|I Am a Total Federal Triangle Homeboy!
||[Jan. 11th, 2010|12:51 am]
So now I'm working (indirectly, as a contractor) for the US Department of Commerce. I take Metrorail to work, and get out at the Federal Triangle station. Which means I'm an FDR liberal who has to walk through the Ronald Reagan Building to get to the Herbert Hoover Building -- the perfect metaphor for the direction our once-great country has been taking since 1981.
So where does the "homeboy" title come from? My father used to work in the same building, and so did my mother's mother. And it hasn't changed a bit since they walked those halls, from the grand old lobby (and a pretty nice Christmas tree, I might add) to the floor tiles to the identical blah brown doors and brass doorknobs to the stuffy air in the stairwells, which apparently only gets circulated during evacuation drills.
All over the building there are photographs of the building when it was under construction in 1930. Apparently it was the first building in the Federal triangle to get built, and was, at that time, the biggest (as in, hogging the most land) building in the world. (The Pentagon would not be built until sometime in the 1940s, and it doesn't look half as classy inside.)
While the Hoover Building is well-designed in a sort of Federal-Classical style, respectful of its history, and rationally laid out in a proper rectangular floor-plan, the Reagan building is just crap: the ground floor is nothing but ballrooms and meeting-rooms, all polished floor-space and no useful function (the kind of corporatist interior space that gets shot up in the Matrix movies, and booked by slimeballs like the Heritage Foundation for their self-congratulation-fests); the exterior only half-assedly tries to match the Federal Triangle architecture all around it; there's no right-angle anything, and it all seems to center around a sort of triangular/pie-slice banquet space whose apex is a grand stairway down from the street level; the colors are all off-white, grey, and an amazing variety of shades of naff dull brown; and there's a profile of the Great Communicator himself, with a Great Communication of his that I can't remember because it's so empty of substance...something about the unlimited power of a nation that lets individuals do their thang. Oh well, I guess I should be grateful it wasn't a Bush Jr. quote. (Of course, they'd have better quotes to mine if they just renamed it the Margaret Thatcher Building.)
It's not the greatest job I've ever had, but it's far from the worst. The worst part of it is that Commerce's nanny-ware blocks access to all "social networking" sites, including LiveJournal; so I can't even read other people's LJ posts, let alone post my own. I mean, WTF do they expect me to do there -- work?
During the interview for this job, I found out my boss is into science fiction; so I emailed her a copy of Solidarity, or, How to Gerrymander One Solar System for Two Species in Three Inconclusive Summit Meetings, a novella I wrote in the 1980s, gave up on when the USSR ceased to exist, and am now rewriting because for some strange reason it suddenly seems like the thing to do. She thanked me profusely for sending it to her. That was in September, and to this date, she still hasn't actually read it.
I'll have more rambles about such diverse topics as Avatar, the radical right's descent into insanity and infantilism, the Christmasaturnamithreidkwanzannakayulestice seasons (this year's and last), my latest attempted novel, and maybe a bit about my trips to Paris and Rio de Janeiro. But not tonight -- I have a mountain of email to catch up on, and most of it looks like bad news.