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August 6, 1999 2300PDT

Some of the worst noises yet from the idiots next door last night - hollering loudly after midnight again. They must work the swing shift.

Everybody has a web-page now, even the Merry Pranksters. Exposure to them in 1974 changed my life; although this was actually towards the end of my psychedelic period. The quality of the acid then was poor compared to the stuff we were getting in the beginning - those late 1970 trips were amazing, yet even those drugs were probably nothing like they had five years earlier... Anyway, ever since reading the EKAAT and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Kesey has been this heroic figure ever lurking in my subconscious, one of those lucky people who lived in the right place & the right time - been reading a great article in the London Telegraph about his now and then, here's some quotes:

Ken Kesey on acid:

LSD lets you in on something. When you're tripping, the idea of race disappears; the idea of sex disappears; you don't even know what species you are sometimes. And I don't know of anybody who hasn't come back from that being more humane, more thoughtful, more understanding.
and on love:
And now we've got children killing each other in America and we're bombing Belgrade to show them how to be humane! You can't bomb for a humane reason. What we should do is just Mother Teresa them to death with love. It's that old hippie nonsense but it's still the best stuff there is.

Seeking links for the above section brought up young Dan Casey's page. Get it, Dan! Salvador Dali and Norman Rockwell?! You're one twisted dude - just like me. I recall Tim's confusion ages ago when I confessed to taking the occasional "Americana" trip - visions of Rockwell and Currier & Ives.

Three recent scenes on-the-job:

  • A "telecon" yesterday, first thing (so as to occur at a reasonable mid-morning hour for most of the back-east participants) meaning 7:30 which is my target arrival time although hardly anybody else comes in that early. Lots of people droning on; fortunately I didn't have to participate and after about ten minutes I got up and left. The situation is deteriorating: if I was a dedicated, corporate go-getter I would've gotten into it, would be concerned. I'm just the west-coast sliver in my company's pie chart of this project, with the rest of that cheese wheel being mostly in New Jersey and some more in Rockville, Maryland. Those people all have some huge testing due-date coming up, when the code which they're developing (which is fortunately not what I work on) will be delivered, supposedly operational and bug-free. But it won't be - in fact, their testing organization's a shambles, skeletal, staffed with newbies who're unfamiliar with the product, even Unix. They'd like us to go back there to help out with preparations and some formal acceptance testing, in fact my supervisor-coworker's volunteered/been asked to do just that, but I don't wanna. (They've asked me, too; wanted me to assume a supervisorial role; but I said "no thanks" while thinking "No Way!") I may be asked again... later the avuncular big boss here came in to our office, wanted to know about a user guide document my company's back east organization had published, wondered why it didn't give credit to another contractor on this project, since whole sections of text had been lifted out of that other company's documentation. Oops - it was a kind of embarrassing - the big boss back east received a quick phone call so he'd know they'd been caught. (He'll be out here next week, the usual quarterly jaunts to the coast; we'll hear more about the situation then. I'll have to act interested.)
  • Speaking of acting, I found myself in that awkward but familiar situation yesterday where I'm staring over somebody's shoulder, peering intently at a screen whose text I can't really see clearly enough to read, hoping, praying, willing the miracle to occur - and it did, like it always does. The somebody else figured it out: the last thing I needed to complete one of the two big software updates I'm working on now, this the boring one involving streamlining a global data structure (removing an obsolete member and correcting all the code which must no longer reference it).
  • Project picnic today, under cloudy skies which became partly cloudy, then sunny hot. Too much food - it hurt like Thanksgiving for hours afterwards. I paid money and was also supposed to bring something, but knew the vegetables I was assigned would become waste so I didn't, just slipped into the throng empty-handed - then left way early instead of participating in any of the post-chow athletics - who could exert themselves then? And why would anybody want to, anyway? Even though I'm in a nerdy profession, a jock contingent is always present in any project; and the size of this one's larger than usual. Of course the jock wannabee's where out there enjoying themselves too, seemingly - one especially rotund specimen had removed his shirt on the basketball court, a fairly unpleasant sight. The "company picnic" is an extracurricular activity I dislike most - the only thing worse would be those off-the-clock evening seminars or weekend retreats which some companies foist upon their employees (but which I've been able to avoid so far, mercifully). Today's picnic wasn't bad, though. Spent some time in animated conversation with some strangers about foreign travel, language learning and cultural adjustments. Also in talking with one of my more interesting co-workers, a guy who just bought a piece of a building up in the City * and we discovered a mutual interest in LA's South Bay - his brother lived there around the same time as my years spent in Hermosa Beach - suddenly we were sharing Cafe 50s breakfast experiences. Someday I'll have to do up a whole page about that now-extinct restaurant where I spent so many happy hours.

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* He's one of the few San Francisco residents I work with who makes the trip down the peninsula daily - that's a brutal commute.