Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Flag Day

number one

Today is the day: Sunshine waited in a ceremony to discover where she will be spending the next two years; I waited by the phone at work. This is the real launching point of this journal. 559 words.

[NC]-Got the call at Kinko's right before my first break of the day. Sunshine calling from her Flag Day ceremony in DC. Flag Day is the day everyone from Sunshine's class discovers where they will be posted as Junior Officers over the coming months. There were a number of positions available, and many people making up the class. All had been instructed to list, in order of interest, twenty-five positions from the ninety-some available to them. Of course, I had had a hand in some of the choices on Sunshine's list, as well as a little input on the order they would be listed in. Not more than you would imagine, though, since in reality I would be fine living just about anywhere, and because she is the one responsible for being on the clock wherever it is we end up going.

So, just to drop back a bit, she accepted this job on August the third, I think, and since then has moved to DC. Something like September seventh was her first day of training class, and shortly after she was presented with the list of possible posts. I think that she turned in her completed top twenty-five, along with the rest of her classmates, later in September. Flag Day was today. This means that for something like three weeks, deep in the machinations of Sunshine's employer, people toiled with the thankless task of satisfying ninety-some professionals with designs on gaining or avoiding in the neighborhood of twenty-three hundred permutations of about one hundred jobs. Sheesh. Who am I to make any sort of fuss if Sunshine was presented with her twenty-second favorite choice?

So far as I can tell, she feels much the same as I do: what the hell, any position, twenty-second or not, will be fun, instructive, and in no way dull. I think that she would pretty much live about anywhere, too. Not that I will put opinions in her head of course, at least not here.

Some note should be made about "Now Posts" versus the twenty-five item lists, since re-reading this makes me want to be absolutely clear about the predictability of our fortune. Sunshine has demonstrated employable proficiency in speaking and reading the Spanish language, and was therefore obliged to list any jobs needing personnel immediately requiring this talent. These are called "Now Posts" and it's a rule. The five positions fitting this description (needing Spanish speaking Junior Officers now) occupied the following places of honor of Sunshine's top twenty-five: twenty-one through twenty-five. This, of course, was based on Sunshine's desire to immediately learn a new language, and her hope to stick around in DC for another six months, or so, to do it. Thus, preferred positions would have had her taking classes in Turkish, Romanian, Korean, Thai, or Portuguese for months, for example. Of course, this was not to be. At least not right now. Probably this will end up happening in a few years before her second post.

Number twenty-two on Sunshine's list was Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. She will starting there in February, give or take. I spent my whole ten minute break excitedly calling everyone who would pick up the phone. Then I went back to work. I'll talk about Mexico in general in number two.

Until then I'll be learning a little bit about it, myself.

Quiet Reading Room

This is a quiet reading room. Often, I find it is uncomfortable to digest long tubes of columned text directly off a computer screen. This journal is dedicated to the collection, percolation, and ultimate integration of my personal experiences. Subjects that I want to examine and then talk about--sometimes talk a lot about--€”are presented here. This central content can tend to thousands of words, maybe millions. I was afraid that readers were leaving the presentation boggled, spinning, googly-eyed. Or perhaps when confronted with twenty-four inches, or yards, of monitor sprawl they were just giving up. I am not even certain that I have necessarily solved this inevitable content problem of modern information enjoyment, but here is what I have done.

After long and highly scientific routines manipulating double-blind control- and test-subjects, peer reviewed journal publications, and hours and hours of hands-on experimentation, I have crafted this quiet reading room. There is no scientific way to control the length of the articles I write, but careful handling can somewhat soothe the contextual presentation. In other words: I have dropped the traditional speculation about lexicon, and attacked the question of the matrix itself instead. Brilliant. After years of diligence what I eventually crafted is this reading room.

The walls are contoured to relax instead of constrain; the paper is made to soften instead of reflect. The light is dimmed--just so--€”to prevent strain, angled to prevent umbra, and color-coded to soften harsh red lights and deepen wimpy light reds. There is nothing I can do to control aural environment, but my recommendation is that it should be kept quiet. About ambient sound: these entries are probably best read as far as possible from emergency vehicles, preferably from beneath the muffler of a vintage fire fighter pilot's scarf, puffy old duvet, or snow that is still falling.

My theory is that the wide web world is filled with potent and material opportunities that are just too difficult to digest for many people to take part. Enjoyment of this stuff is regulated to the routines of crawlers and robots at the peril of humankind's peaceful future survival. In an attempt to delay this likely outcome: welcome to this quiet reading room. It is for people like you to relax, kick back, and hate my content for better reasons than the dizzying vertiginous specter of its lousy dpi presentation.

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