An overcoat of clay…

Two years ago today, I was on a plane from Greensboro to Atlanta, and landed at around 8:40am. When I got off the plane, I went to a bookshop/cafe that I usually go to on Concourse B. There were several TVs with different networks on each. NBC’s Today Show was the only one discussing the fact that flames were pouring out of one side of one of the buildints at the WTC. Hardly anyone was paying attention to this in the cafe. It seemed odd to me.

Then I bought a bottle of water and some gum for my subway ride to my client’s location, and as I was standing in line, I saw from a distance that more networks were showing the WTC. And there appeared to be more flames than before. I though…how bizarre. How strange. What a horrible tragedy. Surely whatever it is…they thought a small plane?… will be figured out, the flames extinguished, minimal loss of life. But why all the additional flames? Why the panicked looks in the announcer’s faces?

As I paid for my water and gum, I started calling friends to tell them, co-workers in Atlanta and Greensboro. I realized that if this was indeed something more serious, I should get out of the airport. I walked quickly out of the terminal and to the train… it was only once I’d gotten there and started checking my phone’s web browser, and hearing things from others arriving from the terminal to the train, that it was all so much more serious than I’d even allowed myself to imagine.

I still have the ticket stub from that flight, and the receipt from my water and gum. How strange that I could be buying water and gum at the same moment that a second plane struck the second tower… Not significant to anyone, really, but unsettling that everywhere, all around us, little machines were tap tap tapping the time and date onto paper and cathode screens, unaware of what was happening elsewhere. I’m not sure why this fascinates me. Why I keep working it in my mind like a loose tooth. But there it is.

A few days later, a coworker told me about a project some designers were working on, just making desktop graphics or something commemorating and grieving. This is the one I made: …an overcoat of clay.
Time to go to work.

[09/11/08 Edited to add: strange that I didn’t remember I’d written a similar post a year earlier.]

Omni Magazine Shrine

Please visit the OmniShrine Wiki!

Rather than commenting on this blog, where hardly anyone will ever see what you said or asked, why not post your thoughts in a space that’s more suitable?

Try the OmniShrine Wiki!

I set it up so that fans of Omni can share information, and also be able to subscribe to comments or page changes, so that you can more easily keep up with the conversation!

The comment area on this post doesn’t act like a discussion list; there’s no way for anyone to be alerted of a question or an answer to one posted. That’s why the wiki is your best bet.


My original post is below. The link no longer takes you to the site I referenced back in 2003, but you can still see the glorious prehistoric black-background web experience via the magical “Wayback Machine” archive here via the Wayback Machine.


Growing up, I was an avid reader of Omni Magazine.
I lost touch with it after high school, and I heard they’d tried doing their thing online, but then it had kind of died on the vine.
And I ran across the site today…how weird, that it’s still sitting there. A ghost town.
The design is so perfect for mid-to-late 90s ‘cool’ website design. Lots of 3D shapes floating in black space.
I wonder if anybody still tries entering the “Deconstructing the Titanic Sweepstakes” there?

Out of the silent planet…

I’m posting something lest anyone thing I have died. I am in fact quite alive. The CS Lewis novel title I quoted has little to do with the book and just something I thought appropriate, since I’ve felt for the last 6-8 weeks like I have indeed been on another planet. The planet called “too busy and distracted to remember I even /have/ a frickin blog.” I am now trying to get my ducks in a row to go to the IA Summit, and trying to get an article written for Digital-Web magazine, and trying to help that magazine with its IA (though I’m not being very helpful I’m afraid, only taking the occasional potshot), and then there’s my actual /job/ that pays me, and my clients there, and of course my loving family without whom none of this would be worth a damn.
Now, the thing is that I have been thinking about stuff that would be fine on the blog, but just haven’t managed to squish it from my brain to my fingers. Or even my mouth most of the time, which will shock those of you who have met me. One problem is that I turned 35 in December, and for some reason that particular pair of digits has led me to do a lot of ruminating before, during, and after the actual birthday. Why did I get all worked up over 35 and was fine with turning 30? 35 is halfway to 70. Nuff said.
Here area a few of the things I’ve thought about:
1. If I could create a simple automatic way for people’s socks to stay together before, during, and after the wash, I’d be a billionaire.
2. People shouldn’t sell Leopard Gecko’s when they’re too young, because kids like my daughter will get really sad when they die from being too little and unhardy for anything but professional care.
3. Stuff that I once thought was too weird for words is suddenly looking like opportunities I missed as a 20-something, and that I wonder if I should explore as a second-half-30-something. What stuff? Well, stuff like horror fan conventions, or nude skydiving. Or nude horror fans skydiving. I don’t know actually, which is part of the problem.
4. Information Architecture is my job. It is not my life. I am tired of thinking about it every day all day as work, play and dream material. This will make me fall far behind many of my more obsessed and disciplined colleagues. So be it. I’m gonna write a horror novel about nude skydiving conventions.
5. I can’t ever end a list on an even number. I think I’m prejudiced against them.

There. Any comments?

vocation vs. calling, and the music in my head

There is a big squishy pile of obsessions on my mind right now and no way to sort it out besides grabbing one slippery tendril and starting to pull.
A week ago I saw these guys live. It got me back in touch with a lot of thoughts, dreams and wonder that I had as a twenty-something…
Continue reading “vocation vs. calling, and the music in my head”

Grief, and its kin.

Like everybody else, I’m grieving. Even though 9/11/2001 wasn’t at all about me, and didn’t do any harm to me personally, here I am thinking about where I was that day, what was on my mind, how my experience felt. I really hope that’s just a human response, because otherwise it would feel profoundly selfish.

The part that I have trouble shaking is the fact that I was on a plane that morning, but my plane was headed to Atlanta from Greensboro. It landed minutes before the first plane in NY hit.
Continue reading “Grief, and its kin.”