You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Places’ category.

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


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.


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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.ย  By the time I got back to the hotel I was literally soaked.ย 

So. I had a thought this morning while driving to the customers data center.ย  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.ย  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.ย  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!”. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.ย  In fact, this weekend I plan on following Freedom Trail.ย  Either that or drive down to New York city to have a Manhattan in Manhattan. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.


One neat thing about Chicago is all of the different murals and misc art works.

This year during Supercomputing in Salt Lake City it decided to snow on our last day there. Morgen and Nora decided to wander out and do some adventuring. I really like this picture of them.

Morgen and Nora adventuring around Salt Lake City

Morgen and Nora adventuring around Salt Lake City

Here we are at the Seattle Pride Festival enjoying a Drag Queen show. It was a blast.


Seattle Pride Festival

Seattle Pride Festival

We had a family day not to long ago and Nora, Morgen, and I went and checked out the Solar Tower. Pretty interesting. They use molten salt to transfer and store the energy.

Solar Tower

Here we are reflected in one of the many many mirrors.



Blog Stats

  • 61,044 hits
February 2020
« Jun