Birth month

· long story short

I was out at dinner with B the other night, celebrating my birthday, and I mentioned how I wasn’t following my old tradition of posting a note about the birthday of my blog (because I started breathing room on my 33rd birthday and briefly considered calling it “Outliving Christ”) because, as with so many things in this past year, I had no time for the grace notes of life and have had to take my satisfaction from the things I can do.

To take some of the anxious pressure off of birthdays and their proper celebration in our family, we’ve adopted the notion of a “birth month,” loosely defined as the month containing the birthday (especially for dates early in the month), or about a month starting on the day of the birthday (especially for dates late in the month).

The birth month is full of win. I recommend it. If I were technical about it, mine will stretch till November 29 this year, coincidentally the proposed birth date of another project of mine.

So here I am, posting not on the (fifteenth!) anniversary of my now somewhat anemic blogging career, which was two days ago (Tuesday), but somewhere in the midst of my blog’s birth month, and mine, and – as it happens – on the one-year anniversary of my father’s death.

It hasn’t been an easy year. It has been a year of wrenching changes, of transformation, and of sorrow, fear, grief, and worry. Thank goodness it’s also been a year of creation, renewal, opportunity, and bold adventure. I wish I could tell Dad all about it. I miss him so.

Death Don’t Have No Mercy

The above link should play my brother, “xourmas,” and I – aka The Power & Mighty – doing an impromptu rendition of the Rev. Gary Davis (?) spiritual blues, “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” from a few days after Dad’s death last year.

(Here Comes) The Reuben Kincaid!

· Musicology, The Reuben Kincaid, ukulele stories

So sometime back in the previous millennium a bunch of us technical-publishing bohemians were sitting around wasting time as we were wont to do, coming up with band names, which reminds me of xian’s law: “There are more good band names than there are good bands.”

One of the ones that I suggested that our gang really liked was The Reuben Kincaid (we weren’t sure how to spell it though). It has that ’70s pop-culture thing and of course the classic ’60s-era “The” prefix (as in “The Pink Floyd”). Then time passed and we drifted around.

Five or so years ago when I started teaching myself ukulele and posting my baby steps on my blog, I decided that I was going to form a “virtual band” out of myself and anyone I could get to overdub on my tracks. I called that band The Reuben Kincaid.

More time passed and I renamed it Layers of Meta, which is its name today. I also play in a duo with my brother Arthur (aka “xourmas”) as The Power & Mighty.

But when myself and Cecil Vortex and so-called Bill and “the B is silent” Ryan got together last fall, at first to work on our still-very-underground radio show, Podcast Gold, we sort of evolved into a quartet, with Cecil on guitar, songwriting, arrangement, keyboards, production, and general fabulousness, Bill on bass, Ryan on bongoes (and sound recording-ism), and myself on ukulele.

And now, at last, the Reuben Kincaid has its first single! Enjoy…

play “Single-Cell Critter”

Resisting the baroque temptation and design is harder than it looks, at BayCHI in February

· Design, Events, Games, Social Design, User Experience

This coming February 9 is approximately my one-year anniversary as co-chair of BayCHI’s monthly program and so far I’m enjoying the responsibility a great deal, even with the occasional panic that sets in when each new cycle rolls around.

The BayCHI Program for February features Elaine Wherry from Meebo and Jeff Green from EA. Elaine will discuss What Web Application Design Can Learn from the Harpsichord and Jeff will share some painful but revealing experiences crossing over from journalism to game design in Easier Said Than Done: One Critic’s Painful Transition to Interface Design.

As an aficionado of both music and games, I’m really looking forward to the analogies and lessons these two will share. Elaine is one of the founders of Meebo and she and I have had some really interesting conversations about the history and philosophy and pragmatics of digital product design.

Jeff is something of a famous wit, dating from his days writing the back-page humor column for Computer Gaming World (later Games for Windows Magazine), his various podcast escapades, his Greenspeak blog and of course on on the twitters. He has recently transitioned to a new role at EA, as editor-in-chief (and podcaster) for the EA.com website, and he may still be licking his wounds from his “if you’re so smart” encounter with the challenging realities and tradeoffs of interface design on a deadline.

Should be a great evening!