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1st April 2012
Wiscon Room Appeal . . . and ode to spring rain . . . and catch up
Update: I have a room and shall hail all well met on a Thursday late May. :
Thank you Rain
Thank you for falling from the sky
Bringing down the invisible floaters that plague me.
Thank you Rain
Thank you for falling to the earth
Watering the plants that brighten and sustain me
It has been fun to splash
To bicycle rain-cape covered
To breathe clear with a hint of mist
I look forward to you
Your fierce deluge and soft caress
Whenever you choose to visit me again( as to the update. . .Collapse )
Thanks to the spring rain washing out the air, the brain fog induced by the heavy take-down by spring allergies that occurred a few weeks ago (a few weeks of rushing home after work/school/outside events to huddle with closed windows and a HEPA filter) is finally lifting. The first rain allowed me enough brain power to complete my taxes ($$Refund), this most recent one prompted me to get a move on for my spring and summer activities.
I am currently taking Intermediate Fashion Design at the same school I took the beginning class at a few years ago, fashion show eta June 7.
I now purchase the philosophy and religion collections for the library I work at (in addition to science fiction), which is fun and a lot more books and funds than the scifi, but don't work more hours, alas (which means I have time but not funds).
I have a single free pass to a public Watson Adventures
scavenger hunt that expires mid-may. I won it at a staff event at work, doing the Santa Monica Pier Pressure hunt. Participating in the hunts seems a lot more fun if you to bring your own team, so if anybody is in the Los Angeles area and would like to go on a scavenger hunt with me (i'd be willing to chip in for your ticket), please contact me (otherwise this thing will probably go unused).
My Dad moved to west Seattle a month ago. I am planning to go up and visit him at the end of August (around the weekend of the 26th), and would be happy to visit while I'm up there.
ps: cross posting to plus and wiscon lj blog. I'm not on facebook.
26th May 2010
ironing my handkerchiefs...
Insane packing is in swing. :
I try everything on, make sure every item of clothing coordinates with everything else, and that everything for a six day trip (two travel days, four days of pure book convention fun) fits into my under-the-seat sized rolling tote. This includes clothing for five days, plus a fancy dress party outfit, my laptop, the bake sale items for the Tiptree Bake Sale (Mini Earl Grey Meringue Cookies, a very successful blending of a traditional meringue recipe and a frosting recipe I came across in the April issue of the Food Network's magazine. They are delicious and well received everywhere I take them), at least one item for the clothing exchange (because I have great items to get rid of and like to participate), my quart bag of sunscreen, toothpaste, etc. and a few other items of miscellanea such as power cords and those title-mentioned handkerchiefs. I occasionally break to indulge in thin, warm pancakes wrapped around some rhubarb I prepared the other day (I had to harvest a few stalks whose leaves were shading my pepper plants), as I love pancakes and doubt I will encounter any of the gluten-free kind until I return home again. My rhubarb does not turn red to tell me it is ready for harvest (hasn't ever, that I've seen and I've had it a few years), but the flavor is correct, the combination with pancakes a fabulous blending of flavors and textures, so I am content.
Now to see if I can squeeze in my sparkly flip-flops for around the pool...
24th May 2010
Hi all, :
I'm leaving for Wiscon this Thursday and plan to see many people there. Yay! This will be my first out of town trip since new-years, and my first con since world fantasy, and it feels like its been forever for both, mostly because I've felt unengaged in both the writing and the socializing page. Must fix. When I get back from Wiscon I will be starting summer school, I'm taking a Spanish 1 class (again), hoping that this time, with class every night (four nights a week) for eight weeks, something might stick. Audio recordings and previous once-a-week classes have managed to not stick, mostly because I learn best by interacting with people (this is why I had to get my masters in person instead of taking the less expensive and more convenient mostly online based program that is also offered in my region). I know I should just go live in Mexico (or Ecuador) for a year, but that's not really an option. Of course I took nearly four years of French and have since lost most of it (no, I can't participate in simple conversation). Perhaps if I moved to France, or Tahiti, it would all come back.
As a precursor to Wiscon, I've held my first yard sale ever yesterday. It turned out a bit overcast, very windy, so attendance was lower than I hoped, but I still earned enough for a few days worth of meals. Thank you craigslist for the people who did show. Never have a yard sale without posting! I am planning to try again with the remainder of the stuff (plus more by then as I am still sorting what I am allowing to remain in my own space), near the end of June. Hopefully the endemic June-gloom will have lifted by then. I also plan to have more/better signage, as the wind managed to snafu several of my signs into uselessness by the time I went to collect them. Of the people who did show the 'most items a dollar, and twelve for ten dollars' seemed to be popular, as was the box of twenty-five-cents each jewelry. Some stuff I'll probably have to sell on craigslist individually.
Also by the end of June I plan to have a new computer, a planned purchase for soon after my student ID gets issued and educational pricing kicks in. I know its been two years since my LJ posted goal of getting a new computer in one year, but last year I spent the money on Fashion School tuition, which was totally worth it. This year I must get a computer as failures continue to crop up on my current (lemon year, I'm told) one, so intermediate Fashion Design remains a dream on hold (trousers, knits... sigh). At least I now have a dedicated table large enough for pattern drafting using the skills I have, and a place to set up the sewing machine. Thank you Alley Gods and Yard Sales. I am already looking into software, freeware and shareware to put on my new anticipated unix-core machine, as my mother-board architecture has been obsolete for four years now and hasn't allowed me to keep up with developments. We'll see if I can do anything fun with Drupal. Other suggestions welcome. (vmware? bootcamp? parrallels? office vs open office. . . . To CS5 or not to CS5, that is the question, especially at an educational price).
17th July 2009
evidence of dolphins
I was on the overlook bluff near the Escondido power plant, riding through, when I noticed a woman looking intently out to sea. As I passed, she called out 'there they are!' I, a curious sort, screeched to a gentle halt, rolled my way back to her, and asked what she was looking at. A pod of dolphins she had spotted further up the coast and had raced down to this quiet beach overlook to view had come into sight. I peered down, then took off my riding goggles and replaced them with my prescription lenses and looked some more. Indeed white splashes of non-human wave-jumping action were making their way south hugging the coast. I might even have spotted a fin (though with the birds and the waves, and the distance and the angle, it was hard to tell). I had just bicycled back from far more crowded beaches to the south and wondered what all the surfers and swimmers who were about to become more closely acquainted (if briefly) with wild dolphin would make of the whirlwind migration. It made me kind of envious, but my last memories of being in the waves, in the sea, is that it is confusing, murky, full of action, and the passing of a dolphin (surely good swimmers that would avoid bumping into anyone) might very well be lost among one's own experience of the water.
17th May 2009
fashion show in summary: organized chaos
Of course, that was only backstage. I hear out front all was fine and good, they didn't see the models getting changed, a similar process to making a nascar pit stop, behind the scenes between the gliding three point processions down the runway. A couple of bossy women on hand expressly for that purpose kept everything moving and on schedule once the show began an obligatory ten minutes late. One of the intermediate students who had 12 looks to present on our 7 models ended up literally ripping off one stubbornly zippered garment so that the model could be changed into her next outfit in the few minutes before she had to be on stage again. :
The 5 hours before the show were completely filled with rehearsal, hair and makeup, with barely a pause for the subway catered meal (the three vegetarians in our class got to split the one veggie sandwich that had been distributed between the two party-sized plates). The models were amazing (and smart, one of them spent her dinner break studying, she's getting her masters in biochemistry, on her way to a PHD, after which she already knows which direction she's aiming her career in, another is an accountant in the head office of a large national firm, etc... they model because they can, they like it, it/s something different in their lives that can bring a bit of extra income). They can walk in anything (which IS a skill, just try to walk in a too tight dress with too tall shoes that are possibly the wrong size for your feet), and remember and pull off multiple staging directions (the beginning class (me!), the intermediate, and the returning graduate all had different needs). I will eventually (in a few months, maybe) get to see the show once the video has been processed and the discs pressed. During, I was immersed in the chaos
For now, well, both my parents and the friend who came to see me forgot their cameras. I have an email out to the other students, in case their own family and friends took photos (though it's unlikely they would have chosen my own three minutes of model runway time to document).
Apparel News did post an image of one of my creations
in their slide-show of the event, which features one look per participating designer. Others of you will see another (one I can modify so I can fit into it, unlike the one in the news slide-show), at WisCon.
4th May 2009
3 minutes of minor fashion fame, eta 3 days
Some of you already know that I have been taking a beginning fashion design class since last November, bussing to the fashion district in downtown LA three days a week, and generally immersed in the minutia a pattern creation (hence no posts :p). The class has completed, and the fruits of my labor are going to be strutting down the runway this Thursday evening.
What: "The art of Fashion" Student Fashion Show by Fashion Careers International
Featuring my own work (first down the runway!--three minutes of about as glamorous as I aspire to create...;)...), that of my fellow beginning students, the intermediate class, plus the latest collection of a former graduate of the school.
When: This Thursday evening, reception at 7:00pm, Show at 8:00pm, expected to end by 9:00pm...
Where: The Celebrity Center International (church of scientology)
5930 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood, 90028 (corner of Franklin & Bronson)
$$: Admission $10
It is a fund-raising event for the school, as well as an opportunity to showcase our work. A short video on scientology offsets the very nice venue's reasonable rental rates, which, along with the models from the modeling school, and other contributing behind-the-scenes volunteer professionals in the fashion industry (makeup, camera work, staging, etc.), allow us to have a real fashion experience on a small school budget.
So, if you've never been to a runway show, and have always been curious, now is your chance. All are welcome.
Now I have just have to find a pair of gold stilettos for the model wearing that last dress...
23rd January 2009
epicenter + 1 mile
I heard and felt it at the same time. I watched the walls and heard the old windows shudder in their frames and structural timbers squeeze against each other in a rapid staccato, not quite a beat. I moved with the floorboards under me, quicker than my heart, less regular. I had time to wonder if the shaking would continue, if it would intensify, to stand and walk away from the ceiling fan and light fixture overhead, realizing that there is NO furniture in the entire house suitable to duck under, all of our beds are too low and our tables all come with built in storage. Two steps and it is over. A 3.4, but closer to me than jolts of that magnitude usually are. A mile away, or five if you count the the depth of the earth from which it arose. :
And now as I write this, another pulse of the earth jolts through me, a 1.9, from nearly, but not quite the same location as the crow flies, and three times the distance under the crust.
I wonder if this, and the neighboring 3.1 of yesterday, are the prelude to something bigger, or the stress relief that will prevent that something bigger from occurring, at least on the faults nearby.
All that is certain is that the world shakes, and its rhythm will never be human.
18th September 2008
my first political rally
I arrived in New Mexico last night, and this morning it turns out that Obama was visiting the same town I was. Dad and I went to see him. Four hours of waiting (two in a line that wrapped through the neighborhood like a giant serpent, a mile long by the time we got there at the suggested early arrival time, and it continued to grow and wrap more even as we progressed along it, plus another two hours standing inside the area listening to local politicians and music as we waited for Obama's black van to arrive) for a half hour speech. Thats an 8 to 1 ratio of waiting to pay off, considerably less than the ratio associated with popular amusement rides, where an hour wait yields a two minute roller-coaster experience at a waiting to payoff ratio of 30 to 1. Local news covered it: : http://kob.com/article/stories/S584682.shtml
, I was to Obama's right (on the left of the screen) less than 30 feet away while he was talking, and about three people deep away from him while he was pressing hands at the end. This is what I get for visiting a swing location in a swing state. Who'd 'a thunk it?
The last presidential level politician I heard speek in person was vp Dan Quayle when he spoke at a rocket facility in Alabama while I was there attending space camp, and based upon both experiences, and everything I watch on screen, I have to say politicians are much more compelling in person, I can see why people regularly brave the insanity of the crowds to get that experience, though it may be another 16 years (and/or fortuitous accident of timing) till it happens to me again.
1st September 2008
Birthday Month is Over
Somehow with my birthday comes a certain sense of entitlement. A feeling of 'I deserve this,' has been running rampant through my life for the past thirty-one days. :
Not only did I indulge, but others indulged on my behalf.
Unusual activities included going to the movies (rare, but the mummy called), going to the museum (Terra Cotta Warriors
and Gemstones Galore at the Bowers Cultural Museum
in Santa Ana, an utterly fantastic birthday), going out to eat with friends several times (to the tune of nearly once every week, over four times my usual average), purchasing fully half of the books currently on my list (I was not fiscally able to go for the whole shebang, nor some for some of the other things on the 'i really want but can't really justify' list). getting New Clothing (okay, so the items were half-off, but they were neuf, not nouveau from a thrift store), getting RAM for my laptop and a new battery for my ipod (both of which were acting dismayingly geriatric, a much cheaper option than getting a new computer and ipod, which activity I am trying to schedule for next year, plus the project also gave me a goodly bicycle ride to Fry's Electronics, a large boost to my lacksidasical approach to exercise), making candy so the people at work could celebrate my birthday with me, and buying a dragon fruit at the farmers' market just so I could try it.
I also now have a new watch, a new bookshelf, a newly arranged room, a new sewing project (over half-way done, gorgeous blue silk that will hopefully soon transform into a fabulous new dress, thank goodness for the adjustable form I picked up from the thrift store, which is part of why the project is so far along), a new rug, a new duvet, a new set of throw pillows, a new alarm clock (nature sounds and light!), a new bell (so I have no idea what I'll use it for, but it has great clarity of sound and it is green!), and a new set of earbuds for my ipod.
It is exhausting just to remember it all.
So today I celebrated the first day of September by staying home, eating food from on-hand ingredients and not buying anything - much.
After such a past month of spending, I am ready to hunker down and save up - so that I can give in to that sense of entitled indulgence that comes with taking a trip, which will happen all too soon at the end of this month during my semi-annual dad visit. Hmmm. Less than a month from now.
This indulgence thing happens with fair frequency. Alas, I can but enjoy it.
21st July 2008
Scibrarians on YouTube! At last.
Several weeks have past, but I got to work today (after sleeping from 3 yesterday till 7 this morning) and found a link to the official video in my inbox. Here it is: : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZAL0bcO_k8
Watch and laugh. We even got reviewed by Bush League TV
, a video game review site (among other things).
Other videos have come out from other sources, some of which show some of the action better, none of which show a good view of the dry ice being activated. Ah well.
The two commentators are Jon Scieszka
and Mo Willems
, big names in childrens books if you haven't heard of them. I particularly like Time to Say Please!
by Mo Willems, and consider it essential reading for everyone I encounter in the library (and most everyone everywhere else, too). Time to Pee!
, part of the same series, is also quite excellent.
20th July 2008
That Sunday Glow
I'm just now back from Glow. I had a very mellow time, and ended up staying till the end, then going to breakfast then the farmers' market on the way home. I kept on running into acquaintances throughout the night, most from work. The art was fun, but way too scarce for the density of people who showed up, the lines were long for the experiences, though the experiences were fun. My longest wait occurred when some pier putz unplugged the out-of-sight end of the extension cord and the project creator had to trouble-shoot the re-boot. One hour to get to the front of the line, another hour of waiting for the interactive art to be fixed, then one minute with a mini brain-activity reader headset, looking through the reflective interior of a long tube at the scenery, mainly the brightly glowing ferris wheel, while the exterior of the tube changed color in reaction to my brain activity. Pretty cool, but really the only reason I stayed was because, why not?, and the conversation was reasonable. I spent the last hour of glow on my back with a pillow under my head as I watched a blurry, warped aerial view of Los Angeles at night projected overhead to low music, all of which repeated in slow cycles. It was soothing and mesmerizing, and I overheard other groups of people in the room debating what part of the city we were viewing. :
All in all I think this was a good start, but it will need to build in years to come, have more than the city sponsored art to fill it, if Glow is to truly become a community celebration. perhaps more later...
For now, the debate: to sleep or not to sleep - rest more or stay up so my diurnal cycle doesn't get wonky...
18th July 2008
Glow this Saturday night
For any of you in proximity to Santa Monica this Saturday night, the city is running an all night arts festival, : Glow
, modeled after the French Nuit Blanche
festival which started in Paris in 2002, and has spread to various other cities throughout the globe since then. This will be the west coast premiere, which might or might not ever happen again, depending on how successful it is. Success means how many people show up, since attendance is free. After looking at the images from previous festivals, I'm curious, though I'm neither a night owl, nor feel particularly drawn to modern art over any other type of art (except that I dearly mourn the loss of the MOCA
store from Santa Monica, I visited regularly just to see what nifty stuff they had - I love clever design, functionality, things that work on multiple levels, okay, so maybe I do like modern art...). KCRW is doing some of the music, and there is going to be performance art throughout the event as well as installation pieces running all night. My big debate right now is whether to ride my bicycle or take the special Glow bus, which will be running all night and will get me within a few blocks of home. I'll decide tomorrow.
Hopefully it will be good. One patron at the library commented in a slightly bitter tone right after 4th of July that Santa Monica had chosen to spend their money on Glow instead of fireworks. (not exactly true, they did have fireworks, they just weren't the big event of the summer).
15th July 2008
Those Little Explosions in Life
I was alone on the shade dappled sidewalk, my arm was up, my head tilted back to sip at the last of my lazy lunch, when I went inexplicably off balance. My arm jerked to correct my center of gravity. The last sludgy inch of protein powder in juice flew up from the wide mouth of my bottle and descended over me in an arc of powdery drops. From the top of my head to the top of my trousers, front and back, I was truly gotten. My afternoon desk shift started in less than 10 minutes, and I needed 5 of those to get back to the library. I hurried. My sun hat saved my head at least, but all the hasty scrubbing with a damp paper towel did was remove surface debris, leaving dark damp patches that slowly dried to powdery white. :
So on this hot, sunny, southern california beach town afternoon I spent the rest of my desk shift engulfed in my yeti sweater, which I keep at work for emergencies, downing cold water and standing over the air vents as often as practicable in an attempt to keep my core temperature down, while smiling away the funny looks and disbelieving exclamations of 'are you cold?' that punctuated my shift.
Only after it was over did a coworker suggest turning my shirt inside out as an alternative to my very cozy, very fuzzy, very warm sweater, since the stains were one-sided once dry. It was also noted that the drenching was so uniform that the dried stain could easily be mistaken for a deliberate effect.
Ah well. Next time.
29th June 2008
Today I was a member of the team that won the 2008 American Library Association Book Cart Drill Team Championships. Currently I can't clearly recall anything I did on stage except for a brief moment of clarity while handling glassware as part of the performance, when I saw my hands shaking due to the adrenaline spike that hit me when the music started (and not before, thank goodness, as the ten of us buckled down into our respective white spaces, determinately ignoring the cheering of the crowd for the 4 teams that went ahead of us), and I hoped that the tremor wouldn't mess me up or be noticeable to anyone else. It must have gone as planned for the most part, as the judges scores tallied up at the end to bestow the Demco gold book cart grand prize on our library. Soon I will know for sure what happened, as video evidence is forthcoming from one of the other team-members' husbands, who promises a rough-cut by the end of the week. I will post when it is available. :
One of my favorite professors from grad school came up and hugged me when it was all over, a pleasurable surprise that helped me come down from the three hour (or four minute, depending on what you measure, time taken out of the day or performance time) culmination to two months of intense team work and over and above effort from all of the subcommittees that were responsible for creating the routine and all the props.
I also had lunch with rimrunner
today, the other Clarion West 2002 graduate that subsequently turned herself into a librarian, though she chose the academic side of things rather than the public. I almost never get to see her, so it was rather joyous and exciting to get to talk to her. She helped bookend with wonderful people the very strange librarian performance ritual, complete with joke cracking M.C., I participated in.
25th June 2008
Press Releases can be Evil
This weekend is ALA, the annual conference of the American Library Association. This year it's in Anaheim, and on Sunday I will be there. (I work Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, the other conference days, so will miss most of it). And WHAT WILL I BE DOING at the conference, you ask? Well, since this is my first ALA, I decided to ease in as part of a group, so I'd have a purpose around which to center my one day of activity. I'll take in a panel or two, glance in at the exhibit hall (think 25,000+ librarians, I won't have time to do more than glance), and then, around three o'clock, I will check in with my group to gear up for THE ACTIVITY. Ten women from my library volunteered. We will be in competition with seven other teams from seven other libraries in the 4th annual book cart drill team championships. Please chuckle, check out the : videos on youtube
. I did, and thought: isn't it great to be part of a profession that has such silly fun. I'm not overly coordinated, but we've been practicing twice a week for the last two months, so I felt okay. There are two more practices this week, plus one at the convention center on Saturday that I won't be able to make because I work, but we're fine. Then our team captain forwarded the link to the press release
and suddenly the magnitude of what I signed up for hit me. An audience of 2,000. 2,000!!! I'm pushing it from my mind as best I can as I hem the trousers I'll wear as part of my costume with double sided tape (what the heck does 'flare' mean as a hem length anyway). This way I can confirm I picked the right length at practice tomorrow morning, make adjustments as necessary, and fill my mind with the minutia rather than the big picture, which would just make me nervous all over again. The rest of the team is planning to go out for cocktails afterwards and at the moment I'm kinda regretting I don't drink.
Hot days deserve walks on the beach
Today's exercise consisted of a walk to the beach. I took off my shoes, walked through the sand to the waterline and let the waves roll over my feet, digging in and stirring up clams no bigger than the top joint of my fingers and even smaller sand crabs. Kelp and sea grass also washed in with the tide. The clear water and the life is a testament to decades of Heal The Bay efforts. The sun made the water noticeably warmer washing back into the ocean than when it rushed from sea to land. It was refreshing. The air warm without being muggy. The sky bright and blue. :
Usually we have what's called 'June gloom', and I feel sorry for the crowds on the beach as I bicycle home along the coastal bike path. People flock to the coast from the blazing hot interior, groups of inner-city school children get bussed in, sometimes for their first visit to the ocean ever, and they arrive from the land of summer into a place where the marine layer doesn't always burn off every day, leaving the coast shrouded in gray mist, and an ocean whose temperature can best be described as 'brisk'. Perhaps, to them, the coolness is enough of a relief in itself, though most seem overly determined to 'enjoy' the water, wading in in shorts and t-shirts, or obviously brand-new swimsuits, in spite of the chill air and water. They are determined to wring as much experience as they can get out of their pilgrimage, and I can't blame them, especially when some of them have driven or bussed for hours and pay up to $15 to park (not the ones who bussed it).
The sand clung to my feet and legs. I didn't feel like fighting the grit to put on my shoes, so I walked home barefoot. Only slightly more than a mile, but an iffy prospect in this urban terrain that often includes broken glass. I fortunately didn't find any and made it home with my feet merely marred by road soot, which quickly scrubbed off.
12th May 2008
I want a new (additional) job... any takers or suggestions?
I want to do something techy, something that involves the creation of a real product that will impact and interact with people. I want to be building, designing, integrating, learning. I learn best with goals, and making up my own has been problematic as the lack of stakes removes my motivation: thus the desire for a job in some sort of web-development or design, or other related field where I can use my information organizational skills, aesthetic sense, and fascination with social science and the study of human-interactions, to good effect. :
I got my undergrad degree in physics in 2000, schlepped books for seven years, got my graduate degree in library and information science with a heavy emphasis on the information science and the visual and structural presentation, access, and preservation of large quantities of data (though I wish some of those classes had been a little more hands on, though the theoretical stuff was really fun), in 2007, and currently work as an as-needed (15 hours a week), reference librarian (information literacy instruction specialist) in a public library. While I haven't worked directly with code other than html (xhtml) in ages (and those basic and c++ classes in the mid-1990's are way too far back to really remember), I know how to learn and acquire whatever skills I need to achieve a goal, as long as a target is presented. If a structure has logic, I can learn that logic. I am comfortable with complexity, multi-tasking, meeting deadlines, parsing tasks into smaller components, and moving forward on my own once a task is set before me.
I came home to the news that while I didn't quite completely bomb a first round job interview two weeks ago (for an halftime position in my current workplace that would have given me five more hours of work a week, a salary, and benefits, for the work I do now plus some extras, like teaching computer classes and some collection development tasks), I am unlikely to get it as I scored in the second band of eligibility, and only if everyone (including the very excellent intern from last quarter) in the first band fails the second interview will I and my other band-two lurkers be under consideration. Civil service anti-nepotism bureaucratic process is alive and well, and working. I can't logically resent it, either (though right now I do), as it is part of both the fairness and stability that mark a functioning non-despotic system.
I will remain on the eligible list (everyone in the first three bands will be on the list) for the next year, in case any further openings occur in the stably staffed, non-expanding reference department. The current fiscal crisis has caused a library hiring freeze in the surrounding land, which meant this half-time opening had fifty qualified people vying for it, fierce competition.
But darn-it, I was looking forward to additional duties, as working the reference desk is fine, and fun, and fullfilling, but I want to do more! Even with the half-time position, I still would have wanted to do more.
So, I look elsewhere. It has been almost a year since grad-school and I feel the need to be pushed to learn more new, different things. I volunteered to be on my library's recently formed book cart drill team for ALA in Anaheim at the end of June (I even paid for my own conference ticket, as this isn't included in the compensation for as-needed employees). And now I see this volunteering in the light of a growing restlessness to do more with my life, in this case four hours a week of choreography. I am starting to write again, emerging out of post-grad-school writing burn-out, and I hope going to Wiscon will jump-start that aspect of my life further, as I still harbor goals of having many books in many genres published in my future.
But I want more than that. I want to expand. To do things that I haven't done before. To use my intellect in a multiplicity of ways. To acquire skills that can lead to a potential increase in income so that I can pay for things I'd like to add to my life, like travel, gadgets, savings for future expenditure, health coverage beyond out-of-pocket necessities and a minimal safety-net of high-deductible insurance, nice luggage and clothing purchased new if I choose (though, really, the thrift-stores in my neighborhood are fantastic, with a quality of goods not offered in the average american chain store), and eventually a nicely balanced investment portfolio padded with enough principle in the right places to make me self-sufficient even if I couldn't or didn't want to work (or wanted to pursue non-income generating activities with my life), principle to be left to worthy causes when I no longer need it. (I admit it, at least once a year I purchase a lottery ticket just in case three lightning-strikes worth of probabilistic luck are willing to line up to instantaneously provide the seed capitol for this last goal.)
Ahh, goals. These are almost purely fantasies at this point, but I am envisioning things that can all be mine with persistence and fortune. The most important goal is a fulfilling life full of many different things, each of which compliments and enhances and makes possible the others. I enjoy learning, and working, and doing, and creating. I love efficiency and harmony and structure things that work on more levels than most people know or care about. I am a detail-oriented person who appreciates and respects other people's ideas and skills. I am willing to both compromise and push.
If anyone has read this far (or even if you just skipped to the end), and has any ideas for me (santa monica, california, no car), please do present them.
Already under scrutiny: google Interaction Designer - Santa Monica, not sure I quite qualify (plus I'm currently looking for part-time work), but it seems interesting, and I'm better qualified for it than many of the other google jobs on offer. Must contact my contacts and ask...
Now to sleep (yes, thinking does keep me up at night), as I must be at work nigh noon tomorrow and that is less than twelve hours away...and it is well past my normal diurnal cycle sleep start-time.
Declared Savings Goal - new computer next year
Declared savings goal: enough for a new laptop in March 2009. :
EEEK, my computer lifespan keeps shrinking (start date 1989, computer 1, 9 years -> 1998, computer 2, 7 years-> 2005, computer 3 (current), projected lifespan 3.5 years)!!! hmm, if I wait till the start of the fall academic year, I'll at least get four years... must think frugal, as current job is only part time.. but I wanna new one, one with a unix core that I can play with and load freeware and developers platforms and other non-pre-unix-core-mac compatible goodies on.
travelling light and public transit
I visited : zellandyne
in the bay area last week in the time between by tuesday and saturday work schedule and attempted to do something I am slowly improving on: pack light. You must understand that I was a child with 'heavy' tags on her luggage and was used to the family road trip where we did take it all with us, usually with me in the back sitting on some of it. I am incrementally transforming myself into an efficient packer.
My motivation: shear laziness and frugality. The lighter and fewer my bags, the fewer and smaller the cricks in my spine and neck from maneuvering them, the fewer and smaller my encounters with airline personnel and security, etc. Plus the easier it is to take public transit to and fro.
My masterful achievement: one bag and one personal item, both of which together managed to nearly fit under the airline seat in front of me. The trick: very thin clothing of multiple potential layers (silk, silk, silk, thin linen, thin cotton, thin wool), wearing my one jacket, my one scarf, and one pair of shoes. Included in the briggs and riley rolling tote
was my laptop, cords, plugs, a limited number of peripherals, camera, umbrella, the hardback library book I was reading, my writing journal, my secondary journal, all clothing and accessories, including a silk sleep-sac as I was uncertain of my final bedding destination, and my zip-lock of small liquids. My small timbuk2 messenger bag
(circa the early 1990's) fit my hat, ipod, pda, snacks, empty water bottle (refilled in the airport), and still had enough room to stuff my jacket and scarf in while passing through security.
Caveats: Winter? - I don't think so. I like cozy way to much and my kind of cozy comes with bulk.
I also will not be quite so efficient for Wiscon
as they have a fancy dress night, plus a clothing exchange and there is no way a second pair of shoes would fit in that bag, let alone excess clothing to give away or extra space for any dealer-room (or Madison Shop) acquisitions, unless it was all jewelry!
Pleased with my propitiations the transit gods coordinated my trip home from the just enough time to buy my ticket Caltrain wait, to the just enough time to buy my ticket Bart exchange, to the just enough time to get to the appropriate platform SFO airport tram transition, to the waiting for me as I crossed the street LAX airport bus, to the just pulling in as I approached the bus terminal (and with enough people waiting that I was able to reach the bus without any frantic waving to keep it in place till I got there) bus to home, which fortuitously turned out to be an express with just five stops between the airport and my neighborhood. Everything was just in time with minimal waiting, minimal crowd, and easy maneuvering with my lighter-than-a-trip-to-class-when-I-was-i
Some history: My rolling tote was purchased during grad school because having to haul my copy of the anglo-american-cataloging-rules (2) to class ten weeks in a row pushed me over the edge by week three. I got off the bus at a luggage store in a strip-mall mid trip to school, and got back on twenty minutes later with my brand new luggage already in use. My dad had purchased a similar tote (plus the rest of the luggage collection) during my visit with him that summer, and I admit to luggage envy, but also some practical luggage research that preceded the purchase. I still harbor the envy as the tote is the only piece of travel luggage I own that I didn't purchase dirt cheep on the Venice boardwalk, but someday I will get over it, probably through the same method I got over my tote envy - though not for a while yet. Next savings goal: New (not slow!) laptop in March 2009.
7th May 2008
Visiting the bay area makes me think: city planning!
Today I took Caltrain from Menlo Park to San Francisco to visit my cousin. Visiting his very nice home, walking around his area, and in transit to and fro I was struck by how integrated the area was compared to SoCal. I'm not talking ethnicity, that's a given anywhere along the West Coast, but about integrated infrastructure. His very nice condo is situated nearly under the bay bridge, and there were even more luxurious projects under construction nearby, this and my train ride confirmed that unlike LA, here, there seems to be no stigma attached to living near the massive arteries of transportation. Businesses and residences and transit flow and merge together in a way that allows all the necessary parts of living to be in easy reach of each other, not ghettoized to separate realms like incompatible strangers that grudgingly meet up only when forced to by circumstance, resentful, jealous, conniving, scheming to steal resources and attention and put up blocks to progress for their rivals. I am sure there are such rivalries in the bay area, but as a visitor I do no see them. I just see the parts working together to make my visit pleasant and thought provoking.
22nd March 2008
Going to WisCon... now I just need a place to stay
On Monday I was offered some extra April hours at work. I tallied them in my head, converted them to dollars, came up with a pleasing if not overly robust number, checked with my supervisor to see if I could get off a particular weekend in May. As of Friday I have my flights booked to Madison, arriving Thursday evening, May 22, departing Monday morning, May 26, and my : WisCon
32 membership. (fan squeal: Maureen McHugh
!, a woman who wrote my favorite book of 1992, China Mountain Zhang
). Now I just need to hook up with someone going to the con that already has a hotel room and needs a roommate.... Any takers or leads?
31st December 2007
Resolution: Next year I will get a flu shot
This is my second holiday with the flu. The first was Thanksgiving. Now New Year. :
I work with the public, so I should take advantage of the city offered service, though I haven't yet. Ironically I was sick during the last day that the city offered the shots in November, and wasn't about to leave the house.
My mum got a flu shot this year, and while she caught both the things I had, the symptoms were so much milder, with so much less misery, that I should go for it, even though I am mildly wiggy about shots. Injections of foreign matter through the skin barrier just seem so wrong, but are part of modern life.
13th November 2007
My First Librarian Job...aka...An Eventful Week
Last week I had two interviews, one on Monday, one on Friday, book-ending my week. Both were second interviews-I had passed the first levels of the civil service hiring process and ranked high enough to be considered for actual jobs. :
At the end of the first interview I felt good, bubbly and happy, in spite of damaging the new-to-me suit I’d planned to wear during ironing and having to fall back on my one interview suit, the good old standby, which is not to dark and not too light and not too conservative and not to wild, fits well, washes up fine in the washing machine and is made of natural fibers, a fabulous find in a thrift store over a year ago and which I’ve been wearing to all my suit-appropriate events ever since (internship interviews, the portfolio presentation to get my MLIS, and job interviews). At this site, my first interview had been two weeks before, I was interviewing for a specific position, and in the second interview I was being grilled by the people who would be my immediate superiors if I got the job.
At the end of the second interview I had a sick little lurch in my stomach in spite of the fact that it was a good interview (and yes I wore THE suit), conducted cheerfully with two nice women asking me a standard and approved set of questions. At this site, my first interview had been three months before (and that three months after I applied), I was interviewing for a general, unspecified position, an offer for a specific position and another interview in the future only if I passed this interview. The problem was that, subtlety and not-so, they indicated they felt under the circumstances that I wouldn’t be able to fill the full-time, any-and-all-hours librarian position (generic), they were interviewing for, and I was wasting their time taking the interview.
You see, on Thursday afternoon, I accepted an offer for the first position, a part-time as-needed librarian job in the reference department of the small library system I currently work for as a part-time as-needed page (library grunt). I’ll be working similar hours to those I am now, but I will be working as a librarian, in the system that allowed me to pay for most of my masters-degree tuition, with people I know and like in a location I can bicycle or bus to with ease and a job I can start in December, as I’m already a city employee and have long ago gone through all of the fingerprinting, background checks, city orientation, etc. and only need to have my rating changed and three days of job specific training.
With an ideal if part-time, no benefits job in the hand vs. an elusive full-time, full benefits job potentially months on the horizon IF I passed my interview the next day, and one I might not be able to accept as the larger library system has more sites that are beyond my self-stipulated two bus range than are within it, I took the ideal part-time job. A decision that basically made me ineligible in the eyes of my Friday interviewers for the serious commitment a full-time public librarian position requires in the modern era of evening and weekend librarianship. Even worse, I told them flat out that I was aiming for a specific (and open) half-time job at a specific (and close) library in their system, which made them question why I had even made an appointment for the interview as it was for full-time positions ONLY, and could not be applied to any half-time position, which had to be interviewed for separately. I solicited their advice at the end of the interview as to further actions, and then dutifully tromped back to HR after the interview to remove ‘full-time’ from my availability status (filled out in August, originally, remember) and limit myself to the half-time and as-needed potential employee pool.
I still felt vaguely guilty for the rest of the day, in spite of several excellent cheering pep-talks from friends about bureaucratic processes being beyond taking personally as I wandered the foreign streets of downtown LA. In addition to passing several museums parks and halls, I actually saw someone selling ID’s on the sidewalk--it really does happen, not just in fiction! I was astonished and so was the person I was on the phone with.
I only stopped feeling guilty in the middle of that night when I recalled that I had mentioned my situation and concerns to the fellow in HR when I made the appointment, and he suggested that I take the interview anyway. After that memory surfaced, I was able to chalk the experience up to interviewing practice, an activity that was highly recommended in my degree program.
I am still working on developing a thicker skin, another degree program recommendation, and to not take personally the consequences of circumstance.
I am sure I will get much practice on that skin as I enter my new job simply because of the nature of the job, helping the public from within a bureaucracy, as with all civil service jobs.
Fortunately I start my librarian career in an environment where I already feel welcome and supported, in a position that will hone my skills, and in a location nicely designed, new, and environmentally friendly (though I will miss the little Carnegie Library branch I've been working in). And until I get another job, I'll also have time to do other things, like write or catch up on all those household and craft projects put off (or conceived of) during grad school, create a web presence, learn new skills, travel to conventions as time and budget allow, etc.
And let's not forget job interviews.
21st September 2007
Thunder rumbles, a fall storm has swept in after a year of drought, where what little rain we received has been mere mistings, not a decent downpour among them. :
Already this storm has exceeded any of those previous efforts.
Late in the afternoon I went down the coastal bike path, battling a head wind all the way from Venice to Manhattan beach. The rain struck near 5pm, while I was at my farthest point from home, visiting my favorite used bookstore down there, reducing the volume of books I own through unequal trade (my basket was full heading down and only half full coming up, so my journey was a success).
On my way home I was half soaked as the fat drops fell sporadically, blown into me -- though the wind had slackened compared to earlier, and was from behind me. Water dripped off of my helmet, spray came up with every shallow puddle I hit, soaking the front of my trousers and dripping into my shoes. Gravity, layers, the protected folds of my body and the directionality of the wind were all that stopped me from becoming completely sodden.
My ride was cold and dim and exhilarating. I loved the change, the vitality of it.
I only encountered two other cyclists on my ride back from Manhattan beach, each less burdened (with no full baskets and only small bags) and less appropriately dressed than I. I at least had layers, long pants and long-sleeved tops, eye protection, my bike lights, and could have gotten my emergency poncho out of my bag if I had thought of it before I was soaked.
There were surfers out, in their wet-suits, catching the waves in front of the refinery , oil tankers off coast and the warm dimmed-out light of sunset as a backdrop. I don’t recall seeing the tide as high before. The ocean was taller and nearer and a deeper blue-green than usual, waves crashing in translucent curls like sculpted sea glass that exists for only an instant as the waves rise then plummet down, collapsing from north to south as they build and die against the sandy slope of the beach.
Thunder cracks again, hard and loud, the patter of rain outside increases to a deluge. I am glad of my earlier warm bath, hot tea and my cozy woolies. If it is still raining tomorrow I will walk to work, and wear the same wool dress I have on now (wool repels water somewhat and stays warm even when wet!), with knee highs and my stripy green waterproof dansko clogs.
This unusual fall rain might be the start of a cycle of precipitation that will break the small drought.
Snow is expected on the mountains, above 6,000 feet, and would be welcome. Snow pack is so much slower a soak into the land and doesn’t run off nearly as much, nor as quickly as rain. Much of the patter that will soon lull me to sleep is simply pouring into the sea through the storm drains, considering how much city surface is paved. My garden will soak some of it up, as will my neighbors' gardens and the parks, so all is not wasted. Some groundwater will be replenished, many plants will rejoice, and the cycle of renewal will continue, no matter the limitations imposed.
All in all, rain and snow is a good way for the local earth to celebrate the equinox, a day of balance.
12th September 2007
Burning Man + 1 week, the brain fog is lifting
Wednesday of last week was my first night home after attending Burning Man for the first time ever, and I'm only now starting to feel semi-normal, which is why my latest job application got completed today and not before. :
Anybody who is at all creative, or a pyromaniac, should attend Burning Man at least once. By at all creative I include anybody who creates anything, be it code or codas or paper airplanes. It is an awesome festival of experimentation with very few regulations to inhibit trying things out for the fun of it (as the many art cars, structures, sculptures and costumes are testament to), not because it particularly works (as the broken down vehicles and dust-storm collapsed structures attested to). For the pyros: remember, only burn what you have permission to burn. If you create something of your own to burn (non-toxic), even better.
I will most likely never go back because while fun, I was allergic and spent the last two days there in sick sinus misery. I am still glad I went. Highlights include being out in the open playa (dry lake bed) during a dust storm with the fine sand blowing so thick that I couldn't see my companions more than 5 feet away, the double rainbow that ended the two days of dust storms, and a front row seat for the big boom of a giant mushroom cloud of flame as nigh on a thousand gallons of kerosene was ignited to take down one of the largest structures built on the playa for this year's Burning Man.
I managed to remember my camera and take a few photos while there, some of which are located here: http://picasaweb.google.com/simran.smiles/BurningMan2007