I spent my weekend much like my first week – relaxing and exploring. On Saturday, I spent most of the day in Stanley Park, my new favourite place Vancouver retreat. I brought my stuff to go for a jog, but I couldn’t find any open locker facilities. So, instead I walked along the sea wall and hiked through the old growth forests. The sea wall was crowded with bikers, joggers, roller-bladers, and walkers. But the hiking trails through the centre of the park were quiet and peaceful.
After Stanley Park, I went to gas town and listened to some open-air jazz performances before heading home.
On Sunday, I spent the day exploring the Kitsilano area. There were a lot of festivities going on, including Greek Day on Broadway and Kits Days on 4th. For Greek Day they closed down a section of Broadway and had bands, dancers, and tons of Greek food. Kits Days had box car races (but I missed them) and side walk sales. I found the bead store that Erin always raves about. Up the stret was a place that sold Ultimate Frisbee gear – a whole store devoted to Ultimate. I couldn’t believe it. I even went into LuluLemon – Erin and Lorrissa’s favourite athletic wear store. I tried on a pair of running shorts, but they were way too short. The pair I have right now are short, but wearing these felt scandalous (and made my legs look abnormally long).
After all the outdoor festivities in the searing heat, I headed down to Kits Beach – which was absolutely packed with people. I’ve never seen so many scantily-clad beach-goers in the middle of a Canadian city. It was awesome.
First Day of Work
I arrived at work at 8:30. I wasn’t expected until 9, so I sat in an outdoor cafe in Yaletown, sipping on a smoothie and reading my book. At 9, I dropped in and told the receptionist I was there. She seemed surprised to see me and asked who my manager was. I couldn’t remember his name and didn’t have it written down. No big deal, she’d figure it out and he’d come collect me. At 10, Jay and Ning came to get me. They apologized and said Travis, my manager, wasn’t in yet and they didn’t know I was showing up today. Great, they forgot about me. What an auspicious start.
They didn’t know where I was sitting, so after some brief introductions and some small talk, they stuck me in a conference room with a manual and told me to wait for Travis. Around 10:30 Travis arrived, apologized for forgetting about me, and saw to getting me settled. There weren’t any desks open near the rest of the team so I get to sit in a little island near the rock garden.
If that sounds confusing, I’ll explain. The Mainland building here is a renovated warehouse with an open concept. No one has an office, not even the managers. There are a ton of meeting rooms to book. But the floor plan is the most chaotic I’ve ever seen. It’s designed to be strangely geometric with hexagons everywhere – office space that Buckminster Fuller would have designed. The cubicles aren’t cubes, but hexagonal areas with up to 6 desks around a central area. I think it’s a great for collaborative development, but it makes for confusing navigation, and sucks when you’re in a little island by yourself and your team is far away. 😦
So, they found me a desk, although far away, but it had no chair, computer, or phone. They put in a request for 2 boxes (computers, not cardbord to sit on) and found me a loaner laptop. I had to go hunt around for a “free” chair. I spent most of the morning in a meeting room talking about the team, work, and my responsibilities.
Even with all the administrative hiccups, I’m still happy with everything. The team I’m on is doing interesting work – I’m on the Security team for the Business Intelligence Platform. And I get along with everyone on my team; they’re all really nice and seem competent. The building, even with its confusing layout, is super funky. The cubicles give it a space-age feel, but there are plants, rock gardens, and mountain vistas on walls that make it very earthy. Very apt for Vancouver.
My manager took me out for lunch – a salmon sandwich and a Grasshopper beer. I love tech companies that encourage drinking when there is work to do. 🙂 Not that I had much to do all afternoon anyway, but still. After the heavy lunch and beer I felt really drowsy in the afternoon, and caught myself nodding off a few times.
Second Day of Work
The administrative wrinkles are starting to get ironed out. I have a buddy now: Ning. She took me around to introduce me to all the developers and some of the testers. Most of the people seem to be UBC or SFU grads, but there’s a large Waterloo contingent. As part of my new employee initiation, I have to bake cookies. They call it Rookie Cookies. I have to make 5 dozen cookies and then send an email out to everyone. Email sent, I will wait at my desk as hordes of nerd-vultures descend and introduce themselves as they snap up cookies. I like it. Anyone care to suggest a cookie recipe?
My first computer arrived today. My 2nd box is on the way. It’s a beefy puppy, with two Dual-Core 3 GHz Intel Xeon hyper-threaded processors, 2 GB of RAM, and 200 GB of hard drive space. I can’t wait until my 2nd box arrives. 🙂
I met some of the other Waterloo people today. Kang and Justin from SE are here, and Andrew (who I worked with at Sybase) is here for co-op. So my circle of contacts is growing. No longer am I stuck playing bingo with Joy on Friday nights. 😛 Hopefully I’ll be doing something with Emily (from Waterloo) and Dan (Shad friend) soon. And on Thursday there’s a poker tournament some guys from work are running. And I’m entering a mixed Ultimate Frisbee hat tournament on July 8th called Babes ‘N Hats. Someone here mentioned it was a good way find a ultimate team.
Things are looking up.
P.S. I’ve started posting more Europe stuff, but their back-dated, so you have to look here: EuroTrip2006.