Here's my quarterly update! (Inside joke about a single video I made as a teacher claiming I would make "quarterly videos," but only made 1 during the 2 years I taught...)
First off, some fun Newgrounds-related news: A fan of Abobo's Big Adventure cosplayed as Abobo at a recent comic book/video game convention!
Now for some eye-candy... I made a "Werewolf" shirt for Halloween! Here's the short time-lapse process video:
You can get a WOLFY t-shirt here: https://www.amazon.com/Full-Halloween-Scary-Werewolf-T-Shirt/dp/B07XXS89ZX/
My "Millennial" co-worker had never heard of a Pineapple upside down cake!?!?! (He thought I was making the concept up) So, on his last day at work, I brought him a home-made one:
My work installed a counter for the number of yearbooks we've sold (which corresponds to the number of trees we've planted too!) Slow-mo video ahead:
A co-worker brought me a collector's item... BUZZ COLA from The Simpson's Movie promotion in 2007! I'm a little nervous every day that it will explode all over my desk! (Also, I got some prescription sunglasses like all the cool kids, it's especially cool to wear them at night... and inside the office...)
If the soda does explode, it will get 5 MONITORS sticky! (this is nerdy to the extreme, but I luv it). Also... JEOPARDY HAT!
Another co-worker invented a "framework" of UI elements we use for all our product design called "Stomata" (look it up, it's tree-related). Naturally, we have a million puns on this word including "What's Stomata wit you?!!" Me and the co-worker who got the pineapple upside down cake played a prank on the Stomata inventor by making a bunch of "Stomata Soup" (custom made can labels) that we left on his desk late one night for him to discover in the morning.
My first audio submission! I attempted to make a podcast at my friend's insistence... (plz don't listen):
Have you ever wondered how best to rinse the hair from your razor in the shower? Wonder no longer!
I've been discussing with my buddy who's building his own automated machining robot the possibility of designing a simulator for electronics and pneumatics (so he can more-rapidly prototype his robot). It would be kinda fun to work on, though I'm sure there's stuff out there that does it already.
I've been studying Greek with the DuoLingo app. It's actually working! πορτοκάλι πορτοκάλι πορτοκάλι
I'm on Step 9 of my 12 step program which is "Restitution and Reconciliation." I've had some really poignant and cathartic experiences reaching out in-person to heal old relationships where I have done damage. Some relationships really can't be healed fully (impossible or inappropriate to make restitution), but I'm trying to put my heart in the right place, be honest wherever I can, and put out the vibe that I'm sorry for the hurt I've done. I really like the idea of "living amends" in which an improved life helps demonstrate to others the depth of change you've experienced. I'm far from perfect, but I keep trying.
Oh, I also reached my 9-month sobriety benchmark!
One thing that's great about 12 Step programs is that you find people whose path, though different in many ways, is the same in the broad strokes. I was at a speaking/outreach gig talking about addiction recovery and had this song go through my head repeatedly as I thought about how powerful it is to hear your story told in another person's voice (lyrics):
I've been listening to a few good Podcasts:
1) Mormon Stories: This is a "Post-Mormon" or "Unorthodox Mormon" podcast that tells stories of modern people that have struggled with the Mormon/LDS faith. There's a really good episode about the band "Imagine Dragons," another that tells the history of Scientology from an ex-Scientologist that moved pretty high up in the organization, and one from a friend of mine that is an incredible artist and human, Spencer Nugent.
2) The Virtual Couch (Tony Overbay): I have some family members whose therapist is Tony Overbay and they raved about him so much I started listening to his podcast. He practices a kind of therapy called "EFT" which I absolutely love (though it's extremely hard to practice). The gist is about seeking to truly empathize with people we communicate with, limiting judgement and fixing statements, and seeking to understand completely before seeking to be understood. I didn't realize what I tendency I have to "fix" and "judge" when people come to me with problems/concerns. Practicing EFT (when I'm successful at it) has been life-changing.
3) Jennifer Finlayson Fife: She's a Mormon sex therapist, specializing in women's sexuality and all the baggage and odd norms that go along with being a woman in the ultra-conservative and religious Mormon culture. I really dig her philosophy about relationships and owning your own sexuality rather than expecting your partner to be "in charge" of it for you.
4) Office Ladies: This is just good, clean, fun. Angela and Pam from "The Office" have their own podcast where they re-watch The Office and provide commentary, insights, etc. It's a great way to relive a classic of television history!
5) Brene Brown: According to me, Brene Brown might just be a modern-day prophetess. I believe her messages about shame-busting, vulnerability, and empathy are custom tailored for what the world (and especially I) need right now. Her ideas have been life changing and I have a bunch of her books on my queue to read. Most specifically "The Power of Vulnerability." I remember, when I was teaching high school, a student asked me what I thought the purpose of life was, and I expressed that it was about connecting with other humans in vulnerable ways... Brene's message resonates hugely with that idea. The link above is from the new-agey "Goop" podcast by Gwyneth Paltrow.
Which brings me to the book review section of this post... you knew it was coming, but this time I led with the personal stuff so as not to bore you!
1) Educated: A Memoir - Incredible true story about a girl that grew up in an abusive fundamentalist Mormon home and how she ended up overcoming her "home schooling" to get a phD from Cambridge university. Lots of weird resonances in there from my own experience with Mormonism.
2) The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Great, different, book. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. The author (Marie Kondo) is a legitimate KOOK (talks a lot about how clothes feel... like how socks get stressed when they're balled up. Or how having loud labels on bins and boxes can throw off your mojo, even if they're behind closed doors), but also has a timely message about reducing "stuff" in our life and keeping the things that truly "spark joy." I did not expect to come out of this book motivated to clean... but I did!
3) The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August - Also a really different book. It's kinda like: What if you took Groundhog Day's repetitive life cycle to an extreme... what would it really do to a person and what kinds of ambitions and relationships would they form with the world? What if they discovered they were a part of a class of OTHER people also experiencing the same life-loops?
4) Fear and Trembling - I finally finished this one. It's a philosophical book. I had to take it slow to let the density of the text sink in and ruminate. It takes as its premise the story of Abraham Sacrificing Isaac and why that might have been totally insane or totally sane. One interesting point it brings up is how a practice of breaking stride with traditional interpretations of "ethics" can actually be beneficial for a society because it can lead to things that question fundamentally immoral tenets of the society (I thought of the Civil Rights movement as an example of this concept). However, this practice can also lead to "suicide bombers" so... there's that. I really do highly recommend this one.
1) Le Ton Beau De Marot - Yep, still reading this one. It got lost for a while, but I really want to complete it because I'm enjoying it so much.
2) He Restoreth My Soul - A religious take on overcoming pornography/sex addiction. It has some really good parts in it, much more comprehensive and practical than I expected.
3) Infinite Powers - As good as I expected it to be. About 50% through it and loving the synthesis of the history of mathematics and how the various mathematical history vignettes paint a picture of how each player built and wove the ideas of others into new ideas, each pushing toward greater discovery of some of the fundamental truths underlying our existence (and how to represent them in a way that our limited minds can "grok").
4) The Goldfinch - I'm afraid this one might be a long slog. I chose it because it was on the best-seller list (JEOPARDY points) - but it hasn't captured my interest deeply yet.
1) Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom - Reading this as part of a book club. I guess there's a movie coming out soon?
2) The Demon Haunted World - Carl Sagan - Recommended in a podcast I recently listened to. Looking forward to some skeptical goodness
3) Cosmos - Carl Sagan - Added just to round out my Carl Sagan exposure
4) The Kite Runner - Another JEOPARDY best seller knowledge ploy
When I undertook to write this post I thought I didn't have much to say... but as I reviewed the last 3 months, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there's quite a bit that I can point to that I did. Good for me! ;-P
As always, if you made it this far, please leave me a comment... even if just to say "HI!"