Week of December 10, 2018

Still at home

Highlights of the week: I enjoyed another week at home, sleeping in my own bed, and enjoying what finally feels like fall in San Francisco.

Monday

Hygge night. On Instagram

Getting back into habits means the return of one of my favorite rituals at home -- lighting a candle for dinner. It's really simple, but it's been a hygge-inspired part of our home for the past several years. The small action helps create a sense of coziness :)

Tuesday

Another day, another great sunset. So happy to have windows at work :) On Instagram

Still enjoying the views, but this time, with a new toy -- my new Moment wide angle lens (using the iPhone XS attachment case). Got a bit more crammed into this photo, and it looked really sharp.

Also, I love this view. Have I mentioned that?

Wednesday

Another photo captured with Moment Lens with long exposure effect on iPhone XS. From Wednesday On Instagram

We have a new colleague on the team, so this week took a group of us out to some bars and restaurants. I grabbed a drink with the team at Jones -- one of my favorite bars in the city (mainly because of the enormous outdoor space). As we were perched on a spot overlooking Geary St, I snapped another Moment Lens shot.

I'm looking forward to seeing what this thing can do when I don't have my SonyAlpha mirrorless camera around.

Thursday

Nothing says “welcome to the team” like a trip to a great Belgian beer bar. Fortunately we have one conveniently located in San Francisco. Welcome to Atlassian! On Instagram

Wednesday was a great dinner with our new hire. I got to try out The House, which served a wide selection of pan Asian dishes. Sometimes "pan Asian" can get confusing, but they kept their menu simple. It worked, especially while sharing several bottles of wine 🍷

Afterwards, we grabbed drinks at Tony Nik's.

This unique bar bills itself as a sophisticated casual spot, serving up classic cocktails. In reality, it's a hodgepodge of designs, that feels divey at times, and is well maintained, clean, and friendly. I've only been a few times, but it feels like a great neighborhood bar, removed from the tourists that tend to frequent North Beach.

Friday

Playing with my new toy — the DJI Osmo Pocket. On Instagram

Another new toy arrived this week...an Osmo Pocket, which I intend to use constantly when traveling. The video above was shot from the Atlassian office, using a feature called Motion Lapse -- a combination of time-lapse and panning.

The pocket-sized camera is compact enough to not draw a lot of attention to the fact that I'm recording or taking a photo, so I'm looking forward to capturing a lot of footage when we go to India next week! Lots of future content to build from this little device 🎬

Saturday

Holiday party with views On Instagram

This was our last week in town before heading off to India for Christmas and New Years, so errands kept us busy. As did a Golden Girls Christmas drag show.

That evening, we headed to a friend's place for a holiday gathering, featuring delicious Cambodia/Laos-inspired Northeastern Thai food from Esan Classic -- one of the best (and spiciest) Thai restaurants in San Francisco.

Sunday

The best sushi bar in San Francisco is just two blocks from home. Kuma Sushi also gave me free ice cream. On Instagram

The eventful week left me happy for some alone time on Sunday. The day was lazy and uneventful. I treated myself to my favorite sushi bar in San Francisco, Kuma Sushi + Sake. After a fairly filling meal and a few pours of sesame shochu, they gave me a bowl of ice cream.

I couldn't say no to the gift. And I didn't.

My last full week of 2018 in San Francisco was eventful and balanced. And it made me grateful for the community of friends and colleagues, and the great neighborhood I get to enjoy.

To more shushi, shochu, and ice cream in 2019 🥳


Week of December 3, 2018

Back in the bay

This week was my first full work week in our new Atlassian San Francisco office, and the first time I’d seen the office without the thick haze of smoke.

Monday

Found the rooftop today. On Instagram

At 14 floors up, and on the edge of San Francisco’s financial district, the views are nothing short of spectacular. They also vary with sunsets and weather changes.

I was definitely ready to move from our old offices — they were in a seedy part of town, which doubled as a food desert, in an area marketed as an "up-and-coming area" of Soma. I lived in that neighborhood five years ago, and it hadn’t changed much. So, the new office with abundance of natural light and beautiful views, was a huge change. A month in, I finally got to enjoy it :)

Tuesday

So many great angles at the Apple Store. On Instagram

Walking home from work, I dropped by the Apple Store. It’s a new convenience that was an out-of-the-way task prior to our office move. It might seem silly, but it's very nice having shops, bars and eateries, conveniently downstairs all day.

This office move has been like relocating to a whole new city.

Wednesday - Friday

It’s wet out there, so I’ll stay inside up here. On Instagram
San Francisco sunset = all of the light. On Instagram
Got some elevation to capture this San Francisco sunset yesterday afternoon.
(Shot with my DJI Mavic Air. On Instagram

More shots from the office. In rain, at dusk, and at sunset.

Saturday

Saturday night lights. On Instagram

A movie and dinner

https://gph.is/2yBWjbS

On Saturday, we made it out to a movie — Yorgos Lanthimos's The Favourite. It was the story of Queen Anne, but with updated fashion, quirky humor, and modern dancing.

Afterwords, we checked out a new pinseria place in North Beach (Barbara Pinseria). It was good, but Montesacro Pinseria Romana in Soma is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. Our pizza-like flatbread meal hit the spot, and capped off simple, but great, weekend evening back in San Francisco.

https://youtu.be/SYb-wkehT1g
Trailer for The Favourite.

Sports ball

The weekend ended with a trip to Santa Clara for a football game, with the local 49ers playing my Denver Broncos. I haven’t followed American football or the NFL much in recent years, but games are usually a lot of fun. Plus, going to see any sport live generally has a lot of great energy between the fans, the cheers, and some beers.

It was my second game at Levi’s Stadium — I previously saw a FC Barcelona vs Manchester United match there. We were given tickets to a club suite, which was well-stocked. My precious experience (also in a club suite) had hot dogs and Budweiser; this suite had a charcuterie spread, roasted chicken, and craft beer).

The charcuterie plate was mostly picked over when we arrived, but it was tasty :)

The posh seats were fun, but I was overwhelmed by the amount of advertising that covered every visible surface of the stadium. From the benches outside (brought to you by Intel), to an actual Levi’s clothing store (in case you spill mustard on your jeans?) to the escalator that doubled as a Pepsi cup to each section of suites having a major corporate sponsorship; there’s no way to avoid an advertisement during the game. Seriously, every section of the stadium is sponsored.

At some point, I was too distracted trying to figure out what each ad placement was for, that I lost track of the game, the instant replays, and announcements. All I remember is that I need to drink Pepsi and Budweiser at the casino when I visit Yosemite National Park. Also, fly United.

The game hit a lull, so we went for a walk… with more marketing to sponsor the occasion.

A quick comment here:

I’ve been to American football games in Tampa and Kansas City, and to soccer, baseball, hockey, and basketball games around the world. Some feel more energetic than others, but it usually depends on whether the home team is winning or losing.

And there are ads at most stadiums -- soccer games are usually a full quilt of ads and LED signs all around the field. But usually the game was the center of attention.

Maybe it was just apparent because I don't care for the 49ers, and I haven't been that into the NFL in recent years. But usually I've been able to ignore the plethoras of ads at any sport. Or maybe they're usually more subtle.

At the end of the day, the 49ers haven't had a winning season since leaving San Francisco for the new stadium in Santa Clara, so it's apparent that the marketing value of the stadium is greater than the substance of the team itself.

The real action-packed game.

Critiques about the distracting stadium aside, it was definitely an entertaining experience. But the most exciting part of the game was the halftime show, when a bunch of college mascots played a mock game of football -- the Sourdough Bowl! They looked ridiculous running around, especially the inflated dinosaur bouncing across the field with short arms. It was perfect.

Overall, I had a great time once we got down to Santa Clara. But I wouldn't go out of my way to trek down and look at a million advertisers while trying to spot the football game.

Sunday

The train ride home from Santa Clara. On Instagram

Whereas we took a combination of Lyft --> Caltrain --> VTA to Levi's Stadium, the ride back was more scenic (and eventful). That's because we took an Amtrak Capitol Corridor train, across the marshes of San Francisco Bay.

The Amtrak line was more scenic than Caltrain's path, and it was also more relaxing -- until we hit the Oakland Colosseum crowds. The Raiders' game had just let out as we pulled into the transfer station to get on BART, and their fans were definitely more energetic and excited about their win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Week of November 26, 2018

Summary, or TL;DR.

TL;DR: Another week, another work trip. Following a successful Thanksgiving weekend, I flew off to São Paulo -- my second trip this year! The timing of this trip is more remarkable, considering I had previously never crossed the equator until the earlier trip in April.

In any event, this marked my final work trip of the year, and it was an unexpected delight.

Skipping town

Sunday

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqnkLg3nTDa

Picking up on the last post, I started this week a day early. I had to leave town for work, to make it from San Francisco to São Paulo by Tuesday.

Fortunately, though I was traveling on a busy day, I made it to Brazil without any issues.

Unfortunately, I didn't get an upgrade crossing from SFO to IAD -- or for the more important IAD to GRU overnight flight -- so I was dead tired when I landed in São Paulo. Fortunately, the Renaissance Hotel knew I was arriving early (before noon), and I was able to check in.

Monday

Approaching São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport

Though I'd been to São Paulo just a few months prior, the approach into the city reminded me of San Francisco. The low clouds and foggy haze combined with the hills to remind me a bit of home.

I was smarter this time, and grabbed a taxi that could take the express lanes into the city. I was excited for a nap, and just a few moments away falling into a heavy nap, when a friend pinged me on Facebook Messenger. He was 3 blocks down the street.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqqmGXcH7-Q/

I'd known Luis for many years -- all the way back to high school in Tampa. He eventually moved to DC after I'd moved there for college, and we had some overlapping circles of friends.

He now works for the Organization of American States, which is kind of like the United Nations, but focussed on JUST the Americas. We don't hear much about it in the United States, but the OAS is an important forum for Latin American countries to bring up economic, environmental, and human rights issues.

Luis noticed my check-in or post on Facebook, and pinged me. We didn't have much time, as he was on his way out of the country -- he'd come from Argentina the day before -- and had a day to explore São Paulo for his first time in Brazil.

With just about an hour before he needed to run to the airport, and me being incredibly groggy, we caught up on life over an espresso. Then he was off to Peru for more work, and I was off to crash for about 40 minutes before dinner.

Dinner was a feast. During my previous trip, a group of us spent an evening at D.O.M. -- one of the "World's 50 Best Restaurants" (number 30 this year) -- but right around the corner is a spot called Dalva e Dito, a sister restaurant to the famed D.O.M.

At a mere one Michelin Star, the food wasn't as over-the-top, and the experience wasn't as drawn out, as its famous counterpart. Instead, Dalva e Dito served very traditional Brazilian dishes with high quality ingredients and slightly smaller portions.

The meal was delicious, and I was ready to pass out.

Sleepy in São Paulo

Tuesday

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqwtMjLHf6o/

I built in a one day buffer to acclimate and account for any travel delays. Getting to Brazil from San Francisco not long required a layover, and it required traveling on the busiest travel day of the year -- the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Tuesday was hardly a leisurely day. For one, the pool at the Renaissance was closed for resealing and remodeling work. So my Havaianas had to stay put :(

But more importantly, I had a chance to meet with our local Solutions Partner, e-Core Solutions, in their brand new, Atlassian-inspired office, near the Moema district.

Between the hour each way in Ubers, the meetings, and the buffet lunch, I saw a lot of the city, but didn't get a chance to explore much.

Drinking a refreshing Aperol Spritz at a cafe

I had one moment of solitude before two days of delivering training. I found a moment to step out of the hotel for a walk, and I found myself at a cafe. My original plan was to work, but I dropped that idea and just relaxed with an Aperol Spritz in hand.

The servers looked at me weird when I asked for an espresso, too, but we got past it.

After the quick reset and a quick sync with work, I was ready for dinner.

I can't recall the number of times Bráz Pizzaria came up in conversations about São Paulo, but it was on my list of places to try during this trip. Luckily for me, I have coworkers who can read my mind.

The food in São Paulo surprised me with its range and richness. Pizza is fairly standard fare in the US, but it's not what one might expect to be a staple in Brazil, where traditional ingredients aren't bread mozzarella cheese, and olives. Maybe it has something to do with Italian immigration to Brazil...

We ordered an "Italian Sausage Bread," two pizzas, and a salad. It was simple and delicious. One item I couldn't find on the menu, but I saw at a table -- Georgian Khachapuri. A flatbread dish with melted cheese cheese and an egg mixed in.

Not pictured above are two enormous side salads that complimented the Brazilian-style cheesy bread goodness.

Time to work

Wednesday

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bqye9MknAfb/

I wasn't in São Paulo for vacation, and two days of running training brought me right back to reality. The picture above was the only real photo I was able to take all day. It was a nice reminder that it was summer outside, and that I was in the heart of an incredible metropolis in an unfamiliar corner of the world.

The dual simultaneous Portuguese and Spanish translators that helped me during the training were another clear reminder of how far away from home I was.

Our partner meal was at Fogo de Chao, a restaurant I’ve never been to before. It was surprisingly good, and with unlimited grilled meats, salad bar, and drinks, in a semi-private space, it was a perfect fit for our group.

Thursday

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqyiQQPHf6M/

I wrapped up training with our Solutions Partners on Thursday afternoon. The week of conversations about ITSM and strategies for talking about Atlassian with customers had come to an end, and I'd be heading home in just a few hours -- my flight time was just before midnight.

My original plan was to join the rest of the team at an Atlassian User Group (AUG), being hosted not far from our hotel. But then it started to storm. I skipped the meet up, and went for a walk instead.

My friend, Luis, had suggested a coffee place he stopped by earlier in the week -- Catarina Coffee & Love. The little shop was nestled inside a boutique clothing shop on the very posh-feeling Rua Oscar Freire.

I spoke with the barista for a bit while sipping on a pour over. He told me about Brazil's coffee industry, and how different coffee producers are trying out different methods with their products, like fermenting their beans. I must have spent 40 minutes at the shop, just chatting about coffee and chocolate.

different coffee producers are trying out different methods with their products, like fermenting their beans.

Yes, chocolate came up. And my new friend had several chocolates to choose from (it was impressive, considering the small amount of space he was operating. He sold me on bringing back some experimental chocolates, made with beans harvested from wild cacao trees found in the Amazon.

He said the chocolate tasted like cheese. How could I resist?

Finally, a moment to rest...

Fortunately, one of the perks that comes from flying so much for work is the idea of upgrade certificates from United. They don't always work, but one came through at the last minute for the long redeye back to DC.

Ready for home

Friday

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bq5LarXny_X/

The second leg of my trip didn't include lie-flat seating, but I pretty much just passed out after running from one of the (still weird) Dulles Airport "mobile lounges," through Global Entry, grabbed my bag, re-checked it, ran to my gate, and hopped on my flight to San Francisco as boarding started -- all in under an hour.

I took a break from the nearly 20 hours in transit, from my hotel to San Francisco International Airport, by relaxing at United's (relatively) new Polaris Longe. Atlassian even greeted me with an ad for our newly-acquired product, Opsgenie, after I collected my luggage!

Overall, this trip was one of the more exhausting work excursions I had all year. The previous trip to São Paulo had a week in Buenos Aires, Argentina, attached to to the end, giving me something to look forward to before switching time zones again. Everything was also new, having never been South America before. But with this trip, I was ready to be home.

Saturday

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bq5MJi0nU0j/

Relieved to be home for a few weeks, but also reflective of the travel I'd put in for the year, we caught a movie Saturday night. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bq60MVhnSxm/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

Back in the bay, we spent Saturday on a nice, long bike ride to Muir Beach. It was the first time in weeks that I was in town and the air quality wasn't poor from the fires near Chico.

By the late afternoon, the sky had a few scattered clouds. They were perfect for capturing the fleeting moments before sunset.

Travel Summary:

A hop, a skip and a jump.
From To Mileage
SFO IAD 2,419 mi
IAD GRU 4,737 mi
GRU IAD 4,737 mi
IAD SFO 2,419 mi
Total 14,311 mi

Week of October 29, 2018

The end of October, a wedding, and the start of an insane month of travel. Here's how I wrapped up October and welcomed November.

I kicked the week off with a delicious dinner at Pho 2000. It was Pho-nominal (as advertised).

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bpmb5YNAwwp

The Atlassian office on Harrison closed (for good) on Tuesday, for our big move to 465 Pine St. With no office, I worked from home for most of the week. And my mobility dropped to walking within about 4 blocks of home.

Still, even with the sharp drop in daily steps, I managed to snap a photo of this random jet making its way around San Francisco's blue skies.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bpmcom0AzPF/

The end of October brought Halloween night. But a Wednesday night.

Still, San Francisco's inner geek decided to show off, with LED lights atop Salesforce Tower taking the form of the Eye of Sauron.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BpoLQvtnmmj/

Next stop: Los Angeles.

Thursday night was the first of 5 flights over the following week.

SFO --> BUR for a wedding.

LAX --> ZRH --> AMS for work

AMS --> IAH --> SFO home.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BprtdzVnXFG

On Friday, we woke up in Los Angeles, ready for a weekend of wedding festivities. I took in the view over eggs and coffee, before we headed off to Ojai.

We had clear skies, some well-placed fog, and some plane spotting in the distance. Happy fall.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BptCJfynEVy

Ojai was gorgeous. And the evening's sunset painted a beautiful backdrop for everyone's photos (including mine :)).

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bpw2qIKHt-c/

With the wedding weekend wrapped up, I was off to the airport.

I boarded the last Star Alliance flight out of LAX, headed to Amsterdam for a week of training our Atlassian Solution Partners for work (via Zurich). A last minute upgrade from Swiss Airlines made for an unexpected surprise.

I don't know how I lucked out, but thanks, Swiss!

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bp_TqmTHZtv/
LAX to ZRH to AMS