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Life

Jackanory

You find me sitting at the desk in the junk room – sipping coffee, looking back over the morning in my bullet journal, and half-watching the indicators at the bottom of the computer screen that tell me when emails have arrived, or conversations have started that concern me.

Apart from work, the day has been filled with a continual struggle to keep on top of chores – clearing the kitchen, tidying the lounge, putting clothes through the washing machine and hanging them out. When in the office I might wander down to the kitchen for a break, and gaze from the window while waiting for the kettle to boil. At home, those few minutes are filled with mad dashes here and there. I can’t imagine it’s good for your mental health.

The girls are camping out in the lounge today. Miss 15 is sitting at the dining table with her laptop – supposedly getting on with school work. Miss 16 is sitting on the sofa, binge-watching Netflix, and our eldest is sitting on the floor by the patio doors, doing a jigsaw.

My other half is at work today – yesterday we shared the junk room together while she worked on cutting videos together for the school website. She taught herself how to use Lightworks – a professional video editing tool – similar in most respects to Adobe Premiere, but free. The teachers are busy recording themselves reading story books to the children, and my other half is cutting in views of the book pages, zooming and scrolling “Ken Burns” style – as both Jackanory and Reading Rainbow have done over the years.

I did warn her before she started that if she learned how, it would become a living hell. Each five minute story takes well over an hour to turn into a slick video. After doing one book the evening before last, she came home the next day with an arm-full of books, and gigabytes of video clips. Thankfully the school have requested and received permission from the publishers. Today’s challenge (evidenced by a chat conversation with me) has been how to prevent parents from downloading and sharing the videos.

Anyway!

I should really get on with some work. Maybe another coffee first though.

Categories
Life

Hiding Out

I’m hiding out in the lounge. My other half has taken over the junk room (where the big computer lives), and is trying to cut together a video for the infant school with each of the staff members singing and dancing along to a pre-agreed music track, along with their children.

She started learning how to use the video editing software half an hour ago. The kind of video editing software you might use to make a movie. It doesn’t help that everybody’s video has been uploaded to a shared drive in portrait, landscape, with borders, without borders… so yeah – she’s going to have to rotate each clip, scale each clip, cut each clip, and re-assemble the various clips – all while keeping it in time with a backing music track.

It’s going to take hours. Especially as she’s learning as she goes. The only piece of advice I gave before running from the room in fear of my life was to use a parallel video channel to edit clips, and drop them into the “real” timeline after they looked ok.

I might not know a lot, but I’ve learned enough through doing the podcast to know how not to mess up everything you’ve already done in a huge hurry. I’ve already warned my other half that after an hour doing this, she knows more about video editing than anybody we know, and will be roped into editing videos for everybody over the next however many years.

My late father in law taught me an invaluable life lesson – never, ever be good at anything that anybody else needs somebody to be good at. I laughed when he first told me, but over the years I’ve learned through bitter experience that he was absolutely right. If you have a sought after skill, keep a damn good lid on it.

I suppose some people can’t hide their skills really. Take Gordon Ramsay, for instance – I wonder if his neighbours ever call up, asking “I’ve bought some bacon but have no clue how to wrap it round the chicken – can you spare a few minutes?”.

In recent years, the only time I’ve broken cover was to help a friend with her website. The site was pretty badly borked, and the person that usually looks after it was at a loss too. Within an hour I had rescued it from the fire, hacked my way through the back end, re-set passwords throughout, run updates, and handed her the keys to her shiny new online house. Here’s the thing though – she didn’t take advantage.

I love people that don’t take advantage. Unfortunately they seem to be in the minority. Some people’s entire existence seems to centre around taking what they can from others – exploiting, and using. Their lack of tact, empathy, guilt, or shame always amazes me.

Anyway!

I’m having a wonderful time sitting here in the quiet – eating chocolate biscuits, drinking coffee (I already had two glasses of wine), and half watching ridiculous TV shows on Netflix. Joel McHale keeps trying to talk me into binge-watching his show, but I’ve already promised to watch the second part of Dracula with my daughter.