-------- Original Message --------
Subject: (void) what's purple and yellow and dangerous 
Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2002 00:41:52 +0000 
From: Simon Wistow 
To: xxxx@xxxx.org

Travel writers have it easy. Not only do they get to swan off and do
interesting things and write about it but the writing is easy.
Essentially all you do is fixate on a point and just harp on about it
which is exactly what your brain wants to do when its jetlagged anyway.

I mean you sit there and you stare out the window and everything you see
gets munged into a phrase but overlayed on top of it like a firework of
words superimposed on your conciousness.

Or maybe it's just me. 

I've been here two days now. I think. It feels like forever. I hate
flying East to West. Most people are the other way round apparently. I
have a theory that it's people who don't sleep much who have it bass
ackwards like me. Either way, there seems to have been far too many
nights and days for it only to be Thursday

I woke up with a hangover every 20 minutes from 3am onwards until it got
boring and I went for a shower and leaned my head against the wall and
wondered how I was feeling. I mean, a little excited sure but mostly
this feeling of ... I dunno. I don't like long showers so I never got to
work out what it was. In the end walking out of the house was an
anti-climax, even though I hate leaving a nice person in a warm bed.

Bad taxi driver, quick train and a Big Mac for breakfast at the airport.
4 hours on the tarmac waiting for an engine to get fixed. 2 novels, 4
films, a book review and a lot of thinking. I can't even remember how
long the flight was - it was just interminable, the longest flight I've
ever been on including the 27 hour one back from Cairns. I mean,
obviously it wasn't *physically* that long but it felt it. I felt bored
and lonely and I felt 5 weeks of work and hotel living galloping towards
me, buddied up with the inevitable prospect of the terrible paranoid,
panicky jet lag I get a day after travelling west.

Oh, Woe is me. Staple my hand to my forehead and play a tiny violin. Boo
hoo hoo, my company fly me to San Francisco for 5 weeks and all I got
from it was this lousy tshirt.


I'm deliberately trying to avoid sounding (reading? scanning?) like the
similar brain dump I did when I was in Canada. Can you tell? It's why
its taken so long. Usually I just dump them out (sometimes, like Canada,
I don't even remember doing it) as a way of externally organising my
thoughts. This one has been a little protracted if only because I've
been self concious about how similar a first draft sounded and also
because I've been in meetings - morning meetings, afternoon meetings,
breakfast meetings, planning meetings, briefings, tete-a-tetes,
shindigs, pow-wows, brainstorms, strategy conferences. Information
layered on the nasty buzzy thoughts that I haven't had time to file
away. Data slung at me in a flurry of charts and PowerPoints and
whiteboards and printouts of facts and figures all shovelled like so
much horse shit and crammed into my head. 

Sometimes I just sit and look out the window and doodle and hope that
people think I'm thinking rather than just being rude.


The reason why an earlier attempt to write this was halted under some
sort of self-imposed auto-plagiarism rule was that landing and cruising
the freeway from SFO to Palo Alto felt exactly like landing in Canada.

I stepped out of the airport with Vivian, an SF native who was pant
wettingly happy to be back. There's this view from the hotel-bus
pickup-points which resembles, at sunset at least, George Lucas's wet
dream idea of an urban landscape. Maybe not Lucas. Somebody else.
Vonnegut possibly. Or Matt Groening.

You look down over this impossible interwoven macrame of concrete clover
leaves which is neatly framed by the mountains behind it. Everything has
a cheap sci-fi-vista-of-an-industrial-world orange tint to it and the
air is warm and smells vaguely of burritos and lemons and car fumes and

Vivian and I meet Ed at the Avis rental place, get a mini-van in
preference to a Chrysler Blandsmobile or a Ford Generic and pull out of
the car park into near pitch black. I'm startled by how fast night has
fallen. How long were we in there? It feels like 5 minutes but for all
my body cares it could have been 5 hours. We sidle into the thrusting
traffic and try and find a way onto the suddenly-menacing
moebius-junction, cloverleaf complex.

I sink back. I have nothing to offer to the current tasks which seem to
be, in order - navigation, reminiscence of past times in the Bay Area
and piloting the soccer-mom-mobile. I'm tired, I've got the kind of
hunger you get from boredom and habit. I look out the window and feel
exactly how I felt post touchdown at Toronto and try and remember when
that was.


Silicon Valley is a gyp. I was expecting, I dunno, something inspiring.
Instead it seems to consist entirely of a long, straight road, hemmed in
by high walls and retail outlet warehouses. At night it's claustrophobic
with nothing but a seemingly dead straight line of headlights heading
for you to indicate that there might be some way out - an older, wiser
and prettier person than I described it as electric treacle. I'd be
tempted to quote Ginsbergh but then people would wonder why I was
quoting Hackers.

By day, and after a fitful night's sleep, it's even more disapointing.
Ok, so the Moffet's Field dirigible hangers are, like, huge but the
Valley itself looms shabby and cynical. Even the big, blue, Lockheed
Martin cube isn't that impressive. I'd imagined navy blue glass, instead
I got duck egg blue corrugated iron.  I can see it from the meeting room
we usually use and I find myself hoping that the top will roll back and
a Stealth Fighter will leviate out or something.

Yahoo! is situated on a campus on First Avenue. It's 4 almost identical
buildings around a patch of apologetic but verdantly green grass. or
something that passes for grass. It's how I'd imagine Area 51 would look
like if it was coherently branded and sold merchandise - even the
sprinkler heads are in Yahoo! Official! Colours! That's just plain

I've been given a cubicle and I keep finding remenants of the previous
occupier. I feel suitably morbid but I also get a perverse thrill from
using the pens they left behind.

I'm really going nowhere with this. I haven't written much recently
because I've been busy or broke or tired and leaning towards melodrama
and awkward adjective insertion, which doesn't lend itself to covering
up (or at least excusing) my particular brand of spelling mistakes and
forced sentences as well as angry rants do. Someday I should learn to
proof read.

And I'm tired.

----- End forwarded message -----

Apparently I never answered the question so somebody else answered it for me ...
"A jetlagged, pissed off Yahoo! employee, I should imagine."

Which pretty much sums it up :0