Here’s a recap of my Thanksgiving vacation:

I refrained from posting any travel-related or anti-California tweets.

I spent a day at my alma mater, Germantown Academy, talking about Google. It was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed learning about how their technology program has grown since I graduated. Here’s what they wrote about my visit. I still need to go back, though, as my schedule was so busy that I didn’t even have time to “make my rounds” and talk to my teachers!

Beah, Dan, and Jake
I got to see their new house! It was awesome (especially as I think about it now sitting in my apartment where I am always hearing my neighbors) and makes me want to move back to Pennsylvania even more. But don’t worry, Californians, the long & expensive commute to Google’s New York office is keeping me here. During my visit we walked through Lansdowne a bit (it’s pretty cool and friendly), and even went to Wawa! Jake is really happy with the move. He didn’t have time to show me the woods that he likes to run around in, so I’ll have to check that out some other time.

Christmas lights
My dad and I hung our usual Christmas lights on the house. It was pretty warm this year (often our hands are freezing as we struggle to clip them on), so my dad says it’s like we cheated. We hang those icicle lights that suddenly became popular several years ago. Even though we use the same strings every year, and they’re packed away in bags labeled for their location on the house, the hooks never seem to line up just right and require some adjustment. I understand that the bushes we put lights on will grow, but I really thought that gutters would stay the same length. I guess I’m no good at science.

We also put the candles in the windows, which as I mentioned last year are all on a single timer. However, there’s still a lot of maintenance that goes on with these candles. The filament in the tiny bulbs easily comes loose during the unpacking process, plus it just burns out over time, so we’re constantly replacing the bulbs. This year, I’d love us to start going LED. If anyone has recommendations for LED versions of traditional C7 bulbs that have the light output a of 5-7 watt incandescent, let me know. I’d also like to move our tree lights to LEDs as well.

Of course being with my family is always awesome. Thanksgiving dinner was delicious (as were the leftovers that lasted until I left), I went out to dinner with my grandparents, which I don’t think we’ve ever done before as just the three of us, and we got to celebrate a couple of recent engagements at my aunt and uncle’s house. And the cats are doing well too.

I got to hang out with Ted at his house, and finally met his dog Minnie, who I think is already like three or four years old. With him going away for college (he had very little time at home due to the demands of being a famous basketball player) and me moving to California, it’s been over seven years since we’ve both lived in the same state.

On the way to the airport, I heard three ads for broadband mobile Internet access, from three different providers: CLEAR, Sprint, and Comcast. I moved out here to be close to the Internet, yet none of these services are available (for general use) in Silicon Valley. Weird.

Phone booths
At the gate in Philadelphia, there were three phone booths. Two of the seats were being used by iPhone users, and the middle one by someone on a MacBook Pro.

Shooting star
On the flight back to San Francisco, while we were flying over Colorado, I looked out the window and saw a shooting star. It was a very bright white light that lasted for about five seconds (which is probably the longest I’ve seen), and at the end of it I could see so clearly that I saw a trail of white burning particles behind it. I’m not sure how close it really was to the Earth, but from my perspective it looked like I was seeing it at eye level.

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