Tuesday, October 29, 2002

This new job is going to be full of wonderful and intriguing experiences. Today brought such an experience, as I got a chance to call Senator Clinton's office. Obviously, I didn't talk to Hilary herself, nor did I expect to, but just talking with one of her staffers was thrilling for me. I've harbored thoughts of working on the Hill, and getting to speak with the folks who actually do work there, hearing their regular, real world voices, makes the notion just a bit more concrete for me.

There will also be odd discoveries. Case in point: yesterday, it became abundantly clear to me that a large portion, maybe 70 percent, of the committee work in our United States Congress is being done by women named Courtney. I don't know what that means, if it means anything at all, but I'm convinced I now know what the given name of our first female president will be.
Posted @ 8:56 PM

Monday, October 28, 2002

New job. Fun work. Safeway, Starbucks, and a great deli in walking distance from the office. Happy happy happy.
Posted @ 2:19 PM

Thursday, October 24, 2002

That's it. I just took the plunge.

Last year, a bunch of my friends all took part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short). The challenge of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word novel in November, starting on the first and ending at midnight on the thirtieth. As often happens with such things, I missed the start date, then berated myself for not getting on the stick.

Not this time. This time I'm in, baby.

I started this here blog partly as a way to force myself to write on a regular basis. Other than a couple of very busy and/or stressful times, including the last week or two, I've met that challenge. Now it's time for another step.

Is NaNoWriMo the right step? I don't know. But I do know the only time I'm ever really successful at anything is when I make the decision and then don't look back.

No matter what happens, it's should be an adventure. So what if I'm also starting a new job, looking for a new place to live and doing fourteen performances of a play in November? Sleep is for the weak anyway.
Posted @ 11:11 PM

Web bandwagon of the moment which I'm happily climbing aboard: the animiated Tom Lehrer's The Element Song.

I've been listening to that song, along with the rest of Lehrer's oevre, since I was a toddler. This is a loving tribute to the man and the song that keeps it simple and gets it right.
Posted @ 1:04 PM

There's a great article in today's New York Times (registration required, blah blah blah) by lightningfield's David Gallagher about custom-built car mp3 systems.

I've often speculated about doing something like this myself, but lack anything approaching the technical expertise necessary to pull it off. If I harbored any hopes of doing it with my current skill set, this piece dashed them. Besides, the last thing I need at this point is one more time-sucking hobby.

Hooking the Saturn up with digital audio will have to remain a pipe dream for now, at least until affordable, decent off-the-shelf systems hit the market.

I'm jazzed about starting the new job on Monday. Let me spill a few more details.

The name of the place is Carroll Publishing. They... sorry, make that we... bill ourselves as "a leader in the government print directories industry." Basically, we compile contact and biographical information on government officials and employees at all levels and sell that aggregated data in online and dead-tree formats.

My title is Research Editor. I'll be doing the nitty-gritty work of collecting the info. My days will be spent scouring the Web and contacting offices by fax, phone and e-mail to keep our listings as accurate and up-to date as possible.

To most folks, this must sound tedious. To me, it sounds like heaven. I love digging into the little details, making sure that everything is just so. I had a similar job years ago at GuideStar. Most of my time was devoted to cleaning up a monthly IRS listing of non-profits in the US, all 700,000 of them, for use in the database. That meant checking and confirming odd names and making sure addresses actually existed, among other things. To me, that's fun at work. Draw what conclusions you will from that admission.

The best part of all is my beat. I'll be covering the US Congress. All 535 members plus their staffs, both here in DC and in their home districts, are in my jurisdiction. Being the moderately rabid political junkie I am, I couldn't ask for a better assignment.

I always watch election night coverage, usually with handmade tally sheets and an Irish coffee at hand. Now it won't just be for my own edification. Now, it's part of my job.
Posted @ 12:13 PM

Monday, October 21, 2002

There's a reason they call it Hell Week.

With just four days left until Fiorello opens at MAD, I'm essentially living at the theater as we put the myriad vital finishing touches on the set. As such, computer time is limited to about five minutes a day. So, rather than put the announcement off any longer for lack of time to tell the story properly, I'll just cut to the chase.

Finally, after eleven months of setbacks, disappointments and outright frustration, I have a job.

It was a whirlwind courtship, but it felt right all the way through. For example, you know things went well at the interview when you're singing "Zippitee Doo Dah" as you drive home from it.

I start next Monday, and hopefully I'll find a little time to give more details on the whole thing before then.

Now, I must be off to the theater.
Posted @ 12:07 PM

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Quick show of hands: who's shocked I missed my self-imposed "big announcement" deadline?

Hmm, nobody. Looks like you all know me pretty well.

Tomorrow, I swear I'll make good. I'm just too tired after a day of set painting to do the story justice at the moment.

In the meantime, peruse this article-cum-litmus-test about Florida's Katherine Harris. It'll either warm your heart or make your blood boil, depending on your political leanings. First person to guess which it did for me wins a hanging chad.
Posted @ 1:50 AM

Thursday, October 17, 2002

I am normally the biggest tease about these things, but I swear this time I'm gonna come through. Sometime in the next 48 hours, there will be big news here at the HoC. Check back to see what it could be.
Posted @ 3:06 PM

Friday, October 11, 2002

It's time for a little "regime change" of my own. As promised a couple of weeks ago, some new blogs are entering the Daily Reading list, and one of the original members departs today.

First, the deletion. memepool was an early favorite of mine when I first entered blogspace. Since that time, my esteem for it has fallen with each passing month, slowly at first, quite rapidly in the last few weeks. The problem is, admittedly, one of comparison. It does essentially the same thing MetaFilter does, but doesn't deliver the goods as well, or as often, or as promptly. Couple that with their unfortunate tendency toward vague posts that force readers to click links before the subject becomes clear, and the fate of this site was sealed.

Adios, memepool. I make this cut secure in the knowledge that my defection won't even phase you, and that those for whom you're still a good fit will keep you going for a long, long while.

Now, to the happier task of blog addition. We'll start with the announced candidates. All three of the auditionees continued to produce the kind of content that got me interested in the first place, and each has earned a spot on the list. Let's welcome them now...

First up is TV Tattle. I've long been looking for a news-and-information-oriented site about TV as a good companion to the criticism/satire/commiseration TeeVee brings to the table. TV Tattle finally fills that void.

defective yeti is what I would call a near-perfect general blog. Much like 'Bred Crumbs, it covers anything and everything, depending on the author's whim, but always in its own delightful, distinctive voice.

John Scalzi: Whatever would have made it in on its merits alone. However, John dropped me an e-mail shortly after his site's prestigious nomination was announced. Since I love getting unsolicited e-mail, especially from folks whose work I like, the message made his site a virtual lock to join the rotation.

In his note, John claimed that Whatever does not get the kind of traffic which would make it a blogging behemoth, as I thought it to be. He wrote, in part:

I must regretfully inform you that if I meet the standard for the "big time" as it concerns writing online, the medium is in deep and profound trouble.
Well, perhaps my perception is somewhat skewed. But looking at how many folks link to his site as opposed to those that link to mine (even discounting self-links), it's easy to see how that could happen. Mt. Pilot seems like a big city when you're living in Mayberry, so you're "big time" in my eyes, John. Welcome to my list.

But wait! We're not done. Since posting the slate of probable, now actual, new daily reads, two other great blogs have come to my attention. Both have rapidly become favorites, and they join us today as well. Let's meet them:

Whedonesque is a community blog dedicated to Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and the new Firefly) and his universes. Great design, informative links, and a wonderful, budding community are the hallmarks of this site. If you like Joss and his brainchildren, come join us.

Peter David - Writer of Stuff is brought to us by, oddly enough, Peter David. If you're not already familiar with him, Peter writes it all: Trek books, comics, original novels, opinion columns, and now a blog.

Peter also holds a special place in my heart, as he features prominently in one of my favorite NYC memories. This would have been a dozen years ago or more. After a convention I attended and at which he appeared, my friend Jessica and I found ourselves in an elevator with him and his young daughter (Ariel, I believe).

We chatted amiably for a bit, and as we exited the hotel talked had turned, as it often does when a small child is around, to Sesame Street. Ariel professed her love for the theme song, and started to sing it. The three of us joined in.

That image, the four of us walking down the streets of Manhattan singing “Could you tell me how to get/How to get to Sesame Street?” warms my heart and brings a smile to my face whenever I think of it.

So there you are. Five new sites, one sadly but of necessity cut loose, giving us a net gain of four. Now, when I spend a whole week doing other things and neglect my own blog, you'll all have plenty to read. Not that I plan to do that again anytime soon, but I like having the safety net.
Posted @ 11:49 AM

Friday, October 04, 2002

Only a few months late, the world gets an explanation of why Chris Parnell was fired from then re-hired by Saturday Night Live last year.* I, for one, missed the talented performer while he was gone, and rejoiced at his return.

Now the puzzlement of the whole affair is put to rest and I can move on to more important SNL-related questions, such as, "Wonder if these new guys will be any good?"

* Link via TV Tattle, which moves thatmuch closer to inclusion on my Daily Reading list.
Posted @ 10:20 AM

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

The Greywings, my fantasy football team, are currently in first place. This comes as quite a shock to me, as I expected my first crack at this little diversion to be an utter debacle. But here I sit atop Yahoo Public League 314220, at least for this week. We'll see how long I can ride this wave of victory.

It's finger-crossing time again, folks. Yesterday I had an interview with a great organization for what looks like my dream job. If this thing works out, all the pain and trials of the last ten months will have been well worth it.

One way or the other, I'll post the results here. Following my usual pattern, good news will be reported immediately, while bad news will slowly trickle out when I've finally got the heart to talk about it.
Posted @ 10:52 AM


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