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"I got more views in one hour than I got in a month." -Mariano
My friend Scott sent me this TED talk by a 13-year-old unschooler who is hacking his education.
It's worth 11 minutes of your time.
As long as I've remembered, I've wanted to buy a private island. Having a random patch of land somewhere holds almost no appeal, but an island is totally different. An island is like your own little country, with complete control of everything within its borders.
I'd looked at getting an island before. As it turns out, they're not much more expensive than buying normal property. There's a site called Private Islands Online that has a ton of listings, which I'd pored through on many occasions. A problem always arose: the cheap islands are in far away inconvenient spots, and the close islands are all crazy expensive. Buying an island remained a fantasy.
Then, six weeks ago, a good friend of mine sent me a listing to an island in Canada. Wouldn't it be cool to buy an island, he asked? I clicked and was shocked-- Canadian islands are cheap AND close. They may not fit the archetype of the tropical private island, but the climate wasn't why I wanted the island. I wanted to share a miniature country with some friends and see what we could build.
"I am literally 100% on board," I replied back.
August 11th, 2011. Chiba, Japan.
A mix of confusion and awe as I step off the platform.
I must have made a mistake. But maybe a good mistake.
Birds caw and cicadas click gently, filling the warm afternoon air with sounds of nature. The train platform is open to the air and on the other side of the tracks is a high fence. Beyond it, a bicycle and walking path leading to a park.
Children are running around and playing in the park, but surprisingly quietly. Very Japanese.
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My incredible wife gave birth to a beautiful daughter earlier this week. 6lbs, 6oz. Mom and baby are doing great. No name yet (we have to get to know her first!). A few pictures are below.
• Visitors: We can't wait to introduce Baby DROdio to our friends and family; mom & baby are recovering at home. We'll let you know as soon as we get a handle on everything.
• No gifts, please! We are taking an "agile" approach to parenting. For those of you who aren't techies, that means we are taking it step by step, and we will purchase baby items as we learn the needs of our baby. We don't want to start out with a room full of boxes of baby things that we don't know whether we'll need or not. However, we'll happily take any of your tried & true hand-me-down clothing that you no longer need (reduce, reuse, recycle!).
If you really really want to get us something (and you're really stubborn even though we don't need anything!), we would ask that you get us a Munchery Gift Card. This is a food ordering service that will allow us to have freshly prepared food delivered daily for the first few weeks, and that would help both of us cope. (Since Sue is the one who usually feeds us, I especially would appreciate this, since I'll be responsible for feeding her!) To make sure it arrives at the right place, use email address "us -at- danielodio -dot- com" for the gift card.
That's it for now, more updates to come!
Davuluri was one of THREE Asian Americans in the top five finalists, including 4th runner-up Miss MInnesota Rebecca Yeh (who won the Talent competition playing violin, I know, right?) and 1st runner-up Miss California, Crystal Lee.
Davuluri's question in the poise-test round was on "Big Brother" host Julie Chen's revelation of her decision to have plastic surgery. Her answer: She's against it. But in her answer she also managed to drop the following pointed remark: "I've always viewed Miss America as the girl next door. And Miss America is always evolving." As proven tonight.
Update: Barely did the tiara touch her lovely head than the racist ignoramuses began to tweet.
My post before this was a kind of therapy / Buddhism / personal growth kind of deal, but I also spend a lot of time thinking about how to run effective teams and to be a responsible, thoughtful manager of people. It is my work: I am a lead engineer at Bungie, an independent video game developer of about 300 employees (though not for long, we're growing.) There are some unique aspects to making videogames, and I'll use game development terminology here as I refer to, say, texture artists or sound designers or programmers, but when I talk to friends in different creative industries - film, industrial design, other software development - I find these themes are pretty universal.
If you're going to manage people, you're going to have a lot of conversations about employee performance. It's just bound to happen. Sometimes, like during reviews, it might seem excessive. You might wonder if's worth all the time it takes. It is. It's OK that you spend a bunch of time on this. As a manager, that is your job. It's your job to have well-formed opinions about how you evaluate people and how you work with them to help them grow. If you aren't spending time on that, then you may be succeeding as a leader, but probably not as a manager. Apples and oranges.
It is, however, important to spend this time well. During conversations about performance, everything you talk about should boil down to one thing: the value they contribute to the team. What is their value, and how can they become more valuable?
I find a lot of review conversations tend to focus on strengths, weaknesses, and specific work results. These seem like reasonable topics, and there's value there, but I also find this often leads to a review that looks like this:
Let there be Light.
Eight of my last 18 professional years have been an adventure with children and adults from all over the world. They brought with them endless gifts of their cultures, and I gave them the English words to express their beliefs, hopes, and dreams. My students have come from Brazil, China, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Senegal, Spain, Thailand, Vietnam, among other countries. The secret is that we have taught one another more about Life than any English lesson could encompass. Mutual respect for ideas and differences, along with acceptance, has always been our agreed cornerstone of the classroom.
The challenge as a teacher at this time of year is trying to weave together every culture’s celebration, which all float around the Winter Solstice. How do we explain in simple words, beliefs, religion, and celebration from each corner of the globe? The answer: Seek the Light. I ask my students to share how Light factors into their celebrations at this sacred time of year. So with both excitement and reverence, my students teach each other and me about Diwali, and Hanukkah, which are both called Festivals of Light. They are happy to tell about the illuminating floating boats of Loy Krathong in Thailand, the Chinese New Year Fireworks, the Colored Lights of the Tet Holiday, the Little Day of Candles in Colombia, and varying Christmas Light traditions in Europe and South America.
The lesson then is that we all Seek the Light in the darkest point of the year, the Winter Solstice. But it has to be about more than just culture and religion, doesn’t it? It has to be more about our human spirit. One of my new heroes, Malala Yousafzai, taught us this year that, “We realize the importance of Light when we see darkness.” The Buddha taught that, “If you light a lamp for someone else, it will brighten your path.” We seek the Light of others often when our own lives are darkest, when we have no answers, and when we need warmth. We seek out their Light when we need inspiration.
Inspire means, “to breathe in.” Whose Light causes YOU to breathe in?? Whose Light fills your darkness? Most often the Light we need comes from those with whom we share our home. But who else floats into our lives and brings us warmth, new hope, and joy? Who else Lights our way? How can we thank them? How can we fan their flames so they continue to shine? Find a way to reflect their Light. Find a way to express gratitude for their illumination. You will see that the Light will get bigger. The flames will be grander. Find a way to celebrate those who bring the Light, for their flames ignite the Good.
Serving Food, Washing Clothes, and Entertaining Kids
Visitors to central Reykjavik who run out of clean clothes have few options. They can pay by the article of clothing to have their hotel do their laundry, or pay by the kilo at two wash and fold laundry/dry cleaners. Or they can do their own laundry at the multi-functional Laundromat cafe/laundry room/playground.
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To blog or not to blog? I love to cook at home - for family and friends. Nothing fancy. Just good, tasty, not too fiddly meals, cakes and the occasional dessert. And I love to share recipes. They're not my recipes, they come from cookbooks, chefs, websites, all over the place ... but I always acknowledge where the recipe came from. I started a collection of recipes in the nineties when a friend at work asked for ideas about what to cook for dinner that night. At home, I typed up a recipe and for fun put it on a Natalie's Kitchen Classics letterhead ... and so it began. I'm hoping with this blog to share recipes with friends who are interested, without bugging my Facebook friends who aren't interested! So here we go ...
I'll start with that first recipe that became a Natalie's Kitchen Classic. It was Spaghetti Carbonara from Trattoria Pasta by Loukie Werle - still a weekly favourite in our house. (In fact, it's my 11 year old son's favourite home cooked meal.) The most significant thing about this recipe is that it has no cream - oil, egg and parmesan yes, but no cream. (And don't skimp on the oil!) I must also say that, despite the author's insistence on 'very fresh' eggs and pancetta, it works just as well with eggs and bacon from the supermarket - and I've never used a flame tamer!