November 16, 2014

Depression & Suicide

I always appreciate Jaclyn's videos, but this one in particular is a must-watch.

The world has a lot to gain from this kind of openness and honesty.

Robert Scoble recently shared a story of something that happened to him as a child, finally relieving four decades of built-up shame and insecurity.

Such sharing takes a great deal of courage, but the benefits are innumerable—not only for the sharer, but for the people those stories touch.

We all have pain. We all have skeletons in our closets. And by sharing those skeletons, we can help people feel a little less alone—particularly in this noisy social world where we tend to share only our best moments.

June 29, 2014

My first 5k

After eight weeks of training, I just ran my first (nonstop) 5k.

I've been putting a lot of work into my physical fitness for the last few months, and I'm stronger today than I've ever been. I feel better, I'm happier, and I'm more productive. When you take care of your body, it tends to return the favor.

I owe this milestone to the Nike+ Running app, which is essentially a personal trainer in my pocket. It tells me what to do each day, and I do it. That's not all, though—it also tracks my distance every time I run, and there's no way to catch up if I get behind. It's nice to have that sense of obligation to get my ass out of bed in the morning.

Running is a great hobby to have, particularly for folks who spend hours staring at a screen each day. Get out there and make it happen.


April 25, 2014

Heat, headaches, and sickness

I woke up this morning in a sweat—it was 80°F in the house, and my body was much hotter. I had a slight fever, more-than-slight nausea, a terrible headache, and for a brief period after waking up, tunnel vision.

My stomach is feeling better—thanks to Sabrina, who went out early this morning (on her birthday!) to get me some Sprite. My body temperature also seems to be back to normal.

I’ve been getting excruciating headaches for the past two or three days, and this morning’s heat wasn’t helped by my pounding cranium. Ibuprofen has been keeping the pain at bay, thankfully.

Most of my symptoms from this morning (headache, tunnel vision, light sensitivity, nausea) point to a migraine, and I’ve experienced similar episodes in the past, so that’s a possibility.

I just hope this doesn’t become a regular thing.

We’re going out for Sabrina’s birthday this evening, so I need to keep myself functioning.

April 21, 2014

Hello, allergies

Allergy season is upon us. 'Tis the season for red, itchy eyes and relentless sneezing and sniffling.

Yesterday was really bad. Today was bearable. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

March 26, 2014

Farewell, Alpha

alpha donnie

A good portion of my summers as a child were spent on a porch with these lovely folks. Alpha and Donnie Hume were the "neighborhood grandparents" near my cousin Katie's house, and while spending time together we'd often end up paying them a visit. They welcomed us with open arms and treated us like their own family, and while I was never as close to them as Katie was, the time I spent there certainly made an impact on my life and helped shape who I am today.

I was very sad to hear that Alpha passed away on Friday. She was one of the sweetest human beings I've ever known, so this is quite a loss for her family and the world.

March 25, 2014

Reviving my old laptop

photoTonight, I powered up an old laptop of mine for the first time in six years. Running Windows XP, the eight-year-old Compaq Presario C304NR has seen better days.

For the record, this is the machine I used for most of the work on my first web startup, so it holds a weird, geeky brand of sentimental value.

After booting (which, by the way, was a loooonnng process), I was prompted to enter a password that I'd long forgotten. That didn't matter, though, because even moving the cursor across the screen was more than I had patience for.

I decided to install Ubuntu on the system to see if I could squeeze any performance out of it with a lighter OS, and it's now running like a new machine! Well, not new... but not eight years old, either!

However, following the hour and a half that went into this little restoration, Ubuntu kindly notified me that "hard disk failure is imminent," and that I should back up my files and replace the drive immediately.

Maybe if it wasn't 1 a.m., and if it was a different (read: newer) machine, I'd put more work into it.

Oh, well. I'll find something to do with it while it lasts.

March 22, 2014

Fooling ourselves

Back in 1974, Richard Feynman, one of the most famous physicists of the 20th century, gave a commencement address at the California Institute of Technology. He called it “Cargo Cult Science” (PDF). It contains what I think is the best succinct summary of the scientific process:

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.

He then said, “it's easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.” The entire structure of science—in universities and journals, online and offline, and in the principles of being able to repeat experiments, disprove theories, and predict results—is an attempt to keep from fooling ourselves about reality.

This is a clear demonstration of how hard it is to avoid being foolish: scientists and the rest of us still fool ourselves all the time. But the process also does a good job at correcting our mistakes, so our foolishness doesn’t last long. Being that it is a human system, science isn’t perfect, but it does well at refining our knowledge, allowing us to weed out imperfections in our understanding of our world and the Universe.

Say Something

Quite often, music videos have little to do with the songs they represent. That’s not the case with “Say Something” by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera.

When I first heard this song on the radio, I didn’t give it a second thought. But the gorgeous vocals paired with this powerful video took my breath away tonight, indeed bringing me to tears.

The song itself is beautiful in its simplicity. It begins with a four-chord piano accompaniment, later adding an orchestral backing, and finally climaxing with a heartbreaking duet.

The lyrics are open to interpretation, of course, but the video depicts two distinct scenarios:

The first is a couple lying together in bed, clearly amid a mass of tension. She turns away from him as the hook pleads, “Say something, I’m giving up on you.”

“And I am feeling so small. / It was over my head, / I know nothing at all. / And I will stumble and fall. / I’m still learning to love, / Just starting to crawl.”

The second involves an elderly man whose wife has just died. The hook returns as he gently strokes her forehead: “Say something, I’m giving up on you.” He loses control, giving his love one last hug.

“And I will swallow my pride. / You’re the one that I love, / And I’m saying goodbye.”

The song climaxes with both men walking away from the respective beds, each having lost the love of their life.

The message? One of those losses was preventable.

This was an awakening for me, because although I always try to make Sabrina feel loved and cherished, I do sometimes take her for granted, forgetting how lucky I am to have her. I couldn’t ask for more, but I could certainly give a little more.

Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so make today count. Tell that special someone you love them. Do something kind. Show someone you care. Say something.

March 3, 2014


As human beings, we tend to not like change. We have a certain attraction to what's familiar. But inevitably, that comfortable familiarity melts away, leaving behind mere memories of the life you once knew, the people you once knew, and the self you once knew.

February 20, 2014

Blog chaos

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while have doubtless seen my incredible indecisiveness over the last few months. For a very short time, this entire site was transformed into a marketing blog to complement my work at Merrill Media. After doing that for a while, I realized that's not what I want to have on

I'm a writer at heart—I need an outlet for my random thoughts every day. I tried to return to my traditional pen-and-paper system, but I like having an audience (I'm a little conceited).

As such, everything on this site has gone back to the way it was in December, returning to its rightful place as a record of my thoughts, rants, and—occasionally—political views. I'm going to make a real effort to write something interesting here every day, as planned.

The marketing blog isn't gone, though! In all likelihood, that will reemerge over at Merrill Media.

Thanks for sticking with me through this weirdness, and thanks for reading.

January 29, 2014

How To Cure Boredom

I strive to live with a sense of wonder, but I often fail. Even when I'm doing what I love—in one of the richest countries in the world, where all of my basic needs are taken care of, and then some—I become acclimated to great experiences.

Just as melancholy knows no bounds and can strike at any time, so too can boredom.

You've been floating along, doing okay, but suddenly it hits you: you're disenchanted and stuck in a rut.

Melancholy is difficult, but thankfully boredom is a bit easier to fix. The answer is to be present and aware. More accurately, the answer is to be curious. There's no cure for curiosity. (Why would you want one?)

I like to be curious. I like to ask questions and meet new people. When things go wrong, I'm open to new direction.

If this happens to you, perhaps it's time to march into new territory. Change a habit. Get up early or stay up late. Change your lifestyle to focus—and feel—better.

Everyone can become routinized. When boredom strikes, get back to curiosity as fast as you can.

January 16, 2014

How To Become A Morning Person

For as long as I can remember, I've been a night owl—go to bed at 3 a.m., wake up at noon. My productive hours have always been late at night, when distractions are limited. But over the past few weeks, I've managed to change that.

Since childhood, dawn has been my favorite time of day—I love seeing the sunrise, and I love the smell of morning air when I go for an early jog. My problem is being awake to experience it—so I decided to train myself to become a morning person.

As I'm writing this, it's 5:30 a.m., two hours before sunrise, and I've been more productive this morning than I ever was in my late-night work schedule.

So how did I do it?

Well, I'll admit my headline is a tad misleading because it implies I know some kind of secret process, and that's not the case. It wasn't easy. I just forced myself to wake up early on a consistent basis, and the rest fell into place. I have a daily alarm set on my iPhone for 4:15 with the label: "Success doesn't happen while you sleep." That's a gentle reminder to my groggy morning self of why I'm doing this.

The first day is terrible. The second day is alright. By the third day, you can start calling this your regular schedule. When you wake up tired and feel like shit all day, you'll realize you need to go to sleep earlier, and you will. As soon as that adjustment has been made, you're good to go.

The key, the way I see it, is to force yourself to get up at the same time every morning—tired or not. If you do anything on a consistent basis for a little while, it becomes a habit.