At the local city committee meeting, one of the other commissioners proposed an amendment which required the developer to follow all best practices. This is one of the newest commissioners. Everyone enthusiastically voted in favor, and the chair, who usually has excellent judgment, fawned over the motion a little bit. The amendment passed unanimously.
(It rained off and on all week. Everything is very muddy.)
We went back to discussing the main motion.
When it was my turn to speak, I turned to the city lawyer and asked, “What exactly did we just pass? What are best practices? Is it just following city ordinances and the land development code?” The lawyer smiled kindly and confirmed that best practices could only legally be required to mean following the law.
It was kind of a bitchy move of me, but I can’t stand grandstanding up there, and so I like to deflate such moves quickly, so that it won’t escalate over time. If I think you are bullshitting, I will ask you what you mean, bub.
ALSO ON TUESDAY
Ace’s first karate lesson! Pokey and Hawaii are the two greenbelts in the photo.
I zipped home from work so that I could change before the film crew was scheduled to show up, and found them swarming all over our driveway:
They’d arrived early. That was a bit disorienting. They were all very, very nice. I went inside and changed clothes.
First, they filmed me walking up our stairs, pausing at the top to look out across the street pensively, and then I was to push off the railing and head into the house. We filmed that single scene from four different angles. Pause, look into the distance, wait a beat, ….and go! Into the house! Again.
Then I was interviewed in the back of the house for about an hour. They turned off the air-conditioning and the fans because of the noise, and it got quite hot. There was a big fuzzy microphone inches above my head. I sat on this stool:
I was supposed to look at the interviewer’s eyes as much as possible – that guy on the white chair, Andre – but I found it very disconcerting to talk into his eyes and I kept losing my train of thought. Eye contact is deeply weird.
I was supposed to incorporate his question into my answers, and speak in complete sentences. I was good at remembering to include the question in my answer, but then my sentences tended to go on for days. Like my legs. (no. Not at all like my legs.)
It was very hot with the AC off. I was very aware of all my fidgeting – touching my face and clearing my throat, beads of sweat on my upper lip, and so on. It was tiring. (Jammies was eaves-dropping at times over the spycam, and sent me supportive outraged text messages in real time about how my answer was great and they should have kept it as it was.)
It was fun to be fawned over and treated like I was spouting brilliant bullshit, which of course probably means that I’ll look like an idiot.
They got a little bit of footage of the kids, too. They directed the kids to run down the hall in that phony kid exuberance of commercials – arms akimbo, sort of Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone. Hawaii was too self-conscious to join in, which I could understand, but I felt bad that those were the terms of inclusion that had been foisted upon her.
The whole 90 minutes of footage will be whittled down to 90 seconds of FEMA video, so I suppose most everything will be on the cutting room floor. Good thing, because I looked like this:
which I wasn’t very thrilled about. I nearly hopped up before we started to make sure my hair looked okay, but I wanted to be cooperative and agreeable, so I let it go, and so I’m stuck looking like that. Meh, it’s only 90 seconds.
Later that night, this was in my FB feed:
That’s me and my hair! I felt understood and laughed for a long time.
Two years ago, there was a proposed development which everyone hated, and the friendly city commission on which I serve gave it a big thumbs down. Now they’re back, and the development hasn’t particularly changed, and the friendly city commission has only become even more hostile to dickhead developers, so it’s hard to see how this could work out for them.
On Thursday there was a special joint session for both the planning commission and the city council, to hear a presentation by the developers.
“There are three paths we could take,” said the senior developer as he began his presentation. “One of these is more costly, and much harder, and requires more dedication than the rest. But it is the best for Heebieville. It will elevate the town and blah blah blah. That is this proposal.” I jotted down in my notes, what are the other two paths? He never returned to his opening framework.
(That is quite an ominous lean to that tree.)
During the Q&A, councilmembers asked about price points and traffic, parking and number of stories. I raised my hand and asked, “You said up front that there were three paths. What were the other two paths?”
He said, cheerfully and forcefully, “There’s only one path! This is it! This is what we’re proposing!”
I decided it was a dumb question and I should have stuck to technical questions.
(That’s a lotta moths around that light.)
After our Q&A, the public was allowed to ask questions, and then eventually the mayor banged the gavel that the whole show was over. I started collecting my papers.
The senior developer streaked around the edge of the room and sat down next to me and started talking very fast and earnestly, his face very close to mine. I put on a blank smile.
It was hard to follow what he was saying, because he used so many vague niceties and generalizations, but basically he didn’t want to say the other two options because he didn’t want to spook the public, because their proposal is really best for the city and why cloud the issue?
I let him ramble for a while, and then I was just too curious and asked, “But then why did you open with three paths? Why was that how you started your whole presentation, if you never intended to wrap around to the other two?” From his answer, I gathered that it had been an ill-conceived veiled threat: if we turn this proposal down, their Plan B is to develop something everyone hates, but allowed under the current zoning. (He’s bluffing. I asked him what he meant and he was not very familiar with his options under the land use code.)
Basically, he was deeply rattled him by my question, and I really hadn’t intended to shake him up like that, but I can’t say that I’m not mildly pleased.
Four children watching TV, #58 of a 300 part series. The artist compiled these photos over 23 years, from 2009 to 2032, to illustrate the spectacular TV watching exhibited by the progeny.
I drove to a small town in west Texas for a very short overnight conference. It was a relief to have a day off from work. As I’ve mentioned, I hate this semester.
This company is really ethereal and philosophical:
If only there were a concrete company next door.
The town takes a lot of pride in being extremely west Texas-ish. This was at the hotel:
It was pouring in that photo. It rained hard off and on all week long.
Hotel room art:
I don’t hate it? I like how beat and flummoxed the cowboy is. “Fuck this job and this horse. This is not working out.” I think the colors are pretty and the shading well done.
In contrast, I do hate this:
I mean, gross. I know you’re trying to be innocuous, hallway carpet, but you look like henna’d crap.
Kind of has a city-scape smear look to it. I can work with it.
Mimi also arrived on Friday. She’ll be here for about ten days. Jammies flew out today to go on a weeklong bike-and-camp trip with his friend. Did I mention that Mimi is the best mother-in-law anyone has ever had?
Hop along, lil frogster. The rain has been really intense this week. Poor Pokey – his class had recess indoors for a day or two after some of the other second grade teachers decided they’d take their class back outside for recess. He was going a little nuts.