Ten Years in 17 Bullet Points

  • got laid off
  • did the self-employment thing
  • bought a house
  • learned to code
  • had another kid
  • took a job
  • ran a 5-miler
  • took another job
  • did a featured speaking thing
  • got promoted to management
  • made a blog
  • Saquon Barkley cooked TJ Watt on a wheel route in the Big Ten Championship Game
  • did another featured speaking thing
  • became a Swim Dad
  • filled my rings for 250 consecutive days
  • started therapy
  • turned 40

I never bothered to make a Best of 2019 music list, which is something I’ve done since my teenaged years, but I did make a “best beers I had for the first time in 2019” list, so there’s that.

Twenty Nineteen

2019 was a rough year. I doubt I’m the only one who feels this way, for reasons personal, professional and/or political. In the intrest of focusing on the positive and shining a light towards more of what I want in 2020, here are two achievements that defined my 2019:

My first hires as a manager

Thanks to the largest single project we’ve ever tackled, we were able to add two full-time members to the Arcweb design team in 2019. These were my first two hires as a manager.

Hiring forced me to be thoughtful about what the roles actually required, rather than just defaulting to a number of years of experience or a list of design tools as prerequisites. It also gave me a chance to think about the existing team as an entity, and consider what it needed to thrive and grow.

It was of utmost importance to me to run a fair, inclusive hiring process. This meant not stopping once I had found a candidate who could do the job in question, as counter-intuitive as that sounds.

I was especially focused on not putting too much burden on the candidates with countless rounds of all-day interviews and design tests and such. To facilitate this, I needed to learn to trust my hiring team and take their counsel.

I am exceptionally proud of the hiring process as a whole in both cases, and I look forward to what Arcweb’s newly-augmented design team can accomplish in 2020.

“Hiring” a therapist

I’ve been seeing a therapist since early last year. For reasons that are not that interesting or relevant, I stopped seeing her early this year. To find a new therapist, I didn’t just pick a name out of an online listing and cross my fingers. Rather, I ran an interview process.

I made a list of candidates using Psychology Today’s wonderful website. I made some exploratory phone calls and, armed with what I had learned from my first therapy experience, I scheduled three in-person sessions. I treated these sessions as interviews (I was transparent about my process with each candidate), and used them to determine whether they were right for me and my specific therapeutic goals.

This was… scary as hell. It’s hard enough to open up once, but to three different people, not knowing whether you’ll continue the relationship? But the results were worth it. Committing to a process led me to finding the perfect therapist for me, rather than satisficed with an earlier candidate who was “good enough.”

NB: I am very lucky and privileged to be able to access mental health care. Many are not. If you believe therapy is out of reach for you, take a look at this calculator. The help you need may be more in reach than you think.

After decades of advancements in semantic markup and accessibility, Instagram decided that we should consume all content as flat, inaccessible images via Stories and we just… went along with it.

Front cover of Pearl Jam’s Unplugged on vinyl


The title card from “The Last Waltz,” which reads “THIS FILM SHOULD BE PLAYED LOUD!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

The very structure of American life has changed to make the basics of stability difficult to attain, down to something as simple as eating with your partner or child…The problem of dinner is far larger than what you’re going to eat.

🔗 Dinner in America: Who Has the Time to Cook? - The Atlantic

Haven’t watched anything yet, but my first impression of Disney+ is that every single other streaming platform needs to copy how D+ handles login on Apple TV.

This new Sturgill Simpson record is the sound of an artist just straight-up Going For It on every single song. It has no chill whatsoever, and I mean that in the best possible way. I think I love it.

Anyone who insists Apple is “now a services company” has never logged in to iCloud•com.

I somehow found the spot in YouTube TV that allows me to record all college football games with one click. I am drunk with power.

Actually, it’s fine that my rMBP battery percentage indicator decrements even when it’s plugged in. It’s fine and good.

Finished reading: How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell 📚

A few thoughts:

  • The “doing nothing” in the title isn’t just chilling, or conspicuous, performative self-care. It’s deeper and more profound than that, in a way I was not totally prepared for.

  • I was also not preparedness all for the academic rigor, complete with a web of primary sources. This is a substantial book.

  • (There is something somewhat ironic about reading this on vacation, as the author stresses the value of “resisting in place.”)

  • I’ve also been rereading “Franny and Zoey” on the beach (for the hundredth time, perhaps) and I keep coming back to this quote from Salinger, a quote so large I want to live inside it:

“There’s a marvelous peace in not publishing, there’s a stillness. When you publish, the world thinks you owe something. If you don’t publish, they don’t know what you’re doing. You can keep it for yourself.”

Anyway, I really want to think about this ideas that this book is posing. Like, really think deeply about them. And I get the irony of posting half-baked thoughts about this book, but this is maybe just part of my process of thinking now… And maybe that’s why I needed this book so badly.

Sunny Day Real Estate’s “Diary” on vinyl

Turns out, there’s an honest-to-god legit indie record store in downtown Lewes, DE. Who knew?

Front cover of “How To Do Nothing” by Jennifer Odell

Working on it.

The vacation house has Yahtzee… but no score sheets. Downloaded a score sheet to my iPad Mini, opened it in Notes and am keeping score with the Pencil. I am living in an Apple commercial.

Charging an Apple Pencil with an iPad Mini 4

It’s really not that bad, but there is a certain absurdity to it.

“This is some really nice music… if you’re old.”

— Yung Stunna on John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.

One of the things I miss the most about The Old Web: pages like this. One person or group of people curating a list of fan-submitted guitar tabs for a given band. So much love, passion and thoughtfulness in one place.

I’m working on building and tracking some small habits that will bring me joy and better mental health. One of the things I’m tracking is “play the guitar for at least ten minutes a day.” I’m up to 8 days in a row for the first times since… my 20s? my teens?


Shakespeare turned dust to dust

Y’know how the YouTube algorithm is an awful garbage fire but sometimes it serves you a gem that feels like a piece of yourself in a time capsule? That’s what this video is for me.

Sunny Day Real Estate may have spent a combined $27 on their wardrobe for their big MTV debut. This isn’t even an early-90s post-grunge thrift store vibe; this is TJ Maxx proto-normcore and it speaks to me.

Nate Mendel looks like he put down his bass after filming this and hopped in the minivan to pick up the kids from soccer practice.

My wrists hurt from watching William Goldsmith pound those drums so expertly.

And the interplay between Dan Hoerner and Jeremey Enigk’s guitars and voice is often too much to bear for me.

I worshiped this band. I loved them so much. So, so much.