Easy Day

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Today had a little bit of everything. Went to the store (twice in as many days!), cooked dinner, watched an episode of a TV show we bought a while back, took a nap, played some computer games, played with the cats, and all the stuff that goes into a typical day for me. Not much to report.

Days like today I kind of feel bad because there’s not some astounding progress to tell you about, or some struggle that I’m dealing with. But it’s how a lot of days are. They’re just days, with a little bit of everything thrown in.

That’s one of the shortfalls of being on disability. There’s no job to report about, there’s not really much of a schedule, so the day isn’t nearly as hectic as it would be otherwise. And being on disability, there’s usually not much money to spare, so there’s not many opportunities for us to go do something worth talking about.

But it was still a good day, and I suppose that’s worth mentioning.

Come to think about it, I do have something to report. In addition to this blog, I keep a mood journal that measures days as awful, fugly, meh, good, and rad. I had to go back and look to see when the last time I had a fugly day was – April 29th. (In the year-plus that I’ve been using Daylio, I’ve never recorded an awful day.) Also since April 29th, I’ve only recorded eight days that were meh. The rest have been good, with one day that I recorded as rad. That’s a fairly long streak of middle of the road days or better, and I’m happy for that.

Moving Forward and Breaking Down

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This is not the meat of today’s blog post, but it’s something that happened today, and I want to get it out of the way before I go on. I called the program coordinator for my certificate program at Austin Community College today and found out that she’ll accept my immunization form before it’s complete. (I’m going into a Health Sciences program of study, if you’ll recall, which means that there’s a ton of vaccinations that I need to document for school. One of those immunizations is for Hepatitis B, which is a three-part vaccination spread over six months. I’ve got the first two done, but the last dose won’t be due until after I’ve started the program already.) That meant scanning the form and sending the scan to their document agency today. Once I get confirmation that the document has been accepted by the school, I can call to set up an orientation appointment where I’ll drop off my application.

It’s been some time since I’ve been able to move forward with school and I’m excited that the ball is rolling again.


Now on to the part that I’m really excited about.

Tonight we broke down and subscribed to Starz through Amazon Prime. We got it for one thing, and one thing only – American Gods.

The adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel is in the middle of its first season on the network, and we’ve been wrestling with whether we wanted to spring for the subscription or not, knowing that the show would be likely the only thing we’d watch. I think our combined desire to see American Gods more or less along with everyone else finally tipped us in favor of forking out. Our budget is extremely tight right now, so the nine bucks a month is something that we needed to make sure was in the cards for us.

We brought up the service on our Fire stick and started perusing movies, just out of curiosity. We were overjoyed to see so many movies that we wanted to see – one of which I was just thinking about the other day. That made me feel better about the subscription, because it means there’s going to be lots more to Starz than we had initially thought.

We had turned on the TV for one reason, though, and that was to watch American Gods.

I’ve only read the novel once, several years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though, so I was really looking forward to the adaptation, but there’s a lot of details that I don’t easily remember. I’d be going into this with only a basic outline of the story line in my head.

I’m also not one to binge watch anything, which is why I hardly ever start into a television series on any platform – I need a break after an episode and eventually those breaks get longer and longer until I downright forget that I’m watching a series. We started season one of The Last Kingdom a while back, an adaptation of my favorite ongoing novel series from Bernard Cornwell, and I got about halfway through the first season before trailing off. I’m going to go back and finish it at some point, I just never think to do so.

I think depression has something to do with that. Lately I’ve been going through the motions with much of my day, and only doing the bare minimum to get my checklists done. I haven’t found any interest in doing much of anything outside of what I need to do in order to get me through the day for some time now, and that manifests itself into spending endless hours just surfing the net for no apparent reason other than it’s something to occupy the time. Before I know it the whole day’s gone by and I’ve missed my opportunity to do much of anything about it.

So agreeing to watch American Gods tonight was something out of the ordinary for me, and this is part of the reason that I’m going on at length about it.

The other reason that I’m getting long winded is that the show is incredible.

My words really can’t do justice to how good American Gods is. They are sticking with the book quite faithfully (my wife, who’s read the novel several times and is quite familiar with it, says there’s only been one minor departure from the book so far and the rest of the differences are nitpicky details) and that thrills me. The acting is good – Ian McShane is a tour de force as Mr. Wednesday – and the script is fantastic. We mowed through the first two episodes back to back, and that’s something I hardly ever do. The only reason that we didn’t move on to episode three is because I still had yet to write today.

Going through Amazon Prime to subscribe means that we’ll not be watching live broadcasts on Sundays, but we’ll have next-day availability of new episodes, and being only a day behind is very acceptable to me. We’ll likely be caught up – there’s only been five episodes so far – before Monday night, when we’ll be able to watch the newly released sixth episode, and I’m already looking forward to having a regular Monday night activity for the next few weeks.

NaBloPoMo Day 4: Binary Speed Settings

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I woke up this morning early. I took my blood pressure just after 6:00 am; the alarm goes off at 9:00. I didn’t wake up with a headache, or a backache, or heartburn, the usual three culprits that will keep me out of bed when I’ve had essentially a half-night’s worth of sleep. I woke up with a vengeance.

By the time my wife had gotten out of bed at around 8:45 thanks to the Wednesday Morning Lawn Crew I had already done my reading for the day, done my learning for the day, and watched an episode of Supernatural. Here’s where I depart from the original point of the post to give a little background.

I have a bad, bad, bad tendency to hyperfocus on computer games. By this, I mean in the absence of anything else active to do, I’ll spend hours upon hours gaming, all day, every day. I have realized that it’s a problem, so I’m trying to make steps to pull myself out of the mindset that my laptop is a gaming device first and a social media device second and a whatever-else-I-use-a-computer-for device third. I’m not sure that turning it into a device to bingewatch TV is necessarily a good idea either, but it’s a step in the right direction. So far I’ve decided to limit my viewing to one episode a day, but might ramp that up a bit given Netflix’s tendency to trade out its selections every month, and I’d prefer that they not decide to drop Supernatural before I can get through its first ten seasons. Had that happen with the Battlestar Galactica reboot a while back. I got halfway through season one before I got distracted and by the time I heard they were going to drop it from rotation I would have had to literally do nothing but watch the show in order to get it all in by the time it left the service. Being the completist that I am, I would rather not miss part of a show. (On an aside, if anyone reading this is in Austin and has the last season of True Blood on DVD, I’d sure love to borrow it.) Anyway, to use the industry parlance, back to our regularly scheduled blog post, already in progress.

The point I was making paragraph before last is that I woke up being productive straight out of the gate, and that tends to be a problem for me. If I START productive, I don’t feel like it’s permissible for me to STOP being productive until something close to midnight. And honestly, there just aren’t that many things that need doing around the apartment. Which leads me to feel useless and worthless, which quickly progresses into full-on self-destructive talk in about five minutes.

I managed to keep that particular demon at bay until about 12:30, when I was suddenly overcome with fatigue, and I went to go lie down for a nap. I figured given my early start, it was absolutely okay. I got a short little nap in before it was time for my wife to head off to work, and she woke me up so I could send her off with a smooch. I went back to sleep just fine and then something – I still don’t know what was going on – started banging around outside, like the garbage truck was emptying the dumpster. So much for a nap.

The reason I say something was happening outside was that if it was the garbage truck emptying the dumpster, it spent a good 45 minutes doing it. There was no way I was going back to sleep after that.

Soon after I woke up, I realized there were THINGS to be done, and so I tidied up the kitchen a little bit and cycled our water supply. (We rotate through three gallon jugs of filtered water in the apartment, in addition to the large gallon-sized Brita dispenser. We both drink a lot of water, and go through a lot more water through the Keurig, which gets the filtered water from the fridge, so keeping that much on hand becomes necessary, especially on a weekend when we’re both home all day.) And that’s when I realized that, on the mornings I wake up wanting to accomplish things straightaway, I have two speeds – get stuff done, or dead.

This only happens when I start out my morning in a dead panic to get things done, like I did this morning. A typical morning is more like wake > vitals > coffee > Facebook > gaming > coffee > breakfast. Nice and leisurely, no mad dash to DO ALL THE THINGS. (Thanks again for that phrase, Allie.) I don’t know why I’m so set on staying productive if that’s the first thing I do with my day.

I think subconsciously I’ve been aware of this proclivity of mine, which is why I’ve done my best to organize my checklist in more or less chronological order. For example, it’s just past 4:00 pm as I write this sentence. Once I finish with this post and get it online, the next unchecked box I have is “dinner,” which is time dependent during the week. It means that until it’s time for me to start making dinner, once I’m done here, I can do whatever I want, and know that I’m not letting anything slip through the cracks. My brain can calm down out of “get stuff done” mode and relax into “goof off” mode. Starting the productivity cycle early in the morning throws off this established flow of how things should get done and sends me into a bit of a panic about the day being turned upside down.

I have two solutions to this urge to keep up the early morning productivity: one, actively curtail the urge to get stuff done and force myself into my usual morning routine; two, be prepared to have a point later in the day when I run out of things to do and combat the urge to start in on myself for it. I think in practice it’s going to be a combination of these two methods, depending on what my mindset is during the day. If I can get myself to relax and slow down first thing, fine, but if I can’t (or don’t want to) I’ll just have to deal with the eventuality of front-loading my day.

(As a closing note, today I really get why journaling can be good for one’s mental health. The sentence in bold print above was a last minute addition to this blog post. As I was processing what I wanted to write, that realization came to me, and I had to add it, then come back down here and make this point. While writing, I figured out the likely reason WHY today’s situation occurred, and arrived at the conclusion that, despite my two solutions above, the most honest and likely most effective answer will be to just remember to keep the checklist in charge, and don’t do things wildly out of order. The time for everything will come. Relax, and let it happen. That’s likely just good advice in general. Think I’ll remember to try and follow it next time I wake up in a tizzy over productivity.)