Of what?

April 2017


. myNoise back­ground noise gen­er­a­tor

. Every­thing game

» . “wher­ever you are, and whoever you are, and what­ever you are: you’re in the middle.… Your senses extend a certain direc­tion, in all direc­tions, and there­fore give you the impres­sion of being in the middle. (Because the def­i­n­i­tion of a person is where you look from.) Every­thing in the world feels like that.” Alan Watts

. Alan Watts lecture col­lec­tion

. As I get older, I’ve started to rec­og­nize new con­nec­tions between the things I’ve been curious about for… ever.

» . An example: between self-cen­terd­ness and design process — how our natural ten­dency to ignore other people’s per­spec­tives can be over­come by actively seeking feed­back.

. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Good™


. Inten­tions vs. goals. No matter the vocab­u­lary, being somehow pur­pose­ful in your own deci­sion-making is design.

» . For me, the word ‘goal’ seems to connect with the most people in cap­tur­ing what­ever that purpose/​intention/​preferred-​situation may be.

. “Q: Who designed the website? A: I helped it.”

. Nerd­writer: Pas­sen­gers, Rearranged

. Intro. to media theory ani­ma­tions


. “people [on Face­book are] less willing to post updates about their lives as their lists of friends grow.”

. The word ‘founder’ — and the startup-y pri­or­i­ti­za­tion of com­mu­ni­cat­ing “I’m a person who started a busi­ness” — feels pretty gross to me.


. Writing six-word stories with BFI at Denny Middle School. A fun, easy exer­cise in the power of lim­i­ta­tions. That also high­lights how dif­fer­ent people can inter­pret the same thing dif­fer­ently. Exam­ples from today: 1.  “I called you my best friend.” and 2. “Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. BOOM.”

. First trip to the Seattle Boul­der­ing Project.

» . Even if I try a new thing and I’m not into it, I still tend to enjoy having-expe­ri­enced it. It’s inter­est­ing to me that people are inter­ested in [super-spe­cific sub-culture] in the first place. And the way things are designed in response to that super-spe­cific envi­ron­ment (in this case: how the chalk bags seal them­selves by twist­ing closed, or how the color of the hand/​footholds indi­cates the dif­fi­culty).


. Trend List, graphic design trends blog

. Colos­sal Not Great™

. Honey Hole Sand­wiches


. North­west Asso­ci­a­tion of Inde­pen­dent Schools. For the (middle school + design/​digital-​media) job search.

. So far, it really feels like 2017 is going to be the year when it all comes together.


. I essen­tially always end up regret­ting free­lanc­ing over the weekend.


. “From the age of 6 I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was 50 I had pub­lished a uni­verse of designs.… When I am 80 you will see real progress. At 90 I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself.… At 110, every­thing I create — a dot, a line — will jump to life as never before.” Hokusai

. Flip­BooKit hand­crank ani­ma­tion machine

. Maybe the biggest reason I love Seattle is the poten­tial. It feels like so many of my goals are within reach here.

» . Poten­tial, abstractly, is one of the driving forces of my life. It’s why I cruise IMDb to see what movies are on the horizon. And why I love teach­ing and design.

. Every­one is a designer. Totally, yes. But I think this essay is mis­lead­ing. It’s trying to zoom out on the def­i­n­i­tion of design (which I appre­ci­ate), but it’s still nar­rowly using the word ‘design’ as a synonym of just one kind of design (digital product design).

» . For me, “Every­one is a designer” means poten­tially every­where, all the time. A person making a sand­wich is a designer.

. M&M’s Bite-size Beats

. Calling Bull­shit: Lecture #1

. Little Dicky: Pillow Talk music video


. When anyone says “I’m a designer,” I think the appro­pri­ate response is: “Of what?”

. Am I Normal? card game

. “Cyn­i­cism and trib­al­ism are among the gravest human temp­ta­tions.”

. Djokson, LEGO char­ac­ter builder

. It con­tin­ues to baffle me how a small shift in my con­fi­dence in any sit­u­a­tion seems to affect the outcome (teach­ing, any con­ver­sa­tion, con­ver­sa­tions with women, boxing). I wish I’d figured this out when I was younger.

. The Fate of the Furious Not Great™

» . My favorite thing about these movies is that they’ve stuck to their central lim­i­ta­tion: any­thing cool that happens must involve a car. The lim­i­ta­tion makes it what it is.

. 18th century hand­writ­ing robot


. New Min­nesota Tim­ber­wolves logo

» . Although, there’s some BS here (e.g. “The… wolf is facing forward because we want to honor the past we are proud of, without for­get­ting it.”)

» . I think brand­ing BS is intended for the client, to give them a sense of having gotten their money’s worth.

» . What is brand­ing BS? Maybe… any ratio­nal­iza­tion that sounds cred­i­ble, but the design doesn’t actu­ally com­mu­ni­cate those ideas (inde­pen­dently of designer’s expla­na­tion).

» . RARE, sports logo design studio (also respon­si­ble for the New Orleans Pel­i­cans, which I think is top notch).

. Getting back to Seattle, boxing was the thing I looked forward to most.

. Omaha friends recharge my con­fi­dence.

. I won’t ever have a tomb­stone, but if I did, I wouldn’t mind if it read: “He wasn’t full of shit.”



» . I didn’t see every­one I wish I could’ve on this trip. But that was inten­tional, the oppor­tu­nity cost for actu­ally enjoy­ing these vaca­tions. I’ll catch them next time.

» . I drove 275 miles in Omaha in the last four days. In Seattle, I drive ≈ 125 miles/​month.

. For me, ‘award-winning’ and ‘online back­lash’ are mean­ing­less des­ig­na­tions.

. Think­ing about why I keep coming back to teach­ing. It checks the most impor­tant intan­gi­ble job boxes for me: 1.  it’s engaging/​fun/​satisfying/​worthwhile (I get a lot from it), and 2. I feel suited to do it (I have a lot to give).

. Added two LEGO minifigs to the col­lec­tion: a gray Monofig and Seattle Super­Sonic Gary Payton.


. Some­time over the last year, I hit the tipping point where Seattle feels more like home than Omaha.

» . Omaha’s changed quite a bit since I left (2 ½ years ago). A feeling based mostly on (weirdly) stores and restau­rants that’ve opened, closed, or moved.

. Driving through Elkhorn, I hit a coyote and prob­a­bly killed it. The first time I’ve ever hit an animal that size.


. Turn signals (blink­ers) are proac­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

. It’s tricky to talk about why I like Seattle without com­par­ing it neg­a­tively to Omaha (weather, men­tal­ity, culture, oppor­tu­nity, reli­gious­ness).

. There’s too much eating on my trips to Omaha. Feeling pretty gross.


. Based entirely on vibes, I think most people prob­a­bly don’t get this site (which is cool). But with the people that do, it’s been a mean­ing­ful filter for start­ing and main­tain­ing the realest of con­nec­tions.

. I miss shop­ping at Target.


. Radical candor (care per­son­ally + chal­lenge directly). The same approach as the teach­ing concept of the ‘warm deman­der’.

. Does ‘third time’s the charm’ indi­cate some­thing special about having two rounds of feed­back?


. I think a reason I like RSS so much is that — since it col­lects all the things I’m into (pop culture, design, movies, bas­ket­ball, long­form jour­nal­ism, LEGO, etc.) in one place — it’s a con­stantly-renew­ing oppor­tu­nity to remix ideas.

. People in Omaha make more eye contact with strangers than people in Seattle. No doubt about it.



. Brave private web browser

. “mean­while, a huge amount of faith is put in tech­nol­ogy, which fails con­stantly.”

. A bonus of using Kirby for this new site is that I can edit it offline when I’m trav­el­ing (since the pages are just text files).


. Michael Bierut on design­ing the Clinton cam­paign logo

» . “It isn’t pleas­ant to have [people] making fun of your work…. It was just some simple geo­met­ric shapes and a couple of primary colors, yet it seemed to drive so many people crazy. My wife… put things in per­spec­tive: ‘Maybe this isn’t really all about your little logo.’”

» . Anymore, I’m pretty skep­ti­cal of the value of brand­ing. But 1.  I’m still inter­ested in how text and images can com­mu­ni­cate thoughts and feel­ings, and 2. I like logo design as a kind of puzzle. But 3. I think jus­ti­fi­ca­tions of brand­ing deci­sions trend towards bull­shit, and 4. it all feels a little manip­u­la­tive. I’m also dis­ap­pointed by the way brand­ing exposes our ten­den­cies to: 5. resist change and 6. value con­tainer over content.

» . The neg­a­tive reac­tion to our brand­ing of Big Omaha 2012 is one of the big 3–4 moments of my graphic design career that switched the light off for me.

. Buying shoes really stresses me out.


. Adhe­sive banana hook. Saving some counter space. Hacking the tiny apart­ment for maximum effi­ciency is a pretty fun, ongoing project.

. Little Big Lies Good™

. It’s been inter­est­ing, getting older and rec­og­niz­ing how much I’m like my dad (being nat­u­rally pretty selfish) and grandpa (being sen­si­tive and angry about it). Except that, somehow, I’m also able to: 1.  see the effects and 2. want to change. Maybe, only because I rec­og­nized those behav­iors in them first.


. Unti­tled Sans & Serif, not special type­faces

» . Post-ratio­nal­iza­tion: finding jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for deci­sions after they’ve been made — “an open secret in the design indus­try.”

. “Special is gen­er­ally less useful than normal, and less reward­ing in the long term.”

. Didn’t realize that Jasper Mor­ri­son designed the Punkt MP01 Mobile Phone, which I’ve con­sid­ered switch­ing to mul­ti­ple times.

. About page posted.

» . Jesse and I decided once that an About page maybe dilutes the cred­i­bil­ity of a journal site (mixing per­sonal and pro­fes­sional). I still agree, but pro­fes­sion­ally, this feels nec­es­sary.

. The double-twist Tribal Council on Sur­vivor

» . I see so many par­al­lels between this show and teach­ing: 1.  engi­neer­ing exer­cises, 2. guiding people on a path to their goals, 3. opening up dis­cus­sions about deci­sion-making, 4. pro­vid­ing on-the-fly feed­back and com­men­tary, 5. incen­tiviz­ing the best in people.


. Caleb’s lo-fi ani­ma­tion tech­nique

. Figured out my problem with April Fools’ Day: the Inter­net has turned it into a day about dis­ap­point­ment (good news isn’t true). Pre-Inter­net (in my expe­ri­ence anyway), it was a day about relief (bad news isn’t true). It was a reminder of how good you’ve got it.

. Design­ing for share­ablity: “what might be best for the… product may not match what is favor­able in terms of making it a… viral hit.”

. How to Be a Good Teacher

» . “Every one of us, what­ever our occu­pa­tion, needs to become a good teacher, for our lives con­stantly require us to deliver crucial infor­ma­tion with grace and effec­tive­ness….”

» . “[Good teach­ers] admit that they are, in most areas of life, pretty igno­rant and stupid.”

» . “Good teach­ers know that every­one has a lot to learn and every­one has some­thing impor­tant to impart to others.”

» . “the more des­per­ate we feel inside, the less likely we are to get through to others effec­tively.”

. The Dis­cov­ery Not Good™

Be the thaw.

March 2017


. How to Narrate Your Life Story

» . “Mis­takes do not have to be absurd; they can be signs of how little infor­ma­tion we have on which to base the most con­se­quen­tial deci­sions.”

» . Mis­takes are a form of feed­back.

» . “No one gets any­where impor­tant in one go. We can forgive our­selves the horrors of our first drafts.”

» . This was an essen­tial lesson from grad school: learn­ing to embrace the awk­ward­ness of showing half-resolved ideas. That a draft of some­thing (usually a few half-some­things), shown to someone else for feed­back, is better than trying to totally resolve any of it on my own first.

. The behind-the-scenes expe­ri­ence of a thing coming-to-be is often pretty dif­fer­ent than the version that’s com­mu­ni­cated after­ward.

» . A major reason I orig­i­nally decided the design-pro world isn’t for me is feeling uncom­fort­able with this con­trast — between 1.  the fre­quent (and totally natural) frus­tra­tions of design­ing things for other people (at Oxide) and 2. the ide­al­ized, frus­tra­tion-free project page at the end.

. It’s so nice to have a place to put things like this.

. NBA tor­rents. I can’t watch NBA games on ABC or ESPN without cable, and I think that’s dumb.


. Approach­ing the end of a (pro­duc­tive and good but) unusu­ally stress­ful week. Soon, a movie theater will be visited. Bags will be punched and ropes jumped. Junk food will be eaten.

. Life Not Great™

» . I love some­thing-happens-to-a-few-people-in-space movies. Even if RT sug­gests I’ll be dis­ap­pointed, I’ll prob­a­bly see it.


. A major, unex­pected bonus of grad school was that, as a TA in Color & Com­po­si­tion and Typog­ra­phy, I learned a lot of new stuff about color, com­po­si­tion, and typog­ra­phy.

. First day vol­un­teer­ing with BFI at Denny Middle School.

» . These are the kinds of oppor­tu­ni­ties that a free­lance sched­ule leaves room for, and I do really like that about it.


. LEGO Ideas Test Lab: 4th Build Chal­lenge

» . I love this setup (for every­thing, not just LEGO): 1.  here are the ele­ments you have to work with, 2. here are the rules of this system/​series… now 3. make a new thing that fits.

. I’ve just about got my mojo back (I’d say I’m at 98%). I haven’t felt this good per­son­ally or this con­fi­dent in my goals pro­fes­sion­ally since I left Omaha.

. It’s a bummer that there prob­a­bly won’t be a Tron 3.


. I think it might be pos­si­ble to define ‘tech­nol­ogy’ as: a thing that works, at best, only most of the time. If it works all the time, it’s some­thing else.


. “you just have to trust that people who torture others also torture them­selves.”

. Half the fun of build­ing my own website is in the tweak­ing (solving little prob­lems, making tiny adjust­ments, build­ing it up over time). It’s so sat­is­fy­ing.

» . This week, figured out how to show the link colors in the sidebar only on the pages where they’re needed.

. Build­ing seam­less pat­terns in Illus­tra­tor

. Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive Good™

. Mike Bir­biglia: Thank God For Jokes Great™

» . This follows two pat­terns of things I connect with: 1.  all of the pieces are framed by a larger, uni­fy­ing thing (the whole show fits between the setup and punch­line of a single joke), and 2. it’s meta (many of the jokes are about jokes).


. Steal Like An Artist Good™

» . “And then one day someone will steal from you.” Coppola

» . “when people give you advice, they’re really just talking to them­selves in the past.”

» . “It’s not the book you start with, it’s the book that book leads you to.”

» . “Copying is about reverse-engi­neer­ing.… Don’t just steal the style, steal the think­ing behind the style.”

» . “it’s in the act of making things and doing our work that we figure out who we are.”

» . “Conan O’Brien tried to be David Let­ter­man but ended up Conan O’Brien.”

» . “I have stolen all of these moves from all these great players. I just try to do them proud,… because I learned so much from them.… It’s a lot bigger than me.” Kobe Bryant

» . “Don’t worry about people steal­ing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” Aiken

» . “What we respond to in any work of art is the artist’s strug­gle against his or her lim­i­ta­tions.” Stein­berg

» . “One day, you’ll look back and it will all make sense.”

. Kitsch&Tea logo

. It’s easy to be upset with my new neigh­bor because he’s awake when I’m trying to sleep. But someone is always awake when someone else is trying to sleep. He’s just a dude living his life.

» . I do tend to get plenty of reading done when I can’t sleep, though.

. FTP Alias drag-and-drop uploader.

» . I can now update this page on the server in five keys: ⌘ + Space + J + Tab + Enter (acti­vate Launch­bar + select Journal.txt + send to FTP Alias). Boom.

. Fruit­vale Station Good™

. “Coming never.”


. Trainspot­ting 2 Good™

. Having 100% weekend down­time is a measure of a good life for me.

» . This weekend, I’m working on a free­lance project for Studio Matthews. The $1,200 I’ll earn feels only barely worth a lost weekend.

. As a graphic designer, on paid projects, the fun of finding a sat­is­fy­ing solu­tion doesn’t always, anymore, out­weigh the stress of needing to find it.

» . Teach­ing is stress­ful for me too, but com­par­ing these two things, teach­ing feels worth it. For most graphic design projects, the stress usually feels arti­fi­cial.


. Been jour­nal­ing here for two years. It con­tin­ues to be an essen­tial exer­cise in making sense of thoughts and feel­ings. (Still working on getting the rest of the posts moved over.)

. Another problem with social media: dis­em­bod­ied words and actions are so easy to be upset by. It’s harder to be upset with someone you can see/​hear — nego­ti­at­ing their life, in real time, just like you.

» . I had this thought when I figured out my new upstairs neigh­bor is an old guy, which makes it harder for me to be frus­trated by the whole thing.

. Cat­a­stro­phe² Not Great™

. Spoon Theory

. Freeze update: I’m finding if I’m willing to ini­ti­ate the thaw, people are pretty recep­tive to it. Be the thaw.

. I don’t think I’ll ever know what it’s like to be rich, and that’s dis­ap­point­ing.


. Daniel Gray graphic design blog

. Mid­night Marauder, movie poster designer

. “I don’t care how good you are [at what you do]… you’re gonna be a fan one day. Even Michael [Jordan]‘s a fan now.”

. “Unlike facts, which can be accu­rate or inac­cu­rate, nar­ra­tives have winners and losers.”


. Went skiing for the first time.

» . Skiing is a rare thing where you can see people learn­ing and failing out in the open. And where kids and adults are learn­ing together.

» . Pretty con­sis­tently this year, I’ve had father­hood on my mind. Watch­ing Louie sent it into high gear. And moments like today, seeing parents skiing with their kids. I really think I want that.

. Got the Sparano Scale and Great™s pages moved here.

» . I’ve spent way more time on this new site than I expected. Despite its straigh­for­ward­ness (which was a goal), I’ve invested 80+ hours over two months in graphic design and code.

. Won­der­ing if the second-from-the-top floor of an apart­ment is maybe the worst floor (noise-wise) because my upstairs neigh­bor doesn’t know what it’s like to have an upstairs neigh­bor.

» . I had no idea MY floors weren’t sound­proofed until now.


. A problem with social media is that it’s so easy to inter­pret mes­sages out of context — because there’s so little context to be had. The gears of Twitter/​Instagram/​Facebook are greased by limited infor­ma­tion and limited under­stand­ing.

. The cool man vs. the warm man

» . The warm man “has done stupid things,… he has made [dumb] deci­sions. [But] his weak­nesses have made him immensely gen­er­ous to others.”

. Peg­board shelf wall

. Design­ing machines we can’t under­stand

. The elec­tric envi­ron­ment: where “every­thing happens at once. There’s no con­ti­nu­ity, there’s no con­nec­tion, there’s no follow-through. It’s just all now.”

. Daniel Savage, illustrator/​animator

. I think people use the word ‘design’ some­times when they really mean ‘graphic design’… but what they really-really mean is ‘illus­tra­tion’.

. Khalid × Brasstracks: Whirl­wind Great™

. Cat­a­stro­phe¹ Good™

. Hex Color Ency­clo­pe­dia

. Trainspot­ting Not Great™


. Diff Checker tool to compare two text files

. “Pay atten­tion to what you pay atten­tion to.” Rosen­thal

. Per­sonal Shopper Not Great™

» . Start­ing today, there’s a new movie I’m excited about every week through summer. It keeps me going.

. Any Friday night with new videos from Lessons from the Screen­play, Nerd­writer, and CineFix is a special one.

. Blue Jay Good™

. Tinashe: Company music video


. Ker­mer­ling. That guy. Always looking out for other people.

. Teach­ing is it for me. I can’t believe (espe­cially since grad school) that I con­sid­ered any­thing else (design research, UX, full-time free­lance, bailing out com­pletely).

» . What changed my mind? It was 210: 1.  teach­ing my own class again (vs. TAing) means getting to design projects and watch­ing them unfold, and 2. meeting a new group of great stu­dents and seeing them start to put the pieces together for them­selves. There’s nothing better.

» . I’m glad I con­sid­ered those other things, though. It’s so valu­able for me to get as close as I can to see how I feel when I’m there. (UX, espe­cially, isn’t for me, and I’m happy to know that.)

» . Return­ing to where I started (teach­ing) doesn’t feel like wasted time.

» . Two down­sides of teach­ing (part-time at a uni­ver­sity, anyway) are 1.  there’s no team to belong to pro­fes­sion­ally, and 2. it doesn’t pay par­tic­u­larly well. These are the big reasons I con­sid­ered a cor­po­rate design gig.

» . Although, (thanks to the Lake­side blip) I think teach­ing in a middle school could provide both of these things, which is excit­ing.

. I love office supply stores.

. “What would Mr. Rogers do?” is a pretty useful trick for me to get my ego out of the way during a dis­agree­ment.


. Offi­cially signed up to teach “Intro. to Design Process” (265a) this summer at UW. Unof­fi­cial sub­ti­tle: learn­ing to design any­thing.

» . I spent a few weeks decid­ing whether to take on a second class. But I couldn’t-not do this. It’s a legit oppor­tu­nity to engi­neer exactly the kind of thing I want to be teach­ing from here on out. Should be fun, too.

» . Stoked about this. Feels like a begin­ning.

. “prob­lems are solved, not by giving new infor­ma­tion, but by arrang­ing what we have always known.” Wittgen­stein

. “[Schools] teach us every­thing other than the two skills that really deter­mine the quality of adult life: knowing how to choose the right job for us and knowing how to form sat­is­fac­tory rela­tion­ships.”

. I’ll usually con­clude a dis­ap­point­ing story (like not-getting a job) with: “It’s part of the process.” Which maybe sounds like an on-brand shtick. But it’s really what I’m think­ing.


. Another thing about email: because it’s not live, two-way com­mu­ni­ca­tion, I feel like I need to cover all the poten­tial ways the con­ver­sa­tion could go at once, which is hard work.

. Love² Good™

» . Can’t get enough of movies and TV about the com­plex­i­ties of rela­tion­ships.


. A reason I like teach­ing so much is that, in class­rooms, bull­shit tends not to get anyone very far.

. I like having seag­ulls around, those little chubby dudes are a con­stant reminder of living on the coast.

. Per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally, I’ve been in a (welcome and totally worth­while) holding pattern since grad school. But I’m just about over it and ready to get serious about both.

. During fall quarter (October – Decem­ber), I was eating a lot of junk food and stopped boxing. So far this year, I’ve been eating better and boxing reg­u­larly. And this week, I finally feel really good again. It took 10 weeks to get here. I’ve gotta remem­ber that next time I want to take a break.

. LEGO Bugatti Chiron


. Popular Lies About Graphic Design Not Great™

» . Things I wish would’ve been debunked in this book: 1.  that all graphic design is impor­tant, 2. that anyone but graphic design­ers and the client cares much that [what­ever] was redesigned, 3. that it’s pos­si­ble to mean­ing­fully cri­tique graphic design without having been part of the process, 4. that the tiny details truly matter, 5. that port­fo­lios aren’t highly ide­al­ized, 6. that a goal of all graphic design is to be ‘beau­ti­ful’.

» . “I can’t imagine a worse sit­u­a­tion than having [graphic] designer’s hold sway over every aspect of our visual world. Beauty and order and under­stand­ing often come from mis­takes, spon­tane­ity, and things unplanned.”

» . “A designer with only a few tools to choose from will make better choices.”

. design: “the formal imprint of dis­cernible intent in an oth­er­wise chaotic realm of phe­nom­ena.”

» . It’s inter­est­ing that design lends itself to so many def­i­n­i­tions. Why? What about design makes this pos­si­ble?

. Good Will Hunting Not Great™


. Readdd + Little Big Details + Grid­ness. Why do so many design-pros abandon their side projects? (I’ve done it too.)

. I con­tinue to be inter­ested in design as a small, per­sonal thing. Maybe the small­est, most per­sonal of things. (Rather than a com­mer­cial thing or a big-systems thing.)

. The rec­tan­gu­lar stick figure tech­nique [pdf]

» . In this summer’s classes, I’d like to do some exer­cises to help stu­dents feel com­fort­able sketch­ing and sharing. The “I can’t draw” anxiety is totally under­stand­able, but it can be a serious barrier.

. Still working through my book/​comics col­lec­tion (donat­ing, selling, scan­ning, or recy­cling most of them). Some read, but most just skimmed. And these are the books I already decided were worth bring­ing from Omaha.

» . There are books I still want to keep phys­i­cally. But in the end, I’d like to end up with ≤ 25 books (20% of what I started with). I’m so looking forward to being freed from a sig­nif­i­cant and really dumb burden of stuff. And for what’s left to be a mean­ing­ful col­lec­tion of things I’ve actu­ally used and specif­i­cally decided to keep around.

» . This all boils down to (at 37) no longer feeling that there’s a future version of me — a guy who has way more time than I have now — that will read these books (and play these video games and build these LEGO sets).

. And getting rid of most of my stuff feels like an essen­tial step in getting to the next phase of my life.


. BLOCKS mini modular music studio

. “When I exer­cise, I also have more ambi­tion. I cul­ti­vate my inner world more…. I’m more inter­est­ing to be around.… I’m open to every­thing that comes my way.”

» . For me, the value of exer­cis­ing is at least as much about having chosen a more chal­leng­ing thing, for my own sake.

» . In my life, better choices tend to rein­force more of the same. And the oppo­site. They’re all linked together.

.The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in con­flict with itself.Faulkner

. David Letterman’s last Late Show Top Ten

» . I think about Conan’s Tonight Show goodbye pretty reg­u­larly.

. I think I’ve made peace with the Lake­side sit­u­a­tion. I’ve been think­ing maybe I lost out because I took too long to apply (9 days, mostly to give my cover letter some real thought). But it’s really more likely that they just found someone better for the job. Which I’d be cool with.

» . Still really dis­ap­pointed this didn’t work out, though. Knowing now that this kind of oppor­tu­nity is out there, it’s exactly what I’m looking for.


. Setting three goals for this year: 1.  be a person in Seattle, 2. start making enough money not to worry about it, by 3. teach­ing full-time.

. What writers really do when they write


. Bull­shit and legit­i­macy

» . “If people aren’t think­ing crit­i­cally about their media con­sump­tion, that is par­tially their own fault — but isn’t it much more the fault of those who under­funded edu­ca­tion?… What is casting a vote for Trump com­pared to enabling the phe­nom­e­non in the first place?”

. Three hours is too much Bach­e­lor.” I’d watch at least twice that.

. InDe­sign script to cleanup mul­ti­ple text errors

. I’ll prob­a­bly always love the toy aisle.


. The older I get, the more com­fort­able I am with feeling that, some­times, the avail­able ele­ments just don’t lend them­selves to a design that feels sat­is­fy­ingly resolved. Some­times the pieces aren’t a puzzle. I’m writing this about graphic design, but it really applies to every­thing.

» . There’s sat­is­fac­tion for me now in having thought it through, making do, and moving on.

» . I lost out on (what felt like) an ideal middle school teach­ing gig (Lake­side) recently, which has been a kinda major bummer. But I think I got close to max­i­miz­ing my poten­tial inside that process, and I’m happy with that.

. I think one of the best com­pli­ments there is is that someone is a good com­mu­ni­ca­tor.

. Kong: Skull Island Not Great™

. I couldn’t decide if this site’s main color should be blue or red, so now it switches between them. Logic. Emotion. Makes sense. I like it.

» . The link colors are totally ran­dom­ized on each page load. Why? It’s inter­est­ing to me that: 1.  no two people looking at this page are seeing the same thing, 2. it’s a deci­sion that con­tin­ues to change, 3. that I don’t have control over, 4. that some­times works and some­times doesn’t.


. In Con­ver­sa­tion: David Let­ter­man

. “The part of our online per­for­mances that serve as a résumé can seem insep­a­ra­ble from the parts that are expres­sive or aspi­ra­tional.”

» . I think, mostly, this is an unavoid­able weird­ness of sharing stuff online. And I think our digital selves are always con­struc­tions. But I see degrees between 1.  totally buying in and 2. sharing what’s legit­i­mately on my mind. And it’s a balance I’m con­stantly aware of here.


. Psy­cholo­gia Sportu logo

. InDe­sign script to convert multi-column text to indi­vid­ual frames

. Watch­ing the Oscars. There’s some­thing really special for me in hearing people talk about the things they love doing and the people that inspired them to do it.

. “Movies are… a per­pet­ual epiphany.”

» . They con­tinue to be one of the best ways I know of for check­ing out and making new con­nec­tions.


. Keeping up with RSS takes 15+ hours/​week, but it’s totally worth it.

. The text on this site is about the size I end up scaling other sites to if they require any lengthy reading.

» . Con­ve­niently, this size helps meet Annabelle’s 8–12 words-per-line rule.

» . Without a doubt, one of my favorite lessons from grad school.

. Fond­Font free font index

. Logan Good™

. Sleep­walk with Me Good™

. Kirby Typog­ra­phy plugin. For hyphen­ation and typographer’s quotes.

. I’m just squeak­ing by finan­cially right now, but I refuse to stop spend­ing money on the things that I enjoy the most: movies, junk food, and nachos/​tachos with friends.


. Trying a new thing on Fridays where I min­i­mize free­lance time and devote the rest of the workday to items on Tasks.txt that I tend to avoid (email, phone calls, job search, check­book bal­anc­ing, Desktop-clear­ing, paper mail).

» . Friday Night Taco Joe Time has evolved into a full day of doing things I need to do for me.

. I’ve started to worry about my book­cases falling on me in a middle-of-the-night earth­quake.

. “weak­ness handled strongly… and per­cep­tive gen­eros­ity are the most prop­erly [attrac­tive] things in the world; because they are what make life with another person bear­able.”

. Artists explain their work to their parents

. Gay & Lesbian Film Fes­ti­val posters

. LEGO 80s Boombox

» . Absolutely my favorite LEGO builder (the chunk­i­ness, the small-but-accu­rate­ness, the mechan­ics).

. “Once you con­front the ran­dom­ness of the uni­verse, the only option is to find impor­tance in the stuff right in front of you.”

. Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Rules of Living Ani­ma­tion

. Tech company excess bugs me.


. Get Out Good™

. “That was six years ago. Every­body changes in six years, you know. It’s just part of growth. Opin­ions change. Expe­ri­ences change. So I don’t regret what I said. I’m not going to change what I said. But I am here now.

» . I con­tinue to get a sur­pris­ing amount per­son­ally from the NBA.

. It’s pos­si­ble that all of our feel­ings are really a reflec­tion of how we feel about our­selves.


. “‘Echo chamber’ social group­ing is driven… by adver­tis­ing-ori­ented algo­rithms of tech com­pa­nies and data brokers,… [which] produce algo­rith­mi­cally mea­sur­able iden­ti­ties — just as mar­ket­ing pro­duces con­sumers — and not the other way around.”

. I have the option to teach a second UW class this summer, on what­ever (design) topic I’d like. This is my chance to teach the design process class I’ve been dream­ing of, using the resources I’ve been col­lect­ing for years (movies, illus­tra­tion, comedy, music, graphic design). But two new classes feels like a lot.

. I love being on campus.

. per­fec­tion­ism: “a design­ing bias that will result in poor choices in order to refine a design only accord­ing to… triv­ially mea­sur­able para­me­ters”.

. I will pro­cras­ti­nate on just about every­thing involv­ing writing.

. Being able to write rec­om­men­da­tions for stu­dents (having even a small amount of lever­age in helping them get some­where they’d like to go) is a real bonus of teach­ing.

Design is proactive learning.

February 2017


. To Die For Good™

. I haven’t cooked any­thing on a stove in six months (since moving into the tiny apart­ment).

. This new site isn’t at all fin­ished (it’s missing pages/​features, and I’ve been con­stantly tweak­ing code). I like working in incre­ments and acknowl­edg­ing the process. Any illu­sion of fin­ished­ness would fly in the face of what I even want this site to be or do.


. “We have an extra­or­di­nar­ily limited power to get others to… under­stand us the way we so crave to be grasped.”

. Timo Kuilder, illus­tra­tor

. READ class­room posters

. I’m grate­ful to have free­lanc­ing for bridg­ing gaps between phases of my life. Between 1.  Oxide and grad school, and now 2. grad school and whatever’s next.

. Pro­fes­sional dis­ap­point­ment has been useful moti­va­tion for getting to the gym.

. As dis­ap­point­ing as the Lake­side blip has been, I’m happy to have a clearer sense of what I want pro­fes­sion­ally: teach­ing full-time, ideally a combo of middle school and UW. Which hadn’t crossed my mind as an option before this month.

. Casual² Good™

. I’m happy with the new site. My goals were/​are: 1.  reduce my temp­ta­tion to edit around line breaks, 2. feel freedom to write more 3. bigger, more read­able text, 4. refocus on the Journal (vs. port­fo­lio), 5. reflect that I’m moving further and further away from making images (and more towards ideas/​teaching), 6. tweak some typog­ra­phy, 7. visu­ally capture more of who I am.


. LEGO Wood­land Crea­tures

. Always Shine Good™

» . Always Shine title sequence

. The Failed Promise of the Inter­net

. Once I’m past the first few minutes of a graphic design project (start­ing the file and import­ing the content), I’m way less likely to pro­cras­ti­nate.


. Launched v4.0 of this site (well, this page).

» . It’s the third new site/​portfolio since grad­u­a­tion (in June). A little absurd. But I’ve learned a lot, and each has felt closer to the thing I want my website to be.

» . Totally loving Kirby. I’m updat­ing this page by editing a text file on my Mac (with Fold­ing­Text) that syncs automag­i­cally to the server (with Hazel). The dream.

» . Trying Mes­sen­ger as my contact method. It’s click­able, straight­for­ward (not email), and not-intim­i­dat­ingly-per­sonal (not texting).

. Riverdale is the teen drama I’ve been waiting for.


. Mister Rogers defend­ing PBS to the Senate

. I don’t like that my pro­fes­sional success affects how I feel about myself, but it still does.

. ran­dom­Color gen­er­a­tor Javascript. For the new site.

. The value of “it wasn’t for me”

» . “If a book is tedious to you, don’t read it; that book was not written for you.” Borges

» . I remem­ber exactly when I shifted to talking about movies/​TV/​books/​music this way. It later ended up in the Sparano Scale™. But it also pre­cip­i­tated a bigger shift in the way I talk about all kinds of ideas (using more ‘feels like’s, ‘generally’s, ‘maybe’s, ‘probably’s). Trying to make space for other per­spec­tives. Acknowl­edg­ing that maybe nothing is one thing to every­one and prob­a­bly nothing is objec­tively any­thing.


. John Wick: Chapter 2 Not Great™

. I have a hard time under­stand­ing maps unless I orient them to the direc­tion I’m facing.

. The Room at Central Cinema


. Hooks (punches) and round­houses (kicks) are so sat­is­fy­ing.

. Didn’t get the Lake­side job, which I’m shocked by and legit heart­bro­ken over. I thought for sure I had this one in the bag.

» . What did I learn (what was I excited for that I’m dis­ap­pointed to miss out on)? I’m ready to: 1.  leave graphic design behind, 2. teach full-time, 3. ideally UW and a middle school simul­ta­ne­ously, 4. be part of a team of teach­ers, 5. meet new people, make new friends, maybe a lady, 6. not worry about money, 7. do some­thing that I’m uniquely qual­i­fied for and excited about.

» . Of the jobs I’ve applied for in the last year, this is the second (along with micro:bit) that I thought I was perfect for, got really excited about, then managed not to get.

» . For both, I wish I could say: “What the fuck? I would’ve been perfect, and you have no idea.”

» . In the future, I’ll prob­a­bly be more careful about talking about poten­tial jobs. It’s embar­rass­ing to feel like I’m really good at some­thing, but for someone else (in a posi­tion to deter­mine whether or not that’s true) to dis­agree.

» . I went to TITLE twice today to work out the frus­tra­tion of this, and it really helped.

. A com­bi­na­tion of middle school + teach­ing + design con­tin­ues to feel like what’s next for me. I’m ready to get serious about teach­ing as the thing that I do.


. A thing more tedious/​stressful than writing emails: writing letters on paper.

. The three big themes I think about (design, real­ness, self­ish­ness) are all maybe just design. Real­ness: is the goal of this thing what it appears to be? Self­ish­ness: is your goal for my benefit or yours?

. Show Your Work Great™

» . “Books are made out of books.” McCarthy

» . “You just have to be as gen­er­ous as you can, but selfish enough to get your work done.”

» . “We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies.” Disney

» . “To be ‘inter­est-ing’ is to be curious and atten­tive, and to prac­tice ‘the con­tin­ual pro­jec­tion of inter­est’”

» . “What­ever we say, we’re always talking about our­selves.” Bechdel

» .I don’t believe in guilty plea­sures. If you fucking like some­thing, like it.” Dave Grohl


. Seattle Growth podcast

. An essen­tial part of my graphic design process is saving/​comparing iter­a­tions. I’ll usually change 1–2 things and save a screen­shot or dupli­cate an art­board, do that for as many options as I can find, then compare. Am I getting closer or further away from my goals? Why does this feel right, but this doesn’t?


. I have a problem with the way memes are used to make fun of people’s mis­takes.

» . Example: Aaron Gordon’s (missed) drone dunk at the Slam Dunk Contest (which also manages to make fun of Michael Jordan).

» . A good chuck of social media feels this way to me: either co-opting other people’s suc­cesses or cap­i­tal­iz­ing on their fail­ures.

. LEGO Survey: “Com­pared to other people my age…” : (option 1) I own way more LEGO sets.

. “Some may call [my style] boring; I call it bas­ket­ball.”

. I love NBA All-Star Weekend.


. The Ides of March Good™

. Think­ing through color on the new site. Grayscale con­tin­ues to feel appro­pri­ately prac­ti­cal… but inap­pro­pri­ately unfriendly. So I’d prefer some color, but I can’t argue mean­ing­fully for any spe­cific color(s). Won­der­ing if chang­ing colors ran­domly might be it.

. Sub­mit­ted my Lake­side appli­ca­tion. I’m stoked about this, pro­fes­sion­ally and per­son­ally. It really feels like the ideal next step: 1.  it puts my degree to use, 2. while not-being a graphic/​UX design job, 3. teach­ing middle school­ers, 4. would be a solid build­ing block on the path to LEGO, 5. gets me back on a team, 6. working with teach­ers (who I tend to connect with), 7. is a short commute, 8. is part-time, but 9. still includes ben­e­fits.


. Invis­i­ble split-screen­ing in movies (The David Fincher Tech­nique)


. Wayward Vegan Cafe

. I like knowing that Mad Men is out there, just waiting to be watched again.


. When Harry Met Sally: Break­ing Genre Con­ven­tions


. Dic­tio­nary Story: In the Begin­ning