Four hundred eighty one…

As I was fiddling around with last night’s post, I did some tangentially related digging in the archive. I was somewhat absentmindedly thinking about the overall premise for Thursday night’s regular edition of What Annoys Jeff this Week and how out of character it would be to have simply one thing standing on its own. That, inevitably, sent me scurrying down my own internet rabbit hole.

I’ve always thought of WAJTH as a static item. A blast of three very short form topics showing up each and every Thursday nearly without fail. That it consistently shows up on Thursday is true enough, but for the rest, well, memory isn’t always the best guide to what actually happened in the past.

As it turns out, over the last 481 weeks – yes, that’s nine and one quarter years of being annoyed – WAJTW has apparently evolved. The first post, way back on September 1st, 2011 covered four topics. After that, for almost a year, posts swung between four and five topics. It wasn’t until August 2012 that I seem to have adopted the standard three topic format that has dominated Thursdays ever since. Maybe it took me that long to figure out how to condense the week into the three most annoying – or at least the three most easily set to print – things that happened.

I’ve been filling up pages of this blog for so long now, that it’s easy to forget that there really is an evolution of style over time. Looking back at some of those early editions of WAJTW, I like to think I’ve made some stylistic improvements in how I get my points across. Even if they are better written, I was a little impressed with how many of the topics from those first few weeks are still things that annoy the hell out of me on a regular basis. Some things, it turns out, really are eternal.

Tables, or A lifetime of questionable career decisions…

Note: Yes, I know this place and time is usually reserved for the weekly edition of What Annoys Jeff this Week. Go ahead and read to the end and let me know if you don’t understand why I called a quick audible this week instead.

If you guys are tired of the current trend of posts I’ve been thinking of as “Chronicles of an Event Planner,” you’ll have to take my word that I’m even more tired of writing them. Sadly, though, life happens where we are and not necessarily where we want to be. That’s my way of saying sorry, but you’re going to have to live with at least a few more days of the jackassery that ensues when you try to drag 60-odd people into a room and make them talk about things they don’t really want to talk about.

Today’s illustration in the extraordinarily limited scope of my influence revolves around the size of the tables we’ll be using. Let me start off by saying the original floor plan – the one we’ve used repeatedly, over the last few years, was on target right up until some point late yesterday afternoon when it was not. Different configuration? Sure. Can do easy. Except for the part where someone at echelons higher than reality didn’t like the size of the other available tables – wanting six person tables instead of the standard eight person tables that were readily available.

This demand for smaller tables triggered the standard paper chase into which two senior analysts lost an ninety minutes each of productive time. The end result of this particular goat rope was that the eight person tables ended up being fine. All it took was sending a guy over to the venue, setting one of them up, snapping a few pictures showing it in its natural environment, and coming back to illustrate that believe it or not, we really do know what the hell we’re talking about.

Sigh. I’ve spent more time thinking about the various sizes and shapes of tables and how they can best be configured to create an intimate café feeling today than I would have ever expected to spend in my lifetime. It’s hard to imagine this was the job Uncle had in mind when he trained me to move Armies across the globe or provide relief supplies to those stricken by natural disaster.

Talk about the leading edge of a life marked with so very many questionable career decisions.

On tap…

I know a few weeks ago I promised a new fiction project was in the offing. I haven’t forgotten about that. It’s safe to say the preliminary research and reading have taking a touch longer than I anticipated, but it’s still there on the agenda. I’ll try to make a fresh start of it after the inevitable mayhem and chaos that surrounds the last days of December. I’m not even going to even try putting a date on when that little gem might be ready to see the light of day.

Lest you think I’ve spent the last month dithering about to no good purpose, I do have a touch of good news for what’s on tap in the coming weeks. What Annoys Jeff this Week: 2013 in Review is coming along nicely. With plenty of fresh, snarky commentary, I’ve spent a lot of time tweaking, correcting, and generally updating each post to make it the very best level of vaguely hostile I can manage.

Assuming I don’t fall down and hit my head on something hard or develop the same debilitating sickness that laid me low last Christmas, I expect to deliver up WAJTW:2013IR for your New Year’s Day reading pleasure (plus or minus a few days). My best guess is the final cut will weigh in around 23,000 words and with all of the spelling, grammar, and usage corrections I’ve been making, the whole thing should be downright readable… something that doesn’t matter all that much when you’re blogging, but that paying customers seem to put a premium on for some reason.

All that’s left to do is finish editing October and November, finish writing December, write the intro, design the cover, and then upload everything to the interwebs and hope it all looks good together electronically. Sigh. Maybe I should reconsider that first of the year date.