The Meerkat Muse – 24th Jan 2024

Come and Muse with me! What’s been happening ‘kats?

Extra Work

If there is one thing I truly cannot stand, it’s when extra work is created for me, through the actions – or errors – of others. This happened a couple of weeks ago with price changes at work. After replacing and updating point of sale on the Tuesday, an email came in on Wednesday morning, advising that around half of the new sale tickets were in fact in error. Cue having to reprint all of them, because there wasn’t really a more straight-forward means of changing them.

I do understand that mistakes happen. Lord knows I make plenty of them. If I make a mistake, that’s on me, but when someone else makes a mistake that creates extra work for me… well, I’m entitled to be a bit aggrieved. In fairness, we’re not talking a huge job here, it’s just tedious.

My rule is ‘don’t make extra work for yourself’. Life will create a lot of stuff for you to do, without you making more. You need some down time. I went as far as to write about this the other week; playtime is important, even for adults. We all work hard enough as it is, in some way shape or form, so it’s aggravating when more stuff lands on my desk, so to speak, because of others. It cannot be helped in some circumstances, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

The Cold Snap

Time to wrap up!

Since early January, the weather has lurched from relatively mild, to around the freezing mark. This was always inevitable, and it is always unwelcome. Meerkats enjoy the sun, they do not enjoy the winter, and I am already fed up with the icy conditions. I am eternally grateful that my workplace has heating, which usually takes the edge off. Of course, the walk to and from work is nippy.

How about a nice hot bubbly bath? That’ll warm up the core.

I’m grateful for the bubbles!

Phone Fails

I recently broke my flip phone, and as I cannot afford to replace it or repair it, I am making do with a much older device. This is frustrating at times, not least of all for if I want to indulge in any mobile updates to Meerkat Musings, but it is my own fault, so I have to bite the proverbial bullet, and get on with it. For the essential stuff (calls, texts etc) it’s fine.

Alongside this, my daughter has twice managed to get chocolate in the charging port of her phone. Fortunately, I have a device that can scrape away the chocolate without damaging the port, but I sincerely hope this does not become a habit!

Not Feeling Personable

There are times when I want nothing more than peace and quiet. Working in retail, you have to deal with people, and people are generally speaking, annoying. Customers generally come into the showroom at the worst possible time too. For example, when a colleague nips out to lunch, I may be on my own for a spell, and you can guarantee that the store is dead, until that moment where my colleague steps out the door.

I swear that the fates know the precise moment when it would benefit me more to not have customers in the showroom, and choose that moment to have several groups come in and out. It’s incredibly frustrating, and it often overlaps with when I may want lunch too. If this is a game being played by the fates, they’re being rude and annoying.

The Scare Campaign Begins

I was going to fold this post into my regular Meerkat Muse, then decided it can live as a standalone post as well. The other day, a leaflet got shoved through our letterbox, and it represents the emboldened hard right of the political spectrum. The party known as British Democrats (I will not be linking to any part of their online presence) are proclaiming themselves to be genuine patriots, they speak of preserving ‘traditional’ British values (without defining what these values are), they want to defend the British way of life against wokeness (again, their leaflet offers no definitions), they are rabidly anti-immigration, and they want to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights. Oh, they also want a ‘complete and full Brexit’.

This is all designed to appeal to hardliners, many of whom don’t understand that the stuff we’d lose via a hard Brexit, and withdrawing from the ECHR, would far outweigh what we gain. The country is already suffering from the inevitable consequences of Brexit, and leaving the ECHR would compound our woes. Immigration is often wheeled out as the bogeyman during every election cycle, when the root cause of so many problems in the UK has nothing to do with immigration. I have said it before, we have the resources we need to greatly ease problems like homelessness and poverty, but unchecked greed is the chief barrier to doing anything about it. These ‘British Democrats’ wouldn’t do anything to fix this. Are they really going to invest in building afford council housing? Will they really invest in the NHS? Or will they be just like everyone else, and place profit and money ahead of everything else?

The only possible purpose this leaflet serves is as toilet paper.

Irksome Events

I have felt sort of cranky lately. I consider this out of character for me, but lately, everything has been annoying me. From assumptions that I cannot follow simple instructions, to buses, and the general experience of having to deal with people, I have been irked by numerous things.

Is it January blues? We’re in the middle of a long, cold month. The weather has sharply turned frigid, and the sequence of early starts for work, the turmoil that’s been going on there, and to top all of that off, a washing machine that threatened to be on the fritz (fortunately, we fixed it) has all conspired to leave this meerkat feeling frazzled.

I don’t know what I want. That’s the sum of it. I seek peace, but in what form? I seek relaxation, but how to relax? I am tired, and cannot shake my lethargy.

When the Headline News is Anything but…

Last week, the BBC broke a news story. Breaking news, especially the headline news on the BBC site, implies something very serious is going on. The story? King Charles is to have surgery to treat a benign prostate condition.

It’s at moments like this where I have to wonder what other story the government wishes to keep out of the limelight. Could it be the rise in inflation, or perhaps the turmoil surrounding the cruel Rwanda deportation scheme, which is backfiring massively? I do not wish the King any ill-will, and I hope he emerges from the procedure in one piece, but given everything else going on, does this qualify as the story that should push other things off the top? I don’t think so.

Owning versus Subscribing

Via Twitter, I became aware of discussion from gaming company Ubisoft (think Assassin’s Creed, among other games). Philippe Tremblay, Director of Subscriptions, spoke of how gamers have been slower to embrace digital media than others. A lot of gamers prefer to own a physical disc or cartridge, rather than solely relying on a download. There is a sense of ownership that comes with that (as should be the case, after spending anywhere from £50 to £80, as seems to be the case these days). Subscription-based models tend to remove the concept of ownership. Downloads sit somewhere in the middle for me, as I still technically own whatever I’ve paid to download, but streaming and subscription services… well, gamers are not comfortable with sacrificing ownership of what they have spent their hard-earned cash purchasing.

In the long-run, TV, movie, music and gaming businesses would love everyone to be tied into subscriptions. There’s more security of profit for them, but I don’t like the idea of not owning what I’m paying for. Nonetheless, we’ll probably see a continuing drift towards subscriptions in the gaming industry, along with everything else, because that’s what the fat cats want.

The Jinx Jar

My daughter and I have recently been enjoying some hilarious exchanges, which have had the by-product of driving my wife mad, which has only made my daughter and I laugh even more. We keep jinxing each other, we maintain a lot of banter, and now, as a result, my wife has banned our catchphrases. If we utter the word jinx, we are to put a pound coin in a jar. If we utter any of our other phrases, a pound goes in the jar. This means it’s time to develop new routines. The banter must continue!

Editing Away

My brother has been helping me to tweak Fontana & Istilor, prior to its upcoming release at the end of February. I’ve also been doing some editing, mostly to do with grammar. Alongside this, I’ve been rather aggressively pushing it across social media, and alongside that, I’ve been aggressively marketing The Awakening, and working on the sequel as well. I’m up to nearly 63,000 words, and more than ever, I have a clear idea where I’m taking the story. It is shaping up to be emotional and tense!

Treacherous Dreams

Owing to the compelling drama of reality TV show The Traitors, I have had a couple of dreams about the show. In one, I was in the show, and reached the final three, though I had the impression I was being voted for by members of the public (needless to say, this felt quite good, it meant people liked me!). In the other, I was in a contest with some of my fellow contestants to find… I want to say a particular door knob? I had to take it, and get it back to the host, which was either Stan Lee or David Attenborough. Cue running through a strange house, and the grounds of said house, until I successfully completed this mission.

These weren’t the absolute weirdest dreams I’ve ever had, but they were certainly fun! Speaking of fun dreams…

Ask any man, and he will tell you that we sometimes get, um, excited during dreams. This is perfectly normal, yet sometimes the dream that triggers these responses is completely unconnected to what our bodies are feeling. Case in point, I once had a dream about buying fish and chips from a vendor whilst out and about. I enjoy fish and chips, but all of a suddenly, I was really enjoying them! The other night, my dream was about watching someone else play Super Mario Maker 2 (it was, by all accounts, a weird, tricky level). There was nothing suggestive about that content, yet all of a sudden… !!!

The human subconscious is baffling and mysterious, and it can lead us to strange manifestations. The ‘manifestations’ from the other night were certainly pleasant at the time, if somewhat awkward to confront in the morning!

Uncertain Times

In the past, I have spoken of challenging times at work, and alongside my (admittedly minor) gripes over the past couple of weeks, the stuff that was causing stress last year is still causing stress now. I am staring at the prospect of some extra lone-trading days, which to be fair, does not bother me, so long as it does not become a regular thing. I would love to draw a complete line under the business that has caused all this stress, but that is beyond my capabilities.

Windy Weather

Storm Isha has pounded Britain over the past couple of days (sadly going as far as to cost two people their lives), with howling winds and a lot of rain. In my corner of Essex, we appear to have been spared the worst of it, though the wind did pick up at one point. I’m happy for this storm to bypass me; when you walk to work, doing so in the cold is unpleasant enough as it is, let alone doing so when the wind is trying to blow you away.

So, it’s been an eventful two weeks. I am still processing it all, and yet, there is no time to pause. What awaits this meerkat over the course of the next two weeks?! We’ll all find out together!

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