You may have noticed that I fell off the face of the Earth this week without even saying anything. I’m sorry friends! I didn’t mean it. I went on a wild and crazy adventure to Northern California. 3 days, 2 nights, 18 hours in transit — I thought I’d have time to let you know what I was up to, but that just didn’t happen.
There’s Alcatraz and the Golden Gate. I didn’t actually get to see much of San Francisco, but after a strange journey on the BART from the airport to my hotel, I paid a cab to take me to the airport. It was worth every penny for the great views and awesome conversation.
I was up to a lot though. Here’s the rundown of things I did/saw/learned/ate.
— 1 —
I saw The Mothership.
The only reason why I went to Northern California was to visit my company’s headquarters — aptly called “The Mothership” by one of our founders. Honestly, I’m still processing the whole experience, but let’s just say that the whole thing was very enlightening.
This is not The Mothership. It’s another picture from my cab ride. Isn’t the ocean beautiful?
For better or worse, I have a much better understanding of how the sausage is made. (Also, I discovered that people are either much shorter or much taller than I thought they were. Since this has happened to me before, I think I should stop making assumptions about people’s height.)
— 2 —
I visited UC Berkeley.
Growing up, I heard a lot about Berkeley. Mostly, the word “Berkeley” was used to describe a certain type of liberal hippy that we should all aspire to avoid. (For example, “If you think Berkeley’s liberal wait to you see ______.”)
The most liberal thing I saw all day.
Despite the University’s place in my family’s folklore, I had never actually seen it. So, on an early Wednesday morning walk, I conquered my fears and went for a visit.
Very hilly. Very green.
Halls of learning.
It’s pretty beautiful and very hilly. I can’t really speak to the liberal/hippy nature because no one else was there, but I didn’t see anyone particularly scary looking.
— 3 —
Speaking of Berkeley, it’s kind of a dirty place.
I’m so glad you exist, Streets and Sanitation. I missed you so much.
Andy was in town with me and the one conclusion we came to independently is that Berkeley is a ridiculously dirty place. There’s just a lot of detritus everywhere — which seems strange because I assumed that the average Northern Californian would eschew littering. Either way, I returned home with a bolstered appreciation for Chicago’s Streets and Sanitation Department.
— 4 —
Apparently, I live in a soulless backwater. Or a gritty, urban war zone. I never really got to the bottom of that one.
I really wish I had asked more questions when the Californians I encountered talked about the Midwest — but I was too dumbfounded to get into it too much.
Not pictured: All the malaise and cultural stagnation that my colleagues think I experience on a daily basis.
Just to let you all know, here in Midwestistan we enjoy a variety of infrastructural benefits including running water, high speed internet and paved roads. Also, we think this year’s bumper corn crop will keep the warring factions at bay.
Darwin the Cat thinks of Chicago with concern.
— 5 —
I ate some delightful foods.
The one thing that I regret about my adventure is that I didn’t eat enough delightful foods. There just wasn’t the time. Let’s see, here’s what I ate:
- A cheese quesadilla.
- A spinach salad with salmon and a variety of fruits, seeds and nuts.
- Some enchiladas.
- A piece of chocolate torte.
- Two very sad sliders.
- A chocolate chip cookie.
In between, I drank a lot of coffee.
I didn’t eat these trees, but aren’t they cool?
— 6 —
I met a wine supplier.
My first night at the motel, after going on an adventure for a quesadilla, I sat outside and ended up talking to Jacob, a wine supplier from Oregon in town on business. We talked about how strange the business dresscode is in Berkeley and then he gave me two bottles of wine.
Speaking of dress code, I would call this “business casual.” Apparently, this is “super formal to the point of discomfort” in NorCal.
See? There are nice people everywhere.
Jacob and I bonded over shared terror at seeing this sign by the coffee station.
— 7 —
I went to Saint John the Worker.
It was pretty impressive inside. Although the whole thing was carpeted, which I guess you can do if you don’t have to deal with road salt for four months a year.
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