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Monday Musing

Why does no one (in UK broadcast media, at least) say “on the trot” (British English: in succession) any more?

It’s all “on the bounce” these days, which more commonly refers to the act of rebounding . Or even worse “on the spin”, which seems to mean nothing at all.

But why? Do presenters worry that people will hear “on the trot”, think of “the trots” (i.e. diarrhoea) and switch off/over in disgust?

Language evolves all the time, but this one has happened so quickly.Ì

No Flow

For the past few months, I’ve been using the KanbanFlow website to track my various creative activities, such as they are. It’s been mostly effective at keeping me on track (though not always, obviously).

But shortly after I missed a Scribblings post last week, I found this in my email inbox:

Thank goodness I only have me to answer to. Otherwise… scary or what?!Ì

The Handyman Can’t

Faced with a catastrophic seating-failure situation, most bus stations would send in a handyman with a screwdriver. Not Milton Keynes Coachway!

(Or maybe their waiting room facilities are just way more advanced than appearances suggest.)Ì

Powered Down

Woke up yesterday morning to a sinister crackling noise coming from our fuse box. This happened once before, about 6 months ago, but it had stopped by the time the electrician arrived. Typical.

Not on this occasion, though. After hours of flickering lights and appliances going off and on without warning, with one extra-scary crackle mid-afternoon the supply cut out altogether.

I have to say, I’m impressed with SSE coming out exactly when they said they would on a Saturday evening. And the reassuring phone calls from HQ – apparently they bumped us up to emergency status when the fuse box started arcing!

Sunday morning, and everything’s working. We Have The Power! But I have no post.

And so, this. (But with bonus metaphorical image.)Ì

Mmmm… Shiny

I’ve been battling (mostly without success) a particularly severe bout of Shiny New Idea syndrome this week. You might recognize this affliction even if you don’t know the name, the chief symptom being a recurring, non-evidence-based, productivity-crushing conviction that your latest scheme out-glistens all the older projects you had on the go, which now seem as dull as dishwater by comparison.

Coupled with chronic perfectionitis, this makes for a perfect storm of Not Getting Anywhere Fast (NGAF).

The origin of the current outbreak (only the most recent of a very lengthy series) is the all-new website I’ve been building, to be launched some time soonish, maybe. Though rather more ‘maybe’ than ‘soonish’, I fear, for I’ve been simultaneously laid low by a near-terminal bout of perfectionitis.

Problem is, I find the designing bit – choosing layouts, colours, plugins etc. – so much more fun than the writing (which I’ve barely started). I’m starting to think I might have missed my vocation many years ago when I chose to work with words, not pausing to consider that I might like pictures better.

But now I’ve descended so far down the NGAF rabbit-hole, I’m thinking of declaring a moratorium on tweaking the visuals until I’ve forced myself to generate some content. I want to attract actual, real people onto this new site (unlike the present one, obviously), so ‘all style and zero substance’ just isn’t an option.Ì

Forever And Ever

Sit back, watch this video (for at least a week or two, if time allows), and experience the infinite…Ì

A Little Knowledge…

I found this image on Facebook. OK, I know it’s a bit simplistic and Matrix fanboy-y, but it’s still good PR for science (and it is science that got him to the top of that tower – he’s looking at the stars, not Heaven).

So which one is the happiest? Not the middle (Red Pill) guy, obviously. There’s a case to be made for Blue Pill guy, but Science Guy undoubtedly has the best view. What colour pill did he take, I wonder?Ì

Those Who Will Not Hear…

I’ve always (since the invention of cameras in phones, anyway) had an urge to collect and curate odd/unhelpful/incomprehensible signage. It’s right up there on the must-have-a-go hobby scale with collecting images of White Plastic Chairs Of The World (of which more anon – maybe).

So to kick things off, here’s one I made earlier. The photo below was taken last year at a Hans Zimmer Live on Tour concert at The SSE Arena, Wembley.

Note the word “concert” here. Concert, as in music. Music that might be quiet at times, loud at others, but mostly in between, probably.

The Big Question: Who pays good money to go to a concert, then sits through it wearing earplugs? (Though actually, the rest of it does sound pretty dangerous.)Ì

Time For A Change?

I’m becoming royally pee’ed off with my job. Well, it’s not my job exactly – it’s what I do for my (very slender) living. Freelance science and medical editing. For someone with my outstanding social abilities, it’s pretty much the perfect occupation. Work at home, hours to suit, safe from the Hell that is Office Politics… And with copyediting, I get to indulge my OCD tendencies, too.

Except…

The older I get, the more I struggle with even this, most basic level of professional interaction. They email me work, I do it and email it back. When I check my inbox and see an email without an attachment, I know I’m in trouble because if they’re not sending me work, they’re pointing out my mistakes. A different kind of Hell: Quality Control.

“You just won’t be told!” (as my mum might have said, had she said things like that).

But isn’t it considered bad (wo)man-management – communicating with your underlings only to tell them the bad stuff, never the good? Or maybe freelancers’ feelings don’t count?

And then there’s the whole cognitive dissonance thing. Suffice to say, much of the work I edit is diametrically opposed to my dearest-held values, and I know that, in helping these people get published, I am effectively condoning what they do.

In the past I’ve tried to ignore the obvious; someone’s got to do it, I have to pay the bills somehow, etc. The justifications get weaker all the time, though, and taking such a mercenary approach to the way I spend a large chunk of my waking life can never be good for morale, or self-respect.

All of which makes me think it’s high time for a change. But how? And to what?Ì

Pitcher Perfect

Just when you thought it was safe, etc… here’s more from last week’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival. I’ve saved the best until (possibly) last: now feast your eyes (ho ho!) upon these stunning carnivorous plants.

Apparently the larger ones eat not just insects, but small vertebrates, too. Eeeeek!

I don’t know about you, but there seems something particularly horrific about the idea of a plant eating a mouse or frog. Like a bird-eating spider eating, well, a bird. Kind of goes against the natural order of things (except it doesn’t, of course – but let’s leave that for later).Ì