rhondacrockett: (blood & claws)
Shhhhh! Don't tell anyone that I'm sneaking on-line to avoid office work. My new role has none of the regular office work I had to deal with previously and now that I'm out of it, I am reeeeally reluctant to go back. Unfortunately, with the summer holidays, I can't avoid it entirely.

I should explain what my job actually is, but I'm cagey about putting those details on-line. And I can't explain my reasons why without possibly giving the game away to the wrong person. I don't have the greatest social media presence in the world but still. I know I'm not internet-savvy enough to avoid anyone who is looking for certain specifics.

Thinking about it, my caution may be a complete waste of time, of course. I'm using my actual name here, after all, and it's unusual enough that it wouldn't be hard to narrow down where I work, if someone wanted to.

*sigh* Why don't we just say, I'm in one of those jobs where it's best not to talk about what you do outside of your workplace? The best way I can think of to describe my current role is as a gofer, liaising between a particular person and everyone else s/he needs to work with, fetching paperwork, coffee, that kind of shizzle. My usual person is off on holiday, though, so I'm bouncing around between a few other people as and when needed, and if not needed, then I'm supposed to go down to the office and help them out with their filing etc. It's what I used to do all the time in my old workplace, after all. Except as aforementioned, now that I'm no longer doing it on a regular basis, I don't want to go back! Bad Rhonda! Lazy!
rhondacrockett: (Am I addicted? - dava)
Life has fallen into a routine. I am pretty happily settled in my new job and loving the lack of stress that comes from not working in the office. I'm not sure I could go back to a 'proper' desk job now. This morning was a string of disasters (forgot to set the alarm, spilled tea over my hand, boss started unexpectedly early and I lost a ream of stuff I had been writing) but the afternoon has been fine.

I have discovered the guilty pleasures of crappy e-books on my phone. Perhaps the biggest advantage of my current role is that I spend a lot of time waiting in corridors so I need to entertain myself. I'm currently addicted to Eve Langlais's paranormal romances. Oh dear. I think a big part of the fun is planning in my head how I would rewrite them to make the narrative soooo much better *inner editor wields her pen*
rhondacrockett: (dazzler v gaga)
Yay for hayfever! And yay for what-the-hell-I-can't-even elections! Seriously, wake me up when the world starts making sense again because Western European civilisation currently appears to be having a meltdown. Ugh, Arlene Foster was smug enough before this happened; now she thinks she's the key to the stability of the whole UK. You couldn't whistle her a better tune - pity about the rest of us. If it wasn't actually happening, I'd think it was some crazy dystopian satire. Jake O'Kane and Colin Murphy on The Blame Game will be loving it, though, glorious comedy material.

Hmmm

May. 19th, 2017 03:17 pm
rhondacrockett: (Default)
Not much going on... Work's fine. Weather's lovely (when it's not raining). I'm just up to the usual: reading, watching TV, making dinner, housework. Nothing to report in my life *shrugs*
rhondacrockett: (Book nerd!)
Welcome to the 17th and 18th centuries: science has exploded with geniuses and modern banking is being born, while Europe's monarchies tumble through a series of interconnected wars and revolutions. Daniel Waterhouse is Isaac Newton's oldest friend but is collaborating with his great rival, Gottfried Leibniz, in a project to create a Logic Mill. Jack Shaftoe is King of the Vagabonds, a reputation he has garnered more by accident than design, and only has half a penis (don't ask). His brother Bob, meanwhile, is pursuing a more respectable career in the army, being kept very busy in said European wars. And Eliza has a head for high finance, an encyclopaedic knowledge of sexual techniques, and a fanatical hatred of slavery. So far, so multi-plotted historical narrative. Then the gold appears...

These are dense books. Stephenson has done his homework and it shows. Perhaps a little too well. I was often left feeling like I had walked in at the end of an in-joke, particularly in the first volume, Quicksilver. It doesn't help that this first book is split between three different narratives and two verb tenses: Daniel in the present tense (sailing from a newly-independent USA to Britain), Daniel in the past tense (flashbacks to his friendships with Newton and Leibniz, and the volatile politics of Britain from the Restoration on), and Jack and Eliza in the past tense (their adventures running in parallel to Daniel-in-the-past). I'm usually good at juggling multiple storylines and protagonists but this one led to headaches. Remembering who's who, how they know each other, which narrative they belong to... ugh. The dramatis personae list at the back helped a bit - but not much.

I couldn't get into Quicksilver; I had to keep breaking off to read something else and give my brain a rest from trying to make sense of all the historical allusions. Daniel is the nominal lead in two of our three narratives but doesn't do much except run into famous figures from history: Newton, Leibniz, King Charles II, the Duke of Marlborough, Blackbeard. And aside from the Logic Mill project and Eliza's coming from a non-existent country with an unpronounceable name (this latter bugged me throughout the series; why make up countries?), I didn't understand why this was filed in the sci-fi and fantasy section.

The Confusion is a more straightforward adventure story, with Jack and Eliza taking the lead roles. They are much more dynamic protagonists than Daniel; Eliza even manages to make explaining the stock exchange entertaining. There are no flashbacks, as the narratives occur contemporaneously with each other, and either there aren't so many of those historical in-jokes, or the ones which are there I understood more readily (there are long sequences set during the Irish wars of a certain King Billy, for example). It's in this book that the McGuffin of the gold comes into play (I don't want to say more than that for fear of spoilers), and with that, the plots start to cohere and the characters cross each other's orbits in a less random manner - another reason why I found this an easier book to enjoy than Quicksilver. Plus: globe-trotting multinational pirates!

But I still didn't understand why this was in SFF and not General Historical Fiction. Sure, the gold is alleged to be [REDACTED] but this was an age of quacks and fakes, as well as genius. The narrative doesn't confirm that the gold really is what some characters believe it to be...

...Until (maybe) you come to the end of The System of the World. Now initially I had the same problem here as with Quicksilver: I couldn't get into the story and had to keep stopping-and-starting in order to maintain my interest, particularly during the Tower of London sequences. But now the gold becomes the key force in everyone's plot line, and as the Hanoverian succession comes closer, the political landscape became much more recognisable to me. Daniel, who in the first two books was a mostly passive character - someone who has stuff done to him rather than doing stuff - comes into his own at last, taking the lead in a tale of political conspiracy, economic sabotage and that finally-maybe justification for the SFF label.

Except... when you've read thousands of pages of more-or-less regular-flavour historical fiction, does a few hundred pages at the end really change the genre of the whole? Do I even want it to? I had been waiting for so long for the sci-fi/fantasy element to become a clear factor - and when it did, I preferred not believing in the gold.

So in the end, I don't know what to make of The Baroque Cycle. Headache-inducingly-widescreen historical adventure with the vaguest tint of steampunk and some alternative geography? Hmmm.
rhondacrockett: (Lookit me)
I started using LJ when I was in university. Back then, I posted regularly (so long as it was a term-time weekday, since at home we were mired in the Dark Ages of dial-up). I haven't checked but I'd say it was usually every day. And since I went on to complete a Master's and a PhD, that pattern continued for a while.

Then I left.

And the postings dried up.

Now a bit of that is down to the internet situation at home. We're a slow-adapting household; as far as I recall, we were still using dial-up when I left uni in 2007. So I fell out of the habit of logging in on a regular basis. But the big reasons for the posting drought?

The loss of shared context. And confidentiality.

The latter is pretty obvious - or should be, given all the social media scandals. The former... lemme explain.

Education up to a certain age is compulsory throughout Western Europe and North America. Everybody growing up in those societies, therefore, has been to school at some point. So I could moan about my tutors etc. and be confident that most of you could nod your head sagely and say, "Yeah, I know the drill."

But once you leave the education system and enter gainful employment, that shared context disappears. Bar portrayals on TV or film, I have no freaking clue about the workaday lives of accountants - nurses - warehouse managers - IT technicians - police officers - lorry drivers - civil engineers - insurance staff - stockbrokers - fashion designers - dental receptionists - charity campaigners - town councillors - refuse collectors - fishing crews. And what the hell is a Special Advisor when it's at home?

But work takes over from education as the central day-to-day activity of your life. So if I were to write about my day... well, I'd have to spend some time setting up the context. I would have to explain about ICOS and FTR and what 'pulling the court' means. It's boring and long-winded and likely to end up in TL;DR territory. (Yes, I am aware that this entry is falling into that category too.)

***

I guess I'm old-fashioned in wanting/expecting my posts to be about my day-to-day life. 'Blogging' seems now to be about passing around quotations, stories, memes, photographs and pictures which originate with other people, not ourselves. Or it's an editorial column, made up of our musings on the topics which interest us. Or it's a reviews column on our chosen form of entertainment, from books to barbells, hardware to handicrafts, singing to sex toys. Or it can be an advertising hoarding for whatever it is we want to promote to the public.

Please note, none of these are meant as criticisms or as a in-the-good-ole-days moan. I'm only observing that social media has shifted away from the "on-line diary" idea that I 'grew up' with, and that I haven't shifted with it. I don't subscribe to Reddit or BuzzFeed or wherever else people get their "Share" links from, and besides, I tend to consume stuff like that and move on rather than telling others about it. I don't write editorials because I know I'm a poor arguer and am not prepared to handle any shitstorm that might result, even if it only fits in a teacup. I could do reviews, I suppose... but do I really read/view enough to justify it? I haven't been to the cinema in years and my TV watching falls into the territory of whatever-will-keep-everyone-vaguely-interested-and-or-entertained-but-not-necessarily-inspire-enthusiasm.

***

Lack of shared context is also why I'm crap at phone calls. I can't see what the person on the other end of the line is doing/experiencing, so I can't offer any comments on the same to gee the talking along. Once we're done with the obvious hi-how-are-you-this-is-the-news-where-I-am, I run out of conversational steam.

This inability to generate conversation is screwing up my chances with on-line dating too. My opening messages are banal to the point of pointlessness. Ugh.

A question

Feb. 21st, 2017 04:36 pm
rhondacrockett: (Am I addicted? - dava)
Is it considered unremarkable and acceptable behaviour to ask for a stranger's contact details (namely, a phone number) immediately upon engaging with them online? And is it considered unremarkable and acceptable behaviour to give it upon such a request? And is it therefore considered bizarre, rude, anti-social or verging on the hysterical to refuse?

I am completely baffled by this. Common sense tells me that asking for a stranger's number is presumptous and riven with the potential to go wrong, but when I tell them no, they act like I'm being unreasonable or that I just need to be persuaded.
rhondacrockett: (Lookit me)
I started work again this week, and I'm glad to be back. Different people, places to do, tasks to do, and other subjects of conversation than the practicalities of Life After Dad and people asking how we're coping. Home was getting claustrophobic - but if it feels that way to me, when most of my family was around, I don't know what it's gonna feel like for Mum when Amy goes back to uni and she's left in the house alone. Sure, us three girls will be back every weekend; the boys, too, are making concerted efforts to come home more often; and all of us will be in contact every day by phone, WhatsApp or text. But that's not the same as having someone physically there, coming and going every day...
rhondacrockett: (Lookit me)
...Ok, LJ, what's the craic with loading up, only to vanish? I can see the content while the page is loading but the minute that bar hits 100%: poof! White screen. It seems the only way to stop it is to stab at a command as quickly as possible, such as "Post new entry". But when I try to read my friends list, I'm not pressing any commands, just scrolling through, so it vanishes >:(. If this is how the Russians are going to play it, I'm gonna get pissed...
rhondacrockett: (Lookit me)
To everyone who sent me condolences, sympathies, thoughts, prayers: thank you.

We got the body back a lot quicker than we had expected - the postmortem was waived - and the funeral took place on Friday. A funeral is hardly an occasion for taking photographs but I kinda wish I had, just to show you the waves upon waves upon waves of people who turned up. Neighbours and work colleagues and men who knew my dad in his youth, as well as friends of my siblings and family... The queue of cars following the hearse; the police controlling the traffic to let the cort├Ęge out on to the main road, saluting the hearse as it passed...

And now to pick up all the practical pieces in the aftermath.

...

Happy New Year, folks.
rhondacrockett: (Nature is beautiful)
My dad is dead.
rhondacrockett: (Lookit me)
Merry Christmas, folks. I hope that 2016 gave you some happy times, and any sad ones ended quickly. And may 2017 be better again. Cheers :)
rhondacrockett: (batmint - dava)
Christmas is almost on top of us and I still have to get presents. I'm starting to panic because I have no idea what to get them...
rhondacrockett: (Am I addicted? - dava)
I should probably post something... Finding my feet with my new job and getting used to the people I'm working with. Some of them (naming no names and indicating no numbers) are a little bit self-entitled and bossy...

I really should post more. I have all these deep musings about how I've trained myself to be secretive over the years and how that spills over into my on-line life, but I only get the chance to post something at 4:45pm and I'm like... "Yeah, I want to go home."
rhondacrockett: (loneliness & the assassin)
So. Update.

These days, I tend to access the net by tablet rather than desktop computer. Which is great for speed but awkward when you want to type something, say, an email or a blog entry. The way sites appear on tablets keeps changing and not always in a more user-friendly manner (Outlook, I'm looking at you). And trying to log off LiveJournal is an exercise in frustration as the drop down menu repeatedly refuses to open and I keep getting sent to my Recent Entries page. Hence, quietness.

I actually prefer using a desktop. A mouse and a proper keyboard are marvellous inventions. Using the desktop, however, leads to a whole day vanishing with me in my room doing... not very much as it happens, apart, perhaps, from getting a headache.

I should probably buy a laptop or lapbook or whatever they're called now but I was brought up not to 'waste' money on 'luxuries' like the latest model of gadget unless they were absolutely, totally necessary. Or unless someone else bought them for me. (Which is partially why I'm still using a pre-paid phone when everyone else in my family has switched to contract.) I am a late adopter - so late, it's a wonder I can operate in the 21st century at all.

It's annoying.

New job. Well, initially it didn't turn out to be all that new. The powers-that-be decided I should do the exact same work that I was doing, just in a different place. I was not a happy bunny but met with the usual 'business needs' bullshit. BUT. The new workplace has a greater variety and number of job posts available; three transfers came up in quick succession and third time, it seems, is the charm. I now have an actual, new, I've-never-done-this-before job. Although I suspect I got it because I was the only one who applied... but hey! New job! :D I am much happier.

Other news. I love living in the city again. I was born and raised in the country and don't get me wrong, I'm quite content there, but I love the city-life too. I love the streets, I love the bustle. I love the walking, the public transport, the sense of convenience: that you can just hop on a bus or train or walk out of the door and go somewhere. I love that sense of being surrounded by people, even if they are strangers who don't talk to you.

I still need to arrange a social life outside of work, though. It's a little too easy to come home at night and veg out with my sister in front of the TV...
rhondacrockett: (Am I addicted? - dava)
So. Early Tuesday morning last week, our internet hub got fried in a thunderstorm. We got a new hub set up just on Monday past.

What I really missed about the internet was (a) the news and (b) having something to do if there are no other available activities of interest (also known as 'timewasting'). Otherwise... I was ok with it.

Another thing I came to realise: at school, especially in adolescence, I didn't talk much*. Instead, I sat on the edges of conversations and listened to the others. It was my way of belonging. I use the internet in the same way; I 'listen in' on what's being 'said' but I rarely respond and even more rarely speak myself. And I still get that sense of belonging... but now, no one else sees me sitting at the table.

And I know the above sounds depressing but I'm not depressed. I'm more, "Oooh, so that's why!"



* I'm still a pretty poor conversationalist in real life; it's something I'm working on.
rhondacrockett: (Lookit me)
TL; DR: I am not dead. My place of work is closing and I am stressed. Also, I don't come on the internet much, 'cos reasons.

The longer version )

I need to go; supper's ready.
rhondacrockett: (Lookit me)
Happy Christmas, folks. And a merry New Year. See you in 2016, God willing *hugs*
rhondacrockett: (Weird is rad)
My youngest sister, who is studying computer games design, is currently on an internship year. The company CEO flew over this week from the US to take part in a 'town hall meeting' (which is like an office meeting but bigger). And at the meeting they revealed that they weren't there to just talk at them. Oh no.

They had booked the Odeon Cinema for a private showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

...

...

I'm in the wrong job.
rhondacrockett: (Lookit me)
Busy. Tired. Too much crap. Sorry. See you soon.
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