"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Politrix

Atrios on Obama's economy captures the essence of what I find so dispiriting:

The point isn't that there was some magic obvious solution, the point is that the problem was bigger than they imagined and, frankly, recovery noises from the administration started to remind me of Bush era noises about how things were always improving in Iraq.

Team Obama appears to have taken all the wrong lessons from team Bush. They pursue the limp magical-thinking type propaganda — "clap louder!" — couched as DC-centric conventional wisdom (which is itself morally and intellectually bankrupt), without apparently even contemplating the virtues of a Cheney-esque will to power.

They also play politics very poorly, much more poorly than the Clintons.

I find myself in odd moments beginning to wish we'd nominated Hillary.

Happy Birthrday Frank and Brie

Two of my favorite people are a year older today. My hobmre Frank Edward Robbins the Fifth, jobseeking soon to be father of two, and of course my sister-pal, coming up from behind with her own brand of bound-for-glory greatness. I got a chance to break bread with Brie last night in Brooklyn on my way out of town, and she showed me this, which I thought was brilliant:

So happy birthday to both of you, and be glad you're not attacked by Pandas. Go get 'em, Leos!

Much Like Pints Of Guiness, Bicycling Makes You Stronger

Music Please:

I haven't written much about politics in the past... year or so, mainly because it's been such an unqualified bummer. I read Krugman and Duncan and check up with my friend the subcommondante on a daily, and pretty much count myself in their camp on most issues. If you want to stay in the know, you could do a lot worse.

But this caught my eye and excited some comment, well, because it highlights the total batshit insanity angle of what's going on out there, and in doing so sheds some maybe pretty good light on what exactly makes the whole political situation so depressing. I could not help but remark.

So, the leading Republican candidate for Governor of Colorado thinks that having a free bike program in the city of Denver is the first step towards one world government:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are "converting Denver into a United Nations community."

"This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed," Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial.

Traction

Music please:

Last night I tried really hard to party. I ended up drinking a Sparks Plus ("SPARKS PLUS!!!") and then falling asleep about 20 minutes later. This is both a testament to my relative level of fatigue and a pretty shitty way to get rest.

The upside here is that I was trying to party because things have gone well and I felt justified blowing off a little steam. I've been doing 8:30am to 10:30pm for two weeks straight (Noon to 8 or 9pm on weekends) and with this level effort and rallying significant support from a killer team of developers, we are getting over the hump.

While I don't want to get locked into the pattern of 80-hour weeks as a norm, this has been good for a number of reasons:

"Most People Can't Do That"

As most of you can likely intimate from my infrequent blogs and tweets, I'm in the process of feeling out the next iteration of my career ambitions. After four years of idiosyncratically living part-time in the woods and bootstrapping an internet consultancy, I'm relocating to San Francisco proper, and my partners and I are beginning to intentionally exploring the next level.

One of the best things about this process so far has been actively seeking out advice from older, wiser, and more experienced people in our field. One of my constant observations — verging at times on complaint — over the past few years is that I don't feel there's a really good roadmap or template for what I do with my life. I'm coming to understand that's not really the case. Certainly there are particular novelties about my experience, but it turns out there are plenty of smart people out there who have done things not unlike what I'm doing now: working in a disruptive technology space with a lot of other folks, building a business and figuring out how to make the most of it all.

In hindsight, this is unsurprising. Anytime you think you're a really unique snowflake, chances are you're at least partly flattering yourself. Even though there aren't many people from my immediate peer group that are doing comparable things, there are plenty of people on the scene here in good old Silicon Valley who are.

And, in getting to know some of these people, it's reall nice to get some external validation. Left to my own devices, I will always expect more of myself, always in some way unsatisfied with my achievements. It's easy to sit here in my office and see all the things I haven't done, all the opportunities we missed, all the work that's still left to do.

But the outside voice reminds me, in speaking of what we've built, "you know, most people can't do that."

Gonna Be A Showdown / Put Your Nose Down

Part of the problem with working a lot as a matter of course is that you don't necessarily have a ton of "afterburner" power. I can go from zero to sixty pretty quick and steady, but that top-end power — the 60 to 100 — is harder. Still doable, but comes with more stress than I really like.

Plus I haven't been taking awesome care of myself, so the physical plant isn't in top condition. Months of decadent living, no bicycle, bad posture; relatively speaking I'm probably in some of the worst shape of my life.

All of which leads to various and sundry fantasies of training, getting back on track, cue the theme song from Rocky and all that jazz. They're fantasies, but the idea of imposing more will and intention on my day to day has been caroming around my head for months now: eating better, getting sweaty, reading and writing more, early to bed and no TV, flossing twice a day. You know, the things you're supposed to do as a good and healthy human being.

It's approaching the point of a crisis of confidence, where I begin to doubt my own ability to get my shit together. So I guess we'll see what happens here.

I'm headed back down to SF this afternoon, will have to start carving out some routines, pretend I'm training for the champeenship. Books and brawn, that's the plan I think.

Guided Nostalgia

Packing up my room here in Westhaven, pulling up lots of interesting finds from the past four years. I saved a ton of business cards from all the various conferences I've been to since moving to California. There are some good postcards, some interesting letters from interesting women from the past, and a little parade of old wedding invites, baby pictures, and christmas cards.

It makes me wistful, reviewing these artifacts. I don't want to change my past. Nor do I want to go back and repeat it. But I do wish — especially with baby pictures and the like — that I had more time to be there, to be a more active participant in all the wonderful happenings within my extended network.

I'll also miss the hell out of this house; more than anything Kellymundo and Ace.

I think before I started becoming a real entrepreneur I had an alternate track that would have put me here more to stay, and while I'm happy to be where I am and headed where I'm headed, I'm also just a little sad and curious about that other track.

Hopefully I'll have many happy returns to this little piece of Redwood Paradise. I'm sad to be leaving.

BARTBlogging

An old tradition returns: killing time down here on the Embarcaderro platform, taking advantage of that sweet sweet free wifi.

Big local news was yesterday's verdict in the Oscar Grant trial. Last New Years over in Oakland, a BART cop shot a kid in the back. He, the young man, the young black man (natch), was handcuffed at the time, lying face down on the ground actually.

The verdict was involuntary manslaughter.

On the one hand, it's a rare enough thing for an officer of the law to get convicted of anything — horrifying security footage probably helped there — but it's still a pretty BS verdict if you ask me. I'm hoping hard that the judge hits the killer with the gun enhancement, sends him away for a good ten years or so.

The defense was that he thought he had his taser. This is pretty hard to believe for anyone who's actually held a handgun and a taser. You really wouldn't make that mistake, and I wonder why there wasn't some tactile evidence submitted to the jury. "Feel these things? They both have pistol grips, sure, but notice how one weighs twice as much? Notice how their safety mechanisms are in completely different places?"

But you can't expect the most diligent prosecution in these cases. No DA wants to send a member of their own team to prison. And anyway, why taser a kid in the back who's already face down and cuffed? I guess it made sense to the jury. I guess the jury also didn't have any African Americans on it either. Queue the Bob Dylan.

Reaction-wise there was some violence in the streets, but nothing too out of hand. The Whole Foods and the Foot Locker got smashed up, and there was a lot of standoffing, but no fires, no widespread looting or destruction. That's good. People expected the worse, and an acquittal would have probably have been more inflammatory.

Back on the Mainland

I spent the past four days on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii, doing my part as a groomsman for the blessed union of Jesse Austin Dean and Gina Maria Long. Everything went off incredibly well. Weddings are sometimes occasions for people who don't see (or really want to see) one another very often — e.g. divorced parents — to clash. But there was zero drama, many kind words were said — my man The Girth burnishing his credentials as a first-rate orator — and a good time was had by all, not least the bride and groom.

Most of my experience was (rightly) about these other people, but it was pretty good for me too. Not a vacation, but a chance to decompress for 72 hours. Touristas aside, my cliche expectations are much exceeded by the reality of Hawaii. The North Shore felt like a place to spend some more time without a schedule or obligations, and I enjoyed being an out-of-place bum in Waikiki for a day.

Also got a lot of reading done. Finished the Žižek without uncovering significant further revelation, and then slurped up the much less dense Geography of Bliss, which was a good pick for a quick pseudovacation. Eric Weiner, a foreign correspondent from NPR and self-professed "grump" with an overdeveloped sense of irony, travels the globe to very happy (and unhappy) places, in search of what makes them so. Occasionally strenuously clever tone aside, the content is good food for thought. I was particularly struck by this passage at the end of his visit to the recently-ultrawealthy Quatar:

Calmer Now. Total Control.

By means of assuaging my mother and anyone else who might be tuning in, in spite of my angsty posts I'm not going to collapse into nothingness or the like. I am getting a lesson in "how much is too much" from a work/stress standpoint, but things are actually progressing well on that front, and I'm about to escape — succurro! succurro! — to Hawaii for a wonderful (wedding) celebration of life.

I may be hailin' from the edge, but I'm pretty sure everything is gonna be alright.

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