Nick Swardson, Lynn Shawcroft and Ken Burns walk into a bar

On the afternoon of April 30, 2006, Johanna and I were in the bar at the Marquette Hotel where we’d been vacationing to attend the Mitch Hedberg tribute at the Orpheum in Minneapolis. Based on the vast knowledge of comedians and hotels we’d amassed from Mitch’s jokes, we assumed the comics were probably staying at the Doubletree — or Quadrupletree — as Mitch called it.

We’d figured out the hotel’s bar was adjacent to a fine dining establishment that had fancy macaroni and cheese the bar would sell during happy hour, so we spent a lot of time there. We’d been there for a while when the bartender noticed he’d forgotten to turn on the big screen, so he asked our feedback on our viewing preference. I encouraged him to pass the sports channels, where he landed on the Ken Burns Civil War documentary. I’ve always loved to make jokes about the sad letters and flute music, so I encouraged the barkeep to turn it up.

We were eating our macaroni when Lynn Shawcroft took a seat at the barstool next to mine. Whoa, this was Mitch’s wife, touring partner and stellar opening act, and I couldn’t think of anything to say. We’d flown from Texas to be there, but all I imagined was that she’d probably enjoy a few minutes to herself before the show started in a few hours. Johanna was nudging me incessantly to say something, but I just basked in the moment, being there with the one person in the world who connected me to Mitch more than anyone.

I watched Ken Burns, I had a beer, and I knew that I was inches away from someone really special. That’s when Nick Swardson appeared behind me wearing a hoodie and jeans, “Do you mind turning on the game, I’d like to check the score?”

“I’m sorry sir, but my guests are involved in this show and it wouldn’t be fair for me to change the channel.”

Nick ordered a drink and went and stood behind me in the hall, watching the game on a wall-mounted flat screen. He was really into the game, and Jo and I spent the rest of our afternoon watching two of stand-up’s most interesting people enjoy some ‘me’ time before the big show. Even though we were clearly the most important people in that bar.

Nick was a perfect gentleman, even though I thought it was absurd that a bar didn’t show a big sports event in favor of The Battle Hymn of the Republic and a lonely letter to my dearest Eloise. But we were there. We still love Ken Burns. And the show was great.

Here’s a strange review: http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?at_code=330678

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Top ten 2017 in progress

Julien Baker 

Lana del Ray

Brand New

Thrice

Joywave

Arcade Fire (Begrudgingly)

Portugal. The Man

Bleachers

Harry Styles

Amy Shark

Sylvan Esso

Judah & the Lion

Album Name of the Year: “The boy who died wolf” – Highly suspect

Already leaving, Jester’s Folly

Some lyrics by Greg from Jester’s Folly

This is what I meant to say: I remember the scent that day, hanging in the air.

I like to watch her drink all the rain. This kind of happy, I could never feel again. 

And so it begins again. My love, sweet rapture, gonna take all my sin. 

Pick a park where we can meet. You make me happy feeling. I don’t wanna make you wait. I’m already leaving. 

You’ve got to remember. If you don’t try this one on: Will you make a movie with me? So I don’t have to lose you. 

Greg was my roommate at UT Arlington in 1998. Our band was called Lachrymethod with members Gary and Jarod. I honestly don’t remember their last names. I think about him from time to time. If you’re connected with both of us, send me a note. 

UX lessons from Dominos iPhone app: What I do

Dominos is my favorite pizza app. User experiences and apps are what I make, so here are a few things I’d change. 


Entry screen call to action is “checkout.” I always push this button when there’s nothing in my cart. The red button should be disabled or say “menu” or “coupons” when the cart is empty. 


Which leads to this screen. Problem is, “continue” takes me back to the empty cart “checkout” screen, not the menu or coupons. 


This “cheese it up” modal is great, but clicking yes could add $2 to your order. Problem is, not knowing could irritate me if I wasn’t expecting the upcharge, or I might REALLY want extra cheese and assume it adds $5 and pass. 


I’ve already confirmed my address at the beginning of this process, so taking up a full screen’s worth of real estate with some things I can’t change and other info that’s probably accurate considering I chose my address wastes my time choosing a card for the transaction. 


I can also only delete expired cards from the choices, most of these cards have been replaced on our end, and I’d like to delete them. 


After ALL this, I have to enter my Dominos password to checkout. If you’re going to require a password, do it at the beginning, and figure out a way to bypass it with a thumbprint. Considering how complicated this app can be, I’m not too worried my 4yo is going to accidentally order a pizza or a nerdowell is going to hack my phone and order a pizza. 


And last, this tiny flip phone icon at the bottom of the screen calls my store in case I have any last minute changes. A great feature. Problem is, I thought this icon let me use my phone as a walkie talkie. Stick with a hyperlinked numerical phone number for accessibility purposes. A developer should rarely assume I know what a flip phone icon means. 

My First Week at my New Job

I’m proud to have started a new job a week ago Thursday. The new bank had an excellent one-day orientation that included a tour of the massive campus and handing out laptops, testing logins and assigning monitors and work stations. This is nice, as I’ve worked places where new employees don’t have an orientation and sometimes wait weeks for new computers. 

They assigned me an HP laptop, but my boss has already begun the Apple MacBook ordering process, a sign to me that they’re committed to making sure we have lots of tools for testing and production. 

My setup now is the laptop in a dock on the right and a nice-sized monitor on the left. The bank also issued a new mouse and keyboard so I only have to use the laptop as a monitor when it’s docked. 

The cafeteria is very nice and there is also a self-pay convenience store a little closer in my building. So far, I’ve had an Indian Tiki Masala Chicken dish and a gourmet Italian sub. The eating area looks out onto a beautiful lake with fountains and waterfalls and a nice-sized walking trail folks are allowed to enjoy from 11am to 2pm. 

I did get trapped outside this week when I went to the lake around 4pm for a stroll. I was locked out and an executive saw me trying to get back in and walked me around to the side of the building where the doors are open. I should have known when there was no one out there. 

I spend a lot of lunch time wandering through the complex and parking garage and driving around the area, my favorite destination, McDonalds. 

I have an operations supervisor in Dallas and development boss in Charlotte, as well as coordinate with the design supervisor in Charlotte, so I spent much of last week meeting with influencers and stakeholders on my project. 

My main project is coding the design appearance into an app the bank uses for business-to-business banking. 

I also have Lynda access to some cool online classes I’ve taken and attended an amazing web accessibility conference yesterday. 

Things are great so far!

Your signature mentioned “Filthy Rich” – Is there a story?

Your signature mentioned Filthy Rich, and it is also listed in your portfolio. Is there a story behind this nickname?
I was a rapper in a past life and currently perform as a bass guitarist. My hip hop band Gallery Cat was twice-nominated Best Rap Act by the Dallas Observer 2010 and 2011. I was known as Richie Rich until 1999 when a producer started calling me Filthy Rich. Now I use it as a mnemonic device. I’ve introduced myself that way to Steve Wozniak, the CEO of Capital One and my US Congressman. They all remembered my name.

A Narrative on Usability

Image

Jonny asked me to make a film about usability so I created an MOV in 16:9 at 4K for MacBook Pro, a WMV at 1080i for his Dell, an MPEG4 in 4:3 for his iPhone, an AAC in 25cm diagonal for his iPad, an FLV in 8K for Facebook, a 600px squared MP4 for Instagram, an AVI to edit for his WordPress and a Super Hi-Vision raw UHDTV for his PHP website, LinkedIn.com/in/jonnymack. His broadband satellite cable DSL connection was down so I uploaded it to YouTube and it’s the first video in internet history to have been viewed more than a billion times.