2011 06 09: Surf and Sip Con

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Mission Name: Surf and Sip Con
Date of Mission: June 09, 2011
Locale: The Surf and Sip

Two nerds at an internet cafe.

Jack Foster

Any self-respecting programmer wouldn't be caught dead in a place like this, not unless they were really desperate to use a public computer. From the looks of it though, at least today, the types of people who seem to frequent the Surf and Sip are a mix of teens chatting online and gamers who are enjoying their rounds of Starcraft 2. If Jack had to fit into any of those two categories, he'd probably be closer to the former. But then again, not really…

<acer> yeah, and the last time i heard from him, he said, "see you tomorrow afternoon." then the dude like, fuckin' disappeared without a word, y'all
<Ragequit> Maybe the FBI finally got the lowdown on his shiz and confiscated his machine, yo.
<acer> nah, he's a cracker, not a dumbass

Reclining back with his wireless laptop in front of him, the kid with the dark hair is peering at his screen, eyes half-squinty while scrolling through an open irc window. Large amounts of text blaze through the reflective glass as he reads, blinking occasionally to keep the glare from bothering him too much.

Foster is definitely neither self-respecting nor a programmer - the only bugs he knows anything about have six legs. He's not even really a computer nerd, but the internet serves his purpose and so he's become good at a small corner of the web. A backpack worn rather ungracefully over both shoulders, the straps a little too tight to let it sag, the man checks in at the front and picks up a Coke while he's at it. Once that bit of business is done and paid for, he turns to regard the room, hefting his backpack up a little higher. "I, uh, excuse me. Do you mind if I, uh… Everywhere else seems to be full," he says to Jack, gesturing towards an empty seat next to him. "But I can wait if it's… weird. It might be weird. Is it weird?" He really doesn't get out much.

Foster doesn't have anything to worry about, because Jack doesn't get out much either. Despite this fact, he doesn't seem to have a problem socializing when he's out, at least when it /doesn't/ come to the opposite sex.
"Sure, man. Whatever, whenever, where —" Jerking his head back to stare at Foster, Jack shuts up and quickly closes the irc window he was lurking in. "You want to sit…" He shrugs, trying to look as nonchalant as possible. Note the word trying.
"Go ahead." He doesn't need to scoot to make room for Foster, because there's plenty of room right next to the spot he's currently sitting at. "Honestly though, I should have gone to Starbucks. Free wi-fi, but then again, the drinks aren't so great unless you're into coffee."

"Thanks. Uh, yeah. You don't see many of these places around anymore. I mean, not like they used to be. But I guess everywhere's got wi-fi now. I just… I think of here first still," Foster admits, rambling on as he takes a seat, leaving some healthy personal space - and privacy - for Jack. "And, uh, it's usually not as busy here as Starbucks, which I like. Except tonight it is sort of busy, so I guess that's moot." Foster glances around at the teens and Starcraft-players, before he begins pulling off the backpack so he can dig out an old MacBook from it.

Jack smiles as he watches the stranger pull his laptop out of his backpack, "Whoa, I haven't seen anyone carry those around for awhile." He points to his own notebook, "I mean, this is brand new, but yours gives me a little bit of nostalgia." It's…really not a brand that's on the market, his computer. Most likely custom-built, and one quick look at the screen will tell you that he's running Linux. "I own a Mac at home," the teen enthuses, "but I only keep it around for eye-candy. Any unix-based operating system is awesome!" What a geek. "Have you checked out the new Macbook Pros? I mean, for what they do, they're ridiculously overpriced, but holy shit can Apple make a piece of aluminum look pretty."

Foster frowns at his computer as though only just considering how old it is for the first time. "Oh, uh. Yeah. I… got it for school and I guess that was quite awhile ago," he admits with the air of an absent-minded scientist. Time just gets away from him. "Yours is, well. I bet it runs a lot better than this thing, but it does what I need to do. Which is, you know, not really very much. Probably a lot less than what you need to do. Not that I have any idea what you need to do." He pauses to draw breath before looking back to his computer again, comparing it to Jack's - but it's more of an intellectual exercise than with any real sort of jealousy. "I'm sort of one of those guys who got sold on the whole 'it's easier' aspect," he admits with a self-deprecating laugh. "I, uh. Maybe I'll need to save up and… upgrade one of these days. I use it more than I used to."

"No way, man! Don't treat her like that." There's a sure pause from Jack as his blue eyes settle over Foster's old Macbook. "I mean, it." He shakes his head, "Sorry, bad habit. But what I'm trying to say is, all computers are meant to do something, and just because they're old doesn't make them useless." Jack flashes a grin, "Technology goes fast, and before you know it your upgraded hardware will be useless again in three years. If you do decide to shop around, you might want to think about taking it to a techie and just having new bits installed. I dunno about you, but I have a hard time throwing away my old junk. I just recycle the parts I don't need and replace what needs to be replaced." The kid definitely seems to show an appreciation for this stranger's laptop; a real, genuine acknowledgment.

Foster, meanwhile, seems to regard the computer with some indifference, although he really has nothing against it and has taken good care of the machine over the years, at least as far as can be seen from the ding and scratch-free aluminum. "I, uh, I didn't mean to treat it, uh, her badly," he replies, getting a bit flustered as he gently sets the computer down on the table. "And it- er, she - definitely isn't useless, I didn't mean that. Just that… I don't know. I could get it fixed up instead, like you say." He considers the machine for a moment and then looks back to Jack. "You … really seem to care about these things," he says, no indication that he's teasing or being sarcastic. It's simply an observation.

It's definitely an observation that the average Joe wouldn't care to note, but then again, Foster appears to be more astute than any of the half-wits in this place. "Chillax, dude." Reaching out to lightly punch his fellow nerd in the shoulder, Jack chuckles. The act is not meant to be a hostile one if it lands; it's more like a friendly gesture. "Not gonna judge you. My name's Jack, by the way. Is this your favorite place to hang, or do you only come here when you need to?" That last question is asked with caution, and he lowers his voice a notch. "Not tryin' to insult your taste or anything, but I can show you some places that are nicer and less trafficky than this dump."

Foster flinches instinctively at the punch, although he's not such a wuss that it actually hurt - he's just spent too many years of his life getting punched to not react. "I'm, uh, I'm Foster. Nice to meet you, Jack. It's um-" He pauses to look around at the establishment, his eyebrows arching just a fraction before he turns back to Jack with a slight shrug. "Not really my favourite place, but it … does the job? The internet at my apartment is a little, uh, flaky sometimes," he explains, as he idly cracks open his can of soda, careful to avoid both computers. "So, if you've got tips then I really wouldn't turn those down. I don't think you can really have too many places to go, and I'm not so good with people, so quieter places are, um, probably better."

"I hear you, brah." This is where it kicks in, and if Foster ever met any Californians, he'd notice it in Jack's accent right away. For a native Angeleno though, he lacks the stereotypical blonde hair and sun-kissed tan. "Mind if I take a look at your Mac?" He quickly points to Foster's laptop. "I can save a few addresses for you on google maps, or yahell, or whatever it is that you use. Just don't delete any cookies or your browser history 'til you get home and are able to save the addresses somewhere on your hard drive."

"Oh, uh… Yeah, sure. Thanks," Foster replies, sliding the laptop carefully across the table to make it easier for Jack to reach. If Jack goes looking, the only things of note, really, are the sheer number of conspiracy theory sites in his bookmarks. "And either one is fine. Google or Yahoo. I remember when everyone used MapQuest. Is that even still around? It's what got me to school in one piece when I drove out. Now everyone's got GPS anyway. And I don't have a car anymore," he rambles on, finally silencing himself with a sip of his Coke.

"Yep, it's around, but it's a piece of crap website that sometimes gets a person lost." Whether or not that statement is coming from personal experience is anyone's guess, and Jack doesn't elaborate. "That's one thing that sucks about New York City, though," he deadpans. "I was soooo looking forward to my first car after I graduated highschool. But then I realized I wouldn't need it, what with the proximity of things and public transportation, so I blew my allowance on a ridiculously overpriced desktop. " After turning on the machine and opening up Foster's Safari, Jack's eyebrow shoots up as he takes a mental note of the conspiracy theory sites, and clears his throat. "K, then. Google it is. You're probably going to want to stick with a few places that are closer to your apartment." He peers at Foster over the guy's old Macbook, "Where do you live?"

"Oh. Guess I won't go trying it for old time's sake then. Not that nostalgia is a good reason to rely on a site for directions. I remember it being a lot harder to use than Google anyway, so I guess I'm not missing much," Foster replies. "I, uh. Yeah. I sold mine when I got the job here. It was old and kind of falling apart anyway but it got me where I needed to go. And I made enough money to cover the cost of the move, which would have been hard to do otherwise even with work paying some of the costs. I wasn't quite ready for how expensive everything would be here." He doesn't seem to notice Jack's noticing the website and just continues with his rambling, unrelenting speech. "I live in Tudor City? In Turtle Bay. I can't afford a very big apartment there, but it seemed safer than the places where I could afford something, uh, bigger."

"Agreed…everyone's been complaining about the cost of living here. Anyway, there's about three places I know that offer free wi-fi, one of them is an internet cafe like this, but it's less —-" He lacks the words to describe the 'hangout,' if it could even be distinguished as such. "Eh, you know." Stupid. He doesn't finish his sentence but it's plainly written in his expression. Once he's created a random Google account, Jack types the addresses in no-time, displaying the map that he's made and showing him where each place is located. "I dunno where your apartment is, specifically, but you can see here where they are." He pinpoints one particular location that may or may not be closer to where Foster lives. "If you don't have an account already, I just made you one." It's free, after all. "Password is Foster," he points to the box below his new username, "But you can change that later." The teenaged computer geek starts to pack up his stuff, and he pushes his new acquaintance's computer back towards him. Looks like he needs to head out.

"Well, uh, thank you. Again. I'm sure that will be useful. It's kind of far to come all the way down here anyway, but you know, once you find a place… Habit, I guess." Foster gives a little chuckle to that as he looks around, not seeming terribly concerned about the spot's actual ambience. He takes back the laptop, leaving it open, since he figures he should probably get some actual work done after coming all this way. "It was … nice to meet you. Maybe I'll see you around again. Or not. But I've heard there's some sort of thing about bumping into people you know in a city this size. Not that I really, uh, know you, but … you know. Anyway. Have a good night."

"Take care, man," is the answer Jack gives his fellow nerd, zipping up his laptop case as he begins to walk out. Before he completely exits, however, the teenager does turn around to regard Foster one last time, "Maybe I'll even see you around Turtle Bay." He shrugs, not one to discuss the places he frequents most. "If I do, we'll play catch up and share some stories, cause I have a feeling you've got a few interesting ones." The last one may or may not allude to Foster's conspiracy theories.

Foster gives an awkward laugh to that, nearly spilling his drink in a moment of flustered spazzing. The can is quickly righted before any electronics can get damaged and the man nods several times. "Uh, yeah. I live there, so … I'm usually around. Except for when I'm at work. Or here. But I probably won't be here as much anymore." He is at least aware enough to realize Jack is trying to leave, and thus forces himself to stop rambling so the teen can go. "See you, then. Maybe. Bye," he bids, before returning his attention to his computer.

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