j.j. toothman

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Month: October 2007

Help With My Italy Itinerary

I’m headed to Italy with my family in less than two weeks and I’m beginning to feel a bit unprepared. I’ve got the basics covered – plane tickets, lodging, rental car. But have yet to flesh out the itinerary with things to do, places to visit, and most importantly… where to eat. Here’s an outline of my itinerary. If you have some input, please let me know by sending me an email or posting a comment.

Florence
October 29- October 31

Staying in an apartment right off the Duomo square.

Lucca
November 1 & 2

We’ll be lodging at Il Borghino

Siena
Novemnber 3 – 10

Well, not exactly in Siena. But in the Tuscan village Vignale . We’ll be using this as home base to explore numerous hill towns in Tuscany.

Update (Oct. 22, 2007) : The Red Sox are in the World Series. So if you know places this obsessed fan can take in the games while in Florence, please let me know!

Leaving NASA

“This has all been wonderful, but now I’m on my way…” – Phish

Has it really been six years that I’ve been working at NASA Ames Research Center? Wow. That’s a long time to be doing anything. If I think about the things I’ve been doing for six years or more, the list gets short real quick after breathing and eating.

Let’s see. I started at Ames in August, 2001…

  • I had just started dating Keturah (who is now my wife)
  • I was sharing an apartment with Chris (who is now my brother-in-law) in the South Beach section of San Francisco.
  • I had never been to Europe
  • The Red Sox still hadn’t won a world series since 1918
  • I came to Ames as an accomplished web programmer who knew his way around code, web servers, and Adobe Photoshop.

And, of course, that was the pre 9/11 world

Fast forward to October 2007…

  • Keturah and I have a 14 month old son(!)
  • We live in a house in Half Moon Bay
  • I’m about to take my third trip to Europe
  • The Red Sox actually won a world series in 2004
  • My interests with the web have grown from a web production guy into a web strategist focused on helping people use the web for communicating and sharing knowledge

My years with NASA have provided me a wealth of learning opportunities and professional growth. For that, I am most grateful. There’s a ton of people I’ve enjoyed working with and getting to know personally. I’m leaving knowing that there are some excellent (& positively disruptive) people in place to stir the drink. Quite honestly, there’s plenty of shaking and stirring left to do. I wish them all the best.

So what’s next for me?

I’ve accepted the position of Senior Web Technologist at Stanford University. I will be helping Stanford utilize the web to achieve its mission of “to teach the world” with a particular focus on Stanford’s relationships with their alumni. For the record, I wasn’t actually in the midst of a job search when Stanford gave me a call one afternoon. And I didn’t even read the job description until after my third meeting with them. But it wasn’t until I made the decision to move on that I realized just how much I need a change of scenery. Six years at NASA has worn me out in some ways and my enthusiasm and energy levels were reaching some low points. For me, it’s definitely time to for a new scene and new challenges.

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