Anti-Gay isn’t the way!

I have many friends who are gay and I am writing this for them. While I am a heterosexual, I think everyone – regardless of sexual orientation – deserves to live their life as they wish, free of bigotry and hatred aimed at them. I am also a Christian, I believe in the word of God and I know all about what the bible says about homosexuality. But you know what, it’s not my place to judge ANYONE in this life. That’s God’s job! So for all my gay friends – I write this for you, for all Americans…

Yesterday Indiana governor Mike Pence made it possible for businesses to refuse to serve people who are gay. This law goes against everything America stands for. It is unconstitutional. I demand a call to action that all companies who do business in Indiana, to those groups who organize events in Indiana, pull out and refuse to do business with the state of Indiana. While this will hurt jobs and people’s lives – this law is hurting people’s lives! Are we so ignorant and blind to what this law represents? It’s the 1960s all over again, this time rather than African-Americans being the target for people’s hatred and racism, gays and lesbians are now the targets. It’s a whole new civil rights movement.

We don’t need more violence, we don’t need more hatred, we need bigots like Pence to be taken out of office and for all Americans, regardless of religion, race or sexual orientation, to be able to live life in this land of the free.

I want to see more Americans rise up and answer the call to protest this hateful law!

In the state of Indiana, the Hoosier state, there is a philosophy called “Hoosier Hospitality”, it stands for being kind and supportive to your neighbor, your fellow Americans. To open your door and welcome people as if they were your family. We who call ourselves Americans are all family, we all want to live in this country, seek out our dreams and make them happen, go to work everyday and do great things for our country.

This new law in Indiana goes against all of that. It alienates those who are gay. And that goes against everything “Hoosier Hospitality” stands for! It goes against everything AMERICA stands for!

Make the Indiana legislature retract this law, make them see it is unAmerican, it is rooted in hatred and bigotry – which is not what America needs right now.

A close friend of mine, someone I consider family, made a video which clearly states everything that Hoosier Hospitality stands for and how this law goes against the Indiana way.

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Anybody looking for a UI Designer?

I have been looking for a job now for several months and with zero success. While I am freelancing at the moment, I am at that point where I want to find a steady job and a steady paycheck – not to mention, to bring my talents to a company that can use them. I don’t do any code, I am just a designer who focuses on making beautiful, pixel perfect, interfaces for mobile and web. I just want to be given the chance to prove myself and to demonstrate my design instinct and skills. I am a creative person, not only do I do graphics but also I compose classical music, I have authored three books and I just have this nearly bottomless pool of creative ideas and capabilities.

If you or someone you know is looking for such a person as I, please feel free to contact me via email ( kevin [at] pixelworxfactory.com ).

My portfolio is available on Dribbble.

And depending on the location, I am up for relocating. 🙂

So this is 50…

Today I turned 50 years old, half a century old. To most people that’s a major milestone, for me not so much. Sure I am blessed to have lived this long considering the trials I have endured in my life, but when I woke up this morning and thought to myself, “I’m 50 today,” I then thought for a moment and then said, “meh!”

Who cares about 50. As I went about my day I just kept thinking to myself, there’s no difference between today and yesterday, it’s just another day in my life. 50 is a number and in my mind that’s the only significance it bears. I have always held this philosophy, ever since was in my twenties. I have always said, “I never let age dictate shit to me.” My mother has told me, for as long as I can remember, “You’re only as old as you feel.”

Well I feel good…so I guess I feel younger. When I told the cashier at the supermarket I frequent near me, “I’m 50 today,” she stared at me for a moment and said, “No way! You’re lying.” When I showed her my driver’s license, her eyes grew wide and she looked at me again and said, “Wow! I would never have thought you were 50. Maybe 35, but not 50.”

That’s courtesy of my good genes I guess. I don’t look my age – not by a long shot. Not only that but my personality is very youthful, and that helps. Plus, not having smoked cigarettes or done any kind of illegal substances helps too.

So happy birthday to me, I am glad I reached this big milestone in life. But I am going to go forward like it never happened.

Winter’s Last Kiss

WINTER’S LAST KISS
a poem by Kevin Harris – March 17, 2015

The last bit of snow is fading into the earth,
the trees are waking from their long slumber,
small buds pop forth as spring gives birth,
the days grow warm to me, oh such a cumber.

But today the wind blows with a whisper,
my sweet beloved winter gives a parting gift,
the air is crisp and full of that wintertide,
I deride at how spring by winter is thusly biffed.

She caresses my face and I close my eyes,
enraptured by her embrace, in absolute bliss,
her cold tendrils, her frosty touch is what I prize,
but this is her last tender touch, winter’s last kiss.

Into the dark abyss of summer she will fall asunder,
spring and summer’s advances do I so spurn,
but winter whispers to me, “my love, never wonder,
for like the rising of the sun, I will soon return.”

On that day I shall run headlong into her embrace,
tears streaming down my face, as I wait and contemplate,
my lover’s return with the snow falling upon my face,
until that time comes, warmth and misery are my fate.

Farewell for now my dear, sweet, cold and icy lover,
I will be faithful only to you my love and no other,
My days will be filled with the bright, burning sun,
until spring and summer’s tyranny is done.

I love you with all my heart, with all my soul, my all,
for in the fall, your first kiss will grace my cheek again,
and we shall once more be one, in harmony, in love,
and the world shall once more be your wintry domain.

It’s a sad time for Apple fan-boys (like me)…

In June 1984 my Dad bought me my very first computer, the first generation Macintosh. Ever since then I have grown to love and evangelize Apple products. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple I was like…HELL YEAH! And that’s when everything went from “Apple is gonna die” to “OMG Apple is kicking butt!” Sadly after Steve Jobs died, I felt very worried that the Apple I had come to know and love died with him. I remember telling a friend about 2 weeks after Jobs’ death:

Apple has about two, maybe three years left in it and then things are going to go downhill.

That was four years ago and things haven’t been going so well, maybe for the exception of the iPhone 6 series.

On Monday Apple revealed the new MacBook laptops and I have to say I am seeing something that is terrifyingly wrong. While I can admit that a minimal design is great for an operating system, for software applications and such, I cannot say it works in hardware. I think the world has made it clear that one port on a computer is just not right. If the laptop is charging, how am I supposed to charge my iPhone, or connect it to a projector for a presentation? Smaller and thinner isn’t always a good solution. For laptops, being light and elegant is nice – but in the case of the MacBook, the sacrifices made to make it so thin and light are way too high. The Force Touch trackpad is a disaster in the making, you literally have to crush your finger into it to get any feedback from it. The new keyboard is stiff and you really aren’t getting the tactile feedback your brain needs to help you know where your fingers are hitting. Next and most unfortunate is the screen size, 13 inches. That’s great if this was 2001, but this is 2015 and today’s applications require a lot more real estate. As a graphic artist I could never use this laptop for my work, and I don’t see anyone being able to benefit from a screen so small. Perhaps a grandmother who wants to Facetime with her grandchildren. I don’t even think a college student could tolerate a screen so small with all the windows that are usually open when doing research for a paper.

And for the first time in my life, I am going to say this: The MacBook is overpriced. Why would anyone spend $1299 for such a handicapped laptop, when you can get an incredibly feature rich laptop, with plenty of ports, for significantly less. Granted it would run Windows (yuck), but I am trying to make a point here – you are paying Apple for that stupid minimalistic design and all the work they had to do to cram stuff into that small space. It’s just ridiculous.

Next is Apple Watch. I cannot imagine Steve Jobs allowing such a thing to fly. It’s a vagrant display of wealth and serves no useful purpose except to extend your iPhone to your wrist. But you still need an iPhone to use all of the features. Why should I spend $500 on an Apple Watch when I can go out and get a Fitbit Surge, which covers the health monitoring aspect, for half that price. I don’t see why people need a watch on their wrist to tell them they have an appointment coming up in 30 minutes or that someone messaged them. That’s what we have smartphones for! So again, I think this is just Apple’s way of becoming a luxury company that sells luxury goods for people who are swimming in cash.

Last, but not least, is software. I have seen some very disturbing trends in Apple’s OS X and iOS operating systems. But before I start bashing, let me first say that Yosemite is an awesome OS, I love it. What I don’t like are the accessory applications that come with OS X, specifically iMovie. iMovie used to be an easy to use, easy to learn and understand, application. Sadly it has now become so complicated and so counter-intuitive, it reminds of something Microsoft would make. The user interface design is worthy of a greek tragedy. As a UI/UX designer myself I notice these things instantly. The first time I launched the latest version of iMovie I was lost. I had no clue what did what or where my stuff was or what the app was doing when I told it to share a video. In iOS 8, when I send a video or a photo to someone via Messages – I used to be able to tap on the video I just sent them and watch it again at full screen. Now I can’t do that – it plays inside a postage stamp sized area. If I want to see the video full screen I am forced to exit Messages and go into my camera roll. That’s just stupid.

So here we are, exactly where I figured Apple would be. I am still an Apple fan-boy, but at a much lower level. If Apple continues on this path, I may have no choice but to jump ship and become a follower of another product that is doing things the right way for their users and not wasting time and money with things that just aren’t practical.

During Monday’s presentation of the new MacBook and Apple Watch, all I could do is shake my head and shed a tear. The Apple I have known and loved, for over 25 years, really did die on October 5, 2011.

World of Warcraft Shot of the Week: Undercity, the Ruins of Lordaeron

The Undercity is the capital city of the Forsaken undead of the Horde. It is located in Tirisfal Glades, at the northern edge of the Eastern Kingdoms.

The Undercity was so named many years before the Forsaken claimed it as their own. Far beneath the palace of Lordaeron, the Undercity held the ancient crypts and catacombs of Lordaeron’s royalty, as well as the city’s dungeons and sewers. Although the Undercity was only intended for prisoners and the dead, the poorest of the Lordaeron people lived within. When the Alliance captured Orgrim Doomhammer, they sent him to the Undercity; sometime later he managed to escape and wandered for many years afterwards.

Lordaeron’s capital city stood for centuries, a monument to humanity’s might. In the Third War, Prince Arthas slew his father, King Terenas, in Lordaeron’s throne room and ransacked the city. He planned to use Lordaeron as his capital on this continent and ordered his minions to expand the catacombs beneath the city. Then the Lich King summoned Arthas to Northrend and the work was left uncompleted.

During Arthas’ exodus, Sylvanas Windrunner broke free of the Lich King’s control and took many banshees and other undead with her. With Varimathras’ assistance she defeated the dreadlords that controlled the city and set her newly dubbed Forsaken to finish Arthas’ job in the dungeons. The Forsaken carved the Undercity and now rule the surrounding countryside.

You can download/view this week’s shot in it’s full resolution glory here.