Tonight I made some coffee at 8:05pm and headed out the kitchen door, across the back yard, jumped over the hulu hoop lying on the ground (didn’t even spill the coffee), and walked into my home office (a converted garage).
I fired up the MBP, opened Mail, grabbed some new hosting credentials (thank you @NevinLyne & Arcustech), and settled in for an evening of moving servers and light front-end work. Now its 12:30am, the caffeine power has worn off, and instead of going to bed, I’m blogging for my own amusement.
It reminds me of work I did over a decade ago. So much as changed, yet so little as changed. The tools have certainly improved, but its still all file transfers and HTML/CSS when it comes down to it. Tonight’s new trick was setting up an SSH funnel to an MySQL db in SequelPro after trashing an attempt to install phpMyAdmin because I hated the docs.
It was fun.
It is fun.
Somehow over the last decade I’d forgotten the fun of it. I wish I had some magic advice to convey about “discovering the fun” again. But I don’t. It just happened.
Will it be fun tomorrow? I don’t care. It was fun tonight and that’s plenty.
I’ve called Laura five times but she hasn’t answered. I need to coordinate a business trip to Portland by noon and I need to talk to her.
She left ten minutes ago, but she’s walking with the kids to the acupuncturist’s new office. I’m not sure where that is, but I know the direction. If I leave now, drive to the park, and run from there I can catch her when she reaches the river (I hope).
A minute later, I pull the Subaru Outback into the park and spot the red Ergo that holds my 3-month-old son bouncing on my wife’s back. Laura is pushing the empty stroller across the footbridge while my daughters (7 and 3) are running ahead of her laughing. I lock the car and start jogging.
July, it seems, is the time of year when I get quiet online. I’ve been trying to stay a little bit active on Twitter so I don’t disappear completely, but still, I’m mostly concentrating on my new work and enjoying my new son.
In that sense, July feels like the Wednesday of the year. Its the time I have to push through to get the part of the week I want to get to.
It also muddles the writing. What were we talking about?
The new work.
I’m not ready to talk about it publicly just yet but the short version is that I’m having a grand time. I’m busy rescuing one company and starting a new one with a friend of mine. This is the time to not say more about the work but instead continue doing it.
Happy July! Wednesday!
Wait, its Friday?
Want to see one of the more progressive portrayals of women in a blockbuster movie this year? Then go see Iron Man 3…. According to director Shane Black, this script-flipping wasn’t an accident, but rather a deliberate attempt to address the stereotypes faced by female characters in film….
This is easily one of the best and smartest things (arguably the only smart thing) about Iron Man 3. The way Pepper and Maya work as female characters is out of the ordinary. I say that as an old school comic book collector who left comics for years and the resurgence of comic book hero films has me marveling at the progress at least some part of the comics industry has made.
Now that I have two daughters, I am actively looking for examples where the woman isn't just the romantic interest, especially the "damsel in distress."
“It was important, especially to take the curse off the damsel in distress thing,” Black told Wired. “I have a hankering for empowered females trashing stuff.” - Shane Black, Director Iron Man 3
Wired also introduced me to the Bechdel Test, which I'd never heard of.
The Bechdel test is used to identify gender bias in fiction. A work passes the test if it features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. Commentators have noted that a great proportion of contemporary works fail to pass this threshold of representing women.
I will be testing every movie I see against the Bechdel test from here on out.
Laura Hudson goes into a lot more detail, a must read in my opinion (at least if you love comics, movies, or care about how daughters grow up).
Source: How Iron Man 3 Flipped the Script on Female Characters by Laura Hudson
You acquire power because you are kind, smart, and great with people which is a rare combination, especially in software. When you find high-level opportunities that require those three you will be in competition with nobody. - Penelope Trunk
It’s true, I am those three things. My strength is being kind in a way that brings out the best in people and then helping them translate that into something with business value that changes lives.
What made me sad is that Penelope was emphatic that this combination was rare. We talked about it specifically at length, comparing and contrasting experiences. I trust that Penelope knows what she is talking about.
I don’t bring this up to pat myself on the back, but because I want to highlight something important. Kindness is a legitimate career skill that the best in the industry hire for. There is zero cynicism in that statement. You can’t fake kindness, you have to be genuine in its application.
Because kindness is currently in short supply, you now have a unique opportunity to improve yourself and your business by doing something simple. The only requirement is that you put someone before yourself.
If you are skilled and talented, the next time you reach for an “industry” book to get better at your CHOPS, instead take out a piece of paper and write down three names. Ask yourself, “what can I do that will only take 10 minutes to make their lives better?” Then do it for at least one of them.
Practice kindness. Develop empathy. There is a real felt need for talented, smart people that are capable of enriching peoples lives for the sake of it. In the end, it will also make you a better web professional because you will subconsciously translate this posture toward the world into the way you make things.
You can’t learn this from a book, you can only learn it by doing. You can make kindness every bit as much as anything else. Kindness is not something that should be rare, make more. Please.
It doesn’t take any special technology or know-how to simply choose to not spend that money you could be saving [emphasis mine]. All it takes is will-power and discipline, and the foresight to know you will thank yourself down the road when you need to rest peacefully on that cushion when your circumstances take a turn.
Laura, my amazing and incredible wife, talks about how we setup our emergency fund that I mentioned in my Don’t Panic post. You can read the details as well as find some good resources for doing the same over on her blog.
You didn’t know Laura had a blog? Now you do. It’s pretty awesome. Ask her anything, she’ll help find an answer.
April marks the start of month five since leaving my job. Here is a rundown of what took place in the space of a few short days.
At this point I was still okay. That’s a rough week, but let’s face it: Doing your own thing is hard and you never know what’s going to happen. Client falls through? That ain’t nothing. Get your sales hat on and make some calls. Writers block is annoying but it will pass. Still, that’s a lot of unpleasant professional news for two days. And then add cancer to the mix and it starts to get depressing.
Turns out the week was just getting started.
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
by John Donne
Today I wasn’t sure what to post about Easter but I knew something needed to spill out onto the blog. My friend Marc sent this poem to me and I knew this was it. This was the first poem I remember from my Honors English Literature class in high school. I count Death, be not proud among the literary works that opened my mind and heart to just what words could do.
I am profoundly thankful to be a follower of Jesus Christ, to accept his death as my own and to take part in his resurrection. I don’t talk about this publicly that much, but my relationship with Jesus defines me above all else. And on the day we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, the day that seals Death’s fate and my own, I wanted to say it in this space. Here’s to life and life to the fullest. Amen.
If you’re interested in learning more about design, creativity, and business, here are three blogs I heartily recommend.
Focus Lab Blog: Erik Reagan and Bill Kenney do compelling work and share how its done. They work in a way that makes everyone better.
Happy Cog’s Cognition: You probably read Happy Cog founder’s Jeffery Zeldman on a regular basis, but did you know that the entire Happy Cog team blogs on a regular basis too? Lately I’ve been enjoying Yesenia Perez-Cruz’s writing on the design process, such as One Hand Washes the Other.
PETESENA: Thoughts on Digital: Pete is a friend of mine and the co-founder of Digital Surgeons. If I had just one word to describe Pete, it would be “passionate” and that, I think is understated. The guy is a bundle of energy and you just can’t help but enjoy his writing and his work. Plus, as an avid gamer, I love that his team handles some of the creative business work on Infinity Blade and Gears of War 3.
For atheists, absorption predicted increased preference for video games, and an even further reduced preference for tabletop games. For other students, including both religious believers and agnostics, capacity for absorption didn’t affect game preference one way or another… self-identified atheists preferred video games because those types of games didn’t require them to construct vivid imaginary worlds.
Connor Wood’s Video games: they have what atheists need dissects the pay-to-read research paper, No Other Gods Before Mario?: Game Preferences Among Atheistic and Religious Individuals.
I’m tempted to pay the $37 to read the original research but Connor’s report is worth the read all by itself. The basic premise is that the atheist simply doesn’t want to (or can’t) live in a vivid imaginary worlds even when the premise is clearly one of fantasy and not a proposed theological truth.
Most of the people I game with (tabletop, RPG, and video games) aren’t Christian, but most are believers in something or at least agnostic. I’m definitely going to see what they think.