Costa Rican Interviews, Day 1

A tropical depression in the north of the country has created our weather woes of the last few days, and a heck of a downpour this morning.

Following our usual breakfast run, Joaquin arrived to pick the three of us up at 8:30 to take us downtown to the CIS / Rapp Collins office to interview candidates for our new office. We had a lot of people on the list, and we all knew it was going to be a long day.

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Finding a Costa Rican Casa, Day 3

Yesterday, I was pretty convinced that I was hooped — there was no way that I was going home to Canada with a place all squared away. The task just seemed close to impossible.

It’s amazing what 24 hours can do, though. After a conversation with Alex last night, the decision was that perhaps this Avalon Country Club would be worth it, after all. But there were still questions that needed answering before we could go in whole hog.

That’s what today was for.

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Finding a Costa Rican Casa, Day 2

I knew today was going to be awkward when I woke up. Based on the conversation I’d had with Alex last night, none of the houses we’d seen on Day 1 were at all suitable. Either way too large, in not-so-nice areas (e.g. you’d feel like you couldn’t go anywhere), or had stairs (which we’re trying to avoid with our almost-walking infant).

When Luz Elena and Lina Maria arrived this morning, I took their carefully crafted plan, opened the window, and tossed it out. (Figuratively speaking, of course.)

It was time to get a little more serious.

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Funny things in emails

I got into a fairly typical email exchange with Paul, one of our Release Engineers. Since I’m no longer on Rolex, I wanted to be taken off the email lists. This was how it went down:

Me:

Hey Paul,
Now that Torin’s running the Tech show, can you pull me from the Rolex Monitoring alias, please?
*sniff*
Thanks,
G.

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Finding a Costa Rican Casa, Day 1

Oy.

It’s been a really long day. Didn’t sleep great last night (long travels tend to do that to me if I’m not traversing a dozen or so timezones, in which case passing out is a snap). Got up early thanks to the engine retarders on passing trucks (there is no bylaw against them here, and truckers seem to use them to slow down, say “hello”, accelerate, turn right or left, order coffee, etc.) and a bit of excitement.

Did a couple of Spanish lessons on Rosetta Stone before and after breakfast, when we met with our Crown Relocations team. One for each of Mark and Jason, but I scored a mother/daughter team (Luz Elena and Lina Maria) to help me find a house for my family.

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Back in Costa Rica

Years ago, I used to think business travel was glamourous. You got to go to far-flung places, see different things, and engage in activities you just don’t do at home. Then I started going on business trips. I learned fast that the enjoyment is only so deep.

Worst experience was [[Live from Cincinnati|Cincinnati in 2000]]. Second, and only because I was utterly exhausted by the end (the trip itself was very helpful) was [[Je suis en Paris!|Paris in 2006]]. (As I learned, when you travel to Europe, you end up with 18-20 hour days, because you’re trying to stay sync’d with the home office.)

But today hasn’t exactly been a slice, either. And just because I’m currently in Costa Rica doesn’t mean I’m sitting on a beach.

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There’s nothing quite like a good ego boost

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been approached by a number of organisations looking for “talent”. (I use the term loosely, mostly because I don’t really see myself as “talented”. I like to keep that word for the artistically-minded. I prefer “skilled”, since it’s something I’ve learned, and something anyone else following in my steps can learn. But I digress.)

It doesn’t really matter how they found me, only that they approached me. Hey, I’m talking my ego here — believe me, it needs all the help it can get. Working at an agency with extremely skilled and talented people on demanding accounts will often leave you wondering: Am I really any good at my job?

Then opportunity knocks. It’s really quite validating.

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ScribbleLive: Live Blogging Done Right!

Late last month, I had the chance to go to the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. On behalf of my co-workers, I blogged notes from the event to make sure that they had the benefit of getting the information in as much detail as could be effectively provided. (Of course, Scott Schiller out-did me on the day he was there, and recorded the audio on his MiniDisc system. But I digress.)

My major issue was the blogging. It’s tough to write down the notes, and ensure that they all get posted properly. WordPress lost connection at one point and I lost my notes. I was peeved, to say the least. Ideally, it would be blog each point as it came up. But that looks dumb in WordPress. And I knew of no other tool that did it well.

Until now…

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It’s the end of the world as we know it…

…and I feel, well, okay. Maybe not necessarily “fine”.

Critical Mass has done a bit of a reorganisation. I emphasise “a bit”. Mostly because this is not the radical shifts we’ve seen in the past. I think this is my third or fourth reorganisation since starting with Critical Mass back in 2000 (admittedly, I’m losing track), and this is the most minor change we’ve had.

At least when you look at the big picture.

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No, I’m not going to be working on a beach

It’s funny the number of people who now ask me if they can come with us to Costa Rica. They congratulate me and make it sound like it’s going to be fun, sand, and cervesa all the time.

News flash, folks — we ain’t working on a beach. We’re not even close. This is where our office is/will be. Note the extreme lack of nearby sand and water.

It’s the Metro Free Trade Zone Business Park, a mere 5 minutes from the airport. The nearest (decent) beach is 5 hours away over very bad roads (and drivers that would scare the pants of 99% of North American drivers). Yes, we’re closer than Calgary.

But not that close.