December 2009 Archives

December 28, 2009

Every Day the Same Dream

Lately I’ve been encountering some cool flash puzzles. Some, like Continuity are modern takes on the traditional game, while others like this one are more of an interactive story.


@fru was sad after playing this one. I think it’s pretty apt for a Monday—even if we are on holiday.

December 26, 2009

11 U.S. Presidents, but only 1 Queen

/via metafilter

It’s amazing to think that one political figure has been around for 12 U.S. Presidents (although she was unable to officially meet one). For that alone—God Save the Queen!

Jigsaw Sunset

/via Noe’s flickr photostream

Even cooler when you know the person that does it. :)

"I definitely play more games I don't enjoy than games I do."

/via metafilter

A 24-year old stay-at-home mom has a hobby of gaming. And by gaming I mean spending a ridiculous amount of time and money on the achievement points that Xbox Live offers. I have about 5,000 points; she has over 165,000. Wow.

U.S. rights activist crosses into North Korea: Reuters

/via @eastwestpage

I think, like Jodi, my initial feeling about this is “yet another nutjob… and why is the media making note of this?”

But by removing the religious extremist element from the picture, I find myself really admiring this guy’s courage and willingness to sacrifice himself for change—something that I’ve written about before. His action, in this light, is the epitome of true protest.

So here’s something to ponder: How many Korean Americans (nutjob or otherwise) would it take to do this before it influenced the situation in any way whatsoever? How many Korean Americans would need to go before it was picked up (and most likely supported) by those protest-loving South Korean activists? How many South Korean and Korean American activists would it take before North Korea was forced to respond—even if the US or South Korea did not?

Improving Self and Image

All my life, I’ve been sensitive to how people perceive me. In fact, much of my personality can be attributed to one habit I’ve had as long as I remember: wondering what other people saw when they looked at me.

My self-esteem has been completely built on the success of this calculated presentation. And while everyone makes a few false judgments on how they are viewed, In general I’ve found myself happy with the consistency I’ve had at providing others with what manifestation of me works best for them.

2009 sent me reeling from some pretty heavy blows regarding my public image, and ultimately I have come to question who in this world is worthy of my trust—myself included. Am I really all that I present myself to be? Are the opinions of others really who I am? Where does opinion become fact, and how does objectivity apply in something as subjective as self?

As a result, I am seriously considering generating a separate method for receiving input about myself, in the hopes that it will reinforce or call into question my existing system of evaluation. If that works well, it could prevent some of the nasty blindesides I’ve gotten in the past year or so.

To be honest, I am coming to terms with who I am. I am smart, but I am slow; I am insightful yet forgetful, and I’m an open-minded skeptic. I think these traits, when recognized, become some of my most defining features. I hope to build my future improving myself based on external data rather than placate the world with a popular mask.

How do you go about auditing your street cred? What tools or activities give you insight to your public reptutation?

Grafitti from Pompeii

A fun read. It would seem the more things change, the more they remain the same.

/via @dgroundsel

December 21, 2009

The Psychology of Snow Management

Snow Removal Royal Oak Style

Image by Rooey202 via Flickr

As everyone has already tweeted about, the eastern seaboard got a fair bit of snow over the weekend. It’s all over now, but there are many questions that remain:

  • Road Protocol: What is the method for choosing which roads get attention first?
  • Pedestrian Value: Obviously the suburbs don’t care for pedestrian travel, but in the tighter, urban, walkable areas… what happens to sidewalks, paths and trails in a snowstorm? It would seem the sidewalks connected to condominiums were the only ones that were maintained in Bethesda (outside of the shopping district).
  • Schnowdenfreude: Is there any level of pleasure/sadness gained by snow removal personnel from their job? What about when their work assists/undoes the work of others? What about instances when someone’s inactivity prevents them from a complete job?
  • Where does it go? Last night a dozen dump trucks were loaded with removed snow… where does all that white stuff go?
  • Moving Glaciers: What is the mindset of the person who cleans their car off completely? The person who leaves a huge mound of snow on their roof?

Even in the most mundane things, we can discover so much about a culture, a person, a way of thinking. So before you think this post completely useless: what question above would not be useful to improving user experience—not just in product design but specifically in website/interface improvement and application development?

December 15, 2009

(vimeo) Metal on Metal "BASTARD"

A music video with a scathing (though valid) assessment of society. History repeats itself; yesterday’s bread and circuses have resurfaced as today’s cut-throat capitalism and reality television.

Probably would not have ever seen this, but found while cruising juststuffifind and clicked because anything that has table tennis (and especially women’s table tennis) I’m watching. :)

December 14, 2009

Defining moments


Today some old(er) dude I know stopped by during his daily wanderings and randomly started talking about nothing in particular (anyone who works with me should immediately know who this is). This dude may or may not be the first boss I had in this building, just about a decade ago. Outside of the usual banter, we happened across an interesting discussion.

What life experience do you look back upon that signaled your transition from childhood into adulthood?

He asked me if turning 30 was hard, and I said no. I've always sorta felt like an old man anyways, so every year I become more comfortable and at peace with self. He found that interesting, so he told this story (I'm paraphrasing):

I grew up in Florida, and where I lived was near this canal--called Haulover Cut--that connected the bay and the ocean [...] there's a bridge there where people committed suicide--we used to jump off that thing for fun!--and we'd fish and swim there when I was a kid... I'm sure it's changed a lot since then but anyway... If you swam out of the canal a bit the ocean current would catch you pull you out [...] so we'd swim parallel to the current and got out on the shoreline a ways down and make your way back up.

[...] I remember I was just about to go to junior college, I had gotten a job working at the local paper. I drove over and put on my snorkel and fins [...] I swam out and the current took me and I just cruised along--you didn't even need to swim the current was so strong--over the rocks and around the jetty until I got onto the shore, took my gear off, walked back, and did it a couple more times. Then I threw my gear into the car and left; but for some reason, after all these years, I still look back at that as maybe my last childhood action. After that I went to work, went to school, did other grownup stuff. But I always think back to that as my last childhood experience.

Continue reading Defining moments.

December 13, 2009

(YouTube) The TV Show

Excellent animated video by Kousuke Sugimoto. Great fun. Do yourself a favor and watch this at full screen.

found via metafilter.

December 12, 2009

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

I don’t believe in teaching kids to believe in lies, but I’m also not a fan of stealing imagination from the youth. Well played, The Sun; well played.

/via @dgroundsel

Nice People

In trying times, our greatest hope resides in the compassion we share. found here: via @sethw

December 11, 2009

Love is better than a ring

Several things here:

  • the suggestion (threat?) of someone that they may get married soon
  • the arrival of a ring on the finger of another someone
  • the silent removal of an engagement ring on the finger of a third

see filename

Image via Wikipedia

Lately I’ve been chastised for my lackluster responses to people’s proclamations about love and marriage. Well, I can’t be more excited than I feel. If someone were to actually ask, “Bryan, how do you feel about this?” I’d say, “Meh.”

Marriage is overblown. Trust me; I’m a happily married guy, and I know from experience. Allow me to explain.

Continue reading Love is better than a ring.

December 9, 2009

Thankful for these

yours truly, my uncle, and my cousin @froggyjumps

thanksgiving weekend was great. :)

December 7, 2009

New leaders need dead formats?

Photo © by Jeff Dean.

Image via Wikipedia

Recently had a playful argument with an old friend who was being coerced into joining twitter (she since caved, but has yet to tweet under her moniker, @alimmila. 

I told her she'd probably hate twitter, and I think I'll end up being right. She teaches photography at a local college, and she talks about how she ensures that some part of the semester is covers not just concepts and composition but retells in full splendor the wonders of film, the darkroom, and all that jazz. I say that's a waste of time. 

I worked a year in my school's photo lab. I developed two rolls of film per week for nearly two years. I loved it fiercely, but those days are gone. There are no more darkrooms; there are developing and processing machines that do all that in the space of a water heater. In the same way that the computer went from a building to the square on your lap, progress means things change. 

In the same way that I do not recommend new programmers understand the tape processing of the computers of 30 years ago, I don't think it necessary to explain to a photographer the nuances of the original crop tool. Teach the concepts. Let talent and skill be honed in the current medium, creating the passion that inspires a practitioner to dredge up and discover the past; become immersed in a forgotten culture--we must let past things die before they can become retro. If we don't, the romance will surely wear thin.

Look at the greats. See the pattern of their skill. Interpret that in your new medium--be it digital photography or retweeting--and do it well. New leaders don't need dead formats.
Continue reading New leaders need dead formats?.

December 6, 2009

(YouTube) Your Brain at Work

I’m about 1/3 through… what do you think?

December 3, 2009

Looking through the Phoniness


While I was in Korea, I made it a point to buy glasses. Glasses are cheap in Korea, and I bought three trendy frames for about $15. I had one pair's plastic lenses taken out and replaced with tinted glass, changing them to sunglasses; the others stayed as is.

That's right, none of these glasses are perscription; all are completely cosmetic.

I first started wearing fake glasses when I lived in Korea. I've talked about this before.

This time around I felt a lot less concerned about them appearing real. These glasses are straight up ridiculous, and I know it. As soon as someone new mentions them, I mention they're fake. Why? I guess I'm comfortable with being phony.

Admit it--there are so many things we do that are completely and truly hollow fronts to portray something that we are not. We put on nooses ties, we user our blinker when a cop is nearby, we call out ideologies and mantras on twitter and like things we don't care about on facebook.

Maybe I've taken influence from The Comedian, who saw life's hypocrisy and wore it out for all to see. Perhaps I've just become more confident in self independent of appearance. At any rate, I'm wearing my phoniness on my sleeve.

And by "sleeve" I mean my face.

December 1, 2009

(YouTube) Piano Stairs

You CAN change behaviors by making things fun, because fun is a value and people want to add value to their lives. Where can you add value to the world around you?