The next decade

When I turned 30 about six months ago, I sat down in the garden at my parents house, looking over the city of Cherbourg, thinking about the earliest memories I could possibly remember. Most of them were in that house. It is easy to feel that you have fallen short of your own expectations of the future; what was then a wild sea of possibilities turned out to be more like swimming a river upstream.

As you get older, it seems that the decisions you make set you on a path that keeps getting narrower. However, not making decisions would mean that you’d stay where you are. I guess it is better to move forward on a narrowing path than to be stagnant. At least, that’s how I saw things. But sitting at that table on that afternoon made me want to revisit this. Maybe I could swim back to the ocean and see if I could explore other rivers. After all, I’m quite free. My parents are healthy and they do not need me at the moment. My sisters are growing our family. I’m happy and also healthy. What could possibly go wrong?

So, after working for fifteen years in the technology industry, I took an afternoon to think about the past, the present and the future. I thought about where humanity could go, and I thought about where I’d like us to go. I’m happy the way my last decade turned out but it felt more like I was safely floating around on a tube rather than making daring decisions that could make me keel over. I wanted to have a goal for the next decade— A star to follow, a core idea that I’d like to invest my time into and see how I could contribute to it. I found a few of them.

The next decade

Franchise Freedom

The California Zephyr

A few months ago, I watched the movie Murder on the Orient Express and it made me want to do a long journey on a train. It turned out that I wanted to go to Philadelphia to visit my friend Marie later this year and that a scenic train, the California Zephyr, was going from San Francisco (at Emeryville Station) to Chicago (view the route here).

I never really think twice about things and my friend Jorge is quite the same so we both booked a one way ticket to Chicago on that train a few days later. We boarded yesterday.

It departs on Friday at 9:10am and is scheduled to arrive on Sunday 2:50pm – at total of 51 hours 20 minutes – but at the time when I’m writing this (Saturday at 11:51am), we already are at least an hour late.

Superliner Roomette
This is the cabin we had, a Superliner Roomette

We booked a tiny sleeper cabin that has two seats facing each other that can be turned into two bunk beds during the night. The train is composed of three sleepers cars, one restaurant car, one lounge/scenic car, and three seaters cars, mostly for people who don’t travel the entire trip but just do a leg. It is hauled by two General Electric P42DC locomotives.

The trip costs $770 for two (I believe this is the cost of the cabin whether you’re two or one but I’d have to double check on this). The food is included, and so far, it has been good. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner and every time the service was perfect, and the meal themselves pretty good for something you’d get on a train.

The best part about this trip though, is not about the food.

It’s the scenery. The United States have some of the most beautiful landscape, especially from the west coast to the midwest as they are less people settled there. You get great views of nature miles ahead and you sometimes forget that you’re on a train and not in a movie.

It’s the perfect desk for a remote worked. There’s network often enough (although not all the times), all-you-can-drink coffee and really, the only thing you need to think about is how to occupy your day. Bring a book and great music (Aretha Franklin is a great start, followed by Nina Simone).

The train over-all is pretty well maintained and clean, there is a shower and four restrooms per sleepers car. I don’t think the bed can be described as comfortable but they’re good enough to fall asleep. Last night, we had a stop at Salt Lake City which woke me up.

I would recommend this to everyone. It is so beautiful especially at that time of the year because you can see the trees getting into their fall colors. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments or tweet them at me.

« Faut-il arrêter de parler de race avec ses amis blancs ? »

Pour le moment, sur Newsroom, les journalistes ne peuvent ajouter que des articles mais nous envisageons l’ajout d’autres formes d’information comme les podcasts ou encore les vidĂ©os. Du coup, cela m’a donnĂ© envie de regarder un peu ce qui se passe du cĂ´tĂ© des podcasts.

Actuellement, j’Ă©coute Up First de NPR et Recode Decode de Kara Swisher – tous les deux en anglais, mais rien en français. RĂ©cemment, j’ai dĂ©couvert Binge Audio qui publie de nombreux podcasts visant Ă  donner la voix aux minoritĂ©s et l’un d’entre eux, Le Tchip a commencĂ© avec un Ă©pisode fort intĂ©ressant: JĂ©rome et moi.

Dans cet Ă©pisode, les podcasteurs traitent d’une question qui je pense beaucoup de personnes racisĂ©es se sont au moins posĂ©s une fois : « faut-il arrĂŞter de parler de race avec ses amis blancs ? »

Bien que je n’ai jamais vraiment Ă©tĂ© (Ă  ma connaissance en tout cas) victime d’actes racistes flagrants, je vois bien Ă  quel point il est parfois difficile de traiter de la question avec des personnes qui n’ont jamais eu Ă  se sentir diffĂ©rent de par leur couleur de peau. Le racisme n’est pas que le racisme visible, il existe un racisme passif, subtile, qui lui est bien ancrĂ© dans notre sociĂ©tĂ© et sa vision du monde, au point oĂą il n’est mĂŞme pas considĂ©rĂ© comme raciste. L’humour en est une forme visible. Les blagues sur les arabes, les chinois, puissent-elles ĂŞtre drĂ´le n’en sont nĂ©anmoins pas moins racistes. Les prĂ©jugĂ©s aussi, puissent-ils ĂŞtre « positifs ».

Une anecdote dans cet Ă©pisode parle de cela, oĂą une connaissance de la podcasteuse se demande si c’Ă©tait raciste de considĂ©rer que ce n’Ă©tait pas surprenant que le jeune homme – malien – qui a sauvĂ© un bĂ©bĂ© rue Marx-Dormoy l’ai fait, car elle avait vu Ă  quel point les hommes en Afrique Ă©taient bons Ă  monter aux arbres.

Est-ce un compliment ? Éventuellement, on peut penser que cela est positif après tout. Est-ce raciste ? Évidemment, jusqu’Ă  considerer cela comme similaire aux pensĂ©es qui ont justifiĂ© l’esclavage.

Il est toujours bon je pense de s’ouvrir aux autres, particulièrement aux minoritĂ©s qui de part l’oppression des masses se sentent obligĂ©s de se taire dĂ» au risque qu’elles encourent (ils mentionnent d’ailleurs cela plus tard dans l’Ă©pisode via le concept de « fragilitĂ© blanche » et de l’impact qu’a une discussion Ă  propos du racisme sur les relations sociales de la personne racisĂ©e). Les podcasts sont donc un moyen extraordinaire de les Ă©couter sans ce filtre imposĂ© par la sociĂ©tĂ©.

Il y a un parallèle Ă©vident entre certaines choses dites dans cet Ă©pisode et ce que pourraient dire des fĂ©ministes Ă  propos de l’oppression masculine (je remarque une variante de la « fragilitĂ© blanche » pour les hommes cis hĂ©tĂ©rosexuels qui pour beaucoup trop d’entre eux paniquent Ă  l’idĂ©e de la fĂ©minisation de notre sociĂ©tĂ©). Je pense qu’il est alors doublement important d’Ă©couter cet Ă©pisode.

Hello

Je me souviens bien de cette Ă©poque, il y a une quinzaine d’annĂ©es, oĂą tout le monde sur Internet (ou presque) avaient un blog. J’ai rencontrĂ© tant de monde virtuellement et dans le monde physique en sautant de blogrolls en blogrolls, Ă  la dĂ©couverte de ce que lisaient les blogueurs que je « suivais ». Le web d’aujourd’hui m’Ă  l’air plus dĂ©connectĂ©. Il me manque de parler, de discuter et d’argumenter de façon posĂ©e sur un support qui n’a de limitations que celles que j’impose.

Mais le web d’aujourd’hui m’appartient bien plus que celui d’hier, alors me revoilĂ , Ă  bloguer de nouveau.


I remember this time quite well, about fifteen years ago, when everyone (or almost) had a blog. I met so many people – virtually but also physically, hoping from blogrolls to blogrolls, discovering these who were read by the one I was “following”. Today’s web seems far more disconnected. I miss talking, exchanging and arguing calmly on a medium that has only limitations that I decide.

But today’s web belongs to me much more than yesterday’s so here I am again, blogging.