[VOID] The Kids are Alright...

Rohit Khare (rohit@uci.edu)
Wed, 26 May 1999 02:05:12 -0700

[10:49p @ Toi on Sunset]
[And as for the title, the selections on their stereo are as odd as always]

It sure must have been a long time since I whacked out a VOIDpost
from Toi's -- every single staff person here seems to be new -- oh,
wait, shift change, here's John, the general manager. His best guess
was that I'd moved back East

It's been ten months since I last warmed this stool at the end of the
bar. Then, as now, I just dropped off a Very Special Guest at LAX on
UA168, the redeye to Boston I'm so familiar with. I might even be
taking it myself on Friday for Jay's Memorial Day BBQ (and to see

There's only one reason there's been such a long gap in the VOID
series -- fitting enough, since it's been amply filled in since then,
overstuffed with love. So much, in fact, that it seems time to take
stock of how radically my life has changed on the second anniversary
of leaving W3C.

Last summer was an extremely difficult experience, surveying
event-notification systems with Adam in Seattle. I practically lived
up there trying to force our heads around the problem. Frankly, we

That's a pretty shocking thing to admit to. With time, it's not as
painful: there isn't a "there" there, amidst the 200-odd systems we
tried to classify. All the same, my advisor took me aside today to
outline a PhD dissertation arc for me that landed squarely back on
the target of dynamic application architectures for event-based
messaging networks.

Of course, there's more ahead than merely recapitulating the past:
there's new ground to be tilled, too. Hence, the sequel this August,
a Workshop on Internet-Scale Namespaces -- as much my baby to frame
as last year's in most respects.

So there's something that hasn't changed: Still worried about
bringing together an Irvine workshop on Internet-Scale technology.
This might even turn into an annual opportunity...

I'm still living in Palo Verde, but 3207 now seems a lot more like
home, a FoRK HQ for the next few years. I'm still driving my trusty
Bonneville, 77k miles and counting. My perverse pride means I'm
probably going to drive it into the ground -- if I don't replace it
during grad school, it'll surely drop to the bottom of the list once
I found my company on graduation.

I still intend to be an inventor-entrepreneur. That hasn't changed.
I've even made some forward progress by choosing a logo for my
corporate arm, and will soon incorporate. That should provide a fine
shell for my future dalliances.

Almost two years since I moved to SoCal, and I still haven't been to
Las Vegas. Will probably be going in a month from now with my
parents, though.

My frequent flier account is now actually draining faster than it's

Another year, another Web Conference. I dare anyone to prove that
their proceedings couldn't have been interchanged; so little is the
delta of the last year.

RDF is still the technology of the future.

[OK, so that's a cheap shot, and it means I should get on track,
which is all about introspection]

The last nine months since Adam's wedding have been tough for me. We
were well beyond best-friends, deep into daily-dependence territory.
An untimely string of illnesses and a new personal journey for him
separated me cold-turkey.

It took a long time for me to reexamine and really plumb the depths
of what love means -- and I can say that a year later, I still love

I admit, though, that it may only have been possible to survive with
the new-found love of VSG. Our relationship kept me looking ahead,
instead of becoming mired in the past.

So, I learned about love in another mirror, too. That's my big
insight for the past year: I have finally integrated what the
previously-abstract term 'unconditional love' meant. [Thanks, Ernie]

It has allowed me to see that I do love my parents, unclouded by all
the Hollywood dreams I had about families.

That, in fact, is the second sea-change in my life: I am finally
beginning to see myself as an adult, responsible for my own happiness
-- and not my parents'. That doesn't mean I have to rebel, but that I
simply need to disconnect the 110v live wire connecting me to my
parents' opinion of my actions, like some Damoclean robot umbilical.

For example, it took half a year to discharge the static emotional
electricity around my relationship with VSG to discuss it, but I did.
And I'm still standing, as the cliche goes. Each little step allows
me to realize I'm living my own life, not a checklist.

At the same time, all this intense self-analysis -- both the
home-game and the big-screen variety -- has only progressed far
enough to illuminate the long road ahead.

For example, as I've learned a deeper side of love -- one that
doesn't need to be watered every day -- I have grown conscious of a
shallower understanding of loneliness. I spend my childhood intensely
alone in school and elsewhere -- so I decided to build an adult life
surrounded by attention at all times, at all costs.

Heck, with FoRK, I don't need to face a single private moment,
everywhere. If it's too hard to feel my way through, I can always
deflect it into a VOIDpost for all to share. Putting your fears on
stage dessicates them, distances them, anesthetizes them.

I haven't done anything on my own. Really on my own. As in "for
myself", and being satisfied with that.

I've spent so much of my life on stage, being quantified and
classified that I've sort of lost my own compass of what's good and
esteem-worthy. That's what's left me a victim of other's opinions,
namedropping, spread jack-of-all-trades thin across so many
communities I want to love me -- most of all, victim of other's
attention. I'm not sure my life has meaning without it, as yet.

So all these adolescent rite-of-passage dreams of adventure have been
haunting me of late. What would really happen to me if, walking
across campus with nothing but my Powerbook, Economist, and AmEx
card, I was transported to the Kalahari? Would I survive against
nature, at the most elemental level? I don't have the physical skills
-- or physical frame to last long; but that again is a psychological
barrier: why am I so addicted to salving my impulses to feed? why am
I so loath to slow down and actually walk or garden or sail or
anything else with matter I've dreamed of, instead of bits?

At the next level, what meaning would my life have, cut off from
"civilization"? Not much call for RFC analysis on the family farm --
would I adapt happily, or remain bitterly poisioned by a life lost?
Probably the latter -- I can barely stomach the ill fortune of carpal

I have fantasies of biking across India. Heck, not even across a
state, but across a city. My parents ranged as widely across
Varanasi, but I always arrive woven within a cocoon so much tighter,
forbidden from exploring anything on my own.

I can see getting on that bike on the morning -- but I can't see
escaping the web of 'call in to check, we'll be worried' and 'where
do you really want to go? why can't you take a more efficient
route/device' and the all-soothing siren call, 'you don't really need
to - just stay home and read in this safe palace!'.

So it's not even the swashbuckling adventure that's on the brain as
much as the profound dislocation of imagining life *on my own* --
TRULY on my own, dropping out of this web of obligations and
communications. I *have* been the center of the universe so long, I'm
constantly looking over my shoulder in fear that the universe might
stop without me. The only way to learn that lesson, seems to be to
actually drop out and see that the universe limps along just fine
without your desperately-overdue column, position paper, dtd,
investment, or whatever.

[Or, as Tim will no doubt feel compelled to chime in, "be here now"]

I've grown a lot in the last year. Grown out of a lot of things, in
fact. But as I discussed with my advisor, the PhD is not the next
checkoff: the Master's is the LAST checkoff -- and now I really,
finally have to become what I want to be when I grow up.


[ObLATriviaProvingHowLongIt'sBeen: The Standard, an ultra-chic hotel
a la Mondrian converted out of an old retirement home, has finally
opened a block up on Sunset, as has the 24 hour Coffeehouse (yes,
that's the name) a block further up. But I didn't spy the ballyhooed
new Hustler superstore :-]

PS. So I went to Fred 62 afterward for a grilled cheese -- sigh, it's
never as good as the first time -- and finally left LA at 1AM.
Construction on Vermont, for the new Metro, twice. 101 to I-5
connector, closed; detour to 10 to 710. 710 @ 5, also closed; detour
to 60 (Pomona Fwy), pass another closed ramp repair; take 605, pass
another closed ramp, back -- finally -- to the 5. Which, of course,
is closed *again* at Beach, down to the 91E back to 5S (another
massive bit of construction -- the new 12-lane I-5 in a 5+story
cloverleaf...) to the 55. Two more closed ramps in Irvine; not to
mention the complete closure of the 5 in the opposite direction; and
the 3-month shutdown of the carpool lane along the entire 55N.

Surprisingly -- a testament to the LA freeway network's redundancy
and spare overnight capacity -- even with all this construction and
repair, I made it home within epsilon of the *normal* commute...

Fred 62 1850 N. Vermont Ave. (323-667-0062). B-L-D daily. This retro joint
is cool 24 hours a day. Chef Fred Eric and designer Fred
Sutherland have
tweaked diner grub to create a menu of truly good corn
dogs, chewy Korean
potato-starch noodles, tofu scramble, smoked- salmon
sandwiches, even
homemade Pop-Tarts. Beer and wine. ($) American