Sunday, January 31, 2010


I'm sure there are people who go through life collecting stuff. I don't want to be one of them anymore. I don't intend to follow a set course, nor do I have a goal in mind. I was simply thinking as I cleaned my apartment tonight that it would be so much easier to clean if I simply had less stuff.

I spent years collecting stuff, little bits to go with other bits that all went together to form a huge pile. Yet I always struggled to pull together the funds to buy more stuff. I'm simply looking to see if I can stop. Is it possible to just walk away. Is it possible to just stop buying things? I guess we will find out.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Handing out Crutches

I started teaching my second session of Web Design at the Genesee Community Darkroom this past Thursday. I had five students, all women, all between the age of thirty and forty five. A good class, they all seemed interested, engaged, and the feedback after the first class was positive. However, one of the women I could tell was going to be a problem. She knew enough of the material I was covering to want to skip ahead, yet the other students all had no previous experience, so I resisted the urge to go faster then I had planned. Maybe, in hindsight, that was a bad choice.

She called the Darkroom, dropped the class, asked for a refund, and pitched a fit.

So, I got called, and had a rather heated discussion with the Darkroom coordinator. What was said is irrelevant, what does matter is that I feel I'm doing the right thing, and I refuse to change the way I teach web design. My reasons are simple.

I refuse to hand my students a crutch. Period.

Let me say that again, I REFUSE to hand my students a crutch.

I teach web design, I don't teach Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver is a tool, it is not an end to itself. If you can only design a web page in Dreamweaver then you CAN NOT design a web page. You have become overly dependent on the tool, and the tool then becomes a crutch. Remove the crutch and you fall.

I teach my students to design web pages. I give them the skill, and then with the skill I give them the tools. When I'm done I want to know that any student of mine could sit down with Notepad and write a website. I want to know that if you remove the tool from my students hands that the SKILL remains. Skill matters, the tool does not. I simply refuse to teach a class on a tool and not impart the underlying skill. It does my students no good and I would be hard pressed to live with myself.

Mac Safety

I tend to keep my mouth shut when it comes to the Mac/PC debate. It's not that I don't have an opinion it's more that I know that there is nothing I can say to convince a Mac user that they are not the "chosen people" that they CAN get viruses, and if they don't take the precautions then they can run into the same issues a PC user can. I posted the following rant to Facebook on a day when I simply got sick of keeping my mouth shut.

Macs are no safer then PC's, in fact Mac users tend to exhibit more risky behavior in their computer use then PC users as "Mac users don't get viruses"

I also find it funny that you automatically assume that I'm running Windows. The next time you turn on your Mac drop to the command line, it's a BSD/Debian kernel clone. Any security Macs have is due to the hours put into Linux/Unix development, not due to anything Mac has ever done.

So, have fun selling your soul to Apple. How are those mandatory apple-only peripherals treating you? Or the Apple only software? Or the inability to upgrade your machine, or even fix your own machine, how's that working out for you?

I wouldn't suggest my worst enemy buy a Mac. Mac users are paying big bucks to stay blind, to stay ignorant, with their collective heads buried in the sand of "Mac safety"

Good luck with that.

Will it help? No, will the person the rant was directed at change his views, I doubt it. But every now and again it feels good to say it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Weightroom Education

Nobody taught me to dead lift. I was taught to squat, taught to clean, and press. I was taught the proper form to bench press, and over the years tweaked it, but nobody ever taught me to dead lift. Why? Because I did not need to be taught.

There are some things your body just knows how to do, it's instinctive, and when you find out what it is, doing it just feels natural, like breathing. With me it's dead lifting. I loaded the bar, took a grip and the weight came off the floor, it was clean, it was easy and it felt good. Not just "hey that was neat" but more a heady endorphin rush that made me sit back and go "Woah!" My lower body has always been stronger, moving around while weighing over 250lbs for nearly my entire life you get real good at lifting heavy things. I can, with only a few month training effortlessly dead lift 265lbs for reps. My squat has plateaued, my bench the same, my press has caused my no amount of trouble. However, my dead lift just keeps going up. 10lbs, ever other lifting session, like clockwork.

I have to worry about my squat form, I have to remind myself to press to full extension and I have to be mindful of bench pressing unevenly. Dead lift just works. My form is rock solid, every day, every lift, every rep. It just works, and it feels incredible.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Early Morning Blues

There's something wonderful about being up before the sunrise, to be able to watch the sky lighten incrementally is a calming experience, yet for me at least, it's only calming if I don't have to be somewhere or do something.

Yet this morning I got up and went to work before the sun was up. Instead of being relaxing it just felt early. It was as if the act of having to be somewhere ruined the enjoyment of being up. It's sad really as I would have loved to have spent the morning relaxing, sipping a cup of coffee, but alas there are bills to be paid.