Fiction: The Guardian’s End

What if you fired your guardian angel?

In this video, I read my latest story, The Guardian’s End. Recorded at Cat Stories Productions presents Famous People Stories, an open mic event at Joe’s Cellar on June 25, 2011.

The Guardian’s End

I tried not to be late. It’s the polite thing to do when you’re the one who called the meeting.

She has many faces when she enters the restaurant, as many looks as there are people in the room. That’s the thing with angels. They show you what you want to see.

I stand to greet her and her stunning beauty takes my breath away. Wow. A movie star. Angelina Jolie right here in the flesh. She leans over to give me a kiss on the cheek. Do you like my new look, she says?

She tells me it is so great to see me. That’s rather disingenuous, I’m thinking. She sees me all the time. That’s her job.

We sit down and I can’t help but rub my eyes when she changes into a teenage girl with a nose ring. I think I’ve seen her before on TV. Katie something, I think. The woman at the next table is smiling at her and she nods with pride that someone recognizes her.

Why celebrities, I ask?

Grace is something we can’t hide, she says. We get noticed. When you’re a celebrity, the knowledge of your presence spreads around the room like a wildfire. We call it hiding in plain sight.

I look into her eyes for a moment across the table. Magnetic. Like a pool of colors you could dive into and lose yourself forever.

I know I’ve got to get this over with before I chicken out.

She senses I’m about to speak. Alright, so what’s this about?

Look, I say. You’ve been really great, but I can’t do this anymore. I’m done. I mean, we’re done.

She looks at me hard for a second, like she’s waiting for a punch line. I nod at her, as serious as I can look.

She laughs out loud. Way loud. In her surprise, she’s apparently blown her facade. She’s Angelina again, to everyone. The woman at the next table is freaking out asking her companion when the movie star walked in.

So you’re firing me? She says. It sounds like a challenge.

Yes. That’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m sorry, but I just need to live like a normal person and take my chances.

She tilts her head. A long pause, and then she goes. Can I ask why?

You’ve been ratted out, I tell her. I know everything. You’re not the only angel I can see.

She looks at me like I’m bluffing. She won’t come clean just yet.

Ok, I say. You remember the first time I actually saw you? I was seven and you were watching over me at the park.

She jumps in. Yes, some bullies were beating up your little neighbor, Timmy. You jumped in to take them all on. And when I tried to stop you by filling your mind with fear, you turned and looked right at me.

And then I said, you can’t stop me, guardian. I will not let them hurt my friend.

Angelina leans forward now and reaches out to hold my hand. I was shocked, she says. You could see me. And when you turned and pulled them off your friend, their big brothers came in and kicked your teeth in.

It was ok, I tell her now. When I stood up, I spit the blood on their Keds and told them to bring their sisters next time so that it would be a fair fight. I was a cocky little fuck even then.

You had to be, she says. I remember how angry your father was when you told him what happened. He was freaking on the dentist bill.

Yeah, he got out his belt and whipped me good. He said that if I wanted to be a hero, I had better learn to fight.

She is starting to cry now. I fell in love with you then, she says. Of course it’s my job, but I watched you grow up believing his bullshit. All that fighting. Look at you. Your scars, your mouthful of steel. It broke my heart every time I got close to you.

Then why did you have to interfere, I ask her? You were supposed to keep me from getting hit by a bus, not mess with my love life.

She stops. So you do know about what happened with your fiancé? Look, Stacie was going to leave you in the end, she says. I could see the whole timeline.

You bitch. I was going to marry her.

I’m so sorry, she says. I was wrong. The truth is none of them were good enough for you, don’t you see?

Didn’t you ever wonder why you can see us? This life is your audition for a job like mine.

I feel something awful twisting in my gut, like I’ve spent my entire life fighting for the wrong cause.

Please reconsider, she says. You and I, we have something magical, something that can last forever like you always wanted. Any other choice will lead you to dust.

We have nothing, I tell her. These are my fights, my loves, my chances to grow from my mistakes.

I get up to leave.

Wait…Wait. She says. Before you go, I think you need to see me as I really am.

And then I look up to see the true face of the angel. It is pure love, a quality of space that has no mirror or way to bend the light. That is what love is, I guess. Something godlike with the power to create and even destroy when it forgets to let go.

I see that love waiting for me now. All I have to do is fall into it.

Instead, I turn and walk out the door. After all, I have a bus to catch.

Rich Report Moves to insideHPC

I started the Rich Report in Hamburg at ISC’10. I was recording a bunch interview segments and I needed to make my deadline and give them a name. The first two people I asked seemed to like it, so that was good enough to go.

You can subscribe to the Rich Report podcast on iTunes or on Feedburner for other MP3 players. To see my video interviews on HPC, check out the Rich Report Channel on YouTube.

Coming Attractions: “The Three Magi of Katrina”

This is a trailer for The Three Magi of Katrina, a short story that I wrote for the SC10 conference in New Orleans.


At the 2006 Supercomputing Conference, Ray Kurzweil foretold the coming of the Singularity. Now, as a Category 5 hurricane bears down on New Orleans, the SC30 Keynote is the Event Horizon.

One of the Hollywood Studios is looking at this. Can’t say more right now. Woot!!!

The Rich Report Podcast: New Exascale Report Tracks the Future

In this podcast, I interview John West and Mike Bernhardt, founders of The Exascale Report. This new, subscription-based publication offers insider reporting on the technologies and initiatives that are in the works for Exascale computing in the coming decade.

“If you look at Exascale efforts internationally, you really find very little awareness among the different groups about what other people are doing,” said John E. West, co-founder of The Exascale Report. “In many cases, it’s not only that a group’s awareness is limited to their own country, it’s limited to their own project. Because these are very difficult to fund, very intensive scientific and engineering efforts to build these computers and the people working on this stuff are really just very busy and very focused. And so what The Exascale Report hopefully does is give an in-depth view to all of our readers on what’s going on in all the other groups. So it will kind of bring the community together and hopefully stimulate some discussion that raises all boats at the same time.”


The Rich Report: Supermicro Showcases Twin Server Family

Coming from a hardware background, I love to see the latest gear at ISC. Chips, sockets, heat sinks, and blades: this is the kind of stuff I geek out on. So last week I dropped in on the Supermicro booth with my camera because they always fill entire walls with mother boards from their latest server products.

In this video, Supermicro VP of Marketing Don Clegg gives us a tour of their new Twin family of servers.

Video: Life is Random, So is Your Storage

I am fascinated with the CGI effects in today’s feature films and it seems like HPC infrastructure has become a competitive weapon for the movie studios. So when I heard that Weta Digital (Lord of the Rings) was using BlueArc, I decided to take a closer look.

In this video, BlueArc Director of HPC Marketing Bjorn Andersson talks about why storage loads are so random and how the company’s storage solutions are built for optimal performance.

Video: Why is Everyone Talking About GPUs for HPC?

I think that NVIDIA was a big winner this year at ISC, and it wasn’t just because China’s new Tesla-powered Nebulae Supercomputer came in at number 2 on the TOP500. The reason for me was rapid adoption; I visited at least half a dozen booths that featured the latest NVIDIA GPUs in a variety of configurations. Clearly, the company is getting traction in the market.

In this video, I interview Andy Keane, NVIDIA General Manager of the Tesla Business Unit and discuss the advantages of GPUs for HPC. He also gives us his views on power efficiency and Exascale computing.