Abigail Foster's Photosynthesis Machine, Benson Memorial Library, Family, Libraries, Library Director, Life, Management, Titusville, PA

Where Are We Now?

About a year ago I hung up a bizarre painting in my office at work. To me it was perfect and just familiar enough that I thought it warranted a place in my life. As a person who always thought it would be neat to have an office and fill it with interesting things, the painting, when mixed with the Lego creations and drawings that Finn and Aero have created for me over the years, helped me establish this place my home away from home. When I feel comfortable at work, I usually am able to some really good and meaningful work. On the other hand I could also see how the average “I shop for my groceries at Walmart every Saturday at 1pm and have to watch the game and/or my sitcom at the same time every week” American person would be appalled by it.

One day I came into work to find that my painting was taken down. My coworkers took it down because, yes they were terrified and appalled by it. I guess right now would also be a good time to explain that due to limited space we’re all basically working on top of each other and that we’re surrounded by glass. It’s like a packed fishbowl in here. But to fully admit my feelings, I was pretty let down by their actions. It felt passive aggressive and overall it felt unkind. But in the moment I didn’t react. I just went on and say “oh, well that happened.”

You see as a Gemini I feel a duality to everything. There’s this part of me that always sees things from my point of view and then I almost immediately put that aside and see it from how others may have seen it. In this case: Justin likes the painting and hangs up the painting, Justin feels disappointed when someone takes that painting down, but then Justin instantly forgets about that and says “well I bet they didn’t like the painting so I understand that and what I thought about the painting shouldn’t matter because that’s selfish to only think about myself.” Over time, I’ve taken that approach to even more of an extreme: I guess in a way that by my coworkers actions I was able to put the painting to a much better use. It became the cover for my album Prozac Is The Dam And I Am The Dynamite, and I think it fit really well for that album. Having the painting taken down by my coworkers made me take it home, where I stared at it more and through those hours of staring it gave the painting more meaning and purpose. It became a visual representation of my life at the time, and when it merged together with the music I was creating it became a complete package.

You take all of these things together, stretch everything out by a few months, sometimes years, and what happens? You start to think about the first part (yourself) less and less until it almost becomes silly to even think about it in the first place. I think that’s where I am at now…after awhile of doing this here I am, a person that may be very capable about thinking of others but at the same time a person who doesn’t think of himself as much as he should. I’m overwhelmed right now and a bell goes off in my brain to remind me that this may be part of the reason as to why I feel this way. When you neglect yourself in some way, it all adds up. I stare at a lot of spreadsheets these days, and I like to think that my soul has a spreadsheet where it has been keeping note of the times I’ve put myself aside for others. It’s finally getting to that point where the spreadsheet is just too long and unruly and it becomes a hassle to scroll down the page because there’s so much data.

I’m on the cusp of something here. It feels exciting and at the same time it fills my soul with great fear, but I know that as with everything in this life it will come, it will go, and the next thing will happen. I feel lucky to be able to share this journey here and to have others be able to maybe understand and maybe feel like they may be in the same holding pattern at the moment.

Music: David Bowie “Where Are We Now?” As long as there’s sun..As long as there’s rain..As long as there’s fire..As long as there’s me..As long as there’s you

Family, Libraries, Life, Music, Titusville, PA, Video Games

2016 Year In Review

PAST YEARS: 2015, 2014, 2013

Let’s get it out of the way before we jump into everything: 2016 wasn’t a great year for most of us and there are way too many reasons out there to put here into this blog so I’m not gonna do that. Let’s try something else, something that we all remember from way back in 2014-2015: positivity.

At the time of this writing, I have successfully arisen from my slumber on 337 out of the 366 days in 2016. I’ve spent most of the time I have been awake during those 337 days doing two things: spending it with my family or working for my community. I don’t have a fancy photo or some numbers to show you to back this up. I can just promise you that my family, our home, and the Benson Memorial Library continue to exist, thrive, and go about doing things that have a positive impact on the world. It’s the only thing that we know how to do.

I have enjoyed listening to all kinds of music. I’ve played so much Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I’ve got to watch some great films. I can’t recall what their titles were but they were enjoyable in the moment.

I did eat way too much food and I didn’t go on enough walks. I am going to do my best to fix that in 2017.

I really enjoyed meeting lots of new people this year as I did some traveling. I think traveling is the best…you get a chance to connect with people you have never met before, and in doing so your world grows and you grow as a person. I never want to stop growing and being a better Justin. I think that’s where my recent obsession with cyborgs comes from. Cyborgs can upgrade and change. I’ve been trying to figure out a way that I can do that myself as a human being. I think I’ve got it!

Goodbye to you 2016. I can’t think of a better way to say au revoir than Bowie’s Lazarus.

This way or no way
You know, I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now ain’t that just like me

Family, Life, Online Identity, Social Media, Technology, Three Things



I never met the dude in real life but his passing has really had an effect on me. I think it comes from one simple thing: the man created honest and pure art that genuinely brought happiness and excitement into the world. Bowie’s final album ★ is a brilliant piece of art that should be enjoyed/examined by everyone. I hope that when I am 68-69 years old I am still capable of creating such amazing things.



I am a Gemini and I have talked about that before. The older that I get the more I see that I am really two ideas living inside of one body. I am becoming very ok with this! I think the best thing that I have attempted to do is split myself into those two ideas and have outlets for both of them. You can’t suppress who you are! You just gotta be.


Social media is a big thing for me and wrestling with identity in social media is something I think about a lot. I aim to be as authentic and available as possible in this life. I think there are some struggles with that! I found this post by TotalBiscuits (who I was not familiar with until I saw this post) to be very inspiring and spot on when it comes to what social media is/can do to someone. While I am not in the same situation as TotalBiscuits (he has cancer, I do not), I do find what he is saying to be very honest when it comes to social media:

Look, let’s be real here about the reality of what could happen over the next few years. In a few years, I could very well be dead—two to three [years to live] average is what I’m given for this particular form of this disease. I intend to outlive that by a significant margin, but if it ends up being the last few years of my life, I want to spend them not being fucking miserable. And if that involves disconnecting from everybody, so be it.

My family is gonna come first, my fucking mental health is gonna come first. The expectation that everyone who ever made it on the Internet’s gotta be constantly connected to their fans all the time 24 hours a day 24/7 is insane. It’s unreasonable. Nobody can fucking handle it. Nobody. [sighs] God. You have no idea how many of my friends are in therapy just because of this job.

Read the full post here and think about things.

Libraries, Life, Misc., Social Media, Things


I hold my hand over my heart when a big change happens at my library. I want to protect myself from the inevitable onslaught of “why would you do such a thing?” I take things to heart because my motives and ideas come from a very pure place. I assure you that I’m not evil, nor this is some kind of coup d’ etat. My motives and ideas come from a very pure place: the reason for change is because the change helps the library (and the community) move forward and remain relevant in our heads and in our hearts.


In the middle of a giant project which brings about great change, I may lash out and say that “I HATE EVERYTHING” and that “I DON’T BELIEVE IN THE PUBLIC LIBRARY”. I say I don’t care but I do care. I’m a human being. My emotions fluctuate wildly from day to day. As I write this post I am up and feeling well! By 2pm, however, my mood may change to something bleak. And then 5pm may hit and it may go back the other way. We are all human beings (I think!) and we all fluctuate. One of our new jobs in this world full of social media and 24 hour news cycles should be to not point out every single one of each others missteps or snafus. We all make mistakes. We shouldn’t crucify _______ (insert person of the moment) for something that they may have said back in 1985. We should go to the person in the moment and talk to them and accept them for who they are at this moment. We have our moments. Those moments pass. We should focus on the present and bring joy into that moment.

giphy (1)
Mr. Bowie we really miss you.

The thing that I’m learning to do is to cope with everything in the moment and do it much better than I have in the past. This is easier said than done but if I am mindful throughout the process I’ll get better at it. Growing older helps me with this process. As I age, my body and my mind slow down a bit and this helps prevent overreaction. It allows the present moment to fully exist in time.

Life, Music

Thank You ★

Around 2:20AM.

It felt real but the images all around me told me that it was a dream. Floating in and out of space, the visuals were not of this world. The sharp pain on the left side of my head was very real however, and it urged me to WAKE UP. The left side of my brain. Ouch. My eye could barely open. Something is happening inside of your head. But something is also happening elsewhere. WAKE UP.

I walked down the hall and then down the stairs. I knew where the ibuprofen bottle was located. Two? Three? Nah, I’ll take four this time. The pain in my head was familiar but this time it felt a lot stronger. Four seemed like a good number to numb the brain and let me get back to sleep.

I walked into the kitchen. It is constantly lit by a few holiday lights that float like stars above us. I turned sharply. The TV was still on. The blue from the still VCR screen shined brightly. My left eye hit the sharp color and I curled up a little bit. My eye absorbed the image and the rest of my body couldn’t take it. I curled up a little bit and almost tripped over myself.

All of this was a migraine of course but I think it was something more. Sometimes there are people that spend their time on Earth and they have a considerable impact on others. Mr. Bowie was one of those people. SOUND AND VISION was the song that hit me in teenage years. The lack of lyrics from the start, the bizarre sounds throughout, and the “hello here I am an now I’m done and gone” vibe of the whole song hit me. What a great piece of art.

Now Mr. Bowie is gone from this world but his art will always be with us. I think more about his family in the wake of his passing now than I do his art. I hope they are well.

Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a meter and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried

Greatest Songs of All Time, Music

The Fifteen Greatest Part 3


“Low” by David Bowie isn’t for everyone.  For example, it would scare my mother.  Heck, it probably would’ve scared me if I found out about the album back when I was a wee tot.  Especially that whole second side.

To make this easier, I’m breaking up this post into two parts: Side One of the album, or the “songs” side, and Side Two of the album, the “weird ambient side”.

Side One

You won’t find any Bowie greatest hits here (maybe “Sound and Vision”), but what you will find is pure artistic beauty.  The first side of “Low” is all about songs, and I use that term loosely.  Each track seems like a background track that Bowie just decided to throw random lyrics on.  Heck, some songs he doesn’t even sing (Speed of Life), other he only blurts out a line or two (Breaking Glass):

Baby, I’ve been
breaking glass
In your room again
Don’t look at the carpet,
I drew something awful on it
You’re such a wonderful person
But you got problems oh-oh-oh-oh
Let me touch you

Just a blip of lyrics.  I can see them scribbled on a bar napkin the night before Bowie wandered up to the mic and sang them.  That’s just one of the many things that makes this album wonderful.

Side Two

Bowie and Brian Eno.  Perhaps one of the greatest tag teams ever.  For the second half of the album, we get (almost) no vocals (save for the blip at the end of Subterraneans) and all mood.  Creepy, creepy mood.  I picture some kind of dark avant garde film in my head when I listen to this side.

HERE’S  A SUGGESTION! Put Side Two of “Low” (I prefer vinyl, which I guess sort of makes me snobby) and turn out all the lights.  Listen to it with headphones.  Prepare to be scared.  At least a little bit.  Or maybe I’m just a wuss.

The best part about “Low”?  It’s all very avant garde and daring, yet at the same time very listenable.

“Sound and Vision” from “Low” by David Bowie.  Probably the most commercial track on the album.  Listen to the awesome sound of the drums.