Month: October 2009

Fired up.

To those that are waiting, no. No kid yet.

But an interesting thing happened last night. Pete came back. I mean, he’s been in the area for a little while, settling into his new place in Sacramento. But last night was the first time I’d seen him in a long time – couple years, maybe the first time we’ve seen him since the wedding? I don’t know. But it’s been a long time.

He was one of the few people I hung out with a lot when I was young. We spent time at my house, his house, played ping-pong, played the early Sierra adventure games, went to Berkeley together to play arcade games until we both had headaches… all kinds of things. We met, I think, in sixth grade. My first memory of him was in a vocal class? I think he was singing to himself, and I thought, “What a weird kid.”

But we became good friends – I’d consider him one of my very best. And so when I think about my youth, there are a handful of people that are part of that. Some that I’m still close with, some that I’m not. For the most part, I’ve either kept in close contact with the people I still care about, but Pete’s been a skipping stone in my life for the last 15 years.

We didn’t see each other that often, but when we did, it didn’t take much to catch up, and it never felt like any time had passed. Yet, we both changed. I met Ei-Nyung, started a career in game development, got married, bought a house, and am about to have a kid. He lived in New York, became a doctor and has had all manner of grand adventures in the time since (there are other interesting tidbits, but you’d have to ask him about them, as I won’t spoil them for you here).

So last night, we hung out. And it was like nothing’s changed. Well, that’s not right – obviously, lots has changed. But somehow, something flipped in my head last night. And I know this may be weird, but seeing Pete again – it felt like a bookend to my prolonged adolescence. My fear of the future disappeared. Fears about fatherhood, the changes that are coming in Ei-Nyung and my life, the changes that we’re all going to go through in the *next* 15 years… it became a sort of excitement and joy. And no, I can’t explain it.

But I look forward to meeting my son. I look forward to seeing him learn, and grow, and to watch him form the kinds of friendships that last a lifetime. I look forward to how Ei-Nyung and my relationship will change – one of the things that’s been good about our relationship is how we handle change, and growth – I fear the sleepless nights, and the stress – the inevitable arguments and conflict – but it’s *progress*. Towards a family – our family – surrounded by friends that I love deeply – towards the future, both in work, which has been incredible, and in life.

The last 15 years, for their little stresses and various challenges have been utterly spectacular. May the next 15 be as good.


So, it’s hard to comprehend the idea of impending fatherhood. It’s alternately exciting and horrifying, as I’m sure it is for most fathers-to-be. With some close friends already having taken the plunge, I’m glad to know that we’ll have people to rely on for a little experience and help. It’s still quite strange.

I was thinking what I would like to pass on to the child (it’s a ‘he’ if you don’t already know, and no, we don’t have a name yet – we’re not just not telling you), and the thing that kept coming to mind was simple, but also impossible to accurately convey:

“Know when to quit.”

WHOA! That’s a horrible thing to say, right? You should teach your kid to persevere, to work hard, to fight through things – that with dedication and hard work, anything is possible… right?

Well, no – I don’t think so. I mean, I’m not saying I *don’t* want to teach them dedication, hard work, perseverance – absolutely, I do. But a companion to that is to know what to focus their dedication, etc. etc. ON.

How do you explain to a kid that you should always, always work hard, try hard, stick to it, and not to give up, but also that some battles are not for you, that you can be passionate about many things, but that there is a limit, and your life might be better if you tried something else.

It seems like the kind of lesson that you learn only with experience, and an understanding of what you want in life, and how to achieve it – how to strip back the trappings of daily life, and to figure out what you really, really want, and how to let the other things go. Or how to not drive yourself crazy trying the impossible. After all, a lot of people who were great at things were also… crazy. And if they want to be great, maybe it requires a little craziness, in the end.


But maybe there’s also value in knowing how to focus your efforts to maximize the return. I mean, I like a lot of things. Some of which I still do, and some of which I simply don’t have time for – but finding the right balance is hard, because what you want to do and what you *can* simply don’t match up a good amount of the time.

I like cooking. A lot. But I find that one problem is that I’m ambitious. I want to cook something awesome. ALL THE TIME. And so what happens is that instead of an occasional simple meal, like a bowl of ramen, I’ll want to do something crazier, but never get to it because we don’t have the time or energy to devote that much to food preparation every night. So ingredients will go to waste, or we’ll put it off and order in, and eat worse in the end because it’s taken five years to realize that sometimes, it’s fine to just chill and make something at home that only takes five minutes.

It’s just a matter of finding balance. I know I can do almost anything if I put my mind to it, if I’m dedicated to it, if I try really hard. And for the things I realize I’m truly, deeply passionate about, I do all those things and more. But the ability to step back and say, “Maybe I don’t want this as much as I think I do,” not because you have to but because you can get that perspective…

It seems like that frees you to be great, rather than frustrated by good.


So… lots of changes since the last post. Lots of baby gear acquired. Friends held us an awesome baby shower. Work’s going well, but is often crazy. I dunno. Lots of stuff. Nervous. Scared. Excited. Can’t wait for baby to arrive, but also can. It’s all quite strange.

We ate at a really excellent restaurant Friday (and then again on Saturday, it was so good) called Commis, which is a new addition on Piedmont Ave. Ex-Manresa chef, who’s also staged @ El Bulli & The Fat Duck. Awesome food, close, really good value (for what it is), and the kind of restaurant that Oakland’s needed, but lacked, for decades. I suppose it’ll be a little while before we can go back, but I’m looking forward to it.

Looks like the 360’s drive might be giving up the ghost. Getting disc read errors like nobody’s business. Tried & failed to play both GRID and RE5 tonight because the disc wouldn’t read. Boo.

Trying to get some sleep while I can, but also ended up up until 2am every night for the last three days. Combination of nerves and… nerves, I guess. Man. I wish I wasn’t so … excitable about stuff like this. It’s no good for anyone. I fret, it does nothing, I lack sleep, and everything gets worse. Boo again. Guess I’d better get used to it… :O