Pew Pew Laser Blog

Code. Glass art. Games. Baking. Cats. From Seattle, Washington and various sundry satellite locations.

Blogs about culture



(I'm a few days late in marking this anniversary. What can I say - I've been busy. Heck, I've had a full plate for a year now, which is the point of this blog.)

One year ago, I gave my first conference talk at SassConf 2014. My 10 minute lightning talk "Color In The Real World" was about how we perceive color, how artists use tricks with color for realistic effects in paintings, and Sass color functions can replicate those tricks.

A little over a month later, I gave a 45 minute talk "From 0 to Nodebots" at the inaugural Nodevember 2014. Though I had been submitting talks to conferences for more than a year, this was my accepted talk. This was an expanded version of the talk I had given at my local JavaScript meetup a few months previous.

In March of this year, I presented "Colour in the Real World" at CSS Conf AU in Melbourne, Austrailia. This talk was an expanded version of my SassConf talk, and is another talk that was accepted via CFP.

In May, I was invited to JSConf US in Florida to help with the NodeBots event. This invitation was a result of the video from my Nodevember talk. Having a public video of their talk is a great artifact for a speaker, and for your community.

In July, it was finally time for Cascadia Fest. Way back in January, I'd been invited to join the core organizing team and curate Browser JavaScript day. So since then, I'd been brainstorming party and workshop ideas, reading proposals and selecting talks, and writing tons of emails and Slack messages. After having attended 2 previous CascadiaJS conferences, I got involved by starring the CJS Github repo and volunteering to help with a smaller part of the conference.

And a week and a half ago, I closed out an amazing year by presenting "Developing for Localization" (a completely new talk) at CSS Conf EU 2015. I was particularly delighted to have my CFP accepted here because CSS Conf EU is so prestigious and competitive. I finally had the opportunity to attend JS Conf EU too!

Looking back at this past year, I feel so thankful to have had such great opportunities and be a part of all of these events. I've promised myself that I could tone down the events next year, and I really am savoring the idea of some quiet time. I'll finally able to work on some long neglected "for fun" projects, and maybe just relax a little bit.

Bewpubs and Bad Service.


Why is it that brewpubs often have the worst table service of any other restaurant type?

McMenamins is where the husband first developed a test for fine microbrews, and I have a well documented weakness for the Communication Breakdown burger. But going to a McMenamins always seems to be a 2 hour commitment.

While in Hawaii, we went to the Kona brewpub. While the beer was excellent (so says the husband), and the food was pretty good, we were "unattended" for some pretty long stretches.

Even Rogue's Issaquah Brewhouse has poor to fair service to go along with it's excellent beers (again, according to the husband) and mediocre food. But we'll continue going once a month or so because of their excellent location. (Near the glass blowing shop.)

Why? Are the typical patrons so enamored with delicious craft brews that the don't notice? Or am I, typically a non-drinker, just overly sensitive to not having my water filled? Is it because we choose to sit tucked away at a table, instead of at the bar?

2 comment(s).

Seattle's Dog Culture.


Seattle has a very dog friendly culture. But some aspects are a little too dog friendly for my comfort. (I'm talking about pet dogs here, not service animals. I don't buy into 'companion animals', by the way.)

You can bring your dog on the public bus. I've seen some very big dogs crammed under seats on some very crowded buses. Those dogs looked pretty stressed - and that's when trouble can occur. Last month I saw a little dog 'mark' a corner near the driver's seat. The owner did wipe the area with tissue, but that just doesn't clear up the cootie factor for me. I doubt that Metro buses get a daily cleaning.

Lastly, I've seen a couple folks carrying their purse-pooches in the grocery store. The grocery store. There's clear signage against that, but what does it say about the local culture that people saunter right on in, and the employees don't say anything? I want the store employees to proactively stop pets in the grocery store; I don't want to have to be the bad guy. Is there even any way to say "I'm creeped out by your dog in the grocery store" effectively?

Twitters are no Substitute for Blogs.


Have you been considering putting Twitter (or something similar) on your blog? Because just sitting down to write a proper blog takes too much time? Twitters aren't quite an exact replacement for blogs. I suggest that you consider the following.

First, make sure that visitors will see your Twitters as new content. Put them in the main content section on your page, instead of the rarely noticed sidebars.

Your return visitors are expecting whole blogs anyway. Mightn't they be disappointed with the quick but often random thoughts coming out of your Twitter?

Consider how your visitors will comment on your Twitters. Hint: They won't want to go through the effort of signing up for a Twitter account to do so.

Lastly, you know all of those "@someoneelse" Twitters that comment on someone else's Twitter? They don't make a lick of sense to your blog visitors. Try to find some way to hide them.

All in all, if the problem is that you can't write a long blog, the solution might not be Twitter. Just write a short blog - just a little bit of fluff about what you're thinking. Or if you want to get daring; just blog what you would have Twittered.

1 comment(s).

April Fools' Day Round Up.


Here's a round up of all the April Fools' Day jokes that I found out about today.

1 comment(s).

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