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Out in the San Francisco area and unable to play Jan 29 - Feb 4  XML
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Spacey

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Joined: 01/07/2005 21:28:14
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Location: Da'Burgh (Pittsburgh) PA
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Hey Folks,

Figured I would give everyone a heads up on where I am, incase folks got to wondering. As some of you may know, I work for a wireless networking startup out in Pleasanton, CA, and was lucky enough to be able to continue to live in Ohio when I hired on and telecommute instead. (Hey, our house, built in 1920 and having 1100 sq. ft. would cost over $600K to buy out there in a tear-down condition rather than the $80K it is currently appraised here in Ohio! And I actually saw a comparable one for over $1.5M!!). Well, with all the activity with our partners, they want me out there for a week. So I am flying out early Sunday and getting back home late on Sat, Feb 4. So, for those of you able to play, kill a few bugs for me, and look for me on the forums (or feel free to send me a PM, IM or email!). Or if you happen to live out in the Bay Area, drop me a message and we can perhaps get together some evening next week.

See ya all next Sunday!

*BEL*_e (spacey), BEL Clan General -- You Frag em, I'll Slag em!
LA -- *BEL*_e (level 283 - Extreme AM), LW -- *BEL*_o (level 26) MM - ?? ( *BEL*_Rolaids ?? *BEL*DrWho??, Engineer... *BEL*BS_E_E [BSEE '89, Ohio U] (level 22)

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Pyramidion

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Joined: 02/21/2005 14:31:28
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San Francisco, that'd be a great place to go someday. Hopefully you'll get to enjoy it after working! Have a safe trip and see you when you get back!
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Chameleon

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Joined: 01/27/2005 11:46:50
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Heh, that price depends on where in the Bay Area you are talking about. My parent's house isn't much bigger then that and it is worth about $800K in California. One million dollar homes are extremely common in the Bay Area there. Even the 'ghetto' areas, the houses are around $400K. It is rediculous, which is why I would never be able to own a home there. So, good idea to keep the home you have. The Bay Area is very nice, though. The weather is great and there are a lot of things to do there year round.

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deleted3

Killing Spree

Joined: 09/11/2005 07:46:05
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Heyas E

You won't be able to play untill Feb 4th, POOPIE DIAPERS . I'm missing ya already . I'll take a couple of nails down for ya. Working away from home is POOP m8, Hope Feb 4th comes very very quickly for you E c ya soon

P.S. I wonder what FPS peeps that own those $1.5M homes, get in UT2004

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Boingo_Babe

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Pyramidion wrote:
San Francisco, that'd be a great place to go someday.  


I got to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge in October when the Blue Angels were there flying around. Oh, it was SO cool! They flew right over us (Cham and me) a couple times and you can just feel it in your gut. Just be prepared with change. You have to pay to drive over some bridges, which seems a bit silly.

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Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO-HOO what a ride!"

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Spacey

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Joined: 01/07/2005 21:28:14
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Well folks, I am back, but quite tired. Spent most of the past couple of hours resting and spending time with the family. But I will definitely be in tomorrow, as well as letting folks know about the trip.

*BEL*_e (spacey), BEL Clan General -- You Frag em, I'll Slag em!
LA -- *BEL*_e (level 283 - Extreme AM), LW -- *BEL*_o (level 26) MM - ?? ( *BEL*_Rolaids ?? *BEL*DrWho??, Engineer... *BEL*BS_E_E [BSEE '89, Ohio U] (level 22)

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Pyramidion

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Joined: 02/21/2005 14:31:28
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welcome back! Hope your trip went well, can't wait to hear about it... see you in the game!
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Spacey

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Joined: 01/07/2005 21:28:14
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Well, I said I would post about the trip, so here I go...and it is quite long...

As I said, I work for a wireless networking startup, and we have some OEM partnerships with companies which you would certainly recognize as the major players in the home networking business. I have actually been working on some fairly major stuff related to new hardware and our OEM partners, but some of the stuff has even internally been referred to by code names, so if I told you the details before they were officially announced....I would have to kill you. But anyways, this past week, several of these new items reached what is called a ``Integration Point'', where the feature is supposed to be ``code complete'' and we start running QA testing on those features. Having been the development lead on a couple of those features, we felt that it was probably yet another good reason for me to go out to the main office in Pleasanton. (Other reasons being things like getting a better idea of what is going on, and our group going out to our annual group lunch, which would have normally occurred around Christmas).

Well, this last week was rather interesting to say the least. I found out that it is not a good idea to travel at the end of a pay period unless you still have lots of money in the account. Car rental places want to place a $300 dollar charge on your credit card before you even get the car, and many hotels want to run an authorization (where they do not charge you, just see if you have it in the account) for around $1000 before you get the room key. Since I get paid on the 15th and at the end of the month (e.g. this past Tuesday), I thought I was going to be OK, but as you can guess by now, I was not. ops: So I got in around 12N PT (GMT- at the airport in Oakland, having had great luck at Phoenix with my connecting flight's gate being maybe 100 feet away from my arriving gate, instead of in a different terminal, and we arrived on time. I then rode the rental car bus to the rental car terminal only to find I could not get my car for the 30+ mile drive to Pleasanton. Well, here I lucked out, and had some cash which I could use to ride the BART system first by bus and then by rail out to the Dublin/Pleasanton stop. Sure beat driving, and I figure to perhaps do this in the future. From there, I could get the hotel (the Four Points Sheraton in Pleasanton) to pick me up and I would not have to walk the last 0.9 miles. There, I went through the same problems, but since my boss had said she would pay for it herself if I had a problem, I called her cell phone. Here, things got interesting...it turns out she was out of town, and she actually had to fax her information to the front desk when we managed to talk to her an hour or two later. Well, when at last I was settled into a room, I rested a bit and then ate dinner at a place called Faz's, there in the hotel, and put it on the room bill.

Faz's, as you can guess, is a pretty fancy place. Indeed, this is a place where they use two cloth tablecloths, cloth napkins, and where they bring you the wine list with the menu. Yep, the food is what I would call ``fancy'' (where presentation is at least as important as taste), and it can be quite expensive. It also tends to have a Mediterranean twist to it (which in most cases, I quite enjoy). That first night, I had a iron skillet steak (a relatively inexpensive item on their dinner menu), which came out with mashed potatoes and mixed grilled vegies. I was quite good, but I did pick out the cauliflower (I like it only with cheese sauce, not grilled) and peppers (they upset my tummy). I also enjoyed their focaccica bread which they brought out with a dipping dish filled with oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, Parmesan cheese and... as I later found out the hard way, a little pinch of minced cucumber. I saw some little bits green in the mix, but I had figured it was just a touch of fresh parsley. So, I ate it without thinking too much about it...only to end up with a pretty major belly ache/cramps and the need to run to the bathroom a couple of times that night. You see, I am allergic to cucumber in any form, and a single pickle on a hamburger, or a small cup of tzatzuki sauce on a gyro is enough to make me feel extremely miserable for at least 24 hours. A couple of pickles, and I end up worse off, and can even end up with hives. But anyways...the meal, with water to drink and a nice but fancy pecan chocolate torte ran $25. The breakfast buffet the next morning was $11. And on Monday night, I had a ``Greek Salad'', and a curried lamb dish... I love Greek Salad at most places, and curried lamb is one of my favorites, but in this case, the ``fancy'' got in the way of at least my taste. The salad had four pieces of romaine lettuce, with lots more of sliced/diced peppers, onions, some feta and an oil based dressing (they left off the cukes at my request). So it was about 55% peppers, 30% onions, 10% romaine and 5% feta by bulk...not my idea of a good Greek Salad. Then we get to the curried lamb...again, way too fancy lots and lots of peppers/onions with some rice and perhaps a half dozen pieces of lamb. I ate the lamb and rice, and left the peppers and onions (over half the volume) in the bowl. All this, with water to drink and no dessert for about $20. Not something I will get again.

Before I go on about some of my other meals, a bit about the work I did out there. My typical day was to be up around 5AM PT (that would be about 90mins later than I would normally get up back here, as I get up about 6:30-6:45 ET), and I would start by checking my email. I would then check into things like the nightly builds, and perhaps bring up the newly built images on my switches to test. I would then get my shower, finish getting ready for work, and then get breakfast. The first day, this was at Faz's, and I had the hotel shuttle take me to work. The second day, I skipped Faz's, had the shuttle take me to work, and ate some oatmeal we have in our break room (more about it in a sec), which is what I ended up doing the rest of the week, even after I got my rental car on Tuesday. Just like I do at home. From there, I was generally getting together with folks as they started to come in (most start somewhere between 9:30 and 11:30PT), talking about testing, problems with our code, doing testing with our QA folks, etc. On Monday and Tuesday, I ended up skipping lunch, and instead ate a few power bars and a piece or two of jerky from our break room, but on Wed and Thu I went out with various co-workers, and on Friday, we had our group lunch. Then, I was back at work where I was often grinding away until about 7 or so. Then, back to the hotel, grab supper, and a bit of TV watching before I dropped off to sleep. All in all a very productive week.

Now, a bit about our offices... we have a really great facility there, with a small fitness room, a server room, a large lab, a great break room and lots and lots of offices. We are probably around 100 or so folks there in the home office, with most folks in cubes. But as we have been growing, we have gotten quite crowded. So while I have had a vacant cube to work in the previous two times I was out there, this time, I ended up working on a machine in the lab on which I have NetBSD installed. It has much more RAM than the 32MB my laptop has, and allowed me to effectively access the development system I have which runs RH9 just like I do from home (it resided in the office of our main GA until late Thursday), access the switches on which I was doing my testing, and even allowed me to access my servers and workstation at home. The only problems with all of this...I had no phone right beside me, things were noisy (all those fans), a little bit chilly (I am no longer used to having my office at 60 degF), and I had no way of listening to my CDs, as the system had no speakers and I did not bring my headphones. But it worked. And when I got a bit too chilly, I just headed to the break room for a few minutes. So now, I guess it is time to talk about the break room itself. It is about 500 sq.ft., and in there, we have a pool table, a foos ball table, a cap machine, a coffee machine, a keg fridge, a couple of sliding door beverage fridges, a fridge/freezer, microwaves, etc. And lots and lots of varied snacks, such as jerky, trail mix, fruit/power bars, a variety of oatmeal packs, pretzels, etc. etc. etc. And in the fridges, lots of pop (about 6 or 7 varieties), bottles of Gatorade, bottled water and even some beer & wine coolers. The beer and wine coolers are generally reserved for the very late afternoons or evenings, but are sometimes seen during lunch, especially if folks are playing pool (which was often the case this week, as there is a 1-15 tournament ongoing). The key is that nobody even remotely abuses it, and I even saw beer being imbibed in the presence of one of our VPs while he and another co-worker were playing pool about 6PM one evening to practice for their tourney matches the next day. So, it all goes to make for a great place to work. A million times better than Lucent, and much better than any other place where I have worked. Now, if only they were not located where it were so darned expensive to live.

Now, as for other dinners I ate...not having a car but for three evenings, I was kinda limited on where I could eat. On Wednesday evening, I went to a place called "Gay 90's Pizza". They are in old downtown Pleasanton, in an old building with rough wood floors. But the food is great. They have a pizza which is to die for. A normal, non-pan pizza has a fluffy crust about 1 inch thick, and their toppings are piled on to the point where you definitely have to open your mouth to take a bite. YUMMY! They also have great ravioli and other dishes, but since I only got to eat there one time this trip... Well, since most of the group does not like sushi (even though all our projects have sushi names), one night I decided to try a place called Sozo Sushi. This place is GOOD! http://oakland.diningguide.com/data/d102539.htm is just one of the reviews of this place you can find by a web search, and you can even see their web site here. As previously mentioned, I have problems with cukes, and avocado as well as a few other things are also on that list. So I had their sashimi combo ($13), with the salad, bowl of soup, and rice. YUMMY! The only thing I did not eat was either Ika (squid) or Tako (octopus), which are not among my favorites, as I favor fish, shrimp and shell fish when it comes to my sushi. But their presentation is great (sushi is one food where it is), and the food is quite tasty. As for the remaining evenings, I ate at an IHOP (we do not have them here in Columbus), and Friday evening, I was back at Faz's to have the iron skillet steak once again.

Now, as for lunches, I went to this one place which does burgers, gyros and such on Wednesday, Thursday I went with another to Red Robin, where I had a great bleu cheese burger, and on Friday, we had our group lunch. Now this is fancy but very good Mexican food. Lots of tortilla chips with 3 different types of sausa, great dishes including several mole (think BBQ, but based on chocolate and peppers) and a dish called the Enjococado, and Margaritas. They have probably 150+ flavors of the latter, and the group ended up getting 2 pitchers IIRC (I don't drink, so I did not pay much attention). And the service is tremendous. I drink quite a bit of water, and my glass was never less than half full during a busy lunch. Want to read more about it, just do a search on "blue agave Pleasanton".

Well, as for the trip back...that was a bit more interesting. I had fortunately managed to get the company to pay for the hotel directly instead of my having to expense the $900+ and get reimbursed on the 15th. Unfortunately, they do not run the shuttle bus early, so I had to walk from the hotel to the BART station to make the 5:58 train to OAK. A bit drizzly, and I plan on seeing if there is some way that I can convince them they should make this available. But if not...perhaps a taxi or something, as that is pretty tiring walk, even with a rolling suitcase. Add in a strap on my laptop case which had decided to come apart at the swivel part of one of the clips just as I started out, and it was not a fun walk. But I made it to the Coliseum, where I transferred to a bus, and I was at the airport, checked in, and through security by 7AM. So for $5.20, the BART method is quite nice, except for that walk. Once through security, I grabbed a couple of scones and some water at a place I found the first time I was there, and had something to eat. While waiting, I ended up talking to some folks who had just moved out there from Cincy last summer, and who know Columbus quite well. They were flying to Phoenix on my flight. The flight to there was quite uneventful, except for we got in 30mins early. But, once again, I ended up going from one end of the second A terminal to the other end of the first A terminal (why could they just not call these A, B, C, etc. instead of having a terminal with like A1-A15, another with A16-A30, or whatever it is, and so on??) While waiting for boarding on my next flight, I ended up eating and talking with a AmWest pilot who was from Ohio (he saw my OSU Astronomy shirt), and that helped pass the hour I had to wait quite enjoyably. But soon I had to board my flight (he was flying the flight 2hrs later to Cabo), and here, things started getting a bit unusual, as I expected. They started off by asking if anyone who was on the flight back here to CMH wanted to route via Vegas and arrive almost 5 hours after this flight would. They needed 15 people to switch, and for a 1 free RT ticket good for a year, to anywhere in the continental US... it was quite tempting, but I wanted to get home. BTW...the reason? They needed to reduce weight just in case the runways were icy, as 4" of snow was predicted for last night, with the possibility of a mix before then (Reality...no mix and about 2" which is now melting). But that was the extent of the excitement for the flight, and it was cloudy most of the flight back (outside of 30-45 mins from Phoenix, there were thick clouds on both flights). I got to see "Yours, Mine, Ours" with Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo (a good pic), and got home just about on time.

Oh, and since I mentioned folks to whom I got to speak in the airports on the way home, try this on for the folks on the way out. While waiting for my flight to Phoenix, I was in a discussion about hockey with one of the NHL's main refs and a scout from the Detroit Red Wings. And in Phoenix, I was talking to several members of the SF Giants coaching staff, including Joe Jefebvre if I recognized him correctly. Not big on baseball any longer (not since the Reds got uber-cocky in the late 70's after winning the World Series several times), but still one heck of a way to pass time in an airport!

For the most part, it is good to be home. I did get Becky angry at me when she tried to grab my suitcase because of my sore back, but I insisted, and then last night my sinuses were stuffed and I snored, but it is still nice to be home.

*BEL*_e (spacey), BEL Clan General -- You Frag em, I'll Slag em!
LA -- *BEL*_e (level 283 - Extreme AM), LW -- *BEL*_o (level 26) MM - ?? ( *BEL*_Rolaids ?? *BEL*DrWho??, Engineer... *BEL*BS_E_E [BSEE '89, Ohio U] (level 22)

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UntamedSub

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Joined: 11/07/2005 10:47:40
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Welcome Back!!!!

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Chameleon

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Glad you had a good trip. I miss that area. Very nice there. Gay 90's is a good pizza place. You should try Alberto's the next time you are there. It is on Main St. in Pleasanton. Red Robin next to Wal-Mart isn't too bad. There is a TGI Friday's on Santa Rita Rd close to the freeway that isn't bad. A friend of mine used to work there, so I got some free meals there from time to time. Lots of stuff to do there. Since you are probably on time constrants, you should drive up to the top of Mt. Diablo next time. Very good view on a clear day. You can see the whole Bay Area in one direction and the Sierra Nevada's looking the other way. Anyway, glad you had a good trip.

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Spacey

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Joined: 01/07/2005 21:28:14
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Location: Da'Burgh (Pittsburgh) PA
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First, I will say "Thanks!" to Pyr, Cham, and UntamedSub, as well as everyone else in advance, as I probably would not be able to play otherwise!

Chameleon wrote:
Glad you had a good trip. I miss that area. Very nice there. Gay 90's is a good pizza place. You should try Alberto's the next time you are there. It is on Main St. in Pleasanton. Red Robin next to Wal-Mart isn't too bad. There is a TGI Friday's on Santa Rita Rd close to the freeway that isn't bad. A friend of mine used to work there, so I got some free meals there from time to time. Lots of stuff to do there. Since you are probably on time constrants, you should drive up to the top of Mt. Diablo next time. Very good view on a clear day. You can see the whole Bay Area in one direction and the Sierra Nevada's looking the other way. Anyway, glad you had a good trip.
 


I have seen Alberto's, but not yet had a chance to go in there. Seems like each time I go out there, I either forget about it, have other places I want to go, etc.

The Red Robin you mention and the one I had lunch at are one and the same. Indeed, last Feb when Becky and Avis went out with me, we ate there as well. Great chocolate shakes as well!

And yes, lots to do, but so little time. Mt. Diablo is on the list, but I have not yet had a chance. I am actually thinking that if I go out in June after school lets out, we may just go out for me to work a week, then take a second week to do the tourist thing. And we definitely want to spend a week on DC and visiting family in VA. I just need to figure out how to schedule it all!


*BEL*_e (spacey), BEL Clan General -- You Frag em, I'll Slag em!
LA -- *BEL*_e (level 283 - Extreme AM), LW -- *BEL*_o (level 26) MM - ?? ( *BEL*_Rolaids ?? *BEL*DrWho??, Engineer... *BEL*BS_E_E [BSEE '89, Ohio U] (level 22)

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