Author Archives: Javen

Geeky Jerseys

I dream of making a team the wore these jerseys

I wish I were rich. I’d buy every damn one of these things.


Geeky Jerseys

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Danny Boyle On The Ruination of Mature-Themed Film

Danny Boyle, director a few movies you might have heard of, speaks out about the ‘Pixarification’ of film, by which me means the loss of mature-themed, adult-oriented movies.

He makes a few really good points about the use of violence in the stories, but beyond that, I’m not sure that it’s a trend that warrants the concern he’s voicing.

He’s worried that real adult oriented filmmaking / storytelling is moving to TV from the cinema.

I wonder why that’s a bad thing. Things change. And I’d say that a complex story with adult themes in them works better in a more spacious medium like television. More time spent with characters, more time available to explore nuance and subtleties.


Via Geek Tyrant

Danny Boyle on IMDB

Trainspotting

Slumdog Millionaire

28 Days Later

Oak Outliner

I do a lot of thinking in outlines, and I’ve used quite a few outliner apps in my time as a computer user and thinker of things.

My favorite for ease of use is OmniOutliner. I can just fill up line after line in that app. But the problem occurs when it’s time to get those lines out of the app. There’s no smooth way to get them out. Not that I’ve found.

There’s the OPML export, there’s the copy and paste, there’s dragging them from the app into the window of another app, but time and time again, I run into the same problem that I can’t get the stuff out of that outline without having to go back and be on the hook for a lot of fiddly clean up of odd carriage returns and spacing, extra characters that show up in export because I forgot to turn off the checkbox feature. Things like that.

It’s possible to get the stuff out, but the cost of cleaning it up outweighs the savings in using the app over using a text file or doing it right in a word processor.

Oak Outliner is weird in that it is a web-based application1 that stores your outline in the browser’s cache. That means it stays where it is, no syncing, no saving. Lots of neat features like intuitive keyboard shorties and folding of lines.

I think it’s pretty slick, just like I think another project made by these guys, Folding Text is chock full of interesting potential. And maybe for a quick one-off brainstorming session Oak Outliner might be really handy. But I’m struggling to think of a reason why I’d use this over a text editor, or Scrivener, or a native app.

I will be keeping an eye on this though.


Oak Outliner

Folding Text

OmniOutliner


  1. There are tons of these things popping up now. Checkvist, Fargo along with Oak are the newest and fanciest, I think.  ↩

A Week’s Worth of Groceries

Ever since taking a serious look at my own diet, I’ve been curious just how differently folks in other countries eat compared to ours. Just how bad are we? And conversely, how good are the eating habits of people other countries?

This sequence of photographs feature a family and an arrangement of food that represents what they consume in one week. I think it provides a really interesting insight into the question.


What A Week Of Groceries Looks Like Around The World

Cleaning Teva Sandals

Last year for Father’s Day, my wife gave me a pair of Teva Zilch Sandals, and I think they’re great. It’s like being barefoot without the excruciating pain and embarrassment of walking on rocks or glass or dog shit. Easily the most comfortable pair of sandals (and perhaps shoes) I’ve ever owned.

But all that goodness comes with a price. And that price is stickiness.

They get stinky after a few days of wear, especially in the warm summers we have here in Minnesota. Shocked-looks-from-guys-in-the-locker-room stinky. And that’s a problem that needs solving.

So here are some cleaning instructions that I found here, purportedly to be directly from Teva. They’re inline with other common de-stinkifying methods that you’ll find out there.

Teva Footwear Cleaning Instructions:

We foremost recommend using a mild soap and water and hand wash, please do not machine wash.

Also try scrubbing the top sole with a soft bristled brush while cleaning and gently bending the sandal from heel to toe under water pressure so that any dirt in the grooves of the top sole will wash away.

Another option for killing bacteria is to place the sandals in a sealable freezer back and freeze them overnight.

Other options:

Mix 1 cup of Listerine (or any antibacterial mouth wash) to 2 cups of water. Soak for 15 minutes and scrub with a bristled brush. Let air dry.

Put sandals in a pool with chlorine for 15–20 minutes. Scrub with a hard bristled brush. Rinse. Air dry.

Wash them in the shower with Shampoo.

Please allow your sandals to dry in an open, well ventilated area – but not directly in sunlight.

How often:

We recommend washing your sandals every two to four weeks, depending on use.

I used the soap and bristle brush method and it seems to work pretty well.

I’m curious about freezing them, just for the science experiment angle, but I’m not sure if the wife’ll like seeing my sandals next to our food.


Cleaning Teva Sandals

Teva Zilch Sandals (Amazon affiliate link)


  1. I’m looking at you, Stephen King, you and your book On Writing. Makes me so angry.  ↩

The Map is not the Territory. Terristory. Storitory. Whatever.

Learning how to write has been an incredibly long journey for me. And I want to write about this journey that has taken more than thirty years of my life so far, but I still don’t know how to start it. There are too many stops and starts, and stairs, and frankly I’m not sure that it’s possible to do without killing readers to death with boredom. Or talking down to them. Or insulting them. Or misdirecting them [1].

But I’m going to share one thing that has helped me get off the starting block: Blake Snyder’s Three Act Timeline.

If I’m on the Oregon trail, this thing is the map. This is the thing that has made it possible for me to stand in my wagon and shout “Westward Ho!” just before it lurches forward and I fall back, striking my head and suffering from a brain fever for the rest of my days.

It’s the map. It’s the map for writing stories.

It might not be the map that everyone would want to use, but it’s the one that is getting me where I want to go.

It’s not going to keep me from starving. It doesn’t prevent disease. And it’s not going to protect me from flying arrows or getting scalped or snake bites or any other horrifying things that might happen to me on the Oregon Trail of Writing.

This is just a map that points me in the right direction. And following it just might get me to where I want to go.


Blake Snyder’s Three Act Timeline: Thesis – Antithesis – Synthesis

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need

Prelude to Paperlessness

My wife just decided to buy a document scanner for her business

Very excited, because I’ve been wanting to go paperless in my office, but my flatbed scanner broke long ago, and since then, I’ve been using an app called Scanner Pro that uses the camera to make scans of documents. It’s surprisingly usable, and great for one-off scans, but anything more than one or three pages, and you’re going crazy. So tackling the scanning of all the paper in my filing cabinet was simply not an option.

It will likely be a while before I’m able to make good on my vow to go paperless, but I’m sure excited.

I’m preparing myself, too. David Sparks’ book Paperless has been a pretty thorough guide for how to get started.


Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i Sheet-Fed Mobile Document Scanner

Paperless – David Sparks