It's been just about a week since we arrived in California. We're temporarily staying in a very lovely one bedroom apartment a few blocks away from Apple's campus in Cupertino while we look for our own place. Since I was in town, I decided to work in Opera's Mountain View office on Monday. About halfway through the morning, a couple of the folks in the office said, "Do you feel that? it's an earthquake" and the floor vibrated for a couple of seconds. 'Twas my first earthquake, a magnitude 4.3 quake centered a bit east of San Jose. During the quake, I just sat there a bit too stunned to react. Other folks in the office kept doing what they were doing, unperturbed by the tremor. Immediately afterward, I called Rebekah expecting her to be a bit flustered, but instead she said, "what earthquake?" Opera's office is on the third floor of a small office building, which may have contributed to my ability to feel it. I probably wouldn't have known it was an earthquake unless someone else mentioned it. It kind of felt like someone was walking by my desk causing the floor to bounce a bit. It really was no big deal.
On Tuesday, all the folks in the Mountain View office went to the CTIA Wireless trade show in Las Vegas, so I fittingly spent my last day working from home. I ended up having a lot more to do than I thought I would, so I worked for around thirteen hours before signing off the Opera Software VPN for the last time. There were a lot of things I still wanted to do, but I'll have to leave those things up to someone else. Unfortunately, at the time I left, there was no one taking over my responsibilities.
Wednesday was spent doing errands and getting acquainted with a local park. On Thursday, we decided to explore a bit. Sara Ellen had a hankering to go to the beach and play in the sand, so we piled in the car and headed to a beach in Santa Cruz. I neglected to bring a windbreaker to block the wind coming in off the Pacific, so I shivered as Sara Ellen dug in the sand. That lasted for about thirty minutes. We peeled Sara Ellen off the beach and drove north along the coastal highway from Santa Cruz toward Half Moon Bay.
As we drove north, I was surprised both by the beauty of the area around us and the amount of coastal farming. We pulled off the road a couple of times just to enjoy the view. At Pescadero, we headed east to make our way back to Cupertino. As we rounded a bend, I caught a glimpse of a peculiar-looking group of trees next to some small homes. As I looked around, I was greeted by the largest trees I had ever seen: we were in the middle of a stand of redwoods! The forest around us was the kind of forest I've always dreamed of: tall trees with high branches and small fern undergrowth. It was my ideal type of forest and absolutely beautiful.
On Friday, we were able to pick up some of our stuff (most importantly my Wii and Apple Airport Extreme wireless router) from the storage facility where the rest of our stuff will be until we find our own place. Afterward, we visited a couple of apartments we found on Craigslist, but nothing really appealed to us. Saturday was spent enjoying Super Mario Galaxy and Starcraft (a wonderful gift from Allan). Both games are relatively old, but were received just before our move. After a lull, I'm getting back into gaming a bit. Since my last trip to Norway, I purchased Defense Grid: The Awakening (which wouldn't run on my PC and shows no text whatsoever in Parallels) and now Super Mario Galaxy and Starcraft. I've always been curious about Starcraft and enjoyed watching others play it, but had never tried it myself. So far, it's meeting my expectations.
So intrigued was I by the redwoods we saw on Thursday that I started researching local parks and found the Muir Woods National Monument about an hour and a half away. This morning, we left a little after breakfast and journeyed north toward Muir Woods. On the way, we stopped in Sausalito for a yummy lunch at a placed called the Sausalito Taco Shop. Parking at Muir Woods was a bit of a challenge, but our distant roadside parking spot was worth it for the wonderful fresh air and towering trees of Muir Woods. We only spent about an hour in the park for various reasons, but the trees were awesome and just being there was invigorating. Next, I'd like to visit some giant sequoia groves.
In our travels, our GPS has been invaluable. It hasn't prevented us from getting lost, but it's been a very nice replacement for paper maps and printed directions. However, our TomTom GPS has some interesting quirks in its pronunciation programming. For instance, San Francisco is "San Franvisca", San Jose is "San Hoset", De Anza is "De Antha", and Cupertino is "Cupertina". At least it's consistent, so once we've learned its pronunciations, we'll be fine.
During my free time, I've been researching pending purchases, such as a car, a printer, and a monitor. We left our sickly Mercury Sable in Virginia (both of the front shock mounts were cracked and the driver-side shock had nearly bored a hole through the hood), so it's time to purchase my first new car. I'm strongly considering a hybrid, but more research is necessary. The monitor (a Dell 20" widescreen LCD) and printer (Canon MP620) I've been using belong to Opera, so I'll be procuring replacements. I've settled on getting the same printer, but haven't quite decided on a monitor. I'm currently considering the Dell 2408WFP, a 24" widescreen LCD, and an Apple 24" Cinema Display. I hope to try out the latter in the office this coming week.
I keep expecting major earthquakes to strike. Everywhere I drive, I imagine the effects of a massive earthquake and try to imagine how I'd react. As I walk downstairs to our parking garage, I consider my options should a quake strike. It's a bit annoying actually, and I hope it will pass soon. I'm considering taking an earthquake preparedness class at the local library to ease my mind a bit.
And now I'm off to prepare for my first day at Apple tomorrow. Toodles.