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November 04, 2003: Riding the adrenalin rush

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Yesterday I flew down to spend the day at the office in Santa Monica with my boss and the architect and a pile of random information that somehow needed to not only be organized into a slide presentation, but also into an accompanying workbook, complete with exercises. Because the majority of us are extremely allergic to the lazy and completely useless method of simply printing out the slides that seems to be what passes for handouts these days at conferences, the workbook took a wee bit more time than it might normally have. But thatís a good thing Ė Iím sure it is. Iíll be even more sure when my brain recovers from the sheer intensity of the past 48 hours and I have the ability to comprehend rational thought once more.

Itís been a very long two days. Monday we gathered around a conference table with our laptops and spent hours and hours frantically typing, or else swapping USB drives back and forth to transfer files to each other because two of us had no access to the network down there. Then today we all came into the office extra early and continued the mad typing/file swapping for another ten hours before we headed home to lurk bleary-eyed in front of our home computers to take care of all the final tweaking until it was, at last, done. And at this point I suppose a small cheer or dance of glee might have been appropriate but by then I was tired and really, I no longer cared.

I didnít get home until after 10pm last night and that was only because while sitting in the terminal waiting for our plane we heard the boarding call for an early flight to Sacramento and decided to see if we could do a quick ticket switch. It only bought us an extra half hour but somehow, not having to sit in an airport for an extra thirty minutes made a big difference. And then, despite vague discussions of how we would actually try to *work* on the plane (yeah right), we did not do one bit of anything productive, and instead entertained ourselves on the flight home by flipping through the Skymall catalog and pointing out all the must-have gifts to each other. In the Christmas tree category it was a toss-up between which was tackier - the fiber optic tree made of fake poinsettias, or the remote control tree, which allows you to switch the light patterns and colors on your tree at the touch of a button. Because really, surely you have nothing better to spend 350 bucks on, right? In the category of most useless kitchen appliances, we found the pop-up hot dog cooker. No one who values his or her gourmet snootiness should ever be without their very own pocket pepper grinder (mock if you must but I actually knew a guy who would probably have bought this). And if those stupid light-up reindeer, icicle lights, and drape lights were not tacky enough for you, now you can make your house look like itís being attacked by a snow flurry! Will the wonders ever cease?

However, lest you think we spent the whole flight mocking stupid things for sale, I should note that every once in a while, those catalogs do have something that, while expensively impractical, is also really cool. My boss and I both agreed that this wins, hands down. Because how incredibly cool would it be to be able to just tug this little thing out of your watch to upload or download data! Or perhaps I should put it a different way. How better to announce your ultimate nerdness to the entire world than with a 256 MB USB Drive watch.

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