The Unexpected AMA

We did a thing this weekend, quite unexpectedly, when Lady B messaged the polycule to ask if we’d be willing to gather on Discord and be part of an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on her Facebook stream.

As followers and supporters of her series of streams about her experiences of transition, we of course agreed. A couple of hours and some muffled stubbing of toes later, we were gathered round our respective devices for what was intended to be a quick half hour that turned into an hour and a half of us spinning off on tangents and laughing a lot.

I’ll add a link below to the streams recording – but I must add that the first five to ten minutes is completely silent due to a technical hitch known as “flicking the wrong switch” in Lady B’s kit.

Nevertheless, it was fun, and a good chance to talk a bit about who we are and how we relate, and our thoughts on being the oddballs that we are. So, enjoy the stream.

Good days, Bad days

With the weather a bit cooler today, its made me realise what about the steady heat blanket of this week has had me struggling a bit.

Essentially the lack of breezes had brought a heaviness that was reminding me of the dissociative parts of my depression. Everything was feeling dull and distant and my head was responding to the familiarity of those sensations.

Being a reasonably smart cookie, I recognised this on a subconscious level at least, because I’ve been making efforts to drag myself outside the flat in search of light and sound, and at least hints of moving air. Being around people, talking online, keeping busy, these have all kept my brain shaken from the old tracks. So thats a good thing, possibly even means I’m learning to look after myself.

That said i didn’t really put it all together until counselling this evening, but then that’s what its there for.

Rescue Plans

Its that time of year when we remember that the Charleesi is still stuck at university and that we really should look at how to bring her home safely.

So Sunday has been set as our target, and we shall retrieve her and her worldly possessions. Somehow. I say this because our car is in for repairs and we have a tiny Fiat500 as a courtesy vehicle in the meantime.

This, as they say, will be interesting. We might get our car back before the weekend but I’m not counting on it. I shall instead be seeing if we can arrange a series of journeys over the next few days.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Exhausted

Not quite sure what happened to yesterday. There was sunshine, and reading on the balcony, but also bone deep weariness and flaking out on the bed for a good few hours.

Maybe its just lockdown getting to me, or residual anger burning out my reserves. Probably a combination of the two because I then couldn’t sleep for ages last night for wanting to angrily message people.

So, today is going to be more productive. I have character portraits to work on, so until my video conference later, thats what I’m going to get on with. Better to be doing something positive in all this.

Very rough first drafts

Grumpy

Just one of those days – its a bit quiet, emails were few and far between, work planned for tomorrow is tomorrow, and a minor storm in a teacup incident is eating away at me far out of proportion to what it actually is – especially as its something that is generally solving itself.

My jumping up and down therefore seems unhelpful, so I’ve been killing aliens on the XBox instead, using the new controller that Lady M bought me as a lockdown “just because” present.

A thing of beauty

Its made up in the red/purple/pinks of the bi flag, and has a lovely solidity to its grip and play. She had it custom made through the Microsoft website and it arrived this morning.

So thats a good thing.

What I’m Reading

I’m currently doing battle with The House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski and rarely has such a phrase felt appropriate. A seven hundred word plus exercise in wall-breaking, philosophy, and metawriting wrapped up in a lovecraftian horror story of space, angles, and echoes.

I’m enjoying it in the sense that I’m piecing together the story from many disparate strands of pseudo-commentary and overlapping notes on notes where the footnotes become the main story and back again, battling with white space, layout changes, and a general sense of reading at least four books simultaneously.

In other words its like my brain when I’m reading my usual three of four books at once and keeping the strands separate or overlapping as needed depending on the interrelated nature of those books.

I’m enjoying it, even though the word goblin part of me wants to get to the meat of it rather than building up the supporting architecture. So the whole experience is frustrating and rewarding in one, and I’m grateful to the people who kept prodding me to give it a go. I’m only fifty two pages in. I may be some time…

Proud Blog-Father

My daughter has been in lockdown in Oxford Brookes University since everything kicked off, and like so many of us has been trying new things out on the cooking front.

Today I had a quick note and link to an article she just had published on the Oxford Brookes Student Union website about her “student-approved” baking recipes.

Being a proud father to a fellow writer, I of course have to share this with you all. Go have a look at https://www.brookesunion.org.uk/articles/student-approved-quarantine-baking-student-blog and enjoy both the quality of writing and the baked goods.

Library Life Behind the Scenes

I’m just back home from doing a quick tour of my libraries this morning and it has at least given me a chance to be outside the four walls of my flat. There are a number of things we’re doing while we’re closed in preparation for when it is safe to reopen, and they range from some simple maintenance of the buildings to measuring up for potential protective measures. The libraries are big enough that we can observe social distancing while a few of us go in to sort these things out, but it still feels strange to be doing so.

The first library was just a very brief stop in before we handed the building over to decorators. I was there the other day clearing surfaces, but today was the official start of works. I’ll not be returning there until works are completed on some repainting and minor repairs and the company hands the building back to us. Having been there for about two or three minutes, it was then on to the biggest of the libraries to catch up with a fellow manager while we went through and started throwing out outdated manuals, empty biscuit tins, and all the minor detritus that seems to build up in workrooms and staff areas to take over every surface.

Along the way we found training manuals for IT systems that don’t exist any more, procedures printed out from seven or eight years ago that have been superceded, and new homes for all the cash paying in stubs that we need to retain for a few more years. Waste disposal companies got politely prodded to come and actually empty bins that weren’t; air conditioning units got inspected and maintained; water tanks and sinks checked for legionella/water temperature controls – and yes, okay, we gossipped and caught up on how things are going because these things too are important.

The other libraries it was just a quick glance on the way past to check the doors were still locked and nothing looked out of place. We’ll get to them next week – we’re pacing ourselves.

More importantly the majority of our conversations are debates on how to interpret the guidance being wafted around in such a way as to promote safe access to services and buildings for staff and public alike. We’re already pushing our digital services and online presentations – with rhymetimes, storytimes, and craft events all being presented online via social media – on https://www.facebook.com/surreylibrariesUK/ – and a big part of our debate is how we can safely restart doing these activities in the branches. We’ll just have to see what happens.

Guerilla Tidying

Psst, there’s an advantage to being a library manager during lockdown. I get to go in there when no one else is around and sit and read and look after the books.

The libraries, I am sure of it, get upset if left alone too long. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve had systems play up, or books slip from shelves when they’ve been alone for too long.

One of my libraries is due to be decorated this week, so I joined a couple of other managers to do some preparations ahead of the workmen arriving. Vulnerable books have been relocated, outdated paperwork shredded, and access points cleared so things can be quietly and efficiently completed with a minimum of annoyance to the library itself.

I could swear that the library is all aquiver about the attention its getting after weeks of quiet – its certainly been good to see colleagues again and to do something practical while maintaining our distances.

One or two books may have been perused in the process…

New Player Ready

So we’re spending this evening mostly helping Lady W set up a character to join in the DDC adventures. We’re having a quiet evening as people are just feeling a bit wiped out, and it came up in conversation that she had felt unable to join the group as she hadn’t been around for the first session.

We immediately disabused her of this idea. As Lady W has never played D&D before, we’ve been making use of the Roll20 Charactermancer and a copy of the Player’s Handbook to help her create a new persona.

There is much jollity, silliness, discussion, and explanation going on – and therefore a good wind-down to the week. It may not be the D&D session I’d planned, but I think its the one we collectively need today