The point here is that we ate lunch. He slept through his alarm this morning and had to bolt out the door without his lunch, so around noontime he asked me if I was going to get food. I looked out the window and it was not raining right that moment (although we'd just seen a dramatic band of rain sweep across the length of the building: clear -- RAIN -- clear again) so I said, OK.
He didn't have any particular ideas for where to go, other than a pizza place that I'd been to once and didn't much care for, which was too far of a walk on a day with rogue storm stripes out there -- so he made me decide where to go. I picked Rebecca's at semi-random. He let me go ahead of him in line, then ordered the same thing I got. We took our sandwiches back to the office to eat in the cafeteria.
When we got there, there were three developers sitting around a table, discussing what the defining moment of Tom Cruise's career was. Well, two of them were discussing it while the third was trying to understand how they'd gotten on that conversational track to begin with. Anyway, Fritz and I joined them (I let Fritz have my pickle) and talk soon turned to the large corkboard that was propped up against the wall in the corner.
"So, how long do you think that corkboard is going to sit on the floor there in the corner? Two years? Three?"
"I was going to say two years, yeah."
"And I love how we can see those lovely magnetic strips stuck to the wall now."
We agreed it was pretty unattractive. Imagine two, mostly parallel, dark silverish horizontal strips, roughly six feet long, half a foot wide. The bottom one is a little bent, sagging at one end. At regular intervals along each strip are three pieces of duct tape, sticky side facing away from the wall. Now that the corkboard no longer covers the sight, you can reverse-engineer the setup: these two long, flat magnets were taped to the back of the corkboard so that it, in turn, would stick to the wall, which is metal.
(The wall is also lime green. I think the official name for the color, according to our company branding guidelines, is "tennis ball.")
The corkboard has various official notices pinned to it, the legally mandated fliers about minimum wage laws, employee rights, first aid and safety info, and so on.
"Who thought that you could duct tape magnets to that huge board and that it would stay?" someone wondered.
We agreed it was pretty naive. There are some things, sad to say, that duct tape can't do.
Talk turned to other subjects. "I went to Isaac's," said a fourth developer who'd joined us, gesturing to his sandwich, something in the sub family.
"Where's Isaac's?" asked Fritz.
"Next to Rebecca's."
"Isaac's isn't really called Isaac's. What's its real name again?"
"Something lame, like 'Kendall Food Market'."
Isaac's is a better name, really.
"Where'd you get that sandwich?" one of the developers who frequented Isaac's asked me.
"Huh. I've never been to Rebecca's, but that looks pretty good." It was a grilled sandwich: roast beef, cheese, sandwich vegetables.
"I've never been to Isaac's," I replied. Probably because it had such a terrible name.
"Wait," someone said. "They taped magnets ... to a corkboard ... so that they could pin up notices on a wall."
Attached to the adjacent wall, above the fallen corkboard, was an assortment of a dozen or so very strong office magnets of the kind that we all use to attach papers to the walls of our cubicles. These magnets, in bright primary colors, can be found everywhere -- not only in cubes, but on office and conference room walls (most often not attaching anything in particular to the walls). They can also be found in the intersections between the panels of our drop ceilings, either holding banners or other decorations in place, suspended above our heads, or just because they can be.
"It just hit me," the developer continued. "There's like one -- two -- three levels of adhesion there, just to put notices up on a wall."
"Yep, that's how we solve engineering problems at this company. It's called ingenuity."
FROM THE RANDOM FEATS of writing department:
Robin Sloan wrote a short story entirely during a flight from San Francisco to New York, and as such it's unreasonably good. If you liked his story "Mr. Penumbra's Twenty-Four Hour Book Store," that I linked to a while ago, check out his Kickstarter project for a novella in a similar vein. (His project updates feed the part of my brain that likes the meta-wankery of WFC postmortems. Except the one about failing to understand the logistics of manufacturing actual, physical books. That made me sad.)
(This book project looks pretty cool, too, for entirely different reasons.)
Not to be outdone in crazy acts of fiction, Max Barry attempted to write a short story live in front of an audience at the Melbourne Writer's Festival, with rather less success. His brainstorming notes are kind of cool, though.
(The writer-in-residence thing is not new though. Well, not completely new.)
In a link for bo: Zombie-ification of Literature Shambles Onward. I don't really have anything to add to that.
EVER HAVE A MOMENT when you suddenly realize how much you love the Internet? I recently had one of those when I came across this song.
ALL RIGHT THEN. I can close a bunch of tabs now.
Update [2009-10-8 23:45:30 by Kellnerin]:
I'm seeding the poll with the votes of the lunch attendees:
- Developer #1 voted for the dance in Tropic Thunder
- Developer #2 suggested A Few Good Men.
- Fritz went with jumping on Oprah's couch.
- Developer #4 said "there are so many ..." but opted for the silhoutted make-out scene with Kelly McGillis in Top Gun.
- I don't think Developer #3 ("How did we get on this subject again?") offered an opinion, although he did comment, "Eyes Wide Shut -- did anybody see that? Weird fucking movie." "In a good way or a bad way?" "Mmmmm ... more bad than good."
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