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A couple weeks in Philadelphia

The end of our adventure across the country on a train last month, landed us at our townhouse in Philadelphia on Monday evening, Memorial Day.

Our week was pretty busy. MJ had plans to stay through Sunday and I was staying another week beyond that. I work remotely much of the time, and so a full time remote schedule when I’m back east isn’t disruptive to my routine, and I end up getting a lot of work done before my west coast colleagues wake up. Work-wise I had a very productive couple of weeks!

We did have a revolving door of contractors visit us throughout the week though. The townhouse is new, but there are a number improvements we wanted to make that weren’t offered when we bought and a few closing items that needed to be completed by the builders. The first was getting some electrical work done, including some lights above the shower stalls upstairs, and a few more outlets put in key places, like directly behind the TV and in the utility closet. Later in the week we had a tankless water heater installed (and the nearly-new tank heater we replaced successfully sold on Craigslist!) and a whole house humidifier that my sinuses will be grateful for come winter. There’s still work to be done on the place, and things to figure out but I am very happy with how much was completed.

We had a few lovely dinners with friends and family. I was able to make time over the weekend to clean up the little garden out front, though I expect when we return it’ll be overgrown with weeds again, one of those things we haven’t quite figured out yet. I met the neighbors and had a great chat about involvement in the HOA and issues concerning the neighborhood.

When we were planning this trip, we happened to look at the schedule for Citizen’s Bank Park and learned that our SF Giants would be playing the Phillies while we were in town! We snagged some great Diamond Club seat tickets for Saturday and went with our friend Danita.

Now, it would have been better Giants-fans-wise if we had gone to a game the night before, when we watched the Giants shut out the Phillies 10-0 while having dinner with MJ’s sister and her husband at a local restaurant. Alas, we went on a day that the Phillies won 5-3. It was a fun game though, no clear winner as you got to the later innings, with the Phillies getting 4 runs in the bottom of the 7th and the Giants trying to come back with 2 runs at the top of the 9th. It was a gorgeous day to be at the park for a 4PM game, warm, but not too humid, and the sun was out. On the way home we stopped for some Rita’s water ice.

More photos from the game here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/albums/72157684649648515

Come Sunday MJ was on his way back west, but first we snagged some east coast Chinese food before getting him packed and on the way to the airport.

The week that followed for me was also pretty busy. On Monday I saw Wonder Woman with my best friend, and it was awesome! On Tuesday I hopped on an Amtrak up to New York City to meet my boss for a meetup at the WeWork space near Union Square on “Managing Microservices & Fast Data w/ Apache Mesos & DC/OS.” The weather was nice, so I walked from Penn Station to Union Square, grabbed a coffee as I got some work done, and then met up for the meetup.

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Flatiron Building in NYC, during my walk to Union Square

I was in charge of a section of the presentation but primarily, the live demo, which went quite smoothly. Slides from the presentation are up here (PDF).


Thanks to Clint for taking a picture during my part of the talk! (source

A local friend, and former co-worker, from Brooklyn also came out to the event. It was really nice to see a familiar face in the crowd, have some time to catch up and to have a local buddy to meetup with for drinks in Brooklyn afterwards before retiring to my hotel for the night. The next morning a subway whisked me back to Manhattan where I had a leisurely breakfast at The Harold before catching a train back to Philly.

A few more photos from the evening can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/albums/72157681823948402

Back in Philadelphia, I spent the afternoon working from a library not far from the next meetup on our schedule, the Philadelphia area Linux Users Group (PLUG). But before the meeting, I had dinner with long time friend and open source colleague Nithya Ruff and one of her colleagues from Comcast, Prabha.


Selfie with Nithya and Prabha (source)

With nice, spring weather awaiting us outside, we made our way from Mad Mex to the PLUG meeting. I used to attend a lot of PLUG meetings, and coordinated the group for a while before I moved to California, so I have a lot of good friends and acquaintances who frequently attend. This meeting was no exception, upon arrival there was a flurry of hugs as I greeted familiar faces and met some new folks. My boss arrived soon after I did and we settled in for the meeting.

The talk was very similar to what we had done in NYC the night before, but shifted slightly for a more Linux-focused audience. Unfortunately the demo didn’t go as planned, but as we were running out of time we discovered that it was because of the university WiFi we were on, blocking everything. After the meeting we met for food and drinks nearby and I was able to bring it all up on my laptop, working, hooray! Slides from this meetup are here (PDF).

I had a lot of fun at these events with my boss, we learned a bunch about the fast data demo we presented, I was able to spend some time on Friday at work making some improvements to it.

And with that, the week was winding down! On Friday night I met up with a friend and went to Longwood Gardens out in Kennett Square. I’d only ever been once, back in 2008, when the weather failed to cooperate and the rain made it so we only really saw the greenhouses. This time was different! They were on summer hours, which means we could stroll in at 7:30PM and spend nearly two hours exploring the grounds before it got dark. It’s a beautiful place. There are the gardens of course with lots of flowers, but also an Italian water garden with a series of fountains, three tree houses spread throughout the grounds and some relatively new areas that wind through a large meadow and near some ponds. A quick stroll through the greenhouse brought us to a row of beautiful bonsai trees.

The highlight of these weekend nights during the summer is the array of giant fountains near the entrance, which they light up in various colors and choreograph to music for a half hour show once it get dark, just before closing. It’s spectacular, absolutely worth doing. I held off until after the show to take pictures, getting much better ones as we walked around the lit up fountains as they started corralling everyone out of the gardens.

Piles more photos of the gardens and fountains here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/albums/72157681958162333

My trip wound down after that, with Saturday spent at the townhouse closing things up and then grabbing a quick dinner. A flight at 8:30AM on Sunday morning brought me back to San Francisco on Sunday afternoon so I could relax a bit and get some Caligula kitty snuggles before getting back to work on Monday.

 




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