Tuesday, 27 June 2006

Dear Diary ...

I don't think I've quite got the idea of this blog business. It's supposed to be a web log, right? An on-line diary? I suppose I should talk a bit more about what's going on around me, not restrict it to stuff that's caught my eye recently.

Well, let's see, what happened today?

I failed to stay up to watch the Australia v Italy match in the World Cup. Although I didn't really believe we'd win*, I rather hoped we might sneak through on penalties. You know the story.

I had a brief burst of energy this morning and spent twenty minutes on the exercise bike. Pedalling, that is. I didn't just sit there reading. (But I did get through more of Peter Temple's The Broken Shore. I'm enjoying it so much, I don't want to finish it. Does that make sense?)

A flurry of e-mails pinged into my inbox at lunch time. I had to organise what used to be called an examiners' meeting and is now something along the lines of a student progress board meeting. (The abbreviation is ASPB but I'm damned if I can remember what the A stands for.) To get a quorum for one of these exciting events, we need six people, four of whom are ... oh, it's all too horrible. It doesn't sound too gruesome but it's like a volcano. If you think that the effluvium that comes out of the crater is bad enough, just wait for the pyroclastic cloud. (Does that work? Maybe not. I'll have to go off and polish my lava analogies.)

Having dealt with that nonsense as well as I could, I went for a brisk walk around campus. When I arrived at the hospital psychiatric ward, I thought it was time to return to the office. (Either that or I was convinced I was already back at work.) That invigorated me enough to take care of the next bit of silliness to arrive in the inbox.

I entertained myself briefly by planning a project on cataloguing post mortem artifacts in submerged corpses. This required looking at pictures of dead folks who had their faces chewed off by all manner of mammals. (Mice are much more effective at cleaning flesh off bone than are pit bull terriers. Useful tip.) Then I lost the momentum when I couldn't think of how to get hold of some neonate piglets (dead) to use in the study.

Yes, it's all fun and games at work.

In the world of not-work, the writing is proceeding in fits and starts. I'm chugging through two projects simultaneously—a non-fiction, popular science manuscript and a crime fiction manuscript. I'm not sure having two MSS on the go is the most successful strategy. But who knows? Neil Gaiman says he runs a brace of books, so he can switch between them when he suffers from writer's block. Of course, he's sticking to one genre. And he's a professional. I'll see how it proceeds. If it all ends in tears, you'll hear about it.

*Note the 'we'—if there's a band wagon, I'm riding up front with the driver.

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