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We’re looking for the story promised by the following  “Coming Attractions.”

I’ve been assured it is quite hilarious.

If you have it, please let me know. Next time I get to it — Site Acceptance Testing: The Code Slingers save the day (with photos!)


From TFS.COM! robink Thu Jul 27 10:52:38 1995

Subject: Coming Attractions….

See!  Vast, UNSPOILED, SAVAGE Nature (in LiberVision!) !!

See!  Death defying Heroics!

See!  Unwise Saddling decisions!

See!  Robin RISK HIS LIFE to save the horse he loves and the Woman he likes!

Hear!  The Thunder of Hooves during a WILD HORSE STAMPEDE!

Smell!  The chocking dust!

Watch! A young and innocent horse experience his BASIC INSTINCTS for the…VERY FIRST TIME!

Cringe! As you see Carol SAIL THROUUGH THE AIR!

Cheer!  As you see Carol rub her bruised, if not seriously damaged, bum!

Laugh!  When you hear Robink say he’ll DO IT AGAIN TOMORROW!



Code Slingers, the Musical 

Act 1, Scene 3 Exit Plan

Note from Jan:  I was sitting in my cube, waiting to get laid off at another company (not TFS) when one of the company’s elite scientists told me all about his very generous retention bonus, bemoaning the fact that it would have been bigger if the company had been sold to a group of venture capitalists who planned to lay off more than the 30% projected to lose their jobs, benefits and health care the next day.  He (elite scientist) wanted to know if I had an “exit plan.”

Setting: Conference room surrounded by giant whiteboards covered with formulas and yellow stickies. The VP (Snobahl) and three Mitt Romney clones are waiting as the Code Slingers enter.


Didn’t you get the memo that I sent?  The meeting was set for 8:00 am not 8:30!  Where’s Sol?

JP, turning to leave:

I’ll go get him.

Snobahl, grabbing him by the shirt:

Oh no, JP.  You not getting out of the meeting that easily.  We’ll start without him.

Ahem.  Let’s begin.
As you may have already guessed,
For profits have been shrinking,
We no longer fit
Into the corporate portfolio
And so, they’ve decided,
That it’s time for us to go,
For a pretty penny and a huge pile of stock,
We’ve been sold to the company down the block
And so on that note, and without further adieu,
These venture capitalists would like to speak to you.

JP (aside to the Slingers)

I smell a slimy, no good rat
Or maybe two or three,
Oh I want the rest of my life off with pay
Not in a few years
But starting today.


What is it we seek, dear sirs,
What is it that we need,
It’s not a great big lease,
Or more mouths to feed,
It’s not a working product,
Or a brand new brand,
Oh, no. Oh no!
Our plan is much more grand.
We have a shiny vision, of profits yet to come
One that will keep our competitors – always on the run,
It’s a grand plan, with a positive ROI,
And about the bottom lie you’ll find we never, never lie!

Marco to Rambler (aside)

What’s ROI?


Return on Investment
Money in…
must be returned,
in spades or else (he simulates slashing his throat.)
Positive ROI means money has been well invested,
only a few layoffs necessary – to maximize management bonuses, of course.
Negative ROI…

Oh my.
Very bad indeed.
The Christmas party will be a pot-luck affair,
for whoever’s still around.
The rest of us,
Will be in the human pound.

Sol storms into the room:

You started without me?


Sol, these are the….


I know who they are.  Don’t let me interrupt you.  Go ahead.

Snobahl to the CodeSlingers:

Ahh….um….the venture capitalists are particularly interested in Oprizema!
The operating system you’re working on.
The one Sol claims will leave Linux in the dust.

JP (aside to the Slingers):

Oh, I’m a corporate slave
As happy as can be.
For a great big pile of cash,
You can have a piece of me.

Snobahl hears him this time:

What was that, JP?  Did you have something to say?

JP, stammering:

Nothing meaningful.  Nothing at all.  Really!  Trust me.
I just want the rest of my life off,
with pay.
As I have nothing,
nothing meaningful to say.



So, as I was saying,
Oprizema will be nothing,
If you walk out the door.
And so, here’s their offer…
for just a couple of years,
Nothing more..
Just a small chunk of your life,
hardly more than a slice,
for which you’ll find the reimbursement
More than nice.


Spell it out if you can,
If your mind contains something more,
Than corporate jargon,
Mission statements and slogans… what a bore!


A retention plan!
A great big pile of cash
In return for which,
You can’t walk out the door.
At least, until…


The technology is obsolete.


Well, ahh, will everyone get one?


Well you see, it’s a percentage call, resources versus demand.


A bottom-line decision, supported by the facts, well within the lines of good business sense.


In other words, no.


But, we do have a compassionate plan for the redundants.




Those people we don’t need.
The people we don’t want,
They got to understand,
They really, really should have had exit plan


An exit plan?


An updated resume,
Contacts, far and wide
And – a lot of luck on your side
You better not be too old,
Or sick, or hard to understand,
And as we really shouldn’t say,
It’s best to be a man.
An exit plan,
An exit plan,
The way to beat the rap
That you should have known was coming
You should have known was coming,
If you’d been really smart

But, we’re not totally without a soul…
We have a compassionate plan,
For those who do not fit,
They will be offered other jobs,
Unless they choose to quit.
We’re a kindly company
With goodness in our hearts,
However we must make a buck,
No matter who we fuck

What is it that we seek from you dear sirs,
What is it that we need,
It’s not a great big lease,
Or more mouths to feed,
It’s not a working product,
Or a brand new brand,
Oh, no. Oh no!
Our plan is much more grand.
We have a shiny vision, of profits yet to come
One that will keep our competitors always on the run,
It’s a grand plan, with a positive ROI,
And about the bottom lie you’ll find we never, never lie!

Krista Bell runs into the room, flushed and red-faced:

Code Red at Union Bank!
The site is down,
stone cold in the water…

It’s horrible, awful, nothing to be done.
Oh my, oh my, oh my!!
We must send the Code Slingers on the run!

Snobahl, stupidly:

A Code Red?

Krista Bell Bell and the Code Slingers to Snobahl:

The software has gone funny,
And you know what that means,
The bank can’t count its money,
and our man at site…
is on his knees!!!

(The Code Slingers turn  to leave.)

Snobahl blocking their way:

You can’t leave, no way, no how
The venture capitalists need their answer now


Listen, Snow Ball.
The bank can’t count its money,
The engineer’s on his knees,
The customer will be screaming soon,
You should know what that means!

Rambler, leaning into Snobahl’s face:

Bank can’t count its money….


The site engineer’s on his knees….


The customer will be screaming soon….

Snobahl gasps;

The customer will be screaming soon?

JP, Sol, Rambler:


Snobahl, moving out of their way:

I do know what that means.


I came to TFS in the fall of 1990 from a wealthy enclave of mostly housewives. So, it was quite a delight to encounter the women of TFS. Bold women, sassy women, stunt pilots, carnivale dancers, jazz singers, adventurers with stories to tell of the Galapagos, Australia and Africa, hoot and holler, ass-kicking, take it to the sun ladies. Ladies not afraid of a little bawdiness and mischief.  Note these limericks from Texas Sue Whodoyoudo:

I once fell in love with an Englishman,
 His tongue was the thing that distinguished him,
 A man among men
 He managed to win my heart,
 the damned cunning linguist-an.
That solid young man Scott the Rock,
 In search of the key to his lock,
 Will soon float to France,
 But wait! there's a chance,
 What he's lost, he could find in his sock.


Scene 2 from Code Slingers is based on actual events from which no email was saved…(although I do have a list of the 11 pepper eating contest winners)

Scene 2:  Outside the office of Sol, the leader of the Code Slingers

Alma and Krista Bell-Bell, Sol’s secretaries, are facing the audience.  Alma is typing on her keyboard while Krista hums as she works on her nails.  Beyond the reception area the audience can plainly see Sol, his feet propped on the desk, leaning back in his chair snoring loudly.

Alma notices the time and gasps.  She runs into Sol’s office, laughing when she sees him sleeping, a loud belly laugh which wakes him up.


It’s eight fifteen.  You’ll be late for your meeting with Snobahl.

Sol (jumping to his feet.  He’s a wiry man with a fading hairline and beard that needs trimming):



You’ve got to go.  You can’t let the Slingers handle it themselves.  


Shit no.  You’re right.  (Grumbling he passes Alma’s desk, noticing a three foot stack of paper and pointing at it with distain.) Alma – haven’t you burnt all those f**king, stupid, useless memos from Snobahl yet?

He keeps sending me over memos about things I f**king invented!!!  Things I f**king invented, Alma!  And this one is a f**king reprint of an article I sent him three months ago!

(He laughs sardonically, shaking his head as he sweeps the whole pile into the garbage can with one arm)

And besides, I wasn’t sleeping; I just had my eyes closed, thinking!


Thinking and snoring?

Sol, (breaking into song)

There’s no bleeping need for sleep!
Why should there bleeping be?
If you have any doubts,
Just take a look at me!
I only need four hours,
From eleven to three,
Enough to keep the missus
From yelling at me.
At three AM you see
Everything comes to me,
I pick up the phone and start to call
All my programmers, short and tall,
“Get up you lazy butts
I’ve got a great new plan,
That’s bound to bring us lots of bucks
Enough to fill ten thousand trucks!
Don’t give me that ‘I need to sleep jive,’
Just meet me at the office at a quarter to five…AM!

Oh yeah…
There’s no bleeping need for sleep,
Why should there bleeping be?
If you have any doubts,
just take a look at me.

Alma and Krista:

Oh yeah…
There’s no bleeping need for sleep!
No need at all,
If you have any doubts,
Just take a look at Sol!  


Bleeping idiots who spend their lives bed,
Will never, ever, ever, ever get ahead!
Sleeping and snoring, sleeping and snoring,
How bleeping boring!
Cause I’ve got a great new plan
That’s bound to bring us lots of bucks
Enough to fill ten thousand trucks!
Unless you want to lie in bed,
With silly dreams filling your silly head,
Rise up at three and get to work like me…
There’s no bleeping need for sleep!
Why should there bleeping be!
If you have any doubts,
Just take a look at me!  

(He exits stage right. Alma returns to her desk.  She has a large basket full of peppers of different sizes and colors on her desk.)


Take a look at these peppers Krista Bell-Bell!  I grew them myself.  


Are they hot?


Oh, yeah.  Hey… I have an idea!  


Oh no.  I’m afraid to ask.


Yeah.  We’ll have a contest – oh yes, a chili pepper eating contest.  We’ll sort the men from the boys!  Oh yeah.  (she pauses) Look who’s coming now.  Ha! Watch this Krista Bell-Bell.

(Sawyer Banks enters.  He’s an over-muscled man with a Jersey accent.  He swaggers up to Alma’s desk, buttons straining to keep all his muscles in)


Morning ladies.  What are you two foxes up to?

Alma, calmly:

You’re late for your meeting.  He’s gone.


Oh, yeah.  Why’s Sol so pissed off that he ordered me in at such an ungodly hour?


Apparently someone at Union Bank can read code well enough to have taken offense with the comments you put in the transport code.

Krista innocently:

What are code comments?

Sawyer, condescendingly:

To put it simply, dear,  code comments are clues left by programmers to help other programmers decipher their code, the more complicated the code, the more help junior programmers need. 


Yes, but no one needs to know about your menage-a-trios with two former lesbians.  

Sawyer, laughing:

It’s called advertising – some of those operators at Union Bank are hot.  Besides, I can’t help it if it’s true.   I make love almost as good as I code.  Just ask any of my lovely ladies.  

There’s Sally on the second floor,
Louise in Des Moines,
Barbara and Trudy – twins who swing both ways,
if you know what I mean.

Alma and Krista wince.

Sawyer, breaking into song:

I’m a lover with a brain,
A rare thing indeed,
A man’s man through and through
And the best of the breed.
I know the others hate me
Because I’m not a Nerd!
But a true man who can program,
As well as lift weights,
And even has the balance
To in-line skate!
I’m not like all those other Nerds,
Who can’t get laid,
Unless they’re with the kind of broad,
Who must get paid,
I’ve got them coming out my ears,
Cousins, Twins, and Sisters
Aunts, Friends and Mothers,
Oh yes and even some of those others.
Cause, I’m a lover with a brain,
A rare thing indeed,
A man’s man through and through
And the goddamned best of the breed!

Krista’s mouth falls open. Alma, a mischievous glint in her eyes, picks up her basket and sashays towards him:


Oh yeah.  Well, then you need one of my peppers.




To give you that extra voom.  Like oysters only ten times more potent.  If you know what I mean.  Tell me, are you a pepper eater or not? A real man or a boy?

Men need chili peppers
To grow hair on their chest,
Manly chili peppers,
My home-grown are the best

The small ones are the sweetest
Would this face ever lie?
Just try this little red one
Just try this little red one
It will not make you cry.

Men need chili peppers
To grow hair on their chest,
Manly chili peppers,
My home-grown are the best


Well, I dunno.  Aren’t they awfully hot?

Krista Bell-Bell:

Look. (She picks up a large one and takes a bite) No problem!

Alma, laughing:

Krista Bell-Bell!  You’re such a manly lady!

The small ones are the sweetest,
Would this face ever lie,
The small ones are so yummy,
They will not make you cry.

Alma and Krista suggestively:

Chili, Chili Peppers,
Chili, Chili Peppers,
Chili, Chili Peppers,
We’ll give you the best,
To make you a manly man.

Better than the rest,
Get your Chili Peppers,
Get your Chili Peppers;

Get your Chili Peppers,
Chili, Chili Peppers,
Chili, Chili Peppers.

Sawyer takes a tentative bite of the smallest chili pepper and then confidently pops the rest into his mouth, chewing until his face turns bright red and he begins gasping.

Sawyer, running off the stage:

Water! Water!  

Alma, watching his run away:

What a nerd!

A nerd who thinks big muscles
Will make him look more manly
To all the silly women
Who are simply eye candy,
Is really just a muscled nerd
And there is nothing more absurd,
More absurd, more absurd
Than an over muscled nerd.
No, indeedeeeeee!!!

Chili, Chili Peppers, Chili, Chili Peppers.

Many of us went through breakups and hookups during those final years of TFS.  Often they were public events, played out over email, in the hallways, and regrettably (tragically perhaps) over the intercom system.

At TFS anyone could use the intercom system which caused the “powers that be” across the street many headaches.  Arguably the most outrageous misuse of the system was from the least likely source, Mary Alice, when she used it to announce the arrival of her daughter’s period to the entire company!!  Then there was the person who announced their disgust with management and used the system to vent before quitting (or being fired).  One unfortunate gent thought he was on a private line and told us all what he really thought about his manager.  Another forgot to disconnect from the system before listening to expletive-laden voicemail from  his soon-to-be ex wife.  And who could forget Vic ordering people to his office!!

Where the hell are you, Jan?



Jul 1 17:45 1991

Man’s Wedding Ring, or Mans Ring, or just a Ring.

Its got the nugget look with for diamonds.

Since I never got married it never got worn,

I would like to get rid of it before it starts to

rust from lonliness.  Will give someone a good deal.

If you are anyone you know needs something like this

please let me know.

by steph


Hook ups (these limericks come from an admirer of Carol’s.  They were never on forum but they’re reminiscent of the time.)

I want it, I want it, I want it.
He told her in mime, prose and sonnet
It’s simple she said
Don’t stand on my head
Just make me a nice spinach omelet.

Can you imagine,
A mean Texas dragon?
With red eyes of green
Spurs that go “pling”
And an Englishman stuck in her flagon?

It took him two years, poor Bismark,
To sink the Titanic, his dream ark.
When he sits underneath
His funeral wreath
The moon might as well be in Denmark.

Happy New Year everyone! 

TRW Chairman's Award Winners

Code Slingers the Musical

ACT 1, Scene 1

Setting: A small but trendy Italian espresso shop, Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley.  Mid fall.

They sidle up to the bar, five men all dressed in black.  Luigi, the barkeep, approaches them with care.  No words are necessary; he knows why they are there.

Malcolm lays a twenty on the counter.  He’s a compact man, short sandy hair, sunglasses covering his eyes.

Luigi nods and says to Iliana:

Five double Lattes, pronto!

Iliana is his cousin – a peach, but a silly girl without a brain in her head.  Luigi, watches her sashay in front of the Code Slingers, looking over her shoulder with a come hither look. He hisses something in Italian, the rough translation being:

Pish!  You are nothing to these men. When they know you have no brain, they will dump like garbage!  They are…the Code Slingers!

She rolls her eyes as though someday he’ll be sorry he was mean to her and starts preparing the cappuccino.


I wonder what the geniuses on the seventh floor want with us now.  

Rambler is a tall thin man, bent slightly over as though conscious of being so tall.

Malcolm, snarling darkly:

Who cares?  They called a frigging meeting for 8:00 am.  Who’s awake at that ungodly hour?

Malcolm watches Iliana as she places two tall cups on the counter.

Rambler (aside):

You like her? 


Maybe, but there’s no woman on earth worth the risk of losing a good cappuccino and Luigi makes the best. 

They all nod in agreement.

Hear, hear!

They walk outside to claim their favorite table, a gnarl of redwood just big enough for the five of them to squish around as they watch the men in suits emerge from the Berkeley Bart.

Malcolm (regarding the business men):

Poor suckers.  I can’t imagine having to be at work every day at 8:00 am.  

More moaning.

Every morning at eight o’clock – oh no, not us!

Rambler (laughing):

Yeah, but they don’t get those calls at two am
‘Take the next plane to Beijing,
And fix the system, make it right.
Or don’t come home tomorrow night.’


where there’s not a cappuccino
to be found,
at any price.


But there’s lots of rice!  

They all laugh.

One of the business men passes them with a disdainful look and mutters:

After sharing looks with the other Code Slingers, Rambler starts:

They say we have it easy,
How little do they know,
When’s there’s a system down somewhere,
We’re on a red eye in nothing but our underwear.


We work all night,
to get it right
cause our code’s the best
from east to west.


All they see is the life we lead,
In at ten and out by three
With plenty of three hour lunches
And Lattes by the bunches
Oh, it may seem like a breeze
To those poor, imprisoned hourlies.

Submitted by Schip. I tried to pretty it up with HTML (as he suggested) but this editor is so limited (heck, it’s free) that this is the best I could do.  It’s all my fault.

From brian Fri Dec 14 10:46:52 1990
Subject: bling

bling bling bling
bling bling bling
bling bling bling ba bling

bling bling bling
ba bling bling bling

Move away from the bell.


Move AWAY from the bell….


merry friggin christmas, ya’ll.

I think it works better on a char terminal but
maybe you can pretty it up with html or something.

And then there is this, which I kept in a standard cut’n’paste file:

it’s my fault
i’m really sorry
i’ll never do it again

The light is always brightest at the other end of the tunnel. – m. shiloh

Soon after Vic left, the president of the company announced that TFS would relocate to downtown Oakland, to the Kaiser Building where, as he put it, “we could all be together again.”

Those in the Milvia building were soon up in arms.  The Kaiser Building had rules and regulations:  no bikes in the elevators, no smoking (even with an air filter), and, horrors,  everyone was expected to maintain a “professional image,” which meant, yes, shoes.

Other complaints were:

  • No fresh air (you couldn’t open the windows).
  • No Euro-styled cafes where you could get a decent latte.
  • No place to play soccer other than the goose poop laden grassy areas surrounding Lake Merritt.

But the worst part was, not all of us would be going.

Nov 20 17:18 1992 t.tmp Page 1

WeIl, I have said good-bye to Greg, Owen, David, Sunny and Paul… (and, of course, Frank)

Watching Greg walk out the door was the hardest. He paused, took a deep breath, pushed upon the door and walked out without looking back.

Watching Frank carry out his boxes sadly and clumsily – the way he does everything was hard too.

And you wonder, “wiII that be me someday?” It is appropriately a very very cold day.

– Author Unknown