Usually this blog has a lot more narrative focus and/or available photos after I’ve been travelling, but going to Palo Alto never quite works. I was there last week for work, back in the trusty and still murder-free Comfort Inn, but at heart Palo Alto is a deeply suburban place and so any photos would just be of people’s back gardens and flower pots.
I did enjoy having dinner with my new team, as well as an evening with Nolan after a quick hop to San Francisco by train, and in the Lyft on the way back to the airport I craned my head around when I realised we had stopped to pick someone up at Facebook’s HQ to see if there was anything worth seeing. But there wasn’t, besides people holding their thumbs up outside a large Thumbs Up sign. Just a large campus in the middle of nowhere and shuttle busses to move employees in and out. The best way to describe this part of the world is that it’s as if Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC all decided to plonk their global headquarters in Amersham. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Back in Chicago, we were delighted to meet baby Bernard Edward at Robert and Julie’s. The name immediately triggered memories of being read Not Now, Bernard in primary school, and it was only after I’d ordered the book as a gift (newborns can read, right?) that I realised how dark (and British?) the story is. Parents: don’t ignore your kids until they are eaten by monsters. One thing that Bernard Edward will almost certainly never experience is The Oregon Trail, a video game classic now parodied in boardgame form, which we played with Amanda, Alec and John the other night. The nostalgia factor was absent for me, since I never actually played the game – why exactly would I want take my wagon to Oregon anyway? – and by all of the ‘rules’ of boardgames it’s pretty terrible. Players can just die, from pure bad luck, and are immediately exiled from the rest of the game. But we enjoyed it with the right spirit, and some of us even made it to Oregon, too.
Randi and I also saw one of her favourite bands, MisterWives, as well as 1980 (Or Why I’m Voting for John Anderson), a political comedy about clashing personalities within the Boston branch of John Anderson’s independent 1980 presidential election campaign. Two Facebook HQ-sized thumbs up! (Side-note: in real life, you should never actually work for an independent presidential election campaign.)
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