Friday, June 28, 2013

Through a Google Glass lightly

"But why is this all so important?" questioned Mr. Hall, for the gazillionth time that week.  Mrs. Hall sighed.  "It's like this.  Google wants to take over the world. And I, for one, welcome our Google overlords.  As such, I've been awarded  he opportunity to wear their newest example of supremacy.  Did you ever see the movie 'Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory'?  It's like getting the golden ticket to a tour of the neatest factory on earth."  Mr. Hall's eyes narrowed as he tried to determine if she was snowing him or not, but he decided, in the long run, it really didn't matter.  They were going to Google whether he understood it or not.
Mr. Hall was in rare form that morning.  The marine layer had drawn back from the shore a little more than usual so they had a fairly decent view of the miles of bumper to bumper traffic stretching well ahead of them on the way in, and after about 45 minutes of close combat, Mr. H. was about fit to be tied.
 His mood lifted however, when they passed through the giant binoculars that were the Google headquarters and were greeted by a bevy of smiling gracious youngsters.
"Would you like a coffee or a mimosa, perhaps?" inquired one of the delightful youngsters.  "Cookie?"  Mr. Hall relaxed a bit and ordered a cuppa joe, while Mrs. H. opted for the mimosa.
Their guide through the presentation showed them the different colors of glasses available, while all the while in the background, the barista working the concessions was grinding the coffee to make a perfectly fresh cup for Mr. Hall.  Their drinks arrived, Mrs. Hall chose the white frames and the presentation continued.

If an entire corporation could have conspired to put them more at ease, it couldn't have done any better than that morning visit. The playful settings and congenial nature of the culture worked its magic; by the time they were effortless snapping pictures with the new device, Mr. Hall was practically purring.
"Would you like a tour before you go?", the young lady inquired, and had barely finished the sentence before they nodded a vigorous yes. Notoriously secretive in its operations, Mrs. Hall jumped at the opportunity to check out its workings; but of course, the tour only included selected and relatively public areas. 
 As their decorators seemed to display a penchant for midcentury modern designers, Mrs. Hall turned every corner suppressing an urge to nonchalantly stuff one of the Charles Eames or Eero Aarnio chairs into her purse.  Mr. Hall, wise to her ways, had noticed her just reaching for one of the Frank Gehry stools in the courtyard and subtly discouraged her with a look.
"Well, this has been delightful, but it's time to toddle on," said Mr. H. taking her arm as he caught her eyeing the artwork in the lobby.  Thanks were garnered all around as they passed the valet parking, and the Halls flew back off into the desert and home with their new toy.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Welcome to the future

A low rumble in the distance increased to a roar.  The windows rattled, the glass on Mrs. Hall's artwork shook.  Mr. Hall casually picked up his cup as it bounced across the vibrating table.  Mrs. Hall checked out the front window as the sound of car alarms moved progressively down the street  She returned to the kitchen.
"The boys are out late this morning."
"Uh-huh." Mr. H. grunted into his cup. "Sounds like the B-1s again."  She poured him another round.  Early morning air shows out of Nellis AFB were becoming routine.  "Are you packed and ready?" he asked.
Weighing in with the status report, "The bags are by the back door and the cat has been provided with more than enough food and water." Mrs. Hall chomped at the bit.  "Let's blow this popstand!" The hanger doors flew open and the Halls were off.
For a brief week in February, Google had announced it was opening its testing of Google Glass (its avant-garde optical head mounted computer) to the public, and from a pool of individuals who had tweeted on Twitter or posted on Facebook the appropriate phrase along with a creative use or application, it chose a new fleet of guinea pigs.  Of these intrepid futurists, Mrs. Hall was one.  Undaunted by the fact that the Significance of This Earth Shattering Event had to be explained to him at least once a day, Mr. Hall jumped on the bandwagon eagerly, and preparations for the presentation and demonstration event being held in Los Angeles began at once.
The trip to LA is not an arduous one, but after a few hours of deserts and traffic even the most adventurous prefer a break, and Mr. Hall, having seen to arrangements in his usual perfection, eventually ushered Mrs. Hall into the bar at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills.
The vapor of a bartender fluttered by with a silver dish bearing a light nosh, and just as the clock struck that happy hour, a brace of martinis appeared before them, icy and cold.  "I thought it better if we spent the night in town first, and you arrived at your presentation meeting refreshed early in the morning."  Mrs. Hall could not have agreed more and toasted his excellent decision.
Savories aside, one of the nicest things one can find at a bar is charming company, and the bar's offerings that evening were all equally entertaining.  A serendipitous seating at the corner stools put them in close proximity of a lovely young lady who, well acquainted with the local beach scene, was only too happy to regale them with a list of places of interest to visit.  While they traded stories for the better part of an hour, she munched on some light fare, but declined when the Halls offered a stronger beverage.  "I'm really at work," she admitted, while leaning into them to keep a confidence. "I'm here as an assistant to the Princess of [country redacted for privacy's sake], and I'm waiting for her to ring up for me."  When asked how long she had been waiting, she replied, "Well, I've been here for five hours now.  I guess she's sleeping in late today."  Not long after she was called upstairs by her charge, the Hall's attention turned to some well-heeled gentlemen seated further away.  Their curiosity piqued by a lack of conversation and a round of martinis, they questioned the barkeep about some equipment next to the coolers.
 The bartender dutifully pulled out a tray of massive ice squares and a pair of tongs, and using a very heavy copper cylinder mould, produced a couple of perfectly spherical tennis ball sized ice cubes. No further need of explanation was necessary; they knew what needed to be done next.  A round of single malt was immediately ordered, and the ice balls put to the test.  "I always love coming here, " remarked Mrs. Hall, as they strolled back out into the sunlight,  "It's such a sensible establishment," and Mr. Hall could only concur.
Next episode: - Through a (Google) glass lightly- stay tuned!

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