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February 2012

first world problems

I'm in that dopey, la-la, mood, where I keep half-doing things and getting distracted and half-doing something else. I have loads to do, I am sure of it. But you know when you don't quite know what to do first, and you think: I know, I'll write a post? And then I'll feel better, having given myself the illusion that I have achieved something.

  • My laptop gave up the ghost last week. When you try to turn it on, it starts patting its pockets and saying: Oh, ssshit. Now, where did I put my hard drive? Hang on, I am sure it's here somewhere. It must be... oh, how embarrassing, maybe it's... no...
    Then it makes some unreasonably loud electronic pings at you, while presumably it searches around its flat frantically, throwing stuff around, looking for its vital bits.
    Nothing, according to the young man in the laptop clinic, can be saved from it. It is officially banjaxed. I am trying to take this in cavalier fashion. After all, I did back up sometimes and what the hell, it's just a sort of forced de-clutter of all the detritus I collected over the years. Onward, and less encumbered by crappy freeware programmes!
  • Likewise banjaxed is my car. Battery is defunct.
  • Teaching is making me feel a bit lonely. I want to be on the other side of the desk, where you have friends to complain to - it's so much funner, more collegial. Boo. But, oh, fellow teachers! Oh! It's all (almost) worth it for that wondrous moment of squeeeee! freedom when you escape from the classroom until the next time! OH THAT BIT IS MARVELLOUS, isn't it?
  • PKitty, though, now, the kitty, has been doing her best to cheer me up with little gifts. True, had I been in a position to choose, I might have preferred a pink Moleskine sketchbook, or perhaps some lavendar soap rather than - say - a half-dead fieldmouse, but, you know how it is, it's the thought that counts. So far I have not witnessed the delivery of the afore-mentioned rodents into the kitchen for bragging purposes but the JB has reported that she even went to the trouble of putting on a mini Christians and Lions type show for his entertainment. Mousey, mousey, I release you! Ha! No, I don't! Yes, I do! NO, don't be silly, OF COURSE I DON'T! CRUNCH.
    And so on. Anything to offer on this, anyone? I understand Nature is all red and rude, and so forth, but I feel sorry for the mice. She's so mean.

Here she is, the murderer herself:
I fear she is about that fat. She might have lost a few ounces recently. My human friend R, to the cat, when she came to visit:
Ooh, you're enoooormous!
BODY FASCISM, that is.

Anyway. How goes the mood with you?




A couple of weekends ago:

TWANGY, seeing an opportunity to bond with DAZZLE, (the three-year-old niece) while the rest of the family are engaged in an interminable game of Capitalist Market Forces Monopoly, extends 'claws' and roars, experimentally:
Rrrrrar! I'm a tiger.

DAZZLE smiles indulgently.

TWANGY: What are you?

DAZZLE: I'm a people.

How deflating.


Further conversation, this time with a student:
ALEX(not real name!): So, in relation to.. I just want to understand. My head is wrecked here. When you copy a file, where is that?
TWANGY: Emmm. Well. What? It goes on to the clipboard.
ALEX :  But.. where is the clipboard?
TWANGY (not feeling terribly patient at this point): It's just out there, Alex. In virtual space.
In your computer's RAM or something, Alex.
ALEX: But. It's  just these notes don't talk about the clipboard. I think these notes are a bit...
TWANGY considers a rapid exit out of the window.

Speaking of the Hotel Tallafornia, and the "learning" that takes place therein with my unemployed would-be designers, it should come as no surprise that we are dealing, per usual, with the Usual Suspects. The same ould cast of characters. There's the one with the attitude, there are the moaners, there are the gigglers, there are those afflicted with shyness, those encumbered with laziness. The sickly, the smart, the motivated, the dense. 'Twas ever thus, was it not, teachers, educators, librarians? The moaners were moaning at me last week, and I had this lightbulb revelation: these people (whispered The Little Voice of Obviousness) are not my friends. In this relationship, here,  it's my job to hold the thing together, and be respected.

This is stunningly self-evident, I do realise. Maybe it's the chronic informality of the Irish, but up to now, I have always assumed that friendliness, a general enthusiasm for the subject, respect for their efforts and a pretence at a flat hierarchy would see me through this teaching gig. Now, I realise that to act as if there is no difference between us, except that I just happen to be standing at the other side of the table is just not going to work. After all, I am in charge of time-keeping, and there is money involved in that, this being a state-sponsored training course. So, how to play it? Shall I become (gets carefully into American character) a 'hardass'? Would this be better for all concerned? Thoughts on this welcome. What is your style?

I've told you about the hotel as venue of higher education in this brave new world, haven't I?
We are in the one heated room on the fifth floor of a mostly empty office block, (itself mysteriously part of the hotel), surrounded by empty offices like this:


It's so fantastically creepy, like some weird art installation. The other morning, the previously abandoned and chilly reception area had leaflets scattered around and a big poster over it:
Presumably they checked-in-but-can-never-leave the night before? Yet no sign of them since.
And then, odder yet, and, to use  The Young People's favourite word, 'totally random':

Bridge tables sprang up overnight. Bridge tables. 

What next, friends? The Annual Trapeze Artists' Convention? The League of Capuchin Monkey Handlers? YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE.

Rest assured, I will keep you posted.