Week of 7 February, 2010
Sunday, February 7
The Moscow Underground – An Outward Glance — A collection of photographs provide a “behind the scenes” look at the Moscow subway system. I call it “train porn.”
I attended Tom’s Superbowl party. I ate and drank a lot, and socialized a fair amount. I also ran into an old Tellme colleague who, as it turns out, is from the same home town as Mei. It was also cool when that one guy in the tight shiny gold pants caught the ball and weaved his way through the guys in blue and made it to the far end of the field. Also, it was nice that New Orleans found a reason to party, while residents of Indianapolis can stay indoors, their huddled masses yearning to be warm.
Monday, February 8
Human Biological Clock
I ran up to Manhattan to fetch my new work laptop from the local sales office. I hung out a little while to configure Windows on the corporate network, noted that the display is of a lower specification than my regular laptop, and brought it home to keep around as a backup unit, in case my beloved regular laptop should fail.
I made dinner: scrambled eggs with cherry tomatoes and frozen veggies, dropped Mei off at work for her last night shift of the week, did the laundry, and folded it while watching the prison-based British Romantic Comedy, Greenfingers. Not a bad day.
Tuesday, February 9
In the afternoon I was notified that my Wednesday flight was cancelled, presumably due to weather. I was able to get on a non-cancelled flight four hours later, in an exit row.
Wednesday, February 10
Mei was wary of driving me to the airport in the snow, and wiped out from an early day at the hospital, so I hopped the train out to JFK, where most flights had been cancelled, so it was kind of a ghost town, and I had the place to myself. It reminded me of catching a night flight out of Queen Alia Airport in Jordan. It was nice to see the plane was waiting for us, even if it was covered in snow. We waited on the plane for 2.5 hours as the de-iced, and the captain apologized that it took a long time because the plane had been sitting out, in the blizzard, overnight. There were further complications plowing the taxiway and finding appropriate ground equipment that could tow us out in the snow. Finally, we were ready to take off, except one of the sensors was frozen, so we headed back for further de-icing. We took to the air three hours late, and landed in Las Vegas 1.5 hours late, and really we were all impressed and grateful that the plane left the ground at all in the weather, and got us to the other side of the country safely. After we touched down in the desert, an uncharacteristic applause rippled among the passengers, although not quite the confidently routine applause delivered by passengers on Royal Jordanian.
Thursday, February 11
Rob picked me up at McCarran International around 0100 and drove West into the California desert. We hadn’t seen each other in a good long while, and we caught up on each other’s lives, and work considerations. Given my delay, he had had plenty of time to nap. I had caught some sleep in my comfortable exit row seat myself, but I caught some more sleep in his passenger seat and although the whole point of my flying to Vegas was to share the driving, he powered through the whole way, noting that Red Bull brought his attention back along the way.
We arrived in Mountain View with an hour to spare, and camped out at Dana Street Roasting Company, my-favorite-cafe-ever, then walked down to the team lunch scheduled at Amici’s as a going away party for my manager. (Thus my reason for flying to California.) There was a huge turnout and it was great to see every one. Since I had served large parties in a pizza restaurant before I took a little initiative to order several large parties on the behalf of our table.
Afterwards I rode back to see the new office our team had moved to. It wasn’t as bad as I had pictured. At least the cubicles aren’t gray and the light rail stops right next to the building, so if I return to the Bay Area and find housing near the light rail, I could be content. I spent the afternoon catching up with coworkers, then rode the light rail back to Mountain View to have dinner with college friends.
I shacked up with another friend, Todd, in Sunnyvale. Todd recently moved to Utah, but he was able to host me at his friend’s house in Sunnyvale, as he happens to be visiting his own corporate headquarters this week as well. He said that he likes Utah, in part because on Sunday he gets the place to himself. He’ll ride the light rail into Salt Lake City and exchange knowing glances with the other non-Mormons, taking advantage of the Sabbath to shop without crowds.
Friday, February 12
Todd dropped me at the office where I spent the bulk of the day in “face time” with coworkers. We wandered to a nearby building where we were invited to an afternoon party, which featured cupcakes and karaoke. At the end of the day many of us headed up to a separate party where we spent many hours eating, drinking and I even smoked a cigar. The best part was just the opportunity to hang out with several of my coworkers, and meet some family members, since many of the people on my team really dig each other, more so than some other places that I have worked.
I saw a lot of my favorite friends this weekend. This trip was well worth it.
During the evening party, I received a notification that my 9am flight had been cancelled. I borrowed the host’s terminal and landed a window seat on soon-to-be-completely-full 6:15am flight.
Saturday, February 13
Around 3am, the party was breaking up, and I was dropped off at the airport. I caught some sleep among the others dozing in the arrival and check-in area. At 3:45am the automated kiosks began processing check-ins and at 4:00am the TSA began to allow us through the metal detectors. The flight ran a little late as they dealt with the overbooking situation. I wedged myself into the over-the-wing window seat, and managed to sleep a fair amount, making sure to stay awake when the flight attendants passed so I could have some water to moisten my parched throat.
Mei picked me up at the airport, drove me home, and let me nap after my shower. She had wanted to cook for me but come evening, she took me to Katz’s famous delicatessen on the lower East Side. I hadn’t especially wanted to even get out of bed but Katz’s sure hit the spot. I had a few bites of Mei’s kugel, which was a perfect fried food, then I ate my own matzo ball soup, half a corned beef sandwich, cream soda, and on impulse, asked the waiter for steak fries that came in a huge delicious pile on a little plate. “You ate like three potatoes.”
We slept well that night.