Librarians love Liquor

In which I write about my evening as though it appeared in a social column:

Librarians-turned-Software-Goons Sarah Dilling and Erica Olsen spent the evening discussing religion, the raising of rhetorically skilled children, and workplace mentoring this evening over mojitos at local bistro Luna Park. Rumor has it that the field of software development pays more than *twice* that of Librarianship, and offers larger amounts of free food. Where will this double dose of database-discussing debutantes appear next?

Municipal compost

San Francisco, my adopted home, offers a municipal compost service. They give you a big green wheeled garbage bin, and you can toss in everything from coffee grounds to wooden crates. It’s not gross, like home-composting, in that you don’t have a huge bag of festering goop in your house.

It’s just like taking out the trash, except you split the stuff into two bins – one for dead food stuff, and one for everything else. In our case, since we have a recycle bin too, “everything else” is mostly cellophane packaging, and it’s amazing how little garbage you actually generate when you pull out the food waste.

All the compost gets turned into soil for farms, vineyards, landscaping, and highway erosion projects, instead of piling up in landfills.

Plus our trash smells better, because all the icky stuff goes outside in the big green bin.

Valentine’s day in the Mission, San Francisco

Tonight I walked home from the 24th and Mission BART stop. It was Valentine’s day, and the neighborhood celebrated by being outside.

Stores stayed open late. Perfumed Latino guys pushed and egged each other on, nervously buying flowers for sweethearts and would-be sweethearts. The bodas civiles joints lubricated their trade with sidewalk tables of cheap teddy bears wrapped in red cellophane.

I walked home in my pink dress. Women holding little girls walked by, clutching roses, boxes of chocolates. Women completed errands, hauled children, and bought food with the same grim determination, red cellophane emerging from their purses.

I saw a beautifully happy couple. Their little daughter ran up the sidewalk in front of them. I caught the man’s eye as I passed and saw satisfaction on his face.

More people were on the street than usual. More police were around. I saw two huge officers, giants. One had his hand on the back of a tiny fast-talking man. There was no sense of potential violence, just a solid hand on the back and a posture that clearly communicated that whatever jig there may have been was now thoroughly up.

There was music and the smell of onions cooking. The jazz club was setting up a show. As I walked home, buses drove back and forth full of people like me, heading home, and out, and home again.

Library Tourism

bernallib.pngI visited my local Bernal Heights library branch this afternoon, in search of a place to sit and read. It turned out to be one of the last weeks the building is open before it closes for an extensive renovation. On a kid-filled sunny spring Saturday, the current building gives the impression of being a community center rather than a library, with more conversations, computers, and chaos than visible books.

I’m looking forward to the new design. The neighborhood obviously is drawn to the location, which swirls with families out walking dogs and babies.

— — — —

Things I’m currently researching…

  • Wedding venues in the Detroit area that are:
    • Non-religious
    • Interesting-looking or unusual
    • Cheap, cheap, cheap!
  • Things to do in Brighton, UK
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Cat grooming (did you know you can use baby powder to make your cat less itchy?)
  • Better WordPress plugins (I’m playing with a new Twitter sidebar)
  • Management jobs in SF for my sweetie Chuck this summer

Haiku for the fog

2 AM awake
Awake, asleep, and awake
Foghorn on the Bay

sunmoon.jpg

There’s no sky today in San Francisco, just fog. Outside, buses and dogs and flowers are memory-distant.

I’ve never heard the Bay foghorn from my bed. I happened to wake at the right time.

My dad was raised on Lake Michigan, in a town of car-ferries and shipping. He is a connoisseur of foghorns, from the old BE-OH to the new less macho (but further-carrying) OOOOP. I woke up happy. His sounds of home have become my sounds of home.

Wanna be a user tester?

Want $40? Got 90 minutes or so? Want to get paid to check out a 3-D virtual world?

sl_color_horiz.gifMy employer and I are looking for local San Francisco people with NO experience using Second Life to help us evaluate some possible changes, tweaks, and/or new features to our software and support portal.

Interested? At a minimum, you should:

  • Be over 18
  • Be able to get to downtown San Francisco
  • NOT be an expert computer-user.

Still interested? Take a brief survey. As opportunities arise, we’ll put the word out to those who fit our testing needs. I’m looking forward to meeting you!

Real things that actually happened

  1. My work name is Erica Linden. Everyone who works for Second Life gets a Linden last name. This makes us weirdly popular in-world.
  2. There is a huge bouquet of stargazer lilies on my desk. Got ’em for myself. Who needs boys? Not me. Nope.
  3. My mom phoned at 8am to make sure I was alive. A minor earthquake in Oakland made it on CNN. I didn’t feel a thing.
  4. My roommate threw a drink at a critic, and has cemented his place as a literary bad boy.
  5. My on-the-2 style of salsa dancing is considered impressive out here. Thanks Cornell ballroom club!
  6. I still need an apartment. If you know of anything, let me know. I’m looking in the Mission/Bernal/Noe neighborhoods. And I’ve got a friendly cat.
  7. There’s a big bulldog who hangs out in my office and rides a skateboard.

Thank you. That is all.

An Interview with Myself

Bowing to the demands of my own powerful curiosity, I have agreed to a give an exclusive interview to myself. My publicist disagrees with my decision, but I believe I have a strong connection with myself and I think I can be trusted to report my answers fairly.

tat3.jpgQ: Hello Erica. I’m glad you agreed to this interview. You have been pretty reticent with the press lately. What’s been going on?

A: There have been major changes in my life this year. I haven’t felt it was appropriate or respectful to write about them here.

Things have settled down a bit recently. I’m no longer engaged, and I’m living in rural Ithaca near some friendly horses and sheep.

Q: Wow. Do you want to talk about what happened?

A: No. Thank you.

Q: I hear you are moving to the Bay Area in the next few months?

A: I’ve been looking at the Bay Area and NYC as possible places to relocate. After visiting last week, I decided to move to San Francisco.

San Francisco is one of the geekiest, friendliest places I’ve ever been. The city is beautiful, I’ve got good friends, there are interesting projects, and I’ll be among my fellow dorks.

I’m really looking forward to learning the city, starting a new job, volunteering at 826 Valencia, and being immersed in the calm, weird, sunny West Coast atmosphere. Come visit. Bring chocolate babka.

Q: Where are you going to work?

A: An excellent question. I’ve interviewed at a few places where I would like to work. I will know more by next week. Stay tuned.

Q: Don’t you like Ithaca?

A: I love Ithaca and I adore my job at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which is why I’ve been here for four years.

However, that translates to about 40 years in Internet Time. It’s time for me to start a new project. I might return to Ithaca someday, once I’ve made my fortune. I’d like to live on a big farm with dogs, books, a wood stove, and all my friends.

Q: Ok. That covers the big topics. What else is going on?

A: I’m having the best year of my life. This weekend I swam in a waterfall, watched a turtle lay eggs, drove a sports car really fast, petted dogs, helped a friend find tractor parts, drank local beer, picked flowers, was charged by a deer, and met one of the first US African refugee coordinators who was working in Botswana in 1965.

Q: Well, thanks again for letting me interview you, Erica.

A: I’m welcome. Thank me.

Quick San Francisco update

Interview girl

Interview Girl

I’m in the Bay Area this week, interviewing and exploring the city for possible relocation potential.

I rented a convertible yesterday and had a great drive down to Silicon Valley. I haven’t had a chance in a long time to be the blonde-in-the-convertible, and I gotta say, it felt good.

I’ve got sand under my fingernails, the beginnings of a distinctly non-librarian looking tan, and I’ve burned off at least a few sad winters’ worth of Midwestern Ennui in the past two days. In other words, I’m having a good time. Wish you were here.

Dogblog is really good today, by the way.