Almost there...

Friday, September 28, 2001

I got a new toy in the mail today. Actually I've gotten new toys in the mail almost every day at work this week. First I got a new backpack that I bought from Overstock.com. When we signed up for AT&T@Home service, we got a $25 gift certificate. I needed a new bag anyway, so voila! $2.90 later, I've got a groovy new little pack that's a bit more stylish than the green monster I have been toting. And though I was expecting shipping delays, it got here three days after I ordered it. Woohoo! So a couple days later I got a new book - Javascript - The Definitive Guide. I found that used online at Albris. Then I finally got the Toad the Wet Sprocket CD I ordered from half.com back in July. And the next day I got the Romeo and Juliet vol. 2 soundtrack I ordered from half.com just the other day. Then the other night when I was working stupid late, I ordered a Gymnastik Ball to sit on at work. So that's the new toy that started this treatise. I'm bouncing on it right now. Boingy boingy boingy! I started up blowing it up with my own two lungs, but luckily Ty had a really cool hand pump and I finished filling it in less than five minutes. And according to our admin, my new office chair should be here sometime next week! I am consumer! Here me shop! K-ching! Luckily, my project is paying for a whole lot of it. I guess I'm doing my part for our economy too. Actually, I'm just getting some really cool stuff, and I'm really glad the web exists because I wouldn't be buying half of it if it weren't for the ability to shop online.

Thursday, September 27, 2001

God speaks!

Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Today for lunch we had a team pizza party. Sitting there talking to one of the consultants, we were discussing how often we have to turn on and off bolding in our documents and how often we end up hitting Ctrl-V or Ctrl-N instead. She attributed it to "sausage fingers" which I can say she doesn't have. I suggested that it would be cool if the standard keyboard had an easy to reach single key that did that. She heartily agreed and said, "Hey, you should design that and sell it." I suggested that though it would be cool, the problem was in getting someone to produce it. So, if anyone is out there, that's what I want for Christmas - a keyboard that has a single bold button. Heck, you could even make the formatting trio: bold, italics, and underline. Maybe put it just under the Delete, End, and Page Down keys. That would be cool. Yah.

Friday, September 21, 2001

There's a moth beating himself on the outside of my window. I keep hearing him tapping. Apparently the light of my office is the most interesting thing in the night for him. How funny. He's outside and wants in. I'm trapped in here and want nothing more than to get out. Too bad I can't convince him to write payroll curriculum for me so we'll both be happy.

Thursday, September 20, 2001

Mini brain break. Working late. Checked my mail. Found out my pirate name: Mad Anne Bonney. I'm described this way: "Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!" Um. Yah. Heh.

Modern medicine is failing me. Truly, if you aren't actively bleeding, or suffering from something that risks death, then the suggestion seems to be, "Put some ice on it. And take some Motrin." If I hear that one more time from a doctor, I'm going to scream. On Tuesday I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with plantar fascitis. Basically, that means that the back end of my arch is in pain most of the time, it hurts to stand up, and occasionally cramps spectacularly (to the point of waking me up at night). This is an injury that has developed for no readily apparent reason even though all of my dance shoes and regular shoes have arch supports in them. And the cure? Four to six weeks of sitting on my ass, with ice and Motrin. Grr.

Then yesterday at work I started noticing a weird bump in my right hand where my ring finger joins my palm. So I called Kaiser, and the advice nurse said, "Sounds like a ganglion cyst. Let's have you go in to get it checked just to be sure." When I got there they said, "It's harmless. Use some ice and Motrin to ease the pain." Now just for the record, my idea of harmless is not something that causes me pain and prevents me from typing or carrying things in my right hand.

Now sure, these are just two incidents, but I could give you the longest litany of conditions that have struck me over the years that the solution is to merely live with it and maybe take some Motrin. I'm getting really sick of it. I've got enough ganglion cysts all over my body at this point that I'm convinced that by the time I'm forty, I'm going to be one giant lump of lumps. There's another condition (which Rick and I share, and both had before we met) that causes weird blisters to show up on our hands and feet. We've both been told, "Well, it's not contagious, but it's just the way your body works, and there's no way to fix it." For something that causes unnecessary callouses, itching, and occasional pain, and leaves my feet looking like a warzone from time to time, having no treatment or cure is a major bummer.

Western medicine seems wholly wrapped up with curing those that are dying and ignoring those that are merely suffering. I know that's probably because there are so many things that are killing people that there aren't resources to necessarily research non-terminal diseases. But what if curing some of these things ends up illuminating things about other illnesses? Or what if some of these things turn out to be early symptoms of something more serious?

Anyway, I'm just really dissatisfied by being shined on and told that my aches and pains and ailments are "harmless" and trivial. They are significantly decreasing my quality of life and I want to feel like they have at least been acknowleged. Plus, just once in a while, I'd like to hear, "You know, this is something we can fix."

Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Awwww, isn't that sweet. Jerry Falwell's trying to apologize. Note, he didn't say what he said was horribly wrong and apologize for being a narrow minded bigot. He simply said his remarks were "harsh and ill timed." Certainly, better times for gay bashing will be found again soon.

My personal favorite comment in the article is this:
"In a common response, another correspondent wrote: "Falwell and Robertson would do well to reflect on the fact that this tragedy was begat by men who bear a remarkable resemblance to themselves: that is, religious zealots who are motivated by deep hatreds.""

Well this is awfully interesting. You know, it's been occurring to me for days how convenient it was for Mr. Bush that intelligence didn't discover the terrorist plot before it happened. No sir, don't like it.

So last night when Rick finally got home after slaying the virus that ate his work, he shuffled into the kitchen with a sort of Hi Honey that made me wonder what he was up to. At the time, I was up to elbows in dinner and mostly wishing I had an extra hand. I got home last night and seemed to snap out of my funk and immediately notice how messy the house was. So I cleaned the whole downstairs, cleaned out the refrigerator and freezer, and used the remaining good vegetables to make lemon grass rice noodle soup, pot stickers, and chow mein with bok choy, onions, and broccoli. After dinner, Rick couldn't stand it anymore. He bought a toy and claimed, "I'm just doing my part to save our economy!"

Now we have our own personal copy of Dance Dance Revolution. I've played it on several occasions in the arcade, but most movie theaters (the last bastion of the arcade) have bumped up the per game price to two or three dollars. No thank you! So Rick moved the coffee table, busted out the PlayStation, and laid out the mats. We spent the next hour jumping around our living room. It's definitely even more fun at home where you don't have to worry about being humiliated in front of anyone who decided to see a movie that night, or the amazing little Korean kids who play so much that they have the patterns memorized. It's great exercise, and much to my great surprise, there's Rick standing next to me having a blast doing something remotely akin to dancing! The one thing we had trouble with was with the pad slipping on the carpet. We figure we'll put some sticky velcro on the back of the pad and attach it to a piece of plywood. One other great feature is that this game plays on the original Playstation. It's not a graphics intensive game (again reaffirming my strong belief that game play is too undervalued in favor of look), and there are tons of people out there with original Playstations who have yet to upgrade.

Hee hee. New toys are fun. And we're doing our part to save the economy and prove we're good American consumers. Er, yah.

Here's an interesting article published in May that in hindsight seems to suggest that we may have funded our own destruction.

Monday, September 17, 2001

So you remember that psychology experiment I was doing a week ago? Well, the premise was that they are studying the brains of right handed women and their negative responses to photographed images. I was scheduled to go for the MRI portion of the test on Tuesday, and after checking to make sure we were still on, I went. It was not the right thing to do that night.

So, the night of the single greatest disaster of my lifetime, I spent not with friends or family, but in an MRI tube with a bite bar in my mouth to hold my head still and watching images of dead bodies, broken bones, rotting flesh, and other things which I could only associate with the days events. One of the tasks was to reassign the meaning of an image. They would show a particularly disturbing image, and I was supposed to reassign a meaning to the image so that it would disturb me less. I was less than successful at most of those. The only one I could think of was that that burned body with the skin split open was the body of a hijacker and I was glad he was dead. Of course, that didnt' feel any less negative, but perhaps somewhat more satisfying. By the end of the evening, I just wanted to go home and bury my head under the covers and not come out for at least two days. I still haven't gotten to do that. This weekend was far too hectic. I got to sleep in a bit on Sunday, but it only ended up giving me a headache. I need a three day weekend like nobody's business. And I'm just not going to get it any time soon.

The good news is that Tracey and Camryn made it safely to Seattle on a flight on Saturday evening out of Oakland Airport. I talked to Dirk on Sunday afternoon. He was happily playing with the baby who is just starting to make out her first words.

The bad news is that I again need to reaffirm my utter distate for organized religion. Several friends wrote back to say that religion isn't bad, it's just the fanatics. While this is true on some level, nothing in this world has caused more unnecessary war, death, famine, and greed. The Catholic church has to be the single most successful corporation of all time. They have survived for nineteen hundred years through every type of economy. They sell a product that is total vaporware and get people to pay whatever they can spare and more to gain it. Heck, during one period, the sale of indulgences netted them enough money to build the most spectacular office buildings every created. They hold more land worldwide, and yet are exempt from taxation in the United States and many other countries. You know the oil and tobacco companies would love to have the rules of business that the Catholic Church has. Heck, they even have their own country (technically), and the CEO (sometimes called The Pope) is a world reknowned character who is received by heads of state in almost every nation. Having been to Vatican City, I was amazed at how crass and commercial it was. You could bring anything to have the pope bless it, but anything bought at the Vatican gift shop could be blessed by the pope. How many overpriced rosaries were sold in that gift shop so that they could be blessed? Far too many. Why am I ranting about this again? That's simple. Jerry Falwell went on the 700 Club with Pat Robertson and flatly stated "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen,'" And when Pat Robertson could have taken a stand, he said, "I totally concur." The 700 Club is a nationally broadcast program shown on hundreds of local stations as well as cable across the country. It is fundamentalist, which many would argue reflects the values of "middle America." It includes advertising from many large American and multi-national companies. By all normal definitions in America, these guys are not extremists. They are far far to the religious right, but not far enough that people openly criticize these guys as freaks and deny them access to the airwaves. Like I said before, lots of companies pay for advertising during the show. When a dear friend of mine in Sacramento posted this to the barbarians mailing list, I read it first thinking it was a joke. When it didn't come to the punchline, I checked google to find other sources for the article and found it on ABC News. This is the worst sort of hatred possible in our world today. It is just the sort of thing that creates extremists who murder gay college students and feel no remorse. It is just the sort of thing that gives the Ku Klux Klan a bible to stand on. It is just the sort of thing that makes Islamic terrorists hijack planes and crash them into the World Trade Center. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, I call you out. You are no better than Osama bin Laden and those that destroyed the World Trade Center. In fact, you may be worse because having seen it done, you should know better. I sincerely hope that our government sees fit to indict Jerry Falwell for all of the hate crimes he has incited over the years. He is America's Osama bin Laden.

Thursday, September 13, 2001

Americans scare me

Another thing I've been thinking about is the goals of war. War is so different these days because land is not the most important thing anymore. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, they were actually trying to take over the world. These days, having too much land can be as much a burden as a blessing. Generally the only land that is fought over now is small patches like Jeruselem or bits of Ireland, both having heavy religious significance. Other wars generally aren't grabs for territory, and territory is only incidental to the war over Ireland. So what are the goals of modern warfare? I'm not sure. Maybe religious supremacy. Maybe for power in some form or another. Maybe money. Money is as powerful an asset as land once was. I don't know, but religion always seems to figure so prominently in the hatred of one people for another. Islam vs. Christian, Catholic vs. Protestant, etc. I wonder what we would fight over if there was no religion. Would we fight less? I guess it's time for me again to revisit the roots of my beliefs. Though I have occasionally identified with various types of pagans, I've not even found those experiences satisfying. I truly believe that all religion is an evil that separates us and gives us another way to determine us vs. them. It's not that I don't believe that there are forces greater than us in the universe, or that there may be some cosmic plan. I just think that religion is separate from that and an evil on this earth.

Okay, so maybe my brain isn't getting much better after all. Still having a really hard time concentrating today. I browsed over to Fucked Company and found a really well written piece by Pud (a local New Yorker) instead of the usual flippant trash talk. I'm going to post the text here since I haven't any idea how long it will be on FC.

Hi,

I want to offer my sincere condolences to anyone reading this who can't find, or has lost, a family member, relative, or friend.

"You have no idea what just happened, do you," she said.
Things certainly are different now. I don't have to tell you that the loss of a few hundred thousand jobs, people being mistreated by their employers is nothing in comparison to the events of September 11th, 2001.

I've been living in a somewhat secluded hotel room in New York City for the past few weeks, writing. I woke up that fateful morning when one of my friends called me.


The first thing I noticed was the smell of burning. You know, that smell where you walk around the place and look for something, an oven maybe, you might have left on.

"You have no idea what just happened, do you," she said.
Next thing I did was turn on the TV. Soon as I figured it out, I tried calling my parents and my older brother. Couldn't get through.

I walked outside. Being about two miles from the scene, I took the stairs instead of the elevator.

All roads around me were closed except for emergency vehicles. Most of the people I saw walking around looked shocked, but the kind of shocked where they almost looked like zombies, blank and expressionless. A few people were running.

A lot of people were crying. Two types of crying. The "I just saw a really sad movie" type of crying, and the "my son just died" type of crying.

"You have no idea what just happened, do you," she said.
There were long lines at every pay phone as cell phone service stopped working due to transmitters located atop of the World Trade Centers. I overheard one phone call, this young Wall Street-looking guy was crying on the phone, "Jimmy and I made it out, I don't think Mike made it."

I saw an old women sitting on the curb, head in her hands.

I saw those "the end is coming!" Jesus guys all over the place, yelling and screaming, throwing their hands in the air, telling me the end is near.

All the while, deafening sirens everywhere. Clusters of police cars, big green military trucks, fire trucks and ambulances. Soldiers with machine guns.

Emergency vehicles headed downtown toward Wall Street were clean, ones coming back up were covered in ash.

"You have no idea what just happened, do you," she said. I walked by a hospital. It had three main entrances. Outside one entrance there were hundreds of people lined up to give blood. There were big signs saying, "Family, around back." Around back were groups of people with photographs of family and loved ones. The hospital was handing out papers that I think had the names of known survivors.

The third entrance was obscured by a sea of stretchers, ambulances, nurses, doctors, and media.

I'm fortunate.

What about the future? The future of FC? The future of news? The future of entertainment? How could somebody like Jay Leno return to work? How could you watch an episode of "Law & Order" right now?

You can't enjoy it yet. At least, I can't.

"You have no idea what just happened, do you," she said.
The key here is to not let those fuckers, whoever did this, win. Things must go back to normal. While I wouldn't be able to appreciate a new Simpsons episode today, tomorrow, or for a while, it'll happen eventually, and we've got to be able to enjoy it.

Every day I receive countless email and contact from people who were laid off, abused and lied to by their employers. They tell me that FC is therapy. I've read hundreds of personal emails from people who've lost their jobs, just got married, just had kids, just bought a house, are in financial ruin. They tell me they visit FC and see that they're not alone, they see that it's not their fault.

They tell me FC brings them some light that they can't get anywhere else. They send me details about what's going on with their companies, how they got screwed and taken advantage of, and ask me to post it.

I receive over 1,000 emails every day. I've never, not once, received an email from anyone dismayed that their company was listed on FC. Only thanks. The only exception being dirty CEO's whom I've exposed (eFront, etc.).

I'm frustrated now because there's not much I can do to help with what just happened. I'm lucky enough to be at the helm of this relatively huge force, a website, a community visited by over 4 million people monthly. When the Edgewater Tragedy happened, I started a fund and you collectively donated over $18,000. When I opened up free advertising for non-profits*, you uploaded tons of banners.

We can't let them win, we mustn't change.

Until they ask me to go to war, the only thing I can do, the only thing we can do, is go on with business as usual.

Keep rocking on,
Pud

As my brain is starting to get it's processing power back (translated: I'm starting to be able to think about things outside of the attack), I'm recalling that this last weekend I ended up watching most of WarGames on TV. After it was over, I turned to Rick and commented that this film was such an interesting artifact of the time. It was made at the cusp between the Cold War Age and the Information Age. Kids were using the computer to dial in (over the then unnamed internet) to change their grades, and oh, y'know, incidentally start a computer simulation that nearly caused World War 3. The age of the Cold War was nearly over, but there was no hint of that yet. The age of the internet and rapid exchange of information and such was just beginning. This movie sat on the edge without any clue of what it had captured. Only 18 years later can we see what an interesting snapshot it captured.

I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again, but when I was teaching high school in 1997-99, my students had no conception of what the Cold War meant. They had no concept of living each day under the threat of nuclear annhilation. When I tried to explain that we spent a lot of time being very worried about what the Russians were up to and that we felt we could be bombed out of existence at any moment, most would just wrinkle their foreheads, and one would say, "But Russia can't even feed itself. What's so scary about them? We could take them out if we wanted to." To them, America was invincible. I doubt any of them are feeling quite as invincible now. Who knows. It might actually do them some good in the long run.

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

And another thing. Everyone keeps talking about being angry at the terrorists. I'm not feeling angry at them at all, and I'm wondering why. I feel deeply sad for those that died and their friends and families. I feel anxious about the future. I feel afraid to travel. I feel worried about our economy. I feel vulnerable. I feel really really sad about the pain that people are enduring. I feel deeply troubled about those who are calling from inside the rubble asking to be rescued.

As for the terrorists, I just want to know why they did it. Why did they choose the targets they chose? And what did we do to piss them off so much that they were willing to sacrifice their lives to get back at us? Maybe once I have answers to these questions, I'll be able to get angry. In the meantime, I just want to start a dialog and try to understand their anger.

And in the meantime, I'm just feeling sad. Everytime I imagine New York City without the twin towers, everytime I replay the image of the building falling, I can't imagine why this had to happen.

You know, what realize surprises me one day later is how callous and unfeeling some people can be. My manager suggested that the reason I didn't make it in to the office on time was because I "just got sucked into the TV". This one true on one level, but not in the sense that she meant it. She has a tendency to think of me as a young kid who is just like all those other young kids who watch too much TV and don't know much of anything. It's getting really irritating. She made another snide remark about Jo-Ann, who made it on time, but who was crying upon arrival. My manager said, "Oh she's just upset about her boyfriend because he's a cop." Because clearly there was nothing else to be upset about - like maybe the destruction of two of the tallest, most heavily populated buildings in the country by a terrorist attack! Or maybe an attack on our military headquarters! Or maybe even the trivial destruction of four planes in a one hour time period? Sheesh.

Rick got a page from his boss at 9:30 wondering why he wasn't there yet. When he got in, Randy said, "So why were you late?" Rick explained that he was watching the news coverage. Randy said, "Well I know it's sensational and all, but that doesn't mean the work day was called off." Maybe not at Midway West, but in a whole lot of other places it was.

It was this sort of callous disregard for how others may react to the same input that just startled me. Sure, maybe it didn't seem like such a big deal to them, but why didn't it? And how dare they be so insensitive as to chastize those that were feeling awful. Ugh. Makes me wanna scream at them.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

I finally made it to work. As I was driving in, I started trying to figure out why it seemed like I couldn't leave at 7:15 this morning when I needed to. Then I started thinking about how much history has just occurred in one morning.

At 6:18 my alarm woke me up. There was something about a plane flying into the World Trade Center. Didn't make any sense. Rick and I both looked up and then I hit the snooze button and went back to sleep. 6:27, I woke up again and NPR was still talking about the World Trade Center. Mustn't have been a dream. Rick suggested turning on the t.v. It was real. The two towers were both burning. I decided to wake up Kevin in the other room.

We all spent the next half hour huddled around the t.v. in our bedroom, but I still had one piece of my mind in "gotta get up, get dressed, go to work mode." As I put on my clothes, I kept pausing and trying to wrap my head around it. Then the first tower went down. It disappeared behind a cloud of smoke and dust. We sat there watching CNN, trying to figure out if it was really gone. The smoke wouldn't clear, but it soon became clear that it was gone. One tower gone. I've only been to New York once, but I just couldn't imagine the New York skyline without the towers. Then we heard about the Pentagon. Suddenly, it wasn't just New York. It was both government property and commercial property. It was two different cities. I think that's when my brain stopped being able to hold it all. And that was the same time that I was supposed to be leaving for work. I started making a few calls to see if life had been called off for the day. I figured it must've been, but how many people saw what I was seeing? It turns out, not that many. Most were already on their way to work when they heard about it on the radio.

Then the second tower went down. The first image I saw of it happening had a few spikes of the broken building sticking up for a few moments after it started to fall, and then suddenly those spikes seemed to turn to powder and blow into the cloud of ash. All that was left were some papers drifting down to the streets of New York. There were reports of a fire on the Capitol Mall. The Capitol and the White House had been evacuated. All air travel nationwide was being shut down. I didn't feel like I could walk away now and go to work where I'd be insulated from the news for the next four hours. It wasn't clear at all that this was anywhere near over yet. We were under attack, and we didn't even know from where.

So, after trying to reach my manager and ask for a directive and reaching only voice mail, I called my coworker who was leading user acceptance testing with me. She was in her car, on her way to work, and she was crying. She said she was angry and emotional and upset, and didn't know how she'd get through the day. I realized at that moment just how stunned and numb I felt. My brain was trying to make a pattern out of it all. It was trying to figure out what exactly happened and how it was going to affect me. So I decided to make waffles. I have no idea why this seemed like the right thing to do. I guess I just felt like I had to do something, and breakfast was as good as any.

Then another plane went down in Pennsylvania. It didn't hit it's target. Perhaps that crash holds the most hope for me. For the planes that hit the World Trade Center, we'll very likely never find the black box recorder for those planes. For the plane that hit the Pentagon, we might. But the one that grounded in the woods in Pennsylvania, we almost assuredly will within a day or two. We may find out how it happened on that plane and where they were going.

I spent the next two hours eating breakfast, talking it all over with Kevin and Rick, reading the email that started flying on the Barbarians list and the Mad Lab Rabbits list. It was only after this time passed did I start to realize that it wasn't going to happen here today. It was well after 9 a.m. in California and nothing else had been added to the list of tragedies for an hour or so. Rick went on in to work because his boss was paging him, wondering where the hell he was. It was one of those things. If you didn't turn on the t.v. at exactly the time that we did, it wouldn't hit you the same way. It wouldn't leave you wondering what was coming next. It was just a horrible thing that happened on the other side of the country. We were figuring out for ourselves that the reason they had taken planes that were scheduled for cross-country flights because they had more fuel. We were hearing first hand that a man on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania had locked himself in the bathroom of the plane and called 911 (on 9/11) to say that the plane had been hijacked and that it was no joke. We saw it all in real time as soon as it was happening. And we were realizing that this day had just inagurated a new age. The nineties are now truly over (in the sense that the sixties didn't really end on January 1, 1970). What this new age would be called, we didn't know, but we knew what started it and when knew what was going to drive it. Times have changed. We're no longer in the Information Age, or the Dot-Com age, or anything else. From this point forward, the nation has a new focus. At least that's how it feels to me. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 05, 2001

Hah! I know I'm not the only one who thinks that the lack of a gender neutral pronoun in English is a serious issue, but little did I know I'd have Jane Austen and Bill Shakespeare backing me up. Linguistic rebels, I call you forth! We must band together and take back "their"! Let not the tyranny of the male default or the cumbersome nature of his or her reign. There is no need to reinvent the language, merely a need to redefine it! Woohoo!

Would you believe I spent two years of my life teaching high school English? Go figure.

I am beta tester! Hear me write feedback! My life seems to be all about testing lately. I'm working on the Nanofictionary beta test. Round One is done and I just printed the new cards for Round Two so I'm hoping to talk Kevin into a night of gaming on Thursday or Friday.

At work I'm facilitating User Acceptance Testing. I'm actually currently in a room with fifteen people frantically typing information into PeopleSoft to see if the system works the way it's intended to. So far it's a lot of boring, repetitive data entry, but next week we get to start firing (fictitious) people and retiring them and killing them off! Woohoo! Okay, so maybe there's no real way to make human resources terribly exciting. Too bad.

And I'm also a subject for a psychology experiment. They're studying right handed women's negative reactions while scanning their brains with using MRI. Yesterday I went for my pre-MRI session. They had me rate several images on how negatively I reacted to them. Some of them were really negative. In fact, as I left, I promised myself I'd do something fluffy and light last night. When I arrived this morning, I couldn't remember what it was I was going to write about. It started out nice enough, but got ugly quick. Images. A door. A broken chair. A starving child. An infected rotting foot. Broken bones protruding from flesh. A chair. A sunset. Bombing victims. And so on. Anyway, the point was to rate how negative you felt about certain things on a scale of one to seven. Not fun exactly, but I've always wanted to participate in a psych experiment and I never got around to it in college. Plus, I get pretty pictures of my brain to take home after this one. I'm just amazed at how much I had put it out of my mind by the time I got home. Impressive. Of course, I had another beta test to distract me when I did get home after running errands and such. There was a Fed Ex tag on the door. They had come to deliver the equipment for my last and most secret beta test. Having signed a non-disclosure agreement, that's all I can say about that. But I'm just really excited about it!

Tuesday, September 04, 2001

It was really nice having an extra day off. I didn't realize what a difference that would make until I was driving home from the Plough last night at 11:30 and not feeling exhausted and not wholly dreading my early wake up call in the morning. I felt like I'd had a nice relaxing weekend, gotten most of what I needed to do done, and still had time left over for rest and recreation. Very pleasant.

I went to visit little Logan yesterday. He's very tiny - 6lbs. 2 oz. right now. Itty bitty. But everything is there and he looks just perfect. I brought Sean and Elizabeth some home cooked foods which they could slice up and microwave to avoid anything like cooking for the next few days. I figure I'll fix more towards next weekend. I also had to do it. I gave Logan his first DVD - Logan's Run. Heck, I figure the kid has to see it sometime. Sean and Elizabeth both cheered because they couldn't remember if the babies start out with clear stones or green stones in their palms.

This morning is the first day of User Acceptance Testing round two. This means two things. First, I had to be here at 8:00. Still, I was surprised at how painless it was to get up this morning even though I'd only had about five hours of sleep. Second, I realized that the only way I could get coffee this morning was to stop on my way into work since the computer labs don't have a coffee machine. So I decided to stop by Krispy Kreme and see about getting coffee for me and some donuts for the testers. Much to my surprise, not only was there no traffic congestion on 101 (a route I don't usually take, largely due to traffic congestion), but the Krispy Kreme had no line. This either means one of two things. Either the blush has gone off the apple as far as Krispy Kreme goes, or everyone in the Bay Area has realized that no matter how good the donuts are, the coffee is just not up to snuff. I've had stronger coffee at Denny's. I've been there several times and I keep thinking that it's just this one batch. But it seems that's just how they make it. And if Krispy Kreme is going to last for the long run, it's all about the coffee. Their donuts, while delicious, don't actually contain an addictive substance. Coffee does, and a coffee drinker will go wherever they have to to satisfy their addiction. The other possible conclusion is that they Bay Area is really in a recession. If folks aren't even buying donuts anymore, then things are getting desperate.