Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A little bit of irony and a whole bunch of crazy

     So after failing to accomplish anything on Saturday, I set out to make up for lost time on Sunday. I followed up on the craigslist ad for 1988 lifted Jeep Cherokee and went to Redwood City in the morning to take a look at the car. I have to admit, it's not the best car in the world. But it has one hell of a personality, and I kinda fell in love with it on sight.
How could you not, right? If the mildly dented exterior of a former rock-crawler isn't enough to sell you, try on the zebra-print interior accents.
Pretty snazzy, huh?

     So Jason drove me out to yet another San Fransisco suburb to this garage sale, and I began investigating the car. As much character as the car has, it does have some non-ideal things about it. For starters, the sway bars are in the trunk, which is not where they're supposed to be. They should be visible here:
... Yea, they're not there.

Ok. So I can't corner too quickly, unless I want to find myself on three wheels. Luckily, I wasn't planning on being too aggressive in the corners anyway. At the very least, I have the swaybars, so I will be able to reattach them if necessary. The truth is, they do slightly reduce the off road capability of the thing, which is 90% of the fun of owning a Jeep.

     Apart from that minor issue, the body work has a few nicks in it, but for the most part, it's in pretty good condition for something that has spent a good portion of its 206,000 miles and 23 years away from conventional roads. The rear floodlights (and quite possibly the front floodlights as well) are not hooked up, but that's an easy job, and they're only necessary for off-roading and high-beaming the a-hole behind me (as Lou would do). The interior is a bit utilitarian, but that's exactly what I want. Perfect for getting covered in mud. Just pop off the zebra-print seat covers and throw them in the washing machine. The exposed wiring is a little questionable, but it just makes it easier to work on.

     So the owner (a woman in her mid twenties, if I had to guess) offered to give me a drive around the block to see how she ran. I went to get in the passenger seat, but the door was locked. So she tried to unlock it. No luck. We tried again. No luck. Her boyfriend (his buddy used to own the car) came over and wrestled with the lock a bit. No luck. You can see a pattern forming here. Eventually, we wrestled it open. I'm pretty sure it just needs some WD-40. So the passenger door doesn't unlock, and it also appears that the trunk doesn't lock... I'll put that on top of my list of things to fix.

     We took it around the block, and she seemed to run fine. Upon returning, I told the woman and her boyfriend that I was sold. When it came to the topic of price, the boyfriend and I didn't really know where to go. The woman asked, "Has either one of you ever sold or bought a car before?"
"Aw, this is adorable! I'm just going to stand over here and let you two figure it out"
Not much negotiating was done. Unfortunately, I feel like I'm overpaying a bit. However, they do have another Jeep coming soon that is busted but can be salvaged for parts, which they'll let me have access to for free. And apparently the boyfriend's mother works for NAPA, so they have agreed to get me discounts from them. Even still, it seems a bit high. I've got my copy of the blue book estimated cost, and we'll see if I can talk them down. Worst comes to worst, if I can't talk them down, it's still less that I was planning on spending on a car. Having the ability to go off-road over the weekends will certainly make this summer more exciting, and the cost of fun is probably equivalent to whatever extra amount I pay.

     So that was it. The car was mine, as soon as I could pay for it (damn you, local banks). The woman ran off to get her paperwork while her boyfriend manned the garage sale and Jason and I sat in his car listening to the Red Sox game. Upon returning, we signed some things and made some copies, and at one point, I showed them my license. The woman exclaimed, "O wow! I've never seen a New Jersey drivers license before! It's so cool! Mom, I need to get my Polish drivers license"
"Wait, you're polish? Me too!"
Heh, fancy that. I'm buying a Jeep from a fellow Pole. Her mother and grandmother were there, and we exchanged some words in Polish (mine was rather broken and slightly embarrassing), but suddenly, everyone seemed to trust each other a lot more. It was a pleasant little coincidence.

     I left with a copy of the title and a signed agreement, stating that the car would not disappear on me (like that 190E I was hoping to buy, but was sold right out from under me). On the way back, Jason and I passed a little reminder of home:
Unfortunately, that's a bluer sky than the real Mass. Ave ever sees.

     Now that I think about it, it's a bit ironic that I'm buying a lifted Jeep, seeing as I'm working on zero-emissions cars. As Nick so accurately put it, now that I 'have' a lifted Jeep, I'm going to have to get a lowered Prius to make up for it. I'm not sure if I really want to drive this thing to work every day. Among other things, I'm not sure if the spots are wide enough to park it. Tesla has increased the number of employees and therefore the number of parking spots. However, the parking lot has not changed in size, so the parking spots have just gotten narrower. There seems to be a fundamental problem with this approach. I'm sure they'll realize it soon enough.

     After the whole car bit and a tasty burrito for lunch, I decided to head to San Fransisco for the remainder of the day. This is where the "whole bunch of crazy" mentioned above comes into play. However, it's late, I have work in the morning, and I'm not really in the mood to keep typing at this point, so I'll have to recount my odd experience in SF tomorrow, at which point, I will hopefully be in the possession of a "brand-new" 1988 Jeeeep Cherokee.

     I'm thinking "The Chief" is a good name.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Like my dad always says: it's better to be lucky than smart.

     I don't think it's entirely fair to claim that this week has been unlucky. It's mostly just been my forgetfulness and poor planning. Between missing shuttles and trains, losing my checking card, and forgetting paperwork, it really just comes down to the fact that I don't look things up far enough ahead of time and that I forgot to put my card back in my wallet immediately, for the first time in three years. This stuff happens. However, this afternoon certainly had an aspect of bad luck about it.

     I woke up rather late, seeing as I had nothing I really had to do. I finished off that massive blog entry below (finally), then got my stuff together and went off to the bank. The plan was to go to the bank and get a lot of cash so that I could buy a car tomorrow, and then go to San Fransisco for the day. None of that happened.

     This buying a car thing is currently my number one priority, outside of my job. This state is impossible without one (and quite possibly with one, but I digress). I found an amazing deal on craigslist, but it was a ways away (Concord, about an hours drive north of here), so I couldn't get around to it until the weekend. It was a 1993 Mercedes 190E 2.6 liter with 182,000 miles on it, for $2300. The pictures made it out to be in great shape, and according to the kelly blue book, that car with that mileage in excellent condition is worth $2250. Everything seemed fine. I found the ad on Wednesday night and called the guy on Thursday afternoon. After talking to him for a bit, I learned that the only noticeable issue with the car was an occasional smell when the AC came on. He was looking to sell it because he had a family and the car was too small. He was only the second owner, and the previous one had been a well-off businessman who drove it to and from work, and that's about it. The car had been in California its whole life, so it had never seen real weather. It seemed perfect. After researching the car some more, I learned that they typically last for 300k miles, and that even Mercedes thought it was one of their most over-engineered cars. I have to admit, I kinda fell in love with this car before even seeing it. I was already starting to imagine myself driving to work in a Mercedes every day.

     So I set off to downtown Mountain View today to get some cash. I wanted to write myself a check and cash it at the local Bank of America. Now, I don't actually have a Bank of America account. I have an account with a local bank from New Jersey that only exists in about three counties. Not sure why this seemed like a good idea, when I knew I was going to be going off to study in not-one-of-those-three-counties. So I got to the bank after a half-hour walk, about fifteen minutes before they closed. I got to the counter and asked them if they could cash my check. They asked me for my debit card, I told them I lost it, and they had to look up my social security number. So I told them.

"I'm sorry, nothing seems to be coming up.."

Hmmm... well, I certainly exist and that's definitely my SS number. That's odd.

"Uh... What?"
"Do you have a Bank of America account?"
"O, well then we can't cash this check."
"Seriously? I was under the impression that I could go to any bank with a check and cash it, and if it isn't my own, you'd just charge me a fee."
"No sir, you need to go to your bank and do this"
"But my bank is on the other coast!"

.. Well, now I felt dumb. So, defeated, I voided the check, tore it up, and left the bank. Unsure of how to handle the payment issue, I called the guy who I was going to buy this car from. After letting the phone ring for a while, he finally picked up.. and told me that he had sold the car to his aunt. I was not thrilled. In fact, I'm still angry. So, at this point, my trip into San Fransisco was the only thing I had to look forward to for the rest of the day. However, I was hungry and didn't want to wait until I got into the city to get some food. Being in downtown Mountain View, it seemed convenient to find a place to eat.

     I wandered around on Castro Street for a while, doubling back a few times. On my way to the bank, I had noticed some Greenpeace people heckling others on a corner. Only in California, right? I had ignored them the first time, with my headphones on to drown them out. The second time, though, I had my headphones off and they stopped me. I let it happen, to be honest. After all the crazies on campus, and around NYC and Boston, I've gotten pretty good at giving the cold-shoulder. But I was in no rush, and I was curious how they would approach me. So, I was stopped by a girl named Soul. She had neon blue eye make-up on, a nose piercing, and I'm pretty sure she was wearing colored contacts, because I've never seen eyes that blue. She immediately got into the pitch, and was very good at it. She was actually quite convincing. However, I wasn't buying it, because frankly, I can't stand organizations that are all about "giving the people more power" and "giving everyone a voice". That may work in other countries, but I often feel that Americans are too dumb to handle having their own voice, and it'd be better if they just kept quiet. Case in point: Greenpeace is very anti-nuclear. As an engineer, I realize that nuclear can be very safe and well executed, and I frankly think that more nuclear is a good thing. However, by giving people who associate the word nuclear with bombs and radiation poisoning a voice, we're prevented from having a very good solution to the energy problem.

     Soul tried very hard to convince me. I agreed with her on a number of points, and I do think that a strong effort needs to be made to take environmentally friendly measures. I even brought up the point that I work for Tesla and am very interested in the field of clean energy and transportation. However, I was very obviously not interested in signing up for her mailing list and donating on a monthly basis. I said "no thank you," but that was not enough. After heckling me some more, she pulled the best line I've heard this week.

"I won't back down, because if I back down to you, then I back down to the corporations!"

Really? You think that? This is why everyone thinks you're a bunch of dumb hippies and doesn't take you seriously. First off, the "corporations" that you speak of aren't autonomous monsters that are out to destroy our planet. They're all groups of people, just like you and me, and they aren't out to do intentionally harmful things to the planet. Nobody is out to destroy the planet intentionally. In fact, a lot of corporations are taking initiatives on their own to be "greener". I can't even begin to put into words how angry this made me. But I kept a level head, said no for the fifth time, and walked away. Instead of taking the "O, I agree with you and do green things" approach, I should have just told her "screw renewable energy, I love burning gasoline." Lesson learned.

     After this, I finally found some food. It was a pretty meh chinese place, but they gave me a lot of food (likely laden with lots of MSG) and I ate all of it. I walked home to check the Caltrain schedule and get my sweatshirt, as I anticipated it would be fairly cold in San Fransisco. I got home and noticed I had a fair amount of time until the next train. I wound up laying down, at which point the food-come kicked in quickly and I fell asleep for about three and a half hours. I woke up and decided San Fransisco wasn't happening.

     At this point, Jason had returned home from cherry-picking, and we decided to go get some dinner. He had to do some furniture shopping, so we'd knock out a few birds with one stone. We decided to go to Santana Row to accomplish this task. Incidentally, Tesla just opened a store at Santana Row, so we thought we'd check that out too. We arrived, stopping by the Tesla store first. It turns out it's not very interesting to go to the showroom when you work for the company. What they show you isn't very new or exciting, and even though their new head of marketing is Apple's old head of marketing (and thus the Tesla store is more like an Apple store than a dealership), it's still just standing around looking at a car that I see about twenty of every day.

    After a stop off at Macy's, Jason and I wandered around Santana Row, looking for some food. After crossing paths with some Porsche's and a Lamborghini, and some careful maneuvering through crowds of women in cocktail dresses and men in shirts and ties, we decided that we were too poor to eat at Santana row and went elsewhere for food. This involved a lot of driving, as we found out that everything in the area closes at 9:30 on Saturdays. Great. It's just like Boston, but instead of walking around the corner to find another option, you have to drive for 10 minutes.

     This brings me back to the point of a car. I've found another potential option. It's a 1988 lifted Jeep Cherokee. More specifically, it's this one. It's certainly no Mercedes, but it's $500 cheaper, and the entertainment off-roading will provide cannot have a price put on it. A lot of my friends in Jersey are into Jeepin', as we like to call it, and this will be a fun way to get back into that. It's certainly a bit ironic, seeing as I work on zero-emission vehicles, but hey, I might as well have fun while I can. And from a financial point of view, I'd have to drive 6700 miles before the Jeep would be more expensive than the Mercedes. I'm checking it out in the morning. Who knows? Maybe I'll be the one running over trees by this time next week.

     And maybe I'll try to go into the city tomorrow. Best laid plans of mice and men, right?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

From Logan to San Jose to Tesla, and then some

     So everyone's been doing this blog thing lately. I've been considering it for quite some time now, but I'm always too lazy or too busy to do so. Usually some combination of the two, to be honest. But summer has started and for the first time I can really think of, I have things to write about and time to write about them. Or so I think. You may decide otherwise. In which case, I invite you to read something more interesting.. Like a blog about food or something.

     In any case, I suppose a brief review is in order for you folks from Jersey who might be reading this and haven't heard from me in a year. Junior year at MIT is finally over with, and having spent the last semester perpetually pissed off with the gratuitous amount of busy work my classes were giving me, along with a few of my hall mates, I was kinda anxious to really get away from the 'tvte for the first time since I got there almost three years ago. Luckily, I'm working for Tesla this summer. Unfortunately, that means I'm in California.

     I have firmly sworn to myself that I will not become one of those crazy California lovers who swears that California is the best place in the world. That said, it's certainly not the worst place in the world. I suppose my views on this place will become more apparent as I go. So I'll do just that. Go.

     To be fair, I've been trying to make this post since Monday night. So I've got a bit of a backlog. All of last week, I was attempting to finish up my UROP with the Bioinstrumentation lab, and wound up working about 35 hours on it, along with studying for and taking a final, plus worrying about the rest of my life. I didn't really start packing my room up until Friday afternoon. My flight was Saturday at 4:40 pm. Clearly not a lot of foresight or planning going on here. So, with the help (more specifically, management) of Marie, I spent the next 24 hours packing up the room I've been living in for two years, as well as everything I 'need' in California. After renting a uhaul van to get my large boxes of computer parts and thermofluids notes (about equal in both volume and weight to one another) to the UPS store, and getting a final reminder of why driving in Boston on a Saturday afternoon sucks, I went off to the airport to catch my flight.

     Being a poor college student and all, I got the cheapest flight to San Jose that I could. Which meant flying from Logan to Houston to San Jose. A total of about 10 hours of travel. Joy. At the airport, I saw about four other MIT students whom I recognized. One of them was a friend I had made during my visit to the 'tvte for CPW. I hadn't talked to her much since, but she was on my flight. This was just the first of many events which would make this world seem too goddamn small.

     Anyway, Logan to Houston was pretty great. If you're not aware, I love flying. I was obsessed with airplanes as a kid (despite my fears that one would come crashing through my bedroom window late at night), and the first time I was ever actually in a plane, I was flying it. That, in addition to being an engineer, leads me to believe that I had the best seat in the house on the first leg of my journey: window seat with a perfect view of the engine and the ground below. I felt like a little kid on a roller coaster, waiting to get launched into the air. Despite it being the first gorgeous day in weeks, Logan had a thick layer of fog covering it. So when we took off, I could see the streamlines over the engine and wing illustrated quite well by the thick air. I wish I had a picture. Needless to say, we punched through the fog fairly quickly and went on our merry way. Out of my window, I got my first birds-eye view of MIT, and despite being sick of the place, I already missed it a bit.

     And then I passed out for a few hours. Turns out I hadn't really slept the night before, so I could fall asleep just about anywhere. I woke up over Texas. It's the wrong color. Too much green, not enough desert color. That's about all there is to say about that place. That, and the Houston airport sucks. Absolutely no wifi. They did have a Jamba Juice though, which I promptly indulged in for the first time. It's got some serious addiction potential. So I put off starting this blog until I had some wifi, and stood in line waiting to board instead.

     I had reserved another window seat for this flight. Again, like a kid on a roller coaster, I had the "let's go again!" mentality while boarding, only to find that a Vietnamese woman had taken my seat. She was polite and asked (via hand gestures and broken English) if she could please sit there. I let her have the seat, and figured I'd still get to gaze out the window from one seat in. I was wrong. This woman sat there with the freaking shade closed the whole time. From take off to landing. I was so pissed. Why would you take the window seat from me if you're not even going to look out the window?? Seriously, what the hell? So instead, I read a bit of James May's "Magnificent Machines" and listened to some music while occasionally entertaining the incredibly polite old Texan woman next to me with small talk. The only real highlight of this flight (my window gazing having been unjustly taken from me) was the DirectTV. Not that I was willing to dish out $7 to watch crappy television. It was more that while listening to Chrome, I looked up to see someone in first class watching a documentary of sorts about FIRST. It made me pretty nostalgic for a second.

     So I finally arrived in San Jose and called Jason, who has been kind enough to give me a place to crash while I find actual housing. He picked me up, and my first question was, "Where's the nearest In-N-Out?" So we went to In-N-Out (which, incidentally, is actually worth all the hype). At this point, California seemed a lot like New Jersey. Lots of highways, suburban sprawl, and fast food. What's more, I walked into In-N-Out and was convinced that I saw Yazan, a fellow MIT student an Tesla intern. Turns out that it was him. Could this world get any smaller? Yes. It can.

     We arrived at Jason's place, where I expected to crash on a couch/floor. Imagine my surprise when I found out that he lives with his brother in a 3 bed, 3 bath condo-type-thing. It's worth mentioning that Jason is awesome for accommodating me on such short notice. So I passed out and decided to spend the next day exploring the area.

     And so I did. Kinda. Turns out that getting around California without a car is a pain in the ass. It's one of my bigger qualms about this place. Though I suppose it's true for a lot of places. Jason lives about 25 minutes from the Mountain View Caltrain station, by foot. This involves walking to a nice little "trail" (I'll have you know that California is the only state that would call a nicely paved sidewalk in between the trees behind some houses a "trail). The neighborhood is nothing overwhelming: quiet, reasonably sized houses of varying styles with cookie-cutter-condos interjected at various intervals. However, I noticed a trend in the vehicles parked on the street and in driveways. Everyone seems to own both a massive pick-up truck, BMW, or an old-school Porsche, AND a Prius. It's kinda like when we used to exercise and go to McDonald's afterwards to negate any positive effects. I even saw a 1960's pick-up with a bumper-sticker reading "I'd rather be driving an EV". It's either one extreme or the other, I suppose. California is similar to the Prius in that sense: it's not inherently bad, but I still think it's really dumb.

     So after walking through the neighborhood, I finally get to the "trail" entrance. How pleasant. A little playground.
Wait, what's that behind it?

O, just a diesel generator

And some high tension power lines without a fence around them

And a sketchy tunnel under the highway, perfect for kidnapping.

It's worth mentioning that it's a pretty safe neighborhood, but still.. I walked out into the playground the other day and saw a bunch of tattooed teenagers smoking what must have been "medicinal" marijuana on the park bench. I guess if everything gives you cancer in California, they probably needed it...

Come on California. Look at yourself.

So the walk continues. Eventually you get to a foot bridge over yet another highway. And next to some more transmission lines.

And then another California moment. A bicycle speed limit sign. Protip: if you can ride a bicycle, you should be able to tell if you're going too fast.
Am I the only one who thinks this is dumb?

     Back to the story (or the vague semblance of one). So I made this walk and took Caltrain over to Palo Alto, since there was apparently a Maker Faire and my friend Paul (who I worked with on EVT two summers ago and incidentally got me the connection at Tesla last summer) works on the Stanford solar car team, which was supposedly there. So I got off the train and walked to Stanford. I've never seen so much wasted space. Their driveway is literally a mile long. It's ridiculous. So I attempted to call Paul and got no response. I wandered around campus looking for the Maker Faire (had I done my research I would have known that it wasn't there), and after two hours of finding nothing worth mentioning (well, except that the squirrels are the wrong color. They should be gray, not black. Somebody forgot to tell California this), I gave Jon (a bitter old Beast cruft now studying at Stanford) a call. He greeted me with a handshake and a beer. After questioning his decision to give me a beer in such a public place, he informed me of the open-container policy at Stanford. Apparently it's perfectly acceptable. A ten-year old could walk around with a handle of Jack Daniels and nobody would question it. That's cool, I guess.

     We grabbed a bite to eat at some Mexican-ish place and talked for a while. I caught the Caltrain back to Mountain View and called it a day. Work started early the next day.

     Monday was when things got way more interesting than I would have liked. Having to be at work at 8:30, I got up about two hours beforehand to shower, get to Caltrain, and take the shuttle to Tesla. After showering, I discovered that I had misinterpreted the shuttle schedule, and in order to get to work on time, I had to leave half an hour earlier. So I made the 25 minute walk in 10, only to find out that the train was 15 minutes late. So I went to buy a ticket, opening my wallet to realize that I did not have my checking card: I must have left it at the Mexican-ish place, possibly throwing it out by mistake. I also realized that in my rush to get to the station, I had forgotten all of the documents that I needed on my first day. It was too late to go back at that point.

     The train finally arrived, I took it over to Palo Alto, and attempted to find the shuttle to Deer Creek/Tesla. Turns out that it only waits 5 minutes, even if there's no train to provide passengers. Luckily, while near another bus and frantically trying to figure out how to make the 20 minute drive, I overheard a woman mention that she needed to get to VMWare: conveniently located across the street from Tesla. Glad I looked on Google Earth prior to making my trip. So I asked this woman for help, and she basically let me tag along with her while she found a shuttle I had never heard of before. She also gave me the schedule for said shuttle. If only I had caught her name. If it weren't for her, I would have been an hour late on my first day.

     So the first day was interesting, to say the least. I won't bother describing Tesla as a company at this point. Prior to lunch, however, all the new hires got rides in the Tesla Roadster. This was actually my second time in one, so the effects were not as pronounced, but it's certainly a fun ride. While waiting for my turn, however, I was chatting with a Bay Area local who goes to UC Berkley. First, he mentioned how "cold" it was that day. HA. Cold does not mean the same thing in California as it does in Boston, apparently. And then he mentioned how terrible the road quality is in the Bay Area. I don't think these people have seen a real pothole in their lives. They pretty much all look like this one:
 Or this one:
Geez, what terrible roads. I don't know how people don't constantly crash their Prii into trees after driving through those massive ruts in the road. Maybe they just drive their lifted trucks instead, so they just run over the trees.

     So after sitting through an entire day of presentations, I finally went home, cancelled my checking card, and sat on my ass for the rest of the evening. It's nice finally having the ability to do that. The sitting on my ass and doing nothing part, I mean. The next few days were fairly uneventful. I mostly just ran into people from MIT (including certain unipunts) on various forms of public transit and got very annoyed by the fact that between going to work and eating dinner, I'd spend about two hours a day walking to and from downtown Mountain View, and about an hour and a half on public transit. Since then, my commute has come down to 45 minutes from doorstep to office (as Tesla operates a free shuttle from Mountain View), rather than 65 minutes. Still, it's only an 18 minute drive if I had a car.

     This whole transportation thing really came to a head when I decided to finally get some cash on Wednesday. This involved going to Walmart and buying something with my credit card so I could do that whole cash-back thing at the register. So I went, making the 25 minute walk to Caltrain, taking the train for 5 minutes to San Antonio, and walking 10 minutes to Walmart (in all, a 10 minute drive). Next to Walmart, I found this place:
... 'Nuff said.

So I bought a flashlight at Walmart, got my cash-back, and went to look for some food. Amongst all the cars in the parking lot, I stumbled across this guy:
Probably stuck out because it only had six characters, and not the seven which California plates have. I wonder what the chances are that some MIT student drove their Saturn across the country for the summer. It wouldn't surprise me, considering I've already run into so many MIT kids while just going about my day.
     I went on, got some food, and proceeded walked back to the Caltrain station. Upon arrival, I noticed that I had missed the train by about two minutes. And the next one wasn't coming for another hour. So my return time went from forty minutes to an hour an forty minutes. I suppose I could have just made the seventy minute walk back instead, and it would have worked out better. But it would have sucked. Just like public transit in the Bay Area. So instead, I started dicking around with my second-hand point-and-shoot camera. This pretty much sums up the excitement of waiting for an hour on an empty platform:
Exciting, I know.

     Finally, the train arrived, I rode it for five minutes, and then got off and watched it go.
I walked home in the dark, utilizing my new flashlight for fun as I wandered through the woods. It was probably a good decision to buy a flashlight, for as I was walking through the woods, I pointed it off the path and noticed a a bushy black animal running off with its tail raised. Note to self: there are skunks in this neighborhood. That flashlight saved me from a very smelly week.

     Thursday evening, Jason invited me over to the Google headquarters for dinner and a short tour. Maybe I should have been a software engineer. The Google campus is fairly large, with random dinosaur skeletons, busts of famous ocean explorers, and other random artwork/nonsense. The thing of interest at the time was Google's many "cafes". Apparently there are twenty-two of them which serve lunch every day of the week, and six of them which serve breakfast, and six for dinner. All free of charge to Google employees and their guests. And they serve real food. One of the lunch menus even had a lamb dish on it. Tesla's free cereal and coffee has nothing on Google. And then there's where the actual work happens. The office buildings feel a lot CSAIL at MIT. There's a lot of color, and everywhere you look, there are odd toys, giant Google Earth 300 degree viewers, photographs of world leaders giving talks at Google, and so on. Seems like a fun place to work. And the hours a pretty flexible. Maybe I should reconsider my career in MechE... Nahhh.

     At last, my week came to a close, having spent most of it at work, learning the ins-and-outs of the lab I'm working in. I started off the three day weekend by grabbing food with some Beast people who are in the area this summer and wanking about how dumb our hall has become, and how California can't govern itself in a reasonable way if the fate of world depended on it. Now I've got the next three days to go to San Fransisco, buy a Mercedes, and who knows, maybe I'll drive down and meet Eddie at an In-N-Out somewhere between San Fransisco and LA. Hopefully then I'll actually have something to write about.