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Joel Kitching Engineer and creative mind

Amazon intern day 10: quiet Monday

May 09 2011

Monday’s morning was fairly typical in the beginning, up until arriving at work. When I did, at 9 AM, it was eerily quiet. I think this is fairly typical at Amazon in the morning, however the quiet was exacerbated by the fact that neither my mentor nor my manager were there.

My manager wasn’t because he was holed up in a coffee shop and had meetings all day (coincidentally, he was back for a short while that just so happened to be the same time I was gone for lunch), and my mentor wasn’t around because he was at home trying to send back an Amazon Fresh order!

The soy milk affair

Apparently he had set up a recurring order to get a 15% discount, planning to cancel it after the first delivery. However, cancelling it hadn’t gone through for some reason. He was able to return the non-perishables, but apparently now has way too much soy milk for his own good, as well as bulk flour and other items.

It was sort of funny because out of nowhere he said something along the lines of, “You don’t happen to drink soy milk, do you?” I responded, “Uh, yes, actually I do.” Then he followed up with, “What about the Silk brand with natural flavour?” “Yep, I drink that.” Which is actually extremely improbable, since I think most soy milk drinkers buy the vanilla flavour. But the result was that he said he would bring a carton in tomorrow for me to have, since he won’t be able to finish them all.

Picnic under the ’brows

At around noon, my friend Spencer, who was visiting for a few days and staying at my apartment, walked over to the Amazon campus (I drew him a path to follow on the map), and I went outside to meet him. After walking up and down the same street for a long time, unsure of which cross-street I told him to go to, I finally found him at Republican St, which was unmarked along Terry Ave. We sat down by the Amazon eyebrow arches, and had a nice little picnic lunch of Indian leftovers from the night before, some cookies and biscuits, and a banana.

After eating, I brought him into my building, got him a visitor badge, and took him up to the gorgeous view on the 11th floor. Then, I showed him my desk on the 9th floor, he met my mentor Chris, and he also glimpsed the gorgeous view out my floor’s window.

He headed home, and I worked some more on this SDE Bootcamp lab (which it turned out neither Chris nor his friend James from our sister team could figure out). I watched a video on package management at Amazon (confusing!) and then started another lab. I headed out just after 5 PM, and arrived at home to Spencer in the middle of cooking an awesome spaghetti meal.

A gathering, a subletting!

We ate the spaghetti, and then after some cleaning up, my Seattleite friend Angela (who is in fact a mutual friend) came over. The three of us sat and drank some wine like sophisticated adults for a bit, chatting about my Spencer’s upcoming trip to China, interesting people at our respective workplaces, and whatnot.

I called this girl Jessica who is subletting from my house back in Vancouver for the summer, and I was ecstatic to hear that she was 100% game to go through with the sublet and move in on the 15th (only losing a half month of rent).

Hipster pizza-bar

At about 8:30 PM, we went out to check this place called The Crocodile
[Yelp]. It is composed of two areas—the first is a music venue (the front) for live bands, and the second is a restaurant-bar (the back). There is this enormous oven for baking pizza in the back, which is apparently lit and hot 24/7. Everyone in the place was such a hipster. Our server had a strange outfit on, with some weird tie thing that stuck out of his shirt. The doorman had dreadlocks. Everyone was ridiculously cool.

The server was telling us a bit about the history of the back area—apparently it used to be some fancy expensive restaurant or something like that, and then they didn’t have enough business, so they were going to close down, but instead they decided to merge with The Crocodile at the front of the building, and only serve cheap pizza and cheap beer. Winning combination.

And wow, it ended up being ridiculously cheap. The pitcher was $8, and the pizzas were $6.50 each. We had a coupon that said buy two drinks and a pizza and get another pizza free, and luckily he let us use our pitcher as “two drinks” instead, so we got a free pizza out of the meal too. And it was actually really good! Except for the anchovy (gross) and the pineapple (eww) the chef had put on one pizza. Also, it was amusing watching the movie Rocky playing on the TV screen, along to some completely unrelated music playing at the bar.

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After leaving (and re-returning to get my toque, and having my ID re-checked by the exact same doorman…), Spencer and I sent Angela off home in a taxi, and headed back to my apartment. Both of us were exhausted, so we pretty much slept right away.