Monday, December 18 2000
Today I had a meeting with the head architecture guy (the one who didn't invite me to his holiday party) and it sort of took all the wind out of my enthusiasm for the UK project, such as it was. Now he's expecting me to somehow integrate the differing demands and differing release protocols into a common trans-international database optimized for the immediate presentation of data. It seemed like an arbitrary decision, one more based on idealistic goals than on-the-ground reality. Anyone with any real experience in this online crap knows that there has to be a tradeoff made between generality and specificity, and when it comes to designing sites to support totally different content strategies, user preferences and cultures, striving for a common denormalized database (or "front end database," if you will) seems utterly foolish. But who am I to say? I barely knew what a database was two years ago.
It seemed for the past couple of months that the only sort of mail I'd been getting was from people wanting to tell me (in all-caps of course) how much viagra could improve my bedroom experiences. But today non-spammers inexplicably resumed sending me email.
There was some good news and there was also some amusing news to brighten my day.
I learned, for example, that Charlottesville's punk rock band The Counselors have a version of their song "Jatasya" available online, with credit to me as author of the lyrics. For some reason though the song is posted as a zipped MP3, so I've taken the liberty and unzipped it and put a copy on my site.
Also, Matt Rogers has informed me that the infamous "Antiporn" is back with a bigger, more deliciously reactionary site than the one he had before. I've made an archive of it of course, in case he pulls it down like he did his last one. New juicy bits include his plan for a more punishing prison system, one in which prison cells are half the size of present cells, permit neither teevee nor sunlight, and inmates subsist on a diet of "bread and butter." Bread and butter - perhaps this accounts for Antiporn's skin condition. Hey there Antiporn, women wearing trousers might be committing a punishable offense in your utopia, but zinc will always be your friend.
In the evening John's friend Fernando came over for the first time in weeks. Since getting a job working as a managerial assistant for the dean of some Pasadena college, we haven't seen much of Fernando. Having just gotten off work, he was still wearing a coat and tie when he came ringing our doorbell.
The plan for the evening was to go out to dinner, preferably (if John and I had any say-so) to some place cheap. So we ended up walking around the neighborhood considering and rejecting various inexpensive places in the block or two south of our house. We went into the Best Chinese place on Wellesley and Santa Monica but John rejected the place for being "too clean."
We almost went into a Persian Restaurant across the street, one nearly concealed in its grey facade by its grey windows, grey door and grey sign with grey lettering. It seemed Fernando was particularly eager to dine there, hoping to expose us to a little Persian culture (he's half Mexican and half Persian) but the place looked a little too pricey to John and me.
We ended up getting some pizza at a little Italian place next to the Taco Plus on the corner of Ohio and Bundy. As we placed our order, John was getting all gooey about his Italian heritage with the oldish Italian woman working the counter. You could tell the place was genuine Italian because it had signed photographs assembled in the requisite Italian-American wall of fame. With my pizza, I drank my first-ever Red Bull energy drink to see if it really fucks you up like the non-Mormon straight-edge raver kids say. Oh man, once you've had real drugs, you can never go back to such innocent thoughts.
Next, in pursuit of our goal of becoming familiar with the local community, we decided to go into Del's Saloon, a windowless bar on the southeast corner of Santa Monica and Wellesley. Owing to its proximity to so many Persian shops, I thought it might actually be a bar catering to Persians (not that Persians are known for the drinking). But when stepped inside we realized it was nothing so much as a genuine old-school dive. We looked around through the smoky California-code-violating air, past the ashtrays and pool tables to the sorry patrons, all of them white men, most of them sporting mustaches and beer guts. Monday Night Football was on every screen, including a big-screen television behind a bar of its own. Off in the back was an unappetizing kitschy red machine labeled "Delicious Hot Dogs." Evidently it was happy hour and the hot dogs were free.
The only source of female energy in the entire place was a powerful and attractive one, something of a bright blue-white halogen lamp beckoning the slugs and mustachioed moths of West LA to gather, drink, and possibly be temporarily distracted from their sexual frustration by televised football. She was the bartender, a tall, blond young woman, and in this smoky light, beautiful in the slightly hardened way that working class white men find particularly attractive. In their world she was nothing less than the one true Goddess.
The clientele might have been demographically incompatible, the air might have been unhealthy, the presence of televised football might have been overwhelming, the happy hour food might have been unappetizing, the lack of women might have been what a lack of women always is, but at least the drinks were cheap. $10 bought us all a round of cocktails. John was going to pay but the blond working-class goddess didn't accept credit cards.
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