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.  I like doing new things. I’m hoping Apple can be as challenging and rewarding as I hope it can be.

 

 

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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

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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.  Yes, I know. It’s been 6 weeks. Try to keep up. 🙂

 

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.

 

I’ve spent the last 10 days up here in Buffalo New York. I’m putting a Lustre cluster together for a cancer research institute.

The trip started out on a sad note. Gandalf was not happy with me when he saw me packing my bag. He wouldn’t even look at me. The hardest part about getting ready to leave is disappointing my pup. Go figure.

I miss the guy. He loves hanging out with me in the mornings. Sitting on the porch. I’m drinking my coffee, he has his head out between the railings watching the world go by.

 

Here is a statue I’m seeing a lot lately. I remember when I flew out the first time to interview with Sandia Labs and seeing this statue. I thought it was pretty neat. Now I walk by and half the time I don’t even look up. I think that’s pretty sad. We should always try and notice the world around us.

Buffalo is an interesting place. It reminds me of a cold Seattle. Overcast, grey, etc. You can tell there is a history of manufacturing here. Row houses, old shut down plants, abandoned factories, etc. Just the feel of some of the neighborhoods.

Downtown was pretty neat. It’s a fairly modern city in that regards. Definitely shuts down at night though. Almost nothing was open.

I also found a place with a Marilyn Monroe statue. A local underground bar. Any place with a Marilyn statue is a happy place. 🙂

On Saturday I took a Lyft up to Niagara Falls. It was raining and chilly, but definitely worth the visit. Not sure when I’ll get another chance.

 

This is me being soaked and waiting for the bus back into Buffalo. Yep, I took the bus for grins. I love to adventure when I’m in a new town. See the sites, experience the place.  By the time I got back to the hotel I was literally soaked. 

With the good comes the not so good. Last night at about 11pm I hear the kids holler “a pipe broke!”. Oh crap! Well, it turns out it wasn’t a pipe but rather the septic system backing up into the downstairs bathroom and over flowing the toilet.

I run outside and pop the top off one of the clean outs and drain the sewer water into the gravel instead of the house.

Next morning I call the septic guy.

We then have to dig up the access cover to the septic tank effluent filter. Yes, it was buried.

We finally get the tank pumped out.

The effluent filter cleaned

And life is good again. I have learned more about septic systems in the last 24 hours than I thought I would ever learn. Turns out it wasn’t as bad as I was afraid of.

So. I had a thought this morning while driving to the customers data center.  I’m currently traveling around the country for Hewlett-Packard Enterprises. I don’t know how long I’ll be doing this, if it’s short term or long. However, while I’m doing it, I’m seeing some parts of the country that I’ve never been. It might be nice to make comments and write about what it’s like in each area. That’s my thought at least.

So. Right now I’m in Woburn, MA.  Just outside of Boston. I’m here putting a Cloudera cluster together for a customer. I’m part time out in Lowell, MA and part time downtown.

So. This morning. I woke up after a long day of travel from Albuquerque, NM. We had a medical emergency on the flight and had to return to the ABQ terminal. Fingers crossed the guy who had the heart attack survived. It didn’t look good, but the paramedics are the best. So, fingers crossed. Because of that I missed my connecting flight in Atlanta. Which means I finally got into Boston late at night.

I think Google Maps has a personality. Because I pissed it off. Coming out of Boston Logan Airport I missed a turn and google ended up taking me through some pretty sketchy neighborhoods and a seriously round about path to my hotel. I’ve seen more industrial areas of Boston than I knew existed.

This morning I woke up feeling pretty icky. Sinus’s were stuffed, head ache, moving slow, no coordination. Way too many people at breakfast. If they went left I went the same way, etc. headed to the car to drive to the Lowell data center. I still felt pretty crappy. Just couldn’t get motivated.

Then I noticed the trees. The trees here are starting to change colors. The air was cold, almost frosty breath cold. It felt like a pre-winter day in Seattle. A humid, cold day. With orange, red, green trees.  Then I noticed, the traffic wasn’t really that bad. I was moving along okay. In fact, I decided to get off the turnpike and take some back roads. Google Maps bitched a bit, but gave me directions anyways.

I passed houses right out of the revolution. Any one of which could have been the home of some famous revolutionary at the beginning of America. It dawned on me that I was driving over old cart paths that took our founding fathers around. Literally.

I know my friends in the UK are going “#$% traitors!”. 🙂 It’s history my friends. For good or ill. And looking at our current president, well, it’s really a debate. So, think the Queen will take us back? Kind of like rebellious teenagers? We’ve learned out lesson.

As an American who grew up in the west. Well, this is pretty cool stuff. I am literally walking in the footsteps of our founding fathers.  In fact, this weekend I plan on following Freedom Trail.  Either that or drive down to New York city to have a Manhattan in Manhattan. 🙂 I’ll try to post my adventures later.

Back to my impressions of Boston. So far, it’s been a pretty good experience. I really like how the houses make me think of the 1700’s. The roads are mainly 2 lane back-roads with freeways/turnpikes as main thoroughfares. The people have been friendly. Even if the speak funny. “I pahked my kah in tha pahkin loht.”

Tomorrow is my first day in downtown Boston. I’m looking forward to it.

 

Doing some work on Black Betty, my new Toyota Tacoma.

So far I’ve replaced some interior lights, replaced the radio, added floor mats, etc.

Now I’m putting sound deadiner in the doors and on the back wall.

Here is the before.

And here is the after.

And the passenger door.

Next is the back wall, then the floor. Then new speakers, amp, bass, etc.

I had a lot of fun up in Telluride Colorado last weekend. I went up for the Blues and Brews Festival. Bonnie Raitt, Steve Winwood, plus a ton of others.

Got a bit cold sleeping in the tent, but still fun.

I’m in Florida for almost two weeks, so I did a drive over the weekend.

Drove through the Everglades on, what the locals, call Gator Alley.

Up to Port Charlotte to visit with Bubba and Tammi. My friend John’s brother and sister in law. We had a good visit.

Then up to just south of Orlando to see Jeff and Inga. Jeff gave me the best gift, and a sad one.

Then down along Lake Okeechobee back to Miami. Sadly, I didn’t realize that the lake is surrounded by an embankment. Here’s my less than exciting view.

And back to Miami to finish up and leave, hopefully, before Irma makes landfall.

Florida can be a fun place.

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