Weeks of August 15 and 22

I skipped a week because I was traveling for work. I was in San Francisco for a team meetup. We spent some time working at Automattic’s SF office, explored the city, ate some great food, visited bookstores, and hit a few tiki bars. Some highlights:

  • Catching up with old friends in Walnut Creek
  • Tea leaf salad at Burma Superstar
  • Chicken kelaguen at Prubechu
    • Currently looking for recipes to make this at home
  • Peking duck pockets and the eggplant at China Live
  • Expert book recommendations at Borderlands
  • Great tacos from Taqueria Cancun
  • Bahn Mi from Vietnamese grocery stores and lotto outposts
  • Paninis at Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe
  • Walking through Golden Gate Park
  • Beat poetry at City Lights
  • Views from Alcatraz. The prison itself isn’t much more interesting than Eastern State in Philadelphia and the flies are a scourge, but the views of the bay and city are great.
  • Coastal Redwoods at Muir Woods
  • Tiki bars
    • Smuggler’s Cove – Best drinks and bartenders. Cool ambiance, but could use a good deep cleaning.
    • Tonga Room – Very cool ambiance and vibe, but the menu is stuck in the late 70s. The band plays in a boat in the pool/lagoon. Occasional indoor thunderstorms. Service is on par with other old institutions. I suppose classics are so for a reason.
    • Pagan Idol – Would be a great tiki bar in most other cities, but the drinks are overshadowed by other tiki bars here in SF. Tonga Room does the classics better and Smuggler’s Cove has more inventive new drinks. Well run and clean, but has a finance bro vibe.

Views from the Automattic office in the Mission:

There are some lowlights, too. The poverty and homelessness in SF is everywhere and it is heartbreaking. I saw people with monkeypox, terrible drug addictions, and mental health struggles, all in the course of a pretty normal walk from the office to the hotel. It made me even more thankful for our homes, jobs, family, and friends.


I love seeing a landscape below when flying that I recognize. I’m a definite window person. This trip I saw the Bear Mountain Bridge and Peekskill Bay, the Lorain lighthouse, and the islands in Lake Erie.


This was my first trip away from Charlie and that was much harder than I thought it would be. I missed that little boy so much and spent the entire weekend with him when I got home. Swinging, lots of playing outside, snuggle naps, and backyard picnics. Salve for the soul.

We tried to video chat early in the trip, but he got upset, which made me feel terrible. Later in the trip he was saying “Dada” a lot, so we tried to video chat again and he smiled when he saw me.

He is currently snoozing on me while I type this.

His balance is getting great. I bet he will walk in the next couple weeks.


Rob Felty, a fellow A12 (that is short for Automattician, someone who works at Automattic) writes and posts annual reports each year. I like that idea and may give it a try.


It is that time of year where every empty storefront seems to transform into a Spirit Halloween store. The Spirit operations team must be incredible. Securing short-term leases, setting up full stores with all that entails, interviewing, hiring, and training local staff to run these stores, getting merch to these locations by September, then shutting down after October. Year after year, with enough margins to stay profitable. If any Harvard Business students are looking for a master’s thesis topic, here it is.


We froze 8lbs of tomatoes so far and have probably 8lbs more to freeze or make sauce with. I’m going to freeze the okra for gumbo. Tomatillos are getting turned into salsa verde.

Jalapeños are taking off after struggling most of the season. I plan to let them turn red on the plant and then smoke and dry them to make chipotles, which I’ll preserve in adobo sauce.

I harvested the white potatoes from the grow bags on Saturday. Some big ones, but not as much by volume as the red potatoes we harvested last month. Still better than I expected. I think I’ll try some bigger grow bags next year.


Reading

I read This is How You Lose the Time War on the plane ride and listened to more of The Confusion. I visited two excellent bookstores in SF and brought home more books to add to my to-read list:


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