Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Vacation

It just happened that L's summer school got out the same day as my internship ended. So she drove down and I parked my motorcycle in the company parking lot. We decided that we wanted to drive down to Southern California to visit my Dad, pick up anything we had left down there, and go to Magic Mountain before it was closed.
My wife and I both visited our previous jobs and visited with past co-workers. Even at just being gone a year it seemed like forever since I had worked there.
On the drive back to Oregon we stopped off again in San Jose for a day for me to learn what they wanted me to do to re-design the interface for another program. Then headed home. We were supposed to go camping but my arm was hurting to much so we headed straight home, with me on my motorcycle and her in the car. The problem it turns out is that I am allergic to Neosporin ointment. So the very thing that I put on my arm to help it heal quicker, instead made it ache and just made it worse.
I felt really bad once we got home since my wife had not had any real vacation since she had summer school. We decided to camp at Crater Lake for Labor Day. We made sure to leave as early as possible since we knew it would be a popular place to go. As it turns out we got there just in time. Since there was a fire in the area a lot of camping spots had been reserved for firefighters and we got one of the few good spots left, complete with needing to shew the deer out so I could set up the tent. We drove around the rim that day and took the boat tour and climbed up wizard island the next day. The lake was beautiful and the trip was relaxing but wore us out from all the hiking.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ode to riding a motorcycle

Splashing through the cool air trapped under the trees
Watching the explosion of color a bug can create an inch from your eye
Having small children point at you as if you were an airplane
Total strangers telling you their dreams of which bike they will someday own
Getting twice the gas mileage at a time when everyone is complaining
Learning the feel of the perfect turn
Getting thumbs up from pedestrians
Having the gnarliest grizzled biker give a friendly wave and smile to a fellow rider
Instant popularity from being seen as “a wild one”
The different smell of every field, grove or valley
Accelerating faster then anything short of a Ferrari
Sitting up for more air conditioning

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Last Week of Internship

It's funny that in a company this size that they encourage you to meet as many people as possible since that is the only way to get anything done around there. As long as you knew enough people there were ways to get around the red tape and that was actually encouraged. I was drawn to getting a job in research because there is a lot less expected overtime to meet a deadline. Since none of the research departments hired directly from the internship program that I was in I had to hunt them out. Besides the group that I hunted out there in New York this last week was spent just trying to get a interview with different groups there. It's all in the process, that I leaned quickly. Find a group that you want to work for, and make an appointment with the manager for the group. Now even though both you and the manager know you want a job this is seen as an informational meeting. I am not one that is normally outgoing but I put on a good act since I wanted a job. I met with 4 different groups there in San Jose that were involved with User Interface in one way or the other, but none of them wanted to seem to hire someone without a PhD. Since the only real responsibility we had the last week was to document our code a lot of people spent time playing foosball and watching videos on the Internet.
As long as we were in San Jose we thought we would see some of the other companies there too. One of our co-workers husband worked at Google. One of the other guys in our group had set up a tour and I asked to tag along. All the rumors I had heard about working there were true. They do treat their employees good, but seeing everything there together it is pretty apparent that everything is done to get people to work longer hours and spend more time there. While I want to like my job I do not want my career to define me so I don't really want to work somewhere that detracts from me being able to enjoy my life.
Of course the last week was full of parties. We had a group part on Wednesday. I rode my motorcycle down the front of the hill to get to the other set of apartments. I took the last corner to fast, hit some gravel, and slid out because I was concentrating to much on making the perfect turn. It was not that bad but it ticked me off that out of all the times it had to happen it was going to be when my arm would be healing when I met everyone. Everyone decided to have a party on Thursday night. Things were pretty wild. It has been a while that I went to a party where someone drank enough to throw up and pass out. There were plenty of drinking games, but I was just enjoying talking to everyone.
On the last day the manager over the group that sponsored our project approached me and asked if I wanted to work part time from home with the idea that if I did well I would get hired on full time. I saw it as a way to get more money for school since I had no real desire to work for this group so I agreed, knowing that it would be a last resort if nothing else panned out.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Travel to Headquarters

So the whole point of this internship was to get the demo working for whatever group you were working for and these demos were then shown to all the VP's and CEO at the headquarters in New York. Some people went up early to explore New York but I have been there enough times and my friends were in Europe at the time so I decided to save money instead. When we did fly in because of the movie “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle we convinced our manager to make a stop off at White Castle so we could get some mini burgers.
Company headquarters is so big they have their own hotel on site. So at $200 billed to the department/ per person a night I would think it would be a good hotel but I got flea bites on both legs that bugged the crap out of me the rest of the internship. Other then that it was pretty nice except the humidity felt like a wall every time walking out of a building.
The first day we practiced our presentations and set up our booths. The next day was a blur of giving presentations, showing off our demo, eating all of our meals with different assigned VP's, and meeting and watching the other sites presentations. (us from San Jose, Austin, Raleigh, Toronto, and Ottawa). I didn't know who the CEO was so I didn't get as excited as some of the others did when he came around to talk to each of us about our projects. Our mentors also wanted to demo our projects to the research groups in the area and I wanted to meet the research people there in New York since that is where I wanted a job so I convinced everyone from both groups that our mentors were sponsoring that we should give the demos since we were more familiar. I then found the group that I was interested in and tried to set up an interview while I was there. As it turns out she was busy so I met with her the next day.
The next day was devoted to job interviews. Departments that knew they would have an opening in their company the next year interviewed all those interested. None of the research groups were there so that is why I did what I did. The problem was that I had to drive to the other building while trying to fit everything else in too. It finally was over and we took a bus back to the airport. When we landed back in San Jose we found out there was a large scare in the U.K. involving liquid explosive trying to be smuggled on planes. If we had left just a few hours later we would have got stuck in the airport for hours.