(no subject)

If I'm going to bitch about how Facebook sucks in other people's journals, I should probably post in mine to support the cause.

I'm still alive, even though many of you have seen neither hide nor hair of me in many a moon. Here's a brief recap of what I've been up to.

I helped a good friend get his startup launched and funded, ran the kitchen at an Irish pub near my house on the weekends last summer, spent a lot of time traveling to be with my family (genetic and not) during important moments in their lives, officiated blanu and umpteenthtime's wedding, went backpacking by walking out my front door, over the Golden Gate Bridge and up the Marin Headlands, and did a lot of work on various projects that are coalescing into a shape suitable for public release in the extremely near future.

In the past week, I've seen two old friends from Texas who were visiting out here, spent two days snowboarding up in Tahoe, and spent two days in Deep Hack, forgetting to eat until I noticed there was no light in my room other than my laptop. My boots have saltwater and snow dried into them, and things I'm proud of -- line by line, bugfix by bugfix -- are being born. This is as it should be.

What about y'all? How are y'all doing?


Got laid off Friday. Can't say I didn't see it coming, but was unsure when the hammer would fall. That said, I'm not really upset. I've been needing a long break to work on Mike-specific things, and now I have the opportunity and the means to do so. At the very least, I'm expecting not to work for anyone else for 3 months, and I have up to a year's worth of runway if I manage my expenses well. Throw in some consulting and contract gigs, and I plan to just see where the tide takes me.

One of the things on my list to do with this time is do a better job of jotting down some of the ideas I have. To that end, I've put a blog up at http://mentalexoskeletons.blogspot.com, which you can view in your LJ Friends List by going here: http://syndicated.livejournal.com/mentalexoskelet/

David Foster Wallace

There are a lot of things I'd like to say on this subject, but the only one that I suspect is ultimately worth anything is simply this, "I'm glad I don't hurt like that".

Godspeed, man. I hope there's something after this, and I hope the trade you made was worth it.

You can take the boy out of Texas...

As y'all may or may not know, I've moved from the East Bay into San Francisco proper. One of the biggest enticements I had moving out of my idyllic zen sinecure in El Cerrito (where other people did the shopping and cleaning and all I had to do was keep my door closed and pay the rent on time, and I could see the entire bay from my deck and my bedroom window) was the opportunity to cook whatever I wanted. And as should completely unsurprising, what I want to cook is barbeque. But there's no place to put a barbeque pit in my new apartment in the Inner Richmond - what to do? The answer? Fireplace. This weekend, I built a smoker into my fireplace, and smoked some pork ribs. It was excellent.

What you're looking at is a frame built of 1/2 inch galvanized pipe which supports a grill and a smoke hood made from the lid of an enameled roasting pan, combined with the body of the roasting pan which is where the coals and the smoking medium (in this case, waterlogged mesquite chips and chopped onions) go. I've wanted a barbeque pit like this for a long time. In this configuration, you have direct access to the coals, can add more charcoal, or smoking medium, at will, can measure the temperature of both the coals and the meat directly, and can look up at the bottom of the meat on the grill without having to take the lid off and stop the smoking process. I've only cooked one thing on it, but I already see huge opportunities for experimentation and progress.

So, anytime anyone is down for an afternoon of beer-drinking and conversation, show up at my house with some meat and we'll fire this thing up.

(no subject)

The fact that we can search for and find anything we've ever written or received is going destroy everything we think we know about communication.

And that's going to be terrifying and awesome.

We're so happy we can hardly count.

Last Saturday I attended Y Combinator's Startup School. There was a ton of useful information, but the best part was when Jeff Bezos told his VP of Product Management to give me an exception to SimpleDBs 100 domain limit. Here's a video. My question is right at the very end.

So now I'm trying to get in touch with Adam Selipsky, the aforementioned VP. Calling Amazon's Corporate switchboard doesn't work, as Selipsky's office doesn't take calls that come in through reception. This is pretty standard internet company strategy to keep the weirdos at bay. I've done a little email address speculation, but I thought I'd see if anyone out there knows anyone who can look up his email in an internal address book.

If you do, feel free to email me at mike at omgwerock.com

Unrequitable crushes are actually the best kind

So there's this lady who works down the block from our office. I think she works for some variety of financial institution. She looks like a cross between 10,000-Maniacs-Unplugged Natalie Merchant and Racheline Maltese; apart from her fondness for black knee-boots she dresses rather conservatively, but over the course of a year I've become certain that her body would leave me speechless if I were to see it all at once. I run into her at Beale Street Bar and Grill, the neighborhood watering hole at the base of my building. We nod occasionally.

I post about this because she's related to no lengthier thread in my life. When I leave California, I'll remember the awesome people I've met here and the good friends I've made, but I doubt that 20, and 30 and 40 years on I'll remember the oh-so-cute-accountant(?) who causes Stockton Gala Days to echo in my head every time I see her, because she'll have no context to the larger flow of my life. And I don't want to forget any of this, so I'm writing it down here.

The Longest Day of the Year

Today is June 21st, which most every almanac lists as the summer solstice for 2007. However, I saw/heard a lot of people who pay attention to such things proclaim June 19th as the solstice this year.

Did anyone else notice this? Can anyone enlighten me on what might have been going on?