Entries in family (64)
40. It’s just around the bend. That’s a lot of years. And yet I still have no idea what I will become. I think I am supposed to feel something different, but I am still wired to push. Am I alone?
The intensity that rages through my mind is unbearable…even to myself…on most days. But it is all I know. I want precision and order and serialized goals to be realized in the way that I envision they can.
Am I alone?
But alas, the smarter ones that I know exist out there have their secrets. Their secrets on how to cope or manage or maybe just completely blow things off just to stay sane. I’m not that person. Everything needs its due attention. Everything must be addressed. Or maybe I am just dumb and should follow their lead of apathy.
So I go often into Annette Bening mode: “I will sell this house today!”. I allow myself to head down that cheesy pop-psychological path and coax my ethos that I can do it all. That I can stay young and mentally razor sharp. That I can learn massive amounts of new material. That I can look at my children when I walk in the door mentally wasted from the day and not be a complete dick and be present for them. That I can look at my Amy with my same tired eyes and try to shoot laser beams of confidence out of them to her to convey that I will do us right and not fail. That I can continue to surface laughter out of her from me as we are co-dependant laughers when we get rolling together. That I can compartmentalize all of that and be able to focus on the weekends to do my best on my bike.
I will sell this house today. Am I alone?
Rush. That's right. Canada's finest export. And whenever you envision me riding my little commuter to work, coffee in hand, you just put this little ditty in your head. Working man. That's what they call me. OK, 'they' is me. And maybe my kids. But I digress...
So on that subject I've had a zillion emails saying 'Keller! Whatup!? How's the new gig? What are you doing? What is Lijit? First, MAD props and thanks for all the well wishes and questions. It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks, but I am finally starting to get those feelings back again...feelings that I had AGES ago when I controlled the destiny of software and turned nothing...or at a minimum, opaque ideas...into real tangible stuff that made real people happy and productive. All with kick ass engineers and coffee.
It's happening again. I can feels it!
We do search. But search with people and their trusted relationships at the core of the technology. So, taking a step back, and super generally speaking, the interwebs are are basically a 'web' of pipes (TCP/IP) with 'walls' at the end of each pipe (web pages/html/data, etc). Large search engines essentially crawl the web, day and night, cataloguing all those pages...all that content...all the finite changes...and lastly the frequency that those pages are 'hit'. So, when you search for a term, the results you see first are basically there because lots of people (you do not know) may have looked at the page or site for various reasons.
But, are the results contextually relevant to you? Possibly, yes....but very often no. Think about it: so often you need to dig 3, 4, 5 or more pages in of results until 'voila', a relevant answer/result. An example is something like searching for 'Grocery Stores + Boulder'. We're a bunch of hippies here in the Bubble so keep that 'in context' for the moment. The first thing that comes back is some giant food store chain. Not relevant to me. Would never go there. Why? They're not green enough, not organic enough, not....hippy...enough (remember?). But, if I search my graph of friends for the same data, suddenly I can see a trusted array of answers leading me to places relevant to me...like Sunflower Market or Whole Foods, etc. Twitter streams, Flickr photos, FaceBook posts etc...all from my 'trusted graph' of contacts led me to the answer. Not a machine's 'caching' of the page ranks so to speak.
Now, take a look to the right of my blog. That's it...right, THERE! Upper right corner in the sidebar. That is essentially the 'portal' you as my reader need in order to tap into me and my 'trusted network'. That is the most well known 'face' of Lijit at the moment. Likely, if you're reading this here blog, we've got stuff in common and you can trust me (hopefully). You can search anonymously, see what my network and I say about your desired topic, etc etc. Sort of like this:
That's you in the suit. Ha! That's me (I'm Elvis...and I'm back in the building) and one of my network connections Micah (among many many others). You've input a search term and poof, you get results back in various forms...all to give you a contextually relevant 'edge' on what my network has to say (or visualize in pictures, etc) about your query. You may search me for bikes and get the typical data back you'd expect from me, but say you searched me for 'pets' or 'dogs'. Then you'd see data from me and Micah and others in my graph on the furry four legged friends. Anything we'd written, taken photos of, tweeted about, etc etc. Again, trusted network and hopefully relevant to you as well. Maybe you'd then be inspired to 'connect' to us, through Lijit or maybe FaceBook or other social means. Works great when geography separates us yet we truly share so much in common.
So the technology is maddeningly interesting to work on. 10's of 1000's now use our technology and we've graphed/cached 100's of millions of page views of info. And I get to work on pushing the platform and products into new places. Exciting frontiers that can help real people relate to other real people. Real brands do a better job of finding their right audience. Always evangelizing the publisher to help readers interact with more...and with more relevance and context to them (you in this case!).
So there it is, mostly. I wake up with the (good) nervous pit in the stomach to push and create and inspire. It's early, but I feel the same way I did in the mid 90's when everything was possible. SO, rhetoric aside, I'm stoked and have LOTS of work to do...thus the blogging absence.
But I'm STILL riding! Ha!
1.5 months until the sport of the changing leaves engulfs us all. I haven't lost focus on that either...
These are interesting times for me. The normal grip I have on my life, controlling all aspects, is seemingly covered in grease. Defying my ‘order’ to remain in control and obey my command. The harder I squeeze, the less I can retain control of and slip. But I need to listen. I always need to remind my self of that. Understand how to solve the slipperiness for the solution is there.
All three sides are imbalanced as of late but I will right this ship. I have always checked bravado and ego and now it seems I need to check it even deeper. Pushing forward on career fronts is slow and even while I remain excited about things to come, the horizon seems to push itself out every day a little bit farther. Or stays positioned in the exact same place every day which makes it impossible for me to see my progress, or my regress.
What this does to the mind is troubling. Nothing tastes sweet as the stress from my core seems to strip away anything worth tasting. My parenting suffers. My being the best husband and making my wife laugh often suffers. My ability to stay focused…or just have fun…on the bike suffers.
But this will pass and I will succeed.
I am taking a breath, cycling the rich air through my lungs. Fortunately, it is this air that I can taste. It is sweet. I am alive.
What it is about brothers? I want to know. I study my boys so intensely...but they will never know why or the anguish and sadness I feel to the depth of my soul as I watch their relationship blossom. Jealousy? Nah. An anguish rages through me like some sort of chemical storm rushing through my veins as I watch the beauty of their relationship grow. But the anger and anguish I feel is obviously not for these sweet boys. The feeling is, however, culminated in an electrified stare through my eyes as I see what they have and the conditions in which they have...no...enjoy their relationship.
I methodically observe and study them as it's important...and I watch their bond grow not in the manner of a rubber-necker looking at a the way two people in love kiss when said rubber-necker has been burned burned burned. No. Not like that. I continue to watch in admiration as it's beautiful and SO important due to the natural and healthy course two brothers can take in growing mutual respect while having each other in their lives for the rest of their lives. It's so important for Amy and I to influence something healthy and beautiful between these amazing little people. We sweat those details more than you know. So the days play each other out and while Amy and I rant to each other over the nonsense on some days, but we know less than discreetly that we want time to stand still even while the fireworks are going off between two little hot heads. We want it to stay this exactly this way....forever. We want the days to be just like these as the "obvious" things are seen...
The fighting: GIVE ME BACK MY TRANSFORMER'S LEG!!!
The relating: You, know, you look like mommy and I look like daddy. Yeah, I look like daddy. But you don't look like daddy. But I do.
The playing: No way! Your rocket didn't hit me! It flew right by my jet! You did NOT blow me up!
The loving: I want you to sleep in my room with me tonight ! I am not scared or anything, but want you to be in my room tonight.
And so, I observe this. And I love it and relish hearing what I hear and what I see....
"Don't worry, it will come," she said as the days ticked away over the summer break before 5th grade would begin. Mom promised this to me with everything she had in her 'mom powers' to console a son who'd been shined. Months prior his brother of 13 years difference left for his first deployment and before he left promised me contact. That's all the little brother wanted. It was clear in his leaving that he was moving away from the family in more senses of the word that can be conveyed here.....with every step up the ladder of his military career. He promised his little brother he'd send some 'real army equipment' that his litter brother would wear and be exactly like him. It was inevitable: he would follow in the footsteps of his big brother because his brother was...everything. Every single solitary thing a child growing in the 70's could want. An extension of John Wayne from the movies little brother and dad would watch together after mowing lawns on incredibly hot and humid days in Connecticut. He was an extension of the Catholic Church and what it meant to me as a boy and how a man is supposed to live with virtue...and with a sword if required to re-enforce this virtue. A man creating a family like we had. A man defending us like I simply thought I needed to do.
The package came but it was anti-climactic. To this day I will never know if the parents berated the bigger brother into 'following through' to appease the little brother's obsessiveness with his bigger brother or if this bigger brother had a natural compulsion to send the olive green utility belt and the rubber canteen to his little 'bro'.
Ah, fuck it. It's irrelevant. I refuse to burn another brain cell on it.
Now, I watch MY two little characters grow. My beautiful young men blossom. Teaching them to appreciate the nuances of their sibling in a way that is not forceful, but in some sense not unlike trying to 'assist' someone with why a certain song is great. And while we know that is not always a fruitful endeavor, it is still a way to continue re-enforcing subtly that there's beauty in everything. EVERYTHING...
Forever side by side
For me, I will never have the opportunity I see my sons have at their life's portal. But, the magic is the way I feel about applying what I thought I could have into ensuring my sons actually have it.
I pray they haze me when we're all old and call me out on my ridculousness. And I'll laugh, as one of them has their head on my chest when I pass, at the joy we had.
I still don't understand it. Is this end-of-days? The weather is EPIC. More May than March with 65 degree temps and sun that gives off a crystalline blue sky. Priceless days, these. I suppose if I still raced hard in the spring I'd be out of my mind with this weather. Early, pre-work training is not too cold allowing the type of focus you need to really ramp up....e.g. being able to focus-in on how your body really feels when the efforts get put down versus not being able to feel your face and indescribable toe and finger pain given the cold that should be here right now. Anyways, dudes here will be fast this spring, methinks. I can not describe for you the volume of bike traffic on the roads. Nuts.
But even while rolling today on our 'cross ride in this brilliant sun.....with Dan the Man, Von and Brett....my mind is wandering. It's been wandering. It's been utterly focused on 'what now?' and 'what next'. I've spoke about flicking dominoes....and in digesting the domino-flicking concept here on the blog, It's been an amazing exercise to truly ideate on how I can ensure my hands are firmly on my life's control stick. Keeping level with the horizon. Ensuring that my family and I are avoiding obfuscated hillsides....those that could take us away from our beloved Boulder.The indescribably thick conservatism in my decision making throughout my life has in one sense kept me as a single dude....and now my family...safe and on a great trajectory. But 'what if?'. What if just a smattering of risk was employed? What if I we decided to just...
Something in this life seems to be materializing and a few exciting rivers have suddenly exposed themselves....showing their unbelievable features, their twists, turns and eddies all at once. Because of a small amount of risk taken to even flick that very first domino, breaking all my traditional risk-mitigation synapses I was born with, these deeply shaded curtains get pulled back and I get to see these rivers in all of their entirety. I am given this opportunity to evaluate their risks, their rewards...their individual rides. It's pretty unique.
I'm not sure where this is going. It's either going to be magical or Wonka.
Flick your own dominoes.
Today was one of those days where everything just gelled. From the moment we woke up and heard our boys silently playing Legos downstairs, sharing and just being kind to each other...for once...Amy and I smiled and knew this day would be OK. And so it was.
Amy had some classes she was taking today so it was a daddy-and-the-boys-day. My boys love it. They actually sing this chant: "It's daddy and the boys day!' Unbelievable. So, when asked what they wanted to do, anything, they said: Go biking! Sweet! So we hooked up a good'un!
So, I captured it all. I love these moments. I got so excited just riding, flowing and laughing. I could feel that deep warm laughter like I hadn't had in a LONG time. And my boys yanked it out of me. The writing, the picture taking...well, it all is important to me. I have this fear, this core fear, that I'll forget. Not remember the details. The faces, the way my boys voices sound. So I obsess (like you all know...) and I document. And so, I share this with you. Click on Seamus' victory salute below for the album...
It is extremely safe to say that Amy and I are 'anti-holiday' types. Love is a 24/365 day holiday...love, in fact, takes no holidays as far as we are concerned. We inject it into our lives everyday, well, because we l-o-v-e each other and don't need some contrived Hallmark card to express what we can say to each other every day. I mean, wouldn't you rather say the words you mean, rather than having them created for you by some college intern at some mega-card company who's going to smoke a bowl and party with his college buds that night....just as soon as he finishes his latest creation...
Love. It continues to blossom between you and I like the flower I gave you the night we first met.
GAG. I thought so. So, Amy and I went for a ride....
We hooked up a snowy Hall Ranch and finished up with a Valentine's lunch at Oskar Blues. Some Leroy Browns and some soup....yum. The ride was such a purge for us. The tension has built again on Side 3 of the Three Part Teeter Totter and it's scraping the ground....family and riding not being able to re-balance things for me....for us. I will say though that it isn't for a lack of trying and pushing....if not simply flicking...the dominoes we need in our family to instigate the change we so desire.
Believe in it.
Watching my lady ride is something else. She drilled it in pretty adverse conditions at Hall with snow covering most of the ride. She's not used to it but was PRO as she navigated all of the madness back there. We just took it all in and again embraced life...our kids....the family and life we've made...and the promise of things yet to come here in Boulder. It's good. Scratch that: it's great.
Amy at Hall 1 from Gregory Keller on Vimeo.
Honestly, things are immensely in perspective (just one look at the news and watch what's going on right now in Gaza..e.g. some families haven't left their homes for 5 days without food) and we've got NO problems in the grand scheme. Seriously.
This said, it did come close folks. Really close. I am saddened for what was or beautiful surroundings. Beautiful open space now a lunar landscape.
My photo set here....
Pray this isn't the scene that is seen. There are massive fires in Boulder tonight and I am writing this from a Marriott with my family...dog and cat included.
I left the bikes behind. F-it, right?
Honestly, all will be fine. I suspect smoke damage, but as I closed the garage door while pulling out from my driveway as Boulder's finest watched me exit the 'hood. I saw a glimpse of my prized bikes as the electric door closed shut. "Adios," I said.
Again, all will be just fine. But this time, just a glimpse...a mere moment in time....I can see how families must react in situations like this. I can not even imagine what those who lose everything must go through. But the heart rate certainly got elevated this evening as we were evacuated.
The one person who can rip your legs off any time of day, any time of year is sick my friends. This is the one person we all literally, not figuratively, look up to for so much inspiration. He guides us out of the shit more often than you know, and for me personally has influenced my career and spent the time helping guide me. And now it's time for us to do what we can to guide him as he gets up out of his life's saddle to crest this fairly sizable hill.
It's just another hill Jerome. You've crested plenty before. Plenty.
This beautiful vid was put together by Just Keith at the Boulder Cup. We all had "Get Well JC" taped to our stems that day. We hope you felt the energy JC. Just a little push from your domestiques.
We love you Jerome. Be well and your family is here waiting. Mostly to try and drop you.