Pursuit of Happy(i)ness

This is a picture from my first ever live club gig.  Up until this point, I had only spun in my dorm room and at a handful of house parties.  To make this milestone even more tricky, I had never actually felt a vinyl record slide across my fingers outside of a few tutorials from DJ Pete Avila (I taught myself to DJ on Pioneer CDJs) and I was now tasked with setting the vibe in the front room of a Big Game after-party (see flyer below).

big game party

Let’s hop back to the day leading up to this event.  On Friday, November 30th, 2007 at around 4pm I was ready to get my weekend started.  I was eager to attend Big Game, reunite with friends and cheer my team on as they attempted to reclaim The Axe from our rival UC Berkeley.  As I packed up my bags, a VP peeked into my office and informed me of a deal that we were bidding on and noted that he wanted me to be the associate on the deal team.  We needed to perform due diligence and make a competitive bid within the week; and so started the longest month of my entire life. 

On Saturday, December 1st, I roll out of my Oakland apartment and get geared up in my alma mater’s swag, but I’m not heading to Palo Alto.  I’m heading into the office to learn everything I can about the US coal industry.  I proceeded to work from close to 9am - 3pm doing research, typing memos, making charts, etc.  A friend scoops me up from the office on his way down to Palo Alto where I proceed to watch all but the final five minutes of the game…why? Because, I had to get on the train back to SF to open my set for the after party.  But first, I spent about 45 minutes in the office trying to bang out my portion of an investment thesis on Powder River Basin coal.

Once showtime hit I was nervous as all hell…more nervous that I had ever been playing football in front of tens of thousands of people.  I was not the main DJ, but was commissioned to set the vibe for the front room.  I hadn’t yet figured out how to record my live sets, but a few of the transitions I made that evening can be found in this mix I recorded about a month later - 

Front Room Vibe Mix

The feedback from this gig was all the motivation I needed to continue to pursue DJing and started a consistent run of gigs in SF bars and clubs through the mid-late ‘00s.

After collecting my fee, I arrived back home in the East Bay at close to 4am, slept for three hours, and proceeded back to the office in SF.  Up until the week of Christmas, I stayed in the office until 2am daily and earned a right of passage for sleeping under my desk rather than returning home one evening, which led me to the conclusion that this was not the life I wanted to lead.  Having a job that provided me with the flexibility to enjoy additional pursuits had proven to be very important to me, and after Dec 1st it was confirmed that I LOVED to DJ in front of live audiences.  

Fast forward to today as I carted my turntables and mixer down to a basement storage locker, my priorities have obviously changed.  I have changed to a job that affords me with time for a life outside of the office, but the beat-matching, cutting and scratching has been replaced with diaper changes, picnics and weekend planning.  I can honestly say that I’ve never been more happy and I owe that to my lovely wife and our amazing son.  


summer scamper16
2 DJ Scamper16

Child Development

The first time I saw this, I thought of some people my own age that might not be able to read these cards. 

Kudos to this mom and the lil guy for the reminder that reading is fundamental. Lil man also has some mean dexterity when it comes to flipping through cards and rearranging them right-side-up! Being parents who both graduated from Stanford, we fully expect that our child will be in the right tail of the intelligence normal distribution, but this kid may be performing surgery by the time he’s in middle school.  

Raising a family in the San Francisco Bay Area there are definitely a lot of comparisons of children among parents. Whether it’s what college they got into, how many goals they scored in their travel soccer leagues, or even early child development (like when they started walking), parents love to assign self-attribution their their kids successes/milestones.  Though I can only aspire not get caught up in the child-accolades arms race, I do vow to pepper any children in our house with some real life teachings, Cliff Huxtable-style.

For now, I’m looking forward to enjoying my son’s milestones whether they are “on time” or a little behind.  To make things fun, I dropped a mix that I hope will inspire him to learn to count.  I hope my true music-heads can identify the songs and their significance (Shazam allowed).

                                             COUNT TO TEN MIX

We’ll follow this one up with multivariable calculus ;-)