Ralph Melton (ralphmelton) wrote,
Ralph Melton


August 6-10, I went out to Cupertino for the release of our product and related parties. I've been slow to LJ about that; I keep meaning to LJ during the workday, and I keep doing work at work instead.


Monday, August 6: flew to California. Got a ride with Jon McDanel to Cupertino. Lunch was Baja Fresh, which was more tasty than I remembered it being. Checked in at the hotel, and fell asleep for several hours. Went to dinner with several coworkers at Bay Sushi; confirmed my impressions that I like sushi, but I don't love it enough to justify the price.


Tuesday, August 7: This morning was the media event announcing our product; this announcement was the ostensible reason for us to come out to Cupertino. We weren't invited. There wasn't even an internal broadcast for us to watch. Our experience of the announcement was hanging out in a large conference room (called the Hangar) reading liveblogging coverage of the announcement.

But we've released iWork '08, now with a spreadsheet called Numbers. Woohoo. All three apps in the suite are really smooth, graceful apps; I feel proud of these.

The Cypress Inn didn't have a splendid happy hour like the one at the Cupertino Inn where I'd gotten plastered on my last trip to Cupertino. But it did have an hour with wine, beer, and lemonade, and I did have an embarrassing incident there. The lemonade was in a nice glass urn, with a screw valve to control the flow of lemonade. I wanted the lemonade to flow faster--and I discovered that the valve could be completely unscrewed when it fell into my lemonade. I ended up standing at the urn with my fingers plugging the holes like the little Dutch boy, pleading for a staffperson to help me out.

Got together with Laura and Jeff for dinner. We walked down a bit on De Anza in search of a Thai restaurant that had been listed by a search on my iPhone, but it declined to actually exist. Instead, we went to Armadillo Willy's, a barbecue place near the hotel. Armadillo Willy's was okay--it was clearly an imitation of Texas barbecue, but at least it chose the right things to imitate, and imitated it pretty well.


Wednesday, August 8: woke up early again, as I did every morning while I was there. Went to Marie Callender's for a fairly tasty breakfast--and a walk. I got a great many walks walking back and forth between the hotel and the Apple Campus with a heavy laptop bag--but in order to play WoW in the morning, I had to get in an extra walk first.

After a morning spent working halfheartedly on bugs in the Hangar, went to lunch at JJ's Hawaiian Barbecue. I had been curious about Hawaiian barbecue since I first saw JJ's on a previous trip to Cupertino. Unfortunately, the actual experience was pretty bad. I got chicken, beef, and spareribs; the chicken was okay, but the beef was tough, and the sparerips were slices of bone and gristle connected with meager fragments of meat. The meats were served on a bed of shredded cabbage, accompanied with mounds of sticky rice and macaroni salad. I could well believe that this low-end asian restaurant was not a paragon of Hawaiian barbecue, or that I ordered the wrong thing--but that culinary experience was not one I would willingly repeat.

in the afternoon, I took some initiative. I sent e-mail to a coworker in the AppKit group who is responsible for some classes that I use a lot, saying "Hey, I'd like to put a face to the name of the guy who has helped me so much." He responded with an invitation, and so I went over to meet him. Without a handy conversation topic, we turned our attention to a bug I had been vexed by for weeks. After some time of mutual vexation, he managed to spot something else that was going awry--and unravelling that other anomaly gave me the clue for my original bug and four other knotty manifestations of the same bug.
This was really extremely successful--as well as the direct benefits of getting a fix for my bug, I also got to do the guy-bonding thing of delving into a problem together. I think this strengthened my relationship with him in a way that will be very useful to me in the future.

That night was our big team release celebration, at the Valencia Hotel in San Jose. I liked the party when it was out in the hotel courtyard. Eventually, though, people gradually migrated indoors to the room with the casino party--and the music there was so loud that nearly all my communication in that room was the hand gestures to the blackjack dealer. I finished the evening with slightly more chips than I'd been given originally, but I wasn't very satisfied.


Thursday, August 9: Fiddled around with bugs in the Hangar in the morning. Glommed on with a group going out to lunch at P. F. Chang's, only to discover that I was the only person in the group not in a particular other team. I feel awkward in such situations... but I also feel forlorn when I don't manage to get into any group going off together. I'm not sure of the right way to handle such things.
Lunch was at P.F.Chang's. It was pretty tasty Chinese food--but since I, a big gaijin, was able to recognize that the rice didn't have the stickiness of Chinese rice, I can certainly understand why my Chinese friends scoff at it.

In the afternoon, there was a party on the Apple campus for all of the employees in the Apps group, with a sumptuous buffet, tasty beer, and the same too-loud DJ from the party the night before. I tried to mingle with folks from other teams for a bit, but had trouble finding things to talk about; I ended up just settling at a table outside with a bunch of folks I knew from the Vancouver, Washington team.

I think I ate enough at the buffet that I didn't eat dinner that night.


Friday, August 9: I had been really wanting an apple for a couple of days, ever since the unpleasant meal from JJ's Hawaiian Barbecue. But I hadn't seen any apples available to me. So Friday morning, I decided to walk out to Whole Foods Market to buy myself an apple. I stopped at the front desk to see if they could tell me the hours of Whole Foods--and I noticed a basket of apples for guests on the desk. I wanted the walk, though, so I went to Whole Foods anyway.
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