F L G L C H I C A G O.
“Just a country boy from New Jersey.”
There are some people who will spit out their coffee after reading that but it’s not far from the truth. Okay, country boy might be stretching it a bit. I did grow up in what was then a mostly blue-collar town in a blue-collar family in northern New Jersey just over the George Washington Bridge from New York City. There’s lots of baggage that comes with that, although I am eternally grateful for the shelter and the lift that my adoptive parents, a secretary and an auto mechanic, gave me to start me on my way.
College brought me to 1970s New York City and all the unimaginable grittiness of that era. I survived. Work brought me to the Chicago area in the mid 1990s, a better place to raise a young family. I thrived (so did they). And here I’ve stayed for more than 25 years even with opportunities to move to either coast. My children are adults now, successfully launched into the world. I said goodbye to one relationship and have since been blessed late in life with another which you’ll see woven through my story here.
Along the way I’ve given up alcohol, cigarettes, and meat and have replaced them with semi-competitive running, a near-vegan diet, and on most days as sunny an outlook as I can manage. Most days that’s pretty damn sunny (more coffee spitting).
Because we like to be connected, Mary and I belong to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Joffrey Ballet, the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Botanic Gardens, and the Morton Arboretum. You’ll often find us engaged there when we’re not someplace running, (although we mix in running at the gardens). With enthusiasm and admittedly sometimes with misgivings, I also belong or contribute regularly to Sandy Hook Promise, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, the ACLU, Amnesty International, Black Lives Matter, Southern Poverty Law Center, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), Hope for the Day, World Central Kitchen, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Various running groups too, listed separately on Running.
Pro teams: New York Yankees, Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, FC Barcelona, FC St. Pauli, Roscommon Rossies.
College Teams: Columbia Lions (fencing!), USC Trojans, Duke Blue Devils (son went to the last two), and the University of Illinois Fighting Illini (daughter). And of course Team USA.
If all of this seems like an overshare, I suppose it is, and there’s always more of course. I’ve always been open about my life and my digital presence. Kind of refreshing to share things here with friends and others who might be interested, without it immediately being poured into a database and cross-referenced to support surveillance capitalism and misinformation campaigns. All part of taking back my home on the Internet (see Manifesto redux on the Home page for more on that.) If I know you and that’s why you’re here, I’m glad we found each other again. If we don’t know each other, and you come with good intent around a common interest, I’m glad to make your acquaintance and see where it goes.
ABOUT THIS SITE
NUTS ‘N BOLTS
This site was built entirely with free open source software. WordPress.org as the foundation; the Twenty Seventeen theme for site design; BoldGrid for design blocks and some functionality; Jetpack, Visual Link Preview, and Smash Balloon Instagram Feed plugins; all hosted by InMotion Hosting, which provides easy site management tools through Cpanel and includes BoldGrid Premium at no charge. With hosting package and domain registration fees, total cost is about $100 annually.
I’ve deliberately and intentionally decided not to include some basic social functionality on this site—platform logins, sharing buttons, like buttons, subscriptions newsletters, etc—because there aren’t enough ethical tools to protect privacy, for both site visitors and me. We’re not optimized for search either. There was no point in creating this site in the first place if all I ended up accomplishing was enabling more surveillance capitalism. In addition, I take privacy legislation like CCPA and GDPR seriously, and compliance is tricky even for a simple site without having to worry about aggressive or unethical platform intrusions. Besides, I think Web 1.0 was healthier and happier for all of us.
Outside of the link previews on the Commonplace blog, most photos are my own, usually taken with whatever version of an iPhone is in my pocket. Some are taken with an old Canon EOS 20D. Where I’ve had the fortune to be captured by professional photographers, I’ve studiously tried to tag them with credit where possible. Videos are GoPro Hero 4 Silver or iPhone.