Gesticulations and Other Geekery » Posts in 'Travel' category

California: June

I have been in Mountain View, CA for 2 weeks now. The internship at Google has been going well. The basic time line has been as follows:

  • I arrived in Mountain View on May 31st.
  • My first day at Google was Jun 2nd.
  • They did “on-boarding” for most of that week. Which was kinda painful at times, but I did learn a lot about how Google works.
  • On Friday I finally got a chance to start to do a little real work and I started to figure out what project I would be doing. More on that below.
  • The next week (last week) I had only one class I had to attend so I finally started to get real amounts of work done.

I’ve been meeting lots of good people both at Google and from my housemate Dave’s social group. There are board games every Tuesday night and dinner and movies every Saturday, so I have not been suffering from lack of socialization which has been nice (it keeps Arthur from getting even more crazy). Yesterday I went on a hike with a bunch of Google interns. It was fun though the group was a bit too big and for some reason everyone wanted to walk really fast, so I ended up at the very back keeping track of the stragglers and taking pictures. The stragglers where actually a really fun group of people it turned out.

The hike was to the beach at Reyes Point (click the link to see a map of our route). It was a really nice hike (though longer than I expected). I got some good pictures and even a couple panoramas. I also met several really good people and chatted about all sort of nerdy things (these are Google interns after all).


My Google project is related to type checking Python code. I probably shouldn’t go into too much detail online since I don’t know what is secret and what isn’t, but I know I can tell you about the code that is open-source already. I have been working with PyTypeDecl and a metacyclic Python bytecode interpreter called Byterun. It’s been quite interesting and I think the I will be proud of the results.

So overall California is treating me well. Tomorrow I will be back to work and trying to push forward with my plan of action. And trying not to eat too many snacks. Oh, that reminds me. As some of you I’m sure know, Google has free food all over the place. They have cafes all over campus that are all free (for Googlers), and they actually produce very good food. I mean not everything is great, but it’s better than most of the $5 lunches I could get around UT. Also they have kitchenettes on each floor which have a lot of snacks and tea and stuff like that. I guess their theory is a well fed programmer is a productive programmer. I don’t mind being pampered a bit, but the chocolate they have is good enough to be really dangerous. ;-)

Posted in Grad School, Life (other than code), Programming Theory, Travel

Almost there

My father and I just crossed the Texas border. We are still a 7 hour drive from Austin but this is the last leg in some sense. We will be spending the night at a motel somewhere along I-10. And tomorrow moving into my apartment.

Last night I tripped in the camp ground and skinned my knee and mildly sprained my ankle. I managed to see some of carlsbad caverns today anyway. So that worked ok.

It’s hard to take pictures in a cave, even a lit one. So the carlsbad pictures will be mediocre at best. Though I do have an interesting idea about post processing: could I merge the sharp image of a flash picture with the color and brightness of a natural light image to get a sharper version of the natural light image?

And by the way, we live in the future. I’m posting this while moving at breakneck speed (75 mph) across the west Texas desert on US-285.

Again there  will be more text and pictures about this trip in coming weeks as I work through my picture (around 1500 of them I think) and write up some discussion of the trip. However as a preview. The main take away from this trip is you really need 2-3 days at most of the locations instead of 4-5 hours.

A VLA dish (I’m in front of it, look for the ant sized creature)

Rocks and plants at the Valley of Fires Campground we stayed at last night. (where I hurt me self)

A drapery at Carlsbad Caverns in the “Big Room”.

Posted in Life (other than code), Travel

Driving to Austin (Preview)

I said I would try to post so here is a quick one. I’m in a KOA campground in Holbrook, AZ. So far the neat stops have been almost all canyons, with one exception:

  • Crooked River
  • The Bonoville Saltflats
  • Kolob Canyons (in Zion National Park)
  • The Grand Canyon

We have been camping (except for one night were we cheated and went to motel). The next couple of days will be the VLA (Very Large Array Radio Telescope) and maybe Carlsbad Caverns.

Here are a few pictures. Many more have been taken and will be shared later.

Bonoville Saltflats

Kolob Canyon (Zion National Park)

Grand Canyon (from Imperial Point)

Posted in Life (other than code), Travel

Visiting Japan: Part 3

This is the third of three posts. The three parts are 1, 2, and 3.

May 28

Once I parted ways with Martin, Kyoko, and Sarah I got on the Shinkansen to Nagoya for the next conference.

That night I stay at a Ryokan, a “traditional” Japanese hostel of sorts. It was of course a tourist trap, but it was also pretty cheap and sleeping on Tatami was interesting. It was pretty good night. I failed to find any of the restaurants I went looking for for dinner, so I ended up just getting convenience store Sushi, which is pretty good in Japan. Also I got a red bean danish, which was awesome. In fact I really wish I could get themhere. That and the awesome green tea ice cream bars. I should try to source them in the US.

May 29

In the morning I had a “traditional” Japanese breakfast involving eggs cooked at the table over a flame and various fishy things. It was good. Then I headed to the conference (WFLP). I was the first to present in the morning and I presented my abstract on evaluating functional programs in parallel using random traversals, “The Random Traversal Technique for Parallel Evaluation of Functional Programs”. It went well and someone told me I was wrong which I was pretty happy about. I mean at least it was interesting enough for someone to have an opinion about. WFLP was only a single day. Read more »

Posted in Travel

Visiting Japan: Part 2

This is the second of three posts. The three parts are 1, 2, and 3.

May 26

In the evening I got on the Shinkansen and went to Tokyo to meet with Martin, Kyoko, and Sarah. I met them at Shin-Yokohama and we went to Minato Mirai and rode the large farris wheel. It was pretty cool.


Then we had Sushi. Which was interesting. Raw fish is subtle, but tasty. Honestly I learned through the trip that I prefer raw fish to cooked fish. Also the rice is amazing in Sushi. In fact the rice Shuyu, Wasabi combination is my favorite part. I ate Fugu (puffer fish) but I was not actually that impressed. It was good but not impressive deep fried, but the raw Fugu was really tough and kind of boring. However I really enjoyed the Unagi (I think, it might have been a different eel) and what I think was some kind of tuna. Overall it was very good. Sushi is the only meat that I ate in Japan that I kinda wish I ate more often, but I think I will be happy with vegetable Maki because rice and sauce are my favorite part. That being said, if I go back to Japan (which I would like to do) I would probably eat more Sushi.

Then we went back to Martin and Kyoko’s apartment.

Read more »

Posted in Life (other than code), Travel

Visiting Japan: Part 1

So better late then never like they say. This trip was almost 2 months ago, but I’m only now getting to posting about it. Life has been distracting. I was in Japan for 8 days from May 22 to May 30. And I’ll give a quick day by day with some pictures.

This is the first of three posts. The three parts are 1, 2, and 3.

May 22-23

Rice paddies

I traveled for 24 hours straight from Portland to Los Angeles to Tokyo to Kobe. The flight from LAX to Tokyo alone was around 10 hours. It was exhausting, but went pretty well. As we came into to Narita Airport (Tokyo) I say a bunch of “fields” that made me think of coming into Kansas and seeing all the wheat. But it hit me this was not wheat. They were rice paddies. Eventually I made it to my hotel in Kobe.

May 24

This was my first day at FLOPS and it went well. I say some talks and I talked to people. It was interesting. That night was the conference banquet so they loaded us onto a bus and drove us to Arima Onsen where we had some time to wander around a little resort town of sorts and we had a rather fancy meal. I spent my free time walking around on my own. I saw some Shinto shrines and a Budist temple. It was all very beautiful.

Read more »

Posted in Life (other than code), Travel