cold rain in Santa Monica
Wednesday, February 7 2001
Today was the first day that I've ever worn a CollegeClub.com tee shirt out in public. I was embarrassed to be seen in the shirts the whole time I was actually working for CollegeClub, mostly because the company name is a combination of two of the clunkiest words in the English language, (followed by a ".com," which doesn't much improve the situation). But now I'm starting to see ironic value in the shirts (of which I have several). Jesus, how can anyone take the slogan "the world is our campus" seriously? But there it is, beneath the "collegeclub.com" and enveloped by the vintage 1999 market-tested internet-swoosh, all stated with the complete lack of irony that typified that place.
I had to go over to the Network Operations Center again today to help out with Full Text Indexing as implemented on a big beefy Windows 2000 server. We were all scratching our heads wondering how the Full Text Indexing Agent could lack the permissions to index a database when the two entities were owned by the same user. But then in a call to Microsoft we learned that the login configurations have to be made in Enterprise Manager, not in the Services control panel. In response to this and other assorted inconsistencies in Windows 2000, the Sr. DBA had but one thing to say, "Windows 2000 it's so fucking kludgy!" I was amused to see he had a collection of five or six trophy CDs bearing the names of laid-off former colleagues. These are specially-labeled CDs given to us by Human Resources so we can post our names on our cubicles. I've collected two of them myself.
The Network Operations Center (NOC).
A big Russian Sr. QA dude.
Me hanging out in the NOC.
For lunch, my erstwhile boss-gone-slacker Linda met me and we walked over to Bergamot Station. By this point the sunny day was being driven out by strong winds and crazy dark clouds massing over the Santa Monica Mountains.
Linda told me about an interview she had with an HR person at Disney for a project manager position. HR people can be full of all sorts of helpful information, for example, telling Linda that a project manager position involves "managing projects and maintaining timelines." I told Linda about a realization I made the other day: from a distance, Flash authoring software looks a lot like Microsoft Project. "If only people behaved as predictably as tweened animations," we mused.
We went on to talk about the various things that are messed up at my workplace, including the classic demoralizing email that had given warning of impending layoffs.
During the afternoon, clouds continued to build and eventually a cold rain fell and there was even a thunderclap (a very rare thing in Southern California). It looked and felt like snow weather, but it was too warm for that of course. Neil the UK developer later reported that there was enough snow on the Santa Monica Mountains to block the 405 over to the Valley. That mountain pass is only a few miles away and only 2000 feet in elevation, but Neil might have made the whole thing up.
After work, the CTO invited me to go drink beer with her at bar up on Montana. We went out in the parking lot to leave and noticed that Julian's car was there. Julian's car, by the way, is a rust-red 1965 Volkswagen Beetle he recently bought for $100 from former Community Sr. Developer Chris Johnson. The CTO likes Julian and Julian likes the UK project, so we went upstairs and invited Julian to join us. He was working on his "performance plan" but said he'd be along shortly.
The CTO and I drove to Neil's place near the corner of 11th and Montana. Neil was one of the two UK developers who was in the car that was struck by an errant Geo last Friday. Evidently the accident caused some tissue damage in the joints of his right arm and he's been unable to work at all this week, precipitating something of a deadline crisis for our team. Though Neil might be too stiff to work, he was enthusiastic about joining us for a beer.
The bar we went to was within walking distance, a place called Father's Office. The CTO said it used to be more of dive, but in the last week or so it's been completely redone with golden wood paneling, new tables and chairs. The only things that can be had at Father's Office are beer and wine, but the CTO went next door and ordered a couple huge pizzas.
We were soon joined by Julian and then later by Linda (who drove all the way from West Hollywood to meet us). The only beer I drank was Arrogant Bastard Ale, which we all agreed tasted something like grapefruit juice.
The subject inevitably turned to the topic of our sudden UK developer shortage. This led to a comic riff about a fictional paradise called "ASPLand," where ASP developers grow on trees and hope to some day be able to work at Carl Jr's. More seriously (but still somewhat jokingly) Linda suggested that she'd be willing to "come back as a vampire" and work as a contractor. She hasn't done development in years and might be sort of rusty, but she said she'd be willing to give it a try. The CTO was enthusiastic about the idea, but unfortunately hiring Linda would probably mean that I wouldn't get to go to the UK after all (if there are two American developers instead of one, it makes sense to just let us do our work here). The interesting irony, of course, is that if we hire Linda onto our team, our roles will be reversed and I will find myself acting as her boss!
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