Everything is Boring

We’re down to the last couple of days of summer here at the Scalzi compound — school starts on Monday — and this turns out to be a good thing, because both Athena and I have reached that point where we are both unspeakably bored yet any proposed solution to said boredome strikes us as even more boring, if such a thing is even possible (and it is).

For Athena, this will be all solved after the weekend, when the boredom of the dregs of summer will be replaced first by the excitement of a new school year, and then by the boredom of new school work. But hey, it’s something. I on the other hand will have to whomp something up myself. Stupid directionless life path I’ve chosen! That’s what I get, isn’t it.

So, are we alone in our end-of-summer ennui? Or has it got you, too?

101 Comments on “Everything is Boring”

  1. Here’s something that will keep you two busy for a couple of days:

    The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire. Discuss.

  2. I have the post lunch ennui, but not the end of summer ennui. I have actually often wondered if people, en mass, experience physiological changes during various parts of the year based on changes in climate, as exemplified by “spring fever”.

  3. This summer would’ve been distinctly less boring if I had:
    a) won the lottery
    b) been able to leave my job, and therefore
    c) been able to stay home with the cats & a mountain of books.

    As it was, there was too much heat and too much working.

    I’m intrigued that kids in the US go back to school next week, and not after Labour Day as is the norm here in Canada – or at least BC which is where I’ve spent all my schoolgoing years and beyond.

  4. Life and people are so predictable that I find it difficult to imagine any other state but boredom, at least from this frame of consciousness…

  5. We are at the end of our second week of school here in Jefferson Parish Louisiana and I’m allready working on the first interm reports for the kids!!1
    I wish I was board again for the summer! I’m writing this as I watch my American History Honors class prepare for their first test on friday. I hope Athena has a great school year and is as successful as she was last school year. What are you going to do with all that quite in the Scalzi compound?

  6. Well, this is the first fall I will not be going back to school and I am so far unemployed. End of summer ennui has definitely got me too.

  7. Say, John, I thought you might clean up and organize that study / office / writing room / library you showed us a picture of a while back. Instant boredom removal.

    Or you could watch Plan 9 From Outer Space, one of the worse science fiction films ever made. Good for a laugh or three.

  8. nope, have gaming this weekend with friends. Battletech pods, Zombies!!! some D&D and Stone Brew Arrogant Ale to enjoy it all with. Hiking sticks need the final coat of poly -project for daughter and I. Karate with my daughter tomorrow night. Birthday dinner with the wife tonite.

    Then school starts for me. listen kids, get college out of the way early, not when your older..

  9. Ennui? Ennui? I would kill for some ennui.

    Instead this summer has kicked my butt, and the start of the semester has been even worse, culminating in what I am sure is a case of the swine flu.

    I would love to be bored.

  10. Sigh. We’re in the doldrums at work, and I’m taking a sick day. Unfortunately, it’s a real sick day and not one of those ‘mental health’ days.

  11. Not too much boredom here. Actually, I can’t wait for summer to end, because temperatures here have gone back up into the 90s, and I hate hot weather. But summer’s never been my favorite season.

  12. I didn’t notice that we had summer this year, so there is no end-of-summer ennui here. However, I have my ever-present work ennui going full swing.

  13. I’m jealous, we started last Thursday, which I’m sure the parents are glad for but as a first time teacher I would have enjoyed the extra week.

  14. @5 and all else.

    William Cuppy discusses this in his work ‘The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody’. which I can’t find my copy of.

    Boring is getting paid to watch 3.5 hours a day of soap operas for years. Paint drying is more fun.

  15. No ennui here. My wife’s school started this week, so she’s now wrangling 25 third graders. My 日本語 class started last week, so I’m studying after work. We’re all trying to deal with the 5:45 am alarm after two months of waking after the sun.

  16. My personal late-summer ennui ended last Wednesday when the classes began at UA. I now have to avoid running over students with headphones on while texting and not looking before crossing the street. Luckily I don’t have to attempt to shove knowledge into any of those students. Tuscaloosa starts school WAY TOO EARLY, imho. On the other hand, it is freakin’ hot outside (except for last weekend when we had gorgeous weather) so why not sit in a classroom? My sister started middle school two weeks ago.

    I hope Athena has a good school year, likes her teacher, etc.

  17. Maia @21
    I know what you mean. I remember when I was just starting out (20 years ago). My school system had a full week of meetings before the kids came back to school. Luckly I missed the first two days because I was in Montreal at Worldcon. My classroom is only halfway done for the year. I figured that what is not up on the walls by now will stay in the closet. I’d rather take a pencil in the eye than sit through those meeting. Good Luck with the school year. Do you teach elementary or secondary ed?

  18. I’m still wondering about your tweet from almost 10 days ago. This of this and you will not be bored anymore. Where is the update on this? It sounds pretty cool and comfort zone expanding.

    “Just made a TERRIFYING deal. You will all find out about it soon enough.4:16 PM Aug 18th from TweetDeck “

  19. That should have been “Think of this and you will not be bored anymore.” The hands are mocking me!

  20. I blinked and missed summer, I think. I want it back – have you seen it?

    Too much time spent in doctor’s offices I suspect.

  21. We are up to our eyeballs in ennui here at work. Every day feels like Friday (in that it drags on forever), but you have to come back to work the next day.

    Thank gawd tomorrow is REALLY Friday.

    (it is, right?)

  22. School doesn’t start for me for another week and a half and oh god I am so bored I might die. I am never taking the summer off again, it is tooo looong.

  23. Way too busy to be bored. Orientation for new students started today, my assistant resigned this week, so I have to do her job now as well and I’m in the early stages of writing a new book, and have just published my last one. So yeah. I may have to give up sleep and just start taking Red Bull intravenously.

  24. Oh and Convocation is tomorrow, so instead of sneaking out early on Friday, I have to put on my cap and gown and pretend to care right about the time I’d rather be finding the bottom of my second beer.

  25. Oh, yeah, John, moan about your directionless life path. Complain about being bored. Yeah, you just keep that up…then go write dialog from the point of view of, oh, I dunno, the two Hugo statuettes in your house.

    My heart bleeds for you, it really does. You Hugo winner.

    (You know I’m only teasing, right? Though I have to say I hope I can become “directionless” enough to win even one Hugo.)

    As for me, I’m not bored in a cosmic sense, because it’s endlessly exciting wondering whether I’m going to be laid off tomorrow. Right now it looks like the earliest it’s likely to happen would be October, but you never know when the cute Goth chick with the ankh pendant is going to come for you you’re going to be called into the conference room and given The Package.

    I’m tired of summer, though. No one moves to the New York City Metropolitan Area for the climate, and summer is the worst season here. Nice autumns, really, but they don’t last long.

  26. My kids had it bad the last couple of weeks, but they started school this past monday so that took care of that. I however, have a bad case of the end of summer blues here at work, where I have tons to do and just can’t bring myself to complete any of it because it is just the same darn boring thing I have to do every day.

  27. Saturday is Gaming Night. The rest of the week is large plots of boredom, interspersed with moments of heart pounding terror.

  28. We started schooling last week. Tell Athena to count her blessings.

    I suggest you watch Leverage to alleviate the doldrums.

  29. I’ve got almost a month until school starts for me. I’m so ridiculously bored right now. It’s awful.

  30. Oh, god, yes. I’m all like, “Hey, kids, let’s go hold up a liquor store and then flee across country and maybe drive off a cliff,” and they’re like, “Whatever.”

    (I have a neice visiting this week, which adds to the boredom critical mass, actually.)

  31. I wish I had your problems. “Hmm, I’m sooo bored. Maybe I’ll write an awesome new novel that will be published in 52 different languages.”

    You’ll figure out a way to stay busy, I’m sure of it. ;)

  32. The summer holiday is just 6 weeks in the UK for most schools, and honestly I’d like it to be longer. This year has been particularly hard with 2 weeks in Montreal in the middle of it, but it always goes like a steam train. They’re back to school next Thursday and I don’t think we’ve had a single minute of boredom.

  33. I’m reading lots of job applications/resumes for a search committee at work, which is different than my usual ennui. One thing I’ve learned, most people do have something to put in the “have you ever been dismissed or asked to resign from a position?” box.

  34. Umm, did you really mean to write “boredome” or “boredom” in your first paragraph? I’m assuming the latter since you are speaking about your daughter as well as yourself. I do not claim any pre-knowledge of the urban slang version, btw, I *just* looked it up. You might want to, too.

  35. Charles @27
    Heh Luckily I only had to sit through three days of meetings, I was told last year since they had 3 new teachers they all had to sit through three days of orientation before the three days of meetings, but then I was hired 4 days before school started so I wouldn’t have been able to do that anyway. I’m doing secondary school which is interesting since I’m not even five years older than my seniors.

  36. My son has a year-round schedule (which we love) and thus started back to school on 29 July after 4 weeks of summer recess. Any boredom was over quickly.

  37. My academic summer ended a week ago, but the climatic summer has been cruelly refusing to let go.

  38. I haven’t been bored outside of a lecture, line, or meeting in decades. I have a huge backlog of books to read, games to play, shows and DVDs to watch, and I don’t make it to all the opportunities to socialize that I have.

  39. I’m about 3/4 the way though “This is Me, Jack Vance” interestingly he had a similar problem. He’s a writer and would get bored on occasion (he described it as getting an ‘itch’ every few years) so he would turn his house over to a caretaker, pack up his stuff, and go overseas somewhere to live (Ireland, Spain, Tahiti whatever- he’d find a house to rent when he found a place he liked) for several months (he’d bring his wife and son with) then hunker down and get on with the business of writing….

    there ya go- a solution for your problem – of couse it would require home-schooling…..

  40. Not I, I’ve not had any time off in which to grow bored. Mind you, I haven’t had a summer off since 1995 (the year before I turned 16 and got a job) so that likely has something to do with it.

  41. No kids at my place, so I choose to use the calendar definition of summer, roughly June 21st-Sept. 21st. I’ve got three weeks left of (more often than not) nice weather and very few tourists.

  42. Eh, no summer in the corporate world. Same old same old. I need a sabbatical. I’m tired. At least I get a monday holiday off here in the next week or so…..?

  43. Boredom? What the hell is boredom? Is that what they have in those big square midwestern states? Because here in Alaska I could really, really use some more summer (or as we call it, Construction), I’ve still got things on my summer list to do. I still haven’t burned ants with a magnifying glass or had a water balloon fight or wrestled a grizzly. I’ve got prospects! I’m still a young man you know! (Yes, yes, I watched Ladyhawk yet again last night and I can’t help it).

  44. We’re just getting summer in the last week with spectacular MAine summer weather: sunshine, high’s in the 80’s and plenty of beach weather. Then last night it gets like down to 50F. So today was kind of coolish.

    What was the question? Oh, no I’m not bored. I was sitting with wife annd kid eating ice cream in Freeport after buying school clothes at LL BEAN and I found myself thinking summer has been perfect. I just need more of it.

    Actually I think this has been our best summer yet since moving here in 2005. 4 years. Huh.

    Not bored, no. Not yet.

  45. Ah, but Jim, you belie your own statement by admitting to having rewatched Ladyhawke. I have never been bored enough to watch that a second time, and I hope to Asgard I never will be.

  46. Ladyhawke is a great movie with a HORRIBLY dated soundtrack. I think if someone were to go in and do a totally new soundtrack, people would appreciate it much more. IMO, anyway.

  47. “Whatever: Beyond BoreDome”:

    Two Scalzis enter…

    Two Scalzis lie around whining…

  48. Ackshully, my experience is that it’s a lot worse *because* the summer’s ending. This means you have this THING looming in front of you that is going to interrupt anything you get really into, so you can’t really get into it, so you get bored.

  49. School started sooner down southerly of you, so I’ve been treated to two days of sweet quiet.

    I ought to be looking for an agent for the actually finished novels and working on the current writing. What I’m actually doing is playing Sims 3. Which does ease the boredom of my empty days, even if it gets me nowhere near published.

  50. I don’t know if it has a horribly dated soundtrack, of course, since I saw it in the theatre when it was new and haven’t (unless I’m repressing the memory of a traumatic event) seen it since.

    But it also has the worst attempted Cockney accent since Mary Poppins, an astronomical system that only Calvin’s dad could invent (where a solar eclipse can somehow occur the day after a full moon), and…Rutger Hauer.

    I may overgeneralize by saying there are no good movies with Rutger Hauer in them, but he does count as a negative in evaluating any film. He’s a gratingly bad actor.

    Michelle Pfeiffer is, of course, wonderful as always. But she can’t save that movie from the rest of the people who worked on it.

  51. I may overgeneralize by saying there are no good movies with Rutger Hauer in them

    You don’t like Blade Runner?!

    And trust me on the soundtrack – it was average at best when the movie was new. Trying to watch it now, the soundtrack is so amazingly distracting, it makes me feel sad.

    I’m surprised you didn’t make the usual complaint about the movie – Matthew Broderick. :)

  52. If you’re bored I have some chores you can do.

    Worked for my parents. Works a little for me — doesn’t often get the actual chores done but certainly inspires kids to find something to do.

  53. @ #70 What I’m actually doing is playing Sims 3. Which does ease the boredom of my empty days, even if it gets me nowhere near published.

    But at least your Sims can get published.

  54. Oh, dear, tyger11, yes: I did overgeneralize. Even Rutger Hauer couldn’t drag down the greatness of Blade Runner. He was perfect for that role, actually, as Arnold I’m-too-tired-to-spell-his-name was for the role of a soulless, conscienceless automaton. Hauer doesn’t really try to act in BR, which improves his acting enormously.

    As for Broderick…well, he wasn’t good. But the only thing about him that really bothered me (given the acting standard to which the rest of the movie aspired) was the horribly cheesy Cockney he was attempting. Back then he was cute enough to make up for a lot, but not enough to make up for that accent.

  55. Hauer was also good in Soldier of Orange. Then again, so was that films director at that early stage of his career, one Paul Verhoeven. The conclusion to draw: Hollywood kills talent in edgy, gifted Europeans. See also: Wolfgang Petersen.

  56. @#75 But at least your Sims can get published

    All too true. But my Sim can’t spend his money in the Real World. (Otherwise he might sue for cruelty.)

  57. Hauer was great in _Blind Fury_. At least, I think he was. I only saw the movie once (I’m not really a bad fan of bad movies, even if they happen to be pretty good bad movies that I actually enjoyed), so it’s possible that he would suck if I saw the movie again. Sober.

    Viz Ladyhawke: You have a woman who turns into a hawk, a man who turns into a wolf, a Cockney accent that has never been within two parallel universes of the East End, and #71 is complaining about bad astronomy?

  58. My summer was not really boring, if you count looking for work as boring.

    I did find a job. I work in northern Alberta and fly back and forth every two weeks at my employers expense. It pays the bills. In other words, I’m still looking for a job that I want and like.

  59. Quoth Adrian Belew, fear is never boring.

    Try something terrifying.

    Like watching Dr. Phil through Coke-bottle glasses and the sound garbled.

  60. The kiddos here went back this week. They pretended they did not want to go back, but they have been enjoying the week so far.

  61. In Georgia school started August 10th. Yea, I don’t know why either.

    Metatropolis arrived in the mail yesterday, and four books arrived in the mail today from PS Publishing (thanks to their Midsummer madness 60% off pre-2008 titles sale). I can’t get bored, I’m too many books behind.

  62. It’s very helpful to hear that you feel ennui, too. I’ll remember that the next time I find myself thinking, “I’m so bored with teaching. I’m going to quit and become a famous science fiction writer. Or a long-haul truck driver.”

  63. I forgot to mention in my earlier post that tonight was back-to-school-ice-cream-social-night. My wife reminded me when I got home from work. In addition to ice cream, we had hamburgers and cheesburgers. As has become tradition, the PTA had the In-n-Out Burger truck drive over for dinner service.

    Yes, you read that correctly. My son’s elementary school had its ice cream social catered by In-n-Out.

    Because that’s how we roll in The O.C.

  64. The girls in my suite are having a nice loud karaoke-off in the common room. There goes any notion of sleep -_-

  65. Eviljwinter@5 –

    Hey, now, no poking our dearly departed Uncle Charlie over his non-Roman, non-Holyness.

    It was reasonably close to an empire, by the then current standards, given the amount of territory whose nobles he’d convinced to go along with the whole thing.

  66. And in the southern hemisphere, we are (in NZ at least) are looking forward to an early spring with summer boredom still a distant memory and something to look forward to…

  67. I had two days between finishing a major writing project (for school) on Friday and going back to class on Monday.

    … I spent them catching up on TiVo’d shows.

  68. Our kids have been in school for 2 weeks now, and the husband and I are purchasing a home. No boredom here. Lots of stress, but definitely no boredom!

  69. Boring summer? Let’s see. My mother died, a cousin got shot by accident, my oldest son broke his arm, there is the annual Zuchhini Festival at the end of my block, school started last Tuesday and there is a local SF/lit convention this weekend. Next weekend is a gathering of the clan in the remotest part of WV. I would like boring for a while.

  70. Maia @ 51
    Lucky you, only three days of meetings! I would not mind sitting through them so much if there was something new, but its the same stuff year after year. One meeting was useful this year however, all the teachers in our district have to use the electronic gradebook and that in-service was good. The students are getting restless today because its the football jamboree tonight. Go Buccaneers!!! Beat the Cougars!!!
    West Jefferson High School Rules!!!

  71. Have you ever considered starting a blog? I hear it is a really good way to kill time…


  72. My fiance starts school on Monday, too, but as a first-year teacher. So no, ennui wouldn’t be the word I’d use for his state of mind, unless we’re spelling it f-r-e-a-k-i-n-g-t-h-e-*-*-*-*-o-u-t.

    Personally, I’m just mourning the end of August Recess.

  73. Annalee @98
    Ah, newbe teachers, or as my students say “Fresh Meat, Fresh Meat” “New Meat For The Grinder”. My advice to him as a veteran teacher is don’t turn you back on them and show them no fear. Kids are like sharks. They can smell fear (and blood) in the water!!

  74. I’m so ennuied I’m actually reading your blog at midnight. On a Friday. After watching the Shuttle launch’s light up my night sky. Gosh, do I feel like I’m going nowhere after that. So I’m, like, whatever. And here I am.