The Dark Art of Flight Booking

I probably don’t have to tell you this, but booking flights – especially international flights – is a shadowy and mysterious process.

There are plenty of sites like KAYAK, Skyscanner, and Hipmunk that try to make it easier and the information more digestible. They’re great. But the underlying process of finding flights and figuring out the itineraries that give you the most bang for your buck is something I constantly struggle with.

May The Shaky Cam Be Ever In Your Favor: A Review of The Hunger Games

There is an eternal tension when adapting a work from one medium to another. How true do you stay to the source? How much do you embrace the qualities of the new medium?

The Hunger Games is a decent film, for many reasons, but my highest praise for it is just how well it handled this tension. The film is true to the source material, in nearly every aspect, yet at the same time it pushes the story firmly into the new medium. And it does it extremely well.

Will Moyer 3.0

As probably every web designer knows, redesigning your personal site is a special kind of Sisyphean hell.

In your head, you imagine how amazing and cutting-edge your design will be. There’s no budget, no client requests, no time frame. The only constraints are self-imposed. What could be more liberating to your creative genius, right?

Double Spacing After Periods

A friend asked me:

Are you a one- or two-space after the period kinda guy? I’ve always been a two-fer but only because that’s what habit they forced on me as a kid. Now I’m hearing and agreeing with arguments for the one-er, but its a tough habit to break. Thoughts?

Here’s a two part nerdy explanation, just because I love talking about this sort of thing.

MacBook Air Followup

A reader sent me this question:

I read your post about acquiring the MacBook Air just prior to purchasing one myself. I share a lot of the same observations, but I am wondering about how you feel now about gestures. When I read your comments I was sure I would have the same experience, but several weeks I have decided that I really like gestures and find them incredibly useful. I’ve also found the speakers surprisingly good for such a compact machine.

Thanks for the follow up. I’ll use this is an answer as an addendum to my MacBook Air review.

Not A Turkey


Happy Thanksgiving!

(Technically, this is an owl. A great-horned one, I think. I illustrated it for a friend’s blog. Enjoy!)

Chinese R&D

Two friends from Philadelphia recently moved to Beijing, and I was curious to find out if they overpaid for housing. I decided to check The Beijinger for some local prices.

On one of that ads, the agent said to see his blog for more apartment listings. So I open up his NetEase (blog.163.com) page and this is what I see:

I was shocked to see the similarity between a random Chinese real estate agent’s blog and the Tumblr theme I developed last year.

Introducing BaselineMe

Web designers, do you lay out your sites using a baseline grid? Do you love the sweet, sweet smell of vertical rhythm in the morning? Do you hate blog posts written to sound like marketing text?

So do I. I also hate having to open Photoshop just to make a one pixel wide image every time I want guides for my baseline grid. That’s why I made BaselineMe.

So I Bought A MacBook Air

Mac Book Air

I bought a Macbook Air. It was a pretty big deal for me. It was expensive, took a long time to get, and also marked me moving from Windows to Mac OS X.

I decided all this warranted a review of the new laptop, but I ended up writing a lot more than I expected.

This article is over 5000 words and contains an essay on switching from Windows to Mac OS X, a short review of Apple’s customer service, a review of the MacBook Air itself, and a bit about my current setup.

I would love for you to read it all and hopefully enjoy every minute of it, but I know it is very long.

Beginner Photography Tips

I’m still an amateur when it comes to photography, but I’ve been asked several times to come up with some beginner tips. I recently wrote a lengthy email to a friend that I decided to adapt to a blog post.

It’s by no means comprehensive or complete, but it contains a lot of the more important things I’ve had to consciously focus on over the past year of shooting. I hope you find it helpful.

Ethiopian Harrar


One of the product images I made for Rickshaw Roasters. They gave me a free bag of Ethiopian Harrar last week. It was so good. Fresh roasted, fresh ground, definitely the best coffee in Beijing.

Interloper


This is another illustration I made. I was doodling one night before bed and came up with this monster. What do you think? He’s a pretty scary dude.

Sunburn


In continuing to subvert my typical design style, I tried to make a texture-y, paper-y, cutout-y, illustration. It kind of looks like Frank Chimero’s style, except, you know, way worse. Haha.

Live Together, Die Alone: My Thoughts on and Review of Lost

I watched the finale about a year behind everybody else in the world. I also started the series about six years behind everybody else.

This was intentional, at least partially. A lot of my friends, people whose taste I respected, watched Lost weekly for six years. They loved it and raved about it and had viewing parties.

Do you know how sometimes when everyone loves something, a belligerent part of you wants to not partake in it, just because? And then you end up getting pissed at yourself because you know it’s your own fault that you’re missing out on the fun? And then you have to convince yourself that there’s no way it’s actually fun. That’s kind of what I did with Lost.

I didn’t think it was that great of a show. It was on ABC for Christ’s sake. It was aimed at — and loved by — the general mass audience of TV watchers. Those people don’t know good television. Those people watch Two and A Half Men and Grey’s Anatomy.

But Lost isn’t like those shows. What became obvious to me, from reading articles and hearing my friends discuss it, was that Lost had mystery. A lot of intriguing mystery. And people weren’t tuning in to watch relationship drama or sex scenes or bad jokes written by Chuck Lorre. People were getting really, really wrapped up in the mystery. How many times have you heard the joke: “Yeah. Lost, that’s exactly how the audience feels. Har har.”

And so Lost started to become a cultural phenomenon. It became obvious, as a Certified Television Nerd, that I would have to watch it. Especially after it ended last year. Its ending was a big deal.

Predator


There was a really badass Predator statue in Ulaan Bataar. I’m not sure why…

If You’re Not A TV Nerd You Can Ignore This…

…but if you are you should keep reading.

(By the way, by “TV nerd” I mean you either love nerdy television shows or you nerd out over really really quality television. Either way, this applies to you.)

Tonight in America, HBO will premiere their new show Game of Thrones.

Qiáng Locke

I saw this old wheelchair in the park. Whosever chair this was, they’re walking around now.

A Psalm Of Life

A beautiful and inspiring poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou are, to dust thou returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Coalescence


Shot in the hutongs near Jianguomen. I didn’t realize until I looked at this shot later (and without color) how the woman and the tree’s shadow seem to be melting together. I love it.

The Blank Page

Stephen King, On Writing:

You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair – the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.