Monday, October 29, 2007

DOAEN 6: The Bottom Line
I keep reminding myself to vist FemiMacus and write a check for the $25.00 that I owe them for last week's pedicure. Remarkably, they do not accept ATM or credit cards and I had no checks with me at the time, having finished writing all my monthly bills and since I do not subscribe to an online banking service, my last Luddite holdout because for some reason I am convinced that my account numbers will be hacked by hucksters; well, you know what I'm trying to say here. I'm feeling guilty and need to go by Park Avenue one day this week to clear both my name and reputation from the soapy registers of local manicure parlors.

"What's the big deal," you maybe ask. Black marks weigh heavily upon my personal credit record. And I can't stop being a throwback to another century when there were standards of acceptable behavior that weren't updated online every hour by the local Webmaster. Certain precepts were chiseled in stone way back then: the Ten Commandments, the golden mean about doing unto others, playing fair and square, and so forth, phrases that are broken links now to another seemingly innocent place and time. Now I keep up, subscribing to lists so I can stay abreast of new content. I also read daily cascades of email that arrive at no special hour in my ever expanding and contracting mailbox that would even overwhelm the Queen of Contractions, Martha Graham. I am on an unending treadmill that ceases only when I deliberately refuse to take my laptop along for the ride, which doesn't happen often, because I actually enjoy this electronic high.

"So what are you whining about?" you maybe ask. Well, I'm not so much whining as reflecting, which was Hamlet's big hang-up although he lacked a good Sunday morning breakfast of coffee, eggs and potatoes. It's what I do best, given my job that keeps me in front of a computer for most of the day with occasional breaks for rides on the elevator. But today isn't like that at all, Virginia. Today I'm thinking about my weekend, this unbelievable thing that has happened in my life which stands outside the doors of email. Something that has caused me to believe that love possibly can exist in this world, or that maybe I've done enough leg work and taken enough Pilates classes to know the real thing when I feel it, which is my bottom line.

To be continued (I hope).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

DOAEN 5: Creating the Links
Maybe Jerusalem needs to wait. After all, I have to request time off from work, and then there's the Oral History Association that's having its 41th Annual Meeting here in Oaktown. Downtown at the Marriott where there are apples for the picking at the front desk for the asking you get a smile and directions up the escalator to where everything's happening in a honeycomb of rooms. It's autumn in New York except it's the Bay Area and trees are shifting their color palette, and I laugh to recall when I first moved here I couldn't tell autumn from madam, but now it's obvious with light changing and Southern California burning, more than 500,000 residents being evacuated from their homes and President Bush and the Gobernator surveying the damage from private helicopters. More political spectacle. Tony from FemiMacus where I sat today getting a pedicure, my favorite part is the end when my foot becomes a candle dipped into wax, said that his twin girls are up from the University of San Diego and my daughter says that her friend from San Diego State has taken refuge in one of the UC Davis dorms. Some people say that the corporations have deliberately burned down Southern California the way New Orleans was sacrificed to the Crips & and Bloods, but I'm still witholding judgment myself, someone who subscribes to the Wall Street Journal and watches how Rupert Murdoch is needling the NY Times about their low stock evaluation and inability to balance their portfolio, someone who's been working with a web team from Chevron these last several weeks since my employer, AC Transit, is testing 22 biodiesel and gas-to-liquid fuel buses for the next six months. I get to create the links. At the Oral History workshop this afternoon on the Problem of Place in Post-Holocaust Life, Shana Penn said that in today's Poland there are Jewish Identity Crisis Hotlines for young people who are trying to connect the dots. Walking back to work from the Marriott, I passed City Hall, the second day of demonstrations against police brutality. People chanted, "No justice, no peace." There was a police officer on the opposite side of the street and I waited for the light to turn green before I crossed, despite my New York inclination to go whenever I see an opening, but I didn't want to openly flaunt his authority. But given the demonstration, I probably could've gotten away with it.

Music: Herbie Hancock, "River, the joni letters"
What's Been Happening: sending out Halloween cards to the kids of my nieces and nephews
On a Personal Level: fighting a cold
Bay Area Aerosol Heritage Assn.
the hinge generation
a foreigh tourist who speaks the language

Monday, October 15, 2007

DOAEN 4: The Harvard Moon Does Not Shine on Me
I need coverage as I duck between cars and hide from breaking news that rains over me in casualties and partial prisoner swaps. I'm roaming. From meeting to meeting I hear the same thing. It's falling apart. It's going to pieces. There's no hiding from media blab living here in corporate headquarters inside our own cubicles stocked with emergency blow-up rations for the Big One. Where we're entitled to have our own opinions, but none of the facts, which makes us stupid and fat and lazy and very monolingual. I genre to the best of my ability and try to make it work. What else can I do? That's all we can do. So I rename myself. I am now DoAnne after my blog entries which rhymes with Joanne who has a large chain of fabric stores named after her, at least here in the Bay Area where the autumn rains have arrived early and the fog sits in ruffles over the Bay like a bag of soggy potato chips that someone has spilled on the table. So I intend to repattern myself. I'm not sure what that means except I know it will require a trip to the store and that makes me happy because I've been born and bred to be a good consumer. But will the civic center hold, a question probed by Alexis de Tocqueville some time ago when Benjamin Franklin held the winning hand and the new nation didn't want to hear about it. Still doesn't. But I'm getting too old to just sit around and let the grains of sand run out, even Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz knew she had to fly with the monkies, so I vow as Big Momma of the Empty Nesters to fight for truth and justice and the Palestinian state. Then maybe to find a way as a diaspora Jew to understand the humor of a God who does this number about the "chosen people," puts us through hell for thousands of years to burn off any impurities, fixes us up in a nice little place to have Israel become as vile and intolerant as the next country. Feh! What kind of plague is this? So I spend time on the Internet fishing around for the cheapest round-trip ticket to Jerusalem and then go to the store to get a strong cup of coffee. When I see my friend sitting in the cafe, I feel better.

Music: Frank Black, "Teenager of the Year"
What's Been Happening: Monday
On a Personal Level: Coordinating daughter's birthday weekend
where the miles are
genre to the best of your ability
Harvard moon
partial prisoner swap

Saturday, October 13, 2007

DOAEN 3: Identity Theft
I sit on the couch reading books with the cats purring beneath the living room table as the dishwasher thrashes in the background, turn the page and realize I haven't watched television for a week. How long has it been? Open the refrigerator and there's several jars of pickles on the side door that face nothing else. I turn on the television, just to make sure I have the right remote attitude. Later that very same week when I realized I hadn't watched television, I bought a pair of black leather pants online and wore them for real because now I am Bad Momma of the Empty-Nesters.

Where did she come from hidden in Purdah all those years of Motherhood, which was its own special trip? But suddenly she's more recognizable, this woman who always has been my drive and my friend, who wishes to realize her obsessions through me. I feel okay about being a vehicle for someone else's obsessions. I'm a woman, aren't I? But that doesn't mean I have to like it. On the other hand I think it would be more correct to say that I have a gay relationship with myself, and like any good one (Benny Goodman), we're always working on it together. I heard growing up that if you can't love yourself, you can't really love someone else. Which has been my starting point. It's just that I haven't gotten very far.

Music playing: Dance of the Dead
What's been happening: Symposium at UC Berkeley "Continuous Bodies" performance, Space and Technology
On a Personal Level: More of the same :>}
Key Words:
call center operators
identity theft
data surveillance
sell some books from inside a trench coat

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ballad of D.Q.

The pressure was real high
with the 2.0 release,
meant to fix all bugs, or die,
tech support would have some peace.

Engineers worked day and night
studying their code,
product managers counted bytes
in pizza-eating mode.

And D.Q., the boy from Alameda,
who put start-ups on the map,
he grabbed a slice of pizza
saying, "Don't give me any crap."

Until deadlines are met,
he promised to stay in the trenches,
software QA'd, security tested,
no one sitting on the benches.

Each week D.Q. e-mailed
a variation of the old,
his message never failed:
keep all new features on hold.

Marketing never heard,
only knew what they had to know,
they'd already given their word,
the product was scheduled to go.

The hour it came for the product to ship,
a month before the big holiday purse.
"Where was D.Q? Can you believe this shit?"
Maybe he had the flu or something worse.

But let me tell you what I saw
I'll give you the entire poop,
when I took the elevator down to the 31st floor
to meet with the core technology group

There was D.Q. telling the marketing folk
to extend the deadline, or be a fool,
he slipped a skateboard beneath his coat
saying, "Good-bye. It's been real cool."

So next time you walk down Mission Street
running to catch the bus or the BART home,
the kid zipping up pavement on his feet,
could be D.Q. on the roam.

The kid who got tired of programming,
tired of deadlines, tired of being a sap,
the head geek who's surfing
on a skateboard, and never coming back.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Partners in Crime
Kids walk to school along the freeway overpass.
I drive my car beneath them going to work.

Jelly rolls of turf in a pick-up truck.
Green spikes on a brown scalp to be planted somewhere.

A bright blot outlines joggers around Lake Merritt.
Their water bottles are catching sunlight.

I can't tell anyone what you did to me last night.
How you held me close and what you whispered in my ear.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Almost an entire week has gone by since she's left for college, and today is payday with one of those virtual pieces of paper slipped beneath the door that says a certain amount of money has been deposited on my behalf into a bank account. What's important is that the money is there and not particularly how it got placed there, but even as I write those words I shudder as I hear the moral implications of my statement which sounds entirely too Machiavellian although I understand that the guy got a bad rap and his world view was actually more than the end justifying the means which is how his work has been handed down throughout the ages although his emphasis on the skill of applying morality to practical political life lesser so the case and I think of Arnold Schwartzenegger and wish him success in brokering a Northwest passage of medical insurance in the state of California particularly to further the national discourse on this issue. Last night I heard Immaculee Ilibagiza speak at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, author of "Left to Tell," story of how she survived the Rwandan genocide in 1994 by hiding in a 4 by 6 foot bathroom for 91 days with seven other women and went on to develop a profound personal relationship with God, faith, and hope for the survival of the planet in the midst of brutalizing war. Even her name with all those Is and As rolls off the English-speaking tongue like some dazzling miracle on a Cirque du Soleil scale with visceral joy and beauty, which seems to be the kind of thing us human beings respond to from the center of our beings, and there's nothing virtual about it.

My daughter is at college. I'm here and my memories of her are real.