Thirty Three

Thirty three is supposed to be an insignificant birthday. Sure, thirty is a big deal. Maybe even thirty five or the one before the big 4-0 can be considered a bigger deal than thirty three. It’s the last year before you officially hit your mid-thirties. But this year will definitely go down in the books as one of my best birthdays ever.

I’ve been living in the Bay Area for over a year now. I love it up here. I could list a bunch of reasons why we love living here. If I could change one thing, however, it would be to spend more time with my friends and family. We text, IM, talk and FaceTime with them but it’s not as easy to call someone up to hang out and spend time. That’s not to say we don’t have friends up here or that we’d trade our lives up here to move back home. Just sometimes, you miss your friends and family.

This year, Mary gave me the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received. Back in April, she reached out to thirty three of my closest friends and family and had them write individual birthday cards to me. She mailed them out (each with a SASE), collected them in time and presented all thirty three to me on my birthday. Not only did that act surprise me, but the cards I received blew me away. Not only by the participation from all my friends and family, but also by the messages everyone wrote to me. I’m not one who craves attention, but this definitely made me feel loved and appreciated by everyone.

Cards

To everyone who wrote me a card, thank you. Seriously. I am not the person I am today without all of you. I know we don’t get to talk or see each other everyday, but you all are still in my mind. To Mary, you really out did yourself. I can’t imagine a better birthday present. Without you, I wouldn’t be who I am today. You reached out to all my close friends and family and reminded me that they all miss and care about me. I love you.

Simple – A New Way To Bank

Here is an overview I wrote about Simple over at HumbleNerd.

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Weekend In Mendocino

For our two year anniversary, Mary treated us to a weekend trip to Mendocino. Mendocino is a small town about 3 hours north of the San Francisco Bay Area. We stayed at the Stanford Inn By The Sea. They call themselves “An Eco-Resort on the Mendocino Coast.” The place was awesome and the staff was extremely friendly. We left right after work on Friday and checked in at close to 10 pm. After we checked in, the lady at the front desk took the time to walk us all the way to our room. She also helped us get familiarized with our room. Each room had ocean views and a wood burning fireplace. She pointed out that our fireplace was all set, ready to be lit. She told us where we could get extra firewood. Breakfast was included, as well as afternoon tea and dessert, with our stay. The hotel’s restaurant is all vegan and their breakfast was amazing considering it is included in your rate. This wasn’t a continental breakfast either. They even had a small plate of cookies with a personalized note from the owners.

We only had one full day so on Saturday, we tried to enjoy as much of the area as we could. We hiked around Russian Gulch State Park, we walked around the actual town of Mendocino and took advantage of the free afternoon snacks. After, we relaxed at the pool and watched the sun set from our room.

Life by itself is hectic and this getaway could not have been anymore perfect.

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Crafty

There’s also the issue, Flock says, of what the Brewer’s Association calls “crafty” beers — beers owned by big beer companies disguised as small craft beer. A common example is Blue Moon, a Belgian-style beer.

I need to remember that.

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Living With Less

I have less — and enjoy more.

My space is small. My life is big.

Great story on how Graham Hill went from selling his business and owning two homes to living in a 420 square foot apartment. And he’s happier. A sobering lesson on what we really need to survive and be happy.

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The New Disruptors

I listen to a lot of podcasts and every once in awhile I come across a great episode. Glenn Fleishman, of Jeopardy championship fame, interviewed John Gruber, of Daring Fireball and The Talk Show fame. In the interview, John goes into detail about how he turned his hobby of writing a blog into his full time job. His site now gets roughly 4 million page views a month and weekly ad spots run $8,500 a week. It’s a great interview if you know anything about John and his work and fascinating even if you don’t.

Pulling back, The New Disruptors podcast is an interview series about, you guessed it, new disruptors. I’ve seen a number of people make good livings for themselves by doing the thing they love in ways that are considered “nontraditional”. You have Gruber, Marco Arment (iOS apps), Dan Benjamin (podcasts), and Shawn Blanc (writer) just to name a few. These are just regular people in industries I’m interested in. They are working for themselves and make a decent living. If you pull even further back, people like Oprah, Anthony Bourdain and as much as it pains me to say this, Kim Kardashian, have made names for themselves, even brands of themselves, by taking advantage of opportunities that were presented to them.

Going forward, I see a lot of regular people doing this. We live in a great time where practically anyone can use the Internet to not only make a name for themselves, but to make a decent living doing so. I want a piece of this and do not want to get left behind.

The Man Who Shot Bin Laden

“One of the tests is they make you dive to the bottom of a pool and tie five knots,” the Shooter says. “One guy got to the fifth knot and blacked out underwater. We pulled him up and he was, like, dead. They made the class face the fence while they tried to resuscitate him. The first words as he spit out water were ‘Did I pass? Did I tie the fifth knot?’ The instructor told him, ‘We didn’t want to find out if you could tie the knots, you asshole, we wanted to know how hard you’d push yourself. You killed yourself. You passed.’”

Navy SEALS are crazy. Long but great read.

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Year in Review: 2012

I look at my past yearly reviews and I notice that with each year, something bigger and more exciting happens. That was still the case with 2012. For almost a year, Mary and I saw each other at least every weekend during our long distance relationship. That feat is pretty amazing and we couldn’t believe that we went that long without missing a weekend. Nevertheless, we couldn’t do that forever and it was definitely getting more difficult as time passed. So in March 2012, I moved from Orange County to the Bay Area to live with Mary and Malia.

Moving to a whole new geographic region, one would think I would have a huge adjustment to make. I didn’t. I was visiting the Bay Area pretty frequently in 2011 so it wasn’t a huge shock to me. I was very fortunate that the company I worked for transferred me to their Bay Area office even after I was recently brought in as part of a merger. That was probably the biggest hurdle to moving up here was having a job lined up. I applied to jobs about month before I planned to move and while I got a few interviews, none of them turned into offers. I told my boss in LA that I was planning to move and he was disappointed that I was leaving after only a few months. He asked if I had anything lined up and the answer was no. I knew we had an branch in the Bay Area but it never occurred to me to ask him about the possibility of transferring. He said he’d call to the manager of the Bay Area office to see if they had a position open. A week later, I had an offer for the job.

As I write this, I can’t help but think of this post. When I was debating whether or not to work for Hop full time, I had the idea of moving already in the back of my mind. My logic was: I had a good year of experience on the truck, if I helped him out at the restaurant full time, I thought I’d be able to use all that experience to broaden my prospects of getting a job. I’d apply to both food service and engineering jobs. If I could throw more applications out there, something was bound to stick. Had I pursued the restaurant full time, I never would’ve ended up at DMG and eventually, DMG North. Again, I’m reminded of Steve Jobs’ speech at Stanford: The dots are still connecting.

Living in the Bay Area is all that I could have asked for and more. Whether it’s taking Malia out, finding new places to eat, or just exploring The City, we never run out of things to do. Work is great. They’re flexible and understanding with Malia’s school schedule and I got a slight bump in pay when I moved. I also have the ability to make extra money in commission, an option I didn’t have before.

People have always asked me if I would ever move back to San Diego, the city I was born and raised in. My answer is almost always no. Now that I’ve been in the Bay Area for almost a year, I get asked the same question, except it’s, “Would you ever move back to Orange County.” And my answer is still the same. I love the previous places that I’ve lived. I’m proud of where I’m from but every time I’ve moved on, I grow to embrace my new home. This time, it’s no different.

Goodbye Facebook

Last week, Mary and I both quit Facebook. This was not a spur of the moment decision. We have both, independently, found ourselves putting less into the social network and, more importantly, getting less out of it. There was no real value in it for us, it wasted time and the things people shared became increasingly inane.

I came across this article by Matt Haughey via Jason Kottke. I could not have voiced my opinions about Facebook and Twitter any better. This bit:

Twitter feels like continually moving to NYC without knowing anyone whereas Facebook feels like you’re living in your hometown and hanging with everyone you went to high school with…

And this:

I know I’ll be delighted with new information on Twitter, interesting articles to read, breaking news, and jokes about those. Twitter is a steady stream of mostly joy and makes my life better. Facebook is filled with people I barely know, chain-emails and disaster news about the sky falling…

These two excerpts hit the nail on the head. I choose to follow the people that I do on Twitter. I choose to follow interesting people. If people are no longer interesting to me, I stop following. On Facebook, I’m friends with people only because we went out drinking in our 20′s. That may be the only thing we have in common now. And I’m forced to see whatever they post on their timeline, whether I find it interesting our not.

Yes, it’s convenient that Facebook lets you peek into people’s lives, to see what they’re up to. Now that I’ve moved, there is more of a need for me to share with people my new life in the Bay Area. I think there are better ways of doing this. Obviously, there are phone calls and texts. I’m very active on Twitter. Even though it’s now owned by Facebook, I still enjoy using Instagram (for the time being). Many social networks have come and gone but this site is still alive and kicking. I’ve said many times before that I have no real direction for this site. After over ten years, I think I’m finally seeing its purpose.

Quit!

I’ve had the idea for HumbleNerd for a couple of months. I had the site ready to be published for more than a couple weeks. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do, something I’ve always hoped could lead to something bigger and better than what I’m doing now. I was procrastinating on actually launching the site. For what reason, I don’t quite know.

I’ve been a listener to Dan Benjamin’s podcasts on 5by5 for almost two years now. The shows cater to the nerds, people who follow Apple and technology in general. I’ve always admired his back story. He worked as a “corporate stooge” for years before he decided that that lifestyle was no longer for him. He started 5by5 because he always wanted to do talk radio. Even after being told by those in the industry not to pursue his dream, he did it anyway. Now he has a number of different shows on his podcast network. On my commutes to and from work, I’m more than likely listening to one of his shows.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, a new show debuted, one that he didn’t pre-announce. The show is called “Quit!”; a show about “helping people sort out their lives, reevaluate their options, kick their crummy jobs, and start something awesome”. It’s exactly the type of motivation I needed to push me over the top. I launched HumbleNerd on that Monday because I wanted to do something that I have the passion to do. I hope that this will be a recurring series where he shares his different experiences with his listeners so they might not make the same mistakes that he made. If you’ve always had the urge to do something different, something awesome, I recommend listening to this show. I also recommend listening to Back 2 Work with Merlin Mann, especially this episode where they discuss the quarter life crisis/Saturn’s return phenomenon. I know they can and will motivate you to do something awesome.