Katherine Hayton | 2015 October
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October 2015

05 Oct / Not going out

The other day my darling observed that since beginning my career break, I have seldom left the house.

The use of the word seldom is generous.

I would like to take this chance to defend myself. After all, if my own blog isn’t a place to do that, where is?

If I were still doing my normal job, I wouldn’t leave work during the day. I stayed glued to my desk from when I arrived at 6.30am in the morning, until I left at 3.30pm at night. Obviously that’s a lie because I’d have lunch in the breakout area – I wasn’t completely antisocial – but otherwise, glued.

Therefore, when I’m working from home I don’t leave work either.

The failure of outside folks to realise that working from home doesn’t mean I’ll drop everything just to head out to do a spot of shopping, should not be visited on me by trying to make me feel guilty and inadequate.

Fools should also realise that shopping doesn’t need to be done outside anymore, that’s why there’s the Internet.

And yes, my social interaction has greatly reduced since becoming homebound, but is there really anything wrong with that? I have to ask myself these rhetorical questions because there’s no one else around to talk to.

The one day I did go out last week it was to find that the neighbourhood was under enemy control, so you can see my dilemma. Inside my house all the portals are under friendly control.

Nevertheless, bowing to the whims and demands of a group of people that I don’t know and have forgotten if I’ve ever met, I shall go out of the house tomorrow.

I’ll go for a nice long walk, and indulge in a bit of grocery shopping – my favourite type – before heading home, locking the door behind me, taking time to recover, and finding refuge in the virtual relationships that I fail to nurture on the Internet.

My virtual relationships mimic my real ones, you see.

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I think that there must be a strange creature that lives in my voicebox which crawls out when it sees a recording device. It briefly distorts my hearing so that everything I say sounds the way it usually does, right up until the moment when the recording is played back, then its weirdly pitched, oddly intonated voice comes out of the speakers.

It’s the only explanation.

My latest grand venture into the world of self-publishing is an audiobook. In the worldview of Amazon I live out the arse-back of beyond, and so I can’t go through the normal channels that other self-publishers go. My country name doesn’t begin with the word United and therefore doesn’t count.

Therefore, instead of being able to hook up with a narrator who would work with me to produce an audiobook and split commissions 50/50 I either have the option of paying (coughs to disguise the enormous sum of money) for an unknown narrator, or I can produce the book myself.

I’m not cheating the listening public by going it alone. According to a training review the only good thing I possessed as a trainer was a lovely speaking voice. Thanks to the mistaken belief of my mother that speech class would somehow cure shyness, I have also had the art of speaking aloud drilled into my head.

Not to mention the year of pursuing a career as an actress. An ambition that was alive and well in First Form and had died a sad death by Second Form, leaving me with nothing except the ability to recite the lines for the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz verbatim.

When I recorded the first chapter I did have to go back and record a few other takes however, because as an introvert I firmly believe that expression is something best left to those crazy people who like to interact with human beings. Having spent the best part of three weeks at home by myself talking to no one, I’d forgotten how to work that into sound.

One of the rules of recording your own narration, apart from having a decent dual-diaphragm condenser microphone and a microphone preamp able to supply phantom power, is to get used to the sound of your own voice.

Yes, I’ve had to come to terms with the sound that the strange creature living in my voicebox produces when I think I’m speaking.

In only nine more chapters, and a lot of mixing and producing, you’ll be able to hear it too.

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01 Oct / Spies like us

There I was, walking innocently through Bishopdale Park, minding my own business, when a group of youths opened fire on me.

At least, I think it was the youths. It could have been the Mum with the stroller, carefully hiding a mobile phone on top of her baby, or the old couple sitting on the bench looking like butter wouldn’t melt.

It’s hard to be sure these days. I’ve chosen the minority team on Ingress, so the enemy spies are all about me. Opening fire just because I’m trying to hack their portal. Opening fire just because I opened fire on them first.

The only one I think I’m sure of is the young man who was walking toward me as I gave up and walked away. At least, I think I’m sure. He had a mobile phone in his hand and a blank expression on his face so it seems most likely. On second thoughts that could describe half of the teenagers hanging around the mall on their school holidays so that could be a bit harsh.

OMG. If I described half of the teenagers hanging around Bishopdale Mall maybe they’re all at it. Maybe I escaped only through sheer good luck and a canny ability to not notice people on account of pets, plants, and rocks are far more interesting.

This was my first time playing Ingress. I didn’t do very well. All of my hacks were unsuccessful, and although I picked up a lot of objects my inventory description assures me that they’re all very common.

Still, at least it got me out of the house.

Not that I’m making that mistake again. Out of the house is how they get you. I’m staying indoors, and maybe applying for a portal on my clothes line out back so I can play happily by myself as all the best children adults do.

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