Almost there...

Friday, September 30, 2005

Reviews Are In

So there's this little movie coming out today. (Well, okay there's a couple, and dangit, I wish MirrorMask was playing in more theaters!) But Serenity, the movie I've been blathering on about for a year. Well, it opened today. And the reviews are better than I expected. I mean, why would reviewers say nice things about this geeky little sci-fi movie I enjoyed? And there's something I've not seen in a long time - the little man jumping out of his chair in the SF Chronicle. That never happens. At best, the little man is sitting at attention for movies I thought were fantastic. And here he is, completely ecstatic, just like me.

So I'm headed to the Camera 12 today with 60 friends to see Serenity. Again. For the fourth time, even though today is opening day. It's been a long strange trip. And FINALLY I'll get to talk it over with everyone - all the joys and disappointments. Finally.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


I've spent two hours wrestling the gorram template for our user documentation here at work. It's the most inanely overcomplicated piece of gosa I've ever dealt with. I spend all my time on getting it to update page numbers rather than working on the actual content. This makes me insane. Page numbers should be the easy part. But they paid lots of money for another company to produce our documentation via this template last year (and a similar template before), and my attempts to revise and make the documentation actually useful and appropriate (versus that which was written by people who never worked here and have no idea how things really work here) result in me feeling my blood pressure rise to insane levels only to finally break down and ask the one person in the office who has been wrangling these routinely for a while, and she cheerfully points out what I've missed in the documentation that she wrote and how it should be just so easy. But it's full of counter-intuitive shit like if you want to label an appendix "Appendix B" you have to enter a 2 in the module field. So, two hours gone and all I've managed to do is label the module number. And I've got another four hours to finish the whole gorram document. Gah!!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Premiere Night Photo

Here's the one photo I remember having taken of me at the Serenity premiere.

The lovely woman next to me is Shanna Swendson, author of Enchanted Inc., which I highly recommend. She describes it as "Sex and the City meets Harry Potter". I'm just glad she's got book 2 on the way and is currently writing book 3.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


It's official - my hoarde of friends is headed to Camera 12 at 9:35 on Friday to see Serenity. If you care to join us, buy tickets. If you want to join us for dinner, send me a note and I'll be sure to add you to the Evite. I spoke to the manager at Camera 12 and they're ready for us. Me, I can't wait to see the box office numbers on Monday.

Oh sure, it's not like I haven't seen it before, but Joss is Boss. Here's what he posted to the board today:
Post subject: We few, we happy few...

Well boys and girls and boys dressed as girls and
girls dressed as Kaylee, the time is almost upon us.
This Friday we take that old rust-bucket out of the
shipyard and see if she can breach atmo. It's been a
long (to paraphrase a band I like) strange trip, and
it'll be nice finally to show everybody what it is
we've been tinkering with all this time.

You already know you have my thanks, from the hardcore
fans to the softcore... fans.... let me try that
again. From the people manning the booths, buying DVD
sets for their friends, getting banners seen
everywhere on Australian TV, raffling artwork for
(Adam Hughes, take a bow), to the most casual fan who
just wants to see the flick and won't ever even read
this. You guys are the fuel in the engine, the Fire in
the Fly, the weird green stuff coming out of
Serenity's butt. (Hmmm. Forget that last one. I'm a
little bit out
of control here.)

Everyone needs something to keep them going. Mal has
his ship. Zoe has her integrity. Jayne has Vera. And
I've got you guys.

So what now? There have been so many posts about
seeing it, seeing it again, the first weekend, the
second weekend, being enthusiastic without being
obnoxious (and yes, it IS hard to see over the pom-pom
of a Jayne hat), buying tickets in advance, making a

I honestly wouldn't know what to add. I can tell you
this: the movie will play in about 2200 hundred
theaters, which is a good number. Too many, and you
get empty theaters with no energy -- not enough, and
you get, well, not enough. It may be hard to find in
some areas but it'll be out there. Leave no multiplex
unturned! This is going to be a ground war, peeps
-- we have to hold the valley for a long while.
However it opens, it needs to HOLD. Instead of the
Alliance we'll be fighting viewer apathy, fear of
something new, the urge to wait for DVD, and Jessica
Alba in a bikini. (Although I have it on good
authority that she spends
90% of the film in a huge wooly parka. Make sure that
gets out.)

The day this puppy opens, I'll be seeing it with my
family (don't worry, there's a lot of
them, and they're all paying) and then I'm off to
Europe to learn the word 'Browncoats' in
nine different languages -- 'cause like I said, it's
all about holding. I'll never be far from a
computer, though, so I can check in with y'all. Thanks
for every damn thing.

And remember, amidst all the urgency to make this an
event, all the work and the worry, to take two hours
and just enjoy yourself. That is, after all, what all
this fighting's about.


Gotta love that guy.


I'm having a follow-up day. I've followed-up on several duplicate ID tickets from yesterday at work, followed up on a problem with my mortgage payment that originally started ten days ago, followed up on a problem with my cell phone billing that started in July when Cingular changed my account number without telling me, followed up on a refund I was due from an auto-body shop from April, followed up on a rebate I've been owed by Kitchen-Aid since February. So far, all this follow-up has brought me a remarkable amount of closure. Now that I'm on a roll, I'm just tyring to remember if there's anything else I should be following up on since this is going really well so far.

Monday, September 26, 2005


My grandma just sent me the funniest thing. This is a sign from a gift shop window:


It was a tremendously lazy weekend. After returning from L.A., I did some work on Friday, then launched into lethargy mode. We went to see Corpse Bride on Friday, which I dearly loved. It was a little goth girl's dream come true. Tim Burton styling, with Victorian and swing-era influences, Danny Elfman music, unbeatable voice acting from the likes of Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter, Christopher Lee, Tracey Ullman, and more, and a delicious story that will be the inspiration for a thousand gothling weddings for the next ten years or more. Alex joined us for that, and we headed to Johnny Rockets for supper afterwards where we were unable to control the happy feet. Too much good music makes for impromptu swing in the restuarant. We retired to home to see this week's episode of Supernatural and to lighten up afterwards by showing Alex the pilot of How I Met Your Mother.

Saturday we rose and sent Alex off to work. Rick and I headed off to breakfast at Hobee's and to see Just Like Heaven. This was a sweet little romantic comedy that really shone in the denouement. It's worth a matinee or a rental, and there's one truly priceless scene between Mark Ruffalo and Donal Logue. Home again, we did some basic housekeeping and then settled in to watch the last episode of the season for Battlestar Galactica and the last disc of Dead Like Me. That's a show that really came together in the second season, but sadly, it was cancelled.

Sunday we slept late and woke to a good breakfast followed closely by a massage. This led to more lethargy, culminating in a nice dinner with Susanne and watching Touch of Pink. It was a sweet little Bend it like Beckham meets Better than Chocolate with the spirit of Cary Grant thrown in for color.

It was the single most lazy weekend I've had all year, and though I'm just slightly disappointed that I didn't make better use of my time, I'm also not especially fretted over it since this was the last unplanned weekend of the year. The gauntlet starts here. Every weekend has plans from now until A.D. - After Dickens. I've already used that phrase once, and it won't stop soon. This week promises the start of a lunchtime exercise class, a Blues dance class with Richard Powers on Thursdays, air hockey with Bates on Tuesday, Serenity on Friday, and birthday parties on Saturday and Sunday. So, I'll take my ultra-lazy weekend and enjoy it, because it's going to be many months before I see its like again.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Serenity Premiere

I'm back. We were not allowed to carry cameras, so others photos will have to suffice. Edit - Ooh look at the pretty video (and more photos)! And look - another article!

This was a total once in a lifetime opportunity. So many favorite folks from the Whedonverse were there. And at this point, I know so many fellow browncoats that it was really great to see some old friends I haven't seen since Chicago. We arrived, pulled up to the parking garage and were suprised to find that premiere parking was free, and headed to the registration table just for Browncoats. I picked up my tickets and met up with Shanna and Ray and several other Browncoats. I met Shawna Trpcic, the costume designer for Firefly. She and her husband seem very friendly.

The red carpet part was interesting. There's two halves of the carpet. The stars walk down one side and get stopped along the way for photos and interviews. Other guests walk down the other side. Then there's a gap, and a barricaded area for fans to stand in and scream and take photos. Nathan is a great guy and he actually came and shook hands with the fans, sneaking down that non-carpet space to say hi to folks before doing his official walk down the carpet. Also, Joss Whedon has dropped like 30 pounds at least since Wondercon last year. It's an amazing transformation. He's svelte and incredibly happy looking. Morena looked stunning in her little black dress. She has amazingly delicate features, and is actually a tad taller than I expected. And Ron Glass seems to be forever smiling or laughing. It's probably what keeps him looking easily 20 years younger than his age.

We headed inside and sat in our assigned seats. There was free popcorn and sodas for everyone in the lobby. In reality, the premiere was spread over four theaters. We were in the red theater. This meant assigned seats, which was really nice, and was also a source of amusement at the end. We Browncoats were all in the first six rows of the theater. I looked behind me about halfway through the credits and said, "Hey, I wonder where the Browncoats are sitting." Everybody laughed. We merry band of intrepid fangeeks waited out to the end of the credits together.

So then we headed down another red carpet to the after party. This was like going to the nicest wedding reception you've ever been to. There were several courtyards with different catering stations. There were full meals of chicken, shrimp, calzones, salad, french fries and hamburgers. There was a dessert buffet complete with hot apple cobbler (my pick - yummy!). There was an espresso bar. There was a bar and a pub open, all free. We walked around a corner, and another Browncoat stopped Rick and said, "Love the kilt. Dang - are you two here together?" We concurred. He said, "Well, I think you're the best dressed couple here tonight." My blue dress did look mighty good, so I cheerfully absorbed this compliment. Heck, if I can get dressed up in a public bathroom after driving five hours and get nominated for best dressed couple of the night, then woohoo! After all the theaters let out and all the stars made it inside, we moved into the main reception hall. Each star had their own table where their friends and family were sitting. Walking around the hall, there would be little mobs near each star. It got overwhelmingly crowded at times. I have no nerve whatsoever to randomly talk to famous people, so mostly I milled around, catching up with Browncoats, occassionally standing near a star to overhear conversation. Alan Tudyk is a crack up. And Ron Glass is always laughing. I'd love to get to know him as a person. I'd love to learn to be that happy from someone who seems to be genuinely that happy all the time. Christina Hendricks (Saffron) was asked for an autograph by one of the geekier fan boys there, and she cheerfully obliged, leaning over to sign on a coffee table. When she stood up, her boyfriend pantomimed the scene back to her, with her bending over and the fanboy trying not to faint dead away at the sight of her bent bottom. She shoved him playfully, but I added, "Yeah, but he's not lying." The room was decorated with a big Buddha up front, flaked by parasols and fans, with drapes of pink, red, orange and gold fabric hung from the ceiling. There were two raised platforms with porch swings. Rick and I curled up on one of those for a while. I stepped out to make a phone call, and on the way back in was passing Neil Patrick Harris. I just had to stop and tell him how much I enjoyed him as Mark in Rent. He seemed to genuinely appreciate that. I hope his new show "How I Met Your Mother" does well. The pilot was certainly funny enough and it's got both him and Alyson Hannigan in it.

The party wound down between 12:30 and 1, and we walked out the same time as another woman who was hanging near Nathan all night. Turns out, she's his publicist. I suggested that it was likely she'd be very busy very soon. She said she hoped. Rick asked if this was ever done, if fans were ever invited to these sorts of things. She said, "No. Never. This was a shock. It took us all aback." So truly, once in a lifetime.

The one thing that keeps coming up again and again is that for all the stories you hear about "Hollywood People" being rude or self-centered or prima donnas, the Firefly/Serenity folks don't seem to be like that at all. They're all very genuine and they appreciate their fans. Joss made a big point of thanking us all on the red carpet. So did Ron and Nathan. And they mean it. I mean, geez, they invited us to their party. It's something that's just not done, and yet, there I was. Thank you Joss (and Universal). It was a wonderful night.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

September 30, 2005

It's that time. If I haven't added you to the Evite and you want to join us for Serenity, send me a note and I'll add you to the list. I'm headed to L.A. in the morning to see it, but that doesn't mean for an instant that I won't have my shiny ticket in hand on Friday the 30th to see it with every friend I can possibly drag to the theater with me. So if you want to come along to the Camera 12 in downtown San Jose, just say so. The theater is offering free popcorn to those arriving in costume. We're also planning to grab a late supper after the show at PF Changs (seeing as how Chinese is the right food to eat and Changs is open til midnight).

And the good news - Rick gets to go with me to the premiere. Hee hee! This is going to be great.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Okay, so my manager has reengaged in being manager of the Student Records group. This means that he is actually being a manager these days and is present. I can tell him stuff and he makes things happen from there. And instead of just stumping along doing boring Help Desk trying to make a full day of it, I have other assignments that are actually interesting and useful. This is a Good Thing.

He popped in a few minutes ago, and we chatted over changes to the system for Major/Minor requests and some other documentation he's been hunting down for me about Grad Admissions. Meanwhile, he's thumbing through the copy of Depraved and Insulting English on my desk. Our normal business ends, and he asks, "So have you ever seen a kordax?"

I said, "What's a kordax?"

He quoted from the book, "A penis dance performed by horned figures in the Dionysian festivals of ancient Greece."

I said, "Um, well actually, I have. Did you know I participate in a neo-Hellenic pagan group?"

He blushes.

I continue, "And Tate's winkie dance is world reknowned."

He had to go suddenly.

Now that he's actually doing his job, I'm reminded that Javier is actually a pretty fun guy. Every visit to my desk includes a new depraved or insulting word, but in a good way.


One of the all time favorite games at my game nights is Apples to Apples. It's a great game everybody loves to play. The rules are simple and the game play is always entertaining. Even folks who don't ordinarily enjoy games end up having fun with Apples to Apples. I guess that's why this story was so touching.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Good Theater

We have season tickets to ACT again this year. The first offering was The Overcoat. It's the story of a draftsman who lives in a boarding house. He's got an old tattered overcoat. He's bullied by his officemates. He is hit on by his landlady. Finally he decides he's mended his old coat too many times, and splurges on a new one, and what a fabulous new coat it is too, and suddenly he's the center of attention, and that's when everything starts to go wrong. He drinks too much at a company party, makes a fool of himself, then gets on the wrong bus and ends up in the wrong part of town where his coat is stolen and he gets beat up. Finally, he makes it home only to go mad. It's an interesting story well told. Without words. Not a peep. There's a couple of moments of "This is why people hate mimes" but far more moments of impressive bodily story telling. Add to this a lovely supper before the show at Cafe Mason and dessert after the show at the same, and it was a lovely evening and a truly pleasant opportunity to catch up with Noelle, who in a fabulous egg into omelette transformation has finished school, gotten a great job, found a lovely new beau from London, and lost half her body mass going from a 16 to a 3. All this while being single parent to Galen. Bravo girl!

When leaving the restaurant (after theater, after dessert), Fred mentioned he was going to see The Haunting of Winchester Sunday night. I'd heard an interesting item on Forum about it and wanted to go myself. Calling the box office yielded two tickets in the seats next to Fred and Malaya, and Cyrus and Athena were going that night too. The San Jose Rep is a lovely, intimate theater. The show was quite good, with little Lizzie Jones stealing the show as Marisa. It's an "I wonder why" explanation of Sarah Winchester and her famous house, weaving history with fantasy into an entertaining morsel. Dinner beforehand at the Vegetarian house was yummy again, and dessert at Ben & Jerry's meant lots of quality time over good food with good friends. It's a perfect way to spend a weekend.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Not Loving Caltrain

On campus there's this big recommendation to take public transit. It's easier! It's better! It's less wear and tear on your car! No need to pay for parking on campus!*

Tried to take Caltrain this morning. We headed out, but Rick forgot his phone and had to go back in and hunt for it. This meant we arrived at the station and the train pulled in and out while we were walking to it from the car. The next train headed to Palo Alto was 38 minutes later. I can drive the whole way in 38 minutes.

This is why public transit in America fails.

I still recall fondly the first time I was in Paris with Cyrus. We heard a train coming in, ran towards it, and emerged on the platform just as the doors closed. Woosh! Away the train went. Cy and I shuffled over toward the waiting chairs. As we lowered ourselves to the chairs, another train came in. Woosh! Less than 5 mintues between trains. This is functional public transit. The last time I was in Paris, we went out to the Foire du TrĂ´ne. It took 3 train transfers (4 trains total) to get back to our hotel. It took 22 minutes. This is functional public transit.

Caltrain. 38 minutes between trains. This does not work.

*No need to pay for parking on campus IF you take the train EVERY DAY and IF you don't have to buy Caltrain lot parking passes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Having a moment. Will recover soon. Got an email inviting me to the red carpet premiere and official after party for Serenity. Unable to control brain. 'Splodey. 1 person. It's in Universal City (L.A.). Insane? Yes. Going? Yes. Logistics? No freaking clue. Beloved Rick says, "Yes, go silly. I'll resent you for a day, but I couldn't deny you that opportunity." Okay. Right. Boss said crazy plan was fine. Can't. sentence. properly. Must buy plane tickets. Wog.

The Vegetarian House

So Sunday night, after enjoying a leisurely afternoon at Kevin's for Second Sunday brunch, we headed out to run some errands and finally decided to stop for dinner on the way home. Since our local Mongolian Barbecue was closed, we opted to try the slightly daunting Vegetarian House on Santa Clara. This place is known throughout San Jose for serving a hearty helping of religion with it's food. Braced for uncertain food offerings and a heap of religious literature, we headed in. It's a clean, well lighted place, serenely painted in light blue and white, with a bar that serves only non-alcoholic drinks and a baby grand covered in literature about Madam Ching Hai and the path to immediate enlightenment. I picked up a copy of their book to read over dinner (offered generously in a wide range of languages for free). We ordered Spring Rolls, Thai Curry Soup, and Crispy Joy Luck Noodles for dinner. Turns out, our entire meal was not merely vegetarian, but vegan. And it was really really good. In my past experience with vegan food, it's usually mediocre at best, and frequently frought with terrible aftertastes and unappealing textures. Not the case this time. Each of these three dishes were tasty treats that fully satisfied me. If these folks cooked for me every day, I could easily be a vegetarian. And really, the religious stuff was omnipresent, but not overwhelmingly annoying. The only thing I'd edit out is the big tv over the bar showing a constant stream of Madam Ching Hai's lectures. Other than that, it could be easily overlooked. Now I can't wait to go back and drag Malaya there. I don't think there's a thing on the menu that she can't eat there. Woohoo!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Inara Made Me Buy It

I keep finding myself coming home with clothes or small furnishings that I don't ordinarily associate with "my style". Funny thing is, the colors are brighter, or the cut is sexier, or the pattern is not my usual. It seems more and more often, I find myself "explaining" to Rick that "Inara made me buy it."

It's very weird, but I've ended up with a couple of really great dresses, a shirt,a robe, and a small jewelry box I would've ordinarily passed up. It's kind of fascinating to me to watch the influence of seeing similar styles in an attractive setting. Some people watch the ads. I guess I'd be an easy mark for product placement. Of course, those products would have to be exotic fashions and lush furnishings, but whatever. Oh and Kaylee has made me buy a couple shirts and a pair of flip flops too.

Engrish Translation of Episode 3

Okay, so I've been referencing this over and over again and then realized I never actually posted it to my blog. Silly me. But after going to a wedding at a Presbyterian church this weekend, I couldn't help being more amused. Actually, the pastor was great. I kept referring to him as the irreverent reverend. Anyhow, suffice to say, I kept chuckling to myself about the Jedi Council = Presbyterian Church thing all day Friday and Saturday. As Christyn says, "Blessed are the easily amused, for they shall be."

After that very positive experience with Christianity on Saturday, I followed that up with today's lovely news stories of Pat Robertson (of the 700 Club) blaming the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the Emmy's choosing Ellen DeGeneres as a host and another Southern pastor who said that Hurricane Katrina was sent to wipe out the sin in the city.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Fall Fell

...with a thud. It was a high of 73 today, and the low is scheduled to be 54. Guess I'll be pulling out the down comforter tonight. I wore my leather jacket to work for the first time in months today. It was overcast all day.

And for the record - we really don't need an air conditioner. There was one week that was pretty hot, but it still cooled off plenty enough to sleep by bedtime. Nope. No air conditioner. Instead, I'll be investing my life savings in rewiring the house. Knob and Tube = Bad. Oy.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Good Days

It was a good weekend. We started Saturday with a bit of last minute household cleanup, and Rick decided it would be good to repaint the one wall that is so marked up in the kitchen. He pulled the paint cans out of the garage, made a sample swatch on white cardboard, thought it looked likely, and began to paint. Too bad that was the Exterior trim paint. It's a very similar color, just a bit darker. We repainted the whole wall and then did little touch up spots on other walls. Then we went and folded the laundry. When I came back, I said, "I don't think this is the right color." He said it would dry to match. I said I don't think so and started rubbing the now dry paint with my finger. He said, "Show me your finger." I did. He said, "Oh crap."

So then we looked at the cans again, and sure enough, that paint is a perfect match for the outside of the house. Not so much for the inside wall. So we repainted inside again, made a few touchups outside (since the brush was already dirty and ready), and went over our little touch ups. Oy. Nothing like repainting the same wall five times in one day. The darker color was very challenging to cover.

That comedy of errors complete, we headed up to Sonoma to Fred's parent's place. Little cabin. Big pool. 91 degrees. Nice. We had a nice evening of paddling around the pool, burgers, and roasted bananas in the fire. It was very relaxing. Just what I needed. We woke up and had Belgian waffles with strawberries, raspberries, blue berries, nectarines and whipped cream for breakfast. Another culinary treat enjoyed, we headed towards home to welcome our guests. A flurry of last minute cleanup (sweeping and mopping the floors mostly, and hauling stuff out to the garage) and we welcomed a house full of guests for a late summer barbecue. I think the biggest surprise was Suzi coming down from Sacramento. That was really nice to see her. Add to that my mom, and Christina from work, and some Fezzis and some old friends and it was one heck of eclectic crowd. An evening of Apples to Apples, roast sausage and corn on the deck, too much food, perfectly roasted marshmallows by Justin, and good conversation around the copper fire pit in the back and it was a great night. One of the guests was the bride in the wedding I'm in on Saturday. She asked to see the silver dress I was planning to wear. I looked for it. And looked for it again. Hmm...

The next morning I rose to what might have been a lazy day, but I kept looking for that silver dress. Finally, I emptied the entire costume closet. No dress. Then I emptied the wardrobe. No dress. Then I went to the garage and dug through all the Goodwill boxes. No dress. Panic!

Tuesday was all set to be a horrific day. But, I got to work early, met with Sarah and went over the class I was teaching that afternoon, talked to my manager at 10 and he convinced me that he was impressed with my Law Lottery document and that I should present it at the meeting at 11. I made copies and made the presentation, and apparently impressed the rest of the team. Max made a special effort to tell me a couple of times that I did a really good job. I then went back and met with Sarah again for another half hour while trying to eat the easy parts of my lunch and finished the tutorial on teaching the class at 1. I ran over to the classroom and got it set up and taught from 1-3:30 (we ran very short) and it went just completely fine. With those two victories in place, I raced through the queue and headed out to go dress shopping. Oh yes, I would find one.

Or not. Metallics just aren't in this season. Luckily, I'd also sent out an email to friends with a desperate plea for a loner dress. Ali offered up this little number, so off I went to Concord. I finally got to see the front porch they've been building. They've got a cool, very wacky old house, now with most of a front porch running the length of the front of it. It will be very nice when completed. A perfect place to sip iced tea on a hot summer day (which they have a lot of in Concord). With a lot of fear, I slipped on the dress. Not too tight. Not too loose. Not too long. Purrrrrfect. Oh yeah. I could do with another couple of cup sizes up top to fill it up, but otherwise, it couldn't be a better fit. And it's gorgeous.

So, with day's crisis number 3 down, I headed home, so very very much relieved.

The last thing to say about this weekend is that it just didn't go as well for others as it did for me. The worst case is poor Lizzie and Geoff who came home from camping to find their home thoroughly burgled. This sucks endlessly, and with credit cards, passports, and Social Security cards missing, it will probably suck for a good long time. And then there's Janelle's brother, the world reknowned musician who lives and works in New Orleans. His home and his livelihood basically floated away this week. And there's lots more where that came from. But for me, I couldn't have had a nicer weekend and I'd expected yesterday to go so badly, and everything just came together perfectly. And today I'm working from home, lounging in a Poang chair recently given to us by Kevin, and enduring my third kitten snuggle attack for the morning while typing this post. Yep, my life is pretty idyllic right at the moment. I'm going to choose to appreciate it rather than feeling guilty that not everyone is having that right now.

Friday, September 02, 2005

And then work sucked again...

Last one out of the building today. Everyone left early because getting three days off is clearly not enough. Don't mind me. I'm just bitter because I can't get my work done to be prepared for Tuesday since everyone else I need to work with left early. Grr.

And my coup, while a lovely idea, has gone the way of the dodo as the end of the fiscal year meant a game of musical chairs, and my idea was too new and too lightly considered to make the cut in time. The net result is that my former manager from the Persona project is now on the same team as me, and she has roughly the same skill set as me, and she's notorious for gossiping and stabbing people in the back. I've managed to stay out of her way for the past 3 years, but this is just a recipe for badness. I find myself instantly feeling on the defensive, because though she's been formally added to the team, it isn't because she's in the middle of work that applies to this team, and it isn't because she's about to start something the team hasn't had time to get to. It's because she and my manager are close personal friends so he took her on. And we have basically the same skill set, so now we're competing for getting various tasks to do. Somehow as not a close personal friend of the manager, I suspect I will be left with the less savory tasks again and again. This is going to be great.

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to teach a class on Tuesday that I've never gone through the course materials with the author and can't figure out what she's intending on the demos from the notes. She left early today. And I'm supposed to be updating the TRN database for the fall term today, but when I went in to do it, I found that documentation incomplete and contradictory, and the person who wrote them left early, so I had to stall on that for a week since changes to that database only take effect on Fridays. And I started tearing apart the Grad Admissions manual to find that the document was so heavily macro'd in Word that I can't find a way to change the bloody page numbers because the formula that's generating them seems to be failing. But I can't ask the person who would know more about the template because she left early. And I'm supposed to present the Law Lottery process to the team meeting on Tuesday, but the person I sent my draft to two days ago left early without getting back to me on it. And I sent a note to my manager saying I'm not comfortable presenting it without prior feedback citing the incident with a coworker in June when I sent my boss a note asking never to be treated like that in a meeting. (One of my teammates was given an assignment that was somewhat vague, the teammate did it to as he thought best and brought it to the meeting to present, and my manager told him in front of the entire team that this was not what he way looking for and that he needed to go back and redo it. I feel strongly that the failure was as much in the management of the situation as in my teammate's attention to the task.) But my manager didn't get back to me because he left early for the weekend.

And now I'm going to leave the office, but all of the unfinished which has to be dealt with on Tuesday (the Student Records class and the Law Lottery presentation) first thing will leave me feeling anxious and unsettled all weekend. I see a sleepless night in my future on Monday.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

New Orleans Breaking Down

I taught a Student Administration Basics class this morning, and I always make a point of treating myself to a full lunch hour after teaching, so I went to the Treehouse and had a nice turkey burger and sat down in front of the tv showing CNN. Watching that for 30 minutes, I was on the verge of tears more than once. Civilization is so fragile. That we could so quickly degrade into riots and shots fired over food and water and seats on a bus is heartbreaking. At the end of the day, we're terribly civilized in this country only because we have so much that there's so much to lose that it's not worth starting a fight. So many of those people have lost everything and are reverting to their basest nature. These are the times that show us our capacity for both heroism and barbarism.

And Wolf Blitzer on CNN is shouting about how nothing is being done, how it's Thursday and there's very little help yet. It's true, but I doubt it's for lack of trying. These things take time to mobilize. FEMA employees are just temps hired seasonally. Sure, my dad has been a FEMA temp on and off for 16 years, but he was busy on another project in Maine. If he hadn't been, he could've been anywhere. These folks are sitting at a desk somewhere waiting around for a disaster, ready to leap into action like Superman. They're generally hired locally at the time of the emergency, or are specialist who have to be reactivated and shipped from wherever as soon as possible. The same goes for most other national first-responders. I'm just surprised New Orleans didn't have a better emergency plan in place, but I also suspect this was far worse than anyone expected. This is the worst case scenario, and our money for infrastructure hasn't gone to natural disaster preparation in the last 4 years. Sure, I bet they've got plenty of anti-biotics to fight a bio-terror attack in those hospitals, but that doesn't mean they have a sufficient supply of bottled water.

Anyway, it's shocking, and also makes me fear for our next earthquake a little more. Of course, next time we have an earthquake, it won't be 106 degrees and putridly humid, so it won't be anywhere near as bad as New Orleans anyway. Riots and revolutions are more likely to take place in the heat of summer, so this was just a recipe for bad behavior.

Hunh. Rain in the summer. And hurricanes. That's just weird. And people ask me why I'm willing to pay housing costs in the bay area. Can't think of a reason...