Wednesday, August 17, 2011

You Can't Buy This at the Grocery Store

What you've missed:

  • New job at Stageit as head of engineering
  • Moved to LA
  • New girlfriend, who will be moving in with me in a month
  • New car
  • Car got broken in to and phone stolen
  • New phone
  • A sense of being very far from my friends
I miss Lara and Ian. I miss the peeps from euchre, CJ, Amy, Cathy, Jane, Miles, Greg, and Heidi. I miss knowing a city. I don't miss feeling lost like I did two years ago, I do feel like I've got a direction that works for now. I also continue to impress myself with fluidity with which I can uproot myself, but that doesn't mean the transition isn't fun. I think about Justin and Dmitriy and wonder how they're doing back at Pivotal. I wonder what it's like to be in Alex's shoes running a team at Groupon or how the rest of the Chicago guys are doing these days - I saw Groupon bought Obtiva. I don't miss the cold summers of SF (and don't try to quote me Mark Twain before you go look that shit up), sun in LA is great. I miss the bridges and not driving - traffic sucks. To say that I regret my choice to move to LA would be incorrect. It's different being here, life is change. The only mistake I can make is to fail to adapt.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Fear

I am afraid of snakes, You can't tell me not to be afraid of them; it's in my bones. The same way that I am afraid that I won't be enough. This applies to all parts of life. Afraid I won't be enough as a boyfriend/husband. Afraid I won't be enough as a son. Afraid I won't be enough as a father. Afraid I won't be enough as a friend. And afraid I won't be enough as a technical lead for a company.

It can be a subtle difference between needing approval, and needing someone to tell you that you give them what they need. But that is what probably makes me better than most at the things I do try to be. I am constantly preparing, improving myself, so that when the time comes, they will look at me and say, "Will Read, you are indeed ready, you have shown yourself to be worthy of all the fortunes life has put upon you. Well done."

I know that I am built to do great things, I imagine that we all are, but for me in particular I have the good fortune of also being in a position to realize my potential. I've got great family that lets me be a great son. I've got great friends, and now a great girlfriend. I've also got a great job that exposes me to all kinds of challenges, skill, and opportunities.

I once saw courage defined as "... not an absence of fear, but a willingness to act in spite of the presence of fear." I have been called courageous before - it will not be the last time.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Religion

Given the Christmas season I've been thinking about my own faith lately. It isn't all cohesive, and parts are contradictory, but maybe by writing it down I can start to act on it.

  • I do not believe in an afterlife. I believe that when I die, that will be the end - so it is my duty to make the best of the limited years I've got.
  • I do not believe in a higher power or omnipotent mover. I am uncomfortable with the ideas of a preplanned destiny or predetermined fate. I do believe that some things happen because of the choices I make, and other things just happen. The truly interesting part is how I deal with those events.
  • I believe in evolution. (Especially since I believe in dinosaurs)
  • I believe I should always make the best decision possible given the knowledge and tools I have available at the time. In this way, I live a life without regrets.
  • I believe that my "purpose" is to be happy and, more importantly, to help others find happiness. Human beings have evolved to facilitate spoken communication, written communication, and even our bodies are among the most expressive on earth. Those things are wasted if we all were to live in isolation. Humans have evolved to live together, to form families and friendships and communities.
  • I believe we must work together.
  • I have absolute faith in man kind as a group to do the things that are best for man kind. Individuals still need to earn my trust. And although man kind may be slower to realize its own mistakes and correct them, it does learn, and it does try. 
  • It is for these reasons that I am unthreatened by conspiracy theories. Because humans need to connect, and the more they connect the more they tend to do the right thing for the group, no one person can rule mankind for very long. I believe our forefathers understood this when they created a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. 
  • I believe I am "built" to do something great. It is this feeling that is both comforting and frightening all at once. 
  • I believe I am a better me when I am in a loving relationship. It is different than saying I am incomplete, rather it means that by having a tangible external reason for growth, I grow faster. 
  • And lastly, I believe that when I die, be it soon or late in my years, that those who attend my funeral should be able to look to each other and say, "Will Read lived a full life." That I was unchained by fear, that I said "yes" when opportunity presented itself, that I laughed, and that I loved. And while it should be true that I would accomplish more had I been given more time, no one will think that my life had not yet started - because I am always living it the best way that I see fit. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cable Car - Danger & Doom

This past weekend I was riding the cable car down Powell Street as I've done many times. This time it happened to be raining, and wood breaks on metal tracks only work so well in wet conditions, so we got going too fast and the conductor yells "HOLD ON!" which he does a lot of the time, like when going around a routine corner. I don't react because I hear this all the time.

He pulls the red lever. I have never been on the car when a grip man pulled the red lever up until this point.

I find myself fighting a lot of forward momentum and not a great grip to aide me. I realize that I'm going to clobber my mom in front of me, so I release my grip and let my weight carry me forward - I push out with what is left of my footing and I bend around my mom like a reed in the wind.

I take a few steps on the pavement and come to a stop. Everyone else seems to be okay as well. My mom is freaked out because those few steps are exactly where oncoming traffic could have been, I could have been  a Will-pizza right then. She was understandably concerned. Me? I was excited to have finally seen the red lever pulled because I'm a cable car nerd like that.

In other news, they're shutting down the cable cars starting January 3rd through the Summer of 2011. I might die for lack of cable car action.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Too Much of Everything

The dating scene is kinda crazy suddenly. I had three first dates lined up this week plus I'm hearing from ladies I assumed I'd never hear from again. Some say it's the cold, others say it's the holidays. Whatever it is, I've noticed.

My new "phone" is working out ok. Calls are still kind of rocky, and Google Latitude had me in the East Bay for a day and then in the North Bay for another 24 hours. But I still like the size and functionality. I'm stuck on this one level of Angry Birds though.

I recently got a pep-talk telling me to be the guy who says "yes" to opportunities. And the more I think about it, the more I think I've been saying "yes" a lot more since moving out to California. Kite surfing? Yes! Glass flame working? Yes! Work out three nights a week? Yes! Improv? Yes! Life coaching class? Yes! Learn to snowboard? Yes! Go on a bunch of first dates? Yes! Trip to Egypt? Yes! Bike to work? Yes! And in all this yes saying, I think this is where I feel like I've lost myself. Will Read plays euchre with friends. He fenced like a mo-fo. Will likes to climb artificial rock faces. He blogs a lot more than this guy has been blogging. His shoes are mismatched. He uses tools and makes stuff out of wood. He repairs houses. Where is that guy?

I'm not complaining, I've done some really cool shit in the last 2.5 years. But it's time to re-root. A few months ago when I wrote, everything around me seemed of sand. Now I feel like there's at least some soil, maybe a rock or two near by. I'm grabbing on, and my grip is mightier than ever before.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Big Ass New Phone

I'm writing to you from a new Galaxy Tab from Samsung! It's a seven inch tablet with the android os running on it. Think big iphone or small is the kicker: no voice plan! Yep, that's right. So how do I plan to make and get calls? Well, for starters, lets understand that on average I make 10 calls a month, most about a minute long. And I get about 5 calls a month, same length. So usage is low to begin with. BUT fear not, I'm not off the grid yet. Great products like Google Voice will enable me to keep the same great (415) 894-9455 number you've been not-calling me on for years. And to place those calls, I'll be using Skype, paying 2.3 cents per minute outbound and $6/month to have a number for Google Voice to forward to. In the coming Android OS releases (Gingerbread and Honeycomb) I expect I'll be able to drop the Skype component and just roll with my dainty data plan that only sets me back $30/month. So all told, I've got all this cool stuff in one device:

  • Portability - I can stick it on a big pocket and carry it everywhere without the need for a man-purse
  • Cheap monthly plan
  • Big screen for reading news, comics, websites, etc.
  • Flash support, for watching all the YouTube on the go that I can stand
  • Front-facing camera and flash camera on the back that also takes movies
  • Alarm clock
  • Bluetooth - so I can use a headset (you don't really want to hold a thing this big up to your head)
  • Tight Google integration, where my life is stored anyway (Docs, Calendar, Contacts, Email, etc)
  • Awesome Google Latitude, so you won't have hours of blackouts in finding out where I am. This thing seems to log every minute when I'm mobile. 
  • All the apps and games I loved back on the iPhone
  • Built in GPS with turn by turn directions
  • In a word, everything
This is the device I wanted when I left for college in 1999. One thing that does it all. Now it is in my hands. I love the future!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dream Tech

Welcome to the Samsung Galaxy Tab (! A 7" Android tablet with Froyo, meaning Flash works. It's a $30/month plan for 2 GB of data + texting, no voice plan. I made five one minute calls last month, and only got ten calls in. I don't use the voice. But 7" is a great size for a portable - big enough to type and get around the web reasonably, small enough that it'll still fit in a big pocket (or a purse for the ladies). That dumb iPad you have has to stay at home or ride in a bag.

I don't have to ditch voice completely. Google Voice should work as a phone number for people to call. I should be able to call out from it too, and use Skype as needed. I can also do video calls from this thing with Qik out of the box.

Back to the point, this is an all-in-wonder for reals.

  • TV? via Hulu, check
  • Movies? Check (plus Netflix app on the way)
  • Alarm Clock? Check
  • GPS w/ turn by turn? Check
  • Compass? Check
  • Calendar? Check
  • Email? Check
  • Music? Check
  • Radio? via Pandora, Check
  • Documents? Check
  • Games? Check
  • Output to HDMI? Check
  • Camera? Double check
  • Record video? Also check
I'm already down to an iPhone, MacBook, TV, and a Wii (that hasn't been turned on in months). If I can get a good version of Vim (or if someone wanted to make an Android version of RubyMine, hint hint) I might be able to ditch the laptop too. The future arrives November 14th!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Angry and Alone

I'm worked up about work. It's always a mixed bag in my mind when I get this frustrated because on one hand it means I care, but on the other hand I have the rage because things aren't as awesome as they should be. I realized it is also weird because I can be happy with where I work and displeased with work all at once due to the nature of being a consultant.

Earlier a friend asked me why people don't want to do the right thing at work. I had a lot of strategies for dealing with it, but didn't really answer her question. I think the real reason is that people like me, like my friend, we have this knowledge that work, life, everything can be better. I do not believe everyone has that inside of them. As if some people have already arrived at the destination, and now they're just standing at the baggage claim carousel of life.

It is a curse of sorts - knowing. I long for complacency at times. To be able to say "it is good enough" and never need to add "for now" to the end of that statement.

And it is that way with my dating life too. Right now I just want someone I can nudge awake, and talk it out with. Someone who will have context of my life and understand my frustration. But there is no one, just a big dent on the half of the bed I always sleep on and these few typed characters in the cloud. It's not that I need a friend, or to wake up my parents. I want a peer, an equal, someone to face life with head on.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blogging Less

I'm blogging less these days. Historically that's gone hand in hand with having a girlfriend. However, no girlfriend do I have. I think that means I'm talking to people more, and keeping less inside these days. Interesting.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Will Read: Unlimited

In a similar vein as the sentiment behind "The Summer of Matt", I hereby dub this period of my life "Will Read: Unlimited". You see, I spent the first 29 years of my life figuring out who I am. I did a really good job. I know exactly what makes me comfortable, how to play to my strong suit, and how to roll with the punches. I learned how to be a good moderator, how to never piss off anyone, and how to stop when it hurts.

What I was really learning was my limitations. Some are real, like I'm 5'9". Some are in my head, such as being unable to play a musical instrument. I use to lean pretty hard on my own walls when I didn't know where they were. I failed a lot more back then. And while I don't fail so much these days, I also don't really ever feel like I succeed either - at least not the same way as when you put it on the line and come out on top.

Going forward, my life will be about challenging those limitations that aren't real. I had previously resigned to a life as a skinny punk because it was the path of least resistance. But yet eating right and the right kind of exercise can flip that assumption on its ass; it'll just take more time and money than I've put in to it before. That's what this new period is about, pouring resources in to doing the things that I didn't think I was good enough to do. My name is Will Read. I am good enough to do anything.