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» Workplace Boredom

Work in an office?
Got a computer in front of you?

Bored?

Right, then.

The machine in front of you is the second most complex, sophisticated and fascinating machine you'll ever use (the first being your own genitals). Computers (like your genitals) are tools for the creation of rather impressive things.

All too often, people expect other people to "work" with computers. This is a silly way of looking at what computers can do; computers are supposed to be our slaves, not our taskmasters. The idea is that they do the boring shit, and we think about stuff and make things that require creative thought.

If your job involves anything that you have to do over and over again, you can automate it and let the computer do your work for you.

Copying sets of numbers from one application to another? Figure out the tab stops and keyboard shortcuts (use the tab key to move between buttons, and space to press those buttons - use the mouse as little as you can, the keyboard is always faster), write them down in sequence, and write a little program to do your work for you.

The above link will tell you all about AutoHotKey, a program (and accompanying simple programming language) for sending keystrokes and clicks to Windows. Over, and over, and over again, until you tell it to stop. The language it uses is really, really simple and easy to understand.

Even if you've never written a program or script before, just give it a go - even if you're computer illiterate, it's a lot easier than you think, I promise. And the worst that can happen is that you'll have wasted an hour on a very interesting if futile activity, and maybe learned something new.

Before too long, after you've realised just what a piece of piss it is, you'll be scripting like mad. You'll have 90% of your work automated, leaving you to do what humans can do but computers can't.

Thinking, and creating.



...now, if you think you were bored before, you're going to be really fucking bored now. You've set up your computer to do most of your work for you. Which is, y'know, what computers are supposed to do anyway, but it kinda leaves you with seven to eight hours each day with nothing to do.

So you turn up to work, you engage in soul-crushing boredom for a good proportion of your life, and waste hours of your best years that you're never, ever going to get back. Unlike money, you can't make more time.

Now, a quick shift in perspective is what's needed; your company is paying you to escape their evil clutches. They're giving you a computer, a salary, and enforcing eight hours a day where you'll be in the presence of this computer with nothing to do but use your imagination. They're practically pushing you out of the door.

Let's come back to what I said before about your computer (and your genitals). Sophisticated, powerful machine to make creation easier. Now, you're stuck in one place all day with a machine in front of you that can do anything, really anything you can think of except think and create. Your company is, bizarrely enough, paying you to be there.

This machine, and the money you're being paid, can help you to be whatever you want to be. You can be an artist, a novelist, a poet, a programmer, a songwriter, a businessman, or all of the above.

I bought some web space and a reseller account, and set up a little web hosting company. Within a little while, it was earning me some nice extra beer tokens each month. I did it all in work, using programs I ran from my flash drive. In between, I was writing some short fiction and posting it around here and there, soliciting donations from readers. It doesn't make much money, but it's something I enjoy and my company is paying me to do it, so why the hell not?

The most frightening part about being self-employed is quitting your day job. The security offered by consistent pay is very cushy, very safe, very comfortable. But if you've got a computer that's doing your work for you and nothing to do, and your company is paying you to be there, then you don't have to quit your day job. Your company is financing your start-up costs.

At least set up something to earn some extra money for you by doing something you enjoy. Preferably something where you do the work once, and then get paid forever.


Some suggestions:

Using your newfound scripting skills, write a nifty little freeware program that does something useful, and submit it to free software websites. Ask for donations from people who like the program.

Make a website. Learn a little bit of HTML and CSS, and use Geeklog or WordPress if you want a blog. Just jump right in, this is the sort of thing that you can learn as you go along. Put something on this website - whatever you want. Put up some ads, and earn some extra pennies. You can even do this in the office without Internet access, just use XAMP on your Flash drive.

Write a story. Again, post it for free on the Internet and ask for donations (you'll actually get paid more doing it this way than with getting published - the publishing industry is a fucking joke these days).

Write a game. This is what I ended up doing, and it's full of foetid midget brothels. /shameless self-promotion

If you don't want or need to make money, make something. Even if it's something internal, like knowledge or strength or self-knowing - change something from being in one state to being in another state, but make it something that will still matter to you after you go home. You can learn literally anything, research any topic you want, using Google and Wikipedia.

Did you know that the kangaroo's reproductive process is akin to a human woman having a baby one month into the pregnancy and then carrying the foetus around in her handbag for eight months? I should probably mention that this handbag has nipples in it. Thanks, Wikipedia. Ever heard of a guy called Nikola Tesla? Look him up in Wikipedia, he invented the 20th Century and his story is fucking fascinating. Look up Pykrete while you're there, too. Floating battleships made of ice and sawdust? Yes please!

Get a pair of these (don't pay that much, though), take them into work and give them a squeeze when you're contemplating what to do next. Give yourself forearms like Popeye.

Talk to other people who are bored at work, whether they're in your office or on the other side of the world. Talk to as many people as you can. Make friends.

If you really can't think of anything to do, think about why you're in this job, how you got here, why you're bored. Sit and think, really have a good proper think, about what you want and how to get it. Imagine what would make a perfect life, and what would make you and those around you happiest, and work backwards from there. Be totally and completely honest with yourself - figure out what you're good at, what you need to become good at, what's good about life and what's bad, and how to fix the bad shit.

But for fuck's sake, do something. Start something, change something, make something better. You, with the help of that frankly fucking amazing machine in front of you, can do whatever you want.

Don't be bored.



Fuck me, that was a long post. And I only wrote it 'cause I was bored.


EDIT: And another thing!

I really, honestly, can't recommend this enough. It's a free program that helps you keep track of all your projects and where you're up to with them.

The general principle is that before you can do anything, you've got to do something else. If something's big and daunting, the idea is to split it up into little bits, and split those little bits up into littler bits, and do them one little bit at a time. It helps you to answer the big question of "Where the fuck do I start," and that's not just for projects either, it's for sorting your life out in general.
(Fri 9th Jan 2009, 20:14, More)

» Accidental animal cruelty

Oxford's Cock
This time last year, I was living with the Librarian Girlfriend in a flat in Pittsburgh, with a roommate who shall remain nameless (for politeness' sake). Said roommate had a cat named Oxford, who was a funny little beast, as cats tend to be.

Oxford wasn't allowed outside, because we lived on quite a busy road. I've never lived with an indoors-cat before. It was strange, and a little sad to see him perched on the radiator against the window, gazing out at the birds and wondering where they go when he can't see them.

I have a theory about indoors-only cats. They're all nuts.

Oxford, in particular, was a fat, filthy little fucking pervert who had the horn for my girlfriend and was not in the slightest bit shy about it. He'd scrabble against the door trying to gain entry when we were having (or trying to have) some "alone" time; he had a perverse fascination with the bathroom and would try his best to follow if he heard you open the door to pee; he adored waking you up by waving his fuzzy little balls in your face (and, sometimes, farting at you too); he enjoyed the occasional shoe humping, and, perhaps most disturbingly, the LGF's underwear would occasionally go missing and turn up in his litterbox, liberally smeared with every conceivable form of feline bodily emission.

Anyway. On to the partially-accidental cruelty. Partially because I did actually mean to do this and freak him out just a little bit, but I didn't expect it to have such a dramatic effect.

LGF was at work. I'm at home, in the bedroom, on the bed, laptop out and trying to get some work done while the first load of laundry goes through. Stay-at-home husband, and all that. Oxford is lying next to me - not so he can be cuddly and close like a nice cat, you understand, but because I have a Dell laptop and it gets so hot it'll warm the room up in winter. I feel movement, and Oxford's sitting up, yawning, stretching and leaving the bed.

A few minutes go past. I hear the occasional rustle of fabric and fur. Eventually, I begin to wonder what's going on, and I look towards the source of the noise. Oxford has left the bed, and climbed into the pile of worn female underwear awaiting the next wash. He's rolling from side to side, entangled in a pair of pink panties, grinning a little kitty grin.

He also has a tiny, glistening pink erection.

He stops rolling momentarily as our eyes meet. I can tell he's pondering whether to carry on shamelessly, or whether to slink off and keep a low profile. He takes a pair of faded pink panties into his mouth, and chews thoughtfully, his swollen kittycock twinkling in the morning sun.

Now, I've never seen a cat with an erection before. I didn't know that they were all... well, lubed-up like that. To this day, I don't know whether they just come like that, or if he was licking it before I looked down. Anyway, "That glisteny wetness," thinks I, "will make for good thermal transfer. I wonder what would happen if..."

I lean over towards him, slowly so as not to frighten him and spoil the fun. He stops chewing and watches me. When I'm about a foot away from him, I purse my lips, and blow directly at his cock.

It's a cold room, and the skin is wet. Think about rubbing an ice cube on your genitals.

There's an immediate result. Oxford jerks and rolls over to escape his own freezing willy, but it doesn't seem to work, so he rolls the other way - still not working! He kicks off from the floor with both feet, propelling himself like a furry, horny rocket as fast and as far away from me as he can - but his back legs don't quite catch up exactly right. They're entangled in pants! He's falling! He's sliding across the shiny wooden floors - all the way out of the bedroom, across the hall and into the kitchen! What's more, he's been struggling and rolling all the way, fat bastard that he is - and he's managed to get himself even more tangled in the pants!

I step over to what is now a hissing, spitting ball of hatred with a pre-worn pair of knickers somehow simultaneously trapping three feet and covering one eye, and gently remove the panties. Oxford slinks off to sulk in the corner, but not before giving me a look that seems to scream "You disgust me."

Length: about an inch and a half, with a furry base.
(Wed 12th Dec 2007, 11:46, More)

» Absolute Power

Fucking with your players, or LIONS LIONS FUCKING LIONS AAAH
I run an online game that some people take far, far too seriously. When you run a game like this, changing a single number in a database can have some pretty massive repercussions for those who play the game all day.

One day I decided that my game didn't have nearly enough lions in it.

So, a new level one monster was conceived:
You hear a low growling behind you, and spin around.
It's a lion. An honest-to-God seven-foot-long, four-foot-high monster - a 250-kilo beast with three-inch teeth, and it clearly wants you for dinner. It must have crept up slowly while you were killing that last monster. Everyone knows, after all, that lions are sneaky bastards.
Suppressing for the moment your natural reaction - that is, to rapidly and thoroughly empty your bowels while squealing "LION LION AAAARGH IT'S A FUCKING LION" and flailing your arms around as it gobbles you up starting with your feet so you can watch - you ready your weapon, hands trembling, and see about giving it what for!

Pretty simple. Fairly mundane. Just a lion. Level two:
You wander through the Jungle idly looking for some action. Within moments you spy a little green man, no higher than your knees. He's wearing scruffy gardening clothes and wellington boots - some sort of goblin, perhaps? Either way, you ready your weapon and creep up towards the creature as it delicately sniffs a nearby flower.
Just as you get close enough to deliver a killing blow, the foliage next to the little man bursts outwards with a rustly crash. An enormous lion leaps through, snapping the goblin out of the air in one quick bite and leaving only boots behind. It swallows, turns to you, and grins. The sneaky bastard just stole your kill! Are you going to stand for that?

The Lion Obfuscation Project starts at level three:
Something catches your eye, and you put your senseless rampage on hold for a moment. Something flickers and dances, peeking from behind a tree - perhaps a snake, or a tentacle, or a... is that a tail?
Is that a lion's tail?
Your knees knock together as you whimper-whisper a pitiful mantra familiar to the noble lion: "oh no it's a lion oh no oh bloody hell it's hiding behind that tree but the tree is so small maybe it's only a little lion but they're such sneaky bastards oh shit oh shit oh shit" The lion understands this mantra the way a fighter pilot understands the beeping of a locked-on target, and seven feet of grinning, snarly beast leaps from behind the two-foot-wide tree. Lions really are sneaky bastards like that.

The eventual goal is to make the player paranoid about anything and everything. A lion could be lurking around any corner, behind any tree, inside any seemingly-awesome box of treasure. Level Four:
Not really paying attention to where you're walking, you stumble into an enormous web! You struggle to free yourself while visions of enormous spiders run through your mind and down your legs!
After several terrifying, sweaty moments you disentangle yourself and realise that this isn't a spider's web at all - it's made out of yarn. Yarn with a familiar, musky smell - yarn spun out of some sort of fur, perhaps even...
The lion cannons into your back, knocking you to the ground. Sneaky bastard!

At level five, we begin to sow those seeds of paranoia. By now, we've set up some rules, that the player expects us to follow.
A very tall man approaches you, wearing a leather trenchcoat and a large hat that casts his face into shadow.
"Excuse me, do you have the time?" he asks, in a rather nervous and timid voice.
"Sorry, pal," you reply. "Watches are hard to come by, 'round here."
"Is that all you wanted me to say?" responds the tall man. "Can I go now? Please? Oh God, no! Don't eat me! DON'T EAT ME!" The tall man pulls the homemade tape recorder out of his jacket and bats ineffectually at the "STOP" button with his huge, unweildy paws. "AAAAAGH!" he continues, shaking the tape recorder. "AAAAAAH FUCK AAAAH MY FEET!" As you ready your weapon the tall man hurls the tape recorder to the ground, his hat coming loose and exposing his long, luxurious mane. He stamps on the tape recorder until the screaming and crunching noises stop, then turns to you, growls, and pounces.
Sneaky bastard.

To fuck with your players, you have to start off slow. Build up expectations. Lions will never hide in plain sight; the player knows this, now. Any lion that appears before them, and doesn't bother trying to hide itself - well, it might be harmless, right? Level six:
You come across a clearing in which a small gathering of woodland creatures sit in rapt attention - they focus on a raised pedestal, atop which sits a throne, atop which sits a lion, atop which sits a crown.
Could it be...? Has the Improbability Drive seen fit to manifest the brave monarch of an imaginary world? Could the dreams of millions of children become flesh and blood, in this place?
The lion watches you with an air of loving benevolence as you timidly approach. He nods, bidding you to kneel.
One heavy paw whips around and impacts against your head, throwing you ten feet to your right. Through the dancing purple spots, you have an excellent view of the stitching in a nearby rabbit. They're not rapt, they're stuffed. And that's not the lion you think it is - it's just a fucking lion. A sneaky bastard of a lion.

Level Seven was kind of a gimme:
There's something wooly and white, grazing innocently just behind those ferns. Excellent - a meal you won't have to fight for! You ready your weapon, and sneak up behind the sheep.
A branch cracks beneath your feet and your prey spins around, the sheepskin flying off to reveal the lion underneath. It pounces. Sneaky bastard.

On level eight, we begin to break the rules we've previously set up. Like the underground sections in Silent Hill during which your radio doesn't work, any change to the status quo, any change to the rules, offers prime fucking-with-your-players fodder. Sometimes it's good to remind your victimsplayers that the rules are for them to follow, not you:
You come across a lion, stood seven feet high on its hind legs, utterly still, with a lampshade on its head.
You lower your weapon in disgust. "Oh, come on! That's not even -" the air is knocked out of you with one mighty swipe of its paw. Hell, it worked. Sneaky bastard.

You can break the rules and then start following them again in the same breath; often this is more effective than breaking the rules and continuing to break them. On level nine we go back to following the rules again:
"Shh!" You stop in your tracks, looking at the bespectacled man crouched on the ground just in front of you. "You'll frighten it."
"Frighten what, exactly?" you whisper.
He turns his attention back to the ground. "See this, here?"
You look where he's pointing. "No."
"Aah," he taps the side of his nose knowingly. "Precisely. My friend, what you do not see is called a trapdoor spider, and it's really very clever. If you look closely at this little patch right here, you'll notice that it's not truly a part of the jungle floor - it's a hinged section made out of dirt, moss and a spider's silk. The spider in question is hiding just behind it. These little strands of webbing, here, let it know when something's approaching, and then whoosh - out it jumps, grabs its dinner, and back in faster than you can say LION-" and he's gone.
For a heartbeat it's hard to say what just happened. It was as though the ground erupted beneath him, there was a flash of sandy fur, claws dug into his skin and pulled, and then he disappeared. It all happened so fast you're not sure you didn't imagine the whole thing.
A muffled voice from underneath the soil screams "LIONS LIONS FUCKING LIONS AAARGH NO NOT MY FEET AAH FUCK AAAHHH!"
The scream cuts off as the lion realises there's still more prey above the soil, and bursts out of its trapdoor to grab you!
Sneaky bastard!

Until now, we've played by the rule that we don't fuck with the player outside of the fourth wall. That is, we don't use the mechanics of the game itself as fucking-with-the-player material.
At level two, the player encounters a professional romance writer, and ends up fighting her. At level ten, the encounter begins the same way, and until the lion shows up, the player thinks they're fighting a much weaker foe:
You come across a clearing in the jungle. Soft sunlight filters through the canopy of leaves, casting little spots of radiance upon a peaceful-looking, bespectacled woman who sits on a log and writes in a tattered notebook.
You decide to head over and sit down beside her. "Hello," you say.
She looks up, glasses sparkling in the sun. "Oh, hello! I'm a professional romance writer!"
The paw seems to come from nowhere, swatting her around the back of the head and knocking her glasses to the ground. Her head drooping on a broken neck, she collapses forward with a tiny sigh. You give the sneaky bastard lion a nod, and draw your weapon.

At level eleven, we use the special events hook to present something that at first looks like the player is getting some awesome loot. We use the same formatting as the "real" crate-finding message, so the player is blissfully unaware that... well, this:
You found something!
You come across a wooden crate, with a small parachute attached. You spend a few minutes prying it open.
You found:
0 Medkits
0 Ration Packs
1 lion! Sneaky bastard!

At level twelve, the double-bluffing begins in earnest:
Something suspiciously leonine is stalking around the jungle just behind those trees there. Readying your weapon, you decide that this is one lion that isn't going to get the drop on you.
You leap out from behind the tree, and attack!
Or rather, you stop mid-thrust. That's not a lion at all - it's some wanker who thinks he's funny, pratting around in an unconvincing pantomime lion suit. There are patches coarsely sewn on here and there, some suspicious stains, and one glass eye is hanging off on a thread.
You snarl. "You daft sod, I nearly hit you! Don't you know that's a good way to get yourself killed?"
The pantomime lion stands up on its hind feet, and clutches its zipper. Slowly, wordlessly, it pulls it down. The lion unfolds itself from the lion suit and stands smiling down at you, seven feet of muscle, fur, and teeth.
You crane your neck back to look it in the eye. "You sneaky bastard."
The lion nods once, slowly, and raises an immense paw.

These lions are tucked away in about three hundred other monsters. It was tempting to make more, but then that'd take away the surprise. Level twelve:
Jungle fighting is hungry work. You'd kill for a sandwich right now.
Fortunately - perhaps Improbably - there's one sat on the log next to you. A six-inch baguette with some fresh-looking lettuce crisping the edges.
With no small amount of caution - you remember vividly the episode with the curry - you pick up the sandwich and look inside. When nothing springs out to maim or embarrass, you take a suspicious bite.
Hmm. Not bad. Not bad at all. Except for this hair that's now stuck between your teeth. It's long, and blonde, and extends right back into the sandwich.
Who do I know with hair like that?
You pull on the hair, and a tail flops out of the bitten end of the sandwich.
Oh no.
A long, sandy-coloured tail with a tuft on the end.
Oh, no no no no no.
You turn the sandwich around, and peer underneath the top layer of bread.
A muzzle bearing dusty fur and three-inch teeth lets out the briefest of growls before you let the bread fall back into place.
You sneaky bastard.
You have precisely two seconds in which to wonder what you'll do with a lion sandwich before the lion in question gives up its disguise, seven feet of muscle springing out and snapping at you.

At level fourteen, we admonish the player for believing in the rules we've set up:
There's a ceramic flower pot in front of you. About six inches across, seven inches tall.
There's a pair of distinctly leonine ears poking out of the top.
Really, it isn't all that unlikely. Lions, as everyone knows, are sneaky bastards.
"You're going to have to do better than that, mate," you say to the flower pot. "I can see your ears, you know."
Two heavy paws thump against your back, knocking you onto your belly. You hit your forehead, hard, on the ground. With ears ringing, you see the lion through a curtain of fuzzy red dots as it stalks over to the flower pot and lifts out the pair of artificial ears before sitting the pot atop its head like a hat. It looks at you with a certain amused expression, as if to say "Fool! Lions are very large and can not fit in flower pots!"
Of course they can't. How silly of you.

And on level fifteen, we set up those rules again:
It's not a bad life, this Jungle Fighting lark. Plenty of fresh air, exercise, birds singing, leaves rustling in the wind, lovely sun and that bloody annoying itching sensation in your underwear. It's been bothering you all day, and now it's getting worse - it feels as though there's something writhing around down there. Perhaps something you picked up in Squat Hole.
You cast a quick glance around for other contestants, before thrusting one hand down the front of your pants to have a furtive scratch.
The lion bursts out of your underwear, spins around on the spot and pounces.


Lions are fucking ace.

EDIT: Yes, this is a real game; Linky for those requesting it!
(Fri 9th Jul 2010, 20:11, More)

» Good Advice

Don't fuck about with kittens.
There's a little grey juvenile cat, barely more than a kitten, hanging out around our neighbourhood. He's got a pretty nasty injury on his side, and needs to see a vet. We've been trying to catch him for the past week so we can get him checked out, stitched up and either set free again or sent off to a good home.

The little bastard's too clever to go in the traps we rented from the animal rescue league. His injury is a raw, infected hole the size of an old British penny - severe enough that grabbing him and putting him in a carrier will hurt him, hence the traps. It's also serious enough to most likely kill him if left untreated, and the traps weren't working, hence why this happened.

Yesterday I was outside smoking and saw my chance. He came right up to me, purring. The cat carrier was on the back porch. It was a lovely day, so I wasn't wearing my perennial biker jacket. A call for assistance would spook him, and he'd run. I had to be natural, and sneaky.

I knew that he was going to bite, and he was going to scratch, and without my jacket, it was going to suck. I picked him up - no problems. I approached the carrier - he wriggled. I scruffed him, and brought my forearm in front of his front paws so he couldn't brace himself against the sides of the carrier. I put him in the carrier, much to his protest, and very, very nearly got the door shut.

That's when he engaged his Super Special Cat Skill - the ability to bend space and time around himself and dig a pair of bloody ditches from my elbow to my thumb. A blink later and my other arm had his teeth inside. I knew that he was going to bite, and scratch, and that it would suck - and he bit, and he scratched, and it did in fact suck, but because I was prepared for it I managed to hold on. Then he somehow managed to get a tooth on either side of my left Achilles tendon, and ripped. That was when I screamed, and the cat turned into liquid with fur on the outside and springs on the inside, and my housemate Deanna came to investigate, and wherever I grabbed there was nothing but air and whispers of fur.

So there's me, having been thoroughly defeated by an injured juvenile cat, trying to stand up and failing, and asking Deanna if we had any hydrogen peroxide. I limped upstairs to meet Emily coming down. We had no peroxide - the best we had was soap and water and witchhazel. Deanna looked up what to do while Emily helped me clean myself up and survey the damage.

Whatever that cat had, I had it now. The cat hasn't shown any signs of rabies - but you can't screw around with that, it'll kill your ass dead if you give it half a chance. We don't know the cat, and we don't know what bit him to give him that injury. A trip to the Urgent Care clinic followed. The doctor took one look, asked us if we had the cat, and when we said we didn't, she sent us straight to the emergency room.

If you get worked over by an animal that even might have rabies, you'll have to have injections around all of the puncture wounds. They suck.

I was thoroughly surprised when the large-bore needle burrowing deep into in my Achilles' tendon area made me go crosseyed. It was the sort of white-hot spiking pain that you just can't shrug off, ignore, or take yourself away from - waaaay up there in the "Most painful experiences so far" tally.

When you have rabies injections, they'll use one great big needle (with a very, very broad tip - almost like a knitting needle) and just squirt in a little bit of the stuff at each injection site. At first I tried to distract myself by chatting with Emily and Deanna and counting the injections through gritted teeth. So, y'know, I could rack up Man Points by telling people I'd had eleventy million large-bore rabies injections and totally not even flinched, mate (while leaving out the part about getting my arse kicked by a kitten). When I got to twenty, and we were still on the left-hand side of my body, I gave up counting and asked instead if the doctor could change the needle for a fresh one, since this one was getting blunt and rather than sliding smoothly into my body, it was building up many newtons of unpleasant pressure before finally breaking through my skin with an audible "plurpt."

And that was when she told me that she'd got one cubic centimeter of solution into me so far. One cubic centimeter out of eight. I looked down at the worst bite mark on my left arm - the one where the mark continued around in an unbroken circle roughly the size of the cat's mouth (yeah, he'd given me a hickey too). It looked like a balloon was slowly being inflated inside, with thin red blood and vaccine solution sweating through the injection sites. I got the feeling that if I poked it with my thumb, a dozen little fountains would spring up all around it.

So, my advice is this: don't fuck about with kittens. They'll have your face off if you give them half a chance.
(Thu 20th May 2010, 16:46, More)

» Procrastination

Doing other things instead.
That's the true meaning of procrastination - finding other things to do, when you know you should be working on a particular project.

Last year I entered a writing contest, along a predetermined theme. The entries had to be based around the idea of a machine that would tell you, from a blood sample, exactly how you were going to die. I saw the post, thought "Ooh! I'll enter that," got a rough outline for three different stories assembled, and then did absolutely fuck all with them for three months.

The night of the deadline. I'm staring at a blank Writer document. Every now and then I tap out a couple of lines, cringe, and have a smoke.

Believe me, I wanted to enter. Hell, I wanted to win. But little things, so many little things, got in the way - jobs for actual paying clients, cups of tea, cigarettes, beer, Resident Evil 4 - I was a busy man! I had procrastinating to do!

And so it came to pass that two days before the deadline, I focussed my procrastination energy into a single, horrendously silly act of intellectual violence against the monster we call "motivation." If I must procrastinate, I thought, I shall procrastinate like a King. I shall procrastinate like the Gods. I shall create a Remarkable Procrastination Device, set it loose upon the world, and show them, show them all, what true procrastination is really all about!

And then I went back to letting my own machine tell me that I needed to Repeatedly Taste my Flappy Crotch, wasting another hour. Damn, it worked too well.

As I went to bed that night, having uploaded this infernal machine to the web, I had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind. Like I'd forgotten something.

Three hours later, two stories were ready. They were of such shockingly poor quality that they might have been written by an inbred orang-utan with a typewriter, a bag over his head, serious brain damage and no hands. But I'd written them. Achievement!

My latest big writing project is a novel about genetically-engineered forklifts. Obviously, I can't put this off by writing a silly little Flash widget to waste people's time, oh no. This is a novel we're talking about. This is big. This is important. It'd take some serious procrastination to do this justice!

...so I wrote an even bigger waste of time instead.

One day I'll take on a project so large, so ambitious, that I'll have to invent a robot that can procrastinate for me. It'll gaze at its mechanical navel all day, and perhaps discover the meaning of life. Or, it'll see how many pennies it can fit in there.

My record is ten.
(Thu 20th Nov 2008, 5:00, More)
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