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The Great Indoors

The Last Lecture

Sometimes stories and people sneak up on you when you least expect it but most need it. Randy Pausch, recently named in the 2008 Time 100, is a Professor of Computer Science and virtual worlds at Carnegie Mellon (and who has worked for Disney Imagineering) who is dying of pancreatic cancer. Long admired as a professor at Carnegie Mellon, Pausch gave his “Last Lecture” in September 2007 about achieving your childhood dreams. More than that, Pausch - to me - is an example of the resiliency of the human spirit; a teacher of both how to die and how to live. His last lecture is below.

I hope you’ll watch it.

New places and West coast faces

I spent the last week or so on a long overdue and much deserved vacation from the grind of young professional life. The previous few weeks, between a tumultuous schedule and life rearranging events at work, home, and elsewhere, had left me categorically exhausted.

Before my trip, however, I spent last weekend moving into my new studio apartment, a 550 sq ft space with hardwood floors and annex rooms for an office and dining table. Unrealized, it could house your grandmother or your friend with the stylish bachelors pad. I intend to make it the latter. More to come soon on that.

Without any sleep prior to my flight on Tuesday, I spent most of my time on the flights sleeping. After another nap at Ross’ place we went out and bought food and wine to make fondue (picture below) and bought Call of Duty 4 for the Xbox. A good night just being a couple of dudes.


Wednesday I spent the day in San Francisco, walking around the Financial District, Embarcadero, Chinatown and Union Square. Ross met me in the city after work in SoMa and we had dinner before attending a Yahoo! Brickhouse party put on around the Web 2.0 Expo. (for once I wasnt in town for one of these for work). I have to admit that at about 10 PST I was ready to sleep.

Thursday and Friday evening I visited Mike in Berkeley, “helping” him create a mean creamy chicken and wild rice soup for a function at his school, the Franciscan School of Theology. Friday night, Ross and I met Mike in Berkeley for dinner, and walking along the streets littered with Cal students made me genuflect and long for another go at my college years. Mike and I also spent a solid portion of our evening ruthlessly and unrelentingly picking on Ross over his bright red HHR rental car.

Ross and the HHR

Ross and Mike eating frozen yogurt

Saturday the three of us went to Napa, where we visited Freemark Abbey, Trinchero and Grgich Hills (we tried Rombauer, with no luck). I enoyed a number of the wines at Freekmark and Grgich, but nothing came close to being distinctive enough to remain in my memory and compel me to buy a bottle. After dinner at Liverpool Lil’s in Presidio (excellent pub food), we went our separate ways.

Ross and T

Ross and Mike

All in all, it was a trip that contained almost all of what I needed in my life at the moment. Good food, good wine, a change of scenery, a change of pace, fresh faces, and two of my best friends.

The details of my life are quite inconsequential…

Just to keep things in perspective.



Sometimes a photo can uncover stark truths and even more startling fictions. On the other hand, a photograph can incite a kaleidoscopic collage of memory with visions and realities traveling desperately through your mind before breaking like a bubble hitting the surface of water and only momentarily grasped.

Sometimes when I look at a photograph, I see things as they were and, often, are. It’s in these moments that the memories are focused into the clarity and sharpness of a winter air that excoriates you slightly as you inhale. On the other hand, much of the time when I look at a photograph, I still see things as I want them to be.

From Mute Math:

I see our fate, I see our past
And all the things that could not last
It’s heavy on these eyes, frozen as I hold this photograph
It’s all we’re left that’s of any worth
And it’s so much more than a thousand words
Now in this frame is our only way we can endure

I pictured you and me always
And in this photograph we’re safe

Bill Withers

Bill Withers performance of “I Can’t Write Left Handed” is probably one of the best songs written about war that I’ve ever heard. It cuts through the macro politics and focuses on what it’s like for a lone soldier. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a clip of the song (from the Carnegie Hall album). Still, Withers has a voice that just screams: I am a man.

Home Life

This year….

I suppose its cliche - as the minutes inexorably pass and 2008 approaches - to genuflect on what’s happened over the last year. To think wistfully of stolen moments and sunsets over the Atlantic. To accept my regrets and mistakes (and I’ve got them) and vow that they’ll never happen again. To feel heartbreak over time that has passed and feel simultaneous joy at being given that exact same time. To mourn those lost and remember how they enriched your life. To appreciate those closest to you and feel thankful for the part they have played in your life. To know that to have someone in your life for whom you’d do anything is a lucky blessing.

I hope that all the important people in my life - and they know who they are - are fortunate enough to feel the same things as this year draws to a close.

I continue to learn that no matter how grown up you may feel, a year full of both the sweet and the sour will make you just a little bit (or a lot) wiser.

And we should be thankful for every minute of it.

I am.

Happy New Year!

I don’t trust myself with loving you

Ross is a published author


Ross has completed his book and it’s now available for order on Amazon and in all fine bookstores.

I don’t have a clue what it’s about - but I’m sure it’s good!

We’re proud of you, boss.