angela_n_hunt: (Me 2014)
Today is the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the day my father died, fourteen years ago today.

Fourteen.

It feels more like four days today. Like I just saw him yesterday and if I turn fast enough or around the right corner, I'll find him standing there, grinning at me like a loon.

I miss my father so much today.

There's nothing new to say or for me to tell you about my father. If you track either the Hugh M. Hyatt tag or the Poppa Bear tag here on my LJ, you will find my memories of him. Stories that I've kept alive as best as I can, because it's all that I have left of him. The things he touched and the things he made are not him. But the memories... Those are things, moments that retain a bit of his soul. A bit of who I knew and remember of the man. That I remember of my father.

This year has been so so full of death and grief. So many have died or been killed and not far away, not across the water, but in communities that I travel through, losses to friends I have known for years. Artists gone that I have known of for years. Children taking their lives, because they're not sure that the next four years would be survivable for them, because the gender they were did not comply with the physical form they were born with. Artists also taking their lives, because they weren't sure if they'd have health care the next four years, and better to make one's own exit than be at the mercy of a cruel and merciless government that demands Obedience, and dispenses only pain and a slow death from pre-existing conditions, because apparently the sick and disabled don't deserve care or help or gods forbid, hope. And on top of that, a friend I knew since high school finally lost the battle with his heart, the organ he had been given with a congenital defect that finally got him. He lived longer than any of us thought possible. So much so that I think we all thought he would be here for a little bit longer.

But maybe that would have never been true, no matter when he died. Jason's dying would have been a loss no matter what, and a lot of us would have wished for more time. Not for us. For his children and for his wife, who has been such a pillar of strength and power, that I am in awe and hope that when or if she needs to break or just take a break, we will all be here to catch her.

It's the least I can do. The least *we* can do as her community.

And here we are on Pearl Harbor Day and the World is on fire and we are firmly in the grips of what Heinlein called the Crazy Years. I like to think that my father would have been a voice of reason during all of this. Spoken out especially against the willful denial of scientific fact presented in hard data. This once, his stubborness would have been a gift and a source of power. He loved to argue. I like to think that he probably could have out-argued the Devil. He had that in him.

I don't have his facility for the math or the science. I can only write about the people and the art and the music that I track. The politics that I immerse myself in, because at heart, I am a truly political animal, and in another life, life in DC and write analysis for people who probably never read them. But whatever. That life is not this life and I work with the tools that I've been given.

Oh, it hurts this year, Lady. It really fucking hurts. And next year doesn't look any better, in fact the next decade looks to be pretty fucking shitty. We're going to lose more people, and not to natural causes. Even my father's heart attack was an expected risk. It's not like the family history doesn't run in that direction.

So apparently today is going to be full of fire and tears. I will burn incense and offerings and pray. I will meditate and weep.  I will rail at the cruelty of men and the blind neutrality of the vast Universe.

I need a box of tissue and a new cup of coffee. The crying is giving me that stupid headache that seems to follow such outbursts.

Pop, what are we going to do? I know that we can prevail, but I also know what the human cost of that effort will be. It'll be body count in both literal bodies, and in a lot of minds. It will break a lot of people and we will lose people we love and gods, I just want it to stop. I just. want. it. to. stop.

Goddess, help. Help. Help, help, help.

I don't know what to do.

I want my Daddy.

Untitled

Jul. 19th, 2016 10:25 am
angela_n_hunt: (Default)

Originally published at Curse & Quanta. Please leave any comments there.

Untitled

Mind is just not coming up with titles, though again, this just screams science fiction book cover.

NOM.

* * *

Immediately got sucked into working this morning. A good sign, but glurg. I look up and two hours have flown by and I have had nothing but coffee.

Oops.

I feel good this morning. Really good. I appear to be balanced and stable with the new med combination and I am so fucking grateful. I can think again. The panic makes it impossible to think or problem solve. This has given me my mind back. Let’s hope this sticks for a while.

* * *

Holy crap, my butt hurts. My trainer and I really kicked it. Lots of slow yin yoga today. Ow.

* * *

Showed the Mouse where the basil was in the garden, how to identify it and what its characteristics are. I am my father’s daughter. Instead of physic lectures, i give herbalism lectures. I hope I am not as repetitive though. Though who knows? It amuses me to think that in the far future, she’ll give the same lecture to some other small one and keep the knowledge going.

But now my hands smell like fresh crushed basil and it makes me so happy.

I have hard things to do today, but I don’t feel like toad swallowing first thing. So it’s Muscle Milk for me and work on the Magician and High Priestess next, which sounds absolutely lovely. It’s coming along.

* * *

And for the record, I am aware of the state of things in the world. I can’t help or avoid that. I am an analytical type by nature and subscribed to too many feeds that cover politics, intelligence, and various other hard subjects. And I know only one thing. What you focus on persists. What you *resist* persists. Not to say that there isn’t a time to fight, because fuck yeah, sometimes you have to fight. But if you, yourself, are not directly harmed?

I’m starting to think that you have a moral duty to do an act of kindness or create some beauty or make where you stand somehow better in the face of these things going on in the world right now. A freaking geas, if you will. It’s not being Pollyanna. I keep saying it.

It’s defiance.

* * *

Don’t forget that Strange Weather is free over at Amazon for the rest of the week! Whee!

* * *

T-minus 8 days and counting!

angela_n_hunt: (Default)

Originally published at Curse & Quanta. You can comment here or there.

Orchid

Finally figured out what to call it.

* * *

My father’s birthday is today. I was doing okay earlier in the day, but as the evening has come on, so has the panic and some of that is related to mortality, missing my father, and having inadequate anxiety meds.

There is good news though.

Strange Weather is once more available on Amazon and it’s the 10th anniversary of that particular book. Still can’t believe that I finished the final edit on it ten years ago. I’m afraid I tweaked it a bit and will probably continue to tweak it. Because I can and because the anxiety needs something to be distracted by. Also, The Mad Scientist’s Beautiful Daughter should be live by tomorrow. I’m hoping to tweak it as well. In the meantime, have a link:

Oh, and the book is free starting tomorrow for the whole week. So. There’s that too.

* * *

I was mostly off line for a couple of days because I lost my wifi dongle antenna. The husband rescued Behemoth and I by running Ethernet cable for me, for which I am ridiculously grateful. I love him more than I can ever say.

But that was the lead up to, it’s ten days and counting on the High Priestess! Check it out!

angela_n_hunt: (Me 2014)
Hugh and Margie Get Married

Today is my father's birthday. I spoke to Margie Mom last night and she reminded me of the day that she and my father got married. It was a truly magical, eclectic affair. The bride wore pink. The groom tried to pretend he wasn't weeping. Yes, it was the 80s. I'll see if I can dig up a picture of me in the blue/hot pink changeable taffeta strapless thing I wore. Heh. It was *awesome*.

Aren't they beautiful together? Gods, they were so young. I am literally the same age that my father is in this photo.

Have another gorgeous photo of the two of them and my personal favorite. I did, after all, take both photos.

Hugh and Margie

I've probably posted it before. I don't care.

I am missing him (and Margie Mom who is in Australia right now) very much this year. Building out the shop space and working with my hands has brought so many things up and I simultaneously ache with missing him and yet feel him very close. The ghost of his smile and his laughter caught at the edge of my sight and hearing.

He’s still with me. Just not close enough to touch.

It's okay and it's not okay simultaneously.

I miss you, Poppa Bear.
angela_n_hunt: (Default)

Originally published at Curse & Quanta. Please leave any comments there.

Hugh and Margie Get Married

Today is my father’s birthday. I spoke to Margie Mom last night and she reminded me of the day that she and my father got married. It was a truly magical, eclectic affair. The bride wore pink. The groom tried to pretend he wasn’t weeping. Yes, it was the 80s. I’ll see if I can dig up a picture of me in the blue/hot pink changeable taffeta strapless thing I wore. Heh. It was *awesome*.

Aren’t they beautiful together? Gods, they were so young. I am literally the same age that my father is in this photo.

Have another gorgeous photo of the two of them and my personal favorite. I did, after all, take both photos.

Hugh and Margie

I’ve probably posted it before. I don’t care.

I am missing him (and Margie Mom who is in Australia right now) very much this year. Building out the shop space and working with my hands has brought so many things up and I simultaneously ache with missing him and yet feel him very close. The ghost of his smile and his laughter caught at the edge of my sight and hearing.

He’s still with me. Just not close enough to touch.

It’s okay and it’s not okay simultaneously.

I miss you, Poppa Bear.

angela_n_hunt: (blue eyes)
My father, Hugh M. Hyatt, better known as Poppa Bear, today is his Deathday. It's also Pearl Harbor Day. Cicero was assassinated in 43 BC. Edison demonstrated his gramophone to the editors of Scientific American in 1877. Max Planck, in his house at Grunewald, on the outskirts of Berlin, discovered the law of black body radiation in 1900, laying the groundwork for what would become known as Planck’s Constant. Apollo 17, the final Apollo, launched in 1972. Galileo spacecraft passed the North Pole of the Moon in 1992. The final flight of STS 80, Space Shuttle Columbia, ended with her final landing in 1996.

And in 2002, my father died on this day. By comparison, it doesn’t seem like it’s on the same scale of those events and yet, it overshadows them for me. It also seems so appropriate. So many science firsts on this day. So many giant events.

He picked his day with care. You can’t tell me that he didn’t. For those things to be significant on this day? Things that mattered so deeply to him? No.

He chose well.

I miss my father so much today.

The girls are running around and making noise. He would have given me such gleeful hell about being run ragged by them. He so would have delighted in their quick minds and argumentative natures. Gods, he would have fed and fostered those traits. Goaded their competition. Challenged their views and beliefs in the nature of the Universe. And demonstrated just how damn stubborn our family can get by his own intransigence.

So much to never exist. So much. But in my imagination, it does. In my mind’s ears, I can hear his chuckle as he teases and teaches, see him writing equations on little sheets of yellow paper from Grace’s collection, interspersed with his Acme cartoons. Diagrams on napkins for Jane and music from her room as he sits down at her piano keyboard, strains of Misty and Gershwin and ragtime.

Coffee and eggs and newspaper at Jinky’s in Studio City, too early in the morning, because I finally found a good breakfast place and me growling at him as he pokes at me, all perky and awake and me not before my first coffee. Margie Mom smiling indulgently at us both.

I can imagine it so well.

Sometimes, being a writer is a curse.

I can see it so well. But I can’t touch it. I can’t touch him.

All I can do is tell that enormous full moon out there how much I love him. Ask Her to carry my words to him, wherever he may be. Pray that he can hear me somehow. Because I need to believe that he can hear me this year. I have to believe. I have to.

Oh Daddy.

I miss you.

This year is hard. My brain and body are not as resilient as they once were and I am at war with both. I can’t breathe and my brain is trying to kill me. You’d probably poke at me about it, and piss me off, but honestly, that abrasiveness might very well be what would help. It so often did. You’d piss me off and I’d stomp off to prove you wrong. And there were equally times that you just told me that you loved me and we’d talk physics and space flight and future.

You would have adored Interstellar and Gravity. You would have had bones to pick with the first two films.

He could never let the science in those things go unchallenged. But he’d be so on fire by their existence. So delighted in their depictions. So impressed that they got made.

I so want to sit and talk with you again, Poppa Bear, a pot of tea between us. I so want to hold you one more time. Tell you how much I love you.

So I just tell the Moon.

I love you, Old Bear. I love you, I love you, I love you. Till the stars go out and beyond.

Tell him for me, Lady Moon. Tell him. Please.
angela_n_hunt: (Poppa Bear)

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Today, my father has been dead for ten years.

This picture was taken during one Christmas Day back in the late 80s/early 90s. I don’t know which, as I don’t have a date written on the back, more’s the pity. Dig those giant glasses.

This year is a bad one. Some years are. I miss him with an ache that is not a pain that is easily described. Part void, part ball made of knives, part abyss.

I want him back. I want the early irritating mornings of him waking me too early because he has to have his eggs and his paper and his coffee. I want the sound of his voice. I want his laugh. I want his big toothy grin. I want the way his arms felt around my shoulders when he would hug me, like I was being enfolded by a giant friendly bear, not a man.

I always felt safe when he hugged me. Even as an adult.

But more than any of that?

I want to see him with my girls. I want to see Mouse mouthing off at him, insisting that she is smarter than him, and making him laugh. I want to see Bean running at him, screaming her head off, her mouth wide and smiling. I want to see him sitting with Mouse, drawing equations on napkins, explaining how math is the language of the Universe. I want to see him draw his Acme silly joke drawings for the Bean and explain that Wile E. Coyote is not a super genius to emulate.

I want.

I want this more than I can express.

And I am never going to get it.

Somehow, I will have to be these things. Somehow I will have to find a way to pass those things on, but at nowhere near the same fidelity, because I will only ever be a copy of his way of doing it, and I will only ever be at the mercy of the frailty of memory, no matter how dedicated or committed I may be to writing down every single last thing I can.

Somehow, I will have to set myself on fire, so that his memory doesn’t get lost here in the shadow he still casts. Somehow, I must be like a movie projector, throw light through the lens, and in imperfect moving pictures, pass on what he taught me, even if it will never never NEVER be the same.

And somehow I have to make peace with that.

But not today.

*screams at Bitch Entropy*

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

angela_n_hunt: (Poppa Bear)

Today is a very big day on so many levels that getting through it is going to involve a lot of breathing on my part and occasionally stopping and remembering to center. All good stuff.

Today, the memoir I wrote about my father, The Mad Scientist’s Beautiful Daughter is out.

The Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter cover
The Mad Scientist’s Beautiful Daughter
$21.95 + S/H
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

It’s also my father’s birthday. He would have been 69 today. He would have made a distinctly dirty joke about that number and age, hedonist that he was. It is no stretch of imagination on my part to think, if he had lived, that he would still be puttering in a shop somewhere, blowing shit up. I like to think he’s got the only workbench in the Summerlands with 220 and a working fusion device.

So in honor of both events, is also free for the Kindle and the Kindle app for the rest of the week. It’s also going to be available on the Nook, if it isn’t live already.

They’re companion books in many ways. I couldn’t have written the memoir without having written the trilogy first. I only realized that last night as I was looking over the final proofs of the book. I apparently have more to thank Sabine Parsons and her story for than I ever thought.

Happy birthday, Poppa Bear. I hope you like your presents. *blows a kiss at the sky*

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

angela_n_hunt: (Poppa Bear)

Or thereabouts.

Me and Poppa Bear

Yes, I am running for the camera, my intention to grab it. The next shot after this is me with my arms out, nearly grabbing it. The one before it, I am just sitting on my father’s lap, somewhat bored with everything. I love this photo. In it, I see my father looking out for me. Watching my back, even if I never looked back for him.

This is Land’s End in San Francisco, not that you can see much of the monument over my father’s shoulder.

Yes, it’s the site and scene of Sabine and the Black Queen’s final battle. The USS San Francisco is part of my spiritual DNA.

Tomorrow is my father’s birthday. Gods willing, The Mad Scientist’s Beautiful Daughter will be available for sale. Strange Weather *will* be free for the Kindle and the Kindle app. It’ll also be live for the Nook.

My father’s been gone for ten years come this December.

I don’t know how it’s possible that I can still miss him the way that I do.

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

angela_n_hunt: (Default)

Lunch

I am just continuously amazed at what a great little camera is in the iPhone…

* * *

Anyway, it’s Monday again.

Yesterday’s run was fucking brutal. I can only think that I did not get enough sleep on Saturday, both nap and night wise. All other components of my training are right where they need to be. It’s just my sleep that’s not there and I find that I am chafing against the restriction, because every minute I am not awake is a minute I am not making something new.

I resent it.

But I need to be able to run effectively.

It’s a trade off. I just have to fucking do it.

Today, I am sore and tired and mean to do as little as possible after work. Another rest day, because my brain may have regrown and the Post Novel Ennui might have lessened, but the body now requires nothing more than to not move and to drink and eat all the things. Tomorrow is a five mile run.

I have started editing the memoir, now that the brain is somewhat back and I am discovering that the edit is proving to be more difficult than the writing. When I was writing, I was in it. Now…

I am not.

And there are almost no words for what I am feeling as I work with these words. I am shocked at the depth of my grief. I am tentatively hopeful that I will be able to communicate a tenth of who my father was to my daughters. I pray that I will do some small justice to his memory.

I owe it to him. I owe it to myself. But above all, I owe it to my daughters.

Originally published at Angela N. Hunt. You can comment here or there.

angela_n_hunt: (Default)

Again. Pearl Harbor Day. The Galileo probe reached Jupiter in 1995. And nine years ago, this evening, my father left the planet as we all will one day. For those of you new to the blog, last year I wrote the memoir about my father, the high energy physicist.

Here is another excerpt from it.

The Accident

In these early days, and early memories, I knew my father worked very hard. When he wasn’t at work, he worked away in the front room on his own things.

My father came home very early one day, very early. Too early. Said that there had been an accident at the Lab and they were on lockdown.
My father held me for a very long time.

It scared me badly.

I’ve never found out what happened that day. But I did begin to hear other stories. My father told me about the Demon Core, a criticality accident at the Lab back in the early days of nuclear physical research. The research scientist in charge had physically reached in and pulled apart the core they’d been experimenting with, when the screwdriver he’d been using to hold them apart had slipped, causing the halves of the core to touch and begin to go critical. He then shielded it with his body to buy enough time for the others to evacuate the lab.

It killed him.

I didn’t learn his name until I was an adult. I just knew that my father revered the man’s memory and used his story as a dire illustration of the dangers of the work and field he studied for both himself and others.

You don’t think of a bunch of slide-rule-carrying, pocket-protector physicists as being heroic. But the day my father told me this story, I learned that they were and often did things in quietly heroic ways that never got reported. They didn’t take hills for the Marines. They didn’t demonstrate to save the environment. They just tried to find ways to harness the atom to make the lives of everyone better and in extreme cases, they gave their lives to save their fellow researchers.

It left an indelible impression.

* * *

Today, in memory of Harry Daghlian, Louis Slotin, and my father – Hugh M. Hyatt. For more on the Demon Core, start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon_core Let it never be said that the pursuit of knowledge is for the faint of heart.

Originally published at Angela N. Hunt. You can comment here or there.

angela_n_hunt: (Default)
It's my father's birthday today. He would have been 68 today. This is the first year that in some ways I am glad he hasn't had to physically see some things. The last flight of the space shuttle would have really pissed him off. He had strong opinions about space flight and exploration.

But it wasn't all about Out There. Sometimes, it was about the literal ground under our feet. So, in honor of his birthday, here is another excerpt from the memoir, The Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter:

The Paleontology Department )

* * *

Happy birthday, Poppa Bear. Don't worry. I still dance. And so do my girls, your grand-daughters.
angela_n_hunt: (Poppa Bear)
Today is, again, Pearl Harbor Day and the day that my father died, eight years ago. For those of you new to the blog, only this year though did I finally begin to write the memoir about my father, the high energy physicist.

So here is another excerpt from it.


Sleeping in the Closet

From the ages of two to five or so, my parents were separated. I don't know if discussion of divorce ever came up at that time or not. What I do know is that my mother, Evelyn, and I lived in a second floor apartment in Fremont, California where from time to time, my father would come to visit and where from time to time we would go to visit him, in Berkeley, where he studied both Physics and Mathematics. He was a double major and working at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

When we visited, since he could only afford a studio, I slept in the closet.

Before you freak out, it wasn't like that.

This closet ran the length of the studio. There were floor to ceiling shelves inside and more than enough room for a toddler to sleep on a mat and Army sleeping bag. It even had it's own light! I would pack up my little tote bag to go there and when I got there, I would unpack my stuffed animals (Mr. Bear primarily and Mr. Rabbit), make my nest and stare raptly at all the fabulous objects in that closet.

See, this closet was to me what the Wardrobe was to Lucy.

It was filled with camera gear. And books. And his easel. A palette and brushes. Acrylic paint.

For those who know me, you're already nodding in absolutely no surprise.

My first memory of my father isn't Physics or Math, or any Science per se.

It's cameras. And developing trays. Bottles of developer and toner and stop. The smell of emulsion and old paper. Writing this now, gives me a bit of a chill, realizing either how impressionable I was, or how guided I was, that this was my first delight as a child. This closet? This closet was so special and so wonderful to me that I would climb in it the first chance I got when we were there, turn on the light and slide the door closed behind me. It was a virtual Cave of Wonders.

In that closet, I learned to dream.

In that closet, all things were possible.


* * *

A shorter excerpt today. Reading it, I see where I want to expand, but it tells you a lot, I think.

Randomly, my iPod played Loud and Clear by All Rise on the way in to work, the song we danced to at my wedding.

He always finds a way to let me know he's still around.

This year is hard. This year, I miss my father like breath.
angela_n_hunt: (Default)
In honor of the annniversary of the First Lunar Landing and my father's birthday this past Saturday, as promised, I give to you, the beginning of, which is really just the introduction:

The Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter - A Memoir

I am the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter.

Doesn't matter if I'm actually Beautiful, but the tradition and cliche is that when Mad Scientists have daughters, they are, by definition, Beautiful.  Go back and watch all the Mad Science movies from the 50s.  I'll wait.
 
 
See?  Beautiful.

All of them.

So we'll ignore for the time being that I could stand to lose 40 odd pounds, my hair needs help, my nails are a nightmare, and I don't think I've worn make up in over six months.  

In the shadow of a Mad Scientist, sometimes it's okay for the cliche to stand.  And sometimes it's not.  It's rather the definition of conflicted.
 
 
In the so-called Real World, my father, Hugh Marvin Hyatt, was a high energy physicist, specializing in Electrostatic and Electro-overstress Events, up to and including Electromagnetic Pulse Events, better known as EMPs, the kind generated by high altitude detonations of nuclear warheads.

I told you he was a Mad Scientist.  

He played with lightning.  For fun.  He blew things up and got paid to do so.

And on top of all of that, he was just my Dad.

It rather warps your sense of perspective as a child.  
 
 
December 7th, 2002, around 10 in the evening, my father died. 

It's actually harder to write those words, even now, all these years later, then I can adequately describe.
Here's the thing about those Mad/Big Science films.  They never focus on the children of those great men.  After all, it is about all the Mad Science, usually with a healthy heaping helping of Apocalypse.  They don't talk about them much, unless that child's a boy, and usually he grows up to be a Great Man of his own.

But those daughters?

Well, she usually marries the Dashing Journalist/Hero who shows up at some point and is never seen nor heard from again.

I'm about to change all that.

Yes, this is about my father.  But it's also about finding your way when the pole star that always drew you home is no more.

This is my story.
 
 
Imagine, if you will, an electronics fabrication bench.  A tall stool.  On it, a ten-year-old girl in cut off jean shorts, a blue and white striped tank top, flip flops hanging off her very dirty and very tan feet, medium length mousy brown hair falling in her face.  In front of her, piles and piles of resistors. 

There I am.  Everyone wave!

Ostensibly, the resistors are being sorted according to their correct electrical engineering color codes on their barrels.  And they are.  But that's not the only thing that's happening to them. 

Right now, they're an army.

I tell you this story first for a reason.  Given the opportunity, any opportunity, any object was merely a vehicle for Story or for Art.  It still is, as far as my brain is concerned.  In the incubator of my father's many shops over the years, while I absorbed the many lessons he tried to teach me, I also absorbed observations and experiences that he never intended.  Whether he intended it or not, I was my father's greatest experiment, a fact that I continue to come to grips with even today.

And deep down, under everything?

That resistor army is still waging the battles I set for it.  Chess before I even knew how to play chess.  Because back then, I often felt like a pawn.  Luckily, pawns become queens when played to win.

The impetus for this memoir was not mine.  It came from outside, a prompting from various friends when I would tell stories about my father.  I resisted it for years.  When I first capitulated to the idea, it was originally meant to be a film and fictional.  A story about a father and daughter set alternately in a black and white world and a color one, learning to see the other one's World.

But the concept never gained traction.

I know why.

Fiction, a story version, wasn't what I wanted to say.  The resistor army wasn't enough for this one.

And then my father died.

I resisted still, the promptings, the questions.  The insistence of some that this story, more than any in my queue, needed telling.

And then my eldest daughter turned five.  One day, she asked me about rainbows.  And I began telling her about the property of light, and refraction, and the spectrum of visible light, reciting almost word for word, the lecture my father had given me when I had asked a similar question.  Over the years, due to the number of times I had heard it (and it had not varied in word or delivery), I had named it, Lecture Number Two - The Property of Light.

I am my father's daughter.

My daughters will never know their grandfather.

In the face of that, I could no longer resist, no longer hide from my past, or make my shadow battles in story form with the current incarnations of resistors, whatever they might be.  I had to tell the truth, shame the Devil, and put it all in one place.

For my girls.  Both of them granddaughters of a Mad Scientist.

So here we go.  Carrying the cliche forward, everyone says it's not easy to start.  But here's where the cliche breaks down.  The minute I gave in, the minute I started to put fingers to keyboard, the words have flowed.  Years of stories pent up inside me, pouring on to the page.  Things and stories I'd never told anyone and more importantly, truths I'd never told even myself.

I've judged.  I've second guessed.  I've somehow managed to not delete the manuscript as I've worked. 
Because every time I start to think about stopping, I hear myself telling Jane about rainbows and prisms and refraction, and in my mind, I hear the echo of my father's voice over my own.
 
 
* * *

I miss you, Daddy.
angela_n_hunt: (Default)
This is the American National Standard from the ESD Association for Electrostatic Discharge Sensitivity Testing - Charged Device Model (CDM) Component Level, approved as of 2001:

http://www.arie-grushka.co.il/contect/ANSI-ESDSTM5.3.1-1999.pdf

My father was part of the Working Group that approved this standard and he is acknowledged as such on the fourth page of this standard.

It covers what happens and how to test and harden components from having an ESD event or, translation: keeping your iPod from frying from static electricity when you accidentally rub it against your wool sweater.

Yeah, Pop. I paid attention to the lectures.

This Working Group was one of the last ones my father participated in before his death. It is, in many ways, one of the last pieces of his life's work, in conjunction with these other people.

In his life, he created 22 patents.

22 separate patents.

http://www.boliven.com/patents/search?q=%22Hugh+M.+Hyatt%22

It's all "small" technology. But it's in every electronic device on the planet. If not his work, other's that use his research and patents as their foundation.

I remember him telling me a story about hearing his name called out of a presentation hall at an IEEE convention one year. He stepped inside, thinking someone was looking for him, only to discover that it was the end of a presentation and the presenter was giving his references for his paper. Out of ten citations, seven of them were citations from seven different papers my father had written.

He said that was when he realized just how much he had done in the field.

It was when I realized that he was one of the founding minds of ESD research and development and it bent my brain.

He was just my Dad.

I'm writing these things down every year, and acknowleding this day for a lot of reasons. One, I can barely write this without crying and once a year, I steel myself and I make myself remember. Because when you go to search engines and put in my father's name, not a lot comes up. His work in many ways exists outside of the Web and is not well documented. He's not in Wikipedia. But he should be. Like the current he played with his whole life, he's everywhere in the world, but invisible. This is my way of making him visible, if briefly, like lightning. A shock to the retinas, but remembered.

Because that was what he was like. Lightning. Incredible from a distance. Close up, if you weren't grounded, he could leave you charred to a crisp. If you held your ground? Well, ask a survivor what it's like to be struck by lightning or someone who's felt what it's like to feel 100kV run through their body harmlessly.

It's exhilirating. But a bit hard on the nerves.

And yet, he could be the world's biggest softie. Generous beyond measure when he was flush. Gregarious to a fault and could talk your ear off into the wee hours of the morning and then be right back up with the dawn, insisting that it was time for coffee and eggs and the paper, and get up, get up, get up!

I am the woman I am today largely because of him. We were often in opposition as I grew into adulthood.

I joke that I am the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter.

I miss him horribly.

My daughters will never know him.

So I write. I record. I remember. For them.
angela_n_hunt: (Default)

Hugh Hyatt & Hans Melberg, originally uploaded by quennessa.

Today would have been my father's 65th birthday. Official retirement age. Not that he would have. My father was not the type to retire. Retirement would have been just working on his *own* projects, his own experiments and devices, not anyone else's. Maybe he would have finally gotten around to working on the big projects he kept putting off for bread and butter money. The truly big science projects that he would occasionally talk about and jot on restaurant napkins to explain to me and the Ant.

I wish I'd kept those napkins and paper placemats. No napkin or placemat was safe from him. He'd get to talking and the next thing you knew, the pen was out and equations and diagrams were spooling out on flimsy paper, sometimes bleeding from the ink, unable to contain the strength of his thought.

I kept some of them for many years, but over time, they degraded and would fall apart. I didn't have a scanner back then. It was before the technology was available. It's not a great regret of mine, but it is a regret.

I do have all the cards and the few brief notes he wrote to me and to my grandparents over the years. They comfort me, though I can't look at them very often. It's like the photographs I have of him.

But today I'm going to try and look at the photographs again. I want to remember. I want to celebrate how much I loved him, even how much he aggravated me and how much he challenged me to be the woman I am now. I am who I am today because of how often I was pounded against the anvil of his intellect.

He wasn't an easy man. But as I grow older, raise my own girls, I grow to appreciate more and more what a gift that challenge was. The fact that he wasn't easy. That he didn't make it easy for me. He never let me skate.

He always forced me to think. Above all, think.

This picture was taken in April of probably 1976. This is the first shop that was in a tooshed in our backyard of the house in Walnut Creek. The man next to him was his then best friend and business partner, Hans Melberg. The picture came to me in a huge padded envelope from my Aunt Rosie, along with all the other pictures that apparently my father had sent back to my grandparents over the year.

I know why he sent it to them. It was his first official shop, the second generation of Hyatt Tool Company, the first of which was my grandfather's machine shop, the first generation Hyatt Tool Company.

When I founded Hunt Press, I actually struggled for many days over whether or not to name it Hyatt Book Company. I am a third generation entrepeneur. This life is in my blood, a gift from my father and my grandfather.

I love this picture.

It hangs on the wall of my house, even though I don't know who of his friends took it. The signature isn't hugely clear, though the date, 4/22, is. Plus or minus the beard, it's how he looks in my memory and dreams now. Forever young. He aged wonderfully over the years, but that's not how I remember him. I remember him through the eyes of my younger self. When he was a giant and the center of my universe.

Happy birthday, Poppa Bear. I baked you a cake. I'm afraid you're granddaughter's eaten most of its frosting though.

Wherever you are, I hope the test bench has all the 220 you can eat and all the tools you can use. After all, the Universe itself has to be the greatest lab ever built.

I love you.

angela_n_hunt: (Default)
Today is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch for the Moon. Tomorrow is my father's birthday, though he's no longer with me to celebrate. For me, these two things are always connected. They were for him too.

My father was 26 years old when Apollo 11 went for the Moon. The next year, a few months after July, he would hold his second child in his arms. Me. Old enough to be a father. Old enough to be finishing his degrees in Math and Physics. Old enough to be vibrantly alive and excited at the achievement NASA accomplished. He never said, but I always suspected that to him, this was the ultimate birthday present. He'd been making model rockets since the age of 11. Rockets were what made him pursue Physics, photography and optics as his passion. Rockets, Astronomy and electricity made his life what it was.

Rockets.

Without the space program, my father wouldn't have been the man he was. He wouldn't have made the contributions that he did where he became not only my father, but in many ways, the Father of ESD/EOS Measurement & Maintenance. His paper on Human ESD Events is still the ground work that all other engineers and physicists use to this day. His patents the ones that all other companies use for every computer and television on the planet for ESD suppression and hardening.

So I don't want anyone to tell me that the space program doesn't matter.

You have no idea how much it matters.

Out there, right now, somewhere, is an 11 year old. Girl, boy, doesn't matter. That child is hungry for the same things that my father was.

We cannot fail that child. That child, with the right inspiration, can change the world. After all, I saw how my father did.

Are you listening, President Obama? Are you listening, Burt Rutan?

I'm counting on you.

Don't let me down.
angela_n_hunt: (Default)

Hugh M. Hyatt, originally uploaded by quennessa.

This is my father.

Six years ago, yesterday, he died.

I don't know when this was taken. Early 70s I'm thinking, juding from the beard and the shirt. Dig that plaid! Doesn't really matter. When I remember him, especially in my dreams, this is the age that he is. Not the age when he died.

Young.

Some years I cry on the 7th. Yesterday, I didn't, but it was a hard day still. Everything was more difficult, even though I try to keep myself distracted. It's like I was all knees, elbows and thumbs. Everything just a little off and left of center.

This picture was taken in one of his early shop labs. Hence the fire extinguisher on the wall and the old school perk coffee pot. Yes, a fire extinguisher was necessary. Physics does mean physical science, does mean the occasional caged lightning and or explosion and or fire. The lightning happened more than once and usually on purpose. He managed to never set the lab on fire. That I knew of.

I miss him. But then you all knew that.

This doesn't get any easier.

angela_n_hunt: (Default)
Or: Why this isn’t the birth story that you were looking for…

NB: I actually bothered to learn how to do an LJ cut link for this for a change, because I know I am going to go on for a while. For those who have Friended me, I decided to be generous and not nail your Friend page. Especially since there are details that I am sure that some people could live with not having ever to know in their life. Hell, there’s stuff that I wish I had never known in my life! But I know it now and knowledge and wisdom are never a waste of time or gain.

But as a brief aside before the cut, I will say this. Clive Barker is, was and will always be right. Life *is* nothing but blood and shit. But when you are in it, it can be the most visceral and sublime experience of all.

Read more... )

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