Sonder and a Puzzle

December 08 2016

With apologies to Evan Noble, Roman, Kyle V., anyone else who used sonder in their Listserve submissions before I signed up, as well as all of you who are reading about sonder for perhaps the fourth-plus time… it's just too fitting not to use in this context:

n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Here is a glimpse into this random passerby's life:

On February 28, 2015 my dear friend and Microsoft Hololens developer Mike Ey, 30, was waiting at a red light when he was struck from behind and killed by a drunken driver. The world is lessened by losing Mike. Please do not drive while impaired.

This year I attended CSS Conf 2016 in Boston. It was exceptionally well-run. The field of presenters was very diverse because the first round of submissions was blind. Candidates submitted only the content of their presentation - no personal details - and thus were chosen based on the topic's merit and not the selectors' bias. More tech conferences and companies should actively counteract bias in this way. My favorite talk was ""Coding is a Privilege"" by Alisha Ramos. The videos and transcripts of the talks are available (for free!) on the conference website.

I love Cathy. We've known each other since October 21, 2004, started dating on March 8, 2005, and eloped in a park at 11:00 on December 13, 2014. For our one-year wedding anniversary I convinced a bunch of family, friends and coworkers to chip in and buy her a marker (or several) to complete her Copic Sketch marker collection. Everyone got to pick which colors they wanted to give, I grouped and labelled markers by giver, and then wrapped them all together in a big box. Since then, Cat has created lots of amazing art with her markers, including a set of Garbage Pail Kids artist sketch cards for Topps. You can find her art on facebook by searching for ""Razcat Draws - Work by Cat Razim.""

In my life I've worked as a Detached Deciduous Photosynthetic Appendage Management Specialist, Production Artist / Camera Operator / Audio Mixer, Print Production Student Manager, Summer Camp Counselor, Teacher's Assistant, Summer Tech Camp Instructor, Freelance Game Developer, Graduate Assistant, Tutor, Summer Tech Camp Director, College Lecture Professor, and I am currently a Front-end Web Developer for Forbes.

I'm developing a videogame called Chain Gang Chase. It won't be finished in time for the November 2016 release date because I'm only human. It's written in Java and libGDX and the code is public on GitHub.

I love playing board games and creating puzzles. I made a puzzle for you that can be played easily from anywhere with an internet connection. Email me for the instructions. I'll think up some kind of prize for successful participants.

I want you to email me! Send me something you like. Send me a random detail about your life. Send me something happy. Send me something sad. Tell me why you believe. Tell me why you don't believe.

I want to bask in sonder.

- Joe

Joe Pietruch
[email protected]

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