Book review: Silence

Book cover for Silence by Shusaku EndoHow would you respond if someone asked you what you believe in? What if they asked you why you believe it? If they questioned your answers, how far would you be willing to go to defend your beliefs? Would you give up your freedom? If you were persecuted, tortured, or sentenced to death, would you maintain or abandon your faith?

These are the questions that author Shusaku Endo explores in Silence. He portrays the lives of two Portuguese Jesuit priests who travel to Japan in the 17th century during the height of Japan’s persecution of Christians. They go there in search of their former mentor, who they fear has apostacized, or renounced his belief in the Christian faith.

Continue reading

Urban Hiking in San Francisco: Lands End

When someone mentions San Francisco, what comes to mind? I’m sure you think of The Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower, Alcatraz Island, and Chinatown. One item missing from that list that might surprise you is hiking.

I visited the city twice this past summer and was amazed at the number and quality of the hikes that are so easily accessible from right inside the city. I’m going to put together a few posts documenting the hikes starting with Lands End.

Panoramic image of The Golden Gate taken from Lands End Lookout Continue reading

Book review: Managing Humans – Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager

Book cover for Managin Humans by Michael LoppOne of my reading genres is leadership and management books. I like to pick up one of these books occasionally to stay current. There’s a good chance I’ll also learn a thing or two along the way.

There are a lot of generic books on management out there, but not a lot focused on technical management. And when it comes to software engineering, the number get even smaller. Therefore, when Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager by Michael Lopp showed up in an Amazon email, I had to add it to my reading list. I was looking forward to the insight given the amount of experience Lopp has leading technical teams at Silicon Valley companies such as Borland, Apple, Pinterest, Netscape, and Slack.

Continue reading

San Francisco restaurants

Golden Gate view from Land's EndWhen it comes to the restaurant scene, San Francisco is one of my favorite cities to visit and explore. There are so many excellent choices that it can be overwhelming.

I had the opportunity to visit the city twice during the summer of 2019. To avoid being overwhelmed, I did my research and selected my restaurant targets ahead of time. I stayed away from the popular tourist spots as much as possible and focused on the neighborhood scene. These are the hidden gems that won’t show up on a typical Yelp search for ‘Best restaurants in San Francisco.’ They also have more character and atmosphere, and they won’t break the bank provided you go easy on the drinks, wine, and dessert, which is easier said than done!

Here are the 10 best restaurants I ate at this summer in San Francisco. As an added bonus, I’ve also appended coffee and ice cream recommendations – two of my favorite food indulgences.

Continue reading

Book review – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Book cover for Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. PirsigThere are times that I resist reading a book simply because of its title. If the title looks like it covers a subject that I’m not interested in, why should I read it?

Case in point is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig. I had heard people talk about it, and I’d had people recommend it to me. Since I don’t ride motorcycles and have no interest in them, I kept wondering why people would think that I would want to read a book on motorcycle maintenance. To be honest, it didn’t sound all that interesting.

After reading a post on Sean Murphy’s blog, where he talks mostly about startups, I had a change of heart. Sean had pulled a few quotes from the book and related them to discerning the future and running a startup. It intrigued me because the quotes he pulled from the book didn’t relate to repairing motorcycles. It felt like there was something bigger lurking behind that title that had frightened me away in the past. As it turns out, there was.

Continue reading

Teaching a Teen to Drive in Southern California

Abbey behind the wheelEarlier this year, Abbey got her driver’s license. She’s the fourth child I’ve taught to drive, and my last. Riding along with my kids while teaching them was challenging at times, interesting at others, and, believe it or not, fun overall.

Through the experience, I’ve learned that teaching a teenager to drive takes a lot of composure, even more patience, and a process. While I can’t help much with the composure and patience parts, teaching four kids has allowed me to develop and refine my process that I’m going to share with you in the rest of this post. 

Continue reading

Book review: Artemis

Book cover - Artemis by Andy WeirThe Martian is one of my all-time favorite books. I loved the near-term science fiction that seemed to cover all the intricate details of a manned mission to Mars. The first person narration from astronaut Nick Watney’s point of view was top notch as well. It felt like I was stranded on Mars with him.

When author Andy Weir came out with his second novel, Artemis, there was no question in my mind that I was going to read it. I was eager to see if he would tackle the challenge of establishing a colony on the moon with the same level of detail as he did a manned mission to Mars. I was also looking forward to being entertained, which certainly wasn’t an issue in The Martian. Let’s see how Weir did with his follow-on.

Continue reading

We Are Family

Since moving to California over 25 years ago, getting the whole family together has been a rare event. There’s only been a couple of times that I can remember. It usually takes a significant life event to make it happen, and Brad’s wedding in Ann Arbor, MI last month was one such opportunity to bring everyone together. It was great seeing how many immediate and extended family members made the effort and were able to make the trip.

The Borodaty family

There were so many memorable moments at the wedding, but here are the ones that have stuck with me since the trip.

Continue reading

Book review: A Return to Love – Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles

Book cover for A Return to Love by Marianne WilliamsonPersonal development books are one of my primary reading genres. Since I’ve started down this path a few years back, I’ve discovered a seemingly limitless number of books and related resources. Some have come through the Amazon recommendation engine. Many others have come through discussions with friends and colleagues about the books we’ve read. At the end of the day, it’s amazing how many great resources are available to us these days.

The best of these resources are books that provide both guidance on better living and challenge our thinking, whether it is about ourselves or the world around us. A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles by Marianne Williamson clearly fits and definitely belongs in this category. 

Continue reading

Our most precious resource

In our daily activities, it’s easy to forget that life isn’t about what happens to us at work. It’s not about the latest current event or news article. It’s not about binge watching the latest and greatest television series. It’s not about accumulating ‘likes’ on Facebook, ‘followers’ on Twitter, or wishing we had the life of an ‘influencer’ on Instagram.

When you talk to people who are nearing the end of their lives, they don’t wish they had spent more time on social media and the internet. They don’t wish they had worked more. They don’t wish they had spent more time binge watching television shows. They don’t wish they owned more stuff.

So what do they wish for?

Continue reading