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Archive for the 'x:13 Family' Category


2012.01.01 The king is dead… long live the king.

It has been a year and half since this site has seen a new post, and twice that long since brian has made his presence felt. I have been hanging on to bipolar, thinking that one day I would resume posting again, but now I believe its time has passed.

As with most things in which I've been involved online, I'll endeavour to keep bipolar up in perpetuity, as an archive of times past.

If you want to catch up with me, head over to MatthewRasnake.com, which is a window into just about every aspect of my online life.

Brian, bipolar, and friendly readers, thanks for the memories!

chicago road trip, 2000

brian and matt

2009.04.10 identity crisis*:

* "Crisis" is definitely overstating it a bit, but nevertheless…

Earlier tonight, I told an old friend that "I couldn't be happier with where my life has led," and, of course, that is true. What i've been struggling with the last few years has been the "where."

In high school, i wanted nothing more than to start my own business, be my own boss, stay in the hick town where I grew up and be a "computer consultant" (whatever the hell that means.) I knew that I would a) be awesome at it, and b) be totally happy with my life. Instead—when i realized my father's brain would melt and my mother's heart would flop right out of her chest if I didn't—i went to college.

In college, i met some awesome creative people, broke out of my mold, and made sweeping plans for taking over the world with the most profound art, music, and literature the world had ever seen, together with this band of misfit geniuses in whom I'd found a family.

Then the 'net happened and I found another niche. I was going to carry this empire of sight, sound, and word into the year 2000, and become the best damned webmaster this side of the Mississippi. I was going to shift paradigms, set trends, and lead the denizens of the 'net to the next level. Not that I could see what that next level was yet, but that was my plan.

Luckily, I landed a job that let me do the only thing that I'd really want to sit still long enough to get paid for. Unfortunately, i discovered that it wasn't always possible to innovate on a deadline, for the kind of clients a high priced web firm dealt with. That, and I didn't have the base skills to really push the envelope. I was, after all, entirely self-taught.

As technology progressed, I collected plans and hoarded them for "when I had time." My work, psycho ex-girlfriends, the internet, and my plans themselves sapped my energy to the point where little got done. Occasionally, I'd have a burst of activity, and accomplish something neat, or push a pet project a little farther up the hill. Then I'd go back to the news feeds, or the game of Dune, or whatever.

I was going to be a first-rate poet, the next Kerouac, a top notch photographer, a musician, a publisher, a record producer, a freelance web guru, a gallery owner, a coffee shop owner… the list goes on.

It's taken me a few years, but slowly, I've realized that I can't do it all. And those grandiose plans I made years ago—the empire I built on dreams—depended on that family of friends as a static, unchanging unit with infinite reserves of energy and patience. To meet my dreams, my friends would have had to stay just as they were.

What I've come to realize is not that I can't count on my friends (because I know they'll support me in whatever I choose to do), but just that my friends have their own lives, and plans, and dreams. I can't package them up into mine, any more than they can package me up into theirs.

So I have been converging on this point, where I have to figure out two things: what I want to do, and what I can do. With all these grandiose plans I've made, which are the feasible, workable notions, and which are the pipe dreams?

These were the thoughts that, late last year, and early this year, brought me to re-dedicate myself to my writing. I still have lots of plans, little things I'd like to do, but, when push comes to shove, my writing comes first. Someday, perhaps I'll be able to expand my arena again, but right now, I have to seize my opportunities and focus on a smaller set of goals.

To a certain extent, the old Coffeemonk Design Flaws empire is seeing a sunset. The name "Coffeemonk Design Flaws" was always Bob's thing anyway, and without his participation, it has long felt hollow.

I'm still working out the details in my head, but very likely, coffeemonk.com will become my writing oriented blog, and Savant-Garde Press will finally emerge from it's long stasis to stand on it's own. I'm also planning to launch a personal blog at matt.rasnake.info (eventually), and will continue to maintain bipolar as well.

This, then, is not as much an identity crisis, as it is an identity acknowledgement. This is the happiness to which my life has led me…

2008.06.27 a nutshell:

so, i've had this problem for a while now… i say problem but really… i've had this annoyance for a while now. y'know how people ask if you have a website, or you sign up for thousands of profiles on thousands of different sites online and they all have a place for you to put your web address, right? well, me, being the guy i am, i pretty much always fill that bit in… and i pretty much always use bipolar. that's fine, but it's always kind of bothered me. i mean obviously i like brian and all, but it's always just seemed a little weird that my go-to site, my site that is kind of the champion of my online identity, is one that i share with another guy.

i think originally the idea was sparked in my head by the inimitable merlin mann with a 43folders.com post about personal status pages. then a couple months ago, my daily web travels brought me to something that got me thinking about it again, in a slightly different light. here're some links in roughly chronological order:

obviously, these guys are talking about something much bigger than a personal status page, tossing around words like ownership and portability. still, this fueled the fire, and got me working.

i think it was about two weeks later (which is like superman speed for me), i'd thrown together a design and finished the page—matthewrasnake.com.

this is a one-page site, which is basically just an overview of my entire web-world. a centralized me. all the data still lives on my various decentralized profiles, so this doesn't address—or even consider, really—data portability, but instead relies on RSS feeds and APIs from and through which i can gather together my various bits.

so, if you're looking for me online, or wondering what i've been up to, now there's a quick easy place to go. also, probably more importantly, now i have something to enter in all those form fields without feeling weird about it.

here's a couple other links that are related, but didn't really fit in with those above…

2006.12.27 wish i never got old:

Ahhh…the year-end wrap-up. Where to start? To be honest, most of the shit that happened to me I didn't post about. Why have I been maintaining radio silence? Who knows?

I finally joined the rest of the web-using world and started utilizing digg. I even dugg a post I posted here. Oh…I'm such a whore.

Today I'm bemoaning the fact that we're not a more regularly updated, noticed "blog." I mean…they could have sent us a couple of these, for fucksake.

I've spent an inordinate amount of time listening to Neil Young, lately. Mostly Crazy Horse material. It's speaking to the parts of the brain Brooksie and I have started activating for the new band. Speaking of the new band, it's tentatively titled "Birth Machine." We expect to rattle the foundation of a local venue this spring.

I guess the biggest news of the season is that i had to have Clyde put to sleep (the Thursday before Christmas; it made the holiday even more fun). Some of you long-time readers (if there's any left) will remember Clyde as my beloved cat of the past decade. She had a tumor on her chest that spread to her lungs. Toward the end she was having trouble breathing and would only eat fresh turkey and "catmilk" (speaking of which, I have two things of that stuff left, if anyone needs/wants it), which made us think it was all just some elaborate scam on her part. Regardless, we couldn't take it anymore and took her back to the vet. He gave us the dire news and we all endured a bit of pre-holiday heartbreak.
Needless to say, she's incredibly missed.

Clyde – 1996-2006

2006.08.17 cinema noche:

I spent a few minutes today working on the "invitation only" alterations to the movie night site, so I can now officially link to it in a public sphere. Currently, the only thing non-registered users can do is view the listed movies, and some stats for them. Feel free to drop by movie night and see our movie list. If I know you, feel free to drop me an email if you'd be interested in joining us for a movie night sometime. Casual is the rule of the day, as I can't really get more than 15 or so people (at an absolute max) in my living room to watch movies.

For the rest of you, some of the movies have a "Why Should I Watch This" blurb from the person who added the movie, so there's more than just pictures, links, and stats. In the future, i might make the comments on movies (and the as-yet-secret feature) available for viewing by non-registered users.

2006.04.17 after many months…:

BAM!

bipolar has been quiet for a while, but we have not been dormant. off in an anteroom, major changes have been brewing, and now, dear reader, the re-tooled bipolar is once again unleashed upon the world.

after the transition of MovableType from a free to a fee-based licensing scheme, i realized it would be untenable to follow through with the upgrade, since we are (or were at the time) running several different blogs by a few different authors from a single installation of MT. unfortunately, I also wasn't convinced about WordPress or any of the other alternatives, and didn't look forward to having several different installations of a CMS/blog package on a single server.

well, WordPress has come a long way, i've gotten over my no-multiple-installs stubbornness, and our installation of MT has finally grown so long in the tooth that it is slowly breaking down.

so, bipolar is now running entirely on WordPress, with all the old bells & whistles, plus a few new ones of considerable value.

major old features still in effect:
1) themes: all of bipolar's old themes are available, up-to-date, and much improved. go to the theme chooser from (very near the bottom of) the dropdown or links list on any bipolar page.
2) category cloud: see all our categories and how much we post in them visually by viewing them as a "cloud" rather than some boring old list.
3) bipolar cam: web cams are still in effect, and are back to their fully-themed glory.

major new features:
1) new pages/subpages: you're no longer tied down to the side-by-side view of bipolar. now category, archive, and sub-page views have their own page layout, hopefully making things easier to read.
2) popular, related, and recent lists: in various places you can now find lists of popular posts, potentially related posts (beyond simple category relations), and simple recent posts lists.
3) 404 page with way too much info: those lists, the categories and the archives are available if you get a 404, and the site will even attempt to show you a list of posts related to the thing you were looking for.
4) RSS feeds: WordPress allows us a much broader RSS feed smorgasbord—eeds for individual posts, post comments, categories.
5) search: MT had a search function, but i never implemented it 'cause i was lazy. WordPress has it built in as well, so i finally took the time to put it in place.
6) brand-new theme: i've created a swanky new theme, and made it the default. if you don't like, it no problem, just choose your favorite from the theme chooser

hopefully there won't be many broken things lying about, but i'm sure there will be some. if you find something, please let me know so i can get it fixed.

in the meantime, enjoy the new theme and all the other changes around this old place.

2005.07.19 not so humble:

wow, we actually got to go see a movie!

seriously, it seems like we've not gotten to go to a movie in an insanely long time (though we did go see Batman Begins on our honeymoon). but, we finally managed to get out of the house to go see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which i loved. i loved the original movie, and i love this version of the story too… they are so completely different, it's hard to even compare the two. unfortunately, i haven't read the book, so i can't really say which is the more "accurate" version.

finally had a little job interview today, which i think went pretty well. it's actually a little surprising, as generally, one of my hallmark traits (self-promotion wise) has always been a heaping helping of humility. strangely, during the last few interviews i've been much more "at ease" and confident about my abilities and about my inter-personal interactions with the interviewer(s). it's a very weird experience for me to not be timid around people i don't know and who could have some influence on my career. at a few points during the interview, i actually felt like i was delivering some kind of post-shakespearian monologue. perhaps i went a little overboard at points, but i think it was ok. i think i might've overdone the hand-talking… but otherwise, it seemed to go well.

on a more local level (bipolar-local, that is), i've been trying to spruce up the gallery scripts a bit, since they suffered some after the move to the new server and directory structure. i've managed to get the galleries themselves working and displaying properly, but there're some issues with the (still relatively new) "view by date" code that i haven't been able to spend enough time to massage out yet. and thus far, brian's joycamproject is still utterly non-functional, which is probably also a result of directory re-organization more than anything. hopefully, i'll get a chance to fix that up here soon, then help brian get the actual joycamproject implemented with the designs he's come up with. once that's accomplished, i intend to kick up development of a ground-up recoding of the gallery scripts… something i've been contemplating for a while now.

should be fun and challenging.

last but not least, i took a few moments yesterday to register our RSS feeds on Feedburner. so if you're subscribed to our feeds through an RSS reader, you'll want to update your subscriptions to the following:

main feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/x13design/bipolar
brian's feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/x13design/bipolar/left
matt's feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/x13design/bipolar/right

now, the fun aspect of this change, is that Feedburner allows you to integrate a couple other sources into your standard feeds. so, brian's feed is integrated with his flickr account, and will intermix any new images he uploads there with his posts here. for me, i don't have a flickr account yet, so i'm integrating my del.icio.us bookmarks feed into my bipolar feed. so… one beautiful side-effect will be regular updates (of the RSS/Atom feeds) even if we don't necessarily post on that regular of a basis.

now, these things aren't integrated into the main bipolar feed (though they could be if "demand" is there), so to take advantage, you'd have to subscribe to our individual feeds.

another good thing about Feedburner is that we're no longer stuck (well we never were before, but i could never be bothered to create an Atom output for MovableType) with just RSS… feedburner will serve up whatever type of feed your feed reader asks for… Atom, RSS 0.9, RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0 probably others… so… subscribe away!

2005.05.12 a dam bursts:

holy cow. i swore (to myself) i'd stop mentioning with every new post how long it's been since the last one, but jeeze louise, i'm making history here! a whole month gone by without a single post in it, and just over two months since my last post! it's a bipolar first folks (and hopefully a last). i'm going to have to fix the archive index script (see way below) to skip April 2005 for me… weird.

anyway. as you might have guessed by my last few posts, and by my (even for me) uncharacteristic silence, i have been bizz-eee… no, not even that, i've been extremely fucking BUSY for too damn long now. let's recap, shall we?

1) finally bought a house.
2) closed on the house and moved out of the old apartment
3) ITS ALL A BLUR
4) slowly began to see light again
5) started writing this post

i think somewhere in there around 3 and 4, Sara and i spent a bunch of money buying stuff for the house, she had a couple of bridal showers, so we got crap-loads of gifts, i've been doing honest-to-god yard-work, washing a crap-load of dishes (no dishwasher), trying to get my stuff organized and put away, trying to finish the wedding website, trying to finalize wedding plans, trying not to go insane.

we're getting a load of brick today… how incredibly surreal and weirdly pedestrian and adult-like is that? i spent 8 hours on sunday outside… my world is currently sitting directly on its head.

the work roller-coaster was barely noticed (by me, anyway… Sara would've been freaking out if she hadn't had to study so much for finals), in that my 1 year contract expires at the end of the month… but my newly minted boss finally managed to push the paperwork through for a 6 month extension, so i'm gainfully employed until… er… christmas time.

all this, and the wedding is only… 4 weeks away. i'm not consumed with fear or anxiety yet, so that's a good thing. and hell, i'm looking forward to being able to get away from all this recent hubbub for a week and just enjoy *life* (and being married) for a moment without having to deal with anyone or anything else.

but i'm glad my sis, a new foreign service initiate, is coming into town this weekend and bringing that cute niece of mine with her. and she'll actually be staying in the states most of the year as she does her FS training, so it's conceivable we could see her more than twice in the next six months. and then, of course, she'll ship off to some foreign land, and we'll be hard-pressed to even get to see her once a year.

and my darling has successfully completed her 2nd year of med school and is even now studying for her first set of boards. i think we'll have at most a week after we get back from the honeymoon before she has to start her first rotation. thankfully she managed to get it set up so she doesn't have to leave town to do a rotation for a while.

and last, but not least, after giving up my precious kitties to Paul and Allison, and having been in the house for a month and getting it mostly whipped into shape, Sara and I are looking for two little kitties of our own. we want babies, and we'd like them to be litter-mates, but we are a bit flexible on that last bit.

and thanks to everybody for their well-wishes and congratulations re: the house. we're hoping to have a house-warming party soon, and i'll make sure to mention it here unless anybody out in the wide world has an opportunity to make it down for a weekend (pre-wedding, i'm hoping)

oh, one more thing… i just launched the wedding website yesterday, so go check it out!

2005.01.26 301:

i've finally broken 300 posts (this is the three-hundred-and-first) on bipolar, which is pretty sad, considering we've been doing this almost five full years. brian over there's killing me in the post-count department, despite my recent spate of activity and his recent absence.

which reminds me, brian's been at home ill quite a bit recently, so everybody .

which also leads me to another point. i managed to steal a few hours yesterday and today "cleaning up" the x13design family of websites to eliminate bare email addresses on all the pages. i've realized i'm getting a fuckload of spam mail, and it's probably all because i've had my address right out there for the spambots to collect at their leisure for years. i found a cool little tool online that encrypts the email address and generates javascript code to display the email link. so now, just about every instance of our various email addys has been cleaned up and obfuscated, so hopefully the torrent of spam will subside a bit. it's a vain hope, i know, but every little bit helps, i guess.

the other band wrapped up recording tonight, so next sunday we'll get seriously started on the mixing process. hopefully, we'll also get a few steps closer to picking a band name. rob actually provided a hefty list tonight, and we all picked five of our favorites from his list. here's the result of that:
3 threadbare taken
3 mammon (? possibly taken, found tabs online, a ref in bandreg.com, and a record label)
2 permafrost (dubliners, some reference to an indie band from '97/'98, and a record label)
2 psychosomatic (3 refs, all dead, maybe dead, 2 on bandreg)
2 nexus (here, here, here, here, & about 20 on bandreg)
2 housing project
2 trite (yup.)
2 kitsch (here, here, & about six on bandreg)
1 homogenize
1 midwife

brax and jim have both promised to provide their own lists on sunday, so i'll probably have some more for you then. after we vote on theirs, we'll repeat the process a few times, 'til we finally figure out what to call ourselves.

2004.08.31 much ado

seems like the last month has been a major upheaval, lots of crap going on, but it's mostly just busyness, frustration, and happiness.

the band's been practicing, and though i've totally neglected the site since before the last show, we're really not dead. in fact, we've a show coming up this weekend, which i've only just finished making flyers for, that i hope to get up around town tomorrow before practice. our second show with a drummer, and we've been coming up with ideas of how to change things around to make us happier… more on that later.

sara's and my wedding plans are proceeding apace, and we've actually been talking about the possibility of buying a house or condo prior to the festivities (once the lease is up at the current abode). we're getting ready to send out "save the date" cards, and she's been dress shopping. we finally finished "catholic wedding school" so that's thankfully out of the way, and we didn't even have to endure a great deal of that "natural family planning" crap the popesters like to foist on people. yippee.

add to all that fun the fact that sara's finally started back to school, and our schedules have been in major flux trying to adjust back into that whole routine. we're starting to settle in now, so i'm hoping to start getting some work done again.

which leads me to the next exciting thing (for me, anyway). i finally, after years and years of wishing, finally bought myself a swanky new laptop… an AMD Athlon 64 beast of fury and brilliance, that has caused me no end of heartache the past couple weeks mainly due to my insufferable need to wrest complete control over my machines from the great satan (Windows). So i got the machine and proceeded to poke and prod at it, uninstalling as much as possible and deleting a bunch besides. It was becoming a stripped down monster, but then i made some networking change trying to surreptitiously get a 'net hookup at work, and then i couldn't connect to any of my machines on the home network… so, a couple reinstalls later, a much more cautious takeover attempt, and i've finally got it in order again. i'm still installing some of the day-to-days, but it's mostly up and running. thus, this, my first blog post on the new champion. (named the hard drives after the members of Mudhoney, for those who wonder those things)

also, somewhere in there, i got to hang out with my brother who came up to the fair with the FFA, and i managed to get myself in to see the eye doctor, who told me absolutely nothing helpful. in fact, he said that, not only was there nothing that he could do about the problems that i'd come to see him about, but there is another issue that i wasn't even previously aware of, and which, surprise surprise, he also can't do anything about. some retinal specialist, eh?

and the last bit of life complicating news is that i managed to get started working on a little freelance project for some friends (and with an old Corvus coworker–ben), a thing which is currently moving slowly, but positively. i've been wanting to try to take on some freelance stuff, so this should be a good opportunity to see if i can manage to balance the leisurely bits of my life with actual obligations to others.

so, bunch of stuff going on, a lot of it just tedious, time consuming, and schedule wrecking, but thankfully enough of it happy and fun that i've not minded the other bits too much. so, here's to another 'bout of time wrestling.


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