Friday 24 November 2023: A Very Good Day

Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay

It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy in the greater scheme of things, and yesterday was no exception. Yesterday was a Very Good Day.

I used to work off a memory stick. A big memory stick (as in lots of room) but a memory stick all the same. Scrivener didn’t really like it and nor did Word. But my memory stick was where all of my critical data was stored. I had so many crashes on my previous desktop computer, that it saved so much time just working off a memory stick because I didn’t have to hunt for the critical data every time or, worse, risk losing it forever.

Also, I could plug it in to any device and carry on working, even if my regular computer died or if we were away from home. I have a notebook/switch that was really useful before Windows 8 was phased out. I don’t have Word or Excel on the notebook/switch, but I do have Scrivener and I do have OpenOffice. And I can access Google Docs and Google Sheets if I need to. I used to love my notebook/switch…

Anyway, I digress… When we moved into the current house, the memory stick went into a general box of office stuff. I hadn’t backed it up for a few weeks due to being raving busy leading up to the move, and there was a lot of material on there that was ONLY on there.

And then I couldn’t find it. Both offices were unpacked and set up in one room and we searched and searched and searched. Every office box was empty and had been thrown away and I couldn’t find my memory stick. I was convinced, then, that it had become wedged under the bottom flap of the box it went into and now that box had been trashed. My memory stick was clearly gone.

Fortunately, a lot of the material that hadn’t been backed up yet had been emailed to someone, usually a client. And those files were still on my webmail. For the rest of it, I resigned myself to the fact it was lost, there was nothing I could do about it, and it wasn’t worth losing sleep over. What was done was done and no amount of worrying or fretting was going to undo it and bring my files back. And I plodded on as best as I could.

Recently, I’ve been toying with kickstarting my touch-typing revision and my shorthand lessons. I have the old Drummond and Scattergood Typing: First Course I originally learned how to touch-type with at school, and I have the Dawn Johnston Teeline for Journalists. I didn’t learn shorthand at school because businesses then were moving away from it. They also advised not bothering with the typing, but I still wanted to do that.

I so wish I’d done the shorthand too when I was fifteen, because it’s still very much in use, both in the police force and in journalism. So I vowed to try and teach myself. Learning how to touch-type was one of the best decisions of my life, but over the years, and with technology advancing as it has, my typing has gone a bit dyslexic. It needs a good polish.

As personal development often goes, my typing revision and my shorthand learning both fell by the wayside, but on Wednesday night I decided to reboot them both.

My first session of the day yesterday was the final week of the classic science fiction course. I want to watch it all again as I’m sure there’s more I’ll pick up on a second or even third run through. The night before, I finally started to read the first book of the set reading list.

When I arrived at my desk on Thursday I pulled out my two books, on typing and on shorthand, from a magazine holder I have. And I noticed something small and red fall between them as I did so… It was my memory stick! I checked it and it still worked and it still had all the stuff I thought I’d lost. So the next job was to back that up to my portable hard drive in case it ever decides to go walkabout again.

I can’t believe how happy this makes me feel. But wait! There’s more!

When I first bought the shorthand book, it came with a CD with mp3 files on it, for practising. I also had an mp3-player – a Sansa – and I transferred the shorthand practice files onto the Sansa. The Sansa also has rain files on and some meditation files. But I hadn’t used that for ages either and it has its own special cable, similar to the old Samsung tablet cable, with a big end. But the old Samsung cable didn’t work on the Sansa. It needed its own.

I knew the Sansa was in one of my pen drawers, but I didn’t remember seeing the cable. As we don’t have CD/DVD drives on our laptops anymore, I didn’t know how I could access the mp3 files. BUT… the cable was in another drawer, along with a load of other cables. (The cable graveyard?) And I mean one of *my* drawers and not one of the poet’s hoarding drawers (before he jumps in with how clever he is keeping everything…).

Honestly, I was so angry on Wednesday after overhearing the practice nurse calling me a liar, and then on Thursday I was really happy. Massive mood swing there.

I took both discoveries as a sign. I’m like that. If something is lost and it isn’t ready to be found, then I remind myself not to waste any energy worrying about it. It will be found when it is ready and when it’s time for me to do something about it.

So now I think it’s time. Time to reboot my old-school learning. We’re going back to basics with a lot of other things, even down to loose tea in the teapot instead of teabags in mugs. I’m also toying with going back to using cash every week too, just to help keep cash in circulation.

I wondered what my third piece of good news would be on Thursday…

Saga Magazine have asked for an interview regarding A History of Cadbury, so I spent some time arranging that and sending them a pdf of the book. It’s been a long time since I did the research for this book. Hopefully I can mug up on the details ahead of the phone call.

When I found the memory stick, I also found some printouts I used to pin to the wall, alt codes for special characters and quick keystrokes. I pinned those to the current wall above my desk and ruined about 8 drawing pins (thumb tacks) in the process. What I could really do with is a notice board up there…

I’m hoping that we might be moving the office and the dining room around soon and I keep seeing piles and piles of papers all over my desk, when I prefer to work at a tidy desk. It’s been like this for months. I started to clear through it all, starting with the wills and lasting power of attorneys. These had all been signed and dated, but I had to fill in the last few details, type up cover letters, package them up, and send them off.

Packages in a neat pile ready to go, I then started to shred the last book I edited before the Vietnam one. I usually put these in the recycle bin, but I realised that this is copyrighted material so I added them to the shredding pile. I started to shred this book, got about three quarters of the way through, and burnt out the motor, I think, on the shredder. I tried again, a lot later, after it had cooled down, but it wouldn’t work.

I retired once again to do some work in the living room, with the intention of working through the poet’s band practice as well.

Today I have a hair appointment and we have to go and collect our new eyes. Monkey Dust have a gig at the weekend, and it’s an early one. We also have the dog’s next monthly injection due.

Have a great weekend.

2 thoughts on “Friday 24 November 2023: A Very Good Day

  1. So glad you found the memory stick! I know that sinking feeling all too well.

    I never learned shorthand intentionally, because early on, when I was starting to do office temp jobs, a counselor told me that if I learned shorthand, I’d be stuck as a secretary forever; they don’t promote secretaries with shorthand skills, because they don’t want to lose them.

    I already knew office temp jobs were just between shows, but that struck me. There was already enough misogyny — and I’ve always had a problem with “exectuives” wanting to dictate information and have other people place their calls. In most cases, they’re not smart enough to be earning those salaries, and their secretaries are doing all the damn work anyway, at much lower salaries. But that’s the whole corporate thing I hate.

    It would have been useful for articles, especially sitting in on trials and doing research. I hope you enjoy learning it (especially since you don’t have to worry about the corporate ladder).

    1. It’s like that here if you get a job in finance. You had better like working in finance because, unless you really put your mind to it, you ain’t never getting out of finance. Clearly, I did put my mind to it. I also dragged myself out of secretarial roles too.

      It was our so-called careers teachers at school (who turned out not to be great anyway), backed up by some of the businesses that came to an open day, who told us we wouldn’t need typing or shorthand. But I still see a lot of people using it. I’ll have to schedule it in, and it will have to be a regular thing. So it may not start properly for a month or two.

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