I'm a sucker for the idea of ritual. When I learn about a traditional, labor-intensive practice like shining shoes, oiling boots, or a complicated car washing regimen, I'm always drawn to try it myself. I imagine having the same meditative experience as the person convincing me to try their routine…

I probably sound like I gripe all the time, but that's really not what I'm like. I'm an optimist and happy by nature. It's just that I have high expectations for how things could be and I'm disappointed when I see people fall short of their potential. I don't complain…

I had a wonderful experience buying new Rockport shoes from Brown Brothers Shoes in Alameda a couple of months ago, to the point that I wrote a gushing Yelp review and told all my friends to go there. Oops. My two-month-old Rockport shoes (which I wear only to work at…