This week, the weather's supposed to be gorgeous, and so far it looks good. The weatherman must be taking his anti-crazy pills for once. I'm dreading this harbinger of days of sweltering misery, but my dog really loves it. See? ;) (Actually, she was giving the hairy eyeball to a squirrel on the rim of the trash enclosure halfway down the driveway when I told her to lie down for this; she usually doesn't look like she's going to eat you.)
Do I have a topic for this, other than I should be saying something? Well, not really.
My grandson and his mother are coming to visit at the end of the month here. It's hard to believe he's almost four. Nearly has hard as it is to believe that I have a grandson. That's not something that I associate with my identity when I think of myself, yet.
My Daily Planet job is trundling along. Still embroiled in this project, but now it's actually deploying. It's a slow but sure sort of thing but at least we're moving forward.
In writing news, I got stuck in Logan airport overnight while on the way back from PAX East, and got more done on my parenting book in three hours than I'd managed in the previous three months. I have a structure that will work enough to organize my thoughts through the rest of the first draft/research process. Whether it will actually look like that when I'm done is a whole 'nother thing, but lets get the ideas on a page before we make that call.
Been using Pages on my iPad just to see how it works with a real project. So far, pretty good. I'm not sure it's going to be my writing tool of choice, but it works when I'm out and about and it's fairly simple to get the words out of it and into my usual tool.
Otherwise, the job/real life has been in the way and I haven't managed to get much done around it. I've got three first drafts in the works for GWJ. Just need to get one to a decent point. My guess is the Project Spark on is going to come together first. In that case, the problem isn't just the words in a row - the actual shared proto-game I've been building should be to a point where I'll put a name to it.
Being on the internet is not like real life. I saw an article where some psychologist was decrying that recently.
But in her rush to point out the isolating effects of technology, she gives it's ability to truly connect us very short shrift. I agree that those who just sit there mashing the refresh button on Twitter waiting for someone to say something have a problem. But if someone was of the sort to isolate themselves, they would do it with or without the presence of technology. There are many other ways this same technology helps us connect on a deeper level that is often impossible any other way.
My corporeal life is a killer; between work and kids I have been under the hammer for a very long time. I realized recently that there are people I've known for over a decade that have never seen me when I wasn't an exhausted mess. Not just acquaintances -- I mean good friends. And because of that, they have a view of me as a person that is far from accurate (at least I hope!).
I'm not saying that knowing that my life needs a "Report Abuse" button for me to press repeatedly most days is a problem. I'm saying that it's often hard to see past that to the actual person that I am. But when I'm writing online in my chosen venues, you don't see it. You just see my words. Or even if I do go on about whatever ate it's shorts in the meat world today, the effect is secondary to the facts and what I'm trying to say about it. The meaning of "my day sucked and here's why" is not always just that it sucked. There is more meaning to me than whining, and conveying that helps me get a better handle on that perspective.
That "chosen venue" part is the most important bit. If I was trying to manage that sort of connection solely through the good offices of 140 character hunks of Twitter and a couple paragraphs here and there on Facebook I'd be working with both hands tied behind my back.
And I think that over time, the line between the different kinds of interaction will continue to blur and blend. I wrote an article about this once here. I wasn't suggesting that we should throttle back; I was just pointing out that things had become a little more complicated than they used to be and we all need to take a look at how we deal it.
Reading that makes me a little sad, though. The older lady with the prayer cards (and her Presbyterian buddy) are both gone now. I've lost corporeal friends, electronic friends, and corporeal friends I've met through electronic means over the years. They all hurt. I get very angry if someone suggests that the years I knew Robespierre through his writings on Slate's "Fray" were somehow less important than the painfully few physical meetings we had before he died.
But my favorite part is when someone who for whatever reason had sort of fallen off the radar comes back. In a corporeal relationship there is often a bunch of baggage, but in the case of the online experience there are times when a person needs to step back. Their corporeal life is too much to handle and they have to focus there, or they just grow beyond that connection. If you're in the right venue, that's not a problem.
A person whose writings and person I respected a great deal decided to pull back from the forums we frequent for several personal reasons a while ago. While I was sad to see him go, I hoped he found what he was looking for. But he came back, and in a way I've been pivileged to come to expect on those forums he was welcomed back with open arms.
Things that help me get through...
I'm in the middle of a nasty crunch at my Daily Planet job, and it's really driving me up a tree. But despite the fact that most of this day has sucked the chrome right off a trailer hitch, there are always little things going on that help.
Today, for example, I would list:
These aren't at my current job, but these are things I learned from previous positions:
-- Marketing buzzwords. I cannot and will not "synergize" anything. Thinking outside the box means I'm going home. Though I did once earn $10 bucks on a game of Buzzword Bingo in a meeting when I got a double bingo from a gal particularly prone to using these sorts of constructions, and she did it in one paragraph.
-- Professional writers who don't know how to use their word processor of choice. I'm not talking about the fiddly weird features the software has dotting it's pallid underbelly. I'm talking about the differences between a template file and a document file. To really make it tragic, these bozos were writing the Help files for said software.
-- Review loops. I love QC, don't get me wrong. But if it has enough steps and recursions to be called a "loop", something's just plain not right there. Unless your goal is to make sure nothing ever actually gets done. I worked in a place that required a document to go through 15 people's review before it could be published. They would contradict each other and have arguments in the edits. By the time you got it back, those redlines were a whole new level of screwed up. Then once you'd navigated the maze of changes, it had to go through the whole thing again. In the eight weeks I was working on that particular project we had 1 file out of over 900 that made it through the process the first time.
-- Staff meetings. Particularly those run by dotted-line managers who don't know anything about how to accomplish the actual tasks required for the current project. So instead of a schedule that makes sense and can be actually implemented, you waste an hour or so every week watching them try to nail soup to a tree and explaining to them why the soup they nailed up there last week isn't there anymore. Then there are the ones who add insult to injury by then requiring that you type out and then email back to them this week's recipe afterwards to help them prepare to chase the drips next week. That's their nod to efficiency.