Skip to content

Stuck in My Head: BIA – WHOLE LOTTA MONEY

BIA FOR CERTAIN

I didn’t expect this track to stay with me for so long, but since it’s been over a week since I’ve been humming lyrics about putting on my jewelry simply to visit the bodega, I decided it’s time to write about BIA’s “WHOLE LOTTA MONEY.”

The two-note sub bass line takes care of the hard-hitting, minimalist melody while BIA calmly flexes on all of us. My favorite parts include the 808 cowbell and the way BIA’s voice seems to fade into true nonchalance as she ends each refrain with “Bitch I’m getting money, give a fuck about a hater.” Words to live by.

Stuck in My Head: Necrophagist – Diminished to B

Necrophagist - Epitaph album art

I’ve yet to find another tech death band I enjoy as much as Necrophagist, which makes it all the more disheartening that they haven’t released a new album since 2004 and likely never will. (I was thrilled for a moment when I saw the website Metal Sucks report that an unearthed third Necrophagist album was coming out later this year, until I saw the date of the article – April 1st – and the title of the supposed final track of this album – “Endurance of the Gullible Masses.”)

Both of Necrophagist’s albums are masterpieces from start to finish, but lately it’s been “Diminished to B” that’s been stuck on a loop in my head – specifically the first thirty seconds or so. I love the halftime switch up that happens not even ten seconds into the song. I don’t think there’s any way one can ease themselves into extreme metal music like this, so this track is as good a place as any to dive right in if you’re curious. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be growling “SURROUNDED BY DARKNESS AND…. COOOOOLD” along with these crazy Germans in no time.

“Information Architecture? In My Content?”: What You Need to Know About IA

The IA polar bear in the "more likely than you think" meme

The 2021 Society for Technical Communication Summit is coming up soon, and that means the conference proceedings have been released. It’s cool to see that my paper, co-authored with Peihong Zhu, is the first article in the bunch. See the standalone PDF below, and attend the virtual Summit June 7-9, 2021 to watch our full presentation.

BTS Just Dropped a Meal

The BTS Meal at McDonald's

Hey, did you hear? BTS just dropped a meal.

I remember when meals were something that were cooked, prepared, or maybe in rare circumstances “released.” But dropped? That’s new.

“Yo, Grandma just dropped a meal. Bless up 🙏”

“Isn’t that just the Chicken McNuggets meal?” No, it’s the BTS Meal. There’s a difference. For one, it has exclusive sauces (which I didn’t even get in my order 😩). For two…. actually, I think that’s it. No wait, the paper bag and cup are purple. The greasy trash that you would normally throw out? That part’s cool now.

So what is a “BTS Meal”? Contrary to what you might assume, it’s not a political thing (that would be the “BDS meal,” dropping next month), it’s a reference to the Korean boy band BTS. I assume that their namesake has claimed the Chicken McNuggets meal because that’s their favorite pick when they’re eating McDonald’s at the airport. Also, because Travis Scott already claimed the Quarter Pounder with Medium French Fries and Barbecue Sauce combo as his own.

“It’s lit!”

You see what’s happening, right? McDonald’s is engaging in an act of information architecture.

In the case of information architecture, we could say that […] we have information as the raw material, embedded in objects delimited by spaces intentionally designed in order to promote user experiences as the core expertise practiced and researched within the field […]

Lacerda F., Lima-Marques M. (2014) Information Architecture as a Discipline—A Methodological Approach. In: Resmini A. (eds) Reframing Information Architecture. Human–Computer Interaction Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-06492-5_1

Let’s examine both the 10 Piece Chicken McNugget Meal and the BTS Meal as objects of information and break out their components.

If we conceptualize a McDonald’s “meal” as consisting of the four parts Drink, Main, Side, and Sauce, we can see that the regular 10 Piece McNuggets meal and the BTS Meal are more alike than not. They both feature 10 McNuggets and french fries – the core of the meal, in my sauce-adverse opinion – and differ only when it comes to the exclusive Cajun and Sweet Chili sauces that you can only get with the BTS Meal.

What I find interesting is that there is a degree of “participatory experience” in the BTS Meal that shows up in the optional components and attributes. The true, BTS-hand-selected, “Director’s Cut” version of the BTS Meal calls for a Coca-Cola as your drink and limits your fries intake to a reasonable Medium. However, it’s technically possible to order a BTS Meal and substitute your drink for something other than Coke, or to perhaps indulge in a Large order of fries. The BTS Meal, therefore, becomes less of a prescription and more of an ideal, which users can either merely dabble in or embrace whole-heartedly. I can guess what the ARMY will be ordering.

Arguably, the hard boundaries of the BTS Meal lie in the sauce component. If you – God forbid – dip your McNuggies in ketchup or mustard, are you truly participating in the BTS Meal experience? In my opinion, no. The sauces are the most essential component because they are the most limited and exclusive. These sauces only exist for this meal. McNuggets are forever.

<!--Valid BTS Meal-->

<BTS_Meal>
  <Drink Size="Large">Coke</Drink>
  <Main Size="10 Piece">Chicken McNuggets</Main>
  <Side Size="Large">French Fries</Side>
  <Sauce>Cajun</Sauce>
  <Sauce>Sweet Chili</Sauce>
</BTS_Meal>

<!--Valid Chicken McNuggets Meal, Invalid BTS Meal-->

<Chicken_McNuggets_Meal>
  <Drink Size="Medium">Coke</Drink>
  <Main Size="10 Piece">Chicken McNuggets</Main>
  <Side Size="Medium">French Fries</Side>
  <Sauce>Ketchup</Sauce>
  <Sauce>Mustard</Sauce>
</Chicken_McNuggets_Meal>

In my opinion, a meal that hits all of the optional BTS Meal attributes but violates the sauce requirements is at best a Chicken McNuggets meal, but it certainly isn’t a BTS Meal.

You might disagree. You might say that it’s the exclusive purple packaging that makes a meal BTS, and the sauces inside (maybe everything inside!) are merely filler.

There’s a discussion to be had, and implications either way. This is information architecture.

“This is information architecture,” says man biting into fast food.

“DITA Isn’t for Everyone (And Here’s Why)” – My Talk at ConVEx 2021

I had a fun time recording and presenting this talk alongside my Precision Content colleague and former University of Toronto professor Keith Schengili-Roberts for ConVEx 2021. Keith talked about the “the business of DITA,” touching on those industry sectors where DITA works best and where other structured authoring standards make more sense. I come in the second half to talk about “DITA and its Discontents,” or why teams abandon DITA and what sorts of opportunities for improvement lie on the DITA 2.0 horizon.

1 2 7