Apr. 9th, 2011

zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
The boil water notice has been lifted for Christchurch. It's so nice to be realllllly sleepy and wander into the bathroom and think "I should brush my teeth" and then just turn on the tap and brush your teeth and not get gastro.

Or at least I assume I didn't get gastro. If I do, the Christchurch District Health Board will have some 'splaining to do.

Random things: I changed my view of the Dreamwidth interface from Tropo-thingy Red to Tropo-thingy Purple. It's weird but a very awesome colour. Celerity's cute too but maybe too much of a change for me.
--On Dreamwidth: I like Dreamwidth a whole lot and believe in its goals and ethics and business model, but I don't think it's the One True Way. One of the things I like about it is that the people running it say it's not the One True Way and are supportive of the existence of other ways, including LiveJournal, both in what they say (currently they're suggesting people not import LJ content to DW while LJ deals with the DDOS attack) and in how they design (in maintaining/increasing interoperability). They do take opportunities sometimes when issues arise elsewhere to promote their points of difference in terms of design and ethics, and I think it's valid to see that as smug or opportunitistic though obviously this is not how I see it myself -- I see it as being justly proud of what they've created and as letting people who've been hurt by something know that there's another option out there iff they're interested. But anyway I think there's plenty of room for alternative interpretations and especially alternative choices: a healthy ecosystem is a diverse ecosystem.

My ereader has shipped, woot! I feel like phoning up my parents and saying "Is it here yet? How about now?" Also this morning I got an email from a friend asking for advice on what ereader to get her father-in-law. Guess what thread I pointed her too?

The last couple of days I've felt a bit more stable. I don't think it's coincidence that this kicked in approximately the same minute that my leave request was approved. I really must make it a this year's New Year's Resolution that I'll take leave before I need it, and also try to line up the next bunch of leave shortly after coming back from the previous bunch so I've got it to look forward to when stressed. (Last year's New Year's Resolution was: When sick, take one more day than I think I need. I'm very grateful that I have sufficient sick leave available, and have been sufficiently healthy over all, that this has been possible, because it's stood me in very good stead.)

That said, I do have a touch of indefinable blahs today. Doesn't help that I need to go shopping for socks and warm slippers and also for groceries. --Oh wait, if I go there I can in fact get both from the same mall. Cool. But I am looking forward to my local mall opening again. About four weeks ago they said the supermarket'd open in four weeks. A few days ago (when I emailed them to say ~"Lighting your fluorescent sign while you're closed wastes electricity and is false advertising and means when you do open no-one will know the difference") they told me it'll open in five weeks. At this rate, by Christmas it'll be opening as early as 2013.

(They also said that it doesn't waste that much electricity: "around $280 per month, cheaper than most house holds." I think they overestimate the average household a bit, though it's hard for me to judge as my circumstances mean I'm definitely much under average. Also they seem to have completely missed the remainder of my argument, saying that "we will need the sign on to let customers know we are re-opening" which makes no sense. If you have the sign on when you're open and when you're closed, the only thing it tells customers is "We may be open, or we may be closed, who knows?")

Blah. Don't want to go shopping. I hate shopping.

I need a massage. Conveniently I have a voucher for a massage. Inconveniently voicemail informs me they're currently unoperational - I'm not in the least surprised, given their location (Pilgrim Place - near the CBD - and concrete slab) but oh yeah, I lack all resilience to disappointment. On the plus side they should be back up and running mid-May, which is a month and a half before my voucher expires and no doubt I'll still need a massage; plus there's a place I've visited before which I know is up and running so I just need to get a few seconds of energy and go for the phone again. --Ooh, even better, webform!

...I know what else the problem includes: I've turned exothermic. The last couple of sunny days have been great, but now cloudiness returns. I really must call someone to come look at my gasfire, and hope they can get here before Easter.

I vote spaghetti on toast for lunch. I distinctly recall there being some bread left in my freezer.

ETA: Dinosaur Comics vastly improves weepytimes.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
Things that don't seem like an excellent idea #1: Rubbing a cut on your knuckle as you go to empty your chemical toilet in the communal tank. I don't think it came into contact with anything more problematic than the basically-clean exterior of my own tank. I rubbed hand sanitiser into it until it stung while I was there, and when I got home washed it thoroughly and slathered with more hand sanitiser and then Dettol antiseptic cream. No signs of gangrene yet.

--

In my previous post I meant to wax more philosophical on the progression from the early day or few of relying on our own stocks of water; then a week or so of queuing for water; then boiling all water, and now six and a half weeks later being able to wash an open cut in it straight from the tap.

(Still to come: not needing to conserve it for the sake of the sewage system; and not needing to have it chlorinated anymore. Not sure which will happen first.)

...I don't have much philosophical to say about it. Just that it's fascinating to watch the regaining of civilisation. When I see people on Twitter complaining about how we haven't fixed all our roads yet (apparently Japan has or something? I know they've fixed some roads super-rapidly, but all of them to brand-new? I'm sceptical); or people in the news complaining that a hotel and Civil Defense are conspiring to keep them from retrieving their NZ$27,000 engagement ring (the building's yellow-stickered! that means it's safe for the public to wander through in search of a ring, right?!) I can only assume that either they're really really really tired, which is perfectly understandable, or that they don't have a clue just how bad the earthquake hit us.

And when it's a Tweep who lives out of town, or, well, the $27,000 engagement ring speaks for itself -- I find myself favouring one of these possibilities over the other.

The thing is, lots of things broke. People have fixed a lot of things. And it's not anyone's fault, nor even government's, that the huge lot of things that have been fixed remains almost overwhelmingly outnumbered by the lots of things that broke. There's a whole scaling issue here, folks! <flail>

I think I shall walk to my parents' this evening instead of busing bussing going by bus; see if it loosens up some of these rocks in my back.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
Everyone talks about the "new normal". Some complain that it's talked about too much, that it's a cliché that shouldn't be used anymore. Sometimes it probably is a cliché; but if so, it is because it's true.

A few times I've tried to pretend for stress-relief purposes that everything's just like the normal-that-was. This is how that works out for me:

So I'm just walking along, doot di doo, wearing my dust mask-- Wait. That's not normal.

Okay, well, I can tune out the dust mask. So I'm just walking along, doot di doo, listening to my iPod, smelling the thick citrus scent of a portaloo--

No, look, I can do this. Walking along, listening to my music, enjoying the beautiful hills and beautiful sky (no more search and rescue helicopters, which I'm not thinking about), stepping carefully over some torn-up asphalt--

And there's a traffic cone on a pothole, and an abandoned house, and the stain of brick-dust on the footpath, and a concrete block fence fallen down, and construction work at the mall, and malfunctioning real-time ETAs at the bus-stop, and safety railing around a demolition site, and another portaloo, and another fallen fence (brick), and several houses in a row with plywood in the walls and patches on the roofs where chimneys used to be, and safety tape around an unsafe property, and more rough footpaths, and some silt that didn't get cleared up, and my favourite grocery store, for lease, and and and... a roughly-repaired bridge, a sign excluding all traffic but residents, a container in the road in front of someone's house, stopbank works along the river, blue above-ground waterpipes.

(This was a 40-minute walk.)

Earlier this week I tried to pretend things were normal while walking in a part of town I'd never have been in if it weren't for the quake messing up my normal routes. Nevertheless I managed to work it, until I reached the gates of Selwyn House School where the kids have pasted up hundreds of hearts bearing messages like "Kia kaha, Christchurch."

It's just not possible to pretend things are as normal. I can't think of anywhere I can go to pretend that. Not home, not work, not on the bus, not at the shops. (Another ChChian has just posted photos of an average commute to work.)

Maybe at church, except the projector's still shining off-centre and they've still got the wooden statue off its pedestal, and as soon as we move from the set stuff to the more social stuff there's bound to be quake-talk. Maybe at choir, if I ignore the new route I take to get there and back and ignore the social talk... except one of the events we were practising for has been cancelled due to catastrophic lack of venue. Maybe at my friends' place in the northwest where I stay the night sometimes -- until the morning when I log on via the internet to start my day working-from-home because I haven't seen my desk in six and a half weeks.

Having a shower or washing dishes isn't normal (conserving water). Watching TV isn't normal (new TV, sitting on the floor surrounded by books by the gasfire that'll stay cold until checked by someone qualified). Going to bed isn't normal as I put my laptop under secure shelter and hang my bag on the nightstand. Going to the toilet sure isn't normal (whoops, forgot to add chemicals when I reassembled it this afternoon).

Lying in bed in the morning before I open my eyes and see the cracks in my ceiling -- that's still normal. But that's... really that's pretty much it.

Some of these things we'll get back, but they won't all be the same. We won't want them to all be the same. There'll be new shops and new technologies. We'll have made new friends and new habits -- many of us already have. We're not the us-that-was anymore either.

Optical illusion: young woman vs old womanI think that part of the hard thing about the six-week mark is that it's becoming untenable to pretend that this is just an aberration. I can't pretend that things are the normal-that-was. They're not, and never will be again.

The only thing I can do is accept the normal-that-is, with all its cracks and portaloos and temporary repairs and little inconveniences. Because when the normal-that-is becomes so normal that I don't see it anymore, that's when I can walk down the road, doot di doo, and see someone's roses, blooming riotously in red and white and sunrise.

Retraining your brain to see what you want it to is hard work.

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zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
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