Friday, July 06, 2007

Happy Birthday

So this is it.

Today I am 50, and this is the last post in this blog. It has been fun.

When I stated this blog I was wondering if there would be anything of significance happening this past year. As with any year, lots of things happened. Some good some bad.

I lost two uncles this past year.

Doreen had a brush with the health care industry. (We are still fighting over that)

We ate plenty of good meals (too many to link to here)

We experienced fun in Houston and abroad. (more abroad later in the year, too)

I worked and worked and worked.

We celebrated our Fifth Anniversary!

I learned how to make a video and post it on You Tube.

I thought about what happened 30 years ago when I turned 20.

We made our house a protected landmark.

I bought a new car. No, not a midlife crisis. Just a new car after ten years and 140,000 miles on the old one.

We found out that my brother Chas would be getting married and move to Wyoming.

I baked my first Italian Cream Cake for my sweet ever lovin’s birthday.

We had many more good meals in Houston. Here is one.

One of my nieces wanted to cook gumbo, and she got plenty of advice.

It was a good work year. We added an investor, and opened several offices.

We went to NYC and the Rodeo in the same month. Click here to read about both.

Spring came early and with plenty of flowers.

We celebrated birthdays and weddings and more in Door County, WI. It was a blast.

We made another trip to Europe (work) and took some time off in Lisbon, and had some time in Paris

About two weeks ago I was named to the board of directors of a Geophysical Acquisition Company.

And that brings us to the end of the year.

We will be going to a wedding and then a nice dinner this evening to celebrate the birthday.

It was a very good year.

This is the last post here. I will now move back to my normal blog. Come visit me there.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

What's for dinner?

My brother Matthew has a cool thing on his website where he talks about what he is cooking that evening. I don’t have an interesting spot like this, but last night we had a grilled bonanza.

Doreen’s friend Paul was in town from San Francisco, so we had him over for dinner. We decided to grill some steaks, and since we didn’t want to waste charcoal, we decided to grill some other things, too.

So we grilled asparagus, corn, and portabella mushrooms. It got a little crowded on the grill (a standard Weber kettle grill) but it all turned out delicious!

Friday, June 29, 2007

51 weeks

I only have one more week in my year of turning 50. I am trying to figure out if the dividing of our age into decades is an artificial construct, or if we can learn something from these divisions in our lives. I am not deep enough to quote Rilke or something from Gail Sheehy’s books, so I will have to make do with my own pitiful observations.

I have been trying to remember back on earlier, significant birthdays. I sort of remember the first time I had a two digit birthday. That would have been in 1967 (obviously) and I probably celebrated it in Franklin, LA. But in all honesty I cannot recall anything beyond that. Did it make a difference? Certainly not.

The next significant (though not round) birthday would have been my 16th. That is when I took the driver’s test (and passed on the first go). I can remember the test, I can’t remember anything after that.

In Wisconsin when I was a youth, the drinking age was 18. So of course my 18th should have been memorable. I remember going out to dinner with my folks, but that is about it. No, I didn’t get drunk, it was just a nice meal where I had my first legal beer that I shared with my father.

I turned 20 while living in Illinois. I don’t remember that birthday at all. There is probably a good reason for that. There was not too much to do there, so we didn’t do much.

I turned 30 in Houston, right after I first moved to the Houston Heights. I think it was not celebrated, as we would have been poor because the house was a stretch, and we also had another house that had to be rented out. (That first house in the Heights was purchased for $112,000. You can’t buy dirt for that now)

40 I remember quite well. I spent the day alone trying to have an existential crisis. But mainly what I had was a nap.

And that brings us to 50. The search for meaning in the numbers has turned out to be fruitless. How about a search for meaning in the decades?

When I was a child, I acted as a child. No need to go into that.

In my 20s I got out of college and went to work. I held three jobs – Exxon Minerals and Exxon Synthetics as a Mining Engineer, David P Cook and Associates as a Customer Support Rep, and Terra-Mar as a, well, whatever it is I did there. (Sales, Development, Management). I was still optimistic enough about the world to believe that it was rational.

I was wrong about the rational part.

In my 30s I worked. This is where I really “grew up” professionally. I had a short year at Terra-Mar, and then I worked for Landmark Graphics in Houston, Caracas, and Singapore. That was a good run. I turned 40 just after that deal was done. I would venture that I learned more and worked harder in my 30s than in my 40s.

My 40s have been a pretty good decade. I worked for Bell Geospace, initially as the VP of Sales, then the Chief Operating Officer, and finally as CEO and took them though a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. After that I goofed off for a couple of years. Then I took a job with Input/Output as a Business Unit Manager. Now I am the CEO of OpenSpirit Corp as well as a Director for PGS.

So what did I learn?

  1. You are not always right
  2. The world is not rational
  3. The US is as close to a meritocracy as you will find
  4. Houston, TX will give you all the opportunities you need to pursue your dreams
  5. It is better to be lucky than smart
  6. Fortune favors the prepared mind (Louis Pasteur) or
  7. The harder I work, the luckier I get (Satchel Paige)
  8. Most importantly: Grab a hold of the one you love and never, ever let go.

My dream of sitting on my front porch thinking great thoughts get closer and farther everyday.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Good short article about what VCs want

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Mathilde, meet Hippolyte

The History of Dog Domestication

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


We have little rolling dumpsters here in Houston. The city picks them up with one man trucks.

We have one rolling dumpster, and Silvia, who lives in our garage apartment has one as well.

We seldom fill up even ONE dumpster, but today we had two at the curb.

Someone stole one of our dumpsters!

How low can you possibly go to steal someone’s dumpster?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Picasa Web Albums

I have posted many more photos at our Picasa Web Album. You can see them by clicking on the Picasa Web Album link to the right--->

V, The Movie

Ellie May, did you see the Cement Pond???