Squam 2020

Squam Lake, 2020

This year, man. It’s a mess. The world’s on fire, figuratively and literally. I’m not going to iterate through all of the things that are seriously fucked up right now – I don’t think it would help, and frankly you probably are already aware. On a macro level, it feels like we’re teetering on a knife’s edge in so many different spheres, whether it’s political, economic, social, environmental, or other areas. Depending on your point of view, in some spaces, it even feels like the edge has already slipped. On a personal level, though, I’ve been relatively lucky. It’s 2020 and I’m at Squam, so let’s take stock.

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Well, Then.

When I last wrote (back in February 😅), who’d have thought we’d be on the precipice of a global pandemic? Obviously, my rambling about upcoming travel is now irrelevant (work summit til maybe this Fall? Or later? And the wedding until next spring). The rest of the post still holds pretty true, though.

Everything happening right now is a lot for a lot of people, and that’s pretty understandable. There’s the pandemic itself, of course, where even if you’re not too worried about yourself, you’re probably still worried about friends or family who are at a higher risk. And then the knock-on effects this has on society as a whole – millions unemployed, unexpected and ill-prepared-for financial challenges, impacts on infrastructure, and so on – is a whole source of stress on its own.

For me, it’s not been too terrible. As I’ve noted before, I’m on anti-depressants, which also reduce anxiety, and that certainly helps. Also, my day-to-day isn’t all that different from before. I’m a bit of a recluse and an introvert by nature, so while it would certainly be nice to see my friends, it doesn’t weigh on me as much as I know it does for others. I still go walk Cecil, so I still get at least an at-a-distance view of the world, and I have roommates, so I even still see some people face to face. I still have my job, working from home. I’m still worried about friends and family who are or may be impacted by all this, obviously, but the ones I’ve checked in with are taking reasonable precautions, which means there’s not much that extra fretting will do.

There’s definitely some generalized anxiety and stress that exists in the background, but for me, more than anything it just feels surreal. It’s like the photo of a man mowing his lawn while a tornado is in the background – you know there’s total pandemonium nearby, but your own life still marches on: bills have to be paid, work has to be done, lawns have to be mowed. It’s a ridiculously privileged position to have, but there it is.

It’s the topic of the moment, on everyone’s mind, seeping into every conversation, but I’m going to try and not dwell on it much past this post. That said, I’d love to hear from you (by whatever method you see fit). Are you doing okay?

I’d Rather Be Hibernating

I dropped off the face of the earth for a bit, there. Trust me, it’s me, not you. I was already distracted last summer and fall, and then for the winter I just straight up went dark. But it’s nearly spring, it’s 2020, the trees are budding and the early flowers are blooming, and it’s time to wake up and shake the dust off. So grab a hot chocolate, find a cozy sunbeam to curl up into, and let’s catch up.

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Time Flies

It looks like I managed to completely miss February on here. The best laid plans, eh? Well, I’m still alive, for what it’s worth. Life has been low-key stressing me out for the past month+, but should be getting back to some semblance of normalcy soon. (The 30 second version: at the start of the month, we discovered a slow leak in the kitchen plumbing, which had started to warp the flooring. Various mitigation measures were brought in — drying mats and industrial dehumidifiers and the like — but ultimately they ended up needing to pull up the flooring. And the counters. Neither of which they could match, so now they’re replacing the entire floor downstairs and getting new counters. Hurrah for home insurance!)

Not much else to report. I’ll be sure to get back to posting random links and writing the occasional screed soon. Thanks for sticking around.

End of the Year

It’s New Year’s Eve, 2018. In another 8 hours, it’ll officially be 2019, the last year of the twenty-teens. Time flies.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want 2019 to look like. 2018 wasn’t a terrible year for me — I went to Japan, worked in a job I don’t hate where people seemed to appreciate what I do, spent time with friends. I posted more on here than I had in a long time (albeit mostly link sharing and light commentary…. and I sort of fell off the posting wagon this fall/winter).

That said, it also felt like a year of coasting. It didn’t feel particularly productive towards my longer term goals, nor did I feel much sense of fulfillment or contentment (barring a few things). That’s something I’d like to change, and that informs a lot of my goals for the year, boiling down to: I’d like to find a routine that feels good, and leaves me feeling productive and fulfilled creatively, socially, emotionally, and physically. The details of getting there are still feeling pretty amorphous, but that feels like a good broad goal to work towards.

Happy 2019, everyone. I hope it’s filled with laughter and kindness.

August, Squam

It’s that time of year where I head back east to see family, and spend some time on Squam Lake. It’s also usually a time of reflection and taking stock for me, and it’s been a while since I wrote something like that here, so forgive the rambling post. For those that don’t care, here’s a picture:

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Never seem to get tired of this view.

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For the rest, on we go.

Off to Japan

I’m hopping on a plane to Japan tomorrow morning, for 11 days of wandering around, looking at cool stuff, and hoping I don’t make too much of an ass of myself. I’m not bringing a laptop, but am bringing a camera, so there may be some photos when I get back.

I’m hoping to have some good long thinks while wandering, so you may see some posts (actual posts, not just linking to others)! Or I might end up radio silent until I’m back: time will tell. In either case, I look forward to seeing what y’all are writing/photographing/drawing/creating when I get back!

Going to Japan

I’ve been talking about wanting to go to Japan for years — Japan and Greece were my go-to bucket list destinations going as far back as when I was 11. I still haven’t visited either of those countries, 25 years later, and it’s high time I corrected that. Just booked tickets for a trip to Japan for my birthday in April! I’ll be there for 11 days (well, I’ll be gone for 11 days, but 10 days there due to timezones and transit). My plan is to bookend my trip with a few days in Tokyo on either side, then take a train down to Kyoto and Nara in between.

I tend to look for quieter spaces, and I’m fascinated by a lot of the shrines and temples, but I’m also going to try and hit some other stuff (keeping an eye on tickets for the Ghibli Museum for instance). I’ve not done much foreign travel (and basically none to non-English speaking countries), so I’m a little nervous about it, but also excited to finally do this. Do you have any tips for things to check out or stuff I should prepare for in advance?


While there’s no reason you couldn’t choose to reflect on the past at any point in the year (and let’s face it, we could all do with more reflection), the end of one year and the start of another is as good a time as any. Yes, that’s right, it’s time for another new year post.

I’m not going to dwell too much on the current political, economic, or social debacle we call modern society. There’s plenty of that to be had all over the internet, and I don’t have too much to say about it that hasn’t been said by people far cleverer than myself. I will say that I hope we are able to show each other a little more compassion, a little more kindness, and a little more acceptance — and not just for those like us. While we should be intolerant of intolerance, it’s easy to let that slip into intolerance of other things as well.

On a personal level, 2017 wasn’t actually a bad year. I moved into a new house (where I was finally able to get all my things out of storage), got a new job (that seems to be going well, and finally let me move out of QA), and have been (relatively) stable overall. I’ve made a few new friends, and reconnected with some old ones. I managed to knock out a few things on my to-do list (mostly administrivia-type things that have been on my list for ages but never made a priority, like getting Global Entry/Pre-check, and some banking/financial stuff). While none of this is particularly exciting or revelatory, it all adds up to a pretty positive personal 2017.

So, what does 2018 have planned for me? I’m not entirely sure. I’ve got some things that I’m not sure I’d qualify as resolutions, but are definitely some aspirational goals. A few highlights:

  • Get fitter: I’ve never had a particular interest in a 6-pack or being super buff, but the years of sedentary work and hobbies are starting to catch up to me — my general fitness, energy levels, and weight could do with a tune-up.
  • Travel more: I’ve had wanderlust for years, and it’s showing no signs of abating. I’d like to carve out some time and resources for some more diverse trips — while I’ve done a ton of domestic travel (3 more states to go!), I’ve done very little international travel. I’d like to correct that. I’m currently planning to try and go to Japan for my birthday in April — my current thought is to fly in to Tokyo, then take the train down to Kyoto and back, with maybe a few stops in between. If you have thoughts on things to see or do, I’d love to hear them!
  • Connect with people more and try to foster stronger relationships: I’m pretty shit at keeping in touch with people at regular intervals, even people who I really care about and value. While anything social takes both parties being interested in investing some energy into it, I feel like I could be better about doing my part. I sometimes worry that I’m imposing, or that I’m coming off as network-y/reaching, and I need to get over that.
  • Organize my time better: my life is relatively stable at the moment, so this feels like a good opportunity to get into some better scheduling habits. Allocating time for playing games and watching things, AND time for reading and writing and working on projects, instead of having all of it be a sort of mishmash that happens in fits and spurts (with a fair bit of sitting in analysis-paralysis pondering what to do with my evening, if I’m being honest).
  • Create more: I’ve always had issues with trying to tackle large projects and aiming for a high level of quality and complexity from those projects. This leads to a lot of feeling overwhelmed or disappointed with my output, and it ending up abandoned. That’s not very useful — not everything has to be perfect or amazing, and frankly gets in the way of actually improving enough to where those big projects are actually achievable. So this year, no big “I’m going to make a game!” or “Write a novel!” stuff, just “create more, finish things.”

That’s probably enough — too much and you’re spending all your time aspiring to aspirations, and not enough movement towards achieving them. In the vein of that last goal, you might have noticed that I tweaked the site design a few weeks/months back. I didn’t bother posting about it, and it’s not done — but it’s something. I made the theme mostly to play with new CSS stuff like grid and flexbox. Expect further tweaks as I go along.