Tuesday, December 15

Purisma Creek

Roger and I hike the Purisma Creek Redwoods Reserve, on the western slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking Half Moon Bay. The canyon offers towering redwoods, a rushing creek and understory of ferns, berries and wildflowers. Coastal scrub and hardwood forests of tanoak, madrone and Douglas fir border the cool, moist canyon. Since rain, damp and brooding.


The last we saw Roger, Box had gone public and now we see the fruits of the IPO: a shiny new building in Redwood City straight out of a Stanley Kubrick movie with automatic industrial lighting, painted walkways with coded numbers identifying offices and conference rooms and immaculate white work stations (desks which can be raised for standing).  Lunch and drinks still free. The self-serve snack-bar 24/7. Keg on every floor. Since an Internet company, there is a nap room. I want in.

Roger's team responsible for the partnership'n and revenue generat'n. His team multi-national which means Indian. I am certain they have a good time. Roger's style, afterall.

At the Hertz car rental at Oakland Airport. 
Agent: "What's your postal code. For the credit card."
I offer my postal cod.
Agent: "What kind of a postal code is that?"
Me: "It's in London."
Agent: "You live in London?"
Me: "Yes. Since 1997."
Agent: "Why'd you move to London?"
Me: "It's either a job or a girl."
Agent, pondering a moment: "Well, which one was it ?"
Me: "A girl."
Agent: "Damn straight." He offers his hand and we shake.

A Gathering

Sonnet and her cousins in Denver on the sad news of Bill Stanfill's passing. Missing from the photo is Derek.

Sunday, December 13


Confederate Flag, Confederate War Cemetery, Raleigh, NC
Two battles outside of Raleigh at the Civil War's end, Averasboro and Bentonville, flooded the capital with wounded to the point that private residents were taking in soldiers. The battle of Averasboro was meant to slow General Sherman and his fire-happy troops, who had just torched Georgia and made their way north through South Carolina uncontested.

500+ unknown tombstones.

Party Night

Meanwhile, back in London, Eitan invited to an evening affair, suit required. The Boy hits the High Street and finds himself a suit from a charity shop for £7.50.  With my tie, looking pretty good. Rusty agrees.

Now in Berkeley, I do a five mile out-and-back on Wild Cat Canyon Road at sunrise.

Cross Country

Ocean Pacific
My rest of week takes me on a tour of American cities and small airports : Columbus, Ohio (where I visit my mother's childhood house in Upper Arlington and charm the Ohio State gal who let's me swim at the athletic aquatic centre); Springfield, IL (home of Lincoln and a working town; my hotel - a Hilton - 30 stories, cities tallest by 25, with steak restaurant on floor 30), Austin, Texas, Phoenix AZ (I stay at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Biltmore; 6AM sunrise jog followed by some some lap swimming) and San Diego, just in time for sunset - Pictured.

In La Jolla I try to find the cove for an ocean swim to a buoy and back - something I did in swimming camp, 1983 - but, alas, the the waves coming in at 7 or 8 feet.

Donal Trump and his mischief everywhere.

Saturday, December 12


Sarah Cain: The Imaginary Architecture of Love
Sonnet and I visit the Raleigh Contemporary Art Museum, which has an exhibition on Joseph Mitchell and the Big Ears music festival in North Carolina. It doesn't really work, but I do buy a couple books by Mitchell.

"Joseph Mitchell was a devoted Brooks Brothers suit-and-fedora man. Between 1938 and 1965 he became one of the most influential writers in The New Yorker magazine’s history. Using fabled, lean prose, he chronicled the city’s fading neighborhoods, fish markets, overgrown cemeteries, and abandoned hotels, people and places bypassed by mainstream culture. In 1964, after the publication of his seminal work Joe Gould’s Secret, Mitchell stopped publishing. He reported to The New Yorker’s offices everyday without submitting another piece. Yet he kept wandering. Instead of chronicling voices, he collected abandoned objects—19th-century door knobs, scraps of housing trim, keys, and nails. In his small Manhattan apartment, he squirrelled away remnants from the world he’d written about, before it was gone."

Back home, an under-floor kitchen gas leak discovered by the engineers replacing the street's Victorian metal gas pipes with plastic. Lucky to find it. 


UNC campus
I spend a wonderful day with old London friend Brad Ives, who is Associate Vice Chairman for Campus Enterprise at the University of North Carolina. He basically oversees everything including the coal powered plant which supplies the UNC's gas power.  His budget: $175 million, with a team of 650 University employees and 450 contracted employees. He is also University’s Chief Sustainability Officer.

Prior, Brad was NC Assistant Secretary to Natural Resources responsible for the State Parks, Zoo, Aquariums, Museum of Natural Sciences & Marine Fisheries. He led passage of state law regulating siting of wind farms to address military flights and migratory bird patterns.

In short, Brad has changed his environment, he has had an impact. And pretty cool, too.

He shows the Triangle and we visit NC State, Duke and UNC. He exudes knowledge and pride, having grown up in a small town in North Carolina and attending UNC undergrad on a Moorhead Cain scholarship.

Friday, December 11

Modern Art

What the hell?

I like it!

Raleigh Museum

North Carolina Museum of the Arts
Catching up a bit here, I depart London last week on Thursday for Charlotte, SC, and a bunch of meetings followed by a flight to Raleigh where I meet .. Sonnet for the weekend.  We visit a bunch of museums, go for some walks through Raleigh, enjoy each others company. 

Wednesday, December 2

Climate Talks

I am in Paris this week and the security visible : Gendarmes on every corner with automatic machine guns, batons and body armour - and not only in the 8th, the wealthiest of arrondisments and where the Élysée Palace is located along with the French the government. The rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, le plus à la mode, has barely any pedestrians when I arrive in the morning time, though things more alive in the evening. The mood however is overall glum.

Yet cheered up by Barack Obama who is in Paris for the kick-off of the climate talks and the last chance to save the planet. We are off to an auspicious start as Obama's motorcade of 20 town-cars and SUVs rumble along the street outside Astorg's offices.

Me: "What do you think of global warming?"
Eitan: "Pretty terrible."
Me: "Do you know about the Paris climate conference?"
Eitan: "Uh, no. Why?"
Me: "Because it effects you. Do you think about it?"
Eitan: "Not really."
Me: "Fair enough. But it's coming."

"Don't sit back and wait for them to attack us."
--David Cameron presents his reason to bomb ISIS