Notes

“Notes” are sort of like Tweets – quick thoughts that are random and not fully formed; that I didn’t want to or haven’t yet put into a longer format.


  • Season 22

    Twenty-one years ago today, I posted for the first time on this blog. A lot has happened: My wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last year; we have two nearly adult children; I’ve moved twice; changed jobs a few times; traveled quite a bit, and seen much joy and heartache.

    In terms of this site, it started out built on my own homegrown CMS based on ColdFusion, then moved to WordPress in 2006, where it’s been ever since.

    I’ve redesigned roughly 4-5 times (multiple times using my own custom themes and several with commercial themes), written over 590 posts, and tried some things I thought were pretty fun at the time but never carried through (what would a blog be if it didn’t have several false starts?)

    I don’t post nearly as much as I used to, though I love keeping the blog going with occasional updates and tinkering on the technology behind the scenes.

    During the past two plus decades, I’m fairly surprised at how little has changed with the web: the tool I use to publish this site is largely unchanged other than iterative improvements; the web itself is structurally quite similar, other than an increasing expansion of social media. That’s also paralleled by a fairly dramatic yet predictable shift from the web towards a corporate-controlled landscape with limited bottom-up, grassroots innovation, because that “user generated” creativity and innovation now comes almost exclusively from social media trends. The downside is that those trends, while culturally influential, are limited simply by the fact that users are working within small context of other platforms rather than their own. I get why – it’s easier, and it’s where the audience is – but an audience will always follow the most interesting content. In the next 21 years I’d love to see the web move back towards one where the most innovation and entertainment is originating from people with seemingly crazy ideas that make something new and have fun doing it.

  • My 2024 Mantra: Holding Myself Accountable First

    Each year, I choose a personal mantra to help guide and influence my thoughts, words, and actions for the year. For 2024, my mantra is “Holding myself accountable first”.

    This one is pretty self-explanatory. Before reacting in anger, blame, resentment, or when dealing with a challenge or a goal, I want to try to pause and reflect on my role and actions and how I can make sure I am doing my best before I take the easy route of blaming others (or other forces) for the things I am upset about.

    When I’m honest with myself, I recognize that often times, my anger or blame is not much more than a projection of my own unwise habits or my own missteps in the given situation.

    This doesn’t mean I don’t ever hold others accountable — see the word first — but rather that I start with myself and make sure I am reflecting on my own actions and how I can show up with more integrity. It also doesn’t mean I beat myself up; instead, the goal is to focus on improving outcomes, not assigning blame or self shame.

    The trigger to bring up this reflection is when I feel myself angry at a colleague, friend, or family member. That’s my cue to pause and think honestly about my role. In the sometimes that I’ve remembered to this so far, it’s also helped to cool my anger and given me more space to think about creative ways to address my challenges.

  • What’s changed since Planes, Trains & Automobiles was released 36 years ago

    As we do each year we’re once again watching the classic (and my favorite movie of all time) Planes, Trains & Automobiles. Released on November 25 1987, the movie is now 36 years old. It’s fascinating to see how many bits and pieces of daily life in America have changed in just three decades’ time.

    Here are some things I’ve noticed that are different in 2023:

    Brands seen in the movie that are no longer in existence:

    A man waits for a cab in a crowded ew York City street with a Roy Rogers restaurant sign visible in the background
    A man walks across an airport runway with a TWA jet visible in the background.
    A man dressed in a suit and fedora talks on the phone

    Societal norms that have changed:

    • Smoking is widely illegal in US restaurants, airport lounges, and other indoor spaces
    • Paying with cash is becoming extremely rare
    • Men rarely if ever wear hats in professional settings

    Tools / Devices no longer in wide use:

    • Pay phones
    • Imprinter / swipe credit card processing machines
    • Printed, folio-style plane tickets
    An old credit card 'imprinter' tool used to process credit cards
    A man opens the driver's side door of a green car with wood paneling on the sides

    Other things that are different:

    • The movie has a notable scene with New York City taxi cabs, in a time when Uber and other ride share companies didn’t exist.
    • There are no more vehicles with fake (or real?) wood siding – bring those back!