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That’s Lou Ferrigno, not my father.

I think I was six, which would have made my brother four. We were avid fans of The Hulk TV series, starring Lou Ferrigno. My dad, like most 70s dads I suspect, had a crush on Lou because he was manly and buff. For my brother and me, though, we just loved that he was green, wore purple pants, and beat the shit out of bad guys for doing bad things.

One day my dad tells us that the Hulk is going to be at this toy store near our house and that we can go meet him. While I don’t recall my exact thoughts, I believe it was a solid blend of excitement and fear. I mean, meeting the Hulk would be amazing. …


U-11 girls soccer team photo with goofy faces
U-11 girls soccer team photo with goofy faces
The 2019 U-11 soccer squad, “Solar Eclipses” / Photo: April Castillo

These are my girls. With the help of my skillful coaching partner, I’m trying to prepare them for the 2027 World Cup. And while their silly-putty faces may lead you to believe that we’re the Bad News Bears of soccer (we kind of are) they are complete badasses.

Last fall we finished our third season together, losing only a single game en route. We certainly dominated some of those matches, but we also had to claw our way back from halftime deficits in more than a few.

The thing is, my girls know how to fight. They know how to look a formidable opponent square in the eyes and say “we’re coming for you.” They know how to be strong, fast, and powerful (our pre-game mantra). …


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(Illustrator unknown)

Not all of us are okay. Nor are we prepared to answer the question genuinely. The world is overwhelming in myriad ways. It feels like a betrayal to the pain and suffering felt deep in the soul to reply with “okay, thanks.”

But we ask. And they ask. Clients, peers, neighbors, co-workers, cashiers…every fucking day. “Hello, how are you?”

I want to say “well, I’m a complete fucking mess. There are racists everywhere, cops are murdering Black people in droves, fascists are running around in public spaces with guns cocked/loaded, I’ve recently learned just how terrible it is to breathe-in tear gas and pepper spray, I’m trying to find work to take care of my family, selfish/disillusioned assholes are ignoring the pandemic with their anti-mask tirades, I’m fighting myself on trying to be a better white man, I’m fighting friends/family-members who aren’t willing to self-reflect on their own racism, our government was taken over by a coup who is openly admitting in advance that they are sabotaging the forthcoming election, I walk away from downtown-battles with white supremacists only to see flurries of people casually walking around without any indication of the violent clashes only a few blocks away, ultra-wealthy people are getting wealthier while the rest of us struggle to stay afloat, one year ago today the cops murdered Elijah McClain for no reason whatsoever and I worry that my child could be next, we don’t make enough money to keep up with medical expenses but make too much to get assistance, our government is routinely fracturing immigrant families and caging their children, our house needs a new roof, and, to top it off, the climate is in a perpetual nose dive, which means my children may live out their lives on an inhospitable planet.” …


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In high school I was often found listening to records in my living room, air drumming, trying to reverse engineer what I was hearing on my favorite records. Mostly I was trying to learn records by Mötley Crüe, Metallica, Slayer, and Rush.

One day I went over to this guy’s house who said he had a drum set. I hadn’t ever played a real kit but was dying to get behind one. He said he could show me some stuff and let me play a little.

We get there and he says he can play “Tom Sawyer.” I was salivating at the idea of watching him play it up close. He dove in and fucked it all up. It was horrible. I didn’t even know how to play and I could tell it was completely wrong. I thought if he could fuck it up that bad and still boast about it, I couldn’t do much worse. …


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Alice in Chains, Dirt Tour — Tucson, 1993

Every once in a while this story resurfaces in conversation. It’s pretty cool, so I thought I would go ahead and write it down for posterity.

Chapter 1: Moshtoberfest Takes the Stage

April 13, 1993 was the day I went from “Tucson famous” to “more Tucson famous.” Back then, my time was primarily split between delivering pizzas and playing drums in death metal, punk, and hardcore bands (including a band with Bryan Giles from Red Fang, called Iscariot — a story for another time).

One of my bands, Cadaverous Quartet, was commanding the Tucson metal scene and was beginning to get international attention in underground music networks. We had recently won our second consecutive Battle of the Bands at this place called The Rock — a little dive bar that caged 21-year-olds off to the side so bands could play all-ages shows. …


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Mrs. Smith and me at our personal reunion

This is “Mrs. Smith.” She no longer goes by that name, but that’s what I called her when she was my World Literature teacher during my senior year of high school. I enjoyed coffee and conversation with her on the morning this photo was taken, after a series of interesting events. I want to share this story as a way to help us paint a picture of teachers that doesn’t include arming them for battle in schools. Because gun control isn’t just about the people pulling the triggers.

This journey began in her classroom during my final year of high-school. I took a chance and wrote an essay on the current state of politics, likening the earth to a cadaver and George W. Bush Sr. to a maggot that was consuming it with his New World Order. (Stay with me.) I knew it was a metaphorical circus, steeped in macabre references, so I wasn’t sure how it would go over with Mrs. Smith. But it was my senior year, and the risk of a bad grade wasn’t important to me, so I went for it. …


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Concept car for Jaguar

In the early years of my career, every user experience I was designing comprised a single modality and a single visual UI (with accessibility accommodations). Recent years have yielded an ever-expansive ecosystem of modalities, including products with smaller UIs, and even without UIs at all.

With these new modalities, the process of building a meaningful UX has become quite complex. But I spent the better part of two years working with a brilliant team on an in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system for an automobile client (under NDA), and gained some valuable insights.

The overall goals of this project were to conduct generative research on the target audience, explore features and technologies necessary to fulfill the needs/desires of that audience, and conduct evaluative research and user testing with a partial prototype. Our research and test results would help inform the client about which features would be both meaningful and successful in their automobiles. …


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Photo by Lauren Mancke

As a UX practitioner, I see digital UIs through an acute lens. I notice all of the nuances and quirks, inherently making judgments about successes and deficiencies.

There are a handful of deficiencies that continually degrade my experience on websites. They are the UX faux pas that I love to hate, and I wanted to share them with you.

All five of these issues can be resolved by hiring a UX designer, but I have included simple solutions that you can use at home.

1. Authentication Labels (Log/Sign In/On Out/Off)

About six years ago I wrote a post about this. It’s as relevant today as it was then. …


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I don’t know that I have ever told this story to anyone, other than my wife, but there are a handful of people around my age who may remember it well.

I was 7 years old when I first heard the word “nigger.” In fact, it was my introduction to the very existence of racism. It happened during an unfortunate event in my school hallway.

I left class to use the restroom. As I proceeded down the cold, empty, sonorous hallway, with its freshly-waxed tile floor and metal lockers, I saw two boys at the drinking fountain. One was a boy in my grade, who I knew. His name was Brad. The other was an older boy. A black boy who I didn’t know by name. He had a huge afro, and wore some colorful, polyester threads. He was a perfect specimen of the late 1970s. …


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My entire being has been rife with emotion today. From the moment I witnessed the institutional murder of Alton Sterling, my lens of the day was dramatically altered. I waded through an endless stream of tweets and posts about bullshit that seems meaningless in the wake of yet another murder which is, really, a slow leak in the sea of American genocide.

Where one is suffering, we all are suffering. That is the oneness. A friend of mine likes to say “there is no private good.” There is also no private sorrow.

So here’s how it goes, white people of the world: we have white privilege. And we can do one of two things with this — we can be an ally or be a perpetrator. There is no middle ground. …

About

Mark Wyner

Meditator, experience designer, technologist, international public speaker, writer, family man, soccer addict, activist ✊🏻

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