Hello everyone. If you’re coming here for the first time, I apologize for the mess. Check out the Best of 2012 Page. It will give you a better sense of what I did here before a certain reality show Fresh Prince’d my life.

For the rest of you, some context: Last night, just as I was getting on the subway (and out of cell service) Penny Arcade launched the official Strip Search website. Despite the gentle trolling by PA’s Robert Khoo in the days prior, I found myself unprepared for the launch—both mentally and logistically. Most of this had to do with being at Science Online 2013* all last week and then subsequently moving to a new apartment. As such, my computer lived in a box until Tuesday morning.

I also found myself very much unprepared to have my own tired, squinty, and confused past self staring back at me. You should go meet all the artists, but basically, upon arriving in Seattle for filming, the crew sat us down in front of a camera and asked us some questions. If you were a tired, confused person like me, you might not have realized that they were going to use that footage. What can I say?

I was also surprised at their choice of works to feature, which included some less than impressive examples of my work and this self portrait.


I would have preferred they picked this self portrait. Or even this one. But, truthfully, I was amused at the choice because it reminded me about the story behind it and the interactive game that it spawned.

In 2010 I found myself undergoing a bit of a personal renaissance. I had just met singer, drummer, podcaster, and skeptic George Hrab for the first time, and he left a pretty big impression on me. Not only did he inspire me to combine my art and science passions, but also to stop dressing like a goddamn beach bum. I threw out my Hawaiian shirts, cargo shorts, and long hair in favor of the slightly more professional look I sport today. There were setbacks, of course—that first haircut looked like crap. Defeated, I snapped a photo of my shameful mop and retreated into solitude.

While in my fortress of follicular regrets, I ended up using the photo of me as a lighting study. Towards the end, I started experimenting by adding different hair layers, glasses, and even trying to reconstruct my beardless chin (I still have no idea what it really looks like). Then, inspirations struck me. At the same time as all of this, I was still hopelessly dabbling in Flash animation. Years prior, I taught myself Flash as a way to draw cartoons in a school that had no animation program. I wasn’t great at it, but it was fun, and even landed me on Funny or Die.

I got it in my big head that I could make a fun, digital business card of sorts**, and used that painting with the interchangeable hair as a template for an interactive paper doll of my hirsute mug. Before the project could go anywhere, I realized that Flash was dying, I don’t like animating all that much, and I wanted to draw comics instead. The file was left on an obscure folder of my website and promptly forgotten. That is until the good folks at Penny Arcade decided to feature the portrait in their introduction to me. Without further ado, I present to you the outdated, interactive Maki. Enjoy!

Click Here. (Warning: Music1)



*Full coverage of the conference will post tomorrow.
**Remember folks, this is just around the time everybody was giving up on Flash (no thanks to the ubiquitous nature of iPhones).
Piece of Peace by The Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra