Friday, September 19th, 2003
a first message with no real message
Setting up a live journal - ok, here we go
Proper that the first entry is staying at home babysitting while my
wife, L, is out at meetings. I expect to do more of this in the
future, since we have many years until our almost 2 year old is able
to take care of herself ;-) She is completely sweet and wonderful,
and is watching Elmo right now after trying to take a facial mask of
daddy with play dough, eating some food, playing with a banana peel
(after eating part of the banana) and getting turned into "upsidedown
baby" which she likes a lot.
She is super duper.
Friday, September 26th, 2003
early morning clutter
I spoke to a law class at UVA the other day - nice bunch of
people, even if they ARE considering being lawyers ;-)
Actually, as the prof, himself an outsider who works in the
real world, pointed out, since the class is Venture Capital Law
it is self selecting, in this case for the misfits, the phreaks
and phools, and thus I had a pretty good bunch.
This is the 5th or 6th year that I have done this, and it is
always an interesting thing to explain the real world of raising
tens, and even hundreds of millions of dollars of OPM (Other Peoples
Money) to people who have the theory fresh in their brains.
As with many things, reality and theory differ, some times in small
but important ways. I always take the opportunity to spice up the
presentation, since the law is mostly a dry thing when you are learning
it in school. I only said "suck dick" once, but it was a real hit ;-)
Today was a board meeting, and since it was in a VC's office it was
nice to see some old friends whom I have not had the pleasure of their
company in a while - spring time always makes me feel like starting new
adventures - I think this is a deep seated thing from early school days,
since the feeling is mingled strongly with the urge to go to the office
supplies place and buy spiral notebooks with huge tracts of beautiful
crisp clean lined paper - college ruled narrow please. There is also an
urge for lab notebooks, grid paper with carbon copy, numbered pages. Ah.
fine line black pens, uniball extra fines will do, but there are drafting
pens that have a far better hand and feel like glory as you use them, if
they are available when you need them.
excuse me - I have to go doodle now ;-) seriously, I guess I should get
some sleep since I have an early morning meeting.
happy and refreshing dreams to you all
Saturday, September 27th, 2003
livejournal - letting you screw up in front of everyone...
I meant "fall makes me want to start new things" and not
spring, in my previous message. yargh.
Spring is nice - but fall makes me think of getting things
into gear and moving.
breaking in a new mac today - 1.25 gagahertz (that was
a joke son, a joke!) really sings and it is funny to think in
terms of 512 megs of ram as being a little light - but this
is not the unix that I used to run on a PDP-11/34a, that is
for sure, and I think that a gig of ram is about right for this
machine, so I will have to get an extra stick of 512m to plug
in, and then I will have more ram that all of the machines in
the world put together back in the 70;s some time.....
I am working to get the pics from our last big trip with the
Badtz Maru up on the web - almost there (I was on the boat
for more than a month so there are a lot of pics to sort
I found a burner can from a jet engine when cleaning out a
bunch of stuff this afternoon - jon singer (lj name jonsinger)
is even now trying to get this to drive a kiln for his pottery -
this should be a lot of fun ;-) I am sure that he will find out
if he gets it running (or if there is an earth shattering kaboom)
Monday, November 10th, 2003
funny thing - I took a pass on my 25th high-school reunion, and
there were only a few people who I wanted to see there (high
school was not horrifying, but it was not a high-point in my
life) and instead went to a birthday party for a friend, and one of
the people who I might have gotten to see at the reunion was at
the party! Great to see him again, good talk and such - I am very
happy. He got to meet L - J was not there with us.
So, things work out. The Lunar Eclipse was cool too.
Tuesday, December 16th, 2003
damn you - the Iraqi people will send you to hell
Now that is a way to end a conversation, for sure.
As if life in Iraq wasn't dynamic enough, catching
Saddam alive is going to just contribute to it. In
the long run justice and other things may be well
served by this, but in the short run it might have
been a blessing if they had just dropped a grenade
down that hole and then found out later that it was
Saddam. The US military doesn't operate that way
though, despite what a lot of people think.
Wednesday, December 24th, 2003
things and people to remember on xmas eve
in no particular order, things that need to be remembered on this
eve of xmas.
Gary Liebowitz - my old friend, my japan connection, one of the brightest people
I have ever met, thus far in this life, and a man who chose to take his on life and
depart this veil of tears. I miss him all of the time, and as time goes by it I may
go more hourse or days between rememberances, but I still think of him and
remember him strongly. Perhaps I will encounter him in whatever form he comes
back to this earth, since that was a belief of his.
Louise Elderich - I am sure I am blowing that spelling - Louise was great, a real leader,
a real mench, she would appreciate that. She passed on recently, and will be missed.
Lucile McDonough - my grandmother on my mothers side - she passed on many
years ago, but I will remember her and her contributions to my life.
Our three babies who didn't make it, may they be in comfort; G and A and B. I hope
that they can look out for our baby who has made it, J. I think I am going
to need the help!
Three babys of friends that did not make it too. The baby business is not always
high-percentage, and we need to think about those who didn't make it into this
world, at least once in a while between the exhaustive bouts with the ones that DID.
John Sidgmore - not a relative of mine, just a business friend, but someone who needs
to be remembered, and thought of often. If we remember them, then they are not
completely gone, right? That goes for everyone on this list.
There are many others for everyone - we all have our list, and as time goes on, the list
gets longer and longer. At some point, we join the lists of others, and that is the end
of our list, most likely. Well, maybe not - depends on what you believe.
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Do you ever look at something, sometimes a web site, or just standing in a
situation, and sense that it is somehow one of your "alternate universes"
such that this was one of the directions you might have gone in, or ended
up in, if things had been somewhat different?
These are not always better realities than the one that you are really living
in now - in fact, for me I would have to guess that the split that I have seen
is somewhere near 50/50 because while I do not have any kind of count, by
general sense is that I can not say they are mainly in one direction or the
other, and it does happen often enough (maybe a couple of times a year,
maybe a bit more than that actually) that I would have a sense of it if it was
predominantly one (good) or the other (bad).
Sometimes, I just look at the situation and I know it, it feels familiar, not just
in a deja vu kind of way - to me, DV comes more as a smaller instant of time
that seems very strongly related, so much so that you are sure you have done
the exact thing before - this is more of a larger context and a less strong sense,
not that you have been here and done this beffore, but that this is one of the
things that you might have ended up doing, had things been different, and in
fact there is enough familiarity with it that you think maybe that there is an
alternative universe "you" running around doing it, so some of it leaks over and
you get this broad, low level sense of it.
It often has a melencholy feel to it for me, not a regret as in "I wish I had taken
this path and not that one" but more like seeing the other things that are on the
menu go past and you think "wow - that looks good - might have wanted to
taste that if I had a chance" but you wouldn't swap what you ordered for it even
if you could.
It does provide an empathy sense too - you have something very subtle and in the
background in common with the people who are in that alternate reality - after all,
for them, it is their real reality. They are on the inside, you on the out, but you have
a bit of a feel for what it is like to be in there.
Interesting to encounter these things.
Monday, January 19th, 2004
Ah, Colin Powell, we hardly knew ya....
I am so pissed off that powell got dragged into this whole
Iraq thing - the administration was clearly leaning on his
personal credibility to go out on a limb, and now that they
have been shown (and continue to be shown) to have blown
this thing, the person taking a kill shot is Powell. He had a
real shot at being the first black in the whitehouse, either
as president or as Veep, and now I might be wrong, but I
think he is toast from a political standpoint. I hope I am
very wrong, but right now I think the odds are not good.
And that is a real pisser.
Other politics - George Bush has got to go. I will be nice,
and just say that all of the good that we as a country were
going to get out of this administration has been had, and
another 4 years will be all of the bad and nothing good.
Of course, if he would fire John Ashcroft, that might get him
a little slack, but nowhere NEAR the amount of slack that
the administration would need to be even slightly OK for
another term. Time for the pendulem to start swinging the
Monday, January 26th, 2004
wish you were here
the video for pink floyds "wish you were here" is on the vh1 oldies
channel - yeah, I know, geezer, don't even start - but I realize what
an important song that has always been for me.
so you think you can tell
heaven from hell
blue skies from pain
can you tell a green fleid
from a cold steel rail
a smile from a veil
do you think you can tell
did they get you to trade
your heros for ghosts
hot ashes for trees
hot air for a cold breeze
cold comfort for change
did you exchange
a walk-on part in a war
for a lead role in a cage
(I just typed that as the were singing it - easy because
I know it by heart)
(interlude is here)
how I wish, how I wish you were here
we're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl
year after year
running over the same old ground
and have we found the same old fears
wish you were here
(more interlude - I can barely keep up with
them on the typing, but the interludes buy
me a tiny bit o slack (and we all need more
slack in our lives)
(que the steel breeze)
(they end it here on the vid - short version I guess)
music is such an important thing - and I never get any time
for it. I need to set up that time, and the place, and really be able to listen.
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eating strawberries in the snow
It is snowing here right now - coming down fast and thick, and
there is no wind to speak of, which is important. Standing in the
front yard, there is no noise, no sound, the snow covers everything
like a sound absorbing blanket, and noises near and distant are
absorbed, quieted. In the silence, there is a beautiful hiss, the
sound of the snow, as it lands everywhere, even the sound of the
flakes as they collide in decent, a quiet white noise that is at once
restful, and focusing. I can hear the sounds of the snow, and there
is a solitude that is hard, if not impossible, to get in any other way.
I am at peace, cocooned in my snowly world, the snow bright in the
darkness, and in the moment, without even the noises of nature,
I feel renewed.
I take a strawberry out of my pocket - why is it there? I bought them
at the store a little while ago, and now I have several in my pocket.
In the silence, and with the focus, the strawberry is overwhelming
in its sweetness, and with bite and tang, and I can feel the juices on
my lips, in my mouth. It would be unbearable except that is it
fabulous, lush. Every fraction of a second of it to be experienced.
I look down at my 2 year old daughter who is standing at my feet,
in her purple jacket and knit hat; she has been eating a handful of
snow and now she too bites into a strawberry which I have handed
her. She says "ummm..." and I know that she too appreciates the
strawberry in this context - I would love to hear her describe it.
As if reading my mind, she just yells, in that loud but very cute two
year old voice "Snow! Snow! Daddy Snow!"
Wednesday, January 28th, 2004
Menjar be I cagar fort / I no tigues por de la mort
It is not uncommon for Catalans to remark
"Menjar be I cagar fort / I no tigues por de la mort"
("Eat well, shit strongly, and you will have no fear of death")
that says it all
Saturday, January 31st, 2004
ron jeremy's notebook
ron must be a polymath, for lack of a better term - his notebook
(like a little black book, but this is a big 8.5x11 3-ring binder) is a
fantastic confused microprint swirl with pointers and a logic that
you can sense, but not understand.
I have seen books like that a couple of times before, a famous venture
capitalist I know has one a lot like it - nearly indecipherable to
anyone else, not at the entry level but at the larger level it disolves
into confusion - in rons case it is a 12 year collection of over 100
pages of 3 ring notebook paper, in the case of the VC it was rolodex
units, the huge industrial ones, scads of them.
The VC was challenged by another VC (younger, but still very senior)
to find someone's phone number - the old guy with his rolodex units
and the new guy with the latest (as of 3 or 4 years ago) PDA technology.
The old VC guy won.
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Sunday, February 15th, 2004
whip it good
Crack that whip
Give the past the slip
Ah, devo - when song lyrics meant something, other than "baby I want to
hump yer leg"
Now whip it
shape it up
try to detect it
it's not too late
to whip it
whip it good!
Thursday, February 19th, 2004
birds and teflon pointer
my thanks to LJ user SRC who has posted a comment below - she
has a pointer in her message to some bird/teflon info, and I have stolen
this link - thanks SRChttp://www.ewg.org/reports/pfcworld/part8.php
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a very sad day for me
One of my oldest friends, and the being that my account here is named
after, died today. My Umbrella Cockatoo, Shiro Tori, has passed on to
wherever it is that Cockatoos go - I do hope it is a good place.
She was maybe 16 years old, but she did not die of natural causes, per
se, she died when someone who does house work at our house brought
in a teflon coated pan and cooked with it.
For those not familiar with this problem, people who own birds are (or at least
should be) very cafeful to not have any teflon (non-stick) cookware around,
because if it is overheated it outgases stuff that is super-poison to birds (while
we consider this, why is it not bad for people? or is it?)
We had been careful in the past, in that we had made sure the house had none
of these things in it, but even though we had mentioned it to Celina, the woman
who has worked for us for 4 years, there was someone who was working for her,
and we are pretty sure that she simply never really understood what we were
talking about, as she has no english.
We are all crushed by this of course; The little white bird has been a part of our lives
for a long, long time.
Kurt Bauman and Mikki Barry gave her to me around 1990 or 91, and she
was the official office bird and my near constant companion as we started Digex
in the offices above the Chinese resturant in Greenbelt. During the winter when it
was so cold up there, she would stand on the backs of the Hitachi color monitors
where all the heat was streaming up. We passed her around the office not because
she needed to be accompanied, but because she was great company for the people
there. Melissa McDowell, Mym, RS, and many more early Digex people spent many
days and nights with Shiro on their monitors keeping them company, shredding
straws from the thousands of big gulps that were consumed at Digex from the 7-11
that we single handed kept in business across the square,
When Digex moved to 6800 shiro was one of the first people there, and when we were
meeting with the early venture partners who were backing digex, shiro was generally
there, sitting on top of a door looking sage and wise, or maybe it was just sleeping ;-)
There is a famous moment when one of the VC, a very straight laced guy, came in and
hung his suit jacket over the corner of the door, and managed to do this without seeing
Shiro sitting there, about at the middle of the door (the whole room was white, so she
must have just blended in). The rest of the VC saw her though, and when she opened an
eye, then two, then put her other foot down, all in very slow motion, and started
inching toward the coat, they all started laughing and gesturing, and the senior VC guy
saw it all, and got to his coat just before Shiro did. She just went back to sleep, keeping
an eye on all of us.
The El Torito in Greenbelt, also no longer with us, was a place where they accepted Shiro
and let her have lunch with us all the time - that was a blast and of course Shiro loved it.
She was a natural ham, loved to show off to people, enjoyed lots of human attention, and
at that time she travelled with me all the time, every day, so she was very used to things
that a "normal" bird would never be able to deal with. She was the most "socialized" bird
that I have ever known or heard of. She was potty trained (thanks Kurt and Mikki) which
made this being in public much easier - when I was driving around in my truck, with the
bird on my shoulder, I would roll down the window at stop lights and hold the bird out the
window and she would poop instantly; always amusing to the other drivers at the intersection.
As Digex got more corporate Shiro started spending more time at home - she knew how to
drink from coke cans, knew to drop them in the recycling box and was just plain smart.
She loved the foam on a Starbucks Latte, and the coffee too, truth be known, and most good
red wines she would try to get a taste for (the bubbles in bubbly disturbed her nose). She
was an incredible joy to me for something like 14 years, and was in good health so I think
she would have been with us much longer. This one small slip-up, one pan of a kind sold all
over the world, in every shop, and she is dead.
The other birds who used to live with us, Luna the goffins cockatoo, and Deadeye the greenwing
mccaw are fine, because they are living with Stacy Smith and thus were not here when this happened.
Shiro died in my arms as Lisa was driving us to the emergency vet - until the very last I hope I
was able to comfort her and let her know that we cared for her and loved her. I am so sorry for
this, I apologize to all of Shirobirds friends, and she had so many.
So, I am kinda exhausted after today. I will write more later, and I am going to put up a Shiro
tribute site - not too many birds got their picture in the Wash Post, with their name in the
caption, so there are many reasons to remember the wonderful little Shirobird.
P.S. Please feel free to comment on this with your rememberences about Shiro.
This is a good place to collect peoples thoughts.
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