Bio

A little background on how I got here.

Personal

I’m a mountain boy, from the Rocky Mountain West. I was born in Ft. Collins, CO and my folks and I moved to Florence, MT in the Bitterroot Valley when I was six.

I’m a big fan of the Cascadia movement, and I think the Mountain West needs a similar separatist movement (the Bitterroot will be a great analog to Kashmir). I call it Greater Montana, and the bulk of the politically-focused writings you’ll find here will deal with that.

Familial

My maternal hertiage are Mennonite dairy farmers and maple syrupers from Northern New York–my mom grew up on a dairy farm there, and her oldest siblings went to school in a one-room schoolhouse. My grandpa went to the sugar bush every spring to boil Sugar Maple sap down to syrup long after the doctors and my grandma had told him to stop, and he passed just a year or two after he physically couldn’t make it into the boiling shed.

My pops comes from farmers & railroaders in Central Illinois, raised (mostly) by a single mom and teacher. My grandma battled Alzheimers for most of my life, but even at the end she was a social butterfly that would befriend folks at the drop of a hat.

This might be a surprise coming from someone named Darwin, but my mom and dad are both biologists that completed PhDs in Mammalian Ecology and Evolutionary Ecology, respectively, at Colorado State University. They met on the USFS Old-Growth Forest Wildlife Habitat Research and Development Program near Roseburg, OR and have been inseparable ever since.

Professional

Right now I’m a Site Reliability Engineer at a brand marketing consultancy called Agency Mania Solutions. That’s a fancy way of saying that I’m the first infrastructure hire there–the founders have followed something like Erik Dietrick’s “Job Titles: Be Like The Wolf” when it comes to titles. I wasn’t just brought on board to be a sysadmin though, I’m also doing a lot of application architecture work and driving adoption of the DevOps methodology across the engineering team.

Prior to that, I was a Senior DevOps Engineer at a health analytics software shop called MedInsight, a part of the Milliman actuarial firm. I’ll always be grateful for Iyibo Jack and the team there for bringing me out from Montana. There’s a bunch of sharp folks solving complex problems there. Prior to leaving Montana, I did a year doing full stack line-of-business development as a Junior Full Stack Developer (officially Systems Analyst, but my own description is more accurate to the responsibilities of the role) at the Consumer Direct Care Network. The CIO, Jeff Harriott, Development Director Joe Ogg and Lead/Senior Developer Sue Stoos are a smart crew that add a ton of value to that home health business that operates across a variety of delivery models in quite a few different markets.

I cut my teeth in tech as a sysadmin at Education Logistics, a school bus routing software company founded in Missoula in the late ‘70s. I’ll always be grateful for the chance they gave a college dropout with only a small experience on the school helpdesk to come on board and add value in a couple places on the dev and ops teams. On the other hand, I titled my Glassdoor review “Paid Community College” for a reason, and the company’s current 2.4 rating is inflated by strong-armed or astroturfed reviews. Still, if you learn best in a self-directed way and are considering further education to get a foot in the tech door, EduLog can be a great alternative. Just don’t become part of the wall.

A solid chunk of the writing you’ll find here will be my riffings on distributed computing, herding nerds, quirks in specific tech that either aren’t well-documented or are worth writing about, and anything else I find interesting that’s even tangentially related to applied computing. I’m always on the hunt for mentor/mentee relationships as well, and if you want some guidance or feel you have some I could benefit from, please don’t hesitate to hit me up.

Artistic

My medium of choice is sound, and my preferred instruments (in order) are the bass guitar, cello, banjo and melodica.

Despite identifying as a metalhead above all else, my last two musical projects that published recordings have been rap. Most recently I tried (I think we missed the mark) to do an over-id project called Brodown. The highlights of that tape are definitely the features, with first-verses from C-Cow and Doctress (check out Runnin’ wit’ my Money) and contributions from Beige Note’s Jonnyblazed and Wormwood.

Right around when we were getting Beige Note off the ground, my death metal band Akramont was playing the only shows we’ve played to-date, and a couple of songs were captured by a fan and have been sitting on YouTube ever since. To-date they’re the only recordings that I have of me playing metal.

I’ve got a couple of irons in the fire right now, though it’s been slow going so far. Still, if you like any of the above, keep your eyes peeled for a fresh rap project and some solo stuff (both rap and instrumental) coming from me in the near future.

Athletic

I play flag football with the Seattle Boom, who compete in the NGFFL. Locally I play in the CFFL, and if you’ve ever wanted to play flag or you’re looking for a league in Seattle, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s plenty competitive, but first-and-foremost we have fun. I’ve only been playing for two years now, but you’ll probably find me writing about flag strategy and my expereinces playing soon enough. I think it’s the only way American Football doesn’t go the way of boxing in the long-run.

I’m also a big fan of golf sports, whether traditional or disc. Looking to pick up foot golf sometime soon too. One of my favorite auxiliary travel activities is to sneak away from whatever the primary purpose for the trip is and play a round at a local course, and I’ve got a backlog of course reviews that’ll go up here some time soon. As mediocre I am at playing any golf sport, I’m a halfway decent caddy. I looped at the Stock Farm Club in Hamilton, MT for a decade and have been contemplating picking up some weekend rounds at Chambers Bay, which I may or may not write about. Solo golf is plenty of fun, but it doesn’t hold a candle to dissecting a course with a caddy, and I enjoy that all the more when I’m on a gamer’s bag.

Living in the North Country is real hard without winter hobbies, and it’s difficult to call yourself a mountain boy if you aren’t comfortable getting out and enjoying the hills. I’m a lot less adventurous than some folks I know, but I still know how to get outdoors in all seasons, and there’s a good chance I write about that here too.