Goodbye Bernard, May You Rest in Peace

dc ymca

Tonight I kissed a man. I put my lips to his without hesitation, without thought. I didn’t think of the blood on his face, only of pinching his nose. Of exhaling with force into his mouth, of filling his lungs with my breath.

All the while, my beloved Amy pushed against his chest with rhythmic thrusts, compressing his heart to make it pump. Pushing hard, she only stopped to feel for pulse. Faint. Gone. Faint again.

She, the medical professional, the physician’s assistant in George Washington University Hospital’s intensive care unit. Me the husband who heard the crash in the YMCA National Capitol men’s locker room.

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One XO Laptop Per Obsessive Fanboy

xo laptop
I really have an XO!

Wow! My XO laptop from One Laptop Per Child is finally here. It really exists and it’s in my very hands. I never really knew if this moment would happen.

Now, I never doubted that OLPC could build the laptop, or that it would be clock-stopping hot technology that everyone would want. I knew it would be the geek gadget to have this Christmas, I’m just surprised I have one, now.

I’ve been obsessed with OLPC for the last two years, ever since I first heard Nicholas Negroponte start talking about a “$100 laptop” in February 2005. Since then, I developed thought leadership on his grand plan through OLPC News, my obsession turned digital as a website that tracked the program’s every move.

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A Florida Running-Moon Vacation

amy and wayan
A Running Moom

What to do after you and your beloved have a legal wedding in Georgia? Why have a running-moon vacation in Florida, of course!

But what is a “running-moon vacation”?

That is when you fly down to Vero Beach, Florida to see your Mom and spend the entire long weekend running. Now Amy and I were not running from the law, or her father, we were running for the fun and joy of it.

Starting with easy three and four mile runs at the Memorial Park Fitness Trail, Amy and I built up our warm winter in the tropics stamina for Saturday’s grand challenge: the 24th Annual Jack Island Cross Country Run.

Don’t be fooled, the Jack Island run is a challenge. It may look like an easy four mile loop on a picturesque island in the Indian River lagoon, but once you get there, you realize that its four miles of hot, sweaty trails through swarming noseeums as the Florida morning heat dehydrates you by the minute.

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Legally, We are Married

amy and wayan
Amy and Wayan

Wow! What earth-shattering news today! Can you believe it? OLPC took G1G1 global and extended it to December 31. Yes, I know, it’s shocking, but it’s not the most exciting moment in world history today.

Nope, that honor goes to Amy Ross Vota. Yes, read that name again, slowly this time: Amy Ross Vota. Today the Betrothed Butterbean is no longer legally betrothed. She is my wife. In a mad dash to the Cobb County courthouse in central Georgia, Amy and I wed today in a quick civil ceremony.

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Portland Taxi Driver Perfection

portland taxi driver
Portland Taxi Driver

A musical frog. That’s what my crazy Portland taxi driver is trying to show me as we speed through the city. A wooden frog he rubs with a stick to make sing, which is somehow more important than lanes, lights, or the cars around us.

After I relaxed, realizing that Andrew knew every street, curve, and alley in Portland, I too enjoyed the harmonious amphibian. It was just one of many curiosities that Andrew brings to his job as he bought me to my many destinations. And Andrew brought me many places in Portland.

When I travel for business, getting places in my city of operation is the largest source of frustration. I have no clue where my meetings are, beyond and address that may or may not be logical to the city grid. Often, I don’t even have an address, locations are often all known to inhabitants, but confusing to visitors. Directions like “turn left where the old schoolhouse used to be” do me no good.

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A Sweet DC Kiss

a dc kiss
A sweet DC kiss

I remember the first time I saw a sweet DC kiss. Last summer, I watched a moving truck take a too-tight turn and ruin an Ohioan’s vacation in Washington DC. Then Metroblogging DC‘s Brownpau saw a serious DC parking lot kiss, offender unknown. And who could forget the Metrobus DC kiss that sent passengers to the emergency room?

Each time, I felt sorry for the recipient and wondered if the kisser got away with their transgression. Or even felt guilt in the subtle hit-and-run style of hitting a parked car and then driving off. Saturday morning, I found the answer the hard way.

In mid-post about Dousing IMF Protestations, I got a call from my next-door neighbour, Joe Martin: “Did you hear that crunch? Sounds like someone just hit your Mom’s truck.”

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Bye Bye Geekcorps, Hello Mercy Corps

Wayan Style
Geekcorps Style

Yes, as you may have read in the Associated Press article on the OLPC price increase, I am now:

“the former director of the Geekcorps international tech-development organization and current editor of the OLPCNews blog.”

Friday was my last day as head geek, able to stop entire conversations with the simple, “I’m with Geekcorps,” which inevitably lead to a half-hour discussion on technology in the developing world.

For three years, I led Geekcorps, starting with a handful of CD’s from the previous staff and one program in the field. Through blood, sweat and a few tears, we built it into a successful organization.

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A Cemetery Conclusion

a sad moment
Moment of sadness

When I was young, I used to fear cemeteries. I was always very scared to be near them, which proved a problem when my family moved in behind the Vero Beach Cemetery.

Then I met a grave digger making a new hole on day and asked him if he feared the dead. His wise, southing response?

“I worry more about those four feet above the ground than four feet below it.”

Since then, I’ve not worried about graves, and to an extent have become fascinated by headstones, markers of lives long past in few words and two dates. Like why we bookend lives with birth and death?

Was there not a parent that has a story before we start? Was there not change in life at least a few months before us? Then, do we not live on in our children? In memories of us throughout the community? In work and deeds that transcend our short lives?

Some grave markers are overly religious, with symbols of preferred gods or saints, others have images and etchings of the deceased. But even if it’s just a name and a date, I still find meaning.

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California’s Capitol Corridor Commuter Connection

California tranist foaming
California transit foaming start

After a week of the Global Social Benefit Incubator, I needed a break. I needed an escape from thinking about sustainable international development and San Francisco called my name. Even better, the Bay Area is served by a great rail network, perfect for my transit foamer fetish.

First up, I called Kristin and Mark, the dynamic duo behind Inveneo and asked them for a lunch date. Ever the gracious hosts, they agreed to meet me at the 22nd Street Station in San Francisco, a short hop north of Santa Clara on the convenient CalTrain that stops at the Santa Clara University front door.

After a relaxing six mile run (and a shower) I bought my $7.50 train ticket and settled in for a wait at the Santa Clara train station. A wait entertained with model railroads and a very interesting but annoyingly noncommercial train museum complete with model trains but no postcards or other purchasable train memorabilia.

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Amy, Will You Marry Me?

amy's engaged
Amy said “Yes!”

What do you do when you love your girlfriend? When you feel she is Miss Right, worthy of cohabitation, even if it requires a half-million dollar mortgage?

First off, you discuss the future with her. Life as Mrs. Vota, legally bound to a highly visible, globe trotting uber Geek with an addiction to technology and transit foaming on the Internets and even the streets. Then, when she accepts your insanity, you go ring shopping.

But don’t tell her that you’re buying an engagement ring. Oh no, you do your best to fake her out. You bitch and moan about diamond prices, you defer ring shopping trips, you even question the whole idea of engagement rings until she gives up and stops pestering you.

Its then, when she least expects it, like a Ross family vacation to Fripp Island, South Carolina. And where she least expects it, like the Bonito Boathouse Restaurant & Sunset Lounge, that you pop the question. Down on one knee, surprise engagement ring in hand, you ask her, “Amy, will you marry me?”

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