Chapter 62
Corporate Anniversaries
The Tales of Texas

1a - The Mysterious Ski Rack
1b - Wheres the Other Half of That Moose
1c - The Waiter Who Didnt Yall
1d - Scorpions, Scorpio
2a - Diet Soda
2b - Riding into the Sunrise
3 - Modest Magazines
4 - Down to Houston
5a - What Does That Sign Say
5b - Just Follow Your Nose
5c - They Call It the Sunbelt
5d - The State Tree
6 - The New House
7a - Billboards
7b - Billboards Again
8 - Stereo Upgrade
9 - Wineries
10 - Unintentionally Left Blank
11 - CBW in TX
12 - Ice House Radio
13 - Goats and Cotton
14 - Dig We Must
15 - Dan Moody
16 - Dry Heat
17 - Dead Animals
18a - Bookstore Culture
18b - On the Open Road
19 - Weather
20 - Sightings in Bertram and Buchanan
21 - Too Many Birds
22 - Road Hazards
23 - Sightings to and from Houston
24 - The Great Wall of Train
25 - In the Heat of the Day
26 - Bite Me
27 - Bid on This Skeleton
28 - Willie
29 - Rural Countryside
30 - SUV SUX!
31 - Kinky on the Texas Monthly Hour
32 - Strange Yellow Sky
33 - Football is a Serious Enterprise in Texas
34 - Remember the Alamoo!
35 - What's That on the Radio
36 - Trip to Houston through the small towns
37 - Shoe Story, an Austin Anecdote
38 - Unintended Fireworks
39 - Flash Flood Warning
40 - Sin City
41 - Live music in Austin, but in theaters not in clubs
42 - Fear of Overpass
43 - The Big Sneezy
44 - New Texas
45 - Front Ended by the French Fry Mobile
46 - Dirt Farm
47a - Heard at the Texas Book Festival 2008
48a - Texas Book Festival 2009
49 - Central Time Sucks
50 - Temple Texas
51 - Christmas in Austin
52 - Pennants in the Wind
53 - The Road Less Traveled
54 - Texas-size Thunderstorm
55 - Cool Van
56 - Your New House Is That-A-Way
57 - C.S.I. Austin
58 - New MTV Game Show
59 - Equine Technology
60 - Look at That Prairie
61 - Get Your Water Here
62 - Corporate Anniversaries
63 - College Sprawl
64 - Hire These Guys
65 - Preparing for Winter
66 - Careful What You Overhear
67 - Bonnie Raitt
68 - Perfume
69 - Questionable Skills
70 - All-American Day
71 - Read Me
72 - Weird Fog
73 - Overpackaged Food
74 - What Town Was That
75 - Texas Book Festival 2010
76 - Bulletproof Roof
77 - The Oldest Photo
78 - Cheesesteaks Part 1
79 - Cheesesteaks Part 2

Company birthdays


DEC, long before it morphed into "Digital," turned twenty, well, I'm not exactly sure when the event was, but I remember that I was still in my office in the Mill. I was on the second floor of building 12, over the entrance and just to the left. One day they called us all outside, everyone who was in the building. It was bright and sunny, a fine day for a group picture outside, a picture preserved somewhere in a dusty archive, no doubt, but I don't have a copy. I don't recall what else went on.

Dell turned twenty on a recent Monday. Different kind of event. Cake was served in the cafeterias of all the buildings. (During a selected hour period.) You couldn't necessarily tell from the celebrations, or lack thereof, but the two companies couldn't be more different culturally, born on different planets, not just regions.

And then there is the Spit Brook cake story, which is not really a Tale of Texas but is somehow twisted-related to the ways that corporate culture celebrates itself.

Once upon a time in DEC's Spit Brook Road facility, I stopped in a friend's cube to talk. On a bookshelf, he had a strange clay sculpture of a dinosaur being crushed by a giant brain. Great symbolism. He had made this piece himself in some class. Completely plausible. He has a wonderfully warped sense of humor. In any case, the sculpture was sitting atop a Tupperware container that contained a slice of cake. Is this cake old? I assume that it is from the five-year anniversary of the building, which was like a year ago. They had a huge cake in the shape of the building. Ooh, ick, it's a biology experiment! If this cake is a year old, then it should be moldy, but it's not. What a comment on the nutritious ingredients used, yum, yum, if no self-respecting mold will eat it after a year! Ha, fooled me. No, no, no, he corrects me. The cake was from the *first* anniversary of the building, which was *five* years ago. Five years? And still no mold? How is that possible? And what is that cake doing to those of us who ate it?

Reminds one of the Twinkie-on-the-windowsill story, which is possibly an urban legend. A college junior faculty person in Chicago or Michigan or some similar place had an office in an old stone building with big double-hung windows that actually opened. He would feed the birds on the windowsill, give them half of his Twinkie from the vending machine. Well, one day, he puts out the Twinkie and then closes the window because it gets cold. The window remains closed all winter. On the first warm day in the spring, he opens the window to find the Twinkie still there, untouched by either bird or bug. Microbe-free for five months. The birds, at least, might have the excuse of migrating south for the winter. But the bugs?