The Secret Ingredients

Sun., Oct 6 - Day 11

I spent the morning chatting with my hosts about stuff like yoga over the healthiest smoothies (carrots, spinach, walnuts, strawberries, yogurt etc.). Ari is now a certified Iyengar Yoga instructor - which is a methodical style. She told me about the training, and we talked a bit about the different styles and methods out there. I agreed to join her in a mat class Monday (tomorrow) morning. She promised it wouldn’t be challenging. I told her that would suit me very well. We shall see.

Chris and Ari are part of a CSA, which is a membership where you receive a box of produce from a local farm regularly at a small discount. Chris loves it because it allows them to buy fresh produce, which is often pricier a la carte at the farmer’s market, at about the same cost as the grocery store. It’s better food, and forces them to eat their veggies.

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Today was the day to pick up the box, and I was excited to tag along check it out. Parking was a bit tough, but we made our way in, and it was vibrant and delightful. Farmer’s markets are quite possibly my favorite “activity” on a day like today. I love the smell of fresh foods and produce, and the abundance of hand made and home made products. There were beautiful pieces of clothing and jewelry, jars of jam and honey, fresh breads, juices and sauces, and of course, vegetables. All the stand attendants seemed gentle and sun kissed, telling the story of their products, and offering samples. There were tons of families, friendly dogs and even a kind of scary clown in a face painting booth-tent-thing. (You have to have something bizarre, or it’s not fun.)

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We picked up the CSA box from Suzie’s Farm, and were on our way. Driving back, Ari told me about the car sharing service called Car2Go, which started in Germany, but does very well here in the city. It works like this: there are fleets of electric cars, Smart Cars to be exact, and they are docked/maintained at several hubs, but can be parked and picked up anywhere within the limits of the city. Using an online or mobile reservation system, you can snag a car within range, or if you see one and it isn’t reserved, simply hop in (sign in) and get moving. The service charges by the minute, unless you reserve a block by the hour. The cars can’t go super fast or far, but they are perfect for a short commute, grocery trip, or neighborhood hopping. Parking in designated city spaces is often free of charge and the service includes insurance. I’ve personally been a member of Zipcar since 2010, and it’s a great solution for multi-day and 100+ mile trips, but what sets Cars2Go apart, Ari explained, is that it eliminates the point B back to point A part of car rental, as you can leave the car wherever your trip lands you, within reason.

After returning to the space, Ari had to head out for a rehearsal, and Chris and I gave in to the reality that it was going to be a simple interview for the panel. No worries… we set up in front of the hacked player piano, and had a fantastic chat about the challenges and opportunities brought about by digital home recording tools, what it’s like to start a small business, and the spirit of DIY among his students at the university.

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As I mentioned, Chris is an audio engineer and sound designer. He is completing his Ph.D. in computer music at UCSD, and has created many devices, pieces of software and installation pieces playing with the boundaries of sound manipulation. In my book EPIC FAIL super win, Chris is a self-described “mad scientist”, which I think is a fitting title.

Later, I had a bit of on-foot exploring in the Gaslamp Quarter, and wrote in the park for a while. In the evening, we all had lemon "Meringue" smoothies for dessert, and turned in early. (We have to be up early for the yoga class - eeeeeeep!)