just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on My urban jungle

My urban jungle

Micky and I are taking the week off to do tasks around the house to prepare for the baby. And before I started today’s adventures, I decided to sit at the back window and watch the backyard.

There’s a male hummingbird who lives in a tree two houses down. He loves our yard. He zips in and out. Always at the speed of sight. When the sun hits him just right, his red neck shines in the light like a neon Las Vegas sign. 

The bees agave made for themselves a home. They’re carrying in pollen, drinking the sugar water, and building their combs. 

A family of turtle doves sits at the base of the hive. I don’t know if they’re waiting for drops of honey or errant bees to make a snack out of. Either way they sing while they wait, and the harmony is beautiful. 

Spiders build webs. 

Along the fence evidence of skunks, rats, and raccoons are many and evident.

The artichoke plants are larger than life, with small artichoke hearts starting to make their way into the world. The grasses are growing. The bushes are blooming. The lemons ripen. 

Out of my window, in area code 94122, I have my own urban jungle. And a little sunshine to go with it. 

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 3 comments on Hitting emotional bankruptcy

Hitting emotional bankruptcy

I’m in a bad place.

Ian used to tell me all of the time how I’d get stuck in ruts, and it was my job as a leader in the company to get out, and help move people forward. But I’m in one of those ruts where it just feels like it’s too hard to do.

It’s really coming from every direction too.

Luka tells me he doesn’t want me. He doesn’t like me. He only likes his mom. (Amelia does the opposite to Micky. It’s just purely mean).

My dad busted his tooth, and I found out because I’m on a WhatsApp group with a bunch of students working on a project he and I are brainstorming together. If I weren’t on that group, then I’d never have found out.

The family is sick. I’m allergic to the backyard for the next month until all of this pollen goes away.

I’ve lost 40% capacity on the PM side at work, and that’s just plain hard. There’s a bunch of other stuff here too, but I’ll publish those another day.

I don’t know where to win. I don’t know where the next win is coming from. And most of all, and actually scariest of all, I don’t know if it will be enough. But damn do I need a win right now 🙁

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on My $140 date night

My $140 date night

It all started when we saw the trailer for The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. We knew we would go on opening night because that’s our people.

So I pre-ordered the tickets because a Friday night at the Kabuki Theater is quite the crap shoot for a good seat. That’s $11 per ticket plus a $3 processing fee. Oh, and by the way, I print out the damn ticket so whatever they’re processing isn’t the ticket.

So far, we’re at $30 let’s call it.

Then, we have to get the babysitter. And we love her to death. She’s amazing. The going rate in San Francisco is $20 per hour. And the movie starts at 8pm which means she has to put the kids to bed. So she might as well come early enough to calm any fears, and successfully put the kids to bed. It means 4 hours of babysitting – another $80.

Now we’re at $110.

And it’s not a movie without snacks. Humphrey Slocum ice cream, two drinks, and a small popcorn will cost you a smooth $30. Isn’t that lovely?

So we got to $140.

Don’t worry about the $4 parking garage fee. At that point, who cares?

Oh man, and we wonder why we never go out anywhere 🙁

At least the movie was fantastic 🙂

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on Won’t the sharing economy decouple itself from the marketplaces?

Won’t the sharing economy decouple itself from the marketplaces?

When we first moved into the house, we had an one-off insurance policy to fix plumbing, appliances, roof, etc. I called them once, they sent over a fantastic plumber, and I never called them again. You see, they found a way to not cover anything, and all I really needed was access to a good plumber.

Why isn’t this exact same thing happening, or going to happen, to Uber, Handy, Munchery, etc.?

All of these applications are marketplaces. However, none of them (and I haven’t power used Handy yet so I don’t know how true this is for them) create a relationship between me and my service provider.

I know my plumber, and so I trust him to come to the house and fix things.

Same with my contractor (because houses break).

Same with my gardener (because Micky loves the backyard).

In a similar vein, I know my doctor, my dentist, and I trust that they will be there when I go in for an appointment.

Why then wouldn’t I want to know my chef? Or my driver? Or the painters I’ve hired?

And if the apps don’t build this in for me (e.g. allowing me to request favorites when they’re available, creating relationships with the service providers before they come to me, etc.), then why wouldn’t I just do it myself?

I’ve never asked an Uber driver for their card so I could just call them directly next time… but I could. It would let me pay them without having to pay Uber. I could give them the tip they deserve, and not the one that Uber splits with them. All of the incentives are there for this business owner to branch out and create his own clientele list.

It’s the kind of thing my grandfather would definitely have done by now.

Our Handy tryout today wrote us a nice note about the work that she did, and suggested at the end that we create a one-on-one relationship without Handy as an intermediary. She’s already thinking that way.

I’m really curious how… on a long enough time horizon… these services expect to keep the talent. I know agencies have these problems because my favorite contractor (one Garret Riddle) tends to freelance out whenever he wants to, and then come back when he’s tired of doing BD.

Get enough clients and word of mouth, and you don’t need the marketplace anymore. And then what happens to Uber’s valuation?

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on What I’m doing for Lent 2015

What I’m doing for Lent 2015

Happy Fat Tuesday everyone! This year for Lent I’m going to focus on 2 things:

  1. Not yelling at the kids – This has been a bad trend lately… Luka is being a pain in the ass. Amelia is acting like she’s six months old at times. And all I want to do is get out the door, and start my day. But the truth is, I don’t. I want to stay at home just as much they do. I want to play one more game of Family just like Amelia does, or one more round of baseball like Luka does. But I just can’t. Morning meetings. Long nights because I’m not getting stuff done during the day. And so when I just need shoes on, and coats picked up, and bags carried, it’s too easy to freak out.

    But for the next 40 days, I’m not going to let myself do it because it’s not fair to the kids, and it’s not what I want to teach them to do either.

    It’s going to be hard…

  2. Not cheating on my weight loss – I’m exercising every day of the week for about 30 minutes. And I’m losing no weight. The culprit HAS to be food. At work, I cheat too many chocolates or chips. On the weekends, I have too many big meals.

    I’m going to really focus on what I eat, how much I exercise, and make sure that both are aligned towards my goal of losing weight. I think if I do it right, I’ll be down to 187 by Easter.

    That would be really wonderful.

So there you have it. My two big goals. I always share publicly to get help from others. If you need help, then let me know yours, and I’ll be there 🙂

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 5 comments on Am I the only one – Jordanian edition

Am I the only one – Jordanian edition

I remember in high school that my French teacher, and one of the strongest leftist influences in my life, Fabienne took us to a talk at UNC about the death penalty. The person speaking was the son of the Rosenbergs who were executed for spying for the Soviets, and giving them nuclear secrets.

It turns out that the government was right about Julius, but not about Ethel.

And so started my walk down becoming a pretty staunch anti-death penalty advocate.

Over the years I learned more, and everything I learned seemed to point me to the conviction that the death penalty is inherently wrong.

And now the country of Jordan has given me another data point.

These two executions carried out this morning are simply revenge killings. All over the world, we’re condemning ISIS as a band of extremists whose tactics and values are outdated, and unwelcome in the modern world.

And yet, in a moment where we can test that belief, we fall prey to Hammurabi’s code – “an eye for an eye” instead of focusing on our own modern values – right to a fair trial, punishment that fits the crime, etc.

I don’t know if Jordan holds to these values.

But the question I’ve been asking myself today is – who’s actually the worse offender here? ISIS for standing by their barbaric values and executing a prisoner of war. Or Jordan for responding in an equally barbaric way while decrying those barbaric values?

Am I the only one who thinks it’s Jordan?

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on AHHHHHHHH!


I very rarely find myself wishing this blog were anonymous or that I could just go off on folks without needing to consider being an adult and the ramifications of not being an adult.

But holy shit has it been one of those weeks.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming… I guess I’ll scream in a pillow instead.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on Silent no more

Silent no more

I got a great voice message from my anonymous reader to say I’ve been too silent, and that the world is a worse place for it. As our crazy two weeks of traveling across the United Kingdom comes to an end, I can finally pause at the keyboard to put down some thoughts.

  1. It’s way too cold here
  2. I set a latitude record by heading to Forster Castle in Scotland. I’ve now achieved 56 degrees north which is one degree further north than my previous record of Moscow
  3. Scottish dancing is as crazy in person as it is in the TV shows
  4. I can’t understand a word that anyone who I’m not related to says in this country

And with a year-end review to come, I bid you good night, but with high hopes that there will be another article tomorrow.