ifindkarma. elegance is refusal.

June 8, 2010

We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

“We are feedback loops; we are the stories we tell ourselves…”
~ Doc Jensen on LOST  

“He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder…”
~ M.C. Escher

In the beginning, there was nothing but darkness. We all were one.

And then we said, “Oh haiLet there be light.


And then we LOOK closer and more carefully. We could see that there was nothing. Which is a funny thing to say because sometimes words are inadequate, and sometimes words have two meanings.

And then expansion started… Wait!

And we added things. And the universe expanded. And we added more things. And the universe kept expanding to accommodate adding more things. And everything was awesome. Fundamentally.

It might seem like everything was added randomly. And perhaps that is the case. But that’s not what we believe.

We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

This idea was kept in the dark for billions of years. Instead, the reigning belief was detachment: “I don’t really want to know how your garden grows, ’cause I just want to fly.” And so, we lived forever…

…and life was but a dream. Edgar Allan Poe waxed poetic, “All that we see or seem… is but a dream within a dream.” (Thanks Ankita!)

And we thought about the words of Rumi…

We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe would appear on the mirror of your

They say there is a doorway from heart to heart, but what is the use of a door when there are no walls?

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.

And the Primitive Radio Gods whispered quietly in the corner…

Am I alive, or thoughts that drift away?
Does summer come for everyone?
Can humans do what prophets say?
If I die before I learn to speak,
can money pay for all the days
I lived awake but half-asleep?

Suddenly we woke up with a kick. And we were no longer detached when we woke up with the idea. Not to spoil Inception, but merely to praise Inception:

What’s the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules.

For our idea, Douglas Adams offered enlightenmentSpecifically, Dirk Gently illuminated us.

I’m very glad you asked me that, Mrs Rawlinson. The term `holistic’ refers to my conviction that what we are concerned with here is the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. I do not concern myself with such petty things as fingerprint powder, telltale pieces of pocket fluff and inane footprints. I see the solution to each problem as being detectable in the pattern and web of the whole. The connections between causes and effects are often much more subtle and complex than we with our rough and ready understanding of the physical world might naturally suppose, Mrs Rawlinson. Let me give you an example. If you go to an acupuncturist with toothache he sticks a needle instead into your thigh. Do you know why he does that, Mrs Rawlinson? No, neither do I, Mrs Rawlinson, but we intend to find out. A pleasure talking to you, Mrs Rawlinson. Goodbye. 
    — Douglas Adams, Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency

And then Tim Berners-Lee — or was it Dan Connolly? — distilled the words to their essence:

We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

And then Jamie Zawinski reflected on the Vannevar Bush-influenced words of Ted Nelson:

Intertwingularity is not generally acknowledged —
people keep pretending they can make things deeply hierarchical, categorizable and sequential when they can’t.

Everything is deeply intertwingled.

And then the Internet developed its own connective tissue. Which itself is unsearchable.

And then I couldn’t believe what happened next. Free association. Say what? We’ll see.

…continuing. LOOKWe didn’t start the fire. America, fuck yeah. Freedom isn’t freeTerrible Disney lessons. The virus of faith2000″ TVYou’re the man now, dawgBlue ball machine. Facebook is a lobster trap, and your friends are the baitTrue happiness comes from within. It comes back to you, you’re gonna get what you deserve… lovin’ is what I got, remember thatThe ride does not require an explanation, just occupants. Imitation of lifeNoah’s photosI’m expressin’ with my full capabilities, now I’m living in correctional facilities. Now let me welcome everybody to the wild wild west… California love… Regulators!!! I want it all: brand new socks and drawers. Why do I live this way? Heeeey, must be the moneyAlright stop, collaborate and listen. How can I find a woman like that? Guitar: impossibleFrench bulldogs. OMG pwnies. Ready, set, bagSpeak with meMeditate. Mediate. Kick. Things that make you go hmmmShow me how to dance. Alejandro. Ra ra ra ah ah ah roma ro ma ma gaga ooh la la. Cameron Diaz dancesStephen Hawking rocks. Time travel is horrifyingOuter space sucksCrumbling cities. Pink housesIconic bras. Mad menAh, l’amourDisney perversionsEpisode 200. And 201. FreedomUnconscious trumps free will. Disney deathsSerial killers. Corporate slogans. At-atCanned unicorn meatWhat if you’re wrong? The purpose of purposeThe empathetic civilizationEmma BatesQualia. Reid HoffmanHegel’s philosophy of history. The unexplainable. Time-traveling brandy thievesLife on Mars. LOST. The Little Prince.

I love The Little Prince. Whi
ch reminds me of some of my favorite words that Robbye Bentley has posted recently

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” ~ Og Mandino

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Life and Jah are one in the same. Jah is the gift of existence. I am in some way eternal, I will never be duplicated. The singularity of every man and woman is Jah’s gift. What we struggle to make of it is our sole gift to Jah. The process of what that struggle becomes, in time, the Truth.” ~ Bob Marley

“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.” ~ Stephen Covey

Thank you, Robbye. I have some favorites of my own, too.

The words of Rumi echo in eternity, “The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe would appear on the mirror of your perception.”

Which takes me full circle…

Three things in human life are important: The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” ~ Henry James

Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for” ~ Bob Marley

I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

If success or failure of the planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do… How would I be? What would I do?” ~ R. Buckminster Fuller

We are all connected to each other, in a circle, in a hoop that never ends. How high can the sycamore grow? If you cut it down, then you’ll never know…” ~ Colors of the Wind

And Scott Adams said, “The best you can hope for in this life is that your delusions are benign and your compulsions have utility.”

So it goes…


And then a lot of peoples’ brains exploded. Such is rock n roll.

And then we rested. Or at least, we tried to relax and breathe and reflect

And appreciate that nothing can ever be truly, fully understood. Seriously.

Still, three fundamental questions remain:
  1. If everything is everythang, are being and becoming just limited beings’ perspective of the oneness?
  2. If happiness is part of the oneness, why is it so difficult to be here now and connect to that happiness?
  3. If lessons are repeated until they are learned, is learning just finding the right connection to the oneness?

And are there things we can never learn? We’ll see.

If some connections cannot be made, perhaps there is no spoon at all.

If Internet is the substrate for interconnectedness of all things, perhaps The Architect knows.

And are there things that cannot be taught? Richard Feynman refuses to explain how magnets work. Feynman concludesI really can’t do a good job, any job, of explaining magnetic force in terms of something else you’re more familiar with, because I don’t understand it in terms of anything else you’re more familiar with.

Breathing is neither learned nor taught. It just is. And yet sometimes we must remember to breathe. And to be here now. And to be grateful for every breath.

And then when that gratitude gets us reflecting about the meaning of life, we learn to let it go; this too shall pass

It’s one who won’t be taken, that cannot seem to give, and the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live, sang Bette Midler.

So it goes.

Savor every second; enjoy every sandwich, as the dying Warren Zevon put it.

So it goes.

You need to live before you die, said Steve Jobs…

You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have
to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.

So it goes…

It is through death, too, that we make a connection with Randy PauschCon te partiro.

In the end, there is no greater job than enabling the childhood dreams of others.

And in the end, everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

And in the end, only kindness matters.

So we dance. And LOOK. And simplify. And reflect. And breathe.

Which takes us back to the beginning.

And then… Bazinga!

May 17, 2010

Top 10 things on the 10s: Road Food!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — ifindkarma @ 8:30 pm

I still have several On the 10s road trip posts to do, so let’s get motivated again with our ten favorite foods on the trip.??

Note that I’m using our Flickr streams because Facebook upload failed for me five hundred times (no thanks to AT&T and the Facebook iPhone app!) and then iPhone lost all my photos before I could upload them conventionally. (Aside: I’m gettin’ an Evo!!!)
Meanwhile, anger management tip: GET OUTSIDE AND BREATHE…
Ok, let’s go to a Happy Place where Road Food is key to having a damn good time…??and being awesome.
Note that in future blog posts we’ll actually write about our adventures (and not just the food!) in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida…
Top 10 Eats On The 10s:
10. West Indies salad, fried green tomatoes, and gumbo!!! Not to mention the oysters… Winztell’s Oyster House, Mobile, Alabama.
9. Minorcan clam chowder, fried shrimp, crab cake, hush puppies, collards, and summer squash casserole!!! Schooner’s Seafood House, Saint Augustine, Florida.
8. Chicken-fried steak and okra!!! Issacks Restaurant, Junction, Texas.
7. Green-chile everything!!! And beer!!! High Desert Brewing Company, Las Cruces, New Mexico.
6. Huevos Rancheros!!! Teresa’s Mosaic Cafe, Tuscon, Arizona.
5. Green Eggs and Ham!!! Huckleberry Cafe, Santa Monica, California.
4. The third course in Emeril’s three-course lunch!!! Emeril’s Gulf Coast Fish House, Gulfport, Mississippi.
3. Fried chicken with butterbeans and cornbread!!! Willie Mae’s Scotch House, New Orleans, Louisiana.
2. Marinara Pizza!!! Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix, Arizona.
1. OMG wtf BBQ!!! City Market, Luling, Texas.
Yay, that’s five top ten Road Trip blog posts down, and five to go. For reference, see also: Susan’s Road Trip Tips / Tuscon and New Mexico / LA and Phoenix / On the 10s Plan / LA Times article. Coming soon: Texas, Louisiana and Misssissippi, Alabama and Florida, Top 10 Observations, and Top 10 Surprises…
And there was much rejoicing!
Just remember, life is short, so taste the local flavor and really *enjoy* it.

April 26, 2010

Bret Michaels & Brain Hemorrhages, The White Apple of Death, and Back in Black

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 5:09 pm

We left on our On the 10s Road Trip??almost two weeks ago (on April 13!), and we have had many, many adventures, many of which I have not yet blogged about because I fall asleep exhausted at the end of every adventurous day!

The blog posts about our adventures after??New Mexico will be coming in the days ahead.

Our blogging in real-time has been complicated by LIVING in the NOW, actually HAVING??the adventures. It was further complicated this weekend when I was stupid enough to LIKE a Jon Stewart clip on Facebook from my iPhone. Let me be the first to say that Facebook LIKE button + iPhone app + AT&T service = The White Apple of Death.

As in, the finger of death I used to do a one-pawed operation (LIKE, fersure!) crashed my iPhone — 48 hours & counting, it won’t reboot, and is stuck on The White Apple of Death:

All the pictures I’ve taken on our Road Trip might very well be LOST if iPhone can’t figure out a way to boot itself. Right now my iPhone’s like a supine bug struggling to get to its feet.

My business partner Joyce of course tells me to just let go. Joyce tweets, “Isn’t the Apple of Death apropos for Death Panda???Let those photos go. Never look back, dahling, it distracts from the NOW!

(Aside: I thought letting go of photos was more the domain of Death Bear.)

So stay tuned for more Road Trip blog posts soon, with or without pictures, depending on whether iPhone resurrects.

In the meantime, 5000 words on Metal Monday.

Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice front runner Bret Michaels, lead singer of heavy metal band Poison, has suffered a brain hemorrhage. As anyone who reads this posterous can attest, aneurysms are front of mind for me.??

But I’m not the only one. Even Megan Kelley Hall says, “not quite sure why I’m obsessed with getting updates on Bret Michaels’s condition, since I’m not a fan of Poison and never watched Rock of Love (but I do really like him on Celebrity Apprentice)… I tell people at my book signings that facing death kicked my butt into achieving my goal of becoming a published author. Do what you’ve always dreamed of doing TODAY. Right now. Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity. Just do it. Make every day count.”

Apparently they can’t find Bret Michaels’s aneurysm with CAT, MRI, or angiogram! So they can’t operate to fix it, and it’s still bleeding. (This is related to Joyce’s aneurysm:??Joyce recently learned that she can’t have an MRI on her head because the metal clips and screws in there could be dislodged by magnetism.)??

The blood from a subarachnoid hemorrhage irritates the brain tissues and can result in an ischemic stroke and permanent brain damage.

Once again we are reminded that the human brain is delicate, fragile, and mortal. We’re made of meat.

On the other hand, being made of meat has its advantages. For example, it gives us great pleasure to listen to heavy metal while on an epic Road Trip. And music just might be the key to redemption and salvation. As Don MacLean said,

Do you believe in rock n’ roll,
Can music save your mortal soul???

It can. More on that soon.

Metal artists fall into two main categories. There’s the moody apocalyptic wailers who flirt with the devil and employ rock n’ roll??to save their mortal souls when all they see is death and destruction and dementia all around them. Metallica, Megadeth, Motorhead, and those who try to be like them… they’re great for escape when you’re having a shitty day, but not really the stuff for Road Trips.??

Joyce tells me that The Road Trip metal artists are the ones who sing about fucking, having a damn good time, and being awesome. Example: Bret Michaels??injured himself performing Poison’s “Nothin’ but a Good Time” in 2009! These are the folks that Bill & Ted and Wayne & Garth and Beavis & Butt-head are most into, and they revel in being excellent to each other and of course partying on, dudes. Van Halen, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Poison, and the king of them all, AC/DC.

(As an aside, David Lee Roth of Van Halen was accused by critics of writing songs about nothing but sex, partying, and cars, which made him realize he had never written a song about cars! So he wrote PANAMA!)

On our On the 10s Road Trip we listened to a lot of road metal, and AC/DC most of all. And then we came to realize that songs like “Hell’s Bells”, “Rock n Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”, “Let Me Put My Love Into You”, and “You Shook Me All Night Long” all ??came from one, single, spectacular album: BACK IN BLACK.

“Back in Black” is an album that lives at the cross-roads of metal, appealing to BOTH the road-tripping party animals and the broody, dark, in-their-rooms-with-headsets-blasting headbangers. And it was written right after the album named after perhaps the greatest road tripping song since Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild” — namely, “Highway to Hell”!

“Back in Black” is a masterpiece that was in the process of being written exactly 30 years ago — and released July 25, 1980.

What I didn’t realize until now is how important this single album is in the entire canon of music:

1. It is the second-highest-selling album of all time worldwide (behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”).

2. It is the top-selling album of all time by a rock band.

3. Much like Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”, it was never the top-selling album in the United States in any given week. This album has unbelievably steady longevity for almost thirty years — ironic for heavy metal, which in general believes it’s better to burn out than fade away.

4. Many of the guitar licks on this album were original, catchy, and highly influential. It is clear that Bret Michaels listened to “Back in Black” many, many times. And the album still sounds fresh today, 30 years after their initial release. (Even Nickelback and Maroon Five have tapped Mutt Lange to produce a similar sound in 2008… and 2010!)

5. This wasn’t their first album or second album. This was their SIXTH album. It took them that long to get their craft perfect. However, it wasn’t written by a single, cohesive vision from a single person, despite having a grand unified theme. You wouldn’t know it was written by multiple people, but it was. More on that soon.

6. The album is BOTH about sex & partying AND about death. More on that after the video for “Back in Black”.

Bret Michaels’ brothers-in-metal, AC/DC were at a cross-roads in early 1980, and this album might never have been made, because their lead singer and songwriter on their first five albums, Bon Scott, died unexpectedly from alcohol poisoning on February 19, 1980 at the age of 33.

The surviving members of the band considered disbanding following Scott’s death, but they ultimately decided to continue and shortly thereafter hired Brian Johnson as their new lead singer and lyricist.

The group decided to finish the songwriting they had started under Scott and Back in Black was the final result.

According to Angus Young the album’s all-black cover was a “sign of mourning” for Scott, as black is the traditional Western colour of mourning.

That’s right, they turned to rock n’ roll to comfort them in a time of sadness after the loss of their great friend, to write songs about fucking, having a damn good time, and being awesome.

AC/DC could have been torn apart by the death of their great friend. Instead, they used it as their inspiration and motivation, and put themselves completely into their art, and as a result have become ageless, timeless, and eternal:??

Much of AC/DC???s appeal lies in the group???s consistency, its unwavering focus on cranking up the rhythms of early rock into stadium-sized anthems. Although AC/DC has fans of all ages, it is almost unique among ???70s bands in that it never tried to grow up with its audience. The band never experimented with different genres, made an ???unplugged?????album or even recorded a ballad, and none of its songs sound rooted in a particular time.

The group???s raw aggression is as relevant to teenagers who listen to its albums on iPods as they were to those who heard them on record players. ???Back in Black,??? which has sold 49 million copies worldwide since 1980, according to Columbia, could serve as a catchy soundtrack to teenage frustration for as long as it exists.

Radio signals carrying AC/DC’s awesome tunes will traverse the universe for as long as there is a universe.

And still relevant today: AC/DC is featured in such iconic pop phenom’s in 2010 as the entire Iron Man 2 soundtrack and an AC/DC version of “Rock Band”.

Every Monday is Metal Monday, but today especially so. AC/DC inspires us, and Bret Michaels is in our thoughts.

Bret Michaels prognosis??is hard to read: “Worst outcome = death, middle of scale = permanent speech and vision deficit.” I hope he does even better than that. They’re still not sure if it was an aneurysm that caused his brain hemorrhage.

Apparently they don’t know what caused it — just that he was lucky!

To Bret Michaels and your brain hemorrhage: I hope you get well soon, buddy, and hope that this unfortunate situation inspires more heavy metal art. We play “Nothin’ but a Good Time” and think of you:

Want to know more about my thoughts about aneurysms and brain hemorrhages? See also:

1. Death Panda — about the aneurysms of Joyce Park, Craig Johnson, Jill Bolte Taylor, Takuya Kimura, David Mills, and Jerry York.

2. Frequently Asked Questions About Aneurysms — by my business partner Joyce Park, who had a brain hemorrhage last August.

3. Do Aneurysms Strike Type A People More? — a question that has no good answer.

4. Every Aneurysm is a Reminder — to get busy with the business of living your life, NOW.

5. Lessons Are Repeated Until They Are Learned — knowing that our time in this world is limited, we often seek happiness externally, but that is not a good use of time, for happiness comes from within.

From the White Apple of Death to “Back in Black”, one message rings clear and loud:??
Whatever you do and wherever you are, BE WHO YOU ARE, and BE HERE AND NOW.

April 15, 2010

Top Ten I-10 Road Trip Tips, by Susan C. Kim

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — ifindkarma @ 10:06 pm
Our friend Eric Barker??has a friend Susan C. Kim, who we asked for travel tips as we road trip on the 10s tour. Thank you Susan for this wonderful reply!!!

Advice on driving the 10? Well, I’ve never done it, but I can say:

1. Don’t sleep at rest stops at night

2. If you do, lock your car–and your pants

3. Never think you can wait until the next gas stop; could be 100 miles away

4. Driving sleepy is more dangerous than driving drunk

5. Don’t road rage with the locals (I learned this the hard way in rural Texas)

6. Take photos of everything, back it up on a hard drive every day, and and log every thought you have (could be useful later) and back that up too

7. If you drive with the window open, your left arm will get tan, which is cool if you like that

8. Don’t kill your co-pilot bc then you have to figure out where to dump the body

9. Bad things that happen make for good stories

10. But don’t make any shit up

Best of luck!


About Susan C. Kim: “I write for a living. About food, travel, home design, the environment, and lifestyle news features. For several years, Coastal Living hired me as its W. Coast Editor and Features Writer. I produced stories, photo shoots, and generally spent alot of time with sunscreen on. Now I’m a free agent, thinking and writing at will. My published stories include those in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, TIME, California Home + Design, Sunset Magazine, CNN.com, Where Magazine (San Francisco), California State Visitor???s Guide, AOL Travel Guide, Pregnancy Magazine, AcuraStyle, Hyphen, GlobalChefs.com, and Coastal Living. I’ve appeared on television and radio to discuss lifestyle topics, and have also developed recipes for Select Magazine, Culinary Trends, and the Asian Grandmother???s Cookbook. Health Magazine and the Chicago Tribune covered the story of my career switch from attorney to writer. Do I ever regret making the jump? Hell no.”


Top 10 things on the 10s: Tucson and New Mexico.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — ifindkarma @ 9:48 pm

We woke up early on Day 2 of our On the 10s Tour, and headed out from Phoenix to Tucson for breakfast and a visit to Saguaro National Park. The rest of the day was spent uneventfully racking up the miles through New Mexico and a little bit of Texas, which we drove into this morning at midnight.

This post is dedicated to the thousands of bugs who gave their lives to decorate our windshield

1. Saguaro National Park was resplendent and full of life, but as we suspected it does not meet the criteria for a national park because it is not unique or irreplaceable. If Yosemite or the Grand Canyon disappeared one day, the world would be bereft; but if Saguaro NP did not exist, I suspect the slack would be filled just fine by the adjoining state parks and the Desert Museum — plus half of Arizona has saguaros in their backyards anyway. So it’s enjoyable if brutally sunny, obviously one of the easiest National Parks to visit since it’s basically in the city limits of Tucson, and has VERY short nature trails that should be accessible for anyone… but a legit national park it’s not.

2. Things we learned about the Sonoran desert:
* It is one of the most complex and spectacular of the desert ecosystems
* Desert Museum (pwns) Saguaro National Park
* Javelinas are not piggies
* Bats pollinate saguaro flowers with their tongues!

3. Green chiles are ubiquitous in New Mexico and Arizona. You can get them on everything: stew, burgers, chicken sandwiches, cornbread, cheese fries. And green corn tamales! Teresa’s Mosaic Cafe in Tucson makes them fresh and delicious with strips of green chile. And the best huevos rancheros I’ve ever had. We were so impressed we named our Googlephone’s voice navigation system after her.

4. Teresa (our aforementioned from-the-future-to-save-our-lives Android HTC Google Nexus One voice nav system) is teh awesome and a Garmin killer and one of the main reasons Android is so great! She shouts out directions as you need them!! Now when she says, “In a quarter mile, turn right on Main Street”, we say “Thank you Teresa” and think subconsciously of Teresa’s Mosaic Cafe’s handmade tortilla station.

5. Google Maps directions on AT&T iPhone are unusably slow, buggy, and always failing at just the wrong time. Sprint Mobile Hotspot + Nexus One voice nav is 1000 times better. Teresa gives just as bad directions, plus she doesn’t give much advance notice — but she recovers very well if you miss a turn, and updates the new directions in real-time. As calming as a Teresa’s Mosaic Cafe green-chile corn tamale.

6. On every road trip there is a moment when you are tired, hungry, and your plans fall through — and for us it was last night’s attempt to eat dinner at a place in Las Cruces called Nellie’s diner. Nellie’s hours weren’t on Yelp, Roadfood, TripAdvisor, or Google. (We have since posted them on Yelp.) We tried to call but got a busy signal, so we didn’t discover that they close at 2PM until we arrived at 8PM. This is when your mobile smartphone can save your bacon. Joyce and I raced to find a new
dinner spot using our favorite local websites: I tried Yelp + Foursquare + Gowalla, but Joyce handily won with Google Local and the search term “green chile”. High Desert Brewing Company turned out to be across the street and had much better food than you’d suspect from the somewhat rowdy bar ambiance.

7. Sprint was no good in the big empty stretch between Tucson and the middle of Texas. Without EVDO, Joyce could not get email, use the web, or upload photos on her Palm Pre — just voice and text. And we still haven’t gotten 4G anywhere.

8. Car chargers saved our asses several times yesterday. Get one for every critical mobile device you’re road-tripping with or your gadgets will sleep at the exact worst moment.

9. Trying to find a last-minute motel room on the road, coupons in gas station pamphlets still get you far better deals than real-time searches on your mobile. And make sure to have your AAA card with you at all times! Because you never know when your car is going to omit water and Twitter will only get you so far.

10. Most smart phones still suck as phones — especially with Bluetooth pairing (via Jawbone and Blue Ant, which are the two very best) contributing to lag, ??dropped words, and garbled sentences. Phone calls to family and friends have been so frustrating! When will there be a great mobile phone that works well for voice? Palm and Android offer the most hope… but for now they’re just OK. And make us very happy we’re hauling so many devices on our road trip!

I’ve got my customized “On the 10s”??Zazzle shirt on, and next up is Day 3: driving through Texas on Tax Day (which is also Joyce’s birthday!). Unexpected torrential rains and expected OMGwtfBBQ to come…

See also: On the 10s Tour / Day 1: LA and Phoenix / LA Times article

April 14, 2010

Top 10 things on the 10s: LA and Phoenix.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — ifindkarma @ 6:23 pm

In accord with the theme of our On the 10’s road trip, we’ll be blogging our Top 10 observations every day, yay!

Before we do, BIG THANKS to LA Times‘ Jessica Guynn for writing about our Road Trip as we were driving through LA!

Now, on to the Top 10 list.

First leg: Palo Alto to the start of Interstate 10 in Santa Monica to Phoenix. The highlight? Pizza!

1. Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, AZ. Allegedly the best pizza in America, and totally worth the 3.5 hours we waited for a table (tip: Bar Bianco, in the next building, has no sign). Short and exceedingly strict menu: only two appetizers (grilled veg and spiedini, both very worthwhile), half a dozen of the most delicate pizzas you’ll ever see, and maybe a salad or two. You must try the marinara pizza if you get nothing else… the chef says marinara is the most severe test of his art, because it’s nothing but gently hand-tossed wood-brick-fired crust and a light tomato sauce — no cheese, nowhere to hide. Come before 4PM or after 9pm, or you will wait a long time for such a great pizza experience.

2. Chicks dig the Overdrive mobile wireless hotspot! Sprint had decent 3G coverage all the way from Palo Alto to Phoenix, but 4G which is allegedly available in Phoenix did not work at all and it regularly threw the iPad and Nexus One off the networks. Plants vs Zombies took half an hour to download in the middle of downtown Phoenix. AT&T’s coverage was spotty at best, and we still haven’t gotten the Palm Pre Plus working on Verizon :(.

3. We Tweeted via text message all day long, and Twitter appears to have lost 100% of our updates. 100% packet loss! This was doubly frustrating because our friends expected updates, and started texting and calling when they couldn’t see our current status. Facebook status OTOH was flawless, immediate, and highly interactive.??I did most of my replies yesterday on Facebook, not Twitter.??

4. The History Museum in Phoenix closed and was merged with the science museum. 😦

5. Big ups to the photo flash on the Palm Pre and the Blackberry Curve. iPhone and Nexus One found the restaurant too dark for pizza photos.

6. Huckleberry Bakery in Santa Monica, CA. The maple bacon biscuit is not a biscuit, it’s not even a scone… it’s basically a hunk of shortbread with bacon bits and maple glaze. The essence of biscuits is evanescence: a puff of steam should come out when you crack one open, and they should be fluffy. Green eggs and ham, on the other hand, was as good as we remembered. Not only is the combination of ingredients intriguing and tasty, but each one (sunnyside eggs, pesto, arugula, house made English muffin, prosciutto) was perfectly prepared for this purpose. Joyce did not eat her English muffin with pesto, so I took it on the road for lunch.

7. Both Pizzeria Bianco and Huckleberry served La Quercia prosciutto. It’s made in Iowa and it’s the real deal, fresh yet complex.

8. Uploading photos to Flickr and Twitpic via email interface were super easy and fast — send and forget — and they both tweet the photo automatically for you. Facebook app on iPhone was an epic fail for uploading photos. Crashed my iPhone for 40 minutes, and uploads took several minutes in LA — thanks AT&T. Not!

9. Google Maps directions were incomprehensible, illogical, or just plain wrong all the time in Phoenix. For instance, Google Maps directions told us to go left to 3rd street to get to 7th street… when they are parallel to each other! Also, Google Maps on the Palm Pre has no automatic saved searches… so for instance if you type in an address but lose connectivity before you arrive there, you’re screwed.

10. Without traffic it took 90 minutes to get out of LA Metro on Interstate 10. Strip-mall sprawl all the way out past Riverside!

See also: On the 10s Tour??and LA Times feature

April 13, 2010

On the 10s Tour.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 7:37 am

April 9, 2010

My bucket list.


2. Drive On the 10s across the USA, coast to coast. DONE

3. Build a successful Internet business and Save the Web.

4. Ride the San Jose Sharks Zamboni.

5. Take a private jet to Hattiesburg, Mississippi so that for once it doesn’t take an entire exhausting day to get there.

6. Write a children’s book based on the many adventures of intrepid, majestic Bob the Cat and his brother Beavis.

7. Make enough money to rent a blimp to take to Chengdu to do #1. And do #5 in good conscience. Dirigibles and private jets are not cheap.

8. Own a successful bar or restaurant where people like to gather. (Update: Working on it.)

9. Stay at Yosemite between Labor Day and Halloween on at least one occasion. Reflect on happiness under the stars.

funny pictures of cats with captions


BONUS BUCKET ITEM. Make enough money to buy the New York Islanders and rename them the Long Island Iced T’s. New logo: polar bears sipping tall drinks

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