The Final Episode

Seinfeld is still my favorite television show. I know there hasn’t been a new episode in 14 years, but there is something about those characters that really resonates with me. I’ve always liked George the best (I’m sure it has something to do with his husky disposition, follicle misfortune, and that he worked for the New York Yankees). I feel like no matter what incident in life that comes my way, Seinfeld has partly prepared me for it. At times the show may not have prepared me how to respond to certain incidents, but at the very least I can find the humor in any situation. Now whether anyone else can find the same humor has yet to be determined.

The only thing that bugs me about Seinfeld is how it ended. If you recall the final episode closed with all of the main characters being placed in jail for their inappropriate response to a bad incident (carjacking). I understand the underlying current that the characters lack character but you can’t put the same characters on trial for all of the things we had grown to love about them. Maybe the writers wanted to create an unsatisfied appetite for more so that we will always yearn for more of the show.

Regardless of how it ended, it’s still my favorite show. Since that last episode I haven’t really found a sitcom that I find as much joy in. Maybe that’s me just getting older and not liking change or keeping up with the times. Maybe because there are no sitcoms any more. Perhaps it is my affinity for the ’90s. The closest show that I enjoy today is the Big Bang Theory, but it is missing something. It’s good. It’s just not the same.

So there’s good news and bad news.

First, the bad (so far as we’re concerned): This is our last installment of IBD. Today’s post will be the end. Luckily for us, Paul and I are not in jail (because we know our wives or Lisa aren’t going to bail us out). Paul wrote on Monday about Closing Quotes and ended with an apology of sorts. I want to say thank you to the community revolving around IBD.

Over the last three years the encouragement that you have provided us has been nothing short of amazing. I’ve heard my wife say to my friends, “Don’t encourage him.” Now I know what she means. We appreciate your input, comments, and the enjoyment (okay, maybe that’s a reach) of our little project.

This blog began as an idea to publish our email conversations that we were already having and to also sell books. Well, at least we published our conversations. We hope at least we perpared you for something (insert your own joke here).

So how do we end this on a positive note? I’m not sure. It is bothering us seeing it end. When I feel the anxiety welling, I think back to relationships that have been formed because of a silly blog. Much like the character witnesses that came forward in the Seinfeld finale trail, you have been a big part of our run. At times when writing was an exercise in discipline, we found inspiration from you.

But wait, there’s more.

The good news: On April 2, we are coming back in a different way (much like Teen Wolf 2, we know how well that turned out). Our new project has been titled Media Platypus. Why? you may ask. Because Paul wanted to see if I could spell platypus and seriously, what’s more fun than an egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal.

We live in a changing landscape and we have to change. Otherwise I would still be wearing puffy shirts and stonewashed jeans.

On the new site, we are going to take a different approach to what we write about, what we share, and how it is presented. You can count on it being ten times as funny as IBD (10 x 0 still = 0; I’ve got mad math skills). If you feel so inclined, we’ve got a Media Platypus Facebook page ready for you to like, as well as a new Twitter handle, @MediaPlatpyus. The website will be www.MediaPlatypus.com (though there’s not much to see there yet). If you don’t want to follow this new venture, we understand and we’ll go back to crying ourselves to sleep each night.

It’s been fun, thanks for everything. We’ll see you on the Plat.

I’ve Got Problems

“When I’m working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong”—Buckminster Fuller

Generally speaking problem solving can be complicated. For me it is simple. I have a problem and my wife tells me how I am going to solve it. It is that easy. It is too bad that in most cases she created the problem for me in the first place.

When problem solving it is important to not lose sight of the problem at hand. It is easy to become distracted with side issues and loosing focus of mission, themes, goals, and the intended audience. If necessary, when working with a group or by yourself, focus specifically on the problem itself and avoid pitfalls that keep you from fulfilling that mission, theme, goal or meeting the needs of the intended audience.

I’m kind of a slow thinker. When problem solving I like to sit back, think, see what happens, collect information, synthesize approaches and then decide. My wife calls this being a procrastinator but I call it being analytical. You should be aware that some solve problems through various approaches that may or may not meld well with your approach. I tend to wait for the “Ah ha” moment to happen. The period before it hits is known as the incubation period.

Inspiration hits me at strange times, usually when I am away from the problem, program, or the computer. For me it is usually when I am driving or watching baseball. I don’t know if is because my mind works differently at those times or if it has to do with me eating peanuts and Cracker Jacks. More than anything it breaks my current cycle of thinking and allows new ideas to flow. The sugar and carbs help too.

If you wait too long in the incubation period you could be forced into the pressure cooker phase of problem solving. I have seen several talented people who thrive and excel under the pressure to meet a groups needs or finish a project under a tight deadline. Solutions to problems can flow out of necessity in this approach. Just leave time at the end for evaluation and re-design if necessary.

The longer I work as an interpreter and a designer I see that the majority of my work is problem solving. In some of my future posts I will take on common problems faced by interpreters and designers. Be on the look out for the I’ve Go Problems titles. If you have a problem professional or socially send them our way and we’ll take them on. In the mean time continue working on what problem solving approach works well for you and your specific situation. Don’t be afraid to take on different approaches or just listen to your significant other.