Author Archives: Brian

My undergrad research experience in comic form

They may not make a deep observation here, but the guys at Applegeeks aren’t wrong about mixing work and play getting odd at times.


One of the best things I did in both undergrad and grad school was research the games I loved. One of the best things I’ve done since then is spend time playing and discussing games I love totally outside of grades or paychecks.

You can’t turn off the old analysis habit, and working in UX and education a lot of what I see in games is relevant to work, but I relax more when I play than I used to. If it relates to work it’s a cool connection, if not I get to play pocket game scholar.


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US Presidential race Pokemon screens ;)

mediajunkie sent this YTMND anim out on his twitter feed.


Feel the Pokemon power… now in Turnercolor!

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Hugo Chavez insists his people spy on each other

Hugo Chavez

From the AP

Citizens are rioting in Venezuela thanks to an intelligence law that requires them to inform on one another or face up to 4 years in prison.

Nice Huguito… require people to spy on their neighbors. The hallmark of every great regime is sewing distrust among it citizens. :-[

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Festival Imperial

There’s a certain irony to a Chicagoan first seeing Smashing Pumpkins in concert in central america… in my defense, I didn’t get into Smashing until after I’d moved away for school. By the time I was back in town they’d broken up and Billy Corgan was going through his Zwan phase.


Festival Imperial rocked as hard as it should, providing the kind of thrills a festival show should. Some folks were bummed by Smashing Pumpkins’ long jam featuring “What’s that Sound” and “The Star Spangled Banner,” but it was a mighty fine show. (Okay… so I started heading toward the exit after 20m of jam… I had to get up early the next morning. I at least stayed close enough to hear them finish up with Cherub Rock.)

Incubus was also on order that night, they put in a fine performance, and one that better suited the general expectation of “they’re going to play the songs we all love.” A little jamming, but not much.


I’d have liked 10-15 minute jams from them both, but I’m one of those snotty “you can see a band’s musicianship in their ability to jam without it sucking” kinds of people.

Good festival… and the best bus service I’ve ever had at a rock show. Wandered around for 45 minutes looking for the buses due to bad signage and still managed to beat home friends that had driven and got stuck in the post-concert traffic.

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The audacity of focus

While I’ve seen different sources call Obama’s speech this evening “falling short of his goal” or “improperly targeted”, I think the criticisms miss one of Obama’s central points (and gloss over the value of the direct things he said about race relations in the US).

In speaking of how it is tempting to focus on the sound bites, the Obama’s pastor said or Hillary’s aide said or “white men will flock to McCain regardless of his policies”… or we can say “Not this time.” We can focus on what the real issues are and not on the speculation, the sound bites and the expert opinions that seem to form so much of our discourse anymore.
In this and in the course of action he proposes in light of “Not this time” he’s asking a lot from us. Look at people outside our insular groups as part of “us” rather than as “them” and see how similar their problems are to ours. 
In that sense, Obama’s speech voices something I’ve been hoping we’d hear more articulately from candidates for some time. Let’s talk about the real stuff, not all the crap that flies around a campaign. What I’m most excited to see in that respect is how Obama will meet the challenge he’s laid before himself.

Originally posted on

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Supposedly I look like…

MyHeritage: Celebrity CollageYad Vashem researchGeneology


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Trying to be christian: “Be thou clothed”

Organized religion can be a tough gig. More often than not, we see a lot of profession of faith or of religious principle followed by little action or by hypocrisy. Well, here’s today’s beautiful words that I hope I’ll manage to follow through on…
A common problem among various congregations is that people stop coming to meetings for one reason or another (offended by someone, made a mistake and felt too guilty/embarrassed to return, fell away long ago and afraid of judgments, etc.).
  • Do we miss those that have stopped attending?
  • Do they know that we miss them?
  • What are we doing to make sure they know that?
In every country I’ve served in, I’ve visited with members who stopped attending church meetings and didn’t feel like anybody cared. “If the members really loved me as much as they claimed, they’d notice I wasn’t there and say something, wouldn’t they?”
We often do notice when people aren’t there. We ask our spouse or our friends “Did you see brother So-and-so?” Sometimes we even resolve to make a phone call or drop by to see how brother or sister So-and-so is doing. Then we get in our cars, go home, get distracted by the rest of life, and fail to make that phone call or visit. We may even repeat this cycle the next Sunday, feeling a greater drive. “I was going to call brother So-and-so last week and I forgot. I’ll make sure to do it once I get home today.” And the cycle repeats until we forget altogether who we were going to call.
It’s possible I turn to James too often on this kind of thing, but let’s look at James 2:15-16.

15 If a brother or asister be naked, and destitute of daily bfood, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye agive them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

In speaking to all members of the early Christian church, James pointed out the silliness of our actions even in the modern era. Faced with people that need food or clothing, do we clothe them or feed them? We say some pretty words, say “see you Sunday,” and pray for God to rain help on the poor and needy while failing to help the poor and needy standing right before us.
Focusing on our brothers and sisters that feel isolated or unwanted, we say “welcome” or “let me know if I can do anything for you” without providing any follow through. It’s exactly what James is talking about. “Be warmed” or “be filled.” So what? If we don’t take action, the need goes unfulfilled. Praying for those in need is good. But sometimes God calls upon us to be the answer to the prayer, not just the person praying.
This is the part where, in a typical sunday school lesson one of us would mention that sometimes what’s most important to people is to know that we’re willing to help, not that we smother them with our well wishes, or that one of us points out that sometimes just smiling and saying hello makes a huge difference. There are times these points are true, but let’s not be satisfied with ourselves too easily. A chorus of “hello” rings empty if there’s no notes to follow the promising introduction. “Let me know if you need anything” feels cheap if we aren’t willing to develop sufficient trust with people that they feel comfortable sharing their needs with us. When we’ve developed trust, we’ll stop speaking in Hallmark cards and start providing real help, because those we’re helping will direct our action to their real needs. When we have trust, we can follow the guidance of the holy spirit without fearing we’ll offend.
Jesus didn’t teach us to be nice to people, he taught us to love them. When we love people, we listen to them and to the spirit and we follow through.
We’re not going to do so perfectly. We’re going to mess up, and sometimes badly. But the Lord will help us as we strive to learn to do it right. He’ll help us learn to develop trusting relationships with those around us so we can actually bless each other like he’s called us to do.

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