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international librarian of mystery

Thursday, January 13, 2005

All is quiet, on New Years Day

The blow of being dooced was softened by the joy of going on holiday, albeit, a now open-ended one with financial ruin looming in the near-future. Still, I vowed to forget about my unemployment crisis, put the blog out of my mind, and postpone all romantic encounters until at least next month. These pre-emptive New Year's resolutions were fairly easily to keep, as I flew home (tickets paid for months in advance, thankfully) to a quiet week with family in a mercifully un-internet-connected home. When the family finally got the full story out of me, they were suitably sympathetic about my job loss, outraged at the treatment meted out to me by my employers, and astonished as to the impact my blog ("what's a blog, exactly?") had had on my life. Needless to say, on top if it being Christmas, my role of prodigal daughter resulted in me being even more well fed and cared for than usual for the holiday period.

I used my week at home to read. As per usual, I got books for Christmas, and I had finished most of them by the time it came to fly home on New Year's Eve. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (great!). Little White Car (fantastic!). Northern Lights (amazing!). Sick Puppy (just ok!). The Corrections (for the third time - still brilliant). Middlemarch (a classic!). Killing Paparazzi (crap, but fun!). Before I knew it, I was out of reading material, three kilograms heavier, on a plane back to Wellington, and a life of no money, no job, and no boyfriend.

I arrived home to my flat, still an internet-free zone. Thankfully the power, phone and gas were still on, but for how long is anyone's guess - the overdue notices awaiting me in the post made me even more disbelieving of my decision to refuse a five hundred dollar 'loan' offered to me by a slightly more affluent member of my family. As the New Year approached, I sat on my own in my darkening back yard, listening to the reveling coming from various parties around the neighbourhood and eating the last of my two minute noodles. I must have been more tired than I realised, as the next thing I was aware of was waking up shortly before daybreak, feeling stiff and sore from my awkward sleeping position, and covered in a thin sheen of dew. An auspicious start to 2005...

Anyway, it took me another couple of days to get access to an Internet-connected computer. Thankfully, noizyboy returned from his holidays, and, having read of my plight, called me up to ask if I might want to pop around to his place for dinner and a web catch-up. I was there in a flash, made some vague seasonal small-talk, but he could see I was itching to get onto the PC, so he left me to it, and I quickly got down to business, pecking away haphazardly at his annoyingly shaped ergonomic keyboard.

Thanks to the mysteries of the Google search algorithms and the endless fascination that is my referral stats, I could see a lot of the people coming to the site had been searching on the word 'dooced' post. Since my post on that topic has magically jumped into the top 10 on the returned hits, a lot of people were clicking through to me as a result. That was about the only interesting piece of news to be gleaned from my stats, so I flicked over to my gmail account to see if there was anything good there.

There was. Actually, thanks to everyone who did take the time to email and comment. It's very sweet. And, for whatever reason, amongst the messages of condolence and seasonal greetings, I had five separate requests from journalists wanting to chat about my blog, and, specifically, being dooced. It seems 'blogs and being dooced' was the tech story of the New Year in the UK. The BBC, Times, and Guardian all had articles on the phenomenon. There were also two emails (BBC Scotland and, my sole non-UK bit of media correspondence CBC Canada) wanting to organise phone interviews.

And all the emails were at least a week old. I sent belated replies, but, considering nearly all the publications in question seem to have actually published stories while I was away, the media spotlight seemed to have passed, so I won't be holding my breath for any big-time international exposure quite yet.

I also got an email from the Bloggies organiser, informing me that I had been chosen to be one of the panelists for several of their categories. My job is to help narrow down their short-list of nominees to half-a-dozen finalists. I don't quite know how I'm going to find the time to peruse the 100 or so websites that I've been asked to look at in order to decide which ones are the 'best', so, in the honour of all good panel-judged competitions, I think I'll just end up voting for the ones I've heard of (good luck JonnyB - you've got my vote!), or, failing that, ones that I like the sound of (eg. myboyfriendisatwat.com).

I considered doing some online job hunting, but I was still in holiday mode, so put it off for another day. I'm not officially unemployed until the end of the month, so I figured (at the time) that I'd need to start looking properly in another week or so.

And, finally, there were emails from Josh and Artemis. Josh emails me all the time, regardless of our current state of entanglement or otherwise, so that was no surprise. Despite its cheerful tone, the "happy new year" and "anything I can do" platitudes, it was plainly a groveling admission of his festering guilt in the role he played in getting me fired. I clicked gmail's 'report spam' button, and moved onto Artemis's email, which held much more interest, as he's never been in touch via the web before.

He had something to discuss, and now that he had no way of tracking me down at the library, wanted to meet me somewhere to 'talk it over'. I emailed him back, suggesting some times and places. I got an almost instant reply, suggesting tomorrow, at Frank Kitt's Park, down by the waterfront in town. Having nothing else to do, and the usual interest as to what Artemis might possible be scheming, I replied that, yes, I'd be there.

What's he got planned now, I wondered?

I was to find out the next day.