Llano Estacado

Galaxie PuffMorning workouts bring cracked dust trails and seldom used railroad tracks.  The California Sun is nowhere near as hot as the one over the New Mexico desert where I roamed aged 12.   Yet, it’s just hot enough to peel back layers of memories revealing the most pleasant sensations of my early rides to the college where I’d double-booked classes only to capture lab time with the mainframe.  What’s missing now are the oil pits, wind-blown plumes of invisible petroleum stink, and the web of caliche roads which seem to hold the Llano Estacado to Earth.  In boiling heat I plotted back country pumpjack routes ending near the southwest quadrant of the road circumscribing NMJC.  Summer weekdays I made the trip on an old ten-speed carving frustrating ruts when the hardpan failed. I suppose I was motivated by the same obsession I see in my own children today: Machine time. Still, I see no similar adventure in their own lives–solo quests over treacherous lands–and it saddens me.  And today, every small avoidance on my trail run triggers instincts to instruct them as to what to watch for, what to avoid, the geology, and the observation of the toil of others, but my children aren’t there.  Their absence begs the question:  What have we wrought?  A question repeating in my mind, but the words are not my own.  While science and society progresses, we haven’t made any significant strides in our own nature.  We’re still viciously vying for wants; corruption has no obvious face, and it is everywhere; the workplace is just a facade behind which hides a nature no different from ranchborne butchery; and cooled offices and retina displays have only changed the face of our routines.  Beneath the thin veneer of our professions exists the same grunting club armed primate waiting to bash in your head for a few corporate kudos. How to prepare them?


Reprint:  Hemoglobin

Roughly eight billion years ago a star exploded, casting into space the iron its engine produced, continuing the seeding of the cosmos with one of the basic ingredients required for life.

Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe (from Latin: ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element (by mass) forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth’s outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth’s crust. Iron’s very common presence in rocky planets like Earth is due to its abundant production as a result of fusion in high-mass stars, where the production of nickel-56 (which decays to the most common isotope of iron) is the last nuclear fusion reaction that is exothermic. This causes radioactive nickel to become the last element to be produced before collapse of a supernova leads to the explosive events that scatter this precursorradionuclide of iron abundantly into space.

Iron is the essential element in hemoglobin, the protein that transports oxygen to burn nutrients that power life in vertebrates.

Hemoglobin (pron.:/hməˈɡlbɪn/; also spelledhaemoglobin and abbreviated Hb or Hgb) is the iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloprotein in the red blood cells of all vertebrates[1] (with the exception of the fish family Channichthyidae[2]) as well as the tissues of some invertebrates. Hemoglobin in the blood carries oxygen from the respiratory organs (lungs or gills) to the rest of the body (i.e. the tissues) where it releases the oxygen to burn nutrients to provide energy to power the functions of the organism, and collects the resultant carbon dioxide to bring it back to the respiratory organs to be dispensed from the organism.

Vertebrates are a form of life on Earth that began 525 million years ago, and here we see a photograph of two vertebrates:  A dirty blonde primate nursing her infant daughter, absorbing the 4 million year old view of the Sierra mountains, while sitting on a 1,200 year old volcano.

This moment of rest and observation lasted about twenty minutes.


Big Skies

Had one of the most inspiring conversations with Chrissie Brodigan yesterday.  She’s someone I’ve known only as an association for the past couple of years, and after talking with her yesterday, after she left Mozilla about ten months ago, I realized I was missing out on someone who seems to have an amazing capacity for empathy and demonstrates courage and integrity.  The deepest previous impression I’d had of her was when she approached me after I gave a wreck of a speech at a Mozilla all-hands post-Firefox 4.  She stopped me in the hallway to tell me I was inspiring.  I took her comment with grace (at least I think I did), but I was in a terrible state–embarrassed beyond anything I’d ever experienced before.

I like to think I’m able to understand and read people.  Specifically, I like to think that I can tell honest people from dishonest; however, recent experiences have taught me that my success rate is not as high as I’d like.  Chrissie is likely an example of a quick wrong judgement on my part.  Not because I thought her honest or dishonest, demonstrating or not demonstrating integrity, but rather, because I didn’t pay attention.  I should have tried harder to engage her and others around me even though I was in a terrible state.  I would have found it uplifting if I had, just as I experienced yesterday.

To top off the day, Steph was sending great messages all day about her time with the kids, inspecting obsidian knives and objects from Africa at the museum.  She told me I should be outside with my camera to see the skies.

So I did.

Huge skies yesterday reminded me of this shot taken recently, of a very similar day, down in South Bay, on an afternoon having lunch just with Steph, at Freebirds.

Things are wonderful right now.