The Spool of Destiny
The Usual
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The Usual Suspects

This column will periodically feature various characters with whom we find ourselves involved. In this issue we present some coworkers from our day job in the Department of Webmastery at a major international software company (not the evil empire thank you very much), who are now much older than their pictures would indicate, though not nearly as wise...


"Mr. Big"
Spin doctor, flak-catcher, project planner, metric-measuring maniac, and former data model, "Father Mike," as he is fondly known to his staff, hails from Lake Wallenpaupack, NJ and raises bonsai, which he consumes voraciously. When he barks, men tremble and women faint. When he laughs, dogs bark and cookies crumble.

"The Canary"
Web Goddess Diana has pioneered parameter-driven cross-functional value-added technology enablement by synthesizing disparite initiatives to dearchitect manual entry and duplicitous processes and data. In her spare time she teaches dogs how to do differential equations. Hopefully she will soon toss that all aside and answer her true calling, as she is one of the finest chefs this side of the Susquehanna. She's a canary but she doesn't sing, and she hails from Hackensack, NJ, though she was born and raised somewhere else.

"Dr. Paul"
Born in the log cabin he helped his father build, the good doctor has dedicated his life to assisting the aesthetically challenged webophytes of Corporate America, armed only with a martini and a number 5 HB mechanical pencil. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of pre-medieval Welsh poetry, Señor Paul has redefined dynamic content entry, so that it now means something else. He hails from HoHoKus, NJ.

"Choney the Cheeseboy"
Choney, aka The Red Menace, is known to his family as Mike. Michael began his acting career at the age of two, playing the irrepressible Bingo on the hit tv series "What Exit?" Now working off-off-Broadway in the long running Theatre of the Fibbonacci, he has taken on the role of Michael, the grumpy SQL hack with a heart of gold. Reviews have been mixed, and so are the drinks. When not purchasing CDs online, Michael puts on funny hats and waits for someone to call and ask about Prince Albert. Michael hies (which is similar to hailing) from Parsippany, NJ.

"Flyin' Ray"
Ray's job here in the land of web infrastructure is to create surveys, compile bewildering metrics and make bizarre and elaborate conclusions based on them. He then secretly reports to his dad, the King, and thousands of lives are suddenly thrown into disarray (even more disarray than usual). He is also said to be an accomplished sushi chef, though we have no empirical evidence of this. He comes to us from Piscataway, NJ, where it frequently hails.

Eric "Crash" Monkeyboy, winner of the coveted Gilmer award for better customer service through Altoids, has been dancing his way into the hearts of programmers and analysts alike with his sensitive interpretations of perl scripts put to vintage swing tunes. Known to some as the "Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers of Application Development," his dance partners nonetheless wish he had a smaller footprint. In his spare time, Eric drinks kosher wine by the railroad tracks. He also produces a fine line of colognes for raccoons. Eric heidy-hoes from Manahawkin, NJ.

Steven "Something" Stevenson
Steve, oddly enough, is the first fully bioluminescent member of the Web Infrastructure Team, and as such has been lighting the way to a new and brighter future. The first step of his nine part program to futurize WIT involved moving from Emeryville to Concord, Massachusetts, historical home of Louisa May Alcott and site of the famous Battle of Lex Luthor and Concord, in which Mitchell Kertzman and a small army of Canadians defeated Mark Hoffman, who has declined to comment. But that's another story. Steve is also one of the most wireless members of our team and is dedicated to full mobile data access for the entire animal kingdom. He is tireless in his pursuit of wireless. He has a Swiss Army knife that runs Windows CE. He comes from Succasunna, NJ, though if you ask him he'll deny that and everything else that's printed here.

Doomed by a spelling error to the nickname 'Ernewto', Ernesto had planned on a career in the exciting field of beekeeping, but he kept seeing those "you can be a Webmaster in just 8 weeks" commercials that run during Jerry Springer and One Life to Live. Of course the commercials don't mention the hypnotism part, or the force feedings of cocktail onions, but he's been pretty happy here nonetheless. Ernesto is part of our exciting, dynamic East Coast team. He thinks this is good because he gets to leave three hours earlier than the rest of us. Don't burst his bubble. He was raised by a family of bobcats in deepest Manasquan, NJ.

"Mr. Smartypants"
Kevin was quite a terror as a child, but now that he's actual size things have calmed down a bit. Mr. Smartypants, as we call him, is master of all East Coast web operations, which requires immense technical skill as well as great poise and diplomatic skill. Luckily, Ernesto has all these things, so Kevin can kick back and concentrate on his home study harmonica course. Kevin's hobbies include alligator wrestling and fishin' down at the old data stream. There's nothing he loves more than a nice tuna melt, becuase he's originally from Pequannock, NJ.

"Enzyme Boy"
Aside from a morbid fascination with enzymes (he is convinced that enzymes are what make the internet work) Steve is an affable but ephemeral member of the team. He does have a rather unusual diet, consuming only the leafy green tops of rutabagas grown near the equator and picked by Carmelite nuns on moonless nights. If you have any, please send them on. Steve is also the resident expert on the Verity search engine, and has set it up to run in all our cubes, so we hardly ever lose anything anymore. Steve hails (wouldn't you know it) from Weehawken, NJ.

Bennett "No Man is an Island" Falklandisland
Comrades of SQL Grifter and former carny hack Bennett know him to be adaptive, open, exensible and ready to replicate. Even his beard has been rematrixed for continuing backwards compatibility. As founder and chief benefactor of the Bonefrog Institiute, Dr. Falklandisland's ongoing social experimentation has been the source of international consternation among Lutherans and Spirokeets alike. Bennett was born in the desert and raised in a lions den, but before that he came from Zarephath, NJ.

"Boom Boom"
Karen is back at work after a hiatus of several years. She didn't actually get to meet Betty Ford during her time off, but no matter. Karen lives in a fantasy world where things happen for logical, rational reasons, and everything is well documented. She has written several historical novels, the most recent entitled "The Concatenation of General Lee." She also breeds subminiature poodles, some of them no bigger than your thumb. All this, and she's from Grovers Mills, NJ (where the Martians first landed on Earth). Karen now spends all her free time stalking Donny Osmond.

"The Duke"
Stripped of his title for committing lewd and lascivious acts while wearing a fez, Mr. Mike nonetheless continues to command a small but fiercely loyal cadre of web revolutionaries from his secret office deep in the jungles of Berkeley. He has spent the past year training a group of chimps in XML, and is almost ready to mount a coup on the entire World Wide Web. The Duke hails from Secaucus, NJ, where he is still wanted for parole violations. In his spare time, he creates interpretive table joins with macrame. When at home, he just sits around and drinks bottle after bottle of corn syrup.

Marc "The Egg Man" Eggman
Just the mention of his name evokes a warm feeling of nostalgia in the hearts of millions who recall Marc's thrilling renditons of popular ballads and his outgoing personality and infectious laughter. An untiring patriot, Mr. Eggman has been honored by every President from Roosevelt, who called him an "American treasure", to Reagan, who gave him the highest civilian award in the nation, the Federal Wheel of Cheese. He has been called the First Lady of Song by veterinarians everywhere. Marc is the very embodiment of the American spirit and an inspiration to millions anywhere. His unix skills transcend a half century, all the way from vaudeville to Worcester. As a true pioneer in both bars and taverns, his importance as a WIT icon is unsurpassed in the annals of broadcasting history. He is undeniably an American original, and a tribute to his hometown of Cinnaminson, NJ.

Ren "Eight Toes" Ratto
Did you ever wonder why we spell it "Brazil" when the people who live there (and you think they'd know best) spell it "Brasil?" Fortunately for you there's an IT team in Concord that does nothing but ponder this perplexing issue and gather the metrics required to solve it and other similarly puzzling global issues. The Renster leads this noble effort and is committed to manipulating whatever data is necessary to substantiate his conclusions. Some of which are quite alarming. In his spare time Rensky enjoys grooming capybaras, and he hails (wouldn't you know it) from Schooleys Mountain , NJ, where pretty much everyone speaks Portuguese.

Pokemon van Poodle
As a child, Pokemon was subject to some very unusual visions - frightening, terrible visions, yet curiously inspirational as well. Ultimately they drove him underwater, which is where he now works as the chief representative of the Euro-Aqua-WIT division. van Poodle, or "van," or occasionally "Fokemon" as we like to call him, claims to be the president of Holland. We'd like to tell him that Holland doesn't have a president, but that doesn't matter because it's really called the Netherlands, and that's why the people are Dutch. He is also the inventor of the underwater fez, non-stick velcro, edible diskettes, and, along with Al Gore, the Internet. Born in the wilds of Waldwick, NJ, he took to the canals at an early age, and now resides somewhere off the coast of Friesland. To Florimon, we say "U bent onwennig vis."

"Jeb McNearly, Private Eye"
That's Jeb in the blue shirt (or blue overalls if you're able to read and mouseover at the same time). His son Flipper is the brains of this operation, Jeb stays busy chasing the roosters around his server farm and teaching his talking horses to be more discreet. As manager of the Web Infrastructure Team, Jeb needs to know a little bit about all of the complex and arcane processes we deal with every day. We try to make sure that he knows as little as possible. Since moving his office to Rodoni's Bar & Grill, he's been better able to keep tabs of his renegade staff of web misfits, while also building up a tab of his own. Jeb's hobbies include cow tipping, water tower tipping, and walking on hot coals. He's a native of Wickatunk, NJ, home of the famous Saint Louis Arch.

"The Mad Prussian"
Ben, who calls himself Ben, is another veteran of the database wars who discovered that life on the outside isn't all crumbcakes and tenpins. Ben is coming up on his second sabattical, which he intends to spend searching the furthest reaches of the Himalaya for signs of Betty Crocker. When not applying his face to the asphault, Ben enjoys flower arranging and dancing "like a crazed salamander" to the snappy beat of a Chopin polonaise. He crawled all the way from Hoboken, NJ.

"Shrubbery King"
Jonas came to us last summer as a student intern, and having completed his studies, has decided to give up the priesthood and remain here pounding tequila and bringing down production servers with the rest of us fezzed webheads. Jonas is an avid sportsman, and once killed a guy for lookin' at him funny. He enjoys grepping as much as the next fellow, and likes to sniff dry-erase markers. Jonas is our resident expert on everything that no one else wants to do. He is also an enormous afficionado of hedges of every variety. And were you wondering where he hails from? Beautiful Pluckemin, NJ of course!

Homer "The Enforcer" DyCough
A man of many dimensions (three at last count), Homer has garnered a reputation as a ruthless Web Enforcer, a power broker who will tolerate no faults in his pursuit of fault tolerance. Yet beneath that false beard lies the gentle soul of a poet. A bad poet, but this is I.T. and we hardly know the difference. When not raking vendors over the coals, Homer sings in an all-penguin choir and recites his poetry at local cafes - he has probably already been banned from one in your neighborhood. He wishes he came from Wyckoff, NJ, because it would rhyme with his name.

Renaud Rambouillet
Renaud is our token Frenchman, and quite mad besides. Some people in our group occasionally mix up his name with Ren "Eight Toes," and he was once mistaken for a Renault Dauphine, but that was a long time ago. When not preserving lemons or engaging in bizarre zymurgic rituals, Renaud, whose Indian name is "Frolics With Sardines," likes nothing more than to bang on a tombuk and sing songs about love and e-business and things like that. He has seventeen children, all of them named Isabelle except for Thomas whose name is Thomas. He sure talks funny for a boy from Frenchtown, NJ. Perhaps it's because he spent much of his youth in ancient Mesopotamia, bent over a watermelon.

Wen Wen Smith
Wen Wen is a dreamer - and a visionary. As a child, she would wander among the dunes, imagining a distributed operation model that would define how data could be referenced. She would sit for hours gazing at the sea, searching for a better network protocol for accessing information from directories.
"But Wen Wen," her playmates would ask her, "will it be extensible?"
At tea time, her mother would scold her for arranging the crumbs of her scone into namespaces. Nevertheless she persisted, and soon Wen Wen (short for Wen Wen Wen Wen) had invented the first lightweight directory access protocol. Realizing she was on to something big, she hopped on her pony (coincidentally, her pony's name was Epstein) and galloped out to Emeryville, all the way from her native village of Manahawkin, NJ.

Hoang "Kong" Nam
The amazing Hoang - Martian warlord, master of disguise, and Las Vegas singing sensation! At least, we think that's why he's never in the office. This year Hoang, who is nearly nine feet tall (when standing on his desk), took ownership of the Verity Search project, which he promptly lost somewhere in his cube - the place is now crawling with vspiders! Many other projects have landed on his floor, and in fact he has now built a miniature golf course out of discarded IT projects. He's been working on his putting skills and hopes to make waves at an LPGA event near you. We're sure he will. Oh, and did you know - he's from Hopatcong, NJ.

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