A Reprise: The Best of 2011


While I’m moving house today and somewhere in between old-with-an-internet-connection and new-with-god-knows-what-is-going-to-be-installed, I decided to bring forward my Best Post of 2011.

And by best, I mean the one that got the most hits, by far.

Enjoy. It’s a doozy. Reading it puts me right back in that place, March 3, 2011. Oh what a day that was….


I Fought The Law, and the Law Won

So it’s 4:30 in the morning and I’m awake and working. At my job. At 4:30 in the morning. It’s dark outside and inside and all hell is breaking loose, business wise, in several of the major Asian countries I’m working with.

The problem isn’t entirely my fault, but it’s my team, and I manage them, so I take the fall because that’s what a manager should do.

The time zones are right, mostly, for talking to my folks already working through the end of what is their day Thursday, pesky time zones being what they are. It’s really right timing for talking to my boss. Four thirty means noon-thirty in London and the meaty part of his day.

He asks me why in the hell I’m up so early. Well, for one thing, I can’t sleep. For two things, there are emails scorching the inside of my email inbox. Someone’s gotta do something about it, and that’s someone’s gotta be me.

So we’re talking. My voice is still creaky from lack of sleep as I make my case. “I’m in over my head here,” I tell him, and he agrees to help.

I’m keyed up on adrenaline and buzzing like a pot of coffee and two five hour energy drinks dancing a polka across a vat of 1970’s diet pills.

The boss and I are puzzling through the problems. We’re working on solutions. I’m trying to answer as best as I can and agree to find out answers to the questions I don’t know.

So the boss is talking, going on a long riff as he’s wont to do. It’s good stuff and I’m listening hard. While I listen, I lean my chair back on two legs, perched there for a moment.

I say “two legs” but perhaps I should say “two wheels” because that’s really the case. I’m nestled into my worn but comfy home office chair. I do this all the time, go up on two wheels, while I’m thinking or listening or just because.

I’m listening. I’m “um hmming” and I’m very into the conversation when I guess the gods that rule gravity decide that it’s time they had a say in this situation.

With nary a wobble or early warning, I go from being semi-upright, let’s say a nice 10 degree angle, to staring at the ceiling, knees in the air, I’m-an-astronaut-strapped-onto-a-solid-rocket-booster-and-ready-to-light-this-candle position.

This descent of Karenkind does not occur without some noise. And by noise I mean a bone-jarring rattle that travels in waves through my seventy year old domicile. I can hear the plumbing pipes rattling below the floor.

The boys who follow earthquakes over in their center in Palo Alto might have noticed a barely imperceptible blip on the screen while taking another sip of stale government coffee. Meanwhile, seismic waves are going off in my home.

The curious cat, a moment ago fast asleep, comes galloping down the hall to find out what’s the deal. The Good Man turns on the bedside light. I see the yellow glow at the other end of the house.

Over there in London, either my boss hasn’t heard or doesn’t care. He keeps talking. I lay there, knees up, and listen. And reply. I continue the conversation, because the last thing I want to hear right now is “what was that?” because I have no good answer. “I just fell over in my chair” doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in my capacity as either employee or human.

I half expect The Good Man to come check in on me, and am glad he doesn’t. I assume he hears me still talking and believes me to be all right.

Slowly, making the least amount of noise possible, over a period of several minutes, I slide out of the chair and slither into an Indian-style sitting position on the floor.

I finish my call. I hang up. I put my chair back upright and I pat its fake leather back as if to say, “we’re all right, big fella.”

I walk down the hall to go back to bed. The Good Man is snoozing with the light on. I place my iPhone on my bedside table, and as I do, I knock a stack of hardcover library books onto the floor. They make a sizable crash.

Apparently gravity and me are gonna tussle today. Being as how he has the law on his side, I think gravity is going to win.

I plan to give it a good fight.

Image found from Alex Huges Cartoons and Caricatures, a really fun site. I recommend a visit.



I’m heartbroken over the news of the passing of Etta James.

Forget “I Will Survive”, that’s for amateurs.

Her music is the ultimate “helps me feel strong when I feel weak.” I have both sat and cried and stood and danced listening to her music.

She will be missed. Through her incredible library, never forgotten.

A Thorny Topic


Today I joined in with sites like Google, Reddit, Wikipedia, and NewMexiKen by blacking out my site in protest of SOPA and PIPA.

I did this with a LOT of mixed emotions.

Regular readers will remember that last February I had one of my photographs swiped by the San Francisco Giants organization. They deliberately cropped off the copyright watermark and used my image for a Valentine’s Day ecard.

One little blogger up against an MLB Franchise.

I was unhappy, and then I had to become Zen about it.

With that in mind, I seriously believe SOMETHING needs to be done about IP theft on the internet.


To quote the well known New Mexican pundit, Heath Haussamen, on his site NMPolitics.net:

“While protecting intellectual property rights is a worthy goal, this legislation is not the way to do it.”

As originally drafted, the legislation was, in my opinion, “right idea, wrong implementation.”

As of yesterday, the White House said that bills in that current state would get vetoed, and so perhaps there is hope.

It’s hard for me to trust that this current sitting Congress will do the right thing when partisan squabbles separate them on almost every issue imaginable.

So for now we wait, and hope that the needs of IP protection and the needs of free speech can find a comfortable place to meet. And maybe have a cup of coffee and a scone.

Find out more at americancensorship.org or the video below.

From a Different Angle

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Today at lunch, I took a quiet, solo walk on the walking path near my office. Since my walking partner was too busy to come along and my iPod battery was tapped out, it was just me alone with my thoughts.

A dangerous combination.

Being without distraction makes me more observant of everything going on around me. For example, the blue nosed ducks that have arrived as the weather turns colder. The squabbling Canada geese. The flatfish skimming the bottom of shallow waters in the lagoon.

And the humans. Oh those wacky humans.

As I rounded one corner of the path, I saw two guys in business suits taking photos of each other. They were standing by our iconic tall building with the company logo on top. This is a not unusual sight, really. In fact, I think for some of my coworkers in Asia, having a photo from headquarters posted on their internal directory page is a badge of honor.

Since so many people have that photo on their page, everyone is trying to get the different, quirky and odd take on the same photo so they can stand out a little.

This came to mind as I noticed one of the guys posed awkwardly with his finger pointing up. The other was splayed out on the ground, almost in the water, camera pointing up, coaching his subject “a little to the right…a little up…a little more…”

I know what they were doing. They were trying to replicate that cheesey internet meme where through the magic of perspective and photography it looks like someone is holding up a bridge or touching a seventh wonder of the world.

Like this:

Image from homdoc74‘s Flickr photostream

Only with an office building. I have to admit, they weren’t being shy about this at all. They were really going for it. I kind of felt bad for the guy laying on the ground wearing a full dark suit. That’s going to be a weird one to explain when he gets back to the training room. (there’s a sales training going on this week and there are a TON of dark suits wandering around)

I’ll bet the photo will look cool. But the set up looked goofy as hell.

Something akin to this:

Photo from PhotographyUncapped.com