before Indian was cool
Friday, May 12 2000
Today was the first time I really had a sense that anything was fundamentally fucked up at my workplace. The matter concerned a killer app I've been working on. It's so refined and perfect now that it has parts that only run when it's first installed to help guide an inexperienced person effortlessly through the installation. It's all in ASP and SQL and can function as a stand-alone entity, using its own internal authentication and member database. The code isn't absolutely perfect, but it's much better and more readable than anything of this scale I've ever built. The source comes to something like 450 K and fits conveniently on a floppy disk. Well, today I found myself discussing the issue of "pub tools," the small applications that allow an administrator to release information onto a live site. With the things I build, these administrative functions are almost always integrated and appear for the appropriate administrators whenever they use the application. This is very different front the way most web applications handle administration. The method my employer's applications use, for example, is one that most alienates administrators from the rabble they administrate. Their "pub tools" sit on their own server with their own front ends. In discussing my system, with its integrated (and already built) administration, two different middle-management types told me that my method wasn't workable, mostly because "that's not how we do things around here." They insisted that the pub tools must still be built. Furthermore, one of them went on to insist that all tools be written in TCL for Vignette (a content-server technology that Collegeclub once considered and rejected - mostly for its half million dollar price tag). Yet this pro-Vignette talk ran in sharp contrast to all the talk I'd heard from other developers (as well as the chief System Architect), all of whom refer to Vignette as some sort of mistaken dead end that needs to be abandoned as rapidly as possible. Such profound lack of consensus on the future architecture of the company's website is going to have the effect of delaying actual implementation of my killer app. I might even end up having to rewrite it in some other language. Still, I'm very pleased with it as a product and I'm eager to do some test installations (an installation on my home computer took about ten minutes).
In the evening, Kim and I were walking Sophie around the block when we came upon a group of Hindustani Indians. At the time, Kim just happened to be wearing a bindi (the jewelry that resembles a zit in the middle of the forehead), and this was probably the reason Kim saw them chatting about us after we passed by. In an Apu Indian accent, I turned to Kim and said, "I vuss Indian before Indian vuss cool!"
Dinner was sushi at a restaurant about two blocks to the east on Santa Monica Blvd. It was just after dark and the Santa Monica Blvd. neighborhood seemed a little creepier and urban than usual, especially when one bum walked up to us and asked us for money in a way that seemed a bit more aggressive than most passive begging. We lied and said we had nothing. When he went on to ask for a light, I added (as if he was reminding me of something I'd forgotten), "Oh yeah, we need lighters too!"
As usual, Kim ordered the "more challenging" sushi dishes, such as the shrimp that's served half fried and half raw. The heads come out of the kitchen about ten minutes after you've devoured the tails, with their eyes blown up and shiny, resembling kernels of unpopped pop corn. Out sushi chef, Toshi, was your typical jolly comic sushi personality, holding flamboyant broken-English court behind his bar. "Here's your poison snake," he declared, handing us something Kim had ordered but which was unfamiliar to me and the people sitting beside me.
We rented The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb on Blockbuster videotape. The flick was done entirely in stop action, though it had live actors mixed in with the claymation. The herky-jerky video added a layer of psychotic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas vibe to the telling of a tale that already resembled Dave Lynch's Eraserhead, so of course, the results were disturbing. It's the casual disregard for the preciousness of infant life that provides most of the shock value in these films. But Kim and I weren't paying much attention. The sake had us in the mood and we were fucking like bunnies on those red velvet couches in our living room.
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