Posts Tagged ‘IT’

h1

hidden memories.

January 22, 2012

Lately I have been in situations which have triggered me to remember things that were long buried in my childhood and adolescence. These are things that I had basically forgotten about, and aren’t really important but they make me pause and think “did I really do those things? I was evidently such a different person back then!”

Toby recently bought a book about fonts called Just My Type, and he has really been enjoying it (I might be borrowing it from him afterwards, though I have two books queued up to finish first!) and we have been noticing the uses of Century Gothic (our favourite), Helvetica and so on in the public domain and media. We were in Starbucks in Richmond yesterday and Toby observed the use of various fonts on the menu boards, napkins and articles on the walls – it was a little bit random and I think that it is probably down to different things being created at different times. I subsequently remembered that in Year 7, I had an IT lesson where we actually created our own font and we had to engineer the spaces around the letters so that words didn’t look too spaced apart etc. It was interesting, but not really anything in itself to write about. The thing that interested me is that I was 12 years old when this had happened, and yet it felt buried in my past and when remembering it, it was dim and cloudy like I was remembering the life of another person.

I suppose this is proof for the fact that at 12 years old, although we feel like young adults and don’t want to be referred to as ‘children’, we still have a lot of growing up to do and by the time we are fully-formed adults, we have changed a lot. Recently I was working on some lyrics for some new songs, and I remembered that when I was a teenager (12-14 years old), I spent quite a lot of time on the internet writing poems and sharing my poetry on forums. Now, these poems were probably frequently bad, but it didn’t matter – at the time when I was still only allowed on dial-up internet for half an hour each night (remember the days?!), it was the most important way for me to express my innermost thoughts and creativity, and read others’ as well. As I shared things that I had written, I made friends and ended up being invited to another forum where I would contribute regularly, and I also remember most of these people being quite Christian and I believe from the southern USA. At a time when I was still questioning my own beliefs as well as discovering my own sexuality, there were certain things I could talk about and others that I couldn’t, and from a place where I had been granted freedom of expression without judgement, I found myself (even at 15 years old) being careful about what I could and couldn’t say for fear of backlash from people I didn’t know that well and yet knew intimately. I didn’t stay on the forums for much longer after that (although I wrote poetry infrequently and headed up the St Anne’s Creative Writing Society with my friend Daria in my second year of university) because I could tell that I was headed on a different path to the other people on the forum, who were all adults and knew themselves already. I didn’t leave on bad terms, and I think that the forum fizzled out naturally shortly afterwards, but to think that for a substantial period of my teenage years this was one of my main hobbies, and yet now I barely remember it and it feels like I am looking at my adolescence backwards through a telescope. How far I have come is a very good thing, but it’s something that I can only really appreciate when I compare it to where I started from.

Advertisements
h1

killing time.

September 16, 2009

So it’s 9:38 according to the clock in the corner of my laptop, and I’m writing this post from work (WordPress is blocked by the NHS so I’m writing it now and will post it up this evening when I get home… by which time the future tense will be present) because I am conscious that as I’m staying with my grandmother so that on her return from Italy, she’s not immediately in an empty house, I wouldn’t be able to blog.  I started work at 8:30, and less than an hour later, I’m already bored and without very much (read: nothing) to do.  I have tweeted from my phone (Twitter is also blocked at work! Damn those pesky IT people) and texted Hannah; I am listening to Brandy (Never Say Never) on my iPod with Mariah Carey (Rainbow) queued up; I am going to gaze at my Gucci bracelet and possibly email a picture of it to my parents in Barcelona, because they taunted me over the phone by telling me how many designer boutiques they had been past.  No need to rub it in!

So writing this blog post in advance is tantamount to me killing time, which seems to be a lot of what I do at work these days!  (As I type, one of my colleagues is demonstrating his juggling skills, so it’s obviously not just me. 😉 ) It’s certainly a step up from my previous job, where there was always a sense of urgency for rarely a legitimate reason, but it dawns on me that often, what we do in life is kill time.  Reading American Psycho on the bus, Patrick Bateman describes how he spent the majority of his summer “in a stupor, sitting either in my office or in new restaurants, in my apartment watching videotapes or in the backs of cabs, in nightclubs that just opened or in movie theatres or in new restaurants.”  Basically, we distract ourselves by doing things which seem “special” to fill up the time, except we spend so much time socialising or going places to socialise or entertaining ourselves, it’s depressing when I start to think how little we actually accomplish that matters.  What am I trying to do with my life?  Well, I work to save up money so that I can buy jewellery – as much as looking good is important to me, and as much as making yourself feel special is something that cannot be underrated, it hardly matters in the scheme of making an impact on the world.  I save up money so that I can have driving lessons to get a car so I can travel.  Okay, that’s important in terms of job skills and life skills.  I am starting university on Monday to gain a qualification in Careers Guidance, so that I can help younger people realise what their options are, both educational and vocational, in order to get to where they want to be.  That does count as making an impact.  In the meanwhile, the only other important thing I do that could potentially touch and enrich people’s lives is my music, writing and producing and singing songs, practising piano and guitar so that I can accompany myself, and lately completing my album booklet and taking pictures of myself and photoshopping moody dark/neon scapes to complement the whole mood of the album.  I guess that I am trying to enrich my life at the same time as trying to touch other people’s lives and make a difference, and there is nothing wrong with that.

But it’s how much time we kill in between doing those things.  I mean, nobody, not even Beyoncé, can work 24/7, and we all need some down time and some “us time” and we all have the right to enjoy our lives and have some fun.  Not everything is so serious, and as I’m growing older I’m learning to realise that more and take things a little easier when it’s okay to do so.  In between laundry and checking on my nan’s house and turning on the fridge and watering the plants yesterday, I watched a few dvds and ate Dominos pizza. But the amount of time we waste is just insane, because we don’t even realise that we’re doing it.  And yet, talking to Ebony on Monday, I was talking about the unspoken pressure put on us by older generations that although I am 23 and she is 24, we should have managed university and got a steady job and be on the way to buy a house and drive and be looking to get married in the near future.  The world is a different place now, and the economy means that jobs and money and affordable decent places to live aren’t as easy to come by as they once were.  I consider myself lucky to have finally escaped retail and got a position in an office where I feel comfortable, am better paid and often do a lot less 😉 I also get to use my brain a lot more, and I feel more valued because of that.  But there is a tension between it being okay to kill time, and then a sense of urgency that before we know it, we will be 30 and single and still living at home and a failure at life.  Please!  I have no intention of letting that happen, and although sometimes life happens beyond your control and deals you a bad hand, I’m determined to make a bid for independence and career success very soon.  I am making moves towards that with my new university course and increase in money, which will hopefully get me a driving licence and a qualification with real job prospects come the end of the next academic year.  But it’s hard to keep a sense of urgency in perspective when it’s also so easy just to kill time and do things which seem unavoidable but are semi-unnecessary.  I don’t know where to find that balance or how to achieve it, but at least I know it needs to be done.

h1

hoax.

August 12, 2009

I remember a quote from Cruel Intentions which is a great place for me to start today.  At some point, Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character says to Selma Blair’s character re. sex (I think), “Everybody does it, but nobody talks about it.”  I feel that I am on to discovering something about office work.

Largely, people sit around doing nothing.

Ok, you can all feel free to say “duh”, but let me walk you through my day at work today.  It is not very long and not particularly exciting.

08:50 Arrive at work, open up my laptop and discover my boss is not going to be in at all this week.  (I only work Weds – Fri)  So much for needing to be “supervised”!  Ever since the first two days of my job, I have worked unaccompanied and contact my boss (who works from home) via email.  Mine are full and courteous and punctuated and friendly, his are one-line responses which suggest he doesn’t really like using the computer.  I won’t take it personally though, because this appears to be how everyone communicates at the hospital.

09:00 I set about delivering the small amounts of stock that need to be distributed to wards.  At the dental hospital, I encounter an intercom that nobody appears to answer.  After 5 minutes, a man walks up to me and informs me that he can’t let me in because he “doesn’t know who I am”.  I show him my clerical NHS badge and he decides to help me.  Once inside the building, I find all the admin desks are manned, so why nobody was answering the intercom remains a mystery to me.

11:15 I attend a Swine Flu Information presentation for half an hour, which involves watching a Powerpoint Presentation while a nurse delivers incredibly obvious statements such as: “Swine flu is different from seasonal flu, because you can catch swine flu all the year round” (I nearly raise my hand and respond “yes, this month is August and therefore not the winter”, but restrain myself) and “if you think you might have swine flu, go on the swine flu website”.  Nevertheless, I stay awake.

12:30 After returning from the presentation, I start doing some more Health & Safety online training (which I’m supposed to do as part of my induction, just as I am supposed to be “supervised” at the start of my placement).  Halfway through a module, it decides to not work, so I go for lunch to McDonalds.  The queue is ridiculous, especially considering that there is another McDonalds about 5 minutes’ walk away.  Obviously it’s the eating venue of choice in central Bristol.  I haven’t been for a couple of months in the interest of my health, but I indulge today and my burger and chips and dips are suitably yummy.  I read some more of Glamorama, which I am thoroughly enjoying.  Bret Easton Ellis is my authorial discovery of the year methinks! (I know, I am late)

13:30 I return to the office, making small talk with one of the nurses and encountering no success with running my Health & Safety tutorial.  I do a couple of other tasks, then return and call the IT Helpdesk for the third day running on this job.  (I have worked there a total of 4 days.) I inform them of the problem, and the guy valiantly tries to fix it through remote access to my laptop.  Of course, he fails.  I am promised that an engineer will contact me and come to fix the connection issue.  The nurse in the adjacent office tells me just to use one of the vacant computers at a nearby desk, and I finish my tutorial.  I “learn” how to roll my eyes, shrug my shoulders and wiggle my fingers, all in the interests of maintaining flexibility in my limbs and avoiding RSI.  I also defiantly slouch in my chair, rather than obeying the rigid recommended posture (with a picture of a spinal column for my reference).

16:15 I call the IT helpdesk for a third time to inform them that I will be going home, as the engineer hasn’t called and if he were to call now, I wouldn’t be there.  The man on the other end of the phone believes that I am implying that the engineer did not come fast enough, and begins to get huffy with me.  Those exercises came in useful after all: I copiously roll my eyes.  I am promised that somebody will call tomorrow.  I go to the nurse next door, Julia, who has kindly volunteered to sign my timesheet in my boss’ absence, except nobody knows what band or code I am supposed to be entered under.  We go down the corridor to the temp bank office, who inform us that “it doesn’t matter, they can fill it in”.  Julia is as bemused as me, and I go home.

My day seemed to be a battle to find things to do.  I spent quite a lot of empty periods smoking, texting, on MSN on my phone, playing Minesweeper on my laptop, and although I perhaps shouldn’t be complaining, I really am not stimulated!  I am slightly warmed by the fact that I am getting paid for this.  My boss constantly reminds me to “take my time” because I apparently complete his tasks too quickly, but I don’t exactly rush.  Being unsupervised and left to my own devices, and considering that my job involves walking all over the hospital, I could quite happily walk to Starbucks for an hour and have a coffee and read my book, undiscovered and getting paid for it all the while.  I’m not sure if I feel audacious enough to do this, but considering that my boss already emailed me saying “tomorrow will be a light day” (as if today were a heavy one!!!!!!!11), the fact I’m considering it doesn’t bode well.  Well, it does for Starbucks’ pockets and for my caffeine intake, I suppose.  But if this is the working world, and if this is how most people work (I reiterate that I work in a hospital, where time is usually of the essence and in principle, lives hang in the balance) day to day, I am going to need more stimulation.  I dream of working for Gucci, for Armani, for Prada and shaping the whole world through fashion while rushing from place to place, flanked by fabulous forward-thinking fashionistas and speaking into 3 different cell phones in 3 different languages.  I dream of being a famous singer and travelling day and night from country to country, singing and dancing my ass off and making hordes of people smile and laugh.  I don’t particularly dream of daydreaming (how meta) as I sit uninterrupted at my desk, typing emails and maintaining spreadsheets, but I guess it is better than the Perfume Shop! It’s certainly easier work for better status and pay, but I just feel like I am uncovering a big hoax, that the people who do supposedly vital or important jobs aren’t really any brighter than you or me (often, less so).  I guess that I should have known all along. *rolls eyes*