Wearable Computing: The Future?

March 21, 2013

One topic that has been plaguing much of the tech news cycle is how glasses by Google and potential watches by Apple and electronic shoes by who-knows-who are the next big thing. These devices — the real and the rumored — act as an accessory-type interface for the phones in our pocket, and the idea that it’s the future is nonsense.

The fantastic thing about post-PC devices is their reluctance to accessory-type interfaces like (hardware) keyboards and mice. Post-PC devices are free from the user-facing complexities that traditional computers have. Interface-removal is a trend that needs to continue, not reverse, which is what the people promoting watches and glasses oppose. What follows is my view of what the next wave of computing will be.

We do everything on our phones; The phone is the life, Mr. Renfield. So we don’t need new ways to do the things we already do with our phones; we need our phones to do what they do now with less user-effort. That requires our phones to be smarter and capable of learning what we want them to do. As an example:

At present, when I walk into my favorite Starbucks, my iPhone knows and a Passbook notification for my digital Starbucks card appears on my iPhone’s lock screen. I then swipe the notification and put my phone next to a scanner at the register, and my Earl Grey tea is paid for.

In the future, not only will my iPhone know that I’m walking into my favorite Starbucks, it will also know that I’m going to order a tall Earl Grey tea and it will order the drink for me over WiFi. I won’t have to stand and wait in a line, I’ll just walk into the Starbucks and my drink will be paid for and in the queue with absolutely no effort on my part.

That’s the near-future (10 years give-or-take a few) of computing that I see. I see our phones not only being the hub for everything we do, but also taking over our current responsibilities. It’s a future where our devices are invisible to us and not a distraction. Where most things are done without us even knowing that they’re done; the complete opposite of having computers strapped to our body which makes us see everything always.


A Familiar Interface

March 19, 2013

Tomorrow I’m going to upload an in-depth on my view of the future of computing, and what I don’t think it is, but it seems like a good idea to preface that article with this (albeit shorter) one.

On a public discussion on my Facebook page about the future of computing and interfaces, one of my friends proposed some ideas for what an Apple-made “iWatch” would do out-of-the-box:

1. Interface with Siri
2. Interface with Maps
3. Interface with Notification Center
4. Interface with the Phone app
5. Interface with Passbook

Apple already ships something with every iPhone that does most of the above, and more, and it utilizes our natural senses. Apple has actually been shipping this device for years: It’s the earbuds (now “EarPods”) which Apple includes with every iPhone.

Press and hold the middle button on the EarPod’s remote to activate Siri. Talk into the microphone (also on the remote) and you’re having a conversation with Siri. Ask her to take you somewhere, and she’ll tell you directions as you drive. You can also ask her to make phone calls for you, play music, send txt messages, set reminders and alarms, add calendar entries, and the list goes on. You can do all that without taking your phone out of your pocket.

Makes you wonder just how much of a void an iWatch could fill — notifications on your wrist, ooooohhhhhhhh — and just how future-thinking the idea is.

Apple already makes a wearable interface for the computer in your pocket. And Apple gives it away with every iPhone. It only differs from the rumored “iWatch” in that you wear it in your ears and not on your wrist. I hope this serves as food for thought.

Goodbye, Mac

March 18, 2013

Well, it finally happened. Prior to early last week I used my MacBook Pro probably once every month (at most) for solid FTP access for my self-hosted sites. That use case is no longer, as I picked up Diet Coda [App Store link] for iPad, which is abnormally fantastic. I no longer need my Mac to edit/upload files in FTP.

Diet Coda

Goodbye, MacBook Pro. It’s been a fun seven years. May you find peace in your shelf.

“Apple Is Doomed”

March 15, 2013

The sentiment that Apple is a failing company is expressed seemingly everywhere. Blogs, news sites, TV news stations, the water cooler; it’s hard to avoid the message that Apple is being obliterated by Samsung and Google. As a former Apple representative (at Portland State University) and current Apple fan and observer, all of this nonsense sometimes drives me insane. Apple isn’t flailing like a fish out of water, it’s one of the strongest companies in the world.

The iPhone 5 singlehandedly increases the U.S. GDP by .5%.



This narrative that Apple — the most profitable company in the world — is sinking into oblivion is a-series-of-words-I-shouldn’t-say-here.

However profit isn’t the only way to evaluate a company; we have to look at its accomplishments, too. What follows is a short list of Apple’s activity in 2012:

  • Two new 9.7″ iPads, introducing the most impressive display ever on a portable device.
  • An addition to Apple’s iPad lineup: the iPad mini.
  • A new iPhone with a completely new design.
  • Completely redesigned iPod nano and iPod touch.
  • Redesigned 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros featuring retina displays.
  • An extremely redesigned iMac.
  • Two brand new operating systems; iOS 6 and Max OSX 10.8. Three if you include iPod nano’s “nano OS”.
  • Even more updates to its software and services; iTunes, iCloud, etc.
  • Apple also designed and introduced a new processor, the A6 chip (and its A6X variant for the 4th gen iPad) — it also introduced the A5X for the 3rd gen iPad and a redesigned A5 for the reduced-price iPad 2.
  • And the MacBook Airs, Mac mini, and Apple TV received spec bumps.
  • And that’s just a top-of-my-head list. That doesn’t include things such as iTunes Store milestones, Apple’s strategic acquisitions, advertising, retail improvements, data-center-building, and everything else that Apple does with its money.

    Apple has been busy. It’s far from sitting on its laurels and letting its competition pass it by. The idea that Apple is doomed is outright maddening, and it would be nice for the nonsense to end.


    March 14, 2013

    One of my friends posted a status on Facebook* stating that people should learn to appreciate the good things that they have, and not always be seeking something better. The reasoning is that, if you’re always searching for “greener grass”, you’ll never be satisfied. It’s an interesting idea to sit on because I don’t think it’s that simplistic.

    It’s important to be at peace with yourself and the world around you. If you aren’t, you run the risk of living a sad, lonely, unfulfilling life. But it’s not a good idea to not seek greener grass. We need to live (at least partially) on the idea of what we can be, not what we are. Have aspirations, desires — natural human traits — and make them happen.

    Appreciate what we have but at least be open to better things. It’s good for us as individuals and good for society to not be sedentary.

    * “A guy posted a status on Facebook…” is the new “A guy walked into a bar…”, isn’t it?

    Self Deprecating

    March 11, 2013

    As a blogger, the stereotypes surrounding “blogging” amuse me to a great deal. When someone asks me what I do, I often say that I’m a blogger (among other things) and I usually add something that plays to the stereotypes — I mock the profession and my role for comedy. Recently, however, a girl who aspires to be a novelist called me out on my behavior. She argued that I should be proud of what I do and that I should only say what I mean; being self-deprecating is almost offensive and a hint that I’m not proud of what I do, and it also can pass as lying.

    I was effectively KO’d out of our conversation. Without any defense beyond “well, people find it funny”, that girl dropkicked me and followed up by delivering an elbow from the sky. She kicked me a few times when I was down, and then threw me out of the ring. Which leads me to this post.

    If you’re ever proven wrong, you have a responsibility to embrace it. Rejecting the right ideas in order to satisfy your ego is a mistake, and above all being wrong is extremely healthy. If you’re right all the time, you’ll never learn anything; if you aren’t learning, you aren’t living. I appreciate that the aforementioned girl beat me up with her words, because it’s proof that I’m very much alive, and I have an opportunity to share her insight with you.

    In hindsight, self-deprecating behavior is bad taste. I won’t intentionally do it again, and I advise you to abstain from that brand of comedy. There are other ways to make people laugh.

    Circa 2009 (About Me On MySpace)

    March 6, 2013

    For whatever reason I stumbled onto MySpace today, and came across my old profile. Because the “About Me” is so dreadful in hindsight, I feel it’s good to share! You know the adage, laugh with me, at young me.

    (Unbolded text is the original language, bolded is what I actually meant at the time)

    Hey all who visit my page,
    Welcome to my domain.

    I’m Montana Leet, and my profile has gone through quite a few updates. The term “eclectic” has often been used to describe me, and I’ve had difficulty making a “focused” profile. So here is my attempt, I hope you like (or appreciate) it.
    I haven’t mastered conciseness yet. Sorry.

    Here’s a quote from me: “The United States Of America, although the greatest country on Earth, is filled with persons that strongly believe that to make a difference one must be an adult, and are fully prepared to disregard any youth trying to make a difference … The world needs change, and it’s youth, it’s us, every one of us in this room, that can provide that change.”
    By the way, vote for me for State Senate in 2012.

    I’m a youth rights activist. I’ve had experience working with kids and young adults that genuinely want to make a difference in society. These people that live side-by-side with adults, deserve the right to make that difference. Oppression spans from gender to sexuality, race to religion, and social class to age. Ageism though, has always and still doesn’t hold a candle of concern in comparison to the other forms of oppression. Women are on the fast track to equal rights. GLBTQ groups are making headway. We’ve elected a half black president. Every day church separates further from state. There are countless programs, both federal and state, designed to assist lower income people. But young adults don’t have an ounce of representation.
    If I don’t make the “half” distinction I might lose some votes!

    Right now about 9% of young adults are eligible to vote. That’s almost 1 in 10 people, but nobody cares. Middle aged politicians are deciding how we should be educated even though they haven’t been enrolled in public school in decades. Remember No Child Left Behind? Well if you’re a parent you should, because it certainly left your kid(s) behind. No one I know my age was excited about that one.
    Old white men kind of suck.

    So let’s get real. If kids as young as 16 could vote, young adults would top that 10%. In fact, upon doing research we’d get 13% of the vote. It doesn’t seem like much, but to pass the 1 in 10 mark would be a phenomenal thing in the political realm. Politicians would have to look at us and think “Gee, I need this demographic to win, so my platform needs to adhere to this group as well.” Now sit on this, most people 24 and under are lower class. So by achieving recognition, the lower class as a whole would have to have more focus put on it. Still with me? Agreeing with me? Good.
    Kids are a force to be reckoned with, mmhmm.

    I think it’s time for me to go down a partial list of the proposals I put forward regarding education:
    Because I want to seem important for my run in 3 years, here’s my platform:
    Education is near the top of a lot of “most important topics” lists, so here’s my planned reforms:

    i. In middle and high schools, typically teachers teach one subject. So why do they have teaching degrees!? The reason education received at community colleges is much better is because the teachers have degrees for the subjects they teach. A person with a doctorate in Political Science isn’t qualified to teach a Civics and Government course in any high school for a day as a substitute. That’s wrong. I propose requiring teachers have a MA or higher degree in the fields they wish to teach in middle or high schools. Everyone else with a teachers degree that want to teach should stick to teaching K-6.
    Mr. Paine (My Political Science instructor), I really want your support.

    ii. Require Civics and Governments courses for kids in high school to take. Those courses should not be electives.
    Everyone should learn about politics, because, well, it’s important!

    iii. For every election season (separating Primary and General), allow anyone 17 and under to take a test which, if passed, grants them the right to vote. The test would be taken at local DMV offices for a $10 fee, and would be based off of a voting information guide, which will be supplied by schools, or kids could request the guide to be sent via mail if their school doesn’t have its act together (or the kid is a 10 year old whiz that wants to vote–elementary schools wouldn’t be required to supply voting information).
    Me and my committee of me, myself, and I have come up with a plan to raise an undetermined amount of revenue for our state, by getting an unknown amount of kids to vote.

    iv. Abolish military recruiters in high schools. I am sick of those punks taking advantage of youth. Replace them with voting information booths, such as can be found at community colleges.
    War: Bad. Voting: Good.

    So there you have a very brief view of reforms I’d like to see happen on the education front. Every one of the four listed has paragraphs more to it, and there are tons of other reforms I propose including (but not limited to) education for the mentally ill, pushing charter schools, ending location discrimination, the works. Now I’d like to discuss my opinion two current hot(ish) topics… The ones that have a place in my heart.
    Wait. I’m not done:

    i. Healthcare. Public option now, I mean, seriously… I care more about accountability for the HMOs than anything, and a public option is the only way to force corporations such as Kaiser Permanente to treat patients as patients should be treated. I almost was murdered by my physician. I was literally on my deathbed, and if I didn’t stop taking the meeds they gave me halfway through the bottle, I wouldn’t be here today. With that in mind, I have said many many times that I would die for a public healthcare option. If the only way to pass that legislation was for me to be hanged, I would say my goodbyes and not hesitate. I know that will never be the case, but I’d rather die for the cause than because of lack of the cause.
    I will take a noose for you, man.

    ii. Abortion rights. Every female should have the right to an abortion(s). Without question. I can speak about this for days (infact I have before), so if you come to me and ask me “why?”, I will be happy to send you my big list of reasons.
    In short: Fetuses are parasites.

    Hopefully you now have an idea of my politics, and the three things I care about most. Education and healthcare are obviously the big ones, but regarding abortion… I really don’t know why I get into so many fist fights about it. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, especially for me as a male, but there’s just something about it that makes me really loathe the traditional anti-choice viewpoint. I would love to be an elected official someday, but in life, things and wants and needs change. It’s the inevitable, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
    My opinions are important and, by the way, vote for me!

    Another career path I’d like to get into is independent Horror filmmaker. I’ve been writing a few screenplays in my spare time, and I’ve received praise for my pitches. So we’ll see what happens on that front. I’ve been in college since I was 15 and am a Political Science major and Film minor, which lines up with the career paths I’ve chosen. My e-mail address is [redacted], I love to receive e-mails, so send me some! And if you really need to reach me immediately, my phone number is [redacted]. No txt messages please!
    Hey, I just bored you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe?

    – Montana
    Whew, done typing. Finally.

    Food From Fresh

    March 4, 2013

    As mentioned in the previous post, I’ve made a bit of a diet shift. I’ve done away with all the chemically-treated refined salt, refined sugar, food “flavoring”, preservatives, canned food, and all of its ilk. Now my diet is purely fruit-based, with a few exceptions that don’t really change anything. It’s been approximately a week and a half since I’ve had a bleeding Oreo, and my, have my taste buds woken up. A fun fact is that I used to hate cucumber — I just couldn’t stand it. After reinvigorating my taste buds I’m thrilled to say that I now enjoy cucumber. It tastes like apple to me! And that’s certainly not all; nuts, other than peanuts, used to make me sick to my stomach. As of today I can snack on almonds without any pause, and I love it.

    One of the biggest revelations is abandoning the canned food, though. Whereas before I would buy canned beans, I’m now preparing them from scratch; and any meal that calls for those beans I make completely from fresh ingredients. As an example, I’m going to start creating my own “baked beans in tomato sauce”, and everything from the navy beans to the tomato sauce is made 100% fresh. Tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, garlic cloves, all fresh and local (or as local as possible). I haven’t made the baked beans in tomato sauce yet, but based on my experiences so far I expect to taste a massive difference and I won’t want to return to my canned ways.

    And while local and fresh items are obviously better tasting and healthier than their pesticided and travelled kin, local food is often cheaper too! There’s a place nearby where I live called Portland Fruit West which describes itself as an “indoor farmer’s market”, which is a mostly accurate statement. PFW sources their fruit as locally as possible, and in instances where food isn’t grown locally, it’s imported from the nearest location where it is. I encourage everyone to spend an extra few hours each week to make food from fresh — we’re killing ourselves by eating stuff that’s meant for bunkers when the world ends. Buy fresh and local, save money, eat raw fruits and vegetables, and develop some cooking skills when a situation calls for it.

    For inspiration, watch Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (preferably the UK version). The most consistently important thing in turning failing restaurants around is getting rid of pre-cooked plasticky stuff and making the menu completely fresh. You can taste the difference through the screen, and it’s certainly been an inspiration to me in this process.

    The Fruitarian

    March 1, 2013

    Well, I’m back! And, let me tell you, it’s been an interesting hiatus.

    I (for the most part) met my goals of:

  • Advancing my knowledge of the Processing language.
  • Publishing articles for other blogs that I’m signed onto.
  • Bringing Picture This! Reviews back to life under its own server and new blogging platform (WordPress.org).
  • Applying for traditional jobs more diligently.
  • Figuring out a new direction for this blog.
  • I didn’t meet:

  • Taking Seizure Prone out of hiatus, although that will be amended shortly.
  • Added bonuses:

  • I was selected to participate in Round 2 of the Enstitute admissions process, which, while making my road ahead potentially very long, is fantastic news.
  • My diet has shifted from “vegetarian who doesn’t eat many vegetables” to “fruitarian”.
  • Wait a minute, “fruitarian”??? What the eff, man? you ask politely.

    A simple definition of a fruitarian diet is that it’s eating food that grows on vines. The idea is that the plant doesn’t have to die for one to eat, and given that fact it’s probably one of the most sustainable diets available. When the world ends, fruit is going to be the last holdout in our food supply because we don’t have to eliminate the plants to eat from them.

    Am I doing this for ethical reasons? No. I appreciate all life, but I can’t see anything menacing behind eating plants. What happened is I put myself into a situation where, despite being “vegetarian”, I was eating unhealthy. One friend called me a “sugartarian” because that’s basically what I was. I can’t think of a meal which I ate that didn’t have refined sugar, salt, or both, and that was a bit of a problem.

    My solution to my unhealthy eating habits was to not allow myself to make bad choices. Taking a look at diets, “fruitarian” has the iron fist I needed to adopt. Sure, that means abandoning good things like eggs, milk, and butter, but it also means the end of Oreos, candy, French toast, and all of the junk available. And I get to replace all of those bad and vaguely-good choices with innovative dishes composed of fruit, beans, nuts, and grains.

    My new favorite meal is baked beans in tomato sauce with assorted fruit. It’s really good and very healthy. A neat breakfast of mine is a smoothie made up of orange juice, a banana, an orange (including the peel!), and a chunk of tofu. That smoothie actually works for two meals. And then, of course, there’s just fruit anytime in the day. An orange here, an apple there, maybe a grapefruit or a banana, and leads to me being rarely thirsty. I’m getting so much water from all of my food that I just don’t need to drink it, and on top of that I don’t crave dessert since I’m eating so much natural sugar anyway.

    This is all good.

    The funny thing about “fruitarian” diets though, is that there’s a plethora of different types. As an example, some fruitarians — the people who do it for ethical reasons — will only eat fruit once it’s naturally fallen off of its vine. Some opt to not eat grains. You’ll run across a bunch who will only eat food raw; baked or cooked is off limits. And some fruitarians argue that because leaves aren’t a fruit, tea is forbidden while others believe that since the plant isn’t getting killed for its tea leaves, tea is okay.

    So I’m a fruitarian in its liberalist sect. While I eat as local and organic as possible, I don’t care if fruit was picked from vines and avoided falling to the ground. I eat grains. I bake. I drink tea, and I’ll even eat cinnamon since I’ve come across fruitarians who accept that. The single most important thing to any fruitarian is that the plant doesn’t have to die for the diet.

    That said, I do have exceptions to my rules. They are as follows:

  • I can use up my former food stock.
  • I’m allotted one Cinnabon Classic per month, at least until my body starts rejecting them.
  • Alcohol is okay socially.
  • It’s been a little over one week since I’ve went “fruitarian”, and I’m very happy with myself. I suggest that you try it before you laugh at me or express concern.

    It’s good to be back! See you Monday!

    The End Of An (Admittedly Short Lived) Era

    February 8, 2013

    Editor’s Note: This is a very personal entry which deals in memories, realizations, and self re-discovery. If you don’t care to know a bit of nitty gritty about me, know that (slightly) unkommon is on hiatus until March 1, 2013. Thank you.

    Powree and Oliver Knörzer:

    People can get as old as 3,155,692,600 seconds (raccoons 631,138,520 seconds). And yet it often seems that the most important thing for the way we think, feel and live is what happens in just a few of them.

    What A Difference A Day Makes

    I’ve been writing about news for a month and a half, and overall I’d say I’ve been okay at it. There’s been some ups, some downs, and it’s been a learning experience. I made it to 25 “editions”, which I figure is a solid number. Cliffs Notes in case you didn’t know: I’m really weird with numbers.

    It really is fantastic that I have a few realizations after I publish edition #25, because it’s a number that I’m at peace with (any number that goes into 100 except 1, 2, 4, and 5 is a good number). To put things in perspective, if yesterday’s edition was #26, I’d be publishing this post after edition #50.

    In a nutshell I maybe might be a slightly weird person. Which begs the question, why I did I make my blog so unoriginal somewhere over a month ago? (slightly) unkommon is the single external entity that speaks for me — it’s a living portrait of my opinions and their growth — and I’ve turned it into advertisements for others.

    So what “realization” happened? After all, just two days ago I wrote that I was thinking of evolving (slightly) unkommon’s current format and today I’m talking about ends of eras. Before I continue, however, I want to give you a brief tour of my life — character-defining moments of the first three parts of it, anyway — and kill the newsy format that I never should have turned to.

    Just An Innocent Kid

    I was born on December 26, 1990 in Phoenix (or Chandler, I forget which), AZ. From what I hear I was an accident and I was a couple weeks early. Sometimes accidents turn out to be good things, but to be honest I’d prefer that I didn’t kick my way out of the womb early since December 26 is a horrible birthday, but hey, you can’t win ’em all.

    My earliest memory is from when I was three years old. My mom worked at McDonald’s at the time, and she often worked the night shift. My mom did have a roommate, so I was never home alone, but I woke up one night and couldn’t find my mom. I wandered down the hallway and saw myself in the mirror and frightened myself, and I ran the other way. Apparently when my mom came home I was in the living room scared, but I don’t remember that part. It’s almost interesting that my earliest memory is of me scared, but, moving on.

    Kindergarten was fun, it was probably the first time that I felt truly independent. I don’t remember any of what I learned, but recess was empowering. It was probably only 15 minutes or something, but I remember it feeling like hours, and I remember feeling unsupervised. I hopped on top of platforms for fun (an activity which I still practice) and went anywhere I wanted to. In my 22 years of living, I can’t think of a time which felt more empowering.

    In addition, my mom’s former husband Darryl brought me a dog — a rescued mut of unknown descent — because I had wanted one. Initially I thought that he was a robot, because I didn’t believe that I actually had a dog, but I was shortly convinced that he was real. At the time The Sandlot was my favorite movie — I had seen it way too many times — and so I named that dog Benny, after the main character in the movie. Benny and I were friends for a very long 17 years afterwards.

    Moving onto 1st grade, I outright switched school districts which I hated at the time, but I quickly made friends and enemies. It’s where I met my childhood best friend, Kyle, and we have a lot of memories together despite us knowing each other for less than five years.

    I was always good at math, I was always the top of my classes in spelling and grammar, I can’t remember a time where I didn’t ace writing assignments, and I was a passable reader. My handwriting though was so subpar that one of my teachers removed me from class to be with a counselor and work on my handwriting. It was embarrassing, being the person in my class who had to sit outside and write words on a pink sheet of paper that had guiding lines. I don’t remember what grade this happened in, but to this day my handwriting stinks, and I wonder if my teachers handled that defect properly.

    Between 2nd and 3rd grade, my brother Jared was born. Technically it was the Summer between third and fourth — July 13, 1999 — and that was pretty huge. I was no longer an only child and I had to compete for attention. “Fuck”, I thought, in so many words. I’ve since grown to like the kid, but his presence made me a bit of a drama queen for a few years.

    When I was in 4th grade I had an arch nemesis named Cameron. We got into two fights, and one of them had me bedridden. I like to talk tough, but since then I haven’t gotten into a single physical fight with a soul. Don’t get me wrong, I like to get caught in mosh pits, but that’s for fun. I don’t know if I’m a coward, or smart, or both, but since I was 10 years old I’ve avoided physical fights at all costs.

    In the Summer after fifth grade, we moved from AZ to OR. I detested it so much, I didn’t want to leave my life and my friends behind. I haven’t ever felt like life was so unfair, and while I’ve grown to appreciate Portland, I wasn’t happy to say the least.

    The Wannabe Punk

    6th grade in OR, brand new life, brand new people to meet, brand new everything. For whatever reason the people who became my best friends were the nerds. Everyone liked me though, even the bullies who picked on my best friends. One bully who was a girl, Heather, even had a crush on me. Yikes, I know! It was very weird being in the middle as I was, since I couldn’t stand up for my friends because I didn’t want the popular kids and the bullies to dislike me.

    I was extremely unpopular in Arizona, and being liked by everybody that knew me was a feeling that I loved. Instead of telling people to piss off when they asked me why I was friends with, say, Austin, I just shrugged. That’s a character flaw which has since been remedied, however it lasted for years, and that desire to be liked led to a lot of problems.

    7th grade was fun. My mom “encouraged” me to take band and guided me towards playing the alto sax. While I detested it at the time, I learned to appreciate her guidance, as it led to me meeting my next best friend, Nicky. He was and still is a really cool dude, and honestly I don’t deserve to know him.

    My computers teacher in 7th grade shaped one of my primary interests, creating presentations. He showed the class how to create animations using PowerPoint; basically, every slide is a frame, and characters can be created by using shapes. I had a ton of fun doing that, and while I don’t make PowerPoint animations anymore, I’ve grown to be a fantastic presentation creator. In college I’ve always created the best PowerPoints/Keynotes in every class where we had to create one. I’ve even seen my audiences go “oooooooooooh” a few times. There are few hobbies I love as much.

    In 8th grade I was trouble. About everything I did there set the stage for future events, and not in a good way. It’s when I started to become a deceitful liar. I lied about my living situation because I thought it would get me sympathy. I stole stuff from school book fairs because I thought it would make me look rebellious. I crushed up crackers and other snacks and told people I had drugs because I thought it would make me look cool. I brought a bottle of Pacifico to school and put it in the locker of a former friend in an effort to get him suspended. I set off fireworks in the girl’s bathroom because I could.

    I got away with all of the stuff I did except the fake drugs, and I don’t look back at any of that with pride. Because I did get away with it all and because some people did find it cool, I learned nothing. And so we turn to 9th grade.

    I picked up my first online profile in ninth grade. It was as “deadbunny17” on 1UP.com. If you were a 1UP user circa 2005, you probably saw me around. I was a “Super Smash Bros. State Champion” and a very popular troll. I went so far as to pick fights with 1UP’s moderators — while it eventually led to me being banned (only after I dared a moderator to ban me), you can’t say I didn’t go all out. My biggest fault, however, was the lying I did there and what it led to. As an example of a lie, while I’m a good Smash player I’m far from a “state champion”.

    Once I realized that lying gave me a certain amount of authority online, I took all of my online lies into the real world. To put it in another way, “deadbunny17” was a fictional character that I created, and I turned myself into that character. The more I lied to my online friends, the more lies I repeated to my in-person friends, and I didn’t have a friend anywhere that I didn’t lie to many times over. I was so scared of being found out that I’m surprised I didn’t go insane. Then something extraordinary happened.

    Halfway through my freshman year in high school, my mom gave me the chance to start completely fresh. She was fed up with the way the school handled pneumonia I had, so she offered to home school me until another solution was found. I agreed and I opted to not notify a single in-person friend that I had. I removed every “real” friend from my life* in one fell swoop (I still talk to some 1UP friends — Sebastian, Ant, Christine, Jessy, and Mike — all of whom I appreciate) and promised myself that I wouldn’t lie about who I was again.

    Very Well Rounded

    Eventually my mom got me enrolled in Portland Community College’s High School Completion program for Fall 2006, where credits I earn in college courses also get applied to a high school diploma. But I couldn’t care less about that, I was in college at age 15, and I could make new friends and not lie to them.

    I picked up my first job when I was 16, “Floor Staff” at Regal Cinemas Bridgeport Village Stadium 18 + IMAX (what a mouthful!). This was when new bad behaviors began to surface, although an interesting thing happened, which is that really good behaviors surfaced at the same time. I was a living contradiction, how’s that for cool? Because I was making my own money I could buy my own things, no begging or saving up allowance required, it was freeing. And between school and work, I was rarely home, which made me feel independent. At work I even met the person who would turn out to be a massive mistake, my ex — who for the purposes of anonymity we shall call “The Ex”.

    The Ex was friends with a lot of my coworkers, and approached me one evening as I was ripping tickets. It kind of just went from there, although I didn’t want to be in the relationship at all — our friends pressured me into it, and wanting to be liked I went for it. Again, big mistake. On the side — meaning on top of school, work, and The Ex — I tried to start a nonprofit organization when I was 17. It was called “Kreative unkommons” (I wonder where this blog’s name comes from…) and its primary purpose was to help people who couldn’t afford to pay their healthcare bills. To accomplish this, I became friends with Tuality Healthcare, and we agreed that it was their patients who Kreative unkommons would help. Unfortunately while I’m a great negotiator, I didn’t know how to run a business, let alone a nonprofit.

    While Kreative unkommons was busy losing every penny I put into it, I had it do stuff on the side like sponsor a 5K Run For Darfur put on by Global Vision of Tualatin High School. The President of that Global Vision, Will, was a friend of mine, and we agreed that it would be a good idea for Kreative unkommons to be a sponsor. The 5K run raised $5K for the Save Darfur Foundation, and it was a success by all measures. Two weeks later I visited the group and gave a speech on age discrimination — my underage experiences turned me into an activist for age equality, and a group of 14 to 18 year olds who just put together a 5K run to help people was the perfect audience. Also, somewhere in that time frame, I was an intern for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. No big deal.

    I was 17, had my own (admittedly failing) nonprofit, I helped put together a 5K Run For Darfur, I was an intern for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, I had a job, and I was in college. I was incredibly driven — I even decided I wanted to run for the Oregon State Senate when I turned 21 — and nothing could stop me. Or so I thought. Ego can be a bit of a bad thing.

    I felt like more of an adult than most adults, and so despite the fact that I was 17, I thought I had the right to do what I want when I wanted to, and that meant I’d have to move out of my mom’s house. The way it went down was, my grades were slipping and my mom informed me that I had to quit my job and stop seeing The Ex. So I informed her that I was going to look into getting emancipated. Then my mom informed me that I wasn’t getting emancipated, and things got ugly from there.

    Despite the relationship being incredibly awful, I didn’t want to be single for whatever reason and not having a job wasn’t an okay idea in my mind. So I ran away from my mom’s house. I was found hours later, but I then called my dad and told him to pick me up so that I could live with him until I got emancipated. I was out of there the next morning.

    A quick sidenote: My mom and I were always like best friends. I think we actually saw each other more as friends than relatives, which made our relationship extremely special.

    One of the images that’s burned into my memory is our last interaction before my dad picked me up. I was grounded for my grades (I think) and so my MacBook Pro and iPod touch weren’t in my possession, and as I was packing up everything I would need to go live with my dad, my mom came down the stairs, and into my room, and handed me my MacBook Pro and iPod touch. No words were spoken but the silence spoke volumes, and she was visibly heartbroken. People use the term “heartbreak” loosely, but I had genuinely shattered my mom’s. I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to be as sad as she was, and that pure pain is something I’m taking to my grave.

    A couple of months later I moved back in with my mom, and then I had no job and The Ex was out of my life. Kreative unkommons was dead and my moments of pride were in the past. I was close to turning 18 and the only work I had was school and a mother-son relationship/friendship. Which, objectively, was for the best.

    Another sidenote: It took me two years to apologize to me mom, and I couldn’t even do it over the phone — it was over e-mail.

    The End (Or Is It?)

    That whole event buried the energy which was special to me, and I’ve gone somewhere over four years trying to find it again. Ever since I temporarily destroyed the relationship between my mom and I — the best relationship I ever had — I’ve wanted to do things “the easy way”. I truly feel lazy a lot of the time… It’s hard to even fathom 22 year old me doing a fraction of the stuff I did at any given time when I was 17. The funny thing is, some people tell me that I’ve matured a lot since I was 17. I hate hearing that, since the reality is I’m just not driven enough to be immature.

    Call Me, Beep Me, If You Wanna Reach Me

    Which brings me to why I’m de-boring (slightly) unkommon. I had a bit of an epiphany after the last entry went up, and I think that I’ve finally found my spark again, and we have Kim Possible to thank. Yes, a Disney cartoon series helped me find myself, and I find no shame in admitting it.

    One of the channels in the Frequency [App Store link] app is “Disney Shows”, which gathers videos from the “disneysshows” YouTube account. For whatever reason I watched the first episode of season four of Kim Possible, and I loved it. I then spent a few hours watching more episodes, and I was surprised at how much I love the show. Then I realized that it isn’t out of character for me.

    I’m a 22 year old Horror nerd, Apple geek, and Ramones fan. I love musicals and even saw Hairspray ten times in theatres — however I also saw Kick-Ass ten times in theatres. I’m a feminist guy, but I like the occasional Britney Spears song despite the fact that she’s set gender equality back decades. Despite having no talent in graphic design I’m surrounded by talent in the field. I’m a Pokémon fan and even have a Pokéwalker! I don’t go a day without saying something that makes someone either confused or uncomfortable, and hijinks is my greatest strength.

    Couple all of that with everything in the preceding paragraphs and my love for children’s cartoons, and I have to wonder why I turned my blog into one of the most beige, non-expressive areas of the Internet? I should be ashamed! And, on top of that, what am I doing with my life and why do I approach everything as if it’s a chore? I’m not entitled, and I need to stop living as if I am.

    Back To The Present

    In other words, changes are being made. The following is what you can expect to see starting today:

      (slightly) unkommon is on hiatus until March 1, 2013. That’s somewhere around three weeks from now, so mark the date!

      During this hiatus, I’m going to be shifting focus to the other blogs I’m signed on to write for, and getting my movie reviews site, Picture This! Reviews back up and in action. I also plan on taking my webcomic, Seizure Prone, out of hiatus and back onto a regular publishing schedule.

      I’ll also be working on the new direction for (slightly) unkommon so that, come March, I’ll have stuff to write!

      In addition to the above, I’m going to work diligently at finding a traditional job, and will put more time into learning the Processing language so that I can call myself a designer (not just an “honorary” one among my friends).


    It sounds like I’ll be busy, but I’m convinced that I can do it. I’ve always had this drive, I just forgot why and how, and I have a cartoon to thank for helping me remember.


    We all have our own life stories, and we’re all unique in one way or another. I’m not claiming a monopoly on uniqueness, and that’s the entire point of this; by turning my voice on the web into something dull, I’ve insulted life by ignoring my right to express its wonders. The way to undo that insult is to actually tell my story, something I encourage others to do.

    The Footnote

    *Somehow, someway, Nicky clawed his way back into my life and I’m thankful for it.

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