About Todd

  • Brooklyn, NY (current)
  • Seattle, WA
  • State College, PA
  • Ephrata, PA
True fact

I don't have a beard.


If I was given to writing a third-person bio using the seven-year periodic framing device of the Up documentary series–and apparently I'm given to do so–I might summarize things like so:

By 7 years of age
Todd, who was just a kid when his childhood began, popped out in rural Pennsylvania, adopted English as his primary language after careful deliberation about the future side effects of global capitalism, adjusted to eating solid foods, learned to walk and crawl, and finally got into the habit of going potty in sanctioned locations rather than in his own pants.
By 14 years of age
He'd learned the piano and become obsessed with popular music. Which is to say, he'd begun his critical thinking phase as a creative liberal stuck in the sticks and began relying on music as his salve. He'd also begun toying with computers.
By 21 years of age
He was off at the big state school for college, where the football team was vastly more important to the prevailing culture than education itself. He studied myriad subjects in the liberal arts until forced into a major, opting for "Integrative Arts" for its open-ended, choose-your-own-adventure nature. He dabbled in Film and English but focused on Music Theory & History, as yet unaware that the self-sustaining classism and stodgy culture calcified around long-dormant musical forms was not his life's calling. He'd written for the student paper, taken up guitar and electric bass, and begun playing live around town with folk acts and rock bands.
By 28 years of age
He'd turned a critical eye on his own education and career prospects and left school to move out West. He landed in Seattle where he struggled for several years before escaping the menial work to which he was accustomed by teaching himself the new-fangled Web and then landing a job in tech. It was his first white collar job and it was at a hip online bookstore just dipping its toes into music.
By 35 years of age
He'd dabbled in woodworking and begun to travel internationally. He'd paid off his formerly-imposing student loan debt and assumed the mortgage on a weird, Frankenstein house in the quirky and musical old fisherman's neighborhood of Ballard. He'd escaped the corporate world for the dynamic and volatile world of tiny software startups, often having better philosophical intentions than practical business prospects. With the band he was playing with, he'd recorded his first barcode-sporting album, learned a thing or two about digital music production, and gone on a couple West Coast tours. Teaming up with his tenants, he'd begun hosting house concerts in the spacious former painting studio built into his shared home.
By 42 years of age
He'd taken up fine art photography and had his first solo exhibit, written and recorded a few solo albums as part of speed-songwriting competitions, and begun to harden as a global traveler–especially after the mind-blowing experiences of a voluntourism trip to India. His shared home venue for house concerts was now christened 65th & Hedge, where they continued to host beloved–sometimes bordering on legendary–events for locals and touring acts. He'd become a year-round bike commuter and then gotten into a cycling obsession which lead to a bike mechanic hobby which lead to building his own bikes and once riding 200 miles in a single day. This is a thing that he spent the last 50 miles deciding to never do again, and to this day he remains a man of his solemn, saddle-sore word.
By 49 years of age
His most popular and longest-lived personal software side project, a homebrewers' website called Hopville, had been acquired by a competitor. He'd also sold 65th & Hedge and dispensed of most worldly possessions in the process of moving from Seattle to New York City, then taking a year off to travel the world. Upon returning, he scored his first big city gig handling software for a women's heath biotech firm focused on the genetics of fertility. In his spare time, he'd begun earnest work on the first draft of a novel, inspired by and loosely based on the events of a four month overlanding trip he'd taken in Africa at the heart of his year abroad. At the time of this writing, he'd just learned that one of the subjects of 63 Up was, at the time of that filming, also half-way through the first draft of his first novel. Whereas another of the subjects was already dead. He was relieved to be fourteen years ahead of the former subject and fourteen years behind the latter.
[Then hopefully many more years will have passed until...]
By death
He will have decided on an epitaph, despite having no interest in a tombstone for himself. Some prospects:
  • He made it the whole way through without therapy.
  • He would rather be here than in Florida.
  • (This one's a riff on Robert Frost's)
    I had a lover's duel with the world.
  • He had a long and extinguished career in the art of living.