Friday, December 19, 2008

Work and Whatnot

"Thinking Hat"
Did you know these deceptively little blog posts sometimes take hours to put together? The gooder ones, anyway. (Let's be honest... some of the non-shiny ones too.)

Well, I am sad that I haven't had hours open lately--though for a good reason:
It's the end of the publisher's fall season and that means it's time for stuff I do freelance--proofing and indexing, mostly, at this stage.
Normally I pick and choose among projects but due to financial considerations I have said yes to everything. So I'm sitting here with a pile of manuscripts (half of them are in the ether, actually, but they feel like a pile), all due in a couple weeks.
I have a hard time blogging much when my brain is full of other people's words.

But my brain has also been filling up with blogging oddments--collecting shiny stuff like a magpie has become a habit--so I'm downloading a few here.
And here's a chance to use up some of the delightful Spock icons I yoinked from lemonrocket.

What with the temps hovering around zero degrees F, I've been forcing myself to go back to the YW. Yesterday I discovered that the Y has moved certain of the exercise machines to a new area, where they are all facing a wall of new, high-def flat screen TVs.

I asked the nice young man at the desk if there were any not facing TVs, or if any of the TVs could be turned off.
"It's not very meditative, " I said.
"Don't other people say so too?"

He looked at me tenderly, as if I were a defective panda.
"Most people..." he explained slowly, "want nothing. to. do. with meditation."

So, that would be a no.

Roman Solstice
My Latin-teaching friend Amy writes:

"The Romans called the winter solstice bruma. It's short for brevissima since it's the shortest day. I love the fact that there's a shortened version of the word 'shortest'.
They didn't call it a solstice because that means the sun seems to stand in the sky so they only used that term in the summer.
During bruma it races across. "

Flight Patterns
I ran into a man from my church days on the bus yesterday. He's one of those guys who pin you to the wall and relate facts stunning in their factualness until you slump to the floor, and then they tell you some more. (Very pleasant fellow, just entirely socially clueless.)

But for once, during our bus ride, he told me something weirdly interesting:
For fun, he follows airplane flight patterns--like, flight towers broadcast them on the web? (sorry, I'm vague on these details though he told me ALL ABOUT THEM).

Normally, he said, there are about 50 or 60 other people tracking the flight take offs and landings too.
But during the last visit of the pope, when he was landing and taking off at JFK, the numbers of on-line observers of the pope's plane were "in the three digits."

Occasionally I am stunned to realize that there are whole human worlds out there I am unaware of. These was one of those moments.
Now I am going to proof a book on Sudan, whose idiocies are, alas, all too familiar.


momo said...

happy bruma!

deanna said...

I like how Mr. Spock helped you put together another of your great posts.

"He looked at me tenderly, as if I were a defective panda."

Love it. I've been appraised that way by gym personnel; now I'm very thankful to have my treadmill in a room with two windows and my own tunes if I want them.

May your brain find refreshment as you polish other folks' words. I know you do it well. :o)

fresca said...

I'm glad to know I'm not the only defective panda at the gym! : )

And now we are past "bruma," but it's still -11 (eleven below zero!): eek!

Jennifer said...

I just left your place and now must comment on your blog! Mostly because I know just what you mean about the damn tv. There's a small exercise room here in the apartment building with some equipment, and I've been going there just to burn off some holiday calories (and, uh, maybe catch some alone time). It's got two televisions, and every time I come in I turn them both off. And every time about five minutes later someone shows up and turns them both on to two different stations. :P I put on my headset and put my head down and trudge along. Dang it.

fresca said...

Isn't TV in public places awful?
The first time I was hanging out at a hospital with a dying friend I was shocked that a huge TV dominated the waiting room. And the other people were glued to it.
I didn't know then that the only place you can find quite in a hospital, unless you know where the supply closet is, is the chapel.