Hello, 2019. Let's be friends.

About this time two years ago, I more or less stopped writing.

There wasn’t really a thought to it. But I’ve been maintaining this blog in some form or another since the end of the ‘90s. The earliest post in the archives is 2003, but the internet’s WayBack Machine shows that in October of 1999, I had uploaded a picture of my mother on a 4-wheeler for the internet to see.

This Is the redneck version of ‘Hello, World!’

This Is the redneck version of ‘Hello, World!’

They say the internet forgets nothing, but thankfully, some of my earliest attempts at learning stylesheets are merely electronic memories, and we’re all better off for it, even if that was the age where hi speed internet was making the jump from 56k to ADSL, and AOL was slugging it out with MySpace.

I’m the product of a Georgia public school education, but if my math is right, that’ll make 2019 the 20th anniversary of the ‘Groove. I vaguely remember choosing that domain name. My buddy had registered a family domain name, and all the .com’s were getting snapped up pretty quick. I can’t recall the inspiration, but hell, it’s alliterative. And so it stuck. That was well before most versions of modern social media, and in the first year or so, it was simply a place for me to dump photos from my new digital camera. But eventually, the ‘blog format began to catch on, and it gave me a place to dump my photos, and the occasional words to go with them.

Eventually, the social medias took over. And I post regularly to many of them. Stuff for family and friends to Facebook. Twitter became my work input, and LinkedIn my work output. Those have all filled some of that urge. And after more than 15 years of writing occasional pieces here, I suppose I just needed to rest my writing. It felt natural to pause.

2017 turned into a terrible year. My father-in-law passed away early in the year. My bride was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through a double mastectomy and reconstruction. My mother moved from her home into a memory care facility as her Alzheimer’s progressed. Work was particularly full of challenges as some technology had to be lifted up, rebuilt, and reconstructed, while not dropping any of the day to day operational load. Oh, and elections.

2018 turned into a much better year, on most every front. Well. Not that election thing. I can’t fix that from here. That’s more or less on you people. Sure, my eyesight got a little worse. But I saw more family. Went camping more often. Hiked further. Read more. Met more people. Learned more things. All-in-all, it’s been a good year.

Now, most of 2 years later, if feels natural to pick up the pen again. Or typewriter. Keyboard. Whatever. You kids and your modern technologies,

My resolutions for this year:

  • Write more. Some of that will be here. I’ll probably also pick up my Medium account, and play with the combination or alternatives between the two. I’ve become a fan of Medium this past year (enough to subscribe, at least). But am still figuring out how I want to use one vs. the other.

  • Play more music. I started this last year, and bought a mandolin. Which is helping (it’s easier to travel with than the banjo). Including taking lessons for a bit. But I still don’t practice as much as I ought.

  • Be kinder. (More kind. Not ‘kinder’ like the eggs). Life is busy. The news sucks. People need a little kindness. At work, this means looking for opportunities to help folks. At home, this means being more patient and listening more. In the parking lot, this means letting you go first. One of the best things I read this year (ironically, from a book that I didn’t care for much mostly) was this quote: “Every day, leave three unnecessary things unsaid” - I certainly have plenty of opportunity to not say things. Things that aren’t helpful. Things that don’t build someone up. Things that are reactive. I’m slow to learn this, but I am getting a little better.

I’m better at things when I create a habit, and even better when it’s something I can measure. So this year, I’m going to work on figuring out how to measure each of these goals.

I’m sure there will be other things that come up. Healthier choices. Better food. New adventures. Maybe another goose I can turn into sausage. New places. New funnies. New grief. Old friends. Good books. Old, good books. New, terrible books. Terrible, stressful news that makes me retreat into old, good books.

Maybe just books.

Here’s to 2019. May it be a good one for all of us.



I haven't always made new year's resolutions. I try to not limit my aspirations to improve to a calendar. And this year, I got a jumpstart on both of my resolutions in the last few weeks of 2016. No need to wait until January, I figured. 

But I do believe in the power of putting something out there into the universe. Mostly because if I say it out loud, other people might here me. And hopefully hold me accountable (even if that other person is just myself). 

1. Be more creative. 

I want to find more time to exercise the right side of my brain. I'm more analytical and process-oriented by nature. Couple that with a job in technology, which requires me to sit in front of a computer screen for most hours of the day (and a few hobbies which encourage the same... Hello, Spacehulk: Deathwing), and I can go for days or weeks without pushing the other, more creative sides of my self.  My occasional fits of writing not withstanding. 

I'm trying my hand at painting (my second ever oil is a work in progress above). And I will attempt to write a bit more this year. I'm not sure if I'm up for another NaNoWriMo (although, who knows?), and maybe pick up my instruments more frequently.  I find that when I spend a bit more time exercising those muscles, it makes me better at the analytical & technical side of my life. And certainly more satisfied at both. 

2. Make healthier choices.

I know, this is rather trite. But I'm certainly not getting any younger. And see the stuff above about "sitting on my ass in front of a screen most of most days."  I don't ever expect I'll be in the same shape physically that I was way back in my early Army days. Or even when I was 30, when I realized that I needed to stop eating like I was still back in my Army days.  However, I would like o not be out of breath when I bend over to tie my shoes.

(That's a theoretical, of course. I realized many years ago that I can't figure out how to keep my shoelaces tied. So i mostly wear cowboy boots. Or anything that doesn't require me to tie my shoes).

I'm figuring that I'm not going to be so good at restricting my food intake (mmm. Goose-neck sausage). So I've stepped up my visits to the gym - something between 2-4 times a week, with a real try for the upper end of that scale. We'll see how long it lasts. I hate working out with the fiery white heat of a thousand burpees. Or something. But I really like to eat. And something's got to give. So off to the gym I go. I find it helps if I whine and bitch about it before and after. (And during, except that I usually can't manage much sound while working out except for small whimpers, and whatever that sound is where ). 

But it's not just about physical activity. A few years ago, I did some math to calculate how many of me-equivalents did I drink in Diet Coke per year. Hint: it was a lot. Sometime in the last few months, I figured out that I was not really addicted to the taste. I just really like the carbonation. Most days, I allow myself a Diet Coke in the morning to give myself a hit of caffeine (I don't drink much coffee), but otherwise, I drink sparkling water or club soda all day.  Don't get me wrong, I'm the last person to judge anyone's cola habit, having supported my own for several decades. But there're plenty of studies that seem to support some link between even diet soda and weight gain, though they're not definitive. But I figured after having supported the stock price of my one of my favorite Atlanta based companies for so long (I'm such a loyal son), I've done my bit, and I can make a switch without guilt. My Bride has told me that since cutting back so much, the sales on Diet Coke are much more frequent at the local grocery. As if they're trying to make up for the loss. 

...maybe that is a sign I should've cut back earlier. 

Besides all of this, there are healthier choices I can make in other areas of my life. Stress. Relationships. Fatherhood. I'm not sure I've mastered any of those so far, and will keep working on them where and as I can. 

So here's to a good year. For all of us. 

New Year's Resolution: v2016

1. Wear flannel more often, unironically.

2. Learn all the words to R.E.M. 'It's the End of the World As We Know It'

3. Call that guy from high school who thought he was so cool because he knew all the lyrics to R.E.M. 'It's the End of the World As We Know It' and I didn't. Tell him he's not. 

4. Convince Alton Brown to participate in a winner-take-all cookoff called "The Bacon Sutra"

5. Convince the executives of Netflix to sponsor my new idea for a reality show: "You probably shouldn't poke that"

6. Convince G.R.R. Martin that not finishing the 'Game of Thrones' book series in 2016 will constitute a crime against humanity under the Geneva convention. 

7. Buy a copy of Freakanomics. Leave it on my shelf with the intent to read it. Someday.

8. Find a shampoo that smells like Jovian afterglow. 

9. Learn enough about the NFL that I can use the phrase "The Gronk, ammiright?" without actually having to watch any sports on tv. 

10. Decide which of the seven bottles of salad dressing in my fridge is actually worth saving. Ruthlessly discard the rest, like I was an all-powerful medieval Japanese Shogun whose word was law within the boundaries of my demesne. 

11. Finish watching 'Shogun'. 

12.  Invent a new flavor popcorn seasoning that becomes all the rage. 

13. Introduce a foreigner to the joy that is a 'Slim Jim' meat snack. 

14. Learn how to tie a chunky man-scarf in a way that looks hip & effortless and like I'm off to fell a tree. 

15. Stop thinking of the floorboard of my car as the Home For Used Parking Vouchers. 

16. Put the smack down on an Islamophobe. 

17. Control the urge to roll my eyes at hearing the word 'signage'. 

18. Accept the fact that loyalty cards are inanimate advertising schtick, and unlikely to scream 'TRAITOR' if I weed them out of my Castanza-wallet & throw them away. 

19.  Learn a new knock-knock joke. 

20. Remind myself on a daily basis that pants are optional in your own house. 

21. Make Siri swear. 

22. Lose fifteen ten some a pound.

23. Take a vote on whether 'puce' actually refers to a reddish-brown or some sickly color yellow-green. Lobby for the latter, based on a childhood misunderstanding. 

24. Sweep the nation. 

25. Stack the Google results for 'Greatest rock band of all time' to correctly identify Styx