Hey! I just spent a few days in SEATTLE interviewing with MICROSOFT. I am hoping to get a fulfilling job in the world of Software Development. If I cannot get a fulfilling job in the world of Software Development at MICROSOFT, then I cannot get a fulfilling job in the world of Software Development.
Thoughts about the trip:
1. It was deluxe. Microsoft bought me a plane ticket, a rental car, two nights at a Westin, and reimbursement for all meals/parking/other expenses. Wow. That’s a $350/night hotel. There was a huge flat screen TV and a giant luxurious bed in the room. The night before I left, the Dallas Cowboys checked in.
There was valet parking. I can’t deal with valet parking. I tried not to act all boy-from-the-sticks-in-the-big-city, but there’s only so much I can do. I mean, valet parking. Do you tip them when they take your car? When they bring it back? Both? I can’t deal with valet parking.
2. The interviews were fine. I met with two people from Assistance Platforms and one from Shared Graphics. Am I not supposed to publish information about interviews on the INTERNETS? Whatever. They went fine, I think. I’ll know in a week. Design questions are tougher than I thought! Plus, I’ve never done anything like that before.
3. Seattle is neat! I love the lots of evergreen trees and the winters that don’t go below 40 degrees and raining. Don’t get me wrong, I love my winters, but it’s mostly because of skiing, and you can get here and here within 2 hours, and HERE within 4 hours. Whistler Blackcomb must be capitalized. The downtown is nice and at least relatively safe, driving over Lake Washington is pretty, and there are Big Ol' Mountains in the distance on clear days.
However… I was not too pleased with the traffic. The rest of this paragraph will be complaints about traffic and reasons that I would reconsider living there on the basis of the traffic alone. You can skip ahead if you want. So they have a lot of highways. For a city with a population of 570,000 and a metro area of 3.9 million, I wouldn’t think I’d be on 5- and 6-lane highways all the time, and that said highways would always be pretty crowded. Especially in a city that has a reputation for being a little bit futuristic and a little bit environmentally friendly. After my interviews on Friday, it took me literally (actually literally, not just “literally” as a word to add emphasis) an hour to go 5 miles. Granted, I could find backroads around them. No big deal. Except this: there are only two highways, over a lake, that connect Seattle with the East Side (which includes Redmond). Plus, you sure can’t bike over the highways. If I worked at MS, I’d have to live on the East Side, which means I would either have to never go to the city, or get a car. Neither of which are things I really want to do. Also, if I got a car, I’d have to make sure I don’t try to drive during rush hour. All in all, I’d expect this from LA, not from Pacific Northwest Seattle.
4. But yeah, Seattle is neat. After my interviews on Friday, I met a guy from Microsoft and CMU, who took me to dinner on Uncle Bill’s dime. We ate way too much sushi. That’s the first time I’ve ever gotten full from sushi. Wholly cow. Or actually, wholly fresh seafood. (Probably even fresher than Wholey fresh seafood.) Props to Seattle for being on the ocean. Then I went to an improv show; if you read .improv, you’ve seen my post about it, and if not, you probably don’t care about improv. Props to Seattle for having things to do at night for a youthful lad of but 20 years.
5. Pike Place Market. Let me say that again. Pike Place Market. This place is literally (again, actually literally) one of the top 10 coolest places I’ve ever been. You can buy any kind of food you want. While you’re there, you can pick up a magic trick, a jar of jalapeno jam, a fresh fresh fish, a pin extolling the virtues of Critical Mass, a piroshki, a Barry Bonds rookie card, the best orange cinnamon tea I’ve ever had, a half-dozen fresh fresh donuts (but not just one, or the guy will look at you condescendingly), a Handmade Craft, an ostrich egg, a hammered dulcimer, a cup of coffee, or a Shel Silverstein book. You can listen to street performers too. And it’s all so REAL! Not like Crocker Park, not like Bellevue (the upscale suburb of Seattle where I stayed), not like the Waterfront in Pittsburgh. Just about the only chain store is a Starbucks. And that’s because it’s the first one. I think I could put up with commuting for 2 hours each day if it meant I got to live near this place and go shopping there on a regular basis.
6. Musics of the trip: I listened to Gnarls Barkley’s album finally. I like it a lot! More than the B-52’s self-titled album, which is a surprise.
7. I kinda still can’t get over how great the Pike Place Market was.
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