Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

February 27, 2007


Filed under: fitter/happier — lexifab @ 1:54 pm

I finally collected my new dental splint yesterday. A splint is basically an acrylic mouthguard fitted over my upper teeth (sort of like dentures) which prevents them from coming into contact with the lower ones while I sleeping. This means that in another six months I won’t have completely ground down both sets of teeth, or filled them with cracks from the pressure of constantly clenching them.

So it’s a relief to finally have them, especially as the stress levels are still high (though not as bad as they have been) and the unconscious grinding action is still going on. But, as you would expect with a (ahem) hard inflexible foreign object inserted in the mouth overnight, actually wearing the thing for the first time last night was pretty weird. After the intial gag reflex subsided, it was reasonably comfortable and more or less unobtrusive. At least, until I tried to speak, whereupon my tongue got cramped up and I rediscovered that delightful sensation of drowning in saliva typically associated with dental visits.

And in the morning, my upper teeth all ached like hell, almost exactly as if they’d been locked in a vise all night. I never imagined that they actually moved around all that much, so the protest after one night of confinement came as a bit of a surprise.

I’ll get used to it. It’s certainly better than the alternative.

February 24, 2007

According to Skype

Filed under: friends — lexifab @ 10:09 am

It’s Rob‘s birthday today! Hello, old man! (Skype was very indiscreet about your age, by the way). Leave him a congratulatory snide comment here, thus keeping his recently-updated blog free of unkind thoughts or comments of any kind!

(Bwahaha! The intarweb loves me, not you! Hatless fool!)

February 22, 2007

Nerd alert!Gaming talk!

Filed under: now playing: anything — lexifab @ 1:36 pm

(Avert your eyes, MizAlix!)

Emma was wondering the other night what a colloborative gaming group might look like, and I was too tired and inarticulate to really paint her a picture.

Happily, the internet never rests, and I have come across this extraordinarily useful essay (which *does* paint a picture) .

Getting up to date

Filed under: news of the day — lexifab @ 1:26 pm

Enough about me and my ridiculous problems. Among the things that have happened in the last eight or ten weeks since I last put fingertips to keyboard in the service of regular blogarity (in nothing resembling chronological order):

  • My old mate Dave Probert and his wife Ruth had a baby. Actually, that happened quite a bit earlier, at the start of November, but I don’t think I got around to mentioning it. Yay them! The little feller’s name is Daniel.
  • Last weekend in Hobart Meagan married her new love Lib (well, not in the legal sense in this unenlightened age, but it was pretty similar to most weddings I’ve been to, so screw the bureaucratic quibbles). They now have matching tattoos and have changed their surnames to Calennig, which is Welsh for integrity (or perhaps something else – my attention to detail is not great at the moment). And they are sickeningly in lurve, what’s more! Meagie sang a Sinead O’Connor song during the ceremony, with a choir. Beautiful. Though I should mention that the ceremony was held in the Conservatory at the Botanical Gardens, and it was hot and humid and somewhat antithetical to formalwear.
  • Emma-Sensei moved back to Canberra and got a real job (by which I mean, a job where she isn’t working 5 hours away and twenty years in the past). Yay! Also, she’s changed her blog address, which you may have noticed if you’ve followed any of the links to her old site and discovered that she now appears to be selling used furniture.
  • My Dad is sick again, but at this stage we don’t know how badly. His myelitis has been in remission for something like two years, I think, but now it looks like his old symptoms are coming back. He has to go down to Townsville next week for a variety of scans that make for great TV but some pretty scary reality.
  • Got into semi-regular Skype contact with Rob, and started talking gaming. Sooner or later we’re going to be playing a regular Torg game using the new Spirit of the Century rules (which look like being a very nice fit).
  • Had a serious drama at work which involved a close friend. By virtue of being the only one there, I got caught in the middle of it, but it was awkward because of the circumstances and the person involved. It didn’t exactly end happily either, though I think maybe things are on a slow crawl back to equilibrium. I know this contains a maddening lack of detail – the important lesson is, look out for one another, okay?
  • In what I can only assume was a subconscious attempt to break out of my routine, I have made a few new gaming contacts through the meetup group that Chris, Emma and others established way back when we first met her. Turns out there are a few others like me around, with the hideous compulsion to buy, read and then not quite get around to playing every new game that comes along. We’re trying to set up a regular group for playing what we have charminly dubbed Commie Hippie Pinko Indie games.
  • Ian and Sonia have not quite yet had their second baby, Oscar, but it could happen Any Minute Now. The phone keeps ringing, and every time I expect it to be a summons to the maternity ward. Also, Flynn has started school, which ought to make me feel old, but instead makes me think that I should dig out something cool and formative to read to him. I think Jimbo reserved The Hobbit, so do you think it’s too early for Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series?
  • I heard from Mum the other night that Becca, one of my extraordinarily fecund cousins, has just been diagnosed with pregnancy. This will be her third, I think, though I confess that between she and two of her sisters I am having a terrible time keeping track of their horde. I’m pretty sure that in ten or so years we’ll have a enough for a decent raid group though.
  • Because the allusion in the previous sentence reminded me, and because no Lexifab entry is complete without a reference to World of Warcraft, I will note that Blizzard Software brought out the Burning Crusade expansion just in time to keep me addicted. My main joy in games of these types is running around and exploring new places, and they have jammed just enough of those into the game to keep me happy for a little while longer. Only a little while though, I think.
  • Implausibly, while I was in Hobart last week I ran into Doctor Clam, who I haven’t seen face to face for a couple of years (though we chat regularly enough while beating down monsters in Azeroth). He was gadding about attending some highbrow symposium on polymer chemistry or somesuch. Fortunately he was not too good to join Simno and I at an overpriced Salamanca Street pub for an afternoon of hard boozing and chattage. Sadly, when I returned to work on Monday, I discovered that at almost exactly the same time, Nathaniel (nee Noel – say that three times quickly) was in Canberra, trying to get hold of me for a coffee and a catch up chat! Dammit. Sorry about that, Nato – ordinarily the timing would have been perfect. Next time, I promise.
  • Apart from a five page email analysing what went wrong with expenditure against the cross regional allocations for establishment of remote offices in a number of partner countries*, this and the previous blog entry are the longest things I have written in one sitting in three months.

I’ve forgotten something – probably a few somethings – but that has got most of the “I ought to blog about this” monkeys off my bag for the moment.

This is the BBC World Service, signing off.

* Most of what I write at work uses jargon like this and makes as little sense. You can tell why I normally would have no trouble in not taking it seriously.

What passes for normal

Filed under: fitter/happier,workin for the man — lexifab @ 10:15 am

It’s probably time I got back on the horse, huh?

Lexifab has been on hold for a long while, pretty much solely due to the fact that work has been – and there is simply no kind way to put this – a bitch. As mentioned previously, for all of January I was soloing a four-person operation, and at least two of the people I was filling in for were doing work with which I was wholly unfamiliar. I still have no idea whether I have done irreparable damage to whatever I was doing. And it was a busy month – would have been busier than usual even if everyone had been on board – which meant that for me, more or less on my own, it was, bluntly, fucking insane. Long days, constant interruptions, new problems every five minutes, not much in the way of support, an unexpected and hugely upsetting drama and a metric shitload of contracts, tenders, meetings and not an inconsequential amount of pointless busywork for one particular manager with a breathtaking lack of perspective.

It affected my health, unsurprisingly. I was tense and stressed all the time while at work, and that was followed by nights of insomnia because I couldn’t come down soon enough to get a decent sleep. I ramped up my subconscious campaign to grind all my teeth into smooth, flat mesas and destroy my jaw muscles through constant clenching. My neck and shoulders were – my powers of hyperbole are deserting me, so let’s just say “quite stiff” and leave it at that.

When two of the missing three returned from holidays at the end of January, I expected things to ease back to a slightly less elevated level of tension. Not at all. Just as much of all of the above work, coupled with the fact that a lot of other people came back from holidays at the same time and suddenly wanted shit to get done.

I had hoped that the week off to fly to Hobart to help with Meagan and Lib’s wedding would be a nice break. It probably would have been, even though it was pretty full up with wedding preparations, but I was obviously still carrying a lot of baggage with me. Again with the no sleep for several consecutive days (plus it was *hot* there! What was that about?)

Fiona was struck down early in the week with some sort of generic virus that has left her in considerable pain, so on Tuesday I stayed home to ferry her to the doctor’s (and hopefully catch up on some rest myself).

Back at work yesterday and I have just completely lost it. I’m back to the old malarkey of walking in the door and suddenly it’s “Hello nausea-and-throbbing-tension-headaches, my old friend”. No sooner has I walked in and read a half a dozen emails than I was struck with a wholly (and I suspect not at all subtly) irrational fury over some little thing that hadn’t been done. If I hadn’t been so dog tired I could barely walk, there would have been tantrums. As it was , my co-workers marched me into a meeting, interrogated me about what work absolutely had to get done, and then sent me home.

I thought about putting up a fight – there really is a massive amount of work to get done, and every day it’s left undone makes it just that little bit more urgent – but really, I couldn’t argue. I’m well past the point where I can look at the overwhelming task lists with anything approaching objectivity. I’m forced to admit that the only way I can get back any perspective is to walk away from it completely, get some sleep, and come back to it with a fresh head.

Also, I need to see a brain doctor.

Well, maybe not a doctor, but someone with encouraging-looking certificates on the walls and soothing music playing in the background. Preferably someone with advice a little more substantial than “You really need to relax”, but perhaps that will be all it will take. I like breathing exercises, so that’s a head start, yeah?

As I see it my current problem is that I have always been a more successful government functionary when I am able to not take a single thing I do seriously. Working methodically and with cheerful yet robust professionalism, sure, but at the same time recognising that it’s all of absolutely no real consequence and that nothing is really all that urgent either.

Unfortunately, my recent experience seems to have played the trick of convincing me that I am crucial and indispensable, and that the whole place will fall apart if I don’t get on top of things. In fact, there is a sneaking element of truth to this alarming display of hubris, but the last thing I need is to actually believe it. I’m much calmer and more effective when I take the whole thing as a bit of a joke, to be sorted out when I can be bothered getting to it, but first I just gotta blog about something that happened in my game last night…

Lexifab, probably more obviously so today than is usually the case, is my therapy. If you’ve read this far, I probably own you some sort of consultation fee.

February 7, 2007

Normal service

Filed under: administraviata — lexifab @ 12:28 pm

Normal service will resume shortly. This has been a test of the Lexifab extreme work-related stress system. Our engineers inform us that an offsite reboot is required to restore full system functionality.

 Thank you for your patience.

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