The entry below is classified as a LEGACY post, meaning that it was written (well) before the current version of Avalonstar was released. Although these posts have survived the numerous moves over years, there is no guarantee that they've survived the trip unscathed (especially the links).

Kick Ass and Take Names

Best Fortune Cookie... Ever

Really, I'm so glad I'm writing a title like that instead of "Get Ass Kicked and Cry."

After 2 hours of plane rides, 250 driving miles, lots of eating out and celebrating my "birthday" (psst, it really wasn't my birthday), I'm back in Banning and happy to say that the trip was actually really successful. First, a gigantic thanks has to go to Evan and Courtney Eckard for their awesome hospitality, lasagna and turkey burgers (now I can add "met" to Evan's rel attribute, go XFN!).

Day 1

Day one started out pretty normal, except for the fact that I got the I-110 and the I-105 mixed up on the way to LAX. After landing in San Jose I promptly whisked myself to the rental car buildings and after almost having my arms fall off, I was awarded a Chrysler Sebring by Thrifty Rent-a-Car.

Tip: If you're under 25, you can still rent a car from Thrifty, Enterprise and Budget. I recommend Thrifty because they charge the least in penalties and you get to use a debit card if you don't have a credit card. Continuing on, I did the first things anybody would do upon arrival to a new place, get lunch at a nice mall and find a local Apple Store for that "drug fix." I then proceeded to the Eckard residence, where I met Courtney and got settled. Wanting to explore a little, I hit up Google Maps and drove past Google's campus and window shopped at Apple's Company Store. I'm such a little techie fan boy. Exhausted from the heat or the fact that there was nothing else to do, went back to the house and I fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up, I was finally introduced to Evan and we talked for a while. I was also introduced to his little boys, Aidan and Lennox. Night soon fell upon the household, and after my nightly talk with Jen, I fell asleep on a mighty comfortable futon mattress.

Day 2

I woke up to the antics of Lennox the next morning. After changing I found myself meeting Evan in Palo Alto and then it was off to the Google Campus to meet up with his friend Darren. If you've never heard of what's inside Google, pretty much it's like a beehive, except all the bees wear Google swag and bring guests. While being greeted by an off-site dentistry and a game of beach volleyball, we headed towards cafe choice #1, later finding that it was pretty full. Cafe choice #2 left a little room for breathing and the act of eating, so I was able to get some steak, lasagna and chicken. After catching up with Evan and Darren, we found ourselves strolling the campus for a table, which we didn't find until sniping one out about 10 minutes into the search. Needless to say, I was amazed by the vastness of the Google-plex and was equally amazed by the number of worker bees there. Google says, "As an employee, you're treated like you make a difference." Yeah, right.

After dropping Evan back off at work, I had time to waste, so what does one do? Play laser tag of course, with 10-year-olds no less. So for the next 2 hours, I was having the time of my life sniping noobs at Mountain View's LaserQuest. Well, not really sniping, because I never won any of the games I played. Shows you that being small has its advantages. I met Evan at his place afterwards, and we left to go back to Mountain View where we met up with Darren and Christian (who works at Vendio). We had dinner at the Fiesta del Mar Too in downtown Mountain View (which was a hell of a lot of fun, "why did he just steal my coke?"), and then Christian had the idea of going to the bar next door along with Darren's idea of celebrating my "birthday." I don't have to mention what happened next, other than me snapping a picture of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR with a gigantic Canadian flag on the side of it.

And so ended the 2nd day, and I hoped I wouldn't have a hangover for my 12:30 interview the next morning.

Day 3

Judgement day. Well, kind of. I woke up knowing that there was still some alcohol inside, but I ignored it. I promptly dressed up and left to grab some Taco Bell for breakfast. For some reason, I guess I was just that excited, but I found myself at the place 30 minutes early. Poor people outside smoking probably thought I was a sniper or something of that sort. 12:30 comes along and I rush into the building, only to be greeted by an [NDA].

I met with Ches, the lead designer and we started talking. It really didn't seem like any of the other interviews I had been through, and the environment was so relaxed. I was told to sort of give my input on implementing a hypothetical feature into their homepage (and it was the first time I had ever used a white board to wire frame a page), and I don't believe I did that badly. So next came the homework, and it would be more of the same. He actually told me to think about ideas on the way back to Banning, but I was so determined to sell myself that I rushed back and pretty much held Evan's computer hostage while I was working away at revamping a few pages of the company's site. That pretty much took the rest of the night, and I would be seeing Ches again the next morning. But he wouldn't be the only person I would meet.

Day 4

I got up bright and early, got my stuff from the night before and rushed out of the house to meet with Ches again. I showed him what I did (I'll be able to upload my comps after I get the results of the interview), and he was very happy with the results. That in turn made me very happy. So he said that he would be in contact with me after he had talked to the Product Team and the CEO. Thankfully, Christian's friends with the CEO, so hopefully that'll work in my favor. It really shows it's about who you know and what you know.

Score one for Bryan, but it wasn't over yet.

After following Evan and Courtney to the Santa Clara Farmer's Market and having lunch with them, I found myself in Downtown Palo Alto, and I met with Matt who had previously worked for the company I had just interviewed with. On top of that, he worked with CEO of the company I had interviewed with. Add on to that the fact that the CEO of the company I interviewed with was an angel investor for Matt's current employer. Let that sink into your system for a bit. Sitting outside a bagel shop, we talked for a while and I learned more about both companies. He showed me around the office and left me with these words, "it's totally up to you, but whatever they give you, let us know and we'll match it."

Now What?

Now here's my situation. No matter what happens over the course of the next few days, my new home will be in Silicon Valley. But now I have not one, but two jobs to choose from. So I've been going over the pros and cons of each. I've only told those close to me so far, and I will be sure to let you all know what comes out of this. I just want to keep the names of the companies silent until I choose one over the other.

Avalonstar is the 22-year-old personal website of Bryan Veloso: content creator, retired professional user interface designer, and compass of purpose.
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