Trying to stay creative while working 10 hour days and commuting two is proving rather difficult. I am accustomed to writing in the mornings (on various projects) and then working my yob, and then coming home at night and just chillin. But this gig I have right now (for a company I adore) is a subcontract to a big construction company, and it is all about the 7:AM start time.
For the past two months, it has been, get up at 5:AM so that I can be in San Jose at 6:55 AM with a hard hat and orange vest on, standing around with union carpenters, electricians, iron workers, drinking instant coffee in styrofoam, and preparing for (complaining about) another day.
It has only been in the past two weeks that the construction phase has finally ended, and I am now able to ditch the hardhat and roll in at the decent hour of 8:30. But, now that the building has been built, is time for the technology to be delivered, and so I have been working overtime.
It’s a multimedia job. Brand new corporate campus. Rear projection rooms, satellite linked video conference rooms, towering, seamless LCD wall displays such as this one:
The technology is all state of the art, and it has been a pleasure to work with. The video in the displays above is delivered from the equipment room over fiber. The content is dynamic, highlighting the company, while also including CNN news briefs and a plethora of other eye catching goodies. It’s a giant message from Corporate God as you enter, saying “Welcome to Corporate Heaven.”
The rear projection rooms have been fun too. Vast robotic projectors placed in totally black rooms, pointing at huge $5k, tunable, first surface mirrors. Here is a shot I got of one such mirror before me, the vast piece of glass we project upon behind me:
The video technology is not the only interesting part of the new campus. But somehow it feels purer than the rest. Maybe it is because I helped build it, and so I like it the best. But still I have to wonder if it is going to be the heaven they are looking for.
The place is built like a space station, so that workers never have to leave. There are cafes, a huge cafeteria, dry cleaning, game rooms, a gym. The list goes on. But it all feels so isolated from the world I know. And while that, in itself is no evil, this isolated world feels, well, plastic. Which, to be honest, can best be demonstrated here, in the following image:
What you are seeing here are the landscapers of the future. These men are hard at work stapling down a PLASTIC LAWN. probably a 1/4 acre of green plastic grass, that looks remarkable just like the real thing.
Of course sitting on the stuff one instantly realizes that it is not the real thing. The sun heats it up like you might expect a huge plastic carpet would, and you feel surrounded by off-gassing petroleum product. If it has a redeeming quality, it would be the amount of water it saves (which is important I suppose), but still, it lends strongly to an overall feeling of impurity that permeates the entire new shining complex. It all feels just a bit phony.
While I am sure that these silicon valley tech workers get paid quite well to live on their sparkling new spaceship, I am glad that in a couple of weeks I can move on to the next adventure, some other city, some other way of life, undoubtedly.