Category Archives: Deep

I Love Me

Ohayu (Oh, Hai, You!)

It’s February 28th, 2018 and I made a promise to myself that I would publish something today. Anything. Just write and post it. Why? Because I have a lot of ideas and questions swirling around in my head and Barbara She claims, “isolation is the dream killer, not your lousy attitude.” It’s pretty easy to isolate yourself when you live in a country far away from friends and family, can’t speak the language, and are feeling completely out of sorts (social media’s idiotic timelines are partly to blame). See, lousy attitude.

Perhaps you’ve been asked this question, “if you could do it all over again, would you do it differently?” I despise it because I’m only half-way through this life and no way am I starting over. I’m good with what I’ve done with my time and where I am now (Ohayu, I live in Tokyo!).

And yet, something is missing. It’s like there’s this muffled voice inside of me and I can’t understand what it’s saying, but I know it’s important.

I’ve been a passenger parasite in this vessel that gets me around without having a real heart-to-heart with the Captain steering it. I’ve shouted, “land!” a few times and she diligently heads there, until I realize it’s not the port I was looking for. Her Captain’s log would probably read, “No matter how many times I tell our solo passenger that we need to head toward our true destination, she finds an excuse to head towards a popular port that’s quite out of our way. I oblige, but this ship’s getting on in years and it’s time we trimmed our sails a bit and got on with it.”

In order to clear up the communication between me and the Captain, I’ve been working through a set of exercises in a book called “Designing Your Life. How To Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life” and there’s a section about building your compass and finding your True North*.

Dysfunctional Belief: I should know where I’m going!

Reframing:  (With my compass) I won’t always know where I’m going but I can always know whether I’m going in the right direction.

I know my direction is heading straight into the wild. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do when I get there, but I have lots of ideas and it’s time to roll up my sleeves and see where the dirt falls.

Something I want to explore with others: If a person with (mild) depression performs a daily practice of mindful meditation and yoga under a 1000-year-old sacred pine tree that grows on the slope of a mountain, then that person’s depression will be cured. OK, my working hypothesis needs a little work.

Just like I have been tracking my sleep patterns using my Apple Watch and iPhone, I want to track depression against time in nature. If a person hears a songbird sing and pauses to listen, does that actually make them happier? If they breather in air free of fine particulates, while performing ujjayi breathing, will their body perform better? Will they feel emotionally better? I’ve been taking a course from UC Berkeley called “The Science of Happiness” to get a better sense of the psychology behind happiness and I’m anxious to apply that learning to time spent in nature.

I’ve been tracking my moods, meditating every day, getting exercise, completing all of my daily challenges. Anecdotally I can say I feel a bit better emotionally. My husband thinks that I’m more even-keeled. And yet, I want actual scientific proof. I want to know what is systemically helping me and how to get more of it. Hence this exploratory journey.

More on all of this in upcoming coherent posts. I’ll also post about life in Tokyo after living here for 6+ months.

Step 1. De-isolate myself.

*True North is your orienting point – your fixed point in a spinning world – that helps you stay on track as a leader. It is derived from your most deeply held beliefs, values, and the principles you lead by. It is your internal compass, unique to you, representing who you are at your deepest level.

2013: Here’s To Making Things And Friends

It’s New Years Eve and a popular day for reflection. 2012 was a really big year for me personally. I call it My Year of Fitting In. As many transplants to LA can attest, it can take a little while to figure out where you fit in, but once you do, it’s like you finally found home.

I wrote a few blog posts in 2012, two of which impacted my life greatly:

Why Los Angeles Will Outpace the Silicon Valley As The Tech Startup Capital led to the creation of Represent.LA


Want: Kid Friendly Hackerspace in LA which led to LA Makerspace

I didn’t know the impact that a crowdsourced map could have on a city or cities ( and I definitely had no idea if anyone else wanted a hackerspace that woud allow kids. If I learned anything from this year, it’s this, and I quote from my favorite movie Contact:

…we belong to something that is greater then ourselves, that we are *not*, that none of us are alone!

It wasn’t until just now, reviewing my calendar did I realize how much traveling I did for speaking gigs and pleasure – Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco (thrice), Portland (twice), Dude Ranch in Colorado, Ireland, London (twice), and I’m writing this post from Vienna.

In addition to LA Makerspace and Represent.LA I started new day jobs that pay the bills,  I’m now the Technical Director at the Digital Media Learning Research Hub at UC Irvine to support youth in their passionate interests and I joined the Born This Way Foundation, an organization focused on creating a braver, kinder world.

As with life, there were definitely some difficult times, my dear friend Xeni Jardin spent 2012 undergoing cancer treatment, but I am so happy to report that she is now cancer free. We were kicked out of the house we were renting, but thankfully found a better place, and we lost our beloved Lucky Cat, which there is no replacement for (I’m crying right now just thinking about her).

I would like to thank everyone that reached out to me this year to send me an article, make an introduction, back the LA Makerspace Kickstarter or just to say ‘hey.’ That always helps to backup the whole “we are not alone” philosophy. There are a few other people I would like to make mention of: Alex Benzer, my co-creator of Represent.LA and who allowed me to use Social Engine for workshops, the LA Makerspace BOD: Jeff, Levi, Michael, Michelle, Sharon, Teresa, and Joseph, Kent and Lindsay, my pals at BoingBoing who have posted multiple updates about LA Makerspace, Jeff Sturges at Mt Elliott Makerspace who I consider a mentor, Dale Dougherty and Mark Frauenfelder at MAKE Magazine & Maker Faire who have made so much of the maker community accessible to everyone, Dale and Anne Marie Thomas at Maker Ed who are helping the world realize that you make to learn and learn to make, Nirvan, Harley and Tara of the Imagination Foundation who have shown the world that one kid can make a difference, my husband Sean who inspires me with his thoughtfulness and punk rock approach to life, my Mom who has always been a maker I just didn’t realize it, and my kid, Ripley, for the motivation and inspiration and truly truly the best thing I ever made.

My New Year’s Resolution for 2013 is about making deeper connections in my community and with myself. I want to make more maker friends in LA and around the world, share as many how-to’s for all of the projects I work on as possible, bring lots of brilliant makers into LA Makerspace to share their wisdom with others and make the space accessible to anyone in LA that wants to be there.

2013 is going to be truly a year of making things and friends, because the two go hand-in-hand. Read the resolutions from some of the top Maker Minds…many of them plan to do more how-to’s and ensure making is even easier for everyone to get started and most of them are all very accessible to the community.

Happy Making of Things and Friends to All in 2013!

Hearts and Hugs,

Photo by Sean Bonner

Video of My Talk at Farmhouse Conf: Mapping the LA Tech Scene

Here’s the video from my talk where we build a low-fi map of the LA Tech Scene. The kid screaming in the background is my two-year old, Ripley. My husband Sean was trying to keep him occupied for 30 whole minutes while I did my talk. Sean did a 5 minute lightning talk so I got off easy. 😀

Stay tuned for a digital version of the map where tech companies, accelerators, incubators, VCs and co-working spaces can add themselves.