Birthday cake, Lake Tahoe, Squaw Valley

The last week was very special. After my Portland trip I was a little bit sick, but I slept well on Monday and felt much better next day. However, probably the most important thing was that Jiri Tobolka arrived. He came on Tuesday into office and sat at the sales engineering sector. I was looking at him by myself, but without any success. However, he wrote me his location and I went there. He sat next to a lady from sales department. Unfortunately I don’t know her name, but I think she is a director of sales enablement in GoodData. It was easy to recognize Jirka because he had also some board games for Pavel Kolesnikov on his table. We had a quick conversation and was a very nice to see him there.

Jiri knows our platform very well and was able to help people from support with some tasks directly. They deserve it because Holly, Cindy and Ray need a hand from someone very technical, especially when the customer is on the phone. Holly also came to me and we talked about a project developed by Ales Pouzar. I analyzed the situation and told her about Ales and how is he a nice guy and a diligent worker and I was sure he can help quickly and effectively if we describe him problem precisely. I was right.

Another very special moment was visiting website. Some of my colleagues from the Czech Republic spread this page among us. It is a really funny, especially if people from the USA want us to translate the meaning of the content. In a nutshell, it is about fixing a special model of tractor from Slovakia during a training session on a Vocational school in the Czech Republic. Not far from the beginning of their trainingthey found it was hardly possible to fix some standard components and they had to decompose whole tractor probably. Unfortunately it could take him all day and their foreman was going mad due of these complications. Somebody cut the best quotes from this video and prepare a website . Quite interesting thing is a scalability of these quotes and fact that it is possible to apply them everywhere. Even some people don’t understand the excact meaning, they started to use particular parts during various situations in last week.

For the Tuesday evening Ray had an idea to eat out. We created quite a big group and decided to go to Limon Rotisserie on Valencia street. It was quite far, so we went there by taxi. Ray is probably an expert in catching cabs, because we sat there very quickly. The trip during the nigh was quite remarkable. The driver probably wanted to earn more money and used much longer way. However, we had been there very quickly before the second cab arrived. Holly a little bit hesitated, she was on her way home, but she decided to join afterwards. We went to the restaurant and sat on the first floor at booked table. We ordered some food and I think the whole night was amazing. Another surprise was that Ray paid the whole order. It was very nice from him and I hope I will have a chance to return him his great hospitality. We talked about many things like traveling and our conversation continued outside of restaurant.

I had always wondered about the right pronunciation of some US cities, especially San Jose. In the Czech language we have a special letter in our alphabet with particular pronunciation (very difficult for English speaking people) and I had always used the Czech pronunciation when I talked about San Jose. However, it was time to make a chance and I asked Holly about how she pronounce it. I heard it many times and I was practicing a lot. We saw some bikes and I said they must be from San Jose as well as some random cars on streets. I tried to compose San Jose everywhere. On our way back we used BART. Such an interesting experience to buy a ticket for it, but on the other hand the trains are very similar to ones I know from Europe. We reached the center and were walking back home.

Another very important day was Wednesday. I celebrated my birthday. In the morning Holly wished me all the best and I told her something very important – the right pronunciation of San Jose. :) Such an interesting coincident was that Aaron Heise also celebrated his birthday. Holly and Cindy wanted to surprise us and gave us two special cakes and sang happy birthday. For me it was a very strong moment I probably never forget. Thank you one more time. I also experienced a visit of people from Futurelytics who helped me during my beginnings. Even our ways are completely different now, that was a great see them and talk to them after a long time. Jirka Tobolka and Petr Cvengros also joined us.

We were looking for a restaurant. They wanted to use taxi, I was wondering about BART. We decided the BART. Unfortunately I was a bad navigator and we left the station sooner than we expected. On the other hand we had quite a nice walk and saw some other very interesting places. However, we took a taxi afterwards. I was thinking about the language the driver was talking. I hadn’t understood a single word he said until he use a phrase “look at that”. There was a woman on a wheelchair in the middle of road. We reached the considered street and went to some nearest restaurant around. I think the whole evening was very nice. I was also happy I received a postcard from my amazing girlfriend from Prague. Such a nice surprise.

Thursday was also very nice day. During the day I saw Hector and his training session in jogging in our offices. Quite an interesting activity how to utilize our large spaces there. Courtney and Tom told me about one project they considered to assign on me few weeks ago. They decided to assign it to Tereza Cihelkova. Even I want to solve as many problems as possible, I think they chose wisely, I replied and added that Tereza is a very skilled solution engineer and technically and personally very great. Tom and Courtney seemed to be very excited afterwards. I also prepared some initial implementation for an important client. I worked many hours during the afternoon and evening to make sure everything would be prepared properly. We also discussed with Jagjit, Mike and Jirka Tobolka we should prepare a sync in the morning. We had to customize a solution and it seemed we lose some information.

I felt little bit tired in the morning, but I was happy I prepared everything on time. However, on Friday morning Adrian Toman wrote me a gtalk message about some technical issues with one of our warehouse. This information came in a really inopportune moment. I was coming to that meeting with Jirka, Jagjit and Mike and I was chatting to Adrian about this problem and was happy Jirka could help me and described everything important to Jagjit. We decided to keep everything as it was and invite some people from customer site to validate some results. There is probably an issue, but I hope the most of the project is all right and we would be able to fix the rest after some client validations.

We had also a special sync. For a while Holly thought Aaron Myhre knows Czech while we were watching shared screen and a gtalk conversation there. However that screen belonged to someone else. The funny thing was when I wrote an email to Aaron and I wrote it also in Czech. It seemed I was quite tired and very excited to go skiing with Petr Cvengros, Jirka Tobolka and Pepa Vitek. We rent some important gear and decided to go to Lake Tahoe. Before we left our office we experienced some other funny situations. Ravi played basketball in our office and Romeo learned some impolite words. I also met David Nuffer and a very cute baby of Amit Marwah. Due to technical issues with some of our hardware I coordinated every step with Juraj Hornak to make sure I hadn’t broke anything before our trip.

When the time came, Cliff wished us all the best and with our group we went for a dinner. We had a very special Vietnamese specialities in a Chinatown restaurant. Petr went home afterwards to pack his stuff. With Pepa and Jiri we went to buy some things for us. Especially a jacket and a pair of trousers suitable for skiing. We went at my place and I went to pack my things and returned back to car. However, on the way to Pepa’s place I recognized I forgot my gloves and cap. When Pepa parked he invited us to his place. The entrance was amazing, such in a Stephen King movie. However he showed us a roof terasse there and it was another great experience. A very nice view all around.

Pepa’s apartment was also a very cool place. We were waiting until he packed all important things and left the place together. Suddenly Pepa remembered we forgot some things and returned back to his place. When we got it we planned our next stop. It was my apartment and my forgotten gloves and cap. We had some problems with parking, but I was very fast at that time and returned back very soon. We could finally stop at Jirka’s hotel. While we were waiting I decided to leave our car and bought some water. It was about eight liters. Seemed like pretty much, but I believed we could drink it quite quickly.

Our last stop in San Francisco was Petr Cvengros’s apartment. We grabbed all our stuff, ski gears and left the city. Our plan was to leave San Francisco at 5pm, in reality it was 9pm when we left. We came through Oakland and directly to Lake Tahoe close to Nevada borders. The trip was really long, but great. PetrPepa told us about Oakland cranes and the inspiration for George Lucas and his At At Walkers. I was also considering the sense of some capital cities in the US. We had a quick stop at a petrol station to grab some petrol (and food). However the trip went great and we arrived after a few hours, accommodated in a motel called Lake Tahoe Inn and went to bed quite early.

In the morning we packed some of our things and went to Tahoe city. Pepa prepared a quick sightseeing tour and crossed Nevada-California border in no time. We needed some breakfast. Our first stop was a small restaurant. This place was special because there was possible to meet some people from GoodData. Pepa and Petr met Jim Olness there few months ago. Even he is gone from our company we had some opportunities to remember this moment. When we finished our breakfast we returned back to our car and continue with driving to the Homewood – a place where we spent whole Saturday.

We arrived there quite early, bough tickets and started to enjoy atmosphere all around. Our plan was to check as many slopes as possible. We used a lift chair and wanted to reach the first bigger peak. I experienced a small surprise. Most of the lift chairs here were without a safe bar and it was quite easy to fall down if something bad happen. However everything was all right. On the first slope I recognized very quickly how Petr, Jirka and Pepa are extremely good skiers. For me it was the fourth time on the ski, but I also want to enjoy this special event as much as possible. They took me through some more difficult terrain. It was very good to cope with this, but on the other hand they had to wait for a while when I arrived.

The standard slopes were all right. The bigger problem was the raw snow on some slopes. I wanted to try it, but my every step led to big fall. That was the first time I regret I don’t have a helm. However I did my best to cope with this terrain. We were going to another slope. What a surprise there was another raw terrain. I was a little bit negative, but in fact there was no worries in my mind and I decided to continue with these difficult terrains and I made it, even it took me a long time. On the other hand there were some extraordinary sceneries and I enjoyed the atmosphere there. Jiri and Petr also met a girl who set up her own startup and had some experience with GoodData support. They were quite close to create a deal for her.

The rest of the Saturday was all right, Petr, Pepa and Jirka went to some very difficult terrain, I was utilizing traditional slopes. We met after an hour and continued together. I think it worked perfectly. Even they were much better we enjoyed whole day in Homewood very well. During the evening we had a great time in a Japanese restaurant with Pepa’s cousin Dusan, his son and friends. They live in the USA and went also skiing for a weekend. Even had seen them for a while I had to say they are very nice people. I think we had a great evening. Pepa’s great roof terrace was remembered a lot.

During the evening we returned back to our hotel. I was very tired so I fell asleep pretty soon. In the morning there was necessary to change the clock due to daily saving time. I woke up quite early. We drank some water and prepared everything for another day. I use suncream very rarely and I decided to don’t do that at that time. It wasn’t probably my best decision, as I recognized later, but I was fully concentrated on the Sunday experience. We packed our things, returned keys and went to the same place in Tahoe city as on Saturday. We met there Pepa’s cousin and his friend again. Such a great coincident, again. There was also a double of Jan Holcapek from GoodData ROLAP team. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of him, but I really though that was him.

Our next step was Squaw Valley, a really extraordinary place where the Olympics games happened in 1960. We arrived quite soon and even the place was much more expensive, the atmosphere was extraordinary. We bought a ticket and used a special cable car to move up to the hills. Where is possible to ski, Pepa asked couple minutes before we left the cabin. However, next few minutes proved limit was going to be a big fun. The terrain was awesome. Even no much experience on my side, there was a lot of space to improve. Not only in skiing, but also in technical fields. I had also seen my first Pipe Dragon in my life.

Around midday we went for a lunch. We found a restaurant just in the middle of mountain. A very nice place with a remarkable terrace. Like Pepa’s one, but with the different sceneries. Not skyscrapers, but just mountains. After a lunch we continued with skiing. I really enjoyed every slope I went on. I knew my limits and every step was worth. Pepa had also a meeting with his cousin at 3pm and I decided to continue on my own by 4pm, to take some great photos and enjoy atmosphere on my own. On a lift chair I met a guy from Oakland and a person who really believed I had to be from Europe because not many people from the US consider about safe bars there.

I took some photos on the top and skied down and when the time came I returned back to the meeting place. Not far since I came I met Petr and Jirka. We bough some water and were waiting for Pepa who had some delay. When we finished we packed our stuff and decided to go back to San Francisco. The trip was much longer than before. There was an accident and also some long traffic jams close to Sacramento, the capital city of California. We had a stop somewhere, in the middle of nowhere, not far from Dutch Flat. We ordered some food and drank some water. I recognized my face is burned from the sun and covered by a red color. Maybe next time I will consider to use more suncream. :) Few minutes before we left the place I visited toilets and when I returned, somebody opened the kitchen door and hit me on my hand by the doors very strongly.

We returned back to San Francisco quite late. A great chance to see Civic Center. I wanted to finish this article during the night, but I was really tired. However, I must say the weekend was really amazing. Such a great pleasure to ski with phenomenal skiers as Pepa, Jirka and Petr really are. I really think my skills were improved rapidly and I hope it was not the last time for me I was there.

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