Things I do when actual work doesn't take up quite enough processing cycles to keep me from getting horribly bored:


  • Watch documentaries in languages I don't technically speak. So far I'm running about 30% comprehension on a thing on eating disorders which is entirely in Dutch. It sounds a lot like Hochdeutsch with a very French accent, although by saying that I probably just managed to insult all three countries involved. I used BBC Radio Cymru for a while, but it turns out that most radio in Welsh is just as boring as most radio in English. The main point of Radio Verda is to be in Esperanto, and consequently their content is very scattershot and mostly inane.
  • Taunt rats. Getting peanut butter on their tails keeps them deliciously occupied for quite a while.
  • Read up on murder and horrible transit disasters. I don't really like all the death per se, but for some reason those occasions are the only times in our culture where it's acceptable to collect endless minutia in an effort to figure out what really happened. I also find it comforting that things like fatal airliner crashes are so rare that it's still possible to have a page for each of them on Wikipedia. You simply couldn't do that for, say, auto accidents.
  • Along the same lines, I used to watch a positively stupid amount of Discovery Health, back when I was in an apartment that bothered to get cable TV service, and Discovery Health actually showed medical things. I got House-level good at differential diagnosis from endless hours of "mystery illness" programs. Better, technically -- there was no dramatic reason for me to fuck it up three times before getting it right after the last commercial break.
  • Read lengthy FAQs, databases, and papers on topics for which I have no immediately obvious use. I had the flu once and spent the time I would otherwise have just been suffering, waiting for my medication to kick in, stuffing most of the docs on sci.electronics.repair into my head. I also have a lot of anecdotes that start, "It was Friday night, so I was drinking and reading neuropharmacology papers on the internet..." 
  • Taunt the rats again. I get the feeling that mine are unusually well-socialized, even for pets. This is probably because my policy is that it is always rat-bothering time. It's not like the little fuckers have to get up for work in the morning.
  • Look at clothes I will probably never buy. I am seriously considering trousers from Topshop, which may or may not be a sign of impending madness. I have so far resisted the urge to get any kind of Pinterest board, because I have a feeling that whatever they promise, the actual environment over there is going to be a mix of the annoyingly shallow parts of a fashion magazine, plus the bland sameness of your average church social. I'll share if anyone cares, but I do warn you that I dress exactly like you suspect I dress, giant fur collars and all.
  • Knit things. I do not need more scarves. This does not stop me. I've developed a strange obsession with glittery glass beads, which I blame entirely on Moggie. If you want a scarf and have some spare money that you would otherwise just be setting fire to, drop me a line. I already have a box crammed with rat hammocks that are going out to Mainely sometime in early 2013.
  • Back to rat-taunting. I would feel worse about this, except rats are like dogs in that they consider attention per se to be a reward, which they will sometimes even take over food. They figure out how to beg for both very quickly; mine have learned that if they exist and are furry, they will be pet. Which is essentially correct. One of them has furthermore figured out that the easier it is for me to reach him, the more likely he will be the one getting scratchies whenever I walk by their cage, and has consequently taken to sleeping out in the open, on the top of his house, sometimes splort on his back if he happens to want tummy rubs.
  • Write and delete and write and delete and write and delete. You guys have no idea what kind of daft drivel I don't post for public consumption. I usually have three or four things in draft at a time. I'm usually stuck on three-quarters of them because they are refusing to end the way I want. Or because I realize I've just written five pages about some obscure corner of someone else's brain and I realize that normal human beings really don't do this. Plus a lot of letters I don't write, because no mater how neat you guys think I am, I'm pretty sure the Vidocq Society does not really need to hear from me.

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