First two days in the SD

My first couple of days have gone really well in San Diego. I figured instead of doing a “daily” update that I would just update every couple of days. It really isn’t that exciting. The one thing of note, it is now Tuesday (start of Day 3) and I it has not gotten above 59 degrees, pouring down rain and cold (that 59 was only for a short while). I feel like I am in Seattle.

Day 1: This was probably the most interesting day so far. I got up early, hung out with the hubby until he dropped me off at 6:45am.

While I was waiting at the Alaskan Airlines terminal things got a little surreal. About 10 minutes after we were starting to board there was still no plane at the gate (I was sitting at the window right where it should be). We all assumed no big deal, it was probably late coming in. That is when they announced that “they couldn’t find the plane”. You heard that right, not that it was late, but that they couldn’t find it.

Nope, no sign of it.
Nope, no sign of it.

After the initial murmurings happened from all of us customers they made a second announcement confirming “that the plane was not late, they still just haven’t found the plane.”

It turns out that the plane was one of several Alaska Airlines jets sitting on the tarmac overnight. It looks like someone forgot to bring it out in the morning. Talk about a surrealistic way to start your day.

Oh look, it was behind the flour.
Oh look, it was behind the flour.

The flight itself was pretty smooth, I definitely prefer the 2.5 hour flights as opposed to the 4.5-5 hour flights to Atlanta. Once we landed I successfully secured myself a rental car. I was about an hour behind, having arrived and secured my stuff at 2pm. I then decided to go visit the USS Midway Museum on the San Diego Harbor since check in wasn’t until 4pm. I will post about that separately as I have a lot of pictures I have to go through and I want to post.

USS Midway Museum
USS Midway Museum

Finally I got to my room, dropped my stuff off and went to In-N-Out for attempt number two. I figured the place needed a second chance, since everyone has a bad day. I got there and ordered a regular cheeseburger without tomato.

In-N-Out menu!
In-N-Out menu!

Of course it came with tomato, so I had to pull tomato bits off of it, I am definitely not impressed with their ability to modify orders. The people ahead of me evidently got their order after me and went back up to yell at them for something. I ate the burger and found this burger a lot better than the Double Double I ordered in Los Angeles. Even so, I wouldn’t really put it above a good McDonald’s burger, and definitely above a Dick’s burger.

Just a meh.
Just a meh.

I figure next time I will just go get two cheeseburgers from McDonalds for a little less than a single cheeseburger here and not be as disappointed. I then went by a grocery store on my way back to my room, worked a little then went to bed.

Day 2: Monday was less exciting. I woke up at 4am and starting working. Then around 7 I went to my Data Mining using Access class and it wasn’t bad. Honestly it is a helpful class, and I am not unhappy to get the info. Actually I am happy to get it, I learned some things already that will help with the “work session” I got for the SAS program last week.

We got out of class and I found Von’s, a grocery store that is evidently owned by Safeway, my Safeway card even worked so it wasn’t too bad. I then went by Carl’s Jr and was also disappointed.

So then I went back to my room, played around on my computer for an hour and a half and then fell asleep unexpectedly.

Thus ends Day 1 and Day 2.

Last two days in Los Angeles

The last two days in Los Angles were quiet. There wasn’t much to say except I went to class on Thursday, went back to the hotel and talked with the hubby for about an hour. Even though I found Yum Yum donuts the night before, I have to say it was still way better talking with my husband then eating heaven on earth.

This beats everything.
This beats everything.

Friday was a 3/4 day of work. Don’t get me wrong, there has been things I have learned, however it is called a “work session” and so there were many hours of just rerunning programs with no real goal. The highlight of this last work session day was going to lunch at chipotle across the street. It was like a contest, it had been raining heavily all day, and I had not realized that L.A. does not have the same kind of drainage that Seattle does and the streets were literally flooded 3-4 inches deep. The topper for our trip out, on the way back a truck slammed into a mud puddle beside my supervisor and I and a wave of water 4 foot high (no, that is not hyperbole) swept across us. The annoying part is I heard and saw him coming, but it was slow motion and I couldn’t get out of the way.

yep wet, tired and ready to go home.
yep wet, tired and ready to go home.

We finally got back to the class and I was soaked. I couldn’t dry off either because my clothes were packed in the car a couple of blocks away. So I sat there in the class for three hours and dripped. Funny enough my lightweight coat was soaked the whole flight. So by the time we left Friday I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. We ended up driving back to the airport and it only took about 35 minutes on the freeways, so we were fortunate.

I was sad to leave palm trees... don't worry I will be back in San Diego in 41 hours.
I was sad to leave palm trees… don’t worry I will be back in San Diego in 41 hours.

Once at the airport I had time to look around. The first thing I noticed was how run down the terminal. It was a bit dirty everywhere, things seemed to be falling apart and it was lacking in any real food/store selection. The Sea-Tac and Atlanta airports both have several stores, restaurants and fast food. There wasn’t any fast food at all in the terminal I was in at all. The biggest disappointment though was the swag in the airport shops. I tried to find the hubby his travel spoon from Los Angeles but no luck. There was only two shops in the area to begin with and they were bare of almost anything I was interested in. That was a real disappointment and the first time I couldn’t find a spoon.

crowded and dirty ;(
crowded and dirty ;(

The flight back was ok. It was very short (only about 2 hours and 12 minutes in the air) but this was a Boeing 717 which means absolutely no leg room. Seriously I never once could touch the ground with my feet when my legs were straight forward. The flight was short though, and I had the aisle so I did survive it.

Yep, leg room is just an illusion.
Yep, leg room is just an illusion.

Finally I rolled into the Sea-Tac Airport and the hubby picked me up. I can’t tell you how much I missed him. We crawled in bed, talked for a long time then fell asleep. He definitely made everything all right.

I missed that look when I photograph him randomly.
I missed that look when I photograph him randomly.

There are probably a few little stories I forgot to tell. I will probably bring them up later. However, overall my trip wasn’t the worst. I definitely like Los Angeles better than Atlanta. The people are very similar to Pacific Northwest, with a bit of gun loving that was a surprise. Tomorrow morning (today is the Saturday after coming home) I fly back down to San Diego. I will post more about that as I go.

Second day in L.A.

The second day was a bit unremarkable. It started with going down to the “breakfast nook” of the hotel. There they had a waffle maker and a breakfast bar. I grabbed a waffle and a yogurt and eat quickly.

self-made waffle.
  self-made waffle.

 

Then I went back up to the room and worked a bit on one of my audits and it wasn’t pretty. Also my hair wouldn’t spike up…

Tired... so tired...
Tired… so tired…

The first two/thirds of the day was spent in class learning how to use SAS. It is a pretty cool thing to do, I am really hoping we actually use it at work. I think it can be a pretty good tool. Also both of our presenters/teachers were easy to listen and it was a fairly relaxed environment. If only my work computer would quit blue screening on me.

not a bad spot for lunch
not a bad spot for lunch

Originally we were going to go to the Disney store since we were next to Disneyland, but I needed a bit of space to myself so I begged off. I went to my room, sat around for a few minutes and decided I needed to get some exercise. With no workout gear I decided a walk would work just as well as anything else. I haven’t really walked around here and wasn’t sure where to go. I have been to Jack in the Box for lunch, but this time I decided to turn right and take a walk down that direction.

Lots of creepy underpasses around here.
Lots of creepy underpasses around here.

I did find something awesome on my walk. I had gotten about a mile down and was getting ready to turn around when I came across Yum Yum Donuts. Evidently it is a chain of donut shops down here in California. I hadn’t heard it before, but the place looked inviting.

         Yum Yum Donuts!
Yum Yum Donuts!

I walked in and was overwhelmed with a most beautiful sight. A whole display case full of wonderful smelling fresh donuts.

I would have to take three pictures to catch the whole row of donuts.
I would have to take three pictures to catch the whole row of donuts. Mmmm… Donuts…

I went in and bought a couple of donuts. I have been fairly good so far, and honestly I do eat my emotions (well my stress is probably a closer approximation) so I had to have some. They were better than they smelled. I haven’t had donuts this good since Lafeen’s back up in Bellingham in the late 1980s. They are better than Voodoo donuts, and I think I have had Rocket Donuts and they are better than that as well.

img_3801
So much tasty goodness…

While I was sitting there, I decided I needed to bring some milk back to my hotel room for my cereal I had bought the night before. So I traveled just a short distance further. There I was confronted by a sign you would never see here in the Pacific NW.

img_3803
Can you guess which part of this sign didn’t match? I will give you a hint… not 7-11.

It is always interesting to see how even though we live on the same coast, both Washington and California are very progressive/liberal, but there are just small things that do show the minor differences. I then went into the 7-11 and got some milk. The store had more food in it then I am used to seeing in a 7-11. Not quite as good as larger bodegas, but obviously at least this location sold some food, and I assume that is because there are not any grocery stores within walking distance of the hotel.

I didn't want to freak the lady out and take a picture inside.
I didn’t want to freak the lady out and take a picture inside.

Finally I went back to the hotel room. There I was inundated with Shark Tank on the TV. I don’t think I have mentioned this before about L.A. but I am always surprised at how TV is slightly different in each town. However, evidently California is pretty similar overall to Seattle on that part. The stations are pretty similar and there is a wonderful lack of 4 different FOX stations I got stuck watching in Atlanta. Also the ads aren’t objectionably conservative like they were in Georgia.

Then my little brother called and after he was done talking to me I got to do the only thing I wanted to do today… talk to my husband.

img_3807
   Talking to hubby, and watching Shark Tank.

First day in L.A.

I flew down to Los Angeles yesterday for the first time. Work decided I needed training and I needed it “NOW”. The flight down was definitely a delta flight that had a bit of anxiety inducing mechanical sounds grinding. It reminded me of the first time I flew to Atlanta a couple years ago on my first flight ever.

img_3690
Everyone wanted off as soon as possible

The first thing I noticed upon landing is that it was low 60s. Obviously people here consider that a cool temperature as the guy at Thrifty Cars was wearing a sweater/hoodie under his yellow safety vest. My two coworkers and I both from Seattle were already warm, so the difference was interesting. The one thing I have noticed is I don’t mind the weather down here in January. This would be a good time to go to Disneyland.

The next thing I noticed are palm trees. I have never been to a place that has palm trees that grow naturally. I mean I grew up on 80s tv that showed California and Florida palm trees but I had never seen one in real life that wasn’t in Seattle, freezing and on life support because it couldn’t survive. I am not sure why that caught my attention specifically, but it was interesting.

Palm trees everywhere.
                    Palm trees everywhere.

We then drove down from LAX to La Palma where my office is. Its about 26 miles so we drove the freeways and it took 40 minutes. I was surprised, I have heard how bad traffic is here in LA, but I-405 in Seattle is WAY WAY worse at the same time of day. It would have took me half again as long to get that far on I-405 in the Renton Curves. Funny enough one of the highways we took down here was also I-405.

I got to the La Quinta. A bunch of my coworkers were freaking out we had to use them. I found it a little worn around the edges. It obviously had a heyday sometime in the 90s or earlier, but honestly its fine. The bathroom was the tiniest bathroom I have seen in a hotel, but still not bad. The people who work here are nice. The biggest advantage is lots of cheap restaurants/fast food within walking distance. I appreciated that.

Really not that bad overall
            Really not that bad overall

Then later in the evening we went to get food at a store and dinner. We decided to stop at In-N-Out. I have heard nothing but people extolling the virtues of the restaurant. I mean that is all I hear “you have to go to In-N-Out and get a double double”.

meh... that ball of lettuce didn't help any.
       meh… that ball of lettuce didn’t help any.

I ate it, and found it wasn’t bad, but nothing special to write home about. In fact I still much prefer Dick’s at home. I also noticed that “the greatest sauce ever” as it was called by others, was actually only Thousand Island Dressing. Seriously, I like Thousand Island, but its Thousand Island… not really a secret recipe. Maybe next time (if there is one) I will try just a cheeseburger, something that is more equal against a Dick’s cheeseburger.

Finally we went to the grocery/warehouse store next to the In-N-Nout named Smart and Final Extra. It seems close to the Cash and Carry’s that are near where we live, except there are more single serve items as well. It was funny, when I originally asked the hotel staff if there was a grocery store nearby they said the name and I asked if it was a bodega, for some reason the name just didn’t fit with a preconceived notion of what a grocery store was.

Finally I got home, worked on a couple of credit hours for work, and went to bed.

 

Work and training

dodI have been quiet for a couple weeks because of work. I got selected to become our office’s Data Analytics Expert. I am good with this, it will be really nice on my resume and I will get to do what I like and dig into data. The hard part is the training. I have a lot of experience with data analytics at my prior state jobs (it hasn’t been done before now with this fed agency) so I have seen it. However, I am out of practice by several years so I can use the training, even if it is at a bad time.

noskills

The frustrating part is most of my coworkers are reluctant or even hostile to the idea of focusing on analytics, data mining, and other forms of analysis. They just want to do what has been done for the last 20 years even though it is slower, longer and not as effective. Doing analytical procedures will help sift through the multi-gigabyte size exported files. Personally I think it is a great thing. I look forward to it, but I hope that it isn’t avoided by everyone else and this turns out to be a pointless exercise.

do-your-job

There is however some issues with the timing of this. As seems to be the case for all things in my agency, things need to be put off and off and off, then all of a sudden they have to be done NOW! They decided to give me the data analytics expert position more than three weeks before they even told me. They had “forgotten” to tell me, so it was a last minute decision right before Christmas that we need to have all this training. We are currently on a very restrictive deadline for our forward pricing project. We have to have the audit done by end of February. The hard part with my new position is the almost 100 hours of training I have to get done in addition to be done with my portion of the audit.

deadlines

I have spent a week at work doing online training (the prep courses) and I got some of my auditing done. However, next Tuesday I have to fly down to Los Angeles, stay there and fly back to Seattle on Friday. Saturday I will have off with the husband and then I fly back down to San Diego Sunday and will be down there until the following Friday. I won’t really be able to touch my audit until after the first of February, meaning everything is tight at work. Although I am fairly fast and I suspect I will be ok. I just hate the idea of being behind by 100 hours worth of work.

training

I am thankful for several things though. The first being that I stay in the PST time zone. I absolutely hate trying to get used to getting up at 5am EST (2am my normal time, that is even earlier then my actual early wakeup). Second, and more importantly, I am excited I am not in the deep red south. I don’t think I could handle being down there while I feel like I am in a week of national mourning for the inauguration day next Friday. It will be hard enough in our conservative agency, but to put up with the red south this month isn’t going to work (and honestly won’t work for me for at least the next four years). Let’s hope we all survive the coming apocalpyse
ihaveanidea