I spent most of this past weekend at Foo Camp, and after carpooling back to San Francisco with Aaron Swartz, drove to Palo Alto to catch the closing session of Bar Camp and help a little with clean up. These were two very special events. The sense of camaraderie and community that I felt in the past 72 hours was simply amazing. With events like these, the recent monthly Tag Tuesday, the upcoming Webzine 2005, and even Loveparade San Francisco 2005, there is a renewed sense of energy and optimism. Technology empowering individual expression and innovation, and spontaneous communities organizing the celebration thereof. Let's see if we can turn these positive ripples into waves that spread to distant shores.
Had a Safeway made-to-order deli sandwich yesterday for lunch. Asked for tuna. Got chicken instead. So many other things in the sandwich. Tasted very unfishy to begin with. Then there were the solid bits which turned out to be bones. Then I noticed the strands of "dark meat". There was only one explanation. The sandwich person mistakenly grabbed the chicken salad instead of the tuna salad. I had noticed at the time of preparation that there were two bins of similar looking tuna salad mix right next to each other, and wondered why they would have two bins instead of just one. I should have been able to figure that out. That one bin was chicken. At which point I should have been able to figure out the possibility of the preparer mistakenly picking the wrong one. I'll be paying more attention next time. Until then, important tip: if you order a tuna (or chicken salad for that matter) sandwich at the Safeway deli (in particular the one on 4th and King), be sure you get what you asked for.
Just noticed this on Yahoo the other day: yoga expert Rodney Yee has a blog. The picture is him, the posts claim to be written by him. The words sound like something he would say. But still, how can one actually know if a celebrity blog is actually being written by that celebrity? I mean, couldn't the celebrity simply be licensing his/her name to something which is then ghost-written by a blogger more interested in getting published than in getting known?
In the "that explains it" department: Payola Shocker: J-Lo Hits, Others Were 'Bought' by Sony. I never understood why people liked most so-called "hit" songs on the radio, especially in the past few years. Well now it's makes sense: such hit songs were only artificially such.
In the "no surprise there" department: as seen in the Stanford Report: TV in bedrooms linked to lower test scores.
This past March, at the SXSW conference, I started regularly drinking coffee and other caffeinated drinks again. With a couple of minor exceptions, I had gone without caffeinated drinks for about five months, since I had quit back in October of last year.
Now that I look back on that, that was a long time, and for the most part it worked. I didn't get a chance to blog about some of the feelings of withdrawal at the time, but I will this time. But first those minor exceptions and how and why I picked it back up.
The first exception was a shot of espresso after Matt's birthday dinner. We had quite a full evening planned for him into the wee hours, and as host, being tired was simply not an option. After having no caffeine for almost three months, it's quite amazing what a single espresso will do, even on a full stomach.
The second exception was on a particularly late night drive home I think about a month later. Amber and I had to drive from San Francisco / Oakland to Campbell at 7pm, which meant horrible traffic no matter what, in spite of carpool etc. We left at 5pm and barely got there at 7pm. Two hours driving in traffic followed by an evening of socializing wore me out nearly completely. So I drank an espresso after dinner that night as well in order to be alert enough to drive home, and again, it was quite amazing what a single espresso could do.
Then came SXSW 2005. I've already written about how much I signed up for and did. Though I had outlines for my talks mostly done, I confess, I hadn't finished the slides. And I had just signed up for one more that same day. It was my first time using S5. Of course I insisted on XOXOizing the presentation. I quickly realized I was going to need to work all night to get it all done. I had a single iced mocha from the cafe in the lobby of the Austin Hilton and worked late into the night.
Somehow the presentations went fairly well, but I could tell that I was going to need caffeine to make it through the rest of the conference. Plus there were the most excellent espresso rocket shakes at The Hideout cafe which I had grown quite fond of during my previous visits to Austin.
And from then on things just didn't let up. Furiously developing and publishing hReview in April. WWW2005 in May. Numerous conferences in June. The launch of microformats.org. Lots to do in July as well.
I know that some of the perceived busy-ness comes from the caffeine itself, which always makes you feel like you both have a lot to get done, and that you're thinking/working hard trying to do it all. And yet, when I look back at the hours worked, and the results produced, I definitely feel like I don't know how I could have gotten it all done without caffeine, and I find that just a bit disturbing. I suppose I should be thankful I've never had to deal with any of the illegal stuff which does even nastier things to you, your life, and everything you care about. That stuff is just crazy.
I still think it is possible to "get it all done", without regularly drinking caffeine. I did so in college and I'm confident I can do so again.
My key goal is to stop being a regular caffeine drinker. Hence minor exceptions like the two listed above are ok, since from experience I know that I can "recover" from such event-based lapses quite easily, no headache at all.
This time I'm not going to wait six weeks after stopping before blogging it.
This time it starts today (technically yesterday, as I haven't had any caffeine since Saturday).
Let's see how long I can keep it up.