Saturday, May 31, 2008

California Internship - Week 4

4 weeks in, 13 left. Wow. Feels like any day now it will be halfway to done. This is where it's at right now:

I'm watching "Alice in Wonderland" out of the corner of my eye, the laptop is so hot that I have to prop it up on a pillow and tomorrow morning I will be going for pancakes with some of the interns. This week was different than the last three because now there are about 20 interns. The big batch (9 from Carnegie Mellon) landed last weekend, including my roommates. So things have been hectic.

I spent all of last weekend away from the apartment. On Saturday I drove down to Santa Cruz to go wine tasting with Hannah. We hit about 6 different wineries and I got to taste a lot of wines and even experienced a futures barrel tasting at Soquel.

My favourite winery was Bonny Doon mostly because of their really beautiful labels and artistic leanings. Other wineries really couldn't compete in that area - they tend to have one template for all their labels and only change the text as needed. You can see an example of a Bonny Doon label in my slideshow, but also I would encourage people to look at their website, it's pretty awesome. I bought a few packs of their leftover labels to stick all over my computer.

After the wineries, Hannah took my past the Santa Cruz surf museum where there is also a rock covered in seals. I adored the seals, Hannah told me a little story about when she lived across the street:

With a couple of bottles of wine in the trunk, I headed up to San Francisco to meet Joey post-work. We had an easy night of watching movies and eating the most intense pizza I have ever had. It was 3 inches of melted cheese on what seemed to be a deep-fried crust, if such a thing is possible. Um, I shouldn't know that this kind of take-out exists, it's dangerous to a melted cheese lover such as myself. You can see a picture of it (a small!) in the slideshow:

On Sunday morning we picked up Sam and Anna Joy to drive up into Marin and go to Bass Lake. There is a nice little 3 mile hike which takes you to the lake. Since it's inland a bit, there's not too much of a crowd, and certainly nothing resembling a public beach. Watching out for poison oak, we wandered in to the furthest depths where there's supposed to be a rope swing. Just as we arrived, a park ranger was talking to some guys about a recent death in the lake and he proceeded to cut the rope off right in front of us!

Next time we go there, we'll bring a new rope. It wasn't conclusive that the rope swing was involved in the death, the park ranger was just being a keener and taking out anything that could be dangerous.

Still game to swim, Joey went down the steep slope first and got herself psyched up to jump in. I've discovered what makes Joey take action if she hesitates:

Monday was all about card playing and teaching Kim, Naomi and Hillie how to euchre. I'm always happy with hours spent playing cards. A perfect long weekend all around.

This weekend I hope to do some quieter, at-home stuff like reading and then also on Sunday taking the Caltrain to SF and then biking back here. It's about 36 miles, and will take about 3 hours. That will be good practice for the triathlon I'm planning to do in August.

Time for bed.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

California Internship - Week 3

It's been another fun filled week in sunny California. Seriously sunny - we had a little heat wave where the temp was about 100 degrees Fahrenheit and that's almost 40 degrees Celsius!

In the past week I've finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" which I did quite enjoy even though I found her to be a little judgy sometimes, and way too flowery often. However, she's patient and observes little things that I never do and I enjoyed seeing gardening from her perspective. As someone who kills plants whenever they are near, it's a form of escapism to go into her world - and it's a beautiful, appealing world. Furthers my notions of packing up when school is done and finding somewhere I can be a computer geek and also raise chickens, goats, sheep and learn to make cheese.

Inspired by the book, and all the other food related literature I've been devouring as of late, I went to the Mountain View farmers market two Sundays ago, and this past Sunday I met Naomi at the Alemany Farmers Market to pick up some fresh produce to bring to Kim and Hillie's house. I had this plan to make them some snacks entirely from what was available. As well as produce, there was a great one woman band:

Boy was I not disappointed! There were pink mushrooms, orange cauliflower, fresh organic fennel, blue potatoes (which I love), can you see that I'm going for colour?! Also I picked up some sage goat cheese, knowing that Kim was mostly on a goat/sheep diet right now. These items resulted in the dishes you see below...oh yeah, there was some asparagus too.

After our pretty simple fare, Kim and Hillie proceeded to ignore me and play with their iPhones...naw - not really - but they sure did make me jealous.


I really kinda want an iPhone...and no, it won't make me any more likely to answer a phone. It will just make me more likely to Geocache.

The next day was "Bay to Breakers" - a regular event in the city that draws out the weirdness in a predominantly young, heterosexual population. It was a sight to behold. On top of snapping pictures of costumes that interest me, I also enjoyed taking in the scenery as we walked from one side of SF (the bay) to the end of Golden Gate Park (the breakers) a total of 12Km during which we walked for 3 hours and 15 mins. The slide show below contains some of my favourite pictures from the event including salmon who walked "upstream", Elvis impersonators doing a mass pee break, and Spiderman. Something that I find both amazing and confusing is the "Yes on A" campaign. Maybe if I was living here I would pick up on what the intricacies of that proposition were, but since I don't, I think it's funny to be pushing such a simple phrase that suggests nothing of what it's about. "Yes on A!" ... sure, why not?

A few choice moments were seeing the sun break through the clouds at 7am by Embarcadero, meeting an adorable little beagle, and seeing the building with all the furniture stuck on the outside:


The icing on the cake, in Golden Gate park after walking for 3 hours - Surf Rabbanim and Thing 1 through 8 (from Dr. Seuss):

On Wednesday night I got to attend a birthday party for Kim who looked so healthy and happy, it doesn't seem at all like she just got that kidney 2 weeks ago...


Finally, this week at work the Mozilla Store needed some new pictures in preparation for the release of Firefox 3 and so a few of the interns participated. Here you see my friend Armen showing his love to the Fox...and the Fox hanging around. That costume is getting around...recently the Firefox completed a Triathlon.


Okay, that's this week's update. It's a long weekend and I'm going to spend much of it outside and in the city, so there will be plenty more photos next week.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

California Internship - Week 2

Happy Friday.

Last weekend, and most of this week actually, feels so long ago already. Tonight I went to see the Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian with some fellow interns and assorted co-workers. I'm a little underwhelmed. The theatre itself was a little low-budget and the ceiling lights remained aglow throughout the film, and the movie was kind of predictable and awkward in its pacing. I really need to find time to read the entire series though because I'm very interested in the ideas of the stories. Plus I want to know how it ends. It's hard to watch the movie and not know what happens unlike Harry Potter chapters.

Okay, so the week in review. Well - first off was my hiking day in Big Sur last weekend with Naomi. She picked me up in the morning and we took off down highway 1 (again!) this time a bit further south to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park where we did the Ewoldsen hike.

I'm totally in love with the forests of Big Sur. Also, this blue jay was very insistent that I take his picture and kept coming closer and closer as I snapped away. This is with hardly any zoom - little blue show-off:

One of the switchbacks on the trailPerspective on a trunk holeThe very friendly blue jay in Big Sur

There are amazingly large trees, beautifully maintained paths and views like this:

Big SurThe oasis @ Big SurWearing a Judith-made hat in Big Sur

Here is Naomi explaining why there were so many burned and charred trees:

Then there was the Waterfall. While it was close enough to the parking lot to be kind of over populated with tourists - it was still a sight to behold. I was mesmerized by the waterfall and the waves smashing against the rocks. It reminded me of a set from the movie version of Lord of th Flies. Funny thing is, there were all these signs:

Really, you have to hold yourself back - you lemming!

These were posted every few feet - as though the view was so pretty that people were going to throw themselves down the cliff. Well, then I looked over and saw two people trying to do it - even with the signs! Fortunately they gave up after scrambling down a couple of meters of crumbly cliff side. The woman was wearing Uggs! Those are not hiking boots, and certainly won't help with what was essentially rock climbing. As they pointed out, and we had noticed, there were distinctly human footprints on the beach below - I imagine that there's a little sea creature down there with a foot on a stick making footprints to try and lure the tasty humans...

Here's a small video of the view in motion:

Final notes for the week - some office dog shenanigans and Bike to Work Day.

Julie has been bringing the dog she's caring for to work and it plays with Karen's dog Samantha until it's so tired that it must throw itself upon on of the many bean bag chairs and cushions in the downstairs common lounge. At that point the two dogs just play with their heads, determined pups they are.

Here they are when still able to stand on all four feet:

Zuri (the whippet) is incredibly fast as you can see by her dash:

Zuri Pre-dashZuri Mid-dashZuri End-dash

Maybe next time I will get a picture of her when she's not moving.

On Bike to Work week about 14 or so Mozillans took on the challenge. I've been biking to work every day and it's only 10 minutes each way for big deal. Several people biked in from San Francisco on Thursday which takes about 3 hours! Here they are in their Firefox jerseys. I hope to have one someday but that will require that bike jerseys are made by a company that doesn't predispose itself to the physiques of slim europeans. Too bad, cause they sure are pretty shirts:


Thursday, May 08, 2008

California Internship - Week 1

So its been a while. Hi! I've got lots of little documentation of my first week here in Mountain View, California.

The intro: I'm doing an internship with Mozilla this summer and will be living in Mountain View for 4 months - until Aug 29. So hopefully I will not only work hard and have an amazing summer of development but I will also get to see and experience a bunch of what California has to offer.

First experience: the Pacific Ocean.

Joey picked me up in a PT Cruiser convertible and took me down Route 1 to Santa Cruz. On the way we saw surfers and we stopped in at Swanton's Berry Farm for a strawberry shortcake that was amazing.

Once we arrived in Santa Cruz we wandered around downtown with Maryasha. These caught my eye since I'm always a fan of fancy carving of fruits and vegetables.

We also tried to go to the "secret cookie" place which was sadly closed. It's apparently really good, cheap cookies that only the locals know about. Don't worry secret cookie place, I'll come back!

Afterwards, we went to the Boardwalk and rode the Giant Dipper - a super old wooden roller coaster. The Boardwalk is featured in one of my favourite childhood movies - The Lost Boys.

I love the palm trees in California, it's so L Word!

This first week was all about setting up my computer, and getting up to speed on what kind of work I'll be doing this summer. Here's a nice shot of my office (with my welcome gift) and my office mate - fellow intern Armen.

A funny aside - I've been referring to this summer as "My Own Private Gattaca (such an under-appreciated film) and this is what's on a fellow co-worker's cubicle...

And then, as I've been going on about - there's the snacks. We are well provided for, there is often lunch brought in and the other night we had a Cinco de Mayo party with margueritas, beer, and of course we are also playing lots of Mario Kart on the Wii (not pictured). I'm going to be pretty good at MK by the time I come home. I love that it's very similar to the Super Nintendo version that we used to play oh, about 15 years ago! Crazy.

Finally, saving the best for last - if you've gotten this far you are in for a little treat. There is a couple staying at the Oakwood Apartments where we live and they are moving here from Spain to work for Stanford. It just so happens that my pal Armen is from Spain and he befriended them and introduced me. They're very nice folks and in their apartment they have the cutest cat I have ever seen. This cat is a little shy and wasn't too good at posing for pictures so his owner broke out the catsnacks - watch the video:

I want a smooshy faced cat!