Category Archives: offsite

Volleyball and Cycling Do Not Sync

Friday, our department at work had a farewell team outing at City Beach in Fremont.  My boss is moving on, so we all got together to bond together … we spent the majority of it playing volleyball … for 3 hours.  Ugh, that is tiring … well, I didn’t realize how tiring until the next day.

Saturday, my plan was to do the LKHC on Dunne Ave (which goes up to Henry Coe Park), which starts in Morgan Hill.  However, combination of wet roads, and volleyball the night before (and subsequently my body being stiff and aching in the morning), made me skip that climb.  So instead, I drove down to LA.  All along, I was not very nimble, and moving very gingerly.

I was originally going to climb the mountains, do Mt. Baldy, but with the condition I’m in, I really was not in condition to do any climbing.  So I went with my friend Lynn, and the Cyclepaths, for a relaxing, leisure recovery ride (even though I didn’t do a ride previously … but still, recovery from volleyball).

We started from Cerritos, and our destination is Palos Verdes.  It was an excellent day, a few days after a rain storm, and the skies cleared up, leaving us with excellent weather conditions.  It’s good we were going flat … well, compared to what I normally do.

At Palos Verdes, we went to Malaga Cove, which is a popular hangout for cyclists.  We stopped by a new bakery, Yellow Vase, and it’s nestled in a corner, and looked a little like a village in Italy.  Okay, maybe not … but it’s a nice exaggeration.  But look how happy everyone is!

We then headed over to do a loop of the peninsula … no, we did not go up PV East …. I think Lynn made sure of that.  However, we did do a nice little detour, doing a pseudo-cyclocross type route, going through parts of Terranea resort and Trump Golf Course, which used to be the old Marineland.  The legend of Orky and Corky lives on.  I’m still reeling from the fact that Sea World bought Marineland, and they renamed Corky to Shamu …

Anyways, Arnold took us through Terranea resort, where we meandered through obstacles (stairs), where we were doing a cyclo-cross tour of sorts.  We were greeted to such amazing views of the Pacific.

In the 30 years I’ve lived in LA, and the countless number of visits, I’ve never seen the Pacific from this vantage point.  It was totally awesome.  But, as you know, where you go down, you definitely have to come up … muscles are still stiff from volleyball on Friday, so this made my climb interesting … it’s not like climbing Welch Creek, but still had to gut it out.

When we finally got back to the cars, we got 61 miles, and roughly 2200 feet climbing.  Not bad for a recovery ride.  I also think it helped loosen my limbs a little bit.  Still a little stiff, but not as bad as on Saturday.  Next time I do volleyball, I think I’ll only go for one game … it’s now Monday, and I’m still moving gingerly.  I’d had to see how everyone else is moving …. but then again, at 47, my recovery is not what it used to be … I’m the old fart in the group.

Moving to Smaller Confines

Time for a move to another building, once again.  After 11 years, this is now my 5th building I am moving into.  That’s not bad … the latest stretch was actually longer than I thought.  I stayed at my last building for 5 years.  It didn’t seem that long ago that we were shocked by our company being bought (NetScreen bought by Juniper), but it was 5 years ago.

Of course, staying in one place for 5 years, it is expected you will accumulate junk, lot of junk.

First order of business … cleaning up my messy desk.  Wow, I’m surprised I didn’t get more sick after looking at all the dust and grime that collected there.  I guess all that cycling did build up my immune system?  Second, looking at all the files, paperwork that I have collected over the years.  Since I have been in so many moves, I previously just kept a lot of things in boxes, anticipating I would be moving soon.  Well, 5 years is not soon.  What did I find?  Documents from when I first started 11 years ago, functional specs from the NetScreen days that were 6-8 years old.  Wow, I had paperwork going back to the original program plans from ScreenOS 4.0.  So I literally took one box of files, and threw the whole thing in the recycler dump.  That’s one box I got rid of.  It got to the point where this would be more than a 1-2 hour operation.  This would have to go over several days.

When cleaning up junk you have compiled over the years, you kind of reminisce about old times.  From awards, coffee mugs, stress balls, commuter cups … you never realize what you really have until you clean it up.  For example, how many commuter mugs can one guy have?  I think I may end up just giving some of this stuff away for those that were not part of the whole NetScreen experience.

I wittled my collection down to 4 boxes, and still, that was a lot of junk.  I think I have enough equipment in my junk boxes to even create a new ISP.  I mean I had 3 routers, 2 firewalls, and even a file server.  I ended up taking that one home (IT and the lab didn’t want to support that web server … hey it they don’t want it, I’ll take it).

My old building was a 4 story building, and now, we’re moving into a one story flat building.  Why are they doing this?  Well, they are consolidating one big department into the same building.  I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, I like having the entire group together once again (especially when doing labs, recreating problems in the same lab, without having to send traffic across the network just to get to another lab).  The drawback is that some other departments, where we need constant interaction, is now in separate buildings, meaning we gotta drive.  Oh, that’s gonna suck.

Ok, move into the new building, and one thing that’s cool is they have a monitor

swivel.  This allows you to free up some real estate on your desk.  I use split screens, so one thing I never tried out is putting the external monitor on top, and the laptop screen on the bottom.  Initially, it seems like a great idea, right?  First, I did end up having to tilt my head up on the larger screen, and for a while there, I thought it might have some ergonomic neck stress.  Later on, I started to really get dizzy spills.  I was typing along, and suddenly, I couldn’t focus, and everything started spinning … arghhh … make it stop.  I got to a point where I had to just look away, stare into space, and just try to focus on some objects, making sure they stay still.  I eventually move to a more standard orientation, where my laptop screen is on the left, and my external monitor is on the right.  I did this, and it all felt a hell of a lot better.  What’s odd is another colleague, who moved in 2 weeks before we did, was also complaining about some dizziness, and some had to call in sick a few days.  That’s not a good sign, moving into a new building, and getting sick.  That can almost be deemed a little hazardous.

The next big issue for me was now where am I going to put my bike?  In the old building, we had a stairwell, with a nice solid bike rack post there.  Since it was in a secure building, having it in the stairwell is really secure.  Now that we don’t have that, where do I store the bike?  I looked around, and there are no racks to lock up, nothing … WTF!!!!  This is more important than any work related issues.  I need a place to park my bike.  Now there are a few empty cubicles around, but soon, they will be filled up.  For now, I rolled my bike in the office, and just to give you an idea how much room there is, I rolled my bike in my cubicle.  There seems to be enough space for me to roll around, but it does seem cramped, doesn’t it?

In a way, it’s almost like a brand new start, without actually starting fresh.   Going through the same routine for 5 years, then doing this, is really strange.  We were the first technical group to move in, and in the coming weeks, more will be moving in.  It’s going to be a hard adjustment at first, but I’ll probably make it through.  I mean, it’s only a job.

Oh, one more rant … trash cans.  Usually, you think nothing of it .. but with all these cost cutting moves, sometimes it can get a little ridiculous.  The dark brown, smaller box, is supposed to be where you put your trash.  The big blue container?  Well, that’s a recycle tub.  I’m almost tempted in going to the old building, and stealing one of the normal sized trash bucket.

So now we are in this older building, with smaller cubicles.  I’m trying to stay focused, and say it’s not going to matter … maybe so, but it will take a lot of effort to change work habits to accommodate this move.

On thing I notice after a week in this new building … it kinda makes me feel like I’m back at a startup company.  You don’t need to park in the front … you can park in the back, on the sides, and still get in the building securely.  That’s weird.  Oh, and the cafeteria … we don’t have one.  I guess it’s a short drive down to Togo’s, or remember to bring your lunch.