Sunday, November 7

It's Sunday afternoon and there are five of us upstairs at SparkFun.

I'm trying to work out a better way to map URLs like http://www.sparkfun.com/products/666 to the underlying code that (in this example) generates a view of a product. I keep rewriting this because my first effort was too complex to begin with and now I can't break the behavior because everything else relies on it.

Casey is sorting out the way the checkout process is supposed to gripe at you if you put in a bad address or credit card or what-have-you.

Dave is trying to build a better interface for editing the pages where we explain (in carefully worded sentences which almost no one will ever actually read) things like how one goes about returning a defective product.

Pearce is reading something technical with footnotes, and occasionally swearing.

Brad was grappling with some database schema or another, earlier. Now he's moved on to making custom fake Magic: The Gathering cards featuring various people in the room.

I keep scribbling things on paper and scratching them out, getting up to draw diagrams on the windows and getting distracted halfway there. Outside the glass, just past a foreground of office-park bullshit, there is as usual the kind of view that people in other places hang on walls. Something that's almost a storm has moved down over the foothills and is now dissipating across the valley to the north of us. A huge double rainbow to the northeast has just faded out. It's getting dark. I can hear keyboards, case fans, and the occasional tick of a small servo motor moving a dial to display the current load on our web server.

Against this backdrop, I can't decide if this is a vignette of grinding nerdery — a minor litany of stuff none of us would be doing right now if there was a girl waiting at home — or just a sign that we're all engaged, like it or not, in some process larger than ourselves. I guess this isn't exactly a binary proposition. You start to build a thing and it takes over huge chunks of your life. These are mundane efforts, but from any one of them you can extrapolate a small world, and because you can I'm not sure any of us have much choice as to whether we will. This is how it becomes dangerous to get more than a couple of us in a bar at once. You inevitably wind up with a jargon-laced collapse into some highly ramified but ultimately incoherent group tirade about problems of representation and expression.