All posts tagged “San Francisco

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what did that mean career coach just say to me?

I read blogs. If you’re going to write them, you need to do some reading of them, as well. Sad thing is that lately, that’s all the stuff I’ve been reading. Sad, sad, sad. Or maybe not. There’s no doubting that some great writers are producing blog posts that will stick with you, and make you think long after. Will people be reading these things years from now the way some still read a novel or a poem or even a great short?

I don’t know.

I say that a lot here, mainly because it’s true. But recently, I read a blog post by someone named Penelope Trunk. I think Ms. Trunk is probably famous in the whole “career guru” world of bloggers. Again, I don’t know. I just get that because when you Google her, she comes up with people like Timothy Ferriss and Seth Godin, so she’s probably pretty big. In any case, the post I was reading was called, “Men with families feel more trapped than ever. Here’s how to fix that.” It’s really worth the read, especially if you are a middle-aged man.

It’s interesting that the first time I read this post, I was annoyed and even a little angry, if not hurt, at a side point that she makes about salaries. She makes the case that men will max out their earning potential by the age of 35. So, basically, if you’re not making 150k by 35, you are not never going to make it. I use that number, because elsewhere, she makes the case that the only way you can have a family and live a middle class lifestyle if you want to do so in a large city, like San Francisco or New York, is to make 150k or more.

This hit close to home because my home is in San Fran, and because I moved here with my wife from New York. We didn’t have kids when we lived in Manhattan, but we do now. We have one little and another on the way. And, did I mention we live in SF? (In case you’re a new reader, I’m a writer/educator/videographer, i.e., I do not make 150k. I don’t need Ms. Trunk to tell me my family can’t keep on keeping on here in the Bay. We are planning our exodus, and I think we’ve decided to head to the Pacific Northwest. We should probably just give up the ghost and go smaller and hit Tacoma, but I’m just urban by nature and pushing for Seattle. We’ll see. Either way, we are leaving a big city for a smaller city because we don’t make enough.

Since I’m not a lover of SF, I’m ok with it. But there is a part of me that would love to go back to NY, and yet, I know that would probably not be the best idea financially speaking. We have to go smaller. We have to do what Ms. Trunk says.

Interestingly, when I read the article a second time, I gave up the idea that Ms. Trunk was writing to me, that her message was personal, and that she was telling me that I was doomed to being a poor teacher. First off, she doesn’t know me, obvious, I know, but still. Also, to be fair, I think she was making the case that it’s ok not to make oodles of money. It’s not like I didn’t know this. I’ve never really been after the money. I just want my kids to have some basic things, and then, I’ll be happy.

I think, if I’m honest, what really bugged me was that I read/projected a message onto Ms. Trunk’s post that wasn’t there. She was saying that I probably wouldn’t make more money than I did at 35. But I read that as saying that I had already done my best work, as well. I’m a late-bloomer. I know this. And it is my hope, I will say it here, that my best work is ahead of me. I think this is true. I hope it is. But you know what?

I don’t know that, either And that kind of sucks.

elias pic for blog
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my 21 month-old son is a yoga guru…

It’s Saturday, and this past week, I was sick with a cold–HATE THAT. I’m feeling better now, which means I need to pick up the pieces of my routine. Once again, I have to start doing all those things that don’t come natural to me: running, writing…life. This is a dangerous time for me. I feel lazy, and I risk staying that way if I don’t get a move-on. One of the many tools of procrastination that I have used in the past, is to spend a good afternoon–sometimes longer–hating myself for all the time I wasted. It makes no sense, I know. Instead of getting to the things I need to do, I sit around, MAKING THE CHOICE to waste even more time getting angry about the time I wasted when I did NOT have a choice due to being sick.

Yesterday, when I started feeling better and started feeling the self-loathing come on, my wife told me she needed to run some errands, so I took my boy for the day. After breakfast and for the rest of the afternoon, it was just the two of us. I loved it–every minute. He forces me to take my head out of my butt and smile at the smallest things: a crack in the sidewalk, a Christmas light still left on a porch in January. It’s cliche and perhaps needlessly New-Age of me to say, but he keeps me in the present, which keeps me from berating myself about the past. I am grateful for that and for much more. And in that mode, I want to share something that most parents probably already know, and that I knew without fully realizing until yesterday: nap time is magic time.

After we came home from the park–a place that is, in my neighborhood at least, the HQ of a bunch of humorless twats also known as my neighbors who have kids (something for another day)–the boy wanted a nap. I was all for it. Usually my wife has him at this time of day, and I worried that he wouldn’t go down without her. But to my surprise, after some strange roaring and a lot of circling around the bed and on the bed, he finally did go horizontal and stayed that way for over an hour. That was amazing, but even more special was the fact that as he slept in the crook of my arm, he changed the sound and the very feeling of the house. It was like the house understood his needs and bent itself to his will. It didn’t let any outside sounds in; it didn’t crack or creak as it usually does. I even want to say that the house glowed, but glow is a visual word and the quality I’m after is an auditory one. Did it pulsate? Maybe. But that seems a little rhythmic. What I’m trying to say is that the sounds of the house were warm and flowing and golden. Maybe it was womb-like, but it’s been a while since I was there.

I don’t know.

What I do know is that for that hour and for the rest of the day, I felt restored and happy. It was like yoga, but better because in my neighborhood, all those humorless twats I referred to above, yup, beside the park, the yoga studio is their other hang-out of choice.

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some thoughts about violence and schools after MLK Day…

It will probably sound a little dumb, but somehow I missed it. The shooting in New Mexico made me aware of this new found paternal feeling I have, and that newness blinded me to a simple fact: as awful as that shooting was, the same kind of violence occurs every day in our inner-cities.

I don’t want to come across like that lame-o liberal singing to a choir of other liberals. I’m not talking about banning guns here. I just don’t think that’s possible, and really, there’s a case to be made for people who like their guns. God bless them. I say this though I was raised in LA, a city where for the most part, the only people who have guns are either police or criminals. But I’ve been around long enough to know that if you live in the country, guns can be a way of life, and why not?

The point of this post is to point out what I missed, though I don’t know how I missed it. In the past year, I witnessed two shootings right outside my classroom. The neighborhood I work out of is no West Oakland, but it’s not too far–either by statistics or geography–and really, who cares about the stats? If it’s one young man dead by a gun, then it’s one too many. This leads me to another reason why I think most of us seem so pained by New Mexico, and so oblivious to what happens in our cities. I won’t say it’s racism, but there is a part of so many people who see the news and they see that the victim is brown or black and they think: well, that kid must have been involved in something. There is no doubt that some are, but so many are just victims of living in a neighborhood where bullets fly for the smallest provocation. handgun I had a student recently who stopped coming to class once the clocks turned back an hour. Why? Because he didn’t feel safe going home after dark.

I teach a lot of kids who come from these scary neighborhoods, and I didn’t really believe him. I thought he was just being lazy. I couldn’t see it: the truth. The fact that this kid is a prisoner of his neighborhood. The sun goes down, and wild things come out. It’s not a fairy tale. It’s a fact.

Recently, I heard about two different projects I want to share with you.

The first project is Kathleen Horan’s series for WNYC, a radio station in New York.

picture of Kathleen Horan

Kathleen Horan, super brave reporter

Ms. Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, who covers the criminal justice beat. She recently started a series, In Harm’s Way, a multi-platform effort to profile the life of every child in New York City killed by gunfire. Basically, her project is to make people aware of the young children–many the same age as those lost in Newtown–who have died because they, like my student, live in neighborhoods that are not safe. If you want to hear the voices of the parents who are trying to make sense of their lives, if you want to be made aware of this type of everyday tragedy that does not get covered elsewhere, I hope you will check out her series.

Another fascinating series comes out of Boston. Globe reporters, Meghan Irons and Akilah Johnson, spent the last year living in Bowdoin-Geneva, a 68 square block area of Boston that is infamous for crime. The reporters say they were embedded in this neighborhood–an interesting word considering it usually connotes war journalism.

image of Akilah Johsnon

Akilah Johnson

But it’s a fitting word if you go read the series because the neighborhood they write about is war-like, and probably so far from what most of us can imagine. I lived in Boston for three years, and I can tell you that I never would have imagined that the kind of all-out violence that these reporters describe could be possible that close to me.

image of Meghan Irons

Meghan Irons, journalist

And this is the irony of it. So many of us are unaware of the world outside our front doors, but every once in a while, something like New Mexico happens and we are amazed by it.

Don’t be amazed.

It’s happening, and if you live in a decent sized urban area, it is happening as I write these words and as you read them: A mini-version of New Mexico every night.


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g. martinez cabrera, Shane Evangelista, and Masa Sugawara
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Thursday with the film guys…

I have been very fortunate these past few months to make friends with some very wonderful guys who are also really talented.  Masa Sugawara (left) and Shane Evangelista are filmmakers here in San Francisco.  We met this week to put the final edits on a commercial we shot in December.  This commercial will be part of a reel that I hope to present to some ad agencies later this year.
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We also met with Jason Payne, a talented actor working out of the East Bay. We are planning to film a few episodes of a web series that I wrote called, The Method. This is exciting stuff. I’ll write more about this at a later date, but for now, it’s enough to say that the show is about a struggling actor who wins the lotto by accident but who does not want the money for fear that it will hurt his sense of self as a method actor.

Stay tuned. I will be including all of you on this as we get closer.

2013 is a year of change.  I am hopeful. What are you hopeful about?

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