April 2021
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Bits and phrases that strike a chord with me

I was talking to a friend of mine today, and I mentioned to him my theory on time, and why it motivates me.

Anyway, he seemed to appreciate it, so I thought I’d share it here, and some other bits and phrases that strike a chord with me…

  • My theory on time… The problem with time is that it, whether its 2 weeks or 2 years, eventually runs out.
    • I guess I have been in one of my self-reflective states lately, and if you take the ‘time’ to think about it, time really does run out.  Saying I will do something later or next week or by the end of the summer is just saying something so your mind can feel at ease.  The part that motivates me, is that I know all too well that there is a clock ticking, and it drives me to better myself everyday and to have goals, and to sincerely strive to attain those goals.  I guess my theory on time just makes me hate revving in neutral, which is how, unfortunately, the majority of our lives are lived.
  • “…A blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
    • This is taken from a conversation that Martha Graham had with Agnes De Mille (look up Martha Graham in Wikipedia – amazing woman and story).  You may not know, but Martha Graham was a famous dancer and choreographer – think of the Michael Jordan of dance, excepted she danced or choreographed for over 70 years.  Anyway, after Agnes opened up on the first night of Oklahoma!, she told Martha that she had this desire to be great, but that she had no faith that she could be.  Martha replied with the line (among other things)  that for those who are great or strive to be, there is “……A blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
    • When I ponder on this phrase, I end up thinking about it in the context that I know a lot of people that are satisfied sitting around and ‘doing nothing’.  Meaning not striving to learn or grow, and leading lives that in the end they would not consider to be all that meaningful or productive.  Everything we end up striving for is borne out of a dissatisfaction with the status quo, and that “dissatisfication” is the “blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
  • “For everything there is a season”
    • Okay, so I have faith, but I am not a religious man, in fact, I very well may be turned away at the gate.  With that being said, this phrase was taken from the bible, and though I don’t read the bible, who am I to question it’s content and not to appreciate some of the wisdom it contains?
    • 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
      3:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
      3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
      3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
      3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
      3:6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
      3:7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
      3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
    • The reason why this short and simple phrase resonates with me, is because sometimes we lack patience, and try to rush towards things.  For example, a kid wanting to rush past 15 and 16, to turn 17 and get his license.  This phrase, to me, says that we should appreciate what we have today, and the enjoy the life we have today, because there will be a time for everything else.  If you are healthy today, be happy, because there will be a time when that is not the case.  If you are sad today, be content knowing that the melancholy will pass in time. etc.  It doesn’t mean not to plan, or work towards a goal, it means patience.
  • “Quis atterit mihi tantum mihi plantit fortius”
    • A latin phrase that basically (and roughly) translates into “That which attempts to destroy me only makes me stronger.”  Could it be a rough translation into latin of a famous Nietzsche quote?  I don’t know, but what I do know, is that the phrase itself is powerful.  I’ve been in situations in my life where it seemed that things were stacked against me, but I came out with an appreciation for living, and the resulting experience only made me stronger (or at least appreciate the opportunity that I have to enjoy life).
  • “A Dream Within a Dream”
    • From the great Edgar Allen Poe.  Wikipedia has a good interpretation of the phrase, but if you read the poem in its entirety below, you can draw your own, that will revolve around the Wikipedia interpretation:  <”A Dream Within a Dream” reflects Poe’s feelings about his life at the time, dramatizing his confusion in watching the important things in his life slip away. Realizing he cannot hold onto even one grain of sand leads to his final question that all things are a dream.>
    • This poem is the shit, the imagery of the ocean is quite powerful in fact.  When he references the “surf-tormented shore…”, which I think is a metaphor for how the water wears down and pounds away at the physical existence of the shore (as time does to all of us).  Beautifully and expertly crafted words that evoke a sense of deepness and helps us appreciate the time we have.
    • Take this kiss upon the brow!
      And, in parting from you now,
      Thus much let me avow-
      You are not wrong, who deem
      That my days have been a dream;
      Yet if hope has flown away
      In a night, or in a day,
      In a vision, or in none,
      Is it therefore the less gone?
      All that we see or seem
      Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

  • “We will all laugh at gilded butterflies”
    • Shakespeare – seriously the dude was genius.  This particular phrase is from King Lear,  towards the end of the play I think, and if you haven’t seen or read it, I suggest you put it on your summer reading list.  Basically, to “laugh at gilded butterflies” is to laugh at people who are or pretend to be something they are not or are – i.e. fake people.  The term “gilded” itself, if you look it up in a dictionary, is to cover something with a thin layer of gold, making it more ostentatious.  Something that is gilded is deceptively pleasing, like something rotten and covered it up in something pretty.  In the case of King Lear, he is referring to people, who are bad on the inside, but have the outward appearance of being pure or special.  Like I said, Shakespeare was a genius, and this phrase is deep.

Quick Thoughts…Terminator and CD Inventor

A couple of quick thoughts about this weekend, in addition to wishing everyone a Happy Easter…

1.  According to The Terminator – Skynet became self-aware on April 19th, 2011.  How time flies, but interesting that the Playstation Network and Amazon’s cloud computing services went offline around this date.




2.  Norio Ogha – The man who worked at Sony and invented the CD has died.  Just think about how this man changed society – from how we listen to music to how we store data (remember the 3.5″ diskettes could only hold about 1.4MB).  It’s sad when people don’t appreciate genius, but instead appreciate the genius of people like Khloe Kardashian! 

iPhone, iPad, iPod…iGreenhouseGasses?

Apple Products = Environmentally Unfriendly?

Most people love to use Apple products, whether it be for the simplicity of use, or the elegance of design.  However, what many may not know, is that Apple also ranked last in Greenpeace’s list of environmentally conscious tech companies.

“Apple has come bottom of the most comprehensive green league table of technology companies because of its heavy reliance on “dirty data” centres.   The list, which is compiled by Greenpeace and released in San Francisco on Thursday, shows that the company relies heavily on highly polluting coal power at the sites that house its banks of servers.”

The Greenpeace report is certainly terrible news (view the Greenpeace Dirty Data Report), and like most big corporations, they follow the wants of their shareholders before the needs of the enviornment.  But what does this all really mean?

Will it mean that people stop buying the iPhone?  Does it mean that if I show up at environmental meeting, the activists will not use Apple products?  There in lies the challenge and hypocrisy.  People may throw up their arms and shout murder, but at the end of the day, for a company that basically created the smartphone, tablet, and portable music craze, there will be no reprucussions.  I am sure they will issue a statement explaining their point of view, and how Greenpeace made miscalculations, etc. But in order to have a true impact, people would need to express their frustration by spending their money elsewhere, and from my observations, people are excited to recommend changes, but will never change themselves.

So, “boo” for Apple for not being environmentally conscious, but nothing is going change until it hits their bottom line.

PS:  The man who invented the internet, Al Gore, sits on the Board of Directors fo Apple (yes, the man in the movie the Inconvenient Truth).

RIP (2007-2011): Loyal Friend and Trusted Companion

They were a good pair of jeans, and will be missed.

It’s tough to look at something and know that time is not a luxury.  So has been the case with my favorite jeans, which I am about to put down and trash.

Everyone has a pair of jeans or similar piece of clothing that just looks good with everything, and always manages to find its way into your suitcase or backpack when you travel.  That “go-to” item, when you don’t want to0 put too much mental effort into figuring out what you should wear or what looks good on a Friday night or even a Tuesday afternoon.  So you can imagine the regret I have and guilt I’m experiencing, knowing that my jeans have lived well beyond their useful life.  Battered, bruised, abused, and torn, my jeans have seen much better days, and will be better off without me.  And they will appreciate not having to put up with the violence that is my washing machine, or the heat from my dryer.

Let me tell a little bit about my jeans…  They are from the GAP.  I bought them a long time ago, way before the whole controversy about the new GAP logo (thankfully they reconsidered).  It was somewhere in 2007, when I finally got them home.  They are/were loose fit jeans, and they managed to contort to my body dimensions in a way I never truly known jeans to contort before.  Whether it was running to catch a cab or sitting at a bar watching the Giants win the World Series, they always managed to make me look good (even though they didn’t have much to work with), and were always comfortable like a Herman Miller Aeron chair. 

Battered area that required "amputation".

We have traveled together on numerous business trips, weekend getaways, and various vacations, including my trip to Machu Picchu.  They have seen my ups and downs, and didn’t ask for anything in return.  I took advantage of those jeans, despite having a whole stable in my closet.  They legs dragged on the cold, hard streets of San Francisco when I didn’t want to put on a belt, causing them to fray and rip, resulting in the need for a little amputation, then after a while longer, a little more.  I’ve fallen asleep with them on numerous times, whether it be passing out on the couch while watching a movie, or stumbling home drunk and crawling into my bed.  They are normally one of the first things I reach for once I get out of the shower, and on a normal night, they find themselves, bunched up on the floor at the bottom of my bed. 

And there it is.  A eulogy to my jeans.  Perhaps its not normal to personify an inanimate object like a pair of jeans, but so what, I did.  I guess its time to trash them, and hope the next new pair prove to be as good a companion as the last.

Coffee Competition: The Roastery

The next contestant is The Roastery on New Montgomery.  I’ve been here before, and generally like the place.  It’s down the street the from the Starbucks I previously reviewed, but it’s not a mega-chain, and they serve Cafe Trieste coffee.  Generally, I like my coffee shops to have a little more character, and be a little less “sanitized” by a big corporation.

I ordered my coffee at around 11am today, as usual a large black coffee, but ordered a chocolate croissant as well.  The barista didn’t ask if I wanted to leave room for milk, which would have been nice, but whatever I still received my coffee.

I took a seat by the window, in a comfortable chair, but accompanied by a rickety table.  It’s such a pain to have an open coffee, a laptop, and a rickety table!  Needless to say, I discovered the rickety-ness aspect the hard way, as I leaned over to type on my laptop.  POOF!  the coffee, filled to the brim, managed a bit of acrobatics and listed  to the side like a boat, and spilled some precious coffee on the table – centimeters away from my laptop.  Unlike the government’s response to the BP spill in the Gulf, I quickly managed to contain the spill, and saved the day.  For the rest of my time at The Roastery, I perched my foot on the leg of the table to prevent other accidents.  Onto the coffee…

I found the coffee to be quite good.  It had the right temperature, the right flavor, and the right aftertaste.  All in all a good cup of joe.  You won’t be disappointed in the coffee if you come to The Roastery.

You won’t be disappointed with the vibe either, if you make the trek there for a cup of coffee.  The shop is located directly in front of the Academy of Arts, meaning you get a lot of artistic types.  Even the people who work there, seem to work at the academy. 

What you will be disappointed in is the fact that the staff does not do a good job cleaning tables after people leave, or cleaning the fixin’s station, which are a mess.  You really have to be a scout for a good table, and even then bring some extra napkins to make the table somewhat clean. 

You will also be disappointed in the WiFi access, which is a HUGE miss.  I love me some WiFi, and when I can’t get it, especially at a coffee shop, it’s a disappointment.  I mean, a coffee shop should get several things right – coffee, music, atmosphere, and WiFi.  A miss on either of those four items, and you are not doing the basics right. 

On a scale of 1-10 of nerdiness (as it relates to computers), I give myself a 9, and I kept getting kicked off the network, even with the right password, and even after doing a whole host of advanced manuevers and configurations to stay on.  It’s totally annoying to have access for 3-4 minutes, only to lose access.  Try sending a coherent email or surf the web in 3-4 minute spurts – a total pain in the butt. 

For that, I can recommend the coffee (and the pastries), but cannot recommending spending any amount of time at The Roastery.  I would love to support them over Starbucks, but given Starbucks, fast reliable WiFi access, I cannot see why you would want to spend time in the shop.


Coffee: B+ [Generally satisfying, better than Starbucks.]

Service: C [Service at the counter was great, but when you get to your table, want to put sugar in your coffee, or use the WiFi, you will see the service fall flat].

Atmosphere: B [I like the atmosphere of this location.  They have a communal piano and guitar for crying out loud, and the people who both frequent this location and who work there, seem to define their own style.  However, I give a demerit for the intermittent internet access in this category as well.]

Price: $4.95 (with awesome chocolate croissant)

Coffee Competition: Starbucks

The first contestant is Starbucks (corner of New Montgomery and Jessie). I’ve been here before, and generally like this place. There is always music, a good crowd, and usually easy to find seating.

Today, I came in at around noon, which probably wasn’t the best time, since all of the students at the Academy of Arts are out for lunch or waiting for the bus, but nonetheless I’m here. There was about 2 people in line ahead of me, and the people sitting down seem to be in a good mood, either working on their laptops, talking, reading, doing schoolwork, or on their phone.

I ordered my drink, a large coffee. The barista didn’t ask i I wanted room for milk as other places have done in the past, which I think is a nice touch. In any case, I received my coffee.

With Chuck Berry overhead, I made my move over to the fixin’s station for some sugar. There are 2 stations, all stocked up with everything I need, and despite the minimal space to operate, I prepared my coffee.

Seating at this time was tough to come by, so I had to wait 3-4 minutes for a table outside. I didn’t mind about sitting outside, since I guess I am used to the cooler SF temps, and I still have internet access. Besides there is great people watching in this part of town. Side note: I was once having coffee hear, and saw a homeless man with a pirate hat sifting through the garbage can out front. He was making a mess, but it was still entertaining.

The coffee was consistenly Starbucks. It was a bit bitter, and also tasted a little greasy (I’m not sure how else to describe the finish), and left a burnt aftertaste.


Coffee: B [Generally good, but the burnt aftertaste had me reaching for a mint.]

Service: B [More a function of the crowded register area, poor layout of the store, and the fact that I wasn't asked if I needed room for milk].

Atmosphere: B+ [I like the vibe of this location. Maybe its the artistic nature of the students or the fact that this demographic are more genuine and less "posh". People are smiling, and not reading the WSJ or Financial Times]

Price: $2.15