August 28th, 2003

28 Aug 2003, by

I thought I was going to get to having posted every day for two weeks, but then life and work interfered, and I found myself, yet again, in the set of people who are slackers. I always know it’s time to write an entry when I start to feel oppressed by the fact that I haven’t written in so long. And to be fair, I did write an entry, at least three times in the last week. It’s just that I got interrupted or couldn’t finish it or had to leave it for a bit and none of the entries got near enough to saying anything to be posted. I feel especially badly about having so boldly announced “Tomorrow: Florence”! and then vanished for a week. Teach me to make promises. Everything I want to say seems to be waiting for everything else to be written about first. Work is mad, mad busy with us getting ready to move to the new building. I’m pleased about our move to the new building, even though I’m going to a cubicle, and I hate cubicles. It’s a nice building. I will have new furniture, too. And my own secure server area in the arctic basement. In fact, despite the cubicle, I will have tons of space. I could have two cubicles if I want them, because our staff area has cubes for eight people (projected growth for the next 20 years) and only two of us work there at present. People are acting all kinds of crazy, though. Uptight, frantic, like everything is an emergency of the highest order. It’s been hectic, amusing and infuriating by turns. When I came in the other morning and a co-worker shrilly exclaimed “Do you realize there’s only thirteen days left until we move?!?!” I had to just laugh. Trying to figure out what I can finish and what I should just go ahead and pack up because I’m not going to finish it before moving has been challenging. For the duration of the move, because I’m technically inclined, I’ve been assigned to work with the computer support staff. None of them are insane, I want to help out, and they can use my expertise. This is a sensical arrangement that benefits everyone and I’m ok with that. For the weekends of September (not including Labor Day weekend) many staff are assigned to work shifts on weekends. I’m not sure the full extent of what exactly they’ll be doing but for at least some of that time, they’re apparently assigned at checkpoints to watch the moving staff. This sounds like the most boring thing ever to me, and I’m grateful not to have to make sure some mover doesn’t steal some 100 years out of office governor’s papers. Also, if I were a mover, I’d find nothing tempting me to drop boxes of valuable objects more than people stationed every 30 feet to make sure I don’t. But none of that is my call and I, personally, don’t have to do it, so I’m ok with that. However, because these people have to be there whenever the movers are, their schedules are fixed and have already been distributed. For our part, we were planning to come in, work as long as it took to get the work done and then go home. The work we must do is not inconsequential either in importance or scope : we’ll need to set up everyone’s PC’s, make sure all the networking is functioning as advertised by the contractors who have done the wiring, bring the servers back up after they’ve been transferred from one building to the other by the aforementioned movers, and solve all the issues that will doubtless be involved in moving hundreds of computers and a dozen servers from one building to another. And that’s before Monday morning, when people will come in, switch on their PC’s and take about 3 minutes to figure out the one thing on their computer that suddenly no longer works. Oh, and btw, we’re not allowed to hover around the movers while they’re moving the equipment, though other people are obligated to hover around the movers while they’re moving the collection. And while I’m not quite seeing the logic of this, again, I’m ok with it. If that’s how it’s got to be, whether for bureacratic reasons or state regulations or insurance purposes or whatever cockamamie reason they’ve come up with to do things this way then that’s how it has got to be and I’m perfectly ok with it. Now we get to the part I’m not ok with, though. You knew this was coming, right? Well, it turns out that apparently even though we’re moving an entire building’s worth of people & equipment, a huge archival collection, thousands of published books, way too many rolls of microfilm, a large number of photographs, a not inconsiderable collection of audio and film, and who knows what else, some people have enough free time to pore over the schedule, notice that the computer support staff is not assigned weekend hours and, get this, complain about it. Now, as I just explained, we do in fact have to work those weekends (or at least the first one and if things go well only the first one) despite our not being on the schedule. But now, because someone has complained, and worse yet, because their stupid, groundless complaints were heeded and it was deemed unfair that we weren’t on the schedule, the order has come down from on high that we now have to work all the hours that other people are scheduled to work. Never mind that at five on Saturday when the movers and all the other staff leave if things are broken we will stay until they are not. Never mind that if things go spectacularly well and we finish setting everything up we’ll have nothing to do. None of that, you see, matters. And yes, I’m annoyed with the busybody or busybodies that took it upon themselves to whine. Have they nothing better to do? But I’m also infuriated that the boss caved to them. Me, I would have said,”Everyone has their assigned tasks, mind your own business.”

Ah, well. I suppose that’s just the sort of ranting I should probably not do publicly. I guess I’ll insert some caveats here then. The boss didn’t actually fess that he was suddenly making us be there the same hours as everyone else because of complaints. One of the computer support staff had been asked why we weren’t on the schedule, and we’re kind of extrapolating the why and wherefore. It’s possible there’s a reasonable (or even more ludicrous) explanation for what has gone on here. Knowing that, though, doesn’t really make me ok with it.

So on to more pleasant things. Sophia. She’s truly wonderful. This past weekend, she was drawing with markers and she decided to draw lines all up and down her arms. I told her that the lines looked like tiger stripes and she started roaring and holding up her hands like claws. “I a tiger!” she told me, in case the roars were not convincing enough on their own. This is the first time I can recall her deliberately pretending to be something else. I’m excited about the onslaught of roleplaying that is surely to come! On Sunday, when I started to put together my new stikfas:

she became entranced by the dragon. She pretended she was a dragon for a while, then demanded to play with the stikfas dragon. We had just been gaming so there were plenty of dice around. She picked up one of the dice, opened the dragon’s mouth and stuffed the die into it. Then she commanded him to “Drop it! Drop it!” until she opened his mouth and the die popped out. This is amusing because this is something we tell Sergei when he’s playing fetch. We throw a kong or a ball and he retrieves it and we stand there telling him to drop it until he does, when we throw it again. So, Sophia was training her dragon to fetch.

She’s definitely going through a phase of sociability right now. On Sunday we went to eat chinese at a buffet place and after she’d had her fill of rice and ice cream, she started wandering around the restaurant picking out tables with children. When she found them she would greet them like old friends. “Hi! Hello boy! Hi! I’m Sophia” and then move to the next table with a high chair and do it again. “Hi! Hi, girl! You’re girl. I’m Sophia.” She’s very enthusiastic and friendly. I think Europe helped in that regard. On the train back from Ravenna we met this really nice woman named Thu. Within thirty minutes of having met her, Sophia was asking to be carried by her, going over to sit across from her and trying to engage her by singing songs and generally flirting. I’d never seen her warm up to a stranger quite so quickly, and I’m pleased to get to know Sophia in a stage where she’s not as shy.

The last thing I’m going to mention tonight is that I’ve started posting up pictures from our trip to Europe. I’m doing them in small manageable chunks (about 16, which is coincidentally a page) at a time. So keep an eye on the photo database over the next few days and you should get some treats. The pictures are neither as good as I wanted them to or as terrible as I expected them to be. Some of them are really quite good. You’ll see them all of course, as none were discarded. Unfortunately, the pictures from the latter half of the trip, when we used the disposables are considerably worse. I guess the feedback I get from the digital camera is a serious crutch. And yes, the camera is still broken. That’s something I haven’t had time for, and it’s kind of upsetting. I will explain more about the camera breaking later.

Good night

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Tomorrow: Florence! (I’ll never learn my lesson, will I?)

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