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Boring 2008 Triplog 1

Travel details likely not interesting, despite some slight embellishments:I indeed have 2 laptops and a drawing tablet here.

Finished packing, hoping they don't expect me to wear business-casual clothes here (I don't like the low-rewearability and high-stain-and-wrinkle-tendency of button-up shirts). Computer bag is fairly heavy, but not at its heaviest (heaviest this bag has seen was one laptop and several law books that I was mailing out). Bussed to CMU (was going to go to India Garden, but I saw the 28X waiting there and decided that I like having lots of time at the airport, so I skipped what would've been a pleasant meal). Bus ride was quicker than I remembered (did they simplify the route?), reached airport, "lost" cellphone, found cellphone by calling it from expensive payphone (put it in my backpack and forgot about that pocket), went through abandoned sovietesque part of airport to alternative security checkpoint, took ludicrous number of bins for 2 laptops, drawing tablet, hat and shoes, coat, etc etc, was last in line before soviet security checkpoint closed, was told by yet another person that they like my hat, took train to gate, had a rather good wrap from Quiznos combined with terrible queso dip, reached gate, fell asleep, woke up to board plane number one.

The plane was small, and they were asking lots of people to check larger bags. The lady doing this looked at my bag and tried to get my attention, but because of my delicate computerstuffs inside, I was deadset against checking my laptop bag and so I deliberately and somewhat ridiculously avoided letting her get eye contact so she could talk to me, and eventually she was distracted by someone else and I boarded. I played Disgaea on my DS for a bit, but started to feel a migraine floating around my head, so I went to sleep. I woke up most of the way through the flight when a baby nearby started to cry, and because that's an evil combination with migraines I used my "Charm Baby" skill to make it happy so my head would not explode.

The Minneapolis/StPaul airport is not particularly exciting - it's bigger than Pittsburgh's and has a nice tram, but has no particularly appealing-looking food places (I'm not sure if CMU will reimburse me for today's meals anyhow). I lugged my stuff over to the next gate, played Disgaea for a bit again until the migraine got pretty bad, so I went to sleep until the plane arrived. They were doing this irritating "red carpet" thing for the schmucks who pay extra money, being sure everyone else walks the longer way around - was tempted to unleash a socialist rage attack, or at least to spit on the carpet, or at least to say something snide, but I'm too polite and reserved for any of that (to say nothing of migraine). I was further irritated that Northwest (and airlines in general) provides fairly lousy, nickel-and-dime service - when I was younger, I remember included meals on most flights, with generous pretzels and similar for those not remotely near a mealtime (they were not strict, and sometimes I got multiple meals when I flew near lunchtime. Both flights here were very unclassy, offering small bags of pretzels for $5 apiece. I slept through most of flight number 2 as well, trying to dodge the migraine-with-hot-and-cold-chills. I woke up as the plane was landing, migraine gone (the usual pleasantly-warm-eyeballs and depression-lifted-for-a-day-or-so effects there too) and in California's pretty-ok city of SF.

I decided to go by flying broom instead of car, so after I got clear of the airport I slipped a few realities over and went to the broom rental place. I normally like doing my own enchantment, so I went with Jeke's. I probably should've got a locator gem, but hindsight is 20-20 - fortunately, ensorcelling a broom is like riding a bike, and after a few minutes I was in the air (not too far up - the rental company didn't want this particular broom more than 100 feet off the ground). It turns out that in this reality, Palo Alto roughly corrisponds to a town called Wavefront - after a few wrong turns, I eventually made it to what looked like my hotel's analogue (I passed a flying carneval on the way - wanted to stop but it was much higher than this broom was designed to go, and I was tired anyhow). I almost checked in at the analogue of the hotel, but was reminded not to by the instructions to leave brooms outside. Another reality hop and I was at Dinah's Garden Hotel, which is surprisingly nice for a no-name place, nicer than a lot of reasonably expensive hotels I've stayed at. Leather couch, spacious interiour, a pretty heavy garden theme, and a nice big heater to make my room warm. The travel agency screwed up my reservation a bit (starting it tomorrow rather than today), but they had space anyhow. The broom fits nicely in a closet (I just hope the housekeepers don't take it - I don't want to ensorcel a completely mundane broom for the rest of the trip nor pay the replacement fee at Jeke's (getting the currency for the rental already involves things I don't like).

Hotel has free, wired ethernet. That's probably for the best. Hopefully the migraine will mostly stay away while I'm here, and I'll have time to see more of the city than the inside of HP's headquarters. Tomorrow's meetings are epic (over 11 hours of meeting... gaaaah).


Checking the agenda, the conference doesn't start until Tuesday, actually. Wow, that sucks. I really need to talk to CMU's travel agent. Hopefully I can figure out something to do tomorrow/today. Having a car helps. I wish I knew someone here though. I think the last time I was in SF I was with my dad after one of the O'Reilly OpenSource/Perl conferences.


heehee. Was that paragraph there just to check who read it all? :-)
More a detail of what I was imagining while driving to avoid boredom, combined with a slight hope to spice things up a bit.
Wait, you're in San Francisco (or the Bay area with a car), hoping that you'll have time to see more of the city than the inside of HP, and you think it sucks that you're there an extra day? I'd love to have to free day in SF!

Too bad you missed the carnival; I've heard it's a great time.

BTW, you do know someone in SF -- stega -- but I'm not sure she counts. :-)
I can't say that I recognise her - did I know her well?

I guess I wish I had had time to plan today rather than have it sprung on me (and also I feel a bit guilty for my cats, being here an unneccesary day). Ahh well, I'm sure I'll figure something out, and likely hit some Indian Restaurants for which I wouldn't have time otherwise.
If I remember correctly, you worked for her before you worked for me.
Hmm. This isn't Linda, is it? She looks younger than that, so probably not... Or perhaps it's Laura, who was more a senior person in the same place (that I very vaguely remember being a bit difficult) rather than someone I worked for.. wow, those memories are mostly absent now. Maybe I'll drop her a line anyhow and see if she knows of good places to get Indian food around here......
Laura; definitely not Linda. I never did entirely understand the hierarchy over there.

I remember getting a really good meal at an Indian place there, but I couldn't even begin to tell you where it was or what it was called.
I remember being hired in an interview with Linda and ... a second-level support guy whose name I can't remember anymore (clean-cut, pretty knowledgable). I'm not sure how the hierarchy worked, but at least at the time nobody ever suggested Laura was my boss nor was her role ever made clear to me - perhaps I did her a misservice in my irritation at her bossing others around if she actually was in charge in some meaningful way - I always assumed that Linda was the boss of it all.

Complementary breakfast from only the hours of 5 to 7 is a weird misfeature in a hotel. It's almost as if they want to say they have complementary breakfast but never have to serve anyone... almost :)
Now that I think about it, Linda had a cohort at (or maybe slightly below) her level (and age)... Dave Brickner I think. I'm pretty sure Laura was under them, and also had a cohort at her level and age, Dave Miller. I'm also pretty sure they were all above you. ;-)

Business people get up early on the west coast when they need to catch up with what's been happening in the east.
There's higher-up-but-outside-the-chain, and higher-up-inside-the-chain -- unless it's clear to me that someone has job-type-authority over me, I generally assume they don't, even if they do have a higher positon (in a much more exaggerated form, the Dean of the School of Music at CMU is certainly higher than me, but wouldn't have the ability to tell me to do anything except as relates to specific resources (s)he manages).

I had forgotten Dave Miller, although I vaguely remember him now. I think the other person in my initial interview at the UTS-TSC was another guy who did not have a cohort - he worked in the office at one of the other corners of the office and was entirely technical - I don't think he managed anyone.

The org chart would've been handy - I don't think I ever saw one.
And this is where my knowledge of the organization over there falls down. Apparently yours too. :-)

I bet it was Kevin Balogh in your interview. Or another guy whose name I forget.
Ahh, yeah, it was Kevin. I couldn't remember his name.

Your memory for these names and faces is certainly better than mine (I guess socialising with some of them outside of work more probably helped).
Yeah, it definitely helped that I hung out with some of them outside of work. And I hung out with some of them even before then; Balogh had lived down the hall from me in the dorm my freshman year, and later was in my circle of friends because of who his roommate was dating. The other Kevin has been a close friend since freshman year. I met Laura when we were both student employees; she was at the predecessor to the TSC and I was at Magnus/Homenet support, and we ended up hanging out quite a bit outside of work (and now we still keep in touch a bit). Oh, and I also went to lunch with a lot of the other fulltimers; just working on the fourth floor for four years helped a lot in remembering people.

But there are also plenty of former TSC student employees who I knew then but don't really remember now. Sometimes they turn up these days, remembering me, and I'm stuck.

Strangely, now I can't even remember when I first met you.....
I don't have any memory of that either, although I would guess that it was either through Linda and then Bob, or perhaps I might've been talking about running Minix or Linux on one of my systems and someone suggested I head over and introduce myself to you or Bob.

I still miss that old SGI Indy.. I've picked up a few now and then from people getting rid of them, over the years..
SF is probably one of the better cities to get stuck with an extra day in..

one thing i always remember about San Francisco, silly as it sounds, is the salted caramel ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery. hit up google for directions, if you fancy a frozen treat :)
Hmm. I'll check it out. Salt and ice cream arn't an obvious mix, but the potential novelty is interesting.
Mmm, sounds like the kind of thing we can get at the awesome Jeni's Ice Cream in Columbus.