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05.16.2022 - The One with the Covid

journal 2 min read

After 26 months of pandemic life, I finally encountered the mighty Covid. Thankfully, I've been vaccinated and boosted. So while my bout hasn't been the symptomless walk-in-the-park many others have enjoyed, it certainly hasn't been the worst illness I've ever experienced.

It all started with a sore throat. Coughing. Fatigue. Lots of fatigue. Then came a fever. By day three, I couldn't concentrate for more than a few minutes. I tried and failed multiple times to watch a new show, always resorting back to familiar sitcoms that made no demands of my attention or focus. (The title of this post

Remembering My History with the TV Sitcom Wings 25 Years After its Final Flight

Video video 8 min read

On May 21, 1997, the tv sitcom Wings aired its final episode.

As strange as it may sound, discovering that show proved to be the beginning of a lifelong adventure. Together with my interest in computers, the emergence of the internet, and a desire to create, Wings helped jumpstart my career.

I explain it all in the video above, but here's a recap.

In early 1994, I started watching Wings by accident. It aired in syndication immediately before my favorite show, Quantum Leap. I'd occasionally flip on the television early, putzing about my dorm room, and I'd catch bits of

Getting Serious(er) About Flight

life 6 min read Getting Serious(er) About Flight

Flying planes has always been a dream of mine.

To adventure. To exist in a cloud. To chase a rainbow. To marvel at the machinery of invention. To reminisce of the pioneers who took to the skies with inferior technology and daring bravado.  To be reminded of the power of science to not only educate by conquer.

There is risk. Awe. Freedom. Camaraderie. But there is also technology. Simple physics. Complex physics. Data. When your interests run broader than deep, these multifaceted topics always carry an allure.

All romance aside, it is still a dream, and one I've not pursued

Judging LightSwitch Video's STEM-focused Filmmaking Grant

news 3 min read Lightswitch Video Film Grant

Toward the end of 2021, a friend and former coworker reached out with an interesting opportunity. His company, Lightswitch Video, had been working to create a grant for aspiring filmmakers in the city of Chicago. He and I had spoken previously about my goals with Streetlamp Media, and he asked if I wanted to be a judge for the grant contest.

The goal of the initiative was as follows:

The Full STEM Ahead Filmmaker’s Initiative is a first-year initiative launched by Lightswitch that is designed to not only encourage STEM education and careers in STEM but to also cultivate

My First Studio Test

video 1 min read

I recently rented a space to work, to make videos, to shoot green screen and mocap footage. It's a place where I can set up my filmmaking gear without needing to disassemble every night when I'm done. Plus it frees up some space in my home office.

I have plenty of ideas for how to use the space creatively and how to use it for my various businesses, but, on the most basic level, it's a space to learn and experiment.

The first true output: this sneak peek test video. I'm thrilled by the way it turned out. After a

A New Look for New Plans

news 3 min read A New Look for New Plans

As of today, I've got a new look for the website. It's very much a work in progress.

As someone who loves exploring design tools and development platforms, my personal website is often the guinea pig for my experimentation. (Here I'd like to register my apologies to guinea pigs for the reference and mistreatment).

My previous site was built using Webflow, which is a fantastic no-code tool that gives development control to designers. As a former developer, this felt like cheating, and I never had the control I wanted over certain styles and blah blah blah, but it reduces much

02.27.2022 - Scrolling in the Scriptorium

journal 1 min read

Today I'm listening to an audiobook of The Swerve, which I find delightful and informative. The opening chapters deal at length with old manuscripts and the monks who copied them in the fifteen century. I came across a brilliant bit of wordplay, but first, to set the scene:

In charge of the scriptorium was the person on whom Poggio and the other book hunters would have focused their most seductive blandishments: the monastery's librarian. This important figure would have been accustomed to extravagant courtship, for he was responsible for providing all of the equipment that was required for the copying of the manuscripts: pens, ink, and penknives whose precise merits or defects would become overwhelmingly obvious to the laboring scribe after a few hours at the day's task. The librarian could, if he wished, make a scribe's life miserable or, alternatively, provide a favorite with particularly fine tools. Those tools also included rulers, awls (to make tiny holes for ruling the lines evenly), fine-pointed metal pens for drawing the lines, reading frames to hold the book to be copied, weights to keep the pages from turning. For manuscripts that were to be illuminated, there were still other specialized tools and materials.

After this illustration of life in the monastic library, we get a delightful bit of history that ends with a connection I hadn't made in the past.

Most books in the ancient world took the form of scrolls like the Torah scrolls that Jews use in their services to this day-but by the fourth century Christians had almost completely opted for a different format, the codex, from which our familiar books derive. The codex has the huge advantage of being far easier for readers to find their way about in: the text can be conveniently paginated and indexed, and the pages can be turned quickly to the desired place. Not until the invention of the computer, with its superior search functions, could a serious challenge be mounted to the codex's magnificently simple and flexible format. Only now have we begun once again to speak of "scrolling" through a text.

And that's today's moment of delight.

02.24.2022

journal 1 min read

Today, Russia invaded Ukraine. This quote, from Anne Applebaum's Twilight of Democracy surfaced in my notes. As we watch another Authoritarian regime attempt to destroy and occupy an independent, democratic nation, as we remain hopeful the western world can work together to undermine the effort, the quote seems fitting.

To some, the precariousness of the current moment seems frightening, and yet this uncertainty has always been there. The liberalism of John Stuart Mill, Thomas Jefferson, or Václav Havel never promised anything permanent. The checks and balances of Western constitutional democracies never guaranteed stability. Liberal democracies always demanded things from citizens: participation, argument, effort, struggle. They always required some tolerance for cacophony and chaos, as well as some willingness to push back at the people who create cacophony and chaos. They always acknowledged the possibility of failure—a failure that would change plans, alter lives, break up families. We always knew, or should have known, that history could once again reach into our private lives and rearrange them. We always knew, or should have known, that alternative visions of our nations would try to draw us in. But maybe, picking our way through the darkness, we will find that together we can resist them.

#amreading

'This Bright Future: A Memoir' by Bobby Hall
'Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying' by Wolfgang Langewiesche
'A Desolation Called Peace' by Arkady Martine

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