Saturday, July 30, 2005

adobo, considered

photo stolen from

This mouth watering post from erichian on the perfect adobo got my attention.
Must be because I'm staying up way past my bedtime, plus I had dinner down the street from work at Hukilau and almost got their chicken adobo.

Not only are there links to recipies (which I have to look at, once I've gotten some sleep) but Erich's special recipe for adobo, remixed:

And then there's a question of what to do with the sauce once you're all done. It's great for making fried rice, but if you want something more on the healthy side, try this out:

• Place adobo sauce in a food processor and mix.
• Open a can or two of black beans and drain / rinse them.
• Add black beans to sauce. Mix.
• Continue to add black beans until you get your preferred consistency.
• Top off with some splashes of smoked tabasco sauce and/or freshly squeezed lime juice. Mix.
• Serve right away or chill for storage.

If you've chilled yours, bring it to room temperature before serving. Enjoy with toasted pita bread, tortilla chips, or rice cakes. At the moment I'm calling this one Filipino hummus.

Thanks Erich, I'm hungry again.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

My Brahmasthan is more Vedic than yours

Another business trip, another chance to read magazines. This time, I find nothing at the newsstand and am forced to read the airline mag. What karmic coincidence! I end up reading an article on Vedic architecture, apparently the basis for Fung Shui, and now a pop architectural guide in its own right, 4,500 years after its invention.

Turns out, my house is, like, Vedically cool. Here are some of the key things I learned about Vedic architecture and how much my house rocks.

At its core, Vedic architecture proposes that the direction a building faces (east dissipates fear, disease, and poverty; west fosters health decline and loss of income),
[Our house faces East-ish. Cool...]

Vedic rules pinpoint living rooms in the central west portion of the house as more convivial
[... this is the family room...],

kitchens in the southeast corner for better digestibility
...OK, we miss completely on this one, maybe why we eat out so much...]

and master bedrooms in the southwest corner for being more conducive to rest.
[...let's see, yep, MBR in the SW, that's us too...]

Although linked more to spirituality than to religion, all Vedic homes also have a meditation room in the northeast corner to strengthen the effect of meditation or prayer.
[... Hah, that's the garage. Which, I guess when I eventually clean it up, I could turn into a meditation room...]

And they all contain a Brahmasthan, or a silent central core, which literally translates into "establish wholeness."
[...Wait, you mean like our atrium ...]

The latter is not at the home's entrance, as some might assume, but rather at its center, acting as the home's axis, to harmonize with the universal laws of nature.
[... Oh, you mean EXACTLY like our atrium...]

"If we look at the things nature established [explains Jonathan Lipman, AIA, chief architect of Maharishi Global Construction], from largest to smallest, they each have a central core, and all the activities move around it. For example, a galaxy has a black hole; a solar system has a sun; cells in the body have a nucleus. This is one way nature maintains coherence. And when we use those same principles in architecture, we experience greater coherence in our houses."

So, thank you Eichler, Jones, Emmons, modernism, and the 4,500 year old Sthapatya Veda text. I think I'm going to start referring to the atrium as my Brahmasthan....

Monday, July 25, 2005

Eichler remodel blog

TylerSF has started his (or her?) own Eichler remodelling blog, after seeing DMD's Eichler remodelling blog. The Eichler otaku is a strong one, grasshoppa.

Now, we'll have to see who finishes first ....

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Poetry, Birth, and/or Healing

A poetry prof once suggested juxtaposing words in different ways to create sense-images. The one that stays with me is "graffiti surfs the river's spine," about the sensation of riding bikes past graffiti covered walls along the concrete banks of the San Gabriel river in L.A.

Anyways, via chicken fried life, here is a beautifully inadvertent (or not?) jem about birth, life, and healing at a blog called Bruan's World:

"Why is it that in life we can't leave well enough alone? Why must we always interfere with life's healing process? People are addicted to picking at wombs, both physically and emotionally. We can't seem to let things heal naturally. When damage is done we tend to want to interfere, thinking we can change the situation on our own. Most times the best thing to do is to let time heal our wombs. We can't always be interfering in the problems of life. Let time heal your wombs."

Especially appropriate considering the president is picking a new supreme court justice....

[update 20 Jul: chickenlittle tells me the original post has already been updated, darn. Well, the original poetry will live on here. No offense intended, Bruan, sometimes you make a mistake and things come out different, but not really wrong.]

Friday, July 15, 2005

Learning a culture of leadership

My (Chinese) mom keeps telling me the kids need to learn Chinese, since obviously (to her) any day now China will suddenly find itself the leader of world.

This month's Wired has an article about the Chinese company Lenovo buying IBM's PC division, and going through cross-cultural growing pains, such as trying to learn American management practices. As the article summarizes the situation,

[It is] an extraordinary reality: American executives in New York will mentor Chinese executives as they run a largely Chinese company that wants to model itself on a Japanese corporation in order to challenge two American competitors, with the ultimate mission of helping China achieve its patriotic goal of kicking butt in international business.

From here in Silicon Valley, the self-proclaimed hub of innovation, one might smirk at the thought of an old-skool corporation such as IBM teaching ANYONE how to be more sucessful in the 21st century. After all, its all (going to be) about innovation and design thinking in the next wave, right? and IBM isnt exactly the first firm that comes to mind when you mention innovation these days.

In the article, there are both optimistic and pessimistic examples of what it is Lenovo is trying to understand about IBM, and by example, American management style. Here are some excerpts:

At a meeting of Lenovo and IBM managers before the deal closed, one of the Lenovo employees was asked to present a plan... "I told the Lenovo employee, 'It's a beautiful idea, but how are your American colleagues going to understand what you're talking about?'..." And so [he], along with other Lenovo workers desperate to soak up US business practices, was instructed in droning PowerPoint-speak....
A more useful thing that Lenovo executives can learn from their IBM colleagues is the business of leadership. In China, college admissions are based entirely on exam scores - unlike in the US, it doesn't help to be captain of the high school soccer team or president of the drama club. And the way to get high exam scores is to learn by rote, obey instructions, and not take chances. The young men and women who excel at those traits get into the best universities and graduate with honors, as brilliant followers. Few, if any, have the skills required of corporate managers.

[Steve Ward, the American ex-IBM CEO] has made a particular impression on them. In meetings, he urges, "Don't think about what Steve wants me to do; think what Steve wants us to accomplish." In other words, don't just follow orders - understand the strategy. Make decisions based on that.

Funny, the Chinese method seems to be the same one my (Chinese) parents tried to instill in me! Well, if I could survive that obsolete notion of what it means to learn, so can a company like Lenovo.

Eichler remodelling blog

Via the Eichler boards, I've learned that DMD has started
Eichler Re-Mod, a blog to "capture over a year of remodeling work on a basic Eichler. A very long year, full of pain and learning".

Says DMD, to appease the surly Eichler gods:

For the purists out there I must say that there wasn't much left of the original Eichler, apart from the shell. So please don't flame me if you notice some drywall here and there in the pictures!"

I'm looking forward to reading each and every painful chapter, but I really wish I could get a peek at the final results!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Two illuminating blogs for fashion geeks

The other day, I'd somehow been pointed to Richard Kuchinsky's first pullover, a great new blog about the art and craft shoemaking. Not just any shoes, but the ultra hip sneaker. Amazing example of how every thing in one's life is somehow designed, crafted, and built. Here is Kuchinsky's explaination of the blog's title:

"i am a sneakerhead, but i am also an observer. of the industry from the inside. this blog covers footwear design and development and in-situ, in process. from line planning, trend forceasting, concept design, development in asia to sample and pattern review (hence the name first pullover = a first prototype sample) its all here....

"A pullover is the name given to a first prototype sample used in the footwear industry. The first pullover is made from a designer's sketch or drawing, and is the first sample used to check the pattern, last shape, and overall look of a shoe."

This blog reminded me of another blog I had recently perused, Thomas Mahon's, english cut, about the art of bespoke tailoring. What is bespoke tailoring? Nothing less than the definition of premium, in men's suits:

"A lot of people use the terms "bespoke" and "made-to-measure" interchangeably. They are mistaken.

'"Bespoke' is actually a term which dates from the 17th century, when tailors held the full lengths of cloth in their premises.

"When a customer chose a length of material, it was said to have “been spoken for”. Hence a tailor who makes your clothes individually, to your specific personal requirements, is called "bespoke". This is unlike “made-to-measure”, which simply uses a basic, pre-existing template pattern, which is then adjusted to roughly your individual measurements.

"The first thing I'll do is discuss with you what type of suit you are looking for, and its uses. Then a cloth is chosen from the full range available today, and also which type of style and fit would be most suitable for you.

"Clothes made by me have all the hallmarks you would expect from true bespoke tailoring:

"More than 20 measurements and figuration details are taken from the customer. Then a personal pattern will be hand-drafted and cut from scratch- not the basic, adjusted template pattern, as used by so many other tailors these days.

"Using your pattern, the cloth is then cut and trimmed, along with the finest linings and silks available. A single tailor is then given the parts of the garment to sew together, from the earliest fitting stages, to the final, complete suit. Each suit is completely hand-made, even down to the button holes."

Even for a militant casual dresser like myself, this sounds pretty sweet.

New friends, old friends, new connections.

I gave a short presentation about myself recently, and one of the things I showed was this map I made about this interesting web of relationships that has coalesced around my car.

After we moved to Palo Alto a couple years back, I took my car in to Ole's shop, down the street from the office. Ole recognized my new address immediately -he had grown up nearby, before my house was even built. He had also once dated the gal who lived there, the daughter of The Colonel. The Colonel was the one and only previous owner of our house, and a pretty well known personality in the neighborhood. He was a communications officer in Doolittle's bomber squadron during WWII.

The other day, after my latest trip to Ole's, I saw an older man hitchhiking outside the car shop. I've seen him there before, and while he seemed nice enough, you just never know (OK, being from L.A. I'm suspicious of everyone). I figured Ole would know about him, and sure enough he did. He's the father of our local state Senator, and a retired teacher who had at one time taught Ole's girlfriend. So, I offered him a ride home ,of course. Any friend of the girlfriend of the ex-boyfriend of the daughter of the Colonel who used to live in my house is a friend of mine.

Speaking of new friends, I am glad to report that the blogger previously known as Ms. O has found a new home on the web. There is hope for the life on the commons after all! AND, she has been gracious enough to link to me, a definite first, thank you!

Cool tech note I forgot to mention earlier: the font I used for the map and the presentation was one I made specially for the event using fontifier - the whole process took less than a half hour and ten bucks!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A Tragedy of the Commons

Today, I went to visit Ms. O's blog and found nobody there. It's weird, how 'people' on the net just kind of disappear. It's not like a favorite shop that you fnd under new ownership, more like that favorite shop ceased to exist, and the neighboring buildings kind of took up the space as if it had never been there.

I came across her Blogger dashboard and found her auto-obituary:

Why did I delete my blog? Blogger has become home for some of the most disgusting creepy people in the universe. Some of them behave like deranged stalkers (yes I've had a few). Some of them invite you to see their site, where they surprise you with an elaborate virus for your computer - a very deliberate attack. So fuck all the creepy people. My friends know where to find me.

I hope she finds a quiet spot somewhere. Fuck all the creepy people, they're blowing it for the rest of us. So, in honor of her departure, here's a great story of hers I was meaning to steal from sometime:

We pick up a lot of cars. 99% of the time, it's because someone is behind on their car payments. Once in a while, it's because nobody bothered to get insurance, or go down to the DMV to register it. Still, if you have to make a car payment, you know it. It's no big secret how much you owe.

We picked up one yesterday belonging to a dead guy. He quit making payments when he quit breathing. What does he care, he doesn't need the car wherever he's gone. His daughter had other thoughts. I had the joy of handling her phone call.

"You f------ people stole my car!"
"First, who are you, and second, quit using that kind of language."
"You f------ people will be sorry! You can't f------ do that to people!"
"That's it. Call back when you learn how to talk." And I hang up.

The phone immediately rings back. It's the drama queen again.

"B---- don't you f------ hang up on me."
"Slow learner? Try again when you learn some manners." And I hang up again.

It took a total of four calls for her to get the basic information she needed in order to get her belongings out of the car. She was only able to get the information after she calmed down, quit screaming curse words, and stopped threatening us. She even tried using the sympathy ploy of telling us her father just died, but we know it had been several months, and guess what, people in my office have dead relatives too. That doesn't give anyone the right to act a fool.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

go to your fields and your gardens...

Via Seth Godin, I came accross the Penguin Remixed competition, a great proactive embrace of sampling. Take 30 samples of Penguin's audiobooks (especially cool cause they're like, you know, English), sample them into an audio composition, and submit it back!

I submitted a ditty on bees.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Totally Chaotic!

Sometimes, a workspace up and decribes itself.

This is what happens when you re-use foamcore boards

Totally Chaotic! Posted by Picasa

Those darn Amish

I just had the opportunity to read the latest MIT Technoloigy Review cover to cover while on a flight to New Jersey. Technology Review has a good article on Amish technology -not an oxymoron! -and its potential applications at the bottom of the pyramid.
" Amish shops are leading suppliers of innovative implements--for example, a horse-drawn plow with an external wheel that charges a hydraulic cylinder, which lets a farmer raise and lower the plow with little effort.... Amish inventions are of special interest in developing countries, where draft-animal farming is still common."

What an interesting application of the Long Tail.

Other good stuff in there too of course. But my brain was so overloaded that I had to offset this by reading Cargo cover to cover. And after a while, don't they seem like the same magazine?