Well, 2022 has been a year of settling in with change. Moving to Seattle has given me many “firsts” - first time moving to a new city, first time in a long time of living alone, first time voting outside of Texas, etc. etc.
Before I get into anything else, I’ll start out with a set of videos starting with my actual move from last October:
After that, I spent most of the winter/holidays alone (intentionally, since I did a lot of travel before the move), but I met some new friends and we had a wonderful New Year:
March and April were busy with back to back visits from friends and family:
Which is also when I unfortunately finally got Covid and had to skip out on some further trips/events. But, I managed to survive!
I’m looking into taking some time off of work this summer with plans TBD. I feel like life in America/the world right now is just filled with back to back traumatic events and we’re all gaslighting ourselves into somehow still being productive and moving forward.
In many ways, I feel like America is moving backwards and that’s tough to see from someone who grew up with seemingly unstoppable progress. I know I took that for granted now and I’ve typically been an optimistic, but it’s hard for me not to be pessimistic about the country since 2016.
In contrast to so much of what’s happening elsewhere, my personal life has been going well, which brings on some amount of guilt and feelings of helplessness. I’m hoping I can resolve a lot of that positively in the coming months/years. There’s still a lot I’m thankful for and potentials I’m excited about, so we’ll see…
I’ve become increasingly frustrated with the state government in Texas. While a difference in opinion of policy is one thing I can generally live with, it has been increasingly obvious that Republicans across the United States and particularly in Texas are attacking the right to vote. Then, they use the reduced accountability to enact unpopular policies.
Perhaps in years past, I could give the benefit of the doubt in that we disagreed with election procedure rules, but the latest batch of proposed bills are so obviously anti-voting it is beyond the pale. In a historic year for a multitude of reasons, cities like Houston increased voter turnout by running 24/7 voting locations and offering drive-through voting. In Austin, we’ve used mobile voting centers that went to churches, parks, libraries. All of these demanded the same voting requirements as normal locations and no proof has been presented that these led to significant amount of fraud.
In the past legislative session and the current special session, Texas Republicans are trying to ban all of these efforts in addition to other election changes in the name of “election integrity.” On top of that, AG Paxton outright insinuated that if they had not blocked efforts to make mail-in voting easier, they may have lost Texas in the 2020 Presidential election. While Republicans, including Trump, love to conflate ballots and ballot applications, we were talking about applications in Texas. In order for these to have been used, these voters would have already had to be registered, submit the application to get a mail-in ballot, then fill out the ballot and return it. The clerks merely wanted to pre-emptively send the applications, making it easier, particularly for the poor or elderly to request a ballot. The issue here is not that these votes would have been from illegitimate voters. The right for these citizens to vote was not questioned. While the Texas courts sided with Republicans here on what clerks were allowed to do, this was not an effort to prevent illegitimate votes. It was a legal maneuver to suppress legitimate votes.
Texas voter turnout is, by most metrics, horrible. Despite record number of voters in 2020, it still stands at bottom 15% when compared to other states. About 40% of elligible voters in Texas don’t vote. There’s a plethora of low-hanging fruit we could implement to dramatically increase voter turnout. Instead, Republicans are committed to implementing further voter restrictions that have an outsized negative impact on urban voters. That is anti-democratic, not the America we should be striving for, and outright despicable. When those in power are no longer accountable to voters, the whole system falls apart.
I’ve loved Austin, my home and neighborhood, and many people here that I’ve known for most of my life, but I’ve had enough. I will no longer share my financial success with a state that is outright oppressive to its citizens and rigs the game in order to avoid accountability. Texas has shown it is afraid of the will of the people and so I will no longer entrust it my taxes. Godspeed to those sticking it out and fighting the good fight.
I have weighed various options over the past few months. This past week, I visited Seattle and pulled the trigger on a house. It’s exciting and bittersweet at the same time. I’ll be moving later this year and would welcome visits - I’ll have plenty of space for guests!
This month, I started at Stripe! I’m currently in the middle of a three week stint in San Francisco. The scent of piss is not uncommon here, but the city is very nostalgic for me, so I guess that at least evens things out, haha. I’m enjoying my time here, but I miss my Mozilla. On the plus side, I’m really excited to work with my new teammates and Stripe has great food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner!).
Last weekend, I strolled on over to Chinatown and found that unsurprisingly Golden Gate Bakery was on vacation. My hit rate is probably around 50/50 now, or perhaps a little worse. I debated bringing my camera on this trip, and ended up doing so, but I have yet to take it out of my bag. I’m going to San Diego at the end of the month with my new Stripe team, so perhaps I’ll put it to some use there.
Before starting at Stripe, I had roughly a month off. I did a lot of bumming around, playing some Minecraft, and went to Los Angeles and New Orleans. LA featured the debut of this video:
and resulted in this one:
I’ve got a bunch of random clips of Sam from NOLA where we tried really hard to make him out to be a racist, but I’m not sure what I have gels well, so it may not end up anywhere. I did, however, rummage through a lot of old media and came out with this:
So here’s a video montage of my vacation. Probably filled with inside jokes and immature humor. I don’t expect anyone to watch or enjoy the whole thing, but here it is. =)
I’m getting some estimates done on some major renovations to my house. Haven’t decided if that’s the route I’m going to take, but it’s exciting to think about! I’ve been looking at a bunch of pictures on Houzz.com, which is pretty cool, though they have so many photos, it’s overwhelming sometimes.
I started watching West Wing and I’m well into the third season now. It’s been pretty enjoyable and some of the episodes have been surprisingly emotional (that is, triggered a strong emotional response from me).
I also had a crazy dream last night where I went to NYC/Vegas (it seemed to randomly change in my dream), and went to some hotel room with a girl. Somewhere in there I really had to take a crap, so I went into the bathroom and found an extremely complicated toilet. After that was done, it became apparent that this girl was supposed to kill me based on orders from some drug lord. Fortunately, she decided that she wouldn’t kill me and smuggled me out of the city instead. I woke up worrying about the safety of this girl since she just disobeyed some powerful bad guy, but that quickly faded into a chuckle as I realized I was dreaming.
I don’t usually do these but I’m in “one of those moods” so Sam gets a nice post today. At least that’s my plan as of this sentence, we’ll see how it goes. =)
I’ve known many of my friends for a very long time (some for over half my life), and I love all of them… some in different ways than others. ;) Sam will probably be the first to tell you we have a special relationship. I met Sam back in high school when he was the tall, goofy, asian ROTC guy in the halls. I think he actually knew Olivia before me, but I do remember him showing up to computer club once (maybe he voted for me for president? haha). Back then, he looked something like this:
Sam’s of the class of 2002, so when I graduated in 2001, I went off to UT with a bunch of the gang and never really expected to see this guy again. Well, a year of shenanigans happens, then I stumble upon Sam again on the church’s internet forums and I borrow My Sassy Girl from him cause it’s supposedly a good movie. Somewhere during this time, it’s also discovered that we’re both looking for roommates for the coming semester, so the adventures of JW152 begin.
It’s here where Sam meets Mark who triggers what we dub “the downfall of Sam” which all started with a game of mario kart (or was it super monkey ball?) and a big green button. You can ask one of them about this, but suffice it to say that Sam then realized we’re a bunch of asses, especially Mark, and he didn’t quite know how to handle that. The remainder of our Jester days entailed, but were not limited to:
Getting in the Daily Texan for having an infamously dirty dorm room:
A $1 blow-up doll from eBay with some… accessories
Getting noise complaints from below, above, and around our dorm room and having the RA kick people out of our room
Sam looking at me while I slept and wondering what it would be like if I were a girl and we were watching the sun rise (don’t ask me, man, I found out cause he wrote about it on his xanga!)
Food “accidents” on Sam’s bedding
Hot sauce filled donuts
Sam founded TiSA and didn’t even tell me until a semester or so later
Sam changed his legal name and became an American citizen
Well, after that, a bunch of us moved into some really ghetto apartments just north of the Target near campus on I35. It was here that the Tower of Che-Kang was built:
Throughout the years, my Xanga has gone through two iterations dedicated to Sam (I wish I had kept the first one… sorry. I do remember it being very pink). I even joined Facebook originally back in the day to get my Sam loving Xanga more exposure! ;)
Speaking of which, here are some old FB posts. Sam hadn’t quite perfected his come-back to “suck it” at this point…
I’m owiber on Instagram if you want to follow me, or view my photos on the web here.
I also threw together some short clips of Mozilla in a video here:
At work this past week, I got to pick up a quick short-term project that involved building something basically from scratch in one week. It was pretty fun, but the combination of Facebook and Internet Explorer is currently highly annoying me. Thumbs down!
Well December was certainly a rough one, but I’ll try to stick to the positives on the blog. Despite the plethora of suck, there was actually a lot of silver lining too. I just wanted to say thanks to all my friends and family for being awesome. I’ll also throw a shout out to Bazaarvoice too for being so incredibly understanding and making things as easy as possible for me.
Now, on to the positives!
I’m sure it was a combination of things, but I finally broke down and got a puppy. Nancy says it’s about time and I’m two years late. Well, better late than never? =p I feel a little ashamed at not rescuing a dog, but my little shiba inu pup, Mozilla, is so awesome, I honestly can’t say I have any regrets. Sorry? =p
On Christmas Eve, Andrew, Nancy, Sam, Viraj and I hit the road. Here’s a short video of our trip to Arkansas to get the little guy:
And now, some photos. I made sure to wear my Mozilla Firefox shirt given the planned name I had for him.
On another topic, here’s a video of Oriana opening the Christmas gift I got her: