Last month I had the pleasure of speaking at Digital Summit Dallas on UX – specifically on how the philosophies of Bruce Lee can help make anyone become a better user experience professional. Here’s the presentation I gave:
Looking over my traffic logs and wrapping up the year, I decided to compile a Top 10 list of the most-read articles of my site this past year (hey, everyone is doing it). It’s actually a somewhat surprising list:
Number one, by a HUGE amount (We are talking many THOUSANDS of hits) was my review of the Alan Partridge film:
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is a fantastic funny film
Here’s numbers two through ten, with some editorial comment:
#2. #StopOrci2014 hashtag lets Star Trek fans vent about the writer of Into Darkness
My coverage of the Twitter ‘campaign” against Bob Orci’s directing a certain SF film got quite a few views, and some people even asked me if I was the one “behind” the hashtag. Nope, I just jumped in (and agreed, obviously).
#3. #UX101: Best practices for gesture interaction
Some of this content is a little dated, but I think it’s still solid advice.
#4. A rant about Creation Entertainment and Star Trek Las Vegas #STLV
Creation is a bunch of a-holes.
#5. The last time I am ever going to write about Star Trek
A recent post that got a lot of traction thanks to Facebook.
#6. UX, nude selfies, and the cloud
A topical article on how the Apple iCloud celebrity photo breach was a failure of user experience design.
#7. More on Creation and the #STLV convention: A volunteer speaks out
This follow-up to the above post, with an anonymous letter about Creation’s dickery, got a lot of reads – hopefully this will impact Creation’s bottom line and they will start treating people decently.
#8. Photos of A Christmas Story House: The nicest fictional place I’ve every been
My visit to the A Christmas Story House and the accompanying pictures was enjoyed by many.
#9. UX, the Bruce Lee Way
An article that was also reposted by UX Magazine, and if you add that traffic count it would (potentially) be number two.
#10. #UX101: Navigation design and best practices
More UX best practices, that are still applicable.
Looking forward to writing more in 2015. Hope you like what I come up with.
To quote the chairman of the board, for me and mine it was a very good year. In 2014…
- The family and I went on a cruise (for the first time)
- I went on three International business trips (to Greece and Mexico)
- I was able to visit Paris (again, for the first time)
- Attended a party in the Seahawks stadium (on the field), two weeks before they won the Super Bowl
- Enjoyed two great trips to Vegas
- Rode in a submarine
- Visited Mayan ruins in Mexico
- Visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- Got to see more of America through work trips (Pittsburgh! Washington DC! Dallas!)
- Visited the Christmas Story house and Southfork Ranch
- Got to visit the Computer History Museum
- Survived a car wreck that totaled my Jeep (RIP)
- Once again took a trip to Twin Peaks
- Hung out with friends in Seattle and Los Angeles…
- Got to speak at a couple of conferences
- Visited the Andy Warhol Museum
- Met a LOT of famous people (Hi Norman! Hi Brent!)
- Had the opportunity to do great work with some very talented teammates…
- Lost a bit of weight (enough for people to notice and for me to feel better).
Basically, it was better than I hoped. Lots of pics of my travels are here.
I look back at this past year with profound gratitude. Lots of people are not doing half as well as we are, and I am doing what I can to help as many people in need as possible – an effort that is absolutely driven by the appreciation of what me and mine have.
So, 2015… what do I do for an encore? Well… Here’s my list. Don’t call them “resolutions” – consider them “plans.”
- Visit Seattle at least three times
- Visit Portland again
- Lose more weight, but more important gain more muscle mass
- Don’t go to the Star Trek Las Vegas Convention (been there, done that, got the t-shirt)
- Don’t go to DragonCon (again, I’m over it)
- Go to SXSW
- Speak at three conferences (two are already booked)
- Go back to Europe for business and pleasure
- Drink less, but drink better (elevate my palate, as it were).
- Get the Icon Windows Phone
- Upgrade my wife’s phone
- Get rid of some stuff (either by selling or giving it away)
- Walk more
- Eat less fast food
- Eat more fish and vegetables (ESPECIALLY SALMON)
- Finish my Neglected Cinema series (and publish it as an e-book)
- Write more (I’ve been slacking off the past three months due to my day job)
- Put more in my 401K (and be grateful that I HAVE a 401K)
- Join a gym
- Go to the beach on two continents
- Catch up on some TV shows
- Relax more
- Read more
- Get better sleep
- Play more games (board and video)
- Do something that scares me
- Do not see the second and third Hobbit films
- Do not see any films that star Kevin Hart or Kevin James
- See the Avengers 2
- Probably see Mad Max:Fury Road and Tomorrowland
- Maybe see Star Wars VII or Ant-Man
- Watch Better Call Saul, The Walking Dead, and The Middle
- Watch any show Gordon Ramsey is on
- See a lot of movies on airplanes
- Bedazzle NOTHING
- Pay off debt
- Accrue more dept
- Eat more stroopwafels
- Celebrate some anniversaries, big and small
- Try and appreciate the little things
- Try not to die
That’s my list, folks. I hope you make a similar list – not of what you hope to do, but one that lists everything that you WILL do.
I should be taking a victory lap.
Roberto Orci, the writer/producer, has apparently been kicked off Star Trek 3 – a movie he was originally signed to both co-write and direct. Me and Mr. Orci, well… we have a history. His heated and condescending response to my TrekMovie editorial “Star Trek is broken” resulted in a tremendous amount of bad press for him, and it also resulted in my op-ed piece being read by far more people than would have done so otherwise.
When Orci was announced as director, I was critical and contributed to the very vocal #StopOrci2014 twitter response… a response that probably made no difference whatsoever in what happened, but gave fans a chance to vent.
I don’t know what has happened behind the scenes, but Devin at Badass Digest writes that Orci was kicked off the film, almost entirely – Orci initially responded to these rumors with a “not true, I am still very much involved” comment (again, on TrekMovie) but he finally stated yesterday that he was a producer only and was no longer writing the script (his script for Star Trek Into Darkness is one of the major points of criticism I and many others had with the film).
Like I stated, I should be taking a victory lap… but I’m not. Mostly because I see very little to celebrate.
Star Trek is STILL broken, because the direction the series has taken doesn’t look to change. They have brought in Justin Lin, the director of the Fast and the Furious movies, to direct the next Trek film. While he is quite adept with character moments and action beats, is he the right man to direct Star Trek? I don’t know, but other rumored directors (Duncan Jones!) could have brought a much more intellectual take at the material.
Trek is not action movie material… Trek is about the human adventure, the undiscovered country… as I pointed out (adeptly, IMO) in the article that pissed off Orci in the first place. Since the universe prides itself on irony, we have seen two great examples of what a Trek movie should and could be just this past year. Gravity and Interstellar are both provocative SF stories that I could see under the Star Trek label (and yes, I know both films are flawed). Hell, even Guardians of the Galaxy had more “exploration” than the last Trek film had.
So no victory lap for me, because I don’t take pleasure in Orci’s ouster… OK, to be completely honest, I do take a LITTLE pleasure. I am human, after all. As they say, pride goeth before a fall, and Mr. Orci was (and is) a very proud boastful little man. So to him I say: Good luck with that.
Now, to finish (and to reinforce the title of this missive): I’m kinda done with Star Trek.
I’ve gone (and spoken at) Trek conventions, I’ve written thousands of words on the subject, and I look back in fondness at the hours of entertainment the series and the films have given me. But with Trek now an “action adventure” franchise, the Trek that is being produced now is bringing me more pain than pleasure.
I also think that I have written all I have to say on the subject: I have nothing else to add to the discussion except the same arguments I have made already, and a few have (legitimately) criticized my Trek writing because of this. Since I don’t want or need to belabor my points, I’m out.
Finally, there’s plenty of other people writing about Trek out there… people who are still excited and passionate about Trek – many of them much better writers than I am – and I wish them well. I’m just not that interested in doing so anymore (especially when half the comments are people “white knighting” Orci and NuTrek – sorry, life is too short to deal with online debates waged in comment threads).
So, to my Trek friends… live long and prosper. I will be writing about and viewing other things. I may see the third film… eventually. But even with Orci gone I have no confidence that there will be a course correction to Star Trek anytime soon.
As I wind down work for the year and look at the many presents that are stacked underneath our Christmas tree, I’m feeling a twinge of nostalgia. Since I got my son a new computer, I’m remembering the first and only time I got a computer as a Christmas present – and it was beautiful.
I’m talking, of course, of the Commodore 64C.
Look at that! Isn’t it glorious. I was ten years old, and SO into computers – I desperately wanted one, and there was only one that I really wanted: This one. It was my Red Ryder BB Gun… I annoyed the hell out of my mom and dad and finally won them over. And they spent a LOT of money… A lot more, adjusted for inflation, than I did for my son’s new computer.
I can path my whole career to that one Christmas… and the hundreds of hours I spent on that keyboard writing programs helped made me the technologist that I am today
So, thanks Mom and Dad! I know it cost a lot, but it was an investment well made.
This ad for Gene Roddenberry’s company Lincoln Enterprises makes me drool. Look at all that classic Trek goodness! I’d still love to own that Enterprise Evolution poster or the 3-D Enterprise gold pendant.
(In case you did not know, Lincoln Enterprises is the company Mr. Roddenberry created to “cash in” on Trek, since he didn’t own the show. At one point, he got in trouble with Desilu because he was selling scripts and film that were technically not his to sell…)
Another Christmas catalog page, this one from the 1980 JC Penney catalog… Handheld computer games! How many of you had these? I had both the Mattel Football 2 and Baseball game, and I played the HELL out of them. When Mattel reissued them about a decade ago I bought the reissued football game and was surprised to find that I had gotten WORSE at it. Oh well, fine motor skills are one of the first things to go…
I meant to get around to rewatching Theatre of Blood before Halloween, but business travel and other priorities got in the way of that revisit. A recent international trip gave me ample opportunity to catch up on some things, and this was on top of my list to view.
Theatre of Blood stars the amazing Vincent Price as Edward Lionheart, an egotistical actor who is exacting his revenge on the many critics who gave him poor marks throughout his stage career. It’s not hard to imagine the esteemed Mr. Price having similar feelings about his critics… though I doubt murder was ever a response he contemplated in real life.
This is one of the “Vincent Price kills people in creative ways” films, the most famous one being The Abominable Dr. Phibes. I love Dr. Phibes because of its dark deadpan humor, but I have a soft spot for this film… probably because I am a fan of both Price as a classical actor and the works of Shakespeare. In Theatre of Blood, Vincent’s Lionheart kills characters with methods derived from the Great Bard’s plays, and it’s wonderfully dark (I especially love the “pound of flesh” murder, inspired by The Merchant of Venice).
The supporting cast is outstanding, and it’s a who’s who of B-grade British actors. Ian Hendry, Coral Browne, Robert Morley, Harry Andrews… Lots of “I know that guy!” folks that have been in EVERYTHING.
I also especially appreciate Diana Rigg as Lionheart’s daughter, because she is not only at the peak of her beauty, but also her talent. She also plays in male drag for a big part of the movie, and the idea that anyone in the film would ever believe she was a man… well, it’s one of many areas where he film stretches credibility a bit.
(And if you think the name Richard Lionheart is a bit “on the nose”, wait until you see some of the names of the critics…)
If you’re excited over the idea of Vincent Price reciting classic speeches from Shakespeare, and you haven’t seen Theatre of Blood, then make a point to check it out.
I just hope (spoiler) that you’re not a dog lover…
I think every young geek in the seventies had at least one of these posters on his (or her) wall. Frazetta, man… that guy just BROUGHT IT. Here’s an ad for his posters, “from the original Conan paperback covers,” and the idea that you could basically cover an entire wall with Frazetta art for just $24… wild.
Here’s a treat for fans of Patrick McGoohan (like me): The movie Kings and Desperate Men is available in full on YouTube. Written and directed by McGoohan friend Alexis Kanner, the film features McGoohan in a hostage tale that is similar to the later film Die Hard (Kanner thought it was TOO similar, and sued – he lost).