I landed at San Francisco's airport last Sunday with rainy weather behind me in DC and heavy fogs & rain here in the Bay area. It figures: while I had packed every possible change of clothes --business casual, recreational, square dance club formal, etc.-- I hadn't thought to pack either a waterproof jacket or an umbrella. Doh! At least the "rain" in SF was little more than a heavy drizzle and it all blew out of the area by lunchtime Tuesday.
This first week was dedicated to working at my Dear Employer's new office digs in downtown San Francisco. We occupty the 20th & 21st floors of 301 Howard Street, just a couple of blocks south of the Embarcadero BART subway station. In many ways, it's incredibly convenient. On the downside, corporate policy hasn't caught up with the new reality and I must therefore continue to stay at the officially blessed Hyatt Regency, two miles on the wrong side of the San Francisco airport. Using a rental car, I've been driving a mile to the Millbrae BART station, paying $2/day in parking and spending another $8 or so for the subway ride.
I don't mind the commute overmuch. The only downside --besides taking 45 minutes per day each way just to travel-- is that I have to get to the Millbrae station around 7am to guarantee finding a parking spot and/or a seat on the train for all the 11 stops and that means the alarm going off at 6am. I'm OK with that but I'm not a morning person. Worse, while showing up at 8am is a Good Thing work-wise because there's no one else in the office, I feel a bit guilty leaving before 5pm with the rest. When I'm on the east coast, I get out of bed at 8:59am to be at my basement computer bunker by 9am. Sometimes I'll even put on clothes. And I can take a few minutes in the middle of the day to sit somewhere comfortable, away from the computer screens, to rest if desired. In short, I'm out of practice with the commuting schedule most normal people have, and which I used to follow when working at all prior employers.
A word on BART. Many of the people I work with don't have a high opinion of the system. Trains too irregular, trains too old, etc.. Having spent many years on Toronto's TTC subway and DC's Metro system, I'll say that BART has some distinct advantages over the other two.
1. The cars are clean, practically spotless. I hardly ride Metro without getting a strong whiff of mildew from the poorly cleaned & maintained AC systems. Most Metro cars desperately need some stain remover on their floors and sometimes the seats.
2. Toronto and DC's subways stop at stations wherever they please. Sometimes the train will advance to the end of the platform, sometimes they crawl just far enough for the trailing car to align with the entrance, most times they just park at some random place along the platform. BART trains stop at distinct locations and there are colored floor tiles at the platform edge to indicate precisely where the doors will be. This pleasant feature allows passengers to queue up on either side to board rather than forming an amorphous blob competing to get in the doors the moment the last departing passenger is clear. And BART passengers do queue up politely. Imagine that: a design inducement for crowd politeness rather than dissuading it.
I was surprised to learn Monday that I have a new Director of Operations. I didn't even known we were hiring such a position, but I'm guessing my VP was finding he needed to delegate more of the day-to-day business so he can focus on the larger picture. Bret seems a pretty nice guy and he seems to know his stuff. This week, he was getting to know all of the people involved, checking out the data center facilities, familiarizing himself with our networks, our fields of specialty, our day-to-day activites and meetings. I took advantage of his first day to piggy-back my own requests for a new office badge so I can get into the office during the off-hours, among other things.
There is one huge downside to working at the San Fran office: excessive visibility. Many of the things I wanted to do have been swamped by fly-by requests and/or urgent matters. Since I'm one of three people on the team (more on that soon), I usually get a stack of these but being on-site increased my percentage significantly. I'm behind on my personal work-related goals for this week.
After several days of minimal sleep, I crashed early last night. Rather, I decided that when I dropped my tablet on my face twice before 9pm when I dozed off while reading, it was a sign I should just call it a night. I slept soundly until about 6am.cuyahogarvr
are arriving on Virgin America at lunchtime today. I received a couple of confirming text messages from them just prior to boarding that all was well.
Per earlier plans, I drove to the local laundromat to catch up on laundry. I have packed my bags and am ready to check out of the Hyatt at 11am. I'll park the car at Millbrae, then take the BART to SFO to collect the guys and their bags. Once we're together, we'll head downtown to check into the Marriott Marquis for the IAGSDC convention (I've already checked in online) where we're staying until July 8 when the boys return east. I still need to book an alternate hotel in SF for July 8-12, but the last minute deals are only available a week prior to the booking date so I'll worry about that on July 1.
More news as it develops.