Along for the ride:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Superb Meteor, Steve Jobs

"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in a magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time" - Jack London

We have had a strange day from start to finish. The passing of local icon, Steve Jobs, will surely be the most significant for the most people. I did not know him personally, but I know that he has touched all of our lives as we go forward. I did admire his taste and style in the house he renovated and lived in in Palo Alto. I was impressed that he tore down the house next door to create an apricot orchard, in keeping with the historic roots of the community.

I am re-using the above quote from Jack London which I first heard at the memorial service to another Palo Altan, as significant A Superb Meteor in her own way. If you have time, she's worth knowing too.

This morning began with sirens cutting through the darkness of sleep. We live near enough to the intersection of two main freeways that we can hear emergency services vehicles hurrying to an accident in the predawn quiet. The helicopter rotor noise that followed was closer than usual and seemed to hover nearby.
I got up to make coffee and heat up our croissants a little before 6 am and resisted the urge to check the news before Abbey's morning walk. The patchy clouds remained from our overnight rain storm and I slipped a flash light into my pocket in the in-habitual darkness. The pavement was freshly rinsed and sparkled under the street lights; our footsteps drowned out by the four choppers stationed overhead.
It was still fully dark and the helicopters were un-moving, only recognizable by the beating of their engines and their lights that were almost lost amongst the few visible stars.
Stranger still was the main thoroughfare; usually a challenge to traverse between the large trucks heading up and down, loaded and un-loaded, from the local quarry. There was not a truck in sight and not another pedestrian nor dog crossed our path, which finally got my  antennae twitching.
The local TV station had the answers when I got back home and switched them on. An employee of the quarry had started shooting at the attendees of an early shift, 4 am, meeting. Three dead, a half dozen hospitalized. Large caliber hand gun and something resembling a military automatic rifle. They were searching for a suspect truck driver, described as six foot two and muscular.
For once I was glad that foster dog Abbey has embraced the guard dog tendencies of the German Shepherd part of her gene pool, with a little too much enthusiasm. "He won't be coming in here" was my first thought.
When we drove out on the way to work there were Sheriffs' vehicles, cordoning off the road to the quarry and TV trucks setting up kitty-corner at the gas station, getting ready to film their live news reports. As I followed the updates all day, the SWAT teams and FBI became involved. The suspect had driven as far as the Cupertino/Sunnyvale border failed in an attempt to car-jack a woman and disappeared into the neighborhood. Schools were locked down for safety and a door to door search was on.
This evening, it's getting late. There is no sign of the suspect but he is considered armed and dangerous and the search has not been called off. As the news of Steve Jobs' passing rolled through the media this afternoon, those who were covering the shooting story found themselves already at the spot where the new Apple Campus is to be built and close to the neighborhood where Steve Jobs grew up.
There were many double rainbows today.


  1. Oh what a day for you, and where you live.I felt sad about Steve Jobs, and admired how alive he was, right to the end. I just learned that he studied calligraphy, an obscure thing that I teach 14-year-olds.

    I read about the quarry killings, and didn't connect them until now to where you are.
    God bless guard dogs, at least once in awhile.

  2. A strange, thought provoking day indeed. I find myself far more sympathetic to Steve Jobs than I would ever feel towards Bill Gates... and yet I am a PC user. Bizarre. Jack London - brilliant quote. Have you ever read The Star Rover? Brilliant book. Dark, black and yet uplifting.

  3. A strange day indeed. No shootings here, thank goodness. Hope you remain safe. I only found out about Steve Jobs's death from bloggers such as yourself. A great shame that the world has lost such a forward thinker. Excellent choice of quotation.

  4. We are Apple fans in our house. Steve Jobs had timing like no other and vision of course. His death saddens me not only because his wife and family are grieving, but because there is no one quite like him to replace him in the technology competition.

    You mentioned the watercolor your husband just finished. What brand watercolors does he use? I have asked hubby to gift me watercolors for Christmas.

  5. Kerry, I knew you'd pick up on the guard dogging. I thought about locking my front door yesterday, which I never do when I'm home. Then I thought "Bring it on!" Abbey makes me brave (or stupid). We were, once again, the only walkers out and about this morning.

    Steve, I will search out The Star Rover. Thanks for the tip. We all recognize what a visionary Steve Jobs was. Would the Universe have been overwhelmed if he had existed longer?

  6. Argent, Often a good quote can capture more than we can articulate alone.

  7. I didn't know that Steve planted an apricot orchard. How interesting. I grew up on the Santa Clara/Sunnyvale boarder. My grandparents came from the Azores and found work harvesting fruit in the famous orchards of what is now the Silicon Valley. Almost all of those orchards are gone now. So thanks Steve, not only for your massive contributions but for this small one as well.

  8. You live in interesting times.

  9. Stephen, David Packard JNR (who is a dick) has a big apricot orchard around his home in Los Altos Hills.

  10. Friko, When I worked in Derbyshire, (snow, cold, yuck),I ended up riding the horses I was exercising through police road blocks. There were two escaped convicts who had done home-invasion hostage stuff at the time. That was decades ago, so It's not just here and now. Maybe it's me?

  11. Steve Jobs was so young. This cancer. I hate it.

  12. TechnoBabe, I know that the watercolors are an English brand. I waited to ask him this evening, but he can't remember the name either. He does maintain the importance of quality paper as well. Papier d'Arches or equal.

  13. Birdie, How this must be a dagger in your already bleeding heart. Sometimes life just sucks and there is nothing we can do, for a while.

  14. Did I just see you call someone a dick?


    Oh, sorry. Steve Jobs and the postal-going trucker... Fuck. A facebook post made me aware of the first loss and you made me aware of the second series. I'm sorry about all of them.

    Steve Jobs was younger than I am and now he has died.

    His creativity and passion for his work changed the quality of my life and contribute to my personal happiness on a daily basis. His personal philosophy, as communicated in his 2005 Stanford commencement speech resonates deeply with my own feelings about life and living it.

    Beautifully written post.

  15. Ms. Pliers, now I have to go in search of translation for your LMFAO to see if I'm to laugh or hold a grudge. Wait there whilst I fetch my gun, as is the fashion here. Nice to see you active in the blogosphere after a hiatus.

  16. What a day! Fugitive in the neighborhood, guard dog on duty, and the loss of a great man.

    Wishing the rainbows were smiling in happier skies.

  17. I was interested to see that I could translate LMFAO without recourse to Google , and me a white-haired old lady , too . Must be all the crosswords I do .
    Steve Job's ingenuity , vision and drive , his determined battle againt illness .... were all admirable . His planting an apricot orchard , endearing .

  18. Jean, and here we are almost a whole week later. There were people who went to bed last Sunday night not knowing that their future was counting down, and one who must have had an inkling where the days would lead.

    S&S it is no surprise that you are "hipper" than me.

  19. have been catching up on your posts, so glad to hear there's some equine action going on for you again... as for your day during this post! That sounds a bit intense! I thought the whole shooting spree thing had got boring? or perhaps, more frighteningly, it happens so often it stops making the news outside the region?...
    and steve Jobs?... I didn't realise just how much of an inspirational thinker he was until now. I guess that comes with being a reluctant windows user, gazing at apple products just hurts! :-)

  20. Interesting how things link together. I've been away from the news so don't know how this played out. As for Steve Jobs - as I type from Apple, only computers I've even owned.

  21. MJ, three regular patrol deputies spotted him lurking in the neighborhood. He pulled a gun (AK47) and they shot him. Ultimately it turned out that the shot that killed him was by his own hand. Sadly, now when people ask where I live, I no longer say 'at the bottom of the hill where the wineries start" I say, "down the road from the quarry killings"