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Jon Porobil (Jon Eric)
Computer nerd by day, music nerd by night
Computer nerd by day, music nerd by night

Jon's posts

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Urban planning, or college art project? 

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Last Friday's New York Times crossword featured an interesting clue at 5-Down: "Oscar-nominated actor who has written several humor pieces for The New Yorker" (14 letters). I didn't know it offhand, but a few cross letters helped me infer the correct answer was JESSEEISENBERG.

Today, five days later, the Times is kicking off a semi-regular feature of crosswords with celebrity constructors (or co-constructors), in honor of the 75th anniversary of their first crossword, and the first such constructor is Oscar-nominated actor and frequent New Yorker contributor Jesse Eisenberg!

Has the New York Times ever published a puzzle by a constructor who was himself a clue answer so recently?

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“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”

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Getting hyped!

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Super pretty view from the window overlooking the back yard tonight. 

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We've opened the windows in my office. This is astounding to me for two reasons.

1.) It's February in Pittsburgh, but it's only 50 F outside. I took a walk during my lunch break, and I didn't bring my jacket!

2.) As a tech support guy, I've never before worked in a place where we were allowed to open windows. My last IT job had me in a windowless office, and the one before that was in a giant corporate campus building with big glass windows that didn't open at all. At my first job, the middle-management structure was so petty that we got in trouble for opening the blinds, let alone the windows.

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When I came in to work this morning, this was the wallpaper and lock screen on my laptop. I guess I forgot to lock my screen when I left Friday.

Mr. Meeseeks, help me remember to follow security protocols when I leave the office!

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Hey now, that's more like it!

(Also, could a mod please add a Nintendo Switch category?)

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The kiddo woke me up at 5am, and I went back to sleep because I genuinely thought it was Saturday. When my alarm went off at 5:30, I awoke again with surprise and disappointment. Later, I remarked to my wife that this was the second consecutive Wednesday I'd woken up in this manner.

It's Tuesday. Gonna be long week. I'd like to dedicate this song to the man who will be sworn in as President of the United States at the end of it. 

It's time for the annual year-end questionnaire!

1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?
Quite a few things! Enrolled a child in day care. Used public transportation to commute to work. Bought snow boots. Sledded. Shoveled snow. Cleared out my Gmail inboxes.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year I was very cagey about this question when I filled out the questionnaire. That was because we were already planning the move to Pittsburgh, but hadn't announced it publicly yet. We relocated successfully, found a house we love and new jobs. It was financially very costly, but we prepared, and that preparation paid off. For this year, I'm going to make three resolutions, one about my profession, one about my passion, and one about my personal life. 1.) I have an industry certification that is almost expired. I will renew it in January, and by the end of the year I'll earn another one. 2.) I will participate in more music community events like the Pittsburgh Songwriters' Circle, and try to play some shows. 3.) I will make consistent efforts to keep in touch with distant friends.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die? 

5. What countries did you visit?
I didn't visit any foreign countries, but I did completely relocate from Austin, TX to Pittsburgh, PA.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
A full-time permanent non-contract job.

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 8th, obvious reasons. Next question please?

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Moving long-distance.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I'm really dissatisfied with how little music I made in 2016.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had some mystery illness that kept me out of work for about three weeks in the fall. The doctors never figured out what it was. At first they said it was pneumonia, then they took it back, but never came to any real conclusions.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
An old-but-still-functional Hammond drawbar organ, from Goodwill, for $30.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My whole family.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
No one I know personally, so let's go with Donald Trump. (This answer is unlikely to change for the next four years.)

14. Where did most of your money go?

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
The Avalanches - Because I'm Me -

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
I think happier. I'm a little overwhelmed with work and home duties, and looking into ways to make the work of daily life a bit more manageable. But tired is not the same as miserable.

ii. thinner or fatter?
Thinner. Living in a big city, working downtown, and taking public transportation all afford me the opportunity (and in some cases the obligation) to walk a lot. Often while carrying my ever-growing son. I get way more physical activity than I used to.

iii. richer or poorer?
Depends. We're making good money this year, but our expenses are higher because we live in a bigger house and we're actually trying to take care of our student loans. And we knocked out most of our savings on the move.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I feel like I say the same two things every year, but this is no exception... Making music. Spending face-to-face time with my friends.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Political speculation on social media. Following the election in general. It's good to be informed, to a point, but I wasted a lot of brainspace on minutia that didn't matter.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Hanging out with my family, opening presents, watching Xmas specials on TV. For boxing day

22. Did you fall in love in 2016? 

23. How many one-night stands?

24. What was your favorite TV program?
The Good Place.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nobody I can think of. Hate is a big ugly word, I don't use it lightly.

26. What was the best book you read?
The Brief Curious Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Swet Shop Boys.

28. What did you want and get?
I got to move with my family to a new location, and I got not one but two new jobs.

29. What did you want and not get?
More hours in the day.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
I didn't get to the theater at all this year. I caught a few movies after they hit home video/streaming services. I liked Captain America: Civil War, so let's go with that.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I went to work. I met my wife at my son's day care, and we all drove home together. We ate a nice roast for dinner. I was 31.

32.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A job with better benefits.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016
I like winter clothes.

34. What kept you sane?
My family.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
You know what, I'm going to risk breaching decorum and just skip this one.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Skipping this one too. Sorry.

37. Who did you miss?
My old college friends. I'm still kind of in touch with some of them, but it's very superficial, and I've had to acknowledge that I'm just not that great at reaching out or staying in touch. Even though I seem to want and need it from others. I guess I'm a little hypocritical about it.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
My neighbors. I love our new house and neighborhood.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016:
There is danger is being too sure of anything.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Instinct and discipline
Like taking your medicine
You've got to push through the unpleasantness
-Steven Page, "There's a Melody II."
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