Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ya sé como convertirme en viento

Esas palabras de 'El Alquimista' me siguen de lugar en lugar. Varios hechos últitmamente me hicieron recordarlas. En fin, me he convertido en el mero imagen de lo que nunca pensaba que iba a ser: el analista estadistico y presupuestario, no muy diferente del Santomé—protagonista de Benedetti,—aunque no me haya acordado a ninguna tregua conmigo mismo todavía. Es una cosa bastante desconcertante para un lingüista, de repente contar con tanta destreza matemática, pero no hay que complicar la felicidad. Falta un més para regresarme a casa, a Nueva York, digo, la casa en el Bronx ya no me queda abierto. Sin embargo, me encantaría regresar al lugar, o quizás un lugar cerca del mismo.

Today is Saturday, and it's an odd feeling. I finished, printed, bound, and packaged my capstone this past Thursday. I could have actually put it in the mail then, but I just didn't move fast enough to get out of the office on time, so it went into the mail yesterday (Friday). The required postmark date for the final draft is this coming Monday. There is only one other classmate of whom I am aware with enough forethought and planning to have completed the project at the same time, and she is to be commended. Every other classmate I've spoken with is steadily chipping away at the final version as I write this, or has already pleaded for an extension already cognizant of the fact that they won't be capable of making the deadline. I mention this because this blog, our cohort's studies, and even the entire point of this accelerated course is to train "leaders." Leaders prove themselves in the heat of battle, under the pressures of actually being in the lead, they manage their time well, know how to access the right resources at the right time, know who to call if they don't have the answer to a problem, and so forth. 

Leadership, in contrast, is not endemic to those with a haughty attitude, a practice of unprecedented self ascription of power, the inability to speak softly and wield a big intellect, or any of the myriad personality malaises which I've witnessed in excess along this very uneven and incredibly difficult trajectory. Of course, there are several people in my current experience that do not fit the disparaging commentary above. In point of fact, I can think of several. But I am distressed and disappointed by those that do. I feel sincerely that a poor choice was made in many cases, and that these individuals, in truth, do not belong in the position of access to power.

In reality, the whole purpose of this post was to announce that I had managed, much as I did with every other version, data set, or significant piece required by the professors, to turn in the final draft early. By all counts, mine arrived the date it was due, hard copy, through the mail, and an extra one sent to the folks so they can have it on their shelf. I had to maintain a personal standard, you see, though that has caused several of my cohort members great consternation. But, I can tell you, given that the chips were down, who I would rather have on my team.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mentor for a morning

Last Thursday I took a personal day and went up to New York City for the Mentor for a Morning event at Baruch College. I'd been anticipating this for some weeks, it was an opportunity to meet with several people with whom I would not otherwise have interacted, or, more specifically, had the opportunity to interact. Really, I dislike doing 24 hr turnarounds in NYC; I don't get to see my family as much as I'd like, I completely miss out on the opportunity to see my friends, and it feels as if there's something waiting for me on the other side of the mirror (if anyone understands the pre-Colombian mythology reference.) Officially, we are down to less than two months away from the termination of our mentorships, and it feels like I could seriously use a vacation. I told several people during my trip that they shouldn't be surprised if I suddenly turned into Ghost Rider and my head burst into flames spontaneously. 

Talking with the mentors, I've found out several things: 1) my resume seems to be needing a bit of tweaking if I'm going to anxiously pursue a communications position. 2) As one mentor mentioned - 'There's a lot of gold here.' I am often - despite any outward appearances - unsure of whether or not that's actually true, so it was good to hear it reinforced. 3) Two different mentors suggested that I take the time to attend whatever free events I could get myself into related to the agencies with which I'm interested in working. Interestingly, both also suggested the idea of sending introductory letters, and how to format them - something I always forget to consider entirely. So, in between completing the last two assignments for the semester, gingerly escorting my capstone through a wordsmithing forge, and preparing my taxes this week, I'm going to be carefully tooling a letter of introduction to several places, to be followed up perhaps around the beginning of Summer II with official cover letters and resumes. In the interim, resumes, cover letters, applications to Federal and Municipal agencies, and some serious networking has been going on, all with the objective of being able to step lively from the stage for graduation into a desirable position.

The way back and forth from NYC, however, was incredibly adventurous to say the least. On the way up, I met an Audio/Video producer who does some fairly high level work I was fortunate enough to hear about but won't repeat here. We managed to get along swimmingly, and the best part is, one of my closest friends from years and years agone is also an A/V specialist and in need of something to do. Taking care of my friends, cuz it's all about your network. The way back, however, was not so pleasant, as it took six hours plus to complete a four hour trip, something about the air inside the bus completely unsettled my stomach, and I was unable to complete anything remotely resembling 'work,' even blogging. Once safely returned to the District of Columbia, it was still an hour plus to get home since we returned at an hour when the bus/train connections slow down and are entirely disjointed. The remainder of the weekend was mostly unproductive, I'm only up to about 5 pages with the final assignment for Management II (we have an 8 pg limit. Who puts page limits on these things? Ugh,) and still have to knock out 600 words for the last Leadership class assignment, but I'm not concerned about those getting done by the end of the day tomorrow. It's the whole taxes thing that's got me worried.

While I was in NYC, since Friday was a furlough day, I made the decision to stay an extra night so I could wake up and have breakfast with my dad, who I don't get to see or interact with enough while I'm here, and spend some time with one of my close friends from the city Thursday night. He's one of the integral members of a small collective I've affectionately termed Team Green, but it is to him and the rest in that collective that Joe Cocker is dedicated:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Jeff, her son...

As promised, I'm adding a few shots from my trip to the Jefferson library, and a couple more from mid-March that show Spring waging a relentless battle to peak through the gloominess of an extended winter (although I really like Winter, Virginia winters are completely unlike the frolicking, hot chocolate necessitating, snow-flaky, snow ball throwing fun fests that are winters in New York. Here, they are just an unending series of broad, immeasurable expanses of gray clouds, unpredictable temperatures, and wind. And noone seems capable of enjoying the experience. Almost to a person I've heard a ceaseless string of complaints since the month of November from neighbors, co-workers, people I've seen at the store. Luckily for the past couple weeks we've been having temperatures trending towards a more spring-like atmosphere. As 4everJung noted in one of her social media posts: "Bring it!"

And now, some photos -

The stairwell to the second floor
Detail of one of the corner elements surrounding the ceiling glass

The ceiling inside of the entryway to Jefferson's personal collection
Stained glass in the ceiling of the main entryway
Detail of the archway over the exterior door

The 6 panels of stained glass in the ceiling
Close up of one of the stained glass panels

Exterior of the library from street level. Notice the Neptune
fountain in the foreground
The Capital building, at dusk. 

A panorama shot of the library's exterior, from street level
A few blossoms along the street leading to my block

Dogwoods, same street.

I don't know the name of these.
But they were pretty

A string of cherry blossoms. Not exactly the
National Mall, but fairly impressive.
A superb effort.