Tag Archives: Anxiety

Hiding Away

I haven’t yet learnt from the mistakes I made last week or really all of the month which just passed. Getting into a good sleeping pattern is proving to be quite elusive, as is getting much sleep at all at night. I can sleep fine just not when it’s dark. It’s proving difficult to break that pattern and has been a challenge ever since it started in November.

I keep telling myself that I’m fine, a little scattered and distracted but otherwise fine. I don’t know if it’s everybody else I’m trying to fool or myself. I wasn’t lying when I said I’m not sad, angry or worried about anything. I’m just tired that’s all. There’s nothing in particular that’s bothering me. Just the usual little things but that’s normal. Making mistakes in social situations is a pretty routine worry. It’s not the mistakes I’ve made which bother me so much. It’s the complete lack of interest I have in spending any real time with other people. I’ll finally have some money in my pocket at the end of the week to go to the cinema and there’s a few people I could invite. Yet I’ve asked no-one because I’m not even sure I want to go by myself, let alone with anyone else. I don’t want to have to go through the motions of making conversation and just being around someone else. Replying to e-mails has been bad enough, who would have thought that writing just a few short lines could be so much hard work. I spent more time obsessing over them and thinking about what I should write than I did working on any actual projects. Time which could have been put to better use. And it didn’t help any, it’s just my usual anxious obsessing over whether or not something is the right thing to say or not. It wasn’t constructive at all , the only thing I learnt from it was the pointlessness of doing so.

Forget about inviting anyone else the thought of going outside is enough to fill me with dread. Which is natural since I’ve been avoiding doing so, thus making it even more difficult. I went out a grand total of one time last month and I still regret doing that. I keep getting told that it’ll be good for me to get out, that the longer I leave it the more difficult it’ll get and that spending time with someone would be good for me too. They may be right on the first two counts but I don’t think they are on the third. I think the last thing I need is more confusion and something else to obsess over.

Like I said I don’t know if I’m fine or not. From my point of view I’m only not fine when I have to think about talking to someone or going outside. Question is whether that’s a problem or not. If I’m ok with it then surely it’s not, regardless of what other people think. They most likely think I’m starting to slip back into my old habits, of spending all my time indoors, avoiding other people, sleeping too much, sleeping in the day instead of at night and just avoiding the outside world in general. They’re not exactly wrong but there is one difference, I didn’t choose for this pattern to take over again. I don’t want to be asleep in the day. I’m trying to stop that but it feels like I’m fighting a losing battle. Whilst I’m not able to get everything straight on that count surely it matters that I’m not just spending my time gaming all night. I am actually doing something which can be construed as constructive. True it’s something I’m being quite obsessive about but then I don’t think it can happen any other way. The only way I can commit to something is when I’m obsessed with it. Truth is I wouldn’t mind writing something a little different, but I can’t find the space in my head to think about anything or anyone else.

In a conversation on the subject of relationships and taking the next step someone told me that if I wanted to find space for someone else I would. That if I really wanted them around I would make room for them. I guess the fact I haven’t done that answers the question. Simply put my stories are meeting my social needs right now. I can spend most of the day with my characters and that’s enough. They don’t stress me out like people do in real life. The story I’m working on right now is very much all consuming. Most of my ideas are for it and most of thoughts are centered around it. A lot of my internet time has been taken up by it too, in the form of reading about autism and language development.

I’m fine with it being so all consuming right now because eventually it will be finished. Not only that but I’m kind of glad it is because it prevents me from having to find something to do with my time. Though on the subject of it meeting my social requirements I can’t help but think about that conversation I had last month about similar matters. One of the points made was that maybe because these particular characters are so all consuming that by the time I’m done writing there’s little left in terms of energy or motivation for anyone or anything else.

I would say I’m rambling now so I’ll end this post here, but then I think all of this post is most likely rambling. Sometimes you need to do that, to write randomly about something, not knowing what or why. Maybe looking back on this a few weeks from now it’ll make some sense and maybe it won’t. Either way it helped to write it. On the subject of randomness there is one thing I have to mention. Today Germany’s opponents were announced for their last two preparation games before the Euros. They’ll be playing Slovakia and Hungary. It’s amusing to me because at the end of last week I watched the Slovakia-Germany game from 2006 and made the usual Jogi video from it. In fact it’s that video which I’m putting online for Jogi’s birthday on Wednesday. Two important days this week, Wednesday and then the really big day which is Friday. Finally Freiburg’s season will be resuming when they visit Bochum. I’m more nervous about it than looking forward to it, but I am excited the league is back. I can’t fix anything right now but I can be happy about that. At least I know there is one guaranteed good thing this week. Regardless of how well or not the rest of the week goes at least I can see them play come Friday evening.

Halfway Back to Normal

Almost there now, the Bundesliga is back and in full swing. Now all I need is for the 2.Bundesliga to resume and everything will be back to normal. Freiburg play their final pre-season friendly this Sunday, their first game back at home. They’ll be playing Amir Abrashi’s former team Grasshopper Club Zurich. It’s their final test before the league resumes and they play Bochum on the 5th February. I’m grateful they’re playing on a Friday the first week back, it’ll take a while to get used to having to get up early on the weekend again.  There won’t be any time to waste in readjusting after that, Freiburg don’t play on a Friday for the next three weeks afterwards. They won’t be playing on a day which isn’t Saturday or Sunday until March when they have a midweek game right at the start of the month. By then everything really will be back to normal, more of the DFB Pokal, the Champions League and the Europa League. Not to mention the international break in March. There will be plenty of games to watch, too many in fact. But then it’s better to have too much to do than too little. One game I am really looking forward to is the clash with RB Leipzig on the 7th March. Once again the tie gets the honour of being the game of the week and thus they play on the Monday night.

Tonight the second weekend of the Rückrunde kicked off with Mainz playing host to Gladbach. Both of them were looking to bounce back from a defeat, Mainz in particular needing a win after only taking one point from their last three games. They certainly worked hard for the three points they collected tonight, keeper Karrius in particular having another excellent game. His save in the 71st minute was nothing short of outstanding, so good was it in fact that I needed to make a GIF of it:

Karius_save_Mainz_v_GladbachHopefully when Freiburg’s season resumes I can get back into a good routine in regards to sleeping patterns. Because in truth this week has been something of a disaster. Not only do I not remember a great deal of it but I’m not happy with how much I’ve gotten done either. I’m sure if I’d gotten more than one good night of sleep along the way I could have done more. I’ve had plenty of ideas story wise and I’ve made lots of notes, I just don’t feel like actually doing anything with them yet. So I’ve only gotten started on one of them, I have nine pages so far of “Hansi’s Busy Day.” Other than that my major achievement of the week is collecting all 100 steel ingots in Fallout 3. I’m also thinking about the video I’ve got planned in celebration of Jogi’s birthday next week, it’s close to completion. I’ve got about a minute left to find pictures for. The one for Hansi’s birthday is already done ironically, given his birthday is towards the end of the month.

Getting that finished is my number one priority, everything else can be dealt with afterwards. I know I should be trying to think a little more long term but it’s just not possible right now. This week getting dressed has been enough of a challenge, I’m not looking for extra ways to put pressure on myself. I’m trying not to beat myself up about the fact that I don’t think I’ve gotten out of bed before 10:00am this week. The one day I know I was up in the morning doesn’t count because I’d been up all night, so it was a question of still being up rather than getting up.

I think I may have done a little too much last week and gotten a little too excited about the return of the Bundesliga. I probably should have skipped seeing The Hateful Eight. I’m certainly paying the price for it now.

The one advantage to being too tired to do anything means I haven’t really talked to anyone. Which in theory should mean I have nothing to obsess over right now. But I do thanks to the internet and my own impulsiveness. Though I’m trying not to see if that way. Instead of focusing on it as just a mistake to obsess over I’m trying to see it as something I can learn from.  Whether I did anything wrong or not I don’t know and I have no way of being sure. I have to make my peace with that. I did what I did and there’s no going back on it. Working out if I’ve done something wrong or not and just what that might be is not what I’m trying to work on. What I’m trying to work on is that sometimes the answers you seek aren’t there, sometimes you just have to let it go.

One thing I can’t stop thinking about is an article someone mentioned online, about asylum seekers being made to wear wristbands in order to receive food and being threatened with being reported to the authorities if they didn’t comply. Apparently the practice has been stopped now and the company in question has apologized. I find that of little comfort because they only did that after it was reported on in the media. If it hadn’t been brought to their attention no doubt they would have continued with the practice. Whilst the idea in itself is somewhat troublesome it’s not what I found most troubling about the whole thing. What bothered me the most is the comments I read online. It’s troublesome that many people don’t see a problem with it. Not only do some people not see a problem with visually identifying people in such a way but even suggesting they should just be grateful they’re being helped at all.

It’s troubling they can’t see how dangerous it is, that separating people out that way is never a good thing and can easily lead to other more troublesome practices. I found it disturbing personally because of another similar idea a while back in relation to disabled people. A local politician got this harebrained scheme about how disabled people, particularly those who don’t have visible disabilities should wear some kind of identification to identify them as such. When they were of course roundly criticized for it they claimed not to see the problem, claiming that it would be helpful for other people to know, like if they were in a situation they needed help and couldn’t tell people they had a disability or that they required assistance. I don’t buy their explanation, not least because what they describe already exists. I have something to serve that very purpose, it’s an autism alert card which has on it all the relevant details plus emergency contact information should it be required. The point is it’s a card I keep in my pocket, I use it when I choose to. I don’t wear it round my neck or have it pinned to my jacket for everyone else to see. Because in no world should anyone have to do that, to tell everyone they encounter about their disability or that you even have one. It’s your right whether you chose to disclose it or not, you don’t have to tell everyone you meet. Their crazy idea would take away that choice.

Not to mention it could have disastrous consequences. In a perfect world no-one would get picked or on or pushed around for any reason. Meanwhile back in the real world ideas like these wristbands and wearing identification of that sort can be a short cut to getting more attention than you’d like drawn to you. The last thing you need is another reason to stand out. I know that from personal experience at school and college. Whatever school I’ve gone to I’ve found that being associated in any way with the special needs class puts a target on your back that it’s impossible to get rid of. Personally I’m not bothered about that or ashamed of it any way, I wasn’t then and I’m not now. I really don’t care and if someone was willing to judge me on that basis then they’re not worth knowing anyway. What I do care about is getting hassled.

The other reason I can’t stop thinking about it is because of a book I just finished reading called “Ajax: The Dutch, the War.” It tells the story of Dutch football throughout WW2 and beyond, it also looks at the relationship between certain clubs, the role Antisemitism still plays in Dutch football and how political changes in Holland affect such things. One of the most interesting topics the book addresses is whether or not the Dutch were good or bad during the war. Like other countries in Europe they had a system set up to deal with collaborators and to assign appropriate punishment to those deemed to have worked with or for the Germans, particularly when they didn’t have to. One of the myths about Holland during WW2 is that they tried hard to save their Jewish population and also that the population was heavily involved with the Resistance. In actuality the Dutch were surprisingly efficient about co-operating with the Germans and their efforts to help got them a special mention by the Germans in correspondence regarding the operation. Despite the reality the myth was somehow propagated that  the Dutch were good. In truth the majority of the Dutch population was not particularly good or bad. For most people life simply carried on as normal.

It’s a fascinating read and I’ve learnt a lot from it, not just about the Dutch clubs and the culture of Dutch football but about politics in Holland too. Also I learnt a few new things about WW2, particularly in relation to Denmark. I’d heard the oft repeated myth that King Christian wore the Jewish star in solidarity with the Jews. It’s a myth because the star was never imposed in Denmark. But there is a bit of truth in the myth. What actually happened was that King Christian said he would wear it in the event it was introduced. Trivia aside there was another interesting point the book made. Denmark saved the majority of it’s Jewish population, helping them escape across the Sound to neutral Sweden. And the ones they didn’t get out of the country they still helped, making sure they stayed at Theresienstadt instead of being sent to a death camp. But Danes don’t like to talk about it or make a big deal about it. The book mentions a quote from the first major book written on the subject which praises the “special character and moral stature of the Danish people.”

Unsurprisingly Danes were embarrassed by that kind of talk,  it is quite over the top. What bothers me about it is the idea that saving someone makes the Danes or anyone else special for doing that. The idea that helping out a fellow human being is in some way special or remarkable. It should be normal, but I know that’s a very naive way of seeing things.

Getting back to the point, the author mentioned the Danes to make a comparison. His point is that the Dutch for years told a false story of having done all they could to help the Jews, yet the Danes did actually do it but they didn’t like to talk about it. In a way I do understand why the Dutch or anyone else would have liked to tell themselves they and their fellow countrymen did something to help. It’s certainly more palatable than the truth. To admit to yourself that you didn’t even try to do anything. From that perspective it makes sense someone might not want to be honest about the past. A review I read criticized the book for being too angry and too over-critical of the Dutch. I don’t agree with that at all, but if the author were a little angry I think it’s understandable. After all why wouldn’t someone be angry about what happened during WW2, I know it made me angry to read about policeman willingly helping German soldiers rounding up people. Not because they were threatened, not them or their families. Nor were they threatened with being sent to a camp or to work in Germany. No, the only punishment which awaited them was losing their holiday time. If that doesn’t make you angry then I think you should question why that is.

The Good, the Bad & The Hateful Eight

So far the month has been somewhat mixed, not bad but not particularly good either. Today is not shaping up to be an especially good day either. I’m happy about finally getting to see The Hateful Eight and about some social time, not to mention getting to share my latest Jogi videos. What I’m not happy about and still very anxious about is where we’re seeing the film. I’ve finally made my peace with having to wait so long to see it. Hansi’s playing concept helped on that count. But it’s not of any help in dealing with being nervous about going to a new place. In fact the enforced change of location may have something to do with the trouble I’ve been having getting to sleep the past few nights. That however is not the worst thing of all. The worst thing of all is the news about Nils Petersen, four weeks out with an ankle injury. I know it’s a good thing that it’s only a month and not longer but still, he’ll miss the very important and no doubt difficult trip to Bochum straight after the winter break. The silver lining is he’ll be back in time for game against Leipzig. It’ll be interesting and a little worrying to see how the team deals with his absence. In the league he’s scored fifteen goals and is indisputably their top scorer. Vincenzo Grifo has eight goals so he may be able to step in somewhat. Hopefully new signing Harvard Nielsen may also prove to be of some use.

Whilst I’m not happy about having to wait so long to see the film it is kind of fitting that I’ll be seeing it today. On the day I was meant to see it I ended up staying home and watching Liverpool play Exeter City in the FA Cup. It’s fitting because I watched some of the replay of that game last night. Strange how things work out. It’s also funny in light of the dream I had yesterday. Whilst I have no idea what exactly it was about I do know that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was there. He was wearing the Batman undershirt and he uttered the words “Do you remember?”

To get back to today’s events it’s odd that I’m looking forward to it because I’ve got an ever growing stack of messages that I haven’t replied to. I keep saying I’ll do it and then I don’t. And of course the longer you leave it the harder it gets. With one person in particular I just have no idea what to say to them. It’s just too much work right now, both the prospect of finding the right words and of spending time with them. I suspect the difference is that I know I won’t be able to talk about anything special interest related and I don’t have the resources to do that right now. There’s something very troubling about the whole situation. How is it that it’s the autistic friend who’s putting pressure on me to act normal and not a NT one.

I read somewhere that every once in a while you should do something that scares you. I think it’s in the book Send in the Idiots that the author talks about how for him and some autistic people speaking to strangers or making small talk is kind of like an extreme sport. It’s a very apt description. I try to do that one in a while, something that scares me that is, not talking to strangers. Challenging yourself is a good thing, attempting the possible is pointless. I only talk to strangers when it’s absolutely necessary. The problem with the idea is that when a person is scared of so many things it’s hard to pick something which actually makes you feel like you’ve made some kind of progress or really achieved anything at all. Because I’m aware of how absurd other people consider such things to be. I’m also aware that there’s some truth in that, a lot of my fears are ridiculous. But that doesn’t change how I feel at the time. One of the things I find most difficult is saying no to someone. I don’t know why, I’m very blunt and to the point in other ways.  I’d like to be able to do that, to just come right out with it and tell someone I can’t or don’t want to do something. Without all of the obsessing and panicking that normally proceeds such a thing. Or worse me avoiding saying it until they figure it out by themselves.

On a good note there’s just one more day till the Bundesliga returns. On Friday night Bayern will visit HSV. It should prove interesting, last season Bayern drew 0-0 in Hamburg and they are much improved this season. Whether or not they can hold off Bayern again remains to be seen. I personally wouldn’t place any money on it. Of course last season Bayern went undefeated in the first half of the season, not so this year. They’ve already drawn once to Eintracht Frankfurt and lost to Gladbach. It’s the latter that is part of the other big event of the weekend when they play Dortmund. I’m looking forward to Bayern’s game mostly because I’m hoping I’ll get a Jogi video but it’s Dortmund’s game I really can’t wait for. Not to mention Köln v Stuttgart. At least it looks like a fun filled first weekend back. I don’t anticipate getting a lot of sleep which strangely enough is what happened on the first weekend of the season. Though the advantage of the 2.Bundesliga starting a little later is that I don’t have to get up so early on Saturday and Sunday. Despite being aware sleep will be hard to come by I am at least prepared in every other way. I have plenty of snacks, German beer and more importantly will be watching and recording the game on two channels. Meaning there won’t be a repeat of the disaster of what happened on the first weekend of the season, I won’t be making that mistake again. On the subject of Hamburg I found out yesterday that Germany will be playing their first WM 2018 qualifier against the Czech Republic there, much to my displeasure. Even worse they’ll be playing Northern Ireland in Hannover. They’ve also announced the dates for two other friendlies, one before and after the Euros. The former is their final warm up game before the tournament and will be played in Augsburg on the 4th June. No words on the opponents yet though.

I certainly don’t have to worry about getting up early today, thanks to my unusual sleeping patterns this week I have a rather different problem to contend with. Having gotten to bed at an absurdly late hour the previous night I got up very late yesterday. So of course getting some sleep today is going to be something of a challenge. I need to get some sleep before going out but it’s not easy to switch off. At least I’ve put the time to good use and haven’t been up half the night playing Playstation. Instead I’ve been doing some research for my latest story. As it turns out I know nothing about neurotypical five year olds, or really typically developing children of any age. Which is only natural given that I don’t have any NT siblings and have had more non-NT friends than NT. I’ve not needed to do much research at all for the other child in the story. It’s not like I would, I know enough about autism and can remember enough to know what’s it’s like to have an autistic child around. What I don’t know is how a NT child would fit into that situation and how they might feel about their sibling. It’s an interesting challenge, not an easy I have to admit. Seeing things from someone else’s perspective isn’t exactly a strong point of mine. With this in mind I plan on seeking out some NTs, or as many as I can round up anyway to hear their thoughts on the matter. I may be short on sleep today and slightly anxious about the alteration to my plans but at least I’m not short on ideas.  I already have an outline for my next three chapters, so even if I don’t get anything done writing wise over the weekend (which is a very real possibility) at least I can console myself with the fact I’ve got something done. Besides the transitions story ended up running to 42 pages so I can’t complain, and it’s not even finished yet.

Dealing with Change: The Hateful Eight Disappointment

Today was my first football free Friday, well sort of. There was football on, just not the Bundesliga. First a friendly, Nils Petersen’s old team Energie Cottbus played Wolfsburg. And there’s FA Cup action with Liverpool visiting Exeter City. It’s not a day which has gone particularly well, I had it all worked out in my head. Seeing an early showing of The Hateful Eight so I could be back for the friendly. But the universe had other ideas. Distribution problems mean that the film is not showing at my regular cinema, the one I have a loyalty card for. In order to see it today not only would I have needed to fork out extra cash for a ticket but would have gone to a cinema I’ve never been to before. Not only that but by myself since there was no-one available to take me.

I’ve spent the better part of the past two days trying to be ok with the situation. Either trying to convince myself into going to the new place or to make my peace with not seeing it just yet. I thought I was close to making some kind of peace with it. This morning’s events proved otherwise, I got up to set up a recording of a game to watch later and then went back to bed. I guess it was easier to deal with if I didn’t have to fill the time, if I just avoided it all together.

I’ve been trying for a while to get used to unexpected changes, working on accepting that things don’t always go as you want them to. In all honesty it’s not going particularly well. Other people try to help and they mean well, they really do. Like the person who tried to explain the layout of the new cinema to me. But I had to make them stop, it was just too much information and didn’t prove to be particularly helpful. At least I asked them to stop without snapping at them. I’m bothered by the whole thing but I’ve not taken it out on anyone else or taking it out on the people who weren’t available for today. That’s a good thing. Though I suppose it helps that I’m trying wherever possible to avoid other people completely. I just don’t think I can handle any conversation that’s not absolutely necessary. It’s really thrown me into a tailspin. I know things can and do change without warning, I remind myself of this fact a lot. I just never thought a Tarantino film would be the source of the problem.

I just have to keep reminding myself that I will get to see it at least. Just not on the day I had planned. In doing this I’m borrowing something Hansi said, he was talking about tactics but the principle is the same. His point essentially was the that the system, the approach to the game does not change, the principles which the system is founded upon are unalterable. What can, does and should change is what he calls the playing concept. That’s what changes from match to match, specific plans which are drawn up for each opponents. You don’t approach each opponent in the same way because they don’t play the same way, it won’t work. Point is the system does not change, I will get to see the film. I just have to accept the tactical alteration, the day and the time changing and who I see it with is what I need to accept. If you want to win you have to adapt to the situation at hand. Which is of course easier said than done. I know I get fixed on things happening a certain way, I know it’s a problem. I just never thought it would need to be solved in this context. There are things you think you can count on. Just goes to show you should always be prepared for the possibility of things not going your way, you should always have a back-up plan.

I like the idea of using what Hansi was talking about in dealing with things like this, and not just because it’s Hansi related, I really think it could be helpful. It hasn’t changed how I feel about it today, I’m not that far off the nervous flapping wreck I was yesterday. But at least I’m not obsessing over it so much. I still feel unsettled but there’s room in my mind for other thoughts, it’s a start. I talked a lot about this kind of thing with the psychologist I talked to a while back, we talked about lots of different ideas to help with situations which make me anxious and about dealing with change. But none of them ever stuck. They all sounded like good ideas when we came up with them but they didn’t stick. I think for that to happen they have to be connected with a special interest in some way. That’s the case here so maybe this one will stick, it’s worth a shot at least.

There is however a silver lining to today, because whilst I may not have gotten much sleep last night I did have a Jogi related dream. I have little clue of what it was about, something to do with a match which he was unhappy about, but I’ll take it. Especially seeing as how it was on the seventh as well.

Vampire Jürgen and other Random Musings

Usually when I dream about a team near to a game they lose, I can think of only two exceptions to this pattern, happily on both those occasions it was Freiburg I dreamed about. I know there’s probably nothing to such things but I like making a note of them regardless, I like patterns like that. Last night it was Jürgen Klopp I dreamed about. Today Liverpool lost 2-0 to West Ham United. The pattern holds. What I don’t like is first dream of the year that I remember and it’s Klopp in it. Not Jogi, Hansi, Christian Streich or even Thomas Tuchel, but Klopp. It was I have to admit a most amusing dream. It took place at a school for vampires and Klopp himself was one, as was I. Also there was someone named Daniel. There’s three possible choices for who that could be. The real life one can be ruled out, it was definitely not him. That leaves Daniel Brühl and Daniel Siebert, the referee. I’m certain it wasn’t the former, but not entirely certain it was the latter either. It’s most disappointing that’s all I can remember, I would have loved to know what the story was. As for what the message was I don’t know. But there is one I’m choosing to take from it. If I got to bed at a decent hour and got enough sleep then maybe I would be sufficiently rested upon waking to remember more of my dreams. I don’t need to be told twice. Maintain a vampire schedule and you don’t get good dreams or to remember them. All you get is Klopp, albeit a vampire version. But go to bed at a decent hour and be rewarded with your favourite Germans, at least I hope so. In fact with how tired I feel today I could most likely happily fall asleep right now. The only reason I’m not is that there’s a repeat of an old game on later this evening that I want to see. After that I’m going straight to bed.

It’s the first of three football free weekends and it’s a very strange and disorientating experience. Combined with being tired and it only being the second day of the new year it all makes for a very confusing day. When I was watching part of Liverpool’s game earlier I got to thinking how slowly time was moving and how I never feel like that whilst watching Freiburg or Germany play. Then it’s like it’s over before I even know what’s happened, it feels like it’s just started and then all of a sudden it’s over. I feel that way about time in general, you spend a lot of time wondering where it went. Right now with there being no football on and having no fixed schedule for the weekend I feel the opposite way. Like there’s all this time to fill and I have no idea how to fill it. There’s plenty of things I could be doing. I just don’t want to do any of those things. I should be catching up on my Bundesliga posts, I need to do that before the season resumes. I can put that off for the weekend at least and get back to work on those on Monday. I also keep putting off rewatching the final two episodes of The Bridge and writing the final post about them. I’ve had enough time to do so, but I keep putting it off. It’s almost like if I don’t watch the final two episodes again then I won’t have to let go of Henrik and Saga. And I won’t have to admit that Hans is gone. I still can’t believe that. That they killed Hans off. For me that reason alone makes me wish there’s not going to be another series. Her having a new partner in the form of Henrik is one thing, but the thought of replacing Hans in anyway is unbearable.

Along with counting down the days until the season resumes I’ve been trying to work out what film to watch next. I keep thinking about Inglourious Basterds. Partly because that film is never far from my thoughts and partly because I read an article in which Tarantino said that the opening scene of that is his most favourite scene that he’s ever written. I would say it’s mine too but the truth is any line or scene he’s written that has Christoph Waltz in it is my favourite. Tarantino’s right about that, Christoph really does make his words sing. I’m not sure I could pick a favourite but if I really had to I would say the “That’s a bingo” line is the best of them all. There’s just something priceless about that scene.

The only thing holding me back from watching it is that the last time I watched it was the last but one week of the previous season. It was the night before Freiburg beat Bayern, or to be more precise since it finished so late, it was the very same day. It’s almost like a curse of some kind, I know Freiburg did beat Bayern but it didn’t matter in the end. On the other hand it seems like that’s exactly why I should watch it now, when the season is on break so I can watch it and not feel like I’m cursing anyone. Plus it would be a good time to watch it and Django Unchained, as kind of a preparation for The Hateful Eight on Friday.

I may be feeling a little lost today but at least I’m not worrying quite as much as I was yesterday. I think getting some sleep helped on that count, as did the Matze adventure I’m working on. I didn’t get enough sleep but enough to be of some help. The problem is still there and I’m still avoiding dealing with it but that’s ok for the moment. It will still be there on Monday. Right now my mind is focused on other things, I know all I’m doing is running away from it but that’s not always such a bad thing. I don’t think I come up with a solution just yet so surely it’s a good thing I’m not obsessing over it. Nor am I sure that I should allow myself to make up my mind right now, not when I’m feeling so confused. Allowing myself to be focusing on Matze and making character related decisions is not the worst thing to happen. Though it’s probably a little misleading to say I’m letting it happen, that implies I have any control in that matter. When truth is that couldn’t be further from the truth. Normally when I wake up I write whatever I can in my dream journal and I may make a few story notes if I have any random ideas. This morning I wrote a full three pages of the the beginnings of a new story for Matze. That was before doing anything else, it was after waking up and writing about the vampire dream, the third thing I did this morning. Writing the start of that story was apparently important enough to put off getting breakfast. Given how hungry I always am in the morning that means he’s pretty important then.

There are two other things which brightened up my day today besides Matze. Whilst I don’t yet know what Freiburg and Dortmund have planned for the winter break I do know that Bayern are playing Karlsuher SC in a friendly two weeks from today. So I will at least have one Saturday accounted for in the next three weeks. The other thing is something I got in the post, a very special signed picture of Hansi. I always like it when he smiles but I especially like it in this picture. I have by now quite a few pictures of him from when he was younger and active as a player, in many of them it doesn’t look like him. In this picture not only is his smile as wonderful as it always is but it looks like him too:

Hansi Flick – 1.FC Köln signed photo

2016: First Film of the Year and other Deliberations

Normally picking the first film of the year to watch would be a big deal. In fact it would not only be the topmost thought in my mind right now but it would already be decided by now. This year like the year just gone is a little different. Films are still important but they aren’t the foremost thought in my mind. Right now all I can think of is how many days there are till the Bundesliga returns and how many days till Freiburg’s next game. 21 days until it all kicks off again and Bayern play HSV. 22 days until a newly resurgent Gladbach play Dortmund. The prospect of that game is mouthwatering, unbelievably so. And most importantly and no less mouth watering is the game between Bochum and Freiburg, precisely 34 days from now. I’m happy they play on a Friday, it’s one less day to wait.

But of course there’s no football to watch right now, not live anyway. Not unless I watch the Premier League and so far I haven’t done. Back to the title, whatever the film I chose it was certain to be a German one. In the end it turned out to be a rather predictable choice, a by now very familiar favourite, The Lives of Others. Some films you just don’t get sick of, regardless of how many times you’ve seem them and how well you know them.What I love about The Lives of Other is it’s one of those films that makes me think every time I see it, that there’s always a new detail to notice. You really do gain something from every viewing. As for the first film at the cinema, I have a creeping suspicion that will be The Hateful Eight. It would be very fitting where that to be true.

Towards the end of last year I wrote a list of things I wanted to do in the year to come, some fun stuff and some serious stuff too. I haven’t done that this time round and I have no plans to. Not because I’m unhappy that I didn’t cross enough things off my list, I actually crossed off quite a few things, including the item at the top of my fun list. More because in the words of August from The Bridge my plan is to “not to have a plan.” I just don’t see the point, everything is all over the place and it’s close to impossible to make any plans, so I’m just not going to bother, not with any major overarching plans and not with any aims.

The first thing on my fun list was to learn how tie a scarf like Jogi Löw, which I am now able to do. The final point from that list was to write more Löw adventures. Well that’s pretty much taken care of it’s self, I have no worries on that front. In fact it’s taken over almost everything else. Everything but football itself that is.

Two things from my serious list were to save some money and to downsize my collection, that is my DVD and book collection. Saving money, not so much, but the latter I’ve had some success with and hope to move on to downsizing my book collection next. The most important thing on the list was to do the things which make me happy, regardless of whether other people find them strange or not. I’ve certainly done that, in fact I wonder if I may have committed to doing so a little too much. At the same time I can’t help but wonder how good the friendship in question was if it was almost broken over a special interest. And just what or who was in the wrong, If a special interest can really be more important than a friendship, And if you’re even asking that question, then surely the friendship doesn’t mean as much as you thought it did. Is it possible that I wanted an excuse, an out from it, and the special interest conflict just gave me the excuse I was looking for.

In a not so fun conversation a while back I was asked for my reasons for writing the Löw adventures, how it was that I who can’t stand romance in any form likes to write such things. And whether or not writing said stories made me have any interest in romance and relationships in real life. Or if it was the case that I was writing them precisely because I have an interest in such things but that I can’t actually have them, so I write stories instead. I do find them fulfilling in a sense but not like that, they haven’t given me any interest in pursuing such things. I do however consider my characters good company and they are a lot less anxiety provoking than real life people, that’s for sure. Which is most likely why I prefer them, I always know what they’re thinking, what they’re going to say and what they mean. There’s only confusion if I want there to be. How could I not prefer them to real life people?

One thing from that post I will repeat here is to list four things I’m looking forward to this year. I thought Euro 2016 would be top of this list, but I have very mixed feelings about it now because of what happened in November. But then I can’t figure out what else would top the list. So my four things to look forward to in 2016:

  1. Euro 2016, not to mention the U19 Euros and the Olympics because Germany qualified football wise.
  2. The second half of the 2.Bundesliga season and finding out what will become of Freiburg and their promotion campaign.
  3. The Hateful Eight, Tarantino’s next film.
  4. Writing more Löw adventures.

Were the list to have a fifth addition no doubt something sticker related would make the list, perhaps the prospect of a German album for Euro 2016. But then seeing as Hansi won’t be in there, perhaps not.

One thing which I’m not at all looking forward to or have a great deal of enthusiasm for is the prospect of spending time with other people. It’s barely the first day of the year and I’m already worrying about how to get out of something of this nature. I no longer have the excuse of being sick but I still don’t feel like being around anyone. I know part of this is because it’ll take some time to get back to a normal routine and I’m feeling out of sorts because of all this. With that in mind I shouldn’t do anything stupid or rash. Which I have to admit is unlikely anyway because that would actually involve me making a decision and taking decisive action. That’s not like me, that’s not how I screw things up. It’s more because of what I don’t do as opposed to what I actually do. I let things like friendships fall apart by doing nothing. It’s always a tempting proposition, to simply disappear. To allow everything to fade away. Not to make any decisions but to do nothing and simply allow old habits to creep in. Like they are now, avoiding other people and creeping around in the dead of night. Allowing such patterns to continue because you know you can avoid other people that way.

With all this friendship stuff I can’t win. It’s not a question of whether I want friends or not, or even of whether I’m lonely or not. It’s a question of which is more tolerable, because I’ll be anxious and worried about something either way. If I have friends then I’m worrying about getting it wrong all the time, and if I’m a good enough friend. And when I think something’s gone wrong which is a lot, I can’t let go of it. Whilst part of me is worried they’ll never speak or write to me again another part of me secretly hopes they won’t, it would make it so much easier on my part. It’s tempting to think that having no friends at all would be easier, at least I would have one less thing to worry about.

Advent Calendar Day 21 – The Final Sticker Decision

Behind door number 21 in the Freiburg calendar was midfielder Florian Kath. Joining him from the DFB calendar is the card of Christoph Kramer and from the Dortmund calendar is Erik Durm:

Christoph Kramer - DFB 2015-16 card 1 Christoph Kramer - DFB 2015-16 card 2 Erik Durm - Dortmund advent calendarI’ve done everything I wanted to do today and I’m still not happy, I don’t know why. Nor do I know why I’m so angry all of a sudden, though I suppose there’s a clue to be found in the fact that the time I was no longer in such a good mood coincided with the time I was no longer by myself in the house. No-one’s done anything specific to annoy me, I’m just angry with everything. I’ve tried lots of ways to distract myself and so far none of them have worked. Having run out of options I’ve decided an early night is best, well midnight is not so early but these days it’s certainly early for me.

I don’t know if something specific is bothering me and I just haven’t worked it out yet or it’s just because of the approach of Christmas which I’m finding unsettling. Of course there’s also the fact to consider that tonight was the final night of the first half of the season. Paderborn drew 0-0 with Fortuna Düsseldorf. I missed most of the first half and going by what I heard at half-time and saw for myself in the second, I didn’t miss much. I still have mixed feelings about no football for the next month or so. I might have to resort to watching the Premier League at this rate, question is if I did that who would I pick, Klopp and Liverpool or go with Mesut Özil, Per Mertesacker and Arsenal?

I wish the holidays were over already, not just because I can’t wait for the Bundesliga to resume but because I want things to get back to normal in other ways. I wish other people didn’t like to spend quite so much time together and that they weren’t quite so noisy about it. I know I sound like a bah humbug but I’m finding their presence a little challenging to deal with. It’s nothing to do with the holidays, I feel that way all year round. It’s just made worse by how unsettling Christmas is as a whole. And then on top of that there’s the whole surprise present element, I never should have gone along with that. It’s nice for them and it’s obviously important to them but it’s not good at all for me. Their words on the matter earlier today don’t help any, “I just hope you like what I’ve got you.” So no pressure then. I wish they had thought that through before saying it to me. Maybe this is the thing that’s on my mind and I just haven’t realised that yet.

Everything is just all so strange right now, even stranger is the weather. I hate that it’s still warm, it’s a most disturbing aberration and a very troublesome one. I hate warm weather and it’s not making me any happier.

Seeing as how I’ve decided an early night is best I figured having a good book to hand will be of some help, just in case sleep doesn’t come so easy. Right now I’m reading The Man from Berlin which is proving to be a little less exciting than I thought. On paper it sounds perfect, a murder mystery set during WW2, it takes place in Sarajevo, has Nazis in it and the main character is a military intelligence officer. And yet I’m not so much enjoying it so much as reading it simply because I have to know what happens. I’m not the kind of person who can skip to then end of a book and just read the last chapter or the last page. Either I finish it or I don’t. I will persevere with this and finish it but I doubt I’ll be reading the second one. In fact my mind is already on what I’m going to read next.

Next in my to read pile is Ajax, The Dutch, The War which is about football and the Holocaust in Holland, more specifically about the Dutch team Ajax and their story under the Nazi occupation. I know it’s not a very cheerful book to be reading around Christmas time but that makes no difference to me. The other book I’m considering reading is an old favourite, The Book Thief. I’ve read several times by now and don’t really need to read it again. But I read it last Christmas and the one before that, at this point it almost feels like a tradition in the making. So what’s stopping me? Well just one little plot point which has been bugging me ever since it was brought to my attention, the fact that the child of a Communist being unable to read and never having been taught to do so is simply unbelievable. The question is should you let something like that ruin an otherwise incredible book, should you let it bug you that much? Is it just me being a pedant or is it really an issue?  One thing I know I’m being a pedant about is the fact I’m bothered by my copy of Ajax being an American copy. The reason for this is it says soccer instead of football, I know it’s stupid to be bothered by such a thing but it makes no difference to how I feel.  Shame it’s too late to send it back.

On the subject of being a pedant I wonder if I’m being too much of a perfectionist in regards to the decision I have to make, I have in my possession the final sticker to complete my Road to Euro 2016 album. The sticker in question being number 326, Kari Arkivuo of Finland. Problem is the left corner is noticeably creased. He wasn’t easy to get but I suppose I could get another if I were patient enough. But I don’t know if I’m being ridiculous or not. If I decide to keep him then I would get to mark the album as finished in 2015, if I don’t then I won’t. I’m also wondering whether or not it’s unreasonable to ask people if the sticker they are sending is in perfect condition or not and whether or not they’ll send a picture of it before you agree a trade. I wouldn’t ask for such a thing all the time but when you give them five in exchange for one, surely they should accept such a demand.

Whatever is on my mind I wish I could just work it out already, or do whatever it is I need to do. If that involves breaking something so be it. I just hate being this unfocused. I’ve read through this post several times to check for mistakes and each time I’ve found misspellings and missing words. I hope there is something I’m annoyed about and I just need to work out what it is. Because if this is just a reaction to Christmas then it’s not so simple to deal with. Even if I knew what was bothering me I can’t talk to anyone, I don’t exactly feel capable of stringing a sentence together right now. With this in mind having plans two days from now is not the greatest thing to be happening. Most of the day will be taken up by the film and Star Wars is 135mins long which is helpful. If it weren’t Christmas I would cancel, but I have to give them their gift. Last time I went out and I wasn’t in such a good mood it went terribly, though I maintain that my initial reaction was appropriate and their behaviour was over the line. But perhaps if I had been in a better mood I would have been more focused and thus able to walk away from the argument. So I guess just avoid any real conversation, see the film and find some excuse to come home straight afterwards. That should work to stay out of trouble.

October – the month of Oliver

Naming this month was a little tricky, coming up with a name wasn’t difficult. The problem is he’s not the only Oliver. The one it is named for is Marc-Oliver Kempf who is more than ok in my book. Problem is there’s another Oliver whom I’m not too fond of, not because he left, it’s where he went that’s the problem. Obviously I’m not happy with him leaving but I could eventually get over that, him going to H96, that I can never get over. But I couldn’t come up with another name, and I didn’t think it was right to change it just because of that. I mean it’s not Marc-Oliver’s fault they happen to share a name.

I’ve been putting off writing this post for quite some time, that much is obvious given that it’s about October and it’s now December. I didn’t know the reasons why until I started looking through that month’s posts. Now I have an idea as to why that might be. October was the month in which Germany wrapped up their Euro qualification in none too perfect fashion. As for their game against Ireland, well the less said about that the better.

From a Freiburg perspective they got knocked out of the DFB Pokal. Not only them but the two other teams I was rooting for as well. Freiburg played five games in October and won just one of them, a 5-2 victory over Greuther Fürth. One win, two losses and two draws. The KSC game I can’t complain that much, if it had gone either way it would have been a fair result. A 1-1 draw is a fair result. It just really smarts, you figure a goal that late in the game has to be the winner but it just wasn’t meant to be. I’m more disappointed with the Braunschweig result, a own goal by Mujdza kicking off their comeback. That wasn’t just unlucky, that’s game they should and could have taken control of.

It’s not just for football reasons that I would prefer October remain forgotten, I made plenty of mistakes which I’d rather forget. Mistakes which are predictably social related. It’s for that reason I shouldn’t forget about them, I should remember them because they serve as an excellent reminder of why I should limit such situations. That is I should limit the amount of situations in which such problems could occur. In this instance it was partly my own fault. I should have just let it go. I know I could never make my peace with the situation but I was never going to get any answers either. There was going to be no good outcome. One thing is for certain I wasted far too much time obsessing over this. Time which could have spent on far more constructive activities. It shouldn’t take so long for me to realise that I’m obsessing over something and that I need to put a stop to it.

Sometimes time can help, letting some time pass before you attempt to make sense of it can be useful. I don’t know if that’s the case here, now I look back at what happened and wonder not only how any of it could have happened but just why I cared so much. The best thing to do I think is to accept that none of it makes sense to me and most likely never will. It’s most likely always going to be that way, jumping from one social related crisis to the next.

I didn’t watch many films in October but one I did watch was “The Hour of the Lynx.” It’s one I wish I really hadn’t watched, not because it wasn’t a good film, to the contrary, it was an excellent film. Just a very depressing one which really got to me, enough to write a post about it which isn’t something I do often these days.  As for what else I watched I also went to the cinema to see Michael Fassbender in Macbeth. For one thing I was glad I’d read the play because if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have had any idea what was going on. I did not enjoy the film at all and honestly it’s one of the few films that I’ve seen at the cinema which I seriously considered walking out of.

The other films I watched in October were Sicario, Secretary and Killer Joe. The latter I want to watch again before I make any comments on. Secretary however I do have something to write about.It’s not the first time I’ve seen the film, more like the sixth or seventh time I’ve seen it by now. I rewatched it because of a conversation with the only person I’ve met in real life who not only gets my fascination with James Spader but actually shares it.

They mentioned to me that we disagreed about the ending. I thought they meant that I thought it’s not real, which I’m not sure it is. I think it’s possible that the ending is just her delusion in her dehydrated state. Because I’m not sure that Edward could or would let another person in that way. But that wasn’t it. The point we differed on was whether or not they were both satisfied with the ending, with being together, assuming that it’s real that is. Because the real fun is not at home, it’s at work. Being left at home would not suit Lee at all, knowing that Edward is going to go off to work and that her replacement will be there. That’s the only place he can be himself, where he can have any kind of relationship. Writing this I’m not sure on what we disagreed, on who thinks what. Because thinking about it I don’t think either Edward or Lee is happy with the new situation. If it was real then it’s like he felt obligated to save her.

I’m starting to feel like I should take notes in such conversations, these days I can never remember what was said, or rather I can remember that but not who said what. When I don’t want to remember I can recall exactly what I or someone else said, and when I do want to remember I can’t. I’ve been a lot more distracted and unfocused these past few months. It’s most unusual, the winter months are usually my favourite time of year. When I come out of hibernation so to speak. This year has been all over the place, in lots of different ways.

I didn’t read many books either but one I did read made me very angry, the book in question being The Rosie Project. The source of my anger was when Don talks to the woman who’s responsible for putting together the presentation he’s giving about the genetics of autism. They have a conversation in which she expresses the view that the boys have to alter their behaviour so as to form relationships. But she commits a far bigger infraction than that when she criticizes him for using the word Aspie in his presentation. It’s easier just to quote the section in question:

“You know we never use that word, Aspies, We don’t want them thinking it’s some sort of club.” More negative implications from someone who was presumably paid to assist and encourage.

“Like homosexuality?” I said.

“Touche.” said Julie. “But it’s different. If they don’t change, they’re not going to have real relationships – they’ll never have partners.”

So many things about that make me angry it’s difficult to know where to begin. But how about we start with the fact that she’s presuming to speak for them, she’s not autistic and more to the point, she’s not them. How can she presume to know what they want, if they’re even interested in relationships or any of that. How does she know that they have to change in order for someone to like or love them. I find that insulting, like she’s saying no-one could love them as they are. How about another autistic person for one thing. And this is the thing that makes me angriest of all, who the hell is she to say whether or not they should use the word Aspie or not. She has no right to decide such things, to define how they should see themselves. And why shouldn’t they see it as some sort of club, god forbid we should feel like we belong somewhere. I don’t even remember if I liked the book or not, but then that’s not really important because I only read it for research purposes. Not because I’m interested in pursuing a relationship with a NT but because I wanted to familiarize myself with a such a concept in order to give me a little more perspective on writing a relationship like this. I wanted to know how much compromise such a relationship should involve and to see what the problems would be.

I didn’t get a lot of reading done, I only read two other books Who Invented the Stepover and Star Trek Academy: Collision Course. The latter is a favourite of mine and is one of those books I read when I don’t know what else to do. Whether or not Spock is meant to be autistic is irrelevant, point is this book is one of the best portrayals ever. It details how someone like Spock might think and also provides some excellent descriptions of sensory overload from an autistic person’s perspective. Who Invented the Stepover is a trivia book and provides many interesting football related facts from all over the world. And yes Jogi and Hansi are in there,because of their by now famous blue sweaters, there’s even a picture of the two of them looking rather fetching in said sweaters. Given the title of the section, “Best-dressed Coach” I’d consider it a travesty if Jogi wasn’t mentioned in some way.

IMG_20151221_122338That’s not my favourite thing about the book however. What I liked most about the book is Freiburg related. When I read the question “What is greatest relegation escape act of all time?” I knew Freiburg would not escape a mention in the answering of this question. I was not disappointed, in answering the question the story of their survival at the end of the 1993-94 season is told. Funnily enough the story also involves Nürnberg and Bayern. So in the same story you have a Jogi, Hansi and an Andreas team. In fact Andreas Köpke played in the game mentioned below.

The gist of it is with three games left to play Freiburg were four points and one goal behind 1.FCN in 16th place. Here’s the first incredible element of the story. After not winning one solitary game in four months, they then won their last three games. A fact which meant 1.FCN needed from their last three games one win and one draw. A draw they were in the process of getting against champions Bayern when a phantom goal occurred. Long story short they protested against the result of the game and they got a replay. They then lost said replay 5-0 to Bayern and were relegated on goal difference. The following season Freiburg achieved the feat of finishing third in the Bundesliga, whilst their local rivals VfB Stuttgart languished in twelfth. Then as is their way two seasons later they were relegated finishing in 17th place. Stuttgart on the other hand were at the time under the guidance of Jogi Löw and finished in fourth. His first season in charge and his team get relegated. Funny how things work out. Even more ironic is on the final day of the season Freiburg played KSC, another one of Jogi’s teams. The next season it was KSC who found themselves relegated.

Back to the topic at hand, to finish my favourite collectibles of the month. I got lots of great tickets including the two Germany ones for the month but it’s a Poland ticket which is actually my favourite of the month. For I not only got a ticket but a VIP one and a rather awesome case to go with it:

IMG_20151221_122733IMG_20151221_123057IMG_20151221_122830My favourite Jogi related collectible of the month was obtained by accident in that I didn’t buy it because of him, I didn’t know he was in there. It’s a program from Freiburg’s game with St Pauli, and on the first page is an article detailing their past encounters, an article which features pictures of both Christian Streich and Jogi from when they played for Freiburg:

IMG_20151221_122851IMG_20151221_122935IMG_20151221_122948

Advent Calendar Day 8: The Two Lukas’s, Two More Books & The Sweetest Story Ever

Behind door number 8 in the Freiburg calendar was right winger (and occasional striker and right-back when needs be) Mike Frantz. In the DFB one there was a most amusing coincidence, behind the door with Lukas Podolski’s face on it was indeed the card of Lukas Podolski. A fact made even more amusing because in the Dortmund calendar was Polish defender Lukasz Piszczek. A situation made even funnier because of course Podolski was also born in Poland but he grew up in and chose to play for Germany:

Lukas Podolski - DFB card 2015-16 1 Lukas Podolski - DFB card 2015-16 2 Lukas Pisczezk - Dortmund advent calendarAs well as having two of Lukas I also have two more books to add to my collection. This was not entirely planned, just yesterday I was writing about how I think I have too many books but that didn’t stop me from picking up these two. One about ancient Greece and the other about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. It’s technically three if you count the one I got in the post but I don’t count that one. For two reasons, firstly I didn’t know it would arrive today and secondly it’s been on my wishlist for over a year. The book in question being Berlin Noir, consisting of three Philip Kerr novels, March Violets, The Pale Criminal and German Requiem. I don’t know whether or not I’ll find time to read it between now and Christmas but regardless I had to buy it now. I felt like I’d just keep putting it off. I’m meant to be reading The Man from Berlin but I’m not making much headway with it. I’m not sure if it’s the book or if it’s me. A few days ago I finished reading Savage Continent and it was a very intense read. Maybe I need to take a break before starting on another book, especially one that touches on such dark themes. I would say I should read something lighthearted but I’m not sure I could find something that fits that description.

This is exactly how my collection got like this. You stop off at the bookshop just to see if they have something you’ve been looking for or to see what’s new in stock. You do so full well knowing that as long as you have cash in your pocket you’ll find it impossible to leave without buying something. Truth is if I hadn’t bought those boxes of stickers last week  I could have bought six or seven books today, and I still wouldn’t be completely satisfied. There’s always something else to read, something else to learn about. I suppose in a way that’s a good thing, that I still have some enthusiasm for something.

Right now I feel guilty because I’m not getting a lot of reading done and it’s not because I’m spending too much time watching football or playing Playstation, though I will admit the former does take up a lot of time. But it’s not the main thing coming between me and my reading time, because I find it easy to switch off from football, to not think about it for a little while. Or at least if I am thinking about it then it’s not dominating my mind in quite the same way as the real reason. Which is that for the most part I’m too wrapped up in my own adventures to be following someone else’s. This is part of the reason I have little interest in reading fiction right now, even when the book in question has Nazis in it like The Man from Berlin does.

I’m not sure what if anything I should do about this state of affairs, whether or not I should simply allow it to continue like this or try to change it somehow. I’m not sure that forcing myself into reading is a good idea. But then equally I’m not happy with reading just three books a month. I think that’s part of the problem, that I’m trying to quantify this, that I think it matters how much I read. Surely what you read is just as important as how many books you get through. I’m a little frustrated I guess that I no longer get through at least two books a week. But I’m being harsh on myself, I wasn’t writing anything back then and had a lot more free time. So it’s not really comparing like for like.

When it comes to obsessions I’m not sure what’s best, whether or not one should be reined in, to attempt to create some semblance of balance. If it’s a good thing for one thing to be dominating so much. I’m not sure if I have much if any choice in the matter. There’s an interesting exchange on related matters from the film The Prestige that I like to quote:

Angier: “Haven’t you followed your obsessions?”

Tesla: “Yes, for too long. I am their slave and one day they will choose to destroy me.”

That used to freak me out, it doesn’t anymore. Because now I know the pattern. I know that at the end of every special interest or obsession I kind of self destruct. It’s just how things go. There’s no point wondering what things would be like if I didn’t get so obsessed and focused on one topic to the complete exclusion of everything else because then I wouldn’t be me. I follow my obsessions partly because I want to and partly because I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know who and what I’m supposed to be. I have some idea what other people want from me, I know what they want me to be. And I know I can’t live up to their expectations, I can’t be what they want me to be.

Not because I don’t want to but because I really can’t. The two conversations I had today in relation to the story referred to in the title is a perfect example of this.  The story originates from my dislike of the new Champions League album, I decided to turn my rants about it into a Jogi adventure. It’s not just about the sticker album, it’s about lots of different things changing and about him missing Hansi. It also has little Matze in it which means there are some sweet moments. It’s these moments which were the focus of the conversation because such things aren’t like me at all. For one thing everyone is of the impression that I’m not particularly fond of kids, which I have to admit is sort of true.

Both people who read it liked the story and both came to similar conclusions, firstly that it’s not at all like me and secondly that it’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever written for Jogi and Hansi. This kind of sweetness and sensitivity is not particularly evident in real life so when people read these kind of stories they are seeing a side to me they didn’t even know existed. And what frustrates some of them is that it doesn’t seem to transfer to real life. That whilst writing such things has caused me to become more aware of feelings and in some ways to better understand my own, it’s not had any effect on my ability to express them or to demonstrate any kind of attachment to some of the people in question. I understand that it hurts their feelings in a way. I get that it hurts them to think that I have more of an emotional attachment to my football team than I do them. That I can talk all day long about how much I love Jogi, Hansi, Manuel, Matze or any of my other favourite players but I can’t express or show in the way they’d like such feelings for real people. I don’t have a simple answer for them or really any kind of answer at all. Actually I’m not even sure what my point is. Maybe my point is that I know I can’t provide that kind of emotional fulfillment for another person and that I don’t expect them to provide it for me, not that I’d be capable of receiving it anyway. That I’m well aware I have to seek it elsewhere, hence why I have such a great attachment to my characters. I don’t know, maybe this is just more random ramblings on the subject or maybe I’m actually making some sense for once.

To completely change the subject today went about as good as it could have gone. Especially considering I only got three hours of sleep last night. In spite of that I got up just in time to record the Christoph Waltz film I wanted, though I hadn’t meant to watch quite so much of it. I was meant to be getting to ready to leave but there was something oddly alluring about him in this particular film. I’ve not been a fan of his post Django stuff so far but I’m finding his older German roles to be quite interesting. It was however I have to say a slightly surreal experience, seeing Christoph as Father Christmas. One good point about the film is that whilst he was his usual slightly sinister self I didn’t detect a trace of Hans Landa which I so often find in his later characters:

I think that lack of sleep played a part in how the rest of the day went, as did the fact I’ve not been spending a lot of time outside in recent weeks. All day long I’ve been on edge, feeling like I’m being watched and jumping at the slightest noise. Hearing people laughing has been one of the things that’s set me on edge today. I don’t know why, nothing has happened lately. So it’s most likely just the lack of sleep and not having spent much time outside. Also a source of anxiety was my worry that the person I was meeting would not show up. I had no rational reason to think this but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. To the point where I wished I’d stayed home and watched Gladbach’s game instead. This is what I hate about being so anxious, it makes people think I don’t trust them. That I don’t trust them to show up, or not to be too late, or to believe them when they are telling me something. Except it’s not me, I’m not choosing to be this way. I don’t like it either.

Now it’s all over and done with and I’m glad I didn’t stay in tonight. I’m happy I got to give them their presents and that they’re happy with them. I’m happy they like the books, more importantly I’m pleased they liked the card I made. But then how could they not when it had these two pictures on the front. I think this picture of Jogi may just be the sweetest picture of him in existence:

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I saw two films today, The Night Before and then Black Mass. The first was not so good though I did enjoy seeing Michael Shannon in it and he had a bigger part than I anticipated. It’s always fun to see him get to be something other than the crazy bad guy. He may have been a little off here but he wasn’t crazy and he most definitely wasn’t a bad guy, he was an angel in fact complete with wings. I just don’t think the humor of the film appealed to me. I get that it was just meant to be a lighthearted Christmas film, but I just found it too juvenile for my tastes. I also think it dragged a little and that some aspects of the plot didn’t really fit the tone of it. Or maybe it was just that they were less engaging than the other characters. For example I didn’t think much of Issac and Betsy’s parenting worries, I just didn’t like a lot of their scenes for some reason. Like I said I’m not sure it was my kind of film to begin with. Michael Shannon on the other hand as their old science teacher Mr Green, well to riff on a Dude quote a little, he really tied the film together. He was my main reason for seeing the film and he did not disappoint.

Black Mass did also not majorly disappoint and neither did Johnny Depp surprisingly. The film tells the story of Boston gangster Whitey Bulger who became an FBI informant. Crime and mobster films like this are dime  a dozen but this one is worth seeing if not just for Depp’s performance as the truly terrifying Whitey Bulger. It’s not a great film but it’s still worth watching. The acting was great but the plot is a little lacking. I feel like they could have got more story into the two hour running time, perhaps show a little more detail as to how he rose to power. In fact a little more detail and focus in general would have been welcomed.

Same as always after such an evening I find myself unable to sleep. This time however it’s also part of a bigger problem, I’m unable to shake the problem I’m having with sleeping at nighttime. I can’t manage more than two or three nights in a row. It’s been almost a month now since the incident which caused all this happened and it’s showing no signs of changing. I thought the league resuming and getting back into the usual routine would fix it but it hasn’t had the effect I hoped it would. It’s been made worse by the nightmare I had two weeks ago involving being chased by rifle-wielding terrorists. I still don’t really understand it or, it makes no sense to me why I should react this way or have such trouble dealing with it. I mean I wasn’t there, I wasn’t in any danger, the team was. In fact I wasn’t even in the same country as them. It makes no sense at all and I have no idea how I’m meant to handle it, if I’m supposed to do anything or if I should just wait it out. How can I do anything when I don’t even understand what it is?

Advent Calendar Day 4/More Random Musings & Champions League Album 2015/16

Behind door number four in the Freiburg calendar was back-up goalkeeper Patric Klandt. In the DFB one was the card of defender Jerome Boateng. And last but not least in the Dortmund one midfielder Ilkay Gündogan:

Jerome Boateng - DFB card 2015-16 1 Jerome Boateng - DFB card 2015-16 2 Ilkay Gündogan - Dortmund advent calendarToday has been a somewhat frustrating day. It would have been fine had it not been for the courier who’s taken it upon themselves to lie about the location of my packages. The day was going fine until that happened. At least everything else is so far going to plan. I have all but one of the Christmas presents I’ve bought. I’m almost done now, just the wrapping to take care of. Plus the cards I have to make and the special bookmarks. I’m making three of them this year, one of which I’ve already gotten done. The other two I haven’t even started yet but I don’t think it’ll take long. One is a Philipp Lahm one and the other a Michael Shannon one, I don’t think you get two requests that are more diametrically opposite to one another if you tried. Well the Lahm one is not a request exactly. The person in question asked a while ago for some copies for a certain photo of him and I couldn’t give them the photos then. But I can make them a bookmark now. It’ll be a nice surprise and I’ll get to show that I do listen and can show an interest in other people.

I myself got a nice present too, the new Champions League album, though unfortunately there are no Germans in the four packets that came with it, nor in the first five packets I opened from my box. I did however get one Bayern player, a Gladbach one and  Wolfsburg one. And amusingly enough the badge for Malmo, amusing because of course that’s where part of The Bridge is set and Saga lives.

I’m happy I’ve got the album but not with the album itself, nor the stickers. It’s Topps rather than Panini and I’m not happy about that at all. But it did give me a new idea for a Jogi adventure so it’s not all bad:

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Malmo FF badge- CL 2015-16 sticker Bas Dost - VfL Wolfsburg - CL 2015-16 sticker Rafael – Borussia Mönchengladbach – CL 2015-16 sticker Xabi Alonso - FC Bayern München - CL 2015-16 stickerWith the parcel situation it’s very strange indeed, normally I’m going out of my way to avoid other people at all costs and here I am frustrated because there’s not a human in sight. I can’t believe I’m sitting here complaining about not being able to speak to someone, what a strange situation this really is.

At least it’s been productive on a writing front, I haven’t put pen to paper yet but I at least have an idea as to how to proceed with my Jogi Christmas chapter. I’ve worked out how to connect the beginning with the excellent idea that fits in the middle. I’ve also gotten several ideas for other adventures, including one for Matze’s Christmas chapter and a completely new sticker story for Jogi.

I’m trying to keep my mind on this and not on stressing out about next week. I’m trying to keep in mind that the day might not go exactly as I want or expect it to. With that in mind I’m writing two schedules for the day, one for by myself and one with the other person being there. It’s not helping any, I can’t stop obsessing over the day and the fact that I may not get to give them their gifts before Christmas. I’m trying at least anyway.

One final and very good thing, new pictures of Hansi:

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