I really love this post, and the term "tiny pony". So hilarious!
I really love this post, and the term "tiny pony". So hilarious!
This has been a really fun trip so far. I've had quite a few beers with quite a few good people at quite a few great bars. My favorite so far has to be Barcade, which is exactly what it sounds like it is. I have eaten what probably amounts to seven or eight entire pizzas, and am already planning my second Shake Shack outing for later today. Tonight I'm seeing Vampire Weekend at Radio City Music Hall, and last night I went to an incredible comedy show at Comedy Cellar, which is the club featured in many scenes of the super-hilarious show Louie on FX.
Because this is New York, and anything can happen, those of us attending the early (9PM) show were treated to a surprise set by Jerry Seinfeld. He was 4th of seven great comedians, including Robert Kelly, who plays Louie's brother on the show.
Seinfeld, I have to say, still has it. Sure, he's a little corny and he still busts out all the same facial expressions, beats, and cadence that he's relied on for as long as I've been watching him (since I was around ten years old), but he's still very funny and a little out there. I love that he's not afraid to acknowledge his success in his material, and that he pulls it off without sounding egotistical or disconnected. He did 20 minutes, just like everyone else, took a couple of questions, and then relinquished the stage to the next guy. I'm glad I was there for that. This is a show that I walked up to 15 minutes before it started, with no reservation, that took place in the basement of a restaurant. There are maybe 60 seats.
After the show, I was standing on the sidewalk, texting with a friend, when I witnessed a very small but very amusing slice of New York. I'll attempt to recreate it for you here, but I'll also warn you that it was very much a "had to be there" kind of moment.
Now, keep in mind that I have no context of this conversation other than what I saw. There are a lot of mysteries... a lot of unanswered questions. Rather, there are a lot of questions that probably don't even need to be asked, but thus have no answers. Anyway, I'm rambling. Here's what I saw: a dude with his lady. They are both black, dressed up for a night on the town and looking gorgeous. The guy is carrying a pizza, but the box is kind of crushed at one end, as if he was holding it and didn't stop in time before running in to something or someone. He has just walked away from a conversation of elevated tone with a couple of douche-baggy white guys, but he and one of the douches are still talking shit to each other. Here's the entire part of the conversation I heard:
White guy: "Why did you do that?"
Black guy, still walking and not turning around: "Why did you do what you did?"
White guy: "You sold me a GRAM, bro!"
Black guy and his girl keep walking and still don't turn around
White guy, now shouting because of the distance between them: "Enjoy your FUCKING PIZZA!"
Awesome. The white guy had a good accent too. He kept bitching about whatever had gone down to his friends, and I was half-tempted to ask him about this deal that had gone bad, but this little moment was so perfect and funny that I decided to just enjoy it for what it was.
Anyway, New York, thanks for keeping me entertained so far. The Brooklyn Cyclone yesterday was a really nice touch. Consider yourself on notice: keep this up and I just might end up being an East Coast boy again.
I'm not exactly sure of when it happened, but some time in recent years, someone decided that it'd be clever if - on pages like blog post aggregations, news stream, etc... - they expressed the publication time as some number of units relative to the current time. So, instead of seeing boring old timestamps like "Dec 1, 2001 3:15 PM", you got "15 minutes ago".
We all immediately masturbated furiously for several days at this incredible innovation. It solved so many important problems! For one thing, it met the demand of literally ZERO people who simply could not interpolate between one time and another. It gave all of us who pride ourselves on using the most cutting-edge techniques something to immitate and take credit for when a CEO was impressed. Most importantly, we had FINALLY licked that pesky "the date is just too damned easy a thing to deal with" issue we'd been struggling with in this post-Y2K world. I mean, sure, the new Daylight Savings Time rules kept us busy for a while, but once the appropriate libraries had been updated, we were all just so BORED.
Personally, I hate this fucking relative time trend because it, like every other Web 2.0 fad, has been abused by a generation of shiny-object distracted developers and the novelty of it has been favored over its usefulness. Has it not occurred to any of you that while "33 minutes ago" is probably fine, looking at a page of posts that are all dated "1 week ago" (which, in reality were all written between 6 and 13 days ago) is just fucking ridiculous?
What if the rest of the world adopted this methodology? Shall we, for the next ten years, just refer to 9/11 as having occurred "a decade ago"? Will all of the charges on my debit card statement just say that they were made "a month ago"? Maybe we can start using future relative time too. I don't think we'd be much more worse off if the cable company started telling people that they'd be out to fix the cable "next week".
While I'm on this subject, bloggers, DATE YOUR FUCKING POSTS. If you're using a theme that doesn't put the publish date on an entry's individual archive page, then stop using it. If you do your own templating, make sure it's in there. There's nothing more annoying than looking for some technical information, finding an article that seems to answer your question, and having no idea how long ago it was written and thus, how out-dated it is. If you're not going to do this, you might as well not go to the trouble of having a blog that attempts to give out useful information because in this day and age, without the context of when the information was written, it is completely useless. Sure, it was true that blorgloflon.com's API didn't support oAuth, THREE YEARS AGO... but that's when you wrote your article which is the top search hit for "does blorgoflon.com's API support oAuth?" Until Google comes up with a way to hide content that has become factually incorrect (approximately 98% of the entire internet), you gotta put a date on that shit.
Ok... so that's it for today's rant. Take that information and get back out there and post some stuff!
These are the Six Apart couches, as photographed back in 2006. They are decidedly less brightly colored these days, have quite a lot of stains and dog hair on them, but are still a place where some of the best thinking and some of the best drinking in this place takes place. We spent many hours on these couches talking about how features should work, what would be cool to implement, fighting off attackers, and celebrating victories. The entire company has gathered around these couches on Friday evenings for drinks at least once or twice a month for as long as I've worked here.
I have a lot of good memories from these couches. I remember sitting on them as we launched the first Vox beta, talking about the best way to manufacture crack with the rest of the team. I remember my first Foo Bar (the official company name for the gathering/drinking) here. I remember my going-away party when I moved to Hawaii at these couches. I remember building cool widgets for Vox here. I remember Garth crashing Artur's Segway in to one of them one night when we were having time-trial races around the office. Good times.
I've heard nasty stories about these couches, which I prefer to block out. I have to admit, though, that my dog peed on one of them once.
There was talk once of removing these couches and putting in some cubicles, when the company was getting pretty big. I think at the time I was planning to get some people together to chain ourselves to them. It never happened though, thankfully. The couches will carry on, and more awesome stuff will be invented there.
With all of this closing business starting to be in full effect, I've been looking through old stuff on my blog and I'm coming across a lot of good stuff from the early days. So, I think I'm going to start re-posting some of it here until we close. It will, of course, also be cross-posted to my TypePad blog, and I'll categorize all the posts over there as [this was good]. I'd like to say I'll put something up every day, but I'm really bad at keeping up a commitment like that, so let's just say I'll post good stuff as I come across it.
You may have read by now that Vox is Closing. Many of you who know me know that I worked on Vox from the beginning. It was the first big project for me here at Six Apart, and I'm very proud to have been part of it for its entire life. I still work at Six Apart, in a much different capacity, and much of what I learned working on that product has pushed me in to bigger and better things, every single day.
I know the news is a shock. Believe me, I fucking know. But, after having some time to think it over, it does make sense for everyone involved. Six Apart has the capacity to do some seriously amazing things. We have incredibly smart people, money in the bank, and great leadership. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a kool-aid drinker, and everyone in a position of authority above me here at 6A, up to and including our CEO, knows that I'll call bullshit if I see it. All of that said, I'm absolutely on board with this decision.
The truth is, that capacity to do amazing things diminishes rapidly when you try to do too many amazing things at once. For the last... ummm... let's not say exactly how long... many of you have felt the pain of that as development and maintenance on Vox fell way below where anyone wanted it to be. I don't call the shots around here, but if I had to speak for our leaders, I'd say that they made a call between doing a sort of good job making two hosted blogging platforms or making one kick ass one. We all wish the answer could be as simple as "hire more people" but that's just not how things work, and as someone with a vested interest in the company, I'm glad it's not.
What we're doing with TypePad is awesome and I really can't wait for you guys to get in there and look around, assuming you decide to migrate there (tools are available to migrate to other platforms, if that's what you want to do). We've been approaching the growth and development of TypePad with a much wider view, and it's going to be so much more robust and solid than it even is now. TypePad has benefited greatly from everything we learned building Vox. It scales like a motherfucker and the front end is fast and it works well. As I type this, I'm remembering how frustrating this Vox composer can be, and I'm thinking I should save this text, just in case.
So beyond its stability, TypePad has a lot of good stuff. You'll see a lot of the same themes you had here, as well as some new stuff. Definitely check out the Chroma theme, which has the ability to pick nice colors for your blog based on the header image you choose. Also enjoy sticking whatever you want in your sidebar, including stuff that interacts with the rest of the page (as opposed to the sandboxed sidebar embeds here). For you programmers out there, TypePad has a killer API, so you can easily feature your profile and blog content on your other sites. Also make sure you check out your dashboard, as its pretty much akin to your neighborhood view here on Vox.
Look, I know that this feels like something to freak out about right now. You have a ton of content in here and moving to a new place is scary and annoying. I get that, but it is what it is. I really encourage you all to do the export to TypePad and check out what we've got going on over there. If you like it, stick around. If not, you can import your Vox blog on any other service that has that capability before the shutdown.
The last thing I want to say is thank you to everyone who helped us build this. I've made a ton of amazing friends here. I learned a lot of stuff and had a ton of interesting conversations. I really hope my whole neighborhood comes over to TypePad so I can keep up with what's going on with you, but if not, please post a note on your Vox when you do move so I can follow your new site.
oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god!!! oh my fucking god.
So last night, I was on the hunt for a TV. I found one on Craig's List that looked promising and after a few emails, I told the guy I'd be on my way over to check it out. He lives in the Haight, which is a short drive over from where I live in the Mission. I don't have a car though, so I started heading over there on my scooter. Knowing that despite my incredible ability to move large objects on my scooter (I once moved everything in my apartment to a new place using only a '79 Vespa P200E), this would not be the best way to get a 40-inch TV home, I decided that was a detail I'd just figure out along the way. My backup plan in case I didn't figure something out was to just call a cab, load the TV, and have him follow me home, hoping he didn't steal my TV.
As I waited for a light at Market and Sanchez, I noticed some Zip Cars. I'm a frequent Zip Car user (I fucking love Zip Car!), and I was starting to worry about the logistics of the cab plan, so I decided to park my scooter and get a car. As a bonus, there was a big, clean, safe looking bank on the other side of Market where I'd feel ok about withdrawing $600 from the ATM.
As I parked, I formulated a flawless and efficient plan: While walking to the ATM, I'd use the Zip Car application on my phone, which would figure out my location and offer me up the little Honda SUV I'd spied in the lot. I'd book it just as I got to the bank, get the cash, cross back to the car, and go get my glorious new telly. Things ended up being a bit more complicated, as Zip Car gave me some trouble, so I found myself standing outside the bank for a few extra minutes while I worked it out.
I should note here that the bank is one of those kind where you swipe a card to get in to a little foyer where the ATMs are located, I guess so ne'er-do-wells don't hang out at the machines and mug you as soon as you get the cash; they have to wait until you walk six feet to a door and exit in order to do that.
Anyway, as I hung out outside I noticed a sort of sketchy dude hanging around near me. At first I thought he might like to steal my phone, so I puffed up my chest and assumed my "menacing face" while I continued to wrestle with Zip Car's site. A few seconds later, I watched as he grabbed the door before it closed after someone walked out, and he walked in and waited with the other people waiting for a machine to open up.
Ok... that's not totally abnormal. Maybe he thinks only Chase customers can swipe in or something. Whatever. Back to Zip Car.
Eventually, the room clears out so he's the only one in there, and he goes up to a machine. I'm trying to hurry up on Zip Car because I want to grab the other machine before someone comes along. A few minutes more and my car is booked and I swipe in.
At this point, sketch dude has been at the machine for what I would say is an unusually long period of time, but not suspiciously so. As I walked up to the other machine, I could hear a little bit of the noise your belt makes when the buckle is clanging around, when you're buckling or unbuckling it. I glance over, and he looks like he's fiddling with the part of the machine where money comes out, so I pause, because if this dude is trying to break in to the ATM, I am getting the fuck out of there.
No... that's not what he was doing. Slightly closer investigation reveals that this guy is whacking off. I'm not sure if I'd say he's jerking off ON the ATM, TO the ATM, or IN FRONT OF the ATM, but the important thing is that he's jerking off AT the ATM that is RIGHT NEXT TO ME. I turn tail and walk outside, but I decide to wait, because I'm not walking 50 feet to go find another fucking cash machine. I've got a plan and I'm not letting this ATM-jacker-offer derail it.
I wait. A few minutes pass. I can understand the delay. For most people, ATMs are not ideal to jerk off in front of. I mean, sure there's a screen and sometimes that screen has a cute girl on it who is pondering her personal finances, but you really have to stretch to imagine her naked and doing something that gets you to the finish line. She's often in glasses, though, so I guess if it were me jacking off in front of the ATM, that might help.
After a while, a girl walks up and approaches the door. I fulfill my civic duty to intervene.
"Hey... hold on a second..."
She looks at me like I'm about to mug and/or rape and/or murder her. Everyone's always on guard at the cash machine.
"Before you go in there, you should know... I'm preeeeeeeetty sure that dude is jerking off right now."
She looks at him. "Whoooooah. Thank you!"
She decides to wait, too. This is the detail that makes this story take place in San Francisco as opposed to anywhere else. Any other two people in any other place, when faced with the dilemma of what to do when the ATM room you want to use is currently occupied by a public masturbator, would probably leave and call the cops, or just leave. But here... here we'll just politely wait it out.
"Are you sure he's jerking off?"
"I'm pretty sure. I didn't realize until I was at the machine next to him and he seemed to be messing with his belt and his pants. I mean, I guess he could be making a legitimate transaction, but he's been there for like ten minutes now."
"Pffft. Ten minutes? It shouldn't take that long."
I asked if she meant it shouldn't take that long to withdraw cash, or to bust a nut on the ATM. She said neither, which was the funniest part of this whole event.
Finally the dude finished up and began to bolt out of the ATM room, just as another girl walked up. The first girl notified the second girl of the situation, and once the room was clear, we all entered together. They sort of positioned themselves so that I'd walk in first, I guess in case the dude's sperm decided to attack or something. Since I'd been waiting the longest, I went to the non-tainted machine while the girls waited. After a minute or so (I botched my transaction by putting in the wrong card at first), the second girl got impatient and started toward the other machine. The first girl was like, "Nooooooooo!"
"Oh, is this the one? Ah well, I didn't see it so I'm just gonna pretend it didn't happen."
People. I swear on my mother's life I am not shitting you. Not only were three of us in a small room where we knew a dude had just jerked off, but one of us was using the machine that she knew he'd just jerked off in front of.
I got my cash, got the car, got the TV, dropped it off at home, and then returned the car. As I was walking back to where I'd parked my scooter, I noticed a very beautiful sidewalk garden that a tenant in one of the apartments had created. There were probably 20 large pots, some hanging, with many varieties of beautiful plants and flowers. I was less than a block from the bank where the nut-busting had occurred, but in a scene that was a thousand miles from it:
And that's what San Francisco is for me. It's a ying-yang style balance. Sometimes it's gross as hell, and sometimes it's improbably beautiful. It's frigid and unihabitable on one block, and sunny and warm on the next. Sometimes it's overly PC and jammed far up its own ass, and sometimes it's the most wacky and fun place on earth. Public transportation sucks, but the food is delicious. The mayor is a lech and corrupt, but he gets good things to happen. The population is enlightened and intelligent, but also smug and self-absorbed.
I fucking love this town and I fucking hate it, but even the parts I fucking hate are kind of awesome I guess.
The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude.