La Lengua Shoutouts in NYTimes

The New York Times travel section did a 36 hours in San Francisco piece, and two La Lenguan institutions are featured: the Royal Cuckoo bar and Ichi Sushi.

Ichi Sushi is directly across the street from Chrissy’s apartment in San Francisco, and the Royal Cuckoo is just two blocks away.

La Lengua, for those that don’t know, is a tiny neighborhood that Chrissy’s apartment is in, and where we lived for about two years. It looks like a tongue extending down from the Mission District, and is bordered by the Mission to the north, Bernal heights to east, and Noe Valley to the west. The neighborhood has gentrified over the five years that Chrissy has owned her apartment, and there is an astonishing number of great restaurants, cafes, and bars that have opened up. Combine that with immediate access to freeways, a Safeway grocery store, and the views from Bernal Hill all within a couple of blocks, La Lengua is an absolute gem of a neighborhood.

We loved living there.


If you haven’t yet, keep an eye out for Limetown, a podcast series. Richly produced and scripted, Limetown tells the story of the mysterious overnight disappearance of over three hundred people in a rural Tennessee town.


This is a podcast that you’ll want to wait until there is a sizable number of episodes, then binge listen to them. Wearing headphones. In a dark room. Alone.

Make no little plans

My friend Heather shared this quote from famous city Master Planner Daniel Burnham:

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and our grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty.

Goodbye Lens…and more?

Finally calling it. Time of Death: 3:12PM, Saturday October 3rd. Two years ago, on the second day of a five day hike in Patagonia, my main ‘walkabout’ lens for my old Canon T2i DSLR body went clickas I went to zoom out. Click, click. I couldn’t zoom out. Instead of a 24-105mm lens, it became a ~70-105mm lens. Not very practical for shooting landscapes. I packed it up and it was dead weight for the rest of the trip.

Of course the warranty on the lens expired six months previously. And the cost to ‘evaluate’ the repair was more than half the cost of a new one. An old colleague of mine said if I could take apart an iPod, I could take apart a lens. Probably just a loose screw.

camera repair

I tried to repair it today, being careful and diligent. But then halfway through, two screw heads were stripped beyond repair. Four screws held a bracket down. Two of the them came out without a problem. Two of them just melted at the first turn of the screwdriver. Incredibly annoying, almost like they were sabotage screws.

I tried Dremel-ing a slot in the screw head, but lacked a cutter thin enough given the small screw size. Oh well. Dad said to bring it to India this winter and see if it can be repaired there for cheap.

I was quite serious about my DSLR for a while, but when this lens went down, so did my usage of it. Without a real walkabout lens, my DSLR started to collect dust. Meanwhile, the cameras in my phone just got better and better. More convenient. More immediately sharable. More geo aware.

I’m not sure what’s next with my DSLR, but for now it’ll stay on the shelf.


I write long emails. People have told me for this years, but I keep finding myself doing it anydway. But most people don’t like long emails. They only read the first few and last few sentences of emails.

Now, it’s not always like this. On those hectic days, my notes are quick & on point. But catch me in quieter moments, and the words start flowing. I go into detail, describing context, justifications, motivations, and rationales. There are a handful of people that appreciate this, but most don’t. I enjoy writing, and words have always come easily to me.

I never really understood why people had such a negative reaction to long emails. “If only they’d bother to read them they would understand what I mean so much better!” I’d indignantly retort. Then Chrissy pointed out to me something I hadn’t considered before — it takes most people a lot longer to read my emails than I think it does. So even if they wanted to read my note, it could just be one email out of 50+ they are trying to get through, and they feel they can’t afford to spend the extra time.

I admit, that was a blindspot for me. I knew the explanation made sense, and felt I should’ve realized it earlier. I’ve always been a fast reader, and just didn’t consider the situation from a different set of assumptions.

We all probably have our own blindspots like this. What are yours?

Goodbye, Dean Smith

Dean Smith, legendary basketball coach of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, passed away last weekend. He was 83.

I’ve been to games at the Dean Dome and have endured countless days of fandom by my sisters who are proud Tar Heel alums. But I never learned much about the man until now. Reading about Dean Smith after his passing opened my eyes to just how legendary he was to the game of basketball and his Carolina family.

Apart from coaching the Tar Heels to 11 Final Fours and 2 championships and amassing 884 wins over his 36 year career, Smith also spurred major evolutions of the game itself, and pioneered strategies that are still seen today. He also ran a widely respected program that graduated over 96% of his players. And even more impactful than that, he was instrumental at de-segregating the sport in the South — offering scholarships to African-Americans and going with black students to restaurants to ensure they were treated fairly.

And he did this all with a humility and sincerity not often seen or rewarded today.

Rest in peace, Dean Smith, and thank you.

a thought, a spark