Speaking of typography, check out this article by Oliver Reichenstein titled Web Design is 95% Typography: How to Use Type on the Web. It was written way back in 2006 when our only option for using non-web-safe fonts was sIFR and we were still 3 years from the launch of Typekit and yet the argument that web designers should have a deep understanding of typography is as true today as it ever was.
Frank Chimero continues his redesign series with a look at how “the design of individual letters exponentially accumulate to create the voice of a typeface.”
Patrick Rhone is blogging about renovating the house he recently purchased on his new awesomely named blog, Whoa to Wow. This is what blogging is good for.
YYZ ✈️ YVR
While on the topic of Frank Chimero, I just learned that his book, The Shape of Design, is now available to read for free online. I was one of the early backers of the book back when it launched on Kickstarter and have read it several times since. Highly recommended.
Frank Chimero is starting the new decade by redesigning his personal website and documenting the process. Following in the footsteps of Jonnie Hallman, Frank is taking the opportunity to share the process by which he approaches design, starting with posts about the impetus and the goals of the project.
I’ve written about redesigning this site many times in the past, like this one from 2010, this one from 2011, and this one from 2013. This one from 2017 touches on some technical changes I made to improve the current design you’re looking at today (assuming you’re looking at the site on the day this was published; who knows how long this design will last?).
When looking up those posts, I thought I would find mention of a time back when I was using Tumblr when I was designing my blog in public, but it seems I didn’t have the foresight that Jonnie and Frank have today. I’m excited to follow along on their journeys and learn from masters of the craft.
This year, like most, had its share of ups and downs. Here are some highlights from the last 12 months.
Wrapped up my work on the new version of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board Registry. I began working on this project in August of 2018 with my client, Make IT. It was a massive project with a lot of complexity that made it all the more rewarding when it launched. The new registry is significantly faster and more intuitive than the off-the-shelf-and-customized software it replaces and the project offered me a couple great opportunities to visit my colleagues living in one of the most northern communities in the country.
I also played my first open mic in several years. I’ve struggled to find my way into the music community in Vancouver, but the open mic at Café Deux Soleil was one place where I felt welcome.
Got to spend a couple weeks in Calgary for the first time as we planned the next project. Unfortunately I can’t share what that project was and ultimately it was cancelled several months in, but nonetheless it was an awesome experience.
I also discovered the wonders of bath bombs!
I bought some new kitchen supplies to replace those I lost during the breakup at the end of 2018. I climbed Mount Seymour in the snow without snowshoes or spikes.
Later in the month, I flew from Vancouver to Montréal to spend the following 6 weeks with my sister and her fiancé. This was my third time visiting Montréal but my first getting to spend my time there with family. We had a lot of fun exploring the city together and eating lots (and lots) of poutine!
Spent the month of April in Montréal eating more poutine and immersing myself in the culture. A friend and I attended a performance of Blind Date, a live improvised play where one lucky member of the audience gets to act as a blind date alongside the professional performers in the production.
And wouldn’t you know it, I got to be that lucky blind date!
That Tuesday evening turned out to be one of my favourites of the year. The report from my date was pretty positive, as well:
Centaur Theatre, Montreal, Blind Date #16: PATRICK. When I first saw Patrick in the lobby, the first thing I noticed was his amazing red beard! Then, when I started to talk to him, I quickly realized there was a pretty amazing man behind it.
In very close second place for best evening of the year was the Monday I attended WWE’s Monday Night Raw event at the Bell Centre. If you watch this video or have access to the WWE Network and watch the broadcast from April 15, you’ll spot me throughout the show sitting in the 4th row on the left side of your screen. You’ll see me booing the heels and cheering the babyfaces like a good mark should.
And last but not least, April saw the release of my very first open source Jekyll Theme, Hitchens. The project has since been forked over 50 times and has also received over 50 stars. If you’re a writer who has an interest in using Jekyll to publish long-form content, give Hitchens a look.
I flew from Montréal to St. John’s, Newfoundland to join my brother on a 3-day drive from Newfoundland to Ontario. When we first landed at the airport, I spotted a young bull moose up close and a massive iceberg off in the distance. On the drive through Newfoundland to the ferry terminal, we saw several caribou and a red fox. The last time I had driven from the terminal to St. John’s was at night, so driving through this incredible province during the day was spellbinding.
My brother and I arrived in Ontario and I got to spend the following 6 weeks visiting my father, my brother and his family, and later my sister and her fiancé again. I also got to visit Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto for the first time.
Swam a lot.
The project I started in February was cancelled, so I spent a lot of time swimming and hiking in Lynn Creek. Was surprised to discover that a massive Douglas Fir that had a rope used to climb down into the canyon had collapsed.
My friends Boris, Brooklyn, and I flew from Vancouver to Nanaimo on a float plane (I got to sit in the co-pilot’s seat!) to spend the day at Input Cowork where we hosted a tech meetup focused on open source software and the InterPlanetary File System.
I also launched a landing page for a new still-to-be-released project, Just a Box.
I built and released a new open source project that’s a DuckDuckGo Search Box Generator. Based on my blog’s most popular post (from 2012!), I wanted to create a tool that makes it easy for people to add a DuckDuckGo search box to their website and have the search results be customized to their preferred colour scheme. I haven’t heard from a single person whether this has been helpful, but it was the perfect opportunity to teach myself the new React Hooks.
I also designed a new line of shirts, shoes, and accessories called Make Happy for A Wonderful Shop of Wonderful Wonders. The shoes are particularly awesome.
A visit from a friend rounded out the rest of August, including trips to the Richmond Night Market and a long weekend spent at the Sloquet Hot Springs.
I had a dentist appointment.
Attended the NXT live event at PNE Agrodome. Voted in the Canadian federal election. Designed some sweet new business cards for my friends at Fission.
Went fishing for Coho salmon for my first time ever. I didn’t catch anything, but had an incredible time watching them swim upstream to complete their final journey.
Tried my hand again at fishing for Coho. Still no bites, but had an amazing time exploring the Fraser Valley. Had my first jam night with The Rustle Crows. Visited my friend Corrie in Victoria. We drove out to Canada’s Gnarliest Tree in Avatar Grove.
I released a new shirt at A Wonderful Shop of Wonderful Wonders for a fake East Van restaurant called Trout Lake Chowdery (a Boris Mann idea) and launched an Instagram account for the shop, as well.
Attended my third professional wrestling show of the year, this one promoted by an independent company called ECCW. The show was a lot of fun and I hope to get out to more local events in 2020. Next up is Ballroom Brawl 13 at the Commodore Ballroom on Saturday, January 18!
Flew to Ontario to visit with friends and family over the holidays. Lots of Christmas shopping, dinners, desserts, and stories. I bought my niece her first tricycle that she seems to really enjoy :) Rang in the New Year at my brother’s in-laws, playing music and sharing in laughter. Was the perfect way to cap off the year.
YVR ✈️ YYZ
Every once in a while my friend Boris Mann introduces me to a new app. This is my first post from Indigenous - Social Timeline. Not the most sensitive app name I’ve ever heard, and the font size in the New Post screen is super tiny. Don’t think this app is long for my homescreen.
Look at all those nutrients going back into the ecosystem! Didn’t catch a single coho salmon in the last two weekends spent along the Harrison and Chilliwack Rivers. As someone who’s never fished for salmon and never on the shore of a river, I’ve learned a lot about the techniques, implements, and culture around fishing this incredible creature.
Deer Lake this evening.
Live stand up comedy happens every month in the coffee shop I live above.
Making gluten free chapati with cassava and chestnut flour.
Making banana pancakes.
A rainy Election Day. Thank you to everyone and anyone who has volunteered and made personal sacrifices to ensure our freedom to express our democratic voice. #canadianelection #canadavotes #voteforpedro
Live from @wwenxt.
#tbt to the time @eplatero and I drove across Canada from Vancouver to London.
Today’s view from Mount Seymour.