Zirkle Circle hike Outside Steamboat, Colorado.
Hi, my name is Alex. I’m not sure which is less pretentious, writing in the first, or third person. So instead, I’ll alternate between the two. I make stuff for fun, and for money. The thing I’ve made I’m most proud of, is my daughter Josie. However, so far she is costing a lot more money than she is bringing in. A horrible business decision on my end. I’ve found that things most worth making are usually made for fun. And if they are really fun, then they also make money.
I think design awards are silly. But probably because I’ve never won one. I also think people who try to pass themselves off as brands are also kind of silly. I can say this, because I used to be one of those people. The work you’ll find on this site is work I’m proud of, because I think it’s important to make work you’re excited to show people. Otherwise, what’s the point. I don’t think design is going to save the world. But it could. Which is why I’m most interested in partnering with people and businesses who are working toward building vibrant, diverse communities that encourage a sense of place. Also, more often than not, bikes are the answer.
That’s all for now. I also realize that this is composed entirely in the first-person, which makes my earlier statement irrelevant. Just seemed better this way. If this left you wanting to know more about me, feel free to follow along with my adventures on Instagram or just say hi.
It’s hard to believe that places like this exist less than three hours from my driveway. Harder to believe yet, people live for decades, if not lifetimes, with this practically in their backyard, never to experience it. If you’ve never had the fortune of taking in the expanse as storm clouds roll across the desert sky, go seek it out. It’s a rare and vast experience, that as with all the best things in life, is not for sale, and therefore can’t be bought, but must be found.
Yet I digress. As magical as rain in the desert can be, nothing compares to the thrill of exploring places both new and old through a new set of eyes. Especially when those eyes belong to your one-year-old baby girl. This past weekend marked my and Josie’s first, of what I hope to be many solo, father-daughter camping trips. Destination: the San Rafael Swell.
Follow along with our adventures on Instagram
What I’m watching, reading, and listening to of note.
Master of None, Season 2 – I’m three episodes in, and Season 2 is every-bit the masterpiece that Season 1 was. Must-watch television.
Silicon Valley, Season 4 – Is Mike Judge the most underrated force in comedy? Probably. At this point Idiocracy is basically a documentary. Further reading, Mike Judge, the Bard of Suck
Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading Part 1: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business – If you work for yourself, own a business, or some day think you might want to, read this book.
Ludacris, Llama Llama, Red Pajama Freestyle – I’ve watched/listened to this no less than 50 times.
You know how people say that everything changes the moment you see your baby for the first time? That you’re filled with overwhelming joy and purpose, and throughout the next few months you walk around in a love soaked stupor fueled by sleep deprivation? Well that’s all complete bullshit. Perhaps some may remember it that way, but what most parents don’t tell you, is that the first few months of having a baby SUUUUUUUCKS, big time. And I don’t simply mean because you’re tired all the time kind of sucks, but like legitimately dislike your baby kind of sucks. I have distinct memories thinking back, that consists more or less, of “Is this really my life now?”
And then around four or five months in, it all starts to change. Baby starts to smile and react. They look less like a shrunken, dehydrated version of you or your alien love child. In short, with luck, they are no longer hangry, squid-like, shit birds (side note: they are still little shit birds, but cute shit birds) and more like tiny humans who are entirely convinced that you’re at least one of the top two people on Earth.
So how does having a kid change your life? Well, for starters, I haven’t seen any of the movies that were nominated for an Oscar this past year. I’ve, for the most part, lost my favorite adventure partner, and now need to schedule activities in advance, as well as know exactly what those little numbers on the bottle nipples mean. Now that might all sound pretty lame, cuz it is, until you consider having a kid as an investment. Yea, I’ve mostly been absent from pop culture for the past year, but I’ve already started playing Josie my favorite music, and watching her respond and react to my favorite songs is like hearing them again for the first time. And while I’m short an adventure partner for the time being, it’s only a matter of time until that -1 turns into a +2. We’ve already successfully completed four consecutive nights camping in the desert, as well as have hiked and skied Empire Bowl at Deer Valley. Not to mention Josie shreds the driveway harder on her giraffe trike than any one-year-old has the right to.
Happy year one Josie May – can’t wait to see what adventures come our way in year two!
There are two things to aim at in life. First, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest achieve the second.”
Logan Pearsall Smith from “Life and Human Nature” via Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 1
We took a break from playing bikes for the weekend as snow returned to the Wasatch. What a place we live…
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I’ve always been fascinated by place. As such, I’m one of those people continually perusing “best places” lists, real estate listings, as well as reading city data and reddit threads in an attempt to seek out the next Austin or Portland. While I’ve visited my fair share of places, I’ve really only made one major move in my life, which was from Indiana to Utah after college. While I’m constantly in search of that “next best place,” the truth is, I’m pretty happy in Utah and haven’t been able to come up with a good reason to leave, or moreover, a better place to go. Sure, Utah is one of those deep red states with it’s fair share of state sanctioned backwards-ness, but it has much going for it that makes it a worthy place to stay and try to change from the inside. Don’t even get me started on the potential there is here should a few like-minded folks put there heads together and collectively decide to make something cool happen.
Yet I digress. A couple months back, Mr. Money Mustache was on the Tim Ferris Show. I was previously unfamiliar with Mr. Money Mustache, but he’s a financial lifestyle blogger with a cult-like internet following. In addition to his frugal financial habits, he is also a huge proponent of optimizing one’s life for quality time and not the daily “busy-ness” and chores so many perceive as simply part of life or being an adult. For instance, choosing to live close enough to work so you can walk or ride rather than having to commute by car, and generally arranging your life in which friends/family, neighbors, and daily essentials are accessible by foot or bike — a practice I’m a huge proponent of and continually working toward.
Throughout the podcast, Mr. Money Mustache references the book Happy City by Charles Montgomery, a Vancouver based journalist and self-described “urban engagement specialist.” The book is all about the impact that our surroundings have on our level of perceived happiness, as well as how urban planning and sprawl has impacted societal levels of happiness since the industrial revolution, for both better and worse. His claim in the book, is that even though income and home ownership has steadily increased since WWII, general happiness has decreased in part because of urban sprawl and dispersed living. Where towns and cities were once built around plazas and mixed-use neighborhoods, they’ve since been replaced by parking lots, highway corridors, and singular building codes. Essentially, people have traded walkability & community for commuting and perceived cheap square footage. Montgomery also finds in his research, that those who commute by foot or bicycle as a whole report higher levels of happiness and health than those who make nearly double the salary and commute by car an hour every day. Yet the tide seems to be turning from suburbia back to urban life as for the first time in recent years, people are choosing to move back to cities and urban centers spurring a new generation of urbanist design & thinking.
Regardless of whether you have an interest in urban planning and design, I’d highly recommend giving Happy City a read, as it’s a telling insight about happiness and the choices we make. Additionally, check out Mr. Money Mustache. While I’m not on board with he everything puts out, I think there is a lot of wisdom in optimizing time and money for happiness, and not the other way around.