It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, and—as always—I have so much to say. I’ll use my recent and upcoming schedule as a crutch for providing some musings and commentary 😀
– Monday: Special Google Event and Hakone Gardens private party.
Early in the day I got to test my Event Planning mettle. It all came out okay! No one was electrocuted. No one went hungry. No one fell or was thrown off of large balconies. Reviews were good, and I wasn’t fired. In the evening, I joined a friendly group of geeks at a private party at the beautiful Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California. Free sushi! Company presentations in the blissfully short form of one haiku each! Plus prizes, a Futurist presentation, and much more.
– Tuesday: The Fifth Annual Google Dance and included “Meet the Engineers” event
I was responsible for planning this year’s Meet the Engineers event upstairs during the Google Dance, enabling lots of Webmaster’y-type folks and Googlers to chat informally about largely search-focused ideas, questions, and more. Overall, it seemed to go pretty well, though I certainly got some good feedback to improve the event for next year 🙂 (feel free to add more feedback in the comments below if you’d like!) And in the general party there were battling robots, lots of cheese, wacky green-screen dancing karaoke, demo’ing and dunking Googlers, and lots and lots (thousands!) of geeks in various stages of buzzed revelry 😀
– Wednesday: Search Engine Strategies Conference (continued from Tuesday) and yet more geek parties
The Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose, California is one of the largest events of its kind… four solid days of learning ‘n’ camraderie in the Web Marketing / Search Engine Optimization space, with four evenings of networking, drinking, and playful debauchery. My colleagues sumo wrestling! Geeks Gone Wild on the dance floor! And, on a serious but equally important note, it was a great chance for me to meet some fascinating heavyweights in the industry and for me to do my best representing Google… answering questions, gathering thoughtful bits of feedback, and happily putting names with faces (“Ah, you’re THAT blogger…”).
– Thursday: My first speaking engagement on behalf of Google!
My boss, Matt Cutts, is one of the most articulate and likeable fellows in the search engine realm. When he speaks, people listen! When I speak… well, I really hadn’t ever publicly spoken on behalf of Google before, so as you can imagine, I was a bit apprehensive and also quite excited. Making matters even more interesting was the fact that all of my fellow panelists (from Yahoo, MSN, and Ask) came prepared with Powerpoint presentations and I came prepared with… nothing. Well, that’s not exactly true. I had spent quite a bit of time thinking about the subject at hand (how Google looks at links on the Web) and was pretty confident about my ability to answer questions… but I certainly hadn’t thought of making an opening statement. It was a “Q&A” session, after all!
Well, luckily, during the few minutes of the others’ presentations, I managed to quickly shuffle a reasonably organized selection of thoughts into my head and then out of my mouth in a basically impromptu four minute speech. I even squeezed in a bit of geek humor, specifically a reference to Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” book… which was, to my pleasure and relief, pretty well-received (yay, fellow geeks with good taste in literature!). I was asked some great questions and had answers for all but one of them, for which I admitted “I don’t know.”
Overall, it was an enjoyable and worthwhile experience, and I look forward to speaking at another industry event.
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I spent more of Friday and Saturday doing just laid back things… catching up with some friends, and catching up on sleep. And for this week…
– Sunday: 10 year anniversary of Lindy in the Park!
If you live in the Bay Area and you haven’t yet been to this event, you’re missing out. And—since it happens every week (well, in general; not the 10 year anniversary, obviously)— it’s not too late for you to get your hiney over there and have some good, energetic, sunshiney, family-friendly, no-date-needed fun! From around 11am to 2pm each week, the DJs spin a variety of swing and definitely-not-swing-but-still-danceable music for folks to swing dance to, and there’s a free 30 minute lesson at noon! Today there were over 250 people dancing away, smiling, meeting up with old friends and making new ones. I guiltily don’t make it to LitP as often as I’d like, but I always have fun when I do, so I highly recommend y’all stopping by if you’re able to—whether you’re a dancer (yet) or not! 😀
– Monday: Brave Combo and The Mad Maggies, performing at The Elbo Room in San Francisco
I’m not yet familiar with The Mad Maggies, but I *LOVE* Brave Combo! They’ve been around forever and recorded quite a diverse bunch of music, but what it all has in common is this: a sense of playfulness, strong musicianship, and a giddy enthusiasm and often silliness that is immensely likeable. Polkas and more polkas, funky twists on classical pieces, bright horns and earthy voices. I can’t wait to see these guys live! (and I’m curious to check out The Elbo Room. too, which is just a couple of miles from my apartment).
– Tuesday: A chamber music performance at Google
We have a very nice grand piano at the Googleplex, and so I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that there are relatively informal concerts (featuring my fellow Googlers!) on a semi-regular basis here. I’m looking forward to unwinding to some good live classical music at the end of the work day… without having to worry about parking, ticket fees, or dressing up :-D.
– Wednesday: A dance performance—Riptide—featuring my friend Tiffany B (warning: crappy Website. You may want to navigate from here.)
I’ve known and done swing dancing with Tiffany for years, but I’ve embarrassingly not made it to one of her many fine professional performances yet. This coming Wednesday marks the first time I’ll see her on stage… finally! And—fellow Bay Area people—there are still tickets left! Go, go, go!
– Thursday: Either collapsing early to bed or attending the amazing 9:20 Special weekly swing dance
In particular, though, I can’t wait to go to this the *next* Thursday, when there’ll be music performed by the lively and talented Lavay Smith and her full band!
– Friday: The 5th anniversary of Friday Night Waltz
Though I’ll always be a swing dancer deep down, there’s something quite magical and exhilirating about spinning around the floor with various waltzes and partners. The Friday Night Waltz event (held primarily in Palo Alto and Alameda… most recently, with trial (formal!) evenings in San Francisco) is a wonderful mix of accessible lessons with great teachers, a very friendly crowd, and free refreshing refreshments (fresh fruit, candies, etc.) Interestingly enough, only about 60-70% of the songs are waltzes; the rest are an ecclectic mix of swing tunes, polkas, Latin numbers, and other danceable songs. Like with the other dance events I’ve mentioned above, there’s no partner required (everyone dances with everyone else, and folks rotate regularly in class).
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Whew! Now you can understand why I haven’t had much time to be blogging. It’s all I can do to be getting enough sleep and occasionally calling my family and friends to let ‘em know I’m alive 😀
Still, yes, I know I have a few thousand long-overdue Australia and Singapore photos to post, more (and more interesting :-P) stories to tell, and so on. I’ll see what I can do to squeeze that stuff in soon!