February 27, 1999
Xilinx, each year, has a Founders' Party instead of the usual company holiday part, as they didn't want to slight any particular holiday by picking one to celebrate. So, instead, they do their Founders' Party out in February, which is a nice break.
It's a semi-formal to formal thing, with cocktails, live band, and plenty of good food. It's the way for folks to get together in a non-work setting and enjoy themselves. And everyone wanted us to enjoy it, too, so they paid for the trip and the hotel for us to get there for the party. Turns out that it coincided precisely with the time that we had to do our inspection in, so that was the good luck working again.
We slept in late Saturday. Really late. I didn't get out of the shower until well after noon. Of course I did get a twenty minute bike ride in before the shower, so I'm not sure if that really counts as completely lazy. But it was lazy enough. We spent the afternoon wandering about, first to get copies of the blueprints of the house and then to find the local Asian markets.
The first Asian market we found was pretty interesting but somewhat disappointing. It was small, neat, had maybe two sets of shelves, kinda the size of most city's health food stores, tiny, cramped, and with not that much to choose from of a thousand different possibilities. It had the most basic things, without any frills or beauty. It had a little counter with some fresh stuff, and some refrigerated essentials, but nothing fancy and nothing particularly exciting. The second store was much worse. It was like an earthquake had shaken all the shelves and then they kinda just left things piled where they were. There was a refrigerated bin in the back that had the sorriest looking vegetables I've ever seen in my life. The only thing that looked any good was the daikon radishes and it takes a hell of a lot to make root vegetables look bad.
It was pretty sad. Though given the diversity of the local grocery stories, I imagine that there is some make up for it all, and after having lived on the Eastside for so long and not really having an Asian market that's easy to get to, it's been a while since I've eaten a lot of Chinese food anyway. But I do get to Uwijamaya often enough that it's going to hurt a bit not to have it at least as a possibility.
Yes, there is Denver as well, and it's only an hour away, and we haven't explored it at all. So there is the possibility of the China Town there not being quite as dismal, but there's the possibility of it being even more disappointing than Seattle's Chinatown. Ah well. We'll see. And, at worst, it's a year and I can fly to San Jose when I like and buy an entire box of fresh, frozen ramen to fly home with. Or something.
We'd dropped by work the previous day to get our tickets to the party and met up with a few folks again. That was cool, especially when they said they were glad that we were going to show up at the party.
Anyway, we ended up back at the hotel, and the dress had hung since we'd arrived and it was entirely without wrinkle. That's the best thing about Peterman's stuff, they are so well made that they don't even wrinkle while packed rolled up in a soft sided back all the way from here to there. It's really, really sad that J. Petermans is going out of business in their stores. Liquidation starts March 5th, so if anyone has a store near them, I'd advise you to get there if you're at all into true style. I'm thinking of taking particular amount of cash to the store on the liquidation sale day and just do what I can with that amount of money. They're even selling their 'masterpiece of intimidation' motorcycle jacket. Yow.
The dress looked marvelous, and John looked great in suit pants and a nice dress shirt and Big Dogs tie. We went out to the party and fit right in. That was nice.
The HR folks dropped by as did a bunch of sales and marketing and other engineering folks while we stood and drank free drinks and ate appetizers at a stand-up table. Much socializing, and talking and stuff. It was nice to get introduced to a few more folks, but it was also very lost feeling kinds of things. It was very easy to realize that we knew nearly no one. That, instead of the really good feeling we had from meeting up with all the Data I/O folks, the ex-workers there, we were in a situation where we knew no one, knew none of the dynamics and they'd been established in various ways for possibly decades. That was interesting.
Xilinx has one of the lowest turn around rates in the industry. They keep the people they have and do well with them. Which is a refreshing change from the reorg happy atmosphere of the latter Data I/O. It actually kinda reminded me of Data I/O when it was pretty stable and solid. Old memories.
Anyway. Appetizers were yummy. Hummus and roasted veggies, huge prawns, stuffed tomatos, and various nummy little finger foods. John loved the martini's because the lady would put three or four giant green olives in his. I loved the cranberry juice and Seven-Up. It was yummy and helped against the dehydration. We talked with a few dozen people, then folks were seated for dinner, and the four of us, with one Jerry and a security guy from San Jose all sat down at one table that had room for ten. All the other tables were mostly filled with particular departments and their folks, mostly clanning together. It was kinda lonely, especially since John's been a center of social activity for years and years.
But I've done that before. It should an adventure to see what kinds of friends we come up with this time.
Dinner itself was fabulous. Lovely food and lots of it. Velvet soft prime rib, stuffed chicken breast pieces, and wild mushroom stuffed ravioli along with all the roasted veggies one could eat and spice jacketed potatos. Yum. All the condiments that one might want, and then, as the music began, they unveiled the desserts and coffee. There were bowls of flavored whipped cream to go in the coffee along with sprinkles and chocolate sticks. The desserts themselves were rich and lovely.
The band was swing jazz, and the pianist looked absolutely exactly like someone we used to work with at Data I/O. One Don Vendetti. Turned out that the guy was in no ways related to Don, but we got a good conversation from him for asking. Dancing was interesting. All my perfectionist's insanity turned towards body control, and I do pretty well at it, but am really impatient with those that don't. Poor John. I'd also had a few years of ballroom dancing when I was a kid, so knew most of the stuff that they were trying to teach, so it was even worse for John who'd never done any of that. My problem was that I wanted to do it right more than I wanted to just 'have fun'... bad attitude.
So we danced for just a bit, but mostly sat and tried to talk with people, but the room's acoustics were really live, and with all the brass in the band, there was nearly no way to talk with people. There were a few nice breaks when the magician and his slinky assistant came out to do some cool tricks. It's fun to be with engineers at a magic show, they all want to figure out how it was done. But it was Francis that came up with the most plausible explanation. She's cool.
Anyway, we had an early flight in the morning, so we left around 10:30 p.m., which was about when half the party left because it was after the last drawing for cool raffle prizes.
We got back to the room and spent some time drinking herbal tea, watching a bit of TV to wind back down and then went to sleep.