Sunday, January 24, 2010

Retronyms Debacle 2010

Here it is, the round up of the Retronyms Debacle 2010.

Sunday was the first official day of the debacle, and we got groceries, settled into the house, and got to work. Most of it was smooth sailing, but we did encounter one of the greatest challenges to any group of software developers - unreliable internet. Fortunately it was fixed easily enough with a new router and putting a password on the network.

On Monday, I made a most delightful discovery. In rental houses there's always random kitchen sundries left from the previous occupants; what I happened upon that day is artichoke tea. If you've never had it, it's a delicious hot artichoke juice-broth easily had in teabag form. So good. I'm really excited to get some for myself now that I'm home.

Tuesday was the third day of the endeavor, and a couple of our more cold-ridden members started passing the sickies around. Fun unrelated fact: that night we had homemade chilitos (remember those Taco Bell burritos made from chili?) Unbeknownst to us, the founder of Taco Bell had died the day before. I think the chilitos were an appropriate homage.

That night one of my best friends from college picked me up and we went to Long Beach, which was a pretty great since 1) I hadn't seen her in a few months, and 2) I'd been getting a little antsy being cooped up inside from the rain. It was still raining pretty heavily for the first part of the drive, but we stopped to get a bit of food and a beer, and the rain had stopped when we were done. Had some awesome cajun-ized fries at that place too; spicy potatoes are the greatest!

We went to another bar to sit and chat for a while, then she took me back to the house we were staying at. The drive home was pretty excellent, the air was clean and clear from the rain, smog pleasantly gone, you could even see the stars! I didn't even know that was possible in the greater LA area. Took the scenic route that covered a lot of ground past the beach, bay, parks, the naval weapons station, everywhere.

More work was accomplished Wednesday and Thursday, everything seemed to come together really well, and Friday was the debacle grand finale. We worked for most the day and went out that night. Everyone had wanted to do something really touristy and kitschy while we were there, but we couldn't go to Disneyland because it rained the whole time. So our last night was spent at Medieval Times.

For anyone unfamiliar with the place, it's a dinner and show combo that's supposed to provide you with the experience of being in 11th century Spain. I don't know that it completely delivers on that promise; while they do make you eat with your hands, the gratuitous use of colored lights makes it decidedly un-medieval, but I suppose people would complain about a dinner lit by torchlight.

The site said to arrive an hour or so early to ensure a good seat, but it probably wasn't necessary b/c all the seats had a good enough view. However, enough time beforehand to get a couple drinks in you is probably a good idea, it makes the experience much more enjoyable.

The gist of the show is a tale about a prince who's disappeared, a mysterious knight, and a tournament to save the prince, etc. The bard looked like Bruce Campbell, which was pretty awesome, and the ending fight scenes were as epic and well choreographed as any WWF match. And the swords sparked! I don't know that I'd call the money well-spent, but it was a great alternative to Disneyland and fun for what it was.

Saturday was nothing more than tidying the house before leaving, and then we went to the airport. Alas, the debacle couldn't end without one last wrinkle in the plans - our flight was delayed almost two hours. But we made it home safe and sound, and man is it good to be back in SF.

PS - Yes, I haven't provided any detail whatsoever on what exactly we're building. We just think it's way more fun to keep you trembling in anticipation for news of the product. But more will come closer to the release, which is very tentatively possible at the end of February, beginning of March. Remember that's a very imprecise deadline and very subject to change.

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