Big Announcement Time

I’m leaving Google and moving to DC to work for the Federal Government.

I’m going to work in the United States Digital Services department, an organization that rose from the ashes of the debacle. It’s headline mission is “building a more awesome government through technology,” which – yeah, I can get behind that.

I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be doing for them yet but, whatever the details are, I’m going to be using my considerable talents to help make our government better. It’s no stretch to say Washington needs that, especially right now. (technically I’m not entirely sure I even have the job yet, I still need to wait and pass a drug test within 30 days of my start date, but I’ve been clean and sober for over 7 years so I’m not too worried about that) [and yes, the government already knows about my history of substance abuse. Hello there, FBI agent doing my background investigation! ::waves::]

Some of you may be asking, as so many have when I’ve told them, “why the fuck would you want to leave Google?” It’s true the perks are amazing, the pay is frankly obscene, and my job in particular has given me the chance to travel all around the world (in style). You will be unsurprised to hear that none of that is true for my government job, but even when I started at Google 4 years ago I knew I didn’t want to stay there forever. It was a chance to build my career, stash some savings, do interesting work, and have some amazing experiences, but I always felt that eventually I wanted to move on to something I, well, cared about more. Something to do good for the world, if that’s not too cliche to say these days.

Just so you know it’s not entirely altruism, I’ve also been pretty frustrated at Google lately – I feel like I’ve hit a point where I can either stay on the project I’ve been leading for two and a half years and keep working with the people I really like, or I can get paid what I deserve and get the title I want, but for political/bureaucracy reasons I can’t do both. (yes, I am fully aware of the irony of complaining about company politics when I’m leaving to work in the government)

Next Friday is my last day at Google. I’ll be around the Bay Area until the end of July-ish, so hmu if you wanna connect before then. I’ll be unemployed, which I imagine will be dreadfully exciting for a few days and then I’ll just be annoyingly bored and tired of packing.

I also intend to start blogging more (a low bar, since my previous post was about 2 years ago) so watch this space to follow my adventures.

“Did you change your email address again?” “Yes I did.”

Yes, I know I’ve gone through 2 vanity emails already this year. I’m allowed.

So! After deciding my previous primary email was way too long, my new primary email iiiiiis:

(get it? get it?)

There’s no real need for you to update your address books, since it’s likely that whatever email you have for me will still work. Really this is just for my sake so I can stop writing “” on forms and spelling it out over the phone.

If you really want to make sure the address you have is still valid, here’s a handy dandy guide to my working and non-working emails:


Other email addresses that will still reach me:

my Kink address, which I’m keeping semi-private


Email addresses that will NOT reach me:

I’ve got a new job – at a porn company!

I’m thrilled to announce that this Monday I’m starting a new engineering job with, a BDSM pornography company based in San Francisco. (don’t click that link if you’re at work!)

I’ve been interested in getting involved with the porn industry for a while, and Kink is, in my opinion, the best porn company out there in terms of their approach to their product and contributions to the community. Their website features a values statement, one that aligns with many of my beliefs. I’m not going to be pulling a Facebook-level salary or eating free Google-quality food for lunch, but I will be contributing to something I believe is the right direction for society, something I’ve found I require in a job more than salary or perks. Also, I do get free porn. ;)

I expect some of you are a little bewildered right now, so I’ve composed a FAQ with answers to common responses I’ve gotten.

Q: I thought you were a feminist. How can you work in an industry that is so harmful to women?

A: It’s my belief that pornography as a concept isn’t harmful to women at all – in fact, it can be a very important part of anyone’s sexual education, development, and enjoyment.

Unfortunately the vast majority of what exists today is absolute crap and has little similarity to any real sexual relationships. (for example, positions in porn are often chosen because they show off the genital coupling to the camera, not because they are pleasurable or even comfortable, and don’t even get me started on unrealistic shaving expectations)

I like Kink because they value authenticity and pleasure in their products. They call the performers ‘models’ instead of ‘actors’ because they’re not acting, it’s all real BDSM scenes. They even host educational classes on bondage and other kinky sex out of the Upper Floor, and safety information is a very important component to these. It’s not real ‘every day’ sex, but it is real, making it a damn site better than, say, Pirates in terms of authentic human sexuality. (to be fair, I own a copy of Pirates – that kind of ridiculous hyper-fantastical production has its own kind of appeal)

I agree that the current state of mainstream pornography isn’t doing anyone, male or female, gay or straight, much good, but I’d like to change that someday. This seemed like a good way to start.

Q: Kink’s videos often feature women getting tied up, whipped, electrocuted and ‘raped.’ Are you really ok with that?

A: On an intellectual level, yes. Human sexuality is a complex and many faceted thing, and as long as whatever you’re into doesn’t hurt anyone else I’m ok with it.

On a personal level rape-fantasies make me very uncomfortable and the thought of nipple torture makes me curl into a ball and clutch my chest in fear. But I can’t handle my coffee without sugar or milk in it either, and I’m not about to denounce someone because they like their coffee black or their sex with a little bit of fake non-consent.

Also, it’s not just women – Kink has plenty of sites where men act as submissives, either in gay male situations or female-dominant situations. Those guys get tied up just as tight and whipped just as hard as their female counterparts, but I have yet to hear anyone express concern on their behalf.

Q: So you don’t think that porn in general (and BDSM porn in particular) encourages violence against women?

A: I think the current state of porn is a symptom, not the problem. A lot of it reinforces the general systemic issue of women being seen as objects for men’s sexual pleasure instead of human beings with sexuality of their own, not to mention the fucked up beauty ‘standards’ that encourage teenage girls to starve themselves and women with perfectly beautiful breasts to get implants.

So does rape-fantasy porn ‘encourage’ rape? Maybe. I’d like to think not, but I’m not that naive. What I do know is that removing all violent porn from the world wouldn’t stop rape, and the motivations behind sexual assault are way more complicated than seeing a video and copying it.

Q: What do you mean when you say BDSM pornography is the right direction for society?

A: I think is going in the right direction – a sex-positive porn company that engages its community and promotes acceptance of healthy alternative sexuality instead of peddling its goods as dirty smut to be shamefully enjoyed in secret.

On its own, BDSM porn is a general concept that is inherently neither bad nor good.

Q: Aren’t you worried about this burning bridges or shutting doors in your future career?

A: The glib answer is: I’m a highly skilled developer in San Francisco, I will never be unable to find employment.

The full answer is: Yes, but it’s worth it. I’ve already had to turn down an offer to give the keynote speech at a conference for 8th & 9th grade girls interested in STEM because it wouldn’t be appropriate to do so while my active employment is at a porn company. (they were much more understanding about it than I expected, and said they’d love to have me in future years if I was no longer in the porn industry)

I didn’t take this job on a whim and I’m fully aware of the possible repercussions. But this is something I believe in, and it’s worth the possible sacrifice.

(Also, this discussion has mostly focused around heavy moral issues, but another reason I took this job is because the company looks extremely fun to work for. We make porn, for chrissake. I have a feeling I’m going to love my job and the people I work with.)

Q: What about your previous job at Hattery? You seemed so excited about what you were doing there.

A: I was! I wasn’t actively searching for another job when I stumbled across Kink’s posting. I’ve been stalking their job list for almost a year now and when a position I was qualified for appeared I jumped on it. (jeez, innuendo is too easy with this) If Kink hadn’t made me an offer I would have stayed at Hattery.

Coincidentally, Hattery is looking for a new lead engineer! They don’t have the job posting up as of this post, but if you’re an engineer looking for a job you should check them out. If I know you personally, you’re also welcome to hit me up for a recommendation/introduction.

Q: How’d your parents take it?

A: Like champs. My mom and I had some awkward talks about porn and its effects on society, but she understood my position and has always been supportive of me doing things I believe in.

Thanks mum, I love you! :)

Q: Is all this infatuation with pornography and progressive sexuality mumbo jumbo just a front for your incredibly frustrated libido and/or sexual confusion?

A: Probably a little bit. It has been a looong while since I got laid. I’ve been thinking about all this stuff for years though, so if anything my current sex-less state provided the final activation energy to kick me into gear. One could say I’ve been doing a lot of “research” into pornography lately. ;)

Q: Sounds awesome! Can I come by and get a tour of the office/studio?

A: I highly recommend the official tour of the Armory. Their tour guides know all the great stories that go along with the building and can provide much more entertainment than I could.

If you’ve got other questions, I’d love to answer them in the comments or through email!

Life Update

As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted in a while. Starting my first job in a new city while hunting for an apartment and then moving in and getting settled has been quite a roller coaster, and my blog is one of many things to fall by the wayside. I’m still planning to continue my 365in365 project, but it may be another few weeks before I feel stable enough to do so. Other near-future plans include a complete re-design of this site, so get psyched for that.

Now, the exciting part! I present to you: my new home!

I ended up in Oakland instead of the city, but I lurve lurve lurve my place even though I have a commute. It’s large, exactly the style I wanted, and, perhaps most importantly, affordable. :p It’s got a bit more furniture in it now than you see here, but it’s still coming together slowly, piece by piece. At least I have a mattress now – for the first 4 days I was sleeping on a pile of dirty clothes on the floor, which, as I’m sure you can imagine, is not comfortable.

      1. Complete MIT degree
      2. Get a job
      3. Find an apartment
      4. Acquire cats (2)
      5. ???
      6. Happiness!

3 down! I’m planning on getting the cats around the end of May, but I’m guessing it’s going to be that 5th step that’s the hardest.

(fun fact: my microwave, which you can see in the back of the kitchen above, is exactly the same model that’s in the 4th floor kitchen of wilg. :p small world!)

I have a job! :D

I am extremely happy to announce that I’ve taken a position as a Product Engineer at Hattery Labs! They’re a new startup in SoMa that funds and assists other startups with an aim to make the world a better place and build some pretty cool stuff along the way.


BAM, 2 down! Now to find somewhere to live.

      1. Complete MIT degree
      2. Get a job
      3. Find an apartment
      4. Acquire cats (2)
      5. ???
      6. Happiness!

MIT Degree!

It took me just over five and a half years, but I finally got my actual MIT degree!!!

I’m not sure how I’m gonna frame this baby yet, but it’s gonna be something custom and spectacular.

Now I can cross the first item off my life’s master plan!

      1. Complete MIT degree
      2. Get a job
      3. Find an apartment
      4. Acquire cats (2)
      5. ???
      6. Happiness!

I need a job! Can you help?

I know I’ve been saying forever that I couldn’t take a “real job” after college, that I wanted to start up my own thing, but I’ve come to the realization that I’m just not stable enough for that yet. So, I’m humbly eating those words and asking for your assistance in finding a job.

I’ve posted my Resume and Portfolio online along with a little bit about what I’m looking for.

If you have any suggestions about where I should apply, PLEASE let me know!!! I’m particularly interested in jobs that have a feminist/sex-positive twist to them, but I’m also applying to Google & Adobe so that’s obviously not a requirement.

It’s a small Twitterverse after all

Back on August 5th, Nathan Fillion (who I may or may not have an extreme celebrity crush on) tweeted  this question:

I replied:

I then proceeded to get extremely embarrassed that I had bothered to reply to a celebrity’s tweet and un-followed him out of shame. (yep, I’m weird like that. Own it.) I then forgot about the incident entirely.

UNTIL TONIGHT! I was watching the latest episode of Castle to hit Hulu, and Castle finds a letter from Stanford to his daughter in the mail. He says:

“I think it’s Alexis’ decision letter from Stanford University.”

“Decision” letter!!! omgwtfbbq. Now, I’m not anywhere near vain enough to assume it was my tweet that led to that word being used in the show, but it makes me squee a little bit to think I might have contributed in some small part to my favorite show. :D …and that Captain Tight-Pants might have have read and learned from my tweet ;)

A Burning Cigarette on a Rooftop Under a Full Moon

It’s been a good long while since my last post. The school year’s started and I’m in a desperate race to the finish – I’m planning on getting my degree in February, so this will be my last semester at MIT. Gulp. No, I’ve no idea what I’m going to do after I graduate. Along with regular schoolwork (if MIT work can be called “regular”), I’m finishing some design-y projects for my house, working for MIT’s WGS department as a graphic designer, attempting to start a new IAP competition with a couple of new friends, and filling in the spare time with my ever-growing pile of personal artistic projects and to-read book list. I fully intend to continue this blog, but it is a very, very low priority right now. I’ll post pictures and such as my various projects come together, but expect lots of radio silence and wish me luck in my last final push towards my degree.

For now, I’ll leave you with this incredibly melodramatic but rather beautiful picture of A Burning Cigarette on a Rooftop Under a Full Moon.

Boston Skyline & Summer Plans

First off: a nifty picture taken from the rooftop of a friend’s apartment building. This is actually an HDR image, though certainly not the best example of actual HDR. I really liked the effect it gave the clouds – they were moving away from me while I was bracketing the exposure, so you can see the edges are staggered in the composite image. I like it in contrast to the sharpness of the skyline. Head over to my flickr account to view it in higher-res.

Boston Skyline - HDR

Secondly: I’ve finally cemented my summer plans! Last month I got turned down for a PM internship at Google, which was rather surprising and a little devastating at the time. I’d really been counting on that internship, so when they rejected me I had no idea what I was going to do. Luckily, a conveniently timed conversation with a friend reminded me of a program MIT is involved in called MEET: Middle East Education through Technology. I sent in my application at the last possible minute, interviewed a few days later, got my offer this morning, and emailed in my acceptance just a few minutes ago.  MEET is a month(ish)-long program that brings together talented Israeli and Palestinian high schoolers to teach them programming. It’s going to be incredibly rewarding, and I’m actually pretty happy that Google turned me down. I never would have considered this program if that hadn’t happened, and I think I prefer a day of lectures, teamwork, presentations and discussions to 8 hours in front of a computer monitor. But, long story short:

I’m going to Israel this summer! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D