Saturday, March 31, 2012

Champagne Mango, ahhrhhrhghg SO GOOD

Sweet... damn!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was a tasty beast!

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a mango fiend, they are the best fruit friggin' EVER.

Well, I just got a few of these bad boys at Safeway and holy crap they were SUPER GOOD!!!! Never heard of a "Champagne Mango" before. Apparently it's a kind of "Ataulfo" Mango from the Chiapas region in Mexico?!??!

Well... DAMN. That was good. Only 80 cals too. I could eat another 100 RIGHT NOW. (ok, maybe not, but that was friggin' sa-weeeeeet).

Hah ok. Now back to work. :)

Healthy living... not giving up on vacation!

Today I weighed in and I'm down 24 lbs since I started which is damn awesome.

I am super happy with the (numerical) progress and very happy with my mentality change about not eating things like it's the only time I'll ever get to try a certain thing - keeping my carpe diem in line with my caramel deleche? Or something like that. Anyway the focus on long-term instead of short-term is certainly something I'm doing with investing and budgeting, so applying that focus and determination to my health has been an awesome and hyper successful exercise. (ha, get it?)

I have a world trip coming up pretty soon and when I go off to far away places I'm always so excited about the different kinds of things to try and really want to live in the moment and enjoy all the cool things coming across my path, (read: overeat). This is of course drastically out-of-line with my new focus on health and dedication to healthy choices so it's a concerning previous trend that I don't want to (fully) bring forwards. That said, I tend to still lose weight while traveling due to the excessive amounts of daily exercise, walking, hiking etc, no matter the food choices. That's not a good precedent to set cause when I get back to San Francisco I'm certainly not going to be hiking for 8 hrs a day (though I'd suspect my food would be much more controlled).

Anyhow, this is just me sort of mentally planting a stake in the ground and pledging to myself to stay aware of the importance of my healthy choices even when everything is new and so overly-exciting and I want to try EVERYTHING all the time. I need to do it, but remember that if something is not super amazing, it's STILL CALORIES! I should still judge if something is "worth the calories" even though I'm going to be exercising so much, I don't want to totally drop the ball and have to re-learn my new habits from scratch when I get back. A taste of something might be plenty good-enough, I don't need to overdo it.

I will also probably NOT be recording calories in the MyFitnessPal app due to spotty internet access, unusual foods that won't be listed there, and not much home-cooking prep. So I'm just gonna have to be more careful to determine what my calorie intake is, and just stop when I'm pretty sure it's been enough. That's gonna be a tough transition to not record everyday, but eventually I don't want to have to record every day even when I am at home. So it's good practice for the future.

I hope to have a positive post after the trip saying, "I didn't gain a bunch of weight, and I still had fun" :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Candy Blog

Somehow came across this tonight, this blog is pretty epic:

Wow, they have reviews and detailed notes about thousands of candy items across many, many countries. Pretty impressive! Maybe it's just late and I wish I had a pack of Wine Gums right now, but anyway, this is pretty awesome.

Was looking on there to see if they had South African chocolate and there were a bunch of reviews. They recommended this place in LA for ordering SA stuff: It's typically been pretty tough to find South African good around the Bay Area - as always I'm looking for a spot that has Cadbury's Top Deck and some good biltong and vors. If anyone knows a good spot around the Bay Area, give me a holler. :) Otherwise there's a spot in Texas that ships overnight, and I'm tempted to order from them at some point.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Post #2000: A 2nd Blog Retrospective

Dear friends,

It's been nearly 7 YEARS since I started this blog, way back in April 2005 at the time of my first move to Emeryville, California to start an internship at Pixar Animation Studios.

The amount of things that have happened in the past 7 years is mind-bogglingly crazy, and back in March 2008 I did the first blog retrospective after reaching 1000 posts. It seems fitting to do a 2nd one of these, giving some love to some of the most memorable, important, pivotal, interesting, and/or life-affirming moments of the past 1000 posts - approx 4 years.

This blog has grown from a readership of just a few hits per post to somewhere around 5000 visits per month, which is totally nuts. I am still so surprised and pleased that so many folks are interested in what I'm doing, and I hope this blog has been an inspiration to live your life by your own rules, work hard, and drop everything and take a good solid adventure vacation once in a while. :) Thanks for reading, and I'll keep writing!

I checked the total word count on this blog a while back... it's well over 1,000,000 words.

Without further ado, here are some of the highlights of the last 1000 posts.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fat former self says... (photo #2)

The internet meme-ing continues with #2 in the "Fat former self says..." set. This time, found another awesomely horrid photo of me from a few years back, a perfect pairing with an oh-so cheesy iPhone mirror self-pic for the "after" shot. Enjoy, internets!

(In all seriousness though, the weight loss is going super awesome. The focus on making time for exercise in a sedentary job was tough, but it's been a really positive change. More details on an earlier blog here. Good luck to anyone else who is trying to reach their weight loss/personal fitness goals.)

Andrew Staton's TED talk on The Clues to a Great Story

Here's an amazing TED talk from the recent TED 2012 where Andrew Stanton (director of Wall-E, Finding Nemo and John Carter) spoke about the essence of storytelling. Super awesome. Amazing speaker, and an epic director :) Great talk, Andrew!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Larry Smith's TEDx talk on's front page!

Holy moly!!!!

My epic University Econ Professor Larry Smith's TEDx talk from TEDxUW was listed on the front page yesterday and got 236,000 views in 1 day!! Amazing!!! A glorious example of an amazing idea worth spreading and an amazing speaker sharing his inspiration with the world. Congrats Larry!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

London Free Press: "Shocker: I don't own a cellphone"

This is an awesome article from a fellow Londoner. Well said, sir, well said :)

While I DO own a cellphone, I hear him loud and clear on the rest of the items in his article. Super cool. Well done on getting your priorities in the right order.

Check out the article here: Shocker: I don't own a cellphone

Resume Update

Minor resume update to show a few recent speaking engagements. In the usual place:

Mike :)

San Francisco Film Society talk: The Art and Science of Lucasfilm

Well that sure was fun! I gave a lecture at the Sundance Kabuki earlier this week to about 300-400 early high-schoolers (and some home-school kids) as part of the San Francisco Film Society's Youth Education program. It was one in the series called The Art and Science of Lucasfilm and I presented with my colleagues and friends Rachel and Matthew.

This, like TEDx last November and like the 826 Valencia volunteering that Matt and I have done, was another great opportunity to speak to the next generation and help light a fire under them and encourage them to work hard for their goals. It's funny - I'm turning 30 this year and I'm finally seeing myself as separate from the next generation, I guess this is that "adulthood" thing people always talk about. It's been a (surprisingly) long time since I was starting high school back in 1996 and thinking about what I wanted to study and what University I wanted to go to after graduating high school. It's fun to think back to that time and reminisce, but it's even more fun to frame those experiences in a way that kids can relate to, in the hopes of inspiring them to stand out from the crowd and make their own bold moves in their lives as well.

What a fun opportunity and I was really glad to share the stage with Matthew and Rachel as well, who shared their own experiences about growing up, deciding what to do, and working hard to achieve it. I feel like this is an age range that can benefit from some positive encouragement (I know it can be tough to be confident in yourself at that age) and not all kids are as lucky as I have been with such a supportive family.

I was really psyched to be a part of this event. I start volunteering at 826 again soon too. I'm planning for lots more of this kind of stuff in the future, and I hope that it is not just fun for me to present - but that it has some positive benefit to the kids and adults who attend, as well.

Busy week!

We had a pretty epic speaker at work this past week which was damn amazing, and also lots of busy meetings and speaking at Sundance Kabuki for a San Francisco Film Society event (sum-up post to follow), plus a day at GDC, party at Zynga, chilling with by buddy Alex who just moved to the city, and then getting vaccinations for South America. Man, what a crazy week.

Taking it easy today, got a pile of todos but gonna roll downtown instead, probably try this tea that a friend was suggesting at Samovar (Maiden's Ecstasy Organic Pu-erh) and hit a movie. Seems like Pu-erh is the hardest tea to get into and is a bit less "accessible" than usual teas due to it's unusual flavours etc. But after trying a friend's 30-year old Pu-erh yesterday (good ones are ages for a long time to benefit from the oxidation process), I'm intrigued to try it further. The flavoured ones are easy to try (chocolate pu-erh etc) but feel like you're cheating a bit - I'm keen to try a good unflavoured one and see if I actually like it, or if it's just an interested tea that I'd rather observe from a distance :)

Gotta do some planning for Buenos Aires today too.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

A Sunday of food in The Mission: Wise Sons Deli and Three Babes Bakeshop

I find it epic and hilarious that my blog post about weight loss seems to be trending on some random hipster site right now (?!) and so here's some love back for the hipsters: I went to the Mission District for some epic food in San Francisco today - some might say the center of the hipster universe - and man was it was fantastic.

Wise Sons Deli

The main reason to go was the newly opened Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen, a place I blogged about way back almost a year ago on April 10, 2011. I have literally been wanting to go here for almost 12 months. Crazy. Anyway they've been doing some pop-up restaurants for a bit, in the lower Mission and then more recently at the Ferry Building. But they've just opened up their new location and man was it amazing. (Great older article from SF Foodie:

I think it's a brilliant spot for them to put their restaurant, we all know some parts of the Mission appear a little grungy at first look but it really is the trend-setting neighbourhood to be for up-and-coming restaurants and they chose a great location right near the fantastic Humphrey Slowcombe ice cream and the famed Philz Coffee. Well done guys. A friend asked me if there were 200 hipsters waiting in line, and well, truly there were less hipsters than I would have expected - just a solid, diverse crowd and everyone there psyched for some quality food and company. As far as my J-dar was telling me, a good portion of the crowd (including me, my group of 3 and all the owners and servers I chatted with) were Jewish, so I think it has some mad street cred as an awesome (and long-missing) representation of the Jewish Deli Culture here in SF. Many non-tribesmen/women were there too enjoying the great food, awesome sunny Mission location, and homey welcoming atmosphere. Hey, and if the hippest of Hipsters are keen for some damn excellent Deli food, I say everyone should enjoy food this good together :)

I gotta say: the pastrami really holds up and the portion is more reasonable/less over-the-top than the usual Katz or Carnegie "whole-cow" style. The rye bread is excellent, crispy on the outer shell and soft and chewy in the middle, without that usual pushy rye taste. Truly excellent. I am kicking myself that I didn't buy a loaf... I'll have to go back another week. The key question is, so... how are the pickles? The answer: garlicy enough to kill 1000 vampires and crunchy like the wolf. Just as years of Kosher pickle recipe perfecting intended. I'm DEFINITELY going back, and bringing another 200 people for the line :)

The line was busy at 10:45 on a Sunday (we waited about 15 min, plus another 10 or 15 to be seated), but they say they are organizing for eventual outdoor seating. When we left at 12:30ish the line was easily 3 times longer. But it was worth every second of wait time. Their Chocolate Babka kicks Millers' in the ass.

Thankfully I had some friends with me who were keen to share, so I got to try a bunch of different stuff without totally crushing my healthy eating plans. It was awesome. Next time I would totally buy the pastrami again. Also the Matzo Ball Soup looked really excellent, complete with a Matzo Ball that looked like a softball. Impressive.

Three Babes Bakeshop

After a lot of eating we hiked around the Mission for a while to work down all the tastiness and then headed over to the Three Babes Bakeshop. My friends are friends with one of the owners and it was a really awesome experience there too. The pies were life-changingly awesome. I think my favourite was the gluten-free Key Lime Pie in the jar - so tangy and smooth and truly excellent. And I'm not the only one who thinks so, check out this glowing review at SF Foodie (

Yet again the Mission has proved to be the place for excellent food in this city of excellent food. The high bar is set even higher by places as awesome as these. Good luck to the owners and I certainly will keep coming back.

Man, Wise Sons makes a mean rye bread. This rye was excellent. Crispy edges, soft and chewy middle. Dammmn.
A smallish but comfy seating area, with a really homey atmosphere. They say they aim to open outdoor seating later which would be great. Complete with family and Bar-Mitzvah photos on the wall, wicked. In true Mission district style, long wooden bench tables where you can share a meal with strangers and new friends. Really cool.
"Say Mazel Tov to the Wise Sons"
A chocolate babka of which dreams are made of
Onion Bialy (REALLY GOOD) and egg/smoked salmon combo
The classic: pastrami on rye with cole slaw, and sauerkraut on the side. Daaamn that's good.
Challah back for some challah french toast. The orange-infused maple syrup was a great addition.
Then off to Three Babes Bakeshop, set up in a shipping container down on Folsom and 17th. My friends went to kindergarten with one of the owners.
We got a few different kinds to try. Chocolate Pumpkin, Apple Caramel, Lemon Merangue, and a Gluten-Free Key Lime pie (in the jar) - it was my favourite.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Fat former self says... (210 to 200)

Wanted to display some "before" and "after" weight loss photos in an internet Meme-friendly way. Introducing "Fat former self" :)

I'm 1lb away from 190, so I'll make another one of these when I hit it.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Video: Watch Cesar Kuriyama's TED 2012 premiered film

This is epic. Fellow VFX artist Cesar Kuriyama presented his video: "1 Second Everyday - Age 30" today at TED 2012. He took a 1 sec clip each day for a year and cut them all together. The clips chosen represent the day, and together the 6 min video represents and allows reflection on his 30th year of life.

What a beautiful and brilliant concept and a really complelling way to document and remember the moments in your life. I love it.

Check out his video here, the TED post about his talk here ( and also his website at