I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Friday, 21 October 2016

The little things in life

The new car demands a new mount for the satnav. But the curvaceous dash offers no purchase points and the previous wooden frame, crudely fashioned from wood and painted black to hide the crudity, must be now be ditched. Enter a replacement mat which self-adheres to the dash and offers up a smooth plastic (glass?) disk which accepts the satnav's sucker.

This is not a story which leaves me looking clever.

Disk and sucker mate, staying together for a week. Then the suction dies and the satnav tumbles into the car's foot-well. Brother Sir Hugh suggests attaching Velcro pads to the disk and the sucker and letting their tenacious hold do the job. "You may find it difficult to tear them apart," says Lord Hugh, Duke of DIY.

I install the Velcro; disk and sucker disengage in one second flat. "Am I missing something?" I ask.

"You do know that Velcro comes in two parts: a smooth pad and a hairy pad?" says Bro. I didn't, perhaps because the instructions came in picture form. I do as I'm told and it works. But a little part of me inside dies.

DEATH THROES I'm using Waly, Waly (arr. Britten) as a way of smoothing the rough tone of my singing voice. It's a simple tune with a narrow range. I decided I'd post it for all to hear. Recorded it ten times and deleted it ten times. Went downstairs to examine knives, nooses, and various poisons. Came back up: recorded/deleted it a further ten times. Went downstairs having decided to drink myself to death.

Ten more times and THIS will have to do. Alas, still some wobbles,


Avus said...

I grinned at your efforts to attach the Velcro, RR. What is obvious to some who have learnt from experience may not be so others who have not that experience - you will know next time, now. I spent 5 years learning blacksmithy and always found it better to ask for instruction before attempting a job. If your mentor is a craftsman who takes pride in his work he will be happy to explain to you. Seeing a bodged job would have been an anathema to such a one. Never be ashamed to ask - we all have a starting point.

I was also amused at your recording frustration and heartily concur about your final suicidal method! Having listened to your eventual, successful recording it was worth it, Paul Robeson

Roderick Robinson said...

Avus: Ah, but will I know next time? Chances are I'll have forgotten. There are possibly a dozen regular tasks on the computer I perform at well spaced-out intervals (not least when I post audio files on Tone Deaf) for which I persistently forget the procedure. A typical one is when my finger accidentally brushes the key which enables Overwrite, leading to maddening symptoms when I write comments to my own blog. I think I've finally fixed the solution (ie, press Insert) but it's taken years.

As to the old saw about "If a job's worth doing, etc, etc" I see it as imperfect wisdom. More often the choice is this: Which is preferable? Leave the job undone, or bodge it? For me this is true DIY realism. These days it takes an enormous act of will-power to face up to some task and, once it's initiated, my overriding desire is to finish it. Preferably within the hour. More and more often I pay an expert and enjoy watching him. Thus my modified version: "If a job's worth doing, hand the pleasure over to someone else." And if the expert bodges it I see it as confirmation that at heart we're all one huge incompetent community. As Schiller puts it "this kiss for the whole world."

It didn't take long for me to become dissatisfied with that version of Waly, Waly you heard previously. At least singing is one area (the other being writing) I do strive for perfection. I had some further ideas, had another ten goes, and - reluctantly - posted the last attempt. I'm comforted by the concept of WIP.

Avus said...

Lord Finchley tried to mend the Electric Light
Himself. It struck him dead: And serve him right!
It is the business of the wealthy man
To give employment to the artisan.

Roderick Robinson said...

Avus: Luke 4:23. "Physician heal thyself."

Time for you to close down the smithy for good and contribute to the local economy.

MikeM said...

Just last evening a friend of mine posted a FaceBook inquiry about his electric panel. Said his water pump wasn't working, he'd tried replacing the pressure switch, and in the process realized he was unable to power down his circuitry using the "main" circuit breaker in his panel. Several engineers weighed in with opinions such as "ground lost to one leg" and "neutral not continuous", and tried to coach him in the use of his multi-meter. Finally a fella in Germany asked him to post a photo of the panel, and the first pic he posted was of a 200 amp main breaker, top center of the box, with no wires connected to it. My friend has now deleted the entire thread of comments AND his inquiry, and hopefully considers himself lucky to be alive and able to do so. I'm sure you were in some small way delighted to finally learn about the mechanics of Velcro. A brave man writes about ignorance realized. A braver man posts acapella sound files. Beautiful tone, drifty pitch - I'm sure hews closer with accompaniment.

Roderick Robinson said...

MikeM: That's a great anecdote, one reason being it incorporates several interesting strands (not least: dependable guys, those Germans). But the bit that concerns me - beyond the fact that your pal survived, don't get me wrong, I'm glad about that - is what you might call the morality of editing. What is society's judgment on people who use social media to do what they cannot do in real life: adjust the way society sees them?

I mention this because if society reckons it's an offence then I'm a serial offender. I've frequently gone back to posts and tweaked literary errors to make me seem a better writer than I was first time round. Again, if this is an offence, then I am doubly guilty since - if I'm honest - with most of the stuff I write it's the style rather than the content that's more important to me. In fact there've been occasions when I've advanced some moral proposition, realised I've bollixed one of the premises, gone back and re-jigged the whole thing so that it now supports my original view. I'm able to do this because I often post early in the morning and I'm able to have second thoughts before anyone's read me.

I go further. Occasionally I've deleted whole posts on the grounds of style.

And yet, and yet... In the old days when I wrote for a living, an article didn't become an article until someone else had read it.

The post you mention is one of those rare occasions when style worked in the other direction. Telling the truth and showing myself up as a fool made for a more entertaining post. And let's face it, Tone Deaf isn't offered up as a source of philosophical rectitude. If I'm anything I'm an entertainer.

I am touched - truly touched - by the way you comment on posting the a capella audio file. It suffers the fault you mention and it did demand a sort of bravery plus, if you like, a degree of self-punishment. I'd gone on so much about my dithering: should I post audio or not? Weren't readers entitled to some sounds, warts and all? I decided, not without a great deal of reluctance, it was time to expose myself. No, not that way.

And yet there's an ironic twist. A huge (beneficial) Damascene moment occurred at last Monday's lesson which just conceivably might make that a capella file out of date. Too complex to go into here but I will be posting. And truth should outweigh style, although there's no reason why I shouldn't shoot for both.

Many thanks.

MikeM said...

I say an article is STILL not an article until someone reads it. In cyber world it will only become(since it is rescindable)an article to one person at a time, and to as many as read it. Of course the last part could be applied to paper copy as well.....an article is an article - out there forever and irretrievable. But what if no one ever reads the paper copy? Why, given the opportunity to have access to a story forever, shouldn't the editor continue to edit? I'm sure the ability to do this is a factor in our occasional "premature release" of "written" goods. Oh, and let me add a "to" to the last sentence of my previous comment.

m said...

No....wait.....strike the "to"....it needs an "it".