off

5 weeks off.

I think.

Time has gone blurry…

I did previously write a longish, fairly competent post about this on my iphone and then the crappy wordpress app failed to save my words, and it was definitely not pressed.

The official WordPress app is useless.

I came off Prozac 5 weeks ago. Roughly. Accidentally. Ran out of meds, and after 3 days without felt pretty good, so continued to stay off.

Too bitter to rewrite the long, decent post about, so for now, let me bullet you up.

  • Week 1 – Feeling good.
  • Week 2 – Getting some weird head flashes. Otherwise good.
  • Week 3 – Headflashes turn into electro-head mincing machine, get pseudo flu, feel crappy for 3 days, have headache from hell, blows over, and settles into fairly constant tiredness, headflashes and odd feeling in head, worse when tired or stressed.
  • Week 4 – As above, but start feeling a little low.
  • Week 5 – Lowness begins to increase. Starting to think depression is taking over.

To summarise. Prozac was keeping depression at bay, but not other problems I have, such as anxiety (all kinds of that), anger issues, mood swings, stress issues and general hatred of humankind.

However, when you have all that stuff going on, not having to deal with depression as well is kind of helpful.

I am trying to hold out some hope that I am still in withdrawal phase, and will finally emerge, happy and smiling, but cannot remember ever being happy and smiling prior to prozac, so chances are slim I feel.

How long should I wait to see if this new depression is withdrawal, or just my life forever?

a) you shouldn’t, you crazy bastard. Take the meds now before you screw your newfound ‘almost like a normal person’ life up for good.

b) 2 weeks.

c) 1 month

d) as long as it takes, or until I kill myself. (possibly two answers there…)

Darkness redux

Got a new iPhone a couple of days ago. I think I may be in love. Being a lazy type, and not really wanting to touch my laptop after I get home from work my writing has suffered, as has, well, communication with the outside world generally. Since the iPhone arrived I’ve been able to do the whole Twitter, facebook, linked in thing with minimal effort. Triumph of tech over laziness! Over the weekend I’ll do a post updating on life. Recovery is ongoing and constant. I might even go so far as to consider myself not depressed anymore. Maybe. Like a guilty memory, it’s always waiting for a weak moment..

controlled drowning

Recently, I have mostly been learning how to drown with minimum fuss. C lured me into having a tryout dive at a pool with our local scuba centre. There was mention of wondrous underwater seascapes, brightly coloured fish and fantastical coral, and things with funny names (nudibranch).
I’ve had a fairly long-lived fear of getting my face anyway near underwater, and the notion of water actually getting in my mouth or nose induces an almost pantwettingly anxietal reaction.
I was promised that in scuba, the mask covering the nose, and the regulator in the mouth meant there would be no problems.

This was a lie.

Firstly, I discovered upon prancing around in the pool with scuba gear on, that this is just a trick, to get you to sign up to a £300 course to become certified. They make it fun the first time, like heroin. You swim around underwater, breathing away, your mask is on, so nary a droplet near the nostrils.

So, lured in by these cohorts of doom, I signed up, all excitable like. Then the terror began. I found out I had to do a 200m swim to prove I could swim well enough. No great problem you might think.

Wrong.

Apparently I would have to swim like a proper person, and not like an english granny with my head stuck out of the water at all times. Plus, I haven’t really done much swimming since I was, er, 12, so my stamina is not the best.
C, who likes to take things to extremes spent two weeks, (every single day at the pool after work, at weekends) teaching me how to swim properly. This involved me getting over severe anxiety about water, and complete inability to breathe out underwater, and breathe in when I raised my head above the surface without it all going wrong and inhaling a pint of chlorine water.
There were some interesting teaching techniques involved in me getting over this anxiety, such as repeatedly drowning myself time after time until I learned how to breathe out through my nose while underwater, and not breathe in until I came up out of the water. Then I had to learn how to do that whilst swimming. Apparently it take 2 weeks to learn how to swim comfortably underwater. Who knew?

Which was just in time for my first proper pool dive with the scuba centre. I was feeling a little confident of myself now. I could swim underwater. That means I could pretty much do anything right?

Again, with the wrong.

I was subjected to 3 hours of exercises that makes waterboarding seem pretty lightweight. A lot of this involved kneeling at the bottom of a pool for ages, taking out the regulator (yes the thing you keep in your mouth so you can breathe underwater) and blowing bubbles until it was time to put it back in, taking it out and then throwing it away (why would I ever want to do that?) and retrieving it before I drowned, using someone elses spare regulator, breathing from a freeflowing regulator (akin to having an audience with Neptune and Njord, the Norse god of the wind, at the same time) and other crazy shit.

Wearing contact lenses as I do, I particularly enjoyed the bits where they made me take off my mask underwater (exposing my nose to the water!) and I had to breathe through the regulator (and not the nose for that would make me die) for a minute, with my eyes clamped shut so my contacts didn’t shoot out. Then I had to put the mask back on, and as it was full of water, do a complicated procedure involving breathing out through the nose while lifting my face from my chest and pressing down on the top of the mask. The end result was intended to be that air pressure would push the water out of the bottom of the mask.

Several times this did not happen, and I merely managed to inhale water through my nose somehow, panic, and thrash towards the surface, some inches above me.

I did this three times. The minute was terrifying, but easy enough. Just chanting (in my mind, as chanting is hard underwater) ‘do not breathe through your nose you asswipe’ helped a lot. Getting the mask on, with eyes closed was tricky but ok. For some reason I could not get the clearing the mask bit, and did quite a bit of drowning.
Eventually I got it, but managed to lose a contact lens in the process, so ended up all half blind and wonky.

The upside of my intense training regime was that after all this watery torture, the swimming test was a total breeze and was enjoyable in comparison.

I am told that after one more pool session, and two days of diving in a water filled quarry where further attempts will be made on my life, I will be allowed to swim around underwater without actually fucking around with any of the equipment that is meant to protect me, and keep me from a watery grave. Possibly then I will get to see fish. And stuff.

Bah.

Testing Scribefire

Contemplating whether I would blog more (at all) if I could write from within my browser, as i have become very lazy with all the tweeting from firefox, and facebook integration with my igoogle homepage. Logging into wordpress is just too painful. By the time I’ve done that the moment has passed. So checking out scribefire, a firefox add-on.

Lone star sick boy

Just a quick update. Moved my life into storage on Friday. Spent the weekend at friends, cleaning the house and got our deposit back (miracles do happen!). Was supposed to fly out of Cardiff at 6am to Houston, but got delayed due to fog or some such. Pretty sure pilots just need some lights on the runway and instruments, but what do I know?
Set off 2 hours late, landed in Amsterdam having missed the flight, then re-routed to Toronto, but that plane was late too, and arrived in toronto too late to get the connecting to Houston. Ended up staying in the Sheraton over the road, courtesy of Continental. Not too shabby. got some meal vouchers which covered maybe the breadrolls for dinner.
pleasant Canadian waiter suggested Rickards Red which was indeed tasty. The steak was more well done than medium rare, but I was tired having being trekking the globe for 18 hours. Tried in vain to tweet a friend in toronto. I was passing through, it seemed a rare opportunity…
Sadly my phone was out of juice and my charger was in my luggage which I assumed was in Houston by then. Little did I know.
So I failed to meet up, but slept like the dead, and up for another early flight at 7.55 which actually left at about 9.30.
made it to Houston 24 hours later than I should have done.

then found out luggage was nowhere to be found. not even in the system. Oh well.

After two days of incompetence two of them turned up, no sign of the other one, and then out of the blue, a courier woke us up at 2am with the bag. Whilst I admire the above and beyond’ level of service, it might have been nice to wait until the morning.

Whatever. I got some free clothes thanks to continental. finally have my luggage (the 2am wake up was last night), getting over the jet lag, and have eaten large quantities of food. Great Texan barbecue at a place called Joes… Awesome.

Texans are very friendly, and somewhat creepily happy all the time. I suspect it’s all a front and they are secretly planning to lynch me. the refrain from Deliverance pops into my mind unbidden a lot, but I;m sure it’s nothing.

I think I may have gained 20 pounds since I got here. not that I couldnt do with gaining 20 pounds.

so, if my updates are somewhat sporadic over the next 2 weeks its because I am eating my way through Texas, and on my return at the beginning of the year I will be moving into a new house. Oh, and then a new job.

I had too many margaritas last night at the mexican and spent the morning and afternoon alternately feeling ill, throwing up or having a headache.
Just starting to feel human again, but might skip the monstro-food escapades tonight, and the drinking.

I’d like to repeat my tweet from earlier this week.
Never fly KLM. Their service is awful, and their staff incompetent. Although the in-flight meals are good. This is no way makes up for the confused hell I went through.

Ode to C

I can never thank you enough,
For introducing me,
To the CelebFash hilarity,
That is GoFugYourself…

Unusually for a man,
I do like a good chortle,
At whatever Posh Spice is,
Wearing this weekend…

FIN

Change is Good Part 2

I am playing with the new QuickPress feature on the dashboard. It is, well, quick.
(Aside: Where the hell did Dame Wiggy go? Wiggy! Why do you keep disappearing when my back is turned…
What was all that malarkey with Marco and why did that happen? I never understand anything that goes on at your blog…are you constantly drunk? Did the crazed woman stop stalking you, for whatever reason that was happening, which you didn’t explain properly either…unless you did it in some kind of youtube pictionary way. Thinking about it, I think possibly Dame Wiggy may have been one of those feral children who turn up and speak their own strange language, only instead of strange grunts and runes, Wiggy used youtubes as some kind of interpretive symbolism)
Ok so that was less of an aside and more of a whole paragraph. Sorry.

No. Crap. I lost the thread again. I’ll come back.

Change is good, although the menus suck

I have a little rant about WordPress 2.7

So, WordPress 2.7. Turned out ok, all ajaxy goodness. Drag and drop, turning off of things I don’t need….categories and tags back in the right hand column where they belong. 

Still some bugs in Google Chrome, but you know, I’ll forgive that for now. 

The menu though? Sheesh what a pile of cack. Granted the existing WordPress.com menu system was awful involving 72 clicks to get anywhere, but as anyone who has used self-hosted wordpress with the ozh dropdown menu plugin, we were kind of hoping WordPress would have the good sense to implement something similar. The ozh menus are so easy to use, they take up no screen real estate – one click and you are where you want to be.

2.7 has a side menu that has neither the elegance of ozh drop down menus, nor the simplicity of the old menu system. 

in order to have access to the stuff you need, you need to have all the menus open at once, which then involves you scrolling up and down like a demented er, scrolly thing. Why not implement a system whereby the menu drops down when you hover over the arrow? Why not have the menu you previously had open automatically close up when you open another menu? Why not give us some more options to have the menu work the way we prefer? Everything else is customisable, but the menu is stuck in this useless testament to usability failure. 

I did have a brief moment of joy when I discovered that I could turn off the open and close menu crap and get a pop out menu instead, but you only have icons with that method, and I don;t need to be trying to remember which icon means what. 

The dashboard is riddled with ajax drag and drop usefulness. Why not allow us to move menu sections up and down as we please? It is counter-intuitive. I have no notion what they were thinking of when they designed the menu. The top menu WordPress uses is great. Fast, dropdowns – get where you want to in seconds – only I rarely need any of those things very much, so getting to them fast is not much of a bonus for me. I want fast access to the stuff I use constantly, and 2.7 fails very very badly in this regard.

Saying that, the menu is the ONLY thing I don’t like about 2.7.

The ability to customise the dashboard widget placement is great, the ability to switch stuff off with the sceen options tool is great, the general UI is nice, and clean, if a little grey and wishy washy. It would be nice if there were a few colour schemes for the admin side.  (edit: I just discovered the admin colour schemes in the profile. Wish washy grey or wishy washy blue. Nice. Thanks…)

Good to see categories back on the right of the post. 

Overall, good, but with a decent menu system it would have been awesome. Oh well. Maybe 2.8 will improve things there.

 

I was going to do one of my patented two part posts, but the 2nd part is being slow, so I’ll do it seperately.

Twitter addendum

I neglected to mention. My twitter username is darkentries, strangely enough. Please do follow me. I never tire of peoples inane chirpings whilst bored at work. 

Stephen Fry is following me. I would feel honoured, only he is following 20,000 other people too.