Apple’s Hardware groups were treated to an evening at the California Academy of Sciences, in San Francisco. Apple rented out the entire facility, for the approximately 6000 members of their Hardware Development Team. This included an open bar, and various hors d’oeuvres stations throughout. This enabled the decked out tech denizens to wander at will, sip and munch, as they perused the varied exhibits. From the Rain Forest to Earthquakes, no matter what your interest might be, there was something for everyone!
The display featuring different coral reefs, around the world, consisted of several two story aquariums. Hundreds of varicolored fish sauntered around their watery homes, with different chemical requirements. The Barrier Reef near coastal Australia was populated by a rainbow of finny frenzy, while costal California consisted mainly of grey of varying intensities. Various hosts were available to answer questions at every turn, but none of us could quite be convinced that there was a coral reef off of California! The reaction of the young staffers was a mysterious smile, leaving all of us wondering if there was something we were missing…
For once in my party-going life, I felt that I was a bit underdressed. I wore a silky top, and subtlety sparkly sweater, and black dressy pants. On the other hand, the generally MUCH dressier crowd wore stiletto heels, mini skirts, evening gowns, with lots of sequins and satin! Glenn wore a tweed jacket, shirt and dress pants. At one point, I had jokingly suggested he wear his tux, but he wouldn’t have been as out of place as he had feared! Alas, I couldn’t convince him to wear a tie, making him one of the very few guys not wearing one!
Apple had also arranged for the big silver commuter busses to convey everyone to the center, and then back again at the end of the evening. These huge vehicles are all painted bright metallic silver, and are bigger than Greyhounds. Inside, there are approximately 3 steps up to wave upon wave of cushy black leather seats. They are SO comfortable it is painfully easy to doze. There are seat belts, which are completely optional. A flip down desk sits between the seats, easily accessible for the workaholic techies. Soft blue puck lights dot the ceiling, and the gigantic windows are full blackout viewpoints. The ride is soft and smooth, emphasized by the deep cushion in the seats. These vehicles are used to haul staff to and from work, but are available ONLY to those living at least forty minutes from the office. This does NOT include Glenn, with his 15 minute commute!
Even though I didn’t know a soul in the thousands of partygoers, Glenn was soon busy introducing me to his departments buddies. The ones that I most enjoyed chatting with were Dave and Beth. Dave is the fellow that was hired for the job that they originally wanted Glenn for, but he wasn’t being cooperative and coming down exactly when they wanted him there! The asked him to come down for an onsite interview last October, but he refused, saying that we had planned a vacation for that time period. Although he was a bit hurt that they went ahead and hired Dave, he has told me many times since that he’s just as glad with the way things have ended up. Glenn is perfectly delighted in his engineer role, without having the bother of management duties. He has said that he has ‘been there and done that’ with management jobs, and has outgrown the desire to climb the ladder. Slowly but surely, he is easing himself into the role he has always wanted: ‘Principal Engineer’, the go-to guy for everything geek-ish!
The trip up to the science center was sadly reminiscent of the last few flights we have been on. Call it luck, or the lack thereof, we always end up at the back of the plane, sitting just ahead of the rear bathrooms. With our seats on the bus on the outbound route, the bathroom was snuggled up beside us, in the single set of rear seats! Luckily, no one took advantage of the amenity while we were sitting there!
At about 10pm, coffee stations were set up, and gentle suggestion to start winding up the evening. After a couple of cups of rather strong coffee, we were ready to head out and climb into a bus. It was a wonderful evening, punctuated by much laughter and conversation, all set to the backdrop of loud rock music pulsating from the band. After basically standing and walking all evening, and only occasionally perching on the very few chairs, everyone was looking forward into sliding into wonderful bus seats! This was especially the case for the ladies sporting the four inch heels, I suspect.
The return ride on the ‘silver bullet’ was much quieter. Whether due to exertion, drink, or sore throats from shouting to be heard over the band, everyone was toned down. On this trip back to the Apple campus, we were sitting much closer to the front of the bus, which enabled us to hear one the engineers giving the bus driver instructions on negotiating the maze of highways that wind through San Francisco. I could completely relate to the driver’s confusion! I do not drive in San Francisco, no will I drive to SFO, the monster airport there.