Sunday, August 24, 2008

What now, Burger King?

Challenging Deana's theory that eventually everything will be in the form of a wipe, or a strip, Burger King has decided to package everything in "fry" form.

What, in the name of all that's drive-thru, is this about, Your Highness.
It's an apple. Sliced. Served in a fry box.
Blink. Blink.

Why would a restaurant (the only industry authorized to use the term "hand fruit,") serve a sliced apple? Why would someone pay a dollar and a half?

Please, dear Readership, enter your next Burger King, and order Chicken Fries with large fries and apple fries. You must do so without irony, without giggling. Extra points for studying the menu for a while and ordering slowly, as if you have no idea what you just did.

While you're waiting for your order, bend over the refrigerator pie case and say "OOOoo, that looks good," as if you can actually see the pie.

Ask what kind of apple it is. Ask what country it's from. Consult a little notebook you produce seemingly from nowhere and nod approvingly. Shake your head and say, "Boy, I'll tell you, it's worth it not to have to peel that sticker, am I right?" Shoot a finger gun at your cashier.

As you pick up your bag, say "Fry you very much" to the counter kid. If the counter kid is an old guy, shout it, as if he is simple-minded and deaf.

By the way, Mary C, if you actually do this and tape it, I want writing credit. In my real name.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bibles of the seventies

#13 in an occasional series of repressed 70's memories that turn out to be true.

A commissioned post.

Sometimes, after a long dry spell, one needs a little inspiration to get going again. This comes in the form of a request from the Readership, who suggested that we document the Superstar years.

Greatest of All Sisters had The Way, because she was so holy/groovy/hippy chick. What I recall about this text was not so much the scripture, but the opening chapters of each book, which like, dug your hassles, man. And Job does too. Let's rap about them.

The Living Bible translation itself was not quite so cheesy, just an accessible paraphrase:

God loved the world so much that He gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Nice, right?
Wait a minute, I'm still thinking about that.

Ok. Anyway.. Biblical translators pouted that someone could paraphrase. Who are you, Jane Goodall, studying chimps without the right credentials?

Fortunately, the scandal road had been cut by this guy, and was ready for paving. Who was going to call him a blasphemer?

Peanuts was actually published in the 60s, but no doubt made Superstar possible. Not that it was socially acceptable by any means. But Late Boomers/Early Xrs could not be stopped.

This design always caused some sniffs at the t-shirt transfer place.

I remember a goofy paperback New Testament my parents had with these contempo-mod'rn line drawings. I can't find a picture of it, but I remember the illustrations as a cross between Scriptographics and the string-bean clip art guy. Maybe it wasn't the whole testament, maybe just Paul's letters, or The Acts. I remember thinking it was not as compelling as Charles Schultz, and certainly not as funny. But I thought I could tackle it if I tried hard enough.

Remember this?

Does that just scream 70s at you -- of the bleak, 4-dead-in-Ohio variety?

Daily Devotionals for the leisure suit set.
I think I first read this at 13 or 14 and it gave me the full-on shivers.

Apparently Get Over Yourself You Bloated Hypocrite did not have shelf appeal. Chew on this:

When we pray
We get down on our knees,
we bow our heads,
We close our eyes.

We never look into the eyes of Christ.
I wonder why?
And then again,
I think
I know why.

And that's pg 20. Chicken Soup, my ass.

I looked for this Theological Brigadoon for decades afterward. I was certain I had made it up. Thanks Internet. Got my own copy now. I'll be up all night.

Now there is the Men's Bible, the Women's Bible, the Busy Soccer Mom Bible, the I Carry This Around to Shut my Mother-in-Law Up Bible, the NASCAR Bible, the Nagging Scold's Bible, hold on, I might come up with 10 in a minute.... Whatever meets you where you are, I guess. I'm an RSV girl myself.

Recently, while trolling The Bible section of the local Book Monger's, I came across The Backpack Bible, which is bound in denim, hunter green, or breast cancer pink. It has no title, and a little diary lock. So you are the kid who wants to have her Bible at school, but discreetly. Like maxipads. You are conflicted.

You are probably not sporting this spring top:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Conversation hearts of the Victorian era

Be My Pen Pal
Shall we Spoon?
Telegraph Me
Bachelor Bait
Save a dance
You're topping!
Receiving Weds. 1-3 pm
5 Courses of you
You Amuse Us

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

After the party's over

Advice to Mark. We're suggesting you have a fallback plan. Your country is notoriously fickle.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sing a New Song

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
~~~ Psalm 40

A member of my personal Board of Directors (a persona we will have to call “Mrs. B,” because even after a bottle of wine and a thousand mosquito bites at the Sky Bar, we are unable to choose a satisfying blogonym) has assigned me this essay. That is to say, she assigned me the reflection; posting the essay about it was my own idea. She is a faithful reader.

Other faithful readers, who follow the Mill Update threads, know that this past year’s attitude adjustment was very much desired, just hard to come by. A few yards forward on a Thursday or Friday could come completely undone by Monday afternoon. The effort seemed so futile.
But slowly, the tide began to turn, and reflections of the company I had been promised 4 years ago began to emerge. There are still days where I will smugly remark, “thanks for coming to the table,” when someone expresses a suggestion or puts forward a design I worked on in 2004, but this is an improvement over wanting to slug them in the jaw.

And I guess this is beginning to show.

Mrs. B said, during a 1:1 lunch, that I seemed to be in a different place these days, and wondered if things were getting better. I said that I was able to put that first year on a shelf at last, and that what finally got me there was realizing that everyone (every…one) who had screwed me over was gone. I had outlasted them all. I can stop carrying around the anger, the spite, and the bitterness – number one, because they aren’t here to witness it, but number two, because that door really is finally closed.

And as maddening as it is sometimes to have people declare to me every observation I have been making for the past 3 years, I have the clarity to realize they share my opinion. “So that first year was some kind of Pledge Year I had to endure and now I am the last girl standing.”

The Boss is fond of correcting me with, “You didn’t ‘waste’ that time; you spent it in a way you didn’t expect.”

Similarly, Mrs. B challenged me to sing a new song – to stop speaking of that year as something that ‘happened’ to me, and to find the experience in it, both professional and personal, that prove it was not time wasted. This is a long prologue to
What I Learned During Plebe Year that Has Informed My Worldview.

I make a lot of assumptions.
And I had learned this before, so I can also include that I am as capable of forgetting important life lessons as I am learning them. I didn’t ask the right questions because I didn’t recognize that they needed asking, and because everyone on my team was new to the company and thought the same thing.

Nowadays when I meet-n-greet new employees, I close with “There are 2 assumptions you will make that will get you into a lot of trouble. When you hear yourself making them, stop and ask more questions.” I have a nicer way of wording them, but they are
1) your cross-functional team shares one goal and one order of priorities and
2) our systems are automated and integrated.

They are really the same misguided assumption – just one about people and one about machines.

Charisma is a draw, but not a guarantee
I came to the Mill to work for a man who in 2 interviews knocked me off my feet. He rejuvenated an enthusiasm my then-employer had killed, and I wanted nothing more than to show him what I was capable of. I wanted to excel for him, for our team to come bursting out of the locker room behind a spinning newspaper headline that read “Unknowns Wow the Crowd.” (The storyboards of these fantasies are heavily influenced by MGM.) But the sad truth is that he did not survive. When we shook hands on our deal, his Livestrong bracelet wobbled down over his wrist.
In less than a year, he had died.

I learned I would always prefer to work for a strong leader than to lead a strong team. I’m much more confident in that role. I know my time with The Boss has been/is precious, and I try not to squander it.

You can’t plan everything
That turn of events was personally shocking enough. What made it professionally unbearable was how vulnerable it left our little team. So much for our rousing Hoosier-like victory; we weren’t even allowed court time for practice. By budget renewal time, the CEO asked us to forecast the cost of shutting down. Marauders were taking our team members. Backroom deals were being made. In 12 months of planning, we hadn’t planned for that.

I have learned to remember those sand mandalas the Buddhist monks make. As part of their devotion, they will sweep it all away when it is completed. The serenity comes from carefully laying out each grain anyway.

You have to approach negotiations differently when you are an outsider
Honestly, I never knew this. I have been on The Fringe, but never truly on the Outside, in that West Wing “are you on the inside?” kind of way.
A girl from the Latin Club is never in a position of Power, but I had always been at the table when the decisions got made.

Life on the Outside required a different set of skills, most of which were new to me:

  • networking, using my closest inside connection to get to those in the room
  • influence, where Power is not mine to wield
  • compromise, getting only a fraction of what I lack the muscle to get in full
  • submitting, when my opposition’s Ego is much stronger than mine.

This might all be in Tzu’s Art of War. I just had to learn it the hard way.

Support comes from unexpected places
It is unfair for me to suggest that the entire company gave us the cold shoulder. It was only our division, our leadership, and the people who sold our product.

There was support from other camps – some of it scattered, and without much more status than we had – but genuine support nonetheless. If we hadn’t been forced to wander the desert looking for it, we might not have made those connections, and it was those connections that gave each of us refuge when the end came.

The young woman now fondly and respectfully known as The Boss took me aside on what I expected to be my last weekend and encouraged me to come work with her. Our put-upon tech writer was welcomed into training with open arms and gladly given the increased responsibility that allowed her to finally move up and out.

When the terrible news came, it wasn’t the CEO, or our VP’s peers, who came by to visit and express their condolences. It was these scattered supports who proved to be the real mensches. They are all gone now too, sad to say.

One executive was a source of some intimidation for me because she was forcefully demanding and her clients more so. I would get into trouble with my homebound VP, who thought I spent too much time on her needs and not enough on his. What I couldn’t explain to him was that she was there to answer to, and he wasn’t. Intimidation turned to mutual respect, then admiration, and eventually to friendship.

She is Mrs. B, of course. It is a corny and obvious ending, but it is also the truth.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

They call me MISSS Hot Wings

My new neighborhood nickname is Hot Wings.

Which has to be better than the old one, whatever it was: Married to the Mob, Invisible Girl... Carmen Sandiego.

Because I certainly am invisible, if by "invisible," you mean "not nosy." Recently I was at a party where a couple -- temporarily in a condo while house renovations are done -- complained about their condo neighbors who never stop and talk to them. I raised my hand.

"I'm that neighbor."

It is not surprising to me that condo neighbors do not interact often -- we have no yard work (and precious little yard), few children, garages, and lives. It was not surprising that my neighbors have no idea who I am. What surprised me was the ease with which they told me so. In fact , in response to my house number, TWO of them used the phrase, "You're sh****ng me."

The 100-block of Del Boca Vista, the retirement community where I live, held a block party. And forgetting my track record for disappearing in time for the annual meeting, pancake breakfast, and Halloween, I said I would attend.
Those are 3 separate events I just used as examples. Let me make that clear.

Why did I say I would go?
1. The hostess/organizer had always been nice to me. "Always" here means the one time she spoke to me 4 years ago when I was new and chipping the ice from my neglected driveway.

2. It was going to be outside my door in the guest parking lot.

3. I thought it sent some kind of message if I didn't go, and I should just prove how boring I actually am.

I brought the hot wings
And was an instant hit with the menfolk -- because let's face it, married men dig me -- and it was an icebreaker.
Like this:

Guest #1: "Are those hot?"
Me: "They are hot, yes. They're Buffalo."
Nearby guy with beer-buzz: "Why do buffaloes have wings?"
Me: "To escape from the Indians." to the first guest, "Did you get a Wet-Nap?"
Because I brought Wet-Naps. As long as everyone thinks you're weird, be whoever you want.
First Guest: "Are they super hot?"
Me: "I don't know. I'll admit I didn't make them."
"Cause I can't eat super-hot."
"Then you'd better not, because I don't know."
Next guest approaches, "Are those hot?" and so on.

I mingled
My immediate neighbors are* * if you read this blog, you know these are not their names

Mrs Barla - lonely divorcee with dog, who walks dog as an excuse to spy, and talks through dog to express herself. See also Crazy Lorraine.

Big Brother house - containing a middle-aged man who wears a fanny-pack and shares a dog-walking relationship with Barla. His mother, a very hard-scrabble Scotch-Irish looking stringer missing some fingers. Her man, snow-white hair and black socks. Other parts I don't notice much. Their insane ratdog.

Dapper Don and the Stripper - 50-ish couple made up of a once-handsome engineer and his tranny wife. Or I should say trannish, because I have no facts in this case. I am just saying that only in Vegas does that look make sense.

I don't really care for the make-up of my building, but I talk to them, to prove there is nothing there they want, then I passed my hot hors doeuvre and plopped down next to couples at tables and made them tell me their life story.

"Oh, did you bring the hot wings? Are they super hot?"

Mrs Barla flew over, no doubt fascinated that I was talking to people, and forcibly asked if anyone played poker. "I've been wanting to start a poker night. Once a week, and we can move it around to people's houses, low stakes, just change." Sounds like you've figured it all out, chief, what will we serve? I shrugged and said, no I don't play, and the wife at the table cut her eyes at her husband to tell him that he doesn't either, and Barla said, "Then do you quilt?"

You're sh****ng me.

I played 6 Degrees
I discovered mutual acquaintances with one of the couples I met, and mutual environs with another. Then it began to rain and the menfolk busied themselves making a tarp canopy over a driveway. This forced us into an awkward triangle all facing each other. In a setting where people get me, I might have said, "Hi, I'm Carrie, and I'm an alcoholic." Another I enjoy is, "One of you here will betray me." But these people don't get me, so I sat politely listening to the karaoke.... I sh** you not... looking for an opening in the fence.

Poker did indeed break out, and that quieted Barla, Tranny, the guy whose wife doesn't want him to gamble (she stood behind him to monitor his stakes), and one of the bald husbands (because they were all big guys with shaved heads and goatees, and how am I supposed to know?). Seems like there were others there, but I had begun to chew on my leg.

I bolted
Thunder started (thanks be to God) and I said my good-bye to the hostess (and no one else, so I should slip away Batman-style) and got inside just before the downpour came. Checked the clock: 2 hours.

Of course I sent my thank you note. You have no idea who you're dealing with.

Friday, August 15, 2008

And so it begins

The single greatest customer of the US Postal System is "experiencing issues with [their] shipping system." They are falling all over themselves with apology and promised credits, and oh-so-embarrassed by this turn of events.

Lucky, their ad server has another suggestion for how you can ride out these "issues," and save Netflix a damn lot of overhead costs. They apologize and they thank you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Random Olympics

NBC has pledged to provide MORE Olympics this time around -- more matches, more hours, more variety, more sports the US isn't going to dominate in all medal positions and finals (see also softball, on its Olympics deathbed).

What the network can't promise is that many of them require color commentary, play-by-play, and slo-mo analysis. But that's the way we do it, damn it, so we will suck the life right out handball before you've had the chance to pick a team to cheer for.

I came home tonight with just enough time to watch about an hour of TV and eat some Tikka Saag. (readers like detail). But as I have mentioned, I no longer watch TV with any regularity, and I can barely stand the constant interruption. I thought for 1 hour I would check in on the Olympics, and just watch whatever game they were offering. No surprise it was a sport the US has never medaled in, "but just might be in contention!"

In the hour I watched, I was treated to about (2) 10 minute intervals of Men's Synchronized Diving. And you know, the US pair did come close to bronze, but why would you compete against the Chinese in synchronized anything? Didn't you get the message of that opening ceremony?

I missed why they are dressed as Cogsworth, from Beauty and the Beast, but I had the sound off.

This is not the easy teasing about synchronized sports, or men's diving wear, because it is clear that is a difficult sport once you see it done badly. The medal ought to go to Cynthia Potter for executing a full-twisting Madden in her attempt to say something different about this dive. It is pretty easy to spot when a synchronized sport goes wrong. Please do not chalk-talk the replay and explain perpendicular.... again.

Most of the judged sports -- diving, gymnastics, freestyle skiing, figure skating -- require someone like Potter to tell us what to think about what we just saw fly by in 10 seconds, and to secretly hope for a mess-up to break up the synchronized synchronization.

Then we broke for commercial. I flipped around. Discovered Stephen Colbert is still on the air. Miley Cyrus has a fake accent. Hey, Patrick Swayze! Quantum Leap is on the air, but why?

Back poolside, Potter outlined the knife wounds on a Russian Diver who has been stabbed multiple times in the stomach. She referred to the Chinese pair as "stoic." She explained judging math (that is JUDGING math, not judging MATH). She told us what to watch for, which she thinks we still might not understand: "perfect precision," "ab-so-loot synchronization" "like a mirror image!" I call this grammatical device the athletic enthusative. She explained how the US pair missed third place, and the fact that they were upset about it, and why.

This might be why these sports don't really catch on in the states. I'm just sayin'.

I selected the photo above because the last time I saw this ridiculously-dressed a group of men moving in-synch they were named Rum Tum Tugger and Mungo Jerry.

Describe that, Cynthia Potter.

I kind of miss getting my newsreel at the picture show.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lesser Known Medical Conditions

1. Lactose Impatient

2. Uberglycemia

3. Turboneuralgia

4. Angoraphobia

5. Android Arthritis

6. Glass Empty Syndrome

7. Peanut Compulsion

8. Hermaphroditic Obesity

9. Andromeda Strain

10. Sacro-Similac disease

Dear Readers, I know you want more. I even have more. I'm just wicked busy.
The blind people simply must know the wonders of Boise, Idaho, and someone has to do this laundry.

Love me in spite of my neglect of you.

Monday, August 4, 2008


In a recent posting, Miss Bender stated that she did not expect Dr A would get a Harriet the Spy reference. Dr A has informed your Humble Narrator that she is a writer "in no small part because of Harriet the Spy."

Miss Bender regrets this misrepresentation of Dr A's character and cultural upbringing and would like you all to know that in addition to reading Madeleine L'Engel and Ursula Le Guin, she also read Louise Fitzhugh and Judy Blume. Please note that in that reference, I referred to Dr A as Harriet, while Dr M was Janie. But I am chastened and must offer this correction.

Enjoy Karen's tribute to Harriet and the other greats of the Kid Kanon here.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

How to alienate everyone at the company picnic

{I didn't really do any of these. They just gave me something to giggle over while mingling.}

1. Sell your free tickets on eBay.

2. Bring your own food
Carrying a bowl of cereal around is good. I recommend Cap'n Crunch

3. Wear an iPod.
Just walk around like that. If people speak, remove one earplug and say, "How's that?" just like you do at work.

4. Bring some Goths
Say your coven is "just like family."

5. Ask where the "beer's at."

6. Dominate the squirt-gun steeplechase.
Trash-talk the little kids who challenge you. Refuse to leave the stool.

7. Take pictures of other people's kids.
But don't talk to their parents when you do.

8. Suggest Shirts/Skins Volleyball

9. Ask spouses, "So... do you have a ride home?"

10. Start the Macarena

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Being Manny

There are no long good-byes in baseball. Maybe if you are Lou Gehrig, you get to make a speech. Maybe if you are one of the Great Ones, you get a number retiring ceremony after you are gone. But generally, your last game has already happened, and you will appear tomorrow night in a different uniform color.

No question Manny has been singing this song for years, naming in press conferences other teams he might prefer to play with. And when your industry has only 30 companies in it, and yours is the Red Sox, the message is pretty blunt. Lesser teams, hear the pundits and fans (redundant in this town), would be better than this.

A few years ago, Manny suggested it would be better to work in a city where baseball is merely a diversion, rather than be ground through the daily sports-review machine that comes with playing for a Boston team -- these days, any Boston at team. This is where he began to lose the support of the People, when he revealed that he was more loyal to himself, or perhaps even to baseball, than he was to the Sox.

Sox fans want their lifers: Teddy Ballgame (19 seasons), Pudge (24), Yaz (23), Wakefield (13), even Clemens (13). Manny's 8 Sox years can not make this list, and his youth in a position where one can grow quite old (Williams played his last game at 42, Yaz at 44) is a certainty that he will enter the Hall of Fame with Boston as one of a list.

When Roger Clemens left town, it was in pursuit of a World Series ring, which he felt he deserved, and better management, which I think we all thought we deserved. And the fans couldn't begrudge him that. (until he began to win them, then we had to remind him money couldn't buy him love. rrrr--oooo----ggerrrrr)

I have been neglectful of my boys this season. A convergence of distractions has put the Sox off even my back burner. My response to Manny's departure is less about what it is to be a Manny fan and more about what it is to feel like Manny.

This is my blog after all. There is no shortage of rant about Manny you can turn to.

I joined my current team after a quick baseball good-bye to my previous employer, and trotted out to my new field punching my glove and eyes focused on that distant home plate. Sometimes the team just isn't ready for you. I was benched for most of that first year, but swung for the fences in BP and did an hour of wind sprints before every game I didn't get to play, just in case they brought me in. When I was mercifully handed over to The Boss, she put me into every game, double-headers, fungos to the rookies, association negotiations with management. She wanted to see every play I had, and even though we got trounced pretty badly for 2 years, she kept promising me that ring was in sight.

But in those years I got tired of waiting. Then I stopped wanting it. And I started taking my own trips to the scoreboard, throwing back balls, taking the slow jog in the short parks.

Just these past few months I realize I am on a team in contention, and they don't need me much anymore. The Boss is recruiting overseas players, our promising investment from the farm team is now a starting player, the veterans are leading practice, even our recent acquisition is showing all the hunger of a winner.

I thought I wouldn't care.
Turns out I care so much I have buried it into this labyrinthine baseball metaphor. I realize I have flaked Manny-style just as the team I have been waiting for since 1990 has finally arrived.

Curt Schilling said, “..I’ve always wondered how we came to be OK with ‘… he’s just not gonna play hard today,’ and that was OK. We’ve come a long way, especially in this city as devoted and as much as the Red Sox mean to know these players love the uniform, love the fans, and believe in Red Sox and what it means to be a part of this and then you have guys who really don’t give a [expletive].”

Last night I spent some time reading my fan mail, to remind myself I was once something of a spectacle and to see if I could find that drive again. When the postseason comes, I want my share of the clubhouse embrace. I want to be one of the guys who gives an expletive.

watch this space.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Aboard the Starship Googleprise

(dig the copyright on this photo. My non-disclosure guest agreement and an overwhelming sense of self-consciousness prevented me from providing my own.)

Once there was an American company driven toward industry domination that lived by a few simple principles (I am quoting another source here. Like photos, text is easy to find on the interwebs):

  • Concentrate on products with the highest profit margin.
  • Design new products carefully, then get behind them and push them hard.
  • Use your excess cash to diversify into businesses structurally similar to your own.
  • Be a meritocracy.
  • Bid preemptively.
  • Avoid crippling debt.
  • Patiently build your overseas markets.
  • Never scruple to gouge your customers when you see the opportunity.
  • Let your lawyers attack your critics.
  • Be classy ...

but we're not talking about Philip Morris right now. Where was I?

I had the opportunity last week to beam aboard the Starship Googleprise, the biggest of the big tech mills -- the Standard Oil. The Carnegie Steel. Dare I say... the Lowell Mills?

And look, I'm not going to pretend it's not an impressive set-up. You've received the slide-show in your email, I am sure. And if you haven't, you can flick over here. (yeh, I said 'flick.' and I just used single quotes. Because I am innovating. right here. right now.)

All the things you have heard are true. Let's go to the source:
"Lobby Décor ....projection of current search queries from around the world. "
Check. My tour guide answered what you're thinking; no, not the porn.

"Bicycles and large rubber exercise balls... "
Check. My tour guide made me ride one - the bike, that is. In true California fashion, she did not ask how long it had been since I had ridden a bike, and in true Yankee fashion, I didn't speak. But I'll tell you: one that goes somewhere? Could be 20 years, who can say? You don't really forget, but you do forget how to work a coaster brake.

"Many Googlers standing around discussing arcane IP addressing issues and how to build a better spam filter. "
I did not witness this. Most Googlers I witnessed were wearing headphones and not discussing.
Also prevelant: posted signs for internal support groups like "Black at Google," "Gay at Google," "Google Improv," "Google Hispanics." Discussing arcane IP issues is better in a cohort.

"Googlers work in high density clusters remarkably reflective of our server setup, with three or four staffers sharing spaces with couches and dogs. "

Double check.
"[H]igh density," by the way, means the same as "cozy" in the apartment ads. It means Crowded. I actually blame Jeff Bezos for dogs in the workplace. Also rumpled khakis.
I have no idea what "reflective of our server setup" means, unless it means "tangled in wires."

"Most Googlers have high powered Linux OS workstations on their desktops. In Google's earliest days, desks were wooden doors mounted on two sawhorses. Some of these are still in use within the engineering group. "
I was not allowed on the Engineering Deck

"Recreation Facilities - Workout room with weights and rowing machine, locker rooms, washers and dryers, massage room, assorted video games, Foosball, baby grand piano, pool table, ping pong, roller hockey twice a week in the parking lot. "
Yep yep yep [sigh] yeh, right, ok, yes... also lap pool, solar panels, and a Dance Dancde Revolution. Can you let me finish please?

"Snack Rooms - Bins packed with various cereals, gummi bears, M&Ms, toffee, licorice, cashew nuts, yogurt, carrots, fresh fruit and other snacks. Dozens of different drinks including fresh juice, soda and make-your-own cappuccino. "
True. I love this very specific itemizing of snacks. Picture the prospective employee, still on the fence -- "should I work at this awesome company...? I don't know... oh, cashews, YES! [pumps fist]"

Not mentioned on the Google Culture page: filing cabinets everywhere. Filing cabinets. I could not have been more surprised by the sound of a typewriter.

"Coolest stop on the tour - A three-dimensional rotating image of the world on permanent display on a large flat panel monitor... "
True-up, this is pretty cool. It now lives in the lobby, with a wall-sized white-board on which Star Fleet is mapping their plan for world domination. That is not my term; it is theirs.

Also cool was the serendipitous presence of founder Larry Page, all Rocket Man cool with visiting dignitaries, in the front lobby. He has been Queer-Eye improved, and of course is also now is luurrrv.

Do you ever suspect that the naming of computer/internet moguls "Gates" and "Page" is just too Dickensian? Are their names really Applebaum and Stickle? Those pictures behind Larry are taken of everyone in the world while they surf. You are row 14, position 6.

All that was missing was the clinic -- though employees can get their DNA mapped at a discount, so you can at least find out what could go wrong with you.

I thought the chapel was missing; then I realized I was standing in it.

You really could live on the grounds, and pocket all your earnings. The millhousing is already planned, and in the country's most expensive real estate market, it is not such an outrageous idea for the company to put you up in biking distance of the cashews and the laundry room.

We have not come so far, it seems, from the pre-Sherman Act days when the Company owned the town, and the store, and you with it. Companies became family traditions, like IBM, Tupperware, the Army.... close-up of blue-eyed mailroom boy, slow dissolve to cigar-smoking baron with the mailboy's same liquid blue eyes, now under bristly gray eyebrows and a furrowed forehead...

When I was an eager New-Pro (not the window, but what we openly called the new professional in that line of work) I immersed myself in the company/industry culture, deep-end first. The company did not spend Google-type dollars on us, but we certainly had all our needs provided. We lived on event banquets and buffets, wore insignia sweatshirts, drank what was left of the keg, slept in our offices (not high-density. The only luxury of those last-century workplaces), got our shots at Health Services, our learning at the grad school, booked our own entertainment, worked/played/lived/(often)coupled with each other. And we had never been happier. Until we began to turn 30.

My tour guide described the Googleplex as an incubator, and I understand that metaphor. I have been that egg. or preemie. Whichever. After 10 years of it, I realized I had created no life for myself outside of that incubator. Neither had anyone I knew. We had to form a support group to learn how to get out of it. ("Incubated at Google"). I think what unsettled me about the tour was picturing myself today, working in an environment where every need was provided for, so I would never have to leave.

Sometimes my walk to CVS for a Dove bar is the only break I get all day. I suppose I could take my bike.