Sonoma Canopy

We’ve done this before, an year ago I think. I tried to remember where but it was not coming back to me. I am talking about Zip lining. One of the zip lines we did was clearly overlooking the beach. I remember it being beautiful and it was an adrenaline rush. But for some reason I am blanking out on where we did it. Nevertheless I don’t want to go digging into the past pictures to figure it out; it’s a scary preposition. Nvm, Kiran just helped me out. It was in Catalina Islands.

Well the reason why it is relevant now is a bunch of us went to Sonoma Canopy yesterday to Zip Line through the Redwoods. The place is beautiful with tall red woods expanding everywhere till your eyes can see. And we had a Master of Puns as one of our tour guides. It was hilarious. We got to do 7 zip lines, walk through 2 tree bridges, a tree staircase and end our session jumping off a rappel. Healthy red woods trees, even the tall ones, flow with the wind. So on some of the zip lines we could actually feel the platform moving. That was pretty cool. While it was no adrenaline rush this time, the entire experience was pretty chill and calming. Being in middle of nature does that to you, I guess. This was Sally’s idea. It was her birthday and she wanted to spend it close to the nature. Pretty cool if you’d ask me. Thanks Sally and Happy Birthday :).

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They asked us to act scared

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That was the tree stair case

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This time they asked us to pose 😀

After we Zip Lined we went to a French Restaurant for lunch. It was a bougie (I learnt this word last week :D. More on that later.) place with yummy bruschetta’s. Their Tiramisu was the best I ever had (I haven’t had many. More of a cheesecake person). After an impromptu Tiramisu birthday cake and a happy birthday song later, a few of us went to the Russian River Brewing Co in Santa Rosa. I never saw a line so big outside a beer place; it took us about ~45 mins before we got in. A friend was telling me that one of their beers (Pliny the Younger) was rated as the 2nd best beer in the world. Woah! That beer is sold only for a week once an year and unfortunately this was not that week. We did have Pliny the Elder though. It was pretty good, and along with it, we had a bunch of other beers too.

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Beer Platter 😀

After we got back we watched an episode of Black Mirror. This show is thoroughly fucked up and does the same to you. Its tripping. Luckily for us we were in the city; I could go out later with a few other friends to dance it off. Phew!

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Pretty neat setup right? Beats watching on a TV.

Maverick!

It was a simple enough change but I had no clue why the hell it wasn’t working. I was lost between staring deeply into the monitor trying to make the code talk back to me and rubber batman-ing (ducking) to figure things out when I get a ping on hangouts…

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The watchful protector of my code, the friend of unit tests

Ivan: Dude! are we still doing Defenders? or did you figure out what we are going as?
me: Don’t ask me. That was your job.
Ivan: WTF!!
me: I know.
Ivan: Lets go to party city tonight.
me: Sure.

A couple of days later… again on hangouts…

Ivan: Did you get aviators?
me: Shit! I forgot.
Ivan: I called you last night to remind you. Why the hell didn’t you pick up?
me: I was sick. I crashed.
Ivan: It’s ok. Will figure something out. I already changed, waiting for you.
me: Give me 5.

I think it was a couple of weeks ago when we watched Top Gun at our place, and within the first 30 minutes of watching the movie I was fairly certain what I was gonna wear this time. The key was finding Goose to accompany Maverick and Ivan was on board. Call it coincidence but a day later Nithesh came in as a Top Gun pilot as well.

While I did make some half assed attempts for the last two halloweens, this was the first time I was getting a full fledged costume. The scary part was walking around in costume at work. My team started clapping when I got back to my desk so that it would draw more attention; it was so scary that I had to quickly borrow glasses from a co-worker and rush out. Ivan was at ease though; he owned it. Things were much calmer by the time we got to the venue. Seeing a lot more costumes does put you at ease.

The event itself was a lot of fun. Apart from the halloween themed cocktails, the most fun I had was at the ‘Clash of the Clans’ game where we got to shoot arrows at other people. It was like paint ball but replace paint guns with bows and arrows. The goal was to eliminate other team members and hit the tower bell on the opposite end of the field. It was intense! I remember a couple of my arrows grossly missing their mark and hitting the spectators outside the field. Score!

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Goose & Maverick!

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He is the one who knocks! Get it? 😀

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Fire type kicks ass!

This time Halloween was on Monday, so there were a lot of exciting things happening over the weekend. Most of the gang already decided to go as Wizard of Oz characters; it was a few others and me who were the odd balls and deviated from the larger theme. I was better ready though than I was for the work event. Boddu and I went shopping for aviators in the morning and I was all set. Well I guess it doesn’t really matter when you go to a costume party with hundreds of dressed up people in a large hotel with drinks, 4 grand rooms with different kinds of music and dancing. Things got pretty confusing that night… and intense, and exciting! It was weirdly fucked up, hard to explain and fun. I guess that’s what happens when hordes of people get together to party. I would’ve slept through entire Sunday if it wasn’t Diwali that day, and I hand’t already made plans to meet a friend and had not forgotten where I parked my car the night before.

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That was most of the gang. We lost a couple by the end of the night.

Tons of sleep did help me recover for Monday, and you know how Mondays are… but this time it was Halloween. Half day through messages started pouring in and turns out one of us found another event which was in the city. I did leave the costume in my car, including the aviators and this was anyways after work. We met at Margaret’s for pre-gaming, and off we went. This time it was in a night club and there was a costume competition. It was basically ‘Wicked Witch of the West’ (Tsotso) kicking ass. Bring it on San Francisco!

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It was a smaller team on Monday

 

Climbing in the dark

I went back after a long time to do Yoga yesterday when I noticed a flier – “Climb in the dark for Halloween”. I imagined the climbing holds would be coated with glow in the dark paint, and lights would be turned off. Every trail would probably have a unique color. But I guess that is not a scalable plan considering how many people do show up to climb.

Well the event was today, and the solution they had was something much simpler. Climb with headlamps. This was the first time I was wearing climbing shoes after the accident, and they felt shorter than I remember. The first climb was quite tricky; I had trouble spotting holds, especially the smaller ones to support my feet with no lights on. In one of the climbs, the holds were in tan color like the wall, and there was a light yellow trial right next to it. I had to take my time to figure out the color of the holds before moving forward, and this made the climb pretty hard. Ran into a similar problem where a black and a blue trails were right next to each other and it was very hard to spot the difference in the dark.

Over the course of the night a section of the gym lit up and an ambulance showed up. Not sure what exactly happened, but a few paramedics walk in. Nevertheless climbing continued in rest of the gym. And oh, the fun part was there were a lot of costumes. I think I spotted a Khaleesi mid way through a trail, and I saw atleast 2 Harley Quinn’s walking around. By the time I got to my sixth climb the wrist that I injured while biking started hurting, and so I stopped after finishing this trail. Midway through the climb, there was an announcement and then the lights came back on.

This was a completely different experience. Climbing by itself can be quite challenging and fun. Adding the dark element with the headlamps, costumes, and the staff walking around dressed fancy and giving us candy was definitely an interesting and fun twist. Made for a fun Friday night.

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If you look closely, you’ll see people on the walls

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That’s the best selfie I could take

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Strap on headlamps

Hoops

It was around 7.30pm; I was standing at my desk with the laptop bag on my shoulders and the duffle bag with my climbing gear hanging on the side. I was about to run the build and tests before I left for the night when they walked in. One of them had a basket ball. Curiosity speaks up, and our conversation went something like this…

me: Basket ball? Nice!

Marisa: Do you play?

me: Used to. Not anymore. Love the game though.

Marisa: Oh then you should play. We have a team game coming up, and we need more players.

me: How bad a player can the team tolerate? I haven’t played in a really long time, and even when I regularly played I wasn’t particularly good.

Marisa: Doesn’t matter. You are tall. Just wave your hands, and you should be fine.

me: Well then count me in.

Ever see someone dribble a ball navigating across 5 other people, leap and dunk the ball through the hoop? This game is the definition of cool; no wonder I was fascinated with it long before I started playing. I think it was the summer after the junior year; Rahul was a regular and he played everyday. One day he asked me to join him and so I did. While I was terrible at it, it did stop me from having fun. So I went back the next day, and the day after that and I ended up playing all summer. Our games were played on half court as we did not have enough people. This meant there was more of shooting and blocking, than dribbling. Naturally that’s whats been my weakest part of the game. I don’t take my eyes off the ball when I dribble, and this slows me down, and so I often end up passing the ball before I get an opportunity to shoot.

Once the semester started I joined our internal house (Agni) team to play in the inter college league, and over a lot of huffing and puffing, and hands on the hips I realized playing full court is a completely different ball game. Nevertheless I was part of the final team, and while we got our ass whooped thoroughly in the league (we ended up being last I think) it was a fun experience. While I still follow the game from time to time (was a Celtics fan, but I no longer root for any Boston teams) never really played since.

Game day. We managed to gather 10 people, so full court it was. We warm up, I shoot a few baskets, and it doesn’t feel completely alien. Good so far. And we get started… after 15 mins the it kind of felt like the court was unusually long; 15 more minutes and I started thinking how I was not a runner and 15 more minutes later I remembered why I did not continue playing after university. This game needs some serious stamina. Rest of the team was still going strong though, so we continued.

When it was my turn to shoot, it felt like the opposite team had 10 players trying to block me, and when it was my turn to cover, I felt like I was covering 5 people. Our captain did have to remind me multiple times that the I was leaving my cover open. Nice guy, never did yell at me though. So win there!

I think we played for around 90 minutes minus a short 10 minute break. Despite all the running, huffing and puffing, and overall being a terrible player, it was insanely fun to be back on the court. At this one time I had the ball, and I had two people in front of me from the other team; I did a fake moment to my right, then did a 360 degree turn to loose them, before I took the shot. Sure I missed the hoop, but the feeling you get when you try a move you only dreamed off; that feeling is pretty good.

I did manage to convince many of them to make this a biweekly thing. So definitely looking forward to being on the court more often. Until then, cheers to hoops and shots!

For this game we did end up having an audience, who were nice to click a few pictures.

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TWTR dance

Have you been following what’s happening with the Twitter world the last two weeks? If not here is a quick summary. There were rumors about possible bids for Twitter and over the course of next one week this propelled the stock to +40%. And then last week once again there was news in the wind that the bidding wars stopped, and the rocket ship came crashing down (it dropped ~28% in the last 1 week).

Ups and down over 2 digit percentages in such a short span is something I expected to see with only penny stocks. So this was kind of exciting to follow where it was leading to. Well what’s more interesting is the companies which were rumored to be part of the bidding wars (Google, Disney and Salesforce) had their stock affected negatively while the bidding was happening. I remember someone calling this ‘The Twitter Tax’. Salesforce which was foremost of the bidders had its stock drop by ~8%. That is steep.

The talk around bidding stopped last week and since Salesforce and Twitter stocks reversed course. Salesforce has been up ~7% today, while Twitter is down by 14%. Ever hear about the ‘hot potato’ story? Everyone who holds it gets burned. Kind of reminds you of that, don’t you think?

All this recent movement in the stock was mostly based on M&A acquisitions. So I think it would be very interesting to see what would happen on Oct 27th when Twitter would be reporting its 3rd quarter earnings. All eyes on it; the TWTR dance. Man, that must be a heck lot of pressure on Jack Dorsey.

 

Spokes

This was last week. I was climbing through the trail, almost reached the peak when I felt my palms were burning more than I remember from my previous climbs. Now I got back to climbing after over a month long hiatus (i have bad excuses), and this wasn’t even a difficult trail (10b). So I stopped my climb and looked at my palms. Layers of skin peeled right off 3 of my fingers. I think the break I took weakened the callouses, but ahhh…break from climbing again.

While I was trying to figure out stuff to do with 70% of working fingers, I spotted my bike. Back in May I got the bike for a bike to work event. Used it on that day and ever since it has been gathering dust in our house, blocking half the pathway to the living room. Even on that day, I kind of cheated. You see our house is a good 10 miles away from work. Now if you think about it, that is a lot of miles. So instead of biking all the way, I took a shuttle till Mountain View and biked for the last 2 miles. In all honesty I biked that day mostly for the swag :D. Until today, never used the bike after that.

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May 12, Bike to Work day after collecting the swag! 😀

Over this weekend I managed to get an air pump, and it took me embarrassingly long to figure out how to use it. Finally I did manage to pump up the tires, and I was all set for today. As it turns out, today was probably not the most ideal day for a beginner to bike. It was freezing, and there was some rain. But I was way too excited about biking to work finally, so I did go ahead. I prepped myself with a hoodie, spotify playlist, and instead of shorts I reached for my skin hugging climbing pants.

I have an Android smart watch that I have been trying to figure out a good use for. Not anymore though. Love the map view on the watch. For someone who is directionally dyslexic I could do with all the help I need while navigating, right on my wrist.

The ride itself was fun. Considering the most I biked was between offices, using a company bike, there wasn’t as much huffing and puffing as I anticipated. The scenery was beautiful, but my morning ride was mostly on the streets except for the last 2 miles. So I did spend a lot of time looking confused figuring out which way to go, and trying to not go under a bus/car. In the evening my route was through trails, so it was much more scenic, but it got colder too.

~2-3 miles before I reached home there was a short path where the bike went on the sidewalk. I kind of have been zoning out a lot lately, so when I realized I was on the sidewalk, which was kind of narrow, I thought the bike would trip on the road, and I might loose control. I think it was a reflex, when I hit the wrong (right hand) brake. And Bam! I could feel the rear tire rise up; I was in the air, did a somersault and rolled on my back, while breaking the fall with my hands and wrists.

As I got up, the bike was still on the sidewalk, the ear phones were hanging from the hoodie, but I could still hear the music playing. It was a good song. My helmet was intact, but the shades landed 4 feet further. Once I realized I was still in one piece, I picked up the bike, put the ear phones back and rode back home.

Funny that this happened today; in the morning I was talking about biking with a colleague, (he bikes from San Francisco :O) when he mentioned that everyone he knew who bikes gets injured. My both wrists are wrapped while I am typing this, but the left wrist hurts more though. Hopefully I can sleep this off.

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After reaching work today morning – Before the somersault 😀

20 miles, 2 hours in the wind, lot of scenic views, more navigation than I like to do, and one somersault later, I’d said this has been a very interesting and fun start to the week. I am glad that I finally biked to work and back, and am still intact. Well almost! 😀

 

Meet the Patels

I was done making upma, served myself a plateful, sat down on the couch and was looking for Snowpiercer. But as luck would have it, Netflix had taken it down. Damn! Now I had to decide on what I was going to watch, before the upma got cold. Then it hit me ‘Meet the Patels’ was on Netflix. I saw the trailer a long time back and thought it was hilarious. A few days ago while browsing around I noticed it was on Netflix. It wasn’t too long either, so I started playing it.

An Indian guy whose only ever been in one relationship, breaks up with the girl, and tries to find a girl the traditional Indian way. Don’t tell me that does not sound familiar; I don’t believe you. The whole premise was hilarious and relatable, and the documentary even more so. It’s light hearted, and fun. And to all you Non-Indian peeps, if you ever wondered, well this is how the Indian way you have heard so much about is like. So go watch it, for the laughs 🙂