Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Seattle Trip 2014

This past July, I visited my friend Aaron Torres and his family in Seattle. A gigantic thanks to them for letting me stay at their house, eat their food, and driving me around. Aaron works for Linden Lab, the company that builds Second Life. We have been friends since about 2002, when we went to college together in Socorro. Aaron is the co-founder of Noventum, the software company I now own. Aaron and his wife did all of the administrative work setting up Noventum, and I bought them out for about $250 so I wouldn't have to change all my stationary and business cards. We've been friends since college. Even though he lives in Seattle, Washington, and I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we still throw ideas off each other for software development, rental property and life in general.

Aaron Torres. He's hardcore. 

Hazel finally let me talk with her, and pick her up, after two days. Before that, she was very suspicious of me.

Kaylee & Hazel

My favorite part of the trip was seeing Aaron, his wife, Kaylee, and his rapidly growing daughter, Hazel. Other than seeing my buddy and his family, it was VERY cool being able to work from Linden Lab's beautiful office, walking around Seattle, doing an improvised "American Ninja Warrior" with Aaron at a kid's playground while his daughter played, going on runs, and drinking awesome beer and coffee. I really liked eating the wild raspberries that grew everywhere in Seattle.

These are seriously the most delicious invasive species ever.

If I were homeless in Seattle, these would be my major source of calories [until I got a job and stopped being homeless. Then it would be more efficient for me to earn money and buy groceries.]

Working (on Noventum projects) at Linden Lab was awesome. Linden let me work at their office on Thursday and Friday. They have free coffee, snacks, and on Friday lunch and beer. On Thursday, almost everyone was working from home. There was some sort of major roadway construction going on, so the office was almost empty. Linden Lab has offices on the forth or fifth story of an older, well maintained, brick building close to downtown Seattle. I worked on taxes for Noventum, and wrote some object-orientated JavaScript code for a customer. Friday everyone came in, and there was some sort of a performance evaluation celebration. It was extremely fun! After lunch, we had a video game tournament, beer, and ping pong. Aaron said that kind of festive environment only happens after their performance evaluations. After spending two days in their Seattle office, I would highly recommend working for Linden Lab (at least with regard to their corporate culture and office environment.) Aaron always talks about the cool technical challenges associated with building virtual worlds, and how his high performance computing experience helps tremendously with the issues associated with rolling out software across all of Second Life.

Aaron has a pretty sweet view from his office.

Me either paying my New Mexico gross receipts tax, or writing a bunch of object orientated JavaScript. 

Aaron and his family took me to Ikea. My old landlord constantly talks about how cool Ikea is, and really enjoys totally furnishing apartments with things from Ikea. I have never been there before, so I never really understood what anyone was talking about when they described Ikea as a place where you can get anything for an apartment, or house, without spending a ton of money. I thought Ikea was pretty cool - it does have a lot of inexpensive things that can make an apartment, or house, nice. My favorite thing there was their extremely efficient "312 square feet" apartment, in which everything was for sale.
This is the majority of the 312 square foot apartment Ikea has setup inside their store.

It was kind of amazing how efficient of a living space they were able to make. Some of the Ikea stuff (like the 'efficiency' dish drying rack attached to the wall) seems a lot cooler inside the Ikea store than it actually is. I realize that I do not have 'efficiency' sized (tiny) dishes, pots, or pans. Which means I can clean about a third of my dishes, and put them on the drying rack, and then the rack is full. It's a cool idea for saving space in your kitchen, but it doesn't exactly work for gigantic American stuff. To compensate for this, I started actually drying off my dishes before they are completely dry, and putting them away much quicker.

Ikea dish drying rack - idealized version.

Ikea dish drying rack - actual version.

Thanks again to Aaron and his family for showing me around Seattle and putting me up for the few days. Normally, I cannot stand any kind of traveling, but this trip was pretty fun. I was still able to accomplish a bit of programming and business, see my friend and his family, as well as check out Seattle. My only regret was that I was unable to see my other friends that live in Seattle at the same time.