i found myself back at the SRM office in kendall square this morning at 10. this is the same company that laid me off along with a handful of other coworkers 2 years ago. but wouldn't you know it, just as soon as i'm about to lose my current job, todd my former project manager approached me to do some contract work for them after learning about my availability.

walking into the office, the first person i saw was the receptionist whom i never met before. todd and michael were sitting nearby and i joined them to talk about the project. michael walked me through his code, then i went to todd to find out what my schedule would be like for the next 2 months. the schedule is aggressive and i'm looking to iron out a beta version in less than 4 weeks, with gold candidates a few weeks after that. the good thing is i'll be paid by the hour, so i'm not looking to get screwed if i end up doing more work. the bad thing is SRM will own my month of august and i'll be busy. busy pays the mortgage though, busy puts food on the table. busy will hopefully also let me save enough money to take a real vacation when this is all over.

being back at SRM was weird, to say the least. i haven't been back in 2 years. well, that's not entirely true, i visited one time when nobody except paula and michael were in the office. but there'd been times where i met paula outside and gave her stuff to give to people back inside the office, only because i didn't want to go in and have it be all awkward.

i saw SRM had hired some new people. i see the company as having these geological layers. the people i worked with, let's say we thrived during the triassic period. the people who work here now, they're living in the jurassic period that came after a great extinction (some say a comet struck the earth, other think global seismic upheaval, but only those who didn't survive it will know the truth). these new creatures have no knowledge of the life that existed before them, despite the fact that they inhabit the same place, evolved into similar niches, even forage for sustenance from the same food source. all the happy times and the sad times that happened during our period, these new employees are totally oblivious to them. gradually, they will form their own collective history, and a new chapter in the company will be written. at the same time, there are a few people who have been around during the whole history of SRM. these people are throwbacks, living fossils, like the tuatara, like the gingko, like the coelacanth. they've been around either because they're "evolutionary" superior or they've just been lucky. i go back and i see ghosts. here was the graphic department, where mark and christine and mandy used to sit, and over there, that's the programmers, mike and dan and ed and matthew. i don't feel sad, i'm just nostalgic. nobody romanticizes about old companies quite the way i do, i think.

i was at SRM for almost 3 hours before i left with a stack of source files on CD's and a few borrowed application discs. earlier it had been raining slightly, but now it'd stopped. though i wasn't obligated to go back to SCS, i called them anyway and said i'd be in within 20 minutes. my head was spinning and buzzing with the familiarity of the kendall square area. standing on the subway platform waiting for the train, i stood there, dazed, a million thoughts going through my mind, yet nothing coherent.

when i got to SCS, it looked like there'd been more cleaning over the past few days when i was gone. here and there, items were missing: james' computer, alex's desk, the vertical computer table, all items sold. is this what will happen to the company over the next 2 weeks, as it slowly disappears piece by piece, until nothing's left? i checked my e-mail, browsed the web a bit, and was pretty much done with my day. katrinka asked me if i'd be interested in doing some bit of freelance programming stuff with them after this month on a very small project. i agreed, but also told her about my own schedule for the next few months. i wonder if she was surprised that i'm already transitioning into the unemployed freelancing life style? i wouldn't say i'm good at it, and i wouldn't say it's by design, i think i've just been lucky, been handed a few job opportunities, it'd be foolish not to take them, not knowing how far down the line before i find full-time employment again.

i left the office about 30 minutes later after buying one of the computer desks. hungry, i headed down to chinatown, where i had lunch at the noodle alcove. i ordered a piping hot bowl of brisket noodle soup, and despite the relatively cool weather today, i was sweating like a pig, kept wiping myself down with torn off napkin sections. i paid my bill, getting some change from a $20, tipped the waitress, and left, my shirt completely soaked. i went to c-mart to pick up a few items, and while checking out, i suddenly realized i made a big mistake at the noodle alcove. i forgot that the waitress already taken out the price of my noodles when she gave me back my change. like a math idiot, i left behind not only the tip ($2) but also the cost of my food ($6), which essentially amounts to an $8 tip on a $6 meal. i went back to the noodle alcove and explained the situation. the waitress seemed annoyed, but brought back my money anyway. i took back $6 and left the rest as tip. i'm so embarassed, i'll probably never go back to the noodle alcove ever again, despite their very good noodles.

coming back home, i was unable to coax julie into a run (not with me anyway), so instead i went by myself, topless of course, with my loud gasps of air which frighten the other runners and bikers, as i made it around the charles river once again, one step closer to fulfilling my exercise quota for the week.

manny came over close to 7pm bearing a bag of wings. we were supposed to get together for wings last week but he was busy. we each had the 10 piece medium. manny was able to finish all of them while i only got through 6 before i threw in my towel, proclaiming manny to be the winner. we watched an episode of SVU followed by a heavy rotation of food network shows (he doesn't get the food network living in medford with his cable package). at one point, during a commercial break, i ran to star market to get some ice cream drumsticks after seeing how they're made on television. i would've been able to make it back by the end of the commercials, but i got caught up in a slow line at the checkout stand (a couple buying silk soy milk and starbucks frappuchinos). when manny left, he took daisy's birthday cake which he'd put in my fridge.