Five things for the week

Lady Bird Mural
  1. No resolutions for 2019. No projects, writing or photographic. No defined things to change, do, or observe. Just another year, intentionally. I need 2019 to be my "recalibration" year. A year where I can just "be" without expectations.
  2. 2018 was difficult. It wasn't, when compared to others' 2018 anything remote to "difficult" but, for me? Difficult. I made a huge necessary change in moving back to California, mainly because I was struggling in early 2018. A lot. The remaining part was me trying to get reacclimatized to (what sounds weird to say/type) my own life. Thus, the reason for #1 (above).
  3. I have fully accepted and embraced my introversion. I truly have but, I do need to work on some balance. I have let my lifestyle stray way further into it than it should have.
  4. I want to start working on my own defined timeline and stop working off of other's timelines. I need to drive more.
  5. I didn't end up buying a car this past week (many reasons) but am still on the lookout for one. It makes the shopping experience easy when there is no timeline/deadline or sense of urgency.

Recently read, watched, and listened


It may sound weird but, I intentionally avoided reading a lot, this past week. I wanted to keep my mind clear and I wanted to keep myself from "hiding" behind books instead of getting out to enjoy my week off. While that didn't quite work out as planned, it was still quite nice (to be lazy).

I do have quite the reading list ready to go for 2019.


A Wrinkle in Time (2018) - Argh! It almost ruined the book for me, it was so bad. So bad that I added the book onto my reading list so that I can refresh how good the story really is. Such wasted talent (cast) and opportunity for this movie to be epic.

The spare time that we had, this week, we spent trying to clear some more recordings from the DVR. That experience just made me realize how bad the majority ofd television shows are. So many recycled storylines and cliches.


Bear Brook (podcast) - My wife and I listened to all of the episodes on our drive (from Sacramento to LA), on Christmas Eve. It's fascinating though, the "jumpy" timeline made it difficult for me to describe to others.

Middle California


I couldn't resist this scene, at a rest stop, along I-5 on my way back to Sacramento.

Five things for the week

Merry Christmas!//
  1. This. Just... we just need more of this in 2019. Throughout the whole year. I know that I want to do more. I love random, anonymous, acts of kindness. I'll be looking to do more in 2019.
  2. There's an 80% chance I'll be buying a car (used) this week. We have been a one-car household for the latter half of 2018 and it was okay. I'm starting to realize, though, that I need to get out into the world a lot more often than I have been, lately. A car isn't the answer but, it definitely would help.
  3. I'm enjoying the daily Connect Four games my wife and I have at our dining room table. It's one of her favorite games and we recently started playing it again.
  4. I rejoined Nextdoor (since our move back to CA) for our new neighborhood and yeah, it's still a dumpster fire of a social media platform. Now, instead of arguments breaking out between random strangers, I can witness arguments breaking out between neighbors. Fun stuff. Thinking about deleting the app again.
  5. Merry Christmas!

Recently read, watched, and listened


I wasted my time on Lee Child's The Christmas Scorpion. Sure, it was cheap and just meant to be a short story but, I got no enjoyment from it whatsoever. I can't even throw my "it's entertaining because it's part of a series and even if it is predictable, like every other procedural, I still am entertained" defense because, I wasn't.

No excuses but, all of my other reading this week was school and work related, all in the interest of closing up all of the loose ends before going out on vacation.



Once my workday (the last of 2018) ended, I started watching Season 8 of Voltron: Legendary Defender. I love this series and think that Dreamworks did a good job with this reboot. The season (I'm only 4 episodes in as of this writing) is a slow burn; definitely building up to something big.


The simple joy of loading all of my music onto my iPhone, opening the music app, and then letting the songs play on shuffle. I get to hear songs I forgot I had, artists I forgot had existed and wonder what they are up to now, and feelings and imagery I haven't visited since, in some cases, decades. Even when I'm home alone, I still opt to put on my headphones and let shuffle run its course. I'm able to get lost in both what I am doing and what I am listening to.

Some of my favorite "rediscoveries":


And then, pretty much the entire Michael Jackson catalog. He was a musical genius.


Last work day of 2018

I just finished the last day of work for the year... Blast it!


Love/Hate Instagram

My continued love/hate relationship with Instagram continues. Love because it's where the people I want to keep in touch with are (more so than other social media sites right now), and hate because of... well, everything else.

It could be said for any social media site, really. But, it's stuff lie this that really makes me hate the platform:


I'm going to be making a lot of salsa

I have reached the point where I am tired of trying to find the right "jarred" or pre-made salsa, and am now on a mission to begin making my own salsas from scratch. It's a very odd thing but, I have made salsa from scratch exactly 0 times before this past weekend. At least, I can't remember ever having made my own.

Which is a weird thing. My dad would make homemade salsa periodically. It's good salsa but very chunky, which isn't my favorite texture for salsa, so I never really was interested in making his. It is good, though. 

I don't know, I always resorted to just buying salsa from the store, whether jarred or the "more fresh" ones from the deli areas. And if I wanted any kind of "real" salsa, I just went out to restaurants to get my fix.

No more! I need to start making my own, which means experimenting with ingredients and textures until I get something that I really like.


This past Saturday, I started with my first one. It's slightly modified from this recipe on Serious Eats, where I omitted the sugar, used fire roasted tomatoes, used one each serrano and jalapeno pepper, and opted for red onion instead of a yellow. I also opted for chipotle chili powder for some extra flavor. 

On a scale of 1 - 10, I rated it a solid 8. I liked the way my food processor turned it into almost the exact texture I wanted. I love the color of it, especially the little green specks of cilantro. It had decent heat to it. I just wanted something... more. I think that the tomatoes I used were a little too sweet, still.


It did turn out good enough where I can see coming back to it, working it into a regular rotation. Perhaps for those occasions where I need to lean on a tried and true recipe.

Here's the recipe for my version:


  • 1 28-oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 serrano pepper,diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 cup of cilantro leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons of chipotle chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice from 1/2 lime


Put all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.

Five things for the week


Photo: The above picture is blurry. I caught her staring at me from underneath the tree while I was sitting in the adjacent chair writing out a grocery list. So I quickly switched from Notes to Camera on my phone to grab this shot before she raced away.

  1. I have all of our recurring bills on auto-pay. It's nice knowing that payments will be taken care of, automatically, on the same day each month. It's one less chore I have to do. But, I still have reminders setup to periodically check in on them, as well as continually check statements when they come through. Just in case.
  2. My foray (back into) mechanical keyboards may have started obsession. Much like writers obsess over fountain pens, and artists over brushes, and thousand of others who have already ventured into the weird wonderful world of mechanical keyboards... I already have a substantial list of other keyboards that I want to try/buy.
  3. One of the projects that I want to start soon is to document our digital life (financials, files, photos, and network setup) for my wife. In the case anything were to happen to me, I want her to have something that would walk her through getting to all of the important data that she needs to get to.
  4. We attended a taco party, yesterday. Basically, just a party where there was a taco bar. I was in charge of salsa and guacamole, which I enjoyed making (both from scratch). More importantly, it felt good to get out and socialize with friends.
  5. The week will be my last working week of 2018, and I'm excited to get through it. Here's looking forward to unplugging soon.

Recently read, watched, and, listened


This article about unlikely friendship has made its round on the internet but, if you haven't yet read it, I fully recommend it.

This post about Product Managers is also a good read. This is the area that I work in, and the area where I'm still learning quite a bit. Product/Project Management is an industry in itself and I find it all fascinating.

I did start another book but got nowhere near finishing it, so I won't include it in this week's post. I, again, have been swamped with work and school. My final project (school) is due this week and I'm so close to completing it.



Avengers: Infinity War -With the Avengers: Endgame trailer released, it was a reminder that we hadn't seen this last one. So we watched it. And we're entertained, somewhat. I hate watching movies where you already know it's going to lead into another sequel. Also, I'm almost at my limit with the entire superhero genre; it's over-saturated. 


Ocean's 8 - I wanted to like it but was bored the entire way through. Great ensemble cast (of course) but things were too tidy and too easy. I was never a fan of the Ocean's movies because of this. 


I'm not a huge fan of end of the year lists (best of this, best of that) but, I do appreciate end of year music lists. I like to revisit songs/albums that I listened to close to their release but may have already forgotten about since. I also like to scan these lists for works that I missed. Rather than post all of the lists I have been scanning, I'll leave you with this one, from NPR's All Songs Considered, and let you carve out your own rabbit hole from there.

That typing noise is really (satisfyingly) loud

There's going to be a lot of noise coming from my office. Someone (me) got a new mechanical keyboard. So, if you hear non-stop typing (because I love this thing and feel like I can type all freaking day long), it's me.

And, if the sound of my typing annoys you, I'm sorry (not sorry).

//I haven't had a mechanical keyboard since my early teens. I remember using some in my early years working in office-type jobs but, they weren't that great. Usually just the keyboards that came with the computers that they had ordered in bulk.

I remember the last restaurant I worked at (as a server) had mechanical keyboards at the stations where you enter orders. I loved that because I would basically type faster than the screen could catch up, and essentially still wouldn't miss a keystroke. I could type orders in faster than 90% of the other servers. it was fun. Muscle memory kicked in and, especially on busy nights, I rocked those stations.

So now I have one of my own choosing. I'm already having fun with it. I love the look and feel. This is much needed with all of the increased writing that I have noticed has become my everyday, lately. It's only a matter of time before I setup keyboard profiles (color combinations, key layout, etc) for all of my machines. Even if it means I have to manually plug the USB cable into them when I want to use this keyboard on them.

I have always wanted a mechanical keyboard but refrained because I worked in office settings and knew I would drive others crazy. This is yet another advantage of working from home; I can pound away and not bother anyone.

At least, not until my wife gets home from her work.

Oh, Instagram

It's images like this that keep me coming back to Instagram. Too much to resist. 


Write like a...

I like The Rumpus. It's a great place to discover new writers and learn about the writing process itself. Lately, I have had one of their mug slogans bouncing off of the inner walls of my skull, "Write like a mother fucker".

I need to write like a mother fucker. I write a lot for work. I write a lot for school. I write... somewhat often, for personal. The balance is off.

A big block is fatigue. I can only spend so many hours a day looking at computer screens and pounding on keyboards. Pen and paper is the obvious alternative, and I do enjoy them. A lot.

The second block, once I open that notebook and uncap the pen, is my mind. It still hasn't transitioned or recovered or refreshed. I need to get that outside air into my lungs, coursing through my body. I need that change of scenery.

The last block is myself. My confidence. "I'm not a good writer." "There's no reason to be doing this, no purpose." And more crazy notions that I won't describe here. I get in my own way (on a lot of different fronts).

Still trying to figure out the workaround for that.

Five things for the week

  1. This week was a very busy blur. Partly my own doing but mostly because it was just one of those weeks. 
  2. I reprogrammed our thermostats (one for each floor, which is awesome. This is our first time having two temp zones in a house, and I love it). The previous owner had them set a little too high for our liking. Now, they're at a setting where my wife and I can't agree on what is too hot/too cold. 
  3. I finally got a sound bar and set it up, yesterday. We then watched a couple movies with it. It's way way better than the TV's built-in speakers (duh). Not sure what took us so long to get away from those. It also has bluetooth so I connected our devices. She played an audiobook on it while baking some bread. It was very nice. 
  4. It took a while to setup my home workspace but it's finally coming together. I have two Windows 10 machines (one work, one home), and a MacOS machine, all being driven with one mouse and one keyboard*. I'm using Logitech's Flow devices to do this, which work really well. I also added their MX speakers so all three devices put their audio out through the same speakers (one at a time, of course). It's basically using a software version, combined with bluetooth, of a KVM switch and it's so easy to setup. 
  5. "A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for" by John A. Shedd.

*As many times as I have tried "simplifying" the number of machines, I keep reverting back. I think this is my comfort level. Sure, there are things that I can do to make things more simple but, I do like the fact that I have different processes and workflows set for different machines. 

Recently read, watched, and listened


Ha ahah ha ha ha 

Textbooks and work documents. 


Have you ever checked out the CinemaSins Youtube channel? I'm like that ~90% of the time I watch television shows with my wife. It's at the point where she won't even watch some shows when I'm even near the tv. I'll know when I need to ethers a) stop talking, and/or b) leave the room when she pauses the show. 

I did manage to watch a few of them, this week. If only for a mental break and because I just needed to laugh. 



Ha ahah ha ha ha 

Conference calls and webinars. 

Mid-week check in

*pops head up like a groundhog checking for its shadow in February*

Wow, is it only Thursday? What a week. 

*descends back into hole of work/school/fetal position in dark corner of house*

Five things for the week


  1. Hanging things on walls, for us, has a big influence on whether we feel at home or not. There are certain pieces that, when hung, we feel more settled. It's surprising (perhaps not as much as we think) that it took this long to hang some of the things we did. Bonus, this past weekend we decorated for the holidays as well. It's really nice. 
  2. I know who I am and what I want to do. Not consciously but, I know deep down that I know. I have a block on myself right now. I feel like I'm fighting through this block in every way that I can but, I'm just not making the progress that I want to be making. Deep, eh? Suppose this could be its own post someday. 
  3. On Saturday evening, I had a cup of hot (oolong) tea after dinner. It was the first time in a long time that I did this (drink a cup of hot tea in the evening) and I was reminded of how much better it made me feel, both physically and mentally. 
  4. F politics. All of it. F it all. 
  5. Instagram's lack of chronological order is driving me nuts. I HATE the timeline. I keep seeing the same images over and over again (from the same contacts). It sometimes feels like I see more ads than actual posts. It's a mess, and no longer enjoyable for me. I deleted the app from my phone; taking a bit of a break from it for a while. 

Recently read, watched, and listened


The December 2018 issue of California Sunday magazine is stellar. The entire issue is devoted to photojournalistic stories focused around the theme of "home". It's humbling, interesting, and eye-opening. I enjoyed it enough to become a new paid subscriber. 

I have been reading the Reacher series since my mom first introduced it to me the year the first book was released. Like with most series, the quality declines gradually the longer the series goes. But the characters and stories are still entertaining enough. I've written about it before; book series like this are very similar to procedurals on TV. They're formulaic and predictable but still entertain the reader. At last, they do for me. 

One thing that was disappointing (for me) was the Patty and Shorty storyline. There was some pretty good build up on that front but, the climax felt like it was being phoned in. Anti-climatic for me. 


Despite not being handy (not at all) around the house, I always enjoy watching This Old House/Ask This Old House. This week, I caught up on a few episodes sitting on my DVR. I'm not sure why I find it fascinating. I do admire how easy all of them make their trades look while at the same time, I fully appreciate the importance of each trade. And the more I watch, the more I appreciate the history and tradition within each trade. I also admire the apprentice program that This Old House is shepherding. It's much needed and very cool when they showcase them on the show. 


I found my CD collection. Yes, actual CDs. Hundreds of them (I loved to collect music). There's a lot that I forgot I even had. There's a lot that I haven't listened to in years. Years! Through the week, while working on other things, I have been playing them while ripping them to my iTunes library. 

For a while I let Concrete Blonde play on repeat. I love them. So much. I didn't realize at the time (it was released) but, now knowing what the song was about, the "Tomorrow, Wendy" track is hauntingly beautiful. Even mores as this coincides with the increased AIDs awareness, this week. 


I also stumbled upon the 2-disc Jimmy Page and the Black Crowes "Live at the Greek" album. I let that one play a few times over. I love(d) both bands (The Black Crowes and Led Zeppelin) as a teenager. I remember this album played on repeat in my truck for years. 

A Tuesday ramble

It's week 5 (of an 8 week term) and I'm keeping pace with the lessons, assignments, and deadlines.

It's the same at work; I'm keeping pace with tasks and deadlines. 

I'm treading water. Barely. I feel myself starting to tire, my head slowly slipping lower towards the water's surface. 

"What's wrong, son?" my mother asked, during our Thanksgiving visit. 

"I'm just trying to figure out next steps" I replied. 

She knew what my wife already knows. There's a lot on my mind and I'm trying to make sense of it all. I'm trying to get a plan together, trying to figure out next steps. On multiple levels. 

What do I want to do tomorrow? This weekend? Next month? This year? What do I want to accomplish by the time I turn 45? 50? 65? I want to make a bigger difference but not sure how. I want to do such and such but not sure where to begin. 

I'm barely treading water yet I'm already trying to figure out what to do when I stand on shore. I'm missing the step(s) needed to get from treading to standing. I'm sinking because I'm not moving towards anything because I haven't yet told myself to start swimming because I haven't yet determine which direction I want to swim in. 

Life isn't linear. I just need to pick a direction and go. If course corrections are needed, I'll trust in myself to make them. 

Five things for the week


  1. Rather than "punish" myself for not photographing as much as I want to, I'm just going to let it happen. Where "it" means "photography". I'll photograph when I damn well please. 
  2. I want to change out the template of this website but, not quite sure how yet. Just another thing to add to the list of things to do. 
  3. Cooking has become another creative outlet for me. This could be good, could be bad. 
  4. This week, I'm challenging myself to finsh a (recreational) book. I figure an hour of reading right before bed will accomplish this. This also means that I need to stay on track with work and school so that doesn't "bleed" into my evening hours. 
  5. I have it good. I just need to remember that. Keep things in perspective. 

Recently read, watched, and listened


I remember reading this when it was first released. I loved it. I love how honest and genuine it is. While browsing through the Libby app, I saw this was available and immediately checked it out. A nice, quick read later and it just reinforced how good this really is. 

Allie Brosh is just too good. 


CNN's The Eightees. Just reliving some nostalgia while I work on other things (i.e. this was playing in the background). 

CNN's The Nineties. Once you watch the The Eighties, you have to progress to the Nineties. Duh. These, overall, reminded me of any of the VH1 nostalgia shows they used to air though, the CNN series were more political than musically focused. It was good to reminisce. 


My unplayed podcasts has grown too long. Most of what I have listened to, this past week, are older episodes of some shows so that I can catch up. This includes The Moth, Radiolab, KCRW Good Food, and The Dave Chang Show. 

A Wednesday ramble

My appreciation for 80s music is increasing. Sure, it's music from my youth (80s and 90s). Heavy Metal was my thing, which then turned more towards alternative. That was peppered by the still young rap music.  

But yeah, 80s pop was not my thing. I was aware of it. I was knowledgeable (as much as I chose to be) about it. I could name songs and artists but choosing to listen to it? Nope. 

Now, I appreciate it. All of it, whatever genre. There's something about it that I just can't yet describe with words. I just, enjoy it. 

Coincidentally, I had episode 7, of Netflix's The Eighties, playing in the background the other day. It helped me better understand my own increasing appreciation. I think they say it best when they conclude that there were just so many good artists hitting their peak during that decade.

Really good artists. 

I'm a little remorseful that I didn't give all of the genres their due while it was happening. I was following the opinions and "norms" of the people I wanted to associate myself with (as most of us do in our adolescence), and my mind was closed off as a result. 

I'm thankful that now, I can arrange an 80s playlist and just... listen. And appreciate. I can go further, deeper, listening to all Prince (he's a damn genius) tracks for hours. I can immerse in Cyndi Lauper, The Go Gos, and Heart. Michael Jackson's 80s catalog? Take away whatever tabloid new stories were happening at the time and just listen to his work. Another damn genius. 

Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders. The Eurythmics. Depeche Mode (though, I feel like I have always loved them), The Bangles, Pat Benetar, Blondie, A Flock of Seagulls, The Police, INXS, Queen, Whitney Houston, Tears for Fears... and there's so many more. 

Not sure now to end this post but, I'm going to go back into the 80s music rabbit hole now. *headphones on, press play*

A Tuesday ramble

The unwarranted criticism of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is cowardice. That she cannot, at 29 years old, afford an apartment in Washington, DC is not grounds for criticism. I'm 41 years old and cannot afford an apartment in DC. Age and income are not a measure of anything. They're not a measure of character, of achievement, of ability. They're just fucking numbers

We're programmed to attack what we fear. We go on the offensive because we're defensive. And we, as humans, are really bad at this. We don't scale. Our switch from defense to offense is binary. 

Isn't she what we want? Don't we all, regardless of political beliefs, want our youth to step forward and make a difference? Don't we want our youth to bring their voices to the conversation? We're living this right now. We are witnessing this right now, especially with this new class of leaders just recently elected.  

We're starting to see elected officials who truly represent us.

They represent our races, our background, our religions, and even those of us who cannot afford apartments in larger cities. There are people afraid of this? They're so afraid, they went defensive, then switched to offense without stopping down to realize, well... anything. Cowards. 

Also, hat tip to Greg Fallis for this post, "It's not about her clothes". We are paying attention to the wrong things. 

A Monday ramble

This evening, I used the Instant pot to make beef stew again. It tasted better this time, not that last time tasted bad. This time just had more, flavor. This time I used more beef, and slightly more beef stock, so I'm sure that had something to do with it. Mmm, meat. 

No picture. I'm trying to ween myself away from taking pictures of food. The hope is to force myself to take pictures of other things. I think a big key to that is actually going outside, which I only did once today. And that was just to roll the trash cans from the driveway into the side yard. 

So, yeah. Get outside more. Yeah. 

Work work work, and then that transitioned into school work, school work, school work. By the time that was finished, I had to make dinner. Yeah yeah, I need to work on my routine and time management and taking breaks. Yeah yeah, I just wrote about this very thing last week. 

I do feel fairly accomplished and actually proud of the things I did, today. So there's that. 

There's quite a few things I could write about but, I'm weary of looking at a bright screen and my fingers are done with keyboards. Pen and paper is an option but then that would just magnify how tired my brain is. 

That beef stew was good. Nice and comforting. 

Five things for the week

  1. The lingering smoke, from the Camp Fire, caught up to me, putting me out of commission on Thursday and Friday.  Scratchy throat and itchy eyes, to say the least. The perspective? This is minor compared to what the fire victims are going through. 
  2. I've touched on this before but, my work is trending away from "mobile" and more towards desktop. I just like sitting down at a dedicated space, on a dedicated machine, to work. Ergonomics are better, too. (duh)
  3.  Though this week will be a short (work) week, it will be busy. As always, much to do. I'm gearing up for it. 
  4. We have been fine since reducing from two cars to one. Though, I find myself wanting a second one from time to time. Part of this is because it's comfort. Part because I have always had my own car up until this past Summer. Sometimes I do get a little stir crazy. This is the ultimate test in understanding a need versus a want
  5. I think about becoming more... public. You know, promoting the blog more often, changing social media settings from private to public, and engaging in more (online) conversations regularly. I can't quite put my finger on why but, there's something keeping me from doing so.And I'm fine with that, for now. 

//So sad that I don't really have a good photo to add to this post. I don't think I picked up my camera once, this past week. That's just not good.