Time is running by so fast, it’s unbelievable. Here’s what happened during the last (almost) two weeks.
On Saturday, I took the Caltrain to the airport to get Rick’s car, as he would be in Europe for three weeks. Thank you so much, Rick! Eventually my bike, which I left at the train station, would get a little jealous about the other means of transportation involved… However, it was nice hitting American roads again. Oh how I missed you, 2×6-lane highways!
I went to IKEA to get some tools for the kitchen and other stuff for my new home. IKEAs really look the same everywhere! (Except for IKEA no 1 in Stockholm maybe.) Even the meatballs taste the same. And as everywhere else, after walking through the whole store, you end up with many more things than you actually planned to buy (like a small palm tree for our living room).
Then the preparations for Pablo’s and my potluck (an informal party where everybody brings something to eat and/or to drink) started. We had made a reservation for the Village Center right next to our apartments; every tenant in Escondido Village can have this huge space (for around 60 people seated, 140 standing!) once in a month—for free!
As you might expect, I made Kaiserschmarrn (“Austrian-style pancake”, literally something like “Emperor’s mishmash”) and Zwetschkenröster (compote of plums), using 12 eggs and 2 kilograms of plums (4 pounds 6.5 ounces, as they say here).
Even though I skipped the lasagna I wanted to make as well, I was late for my own party; but so were almost all of the guests, fortunately. We had invited people from the office, interns from PARC, and “schoolmates” from Pablo’s English course. Still, the room didn’t fill up, obviously, but it was great fun. We had tons of food, beer, sangria, and Chocolate port.
On Sunday, after watching “Midnight in Paris” (very Woody Allen-like!) in a nice single-room cinema, I went to get back my bike from the train station. At least that’s what I had in mind—but it was gone! May you rod and burn in hell, thief of my beloved red cruiser bike! Of course, it wasn’t a very good idea to leave the bike overnight at the train station… It seems that after 6 years, the bike just had to be stolen another time. Shit happens.
On Monday, I had a meeting with Martha, Camilla, and (via Skype from Japan) Neil (a “T-con” as they say here), talking about future extensions to twex. Still pretty excited about it.
Concerning work, I discovered Orange, a really cool tool from Ljubljana for data mining, visualization, and analysis. It makes it particularly easy to apply different machine learning algorithms. Presented some results at our meeting on Wednesday, and I think it’s going in the right direction.
Although it’s easy to get around campus using the free shuttle buses, I absolutely needed a new bike. On Friday, I finally got a new beach cruiser at Walmart for $90. Shiny blue, single speed, single brake, double awesome. I’m happy and complete again. Cruising between Spanish mission-style buildings and palm trees in the Californian sun always makes me feel like on holidays—even if I work a lot.
Apart from cruising, I increasingly enjoy running on and around campus. The dish is the perfect place for it, it least if you don’t go at high noon, like I did with Pablo on Saturday. After that (and a frozen yogurt), Csongor and Tania (from Romania/Hungary) made a really great birthday party. They had like 15 different dishes (among them: plum dumplings!) which they had been preparing since Thursday morning. Yummy! (And the beer was good as well.)
We couldn’t party the whole night though, because on Sunday we went surfing again. This time, the waves weren’t as good as the other time, but it was fun nevertheless. Had vegetarian burgers and awesome nacho fries at a spacy restaurant. (We had been starving though, so maybe not the best conditions for rating the actual quality of food…) Played an almost-professional game of beach volleyball. Oh how I love the beach!
We continued our sports session with tennis and basketball on Monday. It’s so convenient if all facilities are just a few meters away. Now I have to rest a little again though, because coming up next weekend is a serious hike in Yosemite, stay tuned!