I'm thankful for...

Thanksgiving itself. I don't live in the US, wasn't born in the US, and have only visited the US occasionally, but I'm still thankful for it: The lull in blog activity has enabled me to catch up in reader for the first time in over a month.

I can has job?

I just came across this job opening. I'd like to think I'm uniquely suited for the position.

Unfortunately, I don't live in the US or Canada, and I'm quite happy with my current job at Google. Oh well.

Response from Gohop

I did eventually get a response from Gohop - my apologies for not posting it sooner. Here's the response:
Dear Mr. Johnson,

Thank you for your email received, the contents of which have been noted and passed to our IT department for investigation.

Firstly, may I say how disappointing it is for us to be made aware of any aspects of our customers holiday that fail to reach complete satisfaction. Gohop.ie are a privately owned and Irish operated Travel Agency and we rely heavily on goodwill and repeat clients, the comments we receive from our customers are treated with the utmost respect. We pride ourselves in devising good quality and good prices but above all high customer service.

Naturally we are most concerned to learn of your dissatisfaction with the organization of your seat assignments. We always Endeavour to secure the best seating as requested from our clients, despite this however, subject to seat allocation at time of booking, the system in this case booked the next available alternatives, seating you apart. I would like to advise you at this point that this is the first problem of its kind we have come across and are most certainly ...


Just a quick update: Yes, I did get back from Switzerland (with a new passport), eventually.

I also went back to NZ, got married to my (now) wife Hayley, and had a wonderful honeymoon. After a horrid flight back (about which more later), we're now back in Ireland and ready to go back to work.

Photos of the wedding will be forthcoming in a week or two for anyone who cares.

Stuck in Switzerland

(Though of all the places to be stuck, this isn't a bad one)

I've been on holiday in Switzerland with my SO for the past few days, staying with a friend. Just after christmas, however, we took the train up to Zermatt to spend the night and see the matterhorn. However, on the train from Losanne to Visp, my bag was stolen. The bag containing my Passport and my Work Permit, not to mention my work laptop, the new watch I bought just the day before, and a bunch of other things.

To top it off, it looks like we're _not_ covered by travel insurance (I thought we were).

And now I can't leave until I get a new passport issued and mailed to me. Fortunately, this only takes 3 days (plus postage) if I pay for expedited processing, but the passport office doesn't open until the 3rd.

Also on the plus side, I got some nice photos of the fantastic fireworks show in Zurich for new year, which I hope to post soon, and I'm able to work out of our Zurich office while I wait for my passport.

Apartments in Dublin

Yesterday morning, someone from the relocation company came by to pick me up and take me on a bit of a tour of Dublin, with an emphasis on the sort of neighbourhoods I might like to live in. There's a fairly wide variety of housing available here in Dublin, though if you want a garden you're more or less out of luck unless you're particularly wealthy.

One particular place that impressed me, however, were the apartments at the Gasworks - the same facility the Google offices are on. There's a lot of apartment buildings there, all fairly nice, but the really impressive one is the old Gasometer. Basically, they took a gasometer, demolished everything but the frame, then built an apartment building inside it. It's pretty big:

What's really impressive, though, is what they've done inside. The building is shaped like a torus, with a large open area in the middle. They've planted a large tree in the center, and the end effect is that you have almost a sanctuary-type environment inside. My pictures really don't do it justice, especially with the overcast weather we're having, but here they are anyway ...

First week at Google Dublin

I just finished my first week at Google Dublin. It's been a blast.

The first couple of days of general induction are a bit slow, but once you meet your team, stuff really speeds up. The sheer amount of information I've been exposed to and had to learn this week is astounding.

I'm really looking forward to next week, not to mention going down to Mountain View for more training.

Leaving NZ, again.

So, first a quick update on everything I've been leaving out on this blog: Waaaay back in February, I was offered a (phone) job interview with Google. Things proceeded well, and a while ago, I was made an offer of a job as a Site Reliability Engineer in Dublin, which I accepted. I resigned from my position in NZ, sorted out stuff for moving, and hopped on a plane.

I'm writing this entry from a Dublin internet cafe. I arrived here in Ireland mere hours ago, and I'm still exhausted and jetlagged, but I have to do something with the time until I can let myself try and sleep. Hence the sudden update.

First, for those wondering, Hayley, the love if my life, is, alas, still back in NZ for the moment. At the moment it looks like she'll be joining me up here in about 6 weeks.

When I arrived in Dublin, I was met by someone hired by Google, who drove me to my temporary accommodations provided for me for the next 30 days. Light commentary on the city was provided. Upon reaching my accommodation, I was handed off to someone else, who gave ...

Street Games

Recently, when we changed over to the new, smaller coins, the council went around replacing all the old (digital) meters with new, pay-and-display ones. The old meters had one meter for every 8 or so parks, and you selected the park you were paying for before paying. Inset into the footpath by each parking space, therefore, there was a cobblestone bearing a number from 1 to 8, to identify the parking space.

When they switched over to the new meters, they went along with a sandblaster and blasted off all the numbers, leaving several long series of blank cobblestones inset into the pavement at regular intervals. Walking home one night, Hayley and I got thinking: What could one do with these cobblestones?

Our first thought was to chalk or spray-paint (with a stencil) random squares from board games: "Forward 3 squares", "Roll again", "Park Terrace", "Double Word Score", "Go to Jail", "Triple letter score" and the like, to create some amusement and confusion.

But why not go one step further? Why not invent our own game people could play on the cobblestones? The question now is: what? There are a few criteria any game would have to meet:
  • Easy to ...

New Hair Color for Hayley!

Hayley showing off her new hair color: