Sunday Hotcakes and Sausage at McD’s

Here I sit at the McD’s on Thornton on July 3d. I woke up early after a bit of time enjoying the comfort of the futon and the morning cool air and my fan rotating its way. I was in a dreamless state from about 1130 to 7am. Nothing nagged or snagged my consciousness during that time. Usually because I’m old, the day after drinking beer to excess I sleep really soundly and wake up feeling ready or almost ready for a Sunday. I still kinda stare around at my little room and seem to remember the fractured house and heading downstairs to put a pot of Joe on, let the dog out after giving her the required two pieces of bread that she stood waiting at the Fridge for. The ex-wife was gone doing whatever ex-wives do with their lovey dovey’s. The kids were not stirring and it was a moment frozen in time.

But now I stir in my own little room. Look around and determine that I made it! Another day in the SF Bay area defines itself. Tomorrow, a holiday. This one signifies something more though. It signals the the shift of the year of 2016 to the final winter of living in the Bay area. Next year by October I will be gone. I’m not sure where but I know how now. Will it be Asia like I dream? Traveling the rails and buses here and there? Cambodia and Malaysia and Thailand for months? I am not sure. I do know this place is not the place for me. Looking around on this Sunday after the hotcakes and now with McD’s free wifi and my chromebook I know it. Nothing locks me in here after December or even locks me in to doing Project Management. I check around and there families. One kid is reading the book Insurgent. Do you wonder? Well wonder no more. Its the fiction of Resurgence and on it goes. Its a youth fiction much like others. I admit to watching the first movie but have not read the book. How many of you actually read books these days? Either physical or ebook? Are you avid readers or do it to waste time while waiting for another time to clear? On airplanes? I remember flying before the Kindle and had my luggage stocked up in 2009 with books. Big assed books to read in a small hotel room in Mylapore while I served my months in India. I remember that the AC leaked in my room and they fixed it over a few days. AC is important in India!

Then I remember boarding the overnight first class train from Chennai station to Mysore. An overnight ride through Bangalore and then a few more hours and I landed. I caught a Auto to the hotel and then rented the guy for a few more days. He required a breakfast which cost me all of $2.00 for both of unlimited Mysore Masala Dosas at this place. Let me just say that Mysore Masala Dosas are different and I had a few of them. Then the bill came and we had eaten, had tea and coffee, and I had unashamedly watched everyone else who discussed news, sports (football), and events in Mysore in a mix of dialects. None really noticed me or pretended not to. The auto driver sat eating. We discussed places to go and he hauled me all around.

Now I’m here at the McD’s in Fremont over on Thornton and its July 3d and its the day before a holiday. A day off from work and today looms with no real tasks. I procrastinated the laundry chore until tomorrow morning. I watch the clock on the chromebook toll its way through seconds, minutes, hours. McD’s quiets down and my coffee sits hot and steaming with a free refill if I want. I see the same people that do weekends here every weekend. Outside the window, it reminds me of lunches at McD’s in Tokyo. I ate at one upstairs once and the the stairs wound up this view down the street. Giggling school girs and day workers. Moments of tension with teenagers and dates. Japanese customs interrogating the burgers. Some ate with little picks and grabs. Others just grabbed the burgers and munched like we do. I remember the McD’s at the food court at the Ascendas IT Park food court in Chennai down the street from STPI. STPI is where Celestix Networks India lived. We would walk there too and eat. The waiter told me he had everything but “cow”. It was all chicken folks! I would sit there too and watch and try the supposedly free wifi which never really worked but pretended it did.

McD’s has transcended the places for me. I may have eaten at one in a few cities for breakfast and cheaper lunches and now I’m here for breakfast on July 3d, 2016. Another launch to a holiday which has less personal meaning across a life which still has profound meaning. At least for me. Wondering at the stops and starts. Remembering people that have left. It dawns on me this will be 10 years since the DaveR checked out. Its a case of still missing him and visiting his cancer blog every so often. There! I linked to it too. The DaveR who tossed stuffed animals over a partition wall at me. The one who rhymed last names in glee. The one that first doubted me and then accepted and offered me that rare gift. Friendship. Others have left too.

Yet here I am at the McD’s in Fremont and life does go on. Friends don’t really call any longer yet I have them in my contact list. That’s okay too. We outlive the conditions of the friendship and we both move on to other places. Yet my friend and mentor and the person who taught me about how life works as an archeologist lives on and the daughter force and I will revisit him later in the summer. His life force is strong and there are so many memories of his gruff style, hearty laugh, the jeep that could rambling over desert ruts.

It all comes back and I write the words in the blog and I remember other things.

I remember years of marriage and years of divorce. Years of cheating and being powerless to change things. There are some things easily forgiven but as I told my daughter last night,

I can forgive a multitude of things and have amnesia when they’re committed except for cheating. Don’t ever cheat on me in any way.

And its true. I cannot abide that one thing. Its a superset of all the things you expect to have issues with. Its the big sign post in the life of Mike. Don’t cheat.

And now I’m back at the present day. Time travel completed. The mind is a whacked and wonderful thing. It lets you taste so many realities and fantasies and then check back in at the McD’s. Yes! Its all good.

Now go forth and make it a miserable day. You deserve it.

What is Work, What is Play, What is it all… A Blog post

I’ve given some deal of thought and commented on a person’s blog about work and play and careers lately. It gave me pause for some thoughts. Perhaps because I have always wondered about the differences between things and how cultures view the things. There are two central concepts to our lives.

Work. We do this for whatever reason we have. To pay bills, be able to feel secure in our dwindling years, do for our children and family. What do we do for us though with work. What’s in it for me? I think we are supposed to get a sense of accomplishment, security, perhaps even joy out of it at some times. But somehow work has descended into the morass of Hell. We are its victims for a set of years and perhaps different careers spanning different sets of years. We cannot leave a thing because we have not really arrived at the current thing. The last thing sucked, the current thing seems to be going downhill, and the next thing is gonna be grand. Rinse and repeat. I think that this is especially true in IT in the Silicon Valley. IT is its own little goddess and we pray in front of the altar of the mighty data center, with virtual gods spinning around on VMware servers, with SAN storage granting us our wish. And then it all goes down. We find out that its not all IT. There are actually people behind all that talk. People with feelings who probably feel the same we do or are getting there. Young people who seem to thrive on it. Middle aged folks that have questions. Older folks like me that companies hire I think for our wisdom and experience. But its work we do and work we get paid for. Work that takes us and leaves us and makes us feel tired and frustrated. Irritated and hateful. Spiteful. Its all downhill perhaps when walk out of those College halls.

Then there’s the other thing.

Play. We want to have play. We want to find play in things we do, in things we want to do, in those times where life leads us to a quiet place, to a temple in Kyoto, to a skyscraper in Shunjuku. For me its a walk down a gentle street in Seattle or a brewpub in Portland. But its the steps. Those steps with no guide markers. Its not work to walk. Its play of the most subtle sort and it tires me out after each day of 17k steps. I know I have done a thing.

Play is not the opposite of work. Play is the superset of life. Its what we do when our souls, hearts, minds all engage and we find joy and happiness in a set of things. We just go back to work. Back to work. I think its backwards. We don’t want to go back. We want something forward. Going backwards does not ever work. Even time makes us go forward.

So we’ve come all around just like that Joni Mitchell Song.

Yes. We go round and round in this circle game. And those twin sides of ours are work and play and never the twain shall meet. Its better that way. I know one day this too shall depart. The whole somewhat dissatisfying project management thing will be no more. Perhaps I shall wander other shores for months in Asia. My soul lives in places there. Wandering temples and streets and testing my mettle. Playing the circle game a few more times.

What Needs to Change with Android on Chromebooks

I’ve been patiently waiting and envying the presence of the Play Store on the Asus Flip. I have the Acer R11 which is one of the chromebooks Google has siad will get the update in June. I’m already on the DEV channel on it so eagerly anticipate the new toys to play with. However, all is not good in Chrome+Android land. I think there are things that will need to change to really make a difference be a difference:

Touch Screen devices – we will need more devices that sport touch screens. Once we see the variety of Android apps and their responses to touch and swipe and selection, we’ll need more devices that support direct touch on the screen. It goes beyond merely touching the screen and it arrives at the quality of the use. I think Android apps are meant for that most personal of uses while chromebooks have been a keyboard and trackpad or mouse environment mostly. Currently the ability to flip the screen around on the R11 is a novelty. Chrome itself does not do really well with tablet form factors. That brings me to the second point which is tied to the first.

2 in 1 Devices – I look at something like the Pixel C which came out with Android and now ask why. If this had come with Chrome and we got Android on it, it would been a killer device. Instead I think it got the wrong core OS. Now they should fix that and release a firmware update to let it run Chrome instead. It would be the perfect crossover device and would be instantly a multi-tasker’s heaven. Instead it lingers on Android and I don’t understand it. Simply put we need to have different types of devices. Some with cellular abilities. Some 2 in 1 devices, some different screen sizes. The entire ecosystem now needs to change to give people additional choice and options.

Storage and Management Tools – We need better storage and file management tools since we will be installing a variety of applications. I want the Microsoft Office apps and Flipboard and others. Others want Photoshop and drawing tools. Yet others want games. I can see a point where the storage levels will need to catch up. We will need devices with 128 or 256gb of memory installed because productivity devices that crossover and use both sets of apps will have different needs. So I count storage as a primary need and management of that storage as a close second.

One Device; Not Two – I think the entire line between cell phone and device will blur and chromebooks which are now laptops could blur the distinction and become multiple use devices where we can do all the things. A simcard slot and cellular service will mean we are good wherever the urge takes us. In other countries, buying a prepaid sim card is simplicity. In Singapore, India, Vietnam; its a few minutes in a convenience store or at the front desk of the hotel. So, I think our new generation of devices will change toward digital devices which cover a spectrum of uses. I was thinking of this last night over beers. Traveling with a single suitcase and limited room, what do you really want to go with? I want a chromebook like the Flip or R11 that can make phone calls. If it does Skype okay. I can buy a landline through Skype. If it can do Project Fi and why should it not be able to; then the cellular convergence would be interesting to see.

Bridging educational, corporate, and enterprise gaps – Finally, the entire ecosystem has to change to support these devices in a multi BYOD approach where thin clients can use thick resources on remote servers. We should be able to have very thin clients that can connect to enterprise virtual machines for work. All the work is stored there and the chromebook becomes a cheaper medium for accessing work. Yet the work files are stored on a secure server locked away behind corporate firewalls and security. Android apps will have to bridge this gap too and corporate identity management and security will have to adopt and adapt to new generations of BYOD users.

There are probably many more around choice and use, price points, etc. I’m pretty sure we will see a new generation of chrome devices which will cost more. We will get more storage, better management, more cohesive frameworks that let chrome and android get along together so applications are shared within if they are not already. New devices will launch that will show the power of the 2 in 1 orientation and let us snap off the keyboard for more immersive interaction. Chrome OS will become more touch friendly somehow. It has to get better because it kinda sucks now when you flip the R11 to tablet format. We should have a better on screen keyboard with swipe abilities, the ability to buy third part keyboards if we want, different desktop managers like Nova extended to chromebooks.

The truth is everything will change and that’s just the way it should be. Things that do not change are the dodo birds of life. Stuck in evolutionary backwaters until they simple disappear. Chrome+Android is way too dynamic and disruptive for that. We not only need Google. We need developers and UI folks to step it forward and define new strategies for how we interact on the new generations of chromebooks with android enabled by default.

Exciting times! Ain’t you glad you waited? ­čÖé

Tonight I walked…

It was a beautiful evening when I set out at about 557pm from Irvington Park in Fremont. The park is mostly a soccer and athletic field for folks but I use it as a parking lot to walk from. Its a great location and I can walk in so many different directions. Today I did 5 miles in about 1 hour and 50 minutes.

It was one of those sparkling summer evenings where the leaves move in some kind of harmony and they are this super green color. Flowers of so many different kinds are blooming along the way. I walk past them and touch a few and its this gentle communication that perhaps we all have had since time immemorial. They move and twist and bloom and the summer evening seems to lend that special detail. Perhaps its the wind tonight that blew those same flowers and trees in a gentle dance.

Walking is one of the harmonic things. You move in that motion and the leaves swing in their motion and the clouds transport in theirs. I reached this point where all the systems were go at about one hour and thirty minutes in. I felt that I could just go on. I never do though. I enjoy the feeling of that effortless transport.

Then I was back where I started. Google Fit told me what I had done but while I enjoy having only a single device which happens to be the superlative Nexus 6P, I don’t need to have Fit tell me. I still enjoy seeing what I’ve done with a map with a circle drawn where I walked. Its not a sense of accomplishment or challenge met and fulfilled. Its a personal thing where the movement across the spaces and the sidewalks and roads with the music going leaves me in some state of happiness. I let go and the thoughts swirl away like those leaves that have fallen in my path.

Perhaps walking is not for you and I doubt it is. Many people need more or different states of exercise and walking to me is not exercise. Its a meeting place for me. Where this and that comes together in no real sense of accomplishment.

Now its Friday evening and the beer has started and the BBQ chips are going. Its my night to binge drink my way to some evening fun and drunken stupor. I learn something each time along the way. Luckily though I tend to forget what it was so I get to learn it all over again.

 

A Wednesday Blog Post – Listening to the Kids Next Door

I got home from work around 8pm this evening and after the customary trying to find a place to park; I made my way to my improved room. This room is bigger and I actually have room in here for a table that I hardly use and a chair. Most of my time is still spent on my black tri-fold mattress and my Japanese Futon is rolled up. The Futon has to be my most prized possession of recent times. Sleeping on it is good. Its very firm but back problems are a thing of the past and these days I sleep so hard because of the walking at work and then the walking after work. But I digress. This is not about my sleeping and work. This is about instead…

the kids next door

Yes those kids and next door meaning across the street. I listen to them each night and hear games of tag, the ice cream trucks and there is silence and then suddenly an explosion of

I want this… Can I have that… What is that flavor. Yuck. I don’t like this one dad. Why not two

It makes the evening more interesting hearing the kids at play and it takes the edge off the drive home and sometimes the frustrations of work. There they run and in spirit I join them. Vicarious thrills abound and I remember hearing my son and daughter as they grew up. They were different as are each set of kids on this earth. They played and ran and did things. My daughter loved rain puddles and wanted nothing more than to splash them. My son for whatever reason like Vacuum Cleaners and wanted to see them at the Sears Store or Target or Walmart. Why? I don’t know.

The kids next door are physical little beings. They run across the grass yelling and happy or crying and not so happy. There are no strange classes there. Younger plays with older and they all seem engaged. I just listen in my upstairs room and I feel good that I’m here and they are there. It would be boring to not have kids playing now. Hearing them laughing and crying and just being.

Kids just be. We exist, survive. Kids are. They live in this present tense we have lost. And its best that way when you’re a kid. You don’t need the past hatreds and the future hopefuls. Just take the sun and wind and your face touching the air spiraling its way down the block. Its good enough and the joy is far reaching I think to be one of those kids next door.

The Link In

I’m disappointed. Disappointed and disaffected in our professional connections network called LinkedIn. Its become more and less with the focus on less. Perhaps I should spell it LESS. Its LESS. More LESS. Faced with evolving to meet the needs of professional networking, collaboration, news; instead its gone the other way. Its become a Face-In instead of a network focusing on networks of colleagues and professional development. For years it was valuable. Now its fluff.

Why, you ask? Its not the Microsoft acquisition. Its the value and worth potential of what it brings. A statistics instructor in graduate school used to ask us,

does the difference make a difference

And sadly, the answer for LinkedIn is not so much. Would I just cancel and let me 600 and some connections wonder what happened? I doubt that they would. One straw in a bundle may be a cohesive force or none at all. Instead, I’ll take the middle road and not update my positions, not advertise changes to my profile, not publish news. In other words not participate. Its just not worth it.

The specter of Microsoft arriving with its paper clips and helpers and wizards leave me wondering what will become of the once powerful tool that connected connections. Not sure. I doubt it will have a force for the better or worse. Its just another mind numbing fact in Silly Icon (Silicon) Valley changes.

I will retire the account in a year and months. Perhaps I will go through and weed out everyone I don’t really know and make it like my deactivated Facebook. Maybe I just delete the account quietly. I don’t see the value.

Dad’s Day is another Day

Its Fathers Day today. Not much happens except I’m up early to do laundry and sometimes read old blog posts. Before 2014, things were strange for me as a Dad. Living in a house with a family with all that and in the midst of it see so many broken things and not have the power to make a change, was depressing. Since those years have slipped their bonds, holidays have become even less. They are just days off. I watch the days like July 4th, Thanksgiving, New Years, Christmas. Nothing much to separate them besides days off.

I saw my amazing daughter yesterday for an afternoon out. We did all the things we end up doing. Went to Starbucks, dinner, and then the Mall so she could use up a gift certificate I got for her. Then it was my son. Ride home from work and he lets me know I need to take him and pick him up this evening. He somehow got the day wrong and thought Fathers day had passed.

Have a great day Dads. If you live at home and the day is one of you enjoying just the act of seeing kids traversing the house, seeing everyone for the meals and perhaps doing the BBQ or receiving the BBQ, its all goodness! Many of us have left that fold. We’re divorced Dads. We don’t get all that any longer. Many of us are part-time Dads or no-time Dads.

I spent the years 2009 to 2014 wondering about my own happiness but I had the kids. I spent 2014 and onward in my own little reality. I think this is better.

 

 

Delightful Escape, Android, Chrome, and Thoughts go West

Today was a not so bad day. My daughter force and I celebrated Father’s day today with time at Starbucks, Indian food for dinner, and then a walk through the mall. We sprinkled in a lot of discussion about school, teachers, friends, changes. This last few weeks have been major changes for her. Turning 18, graduating from high school, finding a part-time job back at the school. Lots of things.

Android and Chrome

I gave some thought today also to the cosmic integration of Android and Chrome. For years people have believed that Google would bring these together but I don’t think we would get a containerized version of Android on Chromebooks which would allow us to run Android apps. Lets just set the record straight with this though. This is the starting gate or even before. Software development does not go from launch to done. Everything takes time and there are bugs. Look how long it takes Google to get Android N ready. Multiple releases, changes, new features, etc. Google just made this available to only three chromebooks total and only one now. It will take a year I am betting for this to work the way we all think it should. Meanwhile, people should just have fun with it. Chromebooks can be returned to defaults so easily these days. Five minutes and you’re done. We should not be complaining about bugs but submitting them folks.

Thoughts, Plans, Escape and Going West

West becomes east at some point. Everything becomes something else. I watch people make changes in their lives. My friend Free made changes but its good none of us have to live in another’s shoes. I would go crazy sitting in a trailer park, getting the roof fixed. My ideals go the other way. Less is more. One RedOxx AirBoss suitcace and a small laptop or tablet bag with one device.

I would head West to go East finally. I’d pack the final suitcase and find my way through Mylapore. See Japan. Find new temples in half dozen countries here and there. I have the plan too. One day in the no so distant future, I will take my time much like daughter has taken hers. We both need it. I’m tired of IT and doing project management and its never-ending requirements. Perhaps I am skilled at it or I just understand how it should be done and I do it. Maybe instead after 20-some years I’ve learned a bit about what it takes.

What I have learned is that it will take me to the next step and not much further. By a year from December, I’ll be in another country. Sitting in a cheaper and more fun place with different food and no project plans to deliberate on.

Soon I tell myself. Soon. You will go west to reach east.

Walking Times Reprised

I have a category here called “walking” so suitably it contains my theories, places, and some thoughts about walking. Walking not as a way to health or losing weight or race walking or doing any of those things. Walking instead to elevate nothing at all and explain nothing at all and do it because I can do it and want to do it. There is no compelling reason to walk or not to walk besides you either want to or don’t want to. I started with 15 minute walks with a Golden Retriever. We edged up to 30 minutes and the times with Misty were good. She padded along in that slow stately way that Retrievers are wont to walk. People would walk by and see that giant red. You may know there are different kinds of Goldens. Ours was the big red. When she walked those huge paws stamped a song out on the pavement and she would turn around to check on me every so often. Another step and she would stop to make friends with yet another person. I think people are naturally gravitated toward Goldens and just want to pet them. And I think that they like people and enjoy the attention. They’re not combative or mean or bullies or fighters. They’re lovers and gentle and they have those eyes that stare right through a person but do it so gently and with fullness. She and I on the walks.

Sadly after some good dog years, Misty left us and I got a dog I never wanted so walking then was not pleasant. It was a tribulation because the pet was one I never wanted and argued against yet was given on a day and told,

here you go. here’s the dog. I’m gone

Lets be straight. This was not a dog. This was a peeing and pooping puppy dog that no one really wanted and that was left with me. So I took that dog out too for walks and I disliked it. I’m sorry to be somewhat human; but there was nothing about that dog I liked or loved. Its mean sounding and the other person did it for some motives I will never know. I trained that dog to go pee and poop outside. I filled the dogs water and food bowls and made the kids take him out every so often.

The saddest part of the whole doggie story is that may very well be the last dog I ever get. I’m a dog person. I like dogs more than people so dogs come first in that sentence. I like walking with them, having them, taking care of them. Their love is genuine and they care and its unconditional.

But now back to walking. So I walked through it all. Through all the days and I thought often of the why of it when a friend asked the why of it. I had no good reason and no bad reason. I did it because I could.

And its become so much more. Cities and paths and places. International locations where I walked that city and felt I knew it. When feet touch pavement you feel that city breathing. You get to know its makeup. What makes Tokyo frenetic and Sydney cool and Singapore clever. You know that Portland and Seattle and Kyoto and Eugene and Santa Barbara are walker’s places. You can plan a trip out to go there and strike out on your own. Find that path and see the things.

Just don’t do it for some good reason. Do it for no reason at all besides a yearning in your soul to find the paths less trod. And the way is a foot in front of the other with no good reason.

Graduation and Killification

I don’t get the summer shootings at all in Orlando. Two dreadful things linked to one thing. One commonality on the murder of 50 innocents and one innocent. ┬áBullets. Lets face it guns are nothing without bullets. Paper weights on desks, conversation pieces.

Imagine a world where guns are legit but there are no more bullets to put in them. The NRA and the republicans and those that trumpet rights to carry could still carry the instruments but the real propellant in all these hideous things are not guns. Bullets are the things which kill folks. In that tomorrow world, everyone could carry hidden weapons, weapons in plain sight, uzi submachine guns, assault weapons of any ilk. But there would be no bullets in the entire world. Somehow, they all disappeared.

Would people then go back to knives and spears and atlatls and crossbows? Are we just dysfunctional and we need killification to justify ourselves on this planet. We could not kill as many people as one guy did in a nightclub in Florida with a stone tool for sure. A Colt peacemaker or a AR15 would be just that. Nothing. Not a damned thing.

I’m pretty convinced that its bullets which cause all the primary and collateral damage when the forces of this meet that. We cannot control guns. They control us. Put a gun in the hand of a person and amazing and stupid things can happen. Up level the task with some drugs and the person suddenly feels entitled. Feed some rage into it and the person can channel it against a whole religion or sect or sub-culture or group which has different values. Produce some racism and bigotry and guns becomes instruments. But without bullets, they are limited.

No friends. Its bullets that are the death purveyors. Not guns. Control bullets and you remove a deadly spawn of violence from happening on streets. In the back alleys of New York and the night clubs of Orlando and the streets of Oakland. Hell even the quiet suburbs of Fremont. Its not enough to just get guns.

To do killification you need bullets.

Think about it the next time you start stating your rights to own weapons. What do you really want the medium or the instrument? Guns are the medium. Bullets are the instrument. Name your poison. If guns are okay and bullets are okay, more people will die. Take away bullets now! If the NRA is a true patriotic organization, they don’t need bullets.

Perhaps I mean this in jest or so-called “tongue in cheek”. Maybe we can never get rid of one and keep the other or maybe we have gone too far. Perhaps its sport now to do some killification on a boring Saturday night and people line up to figure out what they can do. One thing for sure. If we did not have either thing, the incident of unprovoked shootings and murder due to them would go down.

Perhaps though due to being the silly species we are, we’d find another tool to enter the killing fields. Maybe we are doomed to just kill each other off for stupid reasons like what another believes or worships or where they’re form. Let me say, its not where you are from but where you are going that matters. If you argue for racial purity, hate immigrants, don’t like “those people” you really don’t get it here. We’re all immigrants here. There is no uber super race here. We’re in a pot and someone is raising the heat.

I’m Eighteen and I like it…

Yeah. The daughter force turned 18 two days ago and then she bettered herself one more time and graduated from High School today…

DSCN0146

A milestone reached. A life changed. A time met.

A wondrous day today. I got to sit next to the ex-wife for the entire ceremony. That was rather interesting too.

I was glad and a bit sad to leave the high school athletic field. It felt like a lot had been given and more left behind.

But now…

And that’s a fact.

School’s out.