When Information Architects Attack

The Internets / ,

15 August 2008


I am an Information Architect. IA was my first interactive job way back at Quaxar.com, then a joint-venture partner with Agency.com – a global interactive consultancy.

Now, I dig IA. I like being an IA – I enjoy being at the nexus of design and tech – sort of the cornerstone of the project if I may say so myself. I happen to be at this very moment the ONLY IA IN MISSISSIPPI – that is according to the Institute of Information Architecture (IAI). So obviously I have some interested in having a good name for the field and my profession.

That being said – the field is becomming so full of ultra-high-level jargon and self-importance that reading through my IAI-Members mail list recently has become painful. In particular, a recent post on a marketing centric blog relegated IA to library classification which illicited a first snarky and then outright venemous series of attacks from an uber-geeky community of computer content classifiers and library science types.

I was tempted to post in the comments section of the site, but felt it best to practice restraint of tongue and pen (and keyboard) and post my thoughts to my own little space here.

IA, like other disciplines of thought and practice, has found it necessary to defend its own turf in the intellectual ether. My first run-in with this came while an undergraduate studying Anthropology. There was this Anthro – Sociology low-grade fight going on. Further on in my life, I witnessed a similar tiff between International Relations and Political Science. I mean – Come On!

Now with the IA Praetorians!

I guess these sorts of skirmishes between disciplines and the overt attempts to protect intellectual turf seems to reek to me at least as self-importance.

Again, I’m an IA. I dig the practice. I happen to think we’re the most important part of web development. I have a vested interest in having the practice understood and valued; however, at no time would I feel the need to degrade another opinion, or another person, however parochial or uniformed they may be.

Mis dos centados.


Let The Online Sports Binge Begin

Sport, The Internets / ,

9 August 2008


nbcolympics.com video player

I awoke this morning for a call of nature – not uncommon these days. As I stumbled to the baño I remembered that much of the live competition to this year’s olympics occurs at night. This thought coupled with my knowledge that its Saturday and I have no pressing responsibilities urged me to fix a glass of OJ and sit down at my desk. Not one to miss a sports viewing opportunity – and an olympic one at that – I booted up and ventured over to http://nbcolympics.com.

Olympic Junkie Bliss ensued. Using the ‘control room’ interface, I was able to select from dozens of live, recorded, and edited competitions. Always one to follow the lesser known sports, I filled up my player w/ women’s sailing (usa in 2nd during this writing), women’s rowing, men’s judo, and capped it off with some women’s badmitton.

It is 3:05am local time. I have got my olympics fix for now. Off to bed for a few before the TV blitz starts later this morning.


Slug Burger Festival

Culture / , ,

7 August 2008


Photo by Zack Steer

Slugs on a bun. Nothing better than a slug burger on a hot July day – at least that’s what Corinth, MS believes in putting on their annual Slug Burger Festival. I first learned of the festival via my local NPR station. Once a week they feature a Mississippi town promoting the concept of a stacation – when one keeps things local rather than travelling afar.

As you may very well imagine – hearing a delightfully sweet woman speak about all the fun they’re going to have up in Corinth at this year’s Slug Burger Festival had me mumbling an internal wtf or two. Turns out the Slug Burger however isn’t as frieghtening as it may seem.

A Slug Burger in the end is just a regular old hamburger – ground beef, some breadcrumbs, a little egg to bind it together – the ‘Slug’ concept enters the picture in how when they originally were sold they cost only a nickel. The U.S. nickel was then commonly referred to as a slug.

Zack Steer has some nice photos on his Nikon MyPictureTown website.


Eye of the Tiger

Me / ,

6 August 2008


Eye of the tiger

I’ve come a long way thanks to some basic principles I’ve learned to incorporate into my daily life including perseverence, dedication, integrity, and honesty among others. I was involved in probably the biggest presentation of my life yesterday – myself and a select team from the advertising agency I work for pitched a major insurance company for their business yesterday. My contribution consisted of creating an easy to digest segment on the relatively tough subject of internet lead generation and search engine marketing (SEM).

I did very well. The metaphor I came up with of a Highway and Exits and Off-Ramps and Off-Ramp signage/real estate worked very well. One of my bosses hugged me twice yesterday and praised me. The other broke into a full fledged Hank Aaron swing to designate I had hit a home run. I felt as though I stumbled over a couple sections but by and large executed well. I also know I put forth 100% effort which I’ve learned is a much better indicator for me personally than whatever results may come to pass.

Three short years ago, I was unemployable. I was sick. I was pitifully and incomprehensibly demoralized. After hitting bottom, and a lot of hard work over virtually every facet of my life, I have as some with the same disease I have say – I have recovered. That is not to say I am cured – just that for today at least should I choose to do some simple things I will be able to lay my head down at the end of the day having remained sober.

For many years, having seen the advertising world in movies and TV, I yearned to be part of a creative team delivering amazing work. Low and behold I find myself in Jackson, MS. doing just that. I just had some sort of incling inside that I would be good at that. Yesterday I saw the idea I formulated for this large insurance company come to fruition through a large series of print, outdoor, tv, radio and internet concepts. The little idea that started in my head during a personal brainstorm was selected as the tack the firm I work for would use as its main creative direction for the campaign. That feels really good and new for me.


Olympic Bird’s Nest Stadium: Lego-Style

Arts, Culture / ,

22 July 2008


Beijing Birdshouse Stadium en Lego

An architectural achievement par excellance. Now equally impressive on a much smaller scale. I used to love legos. I do not however miss stepping on them.

Lots of lego fun found here: http://www.brickshelf.com/


Movie Review: Mad Max

Arts, Editorial / ,

21 July 2008


3 of 5

Mel Gibson as Mad Max

Mel Gibson stars in this first installment of the Mad Max trilogy. A member of an ineffectual police force and justice apparatus, Max increasingly becomes disenchanted with the official channels of jurisprudence. Roving gangs of motorcycle marauders wreak havoc upon a frightened and impotent citizenry. Things become personal for Max with the loss of 3 important people in his life and employing the use of a newly engineered ‘interceptor’ muscle car, Max seeks revenge.

The dialogue in Mad Max is hokey at best. Clearly the screenplay wasn’t considered for any sort of award. What the film lacks in dialogue I believe it makes up for in its cinematographic style. In particular, I think I could watch a full movie full of Mad Max’s long shots of souped up V8’s covering ground across a highly desolate landscape, awesome cornering, and the immersive cuts to the drivers augmeted with the roar of the engine.

So despite the cheesy dialogue and relatively low-production value look to the film, I am giving it a decent rating of 3.5 / 5 because of its cinematography and because it sets the stage for what I remember to be an awesome 2nd installment. Without this backstory, we’re lost as to why Max is so hellbent on becoming the future’s only viable form of social justice. I’m now pretty psyched to take another look at the second and third installments having seen this film.


Olympic Data Mining II

Sport /

16 July 2008


Military Ski Patrol: 1928, 1936 and 1948 Winter Olympics; a precursor to biathlon; demonstration sport.

Another program addition as a demonstration sport was military ski patrol, a forerunner of the present-day biathalon. While many countries in Europe and the Unite


Diluting an Automobile Design Icon

Editorial / ,

16 July 2008


Who makes the car above?

A.  Lexus

B.  Infinity

C. Hyundai

D. None of the above

The answer is D. The true production firm behind the design above is none other than Jaguar – producer of iconically designed sedans and coupes for decades. Although I haven’t been keeping up with recent design evolutions for the brand, this incantation bears little resemblance to the form for the Jaguar brand in my mind’s eye.

The above design has little connection to the brand’s past. It looks to me like a Lexus 300 of some years back more than a Jaguar. As automobile manufactures look to rationalize production and leverage off a few base models across a broad spectrum of brands for an increasingly homogeneous global purchasing demographic, I guess such uninspired and weak design statements will be the norm rather than the exception for the future of automobile design.


Olympic Data Mining

Sport /

15 July 2008


Pelota is ‘ball’ in spanish – Military Ski Patrol sounds like an awesome sport! Other notable sports that were contested at the Olympic level include: Lacrosse, Golf, and Tug-Of-War.

I plan to follow up this post with some definitions and descriptions of some of the lesser-knows sports (at least lesser-known to me).


I am 37 today


14 July 2008



Today marks 37 years on planet earth.

I am grateful to be alive; I am grateful I have a loving and supportive family; I am grateful I survived my shooting in 1999; I am grateful to be employable and employed; I am grateful I have learned to do a few simple things each and every day that ensures I’m still in the game and can be happily and usefully whole.

I am proud of myself for getting my ass up this a.m. and power-walking.


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