Buried deep in our chests, each Hood River citizen is now required to wear an economic growth inhibitor at all times. The weather-changing device atop City Hall is now operating at full power, effectively deflecting all tourists and their valuable Canadian dollars away from our town.

We’ve started referring to this month as June-uary, and at this point we’re beginning to lose all hope for the summer. It’s 50 degrees and cloudy here, and if this miserable weather pattern keeps up much longer there’s risk that we’ll all go back into our off-season hibernation. Frigid conditions aside, I’ve still gotten in a ton of kiteboarding this season, and last week I rode my custom 5’3″ North Pacific in some of the biggest, glassiest swell I have ever seen at the White Salmon Bridge.

Meanwhile, I’ve been reading the new Aaron Hillegass book and trying to teach myself Objective-C and Cocoa. The book is wonderful, but every time I try to improve my programming skills I feel like a dog trying to walk on its hind legs. My knowledge of Ruby and other object-oriented languages definitely helps with the learning curve for Objective-C, and my familiarity with a few different MVC frameworks, including Rails and CodeIgniter, helps with the underlying concepts of Cocoa. I recently spent an inordinate amount of time researching event listeners and how they’re manifested in JavaScript, and as a result my crude understanding of event-driven programming is nonetheless sophisticated enough that I can recognize it in unfamiliar territory.

This ability to abstract knowledge from the specific to the general is what separates man from the lichens and mosses of the world, and I take pride in that fact. Even so, I always feel clumsy and awkward as I stumble blindly through a new language or a new programming concept. I can’t shake the feeling that I’m making this harder than it is, that these are ideas I would have learned the first semester of my freshman year, in an Intro to Computer Science course.

That said, my education wasn’t in computer science. It wasn’t then, it isn’t now, and it won’t be in September. My areas of study included music, jazz, writing, English, philosophy and journalism. And yet I keep inexplicably gravitating towards programming, perhaps because I enjoy learning, perhaps because I’m a glutton for punishment, and perhaps because I have this awful habit of seeking out and doing the things that I find most frightening and difficult.

Ergo Oregon, ergo kiteboarding, ergo interaction design.


  1. Beth Martin
    June 11, 2008 – 4:23 pm

    Hi, Dane! You don’t know me, but I married your old roommate (I think you were roommates?) Peter. :) You used to have a hilarious selection of Peter quotes on your old page… Is it still there? Something made me remember it, and I want to laugh at him all over again.

  2. June 11, 2008 – 8:03 pm

    Wow! Awesome to hear from you, Beth! I hope the two of you are doing well. Peter and I were certainly roommates at UMD, where we knew him as “Peter with the hair.” The funny part was, amongst our group of friends there was no other Peter from which he needed to be differentiated, so the “…with the hair” descriptor was nothing more than a rhetorical flourish.

    Then he cut his hair, and well, wow. That just blew our minds.

    Ahh, but of course “Leave it to Peter” still exists! It now has a permanent home right here: