Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Quick hitter on the New Job

Sometimes it's tough figuring out a new job, even if it's with the same organization. My new position is one where I'm in charge of a bunch of people that already know what they're doing, and have been doing so for a while. How much do I try to change things--should I even try? I've been promoted into places that were in such turmoil that it was relatively simple to effect positive change, since anything was an improvement. This time, though, that's not the case. Everyone seems happy and works hard already. I'm the one that needs to prove myself as a boss. I've done that before, too, and don't have any problem doing so here either. Aside from the professional aspect, though, it seems tougher to create a comfortable work environment for me this time. Granted, I've only been here a few weeks, but the type of library this is necessitates my being separate from all the other employees for most of the workday. That isolation makes connecting with the others more difficult, of course, and the fact that most of my staff are part-timers means that I have few chances for meaningful interaction with them anyway.
Paradoxically given the above statement, the bulk of my day is spent on a public desk, whereas my previous position was more evenly split between office work and helping the public. This means I have to squeeze most of my "business" in between helping patrons, instead of being able to divide my time more discretely. That is an entirely different skill--I now have to be able to maintain my concentration through continual interruptions and also stay aware of my surroundings as well.
I'm not exactly complaining; one of the librarians working in another department made it clear to me what she thought when she exclaimed "Welcome to the Real World" when I mentioned some of this in response to someone's "How do you like it so far?" question. I guess I've been coddled over the past 3 years . . .

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State of the Union

No, of course I didn't watch Smirky. If I see/hear more than two words come out of his mouth, I want to simultaneously throw up, scream with impotent rage, and kill someone (him, mostly). But I did read Jim Webb's response, which I urge all of you to read here. Webb is in the vanguard of a new breed of powerful, intelligent speakers for the Democratic Party, and while he may not be as progressive as I would like on a few issues (the use of the military to solve external problems best left alone), he knows our country has some real problems economically and politically. Thanks to George Allen for being himself in public and blowing his part of the election, and most importantly, thanks to Jim Webb for being a good Democrat, a great speaker, and a strong rebuttal witness to the crime that is this Administration.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What can I say?

Yeah, it's been awhile. For whatever reasons, my muse decided she had had enough of me and I lost my impetus to write much lately. Perhaps the unexpected largesse of electoral triumph left me bereft of the intense rage I've been feeling for the last 6+ years. I've still been reading, but mostly the fantasy writings of James Clemens. I've been trying to find a fiction writer or two to replace my all-time favorites, Michael Moorcock (who has retired) and Poul Anderson (who has joined another favorite--Isaac Asimov--in the Great Beyond). Clemens writes well, threading multiple plot lines and characters, many of whom die unexpectedly, thus helping to sustain narrative tension throughout his full-length novels. I've read Shadowfall (the first in his new epic series), which prompted me to pick up his first series that began with Wit'ch Fire. (I know, he has a penchant for adding extraneous apostrophes. It's a thing.) Both series openers share a similar trope, as Clemens seemingly drops the reader into the middle of a great war for the fate of all. The main protagonists are both crippled in some manner. (In Shadowfall, our hero is quite literally a cripple, having been maimed years prior for having a severe lapse in "political" awareness. The eponymous Wit'ch is encumbered by her ignorance of her own power's abilities and by her youth (we are graced with the story of her first period nearly simultaneously along with that of the slaughter of her parents by Agents of Evil.)
I liked both books enough to keep reading the two series, but I haven't been quite captivated like I was immediately with Moorcock. Is it Clemens, or just a function of my own age? I hope the former; I hardly need any more evidence to prove the existence of my personal aging process!
Unsurprisingly, and to shift topics radically, Smirky is still intent on killing people along with our chances for creating a more stable world during my lifetime. His escalation (let's be real here--a surge is what the ocean does during a storm--this is a blatant and hopeless recapitulation of our "strategy" during the Vietnam war) of his Republican war for profit in Iraq is a sick, petty, and classically spoiled reaction to his party's having lost both houses of Congress last November. That people will die as a result simply further cements his status as the Worst American Ever. Unfortunately, thanks to the presence of the slimebag from Connecticut in the Senate providing cover, anyone out there not paying attention will be confirmed in the belief that this disaster is somehow bi-partisan, and that therefore the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the war that is sweeping the nation will be directed at both Democrats and Republicans. Smirky and the junta win again, and we all lose.
It's nice to be shown yet again that the Democratic Party is the only one we have in this country that is capable of governing. Pelosi's "100 hours" agenda was fulfilled in just 42 working hours, making it painfully obvious (again, to anyone paying attention) that it isn't this Republican or that Republican that is corrupt and useless, but rather the whole damn Party and the right wing that runs it nowadays. Duh. Let's hope we get a true wave of investigations out of this so we can nail these criminals to the wall and restore our democracy.
I have nothing to say about the early contenders for the Presidency, other than that only Edwards so far gets me excited, and even he leaves me concerned, seeing as how he was one of the co-sponsors of the Iraq War Resolution (and boy, look at the list of jackasses on that list!), although he has since repudiated his stance. But we know how much the Republicans love to point out inconsistencies in anyone's public record, right? As if changing one's mind was somehow a bad thing when confronted with evidence of stupidity or corruption. My ideal ticket would, of course, have Gore at the top (along with Edwards), but even as the field is shaping up, Al refuses to play. Of course, he has nothing to gain, really, by announcing a candidacy at this point, since he already has universal name recognition (for good or ill). I can only hope he knows how much so many of us would gain from his Presidency.
With any luck, I'll be posting more often these days; let's all hope it isn't because the political scene erupts into sickness demanding my resolute attention . . .