Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Parade

Pictures from the Halloween Parade at BCS last October

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Isaac loves lamb chops

Tonight, Isaac ate his first lamb chop off the bone. He was quite enthusiastic.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Did I really write that?

On my profile page, it has one of those 'wacky' questions that apparently I answered.

Please describe how you could take the peel off an apple all in one go:

1. Core the apple, 2. Pack core with something explosive, 3. Remove peel (and apple, I suppose)

Did I really write that? Odd.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I cried last night

Isaac is getting older. That's not why I cried. He's just past sixteen months, and he's still sleeping in our bedroom in his crib. He wakes up every morning at 6am on the dot, even on the weekends. That's not why I cried. I have my office in the room of our house that we call Venice. It's called Venice because it's covered in photo-wallpaper with scenes of Venice. The wallpaper is inside the closet and it's a picture of what you'd see if you opened the doors that are in the picture that are on the outside of the doors of the closet. It came with the house. Jen and I don't necessarily like it. That's not why I cried.

We want to move Isaac's crib and changing table into Venice, and that means I have to move my office/computer/stuff down-downstairs. There's a fair bit of stuff to move. That's not why I cried. There's a bunch of stuff that I brought back from Phoenix from my dad's house after he passed away this spring. I have to move that stuff too. I had been dreading moving the stuff down-downstairs because I didn't really want to handle the stuff.

I did, however, suck it up last night and started moving things before I could think too much about it. I was able to move the six or so boxes of things down-downstairs without incident. Then, I gathered a few miscellaneous things: a small grey metal lockbox, a handful of CDs and DVDs and three manila file folders. One of the folders was labeled "Phyllis 66". I didn't know if that meant "66th Birthday" or was a reference to the "Route 66" themed motorhome that my mother and father had owned.

I stood there with these things in my hands and let the folder flop open. I saw an accounting of the dinner party celebrating my mother's 66th birthday in March of 2004 at Outback Steakhouse, including details and outcome of a dispute over how many adults were present and how many entrees were charged for and the fact that "Andrea" would be submitting a credit for $20 to "our Visa account". I also saw a printed poem read at her memorial in March of 2005. I saw the small, pink "Do Not Resuscitate" ID card, dated January 2004 with her neatly written signature. I thought about my mom. I thought about my dad. I thought about them together and I thought about being apart from them. Forever.

That's when I cried. It was quite loud. It was for several minutes. Almost a wail if I think back and try to evaluate it objectively. I didn't feel good when I was done, but I felt better.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Isaac and The Pelican

Seeing if this send-a-picture-from-the-phone thingy works. Isaac and I took a walk down the Santa Cruz Pier today. I'm thinking the thing below might be a picture from that excursion. Maybe not, though.

P.S. I posted and took a look, and it appears to be successful!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

A Eulogy for Harvey Fagen

This was delivered May 3, 2009 at the memorial service for my father.

Harvey Fagen.

There are many attributes that come to my mind when I remember Harvey Fagen:


And most important to me, Father.

When I think about Dedicated and Hardworking, I think about a time when we were living in Akron, Ohio. I had to have been five or six years old. We lived in a townhouse with a large common back-yard. One winter, I recall that Harvey built an ice rink for Jeff and me. He shoveled the snow into low walls surrounding a flat space that feels enormous in my memory, but was probably no more than 10 or 15 feet on a side. To my mind, the entire process looked like he made the walls then filled up the well with water from the hose, and in the morning we had a place to skate. I found out much later that the real process is a little more involved. He would be up all night, spraying a thin layer of water and waiting for it to freeze over and over again, until it was built up and thick enough to skate on. I marveled at the idea when I first heard the true story of the ice rink. I felt loved and I felt that I understood a little more clearly exactly where my instincts to provide for my own family came from.

When I think about Caring and Considerate, I think about how he has taken care of so many of the people in my life. He loved my mother deeply, stayed with her and helped her through some very dark times in her life. He was there to help my Grandmother Lil through her many trials until she too passed away. He has always been there to either help or just listen when I've had problems that loomed over me. He had advice, but he also understood the power of just being there and listening.

When I think about Loving and Human, I think about a man for whom family was foremost. I think about a man who traveled to be with those he loved for events both happy and sad. I remember one happy event, the wedding of one of my cousins back in Cleveland, Ohio. Of course, before we got to the wedding, we had to have the bachelor party. It was held at The Schvitz -- a steam room and bath house much beloved for its male bonding environment. As most bachelor parties go, this one had its share of alcohol present, and at some point, my dad got into something resembling a drinking contest with someone much younger and with a bit more bulk to handle the booze. Let's just say that Harvey wasn't the winner in this exchange of shots. My brother Jeff and I were part of the processional that poured him into the car and got him back to my aunt's house. When she saw what condition he was in, we were directed to deposit him on the lawn furniture in the screened in porch in back along with some blankets and a bucket, just in case. Having to help take care of the man who had taken care of me all my life was when I learned he was Human. Of course, after only a few hours of sleep (and a few glasses of water) he was up and around to attend the wedding with a spring in his step and a twinkle in his eye. The groomsman that he went toe-to-toe with wasn't in nearly as good a shape. That's when Harvey moved a couple of pegs back closer to Super Human in the eyes of us twenty-somethings.

When I think about Fortunate, I remember how he loved to go to Las Vegas and play blackjack, and how he always seemed to come back a winner. More importantly, I think about how lucky he was to have found Judy. The last four and a half years were a great adventure for him with a terrific partner as part of this wonderful community. A partner and a community that I saw pull together and ease him through the stages of a devastating illness. A partner and a community who helped him keep his spirits high even as his body was laid low.

As I think about these things that my father was, I think about the most important thing to me that he was, and that is that he was my father, and that I love him dearly, and that I will miss him terribly.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Harvey Fagen, Rest In Peace

My father passed away today at 3:18 p.m. in Phoenix, Arizona. He was suffering from malignant metastatic melanoma that had spread to several different areas of his body. He was with his wife Judy and had just spoken to my brother Jeff by cell phone. Jeff was planning on arriving in Phoenix tomorrow. I had visited him this last weekend.

He was under hospice care, so he was comfortable and peaceful. After saying goodbye to my brother, my father drew three more breaths and then he stopped.

He will be remembered, he will be missed. He was a good man with a great heart who was loved by many, including me. We lit a candle for him under Grace's tree tonight where I explained to Eloise and Lucy what had happened to their grandfather. I've cried a little, and I expect to cry much more.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On The Nature Of Perceiving Time

I know it's not an original thought, but I was reflecting last night while I lay awake in bed on the nature of our perception of the passage of time. How unfortunate it is that when things are great, or at least status quo, time evaporates before you know it. When things are lousy, each moment is torture and seems to last forever, yet you can look back and not know where the last week went. Why can't the moments of flow seem to last forever, too?

I guess we're evolutionarily wired to be very aware of what's going on when we're under stress. If there's a tiger in the bushes, you don't want to be sniffing at the roses and daydreaming. Perhaps the combination of seeing evidence of a loved one's mortality and knowing you are also mortal is what keys the stress that causes time to stretch out. Even though there's no one to fight and nowhere to take flight, you get wound up when confronted by incontrovertible evidence of the inevitable.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Not Such Good News

Dad's been having some complications. The exact nature of the complications is not really relevant to the story. I'm more worried about him getting tangled up in the Medical/Industrial Complex. It seems like no matter how good of a medical care facility you go to, there's always the threat of this tipping point where the unintended consequences of the treatments you receive start to snowball and cause more problems than the number of problems that get solved.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he hasn't crossed such a line, but I'm getting the same nervous tic in the pit of my stomach that I sometimes get about the Netflix website when I see something hinky on one on the graphs or reports. Any given signal is innocuous all by itself, but everything goes up in flames before you know it.

I guess I should keep the travel websites handy.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

This made me laugh

Heard about a fabulous party idea via LinkedIn. A Depression 2.0 party. What can I say? It made me laugh.

As I said on the invitation's comments:
That is *freaking* hilarious. Or, it would be if current economic conditions weren't so sad. Talk about making lemonade from life's lemons, though. Speaking of which, have a Lemon Drop for me.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Progress on Dad

Turns out it's metastatic melanoma, and it's stage IV, which means that it's spread to places other than the skin cells where it started. The places I know of are his lymph nodes and liver. He's going to head over to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, since his oncologist advised him that there's a team that specializes in melanoma over there. Clinical trials are a possibility, but if there aren't any new treatments to be tried, then 'regular' chemotherapy will start in a bit less than three weeks.

I'm pretty bummed about it, but probably not as much as my dad is. My dad had called me to let me know what he knew as I was coming back from lunch with a vendor. Not really a pleasant way to end a conversation, but the guy I was with was very kind and understanding about it.

I've sort of been caught in between immersing myself in work as a means of denying it's going on and the fact that I'm having a bit of a hard time concentrating on work at all because it's going on.

Then throw the fact that it's 360s season at work, and I'm just about ready to implode under the weight of all this introspection.

At least they found the termite nest while doing the water damage/fungus repairs, but that's another story.

Friday, February 13, 2009

By the way, I feel a little better now.

The subject kind of says it all. Work's been a little stressful. Dad's in the process of being diagnosed with something that looks like lymphoma. At least Isaac seems to be sleeping through the night reliably.

Been reading a really good book. It's by this guy.

I'm going to finish it before recommending it to our Chief Talent Officer as something she should hand to everyone here the day they become a manager.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Danger of Attachments

I'm not talking about the email kind. The joys of having a relationship are overshadowed from the very beginning by the darkness of that relationship's end.

It may be a business relationship that runs aground upon the shoals of a changing economic climate. It may be a high school sweetheart from whom you grow apart. It may be a beloved spouse who is lured away by another person, or lost to some other obsession. Worst of all, it may be a child or parent who is lost to an untimely death. Every beautiful and tender thing in our lives can be ripped from us by random or premeditated events that are beyond our control.

Death can come slow or quick, through a freak accident with an umbilical cord, a suicide or the rise of a rebellious clump of cells against the greater good of the body that hosts them. It can be hard to see the simple joys of connecting with others through the haze of pain unleashed by ripping away relationships you already have.

Even though the joy of every new attachment contains within it the seeds of its own painful destruction, it's important to seize today's connections for the richness they bring, regardless of the eventual, inevitable costs. Otherwise, why are we here?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Very Original Spam

As annoying as spam usually is, I was somewhat tickled to have received an email from a "Mark Madoff" who was interested in obtaining my help in sheltering $45MM in an offshore account from the authorities. Full text below:

From: "Mr. Mark Madoff" <>
To: <undisclosed recipients>
<no subject>


I looked up your contact details and I am contacting you because of the urgency this situation demands.I am
Mark Madoff son of Bernie Madoff founder of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. My father is currently
involved in a $50 billion Usd swindle with investors and the U.S government has decided to confisticate my family
empire worth billions of U.S dollars.

We need your assistance to help us receive and conceal 45 million Usd ($45,000,000,00)from one of our family
offshore accounts as we are currently under pressure from the U.S government to give up all family assets. For
your efforts my family is willing to compensate you with 35% of the total funds. Note also that we have to be
careful due to the huge nature of the funds.I will update you with more details as soon as I confirm your
commitment to this deal.

Should you be interested please send me your details via email to enable us work on this together. @

1:Full Names
3:Private Phone Number:
4:Current Residential Address:

Mark Madoff
Look up the below links to understand the urgency of the issue.

'' exists as a server, but there's no website, and I tried connecting to port 25 and couldn't get a proper SMTP response (but perhaps my knowledge of how to do so is out of date...). Here's the whois data from (which appears to be a niftly little toolkit for resolving domain name and IP info:

BL Investments
P.O Box 9137
Coral Springs, FL 33075


Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
BL Investments
P.O Box 9137
Coral Springs, FL 33075

Record expires on 29-Apr-2009.
Record created on 29-Apr-2003.
Database last updated on 17-Jan-2009 12:12:32 EST.

Domain servers in listed order:


So, it looks like there's possibly some real people in the US on the end of this particular spam. Not sure if there's an upside to following up further, but still, it was amusing.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Updates on open positions at Netflix

Couple of minor matters:

1. These positions will all be available to apply for at some time soon.

2. Because of this change, someone else will be doing the hiring for two of them.

I'll be looking for a configuration and release engineer in the next 30 days or so. The test automation engineers will be hired by the new functional QA manager (who hasn't yet been hired).

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Eloise and Lucy Trying On Glasses

Here's a couple of Eloise and Lucy, but they're sideways. Not quite getting the use of the cameraphone 100% yet.

Isaac in glasses

A picture of Isaac while we were out waiting for an eye exam to be over.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

New Job, Old Job

We've made some organizational changes at work recently, and instead of managing the entire Web QA team, I'm not focused on what I'm calling the Operational Quality team.

We're going to be focused on the downstream functions formerly handled by the whole WebQA team. Anything to do with building, deploying, configuring and monitoring the production website and supporting middle tier applications will now be handled by me and the new team. The rest of the WebQA team will be focused more intently on functional testing, performance testing and preventing bugs from making it out of the lab in the first place.

I think this is a great opportunity to focus more intently on filling some gaps in the Experience Chain.