Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Ideal Getaway

I went on a 2.5 day ski trip (I didn't ski; I snowboarded, but ski just rolls off the tongue more eloquently) this past weekend at Stowe, Vermont. It was just the second time I went out to the mountains to snowboard. I've never gone to the mountains in the winter before this year -- my family doesn't partake in sports like skiing/snowboarding/tubing/etc. and they also don't particularly like being out in the cold. But I'm different and adventurous. As long as I have the right gear, being out in the cold is a pleasant time. I've gone snowboarding twice now, and I'm hooked! I'm still a beginner -- green circle status -- but I've got the basic gist of it down: I can feather down a steep hill, ride straight, turn left and right, crave accidentally, and sometimes ride goofy.

During my repetitive ride-fall, ride-fall routine, it dawned upon me how nice it would be to live out there, outside the hub of a city, away from the worldly distractions and constant chatter. I couldn't help imagine how wonderful it would be to live in a small house in the mountains, peacefully watch the snow, sip a hot beverage, and go snowboarding on whim. And then to go hiking and star gazing in the warmer seasons. And of course to take in the fresh growth and foliage of the in-between seasons. It seemed like the perfect place to live, especially since my current life is so draining.

But then I remembered my needs. I need to make a living and contribute to the world in some form. Out there in the semi-isolated world would not be where I would be able to do those things. For other people, yes. But not for me. I am not a writer, an inn keeper, a farmer or an artisan. I am an engineer; I work in teams to design, innovate, and create technology for the betterment of society. No quiet mountain side community would welcome the intrusion of the super contrasting industrial nature of an engineering company or research facility. So far now, I will just have to reserve that wonderful, peaceful, ideal for vacations, escapes, which is quite a luxury in itself, because I get a taste of both worlds.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2015 Offers A Fresh Start

Hello 2015, you wonderful, baggage-free, empty new year. Hello, Hello, Hello.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

When It Snows At Night

I ice skated home from campus today. . . I have to admit, it was fun to slip and slide on the sidewalks.

It's currently 1:27AM and I just got home. But the trip home was beautiful. The air was cold and crisp, and snow was in the air. A light, calm snowstorm had been progressing. There was also a layer of wet snow, turned liquid from all the consistent warm steps before mines, and then turned slushy-ice, because as the night gets later, the frequency of warm footsteps lessen. The sky was light-polluted white. And the streetlamps glowed orange. It was peaceful and relaxing.

Perhaps, it's because it was nostalgic.

I don't normally breathe in the cold, crisp, night air during a snow storm. But I used to. As a child, especially during the winter months, I enjoyed looking out my window into the night. Sometimes, it would snow, and other times it wouldn't. But usually, I would secretly open the window -- secretly because the ones in charge of the gas bill wouldn't be too happy if they knew I was wasting precious heat -- peer out it, and breathe in the cold air.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Right now. Right here.

Right now. Right here. I wish I could lay in bed and look at the sky, the moon, the stars. 

Right now. Right here. I remember that with great power (basically all of today's knowledge in the palm of our hands) comes great responsibilities. 

Right now. Right here. I let go and let myself sleep. It's time to wake up rested. 

Right now. Right here. I return to my ideals and habits of the past that worked. 

Right now. Right here. I leave behind the world and create a place that is my own. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On What I learned this Summer at IDEO

Somebody tell me who did this?
This past summer, I had the most fortunate opportunity to intern at IDEO. And while I received great industrial insight into design and innovation, rapid prototyping, human-centered design, [insert buzzword], etc., there are a few things that particularly resonated with me and go beyond conventional industry wisdom. They are of the age-old truths sort. Truths, themes, realizations, if you will, that will arguably follow me onward.

By IDEO-er Elaine Fong.
1. There's so much time and so much you can do! #story!
We read stories; we watch stories; we tell stories; we experience stories; we create stories; we live stories. We use stories to interact and connect; our lives become stories: it's the way of the homo-sapien species. However, it is important to note that it is the chapters, the characters, the plot, the setting that make a story what it is. At IDEO, I was surrounded by people that were older than I was and definitely a lot more accomplished then I was. And it was thoroughly refreshing. It made me realize how much could be achieved in a span of time. I got to hear about the many chapters of their lives and how multifaceted it could be and still be coherently linear. It gave me great optimism. So often I think I'm put on earth to do one thing; and the fact of the matter is that I can do additional things to that one thing. It's very liberating.

By IDEO-er Lawrence Abrahamson. 
2. "'Who are you?' said the Caterpillar."
The people at IDEO are passionate. They are passionate about their work and they are passionate about other aspects of their life, non work things that can be extremely fringe or mainstream. And that's who they are; no one bats an eye. In fact, they are intrigued and curious, inspired even. These people are genuinely passionated and curious about the world and everything in it: people, life, the good, the bad, the unknown. They have the courage to think the great ideas, as well as the not so great ideas. It's a very attractive and contagious trait: being yourself.

By IDEO-er Josh Sin.
3. Share your work; collaborate. Don't reinvent the wheel.
People at IDEO are constantly learning from each other. I definitely learned a lot from them. There was always a workshop or break out to share and learn. In school, you will no doubt work on assignments that have been done year after year after year. But that's the difference between school and the real world. In school, you are practicing, honing your skills, becoming better. But in the real world, you are out to contribute. And you're allowed to build from other people's work. And they are allowed to build off your work. Otherwise, innovation would take forever.

By IDEO-er Zeke Markshausen.
4. The T shaped person.
A lot of people at IDEO are T-shaped people. This was something I wasn't too familiar with before IDEO. But unconsciously, this was what I've been striving to become my entire life. You can revisit some of my past posts and you will see that I struggled with being a dabbler, a not entirely field devoted individual. I was constantly afraid that I wasn't focused enough, that I had too many interest. And at IDEO, I realized this was a strength, not a flaw. I realized that the kind of work I wanted to do was the kind that required T-shaped contributors. (If you wikipedia T-shaped person, the short article mentions the CEO of IDEO, Tim Brown. I didn't know; I've been brainwashed . . . D:)
By IDEO-ers Tasos Karahalios and Leigh Cohen.
5. Actions speak louder than words, sometimes.
A huge part of IDEO is rapid prototyping. And a huge part of that is making abstract ideas physical. Many times, we have ideas. But we don't actual know how those ideas will translate unless we work them out. Trust in the process and make, make, make.