Friday, August 30, 2013

Well earned weekend

Now retired TOMS with a beer, on the grass at Outside Lands a few weeks ago.  Hoping the weather keeps up and there is more outdoor goodness to soak up over this weekend.
Happy happy long weekend to all the US folks!  This week just gone has felt like one of the longest where I've just been totally exhausted - to the point where I've even slept through the early shuttle a couple of times and completely missed a workout date with a buddy (oops) - definitely my bodys way of crying out for some rest.

Enjoy the two or three days you have, y'all!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tennis Theory

Crediting this to a guy I used to work with - 'the tennis theory' is the idea that if you want to get better at anything, you need to work at it with people who are better at it than you - i.e. the only way to improve your game of tennis is make sure the guy on the other side of the net is superior to you.  He came up with it while actually playing a game of tennis, but it became something we referenced throughout the time we worked together when talking about about our various career decisions, in our over-cube-wall conversations.

I use it all the time whenever I'm pepping someone into a project or role they feel out of their depth in, but I've recently also had to apply it to myself, impressing it over my feelings of being not-the-greatest tennis player.  It's a heartening thing to bring to mind when you feel like you're just hitting missed swings.  You'll come back to the court tomorrow stronger for it.

p.s. On a vaguely related note, a fan's touching story that will make Roger Federer your favourite athlete.  The sweetest!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On fortune

A fellow paraglider over a lake in Pokhara, Nepal last year.

"Fortune favours the bold."

- Stolen off a colleague's chat status, but is originally a Latin proverb apparently.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Burgers of SF

One thing that 'Merica really does right is the burger - I've written before about my addiction and they are they are a whole different beast over here.  While I'd love to order the ones I've sampled into an empirical 'best of' list, it just wouldn't seem fair to all the other burgers out there that I am yet to sample *I'm-a comin' for youuu my pretties*.  Also, I sadly don't even have a picture of one that currently tops my list (over at Spruce - order it off the bar menu), so I can tell you now that this tour of beef patties in pictures is already incomplete.  Until part two, here's five spectacular sandwiches, objectively ordered by accessibility - don't make me pick favourites yet!
In-N-Out: enough said.  When is this a bad idea?  The answer is never.  I resisted on the double-double here, but if you're a first timer that's a must - you could even go 'protein style' if you want to skip the bun, but that sort of defeats the purpose really.
This is the 'French and Fries' over at Roam - not going to lie, I thought the fries were an addition on the side but when this arrived I got this pleasant surprise.  Gruyere really makes this one - but in reality that cheese is the cause of and solution to all of life's problems.
Truffle again.  This compact little package comes to us from Umami Burger - I love this place, but hear mixed reviews from guys, maybe based on the fact that the portions edge on the small side.  Personally, this is a favourite of mine - order it with their smushed potatoes and a plate of their huge golden onion rings.
A favourite pastime of mine: going to swish restaurants and ordering the burger.  I added bacon to this fancy, glorious pile of happy from Mission Beach Cafe.  Yes that's truffle parmesan fries.  Yes a side salad was an option.  No I haven't been to the gym a week.  Thank goodness for like-minded friends to dine with.
Glazed doughnuts instead of a bun you say?  Why yes, yes I think I will.  'The Ringmaster' from Straw was a beast I shared with a buddy as part of an early celebration.  True to our waiter's words, the savory of the beef cuts through the sweet of the doughnut and actually makes this a surprisingly moreish parcel.
This is definitely only 'Part 1'.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Gettin' pretty

For those who are regulars you'll notice that le blog has been getting a progressive makeover of late - thank you little bro for your DIY code hacking and endless help and patience with me!  ("Can I make this pink?  What about <some-random-idea-I-saw-on-another-blog>?  How hard would it be to get confetti coming down the sides?").  Of note within the changes to date, the upside down city view in the banner is the view from my apartment window, at the golden hour I love best which greets me when I walk in my door from work.

It's a work in progress, please excuse the quibbles while we get it right - like images getting a little snipped here and there - in the interim  :)

Nesting, Part 5.5 (Special Edition)

My parents have been camping out in my studio with me for the last week or so, hence the nest is a little cramped at the moment but oh so happy.  A small snapshot:
A very sweet gift of chocolates, appropriately shaped from home.  There was also a marzipan penguin aka my spirit animal in there as well.
Who needs Google Maps when you have this elaborate trip planner - note the trip variation options and even different streams for their and my plans.  Independent of dying Android batteries too.
My view from the couch - I was dozing off to sleep while these two crazy kids were staying up late watching Bubble Gang on YouTube (on their Nexus 7, no less).  Hello also makes an appearance.
Not pictured: tutorials how to use a Clipper card, obligatory clam chowder and even a trip to Daiso - yep, hitting all the major landmarks over here  :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

New things, and accountability

I've written before about how the free time gained by moving to a new city gives you a chance to try your hand at things that you may not have had the space to do in your default city.
I feel so pro!  Fun fact: none of the other swimmers ever have a hot pink cap, so it's pretty obvious to spot me as the newbie when you see a lone pink dot swimming breaststroke in the wrong direction.
Beyond crafting more, I've always wanted to be one of those people that swim in the open water - have you seen them?  I feel like anyone who does that looks like a total athlete.  Anyway, I'm not sure if it was my failed attempt at water polo in high school but I've always been intimidated by this sport - ridiculous because Sydney is in fact the perfect place to get into something like this, but I guess I'd just mentally ruled it out as something I just didn't do, for my 29 years living there.

Of course, now that I'm in a foggy city that hosts the coldest 'summer' I've ever experienced, I figured that it was the perfect time to tackle this fear.  A friend of mine who is training for a triathlon convinced me to rent a suit out for a month and join him on his 7am Saturday swims (sometimes also followed by a run, always followed by breakfast).  So for the last three weeks I've been at Aquatic Park by Fisherman's Wharf, wearing the garb above.
These steps get filled progressively with tourists throughout the day, the early start rewards you with the treat of having them all to yourself.
And here's where I'll get to what I really wanted to write about: there is something to be said for true accountability from friends when you want to achieve your goals.  I was exhausted the morning I was supposed to go for my first swim - I'd gone out late the night before and getting up early to trek down to the water with a pile of gear was pretty much the last thing that I wanted to do, so I texted my friend and our 6am convo went something like this:

Me: Hey I'm really sorry but ended up going out last night so I think I'll skip this morning.  Enjoy though! :)
Buddy: I went out last night too  :)
Me: *typing rebuttal*
Buddy: Come on Diwa man up!
Buddy: You're already awake anyways
Buddy: You might as well get up
Me: *still furiously typing rebuttal*
Buddy: [A series of emoticons on water > swimming > eggs > bread > smiley face]
Buddy: I'll see you there
Me: ...ok

I don't know if this is a guy thing - I certainly don't have any girlfriends who I feel would do the same thing - but this action of true accountability was so refreshing, and most importantly actually threw me into action.
The quiet water in the morning.  Apparently there are sea lions (!) but I'm yet to spot one.
The swim that morning was one of the best, and definitely made me want to be more of a person who actually holds people to their ambitions and commitments.  Do you already have a friend like that?  Such a treasure.

I'll be extending my suit rental.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mental bandwidth

A blank space on the High Line, New York.
"But if you have nothing else due, nothing else to do, no other measurable output but that thing you've promised yourself, if all your mental bandwidth is focused on this one and this only, then yep, you can bet that you will get more brave."

My mind's been all over the place and I really needed this today - more from Seth here.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Err in the direction of kindness

The golden bridge and Karl the fog who I see as his kind friend.
So, I'm getting pretty good at this "neglecting the blog until I feel really guilty on a Sunday night" thing.  Anyway.

This graduation speech by George Saunders has been making the rounds recently - I've seen it reposted in various places and there's typically a focus on the last few lines, about being true to the "luminous part of you", it reminds me of Steve's similar words to new grads on following your heart and intuition.  What really struck me though was his preamble on kindness.

"So here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it:

What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. 

Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded…sensibly.  Reservedly.  Mildly.

Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope:  Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth?

Those who were kindest to you, I bet.

It’s a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I’d say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder."

Such great words.  Let's all try to be kinder this week, friends.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday links

Rescued flowers admittedly look a little two-face-from-Batman-esque, but I love that some of the buds were little battlers and bloomed eventually.
Been thinking a lot about comforts - at home, at work, comfort foods - here are some links I found along the way:

Hilariously accurate guide to living with introverts.  I'm extremely serious about making these.  I want a room like this at work.  Other things I want around me - am seriously considering this little guy for my wall, for some reason his stance reminds me of an old man, like the one that might be from this quote on Seinfeld.  Also desired for my walls: this quilt or maybe one of these - am craving colour!

Blank patches of wall aside, this is a great story - the man has all my admiration, and proves my point that BART isn't so bad sometimes.

Outside Lands 2013

Three day music festival anyone?  Sure why not.

Splendor a few years back was the last festival I'd been to, although it's definitely a different vibe when the venue is only a bus ride away from your house, so you're able to go for a swim, get brunch with friends or do the laundry before heading out for another day of festivities.  As a throwback to that last festival, some of my favourite performances were Vampire Weekend, Jurassic 5 and Band of Horses - add to that Young The Giant, Paul McCartney, Pretty Lights and Red Hot Chili Peppers; it was a great three days in California.  Definitely made up for the fact that I was hopping around in a North Face jacket most of the time - oh San Francisco, even your "summer" isn't enough to make me not love you.
My thoughts exactly.  Found this guy at The Tallest Man On Earth - note the hills in the background which made the park a perfect natural auditorium.
So SF: Wine Lands - complete with wine tasting tent and oysters and cheese plates outside.  I had a delicious white from Hobo Wine Co, primarily in homage to the growing hole in my TOMS.
Only in SF Part 2: the food lineup is actually a big deal.  This was the clam chowder from Woodhouse Fish Co, which is only down by street but I've actually never tried until now - delish!
People watching was off the charts - snapped this great hair on the way in.
This is representative of one of the many, many shots I took of various artists I loved - in this particular shot are Red Hot Chili Peppers - a classic California performance to cap off an awesome weekend.
Every time I see you in the world, you always step to my girl.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Nesting, Part 5

The home and hood in the last week, part fünf.
Ways to know you might be insane: you start 'rescuing' amputated succulents and keeping them in water to re-root.  I got this tip off the lady who sells drinks on the Sausalito ferry.  No, seriously.
My favourite juice shop which is literally a small window just up from the street.  It's the hardcore kind with dandelion root in its juices and glass bottles you have to return on your next visit.  Uncharacteristically, the people in line are not wearing Lululemon pants.
The greatest bookstore ever, Green Apple Books - this was the gorgeous children's section.  I am the hugest fan of Amazon but oh how I hope these places can survive alongside it.
Flowers at the Inner Richmond Farmer's Markets this weekend - 6 bunches for $20!
The most hilarious dog which I found at AT & T Park, waiting in line to pick up my bib for the The Giant Race.  That face!  Dog City Part 1 and Part 2.
Lovely days all round.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Saturday wait

Happy Friday everyone!  Rediscovered this classic, appropriately today - reminded me of this adorable order of service.

Have a great weekend y'all.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Some words from and for my papa

My papa retired after 35+ years at Citigroup last week.  He is a classic rags to riches story - working his way up from the provinces of the Philippines to building out a function at this major bank.  I remember he once saw me reading 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad' and he was like "what do you need that book for, that's my life" haha.

With papa and mama at my brother's graduation last year.  So proud the little bro got the university medal, whereas I hilariously never went to my graduation ceremony.  He let me try on his hat.
I wanted to sum up some of the wisdom he's passed me over the years, particularly around driving my own career.  My aunt read it out at his farewell at the office (she works there too - yes, the entire department is infiltrated with Filipinos :) - I'm glad I was able to be a part of the last day of an inspirational career.  The words I threw together are below.


I have never worked for or with my Papa directly, but as child who has been the face he’s come home to over many years, I wanted to share a few words of wisdom which he’s taken from his working life and imparted onto me.  There are countless pieces of advice I’ve collected over time, but I’ll share three particular learnings which have really helped me shape and drive my own career:

1. Your current situation is a choice, which you have control over.  
Papa and I were walking past his office one day and there was a homeless man on the street, begging for change.  As we passed him, Papa thoughtfully said “the only difference between him and I is that I realised the poverty is a choice.  Most people in that situation don’t realise that, and that is what keeps them there.”  I know that a big reason Papa has worked at Citi for so long is because he decided early on that he never wanted my brother and I to grow up in the same circumstances that he did.  For that, I am constantly grateful.  Moreover, whenever I’m thrown into a situation at work that I don’t like being in, I remember - this is a choice, and I choose to work hard to get myself back on track to where I want to be.  This has made all the difference in how I’ve driven my career.

2. The only person you’re competing with is yourself.
My first job in technology was working as a pre-sales person, answering phones when prospects called in - it was my responsibility to create sales pipeline, and I took pride in always being on top of the leader board.  One week I was having a tough start - no matter how many calls I made I just kept falling behind everyone else.  Feeling down, I went to meet Papa for lunch at Town Hall.  I was explaining why I was upset, when he interrupted me - shaking his head and waving his hands about, he said “the real problem is that you think that you are playing basketball and you keep looking around to see what other people are doing, but you are actually playing a game of golf; you’re just trying to improve your own score - forget about everyone else and just focus on beating your last performance.”  I recall this advice every time I get distracted with comparing myself to others, and it has served me well.

Finally, this last piece of advice I find harder to follow -

3. Don’t get too emotional when you’re in an argument - you’ll never win.
I’m still working on this one  :)  Papa is absolutely a great example of this - it’s not about not having emotion, it’s just knowing how to manage it.

On this note - I know seeing him at work, with his constantly serious face, it might not always be obvious how much he loves this place, but I know for the stories he would come home with and how reflective he has been this last week, that the family here at Citibank means so much to him, and he will miss the people here dearly.

Papa - thank you for being such a generous provider, model of a manager and constant shepherd for me in my own career!  For everyone here - I hope that some of this wisdom I’ve shared today will also be things you can take away as part of the Lito Diwa legacy.