Ninth week: `--static`, Thanksgiving and tofurkey

published on December 7, 2011

My ninth week here can be summarized very briefly: the work week was very short. Thanks to Thanksgiving on Thursday, we got off on Thursday and Friday. From Monday through Wednesday, I pulled long hours again, and very frustrating ones at that. Getting a statically linked Qt (which I already talked about last week) built turns out to not be a sinecure…

On Thursday, I staid at home and worked on organizing photos I took and worked on getting some blog posts out. I also suffered from a severe neck pain that had been getting worse over the preceding days: it went away by Thursday evening and didn’t come back.
Seems like a pretty clear correlation between sitting extremely frustrated behind a computer and neck pain to me.


My manager had invited me to come to his place in San Francisco, to celebrate Thanksgiving. I felt like I’d be intruding their family sphere, but apparently that happens on Thanksgiving itself (the night before), the day after is usually reserved for a more relaxed, less formal version of Thanksgiving among friends. So I went.

Okay and several of his house mates (they share the house among five or so of them) are vegan, so the Thanksgiving dinner was vegan, too. The result was that I was eating a lot of things that were yummy, while being clueless as to what I was eating. Oh, and there were two tofurkeys! :D

A chock-full table for an awesome, vegan Thanksgiving dinner!

As is to be expected when you go to a party co-organized by a guy who works at Facebook and was the founder of a start-up, there were a lot of “tech people” there: a driver developer (well, he worked on the GPU memory management part of drivers, if I understood him correctly) at nVidia, somebody who managed something at Netflix and somebody who went on to speak at TEDxSF the next week. And pretty much all others worked on start-ups or lesser known (in Belgium, at least) tech companies.

When commuting there, I took the bus. It went through some of the worst neighborhoods of San Francisco. Not being used to big cities (and no, Leuven, Ghent and Antwerp don’t count, maybe Brussels is somewhat comparable), this was a slightly scary experience. “Unsettling” may be the more apt word choice here.
You can relive the experience by looking at the streets bus 48 goes through on Google Maps, by using its Street View functionality.

22nd street station

So, when the time came to head home, I got a ride to 22nd street station. I arrived around 21:30; the train was supposed to arrive at 21:45, so I had been told by an (extremely shitty, thanks to it being written in Adobe Flex) iPhone app and by Google Maps1. No special announcements were hanging at the train stations.
Guess what? They were all lying. I couldn’t easily check the physical timetables, because they were only on the northbound track side. To see them, I’d have to climb the stairs, cross a bridge, descend stairs, look, and cross everything again in reverse to get back to the southbound track. Usability fail indeed.
Apparently, because it was the day (a Friday, thus a weekday) after Thanksgiving, they’d instated the Saturday schedule. Very nice to only mention this on your website, Caltrain!

22n street station, around 22:00 on Friday, November 25.

After standing there for 50 minutes in the cold, in a completely deserted railway station, near bad neighborhoods, underneath highway bridges, the train finally arrived. I’ve never been so happy to board a train in my life! :) Warmth! Home!

  1. Unlike in Belgium, Google Maps has full public transport schedules built in in the U.S. — or at least in the Bay Area. ↩︎