Basketball quotes

May 2017


. Did you see what I saw?, media lit­er­acy exer­cise on per­spec­tive and fact vs. opinion

. Moving close to the gym has been so helpful in actu­ally getting there con­sis­tently.


. human brand: oxy­moron?

» . All brand­ing attempts to man­u­fac­ture a rela­tion­ship between someone selling some­thing and someone who might buy it. With that goal in mind, the visual choices (in this case: desat­u­rated colors, tex­tured linework, smiley faces) are intended to com­mu­ni­cate spe­cific ideas (human-ness). And as accu­rate as that com­mu­ni­ca­tion may be about the company/​product, there are always busi­ness objec­tives embed­ded (strate­gi­cally and sort-of-secretly) with those visual choices. Not nec­es­sar­ily bad, but it is awkward.

» . This essay will be a great resource for 265c this summer.

» . Ryan Putnam, illus­tra­tor

. Sci­en­tists explain one concept in five levels of dif­fi­culty: CRISPR + Con­nec­tome

» . Teach­ing requires being a respon­sive com­mu­ni­ca­tor. Not just yam­mer­ing on, but lis­ten­ing too.

. Palo Alto Good™

» . I’m so fas­ci­nated by growing up: how we learn about life as we get older and the choices we make along the way.


. How Seattle tem­per­a­ture works (why it’s great)

. On Thurs­day morn­ings, I’ve been helping with WrOBOT field trips at BFI — helping a group of 4th/​5th graders write a story in two hours. My job is to (simul­ta­ne­ously) type the story, seam stu­dents’ ideas together, encour­age every­one to con­tribute, and help them nego­ti­ate the cre­ative process overall. It’s a blast.

. Louis C.K.: 2017 Good™

. Sur­vivor: Game Chang­ers Good™

» . A reason I enjoy this show so much is the design of the show itself — it’s a simple system with complex and sur­pris­ing variety. A sandbox.

» . I really want to host some­thing again.

. Talking to a UW Design senior (Kelly) about what she might do next, these are the things that’ve been helpful for me in finding direc­tion in life: 1.  jour­nal­ing, 2. com­pil­ing (over a few years’ time) a list of qual­i­ties of the ideal job (without knowing what that job would be), 3. pro­to­typ­ing jobs quickly through vol­un­teer­ing and side projects, 4. sharing my work and process (which opened doors and helped me reflect).


. Norm Mac­don­ald: Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Trick­ery Good™

. How to find your life’s purpose inter­view

» . “One of the things I always tell teach­ers is that you have a great oppor­tu­nity to tell your stu­dents why you find teach­ing mean­ing­ful. Why is that your calling in your life?… The point isn’t to con­vince stu­dents to become teach­ers them­selves,… [but] to show young people what it is like for a grown-up to have a sense of purpose.”

. “Forget season 3 of Master of None. I’m also doing season 34 of Aziz Ansari.… Let me live a couple of episodes.”


. 180° Piv­ot­ing TV Mount IKEA Hack. Trying to figure out how to use one screen as both a monitor and TV.

. It can take me months (months!) of post­pon­ing to do things like sched­ul­ing oil changes and doctor’s visits. (I finally did both this week.)

. Alien: Covenant Good™

» . There are few more sat­is­fy­ing moments of adult­hood for me than seeing a movie in the middle of the day, eating a bunch of Peanut M&M’s, and drink­ing as much Coke Zero as I want.

. Com­par­ing the cul­tures of the Spurs vs. War­riors


. The Ever­grey, Seattle events and issues blog

. When2meet, group meeting sched­uler

. Indie Game: Life After

. Per­sonal project idea: inter­view someone, and then inter­view them again a few years later about how they feel (now) about their responses in the first inter­view.

. I admire people with the con­fi­dence to give com­pli­ments to com­plete strangers.

. Some­times I’ll write some­thing for this page only to decide I don’t really believe it. It’s a good test.


. psy­cho­log­i­cal asym­me­try: “We are con­tin­u­ously and inti­mately exposed to our own worries, hopes, desires and mem­o­ries…. Yet when it comes to others, we are tightly restricted to knowing… [only] what they can or choose to reveal.”

» . “We grow boring and con­ven­tional, mim­ic­k­ing the exter­nals of other people on the false assump­tion that this is what they might truly be like inside.”

. Every­thing Must Go Not Great™

. 72Pins, modern NES car­tridges


. “From the start, we are not self-invent­ing. We are born into a social context that forms the frame­work and the lim­i­ta­tions of our self-knowl­edge.”

. Just noticed that the logo on Real Life Mag­a­zine fills in ran­domly each time. I like this kind of shtick (like the link colors here) — designed to do a thing, but giving up some control in exactly how it gets there.

» . Also Brian Eno’s gen­er­a­tive music apps

. Seattle weather is so much better than adver­tised. Despite the PNW’s rep­u­ta­tion, the midwest’s barrage of extremes felt a lot more depress­ing to me.


. The final_­fi­nal straw

. Screen­Prism film analy­sis video essays

» . Rom Cons: Prob­lem­atic Romance Lessons

» . Incep­tion: The Film is the Dream

. Nathan For You


. “You call it pro­cras­ti­na­tion, I call it think­ing.” Aaron Sorkin

» . I’m a serious pro­cras­ti­na­tor. (On every­thing: prepar­ing for class, free­lance, emails, this site. You name it. Even things I enjoy.) For a few reasons: 1.  The extra time is reli­ably helpful in fig­ur­ing things out. 2. I’m a per­fec­tion­ist, and pro­cras­ti­nat­ing allows me to post­pone the anxiety and dis­ap­point­ment. 3. I could refine any­thing indef­i­nitely, so start­ing closer to the dead­line feels like a smarter use of my time. 4. I think the work is usually better for it.

» . When I was younger, I just instinc­tively pro­cras­ti­nated and felt ashamed of it. Now, it’s an inten­tional part of my process. It feels like a healthy, pro­duc­tive rela­tion­ship with my own mind. And I’m likely a pro­cras­ti­na­tor for life.

. Master of None² Good™

. I’ve always wanted to live in a city large enough to have national ad cam­paigns placed on the sides of build­ings and buses.


. “People who are afraid of their feel­ings like to tell… pre­dictable stories to explain every­thing that’s hap­pened and every­thing that’s going to happen.”

. New email trend emerg­ing: the “thanks for that info I asked for” non-reply. Did you even get that? You’re welcome? Hello?

. LEGO Four Seasons vignettes


. Thngs, indus­trial design data­base

. The omnipres­ence of job-​searching/​switching is a whole new thing in my life since the move. Not just for me, but for so many of the people I know here.

» . It feels sym­bolic of the size, poten­tial, and energy of this city. But the power dynam­ics (between employ­ers and job-searchers) is a little weird.

. I’m part of the very last gen­er­a­tion — in all of human history, past and future — who will clearly remem­ber life before the Inter­net. Old enough to appre­ci­ate the dif­fer­ences, but young enough to actu­ally make use of it.


. “people are layered and inter­est­ing, pro­vided they’re given a voice to explain how.”

. New York Times for Kids (layouts)

» . It’s an empow­er­ing thing to publish (or somehow phys­i­cally realize) kids’ words and ideas.

» . At BFI, we print books on-the-fly during field trips. In high school, I was in an Omaha World-Herald work­shop where we designed ads and printed a small news­pa­per.

» . NYT Learn­ing Network, news lit­er­acy lessons

. “Assum­ing other people are focused on the same thing we are is at the root of many kinds of mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion.”


. I love living in a dense metrop­o­lis. I wanted to watch the Spurs-War­riors game today at a bar, and I have a bunch of options within blocks of my apart­ment.

. I’m just real­iz­ing that, since most of my wardrobe is black or gray, I’m usually per­fectly dressed to watch a Spurs game.

. I’m so ready to move on to the next phase of my life. So ready.

» . What’ll that look like? 1.  More money (for dating, social­iz­ing, clothes, less finan­cial anxiety), 2. dating again, 3. a wider social circle, 4. a bigger apart­ment (for dating and friends), 5. finally fin­ish­ing my min­i­miz­ing projects, and 6. a job that feels like the payoff of my grad school adven­ture.

. It’s been a good week for intro­spec­tion.


. Posted Notes on design. This’ll be the defin­i­tive place for out­lin­ing what design means to me, and it’ll grow and change over time.

» . Col­lect­ing related ideas in one place really helps me think. I’m excited to finally have that file for design.

» . A lot of this is from grad school. But as a class, we weren’t really talking about design in this way. We were reading the same papers, but each of us was on our own little design adven­ture, cherry-picking the ideas that res­onated with us. Cool.

» . In fact, we were so much not talking about design in the way I’d hoped, it’s the reason I started this site when I did (March 2015).

. Win It All Good™


. egosys­tem vs. ecosys­tem: “com­pe­ti­tion, power, and self-inter­est” vs. “coop­er­a­tion, com­mu­nity, and care”.

. It’s helpful for me to assume that Trump will even­tu­ally fail. Because he can’t simul­ta­ne­ously be an every­man and a busi­ness­man. Or simul­ta­ne­ously a gov­ern­ment out­sider and the pres­i­dent. It’s only a matter of time before he loses support from the people who thought those absurd con­tra­dic­tions were pos­si­ble.

. The best thing about 2017 so far is finding my lane pro­fes­sion­ally. The plan is: 1.  keep teach­ing at UW, while 2. also teach­ing design/​digital lit­er­acy to middle school­ers.

» . This was roughly the plan before grad school, too. But there’ve been some detours. In the last year, I’ve found con­fir­ma­tion that my heart is in the class­room and the design indus­try isn’t for me.

. Riverdale¹ Good™

. I hon­estly don’t under­stand how so many people have managed to assem­ble the ele­ments of a ‘normal’ life.


. Q: “What will give you the edge…?” A: “Lots of things. It’s a game of mis­takes, it’s a game of playing well, who knows?”

» . I could fill a website with of out-of-context bas­ket­ball quotes that trans­late directly to real life.

. NBA Play­grounds video game

» . Some of the purest moments of joy growing up were playing NBA Jam. The dunks, the car­toony giant heads, the secret codes. I loved every part of it.

» . Bas­ket­ball really became a thing in my life in middle school. And here I am, still totally into it.

» . So did graphic design.

. I’m notic­ing (vol­un­teer­ing at BFI) that people who are really good at working with little kids (ele­men­tary and younger) are essen­tially per­form­ing as they’re teach­ing. Which just isn’t a skill I have, and I’m cool with that.

. Enable speech-to-text on a Mac

. Class idea: Design vs. Media Lit­er­acy. Stu­dents design projects with secret goals that, then, other stu­dents try to decode.

. The BFI project at Denny Middle School has turned out feeling like the other ‘at-risk’ Seattle pro­grams I’ve worked with. The stu­dents aren’t par­tic­u­larly engaged (some not at all), and I’m not sure if much of it is res­onat­ing. I leave Denny most weeks indif­fer­ent and unin­spired.

» . It feels selfish to say, but I’m only inter­ested in working with stu­dents who are self-moti­vated and engaged. I think some teach­ers thrive in class­rooms like this, but they aren’t for me.

. Director’s Series: Christo­pher Nolan #2


. Spend­ing time this week getting orga­nized dig­i­tally: 1.  sorting folders of inspi­ra­tion (design, LEGO, illus­tra­tion) that I’ve been dumping images into for years, and 2. review­ing left­over read­ings and research from grad school.

» . Man it feels good to finally get these done. Even digital clutter weighs on me.

. One of the trick­i­est things in life to dif­fer­en­ti­ate — when you’re excited about an idea that just isn’t landing with other people — is: am I crazy? or am I really onto some­thing?

» . More often than not, I think it’s the second one.

. Fleabag¹ Good™

» . “That’s the very reason why they put [erasers] on the end of pencils.… Because people make mis­takes.”


. The insid­i­ous rise of the micro­celebrity

» . “the democ­ra­ti­za­tion of fame via social media… is ulti­mately part of a height­ened con­scious­ness of every­day life as a public per­for­mance — an increased expec­ta­tion that we are being watched, a growing will­ing­ness to offer up private parts of the self to watch­ers known and unknown, and a hov­er­ing sense that perhaps the unwatched life is invalid or insuf­fi­cient.”

. Chuck Not Great™

» . A com­pelling ques­tion, though: how does making a movie about someone’s life, after it’s released, change the course of that life?


. Decided it was time to start assem­bling my earth­quake emer­gency kit (in case of The Really Big One).

. EarPod Covers

. Director’s Series: Christo­pher Nolan #1


. Sonics Arena project. It’s getting real!

» . Two of my life goals are to 1.  live in a city with an NBA team, and 2. have season tickets.

. fur­ni­tur­i­sa­tion: “the ten­dency of every­day objects to be trans­formed by con­sumer culture into self-con­scious ‘designs’.”

. Fuller House² Good™

» . I’m really impressed with how cre­atively well resolved this show is. For what it aims to be, it’s perfect.

. The World’s End Not Great™

. Pre­sen­ta­tion remote + laser pointer. Gearing up for class (start­ing next month).


. That first warm day: “it remains an unal­loyed fact: The days will lengthen. The ground will thaw. The sun will come. The trees will bud,… and you will be released from that per­sis­tent fear that you might not make it.”

. Off­screen Dis­patch, digital rec­om­men­da­tions newslet­ter

. Kap screen record­ing app

. Another reason I like teach­ing the sopho­mores at UW is that it’s really the last, pure moment before the indus­try takes hold.


. Build­ing pre­sen­ta­tions is one of my least favorite things to do.

» . It can be a helpful step, for sure, in fig­ur­ing out how to com­mu­ni­cate an idea clearly. But that often feels offset by the dis­tract­ing layer of graphic design choices embed­ded in slides.

» . Some day, I’ll present ideas with a just a Fold­ing­Text file and images in folders.

. When Objects Fail

» . “a shiny object… is a ‘lie’ in its con­ceal­ment of all the actors or inter­ests that gath­ered together to form [it].”

» . “When things stop working…, inten­tions, motives, and nego­ti­a­tions reveal them­selves bare faced behind the objects and facts.”

» . A major bonus of teach­ing at UW is getting to keep my access to the library, which is legit.

» . Dense, aca­d­e­mic writing really irri­tates me. Do you want to help people to under­stand, or not?

. I’ll be free­lanc­ing for awhile longer, which is fine (I’m glad to have it as an option). But I’ll be ready — when the right teach­ing spot is avail­able — to cut this cord.


. Cards Against Human­ity: Design Pack

» . Is this intended to be ironic? Con­tem­po­rary graphic design is so shel­lacked with BS, how would anyone dif­fer­en­ti­ate the ironic and unironic ver­sions? Graphic design­ers have gotten them­selves into a real pickle here.

. Dic­tio­nary Story: Chin Up

. Font of the Month Club


. Wash­ing­ton Teach­ing Artist Train­ing Lab

» . Maybe apply­ing for this. I’d like to fill some time during the job search with new and inter­est­ing ways to keep teach­ing.

. The Great Perils of Social Inter­ac­tion

» . I hate the whole handshake/​hug deci­sion. I avoid hugs gen­er­ally. I don’t know how to do cool hand­shakes. I hate the awk­ward­ness of leaving small groups and I’ll usually stay longer than I want to because of it. I won’t try to stop anyone from paying the bill. I don’t say “bless you”.

. I think about the Your Life in Weeks post on Wait But Why a lot. It was a fun­da­men­tally per­spec­tive-shift­ing way of looking at my life.


. Their Finest Not Great™

. Selfie: The rev­o­lu­tion­ary poten­tial of your own face

» . “Hugely instruc­tive con­ver­sa­tions can come out of asking a person why they posted a par­tic­u­lar selfie on a par­tic­u­lar day.”

» . Selfies are media lit­er­acy + every­day design.

. Cat­a­stro­phe³ Good™

Of what?

April 2017


. Rogue One vs. The Force Awakens

» . I like this format: cri­tiquing two things at the same time — iden­ti­fy­ing strengths and oppor­tu­ni­ties while always having access to an alter­na­tive example.

. The Brand Called You: The CEO of Me Inc.

» . From 1997. Super gross and truer than ever.

» . The awk­ward­ness of per­sonal brand­ing, for me, hinges entirely on inten­tion — the design. Are you “teach­ing a class at a com­mu­nity college” because you, pri­mar­ily: 1.  want to be helpful, or are you 2. “enhanc­ing your profile”? These are very dif­fer­ent things.

» . Anyone should be asking the same ques­tion of this site.

» . Why does per­sonal brand­ing bother me so much? Because if we embrace the idea that every inter­ac­tion with a person is just a poten­tial sales oppor­tu­nity, how do we know what’s real? How do we know who to trust?

. Con­fi­dence

» . “Such are the pains people take to appear normal, we col­lec­tively create a phan­tasm – prob­lem­atic for every­one – which sug­gests that nor­mal­ity might be pos­si­ble.”

» . “The way we enter the world carries with it an inher­ent bias towards an impres­sion that history has been settled.… History, we feel, is what used to happen; it can’t really be what is hap­pen­ing around us in the here and now.”

. Drink­ing Buddies Good™


. Working on moving more of the old journal posts over here. I’m happy with how easy it is to update this site now (thanks to Kirby).

. Sleep­ing With Other People Not Great™

. They Look Like People Good™

. HAIM: Right Now music video


. “the inter­face of this app is not the screen of your device but your life itself.”

. Just real­ized this: my angle on teach­ing is learn­ing (about your­self, other people, the world) through the process of design­ing (building/​creating/​making) a thing.

» . Seems obvious, but this is the first time I’ve tried to artic­u­late it.

. Many of my clear­est thoughts happen in the midst of con­ver­sa­tions with friends — just having someone who cares asking ques­tions.

. If all else fails, I’ll work at The Con­tainer Store.

. I really appre­ci­ate how reli­ably enthu­si­as­tic Seattle bus drivers are about their jobs.

. A secret lair layer.

. I might actu­ally prefer not-having a full-time job for awhile longer. I could use more time to com­plete some big, anxiety-induc­ing per­sonal projects: 1.  selling my video game col­lec­tion and a bunch of LEGO sets, 2. reduc­ing my book/​Instapaper queue, and 3. gen­er­ally min­i­miz­ing dig­i­tally and phys­i­cally. This stuff weighs on me.

» . An oppor­tu­nity cost of a full-time job is having less free time. And I love my free time.


. Vibes are an impor­tant factor in my deci­sion-making.

» . Inter­viewed at Ever­green, and the vibe feels way off. Com­pared to Lake­side (for example), it feels less modern, less wel­com­ing, less genuine — out of touch.

» . I got the impres­sion that they don’t really get what I’m up to. Which is absolutely a trend — in grad school and the job search. It’s been dif­fi­cult: feeling so con­vinced of a per­spec­tive on design and teach­ing that’s only rarely res­onat­ing with pro­fes­sional design­ers and teach­ers.

» . But, I’m getting better at holding onto my con­fi­dence in these ideas moving on.

. In the job search, I prob­a­bly won’t be willing to give up teach­ing at UW. It’s at the top of its game, I love the stu­dents, I’m proud to be there, and I’m plan­ning to stick around for awhile.

. Always awkward: video chats.


. @thedesignprofs, UW Design faculty quotes

. Is Life All Down­hill From Here?

» . “by the time you really do face all of the ter­ri­ble things you’re imag­in­ing, you might not feel like the same person who is sitting here today.”

» . What an idea. That having lived through some­thing might actu­ally be the thing that pre­pares you for dealing with it.

. UW Fail Forward: Leaders Panel, respected faculty/​staff talking about their fail­ures (i.e. un-ide­al­iz­ing their bio and reading embar­rass­ing student feed­back). This was awesome.

» . I’m really inspired by the faculty and stuff at UW. They’re all so good at their jobs.

. In the last few years, I’ve inten­tion­ally found oppor­tu­ni­ties to be in dif­fer­ent kinds of class­rooms and with dif­fer­ent age groups. Big lessons from that: I’m not a very good or com­fort­able teacher unless: 1.  I have the chance to get to know my stu­dents over time, 2. stu­dents are inter­ested in the mate­r­ial, and 3. they’re making some­thing.

. “I gotta twist your arm to hold your hand.”

. I’m deeply resis­tant to the idea that any­thing popular isn’t worth­while.


. “The single most impor­tant thing I can do is to help in any way I can to prepare the next gen­er­a­tion… to take up the baton….” The man, Obama

» . At 37, I feel like I’m solidly on the other side of… some­thing. It’s a place where I can see things I didn’t see when I was younger, and where I feel like I have a fair amount of control over my life. Looking back, that tran­si­tion feels mostly a matter of just knowing and expe­ri­enc­ing more things — not nec­es­sar­ily age. I think I could’ve gotten here earlier with more guid­ance. And I feel a respon­si­bil­ity to help younger people get there too.

. Here’s a typical Seattle Freeze thing to do: If I’m stand­ing some­where and happen to be an acci­den­tal barrier to some­thing someone needs (like today, a back­pack on the floor), they’ll often just grab it without saying any­thing. So weird.

. Iverson or Hard­away: Who’s King of the Crossover?

. Applied for a teach­ing posi­tion at The Ever­green School. I’m less excited about this one than the (nearly ideal) Lake­side job I applied for in Feb­ru­ary. But still, this could be good. And it’s encour­ag­ing to know similar jobs might be more common than I expected.


. UW Teach­ing & Learn­ing Sym­po­sium

» . Teach­ers, gen­er­ally, are the best com­mu­ni­ca­tors I know.

. Got an Alaska Air­lines Credit Card. Pretty sure I’ll be able to get back to Omaha for free from here on out.


. Fin­ished the Teach­ing page.

» . I’m stoked about the idea that this is my port­fo­lio now.

» . Every time I build any kind of port­fo­lio any­thing, it’s shock­ing how much time it takes to build images and write descrip­tions. Every time. Shock­ing. (This was prob­a­bly 8 hours, and most of the text was already written.)

. Black Mirror³ Not Great™


. myNoise back­ground noise gen­er­a­tor

. Every­thing video 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-cen­tered­ness 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/​objective/​preferred-​situation may be.

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

. Pas­sen­gers, Rearranged

. Intro­duc­tion to media theory ani­ma­tions


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

. At BFI, helped two middle school­ers with autism write a story. I really enjoy being a part of this kind of exer­cise, seeing stu­dents nego­ti­ate a col­lab­o­ra­tive cre­ative process: their con­fi­dence (or not) in con­tribut­ing ideas, their com­pro­mises and dis­agree­ments. Good stuff.

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

. Resolved an impor­tant lin­ger­ing thought about grad school. The reason that my inter­ac­tions with one faculty member (Tad) were so anxiety-induc­ing for me was that, in his classes, learn­ing was embar­rass­ing. Which is a shame­ful way for any class­room to feel.

» . What a prick.


. 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 almost always regreat agree­ing to free­lance 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 design­ing.

. 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 modular 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.


. Got a Round & Round Notable Banter book, which feels like a real trea­sure.

. 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.

. Nike SB Check Solar Suede Sneak­ers

» . Buying shoes really stresses me out. I try to own as few as pos­si­ble, so the ones I own need to be usable in most times/​places. And finding the right ones can be tricky.


. 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.

. For me, the con­nec­tion between design process and life is in the ques­tions: 1.  Who am I? 2. Who do I want to be? 3. How do I get there?


. 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.

. I get a real con­fi­dence boost talking to the UW Design under­grads.


. 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 95%). 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.


. Prayer is a form of jour­nal­ing. A way of artic­u­lat­ing thoughts, feel­ings, and goals.


. 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.

. “You can be our life teacher.” UW Design sopho­more

. 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. feeling free to write as much as nec­es­sary, 3. bigger, more read­able text, 4. more straight­for­ward overall, 5. refocus on the Journal (vs. port­fo­lio), 6. reflect that I’m moving further and further away from making images (and more towards thinking/​teaching), 7. tweak some typog­ra­phy, 8. 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 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 one 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?

. A reason the graphic/​UX design indus­try isn’t for me is that — no matter how useful the product is or how sin­cerely the design­ers care about the process — the real goal (the design of the busi­ness itself) is to make a buck. And so the work will, prob­a­bly, feel disin­gen­u­ous to me.

. 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.” Walt 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 chunk 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 (so I can keep teach­ing at UW), 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.


. Ques­tions I’m asking, redesign­ing this site: 1.  What’s the dif­fer­ence between refined not-spe­cial­ness and uninvit­ing bor­ing­ness? 2. Why do I even care if this site is boring visu­ally? 3. How do I signal that not-special choices are still inten­tional? 4. Why do I feel pres­sure to even indi­cate that my choices are inten­tional? 5. What am I trying to prove?

» . An unnec­es­sary head trip, maybe. But it’s fun to think about.

. On free­lance graphic design projects where visu­ally inter­est­ing is the goal, I’ve gotten com­fort­able saying it’s prob­a­bly not for me. After years of frus­tra­tion on those projects, it feels good to be upfront about that.

» . I don’t see graphic design as one skill anymore, it has subsets.

. These posts will prob­a­bly be getting longer. A major goal of the new site is remov­ing the temp­ta­tion to worry (as much) about widows and lines-per-post. Editing can be a fun chal­lenge, but it’s time-con­sum­ing.»

. A history of the Like button

» . seamful design: “trades ease of use for greater user clarity about how a complex system works.”

» . I see seam­less design as an increas­ing source of anxiety. When the thing breaks (and it will even­tu­ally), then what?


. Track clicks in Google Ana­lyt­ics. For the new site. I think it’s super inter­est­ing to see which links people choose to click.

. Emptied my storage unit. So far this year, I’ve liq­ui­dated enough stuff to fit every­thing I own in 211 ft². (Except my car. And my piano, which is still in Omaha.) Got plenty more min­i­miz­ing to do.

. A con­nec­tion between design and edu­ca­tion: design is proac­tive learn­ing. Research, pro­to­typ­ing, and feed­back are ways of inten­tion­ally finding out: What don’t I know? What isn’t working? How is my per­spec­tive getting in the way?

. When Harry Met Sally: Break­ing Genre Con­ven­tions


. A reli­able (but still mys­te­ri­ous) step of my design process is the day-after. I’ll often go to sleep feeling con­fi­dent, but feel dif­fer­ently in the morning — seeing a new oppor­tu­nity I didn’t see yes­ter­day. Petty cool.

. The selfie paradox: “while people often view their own selfies as ‘ironic’ and ‘authen­tic,’ they are likely to view the selfies of others as self-pro­mo­tional and inau­then­tic.”

. Out­liers Good™

» . There’s a story about Bill Gates as a Lake­side 7th grader in this book, and I’m stoked about that coin­ci­dence.

. White­space (in graphic design) is a clear signal of inten­tion­al­ity — that a design is in place.


. trans­mit­ter ori­en­ta­tion: in Western cul­tures, it’s usually the speaker’s respon­si­bil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate clearly — and if there’s con­fu­sion, it’s their fault. Eastern cul­tures are usually receiver ori­ented.


. Stop iTunes from opening auto­mat­i­cally

. After a money-saving hiatus, reac­ti­vated my Patreon pledges. These people are super moti­vat­ing for me cre­atively, and they deserve my support.

. I Am Not Your Negro

» . “you, the white people, invented him, [and] you’ve got to find out why.… the future of the country depends on that.”

» . Been think­ing about this a lot — the way we assume our per­sonal per­spec­tive is an objec­tive obser­va­tion of reality — when our per­spec­tive is actu­ally a filter that affects what version of reality we can even see.


. The ben­e­fits of chang­ing your mind

» .“a good teacher… retains a clear, com­pas­sion­ate sense of what it was like to be in a dif­fer­ent place to where they are now.”

» . If we can “remem­ber without shame why we were once on the other side of an argu­ment, we’ll acquire the great­est gift for trying to com­mu­ni­cate our ideas to the world: we’ll know what it was like to dis­agree with our­selves”.

. Plantron­ics Back­Beat PRO Wire­less Head­phones

. Will Schoder philosophy/​history/​culture video essays

» . The Problem with Irony

» . Every Story is the Same

. Dan Harmon’s Story Circle. The “need” (the circle’s first step) is a goal.

. LEGO Microscale Farm Equip­ment + Combine


. Aston Grey Shaun boots. Boots feel like another measure of adult­hood. And I finally have Seattle-appro­pri­ate shoes (i.e. that aren’t sponges).

» . Per­sonal project idea: every­day design inter­views about shoes.

. Casual¹ Good™

. Visited Lake­side to tour and they invited me to stay to observe a class (5th graders design­ing toys). It went great, I can totally see myself there, and I got to confirm that I am (maybe more than) qual­i­fied. Without looking for it, this is absolutely an oppor­tu­nity I wanted in my life. Very stoked.

» . I got the impres­sion that they were trying to sell me on the job. Which — after a few months of false starts and dis­cour­ag­ing pro­fes­sional feed­back — feels really good.


. The LEGO Batman Movie Not Great™

» . Watch­ing movies, I’ve started to check out if there’s a crazy-action third act.

. Celtics fans cheer 3-pointer from Paul Pierce (who plays for the Clip­pers) + Quincy Acy buys shoes and gift cards for former team­mates

» . “I just know who I am.… I’m not out there trying to do too much, I stick to the key prin­ci­ples and I embrace it.”

» . I didn’t realize this as a kid, but a reason I’m drawn to hoops is that there’s very little dis­tinc­tion between the person and the athlete: 1.  they don’t wear gear, 2. the court is rel­a­tively small, and 3. there are only 10 people playing at a time.

. Monda type­face. For the new site, maybe. I tend to choose squar­ish (having square fea­tures, but not totally) type­faces for per­sonal projects.

» . I’ve spent an absurd amount of time (2 ½ weeks) search­ing for type for the new site.

. Block Your­self from Ana­lyt­ics Chrome plugin


. Working on this site. Inspi­ra­tion is useful for more than seeing how people have reached similar goals. It’s also useful for artic­u­lat­ing those goals in the first place: 1.  “I want it to feel like… this.” 2. “Why do I like this?” 3. Com­par­ing inspi­ra­tion: “What do all of these things share?”

» . I’ve been using: leohunt​.com, kilmc​.com, susande​jongh​.nl, oak​.is, and a few Esquire pages.

. It’s pos­si­ble that all good class­rooms are a version of the the Matrix — teach­ing stu­dents to see the mech­a­nisms and use them for them­selves.

. 20th Century Women Good™


. Dic­tio­nary Story: In the Begin­ning


. I dis­agree with “you shouldn’t care what other people think”. Being aware of how others inter­pret and respond to you feels healthy (per­son­ally), con­sid­er­ate (inter­per­son­ally), and impor­tant (pro­fes­sion­ally). It’s pos­si­ble to be an inde­pen­dent thinker who also cares, sin­cerely, what other people think.

» . Caring what other people think is a vital part of design­ing: asking-​for/​responding-​to feed­back.

. Scanned 25+ piano/​drum books to PDF, elim­i­nat­ing a whole shelf of phys­i­cal books.

» . In the last six weeks, I’ve cut my book col­lec­tion by 50+ books (a third).


. lying: being both “inac­cu­rate and self-serving” vs. mis­takes (only inac­cu­rate) vs. boast­ing (only self-serving).

» . A lie is a design.

. Lazy: A Man­i­festo

» . “I am not busy. I am the laziest ambi­tious person I know.”

» . “The space and quiet that idle­ness pro­vides is a nec­es­sary con­di­tion for stand­ing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unex­pected con­nec­tions.”

» . This is absolutely where I’m at right now. Free­lanc­ing a few hours a day, working on this site, reading, watch­ing, boxing again, min­i­miz­ing stuff. And gen­er­ally think­ing about the next phase.

. All That We Share

. Amer­i­can Graf­fiti Good™


. 1Writer Mark­down editor app.

» . With the new site, I’ll be able to post/​edit this page with one text file, and I’m super stoked.

» . I love Mark­down. I started using it with Fold­ing­Text, and it fun­da­men­tally changed the way I write, orga­nize, and plan. It’s exactly the right amount of tech inter­fer­ence.

. Polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness vs. polite­ness

. Irony in the Trump era

. How the inter­net became a tool for judg­ment

» . “We could think of judg­ment as the fast food of the inter­net.… [And] the ad-driven, click-driven, gam­i­fied busi­ness model that drives the culture of judg­ment makes fast food the only eco­nom­i­cally viable option.”

» . This busi­ness model makes “the most toxic aspects of con­tem­po­rary inter­net culture — things like ide­o­log­i­cal bubbles or fake news or harass­ment cam­paigns — unfix­able…. From the per­spec­tive of driving user engage­ment, these behav­iors are fea­tures.”

» . I’m not opposed to social media. It’s been great for keeping up with Omaha friends. I check Twitter daily and Insta­gram weekly.


. Moon­light Good™

» . Making sense of (and feeling OK with) our­selves has a lot to do with hearing someone else say they feel the same way — that it’s normal.

» . It’s one of the reasons this site is public.

. I’ve gotten even more con­fi­dent in trust­ing that my feel­ings are an indi­ca­tion of some­thing real — even if I don’t know what that some­thing is right away. I’m rec­og­niz­ing that, with enough time, I’ve been able to resolve many of the most complex reac­tions I’ve had to events in the past.


. When I was younger, I was insulted/​frustrated by clients giving heavy-handed direc­tion. And now I’m like: sweet, thank you, let’s check this thing off the list and move on with our lives.

. Hunt for the Wilder­peo­ple Good™

» . Q: “Don’t you want a normal life?” A: “Don’t know, maybe.”

This website is a foam pit.

January 2017


. Afiado pixel icons. For the new site.

. IcoMoon icon font builder


. Poten­tial design with kids work­shop: pro­to­typ­ing your future with LEGO.


.Trump’s… decep­tions often [do] double duty, serving not just his ego but also impor­tant strate­gic goals.” Real­ness + self­ish­ness + design. The things I think about the most, more wor­ry­ing than ever.


. Kirby file-based CMS.

» . I’m rede­vel­op­ing this site from scratch. This’ll stream­line posting/​editing, which I’m not doing as often as I’d like using Word­Press.

. Another impor­tant moment in my own media lit­er­acy was real­iz­ing that awards com­pe­ti­tions are busi­nesses. That the primary goals of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Arts and the Academy Awards are to sell ads. And that the nominees/​winners might be (prob­a­bly are) influ­enced by how the per­cep­tion of those choices will read.

. Louie⁵ Good™

. It feels a little ridicu­lous to be posting about any­thing but pol­i­tics right now. It’s absolutely on my mind.

» . But it’d be inac­cu­rate to say I’m not think­ing about and doing other things, too.


. Brack­ets code editor

. CSS Ref­er­ence


. Brick Picker LEGO invest­ing guide. If I had a bunch of extra money and space, I’d totally invest in LEGO.

. I spend prob­a­bly 5× as much time reading about the NBA as watch­ing it.

. After all the stress-eating and not-exer­cis­ing this fall, I weigh prob­a­bly (slightly) more now than ever, and I’ve really fallen out of shape. Feeling pretty gross, but working on it.

. LEGO Edu­ca­tion + Foun­da­tion + Ideas job searches. I’d really like to work for this company.


.Don’t be afraid. You can call me.” Cell­phones are such a complex problem: because they’re always on (elec­tron­i­cally and phys­i­cally), we call less, out of fear of inter­rupt­ing.

» . It’s been a major problem since the move. For long dis­tance com­mu­ni­cat­ing, there’s really nothing better/​as-​real.

. Easily print page ranges in InDe­sign


. Added a list of Great™ Books.


. Despite how I feel about graphic design culture, I still love graphic design-ing. There’s maybe nothing else I can spend a whole day totally lost in (like yes­ter­day, with the next version of site).

. cottage cheese + orange mar­malade


. Modern Romance Good™

» . “In a sense we are all like a Flo Rida song: The more time you spend with us, the more you see how special we are.”

» . The whole dating-in-Seattle sit­u­a­tion (i.e. not dating at all) has been way dif­fer­ent than what I imag­ined before the move. Grad school and The Freeze have played a part. But mostly, I’m just really enjoy­ing the soli­tude. (Although that might be chang­ing.)

. Auto-merge mul­ti­ple scans in Pho­to­shop

. Louie⁴ Good™

. Working on a new version of this site. Espe­cially with per­sonal projects, I think a lot about design trans­parency invis­i­bil­ity. 1.  What makes a par­tic­u­lar choice appro­pri­ate enough that the designer’s deci­sion-making isn’t a dis­trac­tion? 2. At what point does a design try too hard (and become visible)? 3. Can invis­i­ble deci­sions still be inter­est­ing? 4. Why is inter­est­ing impor­tant to me at all?

. Fit space-filling type­face


. I tell stu­dents that a solid per­sonal project can really open doors for them. I’m won­der­ing about orga­niz­ing a regular meetup-thing to help them work through a project. Bonus: it’d also keep me con­nected when I’m not teach­ing.

» . Also, longer-term, won­der­ing about a project that’d help people (prob­a­bly kids) iden­tify impor­tant ideas and poten­tial goals for them­selves by finding pat­terns in the things they’re nat­u­rally drawn to (aka Great™s, Plea­sure-Point Analy­sis).

. good self­ish­ness: “an accu­rate under­stand­ing of what we need in order to max­i­mize our utility for others.”

» . Right now, I’m being more inten­tion­ally selfish than maybe ever. And getting a lot out of it.

. I’m not, at all, inter­ested in hus­tling.

. The Founder Not Great™

. Inten­tional Color Use in Movies. Def­i­nitely showing this in class.

. How Louis CK Tells (Designs) a Joke


. Local news reports on Louie

. There are a few recur­ring phrases/​responses I use that I nat­u­rally absorbed from other people through­out my life. And I know exactly who for each. That’s inter­est­ing.

» . One example: the Drew Davies “nailed it”.

. I have a ton (ideal) amount of free time right now, and I’m stoked about it. Getting caught up, getting up earlier, getting in shape, and getting rid of stuff. Just getting ready for whatever’s next.


Met sep­a­rately with three UW Design seniors (Andrea, Maggie, and Josiah) to give feed­back about projects/​jobs post-grad­u­a­tion. It’s been such a plea­sure watch­ing this class mature over the last two years.


. An issue I have with startup and graphic/​UX design cul­tures is the fre­quency of gloss­ing-over, round­ing-off, plucky-sound­track­ing, clever-taglin­ing, flaw­lessly-casu­al­iz­ing, upper-middle-class­ing of… life. So much of it feels obliv­i­ous to how complex things really are.

» . Current exam­ples: KIDBOX, Face­book Live com­mer­cials, Real Friends Fake News shirt.

. My sched­ule is super open (just part-time free­lanc­ing). Not sus­tain­able, but I absolutely love waking up without an alarm, watch­ing TV and reading when­ever I feel like it, going to the gym when it’s empty, and just gen­er­ally pur­su­ing what­ever little project would feel good to check off right now.

. Getting excited about my summer class (265: Intro to VCD). I want to teach it as media lit­er­acy — finding effec­tive (and not) graphic design in the world, reverse engi­neer­ing how it works (or doesn’t), and then apply­ing those prin­ci­ples to some­thing new.


. Why Self-Analy­sis Works

» . “[We] feel… refreshed by… the alchemy of con­vert­ing feel­ings into ideas.”

» . “We take on… the anxiety that arises from admit­ting how many oppor­tu­ni­ties still remain to us and how much the status quo can and must be changed.”

. New Ele­men­tary LEGO parts/​techniques blog

. How to Be a Person in the World Good™

. BX: the bull­shit expe­ri­ence. Trump is a BX designer.

.The process requires a foam pit. The foam pit makes every­thing pos­si­ble.”

» .A class­room is a foam pit. This website is a foam pit.


. 36/37 is the tipping point in my life where, looking back, I’m like, “Dang, things have really changed since I was a kid.”

. Been think­ing about how I’m maybe getting close to missing out on the chance to find a lady and be a dad. I’m not sure I even want these things, but I am won­der­ing about how late would be too late to decide.

» . One reason I’m not on a dating site is that I don’t have many current photos of myself. Is this dumb?

» . I’ve only used online dating for a month, in 2012. It all makes me uncom­fort­able anyway, and I’d rather meet women as a natural part of my life.

» . Also won­der­ing if not getting a regular job is fatally lim­it­ing my chance to do that.

. I’ve kept a col­lec­tion of notes (letters, cards, post-its) from other people (family, friends, teach­ers, ex-girl­friends) that I like to look through some­times (I did today). Despite seri­ously min­i­miz­ing right now, I want to keep these. It’s one of the best tool I have for recon­nect­ing with the past.


. Silent movie prac­ti­cal effects

. Mac­Gyver­ing is a word — and a kind of every­day design.

. Pater­son Not Good™

» . I really can’t stand movies where quirk­i­ness is intended to rep­re­sent real life.

» . I don’t get poetry.

. Sneak­ers Not Great™


. Calling Bull­shit, a (pro­posed) class at UW. The open­ness to this kind of think­ing is why I live in Seattle. So proud.

.just being able to be your­self is prob­a­bly one of the… most valu­able qual­i­ties in any rela­tion­ship.… [Yet,] how much time is spent wishing other people were dif­fer­ent rather than cul­ti­vat­ing a sense of kind­ness towards them as they are”?

. Mini tension bars. Trans­form­ing a wall-mounted towel bar into a remov­able paper towel holder. And IKEA shelf book­ends.

» . Working through little prob­lems like this (phys­i­cally and dig­i­tally) has been fun for as long as I can remem­ber. Also cable man­age­ment.


. Drum­sAny­where + Free­drum. Looking for ways to keep drum­ming in a tiny apart­ment.

. Selling my Roland kit tomor­row. I don’t have the room, and it’s too noisy for apart­ment life anyway. Sad to see it go.

. Is it weird to say to a woman: “If you’re ever single some day, let me know.”?


.as Niet­zsche said, he who does battle with shit­heads must beware that he does not thereby become a shit­head.”

» . I’m getting a lot better at this as I get older. But I’m not there yet (as grad school made clear).

.What matters is you, all alone at your desk at five in the morning… a place where you know who you are and what you’re meant to accom­plish in this life.”

. The Real Story About Fake News Is Par­ti­san­ship

» . Our increas­ing polar­iza­tion cor­re­sponds to the dig­i­tiz­ing of our per­sonal lives (both “start­ing in the 1980s”), and my bet is they’re con­nected.


.[view­points] on the inter­net gain a fright­en­ing echo because they seem unat­tached to any single human being. Unteth­ered, [they seem] endless.”

. Job-wise, I might stick with graphic design free­lance after all. But I’m hoping to focus on straight­for­ward mostly-type layout projects (forms, instruc­tions, books). The stuff I legit­i­mately enjoy doing. (Is this fea­si­ble? No idea.)

» . Anymore (prob­a­bly since the start, really) I’m just not the guy for mostly-image, wow-me-with-this projects.

. What­ever the income-gen­er­a­tor, it’s gotta leave space for teach­ing. This wasn’t a cri­te­ria three months ago. But after 210, I’m sold (again).

» . Why not just teach? Because 1.  the lifestyle of full-time teach­ing (based on what I’ve seen) isn’t at all what I’m working towards, 2. part-time doesn’t pay enough to be a job on its own, and 3. I hate grading.


. Louie³ Good™

. Been getting to a few comics and video-games I’ve col­lected (unread/​unplayed) over the years. There are a lot. Looking back, it’s absurd how much time I expected to have some day for this kind of thing. Another signal of adult­hood.


. emo­tional skep­ti­cism: rec­og­niz­ing that our (and everyone’s) emo­tions influ­ence our logic — that what appears most real is a per­sonal inter­pre­ta­tion.

» . This has been a defin­ing feature of adult­hood for me.

. Jour­nal­ing is super helpful for me. But it’s as helpful in empathiz­ing with how other people inter­act with the world. Every­one is also, always man­ag­ing their own thoughts, feel­ings, goals, and lim­i­ta­tions.

. Still feeling embar­rassed about the last day of 210. But real­iz­ing that being a sen­si­tive guy is what makes me a good teacher in the first place. That helps.


. A tricky part of writing/​sharing stuff here is decid­ing between: 1.  things that are just per­sonal enough (to be valu­able) vs. 2. things that are too per­sonal (and weird).

. What smell means to those who don’t have it

. Incep­tion (and espe­cially the music) is directly con­nected in my mind to my solo vaca­tion to Van­cou­ver (in 2010), when I watched it the first time. Walking around that city lis­ten­ing to that sound­track was pretty special.

» . That trip was the start of this phase of my life. It lead directly to choos­ing UW — and every part of living in Seattle (and leaving Omaha) since. Pretty cool.

» . And I orig­i­nally picked Van­cou­ver because it’s where Smal­l­ville was filmed.

. Truth in Adver­tis­ing

. Fences Good™


.It’s not your life. It’s life. Life is bigger than you… if you can imagine that.”

.Any seem­ingly dull thing is… a com­pos­ite of smaller events or deci­sions. Or of atoms and mol­e­cules and prej­u­dices and hunches…. Every­thing is inter­est­ing because every­thing is not what it is, but is some­thing on the way to being some­thing else. Every­thing has a history and a secret stash of fas­ci­na­tion.” The process.

. Louie² Good™


. Didn’t get the tech company (Fly­wheel) support job. But it’s cool. It was a helpful pro­to­type for testing my feel­ings on bailing out of graphic/​UX design, and I’m ready.

. So stoked The Bach­e­lor is back on the air.


. The root of the word ‘design’ is the Latin word ‘signum’: a mark — which is both 1.  a target (goal) and 2. a visual thing (inten­tional or acci­den­tal). So the con­fus­ing, dual meaning goes way back. Hmm…

. Reading comics, real­iz­ing superheroes/​villains are a useful example of inten­tional color choices (express­ing per­son­al­ity and char­ac­ters’ con­nec­tions to each other).

. My goal is to be in Good™ shape (I wouldn’t main­tain Great™). Cur­rently: Not Great™.

I have some of my clear­est thoughts at the speed/​heavy bags on my solo workout days.

. Rogue One Good™

» . I’m not into Star Wars, but I really like how this movie was engi­neered to dove­tail into Episode I.

» . I’m more of a Space­balls than Star Wars guy.

. Union for Con­tem­po­rary Art Newslet­ter [PDF]. Fin­ished this for Justin + UCA. I’ve always had fun with this kind of project: fig­ur­ing out how exist­ing ele­ments can work within fresh lim­i­ta­tions.

» . In high school, I wrote Chapter 2 ½ (between exist­ing chap­ters 2 and 3) of A Lost Lady, and I have really clear mem­o­ries of enjoy­ing that.


.play > display

. Spent the hol­i­days in Seattle again. I enjoy parties/​obligations (the move wasn’t a plan to escape, exactly). But I really do prefer having holiday time to myself.

. Louie¹ Good™

. The 13 Clocks Good™

. Green Room Not Great™

. I’ve mostly ignored Tasks.txt for two weeks, and that’s been awesome.

Journal index201720162015