Thursday, September 29, 2005

Good Times at Microsoft

So my summer internship at Microsoft on the MSN Shopping team was quite a lot of fun. Now that I have the pictures Forrest took uploaded to my Flickr account, I shall recount some of what happened but was never blogged about.

I hope the orange has your attention. It certainly grabbed mine when I walked into my shared office my first day. I shared an office with my mentor, the PM for my team. He has some eccentric things going on with his desk: glaringly orange shag desk carpet (I didn't even know such things existed), extra-anti-carpal tunnel keyboard (think "Natural Keyboard," but sunken instead of raised), joystick-shaped mouse (doctor's orders), a veritable forest of empty seltzer water cans, a guitar-shaped nightlight, and a Sumo wrestler–shaped fan.

Around the water coolers in the company kitchens (where, contrary to Dilbert, no one gathered to gossip), there were free polystyrene cups. These cups are a bright, almost obnoxious orange, and they stand out wherever you set them down. Except, that is, if you happen to set one down on my mentor's desk. In that most unusual case, your cup camoflagues into the shag, to become only visible by virtue of having a white interior.

Elsewhere in my office building, someone had labeled this bit of hardware destined to be recycled as the resident "hall monitor." Someone should be fired for the emotional distress caused me by the pun. Or maybe subjected to my mom's or Patrick's punning, if such a punishment is not banned by the Geneva convention.

Amongst all the other productive work we did our last day, Forrest and I went to the company store for one last chance to purchase deeply discounted Microsoft software (legal copies! wow!) and mementos to remind us of the summer. I bought some square-bottomed, round-topped coffee mugs for me and my dad, little stuffed frogs with Microsoft shirts and magnetic feet for Rene and my mom, and a little stuffed moose for Lisa.

Forrest, meanwhile, bought himself a full-sized shirt. The amusing thing, we discovered later, was this shirt's tag: penguins make Microsoft shirts! What will the Linux mascot infiltrate next?? Would upper management let such attire continue to be worn at official company events if they knew??? Inquiry conspiracy-theorist minds want to know.

My mom, as many of you may know, just loves smiley faces. Adores them. In the sense that they make her gag, anyhow. So when I saw that someone on my floor had thrown out a boquet of smiley balloons, I immediately knew my mom deserved such a gift, to let her know that I was thinking of her and that I loved her. I took the balloons to the Microsoft shipping center and, with many a strange look, got them to box the balloons up in packaging peanuts. She still has them, dangling from a bookcase in her sewing room, as testament to how much she loves me and smiley faces. *evil cackle*

Forrest and I gave Joe a small tour of the Microsoft campus and environs when he visited for PAX. One of the places we stopped was the Nintendo company store (which is much smaller and lamer than the Microsoft one, I must say). Outside said Nintendo store sat this Pokémon car — Pikachu, I believe, complete with welded-on lightning bolt tail. Frightening.

The Intern Puzzle Day's theme for 2005 was pirates. (How can you go wrong with pirates, that most sacred of peoples?) One of our teammates had partied a little to hardy (on grog, I'm sure) the night before, such that he showed up to the team headquarters with a hangover. He decorated a whiteboard with an in-theme illustration of his condition.

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Shelley: the Dread Pirate Rodgers said...

What?!?!? You give me love gifts that are actually cast-offs from some unknown, unimportant geek? I'm hurt and dismayed. Fortunately, as balloons are wont to do, they have shriveled up and are now a shadow of their former (smiley) selves. Hah! Double hah! A pox upon them! I shall extract great joy in poking them with sharp objects. Voo doo balloons? Ya think the idea will catch on?