I had some great times with Jim and Julie Petersen. They were usually down for whatever - a last minute trip to Burning Man, Dead shows, helping me plan a party.
Julie was the first person I talked to at Wired Online, when I was trying to get a job at the magazine.Julie has similar honest, earnest, caucasian beauty as Jodi Foster. When she is up, she energizes around her, excited by everything, and grinnin' like a fool. She'll pick up accents you'll be talking a southern sweetheart and then a cockney bloke in the wink of an eye. When she's down, boys, look out. She's got the weight of the world on her small shoulders, its grevious to see.
Towards the end, when most of the flamboyancy had fled, Julie was one of the few folks willing to make some noise. She would charge things up with a few whoops and a cheer or two, and the whole day would seem brighter.
We got along well, good friends, she was my first contact, and fun for hanging out. As members of the HotHeirarchy, it didn't do so good.
She was in charge of Wired's AOL space, which she nurtured into a happenin' discussion zone with acutal potential, characters, fans, info, speakers, etc. She handed it off to me, and I dropped it. AOL maintenance fell pretty low on my list of visions for my Wired web experience.
I just didn't do what I didn't want to, which made it hard for her to trust me with anything worthwhile. A tough place for the both of us.
I could relate to Jim because my last job was doing network administration. In spite of being on top of the digital revolution, most people at Wired don't set up their own computers. It must be frustrating, that double standard.
He may not, or usually doesn't, know the answer to vague computer problems, but he's a hacker. At first it seems as though he'd rather suggest the wrong answer than none, but then you realize you've probably asked a dumb question that you should have worked at yourself more anyways.
On the Road...Travelling with the Petersens meant riding in their killer brown 70s Dodge van. They had taken everything out, and put a futon in the back - and a little plastic toilet. I spent quite a couple hours kickin' back in that thing - lots of neat stickers and posters and memorabelia to look at.
They talk wistfully of wandering - taking their computers, and their lives, in their camper, and hitting the road. I hope they do. They'll probably end up in the desert, and I'll probably end up visiting them.