Hero’s Frisbee -or- Flash Ethics

I recall now a dinner with a colleague. We were dining on a variety of common flora; the leaves and sprouts were arranged in a delicate balance on a plate, and each plate was topped with ‘dressing’. “It is a salad” said my guest. “They are a customary introductory smattering, usually served before, or adjunct to a main course.”

“Yeah, so? I’ve had salads, dude. Why are you getting all David Attenborough on my dinner?” I said.

Our topics of conversation varied wildly that night, no regard given to tasteful segue or humorous diversion. We nestled, finally, among talks of sports. The horrific grunge of spandex; gyrating on a field of grass soiled with painted lines and numbers, the un-ending boredom and eventual prayers for my own sudden death that accompany watching even one inning of Baseball, bags of peanuts.

After we’d satisfied the need to self-congratulate on our status as sophisticated intellectuals, we began inventing new games – games that, in our view, would actually be interesting to watch.

Harold Thunderbaby (names have been changed) asked if I’d ever seen a game called ‘Hero’s Frisbee’.

“No, but the name is pretty great…”

“It’s a lot like regular frisbee, except instead of a frisbee, there’s a puppy, and instead of throwing it around, you toss it in a tub filled with frosting…and watch it freak out, then guess on how long it takes the puppy to get out.”

There are times, even if a joke isn’t funny, you have to credit the person when their delivery is flawless; convincing, straight-faced, and well-endowed with interesting words and phrases.

His non sequitur was presented well – no smirking. An eavesdropper may have believed that such a game exists, in fact. But no one bad-talks puppies at the supper table when I’m around. No one.

I stared at him for a few moments, signaled the waiter, paid my bill, stood up, walked outside, looked at the Starbucks across the street, realized the second Starbucks a block away, recalled that this very scene is actually a bit from a talented stand-up comic, reflexively died a bit inside as I mourned for the human condition, went back inside, and sat back at my seat.

I’m telling you this not because I’m about to reveal

The Official Rule Book For Hero’s Frisbee: Chihuahua Edition

With a foreward by Michael Vick.

…but because I’m waiting for a project to render in After Effects. I only use After Effects when I need to do some actual video editing for something small, or more involved transcoding – everything else, in my limited foray into video, can be done in Flash when I just need a 60-frame video for a banner or something – or even a short promo spot / intro. And I’m talking like ten times per year, maybe. I’m not a video person, but there are times when a client just needs an .mp4, or has some small timeline issue in a .aeproj. What do you do? Call a video colleague and waste each others’ time?

So here I am, four hours into a render. I can taste it…that sweet chime sound is right around the corner.
Almost done rendering! Unless I get a blue screen again.

EDITORS’ NOTE: I’ve switched to Mac primarily since this article was written. PRAISE ME.

What I’ve been summoned here to write about today is this: Flash development.
The forward-thinking web developer snob inside me knows that Flash development should never be your first choice for web design, ever – and it’s rare that I get a client that demands the fanciest, craziest site they can possibly get. And even then, better to invest in HTML5, of course.

But I’m working on one of those rare treats this month in which Flash and ActionScript is required, and lemme tell you….

It’s fun. I’ve had an epic first week – going back to my roots in animation.
Instead of thinking things to myself like:

“It’d be nice to see each icon as a different color with independent hover states. Cool – lemme just assign psuedo-classes to everything, or maybe div everything up – how many bytes will that add? – , then make sure the styles are cross-browser compatible

EXCEPT IE6 – DIE YOU EVIL TIME DRAINING JERK BUTTHEAD WEINER FACE BOOGERNOSE

and maybe I can add a hover-state ease-in ‘glow’ in a dark red – like BE0000* – what’s the -moz-transform? How about the Microsoft markup? Oh right – DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Matrix.

OF COURSE THAT’S WHAT IT IS. WHAT SILLINESS HAS POSSESSED ME TO FORGET SUCH A LOGICAL AND NOT-STUPIDLY COMPLICATED STRING OF CHARACTERS…

I can do this:

I’d sure like to make their logo materialize out of light particles, then fly off the screen, and have XML power their slogan so they can change it later. And then i do it,

LIKE WOAH SON THAT’S MAD QUICK.

And then it’s done, and a single tear of elation streams down my supple man-cheek.

Is it wrong? Sure, it’s Flash. It’s the devil. Even if you’re responsibly deeplinking everything, providing xml data and a sitemap, and remembering crucial steps, like creating a simple, fast-loading html and css-powered mobile site, Flash does crap all over the Internet. But hey, it’s fun!

The developer side of me cringes in horror, as the designer side twirls in delight.**

*That’s a nice deep red, right? I’m not gonna confirm it. Only tell me if I’m right.

**I do not actually twirl.

Author: Rami

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