A. B. Clarke

The Candle-Bearers

by abclarke

The man had not seen this door before, and would not have noted it but for the candle. The door’s face was as rugged as the rocky walls around it, but in the flickering candlelight, its straight jamb cast a faint shadow across itself. Praise be to the Almighty for giving this light. For without the candle, without it, the man’s tribe would still lumber in the dark. He had heard the stories from his father, and him from his father, and him from his. Of the time when there was naught but sound and touch, and his people huddled in the blackness on the stony floors, afraid, not seeking the way. Eating only of the waxen manna the Almighty buried in the walls, drinking from the water that trickled from the fibrous tendrils the Holy food grew from. Before the Creator spoke to his ancestors and told them to seek His way. Before each generation taught the next to dip the wick to aid the search. Before they saw they were naked and could clothe themselves by weaving the fibers. And now, with the candle, he had found this door, and wondered … was this the one?

As was accustomed, this night he’d left the rest in the last cavern he’d found. It was his job to take the candle and seek the Lord’s path through the tunnels and doors, ultimately to the promised place, but usually to the next grotto where they could replenish. It had fallen upon him to be the candle-bearer when his own father passed. Some nights, rare nights, others might accompany him. But usually not. The candle-bearer’s job is a lonely one. Only once the way is clear would others follow. Too many had gone through doors that led to ruin. Too many had stepped and fallen to their doom.

However, this door he felt certain about. Not because of what it was, but what it wasn’t. The other doors had been remarkable: carved reliefs that even touch could not fail to find; or dazzling rubies that flickered in response to the caresses of the flame; or impossible height that stretched all the way to the dark craggy roof. But this door was nothing, a part of the stone walls, barely even an opening. He had never seen its like. With a trepidation bordering on ecstasy he pushed through.

Lo, what a room! The door that was straight on one side, straight like every wall in every tunnel his people had ever wandered through, now curved into a room with no corners. In the center of the room sat a circle of water, the liquid stretching to within a few feet of where his sandaled feet seemed mortared to the ground. And, surrounded by the pool, was a small mound of ground, out of which grew a thing, a thing he had few words to describe. A brown cylinder, gnarled, raising up and then splitting into smaller and then smaller versions of itself. Each fork looking the same from a distance, but each tine unique when examined on its own. Finally at the ends of tines that did not fork rested sheets of green, below which hung the most beautiful red baubles. This alone would have have made him fall to his knees in praise. This alone would have made him thank the Almighty for giving him the candle that showed this beauty. This alone would make him prostrate before his Creator. Even had he not seen the roof.

But the roof … oh how the roof sparkled. The ceiling stretched to the infinite, and inlaid in it rested a panoply of glittering jewels, one larger than his fist, most no larger than the smallest ember on the smallest wick on the smallest candle. The smaller jewels clumped in whorls and swirls, too many to count. Some shone brighter and larger than others, making shapes if his mind’s eye drew the lines between them — a warrior, he thought, or a great belt. None outshone the largest — a pendulous disc than reflected the candlelight without a flicker. It made him question if the canopy itself provided the light, rather than his meager candle, so bright was the room. It was in wonder and awe at this musing that he forgot, for a moment, why and how the Almighty had chosen him to see this, to lead his people. But then he remembered his teaching, and knew the light from the candle he held tenderly in his hand must have brought this ceiling to life. Was it not known that it was so? Was it not prophesied through the ages? He dropped down, placed his head on the ground, and gave thanks as his father’s father’s father had taught.

Only upon raising his head did he notice across from him, equidistant, were two other similar doors. Through which had marched two men wearing robes such as his, holding what looked like candles such as his, who had clearly fallen to their knees such as him, and were looking at him incredulously. But for the color of the clothes each wore — a blue robe, a green robe and a red robe — they would be identical he thought, and laughed what magic this that the Almighty wrought. As quickly as he laughed, he hesitated. He had for countless nights searched, and never before met someone not of his kind. Each night he had felt his stomach tighten as he pushed alone down catacombs he’d not been before, or stepped through doors he’d opened for the first time. Yet this fear, seeing these men, was different. His hand reached to his belt and grasped his stone knife to give him comfort. Yet surely his Creator would not bring him here, to this place, to have his candle illuminate the world like this, if He meant him harm. With that thought he and the two men rose together and walked towards each other.

He did not remember which of them spoke first, but once the first greeting was uttered, each man’s hand slowly fell from their side to reach out in salutation. He asked their name, and they his, and soon their voices rose in conversation, as though they’d known each other longer than their own children. They marveled at each others’ names: Moshe, Mohammed, Peter; and the way the words rolled in unfamiliar ways across their tongues. Soon they shared the names of others in their groups, just to be astonished at the variety. And each gushed as to the beauty in the room and in turn praised Him — although again, the names ranged: Yahweh, Allah, God. Admittedly, he found the others’ names for Him disconcerting, but to avoid being inhospitable, he resolved not to correct them.

In time conversation turned to the candles they held, and here, as in their robes, he was surprised as much by the similarities as the differences. All were made from the wax that covered the manna, but of different shapes. One was taller and thinner than his, the other shorter but with a thicker wick. On the candles, they found much to talk about, as men are prone to deep conversation of their crafts. They discussed which shape burned longer, which burned hotter, and which held up best in the cool eddies that sometimes rushed through the hallways. They shared where they collected the soft delicacies, how their ancestors found the rocks on the ground that sparked when banged together, and how they learned to melt and collect the wax from their food. They shared the tricks they used to craft wicks from the hairy tendrils that bore their sustenance, how they kept the woven cords centered as they poured the warm liquid into their molds, and how to get the steadiest burn. He, and he knew the others, got lost in this — never once amongst his tribe had he found another who knew so much about the torches. He wished the night could go on forever.

Alas, then the conversation moved to which candle lit the roof that dazzled them so. It was obvious to him that it was his candle — had the room not come to life when he entered, and had the Creator not promised his people it would be so. Yet as he pressed this point, so did the others. He tried to reason with them. Yes, while he admitted the benefits a shorter candle could confer in some limited, limited, circumstances, surely it was self-evident that his taper shone the brightest and the best! As he pushed, each of the others pushed as hard, harder, to argue it was their light that brought forth the gemstones above. None of the others would move — they would not see reason. It was only by remembering that he held his candle in the service of his people, and his Creator, that he was able to refrain from shouting at their blasphemies.

At length someone suggested — it could have been him or one of the others, he could not recall so heated had the discussion become — that perhaps they should retire for the night, and resume the conversation tomorrow. All of them saw the wisdom in this, as their candles had begun to fade and they did not want to return to their people in the dark. They agreed to meet again the next day at the same time and resume their conference. With the thought of rest, everyone calmed, and they wished each other well in the day ahead.

He made his way back to the room of his people, found the mat he shared with his wife, next to his son, and put his head down. A strange and wonderful evening, it exhausted him, and he fell quickly to slumber. As he dreamt, he returned to the room, and walked from the door to the pool. With each step his foot pushed on the water, but did not sink, and he found he could easily move to the center of the room. His hands touched the gnarled structure in the middle, his fingers finding holds, and one arm after the other, one foot on top of the next, he began to climb. Soon he reached the top, and held in his hand one of the red jewels, which he brought to his nose. It smelled of sweetness, of life, of joy, of all things wonderful. It smelled of his wife. Of the feast they had on their wedding day. Of the feast they shared in their wedding bed. Of his son on the first day he held him. He touched this strange ball with his tongue, and a fire exploded in his mouth, compelling him to bite into the fruit. With each bite his heart stopped and raced at the same time, his skin tightened and relaxed, and his mind reached up, up, up towards the sparkles in the roof, further and further until he heard a voice addressing him: “Show the others my way,” the voice intoned, “so they may give thanks.”

He awoke renewed, and all through the chores he shared with his people during the day, before his nightly search began, he moved with a new lightness and purpose. He could not wait for the evening, when everyone else was down for the night, so he could take the candle and return to the room. There he would tell the other men of his dream, how he’d received word that his people’s way was The Way, and surely they would see the glory of the Almighty. He would convince each of them to extinguish their flames so he could show them the power of His light to illuminate the roof.

And if they would not listen, oh, if they would not listen, he would blow hard and make their flames die so they could understand the might, the power, and the righteousness of His way.

– A. B. Clarke, Feb 2015

Three Sunflowers

by abclarke

I shall live the short life, like the sunflower.
I shall grow tall in the spring chills, sway in the summer winds, and kneel come winter.
Before this life and after this life, this is not me.
This life is me.

I shall live the long life, like the memory of the sunflower.
The stroke of the artist’s brush. The recollections of lovers who idle in the field.
For an infinity of instants, this life is me.
This life is not me.

I shall live the eternal life, like the dirt.
The air that lifts the flower’s pollen. The worm that shits in the ground.
This life is never me.
This life is forever me.

Practice

by abclarke

Practice the humility to be present, serve others, and love myself;
Create beauty with, and through, others;
Seek to be wise and compassionate as I teach;
Note everything changes except change;
Laugh when I fail; Smile as I try again.

The Scientist

by abclarke

“I don’t know,” said the Scientist. “Sometimes I’m confident there is no God. Sometimes I’m confident God is everywhere. And sometimes, when I’m in my work, I’m convinced God is the collective memory of the universe, and at best we can only probabilistically approximate Him.”

“That’s true,” said the Philosopher.

“Which part?”

“Probably all of them.”

Programming

by abclarke

do {
    if I must work, work;
    if I must rest, rest;
    if I must eat, eat;
    if I must drink, drink;

    if I must play, play;
    if I must sing, sing;
    if I must dance, dance;
    if I must scream, scream;

    if I must laugh, laugh;
    if I must cry, cry;
    if I must mourn, mourn;
    if I must love, love;

    if I must lie, lie;
    if I must cheat, cheat;
    if I must fear, fear;
    if I must hate, love;

    if I must do, do;
    if I must not, don't;
    if I must be, be;
    if unsure, repeat;
} while (true);

The Truth Is Like A Pretty Girl

by abclarke

Tell it Slant

My friend Jeffrey read me a poem last night that I had never heard before. It’s from Emily Dickinson:

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —

Hearing the poem was a nice recap to 2014, because I felt this poem encapsulates the hardest professional lesson I learned this year: The Truth must dazzle gradually, or every man, including the Truth Teller, be blind.

Read the rest of this entry »

An Inside Joke

by abclarke

Amongst the masters in the zendo there is an inside joke: There is no inside joke.

13 Dance Moves For Growing Old

by abclarke

  1. Go to homecoming. Stand still. Arms straight. Shoulder, ribs, spine flat. Gym wall. Sweat. Watch the others. Them. Watch them move. Yearn. But do not move. Do not move! Remember, the world might see you… you might do it wrong.
  2. Grow older. Go to prom. Hide in the crowd. Do not be noticed. Rock your body. Left. Right. Not too much. Not too much! Count the beat. One two. One two. Two. You’re doing it wrong. You’re doing it wrong! Leave early. Remember, the world is watching… they see what you’re doing.
  3. Grow older. Go to a party. Drink. Drink. Glance. Blue eyes. Shimmy closer. Shake your arms. High. Higher. You like big butts. You cannot lie. Bump her hips. Bump. Feel her bump. Bump. Can’t touch this. Touch her. Can’t touch this. Feel her touch. Drink. Laugh. Dance. Drink. Remember, who cares if the world is watching… you won’t remember tomorrow.
  4. Grow older. Go to a club. Glance. Brown eyes. Don’t think. Approach. Talk. Think. Stammer. Recover. Be confident. Confident. Take her hand. Lead her. Don’t think. Move her. Swing her. Spin her. Dip. Dive. Think. Think. Think… Think of future. Think of beat. Think of steps. And stumble. Stumble! Gah! Gah! Make excuse. Walk her home. Shake hands. Remember, the world is watching… and you cannot dance!
  5. Grow older. Wake up. Get in shower. Hear music. That song. The one you say you hate. Feel the water. On your lips. Lip-sync. Move your legs, your arms. Shake. Shake! Shimmy. Shimmy! Splash. Splash! Scream the words. Loud. LOUDER. LOUDER! Move your hips. Spin. Make the curtain sway. Slip. Fall. Cringe. Remember, no one is watching… no one need know.
  6. Grow older. Stand at the bus stop. See the wiry busker. Fedora on ground. Dollars in the felt. Guitar strumming. Fingers moving. Watch him bait the crowd. Dare the crowd. Smile. Watch your hands clap in time. Glance. Green eyes smiling, swaying. Listen to the music. Do not think. Green eyes. Do not notice your rythym. Green eyes. Do not notice your arms flowing, your legs kicking, your heart beating, your lungs screaming, your lips singing, your feet flying, the busker cheering, the horde howling. Green eyes. Do not contemplate your twists, your swings, your turns, your spins. Green eyes. Do not think as you put your hand out. Smile as she takes it. Dance. Dance. Remember, the world is watching… but she danced with you.
  7. Grow older. Go to church. Stand still. Arms straight. Shoulders, ribs, spine steady. Watch her walk. Slowly. See her smile. Green eyes down. Tears behind veil. Smile. Note her steps. One two. One two. One two. Tap fingers in time. Remember, the world is watching… and anything can be a dance.
  8. Grow older. Hear cries. Rub her back. Offer to get up. Your turn. Stumble to his room. Pick up boy. Rock. Rock. Wah. Wah. Itsy bitsy. Wah! Wah! Twinkle twinkle. WAH! WAH! Deep breath. Pause. And go: Twist. You like big butts. (He smiles.) Swing. You cannot lie. (He giggles.) Turn. Can’t touch this. (He murmurs.) Spin. Can’t touch … See her standing in the door. Laughing. Laugh with her. Don’t speak. Hold child between you. Dance. Dance. Remember, you made this world… this is your dance.
  9. Grow older. Watch together. See the bride and groom. First dance. Squeeze her hand. Lift your eyebrow. Look into the green. Don’t speak — conspire! Show your child how it’s done. Own the dance floor. Be at the bus stop. See the hat. Twist her. Swing her. Turn her. Spin her. Do not think. Dance. Dance. Hear the guests erupt. Only notice her. Remember, she is your world… you will dance with her forever.
  10. Grow older. Hold her hand. Beep. Beep. Squeeze it. Beep. Beep. Yearn to see green one more time. Beep. Beep. Know that you won’t. Beep. Beep. Feel your son’s hand on your shoulder. Beep. Beep. Try not to cry. No beep. No beep. Cry. Remember, the world dances… even when you don’t… even when she doesn’t.
  11. Stop growing. Stay home. Close curtains. Hear phone. Don’t answer. Hear knocks. Don’t open. No music. No music! Do not move. Do not move! Remember… no… don’t remember… don’t remember!
  12. Grow older. Hold the tiny hand. Compare young wrinkles to old. Feel her squeeze. Grasp. Look into her green eyes. Feel her father’s hand on your shoulder. Smile. Wish she was here. Wish she could see. But smile. Smile. Lift the child. Twist. Swing. Turn. Spin. Remember, the world has new dancers…dance!
  13. Grow older. Go to bus stop. Move slowly. Use the cane. Feel the sun. Watch the people. Watch them sway. Hear the music. Hear it. There is always music. HEAR IT! Sway. Like you did last year. Lean on cane. Twist. Swing. Turn. Spin. Smile. Remember: the world is dancing… you cannot do it wrong.

By A. B. Clarke

The Luck of the Irish

by abclarke

Background

As some of you know, in September 2011, my father passed away after a short battle with brain cancer.  At his funeral, I gave the following eulogy, and some people have asked for a copy of it.  My father’s funeral was at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, in Jacksonville, FL, where he worked for 4 years.  All the school teachers, many children, his neighbors, friends and family were all present.  Thanks to everyone who was part of that.

The Luck of the Irish

Some people would consider my father, Patrick, to have been an unlucky man.  In a way, they’re probably right.  My father was Irish, and bad luck is so common for us that in the United States we sometimes use the expression “The Luck of the Irish” to refer to someone unlucky.    

Well, I’d like to say today that, yes, my father had “The Luck of the Irish”, but not the bad kind.  Let me give you three examples:

For those who don’t know, my father came to the US twice.  First for a stint in the 60’s and 70’s, and then again in the late 80’s.  From 75 to 87 Dad moved back to Ireland to pursue his dream of being a farmer.  We worked hard at it for years, trying cattle, chickens, goats, turkeys and rabbits at different times.  While the economics in European farming were brutal, in the end the economics didn’t matter.  You see each year we were there, Dad had been getting progressively sicker due to a rare disease he had called Farmers’ Lung.  That disease is an incurable allergy to the molds and pollens on a farm, and if left untreated is fatal.    At the end of his time in Ireland it was apparent that we were bust economically, and that Dad would die if he kept trying.  I think that counts as bad luck.

Of course, the story doesn’t end there.  During his earlier stint in the US he had gotten US citizenship in Chicago and made a bunch of friends there.  In 1987 he moved to Fort Lauderdale where an old American family friend, the Kelly family, gave him a free place to stay.  They took Dad in when we had nothing and needed the help most.  A year later my mother managed to sell the farm in Ireland and the rest of us joined him in the States.  Once in Fort Lauderdale, my father met people like John and Joyce Curran, Father Tom O’Dwyer and Chris Fazio at Little Flower Catholic Church in Hollywood, Florida, and many others.  These complete strangers took our family into their hearts and made us their friends.  They made introductions on our behalf, took us places, and guided us through our new lives for no reason other than love.  With their help, my mother and father got their feet back under them, started building a new life, and achieved a level of prosperity they could never have imagined in Ireland.  They got to watch their four sons graduate high school, get their first jobs, and find and marry their true loves.  On behalf of my father, I want to sincerely thank each of them here today and those who unfortunately can’t be with us right now.  We owe them our lives – they helped turn Dad’s first big run of bad luck into one of his biggest successes.

The second run of bad luck happened in the early 2000s.  By this time Dad was in his sixties.  The company he worked for decided cutting costs were in order, and just like that, Dad was out the door.  When many other people contemplate retiring, he had to find another job.  He got one working for an oppressive supervisor, constantly outside in the summer sun scraping bubble gum off of sidewalks.  Sixty two years old.  Starting over.  Scraping bubble gum in 90-degree summers.  I don’t think I ever saw him as unhappy as during that period.

But again, through the help and love of others, good luck returned.  Dad decided to move to Jacksonville to be closer to his grandkids who live here and asked his friends for help.  Father Tom at Little Flower church sent a letter to Father Cody asking for help, and Father Cody introduced Dad to Rhonda Rose at St. Joseph’s school.  For some reason that I will never understand, but will be eternally grateful for, Mrs. Rose decided to hire Dad at the school.

To say Dad was happy working at St. Joseph’s would be an understatement.  I would say St. Joseph’s school was the fourth greatest love of his life.

(Now before those of you here today get too upset and say “only fourth?”, allow me to put that in perspective.  His third greatest love was his children and grandchildren.  His second greatest love was his wife of 45 years.  And his greatest love was, well, baseball.  We all took a backseat to baseball.  So fourth is pretty good.)

Anyway, Dad loved that job, loved working with all of you, and loved being the closest thing to a real life Leprechaun the school children were likely to ever meet.  He loved everything about St. Joseph’s school.  Without St. Joseph’s, my father would never have been able to move to Jacksonville, would not have had the house with the pond in back where he fished each day, and would not have had the last five happiest years of his life.  Thank you to Father O’Dwyer, Father Cody and Mrs. Rose for making that happen.  You helped give our dad a preview of heaven right here on earth.

Which brings us to the last run of back luck.  In February, as you all know, Dad found out he had a golf-ball sized tumor in his head.  There is no way to call that anything but what it was – the worst of all possible luck.  That type of cancer was made famous by Ted Kennedy but it’s very rare – fewer than 1 in 30,000 can expect to get it.  It’s aggressive.  It’s debilitating.  And it’s almost always fatal.  But like going bust in Ireland and losing your job when you’re in your sixties, it was a fact.  And once you accepted that fact, and put it aside, you can’t help but notice how incredibly lucky and blessed Dad was.

First off, there are 7 cancer hospitals in the United States that specialize in his form of cancer.  Your odds of being near enough to one to go are very low.  Jacksonville’s Mayo Clinic happens to have one of the seven.  That’s improbable.  On top of that there are only about 200 doctors in the US who specialize in this cancer.  His daughter in law, and my wife, Jenny is one of them.  That’s not improbable – that’s miraculous.  Our family got great access to the best people in the world at treating the disease.  Thank you Jenny and thanks to the Mayo Cancer center in Jacksonville for all they did to try to help Dad.

And when it became apparent that the treatment could not alter the course of the disease, Community Hospice of Florida stepped in and allowed my father to spend his final weeks at home in comfort.  They were amazing – taking care of all the small details so we could concentrate on caring for Dad in his final months.  If anyone here ever goes through a similar experience, we cannot recommend them highly enough.  Thank you to them and all their staff.

Next was the army.  And I don’t mean the US Army.  You see as I mentioned, Dad loved St. Joseph’s, but St. Joseph’s loved Dad.  As soon as the school found out what had happened, the St. Joseph’s School Army was mobilized.  Thank you cards, get well wishes, and gifts poured in.  After his surgery, different teachers and parents from the school brought food to Mom and Dad every week for months.  So much food.  Our freezers at home are still full of leftovers that we’re working through.  Really.  Wow, you people can cook!

Every time Dad, or anyone in our family, saw the cards the kids made, we would smile a little inside.  Anytime Dad got to talking about St. Joseph’s he would light up a little.  Your school truly does God’s work.  Thank you to everyone from St. Joseph’s – our family cannot express our gratitude enough.

And then there were our neighbors.  In Ireland everyone knows all their neighbors, and there is a real sense of community.  But everywhere else we’ve lived in the US has been different – distant people who live next door but do not care or look out for each other or even get to know each other.

My parents’ house, a few blocks away from here, was different.  As soon as Dad was home after surgery, Cindy from across the street and Lisa and Taylor from next door were constant companions.  As Dad got worse they were always there to help.  When he fell in the bushes, they picked him and Mom up, brushed them off, and returned with flowers a few hours later.  When he collapsed at 5 in the morning, they were the first people at the scene.  When it came time to find hospice, Cindy’s advice and guidance was pivotal.  When Mom needed extra help at home, Cindy’s sister Lisa (a different Lisa) would come by every few days to give Mom a break, to help clean Dad, and to provide a desperately needed lifeline.  Thank you Taylor, Lisa, Cindy and Lisa – you were guardian angels on earth for Dad.

Next, the sons and the wives.  To be very frank, I think our Dad, and I know our Mom, was surprised that all four of their sons survived childhood.  Most of us bear scars on our heads from where we’ve hit each other which large metal bars and other stupid things.  And we haven’t always been incredibly nice to each other.  But when push came to shove, all helped to the most of their ability and then some.  Brendan took charge of managing Dad’s rental properties.  Michael and Kevin, who lived, locally were saints – stopping by every day, helping wherever they could.  No task was too small or too large, and all was done without hesitation.  And the wives pitched in.  Robin, Kevin’s wife, took care of all the Medicare insurance, Kim helped her husband Brendan and myself as we worked through all the finances, and Michael’s wife Geraldine stopped by constantly, took my Mom out places when needed, and with her Dublin ways kept her Cavan husband Michael under control – which, if you know Michael, is no small feat.  Thank you Kim, Robin, Geraldine, Kevin, Brendan and Michael.  Some families break apart at moments like the last six months.  Some come together.  I’m so proud we were one of the latter kind.

But finally there is our mother.  If my father ever had one piece of good luck, it was the day he somehow convinced her to marry him.  She prayed for him in Vietnam, gave him four sons and raised them with him.  She was his partner in all things in life.  She amplified his strengths and dulled his weaknesses, and he did the same for her.  And when it came time for him to die, she was amazing.  She took him to and from the many many trips to the hospital.  She kept track of a complicated medical regime that even experts in the field have trouble keeping track of – ask my wife, she knows.  As he lost the ability to walk, she became his legs.  As he lost the ability to feed himself, she fed him.  As he lost the ability to bathe himself, she bathed him.  And as he lost the ability to hang on to life, she gracefully let him go.  Thank you Mom.

So yeah, my father had has his share of bad luck, no doubt about it.  But bad luck was a small thing compared to the love that the people in the world had for him.  You can see that in this church today.  My father loved each and every one of you, and you loved him.  When he was down, you lifted him up.  When he needed you, you were there.  And when all in the world seemed lost, every last one of you reached out to him.  That is the true definition of the Luck of the Irish.  Dad was the luckiest unlucky man in the entire world for knowing each and every one of you.  Thank you.

2008 Fitness Goals: How’d I Do?

by abclarke

Wow… it’s been a while since I posted.  But here goes.

As a reminder here was my set of 2008 fitness goals outlined in this post. The goals were:

  • Complete the Philadelphia Triathlon on June 22th.
  • Complete the New York Marathon on November 2nd.
  • Increase my weight to around 175-180 lbs by end of 2008, but keep my waist around 32-inches (i.e. muscle, not fat).

How’d I do?

Well, as I posted in my last post, I successfully ran the Philly Triathlon.  And believe it or not, I completed my first Marathon on November 2nd in New York, finishing in a time of 4:20, despite having a severely strained calf muscle and having to walk in a boot for 4 weeks afterwards (don’t ask).  As for the third goal… as of right now I’m 165 still.

That said, something had to give as a lot of other things have been going on in my life.

For example, in July J and I packed our bags of New York and moved back to San Francisco so she could start her long-term career at UCSF.

At the same time, the pace at my company really started ramping up with a co-founder onboard.  How much.  Well as of right now, here’s where we are:

  1. We’ve officially launched the beta of our first product, a free and open-source tool that lets Java programmers modify live Internet-broadcasted video on the fly.
  2. We came out of hiding with our official company name: www.xuggle.com
  3. And we’ll be “officially” launching on-stage at the FITC conference in Amsterdam Feb 24-26.

All in, I’m quite happy with 2008.

For 2009, my fitness goals are:

  • maintain current weight, and try to run at least 3 times per week

That’s it.  Because I have a sneaking suspicious that work might be a little crazy this year.

As for blogging, personal blogging is taking a backseat to company blogging.  That said, if you want to keep in touch, I still monitor the comments, or send me e-mail at art.clarke(at)gmail.com

Thanks to anyone who’s still reading.

– Art

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