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San Francisco Restaurant Review: Creative Ways to Eat a Pig

Why the Desire for Love is like Pi

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Love and War: Genocide, Human Rights and Angelina Jolie

I’m excited to participate in the San Francisco private screening tonight of In the Land of Blood and Honey as there will be a panel afterwards featuring speakers from the Global Fund for Women and the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley. It’s a film re-living the Bosnian genocide of the nineties and tells the story of two Bosnians from different sides of a brutal ethnic conflict. There is a lot of press surrounding the event because of the face associated with the production. This is Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut and I believe she also co-produced and was involved with the writing. She’s all over it, but not in it. Here’s an interview with Angelina Jolie by Charlie Rose in YouTube format. The interview appears to be broken up into different videos so this is just ‘Part I’ and you’ll have to follow “screamingangie11” if you want to continue with this channel sequence. I think the beginning of the interview which also includes a trailer of the film will provide you with a good sense of why she embarked on this project.

I’m also excited for tonight since I get to see my friend Karen who was out of town for the Holidays. She’s very passionate about human rights in the Middle East and Taiwan. I  look forward to participating in one of her Amnesty International events in a couple of weeks – another screening featuring My Tehran for Sale.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a film in a real movie theater setting. And the subjects for “In the Land of Blood and Honey” and “My Tehran for Sale” sound very compelling. Film, Human Rights, Foreign Lands, Culture and Politics in San Francisco. Not a dull blend.

San Francisco 2012 New Year Style

San Francisco 2012 New Year Style

How the World’s Most Powerful Blogger Masters Fear

Sometimes this is what I do on Friday afternoon before an evening out. I seek to entertain and educate myself by checking out YouTube. I had a recent discussion with a date about Arianna Huffington and why she is such a Big Deal in the media and blogosphere. So I decided to find out what Search results YouTube (Google) would produce for “Arianna Huffington”, the woman who has been called the “World’s Most Powerful Blogger.” And I found this piece from 2007 uploaded by GoogleTalks where a very pregnant Sheryl Sandberg then of Google, now the COO of Facebook interviews the New Media titan.

Aside from her explanation of how she transformed from a Conservative to a Liberal what I found interesting was Ms. Huffington’s insight about the concept of fear. Women and men handle the feeling of fear differently. Nothing too earth shattering there. But what kinds of things are women fearful of? Ms. Huffington illustrates her point with the concept of the “Evil Roommate” which lives in our brain and tells us mean or undermining things. The Evil Roommate exists in the minds of both men and women. But here again lies the difference. For example, women wake up in the morning and the Evil Roommate may whisper something like this to them, “Look in the mirror, is that another wrinkle?” or “Those jeans are tighter on you because you threw them in the dryer, right?” She goes on to posit that it’s not about the absence of fear which will move us forward, but of mastering it. I think this thought approach applies to human beings in general. Both men and women have different perceptions of what may cripple them mentally and/or emotionally but  perhaps it’s a matter of first identifying the nature of the fear and why it’s given permission to exist in our minds.

Ms. Huffington is an interesting personality to listen to. Her thoughts about the perception of the “outspoken woman” and what needs to change to move women forward are not revolutionary but she speaks to the themes of human dignity and the democratization of the Voice. Human beings feel valued when they have a Voice that is acknowledged and heard. So regardless of whether you agree or disagree with her political views or maybe just don’t like her, in the big picture she reminds us about the beauty and power of the blogosphere to deliver Truth from ordinary people. The emergence of New Media has granted a voice to ordinary people who can blog about things that matter to them up to a potentially institution-changing and revolutionary way.  I do understand that a double-edged sword exists where any non-Truth can also be broadcast by an ordinary person with evil intentions to destroy the World.  But the global activism that this form of communication  has spawned just in 2011 also amplifies the new era of individual self-fulfillment and attempting to “do good” in the world. So the next time the Evil Roommate rears itself, press the mute button. That Voice does not earn the right to be heard.

You can follow Arianna Huffington @ariannahuff and her Internet Newspaper the Huffington Post @HuffingtonPost

The Link Between a Queen, San Francisco and Silicon Valley

I’ve developed a habit of checking my Twitter feed right before bed to check on breaking news or something to laugh about. Last night there was a stream of tweets from Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan about the power of education and its impact on women and children.

Here is the stream in reverse order:

(5) A child born to an educated mother is 50 percent more likely to reach the age of five. #EducationSavesLives
(4) 1 extra year of schooling for a girl reduces her chances of dying later in child birth by 40%! #EducationSavesLives
(3) Never forget it – education saves lives. #Education
(2) We were a gathering of enthusiasts from all walks of education… all trying to balance our education optimism with economic realism.
(1) Spent morning immersed in how aid for education needs global partnership. During times of crises there’s no better investment than in ppl.
Queen Rania summarizes the sad and unfortunate reality of the world today. That not all societies believe education is a basic human right.  Education creates hope and opens the doors to recognize opportunity. Ultimately it is the “investment in people” or human capital that fuels the innovation which fixes problems in society at large or improves the quality of life for an individual. Generally, the global innovation incubators are found in highly educated locations. San Francisco and Silicon Valley (San Jose, Sunnvyale, Santa Clara) are both in the 10 most educated U.S. cities or in the 10 best cities for educated workers.  I don’t see this changing any time soon. The driver for innovation in the Valley are immigrants who can call the Bay Area a new home offering a certain regional appeal of inherent beauty, optimal climate and cultural/outdoor lifestyle activities. If presented with the chance to experience the San Francisco Bay Area or some other innovation ecosystem such as New York/Boston or Austin where would talent recognize the best career and lifestyle opportunities? Given the proximity to the Asian markets perhaps the San Francisco Bay Area also offers a strategic advantage.
In summary, the power of education is the power to change the world and make a dent in the universe. Ultimately, education eradicates poverty which creates hope for an individual to pursue opportunity. This is not to say that everyone in America has access to opportunity but education is the foundation to begin any journey to change the world. You can follow Queen Rania @QueenRania

SF Moment: The Reliability of Strangers

So I am out tonight with a couple of girlfriends. Start off at Top of the Mark on Nob Hill, then to Union Square shopping, and then I decided that I wanted to take them to Moroccan food at Aicha for dinner. As we are walking on Polk Street (fantastic drag for eateries and nightlife) I guess Random Stranger overheard our conversation of getting to Aicha. RS tells us, “Oh it may be closed. I know the guy who owns it. Ramadan. They may be observing. But try anyway.” So I respond with “Well, what would you recommend if they are closed that is nearby.” RS: “Oh just try Aicha anyway. He is my friend. But are you okay with spicy?” Me: “Yes, spicy is okay.” RS: “Okay, then try Shalimar, Pakistani spicy food.” Me: “Okay. Thank you.” Shalimar was good. No frills food. Almost like a cafeteria style ambiance. But good value. Some may prefer takeout. Ah, the reliability of strangers.

Sushi Nazi Saturday

Well, this was a strange night which transitioned into a fun night (aka “Dance Like There’s No One Watching”). We started out at a sushi restaurant in Japantown. Only sushi. No ramen or deep fried whatever, or combo dinner with the miso soup and green tea ice cream. Appeared to be pretty authentic and *good* based on my YELP! research. YELP! reviews have been pretty reliable for me so I continue the habit.  My report: good quality sushi but *STRANGE* environment with Sushi Nazi barking orders at the geriatric waitress and ordering patrons: “No soy sauce on that!” Most Japanese restaurants are on the quiet/less noisy side but there was somewhat of a *quiet tension* throughout the small space.  After that our guest from Washington D.C. was drawn to this neon sign leading us to a cavernous lounge with some pretty funky lighting.  One cocktail, some tunes on the box (Frank Sinatra, U2, and Prince, hmmmmm.) and then on to the Mission District. We started at El Rio and hung out in the outdoor courtyard area, met the band that was playing and then moved on to SOM in the same ‘hood. Fun Place. Eighties night dancing. Madonna ruled the night. But the Bangles, Erasure and Cyndi Lauper got some air time as well. I got my workout in and my feet are still in good shape despite my four inch wedges. A very good evening. Can’t complain.