About Nathan Black

Ah, you know. I do stuff and stuff. Read the site, it'll fill you in on the rest.


Desert Golfing is a simple 2D drag and release golf simulator. The terrain is procedurally generated and the play consists of pulling your thumb on the screen to indicate the force and direction that you will launch your ball in. That’s it. Just endless orange dunes and hole after hole. It keeps track of the total number of strokes you have taken and submits your score to the Game Center after a thousand holes. You will occasionally see a cactus or a rock. There is no celebration if you get a hole in one, and there is no reward besides another hole.

“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.”
– Alan Watts

In Desert Golfing there is only the hole of golf that you are on. There is a hole coming up, and one you just completed, but they are meaningless in the context of the immediate game you are playing. There is some form of connection to the past via your score and the fact that the holes are numbered, but even that doesn’t really matter much in the course of play. The hole you are on doesn’t much matter, it is just this one shot in this one moment. No fanfare, no special treatment, just a continuous offering of the experience itself.

“If you’re doing poorly, the temptation to hit the reset button would always be lurking over you. But with no way to restart, the player feels a sense of freedom and reconciliation with life’s past mistakes.”
– Justin Smith, designer of Desert Golf

There are no menus and no restarting the game short of deleting it from your device and reinstalling it. There is just the game. No explanation needed or given. You gradually get better at playing it, but even then you are at the mercy of the terrain generator. Some holes are straight shots, some complicated negotiations trying to get on top of a tiny table-top or over a giant hill. The fact that the game seemingly doesn’t care for or about you is dramatically liberating. It leaves you the freedom to just play.

Pick up Desert Golfing for iOS or Android.

I was MC’ing Monsterhearts for an all star crew, and the Infernal and the Witch had sex on an altar in the creepy apple orchard. She took her sympathetic token from him (his pentagram necklace) and the Infernal’s dark power gained swapped a string from him to her. Then the dark power offered them each an XP to sacrifice the teen they had in the trunk of the car on the altar.

And they gladly took it up on that count, the Witch even adding insult to injury, Withering the kid on his way to the altar.

They both then leveled up and both took the “rest of the spells” option from their playbooks.

The whole thing really made me appreciate the beautiful symmetry between those playbooks. The Witch powers her hexes through taking strings, the Infernal through giving them away. The Witch’s darkest self is about having too much power and the Infernal’s DS is about having his credit extended beyond his ability to pay.

Tonight I had a cigarette slapped out of my mouth 20 times, chased a truck while having fireworks thrown/shot at me, took 8 or so falls to the ground, and was dragged thirty feet on my back.

By far the worst part was smoking that cigarette. Smokers, I have no idea how you do that. Cigarettes are disgusting.

New product idea:

Portland’s Own authentic Artisanal Flannel is proudly hand woven from local, grass fed, free range, organic beard fibers. To ensure the superiority of our fibers, we certify all our beard sources are vegan, non-tobacco smokers, under the age of 30. Our Pacific Northwest native crafters painstakingly recreate Canadian heritage patterns from the early 1990s.

Portland’s Own, the itch is worth the look.

My friend Dave A. said this about me when he was helping convince Dicky to take me on a cruise to the Bahamas:

One more thing to consider, Dicky. There is joy, there is suffering, and in between there is nothing, which is not so bad, it is peaceful even, but it is also unremarkable. Not making the right choice doesn’t necessarily make you one who unnecessarily brings suffering into the world. But, it does make you less good than someone who realizes and acts upon the great joy that would be created through your selection of Nathan Black as your adventure companion. I have traveled with this man. And I would travel with him again.

  During the 2008 EAST Austin Studio Tour I shot portraits of everyone that came through the famous Bearded Lady screen printing shop. It was a wonderful cross section of everyone in Austin. Bearded Lady hand screen printed and displayed them all 24 sheets of faces during EAST 2009. It was a great collaboration with a great… Continue reading

I think that stickers were my gateway to tattoos. The idea of modular customization of a plain notebook leads to the same for the body. Remember those sticker books? They were like coloring books but with a pack of stickers.

I’m pretty sure that’s where I got started.

I love SxSW. Everyone is in love with Austin. People are hopeful. Their band or movie or app is great and is going to hit it big and make them tons of money. Everyone is high or drunk or just fucked a stranger. The sun is shining, the weather is perfect and it just feels great. All the girls are beautiful and the boys are showing off. SxSW is the great Austin bait-and-switch.

Guy comes to the door with his friends. I check his ID, and he looks at me with a grin and says, “here, have one!” I look in his hand and he has a big pile of mushrooms.

I look him in the eyes and say “no thanks, and you really can’t bring those in to the bar.” He looks at me quizzically and tosses them all in his mouth.

I tell him that now I can’t let him in the bar. He spits them all back in his hand, and goes to put them back in his pocket. I look him in the eye and say “no.” He throws the mushrooms over his shoulder and I let him in.