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, RIP Jim Perry) and Joker’s Wild, the Dallas Cowboys (I could count by 7 to over a hundred when I was in Kindergarten), the Magnavox Odyssey^2, and pro wrestling. Later, I got heavily into hip-hop (thanks to my cousin Greg), writing, and hating high school.
In college, I DJed at (and general managed) the college radio station, wrote for the college newspaper, and met a lot of interesting people famous and not. My girlfriend and future wife was my boss for a year.
After college, 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. Blogged, tweeted, pinged, updated my status. Bought a house, got married, had kids, adopted pets. And all that.
I worked for the same company for 14 years. And then that ended. I freelanced for a bit, started a a tea shop, got a new job. Pay dem bills.
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 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 when I’m listening to my collection locally, but I love that Subsonic lets me at my entire collection from anywhere. I also stream by way of Spotify (via the desktop app and my mobile computing device), Mixcloud, WeFunk Radio, Hype Machine, 8tracks.com, Rdio, and Pandora (with the last.fm Scrobbler 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, Herzog, and Kurosawa. Favorite flicks: Playtime, Dawn of the Dead, Sleepaway Camp, Gaslight, Back to the Future, Groundhog Day, Week-end, Ikiru, Alice, Fitzcarraldo, Stand By Me, and Woman in the Dunes.
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 a good thing. In terms of fiction, I very much enjoy Robert McCammon, Haruki Murakami, Kōbō Abe, 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, and music. I also dig stuff that makes me think fondly of my childhood (Choose Your Own Adventures, anyone? Are you an Edward Packard person or an RA Montgomery person?). I catalog my books on LibraryThing and keep track of what I’m reading on this site.
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, I’d have to say Silver Needle white tea (bai hao yin zhen), Dong Ding oolong, and Dong Pian oolong (from Taiwan). 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. For a couple of years, I ran my own tea shop.
I am deep diving into family history and genealogy. I’ve also taken a serious interest recently in digital preservation (archiving of analog items in a digital format and the preservation of “born digital” artifacts, as well).
I’ve been vegan 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, a German Shepherd/Basset Hound/Bloodhound mix, and a Coonhound mix (Redtick (aka English) Coonhound, Treeing Walker Coonhound, and Beagle, according to the DNA test).