This month’s A-to-Z blogging challenge has been a bit of a distraction, from one point of view. I have fallen off my reading schedule because of the evening time spent composing these bits.

Then while I was trying to get this one down I was seized with the sudden absolute necessity of trying to set up Google assistant on my phone to see if I could get it to call me “darling”. (It wouldn’t seem to let me…)

There’s usually something to impinge or assist in a prevarication. As I suggested in that first paragraph, it depends on your perspective. It could be argued that my return to regular reading was getting in the way of a more prolific writing schedule.

Tonight I finished Wishful Drinking, the late Carrie Fisher’s brief autobiographical stage show-turned- book. Laughed out loud quite a few times. Found myself nodding in agreement. She is well known as a drug fiend, although she doesn’t glory in it or self-flagellate about it. Maybe a bit of both? There was a pertinent line about wanting things to be good all the time, the unrealistic need of an addict, that struck home particularly.

I found myself turning the endpapers, hoping there’d be more from her.

A propos of which… today is my 67th day without a drink. That figure is courtesy of the Loop habit tracker, by the way, which I recommend for your positive self-intervention needs.

That doesn’t mean I feel I’ve won, or that I’m living moment to moment in fear of the Demon Drink… Somewhere between? It’s maybe something I might write about more, maybe not. Depends what else comes up.

Feels great, though, thanks.

OK Google… How do I UNINSTALL you?

I’m sorry darling… I’m afraid I can’t do that.

Filling in application forms for jobs in the teaching sector is very much like making love to a beautiful woman. You have to go through all the boxes carefully a right pain. All the usual basic information is required, plus a fiddly level of detail, and – the nub of my crux – an annoyingly variegated range of formatting styles, designed to make the process as unstreamlined as possible.

Name, age, addresses (going back at least five years because child protection legislation), edumacation details, and a full list of jobs from when you finished school. I mean, for me, that’s a longish time ago now. I asked a Head of Recruitment recently if they really needed them all. She assured me they did, because child protection legislation and the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service).

While it seems likely that citing DBS regs is probably the new ‘Health and Safety’ sorrowful headshake for HR, ‘post Savile’, I’m happy to comply with all that, because, well, protected children, and of course me not having my application binned. Fortunately, having neglected to cover the years 1995-1997 on that occasion, ‘Eleventy thousand bars and shops I pinballed round for two years in my early 20s’ seemed to be an acceptable gloss 20 years on.

The application forms for most teaching jobs in the UK all seem to have pretty much the same layout, too. Tables, in Word, with the end of cell markers that signify orphaned post codes unless you fudge about with the size of text or font. Annoyingly, filling out multiple variations of the same form does not allow for easy cut and pasting of job details, exam results, etc. There is always a somewhat different format, always multiple variations of box configurations. One I filled out two days ago had a section for every single detail of my schooling:

[from mm][yy] [to mm] [yy] [school] [school address] [exam] [grade] [certificating body]

“Make it easy on yourseeeeelllllf” I warbled somewhat desperately as I tabbed and c+v’d. The app I was copying from was laid out in precisely the reverse order as well.

While resisting (somewhat feebly, given my embrace of products Googlish) the 21st century urge to spreadsheet database centralisation, at 22.45 last night I considered forming, or at least joining, a campaign to force everyone advertising through TES Online to use a central CV/application form resource. This far-too-sensible-to-work-in-real-life notion rapidly extrapolated to the more entertaining scenario of being able to plug my brain in, Matrix-style, to some industrial virtual teacher repository, where our smiling avatars sit arrayed like apps in the Apple store. Teacher with the most up-votes gets the job.

News that Google is working on some method of robotically not being evil.

Their stooge chosen partner in this venture is Boston Dynamics, ‘developer of military robots’.

“Boston Dynamics”… Lovers of TV sci-fi excitement Fringe may have spotted where this is going.

massive-dynamic-logo

If you haven’t seen Fringe, a) you should and b) Massive Dynamic is the name of the giant tech company attempting to mould this world through innovative yet disquieting R and D projects, and corporate asshattery. Google are a bit of an obvious analogy in… well, every way, actually.

I mean, yes, it’s “just” art imitating life imitating art, etc, but along with the sinister Google barges, and the comprehensive data mining… well, I’m getting a bit nervous every time I see a bald guy in a suit.

Gregg Wallace, Weight Observer

Gregg Wallace, Weight Observer