Michael Dolan of Main Line Today just let me know that the July issue is out, with the “best of the Main Line” — and this blog was picked as “best local blog.” Wow, thanks very much indeed! I’m surprised and honored, and plan on getting a tattoo on my chest that says “BEST OF THE MAIN LINE 2008”, so that I can get into a fight with whichever callow young upstart wins the title next year.
“Remember”, I can hear my mom quoting my grandmother, “cobwebs grow fastest on laurels!”
So if you’re coming here to see what this blog is about, I’ll give you the bullet-point introduction:
I am a 37-year-old Chester County native; I grew up in what is now the Oaklands Corporate Center in Exton, went to school at Westtown, then Earlham College, then lived in NYC for about ten years before moving back here. I continued to work in NYC, commuting via Amtrak Keystone service five days a week(!!!) because of the chant that the Amtrak conductor would make at the top of Stairway Ten, deep under 32nd street:
“Amtrak’s Keystone service to Philadelphia, Exton, Downingtown and Harrisburg! Fresh air, good food, clean living! All Abo-o-o-ard!”
I’m married to a wonderful woman who is both taller and smarter than me, and we have a four-year old daughter. We live in West Chester on the same street as two sets of our grandparents. Both the street and the setup are idyllic, and were the reason I commuted so far for so long. I freaking love Chester County.
ABOUT MY BUSINESS
In January of 2008, I opened my own interactive-development shop in West Chester. I build large websites for a living from my office in Wilmont Mews, next to the Bicentennial Garage. My company’s website is at tikaro.net, but there’s more to see at my LinkedIn profile.
ABOUT MY HOBBY PROJECTS
I got into the Internet early, and so have a string of goofy hobby projects you can read about. I’ll link them here. Some are links to blog posts, some are links to external websites.
I mount a projector on the sidecar of my 1977 BMW motorcycle, and we show movies at “secret” locations in and around West Chester. I put “secret” in quotes because it’s not all that secret; all you have to do is locate a hidden AM transmitter nearby and listen to the access code to get on the update list. You can read more at www.guerilladrivein.com.
The West Chester Gorilla Suit Construction Workshop
The fancy-dress gorilla suit was a staple of genteel madcappery for many years — just try to find a Blake Edwards movie without a gorilla-suited inebriated English ambassador — but those suits can’t be bought for love or money any more. The only ones commercially available are cheap and shoddy — they’d fall apart halfway through a decent jewel heist. In October, you’ll have an opportunity to construct your OWN durable, stylish, and customized gorilla suit with the special features you need (ski bindings? integrated motorcycle helmet? SCUBA backplate?) Not a joke! You can learn more at gorillasuitworkshop.com.
Nerdy Needlepoint? Nerdlepoint!
I was looking for an evening hobby that was sociable (that rules out World of Warcraft), quiet (that rules out anything with dremels), and didn’t involve acrid stenches in the living room (that rules out soldering and rebuilding carburetors.) The solution? Needlepoint! Hey, if it’s manly enough for Rosey Grier, it’s manly enough for me. Plus, I get to make pixels in real life, which is cathartic for a web guy. I made same 2D barcodes that you can actually scan with a cameraphone. You can see more at nerdlepoint.com.
Okay, BLAH BLAH BLAH I’m a nerd and I like to blog because I like the “normal life written about in the epic mode” style of writing: “CHANGING A DIAPER IS NOT THAT HARD, IT TURNS OUT. FILM AT 11.” So there’s lots and lots and lots of that here. Some of my favorite items, both from this blog, and on Flickr:
- My dad, the UFO hunter: A Flickr set of me at age four, hanging out at the secret location in the foothills of Austin, TX, where my dad used high-tech equipment to search for UFOs
- I discovered a hidden, free tech school in a basement in the South Bronx.
- The Ultimate Water Gun: a photo shoot for an article I wrote for Make magazine on how to make a head-mounted water cannon. Allowed me to answer the hardware store clerk’s question “what are you going to do with this stuff?” with: “Oh, you know, some tap-dancing showgirls, a motorcycle… maybe a helicopter.” BOOM, A LIFE GOAL ACHIEVED
- I made iPod cases out of old Sports Walkmen, sold them online, but then got shut down by Sony because they thought I was making people think Sony was clueless about miniaturization. I enjoyed my 30 seconds as an Internet Martyr.
- Midlife Ken Doll Crisis Ends Awesomely: Now that I’m 37, it’s time to start thinking about how my midlife crisis is gonna go. So I was completely and utterly overjoyed when Kate dug up two incredibly sad Ken dolls, who were totally in the throes of a tragic Ken midlife crisis: ridiculous, discarded, useless, sad. But then help swooped out of the sun on the back of a heavy-metal dragon, in the form of a buyer from Finland. Ken and Ken are… well, there’s more to the story than is on the blog YET, but I promise to give an update later.
Anyhow, thanks for coming by! If you’re reading this on Thursday, don’t forget to come out to the Ice Cream Tattoo Quest this evening and get your ink done. See you there!