Sunday, December 14, 2014

San Francisco SantaCON (#SFSanta) 2014 - Union Square Photowalk

sonovista, my friends!

yesterday was SantaCon and that presented a great opportunity to get outside after the past few days of honest-to-goodness, actual, heavy-duty rain, here in Northern California, and take a picture or two...

the full gallery of 60+ photos taken in and around Union Square (ground-zero for the start of the event) can be seen here

Monday, November 17, 2014

Transgender Pioneer Leslie Feinberg (of Stone Butch Blues fame) Has Died

a sad entry...

i met leslie in 1995 at a small house in kansas city, kansas, where about 30 folks had gathered to plan a protest of the murders of Brandon Teena, Lisa Lambert and Phillip Levine (the events that formed the basis of the movie, "Boys Don't Cry") the next day in Falls City, Nebraska. i had the honor and privilege to drive leslie and minnie bruce and nancy nangeroni and a few other folks the 100 miles to the Nebraska courthouse, and the car turned into a rolling political, economic and sociology classroom (for me). it was very early on in my own exploration of self and much of what i remember from talking with leslie was hir passion and conviction, and the fact that many of the things ze said made me both angry and profoundly uncomfortable (in my more 'adult' years i've come to embrace that discomfort as an indication that what i -think- is true and what i suspect -may- be true are at odds with each other.) i didn't really keep in contact with leslie (though i did occasionally hear from minnie bruce) but took great comfort knowing leslie was out there continuing to fight the good fight, unbowed, uncompromising and unapologetic.

RIP Transgender Warrior.

The Advocate has a lovely obituary written by Minnie Bruce Pratt that's well worth your time.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mostly Harmless (Dispatches from the Field #829)

so here's the brave new world at least some of us are blessed to live in (and don't think, for a second, that i'm not aware that not everyone enjoys the same access)...

Friday, October 10, 2014 - San Francisco, California
UCSF Medical Center at Parnassus

12:30pm - check into UCSF Radiology
12:40pm - realize the reason the head opening for the gown is too small is that these are pants
12:50pm - enter pre-op area to have IV inserted
12:52pm - ask nurse who is pulling down the IV board, across my chest, "will I be able to purchase a photograph at the end of the ride?"
12:53pm - answer question, "are you allergic to anything" by saying "yes, -stupid-... it always seems to give me a headache"
12:54pm - show first measure of restraint by refusing to answer the question "before we're done, do you have any questions?" with the question, "Do you think Kim Jong-un is still in control of North Korea?"
12:55pm - take hospital 'selfie', or as i like to call it, "healfie"

1:00pm - take bag of clothing, purse, and ukulele into MRI lab and discover that ukulele will not fit into clothing locker. agree with technician that stolen ukuleles are rare, and leave ukulele on top of lockers.
1:05pm - load into GE 3T MRI (i like my T's like i like my sloth toes... in 3's!)
1:06pm - show second measure of restraint by refusing to answer the question, "before we begin, do you have any questions?" with the question, "Do you think an all-female reboot of GhostBusters is a good idea?"
1:07pm to 1:28pm - bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang
1:30pm - retrieve belongings and discover hospital unstolen ukulele record remains unblemished
1:40pm to 2:00pm - enjoy a delicious lunch in the hospital cafeteria (hahahahahahahahahacoughcoughack)
2:15pm - check in to UCSF Neurosurgery clinic
2:20pm - remember both surgeon and surgical nurse are Canadian, and quickly google music/lyrics for O Canada for the ukulele.
2:21pm to 2:30pm - practice, eh?!
2:30pm - enter examining room and while waiting, blow up a purple nitrile examination glove into a balloon (i do this every time... its kinda like my 'thing')

2:35pm - pull out new iPhone (to look at music/lyrics) and have staff member ask me, "hey, does the new iPhone have a fingerprint thing?" (yes, i say, why?") and have a staff member say to me, "damn... that means i won't be able to read my boyfriend's emails... do you know a way around that?"... so 'yea' for all those HIPAA privacy forms i had to sign! (?)
2:38pm - sing all four verses of O Canada with Canadian neurosurgical nurse.
2:40pm - have Canadian neurosurgical nurse look at my chart and ask me, "why do you keep getting all these tumors?"
2:41pm - show third measure of restraint by refusing to answer, " because that's where God touched me, but forgot to wash his hands"
2:42pm - have 4th year neurosurgical student (Canadian?) come in and ask if she can ask me some questions?
2:42pm - show fourth measure of restraint by refusing to answer, "that's one..."
2:45pm - have Canadian neurosurgeon enter the examination room, pull up the MRI taken about an hour ago, alongside the MRI taken a year ago, and start pointing out anomalies in my brain to the 4th year neurosurgical student, like they were the sites of famous battles during the civil war. ("and this here is the battle of Pea Ridge... could have won that one if only they'd left the seat up, am i right ladies???!!!???")
2:50pm - watch Canadian neurosurgeon finish review, looks at radiologist report (which seems to have arrived sometime while we were singing, "O Canada! Beneath thy shining skies, May Stalwart sons, and gentle maidens rise."), nod in agreement, and say:

"Unchanged"... see you again in a year?

2:51pm - note GPS has me going 90mph, headed south on Interstate 280, just passing Hickey Boulevard ("could have won that one too if only they'd used a little less suction, am i right ladies???!!!???")

so over the course of about 2 1/2 hours, and through the efforts of about 15 different medical professionals (not including the cafeteria chef) i am given another year to act the fool as court jester of the gods... (plus, i now know how to play O Canada on the ukulele, so i got that going for me...)


Sunday, September 28, 2014

I Want You To Want Me...

(reposted from my Facebook page)

This is for Teddy (my grad school roommate, and friend for over 30 years, James Lattin)... 

just about to go to bed and happened to tune past ASX-TV, where they're showing "Cheap Trick At Budokan: The 35th Anniversary Performance" taped at the El Rey Theater in LA last year. I'm thinking they look and sound pretty good... especially Rick Nielsen... same old baseball cap, bow tie, insane guitar licks and stage antics. so i decide to Google him.

He'll be 67 in December.

Mommy's alright.
Daddy's alright.
And Granddad's doing pretty good, too!
(Surrender, indeed)

And here's one more 'fun fact' Teddy... in the mid-90's when i was working on the Newton team, Cheap Trick and Greg Kihn came to the campus for a demo of our new products (it was set up in Caffe Macs, which shows how times have changed)... i volunteered to demo the Newton MessagePad 130 and of course, being totally into checkboards and Vans at that point (h/t to Steve Capps) i had 'customized' my MP130 with black-and-white checkerboard contact paper... CT & GK came by and were looking at all the stuff, and were talking with folks and generally pretty nice, and then Rick Nielsen stopped and picked up my MessagePad and asked, "do you guys make 'em like this?" and i said, "no, this one is custom"... and he smiled and reached into his pocket and gave me a guitar pick and said "these are custom, too!"... later in the afternoon they were still walking around campus (i guess things moved slower those days) and we both happened to be in another building when they all came walking by with some Apple execs, and Nielsen saw me and shouted across the first floor of IL3, "Hey... isn't that Robin Goldstein??? Hey, Robin.... What's Up?!?!"... i broke into a huge grin and everyone else just stood and stared...

as Bill Murray says in Groundhog Day, "-That- was a pretty good day..."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


so here's a thing...  back at the end of august, The Huffington Post - Gay Voices blog published an article entitled "Transgender People Share Photos Of Themselves For #WhatTransLooksLike"... i was intrigued (it was a holiday weekend... didn't have much to do...) and took a selfie and posted it with the hashtag:

i then started to look for other pics with the hashtag #WhatTransLooksLike, and was amazed at the diversity (and number) of photos... in fact after scrolling through the first 100 or so, i realized that a powerful statement would be to see a large group of these photos, together, all at once (rather than seriatim, one at a time) so i started to collect the photos and then loaded them into Posterino...  i created a montage that contained a few hundred photos and then posted that online, but within hours there were an additional 100 photos.. so i updated my collage again and again, each time adding in additional photos, and tweaking the existing images to best display each of the amazing faces...  eventually i came up against the limit of the Posterino software (500 images) and said "Fini!" and here is the result:

i love this collection of faces... and even if you're not in there, you're in there...

feel free to share (i only ask attribution) and if you would like to grab the full-size 25MB, 6681x5725 image (suitable for framing or wrapping fish) you can grab it here.

namaste and at this time (of all times):

Show Up
Pay Attention
Tell The Truth and
Don't Be Attached To The Outcome


Thursday, September 11, 2014

The End Of An Era (Which Don't Seem To Last As Long As They Used To...)

yesterday Apple gave a preview of the latest product i've been fortunate enough to work on, Apple Watch, while quietly saying 'good-bye' to the final version of another game-changing product i was lucky enough to be involved with, the original scroll-wheel iPod. and here's a cool story some of you may not have heard...

back in the spring of 2001 i was convinced i was going to be the next great talk-radio star... i was sending out demo tapes and taking stand-up and acting classes, and going to broadcasting conventions while, at my 'day job', i was senior counsel at Apple. i don't remember exactly what i had been working on, but i had a sense it was going to be a 'quiet' summer, so when i went to the Radio and Records Talk Radio Conference in Newport Beach and ran into Michael Zwerling, owner of KSCO, i was thrilled when he asked if i would be interested in replacing Rush Limbaugh, M-F from 9am-11am... this seemed like an amazing opportunity (i had only done fill-in hosting, or a weekly saturday show), so i talked with my manager at Apple about shifting my hours, so i could host a daily talk radio program, and she said yes. the show wasn't set to start for another few weeks, and as i was getting ready, and trying to figure out how i would create 10 hours a week of original content, my manager stopped me in the hall and said, "you know something about music and digital audio, yes? i have a secret project i think you would be perfect for..." (and just to set the record straight, when i first learned the details of the original iPod project my reaction was "a portable music player? are you kidding? that's a stupid idea... i've already got a Rio and a Creative Labs and a Sony Music Clip and, what, we're going to charge $400???!!!???" which, parenthetically, is why you don't let lawyers get involved in product marketing... but i digress...)

anyway, cut forward a few months and my super secret product needs beta testing, stealth mode, in the real world... i volunteer, am issued a white scroll wheel 5GB iPod, a thick firewire cable, and a pre-release version of iTunes to load music from my PowerBook. i take the entire contents of my Napster library (the statute of limitation must have run by now, no?), move it on to the device, get a cassette adapter with a headphone plug, and begin to make the twice daily drive from my home in San Jose, over RT 17 to Santa Cruz, and then back across the 'hill' to Cupertino, where i work with the team on manufacturing agreements and technology licenses and understanding what happens when you 'interrogate' a lithium battery with a screwdriver (hint: the interrogation ends badly for the battery and the screwdriver) until late each evening when i drive home, sleep for a few hours, wake up at 5:30am to start my show prep, and do it all over again. and as i clock all those miles, i have my iPod (in various modes of disguise) sliding around on the passenger seat, being controlled by me, blindly, as i reach across to press one of a series of identical buttons (which way is up?), while trying to keep my eyes on the road. i'm successful at one thing (staying on the road) but fail at the other, pressing multiple buttons at once, holding buttons too long, randomly, rapidly, and unintentionally changing settings, and generally causing the iPod to crash. and when that happens i try to remember what i did, and as soon as i park (at KSCO, or Apple, or home) i write down what i tried to do, and what actually happened, and then load it all into a bug reporting system. and upon the final release of the very first version of iPod software i am told that i have found more bugs than anyone else, and as a reward am given one of the FPOL (first product off the line) iPods, which i still have and which still works and which only contains songs i have legally purchased ("Don't Steal Music!")

and so, in the end, the scroll wheel version of the iPod had a longer run than i did at KSCO, but they both had a profound effect on the world (ok, maybe just one of them) and i'm glad to have been associated with both! and these days having 1000 songs in your pocket ain't no thing, but with Apple Watch you'll be able to listen to music, wirelessly, from your wrist even when you're not carrying your phone... and who knows, maybe i'll be able to convince the team to include a scroll wheel on the music player control screen! ('cause what goes around...)

if you're interested in a deeper look at the life and times of the scroll-wheel based iPod, Christina Warren on Mashable has a wonderful article, "Requiem for an iPod Classic" that i strongly recommend...