Ryan Snyder

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In order to keep a tree healthy, you have to prune its branches.

Jan 6

Portland Top Fives for 2010

Every year I put together a list of my 5 favorite Portland establishments for food, drinks and coffee.  Here are my top five faves for 2010:

Restaurants

1. DOC
2. Ned Ludd
3. Pok Pok
4. Clarklewis
5. Broder

Libations

1. Beaker and Flask
2. Apex
3. Saraveza
4. Biwa
5. Victory

Coffee

1. Coava
2. Spella
3. Barista (Alberta)
4. The Red E
5. Public Domain

Jan 4

My Writing, 1999-2004

I’ve been in the process of cleaning out the hard disk of an old computer that I’m donating to a local non-profit organization. In doing so, I’ve run into the pieces I wrote between 1999-2004, some of which I’ve decided to publish on Scribd.

Finding your Path: Using Divine Guidance to Determine Your Life’s Direction

After selling Cram Session back in December 1998, I spent some time putzing about between various projects.  One of those projects was to write a book about asking for, receiving and interpreting guidance from one’s God.  I finished Finding your Path in the autumn of 2000, then re-edited the book in 2002 and called it finished.  However, I never took the time to make the book publicly available, until now.

Blog
Scribd

Giovanni Pascoli Myricae Translations in English

I attended college at The Ohio State University, where I graduated with Bachelors’ degrees in English and Italian.  My senior year I worked on a self-study course where the sole purpose was to translate 20 of Giovanni Pascoli’s 19th century poems.  It has been 7 years since I translated these poems, but felt it was time to make them publicly available so that others could explore the works of Pascoli.

Blog
Scribd

The Mortician’s Son

My family runs a 4 generation family funeral business, and I was raised in a house attached to the funeral home.  This is a short memoir containing selected vignettes that represent my experience as a mortician’s son from the ages 4 through 8.

Blog
Scribd

Farfalla

I’ve written poetry for a good portion of my life.  Most of the poems I’ve kept to myself; not for any particular reason, it’s just largely been a private pastime of mine.  The following are few select poems that I decided to share with the public.

Scribd

Jan 2

Finding your Path

As I’ve mentioned in other recent blog posts, I’ve been in the process of cleaning out the hard disk of an old computer that I’m donating to a local non-profit organization.  In doing so, I’ve run into many of my writings from 1999-2004, which I’ve decided to publish.  Including a book.

After selling Cram Session back in December 1998, I spent some time putzing about between various projects.  One of those projects was to write a book about asking for, receiving and interpreting guidance from one’s God.  I finished Finding your Path in the autumn of 2000, then re-edited the book in 2002 and called it finished.

At the time I was back in college at The Ohio State University, finishing up Bachelors’ degrees in English and Italian.  I knew little about the publishing process, mainly the fact that it was a lengthy and daunting process and that writers needed to be prepared for a barrage of rejection letters until their works were either published or until the writer gave up hope.  I just didn’t have the energy to commit to that process, and decided to leave the book to grow a layer of proverbial dust on the hard drive of my computer.

Today, there are any number of online self-publishing outfits.  And considering I’ve long since given up any expectations of being paid for my work, I decided to make the available for free:

Finding your Path: Using Divine Guidance to Determine Your Life’s Direction

I really enjoyed the process of writing this book.  When I started writing the book, I was 22 years old, and by that time in my life I had accumulated a number of experiences that I attributed to divine guidance.  One story I like to tell is that for each of the first 3 jobs I took coming out of high school, when I went in for the final interview there was a crow standing on the front steps of each establishment, which I took as a sign that I should accept the job when it was offered.  

Part of the process of obtaining the material for this book was to interview a number of people to find out how they experienced divine guidance in their lives, and to use some of their anonymized stories as examples.  In short, I talked with some fabulous people who shared some pretty profound stories.  

10 years later, writing this book was a wonderful personal growing experience.  When I set out to write this book, I only believed in the idea of predestination; interviewing and having lengthy philosophical discussions with others led me to combining the ideas of predestination and free will in the book as well as my own life.  It allowed me to finally think for myself, rather than always taking another’s word (regardless if derived from God, diety or human) as gospel.  But more importantly, it allowed me to see life as a series of choices we make with God, rather than being dictated by God.

Hopefully making this book publicly available make a positive difference in others’ lives.

The Mortician’s Son

Back in college at The Ohio State University, I took a non-fiction writing course, and decided for one of the assignments that I would write a short memoir about growing up in a funeral home.  My father was a mortician in a 4 generation family business, and my family lived in the house connected to the funeral home. 

Whenever I recount a story from my childhood, people inevitably ask me, “Oh my gosh… What was it like growing up in a funeral home?”  My response is, “It was just normal.  When you see dead people from the time you’re born, you don’t think of it as strange or creepy.”

There are many stories that I’ve collected over the years of growing up in a funeral home, apprenticing with the family business and returning home over the holidays and pitching in to help when needed.  But for this piece I wanted to answer the question above, and the selected vignettes represent my experience as a mortician’s son from the ages 4 through 8:

The Mortician’s Son

Giovanni Pascoli Myricae Translations in English

I attended college at The Ohio State University, where I graduated with Bachelors degrees in English and Italian.  My senior year I worked on a self-study course where the sole purpose was to translate 20 of Giovanni Pascoli’s poems.  It has been 7 years since I translated these poems, but felt it was time to make them publicly available so that others could explore the works of Pascoli.

Giovanni Pascoli was a 19th century poet who lived in Tuscany, Italy for a good portion of his life.  I chose to translate Pascoli because I felt he wrote beautiful, approachable and sometimes adolescent poems that captured the peasant life of rural Italy.  It often juxtaposed the excitement and fear of the effects of the industrial revolution on his homeland.  I focused my endeavors on translating selected poems from Myricae; in particular the chapters Le pene del poeta and L’ultima passeggiata, as well as the  poems Novembre and Orfano.

Translating poetry is terribly challenging.  A successful translator will do his or her best to translate each word, while at the same time mimicking syllable counts (e.g. rewriting endecasyllibo lines into iambic pentameter), alliteration and rhyme in order to capture the various minutiae that makes each poem sing.  But as I am sure you are well aware, Italian and English are quite dissimilar; Italian floats off the tongue like a song dancing from cloud to cloud, while English can often sound like you’re banging rocks together.  It is no easy feat for a translator to mimic a poem in another language, and at times he or she will make certain sacrifices in the translation in order to carry out the poem’s meaning.  

In these translations, I focused primarily on attaining the proper translation of each poem, with a slightly lesser focus on matching each poem’s sound.  I strove to write in blank verse, and believing that end rhymes are too constraining, I used internal rhyme when possible, but not if it adversely affected the poem’s meaning.  In these translations, I do my best to honor Pascoli’s voice, and hope my efforts come across as such:

Giovanni Pascoli: Myricae Translations in English

I am especially grateful for the mentoring of Dr. Charles Klopp throughout this process.

Foodgeeks Thanksgiving Recipes

Beergeeks - For the love of Beer

In October 1998, my homebrewing buddy Ken Hahn convinced me to buy the domain name Beergeeks.com.  We launched a simple site in December 1998, and at the time it hosted homebrewing information and all of our homebrew recipes.

I gobbled up a few other related domain names, notably Foodgeeks.com and Winegeeks.com, and gradually published sites on those domains over the years.  But Beergeeks was a short-lived venture; we ran the site for a few years, but never really found the time nor energy to push the site forward.  The original Beergeeks.com was retired in early 2002.

In the summer of 2009, I was introduced to Lucy Burningham by mutual friends.  Lucy has a captivating personality, and to top it off, she’s written numerous beer articles for many a publication.  Even the New York Times.   So, as our conversation flowed over macchiatos at The Red E, I mentioned the Beergeeks.com domain that I had lying stagnant, and said I’d boot up the site if I could find the time.  She said without hesitation, “Let’s do it”, and by the look in her eye I knew we just had to do it. 

For the love of beer, Lucy and I started working on the site in June 2010, each spent about 100 hours getting it ready, and today we’re proud to announce that the new Beergeeks is live!  Woo!  And I can’t forget a special shout-out to Crystal Beasley, who created the look and feel for all of the *geeks sites.

On Beergeeks you’ll be able to rate and review beers, find information about breweries and beer terminology, and you’ll be able to earn badges to represent all of your hard work.  You can friend others on the site and follow their progress and reviews through activity streams and feeds.

We’re trying a bit of a different approach than normal by placing more power in the Beergeeks members’ hands.  Any member who is logged-in to the website will be able to add and edit any beer or brewery on the site. 

Beergeeks features a rudimentary mobile site which will allow you to quickly look up as well as rate and review beers.  We’ll gradually open up our data, time permitting, and plan to make all of our data available via an API.

Give us a shout and let us know what you love, what you hate, or what you can’t live without.  Hit us with your feedback and ideas at Get Satisfaction, follow us on Twitter or fan us on Facebook.

And don’t forget to friend me up on Beergeeks while you’re at it :)

Joining Mozilla

Shortly after the Shizzow crew began ramping down our efforts, I began contracting with Mozilla, starting in the summer of 2009. I’ve mainly been performing PHP development for a number of projects, including the Crash Reporter, Creative Collective, Jetpack Gallery (now a part of Mozilla Add-Ons) and the Bespin Plugin Gallery.  Today, I’m excited to say that I’m joining the Mozilla team as a full-time employee.

The Mozilla web dev team has been gradually migrating a number of their projects from PHP to Python, many of which use the Django framework.  Although I’ll still be writing PHP, I’ll also be following their lead, and have started pitching in on one of their Django projects, the Input Reporter.

I’ve really enjoyed working with Mozilla, and am continually impressed blown away by the caliber of people that I work with.  Each Mozillian is not only passionate about technology, but more importantly is passionate about doing the right thing for the web.  All of us at Mozilla feel the calling to embrace and protect the open web, and I’m so grateful to be in a position where I can help.

Uncle Craig’s Words to Live By

My dear Uncle Craig passed away on Friday from a valiant 10 month fight against brain cancer

Damnit, I miss that guy. 

Before he left us, he took the time to scribble down the words which he lived by every day of his life.  He was an ornery kind of guy, but always stayed true to his heart, and when it was time to be serious he would open his mouth and dispense sage advice in simple language.  And if he ever started a sentence with, “Son…”, you knew you better stop whatever it is you’re doing, listen and hang on to every single one of his words.

Below are each of the simplified words he lived by.

  1. Be as nice to everyone that you come in contact with as you possibly can.
  2. Some people are just assholes.
  3. Keep a positive attitude.
  4. Don’t worry about things until you have to.
  5. Happiness can only be found within yourself.
  6. Have fun.
  7. Find humor in yourself.
  8. Laugh hard regularly.
  9. A bad time lasts only an instant but a good story lasts forever.
  10. Say I love you everyday.
  11. Appreciate the gifts you have been given.
  12. Give something of yourself to others.
  13. Appreciate everything that you have.
  14. Vote!
  15. Do what you do and do it better than everyone else.
  16. You will touch more lives than you may imagine.
  17. Be honest.
  18. Be prompt.
  19. Learn from your mistakes.
  20. Learn from others mistakes.
  21. Everyone makes their own luck.
  22. There is no substitute for hard work. 
  23. I believe that there are only three things you can’t teach someone.
  24. Never eat in a ta-ta bar.
  25. Marriage is like buying a new car.
  26. Follow your heart; it is usually smarter than your head.
  27. Be a good listener.
  28. Use credit cards as a last resort.
  29. Never kick a sleeping dog.
  30. Never compromise your principles.
  31. Give others the first opportunity to correct their mistakes.
  32. Take every problem you have to the lowest common denominator.
  33. People only want two things from us; they want us to solve their problems, and the want to feel like they are important to us.
  34. Make unnecessary follow-up phone calls.
  35. Be objective.
  36. Learn something new every day.
  37. Know your limitations.
  38. Mind your own business.