Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Thanks Rob (and Sami)

Wednesday – I’m ready for the weekend. Three cloudy days are finally gone. Yesterday was cold and wet – our first rain in a few months and we probably had all of .18 inches or so. (5 mm?) Today is bright and sunny, no clouds, expect a high in the low 70’s. I know, cold compared to south Texas and Florida, but not Minnesota. Back to my 7am – 4pm working hours. Looks like the new product development is back on schedule. I had to scrape frost off my car windows this morning – still a little damp from yesterday, and temp was 34f, but unusual. Only the third time this winter I had to do that. At least we have sunshine, and warming up for the weekend. And this week at work has just been marvelous. Another Monday wasted making up for the weekend guy's screw-ups. Another day filled with frustration, doing things again and again, then spending two hours trying to figure out why somebody's report was showing asterisks (****) instead of numbers, and finding that report was obsolete years ago and should not be used any more. (Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!)

And loads of thanks to Rob for sending me an email tagging me with the specific request that I do Clare’s book meme. I had been avoiding Clare’s requests – at least she had the courtesy of not putting down names. And then Sami (also known as Choogles) had to publicly put down my name also. Jeez, it’s nice to be noticed (I guess). So since two of you had to point fingers:

1. Briefly describe an aspect of your life for which 'The Dying Of Delight' would be an apt title.

Ok, ‘The Dying of Delight’ is the title of a book written by the aforementioned Clare, a seemingly (well, I haven’t met her in person, just via her writings) interesting writer in England. I purchased the book from Amazon last year and did find it to be pretty good. But I really am having a hard time coming up with an aspect of my life that fits this title. Perhaps the most appropriate angle would be my working life over the past few jobs. I really enjoy programming, but my last job (discussed at length in posts last year) really pulled me down. Some demands placed by management here also seem a little shallow, and I think I’m now ready to become a blackjack dealer or something totally away from computers.

2. Pick another book whose title has some resonance in your life, and write a little about it.

Wow, I’m sitting here at work and can’t think of any book titles right now. My shelves at home are filled with things I’ve read but my mind is just drifting away. Since I have to, I’ll pick Heinlein’s The Door Into Summer. I apply that to lots of things I have to do that are rather unpleasant, while in the midst of things I am continually looking for a door into summer, or trying to find the way out to a place that is nice and warm and sunny. I love Vegas summers. 110f out in bright sunshine, nice and warm and bright. So as I do something I can look forward to finishing it up, and my reward would be sunshine and smiles. It makes tasks go faster, and by reference makes things enjoyable that other people might find totally disturbing. So if you see me elbow deep in sh*t and smiling, it’s because in my mind I’m laying by my pool just feeling the warmth. I can see that door at the end and as long as I keep walking I know it will eventually be reached. This isn’t the Twilight Zone after all, where the hallway keeps stretching out more and more. (well, I sure hope it isn't)

OK, for those of you still in snow, let's put some color in here (or should I say colour):

Can't you just picture yourself sitting there? So next time you find yourself in a pile of something, just imagine opening that door and sitting next to me. Would you like a Mai Tai?

3. Write one more short personal piece - one which matches the book title chosen (in part 2) by the person who tagged you.

Rob selected Speaking Up – well, this one I could go on about for a while. Like most people, in the past I would much rather blend into the background. When in college I ended up being the Social Chairman for our College Union Board – I put on all the concerts and big events for a year – and had a very hard time getting up in front to introduce things. Much later, out of school and into the real world, needing more money than my job at the time provided, I became an Amway distributor (don’t laugh). I liked the stuff, and ended up standing in front of groups speaking and demonstrating. As a result I have no problem standing up in front of an audience and speaking up. I also have no problems in meetings or at work, speaking up for the little guy, or the person that just sits in back and is affected by whatever decision is about to be made.

But Sami's post used The Human Stain, (at least that’s what I think she picked, there are a half dozen book titles in her post). I really can’t think of anything appropriate to this title, even though she was able to go on for several intelligent paragraphs. In reading her eventual point, I guess I too would say it affects my interaction with people. Usually in my mind I say ‘boy, isn’t he (or she) an idiot’, rather than paying attention.

4. Take your favourite little-known book and plug it to your readers. Authors need incomes, and word of mouth is one of the best ways to sell books.

On this note I should pick the book I wrote, ‘Assembler Language Routines for Basic Programmers’, but since it’s been out of print for many years, doubtfully would be amusing or useful to any of my readers, and is really not appropriate any more, I think I would push Clare’s Dying of Delight. It doesn’t seem to be ‘little known’ in the circles I am reading, but from her posted sales figures I guess it is. It was a little challenging following the divergent story lines, which did all come together at the end, but I liked it.

5. Sit back and marvel at the magnificence of this meme. It was brought to you by an out-of-breath author, reduced (on account of her publisher* having expired) to trundling copies of her book across the internet on a rusty old trolley with one wheel missing, sweating and shouting "Buy me book, Gov?" Now visit and see if you'd like a copy for yourself.

OK, made it through that door. Ahh. Hand me that cool drink.

6. Tag five people with this meme.

No way I’m going to ask anybody else to do something. Jump in if you want. Tess has already come up with another listing one I’ve got to work on.

*Diva Books, ceased trading Feb '06. RIP.

Rereading Rob’s and Sami’s posts on this topic just reminds me how stifled I am by my writing ability. There are so many thoughts flying through my head that I am usually disappointed by how poor they appear when written (OK, typed) down compared to others. Rob really can put together some nice lines, and Sami also is pretty good at stringing thoughts together. So go read their stuff too.

Back to the real world, which is already in progress (another Firesign Theatre quote there, if you didn’t catch it):

I’m listening to my morning radio station, and just heard an advertisement for ‘On site dental’ – for people too busy to get away from their jobs, a dentist will bring all his stuff to you and work on your teeth at your office. What is this, a drill-in-a-briefcase? I can see it now – John across the way sitting in his cube, leaning back in his office chair, with his mouth full of tools, a drill grinding away. I can’t stand that sound when I’m sitting in the waiting room, much less from the cubicle across from me at work. It sounds like something that would go over really well with fellow employees (there’s Lisa’s sarcasm font at work again). As if the guys with offices that have doors wouldn’t take off for a medical visit.

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