End of Twenty-shiteen Wrap-up

Ah, 2016. You were a disjointed mouthful of fruit juice joy and bile-scented cottage cheese heart clots. Your only saving grace is the train-wreck maelstrom that 2017 is shaping up to be. I’ll always remember you.

But despite the challenges of this past year, I have much to be thankful for, and feel extremely fortunate. Our family is still here fighting our battles, and surviving together with love. We have some of the most amazing friends I could ever imagine. We live in a place that fits us well and we appreciate. We have also been able to spend a good amount of time seeing amazing live music. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain or understand how important this to us.

I haven’t put in as much time reading as I’d like, but here is what I’ve been able to do this year. I’ve really been enjoying collections of science fictions stories from the 40’s – 60’s. It’s amazing how it still reflects the society we live in today. Often scary. The Wool and Post Human Series were quick and good, and I love a good physics book, too.

Got any recommendations?

  • Fluency (Confluence book 1)
  • Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman
  • Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements
  • Hey Whipple, Squeeze This
  • The Golden Age of Science Fiction Volume 1
  • The 7th Golden Age of Weird Fiction Mega Pack
  • The Pulp Crime Megapack
  • The 1st science Fiction Megapack
  • The 7th Science Fiction Megapack
  • The 11th Science Fiction Mega pack
  • The Complete Collection of HP Lovecraft
  • The 17th Golden Age of Science Fiction Megapack
  • The 19th Golden Age of Science Fiction Megapack
  • The 21st Golden Age of Science Fiction Megapack
  • The 22nd Golden Age of Science Fiction Megapack
  • The Mad Scientist Megapack
  • The Philip K. Dick Megapack
  • True Detective Stories from the Archives of the Pinkertons
  • Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1-5) Silo Series
  • Post Human Omnibus Edition (Post Human Series)
  • Data Smart: Using Data Science to Transform Information into Insight
  • Allegiant
  • Thomas Jefferson: Art of Power (still working on this one. Ben Franklin’s was more fun.)

We’ve seen a bunch of movies this year but I can’t remember them. I should start keeping track better. Is there a list that isn’t paginated like crazy? We did see and love Ghostbusters. Kubo and the Two Strings was wonderful. At Finding Dory and every other kids movie I cried like a baby. I still haven’t seen Dr. Strange, Moana, Deadpool, Trolls, and so many more.

I didn’t put nearly enough time into learning the tech I want and need to learn. That will be my focus for this coming year.

To everyone, thank you for being part of our lives. It wouldn’t be the same without you! In the end, life is about experiences, and I plan to go into this new year ready to add the most amazing chapters to my history book. You ready?

To Austin and Back

It’s been a busy week around the homestead. Or beyond the homestead really. Down to the south 40 in the grand ole city of Austin, Texas for a week long company retreat. Why, you may ask? With a company full of consultants scattered all around the country, getting everyone together for a few days a year is a great way to actually get to know the rest of the team. It’s incredibly helpful and allows a lot of interaction we wouldn’t normally get.

For this retreat, I scheduled a photo/video shoot with everyone to get new headshots as well as good interview footage of who we are and why we do the work we do for nonprofits. I was truly amazed (as I am most days) of the incredible people I get to work with. This crew has skills to work at any company, and they choose to apply them at a company dedicated to serving the needs of nonprofit organizations. Thanks for building up a company that people can believe in, Keith. It works.

I’ve also gotta give huge props to Marcin and Tara from ManMadeMedia for all their work on the shoot. If you ever need video work done, give them a call first. From beginning to end, they know their stuff and make it happen without a hitch. And Marcin will change the way he says his name every single time he says it if you are not careful. Great shoot, great footage, lots of editing to be done. Let’s do it.

After an exhausting week at the retreat, what do I do next? Come home, relax, get some sleep? Heck no. I got off the plane and grabbed a shuttle directly to Lost Lake Lounge to catch SF1 (and the amazing Candyman) and Julie Almeria for her birthday show. Love those crazy kids. So much talent all packed into those energetic bodies. Of course it was a class reunion with a ton of the friendlies from around town in attendance. Happy night.

So that was Friday night, Saturday night is time to rest up, right? Oh no. Saturday night is family concert night with Rob Drabkin’s birthday show at the Bluebird Theater. SHEL was there as well so it was another great show. Love seeing Rob’s dad join for the gigs. Aimee was photographing the show, so LilF and I got to hang around and enjoy the scene for a bit. The Bluebird has changed a ton from the porn theater it was when we first moved here! The whole Colfax strip has had a massive evolution. #winning

Now it’s time for sleep, right? Not quite. You see it was also the king of the local music DJ’s birthday, Alf! For his birthday he was spinning an all star gig with his 45 + 1 sets back at Lost Lake, so we walked back up for that. Again, more friendlies, more fun. For the unaware, Alf’s 45 + 1 gigs are great. He spins some great discs while a local artist riffs with it in their own special style. Saturday there were members of the Flobots, Epilogues, SF1, Eldren, and on and on and on. Great lineup all night. After that, members of the Sound and Color got together with Josh Lee for a set of something new. By this time, I was spent, so finally went back to the homestead for some resting before the Bronco game (fail).

Denver and the Front Range has a great music community. Bands and musicians from Colorado Springs up through the amazing scene in Fort Collins all cross pollinating and making great music for us. Large fun sandwiches for all. Really looking forward to the SpokesBuzz stage down at SXSW this year. Jam packed with Colorado bands, it’s going to be a damn amazing week.

Monday was MLK day, so LilF and I headed out on a beautiful day to Denver’s stellar march/parade – marade – to celebrate a man we should all know more about. As I looked at the over 30,000 people around me, it occurred to me that we are in a strange transition point. A good portion of the crowd were alive to witness Dr. King in person, many had even marched with him in years past. Others have only heard of his legacy through books and videos from our history classes. The spirit of his message was still alive in all of us, though, and while some of the younglings probably didn’t quite get it all, the vibe clearly touched everyone. We marched together down Colfax Ave, united and strong, talking about the challenges we still face so many years later. The fight isn’t over, but there is still hope within so many of us. The dream will be realized in time. Sometimes it feels a lot farther off than others, but we’ll get there.

First weekend

Starting off this year with a smooth warm up of variety. I was still recovering from illness through the New Years Day football, but was able to watch a great match between Tottenham and Chelsea. Great comeback from what started off to be another let down for the Spurs. There is hope yet.

For Friday, we took the whole family to the Bluebird theater to see Post Paradise, Calders Revolvers, Tommy Freed & The Sound, and Volitilles. One day, LilF will appreciate this, we hope. Or his friends in prison will like us.

For Saturday, after working on filming a super cool video project for LilF we decided to do something more regular, and went to see Annie in the theater, and I’ll be honest, I cried. When will I get to see a movie that doesn’t make me cry? Do they make those anymore? Sheesh.

Sunday was all about shoveling snow, running the dog, and helping LilF with the production of his video. Looking forward to seeing it all come together.
Back to work this week! Let’s go!

New Year for the Frogs

It’s the end and beginning of yet another year, and not to seem non creative, but it’s time yet again to reflect and plan on appropriate sides of this annual stick in the ground.
First, for the reflecting. This year has been a definite upswing over the last few.
Family healthy
LilF changing from elementary to middle school
New job
Teaching new classes

Now how about some of the ol’ look forward, eh? What do I want to be able to put here next year?
More family focus time – recovering for the last few years took some extra time and effort away from us
Game project – I’ve planned for it for a while, and know what it should be, I just need to do it. It seems I can find the time to commit to an extra class, but for bad reasons, this one falls out of the priority list.
Pick the Weather – another suffering project that I want to work on
Fix the house – home maintenance needs to be done
Audio streaming – last year I worked on live video streaming for Tellerpalooza and it was fun. But mobile broadband is still crappy. I want to experiment with live audio only at bars this year. I think it could be a great way for people to get a taste of the great live music available.

Mom’s Fridge

No matter what drawing, sketch, sculpture, or piece of trash I’d give my mom, she would always gush over it saying how wonderful it was, and she would put it up on the fridge for everyone who came to the house to see. We didn’t really have much company, so this was a pretty safe approach. Now that I live 2000 miles away, she’s not as dedicated to the cause.

I was cleaning up my in-house office space the other night and found some sketchbooks. Nothing amazing, but some fun stuff. I’m using this post as my fridge. Just some stuff to remind me of moments of creating. Feel free to ignore me.

Zombie: This guy shows up every so often. He’ll get a comic strip one day.

Vulture: Sometimes vulture, sometimes turtle. He’s a cutie.

Skull: Not as cute. I wasn’t in the best frame of mind this night.

Angry Pooh: But I wasn’t nearly as mad as Pooh. He was PISSED!

Rabbit: Rabbit went on a 2 week bender and came back all “I need money for rent…” Back to rehab, fuzz tail. I have a work in progress animation about him on Easter Sunday. Bad, bad, rabbit.

Lawman: This guy shows up all the time. He’s got a swagger and style all his own.

ManHead: A jaw built for chewing.

Stagecoach: Must have been feeling a bit Western this night. Or was I feeling Country? Either way, now the lawman has a way home.

Machine: If the stage coach isn’t good enough, how about something a little more gritty?

Man: A bit more optical.

Woman: Behind every man is a good woman. Or a screaming banshee cackling like a hyena.

Capone: A man and his lady for the evening.

Happy: This one just makes me happy. A girl and her teddy.

Bath: Ever feel like the world is a blasting shower of acid torrenting down on you in a deluge of burn? I remember this night.

Dresser: Whew, glad that shower is over.

Entrance: This is the entrance to BgxLabs. It’s a massive underground complex originally called Area 13, and right under Table Mesa. Nike accidentally outed it’s existence when they tried to build their headquarters there.

Eye: I’m watching you. Always watching.

You wouldn’t believe the things I see. Or maybe you would! We should talk more. Leave a comment.

 

Dream of Work

I had a dream that I was in a world where nothing worked. Everything was broken, missing, rotted away. I was incredibly frustrated to put it lightly. Every time I went to open a door the knob would fall off, or a hinge would break. Every time I went to cook the knobs would crack off. Every time I tried to ride a bike, drive a car, take the bus, or even walk down the street, screws, bolts, parts and pieces would tinkle on the ground around me. I finally collapsed in a crying heap. I can cry, I’m not ashamed. I cried a lot.

Things that are don’t work drive me crazy. Why does it exist if it doesn’t work? Things that barely work but don’t work right really burn my whistle. Either be broken, or be right. Maybe that’s a reflection of my own self-criticism, but still, do or don’t do. Yoda was the man. Or what ever the hell he was. Donkey-beaver? That must have been a wild party. Back to the point.

After I was done crying and sobbing like a little baby on the floor, finished with my tantrum, I gave up. I quit. I resigned myself to the fact that this was the way of things and that I too was a broken, worthless lump of protoplasm. Nothing here worked, that was the way of it. Deep sigh of acceptance.

Then I stood up, looked around, pick up a small, insignificant thing, and fixed it. It was small, unimportant, not a big deal, but now it was fixed. Screw you Mr. Broken World. One thing works now. It might break again tomorrow, or in 10 minutes, but right now, it works. It didn’t make any difference at all, and nothing in my dream world changed, nor did anything else in my dream world even notice that one little thing was now working properly. But it did.

I walked around my dream world, looking at things, trying to figure out what it was supposed to do, how it was supposed to work, why it didn’t. Some things were huge, massive creations out of a steam-punk nightmare that I had no clue where to even look to begin. But other things were small, manageable. So I fixed them. I started putting together a small box of implements, just things that I found useful at times. Scraps, pieces, bits that I found along the way. I was in a dream and had no job, responsibilities, or sense of space or weight, so I had quite a few bits after a while. But just what was needed and useful. Not collecting or hoarding implements, just things that were useful to me.

After a while, I noticed there were other people around. They were far away and stared at me like I was some kind of wild curiosity- something odd. Something that wasn’t quite right. But they left me alone, so it didn’t matter. I probably seemed to have the same stare towards them, too, I guess. Maybe to each of us it looked like all the others were staring.

I woke up staring. Have you ever done that? Your mind wakes up and you realize your eyes have been open for a while looking around without you? Hello, Brain, glad you could join us. There are things to see all the time, so we just went to work as we waited for you. In the body chemistry field, it’s probably the same thing as sleepwalking or wetting the bed. The parts just do what they were designed to do until everyone else catches up. After I got through a few thoughts on my eyes wetting the bed, I figured it would be safer for everyone to get some coffee going and ingested before any other human interaction could take place. Pssssshhhhhhh the water into the tank. Crulf crulf crulf the coffee into the filter.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Ah, finally. Coffee ready. I read the news on my feeds and took deep breaths. War here. Hate there. Disasters over there. Why did I ever bring a child into this? I drank in my caffeine, focused on the heat and brown. It’s you and me caffeine, us against the world. If we can just ride it out, we’ll be alright. All this will pass. I crump crump crumped through the house caffeinating myself to the proper level, and tightened up the screws on the loose doorknob to the yard. They always come loose for some reason. But they tighten up again with some help. I watched the sun rise into the yard, took a deep breath, and marched out into the day.

Irony

It’s pretty funny to me that when I was in an Apple Mac-centric shop, I had a WM6 phone that was always tough to get to sync with everything. Now I have an iPhone and an iPad, and work in a Windows shop, and still don’t have the computer integration that I would hope to have. Life is always interesting with silly first world problems.

My superpowers

LilF and I have gotten into discussions about superpowers. If we could have any, what would they be? The discussion started with what one superpower would you want, and has grown to 3 powers, just to make it interesting. I think he has increased the number to make the conversation last longer, and to try to draw me out of my reserved shell.
We’ve been talking about this for about two years, and I am amazed at how his wishes have evolved and how sophisticated his powers are becoming. They used to be things like “I want to be able to turn rocks into black beans so we can eat them.” or “Make stuffed animals come to life.” or even “Make dull time go fast and fun time go slow.”
I like to ask him what he would do with his powers. How would he apply his amazing ability to the world we live in? His answers are always interesting and rarely the same, so I’m sure he considers these things for days at a time. “I’d turn all the rocks around a bully into beans and he’d get stuck, then when the ants ate the beans, he could go free.” “I’d send out the stuffed animals to be waiters so we don’t have to wait so long at restaurants.” “I’d make our breakfast last all day.”
I love that there is a logical structure to it all, but it’s new. It’s his own net logic where things are loosely coupled, related but not permanently linked, and fluid within a structure. When I don’t pick up on the structure, I get lectured that I am not paying attention, and I shouldn’t be so rude. It’s not being rude, you are just talking crazy, Professor Xavier. Move on to the next power. Sometimes I can’t help but ask odd questions just to be a moron. He gets so mad.
Now, they are getting abstract. “i want to make anything stick together.” “I want to be able to eat with my belly button.” I won’t tell his most recent because he’ll write that on his own blog, and I really couldn’t do it justice. It’s amazingly complicated and techy, so I just beam with pride every time he tells me and it gets more and more elaborate.
Since we’re talking about it, here are my chosen powers:
First, and the most lasting one for me is to be able to speak and understand any language. I use the term language loosely as any form of communication between beings. And to understand is to grasp and process the meaning and intent of the speaker, not just translate the words. Grasp the cultural tone and richness that saturates our ways of communication. Truly connect and communicate. That would be fun, and would make travel easier.
Second power, hands down is being able to fly. Up up and away and all that jazz. Weak, I know. Screw it. I want to fly. Fast. High. Loops and rolls. Blast through clouds, and dive through hurricanes. Watch an all day sunset, or run from sunrise until I see tomorrow. The day I can fly don’t expect me to be in town for a few days. I’m going to go talk to people, and tell them I can fly.
Third power for some reason has to be the ability to shoot marshmallows out of the palms of my hands. Ironman has jets, Spiderman has webs, and Yoda has the force. I want marshmallow shooters. Not high powered ones, just 5 to 10 feet maybe. And they would make that fun Pop sound when they come out too. Imagine talking with someone and Pop! Right in the forehead. Driving in traffic and someone cruises past Pop! In their car window. Flying next to a jet liner and roasting a few in the engine for the trip home. So much fun.
Oh well, unless LilF gets the power to distribute superpowers, I guess I’m stuck with my one unique ability- finding the exact wrong topic to bring up with new people I meet. But that’s another story.