A really cool person added me back on facebook the other day. He sent me a message, and the quickest "chill" response I could think of was:
I didn't say it of course, but the hilarity in using that response in real life excites me.
I start work tomorrow. It's suddenly right now, that I'm starting to get some feeling. Some sort of realization of what's going on.
Well, scratch that. It's actually been 4 weeks now.
I have a sweet place in the heart of San Francisco, and working at Rocketfuel has been awesome so far. I like everyone on my team, get to work with cutting edge stuff, have all my meals taken cared of, get to play ping pong everyday, go to the gym somedays, and I'm meeting a lot of people from all ends of the company.
If there are people who are curious to "what I actually do at work" the shortish answer is that Rocketfuel is an advertising company, and they have a CRM(content resource management) much like wordpress that lets advertisers manage their ad campaigns. A common use case is: Brooks Shoes wants to get 100k views on a particular ad. Someone sets up a campaign with that goal and some pricing guidlines, and away that goes. Our team's duty is to implement new features to this app, perhaps display some new metric that has been introduced by a business or research person. I really know this isn't the most exciting thing, but I'm seriously learning a lot each day, and I think this will empower me to make some killer web apps pretty soon.
For the record, I usually wake up around 8:30am, get to work around 10am, and stay there until either 5:30pm or 7. I'm also have access to our SF office, which allows me to leave the house around 9:50 and still be on time.
So what are the emotions I'm feeling right now?
I take a look at the city now and feel that there's just so much for me to explore, so many things to try and people to meet. Either by foot or on bicycle, I feel like the city is just ready to be ripped apart, to be consumed.
With that, what will be my role in this city? To just sample all of the restaurants, take passing photos of normal people without asking them, to just graze the surface?
Can I actually for once make an impact, or at least try to? To truly truly make an effort??
I largely feel like, right now is this time that I define myself as a person. I have momentum, nothing to lose, and everything to gain. What do I do with my time after I get off work? What can I even do at that time...? Whats open? Who's doing stuff, and how do I meet them? What about weekends? There's 2 places that develop film near me, maybe I can start volunteering or working at a film shop. Maybe I can push out an app with all these mad programming skills I'm learning that will help photographers and models meet up(better than m-mayhem). How can I use what I have to make a change in my surroundings?
I had an old friend visit this weekend, and it made me really think about the relationships I've had with people over the past years. There's a person in particular that I haven't talked to in about a year, and it actually kind of hurts me to think about how our friendship abruptly ended, probably for no good reason at all. My opinion on the matter is, "What did I do to you to deserve this?" But this question is largely just going to be caught in the nether if I don't bring it up in person.
Cause really, despite all the crap I've said or done over the past years, what have I really done to you that has impacted you so negatively?
So there you have it, Something forward looking and something reflective.
This post is similar to pretty much every post I've made so far, nothing has really changed. I don't know what to say. Is this just the way things are going to be for the next couple years, or will my life take a drastic shift soon? Will I just be a dreamer? Will I actually do anything about it? When will I be able to be comfortable in my own skin? When will I be able to make something unique and different?
With all that said, what follows is a gruesomely long, mostly un-curated, post filled with what I've done(ate) over the past month+.
I REALLY don't expect anyone to read this post fully. You can probably do the usual... just scroll and have the images and bold text glaze over your eyes as usual.
-Nicolai and Levi visit SF
On their way back from going to Feast in Portland, Nicolai and Levi stopped by SF for a quick visit.
I took them on probably the worst tour of the city ever. And with that I discovered that other than looking for a job, I really haven't done much at all in SF over the past 2 months before they visited. I only had one place to eat, and nothing amazing to show them yet.
Image taken by Nicolai. It was my first time going to Sushiritto I think it's a good idea, they execute it faily well, and I'm probably going back there again. We then passed by the Leica store, and despite walking in with TWO Leica's, we met the most pretentious guy working there, ever. We then headed to Hayes Valley for some overly priced juice, and light shopping.
After the 2 destination tour, Nicolai got some of the old school MFA(male fashion advice) crew together and we went to Zeitgeist, a really awesome beer garden at the northern tip of the Mission. We pretty much were there from 5pm to midnight.
We spent the night at Hoan's place in inner sunset.
The next day we went to SFO to rent a car for the day (in hindsight we should have just gotten a zipcar). But while Nicolai was waiting in line for the car, Levi and I went around exploring the terminal, which actually looks really fucking cool.
Levi on the phone with his gf Lhoren.
Took a lot of photos of Levi, lol.
The drive to and from Tomales Bay was absolutely beautiful.
We went to a place for Oysters, there are several along the coastline where you can buy a sack of fresh happy bivalves and shuck them yourself. We ran into a huge group of people from Twitter, who acted like they were in high school drinking beer and Taaka for the first time, kind of ruined the experience. I had raw clams for the first time, while unique, I still prefer oysters, and jebus, these guys were spermy little fucks. Every one we opened was just full of happy clam juice, and it eventually got too overwhelming and we couldn't finish all of them.
We were just going to dump them into the water right next to the place we bought them from, but we came up with a better idea. To set them free in another part of the coast.
We met up with Hoan and Katrina for some soup dumplings at Dumpling King afterwards, then we went to the Mission for soem Yamo and Sycamore.
Nicolai, Levi, and I went back to Texas the next day, which leads me to...
I was in Houston/Austin for a few days to grab my stuff. Here begins a large spree of food posts, cause basically that's all I did.
- Kata robataya - My brother was in for a client meeting, and had an expense account... so we ordered all the good stuff. I liked the chirashi and the scallop / foie gras nigiri. It was quite decadent. I've actually never been here, and can say that this place is pretty good indeed.
Honeymoon Cafe - A new cafe in Houston's efforts to turn downtown into a bustling and hip area. They have all the right things... spacious interior, polite staff, cocktails, a hip menu with quinoa as a side. But something is crazy off about this place. Go and see for yourself. It's like someone had a pretty good idea for a bar, but couldn't put the final touches on it. Right now it's not crowded at all, so it could be a nice place to sit down and do some work. My recommendation is to not get the brie and ham sandwich and quinoa, get something else and tell me how it is.
Siphon Coffee - I think their siphon coffee sucks, a lot. But their espresso and drip coffee aren't bad, and they did a really good job designing their interior. Great place to be on your computer all day.
Hanged out with Lhoren, Levi, and Jude a bunch.
One night Jamie came over. +cat.
Stopped by the Hawthorne House. Paul is always super hospitable!
At first I thought "What a weird name for a cafe. It's kind of like Satan, even google auto corrects it." But after overhearing a conversation in Japanese with the owners after my visit, I was reminded that the Japanese word for cafe is Kissaten - きっさてん, so now the name makes sense. First off, it's in Canopy, the artist complex that I love so much. Second... the coffee is actually really good here, the barista knows how to pull a really good espresso!
The cafe is co-owned by the owners of Kome and Moto from East Side Kings. Their menu is very Japanese influenced and quite delicious.
Salt & Time-
When this place first opened, I didn't like their menu items at all, but now I think they found their groove. Their sandwiches are totally on point (currently the lamb sandwich is amazing!) and they have cold brew on nitro, which will really wake you up.
When someone says "on nitro" it means that the drink you're drinking is fizzed up with nitrous oxide, which is a lot smoother and finer grain than CO2, which is usually what you get in soda's and most beer.
What this makes is for a more frothy, smoother drink. It generally works best with porters and stouts, since the frothy nature of the N2O gives the beer a creamy texture, like a chocolate milkshake.
I really wanted to meet up with my friends Gilbert and Jean. Pear/Bacon Pancakes. 2 thumbs up.
Missed this spot so much.
Thanh Nhi - This place too! Got lunch with Vivian.
Sawyer & Co- This place has a cute interior and pretty good cocktails, but their food is really bad. really bad.
I think Olamaie is one of the best restaurants in Austin. Honestly I'd rather go here than Uchi, and I think it's a more intimate setting than Odd Duck, with equally as good food.
Qui- I went by Qui for a farewell meal. This place hasn't changed. I hate to say it, but the place is still a large dissapointment. I really don't know if any of the staff here knows what they're doing without Paul around. I feel like I paid 300 bucks for a test run with people practicing serving for the first time. Seriously, fuck that.
Longbranch Inn- Really good bar located near Hillside Farmacy/Franklin's bbq. What do you get here? HARD LIQUOR.
Garage Cocktail Bar- Finally went to this place for the first time. It's a really cool idea, and I think anyone would enjoy this place.
Draught House pub- Still the same place it used to be.
Passed by Farewell books to pick up a photo book that I've wanted to get for the past few months.
Spent some quality time with Jack.
Had a hilarious time hanging out with Alex and Jess at Brew & Brew.
Dinners with Melissa + Nicolai(not pictured).
A lot of exciting things are happening at the Chicon Collective. New people and new energy. They're having an art show this weekend, an unofficial EAST show, how hip is that?! hahaha.
-Driving from Houston to SF
In the end I managed to convice my old roommate Joseph, to go along with me for the ride. He was a real champ, driving the full 11 hours to El Paso on the first day of driving.
We met up with Jerry, who I used to play a ton of Street fighter with back when I started college. Him and his girlfriend Andrea showed us some really cool spots around town.
We went to a cool bar called Monarch, there's a pretty cool culture around the indie music scene in El Paso, everyone we met has been in a band at some point in the past.
They took us to Lucky Cafe, a late night spot for Mexican burgers and menudo. Finally grabbed a nice candid of the two.
Despite being a fan of the squishy bits such as tripe and stomach, this was only the 3rd time I've had menudo, and probably the first time I've truly enjoyed it. They serve some fried bread (very similar to Texas Toast, but greasier) which was amazing when dipped into the broth.
Jerry gave us a tip to go to El Guero Canelo, a Mexican hotdog chain in Tuscon. My god, this was AMAZING. 5/5 stars, under 6 bucks too.
In LA we met up with Jennifer, who I hadn't seen in over a year.
The next day we went to Santa Monica to meet up with another friend, and headed to the beach after. I had my Surly in my trunk and biked all along the coast. Joseph went for a tan on the beach.
We got to SF without too much hassle.
On weekends I usually meet up with Jessica; we get dinner and go to a cafe to study(I actually have to study things for work).
Sometimes we go to art galleries, pretty interesting eh.
Lotsa $$$$ money shopping.
Went to the weirdest art show I've been to. "Furries and despair." A room full of dressed up furries, portraits of other's in their costumes, and some pretty plain-jane urban exploration photos.
I was told that the food was going to be amazing.
Met up with Woncho and Tina, they just finished the David Choe scavengerhunt, and despite finding all of the clues, they didn't win. Quite the advernturous 2, they bought 1 way tickets to Alaska from Texas, hitchhiked to New York, and back to the west coast.
There's some cool nature not too far away.
Laurence visited from New York, we went to Napa and hiking at Muir Woods.
Had a really good time in Napa, there's a restaurant called Archetype which I highly recommend.
Best pancakes ever (perhaps better than Pacha's). Superrrrr soft, w/ almond butter and blackberry reduction.
The most brunchy fish dish I've ever had. 2 Poached eggs over a butterflied whole trout. Slit open the yolks, have the goo cover the crunchy potato shreds, and have a fork-full with some tender pieces of trout meat/skin. A brilliant idea.
Hanging with new friends.
Just eating a bunch of great fud.
As you can see, I'm largely still the same person. Take it or leave it.
Am I doing what I want?
When I used to do photography classes I had a slide that said:
"If you don't see something that visually interests you at least once a day, you're doing it wrong."
Honestly I'm lucky to see 1 thing a week that I might want to take a photo of. I haven't been using my Leica at all, just a point and shoot.
One good thing though is, while a lot of the scenes I see aren't very photographically interesting to me, I'm seeing and experiencing a lot of new things.
There's this thought that comes into my mind almost everyday. "How did I end up here? This scene is so foreign to me." The variability of the world can send my mind for a loop sometimes, I feel overwhelmed by the information overload. I'm standing outside of a brewery in Tahoe, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, and I can't stop the thoughts. What's stopping me from being a trucker and driving across the US? What's stopping me from taking a year and living in Japan? What's stopping me? It might be that I have no idea what I actually want to do.
Something is starting to worry me. There's a common scenario where I'm at lunch with co workers and we have absolutely nothing to talk about. We sit there eating in awkward silence. Is it lame to talk about work? how my car is having some issues, the weather, my opinions on the food that day, whether I went to the gym or not, what I have planned for the weekend. Then Monday comes and it's all the same
My presence on social media has sort of dwindled over the past month. Before I felt I had something to prove. Like I was doing things in a different and cool way, but I was largely living on borrowed time, with the help of friends and family. Despite earning my independence, I've never felt so normal, so plain, so exposed to the elements of "reality."
Have you seen Interstellar yet? Do you feel as if you have control over your time, or do you feel like everything is developing and flying by without you, as you stay stagnant?