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I travel, take photos, and build digital things.
I'm building SelfieIM. I curate Food & History.
I live in San Francisco, where the land ends.

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life

When old dear friends reach out // serendipity and life choices

Her: Hey! When are you gonna be in Europe? [Redacted] and I just decided to spend three months in France. I'm going to be working on building a digital monastery and she's going to work on the monastery's farm! We might have two weeks off in early Aug
Me: Wow! That's major news!
Her: Yes, fun and a great spiritual foundation for us!!! So excited to be invited by the brothers and sisters.
Me: How's [redacted]? How's her life plans?
Her: Excited to be working n a farm. Gonna do stuff with food, just doesn't know what. How r u?
Me: Woa you crazy kids. I turned 35 today, not sure what that means
Her: Damn I am so happy. U know what a freaking honor it is to be invited to work on this project?!
Me: And I'm tip toeing into my love of food and history
Her: Yeah I know I love ur blog and book project!!! Forwarded to a few friends. Wait! What? Happy birthday you old fart
Me: Ha! What's your internal anchor? Center point? jeez. Farming sounds incredibly awesome
Her: Fuk u know how hard the last months have been?
Me: Yeah I can guess
Her: I refuse to live a lifestyle I don't buy into. So sometimes I see myself falling into that trap. And I just try to stay open.... And follow my heart. Really totally ignore my head... And listen and watch the signs around me. Other people guide me a lot!
Me: Heh, yes.
Her: I'm rooting for you too!
Me: We shall see but I'd rather things be hard but have someone there with me and a goal worth fighting for than easy and live half asleep
Her: Ok! Happy bday!
Me: ok thanks for letting me know xoxo sending you good vibes all the way to SUMMER IN FRANCE
Her: Ciao!
Me: Au revoir!

Old Letters Are Best

April 2005, the peak of my twentysomething angst. I’m writing a friend who’s with the Peace Corps in a small village overseas.  It’s amazing to see how the rest of my twenties played out, and which of my hopes and dreams came to pass.

Her response, which I’ll post another time, is even more amazing.

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Personal thoughts on 2012

2012 was a year of transition and introspection. I traveled a lot.

In the beginning of the year, my role at Tumblr was to build on our international growth. I got to meet Gina and had great adventures together in South America and Europe. It was a surreal chapter where I’d start days in boardrooms and end days laughing with new friends. I spent most days following the cultural scent and met some of the most creative young people on the planet.

I’ll keep these memories forever:

  • A birthday party in a Rio favela.
  • A rooftop party overlooking an Niemeyer classic.
  • The Chilean government’s war room.
  • An artist’s apartment of musty books and splotches of fresh paint.
  • The lights over Sugarloaf and Corcovado.
  • Beers, smiles, and samba under arches
  • A boat ride without the sun.
  • Running from tear gas with Chilean students.
  • Meeting Jimmy Wales in a London eating club.
  • A balcony. Smoking. Travelers talking as if old friends. Candles.

But while on the road I felt energized, I was deflated when I returned to the office. Why, I wondered. Tumblr is an awesome product! I had to admit that I loved tech, but I was burned out by the tech culture. I loved dialogue, but I was fatigued by the echo chamber. I wanted to be creative and love my work, but I found myself at odds with a lot of things.

So I left Tumblr around the middle of the year to… travel. This time to figure out what I wanted to do, what I loved to do and what I’d want to learn from life. So instead of meetings and presentations, I swapped my laptop for a backpack and camera. I spent time writing (with a pen!) and reading and probing the tension I had between my digital overconsumption and love of creating things to be consumed.

I made time for friends again. Got some inspiration in South America, the West Coast, and Canada, talking about anything but tech. Got my taco fix, too. Biked more. Discovered the outer boroughs of New York. Spent some time to let ideas and thoughts marinate.

I’m thankful I had the time to figure some things out. Most people don’t get the opportunity. Towards the end of the year I realized that I wanted to build something that I would like to use and that I would find useful. So in the early months of this year, I’ll try to do just that. And standing at the beginning of 2013, for the first time in a while, I’m excited.

Franny’s, whose utterly undistinguished pizza is notable only for the coercive sanctimony that comes with it, is actually hailed as being one of the city’s best, when in fact it tastes in every way like 15 other pizzas you aren’t forced to eat with a fork and knife.

The Truth About Brooklyn’s Overhyped, Undercooked Restaurant Scene (via paulbrady)

Such a spot on article. It’s not that this is a ‘hater gonna hate’ screed, but Brooklyn’s restaurant scene is massively overhyped and prone to boosterism — much like a lot of the startup scene.  I live minutes from Franny’s and Al Li Da and the pizza and Tuscan plates there would be average in Manhattan, LA or even San Francisco.  The decent places - Diner and Roberta’s in Williamsburg - are great when measured stand-alone but pair them against the cluster of great places in the city and the ingenuity becomes merely clever.  Don’t even get me started on the Asian resurgence at the over-fish-sauced Pok Pok or the supremely disappointing offerings at Pork Slope and Talde.

Are there good stuff in the Brooklyn? Yes. DuMont is great. 1 or 8 Sushi is great. Di Fara is great. Tanoreen is great. Convivium Osteria is great. Go for the sincere places, not chefs latching onto a trend or inspiration from “that one great trip I had to China”.

BUT - one good thing about this is that the prices are greatly affordable. For that, I’m thankful to the restauranteurs.  The dishes are good by themselves (no need for orgiastic commendations) at reasonable prices. If that’s what you’re into, Brooklyn is where you want to be.

Tagged: #food #life

Hard to believe, but this was my idea of a good night 4 years ago.  This place rocks! Especially when the girls start to sing really bad covers like of the Cranberries and gyrate around.  So funny.

Every so often, I’d come on a slow night, have a couple of draft beers and see all the sad expats and guys come in listening to the girls croon into the mic. The place was lit up like a bad Hollywood set for China beach, covered in bamboo and crowded with cheap tables and chairs.  After a couple of hours, right outside in the alleys were these little stands selling wonton soups and different kinds of spring rolls.  Made for tasty midnight snacks.

I hope the Saloon is still alive and kicking in Hanoi.

Tagged: #Hanoi #life
Remember when computers were supposed to save us time? Now it seems just the opposite. The Internet just keeps giving us more ways to do nothing… We’ve been turned into zombie people. Oh, but we’re very, very busy zombies. We’re reading e-mail. We’re tweeting and retweeting. We’re downloading apps, and uploading photos. We’re updating our Facebook status and reading our news feeds and telling the whole world what we like and don’t like, because for some reason we imagine that the whole world actually cares. You know what we’re not doing? We’re not thinking. We’re processing. There’s a difference.
Tagged: #tech #life