Sunday, 3 March 2019

One doesn't get many that important events in life

Which is what V. said when I apologised for ranting over and over again about my kidney.
"Sure," I replied. "I have a finite supply of kidneys and should I need to get rid of the other one, it would be an entirely different issue. Much more interesting."

There is actually something darkly funny about writing "get kidney removed" to the to-do list. In the last few months, everything seems to go wrong. Not abysmally wrong, just... I get some vague idea that matters are sort of settled, life can go on as usual, nothing exciting expected anytime soon. And, then things change enough to warrant some planning, rearranging and rethinking which needs time and energy, I plan, arrange and organise, dust settles, the first spark of a hint of a speck of idea that the dust might have settled and life is back to mundane, something changes again. Rinse, repeat... get kidney removed and finish rinsing and repeating when the pathology results are back.

My mother says that one should learn to find the positive side of everything and try to enjoy it as much as possible. She certainly did not mean gallows humour, I cannot even say that I still have one left or that in liver, it would be worse, it cannot be hacked off and they say that it is a pain in the arse to stitch it up.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

You're fine

my GP said, and in one breath, she continued, "but the stomach should be seen by a surgeon."

I hear that everyone hates this sort of patients. They have a handful of vague symptoms pointing vaguely in several directions, most of them are whiners and hypochondriacs but then there is that handful who are apparently sick but it is not exactly easy to find out what is the problem.

I went to see my GP because I reached her on the phone, otherwise I would see my ob/gyn who is closer at hand and as good for vague stomach complaints. I listed my vague stomach complaints and other vague complaints and kept apologising that I know that these are vague complaints but I generally feel crappy and it's differently crappy than normally crappy so I though I would rather get checked. The doctor did her poking and prodding, found out that I do not look fine overall but there is nothing much
I was referred to a surgeon who ordered a few tests, nodded his head, said something about something being wrong with my kidney, added an uncalled-for rant about how they might save said kidney and referred me to urology to the university hospital.
The inevitable part of medical care is the red tape and following the protocols so as an outside patient, I had to go through the emergency entrance and start there. Apparently, a paper starting with STAT has quite a bit of mana so I proceeded fairly quickly.
The urologist did his ultrasound and showed me what the problem is, something that looked like a potato. I nodded and asked where the actual kidney is, just for scale and the doctor showed me a thin line surrounding the mass.
"It is not pretty, is it," I said.
"No," the doctor replied and scheduled me for a CT scan and for a next checkup.

I was down and pissed. Rather more pissed than unhappy because I had exams to do and things to write and with the damn depression, I was not exactly productive so having another so another goddamn problem and another need to rearrange what I had already rearranged  annoys me to no end.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018


I like them not really ripe and crunchy. I used to get them in Spar down the street, slightly more expensive than elsewhere but they were great.

I got another package today, they looked good but they are past their prime, slightly squishy and less crunchy than I would like. One had a tiny rotting spot... and the package contained a substantial amount of fruit flies who were smart enough to sit still when I carried it outside.

I believe that all living things should be treated fairly and with dignity, with the exception of the ecosystem under my bed, metaphorically speaking. In other words, I don't want to share my room with tens of fruit flies. They are used as a model organism in genetics because they breed rapidly and mutate fast so within a week, I'd be living with thousands of mutant Drosophillas.

I put the offending nectarine in the trash bin along with some kernels and other leftovers, placed the good ones in the fridge and then took the trash away - the fruit flies will certainly fare better in the trash bin anyway.

Most of them are gone but there is half a dozen sitting on the wall giving me a doubtful look. So what, where's some food?


Monday, 1 October 2018

Some more random whines

I feel somewhat off place quite often. I haven't got used to it yet.

I play my card of I am another studip Erasmus student when around the university, mostly for myself because people don't generally want to interact with me.

And then there are the cultural differences.
I am clumsy so since... well, forever, my cellphones were of the sort that can fall from the 3rd floor and nothing happens. And I am not an iThing person, for various reasons, one being that them poseurs can stick their apple stuff up their posteriors - and this is quite a general opinion on my home turf. Also, why should I pay twice as much for something that will break in three days maximum, because it will take three days maximum until I drop my phone on the stone floor.
Which is beside the point. I have an android thingy which looks like carved out of an old tyre, I dropped it the moment I unpacked it, it jumped a few times and looked as happy as any other time, and it has a microUSB port. Which means that to charge it, I need a USB - microUSB cable. Of which I have plenty, there are several circulating around our household and obviously, I took one with me to Vienna.


It survived a month.

I set out to find some place with USB cables. I live 100 metres away from Mariahilfer Strasse (*) and some months ago, I went to H&M and noticed that they have phone cables and dug through them to find a nice colourful cable for mom's iPhone that needs super special weirdo cable so I supposed I'd just go there, grab that damn cable and go home.

Did I say that I don't exactly thrive in new environments, and in places with too many people? Which is why I am not too adventurous and why asking someone is the last resort?

I ventured to Vienna's main shopping street... I got a scented candle in H&M - it had a sticker with a warning that it contains some-or-another aromachemical which may cause allergic reaction and shouldn't be eaten or whatnot, which is why I immediately liked it - but they only had iPhone cables. They had only iPhone cables even at the mobile operators' shops. At the end, I found one of those stationeries that has stationery and all sorts of other crap. The shop clerk warned me that this is not for iPhones and asked three times whether I am sure that I don't need an iPhone cable.


Not that I wouldn't be able to survive without my phone for a week but I only have my public transport ticket in the app.

(*) I hereby state my intention to ignore the ß. The German orthography changed since my school days so I don't know where should it go and although this ligature developed from the sz digraph, today it stands for ss and it's developed from the ss digraph as well so I can happily apply some folk etymology and consider the ß a long s and s rotunda digraph... so... get what I mean. [Insert slightly desperate handwaving.]

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

New people

I hate people. Not in some specific way, I don't have any objections against you, you and you back there. Nor would I want to get rid of them somehow or hurt them or some such, I actually like people... but, somehow, not too close, not too many, not between me and the doorway. And as long as they do not want to interact..

Which is why back at home, I have that magic paper with an official stamp that says The carrier of this flat piece of cellulose is weird, when hiding in the shrubbery, place noms and coffe nearby and leave quietly; absolutely no poking with a stick, no, not even a little bit.
I need to get similar piece of paper or some other credentials here and so far, I haven't really understood how the system works, I'm going to the cripple office tomorrow to find out.

Today, I went to register my temporary residence here. I had a nice walk around Mariahilf in the morning, found the municipal offices, got my numbered piece of paper and after waiting for some 10 minutes, my hands were trembling and I had an urge to run away.
The office lady was nice, after all, daily dealings with foreigners, citizens and other random idiots makes one be sorta nice as it's the easiest way of handling them. I got my paper and went to the university instead of running back home and hiding for the rest of the week, which cost me quite a bit of effort.

At the uni, my Prague eduroam credentials seemed to be working just fine so in the lecture room full of people, I could pretend to myself that I wasn't really there but the introduction was quite short and then the classes started.

I don't talk to strangers unless in dire need.
I talked to the teacher explaining that, well, autism spectrum disorder, I'm doing my best not to run away, sorry, I appear dumber than I really am. She took it easy and said that I don't need to talk if I don't feel comfortable. Good.

Course ended, I ran away in case some of my classmates would want to interact, had a walk and awarded myself with some food.

Now I'm happily locked in my room now feeling guilty - I could live on dried apples for the whole week, right? and mailing around 14 people regarding my courses and won't get out until tomorrow.

Could be worse.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Same shit, different place

I had a temp job at the main Erasmus office and whined to my boss and a long-time friend that I should do a German exam. And back in the day, at the high school, I spent four years of German classes with a psychotic teacher whose method was 50 % grammar drill and 50 % yelling that we're incompetent lazy stupid useless semiliterate chimpanzees who will never accomplish anything. I thus have a somewhat complicated attitude towards Goethe's and Schiller's language. Practically, I prefer to avoid it unless it has to be used and in that case, I prefer to find someone who would do the using for me, thank you very much.

(A few months ago, I was in Zürich and I found out that I'm not able to understand their variety of German at all. I decided that I can fight back and speak Italian because they should at least sort of know and it's them who will be ashamed. Which is better than me being ashamed.)

So, I did my bit of whining and said friend poured some more tea and said And why don't you go to Vienna? The Austrians are sorta cool, it's almost next door, let me see, your department doesn't have an agreement with the Vienna university, that's odd, one would think that they would, but you can go via some other department, try Theatre Studies or Archaeology, they've always had free spots in the last few years.

It has to be noted that at my department, they found out that I speak French. Not that it would be difficult, I list it in my CV, in very small letters because the only reason that I actually speak French is my lack of inhibitions, my level being somewhere between sort of passable and halfway Italian. The professors were enthused that there's finally someone who can go to École des Chartes. Not sure how happy they were when I told them that I'm going to Vienna instead but after all, it's useful because the Vienna University has courses in Latin papyrology and... anyway.
And the Theatre Studies guy was only too happy to sign my papers, basically saying that they get whined at for not sending any students over, good that there's someone at last.

The paperwork is a major pain in the arse.
I got a paper with a big round stamp that says that I'm an Officially Recognised Cripple, or a special needs student. It's entered in the information system that people are officially required to be nice at me or I may run away and hide in the shrubbery behind the building, just in more formal words. It has a great placebo effect - when things are getting on my nerves too much, I tell myself that I have that magic paper so what. I thus take the liberty to politely annoy people until I understand the effing forms and how to fill them in. It's good.

So, I did the Prague bit of my paperwork and now it's time for the Vienna bit. Oh, the good old days in Italy where nobody cared whether I actually registered somewhere and when I did, for a proof of income, a debit card was just fine. (No, I'm not going to try and find out what mind was behind this idea.) But the thorough and industrious red tape at least gives clear instructions - or has given them so far. I really liked the Vienna University application process - I got an email saying Follow this link and fill in your name. Do not enter any other data until further notice. A few days later, I got an email saying Follow this link and fill in your domicile. Do not enter any other data until further notice. You get the gist.
Thorough and industrious red tape at the Vienna University has a problem, though - I can't register for courses outside the department to which I came to study, which is Theatre Studies as per all the papers, unless I have an explicit approval of the relevant department.

I wanted to take some art history courses because I wanted to take some biology courses and as per the Erasmus rules, 51 % of my credits need to be from my home faculty. Not department, the whole Arts, I asked twice.
Actually, I was copying learning agreements of students coming to Prague and I happened to come across some such that read something like Medical Faculty, courses: virology, infectious diseases, other medical stuff I, other medical stuff II., Medieval French Literature. I remarked that easy credits are acquired from sports, no?, and the more experienced office workers explained the above mentioned requirement. And then I asked twice.
So, well, there were not many useful courses for me and for not that many credits compared to boatloads of damn interesting stuff at Natural Sciences. And most of the courses in botany are in English, even, which would make the whole studying affair a bit less frustrating, wouldn't it. So, art history courses would provide a few extra credits so that I don't get into some red tape mess.
To sum it up, I need an approval from three other persons. Sigh.

And I need to register with some other effing office. Which wants me to prove that I have funds/income/an affidavit from parents that they would cough it up for me equating to something like 1200 euros per month. No way in hell. At least I can go there up to three months after arrival so I can throw all money that I have, plus something from my family on a pile, show them the bank statement, not tell them to shove it up their arses, get my stamp and go home and return the money to where it belongs. (My financial institution called Cash in Cat Food Can works just fine, thank you very much. Feringa has pretty cans and the food rocks, if you add a bit of estragon and pull out those bits that look like arteries, you can serve it as a true unadulterated French delicacy. Just saying.)

I guess I should go and do a bit of accounting. But, there'll be more insane rants, promise. Sooner than in half a year.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

'Tis been a while...

... but life got somewhat busy.

I'm doing my Ph. D. Yes, a second attempt. I'm clumsy in some ways. I took that bit of effort and got a magic paper with a big university stamp that says that I'm a student with special needs and that everyone is requested, by order, as certified by said magic paper with a stamp, to be nice to me. I have reasons to believe that the Department of Archival Studies is inhabited by nicer people than my native art history turf but maybe that institutional magic works.
For those who may be interested, I'm working on a very very obscure theme of late Roman/early Mediæval palæography (gotta like me those diphthongs) which I refuse to explain until I feel like explaining it, and it is not right now, because people get lost after second sentence. However, it includes a lot of nerdy statistics - a thing unseen at the Arts Faculty but I apparently have an urge to be odd - and I absolutely need to find a nice Uncial font. Uncial is pretty, that's it, such as in the Vienna Livius. Do browse it, just for the æsthetic pleasure.
I got a teaching assignment, feel free to imagine the usual complaints about how the students are dumb. To be specific, I doubt that certain specimens know the alphabet and when I introduced them to the glory and magic of indices, quite a few were quite a bit lost. Or they looked so.

Cat is doing fine. Dad started training, saying that at least Come here and Sit down and Sit and beg shoud be manageable but at the end, he concluded that he's been trained to Give treat. So, technically, I own two cats, I'm listed in the microchip database and I buy cat food. Practically, nope. Meezer lives with grandma and the old ladies are happy that way, Cat adopted my dad who keeps spoiling her rotten and that's it. Did I already say that blue-eyed cats are ungrateful bastards?

A few months ago I would say that I lived in three places again, as  I did in the glorious academic year of 2003/2004, 2004/2005 and, I think, 2008/2009. Meantime, I had a major argument with my mother which involved core life values, started moving my shit away and sorta crossed out the family house from my present and future calculations. I still live something akin to a logistic nightmare but it's settling down, I already know the train schedules, I spread the everyday stuff like deodorants and underwear evenly - I still lack in a few departments but I guess I'll manage with carrying pointe shoes around, they run on the expensive side and I don't use them up the way I use up toothpaste.

And, at the end, a pretty song for all my past loves and for whomever it may concern: