Friday, September 9, 2005

Badges? We don' need no steenkin' badges!

Dogs with ties, made as gifts for my Microsoft internship teammates.

I am no longer a Microsoft employee. I turned in my badge, and I'm back to being a civilian in the eyes of MS Security. At least Security didn't have to escort me out of the building.

Yesterday I stopped at a local thrift store and bought seven stuffed dogs and seven men's ties; I tied the latter around the necks of the former and gave them away as gifts to my teammates. Let me explain. At the beginning of the summer, my manager stumbled across some Japanese website that featured clothing for animals. He noticed in particular a photo of a serious-looking dog wearing a necktie. He liked it enough to make the image his desktop wallpaper and MSN Messenger buddy icon. Then, when the PM was writing up the first round of specs for the project, they realized they had no official logo to put on the spec's header (this being a new team, they didn't even have an official product name, much less a logo). So the PM used the dog-with-tie image as the logo placeholder. People were amused, and since at this point only other team members were looking at the specs, the dog was allowed to stay. The in-joke about dogs dressed up in ties remained throughout the summer: people used such photos as their avatars on the test profiles for our dev site, people signed emails with the photos.

Separately, I read on the Internz mailing list that many interns gave their mentors going-away gifts as a sort of thank you. I had more or less decided not to do that, because I had no idea what to get my mentor. But then, yesterday, I had a revelation. Dogs with ties! It was perfect: funny, not too expensive (like a good shrubbery), and commemorating our specific project. So, like I said, yesterday I went out about bought out the thrift store's entire inventory of stuffed dogs, and a matching number of ties. Shane showed me how to tie ties, and he also helped do the actual tying. To make the ties not be ridiculously long compared to the size of the dogs, we had to fold the ties in half before tying them. Luckily, it didn't look too strange (at least, not in comparison to the mere fact that we were putting neckties on stuffed animals).

So I handed out these dogs (wrapped up in brown Safeway bags, 'cause I'm classy like that) to my teammates today when I got in to work. They all laughed and thought they were cute. So I think that was a good gift choice. :)

My team took me out to lunch at a dim sum Chinese restaurant. Barbeque pork buns are yummy, despite their strange appearance. I'm still not sold, though, on the translucently wrapped dim sum that are a little too slimy in texture for me. At the end of lunch, my PUM presented me with a greetin card. On the cover is a cat wearing a red cowboy hat and bandana — so they also thought to hunt down dressed-up animals, albeit a cat for Cat(herine) rather than a dog. Each teammate had signed the card, which was nice. They also gave me a Borders gift card, whose monetary value I didn't look at until I was getting in my car: $100! Granted, that's only like $20 from each person, but still! Very nice of them all. So yeah, I'm going to miss my team. Maybe I'll see them again next summer.

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