California for fun...
Recently returned from a week in California, where I had a chance to see my daughter and her husband. (Here they are, relaxing in their townhouse and probably wondering why in heavens name they let the old man stay for a full week) As well, I got to visit with some old friends, sail on San Francisco Bay, give a paper at a conference at Stanford, and play music with friends in the Silicon Gulch Jazz Band. It was a packed seven days, and I am still recovering ... Penelope says I have jet lag, and I suppose that's probably it.
Triple Helix Conference at Stanford cemented the dates. I had written a paper back in the 1990s that traced the evolution of Silicon Valley from the early electric power and radio communications industries in the Bay Area. (It used to be on line through American Heritage: Invention and Technology, but it is no longer available.) I revised it and cut it down to fit into the requested 20 minutes with a power point presentation, and offered just about the only bit of history on the subject of how the synergistic interplay of university, industry and government (the "triple helix") evolved in the Bay Area into what we know today as Silicon Valley. Others have written on the subject since I did, but of course you must know they stand on the shoulders of a giant. :)
It was truly a treat to see Ruth Cowan and her daughter Sarah and son-in-law Andy. Ruth's darling Neil died in March, and neither Penelope or I had really talked with Ruth much since then. She was in good spirits and, although Penelope hadn't come with me on this trip, we had a conference call for almost an hour that Pen said made her feel like she was with us. It was all by chance that she was in California when I was (she teaches at Penn and her home is on Long Island), but she was there for a conference on genetics and technology in Pacifica (right on the ocean below San Francisco). Rather ironic that we both were out for conferences, I thought.
Energy and the Making of Modern California, and how I had discovered the history of electric power on the Pacific Coast and how it evolved quite distinctively from electric power in the midwest and eastern part of the country. It was this that led me to understanding the early significance of university, industry and government in the creation of what would 80 years later become known as Silicon Valley. And, my goodness, at least one copy was sold to conferees, because I was asked to sign it! Hey, and Akron Press has it on sale now for only $7.95. That's a deal.
Silicon Gulch Jazz Band in my own group, Article 19, I suggested his band. Well, they hired him, and I was to play with them the next night at the banquet, so I thought I'd drop in and see how everything was working out at their regular gig. As luck would have it, another fellow had brought in a keyboard and was more than happy to have me sit in for a couple of sets, which was a nice warm up for the banquet gig.
Well, enough of that reminiscing. The California trip was great fun, but I am so glad to be home in the arms of my sweet love, Penelope. It's where I know I'm supposed to be!