What I did on my summer vacation....

It's hot here at night, lonely, black and quiet
On a hot summer night
Don't be afraid of the world we made
On a hot summer night

Hot in the city, hot in the city tonight, tonight
Hot in the city, hot in the city tonight, tonight

Stranger, stranger

For all the dreams and schemes,
People are as they seem
On a hot summer night
Don't be no fun, don't forget you're young
On a hot summer night

A sometime someone you're not
Don't wait to see what you got
'Cause you know that you're

Hot in the city, hot in the city tonight, tonight
Hot in the city, hot in the city tonight, tonight

—Billy Idol

Wow! It's been a long time since I wrote my blog. I've been trippin' around and having far too many adventures to actually sit down and write about them. Last time I signed off, I was headed to Vegas where I've been for the last seven months. I'm living near The Strip in a retirement community — not like I really retired. I'm not even 40, but I do like this place — it's close enough to The Strip to walk, and even close enough to Red Rock to hike around in the early evenings. It’s an idyllic little place with lots of trees — and these very wicked looking birds called grackles that I first saw on a very strange trip to a very small town in Texas where I had a very clandestine meeting with a former CIA agent who was opening an offshore cancer clinic.

Walking down The Strip in the evenings is very odd — the largest body of water in Vegas — the Bellagio’s lake where there’s an hourly water show (kind of like the Chuck E. Cheese and Bullwinkle’s show at the restaurants), except with drunk tourists carrying around three-foot long plastic loggers with leashes attaching them to their wrists, hookers and stunned everyday folk from the Midwest who will have their mouths still hanging open three days after they get home. It’s an interesting place to live — and yes, I’ve even been kissed by Wayne Newton now. I’ve met all the celebs and mobsters I could possibly gain access to. And spent a lot of interesting time observing just about every type of human nature. My first night here, I stumbled on an attempted murder scene (SCI team had just left — a guy had been shot three times, twice in the head — by a drive-by with a small caliber. The guy was talking ninety-miles an hour in Spanish trying to describe his would be killer.

A number of my wonderful Silicon Valley buds have made the trek to visit and stay at Sally Central. And there was that first adventure the first week I moved in — the week I broke my own nose. I was moving some boxes of books from the garage to the condo. I was using a dolly and it was nearing the end of the day — the first day of the Martin Luther king, Jr. weekend. Well, I dropped a 50 pound box on the dolly when I was bent over — the cement isn't the most even in the garage — and bang! I heard a crunch in my head and saw stars. I fell on my ass and sat still for a few moments before feeling under my nose and seeing that there was no blood. No blood, indeed. Surely, it wasn't broken. And then, I felt my quickly swelling face. By then, my eyes were almost swelled shut. My nose shifted...shifted. But, I didn't freak out. The last thing I wanted to do was go sit in an emergency room with holiday Las Vegas casualties. So, I called a plastic surgeon in LA and told them I'd be in on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, I was feeling an incredible amount of pain. I came in and searched the unpacked boxes for something that might take my mind off of the pain at hand. Then, I found it — the last of the Vicodin I had coveted for future use after a car smashed into me a few years ago. I took a couple and was feeling no pain. Then, I started thinking, gee, that would make a great story for CSI Las Vegas, one of those red herring sub-plots where a journalist comes to town, she starts working on an investigating piece — and boom! All of a sudden she's dead. The CSI teams suspects a professional hit, because there's no weapon, no struggle...nothing but a body. They uncover something suspicious she's working on, but in the end it's the single drop of blood on the dolly (yes, it really existed) that puts it all together. Well, I'm feeling no pain and I'm higher than a kite. And I make a call to the show and pitch.

So, a few hours goes by and I'm working on a treatment and all of a sudden there's a knock at my door. It's my old friend Stu out from Geneva. I had expected him, but forgot he was coming. I had cut my hair very short when I first moved here, so when I saw his shocked expression, well, I thought it was focused on my hair. I open the door to let him in — I had been so inspired by my Muse that I had forgotten completely about my nose. "Who did this to you!?" Stu demanded, shocked. I answered, "My hairdresser." Needless to say he was concerned about it. Anyhow, Stu, a terrific guy, decides to call his doctor friend — you know, the kind of doctor you call when you need a bullet taken out and you don't want a record of it. "Dr. Vitale" comes in with his imaging equipment and he says, "It's broken." He asks me if I want it set, I graciously turn him down.

So, I go down to LA on Monday night to spend the night at my friend Paul's in Santa Monica. And then, on my way to the hospital for surgery, my engine mount bolt breaks and my engine starts screaming. I get off the 110 and end up at a dealership where they are incredibly slow. I call the doctor's, but his staff neglects to call me back. So, I just show up late. The doctor looks at me like he's got somewhere to be. And I say, "No, no, no. You see, I've had to rebreak my nose every evening in the shower so it wouldn't start to set — I'm not going to do that tonight. We're here until it's done. I am not leaving." Well, he looks at me and decides he probably isn't going to get rid of me. Then he starts whining that he doesn't have a pain shot he can give me (I'm allergic to everything), I tell him I could write him a script and he could pick it up at the pharmacy across the street. He gets the pic, I'm not leaving. He comes back from the pharmacy and he gets to work. I sit on my hands because the painkiller isn't nearly as strong as its brethren. Women have gotten used to enduring though evolution, I just shut my eyes and concentrated on not hyperventilating. The doctor takes a break and takes a cell call. He looks at his watch. I tell him, just in case he's thinking of hurrying through it, "You know doctor, I believe in this life that everyone has a personal responsibility for what they do, don't you?" He agrees, takes a deep breath, and seems to be more thoughtful about his work. BTW, the nose mended great. Straight as an arrow.

I went back to Santa Monica to the pier to meet Paul for dinner before heading home. I'm at this Mexican restaurant — also the night the huge earthquake in Mexico had just occurred. And this guy comes in with his UCLA football buddies and, obnoxious and drunk. Well, he makes an offhand comment about my fiberglass beak. It was close to the Superbowl and he said that they all should have worn their football strips and they all start laughing. Well, here I am at the table reading my Harry Potter book, and the little eight-year-old in me comes out. So, that's when my foot shoots out from under the table and steps on his untied shoelace. I couldn't believe what I had done! Not that I regretted seeing him go flying and take down a table with him. His friends were laughing at him and I just smiled. Well then, after dinner, the staff, who had been watching the damage reports unfold at the bar — many of them had family in Mexico and had been talking to and for in Spanish about the earthquake. The football guys had left and from the sound of the comments between the staff, they had melted candles on the table, made a mess, and stiffed their waiter. My waiter brought over a flan for me, "This is for you, we saw what you did," he smiled.

So, I got home early the next morning and immediately got the worst head cold of my life — not the greatest thing for a healing nose. A friend in LA called — he had tickets to Sundance, did I want to go? Well, of course, all of the flights into Utah were sold out, but no worries, we took Stu's jet. That next week my clutch went out on Las Vegas Blvd., and the cold persisted.

Shortly thereafter, I took off for East Africa for a while where I got bitten by a gaboon viper in the middle of the night. And I'm glad my friend Michael had talked me into taking a few epinephrine shots with me. Had I not, the anti-venom would have killed me.

So then, I'm back in Vegas and I'm working at my desk one evening and my old flame from high school/college appears. He's in town for Interop, a show I'm attending for Tornado Insider in the Netherlands. There he is, Jeff, the guy I always fantasized about when I was with other lovers. And, well, I have finally found true love. Yes, this bachelorette is turning in her badge. I have to tell you, to be this incredibly in love with such a wonderful man is just the most incredibly satiating emotion (I bet you guys were thinking I'd never settle down — never say never!). He proposed to me out at Red Rock, the place where we had gone the first night we had seen each other again in a long time. That first night we went out to Red Rock in the warm night to a campground where we sat on folding chairs, the night lit by our DuraFlame (I do have to buy stock in that company!). We talked long into the early morning hours about life and love — and even a little about technology (my handsome dream boy grew up to be a braniac CTO). We're getting married in the new year (yes, of course, we have a date!). In the meanwhile, I've been working on all kinds of cool projects, including a company turnaround, met Michael Powell, hung with John Chambers and just got a great book deal.

So, I've had some lovely time with my folks who are on the other side of town — and the reason why I came to Vegas in the first place. I was stopping by for six months on my way back to Los Angeles. I'm also working with a very cool dot-com that has a worthwhile mission — more about that later. So, here you have it — I'm sure you can understand why I haven't been writing in my blog every day.

It's good to be going back to Cali. The desert is a very mysterious place. For weeks I climbed around on mountains and in valleys and felt the hot sun beat on my back. The desert allows you to clear your mind enough to visualize things well enough for them to actually occur. And I have to say, this has been the most fantastically odd, wild, exhilarating and lovely seven months I've ever had. I have had a few DuraLiNis in the Bay Area since I’ve been gone and a huge engagement party that was covered by TechTV of all things. I spoke at DefCon www.defcon.org with Len Kleinrock www.lk.cs.ucla.edu/ about how the next round of heroes in the fight to defend civil liberties will be hackers. Actually, that was my part of the talk. Len was teleconferencing in from my friend Paul Hoffman’s project from UCLA, the Visualization Portal www.ats.ucla.edu/portal/default.htm and talking about what his original vision for the Internet was (Len, by the way is the cofounder of the Internet with Larry Roberts www.CaspianNetworks.com). It was a good time, got to see Phil Zimmermann philzimmermann.com, and Kevin Mitnick, who was finally allowed to attend the conference (jeez!) and a ton of other folks. All this excitement, and I didn’t even have an opportunity to get to Burning Man this year — the press was well represented by my buds at the BBC — Neil Koenig and Peter Day, though. For visuals on this event, check out my friend Bob Gelman’s site at bgamedia.com/album/bman03 and Bruce and Galen’s pics at www.damer.com/pictures/events/burningman2003/index.html

Hoping you're getting what you need.