Holy cow, I wrote a book!
my claim that Renton has a reputation for being a working-class town,
I submit this article from last week's news:
Hooters too pretentious for us, some Renton, South Park locals say.
On the weekend of November 10 during the
2007–2008 Seattle Symphony season,
the symphony performed both Brahms piano concerti and two of his
symphonies in consecutive concerts.
My subscription included one of them,
and I bought a separate ticket to the other one,
and the seat I was given was in the very front row.
You notice all sorts of things when you're in the very front row,
things that elude your notice from even the second or third row.
When you're that close, you're within an arm's reach of the musicians.
I had to look away when the concertmaster bent over to tune the orchestra;
otherwise I would've been looking up her dress.
During the performance,
I could read the music on the first violin's music stand.
I could hear the pianist hum to himself.
(And for some reason, pianists who hum also hum out of tune.
Why is that?)
And I could hear the conductor exhale through his teeth.
It sounded like he was making quiet "choo choo" noises.
Then again, the "choo choo" noises might have been on purpose.
He took the Brahms Fourth Symphony faster than I remember
ever hearing it before.
For all I know, the train noises were his way to get the
orchestra to play faster.
A conversation between two friends of mine.
Friend 1: Here's the fifteen dollars I owe you.
Oh wait, I only have a twenty.
Do you have a five?
Friend 2: I don't carry cash.
Everybody takes credit cards.
Friend 1: I don't take credit cards.
In my imagination, Friend 1 would have responded
to "Everybody takes credit cards" with
"Well, in that case, here ya go.
Put it on my credit card."
(The title is a tag line from a Visa credit card advertising campaign
from years past.)
Many years ago, I was in a small meeting:
It consisted of the project manager, me, and one other person.
Just a quick little status meeting to discuss how things were going.
We were a few minutes into the meeting when the project manager's
cell phone rang.
Now, this was back in the days before cell phones were ubiquitous.
They were pretty spendy gadgets;
pulling out your shiny $400 Nokia 8810 was an ostentatious move,
allowing you to demonstrate your alpha position in the social hierarchy.
Anyway, when the cell phone rang,
the project manager answered it and started talking.
After a little while,
it became clear to me that this person was taking the call
without so much as a "Would you excuse me for a few minutes?",
so I headed down to the lobby and read the newspaper
for a while.
When I returned,
the project manager explained,
"Sorry, I don't get calls on this phone often."
"That's okay. I don't read The Wall Street Journal often."
When you're walking around a city, you usually forget to look up.
a landmark building
to prompt you to
admire anything above the ground floor.
For those in the Seattle area,
the Seattle Times included a brief
walking tour of Seattle architecture.
The article doesn't mention one of my favorites:
The roll-on deodorant building
on the corner of Seneca and Second.
The effect is most striking if you
if you stand on Second and Union and look southeast at night.
(Sadly, under the dome is just
a roomful of machines.)
The winner completes the race in just ten minutes and seven seconds,
but the vertical climb is a killer:
Straight up the 1576 steps of the
Empire State Building to the Observation deck.
(When I visit the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building,
I use the elevator.)
And when it's over, everybody goes to work.
What else am I going to do,
like go celebrate?
Am I going to go have martinis at 11:30 in the morning?
slink into work and you sit at your desk,
and you work all day,
and when you're done you stand up and your back is stiff,
and you call your wife,
and you get yelled at, and you go home to your three kids.
Just like another day.
Dodge, parry, thrust.
Welcome to the
Cardboard Tube Fighting League.
(I happened to be in Gasworks Park for a totally unrelated reason
and managed to catch the final battle of the
the September 20, 2007 Dilbert comic, Dilbert says
to his date, "I saw a fascinating documentary about bugs."
A Year in the Life of Ants.
When it's performance review season,
all of a sudden you start getting mail about career management.
What a coincidence.
There are a variety of career management tools available,
some mandatory, some optional.
I gave one of the optional ones a shot,
since it claimed to help me "manage my career and professional
and as I already noted,
I appear to have been promoted by mistake all these years,
so maybe I should figure out how to get promoted for real.
This particular tool sends me to the Web site of an external
company that was contracted by Microsoft to provide career
I went through the sign-up process
and answered what seemed like a bazillion questions.
You know you're in trouble when you're getting tired
and the progress bar says that you're currently filling
out questionnaire number 1 (of 3) and you're on page 4 (of 19).
Anyway, I make it through to the end of all the questions and
the site offers suggestions as to what my ideal career would be,
based on the personality characteristics I demonstrated in the
It says that I would do well working in the field of
information technology and
that the best company for me is
one with well-established processes and procedures,
where decisions are guided by practicality and pragmatism,
a characteristic common to companies that are market leaders.
I don't know whether I should be disappointed that I didn't
learn anything new or whether I should be relieved that I'm not
missing out on my secret calling to be a topiarist or something.
(And I guess that having me work at Microsoft
plays right into Google's hands,
so it's a win-win.)
We saw some time ago that if somebody
invites you to a meeting in Building 7,
they are inviting you off campus to take a break from work.
If somebody invites you to a meeting in
Conference Room A,
they are inviting you to join them at the
Azteca Mexican restaurant next door.
One of the members of the "Building 109 Conference Room A"
informed me that Building 109 Conference Room A is specifically
the bar at the Azteca restaurant.
Building 109 Conference Room A has its own mailing list!