timothy falconer's semantic weblog
Big Fractal Tangle

pregnant pause

Since my last post, I’ve opened my editor many times, wanting to write, but words just wouldn’t arrive, though not for lack of subject matter. When life gets too real to merely chat about, I find it harder and harder to write.

In September, on the Autumnal Equinox, Paula and I got a call about a woman from Florida who was pregnant. Two weeks later, we learned she’d picked us to raise her baby. We also learned of another woman who’d picked us, who was pregnant with twin girls. Our counselor gave us a rare and flabbergasting choice: twins or single child, answer by Monday. Let’s just say it was an interesting weekend. We choose the Florida birthmom, who (just to make things interesting) was due that week.

The next day, October 10th, Jon and I were mentoring for a software company that was starting a new product in the healthcare field. During that first meet, we realized it’d be a terrific project for Semantic Web technologies. After a great session with their team, where I did my best to advocate a semweb approach, I stepped out to call the adoption counselor, who set up a “match meeting” with the birthmom later that day.

The call with Lisa, the birthmom, went great, though my mind was mush. There’s really nothing to compare a phone call like this to, where you chat to decide whether one person will give you their child to raise. It’s kind of like a first-date where you’ve gotta decide whether you’ll get married or not, though even stranger and more frightening.

Before we knew it, we were on a plane to Palm Beach, Florida, where we all met in person at our hotel on the beach. Meanwhile, I was continuing our semweb pitch to the healthcare company, working wirelessly in early morning hours, waiting for the sunrise each morning like the last time I was in Florida, at ISWC 2003.

Soon the news was all Hurricane Wilma, which was headed straight for us. I of course imagined the worst, with the three of us on the interstate evacuating, out of gas and delivering our baby in hundred mile an hour winds. We learned at a doctor’s visit that the baby was actually due the next month, which while at the time was a real head spinner, it meant we could fly home before the storm hit. And hit it did . . .

Of course the media loves a good hurricane fright, but it’s a whole nother drama when your future baby’s in the middle of it, then four days of no power, and no way of knowing how mom and child are doing. Palm Beach County got it bad, though Lisa’s okay. This one impressed her 🙂

Meanwhile back at home, I’m making my case for a multi-agent / semweb architecture, remembering again why the semweb needs a better cover story. While *I* know there’s meat in all that sauce, it’s another thing to explain the benefits in a clear enough way to convince top brass to sign off on it. Kneejerk naysaying from the likes of Shirky don’t help, though I’m reminded again why bright people can so easily miss the point. We need a better rap, one that captures the essence of looseness and malleable mapping without getting too brainy too quickly. Anyway, I think we convinced the client. They’re presenting to management tomorrow.

As for the baby, we’re scheduled to fly back next week, which is why I’ll miss ISWC in Galway. Though nothing’s certain, as we learned last february, I’m hopeful that by the time ISWC ends, I’ll be a first time father.

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