I've always had a strange compulsion toward counting things. I don't think it's really in a "I'm a gigantic geek" sort of way, but more in an "I'm a little obsessive compulsive" sort of way. I remember when it first started around the age of 14, it mostly revolved around counting the number of letters in words I saw on TV commercials to see if all the letters were required for the phone number. 1-800-DR-SCHOLL. D-R-S-C-H-O-L. Too many letters. 1-800-SCOUTING. S-C-O-U-T-I-N. Too many letters. And while it sounds silly, it eventually got legitimately frustrating to me that I couldn't hear a company name without counting the letters off.
Being three hours behind east coast time, I find myself stuck in the same frustration. I cannot look at the clock or hear what time it is without going through the mental excercize of adding three hours to it to see what time it is in Columbus. It's 3:12 right now. 3:12 -- 4:12 -- 5:12 --- 6:12. It gets a little easier after the work day is over at 2:30 pacific time (2:30 -- 3:30 -- 4:30 -- 5:30), but even late into the evening when I know everyone on the east coast has gone to bed, I still do to math just to know what time it is back in Columbus.
On the subject of the time difference, it really hasn't been as bad as I expected to wake up at 5:30 local time (5:30 -- 6:30 -- 7:30 -- 8:30) to start work along with my east coast colleagues. In one respect, it's been kind of nice to take a "breakfast break" at 9:00 (9:00 -- 10:00 -- 11:00 -- 12:00) when everyone else is taking their lunch breaks. I've always been a much bigger fan of breakfast than of lunch, so it's nice to have the chance to enjoy it every day.
It has definitely been nice to be able to end the work day at 2:30 local time (2:30 -- 3:30 -- 4:30 -- 5:30) and still have more than three hours to spend before the sun sets, exploring the Venice area. One thing we were fortunate to find on our first day out here was an excellent dog park just three blocks from our apartment. The apartment is noticably smaller than what Gus is used to back home, so we've tried to compensate for that with multiple trips to the dog park each day. All me to introduce you for a few of Gus' new friends.
This is Lurch. In a park full of pitt bulls, labradors, and australian shepherds, Lurch was the only dog small enough to hold with one hand. What he lacked in size he more than made up for in spunk. From time to time, however, he would jump up on our picnic table to get away from the big dogs and maybe sneak one of the treats that January brought with us.
I'm not actually sure what this guy's name is, but he was definitely way more fascinated in what was clearly the worlds dirtiest tennis ball than with playing with the other dogs. While all the other dogs spent their time running frantically around the yard, he was content to sit in one place, continuously pressing his nose against the ball. I briefly considered seeing if he wanted to play fetch, but I'm about 80% certain that he was actually a dog-bitten Tim Allen, desperately trying to find a way to reverse the spell that put him in his current condition. Probably not a good idea to interrupt something like that.
On a non-dog related note, the weather so far has been perfect. In the morning it drops as low as the 50's, and has gotten up to the mid-70's for the last few days. While we did experience our first earthquake on Thursday (which I didn't feel at all), we've been having a great time so far. Next up, finding a dog-friendly beach and hopefully look up some good concerts to check out, all while trying to resist ordering more take-out from Mao's Kitchen. That food is delicious, but it sure is expensive!