Unfortunate normal names
Wednesday, Sep 29, 2004
It must be moderately frustrating to have the name 'Kimberly Clark'. Every week people would say, 'Have we met? your name sounds awfully familiar.'

I imagine there are a lot of names out there that are perfectly ordinary, but are troublesome for less obvious reasons than overlap with a star or dictator.

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2004
Sunset on the wingFrom seat 24-A I can just see the exhaust port under the wing of this Airbus A321. The sun has just set over the world and the thousands of miles of desolate brown heartland are now overlaid with a slowly brightening spidery lattice of towns, emerging in the accelerated dusk.

I'm on my way to Pittsburgh, where I'll stay through Saturday recruiting for Google. This will be the first time I've been back to Pittsburgh since I drove to San Francisco right after graduating in August of last year.

This trip resonates nostalgic in so many ways. Though it's only been a little over a year since I left CMU, virtually nobody I know is still there. I'm getting here a day before most of the rest of the Google bunch and so, like when I arrived in Pittsburgh two years ago, it's just me and the campus. Having built so many relationships with people during my time there, it seems eerie to think about walking among the buildings washed clean of any relationship I have with them. Rob and Kerry's offices are occupied by strangers now and the masters labs, still teeming with eager students who are probably bitching about their GOMS assignment in HCI Methods class, would only welcome me as a stranger, the ratty sofa and desk will refuse to acknowledge our all-nighters, but I'll visit anyhow.

A large city has just passed below. Given that we're about 40 minutes from touchdown, I'm guessing that it's either Cincinnati or Columbus. In about an hour it'll be 10pm local time and I'll be outside waiting for the 28X bus to take me to the Holiday Inn, across the street from the Cathedral of Learning; the same hotel that Marissa and Nate utilized when I interviewed with them a year and a half ago. It'll be at least 11pm by the time I'm checked in, and I'll probably walk in to Oakland to grab some half-priced dinner at Fuel and Fuddle amidst youth-heavy Pitt students.

In the morning I'll have a fair portion of the morning to myself and I'll start off with a walk down to Craig Street for some Kiva-han chai, then I'll see about getting wireless access for my laptop on campus and doing a little work and probably some more writing.

There's nobody in the center seat and the guy on the aisle has faxes and contracts spread out all over the place. God I have to pee...

This blog looks pretty abandoned, doesn't it?
Monday, Sep 27, 2004

tumbleweed rolls by

My girlfriend's beautiful on the inside, too!
Friday, Sep 17, 2004
Last Tuesday Rachel had an endoscopy to find out more about what's been upsetting her stomach for the last six weeks and longer, and after a trip to the clinic, an IV (for her, not me) a camera-on-a-tube, and a doctor to take her picture so I could look at her from inside as well. Such a pretty duodenum.

I'll let Rachel tell the story but suffice it to say I'm happy that we could take the whole thing in good spirits.

Back when I was at Cal, I intended to sign up for one of the MRI calibration experiments, because I wanted to post a cross-section of my brain, but now I think this is even better.

32 across: waiting period to sell your soul (6 letters)
Monday, Sep 13, 2004

Yes, sorry things have been so quiet on the home front. There's been a lot going on, not the lease of which has been looking for, finding, negotiation, and entering contract for a new home, and what a fabulous home it is. Sorry for the dearth of details for the moment, but I'm still crammed with work and the paperwork that goes along with buying a house.

Thanks to Rachel's gentle nudging, I've also been putting time into Fury5 (that's right, I'm skipping Fury4 completely for something totally different) which will much better suit the way I blog and the way you all read. I'll be able to share the first live bits of that later this week.

That's all for now. Hi to Keith if he's reading. I hope you and your family had a great drive up to Oregon!

Relatively quiet weekend
Sunday, Aug 29, 2004
I ended up working in the evenings and late into the night (or morning) Friday through Sunday (yeah, I'm a bit of a workfreak this weekend). Rachel's still in Florida so I'm using the time to play catch-up.

Crystal, Karen and I say Before Sunset tonight in Palo Alto, and yesterday I did a little open-house hopping, ending up at a fabulous house in Sunnyvale. The design is remarkable, mixing indoor and outdoor spaces more than anyplace I've seen outside of Hawaii. It's out of my price range, which is a pity, but when another house I was ogling dropped by $170,000 yesterday, I can start hoping...

The current owner, who put a quarter-million dollars in improvements into the house, probably won't see more than $100K of that back with the home sale, but that's not a disaster, since he's planning on taking the proceeds, buying four acres in Oregon, and building his dream home with cash to spare.

Anyhow, I'm a bit discouraged by this site at the moment. I swear I don't know how I blogged in the dark ages before I put in comments. This place feels lonely, partly because the barrier for one of you to email me about a post is far higher than that of just commenting on the blog, and even when you do, you're just talking to me, which is boring compared to having an open discussion on the site.

Hopefully I'll be putting some time into Fury++ (Err, Fury 5?) tomorrow after work. I'd like to see some changes around here.

Roller coaster life
Friday, Aug 27, 2004
So yesterday morning my realtor calls me up, says 'the gods of real estate must be with you' because the buyer for the house I want backed out, a day after the seller's agent said there was virtually no chance of that.

Excited, I head to her office, after stopping at the selling agent's office to pick up about 120 pages of disclosures, and we go through them. There are a few questions which we need to contact the city planning office about, and we make plans to meet up again in the morning to draft the offer.

9:30am and I'm at her office, going through forms, deposit checks, disclosures and contingencies, when her cellphone rings. I knew it the moment I saw the lights flashing on her phone, and it was confirmed by the overly-loud voice emanating from the headset, past her ear and into my own: They sold the house hours before I was going to place a bid.


Since we were already well in to the offer form, we decided to finish it and put it to them, in case Accepted Offer #2 fell through.

At this point I don't care one way or another. The positives and negatives are about equal. I know, though, that this is just the moment speaking through my mouth attached to my head which is already frustrated by an office move last night into a space we still need to reconfigure to make it conducive to creative work. A whole slew of friends are going to see Circus Contraption tonight but not I, because I was too busy to think that I might be able to take a breath of my own on Friday, and in truth it's the right choice, because I'm still running big deficits on both my work and resting tallies.

I'm also running a big deficit on my fun quotient, but I guess I can just convince myself that this is all a game and try to improve two tallies at once.

As I type this post standing in front of my cube-to-be, powerbook sitting on a packing box on a desk that may or may not be mine, I can't recall the last time my life was in such flux.

Oh wait, yes I can. It was only a year ago.

Okay, so maybe life isn't so bad right now.

Come back safe and soon, Rachel.

Pain and frustration
Thursday, Aug 26, 2004
So more life tidbits from yesterday and today, in no particular order:

  • Yesterday was my one-year anniversary of starting at Google
  • The house I wanted to bid on, have wanted to bid on for over a month but didn't because I was getting loan approval stuff together, the house which I was going to bid on yesterday afternoon, after incredibly staying on the market for 5 weeks, taunting me, sold yesterday morning for the asking price.
  • My group is moving desks to another area which seems smaller than where we are now and which has a droning air-conditioner whine over our heads 24/7. I have to pack up my cube by 5 today.
  • I have a splitting headache right now preventing me from getting work done that I need to do, which is only making me more stressed.

Ugh. I'm just hoping the Excedrin kicks in soon.

The month in Kevin (life-too-busymix)
Wednesday, Aug 25, 2004
Okay, so things have slowed down here far more than my liking which, of course, means my actual real life is completely crazy. Funny how it takes some level of boredom, or at least inaction, for me to be able to compose treasties on laundry and the political ramifications of dust bunnies.

Anyhow, talking points:

I'm still working hard on the homebuying front. There's a place that I'm very interested in, and I'm likely putting a bid in tomorrow. I'll probably have a lot more to say on that once things actually progress further. In the process of looking at houses, one potential agent who had my email address read my weblog, took a picture of me from it and printed it on the packet of materials he gave it to me. High marks for personalization, but high marks also for creepy. But then what do I expect for exposing my life to the Internet?

The Jeopardy 'Brain Bus' is coming to San Francisco, I submitted an application, and I have an appointment for tryouts on September 10th. For those who don't know, Jeopardy has always been one of the big things on my 'to-do' list. When I was in junior high and high school, my mom and I would watch Jeopardy nearly every night. It turns out that my brain collects and sorts data in a way that matches really well with the kind of retrieval needed in Jeopardy. Yet for that desire, the only shows I ever tried out for were Card Sharks Teen Tournament (rejected!) and The Weakest Link. Now that it's time to try out for the one true quiz show I need to study like mad. I've got to go back to watching every night, scouring the jeopardy questions book Rachel surprised me with last week, figure out my weakest areas and brush up on trivia, trivia, trivia. The chances of making it past the screening aren't fantastic, but then I won't know until I try. With any luck, Ken Jennings will be vanquished by the time I'd get to be a contestant. I'd rather not be redshirt #114.

Work is busy too, but then work is often busy.

Rachel's away in Florida this week visiting a friend who was in a car acident a few weeks ago, so this is the first time I've been living on my own for nearly a year. It's the transitions that always seem harder. I lived on my own for about 8 years until last year, and it was hard for the first month or two, then I relaly got to like it. Living with someone else was hard for a while, but that goes away, too. Now the house feels too quiet and empty, but on the upside I have Nym for company this week, and though I can tell she misses her mom, she's happy enough to have me playing with her, curling up on the sofa, or coming her hair.

Okay, far too much to do today, so enough with the life update. Hopefully I'll put some of my quiet time to good use in finishing the rearchitecting of the site. After that I can reactivate comments. I miss you guys, too. It's a little too quiet around here.

Presidential debate details announced
Monday, Aug 16, 2004
Apparently this came out three days ago, but I hadn't seen mentioned yet in the press or blogsphere. The Commission on Presidential Debates has finalized the times, places, and formats of the three presidential debates and the one vice-presidential debate.

Of note:

  • All of the debates save one are to be conducted at a table with the moderator and the two candidates.
  • The remaining debate (second presidential) will be in a 'town hall' environment, where the candidates will be asked questions from the audience, who will consist of St. Loius-area undecided voters as selected by the Gallup polling organization.
  • To be eligible for debate participation, a candidate must be eligible for president, be on enough state ballots to provide a mathematical possibility of electoral majority, and have at least 15% of the popular vote as established by an average of five polls from different polling organizations just prior to the candidate announcement deadline (that is to say, unless Nader quintuples his support, it's Kerry and Bush at the table)

To my mind, this debate format favors Bush. He's always stronger speaking in the informal environment that a table-chat affords, and this environment inhibits direct accusations. Try to picture Lloyd Bentsen belittling Dan Quayle, saying "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." while sitting face to face with the person. How powerful would Bush Sr. have sounded saying "Read my lips: 'No New Taxes'" if it had been said from Leno's guest chair instead of standing in front of the flag? A podium fosters the feeling of accountability, of gravitas.

Sitting at a table is humbling; It's everyday; It inhibits the possibility of a powerful soundbyte extolling a vision, and turns the debate into a messier trio crowded around a table where the moderator has a far greater influence on how the audience interprets the show.

A Lincoln-Douglass debate this is not. Larry King, more like.

At any rate, I'm excited to see each candidate given questions from the other, instead of the softballs lobbed their way by sycophants who have to sign pledges of support before they can even get in the auditorium.

Hopefully September and October will now produce some television worth TiVoing.


Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
I've been blogging at since 1998.
I can be reached at .

I also have a resume.


I'm co-founder in
a fantastic startup fulfilling the promise of the Internet of Things.

The Imp is a computer and wi-fi connection smaller and cheaper than a memory card.

Find out more.

We're also hiring.


I post most frequently on Twitter as @kfury and on Google Plus.


I've led design at Mozilla Labs, designed Gmail 1.0, Google Reader 2.0, FriendFeed, and a few special projects at Facebook.

©2012 Kevin Fox