Category Archives: Personal

12 Days

This is a great (hilarious) a cappella rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas”…

By the Grace of a Good Doctor

My grandfather passed away last week after a long, drawn-out illness. Eariler today, my cousin found this blog post about him. We’re all incredibly proud to learn about the lives he touched.

Outsourcing Your Life

I’m reading a couple of articles by Ryan Norbauer on 43 Folders, a great site for personal organization junkies. (Not that I’m one of those…)

Ryan’s most recent article is about his paperless life, and though I love the concept, I’m a little scared by the recommendation for the $400 scanner.

I also found another article about how Ryan uses outsourcing to enhance his personal and professional life. He uses GetFriday, an online service which supplies him with a personal assistant in India. Ryan outsources lots of menial, time-wasting tasks to his assistant Suresh. the thought is very interesting and very provocative.

The business uses for GetFriday made a lot of sense, but every time he suggests outsourcing personal tasks to Suresh, I shudder:

He does all sorts of one-off research, such as finding contact information on the net, and he even once called around Boston for me to find out which Starbucks was open latest. (I got the results in a meticulously-prepared spreadsheet.)


When I get an iPhone, for example, I imagine that I’ll be calling Suresh less frequently to look up little tidbits of info on the internet for me while I’m out and about. (Right now, it’s actually far less painful to call someone in India and ask them to search the internet than for me than to wrestle with my Treo’s nearly unusable browser.)

At the end of the article, Ryan does address the elephant in the room. It feels unsettling and imperialist for rich Americans to send all their boring, menial work to underpaid assistants in India or China. Ryan’s argument against this is pretty strong. He argues that it’s a situation of comparative advantage: the developing world has a surplus of labor, so there’s nothing unnatural about sending work to them. The alternative is to let them “sit around twittling their thumbs in relative poverty,” which doesn’t help either side. By sending them work — even tasks like “sit on hold with Dell for an hour” — we’re actually doing something about the income inequity, and transferring little bits of our wealth to the developing world. I’m not sure whether I’m convinced, but I encourage you to read the article and check it out yourself.

What do you think — are these indeed reasons to sending more personal tasks to India? Or is Ryan just rationalizing America’s laziness?


I felt it too — my first since moving to the Bay Area.  But it felt much less intense than other reports I’ve seen online, like this one.  Maybe it’s because I was napping on the couch at the time…


I'm going to WordCamp

Yesterday I registered for WordCamp 2007, a conference dedicated to the software that runs this blog. It sounds pretty interesting: the first day is going to feature presentations about blogging with WordPress, and the second day focuses on WordPress development. It’s coming up next weekend here in San Francisco. If you see me there, say hi!

Plus ça change…

Plus ça change,
Plus c’est la même chose
The more that things change,
The more they stay the same.

I’ve been on vacation for the past week, visiting friends back in Washington, D.C. Last night I saw Rush in concert at the Nissan Pavilion in the Northern Virginia suburbs. It was an excellent show, but that’s not why I’m writing. I had a personal epiphany thanks to one of their songs.

The quote above is from the chorus of the song “Circumstances,” which Rush played at last night’s show. It’s one of my favorite songs, and this tour is the first time they’ve performed it since 1980. As I was listening to the song, I realized that quote summed up my life as of yesterday.

The last time I saw Rush was in August 2004. That show ended with “Limelight,” and this show began with “Limelight.” My life has changed so much in those 34 months, yet so much has stayed the same.

That day in 2004, I was getting over a crush on someone who I thought I’d never see again. Eventually we did see each other again, and we even were able to hang out while I was in Washington this week. In fact, I developed a mini-crush again, but I knew it was futile since I was returning to California today. So last night I was fretting about it — not significantly, but again, “the more that things change…”

Even more generally than that: what all has happened in my life since 2004? I quit my job, sold my condo, and moved to California. I started grad school. I found a great internship with Apple which I’m starting tomorrow. It’s all pretty life-changing stuff. Yet I was back at the Nissan Pavilion last night, watching Rush, with one of my closest friends from high school.

The more that things change… the more they stay the same.

I'm done!

I’m done with my first year of grad school! One year down, one to go…