Christopher Pratt (cpratt) wrote,
Christopher Pratt

Day 5

Day 05: A song that reminds you of someone

Oh, let's see, only about a hundred different songs to choose from... here's a short list before I actually go off on a proper tangent:

mamoosh: Max Tundra, Lysine - Matthew housesat for us for nine months in 2002. When I got home, I was very excited because the new Max Tundra album had arrived the week we got home. Matthew got giddy after hearing this very small "- - -" percussive thing that happens in the song.

danlmarmot: Heartbeat Reggae, which is a compilation CD I've never listened to. Dan doesn't listen to a lot of music. He does however have a few CDs from his college days which have been lying around our house for decades, unlistened. Most of them have long since wandered off to Amoeba, but this one stays because it's such a WTF: he doesn't like reggae, so what's the story here? I have no idea.

cbertsch: The Cure, Catch. I've never actually heard this song, but for at least a decade I would go through every Cure section in every CD shop I visited to try to find a copy of this CD single. I never did, unfortunately.

tpratt: Melvins, Lysol. Tim invited me to a Melvins show at the Kennel Club almost twenty years ago. They played this album. It was a transformative moment for me: I'd never heard anything like it and I was utterly transfixed. I stopped making fun of Tim's MRR days and realized that the man had good taste. Although I eventually became a fan of Steel Pole Bath Tub and Helmet as well, though, I'm still not really a punk/metal kind of guy.

itchwoot: Grauzone, Eisbär - because we saw Knut together in Berlin. Proof here:

50poundnote: Severed Heads, Greater Reward, because of his tattoo. Alternatively, the Max Tundra remix of Fledermaus Can't Get It - because even though I've sung the praises of Max Tundra for a decade, Jeb is the only person I know of who's ever listened to any of it on their own volition (unless Matthew has, I suppose). Frustrating really.

OK, that's enough logrolling for one post. On to the crux of the biscuit, and that's this song:

ケン・イシイ, EXTRA (1995年)

Here's how this story goes: when I graduated from college, I took the only job I could find, which was a position at CompUSA #297 in San Bruno, California, just a mile or two away from SFO. I was living in Oakland at the time, so the commute was kind of a hassle - and I could barely afford the coupon books I needed for the bridge tolls. However, my rent was $200 or so as I was living in an unfinished, unheated garage at the time. (I know, glamorous.) Eventually, though, I had the great good fortune to meet sinnabor, danlmarmot, and other various Silicon Valley tech/nerd types who seemed to think that I could certainly get a "real" job at one of the tech companies in the South Bay if I wanted to. After all, these were early days; there was no outsourcing to India, everything was muy cowboy (in the sense that degrees didn't particularly matter and anyone who could demonstrate technical competence was a good potential hire), and business was booming.

By the fall of 1994, danlmarmot and I had become fast friends; those of you who attended our wedding may recall that our mutual AAA membership dates back to August 14, 1994. It was around that time that Dan, Brian, and I all moved into a rental together in Belmont, about halfway down the Peninsula to what I think of as Silicon Valley proper. Dan, who had started working in tech support at Claris maybe a year or so ago, convinced me to apply for a job there, which I thought was pretty scary given that I was not a FileMaker Pro user or even vaguely familiar with Resolve, ClarisWorks, or any of their products. However, what I did know something about was networking (I'd made that my specialty at CompUSA), the Internet, foreign languages, and of course (most importantly) how to deal with angry, frustrated end users who didn't know much about computers in general.

Long story short, I was hired, I started making an impossible amount of money (that salary was $34,000 a year), and within a year I had transitioned into software test engineering for FileMaker Pro Server and all Windows products, being the super sekrit Windows guru of the kind always in very, very short supply at Claris - after all, they were a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple and staffed mostly with hardcore Apple enthusiasts who would often ignore bugs in their Windows products because "Windows sucks" - so why fix it, right?

Anyhow: About a year later, we hired a guy I'll call Stan. We sat next to each other and struck up a pleasant workplace friendship. Stan was pretty much your stereotypical Jtard: he had taught English in Japan, had been dating (and I believe eventually married) a Japanese woman, had a container of My Shaldan in his car, snacked on Pocky, and was generally utterly smitten with all things Japanese.

At some point, he loaned me a Ken Ishii CD and suggested I'd like it. I did. I've got a good half dozen Ishii CDs these days, but it's Jelly Tones that always makes me think of Stan.

Sadly, though, our friendship came to kind of a crappy end by the time I left the company in July 1998. Being a naturally gregarious kind of guy, he ingratiated himself with the management team (by doing things I'd never do, like playing a lot of Magic: The Gathering) to the point where he'd become an unstoppable corporate ladder-climbing force, which I thought was tacky and, well, just generally lame. Of course, he also happened to be a very good test engineer and handy with Japanese localization, so it shouldn't have been a surprise that promotions and pay rises came so quickly and so easily. Me, I was younger and more prone to anger; I have vague memories of driving over to Shuei-do manju shop on a lunch break with Stan in the summer of 1998 and angrily lashing out at him for being such a brown nose - something about the pay rises and fancy new titles pissed me off. Shortly thereafter, though, I learned that the best way to get ahead is sometimes just to quit. I left Claris about a month later after accepting a position at Netscape that paid double what I was making at Claris, which of course felt pretty damn good in more ways than one.

I did return to work at Claris for a few months in early 2003 as a contractor; Stan interviewed me for the position and of course asked me if I was still going to be such a dick about his success. I was appropriately contrite - and I wasn't faking it; five years' experience had taught me a few things - and he gave a "hire" to the hiring manager. We were cordial, I was grateful that he gave me a second chance, and when I left that job to move to Redmond a few months later, that was the last time I ever saw Stan.

Music's still good, though.

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