Friday, June 22, 2007

oh, i forgot to write about the people

i may indeed be autistic. :)

the people are nice. i usually have meals either with my team and their friends and/or with these 2 other interns, gregory and luke, who are also into programming languages. we sometimes talk about our programming languages club (which doesn't exist).

in general the people are quite interesting. everyone is laid back (most people wear free t-shirts to work every day), not pretentious, and smart/curious without being annoying about it. at meals we'll talk about a wide variety of things: sports, random engineering projects (potato guns, etc.), how things work, why things work, life, liberty, etc.

a story: google had switched over to biodegradable silverware and people were complaining about it one day, and someone said that her friend claimed that his biodegradable spoon had dissolved while he'd been stirring coffee. to see whether or not this fact was true, someone else put a spoon in hot water. the spoon got more bendy but did not dissolve. this cup of water + spoon ended up on my desk, and while looking at it one day i started wondering whether or not it the acidity of coffee may have contributed to dissolving the spoon. after some deliberation and procrastination we tried to confirm this by soaking biodegradable utensils in coca-cola (pH of high 2's or low 3's. 3 days later they still had not shown signs of physical deterioration. unfortunately we were never clever enough to try hot coffee itself.

another story: this one guy at work is known for doing the pepsi-coke challenge. people had talked about it and i figured he just gave people cups of the stuff and asked them to taste. what i discovered is that he is quite intense about this, labeling 20+ cups (i want to say 24 because it is divisible by 2 and 3...) with the letters of the alphabet and pours coke into half and pepsi into half, marking down which he put into which. he then gives participants 3 cups, 1 of which is different, and has them say which one. when i did it i did it wrong b/c i went back and retasted but i still got it wrong. :( 2/3 of us go it correct, though.

that is all for now.

reporting from the second day of summer

it's been a while since my last post, so i'll start with the immediate facts of my life and work my way outward into the past and future, zooming out on the level of detail as i go. i am currently sitting in my new apartment (where i'll be staying until the end of the summer). it is dark except for the kitchen light and the light at the table where i am sitting and the windows/balcony door are open. this is my favorite time of year because i have a lot of summer left... i wonder if i'd have such enthusiasm for good weather if i lived somewhere with no winter. the weather (and good food) are two of the few things about which i still have strong feelings--i certainly want to still be able to be excited about some things.

anyway, life is pretty good. i came out to california june 3 and spent a week training at the googleplex in mountain view. when we weren't in training sessions we were let loose to explore the campus and code base. we also had access to the cafes, which are shockingly good. (i'd read about how the food is gourmet and even seen pictures of it, but i didn't realize how heavenly a place could really be until i experienced it for myself...) please see my facebook album for a picture of one of my lunches. :)

the following week i came down to santa monica, and it has been amazing. the weather is PERFECT (albeit a little cool, but if it were too perfect I'd be spoiled) and it is so pretty. now i will proceed to take you, my loyal reader, through a day in my life.

[BEGIN SECTION WITH MANY DETAILS. SKIP IF SO INCLINED. i include many details for emphasizing how amusing i find my routines--and my obsession with food.]
first, a typical weekday. i set my alarm for 6:20 and have thus far been pretty good about getting up around then. i check my e-mail (note how I no longer need to check the weather!), get dressed and go for a run along the beach. (i alternate between going left and going right every day.) i return sometime before 8, shower, eat an orange or some other piece of available fruit, and then walk to work. the walk is about 30 minutes. though i often encounter many allergens on the walk to and from work, it is very nice. anyway. upon arriving at work i obtain a bowl of cereal (i've narrowed down my choices to rotating between 3 kinds of kashi healthy-tasting stuff) and fill it with reduced fact milk (which, i've discovered, is a very nice compromise between whole and skim) while i make a cup of coffee. as for my coffee choices, i rotate between 5 of the 6 kinds of coffee. i decline to try the 6th because the name is too generic. (if you'd like to know, i put 1 thing of cream and 2 cups of sugar in my coffee.) after i obtain these food items i go to my desk and begin working. this lasts until 12ish when we all go up to the 3rd floor. every day i make myself a sandwich, usually on whole wheat bread, always with salami and often including various kinds of (sometimes spiced) pastrami. i switch between various cheeses but always include tomatoes, lettuce, and pickles (but on the side). 98% of the time i toast my sandwich. i'll finish off lunch (which i eat outside, often with gregory and luke) with fruit, and then i will really finish it with fruit on the bottom yogurt, which i'll eat at my desk. at 4 i take a break to eat yogurt and then at 7 i eat dinner. (tuesdays are sushi; wednesdays are indian.) i go home within an hour or so of finishing dinner, and then i will go on the internet or read or watch tv until bed.

now, as for the work itself, i'm working on video search--in particular, search quality. as for what i actually do, i sit at my desk all day and keep pretty much to myself. the people around me talk a lot, though, so it's a really fun atmosphere. people will pair program things, which is really cute. i like work a lot because people have a good time but work hard--they'll stay at work for what i initially thought was ridiculously long times, but they'll enjoy it. i enjoy going to work, being there, etc.

as for the weekends... i haven't had many weekends here, but the first one i spent w/ many parents. i stayed w/ thomas and the carrieros for a day, and then the next day i had dinner with justin moe and his parents. the weekend afterward i spent friday hanging out w/ people from work, saturday hanging out w/ interns at the beach, and sunday going to dim sum. (dim sum did indeed take up the better part of a day...)

in conveying so many details i've exhausted my desire to write, and probably your desire to read as well. talk to you soon, friend.