August is over! This month ->

I finished my scuba certification! If you’ve ever wondered what the bottom of the Homestead Crater is like, I’ll fill you in. It’s very dark and hot and the sand feels gooey and you can stick your hand up to the elbow in it and feel bubbles blooping up from the bottom. I think there is a sea dragon down there.

I went to my favorite developer conference I’ve ever been to! Such good talks and swag and people and food and of course javascript twitter celebrities! I was talking to the Gosh Damn creator of the Elm programming language for an hour over dinner before I realized who he was and also I met the author of my favorite Javascript satire article. I’ll stop there because this is getting painfully nerdy

I enjoyed the warm weather a lot! I had fun just about every single day.

I saw the Book of Mormon musical. It was so offensive and yet strangely not mean-spirited. How? “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” has been stuck in my head for weeks and I’m not mad about it.

I continued to marathon train. I’m not doing as well at it as I did last time, but I’ll finish the distance and have fun doing it.

I moved! Four blocks down the street! That was a whole thing. I was really sweaty that day. But then I took a shower and sat on the couch and everything was fine and the same except I was in a different apartment.

I experienced eclipse FOMO because I couldn’t make it to the path of totality. But seeing curvy shadows was still pretty cool.

I started getting into mountain biking. Someone offered me a trade for their pimped out Giant Reign and I couldn’t say no. Hiking on wheels is way hard and terrifying but also fun.


This month’s playlist is pretty low effort and has too much Ty Segall.



you don’t need to explain yourself

This title is from a fortune cookie I opened last night at Charlie Chow’s Dragon Grill. It’s a pretty great establishment. They have three different types of noodles and they’ll even crack an egg in your stir fry upon request.

I was thinking about how some people come into the world questioning everything. The stereotypical rebellious teenage kid: someone who acts out, rejects the status quo, refuses to care what other people think. The stuff of parental nightmares, basically.

I was the opposite: a weird, sensitive kid, deeply compelled to fear and respect and please authority. My parents, my teachers and leaders, my friends’ parents. I didn’t need much discipline. There was nothing worse for me than just disappointing someone I looked up to. I’d break down when facing a teacher with missing homework assignments, spend weeks in a silent guilty depression when a church leader reprimanded me for being chatty, beat myself up over A-minus grades. I rarely pushed boundaries on any of the rules and expectations put on me.

And it was great for me. I was a good kid. “The system” worked like a well-oiled machine for me. Good grades, good college, good job, good habits, good functioning member of society. I am thankful for all of this and thankful for my upbringing in every way.

But I’ve noticed something interesting as I’ve grown up. All those things that made me a “good kid” are still part of my adult self, and it turns out they’re some of my worst qualities now. I’m a serial people-pleaser. No matter how capable I’ve grown to be, still I stress out over how I will frame my intentions and justify my choices so that the “grown-ups of the world” will approve of everything I do. I think too much about what other people believe is right and good rather than what I believe is right and good, and it seeps into almost every aspect of my decision-making.

As an adult, I find myself wanting and trying to be a little more like the rebellious teenager. Maybe he turned into a critically-thinking adult with a strong sense of identity and integrity. He lives life on his own terms. He does what’s right because he knows what’s right and he deeply believes in it, not because it’s expected of him by some third party. It seems like a good way to live.

I guess I just really liked this fortune cookie. It was a good reminder. You don’t always need to explain or justify yourself. The main person who has to live with the consequences of your decisions is you, assuming you don’t choose to directly harm — or make yourself dependent on — someone else. You are allowed to do things because you feel good and right about them deep in your core. Nobody else has to understand, and you don’t have to make anybody else understand, and that’s okay.

I’ve worked a lot lately to internalize this and let it influence my actions. It gives me confidence. It makes living better.

I just want to run trails and eat nectarines


On Saturday morning I ran a trail half marathon and I got home and showered and put on this stupid shirt and ate three nectarines.

Trail running is the best. It’s like hiking, but a little faster. There are hills to climb and branches to trip over, but nobody cares how fast you go and you can’t compare any two different routes anyway.

I’ve always always been a road runner, but I think I’m over it. It’s still fun but why would you choose repetitive pavement-pounding over bouncy rock-dodging and stream-hopping and pinecone-squishing? With super cool scenery all around you?

Other nice things that happened this weekend:

  • I bought a gaming laptop!
  • I walked to the movie theater and watched some short films from Sundance this year since I didn’t make it to the festival!
  • I had a frappuccino!
  • I made hash browns!
  • I hung out with a very beautiful poodle!
  • I went to a mexican restaurant and got a drink with a rubber ducky floating in it!


weekends in my city

A few times a week I get smacked in the face with real actual joy to be existing.

My typical weekdays are pretty good. I get to see the sun poke through my blinds every morning, go running, cook food, ride the train, write code, read books, pet my dog, work with great people. And then, on top of all that, every week for two days I don’t have to work and I can do absolutely anything I want. Weekends! They are marvelous and I don’t know why we are allowed to have them because isn’t life supposed to suck and be difficult?

(Oversimplifying here, of course life is hard sometimes, but honestly, those times are easy to forget during a late Saturday morning brunch while being served crispy hash browns by a hot tattooed waiter.)

Weekends in SLC are awesome. I can sleep in or wake up early and go running at Liberty Park. I can go to a museum or outdoor concert or on a motorcycle ride or pub crawl. I can run errands on my bicycle or catch a movie at the Broadway theater or clean the bathroom or practice drums or get my car washed or aimlessly walk around Costco. I can go to Caputo’s for a sandwich with the freshest mozzarella or Purgatory for fried cauliflower tacos. I can go rock climbing or hiking or river rafting. I can buy peas and bok choy from the farmer’s market and make a stir fry.

On Sunday I woke up wanting to be in water, and we decided on a tube float at the Weber river. I was picturing a relaxing activity for snacks and drinks and less-than-practical swimwear. In reality I ended up with a Pringles can full of river water, missing sunglasses, and a lot of scrapes and bruises. Falling into a rapid while trying to eat cubes of watermelon from a tupperware was terrifying and hilarious and I would definitely do it over again.

P.S. I took exactly zero photos this weekend, which is weird for me. Also, I recommend watching the movie The Big Sick. Laughed, cried, was charmed, 10/10.

power tools and a planter box


I bought some power tools: a drill (with bits!) and a jigsaw. A friend had offered to lend me his. I told him I just wanted to have my own. Also, maybe this is weird, but I thought it would be nice to be the one lending my drill to somebody else.

Sometimes, you want a certain thing, and then you find a way to make it. Other times, a vague need to make a thing happens, and then you have to figure out a thing to make without filling your house with useless garbage.

My tiny patio was empty and fresh herbs are always useful, so a planter box seemed like a good enough idea. I drew up some plans loosely based on these instructions and bought lumber from the Lowe’s where I bought my tools.

On a weeknight after work, a couple of friends watched and fed me pizza while I put it together inside my apartment. At first I was clumsy, but by the time I finished, I was fast at switching drill bits and confident with my high-speed saw (and also pretty sweaty). I celebrated my success by vacuuming little piles of sawdust from the corners of my cramped kitchen. A coat of sealant and a bag of soil later, the box was ready for my tomatoes and herbs.

I’ve never had such a good excuse to constantly make tomato basil pasta and mint mojitos. Which reminds me: this summer has kicked ass, to be honest. I’ve been in a funk for a long time, but this season has been so good and normal and easy and relieving. (I am sounding extremely eat pray love)

Also, this is the first time in my life I’ve successfully kept herbs alive for more than a few weeks. I can care for dogs and cats and even human children, but the daily water needs of a basil plant have, in the past, proven to be too high maintenance for me. This time I’ve been diligent. It’s probably because I don’t want dead plants in my pretty box.