Friday, June 11, 2010

Graduation in Palo Alto

Greetings from downtown Palo Alto, where your humble blogger enjoyed delightful food (Red Curry Beef at Siam Royal) and shops including Mac's Smoke Shop, live music on the corner of University and Emerson next to the Digital DNA Sculpture, and a priceless three hour conversation with the delightful daughter, who graduates from Stanford University this weekend. Even more than San Diego, and differently but equal to Seattle, Palo Alto features a remarkably aware and educated population with no shortage of diversity or cerebral horsepower, a correlation I have noted on many occasions.

The daughter's genius boyfriend joined us for lunch. He won't talk about it, but she told me how last year he hacked into the database of a local prestigious network, and while inflicting no damage hijacked all of their machines and printed benign messages on their screens. He let them learn who he was, and after some conversation, they offered him a part time job for the duration of his time in Palo Alto. Well versed in Buddhism although he does not formally practice, he heads to the east coast this fall to start on his doctorate (Mathematics). The daughter, somewhat to the chagrin of dad (wanted Bloomington), returns to Tucson (yes, Tucson) to start hers in Sociology.

Her interests are remarkably similar to mine, which is what made the conversation so rich. We discussed consciousness at a depth I rarely get to experience, including distinctions regarding levels of awareness. At least in my experience, a “for real” talk like that (as opposed to a new age enthusiast offering his take on Peaceful Warrior) is very difficult to find. The key is “for real” and must involve actual experience resulting from effort. I can't tell you how moved I am that my kid is exploring this terrain. The bulk of the conversation involved the application of sociology to education. She was the instructor.

The Stanford campus is as close to heaven as I have ever experienced. In another priceless moment, I got to hang out at the Synergy House while the daughter packed up in preparation for the move (to the soundtrack from The Graduate). Her roommate, an international relations graduate from the Orient, and I discussed comparative cultures and the way religion influences the political perspective of a nation, in particular the difference between the Dharmic and Abrahamic frameworks. Does it get any better than having terrific conversations with freshly developed young minds while your graduating daughter packs up her things to Simon & Garfunkel? In my real life (The current fiasco is a practice life – at least I learned a lot, had a great kid, and got a full time slot on a campus with a part time faculty gig.), I want to be a professor at Stanford. Almost any field would be all right (except Chemistry, poetry, or anything involving a foreign language).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice entry. I like it when a blogger can actually write with some creativity.

Regarding your daughter, congratulations. Based on what you have written here (I have not read your blog before), she alone is reason for you to feel pretty satisfied with your life.

Her success admission into Stanford and successful completion (and acceptance into a PhD program) is at least in some part due to your influence over her as a father. Your life hardly sounds like a fiasco to me.

6/12/2010 5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

6/15/2010 3:57 AM  
Blogger Sirocco said...

Congrats to the daughter!

Have you ever been to Berkeley? Don't get me wrong, I love both schools and campuses, but for whatever reason Berkeley has always held a small edge.

6/15/2010 6:41 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Oh, absolutely! On several occasions. One of my fondest memories is a trip where the daughter and I flew to Oakland to stay with a good friend of mine. We spent one day in SF and the other day in Berkeley. We walked all over the campus, visited the shops in town, ate great food. What I would give to have been able to go Berkeley as an undergraduate.

6/15/2010 3:17 PM  

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