We have purchased a lovely vacant lot in the seaside town of Pismo Beach, CA. and hope to build a home. Hope, the key word. 2 years and counting into the process, plenty of curveballs and surprises.
A wise friend shared this most-zen insight, “Forest, most of our problems in life are with our expectations… change your expectations, and suddenly problems disappear”. Indeed, my initial expectation for the project was that we could hire an architect, get plans approved by the city of Pismo Beach’s Planning and Building Permit bureaucracy, secure a general contractor/builder, dive-in, and within 2-3 years from start, have a new primary home to live in.
Things have been going horribly wrong,
if that were to remain my expectation.
But, this week i changed my expectation. I now hope to build a new home in Pismo Beach in less than 10 years. Anything between now, and 2029, i will consider a wild success. Suddenly, we are doing GREAT. We are right on track.
I will share some of my experience here for the benefit of others who are considering buying and building on a vacant lot in either Pismo Beach, or more generally, the central-coast area of california (Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo, Los Osos and Morro Bay, Nipomo… this general area).
I have thoughts to share about:
Difficulties in finding architects for primary home build projects on the California Central-Coast
What to expect when interacting with Pismo City Planning Department staff. Their style, competencies, general approach to customer-service and collaboration + partnership.
What to expect when interacting with Pismo City Planning Commission (review committee for approval of design and land-use)
What to expect from the lovely fire staff
The wonderful community filled with friendly neighbors and colorful locals in Shell Beach, Pismo Heights, and town center.
Ping me in the comments if you are thinking of your own project and want to compare notes!
We have been working with an awesome talent search firm called Fuel Talent and CEO Shauna Swerland reached out to me re: her podcast series What Fuels You. I have recently been listening to a ton of audio books on Audible, and have been getting into thematic podcasts at bedtime and on drive-time… so i dove in enthusiastically and really enjoyed the chat.
Over holiday break i was reading Cien Años de Soledad by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in all of its native Spanish-language-delight (what a masterpiece), and between chapters placed the book down on the beach while i stood to stretch. Out of the blue and after more than 3 hours in that spot, a *much* larger wave came ashore and submerged all of my stuff, book included which was a sopping mess and “not readable” until a good week of drying out.
I had a few other books already on order a few days out on Amazon’s planes/trucks (If Then by Jill Lepore, Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut)–but up-next for my spouse and at my arms reach on the beach was book one of the series: The Fifth Season. I haven’t read a fantasy fiction book since The Belgariad series when i was 16! I had absolutely zero curiosity or intention to enjoy beyond passing a few moments while i mourned my soaking-wet book-of-intent…. but 1300 pages later i have to say I really, really enjoyed.
Diverse POVs = Fresh Ideas & Empathy
Just a few chapters into the series I sensed the diverse voice of a non-white-male at the helm, which was instantly exhilarating and “new”, creating an experience completely unique from the “fantasy” tropes of so many other worlds (Tolkien, R.Martin, etc.):
Jemisin is an African-American woman and nearly all of her story’s characters are either female or gender-non-conforming. This emphasis feels as dramatically natural as Tolkien’s entirely male universe–but obviously stands in ironic contrast. I found myself thinking between chapters of what might 2000 years of western canon literature have told via entirely female voice/characters?
She alternates between a 3rd and 1st person narrative voice from multiple characters–including using a 1st person voice that speaks to the reader as “you” (I don’t think i’ve ever read anything like this before, is there precedent in literature? There must be? but it was new to me!) And without giving away anything, there are multiple-folding-twists throughout the series that connect and pivot and transform the reader’s understanding of the narrator–clever shit! Very, clever.
The richness of The Stillness world is elaborate in historical details but always in vital ways that drive the story and characters; i really felt like i was living in the world she created, while 3-4 seasons of hopefully fantastic television-writing-worth of drama was taking place. I was exhausted and relieved after powering through the series… just reading this much creative thinking was exhausting, i can not imagine CREATING this world!
The unique narrative POVs that she brings to her writing created for me a more profound sense of empathy and connection to the characters. Hearing/seeing different types of characters made me feel for them, and identify with them, even in ways in which as a cis-gender-white-male I have never really felt connected to “lords” and “magicians” and “elves”, all of whom were created in the image and spirit of their white-male authors?
Diversity in Software Product Management Teams?
… which had be thinking about my continuing understanding of just how important diversity of POV and experience is in forming high performing teams in all walks-of-life, including in my industry building software.
We started voodle in late 2019, before the worldwide COVID pandemic had accelerated what we already felt was coming–a dramatic disruption in how people work and collaborate using mobile devices and asynchronous short-video. We spent 2020 organizing ourselves as a fully remote team, shipping our mvp app on web/ios/android, and listening to thousands of users and their early-product feedback.
Whenever we open ourselves up to diverse POVs, we are better. Incorporating diverse POVs, leads us to better solutions to problems, to greater relevance with our diverse customers, and ultimately to success in all of our goal metrics.
We are searching for product experience team members that have a passion for our mission and demonstrated excellence in skill areas related to product management and user experience craft. We are assembling our team with a mix of diverse background experiences and prior domain expertise, aiming for a wide-ranging point-of-view. We are not looking narrowly for a specific candidate, rather, we are recruiting a TEAM.
This led me today monday to spend the day tearing apart a somewhat narrowly crafted JD we have been recruiting against for 6 months, for a proverbial “chief product officer”. I’ve been really unhappy with the lack of diversity in the candidate pool, and the search has yet to yield a hire. I think our search was too narrow. The Broken Earth trilogy directly inspired me to break apart the JD into a new “matrixed” search which more broadly seeks talent across early-to-late career continuum of product managers.
We are recruiting TEAM MEMBERS. If you are drawn to our mission and think you could add value as the CPO, or as a college hire IC — or anything in between!… we’d love to hear from you.
When i lived in california in the 90s i was a huge mountain bike enthusiast—Mt Tam in Marin County was at my backdoor, and I loved the arduous climb and accelerating descent it afforded just minutes from my home in Mill Valley. Somewhere along the way to Washington, Chile, and Beijing i lost track of riding… but on a recent visit to California the idea of off-road biking was reawakened and I’m excited to hit the trails again. The Trailforks app on iOS is an awesome resource to find terrain to explore, and it turns out there is a ton here in Washington state within easy drive of Seattle.
So, after plunking some real money into new bikes for myself and a +1 friend (my son this summer, imagining visiting friends in the future), i thought I’d post the serial numbers and bike descriptions here for safety. I also registered the bikes with the bikeregister.org and 529 Project websites, great community indexes of bikes to help cut down on theft and return of bikes.
For myself, a Specialized Epic Hardtail model that is oh-my-god-so-light. The teal color will hopefully keep me visible to drivers on city roads! Large frame, serial number WSBC614123071N. I have been riding around the city and it really does feel like it “pulls you up the hills” it is so darn slick/light and boy do 25+ years (since my last bike purchase) make a difference in tech!
My son/friend bike is a Specialized Stumpjumper mountain bike, black frame in M, with serial number WSBC604317566P. Red highlights, front and rear shocks, drop post seat, 29” wheels. I look forward to riding both of these, the smaller M frame a slightly better fit for downhill posture and clearance from the frame… as a 5”10 height (down from 5”11 a decade ago?) I’m right on the edge between these M/L frame sizes.
Very excited to kick off life for Voodle for iOS, which launches Monday June 29th 2020. As my son Carlos explains to gen z friends, “Discord and TikTok had a baby and named it Voodle”. To older gen X friends i explain Voodle as a “tiktok for the enterprise” user experience–a short-video a-sync for teams. We started building Voodle before the covid-19 disruptions this spring, so we hadn’t imagined the zoom-fatigue phenomena that is now upon us. As we launch, it really feels like Voodle is a very well timed app that brings lighter-touch, short-form-video, as a compelling alternative to time-sucking synchronous “zoom” meetings that have now started to dominate a lot of professional team interactions.
Give Voodle a try with your colleagues at work or other “teams” that you want to share short-video updates with. You can download it now from the apple iOS app store here.
Nice coverage of Voodle from Venture Beat which says “Voodle’s eponymous software is as efficient in execution as it is in concept.” An app that lets business teams share short video updates, complete with automatically generated captions and transcripts
In January of 2020, after nearly 4 complete years working feverishly and with great passion and focus on the virtual reality market opportunity that seemed so bright and shinny and attainable in 2015… my colleagues and I at Pixvana made the painful, but necessary decision, to shut down our product and cease all of our efforts in the XR market. It was just, not, happening. We built something great, really the best v1 product i have ever been a part of in my 30+ years building software. It was elastic, it was cloud based, it had incredible VR native interfaces to build really interest and compelling immersive content. The Quest headset is pretty darn awesome (if only that had been the v1 experience for most consumers!) and we got *great* looking 360 and 180 stereo video working on it, over the network and offline, with a great end-to-end vr video publishing platform we called SPIN Studio. But in hindsight we were 3, or maybe 10 years ahead of any real inflection point in the VR market. After a blast of interesting products and innovation from the likes of google, msft, fb, and htc/valve… by 2019 our industry found ourselves in a ever smaller and nichier market with only FB/Oculus really pretending that there was any future anytime soon… and at their last developer event it felt like even they were just pretending. Soccer mom’s were featured prominently in their product advertisements while teenagers watched from the living room… really?
A fateful business trip that I took in the fall of 2019 to China and then Germany to attend the AWE event in Munich, provided both the death-blow to Pixvana’s VR dreams, and the inspiration to start something new from the ashes, which is what we now call Voodle. In China i had the chance to talk to some of the manufacturers of VR cameras. At the time we were still actively building support for these cameras in our Pixvana SPIN Studio cloud: we were teaching our system the nomenclature for the file naming conventions, the warp and optic parameters to solve high-quality stitches to 8k+ resolution master files, the LUTs for camera exposure gamuts… but these camera manufacturers one-by-one either did not engage with me (when they had in past visits), or, were blunt and honest with me and shared that they had ceased development and manufacturing, and in some cases had sold -through their inventory. VR Cameras were not going to be a thing… which as one of my colleagues said upon hearing, “well, that’s a signal” (understatement).
A week later at the AWE conference in Munich, the vast majority of interesting activity at the event was not with headsets but rather, with mobile phone screens. Screens at arms-length, and usually with the SELFIE camera as the primary viewing lens onto the world. As much as Snap and Facebook product managers raved about “over 1bn people are doing AR today with their selfie-cameras”, i couldn’t help but feel that a pivot into phone-based-AR applications using pixvana’s IP and brain-trust would be like signing up for another several years of equal or even greater disappointment.
This 1-2 combo of punches in my face finally snapped me to the realization that many other entrepreneurs had come to in 2019–AR/VR might just not be relevant right now in the world, in any appreciable business scale way. Why would Pixvana continue to spend time on the XR space? Well, after we huddled back at the office, we all agreed we couldn’t.
However, what did strike me as incredibly interesting… in a way that people of my age/generation sometimes struggle to fully comprehend, is just how much people like looking at their selfie-cameras. To take pictures and video of themselves to communicate with loved ones, all day, every day. Over the course of the next several months i started to pay much more attention to how the selfie camera was being used by my family and friends, and the ways and subjects that we communicated to each other in private networks such as Whatsapp and iMessage groups. That, is what led to the kernel of an idea that grew into Voodle.
Essentially, why is it that among my family and friends, almost all of my communications are image, video, and emoji or meme based:
Yet when i’m at work, i’m 99% grounded in text. Long TL;DR text in email applications like gmail, back and forth short messages with an occasional URL or small jpeg thumbnail in Slack or Teams, and sometimes sharing documents such as in Highspot or Onedrive or Google Drive. This schism is plainly evident when looking at my phone screen; if it is text, i’m working, if it is friends and family, it is photos/videos/images. This seems incorrect on many levels?
So what if our work related communications looked a lot more like how i communicate with friends and family? That’s the basic kernel of an idea that led us to create voodle.
A “voodle” is a short “video-doodle” that can be posted and shared among work colleagues. These may be insights into customers, competitors, operations, morale and culture insights… we are going to figure out together with our beta-testers. But what we can already feel with our early tests, is that it is *transformational* to communicate with work colleagues in a manner more similar to that we use with friends/family already. 2 billion consumers on their cellphones can’t be wrong!
We are working on voodle! I will write more about voodle soon. I’m excited, as is the team, to share voodle and voodles and voodle pools…
As part of my grieving i wanted to write about my son’s passing. This post will be a work in progress that i will iterate on, as I am inspired to write.
I read a book back in summer of 1992 called On the Death of My Son. It was an interesting book which tells the real life story of a father’s experience with his son’s death, and a series of insights and connections to the meaning he got from that experience (including a sense of connecting to his son and hearing about the afterlife). As much as anything, the title of the book has stuck with me and it is with a sad heart that as of Feb 29th of this year 2020, i have experienced the death of my youngest son Caetano. He was 16.
My wife and I and our son Carlos put together a memorial site for Caetano Key, which has been visited 10k+ times by over 3000 visitors in its first weeks. The many lovely text messages, emails, notes, flowers, food, and other expressions of love and caring for our family have been incredibly uplifting and we feel part of a larger community. And yet, we are devastated. We miss Caetano in so many ways we couldn’t possibly document or convey.
We are however, ok. I’ll let my wife and son tell their own stories on their own channels. I am ok because i’m feeling many intense feelings, but i’m making good progress feeling them, and understanding my grief. These include:
I’m angry. I’m angry at Caetano for trying drugs and not taking the risks of illicit drugs seriously. When he was 11 i had a long conversation with him about all drugs that I could name, and their effects, their joys, and their risks. We did this together in the car while driving to Whistler to ski. His brother was with us. I talked about tobacco, alcohol, psychedelics, stimulants, and depressants like opioids. I told him it was likely that he and his brother might at some point in their lives experiment with drugs. I tried to impart to him a strong boundary with addiction, and risky behavior when under the influence that could lead to physical or emotional harm. I shared with him some of the trauma in my own life that came from family members and my own personal experience with certain drugs. Caetano experimented with drugs: too many of them, and too often. His teenage brain didn’t appreciate the risks. He thought he had it under control. He didn’t. We sought help for him from specialists. He became a nicotine addict (thanks Juul, you bastards), he became a frequent pot and psychedelics tripper, and then the gift of the Sackler family to america, the nefarious opioid epidemic got a hold of him and he became a statistic, one of ~70k people dying a year in america. But this anger has been healing as well. Because being able to feel the anger, but then surrender to it and understand that i didn’t cause his addiction, i couldn’t control his addiction, and I couldn’t cure it… i’m ok with it. His addiction was his. I can only work on my feelings, and being angry is a waste of emotion and time–i want to direct those cycles to doing good in the world for myself and others.
I have tons of regrets. At work i often talk with my colleagues about “if you don’t have any regrets about how you did things in the past, then you didn’t learn anything”. There are 16 years of regrets in my relationship with my son. Prime among them, i wish i had been a lot more emotionally in tune with him and empathetic to some of the ways in which he experienced the world. Caetano was brilliant and funny and kind and a type A personality that wanted to try everything at least 1 time, no matter the consequences. He was also more anxious, and sensitive to how others perceived him, than i understood or could directly relate to. He and i shared real moments of connection where we were together and really emotionally bonded–i regret there weren’t many, many more of those moments. There are also tactical regrets–i wish i hadn’t given him access to an ipod touch and later an iphone, at the early age of 4th grade. I wish that we had gotten him better psychological support and more consistent support, earlier in his life. I regret not having learned CPR, so that i could have maybe saved his life when he went into cardiac arrest in our home at 3am, from a overdose of street purchased Fentanyl. These regrets make me feel sad and anxious… but they also make me feel ok, because they remind me of the many ways that i’ve grown and learned, thanks to my time with Caetano.
I have no regrets. I’ve read many Greek tragedies where fate dictated horrible outcomes, inescapably, for the protagonist. Chronicle of a Death Foretold, by one of my favorite authors Gabriel García Márquez, was a frustrating experience to read — i constantly wanted to step in and save the character from his fate, as the very title of the book tells you that the main character will die. But even in a tragic ending, the story is full of redeeming life moments that were worth living. Caetano died at the age of 16. I am glad he was a part of my life for those years I had him: through the joyous moments, the maddening/frustrating ones, and ultimately through to his tragic end. I never thought his challenges in life would lead to such a sudden end; but now that they have, i feel at peace with some cosmic purpose and destiny. It is and was, by definition, his journey in life.
I have a very strong sense of peace that comes from my material atheist faith. I believe Caetano is one with the universe. Literally, i believe his essence and spirit and physical self are all, now, inexorably intertwined with all matter and all beings, in a peaceful way. I’m not worried about him.
But mostly i’m just sad. I’m sad because of the lost opportunity to meet and befriend the adult Caetano that was yet to come. I imagined years of continued work on our communication and relationship, of good times and bad times. I wanted to see the 2nd act in his life, post teenager. To continue to learn from him. To watch from afar and follow his journey with curiosity and fondness and a father’s love. I had many plans for me and the adult Caetano, including:
We had such a good time visiting Japan together for spring break when he was 13, just the two of us. We traveled on trains, ate adventurously in restaurants, marveled at large and fanciful Buddhist temples, took a okonomiyaki cooking class, shopped for manga and other J-curios, and bathed in a onsen near mount Fuji. At the time i thought we would have a dozen such trips together, father and son, in our lives. That was our last 1:1 trip.
One summer i convinced him to train with me for a 10k race. At first he had a hard time committing to train, and complained. But then he found that runner’s rhythm and became a fast and long runner, completing a 14k training run on his own and letting me know via text message. He was proud of himself. I was proud of him. We had a great race day together, and i remember how happy he was at the finish line as we crossed together in a feverish sprint. I thought we would have many more races together… not now when he was a surly teenager, but perhaps in 5 or 10 years. We never ran together again.
Most of the quality time we had spent together in the last 18 months was in therapy. We had family therapy weekly, and it wasn’t always a joy or even productive. But some times it was… sometimes it was really great. He and I and his mom and brother all went to therapy individually as well, and we would convene as a quad-team to share what progress we were making individually, and as a family group. It was hard work. But it was rewarding. It has changed me profoundly, allowing me to grow emotionally in ways i haven’t ever before in my life. I was looking forward to more years of discussing our individual work, and more sessions together helping each other to grow.
I’m sad. I’m happy. I’m angry. But mostly, i’m ok. Taking it a day at a time, and a week at a time, and know that Caetano will be with me the rest of my life.
Voodle is a vegetarian noodle, but it is also a great name for a software product? Video-doodles! Voodles are plural, voodle is a noun (“i made a voodle”), and voodle is a verb (“voodle it and it shall be done!). So, voodle, fun word right?
Well after 4 years at Pixvana chasing after the dream of VR and headset based immersive storytelling, today marked a huge milestone–we shipped our first iOS release of SPIN Play. It turns out that the billion+ users of mobile phones and iPads are a super compelling audience for immersive storytelling, and while it wasn’t our initial target, it is the most exciting milestone in our team’s journey.
You can get Pixvana SPIN Play for iOS now from the Apple App Store for iOS devices. iPad only release today but iPhone will be out shortly (we did a vertical layout for phones which is more comfortable in your hand given how big phones have gottent).
Ok so we are adding support to Pixvana SPIN Studio to share URLs more easily of what we call SPINs, playlists of content. Here’s our default SPIN that loads when you download our player app, SPIN Play, from various app stores (iOS App Store, Oculus, etc.):
I had a lovely art-walk experience this week in Shoreditch neighborhood of London led by David Stuart of http://www.shoreditchstreetarttours.co.uk and wanted to make note for others. I had of course seen Exit Through the Gift Shop, superb film on the street art scene and the artist Banksy in particular, so it was with wondrous glee that i set out with David to see some of the many rich art-installations dotted in the streets of this neighborhood.
“XR-vu“, or “VR-vu”…whichever term comes into vogue in the near-future, i want to go on record as saying that it happened to me a few weeks, ago, and I liked it–a lot!
Yes i’m playing on the word “deja-vu“, that oh so fun feeling of experiencing something and having a sense of foreboding or otherworldly prescience, as though you’ve previously dreamed of the moment or even lived the moment, in a different state of consciousness? Well play with me for a moment–take that feeling, and now imagine what that feels like when it arises because you HAVE experienced the moment before… but in Virtual Reality or another form of XR (extended reality)?
That’s what i experienced a few weeks ago when I visited Ollantaytambo Peru, a lovely Andean village about 2 hrs outside of Cusco, the former empire capital of the Incas. I had been to the region before, about 30 years ago when i was backpacking for 18 months after college. However, i had never been to Ollantaytambo’s ruins–not in person. But I did visit Ollantaytambo in Virtual Reality, in a detailed, compelling experience that was built by Microsoft as an example of how tourism and travel might be conveyed using VR. It shipped as Microsoft HoloTour, a demonstration app that launched in 2017. This technical document describes what the team did to build the Holotour experience of Ollantaytambo–quite interesting mix of techniques to photographically capture and convey the site.
Unfortunately i couldn’t find any images to illustrate the experience in the headset–suffice to say that in Holotour, i experienced standing in the midst of the Ollataytambo ruins… and when i visited these dame ruins in April of 2019, i had a triple-take moment that flooded my brain with a sense of *very* strong “deja-vu” like cues. Have i been here before? Why does this place seem so familiar? Did I dream it?
No, i had never been here. But yes, i was here in Virtual Reality! Wow. WOW. It was all the fun of deja-vu, times at least 5x… or maybe 10x. It really showed me the difference between seeing a picture or a movie, and having been immersed and felt the unique compelling experience of *presence* that is the hallmark of XR/VR, which triggers activity in the human brain that forms actual spatial *memories* that i was then recollecting/remembering, as though they were real. I don’t know if this feeling would always be as strong, say, if i had felt this sensation many times before? But it was incredibly interesting, and i wanted to first at the podium to share it and i look forward to writing about it more and discussing it with others as they have XR-vu of their own!
We just had a wonderful trip to Beijing and for the first time had a chance to do some side trips to Pingyao. Was fun to take the bullet-train in china for the first time, it’s about 3.5 hrs to Pingyao from Beijing West Train Station. The little town is beyond charming and surrounded by a centuries old wall and towers. We saw no western tourists at all (winter season likely had something to do with it) and stayed in a delightful boutique hotel called Jing’s Residence. The hotel is right in the midst of the old town, with delightful set meals and comfy beds. A bit on the pricey side for the town, but *well* worth it. Highly recommend Pingyao as a Beijing side-trip, as others had recommended to me!
By the way, we hired a private car and driver in Beijing and absolutely loved this service. Eric runs a very good operation, our driver was super awesome, punctual, drove very safe, was in easy contact over WeChat to find and organize drops/pick-ups. Will be recommending to all my friends that visit Beijing.
Here’s some shots from Pingyao:
Ok this is the discovery of the trip, a local specialty called Kau Lao Lao, a oat-based pasta arranged in a honeycomb pattern, with toppings of various kinds (pictured with lamb and a tomato broth of sorts, which tasted of lamb-raggu but didn’t look like it). This was the best new food i’ve had in maybe a decade! Where have you been all my life, Kau Lao Lao?
Standing on the west-gate above the bustling streets below:
Walking around the perimeter of the wall, probably a good 3+ mile circumference although some construction kept us from looping the entire city.
Buy a japan-rail pass before flying to japan, activate it at Narita or other JR Rail station. Huge savings over buying tickets individually or locally in japan after arrival, 7 or 14 day passes, you can make reservations for multiple trips at any JR Rail station and have nice comfy chairs, reserved seats, and tons of fun. Riding the bullet trains never gets old, great fun and way to get around the entire country. lots of google ads take you to vendors who sell the passes, all are licensed, but i used this one.
Amazing Tsukiji market tour and private cooking class, this was insanely good. We did this before the move of the market out of central tokyo to god-knows-where. But this company was top shelf, and the experience insanely good. Best sushi meal of the trip, and fun for family with 2 teenagers not easily impressed: http://www.tsukiji–market.jp/
Really reasonable great location boutique hotel. Cheap/great-value, and good location. I’ve stayed in 5+ hotels in Kyoto that were all more $$ and lesser locations. Very, very small rooms, but comfy. Kyoto Granbell Hotel.
Phenomenal 6-person, michelin-star sushi restaurant, best i’ve had in Kyoto, well worth the $150 fixed price experience for 3hrs of entertainment and close-magic-cooking. Sushi Gion Matsudaya.
Great Kyoto cooking class in a private home with a woman-chef who has pro-kitchen experience overseas. Great english, great tour of the market before or after to buy directly from vendors (in the big central Kyoto market), great location, really neat small private home with good kitchen. We spent 3-4 hours with her, were entertained, and great meal. Very price reasonable. Contact Midori Nukumizu at her email: email@example.com.
Insanely good coffee, several locations, be prepared to wait in line for 15-30 minutes… worth it and fun to wait in line in expectation of great coffee!
Do a day trip out and back to Nara, amazing walks from train station to dozens of temples including insanely old/awesome/etc.
If you have the JR Pass, consider taking a morning side-trip from Kyoto on the bullet train to the city of Himeji, to check out the Himeji castle. OMG, insanely awesome… apparently the best/oldest/original castle in the country. So. Cool. Better day/morning trip than others from Kyoto IMHO.
Before or after the castle go to the rope-way and up to a hiking area for a 2-3 hr trek around some old temples that were used in several films including the tom cruise japan film about samurai. Shoshazan Engyo-ji Temple, via the rope-way called Mount Shosha Ropeway
Onomichi – coming soon
Fukuoka – coming soon
Miyajima Island – coming soon
Kanazawa – coming Soon (Kiragawa Go, Takayama day trips)
Just unboxing a Kandao Obsidian R VR Camera, this is going to become my personal VR blogging / testing camera, i really like the form factory and the quality of shots is excellent.
First observations which are important to others considering buying:
Box includes the camera, and a PPOE power injector. And not much else.
NO included LP6 Canon Batteries (2 required to shoot with battery power)
NO micro SD memory cards. they recommend U3 class, 100mb speed cards. I have ordered a set of 6x64gb to start
The power cable for the PPOE adapter is a european plug standard, useless in the USA. This camera was purchased from Kandao directly and drop-shipped from China… perhaps ordering from other sources will yield the proper power cable.
Not much else in the box. The nice carrying case is kind of overkill, i plan to carry this around with me in a wrapped towel in my luggage so it can go on/off planes with me easily.
Our papa Emilio Casanueva passed away Friday May 25th, 2018, at the Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara CA. He was surrounded with love and affection with family. Emilio was born in Chile in 1939 and immigrated to the USA with his young family and eventually settled on the west coast in Marin County CA. Early in his career he opened Campolindo, an innovative health-food store in San Anselmo in the 1970s, and he maintained a life-long interest in health foods and active living. He was the founder of La Barraca de Zapallar and Zapallar Sustentable, and a designer/builder of dozens of delightful homes in Chile, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Santa Barbara. One of Emilio’s greatest passions in life was ocean swimming. He was a founder of swimming clubs and events including the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Org, and social swimming groups Patos del Mar / Ocean Ducks. He published a book on innovative cooking recipes using Cochayullo.
Emilio was a loving and active father to his 5 sons: Luis Andres, Santiago, Forest, Joaquin, and Roberto. He was an adoring and fun-loving father-in-law to Laura and Cristina. He was a cool and relaxed grandpa to Emilio Jr (and wife Andrea), William, Camila, Carlos, Caetano, and Ava. He had the joy of meeting his first great-granddaughter Nyla this year. His dearest friend and big-brother Catucho survives him, together with his wife Angelica and their many children and grand-children, who knew Emilio intimately and delighted in his company. His nephews Carlos and Diego Casanueva were very dear to his heart, as were Andrea, Angelica, Mario, Cote, Maria, and their partners “Gordo”, “Caco”, Luz Maria, and “Negro”. Emilio’s former wives and co-parents remember him fondly and with great love and affection: Maria and Jane. In Emilio’s last years of life, he had the incredible fortune of returning to Zapallar where he lived some of his most joyous moments together with Francisca who he absolutely adored.
He was beloved and he loved his many friends in the communities in which he lived. He was particularly fond of his life-long friends in Chile and in the USA that shared his passions for swimming, good company, and positive outlooks.
Our family is planning a memorial for Emilio in Zapallar to be held at a later date. His in memorium facebook page is a place to post photos and memories of him.