drinks in Ocean Park with the UK team
Monday, October 30 2000
Over the weekend I'd read a news report of an up and coming actor being shot and killed at a Halloween party "at a mansion in a canyon in West Los Angeles." Living in West Los Angeles, this naturally caught my attention, though for the life of me I couldn't think where in West LA one might find canyons full of mansions. This morning, though, Linda (my erstwhile boss whose last day is this Wednesday) told me that she'd actually been at that party and had even heard the shots. The party, a typical Halloween party in which attendees are expected to arrive in costume, was hosted by a prominent executive in my company. Far from West LA, the actual site of the party was a winding canyon road in a posh Beverly Hills neighborhood. A white officer, responding to a noise complaint, snuck around back and saw a large black man through a window. The black man was holding a gun as part of his costume. "Must be an imminent danger!" the white officer thought in the deep recesses of his primitive reptilian brain. Pow-pow-pow-pow-pow! Five shots later, the large black man lay dead in a puddle of his own blood. Interestingly, the story must have been intercepted by powerful censorship forces before it made it out onto the newswire. The words "Beverly Hills" had been cleverly replaced with "West Los Angeles," thereby preserving the precious property values of many thousands of rich white people.
(Someone wrote me to say that the officer who did the shooting was also black, thereby accounting for the overall absence of riots in the city.)
My team got a new contractor today, a young woman I had hired partly as an affirmative response to the otherwise all-male nature of my development team. Unfortunately though, the project is still in too much disarray for me to be able to assign her any actual work, and, like all contractors, she is extremely expensive. So she went to a few meetings and looked at a little code and then we sent her home saying we wouldn't be needing her services for the time being.
Some of our meetings are starting to gain some purchase on the huge monster which is our assignment, but it still seems that every day as our team is confronted with the latest information, we decide to do the complete opposite of what we'd decided the day before.
In the evening, the other members of our team (including our charming female CTO) arranged to do drinks and a dinner down in the Ocean Park area of Santa Monica, right next to the frontier with Venice. They were all in agreement with my sentiment that this is an ever so much better part of Santa Monica than the Schteveish Promenade area.
But the directions I'd been given were a little imprecise and I found myself unable to find the Circle at the cross-street I'd been given, Navy. I was tempted to just call it a loss and head home, but on my way back up Main Street, I found it.
The Circle is a hip place which features lots of red lighting and plays mostly the sort of music appreciated by hip British expatriates, electronica. All my companions for the night were British. Being the sole American in their contingent, they naturally expected me to be able to recommend hip places to go and cool places to hang out. But I was at a complete loss. I still feel a little like I moved to Los Angeles only yesterday. I have almost no network of friends and don't in any case seem to have the skills necessary to make any. Not that this is much of a problem, except when my British chums are looking to me for social guidance.
Next stop was a block away, a fairly nice restaurant with entrees costing about $17 each (I forget the name of the place). Being the only American, I remained the focus of most of the conversation, despite my lack of useful social connections. I decided that with such a hip, well-rounded, artistically-inclined, jaded, quasi-European crowd it was safe to play up my eccentricities, so I freely discussed my drug use, my anti-materialist predilections, and other assorted things that I usually don't bring up on a first date with American companions. For their part, they seemed sufficiently charmed.
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