I had the best intentions. Leo, my old buddy and cohost from On Computers 1990s era, is of course now a celeb (and a cause celebre) to folks who know tech. He's got a network of amazing shows.
I once again guested on This Week in Technology (TWiT) yesterday with two excellent folks (one of them an old colleague mine, too, the encyclopedic and ever-wise Patrick Norton of Revision 3.) But that was a lot of alpha broadcast personality for one room. You be the judge.
Check out www.twit.tv.298 to check out the show, not sure video is up yet but it's coming. It's the one about the hole in the boat on fire : )
A couple of regrets. An active subset of my BYTE contributors -- I call them teamBYTE -- showed up in force in the TWiT chat. They did so because I asked for their support. It was Easter Sunday and they showed up anyway. I wanted to mention them by name to demonstrate the level of quality editors and contributors BYTE is gathering. But I never was able to get 10 secs to give a shout out to them -- not in all the chaos. It killed me!
So you know, I chose our 61 teamBYTE members out of well over a thousand applicants. TeamBYTE is best and brightest. BYTE (www.byte.com) is launching in July. I guess I'll have to wait till next time to mention some of this great talent.
A special thank you to:
Thanks for rocking the chatroom and beating back the trolls. You know you've got it when you've got trolls!
Seriously, re BYTE. There is no success for a giant project like this without an aligned and psyched team. Teamwork is essential. Being able to move with agility as one team is going to be essential, too, once BYTE launches. But I tell you this. BYTE is going skyrocket because of the strength of teamBYTE.
For teamBYTE and me here at my ancient blog, thanks again to Leo and gang for a fabulous time. It was a great show, despite my disappointment on not getting to shout out teamBYTE members.
Are you a regular IGS reader? Let me know what you think of the show. I'm @ginasmith888 if you want to follow the progress or email me via my link on the BYTE homepage.
p.s. The book I wrote with Herta Von Stiegel -- The Mountain Within -- is coming out this fall (McGraw Hill). It's all about teamwork and other key lessons possible for successful launches and projects. It's based on her trek up Kilamanjaro.
I couldn't stop thinking about team strength while I watched these folks in the chat.
Though I've been to Europe -- my family is in Yugoslavia and Germany -- France was a first. Here are some interesting things I noticed.
- All the men wear hair products. Mousse, I think. Gel?
- All the women have long hair down or in loose, messy buns. For once, I don't feel disheveled.
- Everywhere, you are either hearing Cole Porter covers (usually Mel Torme) or Supertramp!
- The people in the south of France are so totally friendly. This reminds me of the American South, where I grew up -- where it is considered rude not to greet a stranger, anyone and everyone, with a hearty Bonjour or Bon Soir! (When I moved to Boston from Florida, I said Good Morning to people on the street and they literally scattered. Probably assumed I was nuts.
- There is a town named Mougin with ancient Roman walls and medieval homes. Art galleries. Bistros. Not a tourist shop in the whole place. Picasso spent his final years there.
- It is absolutely gorgeous here. I thought my home now, San Francisco, was the most beautiful place on Earth with its panoramic views and mountains, ocean, Bay. Sorry, SF, but the South of France is SF plus one.
- People tip very little here. Literally. I kept being told to leave only a 2 euro coin as a tip for everthing, no matter how much it cost!
- WIFI is free everywhere. Even in the ancient towns.
- Monaco looks like paradise. You could eat off the streets. You can sit in front of the palace. I have never seen so many Ferraris in my life, in front of the famous casino (the one from all the James Bond movies) in Montecarlo. Literally, 200 Ferraris in a parking lot.
- I heard a couple complaining that they were shocked that a restaurant wouldn't serve them dinner after 11! I was surprised they wouldn't even give me an appetizer until 7:15 p.m. I knew they ate late here, but sheesh.
- Following on that thought, I woke up early today to take my plane back home (am writing from Nice Airport now) and at 7 a.m. there was not a single person at breakfast. When I left at 8:30, I checked, and still no one had woken up.
- Various types of ham, a lot like prosciutto, seem to be the mainstay of most meals.
- There is a pizza place on every corner. They love that Italian food, I suppose. I didn't see a single Starbucks and only a sign for a Macdonalds that was "coming soon." Somehow I doubt this.
- I speak German and Spanish quite well and guess what, when I couldn't communicate in French with the locals, I found they could speak one or the other, too.
- They don't speak fondly of Proust here. That surprised me.
- Of course, everyone smokes. Ashtrays everywhere. Coming from California, this looked so surprising to me. But do you know what they are smoking: Marlboro Red. No warning label.
- The weather feels a lot like San Diego in early spring. A little brisk. But the palm trees, etc., let you know you're in the Riviera.
- All women wear scarves.
- People kept calling me Madame. To be honest, I wish they'd said Mademoiselle.
- In all, I love it here! I have heard stories about the French being brash, disdainful of those who butcher their language, hating Americans. Maybe in Paris (I have no clue). But not here. Maybe it is the southern thing -- in France or in the US -- that helps make people more relaxed and a whole lot friendlier.
Well, it was no vacation, but it sure was action-packed.
In 2000, I founded a network computer company (NIC) with Larry Ellison, only to fold it three years later. I learned to play guitar. I became very ill and with the help of great doctors, survived.Spent a summer at the Iowa Writer's Workshop and finished half a novel. I blew every ligament in my left leg while skiing badly. Wrote two books (The Genomics Age and iWOZ) and got to watch my co-author, Steve Wozniak, on Dancing with the Stars. Got an essay published in a great book edited by Margo Perin, How I Learned to Cook. My mom died. I had a baby. Started a blog. I completed a graduate degree. Made some great friends. Lost one. Made some bad decisions and a great one: I went to work for the very same guy who hired me for my first tech job, only now as a partner at a kind of incubator/angel firm, first30services. Fell in love with inventions and ideas, ideas that I know will bear fruit this coming year. Nevertheless, the coming new decade looms faceless and gives no hints ...
That is one whole helluva lot for a decade, no? Life is a not a race or a contest, but the 00s will be hard to compete with.
Happy New Year one and all. And thanks to all of you who've been following this blog so long.
Ignore this posting if you don't like eclectlic music, but I recommend you download every version of Begin the Beguin (by Cole Porter) you can find on iTunes from every possible artist. In every style, every decade. Download, then play them in order. It will blow your mind.
Let me know what you think. I think it's amazing. Maybe you have another suggestion.
You may know Begin the Beguin it was voted in the Top 5 songs and lyrics of the entire 20th century. Popular for more than 40 years. Amazing more people don't remake it now.
Begin the Beguine (Cole Porter)
When they begin the beguine It brings back the sound of music so tender It brings back a night of tropical splendor It brings back a memory ever green
I'm with you once more under the stars And down by the shore an orchestra's playing Even the palms seem to be swaying When they begin the beguine
To live it again is past all endeavor Except when that tune clutches my heart And there we are swearing to love forever And promising never, never to part
What moments divine, what rapture serene Till clouds come along to disperse the joys we had tasted, And now when I hear people curse the chance that was wasted, I know but too well what they mean.
So don't let them begin the beguine, Let the love that was once a fire remain an ember Let it sleep like the dead desire I only remember When they begin the beguine
Oh yes, let them begin the beguine, make them play Till the stars that were there before return above you Till you whisper to me once more, Darling, I love you And we suddenly know what heaven we're in When they begin the beguine When they begin the beguine
This song (and these lyrics) were on the CD I told you about yesterday. God, they almost made me cry driving home from the Woz interview yesterday, and crying is not good going down 280 90 miles an hour in heavy rain.
So I looked up the lyrics to see what the heck made me so sentimental.
I like to watch tv listen to the news hear what everybody is saying there's a lotta talk about God peace and safety and war and fear and there goes a girl in a bikini
this guy's saying that guy's an idiot and she's on the right he's on the left and everybody's screaming and yelling at each other and calling each other jerks it's a party
who cares where the truth lies who cares where the truth lies
guys dressed up in suits and ties look you straight in the eyes telling lies but I really wish I knew what they were talking about meanwhile human beings are being strung up on bridges and little kids are getting their legs blown off and young soldiers are coming home no more
if you live in new york city keep your eye on he sky afraid to take a subway ride wondering about the next time the next time
who cares who cares
so I look inside my own angry heart the violent world of my misdeeds and my mistakes my old messy heartbreaks and fantastic fakes the good intentions paved in gold another war story gets told
I like to watch tv listen to the news hear what everybody is saying I think that I'm a dove but maybe I'm a hawk and someday I will fly away
1) "I AM the federal government." Tom DeLay, to the owner of Ruth's Chris Steak House, after being told to put out his cigar because of federal government regulations banning smoking in the building, May 14, 2003
2) "So many minority youths had volunteered that there was literally no room for patriotic folks like myself." --Tom DeLay, explaining at the 1988 GOP convention why he and vice presidential nominee Dan Quayle did not fight in the Vietnam War
3) "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?" Tom Delay, to three young hurricane evacuees from New Orleans at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 9, 2005
4) "We're no longer a superpower. We're a super-duper power." Tom DeLay, explaining why America must topple Saddam Hussein in 2002 interview with Fox News
5) "Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes." Tom DeLay, March 12, 2003
6) "Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth
control pills." Tom DeLay, on causes of the Columbine High School massacre, 1999
7) "A woman can take care of the family. It takes a man to provide structure. To provide stability. Not that a woman can't provide stability, I'm not saying that... It does take a father, though." -Tom DeLay, in a radio interview, Feb. 10, 2004
8) "I don't believe there is a separation of church and state. I think the Constitution is very clear. The only separation is that there will not be a government church." Tom DeLay
9) "Emotional appeals about working families trying to get by on $4.25 an hour [the minimum wage in 1996] are hard to resist. Fortunately, such families do not exist." Tom DeLay, during a debate in Congress on increasing the minimum wage, April 23, 1996
10) "I am not a federal employee. I am a constitutional officer. My job is the Constitution of the United States, I am not a government employee. I am in the Constitution." Tom DeLay, in a CNN interview, Dec. 19, 1995
(from Sharon Blasgen to Woz...I guess this should appease everyone, pro- or anti-DeLay)
A God out there and values out there, if they existed, would be utterly useless and unintelligible to us. There is nothing to be gained by nostalgia for the old objectivism, which was in any case used only to justify arrogance, tyranny, and cruelty. People [forget] ... how utterly hateful the old pre-humanitarianism world was.
Today, probably due to the stress and energy of trying to promote my new DNA book along with my new company, the brand new webcam game company Eye Games, I found my mind wander to the oddest place.
I started thinking about that bizarre Queen song, Bicycle Race,and obsessing over where he actually attacked pop culture by saying "Jaws was never my type, and I donj't like Star Wars."
I guess he was one of the earliest rebels of pop culture, which inevitably leads to filthy,germy action characters under your couch. (I have a little boy.
Anyway, here are the lyrics in case you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about.
by Freddy Mecury
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle I want to ride my bicycle I want to ride my bike I want to ride my bicycle I want to ride it where I like You say black I say white You say bark I say bite You say shark I say hey man Jaws was never my scene And I don't like Star Wars You say Rolls I say Royce You say God give me a choice You say Lord I say Christ I don't believe in Peter Pan Frankenstein or Superman All I wanna do is Bicycle bicycle bicycle I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle I want to ride my bicycle I want to ride my bike I want to ride my bicycle I want to ride my Bicycle races are coming your way So forget all your duties oh yeah! Fat bottomed girls They'll be riding today So look out for those beauties oh yeah On your marks get set go Bicycle race bicycle race bicycle race Bicycle bicycle bicycle I want to ride my bicycle Bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle Bicycle race You say coke I say caine You say John I say Wayne Hot dog I say cool it man I don't wanna be the President of America You say smile I say cheese Cartier I say please Income tax I say Jesus I don't wanna be a candidate for Vietnam or Watergate Cos all I wanna do is Bicycle bicycle bicycle I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle I want to ride my bicycle I want to ride my bike I want to ride my bicycle I want to ride it where I like
An article about me appeared in the San Francisco Biz Inc. last week. I finally received permission from them to post it here.
My favorite part: Where the writer says I have the humility of someone who is not humble.
Hey, I resemble that. No humble person would ever publish a blog. Would they?
Published: Friday, June 04, 2004
BY RHONDA ASCIERTO
Rarely is opportunity fortuitous. Though Gina Smith says hers is a story of luck, her trip from journalist to CEO to novelist has everything to do with hard work and tenacity.
And, well, maybe a bit of luck.
Of the swarm of reporters covering Silicon Valley's tech boom in October 1999, it was Smith whom Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison handpicked to run his latest startup, The New Internet Computer Co. (NIC), based in San Francisco.
That's right, a journalist with no management experience to run his fledgling company.
At the time, Smith was fresh into a TV job co-hosting CNET's hour-long tech show on CNBC with Richard Hart. She was approached for the spot after a four-year stint as a tech expert for ABC shows including "Good Morning America" and "World News Tonight" with Peter Jennings.
Smith has that rare mix of being accessible, attractive, likable and knowledgeable about computers -- and her journalism career was on fire.
When Ellison asked her to dinner that fall, Smith already had co-authored two books, "Toolbook: Programming for Non-Programmers" and "101 Computer Answers You Need to Know." She had spent 11 years as an editor and writer for various computer magazines, writing the "Inside Silicon Valley" tech column for the Sunday Examiner Chronicle and hosting a radio show about computers.
When Ellison stunned her over dinner with his offer to maker her CEO of NIC, her career was at an unlikely turning point.
"He said, 'I'm convinced that executives make messes of things' and he didn't want to hire somebody who was already bureaucratic, you know, from a computer company," Smith recalls. "He said he wanted fresh, out-of-the-box ideas and that I knew everybody."
After two months of deliberation, Smith agreed to run NIC, a maker of bare-bones, Internet-only computers that sold for $199.
"I thought 'When am I going to get another opportunity like this?' I mean, Bill Gates has never called me and asked me to run a company for him," Smith jokes.
The 39-year-old is plain-spoken and friendly, with the humility of someone who is not humble but confident enough not to pretend she is just a clever writer.
Intelligent, charming and competitive is how mentor David Street describes Smith.
"I wouldn't call her over-the-top bubbly. She's friendly, she's warm, she's engaging," Street says. "If you have to name her greatest skill, it's engaging with people and getting positive results."
Street hired Smith in 1987 to be a writer for computer disk-drive maker Core International in Boca, Fla. At the time, Smith had been a crime reporter at The Boca Raton News for two years, but was looking to specialize in a beat that didn't already have a large pool of reporters. She had the chance to cover Microsoft Corp. for the newspaper and figured that if she could learn more about computers, an area not well-covered by the media at the time, she would boost her likelihood of being successful.
"I've always tried to identify something that's going to be big and then be a journalist or a commentator, or have a company around it," Smith explains.
She left the computer company after a year to work for PC Week, thanks to a brilliant stroke of luck. Smith had written a letter to the magazine -- on bright blue paper, as is the want of a 23-year-old -- asking for a job. The letter lay crumpled up in the trash can of PC Week's human relations' office when the editor noticed its bright color, pulled it from the trash and called her for a job.
Of course, luck had little to do with her success as a journalist for the next decade or so.
Smith says her CEO stint was a blast and "one of the most interesting times in my life."
Armed with $10 million from Ellison and a Rolodex, she launched the company and sold thousands of its machines. NIC got great media coverage ("I knew how to deal with the press because I knew what a good story was," Smith says) and the kind of access to large corporate partners that only non-reporters can dream of.
"I could easily call [Sun Microsystems Inc. CEO] Scott McNealy and set up a meeting to see how the NIC could work with the Sun servers," Smith says. "Whereas if I was a startup that didn't already know Scott, gosh, good luck meeting with Sun."
And, yes, Sun did end up doing a deal with NIC.
NIC folded in 2003, about a year after Smith left, having failed to make sales goals at a time when personal computers that offered more than Internet access became ubiquitous and cheap.
Smith was offered jobs as "vice president of this and that" at various Fortune 100 companies. But she returned to her passion for writing and enrolled in the Iowa Writer's Workshop. She wrote the non-fiction book "The Genomics Age," slated for publication in September, as well as a partly autobiographic novel.
Smith says a personal turning point was when her late mother was diagnosed with cancer in 1998. Her mother, who was part-gypsy, part-Serbian and raised in an Auschwitz gypsy concentration camp, became an epicurean and enjoyed fine wines, rich food and cigarettes. Her mother's illness prompted Smith to become vegetarian, start practicing meditation and run five miles every day, which she still does every morning.
Smith says her priorities shifted again from her career to being healthy and well-balanced when son, Eric, was born 14 months ago.
"Before I was all about achieving. É Now I think a lot about Eric and [whether] we can potty train him," Smith says buoyantly.
Smith may have re-prioritized, but she's still chasing the latest technology. Smith recently became president of Eye Games Inc., a San Francisco-based company that has developed games for the personal computer that put the physical actions of the player onto the screen. A small Web cam records the player's movements while sitting at their computer and beams it on-screen into a computerized basketball game, for example. So the image of the actual player acts like a cursor to shoot a hoop.
At a small San Francisco cafe, Smith began an Eye Games demonstration for the benefit of this non-gaming reporter. Her enthusiasm soon had the handful of coffee-drinkers in the place swarmed around her computer.
In no time, she was laughing and chatting with everyone.
Rhonda Ascierto is a Biz Ink reporter. You can reach her at email@example.com.
Education: Bachelor's degrees in chemistry and English, Florida State University, 1985
Family: Husband, Henry Schaefer, 41; son, Eric Schaefer, 1
What do you listen to on the way to work? KQED
What did you listen to 20 years ago: "Soul Mining" by The The
Favorite comfort food: Raw oats and milk
Most adventurous act: At 18, I was the first person to demonstrate parasailing in Florida. I went up and down the coast 100 miles, demonstrating to tourists what parasailing looked like and that it was safe. At the time, you had to be a strong swimmer, because parasails didn't land you on the beach -- you ended up 25 to 50 yards offshore.
Favorite meal: Be bim bop (Korean mixed vegetables with rice)
Favorite home cooked meal: Penne primavera
Three items we would always find in your refrigerator: Pellegrino, carrot juice and whole wheat bread
Three programmed radio stations in your car: KFOG, KQED, KCSM
Drink of choice: Sparkling water
Decaf lowfat latte or just a cup of Joe? Venti soy vanilla latte
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - "No pain, no gain" may be the mantra of coaches everywhere, but it's bad advice for most exercisers, research suggests. \
In a new study, pain or displeasure was the most accurate indicator that a person had crossed a threshold believed to be the optimum level of exercise.
"As astonishingly simple as it sounds, perhaps the most appropriate level of exercise intensity for health-oriented exercise is the intensity that does not feel unpleasant," lead author Dr. Panteleimon Ekkekakis of Iowa State University, Ames, told Reuters Health.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Love may indeed be blind, whether it is love for a newborn or its father, British researchers reported on Friday.
Scanners showed the brains of young mothers lit up in the same way when they looked at their babies as the brains of people who looked at images of their lovers.
And the region activated told an important story, too. It was an area known as the reward system.
Parts of the brain also turned off when looking at a lover, spouse or child -- and that was the system involved in making negative judgments, the team at University College London said.
Writing in the journal NeuroImage, they said their finding suggests that to some degree, love really is blind to faults.
"Both romantic and maternal love are highly rewarding experiences that are linked to the perpetuation of the species, and consequently have a closely linked biological function of crucial evolutionary importance," said Andreas Bartels of UCL's Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, who led the study.
His team scanned the brains of 20 young mothers using functional magnetic resonance imaging, which can show brain activity as it happens.
They had already documented how the brain responds when people see images of their lovers.
The young women were shown pictures of their own children, children they knew and adult friends, to make sure that feelings of familiarity and friendship were not interfering.
There was a special pattern when the mothers saw their babies, and much of it overlapped with the pattern seen when people look at their lovers, Bartels and colleague Semir Zeki found.
The areas activated were brain cells known to be sensitive to oxytocin, a message-carrying chemical associated with sensations such as euphoria, pleasure and love.
This explains the "power of love to motivate and exhilarate," the researchers wrote.
The deactivated areas included those involved in negative judgments and critical thinking.
"Our research enables us to conclude that human attachment employs a push-pull mechanism," they wrote.
This one asks you to provide the first line, it does the rest. Here's what mine came up with. (My line is the first line)
Tell me your story, I'll tell you mine.
Peace of mind goes out the door, as the absurdities pour in
And finally decide on a solution so saline
each quiet and brooding to escape his burden.
Today was our wedding anniversary. It is not even midnight yet, so I am still holding out for jewelry. (We did get to pop out to see Lost in Translation, though. Finally. We are the last people in the world to see it.)
I liked Lost in Translation. I am not a huge fan of Bill Murray's -- he was rude to me at a press conference once, so I suppose I have a hard time letting go of grudges. But his performance was clean and subtle. And the movie was beautifully shot. It had a kind of a blue look and cold feeling that really worked.
(David Denby, my favorite film reviewer, had this to say in his review of it in The New Yorker:
Not much happens, but (Sofia) Coppola is so gentle and witty an observer that the movie casts a spell.
"To live long, it is necessary to live slowly." Cicero.
This is my second quote from Cicero this month, but it fits. Today, I interviewed for my book Dr. C.K., a scientist renown for her anti-aging research. We talked a lot about gene mutations she's encouraged in round worms -- mutations that, in some cases, increase a worm's lifespan six-fold.
But our talk also turned to diet. It is quite possible, she said, that insulin reduction may lengthen life. We Americans eat too much sugar.
In other words, cut the Mocha Frapuccinos, the m&ms, the pasta and fruit. Possibly, the Atkins diet -- meat, vegies and fat -- is the way to go.
Man. Here I am, a veg and fruitarian for 10 years or something, but I've been gumming up the works with sugar.
My first thought is, hey, I need the sugar: To write faster and better, to wake up more eagerly, to work my way down at night. But perhaps what I need, as Cicero said, is just to live slowly. A little more slowly.
I will think about this. If anyone has anything to add, please post. I'd love some different points of view.
Thinking about my mother and our heritage, I have decided to pitch a book about gypsies after this biotech book and the novel are done. There is hardly anything out there on gypsies -- in particular, the gypsies in North America.
I may be too much of a people-pleaser. And I certainly take things way too far. So I concluded from this new Quizilla quiz: What Mythological Form Am I?
You are Form 0, Phoenix: The Eternal.
"And The Phoenix's cycle had reached zenith, so he consumed himself in fire. He emerged from his own ashes, to be forever immortal."
Some examples of the Phoenix Form are Quetzalcoatl (Aztec), Shiva (Indian), and Ra-Atum (Egyptian).
The Phoenix is associated with the concept of life, the number 0, and the element of fire.
His sign is the eclipsed sun.
As a member of Form 0, you are a determined individual. You tend to keep your sense of optimism, even through tough times and have a positive outlook on most situations. You have a way of looking at going through life as a journey that you can constantly learn from. Phoenixes are the best friends to have because they cheer people up easily.
When I was a kid growing up in Florida, we always had a good day's notice before a hurricane -- plenty of time to pack a bag, tape up the windows and head inland. Here in San Francisco, the Big One could come at any time. (In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey says that a big quake 7.0 or stronger is more likely than not to hit in coming years.)
Hey, I'm not preaching. But if you live in a disaster area, think about doing this:
Disaster preparedness checklist
Complete this checklist to make sure your family is safe.
-- Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc. ).
-- Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local emergency medical services number for emergency help.
-- Show each family member how and when to turn off the utilities (water, gas, and electricity) at the main switches.
-- Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.
-- Get training from the fire department for each family member on how to use the fire extinguisher (ABC type), and show them where it's kept.
-- Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
-- Conduct a home hazard hunt.
-- Stock emergency supplies and assemble a disaster supplies kit.
-- Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR class.
-- Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
-- Find the safe places in your home for each type of disaster.
Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross
Here are the items that FEMA and the American Red Cross recommend be kept in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers:
-- A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won't spoil.
-- One change of clothing and footwear per person, and one blanket or sleeping bag per person.
-- A first aid kit that includes your family's prescription medications.
-- Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
-- An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash or traveler's checks.
-- Sanitation supplies.
-- Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members.
-- An extra pair of glasses.
-- Important family documents.
Awful news. In Hawaii today, a shark ripped off the arm of a teenage girl. Man.
Just last night, I was bragging to Nick (the 7-year-old who is staying with us) that I am unafraid of sharks. I told him that I used to swim way past the breakers when I was a kid growing up in Florida. And I told him I would do it again now. I bragged that the movie Jaws never bugged me, that I wasn't scared of spiders and snakes, either. I laughed off his nervousness, saying, "What kind of Floridian are you?" (He is originally from Florida, too.)
Now, today, this. I sure hope Nick doesn't see this headline. He will think I am an unfeeling idiot.
By MATT SEDENSKY, Associated Press Writer
LIHUE, Hawaii - The water was clear and there was no indication of danger when a 13-year-old surfing star went out on the waves with her best friend and her friend's father.
But while Bethany Hamilton was lying on her board off Kauai's North Shore, a shark bit once and then disappeared, taking off her left arm just below the shoulder.
"Nobody saw it happen. She just yelled, 'A shark bit me!'" said her father, Tom Hamilton.
Bethany Hamilton remained in stable condition Saturday after the attack Friday morning. Doctors at Wilcox Memorial Hospital said her top condition as a competitive athlete helped her survive the attack.
Bethany, of Princeville, was attacked in an area known as Tunnels a quarter-mile off Makua Beach near Haena.
Bethany was surfing with best friend Alana Blanchard, also 13, and Alana's father, Holt Blanchard, her family said.
Blanchard immediately applied a tourniquet to Hamilton's arm using a surfboard leash, the family said.
After the attack, lifeguards from Hanalei went out on personal watercraft to warn people ...
Hello, my happy friend. You have high spirits and know how to have a good time. When your friends go out, most likely they invite you almost all the time. You most likely will enjoy your Halloween. Good for you. Keep up the experiment. You probably light people's dark days with your smiles and laughter. Although you're good, doesn't mean you're an angel. You can tend to have a scary and/or other type of side to you. As long as you have fun, do your scares this Halloween. Have a safe and happy one, Joyous Pumpkin.
Okay, a little blogging during another book writing break. I am putting together my notes for the interview with L.H. tomorrow. He is one of the guys responsible for originally automating the DNA sequencing project.
I have decided to refer to official people I am interviewing by their initials. It struck me that they might be ego-surfing and accidentally arrive at my personal blog, as opposed to the biotech one. Must avoid that. Bad idea.
Anyway, the biotech book is going fine. The Little Gypsy manuscript is on target. The baby is acting like a genius and growing bigger every day. My wireless connection is flawless. Even my vegetarian lasagna has reached a new level of tastiness. Things couldn't be any better.
Then I looked at the calendar and realized, hey, my mother died a year ago today.
I was with her -- called down there to Daytona Beach for the occasion. She died according to script. The hospice person said, "it could be any time now," and actually gave us a handout titled "top 10 signs that death is near." Check, check, check, check. Check.
Here are things you don't know: My mother was in a German concentration camp until she was about 7. (She was half-gypsy.) She haunted her own life (and mine) with stories about these starving, tortured holocaust people. Grim. grim stuff. And it never really fit. Because my mother was the polar opposite of that concentration camp image: She was Uber-Alive. Red-lipped. White teethed. Supple. Buxom. Manicured toes slipped into 5-inch heel pumps in wild colors. Elton John glasses. Zsa Zsa accent. You go, dahlink.
Turbans. I bet you get the idea.
A year ago, the day she died, all I could think about was the concentration camp -- not the bodacious presence she'd assumed for so long. She looked and smelled as a starving inmate with a few hours to live might. Her breath labored. Her eyes yellow and dimming. The toes going blue, which turned out to be the first sign.
I'm depressing you tonight? Not the intention. I'm just trying to remember back, just a year ago, where the shock of my mother's death lies. I guess it lies in that image that, no matter how much she buffed up and polished herself all those years, her body was still to eventually return to the starved out state it would've been had she never left Auschwitz in the first place.
The sixty years of living on the beach and having a blast dating or marrying any rich man who interested her -- well, that was a nice buffer. But was it enough? Is anything enough when you know that you are probably heading for a painful and prolonged death?
Questions, questions. Watch this space tomorrow for a return to the regularly-scheduled lighter version I Am Gina Smith. It seems there is a lot of you. I am nearing 10,000 hits for just two weeks. Hot dog.
Send me an email and let me know what you want out of this. If anything.
I noticed a big bump in hits today. Just hit the 8,000 mark.
Then I saw that my old friend, Dave Winer, the godfather of blogs himself, linked to me. Wow. I knew him when.
I find this medium so interesting as a writer. It's shameless, a blast. Still: I noticed that I've been getting a little nervous about people I know finding this blog. Isn't that wacky? I am only promoting the biotech blog. This personal blog is my little secret. Some secret. Well, let it all hang out and the more adrenalin the better, I suppose.
Speaking of secrets. My old employer ABC News says it has reconstructed the Kennedy assassination, says Oswald worked alone. That bullet bouncing around always seemed to me to defy physics, but hey, I'm no expert.
Okay, I admitted in an earlier post that I love languages (was taught both German and Spanish as a child.) But what I didn't say is that I love tongue twisters -- and since I was a kid, I have collected them in many different languages. (Sometimes from cab drivers, see previous entry.)
I am conducting two big interviews for my biotech book today. One is with a leading ethicist about the issues surrounding DNA patenting, testing, criminology and so on. Maybe that is why I am thinking of platonic virtues.
There was a time -- between 1994 and 1998, to be exact -- when I flew to New York from San Francisco and back once a week.
My schedule was hellahorrible. I flew to NYC on Tuesday. Woke up at 4 a.m. EST (which is 1 a.m. PST) to get in makeup and do a spot for Good Morning America, worked for two days in Manhattan, and flew back to California Thursday evening.
After a time, I became a million mile flyer. All the baggage people knew my name. And a little patch of hair near the crown of my head starting falling out. (On TV, I would fill it in with brown brow pencil, just like balding male newsanchors do.)
At one point, I turned to melatonin, a vitamin supplement that worked a little.
But that was just a band-aid.
Anyone who's ever suffered from jet lag would be interested in this article. It ran in today's Science, and is summarized in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article linked below. STLtoday - News - Story
Here is what I am struggling with. It is so odd to reveal yourself in these digital pages, even if you don't know who or what is reading.
I don' t know why this is. Anyone who ever wanted to know anything about me will next fall -- when a big portion of my memoir appears in a high-profile book Penguin/Tarcher is publishing. The book is called Unholy Mothers. That says it all.
If my mother weren't dead already, this book would kill her.
None of this explains why it is harder to write a blog than it is to write about my life in a book that may sell a million copies, thanks to Oprah.
Maybe it is because the potential blog audience isn't anonymous. The kind of person who reads blogs is probably the kind of person who read PC Week when I wrote for it, or listened to my radio show. The scary thing about the blog is that there are people who might know me, versus some anonymous guy in Barnes & Noble who picks up Unholy Mothers because Joyce Maynard is in it.
Alright. I've resisted long enough. And I'm going to admit now, once and for all, that I have been kind of consumed with the concept, even if that does make me geeky and sci-fi.
What I'm talking about is The Singularity. Here's info via Meaningful Media, that indy news blog I like.
"Or the baseball pitcher, whose cyborg implants allow 200 mph pitches, and implanted radar and trajectory management systems mean he can hit any 1 mm area of space above the plate. What would that do for the Cubbies? What if Atlanta was the only team that had rights to the technology?"
I thought I was about 14, but the inner child quiz told me I was 10.
I took the quiz and it said:
"The adult world is pretty irrelevant to me. Whether I'm off on my bicycle (or pony) exploring, lost in a good book, or giggling with my best friend, I live in a world apart, one full of adventure and wonder and other stuff adults don't understand."