Thursday, Jul 31, 2003
I'm sure most of you have at least heard about the scheduled California Recall vote. The Democratic leadership is trying to make sure there are no Democrats on the slate of gubernatorial replacements, because an all-Republican menu will make people more likely to vote against the recall, but my question is: if the Republican vote will be so spread out amongst the many Republicans running, is there anything legally stopping Davis from throwing his own hat into the election ring?
The front-running Republican candidate will likely garner only 20% of the vote, while it's probable that over 40% will be against the recall in the first place. Why not put Davis on the ballot of 'replacements' such that even if the recall effort gets a majority vote, those voting against the recall can also vote to put Davis back in if the recall vote passes?
Of course, the real opportunity here is for an independent or Green Party candidate to step in, collecting all the Left Wing votes while the Right Wing votes get squandered against a bevy of would-be kings.
Welcome back to California.
Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003
Things are very different when death comes in the middle of a life, and not at the end. In a thousand ways the life seems to go on, a dotted line continuing along the trail of what would have been solid if not for the sudden stop; electric bills, friends calling. The memory of an ongoing life, where we find ourselves stopping mid-thought to factor in this course correction in the midst of thinking our everyday thoughts.
I can't speak for other families and other tragedies, but one of the gifts my family has unspokenly given to each other is that of uncorrected tense. "Dad likes to do" this, or "Dad buys these kinds of trinkets on trips." Though it's been nearly a month, we all tend to put phrases like this in the present instead of the past, more often than not, though none of us mentions it.
Maybe we all have our own reasons. I can think of several. Functional fixedness, or habit, is an obvious possibility. I'm sure some out there might think it's denial. For me, it's an unconscious manifestation of the idea that what my dad was and is lives on. In so much as these qualities (that the present-tense comments are usually describing) shape our feelings about him, those qualities still live on. Naturally Dad doesn't literally take pictures at every possible opportunity anymore, but the quality that he takes pictures at every opportunity remains.
Like I said, I don't know the cause of this tense in the rest of my family, but I do know that we share the common emotion, the common little gift that we give each other whenever it happens. We don't correct each other. We don't force each other to open our hearts wide to the truth, like the harsh glare of the sun after a matinee. Instead we take the small comfort that we still can talk about Dad this way, that he's here and along for the ride, and not just a stop along the way.
Maybe over the years we'll migrate to "used to" and "I remember how he," but even then the focus will be on the living, and on the action, not the cessation. I'm proud of my family for this combination of maturity and support, that we're in a common struggle and gather strength from it, without pushing each other down to keep ourselves up.
This 'gift of tense' is just one of the things that makes this time more bearable.
Monday, Jul 28, 2003
Am.. blogger.. therefore... must... post!
I'll confess it's been hard to get back into the blogging mentality. Maybe it's that I've been holding my thoughts too close to my chest, or that I have such an amount of things to do, or that with all the emotional colors in my spectrum so intensified, not blogging is the equivalent of mental sunglasses.
Whatever the reason, I'm back to the blog. Maybe one of the things I like about living alone is that I'm not really alone. my 'alone time' is really time for the blog, and those who I only communicate virtually, be it through the web, IM, email, or the telephone.
Right now anyone I'm going to communicate with will be via sleep.
Night, night, and good luck to Karen tomorrow or Wednesday with her Google interview. In the words of the MCP: "All my functions are now yours. Take'em."
End of line.
Friday, Jul 25, 2003
I love hazel eyes. Rachel and I both have hazel eyes that change color under certain conditions. Yesterday hers were a pretty blue-to-green-to-brown, so I decided to take a picture.
Friday, Jul 25, 2003
How to set up a VT-100 terminal with OS X. At first glance, I thought 'doesn't the Terminal app emulate VT-100?' Well, yes, it does, but this link tells you how to take that old physical terminal, you know, the one with the green or amber screen, 80 cols and 24 rows of text display, and hook it to your OS X mac, where it acts as a command-line console, for whatever you want to use a CLI for (Pine, grep queries, running display of search referrers, whatever your fancy).
Since it uses a null modem and regular serial cables, it's easy to put it in another room, so it could also be a text-based email station in the kitchen, an iTunes remote, or what have you. So geeky. I want to see pics of this in action.
Thursday, Jul 24, 2003
So suddenly the five weeks I had to complete grad school has vaporized to one, two weeks spent in Los Angeles with family, one week back now, and leaving one week early to spend more much-needed time with family.
My life is suddenly thrown into fast-forward, a mixed blessing of keeping busy and of having to work fast enough to stay on my own life's train.
Within the next week I have a bunch of work do do on my masters project, and my independent study project, and I need to pack up my apartment to be ready for movers to come and take it all in their van.
Late next week Rachel and I head to Vancouver, with a 7 hour layover in San Francisco, where we can spend a little time with friends, then a week with family, then flying home from Anchorage by way of a redeye to Atlanta (can you believe there's a plane that goes from Anchorage to Atlanta?) where we'll meet Ammy and hop on another plane to complete the return to Pittsburgh. Then it's two days in Pittsburgh before Ammy and I drive off on a 12 day road trip back to San Francisco, with stops in Los Angeles, Vegas and the Grand Canyon for certain (not in that order), and a bunch of other destinations to be finalized, but likely including Mammoth Caves, Mesa Verde, and the Painted Desert.
Two days later is my first day at Google. Meanwhile I'll be staying with Ammy and Rick for a few weeks (or less) while I find an apartment and tell the movers where to appear with my stuff.
All-told I'll be living in six different environments over the next six weeks. Maybe my internal bolstering preparing for once again changing my total environment has helped a bit in dealing with the unexpected change in my life. I knew I'd be off-kilter, and so perhaps I'm a little more prepared emotionally, though just enough to keep standing, not enough to absorb the blow.
So much to do, and so little time. I need to compartmentalize. I need to make sure that when I leave next Thursday that school is checked off. I need to make sure that when I leave on the road trip, Pittsburgh is checked of. (I mean materially, not personally. Those I love here in the 'burgh will be with me for a long, long time, and do not have little boxes next to their avatars in my mind).
The last 10% is always the hardest.
Here we go!
Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003
I've lived in the Bay Area for over a decade (though never within San Francisco) and all that time this is the SF neighborhoods map I've needed all along to make sense of things.
Monday, Jul 21, 2003
I haven't been crying much recently but for the last week my eyes keep feeling tight around the corners, like I'd just finished.
I feel like I'm a nuclear core, with control rods to help stop a cascade of grief. The control rods can be work, a book, sleep, or for all last week the labor of going through dad's house, and making arrangements.
Being around family, I felt like the control rods were even more important because if any of us let go it would cascade to the others. We each grieve in our own way, and I've been worrying about letting mine out, because I don't want to make anyone else feel worse. I wish I could tell them that grieving is a good thing, and that my own expression of it shouldn't make anyone else feel worse. It's easier to hold it in like a balloon with a slow leak. I think about him in a thousand small ways, every minute, each time crying a little inside. It shames me that I even worry what other people think, that I'm worried about showing my pain too much, while at the same time worrying that I'm showing it too little.
I feel it, inside, and that's what tells me that I'm not a bad person.
Yet I still feel the compulsion to write this post. The irony's not lost...
Saturday, Jul 19, 2003
On the morning of my birthday, July 4th, my dad stayed up late writing me a letter. The letter touched me very deeply, and when I called him later that morning we shared a wonderful conversation, confiding how proud we each were with each other.
I told him how I bought two iSight cameras, one for each of us, so that despite being at opposite ends of the country we'd be able to see each other and talk like we were in the same room. He told me that he'd ordered a slew of multicolor-led Google pens, a few shirts, and baseball caps, in honor of my starting there next month.
We talked about our writings, about visiting me when I get my apartment in Mountain View, and about using both his and my frequent flier miles to get Rachel and me plane tickets to visit Los Angeles in the next couple weekends.
After the call, I went to a BBQ at a friend's new house, followed by tremendous fireworks in downtown Pittsburgh. My Dad went to a party at my uncle's house in Malibu, where he had a great day with family and friends, staying late and driving a friend home late that evening before returning to his own home.
Some time early in the following morning, July 5th, 2003, he suffered a severe heart attack and passed away at his home.
At the memorial service the following Friday, Susie and I were the last people to speak after my mom, grandfather, cousins Steve, Craig, and Jill, and Dad's brother, my Uncle Alan. After the service, a handful of people asked if I could send them the text of the eulogy I gave:
"The last time I spoke to David was last Friday, on my birthday. Earlier in the day he wrote me a letter, and gave me a gift more important than he could possibly have known. I'd like to read it to you:
Dad derived his greatest happiness from finding joy, and bringing that joy to those around him.
He loved the immediate pleasure of teaching people something new, whether it was cribbage or kite-flying, computing or how to cook the perfect quesadilla.
He passionately shared the photographs he took at every opportunity, pulling out his powerbook in any free moment to give a personal tour of China, the Galapagos, or just a day at the beach. He loved sharing the beauty he saw in the world and in everyone he met.
Most importantly, Dad found his deepest satisfaction in helping people realize and pursue their own dreams. When he and I chose the name for his company 12 years ago, David wanted to keep it as open-ended as possible, reflecting his mission of helping people achieve their own goals -- in this instance, occupational goals -- hence the name "Professional Advancement Success Systems" or "PASS."
To David, the meaning of life is in the journey.
Dad never expected anyone to follow in his footsteps, but he hoped that they would walk in the same direction -- following their ambitions and dreams, and helping others to do the same.
My dad was the most supportive person I've ever known and, even after his passing, he's still supporting us, as we -- each and every one of us -- has been bettered by the impact he's had on our lives.
The finest memorial we can give to David is to keep on walking in his life's direction, to keep finding the joy and the beauty in life every day, and doubling that joy by selflessly sharing it with everyone we touch in our own lives.
Thanks for reading. As I've mentioned before, I have a lot more to say, and I'll be putting together a site of some of his writings, photos, and memories. I'll be talking about it here as it progresses. If you're just visiting Fury and aren't a regular reader, email me and I'll drop you a return email when there's more about David.
Friday, Jul 18, 2003
Hey guys. I've spent the last week caring for my father's things, caring for myself, and caring for my family. Though it still seems incredibly early, considering what needs to be done, I'm heading back to Pittsburgh on Saturday, my last 5 weeks of grad school suddenly turning into my last two weeks instead.« Newer Posts Older Posts »
A small shining light is that the memorial service was lovely. The family really held it together, and Dad would have been proud of us. I'll be talking about him a lot for a while, so you all can get a good picture of the man I'm proud to call my father.
Tomorrow (err, in the morning, rather) I'll be posting the text of what I said at the service. There's still so much to go through, and to work through, but I'm incredibly thankful, both for the strong family we all have to lean on in this tragedy, and in the copious amounts of work I've been doing for the last week and a half, which has helped distract me from letting the wave hit full-force.
Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
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