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2014 Retrospective


It’s a few days into 2015. I’ve been alive on this planet for 16,832 days.

I tried to take it easy in 2014, and ended up a bit listless and bored when it came to work. My list is a bit short this year as I worked on several projects that lasted 5 months or more.

In 2014:

I designed

  • 4 mobile apps
  • 5 web apps
  • 3 sites
  • 3 logos

Presented 2 talks at conferences I enjoyed
and did a surprising amount of branding/print work


I set a few goals for the year, one of which was some nondescript “do-gooder” thing. I think I may have accomplished that by mentoring a kid from Cleveland and hopefully assisting him getting his app built and launched. I’m happy to say I gave good advice and he launched a product.  It’s not the new Facebook, but as I like to say, if you create ANYTHING you’ve done more than most monkeys walking this rock will ever do.

I also wanted to learn something “crafty” so I went to the Tandy Leather Outlet (not as sexy as it sounds, it’s really just leather crafting. I was expecting leather daddies working on old TRS-80s) and got a huge piece of unfinished leather. It looked like something Buffalo Bill would have hanging around, so I also got some leather dye and conditioner. I dyed it, worked it and made a few interesting things. Next, I’ll learn to stitch. Also, I wrote a bit of a song dedicated to Buffalo Bill called “Fat Girl Suit.”

Additionally, I got my first new car in 10 years (hello DemiGoat),I started baking things,
I went to a couple UX mixer things and was far less critical of my own work.

I’m making no plans other than publishing my mobile book, first as a series of articles on Medium (check it here: and then as a printed version late in the year.

Drink good coffee, eat good food, listen to good music and try for more live shows than I hit in 2014.

I hope you all have a great year!

Day 36 – Hot Trends in Minimalism

This list has nine items too many.
  1. Designer Loincloths and full-body, single-color staining
  2. Pierced bridge of nose with attached monocle
  3. A single yearly holiday
  4. Restaurants featuring food in gel form
  5. One-sided vinyl with very few grooves
  6. Replacement of teeth with bespoke “Mastication Devices”
  7. Carrying a piece of glass rather than a phone. Technology will catch up someday
  8. Living in a 4’ x 4’ space, suspended vertically from the ceiling
  9. Furniture made from a single piece of aircraft-grade aluminum
  10. A new, refined monosyllable language

Day 27 – Secrets I’ve Never Told Anyone

I’m full of secrets.

  1. That one I’ll never tell
  2. That one involving Japanese schoolgirl twins
  3. The one with the secret recipe
  4. The one revealing where the bodies are buried
  5. The one where I’m the only one left alive that knows it
  6. The one with the blood pact
  7. The one I hold with the German secret agent
  8. The one involving a satchel of money
  9. The one that implicates high ranking people in a major scandal
  10. I think you’re cool

2013 is past. 2014 is the new now.

Giving thanks at Thanksgiving is for pussies. Giving thanks is an end of year event best shared with an optimistic glass of whiskey, a sad smile and a glad heart.

2013 was a fucked-up, horrible and astoundingly beautiful year full of bold adventures and tragic circumstance.

I guess the best question to ask is “Am I a better person than I was last year?” My answer is “I hope so.” The answer I know is true is “My divine discontent is not yet satisfied.” Which is a great thing to be able to say year after year.

I’d like to start my end of year by doing my own small Hoʻoponopono to those I let down this year. I can imagine there were a few of you out there I don’t know about and a few that I do. So, for you:

I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.

Now to the good stuff…

Thank You to my children: Grayson, Sunshine and Zephyr for being wonderful and strange. Thanks for never being normal or free of drama and craziness. You are remarkable, brilliant people and I love you as much as I can fathom.

Thank You to Denise, my heart, my love, my butter. Your love and support and general insanity is a constant reminder that life moves forward towards good things. I love you like crazy werewolves.

Thank you to Tina. Thank you for being a good mother to those mad children and keeping things together when I cannot. I can never say I’m sorry enough, but I hope to find a way someday.

Thank you to my mother who took me in when I was broken and who puts up with my hermit-like behavior.

Thank you to my nerds and to my friends, old and new. I treasure you all far more than you think.

Thanks to all the people who hired me to design wonderful things for them. I managed to spend a year doing work I wanted to do with smart and committed people. 2013 had very few times where I was sitting behind a computer wondering why I was bothering. Almost all of you paid well and on-time. There are two of you who stiffed me, you know who you are and you feel shame.

Thanks to Chicago, Nashville, Toledo, Seattle, Columbus, Grand Rapids, Sanduski, Cincinnati and Newburyport for having me visit; to Frightened Rabbit, Josh Ritter, Frank Turner, Dropkick Murphys, Social Distortion, Patti Smith and Over the Rhine for playing such good live music; to the DIA, Detroit Zoo and Cranbrook for giving me access to art and science, life is truly better with you around; and to Imperial, Perry’s Pizza and Commonwealth in Detroit and Katalina’s Cafe, zPizza, Northstar Cafe in Columbus for making food and coffee.

Thanks to the world that continues to spin.

2013 was pretty awesome and full of sadness and love, beginnings and ends. A wish for you, my friends that 2014 is going to be remarkable.

To steal a line from nerdy pop culture and sum up what this year meant for me…

“We all change. When you think about it, we’re all different people all through our lives, and that’s ok, that’s good, got to keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me. “

A smile and a toast to you all. Keep the edges wild. (It’s mine now)


2013: What I Did and Will Do Next

What did I do in 2013?

Well, the sheer volume of projects was lower than 2012, but they were certainly more in-depth. I found myself in projects lasting months rather than weeks, with far more committed and smart people behind them. I’ll take quality of project over mad volume any year.

  • 6 Mobile and Tablet Apps
  • 5 Websites
  • 6 Web Apps
  • 3 Talks / Workshops
  • 1 Article
  • 1 Design Guide
  • 0 Books

What am I going to do in 2014?

It’s good to have goals. Most of mine are pretty broad, like keep on L-I-V-I-N and whatnot. Here’s a few specifics that I intend on doing.

  • Finish the Mobile Book. Yes, a year late, but lots of good stuff has happened that can find their way into the book.
  • My own app. Time to stop complaining about the lack of a productivity app aimed at libertine, non-9to5 peeps and build one.
  • Learn a new skill or talent. Not sure what it is yet, but I’m leaning towards something crafty.
  • Pro-Bono work for a local do-gooder thing.
  • Create a 1-day conference/workshop for forward-thinking, nimble designers, devs and dreamers in the Detroit(ish) area.
  • Continue to work with smart, dedicated people on interesting projects

2013. Things I Saw, Things I Read.


Best Movie I Saw This Year: Pacific Rim

Yes, I’m a bit behind on my movies this year, but that doesn’t change my mind. Yes, I saw the “important” films, but they can’t match the sheer happiness I get from this movie. I think the most remarkable thing about Pacific Rim is at no point do I not believe the movie. The effects are barely effects, it’s about as real as I’ve seen. No points of video game visuals, no lead character skateboarding down a robot’s arm… none of that bullshit. The mech is as thoughtfully constructed as it would be in reality, and it shows on the screen. Even when it goes over the top (looking at you Charlie Day and Ron Perlman) it never panders. I’ve seen it in theaters 4 times and countless on my home rig and I always see some new detail. It keeps getting better, too

Second Place goes to The World’s End, possibly just for the Merciful Release tattoo.



Best Book I Read This Year: The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The grand Mr. Gaiman has always written sharp and twisted stories of the underside of the world that we choose not to believe or see, but this one is his best. It’s a magnificent story full of adventure, truth, love and danger. In a year where I read more books than the last 10, this was the best I read.

Second Place goes to Gun Machine by Warren Ellis, a fantastic book until the end when it became pretty bad. Maybe they’ll fix it in the upcoming TV version. Read it tho, it’s better than 90% of crime books out there.



Best Comic Series I Read This YearSaga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

Saga, Damn, what a crazy, fun and immersive world I got dropped into with the first issue, and it hasn’t let up but continues to get better, faster and more intricate and enjoyable with every issue. If you haven’t started reading this, go to your local and pick up the collected graphic novels.

Second Place goes to Hawkeye by Matt Fraction. Damn good, almost enough to erase decades of built up Barton lore and the barely interesting version they shoehorned into the Avenger’s Movie.



Best Comic Series I Read Online This YearHip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor

At one point in my life, I considered hip hop to be “Black Punk.” It was the counterpart to American Hardcore that I listened to in my teen years. A bunch of kids making music that was detached from what came before, using their own imagination, skills, belief in themselves and usually crappy gear. It sort of was, and sort of wasn’t, but Ed draws his love of the genre on the screen (and now page) for us all to enjoy and tells a long history of music that was in full swing long before it was near a top 40 station.
Weekly on

Second Place goes to Diesel Sweeties. I’m only giving it second place to secure my ironic street cred.