JUNE <-- JULY, 2002 --> AUGUST

JULY, 2002

Mon Jul 1 16:49:51 PDT 2002

Time to experiment with pretty background image, eh?

Mon Jul 1 17:53:45 PDT 2002

So, throughout my work day, I've had a handy "psytrance" sound track. Good, relaxing, work music. And it is all thanks to JWZ, who is willing to stream me seven and a half hours of club music.

Tue Jul 2 11:56:34 PDT 2002

So, yesterday, the Assembly passed on the Senate-amended version of AB 1493. What is AB 1493? An excerpt, from http://www.assembly.ca.gov/:

  SECTION 1.  The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the
   (a) Global warming is a matter of increasing concern for public
health and the environment in the state.
   (b) California is the fifth largest economy in the world.
   (c) The control and reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases are
critical to slow the effects of global warming.
   (d) Global warming would impose on California, in particular,
compelling and extraordinary impacts including:
   (e) Passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks are responsible for
approximately 40 percent of the total greenhouse gas pollution in the
   (f) California has a long history of being the first in the nation
to take action to protect public health and the environment, and the
federal government has permitted the state to take those actions.
   (g) Technological solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
will stimulate the California economy and provide enhanced job
opportunities.  This will continue the California automobile worker
tradition of building cars that use cutting edge technology.
   (h) It is the intent of the Legislature to require the State Air
Resources Board to adopt regulations that ensure reductions in
emissions of greenhouse gases in furtherance of Division 26 ...

According to the San Jose Mercury News, one Republican shouted, during debate, that "Your goal in this Legislature is to have a war on vehicles, so the average person cannot drive anymore." And industry groups ran commercials that "warned Californians that the proposal could lead to higher gas prices and even prevent them from buying SUVs and minivans."

Oh, the horror! The horror!

So, "to appease reluctant lawmakers, Pavley added new sections that prevent California from lowering the speed limit, banning SUVs or limiting the number of miles people could drive."

From what I've read in the bill, these scary, Draconian actions, charge the State Air Resources Board, with researching what emissions requirements could feasibly be met on passenger vehicles, by 2005. The legislature would then have a year to muck with the regulations, and these regulations would then apply only to vehicles manufactured from 2009 and on.

So, back to the Mercury, "The opposition absolutely backfired," Cardoza said in an interview. "They generated a lot of heat on this bill, but the reality was that they were not truthful."

Yay democracy!

Gray Davis ought to sign.

I just really like the part in the bill that sets itself up by pointing out that global warming is a matter of concern, that it is a bad thing, and that, oh, by the way, California is the fifth largest economy in the world, so fork you, George Bush!

Oh course, I may be reading my own feelings on the matter in to that. Just a little.

Wed Jul 3 12:15:13 PDT 2002

>Number: 52998
>Confidential: no
>Severity: non-critical
>Priority: low
>State: open
>Category: facilities
>Class: support
>Synopsis: Mechanism Required to Deter Hallway Collisions
>Originator: djh
The twisty, turny hallways of Transmeta Corp.

As employees walk down the hall, they frequently experience near-collisions with other employees at hallway intersections, where oncoming colleagues are unaware of potential danger, as they can not see each other from around corners.

Leave your office for some reason. Return from the washroom or a kitchen, lost in your own thoughts. Be sure to put as many corners and intersections in your path. At some point, you will be woken from your stupor.

It was first suggested that we could install convex mirrors at hall intersections so as to know if someone was approaching around the corner.

I responded that maybe a crude motion detector could quietly beep as someone approached an intersection, but soon we would ignore the beeps, because we're usually the ones tripping them off.

What if the beeps were different, based on the direction of approach? That might work, but that might be too much to remember.

Then it was suggested that the motion detectors could actually scan for our key-cards, and make a different tone, based on who was approaching. Then, when we heard a different tone in an intersection, we'd know to watch out.

Then it occurred to me that we could improve humanity as we know it if, instead of proximity detectors with custom warning tones, we could stride down the hall, accompanied by our own theme music.

That could totally boost productivity. Since it promotes walking, it would also be better for our health than Pringles or beer.

A little background on that last statement: At Transmeta, they give us lots of perks. Once upon a time, some folks threatened to become very upset and quit, if the company were to stop providing Pringles in the kitchen. At least, that's how I hear it. They stopped giving us beer, recently. When someone starts at Transmeta, it is not unusual for them to put on a few pounds, because of all the snack food. Being as I am constantly concerned with the betterment of humanity, well, that's where that PR comes from. It boosted my own morale, at any rate.

I forgot to mention how, as part of implementing the "personal theme music" option, we'd need to install key-card detectors all over the place. We'd improve security because if someone did manage to into the buildings, they'd raise suspicion as they tread in silence!

I love Big Brother!

Thu Jul 4 13:19:21 PDT 2002

Jul 04  John Adams and Thomas Jefferson die on same day, 1826                   
Jul 04  Battles of Vicksburg and Gettysburg won by Union forces, 1863           
Jul 04  Cloudy, 76 degrees, Philadelphia PA, 1776                               
Jul 04  New York abstains on Declaration of Independence vote, 1776             
Jul 04  Thoreau enters woods, 1845                                              
Jul 04  Independence Day

Fri Jul 5 14:03:47 PDT 2002

One thing, though, is that in this country, we not only separate Church and State, but we balance the powers of the state between three different branches, and then also between Federal, State, and local jurisdictions. The problem being addressed, of course, is the threat of tyranny of concentrated power, or even damage caused by inept leadership. The reason that Americans are able to tolerate the inept thief of a President that we currently have, is because the damage he can do is limited. We can clean up all the civil liberties infractions, apologize and make amends for ruined treaties, and balance the budget in a couple of years once he's gone. The extent of the damage, while depressing, is not nearly as terrible as you might have with a omnipotent ideologue, like Chairman Mao, deciding to invoke a Cultural Revolution.

On the personal level, it is good to separate Church and State. The State is where you go to manage all the social problems of living together with other people with different opinions. The Church is where you go to nourish your soul, and question your morality. Or, as a well-respected religious leader once said, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law."

We Atheists have been long-suffering at peace for many years with the "Under God" stuff. All we ask is a little meekness and self-control from our God-worshiping brethren.

Thought inspired by reading this.

Fri Jul 5 15:54:51 PDT 2002

Yesterday I bought a book of Zippy the Pinhead comics from last year. Okay, sorry about the weird sentence there. Anyway, Zippy has recently earned a small place in my heart after I ingested a comic strip that I will now try to convey to you with prose.

"Soft Target"

Scene: A over-sized ICE CREAM CONE (ICC) statue affixed to a storefront. ZIPPY approaches.

ICC:   Ha Ha !

ICC:   I represent IMMEDIATE sensory GRATIFICATION !!

ZIPPY: I can fully SUPPORT that position!

ICC:   Of COURSE you can! You're an AMERICAN CITIZEN! Live for FUN! Live for YOU!

ZIPPY: What about th' TINY PANG of GUILT that may come later?

ICC:   Not an issue! For that, we've got FAITH-BASED institutions! All PANGS will be absolved !!

ZIPPY: Thanks!! Consuming 22% of th' world's ENERGY RESOURCES can really work up a guy's APPETITE!!

Normally, Zippy is a lot less overt in whatever statement it may be trying to make. It says something that a clown talking to an over-sized store-front sign can bring the situation home so succinctly.

Fri Jul 5 16:51:52 PDT 2002

I can sustain this "work" charade no longer. Time to go home.

Sun Jul 7 16:32:58 PDT 2002

Another quiet day. You might be wondering? No, it hasn't been long long times without entries, as I'm prone to do. Just quiet. Focusing more and better on work, and I recently grabbed a copy of Civilization III, which is the dannyman equivalent of picking up a crack habit. It'll ride itself out within a month or two, but during that time, life is a little more boring than usual, and so to is the log.

Why I do this to myself? I don't know. I like this kind of game, that's certain. And I'm not sure that the occasional addiction is unhealthy. Especially when I know I'll ride it out in a month or two. In the mean time, my mind is captured in a weird fantasy world where empires rise and fall.

If that's my version of a crack habit, then I really can't complain about my life.

One hypothesis that I'm developing, is that maybe, just maybe, if I can devote my life to working, lots of game-playing, and the occasional social relationship, then maybe I could support a lifestyle along those lines where the "game playing" is something more fulfilling, and challenging. I just got back from the library, where I read the Brittanica macropedia entry on Chicago, which is separated from Chile only by Childhood Diseases.

Anyways, I'm not much for expounding on anything about that right now. Off to play games!

Mon Jul 8 14:11:18 PDT 2002

Oh no! Wasting time at work by talking about philosophy on IRC. A few of my own statements, that I'll jot down here as notes:

On Death

On one level, you can realize that you can only control your own actions. You try to set a good example by living right. If you "lose" by getting killed, or oppressed, you can't complain, because you lived right.


Personally, I do value my existence for its own sake. If you need me to justify that, then I'll cite my mother as someone who would be very upset at the compromise of my existence.


If you're dead, you're done! Fait accompli!

Tue Jul 9 12:32:27 PDT 2002

"He is quick to shoot down any suggestion that his buttock groping might be motivated by anything other than a genuine desire to probe people's futures."

Offbeat News
Tuesday, July 9, 2002
Blind Psychic Gropes Buttocks to See Future

Just now do I notice the use of the word "probe."

Tue Jul 9 15:00:44 PDT 2002

Welcome to Stage 1 Power Emergency.

It's so hot that the hundred-plus degrees forecasts for California cities on this page regard themselves as "possible data problems." I think that means that the system sees a figure equal to or greater than 100, and regards that value as suspect, because such a value is not expected to happen with any frequency.

Global Warming or the Serendipity of Mother Nature? You decide.

Meanwhile, I need to check the BIOS on my desktop at home so I can shut it down and power off from work, without having to be around to press the power button, as I do now.

Tue Jul 9 15:20:03 PDT 2002


Hundred degrees in San Jo!

Woohoo! But it is a dry heat. This would kill people in Chicago.

Wed Jul 10 12:24:30 PDT 2002

The problem, if someone confides in you the rumor of something big that they heard, is that you then, in turn, feel a strong need to confide in your own confidante.

Wed Jul 10 16:13:29 PDT 2002

People think I'm crazy, and I'm not even a scientist.

The WWF claim that at the current rate of resource consumption, we'll need two extra planets within fifty years.

I guess I'm super trendy, because I eschew driving for functional purposes, and advocate space flight.

Fri Jul 12 11:09:01 PDT 2002

From the Atherton Police Blotter, for Wednesday, as reported in the Palo Alto Daily News:

Selby Lane, 7:08 a.m.: Cone tipped over in the middle of the roadway.

First block Valparaiso Ave., 12:57 p.m.: Golf cart stolen.

Selby Lane and El Camino Real, 3:07 p.m.: Red truck has been parked for the past couple of hours.

First block Middlefield Road, 3:28 p.m.: Three kids were seen riding bikes without helmets. Police took kids back to station and gave them free helmets. They were warned to use helmets from now on.

That Selby Lane is a hotbed of crime. Imagine the lives that may have been lost if the traffic cone were allowed to remain in its tipped state. Sure, I reckon a resident could simply have righted the cone themselves, but then we'd never know the perpetrator of the malicious cone-tipping, were the crime-scene to be tainted by a pesky do-gooder before the Atherton Police were able to crack the case.

"Leads? Let me check with the boys down at the crime lab. We've got three more detectives working on it. They've got us working in shifts!"

The Palo Alto Daily News was actually a wonderful read on the light rail today. Nigerian women have taken control of a ChevronTexaco oil refinery to demand jobs for their sons, and electricity for their village. Go Nigerian Women! Mark Remmel, a Palo Alto contractor who was apparently always on the go, restoring old houses, coaching little league, and doing favors for anyone who asked, is being remembered by people who are placing flowers and such on his shiny blue pickup truck. He died from a rare form of leukemia. His brother, Ron, is setting up a $5,000 annual scholarship to remember Mark, and his brother Bruce, who died of cancer in 1999. Go Good Men!

Then, there is sad news. A 92-year old man jumped off a bridge after being placed on parole. He lobbied long and hard to delay the parole sentence, because he wanted to stay in prison, where he enjoyed medical care and camaraderie with the other inmates, who called him "Pops." Coval Russell was a World War II veteran, blind in one eye, with prostate cancer, and carpal tunnel syndrome, who could barely walk a few feet without assistance. There's a wonderful black-and-white photo over the column, of a very old, bald, bespectacled man, leaning back on a hotel-room bed, his hat and a plastic bag of toiletries and pills laying at his side.

Note: I tried to scan the picture in, but I kept getting dogged by Moire effects. Dang! However, since it is an AP story, you can get the full version here.

Near the end of the paper is another story of a very young woman, a thirteen-year-old mother, named Monica Tapia, who will be moving in with her aunt, Theresa Hernandez, in Southern California. She will be moving because her mother, her mother's boyfriend, and her younger brother died in a crash from a drunk driver. Her fifteen-year-old brother, Rafael, is in critical condition. "The young mother said she stayed home that fateful (Saturday) night with her new baby and her 6-year-old brother, Oscar." Amelia's Restaurant and El Grullense Taqueria in Redwood City, are accepting donations on behalf of the young mother.

Perhaps the Atherton police could afford to patrol the Dumbarton Bridge on late weekend nights. I myself think I could afford to have dinner in Redwood City sometime this weekend. But for now, I should get some work done. It helps me afford lavish spending at Tacquerias in remote suburbs.

Fri Jul 12 17:27:48 PDT 2002

Malaysian addicts get natural high... from cow dung

Maybe I'm a little warped, but the part of this article that bothers me is not the image of Malaysian youth passing around illicit cow pies in plastic baggies, you know, to keep them fresh, but the statement that "... we are worried as this method means addicts can get high for free."

Why? Because Getting High For Free means that you take the whole drugs-for-money aspect out of the substance-abuse crime cycle.

In fact, people getting high for free is supposed to be the concern of profiteering drug dealers. You know, like the tobacco industry, and Anheuser-Busch.

But, you know, maybe they're worried that Cow Dung will become a gateway drug. "I started with cow dung, next you know it I was chugging Mountain Dew, snorting Coke, and prostituting myself to dairy farmers."

"I once killed a farm-hand just to shovel his cow dung. I had to feed my addiction!"

Of course, if they handle this threat to moral decency the same way the United States handles marijuana, Malaysia will have to outlaw cows, beef, leather, milk, and Gateway Computers.

Mon Jul 15 01:16:34 PDT 2002

So, in terms of religion, it could be said that I am very conservative, because I don't make any claims as to the existence or the character of God. In a Universe where we have to operate without a true understanding of everything, or a perfect, unambiguous moral code, we introduce into our personal and collective theologies a sort of cosmic "fudge factor." Why does the Sun travel across the sky? An ancient fudge factor held that it was carried across the sky by a chariot-driving God. Why does the planet exist, and why do we walk upon it naked, hairless, and self-conscious? Some feel more comfortable with God having caused it all.

Fudge factor.

You can't prove God one way or another. It is a matter of opinion, and a matter of personal faith.

Fudge factor is a hop, modern term, for myth.

But myth implies untruth. We are able to prove that it is true that the Earth revolves around the Sun, and thus, that there is no God dragging a chariot of fire across the sky every day. Some hold that evolution disproves the Christian myth of creation, while many hold that it is not untrue to believe that evolution, may, in fact, be a tool of God in shaping life forms, and that the only trouble with Genesis is in imposing a human concept of a "day" which is really just the planet making one spin on its axis, on God, who is not necessarily subject to our own notions of time-keeping.

So, inasmuch that my personal mythology for what I can't necessarily explain about the Universe doesn't explain it with God, I am an Atheist. I like to think of it as a non-theist. As far as I know, there is no God, but then I'm not going to get up in your face about it. because neither do I know that there is not a God. While I might think it is a bit silly to take the Bible, the whole of Christian myth, completely seriously, as long as you don't conspire against me for my beliefs, I've no intention to conspire against you in yours.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no God, and one lives and dies by the veracity of ones (evolving) personal philosophy.

But, since no one is an island, one also lives among and dies at the hands of other people, operating in accord, or discord, with their own personal mythologies and philosophies.

And in a World dominated by Theists, who am I to push Atheism?

Living in America, as I do, it is generally a non-issue. We know to tolerate each other's differing religious beliefs. What got me thinking in these lines tonight was Middle Eastern policy. Saudi Arabia's military is weak. What's more, we only import about a tenth of our oil from that region anyway. Our European allies are far more dependent on that supply. Why not pull out, concern ourselves with our Latin American supplies, and let the Europeans make the guns or butter call to put the blood of Imperialism on their own hands, or really get going on the whole fuel cell thing.

Why not? Because there are plenty of wacko Muslims over in that area who'd really like to take us down. Sure, they might have a harder time recruiting once we leave the area and seem like less of a nuisance, or maybe we'll be seen, as we are, retreating, and ripe for exploitation. Heck if I know. We all expect that some day, some wacko is going to pull it off and at least one American city will become a place of massive carnage.

In order to prevent that, it is useful to have a shill state like Saudi Arabia to keep an eye on its neighbors as they progress to more representative governments like Iran, which tend to be a bit more laid-back about the whole hatred thing, and tend to round up their crazies, making the world a safer place. Well, Iran still has a lot of crazies, many of them running the government, but they're making progress, right?

What it comes around to, is, if it were up to me, we could leave that region. Take our troops home, forgive foreign debts, send food and greeting cards, and medical supplies and Mormons, and the latest Hollywood movies to anyone in need. If we do get hit with the Big Terrorist Attack, the region will be left sufficiently embarrassed enough to clean up its own mess. Maybe.

But for me, it is about doing the right thing, with a faith that what is right will triumph in the end. Sometimes we'll have to fight for what is right, but the greater danger now is that we are too willing to fight, or to ask others to fight, to surrender their freedoms to the Saudi royal family, for dubious benefits. And that this whole, perceived Jihad between our Judeo-Christian, first-world, Capitalist dot-com belief system versus the Muslims in the cradle of civilization who have little but the oil that they trade to us for repressive stability thing is something we may need to ditch.

Because, really, we need to review the influence of money in our government, the influence of the IMF, the Globalization process, rules of accounting, the separation of Church and State, the Drug War, the Death Penalty, and several other matters of domestic import, and the Muslim world needs to figure out how women are to be treated, how the Afghan economy is going to function, whether they really do need to destroy Christianity, or maybe it is sufficient to respect that others will hold differing beliefs, and they ought to come around if you set a good example, and so forth.

Though, what do I know? It's going on 2AM, and I have work tomorrow, and I really don't know all of this stuff I'm talking about. I'm just swimming about in ideas, in a train of thought that may be darned hard to follow, but that maybe, just maybe, dear reader, you appreciate reading.

You'll let me know if this sort of rambling does anything for you, will you? Thanks!


Jul 16  Detonation of the first atomic bomb at Alamagordo, NM, 1945

Mon Jul 15 11:44:40 PDT 2002

This artwork by Chris Woods sort of fits in with last nights ranting.

Mon Jul 15 15:42:03 PDT 2002

Okay, the neatest thing about this month's background image is that as I walk down the hall and see it out of the corner of my eye, I suddenly know exactly what my co-worker is reading.

Mon Jul 15 23:54:08 PDT 2002

Oooh, the Drug War is losing ground in United Kingdom!

In a sense, the terrorists have already won.

I wander if they do much urine testing in UK.

Tue Jul 16 10:06:21 PDT 2002

I have a song in my head, that, as far as I know, doesn't exist. It sort of a loud, screaming, Ska hip-hop sort of thing, and the refrain goes:

The man in the big yellow hat strikes back!

"Curious George" is shouted by the chorus, and a vocalist responds about the man in the big yellow hat.

Now, if I had any music skills, maybe I could write up some def lyrics, and become a pop music star. Or, maybe I could sell it to Saturday Night Live, but alas, for now, it is the life of a musically-haunted Unix Administrator for me.

Tue Jul 16 10:36:39 PDT 2002

When you look out your Window
And see 10,000 well-armed monkeys
Bringin out the revolution
You better kiss your ass and pray
They aint comin for you

The man in the big yellow hat strikes back!

Tue Jul 16 13:30:53 PDT 2002

I managed to wake up today, at what is, for me, and early time. Let's call it 7AM. Now, despite the coffee I've drunk, I'm like pretty darned tired and the brain only runs at 80%, which makes this otherwise complex document all the more of an experience to magical to wade through, because occasionally I totally understand what's going on, and then, just as quickly, I don't.

Wed Jul 17 01:30:27 PDT 2002

There is a certain magical quality in the time between when you know that something very important is going to happen very soon, and the time that it actually happens.

It's good for the senses, I think. Keeps you sharp, focused, keen on possibility.

What is he talking about? You'll know soon enough, dear readers.

Thu Jul 18 11:46:59 PDT 2002

One hour, fifteen minutes left.

Thu Jul 18 12:01:16 PDT 2002

One hour.

Thu Jul 18 12:04:01 PDT 2002

Siebel profit plunges; 1,100 workers cut

Inktomi lays off 270 people

Thu Jul 18 12:16:32 PDT 2002

Forty five.

Thu Jul 18 12:30:00 PDT 2002

<trockij> 30 mins

Thu Jul 18 12:48:40 PDT 2002

<trockij> 12 mins

Thu Jul 18 12:50:49 PDT 2002


Thu Jul 18 12:54:27 PDT 2002

Six more minutes.

Thu Jul 18 12:56:09 PDT 2002

Four. Time to head off to the meeting.

Thu Jul 18 14:22:11 PDT 2002

Transmeta announced that it is taking restructuring actions today to streamline the company and accelerate its path to profitability, including reducing its workforce by approximately 40 percent or 200 people. The company's goal is to lower operating expenses to approximately $20 million per quarter beginning in the fourth quarter, and to reach profitability in the fourth quarter of 2003.

Transmeta Corp. Reports Q2 Revenue of $7.5 million, an 82% Increase over Q1

Ten weeks severance for fourteen weeks of employment. Today is one year and five days after Tellme layed me off.

I'm going to wonder over to the PO and apply for my passport.

Sat Jul 20 23:45:54 PDT 2002

So, what do I do the day after I lose my job but buy a laptop? Eh, it is not as bad as it sounds, it was a used device for about $650, the point of which is that I can keep transferring pictures over from the camera via Windows XP, because, the horrible truth be told, the interface for that is pretty good.

The other point being that it may be a handy device on the road. On the road? Oh yes. I could look for work, compete for an ever-shrinking pool, but this time around I have a few dollars in my pocket, and I remember managing through lean times. I can do it again, but this time I can have more fun with it.

Fact is, when I returned to the Sys Admin world, it just wasn't the same. It wasn't as exciting. Transmeta is, or, it was, an awesome company to work for: great team, great environment. But, I was never really into it. What I did get out of it was maybe a little more maturity and some damned good money. Credit cards are settled up. I can pay off mom, possibly the University of Illinois, next month's rent, fix the car, and still have a few thousand left over to blow on an extended vacation on frugal terms. Possibly overseas. I think it might be fine to move to Mexico for a while, learn my Spanish, while teaching English for cash. Or Europe. Perhaps.

I just don't know yet.

And there's no rush to decide.

Aside from the fact that my first pair of checks from Transmeta were enough to pay eight months of my current rent, I have another two weeks pay coming, plus California unemployment insurance, plus, should I ever want it, the restaurant job. I can't complain, and the thing about not competing in the job market means that my colleagues who do need the full-time work, for the mortgage, and the kids, well, they have one less talented slacker to compete with.

And more power to them, because what they desire is not easy. I saw some statistic the other day that there are 78,000 or so unemployed people in the Bay Area. That is a few thousand more than the population of Mountain View. That's kind of screwy.

At the height of the boom, the venture capital was on the wisdom that smart people were dropping out of college, because there was money to be made. School is for recessions. Well, now that I have a few bucks, and am capable of subsisting, as needed, now is the time to drop professionalism for awhile. I can don that hat when some company finds a need for me, and I have a peer network that can bring my fundamental skill set up to speed pretty quick.

Time to go bush, as long as I enjoy it.

Sun Jul 21 00:05:29 PDT 2002

Assholes fighting in the streets
Because they got no sense of beat
CG's a cat who don't respect,
Them fuckers with the holy bent

Self-righteous mob who wants
To quarrel which God is
Right is Right, YO

The G is gonna take them down,
The G is gonna take them down,
CG will take your freak-ass down!
Fear his mad fucked monkey howl!

The man in the big yellow hat strikes back!

The man in the big yellow hat strikes back!

Mon Jul 22 09:57:49 PDT 2002

Transmeta aims to recover momentum

Mon Jul 22 11:57:08 PDT 2002

So, I first started to hear the rumors the week before the big event. Talk of a reorg, which could justifiably be accompanied by layoffs, had been kicking around for awhile. Last Wednesday everything got really weird. The rumor that on Thursday, great swathes of us would become unemployed, had permeated the company.

Thursday came and went. Friday came and went. My hunch was that the rumors way very well have been true, except that the inevitable had been postponed by one week, because the engineering milestone they call "tape-out," which actually has nothing to do with tapes any more, had been pushed back a week. If you're trying to reach an engineering milestone, it seems like a good idea to defer distracting the engineers with pink slips.

The next week, the rumor became that the reorg and layoffs were going to happen really soon. Probably Thursday or Friday. Then there was talk of the List, the List that said who was going to go.

With a reasonable degree of confidence, I admitted that, if it were up to me, I'd lay me off. After all, I'm the new guy who is still learning the nuances of Transmeta's environment. Still, there's a List? I had to know!

On Thursday, everyone knew. Different people knew different things, but everyone knew that everyone else knew that somebody knew something, and that everyone in the company was scheduled for a mandatory departmental meeting at 1PM.

I powered down my desktop as we went off to the meeting. Everyone except our just-out-of-highschool summer intern, who had no meeting to go to, because he was a contractor, so he stood in the hallway trying not to look too emotionally traumatized by whatever it was that was about to hit. He did a poor job of it, so I followed up the sweaty handshake with a hug and an admonition that life goes on, and that this is just a part of things, and that he'll get over it pretty quick. I felt bad to see him left out of the trauma, alone to wonder in the hall.

We took attendance in our group, because everyone had to be present. They passed out The Letter, which was printed on nice paper, that our director, Jack, read out loud, about how, regrettably, many of us were going to be laid off right now. The network is being shut down, the doors are locked, except for the front doors to our buildings, we're going to try and give you all decent severance, go back to your office, and your manager will see each of you individually. You will not be able to clean out your office today, because you will be escorted to a counseling session, and then escorted from the building.

I had to pee. So, that's what I did when I got back to our own building. The MIS Manager, Ray, was in the urinal next to me. I'd seen very little of him the past couple of weeks. "What's up, man?"

"Has Jack read the letter?"


"Would you like to come to my office?"

"I'll see you in a few."

Hands washed, I strolled down the hall. I started singing "bye bye, Miss American Pie ..." and I knocked on Ray's door.

"I do not envy your position," I said, as I took my seat.

I was ready. I took it well. I'd like to think I made it easier for Ray, who had seven more people to crush after me.

And I was first in the holding pen, with the personnel consultants, who would be offering us counseling that day, with Q&A sessions on Friday and Monday, followed by two-day job-hunting workshops that Transmeta was paying for. I opened the two checks that came in the blue folder. One had numbers that were very very large by my high-income standards. I added the numbers together, and started feeling pretty good. I hope I didn't smile too much.

I chatted with others as they came in. People I've never met. One woman was in tears, another guy looked very upset, and I tried to explain that yeah, it'll be really hard, but there is a bright side, and maybe the break will do him good. "This seems to be the California method of giving you Americans the vacations we get in Europe," our British counselor offered as a silver lining.

Before the meeting, I'd sent my contact info to the group. Everyone who was about to lose their jobs followed up in kind, so now I have everyone's info. I wanted to get shit-faced that evening, maybe throw a BBQ, but I didn't get around to it. It's Thursday, I just wanted to chill.

Mon Jul 22 13:46:27 PDT 2002

Let me state, or the record, that the Dana Street Roasting Company in downtown Mountain View has the most excellent, excellent strawberry lemonade, that tastes like strawberries and lemonade. And they have wireless ethernet access, for free, which I've been mooching off of for a few hours now. Yay battery life!

Mon Jul 22 15:30:58 PDT 2002

Saving Paper by Printing in Book Form

You probably know about the Unix mpage command, that will convert your output to Postscript, reduce it in size, and lay out several pages per sheet of output. But let's say you wanted to print out a book, which you could "bind" in the center with staples, and thumb through at your leisure.

Given a Postscript file, book.ps, try:
psbook < book.ps | psnup -2 | lpr -Zsduplex

To convert a text file to Postscript, and then print in book form:
enscript -o - book.txt | psbook | psnup -2 | lpr -Zsduplex

You may have to experiment with lpr -Zduplex versus lpr -Zsduplex as the printer may or may not flip the paper before printing on the reversed side. You should end up with a stack of papers where the top page has the last page on the left, and the first page on the right. The second page will be on the opposite side of the first page, with the second-to-last on the opposite side of the last. You can then take this stack over to the long-armed stapler, set it at 5 and 1/2 inches, staple to the left and the right of the middle of the stack, and you'll have a book that you can thumb through in sequence.

A little documentation I whipped up at Transmeta.

Tue Jul 23 20:55:18 PDT 2002

Subject: Windows key mappings

More, random computer config stuff, based on http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/faq/x.html#WINDOWS-KEYS:


keycode 115 = F13
keycode 116 = F14
keycode 117 = F15


Key F13 A   A   Menu RootMenu
Key F14 A   A   Menu Remote-Logins
Key F15 A   A   Menu Quit-Verify

This is a note I sent myself so I could configure my X Window manager to map the Windows and menu keys on my keyboard to the same menus that pop up when I press the left, middle, or right mouse button in said window manager.

Wed Jul 24 23:24:32 PDT 2002

Picture time! Picture time! Picture time!

Bay View Building
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The Bay View Building in downtown Mountain View has pretty cloud patterns reflecting in the windows.

Wall of Doom
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Transmeta took Polaroid pictures of each new full-time employee and posted them on this wall. I took this picture about half and hour before 40% of these folks were laid off on Thursday, July 18, 2002.

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Caltrain runs through the old iron truss bridge over San Francisquito Creek in Palo Alto.

Pretty Suburban Street
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A pretty, quiet, tree-lined street runs toward infinity in Palo Alto, CA.

Thu Jul 25 14:46:36 PDT 2002

We suggest people who have neither confronted themselves in a foreign environment nor on their own in a classroom should do one or the other before attempting the Mexico experience.

Teach in Mexico

Words of Wisdom, Let it Be?

I'm at the Library, doing research.

Thu Jul 25 16:19:47 PDT 2002

I am at the coffee shop, quoting an article that quotes Spirituality and Health magazine:

The Dude lives in a rundown bungalow in Venice, Calif., smokes pot and is unemployed. His ability to live in the present moment without any concern for the future arouses the ire of other, achievement-oriented Californians . . . Once the Dude gets involved in a kidnapping case, his life swirls in chaos. But he is unperturbed by it all. Like a good Taoist, the Dude realizes that freedom is understanding we are not in control and never will be. By taking it easy, the Dude abides and becomes a spiritual teacher of crazy wisdom.

I think that this actually applies to me, though the duplex is in pretty good shape and I have no weed. But you know, I just take it easy. I had to learn to do that at some point after I lost the job last year while in debt. Now that I'm unemployed with a few dollars in the bank, I'm all the more psyched, and unconcerned with the future, because I can eke out a satisfying present in this Hellish suburban landscape of Mountain View, California. Hell, I'm all the more grateful because Mountain View has a nice main drag that supplies me with a great cafe, bookstores, burritos, and a pleasant public library, as well as some useful mass transit. I could do a lot worse.

And there is this yummily pretty woman sitting a few tables away. Her red lipstick contrasts well with her pleasant, pale skin, and her glasses frame a pair of eyes that remind me, uncannily, of another woman that I've fond memories of making love to.

The dannyman abides. Fear my crazy wisdom.

Fri Jul 26 13:37:34 PDT 2002

"It's been tough. I'm unemployed, but I'm coping."

Fri Jul 26 19:45:28 PDT 2002

World Breastfeeding Week!!

Sat Jul 27 14:19:46 PDT 2002

<cvk> boy, some mysql operations take forever.
<cvk> having an 8-million row table doesn't help.
<dm> Microsoft is innovating to meet your needs.
*** Netsplit at 14:19:05 (cognet.hub irc.notarus.net)
<dm> This innovation is threatened by the heavy hand of an oppressive
     government.  You should contact your Congressman RIGHT NOW and tell them
     that Microsoft must be left free to innovate without the yoke of
     government regulation, weighing it down like an albatross around Steve
     Ballmer's neck.

Sat Jul 27 22:48:12 PDT 2002

Hrmmm, I've purchased a Windows-based computer, a laptop, at a sensible price, and now I've moved my personal finances over to Quicken. What's this weird feeling of being normal that's coming over me, and does it mean that I'll soon be married, rearing young pups in my suburban duplex?

Time to play computer games.

Sun Jul 28 11:53:09 PDT 2002

I'm an Atheist, and I support Civil Union.

Actually, I think we might be best served by dismissing the legal notion of marriage altogether, and provide a way for a group of people to be legally recognized as kin. Whether it is a group of people who are going to share a house, and look after one another as a family unit, two men, a man and a woman, Mormon, Muslims, whatever. Marriage between a Man and a Woman is one of those touchy Religious ideas, which should be left to churches. The State's only concern is to facilitate the legal status of people who are committed to caring for each other as a family.

Uh oh, there goes a homo-loving Atheist trying to mess with the American Way again!

Tue Jul 30 21:09:57 PDT 2002

I hear the job market is a little better than last year, but I also figure that I'm going to be unemployed for awhile. So, instead of sitting around Mountain View, getting depressed, I'm going to travel around the world and try and enjoy the heck out of myself and then come back, crash at a friend's place, and file for unemployment, or whatever.

So, I've books on order about travelling, working, teaching English overseas. I got totally psyched today after a visit to airtreks.com which suggested that, for about the price of a round-trip ticket to Europe, I can fly between a bunch of stops around the world. You know, since my schedule is uber-flexible. I asked, oh say, Chicago to Madrid, overland to Prague, they offered a stop-over in Frankfurt, where Kevin is currently doing the foresign service, from there, possibly through Tel Aviv, on to Osaka, where Ethan is moving, and has teased of a potential New Years party, say a train ride to Tokyo, where my pen-pal, Mimi, would put up with me a couple of days, on home, over a period of three or four months.

The tentative plan is to start working at the Pizza Place immediately, save up a few more dollars, give Brian thirty days notice at some point, maybe a last car trip to Chicago, home of one of air travel's most major of hubs, and home to dannyman, and then, after bidding the family proper adieu, possibly getting Stripey to shack up with Grandma, and Victoria, my land yacht, under Jessy's care ... and then, go.

An adventurous sense of purpose, it has totally crystallized last night since Mary, my wise wise slacker friend, advised over a beer to quit my dithering and just go.

Just go.

It makes a man walk around with a smile on his face, and everyone is more friendly, because hey, you own the freaking world!

I took the bus over to the Pizza Place, which is starting to totally jump - they got ribs on the menu now! RIBS! Well, Jefe was not there, I'd just missed him, so I left him a note, and enjoyed a spaghetti dinner, with meatballs and some fine garlic bread.

Stopped by the store on the way back, picked up a black pair of my favorite flavor of shoes, discounted to $30, then at Rite Aid they had, oh gosh, Hawaiian Shirts! Nice ones, too! For $7.99 a piece! I picked up six wonderfully flambouyantly weird, sexy sexy shirts. They're in the wash now.

I dropped off at Castro Street, intending to have some Strawberry Lemonade at Dana Street, but you know, I got sucked in to the bookstore, perusing the Lonely Planet "On a Shoestring" guide to Europe, and then a fun little book on different hostels. Man oh man.

JUNE << JULY, 2002 >> AUGUST

This document last modified Friday, 14-Dec-2012 23:24:57 UTC <dannyman@toldme.com>