Is that with one or two 't's?

Whew, what a day of random adventures.  It's funny how a day can begin and end which such a random phrase.

Since I was robbed of my chance to go to Japan, my company has decided to put me onto a 2pm-midnight shift.  I know, I'm not really a happy camper about that.  However, I'm kinda being forced, since I agreed to go to Japan, so working Japan hours in the U.S. is somehow equivalent?  Oh well, it should only last for the month of August, and I'm definitely going to put in the time, because I fear I might lose part of my Eurotrip, which is NOT gonna happen!

Any who, on the advice of my mom, I decided to take a little "mini-vacation" today, a little trip away from San Jose, since I wouldn't be heading overseas.  I woke up this morning with the plan to head up to Half Moon Bay with no real plans, but first I had to drop off my bike for repairs.  I somehow bent and chipped off my large chain ring randomly while biking home Tuesday.  It still rode well to work Friday, but the gear was definitely wobbling, so I figured better take it in.  

The guy at the bike shop are real cool, so I gave him my info and he said it'd be about a week; no biggie, since I start the "night shift" this week anyways.  When it came to my name, I just said "Matt", figuring I didn't have to spell it.  I mean, yes I usually do when I go to a restaurant where there might be a shot at spelling my name wrong, but in Campbell, really?  "Is that Matt with one or two t's?" he asked.  "...Two," I replied, thinking to myself who spells it with one?  I'm sure someone does, but I've never met one yet.  I believe Robb (with two b's) at work said he knows some Mat's with one 't' back in Michigan, but I can't say that I've ever met one of these fabled Mats.  Man, they must really find my "Hi, I'm Mat" doormat a stitch!  

I shrugged it off, took my repair slip, and gunned it down the 17 onramp, blasting my music on this nice foggy morning.  I've loved the past two weeks; this cool weather has been awesome.  I know people whine about it because they can't hang out at the beach 24/7, but hey, for us valley-dwellers, it's nice to be in the 70s.  It makes it way easier to sleep, that's for sure.  Note to self: next place you live in must be cool and/or have lots of weather (i.e. rain, snow, what-have-you)

I trekked up to HMB to explore, expecting to find lots of random shops to check out.  I gotta admit, I was a little disappointed.  The area has some awesome scenery and beaches and the town is interesting, but it was a little too artsy-fartsy for me.  It kinda reminded me of Saugatuckin many ways.  There was an overabundance of art gallerys and cottage furtniture shops, with very little for me to find interest in.  Well, that and I got there before anything opened, which made the place seem like a bit of a ghost town.  However, the sun and people slowly appearance and by noon the place was bustling.

At this point, I'd like to thank Yelp.  I love you so much.  I was able to find 3 great finds:

1) Raman's Coffee and Chai - best chai EVER.  He makes his own special blend from India it was pretty friggin awesome.  I followed the rules as specified on the reviews and didn't make any substitutions.  I guess Raman is the Soup Nazi of Chai in HMB, but for good reason!  I was sad there was no internet, but it was a nice spot to chill and read my Nook.  I was feeling a little weak up until that point in the morning; I think biking 3 days a week and not eating enough to match is taking its toll.  Perhaps taking a break from biking will be a good idea.  That and eating more, which I'm cool with :)

2) Garden Deli & Cafe - homemade sandwiches with their own bread?  Give me a slice!  After polishing off my chai, I headed back into town and stopped in for a good lunch and to read some more.  I meandered into the bar of the hotel where the sandwich shop was and scarfed my sandwich.  

3) M Coffee - a great little shop where I spent my afternoon buried in my laptop.  Probably not the best thing to do on a Saturday, but hey, I was on vacation!  The coconut ice cream was delicious and my spot by the front window was great (just check out the little window nook in my FB pic).  I wish there was a shop like this in SJ...most of the one's I've been to lack personality.  Well, I'm also not a major coffee drinker, so unless they have juice, tea, or chai I'm a little out of my league.  I'll have to keep up my search.

I spent the afternoon at the coffee shop shuffling through all sorts of things.

First, let me just say that sadly, I'm getting more into Twitter and FB again (just check the millions of updates I posted today!)  I know, I'm a tech junkie, so it's kinda my thing, but I think my blog's gonna fall by the wayside.  It's funny, b/c that's what my (poorly written) final paper was on in my Popular Culture class.  Blogs  take a lot of energy and time to create, so people are turning to faster forms of communication like FB and Twitter.  Oh well dear blog, I promise I will try and keep you company.  If anything, I feel like I still need it to relay (long) stories about my many words am I at so far?  And then Europe, my god, this blog will definitely come in handy!  There's still hope.  Maybe a facelift?  I've been thinking of a website redesign...that might be a while, but hopefully sometime this year lol  

Let's see, other things at the coffee shop...oh grad schools!  I'm spent the day shuffling back and forth through schools again, but I think I've finally finished my first pass at schools.  Of course there's probably 20 schools on the list, but now I feel like I can go through my list in one pass and narrow it down to second round picks. I've had a hard time finding exactly what I'm looking for...probably because for the first time in my life, I can't say I know what I want to do.  I mean, ever since I was in middle school or so I wanted to be a Computer Engineer and live in Silicon Valley.  What now?  What major? Grad school or work? Move or stay?  Man, the 20s are full of questions!  I've combed the internet for "sustainability"; believe me, if a school has even a remote mention of it, I've read about it.

I got a little flustered with the huge intake of grad school information.  And by then it was already 4:30 and the shop was closing in a half hour.  I decided to ship off to clear my head and regroup.  It seemed like the more I searched, the more schools I found to research or the more I felt I needed to re-research the schools I already picked. 

Since I was in HMB already, I decided to use this vacay as an opprotunity to check more of CA-1 off my list.  I took a short 30 mi ride up to SF, leaving only the segment from Santa Cruz to HMB to cover!  Then I'll have driven all the way from the start up north to south of Santa Maria.  I'll admit, I'm still partial to the section from Monterey to SLO, but this part has lots of great beaches and towns, so I'll make it maybe #2 or 3 along with some of the segments north of the city.  I'm sorry to say I didn't take pictures.  I don't know what it is, but some reason if I don't start taking pictures early in the day, I never feel like taking out my camera. (Note to self: you better take pics every day in Europe!)

Then I did an about face at the city and headed south.  For some reason, I ended up taking 237 to the ranch shops in Milpitas.  There I perused a Best Buy (haven't done that in a while) and stole a glance at a bunch of grad school and green job books.  I bought a book, but I logged onto Barnes and Nobles at the Borders store and bought the eBook version for cheap haha.  

Oh, I also jumped into a Sprint store after impersonating my dad on the Sprint website and bugging the web chat guys about my parent's phone account.  I've been trying to hatch a plan to get a new 4G phone like an EVO or Epic, but I can't swing losing my (if I may use my new catchphrase) badass SERO plan.  I mean paying $30/mo for unlimited everything is great.  Oh well, I've spent months contemplating it, and with my contract up and my techie sense tingling, I think I may cave when I get back from Europe.  I thought adding myself to my parents family plan might alliviate some pain, but it turns out their plan would go up $70 + a new phone + 4G, which is WAY more than my new plan.  Oh well, wishfull thinking I guess...

I ended the day with a bowl of soup at Panera to collect my grad school thoughts.  Thankfully, it all came together.  I've focused my search, and I think I can safely say I'm going to be an EE still.  The sustainable and environmental engineering options are interesting, but I'm still not sure if I feel secure enough about getting a job with those majors.  However, I still want to go to a program that has active research in sustainability and maybe even a sustainability certificate/minor.  Now I just need to sit down and widdle the list down...  I felt so relieved to have finally nailed this list down; a pushed my netbook back and stared blankly at the table in relief.  It felt good to stop staring at a screen; I do enough of that on weekdays.  

I just so happened to glance down at my receipt to see 'Mat' staring me in the face.  Come on!  I even spelled it out that time!  Oh well, to all you Mats out there, I admit defeat.  You clearly must be more prevalent than us 2 t'ers.  That or people don't know how to spell the more common version of "Matt"....nah, can't be!

But YOU guys I'm sure didn't have as relaxing as a day as me (or as complete of a grad school list) so...YEA, take that!

Now for a quick weekly update...Europe's in a 1 yr work anniversary was this week...I was going to trip got cancelled...I broke my bike...and then I found five dollars...just kidding (well, the last one anyway)

Later kids!


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The farthest I've ever traveled...and I leave in 4 days!

That's right: I'm heading to Japan.  Sounds like a plan to me!  Although I'll admit it, for a super planner like me, this trip has caught me a little off guard haha.

It all started a few months back at a happy hour.  I MAY have had a few too many margaritas at Chevys when we were all discussing going to Japan.  My boss, Steve, mentioned the idea of going to Japan to possibly do some work.  Next thing I know, I blurted out. "Shoot, I'll go in a second!"  Of course, it was true, but I think I kind of surprised everyone, including myself.

Well, drunken (actually, more like buzzed) words are sober thoughts.  Steve later told me I could possibly work in Japan for up to a year.  I thought that was pretty cool, although I was a little hesitant to go to work at a place where I could be working 12-14 hour days and couldn't leave work until the manager left.  Either way, it was the experience of a lifetime.  In the end it wasn't meant to be; one of our designers, who had way more experience than me, was sent to help out the guys over the Pacific.

That was until a few weeks ago.  The topic of simulation work came up, and I was again on the possible travel list, along with my buddy Roger at work.  I'll admit, for a guy with less than a year's time in at the company (one year this week) I was surprised that I'd go, plus Roger had more experience in the area they needed help.  It sounded like Roger would be going for sure.  Then, all of a sudden, Steve let me know last week that I could possibly be going to work in Fuji (Japan) starting wither 7/26 or 8/2, which was REALLY soon.  They needed someone who could help the Japan guys with our environment, and I had quite a bit of testing experience.  That was Wednesday...

Then Steve went on vacay to Florida and we never got confirmation from the Fuji manager, so I just assumed it'd be put off.  After all, I'm heading to Europe on September 1st, so I just figured Roger would go later in August.

Monday rolls around, and I got an email saying I'm all set to go, starting work Monday!  Holy crap.  All of a sudden, I got super excited (and a little nervous, but not much).  Today, it was official: I'm on a flight to Tokyo on Saturday.

I'm still a bit in shock from all of this.  Of course I'll be mostly working (quite a bit it sounds like), but I'm going to do my best to get out and see what I can.  It's great practice for Europe, especially with a 10-11 hr flight!  As Roger mentioned, the language barrier might be a bit tougher to overcome; English isn't as prevalent in Japan as it is in Europe.  Fortunately, one of our SJ guys is already there, plus many of the Japan guys speak English pretty well, so it shouldn't be a problem.  I'm a little frazzled also by the spontaneity, but hey, that's what makes it an adventure right?  It's definitely an experience.

After two weeks, I'll be back, and two weeks later, I'll be heading across the pond to London.  Man, this is my first two international travel experiences, and they're within a month!  Man, I truly feel like a guy in his 20s, exploring the world.  I'm glad I finally got my "random" little adventure, even if I do have to work most of the time.

So, in the meantime, I'm prepping for Japan, collecting info, packing, the usual.  I'll try to post often, and the pictures (and souvenirs) will be coming.  I'm beat, later y'all!


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Delays can yield so much

Well, it's been a week since I've gotten back from MI, but with all the moving hoopla, I'm just getting around to writing this up.  So here's the story:

Last Wednesday was probably the worst air travel day I've had in a while.  However, I never knew how interesting a day of delays in airports could be.  There's a whole world of people with interesting stories roaming our airports.  Next time you're stuck on the ground, you should try to make conversation with someone, you learn the most interesting things.

Alright, so the breakdown: I got up at 3 a.m. (EST) to get to my flight from Detroit to Houston at 6 a.m.  We got on board when the pilot came on and said the fuel indicator for the center fuel tank was broken.  Oops, that's not good.  Fortunately, all they needed to do was empty the tank, fill it and watch the truck's gauge so that they'd have an accurate measurement.  Ten minutes.  We got off the plane, and me being half-awake and naive, I bought it.  Two and a half hours later, the fuel truck still hadn't arrived, and Continental (somehow) shoved us all onto their next flight to Houston.  There went my flight to San Jose.

I arrived in muggy Houston with another 6 hours until my flight to San Jose at 5:55 p.m. (CST).  I had been hoping to get into work at noon and start right back into it, but there went that.  Instead of freaking out, as I normally would, I just found a place for a sandwich, turned on my laptop, and did work through the VPN while watching the World Cup. (Sorry guys for rerouting the video through San Jose!)  It was quite relaxing, sitting in an empty section of the huge terminal, typing away.  In the end, I somehow managed 5 1/2 hours of work, which I must say was quite a feat.  Eventually, the area around me filled up with people.  All of a sudden, a voice over the speaker came on in the gate area, "We will now begin pre-boarding for Detroit."  I looked up, surprised to see that I had sat down right at the gate for Detroit.  It felt like a message, like maybe I should head home.  It might've been a good idea.  People gave me strange looks, wondering why the guy in the Detroit Tigers shirt wasn't getting on the plane.

In the end, I moved to my gate, which had now changed to the opposite side of this cross-shaped terminal.  Gate changes up to this point: 2.  As I sat working away, the skies outside grew dark and it began to pour.  I wouldn't have noticed if it weren't for the clap of thunder that knocked me out of my work trance.  Ah, so nice to see rain again.  It took me a moment later to realize the problem: there's no way they'll land in this.  Gate change...gate change, running up and down the terminal.  Finally, the flight got delayed by an hour.  Apparently the flight from Portland that we were waiting for diverted to Dallas and then to San Antonio because of the weather.

Delay...gate change...gate change...gate change.  It was ridiculous; by this point, I was basically laughing.  Slowly, I realized who was on my plane, since the group would migrate from place to place.  While running from gate to gate, I met an 18 year old girl who was just starting college.  She was in an awful mood; apparently she was flying standby on this flight and never really had traveled alone like this before.  I kinda calmed her down and talked to her about college and stuff.  She had quite a story, moving 17 times in the last 18 years.  Her accent was cool; it was a combination of Florida, California, and Texas, all of which she had lived in at one point.  Finally, we settled down at our 6th and final gate for our flight at 9:30 p.m. (CST)

The flight was now in the air.  Whew.  As for the girl, she got on to the earlier San Jose flight (which in the end landed 1 minute before our flight haha).  In the meantime, the man across from me figured out that I was into computers (dunno what I mentioned to the girl about tech stuff)  As it turns out, he was the previous CTO of Grand Central (now Google Voice).  It was really cool hearing his whole story, especially his description of Google's network and the problem it has with VoIP.  He had retired a few months back, but now was in talks with Apple to work on some sort of data network, possibly for iTunes streaming.  His interview was the next day, but he said if their offer didn't interest them, he'd be starting his own company.  I told him to sign me up if he ever did and needed someone like me!  Luckily, I had a business card, so we exchanged information.  You never know what will happen.

In the end, our flight took off at 9:30 p.m. (CST) and got to SJ around midnight.  Unfortunately, my shuttle ride back had already left, but the guy I had met had a car and was heading for Cupertino, which was right on the way to my place.  He dropped me off after picking up his bag, and I passed out around 2 a.m. (PST).

In the end, I had been up over 24 hours, but I had met some interesting people, and I'm glad that I got to have my mini airport adventure.  Next time I get delayed, I'll actually look forward to it, since you never know who you will meet :-)

That's it for now, I owe you news on my move and new place, keep in touch, I'll see what I can do.



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