A Week in Review

I’ve been back to posting fairly regularly for a little more than a month now. I had stopped because life had gotten too busy; between sitting in front of a computer for 8+ hours a day for work, a family that wants attention, and a dangerous amount of sleep deprivation it became hard to finding something to write about. Throughout the pandemic, life has felt fairly monotonous, what could my voice add to the billions that were feeling the same way.

A few weeks ago, though, I realized that I missed the consistency. I missed the deadline of needing to get something posted. I felt I had things to say; not always serious things, or big things, but things all the same.

But I am taking it slow to start with. Just getting back into getting something posted is enough for now. I have a couple of items in my drafts that need various levels of polish, research, and work until they’re ready. I want to get the juices flowing enough to get some fiction going again.

Finding the words to say what I am thinking has not always been a strong suit. Taking the time to say how I feel even less so. This has always been a space to work on the parts of me that I felt were under-developed. I hope that continues.

In the meantime, I hope everyone will take their shot when they have their shot. I hope everyone will wear a mask, keep each other safe, and find some compassion. I hope that we can remember the lessons learned over the last year. I always hope we can see each other again.

A few links to end the week…

  • CDC Vaccine Finder – Useful tool to find appointments and distribution near you. Reminder, availability will be expanded on April 16th!
  • Broken (in the best possible way) – One of my favorite authors, Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess), has a new book out. It is wonderful and speaks to how it feels to live with mental illness. Please support a local bookshop, if you can!

As always, my friends, good luck. Until next week…


I have been on lockdown since February 20, 2020. That was the last day I spent any real time in the outside world. I had a small medical procedure the next day, spent a week working from home. By the time I was supposed to go back to the office, we were on temporary work from home duty. That 30 day order turned into 60 days, into 90 days, into…well, I pretty much just work from home now.

I realized the other day that I have not been into a Target in more than a year. I haven’t been to Disneyland, which may be more of a miracle if you know me. Last week was the first time I’ve eaten at a restaurant, and then only because we had to take our littlest to an appointment several hours from our house.

We have been extraordinarily careful over this time. We’ve wiped down groceries, changed clothes and taken showers, washed hands, limited shopping. We’ve closed a business and looked at ways to change our life. All in the name of keeping ourselves, and our families, safe and healthy.

I want my children to grow up to have long and healthy lives; so a new virus comes up with unknown long term effects, I want to keep them safe. I want to dance at their weddings, graduations, have dinners long into the future, so I’ll keep myself and my wife safe. I want my parents to be around for more than their parents were, so I will do what I can to keep them safe.

I understand that not everyone will agree with my viewpoint. The world is big enough for a lot of different people and their own ideas. But I will do what I need to do to keep my family safe. And if that means following government recommendations, and wearing a piece of cloth, and washing my hands, and not licking poles, and limiting my contact with other disgusting humans, then fine. We can do that.

All of this to say, I am so tired of this. I don’t miss going out. I never really liked it to begin with. What I miss, is the possibility of it. I miss the ability to go to dinner. I miss the ability to go to the movies, or to go to a store, or to see my parents. Or, really, to go to Disneyland.

The last year has been hard. Well, to be fair, the last four haven’t been a cakewalk, but the last year has been especially hard. And now, here it is, the precipice of tomorrow.

My wife received her first vaccine last week. My parents are waiting for their second shots. Initial tests on my oldest’s age group looks promising for the fall. And I have my shot tomorrow.

We always have tomorrow to look forward to. No matter how bad yesterday was, no matter how low we are today, tomorrow is just around the corner. The injustices of the world, the slights of fate we endure, or the pains and trials we go through…they will all fade in the promise of tomorrow.

Until next time my friends…stay safe, stay healthy, and good luck.

The Joys of Working from Home

My entire life, I have always thought, “Ah, to work from home.” The dream was to wake up, stroll downstairs to enjoy coffee on my balcony, watching the rats scurry to their offices while I caught up on the days events from NPR. After a breakfast of soft cheese, toast, and fruit, I would wander into my perfectly appointed office to begin the labors of the day. I would occasionally stop to refill my coffee mug, to make and enjoy a leisurly lunch, and perhaps even pop into the backyard to work while the children quielty frolicked in the backyard. At the end of the day, I would turn off the computer, content with the amount of work I had accomplished, free of the distractions and politics of an office environment, and pour myself a glass of wine to get a start on dinner.

Every single part of that dream was a lie.

I have been incredibly fortunate to have a job the last several years that is is work from home. When 2020 struck with the warning and shock of a tsunami, I was fortunately prepared. I had everything I needed to be a fully encapsulated worker bee in the comfort of my own home. I had worked from home for the previous 18 months, and felt prepared; how much was life really going to change for me. Oh boy…

I was not prepared for the new frentic energy of Pandemic Life in this household. With four humans and two canines trying to share a 2-bedroom apartment, the chances of someones toes getting stepped on or fuse being lit is un-erringly high. There are four different schedules, naps (sadly, not mine), homework, phone calls, training meetings, clients, emergencies, homework, meals, changes of plans, and also homework.

The average day does not involve what could be described as a dream. Upon waking up, usually from a night’s sleep that involved getting various children and dogs back to sleep, I get up in time to rush through my morning ablutions and plop myself down in my chair for a meeting. Sometimes I can grab coffee before, but usually not. After the meeting it is work until, hopefully, my wonderful wife has had time to get some food on a plate for me while trying to herd the sacks of cats that I swear are impersonating our children.

Then I blink and it is time for the littlest to take a nap, which means that the room that has been my office reverts back to being the kid’s room, and I have to find a new place to work. I try to time this around my lunch, but sometimes there are meetings, or calls, or emergencies. Through all of this, the 1st grader is doing his school work.

I’m not sure I remember much of my 1st grade experience. I have vauge recolations of learning to tell time on an analog clock, of reading, and…of not liking my teacher very much. My child may share a few of those memories. This has to be a difficult time for him too; out of a classroom, home all the time, not really understanding the reasons for this life-changing event. But also, why can’t we just do 19+17=? and move on with our lives? Or why can’t you just copy the lines, or read the story, or…ugh.

Then there is my wife. She is holding this house together with her bare hands. She has a business she is trying to keep going, despite a global health emergency that has essentially shut down her industry. She is teaching, and developing ways to continue to push her students forward. She is doing the shopping and the lion’s share of the cooking, and keeping our son on track with his schoolwork and…she just does it. We try to split the chores we can, and each help to get the have-to’s doene. Without her, we would be sunk. And with only two or three breakdowns to her credit, I am damned impressed!

Yes, working from home was the dream, but that dream is very different from the reality. That isn’t bad or good, it just is the reality we are living in right now. Eventually the older one will go back to school, the other will have their own room to nap in. My wife will be able to do what she always expected to do, and I will have that perfectly appointed office. In the meantime, we are alive, we are healthy, and we have everything we need to live, survive, and to keep moving forward. And, for now, that is all we need.

Until next time…stay safe, stay sane, and good luck.

Black and White

I grew up watching old movies; film noir, musicals, westerns, mysteries, Hitchcock thrillers. We didn’t have cable, but we had a VCR and a membership to the local video store. My parents played films that they had watched on Movie of the Week growing up, or whatever happened to catch our eye. It was a time when video stores, really good ones, hadn’t caught up to the latest fad or Hollywood Blockbuster. It was the best the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s could deliver. Maybe, if the mood struck us, we would wander into the 1960’s, but mostly we stayed in the slightly hazy and always black and white world of the pre-World War II era.

Some of my favorite actors continue to be from this era. Bogart and Bacall, Spencer Tracy and Kathryn Hepburn, James Cagney, who wasn’t always my favorite but I almost always enjoyed his movies. The character actors of Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. Above them all though was William Powell and Myrna Loy; the stars of six Thin Man films, they had wonderful chemistry and sparkled in every way.

These films served as an introduction to the world; the era had a look that was plainly not reality. It was so far removed from time or place that I knew, it was impossible to be understood as reflecting reality. I had never met a detective, no one wore a hat or trenchcoat or a suit. No one owned a 1940 Ford, or kept a pretty good bottle of rye in their pocket. But it gave something else.

It was like watching a play every weekend. It was theater, pure and simple. You saw many of the same actors, playing similar roles. You knew who was the bad guy, you knew who was the femme fatale. You knew the good guy always had a heart of gold under the rough exterior. The guy always got the girl, and the home team won and the Allies won the battles against the evil Axis Powers. It was pantomime, but with a great budget.

It gave an appreciation for lighting, for making due. It allowed me to see how acting styles changed and how costumes and sets evolved. It allowed me to tell if something was an A- or B- or C-picture, which part of the reel it would come on, and how the actors were valued. I learned the best directors and how they influenced who would come after. Why John Williams scores are so moving, and where he learned it.

I’ve never seen Gremlins, or Goonies, or Alien. I can’t quote The Termininator, and I probably can’t name a John Hughes movie off the top of my head. But I know the films that influenced those ones, and I spent years learning their language. I appreciate filmmaking and storytelling, because we didn’t have anything else.

Now, it’s late and I’m tired, so time to turn on The Thin Man Goes Home, pour the rest of the wine, and enjoy. So, until next week, good night, and good luck…

Is it 2020 or 2021? Or was that 2022?

We humans like to divide our lives up into cozy little boxes. From our genres on Netflix, and taxinomic labels for animals all the way down to who we are and see others. We like to force time into little boxes too; a 15 minute box for a call, a 60 minute box for food, a work week and a weekend, four of those to a month, how has it been a year.

What does a year mean, past the rotation of this rock around a pinpoint of light. What does it mean to us as a people? A year older, a year of accomplishments, or of opportunities not taken. A year of waiting; of waiting for news that doesn’t come or of news that came too late. A year of work to get ahead, only to fall apart. A year means no more than deciding that this earth-worm is a Lumbricus terrestris or that film is definitely a dark comedy; we’ve decided that.

The waiting though, that is what will get to you. Waiting to start the next step, or waiting to stop this program, or waiting to pack another goddamn box. It’s easier to stop waiting, and just settle into the regular rhythm of life in a box in a corner of a cube in a block of a town in a county in a state in what is left of a country. One year wasted, what’s the difference of another.

The Dream

There are a multitude of accounts on Instagram which advertise cheap homes. You can even further narrow that list down to accounts which show cheap foreign homes. I mean, foreign in an American sense. I suppose to the people which live in those countries they are local. Anyways, I happen to follow an account called @yourcheapdreamhome. They specialize in homes under $100K in far away lands.

They have shown everything from apartment living in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to balconied Grecian villas. From sunny Italy to snowy Sweden. And I always look at them and think, “Yeah, that would do for me.” But not really. That isn’t The Dream.

Sometimes you let yourself believe that you’ll have The Dream; that it will become real and you can live it. But most of the time, it exists as just that, a dream to reflect on and think about. A fantasia to fall asleep to, and a smile when you awake. But it is always there.

Mine appeared in one of their posts. It was a small cottage in the Liore Valley of France; a 2-bedroom stone cottage, with a garden and wood-beams. A place to live a quiet life, filled with bread, books, wine, and the sound of a fire in the hearth. I began to fill my head with those places; riding my bike to the bakery, speaking to shopkeepers as I bought what we needed for supper, writing in the little stone building. Sipping ice cold pinot grigio as I watched butterflies flit about in the garden.

If this year has taught us anything, it is that we can get by with far less than we thought we needed. The things I need are a cup of coffee in the morning, a glass of wine at night, health, food, and company. I have been fortunate to have all of those. I have been fortunate to have a job that I enjoy and is possible to do from home. I have heat in the winter, air conditioning in the summer. I have my health, and am happy with that.

Of course there are things that I wish I had; a more walkable/bikeable place to live, and a good grocer nearby. More time to write, and a good place to do so. But there are also things that are harder to place. I wish I had a good place for my children to play safely. I wish I had a community. I wish I had time.

Most of these items would not be fixed by picking up and moving to France, even for a cottage that only costs $107,000. I would be moving kids and dogs and a wife, however willing she may be willing to go. I would be making it a two-day trip back to see my parents, and having to navigate a foreign country where I only vaugely speak the language. And I still would not have time.

This is what makes The Dream so hard to pin down. By the time you can have that cottage in France, your list of things that the dream is fixing has changed. Perhaps you can no longer ride a bike, or your children playing safely is no longer a concern, or the tax burden is no longer worth it. The winters are too cold, and wine gives you heartburn.

The Dream is unobtainable, but that doesn’t mean we should stop dreaming. It means we have to keep working.

Until next time, stay safe and keep dreaming my friends.

Life in the Time of CoVID-19

Isn’t life funny? The timing of it all really. We all had hopes and dreams for 2020; a trip to Europe, weddings, birthdays, movie premieres. We had plans of a much more mundane nature too. Going on a picnic, or to work, or to school. And then something else happened instead.

My family is, as I write this, 30 days into our isolation. Due to an illness and a few other intervening events, our’s started a little more than a week earlier than the rest of California. My wife and I had seen the writing on the wall though. We had been following as other nations confronted a new reality; corona virus was coming. We made sure that we did a heavier than expected grocery run, we made sure we had what we needed for the next little bit. I assumed we were overreacting and being overly cautious. I was wrong.

Our story now is no different than those of people in Paris or London or San Francisco. It probably is a little different than some people’s story in Lombardy, New York, or Seattle. We have food, we are able to go out for walks, and, most importantly, we are all healthy. The people I know are currently healthy. But if the first three months of this year have proven anything, it is that things can change very quickly.

Case in point, my last two places of employment, everyone is just…not working. Disneyland Cast Members are furloughed as of April 19th; I can’t even imagine how they are feeling. I know when I was working there, this would have wrecked any savings I had. Apple employees are not working for a while, and while some are being offered at home positions temporarily, many are just not working.

In my case, I am fortunate to have a job that is currently in demand and has stayed busy. My wife has been less fortunate; she is in allied health and her industry is currently being recommended to practice social distancing. She’s closed her office and canceled clients; most likely this is the end of her business for the time being. The future is a strange place.

I don’t think this is the 2020 we expected. In a world that many see as divided and divisive, as ill-prepared and ill-equiped, a world still reeling from events to many to mention, a different story may exist just under the surface. From Italy to New York, London to Seatle, San Franciso to Tokyo, we are in this together. Never has the world shared a singluar focus like this. The world is sharing in this moment together.

From my family to yours, stay safe, be well. And good luck. We are in this fight together…even if we are staying six feet apart.


I have a list of Drafts for this blog. It has a several projects that I have just started, a collection of notes and thoughts; the genesis of an idea before it has taken flight. There are a couple of articles and their research that I haven’t posted, or whose time has passed, no longer relevent in today’s world.

But for one selection: that is a story that will remain unfortunately unfinished. Originally planned as a post for Halloween, and I loved it. It was dark and devious. It was going so well, and then…it wasn’t anything. I was distracted. Distracted by the things that happen; a new job, new responsibilities, new schedule. It was never completed. And I never set out enough of an outline to be able to finish it the way I wanted. So it sits there, a reminder of what almost was, of what could have been. Half a story, a final sentence, and no resolution.

Drafts folders are strange things; they save our stories, articles, ideas. Things unfinished, untouched, almost unremembered. Sometimes those ideas mean something, sometimes they never meant anything. Sometimes those drafts get recycled into something new, into a different idea, or a different post. Sometimes they just sit there, like a trinket on a shelf, gathering intellectual dust until we don’t even recognize the person that originally wrote it.

We should all clean out that folder sometimes. To get rid of the old ideas that we aren’t attached to, to free up the head space, and find ways to move on. It’s good to look through, and maybe be inspired, maybe be embarrassed, maybe even find peace.

Until next time, friends.

“Yer a wizard…”

iTunes recently had the Harry Potter series on sale, and I went ahead and plunked down some cash for all eight movies. Before long I was two movies in and had the strongest urge to reread the books. I finished the first book in less than two days. I’m being irritated that other responsibilities are distracting me in my quest to do the same for the second.

There is something about the books that I love; the adventure perhaps, the writing is strong, and the stories certainly hold up. But I think the part that I love the most, is the idea that magic is hiding just out of sight.

That behind a brick wall in London is an alley where all manner of magical things can be found. That the strange person you saw out the window of a train was actually a wizard on their way to some endeavor. That the cat prowling through the neighborhood is really an animagus in disguise.

My imagination has always run wild; the idea of flying on a broomstick, casting spells or riding dragons was never far away. To have stories like that at my fingertips is too much to hope for.

I like the good and evil nature of the stories too. Voldemort is the ultimate evil, the Death Eaters  (whose name may as well be a Black Metal band) with their Dark Marks are plainly on the opposite side of truth, justice, and apple pie. Conversely, how much better can Harry Potter be. Or Professor McGonagall or Hermione. They stand in direct opposition, and it is nice in our world to have the simplicity.

It is nice to think that in some corner of our world, that it would be so easy to learn the truth with veritasium. That you can plainly see who the bad guys are with their Dark Marks. That you can tell when someone has committed an unforgivable curse or used underage magic. Or just that you can enchant a scrubber to do the dishes.

The Harry Potter books hold a special place for me, for the same reason as Doctor Who; the strange in the world is just the wonder leaking out. Magic is everywhere, we just aren’t looking hard enough.

Until next time, my friends, good night and good luck.

Life Changes

Life changes.

Everyone says the only constants are death and taxes, but let’s be real; those two can’t be trusted not to change on you in the space of half a heartbeat.

Almost two years ago, I said I was going to take a break from the blog to focus on writing a novel. I expected it to take a year. It hasn’t. And that’s alright, it takes time to craft ideas and get the ideas that are in your head onto paper, and then once they are there you realize that it didn’t work out the way you expected and you have to go back and rewrite a whole chapter, but now that doesn’t work with this and it all has to change.

And it does all have to change. That’s what life is, change. The constant moving and struggle and racing until finally the constant that isn’t a constant catches up to you, and everything changes again.

We talk about counting on people, on being there for others. We talk about how fast the years go by and how long a day is. The universe is changing around us, tomorrows become yesterdays, and we just keep riding the waves of time, hoping to find a quiet beach to read a book or take a nap. That might just be me, though. I have a five year old.

Thanksgiving was just a couple of days ago, so perhaps I have been thinking about being thankful. About appreciating the things in life that we have, rather than what we are running to. Or running from. The Autumn is a great time for this, to curl up next to a window, watch the rain, and sip some tea, thinking about our lives and taking stock.

So thank you. Thank you for reading, however sporadically things are posted. Thank you for being a part of this world. Thank you being you.

Until next time, friends, stay hungry…