In San Francisco

I’m in San Francisco for the day. Last night I had a great time with danlyke of Flutterby fame. Since right now is the the Advent Fast, he took me to Café Gratitude, a raw Vegan restaurant where every one of their dishes is an affirmation. I couldn’t help but giggle when they handed me my coconut curry soup as they said the mantra “You are Thankful!” I would imagine that The Secret has done better here than in Lancaster County. “But, Mark,” I can hear you not asking, “What the heck are you doing in San Francisco?” About a month ago, a non-profit here contacted me about a position they’re trying to fill. They need an open-source person to be, essentially, their community liaison for code contributions to their open source project. At the time, I was still working for IntraHealth, so I told them I wasn’t interested. But the following Monday, I found out I was not going to be working at IntraHealth any longer. A new (but smaller) round of funding came through and they just didn’t have room for me in the budget any more. With this new-found freedom from obligations, I called the HR person back and told him, “Guess what? I am interested after all!” In the meantime, this has been one of the more productive periods of transition I’ve ever had. Friends of mine who freelance have tossed a couple of gigs my way and I’ve spent a little more time with my kids. Only once have I glimpsed into abyss of fear and self-doubt that the recently jobless can end up in — the rest of the time I’ve been excited about the opportunities. So, here I am in a San Francisco hotel room early in the morning. My body is still on Eastern time and I can hear the city slowly coming to life around me. I plan on scoping out Berkeley this morning and then, after my interview (during which, in my fantasy, they offer me the job on the spot) I’ll go see how far CalTrain will take me.

God Bless the TSA

So, I arrive in Kampala and find a little love note from the TSA: “We rifled through your things.   Carry on, citizen!” In fact, I could tell they had before I even saw the note.  Everything had was shuffled around.  Not the “settles during travel” sort of shuffling but “you pack like an idiot, let me show you better” sort of shuffling.  Well, thank you very much.  I suppose I can be glad that not only am I learning better ways to pack my things, but I’m also being protected from bombs and such being smuggled aboard planes. I mean, at least they’re successful at that, right? (If you don’t click the link, it points to a news article from earlier this year about TSA failing to spot explosives.) No, I could tell they had searched my bags even without the note.  Whoever searched them decided to pocket my camera and bluetooth headset.  I suppose this is just another perk of working at the TSA and I shouldn’t begrudge them this small compensation for their wonderful work in protecting us from terrorist shoe bombers. (At least these things are easily replaced.  Unlike this guy’s experience with custom-made equipment, I can go to the mall to replace them.) (Update: I found my camera and apologized.)