ibd header photograph by James Reffell, June 2000

Monday, January 22, 2001
Remember that new job? Well, the work as it stands is great (although I'm still not convinced by the slow pace of the office - but then, that may be a reflection of my being a JCF endowment casualty). There are a couple of political issues, however, that may (in fact, will almost certainly) result in my losing my immediate boss (who I like a great deal). If I have to report to her newly hired superior, I suspect I'll be a lot less happy. So I'm just standing here waiting to see how the chips will fall. I hate waiting almost as much as I hate not having control of situations.

On other news, I spent the weekend alternating sleep and parties:
James and I joined friends to celebrate Wanda's birthday by seeing Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite boys, and the Stillmans in North Beach. Good thing I liked them, because all the cooincidences in the world seems to be leading James into listening to Western Swing. We spent Saturday night in Berkeley at the 40th birthday party of one of James' grand school colleagues, and last night at a going away party for Joe and Sherry, who are moving to Austin. We didn't really get to see Sherry, however, because she was installed for 8 hours or so having these r e a l l y amazing extensions put in, and it took a lot longer than she expected. We did stop by Edo to see her on her way out.

The REST of weekend involved long bouts of reading in bed - Paula Volsky's Grand Ellipse and Mary Gentle's Book of Ash (volume 2 and the beginning of volume 3). Both of these are the perfect kind of fantasy novels to read when you need an escape. The problem is that it's hard to come back to the real world. Speaking of which, I suppose I'd better go in to work now. It's little early, but I have a lunch date that may run long...
1/22/2001 08:17:49 AM

Thursday, January 18, 2001

It seems that in addition to Bill Clinton and Newt Gringrich, Jesse Jackson also philandered with an aide.

Evidently many middle aged politicians are guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.
1/18/2001 04:40:50 PM

Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Argh. Does anyone know whether the absolutely slow net connections I've been enduring lately have anything to do with California's dire energy shortage? As I sit here at work, people are making phone calls home to the East Bay: "Now, I just wanted to warn you, Joey, that there might be blackouts this afternoons."

It's inconceivable to me that California could have mismanaged it's energy policy to the point that PG&E could be going backrupt . . .
1/17/2001 04:09:21 PM

Saturday, January 13, 2001

Some days I must just look like someone with a soft heart. Yesterday I ended up giving away ten dollars in the three blocks from the Civic Center BART to my house. The last $5 was accompanied by a long conversation about having no food, a mentally ill wife, and an unemployment check being late. That was from Tony, a man from Santa Rosa who lives in my alley, to whom I'd never spoken. He sees me fairly frequently at Cat Club and on my way home. He felt the need to promise me he'd pay be back. I just got paid, so I was flush, and the total money is probably what I would have spent on drinks if we'd gone to Assimilate. Still . . .(It doesn't happen more than once every couple of months.)

And I know that giving away money to street people doesn't solve their problems, and I know I'm supposed to give it to charities instead. And I will, this year. But that doesn't change the state of the people in the neighborhood, does it?
1/13/2001 05:50:51 PM

Friday, January 12, 2001

I liked this picture (which accompanied an AP article on yesterday's big storm in California), although if I were those people, I might be running away. Perhaps it is just a trick of the photo...

big, big wave overshadowing two people on a pier
1/12/2001 04:39:37 PM

Thursday, January 11, 2001

So, on day four I'm still fairly happy about my new work, but I'm beginning to realize that it's going to be quite a while before I really know whether I'm contributing properly - I spent today researching potential foundations for a project, but it'll be months before we know whether my work pays off: we decide on funders to solicit, write letters of inquiry, then - if asked - write full prposals and then may or may not get funds. The full cycle is likely to be will over 6 months, and a lot can happen over 6 months.

You'll be noticing that there haven't been links to anything else on the web lately on my site. In fact, I just haven't had time to read anything! I keep track of Kaycee and a couple of friends and otherwise, I read work stuff. I haven't even picked up casual reading since I finished Leon Uris' Exodus (which I thought a very fair representation about how Jews in Palestine felt about the birth of the state of Israel, but I'd like to see someone do a book of the same stature for Palestinians).
1/11/2001 09:17:41 PM

Tuesday, January 09, 2001

Started my first day of work yesterday. This seems to be a real job: I'm officially exempt (which is to say that there is no overtime), 'administrative' is nowhere in my title, and I already have to attend 5 meetings this week. I am, in fact, sitting here in the only suit I own that fits: the Friends & Foundation's annual board meeting is today, and I'm expected to attend the meeting AND reception. {Heaven only knows what I can say to board members on my second day on the job.}

I know that the rest of you wish for a respite between long, time wasting meetings, but for the last two years I've worked in a place where I arranged all the meetings and attended none of them. So I'm kind of psyched.

As for the daily work load, I'm not really "there" yet. It's going to be a while before I know what Im doing for a living, really. :)

Oh, well, off to work (My only real regret as of yet is that I can't listen to Covenant there, as I'm still in cubicleland).
1/9/2001 08:46:00 AM

Friday, January 05, 2001

Well, James and I have spent the last two days hanging out and running errands and s t r e t c h i n g o u t t i m e before I start my new job on Monday. We've just about finished post Xmas Xmas shopping (we do family presents in time for the holiday, and then shop for friends afterwards), and I've resolved to try to get a bunch of New Years cards out by Sunday (this is another concession to how busy JCF was before I left).

Romaine Brooks, Self-Portrait (1923), National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution Yesterday, James and I went to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. At $3.50 for adult admission to lovely gardens and $2.95 plus tax for a cup of tea and a bowl of cookies and crackers, the Tea Garden is James' and my pick for the best cheap teenage date spot we can think of (and apparently people do think of it, because it was quite crowded yesterday afternoon). For reasons that are not quite clear to me, I spent the majority of my time peering over low fences and around stepping stones into ponds looking for fish. I saw three.

Today, we saw the Romaine Brooks show at the Berkeley Art Museum. Brooks was an American portraitist who was active in aristocratic, lesbian, artistic and literary circles of expatriate Americans and Europeans during the 20s and 30s. Being independently wealthy, she chose her subjects for aesthetics rather than commerce, and she renders them in subdued browns, intense blacks and silvery grays. I was especially glad to see this self portrait, which was among several paintings I used to visit regularly at the National Museum of American Art when I worked for Smithsonian. Now, of course, the musuem is being renovated and their Brooks paintings are on tour, along with a series of really interesting, simple line drawings that suggested tarot cards to me. (There is actually a lovely site on Brooks here. I've stolen my image of the self portrait from this site, where it is properly credited to National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Copyright Jean Pierre Prevost and Pascal Legrand).

1/5/2001 05:50:44 PM


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