我们的样子

我挺久不发博客。因为我用笔在写日记,收集我的记忆。但是想来我的很多记忆也并非属于我自己。所以有空还是写写。

今天刷 Instagram 偶然看到 Alex 的一张全家福照片,他说现在终于成为新西兰公民了。看到他们开心但也随着岁月成熟的样子我真的非常高兴。我非常非常的敬佩 Alex,我曾经觉得他就是那个高不可攀的终极偶像。我们共事只有短短两月,而后就只有很少的交集,他后来也伤感的登上小船漂到了世界一端的那个岛上。

曾经,我辞掉了我幸运得到的第一份工作参加了 Sam Newman 先生的一个创业项目。可是那时的我太不成熟,被项目中的无良人坑了,几个月就丢了饭碗被踢出来了。新婚还不懂事的我觉得这是天大的麻烦,所以发推求工作。Alex 当天就约我出来喝咖啡,也许那是个周日的晚上。我借口不会喝咖啡,他就说可以吃芝士蛋糕——柠檬味的非常好吃——我就更慌忙的推脱完全不懂他说的那个东西是什么。但是我们约了第二天在金湖茶餐厅见面。

和 Alex 相见的那天他在星巴克点了伯爵红茶。对于那时的我来说花掉二十块钱买一包袋茶冲一下热水很是不能理解,但是不明觉厉。对于 Alex 当时用的 Django 我完全不懂,python 也是从来没写过。但是和 Alex 聊天缺让我热血沸腾,不知道为什么,他鼓励我去接受这些看似挑战的新技术,他相信我一定可以马上搞定。而后我就幸运的加入了他的团队,队友还有蚂蚁和二傻。

我记和 Alex 一起工作的那段日子超级有趣,醒着就在看文档实验代码片段和各种配置。因为什么都不懂就写 wiki 给自己备忘。除了和老婆在一起聊天、给她做饭就剩下睡觉和研究技术了。后来我做的事情就是采购服务器,把【好看簿】从一台服务器升级到三台的服务器组。工作很顺利,这是我第一次在家办公,而且让我对在家办公很上瘾。我现在还记得每次和 Alex 见面他都拿着一本皮质的记事本,所有的事情都用笔记录下来,手帐写的非常整齐。他随时都有有趣的点子,听到别人有趣的点子也都记录在本子上。他非常忙,有接不完的电话,是个非常有趣的老板。他说之前在美国做过一个创业项目卖掉了,而后做了几年企业项目,后来就做了这个新的创业项目。他身上那种对工作和生活的激情是我羡慕的,我很想成为他那样的人。他给我看好看簿上他的结婚照,我得知嫂子在微软工作。他们两口子都是信息技术从业者。

后来,另外的挚友给我推荐了 ThoughtWorks 的机会。那次运气很好,通过了面试。所以幸运的得到的和 Alex、蚂蚁、二傻工作的机会就提前要结束了。现在看离开的选择还是对的,加入 TW 是我更大的一个转折点。Alex、蚂蚁、二傻这样好的同事和导师到现在也是难忘的。

看到 Alex 的全家开心加入新西兰的照片我非常开心。看起来真是一家人,每个人颧骨上的强健的肌肉都在描述他们努力生活后开心微笑锻炼出来的清晰轮廓。我们的样子都写下了岁月,我们也都有我们自己亲爱的女儿——美丽的家。这就是我们的样子。

Summer road trip 2017 day 5

Today is the last day of this very trip. We get up at 8AM. It’s because I didn’t figure out how to shut the sun blocking curtain, so the bright sunshine comes to hour hotel room early. Monkeys are energetic like never been on a road trip in previous couple of days. We give them 30 mins of TV time. A bonus of staying in quality hotel is that you have good TV service for kids. So you can lay back at the bed and enjoy your hair to dry after shower.

Because there’s a long drive coming, so we decide to give kids as much delight as we can at morning. We suit them in swimsuit and heads down to swimming pool. The pool is not ready, the pool staff are cleaning the pool by putting new chemicals into the water. He is kind enough to let the kids in the pool room and waiting there. Cleaning pool water is a science, the staff have lots of colorful bottles like a wizard and doing math on paper. He told us that you need certificate for this job and math is very important. After his calculation he told us we need to wait another 15 mins.

When kids can drop themselves into the pool, it’s almost 10AM. There’s another family from Gilroy shared the pool with us. And they have a inflated duck, Flora got a chance to play with it.

Kids loves pool, they enjoy playing with water. And time flies by, we finish the pool hour at 11AM. The hotel’s checkout time is 12PM, so it’s 1 hour pack time. My wife did that already because she didn’t spend the whole hour with us at the pool.

To be honest, indoor pool is cleaner but not as colorful as outdoor pool. The pool staff told us indoor pool is harder to maintain than outdoor one because of high humidity and harder ventilation.

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My wife drive the first 2 hours. We see the beautiful Mount Shasta along the drive, and then found couple of attractions we’d like to enjoy in future road trips.

Beautiful

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The first stop is at nowhere, after 1.5 hour of drive we found a stop of truck drivers. It’s a little wood house looks very old outside. And it looks even older inside, dark and creepy. There’s truck driver sitting in middle of the room enjoy a meal while watching TV. We used the bathroom and found a dressed plastic model in the bathtub. Hannah is scared by this place and refuse to use the bathroom. I encouraged her couple of times and blocking her view to that creepy model so she can finish her job. The owner of this little shop must have good humor and proud of golden time of truck transporting. We took some cane sugar coka-cola and chips and hit the road again.

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Then we had a lunch stop at Redding, CA, and had a lunch at Woody’s brewing, every town have their own brewery. We switched driver after the stop. The weather is melting hot, we are glad that we stay in a air conditioned car.

Any town have its own brewery

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萌沙拉

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How a burger eat a girl

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The whole drive back via I5 took around 6 hours. And we had some Chinese food at Milpitas as a conclusion of the day.

This journal is written 2 weeks after we finish the trip.

Summer Road Trip 2017 Day 5

梁妈妈餐厅

Summer road trip 2017 day 4

Get up from Grants Pass’s Riverside inn early, say 7AM. And I start to think about the trip. It’s about sharing our joy of being closer to nature. And I feel satisfied.

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Hannah shared a bed with me last night, and she sleep lean towards me all night. Every time I woke up, I found I’m sleeping on my side at edge of the bed. Being a parents on the road is hard #LOL

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We have a nice breakfast this morning. It’s a free breakfast from the restaurant, a old couple sitting beside us talked with us all the time. They recommended river trip to us but didn’t know if they have a plan already. That feels like grand parents, they have goodwill but that’s based on their imagination. We also shared what we feel good yesterday in national park, because their son and son’s finance are planning a trip for today. We found “visiting the Visitor center for recommendation” as the best accustom choice for their son & finance.

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The room is on the river side. We found the temperature in Grants Pass is about 90F at day time, so it’s a misinformation that I say the weather is nice here. But we are lucky because we just stay here at night and morning, which have a very nice weather indeed. The river side room should be good for a couple without kids, it’s romantic and easy.

River view room in summer Grants Pass, Oregon

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After the breakfast we put everything include our kids onto the minivan. And then hit the road. No coffee today, because I feel my stomach is sleepless last night due to the extra foods last night.

After 1 hour of drive, we stopped at a state park near Rough River. We see a group people drifting and an old man phishing in the river. It’s beautiful and looks like a movie scene. Kids actually just need the rest room here. We can touch the cool river bed, and I really lure for dipping my foot into this cool river and do nothing. But, I need to drive and make the family time fulfilled.

After another hour of driving we stopped at road side and find those amazing summer snow around the road side. This is like 3 miles away from the Crater late national park entrance. There’s another Chinese family playing here. Hannah and Flora enjoys those permanent snow a lot. They just poking snow with stick and compressing them with their feet, kids’s fund are are easy but fierce. We just staying there for 20 minutes and kids are very high! It’s not a wasting of time when you drive, because you are the boss of the trip. You know your kids are the main factor of joy.

Won't melt in summer

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After another 10 minutes of drive we entered the Crater Lake National Park. Our national park annual pass still work this month, so it’s free, otherwise it cost $15 to enter this park. This park in Oregon feels like a typical national park, you enter a gate and pay then you enjoy plenty of happiness and wow along the road. We like this better than the weird state park eat all national park day of yesterday. It’s just bitching, nothing affect the good experience elf visiting of national park.

I want to repeat yesterday’s success by visiting the visitor’s center first. So this time I choose the Rim Village Visitor center, because the location looks awesome. But it’s a mistake. The Rim Village visitor center is super crowded, and it’s huge in size, so we wasted 20 minutes trying to find a parking lot here. No luck, we then decide visiting here is a failure, but it’s nothing we should just keep driving along the west rim drive. The awesome scene shocked us at the first stop. We found more people visiting the visitor center then those road side stops, which prove our choice are right.

You should stop at any road side scenic stop here. Each of them are awesome! I will share pictures later. It’s speechless.

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The traffic is pretty bad here. We found there’s a long drive under contracture (like 2 miles) near the watchman lookout. So you should expect 20 – 30 minutes wait for your turn to proceed. After a 20 minutes wait. We have a closer look at the wizard island. It has some sapphire colored pool on the island, which is double the density of shades of blue on the lake. That’s more dramatic than Lake Tahoe. The road last another 9 miles after that look out, which is a bit disappointing. But the view doesn’t disappoint us at all, they are amazing!

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Dive into the cool blue lake

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We arrived at end of west rim road around 3 PM (due to road construction it’s closed there, and it’s no longer a loop drive around crater lake). And then we turn back. We a low on gasoline so we decided to visit the Mazama Village to get some gasoline, that’s the only place available in the park. We took a 5 minutes stop at Steel Visitor Center, and I get my collector badge of national park. We arrived Mazma village around 5:10PM, and the gasoline pump is still working. The couple in front of us did a full car clean up at the gasoline pump before they fuel their car, which take like 20 minutes. That feels like a drama, because that’s really weird because there’s only 2 pump station which can fuel hungry cars 🙂 We didn’t complain, just listen to music and chill out.

#nofilterneeded

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We took a dinner at this place. Pizza, soda and kids’s pasta. Food tastes pretty bad 🙁 But we appreciate the service, because you won’t expect series chef working here. We pay a good tip and drive back to city. We choose Medford, because it’s the closest big city near here towards our home.

It took about 2 hours drive to arrive Medford. And 80% of time are signal less along the drive. Which make booking hotel at last minute literally a fact. The drive is beautiful, and we should spend more time and energy. But it’s like a rubbish time for a family this size, monkeys are sleeping like zombie and wife are sleeping like a rock. We booked a Hilton Garden Inn 7 minutes before we arrive there. The main reason we choose this stay is because monkeys asked to do a indoor pool swimming at night. But it’s actually a good thing to the family because this hotel looks very very legit, it’s perfect for a long day.

I went out for 30 minutes personal time and visited a local beer place in middle of nowhere in Oregon. But it turns out awesome. It’s called ]The Rough Growler](http://www.theroguegrowler.com), they provide no food but 51 beers on tap. I have a quick beer flights with 10 beers, after I write each beer the bartender tap it right away. Which is awesome, we explore the menu together, and he gave me at least 5 samplers during the exploring. He told me his all time favorite is Fieldwork Pulp, I literally laughing because it’s also my favorite brewer and it’s definitely an awesome sauce. It’s so so lovely, and I’m surprise that a local Oregon bartender knows it and have his own picture with that beer. Yes, I’m lucky to be a beer lover in Bay area where we have local access to Fieldwork brewery. Their canned beer are more rare than their tap beer I can tell, and whole foods plays an awesome role here. I had Pulp more than 10 pours in Blossom hill whole foods and Santa Clara whole foods tap room this year. They are more than awesome. The beer flights here are great, my favorite are those 2:

– Rogue New Crusty: it’s a golden barley wine, which is an American special Barleywine variety. It’s awesome, super smooth, lighter but full of flavor. It’s still a barleywine but with lighter color.
– pFriem Family Brewers Belgian Strong Blonde. Wow, this is awesome Belgium strong ale plus a triple. It’s floral and super fruity, also strong like hell. I love this fancy ale. And this is not my first pFriem, it’s like my 5th? This is the best so far, and I guess it will be the best from the brewer for a long time. Like Pulp for Fieldwork.

Take with the bartender, it’s nice. Oregon’s beer weather is super hot, it fused to everyone’s blood. Those drinkers here a super casual, not like beer geeks in bay area. It’s more like a life style for them. But the beer service is professional , it’s 51 on tap and bartender are beer lover who is kownledgeable. Price is accessible. The light condition is lovely. They have same beer fight service like we do and you can have 10 beers instead of times of 6 (or 4) beers in whole foods. Which make taking full house much easier. After the impressive beer tasking I drive back to hotel and spend another 30 minutes with kids in pool, because I promise so. Which means I finish those beer like a hurricane 🙂

30 minutes in pool with lovely monkeys feels like a twinkling of an eye. Awesome night! We planned for another hour of pool time tomorrow morning, then we will head home.

This vocation is awesome indeed. Booking hotel at last minute doesn’t waste the family a penny. And it increase flexibility and adventurous for us. Life is random, take your time and spend some time on road.

Now we planned a fancy breakfast at morning, and then hitting the pool again. Having epic food and music on road tomorrow. Feels unreal!

Summer road trip 2017 day 3

Got up around 8AM, went out from hotel at 9AM. First stop is Northtown Coffee in Arcata. Arcata is a quiet town near Eureka. It’s not fancy, looks old and forgotten. The coffee is good thought 🙂 Monkeys had some donuts from grocery store too.

Morning

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Twisted donut

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Hannah spills hot chocolate in the car. And the sliding door of our mini-van is soaked 🙂 We gave her some education and cleaned up the disaster. Parenting is exhaust if you are paranoid about have everything perfect. It’s a cure for perfectionism.

The scene starts to become green from Arcata. Trees, fog, seashore are awesome, cool down our soul. We crossed Big Lagoon, Stone Lagoon and freshwater lagoon. We stopped at Stone Lagoon Visitor Center for some pictures. It’s a lagoon, with forest on seashore, fogs floating at lower sky, it’s a mixture of different shades of blue and green. That’s the them of the redwood national park.

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And then we stop at Freshwater Lagoon, the color here is beautiful. A little village is on another side of the lagoon. It’s like a furry lawn spears into a mountain of forest. The seashore is dark grey, and the waves are wild.

Then we arrives at Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center. That’s the first visitor center of Redwood National Park from south side. There’s a sand beach behind the visitor center and monkeys just start to enjoy playing sands here. The sand is grey, dry and warm. Feels pretty nice, like a desert near the sea. The landscape here is redwood forest winded into shore line. The contrast is high, and fog smudge the contrast of colors.

A lady in information center recommended some place for us to visit today, which is good for family with young kids. The main attractions is some loop trails in Prairie Creek state park, some of them are stroller friendly.

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There’s no signal for Verizon wireless, not sure other cellular providers. So driving in this area requires paper maps (or a GPS works offline). The exist to Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway is easy to find, and you will find the Prarie Creak Visitor Center is right there. You can reach most of trails here. The parkway is shorter than we thought, so you don’t need to drive far away from the visitor center. Just park there (which is free) and start your trails. We choose the Prairie Creek Trail, which have view of some big redwood trees and also the creek. Kids love trees and creek. They climb dead tree trunks, collecting wild flowers. They chase and play along the trail. So the 1.2 miles walk feels nice, cool and fun. Because the Monkeys keeps stopping, so it take about 1.5 hours for the single trip. We went from north (road side parking #2) to south and reach the visitor center. I went back to drive our car. And I mentioned there’s no signal, so I made a silly mistake. I forgot the car key, my wife holds it. I also lost couple times, and when I start to think my strategy I found I forgot the key. That waste me about 20 minutes. I went back and picked the key from my wife at visitor center. And this time I took a way back from the road side. It’s much easier to follow. I also decide to facing the traffic when walk (take left side of road). So I can confirm the traffics see me. This time I took about 15 minutes walk back to the car, it’s actually not far from the road (not trail). And then 2 minutes later I arrives at visitor center, and picked up my family. Without phone service human are so inefficient 🙂

Holland Hill Road is bumpy, kids love it!

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We take a stop at big tree loop, but we didn’t make it (although it’s just 0.3 miles). Kids falls asleep.

We hit the road again around 3PM, and we targeted Klamath River Overlook. This is a river mouth to the sea. It’s the best picture place of today. Make sure you take the Mouth of Klamath Rd, which has a much better view than the lookout at mountain top. I love the color and mixture of forest, fog and blue river/sea. The lookout at top is too foggy to sea anything, so we just stay there for some cool breaths. We do take lot of pictures at the river mouth, it’s a highlight of the day. From the map this area is called Requa, it’s used to be the place boats went to the water.

Then we went to Yurok Loop Trailhead. This park is a short walk to an amazing beach full of drift woods. You can see derbies of giant redwood here. The beach is grey, wood are white and grey, and lagoon is light brown, so the beach looks like black white film color. The forest and bridge at background has blue/green/pale yellow color. So it’s like a pasted picture mixing greyed out beach and a colorful forest at back. We can see dramatic different views at this trail. There’s iron island themed rocky islands. And a high saturated colored forest/cliff and restless sea (like point Lobos) to the south.

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We feels really lucky today. Those 3 stops are just perfect for us.

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Kids are playing rocks, parents are melted in the phenomenal landscape

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Then we went to go east and stay at Medford tonight. So we take the last stop at Howland Hill Road, this is a famous bumpy forest road. And it just blows us away. Kids are so happy that Daddy pig (in Peppa pig theme) drives a bumpy vehicle under giant trees. We feels like tiny bugs in contrast. Because the trees are as thick as the width of our car. So suddenly we feels like driving toy cars here. It’s around 6:30PM, so the color become warmth here but there’s still enough light for us. Because we kids want to see their hotel ASAP so we didn’t take too much stops here. But we saw the famous Boy Scout Trail in middle of the Howland Hill Road, we should visit it “next time”.

After 6 miles of bumpy drive, I personally still want more of it. That’s super fun, and you can give monkeys surprise by steering to bumps 🙂

When we arrive highway 199, we want to drive faster. But the traffic is really bad here, there’s single track road because of constructer (suppose to finish 2018). So the drive feels hopeless and endless.

After about 1.5 hours drive we finally found a small grocery store (ray’s), kids visit bathroom and offload their stuff. And I found a hotel to stay. We stick with the last minute hotel booking rule for this road trip. And we are lucky that we found a hotel at Grants Pass, it’s a city I don’t even know exists. But it’s 30 minutes shorter than driving to Medford which is perfect because Medford is just easier to notice from map but has nothing we are looking for except a place to sleep.

Boneyard Blood Orange pale ale #mahbeer

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Today’s July 4th, so most restaurant doesn’t open. Those open ones are mostly close at 9PM. Using both Foursquare and Yelp doesn’t help that much because they have no idea if a restaurant open today, 4 stars restaurant also doesn’t mean much in small town because they have very small rates from customer. But my wife found one by her eyes near the hotel, it’s called Taprock Northwest Grill. She took ribeye steak and I took some fried seafood. Beers selection is pretty good. I choose the Bonyard (which I sips some at Toronado this year, they are very good). First one is the Blood Orange Pale ale which is a lighter American Pale Ale with strong fruity aroma, but it’s a bit too sour (blood orange juice) as a pale ale. Then I took the Bonyard RPM IPA, it’s quite good. That’s a very smooth IPA, not too hoppy or too bitter, just right about of entertainment. The night ends awesome, we enjoy those foods outdoor. Kids are super happy with comfort foods and steaks. There’s also lots of fireworks, we have a rider side view with fireworks. How awesome a day can be?!

After a long day, I need my lovely finger

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Oregon’s first couple of hours is nice. Food is good, beers are all local. Climate is nice, not cold or hot at summer night. And food, beers are cheap in California standards, tip well please!

I may comeback later. Quite tired after couple hours of drive and walks.

Summer road trip 2017 day 2

Yesterday is a great start. And today I feel the emptiness after the great start. I feel a bit tired when I finally opened my eyes for today. Kids and wife get up at 8AM, and finish their cereal breakfast at 8:30AM. We took everything to the car and take a short walk to the waterfront of clear lake. There’s Cyanobacteria (blue-green bacteria) in water, so the lake doesn’t looks clear at all. There’s couple of folks phishing on lake, can’t see their passion.

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We drive around the lake, and after half hour we arrived at Lakeport. We didn’t plan to stop here, but we want to fuel some coffee for the morning. Then I found Angelina’s Bakery & Espresso on the map, and we sit here and have a quality breakfast. Triple shots latte, Mixed berry Scone, 2 scoops of ice-cream for kids. This is a busy coffee shop, the town is quite quiet and in contrast the coffee shop have waves of customers having breakfast and coffee here. This coffeeshop also sell cooking linens, cooking equipment and mugs. I can feel the family and appreciation of cooking in this little coffeeshop. They have a double broiler coffee machine and a rocky grinder, it’s amazing that they can support a busy coffee shop with this equipment. American’s like dipper coffee, which make serving tons of customer easier.

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Every old town have their book shops. This town apparently have long history too, there’s some old buildings as museum in this water side town. The Watershed Books is a good used/new book store to us. We bought 3 art books here, they are not as cheap as the Treehorn books. But the owner must love books too. They label books by mixture of topic and alphabet. And the store have high ceiling. I love the ceiling sky light design, and there’s a banana tree by the bookshelf. There’s also humidity control in this bookstore, which helps preserve those old books.

We played Frisbee for 10 minutes at the water front park. It’s quiet and have good natural shade. It’s quite cool in shade, and the lawn is newly cut. Kids spend their energy running and caching freebee.

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We hit the road again, and the target is Eureka, CA. This is a long drive, 4+ hours. I actually enjoy driving at constant speed. I feel smooth, and imagine I’m flying on the open landscape. There’s not much bad drivers, people are not in super hurry to drive on this country road. Hannah is reading comics, and flora is watching the scenic road. My wife is busy with her phone. We switched for 20 minutes, but I can tell my wife doesn’t enjoy the driving like I do 🙂

We saw some giant redwood during the drive. But we didn’t stop, because kids can’t wait to arrive Eureka and swim in hotel.

We arrived the red line hotel in Eureka, and it’s decent. Kids enjoyed the heated pool. And we played in warm water under the sun for a hour. It’s quite challenging to play with 2 monkeys in water. Because they can easily drown me under the deep water. I need to hold the edge of pool to keep everyone safe. So that’s quite a lot of muscle tensions.

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After the pool hour, we have a warm shower and then looking for dinner. We choose the “Cafe waterfront” in downtown Eureka. We visited, and they told us come back 10 minutes later. Kids played at the water fountain. And we did couple of window shopping (stores are closed at this time, 6:30PM at Monday’s night, it’s July 4th holiday tomorrow) in the downtown area, there’s 2 very attractive book store but closed. There’s a comic videos, games, books collective store here. Kids doesn’t enjoy them, but that’s eye catching for their parents. When we went back to cafe waterfront we found there’s a long queue now. So we just give up to claim our position in queue.

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Then we went to Humboldt Bay Provisions, this is a nice looking wine tasting and food place. But we’ve been told it was under-staff so there’s only wine and fresh oyster tonight. They recommended 2 restaurants to us. And we went to 1 of it called Mazzotti’s Old Town, it’s a Italian restaurant. My wife had the fish paster and I had the Scrampi shrimp pasta. The fresh backed bread dipping olive oil and vinegar wins the kids. We have 3 breads tonight. My wife have the strawberry puree soda and I had a Pinot Noir table wine. The cooking is a bit slow, and the quality is OK. But this is exactly what the family need to satisfy our hungry soul, we forgot to have lunch today. Oh, talk about lunch, we did have a stop in a town in nowhere. There’s a big grocery store, but we just bought a potato salad because it’s just like a Safeway or something, which has nothing special.

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Scampi

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After the dinner, we send wife and kids back to hotel and drive out for a beer. There’s a good brewery here which is famous, the “The Lost Coast Brewery” which have interesting label design. I had 2 small pour of beer tonight, the Indica and Fog cutter. I just bring out my phone and search for top beers on my favorite rate beer. Apparently people love this brewer on rate beer, but the individual beer rating is not top notch. The pub have halloween themed decoration, which is like a humor. They are very proud of their beer and the tap design looks nice. I love the Indica, the tap version is dramatically better than their bottled beer. It’s much much better feeling than yesterday’s Racer 5. Racer 5 is phenomenal in bottle, but the Indica is amazing on tap. Highly recommend to visit this brewery for beers. They have about 25 beers on tap, mostly their own beers. They have 4 fruity wheat here too, I like their variations. It feels like a good brewery for thirsty surfers, like the famous Pizza Port brewing. Their beer label are very interesting, they must be very proud of those. You can find lots of different souvenirs here.

2 small pours: Indica and fog cutter. The indimca is good! #mahbeer

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And then, the day is over. We will visit Redwood National Park tomorrow. And we figured out a rough plan of where we will stay tomorrow. No booking, just a rough plan, see what we will get. BTW, the red lion is great (tonight just cost $103 after tax), which is a good deal. I love their 55 inch TV plus direct TV, kids are very happy with both TV and swimming pool. This hotel is booked yesterday, so it’s not exactly like what we planned of doing booking at last minute to avoid a busy commuting. I regret a little bit today, because if we don’t book it here we may spend more time resting along the road. I don’t like to stress out at moving to target on time.

Summer road trip 2017 day 1

My driver license is about to expire. So we want to utilize the borrowed time well, explore US west coast counties at summer time. We have 5 days to spend, including July 4th which is a national holiday. We don’t expect to plan any specific wonder land for children, but focus on celebrating free time for those adults in the family. You know parenting is hard, so we want to enjoy another family trip but we will lean on my wife’s and my feeling this time. We spend about 1 hour talking about where we should visit, and didn’t get a conclusion. And I think we should just follow the compass and go south or north. We visited south California twice last year, so the choice is simply go north.

We live in San Jose, California. Going north, along the coast, we can visit the wine country and Oregon. We don’t want to hit the Washington state, because it’s too north for us. And we visited Olympic NP + Seattle, so this time we will visit cities in between our home and that.

We have a mini-van, so there’s enough room for lots of supplies. We even put a children mattress into the back of van. So if they want to take a nap, we can.

The first “planned” stop is Petaluma, California – Wikipedia, but the actual first stop is somewhere in Fremont , CA. Because my wife want to visit bathroom. Then I found the clock is about noon. You know, with kids you never leave home early. You have more than enough ambition every time, but the reality is you never act as planned. Because it’s about noon, so the priority is to find a place for lunch. I ditch the rather annoying Yelp and using Foursquare for recommendation this time . And I found Cheese board in Berkeley, a city with good brewer is always top on my list. Berkeley have Fieldwork is my new favorite CA brewer.

We saw Berkeley flea market near Berkeley downtown, and planned to visit after lunch.

Cheese board is not at heart of downtown Berkeley, so it’s easy to find parking lot. But unfortunately I didn’t check the “open now” filter on Foursquare, and Cheese board is closed “until next Tuesday” :=)

Then we found Gregoire Restaurant is not far from the place we park. This is a small sandwich shop and highly rated. It’s pretty small shop with quality materials used in sandwich wraps. The wooden table is simple, greasy, but work. The climate is quite cool, but super warm under sunshine. The contrast of sunshine’s heat and super cool breeze is funny. We ordered:

  • Fried buttermilk chicken filet with spicy cole slaw on French roll (H) -> $11
  • Tombo tuna melt with Havarti cheese & caramelized onions on granary bread (H) -> $14
  • Roasted eggplant with cucumber & tomato salad, mint vinaigrette in grilled lavash (Ve) -> $9

Nice sandwichs: Fried buttermilk chicken and classes, Eggplant salad, Tuna melt;

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And Hannah grabbed a organic peach juice at about $3. Juice contains a lot of sugar, so we normally don’t order that for kids. But for a road trip, why not. But $3 for a juice is quite funny, because it both bad for your body and wallet 🙂

The sandwich is great. Chicken sandwich is hearty, crispy, citrusy and sweet, that’s lovely for kids. Younger toddler love tuna melt, Flora love it too, but she wasted quite a lot of them. A crispy bread is too chewy for kids maybe. I love the eggplant vegetarian sandwich. There’s quite a lot of vegetable oil used in this sandwich, which make it delicious. But I start to doubt about vegetarian comfort food idea, are all oil equally bad/good for our health?

Hannah spent a week in cooking summer camp. And now she is really into cooking. She crawled to the window, and checked out how the chef preparing sandwiches. That’s a priority game, in real life.

Learning how to cook, like a cat. 🐱

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A meal of 3 sandwich is $40+ (Sorry that I paid a rather mean tip about 13%, because this place is between dine-in and to-go, it’s seats provided but not other service) make Berkeley feels expensive. I’m not complaining, just thinking about everyone who didn’t make a high-tech industry standard salary here.

To comply with parking rule. We visited Safeway and bought some kids milk, along with cake pop (chocolate cake which looks like lolipop) and some India Alphanso Mango smoothy. Alphanso Mango is the key ingredient of Mango Lassi, which is one of the reason I lure by Indian restaurant.

From Berkeley's Safeway, taste great!

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We hit the road again. And this time we target Santa Rosa. This is the heart of California brewing, Russian River Brewing Company. Before we arrive the brewer, we found a real gem Treehorn Books. It’s a used book store with deep love of books. Hannah enjoys her time in the book store. And both my wife and I are super exciting, and immediately decide this place worth a second visit soon. We bought $137 worth of books here, and we just can’t spend enough.

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Greenhorn Books are magical

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When we arrive at RRBC, we found super long queue. I saw this before, that’s normally a queue for special released beers. But this time it’s not. I guess they just got more spotlight than before after waves of craft beer fan out. Those long queues are for dine-in and bottle beers. The bar is super crowded too. So it means no RRBC for me tonight.

Then I decide to head Bear Republic for dinner. So my restless heart can settle with good beers.

Before we see BRBC, we found another amazing food venue of Healdsburg , CA, it’s called SHED. The mixture of gift shop, fruit stand, curated meets and fine restaurant + bar is something I never see before. Or I should say I see grocery store Whoel Foods like that, people who love their life and food gathering there to show off their wealth (no offensive). But the SHED is more “Whole Foods” than “Whole Foods”. It feels like real life “Offscreen magazine”, “Cereal”, “Kinfolk (old issues)”. I didn’t take too much photos, because it feels dummy to take too much photo here. That’s actually not the real reason, my wife love this place and she start to roaming and then I need to take care of 2 curious monkeys in a fancy store full of fragile goodies.

This is more wholefoods than wholefoods! Love it!

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SHED: Apricot $8/lb, Peach $2/each.

This is a virus!

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Foodie place respect food and people

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The SHED is so awesome. And in contrast Bear’s republic brewing company is a bit disappointing. The beer is good, as good as their bottled beers. Their barrel aged beers are quite classic, not disappointing at all. But what make me feels meh is their experimental spirit, not as keen as RRBC which is the king brewer of this area. Those classical west coast brewer have deep root of UK pub style ales, strong malty backbone with good use of citrusy/pine hops to show off the good agriculture in this wine county. Some wild ale also shows their believe in Brussels’s wild ale tradition, and the wild yeast here are strong indicator of a wine county (strong wine yeast aroma). The food here is decent amount, OK quality. But the menu doesn’t feels like a gastropub who cares about their quality and connection with local farmers. Maybe they are, but I’was blunt.

Sampler from BRBC #mahbeer, a beer down under, Sacre bleu, but aloes, hornswoggled, tartare tongue, old scout barleywine, apex dipa

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Black and bleu for me, and Cobb for mom

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Racer 5 is the one. And a faceless Hannah! #mahbeer

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#2 beer place in this area?

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Black pins mine!!! Take California

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Have a walk in Healdsburg, this city is lovely. Small and full of quality, people must love their live here.

We choose a last stop at Clear Lake, California. The road is really winded, it’s a food throwing out drive. You will get carsick after a good amount of food. It’s dark when we arrive, so I’m not sure how the lake looks like. But we can see the dark space near where we live. It’s a cheap hotel, but this area doesn’t have too much hotels competing. So having a place to stay is good, after a long day with monkeys. Tomorrow will be another day.

Hands on the iPad Pro 10.5

Drive to Apple Store to test the iPad Pro 10.5 today. I was planned to buy a Magic Touchpad 2 from Apple store, but it’s out of stock 🙂

I just got my new iMac middle 2017, so I don’t need to test that out in Apple Store. The iPad pro 10.5 brings my attention because couple of podcasts The Talk Show, ATP, Connected, Under the Radar and Upgrade. They all mentioned the iPad pro’s promotion (I mean “Pro Motion”), which is like retina for animation. That sounds really interesting. It’s not a easy engineering topic, and seems apple did it and make it seems “easy”.

I just did like 10 minutes of test in the apple store with a lots of kids enjoying their summer vocation. Here is what I found:

  • The screen is astonishing bright and colorful. It’s not a surprise that apple bring the picture on the very surface, you feel it’s just underneath your finger tip. That’s magical. The ture-tone make the color looks bright and white-balance-correct, the brightness and color a astonishing even compare to my iPad air 2.
  • The Pro-Motion is nice. It’s not something noticeable for everyone, say my mom and dad won’t notice. But for a nerds, the home page scroll animation is super snappy. And I enjoy it, it’s a feature feels very premium quality. But it’s more noticeable on iOS springboard than Safari’s web page. I guess the webpage’s animation is good enough at 60hz.
  • The thin bezel on the iPad Pro 10.5 is great. It give a better immerse feeling on your iPad’s screen.
  • The iPad Pro’s cover is good, but not great. It’s very clicky, which is good for a super thin cover keyboard. But it’s pretty expensive, which make me fee that I should use other bluetooh keyboard instead. The keyboard size is just better, but not good enough to replace your laptop or desktop keyboard.
  • It’s a bit heavier than I imagined. But it’s relatively lightweight.
  • I’m pretty stupid on the Apple Pencil. Because I see it works on video before but it never works in my hand. I guess it’s out of battery when I test it out in apple store last year. This time I try to move beyond my comfort zone. OK, the apple pencil is OK in drawing app like Procreate, it’s not super snappy (as 120hz) but almost work 100% time. But the note taking app blows my mind. The thin line the apple pencil can draw and super responsive screen make it superior than my [traveler’s notebook](http://www.travelers-company.com/) plus real ink-pen. And the overall carrying size is not dramatically bigger than my [traveller’s notebook](http://www.travelers-company.com/), it also combine the functionality of movie player + Kindle. So this is seriously a gadget I want to buy to improves portable productivity.
  • So the iPad Pro 10.5 is great! As every podcast discussed. It seems worth the investment. And 10.5 is more universal than the 12.9 one. The iPad cover is very optional, you should consider the leather cover for touch and a standalone bluetooth keyboard for input. The apple pencil is a must have for iPad Pro purchase. The feeling of use pencil as real pen and lay your palm on the screen feels very premium.

“I’m always busy” is priority-management bankruptcy

“I’m always busy” is priority-management bankruptcy

I’m pretty “busy”, most of time. And I know that’s my bankruptcy on priority-management. I didn’t use term “time-management” but “priority-management” because I know “it’s complicated”.

Common excuses are funny 🙂

“it’s complicated” means you can’t explain it briefly. Which is a problem on understanding the essential of a topic. Which is a problem of yourself, not the topic.

“priority management” means:

  • You don’t know what’s the more important, and what can wait
  • You don’t know where you should invest your time to
  • You have trouble on your emotion balance. You are frustrated about what you are doing or facing, but you don’t know how to solve it with good feeling.
  • The reasoning of “meaning of life” for yourself is not align with what it’s going to happen
  • You feel bad most of time, and feel “keep busy” can solve it

OK, then it’s obviously you are facing a “bankruptcy”! Wow, that’s sad, frustrated, ruin your tomorrow!

Hold on! Is that real? When you reasoning of “meaning of life” you know “tomorrow may never come”, so can you stand on your feet and make a sound decision? Can you? Can you? Can you? Yes, you can. You can control your thought, you can control your body, you can control yourself before a bankruptcy. But not after a bankruptcy. So avoid use the excuse as the sole-reason to support your decision. Make a real logical decision based on your “reasoning of meaning of life”.

Then, stick with it. Live with imperfections, and live with your frustration of coming bankruptcy. Keep reasoning on “what’s the meaning of life, in the context of yourself (including what you love, a.k.a. family)”. That’s the only tunnel to get yourself out of “I’m fucking busy”.

I love the quote “Break the cycle Morty, rise above, focus on science”

Tomorrow will normally come until your last day 🙂 Keep going and break the loop of “being busy without meaning”.

BTW, I’m awakening, I will blog more and think more frequently.

Frustration bomb!

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I frequently having problems having conversation with some individuals. Because someone prefer frequent none-value-driven argument, someone prefer complains all the time, someone are neglect diversity of opinions. It’s a frustration! And the expression I put here is negative, which is affect by my bias and emotional feelings.

If I fight back, and use the same techniques to drop my frustration bomb, then the conversation won’t have a happy ending. So, just slow it down a little bit. Deep breath, and let the negative feeling go away.

  • If this problem fundamentally touches the core value of your job or life, then you can either give a brief and mild statement but not looking back. Or you can live with the different opinions, and give it an appreciation and it normally end the argument.
  • If it hits details, and both of you lost the big picture. Then you should lead the topic back to it’s trunk. Don’t hesitate to pat the peer with white lie, you will find a better resolution after you have agreement on the big decision.
  • Tic-tac no more. When someone drops frustration bomb, your anger is not a weapon but a pressure. Deep breath, and forget about the topic but trying to find positive elements of argument peer. Then praises, maybe have a break and take a drink together. Put problem-solving aside, and find some shared value first.
  • Avoid trigger chain react actions. Don’t put your other frustrations onto current frustration. You may lost control if pressure overlaps.
  • Think about good things, always look at bright side of life. Personally I like to argue by writing things down which avoid gathering heats in verbal argument (stronger voice wins stupidity).
  • And maybe writing things down helps too 🙂 That’s what I’m doing.

Cancel my Spotify Premium again

Spotify is my first music streaming service, and I love it’s social feature back to 5 years ago. I was in China back then, and I need to use VPN to access Spotify. I remember it had no free-tier at that time, but paying $4.99 is already affordable.

At 2014, I start using Rdio. And it’s great, from any perspective. I sticked to it’s web tier for a while. And good friend who worked in Rdio invited me to his “family”, and then I can use Rdio’s premium service for free. That last another year. After that I continue my Rdio subscription and using the $9.99 tier because it supports me using the offline feature for my wife.

And then Apple Music debuts. I remember it has long trial, and then I switch to apple music so my wife can use the Rdio subscription on her phone. She start using Rdio frequently, and I was always kicking off while listening.

Apple Music is not great, quite disappointed. Rdio close it’s door at end of 2015. Then I start a premium-trial (3 months, it’s very generous) on Spotify again, I registered a new US account. Actually I’m not very happy about Spotify, but after losing Rdio I have not much choice. Because my wife switched to Spotify after Rdio died too. So I was kicked off from Spotify frequently then. The alternative I found is getting a subscription in apple music China, it’s cheaper ¥9.99/mo. And the Apple Music China have good availability of Mandarin pops, which my wife and me enjoy sometime. This is not a very satisfied state, we are OK with the service, but have no love for long relationship.

I bought an Echo not long after it’s debut. And Echo is pretty interesting device. My daughter really love teasing it, and keep calling it “Alexia” which Alexa don’t understand. But Echo is very very dumb working with Prime Music. Because Prime Music ask user adding playlist to their library before they can play them. So you need to remember the playlist’s name, which is a hard work. The result is awkward, I have very narrow selection of playlist, and Echo have hard time to satisfied the family’s music need. We do use Echo integration with Spotify sometimes, but it’s just like a network speaker, it doesn’t smart enough to have conversation with human. So the integration is kind of useless.

Amazon released Prime Streaming Music couple of days ago. It’s only $3.99/mo for Prime customer who own an Echo. And then I start the trial. And then I can tell that my daughters love it. My elder daughter will tell Alex “Play elmo song from Sesame street”, and then they will start squiggly and laughing. And I can tell Alex playing music by artist name, which is more natural than telling it a accurate playlist name which is in my library.

So I cancel my Spotify Premium again. And I don’t think I will look back. “I switch to some other streaming platform” is not even an reason to leave Spotify, it’s asking this question when you cancel your subscription. I think that’s funny. When the wave of smart device coming to home, Spotify should show a more aggressive attitude on integration. But maybe that’s not a choice for Spotify, they don’t have a choice.

BTW, after iOS 10 upgrade. The apple music China’s subscription become awkward. Because you can’t login to Apple Music from different account than your primary iCloud account. Apple’s policy on cloud integration is stupid, it’s own implementation suck and it’s not open for other player. This locked a device to use same iCloud account for all. And then I start using Apple Music on an android device, which is funny. But that music streaming device is optional. I use iTunes on my Mac which still allow different apple store account.

There’s a bigger problem sitting behind all of this. Premium hardware manufacture want to control the eco-system, which is a software/developer platform. Amazon is leading the home smart assistant market, google is joining the game by google home. Apple’s siri is dumb, otherwise it should work with Sonos and creating a smart home assistant already. Spotify is an embarrassing, it’s a developer and have multiple platforms to support. And Spotify has an mediocre user experience, I think they know but can’t change the status quo. So I think Spotify may lost it’s leading position in next 5 years. Google Music becomes interesting here. Because any rich company can join the game and throw money into this money pit. Music label will get more revenue they lost from pirate copies. I think Music label will issue more contract with those rich company then, exclusive contract will be rarer. But how to make your music playlist portable is a headache. Cloud data portability is only based on good will, not shared interests.  And user will suffer from this if they are early adopter and willing to move (which is complex and time-expensive).

There’s 1 solution. Build some playlist in your head. And bet on AI based human-computer conversation interface. So you can bring your favorites to anywhere. Or maybe build a software which speaks your playlist out to Echo/Google home. That’s a dumb idea :-). Let’s see, I already pre-ordered google home. And I’m looking for more premium experience from google, like what they did in Pixel phone. But Amazon play the game differently, they bundle more and more values into their prime account which sticks user very well. I’m sure some user prefer quality first, others cares value/price ratio. I want to see how much quality difference between them, and then I will buy my music streaming service on that platform.