Kicking the Tires

I’m not really sure what I want out of this space yet, but one thing is for certain: I’m looking to do more writing and reflecting this year. So, I’m kicking the tires, logging in just to post something short, to get in the habit, and maybe it’ll become a regular thing. Intentions don’t mean a thing if there isn’t any follow-through.

It’s late, though, so mostly I’m dropping in for the briefest of weekend recaps:

I went to a ’20s flapper themed party on Friday night dressed like a guy from 2020 wearing a hooded sweatshirt and jeans. At said party, I got to play the prototype of a game being developed by a friend of the host’s, and also snuck in a round of Bus, which was already my third time playing it this year. It’s such a great and surprisingly good game, with meaningful decision-space. My three-player plays have all lasted about an hour.

On Saturday, I meandered into Lowertown for a late lunch and late coffee and tinkered with a new programming language after a morning of watching The Good Place finale and playing some video games. Following an afternoon nap, we ordered a pizza and watched Avengers: Age of Ultron.

This morning, I woke up at 5am and couldn’t get back to sleep because I had what I think is a good idea to help me write some more. I’ve had a Pencil for my iPad since I bought it a few summers ago, and never considered that I could use them to write handwritten notes to my friends. I sent a thank you note to a friend for hosting a Gloomhaven gaming session last Tuesday, then colored in an old drawing. I spent more time gaming this morning, before playing around with Garageband on the iPad. This evening, we went to a friend’s house to enjoy snacks and conversation while the rest of the world watched 11 minutes of football wrapped in 3-4 hours of huddles and advertising.

It was a restful weekend.

I expect things to change a bit in the coming weeks and months, as I’m eager to discover some new hobbies and get back into a regular routine of being more of a creator than consumer.

These things take time.


Yellow Green Red

For the longest time, I’ve casually skimmed the music reviews over at Never really fully taking them in, not really trying to find out about new bands, just attempting to keep the lowest level of connection possible to my past life of musical involvement. The reviews were always well-written and thoughtful, but there’s something about the investment of time in learning about new bands that I just no longer felt capable of taking on. Call it getting older, call it being burned out on a past life so consumed by music, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Yellow Green Red was good enough for me to subscribe to via RSS, but not enough to dig deeper into the actual artists it covered.

That attitude kinda sucks, though. Over the weekend, I decided I wanted to learn more, to instead take the time to learn and grow and find out about what’s going on in the world, so I put together this Spotify playlist of all the artists whose albums reviewed in May 2019 were available on the service. And, let me just say โ€“ it’s great! That playlist is over 9 hours long, and each month, I’ll be able to make another one, and hopefully find out about some great new bands that aren’t getting played on wherever the heck it is I discover music these days (since I clearly haven’t been out there trying to find out about it until now). I’m sufficiently motivated that I may go into the YGR back-catalog of reviews and cobble together some additional playlists, just to have some options to put on when I’m out and about.


Hello, whirled.

As I type this, the inaugural entry into a domain that I registered over a year ago, it’s 45ยบ and raining. These dreary days always seem ideal for getting shit done, because who wants to go outside at a time like this? Unfortunately, our building HVAC forces warm or cold air depending on the time of year, and with the switchover occurring just this past week, it means that the indoor temperature is not much better than the outdoors. At least it’s dry.

The good thing is that the uncomfortable weather is giving me an opportunity to reflect, something I haven’t taken a lot of time to do lately. A little over two months ago, I deleted my Twitter account and went into isolation of sorts. During that time, I worked on personal goals, with the main focus of getting myself out of my comfort zone. I submitted presentations to out-of-town conferences. I started learning iOS programming so I can stop relying on the familiarity of PHP. I scheduled long-overdue appointments for my physical health and well-being. I went on the longest bike ride in my life (a paltry 42 miles round-trip, but an achievement nonetheless). I finally did something with this domain, even if a vanilla installation of WordPress wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for it.

And, actually, let me talk about that for a second. In my 20s, I journaled all the time. It was all embarrassing, and those entries are long gone now, but it gave me an outlet to pause on and reflect upon the various ongoings of my life at the time. Ultimately, my intent for this site was to recapture some of that feeling, because I think it’s incredibly important to stop and take account of what’s happening with one’s self. At some point in my life, I lost track of that, and I want to get back to that point of reflection once more. Whether the delivery system is some great custom app I created or some off-the-shelf solution that someone else built is kind of beside the point. I need a box with which to put in words, so I can get them out of my own head and hopefully create some connections with people I care about in this world.

To some degree, I think that’s why I’m back on Twitter, too. My absence granted me a mental break away from it all, and it gave me a better appreciation about the importance of choosing whether to fill in that box and hit send. But what it took away from me was that connection from the people I care about the most, whose stories and accomplishments and struggles I couldn’t be present for because I needed to take care of myself. I learned a lot from the experience, and I expect that the way I’ll interact with the site will change a lot as a result. But I’ll be there, and that’s better than being completely on one’s own.

In the meantime, I’m also going to give this place a shot and see where it goes, too.