I woke up at D’s house and he and I got moving pretty early, since he has a job and everything. I’ve been continually annoyed that people I visit have jobs. I’ve often found it inconvenient.
My activity for the day was to meet up with a friend who works for Google, a company based in Mountain View, California, that makes a search engine and some other online applications. I have often heard that there is no free lunch, but it turns out that at Google there is. From the time that they had about fifty employees they hired a chef who provided food for employees. At that time, during the dot-com boom, it wasn’t that unheard of for a company to provide silly perks to employees, but Google still does so.
I got their a good bit early and spent a while tidying up Walden, as I’d just thrown all of my belongings back in the day before. I also plugged in the solar panel and turned on the fridge. After a while I went on in to the lobby where we were to meet and hung out taking advantage of the wifi network that the provide to guests. R showed up just as the main cafeterias were about to open. He said that there were something like seventeen different cafeterias spread around the various buildings in Mountain View, but it seemed that these two were the main ones. I went around and checked all of the stuff available at the bigger one. There was pizza, pasta, sushi, a selection of Indian food, salads, sandwiches. . . pretty much anything you could imagine, and it all looked really good. We went and checked out another place where the food is apparently a little bit better, but there is less selection. I was somehow more tempted by the variety, though the selection was so overwhelming, that I might rather have just gone for the other place.
We ended up eating some Indian food. And some french fries. As we were going to get the fries, which were in a line where people were waiting on burgers, apparently prepared to order. My friend explained that efficiency is highly valued at Google. If one can slip into the front of a line, grab something, and slip back out without costing those waiting in line any extra time, then one should do so. Nobody at Google wants someone to sit around waiting needlessly. It wasn’t clear to me whether this was something that my friend was taught in some orientation session or that it was a cultural practice that he had inferred organically.
It was a beautiful day in Mountain View, and we sat in an outdoor seating area that included colorful umbrellas. Eventually he had to go back to work (See? These jobs can be annoying. My friend seems to enjoy his, but I might rather have hung out with him for the afternoon). While he toiled at trying to make sure that none of Google’s CPUs were needlessly waiting while others were overloaded, I ran a few errands I’d been meaning to work on for Walden.
One thing that I’d tried a couple of times but hadn’t managed to find the right parts for was a modification of the rear table that would allow it to be raised. The stock configuration allows the table to swing out. When it’s stowed, however, it blocks access to the two storage areas where I keep my clothes and the somewhat annoying, but apparently unavoidable “junk drawer.” So if I want to get out a pair of underwear or a t-shirt, I have to swing the table out. It may not sound like much, but it gets tedious.
The fix is to get a piece of 1.5″ pipe about 19 inches long and mount it so that the pipe that holds the table goes down inside it. I got a plug, drilled a hole in the end of it and screwed it into the floor, removing the bracket that once held the original pipe in place. I had to trim the shelf a bit (I used a pocket knife) to make room for the bigger pipe. Now the table can to move up and down and the stock knob that holds in in place will now hold it at any height. Yippee.
Then I went to Fry’s Electronics and spend ten bucks on a Bluetooth USB adapter for the laptop. Now when I watch movies on the laptop I can have the sound come out of the car stereo without plugging in. This is pretty handy too.
By this time it was time to pick my friend up from work and I drove him home to Noe Valley. I’m pretty sure that Walden wasn’t as comfortable as the Google bus he usually rides home in, and Walden doesn’t have WIFI. He seemed pretty happy to be in Walden nonetheless.
We made it back to his place. Walden got to park in a garage for the first time in many years.