They say you learn something new every day.

Posts tagged ‘douglas adams’

Fink and Quotes (08/05/2012)

Another book I’d forgotten I’d read, My Name Is Russell Fink. I think like The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Imperfectionists it’s sort of not really about anything. I don’t dislike that – but weak plots tend to mean I forget books a bit. Even if I like the book. A lesson there, I think.

Then he makes me promise to swallow my note when I’m done with it. After a surprisingly heated and rather childish debate, we agree that I’ll flush the note in a public restroom somewhere.

I like this bizarre detour into minutia. It’s quite real while being funny. Concentrating on the minor details and missing the main point is quite good for comic effect.

I check my mail trilogy — voice, e-, and snail

Bizarrely poetic – and I’m not sure I ever refer to actual mail as “snail mail”. But I like the word “trilogy” here.

“I was in line behind him at the post office, saw his mug shot on the wall, then smeared peanut butter all over his face to subdue him till the cops came.”

“Peanut butter?”

“Yeah, it was right there under his height, weight, and photo. Severe peanut allergy.” 

The thing about this is, it seems so weird, but has an explanation. I like that, it’s like the line in The Long Dark TeaTime of the Soul:

“I’m a private detective.”

“Oh?” said Kate in surprise, and then looked puzzled.

“Does that bother you?”

“It’s just that I have a friend who plays the double bass.”

“I see,” said Dirk.

“Whenever people meet him and he’s struggling around with it, they all say the same thing, and it drives him crazy. They all say, `I bet you wished you played the piccolo.’ Nobody ever works out that that’s what everybody else says. I was just trying to work out if there was something that everybody would always say to a private detective, so that I could avoid saying it.” 

I love this so much. I think it needs a long pause after “I see”. I kept expecting this to make it into the TV series. Maybe next series.

Should be Prohibited (03/03/2012)

Anything invented before your 15th birthday is the order of nature.  Anything invented between your 15th and 35th birthday is new and exciting. Anything invented after that day, however, is against nature and should be prohibited.

Douglas Adams

As well as being very funny, in some ways I find this terrifying.

I notice this with people at work – people who are over 35  do struggle with this.  I’m turning 25 in two days time, so I have a little while to go with things being “new and exciting”.

In some ways, I can already feel it coming. When I first started using Office 2007, I hated it so much I uninstalled it. It was only when I was forced to use it at work, and needed certain features (the ability to view more than 65536 rows in Excel, the ability to have more than three bits of conditional formatting, sumifs etc) that I got used to it. Now, I love it, and dislike Excel 2003. But it was actually the enhancements to certain features that won me over. If there had been a version of Excel 2003 with those features in, I’d have stuck with that.

In occurs to me, again, that change is a real challenge. It’s an effort to change, and so it’s easy to sleepwalk into stagnating. I’m not advocating change for changes sake, but I think it’s important to continually examine what you’re doing. I guess, really, that’s the whole point of this site. In many ways, writing these daily “things learnt” is performative – that is, the act of writing them, in itself helps me to examine my life (“the unexamined life isn’t worth living” and all that).

I haven’t fixed all the things I need to fix (my sideboard is still a mess!) but I’m aware of it, and it’s on my list of things to do. I think, too, before putting something down now.

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