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MmmWatermelon

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About MmmWatermelon

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MmmWatermelon's Activity

  1. MmmWatermelon added a post in a topic 1000 DAYS CHALLENGE   

    :\ it happens, I just had a similar two day relapse right after my last recent forum post and having a great week in general. Just one or two shitty days I guess but then I ended up being really pissed at myself for it, so I know how you feel. Well the sun is still shining, life goes on. I request investing my portion of the money into a healthy snack for yourself.
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  2. MmmWatermelon added a post in a topic Watermelon's Second Attempt at the 90 Day Detox   

    Day 187
    Whoa, I didn't post on here for all of January so here I am! Let's see...what's been happening in January? I'll try to summarize:
    I've been continuing to work as math tutor with a few regular students week-to-week. I'm spending little, and paying no rent \ using food stamps so I'm able to save most of it, but I am still looking for a couple of more students to work more hours (meeting a new student in a few days), or possibly a part time job that involves more moving my body around.
    I was dividing my time between living on a buddy's sailboat and staying at my partner's house during last month, and at the end of January I upgraded to a different buddy's boat which is much nicer: more spacious, enough room to stand, bigger bed, an electric stove, alcohol oven, benches and table for guests, more private berth. I paid my previous buddy by giving him a bunch of wild chantarelle mushrooms I found and cooking a big two pots of chicken soup for him and his housemates, which was fun, now they all love me : )
    I started playing in a weekly chess tournament last week (one loong game per week). I'm trying to replace playing online chess with playing in a club tournament; I definitely find myself very easily being drawn to playing online chess when I have time to kill between things, so I am still working on where to strike the balance on this one...anyway, tonight I got paired to play with the first national master I've ever played a classical time control game with, uh oh.. (the game was last night since I didn't finish posting this and I ended up losing, but at one point I was a pawn up and with better position if I just hadn't missed a simple move I had, according to computer engines I had a 2 pawn advantage or so against a national master (!!) so I'm happy with how I played even though I ended up losing on time : ) I've also been getting together with a few friends at a friend's house the last two saturdays and we play chess on a few boards while someone is playing music on the guitar or something. It's been really nice and seems like others are interested in doing this on a regular basis, I've been enjoying it a lot.
    Something else I'm really excited about is starting a carpentry apprenticeship of sorts with a local carpenter from the outskirts of the north bay. K and I went to his studio during a local artists' open studio event back in December and we were e-mailing for a little while trying to figure out a deal that could work for us both. What we ended up on is that basically I could go work at his studio for $25 a day whether he's around or not (once he trusts that I can handle myself safely on the machines), and if he is, I can ask him questions while working on my own projects. Seems like a pretty amazing deal considering his extensive knowledge (he sells his pieces for thousands of dollars). I just went in for the first time a few days ago and started working on a few cutting boards: two that needed gluing so I left them to finish next time, and another one that I finished on the spot. They were very simple, basic projects to refamiliarize myself with working on shop tools since it's been a number of years. I got to use a jointer, planer, table saw, arm saw, bandsaw, big shop belt sander, and smaller hand tools already on the first day! Fun, fun, my biggest goal is not to cut any fingers off (I did scrape a bit of my palm skin off on the big belt sander, oops, but it's mostly healed in three days). Besides that, as far as creative pursuits go, I've been continuing to make random small watercolors in a pocket journal here and there. I put a bit more effort into making an envelope-sized birthday watercolor card for my mom which I was really happy with and she really liked. I posted some of my recent watercolors in the art section of the forum if anyone reading this has any interest in seeing them (thanks for checking them out and reading this!)
    Finally figured out having insurance in my new county sometime in January (we'll see how long that lasts with this f-ing president...) so I was able to schedule a covered chiropractic appointment as well as physical therapy during the next two weeks. Back pain continues to be kind of a bummer despite lots of good things happening in life. I am continuing to do a bit of yoga at home but I am hoping to get a more thorough diagnosis and ideas of what would be most helpful.
    So I have done another cycle of 90 days! Hooray! I had a minor relapse in early January while I was living on the boat and it was raining for a week straight lol. I played a bit of Settlers of Catan online and even downloaded an old dos game called Master of Orion and played one evening. Then I told myself "what the heck am i doing?" and deleted it. Oh well, mostly game free for 180 days besides some small relapses : ) I think I am getting better at not being too rough on myself and rolling with the ups and downs.
    Oh yeah, I've found another weekly dance group that is similar enough to the one I used to go to in Southern California and I like quite a bit. So I have been going to that pretty regularly on Sundays. Besides the chess and dancing, I've been socializing with people in K's house and neighborhood, and reconnecting with old college friends in Berkeley, which has been nice.
     
    I wish everyone the best in their game quitting journey in 2017! You can do it!
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  3. MmmWatermelon added a post in a topic Watermelon's Art   

    Some art I made lately since posting, watercolors and a little redwood cutting board / bread board that can also serve as a bunny surfboard. Thanks for looking, take good care : )







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  4. MmmWatermelon added a post in a topic Travelling with low budget   

    I've tried Wwoof-ing on a few farms some years ago and I've used couchsurfing.org a bit whole traveling within the US, both are great resources and you can really meet some awesome people this way. I also have done a bunch of hitchhiking in some parts of the US (namely California and Maine) and contrary to some people's popular belief hitchhiking is quite safe in 99.9% of the country. I had a fantastic time hitchhiking in Maine especially and doing a big triangle between Portland, Acadia National Park and Mt. Katahdin. There are a lot of interesting characters you meet this way you would never meet otherwise. One ride can be a 18 year old dude driving "his pa's logging rig," overloaded by 20 tons of logs over the legal limit to make some cash and thinking about the next stripper he's going to meet, while 10 minutes later the next might be a very eloquent semi-famous poet who just came back from a poetry in festival Israel on world peace talking to you about transcendental meditation, then maybe you can jump in the back of a truck of some hunters who just came back from hunting moose. It teaches you you don't have to agree with people but they can nevertheless be very interesting : ) I highly recommend hitchhiking to everyone as something interesting to do while young; I have also met two women who have traveled all over the world, not just the US, much more than me, hitchhiking alone and able to stay safe the whole time, which I thought very inspiring.
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  5. MmmWatermelon added a post in a topic Watermelon's Second Attempt at the 90 Day Detox   

    Day 145
    Today was really great and active, I felt like I did a lot of things that are aligned with my overall goals: exercising and working on my health, connecting with people, old friends and new, spending time in nature, saving some money.
    I had a tutoring gig over in Berkeley in the late morning so I woke up early and did some yoga. I've been doing a shoulder loosening 20 minute routine and it feels like it's starting to take effect a little bit more and more every time; I made myself a bomb breakfast of sauteed veggies: squash, beets, beet greens, kale, and some vegan sausage; and prepared a bagel with cheese and salmon to take along for lunch. I made plans to meet a mushroom hunting friend who lives in Oakland because my tutoring gig was near a patch of forest where we found a ton of chantarelles two years ago and late December / early January seems to be the peak of the season for these delicacies here in the Bay. After tutoring, which went well, we met up in the rainy forest after I drove through probably the thickest fog I've ever seen! The bushes on the opposite side of a two lane road were literally half obscured by the fog when I was driving along the crest of the Oakland and Berkeley hills. The rain was really coming down and I forgot to bring my rainjacket but I had a few layers of fleece and under the trees it wasn't too bad. It was nice seeing my friend whom I hadn't seen in a year and a half and hearing about her life in recent times. Then, as soon as we got to our old spots we started finding tons of chantarelles and got really excited. We kept foraging for two hours or so then she had to go drive to her family's for Christmas vacation, while I plunged further off the trail into the forest looking for chantarelles under the oaks. I found a bunch more, as well as a really interesting purple mushroom called a blewit I was already familiar with from hearsay and books but I've never eaten before, so I'm excited to try that. I probably ended up with about four or five pounds of chantarelles, which is worth between $70 to $100 or more in grocery stores if I were to buy them (but I never do, cause they are free in the forest : ) I picked up some curries on my way home from my favorite restaurant in the East Bay then drove back to K and hung out with her and some friends for the evening playing Catan and eating cookies. One of our friends got excited about the mushrooms too so I gave her a quart container to take home and cook.
    Grateful for:
    - the bounty of the forest, and looking forward to eating so many meals with chantarelle mushrooms for the next week!
    - getting a $5 bonus for gas from my tutoring gig
    - naan & curry, so yummy! Also, this really sweet old Indian guy who works at the curry place, he always makes my day with how nice he is
    - friends
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  6. MmmWatermelon added a post in a topic Watermelon's Second Attempt at the 90 Day Detox   

    Haha sorry if I sounded a bit cranky when I wrote that. I figured you didn't mean anything by it and thanks also for sharing your own story!

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  7. MmmWatermelon added a post in a topic Watermelon's Second Attempt at the 90 Day Detox   

    Hi dandielionous, thanks for taking the time to read. I've visited New York City once before and played with the group of players in Washington Square Park; there are also similar groups of people in San Francisco and other parts all over the world, and I've probably lost a couple of bucks on a handful of occasions to some surprisingly good players. I'm sorry this is the first thing you associate with playing chess, but let's not confuse playing chess with the problems of poverty and lacking a home, these are totally different things on a different scale. Chess isn't what's causing people's misfortune in the first place, and in some extreme situations it might even be the one place some people find a sense of community that keeps them away from worst things they could be getting mixed up in on the streets of inner cities. I also don't see your friend's gambling problems as something stemming from chess; I've been around a bunch of chess clubs over the years and it's something people generally do for fun as a hobby,  an art, a passion that they enjoy. I've never myself met anyone with a chess gambling problem amidst hundreds of chess players I've known.
    Your response struck me a bit as a pointed attack (I might be making assumptions) based on your negative personal experience with a chess player on your life, but I will answer your question: my goal would be to have a relationship with chess where I'm spending a few hours a week on it as a hobby: probably going to a club to play once a week or once every two weeks and hang out with other chess players, and maybe spend a little bit of time outside of that studying my games and seeing how I could improve. I grew up going to a chess club in Eastern Europe and feel like it's a part of the culture from my part of the world and my own life; I also really enjoyed going to a club weekly for about a year with a friend after college; he was a similar skill level and we would play together for fun once in a while. I read my single chess book as an adult during that time and enjoyed the sense of improvement I steadily saw during that year. Sometimes I'd also meet interesting people at chess clubs, like an old Black Panther guy who came to the club every week to play, one crazy old Russian man, a math professor, young kids under 10 who could completely wipe the floor with me in a humbling fashion, and others. Anyway, I've been debating with myself whether to treat chess like other games or not, but it's something I definitely feel like I have a real relationship with and would like to include a bit of in my life, even if not as a main focus. But yeah, I definitely don't want to be the guy doing that to his girlfriend (and really to myself, I don't wanna be that guy period!)  like you say, so I'd really like to shift from playing online like I have been to in person over-the-board play and keep things in moderation.
    Anyway, hope you can change your view on chess and not think of it as one guy's unhealthy relationship with it! I know I'm guilty for placing the blame on video games and not taking responsibility for my own behavior and lack of control over them, but at the end of the day it's us who make the choices and not the games.
    Day 143
    Today was great! I slept in as needed and did some yoga outside in the late morning; it was sunny outside, which was a rate treat for winter, and warm enough to even show some skin while stretching, which was relaxing. Then I climbed about 40 feet up in a redwood behind the house, because my back didn't feel like it was in pain today and these days I try my best not to take that for granted, it was fun! I fixed myself some breakfast and made a smoothie for later. Then I called the Social Security Office and learned it was closing sooner than I thought and I'd only be able to get there a half hour before it closes. I decided to go anyway and hopefully get some of the paperwork done; it was surprisingly empty and as soon as I got there someone was able to help me; he suggested I also apply for food stamps, which I qualify for, which would somehow make the application process go faster, so I did. Now I have to go in tomorrow morning for a four hour appointment to talk with a case worker and sounds like I'll be on my way to having things sorted out, hooray! It's a bit of a drive but hopefully I won't need to go in again after this. I got back home just before sunset so I drove down to the beach and walked around on the sand barefoot (this also feels really good for back pain) with the high tide waves crashing around on rocks, beautiful. I drove about a mile north to the different end of the beach to see if a coyote who likes to roam around there at sunset almost every day was around. I ran into K who had just gotten off work and also decided to drive the extra mile to see the sunset, she said she had seen the coyote yesterday. Back at home, she said I'm invited to have dinner with her neighbor and her neighbor's family which was really delicious peppers stuffed with rice and a goood salad. We played a fun card game called basa, drank tea, and ate sufganyiot from an Israeli bakery in SF, which was delicious. The family was really nice and we laughed a lot, really relaxing evening.
    Grateful for:
    - sticking with my plan and also surprise delights
    - delicious food
    - Social Services office guy being super helpful
    - blue skies and a clear night sky, warm Northern California winter sun
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  8. MmmWatermelon added a post in a topic Watermelon's Second Attempt at the 90 Day Detox   

    Day 142
    Ok so lately chess has been getting out of control again... : P Here I am and it's 3 AM and I've been playing a bunch of chess all morning, barely got myself together to go work doing tutoring for a few hours and buy some groceries, then I came home and played a bunch of chess online until 3 AM. This is the first time I've stayed up past like 1 (and I generally go to bed before midnight now) in a few months so I think I need to check in here before it goes out of control. Things got a bit stressful during the past week. Old back pain and such issues...some anxiety, sigh. Let's focus on what's been positive:
    - no gaming (besides counting chess during the past week+, which started out a little bit at a time then got to the point that it's getting in the way of my other goals for the last three days or so. But anyway NO GAMING besides chess since my last relapse around day 90 or so, so it's been 60 days! Whoo!
    - Haven't looked at porn for the past ~2 months or so I think, basically since I've been living with K. This is nice...hope to continue the streak
    - Been working a bunch doing tutoring regularly and actually saving up some money. At some point I was down to like 500 in my bank account with no hope of even looking into a place to rent and now I probably have nearly enough saved that I could put down a first / last month's rent, if I wanted to go the route of finding my own place (I'm looking until I find something good)
    - I tried sleeping on my buddy's boat for 5 nights the other week and it was pretty comfortable even in the rain. There are a lot of logistics to figure out (one thing I'm going to do is bring a few bins or buckets for dishwashing on the deck of the boat next time, for example). I even did some light cooking on my isopropane camping stove and there is an alcohol stove my buddy had on the boat I took to K's house to tinker with. Not sure it works, but it would be a better option. I also did a bunch of cleaning of old grime to make the little storage cubbies and such more comfortable, and supplied the boat with a bunch of nonperishable foods.
    - Went to a new dance group I really like in the East Bay which is near where I'll be staying on the boat. It was really fun and I look forward to going again after the holiday breaks.
    - I think I'd like to incorporate chess in moderation into my time, but have it be more structured and focus on actually improving instead of playing mindless blitz after blitz. A few years ago I was reading a chess book as well as going to weekly club meetings with a friend and it was a lot of fun. Since I'll be staying near this same club I could try going again to place in a club setting and then maybe in moderation online to practice certain aspects of my game. I need to think carefully about this since it easily slips away form me, but I really can have a lot of fun with it.
     
    Stuff I need TO DO:
    - really need to figure out my health insurance through social services in the new area where I live. This is a pain in the butt, yes, but I need to fight for myself and hopefully make the system work for me. Even if I have to jump through hoops and go to the office in person because they are all confused in transfering my information from the old county's SS office. This is my goal for tomorrow since I probably won't have any tutoring in the afternoon, if it all. The goal is to eventually see someone who could diagnose what's going on with my back, maybe do physical therapy. I also have enough moneys now that I could see a chiropractor, but I'd feel better at least getting a clear diagnosis from a osteopath first anyway, which hopefully could be covered by insurance.
    Also for tomorrow:
    - finish a letter I started
    - meditate / do some gentle yoga when I wake up in the late morning.
     
    Good night all!
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  9. MmmWatermelon added a post in a topic 1000 DAYS CHALLENGE   

    Hi MadPharmacist, don't you think you are setting your goals too high and being harsh on yourself for not meeting them? How about a more of a step at a time approach?
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  10. MmmWatermelon added a post in a topic A cynic viewpoint of life   

    I like to remind myself that there have been people all throughout history who've chosen to live a life worth living. And whenever that may have been, the world was just as full of conflict, contradiction, paradox, and uncertainty. If someone else, then why not me? If then, why not now? Where do you find inspiration?
    Also, it's easy to completely convince ourselves the world is a certain way. But we have a very limited and subjective perspective, which is why I think it's important at least for me to constantly strive to expand that perspective and become aware of what it is we don't see. How exactly would you like the world to be in order for you to be able to live a fulfilling life? The words of songwriter Greg Brown come to mind: "The world ain't what you think it is, the world ain't what you wish it was, it's just what it is."
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  11. MmmWatermelon added a post in a topic Subway Anxiety   

    Hey, half of success is just showing up and being there on time or a bit early! I bet you, your anxiety will evaporate as you are actually there and beginning the training and you might be surprised by how easily you'll be able to learn it. Just be attentive, don't by shy about asking questions on things you don't understand, and even bring your sense of humor... Don't expect yourself to know about something you haven't done before and feel anxious over that, that's just unrealistic...
     
    Best of luck, you got this!
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  12. MmmWatermelon added a post in a topic Army of one   

    Wow, your ability to perceive subtle color changes is really impressive!! I am blown away! I thought at first those were just two copies of the same photograph before looking more carefully...beautiful drafts above also!
    Are you taking short breaks during your 8 hour session? Maybe it would help stave off the sleepiness to get up for 5 minutes and stretch, dance or exercise vigorously then get back to it. And a longer break sometime in the middle perhaps? It is important to do this when you are sitting for lengthy periods of time anyway to circulate your lymph, get your blood moving etc. Anyway, you should be telling us what you're doing, that's already much more impressive concentration on one task than I'm ever capable of!
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  13. MmmWatermelon added a post in a topic Watermelon's Art   

    Glad you like
    Some more I did in my little pocket journal in the past week (and a card I made for my partner's birthday which is probably my favorite watercolor so far!)
     




    This coyote kept moving : )
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  14. MmmWatermelon added a post in a topic Watermelon's Second Attempt at the 90 Day Detox   

    Thank you for reading, how are things going for you lately? : )
    Day 128
    Whoa, so many things are happening so quick right now it seems. I've been a bit stressed out by finding a living arrangement and to be honest my effort into looking at CG and such has been pretty minimal. My one month living with K which we agreed upon with her roommates is up...what I've found is through talking with a college friend of mine who has a boat on the other side of the Bay at the Berkeley Marina. He isn't using it and he is willing to rent it to me quite cheaply, but the caveat is it'll be somewhat cramped quarters, no kitchen, and there's a limited # of nights / month I'm allowed to sleep on it due to the marina limitations. I tried sleeping on it two nights ago as a trial night to get an idea of what it's like and it was pretty comfortable. So I feel like I can make it work but there are a bunch of logistics to juggle. The rest of the nights I'll be spending at K's (about 2 / week) and I've arranged my tutoring sessions (smartly ahead of time, foreseeing something like this!) in her area to be on the 3 days of the week around that. There's definitely a bit of a romantic factor to living on a boat temporarily, but I think this is taking me out of my comfort zone quite a bit...I really like having a cozy nest to come back to and somedays I feel like I just need a time out...right now I feel like I need to really be on top of my shit to be able to prepare adequately for being comfortable with the boat life. I also picked up a bit more computer work I need to get done today so I have a pretty laid out schedule today:
    - respond to emails and msgs (by 10:15am)
    - focus on work (until 12)
    - brainstorm cooking options on camping stove so I can prepare what foods I need to buy + toiletries etc. + things to be comfortable...laundry, pack, clean and organize car etc.
    - tutoring at 4 with a regular student then meeting a new student!
    - drink lots of tea...
    The boat is a mostly functional sailboat but the motor is broken and neither my friend nor I are experienced enough sailing to take it out without the motor. Maybe in the future...
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  15. MmmWatermelon added a post in a topic My Official Journal- Ben W   

    Hi Ben,
    Yes! I think you are so spot on . I encourage you to feel free to express whatever you feel called to in your journal, it is yours like you said after all, if anyone who is choosing to read it doesn't like it for any reason, they are free to move on...
    At the beginning of my detox when trying to renormalize my sleep schedule I found it really helpful to listen to some kind of guided relaxation or meditate before going to sleep. I really like this Yoga Nidra guided relaxation: Yoga Nidra Youtube link, and I think this or Headspace meditation would be denominational and in complete harmony with any system of belief you have and could even be a basis for getting in touch with that on a regular basis? I'd be curious what you think.
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