Monday, March 15, 2010

Only boring people get bored

But I'm very bored.  Very bored indeed.  I've spent all day trying to do something dull with a spreadsheet, and the only spice in this lacklustre task is that whatever dull thing I did with that selfsame spreadsheet two months ago, somebody somewhere else has changed something so that dull thing no longer does what it did.  What am I doing with my life?

The main problem with doing things that bore you is, indeed, that they make you boring.  Just as stupid criminals make for stupid police (thank you, David Simon, for that wisdom) so will work that you can't come to grips with gradually blunt away your edge, until you're left, accustomed to sitting like a drugged labrat, tapping feebly at a keyboard without much conviction that anything will ever be delivered.  If you find yourself spending your thirty-fourth year staring at a screen, wondering if Outlook will actually deign to open the email you're clicking on, rather than just staring back at you like a intransigent jobsworth, then you would begin to suspect that something is a little awry with your life.

And boredom will extend its greying tendrils, unfailing, into the rest of your life.  If you do something that interested you all day, you'll be energised, full of excitement and vim at the end of it.  If you've been training your brain to look at mulch and wait for nothing much to happen, it's going to get confused if you present it with anything else.  Thus before long, you become as dull as the work you do, and then you deserve it.

Frustratingly, if it was just a little bit more dull, I could probably read a book all day without having to pay my work any mind, but it has just that level of difficulty to it that requires concentration, without there being any mental pay off for this effort.  Oh well.  Perhaps it will be joyous and exciting if I do it in a different country.  Or perhaps not...

Anyway, you do what you can to fight the grind.  I came to grips with Google Wave today, in an attempt to collaborate on a script for the Dim Sum Comedy night.  I thought the original script had promise, at least until I read it, and realised that the main joke was isn't-it-funny-how-those-little-brown-people-with-their-own-subcontinent-and-a-bunch-of-call-centres-don't-speak-english-properly?  Oh well.  I've done my best to pull the racist spine out of the beast and replace it with some surrealism and my trademark longwinded dialogue - now it's passed on to the next person to doctor it.  Hopefully now we're being unfair to stereotyped Americans rather than Indians it won't be so offensive.  Or offensive to me.

Then again I'm a solipsist*, so those two things are the same thing.

After that, and having discovered that if you're writing a script and everything is left-aligned, and you'd quite like to centre align some parts of it, that Google Wave seems unforgiveably painful to use, I packed in the idea of using a computer to be creative, and went home to stuff my face with food. 

There wasn't much food left in the house, apart from a bar that combined white chocolate and cayenne pepper, which was utterly repellent, in a very expensive fashion.  The white chocolate was as bland as expected, and the cayenne pepper was completely unnoticeable, until you found yourself clawing at your throat for half a second as it began to burn away at various mucousal membranes.  And then it stopped burning again, which is frankly just a recipe for embarassment.

This foul, hand-made Italian concoction was a hangover from last night, when I made my girlfriend accompany me to see Up In The Air, where George Clooney flies around America, sacking people.  I'd read some positive reviews, some negative.  One person was irate about the massive product placement for American Airlines, but since George's motivation is to amass ten million air miles, he has to do it on a plane of some sort.

(Not that the book was written with an eye to this - there's a wholly fictional airline that he's flying around on, but it's hardly a terrible breach of verisimilitude to have him on a real airline, surely?)

Anyway, Gorgeous George's thesis (largely overlooked in the base novel) is that everything you own will slow you down.  But that isn't as far as his anti-materialistic view goes.  People will slow you down too, and you need to cast them off as fast as you can, so you don't lose any speed.  My girlfriend didn't like this, and although part of the point of the movie is that George's character gives up on this idea and it's demonstrated that he's probably not right in holding to it, she still thought it was an awful movie where nothing really happened.  I liked it.  I really liked it, but I think that was to do with the fetishisation of air travel and ensuring that you avoid queuing through judicious use of carry-on luggage and slip-on shoes.

I was enraptured enough not to finish off that disgusting chocolate bar until today, and quite pleased that the film ends abruptly, in a much more ambiguous way than you'd expect from a Hollywood treatment (but perhaps with a cheery way out if you want to think of it that way), which I was surprised by - I was underwhelmed by Reitman's previous work, Thank You For Smoking, but that was probably because I enjoyed the book even more.  There's no pleasing some people, is there?

* Come to think of it, it's strange there aren't more people like me.


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