Thursday, 2 December 2010

Brief Dispatch From The Rabbit Hole

Okay, so this post is not be honest, I have been so preoccupied and mithered this week that I have sometimes forgotten to apply perfume till late in the day - or even late in the Americans' day. This is a sure sign that the balance of my mind is disturbed.

Yes, I am afraid I am still grappling with the Terrible Database and its 16000 contacts: only one person in 20 is picking up their phone, and only one in 10 of those who do answer turn out to be relevant to the matter in hand.

But I am slowly mustering a quorum of people to visit, and I shall be flying out on Monday to Los Angeles come what may. Moreover, there have been a few oddities along the way that have brightened these long, frustrating evenings. For example, the chap who described a component in his manufacturing process as "persnickety".

And then there were these unexpected recorded messages, in amongst the usual kind that go something like: "For sales press 1, for customer service press 2, for the company directory press pound" etc:

"If you are calling to report an injured or ill marine animal, please press 3."

And this one, intuitively sensing my mounting despair at the impossible challenges I have been set in this project, not least by automated telephony systems:

"If this is a life-threatening emergency, please hang up and dial 911."

We'll just see how my sample quota goes, shall we? Come to think of it, the Emergency Services may actually use the product I am researching. What was that number again?

Photo of injured seal from


  1. That's right - would love to make it out to the Mid-West if I manage to wangle some far flung fieldwork again...

  2. Hang in there, so to speak, that database sounds like an awful lot of work. I think my youngest sister does something similar but on a smaller (Cornish) scale.

    This is hebe by the way, I finally got around to writing a blog...

  3. Hi Hebe

    Thanks for the moral support - will check your blog out when I get back - what a sweet name!

  4. Thank you V! I meant to say, but forgot, that I am deeply impressed at your sourcing a photo of an injured seal to illustrate a point so very precisely. That's proper attention to detail, that is.

  5. Poor Bonks - I think you must be the other side of the looking-glass by now. Maybe we should send food and fragrance parcels, to keep you going??

    Fingers crossed that things are panning out for you and the database.

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

  6. Hi mixedbabygreens,

    Haha, and thanks! I must say I was quite pleased to find such a specific photo - Google images is a veritable treasure trove. : - )

  7. Hi Anna,

    I am indeed very far away at the moment, to wit Venice Beach. It is both far away and pretty far out, to be frank. The locals take tree hugging to a whole new level here, and I look most conspicuous walking along the street without a rolled up yoga mat under my arm.

    Food parcels would be most welcome - I am more than half way through my emergency big bar of chocolate from Lidl!

  8. A dear friend from art school and his family live there - enjoy!!!

  9. Hi BF,

    Sadly, I am now frozen in Fresno, though looking forward to a hot dinner in the hotel's en-suite Denny's. : - )

  10. Lidl choc. *and* Denny's dinner, Vanessa? Oh, the giddy hedonism of the jet-set lifestyle;-)

    If you're still frozen, here's a virtual reality cup of Instant Ovaltine, a comfort-blanket in a mug, to complete the decadent trio. Don't rush it ...

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

  11. Hi Anna,

    Giddy hedonism sums it up just perfectly...!
    : - )

    However, disaster struck today when I left my half eaten chocolate bar in the mini-fridge of my hotel in Fresno, so my emergency rations now consist of a contraband red delicious apple from the breakfast buffet. And as we know, red delicious are as red as red can be, but never delicious.

    I am warming up now in the Mojave Desert, thanks, and it looks as though Denny's may well be my default dining option again, though I do believe I spy a McDonald's just beyond...

  12. Poor Vanessa - you've not got chocolate now? Ouch.

    Still, the work's panning out, isn't it? And the Mojave Desert must be an eyeful-and-a-half to experience in place of the bleak British mid-winter.

    Good luck!
    from Anna in Edinburgh

  13. Hi Anna

    You are dead right about the Mojave Desert being an eyeful-and-a-half - I tried to capture the strangeness of the landscape on camera, and may post one or two shots from my trip up a mountain to visit a wind farm operator.