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R. Lee Ermey Laid to Rest in Snowy Arlington National Cemetery

Ronald “The Gunny” Lee Ermey, was a United States Marine Corps drill instructor, actor, philanthropist, comedian, and of course — a gun-nut.

He was a voice-actor in one of my all-time favorite animated film (and the subsequent sequels), Toy Story. While Ermey was obviously typecasted frequently, he’s appeared in many many films. I think he enjoyed the notoriety, the work and being armed with such an iconic voice he was likely highly sought after.

His obituary in the LA Times really captures the breadth of his virtues:

[…] A decorated Vietnam Veteran, R. Lee Ermey was an outspoken, rebellious, and creative spirit who dedicated decades of his life in service to his country and to his craft as an actor or television host. Starring or appearing in over 60 feature films, his decades-long career was highlighted by earning a Golden Globe Nomination for his role as drill instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, which was released in 1987. While R. Lee Ermey, nicknamed “The Gunny,” often portrayed the villain onscreen, in his personal life he was known best for his sharp sense of humor and generous spirit. Ermey joined the Marines shortly after high school and has often credited the military with saving his life. R. Lee Ermey never stopped showing his gratitude to “The Corps” through his charity work with organizations like The Young Marines, Fisher House and Toys for Tots. […]

I don’t have a particularly decorated or rosy relationship with my father, but Ermey reminds me a lot of my dad. Both men were complicated, really funny, patriotic, and both are definitely gun-nuts. While my father never served in the military, he has a profound and deep admiration for the Marines and servicemen (and servicewomen) of the US. I like to think that The Gunny and my dad would have been really good pals.

I’m happy to see The Gunny was laid to rest during a particularly unique and beautiful backdrop at Arlington Memorial Cemetery:

From MarineTimes.

Rest easy Gunny. ✌️

Revisiting Blogging in 2019

Jason frequently hits the nail on the head. It’s pretty rare that predictions of his don’t hold water. He’s the proprietor of the kottke.org. One of those great places your can find on the web where name is the address.

2019 is surely going to be a golden year for bloggers, web journals, and anyone who has “exited social media”. The perfect storm has arrived. The Facebook exodus. The Snapchat well has dried up. The paywalls are going up left and right. Hell, even George R. R. Martin is migrating his old LiveJournal posts to a personal author blog he can manage on his own. My personal favorite — people and organizations are leaving Medium (and going back to WordPress), and honestly it’s been a long-time coming. Medium’s open paywall system hasn’t fared very well. Apparently the revenue falls short, and the traffic is low-quality.

What’s old is new again. 2019 is the year we take back blogging ✌️

Outer Peace

I can easily say that Toro y Moi, also known as Chaz Bundick (aka Chaz Bear) is my favorite living musician today.

His deep, resonating songs turn my heart velvety. Toro regularly empties my brainspace into a dark smoky dancehall illuminated by a lone computer like neon equalizers dancing at a party. Chaz just has that effect on me.

I grew up alongside his first EPs and releases. If you can believe, I once upon a time saw Toro y Moi, Washed Out and Warpaint perform underneath a makeshift, sunbathed tent in the back of an Urban Outfitters in Austin, Texas at a SXSW secret show in 2010. Those were extraordinary times. Much, much simpler times back then. You probably won’t find me in any of these photos, but you can probably spot Chaz somewhere. Sidenote: those photos are an absolute time-capsule. I shamelessly downloaded them to keep forever. Anyways here’s a photo of Chaz that I can only assume was from the 2010 SXSW:

At some point we all grew up. Toro’s Anything in Return, was my coming of age album, and it’s comforting to put it on during hard times. A reminder, a penchant to stay the course — fight back the demons so to speak. That album (among many others) really got me through some hard times in my life. One of my really good pals, (and extraordinary artist if I may add) Zac is equally a die-hard, and self-proclaimed Chaz super-fan like myself. Toro may have even been the fertilizer (apart from art school) that grew our friendship.

Outer Peace, is no great departure from Chaz’s discography. It’s really nothing out of the ordinary. It’s absolutely everything I would expect from Toro y Moi. It’s warmer and a little bit more bumpier, than his last album under the Toro moniker. I’ll give him that. Give this track a listen and tell me that’s got a positive vibe. Boo Boo is like a rainy day album. Something to blast on the AirPods during a solemn walk or on a the way home after a long week at the office.

To me, Outer Peace is a nod to his weirder soundscape side-projects, and signals that he’s on the search for something again. Laws of the Universe, feels like it could be an earlier track from the days of Underneath the Pine. But really, it has these tropical, maybe even Latin undertones, so it stands apart from the rest of the record a bit. I love it. Like Freelance has these bouncey, modulated, pitch-stretched samples that just feels exploratory like this 80’s italian electronic song I just love to reference, Vamos a La Playa.

Toro might dig a smoother and looser tempo nowadays, and that brings it to a mellower record for sure. I’m not even mad about that. But man, I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed by Chaz Bear. Looking forward to more jams. His records just get better and better ✌️

The Center for American Politics and Design

A selection of various political logos collected (so far).

From their about page:

The Center for American Politics and Design (CAPD) is a research group investigating the graphic vernacular of American politics.

The first of its kind, this collection consists of every campaign logo† from the 2018 election for United States Congress. The archive is a tool to explore trends and typologies that reveal themselves only when viewed in aggregate.

Founded in 2018, CAPD aims to increase political literacy among designers and to foster a dialogue about the role of design in the American democratic process.

Our complete dataset is available upon request; we welcome anyone to use this collection to conduct their own analyses.

This is a cool project. The topography of the political design landscape is so vitally important, and (in my opinion) has not been investigated thoroughly enough. It’s a monstrously large undertaking no doubt. It makes me uncomfortable to think about what horrors we may unearth about ourselves from this project. Personally, when I begin to think about dissecting our collective American graphical political heritage, I begin to think about Paula Scher’s Maps.

Play around with the filter function on the homepage and compare/contrast regions of the US. For example, compare Rhode Island to Texas. Now look at Nebraska. You can go even further by filtering by Office, or Incumbency.

Fascinating stuff. I’m going to love revisiting this in a few years.

American Interiors

Photos from the artist website, and Hyperallergic.

Given that Americans spend more time in their cars than on vacation. American vehicles are literally, a dashboard confessional for many, others an elysium.

From M L Casteel’s website:

American Interiors depicts the psychological repercussions of war and military service through images of the interiors of cars owned by veterans in the USA. 

While some car interiors paint a grim, even bleak picture of veteran life — others are more interesting. Some are quite lively, and a reminder that our lives are complicated. Our country’s system is in shambles. The nightmares of country’s skirmishes and campaigns abroad that persist on were not created, nor are dealt with equally. I applaud anyone who can deal with the horrors of war.

I believe Casteels photography shines a light on problem in America that no one is willing to talk about: plainly, America doesn’t care about their veterans. We build monuments to honor them and praise their services but when it comes time to write a check, raise taxes or give our veterans the medical/psychological help they need — no one is willing to help.

I really hope the private citizen sentiment changes in my lifetime. M L Casteel’s book compiling his photography of veteran’s car interiors over a five-year period, can be purchased from Amazon.

Be the Arms Dealer

I’ve been mulling over this tweet for a while now.

Would have have loved to hear this during college. I think it’s a pretty decent, short, succinct, apocryphal nugget for any would-be entrepreneurs. Enjoy:

James Turrell’s Skyspace at MoMA PS1 is in Danger

How many James Turrell works must perish before we learn our lesson?

From the MoMA PS1 exhibit site.

From Gothamist:

For decades, artist James Turrell has been synonymous with disintegrating the boundaries between space and light, especially within his Skyspace installations peppered throughout the world. Turrell’s New York-based Skyspace installation, titled Meeting, is permanently housed inside of MoMA PS1 in Long Island City—the first of his in the United States, it has been there since 1980. There you come face to face with a rectangular hole in the ceiling, an unobstructed aperture revealing a sublime slice of sky. It’s framed by undulating LED lights, changing in tune with the evening sun’s movements; the sky, and everything around you, appears to shift optically. We don’t need to tell you how rare it is to find this space, and a brief moment to breathe, in the city.

Which is why we were disappointed when we received a tip from one of our readers, who had recently visited PS1 and noticed something creeping into Meeting. The obstruction, pictured in the photograph above, seems to be protruding from the gargantuan high-rises going up across the street from PS1, at 22-44 Jackson Avenue. These two residential buildings, which replaced the former legendary graffiti haven 5Pointz, are also called 5Pointz and will house 1,115 units total (including 223 affordable housing units) when they’re finished.

Meeting, is an beautiful, breathtaking Skyspace work from James Turrell. Visit any of his works, and I think you’ll have an enjoyable experience. An artist, who no doubt has a special and deep cultural significance in American Art. In my opinion, Turrell sits upon the echelon of other great American artists such as Richard Serra, Warhol, Stephen Shore or Willem de Kooning (and many, many others to name).

As reported by Gothamist, his work, Meeting is in danger of destruction. Thankfully, it appears that the scaffolding of the new apartments, are only visible for now. The 5Pointz Apartments building will not be visible within the portal of Turrell’s work when construction completes. The razing of which the previous 5Pointz graffiti complex is an entirely separate, albeit equally as tragic and troubling incident as well.

Furthermore, Turrell’s works are constantly caught in the crossfire of hyper-development high-rises. In fact, a housing high-rise claimed a Turrellian victim once before — in my hometown of Dallas, Texas:

[…] The neighborly agreement they had allegedly worked out was that the Museum Tower structure wouldn’t go above 20 stories, so as to not interfere with the sculpture center’s aesthetic vibe. However, it seems that after Nasher died in 2007 there was a redesign, and the eventual building now stands some 40 stories tall.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to gain access inside “Tending (Blue)” for a peek at the “destroyed” view.  The sign on a sandwich board outside it read:

Because a clear view of the sky from the interior of “Tending (Blue)” is now obstructed by Museum Tower, the artist, James Turrell, has declared the work destroyed.

What happened at the Nasher Sculpture Center was a down-right tragedy, a cautionary-tale (we should hope), a robbery of culture, and a rape of art. I am holding my breath for the Turrell installation at MoMA PS1. All we can do now is hope for the PS1 installation’s survival.

Sighs.

Slack Rebrands

The Slack homepage, as of early 2019

Slack, the communication tool goliath rebranded today. Personally, I think it falls short. The homepage re-design, more-so. I know, I know — I’m pretty contrarian on these topics, but hear me out. Gone are the illustrations, branding and web design by Ueno. Front-and-center are images mainly of people — which feels very Apple-esque. Could be worse I suppose.

The new logo.

It’s apropos though, given the news that Slack may just list directly instead of the traditional IPO route. Which is equally astounding and shocking. I suppose given the impressive amount of cash on hand, and imminent fundraising success Slack may ride in on the next couple of years — they decided it was a good opportunity to rebrand.

A screenshot of the WeeChat IRC client. Shamelessly stolen from Thoughtbot.

The Slack rebrand is a harsh abandonment of Slack’s IRC past, deep cultural chat roots of the 90’s and internet progeny. This smells of hubris, and if there’s some big software revision coming soon, I would be nervous.

To make matter’s worse, Slack claims the real impetus to change the branding is because their previous logo, was too difficult to use. I’m not kidding — really:

Our first logo was created before the company launched. It was distinctive, and playful, and the octothorpe (or pound sign, or hash, or whatever name by which you know it) resembled the same character that you see in front of channels in our product. 

It was also extremely easy to get wrong. It was 11 different colors—and if placed on any color other than white, or at the wrong angle (instead of the precisely prescribed 18º rotation), or with the colors tweaked wrong, it looked terrible.

Ok…

Many beautiful things—but without a sense of cohesion that you might expect. So here we are. Our in-house design and brand team, together with Michael Bierut and the team from Pentagram, worked to create a new and more cohesive visual identity. And we’re starting, today, with the logo.

I’m not discounting the design problem Slack’s branding had — I’m just discounting your reasoning. An angle adjustment and tightening of the brand colors? It took this long to do this? Was this mostly internal direction? Was only Michael Beirut of Pentagram involved? Were there other iterations? You couldn’t wait to publish a long-form blog entry on the steps you took as a company, as a culture, to decide upon this?

Isn’t that a bit… I don’t know — hasty? This rebrand is a hot-mess.

So many questions will go unanswered. Mainly because Slack is no longer a communication software company — it’s a media empire that happens to sell software.

Call me old-fashioned, I think it’s a major bummer to see Slack embrace this new “identity” and disregard its internet past so nonchalantly.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

How to Move Existing, Uncommitted Work to a New Branch in Git

So here’s a new one for ya.

I was working on a branch all day, closed the laptop, went home and fell asleep. Nothing out of the ordinary. The next day, I awoke, and upon returning to work, immediately began working on a new problem.

The issue arose when I discovered to my horror that I was still on the same branch from yesterday! *Gasp*

Lest we forget, we have Git at our disposal — so I take a breath and dive in:

git status

This will probably return a list of changes not staged like this:

On branch fix-from-yesterday
Your branch is up to date with 'origin/fix-from-yesterday-'.

Changes not staged for commit:
(use "git add …" to update what will be committed)
(use "git checkout -- …" to discard changes in working directory)
modified: project/api-v4.php
modified: web/assets/js/some-project/package.json
...

Now that we have a pulse on things, we can do this:

git checkout -b new-branch-of-changes-for-today

This will leave your current branch as is, create and checkout a new branch and keep all your changes. You can then make a commit with:

git add <the files you want commit>

and finally, commit to your new branch with ol trusty:

git commit -m "Make sure your description is short and sweet"

And there you have it! According to git-checkout documentation, -b and -B are interchangeable. Here’s the rub:

Specifying -b causes a new branch to be created as if git-branch[1] were called and then checked out. In this case you can use the --track or --no-track options, which will be passed to git branch. As a convenience, --track without -b implies branch creation; see the description of --trackbelow.


If -B is given, <new_branch> is created if it doesn’t exist; otherwise, it is reset. This is the transactional equivalent of

The Palm Leaf Grasshopper

Posted by: u/rolandroflz

I thought this was pretty cool!

This is a palm leaf grasshopper! There’s much discussion in the Reddit thread about the material, origin, and proper Japanese nomenclature. Typical and to be expected of any high-quality Reddit post honestly — however, one user in particular commented a web archive link to something extraordinary.

An old, MS-painted tutorial on how to make such a grasshopper out of palm leaves:

A real treasure.

An Improved and Definitive Texas City Emoji Guide

Growing up in Fort Worth, having lived in Denton, Dallas and Arlington, having visited (frequently all the cities within DFW and) Houston, Galveston, Corpus Christie, Padre Island, Brownsville, Austin, Bee Cave, Grandbury, Stephenville, Plano, Amarillo, Wichita Falls, San Marcos, Tyler, Weatherford, Longview, Waco and (of course) Texarkansas — each city sets itself apart from the rest. The sum of its parts, is what makes Texas such a great state.

I’ve never known another state to have such a vast, rivalrous, chivalrous, friendly but at times fiendish mythology of the neighboring cities within itself. Perhaps, I’ve never really known another state like Texas. Or maybe, I’ve never really looked hard enough, because — well… I’m from Texas.

Anyways, without further ado, enjoy the emoji Texan-take tweets from Bobby Blanchard (@bobbycblanchard) of The Texas Tribune:

God I love it, all of it. My only critique is that Denton’s emoji should be a Saxophone although an Eagle is fitting 🙂

The Tree of Life

I spent some time this Sunday evening hopping around on Letterboxd. It’s a lot of fun jumping from film to film. Or hell, even list to list, discovering and collecting movies and classics to my watchlist. Give it a try, and join Letterboxd. You won’t be disappointed. I promise.

Eventually I came across Terrance Malick’s supposed magnum opus: The Tree of Life on a list. The film left a considerable impression on me. It was released in 2011. A time of youth, tumult, and personal maturity for me.

I don’t really have much to say about it. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, it’s just there’s so much too say. You really need to watch this film. It’s just really something, so very dense. Here’s the trailer:

30

Today, I’ll be turning 30. 

I’ll spare you the cliche painful words from an aging youth, and the expected drone of middle-age melancholia. I’ll even spare you the expected pessimism for squandered or lost youth. 

Instead, I’d like to remind everyone that the carrot isn’t important, chasing it is. I’m not dead yet, and like any mortal that came before you or I — I certainly pondered my mortality today. It’s perhaps something I do daily.

I feel confident of my achievements and I’m thankful to have lived to the age of 30. Many thanks to my parents (but specifically my mother who laboriously raised 3 boys), my friends, co-workers, mentors, teachers and of course, my family. The next 30 years (I’m sure), will fly by in an instant. 

Yesterday I had jury duty for the first time. Today I’m 30. I think I’ll have a beer and celebrate.

Arena

A film from Páraic McGloughlin. His short-film was voted Best of the Month earlier this year. While it’s not my favorite video for 2018, it really stood out. From the video’s description:

A brief look at the earth from above, based on the shapes we make, the game of life, our playing ground – Arena.

Created using Google Earth imagery.

A superb interview is available as well from the site, Directors Notes.

Be On Fire

I’ve been listening to Chrome Sparks for years now. Pretty much ever since his Bandcamp hit, Marijuana was featured on a viral video of a cat that swept Reddit like a wildfire in 2014.

Those were good times.

His newest EP, is pretty fantastic. It’s not a wild departure or anything, but I can tell that his taste and composition is certainly maturing. His tracks have had (for some time now), great rhythm exploration, thrilling bips, kits and sequence layers that are really just simply delicious to listen to. But this EP in particular has a heavy synthesizer, simple samples and overall has a decent homogeny that I just dig.

His previous releases are also worth a listen, click here to visit his Bandcamp. Otherwise, checkout Be On Fire below via Apple Music.

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