Mr Happy

What is this strange feeling?

I've been feeling rather odd recently, like I've not felt for quite a while.

There is a distinct possibility, and I want to be absolutely clear that this is not in any way a sure thing, that I might, possibly, in some way, be... happy.

Is that the right word?  Is that a word at all?

Let me go back a bit.

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Things have been going quite well recently, and I know that I can't always count on that being the case.  Circumstance won't always be my friend, and I think the gloom is still around and may return in force in the future, but for now it doesn't matter.  The trick will be figuring out how to ensure that remains the case.

convicts rugby

Wet weekend

There has been plenty of rain. Parts of Sydney and Canberra flooded, my burns are being cancelled, and it was a wet day for the Mardi Gras parade, though it dried up by the time we got going as we were near the end.

I spent a fair amount of the parade shirtless, and a girl I met described me as being "body arrogant" in part because I was doing pushups during the parade and continued to do so after she sat on my back, and because I demonstrated wife carrying techniques.  (She was part Estonian and I had to demonstrate the Estonian Carry.)  She also used the same term to refer to her.  There are currently pictures of me tagged on Facebook that I am thinking of untagging.  I was in a really good mood that night, and my actions suited that, but I am not sure if I want hundreds of people seeing them.  Then again, once a few hours pass, comment tends to die off so there is probably not much more interest to be had.

There was also a birthday for Italian Sushi where I dozed off on Sunday night, and a sense that I may have been making my relationship with another friend all about me.  In my recent state I have been more self-involved than I would normally be, and the asperger's often means I miss cues from other people or simply forget to ask how they are when I have my own things going on.  Nobody is upset, but the people I let into my circle are important to me and I want them to be aware of it.  I just don't always know how.

My plan was to stay in Sydney all week as I have another engagement on Saturday, but I got a message on Monday offering me trivia gigs on Wednesday and Thursday, so I drove back.  Tonight I am going to Queanbeyan, having spent the morning working out my sound equipment and reading through the quiz to work out any problems that may crop up.

I've also got an interview with another agency, though to be honest, I am becoming pretty jaded with the whole thing.  I don't expect to work in the public service this financial year.  I am, however, going to apply for a private sector job doing media work for a charity.  It would be a permanent job which is different from most of the work I've been looking for, but I think it's worthwhile to look at something else.
madmen

I could do this job again

So here goes with Dreamwidth.  Lets see how it work.

My Monday training session went well.  I introduced five girls to Tabata, and one of them nearly spewed.  Nearly I said.  All of them will be back.

I am getting into training, and I feel like I am doing better at it than I did at politics.  Still, there is this sense in my head that it's not a real job.  I've been struggling with unloading old assumptions about how my life would turn out on a professional and a personal level.  It's slow going.  I spent so many years working to a script that it's hard to walk away from it.  I feel like the disconnect between the script and reality is stoking the gloom, and it's not easy to just ignore the assumptions that were present for so long.

Last night there was a function at Parliament for a former employer who is leaving, and I felt in my element again.  I like being there and felt like I could do a job in that area again.  Of course, last winter I was having panic attacks at work.

In the meantime the public service "conspiracy" against hiring me continues.  Fine.  I managed to sell some options in VMG today for a 40% profit in two weeks (and the ones I held on to are still going up) so I am still sufficiently cashed up to live and to take advantage of potential bargains like AKK.  I am also planning a possible exit from BBG if another takeover offer comes around, which is looking like a distinct possibility.  I'm getting better at selling.  Not having a regular salary will do that.

I'm making an effort not to take over the common areas of the house.  I think it has been imposing on the others who live here and I don't want to do that.  I think a better environment currently exists.

Finally, I will have a regular weekly trivia night at the Charlie Black Bar in Manuka starting on 19 March.  It looks like a pretty upmarket venue, and it looks like I may have a lot of friends around for my first night.

Mr Strong

A busy weekend

It has been a busy weekend.  I was up early on Saturday when Renaissance Priest came by to pick me up to help him move.

We managed to get a sofa bed into the van, but to do so we had to get it through a gate.  Rather than put it down and fiddle with it, I convinced him that we could do a clean and jerk with it.  From carrying it, using the same motion as in the clean and jerk, we managed to get it higher than the fence and kept it there as we walked through the gate.  That and some other lifting was my improvised workout for the day.

We wound up just outside Sydney picking up a heavy old desk before driving all the way back to Young in our rented van, the largest vehicle I have ever driven.  It didn't have a massive horn to warn everyone to get out of your way, but you can't have everything.  It also had manual transmission and I managed to only stall it once.  I also managed to keep an even temper towards the end of the evening when he and his mother in law were in the van all the way to Young for hours while fatigued after being up since early morning and packed into the cab of a moving van with two people who were talking a lot.

This morning I was up at 5:00am to get the van back to Canberra.  Immediately I got home, picked up my gear, and was off to my fire brigade assessment.  The theory exam wound up with us discussing the answers with the assessors and we marked our own tests, so everyone got 100%.  It's not meant to be an exercise in memorisation they said.

There was going to be a prescribed burn, but it was called off on account of rain.  We did demonstrate our skills in setting up hydrants, rolling and unrolling hoses and working with pumps, and operating the radios including spelling our names using the phonetic alphabet.  (For the record: Lima, Uniform, Charlie, Kilo, Yankee, Charlie, Alpha, November, Uniform, Charlie, Kilo.)

The burn will be done some time soon, and provided I don't run off the fireground in a panic, I will qualify as a bush firefighter.

Now I'm exhausted.
madmen

Why it bothers me... a rant

I've been unemployed for quite some time.

In a way I'm not.  My resume says I work as a freelance consultant which takes in political consulting and personal training, but that is a bit of camouflage to explain the fact that I am taking some time off.  I've not actually worked in politics for over six months.

At first I needed some time away from everything given that I was on the cusp of regular panic attacks at work, but since October I have been of the opinion that while I'm not "better" I might as well be employed.

There have been plenty of public service jobs out there that I could do in my sleep, but after repeated inquiries and interviews, there have been no results.  It's generally a matter of "your background is too partisan" or "you don't have any public service experience" or more recently "you don't have a security clearance."  This has been bothering me more and more, and at the gym earlier this week I think I figured out why.

When I get rejected from a job, I hear the public service say "Begone Luckycanuck!  You aren't good enough to work here!"  This offends my sense of dignity.

I've recently increased the intensity with which I've been looking for work, and as one agency informed me earlier this week, I'm doing everything I should be doing.  Still, nothing.  That sense of frustration is building up to the point that I find it difficult to imagine that anyone anyone in the public service will hire me to any job under any circumstances.  I know other people who have very similar background to me and who have been looking for far less time with far greater success.  The fact that I hear the same thing again and again and again without anyone who deals with HR in this town being able to explain why makes me feel like there is some kind of elaborate and ridiculous conspiracy preventing anyone called Luckycanuck from being employed in the APS.  (One HR type told me about a guy who was a CEO in the private sector and who gave up trying to work in the APS after five years of his experience being rejected as unsuitable.)

In the meantime, I will continue giving training sessions and I will have a regular trivia night to host starting next month.

Lucky for me I have my investments which have been doing exceptionally well in February.  I'm getting better at selling and keeping myself cashed up in the current climate which means money on hand for living expenses and to take advantage of buying opportunities.  Still, it does require a mental shift to not have a regular income that I have not finished making.
madmen

Something new to wear and something new to do

I picked up something to wear to the gym on my way back to Canberra.



It's a 20kg weight vest and I've used it a couple of times.  I have full range of motion and can work it into virtually any workout.  I think it will be a regular fixture now.  And I got $10 off the quoted price, which was lower than expected anyway.

On the same day I led my first training session for a group of former colleagues at Parliament.  It came very naturally to me.  There was rain, but everyone stuck it out until it became too slippery.  Everyone enjoyed it, and they will be back with others who have expressed an interest.  There may be training during the non sitting weeks and in the mornings too.  So that's good news.

This was, in a manner of speaking, the first "work" I have done in a while.  I've been keeping busy, but leading that session was the first time I've done paid work since I left Parliament.

Recently the market has done very well for me.  VMG is now being appreciated by the market, I managed to sell SNL for a profit, AKK has been very active and there is a strong possibility that it will see a lot of upside soon, and BBG got a takeover offer and put to rest a lot of fears people had about it on the day after I bought more of it, which resulted in a 50% rise in one day.

Some people have suggested that I should trade for a living.  I can't.  Things have been very good now, I don't have the expenses that a lot of other people have, and if things go well I could stand to have a lot of flexibility, but that doesn't mean this is what I do.  Things could collapse again, and even if they don't I still don't expect a sense of purpose from the market.

I haven't, however, had much frustration with slow responses from the public service.  I applied to the temporary employment register of about half a dozen departments.  Not hearing anything back from anyone hasn't fazed me.

Everything is fine, I guess, but there is still a looming sense of numbness.

There was also a disturbing dream.  I dreamed I was attending my first bushfire, and it came close to a property which we decided to defend.  It turns out that the property owner was involved in producing illegal drugs, and when we approached his stash to set up a defensive line, he came out with a gun and shot at us and nicked me slightly.  We retreated to the far side of the truck and he followed, and when he came around the corner I swung at him with an axe and dropped him.  Later on I was charged with assault and the rural fire service cut me loose.  I woke up with no inclination to help people in need. 

The other day I saw a guy pushing a car in the city, trying to build up enough speed for his friend to get it started.  I rushed in and joined in and quickly we had them on their way.  But that wasn't really for him.  I did that for me.
convicts rugby

A temporary new look and a lot of driving

I came up to Sydney on Thursday, and had a couple of days with my parents before taking them to the airport on Saturday morning.  Mum and I went shopping and she suggested that for Christmas I bring the girls to the Sydney Koala Park when they come out to visit in July.  Done.  I was going to struggle to come up with anything.  We also had a chat about depression, which she got to see up close on Friday night as we had dinner with the guy who looks after the administrative aspect of the Collaroy Castle and his girlfriend.  Me at dinner with four people in their 60s, 70s, and 80s instead of at the gym where I had planned to be.  With all the frustration and alienation I was pretty shut down and fatigued all night, and almost struggled for breath like I did at work last winter at one point.  When we got home she asked if I was ok, and I said "this is what depression is like."  I don't think she understood until then, and I suspect she probably still doesn't.  She's trying though.

On Saturday I took Minou back to her place on my way to Canberra and stopped in to visit Dora in her post Mr Burns phase.  Back in Canberra at the party I was there to attend, Nerva Chu helped me shave my head.  I know I normally have very short hair, but on Saturday night I shaved it all off in solidarity with JAQ who has lost all her hair during chemotherapy.

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Tomorrow I head back to Canberra so I can lead a training session at Parliament, and on the way I plan to stop to pick up a 20kg weight vest and to visit Minou again.
madmen

Down and up

There have been a number of jobs that have passed by recently, and I have gotten a no on all of them.  The problem?  I don't have a security clearance.  Not secret.  Not protected.  Not even baseline.  And because of that, nobody is willing to consider me.  It's like this is an extension of the whole "you need to have public service experience" mentality that I came across in other positions.  This is just another way to say it.  They won't look at me without a security clearance, and I there is no way to get a security clearance unless I am employed in the public service.

This has meant me having annoyed conversations with a couple of agencies.  It's kind of hard to react to this in a way that doesn't conclude that there is some kind of ridiculous and elaborate conspiracy against me.  One job said I didn't have enough experience (which is not even close to being true) and that I should look at roles at a lower level.  Another job, at that same lower level, said I was too experienced and too qualified and that I would get bored.  It seems I am in a zone of unemployability, and have been for several months.  Moreover, I have been reliably informed that any job I apply for now may not end up with a result for several more months.  Apparently there have been delays of six months to fill a three month job.

This is not that big of a problem in a financial sense, or not as much as it would have been this time last week.  The market has done very well (for me) this week.  Wednesday was the best day in the history of the stock market, as my gains at the close were slightly higher than my gains on Monday.  VMG is the main cause.  It jumped at long last and there is suddenly lots of interest in it.  My options have nearly tripled in value in a month.  With the money from selling SNL for a profit arriving in my account today, I am cashed up with plenty of flexibility.

Part of me looks at the job front and the investing front and thinks "why am I bothering with the public service culture that seems to have it in for me.  F*ck the public service.  Just f*ck 'em."  I've got a rugby trip coming up at the end of May, and I have no reason to believe I will work a single day in the kind of jobs I have been applying for between now and then.  When one of my agencies rang me asking if I was interested in a position, my response was "is there any point?"  Maybe I will just continue to be drastically underemployed with my training and trivia and and some freelance work (which, to be perfectly frank, has not existed at all.)

The thing is, things won't always be like this.  I can't depend on always getting things right in the market and things could change o the work front.  My agencies are stunned that it has taken so long, though one of them, the one that forgot about me entirely for months, seems to have been stunned into forgetting I exist again.  The person whom I had somewhat harsh words for a month ago and who was very good at getting back to me right away, even saying hello in the supermarket a couple of weeks ago, still has not responded to an e-mail I send last week.

So maybe I've had enough of the public f*cking service.  I think I may rethink what I am looking for if this is how they are going to treat me.

Off to Sydney in the morning, to start of a few days of lots of travelling back and forth.
madmen

Improvement

I was in Parliament this past week, and CoS mentioned that one of the departments that interviewed me for a job contacted him for a reference and that they were quite keen to hire me.  Unfortunately, they were hit with a hiring freeze.  That's good news, because it smashes the sense of pointlessness I had after being knocked back from other public service jobs for ridiculous reasons.  I had an interview on Friday and now I am registered with another agency who impressed me with the degree of interest they took in me.

I've also put the word out to a number of old work colleagues, and there is growing interest in the idea of me training people at my old office.  I've got new business cards for Molon Labe Fitness and I may be having my first session the week after next.

There is also another looming job prospect that I had never considered before.  It wouldn't be a full time job and it wouldn't be a career, but it would be right up my alley.  It would be hosting trivia.  I don't know why this never struck me before.  I could have been doing this for months.  There will be a tryout on Tuesday where I will be reading questions 11-15 at a local trivia night, and once I am approved, there will be opportunities to fill in here and there.

The market has had some good news recently.  It's been down this week overall, but for me it has been up.  VMG is finally back up to it's capital raising level and the options I picked up are up too with probably plenty more to go.  AUT finally stopped it's recent decline and buyers are coming back in.  SNL, which I have been quite happy with as it has been very steady, jumped enough for my sell order to be taken up.  It's a great stock and I have another order in to buy some of it back if it falls again, but it is a very thinly traded stock and I was uneasy having as much as I had locked up in a stock that sometimes goes a week or two without a single trade.

I'm getting closer to qualifying as a fire fighter.  This week we played with fire extinguishers and practiced emergency burnover procedures.

My parents came down to Canberra and a couple of dinners were had, but aside from that and a tour of Parliament I didn't see them.  I'll be going up to Sydney on Thursday before they leave on Saturday.  I have no idea what to get my nieces for (delayed) Christmas.  Apparently they are both in a girly phase.  There's virtually nothing I know about girly girls aged 8 and 6.

Overall, it's been a good week.  Still a bit numb though.
madmen

A post about girls, and business, and the new housemates

Results of my Cert III practical work have come through, and I now have ticked all the boxes to be deemed "competent."  Now I'm into my Cert IV text on advanced aerobic conditioning.

I'm not certain if Roxy is still here or if she has moved away already.  She always kept to herself, but I've not seen or heard from her at all in days.  The soon to be new housemate is Chloe.  (Not her real name, but I accidentally called her that on a number of occasions so that's her name here.)  She and Surveyor are out right now celebrating EmPrime's birthday which was on Australia Day.  I think the new household dynamic is going to be a happy one.  I gave Surveyor and Chloe a lift into the city for the festivities and we all had drinks on Australia Day.

I've been doing some heavy lifting this past week, and I've been getting into Tumblr for the first time.  Molon Labe Fitness now has a Tumblr account where photos and WODs will go.  Recently I posted this little thing I put together.

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And it has been reblogged over 400 times.  Today I put this design on a t-shirt, along with a Molon Labe t-shirt, and one that reads "Whatever doesn't kill me... had better start running."

I've also been improving Otani.  I tried filing some hand holds, but I now find it more effective to use a hand saw and occasionally a drill I brought back from Collaroy.

I've also developed what could be called a bit of a workout crush.  I came across a girl in America whose Tumblr account and blog have made an impression on me.  Part of the appeal lies in the fact that I think she is very nice to look at, but far beyond that, she impresses me.  Here is a girl who isn't afraid to lift.  I think that is worthy of heaps of respect.  Gym girls impress me.  "Gym babes", not so much.

There is another American girl with a blog whom I have taken note of recently.  DC Dana is friends with a political contact of mine, she seems to have a sense of perspective about politics, and we both seem to be going through similar career and personal frustrations right now.  Again, since discovering the blog, I've read it regularly and looked back through some old posts.  I seem to have taken a liking to American girls.

On that note, there was an American girl in Sydney whom I met during my New Year's festivities.  Klydemestra is doing a PhD in film.  We got along quite well when we met, and last Sunday, we had dinner again.  I didn't strike me that what we were doing might be construed as a date until I was halfway through my barramundi.  I'm still not sure if it was a date, though I will be seeing her again.  You might think it would be awkward to have that ambiguity, but I don't feel it.

Finally, there is still contact with another girl whom I met/hooked up with on New Year's Eve.  There was mutual crushing between MadEllen and I, and there still is.  She lives in Brisbane, so my habit of being interested in girls who live far away remains.  It's kind of nice at the moment to be able to take an interest but not have to do anything about it.  I'm still very much not in a relationshippy kind of place right now.

My first fire was supposed to be last Wednesday, but the controlled burn was cancelled to avoid upsetting the red breasted finch.  (One of the fireys pointed out "it's a bloody bird. It can bloody fly away."

My parents come down this week for a couple of days.