"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Life and Times

It's been a while. I haven't just been neglecting this old blog, but really almost all my social interfaces. So a bit of a catch-up is probably in order. In this edition:

  1. Personal life and romance report quarterly update.
  2. How's business?
  3. And what about all that ranting...

Personal Life
I've been going through an antisocial phase. Other than occasionally making it over to The Dauters to watch some Ducks action — as I will this afternoon to see how things turn out vs. Standford — and trips to Drupal events, I haven't had much in the way of social interface. It's been ok, but I'm starting to realize that socializing makes me happy, and I miss it. It's not like I don't have plenty of friends. It's just that I have been letting that field lie fallow, which makes it kind of doubly sad. I think things will change as I start having a wee bit more free time (see below), but it's also part of getting older too. Food for though, and hopefully cause for action!

A contributing factor is having a long-distance relationship. Rina is wonderful and things are going about as great as I think they can possibly go when you're separated by 5000+ miles. We see each-other about every six weeks and have regular weekend skype chats. In moments of self-reflection, I'm actually somewhat bemused by how easy this has been. I've never been able to hold any kind of long-distance thing together before, but this has been uncannily smooth. Not that it doesn't totally suck (it does), but it's been so low-anxiety and generally drama-free, I don't quite know what to say. I'm a lucky guy.

Shit's about to get more real though. She returns to Estados Unidos in December, encamping once again in NYC. This makes it easier to visit, and to talk on a daily basis — the hardest part about 5000+ miles is the 8 hours if timezone; you're never really in the same frame of mind — but it also ushers in a whole set of new challenges and pressures. What, exactly, are we doing here? What's the next step?

Obviously living in the same city is the goal, but we're both fairly rooted on opposite coasts in the near term by our careers. It's a scary sacrifice to uproot your life for a girlfriend (or vice-versa). Not just with the whole "oh god I'm moving for a girl" thing, but also because it's not like you're 22 and aren't leaving a lot behind. More frequent visits are a fine first step, but it's going to be interesting. We joke about "whether or not we'll kill one another," but at this point I don't think there are any questions about our interpersonal compatibility. It's social integration and logistics. We'll see. I'm hopeful.

Business is Booming
Again, an embarrassment of riches. I am apparently sailing through the teeth of the great recession unscathed. It seems as though Chapter Three, the consultancy I started with Matt and Zack more than five years ago, is a living, breathing, independently-operating organization. It's standing on its own two feet, and actually thriving, which is really gratifying and encouraging to see.

Simultaneously, our new venture, Pantheon, which is what caused us to fire ourselves from our previous jobs, is on the edge of glory. We've managed to build something that people really like, that we think we can really deliver, at scale, and which there are actually paying customers for. It's like the holy grail of startups. We just launched the latest version to generally positive reviews, and should have some more great announcements soon. It's all happening.

From a personal career standpoint, it's hard to see how I could be more fortunate: I am working on something that I actually enjoy, with some of the smartest people I've ever known, and we're having a lot of fun doing it. While it's true that I work too much — e.g. handling a rash of pagerduty alerts that happend to land the one weekend my girlfriend was visiting was le suck — and am spread pretty thin, I really honestly truthfully cannot complain. I'm blessed.

So Why All The Ranting?
If you look at my tweets — which appears to be my preferred low-calorie comment method these days — it's about 50% nerd stuff, 10% personal updates and the rest links to various stories of Occupation or Politics. What's the deal with that?

For me, personal success (socially, romantically, economically) isn't super satisfying. I mean, sure, it feels good to succeed. It wouldn't be success if it weren't, but in the long run my sense of achievement and well-being is connected to the wider world and its measure of justness and harmony. I'm glad to be doing well because — warning: douchey self-rationalizing mind-trap area — I can do more with more, and being able to take care of my family, create jobs, etc, is a really good thing. But my perspective on what "a good life" is rests on more than just being part of a successful tribe. I want the world (to work) and I want it now.

We're getting close to a tipping point. Faith in institutions has been steadily declining for more than a decade, and the academically eyebrow-raising observation that "we've never seen this level of socioeconomic inequality without accompanying social unrest" seems to be coming to it's logical conclusion.

It's not just scrappy some do-o-cratic activists in NYC any more. Cops are beating on students and students are learning what it's like to taste injustice. I'm a bit jaded about what happens when you tangle the law in large groups — it doesn't surprise me to see police violence, and I can't help but register a lot of people's responses as hysterically naive — but reading some these things, or watching some of these, makes me step back and question that crusty old "been there done that" stance. Really? Is it really ok for this to happen? Is this really the world we want to live in?

And the answer of course is no. It's not ok. No more than the inequality is ok in the first place. This is wrong, and it may get worse before it gets better, but something's gotta give. I'll have more to say about that later I'm sure.

In conclusion
In short I'm great. I'm looking forward to a jam-packed year end and an amazing 2012. I feel sometimes overwhelmed and sometimes like I'm really becoming a very boring person, but those are lucky problems to have. To all my friends and family, sorry for being such a distant doofus. I'll do better. Promise.