Pedram's stream of consciousness

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

OMG Blogger

It has been several months since I last blogged (on blogger) and I first felt guilty that I wasn't blogging and then I felt guilty that I thought so much of myself that I had to share my thoughts with the world and now I feel angry (angry face) that Blogger has caused these emotions inside me....

Actually just kidding. Most of my blogging and self expression has been moved into facebook because... well because it is awesome and is my one stop shopping place for all my online social activity. That being said, I just bought a nice digital SLR and am going to learn the finer points of photography so once I start producing nice pictures look for them here (and on facebook).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More news

So what's new with Pedram?

1 - I'm now at facebook and love it! Well I've been here for 2 months now. I have the same kind of excitement about work that I had early on at Google. I can get lots and lots done and the only thing slowing me down is how quickly I can go. What we will do in the coming years is really exciting!

2 - I got my first patent approved. I filed for the patent in 2004 while at Microsoft Research and recently received the notice that it was approved (crossing fingers for my other filed patents).

3 - I was blogged about by Googlified.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

new job, 30, and construction

I haven't blogged for a while because a lot of stuff has been going on lately. Get ready for a blast of words with little structure...... 8 weeks I quit my job at Google, 2 weeks later I started my new job at Facebook, and then 4 weeks later I turned 30, 3 weeks before that we started major construction on our backyard, frontyard and sewer system, 3 months before that our sewer backed up and let nasty stuff wash up and flood our downstairs, 6 months before that I started getting really fed up with not being about to launch anything at work, 4 month after that I attended my brother in law's graduation ceremony where Omid Kordestani's speech convinced me that you don't get ahead unless you take risks, a month after that I realized that a year ago a good friend of mine left Google to take a big risk on himself and it clicked for me, 3 months later I realized I made the right decision because every day of work has gotten better than the last day, 1 week later our new patio and front walkway was done, 1 day later we threw a big party for my 30th birthday (pics on facebook), 7 hours later Don Julio and Jack Daniels battled it out in my stomach, 1 hour later they declared truce after the 2nd battle of porcelain valley, 8 hours later I was cleaning up my house, 6 days earlier Rah got me Bose noise cancelling headphones, 9 days lateer I was sitting at work listening to them while writing this blog.

I'm 30 now but time means nothing :-)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A historic weekend

This weekend marks two important milestones in my life.

On Friday July 13th, 2007 I resigned from Google in search of new challenges and risks. This was a hard decision to come to and I have been seriously thinking about it for the last few months. In the end I decided (with support from my wife) that I am at the point in my career where I can make risky decisions. I am young enough that I can jump off the ledge and not worry about landing on my feet or my head because either way I have time to pick myself up and try again. So Friday I leaped off that ledge, look for an update on where I land.

Today Sunday July 15th, 2007 I weighted myself after working out and after over 10 years I finally weight under 200lbs...... ok so my weight is 199.9 and a fart could bump me back over to 200 but the last time I was under 200 lbs I was 17 years old. I have lost over 15lbs in the last 12 weeks and I know with continued dedication I will be able to get to 190.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I'm famous

Those that know me know that I work for Google and that I work on What they may not know is that is the 7th most visited site in the world and that in the last few months my face was added to the logo on the welcome page. Booya!

I wish I could end it at that..... As a result of this picture I have gotten a 10X increase in spam on orkut and now many people are creating fake Pedram accounts. At first I thought it was funny but now I think it is very annoying!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Again with the health

I finished the 12 week health 4 life program at Google 2 weeks ago..... My goals were to get under 200lbs (down from 214) and lower my cholesterol and fasting blood sugar. Well it turns out I didn't mean my goal of getting below 200 but I am at 201 which is pretty darn good. I also lowered my cholesterol by over 60 points and my fasting blood sugar by 10 points. So booya! I am a healthy mofo now!

What did it take? I logged my food for the first 2 weeks and Valerie (my nutritionist) showed me the distribution of food types I was eating and then showed me where I should be. This made it very clear to me that I was eating too much meat and starch and not enough leafy greens. The amazing thing is that this simple step made it very easy for me to add more veggies to my diet. The next step was to study the basic nutritional facts for many different food types and the one thing that stuck out in my mind is that red meat has more cholesterol and less protein that chicken. Now there are people who say eating beef is bad for the world but my main concern was my body so I gave up red meat and haven't had it for over 3 months now (hence the reduction in my cholesterol).

Now for the real trick to this whole thing... portion control. While what you eat matters, the portions that you are very very important (Obviously!) but it isn't just how much you eat but the combinations of food that you take in together. A big bowl of ice cream is not that good for you but if you have it after a meal that has protein, fat, and fiber your body actually absorbs the ice cream differently (in a good way).

Oh and don't forget exercise. I was already working out 2-3 times a week so I tried to increase that to 4-5 times a week. For a while I was good about the exercise but then I hurt my knee and took a little break from the gym. This slowed down my weight loss and if it wasn't for that I am sure I would be under 200lbs today.

The reason I am writing this post is because last night I was at my friend Eiman's place when I saw that he had a pullup bar. For whatever reason I started doing pullups and was able to do 10 full pullups. I have never in my entire life been able to do 10 pullups! I was pretty proud :-)

Diets don't work, it is only through small conscious decisions that health goals can be achieved.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Crazy cop

As I was rolling out of the toll light in the highway on ramp a cop car races in front of my path and totally cut me off. I saw the lights flashing and figured he was after someone but then he did the oddest thing.... He slowed down and started swerving from left to right. He eventually settled into a lane and I tried to pass him at under the speed limit of 65 mph (in the future when the speed limit is 1000 mph and people come back to this blog they will be amazed at how slow we were) the cop cut into my lane and blocked my access. At this point I started piecing it together and realized he wanted to slow down traffic so that there was a dead zone in the traffic ahead. Anyways, it was an odd sight and my first instinct was that some loony stole a cop car and took it for a joy ride. As I described the situation to my wife, coworkers, friends etc. they all seemed to have had an experience with that before.

How is it that after 11 years of being able to drive I had never encountered such a cool thing before?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Living on the edge

Last week I attended a Google off site workshop on leadership training in Santa Cruz. The workshop is called "Edge" and it was awesome. A group of 25 Googlers from around the company got a 2.5 day intensive course on personality types, leadership styles, group dynamics, etc. We formed teams and had to do a lot of exercises where we had limited time and/or information and we had to be able to work as a team communicate, coordinate, and execute a plan of action. All of the activities had very short time limits and most of them involved us being blind folded during the execution stage. It is funny to think they trained us for leadership by blind folding us... I guess they took to heart the saying "the blind leading the blind".

Recently I have been working on my ability to remember names and so I actively memorize the names of everyone I meet. I was pretty proud of myself because in the first 2 hours of the workshop I was able to memorize the names of all 24 other people in the workshop as well as the names of the 3 people who organized it. I also impressed a few people when I named everyone in the room :-)

The second to last day of the program we had an outdoor challenge that involved a bunch of obstacle courses which all involved heights. One of the obstacles was to climb up a 50 foot tall pole and balance on a bar stool on the top and then jump 10 feet out and hit a tether ball that is suspended in the air....I might have forgotten to mention to you that I hate heights. About a year ago I started rock climbing just to get over my fear but thinking about jumping off a 50 foot pole (even with a harness) scared me silly. But surprise surprise, I climbed the pole and once I got to the top I focused on standing up (which I did pretty well) and then as I looked out among the tree tops and realized that there was nothing but me, the ball, and a lot of air the entire world around me became still. Nothing else mattered, I wasn't thinking about yesterday, or tomorrow, or even 5 minutes ago, all I could think about was "There is a ball, there is you, and there is space in between you, remove the space". So in a leap of faith (no pun intended) I jumped up and out towards the ball and as I flew through the air I wasn't worried that my cable could snap ending my short but sweet life, all I was worried about was that I might not have jumped hard enough and all that effort would go to waste and as my anxiety continued to grow my hands made contact with the ball and just like that it was all worth it. When my team lowered me to the ground I was shaking because of all the adrenaline and I was so happy and proud :-)

When living on the edge sometimes the best thing to do is jump (up and out)!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Ads or action

With all the awareness and concern for the environment more and more companies are spending their ad dollars to convince the world that they are "green". Sun, Intel, BP, GM, IBM, you name the company and they have an ad claiming that their company and technology/product is helping make the world a greener place. How much of this is the result of companies really making an effort to clean up and how much of it has to do with jumping on the "eco-friendly" band wagon? I could buy a hummer and then tell you that it is 93% more efficient than a tractor. I could pour bleach into the bay and tell you it is safer than plutonium. The list of examples is endless but the trillion dollar question is this, will all of this advertising make people complacent and in the next year or two will people forget about the limited time we have to reverse the damage we have done?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Shaving those pounds

This morning I got up at 6:00AM to exercise with my brother-in-law. We lifted some weights and played a little basketball (which he schooled me at) and then he left and I did 40 minutes of cardio (while I usually do 60 minutes but I wanted to beat the traffic this morning). Now here comes the cool part...... When I got back into the locker room I weighed myself and I came in at 204.7 lbs!!!!! Ok so if you don't know the back story then my weight isn't that impressive to you but less than 8 weeks ago I was over 212 lbs. Thanks to the Google nutrition plan I have learned so much about how the body works and all kinds of food facts that have empowered me to fundamentally change my life. I have learned the ins and outs of good and bad cholesterol and how to better regulate my blood sugar. Each week I meet with a nutritionist and learn a new tid-bit and work on strategies to make little tweaks to that really add up. Here is the best part, I am not on a diet and I am not depriving myself. I pretty much eat all that I want :-)

So I set a goal of getting under 200 lbs and now am planning to reset my goal to be under 190 which is a weight I haven't been at since junior year of high school.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Vive la France

I just got back from Paris France last night, here is the 2-word executive summary.

Eiffel tower: great view
Notre Dame: no hunchback
The Louvre: didn't go
Palace of Versailles: big house
Moulin Rouge: bouncing boobs
Paris metro: freaking crowded
Parisian drivers: fast lunatics
French food: very rich
French clothing: second mortgage
Paris: awesome city!
The French: not rude

Now for some details. We stayed with Rah's friends from college who live in Paris and they showed us a great time. It was my first visit to France and I was really impressed by the amazing architectural detail in nearly all of the buildings. While walking down the streets of Paris I would have felt like I was transported back in time if it wasn't for all the dam cars everywhere. The streets of Paris are very narrow which gives the cars very little room to do the 100kmh stunts that we got to witness. Along with all the cars are scores of motor scooters driven by people who I am convinced have a death wish. But the city is so much fun to navigate and you can't travel more than 20 feet before you run into a cool neighborhood bar or coffee shop or craft store. While we saw a lot of the city we also spent a lot of great time chatting in bars while we drank wine and ate cheese while watching people walk by.

I have heard over and over again that the French are rude but this is 100% not true. Not a single person in France was rude to me except for a few American tourists in the airport who cut in line. If you recognize that you are a visitor in their country and make an attempt to learn enough French then people are more than willing go out of their way to help you out.

We had an interesting experience at the Eiffel tower that is worth sharing. The Eiffel tower has three levels or platforms where visitors can stand and take in the view. There are stairs and elevators to the first two levels so we decided that it would be fun exercise to take the stairs. This proved to be a little to much for some in our party but we all made it to the second level in one piece. Then we took the elevator to the top level because they have closed off the stairs to the top. This isn't the most interesting part, neither was the amazing view from the top, the most amazing part of this journey was how we got down from the tower. We took the elevator from the top to the second level and then the stairs from the second level to the first level but here is where our problems started :-) While we were walking down to the first level they closed off the stairs from the first level to the ground floor because it was closing time. So now we are stuck on the first floor but figure we can just take the elevator.. right? wrong! The way the elevators work for the first two levels is that there is a single track that takes people from the ground and the first and second level. First the elevator loads up with people on the ground floor and then deposits them on the second floor, at which point it loads up with people on the second floor and then goes the the first floor but almost no one gets off on the first floor so the doors open for 5 seconds, there is no room, they close, and the elevator goes to the ground for another batch of people. The worst part of this is that the elevator operator is facing the crowd of people who want to get on but he doesn't even think to himself that "hmmmm.... This seems unfair that I never pick people up from the first floor, maybe I should only take a half load on the second floor so everyone can get off.." He just looks at you with a blank expression as he closes the door. After 30 minutes half of the people waiting with us revolted and we went to the stair well that was closed off and jumped over the gate only to find that 20 feet down another gate was closed and the only way to get around that one would mean to climb around the outside of the hand rails. While we were doing that another woman went to a manager and told him/her the situation and got things taken care of so that when we went back to the elevator they brought down a half load and we all happily got on.

All in all our first visit to France was full of new experiences, cheese, and wine. I think our next trip will be either Turkey or Greece.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

300 omissions, errors, and lies

The movie 300 depicts an epic battle where 300 Spartans battle and defeat a million Persian soldiers (from what I hear since I didn't see the movie, nor do I plan to). The movie is based on a comic book which is a major modification of the writing of Herodotus. Herodotus has been called by many the father of history but he is also known by many as the father of lies because his accounts of Greek history contradicts other non-biased historians of the time. So the movie is a box office hit but most Persians are really upset about the movie. There are online petitions and discussion groups, and blah blah blah of people getting really bent out of shape.

Here is my thinking (for what it's worth). Movies like this are only going to influence individuals with a pre-existing bias. In my mind the point isn't to sway these people in a different direction because it is going to require so much work and energy to guide the misguided our grandchildren's grandchildren will still be working on it. I just don't want my $8 going to support this movie making machine that rapes and pillages everyone. When I say everyone I mean EVERYONE! Cowboys, Indians (with feathers), Indians (with dots), Mexicans, Africans, Asians, lawyers, doctors, left handed people, cab drivers, midgets, giants, the blind, the deaf, the blind and the deaf, etc. You name it, the movie industry has found a way to twist the facts and make bite sized chunks of digestible crap for the masses to consume.

They say the pen is mightier than the sword but in the fist fight of bombs vs. bits the movie camera will always come out on top. The only way to not get the mental s**t kicked out of yourself is to question what you see but also see what you question. If you don't question your own assumptions and consider that maybe, just maybe, you could be wrong about something that you believe so strongy then you leave no room for growth. So my original statement that I am not going to see the movie wasn't actually correct. I am going to see the movie but not in theatres, I am going to wait until someone I know buys the DVD and then I will watch it and revisit this debate with myself.

Midnight creepers.... again

Most of my friends know that my house was badly TPed the weekend before Halloween. I have a previous blog post and picasa album about it. But what they and I didn't understand until last night was the deep post-war like symptoms now embedded in my brain. It turns out that 3+ hours of cleaning TP left a real lasting chemical change in me.

Last night around 2:22 AM I woke up to the sound of running and kids laughing/talking. I immediately jumped out of bed to look out the window but didn't see anyone. In an adrenaline filled flurry I put on some pants, grabbed my keys and cell phone and rushed out the house to get in the car and find the culprits. I might add that in the process I woke up Rah and scared the bejebers out of her. With heart pounding and nerves jumping I cranked open the front door and ran towards my car when I noticed something very odd..... no TP, not a single square. I stood in my front yard for 30 seconds in a confused state, the events of the last 45 seconds being a total blur as if a dream. Back in the house I had to explain to Rah what happened and apologized. I got back in bed but could still hear my heart pumping adrenaline filled blood throughout my body. I struggle to go back to sleep for 20-30 minutes but just couldn't.

I think the solution to this is to get a big scary dog :-)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Time: Creation of Man

Years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds, nanoseconds...... They are a big fat lie. Each and every single one of these is a construct of man. We have a law that prohibits anyone from drinking until they are 21 but all that means is that your atoms have been roughly intact for 21 rotations of the earth around the sun since you exited the womb. This isn't actually true either because approximately every 3 years almost every atom in your body is replaced. The speed limit is another one, basically your velocity can't exceed a value such that you would travel 65 miles during 1/24th the rotation of the earth on its axis. And what is a mile but 5,280 feet and what the heck is a foot but 12 inches and an inch? Oh yeah here is the cute part, inch comes from the root uncia which means 1/12th. Now I know I skipped some of the important details on the origins of feet and inches but then the last sentence wouldn't sound as witty (that's assuming you found the last sentence even mildly amusing, which after reading it twice I am not sure I do anymore).

Back to time. Now that we know time is a big lie, let's examine why we need it. Well we need it because humans are bad at estimating progression of extended natural cycles like the earth's path around the sun (technical term: drift error). So we invented months that break up the cycle into units of twelve and we have days to break up the months. It seems reasonable, it is far easier to organize a BBQ by sending an invite for people to come to your house on Feb 1st as apposed to telling everyone to come to your house when the earth has completed 8.487% of the path around the sun because they would all come at different times based on when they start measuring the progression.

When someone is bored they have time to kill, when they have a hobby that is a pass time, when they are stalling they are buying time, when they are free they have time on their hands, and so on and so forth. Next time someone tells you they are running late think of this common saying "he was at the right place at the right time" and simply respond "no you're not late, you are just at the wrong place".

Now don't forget to set your clocks ahead for daylight savings.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Googies

While most people in the US were watching the Oscars last week there was another awards ceremony going on. While this awards ceremony was watched by far fewer people the magnitude of trophy is much more important. It was the first annual Google tech talk awards. Here is the background: Google has a wide program of tech talks for sharing information. Most tech talks are from Googlers on their projects and some from well known industry figures on what they are working on. In 2006 There were a few thousand such talks and out of this massive list my tech talk won! Woohoo! The trophy is a golden microphone (spray painted) and when I get a chance I will take a picture of it and post it.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pesky Green Car

The other day I had a flashback to Christmas shopping with my mom when I was 13. I had been asking my mom to get me a new toy racing car. At the time there was this new line of racing cars that would go amazingly fast if you wind them up and they where nice detailed replicas of real cars. While my mom is very generous she wouldn't buy them for me but one day we were at Toys'R'Us and as we passed by the cars that I wanted she told me to pick one out for her co-workers son. This made me very upset and frustrated that she was going to get the exact toy I wanted for someone else but not for me so I picked the ugliest car in the display which was a lime green replica of a Formula 1 racer. I was thinking to myself that this dumb kid is going to be so disappointed to open up this present and get this ugly green car. A few weeks later I was opening my Christmas gives and as I opened one of my gifts I realized that the dumb kid was me. My mom had created this story so that she could buy me the gift that I "wanted". This taught me a few lessons

1 - Don't be so focused on objects
2 - Wish others well regardless of your current state
3 - Don't trust mom when she says she is shopping for someone else

As a side note I no longer celebrate Christmas for a number of reasons which will probably be the subject of another blog post closer to December.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

God and football

I just saw a very exciting Superbowl 41 with my wife, parents, parents-in-law, and dad's cousin's family. The Bears who were the underdogs coming in started off hot and heavy by returning the first kickoff with a touchdown. As the weather pounded down on them the Colts followed suite and ended up winning the game. When the head coach and owner both accepted the Lombardi trophy they started talking about how it was because of God that they had such fortune and blah blah blah and it made me so mad. They made it sound like God was the reason for their fortune, by that logic should the other team be sitting in their locker room cursing God? What about the people in Florida who lost everything they had, including their lives, from the recent tornadoes? Should those people, excluding those that died, look up at the sky and give God the finger?

Too often people attribute their good fortune to a divine force that guided them through their struggles and tribulations. No, God did not cause the Bears to fumble the ball over and over again and for their quarterback to throw interceptions. It was the rain and an inexperienced quarterback......

Can someone please help us? No, not you God!

Monday, January 15, 2007

The beard.....

As of Nov 7th 2006 I stopped shaving. At first I had no choice in the matter as I had shoulder surgery and couldn't shave with my left hand. As time went on and my arm started to recover I got back into my daily routine with the exception of the daily shave. At first I liked the idea of saving time each day and while that 10 minutes a day freed up an hour a week it turned into something more. Growing my beard became a sort of experiment as to how puffy it could get before everyone in my life revolted against me :-) Well it is now 1-15-2007 and I fear that before this MLK celebration is over my beard will be no more. I have mentally prepared myself for this for the last few days but now that my beard is so close to the chopping block I am feeling a little sad....... update to come soon.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Alpha males

Last night Rah and I got woken up to what sounded like sumo wrestlers fighting with sticks. From the very start I had a suspicion that the noise was coming from deers but I had to satisfy my curiosity so I went outside and saw an amazing display as two bucks (male deer) locked antlers and pushed each other around my front yard. It was an awesome display of testosterone as these two bucks faced off to see who could mate with the lady deer that lived in our backyard. I got a little nervous when they got close to my car but that soon passed as one buck caused the other buck to lose his footing. The competition ended there as the loser took off with a little less pride in his hop.

Interestingly enough last week we got woken up to two raccoons fighting in the tree outside our bathroom window. At first I though it was cats but then the screaming got so loud I had to check it out. Outside the window I found two raccoons really going at it. The sad part was that the bigger raccoon had pushed the smaller raccoon to the edge of the branch and it was fighting for its life from the other raccoon and trying to hold on so it didn't fall 10 feet to the ground. Now in all honesty I doubt he was thinking "Damn, I am 10 feet above the ground" but I am sure he was pretty panicked.

That is the joy of living in the hills... that and the amazing view of the bay from our living room.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Going under the knife

I just found this blog entry that I wrote the on Nov 6th (the night before my shoulder surgery). I was a little bit worried about having surgery on my shoulder because I thought I would be a gimp for a long time but here we are only 7 weeks after the surgery and I am at 80% with my arm. My awesome coworker Patrick was cool enough to make a care package for me with lots of chocolates, wine, and cool DVDs to watch (it made the first week of my recovery in bed go by much quicker).
Tomorrow morning I am going to have arthroscopic surgery on my shoulder... woohooo! The surgery should take about an hour with a 6 month recovery time. I don't have much to say about this other than I don't look forward to typing, eating, and wiping left handed.