plu on the shore
While walking around The Mission, I kept passing by a particular store that had it's windows covered with national geographic magazine pages. One day it was open, walked in, had no idea what was going on inside, and walked out. I saw this girl smoking around the corner.
Well, anyways. I'm sure you guys are curious to what I've been up to (I hope).
More or less, I've been in San Francisco applying to jobs. I've had a lot of interviews since being here. Apparently my resume is actually pretty good and can get into doors quite easily.
The thing is, I've bombed all of them so far. Have you ever had an interviewer "fake" having to leave so they could get someone else to tell you the interview was over... mid question?
That was pretty demoralizing... enough to tell me that I needed to change what I was doing. I was a month in and wasn't making any progress, so I decided to go back to Texas despite the continued support of my friend Derek Chu, who I owe this whole experience to.
We never made a spare key for his apartment, since you needed this special prox pass to get up the elevators. So I had to find places I could just be until later at night until he got home from work. This gave me a lot of time to sit and think.
One could have used this time to go off on their own and explore, but I was always under the gaze of my conscience. "Look for a job" "That's why you're here." So I would just go to a cafe, sit there for hours, bounce to another afterwards.
But I always asked back, *"Why am I here?" *"Do I even like SF?" "My friends in Austin keep messaging me, I want to go back so badly." I found myself more stuck than ever, wanting to go back to Austin and start from where I left off, with newfound gratitude for all the business that I've received over the past few months.
A day or 2 before my flight home, I met up with my brother for the first time despite being in California for a whole month. We caught up and I met his new dog Mochi... and that was it. I went back to Derek's place afterwards.
I was laying around watching video game streams on Twitch, when I received a call from my brother. He told me it was surprising that I was going back so soon, and that I should stay with him and his wife in Sunnyvale. I largely agreed that he was right, that I was leaving too soon, but I was dying to go back to Austin. We worked out a deal where he bought my return flight to California from Houston.
Why Houston? I moved all my things that I had sprinkled around Austin back to my parent's place.
It's really weird to not call Austin home anymore.
So I'm back in Northern California, but a lot closer to San Jose than SF, but SF is 1.5 hours away by train/subway if I feel like going into the city.
Things are largely "better." I got off to a very slow start, I wasn't applying to many jobs or making much effort at all, but things are ramping up now, and I more or less have a phone or onsite interview every day for the next week. I had one today, and I think it went quite well.
Update: Actually it went extremely well.
So yeah, that's the short story. Now for lotsa photos.
In August I had many friends visit me from Austin. They were largely here for other reasons(vacation, interviews, etc.), but I'm still glad they made time out for me.
Met up with the infamous Jack + Kristen and Ruby. I have tons of hilarious photos of Ruby wandering around Dolores Park. I'll post them eventually. You can have too many baby photos, even if they're of Ruby, the coolest baby I know personally.
Biked the golden gate bridge with Ali when he came here for his Twitch interview.
Spent a day with Ryan and Bethany taking them around the mission to Pakwan, Dolores Park, and Philz.
I followed them to Fisherman's Wharf for my first true touristy experience here.
Afterwards we met up with Ali in Chinatown for crab at R&G Lounge and Tapioca at a place called Plentea, where they serve their drinks in very sturdy glass bottles.
The running joke is that they get all the glass from dispatching older Chinese ladies around town to collect recyclibles. It all makes sense now.
Millie and Melissa, same gate. Lol.
2 notable girls. Madeline's friend took us to the aforementioned store from the first photo in this post. Turns out it's a furniture store with a music venue downstairs that recently had some renovations done, pretty dope.
I was introduced to a couple people who work at Twitch, we had a rooftop bbq and then headed towards their office for drinks and video games. Cool cats, indeed.
What did I do when I got back to Austin? First stop... Ramen Tatsuya of course =P.
Jeremy behind the scenes.
Ran into Jennifer at Tamale House East, where I got breakfast the next day. Can't resist their migas.
Had a nice dinner at Contigo w/ Sharon, Jessica, and Melissa. Definitely recommend the rabbit and dumplings and the pork liver pate.
Sharon has been pretty active on the web. Check out her blog:
I had another get together at Brew and Brew afterwards.
Followed by a tipsy bike ride.
Went to my favorite hole in the wall in Austin, Thanh Nhi with David, one of my old CS buddies. We then went back to his place for some Sonic Slushies + Vodka.
The Masu Donburi at Kyoten was absolutely amazing. It's a sousvide piece of trout, that visually looks raw, but it's cooked. Gilbert, Jean, and I braved 104 degree weather to eat there, but it was worth it. I was largely on the fence about Kyoten, but I've to really respect what they're doing. According to Nicolai the flavor of their food is really similar to a region in Japan (can't remember, might be Kyoto). This was my last meal in Austin, I think it embodies where the food scene is headed there.
New places in Austin that I haven't been to but would love to check out soon are Olemaie, and Dai Due's sit down restaurant.
In Houston I met up with Nicolai/Millie and Levi/Lhoren. Levi recently got a Leica film camera in Japan and has been doing really well with it. He's a very gifted photographer, perhaps you should check out his stuff:
So.. back in Cali.
Because I take public transit a lot, I decided to start reading Kafka on the Shore. Every now and then I look up from my phone and gaze at the unfamiliar scenes just outside of the window. There are houses, packed closely together, stretching far off into the distance. They're similar in shape, but all of them are oddly colored, and have different shaped windows.
I can't help but think of the vastness of it all. All of the things I haven't done, all of the things I want to do, the scary thought of coming into a new city, all of the things I took for granted in Austin. All the choices, just swirling in my head. The train then heads underground into darkness, and I go back to reading. One of the main characters in the book can talk to cats. That's pretty cool.
Jessica also recently came back to Cali as well, we hanged out a bit in the city after one of her interviews at Apple. I just found out that she got the job, I'm really happy for her.
She showed me around Berkeley one day. Food and art... pretty good day if you ask me. She took me to an izikaya(yessss), where we ordered this huge ass omelet salad, which turned out to be like a regular omelet-rice, but with cabbage on the inside instead of rice.
Been hanging out with Kevin a bunch. Learned that he's a god at both poker and Hearthstone.
One of our favorite spots is Pakwan since it's open late and BYOB. We usually just opt for the daily specials with an order of naan and rice.
Well, since it looks like I've had a bit of success here in terms of looking for a programming job... I have a tip to offer. For the most part, companies here don't really care about the specifics of your background. As long as you have done something in the past that pertains to programming, they'll give you a shot. I definitely recommend putting your resume on Indeed and Dice, and you'll soon get flooded with calls from recruiters. All the interviews I've had have been different, you never know what to expect, so the best thing you can do to prep is to study brain teasers and programming puzzles that you can find online. Also treat take-home assignments very seriously.
I've stayed home a bit. There's a startup called Blue Apron that delivers raw ingredients to your place with recipe cards. It's pretty convenient, and the recipe's are not too easy. It's a good balance of challenge and... flavor! haha.
In general, is the Bay Area really that great? Honestly it isn't. It's not that spectacular. It's just another place in the world that has it's fare share of cons that come with all of the pros.
The food here is without a doubt amazing... lots of variety, lots of very authentic places.
There's also a large variety and density of people walking around, which makes it a great city for street photography.
There are so many areas with their own unique character. The cool weather also makes it very easy to walk around for a long time.
And the change in fashion from area to area is interesting to take photos of too.
There are lots of nooks and crannies to stretch out to, I never feel like I'm limited to just going to one place or to a specific route.
While it's always scary to dive into a new city. I like the idea of going in and claiming my own stake here. There are a lot more people in the art scene, and it's way more active than Austin's. I've already found a couple great bars to meet interesting people at. I've also had a lot of weird encounters with people just by walking around or by taking public transport.
Hopefully I'll have time to pop by Austin in the next few weeks to see some of you again. And hopefully now I can start returning the favor by having a place in California that yall can stay at whenever you guys feel like escaping for a bit.
I'm extraordinarily lucky to have all these choices, and to have family and friends that support me.
Hopefully this post has cleared up some things. I want to talk to all of you soon to see what you guys have been up to as well.