I don't know where to begin. I clearly haven't posted in months, and nothing especially informative in even longer. (Note that I put varying securities on things, so I may have been more diligent than it appears to some readers...) I guess I'll skip all the intervening stuff. If you're curious, you can ask me sometime when you have my attention.
Three major things happened this week.
1) I started at google
2) I moved to California at least through December
3) I ended my relationship
Since a couple of you may be goggling your eyes at number 3, I'll start there. It's still recent enough (hours not days) to be pretty painful, and there is resolution left to do, so I won't go into great detail. Suffice to say it was the most promising relationship I've ever been in, and felt compelled to end it anyway, and I feel like total shit about it, but I don't think it was the wrong decision. I don't probably want to talk in great detail about it to you, unless I bring it up. I'm just not to that point yet, sorry. I will say that it's not simply an issue of distance. I think things were going south either way, moving to California may have been a catalyst, but it was not the deciding factor.
Okay, that sucks, but with that topic out of the way, I can say that I am professionally happier than I have ever been, and happier than I ever expected to be. I moved out here to do a four month internship, and we'll see how things progress, but I get the impression if I talk to the right people at the right time, I might have a good shot at staying here permanently. If that option presents itself, I will not hesitate. I don't love the bay area compared to the northwest, but...as I'll describe a bit below, I'm not really in california. I'm in a bubble cluster that exists outside the normal world. I would like to stay in said bubble indefinitely, thanks. This might mean some unfortunate breaks in my current social sphere, as I have a home and good friends in Ann Arbor. The simple reality is that that home was never permanent, and having it break in January vs. a year later...::shrugs:: I'm prepared to make pretty big sacrifices after what I've seen this week.
Which brings me, moving in reverse, to the first point. Google. I guess there's a serious limit to what I can say, since I cannot, and would not want to, disclose protected information in any way. Basically, I thought that Google was a really cool company I could be excited to work for and believe in. I had no idea. Google is the coolest company ever. They are doing things that blow my mind, far beyond what I had assumed they were doing. Working at Google means addressing the coolest problems in CS with ridiculous resources and the smartest people I've ever met. Going back to academia now would be very hard to accept. Less important, but equally staggering, is the work environment. All of our needs are provided for here. If there was a bed, there would be no reason to leave. And I'm not even exaggerating a little. It's not just that I could stay here all the time. The only reason to leave would be to go to a movie or travel or have a family or something equally silly. They have video games, and exercise facilities, and they feed us three meals a day from a resaurant quality kitchen. It's not a cafeteria, so much as a gourmet restaurant with a short, but constantly changing menu. Most of the best stuff I can never tell anyone, which is a large part of the draw of the place. Why go somewhere else, when if I stay here I can talk to these people about the work they (we) are doing.
So...they might make me leave, but if they'll take me, I'm here for good. Ideally, I'd work on the Ph.D. remotely, since it would still be nice to have, but...if it winds up being a choice between UM and Google, there's absolutely zero question in my mind what the right call is.
Oh, and I'm not working on what I thought I would be working on. I'm working on something far more exciting to me. I'm in over my head, but I'm learning to float. And if I can pull this off, it'll be something to take real pride in.
Update: Things with Melissa are looking a lot better. We're going to give things some time and take a more relaxed approach to the thing. I'm optimistic.