Heiser Christmas Letter 1985

SPORTS

This year I was lucky to sail on the big catamaran Dreamer with Irwin & Pat Blumenthal and with John & Sue Mallett. In May, Irwin took us all the way to Ensenada in great style.

I ran nearly 900 miles this year, most of it by the beach. Running helps us office workers use up excess energy.

I discovered boogie boards too; what a thrill! Small waves seem to push them just as fast as big ones do. I may get older, but I refuse to grow up!

BUSINESS

Que had my book, Real Managers Use Personal Computers! translated into Spanish and Norwegian. For six months this year, I've been teaching the process planners at Hughes Aircraft's Space & Communications Group how to edit text with IBM's Profs.

In the process, I've been learning a lot about designing and "building" texts.

Teaching is so satisfying that I've been thinking of becoming a schoolteacher. Maybe I'll become a Lisp programmer, instead.

I would like to design a smart graphics program.

LEISURE

Have you heard the electronic music of Philip Glass? Its high repetition rates and slowly changing patterns are more like rhythms than like melodies. You might call it baroque rock 'n roll. I like the weird arias, and look forward to his next album, with Linda Ronstadt.

Kurt Vonnegut's new novel Galápagos is short and sweet. It took him three whole years to write, and has a perfectly beautiful structure. I'm analyzing it to see if I can do likewise. Like Ernest Hemmingway, Kurt Vonnegut makes writing look a lot easier than it is. I'm hoping that being willing to polish every line will accomplish a lot. Vonnegut says writing is "like blowing up a blimp with a bicycle pump."

What's hot:

Fresh chile salsa with tortilla chips. Yum! Eat a pint a day.

What's not:

Carl Sagan's new book Contact. It's full of cryptography, radio astronomy, and Russians, but Sagan uses hundreds of pages to build a preaching platform. I never get tired of my own preaching, but other people (even very nice other people) have to keep it brief!

POLITIC

The nuclear arms race, nuclear testing, and "star wars" are very disturbing to me. Because we and the Russians are both so vulnerable, I believe our security will be found in the Golden Rule: we'll be safe only if we let the Russians be safe too.

At a New Year's Eve party, I learned about a lady who called herself "Peace Pilgrim". She walked around the U.S. for 25 years promoting both inner peace and peace between groups. She advised "Live all the good things you believe." How could you argue with that?

1986 Forecast

In February, I will pack up my furniture, sell my car and motorcycle, and join the Great Peace March. Five thousand of us will travel fifteen miles per day for nine months to promote nuclear disarmament.

The march will be like going back to school for me. Instead of computers, I'll be concentrating on foot massage, tree identification, weather forecasting, and comet–gazing. Loretta has given me a recorder, but I haven't practiced enough to be any good yet. I've even started writing a stand-up comedy routine!

Pro-Peace is organizing everything and recruiting the marchers. It's a colossal undertaking, like getting ready for the Olympics. I've been thinking a lot about what to take along; it's challenging to get ready for so many changes.

Practicing for the march is getting me out into nature. Gotta stop looking at my feet all the time, though!

Schedule highlights: Leave Los Angeles: March 1 Denver: May 21 Chicago: August 14 Cleveland: September 14 New York: October 26 Washington DC: November 12