Friday, April 21, 2006

The art of wasting time

I've got it almost perfected now.

OK, so this morning was productive, after a fashion, but this afternoon has been an epic session of work avoidance. For a while now I've noticed that the smarter blogs have their own little icon to identify them to the world. Mr Stuart has his bearded smiley with it's astonished moustache, John Rickards has his initials, which for some reason always set off the theme tune to Dallas in my head, Jen Jordan is flighty with her butterfly and the less said about Monkeyfluids the better.

So, I thought. I want me one of those spangly icons on my blog. And I knew the perfect icon. My little brother* created it a very long time ago - 13 February 1996 at 18:57:42 according to the 'properties' dialogue, though I actually think it was earlier even than that. It is a depiction of a sheepdog, and not any sheepdog - it is a depiction of Harris T Weed.**

Harris T Weed in his prime. Note the
large stick and protruding tongue.

Harris was the first working sheep dog on my parents' farm in Fife. Tricoloured and from good working stock, he was a quality dog who would probably have been found innocent had he ever been put on trial. About eight years ago, he collapsed suddenly. The vet found a massive tumour on his spleen, which had to be completely removed. She gave him six to eight months. He didn't die for another six years.

Useless the sheepdog, who has appeared on these pages before, is Harris' nephew, and was meant to be his understudy and eventual replacement. As the name implies, this hasn't really worked out.

But Harris was a quality, if somewhat pointy dog. He delighted in jumping up and biting you on the nins - he was quite accurate, and it could be very painful at times. He would also drop sticks at your feet, as if he wanted you to throw them to be fetched. Then, just as you were bending down to pick one up, he would dart in, grab it, and run away like a little boy chapping on doors. He was a character, was Harris T Weed, and his likes will not be seen again.

But I knew I had the icon somewhere,*** all I had to do was find it. I knew it was from a long time ago, and so would be in the deep archives. That meant searching through the floppy discs. I've probably got about three hundred of these, mostly filled with rubbish and free MS-Dos utilities programmes from the front of early nineties Personal Computer World magazine. Some of them are labelled, but most of the labels bear no relationship to the contents, so each disc had to be searched individually.

These things are always in the last place you look. But I did, eventually, find the icon. I've even amended my template to make it appear, though it doesn't look quite as good as it should do - you can't really make out his brown eyebrows. Now I've just got to work out how to make it appear on the comments page as well.

The afternoon was nearly done (it being Friday, the afternoon ends early) by the time I finally got around to writing up this entry. Then, of course, it occurred to me that I needed a picture of the great Mr T Weed. Cue another hour of mindless fun going through the boxes of old photographs. I found lots of great pictures, which I'll save for posting here later, plus several scary ones of me in my Alan Moore phase (John will understand), and some very depressing ones from back in the eighties when I was young and thin and beautiful. And then, finally, a suitable picture of Harris.

So when you skim read my words, giving them exactly the level of attention they deserve, bear in mind the lengths I have gone to in bringing you today's post. These are not idle flights of fancy passed off in a mere ten minutes. No, these are hand-crafted words, lovingly shaped by one skilled in the arts of prevarication and procrastination.

And now it's time for Martinis.

* who, it should be noted, is bigger than me.
** the 'T' stands for 'tongue', because it didn't fit in his mouth and always poked out a little bit as if he were taking the piss.
*** and you thought I'd forgotten what I was writing about.


Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Now I feel left out.

Kevin even made a special one for Stuart that'll be unveiled months from now.

Didn't make me one though.

I'm going to go cry.

April 21, 2006 8:43 pm  

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