WordPress app for android :)

image

Just noticed that there’s a wp app so I figured I’d give it a spin while waiting for my “gilbraltar” at blue bottle. If only it didn’t take 20 mins to get through the line zzzz


morning coffee routine

being a new parent means losing sleep. getting less sleep means you gotta have a morning coffee routine to get things going!

even though there’s a bunch of coffee places within a 5 minute walk of where we live, it’s not super convenient to get some first thing in the morning (hitting the starbucks next door to our house in PJs might be a bit odd). there’s also the cost factor of course. recently, my favorite coffee has been philz, just down 4th at Berry St. – but it’s too far to make the trek in the morning and they do charge $3 for a small cup of single-drip coffee. ($1.50 for the next few weeks as I use up the $20 GC I got through groupon 🙂 )

anyhoo, looking for a home option, my criteria were:

  • high quality taste
  • single serving
  • quick/easy to make and cleanup

at first, i tried using a french press with pre-ground coffee. we registered for a bodum chambord double wall coffee press in our wedding registry and i had gotten a bag of starbucks grounds on clearance at target.

i tried using this setup a few times after we had first gotten married 2 years ago, but with these tools a few major problems were evident:

  1. the pre-ground coffee was the wrong coarseness, which meant that the french press was unable to filter cleanly and there were small grounds in the produced coffee
  2. the double wall feature was nice in that it kept the coffee hot longer, but it only comes in a rather large size, which wasn’t conducive to a single serving. i’d usually end up with multiple cups, which is way too much normally
  3. cleanup was a nightmare. the french press has a ton of pieces and the cleaning the plunger/filter is too much work for daily use

paired with my inexperience at getting the right final mix (coffee/sugar/milk), the coffee was horrible and a ton of work.

fortunately, we got the coffee press at bbb which has an awesome return policy (better than REI and Nordstrom!). so, in addressing the serving size problem, i exchanged it for a smaller french press: a 17-ounce bodum shin bistro

excited, i brought it home eager to give it a go the next morning. however, results were really disappointing. the serving size problem was solved, but the single wall construction meant the coffee was lukewarm after brewing (you have to let it steep in the press for a few minutes before plunging). the cleanup was still terrible and the finished product was still subpar compared to my local coffee joints.

the french press goes into the cupboard, months go by and riley join us… and the need for coffee increases dramatically 🙂

i do some online research and find this brilliant contraption:


swissgold® KF 300 One-Cup Coffee Filter

it solves the serving size problem, is much easier to clean, has no moving/complicated parts, and produces nice drip coffee just like you find at blue bottle, cento, and philz without having to get paper filters.

now i was getting really close, but my bag of pre-ground coffee had pretty much lost all its flavor. i knew i wasn’t going to be able to use up bags of pre-ground coffee fast enough for it to stay fresh so, using some bbb store credit, i bought a breville conical burr grinder and some peet’s whole coffee beans.

in the weeks that followed, i made the final few adjustments:

  • the swissgold filters coffee best if it’s ground at the “fine” setting, which is used for filtered coffee (it’s in between the setting for plunger and espresso)
  • i switched to using organic turbinado raw cane sugar
  • i now use heavy cream – which i’ve discovered is a must have in the kitchen! you can also add it to eggs for scrambled eggs and curry yum!
  • to heat the water, i use filtered water from our fridge and nuke 8 oz. for 2.5 minutes in the microwave
  • cleaning the swissgold just takes a quick wash with our oxo soap brush

end result: coffee as good as philz in 5 minutes every morning. cost? hmmm… $16 for the swiss gold + $100 for the coffee grinder + $8 for bags of beans (25 servings) + $3 for a pint of cream (10 servings) + $3 bag of sugar (~100 servings). doing a little calculus, limit as n approaches infinity of ($16 + $100)/n is 0, so the cost per cup is something like $0.32 + $0.30 + $0.03 = $0.65 / cup!


I hate the sf muni

Now I remember why I hate the sf muni system. I’m standing at the corner of 4th and Bryant St., where there is clearly a bus stop for the 9AX and I watch and the empty bus drives by on the far lane of Bryant St. to get ready to turn on 3rd. The bus driver didn’t even slow down. How is anyone supposed to use this system?

Not to mention the fact that even if I catch the bus, it takes 30+ minutes to get to work; which takes 15 minutes to bike or drive.

I called sfmuni to complain but they just put me on hold.. not surprising I guess.

For any SFers that are against increasing the amount of parking in the city, try using the public transit system sometime >:o


Posting from my iphone

On the bus ride home from work. Tappin out a blog entry on my new iPhone 3g using the wordpress app. Pretty cool except it’s so hard to type compared to my old devices with a physical keypad. They shoulda made a wordpress app for blackberry 🙂


i gotta blog this…

that’s what I said earlier today as we were leaving Williams-Sonoma in Union Square, so here we go!

So, this morning we headed to Crate and Barrel bright and early to hit up a wedding registry event; however, it’s actually tomorrow morning :O Since we were already around Union Square, we hit up Dottie’s True Blue Cafe for breakfast (it was good, but we’d give it 3 out of 5 stars – 4 stars at best…) and then went shopping before the Macy’s Wedding Registry event today at 1PM.

We strolled into Williams-Sonoma, and since we had just finished eating a greasy breakfast, it was time for a typical bathroom run.

Williams-Sonoma in Union Square has a pretty nice bathroom, so I ran up to the 3rd floor and started umm… doing the business when someone starts knocking on the bathroom door. The bathroom is one of those single units where it’s a small room with a toilet & sink and you lock the whole room. I clear my throat loudly to signal that “hey, there’s someone in here” and figure whoever it is will wait patiently until the business is finished being done. However, this guy is really impatient and keeps knocking and starts yelling something or other, which I can’t really understand since the door is pretty thick and well… I’m in the middle of some business. I thought, man this guy is rude! So I made sure to take care of a little extra business and get the room nice and ripe for the next customer.

As I’m washing my hands and getting ready to leave the restroom, I get a call from Rose on my cell:

Rose: Are you still in the bathroom? Guess who’s here on the 3rd floor

Me: Huh? Yeah, I’m just finishing up. What are you talking about?

Rose: George from Grey’s Anatomy is here on the 3rd floor, I just saw him walk up there!

The impatient bathroom user? Yup, that’s right, T.R. Knight (George O’Malley on Grey’s Anatomy). As I exited the bathroom, he was standing there in the hallway waiting to go. I barely even recognized him since he’s currently got a pretty short haircut and he’s wearing regular street clothes (not hospital scrubs).

Needless to say, I had to blog this 😛

Other quick thoughts (mostly rants!):

  • Got Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac and was really hoping Entourage would be good. No such luck; still running Outlook 2007 in Parallels.
  • What’s up with the movie No Country for Old Men? How is it not obvious to everyone that it sucks?
  • Firefox on Mac is totally suck these days. It’s always crashing. Flock is too slow. Safari sucks. Argh!
  • Registering for a wedding is crazy! Bed, Bath and Beyond is the best place to register though. 1. everything is returnable for cash, 2. they actually have stores everywhere, 3. 20% off coupons everywhere, and 4. our registry consultant comped us a free $30 meal when we were looking dead tired & hungry!
  • Jorge Perez. omg. his presentation during the Macy’s Wedding Registry event might’ve been the worst 30 minutes of my life.
  • The Hollywood writer’s strike sucks. Hey guys, don’t screw yourselves like the NHL did eh? You’re just asking for people to forget about your junk and do other stuff.
  • I want to buy a Nintendo Wii and the game Rock Band for xbox 360. However, it’s sold out everywhere around here. Hey Nintendo and Harmonix: let me give you my money!
  • Rain in SF sucks when you have to bike to work and by the time you get there, your pants are completely drenched.
  • I would’ve twittered all this stuff, but twitter sucks. I get a ton of junk tweets and none of my friends are on it anyways.

Can’t believe you read all that yo. zzzzzzzzz 🙂


My lunch 2.0 @ Tagged photo is up on Wired News' Epicenter blog

My photo from Lunch 2.0 today…

P1110372.JPG

is up on one of Wired’s blogs. Sweet 🙂


the story – from Mark's point of view

Sooooo only a few weeks after the fact, but still good right?

Where to start? There’s so much to tell! Let’s start at the most interesting part:

P1100626.JPGAnd she said “yes” yay!

The history

But how did it come to pass? Let’s rewind to almost exactly 4 years ago: Halloween 2003. Rose and I had both recently started working at Microsoft – our first jobs out of college – and we were at my office-mate Nate’s house for a party. My friend from college, Lee, introduced me to Christine (Rose’s high school friend, turned Seattle roommate), who introduced me to Rose. We were both in ridiculous costumes; I was a “fireman” (although all I had was a thin plastic fireman’s hat that I had found on the floor) and Rose was “tank top girl” – which I think meant she was wearing all of her tank tops at the same time. I’m not ashamed to admit that I liked Rose from the second we met (not sure if the feeling was mutual though :O )

Two days later, we bumped into each other at church. God’s plan no doubt!

And then…

We started dating a few months later, and it’s definitely been a non-stop adventure 🙂 Just check out all the photos:

Banff.9.2.2005 082Sonoma and Napa 9.24.2005 071P1050445P1080243Banff.9.2.2005 101P1030991.jpgHiking, sight seeing, traveling, snowboarding, and more! When I found out Rose was as adventurous and spontaneous as me, I knew I had found someone special. (Especially since we don’t always fully plan our adventures hehehe but that’s another story!)

Transitions

Two and a half years ago, I moved to San Francisco. Problem was, Rose was still in Seattle. 😦

I guess they say “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” but man, easier said than done! Over the year and a half Rose and I were long distance, it was tough. Most of the time we spent together was over the phone and every couple of weeks one of us would fly to meet the other for the weekend. But during this time, I came to realize that Rose wasn’t just adventurous and fun-loving, but also extremely dedicated and faithful.

Then about a year ago, I tricked Rose into moving to San Francisco too. 🙂

See, we had decided that it was time to end the long distance thing and live in the same city again. So we made a deal, the first person to find a job in the other person’s city would move there. I sent my resume out to many companies in Seattle and Rose forwarded me her resume to send around to companies in Silicon Valley. Of course it was a bit unfair since I used my network to get her an interview a few days later and she had a job offer within a few weeks, but now we were in sunny California! 😀

The realization…

About 6 months ago, I was doing some thinking (a rare occurence I know) and I started to put all the pieces together. The “random” meeting at the Halloween party and then at church 2 days later. The way we both loved to go on adventures, travel, and try new things. The realization that the last three years with Rose had been the best years of my life. And so it clicked. I knew God had brought us together and that I wanted to be with Rose for the rest of my life.

I guess God just knew exactly what I needed. Best… gift… evar!

So then began the engagement planning…

Planning to pop the question

First the ring. This required quite a bit of reconnaissance. Along with being adventurous, spontaneous, fun-loving, devoted, and faithful, Rose is also slightly contrarian. We both love to be a little different, a tad unique 🙂

We had casually gone ring shopping a long time ago and also in other conversation Rose had mentioned that she liked tension set rings. I had to be sure, so I enlisted the help of Erin, one of Rose’s college friends. During a little vacation Rose and some of her friends took in San Diego, Erin steered them to a ring store, narrowed down the field, and reported the results back to me.

Excellent!… except that wasn’t enough info. So I dragged Rose to a few stores to look at different rings and to make sure I knew what she wanted. When we had finally narrowed it down, I was pleasantly surprised: the specific tension setting she wanted would only accommodates a 0.50 carat diamond max. (for all the guys reading out there, join me in a collective “nice!” & *high-five* )

Then I was unpleasantly surprised. Not only are there only a few manufacturers of tension set rings in the world, but the specific style Rose wanted was especially difficult to make and pretty expensive. So I started my journey of finding the best diamond, picking a jeweler to have it sent to the manufacturer, and waiting for the ring to come in.

In the meantime, plenty to do!

I had to get permission from her parents of course so I gave them a call well in advance to get their blessing. Check!

I also had to talk with my parents. My dad and grandpa made it easy, when we visited them in Shanghai, my grandpa was very direct: “when are you guys getting married?” I assumed that was a affirmative. Later my mom visited me in San Francisco and we chatted too. Check!

Finally, to plan the actual engagement event.

I knew I couldn’t just do the cliche (take her out to dinner, have them hide the ring in the desert, and have the string quartet pop out of the background right as I drop to one knee). All our friends had done things that were so much more elaborate.

I had originally thought I could do it in San Francisco, but it took so long to get the ring (almost 3 months for the entire process!) that summer was coming to a close before I got all my stuff together. Then came the perfect opportunity: Rose’s friends from college, Gene and Sharon, were getting married in Houston and all of her friends would be there.

I again enlisted the help of Erin and we devised a “texas reunion after wedding brunch” which would be the cover for my proposal. Tip for guys: enlist Erin to help you – she’s awesome! Erin helped scope out locations, put together the guest list, and ran interference all without breaking a sweat.

We picked a place at Erin’s sister’s suggestion (La Strada restaurant in Houston) and had everything set. During the planning, we had to let a few people in on it but almost no one knew and no one spilled the beans either 🙂

So we had a great time at Gene and Sharon’s wedding the night before and the day was upon me.

Obstacle number one: getting Rose to get up and get ready to go to the brunch without being suspiciously nervous. This proved difficult, but we did get there eventually (an hour late).

Obstacle number two: bringing the ring (which came in a HUGE box) without letting Rose see it. This was accomplished by my extremely baggy cargo shorts. Although it required a bit of elbow grease to get the box in and out of my pocket.

Obstacle number three: setting everything up with the restaurant staff. Right after we got to the restaurant, I said I had to go to the bathroom. I took the chance to talk with the manager and other staff to get things set.

Another interesting side note we found out later: La Strada (the restaurant we were at) is well known in Houston for being the place you go after getting totally drunk the night before to have brunch and then proceed to get hammered again. Thus, the restaurant had a DJ playing music and two full service bars. :O

So everything was set! Here we go!

The main event!

Here’s the play by play:

  • A little early, the waiter came out with a huge platter of champagne. Everyone at the table (aside from Erin and I) was like: “what the?” Erin grabbed her camcorder and I was like: “it’s showtime!”
  • Halfway through passing out the champagne, the waiter dropped the remaining half of the champagne glasses and it was everywhere. :O No worries, the show must go on!
  • I had prepped Vincent (one of Rose’s photographer friends) the night before and told him to bring his Canon 10D. I now gave him the signal
  • I signaled the DJ to turn down the music
  • Rose had been mingling at the other end of the table, so I asked her to come over next to me
  • I delivered a speech which I had practiced in the car. As I started, everyone realized what was going on. Rose and some of her friends started crying
  • I struggled for a little bit to get the massive ring box out of my pocket.
  • I got down on one knee and proposed. She said yes.
  • I actually didn’t know what to do next until someone told me to put the ring on her finger.
  • Champagne and pictures followed.
  • The DJ came over and we took a round of kamikaze shots with him
  • Case closed!

After the brunch, Vincent took some engagement photos of us in the surrounding area. They turned out really well:

Thanks Vincent!

And that was it. We were now engaged.

Longest… blog post… evar!