March 6th, 2001


The worst day at work ever.

I woke up late this morning, because we finished our project last week and this week is all celebrations and laziness. When I finally got out of bed and ambled into the bathroom, there was a post-it note on the window from Angi. It said:



Darin called me from Atlanta. Sapient's laying off 20% worldwide today. Get ready for the worst day at work ever. :(


All thoughts of a leisurely shower fled from my head. I ran back to my room, threw on some clothes and caught the 38 Geary headed downtown.

The bus was stuck in traffic for a long time. Outside it was raining hard. I watched the rain trickle off rooftops and trees, down into the gutters, slicking the streets and the sidewalks. Everything was a different shade of grey.

It is an uncomfortable sensation to ride to work not knowing if you still have a job or not. I thought about what I'd do if I were fired. Get another tech job? Try for a nonprofit? How long could I survive in SF with no job? I didn't have much money in the bank. My lease ran till November... plus I couldn't just break it anyway and screw Angi... I'd never been fired before, how would they decide who should go... would it be better in the long run if I were fired?

At work I marched to my desk, not looking at anyone else. I checked my mail. Someone mentioned that if you had a meeting request with a management person, that meant you were fired. I didn't see one in my box & immediately felt relief. But lots of my friends had lost their jobs. Some people were crying. I didn't know what to say. I felt guilty because some of the people who got fired were so hardworking and smart... it didn't make sense that they'd get fired and I wouldn't.

The whole day passed in a blur. Everyone was as miserable and shocked as you'd expect. We learned later than San Francisco had been hit harder than most offices. We lost something like 35%. They were closing all the offices but one.

Our "live party", celebrating the completion of our project, was supposed to be that evening. Instead we ended up at Amanda's apartment, drinking and talking but generally not saying too much. It was surprisingly upbeat as people drank more, but then most of the people who were there still had jobs.


Appreciation of art (and gender issues)


Elio Sandeep & I went to MOMA. They had a cool technology & art exhibit featuring amongst other things:

1) a 'sculpture making machine' that oozed & extruded gobs of gooey plastic into bulging lumpen shapes (i.e. sculptures) that rolled down a conveyer belt

Artist Is Commenting On: gender issues, the sancticity of art (Holy Relic vs. mass production), the plight of indigenous peoples in the global south

2) bunches of computer generated squiggly lines that criss cross and vaguely resemble the objects mentioned in the pieces' titles ("rock", "after-image", "SF Bay Guardian")

these were created by an artist who hooked up a tracker to his eye & then looked at/read various things. when you look at something your eye is actually making hundreds (thousands?) of tiny quick jumps, called 'saccades', in order to keep the object in focus. artist graphed these saccades onto paper. result very intriguing but hard to explain

Artist is Commenting On: the tricky nature of 'sight', gender issues

3) many other strange and unusual things such as a maze of tall walls comprised of screenshots from world wide web circa dec 31st, 1999 -- a phosphorus afterimage of a screaming phase that dissolves when the scream sounds (which happens out of sync with the face's physical contortion) -- various computerised baubles and gadgets -- a bar code reading gizmo that makes strange and unpredictable movements / colors /flashes/sounds in response to any bar code you give it -- and more

Artist is Commenting On: many things, in particular gender issues

We ate at the Indian Oven (Indian Palace? The Maharaja's Chamber? whatever) on Geary. It was acceptable although the waiter was too enthusiastic for my liking. It was raining like a motha. Elio & I played pool at the bar that says "We Cheat Tourists and Drunks (R)" outside (and let me say for the record that while i love that motto, the stupid (R) takes all the charm out of it and turns into an bullshit emblem of TGIF-style corporate whimsy-- or maybe it's part of the joke & i don't get it) and made everyone in the bar listen to:

1) Elvis Costello, Pump It Up

2) Luscious Jackson, Naked Eye

3) ??? elio's song, can't remember!

Then we went & played Final Fantasy for a long time. Made it to disc two, after only... 25 hours. Kill me.