Wednesday, October 31, 2001

First, a follow-up to the item I posted the other day about the "economic stimulus plan" that the House just passed. I'll share with you part of an email that was forwarded to me:

> In this time of national crisis, amid calls for sacrifice, we're deeply
> troubled by the choices of the Republican party's right-wing leadership.
> Here's their idea of an economic stimulus package*:
>
> $1.4 billion for IBM
> $833 million for General Motors
> $671 million for General Electric
> $572 million for Chevron Texaco
> $254 million for Enron
>
> This is war profiteering, and it's just plain wrong. Yet the House has
> just approved it, on a virtual party line vote, ending the recent spirit
> of cooperation in Congress. Speak up with us before the Senate acts:
>
> http://www.moveon.org/warprofiteering/

Second, here's your Halloween scary treat:

> BOSTON (New Scientist, Oct. 24) -- Tests of a controversial weapon that is
> designed to heat people's skin with a microwave beam have shown that it can
> disperse crowds. But critics are not convinced the system is safe.
>
> Last week, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in New Mexico
> finished testing the system on human volunteers. The Air Force now wants to
> use this Active Denial Technology (ADT), which it says is non-lethal, for
> peacekeeping or riot control at "relatively long range" -- possibly from
> low-flying aircraft.

When I first read about this I thought it must be a hoax. A microwave beam, pointed from a helicopter, that could make a crowd disperse (and, possibly, expose them to all the myriad dangers of radiation exposure)? I figured it couldn't possibly be true - the trick, not the treat - until I found verification on the Air Force's own web site.

- Read the official version here -

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

"All these concerns deserve to be answered. No one who raises doubts is an appeaser or a faint heart. We are a democracy, strong enough to have doubts raised even at a time of war, and wise enough, I hope, to be able to respond to them."
- Tony Blair -
Let's see - Bush, et al, have done nothing but warn us that this will be a long war. Yet, somehow, people are surprised that it's not all over three weeks after it began. Now - surprise of surprises - folks are shocked that we're planning where to build a US Base in Afghanistan.

Hello! Didn't I tell you that we needed a permanent base there to protect the pipeline (once we build it)?

Read the shocking news: U.S. expects longer war (USA Today)

On a lighter note, we saw Serendipity over the weekend. It worked very well as a light romantic comedy. John Cusack is great, as always. Leslie thought it was the best of the movies we've seen recently.

We didn't realize until the name came up on the screen, but it was produced by my old boss, Simon Fields. I worked for Simon as a lowly production assistant when he was the King of Limelight Film & Video and we were making some of the best music videos of the 1980s. But that's a story for another day...

Sunday, October 28, 2001

While we were out searching our mailboxes for anthrax...

The House Ways and Means Committee approved an "economic stimulus package" (nine syllable way to say "tax cut") that includes about $25 billion in immediate, retroactive tax rebates to large corporations. If you recall, the last tax cut (excuse me, "economic stimulus package") we experienced last summer did nothing to stimulate the economy, but did manage to eat up the budget surplus. With this package we'll be going back into deficit mode at the same time that the Federal government will be called upon to help out with one or two emergencies.

Get more details on the beneficiaries of this tax cut here (from Citizens for Tax Justice).

Get a more in-depth article about the politics involved here (from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).

Friday, October 26, 2001

At a meeting on Tuesday I saw the most incredible speaker at that I've seen in a long time. William McDonough is an architect and somewhat of an activist, who views environmental problems as issues of design failure. Simply put, why create products that have harmful side effects, when the same needs could be met by designing products that don't pollute, poison, or kill? Why not think of a building like a tree, or a city like a forest?

Together with his partner, Michael Braungart, McDonough has used this approach in designing the Adam Lewis Center at Oberlin College, which cleans its own wastewater and produces more energy than it consumes - a building like a tree. With the Gap's campus in San Bruno, they applied that concept over many buildings - like a forest. McDonough and Braungart are now embarked on a twenty-year project to return much of Ford's River Rouge site back to nature.

But they don't limit themselves to problems of architecture and planning. With Ford, they are also working on new materials for cars that are virtually 100% recyclable - cars become cars become cars, all without waste or pollution. This is what McDonough refers to as "the next industrial revolution."

They succeeded with a project for a Swiss fabric company (textiles has always been a notoriously dirty business) to create materials so toxin-free that the local garden club uses factory trimmings as mulch. Previously, the trimmings had been declared toxic waste, and had to be shipped to Spain for disposal. When inspectors returned to the plant, after the new fabric went into production, they were shocked to find the water leaving the plant was cleaner than the water entering the plant.

The speech, however, was not just a listing of their achievements (which would have been impressive enough), but an inspirational talk about applying these concepts to everything we do. It was a hopeful vision of the future, where we learn to design with nature, rather than against it, and where one generation doesn't leave environmental debts that need to be repaid by future generations.

You can get an overview of their philosophy on "the next industrial revolution" on the McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry website, or get more detail in an article they wrote for The Atlantic Monthly.

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Silicon Valley Humor, October 2001:

Q - How do you get a dot-com CEO off your front porch?

A - Pay him for the pizza.

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

"From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of the pipeline we have proposed across Afghanistan could not begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, lenders, and our company."

"As with the proposed Central Asia oil pipeline, CentGas can not begin construction until an internationally recognized Afghanistan Government is in place."
-- JOHN J. MARESCA, VICE PRESIDENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, UNOCAL CORPORATION, SPEAKING BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, FEBRUARY 12, 1998
Here are the best articles I've found so far on this:

Monday, October 22, 2001

It was a movie weekend. Yesterday we saw Riding in Cars with Boys, the Drew Barrymore picture. Quite good, even better, perhaps, than Bandits, which we saw on Saturday. Riding in Cars is more of a "chick flick" and Bandits more of a movie for the guys, but they're both crossover movies.
Penny Marshall did an excellent direction job, and all the performances are strong, especially Steve Zahn as Drew's troubled, drug-addicted, idiot husband.

Based on a true story, Cars is the tale of a "girl who did everything wrong, but still got everything right" (or some such advertising drivel). Knocked up at 15, in 1968, Drew's character is coerced into marrying her drop-out boyfriend and giving up her dreams of going to NYU and becoming a writer. Of course, after twenty years of struggle, she does achieve her ambition, publishing the memoir, "Riding in Cars with Boys."

Drew, Zahn, and a few others, play their characters from age 15 to about 38 and nearly pull it off. I might have believed Barrymore as 18, but not quite 15. At least she didn't insist on playing the character at age 9. Other than that, a solid picture, with a hearty recommend. I wouldn't be surprised if this picked up a few nominations come Oscar time (adaption screenplay, supporting actor for Zahn, maybe others).

Sunday, October 21, 2001

Yesterday (after posting my new article at Suite 101) we went to see Bandits. It was a pretty good movie. Barry Levinson is one of my favorite directors (Avalon is one of my all-time favorite films), and this fits in well with his work: Funny, with a heart.

Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton are the Odd Couple of bank robbing. Bruce plays Oscar and Billy Bob plays Felix, with Cate Blanchett as Bonnie Parker (okay, so it's the Odd Couple Meets Bonnie & Clyde 1 & Clyde 2). The truly sad part is, I identified more with Billy Bob's character than with Bruce's.

Their side-kick, getaway car driver, is played by Troy Garity, whose real last name is Hayden. His parents are Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda. Yep, he's the grandson of Henry, nephew of Peter, and cousin of Bridget.

Recommendation: This wasn't quite Oscar material, but it was certainly well written, directed, and acted, and should keep you amused for an evening. If you're interested in the movie you shouldn't be disappointed.

Saturday, October 20, 2001

Today, my ranting is posted over at Suite 101...

Theories, Facts, and Conjecture about the War on Terrorism
Since September 11 we've all been subjected to reminders that over 90% of Americans are behind the "war on terrorism." I've also been subjected to warnings that everything we hear in the press is lies and propaganda. In this article I examine various theories about the war and decide which are true. I could very well be wrong about any of this, but so could you.

Friday, October 19, 2001

Sorry about yesterday. I guess I was in a pretty bad way there when I posted in the morning. But it's honest, you know? Can't beat that. I did feel a bit better by the end of the day. At least about the job. For now.

Speaking of which, check out this article - Local charities need our help - the big quote in the middle is from my new boss, Jan Masauka.

I'm looking forward to the weekend. Hopefully I actually get a chance to work on some writing. That's actually the thing I left out of yesterday's depressing post: That I haven't had the time to write, like I had in the months previous. And there lies the main frustration, I believe.

Thursday, October 18, 2001

I'm sorry that I haven't been keeping up my blog as much as I'd like, but I've been quite busy with the new job and the war and all.

Okay, that's no damned excuse. In fact, it's an outright lie. Yeah, I've been busy, but that's not the problem. Here it is: I've just been really friggen' stressed out with the new job and the war and all. There? You happy now?

The job: I suppose it's going well, for just a little over two weeks, but at this point it could go either way. I can easily see how I could learn to love it. I can just as easily see how I could come to hate it real quick. I can also see how no matter what my feelings are, I might be out of there within six months. That seems to be the pattern. In the last 18 months they've fired three people in this position.

Now, were they all idiots, or does upper management have unreal expectations of what can be done here? Also, the office has learned to operate without somebody in this position, and to ignore or take for granted that somebody is there. So, I have to first get through to them that I actually want to work, and to keep me in the loop of what's going on.

This would be enough fun for one person to handle on any normal day, but now we've got this war going on and I'm a nervous wreck over that. You know my feelings over that one already, so I don't need to go into detail. Let's just say that it's rather frightening to see 94% of Americans salivating for blood in a war they don't understand the full implications of, and their near hysterical reaction to any hint of the slightest domestic dissent. I'm honestly coming to be more afraid of my fellow patriots than I am of the terrorists.

So, again, excuse me if I haven't been keeping up my regular posting habits here, but I'm just a little stressed out at the moment. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Truth in Advertising! Last night on CBS I saw an ad that said, "If you missed the premiere of Survivor, you're in luck!" The ad went on to say that there'd be an encore presentation of the show on Wednesday, and I suppose that's probably the "luck" they were referring to, but the way it was worded... well, you get the idea.

And now, for those who truly dare to know the truth. Warning: This is disturbing information, but will give you the necessary background on why we're bombing the hell out of Afghanistan right now. I can't even comment on this yet as it's still all sinking in. I've read it from a few different sources, but this article really explains it well, with plenty of links for further research: Pipe Dreams.

Sunday, October 14, 2001

Are we getting a little too jumpy? Yesterday morning, about this time, when Leslie and I were getting up and ready to shower, the power went off for a few seconds. We initially thought nothing of it: there's a new tenant moving into an apartment in the building, and we figured they flipped off the wrong breakers while setting him up.

When I got out of the shower, I realized I had to re-set all the digital clocks that were now flashing 12:00 because of the power outage. I turned on CNN, only because they have always have the current time in the scroll at the bottom of the screen. The cable, however, was out - there was nothing on any channel.

Rather than assume that it was "just another" local power outage, and that it had interrupted cable service, I immediately figured that terrorists must have blown up a local power plant. I then turned to the radio, and tuned into the all-news station: they had sports on. It was nothing, but I was willing to assume the worst because of a short power outage knocking out the cable for a few hours.

I'm not the only getting jumpy. Later in the day, yesterday, I turned on the TV for a few minutes (to see if the cable was working again - it was) and just happened to catch a special news bulletin from the San Jose airport where a plane that had just arrived from Chicago was being detained. The report was that a man "of Middle-Eastern origin" had spilled a mysterious powder into the plane's ventilation system. The plane was being quarantined until they could all be tested for Anthrax.

It turns out that the "mysterious powder" was star shaped confetti that fell out of a greeting card sent by the suspect's girlfriend. This was one of three such air incidents around the country yesterday, and one of several Anthrax scares in the Bay Area alone.

"It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine" - R.E.M.

False Alarm on Flight to San Jose (Mercury News)

Saturday, October 13, 2001

Yesterday I got on the anti-war movement for their projection of their own critique of globalization onto Osama bin Laden. Today I want to point out another side of their naivete, regarding the World Court.

In several places now I've seen suggestions that the correct way to pursue terrorists in general, and Osama bin Laden in particular, is through the legal process. Several well-meaning progressives (and I consider myself a progressive as well) have suggested bringing charges against bin Laden in the World Court.

First of all, the International Court of Justice (as it's formerly known), which is headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands, is only for disputes between nations. Further, it is only for those nations that are signatories to the treaty creating the Court. So, as an individual, Osama bin Laden could not be either charged by a crime by the US, or bring charges against the US (as I've also seen suggested) in the World Court. I also don't believe that Afghanistan (at least under the Taliban) is a member nation, so they also cannot be tried or bring charges in the World Court.

Another problem with the World Court is that they have no power to enforce their decisions beyond the "opinion of nations." This is easily ignored, as the US proved when we were found guilty of crimes against Nicaragua in the early 1980s. Our mining of harbors and covert assistance to the right-wing rebels fighting the government of Daniel Ortega was found to be a violation of international law. We were fined, but we never paid, or even acknowledged the decision.

So, if their decisions are so easily ignored, what makes anybody think that Osama bin Laden, or anybody who's willing to fly commercial jets into civilian targets, would give a damn about the opinion of this or any court?

Even if there were an international court where charges against an individual could be brought, there would still be the problem of taking that individual into custody to face trial. Which would bring us right back to the situation we were in: Demanding that the Taliban turn over bin Laden and being refused.

Once again, for those first-time readers who may think I'm a war-mongering right wing fanatic: I'm horribly disappointed at the extreme measures that the US has taken over the last week. I think it weakens our coalition and greatly increases the chances of escalation into a world war. I would have preferred working through the intelligence communities of partner nations, and using targeted small unit special operations to covertly destroy the terrorist network.

While I agree with many (if not most) of the criticisms of US policy brought up by my friends on the left, and would like to see it change over time, we have to admit that we were viciously and offensively attacked and we must respond with force. The question, for me, is how little force we can get away with.

Friday, October 12, 2001

In a nutshell, there are two points I want to make. First, I think we're going a little too far with our current military actions, but that some sort of action certainly is called for. But you've heard that already.

Second, what I've been thinking about for a while is that the anti-war movement is operating under a number of false assumptions, the biggest and most dangerous of which is that Osama bin Laden is on their side.

The critique of globalization that the same anti-war protesters have presented at various WTO events over the past couple of years has some very real and strong points that need to be addressed - But those points were not the motivation behind the events of September 11. I'm fairly certain that Osama bin Laden hates progressive, latte-sipping activists in San Francisco and Seattle as much as he hates any American.

The changes in lifestyle and policy direction advocated by my fellow progressives are all good and important - I agree with them. BUT, if anybody thinks that these changes will happen overnight, or that working on these changes will put an end to terrorism anytime soon, they are horribly and dangerously deluded.

The movement against globalization and the defeat of terrorism are both important. But they are two very different issues and must be approached separately. Yes, there are ties (some of the conditions caused by globalization help to create the atmosphere for the rise in terrorism), but they are not the same, and Osama bin Laden is not a fellow progressive.

Thursday, October 11, 2001

IN DEFENSE OF FREEDOM

1.On September 11, 2001 thousands of people lost their lives in a brutal assault on the American people and the American form of government. We mourn the loss of these innocent lives and insist that those who perpetrated these acts be held accountable.

2.This tragedy requires all Americans to examine carefully the steps our country may now take to reduce the risk of future terrorist attacks.

3.We need to consider proposals calmly and deliberately with a determination not to erode the liberties and freedoms that are at the core of the American way of life.

4.We need to ensure that actions by our government uphold the principles of a democratic society, accountable government and international law, and that all decisions are taken in a manner consistent with the Constitution.

5.We can, as we have in the past, in times of war and of peace, reconcile the requirements of security with the demands of liberty.

6.We should resist the temptation to enact proposals in the mistaken belief that anything that may be called anti-terrorist will necessarily provide greater security.

7.We should resist efforts to target people because of their race, religion, ethnic background or appearance, including immigrants in general, Arab Americans and Muslims.

8.We affirm the right of peaceful dissent, protected by the First Amendment, now, when it is most at risk.

9.We should applaud our political leaders in the days ahead who have the courage to say that our freedoms should not be limited.

10.We must have faith in our democratic system and our Constitution, and in our ability to protect at the same time both the freedom and the security of all Americans.

If you agree with these principles, Click Here to endorse them.

Tuesday, October 09, 2001

Monday, October 08, 2001

In the last 20 hours the war of words turned into an offensive assault on Afghanistan. Although I've been supportive of some sort of action, I must say I felt dismayed and saddened by the scope of yesterday's display.

I've said before that I thought our best efforts in this cause would be through those actions that are more covert, and that any big military assault would be more for show. Think about what we did, and the possible reasons for it. Did we wipe out the weapons they're using against us? No - their weapons in terror are our own aircraft, Ryder trucks filled with explosives, box cutters.

If we indeed took out their tanks and military aircraft last night, it wasn't to deprive them of the ability to attack us - it was to deprive them of the ability to defend themselves: it clears the stage for a land invasion. How does our invading and occupying Afghanistan protect us against a multi-national, or rather, supra-national terrorist organization?

The attacks against us - make no mistake, we were deliberately and offensively attacked and we need to strike back - were done covertly. They must also be met covertly. We need the cooperation of the intelligence communities of every nation. Last night's display will only weaken our coalition and the possibility getting of such cooperation.

I know we "had to do something" - I'm just terrified that we've gone too far and will only get ourselves distracted as we enter a long occupation of a territory where we should be staying clear.


Speaking for the strikes, here's an article I recommend:

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PEACE MOVEMENT - Parting Ways Over the War on Terrorism by Charles Deemer
"I do not believe the network of terroism can be defeated without engaging it directly, which I believe will result in violent acts.... So farewell, my friends."

Sunday, October 07, 2001

A guilty looking bunch of kids in 1972


My brother, Steve, sent this to me yesterday. Here's the note that was attached to it, "Dad and I found the attached photo while rummaging through an old trunk in the garage. I believe it was taken around Thanksgiving, 1972. The six of us had just come in from causing great mischief at the Chestnut Hill Country Club (something to do with a golf cart and a frozen swimming pool). When Mom saw the picture, she said we all look guilty. She was right. Enjoy!"

The setting is the steps leading down to our living room at 54 Fellsmere Road, Newton Centre, Massachusetts. Behind us you see the stairs (obviously), the dining room, and the front entryway to the right. Left to right the picture is of Mark (cousin), Miles (brother), Rick (cousin), me (top center), Craig (cousin), and Steve (brother).

I don't recall anything about landing a golf cart in the swimming pool, but it would go along with a lot of what I do remember. We lived just a few doors down from the Ward School, and the back end of the golf course was just on the other side of the school fence. When the snow would end the golf season, we'd tunnel under and climb over that fence and turn turn the golf course into our playground with sleds, toboggans, etc.

Sledding would get old after awhile, and we'd wander around the deserted grounds looking for trouble. If there was a golf cart that hadn't been secured, we'd have certainly checked to see if it would start. If the golf cart would start, we'd certainly be curious as to how strong the ice over the swimming pool would be. Not that I'm confessing anything, mind you. I'm just saying that there may be something to my brother's story. And, being the youngest of the six boys, I'm sure it wasn't my idea...

Here's something I will confess to: The way a certain bend in the golf course came up against the school fence, with a little gully between the two properties, guaranteed that a number of golf balls would get lost on the school side of the property. To make extra money, we'd collect these lost balls and sell them back to the golfers for a quarter a piece.

Here's the confession part: Sometimes, if we really needed some money, and there weren't any balls on our side of the fence, we'd run out on the fairway and grab balls that were in play, then run back to our post on the kid's side of the fence.

Friday, October 05, 2001

Yes, I'm still alive. First few days (weeks?) on a new job is a bit of added stress that doesn't leave much time (or brain capacity) for having a life, let alone writing about one.

I will share this with you: Yesterday afternoon, I did manage to test out the stalls of the men's room. Yep, took a good crap. This is something not enough people realize the benefit of; crapping on company time. I've known guys who, if they were home and they had to "go", would wait till they were at work before letting it out. Few things in life feel as good as being paid to take a crap. Hey, if it's something you know how to do, and you do it well, why not turn pro?

Okay, I've got to go again. To work, I mean. You've got a filthy mind.

Wednesday, October 03, 2001

This is it... the first official day of work at my new job... I'm on my way out the door right now... Somebody, please, stop me... Help!!!

How did this happen? Sure, I was looking for a job, but I wasn't supposed to actually get one. Not yet, at least. Looking for a job was just a little activity to appease those who thought I was being a lazy bum, just sitting around here writing all day. I didn't expect (or even want, really) to actually get a job until January or February. I've still got work to do right here!

Oh well, it will all be for the best. I'm just scared about starting something new, the great unknown, all that crap. They might actually expect me to work, or something.

Yesterday I enjoyed my last morning of "goofing off," then went to "work" to fill out paperwork, tax forms, etc., so I could be an official employee when I show up for my first real day in just a few minutes. Oh crap, just a few minutes, I gotta get out of here!

Monday, October 01, 2001

The recent tragedy in NYC and Washington is still fresh in our memories, and we all remember where we were and what we were doing on September 11th, 2001. But what about other turning-points in history? Think about a turning-point in history that you remember. What were you doing that day? Where were you when you heard about it? How did you respond to it, and how did it affect you?

Tuesday, October 17, 1989 - 5:04 PM, to be precise - is one of those moments that will always live on in my mind. That was when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck.

The images seen by most of the world were of San Francisco, where all the media were gathered for the World Series. It was a Bay Bridge series, with the Oakland A's facing off against the SF Giants, and a large part of the upper deck of the Bay Bridge came crashing down onto the lower deck, trapping and killing several people. In the SF Marina, soft reclaimed land gave in to liquifaction, and broken gas lines exploded into flames.

But Loma Preita was not in San Francisco. The epicenter was about 65 miles to the south, under the Forest of Nicene Marks State Park in Santa Cruz county. I was just a few miles north of Nicene Marks, in a classroom at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The late Richard Gordon, a brilliant Australian with a great sense of humor, was lecturing about comparative politics of advanced capitalist states when the room started to rock. Most of us did as we've been trained and got under our desks, some ran out the back of the classroom onto the quad. As the room continued to rock, with plaster chips falling all around us, I caught Richard's eyes. "Quite a shaker! Quite a shaker!" he kept saying with a big grin, and that great accent of his. Then I turned to watch the TV mounted to the wall to see if it would fall. It swung from side to side, spewing plaster, but somehow held its spot.

The first aftershock came only about fifteen seconds after the actual earthquake ended and lasted nearly as long. When all was said and done, I retook my seat, and Richard considered continuing the class. We had no lights and several people were in near hysterics, so Richard finally said we'd continue on Thursday. School, however, would prove to be closed for nearly two more weeks before we could resume.

On being let out of class, I walked first to the Applied Sciences building, to check the seismograph. Unfortunately, it shattered in the quake and Applied Sciences was being evacuated due to cracks emerging in the structure. Walking across campus to my car I came across a group of students with a battery-operated radio. We listened to the damage reports from San Francisco, but heard nothing about Santa Cruz. We thought that we were just on the edge of their quake, and only later found out that we were actually the hardest hit.

Still, sitting, listening to the radio, I watched as a range of hills to the south rose and fell, then the range in front of them rose and fell, and so on, getting closer and closer until the ground beneath us also rose and fell, like a wave you've watched come to shore and wash over you, the earth was rolling out swells from Nicene Marks up to the Golden Gate.

I slept in my car that first night, as without lights it was too dangerous to enter among all the broken glass in my tiny apartment - besides, I didn't trust the building to remain standing. It was only a few hours before phone service was restored, a couple of days for electricity, and nearly a week for safe flowing water.

More than half of downtown Santa Cruz businesses were completely destroyed. While the world worried about San Francisco, our town was isolated and nearly in ruin. The absolute number of lives lost and structures downed may have been slightly higher in the City, but percentage wise, nothing could compare to what we were going through. We were also effectively quarantined, as the only highways out of the county were all wiped out by either land-slides or collapsed bridges.

That moment changed my life in many ways. One was the building of my friendship with Leslie, who would one day become my wife, as we each searched in vain for each other that first night. Another was the direction of my career. I was studying Politics, with an emphasis on international relations, at the same time I had just taken a job with the County Planning Department. In the aftermath of the quake I saw how even the most mundane of jobs in a local setting could make a huge impact on a community, and in the lives of individuals. I've worked in community settings ever since. The Loma Prieta earthquake has continued to touch my life in many other more subtle ways as well.

One day, when we were living in Sacramento, I was taking the bus home from work, as I always did, when I suddenly felt a shiver run through my body. I just about jumped out of my seat and felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I had no idea what that shudder was about until I looked at my watch: it was 5:04 PM, on October 17, 1994 - the fifth anniversary of Loma Prieta. Sometimes, even when the conscious mind has put something away, the body still remembers.

Professor Richard Gordon, with whom I took a couple of courses and considered one of my favorites, died of cancer in 1996, the same year that Leslie and I got married. But I swear, I'll never forget his face, or his distinctive voice crying out, "Quite a shaker! Quite a shaker!"

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