Friday, April 2, 2010

The Redirection

Lucy recently moved her site to WordPress, and in the process of helping her move - tinkering, tweaking & tuning things behind the scenes - I realized I was jealous. From here forward, my blog will be hosted at Thanks for reading, and please update your RSS readers.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Support autism research!

Last May, my brother Tyler and I encouraged dozens of our friends & family to donate to our team in Walk Now for Autism, a charity event planned by Autism Speaks.  Thanks to the support of those generous folks, our team contributed over $1,000 to autism research.

This May, I’m participating in Walk Now for the third time, and my goal is to beat last year’s fundraising total.

Autism has a higher profile now than ever before, due to increasing rates of diagnosis in children and debates over the causes of the disease.  Many new parents have been spooked by hearsay and flaky anecdotal “evidence” linking autism to vaccinations.  (The scientific community vastly agrees there is no connection.)  It’s easy to see why searches for the cause, and cure, have become more desperate: autism now affects 1 in every 110 American children, and 1 every 70 boys.  And those numbers are on the rise.

As the brother of an autistic adult, I know the toll autism takes on its victims and their families.  It’s essential that we increase our understanding of autism as soon as possible.

Please donate to my team here:

Yes, I know that once again the minimum donation you can make on the site is $20.  If you can donate $20 or more, AWESOME, thank you!  If you want to contribute a smaller amount, I will still think you are a rad person and I will want to be your friend.  You can use the printable donation form to mail your payment, you can send me money via PayPal ( and I can donate it for you, or you can bring a donation to Lucy’s table at one of the following conventions:

Thanks in advance for your help!  The walk is on Sunday, May 15th, and I’ll be sure to post an update before then.

Chicago Walk Now for Autism 2010 home page

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Misery and Maximizers

John Maeda made a brilliant observation in his TED talk about simplicity.  To paraphrase: people like complexity in things they enjoy, and they hate complexity in things they dislike.  Yes!  Complexity in music & books captivates me, complexity in my tax returns makes me want to jump in front of a train.

In 2010, I’ll be trying to reduce some of the unnecessary complexities in my life.  As an organization freak & computer lover with a subconscious lust for complex systems, this won’t be easy, but I think Maeda’s point provides excellent guidance.

I’m also getting some terrific input from a book called The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz, a psychologist and professor at Swarthmore College.  The book aims to explain why a culture with greater freedom & variety than any other in history is causing people to be unhappier and less satisfied with their decisions.  In Chapter 4, Schwartz explains the difference between maximizers (those who must find the best possible choice for every decision) and satisficers (those who settle for good enough and don’t worry about the existence of better possibilities).  Guess which one correlates more strongly with less satisfaction with life, less happiness, less optimism, and more depression?  As a solid maximizer (as evaluated by the survey in the book), I wasn’t happy to learn the answer.

One recurring theme of the book: reducing the number of options often leads to greater satisfaction with a decision.  I think that’s something I can work with.

* * * * * * *

This week, the girl you see here turned 25.

You might think a 25-year-old should be more mature.  I blame her boyfriend for being a bad influence.