Writing

Riding the Cyclone
Riding the Cyclone

A single instant can change your whole life. Mine changed late Friday night, April 1, 1960, when my mother, reading in bed, slumped over, dead at 42 of a cerebral aneurysm.

I was six, my brother Carl was ten; what followed was a bizarre amalgam of abuse, neglect, and unsupervised international travel—a wild ride through the already-plenty-wild sixties.

A riveting first-person account of growing up alone and strange, Riding the Cyclone careens like the eponymous Coney Island roller coaster from sardonic wisecracks to gut-wrenching brutality as it tells the story of a child’s struggle to grow up in a storm.

But doesn't everyone deserve a happy childhood? So in '78, education complete, Lauren headed to Portland for nothing less than a full-length, life-sized do-over.

Sequel coming!

Digital Woes
Digital Woes

Smartphones, e-books, GPS navigation, self-driving cars, copyright problems, identity theft, cyberstalking… it was all in the future once.

In the early ‘90s, when the Web consisted of two nodes connecting CERN to Stanford and few people had much experience with computers, I noticed some ill-informed and possibly hazardous decisions: keeping sensitive data on wide-open systems, putting cars' brakes under software control, committing huge wads of public money to excessively ambitious software projects.

So, thought I, if I explain the problem clearly, accurately, and amusingly, surely some of those decisions might become more well-informed and cautious?

The young can be so naïve.

Now the music industry's toast; even the NSA knows that network security is an oxymoron; the combination of 3D printers and wikis is about to turn gun control into a sick joke; and Google Glass will soon invade facetime, the last bastion of analog society. I really should write Woes 2.0

confessions of a recreational doper
Confessions of a "Recreational Doper"

Medical marijuana laws assume a knowledge we don’t have: what is pot good for? Why do people smoke it? The federal government hasn't exactly made it easy to conduct controlled double-blind studies, so we know far less than necessary to craft sensible laws.

Meanwhile, tens of millions of Americans, and millions more worldwide, use pot for all sorts of reasons. Their lives aren’t all spinning out of control. Enough already. Just legalize it.

Here's why I think so.

Designing Object-Oriented Software
I spent 25 years at it; nice to think it wasn't all ephemeral. For the curious, here are a couple of technical pieces of lasting significance:

Designing Object-Oriented Software, with Wirfs-Brock & Wilkerson. In continuous print for 22 years (how many technical books can say that?), it's a straightforward, accessible design guide for what was once the new paradigm.

Concepts you'll need in order to use Anton, an idiosyncratic supercomputer designed especially to model molecular interactions.

Stacks Image 41
In 1999, I began a music diary to record the soundtrack of my life unfolding. And because the Web was so new and shiny, I decided to keep it online.

Only a few short years, but it was great while it lasted; might do it again someday. For fans of world music, here are the Mongrel Music archives.