It seems appropriate that nearly a year ago, I put up a post titled ‘Geronimo’ where I talked about jumping out of a plane nonchalantly. I’m not literally jumping out of a plane this time, but I am cutting through the parachute strings a bit and stakes are definitely higher. I’m definitely more nervous about this one.
Wednesday will be my last day as an employee at my current gig. I tried hanging in there for the full 2 years (i’ll be 2 months short) that I had promised myself earlier but it was getting unbearable. We’ve been having some poorly communicated re-organizations in our little corner of the company and now I’m lumped in with a group of people that I can barely tolerate professionally, let alone socially. I guess the social part doesn’t really matter much as they are all in SF and the last time I was there was spring. The carrot that kept me hanging on this long was that I was hired to basically put myself out of a job. The company had a data center with several hundred machines in it and the goal was to have that data center closed and move all the services into the cloud. When you are in the cloud, you don’t really have much call for a network engineer (that’s me, at least by title but I’m not a one trick pony) because it’s all handled by the cloud. I’ve been spending the last year or so working on servers and deploying software more than doing anything with the network and it’s been a lot of fun. It helps that I was working with people that I respected and we worked well together. But since the re-orgs and people taking off, I decided that I didn’t really want to carry on either. I also thought it somewhat poetic that I would leave just a few days after the data center went dark. It didn’t really go dark though, we just got our crap out and sold it to resellers/recyclers to make way for some other tenant.
So. Next up? I’m trying out something radically different. I’m going to be working at a place called Referential Labs (referentiallabs.com). It’s a significant downgrade in terms of pay and benefits as there’s no retirement, no insurance, nor even a regular paycheck. The upside is that I will have much more flexible hours and a happier working environment. I also know one of the owners inside and out. Like the back of my hand. Because, well, we share backs of hands … and insides … and all other outsides. Ok, it’s me. RL is 3 way partnership and we are going to see if we can make ends meet doing tech consulting. The best outcome is that we do well selling ourselves and we may think of a product/service (other than our current skill sets) that would become self sustaining company in a few years and the worst would be that we completely suck at this and if there were no useful prospects/incomes in the first 4-6 months, I’d go back and find a regular job.
The good news so far is that we don’t seem to completely suck. The other two RL social butterflies have a decent network of connections and I’ll have some work coming up directly after Wednesday. It’s possible that i may do some part time/consulting for the place I just left as well but that’s entirely up to them. I know Wednesday is a weird choice for a last day but it only seemed to make sense because on thursday/friday, I’ll be at a local conference and I didn’t need to be fielding random questions and exit interviews while in the middle of that.
So. Fun eh? I’m still ginger too. I might keep this going for a while and I’m sure it will make an appearance around christmas time too.
I bought this bottle sometime in 2004-2008 when J was doing vet school. Originally intended for mixing with coke, it’s level only very slightly decreased over the years. It has traveled with us from Madison, to Buffalo Grove, to NY, back to Madison, and now to it’s final resting place in NC. Over it’s entire lifetime, that means it’s traveled at least 3500 miles.
It’s been quite a journey. I don’t think the bottle changed at all but my taste buds certainly have. I think I regretted purchasing it the first time because it wasn’t whisky and coke I wanted, but rum and coke. But it stuck around. It took over 10 years, but, I was finally at a point where I could appreciate and enjoy bourbon. I’m still not a fan of this crap though.
I learned that’s something the first para-troopers yelled as they flung themselves out of the plane. Because the news was so good (and probably good for the propaganda), it made it to the general public where it continued.
Long time, no post. I’m fixing that currently since I’ve got 3 hours on this plane ride with relatively few distractions. We (coworkers, that is) had a second get together in Q4 since I made a half-serious query about going to the holiday party this year. Boss came back with the answer and said ‘sure, and just go book next week as well and we’ll have some more meetings and face time.’ Since we’d already been in town in October, it was a little unusual, but airfare and hotels were booked.
A new, happy twist to this age old tale of me going to San Francisco is that I was able to convince J to accompany me. I stayed the whole week but she needed to be home on Wednesday/Thursday for a conference in Durham, so she hopped on a plane Tuesday to get home. That experience was rocky, but we’ll get to that part eventually.
We prepared small list of things to experience and for me to role play a crappy tour guide for the long weekend when she would be present. In no particular order, we were able to execute on Chinese dumplings, a burrito, a loaf of sour dough, coffee (SF has lots of coffee), sushi, the CA Academy of Science, and even a walk around the SF Botanical Garden.
Friday scratched off a couple big ticket items. Yank Sing is a Chinese place near work that does dim sum. For the un-initiated, if it’s done right, they just have carts of things rolling around you where they consistently pester you to eat whatever they have. If you take it, they stamp a card and you pay based on the stamps. There was a specific target, soup dumplings. They take a bit of frozen chicken goo, put it in a dumpling wrapper with a filling (shrimp here) and then steam it. When hot, the goo turns into broth/soup that you must eat carefully as it’s typically 4,000 degrees when you bite down and the chicken lava hits your tongue But so good. Also had a Peking duck bun, some other dumplings, spring rolls, and shu-mai. We showed admirable restraint.
That night was the party and while they had small plates, my little click at work went to dinner near North Beach at a place called Caffe Maccaroni. It was very Italian, and tiny, where many of us crammed into a table that was designed for fewer of us. I remember having a minor melt down about the reservation being for 7 and people trickled in up until 7:40 but I was able to eventually let it go. The place was small enough that our table was nearly half the seating area. But it was really good. Pappardelle (big, wide noodles) with a meat ragu of some sort was had. Post dinner was at a place called the Infusion Lounge. That part was … whatever. We walked over and even though we bought out the club for the night, they apparently still had to keep up appearances and make people wait in line for 10 minutes to get in. The drinks were froo-froo and strong, the lights were dark with flashes of bright, and the music was loud, but it was ok.
The Academy of Science and Botanical Garden walk on Saturday was fun too. I happened to walk out the hotel without my sleeves which I thought about going back for but didn’t. It ended up being ok as I picked up a sweet, sweet sweat shirt at the CAS and you’ll see that at home. They had reindeer, and a bird/butterfly habitat, and lots of aquariums that you could see on multiple levels as you could go a floor lower and walk around them all. Lots of sciencey stuff to look at. A huge wall of ~400 sea lion skulls that included a few imposters (sheep, lion, others) that you were supposed to pick out. The garden had a smelly area and we found one plant that was pineapple-lemon and that blew our mind. I could fully understand how someone could get lost in there as it turned dark as all the paths became very maze like when it got darker.
Monday, I went to work but still escaped for lunch with J. Andrew came with and we had some Japanese sammiches and we talked about random topics for a while. It very much made mine and Andrew’s morning better as work was doing of excellent job of angering us. Philz coffee was finally able to deliver an excellent coffee experience for J as I went back to work. My previous attempt at exposing her to Blue Bottle didn’t work as well as I hoped. Both are supremely excellent coffee. She just isn’t aware how completely wrong she is about BB being ‘just ok’. Our group dinner was supposed to be on Wednesday but was changed to Monday in the afternoon which I felt kinda weird about as I had a +1 that I didn’t want to ditch but also she was going to be the only non-employee there. I got over it quick enough. We had Chinese for dinner at a place called Fang and it was super excellent. It’s a place where you tell them about any dietary restrictions and what you may or may not want and they just start bringing you food. It’s my favorite type of dining experience where I know it won’t kill me and I’ll have things that I may not otherwise seek out. They make the things they are good at and I eat them. So good.
Tuesday, I took J on a short train trip and walk to get down to a bakery when it opened down in the Mission. She was nervous about operating the train to get to the airport and the flight home, so the croissant wasn’t as amazing as it could have been (but it was just as good as I remember). But, she got on the train and then started getting messages about a delayed flight. My day continued normally, but hers continued to suck. The flight out of SF was delayed to the point where she wouldn’t make her Chicago connection. There was a later flight in Chicago so she just took that which would have gotten her home at midnight instead of 9pm. Except it didn’t, as they had to land in Charlotte due to RDU fog. The flight crew was at the end of the shift so it couldn’t keep going even if the weather cleared. In the end, she was able to get a flight to actual home at 7:40 so she didn’t miss her conference, but also slept poorly in an airport terminal. Yes, I felt guilty that I could shower and have a bed.
The rest of the week was uneventful. I’m sitting in a plane, typa-tapping out all this drivel waiting to get home.
Oh wait. I missed Sunday didn’t I? I didn’t yell Geronimo, not that one could hear it anyway. 5 of us went jumping out of a perfectly fine airplane and J was along to document our fight against death. I reacted predictably by not being super pumped. I wasn’t particularly nervous nor excited. I exuded a ‘well this is happening’ from the stills that got captured on the plane ride up and maybe I’ll have those at some point. I think it was fun. It’s not something I would go do again on my own but if there was a group of people that wanted to, I’d do it again.
About the experience itself, we drove an hour east of SF to a very small airport and we jumped in groups of 3 and 2. I was the last one in the plane and so also the first one out. Andrew and Sumit (sue-mitt) got the full experience of me being in the plane, lined up against the door, and then just disappearing. Sucked out the plane into free fall. It wasn’t scary. I only felt real acceleration for a few seconds because once you hit terminal velocity, its like laying on a big cushion of air. The ‘chute popped at 5,000 ft after our 60 seconds of free fall and we dangled until finally dropping onto the ground. The parachute part was painful as the harness grabbed a loop of my jeans or something and pinched some thigh skin. Otherwise, no other issues. In terms of adrenaline rush, I’ll rate it a 5, it’s basically a free form roller coaster. I’ve had more exciting times on the motorcycle and that’s equipment I already have.
So there you have it. I’ve taken airplane steps an odd number of times. Flight lands in 1.5 hours. I’ll except some exasperated text messages.
10 days following the traumatic wallet event of August 14th, the lost articles have all been re-assembled. I wanted to celebrate by driving somewhere as my drivers license was the final item to be replaced, but, instead I sit at home, drinking beer, crafting a blog entry.
It was very interesting timing for all of this to go down. And by interesting, I guess I mean, the one thing that I didn’t think about to replace immediately (insurance card), a new one arrived in the mail a few days ago. Open enrollment for insurance happened last month and they sent me a new card to reflect whatever changes they decided on for the renewal.
The only thing left is to wear in the new wallet a little bit and imprint some butt curvature. Given that I’ve started to put my wallet in the front pocket, that might take some intensive grinding to resolve that.
I also learned to tie my shoes.
How come no one taught me this way instead?