Friday, February 01, 2008

What now?

Being a short exercise in self-flagellation

Blogging in the not-so-new office, on my own on a partly-sunny day, Beethoven's 6th Symphony (filtered through Liszt) is playing quietly, throat and lungs behaving only moderately badly.

G and U invited me to move my office here should I wish to do so, and I am thinking of taking up the offer. Several reasons: first, the one or two cappuccinos I drink here are healthier than the half-litre of filter coffee that I would drink at home; it would give me a guaranteed minimum of 2 x 8 minutes' walk every day, which I sometimes don't manage otherwise; thirdly, the discipline of coming here to work, and really working when here, would be very good; but mainly because my landlady has given me notice to quit. (Yes, not even the scare last summer could make me pay my rent regularly. Am I not the biggest idiot alive?) I am looking for a much smaller apartment to save on rent, so moving my office here would be a sound first step.

Discipline would be a fine thing too. I charged 55 hours to the Münsters for January, eleven half-days, in practical terms a quarter-time job. What sort of arsefoolishness is that? Do I expect to keep this job with that piddling pittance of work? To put things in perspective, I spent nearly three times that long lollygagging about in Second Life last month. I haven't touched my own database since before Christmas, customers and partners are beginning to grumble and whine.

The plan for February is to find a new small apartment ASAP, do 120 100 hours work on the Münsters' translation and 50 hours on my own database, and get caught up on taxes for 2007. SL can have what is left; how annoying that I should have just yesterday been offered a Second Job there, but it's highly unlikely to pay an hourly rate that is comparable to what I can earn from the Münsters or even from McDonalds.

So I sit here and wonder in more practical terms, how to move my office here. What is "my office"? Four dictionaries and a computer, really; the translation needs nothing more now that we have access to the Internets here. If I were to do this sensibly, I could get by with hardly any new investment at all: I could use this current (office) computer's keyboard, monitor and mouse with Alberich, carrying him back and forth (because I would still need to send and receive e-mail at home, and no other machine there can run SL. Priorities again, bah). The second-most cost effective step would be to buy another Mac Mini and leave it here, still using the existing KVM setup. Probably the least cost-effective step would be to buy a new laptop as I fantasized before Christmas, when I thought I'd be earning 5000 Euros a month from the Münsters (an impossible dream, I now realize, given that my brain starts dribbling out through my earholes after about five hours' translating; but the real obstacle was and remains my laziness and rabbit-in-the-headlights hysterical frozen-stiff panicking).

Make it so. I shall arise now, and go to the local Mac dealer, and a KVM adaptor buy there, and try carrying Alberich back and forth for a week or so. We shall see.

With that in mind, dear friends there may be some interruptions in blogging and commenting (as there were during the last few months, I know)—and should be some interruptions in SLing—in the weeks to come.

And finally here's Régis Debray writing on "the material forms in which [ideas] were transmitted" in the New Left Review, in which he suggests a new way of looking at historical, cultural, time:
First, what we may call the logosphere: that long period stretching from the invention of writing (and of clay tablets, papyrus, parchment scrolls) to the coming of the printing press. The age of the logos, but also that of theology, in which writing is, first and foremost, the inscription of the word of God, the ‘sacred carving’ of the hieroglyph. God dictates, man transcribes—in the Bible or the Koran—and dictates in his turn. Reading is done aloud, in company; man’s task is not to invent but to transmit received truths.

A second period, the graphosphere, runs from 1448 to around 1968: from the Gutenberg Revolution to the rise of TV. The age of reason and of the book, of the newspaper and political party. The poet or artist emerges as guarantor of truth, invention flourishes amid an abundance of written references; the image is subordinate to the text. The third, still expanding today, is the era of the videosphere: the age of the image, in which the book is knocked off its pedestal and the visible triumphs over the great invisibles—God, History, Progress—of the previous epochs. […]

Yet although these three regimes succeed each other in historical time, each asserting its own predominant forms and modes, it should go without saying that any one of us contains all the ages at once. Inside each of us there lies a calligraphic East, a printed Europe, a widescreen America; and the continents negotiate within us without losing their respective place. Each one of us is, simultaneously, God, Reason and Emotion; theocrat, ideocrat, videocrat; saint, hero and star. We dream of ourselves as standing outside time; we think about our century; we wonder what to do with our evening.
Love that last sentence; how true, how sadly true. Even if you don't want to read the (long, slightly pompous) article, do please follow the link and scroll down to the bottom, and have a close look at the comparative table there (from which the tripartite examples of the last paragraph are taken). I found it fascinating.

Shabbat shalom, my dearies. Enjoy the weekend.

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Blogger Jean said...

Oy, oy! Well, don't push yourself too hard until you feel completely better, huh? Hope you find a small but great new apartment and find the new office space congenial.

February 1, 2008 at 3:41:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Savtadotty said...

I've sent you a most recent Sunday NY Times article on our tripartite future.

February 2, 2008 at 1:17:00 a.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Pacian said...

My office is a mug and the collected short stories of Kafka.

February 2, 2008 at 1:11:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Lioness said...

I think big changes happen only through small steps. You have been living thi way for a long time nowand it seems to be giving you more grief than pleasure these days. I think working in an actual office might do you a world of good, you do need a structured environment, one where it's the hardest to boycot yourself. As for the flat, that too sounds good and would even give you a lovely chance to declutter. If I could I'd fly over to help you, it would be done in no time at all. I truly think sometime life speaks to us and this time it seems to be shouting in your ear. Do listen, living will be so much confier and easier.

BTW, where have you been, sick and all? I rang yesterday, I rang today - NOTHING! *harrumph*

February 2, 2008 at 1:11:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Oh, a new direction. Hope it works better.

February 3, 2008 at 6:22:00 a.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Udge said...

thank you all for the kind thoughts.

February 4, 2008 at 12:35:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Anonymous Pronoia said...

Thinking of you.

February 4, 2008 at 10:15:00 p.m. GMT+1  

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