Last updated: March 8, 2015

The short version

Hi, I’m Danny.

I enjoy writing and try to have fun with my website. I’m learning that I don’t really know what I think about something until I try to explain it to myself on paper.

I enjoy programming and like messing around with graphics stuff. I actually went to grad school for graphics stuff.

I enjoy playing board games and am totally cool sitting down to a game that takes four hours to finish. I think you can learn a lot about someone by playing a game with them.

I think cooking is relaxing. I think health is a fun thing to try and optimize, and I think food is the most important consideration in that pursuit.

I have a lot of respect for gymnasts and am trying to learn how to hold a freestanding handstand for more than eight seconds. I fall down a lot.

I find little joy in listening to country or metal music, but I can get behind pretty much everything else.

I want to give rock climbing a shot. That probably means there’s more falling in my future.

I live on the 20th floor of an apartment building and take the stairs as often as I take the elevator.

I love animation and horror. Not necessarily together, but I’m open to it.

I am addicted to podcasts and would pick Alex Blumberg over Robert Downey Jr. if I had the ability to conjure celebrities.

I really like this quote:

“Fuck motivation. It’s a fickle and unreliable little dickfuck and it isn’t worth your time.

“Better to cultivate discipline then to rely on motivation. Force yourself to do things. Force yourself to get up out of bed and practice. Force yourself to work.

“Motivation is fleeting and it’s easy to rely on because it requires no concentrated effort to get. Motivation comes to you, you don’t even have to chase after it.

“Discipline is reliable, motivation is fleeting. The question isn’t how to keep yourself motivated, it’s how to train yourself to work without it.”

–The Angry Violinist

I am currently a production engineer at Blue Sky Studios working on The Peanuts Movie, Ice Age 5, and Ferdinand. It’s kind of a dream job for me, so I feel thankful most days.

Please reach out! See my site header and footer for LinkedIn and email links. You can also find me on GitHub, Letterboxd, and Goodreads.

You have no idea how appreciative I am you’re here right now. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

The long version

Approximately 24 years ago, somewhere in or possibly near Colorado, I entered this sometimes dark and other times light world. I probably flailed my tiny limbs and stretched my tiny lungs like tiny humans are wont to do in their first minutes of life, but it’s equally possible I emerged with a contemplative look and an air of mystery about me. On that day, the doctors and nurses who bore witness to my unveiling might have whispered water cooler secrets about the peculiar and promising new human they just saw. Perhaps the most promising of all the new humans any of them had encountered in their maybe illustrious but statistically more likely lackluster careers.

What the men and women in that room on the maybe extraordinary day of my birth didn’t realize was my mysterious, confident, and charming baby nature was only carefully disguised baby confusion. “What is this world?” I might have asked my tiny self. “Who am I? What is my purpose? What does it mean to be alive?” are other profundities I might have gurgled through my awkward and untested tongue. Even at the youngish age of four minutes old, I knew I would devote my life to seeking answers to life’s silly questions.

“Are we alone in this universe? Is there anything after death?” Ha! Good ones, Life.

Or, maybe that stuff didn’t happen. Maybe I flailed my tiny arms and cried my tiny heart out just like the billions of babies who blazed the trail to life before me. Maybe my birth was routine and forgettable, not unlike brushing one’s teeth or daydreaming through a familiar commute to work.

I’ve studied or maybe imagined studying the potentially imaginary transcripts covering the events of that day back in January ’91, and it seems no one bothered to get a quote from me. How so many could forget about such a loud and fragile infant, I don’t know. A baffling oversight or boldface prejudice against my young blood. Either way, it’s now impossible to know precisely what thoughts were coursing through my tiny baby mind during my first hours of life.

My parents took the tiny, maybe prodigy, maybe ordinary, version of me home that day or maybe the next to meet my sister. The 4 of us lived happily in that home for a while, and there was a dog or something. Then, sometime after a while, we moved to Nebraska to cheer for the Huskers and stuff. Do you know that saying about Omaha that everyone says all the time? “Omaha is my homaha.” Omaha really was my homaha. It was a pretty nice homaha. Then, suddenly, basically overnight, but over two nights tops, I found my baby self turned into a 14-year-old self and had 3 new siblings to look at and maybe play with. That meant 3 promising new minds to help me unearth or fabricate answers to those silly questions I mentioned earlier.

Let’s talk a little more about me. Not 14-year-old me. Real me. I know what you’re thinking. “I feel like I know so much about Danny and his infant adventures, but what on earth does he look like? I have a vision of him with flowing hair standing beneath a Siberian sunset. He’s far up in a tree or deep underwater or maybe on one of Jupiter’s moons. I think he has a large animal companion at his side. It’s taller than his kneecaps but shorter than his pleasingly shaped hips. He’s levitating somehow. Just a few inches off the ground. Maybe he has wings, but it’s hard to tell. Angel wings. Not bat wings. Oh, and he has piercing blue eyes that change color with the seasons.”

I couldn’t have described myself better.

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That’s me from last June or July or August or sometime.

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And that’s my face from probably a similar time.

And those siblings I mentioned earlier? Here they are circa 2008.

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We’ve all grown up a bit since then. Especially that kid in the blue.

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That’s a pretty alright looking bordering on pretty excellent looking family, right? Nice work foxy lady on the left and playfully goofy guy on the right. Your positive contributions to society have been noted by your many jealous neighbors. Overall, they’re impressed with your work, but with a dozen pairs of glasses between five kids, they were forced to give you low marks on the eyesight portion of putting a family together. It’s nothing to worry about really. You tested well in intelligence, creativity, likability, and gratitude, so that should cancel out the eyesight mishap.

I come from a kind of pretty huge and most days fun to hug family. In addition to huggable, most of my kin are outspoken, opinionated, loud and on truly special occasions, louder. I’m kind of sort of a little bit not exactly that. Some days I play pretend and tan in the spotlight for a few seconds, but underneath that confident mask crafted by societal norms, I’m mostly a quiet kind of human. A relatively subdued character in a story starring my dozens of significantly less subdued relatives. If my family were a hostile high school whose social structure was rooted in the fake prestige of belonging to dumb clubs, I’d be a member of The Softer Spoken Squad. A club that appreciates waves without making waves. We admire what the swankier clubs in town are up to, but we generally choose not to be up to that stuff too. Thankfully for me, my family is less a hostile high school and more a foam pit of compassion and acceptance.

We all get along really well, and probably not just because we’re bound by blood. I think we’d love each other even without the blood thing.

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This is it. My family. There’s a lot of it, right? With lots of it comes lots of feelings and limbs and voices and conflicting worldviews. Not rarely, lots of it crashes together ungracefully to breed some chaos.

If you look closely, you can see it in this photo. The chaos. People standing. Others sitting. Some talking. A few posing for an event that most don’t even realize is happening. Hands doing weird things. An orange shirt. ON CHRISTMAS?! “Chaos!” I cry or say in a reasonably-leveled indoor voice. And that’s only half our annual Christmas chaos quota. When this photo was snapped, the rest of the order was being filled by an even larger group of related people in the kitchen. It’s entirely possible the kitchen was a peaceful and organized sanctuary, but it’s also possible and at least two, maybe three, more fun to think the kitchen was a swirling chaos tornado of chaos. At the very least, the kitchen was probably a stiff breeze of chaos. The kind that makes you wish your jacket had a working zipper, so it would stop flapping everywhere when you take your hands out of your pockets.

I’ve learned to love the chaos. It’s part of being in a big family. For my part, I try to keep my own chaos footprint small, and let the swells of chaos that surround me wash over me. It’s worked well so far.

Enough about family. Back to me when I was 14. High school and stuff. I made some really great friends in high school.

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(Additional really great friends not pictured.)

Also, I played a lot of guitar in high school. From 14-16, I was sure I had it in me to push sweet licks at the rock star factory for the rest of my days. That dream hasn’t panned out yet, but rest assured, my most rockin’ years are still ahead of me! I played in a few bands ranging from sad but endearing bad to surprisingly alright. I even stood on stages (plural!) in front of some super nice people (so nice, seriously guys, thank you for being so nice) to play and sing and stuff.

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It was fun! It’s a little embarrassing to look back on now, but it’s impossible for me to look back at that period without feeling proud. Playing music shaped me. It shaped my high school experience too. For the better, I think. It helped me make friends. It gave me an outlet to make stuff. It kept me away from worse things. To anyone who suffered through that era of me growing up and finding myself, thanks for supporting me on the good days and tolerating me on the bad ones. Thanks for buying earplugs instead of telling me to turn it down.

And then it was 2009. High school graduation. Start of college. I made some really great friends in college too.

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We even dressed up like Pokemon characters sometimes to win Halloween dance contests.

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(Additional really great friends not pictured.)

And then it was 2013. College graduation. Time continued to accelerate.

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The beautiful woman standing next to me is my Grammy. She’s been a big inspiration for me throughout this whole life thing. She’s crazy strong and always vibrant.

I wasn’t quite ready to tackle the real world after graduation, so I hid away in Philadelphia for a year and a half to go to grad school. A time I lovingly refer to as College 2.

My dad and I road tripped across the eastern part of the U.S. that August to get me moved. Before the semester started, we conquered Philadelphia.

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I did a lot of neat stuff at Penn.

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I even found time to make a few more really great friends.

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(Additional really great friends not pictured.)

Through some hard work (and tons and tons of luck), I managed to convince someone at DreamWorks to let me be a summer intern. I spent the hot parts of 2014 at the studio in Redwood City wide-eyed and smiling getting an inside look at how animated movie magic is made. It really is magical. The experience was incredible.

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I worked with a lot of great people at DreamWorks. I made even more really great friends.

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(Additional really great friends not pictured.)

I also had tons of fun exploring San Francisco that summer. I posed in front of (probably) too many things with my arms outstretched.

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My magical summer eventually came to an end. Shortly after, it was time for my grad school adventures to come to an end too. I finished College 2 and said goodbye to Penn in December 2014.

Where am I now?

I recently moved to White Plains, NY and started working as a production engineer at Blue Sky Studios. I smile every morning I step through the lobby. I’m still in awe of the filmmaking process. I hope my wonder never dissipates.

Life is good.

Look, I really like you. We’ve come a long way together. I feel like you understand me. I know we haven’t known each other long, but I think we should expand our relationship to include your inbox. Is that too forward? I hope I didn’t make you uncomfortable. I just, I mean, I really like you. I know I already said that, but it’s true. I need you to know it’s true. I want to see more of you, and spending time together in your inbox seems like the best way to make that happen. I hope you feel the same.

I promise to only send you the best I have to offer. Cross my heart.