July 4, 2008 Header

July 2008 Twenty-two posts

William Gibson

In 1988 I, along with my pal Chris Greazel, saw William Gibson read at a bookstore in La Jolla, above La Jolla Cove. It was intimate, maybe two dozen people in the audience. We had a great time, and it felt like we’d had an audience with the pope. I’m not sure why it was that we were so compelled by science fiction, but we lived and breathed the thing that excited our brains more than anything else. Well, maybe we pined for women more, but we had no hope there, so what we had was design, futurism, Blade Runner, and especially Cyberpunk.

A few months ago Leah and I went to Pasadena and watched William Gibson give a short reading from Spook Country, his latest book, and now in paperback.

Here’s a blurry photo in which Mr. Gibson is a small smudge in the lower right corner:

Blurry Vroman's #2: William Gibson

William Gibson still inspires me, but it’s a measure of my ability to sustain my priorities that I did not pick up Spook Country in hardback, and will get to it in paperback eventually. My eyes are on different goals. Fiction ends up taking a back seat to autiobiography.

I’ve written about William Gibson before: see other posts tagged William Gibson

On The Money Front

A few observations:

Payments to the IRS seem to be processed very fast. Like faster than any other payment we make.

Our stimulus payment from the IRS was credited to our outstanding balance too (nice!) and they sent us a nice letter to that effect.

Budgets are not as bad as the ten-years-ago me would have thought.

In ten years when I have real wealth I’m really curious about what I might be doing. I suspect I’ll be taking lots of classes and travelling much more. This trip we’re on now is an anomaly. It’s generously being paid for by my Aunt. And next week we’re taking a family vacation that I think is the kind of thing we’ll be able to do more of in the future, and sooner than ten years.

Following my bank accounts daily is rather like looking at the power level in a fighting game. You want to see how much reserves you have so you can keep punching.

The other morning I found two alien transactions in our joint account. Not me, not Leah. And if that happens, it’s fraud. I know MAS will chide me for banking with them, but WaMu took good care of me, credited me for the fraud, and put it all in motion to get it resolved.

In two years we’ve retired about $35k in debt. Still about $68k to go. I feel like we can keep this pace. We need to get smarter about taxes though. Otherwise that’s going to be a bite every time, all the time. We are working on it.

Chill time in lovely Maui has not caused my brain to atrophy. If anything it gives me time to think about things more deeply.

Leah Reads

It’s awfully pretty here. In the distance that island is Molokai. She’s been a voracious reader for the past 2 weeks or so. Almost a book a day.

Leah reads

WebSanDiego Movie Night, 2001

Way back when, as a group, WebSanDiego, or at least parts of it, went to see Startup.com at the Ken Cinemar. That was fun. I think that was the first time I met Pinguino in person!

I made this graphic as part of a promotional page for the event. I think it still looks pretty good for being thrown together with the MacOS 8 tools available to me at the time.

WebSanDiego Movie Night

In Maui

Despite the old posts that will be showing up some mornings, I’m actually here, on the 12th floor of a vacation spot on the Island of Maui in the Hawaiian Islands, formerly the Sandwich Islands, and according to Wikipedia, “at about 1,860 miles from the nearest continent, the Hawaiian Island archipelago is the most isolated grouping of islands on Earth.”

So this where I’ll be for the week. The photo below is looking west southwest from our spot in Kahana on Maui. The island you see is Lanai.

View east from Kahana, of Lanai

Blogquitting

Another unearthed post, half-thought, half-written, and now posted, post-dated.

I suppose some folks can just quit blogging. The main story of bloggers who stop blogging is that they can’t actually stop.

I’m not talking about the sad characters who read they need a blog, do it for a week and then their sites sit on blogspot.com for eternity.

I’m talking about people who manage to get blogging several times a month for years. In my experience these people get hooked on blogging and even if they quit, they come back eventually. Maybe it takes years, but they come back. They always come back.

I thoroughly expect to see Leahpeah start blogging again, for example, though my saying so probably will delay her further.

Bar Camp LA 4 Rocked (Post Retrieved from Drafts)

Nine months ago I went to BarCampLA4.

Wall

Now it’s July and I find myself wondering why I never posted this draft. I guess it got superceded by this post.

I brought in ice and some grape soda and 7-up. Also, Nilla Wafers! I didn’t go the first day, but came the second, Sunday. It was awesome.

Post pizza

I had a really great time, learned what a Chumby was for the first time, saw great code demos, and got smarter.

Chumby
I is here

After BCLA4, I ate dinner (Sheperd’s Pie) at Royal Clayton’s on Industrial around the block from the Greyhound Bus terminal.

I got to shake the hand of RMS, who also had closed the unconference.

Stallman

See all my photos tagged barcampla4, and those of others.

I guess I intended to write more, but I never did. I think the thing about drafts that I intend to spend time on is that I just need to push them out there, because I always seem to have more to write about.

Foobarmitzvah

I’m in this photo!

Foobarmitzvah

Haps

So here’s the deal kids.

Today, Monday 28 July, 2008 was my last on-site workday at Sierra Online. Working at Sierra was a pleasure. Altogether pleasant and professional people there, and several new friendships formed. Alas, like most things, it had to come to an end. There are changes afoot for Sierra, and I hope all there have the most best things happen for them.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 29 July, 2008, Leah and I will fly to a tropical island for a vacation with several other members of my extended family. For a week. I am hopeful that I can chill out and not think about what my next job might be, and jQuery, and YUI, and FBML, but it’s likely I will be thinking about those things, but if it’s with a lovely view, that’ll be a net win.

I’ll probably be lining up times for conversations, phone screens, and phone interviews with recruiters, hiring managers while I’m there. Let’s hope I also get some beach time in.

After a week of that, Leah and I and the kids will be driving in a northerly direction to visit Leah’s sister’s place in rural Washington State for even more chill out time. It will be a relief to go on a family vacation that is not, in actuality, a visit to Utah. Utah is awesome, don’t get me wrong, but we’ve needed to branch out for a while. The kids are looking forward to seeing their cousins and I’m looking forward to sleeping.

I still owe many new BlogHer acquaintances emails and a roll-up blog post. I’ve had fun friending them on twitter and flickr and starting to read their blogs. Lots of cool people.

Maybe tomorrow before we fly. Oh, and I should pack, too. We’ll see.

Coit Tower, Lombard Street, Me

Lots happening. In lieu of a content post tonight, here are some photos from San Francisco!

Coit Tower and Columbus Statue
Lombard Street`
Joe, Nerdy, Top of Lombard Street

Mural Headline: “Home Foreclosures; Banks Refuse U.S. Home Loan Bonds”

As the cliché goes: the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Home Foreclosures; Banks Refuse U.S. Home Loan Bonds. Oil Magnates Arrested; Break N.R.A. Code

Detail from this mural from Coit Tower, built in 1933, during the Great Depression:

From Coit Tower Murals

These photos are from my series of photos of the murals at the base of Coit Tower, from last week when I visited San Francisco.