One of the first things my friend, and mentor — and Columbia University in the City of New York professor — Howard Stein told me, was that he was once a produced, and award-winning Playwright, and when he decided to teach other Playwrights at the University of Iowa for a living, he gave up his Playwright life because he didn’t want to compete with his students. I thought that instinct was honorable and right and the lesson sticks with me today. New plays have a hard enough time getting produced on their own, and when you’re in direct competition with your professor for stage time, and production dollars, you quickly discern how easy it is for the amateur Playwright to fail in the same professional arena as the Professor.
A year or so ago, Google dropped a bomb on all website designers, publishers and online content authors: Your websites had better not only be SSL-secure, but also “mobile-friendly” — and while the first edict is easy to solve with money, the second command costs you a lot of time and money and energy — especially if you’ve been publishing live content on the web for a long time.
Three days ago, after publishing our latest Boles Book — American Sign Language Level 5: A Field Guide for Advanced Communication Techniques for People with Other Disabilities — I unwittingly ran afoul of Facebook’s advertising rules. I had “too much text” in my book cover image and so Facebook censored my $40.00USD boosted post promotion of my book midstream, effectively blocking my book cover image on their social network because my design aesthetic didn’t meet their advertising rules.
Over the last 15 years or so, I have designed a lot of websites and many original logos. The logos have evolved over the years, and so have the websites, but many of my main logos have been in use since 2005 and, sometimes, you need to make a change in order to get a fresher look and feel for your personal brand.
The problem with changing one logo in a pride of online properties is that one logo modification tends to cascade into necessary, widespread, cultural changes so everything blends and works better in an overall aesthetic eye appeal.
Here’s a photograph of me that was taken by a Rutgers theatre student of mine in 2004. I had no idea she was taking my photograph, and when she later offered to give me the digital photograph, I was both delighted and thrilled that she captured me so succinctly unaware. Yes, the photograph is blurry and slightly out of focus — but so was I at the time of the taking.
The studio walls are painted to look like a green and bluish sky for an in situ production. My coat is to my left and that garish white triangle is a coat hanger. The theatre chairs are backward and broken on the floor because the empty space was in the process of being stripped down and made into part of the Department of Education. My face and hands are blurry because I’m taking notes in performance.
Pau is a small provincial city, it has long been a haven for the British wanting to escape Blighty for the good of their health. There are many spas in the area and the climate is reputed to be good for your health. The older architecture is a mix of “alpine’ grand villa and a good dose of British garden. There is a cathedral and a university and the small provincial airport is now opening up to fulfill Pau’s emerging status as the gateway to the Pyrenees.
The airport’s development and the expansion of the scientific departments at the University have led to the development of a science park on the outskirts of the city. I have, on past visits, caught tantalizing glimpses of some of the buildings and was determined to explore further before we left Pau for good.
After one particularly frustrating afternoon, I declared a time out and went exploring and headed straight for the science park.
Today, I’m sad to report that my beloved Herman Miller Aeon Chair finally gave up its seat — and its mesh back and its crippled casters and it decaying rubber arms — and I had to trash it after eight, magnificent, years of dutiful sitting service.
I was on the hunt for a new office chair. The replacement had to be hardy and tough and a good value. I spend 12 hours a day in and out of my office chair, so I needed to make certain the task of sitting would not interfere with my joy of writing.
When I happened upon a Staples chair exclusive with a mouthful of a name — the Tempur-Pedic TP8000 Ergonomic Mesh Mid-Back Task Chair — and I knew I’d found my new office chair at a great value.
If you had access to a 3D printer and could create only one thing out of plastic, from scratch, what would you make? An implantable human ear replacement? A filter for pumping clean water in thirsty third-world nations? What about forming something fun and whimsical like, say, an acoustic guitar? Or, would you take the tunnel of least resistance, and the road of the lowest common human morality, and choose to print a plastic gun for killing people?