Friday, July 13, 2007

Noogler, Day 14: Picture Extravaganza!

I'm still in the office as I start this, since I'm hoping to hang out with Scott later on. [It ended up being finished Sunday, 1:30 AM. So much for that plan. -Piq]

Today was a pretty typical day, whatever that means. I overslept, which is a typical start to the day. I was quite panicked when I woke up, and hoped to get ready in time to make it to my class this morning. I ended up about 10 minutes too late. It's a class I should attend, but it's okay to put it off a little while. I'll take it next week instead.

On the upside, I've been sleeping MUCH better. The pharmacist's advice seems to have been helping, and now I'm pretty much caught up to normal sleep levels.

At any rate, I was all free and clear to study. I worked on a few different things, and after a while, I got a call from Matt. There are several 7-11s that have, in preparation for the Simpson's Movie, renamed themselves to Kwik-E-Mart, and started selling items from the Simpsons show. You may have noticed the KrustyO cereal in my day 10 post. They're also selling things like Squishee frozen drink, Buzz cola (which smells somewhere between Jolt and generic store cola, and if you've played Simpsons Road Rage, you may have some more thoughts on the matter) and the pink-glazed donuts with sprinkles that are ubiquitous in the Simpsons.

Now, the only one in this area is in Mountain View, about half a mile from the Googleplex. Dennis (a friend of mine from Juniper, one of the ones I try to keep in touch with) is a die-hard Simpsons fan. He, Matt, and another guy at Juniper who had been hired after I left were all going to the Kwik-E-Mart to check it out. Matt was called me to see if I wanted to join them. Of course I did, so I went down to grab a bike.

As I was getting on the bike, three Koreans asked me a few questions about the bikes: if they're just open for anybody to use, what the flag is for, etc. As I spoke with them, I learned that they were visiting. One is a reporter, another is her translator, and the third hung back with no apparent involvement in what was going on. (Despite the translator's assertion that the reporter wasn't on the job, I did see her taking some notes.)

They told me that they were in the area and decided to visit the Googleplex, to see if they could arrange a tour. They had intended to go to the visitor's lobby and see what could be arranged. I escorted them to the visitor's lobby in building 42, talking to them as we walked, and then went back to the bike.

When I got to the Kwik-E-Mart, the Juniperites were waiting out front, with Dennis sipping on a Buzz cola. They got a kick out of the little blue Google bike with the oversized basket and orange flag. After checking out the Kwik-E-Mart (and taking pictures; note the faux cartoon walls on the exterior), we decided to eat. And what better place for this than at Google!

Now, I didn't tell them that it was a somewhat special day. There was a whole Viva la France thing going at Charlie's, with special menus, special cheeses, oysters, etc, etc. We ended up all three going to Bistro G, where they were serving ratatouille, roast chicken, etc. I went over and got some (non-alcoholic) chardonnay, and we sat down outside to eat and talk.

After we had eaten, I took them on a brief tour of campus. Google does actually have a number of prepared campus tour plans, for just such an occasion. I hadn't memorized any of those, but had fun ad-libbing. Unfortunately, Dennis had to go soon, so we wrapped up quickly and they headed off.

After they left, I went back to work. I talked to Jason about my starter project. He explained the project to me, and we worked out more or less what parts of it he knows, and what parts I know, and what parts neither of us know. I've got a pretty good idea of what I need to do on this score now.

I was setting up a plan for what else I was going to learn, but it occurred to me that I don't know how much I don't know! Fortunately, there's some internal self-assessment quizzes. I sat down to go through the C++ quiz, since that's one area that I have no idea whether I'm a dunce or a whiz. I took exception to a few questions on this quiz... some are a bit vague, and they're vague in ways that mean that they clearly mean one thing to a novice, but clearly mean something different to an expert. (I'm not an expert in C++ by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm talking about some general language concepts.)

I worked through the first 2/3 or so of the quiz, but by then it was getting rather late indeed, and my brain was starting to deteriorate. I decided to put the quiz away and do something more productive— like start on this post!

Fortunately, we got the pics from the offsite today. Unfortunately, I can't post them on the Intarweb for obvious privacy reasons. To make it up, I've posted several other pictures from around the Google campus. There's some of a microkitchen; I'll point out that those are all from a single microkitchen. There's a number of doodles from one of the nearby markerboards. There's a few signs that started from the fact that one of our products is called AdSense. There's a mockup of SpaceShip One. There's fun stuff around Google.

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