Author Archives: cedickie

Keepin' Busy

First things first, congrats to the SF Giants for winning the World Series! I’m pretty sure someone set off a fire cracker a couple feet away from me last night on Mission Street…but I’d had a few beers at that point so my perception was a bit off.

When not running through the streets celebrating a major sports victory, I tend to keep myself fairly busy considering that I don’t have a job. It can be challenging explaining to people what exactly it is that I do. Do people who ask really want to know that I spend a fair amount of time writing cover letters, personal statements, and trying to improve my LSAT score? No, that doesn’t make for good cocktail conversation. And, to be honest, it’s depressing for me to discuss. So let’s not chat about that here. Instead, let’s talk about the other little things that I do to occupy my time.

A while back I mentioned that from time to time I do a bit of social media stuff for my friend Brendan’s company, BlinkTag. Although I’m not doing too much for him at the moment, it’s neat learning about some of the projects he and his employee/our friend Trucy work on every week.

It’s also nice being around other productive people who have a fairly flexible schedule, which gives us the opportunity to sometimes go on little adventures. A couple weeks ago, for instance, we got a car and drove out to Cupertino to visit a friend who works at Apple. During our stay at One Infinite Loop, we stopped for lunch and I actually saw Steve Jobs in the cafeteria line! I did a double take and he smiled at my confusion. Pretty sweet. After that we drove over to the Yahoo! Great America campus, not to be confused with the main Sunnyvale campus, to visit Conner (aka the bf) who works there. Yahoo! was a lot more purple than Apple, but I’d say both were a lot more officy feeling than I would have expected. At some point Brendan, Trucy, and I hope to make it to some of the other big name offices around the Bay Area.

Last week B and T let me tag along with them to Oakland, where we met up with the people responsible for BART‘s social media. Almost all social media work I’ve done, whether for BlinkTag or Londonist, has been based on knowledge I’ve gained by personal use and a little bit of shared info, so it was interesting to hear what people who do it more officially had to say on the subject.

One of the coolest things I think Brendan and his crew have done is create Bikesy, a bike mapping service for the Bay Area, which incorporates safety and elevation into its routes. He altered the service a bit for one of his clients, which you can read about here (guess who wrote the blog post and did the screencast, nudge nudge wink wink). And! Just to show how ridiculous I can be and what other types of things Brendan’s had me do, check out his blog for a whole bunch of WordPress tutorial screencasts I made.

Now back to business as usual, and to vote!

Well You Know November Has Come

Due to the fact that I have, once again, failed at updating my personal blog in a timely manner, I am going to sign myself up for this NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month, business. If it sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve heard of NaNoWriMo- or when people try to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I think that’s kind of a neat idea, but the one time I signed up I managed to write about 100 words then forgot about it. This seems much more manageable. Not sure if I’ll try writing about anything specific, it’ll probably be more of the usual, and perhaps some commentary on things that interest me day to day.

Now that the NaBloPoMo stuff has been covered, on to other ramblings!

Living in San Francisco is at once incredible and yet bizarre. I moved here several months ago but it feels like I could have left London a couple weeks ago. Yes, it now rains from time to time and it gets darker a bit earlier, but the weather really doesn’t vary all that much. I continue to search for a job, which is really not the most fun of tasks, but I refuse to settle for just anything. LSAT scores have arrived, and although they are not bad, I plan to take that damned test again in December.

In three weeks or so I’m headed to New Jersey to spend Thanksgiving with some family out there and I am pumped, despite the fact that I’m going to freeze. It’ll be my first time on the East Coast in over two years! That’s probably the longest I’ve ever been away from the East Coast in my entire life.

This month is probably going to get pretty busy and insane- I have a feeling about this month, can’t tell if it’s good or bad, but something’s gonna happen. Hopefully this little blog will provide a space for me to put the crazy thoughts and speculations about where it is I’m headed!

There and Back Again

Recently I’ve managed to catch up with some friends and family I haven’t seen or spoken with in a long time. The usual first statement seems to be along the lines of, “I can never figure out where you are. You’re always in different places!” And, true to form, I suppose I always sort of am. No, I’m not visiting different countries or taking road trips to each corner of the continent. But I have kept myself busy and I’m certain that I’m only going to get busier over the next couple of months.

The highlights:

Drinking whiskey with a few of my male cousins in Pittsburgh after my cousin’s wedding.

Making it to Oregon for the first time to reunite with some Trinity friends. In addition to seeing waterfalls, vineyards, and hazel farms, I saw a real life Delorean.

A journey down Highway 1 with my parents to Carmel. They reminisced over their honeymoon, which followed the same route, and I enjoyed discovering the Carmel Mission.

Watching my friends drive their 60 foot MUNI bus, freshly transformed into the Playapillar, around Burning Man for over a week.

Showing my Dutch friend, who had never been to the US before, the joys of pick-up trucks, Mexican food, skyscrapers, casinos, and Lake Tahoe.

Other things I shall not mention here. 🙂

The lower lights:

Deadly week long sinus infection.

Never ending physical therapy for my shin splints- I suppose this is a good thing but I am ready for it to be done.

Intense study sessions and near panic attacks thanks to the all mighty LSAT.

That is all I’ll say tonight. Hopefully I’ll get this thing back up and running shortly!

Do You Buzz and Me [Blatant Self-Promotion]

For being unemployed I happen to be a pretty busy person, hence the recent silence on here. In the last couple of weeks I’ve written cover letters, done some freelance social media stuff for Blinktag Inc., headed to the beach, visited Virginia City for the 4th of July, cried for Argentina (ouch) after the Germans destroyed them, and done my best to avoid studying for my upcoming Accounting exam (yuck).

I also stopped by Parisoma, a very cool “innovation loft”/co-working space, to meet with Evy and Sylvia from Doyoubuzz. Doyoubuzz, which was started in France a few years ago, is a free online resume builder site. If you’d like to see an example of a super awesome one, visit mine (hehe)!

My friend Lisa recommended I try it a couple of months ago, I did, and am now a definite fan. It’s easy to use, especially if you’re like me and have no graphic design skills. Doyoubuzz is hoping to move away from paper resumes and CVs, which is definitely an idea I can get behind. They’ve done pretty well in Europe and are hoping to gain more ground in the States- I have no doubts that they’ll succeed.

They’ve started a new project for their blog, which involves interviewing some of the site’s users, such as extremely cool people myself. You can read my interview here. It was great meeting Evy and Sylvia, learning more about the company, and hearing their job hunting tips.

Having the opportunity to visit interesting spaces and learn about how young startups have grown and what their strategies for further development are is yet another reason why I’m happy to have moved to San Francisco. Even if I don’t yet have a job I’m happy to know I’m surrounded by creative and incredibly helpful people!

I believe it’s now time to return to the land of T Accounts and Double Entries…someone save me from my accounting class!

Eureka! (The Sentiment, not the Californian City)

First things first, mandatory self-imposed guilt trip: I FAIL at reading. I will do better soon! At least I’ve started reading the Economist again, which should count for something.

Now on to the real blog post.

Back in high school I was the type of kid who enjoyed her surroundings and didn’t worry too much about the future. Some of the other students at my school attended college fairs their freshman year, others spent their weekends at debate tournaments, and I did my best to cope with the fact that I was in freakin’ high school. I played between two to three sports a year, took extra classes and invented tutorials for fun, dabbled in drawing, painting, photography, and improv acting, and- perhaps the most time consuming activity of them all, pined over many a boy, as demonstrated by semi-emo, post-midnight poetry scribbled into my diary.

How anyone at the age of 15 or 16 could possibly know what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives was beyond me. I barely knew what I was going to do at the weekend (some things never change). Occasionally my more ambitious friends would pester me with questions about where I wanted to go to college, which would result in my having a minor freakout sesh.

Why hadn’t I cared more about improving my GPA, or joined more clubs, or taken AP lit instead of taking extra electives in Chaucer, Shakespeare, and creative writing (which led to me winning an award senior year in English BTDUBS, bam!), or? Why did other people want to move away from home? Was I really so strange for liking my parents and for knowing that I could obsess over a band and get away with it because I was still a teenager?

The freakouts never lasted long. I’d moved enough times by that point to understand that life’s little bits and pieces pull together eventually, some more easily and quickly than others.

Instead of drawn out plans I tend to have moments. Either I’ll reach a place, read a sentence in a book, or meet someone new and think to myself, “Yes! This is me.” In other words, “Eureka!” There will be much debating prior to the moment, many dilly dallyings and doubts. Perhaps my life could be summarized as the moments and periods of waiting in between.

An example of a moment would be my first experience with Trinity College (Connecticut) where I went for undergrad. During the summer of 2002, My mom and I embarked upon a tour of liberal arts colleges on the East Coast. I still had no idea who I supposedly was (did it matter?) or where I belonged. After one information session after another I quickly determined what I most certainly did not want from a school- a heavy core curriculum? No thanks (isn’t the beauty of liberal arts the ability to choose?). I didn’t want anything to do with Pennsylvania and thought Maine seemed a bit far away from everything. Then we got to Trinity and I had that moment. I fell in love with the campus, imagined myself eating at one of the cafeterias, and wanted to be one of those students lounging on the quad. I figured I could deal with the salmon-colored pants and the pearls as long as I could have an old chapel and a strong history department within a five minute walk from my dorm. As we left I told my mom, “I’m coming back here.” Apparently Trinity felt the same way because I matriculated into the class of 2007.

Do I think I could have been happy at another school? Of course. Did I ever regret the fact that I didn’t do more research about other schools after visiting Trinity or try harder to get in somewhere else? Nope. I never, not even for a second, considered the possibility of transferring. Whenever anyone asks me how I enjoyed it, I always answer that I loved it. These moments of mine are pretty damn incredible.

It had been a while since my last one, but I finally had one tonight. It may involve going back to school again (crap)…and taking the LSATs in October. It’s an idea I’d previously considered but could never commit to. I’d prevented myself from thinking about it since graduating from the LSE because the idea of studying more, and for a long time, is exhausting. But now it’s all I can think about and I plan to hunt it down.

I went to a Trinity careers networking reception this evening and wound up chatting with one of the panel members, who happens to be a partner at a fancy pants law firm in SF. He’d also studied history at Trinity- we’d even had one of the same advisors! Imagine, he experienced one professor at the start of his career and I experienced him on the verge of retirement. He urged me, while insisting that he wasn’t, to think about law and I laughed the thought off instantly. “It’s not for me,” I muttered. Then I went home and realized how wrong that statement was. Maybe it wasn’t for me, once upon a time. There certainly wasn’t anyway I could have handled it after graduating from Trinity. But I’ve since made my way to the (freakin’) LSE and survived. I know I can handle the workloads because I’ve already faced them.

Here are a few reasons this makes sense:

-I get excited about cyber laws and digital copyright.
-I think doing research and writing about it is fun.
-My friends don’t call me “Sassoline” for nothin’- I like to argue.
-Having a background in History of International Relations, Law, and social media, would make me an official badass (international and/or technology law here I come!!).
-I have a pretty sweet memory, which has caused my friends much frustration on numerous occasions.
-I don’t like it when rules aren’t followed properly (i.e. the car MUST be sighted before “shotgun” can be properly claimed).

You may think this is a pretty big decision to have made within a few hours, but remember, once I have a moment I have to give in to its power. The moment never (or rarely) fails. And really, there wasn’t ever so much a question of me not wanting to pursue this but of me not being ready. Now I am.

My Obsession with the Beautiful (and often frustrating) Game

Some people measure their lives in terms of major accomplishments (i.e. graduations, jobs, weddings, births, etc.), but not me. I can pretty much tell you what’s happened in my life based on two things:

1) Where I lived that year AND
2) When/Where the most recent World Cup was held

Okay, number 2 only works from 1994-onwards, but give me a break. Prior to that I only thought of football as the sport smelly boys played. It wasn’t until 1994 or so until I was forced to play it myself!

Year: 1994
Place: USA

This was the first World Cup I watched with excitement. I sort of knew what it was before that, but not really. My parents and I had recently moved from Singapore to Connecticut and we spent the summer visiting different friends around the States. Those jerks (my parents) attended a few different game in Chicago and New Jersey, while I was left alone with a babysitter to check out some of Chicago’s great museums. We also managed to get to Mexico City for a week, during which Mexico won a game. This resulted in avid fans standing on top of VW buses and an endless barrage of horn blowing and flag waving. The spectacle, accompanied by the city’s high elevation, was quite a lot to take in for my 10 year old self.

Year: 1998
Place: France

At this point I was fairly comfortable in my Connecticut home, although I do remember this as the “end of the Connecticut days.” My dad brought me to England for a brief father-daughter trip at some point in June. We watched a few games in Oxford, which was really fun. I later watched the final at home, alone. Those jerks had somehow wheedled their way into the final game, which I got to hear all about later on the phone. For some reason I was happy for the French. I believe this may have had to do with the fact that I studied French in school.

Year: 2002
Place: South Korea

This World Cup was AWESOME! Ireland qualified and did extraordinarily well (for Ireland). I wore my Irish jersey almost every single day and was proud to see that crowds of Irish fans were in attendance at actual games in South Korea. The jerks, who didn’t go to South Korea (thankfully for me), decided we’d go to Dublin instead. For the final game (Brazil vs. Germany) we happened upon a pub filled with Germans and Brazilians…it was a bit tense.

Place: Germany
Year: 2006

THE BEST! I was on summer break, staying with my parents in London and happened to be doing a research internship at the House of Lords. I watched as much football as possible, which included sneakily turning on the TV (while in parliament) to watch it when I probably should have been doing research. I was in a pub on Portobello Road when England lost to Portugal, I made frenemies when I rooted for Argentina against someone else in a pub (I had studied in Buenos Aires the summer before), and heard different neighborhoods erupt with cheers when Spain and Italy won their respective matches. Additionally, one of the jerks (dad), took me to Berlin to see a game. It was Paraguay vs. Sweden. We didn’t need no zuzuvelas, just a crowd of Swedes and a cup filled with beer! “Sveeeerig!” I’ve included pictures from the game above.

Year: 2010
Place: South Africa

This World Cup has been a bit lackluster so far. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I’m living in the US again so I have to wake up at 4am or 7am to watch a large portion of the games (Thank goodness I’m unemployed or I’d never be able to watch those 11:30am games!). Perhaps it has to do with the fact that almost all of the teams SUCK this year (here’s lookin’ at you England!). It’s fun watching the games with friends here but I think I’ll try to go to Europe for the next one. I’m sick of explaining why I care and why I don’t support the US team. Yes if you go to the right bar you’ll find a crowd, or if Mexico happens to win you’ll hear cheering, but it’s just not the same. I’m sad that France is in instead of Ireland. But most of all, I’m sad that I can’t experience this World Cup with the jerks. My dad has now decided that rugby is superior to football so he had no desire to travel to South Africa. Nevertheless, it’s just not the same watching it without them.

Maybe I should have titled this post “Stupid Parents.” That’s enough rambling for now. I’m not even going to mention my love for Wimbledon, which starts next week.

You Can Take the Girl out of Britain but…

You certainly can’t squeeze those last drops of Britishness out of her all at once. No Writing Adventure Group post from me this week, nor book review. Forgive me, I’ve just moved continents. If you’re confused, this should catch you up to speed. There’s not too much point to this entry other than to keep the blogging up since I have a tendency to drift after a while. I’ll have to be especially persistent because I’ll no longer be writing for Londonist, not that I wrote all that much for them over the last few months.

I’ve been back in the States for a whopping 4 or 5 days and my brain is still incredibly confused. It would be hard to find two places more different than London and San Francisco. London is the place of kings and queens, tea, history, finance, double decker buses, twisty streets, queues, and nicely trimmed hedges. San Francisco is the place of America’s rebels and outcasts, hipsters, coffee, grids, burritos, start-ups, eucalyptus, and wild agave. Both cities attract me to them but abandoning one for the other is not the easiest task.

Having primarily grown up in the States, I supposed that adjusting back to American life wouldn’t be too difficult. For the most part it’s not but I’ve gradually realized just how much living in the UK over the last couple of years has affected me. It’s not the big things that get me (is it ever?) but the smaller stuff. Here everyone expects a tip but you’re expected to clear your table at a cafe- in London tips are reserved for certain situations and coffee cups can be left behind for staff to clear up. I was driving through the city yesterday, signaled to switch lanes, and someone actually let me in. That never happened to me in London, although I suppose it didn’t happen much on the East Coast either. The majority of the people I follow on Twitter are UK based so my feed goes almost dead by about 4pm. People in London actually know what the London School of Economics is. No one here is afraid to ask anyone a question and strangers are generally more considerate. Granted I haven’t gone downtown yet this trip, but I haven’t laid eyes on a single tourist (YES!). The roughest thing is hoping people aren’t offended by my fairly dry sense of humor.

It may take a little while, but I think San Francisco will one day feel like home (or at least a part time home. Dolores Park may not hold the same charm as Kensington Gardens but I’ve got the Pacific Ocean a short bike ride away. Being in a laid back city should be good for me. But please, if I ever start writing about saving the earth or not eating meat, send a virtual slap in my direction.

Chewy Comes to London

Over the past week I’ve had a visitor come to town all the way from Massachusetts. He’s not very tall, rather furry, and his speech is not entirely coherent.

Who is he? A little guy named Chewy. One of my former classmates from Japanese class in Boston decided to send Chewy to some of his buddies around the world. He has his picture taken in different places, a bit of that country’s currency added to his little bag, and some sort of trinket added to his person (wookie?). I believe the adventures began on a roof deck but I don’t know the full story. He’s also been down to Mexico.

I think it’s a pretty neat idea and I’d definitely be interested in doing something similar for my friends from the LSE. They’re all spread out over the globe (Pakistan, India, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, and different parts of Europe and the US to name a few places) so visiting everyone would take a very long time (and get pretty expensive). Perhaps a cute little flash drive could do the job nicely.

Anyways, back to Chewy. He happened to be lucky enough to get to London in time for Elephant Parade, which is similar to Cow Parade, but with elephants (go figure!). He’s hopped on a couple of trunks, swung by Borough Market, checked out an old telephone box, and even visited Queen Victoria (and Princess Di)’s old pad, Kensington Palace. Wish I could have taken him more places, but I’m moving tomorrow!

I’ve posted pictures above but you can also see them on Flickr.

He’s off to India next and should head to Vietnam and Nepal after that. Wish I could join him!

It's Happened Again

Almost 7 years ago I was 18 and just about to graduate from my high school in Dallas. College in Connecticut was a summer away and I was looking forward to wherever life was taking me. For the first time in my life, I was moving away because it was normal- it was what everyone my age (or at least those who’d gone to my school) was supposed to do.

At Thanksgiving, Winter break, and maybe even for a quick weekend, I would return home to my parents, my room, and my cat. Friends and I would rush to our favorite hangout spots and discuss what had changed in our lives and what we were planning to do the next summer. I cannot even describe how happy the thought made me.

By that point in my life I had moved 7 times. That’s three states, two countries (and continents), one apartment, and six houses. Yes I was a bit apprehensive about moving again, but this time it was for me.

How stupid was I to believe that things would be so easy? Once a nomad, always a nomad.

About a week before (or maybe after) my graduation, my father took me to dinner and told me his news. He hated his job. That I knew, but maybe I’d never realized how much. He had been offered a job in London and he was about 99% sure he was going to take it. When would he be going? Oh, probably September, October at the latest. My mom would go over whenever our house in Dallas had sold (which happened to be a year later).

So much for developing any sense of what it’s like to have a geographical home.

Years have gone by and I have, of course, accepted my dad’s decision. Summers were spent doing internships in London instead of catching up with buddies. My resume flourished, my social life dwindled.

I’ve never made the mistake of allowing myself to be so naive as to believe that my parents would remain here forever. But the realization that they’re leaving has caught me yet again.

Here I am, older, (somewhat) more independent, and less than two days from moving away. This is my choice. They can keep the UK, I’ll take the US.

Then tonight, we have dinner. My dad utters the words, “I hope to move back to the US by the end of the year.” This time I’m not bitter, or angry, or horribly sad. This time around I know that my parents’ decision does not signify the end of something like it did in Dallas. London will always be here for me. And not to worry, I will most certainly be back, even if I’ll have to find a new place to stay when I visit (or return to live). I suppose this means I’ll be seeing a bit more of NYC and Colorado in the upcoming years than I had anticipated!

Heading West (and not coming back)

This post has absolutely nothing to do with books, although it may explain why the number of books I read will drop quite a bit over the next couple of months. After a tough couple of months, I have made one giant life decision: I am leaving London and moving to San Francisco.

The move will be incredibly difficult. I love London and think it’s pretty much the best city there is. Also, moving back to the States is not something I had planned on doing for many years to come-I always fear that once I’m there I’ll never be able to leave again. But the job hunt is proving to not be going all that smoothly. Yes I’ve had interviews but I always seem to be reminded that though I do hold British citizenship and have British family, I am just not British enough. I’ve made some great friends here and have gotten involved in fun activities and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to cope with giving it all up.

However, if I stay in London I must also stay at my parents’ house until I find a job. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents, but I’ve been here for over a year and a half and I am going a bit crazy. It’s nice having the security of having somewhere to come home to, to have fresh food every day, and have people that love me around, but at this point it’s become all too easy to develop bad habits and settle into the lackluster routines of being unemployed. If I’m on my own, I’ll have to push myself harder to find a job because that security will no longer be available.

If I’m going to venture out on my own and try something new it might as well be somewhere I love. Although I have spent a fair bit of time there over the last couple of years, it’s still relatively new and exciting to me. I’ll be able to go wine tasting, learn how to sail, eat burritos every day, get into trouble with some of my best friends from all walks of life, and will have a much easier time visiting my American friends and family. My recent realization that I do, in fact, like American literature is making this all a bit easier. After a bit of time away, I think I may finally be ready to go back-not necessarily for good, but at least for now.

21 days remain until the big move. I plan to see as much of London as possible over the three weeks and to hopefully not freak myself out over all I have to get done!