Gridium Camp: Santa Cruz

On our way back from Mexico, we connected flights in San Francisco. Or, rather, Becky changed flights, and I just got off. It’s time for another installment of Gridium camp!

I arrived in the bay area two days early for camp. Through my own disorganization, I had to arrange my first night’s stay at about 6pm that night, and I was fortunate enough that (a) I had a coworker who lives in the area, and (b) he had a couch I could crash on. Ray’s apartment is in SoMa, which is an area I’ve spent a fair amount of time in.

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His couch was comfy, and it came with power for all my gadgets. It’s possible he keeps this couch set up for guests; there were surprisingly many blankets and pillows around. Thanks, Ray!

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The next day I trekked over to spend time with m’verygoodfriend Melissa Severini. Her cat was very welcoming.

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What followed was about 24 hours of sous-vide pork and lamb, sparkling conversation, and some really good brunch, during which time I at no point pulled out my phone to take a photo. I guess you had to be there. Anyways, I crashed on her couch, too.

Since it was now 2015, we had started running a mile every day as one of our 100 Things. This was my view during one of those runs.

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The next day, some of the SF-local Gridium-ites (we don’t really have a good demonym) picked me up from Melissa’s house, and we took the scenic route down Highway 1 towards Santa Cruz. This coffee shop we stopped at had the most amazing collection of kitsch I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some.

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Finally we arrived at our rental houses in Santa Cruz. They were a 2-minute walk from the ocean, and since most of us live in non-coastal states, we had to spend our first evening on the beach.

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We returned to the house for a big crab dinner.

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After which we gave lightning talks. David‘s was on fantasy football, and apparently he’s pretty good.

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Then a surprise! David and his wife are expecting their first child soon, and Kimberly put together a baby shower!

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Some of the gifts were for grownups.

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The next couple of days were a whirlwind. We did some product planning, lots of stregery, and syllogized synchronous synergies.

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And I learned how to play Go. Or at least how to start playing Go.

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Another surprise reveal: we launched a new HR program called high fives, which is a way of telling our chat robot to send people Amazon gift cards, and which I wrote in secret in the weeks leading up to this.

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No trip to Santa Cruz is complete without an evening at the local dive bar.

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…and the requisite recovery period.

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…and recovery food.

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Skateboarding happened. I learned exactly how terrible I am at this, and how unpredictably multi-talented my coworkers are.

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Gridium celebrates the holidays by giving out gifts to employees, and they’re very generous with them. I received this most hipstery of coffee-brewing devices, and enjoyed delicious coffee the rest of my days.

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I was still running a mile every morning, but my cooldown view had changed a bit.

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Camp is pretty short at three days; my other experience with this kind of all-hands summit was GitHub’s week-long extravaganza, so these always seem to end too soon. Fortunately, there will be another one in just three months!

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