About Aaron

Thirty Six

36 is the smallest square triangular number other than one. Its also the sum of the letters and the numerals, so its a pretty fun number. Let’s hope it’s a pretty fun year.

35 was a hard year, mostly because it’s the year my mom died. Frankly, the time leading up to and the time since, it’s been the defining event. I feel incredibly lucky that I was able to see my mom just about every month last year and also that I spent her final few weeks caring for her. It was hard, but it was worth it.

That’s not to say 35 was all bad. 35 saw me switch to a new job that I thus far really enjoy. It’s much more of a management position than I was in previously and that had brought new and different challenges. It’s also reinforced my belief that one of my superpowers is that I’m really good in meetings.

I saw some incredible art over the last year. I had a goal for 2018 to see all of the Met, and essentially did. I discovered some incredible off the beaten patch parts of the museum, including so much architecture and furnishings. The baseball card exhibits have also been a lot of fun.

My museum memberships increased this last year, I now am a member at MoMA, The Met, The Whitney, and The Guggenheim. It feels great to be able to see so much art and also to share it with friends.

For 36, I hope to make a trip specifically to visit an art museum (so many to choose from, where should I go?). I hope I also get a chance to remind my friends and family how much I love them. It would be good to get better at staying in touch, something I struggle with.

For my own art, I painted my largest painting yet, did a multi-panel piece related to baseball, and painted Javascript, deeply. I’ve also started exploring digital art more and published my first zine.

If you are feeling generous, I would love if you supported one of my favorite non-profits.

I’ve previously blogged 3534322928.

About Aaron

Last Will and Testement

This post is designed to serve as my final wishes when I end up #dead. It was last updated April 2019.

My brother is hereby designated as responsible for fulfilling these wishes. HAHA, Sucker.

Upon my death, I am to be cremated. My ashes should be thrown in the face of Mitch McConnell. If that piece of shit is no longer alive, please find a similar asshole and throw my ashes in his or her face.

With all the alcohol I have, including beer, , and Malört, a party should be thrown. You should call this party “Aaron’s Funeral” and no one leaves until it has all . If you can’t hang, don’t bother showing up.

All other assets of mine should be used in the following manner:

First: Pay for legal representation for anyone charged with completing the proper disposal of my ashes (see above)

Next: With the first $1,000,000 (AKA, all of it unless I’m really lucky), 1% is to be given to the person who most recently punched Richard Spencer in the face and has posted the video online. The remaining 99% shall be used to set up as a trust for my niece that is to be disbursed 40% when she graduates high school, 40% when she graduates college, 20% when she posts her first drunk selfie on a social network. My brother is to be the trustee of this trust.

With any remaining funds, I would like it donated to American Model United Nations.

About Aaron

An Ode to my Mom

This is based on remarks I delivered at the celebration of my Mom’s life held on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. Memorials may be made in Debi Jorbin’s memory to American Cancer Society,

Last year, I went to the National Gallery of Art and saw a painting there from Pablo Picasso. It’s a painting called The Lovers and it’s one that my parents have had a print of in their living room for at least as long as I can remember.

I brought up this painting to my mom and was hoping for some incredible story, something maybe about seeing this painting with my dad and him holder in a similar embrace, but all she can remember is that her and my dad had liked it and she had framed it herself. Framing things was something my mom always enjoyed doing. While I was Growing up, she worked at The Great Frame Up. One of my mom’s favorite gifts to give people for a bar/bat mitzvah or wedding was a framed copy of the invitation. She was able to use her creativity.

Her other favorite gift to give was hand made baby blankets. She would design these blankets for the births of friends and family and sewing them brought her an incredible amount of joy.

Her creativity wasn’t the only thing my mom brought to this world. She also brought a smile, laughter and a sense of humor.

An example of her sense of humor came just a short time ago when I had asked her if I could throw a at her. She wasn’t impressed. It hadn’t been an easy day. So, of course, she said no, But she told me that I could throw one at my brother and later after I had thrown a snowball at him, My mom gave me a smile and a thumbs up. So , I hope you know that means I have mom’s permission to throw at you in perpetuity.

It’s not just throwing snowballs that My mom supported me with. My mom was always supportive of everything I did. From cheering me on as I played sports as a kid, to getting older and hearing about me participate in Model UN, my mom supported me in everything I did. Unless it involved a gun or playing sports in the living room, my mom never said no to me wanting to try something new. She encouraged me to open my eyes and experience as much of the world as I could.

My mom also was willing to open her eyes. Despite not being born a Sox fan, my mom opened her eyes to see that there is a quality baseball team in Chicago. She was a little more accepting of the other team in Chicago than my brother and I, but that’s in part becouse she was a supportive person to everyone.

As I got older and began to appreciate art more, I could always count on my mom to want to hear about an exhibit I saw or a gallery I visited. She was happy I was happy.

But Lovers by Picasso pails in comparison to Lovers that we’re my parents. In my mom’s final hours, she didn’t ask for medicine. She didn’t ask food or drink. She asked for my Father to hold her. Lovers until the end.

While Picasso’s Lovers will always make me think of my parents, there is one picture of my mom that I took that sums her up well. It was my brother’s wedding day. She was wearing her new dress, incredibly happy for Brother and to welcome Gretchen into the family, though also stressed from the big day. I handed her my flask, and she took a swig as I took her picture.

So if you have a flask with you, I would like to invite you to take it out and join me as I raise this to my mom. To the woman who raised me, the woman who supported me.

One final thing has stuck with me over the last week. Until she could no longer work, my mom spent about 20 years as a receptionist at a pediatricians office. While I always knew how much her  valued her (they shut down the office for an afternoon when my grandmother passed away so that everyone could be there to support my mom), at the celebration of life, a woman who no one in my family knew walked up to us to offer her condolences and explained that her kids were patients at the pediatrician, and my mom had always helped her and been kind to her and her family. Imagine providing such incredible customer service that someone wants to attend your funeral. That was my mom.

About Aaron Uncategorized

Thirty Five

This is my fifth tetrahedral number birthday and me second consecutive semi-prime birthday. As a multiple of five, it’s also a “round number”.

Thirty Four was a year that I continued my growth as an artist. I regularly painted, sketched, and played with colors and shapes. I’ve started experimenting with block and set up to be the home of my art. I have art hanging in my friend’s homes. As a , it would be cool to have someone I don’t know own my art. Seems like a good goal.

From a professional perspective, Thirty Four was mostly a stable year. I spent time launching a new brand and relaunching another. My contributions to WordPress continued, but at a much slower pace. I helped organize the flagship WordPress conference and a new event focused on the intersection of WordPress and Publishing.  The next one is accepting speaker submissions for the next few days. Most importantly, I’ve set Thirty Five up to be an incredible year on the professional front.

One of my biggest personal accomplishments was being elected to the board for a non-profit I’ve volunteered with since I graduated college. Additionally, I got to see a childhood best friend get married at an amazing camping wedding, become an uncle for the first time (I can’t express how happy I am for my brother and sister-in-law) and had my first Christmas Morning celebration with two amazing kids and some of my best friends.

I’m excited on so many fronts. I’m excited to see more amazing art as I work on my 2018 goal of seeing everything at The while continuing to enjoy MoMA and making it to some of the other museums in town as well. I’m excited the art that I’m going to make. And I’m excited everything I have lined up from a professional perspective. Cheers to 35 years with me. I’m going nowhere but up!

I’ve previously blogged 34, 32, 2928.

About Aaron

A week with a Chromebook

I’m an idiot.

Not really, but I knocked my tripod my laptop, busting the screen and logic board in the process. For the past ~2 years, I’ve been primarily a one laptop person, using my MacBook for both work and pleasure. I have a large windows machine that mostly collects dust since try as I might, I can’t get used to developing on Windows and a Chromebook that I keep near my couch for things that I want a bigger screen than a phone, but its use has been lessened as I try to be screen free at home as much as possible.

With these two options, I decided that the Chromebook made more sense for me to use, primarily because it’s about 1/3 the weight of the windows machine. I wanted something more than just a basic shell I could ssh into other machines for though, so I used Crouton to return to developing on Linux for the first time in a few years.

Overall, switching back to Linux was easy. Since I normally develop on the command line and with Vim, all my dev tools were available to me. The only thing lacking was 1Password which meant I needed to manually enter passwords.  As someone who has been using a password manager for a few years, it was a reminder of why people use bad passwords and use the same password everywhere. Manually entering 50+ character passwords is hard.

The only other areas of for me were that High Five video calls didn’t work that I never got the wifi switcher to work in XFCE (I admittingly spent like 3 minutes on this), so I had to bounce back to Chrome whenever I needed to connect to a new WIFI. In many ways, going back to Linux was like returning to an old friend. It’s where I started to code. 

Thankfully, I’ve been reunited with my and the screen is good as new. Despite it going in just needing some screen repairs, my hard drive needed to be whipped.  So I’m thankful for having backups of everything important, though I’m regretting not having pushed a few branches in git.

Let this serve as a reminder: Laptops are not invincible, backup your data. 

About Aaron

A Sabbatical from Speaking in 2018

Normally, when a year comes to a close I start to brainstorm about talks and presentations I want to give in the coming year.  I copy over a doc in Simple Note and start pruning off talks I've already given or ideas that no longer excite me and add in new ideas where I feel like I have something to add. This year is a bit different since I'm going to focus my energies elsewhere and will not be giving public presentations in 2018. I still intend to contribute to the conversations around technology, but in a different way (read on to find out more).

What's driving this decision

I came to this idea after spending some time re-evaluating how I spend my time. The talks that I prepare generally involve about an hour for each minute I present. In 2017 I gave presentations at WordCamp Lancaster, Pressnomics, WordCamp DC, and WordCamp Philidelphia. Overall, I spent nearly one hundred hours preparing for and delivering these talks. When I think about my hopes for how the web moves forward, I wonder if those 100 hours couldn't be spent doing something with a bigger impact.

Additionally, I don't bring a lot of diversity to the table. I'm a mid 30's cis-gendered white-passing male.  There are plenty of us in technology. If I move out of the way, that can hopefully make space for someone to bring a different viewpoint to the conversations.

What I'm doing instead

I still love public speaking and want to help some newer speakers give great talks. I thus intend to volunteer and donate my time helping some speakers. If you have enjoyed any of the presentations that I have given and think I might be able to help you, please send me a DM on twitter (my DMs are open). I'm going to give preference to people that bring some diversity that I don't bring to the table. I'm hoping that as 2018 comes to a close, I can say that I spent 100 hours helping new voices in the conversations around technology.

About Aaron

Thirty Four

Today I’m still three years away from another prime birthday, but this is my ninth semiprime birthday and my ninth Fibonacci birthday.  That last Fibonacci birthday was a bit of a bigger deal though.

I didn’t publish my post about thirty-three. I spent the day fairly exhausted after having my brother visit, and for a while when I get exhausted I tend to get fairly down emotionally. I need to get better with sleeping. Maybe I’ll try that as a thirty-four-year-old.

As a thirty-three year old, I really threw myself into making art. I painted, I drew, I burned wood.  I often struggle to love anything I create, but every once in a while I do. Lately, I’ve mostly been doing watercolor sketching in bars, painting with a brush attached to a Dremel, and burning small pieces of wood. It’s fun to experiment with things that are so different than how I spend my days. It’s important to step away from the computer. I’m glad I found an outlet for me to do that in 2016.

Professionally, thirty-three was the year I was honored with the opportunity to be the deputy lead of a WordPress release. Helping do that will forever be an important accomplishment and one of my most important contributions to WordPress.  I also switched jobs (again), moving back into media and publishing. I’ve also added to new events to my volunteer schedule, taking a (broader) role in WordCamp US and being a part of the inaugural team around WordCamp for Publishers. The role I have as a part of the Model UN I help organize has evolved yet again and I’ve switched into a senior staff role that is less focused on the day to day running of a department and is now completely focused on photography, technology, and helping where it is needed during the actual event.

Thirty-three had challenges. Every year does. These challenges won’t magically go away with me turning a year older. Today is really just another day, it just happens to be the anniversiry of the day I was born.  So I guess I’ll drink to that.

About Aaron

Aaron’s Rule for Better Meetings #6

An addendum to my initial list of rules for better meetings.

  1. All Meetings where product decisions get made need to include a designer and an engineer. It’s important to provide multiple perspectives when making product decisions, and none of those decisions should be made without engineering and design having an opportunity to explain their perspective on benefits and costs.

photo: used under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Original: #WOCinTech

About Aaron Music

My Three Headphone Strategy

For a few years, I’ve lived with what I call a three headphone strategy. It’s an understanding that I use headphones for multiple different purposes and it is near impossible to have a single pair of headphones that fit all purposes. I wear headphones while working, while on the go, and while traveling.

On the go

While Walking around the streets and transiting, I often have headphones in. Lately, it is mostly listening to podcasts, but I also listen to music and occasionally talk on the phone. So I need something that won’t get in my way, gives me quick access to volume and pausing, and also doesn’t completely block the world around me. I also want something that iff I lose, I’m not going to be too upset. I’ve used both wireless and wired headphones.  My current headphones are the JLab Audio Epic Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless Sports. They do a good job of holding a charge, pair quickly, and the sound is good.  I also have a pair of Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbuds Headphones with Mic/Controller RP-TCM125-A as backup.  I’ve had multiple pairs of the Panasonic earbuds over the years, mostly due to a constant ability that I have of losing them.   

At My Desk

Working in an open office means there are constant distractions and having headphones helps. Here, portability is less important than quality sound. I tried multiple pairs a few years ago, and ended up with the Sennheiser HD448 Closed Circumaural Hi-Fi Headphone. These have held up for five years of office changes and still sound great.  Part of the reason they sound good is that I also use a FiiO E7 USB DAC and Portable Headphone Amplifier. It’s one of the best investments I made towards high-quality listening. This setup is much more stationary than any of the other times I wear headphones.

On an airplane

When flying, I care most about blocking out sounds, with quality and portability still being important. For me, the Bose QuietComfort 25 are by far the best option in this regard. They pack up into a case that easily fits in my bag and include space in the case for extra batteries. Without batteries, they still sound great, but the active noise canceling no longer functions. Since I added these to my travel bag, I can’t imagine flying without them. To me, they are as neccessary as something to read. They are comfortable enough that even on long flights I don’t need to take them off and I can also fall asleep with them on.

That’s my headphone strategy, what’s yours?

About Aaron

Testimonials for me

One fun part of migrating old content is discovering things I didn’t know I have.  Such as a testimonials page.  So ahead and add your own testimonial about me to