Jim Norton: Contextually Inadequate

Norton tackles sex, race, gun, and technology with an unfiltered sense of humor. His jokes are brutal but brilliant. For instance, he praised Joan Rivers and offered to eat her pussy. Watch Contextually Inadequate on Netflix for some dark, entertaining comic.

Sears’s Inescapable Promotion

Two weeks ago we went to Sears to buy a dishwasher. Less than half an hour we closed the deal. The salesman asked me for my email so that Sears could provide the status of the delivery and installation. I gave him my email, but emphasized that I did not want any email promotion and he agreed.

When we got home that day, I checked the old dishwasher and for some odd reasons it worked again. I went back to Sears to cancel my order. Everything went fine, except now I am stuck with endless sale promotions.

The first promotion from Sears read: “Get $10 off $20. Jump online today!” No, thanks. Unsubscribed. The next day, another one read: “Jump on it! Get $10 off your $20 online purchase.” No, thanks. Unsubscribed again. A few minutes later, another one came in: “;-) Seriously, you made the list! Since we think you’re awesome… Enjoy Super Summer Savings!” No seriously. Don’t wink at me. I don’t want to be on the list. Unsubscribed again. The next day, another one came in: “[SURPRISE!] You’re seriously going to love this: Cyber Monday NOW :-).” No seriously, I am not going to love it. I was surprised indeed that I had unsubscribed three times with the confirmation that I had been successfully unsubscribed and yet I was still getting promotional emails.

With frustration, I tweeted at Sears and its social media team were on it immediately, which was good. After providing my name and email, they confirmed that my email had been removed from all the mailing lists, which sounded great except today I got another one from Sears: “We’re not lying! ▷▷ You’ve officially hit it big: find tools & equipment by trusted brands.” No, you fucking lied. I sent a message to the social media team that I was still getting promotional newsletter from Sears and their response was: “Donny, it can take 7-10 business days for the messaging to stop. If after that time you are still receiving messages, please let us know.” What? It takes 7-10 business days to be removed from a fucking online newsletter? They have to go and track down the physical database or something? This is ridiculous. My only solution now is to filter anything coming from Sears straight into my junk box.

Introduction to Web Design (Summer 2015)

The summer course, Introduction to Web Design, ended yesterday with students presenting their final project. The websites, in which they came up with the concept, designed, and coded, turned out well given that all six of them had no prior knowledge of web design.

My goal for the course, which was compacted into into eight  weeks, was to train students the foundation of HTML and CSS. In the first three weeks, I covered all the chapters in Jon Duckett’s HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites. In each chapter, I selected the practical features that they would use the most in real-world projects. In addition to two exams, I created five exercises based on the code demo covered in class.

In parallel to learning HTML and CSS, students had to come up with the concept for their own site. They had to write a proposal, gather content, and create a sitemap, wireframes and mockups. The final website must be hand-coded, functional, and responsive.

Once we were done with with the book, they began to create the mockups and code their final site. The most challenging part of the course was coding; therefore, I only gave them one project to do and plenty of time to code. They struggled a bit, but everyone pulled through. I am happy with what they turned in. I hope that I had given them enough basic knowledge so that they will continue to improve their HTML and CSS skills after the intro course.

Here are a few mockups the students have created.

Triumphant Trump

Dusting off my political category because the election is here. The Republican party is already getting fired up with 17 men and one woman running for president. With Donald Trump entering the race, he is making the election more interesting and entertaining. I hope he stays in the game until the general election. 2016 wouldn’t be fun without him. He should definitely consider third-party run if the GOP doesn’t support him.

Rosemarie Ostler: Founding Grammars

An intriguing history of the development of the English language. Ostler traces back to key figures including Noah Webster, Lindley Murray, Robert Lowth, and William Bentley Fowle who played the major roles in shaping the usage of language. From controversies to rules to criticisms, Founding Grammars is a delightful and informing read on the wars on words.

Podcast List

As much as I love listening to podcasts, I don’t have much time; therefore, I am very selective. Here are a few shows that I listen to these days on my commute:

DesignEDU Today: A fairly new podcast on design education hosted by Gary Rozanc. I am not quite feeling it yet because most of the guests are familiar, but looking forward to the next episode with Bob Gillespie, my classmate from La Salle University.

Fresh Air: I learn something new almost everyday listening to Terry Gross talking to all kind of experts.

Microphone Check: Keep me up-to-date on new hip-hop artists. The shows I like the most are the conversations among Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Frannie Kelley, and the rappers.

Real Time With Bill Maher: I always enjoy political humors on this show. I lost count how many time Maher made fun of Chris Christie’s weight.

Through Process: Hosted by Joshua Namdev Hardisty and Mitch Goldstein, this podcast gives me insightful tips on teaching design. I started listening to this podcast last year, but then I stopped. Just resubscribed a few weeks ago and caught up all the episodes.

Unfinished Business: I really like the new format the host Andrew Clarke has set up. In pairing up two guests with similar background and expertise, he recorded some of the most engaging conversations on web design.

The Web Ahead: Updates have been sporadic, but the episodes are top-notch. Jen Simmons is a fantastic host who carries the conversations on code and design with ease and clarity.

Summer Reading List

Not sure if I will get through every book, but here’s the list:

  • Aesthetics by Nicolai Hartmann
  • Design: The Groundbreaking Moments by Nina Kozel
  • Design, When Everybody Designs: An Introduction to Design for Social Innovation by Ezio Manzini
  • Designing Here/Now: A Global Selection of Objects, Concepts and Spaces for the Future edited by Allan Chochinov and Eric Ludlum
  • Designing Multi-Device Experiences: An Ecosystem Approach to Creating User Experiences Across Devices by Michal Levin
  • Founding Grammars: How Early America’s War Over Words Shaped Today’s Language by Rosemarie Ostler
  • Frame Innovation: Create New Thinking by Design by Kees Dorst
  • Refining Design for Business: Using Analytics, Marketing, and Technology to Inform Customer-Centric Design by Michael Krypel
  • User-Centered Design: A Developer’s Guide to Building User-Friendly Applications by Travis Lowdermilk

Minions

The kids had been bugging me to take them to see Minions. We went last weekend, but it was sold out. I didn’t think the movie was going to be that good; therefore, I was not aware that it would be sold out. Took them out again this afternoon. It turned out I was right. The film was not that entertaining, but the boys seemed to enjoy it and I was able to just relax for an hour and a half. They ate almost the entire big bucket of popcorn.

Tig

An emotional documentary about Tig Notaro, a comedian who had Clostridium difficile, lost her mother, and diagnosed with breast cancer. Out of devastation, she turned to comedy and transformed the art of dark humor. The realness in her struggles came though in her performance at the Largo, a Los Angeles comedy club. Tig is fascinating film on lost, conquer, love, and comedy. A must-watch if you have Netflix.

Steven Bradley:  CSS Animations and Transitions for the Modern Web

An approachable and practical guide to web animation. The explanations are clear and the examples are useful. With easy-to-implement CSS techniques, this book will teach you how to apply simple motion to your website’s interface and interaction in no time.