hi ho hi ho

Back at work! Back at Apple! What a strange trip. I’m actually sharing Doug’s office for the summer; it seemed like a better choice than sharing a cube with other interns (ick). The first few days were filled with awkward moments where I met people who all remembered me quitting and we probably very confused by me showing up again. In all, though, I suppose that’s better than building up a group of work friends and resources from scratch.

Sharing an office with Doug has been great so far… he was nice enough to clear out a whole corner for me, and Rick hooked me up with a computer and after battling the account gods, I’m pretty much back to the state I was in after working about 2 months from the first time I started. We even bought a cheap stereo for the office and can now rock out to something more substantial than the tinny built-in speakers in Doug’s G5.

The first week was almost entirely absorbed by the process of differentiating my ass and a hole in the ground, as is expected. In all, I think the summer will be a blast. I regret somewhat not just taking the summer off to study for prelims and lounge, but I know I would probably just get bored and frustrated doing that, and this way I make some money while I’m at it.

On an unrelated note, I moved all my IRA money over from Fidelity to Etrade, mostly to take advantage of the very low expense ratios and low minimum investment in their index funds. This in itself is not interesting, but what was interesting was when I logged in at the beginning of last week to discover that someone had thoughtfully deposited $28,000 in cash into my account. I resist the “withdraw by check” button on the webpage and discovered that someone had just written the wrong account number in somewhere. Sigh. Just reinforces this feeling I have that money is a farce.

passive conduits

I was driving home today on the freeway, noticing all the people around me talking on their cell phones. I wondered how many conversations were being beamed through my skull at any given moment–10? 100? Just streaming through, little packets of people’s lives, diced up into electronic squirming coils, passing through my cortex, my medulla oblongata, my heart, my liver. And me, blissfully unaware, listening to the sound of the road and a trillion molecules of air getting shoved aside by a thousand cars. And as I sit here typing this? How many? How many wifi packets of porn sites that the neighbors are browsing at this moment? Where precisely through me will the new york times front page headline burrow? I can almost feel the sensation of being saturated by information, constantly awash in it, even when I sleep. We are all being slowly microwaved.

berkeley food #11: Viengvilay Thai

2505 Hearst Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709

This is a little in-and-out quick Thai place near, but not quite in the “food court,” a group of about 7 restaurants on Hearst east of Euclid. I ate here a lot while I was working on SIGGRAPH, so I think it deserves mention. The best thing about the place is their yellow curry, which is delicious and creamy while not being too heavy. I like it especially with chicken, though they don’t always restrain themselves to using the best parts. Once you leave the realm of coconut milk, though, the place has less to offer. It’s cheap, it’s close to Soda, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit. Plus, in Berkeley, you can usually throw a rock from one Thai restaurant to the next, so your choices aren’t limited.

berkeley, year one: check

Well, I’m sitting here in my office at Berkeley waiting to give a presentation of my class project for the only real class I had this semester. This year I’ve managed to show up, weasel my way into being a graphics student, land an advisor, and help write two papers, one of which will be in SIGGRAPH. I also somehow managed to land an NSF fellowship, taking care of money for the next three years. In total I rode BART to and from Berkeley at least 160 times and spent at least $1200 on BART tickets to do so. Will I appreciate the 10-minute walk from our fabulous Berkeley apartment? Oh yes, I will.

This weekend is Bay to Breakers, which I will be taking this year at a more leisurely pace than last in order to better enjoy the chichanery that abounds there. And then, quite suddenly, on Monday I will be back at Apple, working away on some dark and magical task that you will no doubt here about via Apple’s PR team in good time.

In all, life is beautiful.