If there was a better way to go it would find me

When visiting my mother I found this:

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This laminated bad boy was my ticket to high school freedom. Whensoever the fancy took me to maybe not attend a class, I always had an ironclad yellow alibi. I got pretty good use out of this flexible friend when it came to physical education. It really was amazing how all my musical instrument lessons coincided every week! Weird huh!

I also found some old drawings I did. Now although I am using Accidental Tentacles for my arty stuffs these days, I have vowed to only post new work, no old has-beens for that shiny new site (except the header dragon, and he will go as soon as I make a suitable replacement).

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Here is an example. A hint of tortured mask wearing vampire.
I was really flattered to be referred to as an artist recently by a talented writer known as Gordon Flanders, instead of just a weirdo, or a nerd 🙂 it pretty much made my week. Though based on the above picture he may retract that descriptor! Now that I’m talking about Gordon, I’d like to mention that without his feedback when I started this blog years ago, I probably wouldn’t have had much confidence to continue, so I am ever grateful that he stumbled here, so go read his blog if you don’t already, you won’t be disappointed! While I’m on a train of praise and thanks I’d also like to thank the babe and Tony Single for their continued inputs, you guys are so amazing and it’s really just incredible to have you come and read my inane jabbering 🙂 I feel very lucky to have caught your attention. Go read their blogs too, ok?

Now for something possibly even more awesome, a picture of my childhood dog Abbie:

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Now, I’m sure you are thinking that your dog is probably way better than this one, but I regret to inform that you are wrong. This beastie was the pinnacle of all dog, or for that matter mammalian evolution and her like will never be seen again. Certainly not to be confused with this monster:

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Who incidentally, I taught to play fetch during my visit. She’s an eight year old nervous nutcase and normally just wants to go for your ankles but this visit she wanted to be my buddy, so I guess my dog whispering is on point. I’m still watching you Tiggy, I know how your brain just pivots in weird ways sometimes.

I’ve written two posts recently that are sat in my drafts because I have finally developed the maturity to realise that sometimes you don’t need to impulsively let off every thought that you have to run rampant in the world wide Web. Sometimes prudence is your friend, and pissing people off just isn’t always worth it. They are safely out of my head and in my drafts and I think it would be best all round if they stay there.

The title of this post is, of course, from Fiona Apple’s song “extraordinary machine”.

Also sorry if you saw this on my other site for a flash. It’s my first slip-up since blog bifurcation!

A train of horrific consciousness

I’m not sure what happens when I get of public transport, it’s some kind of portal to a hellish dimension where all of my deepest fears come to haunt me, taunt me, mock me make getting from a to b some epic ordeal involving the hypothetical hopebole of unquestionable and unfathomable terror. So this is what’s going though my head as the world whizzes by and that uncomfortable gurgling in my stomach makes itself more known, ever-growing in its attempt to push me to that unthinkable orifice that is the train toilet. It’s not like the splatters of mud on the windows remind me of the blood or anything, that was so long ago you’d think I’d be over it by now and why the fuck have I run off the margin? Well that’s just bumble bimble, elegantly unruly. I was wondering how long it would take to degenerate into random words and there we have it; a fine example of explosive vocabular diarrhea. The fields of rape are so bright I think my retinas are being burned out. Some billions of tiny trumpet-headed blossoms tossing their pungent pollen into the world and waiting for it to sneeze. Anything to take away the focus on the suspect stains in the carpet that could as easily be coffee and lemonade as shit and piss and the dust of some thousands of commuters’ skin and lice explode with every movement. Gusts of undiscovered bacteria, jumping into my personal space where they have no right to be. Keep breathing! It doesn’t matter how many flakes of the dead you inhale, how many spores or motes. They will get you in the end whether your breaths are deep or shallow. The ticket inspector provides a moment’s respite, but his charming youthful demeanour serves only to remind me that I’m not so young any more and that one day someone else will be breathing in my dead skin from this seat. What a comforting thought, don’t you think? He stammered when he caught my eye. I’m going to guess that he got a glimpse of the madness and a momentary fear about what I could be so feverishly writing. Indeed. If only you knew young man. If only you knew how torturous and deadly this ungodly giant metal horse without legs really was. I won’t break his spell, maybe he doesn’t need to know. Maybe no-one does. I wished I didn’t and could just blissfully breathe and lean against the window in reckless abandon, feeling the cool glass against my cheek instead of feeling my damned hand cramp up like a motherfucker because I haven’t written so much so fast since my exams some 11 years ago.
I transcribed these words into WordPress to stop the electric currents of my paranoia from stepping up, and then it happened.
The four most dreaded words in public transport even for a normal person: rail replacement bus service.
I’m sat at the back even though I know I’ll probably feel more sick but at least I can see all the other lizard passengers from here, I know they can’t read what I’m typing. I know they can’t see me. Those fears I had about the train toilet now pale in significance as I start to fear that my bladder might be getting full but there is no lav on this noisy ramshackle wheeled behemoth, and the only place for wee to exist is inside one’s bladder or on the seats that have been peed on so many times before. Did you know that as a child I refused to take long journeys because I was afraid I would need a wee? A tragic consequence of recurrent cystitis that resembles quite well the nervous wringing that comes with such journeys as this.

If you’ve read this far then I’m impressed. Now maybe learn the lesson that no, it doesn’t always get better and no, there isn’t always a point. Sorry folks,  sometimes it’s just melted words.

It’s getting very hot in here. A little too hot. I mean, I seriously wonder if the bus is on fire by why hasn’t the driver noticed? I swapped seats but the heat seems to be following me. I can’t remove my jumper else my skin will be in contact with the seat! Finally I find a cooler seat buy it comes with bonus ingrained gum, smeared in-between the pair. I want us to travel both slower and faster.

Uh-oh maybe that was a bad move. I opened a window, not only touching the sullied surface but also letting in the local farming smell. How are people sat there in there coats? So glad I’ve got the whole back of the bus to play musical chairs with so I can pretend I’m not totally trapped on here until Norwich. Noone has turned around to glare about the window so maybe they were secretly overheated too but they knew that there was ebola on the damned window pull. Better get my antibacterial antiviral handfoam out…I promised my therapist I’d hold off on doing that but it’s been minutes and it might be too late to save myself now!

How much longer can I keep this monologue up? Much longer that you can read so I’ll listen to some Tool instead.

Facing the dragon and staring at it for a few seconds before running away

As you know. A few weeks back I proferred some uninvited information for my therapist…it was three major incidents that have affected my health anxiety, a list of health problems that I am terrified that I have or will get, and a list of things that anxiety stops me from doing. The final list was pretty depressing, spanning from driving to dining out to exercising to travelling and maintaining relationships. We are talking some pretty major areas of one’s life there.
Have I told you I didn’t used to be this boring? When I didn’t think I was dying the whole time I could even be a bit fun every now and then. Imagine that!

Anyway enough about that. I want to talk about how cbt is shaping up. Having given this information, my therapist made a formulation… That is a flow diagram showing the vicious cycles that involve being triggered until automatic negative thoughts, having inappropriate cognative and behavioral responses as well as extreme emotional responses, that all feed back into the negative thoughts. You don’t need to know what weird shit I do when I get panicky, but what you should know is that the idea is to gradually stop relying on those unhelpful or inappropriate coping mechanisms by considering an alternative to the doom and gloom, end of the universe, deadly premonition that happens with every sniffle. For me, the downside are that you have to replace the negative responses with something else and therefore I have to be less harsh with myself, which feels unnatural and frankly trite after years of constantly telling myself that I’m a worthless piece of crap and that everything is my fault. I’ve got to the point where I’m so damned negative that I complain about everything and find it quite uncomfortable to even compliment someone else, let alone myself! That’s fucked up because people can be awesome and they deserve to know it.

Anyway, now I have to try and stop doing so much weird shit when I get worried, and focus on something else, cos I spend about 99% of my time thinking about me me me and as I’m not even that interesting, I think you’ll agree that’s a tragic waste of my time. I could be thinking about something more productive like banjo-playing unicorns.

In addition, I’ve been told I need to start exposing myself to things that make me anxious, like to start with, cleaning chemicals, and more strenuous exercise. That’s this week’s task. So far I cycled to and from work a bit faster than usual and I have to say I do feel like I achieved something. My heartrate increased, I sweated a bit and I got a bit of a sore throat, I got that weird pulsing in my eyes (does anyone else get that or is it just my bizarro physiology?) but I didn’t pass out when I stopped and I didn’t wake up the next day having dropped a stone of weight. Triumph. Unfortunately another source of anxiety popped up from under the rocks when my boss told me in no uncertain terms that I was NOT to make mistakes in the future (regarding a minor typo in an email). Because I am a robot without fat fingers, yes? Ugh. No pressure then!

I’m beginning to warm to this therapist after our rocky start. Possibly because she chose to work with what I voulenteered as I thought it was the most important stuff. She’s offered to give some information for my partner to read about my erm condition, so he knows how best to support me (I.e. constantly telling me I’m lazy and to just get on with things like a normal person may not be the best tact)…lets see how that goes down. I’m already worrying about the approaching therapist abandonment.

Crimes against lab organisation – a sample mystery

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This post will probably read like a really unsatisfying, shitty, nerdy mystery case. Or, y’know, another of my snoozeworthy diaristic geek fests.

The lab kids seem to be playing a belated April fools.

Someone in the past few days has left lots unlabeled samples in an old freezer box that was previously used for a potent toxin (that I was due to replenish). Someone used one of the mystery tubes, believing that it was said toxin. It was not. The new bottle of powder of said poison remains untouched.
Mystery and Intrigue. Oooh!
So I put on my miss Marple glasses, ready to dish out some justice, and I interrogated each lab member in turn, but they all have the same story- it wasn’t me guv.
I’m not that far gone that I believe pixies made some random aliquots (we all know that laboratory pixies only mess up my bench and switch around my buffers and shit like that), so that means someone isn’t telling the truth, and it’s probably that monster that leaves random white powders all over the balance too (everyone always says it wasn’t them) that sometimes have me reaching for the risk assessment forms. It’s someone with poor pipetting skills too…those damned aliquots are different volumes! Using my excellent analytical and deductional (is that a word? Maybe deductive is more like an english adjective) reasoning has led me to my prime suspect, but I have no evidence. It’s all circumstantial.

No-one seems able to fathom why anyone would commit such a terrible crime against lab organisation and chemical cataloguing. Someone must be protesting too much…

Someone is either having psychotic episodes, or is in fact a lying turd bag. It’s got one of the students questioning their sanity, I mean, you’d remember doing that wouldn’t you? You’d REMEMBER DAMMIT!  right?

Sorry mate, I can’t get to the bottom of this mystery with the means at my disposal. I’m disappointed that I do not have enough gravitas to coax the truth out, but I guess the red and purple hair and new flared jeans won’t be helping me any with that.

Now I know how police officers must feel when they know their prime suspect is guilty but they can’t arrest them or they’ll lose their job! According to the employees handbook no enhanced interrogation techniques are allowed either so I guess we’ll never know for sure. But I’ll be watching….

Mystery samples will not be tolerated!

Laboring through the inevitable fear

The end started its approach on Monday, it didn’t take long to pick up momentum, waves of sticky and infectious anticipation slamming relentlessly into me. That was when I first realised that I’m dying.

I feel my heart atrophy, burning into ischaemia after every cup of coffee, every sip of wine,
Each faltering beat convulsed with another gripping stab in my chest that is far too severe and rhythmic to be heartburn.

A narrow escape lets me see Tuesday.

Just when I think the coast is clear, I feel my chest implode and I can’t breathe, some heavy cinch has grasped me tight, and the blood rushes faster as I struggle to inhale, shoulders to my ears but lowering won’t help me, aren’t you listening to me? I can’t damned well breathe!!!

A fluke recovery meant Wednesday rose to met me.

But in Wednesday’s maw is a terrible fate. Into a small cut that I obtained, leapt staphylococcus and streptococcus. They swim from that cut right up to my brain! Lending headaches and feverish ranting as my grey matter becomes violently colonised.

I don’t know how I survived that meningococcal experience, but Thursday knocked on my door nonetheless.

The sun rises with a stab in my thigh, a throbbing ache that portents of a clot. Perhaps I didn’t move all night, and as I rub to test if it’s muscular, the clot detaches and heads for my lungs.  shortness of breath is quick to follow, accompanied by dizziness and all things severe, but once the worst of the embolism is passed, I get out of bed and cycle my weary self to work.

Friday approaches with a rash in tow and infact on my toe, but I’ve had enough. I’ve already had two strokes, five ulcers, two brain haemorrhages, pneumonia and toxic shock this month, No-one can be expected to die every day of the working week. I’ll resign from the Billy Witch council, I’ll join health anxiety anonymous, I’ll write poems in strawberry shampoo, paint a platypus on my knee, whatever you want, just fucking get me off this adrenalin-sapping horror show!

Maybe let me Google that rash first though first, just in case…..

Imperfect purple tipping (hair-related alliteration)

Sometimes I just want to do something different with my hair. Usually this results in ill-advised experimentation and the realisation that I am actually not a hairdresser and no, it’s not as easy as it looks.

I figured I would like to have purple tips to my red hair..sounds easy right? Well aside from the obstacle of having painted the bathroom walls green today, there are actually some tricky aspects to this endeavour, not to mention the feathering I have at the front. I will show you the result because then you’ll see what I struggled with.

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Thanks to a tip from my hairdresser (tie your hair up in hairbands and backcomb a bit) I managed to avoid the nasty straight line dip dye effect, however what I didn’t quite manage was making the effect quite even on both sides. It’s OK though because it will wash out in a couple of weeks (probably) and without a camera flash, i.e. if you have eyes rather than a phone camera, the colour looks much darker, which is in turns disappointing and a blessing. Have you ever tried to take a photo of your hair from the back? It requires some contortion!
I’ll pop some extra crimson over the rest of my hair to brighten it up next weekend as it’s beginning to look a little orangey already, then think about balancing out the purple or, y’know, just wash it out. Or do the whole lot purple maybe? I am due to attend a funeral and a work trip for which purple and red hair is fine, but badly done purple and red hair is less good. In the worst case I’ll just wear it in a bun and look smart and /or professional..ish
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I’ll just hope my skin isn’t so bad I need my hair to hide it. I don’t want to involve an actual hairdresser as that will result in a £60 fee, so I’ll keep on trying to fix my mistakes until I go too far…

I should add that this is my second attempt at this effect, and this time is considerably better, so imagine how the first one went…if you leave a dye like this on already dyed hair for longer than it says on the box it doesn’t go brighter, it just gets darker!

In case you are weird and want to try this for yourself, or if you are my future self and can’t remember, I used colour freedom in mystic purple on top of schwarzkopf live and lift in shade 38. I will top up the red using colour freedom in crimson, and probably simultaneously decorate the sink, floor, towels, walls and toilet with artistic pinky blotchy patches :S