1.15.2005

Content Editing To Save Humanity

This is the kind of job I thought I would never have. Actually it's a job I don't have for real, but it still feels like it... Have been working for Tod's awesome volunteer coordination and organization-matching initiative. I've spent two days in the new VolunteerSriLanka 'war room' on the 31st floor of the west tower of the Colombo World Trade Center. Yes, it has two towers, just like another WTC we know. Tod is totally in his element which is good to see because he had been so frustrated earlier with his sponsoring agency's bureaucracy. He's created an empire unto himself and totally runs around attending meetings and being generally super-competent. Anyway we're in the WTC because we got office space, ie two boardrooms and a bunch of plug points, donated from Microsoft. I am going to have to stop badmouthing them now. Their internet hookup sure is fast!

Yesterday I would have posted but I was for a while working on a Belgian laptop which has a wack keyset/key-mapping. I was editing the text on our website (www.volunteersrilanka.org, go see! it rocks!) with this strange keyboard--bad for fast typing. Okay for editing, where you're actually paying attention to what keys you hit. I never realized I was such a good touch typer until I tried typing some emails. Some of you were the lucky recipients of my hilarious Q- and ;-laden missives.

All this content editing (recall that's what I did at Sarvodaya) is making me feel SO useful. Man, this place would just fall apart if I weren't here! I totally understand that the learning/usefulness curve is steep on these kinds of startup dealios (sp?) but still, still. I yearn, fruitlessly, for someone to hand me a perfect job on a platter: dramatic, humanitarian, field-based, fame-generating. Personality-based powerlust does not disappear in a crisis, it seems.

Now I'm hogging poor Jason's computer. He's another Tulane-foreign-studies-masters guy, ie like Tod. The office atmosphere is a little weird--the Belgian-keyboard guy, Juan Borrigues, is a (Belgian) Microsoft corporate charity wonk with a lovely French accent and a bizarre sense of humor. He's pretty young. He headed back to Belgium today on a military flight (which no one knows the reason for!) leaving a motley, vaguely piratical ass-kicking geek-mongering crew of mostly guys. There's Microsoft people (an east Asian Australian guy who loves beer and dislikes spicy food) and badass IT-world rogues (founders and master brains Tod and Mark, a former Sri Lankan British headhunter) and underqualified/uninformed losers (some random Polish collegey people who didn't do any work, me...) anyway it's a zoo. Plus today we don't have air conditioning in the office as it's a public holiday so we're baking, I tell you baking, in this terrarium-cum-office-tower.

BUT it's good, it's good. Mother arrived home safely to the chatty and gift-inquisitive bosom of Julia and Alyssa; sounds like a good flight experience and good to be home on her end. Tomorrow I return to Kandy for a wedding, for which occasion I am being dressed by my good friends the tailors. "Dressed" means they will carefully drape my sari and arrange my (rather short/unarrangeable) hair and probably spackle me with makeup and cover me in jewelry and flowers. Life could be worse...

Then Sunday I'll schlep back to Colombo for meetings on Monday with two NGOs that are helping me coordinate for a small, small documentary film crew coming in Monday afternoon. Tuesday I will head out for ten days of filming in the South with them. It's an exciting project and a good way to a) get out in the field and b) meet folks I might want to work with when this project gets finished.

It's really hot in here. I think we here at VolunteerSriLanka are providing a major revenue increase for the Barista (think Starbucks) downstairs here--every hour, it seems, someone succumbs to the creeping desire for a Brrista Blast. I had several clever things to say here but have forgotten them. Last night I was the youngest (by at least 18 years) guest at a fantastic, weird dinner party at which I started out drinking lovely ice-cold vodka straight up and ended up explaining post-Marxist anarcho-syndicalism to the bemused (and in some cases, embarrassed) assemblage. Good little Swattie!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You can change the keyboard layout by poking around in the "international" settings in the control panel -> keyboard -> uh ... preferences? I assume you're on Windows? Anyhow, you should be able to change from the Belgian layout to the US one just by setting a preference, and then change back later. Even have both options available for toggling between.

Yes, this is how I write Dvorak on other people's keyboards and screw them up.

- Nori

Anonymous said...

dear becca of commonwealth.
i read your blog. i hope you don't feel weird about that


best,
vanessa of commonwealth

Rebecca said...

dear vanessa,
no, it's not weird! it's a public blog. i stop short of, like, telling the address to the associated press, but--it's awesome to hear from you! how's things? send me an email--ennen_hk@yahoo.com.hk
love
[re]becca

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