The first of many

This morning I got out and had the first European coffee in a while and it was mighty tasty. Maybe it’s because I started to develop my taste for coffe in Europe that I like it so much more than in the US, or maybe it’s flat-out better. It’s different in the way that chili can be different in one state or another: whether or not it’s served with pasta, for example.

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An AerLingus flight sails across a rainbow over Dublin

My flight into Dublin arrived yesterday a week ago just before 3:00pm local time. It was a particularly long day of travel because three flights were involved and I had started my journey in Tucson at 11:00am local time. That’s a total of twenty hours if I do the math correctly. There was no power or internet access on board the transatlantic flight and a small selection of movies, which made it rough for me since I couldn’t sleep and since my laptop didn’t have enough charge left to make it very far. Thankfully, despite being in the middle of the middle of the middle of the aircraft (the 777-200 had a 3-5-3 arrangement of seats in the economy sections), I was surrounded by a couple of polite women and we all had sufficient room.

Although known for its green, sometimes Ireland’s most vibrant color is rainstorm gray.

Of course, I came to Dublin to work. It had been over a year since my team at Automattic came together in person (excluding our all-company meetup) and we were due for it. Since our team’s focus was recently changed and since we will be working hand-in-hand with another team, it was a joint meetup. The first part of the week was fairly exhausting as we brainstormed and planned for our next year’s worth of work, but as we actually started the work it became a bit more pleasant.

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We had a joint meetup between my team and another team – working together on new goals.

Yesterday we took a tour into the mountains south of Dublin. Ireland is a very beautiful and calm country. There are mountains (literally) of peat and turf that used to be harvested to burn for heating. These hills are bogs-on-mountains and are not only protected now, but some of the most efficient and effective carbon sinks in the world. From nothing more than the carbon-dioxide that the grasses and shrubs suck in, they supposedly accumulate peat at a rate of approximately an inch every thirty years. That figure is really quite incredible.

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Billions of little prisms paint all of the colors across the sky above Dublin.

Back in Europe means back to cheap travel. My friend Donncha is flying to London (from Cork, Ireland) today to walk around the city and take pictures. He told me that his flight cost about 35€, or about $40.

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Some of my tentative plans for the next month.

I’ll be nomadding over the next month. Instead of flying home and then flying right back, I’m staying over here while Mandi finishes her semester. She’ll be joining me in May and until then I plan on doing some solo adventuring – hopefully to provide some interesting stories here.

Stragely, though I’m “more settled” in Tucson, I seem to have more time when travelling to do things like write on this blog. Right now it’s my short flight which gives me this opportunity; the first of many.

So many things…

Last week was our all company meetup in Park City, Utah. We rarely had more than a couple of minutes pause throughout the entire seven-day get-together. We spent the time working, eating, and having fun (not so much sleeping). As a distributed company, we don’t normally have much time to “rag-chew” or “shoot-the-breeze.” It seems kind of crazy that we could be “busy” having fun together, but this is the time in which we build the relationships that make our teams work. It’s pretty valuable to get to know the people you interact with and these meetups foster good communication.

Four hundred of us came from all over; some had traveled over thirty hours jumping through airports and over oceans. I was thankful to hangout with friends I’ve made over the past year and a half and glad to meet new ones. I’m really surrounded by amazing people at Automattic. We’ve got such an incredible mix of people from various background and interests and skills and it’s pretty unbelievable to cram all that together in one place.

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My attempt at rocking the cowbell with my coworkers – Team Simperium

Now that I’m back in the United States, my team stays in pretty good contact due to timezones overlapping – we hail from Buenos Aires, Nashville, San Francisco, Seattle, and Tucson. That’s it for now though as we won’t see each other again until next year.

This year at the meetup was a bit busier than last year for me because I was leading a project group and we had to come up with something and demonstrate it at the end of the week. We made some tools to make making tools easier for developers. Programming for programmers to make programming easier. Anyway, long story short we were helping make it easier to write better code and evaluate the quality of code different developers submit day in and day out.

When I did finally get some free time I took to the skies! Actually, I took my camera out to shoot the skies, but it sounds better that way. I also had the chance to tag along on a photo tour through the Albion Basin with a professional photographer guide.

Throughout the week we fed on nutrition, coffee, and adrenaline. I probably tallied an average of three and a half hours of sleep each night and totally hit it hard when I returned to Tucson. I was out and a little bit under the weather, but a few good nights of sleep restored me (for more adventurous fun at an educational hackathon). It’s pretty amazing the kind of tradeoffs we can make (for a short bit of time). Oh yeah, and watch out for those Automattic parties – we’re a rowdy bunch!

Clicky Steve put together an excellent photo journal of the week on his blog, all my friends are jpegs.