Saturday, July 16, 2011

Change Throughout Generations

I've thought recently about change and how age and generation can affect how one perceives change. Why do people in the older generations tend to resist change more than the younger generations? Sure the answer may just be that kids are growing and learning and therefore more adept at change, but I think it runs a little deeper.

I think it has to do, in part, with Moore's Law and the fact that technology in general is improving exponentially. Moore's Law basically states that computer processors will double in capacity (speed) roughly once every 2 years. This is exponential growth, which means that the rate at which it increases in constantly increasing.

Let me put this into context for you because as humans we often have a difficult time imagining exponential growth. If you take a theoretical piece of paper and fold it over on itself 50 times (which means the thickness of the paper doubles every time you fold it) how thick would the paper be? 100ft? 1 mile? 100 miles?

Answer: The average piece of printer paper, #20 weight, is 0.0038 inches (or 0.097mm). That means that 0.0038 x (2^50) = 4,278,419,646,002 inches or

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

World Cup Action

As you hopefully know, the 2010 World Cup is on right now. This is the first World Cup event that I've paid any attention to. Soccer seems to becoming more popular here in North America.

I've watched a number of games, and even woke up early (and missed parts of work) to watch some of the games. Today, however, I have decided to get together with my friend Zach and watch the game together. He has DVRed both the Germany game and the USA game that was on this morning. We've got a whole evening planned around it. The only problem is that to have as much fun watching the game later on, we need to make sure we don't know who won the game.

I've got a number of sports fans in the office, and a large part of my job is watching Twitter and Facebook. This combination makes it very difficult to not know the results. Both Zach and I have made a commitment to not find out the score.

I have posted a sign at my desk, asking people to not tell me the score. I sent out an email to my coworkers to ask them not to talk about the game around me and I have been wearing head phones listening to loud music all day. So far, so good as I still haven't a clue as to the outcome of the games.

I feel very much like the How I Met Your Mother gang in the episode "Monday Night Football" where they all tried to not find out the score of the Superbowl one year so they could watch it together the next day. Ted even created the Sensory Deprivation 5000, which, if you haven't seen the episode is so amazing.

Only 1.5 hours of work left, and I should be generally home free.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Back to the Future - Sweded

If you haven't seen the movie Be Kind, Rewind, I am going to suggest you stop reading this post, rent the movie, watch it and then finish reading this post.

Fresno has a film festival dedicated to sweded movies. It is appropriately called Swede Fest, and the fifth iteration was recently held in the Tower District.

Nick Blanchard and I decided we would participate, and about a week before the entries were due we chose our movie. Back to the Future would be our assignment. We each took a half of the movie and adapted the script so the entire video would be about 5 minutes.

This is our Swede:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Transit-Oriented Development

As I am becoming more and more interested in urban planning and how it affects so much of our daily life I am learning a lot about transit-oriented development.

If you have a few minutes watch the video below.

This video is a short and inspiring summary of what transit-oriented development is and means to a community. Portland has done a great job in taking the issue of smart urban planning seriously and it can only help the city going forward.

One of my favorite quotes from the video is "If you no longer have to escape the public world you perhaps don't need quite as big a private domain." When suburbanites talk about urban living one of their first arguments is usually that they don't want to be packed like sardines into a small area and they need their own yard/etc. But one of the problems in suburbia is that there are very few good public places and everything that is public is so spread out and lacks a feeling of community. If public places are more welcoming then it is not as necessary to avoid them.

Via Fast Company.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Summer of Weddings #1

I haven't attended too many weddings in my life. I guess most of my friends (specifically from college) have decided to wait a little longer to tie the knot. Last weekend that trend has changed. I have 4 or 5 weddings I will be going to this summer. That almost doubles the number I've attended in the last 15 years!

I was given an idea this week by Kim: document my journey through all these weddings this year/summer on my blog. The point is not to critique these weddings, as they will all be wonderful in their own unique ways. The goal is to point out the many differences in these weddings, and discuss what I felt made each of these weddings special.

Wedding #1 - Nick & Theresa

My wedding season this year was kicked off last weekend with the nuptials of Nick and Theresa. Friends of mine from Fresno State and the Smittcamp Family Honors College. Nick and Theresa have a really amazing story about their lives and the journey that eventually took them to their wedding day and beyond.

Nick and Theresa's wedding ceremony and reception took place in The Grand on 10. The 10th floor ballroom of the Trade Center/San Joaquin Power building in downtown Fresno. A beautiful location for a wedding because of the view of the city and the newly renovated space. The other nice thing is I only live 7 minutes away (walking!) from The Grand.

The ceremony was great. No long-winded sermons, intimate atmosphere and capped off with the new Bride & Groom partaking in communion. Following the ceremony, the guests moved into the other side of the ballroom where the tables awaited. Both the best man and matron of honor gave toasts, first dances were done and the food was served. The color theme for the wedding party was black & white, with an overarching theme of green for the wedding.

Unique aspects:
  • Instead of a guest "book," Nick had drawn a tree with branches on a large sheet of paper. Guests would touch their thumb onto a green inkpad and leave a thumbprint as a leaf on the tree and sign ontop of the leaf.
  • Photo booth to take your picture and add it to a scrapbook/photo album.
  • Tables were organized by different aspects of Nick & Theresa's life. I was seated at the College Bowl table (as I was a member of College Bowl with Nick).
  • Invitations and wedding programs incoporated a very modern design while subtly utilizing the green color theme.

Highlights (for me):

  • I caught the garter! This was the 3rd garter I have caught, and I've only been to about 6 weddings where I've attempted to catch it.
  • I accidently showed up an hour early (due to an invitation reading error) and was able to help out with "bouncer" duties. I actually helped guide guests when they arrived with gifts, etc.
  • The wedding had some really great design elements.
  • Food was delicious.
  • The view of downtown Fresno was great.

I am very happy for Nick & Theresa and I wish them all the best in the future together.

Next wedding is next weekend, Curtis & Nicole.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

CAHSR - Fresno's Station

California will be getting a station as part of the high speed rail network that is planned for the state. With trains traveling up to 220 miles per hour, high speed rail will move people across this great state very quickly and with a much smaller carbon foot print than other options.

The current plan for Fresno is to have the train come through the city on tracks that are 60 feet in the air! Read Kiel's great blog post talking about the design of the station when considering this extremely tall set of tracks. I find this most intriguing because a)these 60 foot high tracks will be at that level for 12 miles to avoid too large a foot print and b)60 feet is very high, especially considering Fresno only has a handful of buildings taller than this (almost all located within the downtown core).

What do you think?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Investment, Not Spending

If you are at all not sure about the concept of High Speed Rail, please please please read this post from the California High Speed Rail Blog's Robert Cruickshank.

I do want to share a couple of key points that Cruickshank makes that I think are really great.

  1. Things in our country and specifically the state of California must change. The status quo is not acceptable, and as Americans we shouldn't be content on settling for the same old same old. We cannot stay reliant on gasoline and oil for much longer. Prices are going to continue to raise, and it's going to be harder and harder for people to drive everywhere and anywhere.
  2. "Every HSR system around the world generates operating surpluses (including Amtrak's Acela) and are highly popular with riders." I really dislike it when people think that High Speed Rail will become some sort of political boondoggle when it has been successful throughout the world.
  3. People in the US aren't so different from people in other countries around the world. The misconception of American's exceptionalism is a worldwide issue, because a lot of people in the United States think Americans are different and a lot of people in other countries think the same thing. People think that just because High Speed Rail works in every other country, does not necessarily mean that it can work in the USA. Its true that the US has been very dependent on cars in the last 4 or 5 decades, but I think one of the reasons rail and other sustainable transportation practices have not become as popular here is a lack of options. I have met very few Americans that haven't enjoyed riding trains when given the opportunity. We're all just people, and while there are definite differences between countries and cultures I don't believe there are that many differences between people.
  4. We Americans are not permanently "wedded to our cars." At cheap gasoline prices (even current prices in Fresno, at about $3 per gallon) cars are easy to rely on. When gas prices head closer to $10 per gallon, like many places in Europe, there will be little choice but to ditch our cars and rely on environmentally friendly options such as mass and public transit. It is more the oil subsidies that are creating a reliance on cars than cars themselves.
  5. If High Speed Rail is not built in California it will require the expansion of highways, freeways, airports, etc. with costs much higher than the cost of HSR. It's also important to note that highways don't pay for themselves in this country, and we are one of the heaviest users of automobiles.
If you aren't convinced about the importance of High Speed Rail, what are your reasons?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Downtown Fresno

As you know, I recently moved into the Iron Bird Lofts in downtown Fresno. Exactly one month ago today we moved in and so far it has been great.

These are a few of my favorite things:
  • Raindrops on roses
  • Whiskers on kittens
  • Bright copper kettles
  • Warm woolen mittens
  • Brown paper packages tied up with strings
Some of my favorite things about living downtown:
  • Short walking distance to a couple of cool restaurants/hang out places (Tokyo Garden/Luau)
  • I'm only 1.1 miles from work, and I've even walked once so far and plan on walking much more often in the future
  • Proximity to Tower District (less than a mile)
  • The Iron Bird Lofts, the units are still filling up, and the Cafe is expected to open up March 1
  • My balcony off my third-story bedroom
  • Proximity to Fresh & Easy, Austin's, Library, Train Station, Yoshi NOW, and the baseball stadium
  • My cool neighbors and all the great people I've met since moving down here
I'm very hopeful for the revitalization of downtown Fresno, I'm putting my money where my mouth is by living here and supporting the business down here. It is very exciting for me to see the progress that is currently being made, and while I haven't lived in Fresno (let alone been alive) the entire time that Fresno has been trying to revitalize it's downtown core, I truly believe that some pretty exciting things are in the works. To name a few:
This is starting to create the perfect storm to push serious change forward, and a number of other things are only going to add to the momentum. The California High Speed Rail station planned for downtown Fresno will be great for the area and will be a great attraction for those looking at working and living downtown.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pecha Kucha Vol. 5 - Fresno

This week was a big week for me as I FINALLY presented at a Pecha Kucha event here in Fresno.

I have had some ideas in the past as to what I would present if I ever decided to do so, so I finally decided to share some of my passion with the people of Fresno.

Watch my presentation here, thanks to James for putting this video together!

I think my presentation went well. I got a lot of compliments, and a fairly boisterous applause at the end (although I think I am attributing that to the 10-20 friends in the audience). My height was a disadvantage during the presentation, as I was probably the tallest presenter, and the mic was a little short (and I didn't bother raising it up). But overall I am very glad I presented, and I am looking forward to the the next time I can present.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

My New Home

I have been interested in downtown Fresno for a while now, and I have been very interested in the possibility of moving to one of the many new lofts that have been and are currently being built in the downtown core. My roommate and I finally decided to take the leap last week and we applied for and were approved to move into a 2-bedroom flat at the Iron Bird Lofts.

Just this past Tuesday the first residents started moving into the lofts, check out this ABC 30 news story about the lofts.

There is a lot happening right now with the revitalization efforts of downtown Fresno. I truly believe that the direction the process is going is very positive, and I can't wait for my new home downtown to flourish with people, culture, activities, and art.