July 19, 2016

19 months, eh? Sounds about right.


December 09, 2014

Travel drunk texted me

So weirdly enough, not long after I wrote that post a while ago that said I had pretty much reconciled myself to the fact that I wasn't going overseas any time soon (which was itself just a written expression of something I had mentally concluded some years back), I've suddenly had a week-long,  all-expenses-paid trip to Atlanta in a month's time dropped in my lap. This has prompted several thoughts:

1) Huh, this is apparently a thing that happens.
2) Atlanta, eh? Huh. Atlanta. OK.
3) This is a thing that happens to me?
4) Somehow this will end up not happening.

So really, I don't think I've started to think about the actuality of it much yet, since I sort of believe deep down that somehow it will end up falling through – especially if I put a curse on it by believing that it is going to happen. But three thoughts  have nonetheless pushed themselves through this barrier in order to dare briefly considering how this "Ben goes to Atlanta" scenario might play out. They are, in order of occurrence:

1) The getting there part takes about 28 hours. I wonder what that's like.
2) Atlanta is the HQ of Coke.
3) When I get there, the cops will have guns.

Go on, then; psychoanalyse that.

November 24, 2014

Let me break it down for you

Part of what keeps me up late is that Karen is terrible at sleeping. She goes to bed in earplugs and generally wakes up at the slightest noise or light or sometimes talking to people who aren't there. She is also quite bad at getting back to sleep. And to polish it all off, she is also pretty terrible at being tired. This is an unfortunate combination in someone who lives with some guy whose bed time is all over the place and who normally comes to bed after she is asleep. So there is a rule that says I have a 2-hour window to go to bed after she goes to bed. This is a pretty good rule, as she is a lot happier, but if anything it probably only means I stay up even later. To give you an example: I was just looking at the approaching deadline for this evening and thinking, hmm, I should probably go to bed, but then I ate a piece of toast and looked at Cricinfo and whoops, I was ten minutes over, so what the hell, right – it's the couch tonight, so may as well just stay up now. I might even finish this post and play some Destiny. We're in Couch Night territory now, where virtually no bedtime is too late.

Part of what keeps me up late is that you can sleep when you're dead.

Part of what keeps me up late is that I am the world champion of procrastination. Contrary to what often seems to be popular belief, this is not the same as being bad at deadlines. I am actually pretty damned good at meeting deadlines. But there's a Golden Triangle effect here, for sure: being good at procrastination, being good at meeting deadlines, being good at getting a regular, early bedtime. Pick two of the three.

Part of what keeps me up late is that I don't like going to work. I know that there are lots of people that are passionate about their jobs. That must be pretty awesome for them. For me, jobs have always been pretty much defined by the fact that people have had to pay me to do them. In the main jobs I've held I've had one great boss, one boss who was, I think, health-damagingly bad, and now have another who is sort of a bizarre mix of the two. They all had one thing in common though: if any of them  had stopped paying me money, I would have stopped doing their job the next day. If something somehow happened that meant I no longer needed them to give me money, I would have stopped doing their job the next day then, as well. To me, this is what "work" essentially means. (I have other "work" that I would probably do for free, but not enough of it to live on, and even bits of that are a money-only affair.) I am very much a "work-to-live" person, and not the vice-versa. Subsequently, I sort of resent the size of the percentage of my conscious hours that I'm forced to spend at work, which seems entirely too large. (Not that long ago, my current boss – going through one of her regular moody periods that she goes through and grumpy that we hadn't done something fast enough – demanded to know if me and the editor enjoyed our jobs. She said that I should be fired up to get into work every day and "jumping somersaults" at the chance to what amounts to using 6 years of tertiary education to mostly send emails, make phone calls, and maintain ringbinders full of clearslips. I had to violently suppress my urge to laugh.) But since I still need money, the only practical way to reduce this percentage is to increase the total number conscious hours I have. Sometimes, if the weekend just seems like it was entirely too short, you just have to make it a bit longer by going to bed at 4am Monday morning.

Part of what keeps me up late is going to sleep always seems like it is the most boring option.

Part of what keeps me up late is that at late night, when everyone else is asleep, I get enough alone time to exhaust all the immediately appealing distractions, and end up with only 1) the entirely sensible option of going to bed; 2) the dim pulse of my pathetically feeble but nevertheless seemingly unkillable urge to write things.

One of these is the most boring option.


November 13, 2014

Nothing to say / But that's OK

(Good morning, good morning)

As my spend more time being a parent, it's apparent it is how ridiculous a job it is. For starters, I don't really know how honest to be. I'd be quite happy to have the kids believe in Santa Claus until Karen and I died and presents stopped mysteriously showing up one year, but on the other hand I've dropped "Daddy's job is of no real value to society" on them a couple of times, and that's maybe going too far in the other direction.

I mean I guess you don't want to drop the harsh realities of existence on your 3 year old. But after living in the Proper Adult world for a few years it sort of becomes clear that all those traditional parental maxims on life success that seemed (at the time) like they were ancient wisdom coming down from a mountain top on stone tablets are sort of, well, bollocks. (Or maybe they used to be applicable, but now they aren't? Hard to tell.)

"You need a good education to succeed" – well, as it turns out, no you don't. "You should get a degree" should have "in a high demand, high-paid industry" on the end if it wants to be useful. "If you work hard, you'll do well." Well, maybe sometimes, often no. "Follow your dreams" doesn't work most of the time either. In fact, "Look, just inherit my large existing fortune" is probably about the most reliable advice in this department.

So when it comes time for wisdom-dispension, I don't really know what advice I'll deploy. I don't really believe those things any more. Much like an indicator light for "Feeling ready to be a parent!" will never come on (wait as long as you like: it never will), it seems like you'll also wait forever to feel like a sufficiently credible advisor in the area of "When you're an adult, if you want X, you need to Y. This is the secret." I don't know any of those secrets. And yeah, probably I'm a bit of a Negative Nancy, but all the versions of them that people repetitively told me when I was growing up seem to me to have turned out to be pretty inaccurate. And yet (strange as it may seem),  I feel like conveying a message that goes along the line of "Look – don't try. Best to tune out - in the end you'll probably become some kind of miniscule cog in the great grind of society, like most of us. In fact, become a drug addict if you want, it doesn't really matter" would somehow be something of a parenting fail.

So I guess I'll just... basically say nothing? "Whatever happens happens kids, so just try to positively influence what happens to you as much is as actually possible." I think I can stand behind that one. Then I only have to work out how to avoid advising them not to produce any grandchildren, because their lives will probably be horrible, because humanity is going to start running into all the issues caused by it utterly screwing itself over as fast as it can go.

Hmm. Probably earliest just to die early before that comes up.

October 17, 2014

I see September went past

...like an unobserved freight train in the night, or perhaps an unobserved freight train in the day. Being unobserved, they're both very similar.

In my defence, I've been busy. As evidence I offer the following:

www.nerddegree.com

(This actually only kept me busy for two evenings but hey, they were in October. It's like ...I saw two of the train's 31 total freight carriages? No, it isn't. This metaphor is lurching from bad to worse, like an unobserved freight train that's already running behind schedule, but then completely derails when it strikes a large boulder on the track. Now they're later than ever! Also, three good men are dead, which is unfortunate.. But what's worse still is that no-one is coming to help them, since the train has been unobserved. Man, if only someone had observed them.)

Back soon to write something that's not this weak effort when I haven't been doing things that keep me awake all night, leading to not nearly enough sleep this week and meaning that though I technically have time to write here now, I don't really, because I need to go now and sleep.

God but I love me an unwieldy, long sentence.