category: Life

Hey there.

While I’ve been pretty slack posting here over the last few years, but I feel like I’ve been even more neglectful of my long-time home on the web than usual. Partially, that’s because I find myself sharing less personal stuff publicly… but that’s not really an excuse. There’s plenty more to talk about.

I’ve got a handful of posts that have been sitting in partially-finished draft mode for months and I’ve continued to make a lot of quiet work on side projects. There are some new projects in the works and lots of ideas kicking around. Same as always, really.

Anyway, just wanted to say hi and say things are good. If you happen to spot this in your RSS reader (what now?) or by accident when googling me, take a sec to say hi in the comments. In the meantime, a picture from our recent 15th anniversary trip to St. Thomas.

Poorly Organized Thoughts On Turning 40

Turning 30 for me was absolutely no big deal. It didn’t feel like a milestone, I didn’t feel “old” all of a sudden, it was just another birthday. 40, though? Gotta admit: it feels different. It feels like a big number. For the first time, my idea of “old” didn’t shift along with my own age.

I know, I know. You’re only as old as you act, etc.

Despite feeling “big” in some undefinable way, it’s been difficult deciding what to write about turning 40.

I don’t feel like I have any deep wisdom to share, despite having learned a thing or three.

While I’ve clarified a lot of my own beliefs in my mind, I know they continue to be in flux.

A lot of things have happened during the last decade. Two kids and three dogs came into my life. I was vegan for the full decade (and then some). I was laid off, started a side business, and then took my second job since graduating college. Ran a few thousand miles. Yet, these things have nothing to do with entering my fifth decade. They just happened to happen.

I guess the only thing I have to share on the eve of my 40th birthday is this: I’m still figuring this all out. And I’ve got a ways to go, so I’m going to keep going.

Here are a few plans of mine going forward:

  • I won’t become the creepy old guy.
  • I don’t want to be the culturally or technologically out-of-touch old guy, but I also don’t want to be the old guy that looks like he’s trying too hard to hold onto his youth.
  • I will get over the hang-ups I’ve had since I was a kid that still haunt me.
  • I will embrace gray hair gracefully.
  • I will continue to look forward to New Music Friday. Forget this mess.
  • I will let my kids teach me.

As I was finishing this post up, I realized one thing I’ve gotten better at with age: taking things in stride (usually). And maybe that’s why I’m having trouble making too big of a deal about this birthday even though something deep in the back of my mind tells me this is big. Can a day be both monumental and just another day?

Important unimportant goals for 2015

Every year there are certain goals that repeat themselves: be a little better of a person every day, finish that album I should have finished in 2007, write more, etc. This year, I decided to instead think about the little things I wanted to do or learn that would make this year more fulfilling. And preservation, both in the forms of archiving digital and analog materials as well as digging deeper into family history. I’m approaching 40 and the big career goals and life goals don’t interest me quite as much. They’re still there, of course, they just occupy a further corner of my mind.

The theme for my list of 2015 goals is “doing stuff almost no one cares about (or has forgotten about) because that’s the stuff that’s most important (or not).” Interestingly, these items all have to do with history, archiving, or revisiting some part of my past. Maybe it’s the age inspiring reflection. I don’t live in the past, but I do like visiting.

  • Release one (two?) albums of old material, including some stuff I’ve never put out into the world. I’ve already started the process of the getting the first re-(re-)release ready to go. This may be up in the spring.
  • Bowl a few games of Canadian 5-pin. Requires going to Canada, so we’re getting our passports in order. Prerequisite: teach myself 5-pin scoring (even if I bowl at lanes with automatic scoring).
  • Finish archiving SJAUG Candy Apple newsletters from 1990. I got a good start on these last year and want to polish them off this year.
  • Launch the Raw Deal Radio archive. This Normal Bias spin-off site is underway but still needs a fair bit of work before it’s ready for the world to dig into. (Done as of Apr 4)
  • Learn more about the nuts and bolts of digital preservation (and digital preservation of analog content). Listening to podcasts. Taking classes. Talking to people.
  • Play and finish “A Mind Forever Voyaging.” I still have the original box and all its goodies, so I can have that beside me as I either play on my Apple IIe or as I fire up an emulator. I never finished it as a kid, but the game drew me in and inspired me to start on a few of my own pieces of interactive fiction.
  • Read up on the story behind (and impact of) the Attica prison riots of 1970. This will likely involve reading A Time to Die (done, 8/31) and watching Criminal Injustice: Death and Politics at Attica, if I can find it.
  • Finally launch my protected family history site for my family (with audio, stories, etc.) (Done! Announced it to family before I published this post.)
  • Figure out the mystery behind my great-grandparents’ life and trip to the US. The story is that my great-grandfather was scheduled to be executed for organizing labor strikes and he and his wife escaped the country (which we assumed to be Poland but may have been Lithuania) and came to the United States, their months-old baby dying the day after arriving at Ellis Island. This will likely take hiring someone in Lithuania to hunt down records, land deeds, etc. to build a picture of who they were and where they came from.
  • Run 1000 miles in 2015 (added 4/10/2015)

There are other more “important” goals, too, of course, but those are less fun to share.

2011: My Year in Review

2011 was a pretty chill and mostly uneventful year. (Well, aside from finding out we’ve got a son on the way in 2012. That’s pretty big.)

I actually don’t have much in the way of commentary to share, so let’s just get into the series of lists that do a surprisingly good job of capturing the year at a glance.

2012 will be the year I finally get done most of the stuff I vowed to do in 2009.

The Year, By Month


  • The year starts.


  • F you, Mozy. Hi there, Crashplan!
  • Found a five-year-old item in the fridge that read “use within 30 days of opening.”
  • Returned a library item I’d renewed 23 times and had checked out for ten months.
  • Huyen found a dog, had to have her scanned (collar, not tagged, but microchipped). She lived about six houses down.


  • My parents’ cat stayed with us for a month.
  • Trip to NY for Pint show, visit to 5 Pointz, hang with bro-in-law, etc..
  • Rasine’s unsuccessful soccer camp.
  • Reading Sesame Street with Rasine sparked a conversation about punk music.
  • New dishwasher gaskets!


  • Italian zombies night at Dave’s.
  • Rasine cut her hair.
  • Wrote my first full-length album review in years.
  • Won the contest.
  • Bought my first smartphone. Entered 2007.


  • Goats walked on car.
  • Rasine finishes preschool (& recital).
  • Started a new blog.
  • Relaunched with a new look for the first time in eight years.
  • Woke up with a tick in my back, plucked it, left the head in, had to take a trip to the doc.
  • Another pair of dogs found and returned home. The owners never said thanks.
  • The world didn’t end.


  • NYC with fam & Huyen’s fam.
  • Saw the Miss New York contestants on the Staten Island Ferry.


  • Returned to the abandoned snack shack and Dixontown Road house.
  • Guy I know is on Hoarders.


  • 13 years.
  • The Great Hard Drive Drop of 2011.
  • One Sentence turns five.
  • Matt’s wedding.
  • Earthquake in VA.


  • Tenth anniversary.
  • Another non-event jury duty.
  • Rasine turns five. B-day party at the Tally Ho movie theatre days before their 80th anniversary.
  • We find out that baby #2 is on the way.


  • Tenth anniversary trip to Woodstock.
  • Pulled over for a dead headlight (I got away without a ticket).
  • I turn 36.
  • The Fly/Dawn of the Dead.
  • Rasine as Tin Woodman for Halloween.
  • Snow!
  • Hurt my knee running.
  • New projects.
  • MOMs in Herndon opens.
  • The world still doesn’t end.


  • Sold a DVD on Amazon for $25.
  • Nene’s wedding.
  • Rasine snuck Halloween candy. As a result, so did Shepp.
  • Election Day 2011.


  • Visit from the in-laws.
  • The best holiday in recent memory.

Favorite Teas of the Year

This year I had the opportunity to try a lot of new teas, like some Hawaii-Grown White Tea that I bought directly from the farmer. Or some Royal Purple Tea from Kenya (their “Moonlight White” was also a very nice surprise). I also tried the best Japanese Gyokuro that I’ve ever had this year. Plus, I rediscovered some old classics, like Bi Luo Chun, Wenshan Baozhong Formosa oolong, and a good Da Hong Pao Wuyi oolong.

TV Shows from the Past That I Discovered This year and Liked

  • 10 Items or Less
  • Party Down
  • Shaun the Sheep
  • The Bill Cosby Show


Based solely on the folks I RIP’ed on Twitter. People I knew personally in bold. Dates are when I tweeted, not the actual death date.

  • 1/24: Jack LaLane
  • 2/27: Lana Cokos
  • 3/4: Steve Glaspey
  • 3/7: Mike DeStefano
  • 5/28: Gil Scott Heron
  • 6/2: Geronimo Pratt
  • 7/12: Sherwood Schwartz
  • 7/25: Amy Winehouse
  • 10/5: Steve Jobs
  • 11/9: Heavy D
  • 11/9: David Hess
  • 12/16: Christopher Hitchens
  • 12/17: Cesaria Evoria
  • 12/26: Sam Rivers

Books I Finished Reading

In order finished.

  • The Myth of Multitasking: How “Doing It All” Gets Nothing Done by Dave Crenshaw
  • Zombie Spaceship Wasteland: A Book by Patton Oswalt by Patton Oswalt (audiobook version)
  • Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen by Shunryu Suzuki
  • The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate by Susan K Greenland
  • The Vegan Revolution… with Zombies by David Agranoff
  • A Confession by Leo Tolstoy
  • Edible Secrets: A Food Tour of Classified US History by Michael Hoerger
  • Where the Hell Am I?: Trips I Have Survived by Ken Levine
  • A Widow’s Story: A Memoir by Joyce Carol Oates
  • 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides) by Matthew Inman
  • Fuzzy Logic Get Fuzzy 2 by Darby Conley
  • 1975 and the Changes to Come by Arnold Barach
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (with Rasine)
  • I Found This Funny: My Favorite Pieces of Humor and Some That May Not Be Funny At All by Judd Apatow
  • Beware Dangerism! (Kindle Single) by Gever Tulley
  • Land of the Lost Souls: My Life on the Streets by Cadillac Man
  • Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty: Poems by Tony Hoagland
  • Free-Range Chickens by Simon Rich
  • Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide by Sayward Rebhal
  • Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris
  • The Five by Robert McCammon
  • Nothing Is Hidden: Essays on Zen Master Dogen’s Instructions for the Cook by Shohaku Okumura
  • The Issue At Hand: Essays On Buddhist Mindfulness Practice by Gil Fronsdal
  • Mile 81 (Kindle Single) by Stephen King

Total number of books finished: 24 (one more than 2010)

Physical / Ebooks (incl. Kindle Singles) / Audiobooks finished:
Fiction / Nonfiction / Poetry / Comic:
Short/easy books: 8

Long/challenging books: 8

Books in progress at the end of the year: 3 (plus the second book of Oz with Rasine)

Movies I Watched and Re-watched

In order watched.

Average year: 1994

Average rating: 3.39