The personal website of Chris Coyier

Archive for January, 2020

Call to Action

Friday, January 24th, 2020

Just a reminder that you can do all the sales hustle you want, but if you don’t put a phone number on your notecard call to action on your website you probably won’t make many sales.

The Hulk Summary

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

This is great writing advice from… I guess it’s both Knut Melvær & Even Westvang as they are both listed as authors on the post.

… channel your inner Hulk voice … and use it to describe whatever you need to get writing on. Hammer down that shift key (caps lock is a cop-out) and type max 4 words for each bullet to capture the core sentiment of what you’re arguing.

Perhaps the worst mistake you can make in writing is not getting to the point. So do this first, make sure the point is painfully obvious, then smooth out the writing but don’t lose the clarity.

I’d say you could do this with existing writing too. If you’ve already written something, write a Hulk Summary for it. Is that better than the article itself? Fix it.

Gambler 500

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

This event is so cool.

It’s a “bad-ass outdoor protection gang”.

I haven’t actually done it, but I’ve seen all the crazy cars around her when it’s going on. I’d love to one day.

List of Actually Good Kids Shows

Monday, January 6th, 2020

We put on Gravity Falls the other day from Disney+ (Miranda said she heard it was good). It was good. Ruby even seemed to like it (she’s just 2). I mentioned it on Twitter, remarking I wished more kids shows were this good (there is so much bad) and I got a pile of recommendations. Noting here for posterity.

I haven’t watched most of those, but the endorsements seemed genuine and enthusiastic, so I’m optimistic.

Country, Bluegrass, and Flour

Sunday, January 5th, 2020

I always thought it was a fun thing that Flatt and Scruggs were sponsored (for decades) by Martha White flour.

I’ve always wanted to be sponsored by a barbeque sauce, me.

They wrote and performed a little ditty as part of that sponsorship. I’d love to see the contract they signed, just to see what kinda money and responsibility it entailed. I bet it was worded all old-timey.

For the finest biscuts, cakes and pies
Get Martha White self-risin flour
The one all-purpose flour
Martha White self-risin flour’s got hot rise

The band Hot Rize I just assumed was based on those lyrics, although I have no idea if they were also sponsored by Martha White or just thought it was funny.

I was watching the country music Ken Burns thing, and saw that Jimmie Rogers was also sponsored by a flour company.

While I was trying to find a source easier to link to, I found Ernest Tubbs was also. The book The First Generation of Country Music Stars says:

His radio gig in Forth Worth eventually lead to his sponsorship of Universal Mills makers of Gold Chain Flour.

Another early country star (perhaps the early country star) Hank Williams was sponsored by Mother’s Best flour:

Even Hank Williams had a corporate sugar daddy — or more accurately a flour daddy — in a Decatur, Alabama, mill called Mother’s Best Flour Company. In 1951, the company sponsored a weekday morning at WSM in Nashville starring Hank and his Drifting Cowboys. More than 15 hours of these shows are available on a 15-CD box set called The Complete Mother’s Best Collection 

While I was thinking about how weird all this is, I remember I’d seen Rhonda Vincent and the Rage’s tour bus one time and it also has a flour sponsor. Back to Martha White this time, who must still benefit from that bluegrass connection.

I’m sure I’m far from the first person to realize this, I’m just noticing it for the first time and thought it was weird.

Bend Old-Time Jam

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

I’m just going to link up the website to our jam here.

There’s an “old” website, so I’m linking to the “new” website here for the smidge of SEO juice it might need to make sure it’s the top result.

When I moved to Bend, the fact that there was a website for this jam made a huge difference in my life. I still play with the folks I met at it.

The Case of the Missing Guitar and the Idiot Who Didn’t Even Realize it was Missing

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

Weird story! Sometime in 2014-15, my friend Mark wants to sell me this very nice guitar. It’s spendy, and I’m not sure I should do it, but Mark really needed the cash so he could do something very nice for his family, so I pull the trigger. I pick it up from him later that year at a festival.

Over the years, a dark creeping feeling started settling in with me. Is the guitar I bought still the guitar I have?

Whenever I’d get to talking instruments with people, I’d bring up my little guitar story here, since it’s among the nicest instruments I own. It was made by Dennis Overton who apparently is a high-end maker who isn’t building anymore. It’s modeled after herringbone dreadnought Martins. It’s straight-grained Brazilian Rosewood, which was rare even in the 60’s and is outright banned from international shipments now. I guess it’s like tortoise shell picks in that way. What’s with guitar people and illegal stuff? Anyway, that much I knew about the guitar.

But I’d look up at the guitar on my wall, and right on the head: YAMAHA. The sticker inside the body? YAMAHA.

By the time I’m having this feeling, it’s been so many years, I can’t really remember all the exact details of the guitar I bought, let alone exactly what it looked like on the day I bought it. Yamaha makes some pretty damn nice acoustic guitars too, even sometimes with guest makers. Maybe this was just that. Based on the basic look, feel, and (I hate to say it) even the sound, I always assumed this guitar on my wall was the one I bought. Until that feeling kept creeping up more and more in my brain.

I even mentioned the YAMAHA on the head to Mark one time, but it was just in passing, and I remember him giving me a weird smirk like he assumed I was kidding, and I didn’t take it any further.

So just a few days ago, I get up the balls to just take a picture of the guitar on my wall and send it to Mark and just see if this was the correct guitar or not. I hesitated for so long because it’s embarrassing. How do I not even know?

Chris... that picture you just sent me is a Yamaha Guitar. You should have an original Overton Brazilian Rosewood Herringbone Dred custom built. It’s priceless at this point because Dennis Overton doesn’t build any Guitars anymore. Those are going for $10 grand now if you can find one. He only built a handful of guitars.

I get this text (see screenshot from iMessage).

Welp. There it is. The nice guitar, the one I bought for $5,000, is gone. And I didn’t even realize it until now. Wait. How long has it been exactly?

Well, I was able to do a little light detective work thanks to Google Photos. There must be fancy machine learning stuff built into Google Photos such that you can search for stuff and it’ll find pictures of that stuff. “Guitar” as a search works great!

So I end up finding pictures from mid-2016 where I have the right guitar, and by mid-2017 I have the wrong guitar.

2016: Correct Guitar
2017: Wrong Guitar

My mind was reeling with thoughts about someone having stolen it. Perhaps at a festival or jam. I was looking the other way and they swap guitars, maybe right inside the case. I walk away and by the time I notice, they would be long gone. They would be smart too, because apparently I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t notice for years.

I mention my little sad story to my wife, including that timeframe, and she’s like “we were in Miami during a lot of that time, you should see if Andrea has it.” Andrea is our friend and was our next-door neighbor in Miami, who had an acoustic guitar too and both guitars would occasionally travel back and forth between houses. We have a shared WhatsApp, so I message the gals and see if they’ll send a picture of the guitar they have…

LOOK AT THAT HEADSTOCK. D. Overton. That’s it! I had switched guitars with Andrea! No crimes! Neither of us realized what happened all this time.

I still feel like an idiot for not realizing for so long. Honestly, that little $150 Yamaha sounds pretty damn good if you ask me. But I’m so glad the mystery has been solved and very much look forward to getting the guitar I bought back. We haven’t quite sorted it out yet, but I think it’ll be hand-escorted all the way from Miami to Bend!