Weekend Projects

I’m not sure if anybody even reads this blog anymore. Life has been far too busy for me to write as often. I think I posted once per year for the past couple of years. I’m proud this version of it has been running since 2004 [1]. I plan to do much more writing this year.

I recently read an article about effective blogging. The entire article talked about how to write better articles faster. In summary, you set a topic, plan a strategy/outline, and fill in the blanks. Sounds like the same strategy I was taught to use in writing class in school – makes sense because it worked back then and it should carry over into blogging as well.

You see, by planning how you will write the story, you greatly shorten the time-consuming process of editing and re-writing to make it all fit together nicely. Turns out having a plan really does work. So did I make a plan before writing this? No.

This blog has no strategy. No sales motive. It’s literally my journal for the world to see. The World of Brian, if you will.

Moving on…

The most exciting things in my life lately (besides my family and working from home) have been wood projects. We refurbished our wooden kitchen table, built shelves in the garage, and are now working on a workbench. After that, I plan to build a standing wall-desk in my office. The best part is – I make a 3-D model of everything I want to build first, then execute it. It’s tons of fun to build projects this way and it’s the highlight of my weekend. Actually – spending free time with my family is the highlight, but read on, we do this together.

A workbench I’m planning to build for our garage. Designed with Google SketchUp.

Speaking of weekends, ours usually goes something like this: we go to the local farmers market and buy overpriced vegetables, then we come back and relax while eating lunch and put the boys down for their nap. Then we work on a project together (lately, the wood projects in the garage). Sometimes we babysit the cousins and that is usually tons of fun – the other day we played a game of catch with a few tennis balls. Very simple, but with kids that age it was an exciting game filled with lots of laughter.

I love the simple things in life.  A tasty meal. A good conversation. A long walk on a sunny day. Noticing big white clouds in the sky. Hiking at night under a full moon. Watching the stars. Even having a clean kitchen countertop is oddly satisfying.

Learn to value relationships more than things. The world is not always “this or that” – it’s ever changing and growing; breathing. Embrace the breath of life.

Moving on…

We’ve been watching BBC’s Sherlock Holmes on Netflix recently. I love the shows so far. Just finished series 2 and looking forward to finishing the final 3rd one. I’m also hoping we can get to the movies soon and watch Logan. It’s hard to plan babysitting for twins. Luckily we have family close by to help. Marvel movies have been pretty awesome and I’m looking forward to the next ones.

Well that’s all for now. I’m up late blogging because I can’t sleep, and it’s working. I feel tired now.

Until next time.


  1. In 2004 I switched from an  HTML/PHP based custom “news about me” website to using blogger.com. It was when I finally hopped on the bandwagon and started calling what I was doing “blogging”. Though later I switched to WordPress, I’ve kept my blogging history since then. The articles I wrote from 1999-2004 are not online anymore. I have a copy of them on my hard drive an haven’t gotten around to re-publishing them.

Sensory Board

Erin came to me the other day and showed me her laptop with over 20 tabs open. She had been researching “sensory boards” and wanted to show me some of her favorite ones.

What is a Sensory Board? (Well it might have many different names but that’s what we call it). A Sensory Board is a board with items attached to it. It is mainly for toddlers – so they can explore and play. Items such as switches, velcro, rings, cups, bells, etc. Anything that a toddler would love to interact with. More importantly, anything similar to household items they may want to play with but can’t – so now we put them on a special board where they can play with it.

After a few weeks of talking about it and searching Google for ideas, we decided to build one of our own. This week I went on a trip to the local thrift store, where I found some door knobs, rings, small toys, and some plastic bowls and buckets. Then I went to Home Depot and (count my lucky stars) found the perfect size particle board (Dumpster Dove it!) and then went inside to purchase some rope, door stoppers, fence locks, and anything else I thought would be a good item for our board.

Bringing it back home I felt pretty proud. Suburban dad coming back with the spoils of the hunt.

Fast forward a few days of staying up way too late – and we are just about finished. I’m very proud of how it’s coming along and can’t wait to let our boys try it out.

Here are some photos of how it’s coming along:

2016 – The Year of Changes

I can’t believe the entire year has gone by and I haven’t written a blog post yet! But I have a good excuse, really! This has been a super busy year for me and I feel like I’m flat on my face sometimes. Also, most of my “Life Updates” get published on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat. It’s what my family uses these days so it makes it a more viable source of communication. But I still want to blog here. I’ve kept a blog since 1999 (before I called it a blog). Anyways, here I am now, spending New Year’s Eve blogging 🙂

It has truly been a year of changes. Not just for myself and close family, but it seems for the world as well.

Let’s take a look at some major events this year:

  1. Donald Trump became President of the United States (is this real life?)
  2. Carrie Fisher (aka Princess Leia) and her mother die within 1 day of each other
  3. Dakota Access Pipeline Protests
  4. Wells Fargo phony account scandal comes to light
  5. Pebble Watch company surprisingly go out of business
  6. The EM Drive might be a real thing
  7. Gravitational waves detected
  8. And more…. but I want to move on because this blog is about more personal matters.

Personal life changes in 2016:

  1. Our twin boys are born on Jan 3rd (first time parents!)
  2. My father in law passed away unexpectedly in February
  3. I hire my first full-time employee (D3FY Development Group – www.d3fy.com)
  4. We bought our first car (minivan)
  5. We moved to Tucson along with most of Erin’s siblings
  6. My sister opens up about having a girlfriend
  7. My brother lives and works in another country for the first time in his life
  8. My dad’s best friend, and long-term family friend tragically passed away
  9. We got a second dog (kind of adopted from a family member)

All in all – it has been an eventful year. Top it off with raising twin babies amongst all of this and it has definitely been a busy year full of changes!

Change is good. Hardships are good. This year I have grown a lot in ways I didn’t know I needed to grow in! I’ve been pushed to my emotional and physical limits as a new parent, family man, and business owner. I had no idea I could operate on such little sleep (thanks to raising newborn twins) while having to execute important tasks throughout the day within my business. Thank you especially to my wife and best friend Erin – for all she does to raise our kids. I help out, but she is da real MVP. 

Raising children is a labor of love – of which I humbly admit I was ignorant to how hard it was. I would compare raising a child to that of summiting a mountain. Both push your limits and help you grow spiritually as a result. The mental challenge of both seem to trigger the same emotions in my heart and soul.

Well I don’t have time to go into every detail on that list I made above – it’s about 12am and time to do a quick countdown…. 5..4..3..2..1..

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

In 2016, my “Life Theme” was to work more efficiently. I can happily say that I’ve done that. I am much better at finishing work around 5 or 6pm and I hardly work late hours anymore. I’ve learned to focus on the most important things and leave out the rest. And not just in business, in life too. I can’t take all the credit. Children and family responsibilities have forced me to get efficient or crash and burn. If only I could take the self-control and introspection I’ve gained now and apply it back when I was in my 20’s, hahaha…. ha… ha.. um yeah don’t we all. Life is good just the way it is – if you learn to smell the roses.

Okay so this year – 2017 – my Life Theme is going to be:

Taking action having personal mindfulness.

Meaning being aware of my own true desires and acting on them. One of the biggest struggles of my life is my lack of confidence about my own abilities and desires. This one thing has kept me from achieving goals which I have wished to have, and although I’m very capable of achieving them, I did not. My struggle in life isn’t that I can’t do it, it’s that I don’t do it because I think I can’t. This leaves my heart feeling sad and recognize it as the next step in my interpersonal progression.

So I’m going to fuel my belief that I CAN do it. This goal includes how I treat others as well. Being mindful about my own emotions, and also being mindful about other’s own emotions.

Looking forward to writing more blog posts this year. I miss doing it. I’d really like to start blogging more often.

What are your hopes and dreams for 2017 going to be? What will your Life Theme be?

P.S. I’ve also updated the theme of this blog to the new WordPress 2017 theme. I also spent about 30 minutes finding old photos to put as the header image – which was a lot fun to go through and reminisce about.

New Business D3FY, LLC

So I am changing my business name to (drumroll please)

D3FY

Sounds pretty nice, right? I like it because it’s short, easy to remember, and has an edgy sound to it. You could say it defies the norm.

And there’s more than just a name change that’s coming. I’m also planning on hiring and expanding the business to include more developers – since my workload has been at max-capacity for the past 10 months. It’s about time I hired some help!

Married, With Children

Man it’s been so long since I’ve written anything here! Well I’m heading off to bed really soon so I’m not going to write a lot, but I do miss blogging.

As I look back, I am amazed (as is probably everyone) at how the internet has changed our world. I’m happy to be a small part of it, and happy to be still (sometimes) writing!

A lot has happened since my last entry. For one, I got married in August. Yup, married my best friend – the girl next door 😉 We now live in our own little house and we are expecting twin boys to be born within the next 4 weeks! I can’t believe I’m going to be a dad! (cue the dad-jokes)

All I can say about it is, I hope to be the best father I can. I keep thinking about my life and how it will effect theirs. I want to help them learn so many things. I think about the challenges our boys will have in this world and how it could all be different by the time they are 5 years old. I have no idea what the specific challenges will be, so I plan on helping them to understand good principles of life, so that they can use those in any situation.

Some principles I hope to teach them are:

  1. Mindfulness: the art of being aware of your emotional state and the possible state of others around  you. Respecting other people’s boundaries as well as your own.
  2. Balance: The art of balance is one which I am still working on myself. I want to help teach this principle through meditation, self-education, and physical activities. I feel that balance is especially important in today’s world where we can be overwhelmed with 1-sided philosophies and even 1-sided activities (i.e. on the computer all day without any exercise)
  3. Love: Yep, simple love. I like what Mr. Rodger’s mother told him “When tragedy happens, look for the helpers. You will always find people trying to help.” I want my children to understand love, even when times are tough.

I’m also grateful for my wife – who has been a real hero through her pregnancy – taking care of both herself and our children as she tries to finish school and graduate (hopefully before) the babies are born. She has helped my be a more mindful person, and I’m lucky to have her by my side as we start a family.

Walkabout Story

Here’s the story of the Walkabout I led in March. I didn’t edit this I made a few spelling fixes. I just wrote it once in an email to a friend, and here it is:

Ah yes, here’s the story!!!! – also going to post this on my blog 🙂

So the Walkabout was a success, though didn’t go according to plan. Which is, perhaps, more like a survival. It started raining on us as soon as we got out of the truck. There was a total of 5 people including me. We crossed a bridge called “Sheep’s Bridge” and started hiding up a creek called “Sycamore”. It was very busy, and so we were bending and dancing around all these cactus and trees and bushes and tall grasses. Plus, the rain was beginning to make all the plants wet, so we were getting more wet from walking through plants than the drizzle. Little dog Molly came with us, and the poor thing doesn’t have fur (just hair) so once she got wet, she also got cold. She was shivering, but still hiking like a champ.

We finally found a spot that opened up a little, to a meadow surrounded by trees, and tall green grass (which would eventually turn brown as the season changes, and be pokey, but luckily for now it was soft green grass about 2 feet high). The sun had also just began to set, so our daylight was really limited. By the time we gathered firewood and figured out where to camp, it was dark. I used an emergency fire set – just a spindle, fireboard and tinder. I made a bow out of a wet branch, and made a socket out of a wet stick. I originally wanted to have everyone try to make fire, but since there was no moon, and it was pitch black, and still raining, I decided to just make the fire myself since nobody could see what I was doing anyways. However, I did instruct people to look for dry twigs under large logs, and large trees – so some people went out looking for those. They did an excellent job, and came back with just the right amount of dry twigs and leaves.

As I placed the fire set together, it took a few starts. I had to cut the chimney in the dark – really happy that I’ve done this before! Instead of getting to look at it, I had to feel it with my hands to know if I had cut it correctly. With a little prayer in my heart, I started again, and moved that bow back and forth until my stomach muscles cramped. It took a good 30+ seconds. I sat up in pain, rubbing my stomach, and while I was doing that, a subtle red glow came from my coal catcher – I made fire!!!! In the rain, and in the dark!!! Thank you prayers! Well, that was just the first step. Now we had to put it into the tinder bundle, and blow that into flames, all while rain drops were falling. By this time everyone had gathered around and were keeping me dry with their bodies blocking the rain. I asked for the small dry twigs – which random hands in the darkness handed to me. We all carefully took turns adding twigs to the fire – for each twig was still slightly damp, so we had to go slowly.

I don’t know how much time went by, but it didn’t feel long. We were all so focused on this fire, that time didn’t matter. It was a marvelous group effort to keeping this small flame alive! We added tiny toothpick-sized twigs at first, then moved up to pencil sized ones, and finally finger, wrist and leg sized ones. It must have been 30 minutes, but we finally had a roaring fire, and everybody was holding their hands up to it to get warm.

During this time, Molly (our cute tiny white dog) was freezing, and her instincts must have told her to dig a hole and huddle in it – which she did until the fire was ready. She didn’t want to come next to the fire, until we brought her to it – and she felt the warmth. Then she loved it and stayed close by.

Next, using the light of the fire, we walked around and harvested some of that tall green grass that surrounded us, to use as bedding. Luckily it was green – which made it softer, and fire-resistant, so I felt safe using it as a bed within a few feet of the fire.

That night we didn’t sleep much, but we were happy, and the rain stopped for little while, but then came back through the night. With out a planned schedule, some of us woke up randomly to keep the fire going through the night.

The next day, we went on a short “nature hike” and I showed everybody Papago Lilies and wild mustard leaves. We went hunting for crawdads in the stream – which we only found a carcass of one – but found no living ones. We also ate Globe Mallow flowers. Everybody seemed to like those. They have a nice subtle sweet flavor.

So far things were going well. The rain stopped, the sun was drying up the grass, and our clothes as well. Molly, however, was not doing so well. She began throwing up, and having diarrhea. She was also sleeping all the time, and shivering even though the sun was out. We were getting worried, and wondering if she should stay another day with us.

I though she just needed to warm up more, but the day was now warm, and she wasn’t looking any better. We made a decision that one of us would go back to the vehicle with Molly and that way they would be warm in the truck. But while escorting them back, I realized we needed to get Molly HOME, not just to the truck. So I went back and told everyone else that we were going home. It was a little hard to leave early, because we were just getting into things – and they had built really nice grass beds in preparation for the 2nd night out there. But Molly’s life was far more important to us, than one more night. So we all hiked back to the truck together, back through the thicket of bushes and trees and rocky creek bottoms, over Sheep’s Bridge and finally to our truck, loyally waiting for us.

As we drove away, lightening lit up the sky, and some rain began to come again. We were all a little glad not to be out there for another night of rain.

Back in town we decided to go to a Steak house and feast. Apparently a diet of Papago Lilies and Globe Mallow just doesn’t satisfy like a rack of ribs does. So we ate and enjoyed.

One day was enough to realize a lot of important things. And the main goal of this trip was to expand our minds and our spirits whilst being among nature.

Mission: accomplished.

P.S. Molly (who is now better) was taken to an emergency vet the next day, and was diagnosed with a parasite they think she got from a dog park she visited earlier that week. I guess her symptoms were just a coincidence. After a diet of chicken and rice for a few days, she made a full recovery and is back to her old self again!

Here she is watching the sunset with us @ Fools Hallow last week:

molly-watching-sunset

edited: some spelling and grammar

Now on WordPress

I finally made the switch, and migrated this blog to WordPress. To date, its lifespan has gone from:

  1. An HTML version
  2. Blogspot version
  3. WordPress version

Who knows what will come next?

Quote by Edward Snowden during a Reddit AMA

“At the same time, we should remember that governments don’t often reform themselves. One of the arguments in a book I read recently (Bruce Schneier, “Data and Goliath”), is that perfect enforcement of the law sounds like a good thing, but that may not always be the case. The end of crime sounds pretty compelling, right, so how can that be?

Well, when we look back on history, the progress of Western civilization and human rights is actually founded on the violation of law. America was of course born out of a violent revolution that was an outrageous treason against the crown and established order of the day. History shows that the righting of historical wrongs is often born from acts of unrepentant criminality. Slavery. The protection of persecuted Jews.

But even on less extremist topics, we can find similar examples. How about the prohibition of alcohol? Gay marriage? Marijuana?

Where would we be today if the government, enjoying powers of perfect surveillance and enforcement, had — entirely within the law — rounded up, imprisoned, and shamed all of these lawbreakers?

Ultimately, if people lose their willingness to recognize that there are times in our history when legality becomes distinct from morality, we aren’t just ceding control of our rights to government, but our agency in determing thour futures.

How does this relate to politics? Well, I suspect that governments today are more concerned with the loss of their ability to control and regulate the behavior of their citizens than they are with their citizens’ discontent.

How do we make that work for us? We can devise means, through the application and sophistication of science, to remind governments that if they will not be responsible stewards of our rights, we the people will implement systems that provide for a means of not just enforcing our rights, but removing from governments the ability to interfere with those rights.

You can see the beginnings of this dynamic today in the statements of government officials complaining about the adoption of encryption by major technology providers. The idea here isn’t to fling ourselves into anarchy and do away with government, but to remind the government that there must always be a balance of power between the governing and the governed, and that as the progress of science increasingly empowers communities and individuals, there will be more and more areas of our lives where — if government insists on behaving poorly and with a callous disregard for the citizen — we can find ways to reduce or remove their powers on a new — and permanent — basis.
Our rights are not granted by governments. They are inherent to our nature. But it’s entirely the opposite for governments: their privileges are precisely equal to only those which we suffer them to enjoy.

We haven’t had to think about that much in the last few decades because quality of life has been increasing across almost all measures in a significant way, and that has led to a comfortable complacency. But here and there throughout history, we’ll occasionally come across these periods where governments think more about what they “can” do rather than what they “should” do, and what is lawful will become increasingly distinct from what is moral.
In such times, we’d do well to remember that at the end of the day, the law doesn’t defend us; we defend the law. And when it becomes contrary to our morals, we have both the right and the responsibility to rebalance it toward just ends. ”

– Edward Snowden, Reddit AMA

Link to full discussion: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2wwdep/we_are_edward_snowden_laura_poitras_and_glenn/

Reflection

That urge to write is coming back again. I know it’s been a while since I’ve been writing consistently. Sometimes we only have time to live our lives and not reflect on them through writing (I consider writing to be my favorite form of reflection; and meditation/prayer is my other favorite way to reflect on life). 
Having time to reflect seems a luxury, but really I think it’s a necessity. I must take time to reflect on life or else my mind feels backed up and cluttered. Like an old pipe that needs to be cleaned out. Reflection is a form of relaxation and mental nourishment. Without it, I’m stuck.
When we sleep and are dreaming, our brains are actively processing information, internalizing events, and drawing upon our emotions to create and store memories. It’s the same with reflection while we are awake. It’s as if our conscious mind also needs this type of “dreaming” which I’m calling “reflection” right now.
It’s much better to write down your thoughts, and not just let them float around in your head. If you haven’t done this before then I highly recommend it. Start right now. It doesn’t matter what you write or even if you like it. You can always edit later. Just start reflecting and if you don’t know what to write about then write that you don’t know what to write about! 
I hope we all take the time necessary to reflect on our lives and what we are doing with them. 

–WBC–

Still here, still blogging!

I haven’t posted anything in a while. Just busy I guess. Well, currently in AZ and working a lot. Seems like everybody’s personal life is online now thanks to FaceBook and other social networks, so it’s not much of a novelty to be blogging about my life, lol. I’m keeping this blog up though, and one day I want to have an archive of all the sites I’ve made since 1999. Anyways, hope y’all are having a great time. Whatever you do, do it well. There’s always challenges, just keep your eye on the positive and be willing to adjust to make it there. I’m sure I’ll post something here again before too much time goes by.

–WBC–