Almost there...

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Every day there are lots of posts on the barbarians mailing list. I could post a lot of interesting things from there, but somehow it seems like cheating. Today, I just can't resist. Jeff, who seems to have limitless time on his hands even though he juggles a wife, a pregnant girlfriend, and two kids under one roof, produced this gem.

And I thought Lark camp had some wacky musical instruments.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Went to the Plough even though there was a storm, and I'm really glad I did because some unusual folks were there - Fred (who just finished his recent production), Michelle and her husband Cary (who I got to meet for the first time), Josh and Magenta (lately returned from Russia), Bates and Dawn (not so unusual except that they missed Gaskells and Plough last week, so it's been a while).

Oh, and dancing was fun too.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Scary storm above my head. Probably not a good night to drive to Berkeley. Probably a good night to turn off my computer and go home.

Yipe! Lightning outside my window. I wouldn't be surprised to find out one of the volleyball nets outside my window became a lightning rod a few seconds ago. Damn that was loud!

But I really need to finish this document... Wish me luck.

gah! Blogger just ate my post again!!! Mergle.

Got a washer and dryer. Oddly enough, it's almost exactly identical to the set my mom has. I'm going to so love having a washer and dryer. But what do I do with all the quarters? hee hee!

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Gah!

I was lamenting to my roomie earlier that no one was calling me back, whether it was a HelpSU issue, a Workflow issue, or even just Rick. Then I got a message from Sheilaugh Sebastian asking if I'd gotten her voicemail. I glanced down and I had no voicemail notification. I dialed the message system anyway, and found out I had 20 voicemails waiting.

Sigh. If only this weren't merely an example of how the rest of my day has gone at the office. Can I go home now?

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

The move went fairly well. We were ready. My mom did an amazing job of packing up the kitchen and cleaning it out. We managed (after some doubt) to get all the furniture into the truck in one load, and there was generally minimal damage. The new place just doesn't feel like home yet though. I'm going to try to get the kitchen functional tonight, and maybe get a washer and dryer tomorrow. Those two items would go a long way toward improving my sanity.

For now, it's off to Target to see if I can find a nice new shower curtain.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

So there's a kind of cosmic balance sheet to my life. I live on the peaks and valleys rather than on the flat plains, which is ultimately the way I like it. Things are really good for a lot of the time, but then there's seems to be some sort of force in the universe that comes along from time to time and reminds me what it's like when things don't go so well. Most of the time those things hit me like a ton of bricks. This time, I'm sort of more bemused by it. If things are this screwy right now, then hell, it's gotta be better really soon. Perhaps by not cracking under the weight of these trials, I'm inviting more trials, but let's hope not.

Here's the story to date: We bought plane tickets to London on British Airways. The U.S. and England are intent on starting a war with Iraq. Heathrow is now surrounded by tanks. A week ago Saturday, we signed a one year lease on a new residence. A week ago Tuesday, Rick got a layoff notice and all the development teams were walked out the door that day. We're going forward with packing and moving on faith that things will get better. I have contracted some sort of nasty chest cold that has had me laid up and unable to pack for the last few days. We're moving on Sunday and being ready seems unlikely.

So, to sum up: war may interrupt the vacation I've been waiting four years to take, Rick's layoff may mean that our new home is in the wrong location or that we can't afford the rent, and my illness may mean that we won't be ready when our friends arrive to move stuff. I guess the common thread is that these are all maybes at this point. I still might be able to pull it out. War may fizzle. And god knows what work is out there. Me, I'm just bumping along. The big picture is still pretty darned good as far as I can tell, so I'm just going on faith that all of these maybes will turn out to be nothing to fret over.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Over the past few months, I've been watching a bunch of old musicals. Tivo has been very conscientious about collecting them for me: Royal Wedding, Easter Parade, Funny Face, My Fair Lady. The thing that's driving me absolutely bananas with this films is that the man always mistreats the woman, flies into a jealous rage, and she runs from him. And then after one additional scene, generally she realizes that he is the only man for her and she can't possibly live without him. It's making me scream. About forty minutes from the end of Funny Face tonight, I said, "If she ends up with him (Fred Astaire), I'm going to scream. The movie concluded and I screamed. He had not 30 minutes earlier, one day in the movie timeline, shown himself to be a completely jealous asshole, dragging her out of the cafe and away from the conversation she was having and declaring that she would never speak to that man again. That man was the professor she came all the way to Paris to meet. Sure, it turned out about 20 minutes later that he was letching on her (in a weird precursor to Will Riker style), and instead of determining that both the guys in her life were being total jerks, she ran back to Fred Astaire. Screaming ensued. Between that and Professor Henry Higgins and the stupid scenarios in Royal Wedding and Easter Parade and hell, just about any movie musical from the fifties or sixties, it's no wonder American women are so fucked in the head. "Oh, he's jealous and he treats me badly, but I love him!" Gag me with a pitchfork. Ugh.

There are a lot of musicals I love - Singing in the Rain, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Wizard of Oz, but damn, some of the second string of classics should be burned. Or at least not shown to anyone under 25. They're more damaging to the young female psyche than all the sex and violence on film today.

After a few weeks of rehearsals, the Balkan Babes (er, I mean, Koledari) took first prize at the annual Leneia festival.

For the record, I am not a singer. I don't sing. It just doesn't happen. Well, except in the car to accompany the radio sometimes. But singing in public is just out of the question for me. Except that at Lark camp a year and a half ago, the gang talked me into taking a Balkan singing workshop. I squirmed and fretted through the whole thing, but on the second to last day of camp, we performed a recital and it wasn't too bad. With a chorus of singers, my individual badness was drowned out by the greater glory of women's voices raised in song. So then when Janelle had this idea to do it for Leneia this year, I actually heard myself volunteering before I realized that this meant I would have to sing in front of people again. Doh.

We ended up singing four songs: Bratec Kosi, Sto Mi E Milo, Dumaj Zlato, and Trugnala Rumjana. I only found one sample online right now. I may add more later, but none of these are of us singing on Saturday night. We didn't record it, thank god. I'm quite certain I wouldn't have been able to handle it then.

And Leneia was, as always, truly fabulous. It's a Theosis event where everyone who attends has to perform something. It's a great opportunity to showcase the amazing talent amongst our friends, and a wonderful opportunity to get up in front of people and do something you wouldn't ordinarily do. So I did. And it was good.

And then on Sunday we started the moving process. All of my clothes are in the new place, and most of our books and games and CDs. I can't wait to have a housewarming party. I really like our new landlord. We told her Rick was getting laid off, and she said she would still rather have us living in her place than anyone else who applied, and that if we had to bail out of the lease early or renegotiate the rent at some point, then that was an option. So we decided to go ahead and move in. Next Sunday is the big moving day. Any volunteers for lifting lots of heavy furniture?

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Remember that thing I said about praise a few weeks ago? Still true.

I was in the blackest mood Tuesday evening. The whole layoff thing hit me hard. It was just so far out of left field that I was completely caught off guard. I just wanted to go home, eat a lot of chocolate, and veg out in front of the TV. Rick strongly encouraged me to go ahead and go to my Latin Dance class. The last thing I felt like doing was dancing, especially a form of dance that I'm not good at or comfortable doing.

But I went to class anyway. And it was a good thing. Josh, a chap I sort of know from several of these classes, was short a wife this week and asked me to be his first partner, which was great because we're both good dancers who are just new at the Latin Dance thing. Suddenly we were both doing better than we had for the entire run of the class. He gave me a couple of tips. And then came the compliment. He said I was the only one in class who looked natural doing the hip thing. I said, "Wow, that's amazing considering that's the one thing that terrifies me about Latin dance. My hips just don't do that." He said, "Actually, they do, and it looks like you've been doing it for years."

And the blackness lifted. And I started being able to go on with my life. Things will be okay. I'm taking a sort of a "So be it" kind of attitude toward things. And it's not going to screw up our trip to Europe, not even if it means I have to put a nasty dent in my savings account.

Add to that a rocking good time playing air hockey with Bates last night, and I'm doing pretty okay. Now if I could just convince Rick to start sleeping again...

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Dammit. Rick was just informed that Midway is shutting down all development at the location in Milpitas. He's getting laid off. Anyone need a desktop support guy who also knows a thing or two about Legato backup systems and rendering farms? He doesn't have any sort of bachelor's degree or certifications.

I don't know anyone who has been laid off in the last couple of years who has found a job in less than 9 months. This makes me painfully nervous.

Worse than that, we are in the process of moving, and have already purchased tickets for our Europe trip. We may have to can the moving plan. I can't imagine that things will change significantly between now and Saturday morning (when we pick up the keys and pay the remainder of the deposit) that will make moving a good choice. I'd hate to move and incur all of those expenses only to have to move again because our new home location is too far from Rick's new work. I'd hate to be unable to afford the rent on the new place, and a difference of $150 suddenly becomes a lot of money when one half of the equation is living on unemployment.

Damn.

You know what I want. I want serenity in my life. I want one full year where I can just live without any massive crisis. And the foundation of that is being able to count on having a job. But that is just never going to happen. Not here. Not in this era. Not in this area.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Okay, I stand corrected. Shuttle fuel isn't made from oil.

But I disagree with Anthony. Sure, Bush might actually value space exploration. It's not completely out of the realm of possibility. It doesn't change the fact that I fear him hurting things I care about. He has done everything in his power to mess with sex education in America and around the world. He has flouted the separation of church and state with his Faith Based Initiaves. And Saddam Hussein has done NOTHING to antagonize the US in the last year, but the Shrub (whom I call such, since I'm not going to type out George W. Bush to differentiate him from his dad) has decided to go stir the pot for no readily apparent reason. The entire world has been asking for months for him to just make the case. Tell us what Saddam is doing that is so bad that we have license to march in and overthrow him, killing thousands of civilians in the process. But W. was talking war in the first week that UN weapons inspectors were back on the scene. Why? It makes no sense. Prior to World War 2, America was 39th in the world for military power. We were known for being xenophobic. All of Europe was at war before we got involved. In fact, it took an attack on our soil to get us involved. We had an attack on us a year and a half ago, and we went and pounded the crap out of Afghanistan as a result. But how the hell did we get to the point where we _needed_ to attack Iraq? (couldn't catch bin Laden. Hey! Let's go kick Saddam's ass instead!) I just don't get it. And yes, I'm still waiting to hear some good reasons from the Shrub. His last attempt was fucking pathetic. If we need to go to war with Iraq, make the case and let the nation decide. If you can't make the case, the stop rattling your saber. Yes, we may have to suffer the consequences eventually, but our job as a nation is not to be a bully. If anything, we should set a good example. If other countries treated us the way we're treating Iraq, we'd be pissed off. Oh, and you know, that's exactly what's happening. The people of Iraq are seeing Americans (more than ever before) as big dumb bullies who think they own the world.

I've been thinking about the Columbia for the last couple of days. I'm not feeling it as the enormous tragedy that the media and George Bush is playing it out to be. It doesn't hit very hard because it's almost expected. In fact, it's amazing that they've gone this long without more than 2 major accidents.

There's some other alleviating factors as well. Unlike Challenger, where it was the first time something like this happened, and where they blew up on launch, these folks all got to go out there. They got to see the Earth from space. And they knew space travel was a risky business, but they still fulfilled the dream and unfortunately they died on their way home. But dammit, they got to see it!

Second, I guess I've been waiting for something like this to happen. I don't drive an old car from 1982 because technology has changed, safety features have advanced significantly, and cars just aren't designed they way they were then for very good reasons. My first car was a 1982 Datsun King Cab diesel truck. Driving it once after purchasing my first Saturn was an experience I won't forget. It suddenly felt so old and dated and... well, rickety. Since then I've purchased another new car, and my old Saturn felt dated after driving the new one. And if I were still driving that old Datsun, I wouldn't expect it to make a cross country roadtrip repeatedly without breaking down, no matter how many parts I'd replaced or how careful I'd been about maintaining it. The space shuttle is long overdue for a redesign. That we've made it this long without a major accident is a miracle.

So I'm sad for the astronauts and their families, but it's not much worse to me than hearing that someone I didn't know died in a car crash. The only difference is that I fear that instead of taking this as a head's up and giving NASA a big chunk of money to build a better spacecraft, the Shrub will take this as an opportunity to call for the cancellation of the space program, cutting funding down the to bone, cancelling our involvement in the international space station, and redirecting all of the money to our oil war. The only reason he might not do that is that space shuttles use a lot of rocket fuel, which is made out of oil. Either that or he'll just be too busy picking fights with other nations to notice NASA's pathetic budget.