Computers & Tech

My heart tends to gravitate toward older computers and technology. There is something magical about older hardware and programs that seems to have been lost in modern times, where rough edges have been sanded away and design philosophy has become more centralized and meritocratic.

My first exposure to computers was using Windows 95 and 98 in my childhood. I will always admire the straightforward simplicity of the UI design from the 9x era, from the minimalist grey taskbar to the gorgeous pixel art icons that will forever be burned into my brain. I also enjoyed using Windows XP and Windows 7, but feel that Microsoft has lost the plot when it comes to operating system design in the 2010s and beyond. While I still use Windows 10 on my main PC, I've taken a keen interest in the different flavors of Linux distros. I've experimented with Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Manjaro and a few other types of Linux in the past. I currently like to use Pop!_OS on my laptop, but may take a look elsewhere when I grow tired of this version.

Much of my enjoyment for retro computers came through the games, but there are a few programs I hold especially dear even 20+ years later. Kid Pix Studio Deluxe is a prime example of a "crude" art program that most people have probably forgotten about, but I still like to check it out every now and then. I love the animated stamps, goofy sound effects and general do-it-yourself vibe that encouraged you to be creative even if you didn't have top of the line skills. Some other non-gaming CD-ROMs that I remember fondly are Microsoft Encarta, Eyewitness - Encyclopedia Of Space And The Universe, Kid's Zoo - A Baby Animal Adventure, and Look What I See! from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

As far as mobile technology goes, I grew up with a love for gaming handhelds but I also have particularly fond memories of using Palm OS devices. My first exposure to Palm devices was in my 4th grade class on something like the Palm m100, an older model with a monochrome display and no backlight. Later on, I was delighted to have my own PalmOne Zire 31 with full color and backlight support. Though my memories are probably colored by a rose-tinted sheen, part of me wants to experience the quaint enjoyability of pre-smartphone mobile devices again.

For modern technology, I like to make use of what is practical rather than the latest and greatest. I generally don't need high end performance for my interests, so making use of computer hardware that most would consider low end is fine with me. While modern improvements in speed and performance are nice and there are certain cases that having a powerful CPU, graphics card or SSD makes life easier, I generally do not quibble about what specific part I want until the need arises. Cell phones are another realm that I don't put a lot of thought into, whatever well-reviewed unlocked Android phone I can find for a reasonable price is what I'm going to get when I need a new one.

I also particularly enjoy using single board computers to accomplish various tasks, they bring back the adventurous tinkering and spirit of openness that I appreciate about older technology. Raspberry Pis are what I'm most familiar with, but I would like to branch out into one of the x86 based SBCs when I have some spare money to put toward one.

Video Games

I've had a fixation with video games ever since I was younger. As a child, the only electronic games I had access to were on the computer, mostly either simplistic games that came with the Microsoft Entertainment Pack or edutainment type CD-ROM games that my mom would order from a catalog or book fair. Despite how limiting this felt compared to what other kids had, I still look back fondly on these times and even get some enjoyment out of revisiting the games from this era.

Eventually, my dad would pick up Game Boy Color for me at a gas station on the way home from a float trip. It came bundled with the Pokémon Trading Card Game GBC cartridge, my first ever proper video game. As time went on, I'd collect more Game Boy games and start to experience more of what the medium had to offer. I'd quickly upgrade to a Game Boy Advance soon after the turn of the millenium, and later on, would finally get the Nintendo GameCube as my first true gaming console. As a teenager, I'd get my hands on the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, but those were the last gaming consoles that I took an interest in buying new. I did continue on with handhelds though, collecting for the Nintendo DS, PSP and eventually the Nintendo 3DS.

As an adult, my most recent dedicated game console/handheld purchase was the Steam Deck. Other than that, I've enjoyed playing games almost exclusively on the PC due to the unmatched versatility of the platform and depth of the back-catalog. I considered getting a Nintendo Switch but ultimately decided to wait it out. I'm glad I did this in hindsight, as the Steam Deck serves the same needs that a Switch would fulfill and I ended up not being terribly impressed with the Nintendo Switch library or online services.

I've been a proponent of modding, emulation, homebrew, romhacks, abandonware and open source games ever since I was a teenager. In general, I take an interest in lesser known games made by smaller studios, passion projects or older titles I remember seeing at the store or reading about in a magazine as a kid, even stuff I've never heard of but jumps out at me for whatever reason. While the game industry undoubtedly has new and amazing experiences to offer, I'm left feeling disillusioned by the emphasis on monetization and "FOMO" aspects that have been pushed by big budget game companies in the past decade. Furthermore, I don't feel particularly good about handing money over to companies that support a culture of sexual predation and engage in yearly layoffs. It's much more satisfying to find a quality game from a niche developer who is likely closer to sharing my values than the suits at a large corporation.

I plan to include a list of some of my more noteworthy favorite games here at some point. You can find a small, incomplete list of them at the bottom of the Directory page.

Board & Card Games

Board games weren't exactly a major interest for me as a kid. I did play them to be sure, but many were the Milton-Bradley type games like Monopoly and Battleship which didn't exactly inspire a lot of excitement. I do have fond memories of playing Risk, Candy Land and The Game of Life both on the computer with my sister as well as the tabletop versions. I remember liking Stratego a lot, and I did get good enough at chess to do pretty well at a local youth chess event.

I also enjoyed collecting for and playing the Pokémon Trading Card game, but I didn't know many other kids who were into it and only ever went to a couple local events. I'd later get into collecting Yu-Gi-Oh cards but it never had much of a lasting impact as a hobby for me.

Board gaming has definitely taken off for me as a hobby in adulthood. I discovered Settlers of Catan in college, but it wouldn't be until my late 20s that I started collecting games with any real purpose. I like to play games with smaller groups of people, typically family members or close friends, but I recently started going to gamenights with larger groups at a friend's house. Some of my favorite games to play nowadays include Carcassonne, Azul, Age of Wonders Duel, Dominion, Codenames, Clank! and Wingspan.

I still enjoy the Pokémon TCG too, mainly revisiting old competitive formats to experience what I missed out on when I was younger. Though card prices are pretty unreasonable, I've had success finding cards out thrifting and even making proxy cards for playing at home. Recently, I've discovered that the cube drafting format is a fun new way to experience older cards, and designing custom cards on the computer takes it to another level.

Tabletop Simulator on Steam has been a godsend for the TCG hobby as well as generally just trying out games before making a purchase to see if I'll actually be interested in them. I can't recommend it enough if you want to have a game night but can't get a group together, or even just want to mess around with some games you've never seen before.

While I can see the progress that I've made on this hobby in the past few years, there's so many more games with higher complexity that I hope I'll be able to at least try out someday.

Sports

Sports were a big part of my early years, but not necessarily something I would have chosen to take an interest in without my parents' guidance. I watched baseball on TV with my dad at a pretty early age. Though it didn't immediately hook me, I've grown to appreciate the intricacies of the sport. I played baseball, soccer and basketball in my youth, but only stuck with basketball as I got older while picking up tennis and cross-country along the way. I was never amazing at any of them, but I did learn some positive life lessons and healthy habits that I'm thankful for.

As an adult, I mostly take part in the viewing of sports rather than participating. While the idea of joining a rec-league softball or basketball team sounds kind of nice, my rural lifestyle unfortunately limits my options these days. In addition to baseball, I enjoy watching American football, both pro and college, as well as college basketball. My favorite teams are the St. Louis Cardinals, Missouri Tigers and Kansas City Chiefs.

While it's true that I'm an unabashed tech nerd, I also think there's room for us geeky types to enjoy sports, bucking old stereotypes. With baseball, you don't really have to look further than analytics and statistics to see why it can be appealing. One of the ways I gained a deeper understanding of baseball was through playing Out of the Park Baseball on PC, a deep simulation and management game that has you leverage your knowledge of the sport to build a successful franchise. Sometimes, it just takes gaining an appreciation of one or two things for it all to click for you.

My favorite MLB team and the first sports team that I ever rooted for is the St. Louis Cardinals. They are the winningest National League baseball team in terms of World Series championships, with a rich history of success across several decades. They've been to the World Series four times in my life, winning twice. The past ten years of the franchise have been relatively disappointing and I'm not a fan of the front office's team building philosophy as of late. While other traditional power teams focus on big spending and cutting-edge analytical practices, the Cardinals stubbornly cling to the past. They insist on using a method that has not evolved enough to keep up with the times, while trying to bank on nostalgia signings as a ploy to get butts in seats. I fear that the Cardinals and many other non-coastal/big market teams will face a future of mediocrity without wholesale changes, either in the management of the team or the governing of the sport itself.

My favorite NFL team is the Kansas City Chiefs. When I was younger, there were two NFL teams near me but neither of them were any good for the most part. As such, I enjoyed casually keeping tabs on pro football but never really swore allegiance to a specific team for a significant period of time. The St. Louis Rams did win a Super Bowl around the turn of the millenium, but they would eventually move back to Los Angeles so I wrote them off completely. The Kansas City Chiefs would become the team that I support by default, but I'm not quite as passionate of a fan as I am with other sports. I have a particular distaste for the racist tomahawk chop and other culturally insensitive aspects of the fanbase. Nevertheless, the Chiefs have become a highly successful franchise with three Super Bowl victories in the past handful of years featuring some of the greatest individual players in history.

My favorite college sports team is the Missouri Tigers, in both football and men's basketball. They are a middling "Power-5" program in both sports with a very sparse history of championship success that I pretty much was not around to experience. Their most recent claim to success is likely the 2013 and 2014 SEC East division championship in football. Most of my experience as a Mizzou fan has involved pain and frustration but I remain optimistic with the direction of the athletic program. Both sports currently feature solid head coaches that have brought in more highly rated recruits than what us fans are typically used to.

Anime, Movies & TV

I put all of these together because they are similar types of non-interactive video content with generally high production value and a narrative through-line. Like many inhabitants of the 21st century, I too have spent a non-insignificant amount of time sedentarily fixating on a screen, absorbing moving pictures into my eye-holes. It's not always the activity that I choose to partake in when I have free time, but I can't deny the quality of the experiences that can be had with this medium.

Though I did spent a fair amount of time sitting in front of the TV as a kid, especially when I'd get home right after school to unwind, I never really got into watching a specific show from beginning to end. The modern streaming model allows for binging of shows in a logical order, but back then whatever was on at the right time was what you got. Most of my television diet consisted of cartoon shows, whether on Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network.

In my teenage years I'd gain an interest in some of the more adult-focused animation shows, particularly in the Adult Swim and Toonami blocks on Cartoon Network but also on Comedy Central. Some of my fondest TV memories were staying up way past my bedtime on a Saturday night seeing what kind of shows would play after midnight, discovering some relatively obscure anime or adult cartoon from years past. My mom and sister would watch serialized live action and reality shows, but I never saw much of an appeal during that time unless it was a lighthearted comedy show.

Movies were another part of life that I never delved as deep into. It's not like I didn't watch any, there were several VHS tapes that I wore out and I always relished a chance to visit the video rental store during weekend errands. I was unfortunately pretty sheltered through most of my youth, not allowed to watch R-rated movies at all until I grew up, hell, I even remember TV-14 shows pushing the envelope at a certain time. Though this did engender a curiosity in me about age-restricted content, it was more about sating my apetite for vulgarity rather than the surrounding quality of the experience.

I would eventually gain a moderate appreciation for live action TV and old movies as an adult, limited in scope as it may be. I think because of my stunted experience with this medium when I was younger, my brain just can't get to the point of truly integrating it into my psyche and memories. I can quote shows like Spongebob that I watched endlessly after school, but I'll forget the name of a main character from a live action TV show that I watched the entire run of within the past year. It is what it is.

Much like my interests in technology, my favorite TV shows and movies tend to be much older than what people are interested in today. I'm fatigued with the modern streaming model of throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. I'll occasionally check out a series or movie if I see a large outpouring of praise for it from other people, but I would be totally lost trying to gain an organic interest in a new TV show or movie on my own with not much of a frame of reference. Long running series that I used to appreciate like Star Wars, superhero movies and stuff like that have been driven to the ground to the point that I just can't be bothered to keep up with them, and I don't really know what to put in their place other than old classics that I missed out on.

At this point, I'm going to list off some of my favorite pieces of visual media that fall in this category.

Movies: Office Space, The Big Lebowski, Young Frankenstein, Bull Durham, Parasite, Fargo, The Shining, Raising Arizona, Taxi Driver, Starship Troopers, Léon the Professional, Se7en, Star Wars (Eps. 4-6)

TV Shows: Star Trek (TNG, Deep Space Nine, Voyager), The Simpsons, SpongeBob, X-Files, Nathan For You, Home Movies, Trailer Park Boys, The Boondocks, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Moral Orel, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Smiling Friends, King of the Hill, I Think You Should Leave

Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist (2003 & Brotherhood), Berserk (1997), Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Spirited Away, Perfect Blue, Porco Rosso

Videos & Podcasts

The newer forms of audiovisual content on the internet are an aspect of entertainment that has drawn my attention within the past decade or so. While internet entertainment was mostly seen as a funny joke or a sideshow when I was a teenager, it has evolved to an arguably greater form than what is now considered to be "legacy media" by many. YouTube videos and Twitch streams have replaced what certain slices of television used to provide people, while podcasts have come to serve as the logical evolution of radio shows.

Despite how much time I spend consuming this type of content, I don't particularly love claiming it as part of my core identity or interests. While narrative-based legacy media often lays claim to some type of artistic merit, a lot of what's found on these attention econonomy websites can be considered low effort slop. Is spending a chunk of my day watching a multi-hours long review of a video game I've never played really constructive? Maybe it's entertaining, but did I grow as a person because of it? I don't know if that's even a valid question to ask when discussing entertainment, but I can't help but feel it's especially relevant with these online distractions.

A personal goal of mine is to consume less of this stuff if I can help it, putting more of my time toward some of my actual interests that fill my life with meaning, whatever it's worth. While there isn't much harm in watching a video while making dinner or listening to a podcast out on my walk, at some point I feel like it's controlling my life and filling the downtime that I could be spending having an original thought or two.

I've tried my hand at making internet content of my own in the past to varying degrees of success. You can find most of it on my YouTube channel, which is linked in the "My Stuff" page. I'd like to get back to it someday, but I lost motivation for it years ago and I fear it will be too difficult to come back. I've always struggled with keeping from comparing myself to my peers, and the constant in-your-face nature of online view counts, subscriber/follower counts putting your exact merit as a creator, as a person, into a clear numerical value is a toxic environment to exist in. If I can find it within myself to just push past this chokepoint and learn to make videos for the fun of it again, I might be able to get back into the swing of things.

At some point, I will add links to some of my favorite internet content creators in this space.

Music

My love of music has always been a key part of my identity. My childhood experience with music mostly revolved around piano lessons and whatever my mom would play on the radio in the car, or whatever cassette tapes we had to listen to.

As I got older, I discovered the magic of finding mp3 files on the internet through dubious means, a practice that broadened my horizons and helped refine my tastes. People today take the instant access of music for granted, but back then, any new song I could get my hands on was like a breath of fresh air. Hearing a song on the radio could be a bittersweet, fleeting experience; you might like how it sounds but if you didn't know the title, it was possible that you'd never be able to hear it again.

In my teenage years, I decided that I wanted to play the drums. I taught myself how to play through various online tutorials, practiced quite a lot of different songs and after years of effort, I finally got good at it. I managed to become the main drummer for my school jazz band and would later join an indie rock band called The RPs. The experience of making music after school with equally talented peers was one of the greatest moments of my life. We'd go on to win the local Battle of the Bands and produce an EP at a local studio before going our separate ways for college. If you want to listen to some of our music, go check out my stuff.

I've played music with other people since then and was in another band in college, but nothing will ever top the experience of being a member of The RPs. These days, I try to remind myself every now and then to practice my instruments so I don't get too rusty, but it feels aimless compared to when I was a teenager. I have a MIDI keyboard and E-Drum set at home that I'd like to use for some kind of computer-produced music, but I know very little about this side of things. I hope my 30s will bring some kind of revival in this hobby for me, but I have a lot of work to do if I want to get there.

While there are countless different bands and genres that I've been into over the years, I tend to prefer listening to instrumental or minimal vocal music when given the choice. Something about it has always appealed to me, I feel like I can trace my obsession back to those Adult Swim bumps that would play in the space between the show and commercials. It helps me focus on a task at hand, get into an exercise routine or just unwind after a long day.

Thanks to the rise of vaporwave, chillwave, synthwave and all of the similar types of genres on the internet, I've experienced a bit of an instrumental renaissance in my adulthood. I enjoy finding some lesser known artists with more of an experimental sound to broaden my horizons, though it can be difficult to sift through everything. Drum & Bass, Math Rock and various types of electronica have been fun discoveries for me in my adult years. If you're curious about some of my favorite albums and mixes, I included a link to my YouTube playlist in my stuff.

Here are some of my favorite music genres: Drum & Bass, Jungle, Psychill, Barber Beats, Adult Swim Bumps, Lo-Fi, Vaporwave, Progressive Trance, Chill House, Chill Techno, Amiga Music, Math Rock, Trip Hop, Indie Rock, Alt-Rock, Smooth Jazz, Ambient, New Age

Here's an incomplete list of my favorite music acts:

Alt-Rock/Indie Rock: Queens of the Stone Age, The Strokes, Phoenix, Band of Horses, Vampire Weekend, The Shins, Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala, The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, Buckethead, El Ten Eleven, LITE

Electronic: HOME, Com Truise, Tycho, Macroblank, Flamingosis, Telan Devik, PilotRedSun, Windows96, Daft Punk, Crystal Castles

Books

Do people still read books? I do sometimes. I don't think that I'm an "avid reader" but I can definitely feel my brain turning to mush if I go too long without a good book.

I was a gifted kid in elementary school, reading higher level books earlier than most kids my age. I still have many of the books that I enjoyed as a wee lad, but that enjoyment didn't last forever. Going through more advanced levels of school damaged my love for reading, I despised the long sections that I was assigned in advanced placement classes and sometimes just wouldn't do the assigned reading at all. Things didn't get much better in college, I failed out of honors English and didn't come back to it in any serious way.

After some time away, I've managed to reconnect with my love for books, though sometimes it can be difficult to motivate myself to carve out some time for reading. Discovering audiobooks and e-readers has enhanced my ability to enjoy longform text, I'm hoping to purchase an e-ink reader soon as an excuse to get back into reading more often while giving my eyes a break from more conventional electronic screens. It helps to be able to seek out knowledge on my own terms rather than do it because it was a requirement to get to an entirely unrelated place. I hope that as I get older, I can still maintain some of my youthful curiosity and thirst for knowledge that has guided me over the years.

Here's an incomplete list of some of my favorite books and my upcoming reading list:

Nonfiction: The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein, Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher, Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber, Winning Fixes Everything by Evan Drellich

Fiction: House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski, The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Reading list: A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey, Biography of X by Catherine Lacey, Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins, The Shining by Steven King, Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World by Adam Tooze, Blood in the Machine by Brian Merchant, Hell Is A World Without You by Jason Kirk, Kill the Rich by Jack Allison & Kate Shapiro

Politics

Well, I guess you could say I have an interest in politics, news, current events, et cetera. Honestly, though, I've come to see it as more of a source of stress and alienation rather than personal enrichment like some of my other hobbies. I can't shake the feeling that the pursuit of this knowledge has led me down a dark path, away from other things I used to spend my time on that provided me joyful moments and made me a better person.

I have strong beliefs about the world that run counter to the current status quo in my state and country, as well as most people I interact with face-to-face. When I was younger, I spurned discussions of politics but always presented myself as vaguely anti-establishment. As an adult, I've grown to understand that there's more to political beliefs than the binary liberal/conservative construct that dominated much of the discourse of my youth.

I don't like to put labels on myself, and it seems especially pointless in this current political climate. There are practically no voices in the halls of power or mainstream media that share my views. I hold a lot of contempt for the way things are and the people responsible for these state of affairs, but I feel incredibly powerless and alone in my ability to actually do anything about it.

If I can't even get people close to me to think like I do, what am I supposed to do about anything outside my sphere of influence? I used to think that if I just read more or learned to articulate my beliefs more effectively, I could change people's minds. But in reality, I probably just come off as annoying to them, so I've just decided to keep most of it to myself. People don't like to be talked down to or made to feel less intelligent than they are, and who am I to say that I'm even intelligent in the first place?

I don't really have much else to say on the matter. I still have politics-related books that I'd like to get around to reading and I do keep tabs on the news through various trusted sources, but I'm starting to feel like it's all just a meaningless waste of however much time I have left on this earth. I'll update this space if something changes, but I doubt it.

Health & Fitness

I spend a fair amount of my waking hours worrying if I'm doing enough to stay active and be healthy. Much of my childhood outside of school revolved around playing outside or participating in athletics, a contrast to my largely indoor-focused and sedentary hobbies as a grown-up. I try to counterbalance this by going for daily walks, exercising at least a few times a week and eating a vegetarian diet with a focus on green leafy vegetables, fruit, whole grains and various sources of protein.

I've become a slave to my Fitbit watch, meticulously monitoring my resting heart rate, step count, weight trends and sleep patterns to see what I can do to improve my wellbeing. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for having to depend on technology to stay fit, I have to admit that my smartwatch is a pretty handy tool for helping me remember to get off my ass every now and then.

I still feel like I'm not doing enough to be at my best even after considering some of my healthy habits. There are periods of days, even weeks, that I lack energy and mental focus. A short shift at work can sometimes be all it takes to leave me completely wiped out for the day. I've also been dealing with memory issues, brain fog and anxiety for the past handful of years, more pronounced ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started and catching the disease at least once in late 2022.

Living in the United States is not exactly the best situation for quality healthcare, but exponentially moreso when you live in a rural area on a low income. I'm terrified of having to become more reliant on the system as I get older, and am doing everything I can to stave it off for as long as possible. I can at least go see my doctor for minimal cost, or even talk with them online for minor issues, but anything more than that is going to really mess up my finances.

Don't even get me started on dental care, I had to spend a good chunk of 2023 saving money to get my teeth fixed after losing dental insurance and not being able to make a visit for a few years thanks to my lack of employment around 2020. It's completely inexplicable to me that we just accept the separation of our eyes and teeth from the health needs of the rest of our bodies, or that people without jobs don't need to be taken care of.

On top of everything, I can't shake this feeling of impending doom that makes it difficult to maintain my mental health and a positive, productive outlook on life. Getting older brings about new symptoms that could either be harmless or life-threatening, with each new instance compounding the impact of the last. I'm stuck living in a hostile society that is only interested in extracting my labor for less than it's worth and spitting me out. Nothing seems to get better politically, economically, socially, environmentally around me.

I can do small things every day to improve my quality of life in unquantifiable increments, but I don't know what to do about some of these bigger problems that hang over my life like an albatross. The only way I've been able to keep it together is just pretend that they don't exist and focus on the small stuff, but is that really a healthy way to handle things?

Animals

Throughout most of my life, I've enjoyed the company of a pet and all the benefits it brings. I used to be terrified of dogs when I was much younger, but that fear quickly faded when I spent time at friends' houses and witnessed how friendly they can be. I'd start to bother my parents about getting a dog at home, and they would eventually acquiesce to this demand later on in my elementary school years.

It was exciting to finally have a pet of my own, but I would soon learn that there was more to the experience than fun and games. Since I wanted the dog so badly, I was also tasked with taking care of him for the most part. I unfortunately wasn't allowed to keep him inside the house, much to my chagrin, and I've later come to solidify my understanding of that practice as harmful and neglectful. I was so busy with school, extracurriculars and what little time I had for my own hobbies/interests that I don't think I was able to give the dog enough of the attention and love that he deserved, though I tried my hardest.

As I got older, I grew even more preoccupied with daily tasks and obligations. My parents got fed up with having this outside dog that nobody could properly take care of, so he was given up for adoption without really consulting me. I don't know what happened to him, but I hope he went to a loving family who could properly care for him in his final years. I look back on this experience with regret, I wanted so badly to experience what other kids around me had in their life but I didn't consider my particular family circumstances or what would be best for the life of the animal. Still, I did try to make the best of a bad situation and ultimately couldn't be expected to take full responsibility for the way things were at my house as a young kid.

I also had various guinea pigs and fish during my childhood. While those weren't quite as time-consuming to care for, I still feel like my family fell for the same pitfalls of neglect and complacency in the lives of those pets. For people constantly burdened by full-time employment, education and other obligations on top of extracurricular activities and hobbies, traveling, constant events, et cetera, I don't think there's enough time in the day to truly care for an animal under their supervision. I have to wonder how common my childhood situation is in a society consumed by both workaholism and an idealized family environment.

Now that I'm an adult, I've been able to learn from the mistakes of the past and do my best to give a proper life to the pets under my care. Thanks to my relatively light work obligations, I have enough extra time to provide ample love and care to the cats, dog and fish that I've had living with me. It hasn't always been a picture-perfect situation, but I feel like I'm currently at a place where I've been able to give these animals the best life they can have within my means.

I'd like to use this section to include some information about my pets and maybe some pictures if I can fit them in the formatting properly, whenever I get around to it.

Art

What makes something art? I don't really know the answer to that question, but I do like looking at stuff that other people call art. I'd like to be able to make some of my own someday, but I don't have much belief in myself in that regard. Sure, I took art classes all throughout school but it was never something I particularly liked or excelled at. I used to doodle in the margins of my notes at school or on loose-leaf paper while sitting through dull summer school classes that I was compelled to be a part of. Like many aspects of my youth, they were not preserved very well or were forgotten entirely.

You'd think with all the years that I've been on the computer, I'd at least have made a connection to my artistic side through the various programs at my disposal. I've held onto my nostalgia for Kid Pix Studio Deluxe into adulthood, but don't really have much more than a few low-effort drawings to show for it. Through video games like Occupy White Walls, Tower Unite and Different Strokes, to name a few, I've managed to at least inject some creative time into my gaming habits here and there.

Realistically, I'm probably just going to be left to appreciate other people's work when it comes to art. Life is vanishingly short and my mental flexibility and motivation for learning new skills is not improving as fast as I would like as I get into my 30s. I guess anything is possible, and it's not like I don't have free time to do it, but there has to be something that pushes me to want to do it. I'll either have to decide if I want to put the work toward making artistic pursuits part of my creative toolkit or just learn to be fine with my limitations as a person. I love to be creative, but I also want there to be a point to it, for my creations to have merit and approval.

Anyway, I guess someday I will add some links to cool art and stuff, if I feel like it.