California living: varia

It's been a while since I wrote something about anything other than running, such as the promised series of posts about my life in California. The problem is: there is not much to write about. At present my life consists in 95% of work and running. I promise a post about work is coming up. And if there is one thing I'm writing too much about, that's running. Still, today I'll try to write about a couple of things that happened in the last few months in the remaining 5% of my time :)

One nice thing about working at Google is that there's plenty of interesting people visiting and giving talks. In December, in a single week, I went for a talk by Tim Ferris and Lee Child. Tim is the author of The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body and, his newest, The 4-Hour Chef (I read the first two). His talk got me curious enough to try his latest book, but it proved popular and by the end of the talk all the discounted copies were gone.

Lee Child is one of my favorite authors. The only reason I'm not yet finished with his Jack Reacher series, is because I'm savoring it. So it was great to hear him talk about his books live. And it was great to get his latest book; signed.

This week, Al Gore will be on campus, so I guess I'll go and see that one too.

Just after New Year, when I came back from the lazy 2-week long Christmas break in Nijmegen, I was moving out from the temporary housing I got and into an apartment of my own. That's when I had the "funny" lock-out adventure. But in general the move was certainly for the better. The place is not very fancy and I only got the absolutely very basic furniture from Ikea, so the apartment looks somewhat spartan, but then my needs are also quite humble. What matters though is that I replaced a 30 minute commute (and that's when I was careful to leave and come back after rush hours) with a 5-minute one, as now I'm only 1.5 miles away from work. That's a great improvement that gives me a bit of extra time every day.

Shotly after I settled in my new place I had another funny mishap. For a long time I'm a big fan of Whisperings: Solo Piano Radio and of its creator, David Nevue. So when I found out that he is giving a concert in San Rafael, mere 60 miles away, I didn't think twice and decided to go.

The concert was at 7pm and it was in a local church. I made it right on time, but to my surprise the church seemed to be completely closed, even though the parking lot was full and there seemed to be some noise coming from the inside. After a couple of minutes of circling around it I decided to double check the concert date on the website... and saw that it was at 6pm, not 7pm... Bummer...

Oh boy. Surely, the concert started 1 hour before and they closed the church. Dejected I went for dinner nearby. When I was finished I decided to swing by the church again, hoping that maybe at least I can buy his CDs or at least say "Hi".

When I got back the parking lot was empty, but there was still a small group talking so I approached them and asked for confirmation that the concert has finished. They seemed to be a bit confused and after a moment of hesitation replied that the concert... is scheduled for the following weekend. Duh. So not only did I get the time wrong (I copied it to my personal calendar long in advance, so theoretically it is possible that the time has changed), but I also got the date wrong. Now, how's that for absent-mindedness? :)

The bad news was that the following weekend I would be in Las Vegas, so I couldn't go. The good news was that I found that there is another concert on Thursday, close to Sacramento, and as a bonus David would be playing with Joe Bongiorno. Without thinking much I bought the tickets. And then I started thinking. And realized that actually, Roseville, were the concert was, was 150 miles away, a 2:15 hour drive with no traffic. And, as the concert was at 7pm, there was no way of avoiding traffic.

I was hesitating. My better half even advised me not to go, as surely there will be traffic and I'll be pissed off and late. But against better judgement, and her advice, I decided to go. There was traffic. I was pissed off. And I was very late.

I made it there almost 45 minutes late. But when I entered David was just playing "The Amazing Accordion Man", my favorite tune of his, and in that moment I knew it was worth it.

It was a great concert and it gave me the much needed impulse to start practicing again on my own. I don't do that nearly half as much as I'd like to, but little is clearly better than nothing, right?

Ok, I promise that soon I'll try to write a bit about how're things at work. Stay tuned!

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