Archive for February, 2013

Day 21

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

2nd day at the new place – have nothing – buying water down the street at Walgreens

Day 20

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

At a red at University and 101 south about to drive back from a meeting with Adam Rachel and Alex in Alex’s car back to H 3 to pick up a load of stuff to move back to our new house in Palo Alto tonight. Listening to ho hey by the Lumineers by default

Day 19 (Days 17+18 skipped. Details in post)

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Driving with RS down the 101, past Redwood City, on the way back from the first QSIntel Work Your Data Event (Fitbit). Talking about whether it’s more ideal to work at two crazy startups or one (unspoken, crazier) startup.

Days 17 and 18 skipped because 8:36pm was private 🙂

Storage

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Can I make this out of 2 metal shelving units

Day 16

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Google stalking Caroline Polachek (answer: 26) from the band Chairlift (their Wikipedia page is where I learned the word synthpop) while looking for a refrigerator for our new 97 year-old house on Consumer Reports

Day 15

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Chicken schwarma salad at San Pedro Square Market

Soundtrack Thursday

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

I have tears in my eyes as I post this (listening to Imagine)

John Lennon – Imagine

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Cat Stevens – The Wind

I listen to the wind 
To the wind of my soul 
Where I’ll end up well I think, 
Only God really knows 
I’ve sat upon the setting sun 
But never, never never never 
I never wanted water once 
No, never, never, never 

I listen to my words but 
They fall far below 
I let my music take me where 
My heart wants to go 
I swam upon the devil’s lake 
But never, never never never 
I’ll never make the same mistake 
No, never, never, never

Day 14: Hanging out thinking about life

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

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Oh, objects above: shine a little light on me. I know not which path to take!

Day 13

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

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An accidentally artistically rendered photograph of me and Alex C warming up after running in the cold from our QS Labs team meeting at Corso in Berkeley

Day 12

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

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Chillin (throwing flaming balls of light) with (at) Odin (Cat-Father)

By God, how I love thee, Thomas Edison

Monday, February 18th, 2013
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My heart raced nearly throughout nearly the entire reading. Snippets from brainpickings on Thomas Edison on Sleep.

…Edison used much of the time others invested in sleep not merely for mindless sleeplessness but for building his??networked knowledge and combinatorial creativity:

'I've known Edison since he was a boy of fourteen,' said another friend; 'and of my own knowledge I can say he never spent an idle day in his life. Often, when he should have been asleep, I have known him to sit up half the night reading. He did not take to novels or wild Western adventures, but read works on mechanics, chemistry, and electricity; and he mastered them too. But in addition to his reading, which he could only indulge in at odd hours, he carefully cultivated his wonderful powers of observation, till at length, when he was not actually asleep, it may be said he was learning all the time.'

Marden proceeds to inquire about Edison's legendary work ethic, producing an anecdote you might recall from the timelessly fantastic??How To Avoid Work??and affirming the recurring theme of??focused persistence as the key to success:

'You lay down rather severe rules for one who wishes to succeed in life,' I ventured, 'working eighteen hours a day.'

'Not at all,' he said. 'You do??something??all day long, don't you? Every one does. If you get up at seven o'clock and go to bed at eleven, you have put in sixteen good hours, and it is certain with most men, that they have been doing something all the time. They have been either walking, or reading, or writing, or thinking. The only trouble is that they do it about a great many things and I do it about one. If they took the time in question and applied it in one direction, to one object, they would succeed. Success is sure to follow such application. The trouble lies in the fact that people do not have an object, one thing, to which they stick, letting all else go. Success is the product of the severest kind of mental and physical application.'

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Complement with??the science of internal time??and??how dreaming regulates depression.

Day 11

Monday, February 18th, 2013
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I'm awake! Seems like all I could do today was try to sleep. Now I'm readying myself to go out to get some work done

Day 10

Sunday, February 17th, 2013
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Walking to Lucky's to pick up some coffee creamer. Listening to moves like jagger by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera

Day 9

Saturday, February 16th, 2013
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In a super weird and uncomfortable yoga pose after doing for 400 crunches. Listening to I've got you under my skin by Frank Sinatra. Dammit. My knee

How an unusually bad (Valentine’s) day turned to good

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Have you gone to traffic school in the last 18 months? This question, doled out by the Traffic department of the SF Superior Court, determines whether someone who's gotten a traffic citation can attend school – and get the violation removed from their driving record – or plead regular old guilty and deal with the negative consequences (usually, an increase in auto insurance and a superficially deep feeling of Oh, Shit). The only other option is to contest the charge, and live to appear in court another day.

Did you guess that I'd gotten a ticket? And that I went to court on Valentine's Day? You're so smart. That's why I like you.

I find the Why pretty uninteresting, but here it is: I offered to take a friend to the airport (at 5am <– which is irrelevant) and borrowed his car while he was away. I drove to SF from Sunnyvale to see my sister the dentist. I was fine until I had to park. Then I had to park. In SF. Like a lost, little puppy being called by two voices, I thought of going one way and then decided to go the other, and made a U-turn (first looking carefully to make sure the way was clear). I was thusly pulled over and cited for (1) making a U-turn in a *business* area, (2) not having (or being able to find in someone else's car) proof of insurance, but not (3) not having a California driver's license (!). Fast forward: studied for the DL test, got 100% (Boom! See, I know what I'm doing, police people!.. who also happened to be correct in telling me I could indeed not make a U-turn in a business district), and got my license. Next up: Court.

The last day I could go to court was 2/14/13. Ok. I had no idea what to expect. Would a judge see me and ask why, if I had procrastinated to the last possible day, she/he should grant me any leniency? Stories made up: It's a holiday – I thought fewer people would be there. It was easiest to get this day off work. I was out of town? I'm so sorry Mrs. Sir Lady Your Honor – COMPASSION FOR MY SOUL!!!!!!

Finally, I thought of Yelp! People have posted some really informative + emotionally rich posts:??http://www.yelp.com/biz/traffic-court-san-francisco
My takeaways: show up early (~7:30am), have your paperwork (what paperwork? was not answered), relax dawg

Got up 2/14/13 at 4:57am (1 minute before my alarm was set to go off, which is weird). Hopped a Caltrain to SF and walked to Court. Inside at 7:14am. No one in line. Hm. Lady walked through Security. Followed suit. Asked if I worked there. No. We don't open until 8am. You'll have to stand over there. Where? By the bins. Ok.??

Am I Doing This Right

When you're forming a one-person line, you're scared about going to anything with "court" in its name, and you haven't had coffee… it's setting you up for wondering if you're doing the right thing. Even if that "thing" is, am I standing in the right place? So, I felt, and I waited. Person after person took the same action as me, walking through Security, only to be told by the guard that they didn't open till 8am. [Clearly, he was used to telling people this. Why hasn't someone put up a sign already? I don't like places that don't do obviously helpful things like putting up signs when they're called for.] Most people walked out, to wait someone else. Finally, one guy stood behind me. Yes! We're officially in the line business! What a relief I felt.

Then, one guy stood in front of me. Ok, fine, go ahead, I thought to myself. Then, a woman got in line behind him. Enough! "Hi. We were already in line," gesturing to me and dude behind me. [Why do I feel like a bitch doing this, ever?] The woman seemed embarrassed and scrambled away quickly to the back of our line. The guy, an older black man in a yellow shirt, holds his ground. Ho ho, looks like we're in for a showdown. Time to toughen up, kid. He says I can go first, can stand in front of him. He thought I wasn't in line because I needed to text. I'm not texting, I say. I'm ok here. I like leaning on the bins. I have a bad back.

For Love of Money

Then, how it happened, I'm not really sure, but we got into a conversation. Some of it was "what are you in for" kinda talk. Oh, yes, I think it was that he said he was supposed to be here yesterday to appear in court, room 404 or 450, maybe. He shows me his piece of paper, different than mine. I ask him where room 145 is. He says it's on the first floor, so upstairs (no comment). Supposed to be here yesterday? Then you should go first! I say. Now, his story, piece by piece meal, as remembered by bits of understood-by-me conversation.

He can't follow the speed limit. He just can't stop from going fast. Vroom vroom. He's 77. Born in 1936. He was born in Alabama (back and forth on Alabama – that's where my parents went to school, met etc!). Boy, it was racist back then. Martin Luther King, Jr. He had a dream. He was an inspiration. How'd you end up in California? His wife. She went to school at Tuskeegee. You know Tuskeegee? (Throughout this conversation, he asks me if "you know" almost every thing he mentions. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't) My parents went to the University of Alabama. They didn't let black folks in there. Only white folks got to go to the University of Alabama. That's why we were at Tuskeegee.??That's true.??

He met his future wife when she was in the 4th grade. He was in the 5th grade. He used to tease her and say he was going to be her boyfriend. My teasing that she went for older men got nowhere – I was only a year older (I know. I was kidding….). She was born in 1937 or 1938, he tells me. I'm 77 he tells me again. I bet you didn't know that. Sure didn't. (and he really did look awesome for his age) I always know. I always know your age. I know your age. You're 26 or 27. Pretty close.??

His wife had 14 brothers and sisters. 9 boys, 6 girls. That's 15, we both agree. They were all smart. All went to school. His wife took healthcare studies. Then she bought a brick house. (meanwhile, I'm noticing vocal intonations that remind me of my dad) It wasn't on the hill. That's only for white people. Cost too much money on the hill. That's where the white people spend money and look down on everybody else.

He fixes cars. He always fixed cars. When his wife was two years through college, he bought her a car. Then, he installed a new clutch himself, and her car worked like new.

She wanted to move to New York or California. They sold the brick house and came to San Francisco. They went to the hospital. The only job they had for black people was a dietician. So, his wife became a dietician. He didn't want to be a dietician, so he went down south to San Jose. He went to another hospital and became an Instrument Technician. He can fix anything. (we agree) He makes good money.

Then, his wife started to love money. She would get up at 4 or 5 in the morning and not tell him she was leaving or where she was going. She wouldn't put breakfast on the table. You're not making me breakfast! (You're not performing your wifely duties? Another time, bros.) She bought a car, and another car. She loved money. Loved money. (This was mentioned many times in the conversation, before we even went through the AL to CA story.) I thought I knew what was coming but then he got called to go through Security. And we parted. No goodbye. I wished him a mental good luck as I rushed past Security down to room 145.

Time

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Security opens at 8am. Room 145 opens at 8:30am. I was first for the one and first for the other. I feel tired, weird, and proud. I look at shoes on my phone while I wait. I scribble some stuff in my notebook about organic produce and make a mental note that I'll only buy organic green beans, spinach, and lettuce from now on, since I eat so much of them. (This will be hard for me to do, in practice.) I say Happy Valentine's Day and Good Morning! to random court people. I occasionally chat with the guy next to me, and Eastern European guy with a combover in a full-on grey suit. I'm learning so much!??

Yelp-ers said stuff about not bringing a book or a phone – that neither were allowed in court. No one gave either a second glance. Nearly everyone in the now 40 person line was using a phone. Man, some people were unhappy. Back to the phone, though, Internet sure makes waiting not a big deal, but some people still act insanely frustrated. I feel like Jane Goodall.??

First one in. Some girl who was pacing back and forth in front of the door for 10 minutes races in (past everyone else from the line) to ask a question. She seemed stressed.??

It's not clear where to go once you're inside, which is weird. Reminds me of that need for a sign from Security. Oh, well, that's not what I'm here for today. Go up to an open-looking window. Guy in red shirt. What am I supposed to say? I'm here for a citation. That would have been my first guess. (Oh, good. Humor….) I bet some people get confused. Yeah.

To him: ID, copy of citation, then proof of insurance, plea of guilt, fine of $320 (Mastercards and Visas only), answer of "No, I haven't been to traffic school in the past 18 months."
Received instructions on how to attend traffic school and was out in less than 10 minutes, walking down the street at 8:40am.

Waking up at 4:57am left me with loads of time in my day. That's perhaps obvious, but it wasn't clear to me before.??

TL;DR Waking up early left me with lots of time on my hands. Learning one man's story enriched my life. I got to be the Jane Goodall of stressed out people under the control of legislative forces. And it was good.

Galaxy Table – and other d.school delights

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Last Friday, I had the chance to visit Stanford’s d.school, the non-degree-granting, design-thinking-teaching brainchild of IDEO founder, David Kelly. Roughly 50% late for the tour, I raced into the “Prototyping Lab” and braced myself against the table below. 

My initial reaction: this table is beautiful. I loved the details of lines at odd angles and swaths of pale color. It took me a little while to realize that it was “just a work table,” and the beauty I saw was the equivalent of sawdust in a carpenter’s workshop.

Does that matter? I’m not sure – never sure about this sort of thing. But I like it enough to share it, what I call the Galaxy Table.

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Here’s a closer shot. The woman whose hand you see got self conscious. She moved her hand a split second after the shot. I felt smugly satisfied that I got her hand. 🙂

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And the tour rolls on. I’ve calmed down a bit from speed walking through Stanford. 

Check out these baller rolling whiteboard doors. I want them in my house. The paper fireplace is a nice touch. Meanwhile, wondering what all these (other) kids are doing on the tour.

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Colors and feelings! This is HUGE. I’ve only recently begun to notice how much color affects my state from moment to moment. It took waking up in a bright blue sleeping bag unusually happy to notice. When I walked into the Green Room, I felt instantly energetic and at peace, an utterly pleasant feeling in a creative space like the d.school.

Notably, this shade of green was my favorite color when I was 5. It was the color of my toothbrush and my stuffed dinosaur, Diney. I miss Diney. When I paint my walls green, or bring this color into my everday life in other ways, which I must do, I will pay tribute to Diney.

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Sadly, my camera’s phone did not capture the shade of green. I aimed to get a better sense in the below photo, especially next to the white. Still – nope. I’ll have to get a paint chip from this room some other time.

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Finally, is the key to love: surprise? I’ve often thought this in terms of beauty. If everyone looked the same, no one would be beautiful. If there were no light, there would be no shadow, no darkness. We only notice things when they vary from what we’re used to. And when we shake that up, for better (appreciation) or worse (disgust), we take notice.

From room to room, the d.school surprised me. Ending my tour in the ladies’ restroom, I felt my heart warm at the almost tacky disco princess theme. This surprised me. And the d.school I loved. Always be willing to offend, I remind myself, to create something beautiful.

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Day 8

Friday, February 15th, 2013

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Trying to create a Spotify radio station from Neil Young’s old man on my new tablet. Having problems

Soundtrack Thursday

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Need a Woman — Bob Dylan (the only copy I could find):

I’ve had my eyes on you baby for about five long years,
You probably don’t know me at all, but I have seen your laughter and tears.
Now you don’t frighten me, my heart is jumping
And you look like it wouldn’t hurt you none to have a man who could give ya something.


Making Time — The Creation:

Making time
Shooting lines
For people to believe in
Things you say
Gone in a day

Everybody leavin’

 

These Days — Nico:

I’ve been out walking
I don’t do that much talking these days
These days
These days I seem to think a lot
About the things that I forgot to do
And all the times I had the chance to


All We Have Is Now — The Flaming Lips

Day 7

Thursday, February 14th, 2013
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Drafting a message to quantified self and listening to Regina Spektor's Fidelity

Day 6. My sweet love is making music with my friends

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

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Hanging with Alex and Alex looking at pictures of a rental

Day 5

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
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Walking to target to get Janet some orange juice. Listening to you don't know me by Ben Folds Five featuring Regina Spektor. Uncertain whether I'm on the wrong side of the tracks

Because she’s cute and bad ass

Monday, February 11th, 2013
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Things that make my day(s)!! Alex's six year old daughter says I remind her of Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games because I'm (ahem) "cute and bad ass." Perhaps the best compliment of my life because it came from a six year old =)

Day 4

Monday, February 11th, 2013
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Dinner date at Calafia. I had the Vegan Love Fest (not an actual photo of my food) 'not so small plate.' Polenta, brussels sprouts, leeks, green lentils, and dinosaur kale. First time I've ordered polenta! I will never be compelled to do it again!

Day 3

Sunday, February 10th, 2013
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Top Chef Season 10 and looking for platform heels on eBay

8:36 Day 2

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

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Microwaving a giant Pyrex container of green beans and spinach. Eating a square of dark chocolate to tide me over.

8:36pm Experiment Day 1, 7 Feb 2013

Friday, February 8th, 2013
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Hanging with Jose Gomez-Marquez and Ramesh Raskar – from MIT's Little Devices and Media Labs, respectively, in town for FutureMed – at BioCurious!
Thanks to Matt Harbowy for taking the photo!