Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

January 21, 2014

Post-interview crash

Filed under: news of the day,workin for the man — Tags: , , — lexifab @ 3:28 pm

Yesterday I went to my first job interview in six years. At least I think that’s what it was.

Following up on the idea that I should eschew money, free time and a healthy back and knees free of crippling muscular pain, I talked yesterday to a pimping agency that places apprentices with relevent companies (builders and tradies, in the case of my preferred vocation).

To say that it’s been a while since I did an interview for a private sector job is a bit of an understatement. It’s been at least twenty years, and that’s far enough back that specific details of how I got previous jobs are hazy, if not wholly reconstructed from lost data. The thing is, I can’t remember the process being so…chatty.

The employer – let’s call her M because it’s her initial – is the sole ACT agent for a company headquartered in Sydney. So, I dunno, maybe she doesn’t get to talk to many people face to face (or at least not many people who are not 17 years old and looking for a sparky’s ticket).

But, man, that was some chat. The state of the ACT economy, the state of the public service, the state of the local trades industry, Canberra’s variable weather (equipment-meltingly hot except when it’s brain-freezingly cold), the complexities of work health and safety laws versus the rude simplicity of not getting killed on the job, the dizzying array of TAFE courses available… On occasions it strayed close to the business of becoming an employee [1] but mostly it just seemed to be an exercise in me impressing upon her that I was serious about wanting to be a (very) mature-age chippie.

M did her best to put me off the whole idea. The hours will be long. The pay will be minimal. The work will be back-breaking and exhausting. For the first six to twelve months I will be a burden and a liability for the foreman and everyone around me, all of whom will likely be fifteen to twenty years younger than me.

I’ll admit that the hours are going to be the biggest obstruction. It will be hard to coordinate doing my part to help with the kids if I have to be on-site at seven in the morning and won’t finish my work day until after school finishes. And I’ll probably lose most of my Saturdays. And, and, and…

In the end I’m not sure if I’m put off or not. If it were just me, I think I could stomach the financial hit. I know I could grunt out the physical stress, once I got past the body horror of being confronted with the fact that I no longer have the strength and stamina of an eighteen (even the structurally unprepossessing eighteen year old that I used to be).

M was not one to close the door without opening a dim and possibly dangerous secret passage though. She suggested some other options I hadn’t considered that move me towards my goal, more in line with my prior experience and less bodily demanding. I’m not sure if they’re really what I want to do – the hands-on part of carpentry is the aspect of my plans that has the most appeal – but she’s given me a lot to think about.

As we shook hands and thanked each other for our time, I did wonder whether I was under serious consideration or not. I know that I didn’t come away with that familiar, dreaded sensation of having botched the interview and made a laughing stock of myself. On the other hand, I didn’t walk out contemplating an offer either. I didn’t expect to. I didn’t know what to expect.

It was fun though. It looks as though the years have smoothed off some of the spiky bits I’ve always experienced with job interviews. And by ‘spiky bits’ I mean of course ‘utter, shaking terror’. I reckon I might be willing to do it again.

What I will do next is still an academic question. Until my current employer decides whether it wants me or not (or at least until my employer gets around to telling me what it wants) I won’t consider taking another job. But it sure would be nice to have something lined up just in case.

The search continues…

[1] One such moment was when M quietly mentioned the salary range for first-year apprentices, which is roughly one-half of what I get paid at the moment. That’s actually a bit better than I was expecting, but of course it also comes with a forty hour week and regular somewhat-mandatory overtime.

January 15, 2014

I just can’t stand all this damnable waiting

Filed under: workin for the man — Tags: , — lexifab @ 12:02 pm

I have to say, without being specific about the operational status of my day job, that I wish I were the sort of person who could live comfortably with myself while writing a novel at my workstation. I’d have opportunities, is all I can say.

(Instead, I am patiently awaiting the outcomes of opaque processes occurring in other parts of the organisation, pending decisions by persons unknown in consultation with undisclosed entities. I’ve been to seances with timelier, livelier outcomes…)

November 16, 2011

Sad transition back into the workforce

It has been a long and tiring week, punctuated mainly by distractions, a little gaming and a horrible hacking cough over the weekend. Progress on the novel remains steady overall, though that’s mainly because I had a couple of very productive days at the start and end of the week rather than modest gains throughout. Still, I’m closing in on the nominal halfway mark, so the deadline remains a thing that could be achieved. And after all, I have that bet with Evan, so what better motivation could I possibly need?

The real change has been my return to work this week, after eight weeks at home looking after Childe Wombat. Sadly we could no longer afford to maintain my sensitive new-aged indolent lifestyle. I have returned to the workforce and she has joined her brother at childcare. I will miss taking her on long walks during the day – her favourite activity other than eating, and the only thing guaranteed to calm her occasions tantrums – but to be honest she’ll have a lot more fun there than she does with me.

As for work, I am reluctantly getting back into the groove of things. It would probably help if I hadn’t run headlong into one of our most painful and overdesigned bureaucratic processes, but I expect the need to focus on one laborious step after another will help recondition my public servant muscles.

(While I have been typing this, traffic out the front of my building has begun backing up behind roadblocks for Barack Obama’s presidential motorcade. Said motorcade, according to the live news feed on that television over there, has yet to leave the airport and make the ten-or-so-minute journey to parliament House. I boldly predict that when the roadblock is finally lifted there will follow madness and chaos and some very unhappy Canberra motorists. In fairness, though, they should have read the paper and known better than to use the main thoroughfare past both the House and the US Embassy. Twits.)

June 3, 2011

BTTI 1.21 – Do No Harm

Filed under: back to the island,workin for the man — lexifab @ 11:54 pm

Back to the Lost reviews again. I don’t know how long I will be able to sustain the momentum since I only have a half a review in the bank at the moment, but I’m also closing in on the end of Season One, so that might give my enthusiasm some wings.

I doubt I will manage to build up much of a buffer next week though, since I will be spending two nights in Sydney for a conference (and I will want to tak advantage of at least one of them to get out and about and see the sights of the Big Smoke. At least the ones between my motel and the nearest cinema, which is a rare indulgence for me these days).

The conference is on business continuity planning, which according to the job description I rewrote a few weeks ago is my current vocational calling. BCP – roughly defined as “oh shit, the building burned down, now how do we do our jobs?” – is a field in which I am rapidly moving from complete ignoramus to ill-informed amateur, this being yet another step along the spectrum towards, one hopes, eventual competence. It’s a good suit for my temperament – I like telling my organisation what it’s doing wrong, and I get to draw on nearly thirty years of GMing to come up with worst-case disaster scenarios against which to test our plans. It was all I could do a few weeks ago, during the planning of a day-long desktop walkthrough of the plan (i.e. “roleplaying session where you play yourself”), not to recommend that we assess the viability of our BCP in the event of a zombie apocalypse. I think my supervisor would have gone for it, for one…

(more…)

April 12, 2011

Backlogs will kill you if you let them

Filed under: property magnatism,workin for the man — lexifab @ 4:52 pm

There was no Lost review yesterday because I didn’t get a chance to sit down at the computer until about twenty to twelve at night. That’s no time to be doing an editing read-through of anything, believe me. I’ll get it out there tonight or tomorrow and resume the standard Friday-Monday release schedule later.

It’s nice to have built up a buffer of spare reviews so that I can actually absorb the odd busy period, but I am suddenly awfully conscious that a twice-weekly schedule does not leave a lot of slack. I might try to do two reviews in my next writing stint.

I have just spent all day at work doing forensic accounting on a contract to work out why and how errors crept in. When it comes to tracking down mistakes in a spreadsheet I am usually very reluctant to start, precisely because I know that once I do I won’t be able to let it go until I have either found the erroneous data, missing money or procedural misstep. Until I have convinced myself that I can reconstruct the exact chain of events that led to the initial mistake and consequent problems, I keep going.

I am by nature an accountant. Or possibly one of those small dogs that will not stop until every particle of newspaper has been shredded into its smallest possible fragment (and dispersed over the widest possible area, not unlike my paper-strewn desk).

The thing is, even though I’m well-suited to this kind of work in one respect – let’s charitably call this quality tenacity rather than resort to slinging around mental health conditions like OCD as epithets – it sits very uncomfortably next to my bad temper and paper-thin tolerance for frustration. The longer I go without working things out, the more I get cross and irritable and the louder I spew invectives. And correspondingly the less likely it becomes that I will take a break and a deep breath before I return to the problem.

Fortunately for me and everyone around me I am not an actual accountant. Because if I had to do this kind of tedious number-crunching bullshit every day I would go stark-staring mad and commence murdering.

(All this reminds me that I have a backlog of monthly property investment accounts to catch up on. I am taking the day off work on Friday so that I can attend to them, thus nicely bookending my working week with the unremitting tedium of bookkeeping. Yay).

March 11, 2011

On gratitude towards Fridays

Filed under: fitter/happier,friends,news of the day,workin for the man — lexifab @ 12:33 pm

Ah Friday-before-the-long-weekend, thank you for existing. I need a bit of a rest.

Just got out of a meeting for which I’ve been preparing for two weeks. Considering my microscopic meeting-management skills and a woeful lack of confidence in my own subject matter expertise, it went pretty well. I only forgot one person’s name, which is pretty good for me. Ahem.

I’ve been kind of burning the candle at both ends all week – working all day then hitting the keyboard as soon as the kids are asleep to ramp up the word counts. Bedtime is post-midnight every night, which would not be so bad if the Joey didn’t wake up at 6:30 am with metronomic precision every morning. I’m hoping he can cut me some slack and let me sleep in on Saturday, but my breath will not be held.

Baking appears to be off this weekend, after the oven exploded yesterday. I didn’t see it, but I heard the loud whump as something vital blew up. Apparent there was a not-insignificant ball of plasma involved. How Jimbo managed to avoid getting burned when he was standing right in front of it is a bit of a mystery. Maybe he is out of phase with this universe.

We aren’t having all that good a run at the moment with our heavy household appliances. We replaced the heater a couple of weeks ago. That was three grand. And now this. Ouch. Lucky I’m not superstitious or I’ d be worried that these sorts of things come in threes. Or, wait – am I just not superstitious enough?

My goals for the weekend are to play with the kids, visit friends, catch up on two months of household accountancy, play some D&D, write a few thousand words on various topics and edit a few thousand others, and hopefully, help some other friends move house. And get some rest…ah, yeah, maybe that one will have to slip.

March 8, 2011

My Happiness

Filed under: family,friends,geekery,joey,news of the day,wombat,workin for the man — lexifab @ 2:53 pm

I didn’t mean for this resumption of posting to become a weekly affair, but oh well. I don’t mean a lot of things that end up happening anyway.

I promised that I would be relentlessly positive with this next entry, and so I shall be – within reasonable limits of tolerance for the terms ‘relentlessly’ and ‘positive’, that is. This is all stuff that is on my mind at the moment that is making me feel good about life

Family – I have a wonderful wife and two adorable children. How cool is that? I have to start with the family, because the last thing I would want is to take them for granted. How can I not appreciate the frankly astonishing fact that I have a loving, supportive and stable marriage with a wonderful woman whose only apparent flaw is her dubious taste in husbands? On top of that are two healthy, adorable little people who love me unconditionally and suffuse me with joy every day. Sometimes even when they are voiding their bowels in some nefarious and inconvenient way.

Work – Work is going well. I have a meaty project to get on with that has a vertiginous learning curve, fearsome deadlines and a broad menagerie of overworked colleagues who have too many other things on their plate. I’m loving it. Every morning I get to work and look at the mountain of stuff that needs doing and I can’t wait to get stuck into it. It has been a while since that’s happened. I suppose it’s possible (inevitable?) that sooner or later the goalposts will shift and some new direction from upper management will force me off into some other project – although I kind of hope not, since my work is one of those critical business processes that functional organisations do well and that everyone points at and laughs when an enterprise goes belly- and/or tits-up – but while it’s still flavour of the month I intend to make as much of it as possible. Possibly up to and including a trip to Sydney for a seminar!

Gaming – After the Wombat was born I took a break from gaming to do my share of baby-wrangling and to keep the house from falling apart or smelling too bad. But since she has started sleeping a little more reliably in recent weeks, I’ve started easing back into previous schedule. Seeing as there are four separate games involved (one weekly, the rest fortnightly) I am not sure whether I will be able to sustain all of them without either running myself ragged or (more likely) jeopardising harmonious relations with my long-suffering wife. I suspect that I’m at least one commitment overbooked, but I will see how it goes. I do know that as long as it lasts, I am enjoying getting together with friends and rolling dice and telling cool stories in bad accents.

Minecraft – It’s more or less my default state that my attention will have been seized by one or two computer games at any given time, and that I will spend as much time as I can spare shooting this or climbing that in some colour-saturated virtual environment. For the past few weeks I have been utterly arrested by Minecraft, a game which has astonishly clunky graphics, no plot or characters, repetitive plinky-plonky music, no instructions and no specific point. It’s one of the most fun things I’ve come across in years. It’s essentially a mining survival game. Your blocky little avatar appears in the middle of a large randomly generated environment and must immediately begin the work of securing (some of) the essentials of life, in particular shelter, before night falls and the monsters come out.

You achieve this in any number of ways, including chopping down trees, digging up dirt, sand or stone to build a shelter, or burrowing into the side of a mountain and fashioning a safety cave for yourself. The first time you play you will probably fail in some way and be quickly killed. But you soon realise (especially if you avail yourself of online help like the Minecraft wiki) that within these and a few other constraints, you are free to do absolutely anything in this game. You can hunt monsters (though the tools to do so are primitive), you can explore, or you can mine up various materials from which to craft great works of art and architecture.

I’m taking great pleasure in carving out a vast underground network of tunnels, dredging various materials back to the surface and shaping them into sprawling fortresses and civic infrastructure that nobody else will ever use. Even better, in the past week or so some friends have started a multiplayer server so that we can collaborate on mighty civil engineering masterpieces like the towering replica of Perdido Street Station currently underway.

It’s probably not immediately obvious what the appeal could be – graphically and audially the game looks like a refugee from the earliest days of the Commodore 64, it’s not actually finished yet and if you didn’t know any better it would doubtless look upon first inspection as though all it offers is the opportunity to punch blocks of colour schemes vaguely suggestive of trees, pigs or chickens, while not falling off a cliff or drowning in a lake. Here’s what the lightbulb moment was for me – when I realised that Minecraft is just a very, very big Lego set. If like me you have ever played with Legos and thought even for a second about what kinds of cool stuff you could make if only you had an unlimited supply of blocks, then Minecraft is a perfect answer.

Lost – At any given time, while I’m not chewing up all my leisure time with gaming of some sort or another, there will usually be at least one TV show that I am following with minute, slavish attention. Lost was the most recent example for me, and since it sadly finished last year nothing has stepped forward to fill that void. [1] I loved Lost – it had sharp writing, a fascinating story and compelling characters, but the really ingenious thing about it was its structure. How the story was told was its most impressive feature for me.

But as much as I admired it and would defend it against criticisms that the producers were making the whole thing up as they went along and that it descended into utter gibberish around Season Two, Three, Four, Five or absolutely definitely Six, it is fair to say that it was on occasions a bit confusing. Which is why I was so happy to come across the Lost Answers blog, in which a self-declared Scientist has taken it upon himself to answer his readers’ questions about any aspect of the show. [2]  It’s right up my alley, deeply nerdy analysis coupled with self-deprecating humour and not-unwarranted sarcasm.

What’s fascinating about his analysis, which is independent of the show’s producers and based entirely off his own observations of the show, is that his completely-plausible answers make it pretty obvious that, far from being a loose agglomeration of sweaty jungle shootouts and random mysticism, in fact Lost was an amazingly tight construction with few unintentional loose ends. Go and check out his explanation of why babies couldn’t be born on the Island, a fact that was introduced in the third season, was critically important to several characters (Juliet, Sun, Claire and Kate, mainly) and was seemingly forgotten in the final year. Warning: obviously, the whole Lost Answers site contains spoilers for the ending, so don’t go looking if you are still working your way through it.

If nothing else this (and my started-twice-and-never-quite-finished essay on the final episode) it has inspired me to start a Lost writing project. [3] I’ll talk about it soonish.

World Affairs – I wanted to say something about how the collapse of Middle Eastern dictatorships and the hilarious disintegration of the mind and career of one of the world’s most overpaid serial abusers of women are keeping me entertained these days, but this is running a little on the long side. Maybe later.

1  – Doctor Who doesn’t count, because it goes without saying that my devotion to Who sets it apart and above all other forms of televised entertainment. Also – woo! New DW coming in a month or so!

2 – Except Walt, the kid who seemed mysterious and important for the first couple of seasons, until a very rapid growth spurt completely out of sync with the show’s compressed time frame forced the producers to drop whatever plans they had for the character.

3 – No, it isn’t John Locke fan fic, you will be relieved to hear.

October 30, 2010

Less than a week to go

So, with my resolve to resume daily blogging in its usual post-resolution tatters, I will pick up the commentary with a slapdash collection of links, half-baked anecdotes and the usual apologia for a lack of updates.

All done working

Fi and I both finished working yesterday, in anticipation of the Wombat’s [1] arrival next Friday (Remember, remember, the fifth of November [2]). Oddly, my job became quite interesting and stimulating in the last couple of weeks, to the extent that I’m actually a bit annoyed to have to leave it dangling for the next ten weeks or so. The last few months have been frustrating in that I had a lot to do and not enough time to do it properly, while all around me the rest of the team was shrinking to about one-third its original size (with little corresponding decline in responsibilities, naturally). When I get back to it at the end of January, the team numbers should be somewhat restored and much of the work that has been annoying me in the latter part of this year will have passed.

Fi, on the hand, was very much ready to chuck it all in and walk away for the better part of a year. I can’t blame her. She’s *very* pregnant! On top of that, there are dramas at her work that she’s better off well away from.

Live music!

Simon and I went to see a live performance of Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms album last night. The first half of the show was a straight performance of the whole album, and then after the intermission was a collection of greatest hits. I really enjoyed the show (hopefully Si did as well, since it was his slightly-delayed birthday present), but then again that was practically pre-ordained. BiA is *the* album for me – the formative one from my youth that basically set the course of my musical tastes. Such as they are. The highest praise I can give the performers is that they made ‘Calling Elvis’ – a song I can’t stand – one of the standout numbers of the show. And their extended encore arrangement of ‘Sultans of Swing”, with three leads playing the ridiculously guitar-wanky solo together, was exhuberating and kind of hilarious.

After last night I’ve decided that I really want to watch more live music. However, the next concert that I have tickets for is The Wiggles at the AIS Arena. Hrn…

These are links to things that I think people should look at

Scenes from a Multiverse – This is a terrific daily webcomic. Each episode is set in a different universe. Sometimes it has cute bunnies, because the artist lets people vote on where the comic will be set once a week, and they keep voting for bunnies.

Tour de Holmes – If like me you haven’t read the Sherlock Holmes stories since you were about ten or twelve, you may get a lot out of this accessible series of analyses of the whole Holmes canon. Eddy Fate (now the line developer for the White Wolf games, unless I’m misdescribing his job) clearly loves the great detective, and does a pretty good job of debunking some of the more egregious Holmes myths (like the one that Watson’s a complete bumbling prat instead of the hardarse war veteran portrayed in the recent Guy Ritchie/Jude Law and Stephen Moffat/Martin Freeman interpretations)

I’ve been playing some new games lately:

  • FreeMarket (also known as Project Donut) – the newish roleplaying game with some distinctive pedigree – it’s by Luke (Burning Wheel, Burning Empires, Mouse Guard) Crane and Jared (Lacuna[3], inSpectres) Sorensen. It’s a neat game about life and society on a data relay station orbiting one of Saturn’s moons, where basic human needs are met and everyone is an immortal with nothing that they particularly need to do. The game is essentially about building social capital and finding a functional place in a deeply strange society (so, you know, actual science fiction). It’s also diceless, using a clever card (-counting) mechanic to resolve conflicts. We played a short session earlier in the week that points to a game which encourages wild and imaginative play with some surprising depths.
  • Dogfighter – I generally dislike flight simulators and flying games in general. But I make a major exception for games that replicate the slow-turning, climb-and-stall aerobatics of WWI-era planes. Your Sopwith Camels and Red Baron Fokkers and suchlike. Dogfighter is such a game, but it has online multiplayer, achievements and powerups like rockets, cluster bombs and invisibility. What’s not to love?
  • Assassin’s Creed II – This is a game about running around the rooftops of Medici-era Florence, doing crazy parkour jumps, falls and rolls, and bloodily stabbing the bastards in league with the Borgias. On top of that there’s a centuries-spanning Templar conspiracy, the hitherto-unrecorded supertech of Leonardo and some weird genetic pseudo-time travel shit going on. Hell yeah, I’m down with that too.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum- Like AC2, this is a year or two old. I’m pretty slow at getting down with the new gear. In this you get to be Batman, and you get to kick arse, Batman style. There should be no question as to why this would be a good thing.

Of course I know that in a couple of days I am not going to have any time to sit down and play games any more. Oh well. Luckily the cricket tours are about to start, so I should have somehing to watch all day while I am circling the room trying to soothe a distressed Wombat.

Writing taking a back seat to writing about writing

I now have about five incomplete short stories on the trot, two of which involve triffids thanks to last Friday night’s viewing of the most recent remake. One of these days I will knuckle down and actually finish something, but don’t hold your breath. On the other hand, I do have several pretty good half-stories under my belt! [4]

[1] Thanks Pol. That name’s working out just fine.

[2] Wombat is lucky in that her dad is such an anglophile history nerd that her birthday should not ever be forgot [sic].

[3] Or rather, to use its full name, Lacuna Part 1: The Creation of the Mystery and the Girl from Blue City. I like that.

[4] Does anyone know of a good drug that makes you just sit down and finish shit? Because if it’s alcohol, I can see why so many writers hit the sauce for years at a time.

August 20, 2010

An update, absent political commentary

Filed under: fitter/happier,joey,wordsmithery,workin for the man — lexifab @ 12:42 am

If there is anything that validates me more as a human being with utter mastery of his individual destiny than spending an entire day working with excel spreadsheets, I am sure that I don’t know what it is.

I would like to find out however.

Man, I am sick of fucking Excel spreadsheets. First of all there was the “quick win” job that my boss’ boss handed me about eight weeks ago, which has changed scope, shape and content about three times a week since. As a result I have been working on the damned thing constantly for that entire period. I am (give or take a day or two) eight weeks behind on the deadline-driven task which I am nominally employed to complete. Not to worry though, because the possible change of government on Saturday could mean the installation of a new minister, who might not want the information I’ve been working on at all (“That was all the baggage of the previous government. We’ll throw that lot out and come up with a program of our own!”) or, worse, will want it in yet another completely different format.

(You’ll notice that the problem I have is not with Excel per se, which these days is actually beginning to approach being an excellent product, much as it pains me to admit it. Excel is merely the scapegoat for my railing against the pointlessness of my recent career. It’s also excellent for that purpose).

The second set of spreadsheets was the trickier but potentially far more satisfying completion (still pending actually, because I gave up when my eyes started to go square) of the household books that  we will soon hand over to the accountants so that they can work out our taxes. It’s still baffling to me how much work we have to do just to get our accounts into shape to hand over to someone else to do the actual tax application but, as the accountants pointed out, their couple-of-hundred-bucks-an-hour-if-we-waste-their-time fee schedule is a compelling argument for me to sort the invoices and receipts into an orderly state and run up a couple of summary tables. It’s more complicated than that, of course, what with having to guesstimate which investment property expenses were repairs and which ones were improvements and where assets fit into all of this. I figure in about five or six years of doing the preparations for tax returns i might actually have some idea of what I’m doing.

Unless there is a financial apocalypse before then, but I’m not going to lose sleep over that one.

Other than that the rest of this week has been a bit of a blur. The Joey spent a couple more days with a sniffle, which meant that more or less since Rob left on Saturday I have had interrupted nights of sleep and very dozey days. I also haven’t (quite) managed to force myself to resume my exercise schedule, which was on hold while Rob was visiting as I thought it might be a bit inhospitable to trundle out the treadmill at 5 am every day and watch ‘The Wire’ on the TV while I pretend to be a power walker for an hour, across the room from where he was sleeping.

(By the way, is it just me or does everyone have problems running treadmills? Maybe it’s something about the shape or orientation of the one we’ve bought, but for the life of me I cannot get a fast running rhythm going on that thing without seriously threatening grief. I like to think of myself as reasonably coordinated – I can’t dance but I can run in a straight line – but damn I suck at treadmills).

Anyway, hopefully tomorrow morning the motivation will come back. Until the interruption I was actually making decent progress towards my ‘fitness goal’ – the somewhat unscientific but highly motivated “Make that gut smaller, mister” – which I hope to achieve before I have to appear in front of a crowd at Evan and Sara-Jane’s wedding in about six weeks. For about the first time in my life I was actually completing sets of situps and thinking with some seriousness about moving up to crunches. I daresay that my efforts to date will have gone to waste, or rather returned to waist. Ha ha kill me now.

I’m also doing some writing. I’m about a third of the way through a short story that I suspect will bloat out to a novella thanks to the writing technique I’m employing. Writing in chunks of 750-100 words at a time means that I tend to pad, and of course when you’re typing as fast as your fingers can think a lot of redundancy creeps into the prose. By the time I’m finished it it will probably be 40 to 50,000 words. At the moment I’m not convinced there’s enough meat to the story to justify that length, but we’ll see where it goes. Either I will need to pare it back a bit so that it’s a tighter novella-length piece, or I will have to rewrite it from the ground up as the short story it was intended as, which means a lot of footage is going to end up on the cutting room floor, as the misapplied and technologically obsolete expression goes.

December 17, 2009

Unexpected mental deficiency

Filed under: workin for the man — lexifab @ 12:46 pm

I probably should have anticipated that – after 13 months of not reading policy papers full of public service and development program jargon – my reading comprehension might be slightly below its best. But since yesterday I have read and reread one particular paper that should have brought me more or less completely up to date on what I’ve missed during my absence. I still have no idea what it’s about.

It’s a curious sensation rather akin to suddenly discovering that, while chopsticks present no challenge whatsoever, one has forgotten how to steer a fork. I know that I used to be able to do it with thoughtless ease, and that I can do similar things without conscious effort, but right at this moment I have no idea how it’s done.  It’s not helped at all by the realisation that the last year seems to have seen the invention of several new units of industry jargon that actually are complete gibberish until I can put them in context.

It will come back to me with practise, I have no doubt, but for now it seems this one particular skill has completely dropped off my character sheet. Emotional state: disconcerted.

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