Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bumping into people in Mountain View - Part 1

The last few days in Mountain View have been full of chance encounters. I better jot them down before they fade from memory. I walked into the US, literally, at Vancouver airport. The passport got stamped by US Customs and bits of Vancouver airport are technically US territory.

On the flight I sat next to a lady (librarian) with sons in Stanford and Twitter. Interesting discussions ensued regarding DNA untwisting and social sensing via Twitter. I caught a cab-ride from SFO to my hotel in Mountain View and promptly fell asleep.

Saturday I visited the NASA AMES' open to public show case and drowned in a sea of high-schoolers visiting under the SMASH umbrella. I listened to a bit of a talk on SOFIA - air-borne telescope. I piped up about seeing infrared with mobile phones and open source at NASA (in response to a student question). This earned me a new label - "mysterious stranger".

I strolled down Moffett Blvd towards Castro hunting for some dinner. A couple rode past on bikes and they were rather offended when I said I didn't know who they were (apparently local TV personalities). I was looking lost at a set of traffic lights and the Mac Outlook lead walked past with his wife and guided me. Some more dining and penciling in what I saw followed.

Sunday I took a trip to the end-of-line in VTA light rail, all the way to Almaden. Then tramped a few more miles to the old Almaden Vineyard site (now a bunch of houses), this was apparently California's first winery. I acquired some charcoal for drawing along the way and made another chance stop at the house of some kids I had met on the train to refill my water bottle. Almaden trip was rounded off by a scramble along the rocky edge of Almaden Lake.

The hopped off the return train to Downtown Mountain View and went into the wine bar at the station. I was trying out my newly acquired charcoal on some wine racks and a chandelier, when an ex-Lockheed employee walked in and talked about his work on the batteries on the Hubble space telescope. So a rendition of Hubble and his name got attached to couple of pages filled with wine racks.

On Monday I visited Patrick and couple of people from the Mars Rover team at NASA, but that is another post. No chance encounter took place.

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