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I can't decide whether Kanye ruined this track by stripping the amazing hand drums or made it awesome by building around the horns and adding some amazing handclaps. One thing is certain: that video was absolutely worth getting sued over.

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With apologies to Jessica Hagy.

So proper!

Sep. 13th, 2010 07:37 pm
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"Fold your hands child, you sleep like a peasant."

Early Fall

Sep. 13th, 2010 07:31 pm
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It has its perks

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You may find yourself in the lab one night on a group project. Your project may be due soon. You may think to yourself, in the real world we won't be on death marches like this. This is way over our heads and totally arbitrary.

You are only half right. You probably won't be on them any more often than finals happen now. But they'll still be there. Don't get lazy. Learn how to survive them well and how to recover from them quickly, cause crunch time will come for you again.
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I was there, holed up in my office with the blinds closed. We stood out on the deck for a while in the shade and just started sweating from standing around. The bus home tonight will be interesting, I'm thinking I'll camp out here as long as I can while the a/c stays on. Nothing to do at home but sweat, anyway. It'd be a good night to go swim at Golden Gardens, actually.

Cliff Mass:
It happened...Sea Tac is now 101 and STILL CLIMBING. Everett is an amazing 98 and Renton 102. And this is not over yet. We will not only break the record but smash it. Locations near the foothills are reaching 104- 106. This is an extraordinary event. Many stations will break their all-time record temperatures today and even more their daily values. Ballads will be written about the heat experienced today.

I'm thankful that Josh's wedding on Saturday is supposed to be much cooler.

the club

Jul. 26th, 2009 03:17 pm
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So my best man was driving me home from my bachelor party, and something was missing. Something had been left undone, and I couldn't quite think of what. I mustered the courage to ask him if he had any final thoughts or advice, and he said no, we've chewed through a lot of stuff this weekend. Are you hinting at something? I said no, I just... well everyone married is in this club, right? They know things about life and relationship that I don't. I guess I'm waiting for someone to tell me what that is, since you know, I'll be getting into the club soon. He said nothing.

I said, it seems the further I get into this process, the more it seems like what they know isn't learned all at once. He said, it's true, there's no big bang. And as we pulled into my driveway, I thought, that's not it. But I don't know what is. We unpacked the car.

As he drove away, I realized: it's goodbye.

All the bachelor parties I've attended that weren't mine were permeated with a sense of sadness. A mourning for a friendship that was dying. The soon-to-be-ex-bachelor was getting his "sendoff," his "last chance." They were farewell parties for someone leaving the land of us lost little creatures, and going to the grey havens of married life where we could not follow. In typical fashion they would soon disappear from the social fabric, leaving us one short at all the parties.

I was waiting to feel that myself. To feel fear for the journey, the isolation of departure, the ache of a life moving steadily away from me through the window. But there was none of it. I won't miss unmarried life at first. I've really had plenty of it, and there was little left to accomplish there. It's time to grow up. And as the leaves must fall for the forest to spread, so my unmarried life falls away, and a seed is planted.
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Independence day has always been a day where I worry that I'm missing the main event. I flit about at parties hoping to find the location, person, or scene that is the Awesomest Thing Possible this year. The coolest house, the sweetest pool, the least-dressed girls. It's an excuse to grill food and overdrink in the sun.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But this year, watching one of the fountains flash in the street tonight, the image brought to mind was not one of childhood excitement or sensory indulgence, but the grainy news footage of bombings in Iraq. And I think I understood just a fraction of how this most American of holidays came to be observed the way it has. We set these booms, these flashes, whistles like falling bombs heard from trenches, and watch them from our driveways, shaking our heads at our childrens' fearless enthusiasm. We ooh and aaah at the greens and purples, the concussive booms of the big, faraway shows and await the grand finale. Furthest from our minds are the sounds and fear of the wars fought that we commemorate in this safe, fire-marshal-approved way. Shows with no scheduled start time, and no safe distance. We shoot mortars that form smiley faces and planet rings, shiny glimmers and scattering bees.

In the news this week was the scheduled withdrawals of US troops from Iraq. One NPR reporter mentioned that a note was left on their office door: "All US journalists to require Iraqi approval for entry." The note was only half kidding - the Iraqis are very much going to be running their country again, and they are rightfully happy about it. It is likely going to get more violent, less stable, and more frightening in the process of trying to build an independent Iraq again.

Tonight we saw one fountain called the "bunker buster" that shot mini firecrackers on the ground in bunches. On the side was written "LIGHT FUSE AND RUN AWAY."
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Just follow me on Google Reader.


May. 21st, 2009 09:03 pm
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It's been 24 hours since I've seen new content on my friends page. Facebook seems to have consumed mine and everybody else's desire to create long-form blog entries, and status has replaced narrative. Soon enough everyone will leave Facebook for twitter, because why spend all that time on quizzes when you could just update your status with what Star Trek Character, American City, or Liquor you are.


Mar. 4th, 2009 08:52 pm
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2 weeks ago, I was laid off and engaged in the same weekend. Incredibly, life hasn't slowed down a bit since. The following week I spent half in Seattle negotiating for jobs, half in Portland spending some time with my new fiancee. I got to see her teach and meet her students, who wished us many misspelled congragulations.

I returned Sunday night, had a painful dentist appointment Monday morning, and concluded that insurance is nice and I should probably get a job to ensure I have lots of it. PixSense, who attempted to buy Treemo, had been chasing me to work for them on Treemo code since the day I was laid off, and had given me a good, salaried offer with insurance and everything, so I went ahead and accepted it. They were overjoyed, and I was getting paid again.

PixSense is in San Jose, so I didn't have an office to go to, and they had just received copies of the Treemo code, so I didn't have features to write. Most of that week was spent running errands and occasionally sitting in on calls.

Except for Thursday, when I had an in-person interview cycle with the team working for Zondervan on The City, the church social network Zondervan purchased from Mars Hill. I had a meeting with Zondervan as well on that fateful Friday I was laid off, but they hadn't been moving as fast as PixSense, nor was I as qualified for the job, so I had eaten the bird in my hand figuring the two in the bush would fly away. But Zondervan did keep moving, however slowly, and sure enough Thursday's interviews were very positive. I got the impression they had made up their minds based on the phone screens, so I expected an offer. This caused some panic when I realized that if I took it, I would have to quit PixSense 2 weeks after joining.

Which turned out to be exactly what happened. Zondervan came in with an offer for a $10,000/yr raise working for a huge, stable company on interesting software in a platform I wanted to move into. It was a no-brainer to accept; PixSense couldn't remotely compete.

Of course, they knew that, and when they received my notice, they were pissed. Totally unimpressed by my offer to contract for them, they sought to find out what was soooo great about this other offer. After a bit of explanation, I think they realized there wasn't much they could do. They suggested a counter-offer, which I said I would consider, but I doubt I'll see one.

The reason I doubt that is because I spent the day with them today in their San Jose office, and it didn't come up. They had planned to fly me out here this week to get me my laptop and kick-start work on the new code for them, and since they had already bought the tickets, I am in the strange situation of doing travel consulting for a company I have already quit. In fact, they're threatening to bring me out here next week as well. Hopefully they'll let me go home that time too!

(Incidentally, my last day at Treemo was Friday, February 13th. My last day at PixSense will be Friday, March 13th.)

Work travel is a headache, especially when it feels unnecessary, but I made this bed and am determined to sleep well in it. PixSense was counting on me to help them Save The Company and build a Great Server Platform, and I'm ditching them and yeah, it should be kind of painful. I'm trying not to make it a self-punishment gig to alleviate my guilty conscience, but anyway at the end of the day I'm going to work on The City and love it and get paid well to do it.

Of course, just because I'm in transition (again) doesn't mean things will simplify, oh no. I have a week and a half left with PixSense, which may include some travel. I then have a week off (sweet bliss! what will I do with the time?) before I leave for 5 days in Chicago with Kristin, then the following Monday I start at Zondervan.

And then March will end, and so will my life's two strangest months.
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You may find yourself unhappy that your mortgage-loving neighbors with the Escalade in their driveway and the neck-deep credit card debt are likely to receive government assistance to prevent them from being evicted due to foreclosure. You may find yourself calling this unfair. Rest assured, these feelings are rooted in a right sense of injustice, a sense that evil should not be rewarded. You may also rest assured that if this sense of yours is particularly well-tuned, you will be unhappy about a great many things in this world. You may want to examine where you learned this idea that life would be fair and you would be safe from risk if you played by the rules. I might suggest to you that playing by the rules is not, and cannot ever be, enough.
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One week ago at this time, I was at my desk downtown drinking bourbon from a plastic cup. I had a bottle of it in the office saved for a special occasion, but the occasion turned out to be my unemployment. That morning's meeting was very glum, as about 1/4 of the participants would not see another one. The merger had failed, and with it our jobs. The company was out of gas, on the side of the road, and some of us were left to hitch our way home while the tow truck came.

This was not the exit I imagined, though I knew it was a possibility. Obviously it's not the exit I wanted. Nobody sticks with a company through all the hard times we had if they know that their loyalty will amount to jack squat, and be more likely to leave them eating a steady diet of government cheese than cashing out million-dollar options and becoming a Google Fellow.

For the rest of last week I learned how to look for work in the programming world, got in touch with some recruiters for the first time, and wrapped up our codebase as best I could for those who would be staying. I'm thankful for my team lead's help in referrals and job searching tips, I think without his mentoring I would be out on my ass with no clue what to do next. By Friday I had back-to-back calls and meetings all afternoon. By the end of the day my phone was exhausted and so was I. We did a last-hurrah happy hour at the Frontier room which we managed to get the company to pay for... by leaving before paying our tabs.

Kristin came up this weekend, so we spent Saturday enjoying a quiet Valentine's day together cooking and seeing Whitney dance. On Sunday we went to dinner at Buddha Ruksa for our "official" v-day dinner. After that, I took her to Seacrest Marina Park, where we picnicked for our first date, and was honored to ask for and be granted her hand in marriage.

This was not quite the proposal I imagined, but it was the one I planned. It's not best to start an engagement with no job, but delaying until I had that fixed would have thrown a big wrench in a well-laid plan. I feel like it was a hand extended in trust, for me to say I know things are uncertain, but about you I am certain. Two major life situations changed in one weekend, maybe I wanted to replace one rug pulled from under me by putting down a new one.

Little about the process of engagement is obvious or certain. There are no books to read, just principles to follow. So in a process so uncertain, throwing job loss into the mix seems like a shoulder-shrugging change, even if it causes me to debate endlessly with myself.

So that brings me to today, when I attended another company meeting, this time as a ghost, an ex-employee just popping in to clean out his desk. It took a while. A year and a half at a desk and the stuff piles up. But it all moves out just the same.

As I carried the contents of my desk to the elevator, I said a muddled goodbye to the eight who remained. Only six were employees. I hired all of them.


Jan. 29th, 2009 09:44 am
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Watch news about the stimulus/bailout plans going around, and see how many sentences are constructed with the assumption that for the economy to recover, consumer spending would have to go back up, dramatically if possible. I suspect you'll see plenty.

Now note that consumer spending drove 70% of our economy for the last few years, most of it fueled by debt, credit card or otherwise, that is now on its way to defaulting. How much more of that debt would it be healthy for consumers to take on, in order to bring the health of the economy back up? Are there other ways to fuel an economy than debt-backed consumer spending?
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If you have a pair of shoes which resemble either of these:
Free Image Hosting at
Free Image Hosting at

Place them in the trash immediately. You purchased them in a heady rush of aspiration and ignorance, and you look like a tool wearing them. Stop.

Now you may be saying, you're a tool for saying that, my shoes are awesome, and you are just words on the internet! I'm unfriending you! Fine. Enjoy being wrong. Just know that you are going to be passed over for that job in favor of someone wearing these:
Free Image Hosting at

Because they are shoes for cool people in a design that has lasted 200 years.

If this rant does not apply to you, congratulations! If it does, I hope you listened, and one less person is wearing duck feet.


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