Hello? Yes, this is Dog.

August 4, 2012

Oh hey, you there. Yes, you! Internet, isn’t it? Yeah, yeah, I THOUGHT it was! You might not remember me. We used to see each other here a while back. Y’know, I was the one wearing mostly black? My clothing...full of holes… you remember? Hair…dishevelled?  Yes, the ADHDer PhDer – that’s right — that’s me! Wow, it’s been some time hasn’t it? So how’ve you been?

It’s been a fair old while. Let’s just get the excuses reasons for that out of the way dead quick shall we? Last time we chatted I’d just handed in the PhD thesis. It’s all good. I had my viva on the 15th June and am pleased to say I passed. Very relieved, delighted, over le moon etc etc. But the trauma that was “writing up” (a trauma resulting in neuroses that I treated you all to in (ir)regular instalments) has left me with an actual hatred/aversion/perhaps even full on phobia to being alone with my computer. I can just about handle a quick consultation with Professor Google in an attempt to work out what the odd little creepy beasties who are colonising my kitchen might be.* But only just. And only then if there’s somebody with me. I really need to sort this shit out a) because it’s sort of inconvenient and 2) because it’s a really lame kind of crazy.

So, in a nutshell, that’s what’s new with me Internet. I have passed the PhD and I have a newly acquired anxiety to add to my little collection. I may be a total fruit loop but at least I’ll soon be Dr Fruit Loop and you’ve got to admit that has a certain ring to it.
Here’s some other stuff I’ve done since then:

1) Went on a weekend away with 7 friends. Fun, frolics and hangovers were had by all. I also got some injuries from playing badminton in a bikini. Mostly injuries of the sunburn variety but one which I think is a hamstring injury (never located my hamstrings before – didn’t think I had any).

2) Grumbled incessantly about the Olympics. Again, another post for that one.

c) Noticed that the only people not banging on about the Olympics this summer are people getting married. People who are getting married don’t care about the Olympics. They care about tablecloths and other small details. But they do so with all the enthusiasm, energy and focus of Team GB. I find it all very tiring. But I am a bit of a bah-humbug about this kind of thing (y’know romance and that) and as I am more than happy to have sex out of wedlock I guess I am unlikely to ever be bitten by the wedding bug. Or is that not how it works?

4) Celebrated Yorkshire Day by skeptically raising one eyebrow and muttering, ‘Waste of bluddy time’ under my breath. Ah, my people, *sigh* I do miss you sometimes.

*more on that later. I am untidy but I am not unclean. I have no idea what these little fuckers are but I cannot eat in that kitchen until they’re gone. Every night I exterminate, every morning they’re back. It’s like that scene from that film with that guy and all the insects  – yeah, that one, Indiana Whatjamacallhim.

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Mirror of the mind

April 17, 2012

‘But as computers become common-place objects in daily life – in leisure and learning as well as in work – everyone will have the opportunity to interact with them in ways where the machine can act as a projection of part of the self, a mirror of the mind.’

This was Sherry Turkle in 1984. If this screen is a mirror of my current state of mind, and the reflection is to be represented in text:

hgghrhagiogi[mamf hrrhup qp939

Despite rereading my argument that we’re not disembodied in virtual life, I have to admit I feel weirdly disembodied in real life today. Or wrongly embodied. As though somebody switched with me in the night and my hands and legs don’t feel quite right. That sounds very dramatic. I’m just tired – but probably no more so than most new parents (and I have the promise of uninterrupted sleep in a few days – win!). I am making a fuss here because it makes me feel better. It is the mirror of my mind, after all, and if the great Shezza Turkle says it, it must be true 🙂

The British Library has quietened down a little. It always thins out after 5pm.  Just the hardcore crew left now. The desperate. Or maybe they just brought packed lunches so they weren’t a) forced to pay £6.95 for a sandwich, or b) driven home by starvation. There’s a few of them though with that ‘deadline look’ – the one i see in my face when I look in the mirror. The real mirror that is – not the mirror of my mind.

Having said that, both reflections are equally horrifying just now.

 

 

 

It’s Dr Satan, to you.

February 27, 2012

Well, well, well.

Inside Higher Ed: Santorum’s attacks on higher education.

Apparently, Satan started out in universities. Now, I’ve known some Grade A dickbags in my ten years in UK higher education. And the United States has more people, therefore you’d expect there to be a correspondingly greater number of dickbags. But Satan? I’m not convinced.

Don’t get me wrong. Some of them come pretty close. For my first example, there’s the guy who keeps quoting totally random passages from obscure works of literature and then goes all eye-rolly and tutty so that he looks like he’s having a seizure and you can hear the contempt clogging and congealing in his throat as he says ‘What are people reading these days. How can you get through life without knowing that?’

Er…Dickbag!

Or, take the girl who, waiting for a taxi outside my college, turned to her clone/friend and said, ‘Oh. My. God! Where is this taxi? Like, I totes shouldn’t have to wait for a taxi driver, they should totes have to wait for me. Which is why I’m calling the cab, and they’re driving it.’

Dickbag!

Or, the guy who told me that if I stuck with him, he could open the doors of academia to me and show me a world that I’d always been exempt from.

D-d-d-d-d-dICKBAG!

Anyway, all of these people are probably a bit evil. Like maybe three-quarters evil but without the last quarter that tips people over the edge of almighty tosspiece-ness and into y’know Satanism.

Maybe I’ve just not being paying attention. Perhaps lurking in the library, creeping through the campus, hiding in the halls, there are all these little Satans disguised by their floppy, side-swept fringes, implausibly large spectacles, and jeans so skinny they are unable to climb a flight of stairs without flicking their legs out from the knee at alarming angles.

But if so then I have questions.

Does Satan have to pay his student loan back?

If Satan graduated with third-class honours, what are the implications of this for his future employment prospects? Would it in fact impair his chances of founding Satanism as a succesful start-up?

Is Satan eligible for student discounts, and if so, what’s his position on pound-a-pint nights and other such revelry?

Finally, does he get homesick in his first week, fall in love with a nice girl in freshers week and then spend his whole three years missing out on the single-life before getting dumped just in time for graduation?

I know I have completely missed the point of the article, and I fully intended to make a serious point about how moronic the whole thing is but I got distracted, and my mind went merrily on its way. So all that remains to be included is the following disclaimer.

***Disclaimer: I have no intention of causing offence to anybody who has strong feelings either way about Satan. If you hate and renounce Satan then hopefully there’s no harm done here and if you love him, well you probs will take offence but it’s also probs the least of your…er…probs. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own and are not shared by any person living or dead and bear no factual accuracy to anything. Any offence taken is entirely the responsibility of the offended party but this does not affect your statutory rights. Only one voucher per person. Offer not valid on Saturdays.

 

 

 

Not crazy, just tired…

February 24, 2012

Something odd happened this morning, Internet.

I woke up with a familar fuzzy-headedness that could well have been the fault of the wine consumed last night with a certain shiny friend of mine (Hi, Shiny!). But I don’t think so. You see, as I went about my morning routine I became aware that I was thinking in rhyme. You know when you do a little mental commentary of your actions and talk to yourself in the second person? It mostly happens when you’re a bit drunk, like this:

‘Now the reason you’re feeling a little bit sick is more likely to be this bumpy bus-driver than the amount of heineken you have just consumed, so don’t beat yourself up because that won’t help with the nausea. The main thing to do is remember where you’ve put your keys so that you don’t have to look for them on the doorstep because a) that’s where the muggers hang out and b) you already need a wee and that’s only going to get worse.’

Etc Etc

I refuse to believe that this is not a universally experienced symptom of intoxication. Sometimes I even nod to myself in agreement. I’m doing it now.

Anyway, this morning a similar thing happened but my brain must have slept on itself funny and it woke up with a crick in its interior monologue synapse (or IMS as it’s known in the completely made up school of neurology in which I am valedictorian), and this resulted in a completely involuntary urge to rhyme my thoughts in the following manner:

‘Half a cup of coffee in a mug for me, cool enough to drink by the time I’ve had a wee’

‘Don’t give into pressure from hungry little cat, calorie reduction will prevent him getting fat’

‘Don’t get distracted, there’s just no time, it’s a little perturbing, this thinking in rhyme’

‘Today must be productive, a PhD bonanza, failure not an option, do-de-doo-de-do-rananza’

(When the spirit of improvisation failed me, I just made words up. It was a compulsion, I couldn’t help it)

Anyway, I have added this strange phenomenon to the list of side-effects that I am compiling in order to submit them to the company that makes ‘Sleep Well’ herbal sleep tablets. They have been reasonably effective in their improvement of my recent bout of insomnia, and in all fairness they do warn you not to consume alcohol with a dose, but still… I think it only fair that they include the following in the list of possible side-effects:

  • Compulsive Rhyming
  • Impulsive gherkin-eating
  • Repulsive night sweats
  • Propulsive vomiting

According to google, two of the above are possible symptoms of pregnancy, and two of them are possible symptoms of stress and anxiety. I am fairly sure that my total clusterfuck of a reproductive system makes the latter explanation far more likely than the former yet neither account for why I would wake up one morning to find I am thinking in rhyme. Answers on a postcard to:

‘Fuct int ‘ead’ PO BOX: At least I’m not Dead (yet).

Enter title here

February 10, 2012

As the morning tips into the afternoon I have, as yet, nothing to report other than that my cat has a bout of cystitis and now hates me for dragging her to the vet in the slushy snow. Other than giving me the cold shoulder, she is in fine spirits now but I think it will take me a little longer to recover from the snarling Alsatian with a taste for frightened cat.

I hate going to the vet. It’s distressing for everyone involved. Plus, the vets’ waiting rooms of south east london are full of some of the noisiest and smelliest animals you can imagine. Thankfully, their pets are a delight *BA BOOM!* (thank you, watch me as I take a little bow).

Anyway, I am now back in the warmth of my study with an instant coffee (damned economy drive – more on my church mouse-ness another day) and a sulky cat, I am turning my attention to the thesis abstract I need to send off today in order to register my ‘intention to submit’ the actual thesis at some point in the (hopefully) not too distant future. As the thesis is mostly written, this shouldn’t take too long to write a one-page abstract, but I also have to submit my final, actual, definite title for the thesis and this is causing me to chew my lower lip into a bloody pulp of indecision.

I am crap at titles. Absolutely crap. I can’t even choose a blog title without making a chamomile tea and drawing up a list of pros and cons. As you may have noticed from our long-standing relationship, Internet, brevity is not my thing.  And titles need to be short, snappy and accurate. Ideally, they should have an element of wit, and yet failed attempts at this end up sounding like a Daily Mail headline and, as I’m sure you’ll agree, that would be a “Pun-damental” flaw in my plan to convince my examiners I am worthy of a title of my own.

Fortunately perhaps for me, academic studies tend to make full and frequent use of the colon as a way of marrying catchy but pointless title with boring but descriptive subtitle. Something like:

Alluringly Alliterative Accolades: the boring story of some lesser-known public figure 1847-1888

or

The Rise and Fall of Someone or Something: the thesis sounds more interesting if presented as a rise and fall even if nobody cares about the rise and fall therein.

or

Bold but Irrelevant Statement: How I intend to make my fave quote relevant to actual content of thesis.

It’s not the bracket (my puntuating weapon of choice) but it’ll just have to do. Or, sometimes, the colon is replaced by the question mark as follows…

Rhetorical Question? It may be rhetorical and out of context but I’m going to answer it anyway.

 

Ok, now I’ve had a bit of a practice, I’m going to try to fit my thesis topic into one of the above templates. Wish me luck!

 

Seriously wordpress? Stop moving things about. Don’t you know some of us have ADHD? Sort it out.

That said, it’s been a few weeks since I blogged regularly. I don’t like the interruption of regularity. Blogging, like moving one’s bowels, should be a business of regularity and routine. Otherwise I find everything gets all backed up, I spend the intervening time grumpy and bloated, and what finally emerges is either a small, mean, wizened offering, or else an unstoppable rush of, well….the metaphor speaks for itself, surely.

I also find that without the regularity of what we might call (for these purposes), the ‘brain dump,’ I have little appetite for new thoughts, and so the whole gastrointestinal tract of thought (what? people totally say gastrointestinal tract of thought, no?) grinds to a halt. Indeed I haven’t had one new or interesting thought since New Year, as evidenced by this scatalogically themed post.

You know what though? I’ve been dead busy, Internet. Really, truly, actually busy. You know that new job I started back in November? They work me hard. They seem to think I am quite competent, but do you know how many hours of covering my mistakes and waving my hands either side of my ears in panic it takes to cultivate that impression, Internet? Many hours. Many many hours.

It’s not just the job either. I have been writing my PhD. I’m just going to go ahead and say that once again because the novelty of productivity has by no means yet worn off. I have been writing my PhD. It is getting written and I am the one writing it (just to be clear, no one else is writing it. It represents entirely my own endeavours etc etc).

Other things I have been doing aside from the above:

1) Planning the bloody deaths of all those who ask ‘Is the thesis done yet?’ ‘Have you finished now?’ or variations on that theme.

2) Obsessing about the following note written by one of my downstairs neighbours (she has a seperate entrance and post box and I’ve never met her):

‘Please bring down the weekly Grazia magazine when it is delivered upstairs by mistake. Thank you.’

That’s it! No name or anything! I mean, all the necessary ingriedients of a polite note are there (mainly the pleases and thank yous) but it still reads more like an order than a request. Or an order that’s supposed to sound like a request. Such as,

‘Please use the sanitary bins provided. Thank you.’

‘Please do not park on this driveway. Thank you.’

Or, I dunno,

‘Please come up and get your cocking weekly Grazia magazine when it is delivered upstairs by mistake. Thank you.’

I think I might find therapy to be greatly beneficial. Until then dear Internet, I have you. 🙂

And how are you today?

January 31, 2012

Wrist hurts, tooth hurts (stupid fecking wisdom tooth), have a weird shaving rash on my leg from new crappy razor, feel oddly warm even though it’s a bit chilly. Feel gross because got up too late to shower, bit worried about work even though I’m not there, and for some reason a fingernail on my right hand hurts when I type. I also have a snuffly nose that may or may not be a cold and may or may not have something to do with the cat hair that’s been in my eye all morning.

Oh. Wait. Were you just being polite? I’m fine thanks, and how’re you?

 

 

Chorus:

Bloody hell, bloody hell, what a costly day, (HEY!)

Banking scam, what a sham, stole my cash away, (HEY!)

No win no fee. Apparently. What a load of poo…

Can’t believe I fell for that- too good to be true.

Verse:

Gullible that’s me; I’m a moron obviously,

Oh what fun it is to spend a whole day, practically,

On the phone to knobs, who are ‘just doing their jobs’

By lying through their fucking little vulture beaks to me.

(Oooh…)

Chorus:

“Litigate! Litigate: “claim back your PPI” (CRY)

WTF, no such luck, it’s all a big fat lie. (CRY)

Don’t be like me, don’t pay their fee, you’ll regret it if you do.

Christmas cheer? Not this year. “No Santa Claus? ….I’ll sue!”

And in other news….

December 9, 2011

Clearly my attempt at brevity resulted in my forgetting to include some things I wanted to include.

Christmas came early to wonderland last night with minature tree decorating turning into a 22hr vegan sweet binge, courtesy of M and his powers of online shopping:

 

Tree:

 

ADHD + this much sugar = ADHDADHDADHDHDHDHAAAAHDHDHDHHDADHD – SQUARK!

An attempt at brevity…

December 9, 2011

Morning,

So. Without further ado, I’m going to finish telling you what I started to tell you yesterday about SuperCoach Bev (SCB) and my day of productivity on Wednesday.

It all began at 11am on Wednesday morning when SCB called and we spoke a bit about my difficulties with procrastination etc and why I didn’t have much faith in my ability to implement organisational strategies after years of obsessing over to-do-lists and timetables that I’ve never managed to stick to. Indeed, I think this is an experience to which many ADHDers can relate and so needs no further explanation. Because my posts tend to be quite text-heavy (and recent feedback suggests I might want to think about y’know, brevity), I am going to use a visual aid from the good people at xkcd.com (sorry about this, you have probably lost several hours since clicking on this link) to explain this phenomenon to the non-ADHers among you:

So yes, you see my problem. Anyway, SCB has come up with some crafty ideas to prevent this from happening and I’m going to be open-minded and give them a go. On Wednesday though, the conversation went like this:

SCB: What do you need to do today?

Me: Take my duvet to the dry cleaners because my cat pissed on it again, write a report on my student whose dissertation I am (laughably enough) supervising, and finish my PhD.

SCB: That might not be a realistic to-do-list. Let’s focus on the first two. It’s better to achieve those two things than not achieve anything because you’ve set an unrealistic goal.

Me: Good point. How do I achieve the first two things?

SCB: You half half an hr to get dressed and get out of the house, one hour to get back from the dry cleaners, and then you need to split up the work into 15-30 minute sessions with breaks in between. I will be phoning and texting at regular intervals to make sure you’re on track.

And she did! And I did it! It was an amazing brilliant feeling. I’m not sure whether it was the encouragement, the close supervision, or my need to please that made this work for me but I’m not questioning it. With the exception of two small kitchen fires, it was a really good day and I feel better.

My next step is to go back on the meds (I’ve actually been meaning to write a post about this since October). This is going to be a long step (more a lighthouse-like flight of stairs really)  consisting of many hundred gabillion steps which are as of yet unknowable but I am feeling hopeful, determined, motivated… It’s very unusual.

Anyway, yesterday I forgot it was Thursday (clearly not cured yet) so here’s my belated weekly Haiku for ADHD:

 

 

I love your blue coat—

Sorry, what were we saying?

I don’t remember.