Tag Archives: stress

16 days in

My first post of 2012 was a bit whiny, so I thought I’d give you a slightly less whiny update!

Grete’s glasses broke at the end of 2011

Grete got her second set of corrected new glasses on Friday, and she’s very happy with them.  They look great, are very lightweight and have super thin lenses.  She’s much happier!

Grete has a bad back.

And now it’s a lot better!  Still painful, but getting back to her ‘usual painful’ level which is as good as it gets I guess.

My hacked VPS

Tidied up and resolved so far.  Everyone gets hacked eventually, such is the way of things.



Bubbles going walkabout

Well you already know she came back as if nothing was wrong, and she’s maintained that stance.  She’s still being bullied by Fizz but that whole relationship is weird anyway.

New Stuff

So that’s all good.  For fun though, the little Atom PC I bought last year from Novatech decided to die at the end of last week (internal 2.5″ drive now making mechanical ‘I’m not happy’ sounds).  I mailed Novatech, and they’ve given me a returns number.  So, we’ll see if they continue to live up to my expectations of them.

First post …

… of 2012 anyway.  If the quality of your year to come is inversely proportional to the quality of the first 14 days, we’ve got a stonkingly awesome 2012 to come.  To be fair, as with all things, the ups and downs in life are all relative.

Grete’s glasses broke at the end of 2011, she can’t see much without them.  Although she had a spare pair, they were tinted and not really suitable in the house or driving in Winter!  Thanks to the holiday period it was pretty fraught trying to get to an optician, but we did.  Sadly, they messed up and the glasses she eventually got have the wrong prescription, so now she’s waiting for them to be redone.  The original glasses broke at the joint between the arm and the spring, so I was cello-taping them together every day and Grete was living with nightmarish headaches.  The opticians we went to, to get new glasses, said they couldn’t be fixed – however when she went in to the local one to see why the new glasses were terrible, an older optician there was able to temporarily put a new arm on the broken ones while the correct new ones are being delivered.  All-in-all, a pretty stressful start to the New Year, which you can appreciate if you have vision which absolutely requires glasses.

Grete has a bad back, has had for a long time, which she copes with day to day, but every now and again she’ll get a muscle spasm and be basically unable to stand-up.  She got one on Saturday night, worst one for a few years, so we’re dealing with that!  She managed to get to the doctor today and has some pretty impressive pain killers, and they’re starting to help.

Yesterday, the VPS I host these blogs on was not responding.  It happens sometimes, the server doesn’t have a huge deal of memory and every now and then the Linux OOM Killer will kill something unimportant like apache2 or mysql.  So I recycled it via Gandi.net’s control panel thing and it came back.  A cursory check suggested everything was fine, and I went about my business.  Today I logged on briefly and found a lot of weird mail.  Turns out the server was hacked a few days ago – using an exploit in a PHP module a slightly out of date template on WordPress was using.  Fortunately, they hadn’t done too much damage, and were mostly using this server to attack other servers.  I got a nice abuse report from Gandi (which was polite, but forceful) while I was actually cleaning up the mess, encouraging me to clean up and reminding me of my legal obligations.  Anyway, I think it’s sorted, but I feel kind of bad, somewhat violated, a little paranoid and sorry that something I manage was used to attack other sites.  But it’s the Internet, everyone gets hacked eventually.  My top tip?  If you’re not using a plugin or theme, delete it.  You’ll forget about it otherwise, it won’t get patched, and just because you’re not using it, doesn’t mean the file isn’t there to be presented by the web browser when the right attacker comes along.

There’s some work related stress, which I won’t talk about, because I try not to on my blog, but it’s there, lurking.

Then finally for the first 9 days of 2012, there’s Bubbles.  She went out at around 11am yesterday.  As you know, it’s been Super Mild other than the wind here.  Yesterday was the first fully dry day for ages, and Bubbles has been stuck indoors.  I think she must have decided it was Spring.  By 22:15 there was still no sign of her which is normal in Spring but not Winter.  So we did the concerned cat owner thing where you shout like an idiot at your back door for an hour.  After that didn’t help, I walked the streets for another hour.  I got back, shone my torch down to the bottom of the garden1, and I could see her eyes glaring back balefully.  Even then she didn’t come in, and we got to spend the rest of the night wondering if I’d mistakenly seen another cat2.

I was pretty sure it was her, but if you love your pets there’s always doubt.

Anyway, she’s always there in the morning when she does this – ready to come in and eat – except not this morning.  So we’d started thinking the worst.  Grete was in pain, trying to organise a GP appointment, we left the house wondering where she was3.  When Grete got back from the docs, initially there was still no sign, but as she got to the kitchen door, Bubbles came running up from the garden, her flabby little tummy swinging from side to side.  Grete swears she could hear Ride of the Valkyries playing in the background.  Bubbles then promptly ate half a bowl of dried food, drank half a bowl of water, and has been sleeping all day since.  Little shit.

So, all in all a pretty stressful start to 2012, which is a shame because 2011 finished pretty fucking well to be fair.  Sorry it’s a bit of a whiny start to what I hope is going to be a year blogging more than last year.  Twitter really has sucked the blogging desire from me, just because I end up writing down what I was thinking in a couple of 140 character tweets instead of a 1000 word blog post.  I suppose the world is actually better off as a result.

Anyway, here’s to the rest of 2012, may it improve for us, and be awesome for you.

  1. I was waiting to get arrested, walking the streets around here, at 11pm, with a torch in my hand, up and down dead end roads, but it never happened []
  2. second tip, don’t watch Sherlock’s The Hounds of Baskerville before you walk the streets in the dark looking for animals []
  3. yes, I made Grete drive me to work when she can barely stand []

Why do I hate having my hair cut?

Anyone who sees me on a regular basis knows that the length of my hair goes from one extreme to the other, although in the past couple of years it has gotten better.  It used to be that I’d let it get far too long and only when it really bugged me would I get it cut, and then I’d have it cut really short so that it would last a while.

It’s because I truly hate visiting the barbers / hair dressers.

I have a memory from childhood but I’m not sure if it is the cause of my barber distress or merely a contributing factor.  I remember going on my own (I think) to the local hair dressers and getting my hair cut very, very, very short.  I remember being extremely distressed by the result and maybe even hiding in my bed for a few hours.  I’m not sure exactly how old I was, maybe very early teens.  I’m sure there was crying, for several days.

Whatever the root cause, I know I’ve hated it for as long as I can remember.  I get very stressed while my hair is being cut and find myself tensed and clenching all my muscles,  until I make myself relax and as soon as I stop focussing I tense again.

The net result of all that is that while I was at University, and ever since, I’ve always left getting my hair cut as long as possible, usually up to the point where it bugs me so much I finally relent and get it done.  I also find it easier to go somewhere I’m familiar with.  When I was living in Rotherham this meant getting three buses each way to get to a barbers in Sheffield I’d used while I was living near there at University.

When we moved to Nottingham I started going to a local hair dressers, and they were pretty good, while it was still distressing I got used to it and managed to go reasonably regularly.  We moved in Nottingham (still close to the same place) next to a barbers, and I tried that once, and it was a terrible experience.  My feelings weren’t misplaced though, since when I went back to the hair dressers next time they commented on how bad the cut was and fixed it.

It’s not like I have complex hair, or want a complex cut, I just want it short and tidy, I’ve always just wanted it short and tidy, but for some reason the whole experience is distressing.

Grete cuts my hair now, or I should say, she shaves it using electric clippers (#4 all over thanks) and it’s much, much, much less stressful.  However, it’s still not stress free and I trust Grete with my life so it’s not about people I don’t know, it’s about the whole process of having my hair cut.  For some reason.

Anyway, now that Grete cuts it, it doesn’t get quite as long as it used to, but it still gets too long.

So there, I don’t really answer my own question, but I thought I’d blog about it anyway.  I guess I’ll never really know, I’m just glad that I’ve finally found the least stressful solution to the problem.  Getting my hair cut gives me a huge personal confidence boost, I feel measurably happier with it short, I just wish I could use that energy to make the process happen more often and be less stressful.

Maybe in the future.