Today Jessica and I brought home our day-and-a-half-old son, Ashe Thomas. Born at 8-pounds 6-ounces and, perhaps, looking a bit like his namesake and my father Thomas Olberding, he’s healthy and looking like a t-rex.
Jessica was watching an episode of Game of Thrones an hour before I woke up at 8:30am on Saturday morning. Once I did, she told me that she thought that her water had broke. The hospital told us to come in, I took a shower and added some things to our ‘go’ bag and drove us to the maternity ward.
I didn’t post this on Twitter, on Facebook. I assumed we’d see the nurse, they’d tell us that we still had weeks or days ahead of us. Even after the signs were there, I simply didn’t believe that I would have a son within 12-hours.
After a series of painful contractions Jessica opted for the epidermal, after which, for the most part, pain was out of the equation. Hours and contractions went by unnoticed by all. The nurse that had been working with us and another came in telling us that it was time to start pushing. It was around 6pm.
With the epidermal, pushing was a matter of form and faith instead of pain and mind over matter. As a ballet dancer, Jessica attempted a few highly flexible positions before the nurse assured her that she was doing just fine with her hands behind her knees.
Once the OB came in Ashe was delivered about 20 minutes later. He was so close at the end of each contraction that the time between seemed to last forever, each time thinking that the he would be born on the next. He came out still, skin white, covered in a white substance, misshapen head - my heart dropped. Even though the monitors were showing a heart rate just a second before, I didn’t believe it. This belief was shattered with his first piercing cry. I had a son. Instantly my eyes watered but were held back by the awareness of presence of the four nurses and doctors in the room. Jessica was crying. I took a deep breath, awkwardly leaned over the bed rail and kissed her.
That night and the next day Jessica and I marveled at this inconceivable puppet, thing, human, baby - how it was ours. Over the next two days we ordered and ate too much pizza, crap food, I cheated and had an amazing rare burger from the Loop, the three of us crammed into the hospital bed, struggled to sleep when we could, and welcomed the amazing support of family and friends who visited. We got scared, got tired, got lovey, got overwhelmed, got everything.
Acutely aware that I was not the first person to ever be a father, I marveled not at the perceived uniqueness of the life-changing event unfolding minute by minute before me, but at its universality. That the feeling of first seeing your first child look up at you is not one that is rare, but is one rarely profound moment that is extremely common, that this is a moment shared by literally billions.
During a food run, an old friend texted me ‘how it felt to be a father’? I initially typed out ‘amazing and trippy’. I erased that and tried to think beyond the initial cliches. I ended up writing him that it felt ‘right’, that I felt ‘inspired’ to be better than I am.
The nurses and staff at Baptist Downtown were absolutely amazing. Attentive, patient, interested - the whole package. We were ready to go home when the time came. We arrived home to a clean apartment courtesy of Jessica’s mother. I moved things up into the apartment, went out for food, got things in order.
Realizing that I hadn’t showered since we left for the hospital days earlier, I drew a bath. I laid back, began reading the pregnancy book’s chapter on new parents. Halfway through the chapter, tears unbidden came to my eyes. I put down the book, and wept. Realizing that I had never had a moment to myself to reflect, to relax, I wept for my healthy son, for my amazing wife who showed just how amazing she can be, not only in the labor and delivery of the baby, but in how she handled everything exactly in the way that I would want the person I want to be the mother to my child to handle things. As someone who is inherently a pessimist, I, for once in my life, felt amazingly lucky and blessed.
With 2010 just about in the books, here’s some of my favorite songs that came out this year.
1. Sex Bob-omb - Threshold (1:47)
2. Jónsi - 02 Animal Arithmetic (3:23)
3. Los Campesinos! - Romance Is Boring (2:35)
4. Arcade Fire - Ready To Start (4:18)
5. LCD Soundsystem - All I Want (6:43)
6. Tamaryn - Love Fade (3:40)
7. The National - Anyone’s Ghost (2:54)
8. Menomena - INTIL (5:47)
9. Max Richter - Infra 3 (3:01)
10. Meursault - One Day This’ll All Be Fields (3:30)
11. Mexican Elvis - Drop Hawaii (6:58)
12. The New Pornographers - My Shepard (4:35)
13. Like Pioneers - Gift from a Holiday (4:00)
14. Emma Pollock - Hug the Harbour (3:42)
15. B.o.B - Dont Let Me Fall (4:34)
16. Sufjan Stevens - I Walked (5:00)
17. Beach House - Zebra (4:51)
18. Joanna Newsom - Good Intentions Paving Company (7:01)
19. Basement Birds - Bus Stop (2:47)
20. Junip - In Every Direction (3:06)
21. Broken Social Scene - Texico Bitches (3:49)
22. Rickolus - Kid (2:49)
23. Belle and Sebastian - I Didn’t See It Coming (5:00)
24. Stars - Dead Hearts (3:29)
25. Janelle Monáe - Cold War (3:23)
26. Tricky - Kingston Logic (2:43)
27. Robyn - Fembot (2:21)
28. Kanye West - Monster (feat. JAY-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver) (6:18)
29. Wet Wings - Running Like a Man (6:31)
30. Pepper Rabbit - Older Brother (3:20)
31. Laura Marling - Devil’s Spoke (3:39)
32. A B & The Sea - Bone Dry (2:28)
33. Teen Daze - Wet Hair (Japandroids) (4:17)
I am halfway through reading “How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer” which consists of interviews conducted by Debbie Millman of some of the most iconic and influential designers today. In each interview she asks “What is your first creative memory?”. Some of the interviewees give insightful answers while others brush the question off. Reading one of the interviews this evening, my answer to that question popped into my head and was something I had not remembered in many years:
Austin, TX in 1986 I was 5 years-old and obsessed with airplanes and jets. My neighbor, an older boy, had a Commodore 64 and a flight simulator program. I would watch him play for hours (this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrzI2WqwUSA). I can’t imagine how boring and slow the actual simulator was by today’s standards but I loved it and thinking about playing myself.
We didn’t have a computer at my house so I took pencils, crayons, and an old empty shoe box and drew each of the gauges in the bottom of it based on memory and I drew the controls on the lid of the shoe box. I would take the shoebox, place it on its side in my closet against the wall to simulate the cockpit and put the lid flat on the ground and imagine that I was flying. It was great.
Accoutrement to your frown or smile,
Limply dangles in dejection, firmly hailing in assertion,
A Freudian fate for the early weaned,
doubles as baton if either creativity or crisis demand it
and aids in the prevention of undue post-coitus dally,
essential to both Mersault and Meursault,
convenient currency in certain circles or as a five-minute hourglass
stylishly accessorizing your meal, coffee and conversation,
the shaft allows proxy kisses with men, women, strangers and relatives,
the tip customizes furniture and upholstery;
this densely packed contrary whistle, flicked carelessly with thumb
or precisely with forefinger
is best in morning, worst when sick.
2009 in almost in the books, and while I thought overall it wasn’t the best year for new music there were definitely some great albums that came out - Metric’s Fantasies, Andrew Bird’s Noble Beast, and the Karen O soundtrack for Where the Wild Things Are among others.
Let me know what you think and enjoy.
1. The XX - Intro (2:07)
2. The XX - VCR (2:57)
3. Phoenix - 1901 (3:13)
4. Girls - Lust For Life (2:18)
5. Bat For Lashes - Daniel (4:11)
6. Faunts - Feel Love Thinking of (3:09)
7. Say Hi - Hallie And Henry (3:35)
8. Karen O and the Kids - Rumpus (2:46)
9. Karen O and the Kids - Rumpus Reprise (1:56)
10. Jeremy Enigk - Mind Idea (2:37)
11. A.C. Newman - All Of My Days & All Of My Days Off (3:51)
12. St. Vincent - Actor Out Of Work (2:15)
13. Sin Fang Bous - Advent In Ives Garden (3:13)
14. Metric - Gimme Sympathy (3:54)
15. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll (3:42)
16. Cymbals Eat Guitars - And the Hazy Sea (6:13)
17. Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is The Move (5:14)
18. Au Revoir Simone - Shadows (4:02)
19. Sissy Wish - Float (3:49)
20. iglu & hartly - violent and young (4:23)
21. Friendly Fires - Jump In The Pool (3:37)
22. Sholi - All That We Can See (5:59)
23. Regina Spektor - Eet (3:49)
24. Florence + The Machine - Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) (3:52)
25. Doves - Kingdom Of Rust (5:11)
26. Cursive - I Couldn’t Love You (3:21)
27. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Higher Than the Stars (Others in Conversation Remix) (4:02)
28. Japandroids - Crazy/Forever (6:03)
29. Röyksopp - The Girl And The Robot (4:28)
30. God Help The Girl - Act Of The Apostle (2:42)
31. Asobi Seksu - In The Sky (3:40)
32. Bear In Heaven - You Do You (3:43)
33. Do Make Say Think - Do (10:40)
34. Andrew Bird - Oh No (4:20)
Putting together three systems for the office - one for me, one for Lahey, and one for either the new intern or employee coming into Station Four. While I love geeking out and putting systems together, I haven’t had a whole lot of lead time (intern and employee starting soon). These are my thoughts so far.
Obviously needs to be the best of the three… for work related stuffs, sure. Anyway, mostly going to be loading up Photoshop CS4, Visual Studio, and about a trillion other programs that I’m jumping between whilst playing Portal and Minesweeper with my third 12″ monitor that sits on my lap.
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 - 2.83GHz 12MB L2 Cache (link): Seems to be best price/performance point for the range I’m looking at
ASUS P5Q Premium (link): Part that I really wish I had more time to do research on. Mobo on my current system is an Asus P5B Deluxe Wi-fi and it’s pretty decent.
Bundle cost: $339.98 - $30 (mail-in rebate) = $309.98
Corsair XMS 2×2GB DDR2 800. Been buying this stuff for years. Prices have skyrockets from around $20 to $50 after a $25 mail-in rebate. Have an extra 2GB stick laying around so I can throw 6GB in the new system.
$75 - $25 = $50
Western Digital Caviar 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA (link): Should probably get two and throw them in a RAID0 but I’m pushing budget as is anyway and can always do it later.
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4770 512MB (link): As the only computer that is likely to play any games I got a little more powerful card.
SAMSUNG DVD+R+RW-R-ROM-WHOCARES: throw a dart, all around the same price and features.
Undecided, though this will probably be the only system that I’ll get the case and power supply separately. Likely get something from Antec.
Windows Vista 64-bit Business w/ upgrade to Windows 7: Finally getting rid of the 4GB (or ~3.2GB really) cap by going with 64-bit, allowing to take advantage of the quad-core.
Coming out to around $814. I’ll use the stock fans/heatsinks to start, upgrade when I decide to overclock more than a little.
The Other Systems
Little scaled back, but still a whole lot of power for the price.
Intel Core2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz 6MB L2 Cache (link): Step down from the 9550 but still has more than 1MB of L2 per core that the models below it have.
ASUS P5Q Premium. Same board as above. Was looking at the P5E this morning, highly reviewed, but apparently newegg deactivated the product in the last few hours. Was hoping for more cost saving on the CPU/MB might have to revisit this.
Bundle cost: $309.98 - $30 (mail-in rebate) = $279.98
Corsair XMS 2×2GB DDR2 800: Same, probably have a few 1GB cards laying around even so we could upgrade later.
$75 - $25 = $50
Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA : slightly smaller drive with 16MB cache because Lahey says “Why do we need all that space when we put everything on the server”… porn Lahey.. secret secret porn.
GIGABYTE Radeon HD 4350 512MB 64-bit (link : Bit less powerful than the 4770 but these aren’t gaming machines and this should be more than enough and are super cheap with the mail-in rebate.
$34.00 - $15.00 = $19.99
SAMSUNG DVD+R+RW-R-ROM-WHOCARES: Same thing, who cares.
Undecided, probably have them pick a case/PSU under $100 with ~400 watts+
Windows Vista 64-bit Business w/ upgrade to Windows 7: Same.
Coming in at around $686, which is an awesome price for a beast of a workplace system.
My sister graduated from college last week and her boyfriend got her a new kitten, which unfortunately has gotten very sick. Being a recent college graduate she is pretty broke and asked for help they could get, I’m sending her some money but thought I’d repost as well:
“Ryan and Ashley’s kitten has recently gotten terribly sick. I got him last week for my birthday, he is only 10 weeks old. He can’t move, he is in a lot of pain.
He is in an animal hospital, but the cost will be somewhere in the upper hundreds. We want our kitty back home and healthy. Our hearts are broken…
Please help us!
I know times are hard, but if you could donate even a dollar that would help more than you know.
If you are looking for a good cause, you’ve found it! I really hate asking for money, but we really need it to help save our precious Lincoln.
The link below is for PayPal donations. Seriously, anything you can do. If you can’t afford to donate, please send a prayer his way. Thank you so much. Also, please forward this to anyone you think may be interested in helping”
Overall I didn’t feel that 2008 was a wonderful year personally for new music, regardless here’s a list of 35 tracks that I’ve fully enjoyed in the last year. I threw all of the tracks in a zip with some playlist files so that you can download them here:
1. Tilly and the Wall - Too Excited (3:16)
2. Santogold - L.E.S. Artistes (3:24)
3. Stars - 14 Forever (3:47)
4. The Notwist - Good Lies (5:23)
5. Beirut - My Night With The Prostitute From Marseille (3:06)
6. DeVotchKa - Transliterator (4:29)
7. Okkervil River - Calling And Not Calling My Ex (4:21)
8. Laura Marling - Night Terror (3:09)
9. TV on the Radio - DLZ (3:48)
10. Herman Dune - 1 2 3 Apple Tree (3:21)
11. Grand Archives - Torn Blue Foam Couch (3:27)
12. Radiohead - Down Is The New Up (4:58)
13. Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - We Call Upon The Author (5:11)
14. The Decemberists - Valerie Plame (4:54)
15. Estelle - American Boy (featuring Kanye West) (4:44)
16. Alaska in Winter - We Are Blind and Riding the Merry-Go-Round (4:33)
17. Wolf Parade - Bang Your Drum (3:12)
18. Death Cab For Cutie - Cath… (3:49)
19. Noah And The Whale - 5 Years Time (3:34)
20. The Magnetic Fields - The Nun’s Litany (2:58)
21. The New Pornographers - Adventures In Solitude (4:14)
22. De Novo Dahl - Shout (3:07)
23. Be Your Own Pet - Becky (2:58)
24. Pete and The Pirates - Ill Love (2:42)
25. Portishead - The Rip (4:32)
26. A Weather - Spiders, Snakes (5:17)
27. Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma (3:15)
28. Andrew Bird - Oh No (4:20)
29. Kanye West - Flashing Lights (3:57)
30. Hello Saferide - Anna (3:04)
31. Destroyer - Foam Hands (3:50)
32. The Walkmen - In the New Year (4:22)
33. Sigur Rós - Gobbledigook (3:07)
34. Why? - Fatalist Palmistry (3:53)
35. She & Him - Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? (2:30)
Yesterday, late morning, I quit smoking for the second time. The first time I quit it lasted nine months and was assisted by dating, and thus spending considerable time with, a non-smoker. Starting back up was a gradual process that took place over the course of a couple months of starting a stopping.
I’m using the stage 1 Walgreen’s brand patch which of all the patches I’ve used I find sticks the best and itches the least. However I believe I’m feeling the withdrawal effects more acutely this time, I believe I had been smoking more daily recently than I did when I quit previously.
Anyway, here’s to making it past the first couple and figgin’ awful weeks. Cheers.
In putting together a CD mix recently I compiled a list of songs that at some point in time I was obsessed with, listened to on repeat, and inevitably got a little sick of. Only rule was that I couldn’t repeat bands. I didn’t go too far back (probably ~1996) so you wont see any PM Dawn, Bon Jovi, or Mr. Mister. Songs are in no particular order.
- The Deadly Snakes - Gore Veil
- Editors - An End Has A Start
- Fugazi – I’m So Tired
- Tindersticks - Cherry Blossoms
- Yo la Tengo – You Can Have it All
- Pulp - TV Movie
- Gothic Archies - Dead Only Quickly Decay
- Bright Eyes - Kathy With a K’s Song
- Feist - Mushaboom
- Nine Inch Nails - A Warm Place
- Sifl & Olly - Weird Day
- Sigur Ros - Svefn-G-Englar
- Tobin Sprout - Digging Up Wooden Teeth
- Vitesse - The Human Element
- Flaming Lips - Do You Realize
- Azure Ray – Don’t Make a Sound
- Unboyfriendable - Sunny Moog
- Emiliana Torrini - If You Go Away
- Barbara Manning - End of the Rainbow
- Vincent Gallo - When
- Modest Mouse - Heart Cooks Brain
- Cat Stevens - Here Comes My Baby
- Beta Band - Dry the Rain
- José Gonzáles - Heartbeats
- Yann Tiersen - La Noyée
- Say Hi to Your Mom - The Death of Girl Number Two
- Iron & Wine - Muddy Hymnal
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Y Control
- Shebrews - Leave All Your Old Loves in the Past
- Radiohead - Let Down
- Ladytron - fire
- Kath Bloom - Come Here
- Fischer Spooner - Emerge
- Okkervil River - A Girl in Port
- Peter Bjorn And John - Amsterdam
- Postal Service - The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
- Nick Drake - Northern Sky
- The Notwist - Consequence
- Múm - Green Grass Of Tunnel
- Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Where The Wild Roses Grow
- The Delgados - No Danger
- Neutral Milk Hotel - King Of Carrot Flowers Part 1
- Nico - The Fairest Of The Seasons
- Jesus and Mary Chain - Sometimes Always
- The Shins - When You Notice the Stripes
- Kahimi Karie - What are you Wearing
- Kind of Like Spitting - Young Fiction Writer
- Luna - Bonnie And Clyde (Gainsbourg Cover)
- Momus - The Penis Song
- Paul McCarthy - Ram On
- Paul Simon - The Vampires
- Placebo - Every You Every M
- Rufus Wainwright - Instant Pleasure
- Seam – Inching Towards Juarez
- The Velvet Teen - The Prize Fighter
- Steve Margin and Bernadette Peters- You Belong to Me
- Tullycraft - the lives of Cleopatria
- Velvet Underground - Ocean
- Jeff Buckley - Lover, You Should Have Come Over
- Aimee Mann - It’s Not
- Leonard Cohen - The Stranger Song
- Coldplay - Beautiful World
- Low - Sunflower
- Sonic Youth - Bull In The Heather
- Death In June - Rose Clouds Of Holocaust
- Lambchop - Up With People
- Grandaddy - Summer Here Kids
- Franz Ferdinand - The Dark of the Matinee
- King Crimson - Moonchild
- Mirah - Recommendation
- The Magnetic Fields - Strange Powers
- Interpol - Untitled
- Built to Spill - Car
- The Good Life - Don’t Make Love So Hard
- Counting Crows - Anna Begins
- Sunny Day Real Estate - How it Feels to Be Something On
- Badly Drawn Boy - A Minor Incident
- Explosions In The Sky - Magic Hours
- Elliott Smith - Waltz #2 (XO)
- At the Drive In - One Armed Scissor
- Eels - Electro-shock Blues
- Doves - There Goes The Fear
- Air - Sexy Boy
- The Decemberists - The Legionnaire’s Lament
- The Divine Comedy - Something For The Weekend
- The New Pornographers - Use It
- Death Cab For Cutie - What Sarah Said
- Wolf Parade - I’ll Believe In Anything
- Cursive - Some Red Handed Slight of Hand
- Belle & Sebastian - Sleep The Clock Around
- Beirut - Postcards From Italy
- Andrew Bird - Plasticities
- The Statler Brothers - Flowers on the Wall
- 28 Days Later Soundtrack - In The House - In A Heartbeat
- Sufjan Stevens - Casimir Pulaski Day
- Joanna Newsom - Emily
- Stars - Romantic Comedy
- Regina Spektor - On The Radio
- Aden - I Knew You Would Go
- The 6ths - Aging Spinsters
Went out to watch the Jags training camp last night with Brandon Dyal and Sean Collins. Sean got there too late to see the Oklahoma drills, which were the highlight of the evening.
The wordpress app for the iphone is available now, though you can’t seem to access it from the app store.
Unfortunately since I happen to be writing this from my iPhone I can’t copy and paste the link. I also really wish apple would open up the horizontal key pad that you can use in Safari to apps.
The app also has built in support for taking and embedding photos from your iPhone which obviously could come in handy when blogging from an event (example below, the event being me sitting in my living room blogging on my iPhone).
Update: here’s where you can get it http://iphone.wordpress.org/
As a young political science undergraduate I was very interested in the structure and distribution of power in the French political system. France is a semi-presidential system, which isn’t exactly unusual but the particular constellation of political power there is unique. It is a system that I, in my more informed days, argued had a number of distinct advantages.
I felt that having a president whose primary responsible for high politics but could effectively dominate domestic politics during phases of united government (where the prime minister is from the same party) and was elected to long terms (seven years) allowed for continuation in foreign policy while providing voters the ability to ‘change direction’ mid-term.
With the changes in the current reforms it seems that Sarkozy want to take the French system closer to the American presidential system by reducing the term length (five years), increasing electoral and political pressures on the president, and also introducing a number of provisions that strengthens the parliament in a manner similar to the US system such as allowing for the French president to annually address the parliament (State of the Union-esque), giving parliament veto power of some key appointments, and giving the parliament further powers to hinder the ability of the president to push through legislation. As someone who admired the French political system from afar, I’d be interested in learning what French citizens thought of it.
At 9:45pm on Monday, June 16th Boston Tom (Thomas Provost) was shot in the doorway of Shanty Town pub up on 6th and Main in Springfield.
I was there out in the back patio area with my friends Annie, Sarah, and Steven at the time of the shooting. We heard two quick ‘pops’ and initially thought it was just some fireworks out front. Someone said we should go check it out, to which I lightheartedly replied that it probably wasn’t the best idea to run towards possible gunfire.
Shortly after, Tex, the bartender ran out back saying, “Tom’s been shot” over and over again and while everyone pulled out their cell phones to call 911, I stood up and awkwardly walked around wondering if I should go inside, was there someone with a gun still in the bar and would they come out back?
At this time someone who had gone inside briefly came back out to the patio repeating “Don’t go in there!”. At first I thought he was saying that there was someone inside with a gun but on reflection believe he was not thinking straight and frightened by the sight of Tom who he must have presumed dead.
I went inside, nervously sipping (gulping) the wine I had bought from the seat next to Tom’s only minutes before the shooting. Believing I was about to see a dead body I was relieved to see Tom conscious. Sarah was scrambling for towels behind the bar while Annie and a kid I didn’t know named Phillip were putting pressure on the wounds. I leaned around from the speaker and tried in vain to think of something I could do. Too many cooks and all.
Tom kept saying that he couldn’t feel his legs and everyone tried to assure him that he was in shock and just needed to keep still. The paramedics got there in what seemed like a couple minutes but I believe was around seven minutes from the time of the shooting.
He was shot in the neck and the stomach a few inches to the left of his belly button if I remember correctly. Never being exposed to anything of this sort I was surprised by how little blood there was. Obviously no major artery was hit with the shot to his neck and there was little to no blood coming from the shot to his stomach when the EMT cut away his shirt.
Tom was in the doorway at the time, there were two people out front, one in the bathroom, and the rest of us were out back. The only physical description I heard was ‘a skinny black guy wearing a mask’. The people out front attempted to follow the shooter in their car but lost him. A group of kids from the bike shop behind Shanty Town had seen the shooter run down Main Street and then cut over back into the neighborhoods. This was all the information I believe the police had to track the guy down. I heard varying reports on the number of people involved but obviously two were arrested.
Everyone from the bar had to stay around for a couple hours while the police canvased the area. It was interesting to see how different people, including myself, react to such surreal situations; from Annie who was the first one to rush in to assist Tom, to the guy who came out telling others to not go inside.
Later that night I saw one of the detectives at the Pearl and asked if he knew Tom’s condition. He told me that he’d live but not have the same quality of life as before. From all indications, there was some spinal damage but I do not know the specifics.
Many people are commenting on the Jacksonville.com story, which has largely turned into an ugly debate about the safeness of the Springfield area.
Dug these up while looking through some old files… ahh I still like ‘em.
the space between
Christopher Olberding is a nation.
Christopher Olberding was Charles de Gaulle’s sails
on his way to Algeria,
And on the return to Paris, his cap.
Most will never see him,
Inferring his existence through his acts,
The martyrdom of Paul,
Europe giving way to the States.
I met him once,
shortly after Arend Lijphart and George Tsebelis
Got through with him.
They left him infinitely small
and composed only of theory and numbers,
a subset of everything and painfully boring.
Next year he’s thinking of taking up chess
Or music. He told me he’s giving up the business.
He’s tired of the dictatorship of the mind or the act.
He left me his card, printed on top was his name,
Below, his new address: the space between.
A brown man is the subject or speaker in
a dream I am not in.
Fog crowds in towards the shore
where the sand is graying with the tide.
Remember: this is not navigation but
dreaming; nothing changes.
The man approaches,
I ready the designers,
wet paint on fingernails,
They watch as he steps
off the ship and I give the word.
The ropes are pulled, the brushes dance.
Colors supersaturate and illuminate
so that every shade and person are given new names:
stiline, deserant, bliss, Exene;
we take our bow against
the growing sea as he wakes.
Unfinished Shakespearean Sonnet
Be still, my love, let thee not fear consume,
Though ill wind’s rank hangs heavily stale.
The shadows and corners of these fouled rooms
Do best their nature, in failing excel.
In fairer fields, thy fairness bright would stay
And conquer Nature’s beauty as thy own.
Yet death and drought, still finds, holding no sway,
Speech in sweet words, born in love, said alone.
I woke up this morning reflecting on the fact that it was just about two years ago that I stopped pursuing a doctorate in political science at the University of Florida, packed up my bags, left Gainesville once and for all and moved back to Jacksonville. I had to count backwards in time, not believing that it had merely been two years, yet sure enough it was only August 2006 when I took my first job in the field of design and web and it was only a few months before that when I moved back. I intend to use this space to detail some of these reflections. Though I realize the personal nature of this is in conflict with the guideline I set for what is appropriate in this space, due to the fact that few will ever read this combined with a growing need for some cathartic outlet, I’m willing to make exceptions
Two Years Ago
Two years ago I was still in the doctorate program with maybe two classes to go until my coursework was completed. I would have taken my comprehensive exams the following year and began the 2- 4 year process of writing my dissertation. My focus and interests had shifted away from the traditional subjects and my own declared focuses of the European Union and Comparative Politics to more abstract subjects and computational methods such as computer simulations of voting behavior, agent-based models, and the idea that humans interacting in computer simulations could create massive databases that could be mined for precise and quantitative information on aspects of human behavior that is otherwise not easily measured. The faculty at UF lacked the skill set to assist me in these areas which made me feel very alone in my research.
Two years ago I was in a rut. Not long before then I had broke up with the girl I was living with. She moved out immediately and unexpectedly, leaving me with bills I could barely pay. It was not the time of the year in Gainesville that anyone needed a place. After a couple months I put out a classified ad and took the first person to respond. My new roommate was an ex-felon on work release who, never living in Gainesville, decided to settle in there because through work release he was working at a BBQ place in town. He was a large ignorant redneck who was maybe a little over 30 who used the apartment as a love nest for him and his barely legal black, preacher-daughter (not embellishment) girlfriend - it was awkward.
Around this time I got a six-week old kitty who I never properly named (Mister Kitty), my motor scooter got stolen, and I visited my parents in Jacksonville and found the environment much preferable to the one I was living in Gainesville.
The Last Two Years: Jacksonville
In the last two years I’ve driven more than I have in the 25 that preceded it, seen my parents more than I had since I left for college in 1998, and lost both my grandmothers.
I’ve rediscovered my love of water, the ocean in particular, switched from loving the cold and hating the heat to loving the heat and hating the cold, discovered that I like sweating in the summer heat, purchased a road bike, and rode to St. Augustine and back. I’ve been a health nut at times and I’ve been self-destructive at others.
I’ve lost so much knowledge - large bodies of knowledge: political theory, international relations, understanding of feudal and absolutist Europe - specific knowledge: history of Poland, France, details of the European Union, fluency with graduate level statistics. I’ve stopped creating new music but taken up learning new songs on the piano again.
I’ve also gained a lot of knowledge in the fields of graphic design, computer programming, and business. Also learned that that last comma is an Oxford comma because of the Vampire Weekend song. Out with the old, only so much storage space upstairs.
I’ve gotten my first real job, made my first real money, had to dress professionally on a regular basis and work normal business hours for the first time in my life. I’ve discovered that most business owners don’t understand their own business and owe their success more to salesmanship than competency and that most customers have a difficult go at discerning the two.
I’ve turned down a six-figure salary, managed employees and projects, developed and instituted processes in the companies where I’ve worked. I’ve conducted dozens of interviews and hired a handful of people, and brought people with me to new companies.
I’ve started my own business, experienced the terror of a paycheck that isn’t guaranteed and the elation of signing new business. I’ve learned and experienced more of sales than I’ve ever desired and discovered that I’m good at talking to clients and prospects.
I’ve experienced the joy of randomly coming across something I had designed and the pain of being unable to produce good work due to everything from lack of time, budget, bad clients, personal slumps, and inexperience. I’ve second-guessed my abilities as a designer constantly and from time to time been extraordinarily confident in those same abilities.
I’ve rediscovered Jacksonville. Growing up near the intercoastal with an eye east I never really experienced downtown, Riverside, San Marco, etc. I’ve gotten more involved in local organizations and more interested in the community a city is able to produce. I’ve attended more sporting events (Jaguars and Suns Games) than any other time in my life and I’ve learned to like college football and even Gator basketball. I’ve made a lot of new friends and made good friends of old acquaintances.
I’ve fallen in love twice. I’ve lived in an amazing loft apartment in downtown Jacksonville for a year and did so with a beautiful girl and my kitty for the better part of it. And I’ve been left twice by those same women. Two of my ex-girlfriends have had children and I attended the wedding of my high school girlfriend.
I’ve found my two-year old cat dead for no apparent reason and experienced the loneliness that can only be experienced by the contrast of a period of time when I was anything but alone. I’ve become much less open minded about religion but much more spiritual.
And I’ve felt older. I feel as though I’ve aged much more than merely two years since moving here. I’ve experienced long periods of malaise, depression, and loneliness spiked by incredible yet fleeting moments of joy and happiness.
And as a biography, there is no climax and no conclusion; nothing that I can wrap up and put in the appropriate cubby holes of my life, put behind me, and move on.
I created this blog largely to familiarize myself with developing custom WordPress themes and have since struggled to conceptualize what, if anything, would be appropriate to write in this space. This struggle is compounded by the fact that I own a web design company with it’s own, though neglected, blog and as a business owner I am forced to be cognizant of the nature of the information and opinions put out on the ‘interwebs’. So then, this post is an attempt to talk through and define the purpose of this space.
What Isn’t Appropriate
The role of this blog is sandwiched between what would be more appropriate for the Station Four blog, what is inappropriate to publish publicly at all, such as topics belonging more to a personal journal, and what is inappropriate to publish publicly given my role as a business owner.
Of those three categories “Publish at all” is easiest to define; no posts on personal relationships, events, etc. The line is a little more blurred concerning the Station Four blog. Tutorials on technology and design should clearly go there rather than here. Same with professional analysis of market trends or happenings in design and marketing. However I am not sure if a personal editorial on design trends or just general thoughts and ramblings on the subject would be more apropos on the OlberBlog or not.
Deciding what isn’t appropriate to publish due to my role as a business owner is still trickier. Should posts about politics be avoided. How about thoughts on larger yet still contentious issues such as religion, philosophy, and art? Should I worry that a post where I outline my thoughts and interpretations of contemporary art might later offend or alienate a current or future client?
I am a pretty large consumer of entertainment. I watch a large number of movies and probably listen to ten new albums a week. However, I don’t have an interest in putting together proper reviews of these things. Perhaps lists might work “top 10 albums of the month” and the like.
I would say lists and observations about new services and sites that don’t directly overlap or have implications on design and marketing might be appropriate here but I scarcely would know what services and sites I find interested don’t.
Perhaps community events and things going on in the Jacksonville community could go here. I have a couple posts on the S4 blog that are very narrowly focused on what the company’s been up to; posts like those don’t really belong in a blog that you’d preferably want people outside of Jacksonville to consume.
So maybe any topic that involves actually knowing who I am, what Station Four is, or living in Jacksonville should go here. General topics of interest to the design/marketing community at large would be more appropriate on the S4 blog. So a post about the Jacksonville Food Fight, which we are a sponsor of, would go here even though my relationship to it is through Station Four.
My sister recently dug up some photos from a report she did in the fourth grade on “Her Favorite Relative”, which was, of course, me. God knows why, I was awful.
Are you fucking kidding? Look how ripped I am
Early on the eve of the DinoDing Massacre
At the gentle and repetitive urging of GoDaddy I renewed my personal domain names that had been sitting around unused for a little more than a year. Faced with the likelihood that if I didn’t figure out something to do with them I’d be throwing a few dozen bucks to these empty domains in another year, I decided to get out of my asp.net hole and finally play around with WordPress.
First hurdle was to come up with a design, or rather convince myself to throw something, anything, up because if I got the notion of spending time on or coming up with a design I actually thought was good for my own site, then I’d never get out of Photoshop. So found an old picture of Pinky, threw it up and Voila! Next!
Topic and Purpose
As my personal blog, I intend to use this space for posts that may not be appropriate for my business blog, S4 Blog. Music, local Jacksonville issues and events, as well as business and web design stuffs that I’d feel more comfortable being presented by the ‘me-individual’ instead of the ‘me-corporate-monster’.
Setting up and coding the theme for the OlberBlog
Setting up the blog was easier than I expected. Actual database and admin setup was easy. Took very little research to figure out how to code a template from scratch and I appreciated that some of the function calls to pull in data allowed for customization of the markup via passing arguments.
I look forward to determining where it might be appropriate to employ or suggest using WP to clients as opposed to a more robust (and .NET) blog or our in-house custom CMS. In a fast paced client environment there is a lot of pull to stick to a single framework since expertise and experience leads to faster deployment and larger margins, so it’s nice to step out and work in other frameworks, languages, libraries, or even packages like WordPress every once in a while.