first and last visions
Monday, January 31 2000
Another company meeting, and another step further into complete and utter alienation from the company for which I work. I'd hear rumors and leaks of this before, but now it's official: we have a mascot, a preposterous stuffed animal, and he's going to be our ticket to actually having a recognizable brand. He's the "Drop the Chalupa" Taco Bell Chihuahua, the Jack in the Box antenna ball, the Michelin Man. But he's so empty as a symbol (good god, he's not even weird!), I don't see how it can help but fall flat. But I hear he goes over great in focus groups. I wonder if perhaps I could use a focus group. What would a focus group tell me I should do?
- Quit this charade of "programmer like me" and get back to your art.
- Item #1, but go out with a bang! Send that one email to All that will be duely noted with a chapter in the history books.
- The stock options! Think of the stock options! Hold on for another four/five/six/... years!
- Quit using ordered lists in this context!
I'm alienated in other ways from my workplace too. There's an ongoing effort to port our site to an Oracle back end, but I'm left caring for the old Microsoft-based site. In an especially humiliating development today, I was coerced into attending what amounted to a basic ASP course taught by the cranky erstwhile VP of System Architecture. It lasted two hours and I learned absolutely nothing. Even the free food was flavorless and lame. It's pretty depressing, to be honest.
On the bike ride home I had to carefully maneuver around a bustling live telecast happening on the sidewalk out in front of the Coast Guard
headquarters. A plane carrying 88 people had just fallen into the Pacific amid the islands southwest of Santa Barbara.
Kim's grandmother died today. Her insurance forbade her from remaining in the hospital, so she was returned home and died an hour after she got there, in the presence of her two children and husband. She was 83. The official cause of death, I think, is "complications arising from kidney failure."
Why is it that in this country our first and last visions are those of the insides of critical-care hospital rooms? When you think about it, that's as a fucked-up as anything in the Matrix. I'm glad Kim's grandmother cheated the system and made it back to her home to die. Her eternal soul (if there is such a thing and there probably isn't, except for the fact that I'm writing about it and other people are remembering it) is the better for it.
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