A Grid Computer, A Deadline, German Girls Learning American-English

I believe this is a Grid3 but I could be mistaken.
I believe this is a Grid3. My work setup from 1989.

How easy one forgets or just plain misses his/her history. In today’s world of fancy-pants super computers masquerading as dumb-downed smartphones there was a day a long, long, long time ago where humility reigned supreme–especially when it was Friday late afternoon and one takes on a deadline for 8am Monday. At least that’s how I remember my entry into the world of mega personal computing.

When the assignment arrived everyone in the office scattered, conveniently putting themselves out of a hard weekend’s way. I had just joined the firm and was unaware of the divisiveness of corporate hallway work-avoidance. In fact–it’s all coming back to me now!–I believe I actually volunteered to take the job. The job was nothing more than providing company data, aka business profiles, of all the suppliers for telephone networking systems–by Monday morning. Keep in mind, this was pre world-wide-web. Even though I knew that it would be a lot of hours putting the individual profiles together I also knew that the fancy-pants consultancy I had just joined–the company that literally brought me to Europe for an extended stay that to this day has not ended–had all the resources I would need to get the job done. All I had to do was:

  1. Identify the companies (which I was able to do within a few hours Friday)
  2. Find their balance sheets, find a few news articles about them and, whenever I could, get some info about them from sources e.g. Lexis/Nexis, Gruner + Jahr, etc. (which the firm I worked for actually had in its mega firm-library)
  3. After that all that was left was to write it all up in company format and provide it in digital form.

Sounds easy enough, eh. Well, actually it is/was pretty easy even though I didn’t own a computer at the time–nor was I eligible for a fancy-pants portable computer that the firm sometimes loaned out. Also, for whatever reason, that weekend no one was allowed in the office to work. Something about fixing all the cubicles, fumigating, renovating, etc. I guess, in a way, I committed myself to something that was definitely “up-river”.

Luckily the head of the information & research department–where I worked–came to me a few minutes after I took the job. He was carrying a huge black suitcase.

“Toe-ma,” he said. “Here. Take this. There’s plenty of empty floppies in it. Get the data you need from our database and then you can sort through it all at home.”

I took the suitcase to my cubicle and opened it. Luckily it was Friday late afternoon in Germania. I was alone at my cubicle. To this day everybody leaves early on Friday. It’s Germany’s Volksport! Which means… No one could see the excitement in my face when I opened that black case.

Some Trivia.

Did you know, dear worst-reader, that a Grid Laptop was the first portable computer to go to space? I suppose that’s something to be proud of, especially if your John Ellenby, the founder of Grid. In fact, when the Challenger exploded in 1986, the Grid that was onboard survived not only the explosion but it was found underwater and when salvaged it still worked. Heck, even Steve Jobs owned a few Grids and if you take a hard long look at Apple’s first (krappy) laptop there’s no missing the similarities. Yea. Grids rocked.

Needless to say I was flabbergasted when I opened the large black case my boss had given me. I actually thought for a second or three that I should just leave with the device and never come back. If I could pawn the damn thing… Grids were only affordable by CEOs back then. The things costs something like $10k a piece! I could live in Mallorca for a few months. ;-)

Tommi, aka worst-writer, meeting deadlines and privileged enough to do it on a piece of history.
Tommi, aka worst-writer, meeting deadlines and joking around teaching a new friend Americanisms in my basement #eurowasteland apartment 1989.

But no. Back then the bite and bitterness of corporate cynicism hadn’t yet corrupted my measly worst-mind. I was dedicated, I was committed, I wanted to work. Of course, the girl that took the pictures which I recently found tucked away in an old shoebox also got a bit of attention that weekend as I was on (yet another) assignment to help her with her American-English. All-in-all it was a good weekend.

I met the Monday morning deadline–with lots of praise from my boss.

The girl that took the pics got in a few hours of learning “American” for her university courses in Anglistics.

And I got to work with a Grid computer.

RIP John Ellenby.

Rant on.


Rich vs Rich

Some say there’s a difference between wealthy and rich. It has something to do with how you came to your money. In the end the words don’t matter. What does matter, though, is the result of the world’s greatest experiment in democracy playing the I can be rich and powerful and all-knowing and the centre of the universe card. Or maybe not.

As the freak show known as the presidential election makes the turn for the final stretch, The Donald has emerged as the shitbag leader of a whole bunch of shitbags. But is The Donald actually what he says he is? Does it even matter? I mean, he does have his own 757 jet. And almost everything he owns is laced in gold–to match his stuck-in-the-1970s comb-over. But I digress.

Enter stupid.

When it became clear to worstwriter that The Donald was actually gonna clinch the RNC nomination I started to worry about one thing. Does this mean that there will finally be a civil war among the shitbags. Oh! Wait. What are the shitbags? Well, dear worst-reader, I’m glad you asked. The shitbags are the people in #americant that own everything. Of course, they don’t own everything because they earned it. No. They own everything because…

  1. They inherited it (i.e. their grandparents earned it)
  2. They conned someone to get it
  3. The pöbel gave it to them because, well, the first rule of flight club is that you believe you too can be rich so you act accordingly–which always keeps the money in one place and one place only.

But before I get too far off subject. I want to blog about the scariest part of the DNC series of Hey Stupid People Listen Up speeches. As good as Michelle Obama’s speech was, as emotional as Khizr Khan’s speech was, as hot as Katy Perry is, the only speech that stood out in my worst-mind was the one by Bloomberg. Why? Well, it’s simple. There is rich and then there is rich.

Remember, dear worst-reader, #americant is what it is not because of rich people but instead because of poor people believing they too can be rich–and the poor act accordingly. And while that game is played there are structures to control those who THINK they are in the game. For those who work for a living and get by this is called neo-feudalism. For those that live to work and succeed at the game of musical chairs of the corporate world, this is fascism. For those that don’t give a fuck–it’s #americant. But, again, I digress.

Donald Trump is not in the (rich) game. This is the reason Bloomberg–an Independent!!!–spoke at the DNC. In fact, the likes of Bloomberg is Trump’s biggest hurdle to getting elected POTUS in November. Trump is simply not in the(ir) game. He may have money but he’s far from being one of them. But you gotta give the guy credit. He’s certainly trying to be in the game. Which is probably what makes him so appealing to so many stupid people. With that in mind, do you feel bad for him and his freak-show yet?

Michael Bloomberg’s speech (see vid above) was the scariest part of not just the DNC but also the RNC–and all of #americant. Bloomberg is the kind of rich that controls everything. Trump is the kind of rich that entertains everything. #Americant. Are these factions of rich colliding? Probably not. But to listen to the freak-show of Bloomberg preach to the choir of stupidity of Trump was an amazing spectacle–especially since it was done by the Democrats. Oh well. As usual, good luck suckers. And…

Rant on.


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