ActionScript 3.0

Pet My Kitty, Mr. New York City

Yesterday, I got up at 4am and traveled to the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York City to attend an Adobe sponsored “lecture” given by Flash expert Colin Moock. The topic was ActionScript 3.0.

I was wary about attending a free adobe sponsored event. I’ve sat through a few of their webinars in the hopes of getting ColdFusion 8 questions addressed for a pending upgrade at work, only to endure a lightweight, fluffy sales pitch reiterating a feature list that’s already available. I was happily surprised, however, that there were NO sales pitches. Colin even mentioned some open source ActionScript text editors worth using [FDT].

The event was bare bones – 300 flash nerds, no power for laptops and no WIFI. And, I have to say that watching even Colin Moock code for nine hours can be a little tedious. All of Colin’s previous books have been excellent and I was excited to hear him speak. His talked covered the examples in the first six (give or take) chapters of his new book Essential ActionScript 3.0. In the morning, he coded his packages and classes using notepad. In the afternoon, he switched to Flex. I was strongly reminded of Visual Studio – a great improvement to that interface is Flex’s real time code debugging – it tossed up comments and errors as he worked. When fixed, he only had to make sure his logic was sound.

AS3 is very different from its predecessors. I still haven’t completely digested AS2. The last Moock book I read cover to cover was ActionScript for Flash MX, the Definitive Guide. To stay with the Microsoft analogy, it’s a lot like going from quirky VB6 to C++.

One of the things I liked about Colin’s lecture was that he successfully made compelling arguments for using an Object Oriented Programming approach to authoring Flash, and yet didn’t openly frown upon those who will continue to attach code to the timeline – or even buttons and object on the stage [gasp!]. I thought about how we strive to keep our content separate from our formatting separate from our behavior when making websites with web standards, and a few lights went off in my head about AS3’s OOP capabilities. Variables aren’t just containers…they are objects. Everything is an object. EVERYTHING. And these objects can be kept, no wait, ARE separate. More on that later.

Flex seems like a great tool – wait…maybe this WAS a sales pitch. Wow.

I’ve spent the past three years immersed in studying web standards, XHTML, CSS, etc. I am looking forward to spending some time with another favorite aspect of the web. I’m looking forward to working with AS3.

After the talk, I kicked around the city with my buddy, Scott and his buddy, iPhone. We went to the Element Store and we had dinner in Chinatown. It was a great day.


Vanitas is a type of symbolic still life which was commonly executed by Northern European painters in Flanders and the Netherlands in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This sketch features objects from my studio (minus the onion and lime – those are from the fridge).

click image for larger

The term “vanitas” refers to the arts, learning and time and the impermanence of life. Common vanitas symbols include skulls, rotten fruit, smoke, watches, and hourglasses and musical instruments. In other words, cool stuff to draw.

Wikipedia has more on the topic.


For Illustration Friday…

“After pillaging the spoils of many, many plastic pumpkins, Mr. Vicker’s head died and his stomach took over. The stomach kept the head as a hat.”


Monsters: A History


It’s October in Baltimore. The leaves are changing colors (because they are dead) and blowing away in crisp chilly winds. The sky is getting dark earlier and everyone’s thoughts are turning to one thing: monsters. I am no different and thought I’d share some useful monster facts with you.


Monsters have been a vital part of every major iteration of civilization. While most people believe that the Tyrannosaurus Rex was the first monster to roam our planet, this isn’t actually true. Sharks were the first monsters, and sharks evolved into t-rexes (see figure 1). This is obvious from their dental plates (see figure 2).
Figure 1
(Figure 1)

Figure 2
(Figure 2)


In order for something to be considered a monster, it must meet the following criteria:

  • It must be larger than a full grown professional football player, and ideally, bigger than the building you find yourself hiding in during a monster attack (see figure 3).
    Monster attack in Baltimore
    (FIGURE 3)
  • It cannot be a mammal. [NOTE: Mammals can’t be monsters, unless they are dead. An example would be an enormous stuffed deer head hanging in a ski lodge that uses its endlessly long, sticky tongue to capture tourists and impale them on its horns (see figure 4). Obviously, this is how zombies are created. Zombies, strictly speaking, are not monsters, unless they happen to be exceptionally large dead linebackers that were impaled by dead deer heads.]
    Deerhead monster
    (FIGURE 4)


The best way to survive a monster attack is to not let the monster see you. As monsters typically do not get involved with basements, it is optimal to be in a concrete, windowless basement corridor until the attack has passed.

In the event that a monster has seen you, the widely accepted best practice is to run away from the monster screaming and waving your arms. If enough people do this, the monster will become confused and frustrated and will move to another urban area. Monsters are drawn to urban areas primarily for a healthy supply of crunchy buses and trains. Noisy panic and mayhem are understandably distracting.

Monster attacks declined considerably with the advent of influenza vaccine. Medical professionals have drastically reduced to use of radiation to treat the flu, and there is a direct correlation between the decline crunchy radioactive buses and trains and the monsters that attack and devour them.


Please use the comment field below to share your own monster attack stories. Have a safe and spooky Halloween.