May 10, 2005

Everything is chaotic here at lemonodor right now. My work life is a little unsettled, I was out of town for a few days, and Lori and I just moved to a larger apartment. Hence a recent paucity of lemon posts. Maybe I'll name the units of posts here “licks,” as in “lemon licks”. You have not received any lemon licks in a while, and for that I am sorry.

I went on a little bay area jaunt, which was kind of whirlwindy. The main objective was to see Paul Graham's talk at PARC. Paul's entertaining, and he speaks from an authority that in part comes from having made terrible, embarrassing mistakes and not being afraid to tell the world about them. Unfortunately I think I'm still stuck on the part of starting a company that involves coming up with a good idea, so the subject of his talk, selling your startup, is a pretty theoretical concept for me.

the amazing head of trevor blackwell

I barely chatted with Paul, exchanged a few words with the always-smiling Trevor Blackwell, was groped amateurishly by Aaron Swartz (I kid, I'm a fan of Aaron's!), and got a signed copy of Practical Common Lisp from Peter Seibel. Notably, I digested an entire La Costena burrito during the talk, courtesy of Gavin.

After the talk I went to dinner with a bunch of 106 Miles people, where the awesome Adam Rifkin took me under his wing and introduced me to various Technorati, Jotspotters, Dojoers and others who are knee-deep in the Web 2.0.

I also had time for a compressed visit to the Computer History Museum. I expected it to be moldy and arcane and irrelevant, but it totally blew my mind. Or maybe I just like moldy and arcane.

The next day I hung out with dnm and learned a little bit about his secret plans for Lisp-based domination. “My friend and I decided we hated [censored website], and so we decided to do something that would kill [censored website].”.

Later I met with Franz. They showed me some of their latest work (me: “You guys are nuts. In a good way.”) and pumped me for all sorts of information, which I was all too happy to give them after a little flattery. All you need to do is call me a rock star once, it's easy. Actually, everyone at Franz was delightfully open and friendly (I think for some reason this surprised me) and I had a good time.

and furthermore...

The next night est and Ruchira made sure I got to go to the Google engineering open house. Whoa, talk about a nerdtastic nerdsplosion. “Powerpoint comedian” Don McMillan totally killed, and it was probably one of a dozen venues on Earth where that's even possible. Luckily I prefetched a pair of margaritas before the presentations even began. I think I met about 150 people through Adam and Joyce, and then stood around while Guido and Peter Norvig and est talked language design. Eric and Ruchira, gracious hosts that they were, made sure I talked to all the cool people. I even ran into Paul Snively, a CRACL-head from LA who I hadn't seen in a while.

The biggest coincidence was finding out that my old grad school advisor's office is 15 feet from est's cubicle. On second thought, I should have expected that.

A lot of people I met knew of lemonodor, which was a nice surprise. Actually, it lent an air of surreality to the whole trip, which was odd enough just because there's no place in LA where I run into more than a half-dozen hardcore geeks at once, while in Palo Alto and Mountain View they are legion. It's a different world.

Posted by jjwiseman at May 10, 2005 09:52 AM

Man, I am so jealous. I spent all last summer in Mountain View (working at NASA Ames) and never saw any of this cool stuff! I wish I'd known. OTOH, I did get to see John McCarthy give a talk, so I guess that gives me *some* Lisp cred. :)

Posted by: Dave Herman on May 10, 2005 12:04 PM

Bummer, I should have actually gone downstairs that day.

Posted by: Steve Jenson on May 11, 2005 05:43 PM

Wow, a new link to my dead blog. How embarrassing.

On a more serious note, when are we gonna insist that CRACL, or whatever it's evolving into, meet again? I need some Red Lion Bavarian-style sausage and beer... although having just actually been to Salzburg and München mitigates that somewhat...

Posted by: Paul Snively on May 20, 2005 04:35 PM
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