It’s been a little while since I’ve been around, and so I figure it’s about time for a general what’s going on post.

My absence was initially caused by a massive event in the kung fu family: celebrating 30 years since my grand-teacher opened his first school. The actual anniversary was technically in 2016, but it took a little while for someone (my teacher, specifically) to step up and organize something appropriately big. I know he actually began planning sometime late last year, with the event scheduled for the first weekend in May. Sometime around February he handed out assignments to some of his senior students (myself included). As time went on I ended up taking on a couple of other tasks as others flaked out, and helped deal with some additional issues brought on by a sudden increase in attendance. We were originally expecting about 100-120 people, but the final count ended up at 186. I ended up spending a few late nights with inDesign doing a program/remembrance thing (as well as some other projects), plus a couple things on the home front. I was also working some overtime at my regular job to cover any inevitable expenses (kung fu seminars always end up being expensive).

The hard work paid off, though. Despite it being the largest event we’ve ever had as far as I know, it ran pretty much without a hitch (other than a little scrambling when people were arriving on Friday afternoon). I got to meet some great uncles, and we had probably 18 or so guys with 30+ years of experience under their belts. I also got to see some folks I only ever see at events, plus meet some new ones. It was also the first family event where I was formally recognized as a sifu in my own right, which was pretty gratifying. Overall it was a great time.

Now, also during the month or so leading up to produciton, I was trying to get our own house in order. I had ordered a new desktop from a system builder (which let me avoid the massive mark-up on video cards right now); it wasn’t originally supposed to ship until the end of April, but ended up on its way about two weeks early. I wasn’t actually sorry about this, but it did mess with my planning a tad. Meanwhile, my wife had bought me a new desk for my birthday, and it was a few days of cleaning up around the old one before we could even start building the thing (long-term depression does wonders for home maintenance, let me tell you). Then building it was a thing in itself: it took us about 3 days just to assemble it, only to discover that the last piece, the glass top, was totally wrecked. It basically looked like a car window after a wreck. We call the Office Max where we picked it up, and they’re cool with just letting us get the one piece (so that I don’t have to disassemble this one and then re-build it later). Only, their other copy is similarly wrecked. I spent the weekend trying to sort it out with corporate, whose hearts were in the right place but the non-native-English speakers had trouble dealing with something that deviated from the script. A co-worker then had the bright idea of contacting another store, which we did to great success. Have to give credit to Office Depot/Max: their folks did not hesitate to try to help us, even if they weren’t always successful.

I’m also spending this time, since my new desktop has arrived, both setting it up and re-formatting my personal laptop. I had installed a second window manager (i3), which I found myself really enjoying. But at some point in tweaking something I somehow fucked up either the login manager or something else, because suddenly neither i3 nor my previous WM, xfce, would load. I was left with the basic gnome3 that came with the Antergos install, and I dislike gnome3 a lot. So I say fuck it, I’m going to install Arch. I finally do (and it was a good learning experience), but this needless to say was an added time sink and complication. (As an aside, I really wish one of the other distros would tweak their installers to allow encrypted boot partitions; right now doing it yourself with Arch seems to be the only way.)

Then on top of that, my wife gets a mini-flu around Tuesday night the week before. She’s basically bedridden for the next two days, which means I’m doing seminar stuff and basically everything on the home front.

Anyway, this was all going on in the crunch time, i.e. 2 weeks, leading up to the anniversary. So a lot of late nights, and a lot of caffeine. But I wasn’t worried, since I had scheduled a full week off work immediately after the seminar.

So the final day of the seminar comes, and everything goes fine. After the event’s final meal ended about 5pm, I followed one of my brothers to the airport (about 25-30 minutes away) so he could drop off a rental car we’d been using and take him home. That done, I headed home to see my daughter before she went to bed, thence to the restaurant we’d gone to Saturday night to get a receipt for everything. I had originally planned on coming back out to train some more, but sometime on the drive from my house to the restaurant I began losing thought coherence. It took me awhile to wind down, and even then I didn’t sleep great (too tired to sleep). Finally I did, and thankfully got to sleep in on Monday. I had a couple hours and then some stuff to do (regualar psychologist appointment and then meeting an out-of-town kung fu brother for lunch), and then I didn’t have long before picking up the youngin. Tuesday was only slightly better, since I just got breakfast with the same guy and was generally able to take it easy. But even then, those two days I was still almost too tired to start feeling like I was resting. Then Wednesday I got sent on a search for good ham (apparently a favorite of some of the kung fu elders from New York). But no worries, the store is where my parents live, so I got a late lunch with my dad and then headed home. But by this point I’m feeling kinda yucky, so go to bed early.

But of course, I wake up Thursday with what feels like a mild(ish) flu: aches and fatigue, mostly, plus a mild cough. I’m basically out of it through Saturday, and finally start feeling normal-ish yesterday. So it felt like Sunday was the only actual vacation day I got. And then I was back to work and teaching my own kung fu class this morning.

Ugh. My plan as of now is to wait the bare minimum of time that it’s politically expedient to do so before taking a day or two off again (although since I used all my leave for the week off, I’ll need at least a month to have two days off). I’m still mildly sick (mainly with a cough, the sniffles, and some reduced endurance).

Needless to say, my mood is not the best. Still, it’s a testament to the efficacy of my antidepressant (Welbutrin in my case) that I haven’t totally lost it. I suppose that’s progress.

EDIT About an hour after I posted this, a 10-minute windstorm knocked out our power for the rest of the day.


Johnny five is alive!

posted by johnnyFive: 254 days ago