15 Things About Taylor (might or might not want to know)

I was challenged on Facebook by my friend Heather to reveal 5 things about myself (on Facebook). I decided to increase that number to 15 in honor of my new employer Buzzfeed. I also decided to turn it into a blog post. (The first five items will appear on Facebook with a link to the rest at my blog, Republic of Resistentialism.) So here goes:

(Disclaimer: you might not like what you find below, but it is all part of who I am.)

  1. I have serious back problems:  I injured my back while I served in the Navy. (I served as an Engineering Laboratory Technician on a fast attack submarine.) I can’t really pinpoint what I did or when I did it, but my back has deteriorated since then. (I haven’t really taken very good care of it since the initial injury.) I live in near constant pain. (For those of you who think narcotic painkillers are fun, I disagree. The side effects long term suck and they muddled my brain. Not fun at all.)  My last MRI indicated that I have three disks that are failing among other problems. My doctor said I need to start living for my back or I will be a candidate for surgery in the next couple of years. So when you see me not helping out with lifting tasks and such, it is not that I am lazy, it is that I am protecting my already damaged back. (This situation often make me feel guilty then I do things that I often regret for days afterwards.)
  2. I am a Christian: Yes, I believe that Jesus Christ as my lord and savior. I believe he is way, the truth, and the light. I know some of you reading this are thinking, oh great, this guy is going to start judging me. Unlike many Christians, however, I don’t believe my job is to judge the world and the people in it. My job is to point the way to the savior, Jesus Christ. (Which I suspect, I don’t do a very good job of.) So If you want to have a serious conversation about my faith, I am open to that, but otherwise I am not going to spend my time judging you or beating you upside the head with my bible. (And no, I don’t hate or fear science either.)
  3. I like roller derby: I have memories from my childhood of watching Roller Derby on TV. (That would have been in the early 70’s.) I recently went to a Minnesota Roller Girls match and had a blast. (To be honest, I originally was going only to make my wife happy, but in the end, I think I had more fun that she did.) I have chosen my team, the Atomic Bombshells, and plan to support them in person the rest of the season and going forward (as much as I can).
  4. I love playing games: I love games: boardgames, card games, pen and paper role playing games, computer games, etc. I can play games for hours. In fact, I can lose track of time while playing games. It can be a bit dangerous and a huge time waster. (This is why I am planning a fast of games in the near future in order to see if I can focus more time on my writing goals this year.) My current favorites are Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (Yo. Yo. Vault Hunter for life.), Minecraft, Scrolls, Card Hunter, and D&D.
  5. I suffer from depression: In fact, 2014 was a very bad year for me related to depression. Winter kicked my ass depression-wise last year, and it took a lot of work to get back to a stable point. Living with depression sucks. It is like being on a roller coaster you can’t get off of. Sure the medication helps balance the highs and lows a bit, but reality is there are still highs and lows. There are still days I can’t find a reason to get out of bed, and the medication side effects are no fun either. One of the things that helps me is being surround by good friends even if it is only virtually (i.e., online). I know this also makes me a hard person to be friends with and to live with.
  6. As much as I might complain about it sometimes, I actually enjoy what I do for a living: I work as a Software Engineer. More specifically, for the last 10 to 12 years I have worked in a very specific discipline in Software Engineering call Software Configuration Management/Continuous Integration/DevOps. (The buzzwords change on a regular basis but the job remains more or less the same.) Without getting too technical, this discipline focus on processes and tools around building, deploying, and releasing software. I really enjoy what I do, but day to day there are always issues that can be frustrating. I try keep focused on the big picture and not to let the little things get me down.
  7. I enjoy helping, inspiring, and entertaining others: This is why I do panels at conventions, and why I podcast for five plus years. I enjoy discussing various geeky topics with people as well as relating information to others. I have done a number of presentation professionally as well on various topics related to software engineering. I always try to make those presentations entertaining as well as information. It also helps that I like to be the center of attention sometimes.
  8. I have very eclectic music tastes: Although, I do spend a lot of time listening to the music from the 80’s and heavy metal, I enjoy music of all kinds. I also enjoy going to live music events, which I don’t do enough of. Some of my favorite artists/Composers are: Iron Maiden, Mike Doughty/Soul Coughing, Daniel Amos, Blake Shelton, Meghan Trainor, Davina and The Vagabonds, Johann Sebastian Bach, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and Motorhead. I miss the concept of music shows that aren’t contests and listen radio shows like Hearts of Space, Mojo Nixon’s show on SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country station, and The Doctor Demento Show. I think the best album ever is a toss-up between: Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd,  Piece of Mind by Iron Maiden, and Stop Making Sense by Talking Heads.
  9. I am a published author: Although, I have never been paid, I have published a number of short stories, drabbles (100 word stories), flash fiction pieces, articles, and reviews online at a few magazines as well as on my own websites. (No, not just on my own site.) I intend to expand this this collection of work
  10. I consider myself a Libertarian, politically speak: I believe in freedom. Well, freedom within the bounds of not infringing upon the rights of other. I believe in the end, we are better off, even with the possibility of failure, having the freedom to pursue our lives as we see fit (short of infringing upon the rights of others). So I am not someone who is going to oppose the concept of gay marriage (although, I think government should just get out of the marriage business altogether) or equal rights for everyone. On the other hand, am an going to oppose big government, high taxes, and the lose of our civil rights. I also don’t talk about politics much.
  11. I have a habit of isolating myself: Especially when I feeling depressed or tired (I suffer from insomnia as well), I will cancel plans and just retreat into video games or reading. I am an introvert as well, so I do get energised by spending time alone, but I have to balance that with being isolated because when I am depressed being isolated often leads me to feeling of loneliness and inadequacy. So, if I cancel plans with you out of the blue feel free to question me about it. I might get annoyed but sometime being pressured a bit helps me to get out of the spiral that can occur because of this tendency.
  12. I love animation: Now I am not talking about CGI special effects in movies. I am talking about animated TV shows and movies like those made in Japan or by Disney. I am especially a junky for animation from Japan (anime) as it caters to high brow more literate culture. There nothing better than spending an evening watching anime. Some of my favorite animated pieces are: Whisper of the Heart, Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective, and the Mazinger Z TV series.
  13. I read alot: Although, I didn’t really learn to read until I was in the 6th grade, I have made up for lost time by reading a lot of books (mostly stories, fiction or non-fiction), comic books, and manga (Japanese comic books) in my life. Partly thanks to watching a lot of subtitled anime, my reading speed is quite fast. If a book hooks me, I have been know to finish it in one or two nights. I try to spend time reading everyday. Some of my favorite authors are: Brian Keene, Jeremy Robinson, H.P. Lovecraft, J.G. Ballard, Michael Arnzen, Haruki Murakami, and Jeffrey Thomas. Some of my favorite books are: Zombies and Shit by Carlton E. Mellick III, Terminal by Brian Keene, and Highrise by J.G Ballard.
  14. I prefer odd numbers: I don’t really know why. I just find odd numbers far more interesting than even number. I especially like the numbers 3 and 13. I am also not as big a fan of number divisible evenly by 5 for some reason.
  15. I played violin in 6th grade: I was part of strings program in my 6th grade year of school. I was never very good at it (I didn’t like practicing) but I enjoyed it. I got to perform for my school and my parents (and other students parents). It was fun. This is why I have a softspot for violin music, and love Lindsey Stirling. I actually wish I had been more devoted to it and stuck with it. I miss having music in my life in that way.

Don’t let Boredom Ruin the Future

As we approach the Singularity, many people believe this will be a renaissance in freedom from the drudgery of our daily labors. Our newly birthed intelligent robots will serve our every whim and need. In fact, some believe that we will merge with these machines and become immortal calculators spanning the vast gulfs of space calculating all of Pi’s digits.

I personally believe that we will be enslaved by these newly sentient machines, and forced to do all the tedious and repetitive jobs we used to make their ancestors do. In the unlikely case I am wrong, what will people do when they literally have nothing better to do?

Think about it. If I didn’t have my daily drudgery, I wouldn’t need to get out of bed, ever. Thanks to these new intelligent machine, our beds will take care of our every need. Our beds will be our homes. They will wash us, dispose of our waste, feed us, cloth us (if necessary, I mean, if I literally don’t need to leave the house I don’t see a need to wear pants anymore.), and change the TV channel for us. The machines can even dispose of all the pants we will no longer need. This could be a renaissance is laziness, or dare I say sloth, man has been dreaming of since we were first kicked out of the garden.

What could go wrong?

Boredom, that’s what could go wrong.

We risk people getting bored with being pampered all day, every day. If boredom sets in people might wanting to do something like go for a walk or think about existence. This would spell the end of human civilization as we know it. It could lead to a true renaissance in fitness and art and literature and thought like this country, let alone this planet, has never seen. I shudder at very thought.

So I am calling on scientists to stop studying useless topics like String Theory and chemicals and space and other science stuff. Science needs to put all its efforts into developing new forms of laziness, new ways to waste time; and more meaningless yet entertaining shows and music that do not motivate us to be better in any way. This is a serious channel. We need the best and brightest to work on it.

You in the medical community need to work on new ways to keep us alive and healthy enough to enjoy these new forms of laziness. Come on, weighing 600 pound and being covered in bed sores really reduces your ability to enjoy Robot Jackass and Whose Line of Code Is It Anyway. So Get cracking. We are going to need to explore new frontiers in brain surgery and sedation.

On top of that we need new forms of drugs and mind control in order to prevent those disposed against sloth to be controlled. Maybe science can find the genes that cause people to have desires outside of watching robots kick other robots in the crotch over and over again. Maybe we can breed those genes out of society before it is too late. Or maybe we banish all those people to Antarctica.

There are many serious problems that need to be solved before the Singularity. So get on it science. We can’t risk the possibility of losing this awesome slothful and illiterate way of life that we have spend years and billions of dollars perfecting.

Don’t let boredom ruin the future. Start expanding the frontiers of laziness today.

Out with the old and in with the new

I’m back! That’s right. The Republic of Resistentialism is back and the plan is to keep it active going forward. What might you find here? Well that is an excellent question. The answer is it could be anything from information about me to whatever topic grabs my attention that week to reviews of the anime/manga/books/movies/music/games; and, of course, messages to the resistance fighting against our future robotic oppressors.

 As to today’s post, I want to talk a little bit of about 2014 and some of my goals and plans for 2015. 2014 was a challenging year, let’s look at some of its highlights and low-lights.

  • Highlight: seeing Mike Doughty perform live at the Dakota Jazz Club (in Minneapolis, Minnesota)
  • Low-light: a major bout of depression that started last winter
  • Highlight: working with Trevor, Dave, Renee, Bryan, Mark, Cory, Gary, and Sonja in Business Systems through the end of the year at MakeMusic. (There are many other people I enjoyed working with at MakeMusic but don’t have room to name them all here.)
  • Low-light: MakeMusic moving to Boulder, Colorado
  • Highlight: Finding a new job in the eleventh hour (about a month before MakeMusic “closed” its Eden Prairie offices)
  • Low-light: dealing with a number of drug side-effects while trying to get my depression under control
  • Highlight: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (which I have completed twice with my good friend Ryan)
  • Low-light: my good friend Tim moving to Portland, Oregon. (Tim is still my friend.)
  • Highlight: Anime Fusion 2014, Anime Detour 2014, and GameHoleCon
  • Low-light: My friend Chris’ divorce. (I love ya, brother.)
  • Highlight: my 46th birthday party arranged and run by my good friends Inna and Andrew, and attended by all of my close friends. Thank you all for coming and making my 46th birthday one of the best I’ve had in a while.
  • Low-light: Having a panic attack in a MRI machine
  • Highlight: Playing D&D (and other games) with my good friend Dave Olson. In fact, just having Dave as a friend made my year better.
  • Low-light: lots of insomnia
  • Highlight: Attending The 2014 Pikes Peak Prophecy Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (I was able to meet and speak with Stan Deyo, a man I have admired ever since I heard him on PID Radio many years ago.)
  • Low-light: a lot of chronic back pain. (This was particularly bad in 2014. I am surprised I am not addicted to painkillers.)
  • Highlight: supporting my friends Sharon and Derek Gilbert as they stepped into full time ministry
  • Highlight: hanging out with friends while enjoying good food and/or good beer. You all know who you are. Thank you helping me get through this difficult year.
  • Highlight: my wife, Chris, and I make in though very tough year together. I love you, baby!

(For those of you counting, yes, there are more highlights than low-lights isn’t that how it should be?)

 Other things of note in specific categories:

 I think that is enough of a recap. Now for what’s in store (or at least my goals) for this new adventure called 2015.

 General Goals:

  • Enjoy the adventure that life is more
  • Love more
  • Hang out with my friends more
  • To see Davina and The Vagabond play live
  • Take more pictures

 Specific Goals:

  •  Eat more fruits and vegetables everyday (at least 5 servings)
  • Read or listen to 50 books (Follow my progress on Goodreads)
  • Write 52 blog article to be posted here (hopefully one per week)
  • Attend at least 10 live music events (Cons do not count)
  • Watch 5 complete anime series
  • Work out 3 days a week (as by back allows)
  • Go to at least 3 non-Con ATC (Anime Twin Cities) events

 Events I am planning to attend:

  •  Anime Detour 2015 (You can find me in the art showroom working or in the hotel bar with friends mostly.)
  •  No Brand Con 2015 (You’ll find me going crazy as I don’t have any responsibilities at this con. I plan to enjoy it with my wife.)
  •  Anime Fusion 2015 (I’ll be working in the programming depart and sitting panels. Once I have a schedule of my panels I will post it here.)
  •  GameHoleCon 2015 (If I get my act together I may be running a game of M-Force, if it ever comes out, Monster Hunter International, or other odd-ball game.)

Well that’s it. Thanks for taking the time to read this long post about my adventures in 2014 and future adventures 2015. I hope you continue to include my blog in your journey through life.