Jesse Sleamaker Talks Human About Loving Differences

"Like, the way I butter my toast." - Jesse Sleamaker

Jesse Sleamaker sits down to talk human to me about diversity, being different, civil rights, loving different perspectives, confrontation, and relationships.

Read why I started this podcast in the first place.


My Conversation With Jesse SLeamaker

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:01:28] Hey, Jesse.

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:01:29] Hey, Jeff.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:01:30] How are you?

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:01:31] Good. It's a beautiful day in San Francisco.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:01:34] Yes it is, yes it is. I'm so glad that we're chatting. I've been wanting to chat with you for a long time, because, you know, you have a unique story.

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:01:43] Thanks for making time.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:01:44] So, I start every talk human to me episode with the same question which is: what about humans strikes you the most?

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:02:00] Haha, oh man, that's a great question. I guess everything is a little bit of a non-answer. What about humans strikes me the most? I think it probably has to do with the incredible, beautiful, sometimes infuriating, other times a transcendent diversity that people present in the world. And just, from the level of creativity, beautiful art, beautiful work, down to the strange things that you discover in your closest relationships, you know, even somebody that you have known your whole life, there are still things that are so strange, and so that you might find. So, I think, just the diversity ,and uniqueness, and the way that people are just so weird, and I love that.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:03:13] So, it's interesting that when you're talking about diversity you immediately went to the creativity of people and the relationships people forge as examples. Is that a particular reason, is that something you particularly reflect, the way you contribute to this diversity that you're talking about.

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:03:38] Yeah, well I don't know about me, but I think like in terms of creativity, everybody's life is their primary creative work, I think , and I think in relationships. A lot of that creativity comes out when we look at friendships around us, and maybe we look at our friends who have business partners, or have spouses, or are just life partners. And sometimes those things go in, kind of, categories, "Oh that's that person's relationship with their partner." But, like, each one of those relationships is so different, so you can you never know what's inside you. And, I kind of, like, open up the curtain.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:04:35] And would you say, when you're, when I'm asking this question about what about human strikes you the most--I would almost in my mind have thought that any type of relationship in the world, would have just been like, "Oh yeah." That's a normal thing to you, because obviously you come from a family background and a history of something, in almost everyone else's eyes, it's like, "Whoa, that's very unique," but to you, that is normal life growing up. Can you talk about that?

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:05:09] Yeah, no, I'd love to. So, you know, I was raised in San Francisco by two moms in a pretty unique time for the children of gay parents. I'm turning 30 this year. I was born in 1987, and in the late 80s there was no structure, there was no legal structure, for a same sex couple to have a kid. So, now there's sperm banks, and there's domestic partnerships, and marriage is legal, and all the structures that make it possible. But, when I was growing up, my moms, they met sailing in San Francisco Bay, they had to, they knew that they wanted to have a kid, and they had to figure out how to do it, basically, totally from scratch.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:06:03] What do you mean life from scratch? Because, there was no standard? Like, "Oh, yes you can go to a sperm bank," or you can--

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:06:12] Yeah, or here's what, here's how you have a legal relationship as two gay parents who are not a biological--

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:06:19] None of that existed in the 80s?

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:06:21] None of that existed in the 80s.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:06:22] Even in the Bay Area?

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:06:23] Even in the Bay Area. So, I can tell how I have it worked for me: So when my mom's decided they wanted to have a kid, and they were like, "Well, you know, unfortunately we need to have a man involved." And, my dad was, like, a friend of a friend. You know, he was kind of like this wild character, right? And, he just started a company, and --he was also gay also, actually. He was, and continues to be, in a relationship with who is now my other dad. And so, two dads also.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:07:04] So, you have--

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:07:04] Two dads, moms. And so, they, my dad, like heard that my mom has wanted to have a kid, and he was, like, "Hey, you know, let me be the dad," basically, and my moms were like, "Mmm...we're going to see if we can find a better option.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:07:28] Were they friends?

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:07:29] Yeah, they were friends. Their first reaction was like, "Maybe not!" Their first reaction, was like, maybe it was, this guy is a total mess, but I know he wasn't a mess.

Jeffrey Shiau [00:07:37] Was this guy a total mess at the time?

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:07:37] No, he wasn't a total mess, but, you know, I think sometimes he was like, just like me in my sort of mid to late 20s, like, you know, just out partying, and I think that they had some reservations about that for, I don't know, God knows why what reason, he's an amazing dad, but a year later, they hadn't been able to find anybody, and they sort of slinked back to him, and they were like, "Well, ok mate, let's go ahead and do it." So, that's how I ended up with the dad that I have. And then, the process was actually a legal process for him from that point on. So, I was born, and when I was born, there was this process where I was actually legally given up for adoption by just one of my parents, by my dad, while my biological mom kept, like, legal rights to be my parent and guardian. And then, my other mom legally adopted me. So, it's this process called a third party adoption. And, I was the eighth person in the world that had to have gone through this. And it was, how it was, you know, I did--of course I don't deserve any credit for it--I didn't even know it was happening. But, we had like, you know, it was so different at the time, that we had to have, the state distrusted lesbian moms so much, that there was like a social worker who had to come for, like, two and a half years: measure that they weren't you know mistreating me in some way. Totally ridiculous. And, I have a picture of myself and my moms on the San Francisco courthouse steps on adoption day, like, when I finally, legally became my other mom's legal son.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:09:32] So, all the advances that we've had over the last eight years, in terms of Supreme Court, you know, passing nationally the ability for people to have a relationship with whoever they want, all these other civil liberty issues, to them was not something that they felt a deep connection to? Or, were they like, "Been there, done that, we fought the early fight, and I'm just, we're happy now that it's available for everybody."

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:10:12] Yeah. No, I think I think they feel a deep connection to it. They're not big activists themselves, like, they weren't they weren't involved in the organizations that were advocates for equal rights. I mean, not more than donating, or perhaps, you know, going to a protest here and there, but they weren't like, they weren't like the Crusaders, right? But, at the same time I think that, yeah, like for my mom, Susan, in particular who--actually my parents split, and then she remarried, and actually, that was the first time that she had been married. She had married a woman, and that was, like, about six years ago. So, I think for her in particular, like being able to now take advantage of a civil society recognition of her love in the relationship she wanted to have was, yeah, it was huge. You know, I think that she really is the child of the 60s, and like, believed in a lot of, held a lot of hope for social change. And, I think, that that was a huge. I it was huge, you know? Like a validation of the way you're living your life, your whole life.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:11:52] Right, because for almost your whole life, you've been called many, many names, probably, right? You've been almost dismissed by everything that was a normal day to day occurrence or event for other people. And, even in the discussion of a lot of civil liberty issues during the earlier times, your civil liberty issue wasn't discussed at all. It was kind of just in the outskirts you were kind of, like, the way I would say, like the way I connect to a lot of civil liberty issues I think, I sense now, I'm starting to become more and more aware of a lot of Asian-American issues that don't, they're never mentioned, and that are never even mentioned, especially with this whole Hollywood movement. A lot of people are calling out Hollywood because like every dialogue is Black and White; it's not black, white, brown, yellow ,etc.

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:12:58] Yeah, totally. Yeah, you know, I think it would probably be overstating it to say that I had sort of like been called a lot of names, that I think I was really lucky to grow up where I grew up, and to go to the schools that I grew up, but there was, and I think this is sort of where you're speaking to, there was like a sense of, yeah, there was a sense of being different. And, like a sense that in order to wholly accept my own family, like, I always had this sort of come out. And, I'm, you know, it's easy enough for me to hide. I'm like a white, straight male. But, in order to honor where I come from and who my family is. I have to, like, I feel like I would have to tell you.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:13:53] Why do you feel like you have to tell people?

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:13:55] Well, it would just come up, you know, I think it would be, like, I don't know, I remember, I think like the first days of school, right, for school, first days of college, I just remember everybody is talking about their family, and where they're from. And, it is hard to talk about your family, and where you're from, when the norm is a mom and a dad, you know? And, so I'm usually pretty casual about it, "I go to my mom's...blah blah blah,"and people, sometimes people don't even say anything. And, sometimes they're like, "Oh, what's the story there, can you tell me about that?" And, I think now in my life it's a story that I love to tell.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:14:39] Has it shaped, well, how you, well, obviously I think how you almost naturally lead your life. What's amazing in the relationship you and I have, never once have I seen you, almost force, whatever's in your mind, what you strongly believe in, onto other people. You are probably the most inviting mind, in almost any discussion, that, one of the most I've ever, ever met, right? And, I think you have that ability to host open conversations, whereas you see a lot of people who come from specific circumstances, they, as they grow up, they develop a very hard stance within that, that situation that we grew up in, so almost everything they talk, or they do, comes from that perspective. But, like when I first met you, honestly I thought you were just some nerd from Northwestern. Yeah, I thought you were some nerd, dude from Northwestern that was way too smart for his own good. And, then I started learning your story, like, "Holy shit!"

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:15:56] That's really kind of you, thanks Jeff.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:15:59] Yeah, yeah.

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:16:01] I mean, well, I think that probably, like my partner would disagree with you, that I don't have really strong forceful opinions about certain, the way certain things should be [laughing].

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:16:15] But I mean, specifically about that. I think you know you never you never use it as a, "Well, I know, because, this is where I'm from.

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:16:25] Yeah, well, you know I think it's been this shift that's happened for me, it's like, never--I had a frame on it for my entire young life where, I was like, I don't want this to be different. And, that was actually the way that I conceived of, like, advocacy around it. I was like, "The important thing is that people don't think of two moms as being any different. They just think of it as being family." So, I really downplay it, like, my whole life would be like, people would be like, "What's that like?" And I was like,"Well, you know I was lucky I grew up in San Francisco, and it was really not that different, like you have two parents. I have two parents that's kind of what counts." And, so that was, actually, there was a lot of truth to that. But, I think that was like the narrative that I lived with for a long time. Certainly the strategy that I would approach it with. But, I think then, in my mid-twenties, when I was like 25, I started reflecting more on, like, where my purpose comes from, and where my identity comes from, and I realized that the choice that my parents made to take a different path was one of the most inspiring things in my life. And, so I came to appreciate the uniqueness of their story as opposed to the sameness. And, so I think my mindset has really shifted. Now, I'm no longer like, "Yeah you know I was just like everybody else." Now, I'm like, "No, it was, like it was unique. And, it was fucking awesome." Because of that and it was, like giving me, so much, like definitely the identity of who I am.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:18:13] So, going back to your original thought about what about human strikes you the most, again, you mentioned the diversity of relationships and the diversity of what people are passionate about. So, do you see that proliferation of all the types of relations, and all the types of ideas that are happening, does that set a path for our next generation to be successful? To be even more confused? To be, maybe placed in a position of a lot of, you know, fights or debates among each other? Or, do you think, actually our current generation has to face a lot of things that we need to do now, andd that we can't really rely on the next generation to do, to basically not rely on them to do, but push onto them, as well. Do you think this is, that diversity is going to be one of the pivotal issues?

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:19:27] Yeah, it's a really good question. I mean, like I think that one of the things that we've sort of woken up to after the election, is like, the realization that, diversity, like in particular, the way that we talk about diversity, the idea of things, like safe spaces, race, and religion, gender and religion, and all these things. Like, the way, that we as educated progressives are able to talk about these things, and these things, like we have tried to build a, like, an intellectual dialogue. It's, like, really accepting, but I think a blindspot, is that somehow in that big conversation, like, we have scared and alienated a lot of people and I think it's really hard.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:20:36] Going to pause there for a second, because your train of thought was said in a very specific way. Do you think that's actually one of the core issues of why we're seeing this competition is that for example I also, like, the people who are addressing these issues are typically the progressive, liberal, educated groups, right? And that's an assumption also, I think. For example, a lot of people in San Francisco think that maybe a person in a town of 200, in the middle of Nebraska, that they're not thinking about the exact same issues from their perspective, right? I think a lot of people are put in these buckets, and obviously the media doesn't help, I think the media even paints a broad stroke, like, "Oh, everyone from the Midwest is a coal miner." Like, "No they're not." I mean, yeah there's a lot of coal mining towns, and yes, they have a lot of families who would think about certain things, but that doesn't mean there's not a kid in town that thinks about the exact same issue that a kid in Los Angeles thinks about.

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:21:56] Yeah, totally.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:21:58] So, back to what your train of thought; when we're making these shifts, is that something, how do you see different communities making true bridges across with each other? Do you think there's going to be an actual collapse, and almost an awakening among what politics means? What politics means over the next five, ten years.

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:22:29] No, I mean I don't think that there's going to be some sort of thunderbolt solution to it. I think that the, the change that I would like to see in our country, and in the way that we like to talk about these issues, is slow, and hard, and painful, and like requires a lot of integrity and commitment. Can I tell a story about this?

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:23:03] Yeah, I love that immediate reaction, like, "Oh there has to be a story behind this."

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:23:07] Well, so I mean, I was flying back from Seattle a few weeks ago, and it was right as, I think it was, it was right as Rex Tillerson's appointment was going through.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:23:22] And, this is considered a liberal city, correct?

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:23:25] Yeah. I mean, we were actually on the tarmac in San Francisco about to de-plane. So, we flew in from Seattle to San Francisco, and I turned my phone on right as we landed, and like, of course, checked the news--just a habit that everybody should try to break--and it was like, you know, Rex Tillerson confirmed, he'd been confirmed, but we were in there, and I turned to my colleague who was sitting behind me, and I was like, "Man, you know, there goes another one." Like, Tillerson just got confirmed, and my buddy, Mitch, was like, "Oh, no. What are we going to do?" And, we're all standing up and getting our bags, and there's that kind of moment on the plane when like everybody is ready to get off, but you're trapped because you're waiting for everybody in the front of the plane first, and you're like standing just right next to everybody. And, this guy, he was standing right behind me, you know, was like, "Oh, come on. You've got to be kidding me."

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:24:23] To you?

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:24:23] To me. And came up with this, like, sort of very confrontational tone. I was, like, "No, I'm really upset that this guy got confirmed, that he is like a terrible Head of State," and this guy just, like, sort of launched into a--it wasn't actually me, and it wasn't even a tirade. But, he had his opinions, and he was-- I don't know if he was actually like a Trump voter, but he was definitely more conservative, and he believed that Rex Tillerson was, like, the best person for this, job. And, I just had this total fight or flight response, but I was trapped on the plane. I wanted to be, like, I wanted to have, like, the perfect argument, where I can be like, "No, let me just, you know, intellectually smack you down right now." And, then I just wanted to completely disengage, like, just, you know, "Oh, this isn't your conversation. Why did you just jump into this conversation? You can just see your way out of it." And, we probably were stuck for, like, seven minutes on the plane, and I sort of went back and forth between these two states, and stumbled into some sort of conversation with him, and was a little bit confrontational back, and, but mostly I just felt trapped and felt frozen, and I know that many of us have had an experience like this, where we're confronted with somebody who has, like, opinions that are so radically different than yours, and are really, like, emotionally charged. Then you go into this stress reaction, "Oh my God. How do I even talk to this person?" So, I think about, like, the hard work that needs to be done, I think that we all need to be willing to engage in those conversations. And, actually towards the end of that conversation, I was able to sort of get a hold of myself, and say, "Come on, Jesse, like, you know, use your human-centered design skills." And, it was funny, because I had actually been in Seattle working on this climate project where we had been doing these very empathy focused interviews. And, I was, like, "Oh my god. What's wrong with me? I can't bring that into this, just normal human interaction here." And, so at the end of the conversation, I was able, a little bit, to be like, "OK, you know, I want to hear more about your opinion." And, he totally just went off on this tirade. But, the point is that, we have to be able to control ourselves in those moments of fight or flight. And, we have to practice having the hard conversations, because you never know, where the opportunity to have your mind changed might be.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:27:08] Right, and that experience you described, actually, just cause a slight shift in my thought, about, well, right now, we see this narrative especially in a lot of more liberal media, and even just the word, use of the word 'liberal', 'conservative', 'left,' 'right,' there's always, there seems to always be a side, one, to the conversation, that you have to pick a side, right? And, then, two, there always seems to be a right or wrong. Like, progressive, being called progressive in itself, in its definition, saying that your view is progress in a way, whereas the opposite of that view is digression. So, we're labeling anyone who doesn't have a, what is, was labeled as a progressive thought, as someone who needs to catch up, right? So, in my head, in that experience where, do you think did you had a shift? Because, you just gave me a shift, like, "Oh, maybe the goal isn't to try to proliferate beliefs that supposedly a political camp, you know, has been pushing as an agenda," right? Maybe, the goal is to just, as human beings, learn to empathize and create more conversation openly with each other, knowing that there will always be differences, that we're not trying to push, pull everyone into progressive camps or whatever that's labeled as. I think it's almost dissolving all these labels, and just saying, "We're fucking human beings," we are always going to disagree. It's about how we can disagree without killing each other.

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:29:05] Yeah. And, you know it's interesting, think, I've been like, I've been thinking about the idea of acceptance, like, in my own relationship, a lot.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:29:13] Acceptance?

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:29:13] Acceptance.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:29:15] In your own--

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:29:17] In my own relationship with my partner, Sarah. And, I think that, you know, like in the 90s, there is this notion of tolerance, like this word tolerance was kind of like a buzz word. And, I always kind of hated the word tolerance, because it was like, i something that you didn't like, and you knew you didn't like it, and you just had to fucking deal with it. You just had to tolerate it, right? Like, OK that thing is over there, it's pretty annoying. And, the best I can do is, just like, to kind of zone out, and just like tolerate it. I think the idea, like, true acceptance is really different. And, I think it even goes beyond, like, a notion of respect, right? So, I think about, like, often times people will talk about respect for a formidable enemy. You know, they'll be, like, they're my enemy, but they have courage, and they have good tactics, however, I respect the man. But, acceptance is really to say, "Look, I know that there's ways that your differences are inevitably going to hurt me, like, I know that because you think about something in a certain way or act in a certain way in your life, like it's just not going to match up well with me. And, it's gonna, like, very once in a while or maybe consistently." So, a true notion of acceptance I think is--this is, like, some pretty meta shit--but I think a true notion of acceptance like actually starts with accepting your own fragility and your own vulnerability. Like, ultimately, even your own death. Like, the idea that, y going to be hurt, and if you want to be close to people, like, being close to other people sort of means that you, like, you might get hurt. And, so then the question is, like, how do you love somebody who is probably going to hurt you in some way? Does that make sense?

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:31:30] No, yeah, it does make sense. And, that's interesting that you're using the result as, how do you love someone that's going to end up hurting you. Because, I'm, let me are you referring to, let's say, the between anyone, that you're always going to disagree with? So, for example, are you saying that person that was on a plane, that had a conflict with you--now, in your mind, if you were to rewind and go back to that situation, your goal would have been, "I need to figure out, no matter how much this guy and I are going to be in conflict standing on the plane, in my mind, I don't know him, but I love him, because as a fellow human being--is that what you're saying.

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:32:16] Yep. Yeah totally.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:32:19] And love, you're talking about like the deep meaning of love? Or, are you saying love ina, in a different way?

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:32:29] No, I think the deep element of it, I don't know--I mean, none of this is new, right? It's like, I love thy enemy, but I think understanding what that idea of loving your enemy, like really means. Like, love is something that we think of as being about trust and about family. And, you can't change who your enemy is; your enemy is somebody who always wants to hurt you. Like, in order to love them, you have to necessarily say, "OK, you know, take your best shot, like, you're going to hit me, and knock me down, and, like, I'm about to love you anyway." Our whole society is built on this notion of safety, right? Like, build the wall. Build a defense. And we're constantly worried about getting hurt.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:33:19] Oh, so safety out of fear.

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:33:21] Safety out of fear, yeah, exactly. And, you know, I just don't think, I think it leads to bad politics.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:33:33] It's interesting that you arrive at this train of thought, because I mean, would you agree that almost every religion, or whatever people consider as a religious institution, whether it's philosophy, whether it's, you know, someone's personal practice, it almost all seeds out of that, "How do I love thy enemy," or, how do I love someone that is--do you think that's an accident? Or, do you think that's actually, at its core, how humans even came up with something like that in the first place, because that is deeply seeded.

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:34:11] Yeah. No, I think it's, I mean, I think that, like, at the base of, I don't know--I'm actually, I'm not, I don't consider myself to have a particular faith.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:34:23] Neither do I.

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:34:26] And so, I'm like, so far from being the expert on this, but like I think from what little I do know, like yeah, you're right. I mean it's like, every religion has this focus on this, like, fundamental paradox, like love and fear, life and death. And, in that paradox, like, however that paradox gets resolved, there's such mystery. But, you know it's funny, because like, we're talking so abstractly, but I think that this is sort of maybe, I was talking about at the very beginning--it's like the amazing diversity of individuals, like, I think that we can see this in the smallest of ways. So, Sarah my partner is, she's like really bad at planning things into the future. By which I don't mean, like, big life stuff, but like we're going to go to, we're going to go on a trip, like, next weekend; we're going to go hiking next weekend. And, you know it just drives me completely nuts, because I'm a great planner, and I want to know what the hell we're going to do next weekend, right? And, for Sarah, it's like, you know, "Don't step on me, like, I can't project what I'm going to be doing in 24 hours."

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:35:48] You realize this is recorded, right? (laughs)

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:35:54] And, I'm just like, argh, you know, "Why can't we put this on the calendar," and it's like, it's like in that moment, you can choose to address that moment in a few different ways. You can be, like, you can get angry, and be like, "No, we have to fucking plan the thing," which I definitely have done. Or, you can you can be like, try to change the person, you can be like, "OK that's fine, but like we should really work on your planning." Or, you can be like, "I love and respect whatever weird thing it is in you that like, I don't understand, but it's also causing me a lot of pain, that like , that makes it really hard for you to plan. Because, that thing is like amazing and beautiful, and like, beautiful, because it's weird, and I don't get it. It's just, like, I think that every, every human presents this opportunity to, like and to enter like the avant guard of your experience, like, that just like the way I fucking butter my toast in the morning, you know? Like, that just something as mundane as that can be, like, totally, it could just feel like the weirdest thing to somebody else. And, I think that even in those just like tiny little moments, you can be like, "Whoa, you butter you're toast differently, like, that is bizarre, and cool, and bizarre." [laughs]

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:37:23] Right, so it's almost, it's, you're going to discover all these moments that will help you develop that ability to love and empathize. If you just stop to observe and recognize something. So, Sarah right? We love you Sarah [laughs].

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:37:42] We're all the little things, we love you so much, Sarah. We are all the little things.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:37:47] Well, I like ending all of our conversations with the same question and it's: ultimately, what's the point of all of this?

Jesse Sleamaker: [00:38:06] Oh man, I mean I think, like, I certainly, no point and every point, it's sort of like that paradox, again, like we, yeah I mean we're on the planet for such a short amount of time. I was just in Chilean Patagonia for three weeks, and the landscape down there it is so unpopulated, and so, just stunning, you know? Like we went to this lake that was, like, a five day journey from the Bay Area: three flights, a ferry, four bus rides, just to get to the trailhead. That was two days of hiking without a trail to get to this lake. And, the co-leader of my trip knows the area really well, was Iyou know 40 people have been to this lake, and we were like, "Well, 40 people like compared to how many people, like, any given lake in Yosemite National Park would get in a year, like 40 people in a year is almost nothing." And, she said, "No, no 40 people. Ever." Like, in the history of this place, ever. And, we were all like, "Oh my God." You know that's, and there are eight of us, so you know we increased the number of humans that had seen this place by 25 percent. Just totally unbelievable, this idea this totally remote place, and just like sitting on the shores of that lake, we spent two days there. It was such a welcome break from all of the scheduling, and all the, all the human things, right? And just noticing, oh my God, you know the history of our planet is long. The history of our sun is long. The history of our universe is infinite. And like we are, we are so small. Everything that we do, everything that our society does, everything that is a moment in time, like, represents, is completely insignificant. It's so, it's so tiny, but like, in its insignificance, just like the way I butter my toast, or the way that Sarah can't make plans for the weekend, like it's also immensely important, immensely beautiful, and like so full of possibility, and, I don't know if that answers your question, but I think that's a little bit, like, how I how I think about it, and it's ultimately, right, it's like the paradox. There's this place of confluence between vast chaos of the universe, and like, death, and the non-being, like, we're all heading towards very swiftly, like the forces of life and love, which are like infinitely small, but that matters.


Equipment & Software:

Yeti Microphone & Ice Microphone by Blue Microphones

Audacity for Mac

My Passport Ultra 1 TB by Western Digital

Transcription Service by Trint

Macbook Pro Retina 15inch Late 2013



Smile by Daniel Alan Gautreau

Tiny Bits by Felipe Adorno Vassao

Time & Reflection by Bjorn Lynne

Retro Video Game Hotseat by Bjorn Lynne