Category Archives: Writing

Advent Calendar Day 11: Vampire Mondays

Despite getting out of bed whilst it was actually still morning today didn’t go as I wanted it to. Even though I was out of bed and doing what I was supposed to be doing it didn’t feel right, half the time I felt like I was still asleep and the rest of the time I was wishing I were. It was only late in the evening that I actually felt awake, something which doesn’t bode well for my efforts at straightening out my sleeping patterns. I’m doing everything I can to resist a nocturnal schedule but evidently the rest of me does not agree. Come night time that old familiar feeling returns, a feeling of invincibility almost. Like I can do anything and I have a million and one ideas. Which of course I don’t actually do anything about, that’s all anything is these days, ideas and thoughts. Hardly anything is real anymore, most things don’t get beyond my head. I plot stories, come up with ideas for posts and projects. Yet I don’t do any of it. When it comes to writing stuff down the words aren’t there anymore. And when they are it’s not right, the stories are more complete when they’re in my head. Like something gets lost when I try to put them down on paper.

Things aren’t happening as they’re meant to and these posts are no exception. I thought I might use them to get back on track. And of course I had plenty of ideas, like digging some stuff out from my archives and making videos for the players whose cards and stickers I got on that day. Something which never materialized, not because I forgot about the idea. It was just the thought of all that work, what is usually fun felt like a chore. Almost everything feels that way these days. Forget about actually getting anything done by the time you’re out of bed, showered and dressed it feels like that’s half of your energy gone already. Yesterday was a lot of fun, maybe too much fun.

Not a lot happened today, other than what seems to be the now mandatory Playstation marathon (the game of choice being Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood this time) the main event today was the Champions League draw. Bayern have got what on paper is a not so difficult draw, having been drawn with Turkish team Besiktas. I find it funny myself, because Besiktas are from RB Leipzig’s group. The best of the bunch though is obviously Real Madrid v PSG. I don’t care about the Ronaldo v Neymar competition though. What I care about is German being pitted against German, well Germans since PSG have two in the form of Julian Draxler and Kevin Trapp. And of course Real Madrid have Toni Kroos. I can’t really root for either, I don’t like PSG because of where their money comes from yet I can’t root for Real Madrid because I can’t stand Ronaldo. As for picking who I like better, I don’t know if I can do that. My first instinct is to say Julian, though I think that might be Matze’s fault. Either way it’ll be brilliant to watch, I just hope that Julian actually gets to play. On the subject of Germans being pitted against one another the draw of Chelsea and Barcelona does just that. This time it’s Antonio Rüdiger against Marc-Andre ter Stegen. And this is the point where I say I’m staying neutral. Between those two I really can’t pick.

Despite the excitement of the Champions League draw the highlight of today was a new video for my collection, not Jogi of course (I’ve never gotten one of him from a 2.Bundesliga game – besides they’re in Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup) but Stefan instead.

Stefan Kuntz at Fortuna Düsseldorf v 1.FCN 2017/18

Advent Calendar Day 9: Adventures in Autism

With the way I’ve been feeling lately I’ve not really seen the point in doing anything and that includes writing, though I doubt myself when it comes to writing a lot anyway. I don’t find it easy to let other people read what I’ve written, especially when it’s fiction. Every once in a while I think what’s the point in writing anything when most of it is destined to go unread by anyone but me. Today I was provided with a very good reason as to why it’s important to keep writing a certain kind of story, that is the autism themed ones. Earlier I got sent a link to a post about a very offensive book about autism. A book which I’m not going to name, though I don’t really need to, the details will unfortunately make it clear. For there aren’t many books written by such a despicable human being who somehow manages to combine self centerdness, child abuse, hatred of disabled people and eugenics. The worst thing of all is the book isn’t fiction.

Before I read the link I thought “great another autism book written by one of those parents” but didn’t really expect it to be any worse than the many terrible articles and books I’ve read in the past. I was wrong, very wrong. I’ve read several articles and tweets about the book, enough to know that I’m not going to be able to read it without physically destroying the book in the process. I wish I could say I’m surprised, but not that much. It’s all too depressingly familiar. You live in a world where a parent of an autistic child murders that child and they are somehow the one who gets all the sympathy – then you can’t be surprised about stuff like this. Even so being sad their child is autistic is one thing, openly mocking them and writing a book in which you call them names and share their personal information, that is so far beyond the line it defies description. To think a few days ago I was ranting about the tv show The A Word and how terrible his parents are. In doing so I said “I’m so glad Joe is fictional because the thought of a kid having parents like that in real life is unbearable.”

Well, now it’s the other way around. I wish this boy were fictional. I wish as his evil mother thinks that autistic people like him and me didn’t have feelings and thoughts, that we didn’t understand that people like her hate us. What’s most disturbing about the book (I know, try and pick) is the review from a newspaper praising it for it’s “refreshing honesty.” You mean you’re glad this parent wrote this book saying how disabled people like her son are a burden, that they shouldn’t reproduce, openly making fun of them and terrorizing them? Are they glad because they think that way too but the constraints of civilized society prevent them from openly expressing their views? And now that a parent of a disabled child has said it they feel like it’s validated their views somehow? I’m so disappointed that Jon Stewart had anything good to say about this book, more disappointed than I can even put into words.

Anyway, the point I was going to make before getting lost in my rant is that without even actually reading it that book reminded me of why it’s important for people who actually understand autism to write about it. My stories are always realistic in that sense and sometimes that means they are a little depressing, but I write about the good and bad sides of autism. I don’t shy away from writing about difficult stuff and I don’t oversell the positives. My own situation has provided me with a perfect viewpoint as to how autism can mean very different things for different people. But when “those parents” rant at you about how you don’t understand autism because you’re high functioning they fail to realise that. Somehow their “normal” brain doesn’t register the fact that an autistic person like myself is highly likely to have at least one autistic sibling. Point that out and they’ll probably foolishly assume they’re “high-functioning” like you. Same as they foolishly assume that being able to type makes you capable of everything you need to do in order to function in the real world. With all their stupidity and rigid views maybe they have something wrong with them.

All that ranting and I haven’t even mentioned football once, that doesn’t happen often. It’s not like nothing has happened on that front today either, two coaches sacked in one day. Well only of them of them officially, Dortmund haven’t officially confirmed it yet but that’ll no doubt happen in the morning. It’s no surprise and I don’t mean because of the terrible streak Dortmund have been on lately. I’m not enjoying someone else’s downfall, just enjoying being right and winning my bet. They should have kept Thomas Tuchel. Ironic thing is in winning today Bremen helped me win my bet. All the same I would have preferred they not win, it’s put even more pressure on Freiburg tomorrow morning to beat Cologne. Thanks to Bremen winning Freiburg drop back down into 17th place. With only two match-days left it’s looking like it’s going to be another Christmas spent in the relegation zone.

Advent Calendar Day 4

I don’t have a title for today either but that’s not because I couldn’t be bothered to come up with one, more that the sticker and cards I got provided no inspiration. It’s fitting I suppose, getting a player I dislike on what is usually the worst day of the week. I didn’t like Sebastian Rudy when he played for Hoffenheim and I still don’t like him now that he plays for Bayern. It’s not because Monday is the start of the week that I dislike it (though obviously that doesn’t help), it’s more that the routine I’ve fallen into on Monday’s is not a helpful one. I didn’t have to get early today so I decided not to, but ended up waking up at 6:00am anyway, and after that getting back to sleep wasn’t easy. So even though I caught up on some sleep I may as well not have bothered. Thanks to that and yesterday I have something of a hangover, not alcohol induced of course – I don’t even drink. No, it’s more of an anger hangover, the lingering side effects of rage. And now I’m angry at myself for even being angry in the first place.

It never occurred to me before but my appointments are usually on Tuesdays, and now that’s got me thinking as to whether or not that’s why Mondays never go very well. I don’t suppose I’ll have to worry about such things for much longer anyway, after a few months they always kick you off the list, regardless of whether you’ve gotten any “better” or not. This is just like anything else in life, it doesn’t matter what you do or say, the outcome will be the same anyway. And even if you do tell them truth, that doesn’t help either. You share your thoughts of death with them and they judge it to be serious or you actually try to hurt yourself then you’ll get seen by what they mockingly call the “crisis team.” And they are the most useless human beings you could ever hope to encounter. So much so that it makes you wonder if that’s part of their plan, to be so useless that you never bother seeking help again. Or to think even darker it’s to ensure that you see there really is no help there and everything really is pointless. So much so that death is the only realistic option. If only I wasn’t such a coward that is. Because that’s what I’m really angry about, that I could have done it and I didn’t. Right at the last second I changed my mind and I don’t know why.

I did accidentally get an answer to a question I didn’t even know I was trying to answer though. It’s weird how you’re reading the exact right book at the time you need to. After seeing The Snowman I decided to read the book again, partly to cleanse my mind of the disappointment that the film was. Also because I couldn’t remember the details of the plot to work out how much of the details they’d changed or streamlined to make the film work. The chapter that gave me the answer was when Katrine pays Arve Stop a none too pleasant visit, she almost kills him in fact. She almost ended up strangling him and in the process explained to him what the rushing sensation he felt was, that the oxygen deprivation he’s experiencing actually feels good. I answered my own question without even realizing it, the book didn’t give me the answer, just made me see that I had done so. I wrote about that in my death story, about a feeling of not only relief but something more akin to pleasure when the scarf is tightened. A few days ago when talking about stories and writing someone said (well typed if you want to be pedantic about it) that the best stories are often true. I guess in that story there’s a lot of truth and that explains not only why I have two versions with different endings but why I’m so fixated on the one where he doesn’t die. It’s not because I’m glad I’m still alive, more that it’s my expression of anger at that fact. It’s why I’m so fixated on writing about him being angry about having failed and still being alive. In one way or another it often feels like I’m the last one to know about my feelings or why I’m thinking/writing about a particular subject. I will admit one thing, it does feel good in a way to be posting on here again. Even if I am just ranting and feeling sorry for myself it feels somewhat of a relief to be honest somewhere.

Advent Calendar Day 3

Today has been an extremely slow and lazy day, so lazy in fact that I couldn’t even be bothered to come up with a proper title for this post. When possible I like to reference at least one of the players whose card or sticker I got but it’s just not happening today. I’m just glad I didn’t get Matze Ginter’s card or sticker, or Lars Stindl’s for that matter. Watching them lose 3-0 today was punishment enough. If I hadn’t bothered to get out of bed I wouldn’t have seen them lose so badly, but on the other hand I would have missed seeing Peter, Marc and Matze Ginter. And then I would have had yet another thing to beat myself up about, god knows I don’t need any more of those. I think you have to keep doing what you’re doing, even if you don’t know why. When the alternative is doing nothing then it’s not really a choice is it? I won’t feel good either way, so I might as well be doing something.

Believe it or not there is one good thing about today (and I mean besides the surprise of Peter doing the pre-match show for the first game). At least I know partly why I feel the way I do. Right now it’s something specific I’m running away from. I don’t want next week to happen and not sleeping or waking up feels like a way to achieve that. Logically I know it’s not but it feels that way when you’re trying to convince yourself to get out of bed. I’m not just scared, I’m angry. It’s bad enough when you have to suffer because you screwed up, it’s even worse when you’ll potentially suffer because someone else made a mistake that was entirely avoidable but for their arrogance and self confidence that they know everything. When in actual fact they know nothing. And what makes me even angrier is knowing that when things do go wrong they never take responsibility, always finding someone else to blame. Even when it’s a decision they have made, a situation entirely of their own making – they still have to find a way to twist it so that it’s anyone’s fault but theirs. I think that’s pathetic and just about one of the worst personality traits a person can have. I hate that I’m even ranting about them, because that means I’ve let it get in my head.

There’s no question of it being anywhere approaching good news at the end of the week, it’s just a question of how bad it’s going to be. I know that now, even without having all the facts. I can put the pieces together that I already have to work that much out. All of this and yesterday’s events has left me wondering what’s worse, bad news that you know is coming or bad news that comes from nowhere? Because this feels like torture of a kind, knowing something is about to hit you, but not quite knowing what. It’s the waiting that kills you. I didn’t have to wait long to find out about the Cologne situation at least. I found that out this morning, waking up to the news that not only are they parting ways with Peter Stöger but that it was already decided before the Schalke game. He got them back into the Bundesliga and into European competition after 20 plus years, yet he doesn’t even get to be in charge for their last Europa League group game. Strange thing is they still actually have a shot in that competition. Whereas in the league I think they’re pretty much done for either way, so why couldn’t they just stick with him?

On the subject of sticking with things I thought after writing something positive yesterday that maybe it wouldn’t just be a one off sort of thing. It’s been a while since I sat down and wrote something properly, Jogi’s little trip to Russia having provided suitable inspiration, his shirt and tie helping considerably on that count. But sure enough when I couldn’t sleep I ended up writing more depressing stuff. I really need something else to write about, something that doesn’t involve plotting the demise of alternate Matze. When I couldn’t sleep last night I got thinking about the whole thing and about a conversation online I had the other day. In particular we were talking about nightmares and allowing other people to help. That’s not something I’m good at, which is a big problem. What bothers me even more is the fact I’m so bad at showing my feelings in front of other people. I can’t be honest with them even when I want to. And when someone does see me upset it’s because I’m in the midst of a meltdown and have no choice in the matter.

I talk to someone twice a month about all of this stuff yet I feel like I can’t be completely honest with them, I’ve seen the same person for several months now yet I don’t feel like I can trust them. Which kind of defeats the purpose of going at all I suppose. On the other hand I feel like I should be able to solve my own problems, that needing help at all makes me weak somehow. In the same way my collections and obsessions make me feel weak for needing them. Because whether I want to admit it or not I do need them. Other people get friendships, relationships and attachments to other human beings, people in real life – not characters or people on TV. And I have my collections. Because even when that offer is there (as it currently is) of actual real life human companionship I can’t take it. That’s a subject that comes up a lot, finding ways of encouraging myself to spend more time with people in real life. So I guess no-one is going to be pleased that instead of finding a way to achieve that I have a new obsession instead.

A Step in the Right Direction

I’m not sure why I decided today would be the day I break the bad habit I’ve let myself fall into of not writing anything, if it’s out of guilt that I’ve not posted something with actual words for over a month or if it’s something else. There are several other reasons which could be conributing factors, the sudden and unexpected change in my mood being one of them. The main other one being the reconstruction project I’m currently engaged in which turned out to have an unexpected silver lining. I’m still surprised at how I reacted to that; to the news I had to start over what has essentially been a three year project and that part of it had to be done in just under two weeks. I didn’t freak out about it, just got down to work and made a plan. I think that might have something to do with the improvement in my mood. It’s been so time consuming that Ive had little time to wallow in my misery or think about anything else, having something to focus on has been most helpful. I’ve been warming up to the idea of writing something for the past few days, indeed the words for the prompts of the past two days would have worked perfectly for me. But I didn’t want to force the issue, whether it’s a blog post or a story listening to your instincts is important, if it feels right you’ll just know. Hopefully some of those same instincts will return for other purposes too and I can get back to finishing some of the stories I’m in the middle of.

I haven’t gotten much of anything done lately, the reconstruction project aside. Other than keeping up with the Bundesliga which I couldn’t even think of giving up nothing else has seemed important. It’s not like I haven’t had ideas for stories, just no motivation to write them down. It’s far easier to play out scenarios in my head rather than wrestle with getting them down on paper, in much the same way it’s easier to talk to characters in my head than to real life people. And when I do talk to the latter it’s always about my obsessions these days which probably isn’t a good sign. Apparently that’s a sign of anxiety but then I’m almost always feeling anxious about something so that’s not really helpful. Then again I don’t have much time for so-called professionals right now. I’m pretty sick to death of them and their so-called knowledge of autism. I know they aren’t all that useless but it’s not always easy to remember that. Last week’s events helpled a little on that count, it’s not often I get to meet a professional who I think could actually be helpful. Talking to them is other step in the right direction mentioned in the title. Because not only did I do something I was not entirely sure about but I did so by myself. And that is new for me, going to an appointment like that without taking a trusted adult. Whether it turned out to be useful or not just getting out of the house was a good thing, I’m spending far too much time inside these days.

This week I got that out the way first, going out on Monday so at least I didn’t have that to beat myself up about. I had to make myself go as usual but it was worth it, no matter how bad I feel turning down the opportunity to see a Franco Nero film at the cinema is not an option. Had I known the exact plot of the film beforehand I wouldn’t have gone to see it but it’s a little late for that now. Seeing a film about making the most of life, death and coming to terms with your own mortality probably isn’t the best thing for me to be watching right now. And given my reaction I’m going to say it wasn’t such a great idea. I’m still kind of embarassed about that, I hate people getting upset and I hate it even more when that person is me.

The thoughts which appeared in my head during the film were even more troublesome. Why I would suddenly start thinking of that story again I don’t know. I’ve still been thinking of death over the past few weeks, that hasn’t gone away. But I haven’t been actively thinking of carrying out such an act. Strange thing is it’s not Matze I was thinking about, rather it was afterwards, what would happen to his parents. I don’t know if this is just me working out such things in my head so they make sense to me, or if it’s me talking myself out of it. Or perhaps I’m just curious what happens afterwards, this might be me answering the question the psychiatrist put to me. He asked me what I thought came afterwards and I didn’t have an answer. I know he meant for me but obviously I’m thinking about other people too. Two thoughts in particular got stuck in my mind during the film, would his parents be angry if he didn’t leave a note and what they would dress him in for his funeral. Morbid thoughts I know but I couldn’t help it, they really did come out of nowhere.

What it means for me I don’t really know, I haven’t let myself think too much about it. I’m trying to balance the need to keep busy whilst not pushing myself too hard and doing too much. Because I’m very aware this seemingly good mood I’m in could disappear in an instant, I need to be prepared for that, for everything to come crashing down again.The last post I wrote was about that, keeping my expectations of myself reasonbly low. That hasn’t changed any, I still need to be careful of not expecting too much. At least after what happened at the weekend I won’t be pressuring myself to socialise more, thinking I could change my routine that way is just about one of the stupidest ideas I’ve ever had. On the matter of good ideas my current choice of book probably isn’t the best either. The Robert Enke book has been on my mind the past few weeks, it’s only logical I suppose. I’m trying to work out if I’ve got anything worth living for and in doing that I can’t help but think of him. I can’t stop myself from wondering if he couldn’t find a reason to stay alive how am I meant to? Weird thing is he committed suicide on the 10th November 2009, and the second chapter of the other book I’m reading starts on the 10th November 1938. It’s even stranger because the book Winter Men is set in Germany and it starts with the death of the main character and you soon learn his brother killed himself. What interests me is Gerhard thinks he’s the coward for not doing the same thing, more to the point he envied his brother for being able to. It’s strange because suicide is seen by some people as the coward’s way out. I agree with him, I don’t think it’s cowardly. Carrying on living a shadow of a life because you’re too scared to do anything on the other hand, now that’s cowardly. I spend all my time losing myself in other people’s stories so I can run away from the fact I don’t have one of my own. All that time spent creating stories for other people and I can’t work out what I should do.

Yet Another Change

I know there are bigger problems in the world, indeed I have far bigger issues to be concerning myself with now. Yet despite their real life importance it’s not any of them which are dominating my thoughts and ruining my week right now. Sixteen days into the year and I’m trying and so far failing to settle down into something resembling a schedule. Today was meant to be yet another reboot of my routine. The day where I get a good night’s sleep and where nothing goes wrong. That was ruined the second I put on the news where I was promptly greeted by the news Hansi quit. It’s certainly not the best start to the week. I never want anything to change but especially not now, and Hansi is the very last thing I expected to be the cause of any kind of change. I spent so much time worrying what would happen if I got bored in some way or suddenly got sick of the whole thing I completely forgot to think about what would happen if one of them caused everything to change.

Making the whole thing worse is storywise it actually works out quite well. Almost straight away I worked out how to work it in, from that perspective the story practically writes itself. I know conflict of some kind is necessary to propel the narrative but this isn’t quite what I had in mind. I was perfectly happy with the conflict I was creating by myself. I’m mad at him for making everything change but I’m even more mad at myself. The reason being it’s like in having those ideas I’m somehow accepting it. I just don’t know what to do now. I can’t escape into my stories because Hansi is there. And I can’t deal with real life now because he’s there too. Maybe it’s time for some new characters anda new pairing. As long as I don’t do something really stupid and decide to get a whole new obsession just because one piece of the puzzle changed. When the stories don’t make sense and real life doesn’t either then I really don’t know what to do. Well I do know, I just can’t do it. I can’t get a new obsession, not least because I have nothing new to jump ship to.

I’ve been meaning to get back into the habit of posting regularly for several days and in the process finding several excuses not to. This is the last thing I wanted to be the reason for writing something. At the same time this feels like the most important thing in the world I’m angry at myself for being so bothered by it. After all as other people would and do say it’s just football. And there are so many other things which should be preoccupying me. But with or without this unexpected change I don’t want to think about any of those. Because at the moment I have very little control of them. All I can do is wait and the waiting is killing me. At least with the stories I have some sense of control. If I don’t like some real life event then I can simply ignore it, or at least write it the way I want to.

Real life is always hard work and it’s even more true now than usual. Holidays are always difficult and Christmas especially so,  partly because of the winter break meaning not only do I have to get back into my own routine but I have to do that without any football for three weeks. Putting my routine back together is impossible when a big part of said routine is missing. Funny thing is a few weeks ago I had to explain a lot of this stuff to someone and ever since then I’ve been obsessing over it and beating myself up about everything I said and did.  I can never quite decide if my answers made me look more helpless than I really am or if I’d been less than truthful and I’d once again inadvertently given an optimistically misleading picture of my abilities. Thinking about such matters never ends well. It always goes the same way, ending up with me wondering just what kind of grown-up I am. And the answer is no kind, I’m a grown up in name only.

People try to help and reassure you, saying helpful things like people develop at their own pace and it’s marathon not a race. It doesn’t really help but it’s not their fault, they probably don’t know what to say anymore. I don’t know what to say either. Their well meaning words are every bit as unhelpful as being told I should just do what makes me happy. The only thing that makes me really happy right now is stickers. That is the only thing I can get excited about right now and is the only thing I have any real plans for. I couldn’t really argue if anyone accused me of caring about or loving my collections more than I do the people in my life. The collections are nothing like any relationships with humans that’s why. They are simple and uncomplicated, they just are. They make me happy and that’s all I need to know. They also have the side effect of making most people think I’m a total weirdo or some other such unflattering name but it doesn’t really matter anymore. When it comes to people it’s the exact same problem as it is with collections, can’t live with them, can’t live without them. On the subject of collections the following picture may prove to be the last addition in my Hansi collection. For how long only he knows. I’m not gettig my dream I know that much, he’s not ever going to be Jogi’s assistant again, I’ve long given up on that dream even in fiction form:

hansi-flick-sky-sports-news-16-01-17

Advent Calendar Day 18: A Quiet End to a Quiet Weekend

Yesterday was slow and today was even slower, of all the games I expected to be dull Bayern’s was not one of them. The afternoon can be summed up perfectly by what Neuer said in his post-match interview, “in the first half that wasn’t FC Bayern.” No it was most definitely not, the goal was fantastic but not enough to salvage the afternoon. They got the three points but it’s not the only thing which counts, it should not have gone that way. Neuer for one thing had more to do than I expected. Douglas Costa’s goal was good enough to make a GIF of it anyway:

douglas_costa_goal_darmstadt_v_bayern_2016_17Neuer’s save was less spectacular, by his standards it’s all in a day’s work but I still wanted to make a GIF of it, I think I just wanted an excuse to make one of Neuer:

manuel_neuer_save_darmstadt_v_bayern_2016_17And seeing as I did that I couldn’t resist the temptation of adding a few pictures from his interview either:

manuel-neuer-interview-darmstadt-v-bayern-2016-17-1manuel-neuer-interview-darmstadt-v-bayern-2016-17-2manuel-neuer-interview-darmstadt-v-bayern-2016-17-3manuel-neuer-interview-darmstadt-v-bayern-2016-17-4As well as being disappointed by Bayern’s game I was most displeased to see Ingolstadt beating Leverkusen 2-1, the reason being that’s who Freiburg face on Wednesday. The last thing I want is them ruining Freiburg’s fairly decent end to the year, if they win or least draw then it’ll be four without a loss. Just by writing that I’m probably cursing it but then I can add that to the list of stupid things I’ve done today. Getting into a good enough mood to write something isn’t an easy task right now, I should have left well alone. I should have just carried on with what I was doing and not allowed anything to distract me. But no, I had to check. I haven’t been able to do anything about this particular problem the other times, why I thought this time would be any different I don’t know. I’m lying to myself about the whole thing anyway, no matter what I say fixing this wouldn’t make me happy. If it wasn’t this then it would be something else. That’s how it always is with obsessions, they will always be replaced by something else. It’s exactly the same with each and every one of them. There’s something I either can’t have or is very difficult (and usually expensive) to get. Each time I swear it will make me happy, and it’s the absolute last thing I need. Of course it’s a lie, there is always something after it. Obsessions have an insatiable appetite that way, because the empty space they go someway in filling is always there. That emptiness is never going to go away.

I should have just stuck to the story, it was going fine, better than fine in fact. Though when it came to posting the first part of it I of course spent plenty of time agonising over it. I probably spent more time making up my mind than I actually did checking it over and making a few last minute changes. Which is pretty much typical for me, spend half the day obsessing over a task and then just a few minutes on actually carrying it out. It’s funny that some people associate thinking a lot with being intelligent, in my case thinking a lot makes me stupid, no doubt about that.

As for the story it’s not the one I want to be working on but the Christmas one is proving trickier than I anticipated. I think the idea of it is depressing me a little, partly because I don’t like Christmas all that much but also because I’ll never get to experience what I’m writing about. It’s not the Christmas part I care so much about, it’s the having someone to come home to,someone who cares whether you’re there or not. In other words someone who wants you to be there, not just someone who got stuck with you and is only there because they have to be. And I guess there is one part of the Christmas thing I like too, buying and wrapping gifts for someone. Taking the time to pick out something you know they’ll love and spending an equal amount of time wrapping it up for them, making it perfect. I didn’t have many people to buy for this year and one of the people I did buy for said I shouldn’t have, the reason being I spent more than they did. I wasn’t just being polite or saying what I knew I was meant to when I said I loved buying people books. Nor was I lying when I said I didn’t care their gift wasn’t equal to mine, it’s not about getting something back which made me happy. It’s knowing you’ve bought books for someone that you know they’ll love. I bought gifts for them not in anticipation of something in return but because I couldn’t bear not having someone to give gifts too. As good as that is they are just a friend, and that’s not what the story is about. I’m never going to have my own little Matze to buy gifts for, and first Christmasses are all done and dusted now my brothers are all practically adults. Now I’m just rambling, which is pretty much how every post concludes these days. At least I can recognise that I suppose, just wish I could do the same in a face to face conversation.

Anyhow, the advent calendars. The 18th day served up a very special player indeed, the quick footed and very talented Vincenzo Grifo who netted hs first Bundesliga goal this season against Eintracht Frankfurt and also has five assists.Equally unforgettable is his goal against RB Leipzig last season. He also has the honour of being the subject of two my (non-Jogi related) favourite GIFS. I hope Marc-Oliver Kempf will be back on his feet soon enough so and Grifo and him can dance together again. I miss him and more importantly Freiburg’s defence is definitely missing him.

Vincenzo_Grifo_Nils_Petersen_celebrate_SC_Freiburg_v_Fortuna_D_sseldorfGrifo_Kempf_dance_SC_Freiburg_v_1860In the Dortmund calendar was Sven Bender, I like him anyway but ever since the summer and the Olympics I like him a little more, since now he’s connected in my head to Nils Petersen:

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Retrieving the Irretrievable

I’ve had this post(or a variation of it) in my head for a few weeks but each time I sat down to write it I couldn’t do it. And the other times I didn’t even get that far, I let myself start thinking about it and all of a sudden any enthusiasm I had completely disappeared. It felt like such hard work and so pointless, so I did nothing. Which is pretty much what I’ve spent the past six weeks doing, absolutely nothing. I could say I never meant this to happen but then I never do. I don’t know where it started exactly or why. I don’t really remember any of it. When you sleep that much and you don’t keep a regular schedule the days just sort of blur together, until soon enough there may as well not be such a thing as days of the week. It’s all the same. You don’t care what day it is. The only thing you care about is being left alone and not being around anyone else. With that in mind I haven’t seen a lot of daylight these past few weeks, not actually in the week anyway. Only at the weekends have I been reliably up and awake in the daytime, and only then because I could never forgive myself if I missed a game. I may not have liked myself very much during these past few weeks or seen the point in being awake or really living at all but I can’t do that. If there’s one thing I can’t do it’s that. Screw that up and my self loathing will be taken to a whole new level. I may let myself down and disappoint the people around me in real life but I’m not missing a game.

If I’ve counted right last week’s game was the 75th I’ve seen in a row of Freiburg’s and the 78th in total, not counting friendlies and old games I’ve seen repeats of. It would be a shame to ruin that just because I don’t want to get out of bed and face the world. I don’t have to face the outside world or deal with other people, but I do have to see them play come this Saturday. There are four games left between now and Christmas, a trip to Leverkusen, home to Darmstadt, away at Schalke and finally away to Ingolstadt. I should be unhappy they’re not finishing the year at home but I’m not, even though it’s not a Sunday they’re playing on I’m still glad in a sense they’re away. It’s nothing like that Christmas, they aren’t even close to being in danger of spending the holiday break in the bottom two. Doesn’t mean I can forget it though. Of course that’s partly my own fault, writing that stupid story about Jogi and Christmas hats.

As I mentioned above the previous times I tried to write this post or any post at all it didn’t go so well. I didn’t even get as far as typing the title in fact which is stupid because that’s the one thing I did know. I knew more or less what I wanted to write about too, it’s just the words wouldn’t come out. So I don’t think it was writer’s block, not really. It’s been similar with my stories too. It’s not a lack of ideas, it’s actually putting the words down on paper. Of course with them I have a slightly different problem in the sense I have plenty of notes yet little actual story to show for it. It seems that’s all I’ve been able to do, make notes and come up with potential ideas but not actually use any of them. That part of the process has been a lot slower than I’d like.

I know I shouldn’t beat myself up about that but I still do. Just like I do with everything else. It’s the so-called Enke problem, in the morning you don’t feel like you can do anything and so don’t try to do anything, then in the evening you beat yourself up for not having achieved anything. Despite how the past few weeks have gone that’s not what the title refers to. True I can’t get any of that wasted time back but I’ve lost something far more precious than time. There’s plenty of more time but there won’t be another one of this story. I still don’t understand how it happened, how I could be so careless. I’ve looked absolutely everywhere for it, at least in the virtual sense. I’ve checked each of my laptops, the desktop PC, all four of my external hard-drives and all the USB pen-drives I could find. Which leaves me with only one conclusion to come to. Either it’s gone forever and I really don’t have a back-up, or I’ve lost the USB drive in question. Two weeks later and I’ve stopped looking for it. I’ve not stopped thinking about it but I’ve stopped actively searching. The main reason being I’ve started thinking maybe I’m not meant to find it.

The story in question is partly centered around Klinsi because the majority of it took place during the international break in mid summer 2015, when Germany played the USA. And now of course Klinsi isn’t in charge of the USA team anymore, hence why I think it’s kind of fitting in a way that I’ve lost it. Yet at the same time it makes me want to find it more, as if it’s all that’s left of those memories. There is one place I haven’t looked yet, I haven’t checked my notebooks to see how much if any of it I hand-wrote. I’m not sure I even want to look. Maybe it’s better not to know. I remember my favourite moment from the story, maybe I should just leave it at that. I have to say it does feel strange, to remember a moment which didn’t even actually happen to begin with. Not just remember it but actually picture it. To actually see in my head Jogi wearing that blue shirt and Hansi helping him out of it, but for innocent reasons for once. Just so he could put on a white shirt because the blue one made him sad. As Jogi put it “You were there, he was there, but it didn’t rain.”

I could probably rewrite large parts of it from memory alone, though with how much else I’ve got to catch up on adding something else to the list probably isn’t wise. Perhaps the past is best left alone. On the subject of writing I am glad at least that I finally wrote this post. Whether it makes sense or not I needed to write it. I need to get back into some kind of routine and writing forms an important part of that. I need to get outside of my own head and the timing could not be better. I had no real plans for the rest of this year but one thing I just assumed I would be doing is the advent calendar posts. Though disappointingly there’s only two calendars this year, a Freiburg and Dortmund one, no DFB one. I don’t know if I can stick to a post a day but I plan on trying at least.

Even though I’m annoyed with having taken so long to post something in retrospect I’m glad. It’s better to have waited for all the craziness to have passed and eventually faded away. I think had I written something last Friday in particular then the end result would be a lot angrier and messier than I’d be happy with. And that would have been true even before that disastrous defeat to RBL, I was in a bad mood even before the game. It’s nothing new, just the same old troublesome problems, finding it difficult to deal with change, trouble with understanding other people and their motivations and of course the ever present thoughts of death. It’s just they were a little bit more troublesome than usual. What made it all the more disturbing is I actually planned on writing about it, not like this but in a fictional sense. I had this image in my head of one my characters hanging themselves and being found by their father. It was something that came to me in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep, seemingly out of nowhere. Usually when a story starts from a moment like that I think it’s a great thing, I love it when something begins that way, it’s usually the very best stories which start with just a little moment or a fragment of one. But not this time, this was just disturbing. As strange as it sounds I’m more upset by the thought I wanted to hurt Matze than I am at having similar thoughts about myself. I don’t know quite what to make of that, the idea I care more about him than myself. I mean he doesn’t even exist, I really don’t know what to think.

Unwelcome Guests

Whether it be anxiety related stuff, self-doubt or my usual obsessive thoughts I usually have an unwelcome guest of some sort in my mind. Not today however, well maybe a few obsessive thoughts but not bad ones. Nothing to really complain about. If the only things I have to complain about are the fact I have to wait a month to get my new Freiburg kit and the fact I can only afford a 12cm action figure of Jogi instead of one of the bigger ones then I must be doing ok. I haven’t magically solved all of my problems, haven’t dealt with any of them in fact because I’ve done nothing but think about the Euros for the past seven weeks. Now that’s over, unfortunately a little bit earlier than I anticipated and I’m in a strange place, somewhere halfway between being disappointed at how the summer ended and excited for the new season. I don’t know why I’m in such a good mood, well that’s the wrong way to put it, I don’t think it’s right to be in a good mood just yet. I’m not despairing over it all anyway, that’s the main thing. That and the fact Freiburg’s new kits look cool:

SC Freiburg Heimtrikot 2016-17SC Freiburg Auswärtstrikot 2016-17Also unusual is the fact I’m not obsessing over that last game, I’m not obsessively going over it trying to work out how it could have gone differently. I’m still upset about it and it still hurts but I actually think I’m dealing with ok. Today’s news certainly helped on this count.  Since Thursday night I’ve been waiting anxiously to see what Jogi was going to do, if he intended to continue in his post for the Confederations Cup next summer and the World Cup in 2018. His answer to the question put to him at the end of the interview after the France game was I have to admit most unnerving. He was asked if he was going to be on the bench for the Finland game on the 31st August, after taking an age his eventual answer was “I think so.”  Afterwards he said he’d be taking a few days to consider his position and to take in the events of the summer. I’m just glad I didn’t have to wait too long to find out, having gotten confirmation now I can get on with enjoying the pre-season.

It’s a good thing I’m not obsessing over the tournament because the ending of it was something of a disappointment, but in a way the final is in a lot of ways a fair reflection of how the tournament went. I would have been unhappy no matter who won, I know that, but Portugal winning it is just so very wrong. I mean they drew all three of their group games, beat just one team in 90 minutes of regular time and were perfectly happy it seems to just wait out the game, not actually play but just run their opponents into the ground. A disappointing final for what was overall something of a disappointing tournament. It did have it’s magic moments, Iceland’s terrific journey to the quarter finals among them but that didn’t make up for it. The final cemented my initial dislike of the newly expanded format and for me it shows everything that’s wrong with it. Portugal finished third in their group yet end up in the final, despite never looking like a team that could win the thing. Being rewarded for finishing in third place is just rewarding mediocrity. I know it gives smaller countries a chance to qualify when they otherwise wouldn’t, that’s fair in one way. But what’s fair is not necessarily what’s best for having a good competition. After all isn’t the tournament meant to be between the best teams in Europe?

I didn’t mean to write so much on the matter, I may not be obsessing about the semi-final but evidently I can’t say the same for the final. At least it’s not preventing me from enjoying anything else. There’s no shortage of other matters I should be thinking about, like getting back into a good routine and maybe spending some more time outside. I figured I couldn’t keep putting it off forever and so I did just that today. Since the tournament started I haven’t spent a considerable amount of time with anyone or gone anywhere. Today’s events put an end to that, it was just a trip to the cinema to see Tarzan but it’s a start. It went about as ok as it could go, consdering I haven’t stepped outside in almost two months. Wisely I didn’t go alone, it might not have ended so well had I done so.

Getting used to not having done something after avoiding it for a while isn’t easy, a bit like writing this post in fact. I’ve written just two posts since the summer started, the rest has all been pictures and videos. That’s all done now and it’s back to normality. I don’t really have any plans yet, other than getting back into the habit of writing regular posts again, hopefully ones that are a little less rambling than this. The only other thing on my list is to get some reading done. I’ve got a lot of books to catch up on and given that I feel more focused than I have done in a long time it’s a good time to get reading again. I also have plenty of stories to work on, which may be part of the reason I’ve not gotten quite so upset about getting knocked out in the semi finals. They’ve given me a safe place to express my feelings and make sense of what’s bothering me, they can’t help with everything but even if that’s all they can do then it’s enough. Not that I have any inerest in justifying how I spend my time to anyone right now. The past few weeks I’ve been too wrapped up in the tournament to care and now I just don’t care at all. I’m doing what I need, not what someone else thinks I should be doing.

The Day of Stickers & the Missing Jogi Sticker

Seeing as how I’ve not been able to properly get started on my winter soldier story I thought I’d have a sticker day instead. I finally got round to sorting out my stack of Champions League stickers in which Manuel Neuer was lurking and to open some World Cup 2010 ones. But the best of the lot came in the last of the Deutschland sammelt Deutschland packets. I finally have number 200, Joachim Löw’s sticker. I was worried I’d never get it, down to the last sixteen packets and he was in the ninth of the ten I opened:

Joachim Löw – Deutschland sammelt Deutschland stickerManuel Neuer – FC Bayern München – CL 2013-14 sticker Philipp Lahm - Deutschland - WM 2010 sticker Per Mertesacker - Deutschland - WM 2010 sticker Lukas Podolski - Deutschland - WM 2010 sticker Jabulani match-ball - WM 2010 stickerOpening and sorting those stickers is only one of two constructive things I’ve done today. As well as this I wrote three new Matze pages, it’s proving to be slow going. As it turns out fictional three year olds are almost as much work as real ones. Of course it would have been difficult to get anything else done seeing as I’ve only just gotten up. But I’m not despairing over that, today and tomorrow aren’t so important. Thursday is the big day this week when Dortmund play Porto in the Europa League, the first knockout stage. I love the symmetry of sorts there. Dortmund are playing Porto who got knocked out by Bayern in last season’s Champions League and Bayern are playing Juventus who knocked out Dortmund last season. Even when Bayern and Dortmund aren’t in the same competition they’re connected somehow. I was disappointed when I realised Bayern weren’t playing this week but now I’m not. Because they’re playing next week, on the 23rd which is perfect because it’s the day before Hansi’s birthday. Who knows I might get a story out of it.  As for getting good night’s sleep this is just a glitch, I’m not reverting back to a vampire schedule. I want to but I’m not going to let that happen. Nor am I obsessing over the meaning of it all. Instead I’m focused on something quite different, a figurine I came across of Bucky. I badly want it but I don’t know if I should allow myself to spend so much money on something which I won’t actually get any use out of. Making my decision all the harder is the fact I have another figurine made by the same company of Hans Landa, and it is awesome. So I know it would be worth the money in terms of how great it will look. I’ll probably end up getting it if I can get the money together in time. I couldn’t resist the Landa one after all.