On Our Way Back Home

For seven years, The City has been my home away from home. I learned how to navigate a car, how to budget, how to make friends, and countless other skills while staying here. I’ve made friends here that I keep in touch with more than anyone I attended high school with, save a few exceptions. I learned how to make it on my own, and I have memories here that I’ll cherish until, inevitably, I’m stricken by one or more various ailments that rob me of my mental acuity.

Lex Skyline

The City and I, however, have been fooling ourselves for the last year or so. Our relationship has been similar to so many others in life—both parties suddenly feeling more alone, unexpectedly, without knowing exactly what went wrong. To make matters worse, every trip I’ve taken to see my family has made it harder and harder to come back here. To be sitting with my entire family (cute nieces included) and have to force myself to leave—for no other reason than my truck and my apartment and my job and all the rest of my shit sits 140 miles away—is what any ‘90s surfer dude worth his salt would call a “bummer”.

Therefore, it is with a clear conscience and a happy heart that I declare my intent to move back Home. It won’t be an immediate relocation, as I have to save up enough money to cover my expenses during moving—and I won’t pack a single box until I know I’m financially covered. It’d be ideal to find a job before moving, but it isn’t a requirement. Everyone in my family (and some who aren’t related) have offered me a place to stay while I adjust myself to my “new” surroundings, so I’ll have time to find a place. For the first time in over a year, I feel at peace…and that feels wonderful.

I’ll talk more about this on here as I mull it over. For now, I’m going to draw up budgets, timelines, and other things to occupy my energized and rejuvenated mind.

VIDEO: “Hammer and Nails” by Gov’t Mule

This is a top-five song by a top-five band. I’ve been a big fan of the Mule since my teen years, and they continue to impress as the years go by. There are probably better recordings of this song than the one below, but I’ll leave it to you to search for them. I’m certain that along the way, you’ll find some other gems and, hopefully, latch onto one of the best bands of the last twenty years.

 

Out of the Vault: Mac Mini Edition

I used to blog on the regular, until life happened for a couple of years. Reading over what I wrote, there’s some good stuff in there–like this (slightly outdated) rambling on a computer I was considering getting in December 2008, the Mac mini. Don’t get me wrong, I’d take the mini in a heartbeat, but my computer life has shifted slightly. Still, it’s fun for me to read something like this and remember exactly how I was thinking–one of the big benefits to journaling/blogging. Enjoy.

I’ll say it: the Mac mini is an odd box.

I was on Apple’s website doing some “window shopping” when I spotted the mini (all lowercase letters, because apparently Apple can use this device, as well as the iPod and others, to alter basic ideas of capitalization). At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of it—after all, it’s a very small box (6.5″ x 6.5″ x 2″), and the box is all you get. No mouse, no keyboard, no display (unless ordered separately). That explains the cheap cost; the mini starts at $599. Of course, that’s barebones, and you know this guy wants to upgrade. For the machine I customized,  complete with the Apple keyboard/mouse combo, the cost would be $924—and I’d still have a monitor left to buy, which leads me to another point.

From what I’ve read on forums, the mini has issues with some monitors; some consumers have reported getting a distorted image, while others say their display had a greenish tint to it. That isn’t to say that all non-Apple monitors are incompatible—apparently, most DVI monitors work rather well with the machine. That would still put me at around$1200, which doesn’t seem like much of a bargain, considering I could get a bigger, speedier machine for the same price, without having to order the keyboard/mouse/display separately.

So, a list:

Pros:

  • Small box = less space taken up, easily portable
  • Comes with iLife, a software bundle that is hard to beat
  • Built-in wireless
  • Ships with Leopard

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with keyboard/mouse/display
  • Apparent display compatibility issues
  • Upgrades I want bump me into a price range that doesn’t seem fair
  • Maximum HD space is 160 GB.

Overall, I don’t think I’m going with the mini. The negatives outweight the positives, in my view. That’s not to say I wouldn’t consider any other Mac desktop—the iMacs all look great, and I’d bet you’ll see a Futurebox post on them sometime in the near future. For me , the novelty of the mini isn’t backed up by solid features. Still, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the issue, so leave a comment with any questions/comments/suggestions you may have.

VIDEO: “Southern Man”

Hopefully, everyone made it safely into 2011. Please note that it doesn’t matter if you remember making it, just so long as you did.

Most that know me know that I’m big into music. I think that most people appreciate music at some level. In fact, I’ve only ever met one person who said that they really didn’t like music that much–luckily, the surgery to re-attach my jaw was covered by my HMO.

Very few things posit a bigger thrill in the music world than discovering a song or artist that I hadn’t paid attention to previously. Such is the case with Neil Young, and his song “Southern Man”. This moody song came on the radio while I was driving around the other day, and I could not for the life of me get it out of my head. Good chord structure, tense melody, and Young’s special vibe. I’m going to make it a goal to rummage through Young’s discography (yes, I’ll remember CSNY and Crazy Horse) and see if I can pick out any more gems.

For your listening pleasure, here’s CSNY playing “Southern Man” back in 2000.

Long December

From the 1st to the 31st, this month has been quite eventful to say the least. It’s probably the month I would pick to sum up how this year, as a whole, has treated me. Ideally, I would have had new posts at least once every other day, but life has a way of changing our plans.

Even in the face of adversity, however, I believe we all should attempt to find and latch onto whatever bright side there may be to a situation–even if that bright side is but one grain in a bucket of sand. The ability to motivate one’s self into thinking positively, and not getting bogged down in the negative, is absolutely paramount to enjoying what time we have on this rock.

Motivation, of course, goes along with resolutions–promises made going into a new year. We all want to see improvement in our lives. If the last year was bad, we’d like the next to be good; if the last year was good, we’d like the next to be even better. Without animosity towards those to whom 2010 was wonderful, I’m glad this year is near its end. While some moments were certainly reason for happiness–my niece’s first birthday, my sister’s wedding, and finding out I’ll be an uncle to another bundle of joy–2010 was overshadowed by sorrow.

The death of my father in July wrecked me, and has changed me in countless ways. There was also the death of an aunt, with whom I shared a birthday and was too young to leave just yet. The breakup of my marriage was the feather in 2010′s cap, coming at a time when I felt as though I might be able to recover from earlier tragedies and, just maybe, make it through the holiday season with a smile. I’ve been angry for the past six months, and could carry the emotion with me into 2011. What would that gain me, though? To stay trapped in anger would be like jumping in quicksand–I’d go nowhere but downward.

Instead, I’d like to focus on a few things going into 2011. If I keep from calling them resolutions, I might not feel as bad if I haven’t made progress by the end of the year. We’ll just call them “half-ambitions” for safety’s sake.

Guitar: I’d like to refine my guitar playing ability. I’ve not had a chance to practice every day in a long time. I’d like to dedicate at least one hour a day to playing guitar. 365 hours of deliberate practice would make a much better guitar player out of me, and would give me something productive to do with my time.

Blogging/Journaling: In addition to keeping up with this blog (NOTE: keeping up with is defined as no more than three days in between posts) I’ve also been writing in a journal. A lot of great men in history kept a journal, and I believe they were better for it. I want to keep the journal train going strong in 2011, and also focus on producing more words for the digital world.

Strengthening relationships: Through all the hardship I’ve faced in 2010, I’ve seen that I do have a good amount of dedicated friends. People who have celebrated the happiest of times with me, and people who were there for me when I had reached my lowest of lows and had nowhere to be. I want to be an active friend, involved in my friends’ lives–to be there for them like they were for me.

Focusing on my beliefs: I’m an atheist. I believe there is no god. As most Christians feel fully comfortable in proclaiming their beliefs, I no longer have a problem proclaiming mine. I’m going to find ways to express my beliefs, to continue to proclaim what I believe is true, and to join and contribute to groups with the same goal.

I hope everyone’s 2011 is wonderful. With Snooki no longer set to drop from the ball in Times Square, I think we’re already off to a good start.

Welcome!

Hello everyone, and welcome. My name is Mike, but due to my mutant-like ability to grow super-long facial hair and a penchant for yelling things while in crowds, I’ve been known to shout “I’m Treebeardicus!” I got the nickname Treebeard while in a summer program in high school–I suppose my friends just wanted to give me a name that had the word ‘beard’ in it. A few years later, I randomly shouted, “I’m Treebeardicus!” after seeing the Pepsi commercial where all the men were claiming to be Spartacus in order to get a soft drink.

I’m getting back into blogging after an 18-month hiatus. I ended up taking some time off from the social network/Web 2.0 culture around the summer of 2009, due to certain events that cropped up as a result of moving back to my hometown for  a few months the fall before. I’ve been eager to jump back in, but my priorities have been directed elsewhere–namely, to my lovely new wife and our marriage, and to making sure that she and I are on the path to financial security. After all, I really wouldn’t be a good husband if, instead of making money and managing some part of the finances, I sat on my ass and wrote. Of course, it’d be wonderful to be able to serve the former with the latter, but good things come to those who wait…actually, good things come to those who do.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. I might import a couple of old posts from my last location, but mostly I’m hoping to take a new direction, which requires new material. Lots of things have changed for me, so to recycle old posts would largely result in misrepresenting my current self…but enough mental mumbo-jumbo. Keep checking in for more posts, and feel free to comment!