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Mental Warfare

To attempt to separate the human mind from warfare is to attempt to separate a child from his mother.

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Donde está la biblioteca

It’s one of the first phrases you learn in high school Spanish: Donde está la biblioteca

And the running joke is that you will never use that phrase in a real conversation.

Deadpool’s translation is way off. “Donde está la biblioteca” = “Where is the library”, not:

On my latest trip to Cabo with my beautiful wife to help plan her upcoming country music charity festival, the phrase “Donde está la biblioteca” was finally put to good use! We had heard so many great things about the art walk over the last year, and this trip we decided to check it out. We had visited downtown San José del Cabo the Sunday before to explore some of the potential locations for holding a large outdoor gathering, so we were able to familiarize ourselves with the area a bit.

The area around Parroquia San José is a lively place! It’s also at the heart of the art walk we knew we were going to see on Thursday. We spent some time in the square, soaking up the atmosphere and energy.

The experience inside the Parish was invigorating! Perhaps it was the cool inside air, or it was an adventure for my soul. Either way, this is a must for anyone visiting Cabo!

The Wednesday before the art walk, my wife and I were spending some time with the great artists at Blanco Creative at the Koral Center El Merkado. We got onto the topic of conversational Spanish vs. academic Spanish (as well as how growing up in Los Angeles, I learned all the bad words before I knew anything else). Naturally, “Donde está la biblioteca” came up. We all had a great laugh saying “Donde está la biblioteca” in a super formal manner.

“Donde está la biblioteca” is definitely a term one will almost certainly never use in everyday conversation, right?

Fast forward to the next evening with my wife and I back in beautiful downtown San José del Cabo. We were working longer than expected that evening and didn’t head over until a bit later than we anticipated. When we got there, parking was hard to come by. Later on, we found out there is great parking for art walk visitors just south of the Parish, but we ended up parking several blocks away from the bustling art district.

It was pretty easy to find our way to the festivities. We grabbed a couple of nitro coffees at The Breakdown and started perusing the art scene! There was so much to see. I’ll have to write-up another blog just to touch on the art we got to see and experience, and we only got to see the tip of the iceberg on this first visit.

There was one small gallery that was calling my name though. While my wife and I were making a B-line for our coffees, I saw the gallery out of the corner of my eye and said, “I really want to go to that one.” After we got our coffees and looked around at some of the art displays in the small square outside The Breakdown, we headed over to the small gallery.

It’s hard to describe the experience when we stepped inside this small gallery. The visuals and audio are easy to explain: beautiful handmade jewelry with unique, colorful stones; colorful paintings; lively music from The Baja Brewing Company just on the other side of the back wall; and happy artists inside. But there was more to it than just what can be explained with simple words. There was magic!

I was really impressed with the silver work by Oscar Vargas. We chatted for a bit with him about his craft. As a horologist, I have a great appreciation for handcrafted jewelry, and Oscar’s love of his work was evident in his art.

After picking up a couple of pieces of beautiful jewelry from Oscar, my wife and I still felt like something was calling us in the gallery. We looked around at the paintings, all of them beautiful work! As we were about to head out and on to the rest of the art walk, there was one painting that really called to us both. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t listed for sale (oh, and we captured it in our photo with Oscar without even realizing it until I started going through the photos to make this blog).

The painting was made by the wife of the owner of the gallery. We asked if she’d consider selling it because we were both just drawn to this painting. So, Mario (another artist in the gallery) called up the owner and inquired. Next thing you know, we’re trying to figure out how we’re going to get it on the plane back to Los Angeles. We made the purchase and made arrangements to come back for the painting after we had walked around the art walk.

We went about the walk, enjoying every minute; making new friends and even bumping into old friends at the Parish. My wife and I had such a wonderful experience at the Parish last time, we decided to go back and check it out. This time there was an evening service taking place. I waited outside with the two coffees while my wife went inside. As the service ended, out came a dear friend, Carmina, who I met for the first time about 10 years ago while running the Steinhausen watch company.

Cabo Parish at night

We walked around a bit, shared some churros, and talked about life while enjoying some more beautiful artwork. As we were walking along the art displays in the square, I heard someone say “Señor. Señor”. I looked over and someone was trying to get my attention. He succeeded! “You just bought a painting from my gallery,” he said.

Francisco the Finger Painter

It took me a few seconds to put it together that he was the owner of the gallery where my wife and I had just purchased his wife’s painting. I stood in amazement at what a wonderful experience the entire night was as I spoke with Francisco about how much his wife’s painting had captured my heart. He told me he was so glad to hear this because his wife wasn’t sure if she ever wanted to sell it. He told her that if she ever did, the right person would come along at the right time. The painting had been through three hurricanes and was nearly 10 years old, and now we were blessed to have this treasured piece of work coming home with us!

Of course, we would have to find our car and get the painting back to Los Angeles. We said goodnight to my friend Carmina and then went back to pickup the painting. Then the adventure began. We had a good idea where we parked, so we started walking (painting in hand) in that direction. A few wrong turns later, and we quickly realized we had no idea where we had parked! I stood at a corner near the Parish and pulled up a photo I had taken of our car when we parked. I pulled up the GPS location and started to chuckle as I walked passed by wife and said: Donde está la biblioteca?

My wife looked at me puzzled.

Donde está la biblioteca?

“What does that even mean?” She asked. She definitely shouldn’t watch the Deadpool video!

We walked block after block holding hands as I kept saying “Donde está la biblioteca”. A few minutes later, we were back at our car, which was parked where? You guessed it! En la biblioteca!

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What a difference a preposition makes

“Behind every great man is a great woman”

We hear that statement (or some variant: “Behind every successful man is a woman”) so often, particularly in politics. It’s so popular that with the rise of successful women in business and politics we hear the gender role reversal: Behind every great woman is a great man. Regardless of the gender roles, the statement has an underlying tone that the spouse of a great/successful person is hidden “behind” the successful person.

Maybe we see the significant other on the stage… Maybe the great wo/man is mentioned in an acceptance speech… Maybe in the memoirs…

The reality is that *Beside* every great wo/man is a great wo/man. It’s just a preposition, but this preposition swap accurately reflects the true spirit of this popular idiom. The spouse of a successful person stands besides them, not behind them. When they walked down the isle, they walked beside each other. No one individual was behind or in front of the other, and it’s the same in success and greatness.

When I achieve success in business or life, my wife is always beside me; not behind me. And I know that the same holds true for her. We’re on this adventure together. One of us certainly takes the lead depending on what obstacle is in front of us, but when we cross that finish line… When we achieve success, it’s beside one another.

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Everything Awesome and Disappointing About the Chevy Volt

The following two pictures represent both what is great about the Chevy Volt and what is disappointing about the Chevy Volt.

Photo Sep 16, 6 26 56 PMPhoto Sep 16, 6 27 06 PM

This comes from starting with a full charge, almost getting to my destination without using any gas, recharging on a Level 2 for four hours and then driving home.

The Good
3.765 mi/kwh is pretty efficient given that this was all freeway driving in North Los Angeles County (that means a fair amount of hills and mostly 60+mph with the occasional slow-and-go). On the flip side, 3 miles on 0.1 gallons is a measly 30mpg. However, the gas wasn’t really used until the end of the first leg of my trip, which went from 768ft above sea level to 1200ft above sea level.

Great thing about the Chevy Volt is that you have that generator to take you the extra miles. Plus, 97 degrees at 6 at night… It was a hot day outside but plenty cool on the inside with the AC set way down.

That 210 lifetime MPG is really nice too!

The Bad
Obviously, 30MPG isn’t great. However, it was going uphill, which is actually really good. However, it was completely unnecessary given the true size of the Chevy Volt battery. After all, the 2014 Volt has 17.1 kwh battery, which is only 3 wkh less than this total trip that included a second charge.

I was fortunate enough to have access to 240 charging during this trip. Had I only had the trickle charger (8 hour recharge) that GM claims is perfectly acceptable, I would have been blowing fumes for the vast majority of the second leg of my trip. I charged for four hours between legs. The Volt’s measly 3.3 charger didn’t give me a full charge before I had to leave. Were GM to offer a 6.6 charger, I would have been recharged completely and used even less gas than I ended up using on this two legged trip.

Of course, if I needed to run errands after I got back home, I’d be blowing fumes out the back of my Volt unless I waited for hours and hours for my trickle charger at home to get me enough juice to go a few extra miles electric.

Chevy Volt fanboys might look at this and see only the great thing about the fact that the generator allowed me to make this trip with minimal gas usage. Sure, that definitely points to a great feature of the Volt. However, it also points to an annoying feature of the Volt: no extended electric setting. Aside from the painfully slow charge rate of the Volt (which I believe will cost GM thousands of customers with the Volt 2.0), the reality is that this trip didn’t require the use of any gasoline.

If the Volt gave you the ability to set an extended EV range (like the Leaf, Tesla, and every other EV) that gives you an extra 1-3 kwh of battery usage, the gas generator would have never been needed on this trip. Even with just an extra 1kwh, I would have gotten the extra 3 miles I needed to stay 100% electric. I have plenty of other trips that I have taken that far exceed this range, so it’s not like I’m expecting every trip I take to be 100% electric. However, when frequent trips are right outside the cusp the Volt’s 60% battery utilization, it’s plain to see that something as simple as an extended EV setting would be a simple software upgrade for the Volt that would make it all that much more appealing and satisfying to Volt owners.

Better in Every Way
Larry Nitz from GM mentioned some interesting stats the other day when talking about the Volt. A few of the numbers are particularly interesting to me because I think GM interpreted them the wrong way:

  • 60% of volt customers only charge on 110v rather than 240v.
    GM seems to think that this is consumers saying that they are okay with 8 hour charge times. That’s not the case. This is consumers not being willing to invested thousands of dollars for 240 charging when they reap little benefit. Most homes don’t have a 240 that you can just plug your ClipperCreek into and call it a day. Would Volt owners like faster charge times if it wasn’t a multi-thousand dollar investment? Of course. The use of 110 at home is merely because the car sits there for more than eight hours at night most days. Take it out to the beach on the weekend and get ICEd at the public chargers, and your Volt if blowing fumes like any other car.
  • 50% of all volts are at home at any one particular time.
    Well, when it takes you 8 hours to recharge, where else is the Volt going to be. This would also indicate that the Volt isn’t a highly used vehicle. Despite the notion that the Volt is a commuter car, this number would indicate that the Volt is more of a run the local errands car or a secondary to an EV family that uses it for road trips.
  • “Volts plug in on average 10 times per week, not 7. That surprised us. We figured a once a day charge but customers charge more”
    How GM hasn’t interpreted this to mean that a 6.6 charger is needed and 8 hour charge times is NOT completely acceptable is beyond me. My guess is that there is someone at GM who really has a thing for 3.3 chargers and is doing everything they can do to interpret the data to mean that 8 hours of charging is acceptable.
    If the Average Volt is charging more than 7x a week that means that there is data that is significantly skewing the data upwards. It would be interesting to actually see what the standard deviation is on number of weekly charges as well as a scatter chart.

While, I don’t actually have the raw data that GM has, I can easily make a guess as to what the data actually looks like. My guess is that Volt fit into three major categories: 1) Garage Space Consumption, (2) Everyday Local Commuter, and (3) The Work Horse.

The Garage Volt is what makes up the majority of that 50% of all volts are at home number. The Everyday Local Commuter are the people that are okay with the 8 hour charge time because they drive 15 miles to work and 15 miles back at 40 mph and have plenty of range to spare for the gym visit and grocery store. The Work Horse Volts are what skew the plug-in numbers to 10 plug-ins/week vs 7 plug-ins. This isn’t going to be as high as a percentage of the Volt customer base as the other two, but I believe these are the customers that GM should really be courting.

GM has missed their 30K Volts/year sales goals by a gap roughly the size of the Grand Canyon. I believe that’s because the Volt caters to the first two groups rather than the Work Horse Group. If GM wants to see the 30K/year sales volume, they need a Volt that provides more range and a more efficient generator for roughly $40K before tax incentives. That’s entirely possible with a slightly larger battery, an 80% battery utilization instead of 60-65% like the Volt has now, and a more efficient generator with smaller gas tank. Of course, if GM made the 80% battery utilization a software upgrade for current Volt owners, then they could retain a lot of Work Horse customers. Instead, it seems that GM is going to double down on the first two segments. This should net GM roughly the same results they have achieved so far: missed sales goals, new to GM customers, and low repeat.