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Last Night/Duo

April 14, 2012

Last Night

After Oskar finished his interview, we headed over to The Glint – a shared living/workspace where a few of the Fellows live. Actually, we missed the bus, and had to cab ourselves all the way up to Twin Peaks (again, Google Imaging the views is recommended). It was a very large hill. I asked the taxi driver if he’d ever slid backwards down one before.

“Not yet.”

 Anyways, we got there and waded through the pile of shoes at the door (there seem to be an unusual amount of awesomely coloured footwear choices among the fellows – just something I noticed), then waded through the pile of people – Finalists, current Fellows, staff and more – to get to the food.

 We listened to a brief talk by the artist and tech-startup guy who run the space together about their vision of heroism (through collaboration, not isolation) and then had a lecture on self-actualization from a serial entrepreneur. Highlight: he talked about how he brought a plant to fuller health by peeing on the soil.

 Then we mingled. I met a few really interesting people (though the chances of that were pretty high, eh?) – for example, Tara, someone from Chapel Hill (I actually can’t even remember) who is trying to bring more evidence-based practice into public health – I saw a lot of complexity science in what she was talking about.

 Then, I offered to share my umbrella with someone I hadn’t met yet as we walked back in the rain to the shuttle that would take us back to the hotel. He was ecstatic. His name, he said, was Taylor, he was originally from Arkansas, now living in Reno. It was only when we got onto the bus that I realized he was the Taylor that did nuclear fusion in his basement at the age of 14. A person who’d been a full-fledged nuclear scientist for more that five years. And someone who was only 17.

 But hey, he was happy sharing my umbrella.

 Came back to the hotel and went to bed, but not before Wole (pronounced Wall-e, pretty much), a fifteen-year old from Jersey (?) played me and Lindsay a rap song several times and danced to it.

 Anyways… onto day two.


 Woke up at 6:22, before my alarm. Oskar and I planned to get up early because we wanted to explore the city. So we did. Ate a quick breakfast at the hotel and then set off in search of Chinatown, the windy road thing (I’m such a good explainer). After an initial rainstorm it cleared up and we found ourselves looking at dried starfish on Grant Street. So much beauty, so many buildings.

Then we stumbled across Little Italy, which borders on China Town. Passing by specialty food stores that were selling very ‘Italian’ products, we couldn’t help but notice that they were staffed by Latin Americans. Interesting.

 A nice couple of guys at a park took our picture and then told us that it was opening day at AT&T Stadium. The Giants Nation was coming out in full force. So we decided to make our way over there. The hand-knit scarves wrapped around palm tree trunks were the first things I noticed. That and the sea of black and orange. There was an old-time brass band playing at the gates. As American as apple pie if we’re going for stereotypes. It was great.

 Walking back along the bayfront (and passing the most owner-resembling dog either of us had ever seen), we eventually cabbed it to Mason Park for the start of our orientation.

 There, we had a little more chance to mingle – I met the New Zealander who wants to collect life lessons and post them online, someone from London who I didn’t have a chance to ask that many questions, and Mike, one of the Thiel Foundation people, who dropped out of Oxford grad school to come to the Bay Area. There were also lovely sandwiches.

 We heard a talk from one of the Thiel Foundation co-founders (looks like Andrew Garfield if you know who that is) about the mission that drives it. Then Danielle (the program director) gave us a lot more information about what the Fellowship entails and what we can make of it. What most surprised me: the foundation doesn’t ask for any intellectual property rights or a share in profits. Then, the CNBC crew head talked to us a little more about the goal of all their filming. Tentatively the documentary will be released in July.

 Our surprise activity for the afternoon was a cross-city chase. We were asked to find out who the ‘mole’ in our group of 40 was by solving clues that had been strewn across the city. It was a lot of problem solving, smart-phone reliance and fun. Again, it was a chance to interact with different people – I met someone who is very interested in complexity theory (the more computer science, nuts and bolts stuff) but wasn’t really aware of the science existing. I also met someone who wants to make online education more than it is now. Again, I saw complexity in his approach, but I also know I’m seeing it everywhere.

 The camera crews were also following us around during the scavenger hunt/city chase. I guess I’ve just gotten used to the strange looks now.

 After the challenge was over, a group of us madly rushed to secure a bus, which again seemed to take much more effort than it should have had. We dropped back to the hotel and then Oskar, Chris, Wole and I went for dinner at a place called the Grove where they had a machine which freshly squeezed orange juice. I was pretty fascinated by it.

 We dropped by the Apple store because Wole had never been inside one before, then split up – Oskar and I wanted to explore the city a little more. We ended up cabbing back up to Twin Peaks so that we could see the entire cityscape at night. We did and it was beautiful.

 We then walked  back down the seemingly neverending hill until we got to the Castro – the heart of the gay village.

 Actually, we quickly stopped into a Cuban cafe before then, and that’s when one of my favourite stories of the day happened. I was taking a picture of one of the pieces of art on the walls, and all of a sudden the cook comes out of the kitchen.

“That’s copyright! You can’t do that.”

Me: “I’ll delete it! I was going to ask. Sorry!”

“I was just kidding! They’re actually my photos. What’s your name” (offers me hand to shake)

“Oh, my hands are freezing, sorry!”

“Wow. Yes they are. Good thing mine are warm”.

 And then the cook proceeded to rub my hands to warm them up. A little odd, but pretty funny.

 And yes, then we went to the Castro and saw all the different people out (ha, that may have been a pun) and about.

 Came back to the hotel, practiced our pitches together, then headed for bed.

 Tomorrow is the 2-minute lightning round.

 Today was wonderful. I had a moment, when we were on the bus going to solve one of our city chase clues, when I was looking out the window and just smiling to myself. What a crazy, wonderful day.

  I want to post pictures but I have to go to sleep. Tomorrow, I promise! There are lots of great ones.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. Irena permalink
    April 14, 2012 6:57 pm

    These posts make exam studying a little bit easier. Amazing 🙂

  2. Nicole Gamble permalink
    April 14, 2012 7:37 pm

    Thanks for writing, it’s amazing to hear about your adventures. Good luck from your possy at 86 Royal, and enjoy the rest of your trip!

    ps I enjoy how your love for colourful clothing comes accross in your writing 😛

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