I'm Takin' What They're Giving, 'Cause I'm Workin' For A Living"
Busy week. Very, very busy, complete with hands waving frantically in the air (ala Mike Daisey).
Work continues. My productivity and efficiency levels seem to be adequate so far as my temporary employers are concerned, as they have expressed a desire to keep me on for as long as I'm available and they have things for me to do, which is fine with me.
Although I'm certainly not setting my sights on staying on here for any extensive period of time, for the moment at least, it has the advantage of being a reasonably stable situation, so at I can breath a little easier finance-wise. And the people are nice enough: a small staff comprised about half-and-half of 40/50-ish academic professionals, and 30-something aspiring academic professionals. The main focus of their company seems to revolve around providing non-profit organizations, government agencies and the like with tools to perform statistical measurement of project effectiveness; it all sounds very dry and heady -- and from my perspectvie it is -- but evidentally, they're quite good at providing this service, as they've just moved into an office space about eight times larger than their previous digs right across the hallway (which in real terms doesn't appear to be much larger than my 350 square foot apartment). It's quiet, casual in the extreme (the office manager wears cargo shorts on Fridays), and they pretty much leave me alone to perform whatever task they've handed me that day. In short, it's the perfect temp job -- but it IS a temp job when all is said and done.
After almost four months of relative inactivity, I must say I'm a bit surprised at how easily I've fallen back into the Monday-Friday, 8:30 - 5:00 pattern. Of course, living in a space somewhat larger than two phone booths laid on-edge has made the morning ablutions more than barely tollerable. I walk three blocks to the bus stop, usually grabbing a cup-a-joe or double-short nonfat at the adjacent coffee shop, then have a relaxing 15 minute commute to downtown, where I disembark and take a quick stroll through the Market on my way to the office just up the street. It's a good time of day; just as the fishmongers, produce sellers, and neo-pagan tourist-trinket hawkers are setting up for the day, but before the hoards of ambling lookie-loo's crowd the place to the point where the locals know to avoid the indoor promenades in favor of the relatively clear path of the street outside. All-in-all, it's a pleasant way to start the workday.
In addition to the work situation, I'm smack in the middle of Tax Season, and so that's been keeping me busy on the weekends, and Monday nights helping apprehensive artist-types wend their way through the labyrinthian U.S. Tax Code. One of my associates insisted this year we buy a copy of one of the commercial tax prep software packages, and bless her heart for doing so, because it's made our job so much easier. Even so, eight hours of it can turn one's brain a little mushy, but at least we're getting people some much needed refunds -- eat your heart out with a rusty fork, H&R Block.
In addition to this, I've been spending whatever additional free time this past month helping gut The Union Garage, a small theatre space that for the past 10+ years was a sort of second or third home for me and a lot of other folk in the local Theatre Community. Despite the efforts of two different theatre companies (both of which I've had the honor of long associations) to try to come up with a scheme to refurbish the place and bring it up to code, the expense just turned out to be far more than was either feasible or practical, and so reluctantly the decision was made to give it up. Before turning over the keys however, we had to dismantle a decade's worth of internal alterations -- not an insignificant task. But, the walls came down, the platforms, seating, lights, costumes, props and everything else one needs to "put on a show" went into storage, and we had one final weepy, farewell blowout on Friday night. I took lots of pictures, a few of which will be posted for posterity once I have time to go through the disk. End of an era and all that. Time to move on.
As if that all weren't enough to fill a week to overbrimming, I've been working with my friend Lauren Weedman on a remount of "Wreckage", a solo show she workshopped at the aforementioned Union Garage last summer. She's done a lot of revision to the piece, which IMHO is now more tightly structured, dramatically coherent and just as funny despite the loss of a couple of favored scenes. We'll close that tonight, and then I can look forward to a relatively quiet week of JUST taxes and data entry.
We Could Go Sailing, If Only We Don't Stray Too Far
Today should have been my first day on the water since last fall, but our previously clement weather has changed face with a vengeance, leaving us soggy (not an unwelcome sensation in itself), and windblown to the point that, as one old salt put it, "There are times when you just realize it's better to be off the water than on it." Despite all, had a nice afternoon watching the rain come down on the city.
We're getting precip, but we're going to need a lot more if we want to have anything resembling a normal summer. Currently the snow pack is roughly 30% below seasonal averages, and the reservoirs are already full, an ill omen since much of that water is going to get used between now and summer and there's not much frozen upland to replenish the supply. Still, for the natives its a bit of a relief; good to know the water spirits haven't abandoned us completely.
It's St. Paddy's Day again. Like just about every other holiday nowadays, it seems as though this one has become less a celebration of heritage, or history, or some significant personage, and more and more become just another excuse for advertising and marketing minions to hawk booze, trinkets, and get their clients listed as the "official" whatever of the day. Even Google has gotten into the act. Is nothing sacred? Not even a presumably religious-inspired holiday? Oh well, if the day before Ash Wednesday can be secularized into another consumerist marketing frenzy, not to mention what they've done to Easter for practically ever, I suppose poor Padraig didn't really have a chance. (Although it does beg the question -- what's keeping these geniuses from doing the same thing to Columbus?)
However, as an actual person of Irish Heritage (1/8 on my father's mother's side), I suppose I can forgive the crash commercialism, the amateur binge-drinking, and that most horrific of all St. Pat's Day "traditions", Green Lager if it means for one day I can proudly display my celtic roots; better to be a legitimate celebrant than a projectile-vomiting wannabe.
Had planned to hit Kell's for a bit of the old corned beef & cabbage (mine is thawing in the fridge at home as I write this), but the $20 cover -- at Noon, no less (I'm sure it's for some kind of good cause?) put me off. This afternoon I have to make a run up to the Seattle Center, so will swing down to the boat and the literally-within-spitting-distance McCormick & Schmick's Harborside for a quick pint before heading back up the hill to the "family watering hole" (again related on my paternal grandmother's side) McMenamin's Six Arms Pub, before wending my way home. That ought to be plenty for me, and should get me off the streets well before the first of the uber-drunks begin fumbling for their car keys.
Wear green, drive safe, and fer cryin' out loud do not introduce yourself to anyone by putting a "Mc" or "O'" at the beginning of your surname, unless there's already one there the other 364 days of the year.
This Is The Place Where I Find All Things Are Equal
Spent the afternoon working in the yard. The yard is kind of wild and unkept, and that's pretty much the way the landlady likes it, but I've been given a certain leeway in terms of general maintenance, so this afternoon, after my weekly housecleaning I took on the wild, wild outside.
For the most part, things are in surprisingly good shape; the trees are budding, the beds are teeming with green growth, although frankly I'm not always certain if what's growing is what SHOULD be there, but again I keep in mind that a little chaos is considered the norm. And given our dearth of rainfall the past couple of months, I have to admit I'm rather impressed by the sheer abundance of growing things, their tenatiousness and perseverence. But, I've made a definite decision about the parts of the yard that clearly fall under the designation of "lawn". Everything gets treated equally: crab grass, bulb, dandelions, clover, moss and whatever else chooses to occupy the broad, flat areas between what are definitely defined beds -- every thing is equal, and in that spirit of democracy, I treat everything accordingly.
So, after two and a-half hours brandishing my weed whacker, there are now flat, green expanses (relatively speaking) of lawn. It actually looks pretty clean, given that it's all covered with a soft layer of mulch, a uniform green icing on the cake, and just in time for St. Paddy's.
I'll leave the cuttings for a couple of days, let the live greenery beneath soak up the slowly evaporating moisture, then rake it off and throw it all in the compost. Hopefully, it'll stay neat and trim for a month or so before it needs another trim.
There are bare patches, clumps of odd things in the middle of the smooth, flat areas that just look obviously out of place, but I can live with that. A little chaos amidst the relative orderliness of the lawn is just another reminder that you can't control everything, you have to let some things grow in their own fashion, even if it throws off the aesthestics slightly.
Slight imperfections in something that strives for some sense of perfection seem to make sense somehow when you're dealing with green sprouty things.
We're officially in "Drought Mode" here in the Upper Left Hand. An unseasonably warm winter, with abnormally low precipitation (February was the dryest since they've been keeping records around here) mean a dismal snow pack and reservoirs that can only charitably be described as "bone dry".
We haven't begun with the rationing yet, but short of some sort of incredible turnaround over the next couple of months, it's only a matter of time. And here I was looking forward to some nice summer vegetables growing in the yard.
On the plus side, my employment situation has -- for the moment at least -- stablized with the current temp assignment, which has gone for two weeks with probably at least two more in the offing; just enough to keep from further bleeding the savings account, and banking what's left of my unemployment. Still dicey, but at least there's a brighter light at the end of the tunnel, and it doesn't appear to be an oncoming train.
Got a bit of additional good news yesterday as well. It looks like I'll be taking a little trip to NYC mid-May courtesy of Actors' Equity Association. The union has scheduled a plenary conference, which as Seattle Liaison I've been invited to attend. They pick up the airfare and lodging for three nights, so I might as well take advantage of the situation by staying over a couple of additional days. I've never been to New York before, aside from a week's stay on Long Island the summer after I graduated from high school some twenty-seven-odd years ago, and I didn't even get to venture into the City then, so this will be my first sojourn in "the Big Apple" proper. Hopefully, Equity will also spring for some entertainment during our stay, and I'm going to try to catch a ball game while I'm there (Naturally, the Yankees are playing out-of-town that week -- guess where?), but it will be a chance to see a couple of NL teams in action (the Mets are playing St. Louis & Cincinnati that week), and hopefully some museum action on top of everything else, not to mention trying to meet up with old friends who now call NY home. We'll see.
If anyone has ideas of things to see & do, let me know. I'll be trying to cram in a lot in a short time, no doubt.
If It Were Easy As Fishin' You Could Be A Musician
Survived my first week back among the Employed, and it was -- okay. Monday's news of course put a definite cloud over the week, but regardless, the work itself isn't much to write home about: mostly playing with MSOffice apps, grunt computer work that requires some facility with the programs, but is generally rote, repetitive and rather uninteresting. Still, you do what you have to, and on the plus side I must say the people in the office are nice enough, the atmosphere is casual to the extreme, and once I'm given a project everyone pretty much leaves me alone to get at it. Not much time for shilly-shallying, but I can at least keep my email browser open, so there's contact with the outside world. Since none of my other job prospects have panned out to-date (didn't get either the Zinzanni or the City job), the three or four weeks of work will come in handy.
Besides, it pays better than Unemployment, gets me out of the house, and makes me feel like a reasonably productive, if not altogether essential member of the workforce.
Two Reasons Why Temping Is Better Than Unemployment
Time: Today, 4:00 p.m.
Me: "I've just finished (the mind-numbingly dull task of reformating and then inputting into MSAccess 117 statistical surveys of Argentinian home health and safety practices that I've spent the past three days doing). What's next?"
Supervisor: "Um. Well, we were expecting some PowerPoint presentations, but they haven't arrived. Why don't you clock out for 5:00 p.m. and enjoy the sunshine."