Vegas is as beautiful as I remembered it in my fevered dreams. It's pretty dead here which isn't great for poker. But the lack of players is made up for by their wealth of inexperience. Honestly, I think games of strip poker played by high school students high on E have been played more competently than the $3/$6 at the Venetian.
August 30, 2006
August 28, 2006
Here you can see me and Ev carrying a box of momentos all over the Tenderloin on Friday night (photo credit: Sutter). We were incredibly full and not a little drunk; me both from the wine as well as from the nice things that people had been saying. It felt good to take those Blogger emotions out for a post-prandial midnight stroll as they'd gotten a bit cramped in my Mountain View cube and had refused to take the shuttle home.
On Saturday, Steve and Stacy got hitched and, as depicted in this photo (credit: Lane), it was my job to keep an eye on Biz Stone. Weddings make Stone a little frisky; he was about to goose the gentleman in the floral shirt had I not intervened.
At this point in weekend, we were drinking yet again. Which may not seem unusual, but I'm a bit of a light-weight and Jason Sutter is actually filled with helium. We had hoped that a relaxing trip to the beach would settle Sutter down. Unfortunately, we were wrong (credit: Lane):
All in all, a great start. Tomorrow: Vegas.
August 17, 2006
I'd been meaning to write about the recent release of the new version of Blogger. But fortunately Ev captured pretty much everything I wanted to point out, but didn't mention on Buzz. And then he ripped the face offa evhead.com ... which I'm gonna assume is unrelated.
This release of Blogger will also be the last I work on as I am leaving Google at the end of next week. I'd been planning on leaving for a while but really wanted to see this version in the wild before I went.
There are two questions you get asked when you leave a job: 1) why and 2) what next. I'll take the second part first.
What's next is nothing much. I'm going to travel some ... Vegas, London (yes, that London) and France are due up for the Fall. I'm going to play a bunch of poker (hopefully better than I have been) and a bunch of video games as well. The reading of books (comic or otherwise) will likely be involved, potentially in a beach-like setting. I'm definitely not going to look for or accept another job for several months altho' I anticipate working on the web again.
As to the Why, well, I've been working on Blogger for almost four years and I've been at Google for 3 1/2. I could have taken time off or switched to a different project, but I feel that after I'm finished doing the nothing I've got planned, I'm going to want to do something somewhere small. And, to be honest, I can't really imagine being at Google but not being involved in Blogger.
As Bryan Mason likes to recount, when I interviewed for the job at Pyra he asked me what I wanted to do next and I said "Anything but want I've been doing." Not the best interview answer, but fortuntely Bryan thought that would make me a good fit. Turns out, I couldn't have been luckier.
Early on when I was working on Blogger I realized that there were those who saw blogging as a Great Leap Forward in personal expression and those who saw it as largely self-indulgent nonsense. The thing that surprised me was that I was in the former group.
I struggle with excessive skepticism and in many ways would be a natural blog-hater were it not for the fact that, to me, it's undeniably awesome that people can so easily put their profound, profane, revolutionary and ridiculous thoughts online. To me, this is so obviously the fullest expression of why the web is the most important invention of our lives. To what better use could it be put?
To put it another way, I love facts. Love 'em! Especially about movies. So, when I first saw IMDB I thought I was looking into the mind of God. But I never actually wanted to work on the web until I learned about Blogger.
I feel amazingly privileged to have been able to work on a product that's used by millions of passionate users and to help that product grow to enable more voices to exist. In doing so, I've been able to work with some phenomenal people. I'd like to thank Jason Sutter who successfully campaigned for me to get interviewed at Pyra despite the fact that the requirements for the job were allegedly "Not a dude, and especially not a dude named Jason." I'm incredibly grateful to Evan Williams who hired me, brought me to Google, enabled me to become Blogger's product manager and entrusted me with his creation when he left.
And I thank all of the folks who've worked on Blogger - the folks who worked on it before I was around, the Pyra crew with whom I spent many a day cramped into offices in both San Francisco and Mountain View and the people who built Blogger into what it is today and what it will become.
August 14, 2006
Apparently, East St. Louis is in such bad shape that even its Wikipedia page is fucked up.
In East St. Louis, the median household income is $21,324 and 35.1% of the population live below the poverty line.
While I techinically grew up in unincorporated St. Louis County, Creve Coeur is the municipality that bordered my subdivision and housed my high school. Only 20 miles from East St. Louis, Creve Coeur boasts a median household income of $75,032 and less than 3% of the population live beneath the poverty line.
It's interesting to me because I think most people I grew up with would consider themselves middle class. But statistically, the median household income places Creve Coeur close to the top 20% (lower limit for the top quintile in 2005 was $88,030).
Basically, everyone in America wants to believe that they are middle class.
August 12, 2006
August 05, 2006
Apparently, the NYT has decided to change its reporting style to match The Onion. Today on the online homepage is a picture of a lonely dude sitting on a couch strumming a guitar under the headline "Facing Middle Age With No Degree, and No Wife."
The photo caption reads "Tom Ryan used to share a home outside Denver with a girlfriend but now lives alone, enjoying the ability to keep the house as he pleases. That includes a hat rack covered with dozens of commemorative baseball caps."
The NYT has decided that Tom Ryan should never get laid again.
While also mentioning that marriage rates have declined generally, the main gist of the article is that middle age dudes without higher education are unmarriable douchebags. Much more so than their female counterparts about whom the article states:
"Even marriage rates among women professionals over 40 — who, it was once said, had a better chance of being killed by a terrorist than of finding a husband — have stabilized in recent years."Real classy, NYT. At least they leave it as an exercise to the reader to figure out by how much the chances have improved of a middle aged woman being killed by terrorists.
Update: As pointed out in the comments, the reference to the terrorist "stat" has been removed from the article without comment. It appeared, as quoted above, in the third paragraph of the piece. I wonder if it made it into the print version?
August 03, 2006
August 02, 2006
Bit of a tough day today. Sort of a work-related coitus interruptus. Which is even less pleasant than it sounds.
So I'm talking at lunch about how I think I'll go to Vegas for the weekend. The WSOP is going on, it's not that expensive because it's hot as blazes and it's Vegas for crisskaes. But Pete goes me one better and suggests that the only way to cure my existential blue-balls is to truly hit bottom.
His recommendation: Go to Vegas with the intention of losing everything so that "you have to take a bus back but only have enough fare to make it as far as Gilroy. And then you need to call Sutter and ask him to come pick up your broke, garlic-reeking ass."
Sutter - please reserve the ZipCar now.