Monday, October 25, 2004

you get that? from that?

ok, so I dropped into Stanford Shopping Center before leaving for the airport. I had a gap I'd previously left in my suitcase and I had to fill it. It didn't matter what with. Just stuff. I had an hour, so I figured Macys, Nordstrom, Crate & Barrel, ooh, Apple Store, Hair International (maybe not that one), and just see what appeals. Macys - nope. Nordstrom - how miserable are you? Crate & Barrel - nice bag, got one already though. Apple...

It's not a big Apple store. There's not really much to poke. At best, you get to finger some accessories and try and figure out where the base units are (they're under the base units), but that's about it. Half an hour later, I'm escorted out of the building by Dwight and Chan in their black polo necks, just for drooling onto a30" Cinema Display. They shouldn't make them so rampantly desirable. It's their fault.

Anyway, 10 minutes left and I've looked at all the blow-up pillows in Brookstone, so I'm just heading back to the Chevy Preferred Customer, when I pass the Bose shop. I'll never be able to afford anything in there. Move along. But hang on, what's that thing? That looks nice, must be a new one of those Wave Radio things. I'll take a look. Now, I don't own an iPod, much to my chagrin, but then I work from home and never go out in daylight, and then it's only down to the paper shop down the road, where I'm still allowed to go unattended, so, when I see this thing is a SoundDock Digital Music System for an iPod, I'm walking out. That is, until the lovely Mike, with his bluetooth headset and braces (teeth and trousers) starts showing it to a couple who actually look like they might have some money. "You just take your iPod", he oozes, "or iPod Mini, it works for that too, and you slip it in the dock (ooer) and then...", and then he left the most dramatic pause ever witnessed. I was looking at my watch when the sound started coming out. I thought someone had put the home cinema system on in the next room. The sound that came out of this 6.5"x12" waffle was just unbelievable. I can't begin to explain it here, but I'd just suggest you take your iPod along to your nearest Bose outlet and demand they give you a damn good docking, to hear for yourself. You'll not spend a quicker $299. Well, apart from that time in Union Square...

Friday, October 22, 2004

freaking out on the golden gate

So, at the end of the week, it's always nice to get out of town and take a ride. This was last friday, mind, but I mean, it takes a while to do this. Winding down from the terrible excitement of an ops review and an ecstatic all-afternoon discussion about layout frameworks and content layout assembler template managed things, and not forgetting the Jager incident, it was time to take a trip over Woodside and hit the coastal highway in the tasty Chevy Corporate. First stop, Bucks in Woodside. Now, that's some place. Chris tells me that all the deals go down there, so while I wait for him to make me a deal, we get something called a 2x2x2, which is pretty much the best breakfast you can get, except there's twice as much as you can eat. As usual. I could live in these hills. But I don't, so I wave Chris off on his bike and head over the 84 to the Pacific.

A bit twisty. The Jager's coming back. And those pancakes. And the sausages. Hurgh. Ah, there's the sea...

Here's the thing though. You come over here in mid October and it's 90 degrees and you sit in the office all day. You head over the hills to the beach and it's suddenly fricken freezing and total cloud cover. Hmph. I am going to Half Moon Bay and I am going to sit on the beach. Whatever. So, I do that for a while and there is nobody to see for miles, which is a bonus, but I'm getting all morose on the beach on my own, so back in the lovely Chevy Marketeer and up the coast a bit.

All the way up the coast in fact. I was only looking for somewhere to pull over to take my jacket off, but I ended up in Golden Gate Park with that "I'm a tourist" sign stuck on the roof. I swapped it out for the "I'm in a rental car" sign and burned down the middle lane, swerving violently about for the sake of it. After a near miss with a Dodge Enormous I settle down, and succumb to the fact that I'm going over the bridge whether I like it or not (Chris tells me later he's never done the bridge, so me being resigned to it is a bit lame. it's such a drag).

The bridge is looking bad. Mean and bad. I've done the vista point on the north side before, and it's been glorious, day and night. Lucky I guess. Right now, the clouds are at about 50 feet and the mist is just clinging on to the structure. Oh well, no majestic sweeping panoramas on the W1 today. I know. I'll walk across. I've never done that. Ooh, bad idea as it turns out...

So, I set out on foot to see how far I get. Quite ok. Dodging the day bikes and the mental Tour de Bridge carbon fibre brigade. Not many pedestrians. Carry on. The one thing I notice is it's so bloody loud. I mean, that traffic at 4pm on Friday is like a hurricance - six lanes steaming by at ear height. Carry on. The first moments of weirdness happen when you're 'off concrete' and 'on-bridge'. Take a few steps, look over the edge. Take a few more, look over the edge. Stop, look up, and then...look at the size of that thing. The first suspension tower is right in front of you, and that thing is huge, man. I mean, it's huge. When you take the route round the outside of the thing, which hangs out over the water, the sense of scale is overwhelming. So that's where I start freaking. Right then, I've taken a couple of classic wide shots with the SF skyline just about visible. Let's just take a quick one to get some idea of the size of this thing. Ok, there noone around, good. Hang on. There's really noone around. Anywhere. Look both ways and there's no bikes, no pedestrians, no CHP to check whether I'm hanging over the edge. Nobody. K. That's alright. Just a bit odd. Right, let take that shot. Point the camera w a y u p t h e r e to the top. Lean back. Back a bit. Looking straight up now, straight at the camera display...

All I can say really, is that being totally alone, on the most massive man-made structure around (megalophobic), high over the huge, sea-like SF bay (thalassophobic) and losing the horizon and any reference to my spatial positioning I was suddenly in cold panic. I pretended I wasn't though. I mean, somebody might have been looking. I took that shot and then pretty much ran all the way back to the vista point car park, where I set off the car alarm instead of unlocking the doors and hid in the toilet. Or I would have done, if the toilet wasn't being cleaned. I actually hid in the ladies toilet. There.

Anyway, I made myself better by doing a 'Taxi' down Van Ness and onto Market, whereupon I drove the car straight onto the pavement and left it there, like something out of The Deadpool and dashed into Macys, where a very nice man sold me some Puma underwear. They had Lycra and everything.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

edge of darkness

You know, there's nothing I like better after a hard days graft than to settle down in a nice cosy corner of a Cali cafe and just quietly discuss organizational structures with people who know as little as I do. But of course, this being the final date of the tour, mentalism was predetermined and hopelessly unavoidable.

I mean, you start the evening with a nice chat at the Blue Chalk and maybe even grab a sausage or two, but at the point where you're shouting at the dessert menu then really, it's time to pack up and leave by the back door, shedding a few solo artists on the way. Not this time though. There's this place, see. This place I was warned about. The place where the law enforcement gather at the bar to bear witness to the social outkasts as they linger around the 'DJ booth' and just kind of half-dance around on the sticky carpet. They're possessed, see? I mean, it's not right. How can people behave like that?

Well now I know. It's the 8th layer of hell. It's Jagermeister. It only took 12 of them and and I was just grunting around the edge of darkness like a 12 year old stuck on Avril Lavigne. I should know better, but they made me do it. Project managers. Can't live with them, can't make a fool of yourself and have really bad pictures end up on your own camera without them

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

either, either, or

You know I can't discuss it. I mean, I already know, but it'll take a couple of weeks before I can tell you, right? Anyway, Halloween jokes and all, it's great to get out and about. Tonight in Palo Alto we had good fun with the Italian sausage, but you know, I have to eat that now, so lets take a snap, quick. Oh, and another. Let's see, that's not getting posted. Chris and I will get the Jergens and the rubber gloves out later and see what comes of it.

Really, beyond the jetlag and thousand yard stares, these are great people. I mean, I get to sit round a table with them and shout at the TV and stuff and share those funny and touching program management moments and either, either, or the other stuff which makes the 5000 miles worthwhile. You see, I know what you're talking about, so lets work together on it and drag the collective understanding up out of the mind puddle of brain wrong. Never really thought schemas would be quite such an exciting prospect, but I mean, it all comes down to data models, right? Pass the spoons. That's my silverware.

Monday, October 11, 2004

toy legs

Have I got toy legs? How am I supposed to sit at this desk for the rest of today? Kenny doesn't sit at a desk, he kind of lies underneath it at an impossibly cool angle, with his fingers clawing up at the keyboard like some meticulous squirrel. I mean, it's literally 2 feet high this thing. I just met some of my remote co-workers for the first time and they must of thought I was some kind of oversized ape in this bizarre toy cupboard office. Not the kind of first impression I was intending to make. Anyway, we're out in Menlo Park tonight at some place which does good 'an proper British food, right? I mean, I was at some Vietnamese place for lunch and now this. What's it like over here? I'm gonna get a right fat one, I tell thee.