RSS Feed

Wrapping up 2014


December 31, 2014 by Dan

When I look at this year (and this site), it sorta looks like a blog-free year, doesn’t it?

Funny thing – I’ve owned this domain and have been blogging on it for ten years now. It started as a place to put my first-ever long piece. A novel, really. I put it down here as a serial, using a now-defunct blogging engine, and through it I gained a little bit of an audience, met some folks, and really felt like a creative writer.

I used the momentum from that to apply for grad school, where I met my lovely wife and wrote my second novel.

This year, I started my third real one, a sequel to the second, and spent most of my writing energy working on that. This site lay pretty fallow.

What I’m really not sure of is whether or not I really enjoy blogging; I have opinions about things, but I’m not particularly interested in opining about a specific subject like politics or environmentalism or the weather, and that’s what blogs seem to have become: worldwide hyper-focused hybrids of opinion and journalism. They used to be a good way to gather news, but for that there’s Twitter and the old-school newsletters (I read NextDraft, and it’s become my primary source for news. That and the New Yorker).

But I’m not going to give up this site. If I do get an audience for other things, I’ll probably have to have some sort of Web presence, and here is as good as any.



November 26, 2014 by Dan

Sludging through the editing this morning, and I’ve managed to spend a total of an hour and a half

  • Staring at ridiculous internet stuff
  • Editing two lines of writing
  • Realizing that I had no idea what the username and password was for this blog, going to find them, then realizing I had no idea what the login page was (I hid it due to annoying hackers), going in via file manager, deleting my hide-login plugin, resetting my password, and finally getting in
  • Realizing that I should be documenting my editing process here because then at least I’m typing

So that’s what I’ve done. Longest this website has ever gone without an update, but I’m still alive and kicking, trying to keep the writing life going whilst working away in the middle of the biggest tech boom this city has seen in a while. I’ll try to be better here. Honest.

Writing is elsewhere


March 25, 2014 by Dan

I’ve changed my writing schedule over the past few weeks. For a while, I was getting home from The Day Job I Like, putting up my bike, cooling off for a second or two, then hurriedly writing as much as I could for an hour. In that scenario, I was usually done by seven or so.

Two weeks ago, I decided to start writing in the morning. I usually wake up at around seven anyway, and would spend the morning kind of screwing around before getting on my bike and getting to work by nine. Instead, now, I wake up at 6:45, warm up for about twenty minutes (basically walk around my apartment and de-groggify), and then get to it. I’m done by eight or eight-fifteen, then I eat a quick breakfast, shower, and get to work just a little later than I used to.

I love it. I was trying to figure out why, and I realized: having homework is awful. And I was giving myself what felt like homework at the end of the day, when I just want to talk to my wife, hang out with friends, read a book, and cook. Go me.

44,000 words in. Going for a finish of around 65,000. At my current rate, that’s around three weeks. I’m excited.

So, there is more writing


February 27, 2014 by Dan

I went running about a month ago, down through Golden Gate Park to the beach, then back up the long hill, through the sandy dunes and weirdly-green trees and bushes, and I came up with an idea for a story.

The story is called “A Murder on the Facebook Bus”, and it’s kinda topical. I’m about 30,000 words into it right now – about to where The Big Twist happens. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been as stoked about a fiction story as I am about this one; years, in fact.

Anyway, I thought I’d put that on this site to just give an update. Writing about writing after writing = not the best style and/or form. So…that’s where Writer Dan is right now.

Maxing out


February 20, 2014 by Dan

I’ve often thought that I don’t really have a theoretical maximum, in the sense that if I just stayed awake long enough, I’d be able to do practically infinite number of things. These past couple of weeks…well, I think I’ve proven that I’m not quite that tough.

I got the idea for a new story about two weeks ago; it’s called A Murder on the Facebook Bus, and I’m writing the crap out of it. Nearly 20,000 words in two weeks, and that’s including four days off. That’s on top of doing my full-time job, getting as much exercise as I can, and (for the past three days) handling the emotional aftermath of a death in the family and some other dramas. Oh, and helping out my lovely wife on some freelance writing assignments.

That’s about all I can handle. But the next week is looking just as…fun? I want to

  • Put a teaser for Perplexing Problem on Medium
  • Write a couple of drafts for Do Stuff Well
  • Take the car in for a recall appointment
  • Run thirty miles
  • Finish reading two books

I think it’s possible, but…man, that’s a lot. As I sit here, in my big chair, I think I’m maxed out.

Ten years in!


February 4, 2014 by Dan

Ten years ago I packed up all of my stuff – what I had fit in my dad’s car – and moved into a weird two-bedrooom-made-three in the Lower Haight in San Francisco. Jeff Dunn´╗┐ and Ryan Palmer´╗┐ helped out by bringing up some donated furniture. The room already had a bed. Ten years, five main jobs, innumerable freelance gigs, two marathons, one novel written (many started), one masters degree, five continents, twenty Ultimate leagues, a few goodbyes, and so, so many hellos to the amazing people I’ve met.

Oh yeah. And one marriage. Meeting Julie was the highlight. Thanks a bunch, San Francisco – bring on the next decade!

Slow down, nothing to see here


January 31, 2014 by Dan

A few dribs and drabs:

This guy is writing a novel based on his time at the TSA. Not a bad idea.

I saw the guy who wrote Stringer talking to Jon Stewart the other night. Another one for the to-read.

But, you ask…what are you up to? Well, I’m writing a Big Long Thing, and doing that for 500-1000 words per day is kind of burning my creative rockets out. What’s tougher is that it’s technically a rewrite – I had thought I was done with it after the first draft.

Note to self: First drafts are evil. So I’d taken six months off of it, and now I’m back to it and making it a whole lot better and a whole lot longer.

And that, my friends, is what I’m up to. Also, check out Do Stuff Well. I’m still semi-regularly posting over there.

Tasmania – Bruny Island


January 10, 2014 by Dan

“So let me get this straight,” said Julie. “You’ve taken me to Australia, which is an island. Then to Tasmania, which is a smaller island. And now we’re going to South Bruny Island off of Tasmania?”

“Yep,” I said.

We woke as early as we could inside Pocketspace, and drove through Hobart’s version of traffic (taking a wrong turn and getting slightly lost on the way) to the ferry dock at Kettering, getting there about five minutes before the 9:30 am scheduled departure.

Yes, I thought. Made it!

“You didn’t make this one,” said the cheerful woman at the toll gate. “But we’re running some extras, so you’ll get the ten-fifteen.”

Not too bad. We drove our little rental car up past a large line of vacationer automobiles, parked, and waited. It was a beautiful day, and there was a gift shop/cafe. After a half hour of pastries and coffee, I saw movement on the water.

Ferry approaching

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I think that car ferries are amazing. This was no less so. It was basically a huge square two-story boat with a ramp that let you drive up or down. We were on the down side, and after getting everyone on, we crossed the straight to Bruny, about a twenty-minute voyage.

Our plan was to go for a quick nature walk and then find something to eat. Bruny is a legendary (for Tasmania) vacation destination, dotted with little restaurants and B&Bs. There’s basically one long road that goes from North Bruny over the spit to South Bruny; you drive on gentle hills past farms and thousands of sheep. We cruised along Adventure Bay, taking a quick break to see a monument to the immortal Captain James Cook:

Memorial closeup

And from just beyond there in Adventure Bay we started our walk to Fluted Cape. It was supposed to be an easy hour and a half or so, and it certainly started out that way, on a deserted beach with lapping cold-water waves:

Beach, Adventure Bay

As we walked along the trail turned muddy, and we took a right where a sign told us to go, and things got ugly. The mud didn’t go away, a fly took a liking to Julie’s head and followed her, buzzing madly, for nearly forty-five minutes, it was hot, the trail itself just switched back and forth up through an uninspiring eucalyptus forest. We were both grumpy.

“If this stupid trail doesn’t get better in ten minutes, we’re turning back,” I grumped.

Here’s the thing: that’s never a good idea. Turning back over bits of ground that we’d already covered – and kind of hated – was not going to make things better. So…even after ten more minutes, we kept going. I could see the horizon through the trees, which mean, (I hoped) that we were getting to the top of something or other.

I was so consumed by my thoughts that I almost ran into Julie, who had stopped short.

“What…is that?” she said.

It was an animal, about the size of a beaver, but with a long snout and spines all over. It looked at us and immediately pretended to be a rock.

Wild echidna

“It’s a wombat…a hedgehog…an anteater…”

“You have no idea what that is, do you?”

True. We stood still for a couple of minutes, hoping for it to come out of hiding so that we could see its face again. Eventually, it looked up, saw us, and dove into the rocks again. We moved on, wondering what the hell it was.

We were in slightly better moods at this point – seeing Actual Weird Tasmanian Wildlife definitely had something to do with that. And then ahead we could see blue sky, the humidity broke, and we walked out onto a cliff a thousand feet over the sea, with views of Port Arthur to the east, and nothing but Antartica in front of us:

Panorama, Port Arthur to the far South

“Well, OK,” said Julie. “I think this is worth it.”

It’s hard to describe the indescribably beautiful. But that cliff, on that day, with that view – things don’t get much more perfect than that. The trail made its way down the cliffside from there, with stunning overlooks every few minutes, looking down to Penguin Island (yes, another island off the coast of Bruny) and water so blue it hurts to think about it.

Bluest of blue waters

We ran into an Australian hiking couple and described our mystery animal.

“An Echidna,” said the husband. “Did you get to see his cute little nose? The use it to eat ants.”

Mystery solved.

We hit the bottom at a rocky beach, with small waves and not a person in sight.

Rocky cove

And then, back at Adventure Bay…ducklings!
Make way!

The hike had taken nearly three hours, and we were both worn out and exhilarated. It was a short drive from the trailhead to South Bruny Island Premium Wines, where we feasted on burgers (mine was made with wallaby and lamb)
Lamb/Wallaby burger

And then we decided that it would be good for me to pretend to be a penguin
Dan at the Bruny Island Chocolate Factory

And then…we went home, driving back north to the Ferry and then to Hobart. Bruny Island was a wonder; I hope to someday see that bluest of blue seas again.

Tasmania – Mt Field National Park


January 1, 2014 by Dan

You go to Tasmania to get with nature. There are other things to keep you occupied – MONA and the Salamanca Markets come to mind – and if the weather is terrible you can just hole up in any of a number of cozy pubs with a beer and some local cheese. But…you’re here to see the odd, strange, beautiful things that make Tasmania what it is.

On our third day in Tassie, the clouds lifted and gave us an azure blue sky, so we ate a quick breakfast and headed north to Mt. Field National Park. It’s maybe an hour and a half from Hobart, but took us a little longer due to the inevitable “wrong side of the road, oh crap we took a wrong turn…what the hell are we doing in a residential neighborhood?” confusion.

Hobart becomes countryside pretty quickly, though; and we reached the visitor’s center at around ten-thirty, bought our parking pass, and went out to see some waterfalls. The forest itself is dark and damp, but you quickly get to Russell Falls, which is almost comical in its picturesque beauty.

Russell Falls

From Russell Falls you get to Horseshoe Falls.

Horseshoe Falls

And then the trail wanders through the groves of giant eucalyptus trees. “Giant” in this case means “California Redwood-size enormous.” It’s hard to describe how much bigger these guys are than the invasive firetraps that we have here in the States. This is me, looking up. The top is so, so far away.

Dan and an enormous eucalypt

We also saw our first wildlife. Well…we had some help. We were traipsing along the trail, chattering about something or other, and noticed a couple of other hikers staring intently at something off to the right. We shut ourselves up immediately, and followed their gaze to see…


A wallaby! Our first live marsupial! It sat and looked at us for a bit, then loped off into the trees. We continued our walk. I should note here that the people who do trail maintenance at Mt. Field are incredible. Most of our path looked like this

A well-maintained trail

Walking through a dark, primeval forest is much easier when you don’t have to look out and try not to trip over rocks and roots every few steps! Near the end of the hike we saw our last and smallest waterfall – Lady Barron:

Lady Barron Falls

After a lunch break (salami, cheese, apples. Yum!) we took a dirt road to Lake Dobson, much higher up in the mountains. So high up that there was still snow in late spring.

Snow, Mt. Field national park

That snow overlooks a perfect Alpine lake:
Lake Dobson

And since I am a crazy person, I went for a swim:

Dan, swimming in the lake!

I almost went in in the altogether; I didn’t have any clothes other than what I had on, and there didn’t seem to be anyone else around. But…modesty won out; I swam in my underwear. This turned out to be a very good decision, as right as I submerged completely, a couple of cars pulled into the parking lot and a large family came out, complete with children. Female children. The water was pretty cold, and I didn’t really want to stay in any longer than I had to, so…somewhat clothed was a good place to be.

There’s nothing quite like swimming in a mountain lake, though. Clean, awake, happy, with tired legs, we headed back down to Hobart in the afternoon.

Landing in Hobart on a cold day


December 29, 2013 by Dan

We flew to Hobart on a Saturday morning. Most of the people whom I knew in Sydney, upon hearing that we were headed to Tasmania, said something along the lines of “Tassie? Why the (expletive) would you go there?” My answer was always a bit incomplete – I didn’t really know why I wanted to go to Tasmania, other than that it was the wildest state in Australia, with the weirdest animals, and one of the only spots with Actual Mountains. But I hadn’t been there, so it was tough to really explain.

First Tasmania tip – when you land, go directly to the rental car counter, and get your luggage after. Everyone else on your flight will be renting a car, so if you wait, you are going to wait some more. A bit of a walk, a bit of adjustment to left-side driving, and twenty minutes on the road later, we were in Hobart, checking out the famous Saturday Salamanca Market. The weather was terrible:

I mean, it was really bad. Spritzing rain, 48 degrees, and we were starving. Luckily, the Market is kind of a catch-all for everything. Mash up a farmer’s market, a craft fair, and a food truck gathering, and that’s what you’ve got. It all happens down on the waterfront in Hobart, and after we’d had a kebab and gotten our wits about us, we were very happy to explore.

And a fun exploration it was! Lots of wonderful looking vegetables:

And countless food stalls (we didn’t try this one):

We met an author who was signing her books, and saw many teenage busker kids playing the guitar. We bought cheese, wine, pasta, and other vegetables. The rain continued, the wind picked up, and it was coming up on two o’clock.

“Hey,” we said to each other. “Instead of trying to do anything, why don’t we go back to our Airbnb, hang out, read books, and make dinner?

Best idea ever.

Our little AirBnb (you can read about it here), had a wonderful little kitchen:

And a little coffee table, upon which we made a snack:

And an old fireplace that had been converted to an electric heater. The rain continued outside, but inside we were cozy, full of great food, and happy as a harvested shellfish. Tasmania was looking good so far!

Sydney – Eatin’ out


December 23, 2013 by Dan

The first time I was in Sydney (1995), I ate a lot of fish and chips, pizza, and lasagna. The second time I was in Sydney (2001), I ate bagels, fish and chips, and made a lot of Mexican-style backpacker food. This time around…well, things to eat in Oz have become a bit more cosmopolitan. The place has become a paradise of pan-Asian food. And breakfast, also. It’s no longer the land of beans and toast and spaghetti in the morning.

We stepped out of our cab on our first rainy day in town and were happy to see a Laksa joint (called, appropriately, Laksa Laksa) right across the street from where we were staying. We were starving, so…soup and Singapore noodles ensued.

Both were good. Better than any of either than I’ve had in San Francisco (even better than my beloved Lime Tree). So good that I got excited – if that was laksa in a random joint right off downtown, how good could things get?

Then answer, of course, is: pretty darned good. I went out for some variety of noodles and/or soup almost every day in Sydney, and was happy to do so. One of my faves was this place:

To get to the Naughty Chef, go down into the train station, then take another stairway down, then go right. You order at the counter, and a minute later you are given a bowl of pho on a tray. You put hot sauce/lemon (no limes), cilantro, etc. in, then walk down the shopping arcade a few hundred feet to where all the tables are. Somehow this works and nobody gets scalding soup all over them. And the pho? Phantastic.

On the weekend, we ended up only going to one place for breakfast – Mr Mo in Surrey Hills. Why only the one? Because it was just that good – we went for brekkie on Saturday and ate this:

Perfectly poached eggs. Bacon. Thick toast. Arugula. And great coffee.

We woke up on the Sunday with some plans and a bit of time. I looked at our Urban Walkabout map and the Lonely Planet and Yelp, trying to find another spot for breakfast. After about five minutes, I gave up.

“Screw it, want to just go back to Mr Mo?”

Julie grinned and nodded. We walked the fifteen minutes and found a table. The friendly hostess

  1. Remembered us
  2. Remembered what we ordered
  3. Noticed that Julie had left about a half-inch of flat white in her coffee cup, rushed back over to ask if the coffee was OK, noting that “it rained last night, and sometimes that makes the beans a little funky.” We assured her that nothing was wrong, but that we sometimes didn’t drink as much coffee as Australians do.

Australians drink a lot of coffee, by the way.

There were more things, of course. I had this bowl of Tonkatsu ramen in a mall across the street from the office, where the food court was right out of Bangkok. It was a cornucopia of pho and laksa and pad thai and sush and rendang and nasi goreng and…you get the picture.

The soup itself was top-notch: porky and cloudy, with pull-apart tender meat and half an egg that was still just a touch on the runny side. Phenomenal.

And don’t get me started on the Thai food – takeout so flavorful it made me tear up. Or maybe because it was the hottest pad kee mao I’ve ever had in my life. Even in Thailand. And the laksa place where they sell you a bib for $0.30. Or when the woman at the Naughty Chef lectured me for getting grilled pork instead of pork cake on my vermicelli, and gave me a pork cake because it was necessary.

“Next time, pork cake,” she said, wagging her finger.

The last lunch I had was a yom cha feast – what we’d call dim sum in the states. In Sydney, a dim sum is a steamed pork bun, and the meal is called yom cha. Whatever – it’s the same thing we do here, and what we had was just as good as anything I’ve had in San Francisco.

Yum. So much yum.



December 19, 2013 by Dan

We ended up in Newtown by happy accident. Our little serviced apartment building (“little” in the sense of 50+ stories but not very wide) had a bunch of tourist maps in the lobby. My favorites were the Urban Walkabouts. They were small enough to fit in a pocket, and had a well-thought-out-list of stuff to do.

The map of Newtown intrigued me – it looked like it might resemble our neighborhood in San Francisco about five years ago, before everything went completely bonkers. So, on a rainy Monday night, we took the train two stops south and hopped out at Newtown Station.

Newtown is funky. The main drag is along King Street, and is full of little shops and restaurants. “This place kind of reminds me of Portland,” I said. “It’s raining and there are old buildings and it has that kind of industrial-ish feel…”

Then, affirmation. A poster store with this:

Our Urban Walkabout map listed Mary’s Pub as a decent place for dinner, and the Lonely Planet concurred. We found Mary’s after a little bit of walking around – it’s on an alleyway off the main drag, with no outside signage. I was reminded of that scene in Swingers where John Favreau tells the guy who played Peter Gibbons in Office Space that “all the cool bars in Hollywood don’t have signs.”

Inside…heaven. A big ol’ dark room filled with young people with creative facial hair, and two open seats at the bar. And, on tap?

“What’s Slayer Juice like?” I asked the bartender.
“It’s dark and hoppy and…evil,” she said.

One for me, please. Her description was apt. It was one of the best beers I had had in Sydney, but I still couldn’t tell you the style. They have two things to eat at Mary’s: burgers and fried chicken. Apparently the owners are obsessed with Whoppers and KFC, so they set out to reconstruct both dishes using high-quality stuff instead of fast food garbage. It ends up looking something like this:

There’s a burger in that wrapper, I swear. A life-changing burger. It was thin, but juicy, and the brioche bun soaked up just enough of the special sauce to impart some more flavor to the bread without soaking it up so much that it fell apart. The fried chicken was like the chicken fingers of the gods – spicy, crunchy, juicy. We raved about it to Naomi the bartender, and ended up chatting with her for quite some time.

“Oh, you’re going to Melbourne?” she said. “I used to live there. You’ve got to go to Everleigh and…well, wait. Why don’t I just make you a list?”

Naomi then grabbed one of the waiters and a long piece of register tape and spent about five minutes writing down all of the places we should go in Melbourne. We were blown away. When she finished our list, we were ready to wrap up – it was ten fifteen, and a school night.

“Guys,” she said. “Thank you so much for sitting at the bar and entertaining me.”

Thank us? Newtown was blowing us away just based on Mary’s, and we told her so.

“Oh, you’re done? That’s too bad. If you were up for one more, there is a place you should go…”

We’re suckers that way. “Where?”

“Earl’s. It’s just up King Street about five minutes, on the right side. Look for a sign that says ‘Betta Meats.’ It used to be a butcher shop.”

Of course. We went outside into the mist and fog and debated the train vs. the bar for a good ten or fifteen seconds before deciding on the bar. Earl’s was easy to find, and when we saw the rules of the house on the front door, we were sold.

Inside…a forty-foot dark bar that did not lend itself to photography. We took seats and ordered drinks and made quick friends (per the rules) with the young man next to us, who was happy to give us details of his life growing up in Western Australia, his trips to rehab, and how unfriendly people were in Sydney. We politely disagreed, noting the cheerful nature of the bar itself.

That’s OK, though; it was the kind of friendly bar argument that you get into. Earl’s slowly filled up, mostly with people we had seen at tables at Mary’s – maybe there was some kind of reciprocal agreement. We stayed until 11:30 or so, finishing with one of the bartenders’ signatures – an amazing concoction involving an entire shot of Agnostura bitters and a floating star anise.

And that, my friends, is where this entry ends. But yes – if you go to Sydney, go to Newtown. And if you go to Newtown, go to Mary’s and Earl’s; you won’t be sorry.

Out and about in Sydney – Beaches and Bays


December 16, 2013 by Dan

Sydney is drop-dead gorgeous, even when it’s shrouded in rain and fog. For most of our time there, that was the state of it – rainy, foggy, cool, humid. It’s been kind of a thing with us this year – everywhere we’ve gone, the rain has followed us around like a slightly annoying little cousin who constantly says things that make you uncomfortable. Or something like that.

I was lucky enough to have my co-worker Josh volunteer to take us around on an almost-sunny Saturday. He had a car (bonus!). Actually a convertible car (double bonus!) and we cruised all over, starting on a beach with a Sleepy Hollow-ish entrance through (I think) gum trees.

Gum trees

From there we went to the world-famous Bondi Beach, which was full of pretty people, surfers, and this oddly named van.

Nice van title, Bondi beach

I wanted to ask them what the deal was with that – the Slacker Life website doesn’t really have anything that would indicate what the van was for. Also, there was a burrito joint.

Probably not the best...

We did not go. Instead we went to Bronte Beach, named after the prominent literary folk. Of course, we had to ham it up at the park sign:

Dan, Julie, Bronte park

And then sat down for a lovely plate of chips and a beer at a cafe that looked out over the bay. The bay looks like this:
Placid Bronte bay

Not bad work if you can get it.

Our last stop was at Balmoral, where there sits a statue of Billy the dog. He belonged to a local street sweeper, and he accompanied the man to work every day for seventeen years. The community so loved the dog that they built a statue for him after he died.


Sad, kinda. But very evocative.

Out and About in Sydney – mornings


December 12, 2013 by Dan

I was last in Sydney twelve years ago. Just typing that makes me feel old – when I was last there WordPress (and thus, this blog) didn’t exist, all of my photos were on film, you could only get to the Internet on CRT-monitor terminals in Internet Cafes, wifi wasn’t everywhere, and cell phones were big, ugly, and often flippable. People in Sydney were sending SMS messages, and I had no idea what they were.

Things change. But they stay the same. Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with beaches, bays and harbors that rival my very own San Francisco. It rained a ton while we were there, which made it much easier to breathe, given the wildfires that had infested the area in October. But…we still saw a ton of stuff.

My favorite thing to do in Sydney was run in the morning – we were staying right outside of Chinatown, and my morning route would take me through the Domain.
Domain fountain

And then the Botanic Gardens

And then out to the Opera House, where I could see the Harbor Bridge
Harbor bridge on a clear day

(Please note that it was rarely this clear on my morning runs. These photos were also not necessarily taken while running, as I don’t bring phone or camera when I exercise. But you get the idea)

And finally around the point to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, which isn’t pictured here. But there are benches everywhere, so you can stop and take in the water.
Bench, near Mrs. Macquarie's

The city is full of the pretty folk, running/biking/Crossfitting/swimming in the mornings. I can’t stress enough how lovely it was. But as with any city, this is merely the beginning – a teaser, if you will. There’s so much more to Sydney, and I’ll be getting into it over the next couple of days.

A little business Down Under


December 12, 2013 by Dan

Julie and I spent most of November in Australia, mostly on a business trip. Short version is that I’m now working for an Aussie company, and they were nice enough to send me to Oz to work for a couple of weeks, and also nice enough to let me bring Julie along. So, expect some Sydney travelogues over the next couple of weeks.

A little moment


November 3, 2013 by Dan

My wife and I had no plans (note that I don’t say “nothing to do” – there’s always something fun to do), so we went for a walk – we live in a city. Walked up about a mile and a half from our apartment, dodging people, dogs, bikes, and other things.

On the way back we were waiting at a light, and an old man came up behind us. I reacted warily, as you do in a place where homeless folk are as likely to scream at you as they are to panhandle. He put both of us arms around us and said:

“Wonderful day, isn’t it? Ready, on three. One, two three… OOOOOHHH YEEAAHHH!” His voice was a deep basso profundo, and we both cracked up.

Ain’t seen it all yet


October 22, 2013 by Dan

I’ve lived here for ten years, and every now and then I think I’ve seen it all. Then yesterday happens, and I realized that nope, not even close. I was walking from my office to the Deli Board, and while waiting on Folsom, an adult woman (I think the offensive term is “midget”, but we can call her a little person, right?), about three feet and change tall, cruised by on an extended-back-wheel adult bicycle. She wore a helmet and carried a backpack.

Hadn’t seen that before.

Cleanup, and a new website!


September 22, 2013 by Dan

Apocrypha for the day:

  • Just got back from the foothills for a weekend wedding. It poured on Saturday. That’s earlier than I ever remember it raining in California. Global weirding, indeed.
  • I’m now old enough that going down on the dance floor during “Shout” definitely makes my knees creaky.
  • Also, stamping on the floor like a Riverdancer during “Some Nights” by Fun. That hurts.
  • Weddings are still fun. None is as fun as mine was, but I think that everyone would say that in the first person.

And, lastly, shameless plug. I’m writing/have put together a new topical site: Do Stuff Well. It should be fairly self-explanatory, but it’s my little way of trying to make the world a slightly friendlier, better place.

A little bit of violence politics


September 16, 2013 by Dan

One of my college roommates, and good friends still, works at the Navy Yard. I got this from him this evening:

I’m ok. Just got home. Went from the most exciting day of my life seeing a gun come in front of my cube to the most boring sitting for twelve hours in some random building on base. People in my office got killed. Not sure who yet.

I know that in the United States we don’t talk about this stuff, but, really. This kind of stuff doesn’t happen in Australia, Japan, (insert country name here), even remotely as often as it does here. My dear friend is alive today, but 13 other people aren’t. Ugh.

Elmore Leonard


August 20, 2013 by Dan

Oddly, I was never a huge Elmore Leonard reader while he was alive. I read, I think, Get Shorty because I really dug the movie, but never really dove into what he had done. I read all around him – Hammet, McBain, McDonald, Child…perhaps it’s time to delve into his oevre just a little bit.

Quiet here because I’ve started a new job (good!) and am putting together a new website – it’s a perhaps-childish thing, but I’m having fun spinning up some posts and some thoughts that are directed, rather than the undirected mess that is this almost-eight-years-old personal site. That’s OK. Having a place to spin your wheels in a semi-public way isn’t so bad.