Working (and Playing) from Home

You can’t tell me that the smoke from our Oregon fires that spread to New York City didn’t circumnavigate the globe and return to Oregon! Sunset last night was the color of a neon tomato. A melange of smoke, marine air and inversion smog covers our skies this morning and the air is as thick as that in the Yucatan.

While I work on various projects for BVC and others on my main computer, my laptop is open at my side playing various venerable BBC serials (only shows I have seen before multiple times and therefore entertainment that I don’t need to give my full attention to.) Anything with subtitles is out of the question. Having just finished “The Duchess of Duke Street” I am now blissfully rolling through the Tom Baker iterations of “Dr Who”. It’s a character flaw of mine—there are many known only to me, apparently—to be unable to get down to a work-task without some pleasing amusement on the side—on my previous day-job WFH (work from home) days I got through all seven “Mad Men” seasons. That was my third run-through.

When measuring productivity, accomplishment of a task is one measurement. Always meeting deadlines is another. But length of time in finishing a project? Difficult to measure, especially if said project is uninteresting, rote, or worse, a useless time-waste. Working as I do, it does take me longer to complete a task. Take this blog, for example. I started at 8am and am only half-way done by 10:50. Part of this delay belongs to errands and chores—getting dressed, doing stretches (right hip bursitis), trip to the farmer’s market (must get there by 9am to get our duck eggs before the vendor runs out), laundry, breakfast, and letting the dogs in and out. Several times. (Just had to get up to let Conan out once again. An English mastiff, he prefers being outside. One of his responsibilities is to monitor the realm.)

Forsyte Saga, 1967

Another of my character flaws (all from my own viewpoint, to be clear) is that I love watching movies and original fictional dramas. Not all of my choices are old, like the original “Forsyte Saga”, 1967. Or “I, Claudius”, 1976. And of course, “Pride and Prejudice”, 1995. I am currently hooked on several contemporary streaming series and eagerly awaiting upcoming seasons. During this hiatus period, I have tackled new ones: “Cid”, produced in Spain and “The Gift”, from Turkey. Just finished “Katya”, originated in Iceland.

But also I’ve noticed that I’ve grown a little bored with these shows. I can’t figure this out, except if it has to do with too much of a good thing, like ice cream. There is a plethora of streaming options. Better yet, a deluge, and even better, a conflagration (taking into account the current state of affairs in the West.) Production values are high, casts are excellent (trained actors, not former models or internet influencers) and scripting is of good quality. Still, I finding myself glancing at the clock far more often lately. How much longer until the end of this episode? Shall I stop now or try to finish?

Undiagnosed ADHD? Loss of concentration due to too much focus on character flaws?

I’ve found solace for this lack of interest in streaming channels like Criterion’s “Neo Noir” collection and Kanopy’s documentaries. Even HBO Max is showing The Night Porter. As much as I love watching favorites over and over, my new rule is to watch one vintage film that I haven’t seen before for every re-run classic. We’ll see how long that one lasts.

As character flaws go, I’ve given my characters far worse ones than these.



About Jill Zeller

Author of numerous novels and short stories, Jill Zeller is a Left Coast writer, 2nd generation Californian, retired registered nurse, and obsessed gardener. She lives in Oregon with her patient husband, 2 silly English mastiffs and 2 rescue cats—the silliest of all. Her works explore the boundaries of reality. Some may call it fantasy, but there are rarely swords and never elves. More to the point, she prefers to write as if myth, imagination and hallucination are as real as the chair she is sitting on as she writes this. Jill Zeller also writes under the pseudonym Hunter Morrison


Working (and Playing) from Home — 5 Comments

  1. I got totally derailed by the first image. WHERE did you find a website that tracks smoke??? I’ve been dying for one of those!

  2. We’ve gotten two days in a row of AQI in the ‘good’ range — this hasn’t happened for NYC in weeks, due to the oxidized particulate in the smoke out of the west and north. But heat dome returns early this week, so, farewell to that — and the temperate temperatures.

    I do wish the AP El Cid had more than 5 episodes per season. It’s only at the conclusion of this new season we approach the content of leyenda del mío cid, and the age of the actor who plays Rodrigo de Vivar starts to match up with the character’s age.

  3. I love those old noir films. Thor and I recently enjoyed “The Big Sleep” with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. They have really snappy dialogue, and of course chemistry. The film veers significantly from the novel’s plot, but I enjoyed both, and Raymond Chandler’s metaphors are so wonderful.

  4. The smoke you get blowing in from the northeast might be from the also huge forest fires in eastern Siberia.

    Turkey too is having an unusually bad wildfire season, around the eastern Mediterranean coast, as well as inland ; but Siberia seems a more likely source for where you are.
    I cannot check it on the site Jennifer Stevenson found, as they refuse entry to people from the EU because of our data protection laws (i.e., they refuse to give visitors the option to opt out of them installing tracking cookies and keeping your data to use or sell on).

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