Archive for the 'California' Category

Huijun Ring for Foster City Council

huijun ring for councilOne of my fondest memories from college is the year I spent as an officer of the inaugural campus chapter of the National Women’s Political Caucus. Although I can’t remember what position I held (secretary?), it was a very exciting time.

In 1992, We helped get Senator Barbara Boxer and Senator Dianne Feinstein elected to their first terms not to mention breaking history when both California’s Senate seats were filled by women. We also helped Congresswoman Anna Eshoo win her first term in the House of Representatives. And all of this was topped off when President Bill Clinton was elected to his first term! It was a very good year.

Just this past week I learned that my DNA Direct colleague, Dr. Huijun Ring, is running for Foster City Council. It’s wonderful to know that capable women like Huijun are leading California’s communities.

Huijun says:

I will work for you:

Maintain economic prosperity
• Support local businesses and attract new businesses to Foster City
• Ensure fiscal responsibility and maintain city budget reserve

Improve quality of life
• Advocate for a Community Education Center and a public high school
• Maintain the beauty of our parks and lagoons
• Promote green policies and practices for a healthier environment

Build strong community
• Promote involvement in city governance for people of diverse backgrounds
• Solicit community input from residents on city issues

If you live in Foster City, California or know of someone who does, I hope you’ll tell them about Dr. Huijin Ring and support her campaign come election day, Tuesday, November 6, 2007. Go, Huijun, go!

huijun ring

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Silicon Valley Life…Maybe Not for Me

My parents, my sister, and I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the second half of my fifth grade year. I moved away in 1994 to go to grad school, but my sister and her husband plus my parents and most of my close friends remain in the area. Some live and work in the heart of Silicon Valley and others nearby.

i heart silicon valley

For a long time, I thought I would move back someday, somehow. This past Spring, we almost did when there was a strong promise of a job for me. But after talking to Marv, we decided that this wasn’t the time to return even if Silicon Valley feels like the center of the world (at least for my area of expertise – genomics and the Web).

Today’s NY Times article further confirmed our decision not to move back.

In Silicon Valley, Millionaires Who Don’t Feel Rich

No one knows for certain how many single-digit millionaires live in Silicon Valley. Certainly their numbers reach into the tens of thousands, say those who work with the area’s engineers and entrepreneurs. Yet nearly all of them still have all-consuming jobs, not only because the work gives them a sense of achievement and satisfaction but also because they think they must work so much to afford their gilded neighborhoods.

Marv and I have a good life even though we live in London, UK, also one of the most expensive cities in the world.* Granted, we’re business expats so needn’t worry about some basic needs like housing, car, etc. Even more important, we’re able to save money for Stephen’s college education and still enjoy our life of books, video games, and toys. I’m sure we could do the same in the Bay Area made all the easier because we’d be with family and friends but my biggest worry is: I’m not sure I could resist joining in the chase.

Umberto Milletti of InsideView:

Here, the top 1 percent chases the top one-tenth of 1 percent, and the top one-tenth of 1 percent chases the top one-one-hundredth of 1 percent.

For now, I’ll enjoy watching the race from the sidelines. It’s a lot more comfortable here in my dining room next to the River Thames. Thank goodness for the Internet! We’re so far, yet still so close.

*Moscow has London beat, though!


Science Cafes

Remind me again why I left the San Francisco Bay Area oh those many years ago? It could be me at one of those science cafes! But hopefully I wouldn’t be the paunchy guy with the long gray beard.

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Just Saying Hi

I’m having a fabulous time on vacation even though I caught another cold. That’s 4 for 4 this year. AHHHH. Doesn’t keep me from shopping. So far, two great pairs of shoes and a watch. Woohoo!

fossil watch


10 Things I Miss About the San Francisco Bay Area

Sheila Livingston, a new colleague at b5media, posted the 10 things she misses about Silicon Valley. I, too, love the Silicon Valley but I also love the Bay Area as a whole. Perfect time to reminisce about my trip back last month!

  1. Family and Friends – My side of the family and most of my closest friends are in the U.S. Almost everyone is closer to California than to London.
  2. The sunshineLondon weather is incredibly moody; sunshine one minute, cloudy the next, then massive downpour. I don’t particularly mind but it sure makes planning outings difficult.
  3. Convenient shopping – Malls, Walmart, Target,…. Oh, I’ve said it all before.
  4. The prices – Everything in the U.S. feels like half price or cheaper now that I live in London. Moaned about this already too.
  5. Cars – Yes, those gas guzzling monsters are evil but they make for a cushy ride. Back to buses, subway trains, and my own two feet now.
  6. The feeling of power – The San Francisco Bay Area is a hopping place. The Silicon Valley is even more so. I can feel the energy of brain cells zipping around when I’m there. Love it!
  7. The restaurants – My favorite restaurant this time back was Tomatina – fresh and tasty.
  8. Oriental grocery stores – Woohoo! Milpitas Square is the place to be. We stocked up on Chinese bakery goods, soursop juice, and Korean seaweed.
  9. The wide roads and freeways – London roadways are already narrow but with cars parked willy nilly, you have barely enough room to squeeze through. If another car comes down from the opposite direction, somebody’s got to give and back-up. We’ve stared down a few already. Nervewracking.
  10. Being part of a community – Culturally and socially, I feel much more comfortable in the Bay Area. I spent my formative years there (5th grade through college) and identify with the general ethos of the place. It’s where I thought I’d spend the rest of my life after four years in Baltimore. I guess I’ll have to settle with trying to maintain a Bay Area state of mind.


California Conveniences

Much to our surprise this morning, San Francisco International Airport was peaceful and efficient when Marv left to go back to London. We had expected long lines, upset and confused passengers, and suitcases being upended as people in a frenzy threw out Transportation Security Administration (TSA) prohibited items containing liquids and gels. We saw none of that. In fact, it almost seemed more calm than usual, but that could be because we usually travel at night instead of mornings.

This first week of vacation has passed quickly. We have been gorging ourselves on La Salsa, Target, Walmart, DSW, Best Buy, Toys R Us, Costco, dim sum, and malls. Yes, we are shameless consumers.

Do you Americans have any idea how convenient everything is here? There is Taco Bell in Target, McDonald’s in Walmart, and Starbucks everywhere. Listed together like this, it all seems rather evil but who can complain about unlimited selection and unbeatable prices?

Just imagine me this month in Northern California sipping on Fantasia pearl tea wearing my new Fossil watch with the pink face and suede strap, Friday work casual Charter Club T-shirt, and toffee Skechers Bikers Step-Up – all purchased in magnificent sales.


In San Francisco

We arrived in California yesterday and they put the welcome mat out for me! :D


Some Parks in California

All aboard for a tour of parks we went to in California.
We rode this steam train at Tilden Park.

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We’re Back

After three weeks in California, I am…

…disoriented from jet lag.
…suffering from sinus congestion.
…unpacking toy after toy after toy (and hiding half of them for Christmas and other special occasions).
…organizing existing toys to make room for new toys.
…picking up toys I just put away because Stephen keeps pulling everything back out.
…procrastinating by writing this instead of unpacking three more overstuffed suitcases.
…feeling fat from overeating.
…wondering if I can skip dinner for a month to lose some weight quickly.
…thinking about all the blogging work I have to catch up on at the Genetics and Public Health Blog and elsewhere.
…not sure if Stephen has forgotten how to use the potty.
…missing my family and friends.
…trying not to feel lonely.

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Dee-ablo or Die-ablo?

Many places in California have Spanish names and most people, including my parents, know how to say them with a semblance of Spanish pronunciation. So I don’t understand why the local radio station conducted an online poll today asking their listeners if the DJ’s should say dee-ablo or die-ablo for “Diablo”. There is only one correct way to say “Diablo” – DEE-ABLO.

At the time I voted for dee-ablo, 146 people had taken the quiz with 51% voting my way and 49% voting the wrong way.

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