I spent another day at a client - an un-named hotel chain's corporate headquarters, working on the computer of my boss's girlfriend while she was on vacation. I didn't work with anyone there - I barely talked to anyone. I just came in, sat at her desk, and tried to get their application to run on the latest version of our software. I resolved almost all the startup errors, by moving their config files around so they combined more easily with the default confg files. The only startup error that remained was a de-serialization bug for one of the repository caches. Not something I considered worth my time, since the serialized file was created while I was working on it, it wasn't part of their codebase that I had checked out. I figured it was something bad written to the cache when I hard-killed the server process.

The thing I couldn't figure out was why I couldn't bring the website up. For some reason a session object was not being created. I started putting in a whole lot of debug code, but the startup cycle took so long it was hard to test out different hypotheses. I guess a debugger would have been nice - but I was working on someone else's machine which was slow enough already.

On the el ride home an old white woman sat gasping with the stunned, stupid look of a fish. Next to her sat an Indian woman with a very strong, unavoidably prominent nose. Not ugly in repose, but with a smile that was a grimace. In laughter, her face looked like a rubber mask being cruelly twisted off of a basketball.