grateful (COUNT=1539)

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Twenty below freezing outside but being the brave Canadians that we are, we braved the cold to maintain our coffee date tradition @ Fahrenheit (love the extra pulp sign)

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He described the walk as Dickensian

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Last week, coffee date @ pilot (union station renovation brings to mind grand central and that’s pretty amazing)

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Viking Slice @ Danish Pastry House (also union station) which was our contribution to

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Jess’ hot pot party (preserved egg + fish is really good)

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new year >>> new goals

Hot Pot Party with Sariphen (Sari + Stephen) and Benise (Benny + Denise) and we talked about Marshall Goldsmith’s “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”, a book that Stephen gifted us a few years ago.

The following were identified as potential areas for improvement for me
1. Winning too much
2. Adding too much value
3. Passing judgment

And I have decided to work on #2 (adding too much value). James said he is used to #1 (i.e. my constant attempt to optimize things that may not need to be optimized). James also said the main manifestation of #3 for me is #2 (i.e. I judge other people by telling them that my way is better).

James is going to help me track this using my new calendar from The Regional Assembly of Text.

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starbucks

2011: tried to do our first date at the Rosehill Starbucks but it was closing so we grabbed drinks instead

2012: surprised to find myself crying while reading Onward

2014: when I said Wendy, the Starbucks person somehow heard Whitney so what can I do but drink it outside the Whitney?

2016: Seattle

2017: Osaka

& Reading “Pour Your Heart into it”: I’m still running, chasing after something nobody else could ever see // In the fifteen years since then, I’ve often wondered: What would have happened had I just accepted his decision? Most people, when turned down for a job, just go away // We had been warned that, culturally, the Japanese refuse to carry to-go food or beverages on the street. Yet many customers were walking out the door proudly carrying their Starbucks cups–with the logo showing // To guarantee that there would be immediate upside for us, United promised to promote the fact that it was now serving Starbucks coffee. In January 1996, it placed ads on the back covers of Business Week, Time, and U.S. News & World Report // At my suggestion, we even offered free coffee after 5 pm to encourage customers to stop by our stores after shopping. In a spending mood, they might notice and want to buy some of our merchandise // The head of the a company can’t, and shouldn’t, always be the cheerleader. He has to be willing to let his people see the weaknesses and the pain, as long as they understand them in the context of the company’s greater accomplishments

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crowds (COUNT=1487)

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Despite all that planning, towards the end of the trip, he was overwhelmed by the Kyoto crowds (as well as the Kyoto heat). So I did a couple segments on my own. There is an upside since he does not like it when I follow a person stalkishly.

But that is precisely the joy of crowds.

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i++ Nijo castle

i++ Cycling the narrow streets of Nakagyo

i++ Sanjo-kai playground

i++ Cats

(sometimes I think he is a jazz listening whisky drinking character in a Murakami novel) (walking along philosopher’s walk at 5 am accompanied by cats maybe I am too)

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ishiguro

So Ishiguro won the prize. I do think he captures wonderfully the essence of our times: “I don’t know if they miss it by seconds. In a way they’ve missed it by miles. They might look back and think, There was this moment when it could have all been different. It’s tempting for them to think, Oh, it was just a little twist of fate. But in fact, there are colossal things that make them miss not just love but something essential in life.”

– – –

In STL, I watched Brad’s status with Ann. As expected, Ben Stiller does an amazing job stalking the wives of his friends on instagram. If people who attended non-top schools expend all their energy fighting “the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing”, should people who actually attended Harvard just kill themselves?

– – –

This brings to mind another film: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. In the theater scene, Robert asks: Do you want to investigate my courage? But what use do we have for courage (or competence) when our definition of glory ensures destruction?

2049

image

Two years ago, when I took this picture, I thought: Is this how birds feel looking into a building? Is this how Nabokov felt when he wrote the first two lines of Pale Fire?

I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
By the false azure in the window pane

– – –

Today, I asked him: What was your favorite scene from Blade Runner 2049?
He said:

A system of cells interlinked within
Cells interlinked within cells interlinked
Within one stem. And dreadfully distinct
Against the dark, a tall white fountain played

Like Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049 is about whether or not the protagonist is human. But really, if one who reads Nabokov, with feeling, is not human, what does it even mean to be human?

I don’t want to jump to conclusions after seeing this film once but it’s got that slow burn that allows me to think about what I’m thinking about while I’m seeing it for the first time. It has the awesome style of Arrival (duh same director), the awesome plot of the Matrix, the awesome architecture of Gattaca and the awesome instinct of 2001: A Space Odyssey … When people try too hard to grasp the truth, they find themselves bound by narratives created by others.

moon

Him: This is not as good as Space Odyssey
Me: You cannot compare every film to Space Odyssey!!!

Whereas Space Odyssey could be a grand display of Nietzsche’s ideas on recurrence, Moon is perhaps a quiet meditation from a more human perspective

Clone II learning wood carving from Clone I brings to mind this particular passage from Nietzsche: What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: “This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!”

Just as the starchild in the last scene of Space Odyssey could be a reference to Bodhisattva (菩萨), Clone II puts on his yellow sleeping suit and starts a new journey at the end of Moon. Let the adventure begin.

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