Trying My Hand at Football

One of my favourite memories in high school is playing football during phys ed classes in Year 9. I’m not fond of those times because I was good at or enjoyed the sport – quite the contrary, I was terrible at it. I look back with a smile because of one of my classmates.

JB was the son of a prominent football star, and everyone expected him to follow in his Father’s footsteps. What’s more is that he probably would – the guy was a gun at football and had every chance of becoming an AFL star after graduation.

You might thing I’d be intimidated playing alongside an ace like him, and you’d be right. I became even clumsier in my desperation to pass the ball to him, and I unfailingly tossed him the ball rather than passed it with my fist. After a whole term of enduring this, during the final match of the year I threw the ball to JB when the coach blew the whistle for yet another foul. It would have been easy for JB to turn on me for the incompetent sportsman I was, but instead he turned to the coach and yelled “He’s trying!”

The coach went through with the foul anyway, but I never forgot that JB accepted that my best was my best, and he didn’t blame me for it. It reminds me that all of us are doing our best to be happy in life, and from where I’m standing that’s good enough for me. I hope you all have JB’s in your lives to remind you of that from time to time!

Fishwinning, muscle spasming, thief failing and pattern breaking

Yup, it’s official. I’m a crazy fish guy.

Sam Lyota (damn, I’ve got to stop doing that. I’ll never forget you buddy.), you’ll be pleased to know, is doing swimmingly. >pauses to giggle<
I turned his filter off again because, happy as he was to fight the current for a few hours, I could see it was wearing him down. Aqua One, why you sell an OP’d filter for a 9L tank? He survived the cleaning and water change- which I turned out to have quite an acidic pH – poor guy, it’s amazing what I’ve put him through. He loves the new food he’s on, though he doesn’t eat much, and as far as I can tell he’s happier and healthier than ever. Yay fish!

In other fish news, John came back into the store. To my surprise and delight, the ammonia levels were very low and the nitrite levels were slightly high. It turned out that the bionoods I sold him were actually working. Holy smokes, I didn’t see that one coming, and neither did he – he had come into the store expecting to buy a better filter. Bacteria were colonising and breaking down the waste, and within a few days I expect the nitrite and ammonia will both drop to 0. He was ecstatic. High off our collective triumph, he pondered whether he could get a tropical tank, maybe a 50L one, no wait, maybe a 200L one. We laughed together as we realised the joy was overruling our judgement, but it was such a wonderful moment we shared. I am so grateful I was part of that, and I helped him all on my lonesome.

In (far less interesting) non-fish news, I pulled a muscle at work yesterday. It’s ridiculous that I can do dozens of knuckle-pushups, run for kilometers, almost skin-the-cat, and yet reaching for a clipboard is apparently enough to send my chest into spasms. Since overextending, I’ve been in quite agonising pain whenever I’ve taken a deep breath or moved my arms above my head. Yesterday I made the foolish decision to place just a single box of cat litter (maybe 12kg?) at head height, and just before I got it on the shelf I spasmed in pain and it fell upon me. I still get wracked with pain every now and then, but it’s definitely improving with time. Alas, no karate tonight, but perhaps taiji tomorrow.

Thief_II_-_The_Metal_Age_Coverart

Eugene (who, if I haven’t mentioned, has returned from England for a few weeks and returns on Thursday) and I played Thief II together. We foolishly assumed that with our age would come skill and we’d be able to pass the whole game in a single sitting. The game was just like I’d remembered it, except slightly less terrifying as I begun to understand the mechanics (while sophisticated for its time in 2001 were not as complex as games today) it was based on. I could recall where most of the treasure was, where the guards were located, quotes on the walls, complex puzzles and the mechanics of stealth. Needless to say we didn’t get past the second level, but I enjoyed re-watching the cutscenes, just as I had twelve years previous.

Placement is going well! I’m still challenged quite often by anxiety, but I’m managing a lot better than I used to. The first few days of prac were spent in an overload of information and sense of general panic, but now when I started to understand how and why things worked, I begun to enjoy it a lot more. Then that honeymoon phase ended and I sort of went “Okay, I’ve had my fun playing social worker. I don’t want to work full-time and be responsible and professional anymore.” And I really struggled, and am struggling with that. My mother’s always done so much for me, taken care of me, provided for me, and I (out of laziness and convenience) have accepted all her housework and cooking and laundering. Now, at the first sniff of responsibility, I long to turn tail and run to the couch where I can distract myself with videogames and do what I’ve always done. But doing what I’ve always done will get me where I’ve always got, and the time has come to take a deep breath and step forwards, and to be a better person. It’s not easy sometimes, but hell, it’s so important. So, despite the little niggles at my health, I still go to work every day and still challenge myself not to run from that which scares me.

Speaking of health, Naomi started me on this revolting powdered alfalfa drink. It tastes pretty bad, but I have to say it works amazingly. For reasons beyond my comprehension I’ve had energy in abundance and my stomach hasn’t been hurting as much. I look forward to drinking it every day now.

All right, that’s enough from me! I hope you’re all doing well. Drop me a line if you’d like to catch up again soon!

Love,

Xin.

Placement at RPH

My apologies for not writing any blog posts this past fortnight. It grieves me to recall I once had the freedom to write blogposts every day I so chose, but of late most my every spare moment has been hastily spent on more important things, like sleeping or cooking or living. You see, I’ve finally started my 14-week placement with the Social Work department of Royal Perth Hospital. And I’m afraid that I only have about eight minutes before yoga, taiji and karate (a triple lesson today, about 4-5 hours of training).

In brief, it has been exquisitely affirming, and soul-crushingly depressing. Most of all it’s been highly educational.

I’ve learned that I have a highly specific preference for learning, requiring me to read about something theoretically, understanding it conceptually, then seeing it physically, before attempting to express it myself. I will hoard all available information to read through before I attempt to do anything practical with it.

I’ve learned that I still have a deeply ingrained fear of boredom, and this anxiety has been with me in my last few placements, my last few years of life (perhaps since I was 12 or younger). This fear has led me to draw out almost every activity for as long as I could justify it- if I had to see someone, I would read all about their history, plan out on paper what I’d have to say to them and spend up to hours of preparation for a five minute chat.

I also realised that I have a presumptuous ego that is repelled by the idea of working against my will. That is to say, I don’t like work or responsibility or challenge, and so I’ll avoid it as much as possible while still getting paid for it. I might spend hours going through email, typing up notes, researching medical terms on google etc. in order to avoid “real work”. Realising this, I made a conscientious decision yesterday to stop being such a selfish brat, to stop caring about myself so much, and to ask “What can I do for the hospital? How can I spend the precious resources (potential wages) that they’ve given me, in order to best help people?” This has brought about a remarkable change in my attitude, and consequently, in my personal satisfaction, levels of energy and joy from the work. Yesterday was the best day ever,  brimming with energy and able to tackle any problem with confidence and reasonable competence. It’s reaffirmed that I can do this, and what’s more, I want to.

I’ve learned that I still take criticism poorly. In a recent supervision session, my two supervisors gave me some feedback that I was being unprofessional in this way, that I hadn’t been accountable for that amount of time while they were trying to get hold of me etc. It made me feel like they were monitoring me, spying over my shoulder to see if I was doing the right thing, always looking for mistakes. I knew it was irrational and the critique would make me a better practitioner, but I felt so alone and unsupported that I felt like crying.

I’ve learned that cloudy days make me terribly SAD and it can be impossible trying to rouse myself to any kind of inspired motivation. But I can’t just go home every time it rains, so persisting and doing my best despite my low energy/mood is for the greater good.

Alright, running late. I’ve been reading the Tao Te Ching every morning, but I haven’t got time to share any of its amazing insights with you. Perhaps I’ll flood you with them later. Hope everyone’s been keeping well, and miss you all <3

Blah

I’m not sure why I’m writing this. I don’t want anyone in particular to read it, but I suppose I want to tell it to someone anyway. I’m having trouble studying. I keep procrastinating. I procrastinate before I start studying. I get distracted every few seconds while I am studying. So I stop studying by procrastinating. And it’s all very, very frustrating.

I want to go to work so I don’t have to study. I’m a fruitcake, with extra nut.

It’s driving me crazy. All this time (a whole week) supposed to be dedicated to study. And with all the time, surely a few hours here and there couldn’t be so hard? Well, I’ve been awake since 10 o clock with studying for an hour as my ONLY goal, and I’ve only gotten halfway there. What the hell is keeping me? Why am I taking so long?

I just want to stop thinking about needing to study.

On the bright side, should be over in a week and a half. In fact, here’s a list of things I’m looking forward to.

1. Finishing exams so I can spend time with all my friends and, hopefully, hours and hours of gaming.
2. Work. Why? Because it’s simple and rewarding when I’m allowed to go at my own pace (which I’m slowly trying to speed up).
3. Margaret River.
4. Japan. That’s a while away.
5. My driving test two weeks from now.
6. My license when I pass my driving test. (may need to bridge the gap between sitting test and passing somehow.)
7. Seeing Bethwyn some time. Any time, every time, all the time.
8. Playing Star Wars as soon as I finish this last topic.
EDIT: 9. Changing my work shifts so I’m free in the evening. Freed up to kick some ass, that is. (Hope to join Cobra, Aikido, Karate or Capoiera in the near future. Other arts to come.)

To be…

It ends today, one way or another.

Note. I do not talk about my life. I refer to the hellish existence I have sustained for the past couple of days, particularly the last 12 hours or so. I have been ill, I have been stressed, I have lost much sleep, and today, it will all be over.

LET’S GO F*CKING MENTAL!

The date is November 19th, 2007. It is 6:09pm. I have finished my last TEE exam, and now have… I can’t yet think about how much free time I have. The prospect of time without purpose is maddening, and I suspect I will create purpose now that my intensive study has finally ceased. However, I will tell you that the moment we were given leave from the hall, I let out an insane and maniacal laugh that would have landed me in the psych ward had it been heard in any other circumstance. Besides, I wasn’t the only one, so I was barely heard above the ruckus. I seized Ben Caddy and gave him a hug, wrapped my arm around Mum with a cry of "Quick step, double time!" (and she started a funny little jog to keep up with me) and then went nuts. I saw an oval next to the car park, so Mum held my bag while I tore around its perimeter in a victory lap. I did rolls and jumps and cartwheeled everywhere laughing all the while. Mental, I say.

Now all I need is something alcoholic and my celebrations could continue well into the night. Ah well, f all that, I’m finished. Tomorrow, I attain Guitar Hero, my bus ticket for leavers, and drop in to see the physio, who said I can’t train until next year (alas!). I’ll ask him about aikido later, which doesn’t require kicking at all (Y). Wednesday is a glitch in the matrix, Thursday is Adventure World, Friday is a blank, Saturday is The Party, Sunday is leavers. Hohoho, too many people, too little time. I love you all. Except you over there. No, not you, behind you. Yeah, you. Get a haircut, noob.

I’m off! I have mentos and diet coke to scull! Peace, love, and rock and roll.

~Xin

PS: This is the last "School" entry I will ever write. Damn that feels good.

?

So here I am. It’s 2355hrs, I just came home from Speech Night, and I don’t feel like sleeping. This entry probably isn’t going anywhere, and given my current state of mind it might be better not to bother. Nonetheless, starved for any kind of update, I’ll just write for a little while and see what becomes of it.

My hands seem somewhat disconnected from my body. My typing is slow, even, paced. My hands barely move, my fingers just shift to hit the keys. I can’t remember how long ago I started touch typing.

There’s a moth throwing itself at the light globe. It just won’t stop. I turn off the light. It rests, apparently quite contentedly, on the warm globe while I bask in the healthy white glow of my monitor.

Speech night was incredible for the first, and last time of my life. It actually meant something to me tonight. And when the prefects were announced, I was… the words, "We now hand it over to you and your team of prefects to lead the school"… That was strange for me. At that moment, I realised that we were no longer the important ones- our future was beyond the college and someone else had to step up to take our places. The prefects of 2008 are a fine bunch, and I see in Josh (Head Boy 08) what I saw in Nick Barbas (HB 07), and I do not doubt he will lead a strong year group to some triumphant glory.

Tomorrow, excuse me, today, is the last day of school. That’s an interesting thought. Five years of the place, I’ve hated and loved it alternately. Stupid emotions. Mostly hated though, so I can’t say I’ll miss the place. There are a handful of students that I will wonder about, but the rest of them are beyond my empathy- at least for now. I hope they all have good lives and stuff. Tomorrow, excuse me, today, should be spent doing something special. A bang to finish off the year- and the previous four. But I just don’t know what. I don’t really care much, but to finish with a bang is what John Watson always loved. Yeah, one last show for Watto.

I’m ruining lives. Is that true? Yes, and no. I do good things, but I do wicked things also. I can be such a bastard. For instance, Mum hugged me good night and told me that she loved me. I responded, "Do you? Thank you" and continued to watch my little flash movie on newgrounds about somebody being blown to pieces by an angry blonde chick. Didn’t even look at her. Didn’t get out of the car, either, and when I did, it was to look at the full moon pierce the silver clouds. There’s an orange glow on the horizon which is strange, but not unpleasant. I’m so mopey, so emotional. Stupid emotions. I don’t need you anyway. Go star trek, or whatever.

I can never hurt someone. I learn Taekwondo, but I can never apply it with the intent of hurting someone. I cannot imagine a scenario where I would consider it justified to hit a person. If they beat the shit out of, say, Mum, then… I’d call police and stand around to protect her. And should someone try and attack Mum while I’m protecting her, I’ll keep them away as best I can without actually fighting. At least, I say that now, but whose to say I won’t be swept with passionate rage and try and kill the assailant? Once again, it is emotion that foils me.

I’m so hungry. But I can’t eat, because you don’t sleep well on a full stomach. And sleep is important, especially as I’m depriving myself of it. Yes, I’m hungry.

Nick and Joe got very into fighting me today. I humoured them because it was something more structured, something I’m used to, where good technique can be applied with varying degrees of effect. In other words, I could control exactly how much I hurt them. Wrist locks and arm bars and stuff- lots of fun. I applied like four different ones to Joe, and it was recorded on a phone or two. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed that, but I keep replaying it in my head. He steps forward and shoves me with both hands. I step back and deflect his arms. He steps again, and again, and finally I grab his arm and try and put a lock on. He waits patiently until I get it, and then suddenly he drops to his knees with the suddenness of the pain. I change the lock into an armbar and bring him to the floor. I change it back to a hyperextension, then I change it again and again… The movie starts again. He steps forward and shoves. I step back. He advances and I knee him, spin around behind and bring his legs out from under him with a clean sweep and a throat strike. I blah blah blah. Such a violent child, imagining and re-imagining all the ways I could have done it. And yet, I never would. All those knees, elbows, kicks, ridgehands, probably punches and stuff… I’d never really use them, no matter how good I am. And yet, I have the confidence that I could beat any and all of them, certainly one on one if not… neermind. no one cares, least of all me.

I lost my phone today, by the way. My phone is by far my most treasured possession. It’s saved my life more than once, by being someone to talk to when there was no one who cared. And I lost it. I couldn’t contact my parents so I walked home- heh. A few phone calls later, I checked if anyone knew where my phone was- if the Concert Hall cleaners had found it or something. Nope. Damn. Called Telstra, barred my simcard from use. They offered me a new phone, for free. Sure, why not. Cool. Still, my old phone was priceless, and would never be replaced. A few hours later, Reuben Joseph said someone found it, and I later learned it was passed to Doc, who passed it to Tobes, who answered it when Eugene called. Thus it was returned to me, and all is well in the kingdom once again.

Wow. What a waste of 37 minutes. I hope you didn’t spend that long reading this. Cheerio then.

PS. Crawled into a cupboard at school yesterday. There was just enough room to stand, or to sit if I hugged my knees. I was going to hide there from recess till some time during the next period, then casually walk out in the middle of someone’s class. What would they do, expel me? Seemed like a good idea at the time, but when I tried, I realised that I really couldn’t be bothered so I got out. Turned around and looked down, there was a spider an inch big sitting in the corner with me. Damn, that sucked.