Google Dream

Dream last night:

I am driving through Westboro with some friends, and I see the Google headquarters there.
It is a moderate-sized building made of tan brick.
“I’ve always meant to stop in, I drive by all the time,” I say. “C’mon, let’s take a tour!”

We walk inside. To take a tour, I have to sign my name at the security desk. They already have my signature on file, so just signing my name verifies my identity. They give me a visitor badge.
The interior is kind of like a museum, very open. Rather than have offices with doors, most people have a desk in one corner of an open room that has open doorways to adjacent rooms.

I look at the map. “Maybe we should start on the top floor and work our way down?”
A security guard gestures to me. “You should start there,” he says, pointing to a room.
It seems more like a suggestion than an order, so we go there.

It is a square room with a doorway on one side. Along the wall to the right of the entrance are a series of chairs, like the waiting area at a doctor’s office. Straight ahead are a series of windows, placed very high on the wall. They are half-height, like basement windows. On the wall to the left, there is a blocky staircase, no railing, just a series of blocks, leading to a small opening that is carpeted. The rest of the room is empty.
I sit in one of the chairs and wait. I realize that this is a line to wait to meet Eric Meyer, who is the head of Google’s UI and CSS department [in the dream, not in real life]. People are treating it like going to see the Wizard of Oz or something, they are all preparing the question they will ask. David Evans in there, he is excited, he turns to me, querying “what are you going to ask?” I say I’m not sure yet.

Gradually the line moves along. I watch people crawl out of the little hole, down the stairs, and out of the room, then the next person goes up the stairs and crawls into the little hole. It’s carpeted to act as padding so you don’t hurt yourself whacking your head or arms on the edge of the rectangular opening.
When my turn comes around, I go up the stairs and through the little doorway. On the other side is a good-sized office. Eric Meyer sits behind a mahogany desk. I hand him a scrap of paper I’ve been doodling on.
“Oh, you already know CSS,” he says after looking at the piece of paper, “let’s play a game, then.”

We enter some kind of virtual reality world, I don’t remember how. I am flying a plane of some kind, leading a squadron of planes against Eric. He is a Red Baron of sorts. He’s very good, flying towards the sun, then diving back down, then looping back up towards the sun. It catches most of my squadron by surprise, and he shoots them down. But I anticipated it, and riddle his plane with bullets. It is still falling, crumpled into a ball, and I keep shooting it as it goes down. I am laughing, not in a mean way, but with playful exuberance.
I exit the game, and somehow I am back in the waiting room. Eric is on a gurney, being wheeled out by paramedics. Somehow shooting him in the game has wounded him in real life. “Oh, I’m sorry,” I say, “I didn’t know!”
He coughs and waves me off, “don’t worry about it,” he coughs again, “you only winged me.” They wheel him off.

I’m not sure where to go next, so I wander through Google, wandering through different people’s office areas.
Then I hear a click-clack sound. It sounds like a old-fashioned newsroom. I follow the sound and it leads me to an old-fashioned office door, wood with a frosted glass window. Gold lettering on the window reads “Typewriter and Fax Department”. I open the door and go in. There are a couple rows of electric typewriters with people typing away on them. There is also a large device, half the size of a refrigerator, that buzzes and clunks. I realize it must be a fax machine. I also realize that a fax machine this old can only accept typed pages, and that is why they have the typewriters.

There are a few people gathered around one desk, and a woman is just finishing typing something. She reads off a number. “Wow,” says another woman, head of the department, “that’s twice as fast as I can type! Everyone, welcome our new employee!”
They are tryouts, where people can show of their typing skills for a chance at a job with Google.
There are a few people waiting to take their turn, at the end of the line, next to me, is an old woman, maybe 80 or 90.
She is there to try out. She is clutching a map and a thermos. She is wobbling a little, so she sits down at a school desk, one of the old ones where the chair is bolted to the desk with a metal arm. She sets down the map and the thermos. I can see the map, showing a red dot in Winslow, Maine. I realize this is where she is from. I mean to tell her that I was born in Waterville and went to high school there, but I never get around to mentioning it. It is her turn, so I help her up. She takes the lid off her thermos and pours some liquid into it. It is cool, clear water. She takes a sip and offers me the plastic cup. I take it and take a large sip. It tastes a little off but is very refreshing. She dotters up to take her turn at the typewriter, and I wander off down the hall.

Then I wake up.

Last day at Points South

I went up to Points South on Saturday, to get one last look before it went away for good, and hang out with Snooj and Marla et al. Also to check out what was up for sale. I didn’t really need anything, but that didn’t stop me from picking up a server rack and a cast-iron saucepan. =)

Points South goes dark.

I took a bunch of pictures, check em out.

Thanksgiving in Maine

Maine was fun. I gave Judy her Christmas presents early (an iMac and iPod Nano) and transferred all her stuff over to the new machine on Wednesday night.

Then Thursday morning, I baked a pie (for the first time) totally from scratch.
It came out pretty good, the crust was nice and flaky and the pie was not too sweet without being tart.

Click here for more pie=making photos.

We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner at Mildred’s, with lots of yummy food.

Friday I went for a walk with Judy, then she patched my coat (I still need to sew the button back on, she didn’t have the right thread), and then we went through some boxes of old childhood records and drawings.

More photos of the walk.

I drove home Friday night, and when I got home, lots of surprises were waiting for me:

1. They finished paving Clark street! It’s no longer an obstacle course.

2. My new Sony eBook Reader arrived! Yes, I am a gadget whore.

3. A document from the court came in the mail – my name change went through! I don’t even have to go in to court!

4. UPS didn’t deliver my projector, I have to go pick it up on Monday. This is because UPS sucks. FedEx is so much better.

Macs In Maine

Made it to Maine ok… forgot to pick up apples to make apple pie with, so on the way, I called Judy and she picked some up.

Gave Judy her early Christmas presents – a new iMac and iPod Nano. I figured since she could make use of them now, better to give them now instead of waiting a month.

I hooked the old iMac to the new one with an ethernet cable and sat for a while transferring files and eating Judy’s homemade beef stew, my favorite, yum!

The iPod nano is really sharp… I think it has the same resolution screen as the full-size iPod, I synched her photos to it and they look great on that small screen.

Now “I’m So Tired” is playing on iTunes, and I’m feeling pretty tired myself. It’s a long drive to Maine.

Gotta get up reasonably early tomorrow to make the apple pie… I’ve never made apple pie from scratch before, should be interesting. =)

Beaches and Mountains

On Saturday I went to Old Orchard Beach to hang out with Judy, Aaron and Marcye.

I was stressed about it, for a number of reasons (see earlier post). When I got to the beach, I had no idea where to find them amongst the throngs of sizzling flesh-blobs, so I walked up and down the beach awhile, looking for them. Every time I tried to call one of them, I would get voicemail, and when they tried to call me, they would get my voicemail. I was getting extremely frustrated and on the verge of just getting back in my car and driving…somewhere, when I decided to apply a little logic. Marcye has pain when she walks a lot, so they would probably be near the boardwalk. I went back there and sure enough, there they were.

(click for more photos)

We stayed on the beach awhile, walked on the boardwalk awhile, and walked around town awhile. My cheap-ass sandals weren’t doing it for me, so I left them at the blankets and was barefoot the whole time. Which wasn’t painful or anything, but did provide a perspective I don’t often experience. At crosswalks, for instance, the white stripes feel powdery and cool. Occasionally a sharp rock would poke me, or I would see a patch of broken glass, gum, or dropped ice cream to avoid, but it went ok.

I ate pretty much crap from the moment I got there.

I hadn’t eaten yet, so I was starving when I got there around noon. Aaron had a large order of cold french fries covered in nacho cheese, so I hungrily ate that. It wasn’t very good, but I was so hungry. Later when we went for a walk on the boardwalk, I had a soft pretzel (not bad) and saw “Fried Oreos” on the menu, which I had to try. They turned out to be a lot like fried twinkies, only with oreos. I ate about two bites, everyone else had a bite, and then I threw the rest out. They were not good.

(click for more photos)

After that I was still a bit hungry, and looking about for something resembling food, all I could find was pizza. So I bought a slice and shared some with Judy. After that I was full of fat and grease and felt yucky.

After another walk on the beach, I headed out at around 4pm, and drove to Sarah’s.

Before I headed out, I called her to let her know I was on my way, and said “I need something green and healthy to eat!”

When I got to Sarah’s we had some tofu and rice in a whole-grain wrap, and a salad with sesame-ginger dressing. Yum!

I noticed my face and feet (my pale hobbit-feet usually never see the sun) were a bit sunburned, but not too badly.

The next day, we decided to go hiking, and so we headed out to Mt. Tom. We had tried hiking there once before, but got turned around on the trails, and ended up circling the base of the mountain instead of actually going up it. This time we were determined to make it to one of the observation points.

(click for more photos)

We got a little mixed up once or twice, but quickly got back on track, we went up to some ruins, and climbed an off-limits observation tower (shhh!). We had a little picnic lunch of PB&J sammiches and strawberries.

(click for more photos)

Then we went further up the mountain, to another open-to-the-public observation tower. After that it was all the way back down, to the car. None of the hike was particularly difficult, but we are both somewhat out of shape, so we were ready to rest after getting back to the car.

I thought I might have been stung by a bee, because my neck hurt, but when Sarah looked, it was just a sunburn. I had slathered my face with lotion this time, but had neglected my neck. Ow.

We went home for a nap, then out for some Mediterranean food for dinner.

All in all, a nice outdoorsy weekend.


Rushing off to Maine – supposed to meet Aaron, Judy and Marcye at Old Orchard Beach in a hour, it takes two hours to get there so I’ll be an hour late. Gaaah!

Only got halfway through prepping the laptop I’m giving to Judy, so I can’t bring it with me today to give to her. Gaaah!

Leaving a bunch of cleaning things that I was in the middle of, who knows when I’ll be able to get back to them. Gaaah!



I took a break from cleaning yesterday and played some Bioshock – but now I’m behind on everything. Serves me right for trying to relax for a while. Gaaaah!

I can actually feel my neck tensing when I get stressed like this.

Sigh. Better go, I’m already late.

Travels in Maine

Friday evening, Sarah came by, and after a lot of nervous dithering on my part (I felt like I was forgetting something important) we set off for Maine.

Along the way to Belfast, we stopped over briefly at Mike’s to drop off some things – I’ve been trying to somewhat optimize my posessions, so a lot of stuff has to go, and I figured Mike could make use of some of it, so I went down the list, and anything he wanted I put in my trunk. It was nice to drop them off, one batch of stuff gone.

It was late, so we didn’t stop at Mike’s for long, just said hi to Mike, Alice, and their Mom, they gave me a bag of fresh catnip for Trouble, then we were on our way again.

We got to Judy’s house pretty late, and fell asleep.

The next day, we all gathered: Judy, Dan, Ted (Judy’s Brother), Mary (Ted’s girlfriend), Sarah and me. We went to a train museum, which it turns out is just down the road from Judy’s. I’ve walked by it before, but didn’t realize it was a museum, just thought it was a train depot of some sort. The place is run by a retired train engineer, part of a family of train engineers, with trains in his blod, and trains in his heart. Over the years, since he was a teenager, any time he saw something interesting heading for the scrapheap, he would rescue it. So over time, he has built up a collection of parts, train cars, and even buildings.

more photos of the train museum

He can recount the history of each item in his museum. He points out the window to a large flagpole-like pole. “That obelisk I got for a case of beer. They were gonna tear it up, but I said if they took it down carefully and let me have it, I’d bring them a case of beer, and they were all to happy to.”

He talks about the decline of railroading in Maine, and it is more than just history, it is his life. It reminds me of the Fisher King, this man’s life is so intertwined in the railroad, that it’s almost as if when he dies, the railroad dies with him. But then another member of the train group came by, a younger guy with a rotund figure, and led us on a tour of the train cars. A new generation, just as excited about trains.

After the trains, we went to the co-op for lunch. The food there was yummy, and they were having a “customer appreciation day”, so there were tents in the parking lot with vendors giving out samples, local groups, and a used book tent. I bought 4 books for a quarter each. We sat on folding chairs and listened as David (my step-brother), Ezra Rugg (who I knew when I was little) and another guy played jazz.

It was sunny out, but dark clouds loomed on the horizon. Everyone watched as they got closer and closer, commenting on the approach, but just sitting and waiting. Then it turned to a heavy downpour. People scrambled for cover under the tents, and the wind got so strong people had to hold on to the tents to keep them from blowing away. The rain and wind was intense, but blew by quickly. 10 or 15 minutes later, it was sunny again.

After that we headed off for afternoon naps. I don’t normally take naps, but it was nice and relaxing (except for the times when the phone rang and I had to run downstairs)

That evening, we went to Havana restaurant in Bar Harbor, where Dan was playing jazz. There was a bit of a wait, we bided the time watching the bartender crank out mojitos assembly-line style, and a little girl dance while her parents drank. We finally got a seat, and the food was great. I got the filet mignon, and it was both melt-in-your-mouth delicious and well-presented.

We got back to Judy’s around midnight, so it was off to sleep again.

On Sunday, we went to a bakery for breakfast, then to Mildred’s house for cake. After that, Judy, Sarah and I went out to Ripley to see what was left of the old farmhouse.

Like some kind of fairy tale, it was surrounded by a wall of bamboo which seemed impenetrable, until we discovered that bamboo is really easy to get through, you just plow right through and it snaps down in front of you.

more pictures of the house

There wasn’t much left of the house. The roof had fallen in, and only my room and parts of a few other rooms remained.

After poking around in the rubble for a while, we headed down the road to Wally Warren’s place.

He had expanded since the last time I’d been there, in 2004 he added a house, and now has running water and electricity, new features to Wally World.

Wally’s an interesting guy, and fun to listen to, and his art is fantastic. Having been at it for years, nearly every surface of his cabin, house, and yard is covered in some kind of art.

Then it was back to Judy’s, and then home to my house. Sarah slept on the ride home, which is good, since once we got to my place, she had to drive another hour to get to her house.

All in all, it was a fun trip, but woo, a lot of driving. All told, I drove around 17 hours that weekend.