And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain,
Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders.
For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder.
— "Hey Jude", The Beatles
(I’ve been wanting to quote that bit for years.)
Another veteran of Critical Mass’s Web Development ranks is heading for greener pastures, palm trees, and dates with Hollywood models (we can only assume). It half came as a surprise, the rest as a disappointed sadness, when I found out that Jude Matsalla was leaving.
Jude has been at Critical Mass for well over five years. Jude was always one of our innovators, one of those people who always pushed the envelope for all the really interesting ideas, someone the rest of us always looked up to. (Especially because Jude was always approachable, no matter how much stress he was under. Something I still need to work on.) He got an opportunity to move down to Pasedena for a while and check out the American life. Like several before him, he will be missed.
Chrissie, one of our long-time veterans of Project Management, couldn’t let Jude go without a fight. So she organized a send-up for him, to ensure that Jude would remember his time at Critical Mass. (I would have assumed he’d get the usual Critical Mass logo cattle brand, but I guess since Jude’s a vegetarian, the only logical thing was mental trauma.) So was planned a three-event outing on Friday evening.
Stop number one was at Ming, a trendy bar cum bistro on 17th Avenue. I’ve been there a couple of time before, but it’s never really been one of my more favourite places, especially when you’re with a large group. It’s just hard to get the people in that tiny little space. But being true to the Critical Mass spirit (which, in many ways, resembles university fraternities), we crammed in everyone who wanted to come out.
Scott, Luke, and I walked down from the office, partly because we had no car, but also because Calgary was being blessed with a wonderfully warm day (for a change — May always has strange weather). As we approached Ming, we noticed two things: Thelton’s red Mini parked out front (Thelton got his Mini long after I got mine — the copycat! — but at least he got a different colour), and the City of Calgary Parking Enforcement car pulling up behind it. (You’re not allowed to park on 17th Ave. until after 18:00.) Thelton was quickly warned, and managed to avoid a ticket.
We were among the earlier ones to arrive, but soon the Mass started to appear, and all were packed into the little space under the stairs. Eventually, we overflowed into other parts of the bar. People who didn’t normally come out to such events rounded out the list of usual suspects (but we never achieved the sheer outpouring seen at Ben Wong’s departure), even if they were only out for a while.
We were even joined by Rudy (one of our web developers) and his "manservant" Virgil (a former Critical Mass employee, and friend, of whom you’ve heard many times before). Rudy was in a motorcycle accident a couple of weeks ago, and has been out sick ever since. He hobbled into Ming on crutches to make an appearance. At which point we yelled:
"If you’re good enough to come to a bar, you can whack out some code! Get your butt back to the office, ya slacker!"
All in good jest, of course.
The plan had been to adjourn to the second destination at 19:00, but we didn’t start moving until almost 20:00. James, Scott, Colin, Jude, and myself all piled into James’ car, and we fired off in the direction of Lloyd’s, in the southern part of Calgary (north of Heritage Drive). Lloyd’s is an institution in Calgary — it’s where teenagers go to rollerskate.
Yes, rollerskating. Wasn’t exactly on my list of things I have to do before I die. Colin and I took a bit of a detour, though, and opted for a pizza at Tom’s Pizza, instead. That, two beers, and a really long conversation. Colin and I have these every now and then. It really feels good to have them, because I really feel isolated from all the other developers being on the Mercedes account.
Getting into Lloyd’s, we found James, Scott, and Jude hanging out with Chrissie, Jason, Jude’s cousin Vince, Rob, and Rob’s girlfriend (whose name I’ve forgotten). Colin and I didn’t bother with skates — neither of us were particularly interested. Instead, we watched as Jude attempted to jump from one chair to another, only to have his feet slide out from under him, and narrowly miss face-planting the floor. (Scott’s video capture will become an instant classic.)
Not long after Colin and I arrived did the really bad music, lousy deejay, and the plethora of 15-year olds finally get to us, and we headed for older pastures. This took us to what we call the No Name Lounge. We call it that because, like the name suggests, it has no name. Literally. If you pass by on the street, you’d never know. There’s no name. Even the liquor license is numbered — no name. What do you tell your friends when you’re going to a place that has no name? It’s a little odd the first time.
But it’s a nice place, and very cool. The interior is narrow, but long. It’s lit mostly by red lights, the deejay is an ex-Critical Mass employee who spins some amazing tunes (although we regularly complain that the deejay sucks, just for digs), and the decor is pretty chic ... when you can actually see it. (The eyes take a few minutes to adjust.) This was our third and final stop for the night, where we hung out until the wee hours of the morning.
Those of us from Lloyd’s were also joined by Mark, Carmen, Rudy, Virgil, Jason (two of them, actually), Laura, Michelle, Lindsay, Mabel, Shannon, and finally Pat (after Colin and I gave him grief for not showing up earlier). We never did see Angie, though. I finally left well into the next day, deciding that I’d had too much to drink, and desperately needed sleep.
In all, it was a great departure. I could only hope that all parties are like this. I just hope we don’t have too many of them — my poor body can’t take all this.