Warning: this is a World Cup-related post. If you're soccer-ed out, better pass it by.
So the toast, cheer, and rant that's gone up in Irish bars across the city for the past few weeks is "anybody but England," as winners of the World Cup, that it. Obviously, with Ireland not in contention (do they even have a team?) and few Irish players on the European teams, this makes sense.
The Brits have perpetuated genocide against the Irish, the Scottish, and countless other groups for centuries. They've terrorized and held captive six counties in Ireland for decades. There's that little matter of the American Revolution. And they drink lousy tea. There are other political, social, and religious implications too, but I'll spare you those, for fear of losing the point.
Since the U.S. team is out of the competition, Israel (my personal underdog favorite) didn't make it to the game, Trinidad and Tobago have been defeated (I liked them for their accents), and I'm NOT rooting for England, this left few options.
So I went with my roots. Or at least a quarter of them. I've switched my allegiance to Italy. I figure, I can swear in Italian, and I like the food, so that has to count for something, right?
There's nothing better than spending a lazy Saturday afternoon (or evening) watching a quality baseball game. The satellite television system I'm forced to subscribe to because my landlord refuses to let the cable guy drill holes in his building has half-a-dozen ESPN stations in its basic package. And many more available for just $39.99 a month. You would think this would provide for many, many hours of baseball pleasure.
But no. I pay $20 a month (for the basic package) for numerous blacked-out stations, hours of ESPNEWS, and very little baseball. And to add insult to injury, because the satellite company has a contract with ESPN, it doesn't carry the Fox Sports Network. And the San Francisco Giants have a contract with Fox. And a Yankees game? Forget about it!
What am I left with, you may ask? Well, many of the stations are permanently blacked out due to some regional contractual things, but one of them has been promising, for several months now, an upcoming game between India and Pakistan. That's right, cricket. The American sport of champions.
Now, as we've entered World Cup frenzy (go Italy!) I'm taunted not just with the cricket game that will never appear, but with the promise of soccer matches I'll never see. Just a black screen with the little blue information bar at the top of the screen that teases me by announcing what I could watch, but only if I pony up the big bucks.
Hey everyone, take a look at my friend Tom's blog about his cross-country bicycle trip. Tom and I met in New Mexico, when we worked at the Roswell Daily Record together. He moved to Alaska a few weeks before I moved to California, and we've kept in sporadic touch ever since. Now, he's packed his saddle bags and set off on a northern trek across the U.S. this summer.
I guess this holds for everywhere, but I know that I've lived in San Francisco for a long time - 5 years - by the frequency with which I run into people I know. Well, I think that week that I ran into six people from St. Dominic's was unusual, but in the past two days I've run into three people I know:
A woman I used to work with while waiting for the bus on Sunday afternoon; a guy from the Blackthorn (I've now seen him three times in the past month, and not one of those was at the bar); and a guy I used to work with. He now works at the legal paper on the second floor of my building. And though I haven't said hello, I'm pretty sure I keep passing a girl I used to work with on the street. It's possible she also works at the paper in my building, but I didn't ask. Oh, and then yesterday I ran into somebody else I know from St. Dominic's, but since I was near the Church I figure that didn't count.
Now, all those times I've seen Lucinda on MUNI or walking near our respective apartments doesn't really count, since we live in the same neighborhood, and I expect to see neighbors at the Laundromat or wherever.
In all that bumping into people, you'd think that Steph and I would have seen each other once in a while when we worked across the street from one another. Oddly, that never happened.
I think the moral of this story is clear: always dress well when you leave your house. You never know who you'll see. Or stay home more. I'll have to think about that.
When I arrived at this job, I discovered that my desk had been populated by a bunch of temporary employees. Nobody's sat here for very long. I don't know who stocked the place, but my cubicle, with two overhead compartments and two file drawers, was so chock full of office supplies that the files didn't fit in the drawer.
Obviously, somebody had an office supply hoarding compulsion. The overhead compartments, each about four feet long and two feet high, were full to overflowing with supplies. He or she really needed help.
I've spent a fair amount of time cleaning out my desk this week. Many of the supplies I donated to the general stock in the mail room. Some things I gave to Maura, a co-worker who's always scrounging for the good stuff. A few things the receptionist will hang on to for emergencies. Some stuff I've kept. And some things went straight into the trash. Read this list very carefully. It's not all encompassing, but it's close. And I think some of my discoveries are amusing.
Many packs of post-its Six or seven boxes of pens (blue, red, and black) a tooth brush, still in it's box a cell phone charger three letter openers dozens of boxes of labels more file folders than fit in my two file drawers a canister of antibacterial wipes One of those handled dental-floss thingies, so that you can get between your teeth without having to hold the floss. And yes, the floss was attached. several old taxi fare vouchers sixty two cents paper clips. Hundreds of paper clips dozens of envelopes an open, three-quarters full pack of Marlboro Lights another cell phone charger more post-its more pens lots of white out a set of head phones seven assorted boxes of printer paper three blister packs of over-the-counter cold medicine seven rolls of 37-cent stamps four sheets of one-cent stamps more post-its three AA batteries a box of tissues five UCSF lapel pins (my boss was pretty excited about those too. I now only have four in my possession) And old UCSF Library copy card Inches of dust
Everything has gone really well at my job this week. I'll definitely return to my desk on Monday morning. There's been just one hitch: casual Friday.
Now, in advance of starting here, I asked my boss about the dress code. He replied that it was professional casual during the week and a little more casual on Fridays.
Right. This from a man who's worn a suit and tie every day this week, including today. In fact, most of the office is pretty well dressed. Which isn't to say that I'm not, just that jeans - even new, dark blue, not ratty weekend ones - really aren't appropriate.
Hmmm. Some people, in more casual departments, are wearing really ratty clothes today. But I've got to go shopping. It's time to buy new khakis. Sigh. The days of jeans and t-shirts on Fridays have come to an abrupt, and somewhat unexpected, end.
I'm beginning my third day at UCSF, and so far everything's going really well. The department has about 110 people in it, and I've met a bunch of them already. The three people I work directly with are great, smart and personable and they've gone out of their way to make me feel welcome.
Everyone else is pretty nice too, but it'll take me forever to learn all their names.
Yesterday afternoon, the receptionist stopped me to tell me that in case nobody'd said it yet, they were really happy to have me here. I almost cried.
I think the workload, once it really starts, will be constant, but not overwhelming. I've already completed my first proofreading assignment, about some really cool new cancer research methods, and I will get to write the text for a website on worm research to combat the bad effects of aging. I'm going to learn lots of cool stuff.
But Brian had already heard about the worms, slightly bursting my bubble when I told him about it yesterday.
That's ok, though, I'm sure to become well rounded on all sorts of strange cancer research-related things. I can't wait to get started.
Today, I have some more orientation meetings, and I get my official ID this afternoon. You know what that means, right? This weekend, I can find out how to get a membership to the state-of-the-art campus fitness facilities. Wahoo!
So Thursday night's happy hour was a smashing success. The bar was pretty crowded, and at first it seemed the waitress - who was handling about 30 tables on her own - was really overwhelmed. But she was amusing with a sharp sense of humor, and we were having tons of fun, so it didn't really matter.
Then she brought out the round of tequila shots. And we realized how drunk she truly was. But that was after she;d forgotten a few drink orders, And made fun of us. So it took awhile to put together the whole picture. People started to trickle out, and despite numerous requests, we were still without the check. Now, there were eight of us, but one guy only had one beer, and another's drink never came, so we figured the tab wouldn't be too bad. Those of us who could wait for the check did, while the others threw down some cash and went on their way.
And still the check didn't come. For awhile. Because the waitress lost it. Then she sat down with us and presented us with a hand-scrawled piece of paper, which said $185.
No way. We didn't drink enough alcohol for a bill that high. And even if we had, the five folks who left only gave us about $90. So we told the waitress we didn't think that bill was quite right.
"I have no f***ing idea what that is. Somebody just handed that to me," she responded, before telling us she couldn't find our bill, but we definitely didn't owe that much. Probably somewhere around $120.
That was much more manageable. We figured we owed her about $140, including a nice tip for all those shots of tequila - which, for the record, Clair-who-pukes-after-drinking-hard-alcohol avoided. So we left her the money while she was trying to have a drunken argument with somebody who looked like another waitress. They were probably fighting over the missing check, but I think we got away lucky.
We should go there again. We might not have to pay for dinner at all next time.
At about 3:30 this afternoon it happened. I was minding my own business, heading from my cubicle to the kitchen to get my fruit salad, when I was accosted. Three quarters of the staff turned out to sing "Happy Trails" and present me with a card. There was no cake, as is customary for Fund events, but, then, I'm only a temp. And the girl who's replacing me (the one who's slower than growing grass) did bring me a cupcake as a thank you. But I digress.
So they sang, and bid me farewell, and gave me a little bouquet of pink flowers, and it was nice. And while I'll miss some of the girls I worked with, boy was I glad to get out of there!
I went out and celebrated a little, but I'm saving the big celebration for tomorrow's happy hour. Watch out, I mayhave long been at the bar by the time the others get there at 5.
I'm busy training the new temp here. Busy because I have to repeat things dozens of times. Busy because she's so slow it's taken her all morning to approve a grant - a process that takes me an hour. Busy because every 10 minutes she has six inane questions. And most of them she's already asked 10 times.
She's taken so long to do stuff that one of the guys I work for has started doing his own printing. He'd usually just forward things to me to print them, but he can't wait that long.
She had to send some letters this morning. It took her five minutes to stuff each envelope because she wanted the edges to line up perfectly. She re-folded each letter three or four times until it was right.
This is from Meg, one of my best friends and an all around smart and funny person. I'm not sure why she didn't post this comment instead of emailing it to me, but it really adds to the discussion:
I have just read the gay buffalo comment. Good advice for all of you out there in wild western lands of San Francisco! So I guess this means, though, that you're okay and won't be stalked if you shoot at straight buffalo? A relief, I must tell you. Now I won't have to change my weekend plans!
I'm very busy training the new temp at this stupid job. She's smart and nice, but slower than, well, I'm not even sure what to compare her to. She is just really, really slow. So I find myself repeating things many times before she catches on. I finished the day yesterday hoarse.
In any event, clairnation is taking a few days off. I'll be back soon. Once the training has ended and I'm free of temporary employment hell.
And Steph got an awesome job. Three cheers for my sister!!
This phrase, usually delivered with a tilt of the head and a valley girl lilt that makes it sound more like a question than a statement, is perhaps the most annoying combination of words in the English language. And one woman here uses it liberally.
She's you're typical San Francisco anti-corporate, pro-organic food, bikes-to-work girl. She used to work in a corporate environment, in Manhattan no less, but gave up that world for the much more noble endeavour of nonprofits. And she's thrilled to tell you about it at every opportunity.
The thing is, she's not nearly the struggling idealist she thinks she is. She's in a mid-level position at this fund, has her own office, is sort of in charge of a few people. And she probably makes about 50K a year.
Yet she tries to project the image of an idealist who's turned her back on corporate America and is struggling to survive among the non-high heel wearing, truly dedicated to their work community that's so prevalent, and really obnoxiously proud, in this city. Yet she shaves her legs, often wears expensive clothes (holdovers from her corporate days, no doubt) and rides a really expensive bicycle. But don't get her started on mainstream travel by car, because she's opposed to that. It's way more noble to ride her bike in the rain. At least she's not wearing any mascara that can run.
And I'm not just saying that because I think Steve Finley's awesome. But he is. He's the centerfielder for the San Francisoc Giants, but he basically plays left field too, because the much defamed, bulked up on steroids and unable to run left fielder can't cover the field.
One week to go in this job, and I'm counting the minutes. On Monday afternoon, a week after I told HR I'd be leaving, the HR director calls my extension.
"Clair, I need to know what you do here so that I can best inform a temp."
Um, you're the HR director, shouldn't you know? Didn't you know three months ago when I interviewed for this job? Aren't you looking for a fulltime person for this position, and shouldn't you know for that hiring process?
So I told her what I do - it's really so very little. She wants a temp to crosstrain with me for four days. But I leave in six, and there's no word about anybody coming.
Stephanie suggested that I write out a little training manual. While that would be a great time filler, the girl who trained me typed it all out, and I don't have anything to add. So, I'll continue to surf the net. It's time to read the newspapers.
Ok, so I didn't catch Barry Bonds' 717th homer at last night's game, but he did hit number 716, and I got a free commemmorative pin for attending.
On the topic of free things, last night was the first of two Irish Heritage nights at the Giants, and the gift for buying the special Irish section ticket was a free t-shirt. It's pretty cool actually, and will definitely be a good match for the free cap they'll give away at the second Irish night in August.
The game was awesome. The Giants beat the Marlins 14-2. I feel bad for the Marlins. They really didn't play well. And they're managed by former Yankee Joe Girardi, so I expected better. But the Giants had a couple of amazing innings, including a five-run fifth inning, which included number 716.
But even though the Irish section was only about half full, the crowd was great, the Hounds entertained with excellent music, and the Irish National Rugby team was in attendance, making the round in advance of two games in Santa Clara this weekend.
All in all, a great game, a really fun time, and free things. Next time, though, I need to remember my gloves. It was really cold in Section 328. But the view was amazing.
Thanks to Harry Chapin for the title of this post. And check out the song if you're interested - I enjoy it.
My life completed an interesting circle on Friday night. First, the backstory:
Last year I made the decision to leave my permanent job, which I had held for three years, in July. My last day was Aug. 31, I think. It was a Wednesday. It was also the day of my first concert with the Contemporary Choir. The day was chaos. Performance nerves, lots to finish up at work, the sadness of leaving a much-loved boss and all our fabulous volunteers. At the end of the day, a bunch of volunteers came for a little party. I was sad to have to cut the festivities short, but I needed to get home to change before the concert, and I didn't want to risk and traffic delays. I cried halfway home, my mascara running in my eyes and briefly obstructing my vision of road signs along 280. Luckily, I knew the route by heart. And our concert was so good we're doing another one this year - August 30 for anyone who wants to come.
Fast forward to Friday, June 2. It's the first night of our Coffee House performance, and I was really nervous. I was also super stressed out over my job acceptance, which had been delayed by reference phone tag, and my soon-to-be-boss's day off. By 3 pm my cell phone hadn't rung, and I was getting really nervous. Then I decided to check my home phone messages, on the off chance that nobody read the email about calling my cell phone to let me know the references checked out. Sure enough, there was a message that my offer letter was in the mail.
And the Coffee House was so fun that I'll definitely do it again next year. I may even bring my violin.....
And don't worry, I'll get photos up soon. As soon as I can rip them off the St. Dominic's website, as there was too much going on for me to take my own pictures.
I start my new job on June 19. I'm so excited! Friday's news that the offer letter is in the mail marked the end of a 14-month search. I've noticed, however, that I have lots of free time at my temp job now that I'm not job searching. And I don't leave here until the 14th. Stay tuned for lots of postings in the coming days as I try to fill the hours.
So, when I first got my job offer, or rather when I decided I would accept the offer, I told the HR director at my current job. I also told the head of the agency responsible for my placement, so that the two could come up with a plan to replace me.
The head of HR told a busybody who thinks she's in charge of all the people who do my job. She immediately traveled to my cube to offer congratulations and ask questions.
This was Tuesday, when I had no details. In the past few days, busybody has told half the office. It's now Friday, I still have no details because my new place of employment and my references have yet to speak to one another. However, all day I have been fielding inquiries about my last day and when my new job starts.
I'm trying to be patient, but honestly, I didn't tell people because I didn't want to take questions before I had all the details. I'm sick of explaining (four times already today) that I don't know yet because the reference check isn't finished and my soon-to-be-boss is on vacation.
So my issue here is twofold: one, busybody had no right to tell people anything - she didn't even have all the information on my place of employment when she started blabbing in the way that people do when they think that having and dispensing information makes them powerful.
Two, this has been a very stressful 14-month job search, and while it's pretty much over, I'm still a little stressed about things, and not having the certainty of knowing the offer letter is in the mail doesn't really help.
I'll have all the details by Monday, if not sooner, and at that time, I'll be happy to make an announcement. Until then, can't they all just leave me alone?
I had the strangest dream last night. I was at a Giants game in San Francisco, sitting in the third tier bleachers on a warm, still, sticky summer night. Hey, it was a dream. It can be warm at night in San Francisco in dream world. Just as a reference, I'll be sitting in the third tier when I go to Monday's game, where I'll see the Giants take on the Marlins at Irish heritage night.
Sometime during the game, Barry Bonds hit homerun 717. I heard the bat crack against the ball, and followed it through the air, where it came within inches of my seat, and I caught it. Barehanded. With my right hand.
I stayed until the end of the game, and then met up with friends. I told them about the great game and catching the homerun. And I showed them how the force of the ball had left a seam imprint in my hand. And I commented that it still hurt, hours later.
I vividly remember raising my hand to show them the imprint and then staring at it in awe for what seemed like hours.
Now here’s the strangest part: I woke up this morning with a huge paper cut across the index and middle fingers of my right hand. It hurts, and looked like it might have bled a little overnight. But I didn’t have the cut when I went to bed last night.
I got this from today's Chronicle. On the one hand, you have to kind of admire this girl's, um, ingenuity. On the other hand, you have to be very afraid! But then, it kind of makes me wonder how many people had it in for my friend Ellen, who had the lead in all the high school musicals.
A teenager accused of spiking a fellow theater student's drink with bleach because she wanted the lead role in a school play surrendered to authorities.
Katherine A. Smith, 18, turned herself in Wednesday, more than a week after a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was charged with tampering with a consumer product, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and was released on $2,500 bail.
A message left Thursday at Smith's home seeking comment was not immediately returned.
Smith is accused of putting bleach in Mountain Dew and then handing the drink to a 15-year-old in February, a day after the opening of L.D. Bell High School's production of "Ha!" — a trio of one-act comedies. Test results confirmed that the drink contained components of bleach, according to police reports.
The 15-year-old noticed the odor and told an assistant principal, who contacted police. Police said Wednesday that the investigation took more than three months because of problems with testing the drink.
Smith was placed in an alternative school after she was questioned in the incident and did not participate in prom or graduation, said Hurst-Euless-Bedford district spokeswoman Judy Ramos.
Writer. Marathon walker. Sometimes-photographer. Cyclist. Musician. Lover of cheesecake, San Francisco baseball, and comfy sweatpants. See Jane Run Ambassador. Team in Training cyclist. My philosophy? Life is not meant to be lived on the sidelines.
All written and photographic content are the sole work of the author, and cannot be reproduced, in whole or in part, without her permission. See something you'd like to borrow? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.