It’s a me!


A few weeks ago, I got an email from a reporter at the Willamette Week, asking if I was open to an interview before MetaFilter's 12 anniversary and I said sure. Then I got a note that a photographer would pop in during our interview and take a few shots. Then hey, you're done and have time, do you mind standing in front of this makeshift studio backdrop for a few more photos? We might use them next to the story. It won't be on the cover or anything. Ok, we need to ask a few more questions, the story just got lengthened. 

Then last night I got an email saying that my photo did end up being on the cover.

Here's the story on the Willamette Week's site. I like how it turned out (aside from calling my friend Anil, Neil, but they said they'd fix it) and it was fun to do.

Today I sat in a coffee shop and got interviewed for a research project by someone that had a copy of this on the table and it freaked me out to stare at myself the whole time.

Things that suck about a cast

image from

– You probably remember a kid in your second grade class falling off the monkey bars right before school let out for the summer and how that kid's entire summer was ruined. Turns out at age 38 that's also true. I had tons of bike rides planned, a trip to the beach, a new waterpark opened in town, and I was hoping to swim at the Great Barrier Reef next month. I just cancled two long bike tours I reserved months ago. My summer: ruined.

– Typing sucks. Not impossible, but if you thought you'd have plenty of time to write while you try not to sweat in your new cast, you're in for a surprise.

– It's pretty much impossible to use a standard xbox360 controller with a left thumb locked in position. That was another way I thought I might pass time I'd otherwise be riding a bike in full health.

– A few months ago I finally up and decided to dress like a grownup for the rest of my life. Today before getting the cast off I had to take off a nice shirt I was wearing over a tshirt for fear I'd have to cut it off to get around the cast. Today's the first day in months that I've walked around as a 38 year old man wearing a tshirt in public and I feel both somewhat naked being so underdressed and I know I look like a complete slob without a nice shirt on. I can't believe how quickly I got used to nicer clothes and how I spent the last 30+ years of my life just wearing a tshirt and shorts or jeans every day in public. At least I wasn't the most underdressed while running errands today, there were 40-something dudes wearing tank tops.

– Given I tore some ligaments and didn't break the bone, healing means a slow process with therapy and my wrist probably won't ever be pain free afterwards. Surgery would make it worse, clogging my wrist with scar tissue that would restrict my range of motion. The whole diganosis for recovery reminded me of Louie CK's bum ankle and how sometimes parts of our bodies just never get any better:



Weird ringtones

I've noticed over the past few months at least three instances of someone's phone going off and playing a really odd song, something completely unexpected. In no particular order, they are:

  • ~60 year old male. He was a carpenter measuring for bookshelves, suddenly the chorus from Michael Jackson's Billie Jean starts playing. 
  • late 30s male, construction worker, building a house. Phone goes off with a jazz classic I've heard millions of times but can't name. Take the A train perhaps?
  • mid-60s woman at a restaurant with her husband having dinner in the next booth. Silence was broken by Who Let The Dogs Out. Let me repeat that. The silence was broken in a restaurant when someone's grandmother (possibly great-grandmother) had their phone play Who Let The Dogs Out very loudly.

In every case I'm left with the obvious questions of What the hell? Why that song out of every song ever recorded? and Do people even buy ringtones anymore? 

Google’s new design swagger

I can't help but notice over the last few days how great Google's suite of apps is looking these days. Though the top black bar threw me for a loop at first, I got used to it after a day and now that I've tried the new Gmail theme designs, as well as the new Google Plus, I'm kind of amazed at how well everything looks, works, and feels. It's kind of like that euphoric feeling the week after a new major OS update comes out for your favorite computer and everything just works better.

People thought it was Google hiring original Macintosh designer Andy Hertzfeld, but he set the record straight that his role was small and it was a whole team of great designers.

Here's my pet hypothesis: A bunch of designers at Google figured out a way to make their user testing reveal the benefits of better looking apps, sites, and pages. I don't know how they did it, either by honestly sharing better looking apps or subterfuge, either way I don't care because I love the end result and it's something I never thought in a million years would happen, but Google products suddenly look well-designed.