couldn't get over the amount of money being spent on something that to me is a small hobby!

2Bar would have a fit if I came home and said I spent $500 at the fair on stamps and stickers!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Doughnuts, doughnuts lovely doughnuts!

This weekend I'm tagging along with 2Bar to a work conference in Sydney. Children are at Grandparents for four whole days. Ahh the freedom! But since starting this diet and being quite successful so far I'm a bit worried about how I will go in the eating capital of Parramatta. I know I'm going to fall off the wagon, which doesn't worry me too much. It's just how far I'm going to fall and what I' going to have to do to get back on. Maybe the suggestion from TroyG to go jogging with 2Bar will be the way to go? Bahahahaha! I couldn't run to save my life!

Actually I've spent quite a bit of the day trying to work out how pieces of fruit I have to give up to have a Krispy Kreme doughnut. MMMMMMM KK doughnuts! As we don't get them here in the West they are a real treat when someone goes over east and brings them back. The girls and I have quite an obsession with these round doughy delicious delights! Last person over there brought back 4 dozen and carried them on the plane whilst eight months pregnant. She was slightly embarrassed but nothing was stopping her from those KK's or the wrath of us when she got back!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Me and my lack of Backbone.

I've joined up on the Tony Ferguson weightloss program with one of my closest friends. We're only three days into it and she is already complaining and finding fault with the effect it's having on her body. The diet is based on having no sugars or carbohydrates and ketosis. I didn't look too closely at it as lot's of words and big ones bore and scare the hell out of me. Just happy to follow what they tell me and lose 12kgs.

But my mate has already picked holes in it (even though she's the one whose talked me into it). She's already affecting my sense of determination to succeed but I'm too nice to tell her to suck it up and give it a few weeks. Oh the dilemma of me!

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Running Update

Run 2Bar, Run 2Bar, Run Run Run ...

Thought I'd keep a log of my running for the last couple of months:

March
Total Kms: 63.36
Total Calories: 6838
Average Pace: 5.35
Total Time: 5:53:20

April
Total Kms: 90.91
Total Calories: 9799
Average Pace: 5.33
Total Time: 8:25:17

I've been training up for an improved 10Km time (50 minutes) using this program. I'm currently at 51:57 for the 10K so not too far to go now.

Could do with warmer mornings, though.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Last thought for the night

until the next one, anyway

Of the bazillions of blogs now in existence, how many are solely dedicated to apologising for not posting in a while?

Speaking of ...

nothing much, really.

Inspired by Troy's post here, I wish to add my own complaints about crappy language, focusing on pronunciation:
  • O becomes U eg Uh-lympics or a Biggest Loser influenced Uh-limination and all policemen are not Constables
  • S becomes Sh eg Telshtra. I blame Liz Shmiley, the Exshtra shpruiking exsh-tennish player with "the great tashte that really lashtsh".
  • S disappears altogether eg and especially Specifically becomes pacifically.

What on Earth???

Or more precisely, in England?

It's not often something gets my blood boiling.

This is one of those times.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Bits and Pieces

When all else fails, LINK!!

* How boring am I? I had a rare 1/2 hour to myself at work so I worked out my tax return for this coming June.

* A new season of AFL has begun, so make sure you head on over to Football Invective for all your fixins.

* And Eaglesflyinghigh.com for all the pain an Eagles fan can bear.

* And Aftergrog.blog for all the pain a Melbourne fan can bear.

* W00T$$ - sold our first thing on flea-bay. Now to clear out the rest of the house. And no, dear, you may not sell any of my guitars.

* Youtube goodness, cause I need a laugh:

David Blaine 1
David Blaine 2
David Blaine 3

Cheezits! Cheezits! Cheezits! Cheezits!

* 2BarRiff is running in the ASICS Gel Bridges fun run this weekend. First person to spot me and introduce themselves wins breakfast at McDonalds with the 2BarHousehold straight afterwards.

As you may be able to tell, it's been busy and tough the last couple of weeks so I haven't put much as much energy into blogging. Work is going freakin' nuts (I have two 'Acting' job titles, in addition to my normal one at the moment) but still in a good way. And another relative died this last week, not extremely close but enough to suck out whatever wind was in the sails.

No wonder I drink alcohol.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Death by T-ball

"If we lose another game I'll kill myself" said the Princess.

"Don't do that" I said.

"Why not?"

"Because you're too small to think of a cool way to kill yourself. Let me do it. I'll think of something cool."

"Like what?"

"Oh, I don't know. I might tie you to the back of my car by your wrists and drive around the block a few times. Or I could just tickle you until you explode".

Such are the morbid conversations we have. Since the kids got Tamagochis (not my doing, talk to Madame2Bar) the whole cycle of life thing has become topic du jour in the 2Bar household.

My brother died yesterday.

The cancer got him in the end, after a long struggle and apparent remission.

We weren't that close due to RIWGI (Reasons I won't go into) but it's still been an emotional time, especially this last week. My immediate family are taking it hard and, while I aren't crying or carrying on, I am feeling physically ill - which is my standard response, apparently.

The Bomb wants to know if his uncle will come back as an egg, just like the Tamagochi.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Diary Entry from the Road #2

A little worse for wear today. Yesterday was full on and, while I'm coping, the temptation to just stay in my room and sleep for a couple of hours is high (I just snuck back to the room during the lunch break).

I don't really have an excuse as I broke one of my travelling rules - no big meals. It helps to eat very little and/or go vegetarian as I find that food on the road is a bit rich and my body spends too much energy processing meals instead of concentrating.

The advantage of eating more is, of course, being able to drink more, but I've successfully stayed away from the slops (mostly).

I had a good 6 hours sleep due to my favourite relaxation technique - lying in a hot bath with a good album on the mp3 player. Last night it was Keane's Hopes and Fears and tonight it will either be Massive Attack's Collected or Keane's Under the Iron Sea.

Anyway, time to check the emails and psyche myself up for the afternoon session.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Diary Entry from the Road #1

I'm away on business this week and I'm wondering, as I eat breakfast on the balcony, enjoying the sun rise over the ocean ... am I a prick because I'm upset that the toast is cold?

Famous person count: 2 (David Helfgott and Angry Anderson)

Friday, 15 February 2008

Back!

Again!

The lack of posting was brought to you by a week's holiday in one of the wildest, most dangerous parts of Western Australia.

That's right! Busselton.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Rules of Accounting

Just because I can

It occurred to me the other day that, since I've spent more than a decade in the workforce, I should have some words of wisdom.

So, here are 2BarRiff's 5 Rules of Accounting:

1. It's all about the cash.
Everything else is smoke and mirrors.

2. Don't let anyone know how you do things.
If they knew how easy it was then they'd be doing it.

3. The only thing harder than trying to manage a result that looks bad is trying to manage a result that looks too good.
A Bad result means you get to interrogate everyone because they missed something.
A Good result means you have to interrogate yourself because you missed something.

4. It's not about the numbers, it's what the numbers mean.
Accountants deal in information, not numbers. But remember Rule 1.

5. Making the hard decisions can be easy.
Remember, as an accountant no-one expects you to have either a conscience, a personality or friends. This can be a plus. The minus is that it only works down. The guy above you is a bigger prick than you are.

Am I Better Yet?

Ok ... how about now?

I mentioned during my last therapy session that, while I am feeling better more often, I don't think I've shaken the depression.

The response was for my counselor to ask what told me that I was still depressed.

My answer was to refer to bad sleeping patterns (still) and just the general feeling. It wasn't much of an answer and obviously something that requires more thinking about.

It's interesting to think about these types of questions - How do I know that I'm better? How do I know that I'm not?*

I guess the easiest way to work out if I'm better is to stop taking the anti-depressants and see if I feel the same. (BTW, I said it was the easiest way, I didn't say it was the smartest way)

At the end of the day, I'm guessing that depression, or at least, my depression, is a combination of depth and frequency. If I was to be in the state defined as 'well', I would still experience a range of emotions. However, for me, depression is about experiencing certain emotions (the darker ones) deeper and more often than a 'well' person would.

I have my unexplained blue moods, my inability to concentrate, my procrastination and my decision avoidance. Also my inability to form coherent paragraphs :-)

A better question might be: 'What am I listening to when deciding one way or the other?'

What I am listening to is the small voice during the quiet moments that says "No, you're not better yet. There's more work to do, so be patient"

* The mere fact that I can ask these questions is a positive for me. I can see that parts of me are starting to look forward to being better. Hope is a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

I don't do New Year's resolutions much.

Or grammar.

Mostly, I do Old Year's resolutions. That is, I spend New Year's Eve alternatively drinking and trying to recall both what on earth I resolved to do last year and whether or not it was achieved.

If memory serves me correct (he says, channeling Chairman Kaga), last year's Resolution was to 'get better'. This was achieved, but in a round-a-bout way: 'better' was initially meant to mean completely better, but was transformed into meaning 'better than I was before'.

And thus, I also believe that this is one of the few times that I've set and achieved an NYR.

(I am well aware that I'm not only too lazy to keep typing the subject of this post in full, I'm also too lazy to copy and paste it. Beating depression is all about understanding and accepting your limitations. Mine is a lack of diligence. Otherwise known as the king-lazies. I also procrastinate, which is why this paragraph is longer than typing NYR.)

I achieved an NYR when, at about age 21, I stopped drinking for a year. This was easy to do as I was dirt poor and could barely afford uni books let alone any of the good stuff. I was also a very angry young man when I started drinking and didn't want to be like that anymore. That problem has been solved - I'm now a funny older man when I drink. Well, at least I think so and, since another part of handling depression is not seeking validation externally but internally, I'll just keep on thinking so.

Another NYR that succeeded was to get married. Granted, I set this when I was about 17 and achieved it about 9 years later, but I don't bow to anyone's petty rules, including the one about NYR's lasting for a year. It was set in a new year, and it was resolved, ok??? Fine.

What I hate about developing a new NYR, as opposed to recycling one from last year, is that I end up with a list a mile long. (Yes, I've measured it - only the facts on this blog). Anything from losing weight, to budgeting better, to being happy, to not being sad to blogging more gets thrown onto the list. And none of it makes me happy.

Partly, it's because I still have a problem with goal-setting taking the fun out of things. Partly it's just because a bunch of affirmations is still an ugly to-do list that screams out that it needs to BE DONE. NOWNOWNOWNOWNOW. I hate that. I prefer to run on 2BarRiff time, which does not run on the same urgency as the rest of the world.

I tried to cut the list down to 2 big things. But even that was a bit bleah. Again with the to-do list.

So this year's NYR has been slimmed down to something that I think will last because it's more value laden:

EAT SLOWLY

Yup, that's it.

The driver was the realisation that I wasn't enjoying food (although I was enjoying eating). I had the impression that my sense of taste was becoming less sensitive and so wanted to slow down eating to spend more time experiencing tastes and textures.

But, more than eating, I also want to consume everything at a slower rate. I chew through books quickly but retain little knowledge unless I read them again. I start something focusing mainly on the end, not on the process of doing it. I'm impatient and have less joy in my life than I want.

I want to spend more time writing, learning and creating but I believe that it won't happen at the rate I'm going. Aside from the amount of grey hairs that I'm creating - that's rocketing along.

So Eat Slowly. Rush less. Experience more.

We'll see how it goes. In 11 month's time anyway.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Still here, but sort of not ...

Just having a blogging holiday for a while. Lotsa reading and thinking, plenty of working.

Plenty of swimming in this 40 degree heat, too.

Will start writing again soon. I think.