Thursday, September 29, 2005

Good Morning from the Man

First thing I see when I get into the office this morn -- a sign inside the brushed metallic doors of the elevator:

Doors May Open Prematurely. Be Careful When Existing.
Work Place Resources Have Been Notified.

As I pondered that bit of zen, the doors slid to a close. Like the prophesies of old, the sign vanished, obscured by the now closed door...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

You say tomato...I say to-mato

412 miles logged on my current sneaker. Almost time to buy a new pair, according to the Nike website. They actually recommend you replace every two weeks, but I think my range is within safe bounds. I always wince with remembrance when I walk into a sportshop for sneaks, because invariably I flash back to...

...self-consciously walking into the runner's section of a 'serious' sports store. I had just picked up running, and was going to upgrade my footwear. I didn't want to sound like a total newbie, so I had researched all the Key Words and In The Know Jargon and was rehearsing them in my head. I found a store advisor, a very fit-looking woman with slabs of granite where calves usually go. I changed my walk to a light swagger, and delivered my well-rehearsed script.

"Hey there, can you help me?"

"Sure, you looking for something?"

"I sure am. I've been running with, uh...(look quickly around and pick the first brand that pops into view) Asics all my life, but wanted to see what else's out there."

"Sir, you came to the right place! What's your gait look like?"

"(aha! key word!) Yeah, I've been told that I...over-prostate"

{moment of silence}

"..beg your pardon?"

"Y'know, over-prostate. The longer I go, the more it starts to hurt."

"...hmm. Sir, I dunno how to put it, but sneakers won't help you with that problem."

At this point, I'm thinking, oh great, a new hire. She doesn't know the terminology.

"{sigh} ok then, I guess I'll try elsewhere"

"You do that sir."

Later that day, I Google Runner's World for the sneaker reviews. To my dismay, the correct word I should have used was "Over-pronate."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

If we were a cartoon

Ran into a former colleague today during lunch. We worked together in another company some years ago and had nurtured a relationship that is hard to describe in words. If I could package it into a designer scent, perhaps it would be Calvin Klein's "Absolute Detest."

It's times like this I realize how lucky we are that we can't read each other's thought bubbles. The volume of bubbles would have blocked up traffic on both sides of us and filled up the cartoon panel that we were in. And the language! We woulda been yanked off syndication for sure.

But as it were, we exchanged polite greetings and went our merry ways. So my column survives yet another day.

Monday, September 26, 2005

And one for my golden retriever, please...

Rich People Trail(RPT, not to be confused with RTP, where I sometimes go to eat Buffalo meat), Sunday 7:11am.

We're in Los Gatos, a veritable beacon for the well-heeled. We're driving through the tony downtown area to get to the trail entrance. There are no strip malls here. These are boutiques nestled amongst tastefully adorned single-family homes (which cost as much as 5 or 6 single families make in a year).

AP spies a parking spot, and wrestles his '94 Accord between a 2005 BMW 740 and a brand-new Volvo S60. As the vehicle shudders to a halt, passerby and joggers look warily on. The silent W2 sensors have gone off, and the locals are nervous. It probably doesn't help that AP is wearing a knitted cap and dark glasses, giving him a I'm-making-a-withdrawal-at-the-711 look. He's just trying to stay warm; AP wears his hair short, and the morning is chilly. But the townsfolk don't know that. He may as well have "Blossom Hill Kidz" or "Thug Life" tattooed on his forehead.

But I gotta tell ya, the trail was beautiful. Very neatly maintained, free of motorized traffic, and very convenient. I was wondering why all the other joggers had lattes and identical golden retrievers in tow; it turns out that there are espresso kiosks on most mile markers and you can rent your very own accessory dog at the other end of the trail! Nice! Apparently there's also an option to hire throngs of adoring fans near the 10km mark to cheer you on to greater heights.

One of these days, when me and five or six families scrape together our combined life savings, we may be able to live on these hallowed cobblestone streets. Or at least in a nice designer refrigerator box beneath the bridge...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Friday the 13th Part XIX

First presentation, looked great: sesame seed bun lightly grilled, tomatoes, lettuce, slice of American, and a nice thick patty, First bite, not bad. The bread crust and the fluffy bread interior lent a satisfying tactile element to the sensory input provided by the savory blend of meat, spices and the acidic tang of ketchup. But then it happened. The cross-section revealed a multi-layered geographical map of details of which I was previously ignorant.

Ok, this meat is a little undercooked. I've done better just by sitting out in the sun too long.

Should I risk it? Of course not, food poisoning is nothing to trifle with. But then it taunted me. Feelin' lucky punk? Don't you wanna test out the Russian Roulette of natural selection? Are your genes up to snuff? Didn't think so! Why don't you go hang out by the sea turtles and pandas; we'll remember you as a stuffed diorama on the 2nd floor of the Museum of Natural History!

No lunch meat talks to me like that! I punished it by downing it in four swift bites. I chewed and swallowed with vengeance in my heart. Then it was gone.

But like the last scene in every horror flick, there was a little something to keep the audiences guessing. Perhaps Jason really isn't dead. Maybe Freddy's Nightmares will begin again. Maybe, just maybe, that hamburger isn't done with me yet?

We shall see....

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

News from the Front

Latest status report from the kitchen theater on the War on Ants. Initial field report here.

First deployment of the Terro Ant killer started two weeks ago. Update to initial reports showed a decrease in ant population, but wait!!!! They seem to be getting an immunity! In fact, these little buggers appear to be gathering around the bait after work, drinking a couple of nanopints, then calling it quits for the day. Some of the same ants appear to work a little hungover the next day, but otherwise able to function!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Lone Star

Texas. Big ol' Texas. Where meat is served three meals a day and sometime four.

The place where we went last night was pretty tasty; nice rack o' ribs, some steak fries, and a nice frosty pint of barbeque sauce to wash it down with. There was a man sitting at a table next to ours, trying to 'eat lite,' so he ordered buffalo wings. Chicken is better for you, yaknow, he said to his dining companion; as he wiped his fingers on the wet-naps. The hazy lighting of the restaurant made the hot sauce on his fingers look like he had just performed open-heart surgury. Given the diet, I suppose that's not a stretch.

I like steak as much as the next guy, buy after 6 meals, I think I need a salad. Or pehaps a serving of I Can't Beleive It's Yogurt, "Beef-n-Bacon bits" flavor, only avail at DFW airport.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Condition Red

*6:52am Sunday. Mile 3.5 of a 7 mile run. Somewhere in south San Jose.

Minor rumbles.
Ignore? Yes/No/Cancel. Press Yes.

*6:57am Sunday, Mile 4.1.

Rumblings grow slightly more urgent. Briefly consider stopping, but find no areas of opportunity. Besides, urgency crests, then subsides.
Ignore? Yes/No/Remind me Later. Press Remind Me Later.

*7:02am Sunday, Mile 4.6

The urgency and temporal relief come in sine wave fashion. I think I can make it home to mile 7. Starting to feel sweat, not from the heat, but a cold, clammy kind of sweat. Sine wave peaks come in shorter intervals. Internal dialogue with self begins; tempting self with images of making it all the way home.
Ignore? Yes/No/Remind me Later. Press No.

*7:06am Sunday, Mile 5.0

This is not a drill. Repeat, this is not a drill. Internal dialogue turns to internal pleading, promising myself untold riches if it would just hold on for a couple of minutes more. I spy a Starbucks. I will forever be grateful to its corporate open-door policy. I sprint in, and barely make it. Minutes later, I reemerge. I feel as though the weight of the world has lifted off of my shoulders. I have transcended...
Ignore? Yes/No/Remind me Later. Having narrowly averted a reboot, Press Yes.

*7:25am Sunday, Mile 7.0
Stop running. Home at last. I vow to purchase at least two grandes on the way to work tomorrow to repay that corner Starbucks for providing me with salvation.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Tech Odds

Actuarial tables used for calculating common office tech events:

"Conference" button hangs up on the folks you put on hold:

NetMeeting setup issues chews up the first 15 min. of the meeting:

Presenter gives up on NetMeeting; emails preso to all:

Embarrassing IM message projected onscreen during your preso:

You forget that there are folks dialed into a conference room:

Chance of the above happening when you're talking smack about that person:

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


1:45pm. Off-peak time for the breakroom microwave. There's only two, so people tend to line up if you go right at noon. I hate making small talk when I'm hungry and I'm pretty unpleasant company when my blood sugar is low. Usually, I'm too occupied with glaring at the timer dial for the person before me and willing the countdown to proceed faster. I'm famished and cranky, so I decide that I want to spare myself the aggravation and wait until a bit later.

Today, in the otherwise empty breakroom, three engineering types were huddled together, discussing something. Their conversation was indecipherable; they sounded almost like a fax machine making contact with the other party (that screeeeeeee bzeeeee shhhhhh screeeee noise). But as soon as one of them realized that an interloper was sharing airspace, conversation immediately halted. I was reminded of a spaghetti western when the the new sheriff pushes open the double pane door to the saloon, and the entire place drops what they are doing to stare at the stranger. The engineers look at each other, nod once, then disperse; Linux T-shirts fluttering in their wake.

One of them abruptly pops her head back into the breakroom, and glances furtively about. Before I can greet her, she makes a beeline to the microwave and retrieves her lunch. She casts a look sideways toward me, as if to make sure that I did not partake of any morsels in the few seconds that the food was left unattended.

I suddenly feel as though I lost my innocence. I now have this sneaking feeling that Marketing people aren't universally loved?

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