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  1. Silicon Valley Street Cred Badge

    November 5, 2011 by EDubya

    I earned some Silicon Valley street cred this week. Bizzy, the startup I had been working on for the last year and a half was shuttered. I found out on Monday and our last day as a team was on Wednesday. So bummed.

    I could spend a lot of energy worrying about what went wrong, but I’m choosing to concentrate on what went right, because a lot went right.

    We were in a hot and competitive space, bringing the power of mobile, community, and simplicity to local reviews. It was a great app. As much as I’m going to miss my team, I’m going to REALLY miss using the app. I think we had something, and I fully believed believe in what we were building. We were iterating, honing, and perfecting, as there is always room for improvement. After all, a work of art is never “finished”, merely abandoned.

    I am proud of the work I did. I got to own the voice of our app, and that was awesome. I (officially) became a cartoon character, talking to our users every time they opened our app. We built a community of passionate, engaged users from all over the country out of nothing. They were interested and interesting, and we gave them a platform to call home, at least for a while. The outpouring of love from those users when our announcement reached them meant so much to all of us.

    Our community will miss each other and will miss us, and that tells me that I did a good damn good job.

    In the end, we didn’t show large enough user adoption in a short enough period of time to make us viable in the long term, and our parent company pulled the plug.

    The LBS world is a super crowded space right now. There will absolutely be casualties, however, I do stand by my previous assertion. Apps are not like Highlanders. There can and should be more than one.

    I’m still game.

    I’m also pretty sure joining a new startup right after closing down another one is worthy of some additional street cred, so I’m on it.

    I’m ready to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I’m all out of bubble gum.

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  2. Omar Back.

    September 24, 2011 by EDubya

    @Rick's Ice Cream, Palo Alto

    Cake Pops

    Updated WordPress, slapped on a new theme, and deleted a bunch of bogus spam comments. I gotta hand it to some of them for trying REALLY hard to make their comments relevant to the post they were defacing.

    Grandma’s are special peoples. I wish I had relations with mine like so. I wish Grandmas never die. <3 Cheap Handbags

    I also updated all my various spam obliterating tools, “in case you be pondering.”

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  3. Resurrection.

    April 29, 2010 by EDubya

    The request has been made that I get back in business on the blog writing. You know who you are.

    I’m back at it.

    Coming back to visit this space, however, I realized that my twitter widget was borked. This means, first thing on the agenda is a fresh coat of paint around this place.

    Actual content tomorrow.

    p.s. Thanks for not removing your feeds. :D

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  4. The Black Grandma

    January 27, 2010 by EDubya


    It was my way of distinguishing between my two grandmothers. Simple ways, like who was the mother to which of my parents were way too hard for me to keep track of, so I went with color. I’m not actually biracial, unless you count agnostic and Catholic, and I’m sure some people would. The White Grandma had blond hair. The Black Grandma had black.

    I spent a lot more time with the Black Grandma compared to the White one. The Black Grandma was my mom’s mom, and she lived close by. When my mom wanted to go hang out with family and the house was empty at home, that’s where we hung out. My mom, an aunt or two and my grandma would sit around the kitchen table drinking coffee. My mom didn’t smoke, but my aunt and grandma did, so being the curious type, there was at least one occasion I remember where I reached my toddler finger out to touch the cherry red tip of one of those cigarettes. That’s when I learned that smoking sucks.

    Paul and Rose
    I remember a lot of other stuff.

    My first memory ever is of the white shag rug in the Black Grandma’s living room that I became intimately familiar with while I was learning to crawl.

    When my parents went on vacation far away, I stayed with my grandma while my older siblings stayed at home. My parents would send me mail “par avion” (FANCY!) and leave little treats for me, one for each day they were gone, which she would dole out to me while we whiled away the days.

    Maybe TMI, but she had survived breast cancer in the 1960′s, and had a partial mastectomy as a result. Have you any idea how FASCINATING it is to a four or five year old that their grandmother keeps an extra prosthetic breast in their night table drawer? I assure you…FASCINATING. I would sneak in her room, slide open the drawer, poke it, then run back out. I’m sure she knew. She had to have known. So ridiculous.

    I loved her pool. I didn’t love to swim in it, but I loved to hang out at the ladder and pick the teeny tiny tiles off the cement, a naughtiness for which I was inexplicably never punished.

    Her back deck was always stained red, and when I walked around on it barefoot, it stained my feet too.

    She always had ice cream bars in her stand alone freezer in the laundry room. That same room was connected to the garage by a door that had a doggie door just big enough that I was sent through it a handful of times when we were otherwise locked out.

    She loved to garden. Her garden was in her back yard, and when I was small I remember the treacherous climb in and out of that garden. The slope was so steep I could barely make it. I went and found it in the yard several years ago and couldn’t believe how skewed my memory of that place was. It was so much closer to the house than I remembered and the slope…well…I’ve seen steeper handicapped ramps.

    All over the house were needle points she had completed and hung. If she wasn’t doing needle point, she was doing cross word puzzles. The easy ones were way too easy for her, so I got to make a huge mess of them with my elementary school vocabulary.

    She loved listening to KGO radio in her car and on the little radio she kept in her kitchen, specifically Jim Eason, and she loved Upstairs, Downstairs and M*A*S*H.

    A few times, she took me with her to the commissary at Moffett Field to do her shopping, just the two of us. I never understood why she wanted to drive so far to get groceries, but she did it all the time.

    Until I got my driver’s license, she would pick me up from high school, and I would spend the afternoons napping on her couch and watching TV until my mom could swing by to grab me on her way home from work. Some days it was a long wait. Those years I gave her a mother’s day card along with one for my mom.

    One of the times she picked me up, I saw she had a pack of cigarettes in her car, surprising since she had quit many years before. Unsurprisingly, she had only bought them because she had a coupon. Even she thought it was funny. She smoked them like a sneaky high schooler, and I never saw her do it again.

    She had no pretence, at least not to me. It makes me laugh to think about stuff like how she would back up to a corner of a book case and rub her back on it to scratch an itch, or how we would come over to her house to discover that she had single-handedly rearranged all the furniture in her living room just for fun.

    She *did* keep her apples in the fridge, which rendered them inedible, but this we shall let pass.

    I loved how she and my grandpa always referred to me as “the baby” long after I stopped being a baby to anyone, and how
    I grew up wearing her Sicilian skin. Four days into every summer, I can take one look at Large and know that he wears it too.

    I hadn’t seen much of her at all the last few years, though I did get to see her on Friday. She was sleeping, but I’m sure she knew, just like she knew about the poking the fake boob thing. On Sunday, she was gone. I hadn’t thought about or remembered all the absurd and fun stuff we did together in a LONG time. I’m so glad I remember now.

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  5. Good Morning, Son

    November 20, 2009 by EDubya


    I got out of the water, but it wasn’t the swarms of tiny, almost invisible jellyfish that forced me back to the beach. The swell… the motion, while I stood there tip-toed on the bottom in between waves, was making me sick. If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought I was drunk. It wasn’t any better on the beach. The air was so dense, and it was sweltering, even under the cabana we’d rented for the day. I didn’t dare watch the ocean. Sea-sick. I couldn’t read my book. The words swam across the page, and that made me sea sick too. All I could do was sit. Wonder. Beautiful Phuket. I just came out on the other side of a miserable case of food poisoning. The waiter had giggled when I ordered the soup. I thought it was because he didn’t think I could handle the spice, but maybe it was because he knew I would be spending the next three days sprawled on a hotel resort bed with nothing to watch but headline news. On a loop. Larry King was interviewing Eartha Kitt and flirting with her in a super creepy way. On a loop. All of it on a loop.

    That could have been the reason I felt so awful on the beach, but it wasn’t. Something like two weeks later, then in Stellenbosch, South Africa, I found out what it was. It was you.

    You were born with that dimple on your chin, unlike anyone. You were COVERED in hair. You were amazing, head to toe. You didn’t cry. When you needed something, you yelled. You’ve grown up so much. You are SO FUNNY, and so much braver than I. Half the time I look at you, I still see that toddler that was so sweet, he wouldn’t even fight back if another kid swatted him. The other half of the time, I see you turning into a swaggering teenager, and I can’t believe my eyes. I wish I could explain to you how CRAZY that is. When you have a 12 year old, promise you will come sit by me, so we talk about how weird it is, because you WON’T BELIEVE IT.

    I can’t wait to see what happens next.

    Before you, I was just a girl, like any other, but when you appeared, I became a mom. Your mom. Transformed.

    I could thank you every day, and it would never be enough.

    Today, you get a “thank you” *and* a “Happy Birthday”. I can’t imagine life, if you had never come my way.

    xoxo

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  6. Road Rager

    November 17, 2009 by EDubya


    I am pooped, and have nothing of any value to add tonight. However, I’m only on day 69 out of the 365 IN A ROW, I committed to, so I offer one tidbit.

    So the other morning, I am driving to work, and was in the far left lane when I realize this [redacted] was tailgating me like a psycho. I moved over a lane, as I was about to exit onto another freeway anyway, and said [redacted] decided to change lanes right behind me. Then, with entitlement lapping up over the lip of the quadruple venti mocha YOU KNOW was in that car, [redacted] then swerved back into the fast lane to speed up (more than the 70 I was already going) to purposely swerve back and cut me off, just as I was exiting onto the other freeway. It was right out of a movie, not like a “Fast and Furious” type movie, more like “Idiocracy” meets “Attack of the Soccer-moms”.

    It. Was. Amazing.

    I might have tweeted something like, “Dear brand-new Mercedes driving road-rage ho, it would be a real shame if someone keyed your car while it still had dealer plates.”

    Fast forward to last weekend when @aaronh and I are heading into Bill’s for lunch, and I see THE SAME CAR in the parking lot.

    The. Same. Car.

    The restaurant was packed, so the odds of determining just where the [redacted] was sitting were pretty slim. As fate would have it, we were seated next to a table with two parents and three children. I took one look, and knew immediately from the [redacted] vibe that this was *the* [redacted] from the freeway. Of course, there was really no way to know this, though I grew to loathe this person with an inexplicable urgency as we sat through lunch. Everything she did, made me more sure it was the [redacted]. I could have been just fixating misplaced loathing on a completely innocent party. I could have. Until she got up and left and drove away IN THE SAME CAR.

    I knew it.

    What a [redacted].

    p.s. This is me being the bigger person and *not* posting the photo of her that I took as she drove away.

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  7. I Don’t Clean Fish Tanks.

    November 16, 2009 by EDubya

    fish
    I mentioned Small’s affinity for fishing that came seemingly out of NOWHERE, right? The kid is like a real life Benjamin Button. If I wasn’t actually there when he was born, I would swear that he was an old man trapped in a 7 year old body. Bolstering my case is the fact that he has always had these random interests that seem too old for him, like when he was turning four and all he wanted for his birthday was gardening accoutrements. Seriously.

    He likes to fish and go to the driving range.

    He loooooves to study past presidents.

    He talks about eggnog season all year long.

    There are few things he is fonder of than sitting around playing Risk or Life.

    These are all clues to the little codger brain he conceals behind those big brown eyes. He was somewhat blotchy and weird when he was born, come to think of it, and he did have a bum ticker. Who knows…

    I bring all this up because last year he wanted a fish tank for Christmas. Despite the fact that they would be entrusting this venture to happen under my watch, his grandparents were happy to oblige. Worth mentioning is the part where I am certified as a black thumb of aquatic wildlife care, so this was a dicey undertaking. We did quite a bit of research on what kind of tank would be more likely to survive his my death grip.

    He ended up with a BiOrb. First…it looks REALLY COOL. It was relatively painless to set up, the hardest part being the few days you have to condition the water before you start tossing guppies in it. We took him to the store and helped him pick out a King Beta, which he took home, plopped in the bowl and dubbed “Lucky”. After the tank balanced with the new occupant, we added three more little guys. The first few hours wondering if the Beta was going to eat the new fish were interesting to say the least. Talk about a life lesson. I might as well have set them down in front of a “When Animals Attack” tv marathon. Thankfully, there was no bloodshed and the roommates have done quite well together. Somewhere along the line, we ended up with a host of tiny snails in the tank too, probably hitchhikers on some of the greenery we bought.

    Blah, blah, blah…. the real miracle of this tank is this…

    We set it up in January and I have cleaned it twice.

    TWICE.

    You heard me. Twice.

    If you are careful about keeping the environment balanced in it, this tank is pretty much maintenance free. Can you imagine a hamster cage you cleaned twice since January? *shudder* This tank has made it possible for the first time EVER IN MY LIFE for me to keep fish alive more than like three weeks. The best I ever did before this was probably a batch of Sea Monkeys. Miracle, I tell you. If you have occasion to pick up a tank this is the one to get.

    Next up, puppy tanks…

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  8. Here Fishy Fishy

    November 15, 2009 by EDubya


    I’m starting to think I might have an addictive personality.

    Fishville

    And I *KNOW* I have a tank full of fish.

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  9. Awesome Begets Awesome

    November 14, 2009 by EDubya

    Jane@aaronh introduced me to a new blog. It’s called “My Parents Were Awesome“, and it is…well…awesome. It is full of the submitted pictures of readers’ parents being their super cool selves “back in the day”, as the kids say. Highly recommend.

    I leave you with this photo, not from the blog. My Grandma Jane.

    She was awesome.

    One summer day, at Mammoth Lakes, she took my brother and sister and I to get ice cream cones. She sent us in by ourselves and waited in the car. We all emerged, everyone with their ice cream, except me. She asked what happened, and the bigger kids told her about how I was handed my ice cream cone, took one lick, and the scoop fell off onto the floor.

    She was livid.

    She got out of the car and told us she was going to “raise hell”.

    They must serve delicious cones of rocky road ice cream in hell, cus that’s what she came back with.

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  10. Hierarchy

    November 13, 2009 by EDubya


    I find the idea of hierarchy endlessly interesting. Tangentially related to the aforementioned Sears Wishbook, my grade school friend and I used to play this game where we would take a huge catalog, like the Wishbook or JCPenny, or whatever we had, and we would sit together and go through page by page, announcing the order in which we would want every item on the page. This was as great a game on the pages filled with absolute crap as it was on the pages flush with barbies. Hmmm…Do I want the table saw before the rolling tool cart?? I JUST DON’T KNOW! I do know that I will take either of them before I take the socket set.

    We all use all kinds of hierarchies every day. Every time we eat in a restaurant, and go over the menu, we invariably set up our hierarchy of what we will order. “Well, I’m going to order the cobb salad, unless the soup is tomato bisque, because then I want the soup….UNLESS the special is the mac and cheese they have sometimes, because then I just want that…every. single. day. until. I. die.” God help us if we get our plan in place only to find out that they are OUT of our first choice. Sometimes the distance between first and second is a long, long painful one.

    When I pull into the parking lot at my office every day, I have a definite order of preference for parking spots. First, I want the one right by the door I will use when I leave. If it isn’t available ( Shout out to the chick with the disney themed car shade, that works at the other end of the building that has to take my very favorite spot for some reason, even though it is the longest walk possible to her door. ) I will take one across the driveway, near the squirrel-infested dumpster. Failing *that* I will park in the lot near the front entrance, but that will be the start of a suck day, guaranteed.

    When we get married we line up our loved ones in our bridal party in a hierarchy. It is basically the order in which we would have them killed, given the choice.

    You know it’s true.

    Every night around these parts there is a little hierarchy ritual that takes place.

    What is this, you ask? It is the order in which you choose possible ice cream treats from the freezer.

    MIne goes something like this:

    rockyroad1. Breyer’s Double Churn Light Rocky Road Ice Cream Bar - Tastes like LOVE with marshmallows.
    2. Skinny Cow Vanilla w/ Caramel Cone - Good if you need a little crunch…or if you are on your second ice cream of the night. : | Shut up.
    3.Skinny Cow French Vanilla Truffle Bars. Often Shorthanded as “Bedazzled”. (distant third)

    Most often, I can’t be bothered if I’m down to number three for a first choice. We’ve been known to make grocery runs late at night to fill up our freezer with other, better numbers.

    Below, is @aaronh ‘s hierarchy. (You’ll note that his number two appears NO WHERE on my list.)

    1. Breyer’s Double Churn Light Rocky Road Ice Cream Bar – Yeah, that’s problematic, cus if there is only one… Well, I generally get it, cus he’s just as happy with his number two.
    2. Skinny Cow Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich - I don’t like how it makes my fingers messy. End of enchantment.
    3. Skinny Cow Vanilla w/ Caramel Cone - again, it is all about the crunch.


    What are your daily hierarchies?

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