Hump Day Thoughts

Don't you hate it when technology fails you? I arrived at work this morning to find my computer stuck midway through some kind of automated Microsoft Office update. (We're told to leave our computers on at night so Microsoft can access them for such things). Encountering some kind of error, it left my computer in a suspended state where I could neither complete the installation nor access any of my Microsoft programs (including Word and Excel, which I rely upon daily, but especially Outlook and all of my emails, contacts, and calendar information now held hostage).

Handy Andy, our trusty IT assistant, tells me that portions of the hard drive are ruined, and set me up with some workarounds including a temporary laptop with a facsimile of my Outlook (with data that was thankfully is stored on a network not my hard drive). But can I just say how frustrating it is to take twice as long to do things on a machine that is not set up to my preferred specifications? It reminded me the extent to which customization is important in our daily lives.

With Mighty Toy Canon enjoying a much deserved holiday and me dealing with these maddening computer issues, I only have time today to point Culture Shock readers to pertinent conversations taking place elsewhere, especially Barry Johnson's continued top-notch coverage of the ballet situation, including the earliest of conversations about what happens after the ballet raises this first critical hurdle of $750,000, plus fresh new fundraising ideas provided by PCS publicity manager Tricia Pancio. (And thank you, Tricia, for recognizing the Red Dress Party's fantastic front of house divas and talented fundraisers in their own right, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence!)

Speaking of the ballet, I've heard from several folks today who are frustrated that the $50 tickets are sold out and only $75 and $150 tickets remain -- in the back of the second balcony at that. Well, those and the multi-thousand dollar box seats. Now part of me says, first come first served when it comes to saving the ballet, and if you didn't get your $50 tickets and that's all you could afford then you're just going to have to miss out. But I'll be interested to see if the ballet actually manages to sell those last 900 tickets if they're as costly and distant as I hear they are.

Mr. Johnson was also first to share that Giving USA has published their annual tally of philanthropic giving, which shows that 2008 experienced a 5.7% decrease in giving when adjusted for inflation. The other thing worth noting here is that once again the arts lost a little more market share of all charitable giving (a trend since the 1980s) -- and what are we going to do about that?!? I have high hopes that a PR campaign to secure a dedicated funding mechanism for arts and culture in the Portland region in the next 2-5 years will also spark increased giving to arts organizations locally as an "unintended consequence" of the heightened awareness and visibility.

Meanwhile, you may have noticed (but probably not) that I have decided to discontinue my Last Call Friday installments because it's bad form to encourage in any way this behavior of procrastination. Instead I will endeavor to better encourage (and be encouraged by) folks to attend really great performances and exhibits earlier in their run. Plus, some weeks, I'm sorry, but there's nothing worth mentioning that's closing. In fact sometimes I have to restrain myself from writing an "hasta la vista" column.

Lastly, I am honored to have been invited to be a contributing author to the Americans for the Arts blog ("ARTSBLOG"), specifically when it comes to telling you all about what's going on at the AFTA national conference being held in Seattle next week. This year's conference theme is "arts in sustainable communities," and I'll certainly be cross-posting several of my reports here on Culture Shock as well, but hop ofter to AFTA from time to time, too, to see what other conference participants are saying. There's some other really interesting content posted there on a regular basis.


shobiz said...

Your IT Department apologizes for the undue inconvenience of your computer being Micro-sucked. :(

Looking forward to your posts at the AFTA blog.

cynseattle said...

Jeffrey without a laptop is like a martini without an olive...There's still some mood altering properties there, but the little touch of sass is just missing!