On Magic

This post isn't specifically about Ruby on Rails, but it's definitely about Ruby on Rails among other things.1 Rails is a very useful tool to bootstrap an MVC application, and to this day I haven't encountered an ORM I like better than ActiveRecord, but I want to talk about one facet of Ruby on Rails' patterns, which stems from the way Ruby works but also shows up in other languages and other tools: "magic."

If you've used Rails, you're familiar with the magic involved, but briefly: without using any code-generation tools2, Rails will create a massive assortment of methods dynamically at runtime based on the names of your models, controllers, and routes. So if you have a simple CRUD setup for your User model, you'll have things like users_path, user_path(id), new_user_path, etc, and if the User model has_many :posts, then every instance of User will have a posts method to retrieve associated records.

To me, "magic" in coding is any scenario where without explicit declaration, an application seems to "just know" how to behave.

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Every November, I say, “This is it – I‘m going to do NaNoWriMo this year.” And every November … I don’t. I’ve got a long-standing project, begun probably nine years ago, called Amazing Science, which I’ve intended to work on during NaNoWriMo for years. And a few years back, I did. But I didn’t get very far – I logged something like 6,000 words that year (the goal is 50,000). Plus, there’s always been the voice in my head telling me that technically, NaNoWriMo is supposed to be spent on the first draft, from word zero, of a new novel. So a project like Amazing Science doesn’t really fit the bill.

This year, I’m going to do it. I should say, I’m doing it. This is my declaration that one way or another, high-quality or low, I’m going to get to 50,000 words on a new novel.

The novel is currently untitled, and for file saving purposes, I’m referring to it as Vuk & Vera. It’s a fantasy story about two twins in a small fishing town. I would tell you more, but I hope that at the end of the month, or a while after, people will actually read it, so I don’t want to say too much. Also: I don’t know too much more at this point. I’ve got some characters, I’ve got some concepts, and as of this morning, with 1,682 words (thanks Scrivener!), I’m doing what it appears those in the biz call “pantsing”.

So, that’s it for now. Here’s the novel on NaNoWriMo, if you’re curious. I’ll probably be procrastinating plenty by griping about it on Twitter, where you can also reach out to me about it if you want.

New Site

My previous site was built in Wordpress and hadn't been updated for, really, a number of years. In the meantime I've been hard at work on my career, freelance work, and a bunch of side projects. The first step to updating all that is to get something more workable, so I put together this site. It’ll get spruced up soon, and have its backlog of posts filled out soon from the Wordpress export, but right now it's pretty bare-bones.

If you're here now, take a look at the contact and résumé pages, and check out my GitHub for projects like this website and more. Those projects, as well, will get some introduction on this site sometime soon.

You say you want a Revolution…

Ever since I read M. Willis’s expansive and thoughtful rebranding of the New England Revolution, I've been contemplating what I'd do with the Revs’ branding if given the chance. I liked a lot of Willis’s thought process, but more than that it sparked my own imagination. So as an exercise I thought I'd try my own hand. This is going to be a lot shorter, but I'm still going to try to explain my reasoning and methods as best as I can. Hopefully it's interesting, if nothing else. If you're mostly just interested in the final outcome, just scroll to the bottom.

I love the Revolution, but from day one I've been unimpressed by their current crayon-style logo. And last year's Patriots-themed (down to the pseudo-shoulder-pads) kits were a pretty big disappointment, visually and metaphorically.1 Still, I'm a Pats fan as well, and if it were toned down and the Revs allowed to grow and thrive on their own, I think I would cherish the connection, the shared theme, between my two favorite teams.

With this in mind, I set out to rebuild the Revs’ logo. I decided that unlike Willis, I wouldn't change the name or basic identity of the team – I'd just try to solidify it, give it some dignity. I wanted to hypothetically pull the team out of the 90’s, out of the realm of struggling fifth-tier sport and into one of real, top-class professional athletes.

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