Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I find interesting things interesting

I'm fascinated by design in general and web design in particular.  The domain of Design always seemed complex and inaccessible to me even though as a professional programmer I do a particular kind of design on a regular basis.  Capital "D" Design has seemed to me like a far away land with it's own language, culture and secret societies that were all unapproachable to the lay person.  However, as I started to read and learn more about the process of Design it seems in many ways to be just like programming (a wild land I am nevertheless at home in).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Killing a Joke: Cannibal Joe's

I have no idea how professional comedy writers work, but for some reason I'm convinced that one of their favorite things to do is come up with a simple set up and then write 200 punchlines for it.  This isn't based on any facts or empirical research, other than sometimes in sitcoms you'll see a set up that every character in the room gets to riff on.  Also, it's something I like to do.  I think it's a fun mind exercise to see how many punchlines I can come up, especially when I'm bored.  Here's an example from a recent Facebook post that none of my friends seemed to care about. I like the last one the best.  Post your own slogans below!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I convinced 100s of people to give me their GMail passwords

Honestly, it wasn't intentional.  My goal was just to sync my Facebook Friends with my GMail Contacts.  I tried searching for an app that could do it, but I couldn't find one and so I figured this might be a good opportunity to learn a little about developing with Facebook & Google.  My only intention was to scratch an itch that had been bothering me for a little while, but then it got popular.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Letter to Ari's kids about Ametropes

This letter was requested by my friend Ari in response to my previous letter.

Dear Jacob & Abby,

There are some things in this world that can be seen.  There are also some things that cannot be seen.  Unfortunately for you, your parents' compromised gene pools have likely condemned you to a life of stumbling around grasping for the latter.  But despair not!  There is a solution.  In 1784 God bestowed upon Man the means with which to focus the unseen and render it knowable.  He called them Glasses and were it not for them you may never have been born in the first place.  Glasses will undoubtedly become a fixture in your life just as they were the fixture that made your life.  You need to know and love glasses.  Fear and respect glasses.  Or at a bare minimum, don't pull them off your father's God damn face.  The man needs to see and you need to live.  You can accomplish those two goals by the simple act of not impairing your father's sight.  Also, don't stab him with them once you've got them.  That's just cruel.  Plus he can't find you to stop you so he's got to yell until Mommy comes.  And she's got better things to do than defend her husband from a toddler.  So be a sport and leave the damn glasses alone.

Uncle Doug

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A letter to my toddlers about women

Dear Tyler & Aidan,

There are some things in this world that can be known.  There are also some things that are unknowable.  Part of life is learning to accept that some things cannot be known.  You will find and rebel and eventually accept that much about women is simply unknowable.  It is frustrating and difficult and ultimately insurmountable.  Accepting it will be one of the great triumphs in your life.  But there is at least one thing about women that is knowable.  And that, is that you do not fuck with their hair.  If there is a woman that you like/respect/would enjoy ever seeing again, you are to compliment them on their hair and then shut the fuck up.  It is simple, but it is critical to your future happiness.  Women are not impenetrable magical sphinxes with mysterious vails and complex machinations.  They are human, with everything that entails.  So do yourself a favor, respect all women and show them that by at a bare minimum praising their hair and being quiet.  It is hard fought wisdom that is as true today as it will be when you care to remember it.  But for now, please stop pulling your mother's hair every time she gives you a hug.  I'm sick of hearing her complain about it.  Just give her a kiss and go away.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I hate Children's Music, but are my kids ready for Hip Hop?

A little while ago my friends at Urban Rhetoric, progenitors of all things cool, asked me to write a piece on being a parent and a fan of Hip Hop.  Below is a reprint of the original article.
Children's music is universally atrocious.   It is trite and tedious.  An endless sea of monotony that crushes ones humanity with unrelenting waves of banal tedium.  At first it laps gently at the shores of your sanity.  A barely felt current, swathing your new baby in passivity and lulling him to sleep.  Slowly it seeps into diaper changes and car rides, please touch museums and toy stores.  It's suddenly everywhere and you are caught in the swell of its undertow.  You gasp for Nas, Mos Def, Kanye, but it's too late, your lungs are already saturated with Three Blind Mice, Itsy Bitsy Spider and something called "Raffi". Children's music is devious.  It's born of  platitudes and gentle hell fire.  It's boring and insidious.  It is the incarnate soul of the devil.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Simple Photoshop Star Burst Effect


One effect that I really like, especially for a splashy or retro type feel, is the star burst effect.  I think the spinning color adds a lot of energy and can be a fun way to add a little pep.  There are many tutorials on the web but they seem to either be complicated or time consuming.  That said, the two linked above do provide additional flexibility.  The only advantage to this technique is that it is simple and fast.  So let’s start: