too close to home

This is heartbreaking. I am heartbroken.

I could do what I did the last time an article about how to epically fail at raising successful children broke me, which is list every meta-article I could find.

Interview with the author:

happy new year!

A few weeks ago, we went to Trick Dog and saw their new menu: a fantastic rendition of a Chinese restaurant. Since today is Chinese New Year, and we were feeling chill (I’ll see my parents this weekend), we hopped along to check out the scene at Trick Dog. As we were crossing the street, I said to Kimon, “there had better be lion dancers!” and found that he hadn’t seen lion dancers before! I promised him I’d show him some youtube videos later. We feared it would be packed with people celebrating, but it was a normal Thursday night, and we were able to get a table right away. Right after our drinks got to us, we heard cheers downstairs… and I noticed that there was a drum song on that was unmistakably lion dancey… so we ran to the banister and sure enough, a lion came jumping through.

I love this city.

Three years later, I still laugh about this quote from this Economist article on

“You don’t really know that the cool project you signed up for is in a skyscraper in Silicon Valley, or like me: one dude in his underpants somewhere who has five windows open to terminal servers,” he says.

The article talks about yahoo/delicious and their effect on, a service I still actually use a lot, but is really about “On-demand cloud computing.” It’s odd to think that only three years ago, a david battling a goliath with the cloud in his sling seemed an extraordinary thing. Now we are all self-styled davids, empowered by this explosion of cloud services to dream of scale, trading underpants for black-rimmed glasses, sipping tea after a haptic notification tells us perfect steepage has been achieved.

Also, let’s just leave this here, again, for good measure:


I’m in Boston! Ion+Pammy.

Tried Rent the Runway for the first time-it’s a neat service, and very easy to use. Ended up not wearing the dress I chose because it was rather more bootylicious than I wanted.

Yesterday, we biked along the esplanade and gazed upon the salt and pepper bridge. Made a pilgrimage to Grendel’s. Watched the re-staging of a 20-year-old picture in front of a dome. Learned a bit about favorite boston haunts. Boggled over a giant bust of Fiedler made of aluminum sheets, and over a gleeful dog chasing Canada geese. Took pictures with Make Way For Ducklings. And had dinner with Annie at the Legal Test Kitchen, where they have things like truffled lobster mac and cheese, and mezcal drinks.

I’m having a lovely time here. We fly home tomorrow, after a trip to the Boston science museum.

Bluetooth tags

There are three Indiegogo campaigns for bluetooth tags going on right now. How do I choose between them?

Bringrr – little tags that connect to your phone; you can get as many as you want; mobile app focuses on helping you find your lost keys by showing arrows on your phone’s screen if you’re close by, or pushing a button on the app to make the tag beep. Has an optional car charger that checks for your phone’s presence and beeps if you don’t have it (so you don’t drive away without your phone). The coolest thing about this one: you can attach tag names to your google calendar events and it’ll alert you if you don’t have the tags near you at that time. Which is actually amazing. This team seems the most interested in integrating with all aspects of your life (calendar; google glass app), which is wacky but cool.

Duet – little tags; up to ten; mobile app focuses on alerting you proactively if the tag leaves proximity of your phone (by beeping both things), also allowing you to set hours for it or turn it off if you’re in the library. Again, you can make the tag beep from your phone. If you leave your phone behind but take your tag with you (if it’s on your keys, say), it’ll make one or both beep. I don’t know if you can use the tag to make your phone ring (to find your phone).

GoKey – usb to lightning or microusb charger AND battery, usb drive (up to 32gigs), bluetooth locator (use your phone to make your GoKey ring, or press a button on your GoKey to make your phone ring). The app for this one doesn’t seem as robust (as the Bringrr) but it’s useful enough. This one is probably the winner since it does so much, but I have an iPhone 4s. Nicky actually mentioned this one yesterday, and I didn’t even know about it!!!!

In terms of what I actually want out of this device, well, I don’t know. Something that rings my keys or rings my phone. I guess I kinda do want to tag a lot of things. And in terms of my values, I guess, I kinda dig how crazy the Bringrr people are (google glass app lol lol lol). So I’m kinda going GoKey > Bringrr > Duet? except I’d only get the GoKey if I gave up and got an iPhone 5.

I mean, at this point, I might as well hold out for a magic device that also counts my steps, calibrates and tracks how steady I can hold my yoga poses, streams music to bluetooth earphones or a jambox, connects to a different device to tell me when my laundry machine stops moving, waters my plants, senses temperature and humidity, controls my LED lightbulbs by turning them on when I’m near, automatically senses if my friends are within a block and are open to meeting up, helps me find friends at concerts, slices bread, alerts me when my favorite constellations are in view, helps me take selfies by being a remote control for my phone, alerts me if I’m walking in an area with public surveillance cameras, can be worn as a fashionable wristwatch, fashionable necklace, or clipped on to my belt loop, and is also a vibrator that your partner can control from their mobile. I mean really.


lots of new things

Exciting times!

Double Union is thriving! Teacups, tables, books organized by category, drawers for power tools, beginnings of a soldering station, a/v setup, warm, welcoming, inclusive community–it’s like some kind of dream come true. We’ve grown so fast that we’re pausing applications for a little while to get everyone ramped up. If you want to check out the space, there are a ton of events coming up!

Indiegogo is doing pretty great! A few Wednesdays ago, I went to a career fair at Berkeley for Indiegogo. It’s a trip to be on the other side of the booth. We got lots of interest from students, and they asked some good questions. We had our quarterly all-hands meeting last last week, too–my second, and the company’s 13th. It was awesome. We also have new guitars, and sometimes jam on Wednesdays. Maybe one of these days I’ll bring in my cajon, which I… still don’t know how to play.

Happy lunar new year! My family took it pretty easy–we checked out a restaurant that specializes in food from shan3xi1, the province my dad’s dad is from. My dad says that his dad used to eat this certain kind of soup where instead of noodles, you use the dough that you would use to make man2tou2, and it kind of dissolves and makes little bits in the broth. I’d never had it before. I can’t find the restaurant on yelp–it was in the pacific rim shopping center. Tin tin is “permanently closed” according to google maps. wat?

Facebook Paper launched. It’s exquisitely beautiful. Kimon’s been working on it for the last year and a half, and on some incarnation of it for four. We’re all really proud of their team!

support OpenHatch!

OpenHatch is running a crowdfunding campaign! Please throw dollars at OH so they can run more Open Source Comes To Campus events and bring skills/knowhow/cookies to people who are interested in contributing to open source but don’t know where to begin. Help them succeed in their mission of increasing diversity in open source!

Clearly, the custom Sufjan drawing is the best perk. BABBY PENGUINS FOR EVERYONE

I have volunteered at just one OpenHatch event, and it was awesome. I rambled about different paths to software and taught a whole lot of people how to submit pull requests on github. My sister has attended one too, in Boston, and brought people and learned a bunch.

songs that dented my brain this year

maiki’s post on musical influence made me think about what tracks made a dent in my brain this year, too. I posted a big comment that ended up being more for me than for him, so here it is on my own blaugh, plus some more. I think that most of these songs actually aren’t from this year, but this is about what I’ve discovered.

I learned about M.I.A. relatively recently too (I’d heard Paper Planes, of course, but hadn’t followed her until earlier this year, when my coworker Shaun said “this solange song marks a Moment, just like how last year mia’s bad girls marked a Moment.” I was like, “bad girls?” and he was like, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE VIDEO FOR BAD GIRLS” and we watched it immediately and it blew my mind. Incidentally, I had thought that the aforementioned Solange track had not dented my brain, but pulling up the video now, maybe it did, at least for a while, there–the instagrammed-out visuals, the ultra style, the odd juxtaposition of the funky dancing with the slow movement of the song, that motherfucking british flag umbrella, the sunwashed mellowness of the sound, the smoothness of everything). So, onward to what I was trying to say in the first place: I love love love Bad Girls, and I especially love the truly epic official behind-the-scenes mini-documentary. “She’s actually crazy.” MIA’s out there, and graceful, and she’s got this fire in her eyes, and she is so so so feminine without ever begging for anything. It’s totally different from so many of the (especially female) singers/artists out there, whose only mode of interaction with the rest of the world is in a pleading manner. She’s fascinating to me. I think she blew my mind so much because she represents an alternative way to be feminine, or something.

On San Francisco:

  • Google Google Apps Apps, which makes everyone profoundly uncomfortable. Especially me. I live in the mission right now. Every time I walk home from the bart station, I pass these spraypainted words on the sidewalk on 24th at Valencia: “FUCK TECHIES,” because that’s where buses drop people off. I cannot even talk about this track ironically. Or unironically. Or maybe even at all. I try to talk about it (I do, I really do, to anyone that will listen, and to lots of people who won’t) and flail, hard.

  • Bucket Betch by Double Duchess, somehow irresistible in its joyful insistence. “We’re poppin’ up and takin’ over the place.” Something about the noise and the clapping and the jingle and distorted vocals and the San Francisco sunshine is happy and expressive and free and summer-y: “wait for it wait for it: HOORAY!” Pure exuberance!

What Spotify showed me:

  • Amon Tobin – Kitchen Sink (Clark Remix) – I like the soundscape of this. Magic and faeries in a warehouse with cogs and gears, machining grotesque forms of twisted metal, pixie dust detritus scattered across the floor. I don’t even know what kind of music this is or how I can find more. Spotify was like “since you listened to [something else, which I wish I remembered right now, because it would be a clue about what the heck genre of music this is at all], you should try this track” and I was like “okay” and then I was like “omg what is this I love it”

  • We’ll Begin Tomorrow by Release The Sunbird. Lisa made me a playlist of all the music SHE had run into when she started using Spotify (“I haven’t listened to new music for like ten years because that’s how long it’s been since I’ve walked into music stores and looked at CDs! It turns out all these artists are still making music, and look at all these new artists!”)

  • Another one from Lisa: Jolie Coquine by Caravan Palace. Turns out there is a wealth of artists doing old-timey-sounding blendy new music. Then there’s also Catgroove by Parov Stelar, who we didn’t see in concert when they were here, somehow.

Also from friends:

  • Holdin on by Flume. I really like Flume. This makes me think of springtime and possibilities and the little fluttery notes that go up are like birds taking wing. I’m begging Dawn to help me choreograph a belly dance routine to this song. Hip shakin’ mama!!!! I mean really.

  • Speaking of belly dance, Dawn showed me this gateway song: Simarik by Tarkan. It’s accessible and catchy and so so fun. She taught me a beginner’s routine to this. Months later, I got to bust it out at <a href=""Aynur‘s Gold Party, draped in gold beads. This happens to be one of the biggest Turkish pop songs ever, and so the universe aligned and everything worked out. I totally practiced in my head over and over again in my zipcar on the way to the gold party from k&a’s wedding, so much so that I missed my exit. I’ve had a lot of fun to this song.

  • The, uh, club version of the Wankelmut remix of the Asaf Avidan song, Reckoning Song (One Day). I had never seen or heard the original until JUST NOW, researching this comment.

  • This Get Low cover by Dan Henig which I cannot stop singing at the top of my lungs. This is a good one to really bellow.

  • Atish at robot heart on friday night this year. Obviously, burning man dented my brain rather severely. Atish also does monthly mixes. We go and find him every month at Tutu Tuesday.

I have given up on categorizing (and again, these are all things that are older than this year, but I just found out about them):

  • Major Lazer – ‘Get Free’ feat. Amber. First heard in a yoga class at work, started hearing it everywhere after that.

  • Aquarium by Nosaj Thing.

  • Just Can’t Get Enough by Depeche Mode lol.

  • Konstantine by Something Corporate, a band I’d heard of when my suitemate in 8b26 in 2000 watched her friend perform on Letterman for the first time, but I never knew this song, and I fell so hard and so fast, threw my entire body into it, overwhelmed by everything, longing, the unknown, the unknowable.

  • The album Far Away Trains Passing By, by Ulrich Schnauss, which is Dennis’ chill music, especially for when there’s traffic going across the bay bridge. Here’s knuddelmaus, which I really love. I’ve been having trouble sleeping, so I put this and Lullatone on.

“I guess this comment is really more for me than for you,” I said to maiki, in my comment on his blog. “In that case,” I continued, “I might as well list the other things that particularly dented my brain, especially earlier this year: End of Time by Beyonce, Sail by AWOLnation, Dream Catcher by Unicorn Kid ……..”

And, very recently:

  • Loud Pipes as well as everything else by Ratatat (like Montanita, and the chord progression in Gettysburg (there’s something so emotional about it, and sad, and uplifting too), but also seriously everything else by them too). I really like this a lot. A lot. That guitar. And a particular chunkiness to the beat. It makes you kind of slam yourself around, and I like slamming myself around.

  • Still Night by Pretty Lights. This track has really, really dented my brain in the last two weeks. For a little while, that five-note riff was the only constant thing in my head, reminding me that I was a person. Saw ’em at the bill graham civic auditorium. Had a grand time. Light show with tons of gold spotlights on a disco ball, shards of all our brains scattered all over the room, lasers making shapes on the walls. They released giant giant balloons, and watching them float up and down over the crowd made us feel like we were underwater, undulating, pulsing, alive. We danced like crazy.

I’m sure I’ll think of other things. Oh! Buzzcut Season by Lorde, which I already wrote about. Can’t Hold Us because in Amsterdam, there was a night where we went to like 5 bars and this song played at ALL OF THEM and it was demonstrated to me so clearly that there’s some kind of river of ideas connecting at least these parts of the world that I got to get mixed up in. I only mention Blurred Lines because it was so big, made so many people mad, there were these awesome parodies, and when we went to Burning Man, Mustafa had to find internet to check on his what rhymes with website, which totally blew up and got written up and stuff!

I was about to write “DUH, there’s Madness,” and I even knew what I was going to write about walking home to Euc house for two weeks through Stern Grove and the eucalyptus trees with this in my ears but it turns out that was in SEPTEMBER OF LAST YEAR, not this year like I thought. There has to be a cutoff somewhere. I did still listen to this song a bunch this year, I think.

I’ll probably be unable to resist continuing to add to this, especially now that it’s some kind of stream-of-consciousness free-association look back at this year.

This has been quite a year for me.

What a year.