Category Archives: internet

thinking about the internet

I really like using social media.

Blogs, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Ravelry, Google+, Reddit, Pinterest…(the new MySpace?)

I know hardly anyone that doesn’t use some form of online social media. (My brother actually is one.)

A long while back, I didn’t use an RSS feed to check the blogs and websites I liked. I checked them manually. CRAZY.I.KNOW. And I was feeling irritated because I was using all this time to go through my friends’ blogs that they hadn’t updated in FOREVER. I ranted to a friend of mine, “Why do they even have blogs if they don’t use them?!”

And my wise friend Zack said, “You don’t get to determine how other people use the internet.” (And he told me about RSS feeds. What a genius.)

And that’s my advice. Stop telling other people that they are wrong for posting too many photos, or too much of what they are having for lunch, or talking about their pet/kid/favorite tv show, or for basically not using it the same way you do.

If you don’t want to see it or hear about it, then don’t follow/friend them. It’s that simple.

Let me restate: If you don’t like how they express themselves online, then don’t look at what they post. (Or don’t post in my earlier story.)

But wait, you say, “They aren’t using the tools right!”

My reply is, “In your opinion.” Maybe they aren’t using them in an effective manner to gain followers or to not be annoying to you or whatever, but unless they are being hateful bigots, leave them alone. Let them do what they want.

Stop criticizing.

Carry on.


interview series! jeff moriarty!

Hooray! My interview series is back by underwhelming demand! This first interview* is actually the last interview from the previous series. I, uh, couldn’t manage to gather my thoughts enough to post it last time, and Jeff was so gracious about helping me wrap it up to post this time! So thanks Jeff!

Jeff Moriarty and I originally met through The Internet. I think. He’s pretty famous on the Phoenix scene because he constantly works to make the metro area a more creative place built on community. He’s been a founder or an organizer for several really cool events like Ignite Phoenix, Social Media Club, and ImprovAZ. If you heard about all those people riding the light rail here in Phoenix in their knickers or the flash mob dressed like Where’s Waldo at Tempe Marketplace , you can blame Jeff.

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Jamie: Tell us a little about yourself.

Jeff: I have two knees that work well. I have a back and neck that don’t, due to car crash when I was younger. My hair has never killed a man. I believe in change, in motion, in exploration. Savor the world around you, but don’t take it too seriously. Find something new, for as much as you know there is infinitely more about which you have not a clue.


Jamie: “Not taking your world too seriously,” why did you develop that philosophy?

Jeff: Not taking the world seriously isn’t a philosophy I cultivated with intent. I got a dose of reality when I was very young, and it made me very sullen, quiet, and bitter. I kept chasing that darkness until I finally started to laugh. Laughter is about pain. It is a primal noise we make to each other, like monkeys hooting in the treetops, when we find a shared element of the human condition. Look at any joke, any funny story, and you will find at its heart a story of someone being embarrassed, hurt, confused, mocked, or otherwise suffering. Laughter is how we release that fear, for ourselves and others. Once I saw that, it became hard to take the world seriously. It’s not like any of us are going to get out of it alive.


Jamie: For someone with so public a presence, you are very private. Why?

Jeff: I just don’t think there is that much interesting about me worth sharing. Plus, because very little offends me I have a tendency to upset people with some things I say and do if I’m not careful. So I’d much rather explore and share with other people. And make them laugh, of course.


Jamie: Tell us an imaginary story about how you met your wife.

Jeff: It was my last assignment. The Sensei had promised me. Few Ninja were allowed to walk away freely, so I suspected a trap. The assassinations went well, as did the bank robbery, the government overthrow, the cooking of dinner, and the counting of all the grains of sand on the beach. For others, perhaps difficult, but such is the value of training. When the clowns finally came, I was ready. Their noses and flowers, the honking and squirting, it was a sordid affair. But at the end, covered in meringue though I was, I stood triumphant. The woman who was to be my wife saw it all. An innocent bystander to the carnage of the Big Top Smack Down, and she did not flinch. I knew then I would marry her as the first act of my newfound freedom. She ran fast and far, but I am tireless and I know mind control.


Jamie: Which do you like better: Ignite Phoenix or Improv AZ? (And you have to pick one so we can start a controversy.)

Jeff: I like Ignite Phoenix better than ImprovAZ because it allows people to showcase their passions, but I also love ImprovAZ more than Ignite Phoenix because it pushes people out of their comfort zone and makes them someone new. I like recursion, because it is recursion, and also recursion.


(photo credit: Ruth Carter)


Jamie: What has been your favorite Ignite Phoenix presentation ever. (And they are not like children-you can have a favorite!)

Jeff: Not trying to be evasive, but “favorite” is tough with Ignite presentations. There are funny ones, insightful ones, powerful ones, brave ones, well-presented ones, creative ones, influential ones, etc. One might be Luz Galusha-Luna’s “Typography as Personality” that she gave at the PodCamp Ignite we did. Wish the sound was better, because she did SUCH a good job conveying her passion outside her field.
Another favorite is Michael Wasserman’s talk about The Humanities in the 21st Century. Many people didn’t think this sounded like a very compelling topic, but Michael’s articulate, insightful view about the neglected role of the Humanities in modern education completely captured the audience and is one of the best Ignite Phoenix talks we’ve had.  But if I had to make my Favorite Playlist, it would probably be about 16 or so in there.


Jamie: Batman or Superman?

Jeff: I’m heterosexual, so I would not date either one.


Jamie: please share an internet link (or two…)


Bread People

Kim Jong Il Looking At Things


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I sat with Jeff this afternoon to get a couple of shots for this interview, and it was a beautiful conversation. I was reminded why I started these interviews in the first place. Jeff is a special person. He has these intense eyes, and he doesn’t flinch. And incredibly expressive hands. I like Jeff even more than I did this morning. I hope after reading this interview, you know what I mean. And feel free, as before, to ask Jeff your own questions in the comments.

Also, follow him on Twitter.


(*One thing you may notice about this next series is that I decided to use capitalization because it is fancier. And I am nothing if not fancy.)

interview with chris

Chris is someone I met when I was in college. I interviewed his brother Dan earlier in my series. Some of the best memories I had in the college church group was with Dan and Chris laughing and telling pickle jokes. Dan and Chris play off each other’s humor really well-they make each other laugh with their distinct comedic timing.

One day, Chris just disappeared to Colorado, and now we all know why…

JM: Tell us a little about yourself.

CH: I am 5’11” tall.  I wear size 12.5 shoes except for chucks, I wear 11’s.  Chucks have always made me feel bad about myself in that way.  If there weren’t so friggin cool I would boycott on principle.

I will be married to my first wife 10 years this July.  We have two darling children, Emily (five going on 18), and Evan (three going on ninja).  I know a lot of people are biased and say their family is the best, and their kids are the best looking, etc, but truth be told, they are lying.  When I say it, I am not.  My wife and kids are amazing.  I had no idea how good it could be to have a wonderful wife, crack up kids, and get them all at the same time.  I know plenty of people that cannot say the same of their life, and I am in no way trying to brag because it is all through the grace of God that I have been this blessed.

I have a bad habit of new hobbies.  The good news is, I can do a lot of different things.  The bad news is, I am not very good at most of them.  Here are some things I like to do: Fly Fishing, Fly Tying, Play/Coach Volleyball, Video Games (xbl gamertag: nakedjed), play the ukulele, shoot archery, shoot pistols, shoot pool, shoot craps (not really), I love making digital art via illustrator and photoshop and I design and create shirts, stickers, decals etc..  I love doing new things.  But I can get a little obsessive about getting proficient at doing new stuff, maybe a character flaw of mine…

JM: How did you end up in Colorado?

CH: I ended up in Colorado after I met my wife for the second time… It actually sounds much creepier than it was at the time. I was living in the mighty PHX and just living the bachelor’s dream: work, come home, eat ramen, play computer games, sleep, repeat.  I would mix in church a couple of times a week as well as swing dancing on Tuesday nights…… Something was missing…like, A LIFE.  Anyway, I had dated my wife, Kim, in college very, very briefly.  Like 3 weeks brief.  I hadn’t talked to her in years.  I always wondered what had happened to her, so I decided to find out. I, like any interested friend (or skilled stalker), called the alumni association at our school and told them I was trying to get a hold of her.  They gave me the last address they had on file, which was her parents, and I sent a letter.  She had just returned from living in Venezuela for almost a year and just happened to be living at her parents when the letter got there.  She called me the next week, we played the whole AOL chat game for a while and then I came out here (CO) for a visit.  I made up my mind that I wanted to move out and pursue Kim.  It worked out for me…..  🙂

JM: Tell us a pickle joke.

CH: What’s big and green and always blurry?

Pickle Foot -or- Big Pickle (which might sound bad.. or be taken the wrong way… that’s what she said kind of thing…) -or- the abominable snow pickle?  -or- the abominable pickle man -or- the pickleable snow man.  Take your pick.  The point of a good pickle joke isn’t the joke itself, its more about being up for like 30 hours straight and inducing some kind of sleep-deprived, caffeine and sugar fueled hallucination.  Hard to describe unless you’ve been there.

JM: You’re a P.E. teacher, yes? How’d you find yourself on that path?

CH: I was sitting in Pre-Calculus my sophomore year of high school hating the class.  I remember thinking, “You know what?  I really hate math.  What could I do that would require me to do as little math as possible…hmmm….Oh, yeah, I could be a p.e. teacher! yay!”

Then I found out how much work it actually is.  Which is fine, because at the end of the day, I am still teaching and playing games, sports, activities, etc.  But more than anything the thing I love about my job is the ability to talk to high school students about their lives, choices, struggles, etc.  There is something about making a high school kid feel normal in such a world of awkwardness.  I don’t just teach “gym” though, I teach a rhythm and dance class, an adventure education class, sports medicine and strength and conditioning class.  I love my job.  I honestly never want to do anything else ever again.  I would be fine working until I die at this school.

I have a whole other laundry list of reasons I enjoy p.e. and how it benefits kids, but most of it kinda goes without saying.  I do not have my students play dodge ball. Or pick teams themselves.  Or go shirts and skins.  It is not how we all grew up, its evolved into keeping kids interested in activity for life, so they won’t suffer the fate of their grandparents, parents, etc.

I actually took two cracks at it too.  I dropped out my first trip through college, then went back and got my Bachelors.  I was hired after my first interview, and a few years later got my masters in P.E.

JM: Tell us more about Rhythm & Dance class and Outdoor Education Class.

CH: Rhythm and Dance was a new class for me this year.  I was the only male teacher who had taught a dance unit in a regular p.e. class, so somehow that qualified me to teach an entire year of it.  Imagine me, in all of my fat oldness trying to teach hip hop dance to a bunch of high school girls who would rather make fun of me than actually dance.  EVERY DAY.  Actually, it works out, I teach jump rope, tinikleing, yoga, swing dance and some line dance.  I really enjoy dance class, but in all honesty, without boys in the class, it nearly eliminates or at least makes hard teaching dances that are lead-follow based.  Like swing, waltz, salsa, etc.  At the end of the day, we have a good time though, and as long as they are learning, we are good.

Outdoor education is where my passion lies, however.  I teach all types of “alternative” sport activities.  Things like, archery, disc golf, geocacheing, fishing, hiking, orienteering, etc.  It’s all the stuff that “regular” p.e. classes don’t typically teach.  Fortunately, it is all the stuff I love to do.  My favorite thing is that it’s an evolving class; we keep adding more stuff to do, like wall climbing, paintball, horseback riding, etc.  It is, in my opinion, where p.e. is headed.  The era of sports based p.e. curriculums are coming to an end.  Teaching kids how to stay active after their high school years is becoming the focus.  Finding ways to keep people moving after they have given up on becoming the next Michael Vick is no longer on the horizon.

JM: Would you like to share an internet link?

CH: Wow, there is a lot out there… maybe a couple… youtube classic.  I almost snot every time I watch it.

Anything these guys do is worth watching… An interwebs sleeper.  Sick cheap one time offered shirts.  I own several. In fact, I went to verify the address for this interview and ended up buying a shirt. <3 Look this one up.  It is probably the best way to mess with someone on the internet.  It’s been around a while, but if you can find someone who doesn’t know about it, It can be simply epic.  You may want to google how it works first, as there is a trick to it.. but holy crap is it fun to jack with people….

Thanks Chris for participating in my interview series! Ask him your questions in the comments below!

Follow him on Twitter @nakedjed

interview with bree

Bree and I went to the same high school. I guess. We didn’t really know each other then, although we were probably only about two people removed. Her friend (and future husband Ty) was friends with my friend Beth. Then about a year or two ago, Erin started chatting with her on the twitters.  So I did too.  And then Erin was all, “Hey let’s start #ClubAwesome-you, me and Bree!” And I was all, “Yeah! We are awesome. Let’s start this club.” So then I went to her house and met her. Or did we meet before then?  Anyway, Bree is awesome. And so is this interview.

JM: Tell us a little about yourself.

BKQ: My name is Bryony Kathleen Mackey.  No, I was not supposed to be a boy, and no, my mother did not invent my name.  I was named for the heroine in the Mary Stewart novel ‘Touch Not the Cat’ which for some reason I can’t bring myself to read.  Useless knowledge: Bryonia is a genus of flowering vine in the cucumber family native to the UK and neighboring regions, mainly North Africa & South Asia.  It used to be used in medicines, namely sedatives, until they figured out that it’s generally poisonous.

I am currently 31 years old, born on the 20th of September which makes me a Virgo, although I’ll say I’m 90% Virgo, 10% Libra since I am much more A-type personality than the average Virgo.  But the anal-retentiveness I’ve got down pat.  Useless knowledge: coincidentally to my name, September is considered the vine month in Celtic Astrology.

I am in my third, wonderful year of marriage to Ty Mackey.  He still won’t let me forget the time I didn’t go to Homecoming with him.  (I already had a date.)

I am the youngest of 3 girls.

I currently earn a living as a HTML Programmer and Application Developer for a financial services company.  I have no formal training for IT or programming at all, but rather a BS in Business Management and Equine Management. I find IT suits me fairly well as it’s a male-dominated field and I generally get on better with guys than girls.  Also, I’m not what you’d call a ‘people-person’ so the less human interaction, the better.

If I had to fit myself in a nutshell (that’s gonna be one big nutshell): I am an insufferable know-it-all.  I’ve been a bullrider, a soldier, a team roper and reiner.  I’ve lived in a housing project and been on food stamps.  I adore Apple products and believe Microsoft to be evil.  I was an NCAA All-American swimmer.  I played collegiate water polo.  I was president of my sorority, Lambda Zeta Theta.  I was secretary of the National Collegiate Honor Society, Gamma Beta Phi.  I was president of the Business Honor Society, Delta Mu Delta.  I am mildly bi-polar/manic depressive and mathematically dyslexic.  I read the Iliad and the Odyssey for the first time in 5th grade.  I’ve never done drugs.  My motto is (sometimes unfortunately) ‘How hard can it be?’  (That or ‘Everybody Wang Chung Tonight’)

JM: What does an equine manager do?

BKQ: We just manage equines…OK, for real an equine manager would generally run a stable/ranch.  When I was little my dream was to own my own stud farm and racing stable.  (I was big on Black Stallion books.)  I started college as just an equine major, but quickly realized I’m far too materialistic, and the odds I could get a really good paying job in that field are null.  I kept with it because I had my mare at the time, so like all other things I just wanted to learn as much as I could.  It was pretty fascinating.  I took classes on barn construction and architecture, feeds and feeding along with anatomy and physiology.  We also had general farm animal classes so I know a lot about pigs, cows, sheep, dogs, etc.  Little known fact about me is that I know how to artificially inseminate a horse.  That’s always Plan C at work.  Because by the time Plans A & B fail, there’s nothing left to do but that.

JM: What does it mean to be a geek?

BKQ: Wow…I’ve typed and erased like three paragraphs so far on this question.  In general, I’d say most geeks love sci-fi, gaming, and comic books, among other things.  I used to be terrified of people finding out just how much I loved Star Wars, or comics.  To me, I guess being a proud, adult geek means that I don’t need my likes and actions validated by other people.  I love the things I love because, well…I love them.  I think a geek is someone who is just fanatical about something.  Whether its sci-fi or rock collecting, it’s just about loving something that brings you joy.

One thing that makes me a little sad is that some people won’t accept someone as a geek if they don’t fit a certain profile.  Geek culture like mainstream culture has a caste system of its own.  For example, one time when I was at a Browncoat Shindig, a girl snottily asked me if I was sure I was in the right place.  Not to be too disparaging, she was probably what most normal people picture a geek girl to be: greasy hair, no makeup, overweight…not generally attractive.  When I told her I was there for the Shindig, she told me there’s no way I could be a real geek because I was pretty and wearing designer clothes.  After I proved my geek cred in a conversation, she did accept me, and we became friends.  But she assumed that because I care about my appearance there’s no way I could make a serious, scientifically backed argument about how a lightsaber could not cut adamantium.  (It can’t)*

JM: Does Ty share any of your “geeky” interests?

BKQ: Not really.  I mainly married him for his money.  And his body.  So we don’t have much in common.  He likes some of the stuff I’m into, he really liked Firefly and Battlestar Galactica.  He likes Angel and Big Bang Theory (which he should, since he’s married to Sheldon) but hates Buffy.  I took him to a Serenity screening once and we’ll just say it wasn’t really his thing.  He tolerates my idiosyncrasies pretty well, and I like to think he thinks they’re cute rather than annoying.

JM: How do you find balance between your “geek” self and your “rodeo” self?

BKQ: I don’t think it’s so much about balance as it is about just plain being me.  Like I mentioned above, people make assumptions that someone can’t be something (smart, funny, great backgammon player) because of something else.  Growing up I didn’t think I could be a girly girl and a tomboy at the same time.  Girly girls were weak!  They weren’t strong!  They couldn’t play football and fight.  But somewhere along the line I had an epiphany…and just like that I thought “Um…Why not?  Why can’t I be both?”  That question probably drives most of my life.  “Why not?”  I think the most fascinating people are those who are just bursting with layers, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t try to be one of those people.

I like to surprise people; it’s fun to watch their pre-conceived notions fall away.  At work, I showed up to a guy’s desk and he didn’t believe I was actually an official IT person because I’m a girl.  I’m surprised his head didn’t explode when he found out that I rode bulls, I knit and crochet, I bake breads from scratch and can (have) replaced the clutch in a vehicle.  I love rodeo and the western lifestyle.  I love the smell of manure and hay.  I love getting into discussions about how I think the most genius thing George Lucas did was blame the entire Clone War on Jar Jar Binks, who’s probably one of the most hated characters in the Star Wars ‘verse.

I think my beliefs are aptly summed up in my favorite quote from Robert Heinlein:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.  Specialization is for insects.

JM: When do you sleep?

BKQ: It’s funny you ask that, because I don’t like sleep very much.  It’s highly improbable that you’ll ever find me napping, and if you do I’m pretty ill.  Ty and I both work early, so we’re usually in bed by 7:30pm.  I’m a total morning person, which I don’t think I came by naturally.  Growing up I got up at 4:30am for swimming every day, so you get used to it.  I feel like sleeping is a waste of time, wish I didn’t have to do it at all.  I’ve definitely got the H in ADHD because down time in general is not something I enjoy.  Ty sleeps enough for the both of us; he can fall asleep anytime, anywhere and can sleep through a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant.

JM: Would you like to share an internet link?

BKQ: My favorite website ever, because nothing is sacred there.  It restores my faith that I’m not the only insensitive asshole around.

* JM: Why can’t a light saber cut adamantium? (I really want to know).

BKQ: Preface: this argument assumes we’re talking about the most well-known form of Adamantium which would be the man-made metal alloy invented by Dr. Myron MacLain, a metallurgist in the Marvel Universe, which is bonded to Wolverine’s skeleton.  There are some other types of Adamantium which exist in the MU, but I’m not getting into those.  I’m also not getting into the Earth-1610 reality (Ultimate Marvel Universe) where Adamantium exists, but has some different properties.  We are taking into account the light sabers of the Star Wars Expanded Universe as well as cannon.

With that said, here’s a little background on Adamantium.  It’s formed by mixing certain chemical resins (few know the exact formula) and keeping the mixture at approximately 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.  The liquid can be molded into a shape, and after 8 minutes becomes solid.  The shape of Adamantium can only be altered by the migration of an atom or bond, otherwise known as molecular rearrangement.  However, the molecular structure is highly stable, making this unlikely.  I believe that currently the only thing which is known to be able to pierce Adamantium would be Antarctic Vibranium or ‘anti-metal’.  (Useless knowledge: Dr. MacLain created a vibranium/steel alloy which was used to forge Captain America’s shield.)

In the Star Wars Universe, there are more than a few rare materials which can withstand a light saber blade (aside from the blade of another lightsaber).  Some of these materials even cause the blade to short out.  Basically, a lightsaber is high levels of energy converted to plasma by a series of focusing lenses and energizers.  The plasma is projected through focusing crystal(s) which lend the blade its color and allow for adjustment of power and length.  The plasma is sent through a series of field energizers after being focused by the crystals, and then being further focused by modulation circuitry, it becomes the beautiful, coherent beam of energy we all know and love.  A lightsaber blade does not expend energy or radiate heat until it comes into contact with something solid.  I did a quick Google, but was unable to find an approximate temperature, because I’m guessing it would depend on the material it’s in contact with.

Useless knowledge: one item which many people may be familiar with which is lightsaber-resistant is the Mandalorian Armor worn by the bounty hunter Boba Fett.

So anyhow.  Now that I wrote that all out, did a bunch of Google searches to check my facts and realized if I had been this interested in Algebra I’d probably be a much better programmer I’ll come to my scintillating conclusion:

A lightsaber cannot cut Adamantium because it does not possess a molecular reorganizer, nor does it have the properties to cause a chemical reaction which could (in theory) cause molecular reorganization.  Assuming a lightsaber could reach the temperature of 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit without destroying the focusing crystals and/or the handle construction (not to mention the holders skin, Midichlorian count notwithstanding), Adamantium cannot be ‘re-liquified’ after being molded.  So you couldn’t melt it like Plasteel, Transparisteel or some alloys of Durasteel which we see lightsabers melting through in the SW movies.

Phew.  That totally could have been my thesis.

(‘zombie stompers’)

Thanks again to Bree for participating in this interview! Please feel free to ask her any of your questions in the comments below.

interview with scott

For my next interview, I chose a volunteer who I didn’t really know. Scott is a person I “know” through Twitter. We follow each other because of our mutual friend Joe. Scott drives a semi around the country and brings bags of potato chips back for Joe. (Joe has a weakness for potato chips. I am not sure if he’s looking for the perfect chip or just enjoys trying all the strange flavors that are available all over the country. My favorite chip is Chile Limon by Lays-pairs well with string cheese. I’m classy like that.) Scott and I had our first real conversation sitting at the high top at Liberty Market about two weeks before this interview so I could get a better sense of what kind of questions I wanted to ask him.

JM: Tell us a little about yourself.

SK: I am an East Coast (Florida-born, North Carolina-raised) Arizonan.

I am 29 (soon 30).

I am the oldest of 4 children (I have 2 sisters and a brother)

I drive a semi.

I LOVE music and I also write everyday (with the rare exception) and also take a camera (cheap point and shoot) with me wherever I go just in case I find something interesting to photograph. I also enjoy Twitter too. And things that have good design.

JM: You are a truck driver. I think that actually sounds romantic-driving the country, listening to music, eating at diners, meeting interesting people…tell us more about it and how you got into it.

SK: I got into truck driving only because I got bored with what I was doing (being a student at ASU) and was tired of not having money and bills for things I didn’t want to have to wait to pay without high interest payments, so I decided that my Plan B (school) was just not working and to go with my original plan (truck driving). I had decided a few years before what I liked and didn’t like and at least wanted to try for an education first. (I do have an Associate’s). But, that didn’t work, so I went to trucking. And that’s what I’ve done for around 3 and a half years now. It’s an okay job. Not too romantic as it IS a job with pressures and deadlines, MOUNDS of paperwork. It’s also essentially a retail job too in the sense it is all about customer service and the irregular odd hours I work. It is a good job though with pretty good pay for what I do. I could say I am proud of what I do, although, there is a few caveats. The stereotype of a trucker does hold true in some respects and it’s a strange culture too. The food is mostly fast food now and a lot of the truck stops are corporate chains. It’s kind of sad in a way.Tthat being said, I still like to find the few not corporate truck stops as often as I can. Usually, they’ll have different or regional food that I’m out looking for. That is why I like my job, I really do like it because I get to visit a lot of places most people don’t. America is a big beautiful place. It has everything. It really does. I’ve been nearly everywhere too, with the exception of Maine and Rhode Island. (I only drive 48 states.) I’ve seen some amazing things too. Lots of sunrises and sunsets. Seen lots of wildlife (a bald eagle in the wild!) and the changing of seasons too, although I don’t like driving in the winter. I’ve also been able to use what I do to visit places too like New Orleans and Salt Lake City and Santa Barbara and go enjoy a few baseball games (both major and minor league) in other cities too. I do like what I do. I’ve seen a lot.

JM: Have you made any friends in the trucking industry? Do you have a “handle” on the CB? (Is that what it’s called?)

SK: Not really. Trucking is still kind of like a brotherhood/camaraderie kind of a thing. Other truckers do talk with one another and usually it’s the same story (management/government regulations/complaining). That has also fallen by the wayside too. No, I don’t have a CB (and yes it is still called a handle). Reason why? There is honestly nothing good to listen too unless if you like listening to misogyny/xenophobia/homophobia/racism. It’s. Awful. When I did have one, this is all I heard. Just terrible. Thankfully, it shorted out and I never got one again.

JM: I’ve heard you’re supposed to flash your brights when passing a semi. Is that true?

SK: Yes and no. Depends on who you talk to. Cars do this if the person is impatient and don’t think I know they’re there. Trust me, I have 6 mirrors, I KNOW you’re there. Trucks do that (or dim their lights) to let the other truck has enough clearance to safely pass one another.

JM: What is your favorite part of the country?

SK: Ah, my favorite place(s) in America? It really depends. My favorite region of the US, by far, is the Pacific Northwest because of the beauty that is up there, particularly the Spokane, WA/Coeur d’Alene, ID area. It’s a perfect balance of city versus rural. Plus it’s green, all four seasons and weather is temperate enough and so are the people. I love it up there. But I’ve also enjoyed driving though the Bronx and watching the Sun start to rise through that part of NYC. It was almost like watching a movie. I also love driving along the Plains and being able to see “forever”. It’s an amazing sight. I also like being on the coast (Pacific, East or Gulf) and the smell of it. I love the smell of the ocean.

JM: You love music. How was that developed in your life? Who are your favorite bands?

SK: Music. Hmm, I’ve always been surrounded by music ever since I was little. Growing up as a kid in the South, it was mostly country that I listened too (we had 6 radio stations) and also growing up in a Christian household we listened to a lot of Christian music too, mostly contemporary Christian music, although my dad still had his record collection which was a lot of party-like 45’s (think Purple People Eater) and Stevie Wonder and his favorite country artist, Ronnie Milsap. Also, I did learn music as a kid, took piano lessons and I can still read (or at least figure out) musical notation. I’ve also taken guitar lessons at least 5 times, but it’s too time consuming, I’d rather enjoy music. That being said, I do enjoy it a lot. I’m always listening to something whether new or old. I’ve been collecting records (CD/vinyl) since about the time I moved here, about 13 years ago. I still love buying CDs mostly because it’s something you can hold onto, there’s artwork, liner notes. It’s much more than just a commodity or something you can download. It IS art. I really do love music though because of the way it can feel and make you feel too. See, I am more of a person who likes how a song is constructed (produced/mixed/built) versus what most people look for in a song (vocals/instruments). I look for what the music through its production and how it was produced is trying to say, what the underlying emotion is. And with that, a lot of the songs I enjoy are by artists who do it themselves or those who do a majority of their song craft themselves. I don’t really enjoy watching some corporate crap like “American Idol” because it is exactly what I hate about the modern music industry. Because there is no talent there, it’s all fake. Too me, it’s dehumanizing. It’s taking the person who has a great idea and warping it into a moment that maybe someone will remember for a few moments and then be forgotten. It’s sad to me. I like music that has more meaning and a lot less steps. I like the artist who shares his demos that he just recorded this morning just to see what other people think. That’s what I like.

JM: Who are some of your favorite musicians?

SK: Some of my favorite musicians/bands are Damien Jurado, Richard Swift, Starflyer 59, Radiohead, but generally I’ll listen to almost anything. *Almost*.

JM: Would you like to share an internet link?


Here’s my link(s):

It’s for The Deck, “The advertising network of creative, web and design culture”.

This is my link because I also like well-designed things and to me the websites served by this ad network are the best. My particular favorites are:, and

Also related: which is also brought to you by the same people who run The Deck. Layer Tennis is a great game of design. See the website for more information. It’s really neat.

Thank you to Scott for volunteering! Please feel free to ask him any questions you have in the comments below!

interview with dan

My latest in the interview series is my friend Dan who I’ve known for about let’s say twelve or so years. I have no idea. I am sure we met sometime in college when we went to the same college church group. It sure feels like a lifetime ago. I used to hang out with Dan and his brother-they are two really funny guys. Some of my best memories of them are wandering around Magic Mountain. And telling pickle jokes. More on that later.

JM: Tell us a little about yourself.

DH: Name:  Daniel Ryan Hunt

Age:  33 years

Hair:  Reddish-brown, short

Eyes:  Blue, two

Ears:  Yes

Height:  5′ 10″

Weight:  Plenty

Distinguishing features:  Large sideburns, glasses, sardonic wit

Likes:  Martial arts movies, video games, reading, writing, making people laugh, the spotlight, listing vague things like ‘reading’ and ‘writing’ as things I like to sound smart and/or creative

Dislikes:  Unsolicited career advice, listing my previous work history, the word ‘douchebag,’ when Wikipedia is seen as a valid source of information

Favorite breakfast cereal:  Cracklin’ Oat Bran

Outlook:  Stoic, mostly

Demeanor:  Pretty middle of the road

Marital status:  Married to Sarah Hunt, going on 4 years

Highest education level:  Some college

Current occupational status:  Fledging stand-up comic, cab driver

I have been diagnosed with: schizoid personality, gout, 1 cavity

People think I have:  Asperger’s syndrome, a sadistic streak, encyclopedic knowledge of computers and GPS-level knowledge of the Phoenix area, including locations of every building, everywhere

JM: So…you can’t just drop a completely unknown (relatively huge) fact like you have been diagnosed with schizoid personality on me without any details.

Can I ask you about it “on the record”?

Can you explain what it is?

When did you get diagnosed with it?

Did the diagnoses come with any emotions or a sense of clarity?

DH: You never knew…?  I coulda swore… Okay.

From my understanding, being schizoid is where a person (me) levels out their emotional experiences.  Lower highs, higher lows.  The affected also have difficulty expressing emotions, having meaningful relationships, and other social awkwardnesses.  I was diagnosed with this in my early to mid 20’s when I went to a therapist to seek help for depression I was going through.  Well, it was the result of this test I took, SAT style, complete with bubble fill in sheet and #2 pencil.

When it comes to things like being schizoid, or depressed, or anti-social, or even things like possibly having Asperger’s Syndrome, I shrug it off.  I’m okay with me, and I’m at a point where I realize all the crap that happened so far was for a reason.  I am the person I am, and I can not, will not, nor want to be anyone else.  I feel that there’s a certain beauty in sadness, when you think about how bad a thing (whatever) is, you realize there is another thing (whatever) that is, to quote Teen Girl Squad, SO GOOD that not only does it make up for the sadness you feel, it surpasses that sadness, and all the other sadnesses that you’ve had or will have.  I get sad.  It happens.  I also get happy.  Sometimes the sadness in my life outweighs the happiness in quantity, it never comes close to it in quality.  I guess the ultimate question here is, where does that happiness come from?  How can it be better?  One word: Christ.  Knowing that all this (living life in this world) leads to something greater (eternity with Christ) nullifies all the crap this life can throw at me.  Sometimes I forget that for a while, but I always come back to the security I have in Christ and the Father.  The Spirit, too, even if I have a hard time understanding It.

That, and the Keebler Elves released a line of cookies that are versions of the Girl Scout’s Samoas that are available all year round.  How can that NOT make someone happy?

JM: Thanks-you saved a lot of people from looking that up on wikipedia. Speaking of happy, tell us a pickle joke, and give us the background on pickle jokes in your family.

DH: Who’s green, Egyptian, and married Marc Anthony?  Cleo-pickle.  Who’s green and was shot nine times?  Pickle Cent.  What’s green and hangs above a baby’s crib?  A mo-pickle.

I come from two large families.  Mom had five brothers and sisters, Dad has six.  The vast majorities of these large families lived far away from where I grew up, mostly in Portland, Oregon and various parts of Oklahoma. A lot of childhood memories I have involve riding in cars on long road trips for family reunions.  Going to see the extended family was always a treat for my brother and I.  Well, when you’re ten hours into a 20-hour road trip with no stops, people get tired, and random things get hilarious.  Pickle jokes were born out of these late night/early morning drives, and they are part of those random things that get hilarious.

JM: Why do you find yourself drawn to stand up?

DH: I like laughing and I like making people laugh.  I was doing improv, which qualifies, but I think I’m drawn to stand-up now because I get to control everything that comes out of my mouth (in theory).  So if it’s funny, it’s funny that came from me and wasn’t dependent on something or someone else.  That’s not to say that I’ll never do improv again, but now is the season for stand-up (again).

My foray into stand-up started a lot earlier than I realized, when I stop to think about it.  Back in the fifth grade, I asked my teacher if I could tell jokes in front of the class during lunch.  She let me, and I proceeded to bomb day after day for pretty much the entire school year.  Fast forward about three years, and while I was attending middle school, I was put in the gifted/accelerated class with the other nerds.  One of the things we did every year was a career assignment, where we would pick something that we were interested in doing when we were older, then we would be paired with someone who did that for a living, and we’d spend time with them as they did their job.  I selected to do stand up one year, and I was paired with a comic whose name I no longer remember.  I tagged along while he did a corporate gig.  He gave me a video from one of his open mic nights that he hosted, and I remember all the comics either being filthy or extremely bad.  To wrap that assignment up, we had a ‘career night’ where we had presentations of what we learned.  I did about three minutes of material that I ripped out of a joke book.  I remember everyone was polite about it.  Since then, my desire to get on stage and make people laugh has manifested itself in various ways, like being the ‘announcement guy’ at VI, or doing improv at a theater in Scottsdale.  Around the end of September last year I happened upon a class for stand-up comedy taught by one Tony Vicich, comedian who was prolific during the stand-up boom of the 80’s.  I took the introductory and the advanced classes, and was in two showcases, one at Dave and Busters up in North Phoenix, and one at the Tempe Improv.  Currently, I have an open-mic night coming up on the 30th in Scottsdale, and a set at ToSo’s up in North Phoenix on the 4th.  Maybe it’s the 5th.  I should probably find out.  I’ve been told that I’m ‘edgy’ for whatever that’s worth.

JM: What would be the ideal comic “job” for you?

DH: As fun as it would be to be a touring comic, I think that would take me away from my wife and soon-to-be daughter too much.  I’d be perfectly content to work a singular city like Vegas, LA or New York if I could provide for my family doing it.  I also wouldn’t argue with acting, voice acting, or directing.  But not producing.  Maybe gaffing.  That’s a ways off, though, I’m still working my way into the shallow end of the comedy pool.

JM: Who are you influenced by comically?

DH: I am influenced by any comic that can make a room full of people laugh without resorting to excessive swearing or crude/sexual/scatalogical/racial material.  It’s a mistake to think that doing clean comedy is talking about rainbows and kittens and peaches.  I actually pulled off a joke in which there is a baby that is on fire.  You can be dark and edgy without dropping an f-bomb.  Or an s-bomb.  Want examples of who I am inspired by?  Sure!  In no particular order:

Demitri Martin

Brian Regan

Eddie Izzard (I said excessive swearing)

Jim Gaffigan

Ken Kaz

Donald Glover

Christopher Titus

Steven Wright

Ritch Shydner

I’ve also had the joy of being able to learn from good comics, both veteran and not-as-veteran.  Tony Vicich, like I mentioned before, along with Emily Galati, Kevin Odea, Joleen Lunzer, Mike Gillerman, Dave Thurston, Jim Bambrough, Mike Bengoeceha… lots of people named Mike, all said and done.

JM: Would you like to share an internet link?

DH: As much as I think that the internet is nothing more than 99.99% filler and a horrible time suck, here are a couple things I like looking at: – One of the two funniest non-episodic webcomics ever. – The other funniest non-episodic webcomic.

If you’re curious to see what I’ve done in stand up:

Shameless plug, I know.

And if you’re curious about stand-up classes, you can go here for more information:

Thanks Dan for participating in my interview series! Feel free to ask him any questions you have in the comment section below!

interview with erin

Erin and I met in high school. We were in some of the same classes; we also both hung around the drama room. (She was much more into the debate scene though). We shared many of the same friends, but I don’t think we actually became good friends until college. She ended up leaving the state, and returning to her southern roots to attend some random Oklahoma university. I still have no idea how she ended up back there-maybe that should’ve been an interview question, eh? We’d always make a point to hang out when she was in town, and she eventually moved back .  She hosts an annual party involving the Salt River and karaoke; she makes all her friends come and bring her presents. This year’s party was held at the most podunk bar I’ve ever been to. No really. When I walked in, there was an old man with no teeth trying to sing and dance with Erin.

JM: Could you tell us a little about yourself?

EM: I am sort of a non-interesting, interesting person….like I believe most of us are at heart. I am judgmental and curse like a sailor. I used to be a card-carrying member of the NRA as well as the ACLU. I reflect on the past far more than I ought to. I read every book I can get my hands on, as well as watch far too much television. I love political discourse but deplore name-calling. I think I am kind while being not at all selfless. I believe that civility is a lost art form that may never make it’s return. Assimilation has always made me fearful. I fall down a lot (literally and figuratively speaking). I would make a horrible crime scene detective but an awesome motivational speaker. I love the Counting Crows and hate Creed. I coulda been a contender….

JM: You love movies and television but also books. Talk to us about what draws you to both.

EM: I love a good story, even going back years and years to when I was a child. I like to hear stories. I often thought I would make a good biographer. I have a tendency to lose myself in fiction . I love the written word because when someone writes a story, most often, the author comes out in the pages, even if the book is a new subject matter that the author has never experienced. I love the investigation of people – whether it be the character or author — I love the nasty bits I feel like I wasn’t supposed to know, like I have uncovered a great secret that deliciously is mine to keep or tell. I also love reading a writer’s interpretation of emotion — easily the hardest thing to convey on the page. TV and movies are different…everything is in front of you, sometimes just a few feet from you on the screen. I become the voyeur.  This is a much more intimate place, watching the actors . The writing has to be succinct (unlike my ramblings), as the emotions and feelings aren’t described for the audience — this is why solid acting is key – it has to be believable. I have to immediately be invested in the outcome. In books I can imagine anyone I want to. On the screen it is already there. The page offers the starting point for imagination. The screen, if done correctly, allows you to be part of the drama. And, I love good drama.

JM: Are books always better than the movies?

EM: Oh God, yes! Well, no…well, most of the time. OK, yes, with the following notable exceptions:

– Fight Club – Book by Chuck Palahniuk

– Children of Men – Book by P.D. James

– Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper

JM: Recommend one movie every adult should see.

EM: I hate this question. I have 25 movies that every person should see. But to name one? One? Ugh. I won’t give you my favorite movie as the answer (which is The English Patient) nor will I give you my favorite movies as a child/teen (Reality Bites, Dazed and Confused, and Pump up the Volume). I also won’t share my favorite TV shows of all time (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The West Wing). Oh wait…i just did….oh well, deal with it. Here are 3 (sorry, best I could do).

– Way of the Gun – stylized, gritty, great story. Just a great film for everyone — who doesn’t love a little sex and violence and Violent Femmes, plus I don’t think most people have seen it, and I am always happy to have someone discover it.

– BBC Pride and Prejudice  — I am actually surprised at how many people have not seen this adaptation from the 90’s. Men, if you want to know what women want, watch this film, get a morning coat, and speak with a British accent.

– Lonesome Dove – this is the greatest mini-series of all time – back when mini-series were actually a “waited-for” event. It has everything and everyone in it, and I find it to be a good adaptation of the classic McMurtry novel. This will tear you up.

JM: Recommend one movie every child should see.

EM: Labyrinth – I think we all need to go back and watch a movie that has perfectly respectable CGI for its time, music that everyone loved, and an obscure love story — it’s like Glee, Avatar, and Harold and Maude all rolled into one, right? Perfect for your children. I am not kidding.

JM: you also love politics, tell us how a true third party would change things.  what would the ideal third party look like to you?

EM: Well, call me a pessimist, but I don’t think a third party would change very much. For a multi-party system to really work the current aim of politics (at least in the current state) would have to be redefined. We spend so much time berating and charging others with accusations based on their sound byte-belief system that we rarely discuss the problems of our society. We discuss hot-button issues that have replaced true ideals and passionate party politics. I am all for political parties. I really am. But the “issue of the day” is a product of 4th Estate. The free press has never been free — at least not in a mainstream way.

We all have our agendas. I don’t want your candidates in office so I will do whatever is necessary  to prevent that from happening. Even if it doesn’t work, i am going to do everything in my power to make sure you can’t get anything done once in office (no matter the office). i won’t try to find a way to work on the problems, I am just going to make sure that the problem of “you” goes away as soon as possible. This happens on both sides of mainstream politics, but also agenda/issue-based 3rd parties, no matter the size.

I think for a third party (or, a real multi-party system of actionable people who represent more than one thought and don’t run on the, “I am a former porn-star platform”) to be effective you have to start at the local level. that is where most of the actual work happens. There isn’t as much grandstanding or hands to shake. That is the place to penetrate with multi-parties, but, more importantly, multi-ideas. It isn’t “one size fits all” politics. Politics should be about the generation of ideas to better the community and respectfully debating the ideas and deciding whose ideas seem to better benefit the community. Then supporting each other, even while respectfully disagreeing with it.

JM: What is the 4th estate?

EM: The 4th estate is really any non-elected institution that has power or clout but isn’t really recognized as part of the political process — ie, the media, especially the 24hr news cycle that has made “hot issues” the main story, instead of a byproduct of the real issues. Sound byte edutainment from pseudo-experts who wear too much makeup (speaking about the men here) and rehearse their stories for greater impactful sighs and head nods. These are not my political teachers. These are not well-intentioned patriots. These people not only serve the lowest common denominator, they wallow in it. These are puppet masters…with too much makeup. I detest this type of greedia, er, I mean media.

JM: It’s interesting that you say all the actual work gets done at the local level because no matter who’s president, they seem to get blamed for all that goes wrong. I heard this idea on West Wing, but I kind of liked it: what about a Regent? Someone to be the face of the country while someone else is the President who does the work.
EM: I don’t know if a Regent would be much better in this celeb-u-tant society that has been created. Where did the Regent eat? Who is she sleeping with? Did she get fat? Is he gay? Is he bi? Does he have hair plugs? I keep having this picture of a Kardashian or a Snooki with a sceptor and cape. Shiver. I don’t know if a figure head is the right idea — I think the President, in a lot of ways, is already like that. A mouthpiece. So, the idea is to separate them…and in a perfect world it just may work. However, we then have an elected Regent — who kisses babies (not Snooki, gross) and acts as the glorified Supreme Wal-Mart greeter, and an elected President that does the work. We wouldn’t be able to leave him/her alone to work. We would start looking at them the same way…then the Regent would overstep their boundaries and attend a budget meeting and before you know it “GTL” is the national slogan of the US of A!!! OK, maybe not that extreme, but I don’t see how a separation of duties would really be beneficial. I don’t see American being able to really make that transition. Sigh.

JM: What if the regent was not an elected office but an appointment?

EM: Who appoints? The President? The Congress? It becomes a pissing contest of whose appointment goes through, like the Supreme Court. It is political, even if it is a baby-kissing position. My fear is who is behind the promoting of the appointment. What spin do they want? What is their endgame? Do we start on the role of palace intrigue by having a monarchy? I think not!

JM: Would you like to share an internet link?

EM: For all your bacon needs:

I want to thank Erin for being an interview volunteer! You’d make her a very happy woman if you asked her a million questions in the comments below!

And by the way, here’s a link to her blog. Maybe the pressure will get her to blog more often!

burger daze

I’ve been photographing the burgers that Chef Traina’s been creating at the Liberty Market where I work. It’s been a great way to play with my new lens! I’ve been having a blast doing it, and I even was able to create my own burger which will be featured on August 26th. The original burger was supposed to be The Ostrich Burger, but apparently, it’s ostrich breeding season. Which means you can’t get ostrich meat. Weird, I know. Anyhow, mine will feature mushrooms, a demiglace, and a special cheese that’s a cross between a blue and a brie. Chef’s really excited.


Awhile back ago, I twittered to Wildflower Bread Company that I was willing to help test their food out. They ended up inviting me to their fall taste testing, and they said they do it with Tastecasting. So I registered quickly (day of), and headed over to the 44th St. and Indian School location.

It turns out that Tastecasting is sort of a symbiotic relationship between food bloggers/twitterers and local/regional restaurants. You eat for free (and I mean eat-you should be in training), and the then you blog/tweet/FB/yelp about your thoughts. The restaurant gets a little physical traffic and feedback from it, and you get dinner and a little virtual traffic.

So here’s my photos:


This is the founder of the company-and it is a local one. It was really cool sitting down over food and hearing him describe how he came to the Valley originally to work for Coffee Plantation, and ended up starting his own restaurant. Louis really loves food and is a cool guy. The company does a lot of community work and donates all the baked goods every night. Here he is holding the Apple Streusel Pancakes. They said it was syrup but it was a caramel-praline sauce. So thick and gooey.


Here’s the Fiery Roasted Butternut Squash Salad. Quite a lot of heat. I liked the dried corn too-nice texture in a salad.


This is the Turkey and Cranberry Walnut Stuffing Sandwich. With bacon. I think the bacon was a little over the top, but everyone else seemed to really like it. But hey, bacon’s really popular.


I’ve been wanting to try this Butternut Squash Ravioli for some time, and finally got my chance! So good. The garlic bread was divine.


We actually got to try three desserts; the only one I didn’t get a picture of was the Roasted Nut Pie. The other two are Pumpkin Cheesecake and Pumpkin Pie. That was the creamiest pumpkin pie I’ve ever had. And I loved the nut pie-not too sweet like some are. I prefer my cheesecakes plain, but if you like flavored ones, you’d like this one.

At the end of the night, they sent us all home with a giant bag of bread. I was able to try the dinner rolls, the Pumpkin Spice Bread, the Stuffing Bread, and the Cranberry Walnut Bread. They were all really good, but my favorite was the Cranberry Walnut Bread.

If you like food, blogging or twittering, meeting new people, supporting local businesses, and telling people about it, I encourage you to sign up. I had a lot of fun, and it is all around good for all.