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Pat Dryburgh

CJ Chilvers has been blogging a lot about newsletters lately. As someone who doesn’t subscribe to newsletters and instead prefers technology like RSS, this bit hurt a bit:

I just wanted to let you know that there’s more going on in my newsletter than on this blog for a reason: I take your invitation to your inbox very seriously and I want to add value with every issue.

I’m not sure how subscribing to a blog’s RSS feed is any less an “invitation to my inbox” other than the fact it’s a inbox dedicated to what I want to read as compared to my email inbox which is full of stuff I have to read.

Of course, I’m probably wrong about all of this. My blog has less than a hundred subscribers and my newsletter—which is just a digest of everything I post on this blog sent as an email every Thursday—has less than 40 readers. Maybe there’s something to be said for putting in the time to create unique content for both audiences? I really don’t know.

Driving down to Portland to attend tomorrow’s NXT: Takeover event. I think the best decision I made in 2019 was to attend more professional wrestling events. Tomorrow’s will be my first of 2020 and hopefully not my last.

It’s a wonderful feeling when a small piece of open source software you’ve written helps a friend with their work.

Digitally preserving The Joshua Tree

Digitally preserving The Joshua Tree

My friend Edward Platero has started working on a project that seeks to preserve the remains of The Joshua Tree. The namesake of U2’s 1987 album and the location for the album’s cover photo is estimated to have fallen in the year 2000. Fans from all around the world have visited the tree and left mementos of their pilgrimage, but the tree itself is slowly rotting into the earth.

The goal of project is to preserve this piece of musical history through 3D recreation. Last month, Edward visited the tree and took over 4,000 photographs which he will use to construct a 3D model and eventually an immersive Virtual Reality experience using Photogrammetry.

Details about the project and suggestions for helping out can be found at

I just bought an Apple Watch in an Apple Store and was served by a deaf customer care rep. Communicating to her through lip reading and the Notes app brought me back to when I was in a band with a singer who had a speech impediment and would type what he wanted to say using T9 on his flip phone. Just a gentle reminder that sometimes, tech lives up to the ideal.

Enjoying an evening at Fission HQ talking with @bmann about his new IndieWeb find, IndieKit. Giving it a try now to post this from Quill.

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 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.

2019 Year in Review

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.


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.