Normally when I post here to point you to a new article of mine, I like to say a few things about the subject matter of the piece, or a little back story about how I came to write it. But for once, I'd like to concentrate on the art direction of an essay, not the actual words themselves. If you happen to have a copy of the latest Wired (the one with Peter Jackson on the cover) turn to page 118 and prepare to have a good laugh at my expense. I'd written a fun piece for them about how accurate golf simulations have become -- basically you can improve your real-world golf game by playing virtual golf on your Xbox. As the piece was working its way through copy-edit, I got a call from their art department saying that they wanted to do a photo shoot for the piece with me as the lead subject. My brain was immediately filled with glamour shots of me wearing my best noted-cultural-critic look of intense rumination, glamour shots of me mulling the blurred line between the real and the virtual. All of my essays should have photos of me accompanying them, I thought. How appropriate that Wired -- with its legendary ahead-of-the-curve design sensibility -- should be the first to realize this.
And then I showed up for the photo shoot, and was greeted by a pair of yellow pants, a green jacket, an argyle sweater, and a hat that hasn't been worn without irony anywhere in the civilized world for nearly thirty years. You can get a sense of the picture from this smaller image here, but I assure you the full-size version alone is worth the cover price of Wired. My friend Rael described it best: I look like a demented leprechaun.