⌘ May 18, 2023

Letters with Jose: May 18, 2023

This is my second letter to Jose. You can read the previous part of this conversation on Jose’s site.

HeyDingus logo and Jose Munoz memoji separated by the envelope emoji.
(Image: Jose Munoz)

Hey Jarrod! First, thank you for inviting me to this fantastic project! I’m happy I contacted you, which led to this project!

It was great to learn about your background! Here is a little about myself: I’ve noticed we are around the same age. Recently, I turned 30 on May 8th! I live in Puerto Rico, an island in the Caribbean that is officially a US territory. We are all US citizens, but we have not considered a state; confusing, I know! Spanish is the main language on the island, but most people also speak English because, in school, they teach both Spanish and English classes in all grades. I’ve lived here all my life Though I lived for a few months in NYC to study UX Design. I enjoyed the city but could not picture myself permanently living in such a hectic environment.

I consider myself a geek, too, haha I have been interested in design since childhood. I’d say my path was kind of a straight one. Studied Graphic Design in high school and did freelance work before shifting to User Experience design. Now I’m Product Designer, designing interfaces for a resume builder web app. I work remotely from PR, but my team is all scattered across the Us. My wife recently got her dream job as Visual Merchandiser at Anthropologie; she loves that she can apply her fashion design knowledge while interacting with customers.

Having fun projects to work on, whether at home or on my website, gets me pumped in the mornings. I didn’t plan on having a blog for my website initially. I wanted to create a portfolio website, but it felt like I was doing it more for others than myself. So, I chose to create something more personal instead.

Wow, your trip to the Outer Banks sounds like so much fun! I definitely need to add that to my bucket list. It’s funny because even though I live 25 mins away from the beach, I’m more of a land lover. I think I’m more of an indoor type of person; I always feel I need to do more outdoor activities apart from running occasionally.

I love that you mentioned replicating your trip from a few years ago. I feel like there’s this pressure (maybe just me) that every vacation/trip needs to be to a new place. Still, I personally love revisiting places that I enjoyed before. My wife and I are huge Disney fans, so we go to Disney World as much as possible. Right now, we’re planning a trip to Disneyland in Anaheim to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. Do you have any upcoming trips or plans?

I am truly sorry for your loss and can only imagine how difficult it must have been, even more, while traveling. I think the articles you shared about Lessons Learned are a beautiful way to pay tribute to your loved ones and also serves as a positive reflection.

I am still waiting to listen to it! I heard the first single on the radio and liked it, I think it was Eyes Closed. I will give a listen to it while at the gym today! When he came to PR, we went to his concert for the Divide album, and it seeing him perform was amazing!

I have a couple of questions for our next one:

  • How did hey dingus come to be? How did you come up with the name and concept?
  • I’m also curious, how to dow your typical day look like? Are you a routine-heavy person or more spontaneous in terms of routines?

Thanks again for inviting me to this project, and looking forward to next week! I’ll try to have my following response be a little shorter haha


Hey Jose,

Happy Birthday!! Congrats on reaching your third decade. Better than the alternative, right?

I’m so interested to hear more about life in Puerto Rico. My sister has been there for a vacation, but I’ve never been further south than the Flordia Keys. How do you feel about living in a territory rather than a state? It seems like it would make sense for Puerto Rico to be a state, but I’m unfamiliar with the nuances. But we’re on the same page about living in a big city — I couldn’t do it either. I lived outside of Cleveland, Ohio for a few years and even that was too big city-ish” for me.

You’re a Graphic Designer! We have so much in common! Not that I’m also a Graphic Designer, but I did initially want to pursue that in school. I signed up for all the classes and then found out how competitive it was. Seeing as I wasn’t very talented at art to begin with, I swapped over to my Outdoor Recreation major and never looked back. But I’ve always held that interest in design. And I always tell people that the hardest class I ever took in college was the Art History class I kept that freshman year. It was a class that solely tested your memorization of ancient paintings, statues, and architecture. But I still appreciate being able to point out Roman columns and Gothic design cues on buildings.

You mentioned that your wife is a Visual Merchandiser. That reminds me of the brief time that I worked in an Apple Store. The visual merchandising there is as fanatic as you imagine. Every space was planned down to the inch. But you’re right, the way that products are presented does have a huge impact on how the customer ultimately experiences them.

How long have you been working on your website and writing your blog? I’m intrigued that the blog idea came later. For me, the whole point of the website was the blog. It’s only recently that I’ve started to reconsider its purpose, and now I’m kind of wondering how I could restructure the site so that it’s more of a personal internet home that also happens to host a blog. I think what you’ve done with your site looks just right. I’ve been taking notes on how you’ve organized the various pages into grouped links in your footer. Well done! (I’ll also take the opportunity now to compliment you again about the little Charizard living his best life down there. So fun!)

The Outer Banks was a good time. My family-in-law is all a ton of fun. If it had been a little warmer I would have liked to try to get out into the ocean and try windsurfing again, but the time spent relaxing by the pool was very enjoyable, too. I’m actually about to head out on another quick trip. This time down to Tennessee (a 14-hour drive from here! 😱) to do some camping with my sister and brother-in-law, and their two kids (our niece and nephew). I’m pretty excited, even though it’ll be very different for me to be entertaining young kids while camping for a few days. I say that, but then again, I was a Cub Scout Camp Director — for some reason, it feels different when the kids are related to me and there are only two of them rather than two hundred.

You’ll have to tell me more about island life. I always imagine that folks who live near the beach must go there all the time, but that’s clearly not the case. Being a tourist destination, I have to assume that there are some cool outdoor activities that you could get into there. But it must also be a pretty place to go running.

I get what you mean about always wanting to visit a new place for each trip or vacation. The world is so expansive that it almost feels like you’re wasting an opportunity to not go explore something new. But revisiting does let you explore, too. Just more deeply, rather than widely. You’re able to get into the things you like faster and easier on each subsequent visit. I’m sure you’ve experienced that on your trips to Disney. I haven’t been there since I was a young kid, but I’d like to go check it out again as an adult. I’ve heard such great things about the rides, and I’m fascinated by the Imagineers’ work. I hope you guys have a fantastic trip to Anaheim, and I look forward to checking out the pictures you put online!

Thank you for your sympathy. I always feel a little self-conscious when posting about loved ones, but it’s how I reflect and get some feelings out. And, yeah, I like to think that’s my way to honor their memory.

So, what’d you think about the Ed Sheeran album? I’d love to see him play live, that must have been an incredible show. There’s live music at a local bar every Thursday night here in town — which is great — but I haven’t gone to a real concert in years.

As for the HeyDingus origin story…I’ll try to keep it brief. (Famous last words.)

Basically, I spent most of my life reading sites like MacRumors, Daring Fireball, Six Colors, and MacStories, and listening to tech podcasts. And I had opinions on the same things they were writing about. Eventually, amid the pandemic when I had extra time on my hands and was spending it all on the computer anyway, I decided to make a place where I could share my thoughts and be a small part of the conversation online. I always enjoyed building shortcuts, and thought that would be a major part of what I shared (and it has, to some extent), so I brainstormed some names for the site related to Shortcuts. Then the perfect idea hit me while listening to one of the various tech podcasts in my queue. Someone said Hey dingus” as a fill-in phrase for Hey Siri” or Hey Google” so that they wouldn’t set off everyone’s smart assistants. Hey Dingus’ was distinctive, had the automation angle, and is just funny enough to make me smile every time I read or say it. Plus, I always start my emails with Hey [name]”.

I smushed the words together to create HeyDingus’ because I had ambitions of it becoming a thing like MacStories’. Those ambitions have cooled somewhat, and I’m actually considering converting the title to Hey Dingus’ to be a little more approachable and personal…as if the dingus” is me, and the site would serve as the conversation between me and my readers. But…I haven’t determined whether or not I’ll go down that route. It’s nice to flesh it out by writing all this down, though, so thank you!

The rest of the site has been adapting ideas from other people. The Now and Gear pages, for example. The design takes cues from Daring Fireball, but I did a fair amount of custom work to get it just right. Even 7 Things’ is based loosely on the Quick Links’ of Kotkke.org. Everything is a remix, right? I do have an idea for a more original project though that I’d like to get off the ground soon. So stay tuned.

My typical day…this question is easier to answer now than it ever has been in my life, I think. The job I have now — part gear shop retail, part mountain guide — has given me the most consistency. It’s a 9am-5pm sort of job, at least on the days that I’m working in the shop. So, it typically looks like this:

  • 7:30am - Wake up and get ready. Sometimes do a quick workout (yoga, strength, or running), but usually not. Shower, dash together a breakfast and packed lunch, then rush out the door by 8:30am to drive to work.
  • 9am-5pm - Work in the shop. I manage our Guide Service, so I answer calls, schedule trips, and follow up with clients about their trip plans and collect payments. But I also do most of the inventory management for the products we get in our shop, and office organization stuff. All of that is around helping customers with their questions and purchases.
  • 5pm-7/8pm - Play outside. Most days I try to do something outside if the weather allows. Sometimes it’s a trail run with a local run club. Sometimes it’s rock climbing. Sometimes it’s biking. Sometimes I go straight home and zone out on the couch. But usually I do something active.
  • 8pm - Dinner and TV at home. My wife loves to cook, which is fortunate because I really don’t. Eating is mostly a necessary evil to me. When left to my own devices, I usually just make pasta or forget to eat because I get caught up in something else. But when my wife is home, she’s great at whipping up something tasty. We eat together, usually watching an episode or two of whatever show we’re into. Lately, it’s Ted Lasso and It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia.
  • 10pm - Computer time. If we don’t get sucked into binging TV, the late evening is typically when I do computery projects, like writing for my blog or catching up on my read-later queue.
  • 12am - Bed and reading time. I’m a night owl. I’m rarely in bed before midnight, and even when then I’m usually reading or watching videos or something for an hour-ish more. When I’m finally ready to sleep, I pop in an earbud and usually fall asleep listening to a podcast. I could have a more healthy bedtime routine, but I don’t.

And then it all starts over again the next day! When I’m guiding or on off days, I’m usually up a little earlier to maximize the fun time and am outside hiking or climbing until late afternoon. You’ve got me curious about your daily routine. What do your days look like?

A couple more questions for next time:

  • Do you have a favorite board game? If so, why do you like it so much?
  • What kind of non-tech hobbies do you have?

This has been fun so far! Very easy (too easy?) to keep just writing. I’ll try to be more brief next time around. Looking forward to your next letter.

Take care,


P.S. I hope you don’t mind if I use the graphic you made on my posts — with attribution, of course. It looks fantastic!

If you’d like to be part of this Letters project, please reach out! I might still have spots open.


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