Saturday, April 18, 2009

Weekend roundup

Saturday morning. C-SPAN. Good times. They're talking about NSA and erosion of civil liberties, wire tapping, the damage done by the Bushites, and Obama's rather disappointing stance since his move into the White House. No tin foil hats yet, but I've only had the television on for about ten minute.

I have now finished the second week at the journal. It's been interesting. Work actually moves at a fairly brisk pace, as might be expected with a monthly periodical, so there isn't much down time in the Dilbert cage. Don't think I'll be doing much blogging, either writing or reading, from work for awhile. It feels good to be busy -- lots less guilt involved when I cash the paycheck. For some reason the first half dozen assignments were all zoonoses that focused more on animal hosts than on humans (anteaters with the flu, wild geese with bronchitis, pigs carrying cryptosporidia) but I'm sure there will be plenty of people-only diseases, too. There's an amazing amount of variety in every issue, from opportunistic infections in cancer patients to dolphins getting skin diseases.

All the authors I've dealt with so far have been nice, too. No one's been upset because of the way we've changed his or her deathless prose, although I've been warned it will happen. Apparently that's one of the reasons the person I'm filling in for left so quickly. He had to deal with an author who didn't like the edits, and wanted to argue them. Having been on the author's side of the editing equation, I can empathize with a writer who feels like his voice has been erased; what I have trouble is understanding why my predecessor would allow a writer's unhappiness to bother him. I always thought one of the requirements for being an editor was having a skin similar to elephant hide. You let the authors vent, you make (fake) sympathetic noises, you lie and assure them that you'll put back whatever it is they want put back in, and by the time the article is in print they're so busy with newer projects that they don't do more than double-check to make sure their names were spelled right in the by-line.

I am still walking to work, although it's a longer hike now -- over a mile instead of just a couple blocks. The longest part of the walk time-wise is just standing at a couple intersections waiting for the lights to change so I dare venture into the crosswalks. As is typical of walking any distance in Atlanta, sidewalks are hit or miss. There are none in the office park (Executive Park) that's my destination now other than right around the individual buildings. Executive Park was developed in the 1960s. In some ways it's quite nice -- the buildings are spread out, with lots of green space and mature landscaping surrounding them. It's really pretty at this time of year with the azaleas, dogwoods, ornamental cherries, and other shrubbery all in bloom. But it's also totally auto-centric, with each building being like an island. It's a very contradictory design -- really nice landscaping, lots of open space, but no provisions made for something as simple as outdoor tables where people could eat lunch and no sidewalks from the bus stops to the buildings. The property owner is supposedly in the process of re-developing the site, plans to tear down existing buildings and rebuild as a mixed use development with office space, retail, and housing in a walkable setting. The new urbanism, I guess, but how successful it'll be is debatable. Atlanta has an abundance of empty commercial space now, and the housing market is (as we all know) not exactly booming either.

Executive Park is supposedly one of the first office park developments out in the suburbs. To me that sounds really strange -- I have a hard time visualizing a time when being maybe 6 miles from downtown Atlanta would be considered "out in the suburbs," but the metropolitan population was a lot lower 40 years ago.

I'm still trying to figure out, too, just what it was about the work space that bothered my predecessor to the point where he wanted out after barely a month on the job. [He gave three reasons: being in a cubicle, difficult authors, and the deadlines--and all three were things that were emphasized during the pre-employment interviews.] Granted, a cubicle may not be as private as an actual office, but it's a big one (and the cabinets are metal so I can put up my magnets), the lighting is good, the environment is quiet (very little ambient noise in the general area of the veal pen), the breakroom is clean and the vending machine is stocked with Cheetos, co-workers seem to be reasonably friendly, and there's a communal coffee pot so the caffeine supply never wanes. Given my tendencies toward kvetching, if I can be there for two weeks and the only thing I can find to complain about is the lack of sidewalks in Executive Park -- it's a good place to work.


  1. i'm waiting for obama to stop being mr nice guy and kick some ass...
    u walk to work? yeah for you..

  2. New job? Sounds interesting.

  3. It's just a 90-day detail; I'm filling in because someone quit unexpectedly.

  4. A mile isn't bad unless the weather really sucks it only takes less than half an hour.

    I'm an alley cat and often drive the alley's here to avoid the streets. Maybe you should consider walking to work though them?

    Well, maybe not in that town. It's good that you are okay with the job.

  5. Like the cartoon.

    "Don't let the little things get to you."

    Why does that bring to mind a certain fellow of our mutual acquaintance?


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