Fresh New CSS Blog…

Friday, February 20, 2004

I started working at BMC Software this week as an interaction designer and kind of on-hand CSS guru sort.


Since I’ve been spending hours each day sifting through CSS and researching tips and tricks to get good layouts, I thought I should set up a blog specifically for the purpose of detailing some of my finds.

So here we are.

I thought I’d note, as well, that since the blogging code I wrote all lives in one file (not counting the stylesheet), making a new blog is as easy as making a copy, changing a few variables, and making a new look. Awesome! </brag>


New Domains

Saturday, February 14, 2004


Coté, doing his part.

A bunch of my domains have just gone live — now I need your help in deciding something good to do with a couple of them.

They are:

Both seem like they could be good, old-fashioned meme-of-the-week sort of sites of a political nature.

I registered after listening to Mr. Bush talk on the radio about something. (I forget exactly what.) During the 2000 election he billed himself as an education president, citing his “Texas miracle” that reduced drop-out rates in certain areas. And after the election he sent the apparently under-funded “No Child Left Behind” Act through Congress. But with all of his tripping over his words and fumbling through speeches, with his mispronounciations and too-common “Bushisms,” and with the sort of pseudo-Christian rhetoric that he spits out on a regular basis, a good joke would be that the people should band together to educate the President — that the educational energy shouldn’t be flowing from this guy to the world but the other way around. Clever shit. Anyway. This is what happens when you start registering domains after a couple of beers…

I registered around the same time, after hearing about the “Axis of Evil” for the four-billionth time. And I don’t know if Mr. Bush has actually used the term “War Against Evil,” but it’s clear that this is what he feels he’s doing in Afghanistan and Iraq. Taking a popular meme and registering a domain for it is a time-honored web tradition which now I can proudly say I have participated in with this domain. Really, it surprised me that it was even available this late after the coinage of “Axis of Evil” in January 2002.

These registration stories are both wondrous and beautiful, but now I don’t really know what to do with the domains. That’s where you come in.

I want your suggestions.

What should I do?


John Kerry

Tuesday, February 10, 2004


"John Kerry watches President Richard Nixon announce the cease-fire in Vietnam on January 24, 1973." - Boston Globe

Melissa Block interviewed John Kerry on NPR this afternoon, and though the interview started off a bit contentious, once they got into their groove Kerry sounded pretty good. (Listen.)

I like Kerry. He seems like a guy with a long and strong history with the United States government, from his service in Vietnam to his lengthy stay as a U.S. Senator (since 1984, though perpetually a junior, behind this institution). That’s valuable to me, because (despite all the fuss made about the importance of being a Washington outsider) I have respect for someone who knows our political system well. Edwards has served just one term in the Senate and Kucinich has been in the House since 1996. Clark has never been elected to public office. Dr. Dean has — though as the Governor of a small, relatively homogenous state (as Michael Ventura pointed out, though in Ventura’s world Dean governed New Hampshire). If a Democrat ends up in office, they will be working against a hostile House and Senate. Plenty of advance experience in this area would be valuable. Clinton wasn’t particularly succcessful navigating those waters and many of his ideas never saw the light of day.

And Kerry generally says things that play well with me — the exceptions I can think of right now being his support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2002 (though, to be fair, he was being manipulated and lied to with regard to the facts) and his wishy-washy stance on gay marriage (supporting civil unions but not marriage).

My belief is that the current reaction against homosexuality stems more from ignorance than anything else, and that in the future denying a person rights due to their sexuality will seem just as absurb and wrong as denying a person rights based on their ethnicity. But. I suspect Kerry wants to hold the middle ground on this issue, not swinging to one side or the other. And this seems okay. Some states (including Kerry’s own) have taken the initiative to be more open about different sorts of couplings, and someone who will just let that ball roll will most certainly be better than someone so concerned with protecting our freedoms that he would not want activist judges to assert their judgment to allow you or I to marry whomever we wish lest those judges undercut the freedom of the community to tell you or I who we are and aren’t free to marry, even though that community might have already said it’s okay — or something like that… Makes my head hurt.

As for Iraq, I feel that Hussein deserved what came to him and that the Iraqi people will be better off because of the United States’ intervention. Great. But. The United States needs those hundreds of billions of dollars at home right now and our economy and our citizens should not have borne the burden of financing that intervention. That’s what the United Nations exists for and I believe that the U.S. should be making an effort to play nicely with the rest of the world not unilaterally throwing its weight around. Or we will spend more of our fiscal and political capital on enterprises that don’t benefit us as a nation much at all. And I resent spending money we don’t have on something we didn’t need. Etc.

But. I understand that we’re not at the Country Skillet Presidential Buffet, here, and no candidate have exactly the features our next President should have. I also feel like gay marriage should not top the list of reasons to support or not support someone: economic policy, leadership skill, and international political skill should top that list. Also, Kerry voted against both of the Bush tax cuts (as did Edwards and Kucinich), one of my litmus tests (since those bills seem so clearly wrong-minded and borderline corrupt, frankly). ( has a ton of information about the candidates, including voting records. I’d recommend taking a look. Fuck trusting the opinion of some wind-bag blogger.)

I don’t really know that much about the different Democratic candidates. And because our system seems designed to only allow certain swing states a true voice in the Presidential election process (by spreading state primaries across months and through the out-of-date electoral voting system) — and because Texas is in the late half of the primary cycle (after about thirty states including California and New York) and a state that has swung quite to the Republican side lately — my votes for President will have less impact that the votes of others in states such as Florida and Oregon (swing states). Or rather, my vote will be tallied in Bush’s column when Texas goes Republican again. So will yours, since you’re probably living in Austin right now. (Not that I won’t vote.)

Anyway. It’ll be interesting to see how Texas swings, though I suspect the field will be much smaller (Gov. Howard Dean, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and Al Sharpton will have dropped out by that point) and Kerry will have a sizeable delegate lead.

So for this election I guess I’m kind of a reverse yellow-dog Democrat: instead of intending to vote for the Democrat no matter who the rival, I intend to vote against the current Republican President no matter who the rival. Mr. Bush isn’t necessarily a horrible or stupid man, but I feel he’s making way too many missteps — from creating economic policy that’s going to cause the shit to hit the fan in twenty years when I’ll have to pay for larger part of it, by allowing (or threatening to allow) his pseudo-religious views to repeatedly interrupt people’s lives and work (banning stem cell research, the gay marriage issue, etc.), and by allowing to many edges to be worn off the Constitution (privacy rights, search and seizure rights, seperation of church and state, etc.). It’s too much.

So there you go. Some thoughts. In no particular order.


March 10th: Luomo + DXM

Saturday, February 7, 2004


Larger version of the flyer here.

I will be playing live at Antone’s on Wednesday, March 10th with Luomo (a.k.a. Vladislav Delay). This will be a great show and I’m really excited — and if you like electronic music I would highly recommend checking it out. Luomo has never come to Austin before and it may be a while before he comes back, so this will be a rare treat.

Luomo has recorded albums for Mille Plateaux, Force Inc, and Kinetic Records under several pseudonyms including Vladislav Delay, Uusitallo, and Lukkas Onekas, becoming popular in Europe for his enticing electro-house and future disco excursions. The Wire magazine wrote of his latest release: “An exceptional record: audaciously conceived, beautifully executed … with an unusually poignant promise of romance.” ( has a better quick bio.)

The details:

Location: Antone’s (213 West 5th St., Austin [map])

Play times:

  • Damon Williams (Feedback Magazine), 9:30-10:30
  • DXM (Frescher-Southern), 10:30-11:30
  • Luomo / Vladislav Delay (Kinetic, Force Inc., Mille Plateaux), 11:30-12:45
  • T-rent $ (Earthling Prod.), 12:45-2:00

Cost: $12 (Buy Online or at 33 Degrees or Waterloo Records.)

Send me an e-mail if you need more information. You can also visit my DXM site for more info about DXM, including free tracks to download.

Also, make a comment here if you buy a ticket online. I’m curious who you are.

See you there!


Subway Sticker

Wednesday, February 4, 2004


Found art.

I found this sticker pasted along one of the flourescent lights in a subway train in Manhattan.

Part of me wishes that the author had included a URL so I could go check out their website and maybe find some other cleverness to flip through at work. Part of me is glad, though, that they didn’t. They’ve left me to use a little bit of the imagination that seems so rarely exercised sometimes — now that seemingly any piece of information can be had at one’s fingertips — to wonder who put it there, whether other stickers with the same have been stuck all over the place, whether they say the same thing or have other comments, etc. Ask me and I’ll whine about how the mainstream news twists opinion by decontextualizing information, but sometimes a little decontextualizing can be a good thing. Like those watermelon stickers that have been stuck around Austin on out-of-the-way sides of buildings and traffic signs. (Also, The Crying of Lot 49 was a favorite book of mine in college, which you’ll understand if you’ve read it.)

It’s also a bit refreshing in this cultural climate that has so many people trying to behave like their own little micro-branding media empires.

Self included.

Vote Josh.


The Pomegranate

Sunday, January 25, 2004


Punica granatum.

H.E.B. had a bunch of pomegranates on sale in December so I picked one up out of curiousity. Back at home I jabbed into the rind a few times with a spoon and ended up with the above. It’s a beautiful fruit on the inside — snugly packed with seeds that resembled crosses between alien podlings and blood-red bath beads — and I had a much more enjoyable time pulling apart than I did actually tasting it (not that it tasted bad). Normal people make jellies with pomegranates, I gather. I just picked out and ate a bunch of the tangy podlings raw, making a little bit of a mess in the process.

Now I have a quince in my fridge and I’m holding back on reading anything about it online until I get a chance to play with it myself. What mysteries may be contained within…


Gallery Links for January 2004

Monday, January 19, 2004


Part of the National Design Museum in Manhattan.

I don’t have much new to say. Sorry about the three-month pause between serious posts. That people kept approaching me at parties wondering what had happened should’ve been some indication that I needed to get my web-based ass back on the train, but so it goes. Since I’m a “professional” I get cranky with myself when my own site looks like shit, so over the winter break I rewrote my blogging code once more and redesigned the site. Today I’m happy with it, but we’ll see how this one weathers the long haul…

I’ll kick this version off, as seems to be the tradition, with design links — a list of a few sites I’ve been poking around lately for inspiration. Though they’re a bit random, think of them as my Gallery Links for January 2004. Maybe in the future I’ll get more formal and try to post more tightly “curated” selections of links. Hell, my bookmarks folder is monstrous.

Anyway, posting a photograph I took of the National Design Museum, which I visited last fall, seemed relevant. Their National Design Triennial will be up for one more week, and if you live in the area I’d recommend checking that out.

So. We’re off.


Good fonts are really compelling. Sucks that I can’t use any more interesting fonts that Georgia or Verdana for my sites, but I still enjoy keeping an eye on what’s going on in foundryland. I don’t buy fonts, but the foundries often give away a few of their fonts for free and just picking these up when you find them can help you build up quite a collection.

  • - Simple, but they provide some good links and a squirt of opinion.

  • Typophile - Though the useless Flash tomfoolery irks me, their Found Type gallery is fun to look through. It’s also one of those web things that’s cool and simple enough in concept to inspire new ideas…

  • Identifont - This is a genius tool and I have used it on numerous occasions when I need to ID a font.

  • Letter Labor - A quick, cool animated explanation of the patterns used to create a font. I’d recommend taking their advice and picking up a copy of the Unibody™ pixel font, as well.

Blog Design

I wanted to balance a professional look with a personal one for this site and I looked to a handful of sites which, I thought, did this nicely. What these people had to say interested me less than how they said it (not that they don’t say good things).

  • Brookelyn - She’s got a really sexy site and I used her color palette as the starting point to develop the palette currently used on Auscillate. She does a good job balancing the bold and the soft and the photos are really lovely. The body fonts would cause a usability guy to whine, being white text on a light tan background — but whatever. Anyway, the sad fact of the matter is that her page looks much better than mine. Dammit.

  • Fireland - Another Josh. I like the book-like simplicity and the subtle colors. The bright blue-red-white-black look has worn seriously thin for me, and if I had to make a web design prediction for the coming couple of years it would be that color choice will take a turn towards the earth-toned and designers will learn to better balance rich colors with softer ones and explore outside the traditional 216.

  • Squidfingers - This guy has an attractive site, as well, but his patterns really take the prize. I remember back to the dark ages of web design — back in 1997 when pages existed that featured collections of gaudy background patterns you could use to tile behind your webpages, rendering them mostly unreadable. Squidfingers takes that concept and usefully modernizes it to the modern web. And if you surf around a bit, you’ll start noticing sites that use his patterns all over the place…


  • Dream Dollars - Local currency from Antarctica, these look gorgeous and have a whole backstory to them about the lost colony of Nadiria.

  • Flight404 - A surreal blog-as-fiction piece about the lost flight 404.

  • Eboy - Pixel-art that you’ve probably seen before. I get into the little city scenes and I’d be tempted to buy the book if they didn’t have so much on their site.

So there you go. Enjoy. And I’ve got more coming soon, I swear.

Oh, also: If you have an opinion about the way this site now look (or if you notice something going wrong in your browser), post a comment. I’d like to hear it.


“The Bonobos Next Door”

Thursday, July 31, 2003


So I’ve decided to open up with this new television sit-com idea of mine. With all my time currently taken up with work and music and AMODA and whatnot, I probably won’t have a chance to do anything with it for a while.

If I turn on Fox next Fall and see advertisements for something like this, expect a slew of long phone calls from my lawyer Mario Octavio Spaghettio III.


The idea is called “The Bonobos Next Door.”

The set-up: A top-secret government research lab has been performing experiments on the brains of bonobo chimps. They find that they can project into the brains of the animals full mental images of people. A bonobo could have a researcher’s brain projected into his, and after this be mentally indistinguishable from the researcher.

Stay with me, here.

So the government lab is projecting into bonobo brains images of the minds of all sorts of people, and has begun to experiment with projecting whole families into the brains of whole families of bonobo chimps.

Sounds great. But some animal rights activists break into the place one night, open all of hte cages, and bonobos scatter across the land.

Fast forward one year.

Now we’re in a modern suburban neighborhood. SUVs line the curvy, shaded streets. Large houses sit back good distances from the streets. Affluence. Doctors and lawyers. That sort of neighborhood.

Our sit-com takes place in the houses of two families — neighboring families.

The head of one household is a prominent lawyer. His wife sits on the PTA. Jimmy plays as star forward on the high school soccer team. Jill is president of her sophomore class. Their a successful family, but good people. Kind.

The other family are bonobos chimps.

But they don’t know it.

The father thinks himself a prominent doctor, currently on leave from his work. His wife also sits on the PTA — and the kids both attend school.

You see, they were released with the brains of one of the researchers and his family projected into theirs!


So here’s the comedy: The human neighbors — and, in fact, the whole community — are so white-bread nice about everything, that the last thing they will ever do is mention to the bonobos that they’re, well, monkeys. How politically incorrect. As mature, liberal, thinking Americans they can accept diversity.

But the bonobos are still just chimps!

Can you see all of the wacky situations coming from this? See the bonobos still have bonobo traits left over from before the experiments. They throw poop when pissed, for example. Imagine the show where they first invite the human neighbors over for dinner. Mr. and Mrs. Bonobo get into it over the fact that the chicken has been overcooked — and start throwing poo! Comedy goldmine.

But this show would have a heart, too. It’s all about accepting others who might look or smell different as your own. About seeing the good hearts inside any primate, no matter how hairy.

So there you go.

“The Bonobos Next Door.”