Les Semaines


what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: The Phonosnout


Wherein I Whine About Work, Just Ignore Me

Being back at work this week really was awful. The transition from totally running my own schedule to going back to regular work days and the jetlag from readjusting my schedule to get to sleep earlier and get up earlier (6:00 most work days) was difficult in and of itself, but it didn't help that people at work were making all kinds of decisions that adversely affected the programs I run without even considering the impact on them--or at least not caring what the impact is. And then we got some very good news about an addition to our offerings, and I just had time to delightedly let a few students know about it, when it was abruptly cancelled.

To add to those frustrations, I was feeling crampy and icky for a lot of the week, and on Friday morning I came into work to find that my work computer had decided to commit suicide overnight. It wouldn't start up from sleep mode, and when I tried to reboot it, it simply wouldn't reboot. No signs of life at all. No loose connections or anything obvious that either I or the computer team could find. To add to this frustration, the backup of my machine is missing. I'm trying not to let this bug me too much, but by late Friday morning, I was just furious. Not at anyone, but at life and work. There really isn't too much I can do at work right now without a computer. So I cleaned two months of dust off my workspace with my bad temper. My office is clean now. Too bad I can't get much done in it.

I have one of my only-slightly-defective laptops ready to bring into work with me tomorrow morning, so at least I can get a few things done.

It doesn't help that I'm bored with my job. Not that I don't have plenty to do, but after 11 years in the same position, I'm tired of doing the same things over and over again each year. And I'm tired of fighting the same (or at least similar) battles with administrative types every quarter, begging the chairs of the departments I work with to let students into classes and to even hold the classes they contribute to the programs. I'm tired of them making decisions that affect my programs without telling me. I'm tired of having two directors, both of whom I respect but both of whom are pulled in so many directions the programs aren't very high on their priority lists. There's a lot I can do to take up the slack there, but I'm tired of it.

It's mostly the repetition that's getting to me.

But what I love about my job:

  • working with the students
  • the people I immediately work with
  • the autonomy I have
  • the flexibility to set my own schedule as long as it's regular and the students know when they can find me
  • and best of all: that's it's only five hours a day and 10 months a year.

So now that I've told you that last one you don't feel sorry for me at all, do you? It does sound slack doesn't it? I wish it were. I wish having a less-than-full-time job meant less-than-full-time stress and responsibility. I do let go of the job while I'm off for the two months, but then I also get no money during that time. Oh, and for the time I am paid I get paid at state worker rates, which means a pittance and few-and-far-between and embarrassingly miniscule raises. Jim's salary has probably nearly doubled in the amount of time he's been in his job, while I think mine has gone up about 10%.

Oh, and one more big thing I should add to the list of things I love about my job:

  • they appreciate my knowledge and skills
Okay, I've almost got myself talked into being happy about my job again. At least until tomorrow morning and the my computer still is dead and another class has been cancelled.

last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing


John Renbourn has an old album called Faro Annie which I have on vinyl and I adore. This week I realized that I have all the songs from one but one on various compilations of his work, so I fired up the turntable which is still attached to my computer, recorded that one song, compiled all the other cuts off cds and burned myself a cd version of the album. What a damn fine thing. Renbourn isn't the greatest singer technically but he sings so wonderfully affectively. And his jangly guitar work is great technically and truly beautiful. Faro Annie is a mixture of tradition blues and folk songs and it's just delightful. I've listening to it about six times since I burned it.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Ben Jeapes' Wingèd Chariot is a fascinating story about a future world this had a limited ability to time travel and also a limited time to exist. The hero, Rico, whose high principles often land him in trouble with the authorities, gets tangled up trying to find out more about an illegal attempt to change the future of the world. This is a fascinating and complicated story--I was a little surprised to find it published by Scholastic, a young adult publisher. This would be a worthy addition to any adult SF line: and best of all the ideas in it feel fresh and creative. Too bad it so far has only been published in the U.K.

I picked up Elizabeth E. Wein's The Winter Prince looking for something interesting but not too demanding to read, but when I realized it was an Arthurian I thought I'd be putting it right down again. I just wasn't ready for that story again. But the instant I started reading I was caught up in this retelling. Like several recent versions of the tale (most notably Ian MacDowell's) this focuses on Mordred's tale. Here he is called Medraut, and he is under the shadow of his mother's magic allure and abuse. As the illegitimate eldest son, he is jealous of Artos and Ginevra's legitimate children, Lleu and Goewin. This is a complicated tale of torn loyalties and changing relationships. I hope the author has more books available, because I found this one fascinating.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Between adjusting to work and not feeling particularly well, I didn't get much done on the novel, but I did get several pages done this work and I don't feel like it has stalled out yet. So dammit, it hasn't. If I can just get moving forward as I get into orientation and the beginning of school, I'll be thrilled. This really is one of the toughest times of year for me to be able to keep writing--well, that and grant season at the beginning of the year. Which reminds me that I also have an October 1st grant deadline. Oh, and only five more days to read a slew of contest entries for a contest I'm judging for Hugo House's Disappearances seminar. I will not lose momentum. Entropy will n o t   w i n . . . .

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

August-September 1977

842. Noise Flows

The reality of it all just jumps off. What? Who? Where? I compute. The noise flows effortlessly--yonder. Here. There. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Head down on the desk, i doze off again. I seek to wake. Uh huh, oh yeah. In my country we seek to find. This is true. Help. Sleep. Sleep-help. Wonder as I wander.

843. Right through this page

I can read right through this page. The next page says "orientation." I am writing over words. I just wrote over "must love people." Those words were written at Crowsnest (longing sigh). I just wrote over "must love God." Those two phrases were/are Crowsnest and what i found there. I don't think i've lost it yet but sometimes I wonder.

844. All about going home

Last day of full-time work. Then i can go home!! Home!! I haven't had my own room for any length of time since April. That's four months. I miss my room. I think it's me again. My room is me. Like it was when i first started Phono. Things have greatly changed since then, only my room just started to change. It will be nice to feel settled again.

845. Mixes (Names)

[Quote from The Beatle's "Rocky Raccoon" about the woman whose name was McGill, who had another name she called herself, but everyone called her something different. Now the song is going through your heard, right? Good.] This is a confusion. A mix. I'm like that, too, but i can't figure out what my name really is--Grace and Glory? Much Afraid? I know i'm known as Nancy and i call myself wipe-out. What does God know me as? Am I Nancy? Am i Pride? Bitterness, perhaps? What if He knew me as wipe-out? This could be a mix. Maybe someday i'll know.

846. University again

Well, here i am back again, after a painful mess of course changes, hassle, and worry. Things are the same, and different. Can't believe it, but i'm finally settling in.

847. Another "it's too early...i'm too tired"

here i am
here i am waiting
can't imagine
can't see
readly don't even
want to know
think i've been waiting
far too long.

848. Wait a moment

Wait a moment, here i am at home & relaxing. So relaxed i can't spell (can i ever) [Omitting a brief quote that i don't recognize. Even whether it's a poem or a song.]

849. Are you kidding?

Phono is an exercise, a stretching, like getting ready to walk many miles (i knew i could do it). Getting ready to write many miles. What a joke, i can't write an inch, but i bluff and dance my way through, i can bluff, i can dance. "A mess!" i cry. I cry. (I lied.) Oh my! [1]

850. Snore

Snore--here i am already, already bored. I have an attention span of .05 seconds. Doesn't allow for much. Here there is too much digression, can't handle it. Another note.

851. So bored

So bored i can't think of anything to say in Phono. Phonology is a science (in linguistics). Aha! Something to know, to note. Oh my. Creation myths. Chaos--Earth & Sky--kronos. [2] Uh-huh. Take my account of how slowly time passes in university. Voice, my shaman.... [3]


1. I had just started a writing workshop with P.K. Page, one of Canada's best-known poets, and I was excited but intimidated. It was a wonderful class and I learned a lot and was extremely fortunate--it was the only time P.K. (Pat) taught. I was in the class with Harold Rhenisch again, and with other people who have gone on to very successful writing careers, especially Patricia Young.

2. This was clearly written in my classical mythology class. I'd read a lot of classical mythology as a child, so much of it was familiar to me, but I still ended up by liking the class a lot. Harold was in that class, too. And I remember how I used to sit in that class pulling out white hairs. Yes, I had them already.

3. This is playing with a poem by my creative writing instructor of the previous year, Charles Lillard, from what is still my favourite of his books, Voice My Shaman and one of my favourite of his poems, obviously where the title comes from. It's the first poem, called "Raven Prayer."

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