Flip Flop Flying

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Cluster headaches

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I’ve been having a few of them recently. As I have mentioned before, I get them now and again. Reading forums, some people get them all the time, which would be utterly awful. Thankfully, I only get them for about three weeks every year or so. I’ve been having them for fifteen years or so now. I didn’t used to keep track of them, but I’ve kept a note for the past few years. I had a batch in December 2007, then some more in August 2008. A longer gap the next time, when I had some in February 2010. And now I have them again.

Last time I had them I’d read online that caffeine and “sexual activity” could, if implemented as soon as I felt a headache coming on, could minimise the pain. And it works pretty good. It’s still a headache worse than a regular headache, but it’s way milder than a full-on cluster headache. I hate the taste of Red Bull, but it seems to be the best way to get a lot of caffeine in me as quickly as possible. Sometimes, though, I get the feeling that all they are doing is postponing the headaches. I stay awake til around the normal time I’ll get a headache (this batch seem to come around 3.30-4.00am), I’ll take my “medication,” get rid of the headache, and then be awake and jittery from the Red Bull until daylight. And several of those times, I’ve been woken up mid-morning by a headache.

While there’s no perfect time for a cluster headache, and the loss of sleep, and messing up of the body clock sucks, getting them during the night has one huge benefit: it’s dark. Light and sound make the headaches feel worse, so getting them at 4am makes it easier to avoid both of those things: it’s dark and quiet. I had one last week in the middle of the afternoon. I was on the subway when I first felt it. I was only a couple of stations from my Spanish teacher’s house, so I waited, dashed out of the station to the convenience store which, inconveniently, didn’t have any Red Bull. Nor did the next one. By the time I was at the third store on the same block as my teacher’s place, the headache was beyond repair. I glugged down Red Bull anyway, said hi and goodbye, and got in a cab to go straight back home.

It’s amazing how little things become so much more noticeable when you’re feeling bad. I noticed how bad the roads are. Bumpy bumpy bumpy all the way home. I noticed how much traffic there is. So many traffic lights, too. And time passes so so slowly when I’ve got a headache. The homing instinct really kicks in. I can clearly remember times in London on the train home, head down, eyes closed, just trying to focus on being home. I went to an Arcade Fire concert in 2005 at Magnet Club in Berlin. I got a headache while they were playing. I left immediately, and the walk home from the club is something I can still quite vividly remember. (And, unfairly or not, I still bear a grudge against the band for causing that particular headache. My enjoyment of their music has never been the same since then. Partly, of course, due to the decline in quality of their music. Meow.)

Today is the final day of the third week of these headaches. I didn’t have one all day Sunday. I got eight hours sleep for the first time in over a week (I was averaging about four hours sleep per 24 hours last week), and there’s not been any shadows all day either (I get a faint feeling of a headache a lot of the time, which hints that I’ll be getting a full-on twat of a headache at some point). Headaches are, apparently, self-perpetuating. And I do wonder if my brain has anything to do with this idea of the three week batches of them. Now that I know I’m at the end of a three week batch, is my brain preparing me for normality again? It’s kinda alarming that my brain allows this shit to happen, but right now, if he is telling me the three week batch is over, well: thanks, brain. And I really do hope that there’s no blog post tomorrow where I call my brain a twat for tricking me into believing the headaches were over. My brain is a twat a lot of the time for many other reasons, but I hope he’s not for this.

Written by Craig

September 19th, 2011 at 2:01 am

Posted in Blah blah,Moaning

Life is beautiful

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Anyone with an iPod touch or iPhone may well know the alarm sound called Old Car Horn. If you don’t, well, it sounds like a very old-fashioned car horn. It’s my alarm sound of choice. Being freelance, I have the luxury, most of time, of setting my own schedule. It’s a luxury, and it’s a pain in the arse, too. I genuinely like getting up early, getting on with stuff and feeling like I’ve accomplished something by lunchtime; rather than feeling like lunchtime is actually when I’m eating breakfast. But, most days, I hit the snooze button. Which is nowhere near as satisfying on an iPod than on a real alarm clock. Trying to be careful and just tap a glass screen when you’re half-asleep is tough going. And launching an arm in the general direction of an alarm clock feel more appropriate at that time of day. The problem I have, though, is too much snoozing. This morning, I snoozed for an hour. That’s six snoozes. On Tuesday, I snoozed for three whole hours. Eighteen snoozes. Impressive. And idiotic at the same time. Yesterday, I just snoozed for half an hour or so, and it’s yesterday that we’re focussing on here.

A bad thing about having the iPod as my alarm clock is that it means I have easy access to the Internet before I’ve got out of bed. I really, really should stop myself from checking my email before I’m properly awake. But yesterday I didn’t. Backing up a bit, I’m doing a job at the moment that I’m not entirely enjoying. The idea from the client is a good one, but it’s a job that has never entirely clicked. It’s always felt like an uphill struggle to know how to do what the client wants and what I am capable of, and would enjoy doing. It’s also a job that was first talked about a long time ago, like November last year. And when there’s too much time between the brief and the deadline, it’s very easy to not crack on, to start it “next week.” I spent my vacation thinking about it. Trying to come up with ideas, a layout. Nothing much happened. But, over the last week, as the deadline approaches, it’s come together. I’d worked a lot on it on Wednesday, and went to bed feeling—for the very first time—feeling happy with the job. Feeling like my feet were on solid ground. Then I checked my email in bed the following morning. And suddenly I was back where I’d been. Changes needed making. Things I liked had to be changed. Bad mood. Fired off a bit of a chippy email, and went out to get coffee. Didn’t bother with a shower, just stomped out, chuntering to myself. Nearly got hit by a car that had ignored the red light (I was halfway across four lanes of traffic, so it wasn’t like he was too close to stop, he just decided to ignore the red light). Got to Starbucks. Grande cappuccino, por favor. Taste it: bleurgh! Try to explain in broken español that it taste like there’s no espresso at all in there. Another one gets made. Thanks. (That “thanks” was said in a tone that actually said “fuck you.”)

Back at the apartment, I knew I needed to clarify (ie. apologise) for the chippy email. Did that. All good. Things got cleared up, but still, foul foul foul mood hanging over me. Then I looked at my Tumblr dashboard. (If you didn’t know, I have a wee Tumblr site called Flip Flop Fly Ballin’, which is basically nice baseball pictures that I’ve seen around the Internet, and a place where I put up new stuff from my real baseball site, Flip Flop Fly Ball. And, yes, I do seem to be on a mission to create as many sites as possible with very similar names.) I saw that something I’d done (taking the eyes and mouth of one famous New York Yankees player, and putting them in the face of another, and vice versa) had been reblogged by someone else, from a different source, though. Now, it’s one of the things I love about Tumblr, that there’s a nice communal thing with reblogging other peoples’ stuff. It’s a nice tip of the hat: this dude created or found something cool, nice one. Reblog. And it seems to me to be one of the key things about Tumblr. So anyway, I checked out the source of this reblog, and it was a site that, rather than reblogging, just takes the image and posts it. It included a link to my original, but that’s not the point on Tumblr, really. The point is, this site dammed my rebloggy river, and diverted all the reblogs to itself. The bad mood that I was already in started to rage up inside. I hate that feeling. The feeling of being angry, and it being a physical feeling inside my chest. I sent them an email. There were swear words and capital letters involved.

I knew knew knew that I had to do something to calm down. Sunglasses, headphones, and a walk to the park. Chapultepec Park. A very big park about ten minutes from my apartment. There’s a zoo there, too. A free zoo. So I figured looking at some animals would calm me down. It didn’t. The bad mood made me impatient. I walked around, barely stopping to look at any animals at all, getting frustrated by the people who were enjoying the zoo. My bad mood and push chairs aren’t a good combination. I did briefly calm down a little in the aviary bit. The birds were nice.

Back home, I’d had a reply from the Tumblr site guy. He was polite and apologised. He explained that he thought that reblogging was a “shitty user experience” and that “we’re a website on tumblr, not a tumblr.” I should’ve just left it, but couldn’t. The hypocrisy annoyed me. Using Tumblr to get reblogs, but never dishing them out. I went on and was just spoiling for a fight. To his credit, he stayed fairly calm while I got increasingly annoyed.

By this time, the day was a right-off. Bought some beer, and sat down and cracked open a can. And cracked on with the changes to the job. And worked and worked. And by the end of the evening, I’d done all the changes and done all the beers. And, well, I went to bed feeling like the job was in a good place again.

This morning, I deliberately didn’t look at my email in bed. I got up, and had a shower first. Email checked. Client seemed happy. Went out to buy coffee feeling better than 24 hours earlier. And just as I was about to enter Starbucks, a bird shat on my head. Bird shit on my forehead and sunglasses. Perfuckingfect. (This is true, not just a comedy ending to the blog post, by the way.) This particular Starbucks doesn’t have a bathroom. So I wiped the poo off with my hand, wiped my hand on a few napkins and went to the bathroom in the small mall-type thing that the Starbucks is a part of. Of course, the bathrooms were locked, with no attendant around. So I walked home chuntering to myself, conscious that there may well still be a smear of bird shit on my forehead. Back at home. There wasn’t bird shit on my forehead, but still had to take my second shower of the hour. Tomorrow, tomorrow, please please please, tomorrow: don’t be a cunt.

Written by Craig

February 25th, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Posted in Blah blah,Moaning

Can I sue God?

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I’m not a religious man in any way. I believe in God as whole heartedly as I believe in the Tooth Fairy. I find it all rather ridiculous. (I’m not gonna get all militant atheist on you, don’t worry.) I don’t think we need any holy texts to guide us to be moral, partly because if you accept that premise, then we must also accept that slavery, amongst other things, is an acceptable thing to be involved in. Without doing any research, I’d say if you asked people about morals in the Bible, at some point, most of them would mention those things mentioned in God’s hit parade, the Ten Commandments. I’m quite sure most of you can name several of them off the top of your head.

Off the top of my head: don’t murder anyone, don’t adulter, something about false idols, don’t work on the Sabbath, don’t covet your neighbours stuff, or look down your neighbour’s wife’s top.

Oh yes, there’s also one about not stealing. Which brings me to the Harper Collins edition of the Good News Bible. Now, depending on how you define stealing, it might be interesting to compare my Lollipops drawings to the cover of the Harper Collins Good News Bible.

While it’s not stealing as such, I would say the “influence” is fairly obvious. Having experienced this sort of stuff before, because the work isn’t directly stolen, it’d be actually quite difficult to sue God or Rupert Murdoch (Harper Collins is owned by News Corporation). But I am very cross at both of those people and whoever did the illustrations. Surely two thousand years ago, I’d have at least been allowed to chuck a few rocks at their heads, right? I’m sure somewhere in the Bible it would say that’s okay.

Thanks to Mark for letting me know about this.

Written by Craig

May 13th, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Moved

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Blah blah blah, Blogger is stopping allowing FTP transfer stuff, and the whole process is way beyond my technical ability. I don’t know what the fuck a CNAME is, so I’m moving here. I’m assuming that all the old stuff will stay in the same place, cos it’s on the same server as the rest of the Flip Flop Flyin’ stuff. But I did notice that comments on the old blog aren’t coming up. Sorry. (And thanks to Anna and The Bulkeleys for their kind words about the drawings on the last post.)

I swapped up one of the images at the top of the last post over there so that it redirects you here, but for some idiotic reason, I’m unable to actually edit the blog post to redirect here. Stomp stomp stomp my feet like a child: I hate Blogger, waaah! So things might look a bit unlike the old blog over here for a while until I get to grips with how to edit the HTML to put the masthead etc. up here. Ho hum.

Anyway, because I swapped out one of the images in the last post, I’ll post them all here now. Let’s see if this works, shall we?

(Images now back in their original post below, here.)

Written by Craig

March 11th, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Posted in Housekeeping,Moaning