Birthday Tesla Factory Tour

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The only picture I could take!

So, I had been planning a surprise for SMS’ birthday for months!  Now that I own a Model 3, I am eligible for a factory tour every year with 3 of my closest friends.  SMS kept saying how it would have been so cool to have a factory tour with the Tesla pick-up so I decided that it was better late than never!

I made the reservation about seven weeks ago.  The site advises about a month’s advance notice but I really wanted the birthday date!  I also invited our friend from Park Place and Mark’s second cousin.  It was a nice group and we were all very excited!

It starts in the customer service center where each of us was given a badge and a NDA to sign via iPad.  I didn’t really read it so I don’t know what I can say on my blog with five readers (+1 now that’s shown up on Elon Musk’s Google news alert?!?!?!?!).  After an introduction, all tour group members pile into a red mobile of golf-cart like seats linked together.

What was most interesting to me was how “vertically oriented” the Tesla production process is.  Rather than have low inventory with a constant inflow of parts from other sites, almost all the car parts are made on site.  This is amazing since storage is expensive and the plant is located in a very expensive area.  It makes more sense though, when the backstory of NUMMI is known and that Elon Musk bought the place at a firesale price.  It’s a huge complex and a lot of production equipment was included in the sale, including the biggest metal stamper in North America, which sets of the seismic detectors in Berkeley when it’s in use!

So, yes, there is plenty of room for storage and many parts are made on site.  Then we went past the S and X production lines.  It was very interesting and I’m glad we went.  There are definitely some differences compared to our Porsche factory tour in how the line is structured and timed.  It was cool to have a basis for comparison.

Afterwards, we had a birthday dinner at the house with Barnaby and Mark’s rock climbing friends and their partners.  I ordered food from Oren’s hummus and then we had a Japanese-style cake from Satura cakes in Los Altos.  It was awesome.  Great food, easy set-up, and great company!

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The next day, we went to Chromatic coffee.  We also walked around the Stanford mall later in the day which has the most beautiful flowers outside of Neiman Marcus (this makes sense to me).

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Lots of birds at Shoreline

On Friday, I went on a 20 mile run to try and build up for my upcoming marathon.  It was a beautiful day on Shoreline and I got sunburned since my sunscreen couldn’t hang for 3 hours.  Plus, I did skip my arms thinking it was still early but that was an unwise decision!  That evening, we went to Los Altos for a drink and then we saw a community orchestra that labeled itself “Terrible” and they’re not too far from the truth.  I think the main problem was that they picked very popular classical pieces so the difference between them and the radio versions from some of the best orchestras in the world was rather stark.  Afterwards, we met up with friends for dinner at a Thai restaurant.

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The Terrible (that’s the “T” in TACO!) Orchestra

Saturday was a mellow day.  We went climbing, which was so much fun.  It had been a little while for me and I really enjoyed myself.  For dinner, we went to Sushi Tomi.  It was so delicious.

So yes, that’s SMS’ birthday weekend in a nutshell.  It was great and so much fun!

Beyonce! Levi Stadium 5/16!

After such a busy weekend, I was feeling a little peaked.   All I wanted to do was relax but… Beyonce was in town! After getting married, SMS and I walked down the aisle together to “Love on Top” and we have always talked about seeing a concert together.  I missed buying tickets through LiveNation so I sort of wrote it off.  But, a few days prior, I started looking on StubHub and I realized that tickets were being sold below face value.  So I started thinking…

 

By mid-Monday afternoon, I was decided.  We were going!  SMS and I met up after work and bought our LightRail VTE tickets.  After dinner at home, we went to the train station and took the packed train to Levi Stadium.  It wasn’t packed to Japanese standards but a couple people really smooshed their way in and would definitely fit in during Tokyo rush hour!
We got to the stadium and, small annoyance, no bags bigger than 4 x 6 inches are allowed into the venue.   Argh, I really wished I knew that before I left home!  After checking my bag, we went into the arena where DJ Khaled had a good set.  I’m sure it was very cool since I didn’t know any of the songs.
After his set, we waited.  The show didn’t start until 9, which I somewhat suspected would happen because the focal point of the stage is a 5-storey LED screen.  By waiting until it was dark, the effect was much more dramatic.

 

The show was amazing.  Beyonce sang a lot and sounded amazing.  Some songs were arranged differently than the studio version, which always makes a live show a treat.  A few songs were more dance numbers where Beyonce wasn’t singing but instead, the studio track was playing.  There was no attempt at trying to lipsync, which I appreciated.

 

Although we had good seats, the highlight of the show was the last four songs.  SMS and I were between the main stage and a smaller stage that was at the end of  a runway.  Every time the group went down the runway and performed on the smaller stage, so many people from our section ran forward like the Running of the Bulls.  Finally, I decided I wanted to join the crowd so I asked SMS if he wanted to go too and off we went.  It was amazing timing because it was near the end of the show and the staging was great.  First, the smaller stage had been transformed into a large, shallow pool that Beyonce and her formation danced and stomped through.  Also, we were so close!    I felt like such a fan girl!  Finally, we were super close for the last song “Halo,” which was absolutely gorgeous.

After the show, we got home fairly easily.  I left my bag (on purpose) and will pick it up from lost and found this week.  The VTE was crowded but not unmanageable. If Beyonce comes to a city near you, I highly recommend the show!

Updates

Screenshots from Neko Atsume.  Even in my brief time, I collected several “Rare Cats:”
Peaches, Joe DiMeowgio, and Senor Don Gato.  And a rude butt cat, but that wasn’t rare.

Since the marathon, SMS and I have been staying more local which is fun and restful but not very exciting for the blog.  Since I usually write about our travels, I sort of fall off the map when things aren’t as “eventful.”  But here are some updates, bullet-style…

* I’ve run three times since the marathon: a tempo run (excellent), 3.5 miles with the Mountain View Running Club (MVRC- fun!), 14.5 miles (ok).  I wasn’t sure how I was going to approach post-marathon running and there seem to be many opinions on the best post-race plan.  I ended up going with the “Run when I feel like running” plan.  I kept Jyots company on two runs and we both went to the MVRC two weeks in a row.  I really like the social aspect of the MVRC run so I will keep that up.  I’m not sure where I want to keep my long run mileage.   Anyway, zzzzzz….  Boring!  I have almost fallen asleep typing this so I’m going to move on.  Here’s a funny article about hating on marathon runners before you go.

Faceplant.  This is how Snowball feels about having
5 pages of a dedicated photo album to her.

*I have had the rise and fall of Neko Atsume on my phone.  I read about it in the NYTimes, which definitely means I’ve already missed the trend by at least six months.  Nevertheless, I downloaded it on my phone and became weirdly obsessed with gold fish, silver fish, and that chubby chubster Tubbs who kept eating all the food.  In fairness to Tubbs, he usually left more fish than the food cost but the times he didn’t- infuriating.  Tubbs, you did not just leave 20 silver fish for a 3 gold fish can of Ritzy Bitz!!!! And that was when I realized that I was becoming a little weird about the game and spending way to much time tapping on my screen like a little lab animal.  So, away it went.  But not before I bought the room expansion (proud moment!).

Tubbs, oh tubby tub Tubbs.  Other rare cats include Ms. Fortune, Guy Furry and Ramses the Great.
*Our Chinese class is over!  Yay!  SMS and I saw our commitment through and had perfect attendance (Mom and Dad, you raised me well!).  Chinese is very difficult and the pronunciation, combined with the tones, really takes a lot of dedicated practice and perseverance.  We’ve decided we’re not super-interested in pursuing it so for now, my mastery of the Chinese language is decidedly on hold.
Beginning of the party, clearly.

 *We had a really nice dinner with friends last night where we drank fancy California wine and ate Buddha bowls with veg and paleo options.  The base is rice (real or fake no-carb “rice), lots of veggies (carrots, red cabbage, beets, sweet potatoes) and a protein (peanut sauce tofu or coconut amino-flavored chicken).  It was all delicious and we got to use SMS’ new decanter while he looked on, barely partaking since he sort of wrecked himself climbing like a maniac earlier in the day and was completely wiped out.

*Silicon Valley is crazy.  We were talking about a package offered by a local hotel for $9,995 that is completely insane since it mostly features things that are free.  I want to do most of the activities but I’ll do it on my own rather than place my money carefully on their concierge’s counter and then set it on fire.  I have figured out a way to make money though- we are going to rent our little cardboard home on AirBnB.  The listing is almost complete.  I just need to get better pictures!

It has a certain j’ne sais quoi, non?

Mountain View Weekend

No packed suitcases this weekend- SMS and I stayed home.  We started off the weekend by going out to dinner with a few of our friends from the apartment complex.  We walked down to The Yam Leaf, a vegetarian Mexican place about 1/2 mile away.  We had been there before but it had been awhile.  I love their pupusas!  SMS and I each got a pupusa and then split the sides on a house combination platter.  It was really a great dinner and fun to catch up with our friends.  We hung out for awhile which was good because one of our friends started out a little rough because he had gone way too long without food and he was hangry!  He recovered well though.

Saturday was fairly mellow.  I went for a run with the Mountain View Running Club, which was really enjoyable.  It’s a great group of people and I love talking to people during the run and afterwards at Starbucks.  This week, I ran slower than last so I could talk a lot more.  My running partners are so lucky, ha ha.  I start my marathon taper this week so I wanted to start scaling back.  The week prior, I had done two miles at 7:30 which was awesome but left no extra air for conversation.

I came home and SMS and I ate lunch.  We had a mellow afternoon and then left for the Vance Joy concert at 5:15.  We went out for Ethiopian food at Sheba in Oakland prior to the show.  It was pretty good.  I loved the injera and the food was tasty.  I’m glad we had it because we had talked about Ethiopian food the night before and I knew I’d have major cravings if I didn’t eat some soon!  There was a lot of food and we couldn’t finish it all.  I think the waitress was sad we didn’t take a to-go box but one of the dishes was raw (on purpose) and we didn’t want raw meat sitting in the car unrefridgerated for a few hours.

I wrote a separate post about the concert.  It was a solid show and I’m glad we went.  I kind of messed up on the planning because I bought the tickets awhile back.  What I didn’t realize until Saturday morning was that I had actually bought 4 tickets.  So, since it was so last-minute, I just sold the extra two on Craigslist since most of our friends make weekend plans ahead of time.

Sunday started with a 10 mile long run.  It’s funny that 10 miles seems like nothing now.  I’m really excited for our marathon and it will be interesting to see what my post-marathon training plans will consist of.  I’m thinking of Krav Maga and HITT workouts, with 1-2x weekly longer runs to maintain this base I’ve worked so hard to achieve.  First, though, there’s a little matter of getting through 26.2 miles!  Unfortunately, it looks like it might rain (boo!) but maybe that will make me want to run faster!

After the run, SMS made a “Baconator” omelet, which efficiently destroyed any calorie deficit I may have incurred while running!  It was delicious and I was hungry so thank you SMS!  Then I took a nap.  Afterwards, we went to the commissary and I baked a cake for dinner on Jeff and Hope’s boat.

We were invited to dinner on their boat and we had the best time!  First, we went for a walk around the Coyote Point Recreation Area.  It was beautiful!  There were wildflowers, views of the city and a beautiful sunset.  Then we went to the boat, which is absolutely beautiful.  We hung out for a few hours and had great conversation.  We had excellent appetizers- my favorite is Hope’s homemade cheese.  Then we had a fantastic vegetarian lasagna with a side salad and asparagus.  It was fantastic food!

We left about 8:15.  Although I was having a great time, I was getting so tired.  My long runs don’t usually wipe me out but all day yesterday, I had felt more tired than usual.

I don’t have any leap day plans, but I will try and think of something cool.  Maybe a leap year cake and an impromptu party?

Local Weekend

After a few out-of-town weekends, SMS and I relaxed around Mountain View this past weekend.

On Friday, we went to Morocco’s Restaurant, featuring Moroccan food with belly dancing at 730.  The belly dancer didn’t seem to have the best rhythm in the world with her little cymbals but it was still festive.  The food was pretty good and SMS and I enjoyed sharing several dishes.  Our favorite was the Briwatt sampler.  Briwatts are sort of like samosas with phyllo instead of dough.  They were delicious- beef, crab and veg.  The eggplant salad was good although almost chutney-like, which actually went really well with our lamb tangine to give it a little more flavor.  I don’t think we’ll be rushing back to eat there again (especially since we’ve found a new favorite- keep reading!), but I would recommend the place.

These birds were huge!  Picture from the long run and since the weekend was light on photos, this is what you get.

 On Saturday, J and I met up for our 20 mile long run.  I’m glad I ate carbs the night before!  The run went pretty well and we kept up a pretty good pace.  I slowed down a lot the last 2 miles because my legs felt so heavy but I’m confident that on race day, I can just push through and suck it up for whatever remaining miles are left when that feeling hits.  I mean, unless of course that feeling hits at the 3 mile mark.  Then I think I’d be pretty screwed.

I got back home, showered and took a mini-nap.  Then SMS and I headed to Palo Alto where we bought an office chair for him and then grabbed a late lunch at Sushirrito.  SMS ordered my favorite, the Geisha’s Kiss.  I ordered a salad because I had eaten a big early lunch after my run and wasn’t too hungry.  But then we treated ourselves to ice cream sandwiches at Cream.  I had a half sandwich, which is an off-menu item where I probably saved about 5 calories from a 600 calorie dessert by only having one cookie cut in half instead of two.  Ha, ha.  It’s ok, I wasn’t really doing it for the health benefits.  A half sandwich just sounded like the amount I felt like at that time (clearly, I must not have been right in the head.  When would anyone voluntarily choose half an ice cream sandwich?).

After Palo Alto, we went to Trader Joe’s to stock up for my planned vegan Super Bowl feast.  A lot of our friends are veg and since we had invited them over for the Super Bowl, I wanted to make food everyone could enjoy.  I used recipes from OhSheGlows and ChefChloe to make sliders, enchiladas and cupcakes. It all ended up turning out really well and everyone really enjoyed the food the next day.

Our party was more successful than these game day Skywriting Doritos, I think.

Yes, we had a Super Bowl party!  It was a lot of fun with J and her family and a friend, some neighbors and a SMS co-worker.  People mingled well and seemed to have a great time.  I missed the second half because I was socializing too much but basically, a football game was on while people focused on talking, eating and drinking beer.  Perfect!