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More customer service fun

Received this one from fitbit this morning:

Let me translate:

Hi Calvin,

Thank you very much for getting back with us and providing us with the information requested. Your help through this process is highly appreciated.

Translation: Okay, we feel a tiny bit bad for making you jump through all these hoops to get to this point.

Your happiness and satisfaction remains to be our number one goal and priority. We understand that the situation encountered with your Aria scale is not ideal....

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My scented candle making process

Here it is, in condensed form:

  • Fill up the ziploc container with wax flakes
  • Microwave at 100% for 2 minutes
  • Add a few more flakes, but don’t fill it up all the way
  • Microwave again at 100% for 2 minutes
  • Take the temperature
  • Microwave at 100% in 30-second increments until temperature reaches 185 F
  • Let i cool to about 120 F
  • Add whatever the essential oils you want. Haven't figured out exactly how much. I guess that also depends on how strong they are.
  • Thread the wick, put it in the glass
  • ...

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The struggle

A draft from July 2011. Publishing now.

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There’s a struggle between our inner Self and our outer learned, adapted sense of self.

Deconstructing our personality structure is a necessary part of the process of discovering our true inner Self.

Compare that historic sense of the larger meaning of our natural deaths and rebirths with how today, when a person’s personality structure deconstructs, he or she may be shamed, ridiculed, or pitied, and nearly always distanced by...

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Our job

This has been sitting as a draft since November 2010. Figured I'd post it now ...

Steven Pressfield:

Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.

It's so easy to get consumed by heroes and advice and things you read in books or on the internet, and to get caught up in the game that is self-improvement, working harder, learning more, trying to become more like some of your heroes.

But the real...

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LindzonPalooza and learning programming languages

Brad Feld a few years ago:

 

I spent this weekend at LindzonPalooza. Once a year Howard Lindzon gets together a bunch of his friends at the intersection of financing, tech, media, and entrepreneurship, we descend on The Del in Coronada, and have an awesome 48 hours together. Many interesting and stimulating things were said, but one I remember was from Peter Pham over dinner. It was a simple line, “why do we teach languages in junior high and high school but not a...

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Mark Twain—and Christianity

Watched the PBS documentary on Mark Twain, and it was excellent. It's a two-part show, part of the American Lives series by Ken Burns.

Toward the end, I cried. The hardship that brilliant man suffered.

One thing that stuck out to me was his faith in a Christian god, and how it fell away after his daughter and wife both died. Later a second daughter of his would go on to die before him.

It seems to be a common phenomenon that people who believe in a Christian god believe that if you do right...

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Prohibition

Watching the Ken Burns PBS documentary on prohibition on Netflix. It's super interesting.

A few things I didn't know:

  • Before prohibition, up to 70% of tax revenue came from taxes on alcohol. The income tax was implemented alongside prohibition to make up for the loss of that tax revenue.
  • Leading up to prohibition, Americans hated Germans so much, because of the first world war, as well as their strength as brewers, that they renamed sauerkraut "liberty cabbage". Reminds me of how french...

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Starting vs finishing

When you first start a work of art — a book, a piece of music, a painting, whatever — all the possibilities are open, it can become anything.

When you're putting the finishing touches on it, your options are much much more limited. There are only so many words, so many plot lines, so many sounds, so many notes, that are going to fit whatever you've created.

The first part is more open, head in the clouds. The latter is more closed, more grounded.

We need both parts. I happen to be really good...

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Young explorers

Fantastic short films following toddlers who have just learned to walk as they explore their world.

We grownups get so scared on our kids' behalf. We teach our kids to be afraid, probably the least useful emotion after guilt and shame.

We're a society of terrified people with generally nothing at all to be terrified about, as compared to humans in history who could die from starvation, lack of water, disease, being eaten by an animal, or war with another tribe, any day or night.

Recently with...

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Massimo Bottura's lucky accident

Watching Chef's Table on Netflix, episode on Massimo Bottura. He tells the story of creating the dish "Oops I dropped a lemon tart". They have only three lemon tarts left, and they're about to serve them when his co-chef drops on. That's when Massimo realizes how amazing it actually looks like that, and they end up recreating the other plates like that.

I love happy accidents. Happen all the time. We just have to be open to them. Of course, our first instinct is usually to beat ourselves up...

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