The Roman Candle Pizza-Whitefish Bay


In 2013 I was fortunate to work very closely with The Roman Candle Pizza on the branding, signage, interior design, trade dress, menus, floor graphics, and promotion of their new store in Whitefish Bay. The ball got rolling in the spring of 2013, and culminated with the new store opening in early December of the same year. Take a gander above, and if you’d like to see more of the resulting creative you can see more in my portfolio gallery. And by all means, if you’re in the Whitefish Bay area(or in Madison), stop in to The Roman Candle for delicious pizza and great atmosphere.

And as delicious as the pizza is, nothing beats the rocket in the kids play area.


Forza Motorsport Racing Livery(s)


Jolly old St. Nick left an Xbox One under the Koenigs’ tree this year. And while I needed a new Forza game like a hole in the head—I caved when it went on sale on Amazon for $40. I spent part of the holiday break painting cars and getting the Koenig-star racing livery up and running in my garage. Painting and tuning are as fun as they’ve ever been in a Forza game—here are the early results of my painting efforts. Now if my skills on the track can live up to these racing liveries…

Chasing Apple’s Ghosts

Samsung unveiled a $299 Smart Watch today. We’ve been hearing for so long that Apple’s working on a watch device, that my reaction was sort of, meh. –Of course, smart-watches will finally start to roll out fast and furious as competitors try and get out in front of Apple.

Hmmm. You know? That’s not a bad strategy.

Perhaps, it’s brilliant.

Let rumors fly about what you’re doing, leave enough heat at the door as to what you’re up to, but only the what. Now how. Not when. And not for whom(knowing Apple—everyone). Apple can always be counted on for the, “we think there’s a lot of opportunity to improve on X,” but often, little beyond that.

Then sit back and watch the market mature, as you refine your software and hardware—your current and future competitors boarding up their homes with plywood and duct tape so their business doesn’t get washed away when Apple comes to market with its iFillintheblank. And damn it, the iThing doesn’t even resemble the thing you thought you were chasing.

Instead of simply letting competitors blatantly copy, send them scrambling in front of you, committing, putting skin in the game on expensive hardware and software, R&D, and what you bet will be a poorer experience. When you come to market with a better customer experience, in position to delight—everyone else is forced to retool, and spend more money to fix—or scrap even—their poor decisions made in a mad scramble, chasing Apple’s ghosts.

George Saunders on life, regrets, and kindness

The bitch about wisdom is that we so often earn it after we could have really used it—Love and Kindness being the biggest doozies to learn, too late in life—or to remember after we’d like to have employed a little. George Saunders’ spring commencement address at Syracuse University, republished by The New York Times, is about exactly this—and it’s a brilliant read. A worthy reason to slow down a little, and think about radiating more thoughtfulness toward the other stars that have been flung aside us into this big crazy universe.

When young, we’re anxious – understandably – to find out if we’ve got what it takes. Can we succeed? Can we build a viable life for ourselves? But you – in particular you, of this generation – may have noticed a certain cyclical quality to ambition. You do well in high-school, in hopes of getting into a good college, so you can do well in the good college, in the hopes of getting a good job, so you can do well in the good job so you can….

And this is actually O.K. If we’re going to become kinder, that process has to include taking ourselves seriously – as doers, as accomplishers, as dreamers. We have to do that, to be our best selves.

Still, accomplishment is unreliable. “Succeeding,” whatever that might mean to you, is hard, and the need to do so constantly renews itself (success is like a mountain that keeps growing ahead of you as you hike it), and there’s the very real danger that “succeeding” will take up your whole life, while the big questions go untended.

So, quick, end-of-speech advice: Since, according to me, your life is going to be a gradual process of becoming kinder and more loving: Hurry up. Speed it along. Start right now. There’s a confusion in each of us, a sickness, really: selfishness. But there’s also a cure. So be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf – seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life.

via Kottke


I’m a synesthete. If you don’t know what that is, no worries—neither did I. It’s not quite on the level of, “I see dead people,” but I do see colors and interpret 3D, spacial relationships where others may not.

Growing up—and even well into adulthood—I thought everyone associated letters and numbers with specific colors, and/or perceived time in a spatial, 3D fashion.

Uhh, no.

These superpowers are a neurological condition known as synesthesia, and only about 2-4% of the human population make similar, unique and uncommon connections between normally un-related senses. I was pretty shocked to discover that 96% of the population wasn’t experiencing what I was.

This is a pretty good ballpark description of what I experience—from Wikipedia (Synesthesia):

In one common form of synesthesia, known as grapheme → color synesthesia or color-graphemic synesthesia, letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colored, while in ordinal linguistic personification, numbers, days of the week and months of the year evoke personalities. In spatial-sequence, or number form synesthesia, numbers, months of the year, and/or days of the week elicit precise locations in space (for example, 1980 may be “farther away” than 1990), or may have a (three-dimensional) view of a year as a map (clockwise or counterclockwise). Yet another recently identified type, visual motion → sound synesthesia, involves hearing sounds in response to visual motion and flicker. Over 60 types of synesthesia have been reported, but only a fraction have been evaluated by scientific research. Even within one type, synesthetic perceptions vary in intensity and people vary in awareness of their synesthetic perceptions.

These associations play a huge role in how I perceive and organize the universe around me and function every day—as soon as I meet someone and learn their name, they’re tagged with a custom color palette. Anything containing letters and numbers has a perceived color sensation, or an aura in my mind’s eye. If you ask me what I’m doing in the month of May, my mind’s eye zooms to a specific(always the same) position in space—viewing May in 3D. And other wild, weirdness. (Or what I thought was, 100% boring, normal for everyone.)

Science has only just scratched the surface of understanding these connections and how they work, or how-and-why they’ve subsisted throughout our evolution. I’m sure I’ve unknowingly met others who have some form of synesthesia—but I don’t know anyone personally who shares the same type of cross-wired sensations. If you have some form of synesthesia, I’d love to hear about your form of it and your experience(s).

Diet Coda. Sugar-free, twice as sweet.

Developing with Panic’s Diet Coda on the iPad is the most fun I’ve had coding a website.

Recently we took the kids away for a long weekend, and I thought it might be cool to do some heavier lifting with the iPad if I got some downtime when the kiddos ran out of gas. While I’d used Diet Coda to change a line of code or a CSS file here and there, I’d not done any serious coding with it previously. Before leaving town I took a couple hours to prepare some graphic assets in CS6 and got them set up on my web server.

Once all went quiet at the resort I went to work—and I’ve really never had so much fun.

Diet Coda is intuitive, easy to master, smart, and responsive. Very quickly you’re jumping in-and-out of Safari to view your work, and the hours are zooming by…copy and pasting snippets of code, writing, sorting out hex colors and leaping tall buildings in a single bound. All the while, Diet Coda effortlessly keeps up, eagerly wagging its tail waiting for its next task—giving you a lick on the face every time you close a tag. The only thing missing was the “S” on my chest.

While I enjoy the cozy confines of the home office and Coda 2—being able to escape your normal trappings, and be fully armed to create when lightening strikes, on a magical device like the iPad is truly intoxicating.

Diet Coda and the iPad is a sugary-sweet combo—and that’s not bad, for a consumption device.

Download Diet Coda ($20) from the App Store

Realm is Alive has a new coat of paint! And walls. A new front door. Landscaping. The Extreme Home Makeover treatment, basically.

I call it Realm(thanks Whitbull!). It’s not fully furnished yet—I will be adding end tables and adorning more walls as I unpack and get used to the new digs. In addition to being home to my design work, it’s a place for me to hideout, tinker, and experiment.

If you like the smell of fresh paint and feel like exploring, have a look.

When Realm is updated with new features, content, design work—I’ll be posting updates here if you’d like to follow along.

The Koenigsegg


Prior to the release of Forza Motorsport 3 for the Xbox 360 in 2009, I spent 16 straight hours in my garage tackling another project I’d kicked around for a long time—a racing wheel stand that was adjustable and portable—that could be moved aside or pulled directly up to my favorite gaming chair.

I’m really the last person handy enough to do something like this—so it was more than satisfying to realize this vision—an idea I’d drawn up years prior. On top of actually being able to cobble this puppy together(without losing any fingers), it actually works extremely well and I still use it often.

Microsoft featured my contraption on their Forza Motorsport blog around the release of Forza 3, and I created a spec sheet for them to post for others wishing to make something similar. If you’re interested you can download it here.

My friend D.P. coined it, The Koenigsegg. While it might not quite live up to that pedigree—I must say—amongst my immediate circle of gaming buds, it brought me much fame. Outside of that, it’s provided many hours of fun, and is way cheaper than a real Koenigsegg.