Friday, September 26, 2008

Out West

It's 6AM local time and I'm kicking around at my parents' house until I have to head out to the airport to catch my flight back home. I've been in CA on business, and all told it's gone pretty well. My presentation seemed to go smoothly (there was no audible snoring), and I had some good interaction with the local peeps that will be implementing and verifying the design that I've been specifying for the last couple of months.

Given the problems I've had recovering from the time change the last couple of times I've travelled west, I've tried something new this trip: staying on east coast time. I actually went to bed "late" last night -- 10:30pm local and probably woke up late as a result. (5:45am) Other than that, I've been in bed around 9PM and up around 5AM all week -- a perfectly reasonable midnight/8am back home.

Anyway, a few thoughts from the week:

  • A few minutes ago, I could hear the newspapers getting delivered -- it's actually the third time this week I've beaten the delivery peeps.

  • I was pleased that I was able to run by the beach in the mornings before work. A 6 mile run on Tuesday and a 10 mile run on Wednesday.

    However, it should be noted that it's VERY dark at 5AM. The first night morning in combination with the fog, made the run on along the beach not much different from running through a foggy tunnel with an ocean soundtrack that you could barely make out if you tried to listen really hard. It wasn't light enough to see the surf until after I'd finished the run around 6:30. Worked out better the next day with the longer run when I could actually watch the surfers during the last few miles.

    Navigation is also challenging. It made driving and looking for parking more difficult than planned. I also stumbled a few times off street and driveway curbs and got poked in the eye by a tree branch because it was too dark to see.

  • I was entertained by the sight of the throng of surfer kids who showed up at the beach at 6:30AM the first morning. I wondered if they were just following the surf reports, but it turns out that the parking lot didn't open until 6:15.

  • Speaking of parking, it was strange to get turned away from a lot because it was too early. I wouldn't have wanted to pay $7 to park at that lot anyway (different from the surfer lot). Conveniently, the no parking zones generally didn't take effect until 8 or 9AM, well after I had left.

  • 63 degrees at the beach at 5:30AM. 78 near the airport where we were staying and working. 98 in the valley -- whoa.

  • Even though we were working near LAX, I flew into Burbank. A much easier airport to deal with, easier to get a rental car, and one of the two L.A. area options for JetBlue, which doesn't fly into LAX. And, the parental homestead is closer, so I was able to visit on the way in, and could stay here the night before my flight out. And I only had to navigate the traffic hell once.

  • The traffic from the airport to my parents' house was surprisingly light when I arrived around 5PM on Monday. And no problems at 8PM when I headed down to the hotel. The return drive at 4PM yesterday was a different story. It took about an hour and a half to travel the 21 miles from the LAX area to here. And the majority of that time, maybe 70 minutes was spent on the first 13 miles from LAX to Sunset. There were miles that I could have run faster than I was going. I can't imagine making that kind of commute daily. And the round trip would probably eat a quarter tank of gas.

Ok, gotta head to the airport, maybe a few more updates later.

Ok, followup from JFK:

  • coming through the Sepulveda pass into the valley, I couldn't help but think that it looked a lot more.... green, than I remember it. Hard to say whether it's because all the street side trees have just finally gotten visibly bigger over the years or it's the first time I've made the drive in daylight.

  • Saw some surfer couples at the beach, complete with his and her surfboards attached to the roof or stuffed in the backs of their cars.

  • Saw a prius with a HOV sticker. That really seems like a dumb idea. Sure, it's a motivation to get people to switch to hybrid cars, but taking up spots in the HOV lane? Isn't it possible for that to lead to an increase in the number of cars on the road, further increasing congestion, leading to longer commute times and more air pollution? I suppose I'm just being a whiner since the problem should be limited because they only issued a limited number of stickers.

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