Is “Science of Cocktails” more about brands than science?

Last year I went to The Exploratorium‘s “Science of Cocktails” fundraising event for the first time. It’s been running since at least 2014, and from what I’ve heard it has had some great demos and cocktails in the past. However I found my 2019 experience to be fairly disappointing. I’ve been to a number of other cocktail events around the Bay Area and the best of them were generally focused on specific bars and bartenders, featuring particular ingredients or products. But the product reps were not generally the ones developing or mixing the cocktails. However, in the case of Science of Cocktails 2019, I found it almost entirely dominated by brands, and the cocktails were on average mediocre at best (with some a bit unpalatable to me, to be frank). Worse still, there was only minimal science, which feels like a bigger issue given the billing of the event.

After the event I got an email thanking me for my attendance, with the contact info of Akemi Yamaguchi, Philanthropic Engagement Manager at The Exploratorium for any “questions about Science of the Cocktails”. I had some thoughts to share so I sent her a fairly lengthy email. Unfortunately I never heard back. I started to get notifications about the 2020 Science of Cocktails event just recently and after my previous experience I was a bit hesitant to go again, so I emailed asking if anything had changed from last year. Again, no response.

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When Stencils Come to Town

I’ve recently been experimenting with colorful, edible powders, inspired by the idea of a Holi-themed cocktail. Holi, you know, the festival of colors? Right, so I got a bunch of brightly-colored and edible things in powder form, like dragon fruit, matcha, turmeric, etc. and have mostly been chucking them around over the top of egg white drinks and having some good fun.

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How’s it Hanging? 3M Command, That’s How

What follows is a review of some of 3M’s “Command” series of damage-free wall hanging devices. I’m honestly a huge fan, and most people I know don’t use them and even seem unaware of them. So I figured it’s high time I write about them, because seriously how crappy are most shower caddies? I do also wish they had a different name though. “Command”? Not surprising that most people have no idea about this product line or what it does. Also, I’m sorry about the title, I couldn’t help myself.

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Value in the many paths to a “personal wiki”

A few weeks ago I talked about discovering Notion as the latest in a nearly life-long pursuit of the ideal personal information management tool. I’ve discussed in brief some of the info I use these systems for, both in that article, and over the years in-person with people. But I’ve never felt like I had a really good way to show people how useful and powerful it is for me, without directly showing them my own structure. But, since there is a lot of personal info scattered throughout my systems, I’ve also often been reluctant to really share with that level of specifics and detail.

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Nexcare Waterproof Bandages

After writing a draft of a review for 3M’s “Command” series of wall-adhesive strips and the things you can mount with them, I couldn’t quite bring myself to post it (you can now find it over here). Recommending and reviewing products is still new to me, and even though these are all heartfelt and unpaid reviews, it feels a little like sales, which I really don’t want to be doing. So I thought I’d move on to something more familiar, something everyone needs once in a while: bandages (i.e. “band-aids”). Maybe that’ll feel less like I’m trying to sell you something you don’t need? I sure hoped so. Ironically, though, as I was looking into my preferred bandages, what should I come to learn but that they, too, are manufactured by 3M! Two of the first products I choose to review and they’re made by the same company. Talk about schilling. ????

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If You’ve Got the Notion

How I Found Notion, i.e. The Endless Road to the Perfect PIM

In the Beginning

My dad was a programmer and as a result an early adopter of a lot of technology, from the first Mac and IBM/Tandy computers, to early public Internet access. When I was growing up he used a Personal Information Manager (PIM, a term that seems to have fallen out of favor somewhat) called AskSam to keep track of most of the important information in his life. So as I moved through my early years of adulthood I found myself wanting a similar central repository for all my info. Somehow it was only recently that I realized where this desire may have come from.

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Mind and Body-Altering Parasites

I recently gave a short Ignite-style talk at Synapse Synopsis, focusing on a favorite subject of mine: Mind and Body-Altering Parasites.

I’m not entirely sure why these creatures and behaviors fascinate me so much. I do love being surprised by nature, and seeing adaptations that seem almost improbable (like leaf-mimic insects, for example), so that’s probably one aspect. I also think we can learn a lot about how our own  bodies and minds work through seeing how these creatures are able to manipulate their host organisms. Last but probably not least, there is a morbid fascination here, perhaps my version of what horror-movie-lovers feel when they get a good jump scare. I get the willies reading about these things, but I still love it! I’m not a horror movie fan though. ????

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The “personal card”

Over the past few years I’ve found myself meeting a lot more people at random out in the world than I was used to for much of my life. Some have given me their numbers, or friended me on Facebook, and some have given me their cards, both business and personal. It became clear that leaving the onus on the other person to reach out and provide contact info was needlessly limiting, so I decided to put together some kind of personal identity item I could hand out. I found myself potentially a little in-between business and personal, wanting to be open to and potentially showcase my skills and experience, or at least interests, but also to keep it casual and open-ended, as functional for a new potential work contact as for a possible date. And I didn’t want to carry two cards. So…

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Trailblazer Tavern


Main Dining Room

Rating 6/10

I’m kicking off this food review section of my website with a random recent restaurant visit, Michael Mina’s fairly-brand-new Trailblazer Tavern, a Hawaiian restaurant in San Francisco, located in one of the Salesforce buildings. The format and layout of these reviews will no doubt change with time. Here’s a first stab at it…

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Front Seating

Rating 7/10

A simpler review today since I don’t have a lot of photos and didn’t try the food at Obispo. This is a new rum-focused bar+restaurant from Thad Vogler of Bar Agricole, and one that has been in the works for some 5 years, if you can believe it.

I generally try to give a place a couple of months to sort out the kinks before I visit. I figure that’s likely to give me the best and most representative experience. But a couple of friends wanted to try Obispo for a meet-up in early January, shortly after the opening in December 2018. So I broke my rule, and in general I’m glad I did.

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