My high school featured on Apple

Ah, so here's a little self-indulgent moment of pride:

My high school, Punahou School, was recently featured on Apple!

I feel incredibly fortunate—and a little proud—to have gone to such a great school. Trust me, though, we did not have laptops when I was going there. ;-)

I am very thankful to join the alumni family, which includes people like President Barack Obama, Steve Case, Pierre Omidyar, Sun Yatsen, my dad, my mom, and my grandfather. :-)

The video displays better on Apple's page, so you should really watch it there.

O, Christmas Tree!

Christmas tree 2011

The holidays have officially arrived in the Chun home. Josh drove with me to Home Depot in Daly City yesterday to help me pick out (and, OK, maybe help carry) a beautiful 6-foot Douglas fir.

Tonight we're going to go to Target to look for some decorations and lights, and tomorrow some friends will come over to help decorate.

It's actually not the first time we picked out a tree together. The week before last—the day before Thanksgiving, actually—we went with my dad in Hawaii down to Don Quixote, the Asian market, which had received the very first shipment of trees in Honolulu.

And after much tugging, tossing, and turning, we chose a really lovely tree for my parents' home. Though most families wait until after Thanksgiving to set up their tree, my dad insisted that it was much more fun to have the tree up in time for Thanksgiving guests to see. It was worth it in the end. 

Here's the tree in action during Thanksgiving gift exchange, a tradition my family calls Shovunda (cause you "shove it undah da bed").

Christmas tree in Hawaii

It's the most WONDERFUL time of the year!

The Best Worst Things to Bring to a Picnic in the Park

A Fall's Summer in Mission Dolores Park

There must have been half a dozen times in the past few months when autumn cool has swept San Francisco, and I declared it a new season—time for scarves and hats and coats and boots and hot pumpkin lattes. But, just as quickly as fall arrived, summer would flush the air again and bring wind hot and heavy with heat and broad, generous sunshine. So is September and October in the Bay. 

We had one of those heat waves a few weeks ago. Tom—our resident Midwest loyalist whose many skills include checking the weather—announced that it was going to be a beautiful Saturday, which called for bbqing in Mission Dolores Park. Quickly, we realized that none of us actually owned a hibatchi or had any time to get meat, so plans were adjusted for a potluck picnic on what was forecasted to be one of the nicest days in the year. 

If you've never been to Mission Dolores Park, it is somewhere between a playground, the DMV, Central Park, a bark park, and one big bong. And it is totally appropriate for children. Frisbees, balls, and dogs fly freely, and all manner of people come out to sit on the green hills and do exactly whatever they want. Sometimes police vans arrive and sit at the foot of the hill and watch.

But for our part, we had planned an innocuous picnic, and I was happy to pick out two bottles of Italian soda, soft brie, blue cheese, duck pate, and a baguette.

Which all seemed to be a wonderful idea until we realized that none of those foods held up very well in the rogue summer heat. The brie became runny, the blue cheese got gooey, and the pate turned suspicious. Which is why our romantic picnic foods became a sorry idea shielded by a large shade tower made of Ruffles potato chips:

A Fall's Summer in Mission Dolores Park

Oh well, lesson learned: No more soft foods on hot San Francisco days—unless eaten quickly. :-)

Bodum Chocolatiere: Cool design for cold nights and hot chocolate

I love Bodum products for their sleek design and practical functionalities. Aside from my trusty, old Fresh press, I especially love my thermal cups — delicate, doubled-walled glass cups that keep hot things hot and cold things cold.

So it excites me to see this new hot chocolate set, which is — OK, OK — maybe not as practical as my thermal glasses. But it would seem to be a pretty sweet indulgence for the cold winter nights ahead.

First "snow" in San Francisco

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San Francisco, 5:15 p.m.

It felt quiet in San Francisco last night. It was the first work day since time fell forward on Sunday and by 4, the cold edges of the evening were already creeping in. By 5, the city was growing blue with darkness. Temperatures dropped a few days earlier, and together with the light, the crowds downtown seemed hushed, almost preoccupied with themselves — sort of like when first snow falls and the whole world goes muffled from the covering; people walk slowly from the awe and from the fear of falling (though we don’t have any of this here). 

 

It was cold — I could feel it in my fingers — and I watched people walk toward me in their light California jackets with their arms hugging their own bodies for warmth or with their hands dug deep into their pockets.

 

I look forward to these days in a similar way that I loved Chicago. It means coming home in darkness and hands numbed with cold. You’ll get a headache and realize that it’s actually your ears burning from the chill. But it’s so nice to be inside.

 

I think the beginning of fall (or is it winter here?) might be starting.

Before you wake up.

I had a dream last night that I was back in college. It was shady and cool out—maybe even a little warm, like when a temperate fall day is turning to dusk. Everything was still very green, the thick grass and the tall tress. I noticed that there was no snow yet, which made me feel it was the beginning of the school year, since snow is liable to blanket Evanston by October or November and stay as long as it likes, often well into the spring. I was walking back from Norris, the student union, across the heart of the campus between the language building and the library, and suddenly I realized where I was. I was still in college. I was still learning and taking classes. Just a moment ago, it seemed I was lost in thought and felt that I had some kind of job, but none of it was true, I realized. I was so elated by this discovery and so caught in the breath of life that I raised both of my arms in the air, like one would do in the very height of The Wave, and began running along the pathways of the Northwestern campus, feeling the cool air against my arms and admiring the buildings and the trees and feeling like I had embraced everything that I was living. I felt appreciation for my place in life bloom inside of me, like the air rushing between my fingers, and I was just so glad that I didn't take the moment for granted.

Because it's all about the story! The Social Media Brandsphere infographic by @briansolis

"Each channel offers a unique formula for engagement where brands become stories and people become storytellers. Using a transmedia approach, the brand story can connect with customers differently across each medium, creating a deeper, more enriching experience. Transmedia storytelling doesn’t follow the traditional rules of publishing; it caters to customers where they connect and folds them into the narrative."

I have an obvious bias toward this because not only is my official work title Storyteller—we're also spearheading corporate social media at work. So I can say with complete conviction that stories are at the center of good social media (and most good marketing, writing, and reporting, I believe).