Derelict Junction

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Friday, May 20, 2005

On the Road Again...

This weekend I'm in Vegas, my last unofficial dance with unemployment. That's right, the good people at Wells Fargo Banking Services kindly suggested it was time to "sell-out to the man", or in my case "the woman". Therefore I accepted a job with the internet division of Banana Republic. I'll basically be doing the same thing I did at Zappos, but for a substantially larger corporate entity.

I say selling out to "the woman" because my department is a self-described "hen house", meaning there are 4 guys and about 50 women working there. That's quite a change from Zappos. I will, however, be scouring the office for anyone checking sports scores in their free time. One of the many lovable characteristics about Zappos was the high incident of sports fans over there, making socializing for me very easy. I'm sure the Banana Republicans have their own shared interests, but after 2 days I'm still trying to figure them out.

Oh, unemployment! I hardly knew ya!

So I came out to Vegas to see all my transplanted Zappos friends and to give unemployment it's proper send-off. So far, it's been very fun. Personally, as everyone knows, I would have a very difficult time adjusting to Vegas, but seeing all the familiar faces here makes everything much easier. People here have mentioned that all socializing revolves around fellow Zappos employees, but I think that's great. I can't imagine moving here and not knowing anyone. Besides, not wanting to do too much research on the matter, Zappos employees are clearly the best collection of Vegas citizens.

A friend said to me yesterday as we stood outside in the heat, "You came on the worst day, it's the end of doing anything outside during the day." I thought he was exaggerating until I went out today for a coffee. I know this is a desert, and I know I should have anticipated this, but the sun here is so overwhelmingly powerful, it amazes me. It's so oppressive, it feels almost fluid. After 10 minutes of driving around, I realized that parasols are not just ostentatious fashion accessories.

Therefore, my best laid plans of enjoying Vegas by day have been thwarted by the sun. Conversely, what makes the days so unbearable here, also make the nights so wonderful. One thing we definitely don't have in SF are those warm, comfortable T-Shirt nights. If I lived here, I'd be even more of a night owl than I already am.

So aside from blogging, what's there to do during the day in Vegas? Movies! I did it, I broke down, braved the geek multitudes and saw the new Star Wars film. Not to hang myself, but this means I've seen all of the last 3 Star Wars installments on opening day. What a dork!

So here it is: the first hour has horrible moments of stumbling character development, much like those painful love scenes in Attack of the Clones, but the second hour is really, really good. A long standing criticism I have of the entire franchise is the way Lucas injects terribly unfunny punch-lines into the action (usually delivered by annoying droids). That still exists here, but it appears he tried to limit those to the first half of the movie. For that, I'm very grateful.

Without revealing anything too shocking, the inevitable attack by the Sith on the Jedi masters could be the greatest moment in all the Star Wars movies. Also, watching Anikan's descent into evil displays an inner complexity that Lucas always seemed so disinterested in. Once again, the dialogue is clumsy and the effects dominate everything, but unlike its predecessors, the dark storyline filled with death and tragedy, elevate it well beyond a mere merchandising promotion to sell toys. In fact, this could very well be the second best installment, after Empire. Hopefully, it makes enough money so George Lucas can have that goiter removed from his neck.

One last thing, and I'm not giving anything away here, but at the very end of the film Lucas throws in a a casual plot point. Whaddup wit dat? I saw that 60 Minutes interview where he profusely said this was the last movie, no doubt. But, there's a very tangible untied string at the end of this movie that will fuel much geek speculation about possible future movies. Indeed, Eric already pointed out that Lucas made the same "no more Star Wars movies" proclamation after Return of the Jedi. Am I missing something that explains why he threw that in? If anyone who's seen the movie wants to explain to me what that was about, please feel free.



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