Archive for category: Worker’s Comp

American Art Reopens Tomorrow

30 Jun 2006
June 30, 2006
Museum building almost complete.

The Patent Office Building, which houses the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, is about to receive visitors.

After a six and one-half year hiatus for renovations, the Smithsonian American Art Museum reopens tomorrow. As a personal benchmark, my oldest daughter, now almost 10, was just a wee three when we closed in January 2000. A lot has changed both at home and in the museum.

In the days leading up to the opening festivities we’ve been blogging up a storm over at Eye Level including this slide show of pics from our pre-opening Gala. Thanks for your rave review of our staff, Wonkette.

Tomorrow we will be going live for an all-day blogfest. If you can’t be there in person, join us online.


16 Dec 2005
December 16, 2005
Eye Level: Yahoo's Pick of the Day

Eye Level: Yahoo! says we’re “100% snooty-free!”

Access to Eye Level, our new blog at American Art was a bit dicey today. Typepad’s servers were having a bit of trouble so our site (and every other Typepad hosted site around the world) appeared to the public as it had two days ago when they last backed up their servers. But that didn’t stop Yahoo! from naming Eye Level as it’s Web site of the Day!

“Finally, an art blog for the rest of us! The bright minds behind the Smithsonian American Art Museum contribute to this lively discussion of American art in all its strange and wonderful incarnations.”

Kind words. Thanks Yahoo!

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Look Closely At Eye Level

28 Nov 2005
November 28, 2005

The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Blog: Eye Level

Today marks the debut of a project I (and many others) have been working on for about six months: Eye Level, the blog of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (and the Smithsonian’s first blog!). I designed the blog and managed the project.

When the Smithsonian American Art Museum reopens its renovated historic main building in July 2006, it will be a showcase for American art that celebrates this nation’s vision and creativity. Eye Level is part of the museum’s continuing effort to explore the stories central to the American experience and to search for what connects Americans today.

Using the museum’s collection as a touchstone, the conversation at Eye Level will center on the ways in which the nation’s art connects to its history and culture. The discussion will extend beyond works at the Smithsonian American Art Museum to include other collections, exhibitions, and events.

Eye Level presents an extraordinary collaboration among curators, conservators, historians, enthusiasts, critics, designers, and of course bloggers-all participants in the story of American art. I’d like to extend a personal invitation to join in the dialogue.

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Getting Up Close and Personal with a Bear

24 Nov 2005
November 24, 2005
Panda at National Zoo

My “one-on-one” in-depth visit with Tai Shan

Tai Shan, the Smithsonian’s newest Panda will debut at the National Zoo December 8. Well, technically he’s China’s newest panda since, by agreement, he will be given to the Chinese when he is two.

Free tickets were offered to the public this past week on a first-come basis via the National Zoo’s Web site. And already those freebies are going for big bucks on eBay. Now that’s the entrepreneurial spirit.

However, as one of the perks of working at this venerable cultural institution, Smithsonian worker bees got the chance for a sneak peek at the little bugger on Tuesday. No mad dash for a free ticket and no eBay sniping to win one at auction.

To be frank, I am having a hard time identifying with the locals who oooh and aaah when news footage of his latest physical exam or cute photos appear in the media. That panda is so abstract I exhibit none of those characteristic anthropomorphic tendencies I see in those around me.

Yes, it’s true. I admit it. What’s wrong with me? Where’s the magic? The only reality I feel is when our Web server slows to a crawl because of the heavy, HEAVY traffic at the Zoo’s Panda Web site every time there’s an update.

So when the opportunity arose to see him in person it was only at my family’s insistence that I agreed to tag along with the rest of the office (my wife was crushed that spouses and immediately family could not come).

As luck would have it I went but all I got was this little view of him sleeping in his pen. I can’t even see his cute little face. And, of course, coworkers who went about an hour later were rewarded with a full frontal and close-up view when one of his handlers finally decided we Smithsonian employees deserved better. So she brought him out into his main living area for all to see. I did get that cuddly close-up, but only on the webcam back at my desk.

When I got home after a hard day at the office there was no “Hi daddy, how was work today? Did you do anything creative?” No, instead there was a mad rush towards me with everyone shouting, “Did you see him? DID YOU SEE HIM?”

Yes, my loved ones. I did see him. At least I think I did. But all I got was this cute and cuddly picture of everyone else trying to take a cute and cuddly picture. You’re right. I deserved what I got. Magic only happens when you truly believe.

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A Gentle Reminder: Speaking of magic, with the holiday season just about ready to get underway, it’s not too late to start employing my Patented Seven Step Gift Giving System. Gift giving doesn’t have to be a chore (“I’ve got to buy something –ANYTHING…”) if you follow these steps.

My Typical Week-at-a-Glance

17 Sep 2005
September 17, 2005
Police Cordon Off DC during Bomb Scare

Another typical workday: a suspicious package left at Starbucks.

Every workday afternoon I log my activities and daily accomplishments into an Access database. We do this to track the amount of time each project takes. But the bonus is I can see just how I spent my day. It’s a 21st century diary of sorts.

It occurs to me that at week’s end I sometimes wonder just how I spent other parts of my life, the non-project parts. Did I experience anything interesting? Where did the time go?

Between a full time job and a full time family, it’s easy to simply live in the present. When my head hits the pillow it’s hard to remember anything but the pleasant unconsciousness that immediately beckons.

So at the end of this week I’d like to mention some of these off-hour occurrences, a typical week-in-review:

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Pretty in Pink

26 May 2005
May 26, 2005
Pink and black: the uniform of the day

Pretty in Pink: My Coworkers and I in the Uniform of the Day

Commuting time is usually decompression time. Unlike driving, riding the subway each morning and afternoon allows me to listen to music or This American Life on my iPod, read the morning paper, and sometimes just observe my fellow commuters.

Today, as I made my way underground, I was reading Deepsix, my latest less-than-deep sci-fi novel. I casually looked up to notice the five people sitting closest to me were all wearing pink and black. Hmmm. This was a bit out of the ordinary. And as I walked up to the street I wondered if I should blog this. But what could be interesting about this marginal coincidence?

Arriving at my cubicle, I unpacked my lunch and started my early morning circuit, first to the refrigerator and then to the john. As I passed Mitzi’s office out of the corner of my eye I spied her pink jacket and black pants. I stopped and told her my tale. “Well, just look at you!” she replied. I looked down only to see I, too, was wearing the colors of the day. Eerie.

As our animated hallway conversation crescendoed, people began to congregate. My boss approached. “Look!” I said, pointing to her tailored suit and blouse. “Look!” “What!? What is it?” she replied. We all began to talk at once. Marie arrived all decked out in blue and orange. Obviously she hadn’t gotten the memo.

But then I noticed two more coworkers in uniform. You could hear the rose-colored buzz permeate our offices. Emily, wearing a pink sweater with a black and white polka dot a-line skirt, reported she had just gotten back from a meeting where the committee chair had remarked on the preponderance pink and black today. Were we all foils in some subliminal viral marketing scheme? I usually pick my clothes in the complete darkness of the early morning. The Washington terrorist threat level was at yellow, but the color palette today was decidedly light red.

I was beginning to get a juvenile feeling about all of this. At my junior high early teen rules dictated that if you wore red and black on Fridays you were a whore. And, if you wore green on Thursdays, well you’d better have plenty of protection after school. Whoever started this teen meme, I salute you. You’ve succeeded in returning to haunt me –and from the least favorite period of my life.

Pink and black on Thursdays. It goes so well with my high-level management skills and extraordinary abilities to bring projects in on time. Luckily I have my 3rd floor homies around to watch my colorful back.

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