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Wednesday May 17, 2000, 01:41

Everything was happy today. The world basically looked down and smiled. It was pretty amazing. I got to work a bit later than I have been recently, rolling in at around 9:45 and, not to my surprise at all, nobody was there yet. This was an expected executive outing, and I was glad to have the office to myself. I spent the morning downloading Juliana Hatfield mp3s and attempting to do some work while waiting for 11am to roll around.

The little clock next to the systray turned to 11. As did the clock behind me. As did the big neon one down in the executive suite. See, today, Juliana Hatfield was playing the last three of her twenty-one store tour through Massachusetts to all of the Newbury Comics stores. Acoustic set. Really short. But, concert-like experience.

Shared experience. Human experience.

So I ditched work for a bit. You know, no biggie. Took the doc I'm writing on the train with me, did work on the way in, got downtown and walked out of the subway station.

And into a time warp.

Out into New York. The financial district, about 10 months ago when I started working at iTurf. The sky was blue. There were people walking around in suits and nice shoes. There were tall buildings and narrow winding roads. Large open plaza spaces next to skyscrapers. I smiled. It felt like a real city, with real people doing real things instead of a college city with college students doing college things, which is what my life feels like most of the time where I live.

And I just sort of walked around down town, walking by the little sandwich places which were in the middle of their lunchtime office worker rush. It was about 10 to noon.

The set itself was pretty non-eventful. I didn't really like her new stuff, finding the lyrics rather tedious. Or rather, the repetition of the one phrase in the refrain over and over and over again. She was tired, granted, having done 18 of these performances in the last six days. And it was acoustic, which, which nice and sweet, lacks that certain, punch, of a full band.


Human experience. Fifty or so people in a store, a store never meant for a performance, crammed into aisles and around pillars, watching this woman next to the cash registers with her guitar and a microphone. The girl ahead of me wore a messenger bag, her pants rolled up to mid-shin. In front of her, a man in a suit. Behind me, one of the record store employees. The woman to my right craned her head to look around the suit jacketed shoulders of the man in front of us. All to watch a woman play her guitar for half an hour.

Between songs, everyone would clap, loudly. A man in the back whistled a loud whistle through his fingers.

Everyone was happy.

I got a poster.

And I got to get out into the real, sunny, world for a couple of hours which pretty much made the rest of the day for me that much more enjoyable. We walked to the subway stop, my friend Mike and I (Mike, who works in that area doing tech support things or something) and I headed back out to my dark, dark office.

The always ask me at work why I don't turn on the lights when I get in. I discovered it today. I don't turn the lights on in the office becasue I like natural light. See, my desk is in the middle of this long room with two windows on a short wall at one end. The executive suite, where the founders of this company sit, is down at the windowed end of the office. Which leaves me gasping for more light. The overhead track lights are no better than fluoresants, but with them off, with maybe my desk lamp on, the pure white sunlight makes it almost to my desk.

I live off that light.

It reminds me of this book that we read (or some of my friends read) in elementary school about this scienece project gone awry where some students turn their teacher green and photosynthesizing. It was a strange book, and I don't remember any of the plot other than the teacher who turned into a plant. Well, not exactly a plant, but with that plant element.

Anyway, I'm not green. I have more of a yellowish tinge to me.

Which was another reason getting out in the sun was good for me today.

So back to the office, where I stopped in on our neighbors and told them that yes indeed we would be interested in participating in a recycling program for the building. Bottles and cans and paper. Hi Erica, nice to meet you.

And then it was back to writing more product specifications. In a dark(ish) office, alone, still. The meeting was aparently taking a while, and I was wondering whether they were going to be back for the four o'clock meeting we had. Status report. Update, as it were, on my status.

My status. Yeah, my status. The status where I've got to take control of the tech part of this company since nobody else can. The part where I realize that I don't know what I'm doing and we're going to have to hire someone who does and how do you know the validity qualifications of someone who is supposed to be an expert in a field in which you are not. After all, that is why you are hiring said person.

Write write write.

I've discovered that if I write enough technical documentation and spend enough of your time architecting these systems at a high enough level that both the business people and the development team will understand it, I start to have this urge urge urge to write something interesting with some, if not literary, at least humanistic value. That doesn't seem right either.

I wanted to write words that made me happy and that were interesting to read. I mean, more detail about session cookies and credit card verification just isn't interesting.


As a result, I found myself writing big emails and big imoods and thinking and thinking and really really wanting to talk to somebody. To have some sort of input into my life. Some sort of interesting human contact.

I wanted conflict!

I actually wanted to have something, anything. A conversation. A debate. A lively bitch session. Anything. But instead, I was churning out all these words which might have well been spit out by some Biztech Jargon Generator 2000 (tm).

And then I got wrapped up in sendmail and pine and all this fun stuff that really had no bearing on anything else other than it was a chance for me to totally geek out which is something that I can't do when I'm sitting in front of WORD all day long. Software developer what?

So I was all playing around with sendmail until I realized that I was going to be late for my movie date with the aforementioned Mike, so I rushed out of the office and managed to miss the trolley by about half a block. I seem to be good at that sort of thing.

And got to the theatre a couple of minutes late. 9:25 or so for a 9:30 show. Get our popcorn (read: dinner) and tickets. Go into the theatre. And realize that the movie's already started and we've missed the first five or so minutes. And the irony of the situation? Mike was going to see "High Fidelity" with my again because he missed the last five minutes of the movie last time.

Dumb fucking luck.

The movie was wonderful and made me want to get up and do something with my life, something that I care about. Whatever. See if I can get up the guts to do that one.

And when the movie was all done, I looked at my ticket, which had a sale time of 9:31. Which means that we got into the theatre by 9:32. Which means that the movie started at least three minutes early. Which is fucking ridiculous for an eight dollar expense of mine.

"Excuse me," I said to the kid behind the counter, "with whom should I file a complaint?"

He phoned the manager, and then appologized for the delay.

When the manager arrived, I explained to her the situation, about how it was pretty silly that we got there 2 minutes late and missed five minutes of the movie. She explained that the previews are run BEFORE the show time and timed so that the movie actually starts on time. Woah! I'd never heard of that before. But she was very considerate and gave us free passes to a movie. I mean, that's pretty much the answer, right? Customer has a complaint, give them passes. She had them in her pocket all ready for us.

I mean, she did her job. I though that maybe she could have had a bit more charisma, but I think that was just me looking for some more friendly people in the world. Then again, she was the night manager of a 5 theatre cinema, so how much charisma was I expecting. Not that I'm putting her down at all. I mean, I have actually considered ditching this fucking computer thing to work in a movie theater for a while. I mean, Adam did it for a while, right?

Here's the thing though. I was really riled up. Not about the movie, but about work. I had all this pent up energy and it really had to be directed at SOMEONE, or I was just going to collapse into a pile of tech specs. It didn't really matter who or what, but I was really in the mood to be all confrontational. Something to do. Someone with whom to exchange words. Where I wouldn't know the outcome of the situation.

When I'm writing the spec, and the documentation, and thinking everything up, there's no myestery. It's all me. It all comes out of MY BRAIN! Anything that I write down, I've thought of. There's nobody else in the office who even knows what a computer is. It's all me! I AM SICK OF MY BRAIN!

So, erm. Yeah. I just ran out of words.

A hearty thank you to the night manager at the Loews Nickelodeon Theatre in Boston on Comm ave. You saved me from my brain.


The source of my punchiness has been discovered in the litre of coke that I had prior to leaving the office today. Mmmm... caffeine.

Oh! There was this weird moment of recognition on the subway coming home on Sunday night. He sat there, big jeans, hooded sweatshirt with the hood covering scraggly hair and a beard. I, with my big jeans and black shirt and shoulder bag, carrying my book looked at him. He looked back, and eyes met, a flash of recognition, if not of each other as individuals, each other as part of some larger group. His hand went up, a flick of a wave. I smirked back, cocked my head to the side and looked away. When I looked back to the seat where he had been sitting, he was gone.

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