ANOTHER FRELLING DAY
ARRRRRGH. I HAVE A BOOK DUE IN THREE MONTHS. I DON’T NEED TO BE DRIVEN ROUND THE TWIST BY TECHNOLOGY.* I have wasted an EXTRAORDINARY amount of time today . . . trying to get Feynman’s SIX EASY PIECES to download onto Pooka. I have already referred to the possibility of a small unassuming fringe of supporting background maths** in SHADOWS, except that maybe I mean physics***, and if it’s the latter, the obvious person to start with is Richard Feynman.†
Every time†† I have tried to download something from frelling www.audible.co.uk except that by now I’m fairly sure it’s not audible’s fault, everything blocks up like a kitchen sink drain full of tea leaves. This time . . . when I’m downloading something I really need to be listening to NOW . . . I’m completely stymied. Every time I jump through these downloading hoops there’s at least one more hoop than there was last time, but I’ve eventually toiled through to the last. Not this time. The audible ap on Pooka just sits there saying ‘connect to WiFi or iTunes’. YOU ARE CONNECTED TO WIFI AND ITUNES, YOU MORON. YOU’RE SITTING THERE WITH A CABLE COMING OUT OF YOUR BUTT AND STUCK INTO THE LAPTOP’S SIDE. The wretched book is on the laptop—it’ll play on the laptop—but it won’t travel down the wire into Pooka, who is clearly manifesting her Apocalypse side. I even swapped cables, thinking it might be a cable problem. . . .
I emailed Archcomputerangel Raphael at about 10 o’clock tonight and . . . because Raphael is both angelic and mad, he answered. He’s on holiday. He’s on holiday and he’s still checking—and answering!—business emails at ten p.m.††† He’s going to rouse poor Gabriel tomorrow morning, who is busy holding down the fort by himself, and try to get him here to scrape me off the ceiling (again) and (possibly) do something about the situation. It’s not like it’s just the downloading problem—it’s my ongoing broadband nightmare. I’m not crashing off the internet as often, I just frequently go to a page and find the ‘page not found’ squatting there like a toad. Refreshing 1,265,928 times will usually bring whatever it is back again . . . eventually . . . although meanwhile I’ve read two more chapters in a book I’m not enjoying nearly as much as I should be due to reading it under adverse conditions. The blog is particularly prone to these Cheshire cat fits when only a fiendish grin is visible. And having got so far, it’s all very well copying from Word and then hitting ‘save draft’ before I hit ‘publish’, in case of accidents, but the ‘save draft’ takes another minute or two and I have no reason to think it’s any more stable that just hitting ‘publish’ in the first place.
And the TIME WASTED. Gazum frelling argleblargle FRELL. At a moment—or rather at a three months—when I absolutely cannot afford to be wasting time—I am WASTING TIME. STRESS. STRESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.
Now let me tell you one more story of straightforwardness and efficiency, although taking place in a different dimension, out here in the reality of bruises and . . . rain. You will remember that the auction/sale did rather better than Blogmom or I were expecting.‡ I hastily ordered some backlist books which have been infuriatingly slow to arrive, not least because once they did arrive on these shores, the frelling carrier (a) kept putting cards through my door saying SORRY TO HAVE MISSED YOU, we’ll be BACK some day in the next MONTH, some TIME between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m., but we’re not going to tell you WHEN and (b) ignoring my emails saying WILL YOU PLEASE JUST LEAVE IT?
I wrote them again over the weekend saying, I have no particular reason to believe you’ll pay attention to this email when you’ve ignored the last three, but this is my LAST try before I attempt to fight my way through your possessed-by-automated-demons phone labyrinth again this coming week. Of course they didn’t answer. But today hellhounds and I went back to the cottage on an extra hurtle because I wanted to fetch Pooka’s other cable, in case the downloading problem was the cable. It’s been tipping down rain most of the day, and I hadn’t been planning to go as far as the cottage again because the rain’s got heavier as the day’s gone on. But I wanted that cable. So we plunged through the door, streaming, and found . . . another card on the floor from the carrier. They’d delivered the box. They’d left it as requested. YAAAAAAAAY.
Um. Modified yaaay. When I tell anyone to leave a parcel, I am very specific about where. Beside the dustbins there’s a little roof, provided by the fair and clever hands of Atlas. Also, it’s a roof, you know? You can see it’s a roof. Roofs are good for keeping rain off, right? So . . . whoever this driver is had left it between the dustbins—opposite the roof, not under it—so not only was it sitting in the torrential rain, it was receiving additional drenching from the run off from the dustbin lids.
But because I had come home for the frelling cable, the box had not yet soaked through. I guess I have to count this as a win. . . .‡‡
* * *
*Which is further yanking me around at this moment. I’m listening to Ruddigore on Radio Three via their ‘listen again’ programme—or let’s say I’m trying to listen to it—and it’s just dropped off the frelling airwaves again. ‘Low bandwidth’ the pop-up box says, primly. The story of my frelling life, lately. Low. Bandwidth.^ Arrrrrrrgh. When the frelling government does all these useless frelling studies of where they can shoehorn in more people—and the whole ‘build more houses!’ thing makes me nuts anyway, when we’ve got a colossal empty house problem already, at least in Hampshire—when they are passing over the whole infrastructure question because it doesn’t suit them to recognise that there is more to be considered than merely plot size for houses, do they even have internet access and broadband feasibility as an item on their list to be passed over? Or is that a dumb question? Don’t answer that.
^ It’s presently not saying anything. It’s not playing either.
** And have therefore terrified most of you into silence, apparently. I did tell you that you have nothing to fear: you’ll only notice it as a lack of polar bears in the desert. Or as I said in the afterword to OUTLAWS: I wanted to make the story historically unembarrassing— I’m aiming to make SHADOWS scientifically unembarrassing—at least up to the point where I jump off the deep end clutching my solemn textbooks and laughing maniacally. At the moment the magic, and the gruuaa, are winning. Which is fine. As long as it’s a fair fight.
*** My ignorance knows very few bounds.
†† Except not every time. That very first book—DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT [American] HISTORY—the first two of its four parts downloaded fine. Nothing like setting the frelling hook before you start fishing in earnest.
††† Angelic. Mad.
‡ And in case you’re wondering why I’ve never given you a final absolute total, that’s because I don’t know what the final absolute total is. It’s not so much the postage and envelopes and pads of A6 paper and things, I’ve got books that were donated by the publishers and books that I paid for—at author’s rate, mind, but still, paid for, and since there are more than two or three of these I need to reimburse myself, which I hadn’t originally expected to be an issue—and I’m going to have to take the whole show to the Tax Man and find out how to present it, and what goes in column A and what goes in column B, because I’m going to have to pay tax on it and then wait till the lovely IRS grudgingly disburses at least some of it back again. This has been a steep learning curve and no mistake. I have every intention of doing a little tiny charity auction again some day, because it’s a perfectly good idea and when you’re not thinking ‘eeep’ it’s also fun, but there’s an emphasis on little tiny. And Blogmom hasn’t forgotten the doodle window, it’s just that all the stuff she didn’t do while she was running the unexpectedly-successful Days in the Life sale/auction, has kind of fallen on her and she’s still catching up.
However, it is safe to say that I will be, thanks to your enthusiasm, writing a Very Attractive Cheque for the bell fund.
‡‡ The continuing saga: when I went to copy and paste into the blog admin window . . . it took six and a half minutes for the thing to open, an additional minute while it thought about accepting the copy and paste I had just (as I thought) inserted . . . and when the words finally appeared on the blank white screen all the formatting had disappeared. No punctuation. No paragraphs. Isn’t life with modern technology fun?
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