Too Early for Whiskey (so I’m starting with wine)

too early for whiskey

I love honky tonk music. Sadness and drinking.. those are core ingredients. But I don’t really write it – perhaps because I may have over-imbibed three times in my entire life.

However, back in 2010, I wrote a line that I knew I could grow into a good honky tonk style tune.

“It’s too early for whiskey, so I’m starting with wine”

And voila! A few hours later, I had the following song. It took me until now, 2017, to record anything more than a cell phone video version.

You can listen, download, and/or watch the song below. I have the complete lyrics below that. Continue reading “Too Early for Whiskey (so I’m starting with wine)”

Manifesto, Mantra, & Mandates for 2017

Dammit! Now I need to write something into my alliteration.

Reading time: 6:40-ish

there’s a road and I’m gonna take it

I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve beaten this subject to death, so. If interested, you can read my take here.

I do, however, believe in setting goals, establishing plans, and working for outcomes. And I think the New Year provides a good enough jumping off point for enacting some of those plans. In part, because we come through a period of time – the Holidays – that, at once, both allow a little decompression and exacerbate stress. Continue reading “Manifesto, Mantra, & Mandates for 2017”

Thoughts on wanting 2016 to end

I posted this on Facebook.

I find it curious/strange to watch people talk about wanting to have 2016 finish and 2017 to start.

Side note: I never wish a day away – I don’t wish for Friday on Monday.. we get a limited quantity of days and I want EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!

Not just because a year is just a token that marks a series of earth rotations and our planet’s movement around the sun. 1/1/2017 marks nothing more than a single rotation more than 12/31/2016.

And 2016 did not take anyone from us. 2016 isn’t in the business of taking or giving. Cursing 2016 is like cursing a spoon for soup that was too hot! I’ve done it… but it’s sort of idiotic.

But most important, the biggest challenge we faced in 2016 was ourselves. We, individually, are always our biggest challenge. Guess who is going to be waiting for you when you wake up in 2017? Yep! Now that’s frightening!

At least you hope they are there waiting.

Which one of you brought down the Internet… again?

DISCLAIMER: I’m getting a little technical but this is not a comprehensive article on Internet security. It does provide some simple (relatively) ideas to help you secure your home network. 

Yep.. the Internet got nailed last Friday and it was mostly due to home connected devices… IOT – The Internet of Things. Get to know that buzzword, it’s worth $175/hr. if you’re a tech security consultant. Continue reading “Which one of you brought down the Internet… again?”

The day after that… thoughts on post election humanity

Can we be alright if we are all right?

Election day is coming soon. I suspect most people have decided who they are voting for and if not, the online demonizing and rationalizing of X or Y will NOT be what determines their vote.

So.. I’m going to write about civility and shared experiences. I believe in a humanity we share and that most people, when stripped of masks and pretension, want very similar things. Continue reading “The day after that… thoughts on post election humanity”

Song – Can’t Let Her Go

A song about love and obsession

I wrote this in the early 1990’s.. I was married at the time.

The first time I played it, my wife was in a bible study at church with about 50 other women. I drove up to the church, walked in with my guitar, and played it for her.

Later, a couple different husbands who’s wives were in attendance mentioned that I was making them look bad.

My response.. “No.. you are bad.. I’m just revealing it.” 😉

I haven’t played it in awhile but as I sifted through old songs the other day, I was reminded how much I like it.




At times she’s all that I can see
Can’t let her go
Every breath that I can breath
Can’t let her go
It’s more than my love she holds
Can’t let her go
‘Cause when she smiles she steals my soul

Sometimes I feel, she’s cast a spell
cuz it is so complete, can’t let her go

And when I watch her fast asleep
Can’t let her go
And when the darkness is complete
Can’t let her go
It seems she haunts my every step
Can’t let her go
But that’s a specter I’ll accept

I see her cross a crowded room
Can’t let her go
But she don’t know I’m watching her
Can’t let her go
If you knew my thought’s embrace
Can’t let her go
Would blush or slap my face
Can’t let her go

Reckless performed at the Camarillo Public Library

One of my goals is to integrate as much of my professional and creative world as possible. As a writer, performer, speaker, and technologist. This is a natural part of who I am. I’ve never wanted to create the “professional me” versus the “creative me” versus the “personal me.” I sincerely try, in all endeavors, to bring the “whole me” to the table.

Several years ago, when speaking for McDonald’s IT Group’s career conference, I wrote a song (The IT Job Seeker’s Song) on the flight to Chicago and performed it as part of my keynote. At first an anomaly, now, almost every time I am asked to speak, I am also invited to play music.

Reckless (blame it on you)

This is me performing my song Reckless as part of a presentation at the Camarillo Public Library. The song is, as I say in the video, about blaming someone else for your bad behavior. 😉 Enjoy!


Copyright © 2015 – Matthew Moran

Baby I’m going out tonight
I plan to make some mistakes
Don’t want to put up a fight
& I don’t care about the hearts that I break

Since you been gone I been restless
Torn up, confused, I get reckless
Baby make no mistake
I’m gonna blame it on you

Woke up at 4 o’clock this morning
Dreamed that you’d come back home
I reached around in the darkness
Emptiness where your body belongs

Notes to The Girl: Tips for the Best Week Possible

When Sara was in middle school I put notes in her lunch. Occasionally, I publish them. An image of the original note can be found below the text.

Date: 9/24/2012
Tips for making this week the best possible:
  • Smile!
  • Consider how to make someone unhappy smile and then do that thing.
  • Thank your teachers for caring about you & what they do.
  • Do 3 things to bring your dreams closer to reality.
  • Make a list of 20 or more things to do or learn in the next 5 years.


My mom, the nurse, talks to her little sister
My mom, the nurse, talks to her little sister
She’s pretty. That’s my Aunt Rita she’s talking to.

One year ago today my mom died.

How’s that for a fun first sentence? Read on.. It gets better… no, really.

Note: I can’t adequately convey what I’d like to. This is a pretty poor attempt at tribute.. But, this morning, it’s what I have.

I miss my mom. More at some times.. Like now. NOT because it is the anniversary date of her death. I hate to say it but I might not have remembered the actual date had her sister not emailed us to let us know she was thinking of us and they were having a mass back in Canada.
read: Enjoy Every Sandwich

I mean, I had a nagging underlying knowledge that today was the day. But.. the bigger reminder was The US Open tennis tournament. Because, if you were to describe my mom, tennis would be near the top of the list.

Every major since her death has been like this for me. They are less fun to watch.

Yesterday, I watched the end of Pouile v. Nadal – an amazing match. The Frenchman, a rising star in men’s tennis, won a 5 setter that came down to the final points in a tie-breaker. He was incredibly gracious in victory and subsequent interview. I really liked the guy – I’m rooting for him.

My mom would have liked him too.

And this is why the major’s are harder than the date of her death….

Yesterday, I was reminded once again, that I couldn’t call her to discuss the match or Pouile’s great after match interviews. We couldn’t talk about how McEnroe – the best sports commentator in any sport in my opinion – loved Pouile’s no-nonsense humility. And how my mom would agree with him.

“The match isn’t over until the final point,” Pouile said.
We can apply the hell out of that wisdom, can’t we?

Her brother, my uncle, had this tribute to her last year
Canada represents – last year

And we couldn’t talk about me joining her and her friends for doubles – me the “young gun” on the court – playing with 75-90 year old women who would tell me how fast I moved. I’d say, “You’ve spotted me 30 years, I’d better be fast because I have no confidence I’ll be out here at 80 years old – moving at all.”

My friend Mike texted me this past April Fool’s Day – his text.. “If you look out your front window you will see there is a horse on your lawn.”

It choked me up… the horse on the lawn was a running gag of my mom’s from my childhood. Every year, April 1st, she was going to call me or I was going to call her to say there was a horse on the lawn. Why that was funny to us.. I have no idea.

Of course, one year, we brought our two horses to my mom’s, snuck them in the backyard, and then I called her with the gag. Winner!

There are other things I miss.. Pet phrases and her dry sarcasm. Those of you who know me and my sarcasm have met my mother. In fact, the self-deprecation and sarcasm is from her… The love for people – and a willingness to generally accept and work with their foibles is also her.

“I’m not just a pretty face”

One of my mom’s favorite phrases. She said it if I commented on her knowledge – evident when watching Jeopardy with her. She’d say it during tennis, if she made a great shot. The exchange would look like this.

Me: Great shot mom.
Her: I’m not just a pretty face you know.
Me: That’s true.. You are not!
Her: Oh fuck off!

Yeah.. she’d tell me to fuck off every once in awhile – deservedly. It always made us laugh. The last time she really cussed at me was during the final 6 weeks – when cancer was killing her.

Please understand, she was not really prone to cuss.. We, her kids, brought her to that point… it was still always shocking and always made me laugh.. if the fact that she did bothers you.. well.. fuck off! 😉

We were feeding her through a feeding tube. I’d pretend I was a waiter and explain the menu choices and how great it was going to be. I’d ask her how she wanted her fluid prepared and did she want the vegetables or rice pilaf with that. I told her I was going to open a feeding tube restaurant to give people dying a unique dining experience. We both thought it was a pretty fun idea… morbid, yes.. but still funny.

my mom getting her indie rock on
My mom and “the punk” getting Foster the People autographs.

Later, however, we were struggling to give her medicine orally..I told her I could crush it and put it through the tube. She did NOT want the tube to get plugged up. She was a nurse and through all the decline, understood enough that she was not getting calories she needed – even with the feeding tube. So.. she wanted the tube open.

I explained that I would crush the pills carefully and dilute them in water.

“Don’t fuck with my feeding tube!”

I looked at her with shock and then we both started laughing. I texted my siblings – classic mom moment.

Her other pet phrase was usually said when you did something intelligent and someone else noticed. Someone might say to her (or you might say it yourself), “Matt is really smart.”

Mom: “Yes.. but he hides it so well.”

I miss hearing that..

True story: Years ago I had been hired to speak in Calabasas. I invited my mom and the organizers sat her with us at the head table of the luncheon. After I finished, the woman in charge of the event said to my mom, “You must be proud of your son.”

True to form, my mom replied, “I spent 18 years trying to shut that kid up and now you pay him to speak.”

Some people didn’t understand that.. They thought it mean. I don’t.. It is so no-nonsense, achievement is sort of expected, go do things – that I love it.

Mom didn’t want you too big for your own good – and that’s good because I’ve never struggled with lack of confidence – at least not in those areas.

Other things about my mom.. She never spanked me or really disciplined me. She just talked to me.. You were expected to be a good person. I wish I’d done better at this with my kids when they were young.. My mom said I should focus on redirection rather than forced obedience. I believe this – though failed at it a lot!

She walked every morning – a few miles – never complained about being tired or sore.. In life, you will be tired and sore sometimes.. So what.. You still have to do things.

Even with cancer she tried to get out and walk. I remember going to the store just after the diagnosis.. I was trying to find a spot close to the store. She pointed to the end of the parking lot – “park there.”

“Mom.. I want to get you closer.”

“I’m not dead yet.. Park over there.”

I’ve said it before, she was a bit of a badass. I’m so thankful for that example.

Was I a good mom?

family portrait
My dad looks giant and what’s up with my shoes

This questions haunts me… During the final weeks of her life, my siblings and I traded off spending time to care for her. I stayed at her house 3 to 4 days a week. The cancer had spread to her brain and elsewhere. It affected her physical function. I was watching as she was putting some clean dishes away (no, she was NOT going to stop working, there’s stuff to do).

She got confused opening the cupboard door.. Trying to put a glass away. She kept pushing it against the cupboard rather than through the open door to the shelf. I got up and went to her to help. As I got there, she realized what she was doing.

She put the glass down and I said, “Shit!”

She was frustrated and all too aware of what was happening to her.

Then she turned to me and said, “I’m sorry.”

“Mom.. why are you sorry? You have nothing to be sorry about.”

“I’m sorry I’m creating trouble.”

I started crying – she did too.

“Mom.. you are not trouble.. It is my pleasure to be here.. I owe you everything.. My life!”

I held her – not something our family is so good at..

Then she asked, “Was I a good mom?”

The question made me cry more.. There are some demons there for her.. Reasons she might not understand how great she was or question her mothering.. And damn those demons and the people who bring them!

“You are an amazing mom! You were the best mom! The best parts of me are from you! The best parts of my kids are from you!”

And this is true!

I could explain the end – how I got to talk to her prior to giving her a morphine/ativan cocktail that let her sleep – and never wake up. I could explain how I told her to stop fighting.. That we were okay.. That she did awesome!

But I’d rather talk about her taking a bunch of kids across country – several times – or arranging ski trips with us and with friends. Or how, the day prior to hip replacement surgery we went to her weekly tennis game.. She popped a bunch of ibuprofen and limped onto the court to play two hours of tennis. (Do you see where I get it from?)

I’d rather remember how all her friends talked about her humor and intellect – her care and love for people.. How she never had drama in her life – or, at least, you never heard about it.

How, devoid of rhythm, she would get out and line dance a few times a week. How she would get her friends together for lunch every week. How, regardless of health, tragedy, and any personal challenges, she was living life.

She wanted to go to Zion the last few years of her life.. But caring for my father and other situations made that impossible. So.. I want to go for her.. I’m going to hike the fuck out of that place.. I want to do it alone – well, I’ll take my dog and her! I’m taking her with me.

Thanks mom.. I love you!

Mom, Lisa, and Suzie
My mom married Buddy Holly – no wait, that’s my dad, Myles.