Home for the weekend

Twisting strings of lights
Become a city below:
Welcome to LA.

So this was the travel itinerary from hell. Shuttle > train > train > shuttle > SFO > LAX > ORD > IND > car ride > home. LAX sort of fudged the whole thing, but the magic of way too many connection flights and having grandparents living in Chicago kicked in and managed to get me home in time to see my little sister graduate at 1pm today. Now if I could only get some sleep.

It's weird to be away from California. There's, like, weather here.


Los Angeles

All roads lead to some
Sort of entertainment, and
Sun and sea don't hurt.
A weekend in Los Angeles! A convertible! A hotel on Sunset Boulevard! A dress bought on Rodeo Drive! The beach! Surfing! The Pacific Coast Highway is unspeakably gorgeous, though chasing it was quite a chore at times. Yet I can't think of a better way to spend my relocation bonus. ;)


Free shirts at last

I got a free shirt,
My very first, I'm surprised,
That I've not got more.

The Cost of Electricity

Now that I have moved into an apartment where our electricity bill is not pre-computed and included in our rent, I've had much more incentive to conserve electricity. I turn off lights when I leave the room, I don't use the heat or air-conditioning (this is easy since I spend almost my entire day at Google), and my roommates follow similar patterns.

Today we got our electricity bill for the first half of May: $2. I guess that means each of us owes 50 cents. That's right, we love the environment more than you... ;)


O, naked people,
Traveling bay to breakers,

I see it's cold out.

Hm. Some people went in birthday suits, but we went in party ranger suits.Go us.


More of the Valley

Small town festivals
And pretentious campuses
Can be seen from bikes.

So it isn't just computer companies here in the Valley. There seem to be real people, too! Evan and I took a trip to the Mountain View something-or-other Arts Festival and checked out some really nifty artwork by people in the area. One guy had made a Chinese dragon out of a bike chain. The best part of the festival, though, might have been the crepes (three berry and strawberry/nutella) that we had for breakfast.

It was good to just chill today. After the art festival there was some pool chillin' time, and then a trip to Stanford. I was thrilled that there was a set of really pretentious-looking guys in matching red blazers and white pants carrying messenger bags and riding their bikes around campus. I sorely wanted their picture, because that's basically exactly the stereotype I associate with Stanford-type places, but my camera wasn't out, unfortunately.

There were some crazy satellite dishes that we visited, too, up on a lonely hill. The view of the rest of the Valley was amazing, but it was a little bit gross to see the smoggy haze sort of hanging over it. I guess that's the price of technology.

This freak heat wave is throwing me off. I guess there are record highs being set in lots of places in this area. I hope it cools off again... 95 is not good Frisbee weather!


First payday!

You freaking taxes,
Robbing me of my bonus,
But, still, it's money!

I got my first paycheck in the mail today! It was ridiculous how much got taken out in taxes, though. Boo. Hiss. I lost about a third of my relocation bonus to the Fed and Schwartzenegger. At least I support government programs, I guess... :-\


Good feelings don't end
Under a cloudless blue sky
Such happy people!

I still can't get over the general cheeriness of people around this place. No one ever looks grouchy. I'd say they must love the sunshine, but no one ever looks tan, either... haha, I kid, of course.

I rode the conference bike. It's amazing. And yesterday was bike to work day, so there were a couple of other "festivities" related to the occasion, including free massages, Google shampoo/conditioner/bodywash/lotion that was all (of course) organic, and rides on a crazy carriage bicycle. Woot!

Oh, and people don't lie. The water here is freezing.


Put a Lime in the Coconut

Today at lunch they had a guy who used a power drill to put a hole in a coconut. Then he stuck a straw in and handed it to you to drink! They had already shaved off the outermost layer, so there wasn't any rough shell on it, and they made the bottoms flat so you could set them on the table. It was pretty neat. It wasn't quite the flavor I was expecting, though. It tasted almost exactly like water. I thought it would be a little sweeter.


Craziness is great,
With no shortage of people
To follow along.

Our alliteration house is complete! Sam arrived two nights ago now, I guess. Sam Slee, Steven Soneff, Sarah, and Savage reside in Somerset for the Summer. Ouch.

There was a trip to look at stars from the top of the pile of garbage (i.e. Shoreline) behind Google, but, alas, the light pollution here is killer. It's really too bad. There's talk of a biking trip this weekend to find some stars, though. I went for a bike ride yesterday to Palo Alto, and that was nice. It got really hot here, though. :(

The new intern crop seems interesting. I've only met a couple of them thus far, but I suppose it's only their third day today. Maybe one or more of them will be absorbed into the group. That would be convenient. :D

There's so many things to explore! Cafes all over the place, for one. And the bike trails here are nice. It's been a long time since I've smelled salt water, so getting back to that was great, too. It's a wonder anyone gets any work done around here.



Today at lunch I ate caviar. No joke. It was on a cracker on its own little plate surrounded by decorative sauce. Remind me how I got here...


Stuff Google has let me borrow/have

Hundred dollar Sennheiser headphones
AA batteries
gel wrist rest for typing
tons of good food
bubble tea!!! (scoop however much botbang you want into your sweet, milky, tea drink)
two monitors
two computers
balloons and chocolat
crate (used as a combo book case and night stand)
bike and helmet
the beginnings of an awesome tan
lots of happy feelings :)

The City

Hidden on a roof,
One can find fun, but do the
Tourist-y thing, too!

Not enough good stuff can be said about the City. SF is awesome! We spent a day (Saturday) doing all the obligatory tourist activities (riding cable cars, looking across the bay at Alcatraz, watching the crazy seals duking it out at Pier 39, eating Boudin's clam chowder and sourdough bread, stopping through China Town). There are some cities where the tourist things are positively stupid, but I didn't feel cheated at all by any of those activities. The cable car, especially, was amazing. I think there were a number of locals who used it as normal transit, too, which was cool.

Evan and I found a waterfall on a rooftop to splash through, which made the rest of the evening interesting. And damp. And cold. One view that was really great was from the base of Coite tower. Steven had been there before, I guess, but it was awesome to see the city sprawling out beneath us. I was a little surprised, actually; as I was walking around, it seemed like a pretty short place. You know, mostly full of little 2- or 3-story houses and whatnot. But from up there it seems to be all skyscrapers. The Americorp building is pretty neat-looking.

Laser tag should also be mentioned! Everyone loves it! Even full-timers, apparently. One of the guys who works near my desk came with all the crazy college kids. And kicked our asses. Royally.

"Versus" has again showed me that goofy, ridiculous, imported zombie action movies have a special place in every person's heart. I think I made about half a dozen converts this weekend.

Did you know that brown boxes + white boxes = Pac Man + Blinky?

Ralph Nader came today. Most of his talk boiled down to: "I exist! Other politicians suck! Technology is evil!" A pretty ballsey speech to give at Google, eh?

There should be a couple new interns moving into my cube tomorrow! I'm excited! Also, Sam will finally be getting in!

Anyway, I guess I'm off to be productive. I sort of hope my Canadian accent starts wearing off. :\


We're nooglers now

We rock silly hats
During our stay at Google.
It's how Nooglers roll.

Speaking of Frisbee

Google's president,
Running, Catching, Frisbee-ing,
I can't believe it!

I played some ultimate yesterday with a bunch of guys. It was really fun to get back into it, for sure. It had been too long.

I introduced myself around in between points, and I discovered that I was playing with a Matthew, a Neil, a Noah, a Sergey...

Later, I found out that it was the Sergey. Neat.


Why am I doing this? Oh, right

Things, people, and fun,
No way to keep track of it,
Man, this is awesome!

My desk is at a prime location. I'm 20 steps from a Wii, a kitchen, a field for Frisbee, a massage chair, and lots of crazy people with Nerf guns. It's too bad that a lot of the cubes around me are empty for the moment; I guess they're being held open for interns that will be getting here later in the summer.

I never realized how many Canadians come to California.

My monitor is so big, I can't find a background to fit it properly.

Asian pears and jicama? Anytime I want? Amazing!

I want post cards.

2210 Rock St. #18
Mountain View, CA 94043

Just Settling In

A list of people living in our apartment: Steven, Sam, Sarah, and Savage!!

We find this pretty amusing. We haven't met Sam yet (but he's from Independence, MO, which is the other side of Kansas City from where I grew up, so I'm sure we'll have lots to talk about), but Steven is pretty much the best roommate you could have (besides Melissa, of course). He took care of all the furniture stuff (it looks amazing and he got great deals on all of it -- made sure we all had beds) and walked us to the right building for work on Tuesday. Unfortunately, we rarely see Steven since he (and now we) are at work for so long. Notice I say at work, not working, since I currently am at work and am obviously not working anymore. The fact is, as awesome as our apt is, it doesn't come close to beating Google (plus we don't quite have internet there yet, so that put Google even farther in the lead). It's just more fun to stay at work than to go home. :)

Mountain View is beautiful. The rose blossoms are larger than your head! And everyone has a garden. I guess it doesn't take too much talent to have a green thumb in this kind of weather. It's usually in the low sixties in the mornings and evenings, and the mid seventies during the day. The only time I've ever seen clouds has been in the morning on the way to work, otherwise it's clear.

The team of people I'll be working with this summer is amazing. They're all really laid back and incredibly smart. I especially like my "manager," though I hear that the PC graveyard that surrounds my desk is thanks to him. He evidently collects them when people leave... eight of them at the moment (only two hooked up). I also have a large gymnastics ball which I sometimes use instead of my desk chair, a google bean bag, some golf clubs, a bike, a box of clothes and some old monitors lying around my space. Oh, and most important of all, there's Sally at the desk next to me. She's the other intern for the team, but she's been here for the winter already and she'll be leaving in a few weeks. :( This is unfortunate because I rather like her a lot. I wonder if someone new will come in to that desk or if I'll be all alone after she's gone. I'm not entirely alone; the majority of my team is in the "cubicle" space next to me. They evidently were tired of not being able to see the interns, so they knocked down the top half of the wall separating us. This is great for talking... but not so great if you need to walk over to another person's desk. To do this you must either walk all the way around the corner, or climb over the half wall (using one of the graveyard computers for a step, of course).

I suppose that's all for now. I have much more to talk about, but I'll have to save it for another post. We're still working on a better blog title, so let us know if you have any suggestions.

Have you ever seen...?

A list of things at Google that made my jaw hit the floor.

heated toilet seats
free bikes to borrow
free cars to borrow
30 inch monitors
large, red, gymnastics balls (in place of desk chairs, if you so desire)
extremely happy people
wireless internet on all streets in Mountain View
more organic and local food than you could imagine
half-off google merchandise store

I'm sure I'm missing lots of things that made my jaw drop (specifically all the technical stuff), but this will have to do for now.


It begins...!

The land of sun and summer.
And cockroaches, too.

So my flight touched down at about 9:55 yesterday morning. It was a pretty cool flight; I met a couple of marketing execs from Silicon Valley on the way. The one sitting next to me for most of the flight actually had a dog with him in his carry-on luggage! But, anyway, I got to the airport and had some time to explore. It was a pretty standard place, actually. I saw a couple of crazy people with neon hair and crazy awesome piercings, but most people were normal. :P

We managed to make our way to NASA Ames, via a shuttle, two trains, and a taxi. The Valley is a much nicer place than San Francisco. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, plus we were able to take off our jackets (I was sort of surprised how cold it was in SF!). Our first room at Ames was a little bit of a nightmare. There was a cockroach living in our shower drain. We got a new room.

We also met Steven, our soon-to-be apartment mate. He's a cool guy. Very into IKEA. :) Definitely awesome, though, and I think he'll be fun to live with and keep us organized. I can't wait to meet Sam when he moves in next week. I'll be living with Sarah, Steven, and Sam... hmm...

Anyway, we're checking out of Ames this morning, and we're hoping to do some more exploring in Mountain View. We had dinner at an awesome Mexican restaurant yesterday (hunger is the best spice, surely, especially after about 15 hours foodless, but I think that their veggie quesadillas would've been awesome anytime) and found a clothing store with some super cute stuff. I'm hoping to post pictures in here soon, but we have to go catch a cab.