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I feel like Tristram Shandy, trying to write my life story but… - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
j4
j4
I feel like Tristram Shandy, trying to write my life story but unable to stop living it for long enough to catch up.

On Thursday I woke up feeling headachey and dizzy and generally grotty, so called in sick to work. Spent most of the morning doing nothing, and by afternoon was feeling well enough to get lots of stuff done -- only little bits and pieces, but it was probably the most productive day I've had in weeks!

Things I managed to get done:

- Phoned Iain Allen ("Minor Services" in Witchford) to ask about taking my car in for servicing. He was helpful & friendly, and is happy for me to bring the car in any time.

- Phoned two counselling organisations in Cambridge. Got no reply, so this wasn't actually very useful, but it sort of got me past the mental block of not being able to phone them.

- Phoned the National Blood Service to get them to take my name off their list, since I have no intention of stopping sleeping with a man who has slept with a man. (Sigh.) They didn't seem remotely bothered, weren't interested in why I wanted to be taken off their list, but needed all my details -- date of birth, address, phone number etc. -- in order to take me off the list. Makes you wonder what the unique "donor number" is for...

- Wrote (most of) a job application, albeit for a job that I don't really want. Still, it's good practice.

- Did washing-up

- Washed my gi (karate outfit)

- Took rubbish out, and washed the kitchen bins

- Picked up my tax disc from the Post Office.

- Posted two things that needed posting (credit card payment, and some money to pay in to savings account)

- Picked up RealCity (local free listings magazine -- handy for TV papers and occasionally has interesting stuff)

- Bought JobFinder (there were some good jobs in it, but despite this being the new JobFinder they turned out to have already passed their closing date!)

- Bought a tyre pressure gauge, and (later) checked my car tyres (they were very low, and uneven at that, which may partly explain the dragging-to-the-left) and pumped them up.

- Washed the car

Not bad for a day's faff. I've written all this down here so that I can look at it when I feel like I never get anything done...


Didn't get so much done on Friday but had fun anyway.


I drove my car into work, and had it duly admired by some more cow-orkers. The main reason I drove it in was so that I could go straight from work to the sword class (which took the place of my normal lesson this week) and take my katana with me. It was a good class, only four of us plus sensei (more than that waving live blades around would be dangerous anyway!), but very tiring, and my hand ended up quite bruised from the zubi pressing against it.

Managed to finish the job application that I started yesterday, and write another one in only about half an hour. Definitely getting quicker at writing them, though this time I just cut-and-pasted quite a few paragraphs from the previous application, & it's not that often that I can do that as I'm applying for lots of subtly different types of job and thus having to massage my actual experience/qualifications slightly differently each time.

After the sword class I picked lnr and ewx up in the car and brought them back to ours, along with the lovely veggie chilli (and accompanying very garlicky salsa) that lnr had made for dinner. Mmmmm. Spent the rest of the evening with them just sitting around pottering and chatting, nice and relaxing way to spend an evening.


On Saturday I frantically tidied the house flicked a duster over the spotless-as-usual house in readiness for addedentry's long-awaited visit.


Picked addedentry up at the station in the Morris; possibly should have warned him about the lack of seatbelts (and warned him better about my driving!) but he didn't seem to be gripping the edge of the seat too tightly.

After he had duly admired the library and the rest of the house, we settled down to listen to music and play Scrabble. I suspect sion_a was pleasantly surprised to find that one of my friends actually wanted to listen to his music... Though I'm ashamed to confess that I actually found myself liking one of the Laurie Anderson tracks. If only she'd stick to music and singing all the time, she might be listenable to! As for the Scrabble, I'm terribly out of practice, at least that was my excuse for losing; though in the end there were only a scant handful of points between myself and addedentry with sion_a convincingly in the lead.

Meandered into town later and (after considerable faff) ended up at the Free Press, where we also met up with lnr, ewx and <not-lj-user="Art">. Some of us enjoyed more drinks than we should have done, and by the time we left the pub to go our separate ways -- addedentry to his train, and the rest of us homewards in different directions -- sion_a was feeling too ill to be able to face going to ceb's party (and I didn't really want to walk there on my own, and was tired anyway). Sorry to those who were expecting us there.

Spent some of the rest of the evening pottering on the computer, mostly following up the few vaguely interesting bits and bobs I'd found in this month's Bizarre, some of which proved entertainingly distracting both to myself and sion_a (who was by then feeling a lot better). Mm.


Sunday was absolutely saturated with Morris Minors. :-)

Art came round in the morning to admire the car and show me how it all worked; it was incredibly useful just having somebody around to show me that I didn't have to be afraid of taking bits of car off and putting them back on again, and I learned some useful bits and bobs (and discovered a few more things that need fixing/replacing/etc.).

I'd promised him a test drive, so he drove us over to his parents' house in Cambridge where his own moggy was garaged (having sadly failed its MOT a couple of days ago), and we took some pictures of the two cars talking parked next to each other. We then came back home so that Art could pick up his car (a gorgeous MGB) and then we both headed out to the Cambridge Technology Museum, where the Cambridge Morris Minor Owners Club were meeting. There were 17 moggies (and two MGs) there in the end, mostly in gorgeous condition (apart from a rather sorry-looking Traveller with moss growing on its wooden exoskeleton!), and it was lovely just to see them all lined up together. My car certainly got her fair share of attention, not surprisingly really as she was the oldest car there! (I suspect Art and I may have been the youngest people there, too...) Spent most of the afternoon just drooling over the cars, but also pottering around bits of the museum (interesting, but I'd really like to spend some time looking at it properly when I don't have the distraction of rows of gleaming cars to look at instead) and tinkering with my car. Had a go with the starting handle just to see if we could start her like that, and I discovered just how nasty the kickback can be when the engine's timing is a bit off. OUCH. Felt like my shoulder had been kicked by a small mule.

Art took some great photos of the event; I took some as well, but they're not as good, and I haven't got round to uploading them yet.

Unfortunately, when it came to driving home, I had my first real taste of the downsides of owning a 50-year-old car; the poor thing started okay, but as soon as I tried to drive her forwards she juddered to a halt within a few yards. Could have been a lot worse, though, since breaking down while surrounded by classic car enthusiasts is probably the best time to do it. A bevy of friendly moggy-owners immediately surrounded the poor ailing car, offering all kinds of advice and spare parts. Turned out that her spark plugs were attached in the wrong order (this probably happened while we were fiddling with her innards at the Tech Museum), so we sorted that out, and gave the plugs a good clean (they were thick with soot). During this process one of the other club members noticed that the choke cable was frayed, which explained the soot -- the choke probably wasn't doing very much at all -- and the choke was leaking slightly.

Got her going eventually and managed to get her back home, but I must confess I'm not really looking forward to the drive to Witchford (to see the local moggy mechanic) later this week -- it's a bit of a trek and I do not fancy breaking down on the A10.

Rest of Sunday passed peacefully: a bit more chatting with Art before he went home; pies (I LIEK PIES) for dinner; a bit of pottering around the house. Didn't feel up to much more by that point; I'd developed a sore throat late on Saturday night, and by Sunday night I was feeling bunged up and generally grotty. Took myself and my cold off to bed, via bath.


Feeling grotty-ish now with cough/cold. Hopefully tonight I'll sleep a bit better than I have done the last few nights... Friday night my sore throat kept me awake, Saturday night there were lots of people faffing around in cars on our road and I kept worrying about what was going on, and trying to see if I could see anything out of the window. Last night I took aspirin for the sore throat, Valium for sleep (and to relax the muscles in my aching back and shoulder), and herbal sleeping tablets (for the belt-and-braces attitude to sleep), and slept through more of the night. I want to sleep for about a week, please.
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lnr From: lnr Date: March 3rd, 2003 10:27 am (UTC) (Link)
lnr From: lnr Date: March 3rd, 2003 11:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh and if you think whatever you were chasing up in Bizarre would amuse me too I wouldn't mind a pointer. My libido seems to need all the help it can get these days, but at least things do help sometimes.
j4 From: j4 Date: March 3rd, 2003 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ummm... doubt if any of it is really your kink, and the distraction was more from the general looking-at-things-to-do-with-sex and talking-about-sexual-stuff than from specific things we saw on the web... but since I don't want to look like I'm too embarrassed to talk about what I've been looking at:

- We were only originally looking at dodgy stuff because sion_a suspected he'd seen a copyright violation in the Bizarre Babes section -- yep, he actually recognised a dodgy picture off the web. Turned out he was right, but now he doesn't want me to tell LJ where he saw it. So ask me some time in real life! ;-P

- Bizarre did the standard "oh look, somebody had a sex change" article, and most of it was stuff I'd seen before, but I was fascinated to know how "V-string" strap-on vaginas (no, really) worked. Three guesses as to who might like that...

- In the adverts bit of Bizarre I found an online fetish/leather shop that I hadn't seen before, fetish-n-leather.com, which offered a discount to Bizarre readers. Much better for leather clothes etc. than anything else; some very nice corsets, all completely unaffordable of course (even with the discount!) but my favourite is this one. Some of their "fetish fashion" is good as well, e.g. this leather shirt and this unbelievably sexy hobble dress.

Their "steel fetish" pages sadly turned out to be some fairly generic shiny metal collars, but elsewhere they had weird stuff like dental retractors. Hm, okay, this probably makes me Officially Weird.

Anyway... this is very unlikely to be helping your libido, but hopefully it'll relieve boredom and make you go "gosh" at least. Will see what I can do about the libido, but that's probably easier to deal with in real life.... ;-P
lnr From: lnr Date: March 4th, 2003 03:24 am (UTC) (Link)
IKWYM about looking at things together. Thanks for the links anyway, I might have fun looking at some of them later.
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: March 3rd, 2003 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great write-up!

I feel like Tristram Shandy, trying to write my life story but unable to stop living it for long enough to catch up.

*nods*, mmm-hmm... :-) Quote from a few blogs: "It's the good girls who keep diaries; the bad girls never have time." - Tallulah Bankhead.

Sounds like an excellent few days to me - much kudos to you for doing so many job applications. All the stuff I'm up to now is just really working up to that step, which is one I'm having problems with.

As I said to lnr, I'll be in Cambridge from May 3rd to 5th for MSO Cambridge. If it turns out that you aren't doing exciting things that weekend, it being bank holiday and so forth, and if you're in the mood, please might I meet up with you and other nice folk? Would be lovely to see you again.

Pies. If you get the reference, "which pies are the best?"

Referring to another discussion in part, sleep well and I hope the cold doesn't linger. :-)
j4 From: j4 Date: March 3rd, 2003 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Quote from a few blogs: "It's the good girls who keep diaries; the bad girls never have time." - Tallulah Bankhead.

:) But if I didn't keep my diary, what would I have to read in the train? (see Wilde.)

much kudos to you for doing so many job applications. All the stuff I'm up to now is just really working up to that step, which is one I'm having problems with.

*hugs* I really, really sympathise. You haven't seen all the days I've spent in tears over job applications... and the hours I've spent on the phone to my parents asking them for advice (though their advice usually ends up being "Jan, you've just got to write something", because ultimately the problem is not so much that I don't have anything to write, as that I have a mental block that's stopping me do it).

I think in a way I'm most proud of getting the application done for the job I don't even want. Right up to the last minute I was thinking "There's no point in applying for this, I don't want the job, I can't be bothered, it's such a stress writing the application", but I made myself do it just to prove that I could. And to prove that the world wouldn't end if I submitted a substandard job application, which is what a lot of it comes down to really -- neurotic perfectionism resulting in me not getting anything done, at which point the perfectionist in me gets angry because I'm not doing anything, and ... so ad infinitum.

I'll be in Cambridge from May 3rd to 5th

Ooh! Right. Does that mean you'll be able to come to my birthday party, if I manage to actually have it on the weekend of my birthday? :) That would be très cool. If you can't make it to the party, then I should be around anyway for coffee and badgers.

If you get the reference, "which pies are the best?"

I'm afraid I don't get it (and google has never heard of it -- crikey!)... I was just referring to a meme whose origin I don't even know. (Drink memes, they're nice.)

Referring to another discussion in part, sleep well and I hope the cold doesn't linger.

Thank you. I'm attempting to kill the cold by the tried-and-tested method of Drinking Lots Of Red Wine. (Red wine is Good For You, right? And alcohol kills things? So it'll kill the cold. Yeah.)

("Sleep well" is, of course, now limited by the fact that it's 1am. Hmm. That "early night" went wrong somewhere, didn't it...?)
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: March 3rd, 2003 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I had a chat with this about the Working Links people who I saw today (and I who I'm not going to get to write about until tomorrow). I usually don't get to the "making an applicatoin" stage largely because I don't feel that I fit the candidate descriptions: I'm not a people person, I'm not highly motivated and so on. I know I'm good at what I do, but what I do isn't what people seem to ask for.

Birthdays, ha. I hadn't realised your birthday was then. Normally I post from the LJ portal which has a list of the ten upcoming birthdays - tenth on the list was one addedentry born on the 5th of May. Looking at your userinfo, I only now realise that you too were born on the same day of the year! (I bet that one of you two have mentioned that fact already, just it never sank in...) All the same - can you say synergy? :-) I'd love to come and dearly hope I can manage it.

The pies thing at large is probably to do with Weebl and Bob (NB unchecked URL from memory). I'd forgotten all about DRINK TEA IT'S NICE, too!

Was planning to get an early night myself. Oh well, it's been a productive night, at least. Sort of.

Oh, and I like your new icons! :-)
addedentry From: addedentry Date: March 4th, 2003 02:14 am (UTC) (Link)
The satisfying thing about sharing Janet's birthday is that, every year, I have an excuse not to throw a party: why compete with real popularity?

Somehow, Janet and I discovered the coincidence on our first meeting, at the late lamented Oxford University Scrabble Club; but maybe this is embroidery. (Sew what?)
j4 From: j4 Date: March 4th, 2003 06:47 am (UTC) (Link)
The satisfying thing about sharing Janet's birthday is that, every year, I have an excuse not to throw a party: why compete with real popularity?

This is clearly a thinly-veiled excuse for you to a) fail to organise a party, and b) fail to come to my parties.

Somehow, Janet and I discovered the coincidence on our first meeting, at the late lamented Oxford University Scrabble Club

I remember it well. You told me I looked more like a biology student than an English student. I've still not forgiven you for that...
j4 From: j4 Date: March 4th, 2003 06:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I usually don't get to the "making an application" stage largely because I don't feel that I fit the candidate descriptions: I'm not a people person, I'm not highly motivated and so on. I know I'm good at what I do, but what I do isn't what people seem to ask for.

I know what you mean, but honestly, what is "a people person"? You can obviously talk intelligently to people, you're not likely to suddenly run amok with a katana chopping off the heads of cow-orkers who piss you off. At least, if you are, please sell tickets or set up a webcam.

On every single application so far I've claimed that I'm confident working independently and managing/prioritising/etc. my own work, but that I enjoy working in a team where resources and skills can be shared and the whole can be more than the sum of its baaaaa. Well, I usually leave out the animal noises, but YKWIM. It's all lies. In reality I hate working in teams, and would be delighted if I could do all my work without having to talk to another human being. As for being confident working independently, well, that's nearer the truth, but only because I'm happier not having to talk to other human beings at work.

I'm about as un-motivated at the moment as it's possible to be without actually being comatose. But of course I don't tell them that; I tell them that I'm an enthusiastic worker, keen to employ my quackety-oink in a moo environment and to develop new ouh-ouh-ouh-ouh. Then I run the mental equivalent of the following over the whole write-up:

foreach $a (@animal_noises)
{
   $n = int(rand(scalar(@buzzwords)));
   if (/$a/)
   {
      s/$a/$buzzwords[$n]/;
   }
}

I don't think I've ever found a job for which I completely fit the candidate description. I'm currently looking at applying for an IT-support kind of job for which I have most of the required stuff... except "capability" with statistics. I figure if they call me for interview, I've got a week to learn some basic stats, and to practise saying things like "...I have always had a natural aptitude for and love of mathematics" without looking shifty.

Apply for anything. They might not get any applicants who fit the job description. The job description might be a wishlist rather than a realistic expectation. ("Put down 'must be prepared to confer sexual favours on senior management, and willing to relinquish all rights to resulting home video / webcam broadcast ... and must make fantastic tea/coffee.' We can but hope.")

I know this is advice that I should take myself before giving it; but I'm trying to hang on to the fact that at the end of the day, if they don't want to employ me, I never need to see them again, so it doesn't matter what I said to them. Applying for everything is a bit of a scattershot approach, but I figure I'm giving myself a better chance of getting something that way. And I've decided that I want more money (and less boredom) far more than I want integrity and a carefully-chosen career. Careers, to shamelessly misquote Quentin Crisp, are for people who don't know who they are.

born on the same day of the year

It's only one day out of 365, so I'm letting him get away with it under "fair use".

can you say synergy?

Oh, I can, I can. I can say "synergy" in such a way that grown men around the boardroom table break out into a visible sweat; and I try not to say "incentivize" too often as it causes fights. (I've been officially banned from saying "ring-fence".)

I'd love to come and dearly hope I can manage it.

Well, I haven't organised anything yet; and it partly depends on when (if!) we'll have finished having our new kitchen fitted by then... dear me, domesticity is such a bind.
addedentry From: addedentry Date: March 4th, 2003 06:48 am (UTC) (Link)
The most important part of any job description is 'and other duties as determined from time to time by the line manager'. This is why job descriptions in adverts seldom make good matches.

It occurs to me that what you need is a job found at random. Temping agencies are sadly one-track and if you show aptitude for one task then they will fit you into the same work forever. So I suggest preparing a c.v. and a covering letter of such banal generality that it could apply to anything and using it to apply for everything. Fate will do the rest.
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: March 4th, 2003 03:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the advice and I did enjoy the way you expressed it. I'm glad it works for you. I suspect it probably would work for me too, but I would feel uncomfortable about trying it. I've seen some careers descriptions which separately mention "obligatory" and "desirable" characteristics, which seems to be an excellent way of going about it.

The second last job I applied for would have been working for a friend (information department, one of the Manchester councils' education departments). He got 130+ applications. He was humming and ha'ing about whether to invite me to interview or not, not least because we both knew there always was the uncertainty and inconvenience of whether I could be employed in good faith and compared to the other candidates fairly given that I knew him socially. In the end, I told him to err on the safe (not-) side.

He called eight for interview, five of them turned up and none of the five turned out to be quite what he was looking for. (However, I suspect that I probably wouldn't have been it either.) Doesn't give you much confidence in the application-and-interview cycle as a procedure, does it?

I can say "synergy" in such a way that grown men around the boardroom table break out into a visible sweat

I will only believe this should you provide documentary evidence. And if that isn't an invitation, I don't know what is.

dear me, domesticity is such a bind

I know; it's certainly unreasonable for anyone to expect anyone to put themselves out, especially to the extent of a party. All this is predicated on you deciding you want to - and, more to the point, feel like - throwing a party. As discussed elsewhere, parties are so different from the alternative concept of just getting to see lots of nice people that they can't be guaranteed to "work" in any meaningful sense. It would be nice to see you (and the others) in whatever context you feel most comfortable with.
rbarclay From: rbarclay Date: March 3rd, 2003 04:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your post looks quite funny for me ATM.
j4 From: j4 Date: March 3rd, 2003 04:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, just noticed. Weurghhh. No idea what happened there, but it ended up with all the LJ code (</textarea> etc.) tacked on the end of my entry when I went to edit it. I've had lots of trouble posting today (various weird error messages) so I strongly suspect the error is at LJ's end rather than at mine.

Should be fixed now, touch wood.
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