Saturday, 14 February 2009

Many things

Progress has been made in several areas of my life. Not in the "writing without starting with an incredibly dry sentence in the passive voice" area, but in many other areas.

Yesterday I called the organ builders with whom I am hoping to start an apprenticeship at some point. I have a PhD funding deadline coming up, and if there is no hope of me becoming an organ builder it would be better to find out sooner rather than later so that I can go for this funding.

We had a nice chat. She reckons that there will be a shortage of organ tuners in the next few years, so I would have a good chance of getting a job as a tuner, providing I am up to the task. They are not looking to expand, so there are unlikely to be any organ building jobs advertised, but she said that they would often be able to create a position if the right person came along.

As an organ builder's apprentice, I would be on the minimum wage. This means that I would be better off financially than when I did my MSc. That can only be a good thing! I was a little worried that it would be legal to pay apprentices less than the minimum wage, as they receive training. Given that I have to eat, not being paid would be too much of a barrier for me, and I would not be able to do that.

I have been advised to contact my local (only an hour's drive away) organ builder and see if I can get some tuning work experience. As organ builders only work during normal working hours, and I work during normal working hours, I am going to have to reduce my hours somehow to accommodate this. I would like to reduce my hours anyway, as I need a bit more variety in my days, and I need to get it before I explode rather than after the event. I am working on it. Last time (when I did my MSc), after an epic battle (and an unsuccessful job hunt), I got my wish, but my reasoning is more flimsy now - everything is still speculative.

It was wonderful when I only worked 3 1/2 days per week, though. Everything seemed easier, and the job was so much fun! It was harder fitting more into the time available, but I had more motivation to do it because I knew that I didn't have to go to work on Fridays. I also didn't notice very much when I had been a long time without a holiday, and holidays were a big treat. Granted, the MSc really did take it out of me (oh, those nightmare late-night essay/dissertation sessions, in which I was convinced that I would never ever get it done, and that I might as well give up because there was no way I would get the marks I wanted. The mark I needed to get for my dissertation was impossibly high for me, so this was quite a reasonable fear!), so it was not all joy and puppies, but I did get a lot more variety. I want variety, and I want it now!

I also have some non-news about this organ scholarship I am hoping to get. They have e-mailed me asking me to give them a call. We shall see where that leads. It would be wonderful to have an organ to practise on, and somebody who would be disappointed/annoyed if I were to fail to do enough practice, though. I think that my playing would improve a lot. Certainly next year's Chaplaincy Christmas carol service would be more relaxing. Except that I would probably come up with an excellent way to make life more complicated for myself by playing something I have no hope of playing, mess it up, and become known as the next organist to mess up, despite generally playing better than my previous performance, which was widely acclaimed (because they are not very musical there, apparently. It really wasn't great by any of the usual definitions).

So I am now feeling nervous, excited, and slightly concerned about my mental health. I am not convinced I should move so quickly from the pits of despair to being content (in an expectant way), hopeful and excited, and am hoping that these are not the symptoms of a crazy chemical imbalance which will have to be treated with drugs (as you can see, the paranoia remains). It does seem unlikely, though; surely it is the circumstances that have changed. I suppose that I have taken a step towards something I really want to do, established that it is not impossible that I would be able to do that closer to where I currently live (we would have to move between City Below and Other City), and heard something which is not yet negative about this organ scholarship. I am also confident that my hours will be reduced so that I only work four days per week, but that confidence is clearly because I am delusional, as it flies in the face of logic.

Oh yes, and I went climbing yesterday. Now my arms are a little stiff (and my legs a little tired), but I am very glad that I went. I am not going to fit into the trousers I am just about to throw away by sitting on my bum doing nothing! Also, I got to go to the supermarket and discover that my debit card has gone walkabouts - it is better to find that sort of thing out sooner rather than later. It is also good that I have two debit cards from which to choose, as otherwise buying my shopping would have been more difficult. I suspect that I have just mislaid it (it will probably be on my office floor), but it has now been canceled. The numbers I had to call were obsolete, though - using area codes that no longer exist. Perhaps I should ask them for an updated keyring...


Lisa Moon said...

As I believe I've mentioned before, either the medications I take for my disorder and/or the disorder itself, seem to have caused me some... changes in my formerly decent cognitive abilities, I find myself somewhat awed and confused. I hadn't realised one could get a PhD in organ building, nor have I any clue as to what MSc one would need to hold to pursue such a line of interest, but it's all rather fascinating, if not often over my head.

You see, my abilities to follow such brilliant rants and epic stories seems somewhat diminished - witness also my own rants, which no longer seem as brilliant and I suspect may fall more into what you tend to categorise as 'bibble' (although I'm only speculating as to the true definition of 'bibble' so forgive me if my usage is incorrect!).

At any rate, I am wishing you much luck at finding an organ tuning apprenticeship, your continued moving journey and the PhD funding, which hopefully is quite a decent amount, thanksverymuch.

Abi said...

Ah no, the PhD would be in a particular method of teaching statistics to social science students. I imagine that there are organ PhDs, but I have yet to find out more about them. Perhaps in a decade or so... My MSc is in Psychological Research Methods, which is not in the least bit necessary if one wants to build organs (although analytical skills are always useful).

Bibble tends to be quite meandering, and doesn't necessarily mean much, nor have a point. Your rants are great, and I enjoy them. Insofar as one can enjoy a rant, anyway (sorry - have a headache and a gin & tonic - this is probably all just bibble).

Anyway, organ building and PhD are unlikely both to happen. I can do them in succession, but not together; once I choose one it diminishes my chances of doing the other. I think that I will go for the organ building as it sounds less arduous than teaching ungrateful students and marking their papers. Organ building, and going into loads of different churches then exploring some of their nooks and crannies and doing practical things sounds like far more fun. It pays less well than academia, but satisfaction and fun are more important than money!

Abi said...

Oh yes, and I don't think that you are displaying any evidence of reduced cognitive abilities that I can see (unlike me - somebody put too little tonic into this glass of gin). I appear to be posting non-sequiturs (sp?) with gay abandon, and adding awkward asterisks all around.