Archive for the 'Travel' category

Back in CA

May 10, 2008 8:31 am

(PS: this was written last night when I did not yet have an internet connection, so I’m posting it now)

Back in California!  I really really really didn’t think I would be coming back to California for anything more than a vacation 20 years from now, but here I am, back in California!  I tried to get a job / internship in MA , but the Lord just didn’t want that to be.  However, NVidia made me a very good offer, so I’m back out here in California!

Stepping back a bit, to fill in the gap between the “end” of this blog and now, what’d you miss…. Well, a full term of coursework at WPI for one thing.  It was a head first dive back into the world of real classes.  Before C term (when I was in CA last) I was only doing one or two “real” classes per term because I was working on other projects (www.robopeter.com/Sched).  Even then, the courses I was taking were CS courses, not ECE courses, which meant they were significantly easier than my classes this term.  Anyways, it was a shock to go back to classes and homework and all that.  It was also fun however, to get back to doing some audio stuff and hanging out with friends (CBF stuff etc..).  As usual, the 7 week term flew by, I passed my classes, term over.  ]

Aside:
Apparently they are excited to have me here, as I am typing this, there is a fairly good sized fireworks display happening outside the window of the apartment I’m staying in.  I’m really not sure why but hey! 

After the term finished, it was off to “home.”  As many of you know, but some may not know, my family moved to Agawam a few weeks ago.  They moved to a house that my dad had been renovating and that they have really wanted to move into.  They really like it because it’s nice and close to everything, so no more hour+ trips to get groceries.  However, only having been there for about a week, it really doesn’t yet feel like home.  But the time I spent there was nice and relaxing, although I stayed busy getting things unpacked and doing yard work and such.  We also had our annual Spring Bible Conference (recordings can be found here: www.growingrace.com/index.php?main=nespring08).

Before I knew it, it was time to get back on a plane and fly out to California.  NVidia took care of booking my flight, and they ended up buying me First Class tickets for the ride out here, which was really nice.  On the first leg, from Bradley to Chicago (a 2hr flight) I flew on an Embrarer (sp?) 170, a smallish jet with just 6 first class seats.  To my surprise, they still actually give you a hot (really hot) damp washcloth once you get in the air.  After that it was all the beverages you could want, and a “premier” snack box consisting of a reasonably sized bag of pretzels with a honey mustard dip, a bag of mixed nuts, a bag of “fruit chews” (they were kinda weird… I can’t even describe them), and a can of vegetable and pasta salad.  I was quite confused with it at first as it was a can, somewhere between the size of a tuna fish can and one of those microwavable soup bowls, vacuum sealed with noodles and vegetables inside.  It was more or less vegetable soup with noodles minus all the liquid.  Once you
got over the “this is kinda weird” bit, it actually tasted reasonable and provided a good amount of food. 

The plane for the first leg of my flight, was delayed by about 30 minutes into Bradley international, and about 40 minutes late leaving, but thankfully it was not late enough to make me miss my connection.  The connection was making was at O’Hare, but thankfully, in the same terminal as where I landed, albeit clear at the other end of the terminal.  However, this particular terminal, had a moving sidewalk right down the middle of it, so by walking along at a good pace on the moving sidewalk I got down to the gate with just enough time to spare to use the restroom, jump around for a minute and get on the plane. 

The second leg of the flight was on an Airbus A320 for those of you following along at home.  This was a bigger plane with fancy stuff like XM radio and an in-flight movie (“The Bucket List” was shown, overall an ‘ok’ movie, nothing phenomenal).  I was originally booked for an aisle seat for this leg, however the guy sitting next to me happily switched so I could have the window.  Apparently, people fight much harder to get the aisle seats than the window seats, which I can understand in coach where for some people every inch of foot room is something to be fought for, but in first class, I could stretch out my legs completely even in a window seat directly behind a bulkhead.  Unfortunately, however, most of the flight offered the same exact view:

The View

While it was beautiful, the fact that it more or less never changed over the 6+ hours of the flight (except for a tiny few minutes while we were over Grand Island in New York, and then again right at the end when we started to drop towards San Jose) made it kinda boring. 

Even though there was not much to look at outside the plane, there was a good deal of food to look at in front of me on the plane.  Ok, well, really, the portions were not amazing, but it was really weird flying first class.  They were constantly asking if we wanted anything to drink, and when they gave you something to drink, it wasn’t in a little plastic cup, it was in a real good sized glass cup.  There were no nuts in a bag on this flight either, after the hot washcloth again, it was a china bowl of “roasted nuts” that were actually warm!  After a while, it was on to the main course of Chicken Primavera with potatoes and vegetables or a pasta trio.  I chose the chicken meal which came with corn, lima beans, potatoes, chicken, and a warm roll.  It was actually really not bad at all.  Certainly the best airline food I’ve ever had! 

The rest of the flight was more clouds and listening to music, nothing terribly exciting.  A friend from Stanford picked me up at the airport, and another friend got me settled in his apartment where I’ll be living for the next few weeks.  Now, it is time for some sleep! 

Sunset

HOME!

March 8, 2008 8:34 pm

I made it home!  It was a long day of  flying but I made it.

One of the worst parts was having to wake up at 4:45 PST.  Once I was up, I caught a taxi to the airport, breezed through security and waited around a bit for the plane.

 The plane was late leaving San Jose by about 35-40 minutes because a little lens over a safety light fell out and needed to be taped back in.  The repair only took about 2 minutes, but they had to file paperwork about the repair with the FAA which took the remaining 40ish minutes!  So, after a bit of a delay we were off.

The first leg of the trip from San Jose to Burbank and from Burbank to Las Vegas was amazing.  We flew low (less then 30,000 ft) the whole time and right over some of the spectacular mountains that I had driven by earlier.  Unfortunately I didnt get any pictures of this as the window was really dirty and we were only above 10,000 ft (where they let you use cameras) for a few minutes. 

 We arrived in Las Vegas about 20 minutes late, which made things abit cramped but not terrible making it to my connection.  I was planning on getting some lunch there, but that didn’t end up happening.  Oh ya, the other funny thing that happened… who decided to get on the plane in Burbank by my apartment-mate from last year, Gladman!  He had been out at the shepherds conference the previous week and was on his way home too.  It was nice to briefly catch up with him! 

 The flight from Las Vegas to Hartford was quite uneventful.  The first long stretch of it was cloudless, but as we went on it got cloudier and cloudier.  I did manage to take a few pictures on this leg:

The rocks in the bottom left of this picture were incredibly red:

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Some random lake:

Some Random Lake

Solid bank of clouds contrasted with clear sky:

Clouds and Sky

More clouds:

Cottonball Clouds

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The approach to Bradley was rather bumpy, with clouds right down so low that I couldn’t see the ground until we were about 30 seconds away from the airport, but thanks to electronics and good pilots we made it without significant issue.  My whole family was at the airport to meet me, and then it was off to get dinner and finally home! 

It’s great to be home!  California was great, but home is still home! 

So ends an account of an 8 week trip to California.  I hope you all have enjoyed it, I know I have.  I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with this site at the moment, maybe I’ll post some more, maybe I wont… I don’t know.  Either way, you probably  know how to get ahold of me, and if you don’t, leave a comment and we’ll fix that!