There be Dragons!

Posted in Life

My daughter took her first steps this week and my heart almost exploded.  Being a parent is something I was scared of for a long time but found myself wanting more and more.  I find it’s changed the way I think in all sorts of unexpected ways. – for example I suddenly spend a lot more time thinking about children’s stories. I’ve believed for a long time that the stories we tell each other are one of the most powerful ways we transmit values and a sense of belonging as a culture.

I’ve taken to watching movies aimed at children, searching for positive messages I can feel good about sharing.  On a flight recently they had the new “Pete’s Dragon” remake and I gave that a look, but quickly turned it off in dissapointment.  Which is a shame, the original Pete’s Dragon was a family favorite when I was growing up.  So I decided to re-watch it with a more critical father’s eye. Continue reading

Career advice for my younger self

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First off, let me be clear here.  I’m not some big shot super-successful business guru that you should model your life on.  These are rules that I’ve learned or made for myself over the last decade or so, often from bitter failure.  If I had the opportunity to go back in time and give 20 year old me career advice it would be a long conversation, but these points would form the core of it.    So do yourself a favor and learn from my mistakes!  Or don’t, I’m not your supervisor after all.

Continue reading

The do’s and don’ts of online dating, from a newlywed.

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Almost 2 years ago now I wrote a humorous (well, I thought it was funny…) blog post on taking a data-driven approach to dating.  In that post I promised to write a follow-up if I had success.  Since I got married in July, I guess it’s about time I keep that promise!  So here’s a few things I learned along the way (big thanks to the okcupid data blog and the okc forums on reddit) that might prove useful to others.

For the sake of transparency, these are written for someone who’s looking for a life partner, if you’re just out there to get laid you can disregard most of them. Continue reading

4 phrases men should use more

Posted in Gender and Feminism, Life | Tagged , ,

There’s an article by Soraya Chemaly that’s been making the rounds on Social Media about the 10 words every woman should use.  It’s a truly fantastic data-based analysis of the way differences in social conditioning around communication styles for men and women have lifelong impacts, in and out of the workplace. I highly recommend you give it a look – especially if you’re a man.  It got me thinking, what are the phrases that men should use more? How can we be better allies, friends, and colleagues to the women in our lives? It’s absolutely essential for women to speak up and demand to be heard, but it’s equally essential for men to support them when they do. Continue reading

How to succeed in Technical Sales… and Life

Posted in Life, tech | Tagged , ,

In the last month I’ve been reviewing and revising the job description for Sales Engineering (SE) at work as I work on expanding my team here. These guidelines form a sort of code of honor that I try to adhere to as a professional and outline what I look for in potential team members.  They aren’t always easy to live up to, but making the effort is its own reward.  I hope they will help you as much as they’ve helped me. Continue reading

On the road again

Posted in Life, News and Politics | Tagged ,

I got a later start this morning than I would have liked, after yesterdays epic 20 hours of pounding pavement my feet and legs refused to cooperate with my 6am alarm.  When i finally make it to the bus I get on on the wrong direction and ride all the way to the wrong end of the line – the British refusal to drive on the right side of the road like the rest of the world is as confusing to me as the American refusal to adopt the metric system is to them.  No matter, it’s a lovely foggy day and my misadventure provides a chance to see a bit more of the city.  When I finally arrive at the train station I grab a large Cornish steak pie.  Cornwall, another Celtic region in the south of Britain, retains a fiercely distinct ethnic identity but is struggling to survive as their region has become a popular destination for English retirees and the largely working-class Cornish can no longer afford to live in their own country.  The line between gentrification and ethnic cleansing gets very thin in places like this. On the plus side, their meat pies are delicious.

My platform is way off in the back and by the time I reach it the train is about to depart – the conductor hollers at me to hurry up or they’ll leave without me – there’s laughter in his voice but the door still closes on me as I enter.  No matter.  I grab one of the last vacant seats. Continue reading

Updates!

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Howdy folks,

A few random news points and general updates.

The first thing is I want to shout out my new article that went live this week on Revzilla – it’s the first of a 4-part series I wrote on the State of the Electric Motorcycle that includes interviews with Zero Motorcycles, Mission Motorcycles, and Harley Davidson.  It was a tremendously fun piece to write and I hope you-all enjoy it.  Electric bikes are interesting both from a Electric Vehicle perspective and from a Mobile perspective and the bikes from Zero and Mission in particular blur that line between vehicle and data platform.

Secondly, I’m going to be pausing my short stories.  I’ve been posting them every friday for almost 3 months now and – despite positive feedback from friends and family – have not seen any of them go above 10 shares or tweets.  Nobody sharing the stories means nobody outside my immediate circle will ever see them.  While it has been a fun exercise as a writer, it’s hard to justify continuing to invest the time when I have so many other projects going.

Back on a positive note – I’ll be in Scotland for the next two weeks interviewing people and observing the last week of the campaign for Scottish independence before the referendum on the 18th, as well as the immediate aftermath of what I fervently hope will be a resounding victory for “Yes.”  This is hugely exciting for me because it’s my first real vacation in over 3 years, because I’ve always been proud of my Scottish heritage and feel a deep connection to the place and the people, and because I did my Bachelors degree in Political Science and International relations with a focus on secessionist movements  among stateless nations in Europe.  So this trip is exciting both personally and as a political scientist.

I’ll post my first article Saturday and hope to post something every day for the next two weeks.

As always, thanks for reading.

Jed

A place with a view

Posted in fiction, Life | Tagged , , ,

Molly ran down the dirt road, squealing with delight. She felt as though if she went any faster her body would break gravity’s hold and she’d be able to soar off into the sky.  She jumped and spread her arms wide imagining it, before landing knees bent and then springing forward again.

Look at me daddy, I’m flying!

Her father came walking behind, heavy backpack weighing him to earth as they slowly climbed the mountain.  Their previous camp spot downtown under the bridge had been a hell of a lot more convenient,  but the police had a habit of waking people they caught camping with a kick to the head and if one of those bastards hurt Molly, things would get very intense very fast.  He wasn’t going to let that happen.  So instead, it was up into the hills.  Less accessible, more places to camp, no cops, and clean fresh air.

Up ahead, Molly was perched on top of a boulder, looking out at the city below.  She had no concept of homelessness or unemployment and if her father had his way she never would.  And while she still cried sometimes at night because she missed her mother, this last summer had been one gigantic adventure and she was thrilled to have her daddy spending so much time with her.

Tom found himself walking the path, lost in thought.  When his wife had been diagnosed with cancer he thought his world was ending and things couldn’t get worse, at least until their health insurance refused to pay for her treatment and they’d had to take out a second mortgage to cover the bills.  He quickly used up all his time off and sick leave driving her to doctors appointments.  His work suffered, but even so, the layoff had taken him by surprise.   Unable to afford the treatment and with his credit cards maxed out, he’d taken Jeanine home; hardly leaving her side for those last weeks.  Molly didn’t understand what was going on and cried constantly, they all did.  A month after Jeanine died, he and Molly had moved in with a friend and put the house up for sale while he continued to look for work.  But the work hadn’t come and there’s a limit to the generosity of even a good friend.

Look at the city daddy!  It’s beautiful!

It’s hard to stay depressed around a five year old, especially one as precocious as Molly.  Tom pulled himself together and bent down to look along her outstretched arm at the city below.

Well, I promised you a place with a view didn’t I?  Only the best for my little girl.

He hugged her like he’d never let her go, his whole world wrapped up tight in his arms.  They watched the sun set over the trees.

Opportunity Cost

Posted in Life | Tagged , ,

I’ve been looking to buy a house here in Oakland and the whole experience is a bit surreal.  I’ll save you the blow by blow, but looking at home values, school rankings, and the OPD’s crime map; a few things jump out at me.

Firstly, people talk a lot about crime in Oakland but looking at that map there’s crime almost everywhere (except Albany apparently – it’s a big blank spot on the crime map.  Either criminals avoid Albany like Kryptonite or they just don’t report their crime statistics).

Secondly, the quality of education a child receives in California varies even within a city.  This is not terribly surprising – lower income students whose parents are working two jobs to survive lack the support at home that wealthier kids get and are more likely to require extra resources to thrive.  What is surprising is not that there is disparity, but the degree of the disparity.

To put it bluntly, it is a crime that there are ANY 1-star public schools. Continue reading