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Loran Allen Smith

Enter our hero on this, the day of reckoning.
Another one, just like so many before.
This one feels different and, somehow, still the same.
Two antagonists will take to the ring for a sold-out fight.
Heel and face both hoping to take home the belt but
Each content to share a cut of the proceeds.
Rising action and rancor build to the agreed finale.
In a gripping, decisive count, a winner is crowned.
Choreographers rejoice, promoters trade coded glances.
High flying, harangues, and histrionics confound the unsuspecting.
Fear, fury, and fandom fracture fissures in families and friends.
Ripping and roaring as battle lines become irreconcilable chasms.
Ears and eyes extrapolate mercilessness from timely slaps and stomps.
Elbows land calculated parabolic blows off top ropes.
Turnbuckles rattle as each performer awaits their next beat.
Heel turns face. Face turns heel.
Ephemeral alliances are forged,
Preying on fragile hopes and fears as — OH MY GOD HE HAS A STEEL CHAIR!
Eager spectators surrender and hang their disbelief
On an overwrought metaphor of chaos and carnage.
Pomp and circumstance, the smoke and mirrors of choice.
Later, the players will shake hands and share laughs about all the
Easy marks as they plan and scheme the next Election Day. …

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If you hadn’t noticed, we working parents are going through a lot right now with school starting back. Even those who are fortunate enough to have jobs that can be done remotely know that working full-time while simultaneously managing any kind of meaningful day-to-day existence for kids, let alone a structured school day, is too much for our system to ask of any person. That’s not to say that there aren’t folks who are capable of doing this. There are plenty of parents who already run themselves into the ground to make ends meet.

The point is they shouldn’t need to. …

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Messaging frameworks matter.

When I try to put myself in the shoes of a so-called swing voter — someone with no allegiance to a particular party, a minimal depth of information about the candidates, and little time or motivation to dig any deeper than their most echoed buzz words — this is what I hear:

One campaign says, “let’s make our country great again.”

The other campaign says, “let’s make our country decent again.”

Decent is a really conspicuous choice of word for a candidate to choose, especially considering the other guy’s key value proposition, which, by the way, has already been battle tested to the tune of 304 electoral votes. Regardless of what the facts may say about Donald Trump, there are lots of undecided voters who will simply take those pitches at face value and go with the more superlative adjective. …

Joe Biden addresses a crowd using a bullhorn.
Joe Biden addresses a crowd using a bullhorn.

If you’re scratching your head because you believe nominating Joe Biden would make a Trump second term all but certain, you’re not alone. You need to understand, however, there are people on both sides of the political aisle who have a vested interest in keeping Trump in office precisely because his continued presence at the forefront of politics is extremely profitable to them.

Even on the Democratic side, there is an entire commercial infrastructure built up around Trump. …

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Ahh, democracy. Stronghold of freedom and renowned leveler of playing fields, ’tis one of the last remaining systems where a lone principled voice can still make a difference. An equalizer against tyranny, injustice, and corrupt oligarchic rule, by any other name, simply would not smell as sweet.

And you, with your altruism, your gusto, and your ten-point vision for a better tomorrow, you’ve girded up your loins and filled out your disclosure forms and rallied your closest friends and family. …

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Dear tech industry workers,

You should unionize. And you should do it sooner rather than later.

Some of y’all already have, and that’s great. This letter is for all of the developers, engineers, technicians, marketers, creatives, warehouse workers, and other folks in the industry who haven’t yet.

Look around you. Within the ranks of the millions of individual contributors in the tech industry are some of the most brilliant, hard-working folks alive. Imagine the impact you could have if you band together with your fellow workers. The world runs on the technology you help create, market, sell, deliver, maintain, and support. There is power in numbers, friends. …

As we head into any election season, here’s an important reminder:

If someone wants your vote, make them earn it.

That’s how this whole thing is supposed to work. You get to set the bar for your own vote. And while it might feel invigorating to think about sending someone packing, riding a wave, or taking back a district, we should all remember that trading one shade of hyper-partisanship for another on Election Day is a result that doesn’t address the systemic issues that created the political, social, and economic climates that have us all so polarized.

That’s not to say candidates can’t help change those systems. But most politicians rely on them to get elected and re-elected. If systemic change is going to happen, we have to demand it from them. When we don’t, we leave it to party bosses, sustaining donors, and all the shady characters whose power depends on maintaining the status quo to set the agenda for our government. …

If you have ever worked with text boxes in programs like Keynote, the auto-scale feature, where the font size automatically scales up or down as you type, helps you focus on the content you’re writing instead of the details of its sizing.

You can do the same thing with text layers in Adobe After Effects with some help from a bit of expression magic. This is especially helpful for maintaining consistency if you are working with multiple compositions that have copy that varies in length.

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Set things up

Set up your composition and add your text layer. You’ll want to set a baseline font size for things, so enter a bit of text and size it to look the way you want that amount of text to look. …


Allen Smith

Area dad. Occasional vigilante politician. Anti-corruption. Pro-electoral reform. Fighting for working people.

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