Archive: August, 2014

What is Bayhem?

An informative video by Tony Zhou that outlines the techniques director Michael Bay resorts to again and again throughout his filmography. As Zhou illustrates, it’s distinctive, at times visually impressive, but overblown and overused to the point of exhaustion for the audience.

How we make RWD sites load fast as heck

The Filament Group carries serious weight in the responsive web design community, not just on some of their projects, but their open-source code contributions: Picturefill and Grunticon alone are very significant. That’s what makes this post worth paying attention to. Scott Jehl outlines strategies for using along with inline and asynchronous JavaScript requests to speed up a site’s load time.

The movies of 1994: looking back at the ‘Forrest Gump’ sweep

Grantland’s Wesley Morris on the 1994 summer movie season:

A couple of weeks after the release of Gump, James Cameron would deliver a more alarming battery of effects with True Lies, as well as a woman who’s treated almost as badly as Jenny. But Zemeckis’s movie was speaking to a generation of people out of both sides of its mouth. Baby Boomers needed their history and nostalgia served to them like baby food. Gump’s centrism could please everybody.

Jonathan Snook: CSS is a mess

The consistently excellent Jonathan Snook gave a talk at the recent Beyond Tellerrand conference about how to organize your CSS in a scalable, modular system. I’ve been a fan of Snook for years due to his work on SMACSS, a CSS organization system I’ve loosely adapted on my work projects. A highly recommended watch for those responsible for CSS on larger code bases.

The original Lucasfilm Games team talk about life at Skywalker Ranch

Jaz Rignall conducts a long interview at US Gamer with part of the original LucasArts team. They reminisce over the golden years of the studio, where Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion and many others were produced. A must read if you grew up playing any 80s and 90s adventure games.

Smash the engine

Peter Frase, writing for Jacobin on Bong Joon-Ho’s leftist political critique embedded within his Snowpiercer screenplay:

But the story Bong tells goes beyond that. It’s about the limitations of a revolution which merely takes over the existing social machinery rather than attempting to transcend it. And it’s all the more effective because the heart of that critique comes as a late surprise, from a character we might not expect.

The allegory is perhaps too general to root in any specific theory. But it evokes a tradition of critiques that grappled with the limitations of both reformist social democracy and Soviet Communism, which attempted to seize power and to ameliorate exploitation without really challenging capitalist labor as a system of alienation and domination.


Transition effects on icons are becoming increasingly popular, especially in navigation changes for the ubiquitous hamburger icon. While generally I rely almost entirely on detailed CSS3 transforms for my work, Marka provides an alternative, a simple JS wrapper around a icon for easy transforms. It might be fun to experiment with this on an upcoming project.

Hacks for dealing with specificity

CSS Wizardy’s Harry Roberts writes one of the best single guides to keeping specificity low and complex CSS projects from getting out of control. I use to be more neutral on IDs, but at this point, I’m fully onboard with Roberts: they don’t serve any purpose a class can’t already deliver on.

We’re losing all our Strong Female Characters to Trinity Syndrome

Tasha Robinson at The Dissolve:

So maybe all the questions can boil down to this: Looking at a so-called Strong Female Character, would you—the writer, the director, the actor, the viewer—want to be her? Not want to prove you’re better than her, or to have her praise you or acknowledge your superiority. Action movies are all about wish-fulfillment. Does she fulfill any wishes for herself, rather than for other characters? When female characters are routinely “strong” enough to manage that, maybe they’ll make the “Strong Female Characters” term meaningful enough that it isn’t so often said sarcastically.

Steven Soderbergh on why he really quit movies

The prolific, brainy director has been profiled and interviewed in countless magazines. He’s a good subject, but the quality, usually due to the publication and questions asked, has run all over the place. That’s why I was a bit surprised that Esquire, of all magazines, had a knockout of a a Soderbergh interview. Smart, profane and frank. One example:

Esquire: After you won an Academy Award for Traffic, did you wrestle to keep your ego in check?

Soderbergh: No… What’s hilarious about it, ironically, and nobody will ever believe this… I was in the middle of shooting Ocean’s Eleven, which for me, as a director, was much harder. I just had to laugh. Best door prize ever. But I was literally set up to work the next morning. Sunday night was the Oscars. I flew to Vegas that night and I’m on set first thing Monday morning confronting a scene that I couldn’t figure out how to shoot. At the end of the day, the quote I use is “In the land of ideas, you are always renting.” The landlord can always go “Bye!” If you’re not humbled by that then you’re an idiot and you will fail. You will fail. The process of discovery or coming up with an idea is so resistant to formula.