Archive for November, 2016

My Life in 2016

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

I get to do amazing things in life. I should probably write them down. As I was doing this, I was rather astounded how busy a year can be. Especially in realizing that these were only the big highlights. This doesn’t reflect all the little day-to-day stuff and in-town events that I’d consider just as important, on the whole.

In January

I got to travel to New York. I went there because Lara Schenck was throwing a CodePen holiday party and I really wanted to be at it. New York has had a number of really fun CodePen Meetups, and this was a great way to celebrate that. While I was in town, I also got to speak at BrooklynJS, which is just one of many very successful home-grown JavaScript-focused meetups that happen in New York.

In February

In February I drove from Milwaukee to Washington DC in order to pack up my then-girlfriend Miranda’s house and move back to Milwaukee to live with me!

I also joined CrossFit for the first time, which I’ve kept with pretty strongly throughout the year.

In March

I went to Tampa, Florida for our first-ever CodePen all-team get-together. That is, after we hired all the people we intended to hire after our first round of funding.

I also traveled to San Fransico where I was invited to MC a conference for the first time. The conference was Clarity, a conference entirely focused on style guides. I stuck around to attend the SND conference as well. Both of them were very interesting and outside of my normal all-web focused conferences.

In April

I traveled to Columbia, South Carolina for the ConvergeSE conference. Converge is a fun conference in that it really give you a chance to bounce around Columbia and get to know it. I’ve gone to this one a bunch of times. This one was a bit special in that it was the second time we got some CodePen teammates together to share an AirBnB house all together. We rented the same exact house 2 years in a row, and the year previous is when the idea to take funding for CodePen was born.

Miranda came with me to Converge, and right after that, we flew up to Juneau, Alaska to visit some friends who were moving away and we wanted to see one more time while they were there. Like the first time I went, it was absolutely amazing and made me love Alaska even more than I already did.

In May

We didn’t do an awful lot of traveling. Which is awesome, because that means we were just soaking in life in Milwaukee in summer. We went to the letterpress shop a bunch. We camped the last weekend in Lake Geneva at a sheep dog trial competition.

In June

We didn’t get to relax nearly as much. The first weekend we spent camping in Eau Claire, Wisconsin at the Blue Ox music festival. The next weekend we camped in Door County for the beer festival there. The next weekend I traveled to Pittsburg for Web Design Day and had to scuttle back home quick for my cousin’s wedding.

In July

My mom turned 60 and we threw a party. I hopped down to New Orleans for my friends bachelor party. Then we had a few nice weeks at home before Miranda’s parents arrived and we went on a family vacation to Crooked Lake in North East Indiana.

In August

We took an easy trip down to Chicago to see Pearl Jam and then attend a CodePen Meetup later in the week. Came home and turned right back around the next weekend for a wedding in Chicago.

My book Practical SVG was published in August as well.

In September

We did a long camping trip to North Carolina, starting at the Hoppin’ John Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddlers Convention. Then we spent a few days at air AirBnB in Hendersonville before giving that up to camp some more along the Old Broad river in Asheville. But before leaving, we went for a nice hike in DuPont State Forest and GOT ENGAGED (woot!). Leaving North Carolina was weird as it was during an unexpected gas shortage. It was actually rather hard to find gas, but it was clearning up just as we were leaving.

In October

We took a trip to Orlando for the special An Event Apart conference there. My first time at Disney. Miranda has family there, so we got to spend some time with them. Miranda had also just landed a job at FIU and took the opportunity to head down to Miami and kick that off.

We also got trapped in Orlando (right at the Contemporary) for a number of extra days because of Hurricane Matthew. My family back home had bought tickets for everyone to see The Book of Mormon, but we missed it because of the cancelled flights.

October stayed busy for me, with a trip to San Antonio, Texas for CSS Dev Conf and a trip to Bentonville, Arkansas for Made By Few.

In November

We up and moved to Miami (just for the winter, but who knows).

Then as soon as we got there, we hopped on a plane to spend Thanksgiving with Miranda’s parents in Los Angeles. We spend Thanksgiving itself on Santa Catalina Island.

In December

Well, December hasn’t started yet as I write this, so who knows what will happen, but the plan is to keep it pretty light. We originally planned to drive back to Wisconsin for xmas, which we still might, but between the stress, time, and cost of travel, with might just have to stay down here and have a little tropical holiday for ourselves.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

I bought this game for PS4. I played it for about 30 minutes before I was like… this is absolutely beautiful and haunting, but I’m already frustrated. It’s kinda like a harder/creepier Firewatch.

The game literally warns you at the start that it will not be holding your hand. You just walk around and explore and there is occasionally there are things you interact with. You can’t die, there is no fighting, there isn’t even any other living creature hopping about. But you can accidentally go too far ahead to the point there isn’t anything for you to do there yet and have to walk pretty far back.

The reason I was frustrated was nobody’s fault but mine. I just don’t have that good “video game sense” that you have when you are an actual gamer. Where you see something on screen that you just kinda know is important.

So I did the thing that everybody does, google for a walkthrough. Figuring I’d at least get some help through the early bits and then get some momentum of my own. But instead I found this:

I can just watch someone else play it! I’ve probably mentioned this many times before, but I prefer that anyway. I used to think that was slightly weird until Twitch became a billion dollar thing.

So I sucked down all five parts to Cryaotic’s series. I found it completely satisfying. No need for me to hold the controller and deal with frustration. Instead I can watch it all unfold and relax. Apparently this dude is mega popular. I can see it. He’s very prolific and mostly-soothing.

I wonder if the game makers like or dislike this kind of thing. How do they make any money if I can just watch for free? Or maybe it’s excellent marketing?

“Milwaukee Sucks For Startups”

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Good writing by Bryant Randall, responding to Wisconsin being “dead last”, again, for startups.. Some choice quotes:

On paper, I’m everything the city says it wants. Every opportunity afforded to me, diverse, I grew up affluent, college educated, with good credit and a head full of market vetted ideas – yet I can get nowhere in this city.

There should be a clearly defined, easy to replicate path that anyone with an idea, from any background, with disregard to their station in life and means, can submit that idea and have it considered for funding on merit alone. We don’t have that and we never have.

Milwaukee doesn’t need another bar, or froyo shack or nail salon paying low skilled people low incomes. They need new legacy companies and people with those ideas are leaving in droves

I don’t disagree on any particular point, although I haven’t lived it nearly as closely as Bryant has. What I would add…