In the time since I've moved out to California, there have been no fewer than three earthquakes. Or so I'm told, since I've not felt even one. Granted, I'm not waving the, "I want to feel an earthquake" flag as if I have a death wish, I'm just saying that it's part of the California experience, and I wish I had something to add to the conversation.
The closest I came was earlier this year when, apparently, there was an earthquake while I was in the shower. It was felt in San Jose, for sure, but not by me. Perhaps the rattling of the bathroom vent and the sound of the water muffled out the small earthquake. I don't know, but when I got out of the shower and my then-girlfriend asked if I felt the earthquake, I was shocked. I felt like I was five again and someone asked if I had seen the ice cream truck. Shoot, missed it again!
There was an earthquake last night in Oakland, a 4.2. People in the city felt it, people in the South Bay felt it, but I didn't. Maybe I was too far south and too heavily asleep at the time (4 AM PDT). I'm starting to feel a little bit like the guy who's out of the loop on an inside joke.
Today is my birthday, the last one I'll have in the 20s...so sad. A moment please, for the demise of my youth. So what does a guy do to celebrate his 29th birthday? Go to the dentist to have six fillings replaced, of course!
I've been having various health problems for a while, and my doctor recommended having my mercury-amalgam fillings replaced to see if it made a difference. I had 12 of those buggers in my mouth, and given that I'm, shall we say, not the bulkiest guy in the world, it posed more health problems for me than for others. So I said fine, I'd give it a shot (no pun intended).
I had six fillings removed a few weeks ago, and six more today. I really like my dentist, Dr. Gallagher. He has this whole procedure down to a science and he's been doing it for a very long time. He's been very good to me despite my omnipresent nervousness in his office. When he was done today, he said, "congratulations, you're now mercury-free." I thought and stopped about it for a moment...this could be a really big thing for me. Not only does my mouth look so much better (tooth-colored fillings instead of black ones) but if it could improve my health, this could end up being a re-birthday.
Of course, the whole right side of my mouth is currently numb, meaning that I'm drooling down my shoulder as I'm typing this. I also made it all the way home before I realized I still had gauze in my mouth. Despite that, I'm thrilled to be mercury-free and to have drills, needles, and nitrous (sorry, I'm way too big of a lightweight to enjoy it) behind me. In my opinion, this is the best present I could have gotten.
Was wondering when it would happen, but I got tagged by Jim. So, here's 5 things you don't know about me:
- I went to college on a drama scholarship.
- I was so shy in elementary school that I wouldn't order food at restaurants.
- I am allergic to wheat, dairy, and soy. Consequently, I make a lot of my own meals, sometimes from scratch. No quick fast food trips for me!
- I like meeting new people. I was a tour guide in Salem as a summer job during college and I really enjoyed it because of all the interesting people I met. This is different from most typical computer geeks, but I've never claimed to be typical.
- I added my middle initial (C.) to my name when writing because there's another Nicholas Zakas that lived in the next city over from me. Apparently, he's an antiques dealer (I used to get calls for him all the time). This is why I make such a stink about always using my middle initial...because I don't want your old furniture.
As you know, I'm not big on blogging about work, but it's been a while and I felt like updating everyone. I've now been in California a little over a week and am trying to get settled. I've had a great time at Yahoo during my orientation, though as you'd imagine, the initial experience is pretty overwhelming. Work has actually been less stressful than what's been going on outside of work (finding a place to live, getting my license, registering my car, changing my address, etc.). I've been looking forward to going to work to escape the stress of trying to get unpacked and settled.
I finally now have an internet connection at my apartment, so I'll be back to blogging more frequently. I won't have television until Tuesday (ugh), and I'm starting to feel the withdrawal symptoms. I am looking forward to having a DVR for the first time with my new DirectTV system (which I needed in order to see my Patriots this season). Recording on up to three channels at once...I may never unpack my VCR.
All in all, things have been good. Yahoo really is a great place to work with a really nice, smart bunch of people. The campus is gorgeous and the benefits are incredible. I'm very excited to start getting more deeply involved in life @ Yahoo.
Moving to California is stressful, but I think I'm doing fairly well in dealing with the stress. This is the first time I've recognized a stressful period coming on and taken steps to try to help myself through it. Thusfar, I'm doing well, so I thought I'd share how I'm dealing.
- Make Lists. I'm usually not a list person, but when there are a lot of details, I find it helpful to write down everything that needs to happen at specific times. That way, I don't need to worry about missing something.
- Be Good To Your Body. When your body isn't strong, it's easier to fall into fits of panic. Making sure you're eating good food, minimizing sugars, caffeine, etc., and getting plenty of good foods with a lot of nutrients (green foods are great for this). I don't smoke or drink, but if I did, I definitely would be minimizing it now.
- Worry One At A Time. One of the best pieces of advice I've gotten was to worry about only one thing at a time. For instance, when interviewing in California, I was faced with several things that make me uncomfortable: flying, staying in a hotel, and interviewing. The trick is to worry about things in the order in which they occur. I worred about the flight first, then worried about the hotel once I got off the flight, then worried about the interview after I was at the hotel.
- Sleep A Lot. I get more stressed when I don't sleep, so I've tried to get to bed early and sleep until my body has had enough (i.e. I don't set the alarm). Sleep makes me happy.
- Ask For Help. The most important thing is to ask for help when you need it. Ask lots of questions, get clarifications, anything you need to make you feel more comfortable. Don't let little things stick around and bug you, ask someone to help you figure it out so you can move on.
So, that's what I'm going through right now. Tuesday I'm flying out to California to stay and begin my new life. Stressful? Damn straight. But I'm sure I'll survive.
Today was my last day at VistaPrint. Leaving a job is one of the major transitions we all must face in life, but it doesn't make it any easier. I'm really going to miss the people at VistaPrint; I'm leaving behind a lot of friends. But, sometimes, you just need to take a risk. Considering I've spent most of my life is a pretty homogenized existence, I feel like this is my chance to do something daring.
I wish VistaPrint continued success and hope that my friends remain happy there. Parting is such sweet sorrow...
A mother goes to work in the morning, says goodbye to her son, daughter, and husband. She arrives back home that night to a quiet house. Soon, it becomes apparent why. All three of her family members are dead. In the course of a day, a mother and wife has her entire family taken away. What's worse, it looks like her son shot her husband and daughter before turning the gun on himself.
The reason why I mention this is twofold. First, this happened in my city, not terribly far from where I live. Second, a good friend of mine was friends with the daughter. In short, this isn't just a story in the newspaper to me (though there is plenty of coverage), this is real life. My mind has trouble figuring out how to deal with such a tragedy.
This poor woman literally lost her entire family, and why? Well, no one has any idea right now, but the entire community is in shock. It's the senselessness that really gets to me. I don't understand what could go through someone's mind to cause this result.
The two parts of life that we all go through are birth and death, and I think that both are designed to remind those who witness it that there are many important things in life...and there are also many unimportant things. My prayers are with this family, and I hope that some of you can spare a prayer or two as well.
I just got home from seeing Rent in Boston tonight. I always find it amazing how seeing a musical live can really evoke emotions from the audience. Rent, in particular, is very moving (there was someone crying a few seats down). I'd never seen it before, but clearly about 80% of the people in the audience had, as there were audible cheers as numbers began...that type of response is usually reserved for the end of a musical number.
In any event, I always welcome seeing musicals because they are one of the few things that help me escape my own mind. They let me forget about what's going on in my life and become completely engrossed in this fantasy world where everyone feels the need to explain things through song. It's silly and poetic, but also mesmerizing...a great escape.
I've been waiting a long time to say this, but now the cat is out of the bag amongst everyone who needed to know before making a public announcement. I have accepted a development position at Yahoo! and will be moving to California before the end of the summer.
This whole process began back in March when I was contacted by Google asking if I would be interested in pursuing opportunities with them. Of course I said yes, and proceeded to go through the interview process. Along the way, I got to meet and talk to people like Erik Arvidsson and Aaron Boodman. It was a very cool experience.
During that time, I also was approached by Yahoo! about possibly working for them. I got to meet with Eric Miraglia, Thomas Sha, and Adam Moore, who are some of the people responsible for the Yahoo! User Interface Library. I met a lot of great people and had a lot of great conversations.
The end result: I received job offers from both Google and Yahoo!...a situation that I know many developers would love to have. I also know that many would probably have chosen Google due to the prestige and the aura of the Googleplex. They have been sweeping up talented engineers left and right. For me, though, I felt like Yahoo! was a better fit for where I am in my personal and professional life right now.
Yahoo! is doing a lot of really exciting things right now, and I'm very excited to be able to join them in these endeavors.
Alfred Einhorn is a man who has my eternal thanks, especially today. It was in 1905 that he created the first injectable anesthetic that we lovingly know as novocaine. Having just had a gum graft this morning (and only barely lucid thanks to some lovely narcotics), I must say that I am once again grateful for this lovely anesthetic, without which I cannot ever imagine dealing with gum surgery or even cavities. Although everyone hates the novocaine injections, they are nothing compared to the pain we'd all be feeling without them.