Category Archives: Personal

Early Live Suzanne Vega Audio (1985)

While cleaning out our basement this morning, I happened upon some old audio cassettes. Two jumped out at me: recordings of live radio performances by Suzanne Vega. I’ve been a fan for a long time and was fortunate to have seen Suzanne perform live on several occasions in the early days of her career in Greenwich Village. These radio performances were both broadcast in early 1985, right around the time Suzanne’s debut album was released.

The first recording is a concert broadcast by WBAI in New York.

The second is a recording of Suzanne’s appearance on the late, great Pete Fornatale‘s show on WNEW in New York. This one is a combination interview, tracks from her then newly released record and an in-studio performance of Small Blue Thing.

Apologies in advance for the poor audio quality — these tapes are nearly 30 years old!

Why I Quit Facebook

Are you like me? Do you find yourself checking your Facebook news feed regularly and with ever increasing frequency? When you see a good movie, or take a cool photo, or experience something unique, is your first thought “I need to write a status update about that”?


One of the reasons why Facebook is so popular is because it gives us a little dopamine hit every time we find something we like. It’s a bit like fishing — hours of idle time can be justified by those few exciting moments precipitated by a fish tugging on your line. There’s an even bigger hit waiting for active posters: for many people in the 21st Century, the Facebook “like” button has become a surrogate source of validation, commiseration, therapy and love.

Whenever you find yourself indulging in repetitive behavior there are two important questions you should ask:

  1. Am I enjoying this behavior?
  2. Is this behavior making me a better person?
As I think about my Facebook use, I realize that my enjoyment of the experience has declined over the years as it’s become increasingly automatic and addictive. There is without question some high quality material on Facebook, however, the low signal-to-noise ratio means I need to spend a lot of time looking for those gems. 

That brings me to my answer to the second question: if anything, Facebook has made me a less interesting person. Because instead of reading books or blogs or taking an online course, or getting out in the real world and actually talking to other people, I’m wasting a non-trivial amount of my time sifting through the minutia of everyday lives.

I’m  not going to get into the privacy issues or the abysmal user experience or a bunch of other technical reasons why I dislike Facebook. Based solely on my answers to those two questions, I think it’s time for me to move on to pursuits that I enjoy more and that make me a better person. I plan to read more, write more on this blog (which I’ve neglected since starting a new job in 2011), and spend more time with my wife and daughter.

To my Facebook friends: au revoir, mes amis! You can continue to follow my random thoughts and ideas right here at http://marc1.org. And to all my friends, virtual and real:  may you find what you’re looking for in 2013.

Not This Time

November 4th, 2008 was a bittersweet night for me. Throughout that year, I’d been very involved in helping the Obama campaign so I was ecstatic about the outcome of the presidential election. But I was profoundly saddened by the narrow victory of Proposition 8 in California. I felt a strange mix of exuberance in knowing that we could elect the most qualified person for our highest office, regardless of the color of his or her skin, while at the same time realizing that, despite all our progress, some Americans were still more equal than others.

In 2010, my daughter, Maya, wrote this essay for her fifth grade school writing contest. I was very proud of her but I also feared that her dream was not likely to be realized any time soon. But today, only two short years later, Washington became the seventh state in the US to legally guarantee full marriage equality for all its citizens.

It’s a moment to celebrate but also a time to be wary, because after tonight the real fight begins. The haters will come and spend money and time and do everything in their power to promote their agenda of discrimination and intolerance, just as they did four years ago in California. But you know what? It’s not going to work. Not this time. Maya and I are going to make sure of that. Will you join us?

Matthew & Me

 
Which albums would appear on the soundtrack of your life? One of my top choices would be a pop/rock masterpiece from the 90s, Matthew Sweet‘s Girlfriend, a brilliant collection of songs, from beginning to end.

One of my favorite concert memories was seeing Matthew perform live at a small club in Bruges, Belgium. Fast forward twenty years: Matthew has a new record called Modern Art coming out on September 27 and this morning my wife and I got to enjoy an intimate acoustic performance at a local radio station. Matthew and I have both aged a bit since I last saw him, but his music sounds as good as ever. In addition to promoting the new record, he’ll be playing Girlfriend live, track by track, at a few gigs this Fall in celebration of that record’s twentieth anniversary.

Here’s some video footage I recorded on my iPhone this morning (sorry for the shakes), featuring Matthew and his friend playing “I’ve Been Waiting”:



Thanks to The Mountain 103.7 in Seattle for arranging this event!

No Tie, No Problem

 
Twenty nine years ago, I started my first and, up till now, only job, at Bell Labs in Holmdel, NJ (the lobby of which is pictured above). Bell Labs was a magical place in those days, sort of like a cross between a corporate think tank and a Grateful Dead concert. There were really smart people everywhere, all sorts of clubs and activities and seminars and colloquia (I once got to see Steve Jobs, then CEO of NeXT, give a scintillating talk to a small audience, before he was bigger than God). The best part was that everyone dressed in jeans and t-shirts (and even shorts in the Summer). That was a big deal for me because I’ve always hated the idea of having to wear a tie to work every day. Bell Labs was a place where no one cared how you looked or how you dressed – you were judged only by your ideas and your attitude.

For someone interested in computer science, this a was fascinating time and place. In the basement, behind heavily fortified walls, were four huge, multi-million dollar IBM mainframes, all of which were kept busy around the clock by computationally demanding scientists and engineers. One of my first assignments was to write system programs for those mainframes in something called Basic Assembly Language, a low level programming language for IBM mainframes. Our developer tools were laughably primitive by today’s standards, but programming at that low level was a great learning experience. Plus I managed to crash one of those expensive mainframes all by myself. But it left me feeling convinced there had to be a better way to develop software.

During this era, some Bell Labs researchers (principally Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson) invented something so innovative and so revolutionary that it forever changed how people used computers. Unix and C were an epiphany for me: this was how operating systems and programming languages were meant to be. Forty years after it was invented, C is one of the two most widely used programming languages and Unix continues to influence generations of operating systems. Before long I got a chance to develop software in C on Unix systems and there was no going back for me.

Several years later, I was working at an R&D office in Columbus, OH, which was co-located with a giant factory and I noticed that every day around 4pm thousands of factory workers would line up like cattle by the exit gate, waiting for the clock to strike the top of the hour so they could punch out and leave work at the earliest possible moment. At the time, I was captivated by a software project. Though I was paid for a nominal forty hour work week, at the end of the day I couldn’t tear myself away from the office and I regularly worked nights and weekends, just because I wanted to. So when I saw all those workers who couldn’t wait to leave their job at the end of the day, I realized how lucky I was to have a job I loved so much that I didn’t want to go home.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to have worked with many smart and interesting and kind people and that experience has taught me a great lesson. If I were asked to give one piece of advice to a young person just starting out, it would be this: Always try to surround yourself with greatness, because great people will challenge you and inspire you to be like them.

Two days ago, the following window popped up on my laptop, reminding me it was my last working day at Bell Labs/Lucent/ALU:


At the moment, I was immersed in some code, still trying to write the best software I could, right down to my last hour (I actually worked overtime on my last official day :). Next month I start a new job with Google in Seattle. For me, it feels like coming home, returning to a place frequented by brilliant, unconventional and interesting people, a place where you can dress any way you like, and a place where people are judged not by how they look but by the quality of their ideas. I can’t wait. And, thankfully, I still won’t have to wear a tie.

Switched At Birth?

A lifelong friend of mine, who lives in Colorado, recently engaged the services of a local real estate agent and was so struck by the guy’s resemblance to me that he sent me a photo. I think the upper half of his face is a dead ringer (including the gray hair in the same spot). Here’s a side-by-side comparison of me and my doppelgänger:

Marc

Not Marc

 
 
 
 
      Weird, huh?

How I Nearly Became a Microsoft Millionaire

Money by AMagill, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  AMagill 

In the mid-90s I got interested in the stock market and had a bit of money to invest so I opened an account with Charles Schwab. Schwab had recently introduced a service called Telebroker, which enabled clients to trade stocks by telephone. One morning in 1995, I asked my wife to buy $2,500 worth of Microsoft stock via Telebroker. You know where this is going, right?

Later that morning, I received a panicky call from my wife, who was close to tears. Instead of buying 2,500 dollars, she’d inadvertently purchased 2,500 *shares* of Microsoft. At the time, Microsoft was selling at roughly $50 per share so we’d just bet $125,000 on one highly volatile tech stock. Even worse, we had nowhere near that amount of cash in our account but because this was a so-called “margin account” (which meant Schwab extended us an automatic credit line), we’d just borrowed $125,000 to make a wildly speculative purchase.

Of course, we did what any responsible investor would do – we immediately sold the stock. But because it dropped 1/8 of a point that day, and due to the normal spread between the buy and sell price, plus sales commissions, the mistake ended up costing us nearly $1,000. It was one of those painful life lessons you learn the hard way.

Since then, I’ve often wondered what would have happened if we’d been bold/crazy enough to “let it ride”. Adjusting for splits, in the five years from 1995 to 2000, Microsoft appreciated by roughly a factor of 10. So, if we’d held onto our investment until January 1, 2000, instead of costing us a thousand dollars, it would have earned us $1.25 million. Although, if we’d held onto it until today, that $1.25 million would have lost half its value. As Bobby Sherman once said, “easy come, easy go”.

Saturday Puzzle #16 – Pink or Blue?

For the past 63 years in a row, babies born in the US have been slightly more likely to be a boy than a girl, at a rate of roughly 51% to 49% (source). For today’s puzzle, let’s ignore that complication and assume the odds of being born a boy or a girl are precisely 50%. Now, imagine you have four children and consider these three possible outcomes:

  1. all four children have the same gender (four boys or four girls)
  2. three have the same gender and one has the opposite gender (three girls and a boy or three boys and a girl)
  3. an even split (two boys and two girls)

Here’s today’s challenge: tell me which of the three scenarios above is the most likely one. If you’re not sure, just take a guess. Leave me a comment with your answer. Extra credit will be awarded if you can tell me the probability of the most likely outcome.

I myself come from a family of four children – my three siblings and I are pictured above.

Solution: The first step is to understand how many possible permutations we’re dealing with. We have four kids and each one has two possible states (male or female) so that gives us 2 to the 4th, which is 2*2*2*2 = 16 permutations. Another way of seeing that is to list the possible gender configurations. We can do this by starting with four girls, which can happen in only one way (GGGG), then listing the configurations with three girls (GGGB, GGBG, GBGG, BGGG), then those with two girls and so on (I’ve noted in parentheses which category each element in the list belongs to):

  1. GGGG (case 1)
  2. GGGB (case 2)
  3. GGBG (case 2)
  4. GBGG (case 2)
  5. BGGG (case 2)
  6. GGBB (case 3)
  7. GBGB (case 3)
  8. GBBG (case 3)
  9. BGGB (case 3)
  10. BGBG (case 3)
  11. BBGG (case 3)
  12. GBBB (case 2)
  13. BGBB (case 2)
  14. BBGB (case 2)
  15. BBBG (case 2)
  16. BBBB (case 1)

Next, we divide those 16 gender configurations into the three categories mentioned in the problem:

Case 1 (4/0): GGGG, BBBB

Case 2 (3/1): GGGB, GGBG, GBGG, BGGG, GBBB, BGBB, BBGB, BBBG

Case 3 (2/2): GGBB, GBGB, GBBG, BGGB, BGBG, BBGG

Finally, we sum the number of permutations in each group and divide by the the total number of possibilities (16) to get the probability of each case:

case 1: 2/16 = 1/8 = 12.5%
case 2: 8/16 = 4/8 = 50.0%
case 3: 6/16 = 3/8 = 37.5%

This result is a bit surprising – because things generally tend to even out over time, most people assume the correct answer is 2/2 but, as you can see, 3/1 is the most likely split. The photo was my way of giving a tiny hint because it depicted the 3/1 (BBBG) split in my own family.

I got several great responses to this one – congrats to my many brilliant readers and my apologies for a little bit of ambiguity in my formulation, which, I think, threw off a few responders. See you next Saturday!

Go West, Young Dog!

Meiko Cohen

My dog, Meiko, is directionally challenged. By that I mean he refuses to run in a particular direction. You’re probably wondering how I know this – allow me to explain. I live near a lovely paved trail where Meiko and I like to run together. We normally start our journey in an easterly direction, which is when the trouble begins. Meiko likes to stop and smell the roses…and the flowers, the trees, various unmentionables and everything else in his path. I know this is not unusual behavior for dogs but here’s the weird part: once we eventually reach our turnaround point, he suddenly turns into an Olympic sprinter for the entire return trip.

I know what you’re thinking – he wants to go home. That’s what I thought too so I set out to test that theory by starting my run in the opposite, westerly, direction. Amazingly enough, on this route he sprints as fast and as far from home as I’ll let him go, then we turn around, at which point he needs to sniff literally every passing blade of grass.

There seems to be only one logical conclusion: like most Seattleites, my dog leans to the left.

Song of the Day #84 – Garage Band & Me

It’s taken me almost a year since I bought my iMac but I finally got around to learning how to use Garage Band – wow, what an awesome program! The best part for me is you plug an electric guitar into your Mac and you can generate all sorts of cool guitar effects. To play around with this a bit, I improvised a short song, which you can listen to here:

What you’re hearing is three separate tracks:

  1. a drum track, which is entirely synthesized by the computer
  2. a rhythm guitar track, which is me playing a simple four chord sequence repeatedly
  3. a lead guitar track, which is me improvising, with a fuzzy Seattle-style grunge effect added

I think this is one reason why artists love Macs so much – I was amazed at how easy it was to produce a multi-track recording with special effects and computer generated percussion, using only software that came with my iMac and one real instrument (a cheap electric guitar).

My New Most Embarrassing Moment

I have a reputation for being a little clumsy. OK, that’s way too charitable – there is no English word or phrase that captures my special brand of clumsiness. My father first noticed this trait when, as a young boy, I often tripped going upstairs. He thought that was hysterical – the danger around stairs was supposed be mainly when traveling in a downward direction.

On top of the clumsiness, I have a bit of a daredevil streak, which is a dangerous mix. My wife and daughter have seen it all – tripping, falling off curbs, bumping my head. But last night I did something that belongs in the Klutz Hall of Fame.

After playing a few basketball games at the UW fitness center, I was walking through the parking lot toward my car. It was Freshman Orientation night so there were throngs of wide-eyed new students everywhere. As usual, I was deep in thought, pondering some programming problem. All of a sudden – THWACK – something smashed into my face, hard, almost knocking me over, followed by a kind of vibrating metal sound. I turned around and it dawned on me…I had just walked face first into a stop sign. I’m talking about your standard stop sign – the kind that’s embedded in two feet of concrete and generally doesn’t move.

It’s funny how when something like this happens, fear of humiliation trumps all other considerations. There was moderate physical pain, but my first thought was not “Oh my god, am I bleeding?”, but rather “I wonder how many people just saw that happen?”. I didn’t stop to survey my surroundings (lest I make eye contact with some youngster wondering how old you have to be before you start walking into inanimate objects). I quickly continued my saunter at a slightly more brisk pace and with a stoic expression on my face, which said to all the world “Of course I meant to do that”.

Reconnecting After Forty Years

I recently celebrated one of those birthdays ending in a zero and was rummaging through some old photos, school records, etc., when I came upon my fourth grade class picture (for those of you who can’t get enough 60s era fashion and hairstyles, you can click the image below for an expanded version):

Miss LaRusso's Fourth Grade Class, Collins School, Livingston, NJ, 1970

This was one of my favorite school years, in no small part because the young lady in the upper left of the picture was one of the finest and most inspiring teachers I ever had. I began to wonder:  ”Wouldn’t it be nice if I could let her know that, after 40 years, I still remember and appreciate her guidance?” I quickly assessed my chances at slim to none (I knew her only by her maiden name and I had no idea what she did or where she lived after 1970). But in the age of the internet, some amazing things are possible.

One factor working in my favor is that she had a fairly unusual first name, which I happened to remember. One hour of “google-sleuthing” later and I was about 80% confident I’d tracked down my teacher along with her email address, to which I sent the following note:

Dear Dr. Davis,

As a boy growing up in Livingston, NJ, I was inspired by a young teacher named Genevieve LaRusso. I was fortunate to have had this teacher twice, once in fourth grade and then again in sixth grade (at Collins School in the early 70s). Recognizing my interest in math, she took the time to expose me to some special advanced material. She also enlisted my help tutoring a peer in math. As a fourth grader, that was a pretty awesome responsibility. Throughout my life, I’ve always enjoyed teaching and I believe that was my very first exposure to the field.

I never forgot the excitement and vitality Miss LaRusso brought to my classroom every morning. She was more than a teacher to me – she was a role model. I went on to study Math at Rutgers and Computer Science at Cornell and for the past 30 years I’ve made a happy and productive living as a professional software developer. I’ve loved math and computers my entire life and I never forgot the teacher who first nurtured those interests in me.

Are you Miss LaRusso? If so, I’d like to thank you for everything you did for me and for your many other students.

Sincerely,

Marc Cohen

You can imagine my surprise and delight when, the next morning, I received the following response:

Dear Marc,

Yes, I am Miss LaRusso and (of course) I remember you! You and Cary Collichio are still among my most favorite students of all time. I remember your family too.. and the work we did at Collins – that musical production in the spring…    Collins was a part of my life that will always be close to my heart!  Truly, it was students like you J who inspired me to keep learning about teaching [especially mathematics]. I am so proud of your accomplishments, Marc, and very impressed with your studies—Rutgers and Cornell – wow! Being a professional software developer sounds exciting and challenging. I know you are very successful  and  I am glad that you are happy!

When I left Livingston I moved to Connecticut where I taught math in a junior high school and earned a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of Connecticut. While there, I met the man I married.  I took some time off from teaching to have a family and raise our three children.  We are living in Ohio where I have been a professor of math education at Kent State University since 1989. I love teaching students and teachers –how to teach math. My passion for teaching has never lessened… I still approach my work as I did way back in the 1970s.

Thank you so much for taking time to write to me. Your kind words mean more than you could ever know!  You will always be a special person to me and I wish you much happiness and joy in your life! Remember me to your family.

With affection,

“Miss LaRusso” J  ~Gen Davis

The impact of a great teacher lasts a lifetime. Did you have a teacher who inspired you?

Orange You Glad You Don’t Dress Like Me?

My wife once called me a fashion nightmare and I can’t dispute that assessment, however, I think I’ve recently raised (or lowered?) the bar to a new height. I’m on a three week business trip to England and I forgot to pack my nice, business casual coat. It’s a bit chilly so I’m stuck wearing my radiant bright orange windbreaker to work every day. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I bring my lunch to work in little plastic bags I’ve collected from trips to the local supermarket. Those bags are, of course…bright orange.

So every day I tromp off to work in my bright orange jacket carrying my neon orange lunch bag. Without further ado, here’s a picture of me in full regalia. You might want to shade your eyes before viewing this photo…

Too much orange

As you can see, I’m doing my best to show the Brits my uniquely American sense of style. I only hope they don’t deport me before I finish my work here.

I Know What Happens To You When You Die

Now that I’ve got your attention, let me just say that my title is perhaps just slightly overstated. I probably should have called this article “I’m Pretty Sure I Know What Happens To You When You Die” but that doesn’t have the same ring, does it? Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this question for a long time and I’ve finally found the answer (actually I came upon the answer a long time ago but I was too lazy to write it up).

Before I pull back the curtain on this ancient conundrum, let me just say that the answer is not warm and fuzzy. So if you’re not ok with a little metaphysical tough love then now would be a great time to move on to a more uplifting blog.

Ok, for those of you still reading (hi Mom!), sit back, make yourself comfortable and prepare for some enlightenment. So…what happens to you when you die is…wait for it…

Nothing. That’s right, a whole lot of nothing. You don’t go to heaven. You don’t go to hell. You don’t get to meet god (she’s way too busy for the likes of you). You don’t even get to meet St. Peter. You’re not reunited with your deceased loved ones (although I admit that’s a nice thought). And you don’t get to frolic with angels. You go into a profound state of non-existence.

How do I know this? Because I’ve been there, man. I don’t mean I’ve been dead. I mean I was once before in a state of non-existence. So were you. Remember? Before you were born, you didn’t exist. For a really long time. Six billions years of non-existence – those were some boring times, weren’t they?

No one has any memories from before they were born. That’s because your memory is a product of the rich configuration of neurons you’ve spent your whole life assembling in that hunk of cells called your brain. Without those neurons and some associated biochemical goo, you’d have no memories and there really would be no you. That’s why you have a hard time recalling anything before your birthday.

So given what I think of as me came into existence on my birth date (or thereabouts), when the hunk of brain cells in my very hard head run out of oxygen and die, all those memories and personality taints – everything that makes me me, will die with the rest of my body, at which point I will return to a state of non-existence. All those other theories, which sound so nice and serene, are really just adult fairy tales, designed to make us feel like our lives have some sort of cosmic meaning and that we’re so special that we must somehow live on after our bodies have stopped working.

Some people might say: “Wait a minute, if my life doesn’t have some sort of cosmic significance, why should I bother being a good person? Why not just do all those filthy things I think about doing every 7.4 seconds?”. And the answer couldn’t be more simple: when you do “the right thing”, when you help other people, when you work hard, you get a good feeling. It’s called fulfillment. You don’t need someone to give your life meaning by telling you a fairy tale about some reward at the end of the rainbow. Your life has as much meaning as you choose to give it.

So work hard, have fun, be a good person, help other people, try not to be too selfish and the result is you’ll probably live a happy and fulfilling life. And then you’ll die. That’s just the way it goes. In the meantime, enjoy your state of existence while it lasts. Trust me, the second time through non-existence is even longer than the first. :)

I Need Structure

So my wife and daughter have left me home alone for three days. Party time, right? Wrong. In addition to my day job, I now have to figure out how to feed the pets, clean the litter boxes, do the dishes, keep the house neat, administer pet meds, cook myself dinner, walk the dog three times a day…I have to actually do all the stuff my wife normally does. For three whole days!

But my wife is a very smart woman. She knows I’m in way over my head so here’s what she did: she created a three day schedule, with little check boxes for every activity. 10am on Tuesday – time to walk Meiko, check! 7pm on Wednesday – time to clean the litter boxes, check! Not only have I not missed a single job yet, I’m actually enjoying this because here’s the secret: I love checking stuff off lists. It doesn’t really matter what’s on the list.

Over the years, I’ve learned that seemingly reasonable requests like “Can you do X whenever X needs to be done?” don’t seem to work for me. What I need is “Please do X every day at 7pm”. Extra credit for “here’s a list with checkboxes you can use to keep track of when you’ve done X”. Let me be the first to admit that requiring this level of coddling is pathetic. Perhaps there’s a biochemical explanation but the bottom line is: in order to do a job, I need some structure. And the more boring the job, the more structure I need.

Perhaps it’s just me but I wonder if this is a common male trait. I’d be interested in knowing your thoughts. Is this is a guy thing or a Marc thing?

My Brush with Head Trauma

Imagine you’re 49 years old, very clumsy, accident prone and you’ve just discovered a newfangled, two piece skateboard (like this: http://bit.ly/4aUqlG).

Question: What’s the stupidest thing you can possibly do?

Answer: Ride the thing down a hill without a helmet.

In case there was ever any doubt, I’ve now officially earned my Darwin Award.

Yesterday we were visiting some friends and both kids and parents were enjoying riding various forms of rolling equipment down their gently sloping driveway. Of course, we insisted the kids don protective helmets, as we always do, but for the adults it was a case of “do as I say, not as I do”. You know where this is going, right?

I don’t actually remember the events directly leading up to my fall but at some point both feet went out from under me, my body jerked violently backward and my head smashed hard on the driveway pavement. The next thing I remember is a) tremendous head pain, b) no feeling anywhere in my body and c) screaming at the top of my lungs. I don’t remember consciously generating the screams, it was as if someone else was controlling my body and I was watching the whole scene.

I’m told I screamed three times and then suddenly stopped. I remember thinking how strange it was to feel completely disconnected from my body. Then I began to feel a tingling all over, just like when part of your arm or leg falls asleep. A short time later, all the feeling came back into my extremities. By that time, our friend, Richard, had called 911 while my wife was trying to assess my condition.

The paramedics arrived very quickly. They gave me a bunch of field neurological tests and took my vital signs. Because I was lucid, the paralysis was gone and my stats were ok, they were optimistic but suggested I take a ride to the local ER. I declined, partly because I didn’t want to further traumatize my daughter. My wife was not quite so sanguine – she insisted on driving me to the ER near our house, where I spent the rest of my Sunday.

Five hours later, I learned that I had suffered a mild concussion but the results of a CAT scan and neck X-ray were normal so I was likely out of the woods. Apart from a very stiff neck and a feeling like I’d been hit in the head with a baseball bat, I seemed to be ok. And I’m feeling a little better today.

In conclusion, here are three things I’ve learned from this experience:

  1. I can’t take the same risks I used to take when I was 18. Not because I’m no longer up to the challenge (I never was :) but because I have a daughter and a wife who need me to stay healthy. As my wife noted while driving me home from the ER: “Your nine lives have officially run out”.
  2. I’m very fortunate to have good health insurance so that when something like this happens I can get it fully checked out and treated.
  3. Helmets: not just for kids.