danielsjourney

seeking stories beauty meaning

Sonder

Sonder | The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows from John Koenig on Vimeo.

Sonder — n. — the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

I was introduced to this word and The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows today by someone 20 years younger than I. This person is a very smart person and part of a group of very smart people I have the privilege of employing as part of my Minecraft U staff. These people are also very empathetic and of particularly good character. They are good humans, connecting deeply both intellectually and emotionally with their world.

They give me hope for the future, and teach me new things.

Passion

Originally written and published (I assume only to a few close friends) before I had even started blogging, in 2001. It was part of an exercise in exploring the text by rewriting it in a new context. Of the many things I wrote in that time, it seems to hold up the best.


It was a strange time, 2001. It was even stranger in the city. No where else could you find such a diversity of things and people smashed into such a small geographic location. The variety of smells, sights, tastes and feelings made for a strange integration unlike any other experience available to humankind. Some people flourished in it, the speed of life, the chaotic nature of the streets. Others couldn’t cope with it, finding the barrage on their senses too overwhelming. However it was in this setting that Jesus, the mysterious and bold man from Vegas, decided to make his final stand.

New York was much as it is now, a home to thousands, a vestige of the arts, a spectrum of lifestyles from the multi-million-dollar Manhattan penthouses to the projects in Queens. It was also the place where the greatest thinkers of the day went to learn, and be learned from. It was where movements began, but also where they ended.

Jesus came to town with a small band of devotees, after making a pilgrimous journey from Vegas. He traveled by any means available, walking, hitching, train-jumping, he even took a charter bus in from Philly when it came time to arrive in the Big Apple. He also gathered some people during his journey: a couple of cattlemen from Denver, their hippie friends from Boulder, even an IRS agent in St. Louis. They all took extended sabbaticals to hang out with this guy with the big, bright aura.

Immediately upon his arrival into town, people were skeptical of the Vegas showboat. Surely he was no different than everything else that came out of sin city. He was supposedly performing some miracles in the Bronx, but the only people who witnessed them were unreliable at best: Jesus was fond of hanging out with drug dealers, shysters, con-men, pimps, dirty landlords, sweatshop owners, abortion doctors. But he was especially fond of hanging out with their victims, people of desperation: addicts, street walkers, welfare-dependents, pregnant girls who had no intentions on keeping their babies, residents of those million-dollar hotels scattered all over this supposedly-great country’s urban landscapes. He even took time to visit Mumia Abu-Jamal when he passed through Pennsylvania the week before coming to NYC.

He would say the strangest things. He would be spending time with these aforementioned people, even cohabitating with them, but at the same time admonish the crowds at his speeches that sleeping with a women in your mind is the same as sleeping with her in reality. He would say other things that seemed to relate to our behaviors, but in a way no one could understand. It was like he was taking the art of storytelling to a new and inconceivable level where the normal well-composed and clear endings were exchanged for strange and confusing tangents into space.

And maybe it was the mystery of his character that made Jesus so popular among his chosen constituency. The supposed miracles combined with the sublime speech writing and eccentric travel and housing practices made his public persona become quite the flavor of the month. Even in the high offices of International and 32nd his name was whispered around the water cooler (particularly after his tirade inside the 5th and 32nd Starbucks). However it was his religious underpinnings that made him the enemy of many, and the target of their own public platforms.

The first to be offended, and the quickest to cry out for public anger against Jesus, was the so-called “religious right.” Pat Robertson was one of the first to respond, crying out with anti-Jesus rhetoric through both his Christian Coalition organization and his 700 Club television program. In fact, his 700 Club feature documentary, “Jesus: Subversive Sin Supporter,” was rebroadcast three weeks in a row and viewed on the Internet over half a million times. It’s follow-up, “Son of Slepian,” focused on Jesus’ relationship with a notorious NYC abortion-clinic doctor, who has been targeted by anti-abortion groups as the ‘next Dr. Barnett Slepian’ (the Buffalo doctor who was murdered by a sniper in 1998).

Jerry Falwell spoke out against Jesus, citing his practices as contrary to Falwell’s own mission of “healing the wounds of immorality and godlessness in our nation.” According to Falwell, Jesus’ friendship with “the world” ran contrary to the standards of moral purity that were to be practiced by those of religious fervor. Focus on the Family’s James Dobson spoke frequently on his radio program about the dangers of Jesus’ teachings. Among his numerous admonishments of Jesus was this one concerning attitudes towards AIDS:

We and other pro-family organizations are concerned about the teachings of Jesus about AIDS. For Jesus to associate with (head of the White House AIDS office and professing homosexual) Mr. Evertz is to advance a fundamental misunderstanding of what causes AIDS in this country. These associations send a disturbing message that the problem of AIDS can be resolved without dealing with the promiscuity of many in the homosexual life. As long as that lie is perpetuated, Jesus cannot successfully claim any moral standing among righteous citizens of this once-great nation. I hope Jesus will reconsider the potentially harmful message he is sending Americans regarding the issue of homosexuality. [1]

It seemed to humor Jesus at times, at other time infuriate him, that his small enterprise in the dirty streets of New York’s poorest neighborhoods would illicit such a strong reaction from such powerful players in the American religious arena. He made snide remarks in response to their media attacks towards him:

You sorry people! You pay your money to these organizations, you spend your days plotting against those doing ‘evil’ in our fair streets, but you don’t know the first thing about love or justice! You leaders, you love sitting in front of your throngs of followers, you bask in the glory of your petty culture, but you are really ignored by society, cast aside like forgotten graves… [2]

Some say it was his messianic complex and his bold claims about God that did him in, others say that it was the rate at which his following amassed (although no one could say that it was a large following by anyone’s standards—there were still more people at the Phish concert in Madison Square Garden than there were at his speeches in Central Park), still others said that he had a death wish. I think it was fate.

One day in late 2001, after Jesus’ movement had already been recently discounted and ignored by most New Yorkers, he led a small, quiet march from Queens all the way into Manhattan. Police were dispatched to the scene, for what reason I do not know. They were determined to prevent Jesus and his group from entering Manhattan, perhaps because of the mayoral campaigning occurring there (some say it was the Mayor of New York, the paunch former Navy pilot, who personally commanded the police to deploy). Before the marchers even arrived in the city, the police greeted them with teargas. As they struggled to breathe amongst the toxic fumes, the police rushed in with gas masks and riot gear in full effect. The entire mob rushed away, but for some reason Jesus remained hunched over in the middle of the street, a solitary figure silhouetted in the fog.

…The beating went on for what seemed like eternity, until even the smoke lifted, and passer-byers amassed to see what was going down. More cops joined in, and in a bizarre series of events, just as it seemed that the beating had stopped, a uniform who had just arrived, gun drawn, fired a single shot into Jesus’ chest. He died instantly. It will never be known whether Jesus would’ve survived anyway, the blood gushing out of his gunshot wound simply added to the already thick spill growing underneath his indistinguishable body, and many say it was for the best, anyway, to end his misery.

No charges were ever pressed against the cop who pulled the trigger, or any other law enforcement official, for that matter. No large protests marked this clear violation of human rights. Small groups met in homes afterward, to solemnly remember the atrocity with candles and tears. A prostitute was the only one to come forward and identify the body at the morgue (drawing sarcastic and disdainful scorn from the religious sector), and she and Jesus’ mother (who had recently flown in from Vegas to be with her son) were the only two to make arrangements for his body.

Days later, rumors began about people seeing Jesus again. One had him walking through a wall as his former followers commiserated about their ruined lives in one of their dirty apartments in the Bronx. Eventually it seemed that everybody had seen Jesus at some point after his death. Everybody except for me.

Now there are groups meeting all around the city, talking about what Jesus was and what he represented. There are even a few guys trying to write down what he said, and some more writing down what they think he would say now. Some people are even talking about him in their everyday conversation, trying to get other people involved in their “Way.”

For the rest of us, though, Jesus will always remain an enigma. He seemed to have something that everybody else (including myself, I must admit) wished they had. As I look back on his mysterious life, and his equally inexplicable post-death appearances, I am left with a lot to ponder. Above all, I am left to ponder my own life.

Lucy and Regret Avoidance

Some perspective.

Whenever I need perspective I go find this photograph. It is the greatest regret of my life, leaving behind for even one second the daughter who would one month later be taken from me.


When I go to work these days Lucy says “Come back. Miss you.” and leans in plaintively for a kiss.

When I get home from work these days Lucy says “Yay! Daddy home! Best Daddy ever!”

In fact she does this whole thing where she’ll exchange endearing exclamations with us:

Best Mommy ever!

Best Lucy ever!

No, best Mommy EVER!

She plays drums and Paper Jamz guitar.

She says “Baby Milo in Mommy’s tummy.”

She eats dinner by 5:30 most days, which means I don’t share that meal with my family, a first in our many years of existence. I don’t know how to fix that. I have responsibilities and stuff, not the least of which is providing for my family. But Lucy and I will often get about a half an hour together in the mornings. I get home from dropping off Penn at school and she intercepts me on my way to the computer or shower and says, “Come play my room.” Who am I to disobey?

Thanks for Ruining the Internet

Programming

I read two articles today that at first don’t seem to have anything to do with one another but connected for me in a profound way that I’m going to attempt to capture in this post. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the web has changed since I first started participating in it at around the turn of the century.

This is the one I read first, and it’s a bit on the long side, but I recommend your read the entire thing. It is fantastic writing. It is about some of the realities of the current landscape, this multi-modal, always-listening web. It most intelligently describes this paradox of the modern web: What tear gas taught me about Twitter and the NSA.

This is why the state-of-the-art method for shaping ideas is not to coerce overtly but to seduce covertly, from a foundation of knowledge. These methods don’t produce a crude ad—they create an environment that nudges you imperceptibly. Last year, an article in Adweek noted that women feel less attractive on Mondays, and that this might be the best time to advertise make-up to them. “Women also listed feeling lonely, fat and depressed as sources of beauty vulnerability,” the article added. So why stop with Mondays? Big data analytics can identify exactly which women feel lonely or fat or depressed. Why not focus on them? And why stop at using known “beauty vulnerabilities”? It’s only a short jump from identifying vulnerabilities to figuring out how to create them. The actual selling of the make-up may be the tip of the iceberg.

Maybe it’s the NSA, maybe it’s the way every page now tracks every click in an attempt to better market to you1, maybe it’s how violated we feel when a company like Target is hacked, maybe it’s just the Facebook algorithm showing us pictures of our ex we’d rather not see; but something is causing us to feel more than a little anxious about the state of our technologies and perhaps a little nostalgic for a simpler time.2

Last night I read about Flickr’s recent redesign and 10 year anniversary, which has left many looking back to at least the start of “Web 2.0”. Flickr Turns 10: The Rise, Fall and Revival of a Photo-Sharing Community.

Back in 2004, the sort of rich online environment for social interaction that Flickr and other newcomers were inventing was so new that people started talking about “Web 2.0,” a term that started out sounding futuristic but soon became redundant, since its influence was everywhere. No Web 2.0 site was more important than Flickr; it debuted just six days after Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dorm room, and at first, it wasn’t clear that Butterfield and Fake’s photo-sharing site wasn’t the bigger deal. Even its name, with the missing final vowel, provided inspiration to countless other startups.

There it is, this undertone of disgust, a heralding back to a time when we had all the promise and power of these new social technologies without all the yucky commodification of our lives. In an otherwise stating-the-obvious article, What’s Driving UX Innovation — User Experience or User Exploitation?, is this gem:

And this is the problem. Rather than focusing on making a great product, that people will time and time again choose to use, the approach seems to be wait until your users are locked and squeeze them for as much revenue as possible by giving them a product that can just about be tolerated. If accountants had plotted a curve against a monetization/UX axis and knew the point where users will switch off, we’re getting closer and closer to this point every day.

And my favorite trip down memory lane, the second article I referenced in my opening paragraph, A Conversation with Andrew Smales, Founder of Diaryland.

There was a cool feeling at the time, even as the internet was starting to take off. That was when I looked back, a year or two into it, and thought, this felt a little more enclosed back then, like an actual culture or subculture.

And I could stop there and just pine for the good old days but Andrew immediately goes on to say something else equally true:

On the whole, I don’t really miss that time because everything on the internet is so much better now. You can get on it anywhere. For me, it’s not much of a tradeoff. I know what you’re talking about, and there was a neat feeling back then, of that little close thing, but what can you do? The internet is so much better overall. It makes up for losing that.

We’re back to Zeynep’s original paradox. Even as a maker of these technologies, I would not want to go back ten years technologically. It is so much simpler now than it was even five years ago to start up a company and do X with technology. Every space that has to do with providing technology services for other technology companies is packed with fantastic options. Even the basic code frameworks and tools we use are so much better—as we would expect!


Jason Fried and John Gruber wax nostalgic for much of this podcast, and at about 1:08:00 make some profound statements about alligning business’ goals with those of their customers.


This has all come at the cost of those qualities that vetted the original makers of the web. What I refer to as TechCrunch culture. Everyone’s an expert. “10 Ways to Drive More Hopeless Lackeys Into the Gaping Jowls of your Website.” Even the most cynical of web entrepreneurs these days are reading 5 paragraph summaries of ebooks that are simplified re-tellings of research that matured years ago and building entire businesses or products around these collections of aphorisms.

That’s not all. All this data they’re collecting about you is driving product design decisions, and why shouldn’t it? It is your behavior they3 want to influence. Why is there an annoying popup asking you to sign up for an email list on nearly every site you visit? It’s because those work, and spam works. It’s your fault. Congratulations, we’ve democratized web design and development to the point where we are getting what our depraved attentions deserve. The distance between a fart-noise soundboard app and Forbes has compressed almost to the point of indecipherability.



Without strong leadership steering these ships, we’re destined to continue down the path of deprivation. The pirates have taken over the fleet, and those with discipline and old-world skills are hidden away in enclaves, quietly existing on the resources available around them.4 The point is: We have a surplus of knowledge and a paucity of wisdom.5 Perhaps this is not a new problem.



In case you didn’t take the time to read Zeynep’s article, I’m going to include another long section that so beautifully captures her observations:

During a break, I cornered the chief scientist on Obama’s data analytics team, who in a previous job ran data analytics for supermarkets. I asked him if what he does now—marketing politicians the way grocery stores market products on their shelves—ever worried him. It’s not about Obama or Romney, I said. This technology won’t always be used by your team. In the long run, the advantage will go to the highest bidder, the richer campaign.

He shrugged, and retreated to the most common cliché used to deflect the impact of technology: “It’s just a tool,” he said. “You can use it for good; you can use it for bad.”

“It’s just a tool.” I had heard this many times before. It contains a modicum of truth, but buries technology’s impacts on our lives, which are never neutral. Often, I asked the person who said it if they thought nuclear weapons were “just a tool.” Humans have always fought, but few would say it doesn’t matter if we fight with sticks, knives, guns, or nuclear weapons.

This time, I sighed and let it go. I wanted to get back to Twitter. I wanted to get back to my hometown.


Postscript: I realized that this post is an expanded/updated version of Life Is Too Short to Make Shitty Software.


  1. Disclaimer: I’ve been doing this for a living for quite a few years now.
  2. I must admit, while reading Zeynep’s article I longed for the early 90’s, a time when I drove across the country multiple times without a phone. Now I can’t even stand to wait an hour for a reply to a text message without severe anxiety about the safety of my family.
  3. Again, I am one of “them”.
  4. A pirate metaphor where the pirates are the bad guys again! I’m getting old!
  5. A notable exception being Stewart Butterfield’s leadership of Slack

Form

Form

I’ve hesitated and put off writing about this project for a number of reasons. I’ve been busy. The project itself, while completely necessary, took a lot of energy to complete, let alone promote. I haven’t done the work yet to get the record onto your favorite subscription music services, or even Amazon and iTunes. And it’s been hard to find enough superlatives with which to describe my friends who helped me.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s this record, which I released to the world last fall:


Those friends, in no particular order:

Eric Neal, John Lefler, Paul Averitt, Salim Nourallah, Rip Rowan, Camille Cortinas, Vanessa Peters, Benj Pocta, Hal Samples, Chris Holt, Nick Earl, Doug Burr, Gabrielle LaPlante, Tom Conlon, Bach Norwood.

Just reading over that list leaves me in awe, humbled, intimidated and mostly full of gratitude. I’m in debt to all these people for their help with this project.


I made a little website for the record. I’m so time-constrained these days. There’s still so much more I wanted to do. There’s still so much I intend to do. Like blog about the process. Maybe tomorrow.

Indieweb?

I worry that soon we will drift centuries apart, unable to communicate ever again.

From “It’s not you, it’s meme” by Richard Stevens See also: “Analogjam”.

Ben Werdmüller posted something that’s apparently going around, “I’m making 50 pieces of art. Do you want one?” and I quite liked the sentiment, that is that to participate you must independently web-publish something indicating your interest.

Which led me to indiewebify.me, a collection of tools and protocols for cataloging and connecting the “indie web” (13 years ago when I started blogging we just called it “the web”). Despite thinking a lot about how to help get my friends out of the prison that is Facebook and try and recreate the idyllic time that was web 1.0, I hesitated to participate in this little indiewebart experiment simply because I’m quite unsure I should take on a single additional commitment. But after scanning indiewebify.me I became rather unsure I should take on such a technical endeavor, and I’m a web developer.

So. I will probably ping Ben via a “webmention” I initiate from the command line. And if you request it via your own independent web-based publication of some sort, I will send you some art by the end of 2014. Sadly1 I won’t get webmentions working on my server in time. But you know how to find me.


Excerpt from “Is My Laptop Ruining My Life?” by Adam Buxton (NSFW).

Maciej Cegłowski on content and social.

Both of the above from the dConstruct conference 2013 archive.


Oh, and I wrote something for my company’s blog, something I will be doing more of this year.


  1. Sad because despite their byzantine technologies the indieweb people are most certainly in the right, and in a previous incarnation of my life I would have had time to mess about with said technologies.

Blog

Blogging—the oldest, most abused topic on all blogs since the 1990’s!

In fact, the entire post I was going to write has already been written by Adactio, who links to, among others, the following:

Jeffrey Zeldman:

Yes, recycling other people’s recycling of other people’s recycling of cat gifs is fun and easy on Tumblr. Yes, rubbing out a good bon mot on Twitter can satisfy one’s ego and rekindle a wistful remembrance of meaning. Yes, these things are still fine to do. But they are not all we can do on this web. This is our web. Let us not surrender it so easily to new corporate masters.

Frank Chimero:

I can adjust how I look at the newness, change how I interact with these venues, and try to make a quieter, warmer, and slower place for my things. That’s good for the audience (I think), and good for my work and the things I share. You need to build a safe place so people don’t need to be on guard and stingy with their attention. If you can do that, we all get a breather.

It seems the best way for me to do this is to step out of the stream and “build my own house,” just like those architects. I don’t have to simplify or crop or be pulled out of context (unless I want that), which hopefully produces a fuller picture of who I am, what I like, and what I value. I’m returning to a personal site, which flips everything on its head. Rather than teasing things apart into silos, I can fuse together different kinds of content. Instead of having fewer sections to attend to distracted and busy individuals, I’ll add more (and hopefully introduce some friction, complexity, and depth) to reward those who want to invest their time.

Ok, so that was the post I was going to write. Also chiming in are also some “old-school” A-list bloggers like:

Dave Winer:

…view us not as hamsters in a nice fun and colorful and entertaining cage, instead as citizens of the web, sentient and powerful beings who create in a variety of ways that they can enhance by combining it with other people’s writing.

Paul Ford:

The web in 2012 is still more like Jenga than LEGOs.

My friend Steve Collins links to XKCD’s take and says:

i like the idea that things can exist for an indefinite time in peace outside of mainstream or commercial attention.

Steve still refuses to use capitalization, just like we all did when we first started blogging 12+ years ago. Seeing Steve’s blog on blogs.com made me all nostalgic for when Ben Trott was the rockstar of personal online publishing. Now he’s not even mentioned on the moveable type wikipedia page and hasn’t blogged himself since 2011. Instead he tweets like crazy.

Anyway, even I’ve already said:

I’ve been feeling a need to get back to the pre-Web-2.0 days of owning my own content.

And so I still do, and half-resolve to.

Context

I met Matt Alexander at XOXO this year. He’s been a bit busy, but at the one other occasion I ran into him I complimented him on his writing for Need…turns out his degree is in English Lit. Then he drops this:

In a world of carefully curated spheres of information and insight, it’s all-too-easy for us to feel we’re simply abiding by the societal norms dictated by those around us. And yet, with work in technology and startups, the norm need not be incessant work, poor pay, and high expectations. It can quite easily — and, most importantly, sustainably — be responsible work with contextual perspective. That is, the awareness that life beyond the bounds of work can inform and improve even the most complex of business in an ineffably positive manner.

Building a good business requires hard work and focus, but those are for naught without perspective. Context and perspective are inextricably linked with the virtues of success and competitive advantage, whilst focusing solely upon negativity will prove to be a pathway toward ruinous failure.

Tidying. …go read the whole thing.

During this Christmas downtime I’ve been catching up on sleep, reading and organization, barely digging myself out from under a mountain of debt in all three areas. And like Matt I began to emerge from the fog of backlog with some sense of clarity; capable, perhaps, of stringing a few coherent thoughts together.

This year, professionally and perhaps otherwise, I will begin to transition from being measured in primarily quantitative ways (lines of code, money in the bank) to more qualitative ways (wise strategic insights, the character of my family). Of course it’s not as if I’m suddenly made a transition from young man to old, but circumstances have recently accentuated the transition.

It’s a year when instead of having to explain why my vein-like experience trail—ventures into writing and the art business, non-profits and music—don’t interfere with my “hard” coding skills, but rather simply paint the picture of the context the sum of those experiences provide in making right decisions. Not how many questions I answer correctly but how many questions I correctly write. Judged by peers, less by elders…and finally understanding that it doesn’t matter how much the young hotshots are judging me anyway.


So 2014 begins with aspirations to apply that experience in more ways. Being a better husband and parent. Expressing more gratitude. Having more patience. The usual.

My physical health is still front-of-mind. Last year I took a 6-month break from alcohol and, no surprise, achieved my lowest weight since college. Since picking back up the sauce, I’m back up above my pre-teetotaling weight. People who think I can make other changes to lose that weight underestimate my affection for beer. Still, it has been wearing off. And no time like the present, especially considering the present is January 1st, famous for people with goals bigger than their wills. In other words, don’t offer me booze, and don’t be surprised if I’m a little bit antisocial if your social involves alcohol. I might give myself “cheat days” but I haven’t decided yet, so assume I’m completely on the wagon.

2014 will likely be my busiest year to date, and given the number of balls dropped (some of which need to be picked up!) in 2013, that is a little disconcerting. Old enough to know that more work requires more balance, but young enough to not know how to balance the two just yet. I say “no” to so many things, how is it I still say “yes” to enough things to get me into trouble?


Lucy

It is difficult to describe Lucy in words. We try every day. We blurt out “You’re so cute!” and “You’re so perfect!”. She’s so happy so much of the time. She’s bossy in a way that makes you want to do her bidding. She’s sensitive to other’s feelings, sometimes to a fault. She’s caring and wants to take care of others. She’s wary of new people, but once she’s vetted you she’s incredibly hospitable. She wants to cook for you and fix your boo-boos and make you comfy-cozy. She’s learning a lot of new words every week. She knows all the words and most of the dance moves to Ylvis’ “The Fox” song.

Penn & Lucy at Winfrey Point, Dallas, TX

Penn is in the beginnings of that long, awkward transition from boy to man and handling it rather well. He takes his licks like a man. He’s a great older brother to Lucy. He is navigating new territory well. Carissa and I are learning how to parent through these complexities as we go. We recently had a difficult experience with the computer and Minecraft (involving his attempts with griefing mods) which has resulted in some imposed constraints. It took some patience and repetition but we came to a resolution that seems to be holding up. He’s very into Minecraft but so am I so it works out. We went to Minecon in Orlando in November with the entire family (which included Disney); I never got a chance to blog about it but here are some pictures!

Penn & Lucy in Portland

We also went as a family to Portland, Austin and Oklahoma (a few times). It was a good year for travel and by no accident. With the new baby boy arriving in May, travel will be all but impossible this year (except the quick trip up to Oklahoma), so 2013 was the year to get it out of our system!

Carissa

This woman. What a rock. A gorgeous, smart, patient, loyal cornerstone of our family.

Baby Boy Miller

Baby Boy Miller aka Hugo/Leo/Ezra/Otto is on his way! 2014 promises to be a most exciting and eventful year!

Thanksgiving

We should not love our kindred alone for their genius and glory, but also for their homely virtues and domestic affections that expanded and flourish unobserved save by the little world in which they moved.

The Descendants of Captain Thomas Carter

From the preface to “The Descendants of Captain Thomas Carter”, a book tracing (some of) my lineage back to the son of a “London merchant of good family.”