Fails and Wins

December 4, 2008

So I have failed to blog for a long time. That’s quite a big fail. Did you miss me blog? I missed you.

I’ve been busy with NaNoWriMo. Ultimately that was a Win, both because I actually won the challenge and because it made me write a whole book-length piece of book that I was kind of afraid to do. I miseried my way through the month, moaning incoherantly at the laptop and refusing to enjoy the beauty of creating life. I also failed at life for the whole of November and let my partner do all the cooking and chores. I owe him. When it looked like I might bail out at the 95% mark he threatened to burn my most treasured possesions – I love him.

I’m a little bit excited about my novel. There is a huge amount of work to be done on it. But it does exist. No novel written by Gwendolyn B Virginia existed before. This pleases me. I am planning to spend six months editing and revising it to make it a little more beautiful. Then I’ll stand back and see what I’ve got.

In the mean time I just survived the second round of redundancies at work. Which is cool for two reasons: a) I’m not out of work right before xmas and b) it means despite being the least experienced I’m one of if not the best on my team (from a dozen it’s now been whittled down to three). It also sucks for two reasons: a) I now have no one to sit next to on the train and b) I have to work reception one day next week. This has been stressful and I am now going to be even more careful with my money. I’m sure that will be a piece of piss during the most expensive month of the year…

A criticism of Lush…

August 6, 2008

Surely not! Surely my most favouritest of brands is squeaky clean and above all suspicion? Sadly not.

As much as I love them for selling me a solid block of cocoa butter with which to oil my scales I can’t keep to myself my disappointment in their latest catalogue. They have a system of symbols they use to help you catagorise certain products, eg if it’s good for waking you up or making you sleepy. My problem is with the symbol that looks like a little blue man in a t-shirt and jeans. They apply it to products that are suitable for men. Not just the products that are designed for men, like stubble softening shaving soap, but any product in any other range that is either blue or green in colour.

Why Lush? We don’t need anyone else telling us that men can’t have pink things, we already have the whole rest of the world for that. And I know that the non-blue things work just as well on men because they all have the same stuff in them. And because I know men who use them. And because the man in the shop told me his favourite shampoo was the white glittery one (without being camp, which I hate to justify but I don’t think his opinion should be discounted by people thinking he might be a queen). So if men are already happily using the supposedly girlie products Lush is in fact putting them off using things rather than encouraging them to start.

Lush catalogue: you win Fail of the Day.

PS: my shampoo is green – I hope I don’t have a confused gender identity (/snarcasm)

Book fail

July 28, 2008

I am developing an increasing loathing of mail order book companies. To put it in vulgar terms: they suck painfully hard. In the past my naive self signed up for a company thinking that the initial joining deal would furnish me with books so cheap I could sell them at profit and that after that I could order books that I either needed for my course or would enjoy to read (there was also a free gift which broke). An error on my part, certainly, but I learned from the horrible bruise on my wallet.

I realised during this time that the books clubs can sell so cheaply because they produce and sell their own cheap-grade hardback copies of books rather than the larger, higher quality versions you can get in shops. They especially like to produce their own versions of popular classics that are out of copyright, generating even more profit. A good business model, I guess, but having just bought a (second hand) Reader’s Digest copy of the Phantom of the Opera (one of my favourite books and one of the first ‘classics’ I ever read) I was upset to find a printing error: 15 pages had been repeated and the next 15 omitted. The book is impossible to read. This is probably why it was in the second hand shop. Naughty the person who sold it to them, and naughty Reader’s Digest for not having proper QA procedures (or for simply not caring, knowing that many people will consider it too much fuss to complain or not notice until after the return period).

I will never again join a book club. I know I was a fool to join one in the first place but they do work for some people. I found the selection very restricted, the quality poor and the shafting unwarranted. It may just be that after an initial flummox on leaving uni and having no more course texts to absorb I have found my feet and know how to find things I want to read – often things not available in high street bookshops which makes me feel ever so superior.

Slap my wrist

July 22, 2008

There are things I want to write about. Unfortunately I cannot write about them now as I have frittered away most of my available time today. I have had delightful catch-ups with my close friend who I had not spoken to since before my holiday. I listened to the radio 4 afternoon play because it was by my former tutor, and as much as I wanted to hate it I found it quite average (though I do think having 2 BBC correspondents as researchers was cheating).

I really should do some work, for although I have time until my deadline I was given this assignment a little early so I should try to finish it a little early. I feel I have been arrogant in assuming that I am superior and secure and should not take too many liberties. One of my colleagues who I have little respect for professionally has got a new job and will be leaving in four weeks to go to London. He will undoubtedly be much better paid there. As it is I need to keep my job for the stability it offers, though if they are already down a person they are hardly likely to fire anyone else. I can but hope that his salary will be divided amongst the rest of us to make up for the lack of pay rise. To be more serious when my partner gets a job I expect he will be earning more than me and combined we may start to have a comfortable life.

Shallow, moi?

June 30, 2008

What’s that word, the one you would use to describe the feeling of reassurance you get from seeing others not do too well at things? It’s not shallow, it’s not really cruel as you don’t wish it on the other person nor are you glad that it’s happening to them – just glad it’s not happening to you. If only there was a thesaurus of vagueness I could use to look it up.

At present I am reassured that although I don’t think I’m doing very well with my money I am at least ticking over and standing still, unlike certain people of my acquaintance. It is always unfortunate when a rent cheque bounces but in this case the person will be able to cover it with a little rejigging of accounts. The idea of not having my rent makes me very sad in a nauseous way, and I hope it does not become a concern in the future when budgeting for a higher rent in the new house may be tricky.

What I find highly irritating in terms of financial failures is Housefolk Epsilon’s failure to pay the bills. All the other housefolks gave him the money a month ago, when the bill came, and now we are getting red letters. He said he was waiting until he got paid, but I think he already has been. And now he’s gone home – presumably to beg the money from his mum. Because he spent his on more computers. I kind of hope we get cut off – even though it will cause huge disruptions and loss to all of us – so I can justify my anger towards him for this, for putting us all at risk and impacting all our credit histories and being so drastically irresponsible. I even wonder if he spent our bill money, if maybe that is the reason he needs to beg a buy out.

So much fail

June 23, 2008

Ok, so I didn’t greet the dawn. After having been awake since 6am I crashed out around half twelve after watching White Men Can’t Jump, which I’d never seen before but was rather entertaining. Chances are dawn was clouded over anyway so there wouldn’t have been much to see. Having felt like a freak for having made the suggestion (probably why I gave in without much fight) I later saw a news report showing thousands greeting the dawn at Stone Henge. At least dawn wasn’t alone.

The rest of the weekend was relatively fail-free, apart from forgetting to buy worcester sauce. What will we do without it? I sense a multitude of potential culinery crises. And financial crises: after deciding I should make more effort to save money I bought a load of DVDs and ate out (again) on saturday. So not entirely without fails.

Today was quite a tragic fail which I only realised at lunchtime. In my early morning groggyblindness I have managed to put on odd shoes. They are very similar looking shoes but if you look at them for more than a glance it is clear that they don’t match. Goddamn monday.

The process of writing

May 30, 2008

There are many approaches to writing. Virginia Woolf took long walks and composed passages of text in her head. She must have had a fantastic memory, though she depended on quiet to get things done. Zelda Fitzgerld wrote her only novel in a sanatorium while recovering from a breakdown. Although the quiet and free time undoubtedly helped, writing about the disintegration of her marriage must have been cathartic and helped her recovery. I saw Phillip Pullman interviewed once and he aims to write 3 pages every day which I guess gives you a draft in about 3 months. The NaNoWriMo crowd work to a strict 50,000 words in 30 day deadline:

When I started this I thought all the styles were different but I am seeing a theme – whether busy or isolated or competitive all the writers are writing consistently with no gaps. There is no time off from writing. It could be an accident of the examples I have chosen but all of them write continuously. Perhaps this is what I need to do if I ever hope to carry an idea through to conclusion. If only I had discipline…

To be frank I am impressed I have lasted this long blogging. It’s a lot easier as I really just sit here talking to myself, but equally as no one reads it there is no obligation for me to keep writing. If I didn’t have the kind of job that gives me a certain amount of freedom I probably wouldn’t do it. I never blog from home but that’s because I don’t have my own computer and I don’t want to be discovered. If someone I know should find this by their own searching and figure out it’s me then good for them, they win a cookie, but I will not lead anyone here on purpose.

So why am I a fail writer? What happened to my capacity for discipline? Even when I have to write things for work I trick myself into doing it by flicking between the text and various websites, I can’t bring myself to read through the piece as a whole – not through any sense of angst, I just can’t get my eyes to focus on it. I think that multiplied by 100 that would be what ADD feels like. So why am I not interested in things I am writing for myself? I get excited about them when I first think of them but then I abandom them utterly like babies in skips.

If I did find the cause of my failings, the root flaw in my psyche (retch, emo-much) would knowing it mean I had control over it? Really shoddy comparison but: I know that if my partner flirts with someone it is meaningless, but that doesn’t stop me wanting to put lit matches into the other person’s clothes until they go away. Not doing that is a pretense of control: changing the action does not change the emotion. This is probably why I am so often surprised by my emotional responses to things; I am so busy not being silly that I don’t recognise an emotional response as justified.

Saying all this gumph about emotions though: I find it easiest to write/art (art is a verb) when in a low mood. It’s like the negativity can channel creativity. Which sucks because I enjoy being a good mood.