I imagine that you don't really care much about what I'm like, but you clicked here and thus I feel somewhat obligated to provide you with information. Or it could just be that I like to talk about myself. You be the judge. Last updated January 2, 2015.
My name is Steven Eastland. Sometimes people call me Grass Monkey, and occasionally Cliff, and arguably even more occasionally they try to throw me off a cliff, but usually they just sigh and shake their head (my wife falls into the last category).
I was born February 19, 1980, which makes me over 30 for you non-math majors out there. I live in Spanish Fork, Utah, in the environs of which I have lived for nearly all of my life. From June 1999 to May 2001 I served an LDS mission in France, specifically the Bordeaux region. I never sampled the wine, but I did pee in a vineyard once in an attempt to lend fresh meaning to the phrase "sour grapes." I also got quite lost in the Paris airport and once got caught in a hurricane* while trying to bike from a little place called Dax to the Pyrenees—which was still better than my stay in Niort.
I was once a student at Brigham Young University, where I studied English and Computer Science. I met my wife during my university days and ended up choosing her over classes, for better or for worse. One of these days I think I'm going to have to go back and finish what I started, but not at BYU. I have a beard now. They don't like those at BYU.
what makes me tick
I enjoy computers, reading, writing, music, video games, movies and TV shows, my friends, funny people, and all that is good. Now I get to go over each one in sequence, and the excitement that is my life will be unveiled.
Back in the '90s I ran a BBS. Those were the good ol' days—80x25 screens, 2400 BPS modems, and all the Pascal I could handle. Eventually the internet became a household commodity and the BBS world as I knew it slowly died away. Now every Bill, Jack, and Scooter has a cell phone, a PDA, a digital alarm clock, and a delicious pastry maker, often in the same four cubic inches of synthetic material. Everyone's got a blog and several social media accounts, and sometimes a disturbingly bad knowledge of HTML. Very often, so also does everyone's dog.
I currently work as a web developer, database admin, and one-time Android app developer. While my knowledge of HTML is not disturbingly bad, my visual design skills probably are. I imagine that I have a fate as a coder for quite a while.
Several years ago, I discovered the joys of using Linux as an alternative to Windows. It's not perfect, but I'm sure not going back. Currently I use Arch Linux, though in the past I've sampled Kubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, and a few others, but Arch has pretty much won my heart at this point, what with ABS, AUR, and rolling releases, just to name a few of the highlights. My desktop environment of choice is KDE.
Reading is something I've always loved, though I seem to find less time for it these days. Here is a list of books I have greatly enjoyed. If you don't like to read, quit being a slacker. It's good for you. (Yes, I'm talking to myself.)
As much as I relish the thought of sitting behind a desk writing code for the rest of my life, I would rather end up as a writer of stuff that people will actually read and, possibly, enjoy. A large hindrance to this is the fact that writing is hard, and I am lazy.
If you want to read some silly short stories, you can stop at Story Square. I say they're silly because, well, they really are, although I do think that Monkey Stinger is prettty well written and semi-entertaining. You can also check out a great many of my poems in the Poetism Plaza, and find commentaries as I post them on the grassmonk blog. I used to think I was a decent poet until I actually read what I've written. Now I realize that I not only am I decent, I'm woefully underappreciated. You may also want to take a break at the Haiku Hut, because haiku is the stuff metaphorical dreams are made of.
No one compares to Paul Simon. I have seen Mr. Simon in concert four times: first, a smooth daddy show on June 9, 1999 with Bob Dylan, and one with Mr. Garfunkel on June 29, 2004. I saw him twice in 2011, once in San Francisco with my sister (she was in the seat next to me, not on stage), and once in Las Vegas with my dad (again, in the seat next to me).
And you know who else is genius? Nobuo Uematsu, the mastermind behind the music of the incredibleness that is Final Fantasy. My theory regarding the questionable popularity of Final Fantasy X-2 is Nobuo's lack of involvement. I have little comment on anything post FFX-2, having not played any FF titles since. If Nobuo isn't involved though, I bet they bite. The Japanese never cease to amaze me, producing wonder after wonder, such as Nobuo and Nintendo. I mean, who but the Japanese could make an Italian plumber so popular?
I try to convince myself that video games hold less and less interest for me as I get older, but I get sucked into them so easily that I just have to try to limit myself. I, along, with my children, enjoy several franchises: The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Metroid, Pikmin, LEGO, Final Fantasy, and others.
The game I used to love above all others, but haven't played for years, is Dance Dance Revolution and its various successors. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am the last person—including deaf, blind, and legless people—whom one would expect to enjoy a game like DDR, much less actually be any good at it. I got a nice dance pad for Christmas in 2007, and then on New Year's Day 2008 I bruised a rib or two while sledding, and couldn't play DDR for about a month. Then it just sort of became something I played less and less of until now. I really should get back into it.
movies and television
I spend an obscene amount of time watching movies. The Lord of the Rings films are without a doubt the spiffiest movies ever. There are, of course, other films that grace my must-see list, but none have captivated me as much as Peter Jackon's masterful Tolkien adaptations. You'll find my Blu-ray and DVD collection here.
I keep up with a few currently-airing TV shows, but most of my TV viewing is on DVD or streamed through Netflix. My all-time favorite shows are NYPD Blue, Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Mad About You, but I enjoy quite a few (too many?) others. Here is my TV list, including Shows I Currently Watch and Shows to Which I Will Admit Having Seen Every Episode.
I have grown to love movies and TV series based on superheroes, especially the likes of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Spider-Man, Superman Returns, Iron Man, The Avengers, and the DC Animated Universe as brought to you by Bruce Timm and Co., including Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, and Justice League. Batman is the greatest superhero ever. I contend that he can take down anyone, if he needs to, because he's Batman. My wife disagrees, but she also liked Ghost Rider, so I'm not sure how far she can be trusted. With my kids, I've also gotten into shows like The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and The Super Hero Squad Show. Also, Phineas and Ferb. They're superheroes in my book.
I collect DVD sets of shows I watched when I was a kid so my children can watch quality stuff instead of the crap that's out there these days. (I am, it appears, a cranky old man.) These shows include Animaniacs, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She-Ra: Princess of Power (I know!), DuckTales, TaleSpin, The Transformers, and others. I also have stuff that was on when I was a kid, but didn't watch then, like the aforementioned DCAU shows, Pinky and the Brain, and Fraggle Rock. Everything was just better then. (Yup, cranky old man. Of 35.)
I like my friends. Then again, unless you're a manipulative jerkface—which I admittedly am, but I'm the good kind, really—everyone likes his friends. There used to be a list of my cool friends on this part of the site, but it's gone now because found it too difficult to find something cool and/or witty to say about each of them here, i.e. I'm lazy. It should be noted that the lack of something witty to say has stopped me from saying anything before.
Because my creativity has run out at this point, I will simply list the people I think are funny. Well, I'll explain the old list, or something, seeing as how my tastes seem to have changed. Paul Reiser used to top the list; he's funny, but he hasn't really captured my attention since Mad About You. If seasons six and seven would ever see the light of day on DVD, I'd be able to enjoy him all the more. I continue to find Adam Sandler funny, but mostly pre-1999, with specific mention going to Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore. David Spade used to be hi-freaking-larious, but I can't seem to enjoy him in much anymore, other than the old standby Tommy Boy, along with Black Sheep (which movie I am apparently alone in enjoying) and The Emperor's New Groove. Pre-Master of Disguise Dana Carvey still tickles my funny bone (though that aeons-old expression doesn't), as does Ben Stiller—Mystery Men or Zoolander Ben Stiller, as opposed to Night at the Museum Ben Stiller. Chris Farley continues to bestow laughter upon me in large piles of laughter-stuff, and Matthew Perry was one of the two enjoyable things about Friends, the other being Matt LeBlanc. See also: The Whole Nine Yards.
My forays into Firefly and That '70s Show has left me with more-than-favorable impressions of Nathan Fillion and Topher Grace, the latter for his impressive acting ability and because he occasionally reminds me of Nathan Fillion. The list of funny people goes on and on, changes often, and probably something else that would end a sentence nicely. New paragraph, please.
all that is good
This is the miscellaneous section, for anything that doesn't have its own category listed above. Calvin and Hobbes fits here. So does Obi-wan Kenobi. Obi-wan is the jam.
*Yes, I'm exaggerating. Slightly.