Category Archives: life

Boston

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.

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!

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="http://www.aynurgirginwesten.com/"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 hug.me 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.

silent frisco at ocean beach 9/29/13

Have you been to a silent disco? I highly, highly recommend it. It’s surreal when you take off your headphones and see everyone jamming out to the sound of silence, or to waves crashing. Here’s a neat writeup of the concept (and its history, and a bit about how he got there) by one of the founders of Silent Frisco: http://ignite.me/articles/artist-interviews/robbie-kowal-aka-motion-potion-talks-silent-disco/#sthash.rQe2IBKA.dpuf

At sunset, someone came up to me and said “your shirt matches the sky exactly. Get someone to take a picture of you.” She was awesome and full of joy. She passed us again when we were all leaving, and said “thank you for being here.” So I looked for myself in some of the party promoter’s pictures:

silent frisco ocean beach - judy in the waves

silent frisco ocean beach - tiny judy in the back

If only finding myself were really that easy.

I had a ton of fun. I wasn’t there for very long, and I got totally distracted by RUNNING INTO THE OCEAN so I missed the end of the set that I came to see, but it was all worth it because RUNNING INTO THE OCEAN. Irene turned to me in the waves and said, “it’s so great to be alive.”

It’s so great to be alive.

Home!

I’m home! I’m very very very happy to be back =D My mom and brother drove me back to my sf apartment from the airport. I’m super grateful, since I brought home a bunch of stuff (including a very Dutch bag for my bicycle from Hema!), and my bags were heavy. Stroopwafels have been a pretty much unilateral hit. Brought home a bunch of drop for Dominique. It doesn’t seem like food, but all Dutch people love it. Now I’ve got to unpack and sort through A BILLION pictures, including an impossibly large amount of photos I took of clouds on the flight from AMS to Houston.

I think most people don’t know how much I love clouds!

Life is fun.

I got some nice comments on my talk!!!!

The most enthusiastic speaker in DPC13 and DMC13, which made me more enthusiastic about the subject. Very fun and interesting talk, with very good examples to get started.

Definitely going to use Three.js to build red cubes now.

/beams

haha

crunch time

Ally and I ate a lot of falafel on Leidseplein last night at this awesome salad bar, then barhopped all night. I really love this area just south of Leidseplein. And it was an accident–we had found a cheap Best Western here. I’m pretty behind on blogging!

The livenation.nl website didn’t take american credit cards, so I wasn’t prepared for the Muse concert–I was sort of thinking I’d go down to the arena to buy a ticket. Then it was 45 minutes away by tram and I … had inertia. This is really weird–a few years ago, it would have been COMPLETELY UNTHINKABLE for me to miss Muse in my city for ANYTHING. But traveling alone can be hard, and so when Ally said “Bad Religion is playing tonight! I loved them!” I was like “hmm maybe that instead” once I found out that the venue they were playing at was like 3 minutes away and I guess I want to do things with people.

Laura is going to KILL me.

She will KILL me.

I guess this is me feeling some regret, but at least I’m writing it down here as an indication that I am okay living with my choice. haha. It was also like less than half the price. I suppose I could have tried using craigslist or finding stuff. Well…

I still had fun and the Melkweg was a really cool venue, so I’m glad I went to *something*! And I’m into BR more and more these days anyway. I could sing along during “sorrow” and such. Found an area upstairs pretty close the stage actually where there were a bunch of girls so I stood near them, because it was less scary than standing near a lot of large dudes. haha.

After the falafel, I saw some people on Liedes square and one was wearing a Muse tshirt so I was like OMG HOW WAS IT? and they were like IT WAS GREAT BUT THEY DIDN’T PLAY HYSTERIA???? and I was like I SAW BAD RELIGION INSTEAD BUT MUSE IS MY FAVORITE BAND IVE SEEN THEM EIGHT TIMES LIKE IN SF RECENTLY (even thought it was oakland) and he was like WOW I’VE ONLY SEEN MUSE FIVE TIMES AND I LOVED BAD RELIGION WHEN I WAS LIKE 12, DID THEY PLAY ‘SLUMBER’ I LOVED THAT SONG and I was like I DUNNO NOT WHEN I WAS THERE cuz i’d missed the first like half of the show and then I was like WHEN I SAW MUSE THEY DIDN’T PLAY STOCKHOLM! DID YOU GUYS GET STOCKHOLM? and they were like WELL THEY DID THE ROULETTE THING SO WE GOT NEW BORN AGAIN (and i didn’t figure out what they meant by again–did they play it twice lol? I’ll look on the message boards later) and then his companion was like “here, you can have this” and gave me a 20 euro bill but on further inspection it was a 20 euro bill on plastic-y paper that says “the 2nd law” and has a picture of the band on it HAHAHAHA and they were like YEAH SOME CEO OF A BANK THREW THESE DOWN LIKE CONFETTI FROM THE CATWALK, YOU CAN HAVE THIS AS A SOUVENIR CUZ WE CAN SEE HOW SAD YOU ARE THAT YO MISSED THE SHOW and i was like THANK YOU

Then they told us about some interesting-sounding clubs (jazz // live music // different scenes // blues) and we went our separate ways. Ally and I danced a while. One fo the clubs played that song I used to play a lot in my dorm room in 2000 that goes “i just don’t care if it something soemthing, I’ll fly with youuuuuuuuuuuu! I’ll fly with yyoooooouuuuuu” and then immediately after that, played that song by macklemore, the one that I like that isn’t thrift shop–I like it because it’s obviously tongue-in-cheek with the most generic-sounding lyrics possible for the impossibly catchy chorus — tongiht is the night, this is the moment, we’ll fight til it’s over, so throw your hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us… I love this song and Leidesplein clubs do too. We went to another club and the song played there. Then we went to another bar and the song played there too. Hahaha.

Sarah and Estelle just got into town so I have to pack up here and go find them! So excited!

This library is beautiful

I had a totally uneventful flight (hooray!). I watched Life of Pi (Ang Lee! Also I loved the book when I devoured it, years ago, wrapped in bed and wracked with doubt, adrift in my own sea of turmoil) and then, immediately, Les Mis, which is such a stupid story I could barely stand it. Curiously, I’d never seen Les Mis in any form all the way through–I’d only caught glimpses of the version they used to play on kqed channel 9 all the time, where they didn’t have the full stage setting and the orchestra was on stage and the actors performed in front of skinny microphones, and even then I only ever paid attention to Lea Salonga, who is captivating and gorgeous and talented and expressive. I’d heard the names Gavroche, Fantine, Cosette, Marius, and Eponine, and now I know who they are, and bemoan their uselessness. ‘ponine, you could be so much more interesting, and there are other fish in the sea, and anyawy you need a sassy gay friend oh look someone made one and also how do you make double quotes on a European computer? I keep typing it and then mashing the keys and then deleting the äs that appear.

Anyway that’s not what I was trying to talk about. Here are my Amsterdam adventures so far:
- sat in airport lobby and read these travel books maiki gave me and finally decided to go to a library
- wandered around the airport trying to buy a power converter that would take my three-pronged plug for my laptop charger. Discovered, after choosing one, that I was still in the duty-free zone, and I wasn’t allowed to buy there after I deboarded. You’re only allowed to buy stuff there if you’re waiting to get on a flight, or something.
- Bought one elsewhere, along with a small backpack that I plan to use when I get home too. It’s green.
- Wandered around the giant section of the airport that says “train tickets here” (oh the way to make double quotes reliably is to press the key, then type a consonant!). Was stymied by the machines not taking my credit card or atm card (although both had just worked elsewhere). Finally discovered that only 1 in like 10 of the machines takes coins (and none of them appeared to take bills). Successfully bought a ticket to Amsterdam Centraal.
- Wandered around the station for a long time looking at maps trying to figure out how to figure out which train would take me to Amsterdam Centraal. Asked some people who were looking for a machine that took cash (and I helped them find one), who helped me.
- Got on the train as the doors were closing. The first car appeared to be a bike car. The train is beautiful, sort of like caltrain, but more well-used, and prettier, and smooth! Rode a few stops.
- Got out! Walked outside! Into the rain!
- Went back inside! Walked into some kind of drugstore-ish thing that sold everything from clothing to chocolates and bought the most offensive umbrella I could find (it’s orange with flowers! I had a hard time choosing between this orange one and the pink one with pinkish reddish carnations, but I’m glad I got the orange).
- Walked towards the library! Passed reams and reams of parked bicycles! Have never seen so many parked bikes in my life! Thought about renting a bike, but haven’t yet!
- Wandered around inside the library, which is white and huge (7 stories tall I think?) and covered in giant windows and recessed LED lighting on the shelves and so bright inside and full of interesting-looking students hard at work! Dismayed to find taht accessing their wifi is €1 per 30 minutes, and not free, like this tour book said (maybe things changed snice publication). Bought 30 minutes at a paystation.
- Their wifi login system isn’t working and an employee confirmed as much. Logged onto a public workstation instead (they are plentiful and line these balconies). Am sad about the continued inability to post pictures. I guess I could transfer them from my phone to my computer adn then from my computer to this public workstation via usb drive ….

Anyway, I’m figuring out stuff about the Wikipedia Engineering Meetup/Hackathon in Amsterdam now hooray! Also, trying to figure out my phone situation. Maybe I should go get the cheapest prepaid feature phone I can find so I can call/sms or something.