Execution & Resilience

Maybe now that I’ve gotten some of that off my chest, I’ll start blogging more frequently again. May as well spit these words into the void, instead of keeping them trapped and eating at me.

It’s been 2 years, since I wrote that and they have absolutely destroyed me. We’ve all lived in the shadow of what came immediately after that last post, fatefully titled ‘What Even Matters‘. While those two years have been enough to deal with, what I’ve had to live with for the past 18 months has been so much more potent at undermining my very being. But I’m still here and I’m going to be for a long time.


On 8:24PM August 18th, 2020, I was robbed at gunpoint, while at work. I’m still struggling with the PTSD and other fallout from what occurred that night in a matter of minutes. It wasn’t the first time I’ve had a firearm pointed at me, but something from this situation has broken my ability to exist around strangers. It’s only been in the last few months, that I realized what has left me so unsettled and broken; I survived an execution. After the individual grabbed the money, I was marched to the bathroom where I was instructed to get on my knees, and had the gun pointed at my head while he requested my phone.

The helplessness of the situation lingers in my mind, and I can’t stay still or deal with people on a day to day basis without possibly having a panic attack now. I can barely handle grabbing groceries or visiting with friends. I’ve found that I can’t relate to my friends as much, or they can’t relate to me in this situation.

I spent a few months in therapy, but week after week the appointments became the same thing, where I’d discuss a new thing I’d learned but was still beholden to others in trying to find employment and struggling. I’m still unemployed after all this time even though that’s what I really need to find normalcy.

Now I Execute

All I’ve had to focus on is taking care of my family, and the things I could learn to help me execute even better. I’ve explored so many things, because all I can do is execute on the small things. I don’t have the resources left to execute on scale. I launched Friendhaven on my birthday last year, but still haven’t invited anyone or made it publicly available to others because I can’t provide the sustainable platform I want to in my current position. I hope to see people there soon.

Through it all, I keep my head up and trudge through the shit. I may get frustrated or anxious, but I have so much to give to the world still that I can’t give up. Like Don Quixote tilting against giants, I’m resilient and will continue to challenge the adversity I face. I’m going to fight until the end.

Will I come back to write more here, I don’t know? There’s only been 3 posts in the past 8 years. But I’m still here, so there’s definitely a chance that I’ll keep coming back for more if I need to get something off my chest.

Keep persevering.

What Even Matters

My ability to enjoy life, has been compromised. And it is by my own accord and not. 2 weeks ago, my grandfather passed away. And with it all the passions I had faded into anger, not at him, God, or anyone else. The anger was all at myself, and my selfish mistakes, I do not have regrets, but I regret those mistakes. I just can’t feel anything else outside of sadness and anger, and have noone to talk to about anything.

That’s where the blog ended, 5 years ago. It was the beginning of a long ongoing collapse. I don’t know if I’ll ever have my life back. To be honest, with all the things in the past few years, there’s nothing left anymore.

At that time I was working side-by-side with a group of unimaginably talented, that a kid from WV could hardly have dreamed of. And I miss it more than anything, we may not have succeeded, but some of the ideas have come out, and I still feel like what we were working on is something missing. But at the same time when that part of the story came to a halt, I ended up in a weird spot where consumer tech in general just looks poor (even 5 years later) compared to what I glimpsed there. And so I disconnected to try and find some space.

Having no tangible elements to show from all those years of defunct products and small teams, is the worst thing. I spent a year looking for a job in the tech industry after that, and every once in a while I check, but my skills have atrophied so much after being boxed out I feel like an impostor. And yet I look at he current landscape, I realize it’s just a few weeks to get running, like it was with any project way back. I just need a task that means something that I can dig into.

In spite of being able to find a position as software engineer, I took a job back home to help a family friend out 3 months after leaving California. And it’s been rough, it doesn’t pay 1/5th of what I was making, I have had to lift the business on my back and handle the technical and bookwork as well as the other duties and covering shifts that weren’t otherwise filled. It’s been a tough time managing life and that, let alone trying to get back in tech when I have even less to show. And then about a year ago, that friend ended his life at the business and I was asked to review and document the video tapes by the cops.

That killed me, I can’t sleep, and the only thing that helps is focusing on problems and solving them. The whole thing that drew me into software and product development to begin with, except my imagination, passion, and free thought is impaired from the trauma, so personal projects are hard to focus on because “what even matters”.

I’ve lucked out through life, and the past 5 years have just been some of the worst luck ever. I feel like I’m nearing the end, and just keep hanging on for those around me. I know what I need, but have no clue how to achieve what I need anymore. I just mentally can’t balance trying to fight through the fucking tech hiring process anymore, I just want to be given stuff to work on, because I know I can do it. I’ve had friends ask for help a few times in the past few years, and those moments where I actually just get to help and use my brain to do the job has been wonderful.

And I could probably keep expanding this, but I’m tired. My world has collapsed, in every aspect, and continues to shrink and I don’t know if I’m strong enough to keep going. I’m just doing what I must for my family. I just wish I could go back and make that product a success from 5 years ago.

Maybe now that I’ve gotten some of that off my chest, I’ll start blogging more frequently again. May as well spit these words into the void, instead of keeping them trapped and eating at me.

The Things That Matter

The tree, perched atop the cliff, with it’s roots sneaking into every crag and crevice. The tree, on that lonesome rock, is finding what it needs to survive and maintain its very being. The tree, with so few goals, lives in a place not hospitable. The tree has the things that matter.

I was thinking earlier, about all the things that I ever wanted. I realized that I have already captured many. Even with the emptiness inside, I have so few goals, and they are fulfilled. My goals are to make my family proud, to learn as much as I can, and to take care of those around me. The truth is, I don’t have to worry about any of these.

My family is already proud, without any accomplishments for me to point to, they are happy and proud for me. Even when I may not be proud myself. Even when they maybe shouldn’t be. Even when they never show it. Even when I do my own thing, instead of what they wanted.

I already know more than many, and that I can be content with. But there is so much more to know. But there is so much more to teach. But there is so much more to share. But there is so much more to create. But there is so much more to enjoy.

Those close to me are secure, even when they or I do not know it. They can care for themselves, and I forget. I will be there to help care for them, and they forget. Others are there, and we forget. Others can be cared for, and we forget.

There is some solace in this acknowledgement. And yet, there is discomfort in these statements. And yet, I stand so lonely while surrounded by so many. And yet, I could do so much more. And yet, I could do so much less. And yet, the path winds all the same – and not at all – along the journey.

I feel the urge to be more sporadic, and yet I am scared because of it. I feel the urge to say more, and yet I wish to speak less. I feel the urge to have enjoyment, and yet the urge to avoid it. I feel the urge to come, and to go.

My ability to enjoy life, has been compromised. And it is by my own accord and not. 2 weeks ago, my grandfather passed away. And with it all the passions I had faded into anger, not at him, God, or anyone else. The anger was all at myself, and my selfish mistakes, I do not have regrets, but I regret those mistakes. I just can’t feel anything else outside of sadness and anger, and have noone to talk to about anything.

(Originally published: August 21st, 2015)

What The Past Holds Is The Future

The past week has been particularly rough, months maybe, and it has left me considering what is most important and what I dream would truly make me happy. Had you asked me a year ago, or maybe even 5, I have achieved many of my goals. And yet…

At the end of the year looking back, I traded the best things in my life, for a dream that seemed sweeter. Tantalized by the possibilities, I turned away from family and friends, the people that made and continue to make me who I am. At the very core of my being, I knew I was making a mistake, but everyone encouraged me to do what I wanted, and so I made my choices. Choices that I do not regret, but choices that were made with imperfect information.

Hindsight, as they say, is 20-20. I would make these mistakes again, but if I knew what would unfold in the closing of the year, I would have fought harder to stay and care for those people and things that made and make life so great. You can’t always hope, pray, or dream that you’ll see them again. If they’re still here, go and see them and embrace them. And if they’re not, remember this, “They’re still here; in our minds, our hearts, and our souls,” and never forget.

The events of yesterday, while all of those thoughts weighed on my mind, come far too close. Had things gone differently, it would have left a hole in my family and the family of my friends. It nearly became the reality of my fears and anguish. And even though I am not a religious man, I can proudly say, “Thank God,” that things didn’t turn out worse. Call it luck if you want, but I will call it a miracle and a sign.

2014: The Year My World Exploded

It’s been a long time, but there have been reasons, some which you can see in my last post, from February.

The past year can be summed up as pretty much a slog that drained me of time and energy, and left me with nothing. Not that cool things haven’t happened, but it’s been a miserable time, and I had to make decisions that had me forsaking everything I cared about. I’m not me anymore.

January had a lot going on, when I was essentially left in charge of operating the local bookstore, due to matters of health with the people I worked with. Then there were family issues and other stresses basically made me want to stop everything. I came to SF, tech’s global center, just to take a break and decompress while having some meetings. I didn’t think about it when I had booked my flights, but I missed my mom’s birthday.

February, I was still operating the bookstore mostly by myself, though the other employee did come back mid-month and things got a little easier. Then I had an interview, but the day of our little dog passed away. I still miss her, because she was my comfort when I was sad.

March, I started working remotely and was probably the peak of my happiness for the year. With the remote work I had to shelve what I was working on in my spare time, due to possible conflicts of interest.

April, I accidentally let my hosting lapse, and lost this blog and some other services that are still not back, much to my sadness. I just never had the time or the resources to fix the issues.

May, this was defined a lot by prep work and failure for a friend’s bachelor party and wedding. Overall the weekend was good, but on my way out, I got news that my great-grandmother had died. I ended up getting home, doing laundry, and getting right back on the road for a funeral.

June, the remote work was paused, so I started working on some interesting stuff of my own, which I’ve pretty much not touched since. Two weeks after my great-grandmother passed, her son passed as well, but I couldn’t make that funeral as I was too busy at the bookstore.

July, at the beginning of the month remote work starts again, and my boss at the bookstore comes back from the absence. July was a struggle with logistics and trying to figure out how everything would work.

August, I stayed just long enough for my birthday, and then left for SF instead of working remotely. A place I find depressingly cold and uncomforting to the very way of I life that I find enjoyment in. Though the job was enough of a distraction for the time.

September, I put the blog back up. I meant to post then, but I’ve been cautious about what I post. In the middle of the month, I found out our other dog passed away.

October, I got out of the city for the first time in the middle of the month, and I was so happy to see trees and A MOUNTAIN, ONE FREAKING MOUNTAIN. I still miss the mountains. Then a day later, I find out my godfather passed away. I ended up going home for the funeral, and spent the entire week on the road or with family and friends. It was refreshing considering I don’t really have any friends here.

November, was pretty mediocre and not much happened, though I did go home for Thanksgiving, though it was mostly ruined by my emotional connection to work. I stayed depressed the whole time I was there.

December, has been so-so, the work stuff still lingers in how I act. But it also lingers in the constant thought of where I want to be. And as much as I can enjoy the work, the city life has destroyed any passion. I fucking hate it here and maybe I should have gone home for Christmas, just to get out. Then my great uncle passed away before Christmas, and he was one of my favorite people in the world. He was just so lively, and could tell a story like nobody else.

And through all of this, I’ve been so emotionally drawn out, that a lot of my friends who are going through even worse things in their lives, aren’t getting the attention they deserve from me, because I don’t have the energy. I’ve lost my family. I’ve lost my friends. I’ve lost my home. I’ve even lost myself. I think, I need to think through my priorities and probably go back to my roots. And what makes me sad, except for all the deaths, I got what I wanted/needed at the end of last year.

Sleep Well Little Dog

I hate to do this, as it is a negation of my willing absence here. But it is a meaningful moment, that echoes through my body at the moment. It is a need that I must fill for selfish reasons. I’m emotionally empty, and drained but I the tears and the staggered breaths will not end.

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014: About 11PM our dog fell down the open stair into the basement. We don’t know what she was doing that caused her to fall, nobody was downstairs. She didn’t so much as let a single noise out, just a series of loud thumps like someone threw a log down the stairs. When we brought her up stairs, she was dazed for about 10 minutes. We took her to the vet the following day, because there was blood in her urine. All tests came back fine, just some bruised tissue in her hind legs.

Thursday, February 20th, 2014: She was still alive and seemingly on the mend, though still quite and stiff. She went down stairs after I left, and my parents couldn’t find her for a while. My stepfather brought her upstairs and she was week, and laid on the couch with him for a few hours. About 2:30PM she evacuated her bladder, beside him; almost undoubtedly this was the moment she passed, in her sleep and without suffering. He picked her limp body up, and took her to the vet where they massaged her heart and gave her a shot of adrenaline, but it was too late by then. So he asked them to do an autopsy to see what caused it. She had bruised tissue on her kidneys, bladder, and hind legs, but the cause appears to have been a bloodclot that passed to her heart.

(sorry for editting after this, I can’t see through the tears that have overwhelmed my eyes)

When I first saw her, I was disappointed, we already had dogs, and I didn’t feel we needed anymore. It was the day I came home from college, my mother had brought her along, cause she didn’t have anyone to watch her. She was just a little white fluffball, with a mean streak. She was so energetic, though less so recently as she aged. After a bath she would run up and down the halls, and jump on my bed, where I’d catch her in the blankets, and she’d nip at my hands. I’d be acting like there was another dog nipping at her and she’d nip right back, then I’d uncover her and she’d jump right at me and give me kisses.

She was a perfect dog, energetic, but not exhaustingly sow, playful but not mean, though she was constantly growling at any noise she heard. It’s going to be much too quite with her gone. And I’m going to miss her comfort, whenever someone passed away or I was too stressed by the situations around me, I’d grab her and cuddle. Just another heartbeat close to mine. She was the sanity I needed when I no longer had sanity myself. She would be my comfort in times such as these, so now this moment is the most uncomfortable I’ve had in a long time.

She will be missed, and I knew I loved her without letting her go. It was much too soon, she was only 6. And that it was an accident hurts, one that we don’t know what happened, more than anything.

Rest in Peace Curly Sue. Rest in Peace. March 2008 – February 20th, 2014

P.S. – In regard to my absence, I had planned to move the blog, but I’ve just haven’t had time. And when I’ve wanted to post, it’s mostly been negative points, such as this, which isn’t what I wanted to aim for. It was always meant to be a point of philosophy, growth, and optimism. Sadly, this post was too much and I needed to share, for my own posterity.

Relationship Tectonics

I mostly secluded myself for a month or so towards the beginning of the year, and have yet to fully unravel from that. What I have noticed is when I did start it though, there was a very distinct shift in the relationships I have. For years, my closest friends have existed on the other side of a monitor for the most part. As I’ve come back to the social world, I’ve reconnected with old friends and acquaintances  that I hadn’t spoken to in at least a half-dozen years.

This shift is interesting to me, and something else I noticed is the network of how I discovered people. Most of the people I know stem from a few choices I made years ago: joining Triiibes in ’08 led to joining Twitter and Ustream in ’08, which eventually led to numerous friendships spawned by mutual relations. Some of those people have remained close, and will remain close, even as things shift about; others drift out of sight.

Unfortunately, the biggest effect that I’ve noticed in the wake of my seclusion is that I became somewhat colder to those I continue to interact with. Even when I absolutely adore them, I just don’t feel that I can positively reach out to them. Sometimes it’s just that I don’t know how anymore. I feel I’ve forgotten part of what made it special, and yet I’ll never forget them.

So if you’re reading this and feel that we haven’t spoken in a while or that I haven’t been as positive as you wish; I do apologize, and do know that I still care. I am currently making some personal changes that will continue to make it hard for me to be more open, or even as open as I once was. I needed to get this off my chest, as the weight of feeling this way was one of the hindrances standing in my way of being more open.