Today's Mighty Oak


I’m actually not one for new year’s resolutions. Typically I set out some very manageable goals for me at my birthday, and work on those for the year. So what did I do this year? Set new year’s resolutions.

To be fair, last year I had a new year’s resolution to update my wardrobe and (to steal from Thug Kitchen Bad Manners), dress like I give a fuck. It went well, and I’m generally really happy with what I did, so let’s apply that to this year!

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been working on:

Read more books

I read a lot, but feel like I’ve fell behind that a bit lately, so I set out to read at least seven books this year. Modest, I know, but with everything else going on, and an ever-growing pile on my nightstand, this seemed like a good place to start. Here’s what I finished:

  • Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore. The second book in the death series (after A Dirty Job), such a fantastic time!
  • The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. I enjoyed this a lot, and the ebook that I borrowed from the library had a short afterword by the author, as well as the ‘Toast’ from Screwtape.
  • Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink. This expanded on the podcast of the same name, both of which are highly recommended!
  • Queer x Design by Andy Campbell. Amazing book about the history of queer design, highly recommended!
  • The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited. Book two of the Balance Arc of the podcast, brought to life as graphic novels.
  • hello mr., Volumes 7, 8, 9, 10. Literary journal about queer men, consistently some of the best writing in print, and a shame that it’s no longer in production.
  • Naturally Tan by Tan France. A deep dive into Tan’s life and work, a fun read that showed me a different side of the Queer Eye star.
  • Hamilton: The Revolution. Book about the creation of Hamilton, including a full script with notes from LMM.
  • The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Kramer. A book about the character from Welcome to Nightvale involving pirates, spies and revenge.
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman. The story of the women who have the power to destroy the world.
  • Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. A reread for me, but I had forgotten how poignant and good this book is!
  • Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh. Her next book, just as fun as the first.
  • The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. I reread this so I could discuss it with a friend, and I as reminded why it’s easily one of my favorite books of all time.
  • Horrorst√∂r by Grady Hendrix. Murder in a haunted Ohio IKEA competitor, just wonderful.

Other books and audio books

So, I’m not counting audio books for this challenge (hot take: it’s not actually reading. Not saying it’s not great, it’s just something else), or a couple other books that didn’t really require much reading:

  • The Little Blue Kite by Mark Z. Danielewski. As recommended by the author, I read it through three times, each time following a different path (but it’s a really short book).
  • Coincidences at Museums by Stefan Draschan. A wonderful little book of photography at my uncle and aunt’s house.
  • The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen. Audio book based on the podcast, listened to during my long runs.
  • Vodou by Manuela Dunn Mascetti. Short little book.
  • Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.: Quick-fix recipes for Hangry Athletes by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. Some great recipes, but like any cookbook, many I won’t make. But some great running and racing content in there as well!
  • Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John. A series of meditations on the writings of John.
  • The Book of Blessings. Small book about Tibetan prayer flags.
  • The Book of Urizen by William Blake. Small textbook that was mentioned in Origins so I decided to give it a quick reread.
  • Firefly: The Sting by Deliah S. Dawson. Graphic novel about the women of Firefly/Serenity.
  • Vox Machina Origins Volume II by Matthew Mercer. Graphic novel about the Twitch/Youtube show

Clean spaces

In a general sense of decluttering and cleaning, I’d like to clean ororganize 12 small spaces, one a month. These are things like closets, bookshelves, dressers, etc. I have too much stuff, and it’s time to do some purging!

  • Dressers in my guest room
  • Filing cabinet in my office
  • Nightstands in my bedroom
  • Glove box
  • Desk
  • Organized office bookshelves
  • Cleaned office closet
  • Cleaned and organized laundry room
  • Organized hall closet
  • Scrub kitchen counters (bigger deal than it seems, finally found the right combination of cleaners to get them really clean!)
  • Cleaned cable totes (random computer/electronic cables)
  • Garage shelves
  • Camping/Burn/Relay race totes

Buy more music

So, I get in the habit of hearing new music that I like, identifying it, and then not actually buying it. So I’m making an effort this year to put together a playlist throughout the year:

  • The Times They Are A-Changin’ by Fort Nowhere
  • Julie-O by Kevin Olusola
  • Arsonist’s Lullabye by Hozier
  • Calvary by Mashrou’ Leila
  • Dreamboy (album) by Dan Terry
  • Hiroshima by Ben Folds
  • Your Turn to Roll (Critical Roll theme song)
  • Take Me Away by Barefoot McCoy
  • Precious Love by James Morrison
  • Dreamboy main theme by Dane Terry
  • Hallelujah by Panic! At The Disco
  • Be Me by VINCINT
  • All Rode off Together by Meeting of Important People
  • Caution by The Killers
  • Reasons I Drink by Alanis Morissette
  • Simply the Best (From Schitt’s Creek) by Noah Reid

This goal took a bit of a backseat after Google Play Music closed, and now I’m at a loss of where to buy music from if I don’t want to use iTunes (and not stream). Any ideas?

Diversify meals for game nights

My last goal for the year is to make something different each time I host a game day. I’ve fallen into a lot of the same things, and I’d like to expand a bit, so the goal is to not repeat over the course of the year:

  • January: Broccoli and chickpea tacos (Thug Kitchen Bad Manners)
  • February: Curry Slurry (poorly named from The Lactose Free Cookbook)
  • And then we didn’t have any more in person games due to the global pandemic. Will try this again when we can meet up again in person!

Well, I’d say I was successful! The trick for me is to set reasonable and attainable goals, then I gain momentum to do more! (Side note, just surviving this year is enough. Don’t let anyone tell you differently).

I have some ideas for what I’ll be working on in 2021, including a lot of cleaning those same spaces again! I also have some digital cleanup to do, and am hoping to knock out some TV and movies I want to catch up on, as well as restart an epic fantasy book series.

Here’s to a great year!



Alright, let’s see what we have today. First up, these adorable parents who play a game of Mario Kart every morning to see who has to put on the kettle for their tea.

This dog responds to Harry Potter spells. Something to strive for in a pet!

A version of Fahrenheit 451 that can only be read when heat is applied to the pages.

Billy Porter is a treasure. He gives it to Kevin Hart and I’m all for it.

Christian Bale credits Satan for him being able to play Cheney. And it’s perfect.

Brazil elected their own far-right politician, and he spent his first day in power stripping rights from the queer community.

For something a bit lighter, here’s the Powerpoint presentation as to why Belle should have picked Gaston instead of the beast. Spoiler: The French Revolution.

The cast of The Magicians talks about their commitment to diversity, another reason to love that show!

Liberty Counsel, a hate group, is lobbying against an anti-lynching bill because it protects the queer community.

And in sweet, sweet hypocrisy, an anti-gay preacher wants you to know that he still hates gays, even though he was caught with sex workers.

Federal courts have blocked the horrific ‘citizenship’ question that was going to be added to the census.

The nominee for the next Attorney General ran HIV internment camps at Guantanamo.

In horrifying, saddening and infuriating news, the gay purge in Chechnya has resumed.

And after all of that horrible news, we need some comedy:



Alright, lots more to post today, and I’ll be back with more as I finish catching up with everything from November, but let’s see what I have.

First up, the 2012 election in one photo

Fun and snarky (and not real by the way):

So this exists. ¬†Read the reviews, it’s worth it.

Fun ad for Durex.  Well done, and strange to watch in slow motion.

The most memorable AR campaigns of the last year.

The trailer for Decay, when the Higgs Boson creates Zombies:

See, it’s not just me talking about fonts. ¬†Don’t use these ones. ¬†Please.

Have you been following along the “adventures” of John McAffe? ¬†Seriously, it’s all kinds of crazy.

I can’t wait to try this out:

A roundup of some of the best Tumblrs of the year.

That’s it for now, but I’ll be back again soon. ¬†Have a great one!



Alright, I’m back, have a couple bigger updates to get caught up after my month of writing a novel, so here we go.

First up, an awesome ad from Germany:

Slog shows off the Book Vending machine.

Waaaallllmmmmaaarrrrttttt cccccaaaarrrrreeeessss:

Need an emergency compliment, for yourself or someone else?  Click here.

The Whiskey Advent Calendar. ¬†I don’t have anything to add to that, actually.

Awesome stunt by Best Buy on Black Friday:

I love Pantone, but even I think this is a little much.  But when you have to match colors, I guess you might as well go all out.

Anderson Cooper gets in an awesome burn on Twitter.  So fantastic and gratifying to read.

Let’s assume that this is in celebration of Movember:

And for some politics, guess what percentage of the popular vote Romney got. ¬†No really, go ahead and guess. ¬†You’ll never guess what percentage he got. AHAHAHAHA.

The Good Men Project breaks down what the electoral college map would have looked like had only white males voted, and MaddowBlog breaks down some other really cool maps as well the result of the gerrymandering that went on after the last census.

And if someone complains that the Democrats don’t care about the deficit, just show them this link.



Quick update, first up, this is so awesome my face just about melted off and I want it and I’ll never ask for anything else ever again:

As many of you know, every November I write a novel as part of NaNoWriMo. ¬†November is also Men’s Health Month, and I have a bunch of friends participating in Movember. ¬†I applaud their efforts, not only because I can’t grow a mustache to save my life (sideburns are another story), but also because there are three freaking months of breast cancer awareness (February, May and October), so it’s nice to see that half the population gets one, little-known month. ¬†But Tom’s made this awesome video to celebrate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TleMMZqF3cU

And lastly, happy Halloween from the fourth most haunted campus in the country:



Alright, let’s see what we have today.

First up, it’s like the Humble Bundle, but for books! ¬†Pretty cool

For all those children of the 80s, I choose to believe that this did work, even though science says it doesn’t:

Well this is absolutely infuriating.  And so is this.  And this is so scary, and yet another reminder why we need the Affordable Care Act.

But this is awesome, the mayor of Phoenix tries to live on food stamps, to better connect with those in his city.

The Information is Beautiful awards have been announced, check them out here.

Google has unveiled google maps for the coral reefs:

Fox News and the WSJ areboth wrong about climate change. ¬†Raise your hand if you’re surprised. ¬†No one?

And if you haven’t seen it before, the best animal photo bomb ever:

That’s it for now, have a great one!



Alright, another update, let’s see what I have tonight for you. ¬†First up, like this post. ¬†Get it:

All of the books from The Royal Tenenbaums have been compiled.  Pretty awesome.

Apartment Therapy has a couple of old computers turned into coffee tables.  I like the one with the orange coil in the middle.

It’s almost time for the next season of American Horror Story, I’m super excited, and here’s one of the trailers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iz-Z-023hiY

This is astounding.  David Foster Wallace (and other authors) have left the word notes in the thesaurus on Macs.  Really neat, and a little sad in the case of DFW.

Awesome steampunk fan:

Apartment Therapy takes a look at the new IKEA catalog and pulls out the rooms which were created by a computer.

This is so meta, I don’t even know what to say,¬†apparently¬†160 years of maps of hurricanes, makes a giant, globe-consuming hurricane pattern.

And finally, this goes out to all my over-caffeinated friends and family out there, a giant chart of coffee.

That’s it for now, but I’ll be back soon with more, have a great one!



Quick update for everyone, first up, this trailer for a movie I didn’t realize was being made:

This made me giggle:

Pretty awesome, old pay phone booths will become free public WiFi in NYC.

Amazing shirts that play off of the “Plumber’s Crack.”

It may be crude, but it’s totally true.

This is pretty awesome:

That’s it for now, but I’ll be back with more soon!



I’m back from two weeks away, and back to the blog. ¬†I’ll be posting more updates soon, as well as a short update about my trip to Maryland/Delaware, but in the meantime, enjoy all of this:

First up, a video from NASA about watching the Northern and Southern Lights from the International Space Station, absolutely beautiful!

And a really cool video from The Guardian:

Copyranter comes through with an awesome gif, a really cool interactive ad, misleading chalkboards, the truly horrifying, an ad which I like, but he doesn’t¬†and the latest amazing cover from The New Yorker.

This also comes from Copyranter:

And here is a¬†compilation¬†from Better Book Titles. ¬†I especially love their take on “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

And here is the second trailer for The Avengers:

That’s it for now, have a great one!



Another quick update for you. First up, open this link and play this song in the background for the next hour. ¬†It’s the theme from Jurassic Park slowed down 1000 times (but kept at the same pitch)

Check out these awesome images of a “cloud tsunami

Today (or at least in ten minutes), is National Darwin Day!  Hooray!

Want to bet on the National Dog Show?  One, you probably have a gambling problem, two, Slate has you covered on who to bet on.

Want hot soup delivered to you each week (in Pittsburgh)?  City Paper profiles a new business, pretty awesome!

And finally, I’ve never heard of National Geographic’s Director of Adventure, but I want it, so I can have this office:

 

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