just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 1 comment on Heading back from Fiji

Heading back from Fiji

We’re about to board a seaplane back to Nadi from which we’ll fly first to LAX, and then hopefully to SFO later. 

We leave 9:30pm Jan 2 in Fiji, and get home at 4pm Jan 2 in San Francisco. 

That – ladies and gentlemen – is the magic of the international date line. 

It was absolute magic, and a ton of photos and stories will follow in the days to come. But first some things I’ve learned:

  • If you pick up a sea cucumber from under the water, then it spits water at you
  • Don’t touch the coral. It will cut you. You will get infected. 
  • Always ask the questions you’re not sure about because the answers can be fascinating and wonderful. 
  • Get a return plan. It’s a paradise that needs to be revisited. 
  • It’s really, really weird to be a day ahead of everything you know. Especially when you try to send new year’s wishes. 
  • Don’t drink the kava
  • Smile. It fixes everything
  • A ridiculously good looking 6-month old boy will be kissed at least 25 times a day while in Fiji
  • She can be as beautiful five years later as you remember her being the first time you arrived
  • Eat the fish.
  • Grow old. Not for yourself, but for the others who get to enjoy your company. 
  • Be worthy of their company, and make sure they are worthy of yours

The trip was amazing. The friends we made laughed with us, and then made fun of us. I met a prominent US Senator and his family. I was inspired by an old man with a huge soul.

Good-bye Turtle Island. My heart stays with you. 

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on A Friday for thoughts

A Friday for thoughts

I feel like my day started feeling like this:

and now it feels like this:

“All men dream; but not equally.
Those who dream by night in the dusty
recesses of their minds
Awake to find that it was vanity;
But the dreamers of day are dangerous men.
That they may act their dreams with open
eyes to make it possible.”

T. E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia)

It’s just all about perspective.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 2 comments on A sense of being stuck

A sense of being stuck

I have this incredible sense of being stuck.

I don’t know the source, and I’m not convinced that it’s not of my own doing. Worse, I’m pretty convinced it is of my own doing.

It just feels like at every turn we’re this close to an answer; this close to progress; this close to finishing; but we just can’t get there. And I don’t feel like I have any control left. Any more levers or motivational speeches.

I took a run today with Theo, and it was wonderful. For the first time, in a long time, my mind was empty. My focus on my breathing. The road. The baby in the stroller. That silence between my ears was heavenly.

But then I got home again, and I couldn’t keep the volume down.

I hope the end of the year let’s me switch into 2016 in a different zone. But I don’t know… this one feels like it has roots that are starting to settle.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on Happy 4th Birthday my darling Amelia

Happy 4th Birthday my darling Amelia

Photo gallery of the last few days:

Some key highlights of your life as a 3 year old:

  • You learned to love swimming when we went up to Russian River for the Sonoma Race weekend
  • You went to go see Frozen in the theaters
  • You started at CDS as a Leaping Lizard
  • We visited Istanbul for the first time
  • For Halloween, you and your mom were fairies
  • We went to whale watching, and you saw dolphins & humpback whales
  • We went to Scotland for the first time, and saw Uncle Dan get married
  • You love dancing, science, writing letters, drawing, playing family, singing, rock climbing, and playing catch
  • You’ve become so much more confident in yourself, and that’s been wonderful to watch
  • You can write your name, and you know a lot of words that start with the letter A
  • Your favorite songs could be any of:
    • Let it go – Frozen
    • Tale as old as time – Beauty and the Beast
    • Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen
    • Lullaby – Billy Joel

      but I’m pretty sure it’s Let it go 🙂

It’s been a wonderful year my darling Amelia. Here’s to many more!

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 1 comment on Congratulations Saket & Chrissy

Congratulations Saket & Chrissy

Congratulations to my dear, dear friend Saket who married an absolutely lovely lady this past weekend.

It took a lot of convincing to get Micky comfortable with me going, and I’m so glad I pulled it off.  You see, Micky and I lay claim to convincing Saket to ask Chrissy out. There was this one night in August of 2011. Saket was heading to Chicago to go to a music festival with his sister Sapana (who I finally met by the way). We were talking about life, obligation, happiness, collateral damage, and risks worth taking. Our lives parallel in so many ways, and so if there were ever a mirror in which I could talk and hear my reflection give me sound advice it would be in Saket. I hope I do the same thing for him.

And so Saket started his adventure that night. I’ll leave the details between those who know, but that journey led to a cross country red-eye, a great Southern lunch with my amazing brother, this genuine, honest, and beautiful cross-cultural wedding ceremony, a quietly amazing musical performance, and a tired flight home to my babies (who by the way wanted to know why they weren’t allowed to come to Uncle Saket’s wedding).

Photo gallery here:

Beyond just being present in the ceremony, Saket asked me to give a toast as well. I knew exactly what I wanted to say, but it took me most of the dinner to write it down, practice it in my head, and not screw it up when I was in front of the crowd. Some tears made it out, but they were genuinely tears of joy.

Congratulations Saket. I hope as your journey continues it’s as wonderful as the moments you created for us this lovely weekend past.


just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 3 comments on The siren song of the South

The siren song of the South

I’m in Nashville for the next two days for Doruk’s graduation. It’s been a quick three years of law school, and now he’s getting ready for a big adventure in Brooklyn as a real estate lawyer. I’m incredibly proud of him. I’ll do a larger Nashville post Friday night/Saturday morning (with appropriate food shots of course).

But I realized tonight just how polarizing my love/hate relationship is with the South.

I love the food. It’s not good for your health, but it’s great for your soul. It’s made with love, and it may shorten your life, but it fills it with joy.

I love the kindness. People treat each other well. Please and thank you are standard. You say sir and ma’m where it’s appropriate.

I hate the racism. It’s rampant, and it’s everywhere. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.

I hate the narrow mindedness. Folks are proud to be ignorant; proud to be backwards; and proud of their inability to change.

I love the music. I love country music. The instruments are played exceptionally. The lyrics are stories about real life.

I hate the religious fervor. It’s the most false form of Christianity possible.

But when the siren sings her song I come back. I chase my sweet tea. I eat my BBQ brisket and chicken. Then look across the railroad tracks and see all the things that are broken. And it’s as if the siren has crashed me against the rocks leaving me to drown at sea.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on Kentucky Derby 2015

Kentucky Derby 2015

I love gambling.

I love gambling on horses. I think it’s a ton of fun. And the babies are pretty into it too. I think Micky likes it as well, but she won’t admit that she likes it 🙂

And so we headed over to Golden Gate Fields today to get our Kentucky Derby on. We swung by Berkeley Hats first to get the right attire, and then ran smack into a crazy mass of humanity all there to dress up fancy, wear cool headgear, and enjoy the races.

The food was decadent.

Chili cheese nachos!
Chili cheese nachos!

The gambling wasn’t so good 🙂 But Amelia did have a winner, and she was so excited! She turned $2 into $4. I turned more than that into less than that 🙂 Oh well, we had a wonderful time, and I look forward to doing it again next year.

Amelia winning!

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 1 comment on Bringing amplifize back from the dead

Bringing amplifize back from the dead

I’ve built a website called amplifize. It’s a small community of 10-12 folks who share articles, and talk about them together. It started as a Google Reader replacement at scale, and has downsized into my own, small Internet water cooler shared by some really fun, random, and interesting folks.

Last week, I went to add the ability to edit comments… and I took the whole site down in the process 🙁

It then took me a full week to fix things. I was upgrading versions. Backing up data. Trying every darn StackOverflow article I could find to try to fix it. When it dawned on me that the only hope left was to rebuild the box. And that that wasn’t going to be pretty.

But I bit the bullet. The box is rebuilt. I need to reinstall some things, but the data was saved, and we’re back in business.

In the process, I cleaned things up. Removed a ton of unused files from the box. And lo and behold, the spring cleaning did the server, the app, and hopefully my soul a bit of good.

The week it was down though, I constantly kept looking for it. To find a wacky article. To debate some nuance of how funny a goat video could be. It’s something  that I’ve become so accustomed to just having there. And I genuinely missed it. And I think that means I’ve built something that I really love.

That’s a wonderful feeling 🙂

I’m glad it’s back up, and that we’re already sharing, commenting, reading, and just generally back to having fun.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on Why the “G” word doesn’t matter

Why the “G” word doesn’t matter

Today is the 23rd of April. It will be celebrated across Turkey as The Children’s Festival. It’s the day that the first government was established after the independence war against the Greeks and Allied occupiers after World War I. It’s called the Children’s Festival because Ataturk dedicated the government to the children and to Turkey’s future. 

Tomorrow is April 24 – which to the Armenian community is Armenian Genocide Commenoration Day. Specifically, it’s the 100th anniversary of the events between the Ottomans and the Armenians. 

In Turkey, my blog would be banned for putting those first two words – Armenian and Genocide – together in a sentence. 

President Obama has announced that he won’t call it a genocide, which is a big “win” for Turkey according to the Armenian-American community. 

I think they’re wrong. I don’t think the word matters. 

Here’s what I propose we worry about instead…

Let’s all use tomorrow to think about how easily, and effectively, modern technology has made it to mass murder millions of individuals with whom we disagree. 

Let’s look at the actions of the Americans (Trail of Tears) Belgians (Congo), the Ottomans (eastern Anatolia), the Germans (the Holocaust), and way too many more to list over the last 200 years, and understand what we need to actively do to prevent industrial mass murder from happening again. 

Because you see I can’t change what happened in the past. And the title I give those events doesn’t change that they happened. What I don’t know is whether there are legal ramifications of calling it a genocide, but I doubt Turkey would acknowledge them anyway. 

So I acknowledge that I can’t change the past. I also acknowledge that the past happened (this too might be illegal in Turkey). But I can be part of building a future that makes sure that the innocent, the young, the disadvantaged, and the unlucky still have a voice and a protectorate. 

And I think building that future (by learning from those events in the past) is way more valuable than redefining the words the President uses to describe them.

So I don’t think whether a politician calls the massacre of Armenians a genocide or not matters. People who didn’t need to, and shouldn’t have, died in numbers that were appalling (regardless of whether it was 1, 400k, or 1.5mil). 

But I do think that we have a responsibility to make sure it doesn’t happen again. And those are the words I want to hear from the West Wing. 

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 1 comment on Doing it right is hard

Doing it right is hard

There is a ton of DIY that I hate doing. And laundry. And in general most house hold chores. It’s just not my thing. 

But Micky is the exact opposite (except with the laundry). She loves DIY, and she does it well. 

Building the bee stand, and hives got me back in the spirit of building things, but I noticed something I know I need to fix. I measure once, cut twice way too often. 

I dinged our front door pretty badly a month or so ago, and so I had to fill it, and repaint it. Again, I measured once, painted twice. 

Doing these things where I don’t know the cheat codes is really frustrating. It’s slow. And I’m usually wrong no matter what I do. 

But when I redid the front door today, it looked like it had been finished the right way. And I could hear in Micky’s voice that it didn’t bother her to look at anymore. And that feels so good. 

I’ve been thinking about how to apply this at the office as well. If I know the answers am I waiting too long to share them with my team? What’s the balance of teach vs do? And how do I give that feedback successfully?

And on the flip side, am I demanding the right feedback from my peers? Are they letting me fail too much? And how do we help each other more?

All I know is, these days I’m the king of sanding, painting, and laundry 🙂