Reading the Signs

You are not right.
Let’s discuss.

-latest #spamconcern

The anonymous bot script is correct: I am not right. My left ear has been ringing since the beginning of the school year. It’s not always at the same volume or frequency: at its best, it feels like I’m wearing half of a headset that’s tuned to a white noise station, and at its worst, it’s waves of cicada-song, which would be soothing if it didn’t sound like someone had digitized the sample badly.

I did a hearing test last week. The results pointed to nerve damage (everything’s structurally sound, and my right ear’s in great shape), and I’ve been set up with a MRI for the coming week to see if we can determine where the damage is located within the ear and get a better idea of what can be done about this, if anything.

Yes, I am spinning some, but just some. There’s too much else to do to get wound up over something I can’t do anything about (at least not yet).

The writing accountability experiment is in full swing. The workout accountability experiment continues. The first class of the winter session has started. And there’s work, which generally does let me sleep more these days.  Generally.

 

Reflex Action

Suppose that each time you succeed,
you quit all feelings that resemble interest,
walk away with little to show for your joy
and distrust of that remainder.

-12.22.2017, the latest #spampoetry.

Why, yes, I did spend the better part of my non-working day evaluating WriteMonkey, FocusWriter and the latest iteration of Scrivener versus not investing/re-investing in any of them and sticking with random scrawled notes on Post-Its translated into WordPad (though, these days, it’ll more likely be Notepad++ with word wrap turned on), then crammed into Microsoft Word.1

I came to no conclusion beyond that I shouldn’t have bought ice cream yesterday, because there is now ice cream in my house, which means I can stop this spinning and have some ice cream.

Though, it is nearly 11:30, and I have a workout scheduled tomorrow…

Yeah, I’ll skip the ice cream in favor of drinking a glass of water and going to bed.


1I signed up for some creative accountability in the New Year. Or accounting of my creativity, that is, stuff WithMyOwnNameOnItAndCrapWasThisAGoodIdea?

 

Eighty Percent Chance of Getting Stuff Done

Today at work, I followed up with someone I exchanged email with on Friday, and suddenly they no longer exist. As of the end of March.

I’m about 80% sure I didn’t make this person up, so it was surprising.

-Me, @shainorton, five days ago.

I’ve been busy.  This quite possibly surprises you not at all.

I haven’t yet finished the sweater.  I did finish:

    • another book (The Book of Etta, Meg Elison’s sequel to The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, making two more books that I have read recently that are actually recent, who hoo!).
    • multiple homework assignments and a midterm.
    • my gigantic pile of transcripts evaluated for another academic program, which, assuming I can fit everything into the schedule, I should finish in a year and change.
    • a large work project (in very little time), and multiple smaller work projects (in less time)
    • a work transition, but I’m more than eighty percent certain that work has not yet finished its side of the transition.1
    • transferring my cell phone to another phone and another carrier, like I’ve been putting off for over half a year now.
    • a blog post.  This one. In twenty-five minutes, as planned.  YAY!

1This doesn’t bother me; I’ve yet to have a job or even a gig where things didn’t change. There have even been a couple of occasions where they changed on my very first day. I started an engineering internship once, and got swapped into a human resources administrator role before I could put my lunch into the break room fridge. My first analyst job for a government contractor saw me pivoted into corporate business development on Day One — I never set foot on the site of the client I was initially hired for during my entire time with that company.2,3

2I’ve been told there’s a disconnect between reading my resume and talking to me. Can’t count for you how many times people have told me “You’re not what I expected.” I’m never sure how to take that. Are they smiling because they’re delighted or because they’re worried that if they upset me I’m going to manifest some hidden superpowers that involve, oh, wide area disintegration?

3“Why didn’t you say no, Shai? Don’t you care about what you do for a living?” Frankly, no, as long as the money’s good, the scenery changes, and they let me use explosive — er, no, I mean to say if my paychecks clear, I get to solve problems, and it doesn’t require me to make someone else coffee. See, I have a problem making coffee before I’ve had coffee. Sometimes, it’s not even coffee, more hot water tinted brown from whatever residue was left in the coffee maker after I cleaned out the old grounds and failed to replace them with fresh. Or it’s water on top of a thick layer of sludge because I scooped the grounds into the coffee pot instead of the machine. Don’t get me started on what can happen when I have to use a Keurig in the morning…

The Masque of the Waffler

I just wanted to send you a quick message here instead of calling you.
– latest #spamcommentary

Huh. I didn’t think I had posted a telephone number on my blog, but thanks for the heads-up, mystery spammer who keeps introducing yourself with a different name each time. Not that there’s anything wrong with … hey, I get that. There have been times in my online life when I had so many different names that I’d sometimes forget who I was.1

Each day since I’ve started this latest creative project — a revisit of a novella I wrote last year before my brain completely blew its transaxle — I’ve dreaded spending time on it. Not that the writing isn’t happening, despite the dread.  Not that I’ve gotten it to the point where I want to print it out and set it on fire or throw it into a folder to age. I’ve gotten more to the point where painting the rest of the rooms in this house seems like a fun way to spend my free time. Notice where I said that the writing is still happening?  Yes, it’s still happening. Maybe that’s why the mental penguins are trying another tactic to mess with me.

You’ll probably laugh, but, uhm, I’m figitated that I’ll finish this thing, send it off to my target market, and it’ll be liked right up to the point Marketing Googles me and decides that I’m not a good promotional fit, then (assuming I’m even told this) I’ll need to have a conversation with myself about going through the whole rigamarole of creating yet another online persona, one which I’ll need to invest enough of my life into in order for it to seem like a living breathing person.

The prospect of not being a good fit at first glance isn’t what bugs me. I’m used to that.2  This is all about my brain getting pre-tired considering the effort of making a workaround for it.  Yes, even though the problem doesn’t exist, and may never exist.3

I’ll get over it. Or I won’t, and I’ll turn the project into something my own name can go on without causing dread. Er, at least without causing me dread.


1Briefly. Not usually disastrously, but there were uncomfortable exceptions.

2You could even say I was born that way. Mom’s spelling my first name like she did set me up for a lifetime of hijinky first impressions.

3This is not new. I have workarounds for lots of other things that haven’t come to pass and may never. Admittedly, most of these are potential move related. For example, I maintain a sketchy base familiarity with the public school systems in a handful of target geographical areas, so that just in case we do find ourselves moving, I can get up to speed quickly.

On This Side

I turned in the project, as I promised myself. I didn’t notice until afterwards that I’d submitted it on the first anniversary of Mom’s death.

Not that I forgot, good grief, no, I just didn’t notice while I was submitting it, in the same sense that I always remember that there’s laundry to be done, but I sometimes don’t notice that there are clean clothes in the dryer that need to be put away first.

I didn’t do anything dramatic like pick up the phone to tell her and remember she wasn’t alive to tell. Honestly, Mom was the last person I wanted to talk to about such things. I got good at dealing with her stumbling across the ones I didn’t hide as well as most, because they were all at a temporal remove where I could shrug them off as meaning little to me, yep, no big deal, nothing to worry about, let’s talk about your day.

There’s a why behind that, but it’s a long story that I don’t intend to tell. It’d be too one-sided now.

Days All Strange and Vague

I think the admin of this web page is genuinely working hard in favor of his website, for the reason that here every material is quality based information.

-latest #spamcommentary

You know, that’s hardly the first time I’ve been mistaken for a guy, even by someone who claims to have read something I’ve written.

But, I’m not a dude, dude.  I’m also really working hard in favor of this website (honestly, most days I’m of mixed mind about having a social media presence at all). I’m also not trying to meet any quality standards beyond “be vague enough to keep my family and work and self happy”.

Speaking of vague, I’m on track to submit the January non-work project this week, despite family and work shenanigans.  Once it’s officially out the door, I’ll treat myself to a cupcake1 and then figure out what’s next.

This morning I noticed I was already halfway through the year’s Goodreads Challenge. No kidding, I’m kind of wondering who I am and what I’ve done with Shai.


1Which will be cleverly disguised as a subscription to Apex Magazine.

NaNoWriMo 2014: What Day Is This?

Now together with all the harmful toxins
It is a great strategy to have your own
Fantastic, quick time passer
Most likely
The most effectively
Interesting things
You’ll be able to take anywhere

-today’s #spampoetry

I hit 50K yesterday. Good lord, no, not on the project that I was trying to finish during NaNoWriMo. The edits on The Madness Gate are currently at 9,847 — I might hit 15K by the end of the month, but there’s no way I’ll hit the 50K, not with my having just over double that due on a contract project in mid-December.1

So, I’m not going to win NaNoWriMo this time. I’m calling it now. Yep. So definitely not.

And I don’t feel a bit guilty or embarrassed about that, ’cause, crap, I’m averaging about 2,600K a day daily now — not counting e-mails or analysis briefs — without breaking too much of a sweat.

In other news, the Deluge O’Spam comments continue. A lot of them are now in Japanese. I imagine they’d be more entertaining if I could remember more from my two semesters of the language than 私は日本語を話すことはありません (and I’m not too sure about that).

While I was skimming through the non-Japanese ones looking for poetry building blocks, I noticed one that seemed almost genuine.

Submitted on 2014/11/05 at 9:20 pm
First off I would like to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I have had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like
the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Cheers!

Four quick answers:

1) Aromatherapy. I like bay, eucalyptus, bergamot and other citrus scents for “everyday” creativity. I switch between those and savory food scents like basil, parsley, cucumber, tomato and radish. Lately, I’ve been using a ScentBall with an essential oil mix of AuraCacia‘s Creative Juice (their Website’s wrong about the “mint”: it’s just bergamot, lemon and coriander) with some eucalyptus.2

2) Hydration, Hydration, Hydration.

3) Music. Sometimes my earworms need a break. I tend to avoid lyrics when I need to write, though I do binge on Steely Dan when I’m doing data modeling, and 70s/80s Southern California rock when I’m writing pseudocode or doing logical analysis. I’ve enjoyed the heck out of some of the curated playlists at Songza. Right now, I’m listening to its “Electronic Film Scores” playlist.

4) Rage. I’m not kidding. I might explain later.


1..and a key deliverable due for my analyst gig in the same time frame, and Parts 4 and 5 of a school programming project, and the final part of a school database design project, and uhm, three exams, as well as the general and holiday-related parenting and domestic shenanigans.
2Yes, I do know exactly how goofy I sound talking about this stuff. Thanks for not asking.