Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nobody Died at My House Last Night

I know, yet another sensational title. I do find them quite entertaining though.

Yesterday morning, I made my morning rounds to say good morning to everybody. You would not think this a big deal until I mention that I have 6 bedrooms 4 bathrooms 4 large heartbeats and 5 small ones to keep track of. No, I have not started breeding genetically engineered pack hunters.

My daughter is now 5 and has been wanting a dog for a long time. We are currently between houses and renting and would rather delay a dog until she can help provide more of the care for it. Fish were the obvious answer. We went to the store, looked around, window shopped, checked prices, and left. We actually left without purchasing any fish. How cruel is that?

A little while later, we went back to window shopping at the pet store. Aeryn was so cute with the little fishies. I could not help myself. Yousun threw up her hands and said it was "on you." We picked up a darling little Aerial tank and two female bettas. I like predatory animals. Not vicious mind you. Interactive. Smart. Fast. Sleek. When you walk in the room, they notice you and react. When you do things near them, they are trying to watch and figure out what you are up to. In fact, when we were feeding them about a week ago, one of the pellets missed and stuck on the lip of the tank partially over the edge (it was wet). Before I could get to it and push it in, one of the bettas jumped out of the water, snagged it, and went back in.

They are crafty little buggers. Unfortunately, those two just did not want to play nice. The bigger one was getting bigger at a very fast pace. The little one was not. One night, I came in to feed them and I did not even see the little one. We looked all over. There really was only one place to hide, the huge castle that I was convinced to buy for the tiny tank. I very carefully, very slowly, raised the castle out of the water. Still no fish. I turned it over, no obvious fish. I carefully put it back into the water. We kept looking and interacting with the other fish. Then, Aeryn noticed that the fish was poking its head out the front door. Seriously, it was popping out of a front door in a house that was about the size of its body. It liked its home.

The problem was, the interior decorating of this molded castle was not actually designed to be gentle on fins and scales. The poor little girl was scraping herself raw in spots on the edges. The castle came out. Now that she did not have a good place to hide, the other one got a little bit more aggressive and the fish came out.

We then went out to the store and purchased a tank for me and three goldfish. A few hours later I had a tank with three goldfish and one agressive betta. It turns out that she had probably never seen anything as big as one of these goldfish and they had not seen something like her that they could not eat. One test pucker later and the betta was shooting across the tank at insane velocities. She quickly figured out the narrow places to hang out.

Yesterday, when I did my rounds, I found one of the goldfish was stuck to the filter. Poor little thing. I don't know why it died, but it was only a few days. It might have been the tank or the other fish. No damage was obvious and the filter definitely did not cause it. Aeryn walked in right when I was about to clean it up. Thankfully she does not appear to have been traumatized by it. That night I was off buying more stuff for bettas to hide and two more bettas. Aeryn was finally going to get her replacement betta.

As it turns out, the betta that we purchased for her might have been a boy. If you don't know. Bettas are also called Siamese Fighting Fish. Two boys will fight to the death instantly. The top of the cup said girl. We later found out that the side of the cup said boy. When introduced into Aeryn's tank, they performed some impressive displays, and started to arc around each other and move in slow circles. I thought they were being friendly.

Then the slow circles started to leap in different directions by an entire body length instantly. Occasionally they would end up in odd positions. After one of those lurches, the agressive girl betta had a nice long chunk of fin in her mouth which she slowly proceeded to slurp in like a kid with a spaghetti noodle. She quickly found herself out of that tank.

A little while later she was in my tank with more foliage and hiding places. As I was writing this, two of the bettas were actually snuggled together side by side in a hollow that I had scooped out of the rocks. They are pretty little fish.

The goldfish are acting like they are pressed for space. Many times, one of them will chase and follow around the other fish. I thought he was just being frisky, but I only see one of the signs that it is a he so I am not sure. Oh, the other odd thing is they look pressed for space in a 20 gallon tank.

We shall see. I hope they are all happy. I hope they all live a long time. In the meantime, I will continue doing my daily body count to make sure everybody is still here.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Meeting Your Idols and Heroes

I was listening to NPR today and they were talking about a director meeting one of his idols. Meeting an idol, as they mentioned, is not always a good thing. So far, thankfully, they have generally been pretty good experiences so far. I have had the great pleasure to meet many wonderful people during my life. Sometimes things go smoothly.

When I met Larry Augustin in 2004 we had a wonderful meeting. We were looking for some advice while we were starting SugarCRM Inc. He very quickly validated our business model and helped clarify the tools that we had at our disposal. That kind of background knowledge directly from one of the founders of the open source movement was invaluable. Over the years, his advice was very valuable and I am pleased to count him as a mentor, friend, and advisor. Larry has later gone on to have a much more active role in SugarCRM Inc. In his current role as CEO, he has helped ramp up the company towards its full potential.

I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite authors, when he spoke at our group's convention and then went out to dinner with us. He had tons of fascinating stories. I noticed after a while, that many of the regulars where quite a bit far behind where they could not hear well. I dropped back and asked them what was going on. The response was something like, "yeah, these stories are excellent the first two or three times." I am sure I have managed to bore a few people myself. Have you ever had one of those times where you could not remember someone when you were being reintroduced?

I managed to do that a few months ago with Chris Schiflett. I have actually met him a few times, read his blog on and off, and have read at least a few of his articles and possibly even a book. When Travis Swicegood verified that I knew him I totally spaced and forgot all of that. Sorry Chris. It was me, not you.

Sometimes, I find myself walking around a convention realizing that I recognize up to 50% of the people. After a very short while I find myself in a kind of trance. At that point, it is actually hard for me to recognize people that I know rather well.

There are a few people that I have met where I really don't have much to say to them. For instance, Don Box, when I mentioned that I loved "Essential Com" back in the day, appreciated it, but that was all I had. It made for a bit of an awkward moment. When I was studying excellent speaking, I had just finished reading about Carly Fiorina. A few days later, I had the chance to hear her speak and really wanted to say how impressed I was. Again, not a bad start, but I had nothing to back it up.

Thankfully, I have also had the opportunity to meet tons of other people and things usually proceed much better. Sometimes it is nice to keep people perfect idols and not pull them off the pedestal by meeting the actual human. Personally, I love the chance to meet people. Achievements are more meaningful because we are human, not despite the fact that we are human.

Find and idol and say hello. If they are busy, be respectful. If not, you might get a chance to actually meet them. I think it is worth surrounding yourself with as many wonderful people as possible. The world is full of them.

Happy Hunting,

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

This is a piece of age old wisdom, but you should always be careful what you wish for. Last night, I was biking up a nice long hill. I was tired and approaching a major intersection that has a terrible bike path to right turn lane merge.

I was trying to build up speed, peddling harder, and downshifting rapidly. I kept willing my bike to make it easier to pedal. A few seconds later, it became really easy to pedal. I had managed to shift my bike chain right off the front gear. A few seconds later, I was back on the road, pondering again the phrase "Be careful what you wish for."

In life, we often find ourselves wishing for something that we don't have. When you want something focus on what you want and how you would like to get it.

Take Care,

Where Vehicles Are now...

Not sure what happened to this post, but it appears to have not been published. Publishing now.

The Army has been making use of little nearly indistructable spy vehicles called Throwbots. I like the idea of smaller vehicles taking the place of people in risky situations. I don't like the idea of never quite knowing if your conversations are private. I think there might be such a thing as too good in this case. These guys were used initially to help explore the rubble of the world trade center. This is a great use of the technology. I think helping to find mines and clear them, as well as scouting in hazardous situations are also great uses.

In unrelated news, I had a lot of fun with a simple iPhone holder that I heard about. You can create a holder for your iPhone using a business card. Today, I read a blog entry about creating an iPhone holder from an airplane barf bag. Now you can still have a holder, even if you forget your business cards. Ahhh....innovation at its finest.