Pat Dryburgh

These last few weeks in Whitehorse, while cold, have been awesome. A challenging project, a great team, and fun extracurricular activities. This is why I’m a freelancer.

I am longtime fan and advocate of Jonathan Snook’s colour contrast checker, but today found myself wanting a similar tool for Sketch. Stark is a Sketch plug-in created by Cat Noone, Michael Fouquet, and Benedikt Lehnert that makes checking the contrast between two layers a breeze. Stark also allows you to simulate various forms of colour blindness, a valuable tool for those who care about designing for accessibility.

Money does not circulate →

All the money ever does is “sits”. It never “moves”. Switching ownership is instant, so “sitting” takes 100% of money’s activity. If your money burns a hole in your pocket, it is not because “money must move”, it is because you have shitty money.

—Oleg Andreev

After two days of trying and failing to get one of the many existing styleguide libraries integrated into a React app, I’ve come to the conclusion so many have come to before me: when in doubt, roll your own.

Someone is trying to make money off my mother's obituary

My brother just sent me a link to a page that aims to profit off my mother’s obituary.

Screenshot of Margaret Dryburgh's on Afterlife.co
My mom's unauthorized profile on Afterlife.co

From this page, you can buy flowers for $269.99 CAD and have them sent to the funeral home that buried her over 3 years ago.

Screenshot of purchase form for flowers
My mom preferred carnations.

The thing is, our family didn’t ask to have her obituary used in this way. We were not asked permission for her name and likeness to be used to market flowers or for anyone to “light” anything for us.

When writing about my mother on this very blog, I have never once asked anyone for donations or to purchase anything (though, I do ask you on every page of this site to sign up for my newsletter — I’m guessing the 7 of you who have done so feel pretty upset about my hypocrisy).

As of this writing, Afterlife’s FAQ page leaves much to be desired:

Screenshot of FAQ page on Afterlife.co

Afterlife does offer a page to submit a request for removal, which states the following:

Screenshot of Afterlife.co removal request form

This publication is used to honor the deceased, show respect and support to the families, and allow anyone to contribute to build a beautiful memorial page.

*cough* bullshit *cough*

We understand that some families do not want loved ones to be shown here.

Translation: We know you’re gonna be pissed at us but we don’t care.

If you have the approval of the family, you may fill out the removal request form below. Note that up to 3 business days may pass before the removal.

But you didn’t have our permission to publish this page in the first place…


The CBC is reporting that at least one funeral home in Calgary has received over a dozen phone calls asking why the personal information of a loved one was being used in a commercial manner without consent. The funeral home was not only unaware of the initial infringement, they had already asked for the information be removed only for their request to be left unfulfilled.

I just got off the phone with the funeral home who handled my mother’s funeral. While they weren’t familiar with this specific site, the person I spoke to did indicate that this wasn’t the first he’d heard of such a site. Requests they’ve made to similar sites have also gone unanswered.

I also spoke briefly with a support agent (or maybe it was a bot?) from dmca.com. They can look into having the content removed, but their services aren’t free and there’s no guarantee that the site owners won’t simply move the content to another server.

Afterlife spokesperson Jordon Le Brun claims in the CBC article that the company is selling 1000 flower arrangements per month. Based on their lowest and highest priced flower arrangements, a rough estimation would put their sales somewhere between $59,990 and $229,990 per month.

Or between $700K–$2.76MM in sales per year.

I’m a capitalist who believes in ideas and in companies taking risky ideas to market. I even recognize and empathize with the fact that sometimes, people with the best of intentions can produce unintended consequences when delivering a project.

This, however, was not a simple oversight. Someone had to write the code to scrape the obituaries from countless funeral home sites and other databases in order to present them in this way with the only goal of generating profit.

Perhaps I’m a bit biased because I’m personally offended in this case, but that’s fucked up.

Companies like this are why people don’t trust the Internet and those of us who make a living working in and on it. This type of news reflects poorly on everyone who participates in the online economy, making the work we do even more difficult in the future.

Not to mention the pain and suffering of having to unwillingly and unexpectedly relive the loss of a loved one.

For the record, Donald Trump is and forever will be prohibited from posting on patdryburgh.com.

Versions by Carly Thomas →

My dear friend, Carly Thomas, has just released an album of acoustic renditions of some of her best songs. I was honoured to be included on the holiday-themed closing track, Hold You (On Christmas Eve).

It’s been a while since I last travelled down the road playing guitar with Carly. Listening to this album brings back some truly wonderful memories of nights spent playing music across this great country.

If you’re into physical media, you can get a CD and some cool artwork by visiting her online store.

Do I really want to hunt?

My post from the other day definitely came out of left field. I had just finished reading Steven Rinella’s book, Meateater, and was all amped up to figure this hunting thing out.

What I didn’t do a very good job explaining was that this idea is still very new, and like all good ideas it has not yet been fully tested.

Do I actually want to kill an animal? I have no idea. I can probably count on one hand the number of fish I’ve killed, pets included. I once went to a firing range on my way to a Mutemath concert in Detroit, but other than that, the vast majority of my firearms experience is with BB guns and Duck Hunt.

So, I’m definitely in the romantic stage of this endeavour where it’s an exotic idea that has not yet had to face the harshness of reality.

Right now, I love climbing mountains and I am falling in love with cooking. With these things comes the question “am I being responsible with how I’m sourcing the food that I eat?” At the moment, I believe the answer is “no, not really” and that hunting may be a solution to this problem.

Or maybe sitting under fluorescent lights and eating lunch in a food court for the last two weeks is making me stir crazy and I just really want to get outside.

Becoming a meateater

I’ve never hunted before. My father took me fishing when I was young, but it was never a big part of my childhood. My focus was on organized sports and music. We did have a forest near our place where we would ride our little dirt bikes, but I didn’t fully realize how fun hiking in the outdoors could be until I came back to BC in 2015.

Since returning to Vancouver, I’ve been spending more and more time outdoors which has made me contemplate getting into some fishing and hunting.

I recently came across hunter, writer, podcaster, and TV personality, Steven Rinella. Watching his show inspired me to learn more about hunting and his podcast inspired me to set some goals and put a plan in place to achieve them.

His book, on the other hand, reminded me that I am lacking a lifetime of experience and knowledge. As excited as I am by the thought of one day finding and harvesting my own meat, I realize that it’s a pursuit that may take many years to achieve.

Thankfully, I’m not in a rush. While I continue to develop my endurance in the mountains, my familiarity with the landscape, and the skills one requires to be qualified to hunt, I relish the fact that I am a complete beginner who doesn’t really know what he doesn’t know. For someone who loves to learn, it’s a feeling worth recognizing and celebrating.

Received my invitation to join the Micro.blog network. You can follow me there @pat.

I’m still using feed.press to post to Twitter for now, but will be experimenting with Micro.blog’s cross-posting functionality this week.

Spent a couple of hours today tidying up some things on the site. If there’s one thing I’m grateful for this year, it’s my rekindled love of having a blog.

James Shelley on his recommitment to the open web:

The ultimate value of the Internet is that it is an open network. I want to invest my time and grow my understanding in a dataset I can access, transport, query, and utilize in the future. For me, right now, this means using WordPress to amalgamate my personal “online existence” in a MySQL database that I own, instead of relying on Facebook or Twitter — or whatever the “next things” might be — to host my digital life for me on their terms, under their conditions.

If you follow me online, you may have noticed a decline in the quantity of content I’m publishing. Aside from the occasional reply on Twitter or Instagram photo, almost everything I’ve had to say can be found right here on my blog.

Well, anything I’ve had to say publicly, that is. The vast majority of my writing activity has been invested in the work I’m doing with Ensibuuko. Speaking of which, we’re currently on the lookout for Laravel developers. If you or someone you know is available, let me know!

Don’t Promise →

When someone asks something of me, I find it very difficult to say no. Sometimes it’s because I genuinely want to help, others because I feel obligated to say yes.

Too many times in my life I’ve let people down by failing to deliver on promises. More often than not, this is not for a lack of trying. It’s usually that I promise more time and energy than I have available.

This recently came up again when a friend introduced me to someone I’ve admired from afar for some time. My friend and this someone invited me to participate in a project they’re working on together and in my excitement to meet this someone, I agreed right away.

I had to send an email to this someone last week to let them know I was pulling out of the project (thankfully, he was forgiving and gracious and extended an invitation to rejoin their efforts if and when my schedule allows). If you’re a designer interested in blockchains and/or the music industry, do get in touch.

This reminder from Jason Fried that the pain of saying no is far less severe than the pain of failing to deliver on a promise strikes home with me. I want to ensure that the things I say yes to align with my ability to deliver.

Just bought a new notebook to replace the one I filled in Uganda. Went with the charcoal Confidant by Baron Fig because the light gray doesn’t look very nice once it’s dirty and worn. Would love to find a notebook with similar qualities to the Confidant (opens flat, dot grid, sturdy construction) with a more durable cover.

YYT ✈️ YYZ ✈️ YVR

After 6 long months, I am so ready to go home.