Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Parenting Moment

Just got back from L.A. I went down to see the premier of Jasmyne's short documentary "...Sistas of the Canyon". She's produced a few things in the past but this was her first time as a director-writer-editor.

If you're expecting a blow-by-blow deconstruction of the film from me, forget about it. She'll be posting parts of the film on the Web. I entreaty you to see it yourself and come to your own conclusion.

Nope, this post is about what a wonderful moment it was for me to be able to share that evening with her. It's very hard to make a film, even a short one. Everyone thinks they can make one. I repeat, thinks they can make one. But only a few people actually can. Good film, bad film, or indifferent film. If I gave everyone reading this a camera and a moviola I guarantee that 99 percent of you would come back without a film. It's the hardest work I've ever done. Much harder than designing a datacenter or differential equations.

So I'm proud of her because she did it and got it on the screen at a major film festival in the land of the movies. She's definitely earned my respect and I can't tell you how cool that was.

We chatted a bit this morning while I was on the highway back to the Bay Area. She thanked me for coming and said it really meant a lot to her I was there. I can't imagine where else I would want to be. And it took me back to my own relationship with my dad.

I was performing as a musician by my early teens and my dad would,noticeably, never come to see me play. He was always locked into his business and I would look out in the audience and just see my mom sitting out there. I began to resent Dad not being there and I let it really get under my skin. By the time I was 15 or 16 I decided to let it go. To not care at all and bury that disappointment somewhere.

And yet one of my most cherished memories comes from the year I played Beethoven's Egmont Overture at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion. That year, I wound up being the best tympanist in the L.A. School District and won the slot. Lukas Foss was conducting and it was like a dream come true, like I had arrived.

And Dad was there. I don't know if he enjoyed Beethoven, but he was there. He came dressed to the nines and drove the Jag that evening. And afterwards, he congratulated me and we went out for dinner.

My siblings often complain that, as the baby of the family, Dad never spent enough time with me. Maybe so, but that night, in that small act of parenting, whatever might have been awry between us seemed miraculously fixed. And I've never forgotten it.

It's not that we never argued or disagreed or just bugged each other over the course of the next 30 years, but at the end of his life it all washed away as if nothing at all, because I suppose those transient things were nothing at all. But that night and all the other nights when he took one or two moments to be my dad, stay with me and I suppose they will until I'm gone as well.

So when Dad passed away and Angie and I came home for the service, we showed up driving a Jaguar as a little nod to that moment.

I guess I should have rented a Jag to take to Jasmyne's premier. Didn't think of it until I started this introspection. But I hope, if I've done anything right, Jasmyne and her sisters will console themselves after my memorial with dinner on the town in her rented Jaguar.

Love you B-Girl. Now get out there and change the world...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Hectic times. Finalizing my work on the Failover before release and starting on a new project called Scale-Out. Also writing a gravity mapping application for ComputeSpace.

I came home for a few days and hung out with Angie and the Dude who is getting to be quite a big boy. He's twice the size he was when I brought him home. And he's quite rambunctious!

On Sunday we all went down to the beach at low tide and let His Wolfiness explore the tide pools:

It's been raining for about 3 weeks and the storms have definitely taken there toll on our place. A lot of fixing ahead but I got called back to San Francisco for a meeting this week, so it may be another week or more before I have any time to get things fixed.

Here are some pictures of the damage:

A dead sperm whale washed up on the beach and had to be buried. The town will dig up the bones in about a year. I can provide a few pictures but they're nothing without the smell, trust me:

The Dude started obedience classes (or should I say, we did?). He had a big day and it tuckered him out:

I wish I could write more and wax poetic about winters on the Redwood Coast or something about the work getting done but, frankly, I'm pretty exhausted. At some point I'll get to that. In the meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the pictures.

BTW, for the Dude's take on things, check out his latest blog entry here!