– After listening to this interview with Alain de Botton, I am definitely going to check out a copy of his book, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work. I have avoided his books in the past because I have always thought they looked like too much hard work, so I think I’m going to seek it out in audio book form – I’m much better at reading ‘difficult’ books in audio form, because I can’t skim.

– The husband is taking a serious approach to planning our trip to New Zealand in August, and is creating the most elaborate Excel spreadsheet known to man. I am contributing things like, “I must go to Dunedin and visit this bookstore.” Because visiting bookstores is a sensible thing to do on an overseas trip.

– I was also listening to the Marketplace of Ideas interview with Mark Frauenfelder about, among other things, the value of making things yourself (value in the sense of personal satisfaction, I mean). Which is a sentiment I understand and agree with; I was listening to the interview while tying together chickenwire in the gradual process of constructing Chickendome, which I am finding a very satisfying project. The slow process of putting the chickenwire together is quite meditative. I do tend to romanticise professions that involve the creation of something – for example, I feel at heart that my brother’s carpentry is of much greater value than my own job (although this feeling doesn’t go to the extent of longing to get out and on the tools myself). But really, the idea that we need to handmake things in order to find meaning in life is such a privileged Western preoccupation that it makes me wince a little. I’m fairly certain that those who must make things by hand because there is no alternative would not agree that it enriches their lives.

Me, referring suddenly to an email received several days ago: “But what did you mean when you wrote ‘donk’? Was that a typo?”
The husband, incredulously: “What?”
Me: “You said ‘donk’. What does that mean? Did you make it up? Who uses that word?”
H: “It means an engine.”
Me: “Is that a common term? If I googled it would something come up? And why would you use it to refer to a computer? It’s very confusing.”
H: “You are turning into your father.”

– I have been gritting my teeth with frustration trying to figure out the erratic problems we’ve been having with our broadband, reading with irritation on online forums that my particular modem is not known for dealing well with crappy connections. Today I have updated its firmware, reset it to its default factory settings, played it some relaxing Mozart symphonies and given it a gentle shoulder massage. And thus far it has rewarded me with fairly steady access the entire day. Writing this down ensures that within the next 5 minutes it will all go to hell, but I don’t care – it is always so pleasing when you go painfully slowly through a trouble shooting process and it actually produces some sort of result.

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