"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Season of Changes

It's shaping up to be a pretty big Autumn. My favorite season to begin with, a time of change, of ripening and harvest, of back-to-school, of warm days and cool nights, outdoor fires and strung up lights. It's the natural time for me to hit the reset button.

And that I have. Over the past two days I've helped clear and clean the Cornell Club and have taken up roost in the easterly-facing upstairs side of Houseku, which is a really nice house (verging on compound) down in the Mission with five other people who all Talk Nerdy living in it. The rent is unspeakable for someone with my class pretensions, but if I can live up to my ideal of utilizing the (awesome) kitchen instead of living off food I pay other people to cook for me, it's almost a wash since I don't have to drop $8 a day on BART.

Anyway, the point is contra my basic theorem of life experience one of the things you can actually do to shake up your life experience is shift your surroundings. That I have done. And hope to follow it up with a shift in routines as well.

The first is the switch away from take-out as a prime source of sustenance. I'm happy to stimulate the economy, but this is textbook BDE (Bad Domestic Economy; contra the progenetor of the Girth: "six dollars for a burrito?! that's just beans, rice and cheese... (shakes head in disgust)") and I get good vibes from cooking, so that's something I should do more.

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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:

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"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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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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Focus, Davidson. Focus.

Having a lot of trouble focusing, my mind skittering around the edges of what's to be done. Feels like personal failure. I'm a little sad, caught here outside the perimeter, alone.

In the grand scheme of things I know I'm one of the luckiest people alive, that This Too Shall Pass, but it's just not a great Sunday morning.

On the one hand, I believe that good things require some amount of pain and sacrifice — A Grand Don't Come for Free, after all — I also believe that the most important thing is to stop struggling.

When struggling, there's a pretty good chance that "You're Doing It Wrong."

Not sure how to do it right though.

Not super happy that Rina is moving to London next week.

Not feeling very much in the flow, or where to go to get picked back up into the stream.

For the moment, it's a world of TODOs and trying the best you can, trying the best you can, hoping the best you can is good enough.

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Trends: Positive

Positive things:

  • Back up on the bike! It's hard to underestimate the value of getting natural endorphins in the mix, and circulating the lymphatic system.
  • After a weekend of feeling sort of like a shut-in, having much better social times at work and at home.
  • I (heart) the world cup. It's better than the Olympics, I think.
  • Pandora radio on my Android as I walk and cruise. The two "stations" I am rocking now are Mark Ronson and Wolfmother. I particularly like thinking about the physics of listening to that as I ride said bike.

I know I'm in a better mood because I see beautiful people around again rather than inhabit a dark grey ugly zombieland, and I'm tolerant of failure and setbacks. It's a better way to be – more effective, not to mention more pleasant — and I'm hoping I can sail through the storm like this.

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