Category Archives: General

Happy 4th of July!

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To celebrate Independence Day this year, I thought it would be interesting to talk about the road trips I’ve taken in the past few years. Because what’s more American than cruising down our amazing highway network to explore our great country? I got the inspiration for this post from an article I saw earlier today on Jalopnik, and I thought I’d expand upon that thought here, to bring some life back to this ghost town of a blog.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have taken a few road trips in my short life so far. The first one was only months after I got my driver’s license. I drove to upstate New York with my band in my dad’s 2003 Toyota Sienna, hitting up Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, and Jamestown. It was a lot of driving and I was the only driver, but it wasn’t too bad because I had a bunch of friends in the van. We played one show in some random community center in Rochester, and then we played a show in an indoor skate park in Jamestown. Those were some great times, and I still have great memories of that little tour.

The next road trip was several years later, in my recently purchased (and crashed) 2003 Hyundai Elantra. I had just gotten the radiator and brakes fixed a few days before the trip. I loaded up everything I owned into that little car, including my guitars, my computer, my clothing, my girlfriend, and all her clothing. Somehow it all fit. I split the roughly 2,600 mile trip into 5 days, driving roughly 8-9 hours a day each day. I saw so much open space in the country; it makes me wonder why everybody squeezes into these tight cities. It was awesome to see the weather change in a matter of days, from freezing cold in the north to a wonderful summer in the south. I drove through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. I remember speeding down the mountains of Flagstaff hoping that my brakes wouldn’t fail. I was so excited when I reached the Phoenix city limits. That little Hyundai did the whole trip without a single complaint. It even got respectable gas mileage after it all. It died two weeks later; I guess it gave its last breath to get us across the country.

My most recent road trip was a month or two ago, in my 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT. It was a quick little weekend trip to San Diego via the I-8. It was a lot of fun speeding through the desert, flooring that tiny little four-banger to get it up the mountains. San Diego was quite a bit more hilly than I remember when I visited as a kid. Nonetheless it was quite pleasant to see the city and the ocean again. I had a pretty good time there, and the trip back was perfect.

My next road trip will be in my new (to me) 2001 BMW 540ia, which I’m fixing up right now. You’ll hear more about it later. Once it’s perfect, I’m going to drive down the Pacific Highway in it. I’m planning to go all the way up the west coast, as I’ve never done that before.

If you have a car and some free time, get out there and explore the country! It would be downright un-American not to.

We’re Back Again

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I have this terrible habit of posting a few times in a row and then disappearing for a few months when it comes to writing this blog… So let’s try this again. Since the last time I’ve posted, a few things in my life have changed, while a few have stayed the same. I still work at the same place, still have the same car, still have two wonderful cats, and I’m still happily with my girlfriend for over 5 years.

Last December, my family drove down to Phoenix to celebrate the holidays with me. I gave them a tour of the Phoenix/Tempe/Scottsdale area in my Hyundai. Somehow all six of us fit into the car. We had a great time celebrating Christmas and welcoming in the new year on New Year’s Eve. Words can’t really describe how nice it was to see my family again after so long. I talk to my parents on the phone/Facetime every week, but there’s nothing quite like being with family in person. It was a great time, easily one of the highlights of last year.

As for my living situation, I’ve moved from my apartment in Glendale to an apartment in Tempe last May, and then to a house in Chandler this January. I quite enjoy living in a house again, it’s the only way to live that feels right to me. Maybe that’s because I’ve spent my whole life up until recently living in houses. Anyways, it’s a nice three bedroom house in a quiet community. Having a two-car garage is nice for when I get a second car, and just having a garage in general is great for the summers here. Otherwise it’s nearly impossible to touch the steering wheel with how painfully hot a car gets in the sun. I have to say, I’m not a big fan of the HOA here, but they’re not the most strict so I can live with it for now. It took me a while to furnish the whole house, but I’m glad to say that I’m like 90% done at this point. All I need is a TV and some decorations to liven everything up. The cats love the house too, there’s lots of room for them to run around.

I’ve lived through last summer, and it’s the beginning of another summer right now. Last summer was relatively mild, according to people that have lived in Phoenix for a while, and this summer is definitely shaping up to be a scorcher. I know a lot of people can’t stand the heat, but I personally love it. I’ll take extreme heat over the cold any day. I certainly don’t miss winter. My electric bills so far are pretty reasonable, but that might be because I keep the AC at 81º instead of cranking it to 65º. I don’t even like it that cold indoors, I’d rather be comfortable.

Work has been great for me as well. I’ve really grown as a web developer in the year that I’ve worked at Fervor, and I’m still happy to go to work. Which is more than I can say for a lot of the jobs that I’ve worked in the past. The Christmas party we had in December was pretty sweet too, it was 70’s themed and it was a lot of fun.

I’ve bought myself a few new guitars and I’ve been doing a fair bit of audio work as well. I finished rebranding my studio to be Affinity Recordings, with a spiffy new site, new Facebook page, and business cards. I enjoyed the opportunity to do some design work again, as I mostly do web development work nowadays. Now that I have a large house I can record bands without worrying too much about noise.

As for this blog, I’ve brought back the theme I had on here for a few years, but with a few small tweaks to make it more current. It’s still not responsive and looks a bit dated, but I can live with that for now. Eventually I’ll build a modern new theme, but it’s not a high priority at the moment.

As of now, everything is going pretty well, and I couldn’t be happier with life :)

What If Steve Jobs Had Presented the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch?

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This article reimagines Tuesday’s event if Steve Jobs was the one running it. The first part of the text makes some interesting points and criticisms of the actual presentation, followed by a Steve Jobsified reimagining of it. It’s so spot-on that it hurts to read, and it makes me realize just how much the world and Apple lost when Jobs died. I miss his presentation style, and even though Tim Cook makes references to it (“one more thing”), he’s still not Steve Jobs. Makes me wonder if maybe Apple should just have a hologram of Steve Jobs do the keynotes…

13 Years Later

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It’s been thirteen years since that fateful day in September, yet my memory of that day is still crystal clear. It was a beautiful day, the weather was perfect, and America was on top of the world. We were invincible, or so we thought. Then the towers came tumbling down, and with that, the perception of our safety and global dominance were torn down as well. Past the initial shock of the tragedy, the effects of 9/11 are still felt around the country today.

Even after everything that’s happened, we still stand strong, and I still firmly believe the US is the best country in the world. We’re not without our faults, but there’s no other place in the world that’s like the US of A. No act of terrorism will take away our love of this country and its freedoms.

Just a Thought

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If you don’t want compromising pictures of yourself to get into the wrong hands, the best advice is to not take those compromising pictures in the first place. That’s the unfortunate truth of the internet. It is a wonderful tool that allows the limitless spread of information, but at the cost of spreading literally everything.

You can hide behind layers of security and encryption, but if you’re a popular target, those walls will eventually come crashing down. If you’re a well known person, don’t take that risk, it’s just not worth it in the end. Put your phone away, and put your clothes back on; that’s the best security advice I can give.

No More Break

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It’s long been a blogging tradition to have a little excerpt of the blog post on the front page, with a “read more” link to continue reading the full post. I had this system going on here for a little bit as well, but as of this year I’ve stopped doing it completely. Why? It’s an archaic remnant from the for-profit blog era, where making visitors click through would allow them to see more ads, and thus would generate more revenue for the blog owner.

Online advertising has changed greatly since then, and unless you have targeted ads like Fusion/The Deck, there’s little point to having ads on your blog unless you’re some viral/meme blog. I haven’t had ads on this blog in a very long time, so it just seemed a little stupid to have “read more” links for no real reason. Sure, the home page looks tidier with only excerpts, but this site is primarily a blog, with no other purpose, so why hide the content?

That being said, I’ll be going through the older posts and removing all the “read more” links. Unfortunately I did not have the foresight to make automatic excerpts, so I have a whole bunch of posts to manually edit. Oh well. It’ll make writing easier from now on, because I won’t have to think about where to split a post. No more unnecessary interruptions.

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