Joe Bliven

About Me:

Steam ID: joejoefashosho

Hello, my name is Joe Bliven! I am a 28 year old man (he/his) from Saint Paul, MN. I live on the West Side with my wife Amelia and our daughter Elena. We also have a dog named Layna, a bunny named Leo a Hamster named Theo and plenty of spiders. I have lived in Saint Paul most of my life. I'm politically very left leaning. I care a lot about politics because I think it's currently the best avenue for ordinary people to have their voices heard and manifest real change. It's a very rare day that I don't drink coffee. I eat oatmeal for breakfast most days. My favorite foods are biryani, sushi and pasta. I'm enigmatically an extrovert who can't live without lots of alone time. I was fluent in Spanish the last time I checked although I'm probably a bit rusty. Tread lightly when asking me about my interests as I will end up talking your ear off and going into much more detail than any sane person would like to listen to. Anytime someone has been referred to as "easy to buy gifts for" it's struck me as virtuous. If you've come here for gift ideas I'll make it easy for you, here's my up to date wish list. If you want any contact information other than my e-mail address just e-mail me asking for it.

Welcome to my website, and thank you for visiting. Please allow me to share a bit about it. This is not a Wix or Squarespace site, it is not hosted on Amazon Web Hosting services. This website is not part of the centralized bloated web at all. It was programmed from the ground up and it's running on a server in my home office. The website you're currently reading is being served to your computer from an old and otherwise useless netbook with a broken keyboard. Please read the main article on my server to learn more about it. But I digress as this is the "about me" section not the "about my server" section.

Probably the biggest part of my identity is that I consider myself an avid hobbyist; I have so many hobbies that the majority of them end up on the back burner for months at a time. It can be said about every single one of my hobbies that I don't do them as often as I would like to. Here I'll try to share my varied hobbies from occasional activity to my deepest passions in no particular order.

My favorite things to do are the things I do with my family. At home we like to watch movies (we rarely watch TV Series though we're always open to recommendations) we like to do puzzles, try new recipes, play board and card games and have fires in the back yard. Elena loves playing video games and occasionally we'll play together, we also draw pictures together and play with legos. Amelia likes to get us out to the park to play tennis, I'm terrible at it but I find it fun nonetheless. Even running errands together is generally a nice time when we are all together and not simply in the same place doing our own thing.

We have a lot of ways to get out of the house apart from just running errands. The only shopping we do for fun is at goodwill and Half Price Books. We go out to eat a lot. Some of our favorite places in the Twin Cities are Babanis 2, Beirut, Taco House and Khyber Pass. My personal favorite is a place called Agra Culture in the Highland Village. We love to get dessert at Cossetta's Pasticceria, Cafe Late and Woulett's Bakery. In the summer we like to go to Icy Cup for treats and I love going to the soda fountain at Cold Front. Our favorite breweries are Bad Weather, Wabasha, Waldmann, and Yoerg, the latter two also have great german food and Yoerg serves up a great pickled egg! Bauhaus makes some amazing beer over in Minneapolis but I've still yet to visit their space. Amelia and Elena go to the theater a lot (I join them occasionally) mostly for touring broadway shows through the Hennepin Theater Trust. Amelia and I like to go to concerts a few times a year. When we feel like going out we usually go to Uptown, our favorite arcade Up-Down is there and they have most of the great old game cabinets, we also do Karaoke at the Uptown VFW. If Amelia doesn't want to go out but I do I tend to stop in at the local watering hole Tappers. Tappers is a fun and cozy neighborhood bar that's great for hanging out with friends, chatting up strangers, bumping into the neighbors or just people watching, reading a book, and plugging the jukebox.

My wife loves to travel and she's rubbed off on me in that way. We like to go camping and we go to at least a couple music festivals every year. We always make it to at least one festival at Harmony Park in Geneva Minnesota every year and we usually go to at least one other festival out of state in addition. We've been to Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Okeechobee, Pyro de Mayo and North Coast (I'm probably forgetting some). My favorite family vacations were to the theme parks in Orlando and our 5 weeks in Mexico (even though I was sick with La Venganza de Moctezuma most of that trip).

I love music of many kinds but especially funk and hip-hop. I spent many years making hip-hop and electronic beats that you can listen to here on my website. I rarely make hip-hop anymore but I still play banjo and guitar as a hobby.

I like to read books. I read a lot of comic books, these days I only stay current of Superman and X-Men but I also love Archie comics (particularly their horror comics) and Black Panther a lot. I like non-fiction books on political subjects mostly (historical and current). I intend to read more about history and science in the future. Maya Angelou is my favorite memoirist, I've read nearly all of her memoirs. I probably read fiction most often. My favorite books are American classics. I love Mark Twain, Zora Neale Hurston and John Steinbeck. My favorite book of all time is The Grapes of Wrath. I like poetry too; my favorite poets being Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Walt Whitman and Edgar Allan Poe. When I'm reading more modern books I tend to like science fiction, mystery, fantasy and horror. My favorite contemporary (or at least not-quite-classic) authors are Cixin Liu, Stephen King, Brian Jacques and Orson Scott Card. In 2020 my reading goal is to read 36 books, I intend on accomplishing it even if I have to cheat a bit with an audiobook here, a graphic novel there, and a few really short books to give myself some wiggle room. My wife's goal last year was to read 100 and she pulled it off with weeks to spare, I can't imagine ever accomplishing that (I'm a slow reader). Apart from most comic books I try to write a review for every book I read and post it to both goodreads and my blog.

I like to write, often I believe I need to write. I write a lot of political essays, usually when something is really haunting my thoughts I have to write it down so it will leave me to use my brain for other things. I also need to write things down and read them back to make sure they're fully fledged ideas and not half-baked misconceptions or unsupportable intuitions. I'm a firm believer in the idea that you don't truly understand something until you can explain it to someone else. I also have been making an effort to journal regularly, that was my new years resolution for 2020, along with practicing my instruments regularly. I occasionally write poetry and fiction. Unfortunately in 2018 I lost all of the fiction writing I had done, it was devastating and I haven't written any since.

I like arts and crafts. Someone I know is a therapist who has a passion for what she calls art therapy. I truly believe in the therapeutic power of expressing yourself through art. So much of what bothers us on a daily basis can't easily be articulated through words but when we express ourselves through art our subconscious finds a way to get these things off our chest. If you feel as though you're not an artistic person just start with some adult coloring books, they're easy and provide the same stimulation. I've always loved drawing, as a teenager I dreamt of becoming an animator one day. As an adult I've opened up to many mediums including acrylic paint, pen & ink, embroidery and whittling. My favorite is still probably drawing though as it's the easiest for me to impulsively pick up and create something.

I like computers. This one is hard to explain to people, yes we all love computers maybe we even have an unhealthy obsession with them but mine, I believe is something special. A big part of my love for computers lies in my obsession with computer history, with vintage computers and computer software. I have such a romantic interest in how computers have gone from being giant mainframes at universities and the IRS to becoming a ubiquitous and inseparable part of our every day experience in the span of half a century. One of my favorite TV shows ever is the Computer Chronicles a PBS show which ran from 1983-2002 that documents innovations in the computer industry at every step of the way from early adoption of home and office computing to the last days of the dot com boom. I especially love vintage Apple Computers. I have two iMac G3 machines from 1999 and a Macintosh Plus from 1986. I also have two different models of palm pilots that I find fascinating.

Beyond just retro computing I have deep interest in modern computing. Sure I browse the web and play computer games like everybody else but I am also deeply invested in the politics of our computing. I like many am a follower of the great Richard Stallman the developer of the GNU operating systems that runs using the Linux kernel. His organization the Free Software Foundation is one of my favorite activist organizations. I believe very strongly in the importance of free and open source software and in keeping the computing that we all rely on every day under our control, not the control of massive tech companies and governments. I look fondly upon the internet of old before the entire network was dominated by 5 huge American corporations. When individuals brought their machines together to connect to machines from all over the world and meet new people. This is a big reason I'm running this website. Even excluding the political aspects of modern computing I love seeing what computers can do, I love programming, I love trying out goofy software that does neat things, I love figuring out how to customize every single inch of my computing experience.

I like video games. I like playing them, learning about their history and development, watching other people play them and one of the few things on my bucket list is to develop my own one day. I mostly like retro games; Game Boy and Game boy Advance, psone, N64, Super Nintendo, Gamecube, Sega Genesis and old arcade games as well. I do like some modern games as well; we have a Nintendo Switch and I play some newer PC games like Civilization as well. My favorite video games include Pokemon gen I & II, Link to the Past, Age of Empires 1-3, Super Ghouls and Ghosts, Galaga and Burger Time.