Friday, July 19th, 2002: An Open Letter to Dr. Lobster

Me Learn Draw #1 To current comic Kool Keith

2002-07-19 11:01:04
by: apon

So there you have it. I don't know if Rego has alerted the DrL guys to our letter yet, but I'm sure if he doesn't one of our many other readers will. We're hoping for the best on this one, so we'll let you know what Mike and/or Jeff have to say.

So, about Monday's rant. Sorry about that. I've been busy and jet-lagged, and I just forgot about it. I'll be adding a rant this evening detailing my wonderful adventures in the desert. It's already mostly written, but it still needs some editing (plus it's stored on one of the computers at home).

Did you know that there was a Thursday comic this week? I sure didn't.


The Trip
2002-07-20 17:00:36
by: apon

It's a little late, but the exciting tale of my trip to Arizona is finally here. Justin thought it was a bit on the long side, but I restrained myself and left out a lot of detail. I'll apologize in advance about the formatting; this started life as a series of ICQs, where I don't worry about such things. Hopefully I managed to at least catch most of the glaring typos and such.

  • woke up way too damn early so i could be ready when the shuttle arrived at 7:05. total sleep: ~2.5 hrs.
  • 7:10 - phone rings. shuttle guy. not actually here, he'll be here 'in a while'. ugh.
  • 7:58 - shuttle finally arrives. glad i fucking woke up so damn early. ugh.
  • in the shuttle - we seem to be making good time. where is all the traffic?? we arrive at bwi much too quickly.
  • time until my flight: 2+ hrs. ugh. begin reading PKD's _A Scanner Darkly_
  • security check-in - security guy examines my bag. takes out firewire hd. stares at it. turns it around, flips it over, stares some more. for better than 2 minutes. "what is this?" "a computer hard drive" "oh" drive goes back into bag, i proceed onward.
  • 1 hr until flight - get my ticket. seat E. on a 747. middle seat. shit.
  • 45 mins until flight - the flight is overbooked. $400 if you wait for the next flight. only 1 hour later. wish i could do that. stupid business trip.
  • flight currently boarding - hmm. when the heck are my coworkers getting here, anyhow? ... oh, they're finally here. that's good.
  • on the plane, on the ground (bwi) - hah, they payed too many people to stay off the flight. there are only 2 people in my row. i get the aisle seat!
  • on the plane, in the air - the blonde girl sitting in front of me is amazingly cute. we chat for a bit. (i suppose i was staring, and that must have caused her to strike up the conversation. that's the only series of events i can come up with, anyway.) she's younger than i had guessed. and going on to <i forget where>, this is just a connecting flight. owel.
  • on the plane, in the air - gto j-drama dvd rips are fun!
  • on the plane, on the ground (phx) - we are ~15 mins early. we wait nearly 1 hr for a free terminal to deplane. net loss: 45 mins.
  • in the terminal - wait for years for coworkers' checked luggage. why did they check luggage? ugh. get rental car. any lockheed employee can use car, don't need to let them know! need to be 25 to use car. ugh. we mention that i am well past 25 in dog years. lady behind counter chuckles. i'm sure she doesn't care who the fuck uses the car. finish waiting for checked luggage.
  • in the car, on the way to DPS - we stop in a walgreens parking lot. one coworker changes clothes in car while we wait. other coworker talking with his wife via cell phone informs her that first coworker is in underwear in car. she seems perplexed. i am finally informed that noone else is going to be wearing a tie. i gripe, then promptly remove tie. i am informed that i'm the only one who really needs one. i gripe that there's nothing wrong with either my hair or beard.
  • at DPS - we meet people. i actually remember 90% of the names, and 80% of where people are located. we install documentation. hooray! we install software on test machine. we build software on test machine. we run software on test machine. acouple of minor hitches along the way, but a couple of quick tests make everything seem fine. we depart. the kiss of death: one (or many) of us comment that this should go smoothly and be done very quickly.
  • at the hotel - we get rooms. we get given free dasani while waiting to find out about something or other. the place is pretty swanky. but not as swanky as the web site made it seem.
  • dinner - at the hotel. at the cheap place, the 'cafe'. they had lobster bisque at the freaking cafe. a coworker orders it. much too rich. i got surf and turf. at a place called a cafe. i spend roughly my per diem at the cafe. cripes.
  • after dinner, before room - trip to supermarket and liquer store. we make the mistake of turning left out of the hotel. we end up in a mexican annex of tempe. i buy 2 varieties of chips i've never seen before, and 2 bottles of strange mexican soda. hecho en mexico! coworker wonders if they take dollars. of course they do, what country doesn't?
  • room - i notice high speed internet access. i notice $10/day charge. i say to hell with that. i fall asleep well before 9pm phx time.
  • awake - at 6:<something>. it's not so bad, i'm still on east coast time. i'm still late to breakfast. this surprises noone.
  • breakfast - eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits and gravy, gigantic muffin, other stuff i now forget. so much for any pretenses of eating healthy. or in reasonable amounts.
  • travel to DPS - in a rented <some gigantic american 4-door thing. i foget what it's called>. i finally figure out how to turn off the parking break. evil coworker turned it on. it's a bleedin' automatic! driving; it feels totally disconnected from the road, and like 40 feet off the ground. i can never tell how fast i'm going. i make a wrong turn and don't get on 10; i double back. i don't know the differences between streets and avenues in phx, i think i have passed my exit. i double back only to find that 19th street is very different from 19th ave. i get back on 10 and finally find my destination.
  • at DPS - go through full set of regression tests. everything seems okay, but a strange error intermitently appears. get confused about one aspect of the software while analyzing the small problem. (only on the project for a month, something i just hadn't found out about yet.) discover real bug while doing random things trying to figure out what was wrong (when it turns out i was just confused). spend rest of work day analyzing the issues.
  • dinner - at black angus steak house. it is disappointing. especially for the price.
  • room - sleep before 9pm
  • awake - see tues
  • breakfast - see tues
  • trip to dps - smooth this time
  • at dps - bang head against wall. wish i was more familiar with the codebase. debugging is fun!
  • no longer at dps - pick up coworker at hotel so he can help analyze bug found tues
  • at dps - work together to analyze bug. find cause. other coworker arrives. fixes error (since he originally wrote the code that was indirectly responsible.) another full set of testing. bug is gone. minor error remains. analyze minor error. find soln. talk to on-site staff about how to resolve. done working for today.
  • dinner - sam's on central. really good pork fajitas. really good funky ('blue snow' or something like that) margaritas.
  • after dinner - suddenly realize that margaritas _did_ have alcohol in them afterall (they didn't taste like it). oi.
  • room - dead before 9pm
  • breakfast - belgian waffle with strawberries. oh man.
  • trip to dps - routine by now.
  • at dps - test resolution to minor issue. tweak. test more. satisfied. install on production system. test over the phone with guy in texas. test successful. hooray!
  • lunch - back over curb at bank. laugh. passenger less amused. go to highly touted bbq joint. it's okay. doesn't live up to the hype. miss fat matt's. miss atlanta.
  • back at dps - try to get badge. person not around. find out about new(ish) technology they've started using at DPS. much better explanation than IBM's website. i can actually do this, now that I understand it. hooray!
  • at the fishing store - coworker likes to fish. i was driving. so, went to fishing store. he was enthused. i was at a fishing store; draw your own conclusions.
  • dinner - Aunt Chiladas. really tasty mexican. wish some dishes were available with ground meat instead of just shredded. still good. not sure if I like it better than El Amigo.
  • after dinner - Fry's was across the street. i was relatively disappointed.
  • room - leave messages for patrick. stay up, waiting for call back. watch 'the patriot' on hbo. could have been such a good movie. should have hired an editor. patrick calls, late-ish (for me anyway), he's still at work. do some catching up, make arrangements to show up at his place. look for neat local rekkid stores on the net. finally go to sleep well after midnight.
  • awake & breakfast - see tue & wed
  • checkout - 'the master' took care of things. hooray!
  • dps - linux on mainframe presentation. really a sales pitch from ibm. innaccuracies about how linux came to be and how it works. tried desperately not to fall asleep. no chance of feigning interest. tried to get badge. failed.
  • lunch - miracle mile. deli. yum. killed time at trinket store. cashier very cute. can't believe people buy this crap. cashier still very cute. i don't talk to her. i have nothing to say. coworkers decide enough time has been killed, so we depart.
  • airport - say goodbye to coworkers, leave them turning in rental before flying back to md.
  • airport - car rental counter. everything goes dandy.
  • shuttle to car rental place - very cute girl sits down next to me. notice farscape pins on her backpack. strike up conversation. she know far too much about the show, but given the things i know far too much about, i don't hold it against her. (hell, i find it endearing). her mother sits nearby. i get the evil eye the whole trip.
  • car rental place - receive directions to patrick's. i already have directions from patrick and directions. i figure a third set can't hurt. i receive a 2k2 toyota corolla. no power anything, but i don't care. not 400 feet off the ground, handles wonderfully. head off in direction of asu.
  • zia - go to rekkid store (zia) near asu that i spotted when we were out looking for a kinkos on tuesday. prices are a bit high. browse for quite some time. find some interesting stuff for okay prices and pick it up.
  • phone patrick's - renee is there to answer phone, and will be around. decide to head over.
  • highways - were congested. friday rush hour, so i guess it's to be expected.
  • patrick's (ext) - patrick's directions were misleading. or left out what i considered to be an important piece of info, at any rate. coordinate between three sets of directions and find it. steal patrick's parking spot. i didn't want to park in the street.
  • patrick's (int) - say hellos to renee. haven't seen her since may 2k1 (e3). meet the new dog. very googly eyed. shitzu. cute. thinks she's a cat. likes to gnaw on male humans. small enough that i don't mind. see the television. holy shit. ... holy shit. over 50" 16:9 hdtv ready. projection, but the picture is _so_ clear. we watch snatch on some movie channel and speculate about when patrick might actually come home form work. see the cats. mena (mina? i'm not sure) predictably flees in terror. puck predictably indifferent. gideon is huge. like at least 4 times bigger than last time i saw him. rather less hyper. watch a knight's tale.
  • 8-ish (that's probably wrong) - patrick arrives. chit-chat commences. and continues.
  • dinner time - patrick's vw has morphed into some sort of suv. nearby bbq place. pretty good for a chain-ish place. definitely better than sonny's.
  • 10pm - farscape. on the pretty tv. oooh.
  • later - sleepy time.
  • 7am - wake up. bathroom. cats take opportunity to populate room. convince cats to depart. sleep. until 11am when patrick knocks on door. cripes.
  • noonish - halo. hdtv. oooh. split screen is still top/bottom on 16:9 tv. agree with patric that that is retarded. beat patrick in straight deathmatch.
  • lunch - fazzolis. or however you spell it. as always.
  • fry's - different one from before. aztec theme this time. $350 for a que 2x dvd-r. wonder if it's a rebadged pioneer [a|1]04. who else makes 2x dvd-r drives? can't be sure though. a04 sits nearby for $450. don't have the money for either right now anyway. want a 22" apple cinema display for my pc. sooo nice. $2500 though. *whistful sigh* looked at plenty of other nifty stuff. tried to play eternal darkness, but an 80 minute non-skippable cut scene at the start made me walk away. wonder if i should buy it.
  • patrick's - fussed with mp3s and comp stuff and games and whatnot.
  • dinner - todai. cracked a joke about graduating. glimmer of recognition in patrick's eyes, but had to explain. quite nice sushi for a buffet. the spicey tuna rolls were especailly yummy. learned proper way to apply soy/wasabi to non-roll sushi. felt dumb for not thinking of it myself. thanks to hiro for teaching patrick so he could teach me. warm side of buffet was good as well. desert time. one of each didn't fit on plate. 2nd trip took care of that. made fun of patrick for eating creme brule (sp?) with fork. claimed chopsticks impossible. went and retrieved creme brule. consumed roughly half of it with chopsticks. it was terrible. point was proven. renee made fun of me for feeling the need to make the point in the first place. she was right, but so what. :-p consumed all deserts using copsticks. deserts were good.
  • after dinner - rainbow studios. not what i expected. relatively empty. well, it _was_ like 10pm on saturday night. didn't see any games in progress. hear that sony/thq/rainbow? i saw nothing, nothing i say! laughed when the game i didn't see crashed in an amusing way. tried to steal a ps2 network kit. it was too obvious. saw what one looked like attached to a ps2. ick. tried to steal a ps2 dev tools cd. realized that i didn't want it and put it back. apparently nobody wants it; it was still shrink-wrapped. hiro has 9 working computers in his side of the office. i am envious. as we departed, patrick grabbed a stearing wheel and peddles off of someone's desk. claimed they 'don't need them anymore'.
  • patrick's - worked on moving the goodies i brought onto patrick's very full hard drives. general chit-chat and the usual stuff.
  • sleep - at like 2am. or maybe closer to 3. can't recall
  • 6am - wake up. shower. finish packing things back up
  • 7am - chit chat with patrick.
  • 8am - return rental car
  • 8:something am - get ticket. seat E. 757. middle seat again. ugh. read more PKD.
  • 9am - on plane. plane is legitimately full this time. some jackass filled my overhead bin, so my bag is a couple of rows back. *sigh*
  • 9:30am - not taking off. fucking lavatories are clogged. for some reason we can't just leave and let people walk to the working one in first class. ugh.
  • 10:15am - finally take off. over an hour late.
  • plane - more gto.
  • 5:something - finally deplane at bwi. walking is now unfamiliar.
  • 5:30 - get to shuttle counter, book transit home.
  • 5:something - amuse myself by watching two teenage girls grope / fondle / kiss each other outside of waiting area (through window). one notices me watching, laughs a bit, waves. i wave back. they go back to what they were doing.
  • 6 or so - the girls and the people they're with finally move on. i am left bored.
  • 6:30 - ticket number finally called for shuttle. it's about damn time. next time i have the company paying i'm definitely going for a cab.
  • 7:15 - everyone else has been dropped off. the driver's choice of order seems inefficient. i am really damn tired.
  • 7:35 - finally home. i normally would skip the tip because things took so damn long. heard the radio while we were driving informing the guy he needed to do a pickup at 2am. for some reason this made me feel more compassionate. usually it wouldn't. weird. in any event, he gets a decent sized tip. wtf, the company is paying anyway, right?
  • 7:40 - in apt. trip to az complete.


If you're wondering where the similar document for my trip to NY is, the short answer is that Justin failed to inquire as to how that trip went, so there's no ICQ logs to convert to rant form. If you really want to know what happened there, you could always ask, but I suspect nobody is all that worried about it.