Dec 24

Tim O'Reilly

Tim O'Reilly

I got blogtagged too

Kris tagged me. Here are five things you might not know about me:

1. I hate chain letters. This one is harmless, but it's amazing how chain letter style scams crop up again and again, and people who ought to know better fall for them. I particularly remember one called "The Circle of Gold", which went around in New Age circles in the late 70s. It was amazing how many people fell for it because it was wrapped in New Age language. As Freeman Dyson once said, "We need a department of homeland arithmetic!" Even though, as Kris said, this one actually generates interesting social network information, I'm still of two minds about continuing it. Well one, so I blogtag no one in turn. (But if I did, I'd tag Dale Dougherty, Larry Wall, Jeff Jonas, Matt Webb, and Saul Griffith.)

2. As you might guess from the entry above, I began my career far from the computer industry. I taught my first Esalen workshop at the age of 18, but quit by my mid-20s and started working on computer documentation because I didn't like the idea of making my living on something as personal as people's psychological and spiritual growth.

3. I have six brothers and sisters, and my mother has a total of 42 grandchildren. One of my brothers has twelve children! We're all very much still in touch, despite the very different paths our lives have taken. We had a big family reunion in Ireland for my mother's 80th birthday. My father is buried in Aghadoe cemetery above the beautiful lakes of Killarney, in a family grave that my brothers and I filled in ourselves, encountering the bones of our ancestors along the way.

4. My wife Christina is a playwright. After many years of writing, she finally started producing her own work. The set for her last play, Skeleton Woman, was mostly built with materials that she and I scrounged from the beach, including an amazing prow of a ruined boat that we found on the beach in Berkeley.

5. One of my hobbies is reading old books that were once bestsellers but are now largely forgotten. The true "classics" are timeless, but the next tier down is precious precisely because they are time-bound, and often give more peculiar insights into the mores of the day. I started this hobby on a rainy day when a used bookshop was going out of business. They were putting their remaining stock out on the street, and I couldn't let the books be destroyed, so I took them home, thinking that someone would enjoy them. That person turned out to be me. My latest find, Upton Sinclair's Lanny Budd novels, which give an amazing birds-eye view of America's history during the two world wars.

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Comments: 7

  Simon van wyk [12.24.06 02:49 PM]

In 1994 I was introduced to Circle of Gold by a neighbour. In a period o about three months I made about $25,000 it was such fun. we got cheques in the mail every day. The whole scheme died in a day when the newspaper suggested it may be illegal. It paid my costs of leaving South Africa and I could never have left without that little windfall. I've never met anyone else who did nearly as well. I knew the two people on the list on either side of me and they did not do nearly as well.

  lauren [12.26.06 04:26 PM]

I've researched the fascination of readers with the Lanny Budd books and published it in my recent collection "The Land of Orange Groves and Jails: Upton Sinclair's California."(Heyday Books, 2004). As one scholar wrote: "It's story history." I've written about the archetypal Sinclair hero on my blog, as well.

  Matt Webb [12.31.06 09:15 AM]

I replied at unnecessary length to your hypothetical tag, because I can't help gabbing on about myself:

  Jeffrey Carr [12.31.06 03:01 PM]

Esalen? Interesting, Tim. I did the Silva Method in the late 70's. I wonder how many other baby boomers that are in technology now were exploring such things back then? It's sort of an inner technology : outer technology paradigm.

  Kathy Sierra [01.02.07 08:53 PM]

You didn't mention your Icelandic horses, something *I* definitely hadn't known about you before I read it somewhere several years ago. FYI -- thanks to you, we now have three, and our newest one will be giving us our first foal in June : )

  Tim O'Reilly [01.02.07 09:11 PM]

Kathy -- you're always wanting to talk about the horses! Alas, I don't have much time to ride these days, but do hope to get back to it. But I do spend a little time with them every day, just feeding and talking to them. And it's always great to walk outside (or even look out the window) and see them against the skyline, winter and summer, night and day, part of the texture of where and how I live. And as you know, the nuzzle of a horse's nose against your hand is almost as sweet as the feel of a baby's head, when it comes to tender touches.

Since we're on the subject, here are a couple of photos.

I should really get around to uploading a few others, since I've got a couple of hundred more, including a couple of you the first time you met Randallin and Gaifa and fell in love.

  Tim O'Reilly [01.02.07 09:42 PM]

What the heck. Just for you, Kathy, here are some more photos of my icelandics. (FYI, Gaifa, the brown one, is the mother of Randallin, the white one, who was born at our house, in the fields that you see here.) My wife rides Gaifa, and I ride Randallin. We used to have two other icelandics, but one died of colic, and one we gave to our trainer once our daughters left home.

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