Oh, still some lingering cold traces, but I actually feel healthy enough to go out and *do* stuff, cope with the world and all that. Maybe it was Cliff's chicken soup...
The interview went pretty well last night. They're going to call me today to set up a face-to-face one. It's apparently a somewhat involved process getting hired by this company (Remedy). I'm going to spend some time looking at their website today; I really should have before my interview (oops), but better late than never.
If the job happens, it'll be on-site down in Mountainview (or Sunnyvale?) Something like that. It's definitely a hike, but they're flexible enough that I can come in whenever I want, as long as I do my forty hours a week. That'd help a lot -- it means I can get up early and take public transit if I want, or get up late and ride with Cliff, or get up early, work for six hours, and then ride with Cliff. :-) That's all a big improvement over my current situation, where I have to be there 8:30 - 5:30, period.
Computer culture still bewilders me. I was talking to Cliff last night about salaries, and trying to figure out how much I should be expecting. It's frankly a little appalling how much computer people get paid. Normally I don't get all that het up about the fact that skilled computer people are paid more than skilled teachers; while teachers should certainly be paid more than they are in this country, there *are* some internal rewards to teaching that computers don't provide. And there's the fact that lots of people are still scared of computers. And that the industry changes so quickly that you have to work hard to stay qualified (while teachers certainly *can* work hard to stay up-to-date on the latest pedagogical theories in their field, I don't think they have to). A lot of reasons why computer people should be paid somewhat more than people in many other fields -- but *this* much more?
I recognize that this is primarily a function of the current scarcity of people to fill these jobs, and even that in other parts of the country, the pay discrepancy isn't nearly so great. And still. Cliff told me last night what he makes, about four times what I'm making right now as a temp. We ought to make him chip in more for parties.
The long-suppressed communist in me is shouting that we ought to all be paid equally, and the rest of me knows how difficult and problematic such an approach would be. And you *know* that if I end up with a high-paying offer, I'm going to take it. I'm not going to say -- 'Oh, I don't need that much. Give me 10K less'. I'm not even going to take it and then give the money to charity (though I may put some of it into Clean Sheets). So I'm a hypocrite too, just like everybody else.
Lydia and some other friends of mine *are* communists, and are trying to use fairly gentle political means to change that in this country. It'll never happen -- not unless something else drastic happens first, at least. And I'm not really sorry...I don't really believe communism is workable, not with humans in their current evolutionary state. We're too greedy.
This is the problem I see with communism, and anarchism (and keep in mind that I'm no political scientist. I don't think I've even taken a class in this. These are totally uninformed opinions). Both of those systems require that people be basically nice in order for them to work. If the people aren't nice, you start getting abuses, and there are no checks and balances in the system to help contain the abuses. Democracy, clearly flawed as it is, at least allows somewhat for human weakness, which is I think why it's worked as well as it has so far.
It's not that people aren't nice, you know. They are nice, some of the time. If they have plenty, they'll often share. If things are a little scarce, people tend to hoard, just in case, to protect themselves. If there's a real disaster, it's amazing how helpful people will be, how they'll reach out to those who have lost homes and clothing and food, giving of their store. And if they live in a war zone, or during a famine, when survival becomes a real issue, then the unit of care shrinks down to the immediate family -- it becomes tremendously hard to offer food to a neighbor's child, when your child might die as a result.
A funny wave pattern: generous/prudent/extra generous/very stingy...but real, I think. And any political system that doesn't take these human tendencies into account is going to have trouble.
(What, you didn't sign up here in order to get political/economic rants early in the morning? Sorry -- sometimes, this is the way my mind works. Have a good day! :-)
9:30 a.m., having just reading Shmuel's journal: Ah, but Shmuel, we love you when you're being pedantic. Some of us think that's your best feature. :-)
I know what he means about the Allende. Given that he's already given some spoilers in that entry (warn us first, Shmuel!), I'm going to go ahead and discuss it some more.
The issue he raises, of how we're supposed to empathize with a protagonist who brutally rapes many women, is a tricky one. I certainly had a hard time with that, and was relieved every single time that man's sections ended and we returned to Clara. However, in some ways I think Allende's handling of him is the best thing about the book.
It's easy to love Clara. She's gentle, she's kind (if absent- minded), she means well. And she is brutalized at times by this man, which makes it even easier to hate him (see, Shmuel -- that was a spoiler, 'cause I know you haven't read that far yet. :-). However -- and this is a big however -- by the end of the book, I was empathizing for him too.
What Allende does brilliantly is give you such complexity in her characters that even when you end up still not liking them, you understand why they are the way they are. You end up with some empathy for them. And perhaps more importantly, you understand why their families still love them, even though *they* know exactly what kind of monsters these people can sometimes be. That's one of the hardest things for a novelist to represent, I think -- the way people in a family still love people who treat them very badly. Bad novelists show this by making the people seem pitiful and stupid. Allende does it by showing you this man's good sides as well as his bad, and also by showing you why he is the way he is.
Dorothy Allison did the same thing at the end of _Bastard Out of Carolina_, actually. But I'm not going to discuss that in detail, 'cause it *would* spoil the book. Just go read it. Read it now.
I'd love to comment on Shmuel's comments on _Possession_, but it's been too long since I read it. I really loved it then, though, so perhaps I'd best pick it up and reread it sometime soon. I've been vaguely meaning to for a while.
On a completely different note, I don't know about this new job possibility. It's in Mountainview, and I figured out how long it would take me on public transit. Ready for this?
2.5 hours! Each way!
Walk down to bus stop: 7:00 --> 7:10
N bus: High/MacArthur 7:13 a.m. --> Transbay Terminal 7:35 a.m.
42 bus: Transbay 7:37 --> Caltrain S.F. Terminal 7:46
Caltrain: S.F. 8:00 --> Mountainview 9:09
Shuttle: MTV Caltrain 9:21 --> Sun MTV-16 9:32
That's going through the San Francisco side of the Bay. I considered trying to stay mostly on the Oakland side, but it looks like that's even worse. Bus to BART to bus to bus to bus, or bus to BART to Caltrain (going back north!) to shuttle. Ick.
So, if I they offer me this job and I take it, I see a car in my near future. Guess I won't be taking it unless they pay me enough that I can afford a car! :-) There are other options, of course. Ride down with Cliff most days, and possibly stay down in the South Bay some week nights. Jed and Arthur are both in Mountainview, and I could probably coax couch space out of them, and Kevin's sister is in Los Gatos, and has a guest room. Not sure how much time staying with her would save me, but probably some.
Ah well -- no need to make a decision yet. And I guess it's a good thing that I figured out how long it would take. Even getting to my job interview is going to kill half the day.
On yet another note, I have some interesting pictures to show you. Those of you who have been around for a while may remember that I wrote some erotic novellas for Puritan Magazine, once upon a time. I used to have them on this site, then took them down for a variety of reasons. *But* one of them was illustrated for the magazine by Jack Cleveland, and he's just put up a page of his own. So if you'd like to see the illustration for the Thomas the Rhymer story, you can find it here. Jack draws in a very explicit, large-breasted style. I think the scene he chose to illustrate is the one where poor Thomas is being seduced by a horde of nymphs...
On a green sticky note stuck to my mirror, I have finished catching up with all the archives of If You See Her, Say Hello. I am disconsolate. I am depressed. I have even almost finished reading through Xeney's main site -- just a few more articles to go. I may have to go back and read through all the garden reports just to get my regular Xeney fix. I mean, for the last week, I've been averaging a few hours a day of Xeney. Cutting me back to five minutes of a daily entry is just cruel, cruel I tell you. Couldn't you taper me off some instead?
I know, I know. It's my own fault. If I'd restricted myself to fifteen minutes of Xeney a day, I might have stretched it out for weeks more -- perhaps even months. But what does it matter? No matter how careful I was, eventually I would have run out. She can't possibly write as fast as I can read. Perhaps it was better to experience it all in one glorious burst, intense hours sunk into the world of Xeney. *sigh*
(You do understand that none of the above actually took place on a green sticky note or on my mirror, right? Oh, good.)
4:12. Had the brilliant idea of asking Jed if his place was anywhere near this new job. Turns out to be 4 miles away from it. I'm going to crash at his place the night before, thank you very much. Will make life much simpler, and I won't be stressing about making connections right before a job interview.
10:30. Long day. Almost done updating Clean Sheets - fiction, poetry and article done, review half-done. We'll have new art in February! Huzzah! I won't put up an editorial tonight, but I *may* do one tomorrow. No promises. Umm...other late-breaking news is that I just got invited to read at a performance called "My Sucky Valentine", hosted by Thomas Roche, on Saturday February 13th. More details when I get them, but I'm pretty excited. He suggested reading the "Confesssions" poem again -- I'll think about it. I have five minutes.
I also discovered today that I can carry on a halfway coherent conversation with Roshani while updating CS - or while doing most of the updating, at any rate. At least if she's in a chatty mood. Much more entertaining this way. :-)
A little more work and then to bed, I think. Finish up in the morning. G'night, my dears. And bless you for reading this far. :-)