At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Saturday, December 07, 2013


Two days ago we had a reunion. The company no longer exists, since November of last year, but it had survived the sharks for nearly two decades. And, ignoring the grating surreality of the last two years, it was a good place to work.

The reunion was, naturally, at a bar. Creative types gravitate towards alcohol much the same way that crackheads are magnetically attracted to lost suburbanites.

There's just something about intelligent people which is infinitely alluring. Yes, some of them are female...... but don't worry, I was looking at their eyes. Same goes for the males among us.

We had actually done some pretty darn decent work while employed at that company. Won a few awards, made heads spin, fascinated crowds. But it became a leaner, more competitive market as time went on. And, truth be told, the retailers were falling like flies. The Big Box shops in mall-America have a lot to answer for.

None of the beefy fratboys from Sales or Marketing showed up, which is just as well. We would've eaten them.


Every month we had a company meeting during which an overview of corporate health and progress would be given, followed by significant news, after which each department would in three minutes (!) explain either what they had been up to in the last four weeks or what they had achieved.

The most memorable mass meeting was the one in which Shank Dog ("creative") blew the Sales and Marketing dudes out of the water. First Sales blathered on for over ten minutes that they had done momentous things which were totally staggering, saved the world, cured cancer, won peace prizes, and increased prosperity, happiness, and emotional health all round they were just phenomenal and expected applause.

Enthused applause was duly rendered.

Then Marketing told us for fifteen minutes in glowing terms about their mission to Mars, Pluto, the lost continent of Mu, Walmart and Kmart. They had fought the good fight, trounced dragons and giants, performed feats of valour, and cured the sick, made the crippled see again, and were by themselves quite the biggest thing since topsy.
World leaders agreed that they were better than Sales.
Why crapazoola they were just wonderful.
Yes you may clap now.

So we clapped. Yay, team. Yay.

Then Shank Dog stood up, and succinctly explained what Product Development had done during that month.

"We hired a bus, loaded it up with beer, and drove to the Sierras. Blotto for an entire week. Bought more beer. Great time. We're expensing it as 'brainstorming'. Oh, and we also saved the world, just like those other two departments."

Wow. Total silence. Sales and Marketing didn't know what to say.
Clearly Product Development was cooler than them.

Suffice to say that most meetings after that were much shorter, more productive, and certainly more realistic.

I still think we should have produced 'The Little Miss Mayhem Junior Chainsaw', which I envisioned as coming in its own personalizable femmy pink sleeve, with Unicorn and Hello Kitty decals optional and according to the choice of the pig-tailed preteen end-user ("the ideal market segment"), as well as addictive biofeedback devices that would duplicate the pleasurable effects of four hours at the gym without the sweat, grunting, and wasted time -- just strap yourself in, set dials to max, and you'll be in heaven till you have to go to work again -- but what came out of the drunken brainstorming sessions of the Product Development Department was pretty damned cool too.
Nineteen years of corporate goofitude.
That's very good.


On the way home, I heard crows. There are a few small colonies of them in the Nob Hill area. They're raucous and cheerful.

The last three months that the company existed, we were in Hayward. Out in the reclaimed swamplands made industrial, with wide roads, parking lots, and loading docks. Landscaping, trees, warehouses.
Where crows swagger in the weeds along the railroad tracks.
Self-assured, smarter than most other fowl.
More brains than Marketing.
Likely also Sales.


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