My Super Bowl XLVIII Pick

The countdown to the big game is on, pre-game coverage started hours ago. Time for me to make my Super Bowl pick.

Last year, I announced my picks ahead of the game on Facebook:

As you can see, I nailed it — the winning team and the exact score for both participants. Not only did this earn me the respect and admiration of, like, fourteen people on Facebook, but I had also made that prediction with a now-defunct local restaurant. On the basis of that prediction, April and I ate for free several times before we moved away from Los Gatos.

This year, I don’t have any money on the game, no bets placed anywhere (at least at the time of this writing). However, that doesn’t mean I can’t make a bold prediction:

Seattle 20, Denver 17

The New Kid On My Block

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of BeatsMusic by now. I’ve been playing around with it on and off for the past week — username @jnassi on BeatsMusic — and I find it having enough promise to keep using it. You can read lots and lots of reviews elsewhere about the service and the mobile app.  I haven’t spent enough hands-on time with BeatsMusic yet to give it a full review, but it did deliver a result like this:

photo

I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!

Where am I going with this, though?

BeatsMusic headquarters is my neighbor. I can step out of my front door and see the employees hard at work. I stood behind them in line at the local coffee shop after they pulled all-nighters leading up to the launch. I cleaned up my dogs’ poop from their parking lot.

So I wish them luck. It’s the neighborly thing to do.

BeatsHQ

The view from my front door.

To Alex And Katie

On Saturday, my youngest brother got married, and I had the privilege of serving as co-Best Man (with our other brother Mark). As such, I had the opportunity to do a speech that seemed to go over pretty well. I thought I’d share a portion of it, snipping out the things that are really specific to my brother Alex and his new wife, Katie.

One common trait that all three of us share, we’re all optimists and quite imaginative. Alex, Mark and I are always seeing the possibilities in life, and plotting out the course on how to get there. We get excited about the future, picturing all the little details about how great it’s going to be. Of course, real life never conforms to plan. Our paths twist and turn in ways we never imagined, leading us to a different place.

[Edit: Some ‘what if?’ questions about how Alex wound up getting to meet Katie.]

His path wouldn’t have lead him to Katie. Inevitably, the future doesn’t turn out EXACTLY like we expected. But for the Nassi boys — intelligent,  good-natured, and devastatingly handsome — the actual destination turns out even better than the one we originally envisioned.

Alex, Katie, I see you two fitting together like puzzle pieces. There’s no one else that fits with either of you like you fit with each other, and once you snapped into place, there was no separating you.

You two are a team, now and forever. You stand united against the world. No one has your back like you have each others’ back. Make your decisions together, asking “What’s best for us?” instead of “What’s best for me?”

Alex, as your big brother, it’s my responsibility to share knowledge and experiences with you, to pass on to you what I’ve learned. I’ve been married now for almost 2 years, so I’m an expert on making a marriage work. Just ask April. Who totally gets credit for teaching ME most of the rest of this stuff.

There’s an old quote that’s been paraphrased to, “Talking about love is like dancing about architecture.” It’s not the right medium, the right language to describe what you think, what you feel.

After you’ve gotten the first one out of the way, it’s easy to say “I love you”.  Once you say it that first time, it rolls easily off the tongue. It’s almost TOO easy to say it. When it’s that easy to say, your partner has to BELIEVE it every time you say it. So saying it isn’t enough, it’s not nearly enough. It’s not a fact you read in a book once, long ago. You have to LIVE IT every single day. You have to PROVE it.

Love is not a finite resource. It’s not a fossil fuel, it’s not time. There’s no reason you should run out of it. You have an infinite supply of love to share. But love is not only a noun; it’s also a verb, an action. “To love”. If you think of love as a verb, then love as a noun, love as a resource, can be replenished every day.

You can’t express your love the same way, over and over. Challenge yourself to find new ways to express your love for each other. Keep your partner on their toes. Try new things. Diversify. Variety is the spice of life. Routine is a four-letter word when it comes to love.

Store away the things that work, the tried and true, and break them out when they’re least expected. The sweet nothings that only you find cute, the jokes where only the two of you get the punchline.

Alex and Katie, you guys have figured a lot of this out already. That’s why we’re all here today, celebrating your marriage and the love you have for each other.

Now I’ll stop talking about love, and I promise not to dance about architecture. Let’s all raise our glasses in honor of Alex and Katie’s love, and let them hear how much we all love them by saying, “Mazel tov!”

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Photo courtesy of April Nassi

I’m A Free Agent

Remember how one of my New Year’s resolutions was to blog once per day? Yeah, me too. That worked for eight whole days.

So what have I been up to since then that’s keeping me from writing? Lots of things, but there’s one that really takes precedence over the others:

I quit my job.

I left my role at Twilio a week and a half ago. It was a decision that I reached with a huge mix of emotions, after long consideration. I felt overwhelmingly that I needed a break from work, some serious downtime to reset myself. I’m taking a couple of months off, a bit of a sabbatical, before diving into anything else. I haven’t decided what my next move is going to be, which is something that I’ll be exploring during my time off.

I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity I had to work at Twilio, to collaborate with such brilliant, creative, dedicated individuals. I’m extremely proud of the work that we did as a company, and what I was able to accomplish in my two and a half years there.

I can’t wait to see what comes next for them, because I know all of the people there are going to keep kicking all kinds of ass. The best is yet to come for Twilio. I wish them all the success in the world.

Stay tuned to this space for what comes next for me!

TimeOut

Hall of Fame Voting

Confession time.

I’ve never been to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. For as much of a baseball fan as I am, and for growing up only a couple of hundred miles from Cooperstown, I should have gone while I still lived in Massachusetts. Now that I live in California, and rarely make it back to the East Coast, I’m going to have to make a pilgramage to Cooperstown someday… should’ve gone when it was more convenient.

Every year at this time, I follow the Hall of Fame election debates on the various sports websites that I frequent. For many years, it was one of my favorite parts of the offseason, reading up on who was eligible, seeing which writers would vote for which players and why.

But for the last few years, as many of the stars of the 1990s and early 2000s have come on to the ballot for the first time, it’s become much less entertaining to follow the debates. The PEDs era has cast a shadow over the whole process, with writers taking to their soapboxes to express their righteous indignation. Never mind that many of them turned a blind eye to PEDs for years, ignoring whispers and rumors until it became en vogue to trash the players that started getting caught. Sportswriters turned heroes into villains overnight, letting idle suspicion change the narrative.

You have Dan Shaugnessy from my hometown Boston Globe spouting nonsense (emphasis by me):

This is where we go off the rails. Like Thomas, guys such as Piazza and Bagwell have Hall of Fame numbers and never tested positive for PEDs. But they look dirty. Something doesn’t make sense. Thomas makes sense.

This is where it gets unfair and subjective. I don’t vote for the PED guys, so it’s easy to say no to Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, McGwire, and Palmeiro. They have positive tests and/or admissions and/or multiple appearances in the Mitchell Report. Piazza and Bagwell have none of that. They just don’t look right.

And then there’s this nonsense from Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:

As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won’t vote for any of them.

Talk about a soapbox… Gurnick is making headlines in the Associated Press (picked up by ESPN.com, SportsIllustrated.com, etc) by who he didn’t vote for — Greg Maddux, who might otherwise have been the first player to be unanimously selected to the Hall of Fame.

I hope this is Gurnick’s last ballot cast for the Hall of Fame. The “PED period” is still happening. A player needs to be out of the game for five years before even being eligible for the HoF vote.  By his current stance, Gurnick MAY be available to vote again in, say, 20 years?