June 2007


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The Dickdusters played Annie’s Social Club, San Francisco, June 19, 2007.  I took some pictures.  Click on the image to see them.

I was on the telephone with Rabid today. I told her that she was going to be mad at me.

She giggled, as though I were being naughty.

“No, really. You’re going to be mad.”

“What is it, then?”

“I’ve been skating.”

There was silence on the other end of this line. I waited.

She didn’t say anything.

I used to skateboard a lot, for several years. I skated everywhere. I went through quite a few skates, two destroyed under cars and one under a bus.

Yes, and, well, I broke a few bones. A wrist, a clavicle, a fibula.

Rabid and I weren’t dating when I did the wrist and clavicle on consecutive weekends.

We were dating when I did the fibula. She was there when I came out of surgery with my shiny new plate and eight screws. She was there, driving from Delaware to Philly to pack coolers for my bedridden self. For months. She was there, dealing with the irritability caused by the months of painkillers. Pushing me in a wheelchair. Lugging the wheelchair in and out of the car. Taking me to doctor’s appointments. Taking me, like luggage, on previously-planned summer vacations.

She is against me skating for some reason.

I thought I should come clean.

There was still silence on the phone, so I started in.

“I went to dinner with Srinivas down in Mountain View, so I skated to the Cal Train station,” I said chipperly.

“You didn’t.” The voice of doom.

“That was a little tentative, but then I skated from the train station to the restaurant and that was much better.” It had been seventeen years since I had been on a skate.

“You didn’t.” She didn’t seem to share my enthusiasm.

“I told Srinivas that you would be mad and he insisted on driving me back to the station. Took my skate away and locked it in his trunk until the train came. In fact, he was going to drive me all the way back but I claimed I wasn’t going to have to skate again.”

“Srinivas is a good friend.” Ah! Enthusiasm!

“But I lied. I skated back from the train station and it was excellent.”

“You didn’t.” Back to that again.

“Sure, I did. In fact, I still have the skate in my room. It’s on loan.”

“You’d better return it.”

“I can’t. The owner is away until Friday.”

That’s when things got bad.

She claims I’m on my own if I get hurt.

I know better.

Still, best not to provoke the Rabid Kitten. So, um, (almost) no more skating for me.

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On Sunday, we ate lunch at The World Famous Brookdale Lodge. It is, too.


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My nephew misbehaved.  

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His mother slept peacefully.


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Delirium, San Francisco, 6/15/07.

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Philly Scott is the DJ at Delirium on Friday nights.

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My parents, older sister, and one of my nephews are visiting. Today we took the boat to Alcatraz and took the tour.

My contract ended today.

I actually left it a month early.

I was hired to help document this large mass of Perl code. This code comprised a system used by this particular company to retrieve information in the form of data files from vendors, perform some validation and processing, and make the data available to other business processes and researchers in the form of databases, flat files, or specialized data sets. When I got there, I started to write a script to help me make sense of the large amount of configuration data. The capabilities of this program grew over time until it could produce much of the documentation automatically as HTML pages and spreadsheets. It could also resolve certain dependencies in the source code that were difficult and time-consuming to determine before.

I think I gave them good value.

When I got out here, I got back in touch with a friend of mine from the Red Menace. I’ve known her for several years; she and her husband have visited RaidKitten and I in Vermont.

It was one of those synchronicity things, actually. On the day I was going to send her an email telling her I was in the Bay Area, she sent me an email, not realizing I was in the Bay Area.

I’ve seen her a few times for a meal or drinks. I haven’t seen her husband socially for various reasons. He did, though, suggest I should interview at the startup where he has been working for the past two years. This place is out in the East Bay; Pleasanton. He’s an architect there and has played a major technical role.

So, I did. I was a little intimidated going to the interview. The technologies they are using are pretty out there; telephony and Internet convergence. The first day I met with three people; a senior technical person, one of the founders (the Chief Technical Officer), and the VP of Engineering. I got along well with everyone and they seemed to like me.

I wore Carhartts and hiking boots to the interview. I did buy a new shirt on the way.

A few weeks later (while RabidKitten and the ‘springs were visiting) I went over for a second interview. I met with a ‘voice interface designer’ for a while, then I spoke with the other founder (the CEO). They had just that morning released their new service (which I learned about before the interview on Mashable, thank you very much), so the third person I was supposed to meet had gone home, having put in something like thirty hours.

A few days later, they made an offer.  I gave a day more than two week’s notice; I left today.  I start Monday.

I will be working for the new company as a telecommuter; their first. I’m honestly not sure what I am going to be doing yet. During the interview, several possible projects were discussed; all were interesting. The software, already in use, is a number of web services provided to or through external sites, typically social networks.

I’m looking at a steep learning curve. The core language is C#, a derivative of Java. As I mentioned, the technologies are esoteric and specialized. It is subject matter that I am interested in, and I am excited to get to it.

Over the past few months, I have started to feel somewhat isolated from my place at Divergent Technology. At present, it is a boutique services company. We provide comprehensive service to a few clients.

I took the contract in San Francisco for two reasons. One reason was that I really wanted to do some serious software development. It had been since I did the barcoding job in January ’06 that I had developed anything with any level of complexity. I was bored. The second reason was money; while Divergent Technology is solvent, it couldn’t pay me what I needed to be paid. I never took a salary from Divergent Technology until last fall; even then, I only took what the company could afford; a tiny bit less than Supertech was making, actually. Of course, Divergent was paying for health care. In any event, while trying to get Divergent to go, we ran through a lot of resources. And now we need the money.

This job fell into my lap. It neatly solves both issues. It adds the fascination of the new technologies.

Supertech is now Divergent Technology general manager. He has been for the past several months; I’ve had almost nothing to do with the business since I’ve been here. When I get back, I will just function in an advisory role, keeping separate from the day-to-day operation. I will let the company grow gradually for a few years and then use it as a vehicle for other projects.

I’ll continue to work a day a week on the ambulance.

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