As a great man once said (I forget who), it's really great to be on vacation.
But it really blows to be on vacation for six months.
As days turn into weeks, and weeks into months, and savings get burnt away until it occurs to him that he owns three guitars that could be pawned, a fella has, it seems, a tendency to mumble into silence.
You run out of things to say. Nothing coming in, ergo nothing going out. Passivity. Watching the room get light, and then watching it get dark.
Six months like that. Avoid it if you can. My heart goes out to you if you can't.
At any rate, that's over now for the foreseeable future. I've landed (finally) on my feet, working on a very large and exciting project for a thoroughly benign client -- started last week. The commute has been a bitch -- two and a half, even three hours in soul-deadening traffic -- but now I've discovered the Brunswick line of the MARC train. It's still two hours door-to-door, but two much more relaxed hours.
Clouds are lifting, 's what I'm saying, and I begin to feel the old élan vitale bubbling up in the bits. Hell, I'm talking to my blog again. That's significant.
The iPod has kept me sane during that bitchly commute -- audiobooks, podcasts, what have you. Which brings up a point that has been nagging at me for some time. I fear a perfectly good and useful English word has been done dreadful injury, and it is up to me to patch up its wounds, apply cooling cloths to its forehead, and coo endearments to it while it heals.
The offense, which I'm hearing more and more, particularly in podcasts and radio shows that promote Web content, is this:
Folks, you do have a backslash key on your keyboard. There it sits on my keyboard under the "Delete" key (oh, if only!), an ugly reminder of the horrible old MS-DOS command-line interface. Its uppercase sibling -- the pipe character -- is nowadays chiefly seen by non-code-jockeys separating items in a horizontal list of hyperlinks.
There is no such thing as a forward-slash. There does exist and has existed for centuries a slash -- also known as a stroke, a virgule, a diagonal, a solidus, a right-leaning stroke, an oblique dash, a slant, a separatrix, a scratch comma, a slaok, a slak, or (my new favorite) a whack.
The thing that cranks my Model T about forward-slash is that it grants equal status to the backslash, a loathsome pustule of a glyph that is found nowhere in nature except in computer code. If there's a backslash, the thinking seems to go, why, its opposite must be a forward-slash. Better call it that, or folks might get confused. Feh. Ptui!
BBC, PBS, Times Online (yay, The Bugle!), all of you clowns: Knock it off. It does you no credit.