Saturday, November 03, 2007

1 year + 1 day post-op!

Whoda thunk? Amazing. Only fitting I should go for a run, and then do my 3rd inside fun! Today I'm solidly at level 5.8.

And is it me, or were climbing walls inspired by Mr. Potatohead??

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Partying takes work

A few months ago, I pontificated on how things in Web 2.0-land were starting to feel a little, well, frothy. A different take on this came today in this Techcrunch post ; while not necessarily vindicating the degree of frothiness that I'd feared, it does vindicate my marathon-esque search for the "right" startup:

It’s so cheap to create Web startups these days that we are going to be seeing a whole lot more of them. Many will be inane, redundant, or half-baked. But a few will rise up from the froth and create something lasting. Bubble or not, it’s worth keeping an eye out for those game-changers. We just might have to wade through a lot of junk to find them.

Of course, that concept of "weeding through a lot of junk to find the right one" sort of plays into my other theory....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Last year, I posted a bit about euphemisms (love that word). In addition to that instance, the same aforementioned physician had earlier referred to my feet as "advanced"....a term which should normally evoke pride but, when coming from a surgeon, connotes something a bit different.

Monday night my should-be carefree visit to Burke Williams Day Spa (thanks to the infinite generosity of my dear friend Jessica) was slightly irked by the comment from my masseuse: my back is "quite impressive." Of course, initially my mind leapt to "yes, of course I'm buff" but alas, she was referring to the "impressive" degree of knots she barely had time to scratch the surface (so to speak) on....ok, on to the burning question: does a knot positively impact body-fat composition?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I knew I had a good eye

Did I not rave about the love of my life in an earlier post? The press is affirming my keen discernment - Halo is famous!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Are we going to party like it's 1999?

A few weeks ago I posted a question on LinkedIn asking how the current Web 2.0 "bubble" is different than the first one. Many respondents feel the lessons learned 7ish years ago won't be repeated and took issue with me calling our current market activity a "bubble."

I won't argue....I'll simply instruct them to go* here and see if they still disagree!

* ok, maybe not "go" but you know what I mean

Friday, August 03, 2007

**Extra Extra: I've found love at last!!**

Thirty-eight years of searching and at long last, where I'd least expect it....


(and I'm a cat person! :)

As you may surmise, Halo is all about physical contact. But there's more to this dog that Bill from Schwab brings in to work once or twice a month: Bill "adopts" dogs like her for a limited period of time to get them trained to be guide dogs for the blind. Dogs like Halo (name is apt, in my opinion) are trained to always look out for their master and to have a heightened sensitivity to the environment rather than meet their own needs first. So not only are dogs like Halo selfless, but people like Bill - who take them in and grow attached to them, only to release them later to benefit others less fortunate - are equally selfless.

I'm not that selfless. I couldn't let Halo go if I had her!

Halo's sad pining look as I leave tugs at the heartstrings

Friday, July 27, 2007

That "I just got towed" feeling

You know, that feeling that you have to pay a whole lot of money to simply maintain the status quo...this has occurred twice in the past 24 hours:

First, in "upgrading" my cell phone account. Translation: after being hit with a frightening $166 bill, I have the option and privilege of paying even $15 MORE per month to avoid paying MORE in the future (or something like that). Even though it made fiscal sense, I gotta say it doesn't feel good to call up a company that just"hit" you with an exorbitant bill and say, "hey, I'd like to pay you even MORE - on an ongoing basis - because I just paid you so much this month!" Is that counterintuitive or is it just me?

Second, in paying $80 for a locksmith to spend 3 minutes doing some primitive jimmying to get me back inside to progress with my morning routine as usual. No, I don't know how the back door "locked itself" after my run, but I'm sure the really great guys who came to the rescue this morning don't care. Once they were gone, all was back to order....the only difference being a larger VISA expenditure for this month....for life as status quo!

But God Bless America for cell phones and locksmiths!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What's real?

I came across an absolutely hysterical - or is it tragic? - parody of Linden Lab's Second Life. It's one of those things I keep looking at over & over because I can't stop laughing (albeit the irreverence).

I remember when SPINNING first came out - I thought, "How absurd! Why would anyone prefer a dark, stuffy, confined room over the real thing?" And here I am, (x) years later, subjecting myself to that very instrument of torture I was so quick to condemn earlier.

[Is it just me, or is it actual lipids I wipe off of the floor at the end of class??].


In my previous post about Cafe Gratitude, I wrote, "I often thought it was too good to be true that body pierced hippy types could run a business"...alas: my monthly credit card posting from my vegan indulgence revealed that they failed to include my tip in the total....I hope this does not forebode an end similar to fate of my beloved Urban Forage-!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


should I call? They are really interested - maybe I'm not so interested. They DIDN'T call - now I'm really interested!

sound familiar? Welcome to the world of....interviewing?? favorite dating service!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Investment or expense?

I prefer to think of indulgences in organic fare as investments - in my long-term health. Seeing as the only sure way to go IS preventative health these days, I'm starting to be ok with what I once thought was 80% rationalization! Check out Michael Moore's latest movie (the excuse that he's "biased" doesn't go far with me - I mean, who isn't??)....

'What can I do?' - SiCKO


On an ongoing basis, for the love and grace of God. But most recently and more temporally, for Cafe Gratitude! Let me explain--

A few years ago, a phenomenal culinary delight for organic, raw vegan folks thrived on Valencia Street - it was called Urban Forage and it was a haven for that .005% of the population that seeks out raw, organic, vegan food. I often thought it was too good to be true that body pierced hippy types could run a business...and alas, I was right: it flamed out in less than a year. I mourned for quite a while. Then my friend Kelley gave me a gift certificate to a place in the inner mission called Cafe Gratitude...I could never bring myself to using it because I never thought anything else would match up to the heights that Urban Forage took me.

Luckily, my friend Antonio - another health foodie - assured me we should meet there. And now my pocketbook will never be the same. Ok, there is a "forced feel-good" vibe that sort of permates the place (for example, there is a "question of the day" that goes along the lines of, "what do your friends love most about you?"; and all menu items begin with "I AM..." - I assume it is not heretic....) - but - the fare is to die for! I went twice this weekend. Somebody stop me!!

Friday, July 06, 2007

alienation of labor?

On a stroll in Berkeley I passed by what was formerly one of my favorite shops, Tupper & Reed. It was a music store. But no more: it's quaint awning has been usurped by the digital age...

Now I'm not a luddite, but does this bode the end of instruments (at least, those without a keyboard)? Do we lose something by not making music more "mechanically"? Is typing different than writing? Do we lose something of the creative process as we evolve into the age of bits and bytes? Just as Marx bemoaned the alienation of labor that came with mass production, I fear we will lose something of our cognitive and creative abilities as we increasingly automate.

For example, when was the last time you did - without the aid of any tool - math?....

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

is it worship or a song?

At aforesaid bbq, we sang worship songs and The Star Spangled Banner and America The Beautiful. Normally I bristle at such syncretism, but some verses in the latter song really struck me:
Confirm they soul in self control, Thy liberty in law
I admit, I was able to pray while singing that line...not only for our country but myself. Perhaps patriotic hymns & worship hymns were much more aligned back in the day? Always a dangerous line to walk, but I do know that I sure agree with that line.

speaking of july 4

I spent it in 2 interesting ways today. First, hanging out with Yossi & Misha near ClubOne after my workout. They hail from the Ukraine and I could not lose the opportunity to capture them today of all days.

Second, at a barbecue in Pacifica, where fireworks are, remarkably, legal to all. As I walked from my car to the party, I winced at all of the explosives going off and remarked at just how far away from "Kansas" (SF) I felt. Am I that parochial now? For an affirmative, see my post immediately preceding this one.

triple citizenship

The other day I was walking downtown and was swept away with a sense of utter audacity when I saw a man sporting an American flag tie (remember, I live in San Francisco, the last city to tolerate the display of an American flag, let alone on an article of clothing which is meant, primarily, to be black). Interestingly, my brain flashed with the following statement: "Sheeeshh what country does THAT guy live in?"

Of course the irony of that statement (as in, the answer would be, er, the United States) was not lost on me...but the whole episode marked an interesting fact: I am now officially a citizen of the Republic of San Francisco, holding many of the attitudes and dispositions that seems to bring. Assuming that I do not, however, have to renounce my US citizenship ( out on that one), that means I have triple citizenship: SF, the US, and of course the only real one, the Kingdom of God.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Check out my co-worker Cory Silver's assessment of the US meat processing industry based on his viewing of Fast Food Nation (note the brandishment of a meat skewer whilst espousing):

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ok, let's think about this some more...

Maybe I shouldn't be so harsh with my friend. I mean, with web 2.0-social networking-ubiquitous ad placement monetization-etc., and our concurrent poverty of attention and time, isn't every relationship and interaction becoming something to be "leveraged" and capitalized - in the truest sense of the word? If you click on my page or download my friend's song, me and my friend and many other middle-people can make money...and it's so scalable!

Sort of makes the Mary Kay's of yesteryear look tame (pink cars and all).

Who *are* my friends?

Or - maybe the nature of friendship is changing? A few days ago I had a girlfriend I hadn't heard from in nearly 5 years email me out of the blue...she's not a real emailer...and it was such a pleasant surprise that she just wanted to see how I was doing. Oh, yes, she did also want to "share" with me about a new business she is in and how exciting that is...

I admit, my response - "sounds great but - is it multi-level marketing?" - may not have been the most tactful one. I told her how tired I was to receive "check in" notes from my friends really wanting to sell me skin care or travel products....sure enough, it was the former behind her "let's get in touch" email. I explained I was beholden to another one of my 8? girlfriends selling that line she was starting...but would still love to hear from her. She said she'd try over the weekend. It's now 9:43pm Sunday (past midnight in her time zone) and I'm trying to stay positive.

Because it's really all so exciting!!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

home at last

it's kinda weird being here...where there are different spots for cars going one way vs. going the other way, separate places for people, for animals, for tractors...and where you can inhale and not be reminded of what other living creatures are in close proximity, etc.

The pictures - all 411 of them - are posted, and I think they begin to capture the poignant contrasts - beauty and poverty - that abound in India. Remember, though, that they don't capture a very important sensory experience of India: smell.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

yah, whatever.....

Could the Taj really be the rave that everyone says it is? It is exquisite beyond measure - in its scale and PRESENCE. It's hard to describe or capture in words or photo. Ya have to go if you are fortunate enough to have the chance. We arose at 5:30am in order to see the rising sun make the marble gleam that just-so-yellowish tinge, and I'm glad we did! (yeah, ME!)

talk about beachball stripes

At work we have a framework for communication that involves getting a diversity of opinions / points of view -- the analogy being that "every stripe on the beachball" should be represented.

This trip has provided an incredible array of beachball stripes. It started with corporate IT India in Hyderabad & Bangalore....engaging with the westernized, progressive, educated India we so often engage with in the States. It migrated to the rural and working class India in our exploits in rural Rajasthan....the hotel attendants, the people who take care of the camels, the bathroom attendants, Asif our driver and his family, and the myriad of people we see on the streets. We also saw a rising wealth in the home of the tour agency owner, Anil. Then in Delhi we've seen the Gupta home, B9 and the exquisite shops and life in Haus Khas village - and learned what that entails from a social perspective as well through Anna's stories about Amit's upbringing at Dune School and such.

I'm sure I'm forgetting many more stripes too....

Time with Anna!

What a blessing to be able to see Anna (and Sam!) India! Having coffee at Barista or dinner at Ploof transports us all from the rough, relentless harshness of life here to a "metro-anywhere" feeling - we could be anywhere in the world (and not Delhi ;). It's so wonderful to be able to see Anna doing some of her favorite things: having coffee, eating chocolate cake, buying shoes, or dressing us up in Saris. It's so hard to imagine that bright flashy smile not coming out as it does so often when we live in SF; I'm glad it is coming out this week. What a treat!

(it's still weird to be shooting the breeze withher & Sam in Choko La, the yummy cafe in Basant Lok, and look around & see women in Sari's and remember, "hey, we're in India!")

Purism's for the birds

As you probably know, I'm not a real pharma, drug kinda gal. But can I just hear some hallelujahs for whoever invented Cipro? If you haven't traveled to a developing country, let's just say that Cipro and the like are indispensible for those of us lucky enough to get the "traveler's friend" while partaking in the local cuisine.

Hallelujah for Cipro!

Monday, April 02, 2007

they say India is a land of contrasts....

...and we saw one that won't read in the guidebooks. It was the contrast between dinner at Anil's home (Anil is the owner of the tour agency we used), and the dinner at the home of our fearless and faithful driver, Asif.

When Asif extended us an invitation we were surprised, as we suspected he was a man of very simple means (an assumption proven to be true). Then Anil called to extend his invitation to us too (we were feeling quite popular). Not wishing to offend his boss, Asif asked us what we wanted to do. We wanted to go to Asif's, and we also wanted to honor Anil's we did both. Dinner, Part One was held at Anil's gated home on the outskirts of Jaipur. The exchange was cordial, the food (as always) tasty, and the ambiance....a bit stiff. It was 10pm by the time we made it back into the Old City center for Dinner, Part Two at Asif's home. There, we were met by his two boys, Sajid (16) and Samer (13) and his smiling, petite, beautiful wife Zarin (which Asif proudly told us means "shining" in Arabic). She had handmade us rotis, a chicken curry for Sue and a veg paneer for me.

The entire time, Zarin and Asif giggled with one another, and I was taken aback by the wink Samer slipped in to me when nobody was looking (I concluded that "Samer" must translate into "rascal" ;). The joy and warmth emanated so richly from this SINGLE room (no bathroom, let alone working kitchen) that the power outage and stench from the animals in the street faded to the background. How many proverbs talk about how it is better to be with little and have peace in the home, than have much and strife? Asif is a blessed man.

Asif - the modern-day Joseph

Lately at work I've been confronted by just how self-absorbed I am and how far I am from being a true servant to those around me. I've prayed to become more like a Daniel or a Joseph, who both served so extraordinarily well in their adverse circumstances.

Here in India, we have been blessed to meet a real, live, present-day Joseph in the form of a modest, Muslim car driver named Asif. Both Sue and I admitted to being a bit unnerved by his formidable photo the tour agency sent to us, but the moment we entered the airport gate, his sweet, welcoming smile made us feel the kind of safety that endured throughout our many miles with him. He was always always always so quick to anticipate our every need, from getting water for us, to opening the door, to being ready on the drop of a dime to get us, even when it meant waiting outside in the cruel heat for us to return to the car. Always with a smile and a cute head bob and a "yes, m'um." Always quick and anticipatory in his serving, with the biggest heart you can imagine. Combined with eyes like a hawk that scowled down any form of harassment from "without" our automobile enclave. I truly cried the day before we parted. A true, modern-day Joseph who I hope will be blessed to move beyond his very very (for lack of better word) modest circumstances.

the impact of air conditioning

the inescapable, incessant heat has been experienced by us to SUCh a limited degree....we choose to endure it to see a monument or site, only to be picked up IMMEDIATELY by our faithful driver Asif the microsecond we enter the parking lot area (more on Asif later). It's hard to comprehend what this must be like for the many many many people who stay outside all day, exposed to the relentless, merciless sun and heat. How do they have energy - or will - for anything? Life is an entirely different experience - entirely - when it is comfortable.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Land of the Cow

And pig, camel, dog and goat. In New Zealand, sheep rule. Here, lots of other critters do, but nothing beats the cow. Bony and ubiquitous, they do what they want, when they want, where they want. The price for an accidental death on the road, according to Asif (our formidable driver who has yes like a hawk and reflexes like a martial artist...and undersatndably so), is several thousand rupees....and this is on a no-fault basis and is enforced by the wrath of the villagers, who will encircle your modern-day camel (i.e. the offending automobile) in a matter of seconds.

In India, the street is your stable and your stable is your street. Breathe deep.

"vuja de" all over again

or, the phenomenon where you've NEVER had that feeling before!!! (sorry, my favorite George Carlin joke). Anyway, it's really deja vu when, after concluding an inspiring historical tour of a thousand-year-old-or-more monument, you are whisked into a side room full of fabrics, offered tea and given a shpiel you've heard at least 3 times in the past 3 days, with assistants in tw to roll out the different pieces in eye-battingly rapid successsions.

Difference between the wall hanging biz here and the carpet biz in Turkey? It's Indian "chai" and not apple tea. But the disdain when you say you will think about it is universal.

Monday, March 26, 2007

just say no to photoshop!

not that it doesn't have it's rightful place...but rajasthan is NOT one of them! This is a land where colors from lapus lazuli and mustard seed stain brushes made of squirrels' tales and camels's eyebrows (really, not kidding) to create enduring timeless art. TIme-consuming and awe-inspiring. Adobe, please leave this corner of the earth alone.

the noises of Udaipur

Our blissful arrival in Udaipur was jarred a bit by the pyrotechnics of our first evening. Should I be scared? It was with great relief to learn the next day that it was fireworks from a wedding...

Other choice Udaipur sounds you just don't get in SF:
The Muslim call to prayer five times a day
The beating sound of laundry against the rocks, well-heard from any vantage point across the lake.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

the fragmentation of globalization

After checking into the Hotel Sarovar, I grabbed some dinner up on top of the building, which overlooks the lake, with a nice view of the nearby mosque. There, the waiter shared how his family lives 60KM away...the 'maitre'd' himself hails fromNepal! The taxi driver yesterday in Bangalore also supports his family from afar. It's clear that globalization but unites - and fragments.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Smile and nod

This is what my coworker Darren Begley taught me to do when things pile up at work - an effective stress-masking response to unattainable demands. They seemed to get that here: all of the feedback I've read about in our surveys at work came to life when I was in charge of getting the multimedia going for Gideon's All-Hands' talks here. For the first 2 times i was lulled into a sense of confidence by the vigorous assurances of our vendors - "it's being taken care of." Thanks to Bill's enlightenment, I was quickly educated in the realities of what a nod really does (or does not) mean. 2.5 hours later, in the hot auditorium, I realized that furious activity and positive ascent do NOT equal a task being done. A good lesson for me in the realities of our globalizing world.

Now THIS is the way to fly

Not another wafer-thin mint, the man cries in Monty Python. Not only do we eat constantly in our hotel, between meetings, during meetings... but a 1-hour flight also includes hot food. Sure puts our pretzels we get on our 5-hour flights to shame!


Our incredible amazing meal was $15 for 7 of us....contrast that to about $90/person at the Leela, and the Leela cannot provide the ambiance and incredibly authentic fare we had at this local place (which literally embodies the moniker "watering hole") called Garam Naram. Spicy, steaming veggies accompanied by 6? varieties of stuffed bread, all served to us by the very youthful-looking waiter who wrote absolutely nothing down as our cohort Danny Mehra fired off our extensive order.

Gideon was in heaven and I was too (once I used some butter to fan the flames in my mouth!!)

Ok, it's 5 - not 7 - stars

One of my co-worker/travelers said the Leela is a 7-star hotel and I believed him. It's technically 5 but I'll opt for the Spinal Tap exaggeration to deserves it. Ostentatious and pompous yes. Also, perfect. Perfectly clean. Perfectly light. Perfectly beautiful. Perfectly indulgent and anticipatory of every feasible and conceivable human need one could have. Where do I start? The marble floors. The enveloping linen. The fluffy huge perfectly white towels. The water and amenities abounding everywhere.

Oh - and the mouth-watering breakfast bar at their Citrus Lounge.....the whole affair, plunked right in the middle of intense, chaotic, swarming Bangalore, easily lulls one into a sense that all is good this side of heaven. Plus the VIP treatment (being picked up by multiple cars, whisked away to executive briefings, having your photo snapped in lobbies with kiosks bearing your names!). Can I snap out of it?

The day (?) that would not end

Or was it a day? What is time? All is lost when you fly 14 hours...wait an 4 more...wait 10 more....and fly 4 more. Reminiscent of our arrival in Auckland last year, arriving in Hyderabad via a Pacific route was like Groundhog Day: you keep thinking it's another day but it's really all the same day.

The cost of SAL

The service and experience on Singapore Air was stellar but don't forget - it's Singapore Air. That means you have to fly through ....Singapore. This translated into 10? hours in Singapore. Singapore. Singapore. Never been there?

Hot muggy weather.

hmmmm.....cannot think of anything else. Am I missing something? Not that I could find in the ten hours we were there. Singapore: all the suburb and shallowness you can buy - at urban prices!

The sheep & the goats?

Or, Life as a Business Class Passenger. Never before have I more starkly experienced "class" more than in my first real foray into business was there, on Singapore Air, that I had choices....
  • Choices to enter a different (and of course, far shorter) line.
  • Choices to rest my travel-weary body in an exclusive "AirKRIS" lounge ("Kris" has some meaning I am forgetting right now as I type this from the Mumbai airport).
  • Choices to partake in whatever food I wanted in these lounges.
  • Choices to sit upstairs....where the cleaner bathrooms are.
  • Choices to refresh oneself with hot towels brought to you every 30 minutes or so by the ever-so-attentive SAL staff.
  • Choices to have legroom....serious legroom....and to recline my seat in a form that far more closely resembles the humane than "Economy" class affords its ill-fated travelers. This is not trivial.
What a fitting preface to my destination country....

Sunday, March 11, 2007

When work feels

A marathon? Just finished Schwab's "Technical Mentoring Program" - and I put that in quotes because it truly is a "LIFE WORK" program...between that, an intense/challenging job, a new place, foot surgery and a few international trips, I'd say the '06-'07 fiscal year has had it's challenges! I feel like a wet noodle and hope I can absorb the key lessons I'm supposed to be gleaning (and transforming from-!).