November 21, 2003

Robert Fulghum (TA-DAA!) Blogs

I admire this grasshopper in front of me. Not only
is he good at going up, he's good at coming down.
He lands well. That's the secret of getting high and going far.
Landing well.

-- Robert Fulghum

There's a long story I could tell about Robert Fulghum, but I'll save it for another time and another place. Actually, there are many stories about Fulghum, but not all can be told, not all should be told, and some, if told, would result in a visit from "Vinnie, Leg Breaker to the Stars."

No matter, the news right now is that Fulghum, author of "Everthing I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" (New, Expanded Edition Here) and numerous other best sellers, is online at :Robert Fulghum's Journal.

What's it about? It's about living and noticing life as you move on down the road. It is about: bumper stickers seen on the street, things overheard in line at the store, factoids and fantasies, the parts we play in life and our disguises, films seen and American icons... and all manner of things considered in a certainl slant of light.

Here's an excerpt about aging that is as true and as straight as they come:


I seem to have wandered unaware into the Era of Endgame Events. Invitations appear now for golden wedding anniversary celebrations, retirement dinners, big-number birthday parties, class reunions, funerals, and the placing of memorial plaques. All these events honor people who are my age. Now, I am not old. But there are people my age who are old. And I can see Old from where I am.

Others call attention to this fact in a well-meaning way. A child of a child of mine recently offered to take me for ride in her car. I remember doing that for my grandmother -- just to get the old lady out and about. Is it my turn in the passenger seat now?

My wife nudges me in the back at a theater box office when a senior discount is offered and I don't take advantage of it. Being both cheap and younger than I am, she sees me now as the front-man for a discount scam.

And there was that phone call in May. "Bobby? Bobby Lee?" Anybody who calls me that is calling from Waco, Texas. And I know why. Fifty years ago I walked down the aisle, across the stage, and out of high school and into whatever came next.

"Are you coming to the fiftieth class reunion?"

"I don't know. I'll think about it."

I was thinking about it when I was in Crete this summer. Hot. Humid. Still.
Hunkered down in a small patch of shade in an afternoon stupor, I was motionless and mindless. Out of nowhere a big yellow grasshopper landed on the sunlit stone wall in front of me, like a tiny circus acrobat suddenly leaping into the spotlight at center ring. TA-DAA! Then he jumped again -- about twenty times his length and about ten times his height landing further along the wall in front of me. TA-DAA. Amazing. I felt like applauding. He's very good at what he does. I wonder what it would be like to be able to do that. The equivalent for someone my size would be about 120 feet, reaching 60 feet up at the top of the arc. A leap over a five-story building. If I could do that I would want to think about it before doing it even once. Maybe once is all I would ever do it. I suppose I could do it. Take a running leap off a five-story building on the edge of a cliff. Nothing to it. The jumping, I mean. It's the coming down that would concern me. Landing.

I wonder how it was the first time for the grasshopper on my porch. Some grasshoppers can also fly, you know. I don't know about him, but, personally, I would want to be one of those. That would be nice. I imagine the novice grasshopper would suddenly feel the uncontrollable urge to push off. "WOW, I'm really up here! WOW, I can fly!" The grasshopper must have been pleased. I suppose there are klutz grasshoppers who fly themselves into the ground and land on their heads or who get so excited they forget to flap their wings. But I've never seen one. I would probably be one.

I admire this grasshopper in front of me. Not only is he good at going up, he's good at coming down. He lands well. That's the secret of getting high and going far. Landing well.

The day I graduated from high school my daddy told me that I was too young to know what I wanted and to not be in a hurry to decide. He said success in life is wanting what you finally get -- no matter what you think you want now or how far away or how high up you go. The goal is being satisfied with how you end up.

Fifty years from now I intend that my grandchildren shall say of their long-dead grandfather. "He went high, he went far, and he landed well."

Posted by Vanderleun at November 21, 2003 10:03 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

So far in these articles, I have only dipped a toe or two into Aqua's pool. I have covered basic aspects of building an Aqua-compliant application, including the building of photo-illustrative/3D application icons. Now it's time to address other components of our Mac OS X application.

Posted by: Cadwallader at January 12, 2004 5:43 PM

This is the first thing your users see, and probably the single most important visible part of your application. It is the first chance you have at making an impression and the best chance to help establish your brand.

Posted by: Wymond at January 12, 2004 5:44 PM

Drawers. Similar to Sheets, this is a "child" window that gives users access to items that do not always need to be present. But when do you use a drawer and when do you use a palette?

Posted by: Erasmus at January 12, 2004 5:44 PM

At WWDC, I listened to Apple representatives make some excellent points about taking the time to build a 100%-compliant Aqua application, and I think all developers need to look beyond the code and listen to what the folks at Apple have to say

Posted by: Elias at January 12, 2004 5:45 PM

Dock Animation. Sometimes animating icons in the dock can be useful in communicating the status of the system or application.

Posted by: Humphrey at January 12, 2004 5:45 PM

Drawers. Similar to Sheets, this is a "child" window that gives users access to items that do not always need to be present. But when do you use a drawer and when do you use a palette?

Posted by: Phillipa at January 12, 2004 5:45 PM

The simple fact is that, when all other factors are equal, where will consumers spend their money? I believe that in the long run, the best looking, easiest-to-use applications will also be the most successful. I think that's why Apple encourages developers to write programs that are 100 percent Aqua-compliant.

Posted by: Hieronimus at January 12, 2004 5:46 PM

Adhere to File Locations. Make sure that when your users save documents, your application knows where to put them and also gives users flexibility.

Posted by: Benedict at January 12, 2004 5:46 PM

By building an application that takes advantage of Aqua's many facets, you help ensure that your application will not only look good, but have a chance of becoming a raging success. After a new user clicks on the icon of your program, the first thing he or she sees is the application interface. I know that when I review a product, I am very critical of its visual design. I usually have a short time to learn the new software, so design and ease of use are very important. Aside from those who marvel at the beauty of the command line, most users tend to react the same way.

Posted by: Annanias at January 12, 2004 5:46 PM

To put my money where my mouth is, in each new article I'll build a hypothetical application that illustrates the guidelines I'm covering. Today's application is called "Paint" and will be based on the photo-illustrative icon I created in my last article. Together we will complete each step, and by the end of the project we should have a well-designed, 95%-100% Aqua-compliant application. I'll leave some room for personal preferences and the fact that Apple changes the OS every few months.

Posted by: Wilfred at January 12, 2004 5:47 PM