2.143 crafts, FOPAL, CHM meeting

Thursday 04/29/2021

After aerobics I had some nice morning time to work on stuff. I did a little of this, a little of that. Worked on the car, worked on a programming project. Lunch was ok. The dining room experience is getting more and more like a real restaurant as the staff gain experience. (And as they hire more staff. I hear they took on six people this week.)

However, and I feel very guilty at being so ungrateful, I kind of miss the old cafeteria-style service. Not the Sodexo food, which was average at best and repellent at worst. The new food being served now is really well prepared and nicely plated.

No, I miss the informality and simplicity. I’d take my full tray and wander toward an empty table, maybe sit by myself, or sit with people I knew. The deal now is, you end up seated with whatever people came in just before or just after you. So it’s a mixer. And you make conversation, often ten minutes or more while you wait for your order to come. That wait, with nothing to do with your hands, nothing in front of you, just socializing — wasn’t there before.

After lunch I went down to FOPAL and found only a partial box of computer books. Processing that took 15 minutes. Then I spent half an hour sorting, which I haven’t done in months. I am not supposed to lift over 30 pounds, but I compensate. I move books instead boxes, and slide boxes along tables. And I lift some, for brief moments.

Then I realized that the CHM Volunteer meeting was just 15 minutes away. Ack! I drove back to CH, hitting a lot of green lights along Middlefield, and just made it into the meeting maybe 2 minutes late.

This meeting was a disappointment. They said nice things about the volunteers, and how eager they were to get us back to work, and how many donations had piled up that needed cataloging. But there was no timeline for that. Heck, we are all vaccinated. Let us in!

They talked vaguely about the new scheduling system that would replace Volgistics, the previous software we used to sign up for volunteer shifts. But they couldn’t demonstrate it, “it still has a couple of bugs we need to work out.” That has been in process for a year now! And they talked about the plan to replace Mimsy, the museum database we have been using since 2005 to catalog artifacts. Except that there still is nothing to demonstrate. The head of IT talked a lot of jargon about how they were “partnering” with Microsoft and a database company called Terentia to create a buzzword-heavy “cloud-based digital asset management platform” that will have an “API” and maybe will do automatic translation to other languages.. Also in the talking stages for at least a year. I smell vapor-ware and have great skepticism.

And the news about reopening the museum to visitors, and restarting docent tours, was even more vague, if that’s possible. I came away with no idea when that is likely to happen. And there were remarks about how they are rethinking the “museum experience” and there would be some retraining. I may never get to be a docent again. That’s a bummer.

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