March 15th, 2010

Today is the Ides of March

I have loved the line “beware the Ides of March” in Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar since I first read it in middle school. I take note of it almost every year. I often mention it to friends who don’t seem to remember the line very clearly. And it’s not that I am a English lit buff. Among other things, the Ides of March is also corporate tax day here in the US. I have noticed over time that nothing bad happens for me on March 15.

August 19th, 2009

The Movie is Meal In Itself

I went to see Julie and Julia this past weekend and absolutely loved it. My date and I decided in advance to have dinner after it was over, even though we were going to the 7:30PM showing. We were sure we would be inspired for dinner one way or another. It turns out the movie is meal in itself.  A wonderful tale (two tales actually) of love, life, cooking, and food itself. And blogging.

In one tale, the Julie character decides to cook her way through Julia Child’s classic book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and blog about the process. The other tale is of Julia Child’s life in Paris including cooking school and the process of writing the book. Both tales weave together themes of love and support in marriage and the process of discovering and finding one’s passion in life.  The acting was great and Meryl Streep was excellent as Julia Child.

Some friends of mine went out to but Julia Child cookbooks and DVDs after watching Julie and Julia. They have proceeded to cook some of the amazing recipes and feel a great connection with the movie. Just today I saw a 1971 edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking when visiting a client and I thought of trying a recipe or two.

The film was full of the sights and sounds and textures of cooking. My date and I found our dinner cravings strangely satisfied just from watching. I’m sure we would have headed to a great dinner had it not been after 10PM.

I highly recommend Julie and Julia!

April 15th, 2009

Blogging Challenge

I have been excitedly following along with the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge at It started April 6, though you wouldn’t know it looking at my blog because I have not been putting the fruit of lessons online yet.  At least not here at I am in the process of launching a new blog on Backups For Businesses and I am working out the assignments there.  Not really ready to go public yet.  But soon!

Happy to see a few friends start new blogs, especially excited to read Kim’s.

Very proud of the work Kyle has done at the ArcSource Blog.

March 21st, 2009

Breathing Room

A lot has happened in the last three months.  Perhaps most importantly, I have moved to Albany, California–the little city just north of Berkeley. Albany is often called Kid Town with its many families with children and great schools. Albany is only the third city where I have lived in my life after Santa Clara and Berkeley.  (I did have a 2-year exodus to Oakland but I did not plant roots there). 

I finally have a place to breath in Albany, which is known for its narrow streets and smallish houses.  Ironically my rental house is a bit bigger than the average, and it has three baths and a 2-car garage. After 4+ years of living out of boxes, I have a place and space to unpack.  And the garage provides the stash space for me to use as I continue to unpack and sort box after box. Most of my furniture pieces have found their places comfortably in the various rooms.   

My bedroom has windows on three walls! Since I moved in during the dead of winter, I did not truly appreciate how wonderful this would be. Sunny mornings are beautiful times to lay in bed and watch the light play all around me.  

The downstairs kitchen and family room have proven to be great for entertaining groups of friends and family large and small.  The backyard has room for a BBQ and patio furniture as well as for Baron, who is now 13 months old. I plan to start construction on his dog house this month.

October 24th, 2008

Slang and such

I discovered last year and it has become one of my favorite sites.  Not every day, but quite often as I encounter new phrases.  I love following the words and wit of popular culture.  The great thing about Urban Dictionary is that it is user-driven.  True, someone in control gets to chose the word or phrase of the day.  But all the definitions are submitted by visitors to the site.  And my favorite feature is the way users get to vote definitions up or down. 

A few weeks ago I remembered when my former boss’s son tried a language experiment at a Berkeley middle school.  He and a friend decided to create a brand new slang term and see how far it would spread.  It was only a matter of two weeks before much of the school was using the new word they created.  And before the month was out it had trickled up to Berkeley High School as well as to the other middle schools in Berkeley.  The power of language in culture is potent and fast moving. 

Since Urban Dictionary often includes the etymology of  phrases, it is fascinating to see where things come from.  For example, I discovered that hyphy is the Bay Area originated equivalent of crunk.  And it didn’t take long to discover that FLIRJ originated on Saturday Night Live in one of the Tina Fey as Sarah Palin skits in 2008.  Warning: as that last example shows, cultural words can be racy. 

September 22nd, 2008

Call and Response Movie

I am very excited for the October release of the new documentary film on Human Trafficking, Call and Response.  I met the Berkeley-based director Justin Dillon over a year ago after being a fan of his band Tremolo

There are 27 Million people enslaved in the world today–more than at any other time in human history.  San Francisco is the number one city in the USA for trafficking: mostly women brought in for sex. 

I hope you will find a way to see the film in a theater near you.  Here is the trailer: 

September 3rd, 2008


This week has developed into one full of surprises.  In a good way.

July 27th, 2008

A Year of Facebook

I first heard of Facebook in the fall of 2006 when talking with some Cal students., it seems, had a huge saturation among college students; the Berkeley network was one of the original networks. In order to join Facebook one needed to have a campus email address from a participating university. Things have changed.

I joined Facebook in early spring of 2007. When I hired a Cal student intern named Monica (a Facebook expert) in May, she showed me the ropes. I began visiting the site daily. I initially connected with several friends from church. At the time, there was only one other member from my high school class, now there are 43. There was about 50 people from my college class, now there are over 500.

I have always enjoyed observing social networking websites and trends. My first experiment in joining one was in 2002 via a business networking tool called My involvement didn’t last. But Facebook is the first one where I see people my age joining in droves. People of all ages, for that matter. I have reconnected with several friends from childhood and college. I have connected with work colleagues and clients. Several very notable friendships have grown thanks to Facebook. I have had a great time.

July 26th, 2008

King Dong Memories

I had a Star Wars moment this week when my good friend Lee asked if I wanted to go to King Dong Restaurant in Berkeley. Actually a Ben Kenobi moment: I thought to myself, “King Dong, now that is a name I have not heard in a long, long time.” I don’t think I have been to The Dong for dinner in at least 12 years.

Lee was one of my freshman-year roommates at Cal. He and I used to go to King D multiple times a month all through college. Sometimes just the two of us. Sometimes with four, six, eight or eighteen people. Sometimes with the Cal Rugby team. We went before finals and after finals. Before, during and after Cal games. Winter, spring, summer and fall. I took family there. I took international visitors there. I took dates there. We were convinced that KING Dong was, hands-down, the best Chinese food in Berkeley.

No single restaurant in Berkeley has so many memories for me. My all-time favorite dishes were Hunan Chicken, Mongolian Lamb, Sechuan Beef, and Dry-Fried String Beans. The waiters knew what we would order before we sat down. Going to dinner and eating their butt-kicking spicy dishes was a great treasure of life in those days. I loved sitting around the table seeing grown men weeping at the amazing tastes. And laughing at each other’s faces as we ate.

It was also a great place to get take out back then. They served huge portions of those same dishes we enjoyed dining in. I survived my first year in grad school relying on king-dong-to-go.

And then things changed. Real fast and real bad. King Dong was sold. Twice. The menu stayed the same, but the food was totally different. The magic was gone. I remember being served rotten green beens. It was over in an instant. I have driven by the restaurant countless times over the years. So sad and tragic. I heard someone on the street talking about King Dong take out about a year ago. The Yelp reviews were OK. Not sure what it would take to get me back inside.

Alas, great restaurants don’t last forever. But great memories do. My current vote for best Chinese in Berkeley is The Great China on Kittredge.

July 5th, 2008

100 Thing Challenge

I was reading my friend Lana’s blog and came across an article in Time Magazine about David Bruno’s “100 Thing Challenge”. His personal goal is to live with just 100 things for one year: Nov. 2008-Nov. 2009. He is in the process of distilling his personal belongings down to a list of 100 items. The list is documented on his blog. I just found out there is a Facebook group too.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about “stuff” lately. My two bedroom house has too much stuff. I have boxes and boxes of books and belongings from my last house. I have been thinking about moving to a bigger place. I have been thinking about getting rid of stuff aggressively.

Last week, my house was burglarized and I lost some big ticket items: most notably my TV, computer, and some jewelry. As I have been weighing the loss, I have decided it was the digital pictures on the computer that I will miss the most. The unexpected event of being robbed combined with reading about the 100 Thing Challenge has me realizing that a LOT of my stuff would not be missed if I no longer had it. Could I whittle things down enough such that the five living creatures in my home could fit more easily? What would it be like to live lighter on this earth?