I was born a while ago in South Jersey and grew up obsessed with computers, but didn’t own one until high school. I’d cram a year’s worth of learning to program into summer and winter breaks when my dad would bring home an Apple IIe from his middle school’s computer lab for me to use. I wrote some amazing programs. My fifth grade class loved “The Mating Game” (I didn’t actually know what “mating” meant at that point in my life) which randomly paired up members of the class with each other (ie. “Ryan loves insertgirl’snamehere”). I was more proud of “Tackle, Smash, Kill!!!,” a text-based football game (save for one random graphic of blood when someone died) that involved either scoring via traditional methods or killing all the members of the opposite team. I sold a copy of that game for 50 cents.
Other childhood obsessions included Card Sharks (see right) and Joker’s Wild, the Dallas Cowboys (I could count by 7 to over a hundred when I was in Kindergarten), and wrestling. Later, I got heavily into hip-hop (thanks to my cousin Greg), writing, and hating high school.
In college, I DJed (and general managed) the college radio station, wrote for the college newspaper, met a lot of interesting people famous and not, and my girlfriend and future wife was my boss for a year.
After college, I worked for the same company for 14 years. I was an extra in a movie that featured Isaac Hayes and that guy from the Sopranos. I ran a music podcast for a while. Did lots of music reviewing. Got married, had kids, adopted pets. And all that.
Oh yeah, and uh, can I have your autograph for me and my grandma?
Three more random things that have happened to me: I was hit in the head with a chair during a riot, I rode in a car with an alleged child molester that drank ice water from a giant plastic cereal container, and a my favorite reggae singer of all time sang at my wedding.
I appreciate a good penultimate comma.
Stuff that I like these days
I listen to lots of music. MediaMonkey is my player of choice. I also stream by way of MOG (via the web, my Roku, and my mobile computing device), last.fm, Hype Machine, ex.fm, 8tracks.com, Spotify, Rdio, and Pandora (with the Scroblr Chrome extension: if it don’t scrobble, it don’t count). I’ve got a nice collection of vinyl at home that I continue to spin. I’ve also got a huge collection of cassettes of all sorts, which I’m attempting to archive. You can peek at what I’m listening to, if that sort of thing is your sort of thing.
I’ve got a deep love for movies with a special affection for horror, French New Wave, and Kurosawa. Favorite flicks: Playtime, Dawn of the Dead, Sleepaway Camp, Gaslight, Back to the Future, Week-end, and Ikiru.
TV: I love 70s game shows and 80s sitcoms. Favorite TV show ever: Freaks and Geeks. Favorite game shows: Card Sharks (Perry), Joker’s Wild (Barry), and Tic Tac Dough (Martindale). Other favorites: You Can’t Do That On Television!, What’s Happening?!!, Wonderfalls, Undeclared, The Golden Girls, and Family Ties.
Reading is also good. In terms of fiction, I very much enjoy Robert McCammon, Haruki Murakami, and Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. Nonfiction-wise (which I read a lot more of), I enjoy reading about zen Buddhism (Brad Warner, Shunryu Suzuki), poetry (Theodore Roethke, e.e. cummings, Ryokan), retro/paleo-futurism, coming of age humor (Paul Feig), politics, history of social activist movements, tea, music, and stuff that makes me think fondly of my childhood. I catalog my books and keep track of what I’m currently reading on LibraryThing.
I’m a big tea nerd. I mean, is it normal to have a page with an embedded spreadsheet that catalogs the teas one owns? If you were to ask my favorite teas at this very moment, I’d have to say Silver Needle white tea (bai hao yin zhen), Dong Ding oolong, Bi Luo Chun, White Whisper (a Kenyan white), Dong Pian (from Taiwan), and Yue Guang Bai Chinese green. My daughter is a budding tea nerd and famously asked me what someone was doing when they brewed their tea in a teabag instead of with leaves. Sometimes (but not often) I review tea on Steepster.
I’m vegan and have been since 2004 (and was vegetarian for four years before that). Using animals sucks. A lot.
Politics? Religion? Should I really get into it? Nah.
I live in Virginia with my wife, daughter, son, and German Shepherd/Basset Hound/Bloodhound mix.