Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Rumbling

For quite sometime there has been a rumbling coming from somewhere deep in the building. Some moments its very loud and my ribs vibrate. Other moments its more a thought than a sound, but there nonetheless. Imagine that a large number of people are pounding on the ventilation ducts with large padded drumsticks. The volume rises and falls.

At first I thought it was a jet. I leaned out my window, but the sound immediately subsided. I leaned back in and closed the window and it rose to great volume. The rhythm was frenzied. I wandered the building and could find nothing. I was thinking maybe a Native American group was holding a ceremony in the museum downstairs. No sign of that, unless they are behind closed doors. I put my ear to several and heard nothing, even though upon retreating from the door it would sound as though the deep, malevolent sound was emanating from within that door. That happened at several doors.

It's barely audible now. There's louder noise coming from my computer, which is rather quiet. Still, I know they haven't stopped. There! I hear it again. What in God's name are They doing? Where are They doing it? Do They even exist in this world? Am I hearing the a manifestation of some ancient Coastal Miwok ceremony? No one else seems to hear it. When I go into the hallway, it seems to come from the walls, ceiling and floor all at once.

I have this vision of a hole opening up, deep on the lowermost level of this building, well below ground level. As the drumming proceeds, the hole gets larger. The edges are blurred and in fast motion as though if you stepped close enough you'd be instantly sucked down into it, only to emerge on the slopes of some distant moutain. Perhaps in the wee hours of tomorrow morning, when all is quiet, this building will be swallowed by Mother Earth, to be followed in coming days by the rest of this place. Maybe Whatever controls this place has had enough.

Why do I hear it?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

To All

Here's hoping that Thanksgiving is a day off for you to do exactly what you want. Gorge, or gorge. Guzzle, or don't guzzle. For meself, I intend to gorge and guzzle. I think I can handle the attendant stomachic and intestinal suffering for a day or so, in a completely guilt free manner. Whatever your style, enjoy yourself to the fullest.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

More Abuse of Power

However, this time it's not the Bush Administration, fount' of all things bad in the country today, indeed the world, mostly perpetrated by the secretive and generally abominable DICK Cheney and his brutish minions.

No, this time I refer to the UC Regents, who approve the things described in a series of articles recently in the SF Chronicle.

here, then go here, then here, then here, where a measure of questioning finally takes place.

I have a personal interest in this whole thing since I am a mid-level campus administrator. I can't complain too loudly lately because some breaks have gone my way. However, none of us had any breaks at all for years. I know some people on this campus who just got their first raise after nearly seven years. More and more students are having to consider dropping out because of the expense of attending. More and more employees are suffering layoffs, which is something no one around here ever had to worry about until about 14 years ago when the first such occurred, one of which happened to me.

Here we have people layering on the perks under that old saw about getting the best talent. Nonsense. With all the talented adminstrators lurking just below these levels in the UC system, are we supposed to believe that none of them, who could be paid at a much lower rate, are unable to fill these positions? About twice a year, we all get an email from the President of the system via Chancellor's Office. It always says a few words about a few major achievements (implying that we should all be proud because we've all contributed, etc.), then it says something about how things are slowly getting better, and no effort is being spared to see that the staff get major improvements. They know it isn't enough, but gosh darn it, they're trying their best, blah blah blah blah blahaaghghghagaaaagggghghghghghghg!!! We got one just recently, just before these revelations. Interesting timing, no? What did the president know, and when did he know it?

As you can see if you read those articles, it's major hogwash. As I said, breaks have gone my way lately. I've been lucky. So I shouldn't complain? Balls. That's the point. I had to get lucky to get anywhere. All my ability, hard work and honesty have mattered only enough for me to not get fired. Otherwise, those qualities have been as much worth economically over the years as dried ball of pony dung, slowly eroding in the winds that sweep across the Gobi. I can live without automatic cost of living raises as a consequence of a bad state economy, but it really is too much to have to swallow what these people have done when I couldn't even earn one fucking more dollar by being good at what I do and working hard at it and staying with it. On top of which, this place deserves better. It's a great institution staffed by professors who are brilliant, and provides an incredible education if you want it. As a result of this kind of greed, it's staffed by a staff that is deeply, thoroughly demoralized. Either the Jefes don't know, or they don't care. It's, it's...I don't know. I'm too pissed to put it clearly. Shame on all of them.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

If an actor in CA...

...why not a rocker in NJ?

Here's weird thing.


Can you imagine serenading Senate hearings on cover-ups with "Born to Run?" I can hear it now, Sen. Springstee saying something like, "Wolf, I gotta tell ya, this is something that all 'Mercans 'spect from their gov'mint. So we gotta, we gotta, we gotta make it happen."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Keeping my hand in ...sort of

I've been assailed with impressions lately which I wanted to use to launch postings. There's never any time to sit and post something. Not even now. So I list a couple of things. Maybe someday I'll come back to them and use them like I originally intended.

This time of year, and its differences with earlier times of year struck me with more than usual force the other day when swimming. I haven't been in the pool for nearly a month for various reasons, otherwise I maybe wouldn't have seen it so vividly. The angle of the sun has lent a completely different feeling to the water, the exercise itself. Rather than staring down at us from on high, the sun now cuts across at a lower angle as we've made our way to the autumnal side of the rotation. There's a sharp, brassy feeling to the sunny Noon Hour now. It's warm, but incomplete. The water is cool, then warm, and it feels good to get lost along the black line, but a strange lack of joy follows me into the shower when I'm done. I reflect on this and it just feels all wrong, even though it isn't. Normally, I feel like King Kong after a good swim, as though I could pick up Sproul Hall and hurl it all the way to Tiburon, but not now. I've decided that its just the angle of the Mother Earth to Old Sol that has me discombobulated. I hope I'm right. If I am, then the feeling will go away. If I'm not, I will continue to have the impression that I'm in some color photo of a swimming pool from about 1952.

The time change shut the lid on the day rather abruptly. On November 2, the first day after the change that I walked across campus after work on the way to my car, I was struck with how oppressed everything felt. It was a combination of a leaden sky and reduced light, and timing that had me walking across campus when not too many others were. It was incredibly quiet. It seemed as though every conversation I passed was being whispered. I couldn't hear any traffic. There were no planes of choppers overhead (or maybe there were, but they were being muffled by some otherworldly force or some anomaly of wind and moisture). It was almost a stunned silence, as though Stanford had just won the Big Game with a last second 70 yard field goal. The trees didn't move, bicycles made no noise, dogs loped by nose to the ground, not wanting to be noticed, not playing with each other as dogs do. You could've thrown a frisbee and the most enthusiastic frisbee-catching border collie wouldn't have given it more than a sidelong glance before quickly slinking away. A strange kind of night came too early.