Tuesday, November 27, 2007

BYU 17 - Utah 10

For some free pass along cards for your U of U friends, click here. (They're double sided!)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Ol' Pigskin

This year I have observed myself becoming a rabid BYU football fan. It's kind of weird, like the designer me is observing myself from the outside becoming this major football-crazed face painter. It's not THAT shocking, since I have been going to BYU football games with my Dad since I was 8. I was at the "Miracle Bowl" in 1980. But there was a definite drought of BYU fandom between about 1997 and 2005.

I find that I haven't gotten this excited about anything for years. I need something to get worked up about. And if it's BYU football, so be it. And if our team is good, all the better. I find myself buying season tickets (with my faculty status, you know.) I find myself yelling at the top of my lungs for three and a half hours every other Saturday. I find myself worrying about the status of the BYU-Utah game, and how it will affect my life for the next year (we live in a Ute-friendly, red-flag-flying neighborhood here in Sandy.)

I got a free "Fully Invested" t-shirt from the Bookstore. It's ugly—it's got this faux grunged-up/ distressed-looking "Y" on it. Perhaps you've seen people wearing them around BYU campus, on non-game days (please.) But I'm wearing it this Saturday to the stadium, and I won't stop yelling until the vocal cords are bleeding and/or silent. I'll probably stop yelling if they bleed, because blood is red.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Programmers rule the world

I just came to a stunning realization: programmers and developers rule the world.

Those who possess the knowledge to create software and databases with scripting languages have a certain power. Those who support the entire infrastructure of an economy, by setting up hardware and software platforms with passwords and 128 bit encryption, which hold all our data, have all the power.

CEOs, managers, and creative directors have always regarded programmers as hired hands. Second-class citizens, perhaps; nerds with few to no social skills. "Oh, we'll just hire a programmer to do that," they say. And it's true, there are millions of programmers in the world, ready to develop your company's webpage, or build a database holding what you deem to be important information. But you must accept that there is a big difference between managing someone while they do the heavy lifting and code writing on a project and doing it yourself.

Have you ever stopped to think of what would happen if all developers, of every computer language, suddenly refused to do the bidding of their uninformed supervisors? The modern world as we know it would grind to a sudden, catastrophic halt.

What if all your company's IT staff, and maybe all the programmers at Citibank and Microsoft and Adobe one day woke up and said, "I don't feel like making you rich anymore, bosses"? Where would we all be? Picking up the nearest O'Reilly book on PHP, that's where. And we wouldn't be ordering on Amazon, if you know what I mean.

It wasn't always this way. There was a time when all the important information in the world wasn't digitized and located on a server somewhere. There was a time when all the financial data for corporations, governments, and individuals wasn't online or on a hard disk.

But that time is over.

There is too much distance (literal and figurative) between those who make all the important decisions and those who enable them (to make millions.) Why are programmers always low-level employees? Do they not realize the power they have? Their boss has no idea how to make their website launch on time. They do. If they decided to hold all the company's information hostage, and turn suddenly evil, they could. They are smart. They know how to do stuff. You don't.

Everyone should know at least a little bit about scripting languages. They are what power our world. Learn how to make computers do cool and exciting things. Learn how to make a web page. Learn how to create a database.

And one day, if you read on nytimes.com that all the developers in the world have formed a union, watch out.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

9 to 5 is just a song now

So, Friday was my last day at Vérité, Inc. It was a fun three years, and I’m going to miss all the Dudes™ and ladies there. It’s time to focus on BYU now, and getting back to the pure design of life. I may visit my old turf there occasionally to taunt and annoy.

I am once again a freelance design bounty hunter (brentbarson.com is once again a commercial site. Commercial ART, that is! Zing!) Spread the word, if you know people who have cool projects (with budgets, please) needing direction. If there is no budget, it better be a Beck music video.

No, I will not design the logo for “KoverdAnklez," your startup modest clothing company.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Tartan Sauce

This photo, featuring Tom MacDougall and myself, was taken in 1990, after a "Mangled Baby Ducks" concert at Holiday Park in Carlsbad. There were at least 5 people there that weren't in the other bands we played with.

Tom is wearing a suit made from his family's official Scottish Tartan (is there any other kind of tartan?). I am wearing a plaid suit that has nothing to do with my family. I painted my wingtips red with paint especially made for shoes. Do they still make shoe paint? Why doesn't everyone paint their shoes still? You can make them any color.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

It's official

Remember how I've been teaching at BYU for the last 2.5 years? Well now I am official. They actually hired me as a full-time assistant professor. This means that I have the same schedule, the same responsibilities, the same classes, but now I get to go to New York with the students & rest of the faculty in March.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Don't Be a Jerk

I get to do a lot of commuting from Sandy to Utah County these days, and so I see a wide variety of driving skills. One day, as I was leaving Verite and turning left onto 500 West in Sandy, to get on I-15, I could see a car waaaaaaay down the road coming toward me to the left. I had plenty of time, so I pulled out at normal speed. As I stepped on the gas, I noticed the oncoming car was rapidly picking up speed, and even veering a little bit toward me. I barely got into the lane without him hitting me, and my estimate is that he was going 55-60 MPH as he barely missed my bumper. Soon after I narrowly missed being killed, I reflected on the following points:

1. This guy was trying to teach me a "lesson" for what he considered an egregious offense (pulling out 100 yards in front of him.)

2. He was willing to risk actually killing a complete stranger (me) or seriously injuring me to teach me said "lesson."

Why do people turn into hyper-agressive jerks with no patience and murderous tendencies when they get into their cars? Why is it seen as an affront to your masculinity or pride to let someone turn in front of you, no matter how far away you are from them or how much time you leave them to drive by? Why is it that when you're in the fast (left) lane, and someone tries to pass you on the right, because you didn't obey the law and get over, that you speed up to not let them pass? In the past, I've been cruising along on the freeway at 75 MPH behind a guy in the left lane for 10 minutes, and then when I give up on him getting over (did I mention it's the law to keep right except to pass?) and get over to the right to pass him, he speeds up to 90 MPH? (this actually happened— I wanted to see how fast I would have to go to pass him)

I am open to suggestions. I am in no way suggesting that I never do jerky things. I like to go fast. I hate it when people slow me down. That is all. Don't be a jerk.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Miniature Anarchy Circus™

A post over at my sister Ood's blog a while ago reminded me that I never really write about our kids. I'm not sure why, since there are three of them, and they don't really fade into the background very well. In fact, unless they are sleeping, they never stop, and you can always hear them, very clearly. If they are in the same room as you, you can be assured that things will be broken, shrieking will be heard, and injuries will be sustained. Anything that is done or in order will be undone. Children are only comfortable when there is nothing left in the room to be dragged onto the floor, pushed over, knocked off a table, or destroyed. Picture frame on a table? Floor. Cup full of water? Floor. Toys actually in the toybox? Scattered randomly (yet somehow almost equidistant, so as to cover more square footage) on the floor.

This is why our children are now known as the Miniature Anarchy Circus™. Not that they are so different from other children, but they are indeed a circus, who subscribe to no political system or belief, except anarchy. They are all little (yet not as little as some other kids), and unbelieveably cute. I love the Miniature Anarchy Circus™.


Those are all the domain variations of brentbarson.com that HAVEN'T been updated yet.

Check it out—all new work (OK, 98% new work), all new reel, new look (still blue though), same great-tasting usability, fresh links, and crisp shredded pixels. Let me know what you think.


I'm a t0tal n00b

I don't know how to blog, evidently. It is impossible for me to make regular submissions to this or any other web page, at least more "regular" than every few weeks. For a while there I was on fire, but then, phhhhhllllpt. I think it has something to do with having 47 jobs. I'm trying to cut back, but until I can have 50% fewer jobs, I can't tell you to expect regular blog updates. But if you do choose to come by every few days or weeks to check for new content, be sure to comment! It's like proof that someone actually reads this, and it's not just my journal that happens to be on Blogger/Blogspot.

Who came up with the word "Blog" anyway? Is it too hard to say "web log?" It's just the one extra syllable, "we-". We are SO lazy these days.

N00b out,


Sunday, February 04, 2007


Why is barbecued meat the greatest food on earth, without question? It's not just grilled meat that is so magical. It has to be covered with the BBQ sauce; it is the combination of the two ingredients that create the sweet, smoky, meat-based ambrosia.

Yes, I realize that there are many different approaches to BBQ sauce. My point is, that they are all delicious. No, let me retract that comment. Arby's Sauce, which I think is supposed to resemble barbecue sauce, is gross. I can think of many different brands of floor cleaning solution that are more delicious than Arby's sauce. Pine-Sol is one of them. Creamy Pine-Sol, not the amber liquid kind. I think the best kind of BBQ sauce is the sweeter kind, but I am not opposed to any variety, whether it be spicy or more tangy. This brings me to the 3 places I enjoy most for barbecued meats. Ironically, 2 of them are in Utah County. Why is that ironic? Because everyone knows that there's nothing good to eat in Utah County. Except for India Garden.

The SmokeHouse, which is located on University Avenue in Provo, just up from Center Street (as well as in that strip Mall in Orem on University Parkway) is one of the places that offers divinely prepared meats. Not only that, though, but they allow you to apply the sauce yourself. As if that weren't enough, they give you 3 different kinds of sauces to pour over your specially chosen meat. Sweet/Honey BBQ sauce, Spicy BBQ sauce, and Honey Mustard. I prefer a 70/30 mix of Sweet/Spicy.

The Brick Oven, which I realize is known for pizza, has one of the greatest Hawaiian BBQ Chicken subs on earth. It has pineapple. Also, it comes in a cardboard box with chips, one tablespoon of pasta salad, and a cookie.

Now, onto Salt Lake County. Zupa's in Draper has a related Hawaiian BBQ chicken sandwich that is prepared on ciabatta bread. It is delicious, but beware of the overly pierced and tattooed youngsters working behind the counter. Also, it takes 47 hours to get through the line. They have one register, which is run by anemic hamsters, not electricity. The hamsters are anemic because it's dark inside the register, and they only feed them iceberg lettuce. I'm getting waaaaay off track from my original thesis, which is that BBQ foods are all delicious. Even BBQ Pringles. Oh, and BBQ chicken pizza is fantastic, except for the fact that cheese makes my sinuses explode. But that is another blog entry for another time.

There are many other places in Utah that serve BBQ meats. Sugarhouse Barbecue is one of them. Famous Daves in Fort Union is another. If any of you (ever read this blog entry, and) know of any additional places I should visit as a connoisseur of BBQ foods, please comment and let me know.

What I am trying to say here is not that it's hard to screw up a BBQ meat sandwich, but that if someone does it right, all other foods in the world slowly fade away until the only thing left is you and your BBQ sandwich. Mmmmmm, Barbecued things.

Read this to find out more about BBQ sauce.

Or this.

Or this.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Surrounded By the Sound

Last night Jill & I watched the 2004 DVD release of "Star Wars: A New Hope." This might seem like a small thing, and rather ordinary. But what you may not know is that we experienced the beloved sci-fi classic with the best possible sound and picture available to the consumer at the present time. How was that accomplished, you might wonder? (Of course you wonder.) Well, I spent a large chunk of the day installing our rear surround sound satellite speakers on the walls in our living room. I took care to hide and route the cables underground, under carpet, behind obstacles and mouldings, and generally make the hideous white (and of sufficient thickness to supply a superior signal) cables invisible to the public eye. By public eye I mean the eye of Jill. The Great Eye of Jill stands, ever vigilant, lidless, wreathed in flame, scanning the landscape for unnecessary clutter. But my wiring job passed the test. The two (rather heavy) black satellite speakers will remain on the two walls, as uneven as they are, producing surround sounds for all who choose to watch a DVD at our house.

Allow me to describe the visual component of this prosumer-level Star Wars viewing experience. First off, the TV. We have a 34 inch Sony 1080i-capable CRT HD TV, which may weigh 200 lbs, but the picture... boy howdy. The blacks, so dark black. The whites, so white (yet not so white that the many subtle levels of whiteness are blown out). Our new DVD player, capable of upscaling standard DVDs into 1080p resolution, performs miracles with this digitally enhanced and restored version of "A New Hope." I've never seen Jawas or Sand People with greater clarity. The HDMI and optical audio outputs of the DVD player, combined with the newly mounted surround sound satellites, made my whole night. Such nerdery.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Marketing Cross-Promotion

I realize that if you're actually here reading my blog, you've probably already received an email apprising you of the Barson Family 2006 Year-In-Review page. But in the spirit of crass self-promotion, and the desire to see all those hours working on it not spent in vain, I'd like to cast as wide a net as possible. Here it is again:

A big BTW to all those who actually click on the link: the little thumbnail pictures you see on the left hand side of the page are actually clickable, and will take you to a larger version of the picture.

Barsons: 1, Year of the Anvil: 0

We won. It's finally over. We made it through 2006 without dying. We're looking forward to a 2007 where no more giant figurative anvils fall out of the sky and crush our comfortable lives. You know what they say; what doesn't kill you, turns you into an insecure paranoid with a victim complex. You try to do the right thing and let the falling chunks of blacksmith's metal make you stronger, but who really know what will happen next time? Am I really a wuss at heart? I'm going to move forward under the assumption that I'm not, and go to bed earlier. It's a New Year's Resolution. An HD 1080P resolution. I think if everyone went to bed on time every night, there would be no more war.

Here's to a much, much better 2007.