Monday, November 29, 2004

October. Oh, and November.

It turns out that nothing much happens to me in any given week, but by the end of a month there's too much to write about without taking a while. Apparently I need to find some happy medium. So:

The big story in my life over the past almost-two-months has been job interviews. I had two on-campus interviews with Google, then a couple weeks later they flew me out to California and interviewed me again there. There were 60 students from all over interviewing in one day, so it was a little hectic. And I got to be one of those people who has friends to visit and, well, went and had dinner with a couple friends from my internship there. It was fun to be out there again, though I'd probably rather work at the New York office, which they've promised to let me visit sometime soon.

The hardest part of the day was actually talking to my manager over lunch. He told me a lot about the current state of my project, most of which I can't repeat, except that it turns out my code was mostly rewritten after I left. Ah well. At least it sounds like they kept my ideas. After that, he asked me to explain my thesis research project and interrupted after the first sentence to ask "Why?" I spent the next ten minutes trying to explain what it does that makes it any better than other, more obvious ideas. I think I finally came up with a good answer, but it was discouraging how long it took me.

Next up (a couple weeks after those) were the interviews with Oracle. I was on-site at their Nashua, NH office, so it was just an hour-ish drive away from Somerville. (The drivers could never find their way into or out of Somerville--now I know how to get to my apartment from the highway.) It looked like a good company to potentially work for. This particular office was originally the Digital office that they bought out about ten years ago, so the culture (they told me) was a little different from their headquarters in California.

Between my first and second day of interviews, I got an offer from Google. So that kind of dampened the second day, especially since most of the people I talked to seemed to think as highly of Google as I do.

I still haven't interviewed with Microsoft yet. I'm flying out this Thursday to interview on Friday. I have my doubts that they'll be able to convince me to work for them, but I told that to my recruiter and he still wanted to fly me out there. He already put enough effort into convincing me that Microsoft is less evil than it used to be that I feel like I should give them a shot. So I'm going.

I saw a bunch of movies at LSC, and liked most of them. I ran a few sneaks, which mostly didn't get enough people, except when they did. And I got someone else elected Night Director for next year. Yay.

I also went to the Orson Scott Card lecture at MIT. The thesis of the talk was that what happens to Israel is the great test of how history will judge us, and if we renege on all the promises the world made after WWII then civilization hasn't lived up to what it should be. I agreed with a lot more of what he said than I expected to, but it still left me with a little bit of a bad taste. (Maybe it was his conclusion that civilization-loving people should vote Bush.) He also signed my copy of Maps in a Mirror, so of course I've been re-reading stories from it in my free time.

I bought a printer. It's a Canon i560, which not only is the bottom of the line, but it's the bottom of the old line that just got discontinued. But it was cheap, and is supposed to better text than any of the others, which is mostly what I use it for anyway. And it does decent-enough photos for my purposes.

The Red Sox won, but Kerry lost. You win some, you lose some, I guess. If only one some wasn't a lot more important than the other some... But I did get to see the victory parade (for the Sox) as it passed by Government Center. I didn't recognize any of the players, but I did see the trophey.

I gave a research presentation to my group. Well, half of one. Well, half of one that was about three times as long as a normal one, so I think that counts as giving a presentation. In retrospect, it probably should have been divided up into two parts anyway, so that me and the PhD student working on the project wouldn't have had to switch back and forth and stress about each other taking up the time.

I went to a USACO problem-writing session. It's been way too long since I've done that kind of thinking, and coding up the test solutions took me a lot longer than it would have four years ago. On top of the problems getting harder, it's probably a good thing I graduated when I did, but it was still fun getting back into it for a
day with no pressure, and seeing all those people again.

We had a halloween party at MathHut. Lots of candy, lots of people, way too much fudge. There are pictures up on ofoto now. Ask me if you want to see them. Or if you want some fudge.

I visited MIThenge, the one day it wasn't cloudy or snowy. Yeah, it snowed. About 4 inches. In the middle of November. I didn't bike to campus that day.

And I came home for Thanksgiving, and saw my brother for the first time since he went off to CMU. Apparently he's doing well, making friends, passing all his classes, and still has time for a ridiculous number of activities. Ah, to be a freshman again.

And that's about it, I guess. Well, no, it's not, but that's more than enough for one entry. Maybe I'll update again less than months from now.