Category Archives: Personal

Stuff mostly about me.


Fifteen and a half years ago was my first date with the woman I would fall in love with and remain in love with until the present. I mark this occasion without her, and I have the unpleasant task of finding a way to move forward.

Nobody said life would be fair. Nobody said it would be hopeless either. Happy new year.



This is a picture of me meeting Felicia Day on Monday during her book-signing tour. I don’t usually do crazy things of this nature, but Felicia is probably my single favorite Person From The Internet, so driving the 230 miles to Beaverton to spend a few seconds in the same room with her so she could personally scrawl her signature on my copy of her memoir (which is funny and adorkable and you should totally read it) seemed like a perfectly sane idea at the time.

Besides, my brother lives in Tigard, also in the Portland metro area, so I was able to make a weekend visit of it rather than just doing a five hundred mile round trip in one day.

I adore Felicia Day, so this meeting was the most nervous I’ve been in a long time. I had a bunch of things I’d thought about saying, like “I love your work” “I absolutely adore you” or “You’re my single favorite Person From the Internet, thanks for being awesome.” But I was also afraid of coming off like a creep, because that was a real possibility and it would have sucked. So I ended up not saying much and not really connecting. I even answered a pro forma “How are you?” with my standard “I’ll live,” which was met for the only time since I’ve started using it with what seemed like genuine concern and alarm.

Felicia Day is awesome, and I sort of feel like an ass. Failure Mode of Clever indeed. I don’t know whether to hope that incident made me stand out, or to hope she met enough other people that day that even my remarkable beard didn’t make the incident memorable.

So that was fun.


I am very old. What’s more, I have been very old for a very long time. All of that is very strange, primarily because I’m fairly young. What do I mean?

I was born in 1981, which makes me 34 this year. It also makes me what you could call a leading-edge milennial, as I was in my high school’s graduating class of 2000. But the thing I think makes me very old is that my beginning more or less coincides with the beginning of the digital revolution, and I was aboard from nearly the beginning.

I wrote my first programs with the help of my dad in the latter half of the 1980s on a Mattel Aquarius, a computer so simple and primitive that it made a TRS-80, by then a decade old, look good. But it wasn’t long until my dad’s more successful twin provided my family with a more sophisticated computer and by the beginning of the Pentium era, my brothers and I were sharing a system that was only a generation or so behind the state of the home computing art.

I was a part of the first generation of smart-ass kids who knew everything about the technology their parents and teachers couldn’t understand, so I had a pretty broad exposure to a lot of the tech that existed at the time. But my elder brother was the real master, and I merely his first apprentice.

We ran a bulletin-board system which– for those who weren’t around at the time– was the closest thing we had to the Internet. People had to log on one at a time using a modem-to-modem dial-up connection that generally also dominated their voice line, though a lot of us were so into it that we had a second phone line. We also participated in an international network of bulletin boards, which wasn’t precisely cheap given the prevailing long-distance rates at the time.

And then bulletin boards were over and everyone was on the Internet and even though I was a late adopter in my circle of friends, I was probably on the Internet before you. I watched it grow into what it is today and sometimes I’m still a little amazed.

So I’ve lived my life alongside a rapidly-advancing technology that’s only now reaching maturity. Imagine being the same age as the Model T when Ford debuted the Taurus. Now imagine you’ve been building and fixing cars most of that time. It’s a bit like that.

Given my deep early connection to computer technology and the fact that I’ve long believed and been told that I’m “smart” I just assumed for a long time that my future was in tech. I studied Computer Science, since among my many talents, programming was my most developed. The fact is though that the vanguard of today’s tech industry are now a decade and more younger than me, and I don’t think I’have the skills the industry wants or needs.

I don’t know what my future looks like. If I’ve made one critical assumption that was wrong for the last decade, perhaps I’ve made others. So maybe my future lies on a different course. If so, then, the problem is that I don’t know how to find it. And that I feel so very old.

Then again, maybe not.


“Devastated” begins to describe it, and as a beginning it will do. No word, however, can encapsulate the totality of it. I am fairly certain that a thing that I needed, the thing I waited for, holding onto increasingly desperate hope for, is gone forever.

I can’t imagine the future without it. I can’t see the path forward. I am losing my grip on this world.

And I am terrified.