Bones Brigade: An Autobiography

Way back in the 1980’s, I was a little skateboard kid. Me and my brother and some of our friends had loads of fun riding skateboards and watching skateboard videos.

Some of the best skateboard videos of the time, and maybe ever, were made with the Bones Brigade as the stars. They were all fabulous skaters: Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, Tommy Guerrero, Mike McGill, Steve Caballero, Rodney Mullen, Mike Vallely… the list could go on of great skaters who were part of the Bone Brigade at one point or another.

Now there is a new documentary out about the Bones Brigade:

I can’t wait to see it. As a special surprise, Stacy Peralta has released a downloadable version of one of the best Bones Brigade videos ever, “The Animal Chin“. I downloaded a copy just a few minutes ago, and can’t wait to view it when I get home.

SC State Museum – Looking for inspiration

This past weekend, my wife and I took a trip to the SC State Museum in Columbia. Being a long time resident (nearly my whole life) of SC you would think I might have been there before, but this was a first for both of us. 

I have school starting again this week, and thought one last road trip before school started was in order. Columbia is about 1.5 hours from our house. Unfortunately it rained on us most of the way down there, and a good bit while we were there as well.

It wasn’t what I was expecting. I guess when I heard “museum” I thought automatically about art. While there is a very small collection of art, that is not the museum’s main focus. It is kind of a conglomeration of natural history, history of the state, history of technology, etc.

We started in the art section. Right now they have a collection of abstract art from artists who are somehow connected with the state. Some of the pieces were good. It was nice and quiet down there too. Overall it was enjoyable.

Then we went to the 4th, and top floor, to work our way back down. We meandered through the history sections. Civil war, post civil war, technological advances, etc.

On the second floor was another touring exhibit. They were showing some artifacts collected from the Titanic wreckage. It was nice seeing some of the pieces. However, the exhibit was not laid out well considering the amount of attention it was getting. It felt like we were being herded through a cattle lot. Not my idea of fun. 

Would I go back? Probably not. Unless there was a super exciting exhibit visiting. Was it worth the trip? Yes.

Emily in front of an interesting wrought iron piece.

A Different Revenue Model

I am a fan of Seth Godin’s blog. His posts are typically short, sweet, and insightful.

I recently read a post of his where he talked about how media in particular have a kind of backwards revenue system. With the exception of the pay channels, like HBO. TV, newspaper, etc are chasing ad dollars with no real interest in keeping viewer/readers happy. The main goal is to keep their real customer happy, the advertisers. 

I had never thought of it in this particular way before. I always assumed that I was NBC’s customer, and that shows were made with me in mind. After thought though, I realized that he is right. The shows don’t have to appeal to me or anyone in particular. People have proven they will watch just about anything if you put it on TV (reality shows anyone?). However, when you look at what channels like HBO and Showtime have to offer in terms of original programming, their shows will typically win out on being cutting edge and entertaining. Why? Well as Godin points out, and I happen to agree with him, they have the customer in mind because they don’t have to worry about advertising to make a living.

You are transparent

The fact that the viewer is not the customer slapped me in the face last night. For those who aren’t aware, there is a little sporting event currently taking place called the Olympics. In the USA, NBC is your only source of video coverage. Nicely, they have employed several of their cable networks to help with showing events that happen throughout the day. There seems to be coverage for almost anything you would like to see. The problem is that most of this happens while I am at work, and most of the sports are not even mentioned during the prime time coverage.

I am a cycling fan. Hence, I would like to see more of the cycling events. I understand that I am in the minority and that most people want to see 4 hours of gymnastics. I can live with that. So I was hoping to catch at least some highlights of yesterday’s seeding round of the BMX competition online after I got home.

Went onto NBC’s Olympics site. Found where they have the video posted, and then I am faced with logging in with my cable/satellite TV information. OK. Weird, but I am a game player. I enter my info. Took approximately 5 minutes to launch the video on my broadband connection. I played for maybe 3 minutes. 2 of which were ads. The last ad crashed my browser. 

The message was apparent. NBC could care less if they provide me with even a mediocre viewing experience. The goal was to get the new Will Farrell movie driven into as many people’s skulls as possible. Too bad there wasn’t a pay-per-view option or even an Olympics subscription that maybe, just maybe, would have offered a better viewing experience.


My suggestion: Twitter has the opportunity to become extraordinarily aligned with their best users. Offer the top users the opportunity to pay $10 a month. For that fee, they can get an ever-growing list of features, including analytics, verification, 160 characters, who knows…

— Seth Godin


Coincidentally, the same day I read Seth’s article I found out about a new social network that is raising capital at the moment called Basically, the backers (of which I am one) are the owners. The whole revenue stream is derived from people who will pay for a subscription. This is revolutionary when you consider how Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, et al are trying to or have tried to make money. Through ads. Not that I am against advertising. Because surely I am not. I am against the data mining that seems to exist to a certain extent on all current social media platforms. I am against making the situation so terrible that a pay-to-play service is a better alternative than what is currently on offer. 

Times are exciting again. Looking forward to what the future has in store with this new network, and what it will mean for existing ones.

I am as much of a social networking junky as the next guy. I have my Twitter account. I get on Facebook fairly regularly. I have been on Google+ since the beginning. I even participate in more fringe networks like Dribbble and Forrst.

I caught wind of a (as of now) proposed social network. The problem with existing networks is that they mainly rely on advertising as their means of revenue. This causes the developers or owners of the network to work harder and harder to please the people who pay their bills, the advertisers. And rightly so. I mean we all have to eat! The problem with this is that little by little the users tend to get forgotten. 

Enter Their proposed business model is to have a paid service. Right now they are in the process of raising capital through a Kickstarter-like fund raiser.

I have been reading Dalton Caldwell’s, one of the founders, blog posts about what he envisions this new network to be like. I have to admit they peaked my interest. To be a backer you have to be willing to commit at least $50 to the fund. That isn’t a small amount of money, but it won’t break the bank either. I thought it would be worth that to find out if it is worth a crap. 

They have recently opened up an alpha version to early backers. At the moment, I am waiting on my confirmation into the club.

Interested? Check out the video from Dalton or take a look at

Brown Water Falls – Reedy River

Went to my local WordPress Meetup last night. It is a small group, but that makes having conversations much easier.

Last night a presentation was given by Steve Harvey about WordPress security. I try to be as forward thinking as possible when it comes to security, but Steve talked about a couple of things last night that I had not considered.

He posted the slide presentation from last night on his website. There are some links to a couple of nice plugins.

The ensuing conversation was enlightening as well. Plus I got to meet a few new folks in town. Even better, I got this fairly nice shot of the river running through downtown after the rain we had yesterday. 

Brown water falls


What the heck is tintype? I asked the same question when I saw the article. According to Wikipedia, it


“…is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a sheet of iron metal that is blackened by painting, lacquering or enamelling and is used as a support for a collodion photographic emulsion.”


I am a member on the Behance website, and subscribe to their email list. There are often great articles posted on their website. Since I had never heard of tintype, I thought I would check it out

The artist/photographer that is the focus of the writing, is located in San Francisco. His work is amazing. The tintype (or maybe it is just him) captures the true essence of the subjects so well. Their eyes are amazing as is the coloring or shading.

The process is quick. Almost like a very primitive Polaroid.

If my wife and I ever make it to San Francisco, we will be visiting Photobooth.

Giles Duley – Becoming Your Own Story

I am not sure if you guys watch the TED talks online or not, but you should. I don’t watch a lot of them, but I catch a few when I can. Subscribing to their news letter is a great way to keep up. Now own with the show.


Before seeing, his TED Talk, I had never heard of Giles Duley before. In his bio, it stated that he is a photographer. From the thumbnail of the video, it was obvious that he is missing most of one arm. I almost didn’t watch because I thought he was going to be talking about his injuries and how he overcame them. Oh, was I wrong.

Giles, was a fashion photographer early in his career, and at some point decided that the best way he could use his photography to help people was to tell their story through images. He has traveled to many third world and emerging countries to photograph the people. Mostly, he has been met with open arms and embraced because finally someone was getting the word out about their plight.

I checked out some of his photography. It is outstanding, and very moving. If you haven’t seen his TED Talk, please do yourself a favor and check it out.

Team GB

By now it is no surprise that the 2012 Summer Olympics are being held in London. Great Britain has gone all out to make it a very modern and entertaining Olympics. One bit that has brought in some controversy from the English are the team kits.

The Kits

The kits are designed by Stella McCartney. I don’t know anything really about Ms. McCartney. However, despite the controversy, I think she knocked the design out of the park. The design is marked by a rather large stylized Union Flag. The red has been stripped from the flag, and it has been transformed into a monotone blue color scheme. The only red on the uniforms are in the detailing, collars of shirts, piping on the edges, etc. This tidbit of red really sets off the design in my opinion. Very minimalist, but at the same time not. 

Want some stills? See some fantastic images on the BBC’s website.

The Website

In addition to the outstanding kits, the new Team GB website is also fantastic. bold but pleasing colors. Great layout while not seeming cliche. Tons of content that is relatively easy to navigate. Plus it makes use of one of my favorite content management systems, Drupal

team bg site

Movie Madness

I haven’t seen this many movies in a row at the theaters in a long while. I am a huge fan of many of the comic book based movies. This summer, there are at least two I was interested in: The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spiderman.

The Dark Knight Rises

I convinced my wife to go see The Dark Knight Rises with me last weekend. It was amazing. The special effects were without equal. The actors were fantastic. I particularly enjoyed Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the lovely, Anne Hathaway. 

Hathaway plays Catwoman, and plays it extremely well. She was the perfect person for the role. Her wit and charm and badness worked well. I am glad Nolan chose to have Catwoman’s ears to have a purpose. Just decoration has never given justice to the character.

As amazing as the movie was, I don’t think it outdid the last movie. Heath Ledger was un-matchable as a villain. 

The Amazing Spiderman

I have been a big Spiderman fan since I was a little boy. His whole aura amazed me as a very young boy. Later on as an older guy, I enjoyed and appreciated the wit of Spiderman.

That wit was obviously missing from the last series of Spiderman movies. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed most of the movies in the last series. I have most of them in my DVD collection. 

This go around, the story line is a bit different than I remember the Spiderman plot line. The Amazing Spiderman does include most of the usual suspects: Uncle Ben, Aunt May, Peter Parker, and Oscorp. No Mary Jane though. Peter’s love interest in this one is Gwen, played by Emma Stone. Sally Fields is also in this one. Looking lovely as ever as Aunt May. 

Despite the story line anomalies, it was a great story. Andrew Garfield is perfect as Spiderman.

Batman fans, hold on to your seats, it blew The Dark Night Rises out of the water!