Surprise Encounter

BenCab Museum

This made my day: Arlu and Anthony over of Hello Balloon mentioned me on a post about their trip to the BenCab Museum, which happens to be on my unofficial list of Best Museums Ever.

I have a lot of fond memories of my trip to the Philippines a few years ago and visiting the museum was a highlight. You can read what I wrote about this photo here. Be sure to check out Hello Balloon, a blog about food, art, travel, and culture.

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Three for Thursday

I’ve been clearing out my Bookmarked and To Be Read Later folders and found some good stuff in there tonight. While I eventually get around to reading, watching, or listening (and sometimes all three) all of these items, I’d like to avoid having to go through such a big chunk again, so I’ve decided to share links on a weekly basis, starting tonight.

I won’t share everything that I come across and I don’t plan on linking to pictures of dogs dressed up as Star Wars characters (no matter how cute they are). I’ll try to focus on stuff that is more productivity-related and such.

Since I’m a huge fan of Google+, it’ll be the focus of my first Three for Thursday.

Thanks for reading. I’m looking forward to your responses.

1. 50 Essential Chrome Tips. I started using Chrome exclusively over a year ago. I was a long-time Firefox fan (and still am), but I find Chrome easier to use and it’s run smoothly for me. This article contains a lot of great tips on features that can easily be overlooked.

2. The Best Google Features You’re Not Using. Besides search, there is a huge collection of great tools on Google. I love Google+ and its Hangouts feature.  Lately, I’ve been using their Docs program for more of my word processing and spreadsheet needs and use their cloud storage Drive.

3. Mastering Google Plus Circles. Excellent look at how to use the Google+ Circles feature. This is where G+ really shines: after you sign up for G+ and go through the whole “it sure is quiet here” phase, create a circle for one of your interests. For me, I created a circle called Technology and started adding people there. One of the first was Guy Kawasaki, former Apple/current G+ evangelist. His quality posts helped me connect with other people who posted great content, which helped build my excitement for G+.

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5 Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People

I cannot recommend this highly enough: a six-minute video that will make you a more effective communicator. Anyone that has to do any kind of public speaking will benefit from Susan Weinschenk’s excellent presentation.

5 Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People from Weinschenk on Vimeo.


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Jobs and Gates

From my Google+ page:

It seems appropriate that #boycottapple  is trending as I’m reading Steve Jobs’s biography. I’ve enjoyed it immensely so far, thanks to author Walter Isaacson’s deft portrayal of a man that was equal parts visionary and tyrant. A third of the way through the book, I find it interesting that two of Jobs’s colleagues likened him to a televangelist.

I’ve linked to a month-old clip of journalist Malcolm Gladwell’s talk at the Toronto Public Library. Among the topics he discusses is Jobs and his place in history, claiming that 50 years from now, people will remember Bill Gates but not Jobs, due to the former’s philanthropy. Good stuff.
#stevejobs   #billgates   #malcolmgladwell

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Nightblooming Cactus

The nightblooming cactus (cereus) blooms once per year for a single night. These beautiful flowers opened up after midnight and smell terrific. I’m looking forward to their return in 365 days.

More photos on my G+ account.

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Posted this on my Google+ yesterday:

I opened a free +Duolingo account this weekend and I’m having a blast learning Spanish. I loved the simple and easy-to-use interface, the cleverly designed lessons (reading, writing, listening, and speaking espanol), and the work-at-your-own-pace structure. Below is the video clip intro to Duolingo.

Tech friends, I’m looking for a new, inexpensive (<$20) headset with a mic attached so I can take my Spanish-learning on the road. Nothing fancy, just something I can listen to my Spanish lessons and practice my pronunciation with.

Any recommendations for my next trip to +Fry’s Electronics are much appreciated. Thanks!

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Higher Education

I just completed a free Stanford CS101 class via Coursera and was pretty impressed, from the quality of the material to the ease of its user interface. I immediately thought about this recent article by Mark Cuban. He makes some valid (and scary) points about how close we are to having a financial meltdown in higher education.

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Hot Dogs Always Taste Better at the Ballpark


Minor league baseball can still be a major league experience. Go Quakes!

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Heritage Farmer’s Market

It’s always a sad day when my favorite sports team plays its final game of the season. Living in Southern California usually means watching the Lakers in June, but not this year.

To cheer myself up, I’m sharing some photos from a recent farmer’s market. Maybe it’s just me, but fresh fruit seems to taste better when you’re outdoors and you can sample to your heart’s content.

I hadn’t been to the Heritage Farmers Market in a few months, so it was nice to see it had grown in size and attendance. It’s in a great location, right in the middle of Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga. I love the mellow vibe throughout this open-air market. Buyers and sellers alike are friendly. In addition to the produce vendors, local artisans sell their crafts and there are plenty of specialty foods as well, from tamales and empanadas to kettle corn and cupcakes.

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Fries: Well Done, Animal Style

My lunch today: In-N-Out well done, animal style fries.

The fries reminded me of a recent ride on the Metrolink* when I met a man from the southern part of India. He had just moved here from England, where he earned his degree in pharmacology. This was not his first visit to the U.S., but it was his first extended stay, compliments of a work visa.

He was a wiry fellow, with a touch of British mixed in with his native accent. We chatted about his education in England and my school days in Southern California. He quietly contemplated my answers to his many questions about living in America before asking for my advice on local cuisine.

“Are you vegetarian?” I asked.

After he replied no, I directed him to In-N-Out. I explained how it was an institution in Southern California, a true slice of Americana, and how it was a rite of passage as a teenager, hanging out and eating burgers and fries late at night.

We bade each other goodbye before I could tell him about the secret menu, where he could experience the joys of “well done” and “animal style.”

I hope he enjoys much success here in the states and can stay longer than his work visa allows. Or at least long enough to discover that secret menu.

 *Metrolink offers the best deal in Southern California: the $10 Weekend Pass. You can ride from Friday 7pm until Sunday 11:59pm for only $10. This includes free transfers all connecting transit, including Metro Rail and Metro Bus. Whenever I can, I take advantage of this offer: I save on gas and parking fees, not to mention eliminating traffic-induced headaches.

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