Had two meetings today. One mind numbing and confusing, the other mind blowing and confusing.
Let’s discuss the boring one first: Facilities Orientation.
The most interesting part of this was that just two hallway turns away behind non-descript doors was a huge lecture hall.
We were told what the hours of the mess hall were, and that there are others but we need to receive permission from our Project Manger (Stan Winston) to visit them. A portion of the hall is open 24/7 for socializing (because formica and tile scream relaxation and community).
We learned about the requisition forms for everything from office supplies to bed sheets. But I wasn’t told where my office was (do I have an office?) or where to find these forms.
This presentation lasted 4 hours with one bio break. I think I reached a new spiritual level as my spirit lifted away from my body in revolt. That happened when we learned that there is no running in the halls.
I repeat no running in the halls. Well praise be.
After that we were lead into an adjacent room where a brown bagged late lunch was waiting for us. I realized that if I exited to the hallway from this room I wouldn’t be able to find my way back to my room. I’ve now declared that Adit must be my constant companion if nothing else for his ability to find his way back from anywhere.
When we were let back into the lecture hall there was a noticeable increase in guards. I’m sure that meant the next lecture was so boring that they were there to prevent us from running out of the room screaming.
And then my mind was blown.
This place is huge. We don’t have full access yet, in fact we probably never will but in the coming weeks we’ll get more and more access (if we behave ourselves). The entire facility has over 100,000 people. Though it is one facility there are many sectors: literal and virtual firewalls, biological filters. Gated communities with their own redundant systems. They don’t have emergency separation procedures, because these sectors are basically already separate; moving between them is infrequent and requires lots of red tape. Basically it is like entering another country; you’ll need a Visa. They call the sectors celas (Guess they’re too cool for the word cellar?). We’re in Research Cela 1 – catchy.
We’re the primary research sector (sorry ‘cela’), but there are others.
And then he briefly described the research done there: they’re building the future. As far as I can tell DARPA has gone big time with pretty much every other government research division (NIH has a secret research division) is represented here along with some universities. Greystle R&D is here as well and gets paid for their funding via rights to technology… I think. An underground and unaudited patent factory. Lots of money is going into and out of this place.
He tried to put a good spin on it, pointing out that the majority of projects was science for science sake, but I doubt that. They believe in cross discipline interaction, so basically after we’ve acclimated to the place we’ll be allowed to “mingle.”
And what is this place? Abzu. I thought that was a goofy name, but Adit just told me it is Sumerian for “primordial sea.” Okay, that is kind of cool.
The best part of the day was learning that Janice and Sally were only a few blocks away. Yes, each intersection of halls is a block. As stupid as that is that really helped me figure out how to move around the place.
Seriously I can’t tell you how happy in makes me to know those two are so close.
Afterwards Janice, Sally, and I started to play Go together in the Mess Hall. Yes there is a stock pile of games in the cabinets along the wall. Sally’s day was a guided tour of the exercise room and library. They have a huge online curriculum for her, but she said it was a very lonely day. She couldn’t get access to the wider Grid, so she couldn’t even message her old friends. Bur her spirits seemed high and she and I were a team against her mother. After a hour though we were just too tired to go on (it was a long day and nobody slept well last night).
I don’t know what the correct mess hall etiquette is, but we left a piece of paper on top of the board that says “don’t move.” I guess will see tomorrow if that works.