Megalomania's only mania if you're wrong

“Fucking Amateurs”

Added on by Kevan Loy.

I keep thinking about this Stephen King quote I read awhile ago:

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.

For about as long as I could remember I’ve wanted to do two, potentially related things:

  1. Write
  2. Create something that impacts the lives of people—be that a product, a book, a service—whatever so long as it was positively impactful.

I’m finally getting to number two with Peapod, slow going though it may be, I am making things that impact the lives of people and that’s an amazing feeling. I could argue that some of the things I’ve done before (operations, process improvement, internal tool development) had similar impacts, but this feels different: people who I’ll never meet or talk to are using something I created (or at least thought up and pushed an engineering team to do).

That last sentence brings to mind the Steve Jobs quote Apple used at its recent iPhone event to christen the theater which bears his name:

There’s lots of ways to be as a person, and some people express their deep appreciation in different ways. But one of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there. But somehow, in the act of making something with a great deal of care and love, something is transmitted there. And it’s a way of expressing to the rest of our species our deep appreciation. So, we need to be true to who we are and remember what’s really important to us. That’s what’s going to keep Apple, Apple, is if we keep us, us.

This post is not putting something out there in sense of the Steve Jobs quote—but I want to get there. It may not be this post, this blog or even this meeting, but waiting around for inspiration to strike isn’t going to get me to that point.

Today, I decide to work on writing and just write. That’s what this is. It doesn’t need to mean anything to anyone other than me.

To me, though, it’s “getting up and going to work” and it’s the first step on a journey.

Update: iPad As My Main Machine, Take Two

Added on by Kevan Loy.

It’s been almost three months since I purchased the 10.5” iPad Pro and said I was going to use it as my main computing device.

I’ve only opened my 2015 MBP a handful of times since I wrote that post. The prevailing need to do so was to access files on my external hard drive which can’t be directly mounted by the iPad1 and, unfortunately, isn’t connected to our home network.

I’d intended to keep the iPad for personal use only, but as I’ve grown more accustomed to working with it I’ve found myself pulling it out of my bag at work to either annotate documents, draw user flows and even take notes in interviews (for some reason I think it’s less intimidating for the candidate if I bring an iPad instead of a 15” MBP).

The one thing I have missed being able to do easily is watch baseball and work when I get home since you can’t easily set the iPad with keyboard up easily on your lap. This has had the nice consequence of doing less work when I get home, so perhaps it’s working out better for me anyhow.

Overall, I think the vast majority of people could switch to using an iPad as their daily driver. For personal user, it’s killer—portable (with optional cellular2), long battery and all the apps you could need. For work, I find myself wanting to use it more everyday.

I still want to have some separation of my personal data and mywork data. As the iPad still only supports one user (with the exception of some enterprise MDM solutions), I have some reluctance to dive in on the professional side.

  1. If I’m wrong here, please let me know. I thought at one point you could use the Camera Connection Kit to mount external drives, but upon looking into that feature on the Pros/iOS 11, it seems to scan the whole connected drive for DCIM folders with images and only present image files in that folder for import.

    Bummer.

  2. I actually exchanged mine shortly after my first post because I got tired of running my iPhone battery down whenever I would use the iPad out and about. ↩︎

iPad As My Main Machine, Take Two

Added on by Kevan Loy.

It's been since the 3rd Generation iPad (iPad with Retina Display) was launched that I've tried to use an iPad as my daily driver.

If memory serves this was at the height of the "iPad is the computer of the future" marching orders were coming fast and hard out of Cupertino. I dutifully obeyed the instructions. I bought:

  • A 32GB Wifi + Cellular model
  • An Apple Bluetooth keyboard
  • An Origami keyboard case
  • A no name back case from Amazon

I think I used the iPad for all of my computing tasks for maybe a week—two, at most—then it got relegated to consumption. I checked the news, my email and would play the occasional game (not going to lie: I’m still playing Sid Meire’s Pirates (don’t judge me).

The reason for this is almost immediately the device felt slow. While the Retina screen was awesome, running it was about all the iPad could do before sputtering out and/or getting hot.

Things went on like this until my beloved MacBook Air died. The logic board ate it while charging overnight and I was never able to get it going again. Then, for two years, anything I wanted to do I either did on the iPad or on an aging 2007 27” iMac.

With iOS 11 coming out soon (in public beta yesterday), I think it’s time to give it a shot. I’m starting a new job where I’ll be assigned a MacBook Pro for work and have a late 2013 MacBook Pro at home. Today I bought:

  • A 10.5” iPad Pro
  • An Apple Smart Keyboard
  • An Apple Pencil

The BYOD policy is a little murky, so I don’t know how much work I’ll be able to do on the iPad. I will, however, try to transition taking notes on the iPad instead of in my standard issue Moleskin.

There’s a number of debates across the Internet as to whether or not one of the new iPad Pros can be laptop replacements. 9to5Mac even has a survey where over 90% of respondents state that the new version of iOS has them rethinking using the iPad as their main machine.

Despite my job in technology as a Product Owner, it’s not my intention to prove whether or not the 10.5” can be used for work, but as a personal computer. If I’m able to comment on the work usage I’ll be sure to do that as well.

After playing with the iPad this afternoon (not to mention writing this), I’m fairly confident I’m going to be able to pull this off without much trouble. That said, I already am not a big fan of the smaller keys, the lack of an escape key (physical or otherwise) or, most importantly, the emoji key. I’d much prefer it be a function key I could reprogram with something else that’s usable to me.

Page Three, Lower Third

Added on by Kevan Loy.

Call me archaic, but my wife and I have a subscription for The New York Times home delivery Friday through Sunday. It’s called the Weekender or some such nonsense.

By no means am I what you might call a completionist when it comes to reading the paper, but one of the parts I always read is always on the lower third of Page 3: the corrections.

I read them all—I don’t care if I read the story early in the week or not. I do this for a few reasons:

  • I find it ironic that this section exists in every edition of the paper, every week, because it means the journalists made mistakes.
  • More importantly, it takes guts to admit you were wrong and they do it: every. Single. Day.

Today while I performed my ritual, I thought about how much different work would be if people wrote to their coworkers about all the things they were wrong about the previous day or week et cetera. How great would our products and projects be if we rid ourselves of the pride of being right and replaced it with the idea that there’s nothing that should be more sacred to us than honesty, integrity and being true to whatever it is we pursue? How much more effiecient would we be? How much happier would our customers be with the products we make?

No one wants to be wrong, but the best way to always be right is to change your mind. Changing your mind is an acknowledgment—albeit tacitly—that you were wrong.

Today Was a Milestone for Me

Added on by Kevan Loy.

Awhile ago, I pitched the idea of doing a recognition event at my work. My inspiration was Apple’s Top 100 and the idea was simple: we should hold up and give opportunities to the people who, if we were to restart our department today, would be the ones we’d bring along for the ride. I was awarded the autonomy and budget to hold a monthly event with lunch and a different activity.

Today, I held our first event. We had lunch from NaanSense and then I led a discussion based on this post by Seth Godin’s and thoughts from his book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?.

With about 15 of us in the room, we tried figuring out the type of people we wanted to work with (read: the type of people we want to be) by calling out the attributes that defined our “ideal coworker”. We placed the attributes into columns for gifts, skills and attitude. We wound up with about three gifts and about three dozen attributes between skills and attitude—along with plenty of a few in-betweens after healthy debate.

We got to a point, naturally, where we were having a hard time distinguishing between the three categories and thus got to the heart of the matter, as Seth put it:

It turns out that choices lead to habits. Habits become talents. Talents are labeled gifts.

My department has a lot of green, front line people and a lot of them have a desire to do something more, even to lead people. Because of this, we discussed the need to find a path that’s your own—you can’t wait for someone to lay it out for you. Leaders don’t ask what needs to be done, they find it and do it.

So, what exactly was the milestone for me? Getting this comment as feedback about the event:

I think this is a fantastic event. It not only made me feel appreciated, but it also made me feel like my opinions and perspectives in this department are valued by my peers and my superiors. It was incredibly empowering to talk to other people who WANT to grow. I'm used to hearing a lot of discouraging voices in my area and this group felt like it was completely void of toxicity. And that felt nice.

It was a good day.

(P)(R)eview

Added on by Kevan Loy.

Review

Unfortunately, I was particularly successful with all of my goals last year.

I didn't write three times a week and thus didn't get the content for page views and I think the podcast as such is probably dead. I didn't quit smoking (but I'm almost there). I have worked on some of the things, but those are more personal (read: Amanda and I).

Preview

I'm enrolling in a Six Sigma course at DePaul this spring and think that'll bring about a lot of changes in my professional life.

I'm going to try to write more here, but we'll have to see if I can really find a stride and purpose for it. If not, what's the point of writing publically?

Let's see what this year brings.

The Sound of Your Own Wheels

Added on by Kevan Loy.

I've been so frustrated by the events of the last few months that I haven't even been able to write. Hell, even as I sit here at Starbucks in front of my iPad, coffee at hand and SRV in my headphones, I'm not sure what exactly I'm doing here.

Usually when I sit down to write I have a definitive idea or something I want to express my opinion about in the news or something similar. Today, I just really felt like coming here with no particular objective. I had this nagging thought in my head on my way here and it grew strong as I stared at that taunting yellow blinking bar of Byword: why are you going to write something that, almost certainly, no one will ever read—something that even if one or two awkward souls were to happen upon it that they would in no way be enlightened by the words I'd typed on the screen? "Solace—no, catharsis" I wrote on the screen in front of me. And then I deleted the draft.

Sure, I certainly get something of those two things writing, but that's not why I write. I write because I feel compelled to do so. A subtle difference that may be, but a difference it is.

SRV faded off and iTunes Radio played The Outlaws' Green Grass and High Tides came on and I jammed to its intense solos for awhile and then, naturally, that faded out too. Then The Eagles Take it Easy started playing. Call me a Dude impersonator all you want, but I generally don't listen to The Eagles. I let it play through the fist verse as I stared at cursor teasing me, each blink saying "There're no words on this screen, ass." As the chorus started I realized that a few lines in the verse that had just finished stuck out to me:

Don't let the sound of your own wheels Drive you crazy Lighten up while you still can Don't even try to understand Just find a place to make your stand

Those lyrics didn't make starting to write easier, but they certainly got me thinking about how I've felt lately. I'm so tired of busting my ass and seemingly getting nowhere. Every time I've thought I was going to be able to take a couple of steps forward, I've had to jog a mile backwards.

I've let all of this stuff drive me crazy. Instead of doing all of the things I need to do, I've been stressing about the things I'm unable to change now. None of what has happened has been because of choices I've made. People are free to break their word, to stab you in the back and to generally act like asshats. There's nothing to be done about that—one can only be so selective on the company he keeps and still have any company at all. Which is not to say there aren't some lessons to be learned through what went on—there are probably more lessons to learn than one man has time to sift through. The only thing that seems to be possible to do at this point is to take everything I can from this, use it to build up whatever comes next even stronger than before.

So what's next?

  • SixSigma/Lean courses
  • PMP
  • Something new
  • Enact the nonprofit idea

More to follow.

What was it Franklin said? Oh, Never Mind.

Added on by Kevan Loy.

I’ve been reading a lot (as I’m sure most people have) about the PRISM leak and the semi-related Verizon leak. While the philosopher and studier of American constitutionalism in me screams that everything being released is so inherently against the heart of what America was built upon, I can’t help but think with my rational mind of today that we’ve done this to ourselves; which is to say explicitly that the government is not to blame for what they’ve been doing. Governments' extreme reaction to terrorism isn't unexpected: extreme action provokes extreme response. They’re no more responsible for they’re spying than the naive chilled finger painting on the walls for they are a much larger canvas than his paper.

Allow me a paragraph or two to flesh out some ideas.

  1. Extreme belief in anything be it religion, politics or something else entirely is a dangerous thing. We can witness the building of such terrible things in our political system and in our religions simply by speaking to someone about something they don't subscribe to themselves. Ask a pro-lifer about their thoughts on abortion or the inverse. Ask an atheist about God or, again, the inverse. Or, for a particularly fun reverse spot light for a "nation under God", juxtapose the time periods of Christianity and Islam— current Islam extremism happens at nearly the identical point in its development as the Crusades did in Christianity.

  2. “Law abiding citizens have nothing to fear...” (a quote so aptly spoke by William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, and one thrown around by some US politicians with some regularity). And that’s true, if you have not done any wrong, then you don’t have anything to fear. However, people here and in the UK aren’t concerned about being caught doing something, it’s that (it seems) without probable cause the government is checking up to ensure they in fact are law abiding citizens.

  3. Privacy does not exists in 2013. We needn’t worry about the government spying on us when we’ve laid all of our private matters out on the table of Zuckerberg and put the scraps in the nest of the big bird. One might oppose this line of thinking because he doesn’t post his phone records on Facebook or Twitter. However, I’d wager that what he does put on Facebook or Twitter is significantly more private than the numbers or names who he spoke to on any given day. With the most insignificant amount of effort, the government or other nefarious individual, could easily paint a picture of you and your activities. For instance, let’s say I want to raid your house (be that robbing you or raiding for whatever purpose). Earlier today you posted nine things from the same location—we guess you’re sitting in your undies munching Cheetos and reading Reddit. Then, you post that you’re at such-and-such for lunch with so-and-so (who we know you spend a lot of time doing stuff with because of the 9,000 other posts you have together). You have two other nuggets of gold that help us figure out where you live—a website registered to you without privacy—and your phone number, both of which make it incredibly easy to track down your house/apartment/trailer/whatever. If all the information you share with the world (and think nothing of doing so) were Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, the hypothetical above would not be more than a few dots. For the record, there are roughly 6.4 million dots of color in the painting.

Groups with extreme ideas who perform extreme acts against those with different ideas necessarily provoke extreme opposite reactions. The US actions are so defensive they're offensive (both in terms of their palitablity to the public and militaristically). And yes, while the “Law abiding citizens...” business is certainly nothing to be taken lightly, the fare more weighty point is that what one knowingly posts onto the web—especially in the current extreme action/extreme reaction—makes that (or virtually any privacy matter) a moot point. The spy’s are on high alert and, for better or worse, you've done their job already.

Franklin said:

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Maybe that shouldn’t be our model or litmus test for when the government has reached over some arbitrary line or what we, as citizens, ought to be comfortable with occurring. I’m not sure anyone feels safer (inherently anyhow), by knowing the government (or the world’s governments) are spying on their citizens or visitors to their respective countries. However, in light of the revelations, I think it is of paramount importance to open a truly transparent debate about what our government is doing and what we truly consider private in todays over-sharing world.

Uncertainty and the Affordable Care Act

Added on by Kevan Loy.

Micah Cohen at FiveThirtyEight

Perhaps more troubling for the White House, the Affordable Care Act is still not well liked or well understood. The Obama administration had hoped that over time, the legislation would gain enough support to help smooth over the rough patches of putting it into practice. Instead, public opinion has remained mostly static: a plurality of Americans still disapprove of the law, and a substantial portion of the public remains uncertain about what it says, according to recent polls.

You know what would've been a lot easier to understand: single-payer healthcare.

Twitter and ADN

Added on by Kevan Loy.

Today I reached out to Mailbox (if you're not using it for your GMail account, you're crazy) and found it incredibly hard to fit what I wanted to say in Twitter's 140 character limit.

It really got me thinking about the experience of Twitter overall though: it's a spam-tastic, developer hating experience with unnecessarily terse conversations or forced (what I like to call) "dangling tweets" with only a few characters and shitty data management all wrapped up with me in a cute package to be sold to advertisers.

Truthfully, I don't use either service as much as I did Twitter when I first jumped on in 2007, but when I do explore one now, I unequivocally prefer ADN through Riposte.

Better conversation, amazing developers with innovative apps, no spam, far superior data management and I'm not a product being sold.

ADN for the win.

And My Name is Death

Added on by Kevan Loy.

The Childhood Camping Trip and the Story of Finn McCool

When I was child I went on a camping trip with my father. One night, the smoke rising from the crackling fire we'd built, my father swallowed a gulp of some blue wine cooler and said, "Son, I'm going to play this song and I want you to think about it." I told him that I would, but he reiterated it as though I'd said nothing at all, "No, son, I want you to really think about it."

The Last Nine Months

have been an incredibly trying time for me with Kyle's accident and for my family because of similar, albeit not directly related reasons,. I don't say "my family and I" because I'm not sure it has actually been hard for me; it certainly has been a learning experience however.

In early February one of my uncles passed away and then, in March, my pseudo-grandfather1 passed away as well. While pretty much everyone else was emotional, I had basically no response whatsoever.

I imagine you're probably thinking something to the effect of "You cold, emotionless bastard!" The truth (or at least a portion of it anyhow) is twofold: I was simply too caught up in pondering death and all of the things we do in vain attempts to make the living feel better coupled with me not really knowing the guy (I’d only met him four or five times).

Finn McCool

My father got out of his camping chair and made his way to his truck to change the CDs and blast the song into the smoke-filled night air. The song he put on was an interpretation of an old Irish fairy tale about the hero Finn McCool. Finn and his companions were out hunting and the weather turned sour and so to escape it they sought refuge in a house they stumbled upon in the woods. Thinking highly of themselves, they foresaw no problem convincing the owner to allow them to spend the night; when this old sprig of a man opened the door he wasn't particularly friendly to Finn and his group.

As you might guess they were startled by the old man's lack of hospitality towards them—after all, they were the highest heroes of all the land. So, they asked the man if he knew who they were or the things they'd done on behalf of Ireland; needless to say he wasn't particularly impressed. He told Finn and his men that they could stay the night if they'd just tether the white goat running around the place. Offended, but thinking nothing of tether a goat juxtaposed against their previous adventures, they agreed. Strangely enough, Finn wasn’t able to tether the goat, so the others in his party gave it a try.

I Didn't Attend My Uncle's Funeral

but I did attend my pseudo-grandfather's. To put it simply: he looked, sounded and acted like (from what I remember anyway) what my grandfather looked, sounded and acted like—and with good reason: JD was my grandfather's brother2 (I’m pretty sure that's something damn near out of Deliverance. Interestingly—perhaps fittingly given the aforementioned awkwardness—his funeral wasn't so much about him, it was much more so about my grandfather and what wasn't about my grandfather was incorrect. The paster read directly from the eulogy printed on the funeral booklet. He botched reading it in several places stating that JD was born in Florida, that his former wife's name and his mother's name were both my grandmother's name et cetera.

Truthfully, it was like watching a funeral rerun because everyone who spoke did so as if it was my grandfather's second funeral. It was often mentioned how having JD around was like my grandfather still being alive or that they'd had a second chance with their father et cetera. It struck me as "off" while it was happening, but I didn't truly realize how little attention was paid to JD's passing until my sister mentioned something about it on our trip back toward Chicago. We talked a fair amount about the religious nature of the service because of how we were read a bunch of "feel good" passages from the bible and heard numerous times that "God took him to a better place..." and that "You should give yourself to Jesus so that you live forever...." All of this really made me question the importance of JD to the people present. Did they care about him? If so, why was his passing being used to celebrate the death of someone else? Perhaps it was that, given the situation they were doubly hurting and with such a weighty situation they didn’t know really what to do. Alternatively, maybe they genuinely felt they were doing the right by both of them.

Finn and Company's Failure and the Old Man’s Return

As the last man in the party gave up the task they were charged with, the most beautiful woman any of them had ever seen came into the main room. They were all stunned by her beauty and only one of them, Jermitt of the Love Spot (he had a spot on his head that would make women fall in love with him instantly whenever they saw it—somewhat like Medusa, but without the turning to stone bit) had the courage to talk to her. Being he a gentleman and wanting to give the woman a chance to make her own decision, he put on his charm thick, but nothing he did could get the woman to acknowledge him. He took off his cap and exposed the spot, but she ignored him still.

The men were all confused, angry with themselves and with the old man for not showing them the hospitality they expected and perhaps more so for the way in which he allowed the woman—his daughter they guessed—to treat them. As their grumbling died down, the old man came back to the room and commented that they'd failed at tethering the goat. As Finn tried to defend his group the old man walked right up to the goat and tethered him with ease and grace. Again the men were stunned for not a one of them was able to get within a few feet of the goat. At this point, Jermitt spoke up asking who the woman was and why they'd been treated so poorly and just how did he tether the goat so easily.

The old man said, "Her name is Youth and she wont speak to you now for none of you cared for her when she was yours. This goat is the World and none of you will be able to tame him, for only I can tame him and my name is Death."

My Sister and I's Conversation

reminded me of a quote from my sophomore year in college which I believe is in Herodotus's Histories, but it easily could've been from a Socratic dialogue or Montaigne's Essays. Unfortunately, Google couldn't find the quote and I'm not particularly interested in spending hours pining through thousands of pages to attribute it properly in a post. Regardless:

It doesn't matter what you do with me after I'm gone for I'll be dead! Do whatever makes you feel better about my passing.

All of this got me thinking about what I would want me funeral to be like (hopefully) some 70 years from now. And it's true, I won't be there to give a damn about it (those still kicking it should do whatever makes them feel better about it all), but for some reason I feel compelled to say I wouldn't want something like that:

  1. Make the thing about me
  2. Don't have it in a church or ball your eyes out because of me, instead go and get some drinks and talk about all the awesome shit I did and how you were involved.
  3. Move on, quickly. You're life is too short to morn the end of mine.

That latter point is perhaps the most importatn. This second, and all the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years to come; each and every one of us that is still here from second to second, minute to minute, et cetera ought to truly take advantage of that because any second now there might not be another one to follow.

We can't bind the world, but we can enjoy, appreciate and nurture the seconds we're fortunate enough to have.


  1. That's a story for another time.
  2. Okay, maybe that time is now.

The Bloody Red Sun of Fantastic L.A. or By Different Means We Arrive at the Same End

Added on by Kevan Loy.

I'm sitting in LAX wondering what, exactly, I'm heading back to Chicago for—I'm not pondering this because I fell in love with L.A. (quite the opposite actually, fuck this place). I'm thinking on my return because of my friends here in   hell   (I literally typed "hell" while thinking of typing L.A.), and no, it's not because I miss them (fuck those guys, they're the ones that left).

I'm thinking about my return because my friends here went after "it"—whatever that is for them—and I've been slaving away for the man in Chicago, so far away from whatever "it" is that I don't want to walk down the jetway back to the soul sucking freezer of a city I call home.

Freedom is a Prison

I'm not sure how to write about the situation because realizing you're not getting after "it" unfortunately isn't half the battle when you feel like the only way for your to do so is to dent the universe.

I have all of these ideas and no way to act on them. I go to work eight to 10 hours a day and come home exhausted, but ya know, that's not really the problem: the problem is money. Sometimes I wonder what things would be like if I had just a little bit more to play with—what could I accomplish? Then it dawns on me that without being working poor, without being ri-fucking-diculously in student debt, without being deprived and passed over for opportunity after opportunity I probably wouldn't have the ideas for things that I do. Some people may have it fed to them on the proverbial silver spoon, but one day soon I'm gonna do it.

It's going to take awhile, but fuck denting, lookout universe, I'm saving for TNT.

Are We All on the Same Team?

Added on by Kevan Loy.

Kid President:

If life is a game, are we all on the same team? I'm on your team, you're on my team.

A while ago, while thinking something very similar to Kid President, I had an idea for a project to help recent graduates with student loans. I've been toying with whether or not to put it together because I think, using me as the test pilot, could bring unwanted and undue criticism. However—after watching the Kid President's new video—I feel compelled to get things moving because even if some people don't see us all playing for the same team, I do.

I'm big on thinking on the first three things that pop into my head and letting myself run with those and see where they take me. The first three problems I thought of regarding US collegiate education:

  1. The belief that education post-high school is a priviledge and not a right,
  2. Which (coupled with other factors) leads to exponentially increasing tuition costs,
  3. The fragile and volitile job market and economic climate in which one is forced to enter after graduation.

Unfortunately, we cannot attack any of the aforementioned problems while simultaneously solving the problem of the debt we've incurred and have little chance of repaying in any reasonable amount of time without substantial physical, mental and emotional struggle.

Nine times out of 10 treating the symptom (instead of the cause) is the wrong thing to do. At the moment, however, the debt my generation has on its shoulders is nothing short of crushing. Before taking on the larger goal of reforming the above problems, we have to get out from underneath this weight.

With us all on the same team, my project aims to do just that.

Stay tuned.

Be It Resolved

Added on by Kevan Loy.

So, you just read the title of the post, I know what you're thinking. Yes, dude, this is a New Years resolution post. Suck it.

After writing about the Kyle situation, I really felt like I was going down a path that would get me back on track creatively and take advantage of the time I've been allotted. "Hell, maybe I'll even shake something up," I naively thought. If you look, you'll notice there hasn't been anyting written since that post a few weeks ago.

So here are a few things I really want to accomplish this year:

  • Get my creative juices flowing again
    • Write three times a week
      • Doesn't matter what it is, could be posts here or pages of a script
        • I fully believe part of writing is reading others' work, so to that end, I'd like to read more (although I already ready quite a bit, so this maybe difficult)
    • Get back into doing my podcast
    • Get 1,000+ unique IPs to view a post here and/or download an episode of the podcast
  • Figure out where I want to guide the rutter of my ship over the next few years
    • I already know something I'd like to work on — _l∞l
    • Work
      • Find something which is truly fulfilling and worthwhile
    • Graduate school
      • Figure out what (if anything) I want to be more in debt over
  • And, of course, the obligitoray resolutions
    • Lose weight/get into shape
      • I've got some health issues going which are most likely hereditary, but still something that, if worked on now in my mid-twenties, shouldn't pose any real risk later in life
    • Stop doing things I know are bad for me
      • I've been "trying" for a long time, but I think I've finally got a handle on it. Today has been incredibly difficult (writing is almost as bad as drinking for me), but perhaps if this whole thing goes well I'll write about it so other people can use my experiences for their benefit

I stand a real chance of being able to accomplish the majority (if not all of these) goals. Truth be told, this is the first time I've set specific goals for myself in quite sometime. During college my goal was obvious and the immediate aftermath of college was strictly "find a job—any job—so you don't get evicted and or starve". Not all of my affairs are in order yet (I'm looking at you SallieMae/Chase/Federal Student Loans), but I'm certainly making progress.

I've got several people who are firmly in my corner and trying to do whatever they can to help. The attempt is more than I could ever even ask for, which is to say: thank you.

As you improve, we'll all improve

Clap Hands

Added on by Kevan Loy.

Lots of things have been in flux lately and, consequently, I haven't had the spare time to do a lot of the things I've been hoping to do for a long time—chiefly among them updating this blog with something everyday.

Part of the problem has been work. I've been taking on a lot of new projects, training people and solving problems (but, unfortunately, not solving the problem of doing that in just 40 hours a week).

I think the bigger issue has come from an accident involving one of my closest friends Kyle. He'd been a driving force behind a lot of my creative writing, crazy projects and was always there whenever I got a crazy idea for us to do (including when I got the genius idea to "commandeer" a fire hydrant—which we did successfully). In late September, Kyle was hit by car on his walk home from his job at Universal Studios in Los Angeles at about 02:00. He sustained serious injuries including: a collapsed lung, a subdural hematoma and an injured C-6 vertebra. He's been in a coma since the accident.

I've been wondering how to use this experience for something, not just for me but for him. I've thought a lot about how we're not guaranteed time any longer than the second that just past. I've thought about all of his fabulous writing. All of his stories that other people would never read or films that wouldn't get produced or the other crazy projects we'd most likely never be able to work on together. I've thought a lot about how to honor his memory by continuing the craft we've both loved so much, but I fear I'll never be able to write something which even approaches his wit and ability to create intricate and touching characters that readers and viewers instantly feel a connection with.

I've thought a lot, too, about how I should cherish the people in my life more. I went almost two weeks without talking to Kyle before the accident. There are so many other stories I wanted to tell him and ideas I wanted to get his thoughts on, but I'll probably never have the chance. I go and visit his girlfriend Megan at her work just about every weekend to check up on her. Despite all of our conversations I can't begin to grasp how she must feel about it all; which leaves me wondering about my relationship with Amanda. Our lives as we thinking of them and where we hope they'll go could be irreparably changed at any moment.

I've done a lot of research as well: it turns out there's a scale of consciousness. Your average Joe is a 14 on the scale of consciousness whereas a one on the consciousness scale is a completely brain dead. Supposedly Kyle is somewhere between a six and an eight. No one knows how close he'll get to 14 as he goes through therapy, all we hear is that "It will take time."

So, I stopped by Megan's work today, as I usually do on Saturdays, to make sure she was doing okay. I've been wondering for awhile now how long she would hold onto the Kyle that we used to know—the man she has dated for the last four years—but it wasn't really my business to inquire about it. Today she brought it up for the first time and I'm not sure what to make of it. She asked me what I thought about the situation and if I thought she was being "stupid".

The only thing I could think to tell her was that I couldn't lend any thought about the duration of time she should hold on, but that she should do whatever she felt was right. "Kyle would want you to be happy, whatever that means."

And with those words I came out of my own coma – the creative coma I've been in since this happened. Kyle would want me to be happy, whatever that means.

I just need to keep writing. Keep trying. Success or not, that's what Kyle would want of me—that and nothing more.

Clap Hands

Racist Tweets

Added on by Kevan Loy.

The prevalence of post-election racist tweets is not strictly a southern phenomenon as North Dakota (3.5), Utah (3.5) and Missouri (3) have very high LQs. Other states such as West Virginia, Oregon and Minnesota don't score as high but have a relatively higher number of hate tweets than their overall twitter usage would suggest.

It's sad that in 2012 this is still a problem.

↬ Gruber

I Played with Microsoft's Surface

Added on by Kevan Loy.
Transient

It did about as much as I expected.

Update: @MS_SurfaceEvang and others on Twitter requested some more photos of the ad, so I took some on my way home the other day.

The Jobs Zuckerberg Comparison or The Emotional Roller Coaster of Facebook's Stock

Added on by Kevan Loy.

Investors’ love for Facebook drove interest in its IPO to extreme levels, and the same herd mentality is now working in reverse, said Chiagouris.

'Facebook’s stock price will eventually get to a point where its valuation is unrealistic,' he said. 'To turn that decline around, Facebook has to do a major move -- one would be to replace top management.'

While Mark Zuckerberg is clearly inventive, no one will ever say that he is an effective businessman, Chiagouris said. The company needs to turn the reins over to people who are “adult” and not beholden to Zuckerberg, he added.

These comments about Zuckerberg remind me of what happened with Steve Jobs and his exile from Apple. I don't think that Zuckerberg is anywhere close to the visionary or businessman that Jobs was, but there certainly are some uncanny echos.

I think Facebook's stock decline is a reflection of the emotional roller coaster that is being a Facebook user. The, "Oh, shit yeah! This is awesome!" quickly fades into "Bleh, why am I still here?" as your Time Line fills up with nonsensical bullshit: people from your high school get pregnant, married or divorced for the 18th time, there's a literal fuck-ton of app requests (from those same high school asshats) the you couldn't care less about – oh, and don't forget, your grandma just friended you.

Source: http://marketday.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08...

We Are Infinite: The Perks of Being A Wallflower Film Review

Added on by Kevan Loy.

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing The Perks of Being A Wallflower before its official premiere in Toronto; getting the opportunity to meet and talk with Stephen Chbosky one-on-one afterwards was fabulous as well.

I wasn't sure what to expect before the movie started. The Perks was, neigh is, one of the most influential and touching books I've ever read. I remember being given a copy by an older friend my freshman year. While I've never been particularly introverted, there was always something about Charlie that I really identified with.... Perhaps it was the experience he had with his friends or some of the things in his past or maybe just the way we "notice" things. I'd honestly like not to think about it too much – it might ruin something for me if I were to actually figure it out; to quote Chbosky, “...it’s the same feeling you get when you didn’t quite understanding the lyrics of a song, so you made some up and then find out the real lyrics only realize they’re not as good as yours.”

To be honest, I was afraid that, even though Chbosky wrote and directed the adaptation, the movie wouldn't live up to my expectations. That couldn't be further than the truth.

Naturally, there were pieces missing from the book, which, according to Chbosky, would've "thrown off the emotions in the film" such as Charlie's sister's abortion or the poem reading at Christmas (for whatever it's worth, I agree with Chbosky 100 percent), he assured me that those scenes were filmed and will appear on the DVD/Blu-Ray whenever it ships. Perhaps that's one of the pieces that made the movie so special; Chobsky understands so astutely how and what touched his readers about The Perks and was able to stay as true to that as possible. There were some changes in music (most notably the absence of Landslide in the tunnel), but for the most part the “soundtrack” remained intact.

We accept the love we think we deserve

When one reads The Perks he cannot help but notice the almost unsettling accuracy with which Chbosky writes the voice of 15 year old Charlie. This is what I was thinking about as the movie started. That voice. How could Chbosky transfer Charlie from page—such an incredibly quiet and in-his-own-head character with vast emotional depth—to the screen? Somehow he did it. Perfectly. I have no fucking clue how, but he did. I've thought about it a lot and I'm sure that it was due in no small part to the outstanding performance of Logan Lerman, but there's something magical—something completely unexplainable—about it. Lerman's portrayal of Charlie was almost 100 percent what I'd scene in my head. That voice... it was still there. Emma Watson makes a phenomenal Sam and Ezra Miller, who I’d never seen before, was a great Patrick.

I'd also been concerned with how the book writ large would transfer to the screen (as it is written completely in letters to an anonymous person). While there are a handful of direct letters, it is no longer the thread which holds the piece together. It did throw me off a bit. I wondered, at points, where we were in the story as not everything follows the book’s chronology. While the book and movie are intimately intertwined, one still has to let go of the book to really appreciate the movie. The film is littered with chilling transitions. My favorite is watching the Charlie’s family go through the Midnight Mass line. As Charlie gets the wafered body of Christ, there’s a cut to him putting acid on his tongue. Thinking on it now, I could’ve written a 1000 words on the significance of this event alone. (And, if there’s some clammer for it, maybe I’ll write a piece). These things together, however, bring something fresh to the story. Every step is so well timed: if you know the story, you’re constantly tense and on the edge of your seat as you watch the characters grow in front of you. There’s more weight with each slow and steady step forward.

We are infinite

I laughed. I cried. I felt things from a film that I never thought I could. It has made me think and put a fire in me just as the book did years ago. I cannot say enough about this film.

Go. See. It. What’re you still doing here?