What is “Brechtian punk cabaret” you ask, as you click into this post? It’s how the seminal band The Dresden Dolls describe the style of their music. It’s their music, and their fan community in the mid aughts that ultimately helped me to graduate college. However, that’s not the whole story, and I want to take a step back to create a fuller story here.

Wait, the website is named what…?

The story truly starts in the spring of 2003 and the end of my freshman semester. A friend of mine, Deborah, introduced me to a website named “Bangme.net” and despite how I know it sounds, it actually is not adult content. Some may recall a website named “HotOrNot” where you create a profile, and people can rank you one way or another…are you hot? or are you not? Very superficial and whatnot, but when has the internet not been?

Bangme.net was very much in the same vein but with the question “would you bang me?” So much ego feeding, and it is what it is. One of the site features was a chat room, where you could join and chat with fellow members on the website in real time. I spent a good amount of time in that chat over the years at the time, and made some friends that lasted awhile, and even still have a friend or two to this day.

The Dresden Dolls

One friend at the time was Shelly, and she had the handle “girl_anachronism”, based on the song from the fore-mentioned band The Dresden Dolls. Take a moment to check out the music video below. I’ll see you afterwards.

Nonetheless her user handle struck me curious and I inquired what the source of the name was. Shelly pointed me to the band and I took a listen, as best I could. Remember that this was 2004 time-frame, and YouTube wasn’t even a thing yet, let alone for independent Boston-area bands. Chances are I was checking out their MySpace and hopefully the band’s website.

Anyways, I was a bit hooked and starting to listen to their self titled album.

Anyone remember forums? I do, and Amanda and Brian had a community forum available for their fans to communicate and share and discuss the band, fandoms, and life in general. It was a great time. It also helped introduce my virgin South Dakota eyes to a number of things I simply wasn’t seeing or experiencing in my daily life, but were common elsewhere in the world.

One day I decided to post the oddest but best question I could have asked at the time. “What are some Prog Rock bands that I should check out?” or something close to that. Key words being “Prog Rock”. I imagine I got a lot of the typically known and legendary prog band recommendations at the time, but one person chiming in also happened to mention another independent Boston-area band named Fluttr/Fluttr Effect. They were going through a name change around this time, but the spelling is accurate.

Fluttr Effect

I followed the lead, I checked out Fluttr Effect, and I started to get hooked on this new-to-me band. I was liking what I was hearing, and being a college age music fan who was, to a degree elitist and all “I know great bands you’ve never heard of”, I liked finding new music. It didn’t hurt at all, in my mind, that Fluttr Effect were not as well known as The Dresden Dolls. I was in.

Did you notice that the video is posted via my own personal account? More on that as you keep reading.

Fluttr Effect also had their own dedicated forums and I joined that as well, and started integrating with their community. They had recently done really well in a music competition and were getting some great press. I was going to college to get a double major in “Multimedia/Web Development” as well as “Graphic Design”. The band had their new album coming out in the spring of 2006, named “Marking Time”.

The Internship

I wanted to help out as much as I could. I reached out to Troy, the guitarist for the band and primary web developer for the band. I decided to pitch to him that I help with a site redesign to correspond with the album launch, and in exchange he vouch for me in the form of one internship credit. I do recall a small requirement of needing compensated in some way, as it was not a no-pay internship. I bargained in the form of some free merchandise/swag which I turned around and distributed to college friends.

Troy agreed and became my boss for roughly 90 hours of work, and I put in my time helping with the site redesign and launch, some promotion including posting available videos to this new service named Youtube, creating media for the fans, things like that. I recall making downloadable wallpapers for people to use on their computers if they wanted. I also helped with forum moderation and spam cleanup.

I was having the time of my life, I was earning college credit, I was helping myself graduate in less than a year. Oh and I forgot to mention that this was completely remote work…in 2006. As I post this in 2021, remote work is becoming old hat. It already kind of was pre-pandemic, and I haven’t had a local office job since early 2011. Add in a pandemic, and for a time it seemed like literally everyone was a remote worker, especially if you were in the tech industry. I first did that 15 years ago. I’m really starting to feel like a trailblazer again.

I got to work with an independent band with their web presence in the mid 00s, helping with their brand new album, and in turn I got real world experience. I’ve yet to forget to deploy Internet Explorer-specific stylesheets since my gaffe there, but I also no longer have to worry about Internet Explorer in general either. That was a long morning hindered by classes.

I have not met any of the band members from either Dresden Dolls or Fluttr Effect. However if we’re ever in the same area, I absolutely would love to, even 15 years later. They were all influential in shaping how parts of my life have turned out.


I would be remiss if I didn’t offer direct thanks to various people. Presented in order of timeline:

  • Shelly
  • Amanda F’n Palmer and Brian Viglione from The Dresden Dolls.
  • I can’t recall the Dresden Dolls forum person who recommended Fluttr Effect, but you deserve credit!
  • Troy and Vessela and Kara and Valerie and Jason from Fluttr Effect.
  • Dan, my student advisor at Dakota State who agreed to accept remote work as credit when it really was not common.

Without these people and potentially even more unmentioned, I’m not sure how I would have fulfilled all my needed credits. I’m proud that I got to in the way I did, and the trails I helped pave, with my own little footsteps.

This is one of those posts that no one ever wants to have to write, but my time to write it arrived. I’m not yet sure how thorough or comprehensive I’m going to make it tonight, and will probably return to it multiple times in the future.

The end of summer 2021 arrived with a devastating and unexpected surprise for me with the passing of my mom. I know that my dad is often not a late night person, so when he was calling shortly after 10pm on a Saturday, something was up. When he said to go get my brother because he had some bad news, he was not kidding. This was on Saturday the 28th.

I’ve never been a big griever for lost family, though I admit I hope to physically grieve just a bit more with this one as I have always been decently close with her. It just hasn’t happened yet still. That night was more some stunned silence and initially just resuming what I was doing at the time.

I did what I felt she’d want me to do the next day and the time since that night, which is keep moving forward, keep doing what I normally do, but at the same time, never forget her. So the day after I largely did what I typically did. Things like go out for some coffee and read from a book or two. Show up for work and do the best job that I could.

Given that my schedule was light to start the week, I did only do a half day that Monday, and I already had a partial day planned for Tuesday for some oral surgery. After that though, it’s largely been just doing my job.

The sympathy and outpouring and checking up on me, by everyone who’s offered anything, has been appreciated and not unnoticed.

It feels strange knowing that it’s been two weeks and a real solid breaking down and grieving still hasn’t really hit yet. However, with what discussion I’ve had with close friends, we’ve all agreed we all grieve in our own way and in our own time.

I’ve been suspecting that when I reach a moment where I think of something that I’d love to share with my mom, or if a question comes to mind that only she’d have the answer to, is when it’ll start to hit me a little bit harder and erode away whatever mental boundary I have on the topic.

In all of the goings on, I actually forgot about obituaries in general, and one day while at a gym session, my trainer mentioned a client of his and a friend of mine mentioned finding a copy of her obituary. The friend was curious, and I am not upset by her seeking one out. I mention this because in a sense, it never felt final or set in stone that she was gone, until I saw a screenshot of the obituary itself.

But, there it was, and yes it’s real.

I miss you mom.

I mostly just wanted to gather up all the domains I have as of late and describe their purposes or long term intended purposes or ideas for each

In no particular order

  1. https://michaelbox.net
  2. https://apiratelifefor.me
  3. https://achooandthesneezes.com
  4. https://trexthepirate.com
  5. https://trexthepirate.com/thinthemichael
  6. https://www.digitalgarden.tech
  7. https://www.hotwired.tech/
  8. https://tilde.club/~tw2113/
  9. https://www.searchbyned.com
  10. https://www.spagnola.me
  11. https://www.carouselofcarousels.com
  12. https://tw2113.blog
  13. https://upallnightmovies.com


Out of all of them, this is the one I’ve owned the longest and is probably my most career-orientated one too. Its long term intent is going to be my web development based postings with tutorials, articles, editorials, interviews and whatnot. Easily the one that I’d put the most “findability” work into regarding things like SEO and marketing.

A Pirate Life For Me

This domain here, is kind of a free-for-all of content, posting generally whatever I want. Perhaps an epitome of “personal blog” about me, myself, and I. It’s also the collection point of personal data like my reading habits and book tracking, for a while I was collecting coffee shop checkins, Tumblr archive import, music that I felt needed shared, eventually I’ll do more with my years of Fitbit data, and other “data ownership” things.

Achoo and the Sneezes

Achoo and the Sneezes as a name came as a joke in late college, in the form of a fictional band. It eventually made it onto all my mix CDs back when I could only listen to CD based music or radio in my car. Since then though, I turned it into my dedicated writing site, where I try to focus on discussion about what I’m reading, and more specifically creative works that I’d like to do more with. Has not panned out THAT much thus far, but I have the space available.

T-Rex The Pirate

This is likely the second oldest domain and the base domain is kind of a web development “playground” of sorts with more items available than actually listed. It hosts my link shortener, analytics, and some other things that don’t pertain to being public. Except for the item below

T-Rex The Pirate – Thin The Michael

Probably more accurately named “Fit The Michael” but I don’t want to bother with domain changes. This would be my fitness blog where I focus on related topics, discussion, and thingies all related to personal fitness. I haven’t gone TOO far into the topic there, but I also intend it to be where I go when talking about one’s mental health as well, not just physical.

Digital Garden

While “A Pirate Life For Me” is a general topic destination, Digital Garden is a “whatever I want” destination. There is no real rhyme or reason for what’s posted there, it’s just seedlings, and notes, and content, and thoughts and essays, and whatever. The idea is to groom and tend to them and grow them and plant more, and till, and everything with it all. There really are no rules, and it’s not a blog by any means even though it’s most definitely powered by WordPress.

Hot Wired

Hot Wired is my foray into a mixture of retro web and potentially satire. It’s thus far very heavily modeled after the mid 90s online magazine of the same name, from Wired Magazine. I’m not making it pretty, I’m not making it complex, it works quite well on mobile because of that as pointed out by someone last night. I’m very much trying to think 90s with it where possible, even though I didn’t get online until 1997. I say potentially satire because I’m eying making the content web development/technology/modern web based, but sarcastic/satire/not serious. A good chance to flex some creative muscle without delving into creative fiction necessarily. Also thinking about making it a routine thing where I have legitimate deadlines and treating it like it’s an actual annual magazine.

Tilde Club

This is a very basic 1-2 page website that is my entry into the Tilde Club, a webring. It’s never going to amount to much, but I had fun putting up the content that’s there, and maybe in the future I’ll keep evolving it little by little. I just wanted the participation ribbon.

Search By Ned

Ned is my personal trainer who I work with usually three times a week. One session we somehow got to joking around about websites and something, and somehow I went home with the idea of a custom frontend to a web search. I knew it was possible, so the real work was making it work, and branding the website. His training brand is “Body by Ned” so “Search by Ned” was a no brainer. Get a search field, ala google.com, type in a query, hit submit. It googles for you. Alternative version works for DuckDuckGo. Gif images around the fields added afterwards just for some gym humor


On the heels of the Search By Ned search page, I also ended up creating the same thing for internet personality Ali Spagnola. Same features of Google/DuckDuckGo variations, but she doesn’t get a bunch of gifs.

Amusement had by all

Carousel of Carousels

Really just a one off site that I blogged about at https://apiratelifefor.me/round-and-round/. I am not sure I’ll renew when it comes time to, but it amused me for a week


I signed up for micro.blog, an alternative of sorts to Twitter, though not, and more robust, and smaller community. It’s kind of hard to describe exactly what micro.blog is, but it’s tied in with the IndieWeb community, so I had to do something. I wanted a .blog domain, and tw2113 is almost never taken, so I got the domain itself, and tied them together. Sometimes I even post there.

Up All Night Movies

For a long time, I’ve been a fan of proverbial “bad” movies. Those movies that are very campy, very cult following, and just plain awful. I also have some generally fond memories of USA Network’s series “USA Up All Night in the early and mid 90s. Lastly, at some point in my life, I came across a blog named House of Self-Indulgence and was always kind of fascinated by it. Thus, “Up All Night Movies” became a thing. It’s my attempt to mash up my love of those movies of yesteryear, and combine it with my own takes of review and lambast and heckling and satire. Add in the fact that right from the start I decided to let readers choose the movies I cover, it should be an interesting time.