Category Archives: San Francisco

Meanwhile, back at the farm…

Rock the Garden

I flew back to Minnesota for the weekend to catch Rock the Garden with Kate. We were too busy filling up on beer and wine to catch much of Solid Gold and Yeasayer, but Calexico was a sweet breath of hot desert air blown in from the Great American Southwest. Then, The Decemberists played The Hazards of Love in its entirety, rendering me a weeping ball of blubbery, emotional goo for sixty minutes. They followed it up with a killer encore, which had me trying to reel my jaw back up into my face.

Those cats can play, man. They’re the real deal. Kate proposed we move to Portland because, you know, The Decemberists are from Portland, and I believe she makes a sound argument. Moving to a particular town in order to be closer to your favorite band that otherwise tours nationally on a regular basis makes complete sense.


Last night we (kinda, sorta) invited ourselves over to a dinner party at the Ingman Estate, where our tremendous peals of laughter dared set off car alarms in the street. We discussed such things as Super Fantastic tomatoes, sucker-popping, and a brilliant marketing campaign for propane.

We ate and drank and laughed and talked until the wee hours of the night, and this morning Kate and I woke up bright and early so we could get new iPhones. It’s a good thing we got a head start on the project, because we ended up traveling to three locations and spending four hours getting our plan in shape. Luckily we scored an incredibly helpful representative at the AT&T store, who got us all squared away after an hour of tireless effort.

Kate dropped me off at the Minneapolis airport where I spent a good half-hour going through security, and I made it to San Francisco just in time for a most-experiential ride on the BART. The doors didn’t work properly, the conductor spoke in an awkward and confusing cadence, they rebooted the train computer by shutting off power for a minute, and a homeless fellow panhandled us on the train. Which is mighty bold. Seriously, San Francisco has standards.

I love my job.

Get it while it's cake!



Long day. One last jam-packed ride on the 49 Muni to Japantown for Andrew Crow’s closing Interaction Design workshop for UX Intensive. An intense day of prototyping followed by a closing party, complete with an open bar and wonderful new friends with Minnesota and Bay Area connections alike. Then, a dash across town to the Adaptive Path office, for further drinks and entertaining in our inspiring design space.

Back to work tomorrow, with sketching on the menu. Sketching, sketching, sketching.

It is a good life.

Ghost-Riding The Whip

The other day I learned from one of my coworkers that Bay Area culture is deeper and more nuanced than I could possibly imagine. Heart-touching music videos such as this one from E-40, that detail the finer points of the Hyphy movement, apparently make many locals’ hearts quicken with pride.

Confused? Yeah, I am, too. This video helps me make a bit more sense of it all:

But not that much more sense.

The Ganache Guru

Today we kicked off UX Intensive with a rousing session of Design Strategy, hosted by none other than Brandon Schauer. It was a great time and we got to wield Sharpies and Post-It Notes and drafting dots with reckless abandon, all the while being fed like kings.

It’s gonna be like this all week, with heavy-duty learning during the day and working during the night, so my contributions to the Ether will be light.

A summons to all your foolish blood.

826 Valencia is an amazing, wondrous place. I want to live in their world. I want to write again. I want to make people experience these things.

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826 Valencia

Deck Brush - Staff Pick

Martini has a thing for ice cream.

I went south today, and met up with some friends for the Great American Food And Waiting In Line And Music Festival in Mountain View. Apparently the event planners had grossly underestimated America’s appetite for food, and the lines were so long our group actually began taking them in shifts. The one for burgers was an intimate spiral that wrapped around itself two times, and it was an hour until we were finally united with our meaty bliss.

We waited in line for bacon (sweet, delicious bacon, the candy of meats) for twenty minutes, advancing a mere foot before abandoning that objective for some slightly more attainable southern barbequed meats. We ate and snoozed in the grass, nursing our food comas to the fine jazz stylings of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

True to the theme of the day, the most popular topic of conversation seemed to be my close proximity to the finest ice cream in San Francisco.

Right now I’m tapping this out on my phone, and in a few seconds will publish it using the WordPress iPhone application. Technology is pretty amazing, when you take a step back for a moment and consider it. The landscape-mode keyboard is quite possibly my favorite thing in the world.

An Owl’s Life


Dan just posted the first public transmission regarding our project, with a slick little banner of my design, and now I’m at a bit more liberty to talk about the work I’m doing at Adaptive Path. is a website dedicated to helping people accomplish goals and learn stuff they want to know, in a supportive and socially collaborative atmosphere. AP just wrapped up a project helping the folks at Cerego clearly define their user experience goals with the site, and now we’re in the process of designing, developing and launching an iPhone application to complement their web-based learning tools. The really cool thing is that these guys are super open about the work they do, and are more than happy to have us share our process as we craft their application.

Alexa and Dan just got back from Tokyo, where they were busy meeting with the brilliant brains behind and scoping out million-dollar cantaloupes in their free time. As we continue our design process we should find ourselves posting regular updates to the Adaptive Path blog, but I’ll try to chime in at this venue however I can.

For now, it’s time to grab some sharpies and start sketching, sketching, sketching!

Let’s play a game!

What does Dane smell on a typical day during his bicycle commute?

  • Spoiled Milk
  • Exhaust
  • Urine
  • Raw Sewage
  • Garbage
  • Moist Garbage (a kind of garbage)
  • McDonald’s

I might channel some Dave Seah on this one and create a series of printed, fillable bubble forms. You know, to capture the olfactory rhythm of my ride.

Urban Excursion

You can tell a lot about a neighborhood in San Francisco based on how frequently they need to clean the streets. While biking around Sea Cliff today in a super-ritzy part of town I noticed that they have scheduled street cleanings twice a month.

My street? Three times a week.

I went for another bike ride today, starting out towards SoMa then up Embarcadero into Fisherman’s Wharf. I took lunch at the In-N-Out Burger, based on its legendary status in certain enclaves. A number of folks from WWDC were haunting the joint, along with perhaps the rest of humanity. Tables were scarce, and people were hunched over their claim hissing at passersby who would dare wrest it from their filthy clutches. I stood and waited for fifteen minutes in that awful purgatory between “In” and “Out”, getting jostled and manhandled by every other packet of flesh in the joint. That’s the thing about cities. No matter where you are, someone else always wants to occupy the space that you are taking up.

As for the burger? Not very good. The fries have promise, being truly potato-based in origin, but mine were as though they had been dipped in tepid oil and set to soak through their paper basket.

I continued on my journey, stopping at the Palace of Fine Arts on my way to the Golden Gate Bridge. I crossed over this time around, buffeted by strong winds for the entire length, and got to witness firsthand the circus that is the parking lot at the north overlook. I crossed back and continued west to Land’s End, a decidedly classy locale where a woman with a solid gold tooth asked if I could point her to the nearest restroom.

I dropped in at Seal Rocks and headed south past the Cliff House, and swung back east through the south edge of Golden Gate Park. Following my usual route I went out through the Panhandle, and took the Wiggle to Sanchez to Delores Park. It was here that the jeans got noticeably tighter, the keys began dangling on carabiners clipped to belt loops, and the U-locks were safely stowed in the left back pocket. I spun down Valencia and was soon hauling my (beautiful, lightweight) bicycle up to our third-floor flat.

All in all it was probably a 25-mile bike ride, and I’m hoping I slathered myself with enough sunscreen to stave off any further burns. My arms are peeling like crazy after last week’s ride, and everywhere I go I leave a disgusting trail of skin in my wake.

Kate noted how funny it was, that I had to move to one of the biggest cities in the country to become active in the outdoors again.