|It’s been a strange day in the news. Actually a couple of strange days. A guy goes ballistic at the UN and starts shooting, a sniper shoots people doing random tasks –
From the Washington Post….
The Virginia attack occurred at 2:30 p.m. yesterday at the
Spotsylvania Mall, where a 43-year-old woman was shot in
the back and seriously wounded while loading packages into
her minivan outside a Michaels craft store, authorities said. It
was another instance of a person going about an ordinary chore,
gunned down by an assailant who may have fired from a distance,
and vanished like a ghost. Moreover, the Virginia shooting occurred
outside a Michaels store. Authorities believe the deadly Montgomery
attacks were preceded by a shot fired into a Michaels store in Aspen Hill
that did not hit anybody.
In the District attack, Pascal Charlot, 72, was fatally shot in the chest
about 9:20 p.m. Thursday while standing at the corner of Kalmia Street
and Georgia Avenue NW, in a commercial strip a half-block from the
Montgomery border. In the Montgomery slayings, two men and three
women were shot to death in separate incidents. One of the victims was
at a Shell gas station in Kensington vacuuming her minivan; one was
pumping gas at a Mobil station in Aspen Hill; one was in the parking lot
of a grocery store in Glenmont; one was pushing a lawn mower near Rockville
Pike; and one was sitting on a bench near the Leisure World retirement
community in Silver Spring. No witnesses reported seeing the shots fired.
Creepy. When I read about the part of how it was just so random, so much about people doing ordinary tasks, it just kind of struck me as really odd. I mean, FBI serial killer profiles (and I’ve done a lot of research on this subject due to a project I was working on — they actually provide you with documents about such things), serial killers usually do things that fall into patterns. Well, a profile is very precise thing based on statistical data, and profiling killers they’ve caught and have been able to observe; although I doubt some of the accuracy because why would a sociopath open themselves up entirely for no gain? Anyhow, there is no connection between these murders except for the randomness of people living their lives; no race, no gender, no one task. The agents must be going crazy over this. I wish them luck in nailing whoever it is before he strikes again.
And today was the day that 21-year-old Marin boy Johnny Walker got sent up for 20 years. Whew…what on earth did his parents do to him that set him off to go to Afghanistan? When your kids turn out that bad, shouldn’t the parents have to do some time? That’s a tough one. And that guy who tried to set his shoe on fire gets sentenced Monday. And we’re still doing the balancing act between war or no war…war or no war?
As I was sitting there thinking about this and reading over the Washington Post I started getting too mired in the difficulties of the day. These are strange times, and I shouldn’t read the news — somehow NPR has a much more gentle way of breaking the news to you by sprucing it up with hopeful stuff in between, and those gentle voices that tell the entire story. And if you watch it on TV, usually it’s beautiful people telling you bad things. Even listening to the BBC is a much more civil way of knowing what is passing over the planet. But, if you read it every sentence seems to have an ellipses — not a physical one, but the kind your mind puts in when it jumps to conclusions. There’s no one to give you closure on sentences, no final tone, just your mind’s voice reading it and deciding how the story should end. That’s why I laugh when they say news stories are objective, they’re only objective as your reader’s minds allow them to be. So as I closed the browser and was looking at the backend of my website … this week’s visitors included
www.nasa.gov & www.llnl.gov (both places have so many physicists that they can't all be that bad). I also got some hits from www.iaea.org/ I received 100 hits from NIPR this week alone! Now, although this is the URL that hits my site, take note that there is no such accessible website. For that reason I've enclosed their IP addresses CON1.NIPR.MIL 22.214.171.124 EUR1.NIPR.MIL 126.96.36.199 - I bet this will make me very popular — hey thank the people at WhoIs (for once Verisign is handy!) PAC1.NIPR.MIL 188.8.131.52NIPR NIPR.mil is what is considered 'semi-secure' government computers to track the Internet, sort of a proxy server. Sometimes hits from www.eop.gov (executive office of the president) and even www.osd.gov (office of secretary of defense). These last two websites are also not linkable, but that's what the route through. NIPR is the most popular government agency that hits my site to excess; I didn't even know there was that much to read on my site! Hope you boys are having fun! Now maybe y'all can connect the dots, share dossiers and save the tax payers some money. Good thing this website is on my own server or I'd start to worry....
And…oddly enough, www.aaronread.com/ Doesn’t surprise me, my interview on CNET got me going off about Muller and Homeland Insecurity (loved that article in The Atlantic this month theatlantic.com) And then I think I called Bush an idiot…. Oh well, and there was that part where we talked about sex with animals. I swear, you start out with technology and then the being amped on coffee takes you elsewhere. I expect that by putting in the above links I can expect a visit from one of these guys soon, perhaps someone will come to tea? Or at least I'll be getting more than the regular clicks on my line....
Anyhow, I was still at my desk trying to clear my head. I had another Adrenaline (since the world is conspiring against me to take away my caffeine — Wet Planet has lost several distributorships and I can’t get Jolt as easily as I used to — sell that stock, people!), put the radio on — and the song above popped up. I got back in the groove and began answering the ton of correspondence on my desk. All of a sudden I got a call from a fellow journalist who said, you have an hour — actually 45 minutes — to come down to the Palo Alto airport and we’ll have lunch. Well, the fun thing – we actually flew over to Half Moon Bay to have lunch at www.3-zero.com (check out the webcam) where we taxied right up and had a really great breakfast (for a late lunch) — Mark the owner is totally fun. Great food.
The great thing about getting out of the office on a day like today? I got to get up on that perspective my VC friends call “the 30,000-foot look” which was a good thing. Stanford looked beautiful, my house looked actually clean, and the line of cars snaking its way down the 101 didn’t look nearly as overwhelming as it would at ground level — it looked like art. The fog started at Pacifica and went North, the fog to the South started at Verde Road. In other words, we had a clear, blue, path right to the Pacific. And everything seemed right in the world again.
Actually, my mind started wandering with the silent times just before and after take off when we listened to tower control…and I remembered driving down the 101 when we lived in Monterey and visiting my Grandma Mary in San Jose when I was two – the magical California days before my dad went off to war and we moved to Hawaii in the mid-’60s. In San Jose at that time was orchards on either side of the road, at least for a few miles that seemed to be a driving eternity when you’re two. We used to roll down our windows and stick our arms out, against my mom’s warnings that a truck would drive by and rip off our arms, and deeply breathe in the sweet fruit tree blossoms. 3-zero café has these wonderful tropical flowers – jasmine and passion flowers that made me think about Hawaii. I remembered tacking on the miles with my dad in little Cessnas when I was a kid, the thrill of flying small planes when all there is is common sense and the physics of the wind. What a thrill.
I didn’t do any big deals today — actually I had a play date afterwards with my friend Carol’s dog Sunny — a joyful boy — and we went romping around the shore of the Peninsula with the sun on my hair and a gentle bay breeze filling my head with happy thoughts. The day was nearly a write-off — no big deals went through, no contracts, no calls from agents or editors.
All in all it was a pretty good day — perhaps not for the rest of the world, but at least for me.