One of the perks of working for Apple is the occasional travel. I ended up going to Israel for a week. We went over to do some systems moves in a data center we have there. Most of the time was spent in Haifa, in the northern half of the country. Haifa was a beautiful area. It reminded me a lot of the central coast of California, but on the Mediterranean.

When I took this picture there was a bit of an overcast. But it was very pretty from on top of the hill where my hotel was. The people I met were really friendly. Even thought I don’t speak Hebrew, most of the locals had at least some English ability. So, that made life a lot easier.

Overlooking Haifa, Israel

Sunset over the Med

 

One of our local people took us all out for lunch while we were there. I definitely recommend having the local person choose the lunch spot. We would never have had this awesome experience with him showing us. It’s a little hole in the wall place that was amazing.

Lunch in Haifa

On our last day in Israel we had the opportunity to go sight seeing. So, the five of us chipped in and set up a private tour of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. Something I didn’t ever really expect to see. I’m not a religious person, so seeing where Christ was arrested, tried, crucified, and resurrected, weren’t on my bucket list. But, guess what? I saw all of those places that day. And then some.

Overlooking old Jerusalem from Mt Olive. Next to where Jesus was arrested by the Romans.

 

The Church of Agony was built next to the Olive Garden where Jesus was arrested.

 

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The church built over the place Jesus was resurrected

 

 

What’s funny is that the church is run by 6 different Denominations that cannot get along. It’s so bad that there is something called the “Immovable Ladder“. Basically a ladder that has been leaning against the wall for over 200 years because they can’t agree to move it. Seriously.

The Immovable Ladder

 

The Wailing Wall

And of course, while in Israel we checked out the Dead Sea. The lowest place on earth. 400+ meters below sea level. And guess what? There was a bar there. The lowest bar in the world. So of course we had to have a beer. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Just a picture I really liked from the trip

 

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I have a 3 hour layover in Vancouver, unexpectedly. So, after getting through US customers I wandered around a bit.

This airport has museum class pieces of art on display. Plus native art, humorous pieces.

I have so been this guy in the past.

There are also quiet corners that just make a person relax.

This wall art was on one of the cart paths between sections

I’m sitting here at the San Jose airport having a beer at The Brit Pub. I’m paranoid when it comes to making my flights. I grabbed a Lyft 2 1/2 hours early because I was unsure of San Jose traffic. Turns out, 20 minutes later and I’m at the terminal, 10 minutes after that I’m through security and chilling at the pub.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the San Jose airport, in the middle of Silicon Valley now has robots. Kind of a creepy robot in my opinion. But interesting.

My first trip in a storm of Trips over the next few months. Calgary, Orlando, Las Vegas, Dallas, New Mexico, and Possibly Seattle.

We found Mozilla this time durimg one of our adventure walks in San Francisco.

Buddy of mine was giving a painting class at Fuegos, a local bar/restaurant. I figured, why not? I have no talent but it should be fun.

Besides beer and painting. What could go wrong? ๐Ÿ™‚

Sitting here outside of Lilly Mac’s Irish Pub down in Sunnyvale Town center on Murphy Street. Today there was a summer festival. Lots of crafts, art, foods. It’ll continue tomorrow also.

Here is Murphy Street. It continues on several parallel roads.

Today was a warm summer day here. Mid 80’s and sunny.

I decided to grab a table, a beer, and relax for a bit. Read my book and let the world flow around me.

This week was my first week as an actual Apple employee. In fact I’m writing this post on my new iPhone X. I have been assimilated into the Cult of Mac.

It’s hard to look back on the last few years and realize how good life has turned out. It sure didn’t look that way. Funny how things turn out.

Well, it’s been about a month since I’ve done any updates. Life in Silicon Valley is going well. I’ve purchased a bicycle to commute on, and once I did that it started raining. Go figure. Forecast says another week of rain.

After almost 3 months of living here I’ve finally bought a bed. I’ve been sleeping on a mattress on the floor, or an air mattress the first month. The first month my contract went sideways, so I wasn’t sure if I had a semi long term job or not, so I stopped buying any furniture and went into hunker down mode. Well, now things seem to be stabilizing, so, it was time. I spent most of Saturday putting the darn thing together. Darn Ikea furniture is nice, but such a pain to put together.

 

But, it’s done now. Looks like I’m an adult again. I actually have a bed.

 

Yep. I have a bed, a bike, a guitar, and more compute power than most small countries in my tiny shared 1 bedroom apartment. I definitely fit into the Silicon Valley lifestyle now.

Work has been going well. I enjoy working at Apple. I’m doing things I haven’t had a chance to do before. My contracting company Taos is probably the best contracting firm I’ve worked for. Which, I suppose, compared to Govt contracting isn’t saying much. But, they treat me well. Hell, they treat me like an actual human being. It’s a refreshing change.

It’s kind of weird, at the age of 50 to be going through a major work/career change, but I really like it. Don’t get me wrong, I did some really neat things working for the government. Things I’m pretty proud of, but, I’m being challenged is something I’ve missed. Doing things I haven’t done before. I really like it.ย  I like doing new things. I’m hoping Apple can be as challenging and rewarding as I hope it can be.

 

 

Well, we have been here about a month and a half now. Slowly but surely settling into life in the nerd capital of the planet. Silicon Valley USA.

It took a month to the day for Apple to figure out my contract, but I finally went and got badged the 2nd of February and started work the 5th. Woohoo, I’m employed. It turns out my office is less than 2 miles from the apartment. I jump on the Harley, fire it up, ride to work, shut it off. It’s been 5 minutes. The bike hasn’t even finished warming up yet.

It’s really strange being here. Not only do I work at Apple (for Taos Consulting), but I’ve been to talks at Google. I’m now in a Google Beta program to test some of their collaboration software. We went and checked out Facebook, Youtube, Apple of course, Google, Stanford, SLAC, etc etc.

Nora checking out the Google campus

Nora and I at the Facebook sign

Dalek Robots posting as security at one of the local malls

And no life in Silicon Valley would be complete without at least “thinking” about buying a Tesla.

Nora checking out her future ride (dreaming). A bright red Tesla Model P75D

.

Nora and I found a one bedroom apartment in Sunnyvale California. Yep, a one bedroom for the two of us. We’re still trying to decide who gets the bedroom and who gets the living room. And before you think “why a one bedroom and not a two?” Think $2000 a month vs $2500-$3000 a month. Yes I’m paying $2k a month for a one bedroom apartment in a semi run down complex. Crazy right? And no, before you think why not move a bit of distance away? I can have a 1-2 hour commute each way and only save a few hundred dollars a month. Not worth it.

But, there are some really good sides to this also.

When I start at Apple I will be 1.7 miles from the complex I interviewed at. 4.0 miles from Infinity Loop, where I might work, and 5.1 miles from the Spaceship. Which if you haven’t seen is a pretty amazing building. It’s nearing completion and will house about 12,000 employees.

New Apple Headquarters

So, our apartment complex is filled with a lot of tech workers and families of tech workers. Mostly from India I believe. The smell of curry walking around is driving me nuts. It smells so good and I can’t make a decent curry for the life of me. Not fair.

The walkways and areas are all green and windingWe have two pools and a weight room.

10 minutes walk to CalTrain. An hour on the train, any time of day, and you are in San Francisco.

15 minutes walk to Sunnyvale town center with every type of restaurant you can imagine from 6 or so coffee shops (only one being a Starbucks), Persian, Chinese, Japanese, Bavarian, American (brewpub), Irish, Italian, Mexican, Thai, and I don’t know what else. It’s nuts.

Murphy Street. The heart of Sunnyvale Town Center

Murphy Street at night

And on Saturdays Murphy Street gets shut down and becomes a farmers market. I just returned from there (yes, I’m writing this on a Saturday morning). I’m going to have to write a whole post, or posts, on just the farmers market.

It looks like the last time I posted was when I was headed up to Buffalo New York while I was working for HPE. Well. Things have changed a bit since then.ย  Yes, I know. It’s been 6 weeks. Try to keep up. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

My work with HPE was slowly going away due to a layoff announced a month after I started, then the Hurricane shut down the manufacturing plant, then the SGI buyout guys were being integrated into the professional services team. It was not a good time to join as a contractor. In fact I was looking at the month of December being without pay. As such, I made a few inquiries into other employment.

I have been offered a position at Apple with a contracting company called Taos. As such Nora and I packed up the truck, threw the Harley in a trailer and headed west to California.

 

Poor Gandalf was not a happy camper that we were leaving him behind. But, he’s with Morgen and Megan. They feel safer with the big lunk around.

Gandalf was pretty sad while we were packing

One last picture of everyone together in New Mexico before Nora and I hit the road.

Megan, Morgen, Collin and Nora

We are still looking for an apartment here in the Santa Clara, Cupertino area. The prices here are insane to say the least. However, we are having fun and enjoying the area. I start at Apple next week. I’ve spent this week coming up to speed on AWS and Google Cloud infrastructures. I’m taking my Google Cloud Solutions Architect certification test on Thursday. Doesn’t hurt to have a few certs.

Silicon Valley is it’s own MicroWorld. It’s such a strange place. We ended up eating at a place called GreenLeaf which, prepare yourself, specialized in locally grown, organic, GMO free, Kale Salads. And yes, we actually ate there.

Over at Psycho Donuts they are used to catering to slightly neurotic hi-tech folks.

 

I truly think Nora is going to fit in here.

 

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