Slides, stomping, swinging

“Let’s be spontaneous,” I said last weekend.

As the words tumbled out of me, I knew how it was very unlike me. I never was the one to suggest spontaneity. I rarely if ever was the one to pull someone else by hand to “let me show you something”. I don’t shout in glee from speed, with air blowing through my messy hair.

But there it was. A momentary glimpse past my usual reserve. A sudden desire for temporary ecstasy. In pursuit of delight.

We got there, but it was closed. So no slides.

Earlier, we walked past a swing. I did not mention my hesitation on getting on—not wanting in the spotlight, but also desiring to swing freely through the air. Faster, higher! Is that what would go through my mind? Push me!

Instead, I scampered up to the destination of the slides and scampered back down.

We made it! I said in delight.

Familiar notes stopped me

As I walked down the stairs, I heard the familiar melody. He was strumming a recognizable series of chords on the guitar.

I hesitated for a moment as I pulled out my wallet to tap my transit card into the BART. As the chords continued, nostalgia tugged at me. Vague memories of unrequited love, difficult friendships in college, mistakes, successes…all these emotions…flashed before me. In mere seconds.

Then he started singing, “Kaaar…ma police”

Not quite the same as Thom Yorke, so I continued into the station. But I found myself wanting to relive those moments in college again.

Who is your top 4?

Or top 6?

As I sat listening to today’s UX talk, I wondered who they were.

It’s easy to answer why I do what I do. Why user experience? they may ask. Because I am fascinated with people, I say.

But realistically, it’s because I want to learn more about myself. I want to know why I am the way I am. And there’s hope inside me…that by other understanding others, I can understand myself.

I glanced around the room when the speaker made the conclusion. There are 4 people that are close to you. Sometimes 6, but usually 4. There are usually 4 that you participate with the most on Facebook…each day.

Is it your spouse? Your sibling? Your roommate? Someone you consider your best friend? A classmate? A neighbor? A coworker?

And most importantly, is it mutual?

What I learned in Vegas…and CES

  • There is something special about the air in Vegas—it sucks you dry during the day, makes you hungry all the time, mysteriously leeches dollars from your credit card, and it…makes you always late
  • Booth babes…very occasionally can speak proficiently about the product they are promoting
  • There is always a way to get great seats at a sold out show
  • It will take an hour to get anywhere in Vegas. Never have back-to-back meetings
  • Don’t rely on mobile reception for anything during CES
  • The wireless at the Venetian (even in the lobby) is the worst thing ever, but there’s no way you can talk out of the “resort fee” they charge to your room
  • Eat at Bouchon for breakfast. As often as possible.
  • The fullness you have after a buffet only lasts three hours even though you think that you stuffed yourself for about a week
  • Always bet on black
  • Take an airport shuttle. The executive shuttle is $6 while every other shuttle is $7.
  • Leave for the Las Vegas airport about 90 minutes before your domestic flight or else you’re going to waste a lot of time at the gate
  • Even if it’s convenient, there’s a $3 surcharge for credit/ATM card in all Vegas cabs
  • Expect excellent service at all the restaurants
  • Thinner is the standard trend at CES
  • Schwag is not the trend at CES
  • Always enter every prize drawing.
  • It will take at least an investment of 10 minutes at a booth to get to know the product. Don’t waste your time if you’re not interested.
  • Always say yes
  • Be selective of your time with home theater experiences—they’re always not that great
  • CES is focused more on hardware than software. So it’s unlikely that you’ll run into great software on the floor
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Walk on the carpet of booths as much as possible to give your feet a rest
  • Take off your lanyard once you leave CES. The rest of Vegas despises CES attendees since it brings down the general business
  • There is a Zombie Apocalypse Store off the strip. Go.
  • Make reservations for dinners. It’s impossible to walk in unless it’s casual dining.
  • Big hotel rooms are meant for sharing
  • Bring your phone charger with you and try to charge your phone as much as possible
  • 2011: Photo

    Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

    Tomato Battle!

    2011: Everything’s OK

    “Let me tell you something,” she started and she said something that suddenly clarified everything. Last year, it was an action of committment and this year, it was a moment of clarity, sincere belief and friendship

    What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

    The following day, I was planning to do a century bike ride so I had invited Joe and his girlfriend out to dinner. Pasta dinner to be exact at Valencia Pizza and Pasta. Earlier in the day, I had been moping about my demise, my agony, what I perceived as self-destruction. I needed comfort from my best friends and I sought Joe.

    As our pasta arrived in the restaurant, we chatted about innocuous subjects—the awkwardly 90s-like patrons around us, how I was expected to make balsamic dressing by myself with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, their plans over the holidays, the funny comic Carolyn drew posted on Facebook and the incredibly delicious garlic bread.

    And then I described my dilemmas. I drew a picture in the air, waving my hands. I imitated the past conversations—the words said and the words forgotten. I could fear the tear inside me, the stabbing wound…as I continued lamenting.

    Joe comforted me with his funny comments—his hilarity that I always appreciated in the midst of disaster.

    But then Carolyn stopped Joe. She gave me a long stare across the table. I always had difficulty in connecting with her, always trying my best to connect with my close friend’s girlfriend. “Let me tell you something,” she started. “This is always consistently true: 99% of men are stupid.”

    Joe laughed, “I don’t think that I am the 1%.”

    I paused for a second, contemplating…swirling the spaghetti around the plain tomato sauce and bits of meatballs.

    “Why yes,” I said. “You are so completely correct.”