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Baseball, MST3K, OSEN and streetcars

I’ve kept busy these past few weeks. On Monday the 24th I joined my Mesosphere colleagues for pizza and wings before two of us led a group of 25+ down to AT&T Park to watch the San Francisco Giants play against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Unfortunately, our beloved home team lost 10-3 and as the losing game went on the crowds were fleeing the stadium. In the 8th inning, when the Pirates scored four more runs, the seagulls which descend upon the stadium at the end of the game for leftover snacks were starting to outnumber the remaining fans. I toughed it out though, with two German colleagues who were attending their first baseball game. In spite of the loss, it was a beautiful night to be outside and it was my first opportunity this season to get out to AT&T Park.

Later that week I met up with a friend of mine for a walk around Lake Merritt over in Oakland. We met at BART and walked over to the lake to do the three mile loop. We hadn’t seen each other in a few months so it was nice to spend the time together, and I’d never been to the lake before. Pelicans, geese and all kinds of other sea fowl hang out at the brackish lake, and in spite of my dislike for birds they did liven up the evening too, as did the beautiful lake itself.

Last Thursday MJ and I met at The Warfield after work for the second night of San Francisco’s stop of the MST3K Live! – Watch Out for Snakes! Tour. We went for the “Secret Surprise Film!” (rather than Eegah, the night before) night and it didn’t disappoint. The live cast and audience were fun and being around so many fellow MSTies is always an interesting experience, I always forget how many of us there are!

This was also my first time at The Warfield. It’s an easy walk from home, so that was nice. The theater was a bit warm, but in the tradition of these older theater it was ornately decorated and a pleasure to spend time in.

The weekend was spent with MJ as one of the few that we’ve had together recently. We enjoyed some nice meals and then got down to the business of booking travel. My travel schedule from August through October is a bit chaotic. I’m leaving San Francisco on August 10th, not to return until after a partial vacation in Dublin over Labor Day. Then I have trips to Los Angeles, Orlando, Raleigh, Prague and Germany taking me through the end of October. Of that, only one trip had been booked. We spent Sunday afternoon sifting through airline fare classes and routes to find the best deals and over the next couple days we managed to firm up a host of plans.

My first trip takes me to Orlando for a family reunion that’s happening this Saturday. From there I’m going up with my mother and aunt to our townhouse in Philadelphia for a week and a half where I’ll speak at a PLUG meeting and then meet MJ as he re-joins me to attend Fosscon, where I’m also speaking. We’ll be off to Dublin from there, I’ll work for a couple days and speak at a Kafka meetup before spending a long weekend together being tourists.

On Wednesday I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while to grab dinner, and then Thursday was spent at the inaugural gathering of the Open Source Entrepreneur Network Bay Area at the Docker offices in SOMA. There I had the pleasure of finally meeting John Mark Walker (we’ve known of each other for years), and quickly connect with long time open source colleagues Stephen Walli and Jono Bacon, who were all speaking that evening. In the first talk of the evening, John Mark guided us through what he believed made open source entrepreneurs and defined where open source advocates and evangelists for a company sit (it’s near the funnel). He also made clear that there are pieces (bits of software that make up something), projects (think, OpenStack) and products (any of the various vendor-sponsored all-inclusive proprietary-bits-on-top “distributions” of OpenStack). I also gleaned some thoughtful observations from his talk, like how he considers the groundwork laid by the open source way itself to be what drove such high rate of collaborative innovation today, not necessarily the other way around.

Stephen brought us back in time with a history lesson about the rise of open source, particularly centered around some of Red Hat’s customer-focused business model that has brought them such success. In this, he wove in customers and community. A non-paying user community is essential to any open source project, because that’s where you get your outside contributors. It doesn’t just happen automatically though, you must have a quick on-ramp to make sure people can use and develop against your software quickly and you should still expect it to be a pretty small fraction of your total user base. I also liked how he talked about setting customer and partner expectations, along with those in the community, and noted that they were different. The evening concluded with a talk from Jono Bacon who talked about “Building a World Class Community” during which he talked about culture, contribution workflows, the importance of trust and gave a series of recommendations.

The weekend came quickly and on Saturday MJ and I had tickets for a baseball game. Back to AT&T Park for me! This time we went with a winery that we’re members of, so there was pre-game wine and snacks to be enjoyed. Merlot with a hot dog? Don’t mind if I do! We had a really nice time together and it was an exciting game to watch. Even better, this time the Giants won.

Sunday was pretty mellow, but I was eager to spend much of it outside. In the morning I took a walk down Market, picked up a coffee, walked around the Embarcadero. I also took a lot of pictures of streetcars and stopped by the little SF Railway Museum where I picked up a new hat. That afternoon we went out for lunch at a little restaurant on the Embarcadero and watched cars on the E-Line pass by. More pictures! Then I road my first and second ones of the day, taking the E-Line to Ferry Building where we transferred to one of the F-Line cars to go down Market and get home.

This week I met with our new pet sitter. Caligula is on some medication to try and regulate his high calcium levels. Most of his life he’s also been on the heavy side, but he’s been losing weight recently too. I’m really hoping the medication works and the change in his food to one more appropriate for older cats helps.

Tuesday night I had dinner with my friend and open source colleague Remy. We met at Thirsty Bear Brewing to chat about work, open source and life in general. Good times.

And now I’m getting ready to head out on that trip to Florida!