Overstrained Paperweights

This is a pitiful availability
Are you serious?
All you purport is you are a harassed
Overstrained paperweight
All the tearless basics on your agenda
Are unmoved by poesy and embarrassing 
To most commonly unforeseen imprudence
All resolve to evolve into moods specious and disproportionate
And misinterpreting of compromises
Again and again and again and again!

#spamobservations since the 22nd of November.

Not that work is stopping me from accomplishing stuff outside of work.

Me, November 22, 2019

I think work heard me. Nice work, good work, I’m wrong, I’m sorry, and I will never take my birthday off again.

I’m kidding!

I’m also not kidding. While I was at my birthday dinner, a storage array fell over, and with its tumble, created two and a half days’ worth of incident bridges (I was on one for 21 hours straight, and four-five hour stretches after that), and generated every-half-hour-on-the-half-hour-sleep-what-sleep-were-you-expecting-to-have-uninterrupted-sleep-even-after-your-application’s-back-up-and-running text updates that haunted me until the following Monday.

I did get this past weekend off, however, which was good, because it meant I didn’t get paged out while I was volunteering for our PTAC’s Santa’s Workshop on Saturday or failing to recover from volunteering on Sunday, because I made myself go to the grocery story this close to Christmas.  I did recover some while I forced myself to plan a dinner menu for the week and write up a grocery list first, instead of just going and wandering dazedly through the aisles while things jumped into my cart.

At the risk of antagonizing work again by mentioning it … things have been productive? We acquired a lawn tractor, and some furniture and some curtains and we busted out the holiday decorations (too much of which hadn’t been unpacked since we moved from Pennsylvania), and hosted the in-laws for Thanksgiving. Studying is still a slog, but I’m working on it. Writing is not a slog, but I’m really not investing much of my brain in it. I am managing most of the end-of-year-festive crazies while wondering why we keep running out of elderflower tonic water.

I did put elderflower tonic water on the grocery list.

Thanks to a FFA fundraiser, we are in no immediate danger of running out of clementines.

clementines

Merry Clementines! (atop the farmhouse table @bhoneydew built us for Thanksgiving)

Immediate danger. I can’t say that for the rest of the fruit that’s in the house:  we’re almost to the point where one of those ludicrously expensive fresh fruit subscriptions might be cost competitive with the weekly produce runs, if it was something other than fifty percent pears. @bhoneydew is trying to convince me that pears are delicious instead of decorative, but jury’s still out.

Reading…

Yeah. There’s that, or rather, there’s not that. I’ve read ten out of my anticipated eighteen books this year, and I’m not sure I’m going to get in the missing eight before New Year’s.

None of the ten books were from my mental reading list for 2019 (Radch, murderbots, gods, National Park mysteries, oh, my), though I did read Meg Elison’s The Book of Flora and Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station. Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell mysteries are still parked, and I didn’t crack any of Cathy Yardley’s Fandom Hearts books. I also wound up putting Katie Ruggle’s Rocky Mountain K9 Unit series on my list, of which I did read the first book, so that counts, right?

Eh. I’ll shoot for 20 in 2020. I won’t even make a list.  I’ll just read.

On the tenth day out…

Tracking preventatives
Grotesque underlying emails
Their rough surface makes entrance and exit easier

— the latest #spamcommentary.

I finished NaNoWriMo on November 20th. Unlike previous sorties, it wasn’t a strain: more like receiving a daily flu shot than suffering from a post-apocalyptic plague, pun fully intended.

[NaNoWriMo 2019 Winner]

I will give credit where credit is due to 4TheWords.  I signed up for it in 2016, and never activated my membership, for ReasonsIDon’tEvenRemember.  This time around through NaNoWriMo, I decided to give the app a legitimate try just to see if slaying monsters with words could help me think of creative writing as something I want to do as opposed to Yet One More Thing I Have To Get To And Ideally Through Before I Get Whatever Sleep I Can Manage.  I did enjoy Habitica in my early days using it (before it became Just Another Grind for me), and I figured that I might get the same sort of boost from 4TheWords.  It was a sound assumption:  the app did help, in a ticking timer sort of way that was more fun to keep pace with than any of the actual ticking timers that I use daily.

I didn’t get anywhere close to a first draft on the literary science fiction thing I was poking at, but I wrote enough of a skeleton to realize what critical body parts the novel is missing:  mainly, a compelling reason for the protagonist not to spend his next Wednesday afternoon trying to get run over by a self-driving bus.  Correction, a compelling reason to keep his author from wanting him to spend his next Wednesday afternoon trying to get run over by a self-driving bus.

Actually, I’m not sure that would be a terrible opening scene.  A reader could have so many questions, like …  why is this guy out running around in traffic trying to get run over?  Why is he so frustrated that it isn’t working?  How are the passengers reacting to all this?  Are they even noticing, or are they lost in their personal entertainment/communication/portable computing devices?  The downside to the scene would be that I’d have to come up with a character motivation more uhm, something than “I am doing this because my author has it out for me”.

Speaking of such things, work is still trying to eat my life, despite my occasional best efforts to coat myself in hot pepper sauce, metaphorically speaking. During my more awake moments I have been questioning if I am just wired to take on projects and roles that will keep me insanely busy because I have some pathological need to have someone else set my priorities, or at least give me a reasonably lucrative excuse to get out of doing laundry or deciding what I want to be when I grow up.

Not that work is stopping me from accomplishing stuff outside of work.  Ref: NaNoWriMo, mostly keeping up with the Duolingo French practice, parenting, unpacking, studying, decorating, and dealing with approximately a hundred different contractors while we were prepping the old house for sale.

And it is now freaking sold, so we can celebrate by, uh, buying a lawn tractor.  Also, furniture.  Curtains.  A composter.  Yay!

Place and Perspective

Along the tumbleweed way
I met someone like me.
He drives, sometimes.
Other times, I do.
For now, our son sits in the back,
Eats raspberries,
And sings along with the radio. 

 Next year, we may all be from here,
And if not, then, well, maybe the year after. 

– excerpt from “I’m from everywhere, man…”, a mandatory  ‘introduce yourself to your fellow classmates in the form of a poem’ assignment, circa 2013ish.

Place and Privilege was the original title of this blog post, but it sounded too much like a  Jane Austen reboot.

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C’est là que commence la folie

I’m on Day 73 of my Duolingo streak, and into the second week of my video game boycott.  The boycott isn’t anything political:  I was just parked in a low mental activity rabbit hole1, and I finally had enough sleep to realize that.

With a few exceptions this past month, I have gotten myself moving toward bed around ten at night, and asleep by eleven.  I know it will be a while before I am completely crawled out from under the chronic sleep deprivation, and I keep reminding myself of that, especially when I notice that in general, I’m doing better.  Yes, really.  I am running just a single load of laundry every day. On very good days, it gets put away semi-immediately. It is in no immediate danger of becoming another low mental activity rabbit hole.

I even have “Begin Blog Post” (which was Monday, August 5th) and “Publish Blog Post” (booked for Monday, August 12th) tasks blocked into my planner, just like I had last month.  We’ll see if I get sick of working on this post before the 12th and chuck it over the fence ahead of schedule like I did last month2.

…and obviously, I did not.  It is five minutes until ten on Monday, August 12th, and here I am not really knowing how to finish this blog post other than to say yeah, I can really notice it now when I don’t get into bed by ten, and setting my alarm clock for an hour later to try to compensate for the lack of sleep only makes it worse because I start off the morning feeling like I’m behind and I’m running to catch up all day.

Yeah, I did that last night.  @bhoneydew was in the living room watching the first episode of Another Life when I was heading to bed last night, and I got drawn into the story-based entertainment black hole before I could escape.  I won’t say that I should know better, because I already do know better.

I also am better.  Despite getting up an hour later than usual, I still managed to do everything I had planned to do today — including this blog post.  Boom.


1This sounds better than “place Shai goes to hide”, I think.
2Because it takes a surprising amount of effort for me these days to write anything (work related, non-work related, school related, grocery lists) that doesn’t read like I threw it together on my cell phone while parked in a waiting room.  Our son currently has physical therapy for his ankle twice a week, and I’ve hit the beginning of my fall checkups.

Disconnect and Recharge

I had an accidental vacation this weekend. Since the Monster’s cast is now off, he can swim again, so we drove down to the in-laws’ place on the 4th.

For the first time ever, I forgot to pack the charging cord for my laptop. The day of work I had planned for Friday, and the weekend of unplanned work I had anticipated (yes, really) suddenly turned into except-for-what-you-can-handle-via-cell-you-can-only-work-a-half-day-unless-you-spend-the-rest-of-the-day-driving-home.

I worked until the laptop ran out of juice. I did not drive home. I also canceled a meeting instead of trying to handle it via cell.

I admit I spent more time this weekend than I should have twitching instead of relaxing.  See, last summer when I had scheduled vacation, I wound up spending the first day of it on a marathon conference call and most of the first night doing research and sending emails related to that conference call.  On day two, after I had gotten dragged back into a call as soon as I had climbed into a swimming pool, I gave up and went home just as soon as I could hang up the phone and get out of the water.

Yes, I once did a conference call while standing in a swimming pool. It’s not one of my happiest moments, and certainly not one of my brightest, even if the phone did survive.

I got into the pool this weekend. Let me rephrase that.  I made myself get into the pool this weekend, despite feeling like if I tried to have fun, something would interrupt it.

It did help that I accidentally left my phone plugged into the charger inside my in-laws’ house, and maybe-not-as-accidentally let it have a vacation for the rest of the weekend, while I finished the book I started back in, uhm, March, and started another. I did not make any more dishcloths (though I have made a few more since I last mentioned them), but I did continue with my Duolingo refresher. I’m now on Day 39.

Day 39. I can’t believe it either.

What’s next?  Writing more frequent blog posts? Writing again in general?  Maybe just more dishcloths? Tous ces optimisme me donne le vertige.

Déchiqueter l’inquiétude

This post brought to you by a 25 day French streak on Duolingo.  Yep, I did restart my refresher, and so far, the experiment seems to be working.

Speaking of experiments, I deleted the blog post that was still attracting all of the tedious spam comments.  Editing it, changing its URL, and removing the genuine comments from it just wasn’t helping like I had hoped! I figured I would try shredding the post instead of doing something like, oh, starting up an entirely new blog after we all agreed that this one was wrong and I should be sorry.

I also deleted my LinkedIn profile, which had nothing to do with my spam comment problem, except for being a similar source of unease. I was getting a little creeped out by the increasing number of anonymous viewers, especially since they had been occurring in bursts (perhaps not so) oddly synchronous with some recent work events.

That is about all I can share of what is going on right now, except to say the Monster’s cast is coming off soon, and maybe we will all be a little less crazy here.

Maybe.

Happy Still June!

 

Two Dishcloths Later…

Je crois que mon titre serait “deux torchons plus tard” en français.  I think.  I restarted my Duolingo French refresher as one of my not-really-a-resolution-that-just-so-happened-to-start-around-the-New-Year-nothing-to-see-here-Universe things.  Not that I had a practical reason to restart my Duolingo French refresher, beyond seeing it as a bit of psychic clutter that might finally go away if I finish it, and it’d probably be healthier to finish it than, oh, say, for a completely random example, the Dragonborn expansion of Skyrim.1

Probably.

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