Category Archives: social media

Meeting Santana

santana

I just connected with Santana on LinkedIn

I couldn’t believe he reached out to me like that — so totally amazing, right?

I mean, its not Carlos Santana, of course — its Henderson Santana

I don’t really actually know Henderson Santana IRL { that’s ‘in real life‘ for those not familiar with internet slangology ;] } — like, we’ve never actually met face-to-face or anything, or even virtually now that I think of it

This makes me pause and wonder a bit …

Am I too friendly on social media? Is it wrong or strange to connect randomly like this in an online and public forum like this ( and other ) social web experience prior to actually knowing a person and how they might influence my personal brand, among other potential ripple effects to my online identity? Do I take my social presence across multiple SM properties too lightly? Do I come across as I too playful and too casual online? Do others perceive me as unprofessional or inappropriate by my accepting a request like this to connect upon a cold and seemingly random invitation sent by a virtual ( and also real ) stranger that lives somewhere in the world on the other side of my computer monitor?

All I know is it frikkin’ Friday y’alL — enough with The Spanish Inquisition here, right? — who cares? — I’m here to have fun, get some rawkin’ creative work done, and to just play and discover the rules through experimental, semi-naïve doing — if Henderson or Carlos or any other of the mere instant acquaintances start to even feel toxic via Social, there’s an amazing click or tap I can access to cut ’em away — or better yet, I could interact a bit and find out what the strange behavior’s all about, when and if it even happens at all

but, up front — I give people the benefit of the doubt for a bit up-front and figure it all out as I go along — why over-stress about this shit, right? — i mean its just Social ;]

prince n’est plus mort

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well — about 4 years after The Artist formerly know as Prince officially declared to the world:

The internet’s completely over. I don’t see why
I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else.

— Prince, 2010 in an interview with the Daily Mirror

it seems as if his Purple Badness went all twisty turvy in the entirely opposite direction

with his new resigned / reworked business relationship back with Warner Brothers Prince is slated to release 2 new albums on September 30th, 2014 — he’s releasing the long-awaited Plectrum Electrum under the project name 3rdEyeGirl, which is a far more gritty rawk outfit with a live an’ trippy sense of delivery and performance, as well as the old school all-Prince album Art Official Age done up in the every instrument done up by Prince studio-style that the master musician grew to fame

you can go pre-order both albums up on the 2 official websites as: CDs with MP3s; MP3s; or as WAVs from the site and you can also pre-order up via iTunes and Amazon as well — and, not to mention all the social mediatized hype His Royal Badness put up on the interwebz like some sort of messianic 5 foot 2 inch purple yoda Obama mad on the ultra-webbified campaign trail, live streaming concert footage with 3rdEyeGirl up on LiveStream { the account is now interestingly deleted, hmmmm }, single pre-release samples up on various sites via SoundCloud, live clips of 3rdEyeGirl via Dr. Funkenberry via SoundCloud sounding’ all stripped down ‘n funkyCool, there’s literally been a strange Prince Revolution brewin’ an’ in the works now for over a year that’s been building such fervor and excitement for the fan-base — its truly incredible

i’m obviously really lookin’ forward to the new tracks i got comin’ in the mail an’ via the webz ;]

‘sGonna be so, so good

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some notes about the social web

Smiling Asian woman taking a selfie

our lives changed a lot with the advent of the social web

but the social web alone isn’t the sole force behind the major shift in our cultures and our behaviors as this brand spankin’ new, always-on society of netizens take the social web and add the personal portability of our mobile devices PLUS the embedded camera technologies that make instant photoSharing as easy as peasy-ness and them’s the 3 magic ingredients that made for some major changes in the world { at least in the Americas } the mobile phone also cracked open the world to this sort of constant tower of babble that we’re all exposed to ‘out there’ in the multiverse as well — and you know what i’m talkin’ ’bout here Willis — the aural patina of constant chatter in public places like our big chain convenience stores, malls and other previously semi-polite spaces now fall victim to the ubiquitous right we all now enjoy as carriers of mobile technologies — anyplace, anytime you like you can make a call and unleash the oftentimes mindless detritus of your daily proclivities upon your publicSpace neighbors around you — and, of course, you can snap a selfie or totally lifeStream just about any part of your day, no matter how ultra-trivial it might feel { or actually be } to create those special instaMemories { complete with orange-faded photo filter effects and cutesy captionings }

of course, as a cyberSurrealist, i completely understand some untapped potential for all of this self-oriented social media broadcasting goin’ on in the world all around us

as annoying as it sometimes feels, its interesting to think about our photo-documentiatic obsessions and just how much of our human experience — whether its considered to be an actual reflection of the mirror-life we’re all creating or some sort of simulated performance alter-egotistical manifestation of what we want our lives to be projected as — gets uploaded to the interwebz …

a transitional shift

from a user-centered experience designer’s point of view, and as a self-proclaimed ‘transitional’ { mentally living somewhere between our current, over-mediated lifestyle and the previous all-analog lifestyle that came before the advent of these myriad new technological advances }, its psychologically fascinating to see the show that’s being put on and to understand the subconscious outlet that’s being documented and curated every single day — these communication channels and our usage, whether intentionally used for the purpose of cataloguing the transition or not, totally capture the immense changes we’ve all been dealing with, and the results of our introduction to these new avenues of output and interaction have tremendous and very telling influence over who we really are as a society and what we desire and what we’re becoming

these telecommunication technologies, like drugs and alcohol and other addictive consumer products, reduce our inhibitions and allow us all to behave the way we were born to behave sans our previously semi-polite social standards — walls and windows in the previous social structure remain cracked and broken open and the little Freudian Pandora’s Boxes residing at the core of our psyches have been picked open with all of our interior monsters now unleashed upon the new world of more honest { but unfortunately not nice } human behavior through the stage of our social media we see the performance of our subconscious selves acted out on an hourly basis — we share, we like, we comment with the tips of our sublingua straniera interiori — our inside-out existence technologically augments the subconscious beasts within us all, unless, of course, you’ve figured out a way to get some conscious control over what you so choose to tweet and share and instaPost to these supposedly social broadcast mechanisms

read more at cyberSurreal on tumblr

myOwnMind, LLC and a little storyFirst out @ the UX Boston Conference #1

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i recently established a new concept based on a slew of back-logged experience design ideas i’ve decided to revisiting again and really start actively digging into — i’m calling this latest self re-invention design exercise myOwnMind, LLC, and the original idea came out of my own improvisational humor in a passing conversation with friends

in a fun back-and-forth exchange of energetic and fun discussion, i told my friends,

‘yeah, i actually used myOwnMind { to do that } — its, like, the original app’

as if my brain were some mysterious technology that i somehow ‘tapped’ into in the process of getting some design work done for a client

 

i’ve actually evolved the idea in a very wonderful sort of way into an actual, semi-realistic business concept by putting some company information up on LinkedIn … and i seem to keep getting a lot of amazing positive response from the brand and the concept — here’s the basic gist behind myOwnMind as copy-pasted directly from my LinkedIn Company Page Description:

By leveraging a variety of somewhat nebulous experimental cyberSurreal techniques — the interdisciplinary consulting team at myOwnMind deeply focuses on both client- and self-initiated project-based work to create change for good. 

Don’t just think about it — and definitely don’t merely complain about the frustrating state of the world as we’re experiencing it today — work with us to actively engage in collaborative efforts to change the world.

in just the last 2 to 3 days since posting the newly-designed logo, wordmark and tagline to LinkedIn and to the myOwnMind website, i’ve received more than a dozen congratulatory messages for people in my network as well as other messages from several companies and individuals reaching out and expressing interest in finding out more about myOwnMind — which is truly cool news by me, right?

 

one last tidbit i need to mention before folding up this little twisty origami blogPost is how happy i am and how lucky i feel to get the opportunity to present my storyFirst talk out at the very first UX Boston Conference at the Microsoft NERD Center on Saturday, July 19th

i first presented storyFirst out at MassArt as part of the Continuing Ed Lecture Series back in February of 2013 — and although i previous discussed ways to better leverage storytelling { and aspects of story via narrative and various narrative elements } in some casual settings, organizing my thoughts on the topic and presenting at MassArt gave me the tremendous opportunity to really hone in on how to initially articulate my ideas and discuss the benefits of putting story at the center of such an interdisciplinary and complex set of processes

now, thanks to this fantastic opportunity to revisit the talk via this public speaking engagement out at the UX Boston Conference, i’ve taken a few steps back and thought through the core message in a far deeper, richer way — i truly feel that this second installation of ‘A storyFirst Approach to Human-Centered Design‘ will more succinctly and more powerfully reveal the core message of the talk while also elaborating on the significance and value of putting story smack dab in the middle of the process

i’m really looking forward to giving the talk at the UX Boston Conference and i hope to see you there!

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you mean, there’s another blog?

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a new direction for mobile design

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for the most part when we think about design for our mobile devices we have an image like the one above in mind — its a bit of a personal relationship we’ve developed with our smartphones, and the interactions are considered ‘micro-interactions,’ quick, task-based little spurts of use to check a little buzz or beep that went off in our pocket — we’ve got a little friend on us at all times now, and that little friend brings us the magic of real-time updates of information and some simulated sense of ‘being social’ through experiences like Twitter, Facebook and the like

a lot of the graphics you’ll find pertaining to using smartphones in particular show the one-to-one — person to machine — sort of relationship — and the person engaged with looking down at the little magic screen in the palm of their hands is either smiling and content, as if staring into a good friend’s or lover’s face directly or somewhat serious if the visual story being told is more about critical business communications

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we get the picture though — we all know the experience, the interaction, that’s going on between the facial expression, the position of the hands and fingers and the general body language and position of the neck and gaze

its a rather solitary experience, though, right?

even with the advent and common, everyday use of the supposed social web, the interaction is really between you and the data being displayed on a tiny shiny screen

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in her book Alone Together — Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, MIT Psychologist Sherry Turkle takes a deep look at the worlds of sociable robotics and social media in their current state and the general effect these technological advances are having at a societal level — and as amazing as our inventions may be, the overall experience we end up having as human beings engaged with our technologies is unfortunately one largely steeped in isolation, loneliness and a sort of transactional behavior between people as mediated through the interactions we’re afforded to interact through

of course, we can also still participate and interact with each other in the moment, face to face, the old fashioned way, right? the analog means are always there for us to fall back upon, thank goodness — being in the same place at the same time can actually foster a certain vibrant energy and more efficient and active way to communicate, collaborate and get things done — but we can’t always meet face to face, in the current moment in today’s fast-paced society, unless, of course, we make the time and travel happen — at the end of the day, the feeling our device-driven world often leaves us with is a strange jumbled aftertaste of miscommunication, misunderstanding and an awkward, near-real-time, off-kilter distance between the actual people interacting through the devicery invented to facilitate better communication that can happen ‘anytime, anywhere’ according to the hypertechnophilic marketingSpeak we swim through on a daily basis

i would love to take the expertise i’ve built up over the last 20 sum odd years to try and steer the course in an entirely different direction

if our smartphones and other mobile paraphernalia are instruments of communication, might we then compare our iPhones and Androids to something more akin to a musical instrument? like a banjo, for instance?

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or maybe the comparison we try to draw is to something more like an orchestral instrument like the french horn

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whatever the metaphor might be — i would like to change how our interactions through these technologies feel and hopefully even change the actual way we use them

i’d like to take ’em and shake up the paradigm in a big way, ya know? and why not? i’m a fucking rather accomplished experience design architect and designer after all — i want to change the story of these technologies before we become more isolated and distant from each other

if we think of our smartphones and mobile devices more along the lines of music-making machines, as tools for thinking and collaborating together in real-time and space, we just be able to retell the story a bit and design for more orchestral synergistic ways to use these truly phenomenal technologies

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i don’t know what the actual experience or interface for these new interactive paradigms might be quite yet, but shouldn’t our devices and our interactions through them feel more like this beautiful photograph of this string trio as opposed to this business dude getting some off-sync email back in the city office?

mobileDude

i actually think we need to start designing ways to allow our experiences through mobile and other new or evolving technologies actually better work in a together-like fashion, right? so instead of all the clutter and drowning information over-saturation of email and other truly horrendous collaborative cloud environments that only offer up a sandbox of confusion and uncoordinated, often disjointed collaborative team efforts — our new experiences should feel a lot more like what happens within the context of a real team — agility, muscle memory, easy means to pass the ball back and forth

or maybe better yet — maybe, just maybe — we might be able to think even bigger than that and design for interactions as graceful and wonderful-feeling as the coordinated, collaborative music-making of an orchestral ensemble

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i know its entirely possible — we just need to aim for that level of collaborative platform design — i don’t know that there’ll even be a Microsoft or Apple to take on this high task, as i’m sure its an enormous effort, but a truly wonderful one at that — i know that i would personally like my interactions and collaborations with all the people i work with to feel that powerful, fun and harmonious — and this is what i’ll be dreaming up through a storyFirst, iterative, human-centered process in my ample free time

i think this is gonna be a fun project to take on — i think its one of many projects that we need to design for in the world, one of many, too, that i personally want to dream up, brainstorm, workshop and design for — i can’t wait to share the progress as my efforts bear even little grapes and cumquats along the way as i’m sure its going to be an interesting journey

won’t you come and join me? 

 

moving on { from Mobiquity }

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so, its in a somewhat sad and self-reflective mood that i leave Mobiquity, the enterprise-class, start up mobile services agency i’ve worked for over the last year and a half out in Wellesley and Waltham

i truly love so much about Mobiquity

and my final decision to leave the organization, believe it or not, was not one made in great haste or with any sense of impulsivity or reactionary spirit on my part

this was a difficult decision, and i actually leave the firm for so many very excruciatingly painful reasons, many of which are purely personal and life-design related

as i leave, i would like to take a few moments to quickly bullet-list reflect on those positive aspects i can think about and keep with me in my heart and soul as i start a new chapter in my career

here are some Lessons Learned — nearly spiritual concepts and observations — i can bring with me and thank Mobiquity for as i move forward { and I am truly appreciative in every way for the opportunity to work at Mobiquity over the last 17 or so months of my life, its been truly wonderful in so many ways }:

  • hire, trust and empower truly amazing and talented people
  • think of your company { or your department } as a prototype and iteratively optimize the experience of the company using a truly human-centered design methodology
  • take the time to listen to each other, truly listen to each other
  • collaborate as often as possible, and do so with an eclectic human involvement in each project or process as often as possible — it is appsolutely VITAL to understand each and every business challenge involved in each engagement from as many unique perspectives { from the POV of Sales, Business, Design, Development and Delviery } as the organization can afford to invest into the flow of a project at every single step of the process
  • everything is far more complicated than it seems on paper, especially if what’s been put on paper is too vague at the beginning to promote any reasonable sense of business accountability on the part of each partner involved in the engagement
  • professionally drive and guide each process in both a thoughtful and respectful way as a true leader for each and every project / engagement / partnership / relationship
  • learn from both success and failure — its the only way to evolve and grow as an organization { and as professional, talented and honest individuals }, so do not be so utterly afraid of ‘The F Word’
  • transparency — much-like the terms innovation and collaboration — is overrated, under-delivered and over-promised { in other words, if you can’t truly be totally transparent as an organization, don’t even bring up the term, it only hurts everyone involved, including the company, at the end of the day }
  • do everything in the most human way possible — people really appreciate it when you take the time to just talk with them face-to-face or when you try to solve an unsmooth situation by doing everything within your truly human power to show you love what you do and you love and respect the people you’re currently collaborating with
  • live in the moment and appreciate the good and bad of: each and every moment; each and every challenge; each and every opportunity
  • everything is possible

i’ll admit, i’ve been learning some of these things along the way regardless of my shortish tenure with Mobiquity — but i’ve been driving to consciously communicate these fundamental discoveries and understandings of experience design and industry in general in a far more articulate and effective manner to help deepen my understanding of myself, my business and my approach

thanks again for these last 17 or so months at Mobiquity

while working with The Mob, i focused on personally promoting a professional sense of fun, collaborative energy while simultaneously bringing the work to a higher place — and as much as i felt like a complete failure to celebrate my departure from such an amazing collection of talented individuals over a glass of wine and some humorous toasts with the crew, i do feel that i, at the very least, accomplished and embodied those 2 concepts — collaborative fun-making and over the top, professional project results — while contributing at the highest level allowed by the organization

thank you Mobiquity

much continued hope, love, success and happiness

[: long live The Mob :]

..:: teaching IxD ::..

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this Spring semester at Massachusetts College of Art and Design — which is, like, almost over, sadly enough — i got the distinct pleasure of taking the materials, sequencing and my approach to teaching Interaction Design { by night for MassArt’s Continuing Education Department } and filtering the entire course down into an independent study with Aliyah Domash

i didn’t realize it until we met up to work on the fine details of how Interaction Design might work at this independent study scale — but, that whole ‘small world’ kind of aspect of the design community in Boston was working its crazy magic from the onset, and strangely enough, i already met Aliyah and got to see her work from a semester or 2 back by sitting as a guest critic in one of the final presentations of Alison Kotin’s Foundations of Graphic Design course — anyhow, flashback to that class and i got to see a lot of hand-drawn, amazing depictions of an artichoke, all in black and white, cropped and composed and mounted very professionally and pinned to the wall — it was a fantastic and dynamic final critique that i’m sure involved a smörgåsbord of hummus and cookies and water and other potluck snackage as a part of this wonderful celebratory discussion of all the fine work and progress each student made over the course of the semester

so, as you can probably tell, i have a certain obsession with foodly comestibles AND a little bit of an issue with portion control, right? ;]

but, back to our regularly scheduled topic — meeting Aliyah in Alison’s design class

anyhow, that night and these sorts of conversations with students and faculty and different nuance of design potentialities always makes me happy and excited about the kind of design community we have at MassArt and in the Greater Boston Area in general — and what? with AIGA Boston, BostonCHI, Boston Cyberarts, Dorkbots, IxDA, Pecha Kucha Night Boston, Refresh Boston, Upgrade Boston, UXPA and the myriad university-driven lectures, hackathons and networking opportunities steeped in designery, you almost can find it difficult to keep up with just the community, forget about the most current trends, buzz and general discourse that accompanies the fine world of design in the general locality

who would’ve known that a year out i’d be working to teach and mentor Aliyah at MassArt in this wonderful independent study setup, right? small world, crazy small, in fact — and then, its just utterly phenomenal to see how quickly a student like Aliyah comes in on day one, starts up with the first 3 more analytic exercises in experience design deconstruction and all — and then through reading, dissection, personal and professional reflection and our near-weekly conversational sessions at MassArt and the project work that puts the focus on active exploration of interaction and user-centered design as a theory and a practice and an empathic journey to guiding this bizarre, almost otherwoldly force we call Design in a way that keeps real, live people at the center of our approach and goals as design professionals — well, its just amazing to see Aliyah’s progress over the semester and to see the full spectral journey of her final project work for final critique and completion of the course

its been a really wonderful semester — really interesting to see how i’ve had to flex and bend the materials and approach, only slightly in all actuality, to keep the design of the course itself ultimately very interactive, human and fun

i’m really looking forward to the final critique, although i know we’ll miss meeting up on a semi-regular basis with the good excuse of putting some credits on the roster while hopefully also digging into what design can really mean for all of us as both professionals and people exploring the world through the filter of human-centered experience design

 

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introducing Random Acts of Laughter

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OMFGawd! — today ranked in as one of the funniest, funnest April Fool’s Days EVER!

My very good friends and colleagues out at MobiquityRachael Stedman and Skylar Roebuck, the mad fucking geniuses that they are — took my rather broken dregs of an initial attempt to prototype a ‘Laugh Hotline’ concept I tried to throw together at Tufts Hackathon 2013 and really made it into something functional, fun and quite hilarious — i mean, this shit is FUNNY!

check out Random Acts of Laughter

Just enter your name and the target — er, ehm — recipient phone number you’d like to send a random laugh to and through the magic code expertise of Idea Squad Brain Trust { aka, Rachael Stedman, Skylar Roebuck and I … and any other Mobstrz that join our all powerful forces of hackage } the RAoL back-end servers randomly selects one of our hand-crafted audio laugh pre-recordings { generaously supplied by Laugh Institute } and sends it over with some light salutations to help brighten somebody’s life for a few ephemeral mobile moments

After just one day of our 2013 April Fool’s Day Beta Launch we’ve already received a barrage of random accolades and praise — just take a gander at what people are saying about Random Acts of Laughter:

One receiver of a random laugh immediately replied, ‘Oooh my goodness! I just sent this to myself and almost lost it — fun for the whole family!’

Another unsuspecting participant in our surprise mobile laugh intervention chimed in by saying, ‘Just had some moron/creep call my cell phone and leave a voice mail message. It was a Quincy number so I didn’t answer it. The message was just maniacal laughter. Creepy—like a deranged clown. Probably some idiot calling random numbers on his day off from Walmart.’

And finally, yet another delighted and mirthy victim of Random Acts of Laughter says, ‘Lolz!  So funny!’

Looking forward to more incredible evidence of the success, joy and positive energy we’re all feeling out here at the Idea Squad Brain Trust, the Laugh Institute and Mobiquity

Random Acts of LaughterMake ’em laugh

a perfect world

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we all know its not a perfect world out there, right?

none of us are, like, THAT delusional

but, what if we all just pretended we live in a perfect world and we began to treat each other a little better? that couldn’t really HURT anybody really, now, could it? in fact, it might be kind of cool and awesome in some strange and cool way

here’s a f’rinstance for ya

what if instead of having a continuous stream of bad things to say about people, what if we only said generally positive things? doesn’t it just feel good to receive a compliment? it feels even better to give a compliment to someone — even if you get nothing in return { and you should never even expect anything in return, right? then you might be complimenting someone for the entirely wrong reason } it just feels good — it feels good to know you’re recognizing the incredible awesomeness around us all, that you’re appreciating life, and that you’re appreciating the people in life that make all of this so worthwhile and fun and happy and alive

bad things are going to happen no matter what

its inevitable, its just the nature of every time-based medium

and life is a time-based medium, so hold on, here it comes ;]

i mean, we can all be honest, too — no need to walk around like an imbecile or something, and its certainly okay to have an opinion about someone or something, but try and back it up in some way with some real reason why you’re feeling so down about these things — just a little bit of research can go a long way, and it will also give us all a little bit more insight into your thinking process and why you’re judging in the first place

if you have a point to make with these observations, with your researched and clarified opinions that veer toward the negative side of life, then good for you — and maybe even good for the world

but realize, at least, just how vulnerable we all are — and especially you as the judge and jury expressing these opinions, especially if you’re expressing them in a very public place like on a blog or on Facebook or at church

unless you’re working at the Lynn District Court or something, too, remember that the Judge also receives some judgment from the social community within which they lay comment — and even THAT judge, the courtly official presiding, will ultimately receive judgment — after all, its not an entirely efficient process — the pay looks real nice and there’s no reason to be efficient if you’re getting paid by your hourly input as never ever reflected by the actual quality of those then quantified hours

but that’s beside the point

let’s all try a little experiment

let’s pretend

what if we lived in a perfect world? what would we say to each other? how would we behave?

try acting like we live in a perfect world and that people act and behave certain ways for good reasons

it might make us all a little less critical of our brothers and sisters

and then we might just concentrate on good things, good people, good feelings, and all the stuff that makes life fun and exciting

i’m gonna try it

let’s see what happens